I’m always looking for a new sewing project to make—something easy and fun with a fairly quick finish. I thought I’d enjoy making hanging kitchen towels since they’re decorative and useful. While scrolling through Pinterest I found several examples with a variety of toppers, but I couldn’t find any tutorials I liked so I designed my own.
I also wrote a tutorial while making mine, and for an easy way to share it’s available as a PDF download. That way it’s convenient for you to keep it on your device while working on your project. Here’s the link to download my How to Make a Hanging Kitchen Towel tutorial.
I’d rate this project as ‘easy’ and it’s great for both new and experienced sewing enthusiasts. The tutorial is chock-full of colorful photos, helpful tips and a printable template—all there to guide you while making your own!
Sometimes when working on a quilt that’s taking a lot of time, I feel I need a break to make something with a fast finish. Over the summer I received a free sailboat pattern from Ellis and Higgs and I thought it would make a nice pillow as a gift for my sister since she lives on the bay and has a nautical theme throughout her house.
I’d been wanting to learn how to make an envelope pillow because I think they look better than a zipper, so what better time to try it out? I found a few tutorials and combined the best of them and came up with one to pass along. It’s really easy and can be made in less than an hour!
For mine, I pieced the front and used interfacing to keep everything in place, but you can make the front easily with a cut of fabric. Here’s how to make a cover for a pillow insert, and also what you’ll need:
MATERIALS: Either a pieced block with interfacing fused on OR fabric for the front, fabric for the back, pillow insert, hot ruler (optional), bluntly pointed stick, sewing machine, iron, general sewing supplies.
For the pillow FRONT: Make your block to measure the same size as your pillow form. If you choose to make a fabric front, the same measurement applies, cut your fabric to the pillow form size.
For the pillow BACK: You will need one piece of fabric to be cut into two (or two pieces). The width will be the same as your pillow form, but the length will be the size of the pillow form plus 6″.
If you’re using a quilt block and it’s too small, just add borders. For example, I added 2″ borders to my sailboat block to get it to measure 16″ x 16″.
Once the pieces are cut to size, fold under one edge of each back piece 1/4″ and then again 1/4″ to form a small hem for the flaps. A hot ruler works great here.
Sew the hem for the flaps, stitching close to the edge. Press the seam.
Next; sewing everything together. Pin the front and back pieces right sides together with the two back pieces overlapping in the middle. It will look upside down and backwards, but it ends up as it should once you turn it right side out.
Sew around all four sides of the pillow cover using a 1/2″ seam allowance. If you want to keep the raw edges from fraying, add a zigzag stitch around all the edges.
Once sewn, trim away the corners and turn the cover right side out, making sure to push out the corners. Using a bluntly pointed object helps get the corners sharp.
Lastly, give it one final press and insert the pillow form. And you’re done!
Not only are these pillows easy and fun, they’re an inexpensive way to add a splash of color and style to your living space.
After seeing these, my daughter wanted a few in traditional Christmas colors, red and white. I made her three using a rich red for the star in Moda’s Rustic Weave and a pure white background with wintry swirls from a Bee Sturgis Quilting Treasures holiday collection.
And I just love the contrast.
She wanted them quilted all the same, with straight line quilting in each corner section.
She also chose Kona Cotton White for the binding which really made the red stars pop.
Either traditional colors or modern, I think these ornaments are a great holiday addition.
With holiday sewing in full swing, I’ve decided to release a Christmas tree mini quilt pattern that’s fun and fast to make, and most of all, it’s festive!
I call this little mini Wee Three Trees. The pattern is made up of three little trees; perfect for 2 1/2″ precut strips or scraps, and the background requires just one fat quarter so there’s not a lot of fabric needed. And it’s a suitable project for both beginner and experienced quilters alike. Wee Three Trees is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.
I’ve made a few of these for gifts, and one for myself. For mine, I used Greetings by Kaye England for Wilmington Prints. I also used this fabric for my Christmas Irish Chain quilt last year. I love the nostalgic holiday feel of this wonderful collection.
I also did some experimenting with a variety of prints and colors for a non-traditional look. I think this pattern lends itself to so many possibilities! 🙂
If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to see what you create. Happy holiday sewing!
This year for Christmas I made my son a queen size quilt for his bed. Somehow, while in the process of making blocks, I ended up with a few extra. So I had to ask myself, ‘what’s the best thing to do with extra blocks?’ Make pillows! What a perfect solution. 🙂
The quilt pattern, Picnic Play by Michelle Bartholomew, is made up of large blocks approximately 15″ square untrimmed, making it relatively easy to turn the blocks into 18″ pillows by adding borders. I say ‘relatively’ easy because I couldn’t just add the traditional squared borders due to the nature of the block construction.
Since the quadrants are triangles, I had to add mitered borders…and I’d never done that before, but I was up for the challenge.
To keep the triangles a consistent width, I cut off approximately 1″ all the way around and added 4 ½” mitered borders. Once attached and pressed (½” seam allowance), I trimmed about 3/8″ off each side to square the block. I ended up with a final measurement of 18″. They’re not bad for a first try. 😉
While adding mitered corners wasn’t particularly difficult, it was a bit tricky due to all the conjoining seams, but it got easier with each corner. I followed this informative video on how to make mitered borders from the Fat Quarter Shop.
Once the blocks were cut to size, I ironed on a light fusible fleece to help them hold shape and to secure the seams and threads.
