Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How To Make A Multi-Pocket Gardening Apron

Now that it's getting sunny & warm and green things are growing, it's time to get back into the garden. And what better way to get motivated than with a fun little Gardener's Apron to wear!

This gardening apron has two rows of multi-sized pockets, so you can easily tote items of all sizes like hand tools, stakes and seed packets. A simple sash tie means it's nice and adjustable too. It also works great as an apron for crafting & baking and can be flipped to the flat, reverse side as well. Lots of options for whatever you're working on.

Make it in about an hour to wear out in garden the very same day!


- Cotton fabric (1/2yd for body & sash, 1/2yd or FQ for each of the pocket layers)
- Double fold bias tape
- Sewing Notions (shears/rotary cutter, pins, marking pen/chalk, iron)

The cute prints I used are from the new How Does Your Garden Grow? collection by Timeless Treasures. I'm seriously in love with this collection's bright colors and fun mini prints. Perfect for a gardening themed project!


Start by cutting the following pieces:

Apron body - two rectangles 17 inches wide by 10 inches high
Tall pocket - one rectangle 17 inches wide by 16 inches high
Front pocket - one rectangle 17 inches wide by 11 inches high
Sash - one strip by 5 inches high and two strips by 5 inches high

Fold both pocket pieces in half, height-wise (wrong sides facing) and press.

Stack layers so apron body pieces are on the bottom (wrong sides facing inward), tall pocket in middle and then shorter pocket on top, with bottom corners all lined up. Use a bowl or small plate to trace & round off corners.

Keeping pocket pieces together, mark lines along the front with disappearing marker or tailor's chalk as shown and stitch down the two outer lines along the shorter pocket.

Lay pocket pieces on top of body pieces, pin together and stitch along middle line from top of tall pocket to bottom. Now there are two rows of pockets with different sizes.

Baste along sides and bottom to keep the layers even and then encased in bias tape and stitch tape into place.

Take sash pieces and fold in half height-wise and press along fold to make a nice top crease.

Open and stitch each short end of the middle piece to a short end of the longer pieces.

Fold in half, right sides facing, and stitch edges together for the just longer pieces. Stitch the short sides on the diagonal with a ½ inch seam allowance.

Leave the middle portion of the sash open. Trim raw edges.

Turn right side out and press all around, pressing raw edges inward on the middle portion.

Insert apron body into opening of sash. Using a directional print like this sprout one makes it very easy to line this up evenly. Pin into place.

Carefully top stitch 1/8 inch away from the opening, removing pins and sewing slowly so the body stays in place and doesn't shift.

Now the apron is ready to wear and fill with gardening goodies.

I received the fabrics pictured from Timeless Treasures to use as I desired, with no financial compensation.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experiences.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Craftastic Monday Link-Up + New Craftastic Monday Mixer on FB!

Happy Easter week everyone!  Not only is there a great link party here today, now there's a party over on the Sew Can Do Facebook page every Monday too:

Instead of specific posts, you can share your blog, shop or Facebook page over there. That's right - you don't have to have any projects to link - just your blog or crafty business! It's a way to share your site, or page, with other crafty, creative people and find some new sites you might love at the same time.  Twice as much exposure every week!   

How the Craftastic Monday Mixer works: 

No complicated rules or mandatory follows required, just..

Add your direct blog/Facebook page url in the comments of the Craftastic Monday Mixer update on the Sew Can Do Facebook page: HERE.

- As long as your page/blog is mainly craft-related it's welcome.  Link up every week!

- Crafty, handmade shops are welcome too -  no giveaways though.

So when you're done linking your latest project below, head over to the Sew Can Do Facebook page to get even more exposure and find new crafty places to love!

It's also time to announce LUV Dream Flats giveaway winner:

Stacie Skinner-Hoxsie

Congratulations Stacie and have fun picking out some fun new fabric shoes for spring.  And for everyone else, use my code CBLUV20 to get yourself 20% off any order in the LUV Footwear shop

Now let's see some Craftastic picks..

Crafts By Courtney shared this cute project that would be great for the kids - carrots from thread spools & washi tape!

