Archive for the 'Tutorial' Category

Daisy Applique Cushion (with pattern pieces)

I am so thankful for technology that makes crafting easier.  When I started putting together the daisy applique for my cushion, I started off by arranging different triangles in Publisher:  skinny, fat, long, short all in different combinations and numbers.
I finally settled on the last combo (bottom right):  9 of each: fat/long  in the back and fat/short in the front.

Instructions below are for the applique on the front of a 16″ x 16″ square cushion.  You can finish off the cushion using whatever method you prefer.  These are instructions for the front panel applique only.

You will need:

Double-Layer Daisy Applique Pattern Pieces (PDF):

1    18″ square piece of fabric for background

1     19″ square piece of batting

Fusible webbing (I prefer Heat ‘n Bond LITEDo not use Heat ‘n Bond ULTRAHOLD as it can not be sewed through)

Fabric for long triangles

Fabric for short triangles

Scrap of fabric for center circle

Instructions start now.

1) Print pattern pieces.  Open file from above and select print on the bottom right of the screen.  In the print box, UNselect “fit to page”.  Or download file from above and open.  Select print and set print to “actual size” or “Custom size: 100%”.  Printing on card stock will make everything so much easier.  I prefer sturdier shapes that don’t bend and break when I’m tracing them.

2) Cut out pattern pieces.

3) Trace pattern pieces onto fusible webbing.
          Trace 9 long triangle pieces onto paper side of fusible webbing.  Cut around the outside of the fusible webbing as shown.
Trace 9 short triangle pieces onto paper side of fusible webbing as above.
Trace 1 daisy center circle onto paper side of fusible webbing.  Cut around outside, leaving a small border.

4) Fuse webbing onto WRONG side of respective fabrics using the manufacturer’s instructions.  DO NOT remove paper backing from fusible webbing.

5) Cut out shapes, using your traced lines.  After cutting out shapes, remove paper backing.

6)  Make center mark.  Find center of 18″ pattern piece by folding fabric in half twice and mark lightly with pencil.  Arrange long triangles evenly around center.  Fuse to background fabric with iron.

daisy applique 1

7) Arrange short triangles around center mark.  Fuse with iron.
daisy applique 2

8) Stitch around outsides of short triangles 1/8″ from the edge.  Sewing across the center is okay since the stitches will be covered later.       daisy applique 3

9)  Stitch around the exposed edges of the long triangle pieces as shown.Stitches

10) Add Daisy Center.  Fuse Daisy Center over center of daisy.

11) Center fabric piece over batting and pin in place.  Stitch around outside of daisy circle, 1/8″ from the edge, through the batting.

12) Quilt .  Use free-motion quilting to secure background fabric to batting.

13) Trim down batting and background to 17″ square, making sure daisy is centered.
Daisy Cushion Front Panel

There you have it, the front of your double-layer daisy cushion.

Here is a shot of the back.  The bonus is that I like the back just as much as the front.

daisy cushion back

Additional thoughts:

* Depending on the type of batting used, you may not feel comfortable leaving the back of the panel with batting exposed.  I use Warm & Natural cotton batting and don’t worry about it falling apart inside the cushion.  If you are using a less sturdy batting, then you may want to add backing fabric to the panel before quilting.

*Any questions?  I’ll add the answers here.

Free-Motion Quilting

If you’ve been one of the readers that has told me you’re afraid of free-motion quilting this post is for you!  I, too used to be afraid, but am no longer!  This is me quilting on a small quilt sandwich (2 layers of fabric with batting in between).


Excuse the Michael Jackson look.  Although my sewing area is surprisingly clean, I can’t find my other quilting glove!

If you’ve never done this before, here are some simple steps to get you going.  There are a ton of words here, but if you’d like to print off the instructions, I’ve put them on a handy dandy PDF file  for you to print off an take with you to the sewing machine.

