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Fast Projects & Gifts

  • Bathroom Makeover Project

    July 8, 2016


    If you're looking for a fun summer project, Elizabeth Cecchettini from Baby Lock has some great instructions on how to make shower curtains and spruce up your towels and bath mat with new fabrics!

    Download the Instructions Here!

    Start your makeover by selecting a fresh and exciting fabric! Use the fabric as the inspiration for the colors and designs, updating the shower curtain, towels, and bath mat. The Baby Lock Soprano makes it easy to sew on all the types of fabric.

    Skill Level: Beginner

    Sewing machine
    Bath towel sets
    Bath mat
    58” wide printed cotton fabric, refer to Steps 1 & 2 for yardage calculations
    Packages of coordinating ½” wide bias tape
    ½ yard of 45” golden/natural burlap
    1 yard of woven fusible interfacing
    16 large (1 3/8”) grommets for shower curtain
    Water soluble marker
    All-purpose thread
    Decorative threads
    Basic sewing supplies


    Shower Curtains
    1. Establish the finished length of the shower curtains. To this measurement, add 10 inches for the header and five inches for the hem. The pictured shower curtain is 95 inches finished. 95” + 10” + 5” = 110” for each panel, two panels were used in this bathroom. Multiply the 110” x 2 lengths for a total of 220”, divided by 36” for a total of 6 1/3 yards. If the fabric has a repeat in the design, measure the length of the repeat, add this measurement to the total yardage.
    2. Purchase additional yardage for the embellishment of the towels and bath mat.
    3. Measure and cut out the shower curtain panels.
    4. Measure and cut strips of fusible interfacing for the header of each panel, (4 1/2” wide x width of each panel). Press interfacing to the wrong side of fabric, along the top edge of each panel.
    5. Next, prepare for the side hems by trimming off the selvages from both sides of each panel.
    6. Prepare the side hems by folding edges to the wrong side of panels (1”, twice) and pin.
    7. At the sewing machine, stitch the side hems on each panel with matching thread.
    8. Mark the header 5” from the top edge and 10” from the top.
    9. At the 5” marking, fold the fabric to the wrong side of the panel and press. Fold the edge under once more at the 10” marked line and press. Stitch the header’s folded edge. Repeat this for the second panel.
    10.Next, fold the hems of each panel to the wrong side (2 1/2”, twice). Stitch and press.
    11.Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply eight large grommets, evenly spaced to the header of each panel.

    Bath Mat
    1. Measure the area of the bath mat to be covered with fabric. Add 1” to all sides.
    2. Cut out a panel of fabric according to the above measurements.
    3. Fold and pin under 1” on all sides and press.
    4. Pin the fabric panel to the center of the bath mat.
    5. Stitch the panel to the mat with matching thread. A larger needle and longer stitch length may be helpful if the bath mat is very thick.
    6. Quilt the center of the panel using a selection of decorative stitches and threads. Follow the pattern of the fabric or use free-form stitching to quilt a design.

    1. Measure the width of hand towels and bath towels. From the decorative fabric, cut strips four to three inches wide and the full width of each towel.
    2. Embellish the strips with decorative stitches and coordinating threads.
    3. Pin one strip to a towel. Pin bias tape over the raw edges on all four sides of the strip.
    4. Stitch the bias tape to the towel using matching thread. Miter the bias tape at each corner.
    5. For burlap fringe, cut strips of the burlap two inches wider than the 3”- 4” for the fabric strip. Pin the burlap strip to the towel first. Then pin the fabric strip centered, over the burlap strip.
    6. Apply the bias tape as above.
    7. Pull the crosswise threads from the burlap, creating a 3/4” wide fringe on top and bottom.

    For other exciting projects by Baby Lock, visit their Projects Page!
    ©2016 Baby Lock USA.

  • Get Inspired with Free Holiday Projects!

    December 8, 2015

    If you're looking for fun & easy holiday projects to make this month, let the leading brands in the business inspire you!

