DIY Journal Cover: Machine Cross Stitch

Make it Personal

Machine Cross Stitch Journal Cover

Finished book size: 8-3/8” x 6-5/8”

pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!

When my girls were little, I volunteered in their classrooms.  I remember an elementary school project, which I was so fortunate to participate in:  Helping young authors turn pages of their original stories into a book!

Together, we wrapped cardboard in gift wrap, folded the story pages in half, and hand-stitched down the center to bind these precious thoughts into history.  To this day, I have my daughter’s book and she is now 35 years old!

Preserving thoughts…documenting events…capturing expressions…are well appreciated by us in simply remembering special times.  However, it is invaluable for our future generations in understanding the lives of the loved ones who came before them.

Sulky’s new “Wordplay” designs unleash a flood of inspirations!  These whimsical word-play designs, created by Ursula Michael and digitized by Marcia Manning of Lickity Stitch, manage to capture the best expressions within each theme!  And there are usually a couple of designs to choose from within a theme.  Plus, the designs are applicable for a variety of projects besides the featured book!

Tote bags:

Throw pillows:

Or every design can stand on its own as a framed picture!

Even though I chose to do a “Christmas Book” – tis the season – many other designs offer unique book cover ideas to document a variety of notable occasions.

So let’s get started!

Gather Supplies:

17” x 13” piece of Osnaburg fabric – Osnaburg is a 100% cotton utility fabric resembling coarse linen, is a perfect canvas for cross-stitch.  Place the fabric on true grain by pulling threads, until one fiber travels the full length of the piece.  This establishes the “straight edge” to begin straight cutting.

8-1/4” x 13-1/4” of Christmas themed cotton fabric

90/14 Topstitch needle

Stabilizers:

Threads:

#1348 Christmas Tree Word Play Word-Play Design 16.4 count – Available at  www.sulkyembclub.com

Cardstock folded in half like a folder for the cover, along with paper for inside pages.  Paper can be computer paper, specialty paper, card stock, or themed scrapbook paper.

Jute thread (optional)

How to make it happen:

Fold the piece of Osnaburg in half, and hand-baste along the fold, establishing the fabric center.  From the fabric center, hand-baste a vertical line 3-1/2” to the right.  From the bottom edge, hand baste a horizontal line 6” up.  The intersection of the two lines is center design placement.  (Shown above.)

Hoop a piece of Sulky Sticky+ Stabilizer, with the gridded release sheet side facing up, and still intact.

Lightly score the paper inside the hoop and remove it, exposing its sticky surface.

Smooth the fabric, right sides together, along the vertical center, matching the intersecting basted lines with center markings on the hoop. Helpful Hint:  If the hoop is squared on a quilter’s mat, the grid lines will be visible underneath the Sticky+, making it easy to keep the fabric straight in the hoop.

Firmly press the fabric into the stabilizer, keeping it taut and wrinkle free.

Secure the hoop on the embroidery machine, matching the center needle position to design center.

Remove the stitched basting lines.

Slow the machine down by half, and stitch a “fix box” (basting box) around the design.  Although this step is optional, a basting box serves as a second method for checking that the fabric is straight in the hoop, and that the design placement is acceptable. 

Once you’re satisfied, stitch the design.  Cut the jump threads after each color change, before proceeding to the next color.

When the embroidery is finished, remove the hoop from the machine.  While the fabric is still hooped, use a pin to score through the stabilizer outside the fix box and remove the piece from the hoop.

Using the fix box as a guide, fold the embroidered fabric in half, wrong sides together, 1/4” to the left of the fix box.  From the fold, measure 8-5/8” to the right, and straight cut. From the bottom of the fix box, measure down 1-1/4” and straight cut.  From the bottom cut edge, measure up 10-3/8” and straight cut.  Press under a 1” hem on all four sides.  Miter corners. 

Cut the cardstock 6-5/8” wide x 8-3/8” high and fold it down the center. Check that the fabric cover fits the cut cardstock.

Cut a piece of Steam-a-Seam2 Fusible Web the same size. Fold the fusible web in half, leaving the protective paper covering on one side and removing it from the other to expose one sticky side.  Tuck the cardstock folder inside.  Keeping the folder folded, first fuse one side and then turn it over and fuse the other side.  This permits the fusible enough “give”, allowing the book to close.

Remove the release sheet from the folder’s front cover section. Position the folder behind the wrong side of the embroidered tree using the creased hem lines as a guide, but don’t fuse yet.

Turn it over to confirm proper placement. Helpful Hint: If you’re not pleased, gently lift the fabric from the sticky surface and re-position it. Once satisfied, smooth the front in place, keeping it taut and wrinkle free. Iron it to fuse in place.

Turn the unit over and continue to cover the back.  Once again, keep folder folded.

Turn under a 1/2” hem on all four sides of the lining fabric, mitering corners.

Cut a piece of Steam-A-Seam2. Peel the paper away from the sticky side, and cover the back of the cardstock folder.  Helpful Hint:  Expose only half of the sheet, securing it before removing the other half.  Keep Osnaburg hems free.  Secure the Osnaburg hems to the stabilizer making sure that the iron only touches the 1” fabric hem allowance.  Center the lining inside the cover and fuse. 

Using Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky, hand stitch the edges of the lining to the Osnaburg hem with a slip stitch.

Cut the inside paper to size.  Use as many sheets as desired.  On the fold, cut 6” x 7-3/8”.

Align the folded paper inside the folded cover.  Open the book, and machine stitch with Cotton+Steel Thread, using an elongated straight stitch (about 8 stitches per inch).

Optional:

Wrap the bound edge with a piece of jute and tie into a bow.  Pages can be left blank for the receiver to fill in, titled to encourage thoughts; or, if talented with a computer (which I am not), pages can be first printed and then bound into a holiday Christmas book.

