Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tutorial Time: Ultra Easy Heat Molded Fabric Tray

Ever want to use fabric in a way you wouldn't expect?  Today's project is beyond simple and turns few panels of fabric into so much more: an actual, working holiday tray!  I sewed it and molded it myself.  Not upholstering or decoupaging a pre-existing tray - it's making a real tray, from scratch, with your favorite fabrics.

Plus, besides being a usable tray, customized with seasonal fabrics, it also makes a striking alternative to a table runner or a pile of coasters on a coffee table.  I'm using mine on my dining room table for the holidays, but it's equally handy in the foyer, on the coffee table or bathroom counter.  Loads of decorating possibilities! 

The critical ingredient to making this project is one of my new favorite craft supplies: Heat Moldable Stabilizer.  This is the secret to making the tray's scroll-like ends and sturdy, rigid surface.  It's got a consistency somewhere between ultra firm stabilizer and cardboard. Once applied to a project, it can be heated and manipulated into hard-to-sew or molded shapes, then will cool and remain in said shape.  It's super easy and a lot of fun to do too.

You may remember my previous project using this cool (or should I say hot?) item, a Molded Fabric Candy Bowl, back at Halloween time:

This is only my second experience with this stabilizer, but I really love using it.  You can achieve shapes and designs that you could never do with regular stabilizer, so it takes sewing to a whole new level.  Plus, it gives a bit of true crafting excitement & wonder as you see it working.  And no, this isn't a sponsored post, or something I got for free to talk about, so this is my unbiased, bought with my own $, thumbs up on this craft supply.  

Ok enough about my crush on this item, here's how you can make a fun & festive tray too...

- (2) 3/8 yards of holiday print cotton
Heat moldable double sided fusible stabilizer*
- 1 package double fold bias tape & matching thread
- Heavy duty sewing needle
- Iron & press cloth
- Shears/rotary cutter & mat
- Clips or clothespins
- Optional: dowel rod

*The type I used was double sided fusible called Inn-Spire Plus, but there are several brands out there (some are fusible, some are sew in).  I've also bought some more from a brand called Bosal and will be trying that one out next to see how it works, so I'll keep you posted on how that works too.

First I pressed my fabrics nice and smooth, then cut them and a piece of the stabilizer into 23 inch wide by 12 inch high rectangles.

Then I sandwiched my stabilizer between the wrong sides of the fabrics and clip around the edges to prevent any slippage while I fused the layers.

I fused them by covering with a damp press cloth and ironing on the wool setting, for about 15 seconds at a time, per overlapping section, until the whole things was fused.  Flipped to the over side and repeated but for a little less time per section.  Then I let it cool.  It was pretty rigid.

Next I encased the long sides in double fold bias tape and stitched it in place.  To do this I worked slowly and used my clips again.  

The combination of fabrics + this thick & firm stabilizer makes using pins way too hard, so this works a lot better and faster.

To finish the short sides easily, I cut two pieces of bias tape the same length as those sides (I did this because the metallic tape is a bit stretchy - if using regular bias tape, make it about 1/2 inch longer).  I opened the bias tape up:

I turned the ends wrong side out and folded the right sides together, stitched and trimmed down the raw edges.

Then I flipped it right side out again and had two finished ends.  This made it easy to encase the raw edges of the tray and stitch into place.  

No mitering or trying to fold it under precisely.  E-A-S-Y.

At this point my tray just looked like a boring placemat, but I changed that in under a minute thanks to my iron.  

This is the fun part!!! I ironed both sides for about 30 seconds so it was warm and flexible (it should feel and bend like a heavy felt when it's ready to mold).  

Then I wrapped either end around a dowel rod.  You could also just hand roll them, but I wanted them to be exactly the same, so the rod really helped.  

I carefully pulled the rods out one side and used my handy clips to hold the fabric in the shape until it cooled.

I let it cool about 5 minutes and then pulled the clips off and my tray was all scrolled up like I'd hoped - right on the first try.  What's great is that if it's not, it's totally ok because you can reheat and remold with this stuff.  So while the shape is permanent in that it won't loosen up over time, you can re-shape it if you need to make a change or possibly to store it flat when not in use.  

