Category Archives: fabric

Day 39: Freezer Paper “Screen” Printing


Supplies: Freezer paper, printer, X-acto knife, cardboard or cutting mat, iron, fabric paint, t-shirt, paper or cardboard

Time: 30 minutes or more, depending on your design

About a year ago I was working on the Citizen Jane Film Festival, which is run by Stephens College and features films by, for, and about women.  I was taking a practicum class that worked with the festival and lots of staffers came to talk to us.  One of them had screen printed the t-shirts for the fest and that was my first introduction to the idea of screen printing at home.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks, so I eventually bought the supplies and tried it out.  I had a few failed attempts before I finally got screen printing to work.  It’s time consuming, but pretty darn cool!

So, needless to say, when I saw a tutorial for a simple screen-free, emulsion free, squeegee free way to print shirts at home I was really eager to try it.  Since I had gold ink I decided to get a red shirt and make a Gryffindor shirt for Megan (surprise again, Megan!).

I started by finding a picture, which I cropped and resized.  I don’t know who actually uses freezer paper, but I didn’t know what it was until I read about this project.  It’s kind of like a parchment paper with a waxy coating on one side.  It’s really cool because you can print directly onto the paper side of it!  I didn’t know that at first, so I started tracing the design, but then I realized I could print it, so I did.

Oops! Only took a picture of tracing! It looks like this only darker when you print it.

Side note: Someone just moved out of my building, so I get to move downstairs to a smoke-free apartment!  So I packed up all my clothes and bedding and project supplies and headed to my parents’ house to rid my clothes of the smell before moving them downstairs.  Anyway, my mom has a cutting mat in her sewing room (formerly my room), so I taped the printed freezer paper onto the cutting mat and used my X-acto knife to cut out the red parts.  I cut out the first section and put it on the shirt.  I went over the paper with an iron.  This is the magic part.  Because the top side is paper it doesn’t stick to the iron, but since the other side is wax it sticks to the shirt!

I continued to cut away the yellow sections and iron the red ones onto the shirt.

My finished iron on looked like this:

If I were to do this project over I would have made another thin line around the outside.  Without that line it doesn’t have the detail at the top.  You’ll see on the final product.

I took my gold ink (make sure you have fabric paint!) and a foam brush and painted over the exposed sections.  Don’t forget to put a piece of cardboard or something in the shirt.  If you don’t the ink could bleed through to the back.

When the ink dried I peeled the paper off.  I had to fold the shirt over a bit to get a corner of paper off, but then it peeled right off!

Once everything was peeled off I had a lovely Gryffindor shirt!

And, voila!  New shirt!  I can’t wait to do more of these.  Any suggestions?  By the way, I see a giveaway on the horizon…  Be on the lookout!  I’m off to decide what else to put on a shirt.




Day 36: Soup Cozy


Supplies: Fabric, tape measure, batting, fabric scissors, straight pins, yarn, spherical button, large-eyed needle, thermos or jar you want to keep warm.

Time: 30 minutes

This weekend I’ve been cooking and baking and freezing meals for the next couple weeks.  I’m currently attempting my first batch of pita bread for hummus sandwiches at work, but tonight (and when winter comes) there will be soup on the menu.  I usually wrap my mason jars in tea towels, but that’s not really convenient.  So today I made a soup cozy for tonight’s broccoli cheddar soup.

I started by measuring the height and circumference of the jar.  I measured a rectangle of those dimensions on some scrap fabric (double layer).  Pin the two rectangles together, right sides facing.

Sew the rectangle leaving a small opening on one side.  Turn the rectangle right side out.  Cut a slightly smaller rectangle out of a couple layers of batting.

Stuff the batting into the rectangle and hand sew the opening.

Sew some squiggly lines through the middle of the rectangle to keep the batting in place.  It’ll look kind of pretty too!