Machine Cross Stitch Journal Cover




Online Class: Upcycling with Denim!

Upcycling with Denim

A Start-Anytime Online Class

With Kelly Nagel, Creator of Opportunities

Sulky’s newest Online Class: Upcycling with Denim is all about denim! For only $39.99, you will learn how to upcycle your favorite pair of old jeans, jacket, or even thrift-store finds. In addition, learn how to deconstruct denim into wonderful use-able elements, and show you some great techniques for making denim easier to sew in several great projects!

Your Instructor:

Upcycling and redesigning are passions for Kelly Nagel. She has been sewing and upcycling for almost 40 years and in that time she has created lots of fun projects and upcycling techniques.

Kelly says, “For as long as denim has been around, we have found ways to reuse it and upcycle it! Denim is such a great fabric for so many things, and I especially love it when it has been ‘worn-in’. That is when denim has the most character. It can, however be tricky to work with because of the thickness and the stretch. In this class, I will show you how to use both of those properties to your advantage!”

In this class, she will share with you the tricks she has learned for working with denim, stabilizing denim, and choosing the right denim items to upcycle. She will go through step-by-step how to make a cool backpack and a pillow cover. You will get full instructions and videos for these projects, as well as a fun and inspiring trunk show that will give you some great ideas on other denim upcycles you can do.

BONUS: Kelly is giving you a free pattern of her upcycled denim journal cover.  It makes a great gift!

Benefits of this course:

  • Learn the basics of denim and how to choose the right denim for your project
  • Learn how to stabilize denim to make it easier to sew
  • Learn how to deconstruct a pair of jeans.
  • Learn the proper tools to use to make all your denim upcycling projects easier.
  • Get step-by-step instructions for two great upcycled denim projects and the bonus journal cover project.
  • You can sign in and read the materials, watch the videos, DOWNLOAD THE MATERIALS AND VIDEOS TO KEEP FOREVER, and work at your own pace, whenever and wherever you want to. We’ll be here every step of the way to help you with any questions or problems during the course.  You can submit photos of your projects through the course for our input and suggestions, too.  Share ideas, questions and comments with fellow students within the course, if you want to.
  • Instructions include videos and step-by-step written and full-color photos of the process for:
    • The Upcycled Denim Chevron Pillow cover
    • The Upcycled Denim Drawstring Backpack with a front pocket (with a hidden secret and zipper
    • Bonus instructions for the Upcycled Denim Journal cover
    • An inspiring trunk show by Kelly to show you lots the ways you can use the techniques you learn in this class in a variety of different projects.

What you will you make:

Upcycled Chevron Pillow

People have been saving used jeans for projects ever since jeans were invented. We’ll show how to deconstruct a pair of jeans so you can reuse the denim, and show great uses for all the different parts of the jeans, jeans jacket, or skirt. We’ll discuss using threads and stabilizers on denim, needles, and combining denim with other fabrics. We’ll do some hand stitching and machine stitching on denim, too! This denim pillow is a great way to use denim pieces especially when mixing different denim colors.

Upcycled Back Pack

This versatile and trendy little backpack is cool, sturdy, and you would never know it was made from old jeans until you peak inside. Check out that super pocket-surprise inside the zipper!

& more!

THINK YOU’RE TOO BUSY?

This online course is designed to fit into even the busiest of schedules! The course has no set meeting time. It is available to you anytime from the day you sign up, day or night, for one full year! And because we include full-color, step-by-step downloadable written directions, and step-by-step downloadable videos to accompany each technique, too, you can practice the techniques again and again anytime in the future, long after the year is over (And the price point is unbeatable!).

So sign up today! We promise you won’t regret it! 🙂




Machine Cross Stitch – Christmas Place Mats

pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!

Whether you are looking to add something beautiful to your Christmas table or looking for a great gift, these machine cross stitch Christmas place mats are perfect!  They are elegant without the elegant price because they are made with Osnaburg fabric. Osnaburg is a loosely woven utility fabric.  It resembles coarse linen, but at a much lower price point.  The thicker fibers, which are woven in a simple basket-weave pattern, make it easy to create the “run” needed for weaving ribbon into the fabric.

Osnaburg is 100% cotton and must be washed, dried, and pressed prior to using.

It must also be square-cut, on-grain, not only for the pulled runs to appear straight, but also to achieve more of an authentic, hand-done cross-stitched effect.  To place the fabric on true grain, pull threads across the width of the fabric until one fiber travels the full width of the fabric, from selvage edge to selvage edge.  This establishes the “straight edge” to begin straight cutting.

Gather Supplies:

Osnaburg fabric for each placemat:

  • 19” x 13” front
  • 16-1/4” x 10-3/4” back

Note:  1-1/2 yards of Osnaburg fabric along with 4 yards each of two ribbon colors will yield 4 placemats

1 yd each of 2 complementing colors of 1/8” wide satin ribbon

Sulky® Soft ’n Sheer™ Stabilizer

Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive (optional)

Thread:

Needles:

  • 80/12 Schmetz® Topstitch
  • 70/10 Microtex (optional)-fixing function
  • 100/16 Wing Needle (optional)-hemstitch

Rotary Cutter, Quilter’s Ruler, and Cutting Mat (optional, but very helpful)

Lickity Stitch™ Cross Stitch Embroidery Designs by Marcia Manning

There are ten designs available in this exclusive cross-stitch exhibit of Christmas trees, and each one is available in various stitch-count formats.

In other words, each individual design is available to be stitched in various sizes and density depending on the chosen stitch count.  Additional stitch-counts are available for each design other than the ones shown. To better understand the stitch-counts and sizes, check out the tutorial on the Sulky Embroidery Club site.