I do want to point out that while this is a pretty firm tray, it's not the exact equivalent of wood or plastic tray in terms of weight it can hold.  I've walked around with a little plate of cookies, a pile of holiday cards & other lightweight stuff on it, and it's been great, but I'd leave half a dozen filled crystal champagne flutes or heavy plates of food to a more traditional tray. The moldable stabilizer is amazing, but it's not invincible!

Happy Holidays & Happy Crafting Everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Get Your Holiday Crafts On With The Craftastic Monday Link Party!

Happy Monday Everyone!  Is it just me or are days just flying by now that it's holiday season?  I feel like I need another 4 weeks just to fit everything in!  It looks like you've all been busy - had a fantastic number of links last week, so keep up the amazing project linking. 

I've got another holiday how-to coming up soon - this year I've really been enjoying holiday crafting 'cause I want to, not 'cause I have to for sponsors or to gift a whole handmade Christmas.  SO much more fun this way.  I also really appreciate all the great feedback on last week's Dainty Handbag Tote:

And remember there are just 2 days left to enter my Fleece Baby Ice Skate Booties Giveaway.  They're already done for you, by yours truly, so they make a great gift.  And yes, I will ship them to arrive in time for Christmas:)

Get some FREE advertising for your blog/shop!

This link party's got even more to help your crafty talents show.  After linking your latest project posts below, head over to the Sew Can Do Facebook page to join in the Craftastic Monday Mixer.  It's an easy way to have even more people see your site, or its FB page, and find some new sites you might love at the same time. 

How It Works:
Instead of a specific post, share your blog, crafty shop or Facebook page link on the Sew Can Do FB page.  More exposure for your crafty site every week!  Click HERE to go link up now!
Now let's see some Craftastic picks..

I love the look of this ornament topiary from Sweet Haute:

So Much To Make had these sweet, glittered, origami trees:

I Gotta Create made these festive (and free) printable holiday tags: 

Howling At The Moon made this fun knit peppermint stick pillow: 

For some tasty holiday cheer try this fruity Christmas cocktail recipe from With A Blast:

And Ms. Chee Chee (aka Frau Tschi-Tschi) shared these trophies made from plastic 2 liter bottles - so cool:

If you're one of this week's features, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on my Buttons Page to share the good news.  

I also feature these projects on Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks Pinterest board 
AND share each of them on Twitter too for even MORE exposure!

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, December 12, 2014

Baby Ice Skate Booties Giveaway & Stitch Modern Holidays Feature

With the days flying by this season I'm a little behind spreading the word on some things - like my latest published feature.  You can find me in the very first issue of the new Stitch Modern Holidays magazine with my Baby Ice Skate Booties pattern. Plus, I'm offering a chance for someone to win a finished pair of them right here!

These skate­-style booties are made from cuddly fleece and fully lined to be extra warm and soft. They feature whimsical stuffed plush blades and soft stitched­ on "lace­up" ties for a fun & realistic ice skate look. 

They make an ideal gift for Baby's First Christmas or Hannukah and will be wearable all winter long. Since I'm in the holiday spirit, and my little ones feet aren't so little anymore, I'm giving away the very pair pictured in the magazine!

These fit 6-12 months and are a frosty blue (they just look more aqua in the print pic), which works well for boys or girls in the winter.  How's that for easy?  You don't even have to make them;)

But, if you DO want to make your own, just grab a copy of Stitch Modern Holidays off your local newsstand, in craft stores or on the Interweave website here.

I'm keeping this giveaway short so I can still ship them to arrive in time for Christmas.  Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tutorial Time: The Dainty Handbag Tote

I've been in the full swing of holiday-theme sewing & crafts lately and one thing on my list was to make myself a festive little handbag.  Something cute, but simple and useful.  So I whipped up this Dainty Handbag Tote.

It's petite size and whimsical ribbon bow makes it quite dainty.