    From Brother:
    Winter Wonderland Coasters [Download]Magic Cookie Bag [Download]Disney Christmas Ornaments [Download]Fold-Out Card [Download]
    From Baby Lock:
    Reverse Applique Snowflake Pillow [Download]Monogrammed Holiday Towels [Download]Plaid Tartan Horse [Download]
    From Pfaff & Husqvarna Viking:
    Pot Holders [Read More]Tree Ornaments [Read More]Button Snowflake [Read More]

  • Quick Halloween Ghostly Embroidered Plush

    October 29, 2015

    Hello! This is Chris with Quality Sewing, and I’d like to show you how I made these adorable little plush ghosts with the Brother Dream Machine:

    I confess I’m actually not much of a sewist; I work behind the scenes of Quality Sewing in advertising. But the Dream Machine is so unbelievably easy to use that even I could do this--so it should be no problem for you!

    First off, draw a ghost. Just a simple face and a ghostly outline. Here, look how cute he is!

    You can make it pretty much any shape and size that you want as long as it’ll fit on your fabric in a hoop. I used those sheets of felt that you can buy at a craft store for like 35 to 40 cents each. Those are about 8” x 10”, and I used the 5” x 7” hoop to hold them. So I drew a ghost that was about 4” x 6.” We’re going to turn the ghost inside out and stuff it, so try to leave a gap of about 1” to 2” in the outline.

    Put your drawing on the Dream Machine’s scanning attachment and press “My Design Center” then “Illustration” then “Scan.” The machine will take just a minute to scan in your drawing.

    Then it’ll appear on the screen. We’re going to embroidery just the face first, so use the stylus to select just the face portion.

    Hoop up your fabric with some stabilizer (I used Floriani tearaway medium stabilizer behind my felt) and put it in the machine. Make sure your Dream Machine is loaded up with the color of thread you want (black in this case), and embroider that cute li’l face.

    Once that’s done, take off the top frame of your hoop, lay another piece of fabric on top of the ghost’s face, and re-hoop it all together. Try to get it to be as close to where it originally was hooped as possible.

    Put your ghost drawing through the scanner again, but this time select “Line” instead of “Illustration” before you scan it. The scanner will convert everything to outlines.

    We don’t want to embroider the face this time, so what I did was choose the eraser tool and just rub out those face lines.

    One of the reason I like using felt for these is because it’s ever-so-slightly translucent, and you can put that to good use. When you get to the embroidery phase, click this button to have the Dream Machine really quickly scan the hooped material, and voila! You can faintly see where your ghost’s face was embroidered. Drag the outline so that it is positioned around the face where you want it.

    Then just stitch it out! You’d probably want to switch to white thread for the outline, but I used black so it would actually show up in the photos.

    Now take everything out of the hoop, tear off the stabilizer, and carefully cut all the way around your ghost. I tried to keep it about 1/8 away from the seam.

    Now turn him inside out and look at just how cute he is!

    Now you just have to stuff him and stitch the opening closed and there you go! You have a cute little ghost plush.

    This seriously only takes a few minutes to make. They’d be so cute to give away at a Halloween party (or even to Trick-or-Treaters).

    If ghosts aren’t your thing, you can easily use the same technique to make Jack-o-lanterns! Here’s one I made, the only difference is that I used orange felt and I sandwiched a loop of green felt between the two layers of orange fabric before I stitched the outline.

    If you don’t think your drawing skills are the greatest and you’re worried about how your plushes will look, below are some image .JPG files that you can download and put on a memory stick. That would make the creation of these plushes even faster because you wouldn’t have to physically scan the drawing each time; just put the memory stick in the Dream Machine and pull the design up instantly!

    Just click on these images to download them to your computer (if that doesn’t work try right-clicking on them and selecting “Save As”).

    I hope these li’l guys make your Halloween happier.

  • September Sew Fun Harvest Sweatshirt Tutorial

    September 29, 2015

    This is a fun use for an embroidery design set that was originally designed to be a table runner. Lee decided to be extra creative and use the design set to embellish a cute sweatshirt jacket. It was simple to do and makes quite an impact. You could use a variety of design sets to create your own stunning project.

    Here are the steps:

    1. Back of Finished Sweatshirt.

      Back of Finished Sweatshirt.

