Tutorial Tuesday

Tutorial Tuesday #7 Part Two - How to Make No Sew Velvet Pumpkins

Back in 2014 we made fabric covered pumpkins as a make-it take-it at Strawberry Patches during a fall shop hop. We went though cases of toilet paper (yup, that's the secret ingredient) and hundreds of fat quarters. To this day that was probably the most fun free project we ever did. 😍


This year I decorated our main floor for fall using lots of velvet pumpkins



but when I needed just a few more and our local gift shop had sold out, I remembered the cotton print pumpkins we made four years ago. Could I use that same technique using velvet?

The answer was yes! But I did learn a few things along the way that I wanted to share with you here just in case you want to make some.


Probably the single most important contributor to the success of your project is your choice of fabric. Because you will be building your pumpkin around a roll of toilet paper, and because you have to tuck the fabric into the opening of the cardboard roll, your fabric cannot be too heavy. If you are having trouble shaping your pumpkin or if you are struggling with getting all the raw edges into the paper core, your fabric is probably too heavy. You'll just need to experiment but go with the lightest weight fabric that you can.

Because I wanted my pumpkins to be in muted decorator colors (not fashion colors) I found the selection to be very limited. I found the pink blush velvet at Joann Fabric in the home decor section as well as the grey/dotted fabric shown in this post. They worked well but not as well as the white crushed velvet below.

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The white crushed velvet is called Panne by Glitterbug also from Joann. Real velvet is expensive and again, colors are limited so the search is on for next year for lightweight velvet with a slight stretch. For now, the Glitterbug Panne was the best choice. 


Whatever fabric you decide on you will need about a 24" square of fabric (2/3 yard) to cover what I'm calling a large pumpkin. All the fabric that I used for this post was at least 58" wide so I could get two pumpkins from 2/3 yard. 


I, by far, prefer natural dried pumpkin stems on my velvet pumpkins. The nice people at our local pumpkin patch just gave them to me. As I stated in the previous blog post I cut the stems from pumpkins that had been accidentally smashed in the field. You could also cut the stems from the pumpkins you purchase this year and store them for use next year. You must use dried stems only because green stems will mold and ruin your fabric. To dry the stems that I gathered this year I simply cut off all the flesh then baked them in a warm oven for a few days until they were totally dry. They will turn light brown and be very light and hollow sounding when tapped once the moisture is removed.


I plan to store my left over stems for next year when I hopefully have a better selection of velvet to work with. One other good source for free natural stems is at the bottom of those big boxes that pumpkins are sold from. Usually merchants will give you broken off stems since they end up throwing them away.

If you don't have access to natural pumpkin stems you can use sticks, cinnamon sticks, twisted craft paper or sculpt stems from air dry paper clay.





This is where you can go just as crazy as you like. I've decorated some pumpkins for this post with milliners flowers


as well as artificial flowers and berries purchased from places like Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabrics. (The stem below was made from air dried clay then painted).


With the right stem I think they are beautiful just plain.



One manufacturer sells 6" natural stem velvet pumpkins embellished with feathers for $80 each. Make no mistake about it, they are gorgeous, but way too expensive for my budget so making them myself was definitely the way to go for me.


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The photo above and below is of my mini pumpkin. (Directions below).




Joann Fabrics has a wonderful selection of inexpensive feathers. My feathered velvet no-sew pumpkins cost less than $5 each to make and took only a few minutes to do.

Here's how:

Cut the corners off your 24" square of fabric. No need to make a circle since the edges will be stuffed into the cardboard core of the toilet paper. You just want to reduce the bulk a bit.


Prepare your toilet paper roll by unwinding it a bit then re wrapping it loosely with the tissue you unwound. As I rewrapped the roll I twisted the paper every once in awhile to create volume. By adding the tissue back just to the very center of the roll you will be shaping it slightly, taking away the look of flat square sides. 

Sit the roll in the center on the wrong side of your fabric and add a few handfuls of fiberfill. I like to add a little to the bottom of the roll to create a nice round bottom. πŸ˜‚


Then add more fiberfill to the sides and top, leaving the hole open on top.