  • Make a mini quilt sandwich ~ 10” x 10” using scrap pieces of fabric and batting:  Layer batting between 2 pieces of pressed fabric.  Spread top and bottom fabrics out flat with hands.  Pin if necessary to keep layers in place.
  • Attach a darning foot to your machine.
  •  Set presser foot pressure to zero.
  •  Lower the feed dogs (consult your machine’s manual on how to do this if necessary).
  •  Put on quilting gloves, if available (rubber gloves are a good substitute).
  •  Starting in the center, make one stitch, ending with needle up.  Using the top thread, pull the bobbin thread all the way up through the top of the quilt (a pin may be helpful in pulling up the bobbin thread).  Stitch in place over the ends of the thread for 3 stitches.  Snip thread tails.
  •  Place both hands on fabric with thumbs pointing toward each other forming a three-sided box around the needle.  Remember that the quilt sandwich should not rotate.  It will simply glide up, down, side to side and diagonally.
  •  Start sewing, moving your quilt sandwich left, right, up and down.  Practice diagonals and loops.  Practice writing your name or drawing stars.
  •  Practice meandering stitches as shown above.  Note:  The diagram above is meant only to be a guide.  Meandering stitches are meant to be random.
  •  Listen to the rhythm of the machine and try to move your fabric at a consistent speed.  Pay attention to your stitches.  Are they longer than you’d like?  Try decreasing the stitch length by moving the fabric more slowly.  Are they shorter than you’d like?  Try moving the fabric more quickly under the machine, increasing the stitch length.   As you become more used to stitching this way, you’ll find your rhythm and refine your technique.
  • Pay attention to your posture.  It’s easy to hunch over in concentration but quilting this way for any length of time can strain your back and neck.
  •  Consider winding up several bobbins before free-motion quilting an entire quilt.  Free-motion quilting uses a lot of thread and having several bobbins filled prevents the sewer from having to stop to refill a fresh bobbin.

I have to admit that  my sewing machine has a special stitch regulator that makes free-motion quilting (FMQ) much less intimidating.  But when I wrote the Tree and Bird Baby Quilt pattern, I turned that feature off and learned to do it without the stitch regulator so I could write the instructions I’m giving to you now.  I can honestly say that it isn’t much harder and am not using the stitch regulator in the video above.

Seasoned quilters, feel free to add your 2 cents, keeping in mind that there will be variations based on preferences.

New to FMQ?  Feel free to ask anything that I forgot to cover!

Happy Circles:: Round Luggage Tag Tutorial

luggage tag 1

Want a quick little round project?  Why not a luggage tag?  If you’re like me, all my luggage looks just like everyone else’s on the luggage carousel.  What my suitcases need is a little something to set them apart so I can spot them from far away.  Note: the luggage above is not what I actually carry on trips.  This one is strictly for display purposes only – cute, but also old and fragile. 

Here’s what you’ll need:


1.   4″ fabric circle  (with fusible interfacing on the WRONG side)
2.   3 3/4″ vinyl circle
3.   4″ fabric circle with a 2 1/2″ circle cut out of the center (with fusible interfacing on the WRONG side)
4.   4″ circle of fusible webbing with a 2 1/2″ circle cut out of the center
5.   luggage tag strap (buy ’em or use one from an old luggage tag).

Notes on supplies:
1.  The fabric I used in the following pictures is NOT interfaced, but it should have been.  Interfacing adds sturdiness and minimizes fraying of the raw edges.
2.  Throughout this tutorial, I will be calling the clear plastic “vinyl”, but it really is cut from a clear plastic presentation cover sheet (available at office supply stores).
3.  Pattern pieces are in a pdf file here:  Round Luggage Tag Pattern Sheet.  Make sure page scaling is set to “NONE”.
4.  There are plenty of options when it coves to luggage tag straps.  There are the buckled kind shown above as well as plastic loops.

Are we ready?  Okay!

STEP 1: Start off by fusing the fusible webbing to the WRONG side of the fabric ring.  Peel off the paper backing.

fusible web

STEP 2:  Center the fabric ring over the vinyl so that the vinyl is against the WRONG side of the fabric.  Carefully press the FABRIC ONLY to warm up the webbing so that it sticks to the vinyl.  Be careful not to keep your iron in one place too long as you may melt the vinyl.  I had the setting of my iron on “cotton” which is quite hot and didn’t have a problem.  Fusing the vinyl to the fabric prevents it from sliding around in the next step.

pressing fabric to vinyl copy
The vinyl is impossible to see in the picture, but it really is there.