Osnaburg’s weave is about 25 threads per inch. Design #5, count 22-2 has been chosen for this place mat, lending the design to a petite-point, cross-stitch look.

How to make it happen:

Begin by pulling threads on the 19” x 13” piece of Osnaburg fabric.  Measure over 2” from the left side of the rectangle.  Select one vertical thread and “catch it” with a pin.

Gently pull up on this thread, noticing that the fabric begins to gather.

Pull this single thread out of the woven fabric – the entire 13″ height of the fabric piece.

The first fiber removed from any “run” is the hardest to remove.  It will break…and it will break several times.  However, the continuing thread length is easy to spot further down in the run since the initial weave of the fabric has been distorted.  Use a pin to pick up the frayed end, and continue to gently tease the gathers along this same thread line.

Remove adjacent vertical threads until an 1/8” wide run has been created in the fabric.  About four or five threads will need to be removed.  However, since the woven fibers of Osnaburg are not uniform, sometimes you may have to remove more or less threads. It is important to do a reality check on each run before moving on to create the next run.  Start to weave a strip of ribbon into the run.

The run should easily accept the ribbon, allowing the ribbon to lay flat.  Use a yarn needle or a dental floss carrier to make weaving easier. Magnifying glasses may also be helpful.

Once the width of the first run has been established, measure 1/4” from its side towards center of the place mat.

Pull a thread and begin the process of creating a second run.

After the two vertical runs have been made, repeat the process in creating two horizontal runs.  Begin by measuring up 2” from the bottom edge and selecting a horizontal thread to “catch” with a pin.

Pull the proper number of threads for the first run, measure up towards center 1/4” and pull threads for the second run.

Once the four runs have been created, press the fabric keeping all runs straight and perpendicular.  Steam may not be your friend here.

Mark the design placement on the fabric by basting lines to indicate the design center.  Please Note: Measurements for the design center will vary, dependent on the chosen design and also on the chosen stitch count.  

Check the design’s height and width, and divide that number in half.

Measure from the edge of the run closest to center.  Since the design measurements are very close to 5” x 6”, and the stitches should not contact the open fibers of the run, divide 5” x 6” in half and even add 1/8 to 1/4” to those measurements for a bit of extra space.

Printing a template true-to-size is another method of ensuring proper placement of a design.

Hoop the fabric….(technically, only the stabilizer will be hooped).

Secure a piece of Sulky® Soft ’n Sheer™ Stabilizer in the proper size hoop making it as “tight as a drum” as possible.

Fold the fabric back exposing the basting lines on the wrong side. Match the intersecting basting lines to hoop center. Viewing a grid underneath the stabilizer will help to keep fabric straight in the hoop.  (Hint:  The center marks on your hoop may not be a true-center of the hoop.  Use the marks on your hoop.)

Attach the hoop to the embroidery arm, and begin the process of matching the design center to the center needle position on the embroidery machine.

If an exact positioning function is available on your machine, check the lower left corner of the design to ensure that the stitching will clear the pulled thread runs.

Fix the fabric to the stabilizer (a basting function found on many embroidery machines).  Use a 70/10 Microtex needle for this step.  Although it will require changing to a larger needle for embroidery, this fine needle will make smaller holes when fixing.  The fixing box will also serve as another check-point, not only that the design clears the runs, but also that the fabric has been hooped straight.

Change to the Topstitch Needle; slow the machine down to half-speed and begin to embroider the design.

Monitor the stitching process, and cut the jump threads as they occur.

Once the embroidery is complete, remove from the hoop, and clean up the back by trimming long jump threads and excess stabilizer.

Press the top, keeping the runs straight and perpendicular to each other.

Begin weaving the ribbon through the runs starting with a length of ribbon several inches longer than the run. Use a simple basket weave of going over six threads and under six threads, or however many threads you choose, for the full length of the run.

The first run is the hardest to weave since the fibers need to be counted.  The second weaving goes much quicker since you just match the in and out spacing of the first run, alternating the up/under pattern of the two ribbons.

After the four runs have been filled, press the piece once again.

Re-cut the front, beginning 1-3/4” on the outside of the first run on the left.

Measure over from this edge 18”, and straight cut.

Measure 1-3/4” down from the outside of the first run on the bottom, and square cut.

Measure up 12-1/2” from this cut edge, and square cut the top.

Press under 3/4” on all 4 sides.  Open back up.  Fold and press the raw edges in to meet this 3/4″ crease.

Cover the back of the place mat with the 16-1/4” x 10” piece of Osnaburg inside the hem lines.  Lightly spraying the back side of the smaller piece with Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive will help to keep it in place, smoothly behind the front.

Fold the hem over the back piece, mitering the corners.  Pin the hem in place, and secure it with a machine stitch of your choice.  This can be a straight stitch, or any number of decorative stitches.

This method of finishing a place mat allows the back to look as precise as the front.

machine cross stitch christmas place mats





Handmade Gift Ideas from “Trash to Couture”

Hi there, Laura here from Trash to Couture!
Need some inspiration and ideas for your handmade gifting this year?  No worries, Sulky and I have got you covered. Not only are handmade gifts a sentimental gesture, they’re also fun to create.  Below we have 4 DIY gift ideas you can make for just about everyone in your life.
Get the details below :

DIY Ornament:

  • Hoop using Sulky’s Fabri Solvy – I usually do 2 layers.
  • Use a free standing ornament design. I used a star from my Brother SE machine.
  • Use Sulky’s Metallic Thread and metallic needles.
  • Embroider away!
  • Place in water and let the magic happen as the stabilizer disappears.
  • Once it has dried, tie a string to hang.
DIY Free-standing Jewelry:

DIY Monogram Beanie:

We monogram just about anything in the South and it’s the perfect way to customize a gift like this essential winter beanie. 

