fall decor, halloween, mini quilts, quilting, quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Pumpkin & Stars Mini Quilt Tutorial

It’s not too late to make a Halloween themed project! This one came to be because I wanted to combine a cute pumpkin with colorful friendship stars (making it the third project this year where I’ve incorporated these stars)…anyway, my latest mini quilt, Pumpkin & Stars, goes together relatively quick and will definitely show off your festive spirit! The pumpkin in this project is pretty basic, made with scrappy strips; I’m sure you’ve seen it used in several other projects. For mine, all I did was make the easy strippy pumpkin and add stars all the way around, in the traditional black and orange Halloween colors.

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After finishing, I thought another variation could be to give it a general autumnal look, leaning away from Halloween by replacing the black with gold, green, tan or taupe…any fall-like colors would work well. It also finishes to a toss pillow size.

This was a really fun project, I recommend it! If you’d like to give it a try, here’s what to do:

PUMPKIN & STARS MINI QUILT

MATERIALS
Variety of 2″ strips of orange and black fabric
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” square of brown fabric
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ rectangle of green fabric
(1) Fat quarter for background
(1) Fat quarter for backing
(1) Fat quarter for binding
20″ x 20″ quilt batting

GENERAL GUIDELINES
RST = Right Sides Together
HST = Half Square Triangle
WOF = Width Of Fabric
Use ¼” seam allowance throughout.
Press seams open unless otherwise indicated.

To make PUMPKIN:
Cut print fabric:
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” brown square
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ green rectangle
(6) 1 ½” x 5 ½” orange strips

Cut background fabric:
(6) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ rectangle
(2) 1 ½” x 6 ½” rectangles
(2) 1 ½” x 8 ½” rectangles

RST, sew (6) orange strips together lengthwise. Press.

Place (1) background square on each corner of the strip unit. Sew on diagonal line. Trim ¼” from sewn line. Press toward corner. Finished unit illustrated below.

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RST, place (2) background squares on the green strip so that the diagonal lines start on the lower left and end on the upper right. Sew on diagonal lines. Trim ¼” from sewn lines. Press toward corners. Finished unit illustrated below.

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To make STEM/LEAF UNIT:

Place the 1 ½” x 3″ background strip on the left, the brown square in the middle and the green leaf unit on the right. Sew the background strip onto the left edge of the brown square and the leaf unit onto the right edge. Press.

Sew the stem/leaf unit to the top of the pumpkin strip set. Press.

Your finished pumpkin block will look like this:

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To attach BORDERS:
Sew (1) 1 ½” x 6 ½” background strip to each edge of the pumpkin block. Press toward the border strips.

Sew (1) 1 ½” x 8 ½” background strip to the top and bottom edge of the pumpkin block. Press.

Unfinished size: 8 ½” x 8 ½”

To make FRIENDSHIP STAR:

Cut print fabric:
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” square
(2) 2″ x 2″ squares

Cut background fabric:
(4) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares
(2) 2″ x 2″ squares

To make HSTs:
Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of (2) background 2″ x 2″ squares. Place a marked square on a 2″ x 2″ print square. Sew ¼” from the drawn line on both sides. Cut on the drawn line, press open. Trim HSTs to 1 ½” square. One sewn unit makes 2 HSTs.

Place 1 ½” HSTs and 1 ½” background squares in order as shown below. Sew into rows. Press. Sew rows together, as illustrated.

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Make (4) orange friendship stars and (4) black friendship stars.

Unfinished block size: 3 ½” x 3 ½”

To make the SIDES:
Cut background fabric:
(4) 3″ x 3 ½” squares

RST, sew (1) 3″ x 3 ½” square to the top and bottom edge of a black friendship star, as illustrated below. Make 2.

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To attach SIDES:
Fold the pumpkin unit in half lengthwise and place a mark in the center along both edges. Repeat for both friendship star side unit inside edges. Match up a pumpkin center/side unit mark and pin on a side unit, RST. Sew. Press sides toward the pumpkin unit border. Repeat for opposite side. Trim if necessary.