At this point I fill the paper core with stuffing beads to add weight. You could also use rice or beans, but remember we are going to enjoy our velvet pumpkins for years and don't want any critters munching on their insides. 😱

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Now you just start bringing the sides up and into the core. If you pick the roll up just slightly, the stuffing beads will fall to the bottom of the soon to be pumpkin and give you more room to stuff the fabric into the core. Continue poking the fabric into the core, all the way around, shaping as you go.


Use chop sticks (I used kitchen shears) to poke the fabric into the hole and to shape your pumpkin.

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Once you are happy with the shape add the stem and embellishments.

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Here's and idea for smaller pumpkins. Just cut the height from a nearly empty TP roll. (I won't tell you where I was when this idea came to me). πŸ˜‚Then wrap it with more paper and some stuffing. It makes darling smaller pumpkins. 

IMG_2624 (1)

I'll thinking a paper towel roll would work too for a really huge pumpkin, you'll just need lots of fabric.

This technique is perfect for all ages and skill levels because there is absolutely no sewing involved and except for the embellishments, no gluing. I hope I've given you some fresh ideas and that you will share your creations and ideas with us here. Also I'd love for you to comment below if you know where I can find lightweight crushed velvet in home decor colors.

Until next time,

Encourage one another,



Tutorial Tuesday #7 Part One - The Tale of the Velveteen Pumpkin

The Tale of the Velveteen Pumpkin

There once was a farmer named Mister Johnson who planted a huge pumpkin patch in hopes that children would come from near and far with their families to pick the perfect fall pumpkin. He planted orange Jack-o-lantern pumpkins, pie pumpkins, some fancy ones called Fairy Tale and Rock Stars. There were white ones, spotted ones, ones with bumps, even black ones and some exotic ones called Heirlooms. Farmer Johnson faithfully watered his pumpkin crop and watched it grow. Soon there were thousands of big beautiful pumpkins and it was time to open the fields to the children. 

The pumpkins were all very competitive, each one thinking they were more beautiful than their neighbor.

Pick me, pick me they each thought.

"I'll make the most delicious pie," the pie pumpkins thought.

"Pick me." thought the big orange ones, "I'll make the scariest Jack-o-lantern."

"Pick me", said the Heirlooms," I'll decorate your front porch for the whole month of October". 

As the children ran through the field searching for the perfect pumpkin to cut and take home, some of the smaller pumpkins got kicked and stepped on. They began to split in the sun. Surely no one would want a pumpkin that was broken and spoiled. The other pumpkins made fun of the broken pumpkins. "Who will want you? Your seeds are showing. You stink!" The broken pumpkins were very sad, knowing what happens to pumpkins that don't find homes.

Then one day a lady came to the pumpkin patch, not looking for big beautiful, colorful pumpkins but for unusual stems. You see she was making velvet pumpkins that would last for years and wanted real pumpkin stems for her unique creations. As she walked through the field she realized that the stems from the pumpkins that had been kicked and stepped on were perfect for her special velvet pumpkins. She didn't care if their seeds were showing because she was going to use the stems for something much more beautiful and lasting than a Jack-o-lantern or porch decoration. Of all the thousands of pumpkins in the field, she chose only the less than perfect ones because they were perfect to her.



The moral of the story is: We don't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

Next time I'll share all I've learned over the years in making no sew fabric pumpkins.

Encourage one another,



Tutorial Tuesday #6 - Playing with Paper

If you've been following me on Instagram (suzanne_zingg) you've probably noticed that I've been a bit obsessed with decoupage as of late.

It started with apples


moved on to pumpkins






then graduated to ice cream cups.


My inspiration for these projects was from my favorite Halloween decorations by Nicol Sayre. I have cherished these two boxes for years and always look forward to displaying them at Halloween.


So I picked up some plain paper mache boxes at Hobby Lobby and tried decoupaging them in Bethany's style.


(The boxes are on sale this week at Hobby Lobby).


I cut circles slightly larger than the boxes from chipboard (Michael's) for the bases


and covered all the surfaces with paper by Tim Holtz (Michael's) using Mod Podge.


I found the toppers at Hobby Lobby for $6.99 each. They only had two styles and they were intended to be ornaments so I pulled off all the ribbons and gave them new fancier, more vintage looking collars and hats.


I think they make fun treat boxes for my Halloween table.


The added paper appliques are also from Tim Holtz and found at Michael's (on sale this week). Of course I added vintage mismatched buttons and some doodads that I had in my stash.