 STEP 3:  Mark identical marks on both pieces of fabric, 3/8″ from the edge and 3/4″ wide.    Stitch buttonholes around these lines.  With a seam ripper, make an opening in the buttonholes.

Buttonhole Marks

STEP 4:  Stitch around the inside of the ring with a 1/8″ seam allowance, securing the vinyl to the fabric.  Hey, no laughing at my sorry stitching here.

buttonhole sewn

STEP 5:  With both pieces WRONG sides together, slip the strap through the holes to keep them lined up properly during this final step.  Starting ~1 from the buttonhole, stitch the rings together, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Stop stitching ~1″ before reaching the buttonhole.  Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end.

luggage tag 2 tilt

This little paper insert is available on the pattern sheet here:  Round Luggage Tag Pattern Sheet.

This little circle makes me happy and I hope it makes you happy too!

More Happy Circles here and here.

Crayon Cars

If there’s one thing that needs improvement in my mommy-ing , it’s to enjoy doing crafts with the kids.  As the kid’s homeschool teacher I do different crafts with them, but truth be told, I don’t enjoy it that much.  In fact, if given a choice, I always pick the least messy craft.  Doing crafts really brings joy to the kids, but I get frustrated with them mess.  I mean, the house is messy enough without getting out the glue and the yarn, the paint and the play-doh, you know?  I’ve needed help and there have been a couple of books that have been helpful:

  • Global Art: Activities, Projects, and Inventions from Around the World.  We’ve been using this as part of our curriculum this year.  We’re currently studying Central America so I’ve been able to pick out different crafts from that region of the world.
  • Green Crafts for Children.  This one had a lot of basic ideas – lots of stuff that I’ve seen online.  But it was inspiring enough for me to make pom poms with the boys and little cork animals.  It’s a nice one for the kids to look through and pick an activity out of.  My only complaint is that many of the crafts are aimed toward girls.
  • Drawing With Children.  While this may not be crafting necessarily, I had to mention this book.  I love this approach to drawing.  It’s concepts are simple enough for the kids to understand but foundational to drawing.  Not being an artist myself, I’ve learned a lot using this book.

So let’s get on to the latest craft the boys and I did together.  It wasn’t too messy and was lots of fun.  Crayon cars.

 crayon cars2

Melting crayons certainly isn’t new, but when I saw this car cake pan ($22 at Target), I had to try this.

1.  Peel the paper off of the crayons.  Sitting around peeling the paper off of the crayons together was fun!  A great fine motor activity that we all enjoyed.  My sons are pickers like me.  We sorted the colors so that the final cars would be different shades of the same color.

2.  Break the crayons up.  Snap, snap, snap!  Break the longer pieces up.  The boys loved this part.

3. VERY IMPORTANT STEP:  spray your car shapes with cooking spray to help the cars come out of the pan easily.

4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Much hotter and your house will smell like wax for a few hours.

5. Fill the pans with crayon bits and pieces.  Here they are ready to go in the oven.

 crayon cars a

10 minutes later:

crayon cars 10m

10 more minutes:

crayon cars 20m

See how they aren’t full?

6. Add more crayons if necessary and put them back in the oven for another 10.

crayon cars 30m

That’s better.

7. Remove from oven and cool. They should pull away from the edge of the pan as they cool.

8.  When completely cool, the cars should come out with just a little gentle encouragement.

 crayon cars1

In addition to using the crayon pieces we had around the house, I also purchased several boxes of 68 count Crayolas.  2 boxes ($5 total) made ~8 of the smaller-sized cars (we didn’t even try the bigger cars).  Not the cheapest little crayon, but certainly doesn’t break the bank if you’re giving a little gift to a friend.  I think we’ll be making some of these up for the boy’s buddies when we pass out Christmas cookies this year.  And for the girls?

 crayon hearts

These little hearts were made using mini silicone hearts cupcake cups I purchased around Valentine’s Day.