Now you’ll sew on the button and create a loop to keep the cozy on the jar.  Thread a needle with a length of yarn.  Pull the needle through one end of the fabric, bottom to top.  Pull the needle back down through the fabric, close to the other hole.  Now you’ll have a loop of yarn.  Tie a knot in the loop and pull the knot onto the fabric.  Tie the ends on the other side of the fabric into a square knot and trim the ends.

Sew a button on the other end of the rectangle.

And you’re ready to keep some soup warm!

Warm soup!  I’ll let you know how it works.

Have a happy Monday off!  I’ll be working on a craft to prep for my first day at my new job.  More tomorrow!



Day 33: Braided Bracelet


Supplies: Fabric (I used t-shirt yarn) or some kind of cord, ruler, scissors, something to hold the string, tapestry needle

Time: 20 minutes

Today it took me a long time to decide what to make.  I sifted through dozens of project ideas from Craftgawker before finally landing on one I’d bookmarked awhile back.  It’s a braided bracelet tutorial that’s a perfect use for t-shirt yarn if you have it.  It’s a really pretty bracelet, but it makes you feel like you’re 10 again.  It also requires only a couple materials.

I’m going to recommend you check out the original tutorial here in addition to this one.  It has tons of pictures!

I started with yellow and brown t-shirt yarn.  Yellow is my outside color and brown is inside.  The outside color strand should be 95cm and the inside color strand should be 52cm.  Fold both strands in half and set them up like this:

I used a chair leg to hold the folded end of the brown strand in place.

Now you’ll start braiding.  I’m going to explain with the colors I used just to make things clear.  Remember the yellow strand is the longer one.  Start with the left yellow cord.  Fold it over the left brown cord and under the right brown cord.

Sorry it's sideways. It wouldn't let me rotate it...

Then fold the right yellow strand over the right brown cord and under the left brown cord.

I guess these are going to be sideways 😦

Pull it tight and you’ll have something that looks like this:

Keep braiding until you have about an inch or so of yellow left on each side.

This is actually before I finished braiding.

Weave the yellow ends under the yellow loops.

Snip off any extra that sticks out.  Then you’ll tie a knot in each loose end of the brown.  I don’t know what kind of knot it is, but the tutorial calls it an overhand knot.

And your bracelet is done!  It’s actually kind of hard to put on alone, but you just lace one brown end through the brown loop and tie the two loose ends in a double knot.

When I get paid tomorrow I’m going to buy some colored cord and make one of these for my friend Megan.  (Surprise!  I’ll have it for you next time I see you!)

Have fun with these- I promise you will!


Day 25: Button Hair Clips (Etsy Day!)


Supplies: buttons, spray adhesive, fabric, hot glue, hair clips/barrettes/bobbie pins

Time: 30 minutes plus a little more time to dry

Today my friends from school who just started the semester are coming over!  Of course, that means I did a bit of cleaning.  And that also meant I found a pack of hair clips that I forgot I had.  Since I have plenty of my own clips I decided to make some cute little girl clips with buttons.  I picked out a few cute fabrics and several buttons.  I traced around the buttons, leaving about 1/4” extra.

Then I cut out the circles.  I was really bad about photography today for some reason, so you’ll have to just trust that I cut out the circles 🙂  I recently acquired some spray adhesive (as well as some spray glitter) from my brother and I thought the spray glue would be perfect for this project.  I put down a protective piece of paper and sprayed the buttons, one at a time, and covered them with the fabric.  I made sure to move the button and fabric before they dried completely- I didn’t want them to be glued to the paper!

Once those were dry I wrapped the edges of the fabric around and hot glued them into place.  Then I trimmed the excess and was ready to pair the buttons with the clips.

The I hot glued the buttons onto the clips and was ready for some Etsy photography!

I didn’t really like the tie-dye looking buttons on the bobbie pins, so I only listed the other two.

You can hop on over to the Daily Craft Project Etsy shop and buy them for a sweet little girl or young-at-heart woman in your life.  See you tomorrow!