Other ideas to try:

Monogrammed Camera Case

Handmade Gift Ideas From Trash to Couture

DIY Hoop Art:

I love embroidered hoop art, it’s such a fun and cute way to add some artwork to your walls.  It’s also easy to customize, which makes it a great gift idea – like this cactus design here. It’s perfect for hanging right above my sewing machine!
Check out this DIY Embroidered Wall Art for more.





Spooky Solvy Spider Web in 10 Easy Steps

Spooky Solvy Spider Web in 10 Easy Steps

ED

This blog post is written by Eric Drexler,
Sulky National Educator

I first experimented with this project making large Easter Egg decorations in fun colors. You can view that blog here.

Recently I saw a Halloween decoration on the internet that looked a lot like my eggs. They were really cool spider webs with spiders on them. Oooo CREEPY.

So I wanted to try it out for myself!

Supplies:

  • First, find water balloons (This turned out to be the hardest part of the project).
  • Then, gather the web material. For the Easter eggs I used Sulky’s 12 wt. Cotton Blendables ThreadYou can also use kite string for a heavier look.

New Blendables Petites

  • Wide paint brush (1/2″ bristles)
  • Clear Acrylic
  • Fake spiders!

Directions:

  1. Microwave water. For every 1 cup of water, microwave 30 seconds. Slowly add 1 yard of dry Fabri-Solvy Stabilizer to the heated water (If you are like me, you save scraps and can use those!). Mix until a thin, almost watery, paste is formed. Let the mixture sit until you are ready to apply, then try to work out all of the clumps.
  2. Inflate balloon, but not all the way. Tape down the belly button so it is flat.
  3. Wrap Sulky 12 wt. Cotton Solid or Blendables Thread around the balloon, starting at the top or bottom. Turn the balloon on its axis as it is being wrapped so that a star burst pattern is formed. Be careful to stay in the center of the balloon as you wrap so it doesn’t slide off the side. This is easy to do since you are wrapping and turning at the same time. Try: turn, wrap, turn, wrap to gain more control.
  4. Turn on its side, and start wrapping from the center and repeat the turning motion until another star is formed. Keep wrapping to fill in empty spaces.
  5. Find the other open areas and make another star burst there till you are happy with the thickness. (Light and Lacy is nice, but more fragile. If wrapped thicker it will absorb more liquid Solvy) For a jaw dropping look, add a coordinating Sulky Holoshimmer with the Cotton or Blendables Thread.
  6. Use a wider paint brush (like ½” bristles) to apply the liquid Solvy over the outside of the wrapped balloon. Let it soak in and make sure to cover every inch. If too much is applied it will drip.
  7. Find a small plastic or glass bowl to set the egg down on for drying. They dry quicker in the sun or with a fan on them. Make sure to turn them over from side to side and top to bottom to avoid the liquid Solvy migrating to the lowest point. Every 15 to 20 minutes should be sufficient.
  8. When the egg is dry, apply another layer of Liquid Solvy. Repeat a third time for a super strong egg.
  9. When the egg is COMPLETELY dry, put a pin in the balloon. If you are not going to cut it open you can remove the balloon with a dental pick through one of the holes.
  10. Spray with Clear Acrylic to seal and strengthen.

spooky solvy spider web

If you are making webs, an egg can be cut in half to make 2 webs. Small slivers of painter’s tape (2” X ¼”) help to pre-plan where you are going to cut. 

spooky solvy spider web

Finally, glue a few fake spiders to your web and find fun a spot for your new, spooky Halloween decoration!

Show us your Halloween creations! Follow us on Instagram and Facebook and tag us with #SulkyThreads 🙂




Cork Bottom Tote in 14 Easy Steps

DIY Monogrammed Cork-Bottom Bag

in 14 Easy Steps

Whether you need it for the beach, going to class, a game-day tailgate party, or to carry your latest sewing project, this tote is a perfect size and is always in style. I have made several of these as gifts and the recipients always love them. They always comment about how the cork bottom gives it just the right touch of sophistication. The best part is they are so simple to make!

DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Monogrammed Cork-Bottom Bag

Supplies

4 Fat Quarters or 1 yard of fabric

2 pieces of cork fabric cut to 18″ x 4-1/2″

2 straps, each 57″ long

Clover® Wonder Clips

Fabric Marker

Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer Extra™ or Sulky Fuse ‘n Stitch™ Stabilizer for extra stability

Cotton+Steel® Thread by Sulky or Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Thread

Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread for the machine embroidery

Sulky Cut-Away Plus™ Stabilizer

The Monogram –

  1. I used Interlocking Vine Satin & Filled Alphabet from SWAKembroidery.com. I made sure the center of the monogram was 9″ in from the edge, and about 7″- 9″ up from the bottom. That is your preference; you decide where you want the monogram to sit on the bag vertically, but centering it horizontally is pretty important.
  2. I used Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread in the top and bobbin and I used Sulky Cut Away Plus because the this design is pretty dense (heavy and thick).

DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag

Directions

  1. Cut 2 fat quarters 18″ x 15-1/2″ for the outside fabric (be mindful to keep the monogram centered); and cut the other 2 fat quarters 19-1/2″ x 18″ for the lining. The 2 cork pieces should be cut 18″ x 4 1/2″ DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  2. Pin the straps in place, 3-1/2″ in from each of the sides. DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  3. Use the Clover Wonder clips instead of pins (you can’t pin the cork because the holes from the pins don’t go away); and with right sides together, sew the cork piece onto the bottom of the fabric (the 15-1/2″ bottom) with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  (Hint:  Place the flat side of the clips on the bottom, as shown below, for easier stitching.)DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  4. Press the seam towards the fabric. Surprisingly, the cork fabric acts very much like regular cotton fabric. I did use a medium temperature on my iron but I probably could have used high heat and been fine. As always, test before you ruin a project!
  5. Topstitch the two sides of each strap, and leave 1/2″ unstitched at the top. Be sure to backstitch at the start and end of each stitching line.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  6. Place the front and back pieces right sides together, and sew the sides and bottom together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  7. Box the bottom corners by laying the corner out, match the side seam with the bottom seam, and measure in 2″ from the corner.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  8. Mark the line and stitch. Be sure to backstitch.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  9. Now for the lining! I stabilized my bags by fusing Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer Extra to the lining pieces of the bags. For extra stability, use Sulky Fuse ‘n Stitch. Sulky Soft 'n Sheer Cut-Away embroidery stabilizer is permanent, textured, non-woven nylon that is ultra-soft next to skin. Sulky Fuse 'n Stitch Embroidery Stabilizer is a firm, crisp, heavyweight iron-on permanent stabilizer that is ideal for projects that need extra stiffness and retained support.
  10. Sew the two lining pieces, right sides together, along both sides and across the bottom, with a 1/4″ seam allowance.   Box the bottom the same way you did with the outside pieces. DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  11. Fold and press 1/2″ down on the top of the lining (folded over so the wrong sides are touching). DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDo the same with the outside piece (this is why you didn’t sew the strap down that last  1/2″ at the top).  NOTE: If you bought Nylon straps, be careful with the iron, they could melt (ask me how I know 🙂 ).DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  12. Turn the outside of the bag right sides out, and put the lining inside.
  13. Carefully clip the top edges together matching the sides seams. This is also your chance to do a reality check – the lining with the outside – and adjust if one is bigger than the other.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag
  14. Topstitch the lining to the bag about 1/8″ from the folded edge. DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom BagDIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag

You are done! Enjoy your new cool bag.DIY Game-Day Monogrammed, Cork-Bottom Bag




DIY Clear Vinyl Bag – A Game Day Essential!

Clear Vinyl Bag Tutorial – A Game-Day Essential!

Professional sports stadiums have required them for years, and now a clear vinyl bag is required at all college football stadiums as well. Don’t put your things in a zip-lock bag! Here is how to make an easy and adorable vinyl bag that shows your team pride!

Supplies

Clear Vinyl Bag Tutorial

Awesome pink cutting board by Havel Sewing!

Clear Vinyl – cut 1 piece 22″ x 15″

Fabric for the top – 2 pieces 6″ x 15″

Fabric for the bottom insert- 13″ x 8-1/2″

Cardboard for bottom – 12″ x 3-3/4″ (You may have to adjust this to fit – fair warning)

17″ or longer Zipper

38″ Strap

Hot glue or small strip of fusible webbing

Sulky® Tear-Easy™ (these can be scraps left over from machine embroidery projects)

Cotton + Steel® Thread by Sulky in a matching color (You can also use Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Thread or Cotton Blendables® Thread if you want the stitching to stand out a little more)

Tips for using vinyl

A note about clear vinyl:  This is a tricky thing to work with. You can’t iron it and you can’t use pins. It also sticks to the bed of your machine and the bottom of your presser foot. All in all, it is not my favorite thing to sew through; but I was determined to make some cute vinyl bags to carry to football games, so I figured out some tricks that make using the stuff bearable.

  1. After you have purchased your piece, open it up flat and let it relax. Tug on it some so the wrinkles and creases will release. This won’t get them all out, but it will help.
  2. Measure twice, cut once. Seriously. If you cut it wrong, you will have to cut a brand new piece since sewing pieces together would be way too obvious.
  3. Use clips, not pins. I prefer Clover® Wonder Clips
  4. When sewing, sandwich the vinyl between two pieces of Tear-Easy Stabilizer. The Tear-Easy won’t stick to the sewing machine bed or the presser foot and once you are finished sewing, it will tear cleanly away as if it was never there. This is probably the tip that will help you keep your sanity when it comes to sewing with vinyl.

Directions

  1. Fold the two 6″ x 15″ fabrics in half, lengthwise, and press; so you now have two 3″ x 15″ pieces.
  2. Sew the raw edge of one of the folded fabric pieces to one 15″ side of the vinyl with a SCANT 1/4″ seam (scant is important). 
  3. You are now going to do a french seam (otherwise this edge would look very messy inside the bag). Fold the fabric over the top of the seam and sew a full 1/4″ seam. Just one side. You will sew the other side on after you have the zipper sewn in. 
  4. OPTIONAL: Take a small fussy-cut square of your team’s logo or symbol. Put a piece of Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer™ Stabilizer on the right side of the fabric, and sew around all four sides. Trim seams to about an 1/8″ or cut the seam allowance with pinking shears. Then, cut a small slit in the Soft ‘n Sheer only and turn. This turns down all of your edges and gives the little piece some extra stability. Top stitch it to the center of the front of your bag.  (I did mine about 2″ down from the fabric and centered on the vinyl). You may need to put a little strip of Tear Easy on the top and bottom hear too – just to keep it form sticking to the foot or the machine bed.

    (Go Gators!)