I used my sewing machine to gather the tulle and crepe paper streamers to make the ruffles.



When  I found this witches hat at Hobby Lobby


I thought, why not? So I covered it the same way


and added ric rac, more buttons, black feathers, ribbon and tulle.

Did you know that witches sew? 


Yup, they do and this one is a milliner. 


Here's the back


and a look at the inside. This one is just for decoration since unlike the boxes it doesn't hold anything.


 Here are a few more shots of my ice cream cups. So fun.


Instead of a base I cut a ring to go at the top of the cup.

Here's what the ice cream cup looked like before I started.



After the top ring was glued in place, I decoupaged the whole thing inside and out (love this tissue paper from Hobby Lobby), added a crepe paper ruffle along with some vintage tinsel, then filled it with vintage looking mini ornaments.


Once you've gathered the supplies, these are simple to make and take very little time to put together. You can bet I'll be on the lookout for toppers for Christmas treat boxes. In fact, my next project is to make the toppers myself using paper clay. I'll let you know how that goes.

I hope this inspires you to dig out the Mod Podge and give these a try.

Until next time... Hearts

...love you more than Mod Podge,


Tutorial Tuesday #5 - Cheaters DO Prosper and A Tale of Two Needles

Don't let all of these tiny, postage stamp sized squares fool you


These projects are deceivingly fast and easy to do



with no piecing or quilting experience required.


All you need is cute "cheater" fabric with uniformly printed "patches", twin needles and the ability to sew a straight line.


I had these two cheater fabrics and wanted to make them look like I'd meticulously pieced them, so working from the wrong side of the fabric, I simply finger pressed the fabric on the line formed by the print of the squares and sewed along the fold with a 1/16" seam. I did all the vertical lines then


pressed them in one direction


then sewed the horizontal lines and pressed them in one direction.


When all the lines were sewn and pressed it looked like this on the front.


Doesn't it look like I pieced all those little squares together?

Now to quilt it. I layered a thin piece of baby flannel on the back and started sewing just to the left and right of each seam, but as I was machine quilting this, going up and back, sewing on each side of the seams, I got to thinking; I wonder if a twin needle would work?

Could I sew one stitching line that looked like I had sewn two?

Cover twice the ground in half the time?

The answer was YES!

So, you know me, I just had to share, but first a little history:

Back in the day, when I used to sell sewing machines, I often started the conversation with the prospective machine buyer by asking her what she was looking for in a new sewing machine. Surprisingly, many times the reply would be, "I want to be able to use twin needles".

Well, that was an easy one because almost every sewing machine can accommodate twin or double needles.


A twin needle is actually just two needles joined on one shank that's inserted into the machine as you would a single needle. The two needles create rows of parallel stitching lines and can be used in almost any machine with zigzag sewing capabilities.


You will need two spools of thread, one for each needle and of course just one bobbin. (The black fuzz is optional).


Be sure your machine has a zigzag foot and a needle plate with a horizontal hole large enough to accommodate the width of the two needles so as to avoid needle breakage. Check your owners manual for threading guidelines.


The stitches are formed by the bobbin thread doing a slight zig zag stitch on the back side of your fabric so as to catch the two top parallel stiches. All you have to do is thread the two needles and your machine will magically know what to do. They're smart like that.


I think some of the mystery in knowing which twin needles to purchase is understanding the sizing.  I admit, at first, it can be confusing. When shopping for twin needles, look at the two number designations, such as 3.0/90. The first number indicates the spacing between the two needles in millimeters (in this case the needles are 3 millimeters apart), and the second number indicates the actual size of the needles (90/14 - perfect for cottons with a thin batting). Needles come spaced from 1.6 to 8 millimeters, but note that not all widths can be used on all machines; check your owner's manual for width limitations.

Just like regular single needles, twin needles also come in various types like metallic, universal, denim and stretch.

For the projects I am showing here I used universal twin needles in size 3.0/90.


I used foot #10 on my BERNINA (an edgestitch foot) and simply sewed with the center guide of the foot following along the seam of the squares. The twin needles created a double line of straight stitches, one on each side of the seam. I quilted my fabric in half the time! I want to add here that the twin needles made for a neater looking topstitch than the conventional method. I'm not sure why but it looked neater. 