Day 22: Tomato Pin Cushion


Supplies: fabric, sewing machine, needle, thread, embroidery thread, stuffing, small piece of felt, ruler and/or square (I forgot the supplies picture)

Time: 30 minutes

Today involved a lot of duct cleaning in a seemingly futile attempt at getting the remaining smoke smell out of my apartment.  There was a lot of vacuuming (sorry Daphne) and scrubbing before heading to work and not a lot of crafting time, so today’s project is nice and simple.  I just found this tutorial for a pin cushion by Martha Stewart and was not wowed by her pictures, so I thought I’d make my own tutorial for you.  I think her finished pin cushion is prettier, but I didn’t have the exact supplies she called for, so I have an excuse, right?  If nothing else, my tutorial will be better.

Grab a piece of fabric and measure a rectangle that’s twice as long as it is wide.  Mine was 12” by 6”.  I’ve mentioned before that I don’t measure unless I have to.  Well today I had to measure.  I wasn’t too exact though.  I don’t have a square, so I just used a book and it worked perfectly.

Then fold the rectangle in half, right sides facing.  Sew a seam up the edges to make tube-like thing like this:

Now put away your sewing machine and whip out the old fashioned needle and thread.  Sew a running stitch along one of the top edges:

Pull the thread to cinch the edge and sew it in place.

Turn the pouch inside out and fill it with stuffing.  The official instructions say to use cotton stuffing because it’s firmer, but I’m not interested in spending extra money on extra stuffing.  So polyester it is!

Sew another running stitch in the open end of the pouch and cinch it.  You’ll end up with a little pumpkin like this:

The end with the “stem” will be the bottom of the pin cushion.  Get a larger needle and some nicely colored embroidery floss and tie a knot in the end.  Tack the “stem” to the rest of the cushion by poking the needle all the way through the core of the cushion.  Wrap the thread around the outside of the cushion and pull it through the bottom of the cushion again.  Keep doing that until you get about 5 or 6 pieces of thread wrapped  around the sides of the tomato cushion.

If you’d like to put a leafy something on your tomato cushion grab a small scrap of felt.  Cut out a little leaf and sew it on top.  Make sure you end at the bottom of the cushion so the end of the thread is hidden.  You should wind up with a tomato pin cushion like this:

And once it’s full of pins it’ll look something like this:

Now you’re ready to go pin and so to your heart’s content!



Day 17: Eyelets and Dim Sum Pouches




Supplies: fabric, scissors, ruler or something square to trace, pen, eyelet punch and eyelets, string/ribbon/yarn that goes with your fabric

Time: 45 minutes

Today my lovely former roommate Katie stopped by on her way home from Iowa.  It’s a four hour drive from here to her hometown, so I thought I’d make a little snack for her trip.  I made a nice batch of mini blueberry muffins and I thought today’s craft should be some kind of packaging for them.  Since our friend Sascha is also stopping through today I grabbed two different fabrics to make two packages.  I traced a square book to make two nice squares on each piece of fabric.


I don't like to measure if I don't have to

I cut out the fabric squares:

and pinned them together, right sides facing.  I sewed them together:

Then I turned them right side out, ironed them, and sewed up the holes.

Then I got to try out my new eyelet punch!  I marked a spot on each corner and punched holes.

Then I stuck an eyelet through one hole:



and clamped it closed with the punch (it also does snaps!).

My first eyelet

I put eyelets in the rest of the holes and was ready to package the mini-muffins.

I wove a string through the eyelets to make a little hobo sack.  I put the muffins in the middle:

and pulled the strings tight.

And there you go!  Muffins in a pouch!  I think they look like some kind of dim sum, so I’m going to call them dim sum pouches.  Since the muffins are big enough not to fall out, these are fine for my purposes.  If you wanted to put something smaller in the pouch you could add another eyelet on each edge of the square to pull the corners in as well.

I had a delightful time with Katie and she’s off to her family with some mini muffins!  Drive safely, Katie!