The bag is a basic tote shape, but has a handy partitioned side pocket and magnetic snap closure.  It can hold my phone, wallet, keys and other critical purse contents just as well as my bigger bags too.

For my festive look I did a jolly red lining and the fun Gnome For The Holidays by Michael Miller for the outer fabric.  I was buying some laminated cotton for another bag project at Laminates and saw this gnome print and thought it would be perfect for my seasonal purse idea, so I bought a 20in x 20in cut of it too.  The best bit is while it's cotton, it's also got a PUL coating on the back side to make it water resistant - ideal for snowy days out and about:

- 1/2yd each of outer fabric, lining 
- 1/2yd each ultra firm sew-in stabilizer and fusible fleece
- Magnetic snap
- Optional - 10 inch piece of double fold bias tape
- Basic notions: rotary cutter/shears, iron, marking pen/chalk, pins, hand sewing needle 

Cut the following pieces from the outer & lining fabrics, as well as fusible fleece and ultra firm sew-in stabilizer:

Bottom: 9.5 in wide by 4 high 
Side: (2) 4 in wide by 8 in high
Front/Back: (2) 9.5 in wide by 8 high

For the straps cut (4) 2 1/4 in wide by 12 in high pieces from the outer fabric and (2) from fusible fleece and for the pocket a 9.5 in wide by 10 in high piece plus a 9.5 in wide by 5 in high piece of fusible fleece.

Baste the ultra firm stabilizer to the wrong size of all the outer fabric pieces and fusing the fleece to the wrong sides of the lining pieces.

For the inner pocket, the stabilizer goes on one half of its wrong side and then the fabric is folded over.  This makes the pocket lined.  I added some silver bias tape along the top of the pocket, then layered the pocket over one of the lining sides.  Totally optional, but it adds a nice finish.

Let's start with the lining pieces.  Using marker/chalk, measure out the desired pocket widths with a ruler.  I made sure my center pocket was wide enough for my phone.  Layer pocket over a main lining piece, pin, then stitch down the markings.  Baste along the bottom edge.

Stitch together a short end of each of the side pieces to the short sides of the bottom, right sides together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I start and stop about 1/4 inch from the top and bottom to make it easier to do the remaining sides later.

Stitch the lower side of the piece with the pocket along an open side of the bottom and repeat with the remaining sides, again starting & stopping 1/4 inch from either end.  Leave a 3 inch gap for turning on that last bottom side.

Pull together the side and main pieces, pin and then stitch together, but this time start and stop at the very ends.  

Trim raw edges and corners down, close to the seams.

To add an inner magnetic snap, use the washer piece included with the snap to mark the prong placement on the front and back side of the bag lining.  I centered them and made with a few inches below the top.  Use a seam ripper or thread scissors to make small slits.  Insert the snaps through the right sides and add a small piece of the ultra firm stabilizer around the back for added strength.  

Slip on the washer and fold down the prongs.

Repeat the sewing steps for the outer pieces, except don't leave a gap along the bottom edge.  To avoid making loads of pin holes or shifting while sewing the stiff ultra firm stabilizer, I like to use small metal clips instead of pins.  After completing all stitching, turn the outer bag right side out.

To do the handles, put right sides together and place them over a strip of the fleece.  Stitch along the length on both sides and one end.  

Turn right side out with the help of a knitting needle or pencil.  Press gently & quickly with iron.  The fleece will help keep things from getting too hot on the laminate coating. Topstitch along edges.

Place handle ends 1 1/2 inches from ends on either side and pin.  Baste together.

Insert outer bag into lining, right sides facing.   

Pin along the top, matching corners.  Stitch all the way around.  Carefully pull outer bag through gap in lining and then push lining inside.  Slipstitch gap closed by hand and smooth lining down inside.

Tie some grosgrain ribbon in a bow on one handle and add a couple of hand stitches through the center to keep it from untying.  Melt the cut edges of the ribbon with a lighter so they won't fray too.

Now this dainty bag is ready to tote around town this season:)


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