      Embroidery Design: "Along the Fence Table Runner" by Jana Davidson. Large design, pieced together. Leave the extra fabric on the end pieces. (You might need to add a little more to reach around the front.)
    2. I used a men's size medium sweatshirt. Cut the ribbing off the sweatshirt. Cut it open at the center front. Staystitch the neckline.
    3. Bind the top of table runner using 2-1/2" straight strip of fabric. Sew the table runner onto the bottom of the sweatshirt. Bind bottom of sweatshirt and the sleeves.
    4. I used a straight strip of fabric: 5-1/2" wide for the front bond. I cut 2 strips of fabric 5-1/2" x 45", seamed them at center back and then padded them with fusible fleece.
    5. Shape the front by cutting 2" off the center front at the bottom and cut a line to the shoulder seam. Sew the band on center back to bottom on the wrong side of the sweatshirt. Seam across the bottom. Trim off excess. Turn, top stitch and you're done.

    Happy Sewing!

  • Light Up Halloween with Spooky and Bright Designs!

    September 15, 2014

    Spooky and Bright Designs

    With Halloween approaching it’s time to have some spooky fun with Amazing Designs “Spooky and Bright” CD. This design pack was created so you can add lights or crystals to embellish your embroidery projects. We offer Fabric Lights that fit perfectly within the designs.

    To add lights to your design:

    1. Embroider the desired design on anything you want to add a little sparkle to.
    2. Use small sharp scissor to poke a hole in the middle of the eyelets with-in the design. Trim away the extra fabric close to the inside of the eyelet; be careful not to cut the embroidery
    3. After the holes are trimmed, begin inserting the lights from the wrong side, taking care not to tangle the wires.
    4. Once the lights are inserted; place a rubber holding ring over the lights to secure them.
    5. Your lights are now in place and ready to use…enjoy!

    For even more Halloween fun...

    Download Baby Lock's FREE Halloween Project E-Book Here!

    8 Fun Halloween Projects!

    8 Fun Halloween Projects!

    More Great Halloween Projects:

    Happy Halloween Project: Minkee Monsters!
    Quick & Easy Halloween Tutorial Round-Up

  • Chalkboard Wine Bag Sewing Tutorial

    July 31, 2014

    Sew Fun for August has many great ideas for gifts for you to make. To get you started, here is a quick wine bag that you can personalize with Chalkboard Fabric, and Bistro Chalk Markers.




    • Sewing Machine and Serger in good working order
    • 18”x18” Burlap
    • 4” x18” Chalkboard fabric
    • Serger thread in beige (4 cones)
    • Sewing thread in black
    • Temporary Spray Adhesive
    • Edge Stitching Foot
    • Rotary cutter, mat and ruler
    • Clover Wonder Clips
    • Bistro Chalk Marker, your choice of color
    • 25” of 1” wide ribbon, your choice of color




    1. Burlap – 18” x 18” (I cut mine so that the frayed selvedge edge was the top of the bag. Example 1)

    2. Chalkboard fabric – 4” x 18”

    3. At your sewing machine: Place the long edge of the chalkboard fabric strip, across the width of the burlap, 8” from the top, not including the fringe. You can use a spray adhesive to keep the chalkboard fabric in place while stitching. Spray the back of the chalkboard fabric lightly. Example 2

    4. Top stitch along both of the long edges with black sewing thread.

    NOTE: Using an Edge Stitching Foot would make this task much easier.

    5. At your serger: Bring the edges together, matching the short edges of the chalkboard fabric. Serge seam with a 4-thread or a 4-thread safety stitch.

    6. Center the seam in the middle of the bag. Example 3. To simplify Step 8, press a crease in the lower sides of the bag.

    7. Serge across the bottom of the bag.



    8. Bring bottom seam and side crease together to form a triangle. Measure 1 ½” – 2” and cut with a rotary cutter. Repeat for the other side. Example 4.

    9. Because burlap ravels easily, use Clover Wonder Clips to secure as you go to your serger. And, the Clover Wonder Clips are great for the serger, because you can’t accidently serger over them :)

    10. Serge both edges. Example 5.

    11. Press seams and turn bag right side out.

    12. Write your celebration on the chalkboard fabric with a Bistro Chalk Marker.

    13. Place wine bottle in bag and tie on your ribbon. Example 6.







    Enjoy your sewing adventures!
    Lana L Jones
    Educational Consultant

  • Create an Easy Jacket from a Pashmina Scarf

    May 12, 2014

    What a quick and easy project to make for yourself or a gift?