To make TOP/BOTTOM ROWS:
Cut background fabric:
(4) 3″ x 3 ½” squares**

**NOTE: The background fabric cut at 3″ in width may vary due to differences in ¼” seam allowances. For example, mine needed to be a bit less than 3″ wide—more like 2 ⅞”—as my seam allowances always measure slightly larger than ¼”. You may have to adjust accordingly.

RST, sew (1) 3″ x 3 ½” square to each side edge of (1) black friendship star. Sew (1) orange friendship star to each edge of the black friendship star/background square unit. Make 2.

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To attach TOP/BOTTOM ROWS:

Use the same method as ‘To attach SIDES’ above.

To make BINDING:
Cut (4) 2 ½” x WOF from fat quarter. Sew strips end-to-end, press in half. Attach binding using preferred method.

Lastly, sandwich backing sized 20″ x 20″, batting and quilt top, baste. Quilt as desired.

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Finished size: 14 ½” x 14 ½”, although mine measured 14 ¼” square!

I quilted mine with fun, wavy lines using Aurifil thread 2000, and I love it.

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I always make my mini quilts with sewn in corners on the back so I can hang them on my sewing room door, but I think this one would look great on a table, too. And I definitely will be quilting those wavy lines on an upcoming quilt…

I hope you enjoy making this project and Happy Halloween!

quilting, quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Quilting on a Whim (A Granny Square Quilt)

I admit, this is the first time I’ve ever made a quilt on impulse. It happened while scrolling Instagram and granny square posts kept showing up from the Moda Bake Shop. Almost instantly it clicked—I knew I wanted to make a granny square quilt and I had the perfect fabric for it. And since I recently finished a rather challenging and labor intensive queen size quilt, I needed something easy!

A while back I ordered a fat quarter bundle of Moda’s Chestnut Street for a fall quilt. While I cut what was needed for the pattern, I never made the quilt because I couldn’t decide on a background fabric. Since I had plenty of Chestnut Street left over, along with additional fabrics from other Fig Tree collections, I knew I had enough fabric and variety (plus I added two Dear Stella Mini Dots). I’d also been intent on stashing down, so it was definitely a go! I stopped what I was working on and started pulling fabric. And let me tell you, it was FUN. 🙂

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There were so many things about making this quilt that made it fun…for example, I had no plan, it was literally on a whim. I randomly mixed and matched fabric, whatever I felt went together got put together. I was using what I had, and of all cuts – an older charm pack, scraps, fat quarters, yardage…including the background fabric, Kona Cotton Snow. I truly enjoyed the entire process.

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Once I finished 28 squares, I figured it was time for a plan. I decided on a throw quilt with six blocks per row, seven rows (42 squares total), 2″ sashing and a background border.

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Because it came out so lovely, I had it professionally quilted with the digital pattern Daisy Delight.

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I did have to purchase binding fabric, luckily I found what I wanted from the Chestnut Street line. I also had to purchase the backing. Since the quilt has a lot of orange in it, I wanted to incorporate it onto the back as well. I decided on Tule Quietude in Sunset by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Fabrics. I loved how this print blended nicely with the colors on the front.

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My Granny Square quilt finished at 64 ½” x 74 ½”. And I just love it!

 

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I mentioned that the granny squares popped up on IG from the Moda Bake Shop, so I visited their site for block instructions. Because I wanted to use scraps that I had already cut into 2 ½” squares, I had to do some recalculating for a more petite block. Also, this size block is great because it can be easily made with precuts, including 2 ½” strips, 5″ squares and 10″ squares.

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Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make a granny square block with the dimensions I used. My blocks finished at roughly 8 3/8″ square.

FROM COLOR/PRINT FABRIC, CUT:
(1) 2 ½” x 2 ½” square (center square)
(4) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares (inner squares)
(8) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares (outer squares)

FROM BACKGROUND FABRIC, CUT:
(2) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares
*subcut diagonal once
(2) 4 ¼” x 4 ¼” squares
*subcut diagonal twice

Lay out fabric as illustrated below:

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Sew pieces together into rows using ¼” seam allowance. I recommend pinning! Be sure to trim away dog ears. Pressed rows will look like this:

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Because sewn pieces are relatively small, I pressed all my seams open to reduce bulk. It definitely helps the blocks to lay nice and flat.