Something Splendid crafted up this fun burlap bunny table runner:

Thought graham cracker houses were just for Christmas?  Think again!  Yesterfood made some adorable houses for Peeps chicks:

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones.  I love projects that allow for reuse and Crafty Journal showed just that with this clever way to add some Easter egg fun to button-up shirts that's quick, easy and, best of all, not permanent:

Crafty Allie showed how to make fabric look vintage with, of all things, coffee! Definitely a "want to try this" idea:

If you're one of this week's features, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on the Buttons Page to let everyone know.  I also feature these projects & more party favorites on the Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks board on Pinterest AND I share each of them on Twitter too Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   
Follow Me on Pinterest

Ready to link up your crafty creations?

Party rules are simple:
  • As long as it's crafty, and made by you, it's Craftastic (no links to giveaways, shops, link parties or other people's work).  Add the link to your specific post (not the main page of your blog).
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post or blog somewhere.  The code can be found HERE.
  • Check out some of the other fabulous links and share some crafty comment love.  We all love getting comments!!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sew Can Do Facebook News & A Way to Grow Your Fanbase

With all the changes to the news feeds, layouts & notifications on Facebook, I've found it's made it harder to interact.  Not just with fans of my page, but with pages I'm a fan of too. This was the very thing I first loved about having a Sew Can Do Facebook page!  I see my number of "Likes" growing daily, but feel sad how few will see new things thanks to these changes.

What the heck Facebook?!?

Why is this happening?  Well, unless you are consciously remembering to regularly visit & like/comment on pages you like, they fall off your Facebook feed into an unseen cavern because FB "thinks" they aren't of interest to you.  Frequenty those get replaced with a bunch of sponsored (i.e. paid) updates.  My own feed had 11 updates from a single page I never visit in just one day, but the dozens of pages I truly love and want to keep up with didn't even show up once all week.  I later saw I missed out on some great news on many of them. Grrr!  

Boo changes! But there's hope...

I've decided to add a new feature that I hope will help make it easier for Sew Can Do Facebook fans to keep seeing things AND gives you an opportunity to be seen as well.  I'm calling it the Craftastic Monday Mixer on Facebook.

Just like there's a Craftastic link party here every Monday, where you can link up your latest crafty blog posts, I'm going to launch a Craftastic Monday Mixer update each week on the Sew Can Do Facebook page.  

Instead of specific posts, you can share your direct blog or its Facebook page.  That's right - you don't have to have any projects to link - just your blog!  It's a way to share your site with other crafty, creative people and find some new sites you might love at the same time. An easy way to gain new fans & discover new places too:)  Here's what it will look like:

A preview of the weekly Craftastic Monday Mixer 

Keeping It Simple:

There won't be complicated rules or mandatory follows required either...

Add your direct blog or Facebook page url in the comments of the Craftastic Monday Mixer update.  If you want to add a word or two about your main theme (e.g. Sewing & Crafts) go ahead.

- As long as your page or blog is mainly craft-related it is welcome.  

- Crafty, handmade shops will also be welcome.  No giveaways though.

- You can link up your blog/FB page every week.

Be Seen & Find New Blog Love!

I encourage checking out some of the fellow blogs & pages that link up, but I'm not requiring you HAVE to like/follow/comment them all.  I'd love for you to like Sew Can Do on Facebook, but I'm not even going to require that. 

I really want this to be about finding creative places you like and having new, like-minded people finding yours.  I'll be leaving it pretty open, but reserve the right to remove anything that I don't think is appropriate or seems spammy, so please use good judgement.  Other than that, have fun, get noticed and find new crafty places to love!

I hope you'll join me at next week's first Craftastic Monday Mixer:)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Faux Binding for Quilts & Cuddle Quilting Tips

Ever try to bind a quilt or blanket?  Whether you're new to sewing or an old pro, binding can be tricky.  Today I'm going to share my way to fake a pretty binding edge that will give the same look as traditional binding, but without any of the hassle!