Day 15: Fabric Wall Decals


Supplies: Fabric, scissors, corn starch, water

Time: 15 minutes or so- it depends on what you do with your fabric

I wasn’t really familiar with the idea of wall decals until about a year ago.  I saw several on Etsy and I think they’re absolutely beautiful.  Then I read about how to make easy, removable fabric decals and couldn’t wait to make them.  I’ve done these a couple times before and they’re really pretty.  I put some on a lamp shade and used this technique to make the back of a white bookshelf pretty.  Today I decided to use some of the beautiful flowers from that blue and white fabric I used on day 9.  I picked the best flowers from the pattern and cut them out.

I swear, I'm obsessed with this fabric!

The great thing about this decal project is that you can use it in rentals.  The “glue” is a simple mixture of cornstarch and water, which can be easily wiped off with a wet rag when it’s time to take the decals down.

hard under water, liquidy when you take it out

Your glue should be pretty watery.  You’ll mix up the cornstarch and water and take your supplies to the blank wall.  My front door is pretty boring, so thought I’d add just a touch of color and beauty to it.

Now just soak the fabric in the cornstarch and water mixture, squeeze the excess water out, and stick it on the wall.  This project is very forgiving.  I experimented with three arrangements before I decided I liked it.  I just peeled the flowers off and stuck them back on elsewhere.

Now I have a little peep hole embellishment!  I’d almost like to have more flowers dispersed on the rest of the door, but I love the fabric so much that I don’t want to waste it.

I love this project so much because you can do so much with it.  I might do something else with this technique in the future… Be on the lookout!

Day 13: Up-Cycled Blouse Bag


Supplies: button up shirt, ruler, fabric scissors, straight pins, sewing machine

Time: 1 hour or so

I’ve always loved the idea of using old clothes for new purposes.  My favorite creative blog is  New Dress A Day, where Marisa Lynch finds ridiculously ugly old dresses and transforms them into something cute and wearable.  I’ve tried that kind of clothing up-cycle a few times, but my sewing skills just aren’t there yet.  But when I found this article a few weeks ago I thought I could probably handle it.  So today I turned a beautiful old shirt into a bag.

I started with the shirt spread out on the floor.  I measured a square in the middle of the shirt.  There were a couple pockets on the front that I decided to include on the bag.

I pinned and sewed straight down the button area to make sure my bag wouldn’t unbutton.  Then I hemmed the tops of the squares and pinned the two squares together.

Once three sides were sewn up.  I cut two long pieces of ribbon and pinned them to the top of the bag to make straps.

I stitched the straps down, turned the bag right side out, and ironed it flat.  Now I have a new tote!  Now what am I going to put in it?  No idea.

This is a really good project for me because I tend to hang onto clothes for way too long. It’s a great way to keep using them without wearing them long after they’re ready to retire.

Day 10: “New” Sandals


Supplies: 2 yards of fabric, fabric scissors, pins, sewing machine (or dedicated sewing hands), ruler, pen

sewing machine time!

Time: 1 hour, probably less

I’ve been wanting to do this project for several months, but today I realized another new fabric I bought (on sale!) was big enough for my purposes.  Back when it started getting ridiculously hot (I believe those first 90 degree days were in April or March) I bought some new sandals.  I loved my old Merrells because they were so comfy and they made an awesome tan line, but they broke at the end of last summer.  The new ones I bought are called Ssekos and if you’re in Columbia, Mo you can buy them at the Mustard Seed, the local fair trade store.  They have a cool story that you can read about here.  They’re really fun because they come with straps that can be changed out and/or tied in tons of different ways.  Here are my sandals with the original straps.

standard tying method

I love my green straps, but today I decided to make a new set of straps.  I put one old green strap on the floor and put my fabric out next to it to measure.  Turns out, they’re the same length, so no measuring was necessary.  What luck!


I used a ruler to gauge the width of the fabric strips.  I knew I wanted my finished straps to be about an inch wide, so I cut four strips of fabric about 1.5 inches wide to allow for seams.


I pinned two strips together, right sides facing, and sewed three of the sides.  I used the end of a (capped) pen to poke the sewn end through and turned the strip right side out.