After your fabric is quilted, you'll cut out your project. Your squares will shrink in both directions by about 1/4" due to the tiny tucks you created to make the print look like patchwork so you'll want to do the "piecing" and quilting before you cut out your project.





 Doesn't it look like I meticulously pieced the fabric for this sweet little pouch?


Such fun projects made to look like they were lots more complicated and time consuming than they actually were!

I'll list the websites below where I found the two fabrics that I used for these projects. I know that they are older fabrics and can be really hard to find. Hopefully you'll have something in your stash that you can try these techniques on.

Please feel free to ask questions, I'd love to hear from you!

Encourage one another,


Blue patchwork fabric and other Pam Kitty Garden fabrics - www.keepsakecottagefabrics.com

Pink patchwork fabric and red Jelly Clip (size medium) for pouch - www.daisycottagegoods.etsy.com

Tutorial Tuesday #4 - Mug Rugs & Bless You Mats - Part One

When I closed Strawberry Patches and moved to Kansas I doubted that I'd ever sew again. I had absolutely no interest in setting up a sewing room here and regrettably I closed my Typepad blog account that contained the more than 70 tutorials and years of wonderful memories.

About two years after the move the strangest thing happened. I think my heart had finally healed enough after the closing of the store because once we were settled and rested I slowly started to think about sewing again.

That's about the time ADORNit put out a call on social media for ambassadors who were willing to exchange product for projects made with their merchandise. Feeling the nudge to share again I applied, not as a sewist but as a paper crafter (ha...really?? I guess I still wasn't healed enough to want to get out my machine). After I was miraculously accepted, I wrote ADORNit to tell them that I knew how to sew and that I thought maybe my friends on social media would enjoy seeing their cute fabric made up into some simple projects.

You guys, I was scared, but decided to show up, put myself out there and share.

Well, we can blame thank ADORNit for the inspiration, motivation and the push I needed for all this sharing. I'm a show off at heart - I know that and I own it. Thank you ADORNit for awakening that part of my personality that was dormant for so long.

There is just one thing more I want to say before we get started with the tutorial. At this point in my life I want to focus on being open to opportunities that come along and to discover how I might best use my gift to bless others. I can't say I've always felt this way since my sewing in the past had a motive; it was mostly intended to sell product. My goal now is to hopefully inspire and encourage others to be creative and find the joy that being creative can bring. I also hope to occasionally gift my friends with little things that I make along the way so they know that they are loved. My projects are simple and can be completed in little time. That's what I like, so that's what I do. If that's what you like then welcome, I'd like to think that you feel like you are at the right place.

Anyway, a blog reader asked me to repost my years old tutorial for Mug Rugs but since it was long gone I had to rack my brain on how I did it. Yikes, you guys. It took me three days to get it right. Let's just say I may need a new seam ripper, but thankfully I think the instructions are better than ever. So without further ado...here's my tutorial...

These first three photos are from my original post (I fortunately had them saved on my computer). 


I had fun making these for holidays. They were just big enough for a hot drink and a small snack.


I used mine at my computer or next to my favorite chair.



Somehow a hot beverage on fun fabrics just makes me so happy.


Most of you probably saw this Christmas one recently on my social media accounts. For those that missed it the fabrics can be found here and that cute vintage label here.

During the humid summer months here in the Midwest condensation on glasses is a real problem so I wanted to show you that Rug Mugs don't have to be just for hot drinks. I was racking my brain for a clever name for them. You know like, Moisture Mat or Sweat Catcher when I learned of some difficulties a friend was having. So with the help of ADORNits Sunshine Girls fabric I added some inspirational words to some mats and I'm calling them my Bless You Mats. 


I said a prayer for my friend as I tied each of the little French knots and my hope is that it will cheer her and remind her that she is loved and in my prayers.


You know me and my buttons...just keep them to the side so they don't cause your glass to tip.

I'll show you how to machine or hand stitch the words and embellishments before you sew the mat together in part two. It can be tricky - kind of like rubbing your stomach while patting your head. The placement of those words and that rick rack is what caused me all the trouble, but the problems are worked out. You'll be good to go. You are welcome. Smiley


The pockets that are created with the overlapping fabrics are the perfect places for a word of encouragement or a treat.