  5. Time to add the zipper. Pin the zipper into place with the zipper pull moved in about 1/2″.
  6. Put a zipper foot on your machine and topstitch on either side of the zipper. 
  7. Now add the second piece of fabric to the other 15″ side of the vinyl and do the french seam on this side, too. Be sure that you first sew the fabric to the inside of the vinyl, and then the outside, so the seam stays on the inside of the bag.
  8. Sew the sides up with a 1/4″ seam and be sure to backstitch over the zipper at the top. I used clips to hold everything in place and put a piece of Sulky Tear-Easy on top and bottom of the bag.
  9. When tearing the Tear-Easy away, tear toward the stitches on one side; and the second side of the stabilizer will pull right off after you tear the first side.
  10. Box the bottom of the bag by forming a triangle with the corner and drawing a straight line 2″ in. (Note that the seam allowance is in the middle of this triangle.) I used a Sharpie® marker to draw the line so I could see it through the Tear-Easy when I sewed. Don’t trim the extra vinyl. It will fold under your bottom piece for extra stability.
  11. Now the strap: If you bought a nylon strap like I did, you can use a candle to singe the edge. Now simply topstitch the strap on each side. I did a square with an X inside for extra reinforcement. 
  12. For the insert in the bottom, cut a piece of cardboard 3-3/4″ x 12″. Do a reality check and test this in the bottom of your bag. Adjust the size as needed.
  13. Fold the 13″ x 8-1/2″ piece of fabric in half with right sides together (folded it will measure 13″ x 4-1/4″ ); and sew on the long side and one short side with a scant 1/4″ seam.
  14. Turn and put the piece of cardboard inside.
  15. You can use hot glue or fusible web to close the other short end.
  16. Put this inside the bottom of your bag and you are done.
  17. Enjoy the game!Clear Vinyl Bag TutorialClear Vinyl Bag Tutorial






Easy Peasy Game Day Scarf (Seriously, sew easy!)

Easy Peasy Game Day Scarf (Seriously, sew easy!)

Football season is finally here! It is one of the reasons I love fall. My little town in North Georgia is a true “Friday Night Lights” town and I wouldn’t be a true southern girl if I didn’t love college football as well. Overall, the temperatures in the south in the fall are perfect and, many days, you can still wear shorts and t-shirts to games – but the nights do start to get chilly.



This prompted me to make some cute and ridiculously easy scarfs for those chilly fall football nights.

Supplies

The Easiest Directions Ever

  1. Embroider your school’s ‘saying’ (i.e. Go Canes, Go Noles, etc.) about 8″ above one end of the scarf, centered. I did this by folding the fleece in half, long ways, and then measured up in order to be able to hoop the fleece centered. I hooped 2 layers of Sulky Tear Easy, the fleece, and then one layer of Sulky Heat Away (you could use Solvy, too).
  2. Stitch out the embroidery. I used the same thread in the top and bobbin.
  3. Finish the edges one of three ways:
    1. Serge the edges with a serger. You can do this in the same contrasting color you used for the words or in a matching color. Serger Hack: If you only have one spool of the thread you want to use to serge, wind three bobbins. On a small project like this, it is enough thread to go around the scarf.
    2. Sew the edges using one of the overlocking or decorative stitch on your regular sewing machine.
    3. Turn the edge under and sew. 
    4. Okay, I lied. There is a fourth way. You could do nothing to the edge. It’s fleece. It’s not going to fray. I personally liked using my sewing machine and the overlock stitch best.

Helpful Tip: I want my corners to be round so I used a plastic plate and chalk to mark the curve and then cut the shape. I folded the scarf in half so I could cut both ends at the same time.

That’s it! Really! I told you it was easy. So go make a scarf and cheer on your team. 

Easy Peasy Game Day Scarf (Seriously, sew easy!)

Visit the Team Spirit Shop for Embroider Buddies and team thread colors.

Happy Sewing!




DIY Tote Bag: Kraft Tex Paper

DIY: Kraft-Tex™ Paper Fabric Tote Bag

 



pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!

Tote Bags have become a lifestyle necessity. In fact, we depend upon this casual bag for everything from carrying groceries home, to heading off to the beach!  Bags embroidered with specific themes can even help us stay organized by knowing which bag to grab when heading to a music lesson or off to the gym.

The birth of tote bags began with being environmentally conscientious. To embrace this concept, let’s create a bag which is strong enough to withstand repeated usage, yet pretty enough to make a fashion statement!  For this tote, renewable materials such as 100% cotton fabric and thread will be used, along with Kraft-Tex™, a plant-based, hybrid material. Kraft-Tex is not only “earth friendly”, but this product provides an exciting new outlet for creative expression.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Kraft-Tex is a paper product that performs like fabric on many levels! The paper can be kept stiff, much like a light-weight cardboard, or softened by washing it.  Although it must be treated as a “non-forgiving surface”, Kraft-Tex feeds through the sewing machine effortlessly and can be enhanced with machine embroidery.

Tote Bag Directions

Preparation:

Note:  Read through the directions and assemble the materials prior to beginning the project.

Pre-wash, dry, and press all material, including Kraft-Tex – although you may want to pre-cut the necessary pieces, making it easier to put into the washing machine.  Cut pieces slightly larger than the required final sizes.  Re-cut to the true measurements after washing.  Both 1/2” and 1/4” seams are used throughout this project and are specified.

When stitching bias strips together, press seams prior to laying the unit on top of the template to mate with the next segment.

When joining the patchwork pieces, depending upon your sewing/cutting skills, it may be necessary to re-square the joined pieces.  Take the time to check, and if necessary, take off the minimal increments needed to square the piece.

If you’ve never worked with Kraft-Tex, please take the time to review Sulky’s recent blog post Kraft-tex Paper Fabric for this material.  It will afford a wealth of information!

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Supplies:

100% cotton fabric 45” wide:

  • Fabric A:  1/3 yd.
  • Fabric B:  1/3 yd.
  • Fabric C:  1 yd.

Kraft-Tex:

  • 2 pieces:  5” x 12-1/2” – top panels
  • 1 piece:  7-1/4” x 9-1/2” – embroidered square
  • 2 pieces:  1-1/4” x 15” – strap accents

Thread:

90/14 Topstitch Needle

Sulky Sticky+™ Stabilizer

Sulky Embroidery Club design #1048: Poppies – (Download for free here)

Download the free Pattern Templates here.