    Why not give transforming a Pashmina Scarf/Shawl into a cute jacket?

    Pashmina scarves come in so many pretty colors and are so soft, you just want to wrap yourself up in them  (A pashmina is a long rectangular scarf/shawl with fringe on both short ends and is typically 27" x 72").

    A friend of mine shared with me an easy way to turn one of these lovely scarves into a jacket that is great for an evening out or just to compliment your outfit.

    At a recent event I whipped one up in a jiffy and it turned out so cute that there were so many requests for the instructions that I just had to get it posted right away.

    Are you ready? You are only two seams away from a finished project!

    Here are the instructions for this neat project that is oh so quick to make.

    • Along one of the long edges, measure in 9" from each corner (this will be your sleeve opening).
    • Along the same edge, measure 2.5" on either side of center (this will be your neck opening).

    Once you have your pashmina marked, you are ready to sew your jacket.

    • Bring one fringed edge up to the marked edge, matching the top corner with the sleeve mark that you made.  This will create about a 45° fold line.
    • Align this short edge with the marked long edge, letting the fringe hang off of the edge.
    • Stitch both layers together, close to the edge (approximately 1/4" seam allowance).  If you do not wish to have any fringe, consider using your serger.
    • Use a matching thread in the needle and in the bobbin.
    • Stop sewing when you reach the closest neck marking.  The remainder of the short edge (which is loose and unstitched) will become a collar.

    • Repeat with the other side
    • You are finished!!

    Feeling frisky? Wear your jacket so that you have the fringe on the outside.

    When you want your jacket to be more subtle, turn it inside out so that the fringe will be inside the jacket

    Can't decide if you want a jacket or a scarf?  How about sewing a series of button holes along the stitching area of the long edge.  Add some little buttons along the fringe edge and then you can button it up into a jacket or unbutton it for a scarf or shawl.

    Want it to be even better?  Add some machine embroidery to make it a truly one of a kind piece.

    Have a great time making your jacket!



    Make sure to check  back and see my video blog on Embroidering on a Pashmina.

  • Make Quick and Easy Wool Felt Ornaments

    November 19, 2013

    Sometimes when you're looking to make a quick hand-made gift, there is not much better than a pretty little kit containing all the coordinating fabrics and threads that you need to create a perfect project. Honestly, kits are far too often something that I "pet" as opposed to dismantle and cut up to create the designated project. I think that's okay, too; it makes me happy.

    Warm Hands Kit & Pattern

    Warm Hands Kit & Pattern

    These Warm Hands Wool Felt Ornaments looked so cute I could hardly wait to tear into them and try out the new Brother ScanNCut. May I say: fabulous!!

    Here are my step-by-step instructions on how I created these ornaments:

    My theory is that if the felt is well stabilized, inside and out, then it will be less spongy and will cut better.  That is why I chose to use the liquid stabilizer "Perfect Sew". When the fabric that is treated with the liquid drys, it becomes firm and crisp.

    Stabilize the Felt for cutting

    Stabilize the Felt for cutting

    A spoon is great for spreading

    • First thing I did was to stabilize the felt with Perfect Sew. This is a liquid stabilizer that simply rinses out when no longer needed.
    • I laid the felt pieces out on a cutting board and then poured a puddle of Perfect Sew onto the felt.
    • To smooth out the Perfect Sew and completely coat the felt, I used the back of a spoon to spread the liquid around.  The Liquid is thick like honey.
    • Once this side was coated, I flipped the felt over and repeated the process.
    • My goal was to get the felt fully saturated.
    • As soon as I was satisfied, I hung the felt pieces to dry on a line over my laundry sink. To secure the pieces to the line, I used Wonder Clips - they are good for so much more than just quilting!

    Felt on the mat and ready to be cut

    • The felt cut just like butter!

      Once dry and ready, I placed the felt pieces next to each other on the prepared ScanNCut fabric mat.  By this, I mean that the mat had the extra sticky fabric carrier sheet on it and it is ready to go.