Next, turn the block sideways, as shown. Place the remaining triangle pieces in the four corners. Sew and press.

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The final step, trimming your block (and the remaining dog ears). Line up your ruler with the ¼” mark placed at the corners of the outer squares, as shown. Trim.

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Give your block one last press and you have a beautiful granny square!

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I know it’s common for quilters to finish a quilt and say it’s their new favorite, but this one really is for me. It’s different from most of the quilts I’ve made, mainly because of the fabrics, many were soft and feminine floral prints.

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I think every quilter needs to make a granny square quilt, well, just because…don’t you agree?

quilt binding, quilting, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Make Scrappy Binding

Scrappy binding is a favorite among quilters. Not only is it fun to make, it’s a great way to use longer scraps of fabric. I don’t choose it that often, but I do enjoy making it and I love how it looks. Going scrappy is also a fun way to add more color to a finished quilt. Never tried it before? No problem, this tutorial will show you how, step-by-step. Let’s get started.

First, choose your fabric strips making sure you have enough to equal the total length required. For the project illustrated in this tutorial, I used Kona Cottons from the Citrus Burst bundle.

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Next, cut your strips 2 ½” wide. The lengths of the strips will vary. I usually don’t use anything less than 8″ long and over 14″ long for a mini quilt; I’ll go as long as the length of a fat quarter for a throw quilt or larger. This is a personal preference; you may want to experiment to see what you like best. It’s important to note that you’ll be cutting off some length off of the strip ends when making the binding.

Once the pieces are chosen, there are a few options before sewing. You can go totally scrappy and sew your strips together in no particular order or you can plan your color order according to your quilt. I like to do it this way so like-colors don’t end up next to one another on the finished quilt. This method is easy to do and takes just a little extra time.

If you want to make your binding by controlling the color order, lay out your quilt. Place the chosen binding strips around your quilt in order that works best with the colors in the quilt. It’s always a good idea to take a photo in case you lose track of the order when sewing. You can also number the strips in an inconspicuous area.

Once your preferred method is determined, lay out the first two strips, right sides together, and draw a diagonal line, as shown. Pin strips in place.

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Sew on the drawn line.

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Line up the ¼” ruler line on the sewn line, as shown.

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Cut away fabric ¼” from the sewn line, as shown.

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Cut off tips, press. Seams can be pressed either to the side of the darker fabric or open.

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Repeat steps until you have sewn and pressed all the strips together, making one continuous strip of binding.

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Lastly, fold your completed binding strip in half horizontally, pressing as you go, until the entire strip is pressed in half. Trim raw edges. Your scrappy binding will look like this when finished:

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For this particular project, I made controlled color binding and I’m happy how it came together with the mini quilt.

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Now’s the time to give scrappy binding a try and here’s to your next project! 🙂

diy, tutorials, Uncategorized

DIY Quilt Ladder Tutorial

Don’t you just love those beautiful leaning ladders for displaying quilts? I know I do, but I didn’t want to pay upwards of $200 for one. I knew my husband and I could do a DIY for a LOT less, and we did, we made ours for under $20!

Here’s what we had to buy:
(4) ¾″ × 1 ½″ × 6′ Select Pine boards = $3.83 each
Total cost of $15.32 (+ tax)

1 box (of 25) 1 ½″ construction wood screws
Total cost of $2.17 (+ tax)

We purchased the boards and wood screws at Home Depot. Any big box hardware store should carry all other supplies and tools.

I should note that that was our price was less than $20 because we had the additional necessary items on hand: paint brush/foam brush, wood stain, polycrylic protective finish, paint, primer, a variety of sandpaper and the tools. If you don’t have these items, it will cost more, but nowhere near what a retailer is asking.

I was so happy with the first one, I asked my husband to help out again and we made a second one. I finished them differently; the first one I stained and the second one I painted white. That way, I can move them around the house and always have a fresh, new look.