Painter’s or Masking Tape (optional)

Quilter’s cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter (optional)

 

Prepare Patchwork Segments:

  1. Machine embroider the 7-1/4” x 9-1/2” piece of Kraft-Tex:

To mark the design placement on the unforgiving paper surface, begin by drawing a “+” on a small piece of painter or masking tape. Place the tape’s crosshairs centered on the width of the Kraft-Tex piece, and 4-3/4” up from the bottom edge.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Hoop Sulky Sticky+ Stabilizer directly in the embroidery hoop, with the shiny, paper-side facing up.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Lightly score the protective paper with a pin and peel it away, exposing the stabilizer’s sticky surface.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Firmly press the paper onto the sticky stabilizer, matching the tape’s crosshairs with the hoop’s center markings.  Note:  Hoop centers may not be actual true centers.  Make sure your hoop is assembled with these marks showing correctly.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Transfer the embroidery design to the machine.  Match the needle center position to the design center.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Once satisfied, remove the tape and embroider the design using Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Thread. Slow  the machine down to at least half-speed.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Gently tear away the excess stabilizer from the embroidery.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

  1. Decorate both 5” x 12-1/2” panels of Kraft-Tex:

Establish a 45° diagonal line with a quilter’s ruler.  Lay a piece of painter or masking tape along the ruler’s edge.  It is not important where the initial line is established within the rectangle; only the angle is important.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Choose decorative stitch(es).  Your creative thoughts may travel to using just one, or a combination of two, as shown; or possibly including many different stitches.  It’s all good!

For the first row of stitching, guide the edge of the presser foot along the edge of the tape, which establishes the 45° angle.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

There is a wealth of aids available on the market to assist in uniformly spacing rows of stitches.  Feel free to use any of these aids. I chose a quilting bar guide.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

The bar travels down the middle of the existing stitched row, placing the next row of stitches on the same angle, and keeps rows equally distanced from each other.

Cover the entire surface of the Kraft-Tex panel.  The example shown alternates stitches #31 and #46, Mode 2 on a Janome Memory Craft Professional 6500, spaced 1-3/4” apart.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Since the front and back top panels are separated at each side by a fabric panel, mirror imaging or matching rows is not a consideration.  The only criteria when stitching the second panel is to maintain the same stitching pattern and angle.

  1. Cut cotton fabrics referring to Fabric Key graphic presented:

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

  • Fabric A:

Cut two strips:  3” x 12-1/2” – accent strips

Cut two pieces:  5-1/2” x 12-1/2” – bottom panels

Cut two pieces:  4” x 16-1/2” – side panels

  • Fabric B:

Cut two strips:  4” x 23” – straps

Bias panel patches:  Refer to the template for required lengths.  Cut 5 bias strips each 1-5/8” wide, and longer than its placement position on the template.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

  • Fabric C:

Cut two panels:  12-1/2” x 17-1/2” – front and back lining

Cut two strips:  4” x 17-1/2” – lining side panels

Cut one piece:  8-1/2” x 14” – inside pocket

Bias panel patches:  Refer to the template for required lengths, and cut each strip longer than its placement position on the template.

Cut four strips:  3-3/4” wide – upper right and lower left corner strips for both front and back panels

Cut three strips:  2-3/4” wide – middle strips of front and back panels

  1. Stitch Fabric B/C bias strips together to form both front and back panels:

Lay the cut strips out in their proper places on top of the template.  Starting at a corner, stitch strip B to C – right sides together – making sure that edges extend well beyond the rectangle’s border.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Once seamed, press open, and position the piece on top of the template to mate with the next segment.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Continue in this same fashion until the entire rectangle has been stitched.

Place template on top of pieced fabric rectangle.  It is not important to match the actual seams, but rather to match the 45° angle of the bias strips to the template.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Cut the rectangle for the tote bag back panel.  Repeat the process for the smaller front panel.

  1. Make the straps:

Fold the fabric in half, right sides together.

Stitch the long side with a 1/4” seam allowance, leaving both ends open.

Press the seam open, and turn right side out.

Press the strap with the seam running down the middle of the back side.

Re-shape the ends of the Kraft-Tex 1-1/4” x 15” strips, using the provided template.

Center the Kraft-Tex accent on the fabric strap, both in width and length.  If needed, hold in place with painter/masking tape.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch the Kraft-Tex accent to the fabric strap with Sulky 30 wt. Cotton in any chosen decorative stitch. (The example shows a Triple Topstitch, Mode 1, stitch 5; Janome Memory Craft Professional 6500 stitched 1/8” in from edges).  You may want to choose a very simple stitch though, since you need to make that curve.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Leave a long thread tail at the end, and pull the top thread to the back side.  Hand-tie a couple of knots, and then thread the tail into a sewing needle and weave the ends under a few stitches

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

before cutting to make a neat underside.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

 

Construction –

Front Panel:

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch the bias square to the embroidered Kraft-Tex using a 1/2” seam allowance. (Using the numbers in the above diagram, stitch 1 to 2)

Fold one fabric A accent strip in half to create a flange, and baste it to the top of the joined squares within the 1/2” seam allowance. (Stitch 3 to the newly joined 1 and 2)

Stitching with 1/2” seams, add the top decoratively-stitched Kraft-Tex panel and then the bottom fabric panel. (Stitch 4 to the top and 5 to the bottom)

Back Panel:

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Fold the remaining fabric A accent strip in half, and baste it to the top of the pieced bias rectangle, within the 1/2” seam allowance.

Stitching with 1/2” seams, add the top decoratively-stitched Kraft-Tex panel, and then the bottom fabric panel.

Side Panels:

Using a 1/4” seam allowance, stitch the side panels to the back sections on both sides.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch the front and back panels together at the side seam.