This Sunshine Girl fabric can be found here. I just cut out the inspirational words and raw edge appliqued them before constructing the mat. * more about that in part two

Here's what you will need to get started:

6  - 10" squares of fabric. They can be all different or you can used two of each of three different fabrics (left over layer cakes are perfect for this)

1 - 10" square of needle punch batting or what I used, Soft and Stable found here

1 yard of medium ric rac

A nine inch plate or Lori Holt's round circular template (it measures 9" across and is perfect for 10" squares) found here

Sewing machine, thread and optional embellishments


6 - 10" squares or use precut Layer Cakes


Fold and press four of the squares in half, right side out. These will be the top of you mat. The additional two squares will be the lining (won't show) and back side of your mat.

You will also need one 10" square of low loft batting or Soft and Stable (preferred)


Place one of the unfolded squares face down (this will be your lining), then put the batting or Soft and Stable on top of that and top it with the other unfolded square (backing), right side up as shown below. Match raw edges and set aside.


Place one of the folded pieces on your cutting board, folded edge toward the center.


Place the second folded fabric at a ninety degree angle as shown below - fold toward the center.


The third folded piece


 and the fourth. Tuck in the lower half of the last piece so it looks like so...


Now pin all the four folded pieces all the way around.


You are now looking at the WRONG SIDE of your mat top. None of this will show so don't put labels or words on this side 'cause nobody ain't gonna see em. More on that in part two.


Circle ruler

With your plate or this handy dandy template mark a circle on the RIGHT SIDE of your mat.

This template is great because:

a. you can see through it

b. you can easily line it up with the center of the folds

c. you can check the folds to make sure they are straight by lining them up to the marked lines

d. helps with placement of embellishments


Take your fabric to the machine and sew the rick rack on top of the drawn line. You will be sewing on the RIGHT SIDE of your mat fabrics. You will not be sewing through the lining, batting or backing at this time - just the four folded top fabrics.



Notice I've sewn to the outside edge of the rick rack (not down the middle) with matching thread to the rick rack. 

I just overlaped the two ends slightly and ran the raw ends off the edge of the stitching line as shown below.


Turn this top piece over and pin it to the stack of lining, batting and backing. Your rick rack stitching line will show you where to sew next.


Now sew through all layers just to the inside of the previously sewn circle. Sew all the way around. Do not leave an opening.


Trim seam allowance 1/4" around the sewn circle then turn inside out through that little hole in the center of your folded fabrics.

If you've layered everything correctly, you will see your rick rack peaking out from the edge of the circle. (It's always a relief when I see that).


Reach through the center opening and run your fingers around the inside seam to poke out the  rick rack. Press and topstitch 1/4" from the edge (I like to using light colored matching thread for the topstitching so as not to call attention to my stitches 'cause they aren't always perfect).


I added the buttons and label by hand on this one after the mat was completely done but next time I'll show you how to do the sewing before constructing the Mug Rug. I prefer doing the embellishing first, but that's the stomach rubbing - head patting part and since I'm sure I've probably lost most of you by now I'll save it for later. If you are one of my blog readers that bought a circular attachment for your machine I'll show you how that can work for this project next time too.

Until then,

Love you more than vintage labels and Halloween candy.

Encourage one another,


I apologize that I never did part two of this post, but I will - I promise. Give me a minute to get the basement decorated for Christmas and I'll get the sewing machine out and humming. 





Tutorial Tuesday #3 - Jelly Clip Pouch

When I shared this little pouch on Instagram a few weeks ago several of you commented that you had difficulty attaching the Jelly Clip to the fabric. I thought it might be helpful to show you how I glue mine and what techniques work best for me.

Jelly clip

All fabrics in this post are by ADORNit and can be found here.



 This adorable fabric is called Sunshine Girls and I just love the happy positive message it conveys. As you can see below the main print is actually a panel but I did a bit of piecing on this one because I wanted the girl and words strategically placed. 






Let me just start by saying I love making these now, but I must admit that first one, years ago, well... I wanted to throw it in the trash! So if you're feeling frustrated, don't give up - they are really super easy once you know the tricks.

So here they are...

Probably the number one most important thing is the glue you use. 


This is the one that I found works best for me. You want a thick, heavy, quick drying glue that won't run and ooze. Trust me, I know!

