Sunday, April 30, 2017

DIY Free Motion Quilting Practice Tool

I've been looking for some kind of practice tool or device to improve my free motion skills, but couldn't find what I was looking for.  For sit-down quilting, the kind you do on a home sewing machine or a sit-down longarm, it is the fabric that moves and the needle is stationary.  As opposed to stand-up quilting on a long-arm, the fabric is stationary on the quit frame, and you move the needle over the fabric to do the quilting.  Sit-down quilting is a different type of skill to master.

My DIY free motion quilting tool.

Although, I could not find something for sale retail, I did find a home-made device on a blog post at Mary's Quilting Notes.  Mary even has a short video for her device on YouTube.

This is exactly the type of device I was looking for.  Something to hold a pen steady while you move a practice sheet underneath.  I went straight to the plumbing/pipes aisle at Home Depot and picked up the pieces I needed.  I didn't want to do any measuring, cutting or filing, so mine is just slightly different than Mary's - but even easier too. 😉   Can't remember exact cost, but it isn't much.  Think the total was less than $10.  No special tools required except your sewing machine's screwdriver to open and close the clamps.

Parts for the quilting tool.
Pen-holder parts

  • 1 inch x 2 ft  PVC pipe
  • (2) 1 inch 90-degree PVC elbow
  • (2) 1 inch PVC Tee
  • (2) 3/4 inch PVC coupling
  • hose clamp to fit a 1" PVC pipe
  • hose clamp to fit hose adapter
  • 3/4" hose connector (blue piece in photo above)
  • a 3-ring binder with clear plastic insertable-cover (I used an old one I had on-hand)
  • dry-erase marker
  • rubberbands

The parts fit together easily.  No cutting or filing necessary.  Only tool needed is a flat head screwdriver for the hose clamps.
  • Slide the larger hose clamp onto the 1" PVC pipe.
  • Open the smaller hose clamp and loop it through the larger hose clamp. 
    Center clamp on the pipe.

  • Insert the hose connector into the small hose clamp.  Use a screwdriver to tighten clamps over the center of the pipe.
    Pen-holder assembly.

  • Fit each 3/4" coupling into the top of a Tee
    Bottom pieces of device

  • Fit this piece into each elbow piece.  May have to push a little bit for a snug fit.
  • Fit these end pieces into the 2-foot PVC pipe.
    The end of the device.

  • Cut the spine from the binder.  You should have two flat clear plastic-covered panels to use as work boards.  
  • Place a work board under the quilting tool.
  • Wrap a rubber band (or two) around the end of a dry-erase marker and drop it into the pen holder.
    Rubber band-covered marker.

  • Drop the marker into the pen holder and push down until it reaches the work board.


  • You're done!

Move the board to Practice Away!  The dry-erase marker easily wipes off with a tissue to practice again.

Put a copy of your favorite quilting design under the clear cover and practice tracing as well.
Tracing a quilting practice sheet.  Just wipe off the cover and do it again.

A short little demonstration video:

I am sharing this post on FreeMotion Linky Tuesday,  Fiber Tuesday, Kathy's Quilts Slow Sunday Stitching, Show Off Saturday, and What a Hoot Quilts!.

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Padded Tissue Pack Cover

Someone gave me a tissue pack cover once, and I thought it would be a nice little item to make for others as well.  I found an free easy tutorial by Two Brown Birds here.  I followed their instructions and made one, but it added batting to mine, and the result was a little tight for the Kleenex travel pack of tissues I had, so I made the next ones a little larger.  I like the new resulting little padded tissues covers.

 Here is the instructions I followed:

- Piece of fabric for lining and accent.  Measure and cut at 5-3/4" x 8"
- Piece of fabric for outside.  Measure and cut at 5-3/4" x 6-3/4"
- Piece of batting.  Measure and cut at 5-3/4" x 6-3/4"


  1. Place the outside fabric, right-side facing up, on top of the piece of batting so that the size matches up.
  2. Place the piece of lining fabric, right-side facing down, centered on top o the other two pieces.
  3. Sew a 1/4" seam down both the shorter 5-3/4" sides.  The lining fabric will obviously be larger, but that is good!👍🏼
    Fabrics sewn together along shorter side.
  4. Turn the fabrics out and press it smooth.  The lining piece will show on the two shorter sides.
    Turn and press.
  5. Fold the shorter sides into the center so the lining piece is showing.  
  6. Pin and sew 1/4" seam along both shorter ends. 
    Sew along the shorter sides.
  7. I trim the stray threads, corners and edge to made a smooth edge when turned out.
    Trim threads and clip corners.
  8. Turn your cover inside out and you're done!
You can keep the tissues inside their plastic wrapper and just pop them inside the cover, with the package opening facing up.