Then I ironed the straps flat on my miniature ironing board.  Thank goodness the cat was sleeping in the bedroom during this project.  She would have made sewing long thin strips of fabric a nightmare!  Once my new straps were nice and flat I hand sewed the open end with an invisible stitch (or whatever the one you use for pillows is called).  Then I took out the old straps and laced up the new.

one of these days I'll tie them differently

I love the idea of sewing, but I’m usually not very good at it.  I’m practicing and hopefully I’ll be able to do it well soon.  For now, though, this is a perfect project for me.  It’s really easy and any flaws in the sewing won’t show once they’re on your feet.  I love these shoes, but if you get a pair make sure you don’t walk too far in them.  You’ll get blisters, I promise.

Day 9: Fabric Covered Journal and Give Away!


Supplies: Fabric, scissors, cardboard, X-acto knife, all-purpose glue, ruler, iron, stack of heavy books, embroidery floss/thread, sharp needle

Time: 1 hour to assemble, 3ish hours to dry

Today’s craft was inspired by my need to do something with this beautiful floral fabric I found on sale.

Daphne loves this fabric!

I decided to make a fabric covered journal.  This was not a particularly easy or interesting project to photograph, so I’ll have to make do with what I was able to get.  So here we go.  Start with a piece of thin cardboard twice the size you want your notebook to be.  You’ll fold it in half to make the front and back covers.

early stages of a book

Trace the cardboard twice on the fabric and leave a little extra on the edges.  You’re going to glue the whole piece of cardboard down on the back of the fabric. I used a paintbrush to spread the glue evenly.  (By the way, I added a little embroidered embellishment to the fabric, but that’s totally optional.)

the outside of the box should go on the inside of the book so you can't see through.

Put a stack of books on the cardboard and let it sit for awhile.  The cardboard will want to curl a little after you glue it unless there’s something heavy on it.  Once that side is mostly dry, cover the opposite side of the cardboard with glue and fold the fabric over.  Put it under the books again.

if there's a dog on your book it dries better

Meanwhile, you can cut your pages.  Cut a rectangle that’s slightly smaller than the book cover from another piece of thin cardboard.  Get a little stack of paper and trace the second piece of cardboard on it.  Use a ruler, slice the stack of paper with your X-acto knife and fold the stack in half.

Now go back to the cover.  Trim the extra fabric on the sides so you only have about 1/4” and glue those edges over.  Make sure they’re on the inside of the cover.  Make three dots on the inside of the spine and poke holes through them with a sharp needle.

the biggest, most frightening needle I've ever encountered

Now line up the pages with the cover, thread a needle, and bind the pages to the cover.  There are probably 1000 ways to bind a book, but I’ll tell you how I like to do it.  Here’s a little key: when I say to stitch up, your needle should be going from the inside of the book to the outside and down is the opposite.

1: Stitch up through the middle hole, leaving a tail of thread.  No knots should be happening.

2: Stitch down through the top hole

3: up through the middle hole

4: down through the bottom hole

5: up through the middle hole

6: down through the top hole

7: up through the bottom hole

8: down through the middle hole (this is you last stitch)

On the inside of the book there will be one long strand of thread that goes from top to bottom without an anchor in the middle.  You’ll want to make sure the tail from the beginning and the tail at the end are on opposite sides of that thread.  Tie them in a knot to anchor the long thread down.  Now you can either cut the ends and let them hang or wrap the loose ends around the tied down threads like this:

can you see it? it's a bit small.

With the whole thing bound you can either be done or add a bit more polish to the inside covers.  This is really easy.  Just brush some glue on the pages facing the inside covers and stick the pages to the covers.  Squash it under a book for a couple hours and you’ll have something like this:

And the finished journal:

I love that fabric so much!

This is a lot easier than it seems, but it has a really personal element that will make it a really special gift.  I don’t know if anyone’s reading (besides my mom, thanks mom!), but I’m going to do my first giveaway today.  If you’d like to have this notebook leave a comment below and I’ll pick a random winner on Thursday.  Why Thursday?  No clue.