Thursday, March 15, 2012

TUTORIAL: No-Slip Pillowcase

My husband's pillow has a problem.

It likes to be naked.

Somehow it finds my husband so attractive that it feels the need to take off its clothes every night.

Every day I dress it up in a cute little pillowcase...

...and every morning I find the pillowcase under the bed and the pillow completely in the nude.

Apparently my Super Simple Pillowcases are not going to cut it with this foxy little number...

...So I drafted up a "No-Slip" pillowcase design that has a slit up the back instead of a completely open side.    It only requires ONE yard of fabric and is pretty simple to put together.

To begin, you'll want to fully open up your yard of fabric and trim off any selvedge (that's the annoying strip along the side of the fabric with words on it).  Now cut it in half width-wise so that you have two 22"x36" rectangles.

Cut one of those rectangles in half to create two 22"x18" rectangles.  Trim 6 inches off of the other rectangle to make a 22"x30" rectangle.

You should have 4 pieces all together.  We won't be using the little 6" piece, so you can save it for some other project!

The two 18" pieces are going to be the back of our pillowcase.  We're going to hem them first on the middle edges.  These edges will overlap on the back and hold our pillow in place!  

Flip the fabric over so that the wrong side is facing up.  Fold over one of the 22" long edges one inch.

Now fold the edge over AGAIN another inch.  Iron the fold and pin it in place.

You'll want to sew your seam relatively close to the edge of the fold.  I like to then sew a second seam 1/4 inch away from the first... it makes the hem a little more structured and it looks cool!

Now it's time to lay your back pieces out on top of your front piece.  Make sure that the right sides are together and line up the edges.  The back flaps should overlap a few inches in the middle.  Once you pin everything in place it's time to sew around the entire edge!

Sew around the entire rectangle.  I like to use 1/4 inch seams. 

Don't forget to snip the corners!  Once you turn the whole thing right-side out you can use a chopstick to make the corners nice and pointy.  

And voila!  Stuff a pillow inside and you're good to go. 

Here is the front:

...and here is the back:

Try getting out of THAT you silly pillow!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dishcloth Magic!

No... sorry... I'm not talking about magical dishcloths that magically do your dishes for you... (...although I really do wish I had some of those!)

I'm talking about Cindy's "Open Mesh Magic Dishcloth" from My Recycled  My Recycled Bags was one of the first blogs I started following!  Cindy has some wonderful free patterns and tutorials on her site and lots of fun ideas about crafting with recycled materials.

Anyway, I recently gave her Open Mesh Magic Dishcloth pattern a try and found it to be an enjoyably quick and easy project!

Using simple double-crochet stitches, you create an open grid that allows the dishcloth to be light and quick-drying while still full of scrubby power!  

I used cotton yarn for these particular cloths... Sugar N' Cream's "Hot Green" and "Hot Blue" to be precise. I think the colors complement each other well.

Perhaps my favorite part of this project was that it took me less than an hour to finish each dishcloth... which is about the length of a Star Trek episode!  In which case I'll probably be making many more...

Friday, March 2, 2012

TUTORIAL: Super Simple Pillowcases

Pillowcases are easy to make and they are a fun way to "dress up" your bedroom to match your mood!  With so many fun fabric prints out there, it's almost too easy to have pillowcases for every season...or even every day of the week!

This is the Super Simple Pillowcase Pattern; it's perfect as a first sewing project for beginners and takes maybe half an hour at the most to finish.  It also uses "French seams" which keep all of the messy, frayed edges of the fabric tucked away.  French seams only require one extra step, and they add a "professional" touch to the finished pillowcase!

To get started, all you need is ONE yard of fabric.  That's right, just ONE yard!  You'll want to fold it in half to make a rectangle that is 36 inches by 22 inches (...just keep it folded like it was on the bolt at the store).  Since we're using French seams, keep the right sides of the fabric facing out.  You'll also want to trim off any contrasting selvedge (that's the strip along the edge that tells you who designed the just gets in the way).  Now pin and sew along the side and across the bottom edge.  I like to use a 1/4 inch seam here.

Once you've finished your seam, trim it in half to 1/8th inch and snip off the tip of the corner.

Now turn your pillowcase inside out.  Flatten out the seam and "wiggle" it to the very edge.  It is helpful to use a chopsick or a thin, pointy object to help poke out the corner so that it's nice and neat.  You'll want to iron the folded edge and possibly pin it so that the seam stays put.  Now sew along the same edge AGAIN with a 1/4 inch (or 3/8 inch) seam.

Ta Da! You just finished a French seam!  See how the raw edges are all neatly tucked inside the second seam?  Now there is no way that the edges will fray and get all gross looking.

Alrighty, now it's time to sew the top band of the pillowcase.  This will be at the open end where we haven't sewn yet.  While keeping the case inside out, fold the top down three inches.

Now fold it over three inches AGAIN.  Iron the folds flat and pin it in place.

You'll want to fold your French seam flat.  Just pick a side to turn it to and keep it on that side as you fold over the top.  If you do it right, the seams should line up.  This is also a good way to tell if you are folding the top down squarely!

Now just sew along the edge relatively close to the fold.  I like to sew about 1/8 inch away from the folded edge and then do a second seam about 1/4 inch away from the first.  That way it looks like I used one of those fancy "double needles" even though I don't have one!  But here is where you should get creative and perhaps try one of those decorative stitches on your machine.  Have fun with it!

Last step:  Turn your pillowcase right side out and stuff a pillow inside!  You're done!

Sleep well my friends!