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Easy Chemo Cap Head-Scarf

My friend has been fighting her battle with leukemia.  Losing her hair has been understandably traumatic.  Wishing I could do something more for her, I searched online and found an easy free tutorial to make chemo-cap head-scarfs.  I like these because they are a cap with full coverage, but also a scarf that looks pretty.  You can find the instructions from Daydream Believers here.  Following her instructions, with just a couple changes. I've made several chemo cap-head scarfs for my friend.  Also made a couple to give my sister, who is an oncology nurse.

  • 1/3 yard of silky print polyester fabric for scarf.
  • 1 piece of ribbed knit fabric for band. Measure and cut 6" x 21", with the "ribs" of the knit following the short (6") side.

For the most part, I followed Daydream Believers Adult-size cap tutorial for silky polyester fabric.

Fabric for band and scarf.
  • I wanted the scarf to have longer tails to work with, so I used the entire width of the fabric for the scarf.  Just straightened the long edges of the 1/3 yard fabric piece, and trim off the selvage. 
  • Round the scarf fabric edge.  The edge of a dinner plate works well.

  • Finish the edges of the fabric with a rolled hem.  I used the Narrow Hemmer Foot all along the edge of the scarf to do my hem.

Fold the fabric over as it enters the foot, and it will tuck in the edge and stitch it down.
Side-view of narrow-hemmer foot in action.
Finished edge using the narrow hemmer foot.

  • Create the head band by folding the 21" x 6" knit fabric piece in half (right sides together) and sew the two short sides together using an overcast stitch for stretch fabrics.
  • Then fold the long sides together (wrong sides touching) and sew with an overcast stitch along the long edge.
Step 1 of band - sew right sides together to make 10.5" x 6" piece.

Step 2 of band - fold long edge (wrong sides together) and sew long edge.
Finished Band

  • Lay scarf fabric right-side up.  Pin the raw-edge of the band centered along the long edge of the scarf fabric that will be the bottom of the scarf (the part worn at the nape of the neck).  Place the seam of the band at the center point so it will be hidden under the scarf when worn. 
  • Sew a straight stitch 2.5" on both sides of the center pin, for 5" total.  See pin marks in picture below. (Original instructions show a shorter 2.5" length seam.)
Sew band  5" centered on edge of bottom of scarf fabric.
This is what the first sewing step looks like when complete.
Bottom of scarf is finished.  Now sew the top seam:
  • Bring the top long edge of the scarf over and pin to the rest of the head band (Right sides together).
Fold the top edge of the scarf over to meet the headband.
Pin the top edge of the scarf to the rest of the head band.
The arrow points to were the top of the scarf meets the the bottom sewn edge.

  • Sew the pieces together along the headband edge with a straight stitch.  Use a 1/4" or slightly wider seam to cover the overcast stitching done on the band in the first steps.

  • The scarf is done!  It has two long tails that can be gathered at nape of neck and gently tied.

I'm sharing this with Funky Polkadot Giraffe Tuesday Linky Party, The Quilting Room Fiber Tuesday and Free Motion by the River.

Happy Stitching.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Leukemia Awareness for a Friend

Cancer Awareness - Items to Sew.
My friend has been in a battle with leukemia.  Hope and pray for her recovery.  I made her a few essentials for some support.

I found the leukemia cancer ribbon fabric at

Made a hand-sanitizer and a tissue cover.  I will post instructions later this week on making an easy tissue cover.

Found an in-the-hoop cancer-awareness mug rug on etsy from the HenZEmbroidery.  Personalized it for my friend.
In-the-Hoop Mug Rug.
The backside of the mug rug is the cancer ribbon fabric.

And a leukemia awareness cancer ribbon tea light cover.  Just because.

Made her a zipper bag for her personal items while she is in the hospital.  The cancer ribbon embroidery design was found on etsy by Pixel2Threads.

Of course, I made her a few chemo bag-covers too.  My friend had not seen them before, but the one with the wine bottles made her smile.  😃

Cancer stinks. 🎗 It effects all of us.  So wish it didn't exist.

I'm sharing this with Funky Polkadot Giraffe Tuesday Linky Party and The Quilting Room Fiber Tuesday and Free Motion by the River.

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