Apr 292012

Handmade cloth napkins. Natural wood buttons (purchased yesterday at Rutgers Ag Field Day) will eventually find their way into a sewing project.

In an effort to stave off the destruction of at least a few trees, the Everett family is switching to cloth dinner napkins for everyday use. I made these from what used to be the lining of our bedroom curtains – a double layer of lightweight unbleached muslin with green serged edges. Green means green, right? Actually, the next batch will have some other color for the edge – got to keep them interesting.

Here are some great resources for everyday cloth napkins:

By the way, those pretty coin-shaped pieces in the above photo are natural wood buttons (purchased yesterday at Rutgers Ag Field Day), which will eventually find their way into a sewing project.

— Linda in central NJ

 Posted by on 2012/04/29 crafts, sewing Tagged with: , ,  4 Responses »
Dec 122011

Although many folks love those nice Christmas-y scents of frankincense, myrrh, fir trees, candy canes, hard liquor,  etc., one person on my gift list is super sensitive to anything scented and has rather delicate skin. I know she loves a good bath experience, so I decided to buy her a range of bath products that are both hypoallergenic and completely free of scent.

This gift needs to be shipped overseas and I wanted a nice presentation, rather than just packing the items into a carton with bubble wrap. So I made a fleece basket in turquoise and magenta and added a cotton “cow scrubbie.”  Tomorrow I will wrap it all in tissue paper and pack it up into a shipping box cushioned with popcorn – yes, hot air popped-popcorn (without the salt and butter) – a thrifty and eco-friendly alternative to packing peanuts!

Now here comes your quikytute – how to make a fleece basket:

You’ll need the following:

  • A cereal box or other repurposed cardboard, carefully opened flat
  • Two contrasting solid-color remnants of polar fleece
  • Clear packing tape
  • Sewing machine (or needle and thread and lots of patience)
  • Ruler, scissors, etc.

First, double up the first color of fleece and cut two pieces like so:

Then do the same with the contrasting color.

With a half-inch seam allowance, stitch together the two pieces of the first color along the bottom and two sides – leave the top open, as well as the cut out corners.

Next, bring the corners together, matching opened seams, and stitch across, as diagrammed on the right.

If this step looks like a Simplicity pattern instruction sheet, that’s because I copied it from a  Simplicity pattern instruction sheet.

Follow the same steps for the contrasting color fleece.

You now you have two floppy fleece box shapes. Time to stiffen them up (get your mind out of the gutter). Measure your fleece box shapes. Depending upon how accurately you have cut and sewn them, they should be about 5″ square on the bottom and 4″ tall at the sides, give or take a half inch.

Next, take your cereal box (or whatever sort of cardboard you have decided to use – corrugated works well too) and cut it to a size of about 11″ square, depending upon the final size of your fleece (it needs to be the size of the bottom of your fleece box, 5×5″ in this case , plus twice the height of its sides, 4″ in this case, minus 2″.) Cut out the 4 corners to 3″ square each (or the size of the sides of your fleece box, minus an inch). Fold up  each flap – this is easiest if you hold a metal ruler against the fold line. Butt the sides together and join with some clear packing tape.

Next, fit your cardboard “stiffener” inside the fleece box that you want as your outer color. The cardboard stiffener should be about 1″ shorter than the fleece. Fold the the top of the fleece all round to the inside of the cardboard and secure it with a bit of packing tape or all-purpose glue. Packing tape works fine and doesn’t require drying time – good for those of us who don’t like to wait.

Take the remaining fleece box and turn in inside out. You can hem it all around the top about 1/4″, but this is not strictly necessary, as fleece does not fray. Fit it inside the the cardboard stiffener, matching the seams to those of the outside fleece box. Fold the top edge all around to the outside. Almost done!

To affix the cuffed inner fleece to the outer fleece, you can either use a few blind tack-down stitches (that’s what I did) or some fabric glue. Another option is to sew a colorful button to the center of each side of the flap, sewing through both layers of fleece.

All that’s left to do is feel up your fleece basket with goodies of almost any kind for a cozy and personal gift!

With Love from Linda
in Central NJ

 Posted by on 2011/12/12 crafts, sewing No Responses »