Toy Sewing Project

I bought this stuffed animal kit when it was on sale at the AQS store because it looked so cute!  I thought it would be a fun project and a nice gift.

It’s called “Puppy Dog Pete”  and it’s an original design of Pauline McArthur of the Funky Friends Factory.

I don’t usually do much of this kind of sewing but the pattern was easy to follow and had helpful photos and illustrations.


First, I cut out all the pieces.

And followed the instructions for sewing the pieces together in the correct order.


When I got to the step of adding the button eyes and sewing on the nose; I felt a little like Geppetto.  My little dog was coming to life!


Adding the head to the body was the hardest step.  It was just some awkward sewing but not too bad.


Then he got stuffed and sewn up tight.



How cute is this puppy?  I cut the pieces one day and sewed him the next day.  It really is an easy project.

Now he’s on his way to a new home.

Maybe you would like to make your own Puppy Dog Pete?  There are many projects similar to this one; both patterns and kits on the Funky Friends Factory website.




Vegetable Bags


This is a project I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  I always usually bring my own grocery bags to the store and have been doing this for a while but I’ve been feeling guilty about all the little plastic bags I use for my fruits and vegetables.  Until recently, I’ve been saving and re-using them a few times.

The recently part is because the commissary (the grocery store on base) hasn’t had any little vegetable bags for the last few weeks.  It’s been making me crazy!  What’s going on?

It made me so crazy that I came home one day, went online and debated different fabrics, ordered fabrics from the U.S., the fabrics came in the mail, I dragged them home and get this:  I actually made some bags!

(I’m sure tomorrow the commissary will have the little plastic bags again.) It doesn’t matter though because I have my own little bags and I’ll be standing on  environmental high ground!

These bags were so easy to make!  I’ll walk you through the process so you can make your own.

Step 1:  Pick your fabric.  You really can make these out of anything.  I wanted light-weight, see-thru and washable so I picked these two fabrics from called Telio Mod Stretch Mesh (left) and Bartow Tobacco Cloth (right).


I wasn’t sure about sewing that mesh so I started with the Tobacco cloth which was very soft and lightweight.  It’s very loosely woven though so it requires a little more preparation.

Step 2:  Decide what size you want to make your bag.  I folded the fabric and cut mine 12 1/2″ wide by 16″ tall.  I kept the fold at the bottom of the bag in hopes that the bag will be stronger that way.

Step 3:  Finish the edges so the fabric doesn’t fray.  If you have a serger, this would be a perfect way to finish the edges or you can zig-zag the edges.  I just folded the ends a tiny bit and sewed very loosely.   When I worked with the mesh I skipped this step since it didn’t seem like it would fray.


Step 4:  Add a tunnel for a drawstring on both top pieces.  For my drawstring, I used 3/16″ polyester Cable Cord and I figured it would save me time to just sew the cord into the bag.  DON’T SEW INTO THE CORD – you want it to move freely.


Step 5:  Sew the side edges together.  You want to put the outsides of the bag together for this step and if you are sewing it with the cord inside, be careful to keep it out of the way and going the right way.


Step 6:  Turn it right side out and you’re done!


As you can see, the tunnel part of my bag isn’t sewn together.


I can pull my cord up at one end or both, however I like.  I’m not really sure if I can burn the ends of the cord or how to keep them from fraying.  I plan to consult with my husband who has more rope and cord knowledge than I do.


Here’s the mesh bag which was actually easier to make; just a little stretchy to sew over.  Also, I didn’t need to do any ironing on it.


There you go!  A couple hours of sewing and I have 5 fruit/vegetable bags that I can use over and over again.


Fun Little Project


Check out this cute heart-shaped pot holder that I made from a kit!  I bought the kit at Jackman’s Fabrics in St. Louis while I was in town visiting my daughter.  They had these little pot holders on display and had kits made up with all different fabrics.  I wish I had bought more than one now because it was so easy to make.


The kit came with all the fabrics you need, the pattern and very easy to understand instructions.


You cut out the heart pieces.

The directions said to quilt these parts lightly so I just quilted along some of the lines in the fabric for a criss-cross design.


Then add binding strips to the half heart pieces for the back.  Baste these heart pieces on and then put the heart front piece onto the back upside-down and stitch around the heart, leaving an opening to turn the whole thing right side out.  Then you just hand stitch the small opening you have left.