This was a fun project for both of us. It was really rewarding to make something for our home that not only is attractive, but useful, too. I also found that working with wood was relaxing and rather enjoyable. 🙂

The time spent on each ladder varied. Estimated time on construction was about 2 ½ hours and it took about 3 – 3 ½ hours to sand, stain and apply polyurethane. It was much more time consuming to paint. I applied one coat of primer and four coats of paint, which took several hours, but was worth it. I love both results.

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Finished ladder measures 6′ H × 19″ W × 1 ½″ D.

If you’d like to make your own, click here for my downloadable PDF DIY Quilt Ladder Tutorial. The tutorial is easy-to-follow with step-by-step instructions and plenty of photos.

Here’s to creating and saving a ton of money at the same time!

mini quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Corner Hanging Sleeve Tutorial

Hanging mini quilts is a must-do, right? Whether you’re a quilter who hangs minis all over your walls or one like me who hangs one at a time—having an effective method of displaying them is essential no matter how many or how few. This corner technique is so fast and easy, in no time your minis will be ready to show off!

Required materials include two squares of fabric and a round dowel rod. I usually use 3/8″ width (oak) as it’s sturdy and doesn’t tend to bend or warp. It’s not necessary to go any larger than 3/8″ with most mini quilts. I’ve also used a 1/4″ dowel rod on a very small mini and through my experience, it held up well.

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Dowel rods can be purchased at any big box home improvement store for under $2 each (36″ length/oak). There are a variety of sizes and types of wood so you can choose what best suits your needs.

Let’s get started. Once your mini quilt is quilted and trimmed (but before binding), cut two 3″ x 3″ squares from your backing fabric (or from scraps). Press squares in half diagonally.

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On the back of the quilt, pin one pressed square onto each top corner.

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Attach binding, sewing carefully around the pins, making sure to keep the all the edges flat.

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Finish sewing on the binding using your preferred method.

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And it’s finished!

Measure from one end of the binding to the other, cut the dowel rod to measurement. Sand off any rough edges.

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Insert and hang!

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Got a lot of mini quilts? Need a few tips on storing them? Click here!

quilting, Uncategorized

Pillowpalooza!

Since I’ve made a lot of pillows lately, I thought it would be a good time to show my work on a blog post. I’ve also included a couple of others I made a few years ago.

Starting with my oldest projects first…the next two sets of pillows date back to when I dug out my Kenmore sewing machine in 2012 and started sewing (then consequently, quilting) as a hobby. These two are some of the the first ones I ever made, and they’re still a favorite.

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If you read my ‘About’ section, you may recall I was given a store-bought comforter quilt with lovely Laura Ashley fabrics that consisted of a variety of colors and textures, which I slowly and surely took apart, and yes, with a seam ripper.

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This ensemble was made from the backing. I followed a tutorial for the foam seat, and as you can see I got really adventurous and made bias binding! I do get this out and toss it on the floor occasionally, so it still gets some use.

Out of all that fabric, those four pillows and the seat cushion is all I have left, and I still have yards and yards of that funky ribbon! The panels in the quilt were about 12″ square, pretty large for a quilt but pretty small for pillows.

This one was made with repurposed half square triangles I had used in a Moda Bake Shop project submission. They were perfectly fine and there was no sense in them sitting in a drawer, so I reused them.

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front
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reversible back

I made it ‘reversible’ so it looks good no matter what side is facing out. I did the same thing with a few others. Sometimes I turn them around just for new look.

The next one is a Dutch Rose block pattern I found in McCall’s online library of 150+ quilt block patterns. All free and a great resource! Here’s the link: The Quilting Company.

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Personally, I think this is the prettiest block I’ve ever made. I left it on my design wall for a month just so I could look at it. 🙂

And here it is in pillow form on my bed. Still love it.

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The front consists of a mix of Moda fabrics; the yellow is Benartex from a bright collection called Transformation by Sarah Vedeler Designs.  As always, I used Kona Cotton for my background, this is Kona Cotton Snow. I put a lovely Art Gallery fabric by Amy Sinibaldi on the back. Such soft and gorgeous colors!

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The next two are pillow covers I made for my mom, also with printed fabric on the back. I used mostly leftover fabric from the quilt I made for her this past Christmas. Hope she likes them!