My second tip is to back your fabric with light weight baby flannel. The pattern suggests using fusible fleece but I'm not a fan of fusible fleece so I use regular, inexpensive baby weight flannel. I usually quilt through the flannel as I did below, but it's really not necessary, especially if you are using whole cloth for the front and back. (See photo of the five small pouches at the end of this post). I personally like the texture and interest that machine quilting adds. Big stitch hand quilting would be super cute too!


The baby flannel gives your pouch just enough body without being bulky. You will appreciate how the flannel helps with the fit when you go to glue the fabric into the frame.

After your piecing is done you'll cut out the front, back, and lining pieces using your pattern. Make sure if you order Jelly Clips online that they include a translated instruction sheet (some places don't). Jelly Clips come from Japan and the original instructions are in Japanese! 

One thing I found to be helpful is to cut out one of the paper darts and trace the shape on the wrong side of the fabric as shown below. I don't know about you, but it bugs me when darts don't match up so by drawing the lines and then folding and matching the lines then pinning through the lines, it helps assure perfect placement.


I only cut the dart on my paper pattern on one side then I flip my pattern over to mark the second dart. I feel like this helps me get the proper outside shape when cutting out the fabric and lining.

I follow the instructions for constructing the outside and lining of the pouch.

Once your fabric pouch is constructed it's time for the fun part, the glue. 


You are going to complete one side of the frame before going on to the second side.


Open your frame up and working from the inside of the frame, apply glue as shown above. Notice that I started applying the glue about 1/4" from the hinge and the channel is not completely filled with glue. I like to let the glue sit for a few minutes to let it dry out just slightly. Helpful hint: keep a damp cloth nearby. You will want to wipe any glue smudges as you go. If you have applied a moderate amount of glue you should have very little mess. If you have glue oozing out everywhere you either used too much, the wrong kind of glue, or both.

Mark the center of the front and back of the finished pouch as shown in the pattern and begin gluing the fabric to the frame at this center mark.


Using your awl, poke the fabric into the frame, working from the center toward one end, gathering the fabric as you go. Continue with the other half of this first side.


Notice that I'm working from the inside of the frame but I turn it over frequently to check for any glue that has escaped, wiping as I go and making sure the center of my fabric is in the middle of the clip. Hint: you don't want glue to dry on the plastic frame because once it's dry it's impossible to remove completely and definitely takes away from the finished look.

Continue gluing and gathering until the fabric completely fills the groove on one side of the frame. It takes a few minutes for the glue to set so you have time to adjust the fullness of the gathers and make sure everything is straight and centered.

You will have about 1/4" of fabric that is unglued below the hinge. 


Included with your frame is paper raffia or "string". This helps assure that the fabric stays in place by creating a super tight fit. Again, working from the inside, apply the raffia between the frame and your glued fabric. I find it easiest to start just above one hinge and work my way around to the other hinge. Hint: this is a tight fit so a good sharp awl is important to get the paper string poked into place. You will need to cut the string down a bit (they give you plenty) but you will not need to apply more glue - just insert the string while the glue is still tacky and not yet dry. Complete one side before starting the second side. I try to let the first side set a few minutes before starting on the second side.



You may be able to see the paper string just a little, but it's on the inside of the pouch and you really have to look for it.

Once side one is complete do the same to the second side.




I am completely in love with this adorable fabric from ADORNit! You probably know how much I love to add inspirational words to my projects and this is so perfect! I just sewed the word or motif, face down to a piece of fusible interfacing all the way around, split the interfacing, then turned and appliqued them in place. 

Here's the back side.


Buttons and a cute ribbon add just the right amount of adorableness.


 What a fun gift idea for a sewing sista!


Here are a few photos of pouches that I made several years ago. (These fabrics are old and probably no longer available).

The frames come in three sizes and there are six colors in each size. The five pictured below are the smallest ones and measure 4" across (10cm). All other pouches in this post are 5.5" (14cm). I personally don't care for the largest size (7") and haven't worked with that one. You can find the small and medium sizes here. 



I hope that you found this tutorial helpful and please let me know if you have questions. I know some of you have a few Jelly Clips in your stash and I hope this encourages you to get them out and try this fun project. For those of you that need to purchase them I hope that you'll visit my friends Etsy shop or ask your local quilt shop to order them for you.

Until next time,

Encourage one another



Tutorial Tuesday #2 - Embellished Towels, Napkins and Burp Cloths

Today I thought I'd fulfill my promise for a tutorial on my embellished babies burp cloths. I know a lot of you probably don't have a need for decorated burp cloths so I'm also showing the technique on kitchen towels. We can all use a cute towel, right?