I wish I had used the small bit of red I had left over to add a little hanging loop to one of the heart tops.  This thing is so cute, I would love to hang it in my kitchen!

Now that I have the directions and pattern, I can make more.  You really only need small amounts of fabric and batting.  I would need to buy some of the Insul-Bright batting for the inside.  This is a nice product to use on potholders because it keeps the heat from going though the potholder and burning you.

And by the way, these would make great little gifts for that friend that likes to cook!


I was able to do a little more holiday sewing this week.  I bought a gift last weekend that was a weird shape and I was wondering what to do with it as far as wrapping or putting it in a card.  Someone suggested I make a stocking to put it in and I loved that idea.

One reason I loved the idea so much was because the person I bought the gift for will soon be joining our family.  (Excited clapping!)

Anyway, I haven’t made any stockings for quite a while.  I actually threw out our families’ stockings a year or so ago because they were old and dated and we weren’t really using them.  Long ago, I bought a fabric panel with printed stockings that you just cut out and put together.  This was before we had kids but somehow I ended up with exactly four.  Hmmm.

There were all kinds of patterns and directions online but I couldn’t find anything simple and easy.  I finally settled on using the tutorial from  but making my own pattern from an old stocking I had here.


So I doubled the fabric with wrong sides together and cut out 2 for the outside and 2 for the lining.


I sewed the lining to the outside for the front and the back and then sewed those together with right sides together.  Leave a small opening in the lining to turn everything right side out.


Then you just fold the cuff over and you’re done.  I wanted to applique an initial or something to personalize but that’s where it got tricky.  Now I see why some of the patterns had a separate piece for the cuff.  It would be much easier to applique or embroider a separate piece of fabric and then add it.  (You know I always do things the hard way.)  I used double sided fusible interfacing for the letter but when I went to machine stitch around, I just couldn’t maneuver that little opening in my machine.  I ended up doing a straight stitch close to the edge of the letter which is called raw edge applique.  They probably won’t be washed or used very much so hopefully it will be OK.  Now I just have to add a fabric loop for hanging and another gift is done!

Some Holiday Sewing

I’ve been wrestling with a very large t-shirt quilt for several weeks now but I’m finally just about finished and ready to move on to other projects.  Christmas is only weeks away and I was asked to make a nurse/doctor bag for my niece by my mom.  Apparently one of my nieces asked for a Pogo stick for Christmas so my mom thought her sister should have a medical kit handy.  My mom is a nurse so she was able to find the tools necessary to make a well stocked nurse/doctor bag.  She just needed a bag.

I found a pattern for a rounded purse which I thought looked like the old time-y doctors bags and Joann’s had their patterns on sale for $1.99 so that’s where I started.

I haven’t followed a sewing pattern in a while so it was rough.  Plus I really don’t like to follow those directions because I always seem to have a slight modification that I want to make and then things don’t go well.  With this pattern, I wanted to change the handle.  I couldn’t find just the right leather type handle that I wanted so I had to use a set of wooden handles.  A little weird I know, but I was trying to take some shortcuts.

making the bag

There was some pinning and stabbing.  I’m not gonna lie, I wanted to quit after the first side.  I re-pinned this thing about 4 times because I couldn’t get it just right.  But I kept at it and got the sides on.  Then the lining had to be added.

bag lining

I actually had to sew it in by hand so that it would attach to the zipper.

medical bag

And the finished bag.  It’s not the prettiest thing in the world but I think it will do.

Mom wanted a caduceus (I learned a new word there) on the side so I found one on the internet and tried out those iron-on transfer sheets.  Since the bag was dark colored, I had to get the ones made especially for transferring onto dark colored fabrics as most are made to use on white or light colored t-shirts.  I learned all kinds of new things with this project.  Who knows; maybe my niece will learn all kinds of new things with her medical kit and decide to become a nurse someday.  Mom would definitely love that.

Dorm Room Project

Summer is coming to an end here and I’m trying to finish some projects.  This project has been on my to-do list for quite a while.  My daughter kept mentioning that she wanted a bedside caddy for her dorm bed so she could have a place to put her phone and glasses and things like that.  The beds in the dorm at her university are about 4 feet off the ground.  They’re too high to make into bunk beds and too low to put a desk under.  It’s a little strange.  Maybe they’re trying to discourage the kids from having bunk beds or maybe they just wanted to make room for the kids to store things or maybe they’re trying to weed the kids out.  A nasty fall from that height could make it hard to get to classes!  I just don’t know but having her phone/alarm handy would be a good thing.