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Overall, these zippered pillow covers are fairly easy to make and the quilt block possibilities are endless. If you’d like to create some for yourself, here’s the link to my Zippered Quilt Block Pillow Cover Tutorial.

I’m sure you noticed that none of these quilt block pillows are quilted. I opted not to quilt them because I love the look of fresh, crisp fronts. Sure, quilting is an option, I just wanted to mix things up a bit.

That pretty much wraps up my current pillow collection. I’m in the process of making a queen size Hunter’s Star quilt for my daughter and I plan to make a few throw pillows to go along it. Oh, and of course I have other ideas in the works, so eventually there’ll be a Pillowpalooza II!

tutorials, Uncategorized

DIY Portable Ironing Board

One thing that’s for sure is I’m all about recycling and reusing, and I especially enjoy repurposing. With the help of my husband, I turned an ugly unused piece of plywood into a cute, portable lightweight ironing board.

After watching videos of quilters using wooden boards transformed into actual ironing boards, I knew I needed one. I really liked the idea of something lightweight and easy to move around, and it was time to say goodbye to my metal tabletop ironing board (via donation).

So, I did some research and made my own. Here’s how you can make one, too, and here’s what you’ll need:

*A board of your chosen size (plywood recommended)
This DIY = 13 ½” W x 24″ L piece of plywood (reused from irrigation pump packaging)

*Two pieces of cotton batting

*Cotton fabric for board cover

*Aluminum Foil – Enough to cover top with approximately 1″ wrap around back.

*Wood Glue – To glue down aluminum foil edges on back.

*Staple Gun / Staples – To attach batting and fabric.
This DIY = Heavy Duty Staple Gun and  3/8″/10mm staples (a less powerful one would also do fine).

Additional materials: scissors, measuring tape, toothpick, sewing machine and general sewing supplies.

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Once supplies are ready, there are just six easy steps from start to finish!

  1. Cut both pieces of batting:
    Cut ONE approximately 1″ larger than your board, on all sides.
    This DIY = 15 ½” W x 26″ L

    Cut ONE approximately 1 ½” larger than your board, on all sides.
    This DIY = 16 ½” W x 27″ L

    Place the smaller one on top of the larger one (it will be against top of board). When it’s folded around the board, edges will be hidden under the larger one.

    Cut fabric:
    Cut approximately 3″ larger than your board, on all sides. NOTE: Subtract 1″ for selvage edge, if included in the cut fabric.
    This DIY = 18 ½” W x 29″ L (fabric included selvage edge)

  1. Press a ½” hem along all edges, sew a straight stitch.

Tip: Save time—skip hemming salvage edge, if included.

  1. Cover your board with aluminum foil (like wrapping a present). I used a toothpick to apply the wood glue under the folded edge on the back side. Gluing down the foil really helps keep it in place.

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A side note about the foil…I was skeptical if this actually helped to protect the wood, as I had covered this board a while back (this is a redo). Fast-forward a year and a half until now, when I removed the cover and batting. The fabric and batting were water-stained and scorched, but the board was untouched! It definitely works, so I don’t recommend skipping this step. 🙂

  1. Staple on the batting once the glue has dried. Start by pulling in at the point of the corner (helps reduce bulk), staple once. Trim off point. Fold in the sides, staple down each side. You can see what lovely corners you get! Repeat for each corner.

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Continue along stapling down the sides, wrapping the batting nice and snug, but not too tight. Once my batting was attached, I chose to trim it back so the fabric would completely cover it when stapled on.

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  1. Lastly, center your fabric over the board. Using the same method as above, wrap and staple the fabric onto the board.

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As an option, you can apply felt pads to the four corners. I put them on mine as it gives the board a bit of a lift and helps it set even on your table.

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I love this DIY project because it puts an unused item to good use, and it uses materials most people have on hand. As for me, I was happy to use adorable stash fabric that I wouldn’t have used otherwise.

I also discovered that my board doubles for measuring. It’s 24″ long so if I need a quick estimate on how much fabric I’m working with; I can use it as a general guide. You might want to keep that in mind when choosing your size!

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Enjoy your portable ironing board and kudos to you if you salvaged an unused board and raided your stash!