And, instead of making a zippered pillow, I decided on an envelope back. I’ve wanted to try this method for quite some time, and not only did I learn a new and easy way to make a pillow back, I love the results. I used the same backing fabric as the quilt.
My son opted for a non-quilted front and we both agree that the crisp blocks look fresh and modern as is.
Here’s the finished pair.
I really enjoy learning and trying new methods, and I accomplished learning two in one project! I’m hoping my son will enjoy the toss pillow and quilt ensemble once he finally receives his gifts.
Lately I’ve been going through my fabric trying to find a good use for leftovers. So far I’ve made my colorful, controlled scrappy Five Squared Quilt and my Four Patch Charm quilt, made with a ray of lovely golden yellows.
Even with those two completed, I still have fabric left from other projects. Three years ago I made my son a tree skirt for Christmas using a mix of beautiful metallic fabrics by Marcus Brothers, RJR and Andover Fabrics. And…
while scrolling through Pinterest I found a great idea for using smaller scraps, little quilted star ornaments. Right away I knew these metallics would be a perfect choice for this project.
Since I only saw a photo and the dimensions weren’t given, I experimented until I had made one small enough without using exceptionally tiny pieces. I also decided to make a tutorial because other quilters may be looking for a fun way to use up little scraps, and just in time for the holidays. So here it is…
Materials needed to make one 4 ½” x 4 ½” star ornament:
For Star: Gold fabric – (1) 2 ½” x 14 ½” strip Subcut (1) 2 ½” x 2 ½” square and (8) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares
For Star: White fabric – (1) 2 ½” x 14″ strip Subcut (4) 1 ¾” x 2 ½” rectangles and (4) 1 ¾” x 1 ¾” squares
For Backing: Gold fabric – (1) 5 ½” x 5 ½” square
For Interfacing: Pellon Fusible Fleece – (1) 4 ½” x 4 ½” square
For ¾” Bias tape binding: Gold fabric – (1) 1 ¼” x 20″ strip (approximate)
For Hanger: White ribbon – (1) 7″ piece (or material of your choice)
Once the fabric is cut, draw a diagonal line on the back of all the gold 1 ½” squares. As though making a flying geese unit, sew two 1 ½” x 1 ½” gold squares to the top corners of a 1 ¾” x 2 ½” white rectangle, attaching them to the 2 ½” side. Make 4.
Next, lay out squares and sewn units with the 2 ½” sides facing toward the center, as shown below. Sew together to make rows. Press the top and bottom row seams toward the outer squares. Press the middle row seam toward the center square.
Sew the rows together to complete the star; seams will nest. Press seams open. Trim block to 4 ½” x 4 ½” square making sure to leave a ¼” all the way around.
Trim any threads off the back to prevent them from showing through to the front. This is always a good rule to follow. 🙂 Next, adhering the interfacing. I used 987F Pellon fusible fleece because of the low loft, yet there’s enough to give some depth when quilted.
I always put a scrap piece of fabric over my projects to prevent any adhesive from getting on my iron.
Once the fusible fleece is adhered, sandwich the star unit to the backing. The backing square will be a bit bigger to allow for shifting when quilting.
With a hera marker, I marked the first two lines to be quilted then I used straight pins to hold the pieces together. After the first lines were finished, I removed the pins.
I chose a different quilting pattern for each one. I really like how they turned out!
Once your blocks are quilted, it’s time for binding. Since the ornaments are small, and to reduce bulk, I made bias tape using a ¾” bias tape maker. (If you don’t have one, they can be purchased at most sewing stores inexpensively or you can buy bias tape already made). You’ll need enough to go around all four sides including a few inches extra.
Once made, press the bias tape in half lengthwise before sewing it on; that’ll help to keep it even on each side. I sewed mine on by hand (each side, one at a time) which was easier than trying to line everything up and sew through all the layers at once.
One the binding is attached, the last thing to do is add a hanger. There are a lot of options here…you can use jute, ribbon, cording—whatever you like. I used a lovely white ribbon I had on hand. I looped it and tacked the ends together before stitching it on.
And done! Easy to make and fun, too, plus I think they’ll make great gifts!
Giving away quilts is half the fun, isn’t it? I’ve purposely made most of the quilts I’ve given as gifts, but I got to thinking recently…what if I need one for a gift and I don’t have time to make it? This, of course, set my mind reeling so naturally I had to make a quilt ‘just in case’ because you never know!
My first thought was it has to be a quilt that would work for any occasion and anybody (I might have messed up the ‘anybody’ part after putting a floral backing on 🙂 ). Anyway…a pleasing pattern in a nice throw size would do. I always wanted to make an Around the World type quilt so I decided on the Four Patch Charm pattern by Kathy Schwartz that finishes 63″ x 69″.
I’m still sewing with fabric I have on hand, and luckily I had enough golds and yellows in my stash for this project. I used 16 different prints to avoid too often of a repeat. I also had approximate one yard sections of solids for the background so I blended three different colors, Kona Bone, Kona Snow and Bella Wheat. I placed them in symmetrically so mixing the colors worked.
I liked that this pattern introduced me to a new block, and it helped me to overcome my fear of bias edges.
Everything went together relatively fast, and the layout was a lot of fun even though I had to do so on the floor.
Also in keeping with using only what I had, I made scrappy binding.
I thought quilting a grid would balance out the triangular points nicely, so I used my hera marker and quilted lines every two inches.
And there you have it, a finished Four Patch Charm quilt ready for a new home!
I’d love to make this quilt in every color…couldn’t you see it? 🙂