Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week of Handmade: Simple Sewing Ideas ~ Day 2

We have covered felt and some quick sewing projects... now we are onward with some sewing projects that incorporate kiddo quotes, art, old jeans and what every mom needs... a bin to hold it all in (and the coffee beans that came along in that coffee sack that was reused!)

1. Quote Pillow

I was introduced to the idea of a quote on a pillow by my Mother-in-law. She is always stitching the most amazing things and picks wonderful quotes from famous folks to stitch onto her beautiful pillows.

I starting thinking about how I could use the kids quotes (I write them down so I can remember) for gift ideas and it hit me that the quote pillow was a perfect way to share the memory of words shared.

This quote stems from a conversation my own mom had with the little man during her visit this summer.
As he gazed off into space she said to him, "Penny for your thoughts."
He looked perplexed. She explained the phrase to him and he replied, "I'd rather have a quarter."
She thought that was just too funny. So to preserve the memory I made her a pillow.

For the backing I used a crazy quilt block I stitched together by hand but you could use any fabric. 
I plan on doing a bit more embellishing with embroidery stitches before I send this off... You can make it as simple or "fancy" as you like.

2. Painted Pillow

Super simple and fun this painted pillow can be whipped up as soon as the paint dries. 

I tape a piece of muslin, or any other plain fabric you have on hand, to a paint board making sure I taped over the seam allowance so the painting does not get lost in the seams. Then let them paint their picture.

It can be difficult to paint on fabric but with a few mini practice squares the kids get a feel for it pretty fast.  Since it probably won't be washed you could use regular acrylic craft paint or go with fabric paint for a more sturdy painting.

Once it is dry it can be sewn with a backing fabric of your choosing, turned, stuffed and stitched up. Quick, easy and whimsical. 

3. Embroidered Bookmark

This was inspired by Amanda Soule's Portrait Bookmarks in her book Handmade Home. Instead of drawing family members I had the kids draw whatever they wanted then I embroidered their drawing. 

There are many variations on this idea. A name could be added to the bookmark then it could be used as a gift tag. I have also embroidered quotes to be hung up on inspiration boards.

4. Crazy Quilt Bookmark

This works up the same way as the embroidered bookmark but features a crazy quilt in place of the embroidery. The crazy patchwork could also but used as the backing of the embroidered bookmark. I used fabric scrapes left over from skirts I had made the Naturalist. A fun way to incorporate favorite fabric into a favorite pastime... reading.

A variation on this I want to try soon is to slip magnets into each end before sewing it up and with a fold in the middle it could be slipped over the top of the page to hold a place for those prone to loosing their marker. I will let you know when I try it...

5. Jean Seam Trivet & Coasters

As I mentioned before I love to reuse. Over the years I have deconstructed many pairs of jeans and have always been at a loss as to what to do with the seams. Late one night I was cleaning them up, after they had been being used as ropes by the little man, and it hit me to zigzag stitch them together.

The jean seams trivet was born and was followed by baby coasters. They are used daily here and work wonderfully.

The coasters are not backed but I did add a layer of cotton batting and denim backing to the trivet to give it more substance.

I had fun with thread color and as I zigzagged along did lots of back stitching in random places for fun and to deepen the color in those spots. A rainbow of thread options with this project. As we know... jeans are so versatile.

 6. Burlap Bin

Another fun project from Maya's book reinvention. This burlap bin sewed up quick and was given away just as quick with requests for more... Maya also has a Nesting Burlap Bucket pattern for sale in her etsy shop. I have not tried it yet but I have been told it sews up pretty fast as well.

These could be give as gifts or used to hold holiday goodies throughout the season. I can just see a winter print making it's way into a few of these.

That wraps up the "quick" sewing projects for now. I am currently working on a few more I will share in the coming days... Tomorrow will be all about knitting!

Here is a short list of sewing books I love for both patterns and inspiration:

~~ Do you have any "quick" sewing projects that would make great gifts... or sewing books you love. Please do share in the comments and leave a link if possible. Thanks.

~~ Next week I am going to post a few tutorials. If you would like me to put together a tutorial for a project please let me know in the comments.


P.S. A friend said she had trouble commenting the other day. If you are having trouble too please e-mail me at dawnsuzette (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!


  1. You are so full of creative ideas, Dawn!

    I told you I was a sucker for embroidered quotes, and that pillow is a treasure. I also love the trivets and coasters from jean seams. Especially the striping of the two different colored jeans! You make me want to take my sewing machine back out! (Put away after Halloween.)

    Where did you find the coffee bag? I was intrigued by Maya's project when I first saw it, but wondered if coffee shops still actually get coffee in burlap bags.

    1. Yes. Get your machine back out! :)
      I am actually scoping out some jeans that are on the verge of becoming castoffs from the man's closet. Can't wait to make some more of those coasters and trivets.

      The coffee bag comes from our local brewer. I am sure you could find some at a small local coffee brewer. Don't think the big chains (Starbucks) would have them. My neighbor picked these up because she thought they were neat but had no idea what to do with them. I was telling her about the book and she passed them on to me. She was so excited when I made her a bin. Fun!

  2. I love the jean seam coasters. I can't throw out the seams, either. Off to check your other ideas!!

    1. Thanks Amy!
      I just knew if I hung onto those seams I would come up with some way to use them... eventually

  3. I really enjoyed looking at some of the past handmade items you had in your store. I noticed some very interesting thread which you used to embellish the borders of your embroidered Tea Towel - the pitcher with glasses. I would love to know where you purchased the variegated thread you used as I would love to use it in a shawl project I am working on.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    I look forward to following your posts - you do really, really excellent work!