Be you

I found this towel at HomeGoods. It's so me and my ADORNit Flamingo Fever fabric complements it perfectly. The technique is the same whether you're trimming a towel, napkin or diaper and is a fun way to add a bit of personality to an everyday item without adding the bulk of a ruffle. What I love about this technique is that there are no raw edges - the back looks as neat as the front!   

The first thing you'll want to do is prewash and dry everything - you want to get rid of the possibility of any shrinkage before you sew.

For the towel or napkin, cut off all the hems all the way around (diapers don't have hems so if you're decorating a diaper you can skip this step).


This is a good time to straighten any edges that are a bit wonky.

Cut hems

I cut the two side strips of fabric three inches wide by the length of the towel plus a few inches and the two end pieces four inches wide by the width of the towel plus a few inches. This can certainly vary depending on your project and if you have a towel that has a design on it you will need to take that into consideration since you won't want the strip to be so wide that it covers up the design.

Press each strip in half length wise, wrong sides together - pretty, right sides out.

Sew side strips - raw edges of the strips to the wrong side of the towel, raw edges even, using a 1/4" seam. 

Quarter inch

Once sewn, trim excess from ends of the side strips.


Press seams of side strips toward towel.


Then wrap the strip to the front of the towel, press and pin. Your seams will be hidden inside the strip. Smileyface


Top stitch in place. I used my number ten Edge Stitch foot on my Bernina with my needle position one click to the right of center. (I stitched all the way around - outer edge too).


Place one folded end strip across the bottom on the wrong side of the towel and tuck in the raw ends as shown below. Pin, press and sew using 1/4" seam allowance.  


Press the 1/4" seam allowance toward the towel, flip to right side of the towel, press, pin and top stitch all around as I showed above on the side strips. Repeat with the last top strip.


That's all there is to it. So quick and easy.

Here's the same technique done on a colored diaper. I found plain colored diapers years ago at K Mart (do we still have K Mart?) but you can also find them here. I usually buy extra when I see them because they can sometimes be a bit hard to find.

As you can see I like to add a label or cute saying cut from fabric. (The photos below show the top stitching on the fabric strips and also shows how neat the back looks - be sure to match your bobbin thread with the towel or diaper so your stitching doesn't show on the back).



What I love about this technique is that it's a great way to not only add a little something to a diaper burp cloth but it's also a great way to square up a less than perfectly square diaper.


I used this ADORNit fabric for the HAPPY label by fusing Steam a Seam Lite to the back of the fabric, then cutting out the saying, fusing it to other fabrics and appliqueing it all to the diaper using and open zigzag stitch and clear thread.


Here's another strictly decorative towel that I made years ago, but this time I used fabric to make the body of the towel. Wouldn't this be cute in a guest bath or as a decorative towel in a kitchen? Not at all absorbent but  stink'n cute none the less. (I sewed the lace in the seam between the towel fabric and the top and bottom bands).


I hope you found this tutorial inspiring and helpful. It's such a great project for someone just learning to sew and a great way for us more experienced makers to get a quick fabric fix. Please let me know if you have questions.

Be you1

Remember to Be You - you are perfect just the way you are!

Until next time,

Suzanne Hearts




Tutorial Tuesday #1 - Embellished Towels and Napkins

First I want to thank you so much for the encouragement you extended me on my last blog post. I so appreciate your kind words. 

Several of you asked that I do a tutorial on the towels that I showed there so I thought, what better way than to bring back Tutorial Tuesday? 

Here is the napkin I shared last time using ADORNit fabric. The same technique will work wonderfully for towels of any size (even bath and beach towels) as well as baby's burp cloths.



My first stop in preparation for this tutorial was Home Goods for kitchen towels. I found these by SOHO, two for $4.99. 


 Since I was working with ADORNit's Flamingo Fever fabric I took it along to match with the towels. These pineapples were so fun with the fabric group and the color was perfect. You could also, of course, use solid towels as well. I feel like I just got lucky with these.


I'm obsessed with this black and white stripe and how it complements my Mackenzie Childs tea pot. It makes every fabric I put with it just pop. You all neeed at least a yard of that stripe!