An optional, but suggested step, to reinforce seams:  Press the side joining seams towards the side panel center.  Topstitch 1/8” from the seam on the side panel, using Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Thread.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Fold the bag at side panels, matching the front and back seams.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch a 1/2” bottom seam.

Make bottom gusset:

Inside the bag, push a finger up into a bottom corner.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Flatten the bottom seam into the side panel,

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

matching the seam to the center of the side panel.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Work the fabric to make an isosceles triangle; a triangle which has two equal sides.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Once satisfied, pin in place and stitch along the seamed line at the base of the formed triangle. (That’s the top line in the picture above)

Press the triangle flat and then crease along the seam, pointing the triangle in the direction of the bottom seam.

Repeat for other side.

Optional:  Tack corner triangles into the bottom seam with a few hand stitches.  This keeps the bag’s shape during repeated washing cycles.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Add a strap to the front and back panels:

With right sides facing each other, and raw edges matching, place the outer edge of one strap 1” away from a side seam towards bag center.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch twice: 1/8” and 1/4” down from top edge

With the length of the strap hanging down into the bag, bring the other strap end up to stitch to the other side of same panel.  Make sure the strap is not twisted.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Attach the remaining strap to the other panel in this same fashion.

Leave the tote bag inside out.

Lining:

Make a pocket:

  • Fold the pocket piece with right sides together, making it 8-1/2” x 7”.
  • Stitch three sides with 1/2” seam, leaving an opening on one side for turning.
  • Cut the corners on a diagonal, and press seams open.
  • Turn right-side out and press.
  • Topstitch the pocket to one panel. Folded side of the pocket is 6” below panel the top edge and centered in width.

Attach the side panels using 1/4” seams joining front and back pieces.  Leave an 8” opening in the middle of one side seam for turning purposes.

Press seams open.

Stitch 1/2” bottom seam checking that the pocket opening is facing to the upper edge of the fabric tube.

Make the bottom gussets as described above. (Note: the long line is the stitching line). Since seams have been pressed open, stitch “in the ditch” at the base of the triangle.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Press the triangle towards the side panels.  Optional tacking was done by machine for the lining since it will not be seen.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Put it all together:

With the tote bag inside out and the lining right side out, drop the lining into the bag, matching side panel seams.  Right sides of each unit will be facing each other.  Have the pocket panel (lining back) facing the non-embroidered bag back panel (although it’s not crucial where the pocket is inside the bag).

Keep top raw edges even, and pin at fabric sides to hold in place.  If needed, use clips or masking tape to hold fabric to the top Kraft-Tex panels.Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Stitch along top edge using a 1/2” seam, keeping the straps straight down inside bag, so only the top-edge of the strap is caught within the seam.

Pull the lining straight out of the bag.Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Reach into the lining through its side opening, grab the tote bag, and begin to pull it out through this hole.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Don’t be afraid to bend the Kraft-Tex.  Once the bag begins to emerge, it becomes easier to pull the remaining fabric through the opening.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

When the bag is completely freed, the entire bag will face right side out.  Close the lining slit with hand-stitches.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Tuck the lining down inside the bag, pushing into the bottom.  Push the lining gusset into tote bag gusset – squaring up the bottom.

Kraft-tex paper fabric tote bag

Allow the lining to roll over the stiff Kraft-Tex top edge, enhancing the overall bag design with a fabric “binding”.

Press lining around the entire top, creasing the edge.

Stitch “in the ditch” on the fabric side-panels.

DIY: Kraft-Tex Paper Fabric Tote Bag

Kraft-tex Paper Fabric is environmentally friendly, useful, fashionable, plus extremely versatile!

Be creative!  Select your own fabric colors, mix or match thread choices, and experiment with decorative stitches available on your sewing machine.  Just have fun and enjoy the process!




DIY Halloween T-shirt Glows in the Dark! (And you can make it in less than an hour)

This Halloween T-shirt Glows in the Dark! (And you can make it in less than an hour)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas – Fall! I love Fall. The colors are beautiful, the weather is perfect; there is football every weekend and Halloween! We love Halloween at my house. This year, to kick off the season, I made this adorable skull t-shirt.

And by ‘made’ I mean I purchased the actual shirt and just put the skull on the front 🙂

It is quick and easy to do and took me less than an hour.

Here’s how I did it…

I found a cute skull online, and printed it onto Sulky Stick ‘n Stitch™ Stabilizer. (Just go to Pinterest and search “skulls”; you will have plenty to choose from.)

I pulled off the release sheet, and stuck the skull to the front of the shirt; placing it where I wanted the skull to be stitched.

I grabbed my spool of Sulky Glowy™ Thread in pink (because I have daughters and they want pink skulls. Glowy also comes in yellow, orange, blue, purple, green and white)

I put a white Sulky Prewound Bobbin on the bottom, and used the Glowy on top. I just used a regular straight stitch and my presser foot to do the outline of the skull. The beauty of Sulky Stick ‘n Stitch is that it is water soluble, so it stabilizes as I am sewing, gives me a pattern to follow, but will wash away when I am finished!

You can see in this close up that I went off the pattern lines a couple times. It doesn’t matter! The pattern is just going to wash away when I am finished! Plus, I think those wonky stitches give this skull some extra character.

For the eyes and nose, I switched over to free-motion. I lowered the feed dogs on my machine, and put on the free-motion foot. 

After stitching the first couple stitches slowly back and forth (like a back-stitch of sorts), I just kept going in circles and filling in the area until I was happy with it.

When the stitching was complete, I just washed away the Stick n Stitch.

diy halloween shirt

And it’s done!

I completed this shirt, including washing the Stick ‘n Stitch away and ironing the shirt dry, in about an hour.

BONUS! It glows in the dark. How cool is that!?!?!

Happy Fall and Happy Sewing!