She may have said I should make one or maybe I said I could make one, I can’t remember.  I thought I’d be able to find a pattern or directions online but I couldn’t find just what I was looking for.  I didn’t know exactly what size the pockets should be – what kinds of things was she going to put in there?  Anyway, long story short, we’re a couple days from moving her into her dorm and I have no bed caddy!

Inspiration hit me when I saw a photo online where someone had hung a tool belt on the wall for a top bunk caddy.  I guess I could’ve done that if I had $50 for a leather tool belt but instead, I picked up a cheap canvas tool belt at the hardware store for about $4.

inspirationPockets galore!

I thought surely I’d find a tutorial for how to make a bedside caddy from a tool pouch online but no luck.  So, here you go world, here’s my little step by step on how to make a bedside caddy from a cheap tool pouch.  Disclaimer:  I really don’t know what I’m doing.

So you have your tool pouch and a couple of fat quarters of fabric.  Cut the strings off the tool pouch and tuck the ends back.

bedside caddyCut the fabric about 1/4 inch wider than the tool belt and I went 4 1/4 inches at the top.  Then I took that fabric piece and cut the same size from another piece of fabric.  I just thought it needed the extra weight for stability plus this will finish off the edges and make it look nice.

I sewed those 2 pieces with right sides together (leave most of the top open to turn) and then turned them right sides out and pressed.

making of the bedside caddyThen I had to hunt down a heavy duty needle in my mess and sew the tool caddy to the front.

making the bedside caddy2I didn’t sew the top part, just around the sides and bottom.  But then, I added a seam in the very middle so that it created 2 large pockets behind the tool belt.  I didn’t want to sew through the little pocket in the middle so I only made the seam a couple inches long.  These pockets in the back would be the perfect size for a book or Kindle.

One of the few tutorials I found online for making a bedside caddy had you add a piece of old blanket or blanket material to the top that will stick under the mattress.  I guess the blanket material isn’t too slippery so the thinking is that it’ll stay in there and not slip out too easily.  I didn’t have any old blankets so I used a little piece of cotton batting which is similar.  I’m thinking you could also use some of that rubbery- bubbly shelf liner instead.  It wouldn’t be hard to sew over and would keep the caddy from sliding out.

bedside caddyI stuck the batting between the top pieces about an inch in and then sewed the whole thing together.  I actually did three seams for extra strength.

bedside caddy from toolbeltThis could easily be decorated/personalized with fabric paints or colored markers.

And there it is.  Not a whole lot of effort went into this.  I hope it works and my daughter likes it.  Maybe I’ll put a couple of candy bars and a photo of us in there so she can’t help but like it!

The Moose

Morley Moose

I’m just about finished with my Morley J. Moose wall-hanging which was designed by Barbara J. Jones.  I bought the pattern last fall in St. Louis.  I just need to finish appliqueing a few things and then of course, quilt him.

So here’s how he was made:


First, I had to trace the back of the pattern which gives us the reverse for all the fusible backing pieces.


Then, I traced the pattern onto some lightweight stabilizer.  This stabilizer is where he is actually made.  All the little pieces of fabric are appliqued onto this stabilizer.


I traced and then cut out (in reverse) all the little pieces on a fusible web and ironed them onto different pieces of fabric.


I cut those pieces of fabric out and laid them onto my stabilizer Morley.  I didn’t stick them down until I was sure I liked the look.

* A note on the fusible web that I was using.  This stuff is called Appli-Kay Wonder.  I really wanted to love this stuff.  They sold it to me when I bought the pattern and it wasn’t cheap.  I thought it would be the miracle answer to my applique nightmares.  You iron it on one side, peel the paper off the other side and stick it down.  It’s re-positional until you iron the other side.  First off, I had to look up the directions because they weren’t included in the roll.  The online directions said use a medium setting on your iron but I had to crank it up to high to get things to stick and then I had problems after that of things coming unstuck.  The weight of it was about the same as other double stick fusible interfacing.  It didn’t leave a sticky mess on my needle which I liked.  Over all, it was just OK, not the miracle product I had hoped.