 These next towels were just so perfect that I half way expected them to say "ADORNit" on the tag. They are by CASABA and there were two for $6.99. What I love about these towels is that they are terry cloth on the back so they are super absorbent. Again, the colors and motif were just made for my ADORNit fabrics.






The cute hibiscus plate below is from Hobby Lobby and turquoise plate is vintage. 




Here's how I embellished my towels:

You will need:


Ruffle fabric 3" by WOF

Ruffle band (optional) 1 1/4" by WOF

Contrast band 2" by WOF

All fabrics for this tutorial were provided by ADORNit and can be found here.

Hint: A word about cutting - when working with fabric such as the flamingos, I think it's important to center the main design on the band. Nobody wants to see a big bird with its head lopped off so plan ahead when you cut. Also on the checked ruffle accent fabric you will notice that I cut on the lines of the print so the checks are straight. Although these fabrics are printed straight, you will still want to carefully cut one layer at a time - it just looks better in the end.

The first thing you will want to do is prewash everything. The towels are 100% cotton and shrunk about an inch in both directions. You will want to get any shrinkage out of the way before you start to sew.

Trim the hem from the end you plan to embellish. This will make construction easier and will reduce bulk.


Your best friend in this project will be a good spray starch. Having crisp edges and folds makes sewing easier and results in a much more professional end product.


I cut my ruffle fabric 3" wide by WOF (width of fabric - about 44"). Note: Sizes of ruffle and contrast band will depend on how big your towel or napkin is. I am including measurements only as a guide for you. You can make them as wide as you'd like. When using towels with printed designs you will need to take the design into consideration. A band that is too wide might cover up the design. 


For the contrasting trim on the ruffle I cut a strip 1 1/4" wide by WOF. This creates a nice finished hem as well as adding a bit more interest. I won't suggest going wider than 1 1/4" for the ruffle trim as a wider trim can cause the ruffle to lay funny.

Press the 1 1/4" strip in half along the length to mark the center, then fold and press each raw edge to the center fold.


Fold and press in half to create a band. (This is kind of like making bias tape but this piece is cut on the straight, not the bias).

Next wrap the folded strip around the bottom of your ruffle piece and top stitch in place. I used my edge stitch foot #10 for this.

Hint: When working with directional fabrics it's important to pay attention to the direction the pattern is going. 


You can also just hem the ruffle using the technique you are most comfortable with. Below I used foot #64 - the medium rolled hem foot. You could also press a double folded hem then topstitch.



Once your ruffle is hemmed you will need to finish the two ends by folding, pressing and stitching.


I failed to get a photo of this next step, but next you will gather the unfinished long edge of your ruffle fabric using the gathering method that you prefer. I used my gathering foot #16 and by lengthening my stitch and tightening my upper tension it ruffled to the perfect length. You could also sew two basting stitches and pull the threads to gather the strip to the desired length. You will want your ruffle to be the same length as the width of the towel. I wouldn't recommend using a ruffler for this as I think it would make the ruffle too full. You want a ruffle that is about two times fullness.  

Okay, this is important and what you may not be used to: Pin the WRONG SIDE OF THE RUFFLE to the WRONG SIDE OF THE TOWEL.


Machine baste just slightly to the left of your gathering stitches attaching the ruffle to the towel.


Now cut a contrasting band 2" by WOF and pin the band on top of the attached ruffle (right sides together). Hint: Pay attention to directional prints.  You should have three layers at this point - towel, wrong side up, ruffle, right side up and band right side down. I know this sounds confusing but the photo makes it clearer I hope. Flip the whole thing over and sew on top of the basting stitches that you see on the towel. Be sure and fold in the raw edges of the band at each end (see photo below).


Basically you are sewing the ruffle and band to the wrong side of the towel and when you flip it over all your raw edges will eventually be hidden inside the band. (Well that was about as clear as mud)!


Press your seam allowance toward to towel, tuck in raw top edge of the band and pin. Press. Top stitch.


See how everything is finished?


And if you match your bobbin thread to your towel it will look neat on the back.


Please let me know if you have questions. One thing I know for sure is that I love styling my photos waay more than I like writing instructions.  Wink

Next time I'll show you how I added trim to the burp cloths using my ADORNit fabrics.


Love you guys more than pretty dishes! Hearts

Until next time,

Encourage one another.