Category Archives: Tutorials

Tutorial: Precision Applique Technique

I learned a lot from my flag-making journey these past few weeks, figuring out how to cut nylon without egregious fraying and also making up my own technique for appliqueing with nylon. I honestly made it up as I went along, which also entailed removing and redoing about two days’ worth of work. So that future flag-makers won’t have the same problem, I humbly present to you my guide to applique for nylon flags.

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Couchside sewing caddy

I put a lot of pins and needles in our couch’s armrest, and it doesn’t seem fair to the poor thing. We do celebrate its birthday, after all, and it is just rude to be poking it all the time. So I made a little pincushion and sewing caddy to keep all my sewing and cross stitching supplies in one place, and out of the cushions.

A photograph of a sewing caddy with pockets and a pincushion hanging over the arm of a couch. There are pins stuck in the pincushion, and a pair of scissors and pens in the pockets.

a photo of a quilted sewing caddy with a pincushion and pockets. Inside the pockets are embroidery thread, small scissors, and pens.

I roughly followed this tutorial that I found on a blog called During Quiet Time, with some extra inspiration from Poppyprint’s rendition of this armrest pincushion.

The thing I like most about this is the big pocket for holding bags of embroidery floss while I cross stitch. No more will they be strewn all over the table next to the couch!

Pictures of the work in progress, and notes on what I changed from the original tutorial, are under the cut.

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Filed under 2017, Finished Projects, Sewing, Sewing/Quilts, Tutorials

Life is like a box of sewing machine feet

I used to keep my sewing machine feet in a bag, where they floated around my sewing drawer, getting in the way as I ignored them and only used the regular presser foot, with the occasional zipper foot rendezvous. But no more! Now they have their own secure, labelled home in a repurposed embroidery floss case:

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They remind me of a fancy box of chocolates, each in their little compartment with a coordinated label.

Since I don’t have that many feet, I also put my different machine needles in the organizer, too, and a few pieces of beeswax for coating threads.

As a bonus, I had to find out what the feet I had actually were, which means I learned what they do, too! That overcasting foot is going to handy; it’s what you’re actually supposed to use to stitch over the edges of fabric so they don’t fray. I know I’m going to break that out next time I’m starting a new cross stitch project and want to keep the Aida from fraying.

If you’re thinking of organizing your own sewing machine feet, here are two posts that I found helpful for identification. My sewing machine manual was also a useful resource.

Sew Much Easier’s Guide to Presser Feet

Feet, Feet, Feet! from Sew Mama Sew

How do you organize your sewing machine accessories?

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Tip: An easy project size calculator

Today I have a quick helpful thing to share with you, dear readers. It’s just a Google Doc that I created that easily calculates the size of your cross stitch projects for different evenweave fabric sizes.

cross stitch calculator screenshot

The first page calculates size in inches and centimeters when you enter in the dimensions in stitches

cross stitch calculator screenshot

The second page calculates the dimensions in stitches when you enter in the finished size in inches or in centimeters

Open the spreadsheet here. Update: This is now available as a Google Doc template, making it even easier to save a copy to your Google Drive and use it all the time!

It handles both inch and centimeter measurements and 5 different sizes of evenweave cloth (11, 14, 16, 18, and 22; the calculator assumes you’re stitching over one, like on Aida cloth).

I hope this makes your cross stitching just a bit easier! Share & enjoy!

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Tutorial: Making Basic Cross Stitch Charts with Photoshop

Hello dear readers! Today I will show you how to use Photoshop to make images that are easy to convert into cross stitch charts (using a program like Macstitch or KG-Chart). This is how I start with pretty much every pattern I make.

chart tutorial feature

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • an image (or images) that you want to incorporate into your cross stitch design — remember to use images that you have the rights to, even if you’re just making a design for yourself. It’s not nice to use other people’s art without their permission
  • Adobe Photoshop, (or GIMP, which is free)
  • some familiarity with using Photoshop or GIMP — there are many tutorials online for both of these programs, if my explanations are unclear: here’s a getting started guide for Photoshop & a list of tutorials for GIMP
  • a cross stitch chart program — I have used and liked MacStitch (paid, Mac & Windows options available) & KG-Chart (free, but Windows only); there are many, many others (including web-browser based ones) — as long as they have an image-to-chart conversion feature they should work

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Tutorial: Organizing Embroidery Floss

I struggled for a long time with finding an easy but effective (and not too expensive!) way to store my embroidery floss. I never liked the plastic bobbin system, although I know some people swear by it. I think that it takes too long to wind floss onto the bobbins; the floss gets creases in it, which makes it harder for me to work with; and it is hard to store bits of leftover floss without tangles or using a lot of extra bobbins.

But, I think I have finally settled on the floss storage that works best for me. It is cheap, efficient, and easily customizable, and today I will show you what you need to organize your floss this way, too.

embroidery floss neatly put away in a box

I settled on this system after seeing several other ways that people have organized their floss, including this post by Bird Nest on the Ground and this Instructable. I also put together a Google Doc spreadsheet so I can keep track of the colors I have and the ones I need.

Here’s what you’ll need (this list includes Amazon affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking the link — it helps support my craft habit) :

  • embroidery floss (it doesn’t matter if it is still neatly wrapped in a skein or if it is in a bit of a jumble)
  • snack-sized plastic bags (I used these Ziploc bags)
  • metal key chain rings (I used these)
  • small write-on labels (or these DMC number stickers)
  • pen
  • scissors
  • paper cutter (or other method for cutting paper in straight lines)
  • cardstock or index cards or other slightly stiff paper (acid-free if you plan to store the floss for a long time) — I re-used some old manila folders
  • storage boxes, approximately 8 inches wide and 4 inches tall (and however deep you can fit on your shelf) — I bought these Iris brand stackable boxes at Joann, they are 13 inches deep and I can fit 50-60 floss packets in each
  • grippy drawer liners
  • this spreadsheet, if you want to keep track of your thread inventory electronically

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