Usual Binding Methods:
Traditional binding involves stitching a strip to the edge of the blanket and then wrapping it around the raw edges and topstitching into place, much like using bias tape.  Last summer I won a Cuddle 8 quilt kit from Shannon Fabrics (the leading distributor of plush fabrics) and made it into a super snuggly comforter for my middle son. While the quilt body came together fast, I struggled a bit binding it. Sometimes it doesn't fold around evenly and it's easy to end up with some gaps where stitching doesn't quite hold it when working with such a big area. The backing, binding & thread were all the same color so my imperfections don't show much, but I wanted to do a better job the next time around.

Self binding, the usual alternative, (aka using a larger back piece that folds over to the front) only works if you have a much larger backing, like on this traditional cotton quilt I did a few years ago:

I recently got two new Cuddle Quilt Kits from Shannon Fabrics, a cute Leo the Lion applique set & The Derby race car themed kit for my oldest son.  Both had a fun mix of textures & coordinating prints and were beyond snuggly soft.  Self-binding from the back wasn't an option because the fabrics were cut width-wise (so back & front were the same size). I really wanted a perfect finish for the binding, so I went with my faux method instead and it worked great.  

Tips on using Cuddle Fabric:
- If you're using a kit or multiple types of Cuddle fabric (like dimple, embossed, rose, etc.), like I was, the first piece of advice I have is to make sure they are all the same width before you start sewing them together.  While they'll all be the same height, they may be different widths - anywhere between 56-60 inches.  

- Cuddle (aka Minky) gives off a lot of fluff when cut, so have a vacuum & sticky roller on standby!

- Cuddle fabrics can also have slightly different amounts of stretch as well (dimple stretches A LOT more than smoother Spa or Cuddle 3), so I always cut my backing piece after I've stitched together my front, because there's usually some edge trimming required to the front when it is done. 

Bonus Tip:
The biggest sanity saver when quilting, or sewing with plush or slippery fabrics like these, is to use a walking foot.  It provides even pressure to feed multiple fabric layers at the same speed, so they won't shift or stretch while you stitch.  Most machines don't come with them, but believe me, it's worth the investment and your work will look so much nicer!

Get the quilt front all completed first.  The Leo the Lion Cuddle Quilt also came with extra fabric & pattern pieces to do the lion applique.  I sewed those on as soon as the front strips were sewn together.  Once the quilt front is ready to go it's time for the faux binding.  You can do this with any type of fabric, but it's ideal with cozy plush fabrics like Cuddle.  

Here's How To Do It:

Take the fabric for the binding, but instead of cutting it in 2 inch wide strips, make them 2.5 inches wide:

Sew the strips together to make one long binding. Take two strips, with right sides facing & edges perpendicular, sew together on the diagonal.   Trim down and repeat with remaining strips to make one piece.  Make sure there's at least a few inches more than you need to go around the quilt - this will be key for finishing the binding edges.

Fold the giant binding strip with wrong sides together and place on top of the quilt front, matching up the raw edges.  Baste together using a .5 inch seam allowance.  

Start the basting a few inches from the beginning so there will be a loose tail. This will be needed to finish it smoothly, without a bulky overlap where the binding ends meet. Do this all the way around, stopping a few inches before the starting point.  For the corners, I simply rounded them, since that's simpler and I like the look.

Now open and cut the starting edge of the binding on the diagonal:

Lay the tail of the binding against the quilt and open.  Place starting edge on top of the tail and trace a line on the tail along the starting edge.

Draw a second line .25 inch above the first - this will be the sewing line to stitch them together.  Cut along the lower line.  

Place the binding ends together, right sides facing and stitch together with a .25 inch seam allowance and trim.

It will end up looking like this:

Fold binding and baste into place along quilt edge to finish.

Place the quilt top over the backing, right sides facing, pin all around. Sew together, stitching over the basting with a stitch width of 2.5.  Leave a 4-5 inch gap at the bottom for turning. Pull right side out and hand stitch gap closed.

I'm really pleased with how they both turned out:

 And my faux binding looks nice & even without me even breaking a sweat:

I'm also sharing this project with my FAVE LINK PARTIES.
Click HERE to check them out!

I received the quilt kits pictured from Shannon Fabrics to use as I desired, with no financial compensation.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experiences.  


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