    • Now it was necessary to get the pattern for the mitten that I wanted to make into the ScanNCut so it could cut out the pieces for me.  This was done by having the machine scan the pattern.
    • To scan the pattern booklet, I used the optional Scanning Mat. The clear overlay of this specialty mat held the booklet in place nicely.
    • I used the included deep cut blade for cutting the wool.
    • Once the pattern was on the screen to be used, I used the feature on the ScanNCut that scans and displays an image of what the mat, and it's contents, look like.  This allows the user the ability to actulally see where the different fabrics are located and the shapes can be visually placed in the right spot.

    Pick a great decorative stitch

    Line up where to stitch with your foot

    Stitch away!  Find a stitch that you like

    • With the pieces cut, layer the pieces as the instructions state. Use the decorative stitches from your machine to add the embroidered decoration. They are so much fun to sew. You will probably find some that look like the stitches suggested in the pattern. I found that the Perfect Sew also made stitching the decorative stitches ideal! No puckering or shifting.
    • Line up the fabric edge with a reference point on the machine's foot (the foot I am using is called the "Sewing Stars" foot).
    • To give more of a "hand" look, I chose a stitch that repeats each stitch several times so  that it is heavier. Also, I chose to use a cotton embroidery thread so that it looked more like cotton floss.
    • The felt cut so easy with the ScanNCut

    This is a great kit, designed for handwork, that is so easily adjusted to be done on machine.

    These little gems make such cute ornaments or gift holders. You will want to make a passel of them.

    Happy Sewing,

  • Personalize Every Gift with Unique Gift Tags

    November 19, 2013

    Anita Goodesign Christmas Gift Tags

    The perfect touch to a Holiday gift is the presentation. A beautiful wrapping job can add so much anticipation and joy. One thing that I find frustrating is that so much effort and resources go into our holiday wrapping, just to be thrown away. If there were only…

    I enjoy creating things that are quick and fun to make and the Anita Goodesign Gift Tags fit the bill! These are perfect little touches to a special gift, or they can be a gift all in themselves.

    On the CD for the gift tags you will find complete step by step instructions. Here you will find my tips for creating the tags that I made:

    • In the instructions, you will find that they suggest using a 5x7 hoop for one design. If you rotate the design 90 degrees, you can easily fit 2 in one hoop. I chose to use the large hoop for my multi-needle machine so that I could do four at one time. Hoop a piece of tearaway stabilizer in the hoop and stitch out the placement lines for your tags.
    • I used a fabric glue stick to hold the pieces of fabric in place while I stitched down the tack down stitches and decorative stitches.
    • When all of the decorative stitching is complete, it is time to place the backing fabric on the under side of the hoop. Use Floriani Embroidery Perfection Tape (I call this “Pink Tape”) to hold your fabric in place. It is very sticky, can be used multiple times and does not leave a residue on your fabric.
    • This is where I chose to customize my tags: I added a strip of fabric (folded lengthwise with wrong sides together) over the back of three of the tags, leave about an inch space from the edge of the fold to the hole end of the tag. This creates the perfect pocket for a gift certificate or money.
    • I chose to add a piece of clear vinyl over the backing fabric of the tree design. This created a re-writable surface when using an overhead transparency pen like a Vis-a-Vis.
    • When the back has been stitched on, you will want to take your time and carefully trim away all of your excess fabric. You want to trim close on top and bottom with out clipping the thread.
    • Wind a bobbin to match your embroidery thread and stitch the edges of the tags.
    • Once all of the stitching is completed, carefully tear away the stabilizer and trim open the hole.
    • Use a ribbon to tie them to your packages or hang them from your tree.

    Holiday Gift Tags

    Happy sewing,

  • Recipe Towels Make a Fun and Festive Gift for Anyone On Your List!

    November 19, 2013

    Holiday Recipe Towels from Lunch Box Quilts

    With the Holidays quickly approaching, do you anticipate finding yourself in need of a quick and easy gift that is beyond the normal and one of a kind? Make sure to read to the end to see what fun ideas you can make!

    Might I suggest a gift that will not soon be forgotten? How about a kitchen towel that is lovingly embroidered with a delicious holiday recipe? It's even a real recipe!