Morley moose

Anyway, so when I had things positioned and ironed down, I used a machine zig-zag stitch on all the seams.


Then I made the background – which I didn’t like.  I went back to the fabric store and bought similar colors but in more pastel hues.


I found a striped fabric and cut it in wavy strips.  I laid everything out on the new and improved background to see where to put everything.  Morley wasn’t sticky on the back so I had to pin.  The directions said to sew with several sheets of tissue paper on the back.  I understand that helps keep things from puckering but I could not juggle the moose and the tissue in my sewing machine.  I just went slowly and used a stitch on my machine that looks like hand applique.  Then I added the framing strips and trees.  Like I said, I’m not quite done yet but I think he’s cute.

Morley Moose

Home-made Tablet Cover

I was recently traveling with my mom and she brought along her fancy, new tablet.  She had it stowed in a little bag but I got to thinking she could use some sort of soft, protecting cover to keep it safe and maybe that cover could come from me and be a nice Christmas gift!  (I’m always thinking brilliant thoughts like that.)  So I went online to get some ideas.  I was thinking it should be more of a pocket than a sleeve and I found just the thing and a wonderful tutorial at  The tutorial is actually made by a blogger at Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.

My problem with this project was that I didn’t actually have the tablet here to work with and I didn’t want to ruin the surprise by nonchalantly asking my mom for the dimensions of her new tablet.  I went online and found the type of tablet (I think) and made a cardboard model of it.  Armed with that model; I tried to follow the instructions on the tutorial.

I found some fun travel fabric and put it together with some red fabric (Mom’s favorite color) but here is where I ran into trouble.

fabric for tablet

This fabric is directional and I wanted the pictures to be facing up when she looked at it or opened/closed the tablet cover.  I’m not sure why I had such a hard time but twice I sewed it upside down so that the open end that’s supposed to be the flap produced an upside down image.  The second time, I just closed it up and used a seam ripper to open the other end and put in the elastic for the loop closure.

Tablet cover

It was a pretty easy project with most of the effort being the quilting.  I cheated with the criss-cross quilting since I have a weird metal thing that hooks to my machine and I just adjust it to the distance I want and then keep it in the previous sewn line.  It keeps me from having to draw all those lines.  I just have to draw one line in each direction.  I’m just praying that my mom’s tablet actually fits in here since I’m guessing that my state-of-the-art cardboard tablet is probably a little thinner than hers.  I tried to add a little extra on the measurements but I think the tablet should fit fairly snug.

my tablet cover

Another Christmas gift finished!

Candy Coin Purse

I realized the other day that Christmas is just a couple months away.  Ack!!  There are three young girls in my life that I buy gifts for and if I’m on the ball, I actually like to make them something.  I’ve made them aprons, doll quilts, quilts and t-shirts with the first letter of their name appliqued onto the front.  Since they share toys & dolls, I never know what new toy they do or don’t have and they actually seem to like when I make something just for them.

This year, I was racking my brain for what I could make.  The older they get, the more they seem to like gift cards from their favorite stores.  I thought maybe I could make each of them a bag or purse and put a gift card inside.  I scoured the internet for some inspiration and happened upon these sweet tooth pouches made from candy wrappers.  There’s an awesome tutorial on  so I gave it a try.

Candy Wrapper coin purse

The tutorial made it look super easy but still, I had a few problems.  My first problem was that I only bought one package of candy!  You need 2 for this project since you just use the front of the package.  I had absolutely no problems eating 2 packages of candy!  It was after that when, as usual, I had issues following the sewing directions.  I just had to rip a couple of seams and re-sew because I saw there were going to be problems turning everything right side out and really, that’s the toughest part.  I think it turned out really cute!

Inside of Candy wrapper coin purse

It’s a very inexpensive project since you just need some candy, a little bit of fabric, iron-on vinyl, and a zipper.  I have to get some more candy (and eat it) since I plan on making 2 more of these coin purses.  I’m going to try and use different candy wrappers so each girl gets a different purse.

Candy coin purse gift

They’ll be perfect to stick a gift card and some candy inside!  Now I’m looking at all the candy wrappers in the candy aisle at the store differently.  What else can I make into a bag?