    Holiday Recipe Towels is a multi-format embroidery design collection from Lunch Box Quilts. In this collection you will find 10 different recipe designs that will surely make your mouth water.  Also included are tips to ensure beautiful embroidered results and the instructions to add fabric trims to the towels. The results are spectacular! In addition the the given instructions that come with the designs, here are some of my suggestions:

    Mark your towel for the center of the design

    Hoop the towel and wash-away stabilizer

    • Mark your towel lengthwise. On the end that you would like the embroidery design to be located, make a horizontal line that is seven inches up from the hem.  The intersection of this horizontal and vertical lines will be the location for the center of the embroidery design
    • Next hoop your towel and a piece of wash-away stabilizer. I like to use Floriani Wet 'n' Gone (white), it is stable and washes out nicely, Align the horizontal and vertical lines on your towel with the center marks on your embroidery hoop to make sure that it will stitch straight.  I prefer to hoop both my project and my stabilizer when ever possible.  In my experience, this give me the best results.

    Use a water-soluble topping

    60-wt for lettering and 40-wt for the rest

    60-wt for lettering and 40-wt for the rest

    • Place the hoop onto the machine with the bulk of the extra fabric to the outside of the machine.
    • On the top, use Floriani Water Soluble topping - this will allow the thread to lay nice on the surface of the towel and not be lost in the weave of the towel (clear).  Baste into place with your machines basting stitch.
    • For the lettering, use a 60-weight embroidery thread.  This light-weight thread will produce crisp and  clear embroidered lettering (I like the Floriani Micro threads – they are polyester and come in lots of colors).
    • For the rest of the embroidery use a standard 40-weight embroidery thread.  For items that will be laundered often, I prefer to use a polyester thread (they are color-fast even if bleached). If you were to use a lighter weight thread for the rest of the design, the areas would not fill in nicely.
    • Once the embroidery is complete, rinse out the stabilizer.  If you are having a tough time rinsing out your stabilizer and topping, try adding a bit of water softener.

    Trim Fabrics

    • stitch fabric band to towel bottom

      Choose the fabric you want for your towel's trim.  The main piece is 2" wide and the accent is 1" wide that has been folded and pressed in half lengthwise.

    • Stitch the accent piece to the top edge of the main piece and press the accent piece up.
    • Un-stitch the bottom edge of your towel and stitch this edge to the bottom edge of the fabric strip, right side of the strip to the wrong side of the towel.
    • Flip the trim piece to the front and press.  Then top stitch the edges to secure in place.

    Fun to make and a great gift too!

    In addition to the towels, consider adding tasty tidbits to make your gift even more memorable. If you like (and have the time), create the recipe and give it along with the coordinating towel. Several of the recipes lend themselves very nicely to giving along with the completed towel. What a nice gift that won’t soon be forgotten (although you may have to think twice about giving a Turducken). Here are the two recipes that I made:

    Nutcracker Spiced Pecans Recipe
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 tbs water
    • 5 c pecan halves
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt, cloves, nutmeg
    Beat egg white with water. Stir in pecans, until moist. In a separate bowl mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves, & nutmeg. Add pecans to mixture, stir until well coated (note: I put the dry ingredients in a large zip lock bag, then poured the pecans into it, sealed the bag, and mixed).

    Spread on a lined cookie sheet & bake for one hour at 225F.

    Peppermint Bark
    • 2 lbs white chocolate
    • 30 small peppermint candy canes
    Smash candy canes into ¼" pieces.

    Melt chocolate in double boiler. Stir in crushed candy canes. Pour mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet.
    Refrigerate for 1 hour (Once it began to set, I used a knife to score lines in the bark so that the piece size and shape could be regulated a bit. I wanted to have longer sticks that I could put into a coffee mug for a complete gift).

    Break into pieces.

    If time is scarce and you don't think you'll be able to complete a recipe, gather the ingredients for the recipe so that it can be easily assembled by its recipient:

    Not much time? Gift the ingredients.

    Present your gift in a clever container like a whimsical jar or a cute mug.  Not only will your gift be thoughtful and reusable, but it will be tasty too!

    Use a cute mug to present your yummy gift

    Spiced Nuts, Yum!

    Happy Sewing,

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