Bank Robber Money Bag Tutorial

Ever since I made my rice-filled bed warmers from Ashley’s tutorial, my boys have been running around the house with them, calling them Money Bags.  I think it has something to do with Larry the Cucumber being framed for thievery in Little Joe.  Well, it’s time for me to stop searching around the house for my foot warmers on cold nights and giving the kids their own money bags so they’ll leave mine alone!

money bag

 I thought a tutorial might be fun because it’s hard to find things to sew for boys.  If you want to see more ideas, check out the Handmade Crafts for Boys Flickr Group.  Obviously this isn’t rocket science, but sometimes an easy tutorial is great for beginning sewers and, of course, easier for me to write.

 money bag supplies

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of fabric 9″ wide x 22″ tall (one for the exterior of the bag, one for the interior)  For this tutorial the exterior is the plain fabric and the interior is the print fabric.
  • 1 small scrap of fabric for $ sign
  • 1 print-out of a dollar sign ($) on paper (I used Franklin Gothic Medium Cond set to 300pt font size)
  • a small piece of iron-on adhesive (I used Heat N Bond Lite)
  • 20″ of ribbon
  • ~4 cups rice

1.  Make your applique $.   Tape printed dollar sign to window with ink side toward window.  Place iron-on adhesive  on top of $ with glue side toward the window.  Trace dollar sign onto paper side of iron-on adhesive.  Dollar sign will be backward.

Money bag - fused dollarFuse iron-on adhesive scrap with dollar sign traced on it to WRONG side of fabric scrap.

Money Bag - peeledCut out dollar sign and peel off backing paper.

2. Fuse and stitch $ in place.  Fold exterior piece of fabric in half.  Center dollar sign 2″ up from the fold and fuse in place.  Stitch around all the outer edges of the dollar sign about 1/16″ from the edge.

 Money bag placement of dollar sign

3. Assemble exterior and interior of money bag.  Place exterior and interior fabric RIGHT sides together.  Pin and stitch together all the way around with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving a 3″ opening at one short end for turning.

4. Turn right side out.

Money bag- clipped corner

Clip all corners as shown and turn right side out.  Press crisp seams around the outside.  Press raw edges of fabric into the opening so that the edge is straight all the way across.


5. Topstitch.  Topstitch both short ends using a 1/8″ seam allowance, closing up the opening as you go.  (You can see the topstitching in the picture below.)

6. Attach ribbon.  Measure 2 1/2″ down from the top center of the short side on the opposite side of the dollar sign.

money bag - ribbon prep

  Place center of ribbon on dot and stitch in place as shown.

money bag - ribbon

7. Assemble bag.  Fold bag in half with exterior sides together.  Pin in place.  Position the  ribbon so that is is pointing out of the bag as shown.

money bag - prep for stitching

Stitch up the right and left sides of the bag using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

money bag - stitching up sides

Turn bag right exterior side out through the opening at the top.  Press both sides.

8. Stitch up top.  Draw a line ~2 1/2″ from the top of the bag just above where the ribbon attaches.  Stitch across this line, leaving a 1 1/2″ opening right where the ribbon attaches.  Make sure the ribbon is still pointing toward the top of the bag so that you do not stitch through it.
money bag - opening
9. Fill bag.  Through the openning in the top of the bag, pour rice into the bag.  It will be handy to have a chopstick to help the rice go down into the opening  easily.

 10.  Close up the opening.  Stitch the opening closed on your machine.

money bag - closing up

11) Finish the bag.  money bag - accordian
Fold up the top of the bag accordian style.

Tie the ribbon around the top.  Aaaaaaannnnnddd – you’re done!

money bag

© 2009 Craft Apple Creations

Mod Podging the Least Decorated Room in the House

What’s your least decorated room in the house?  For me, every room has a new coat of paint.  Every room except the laundry room, that is.  The laundry room does more than laundry.  It’s also home to many coats and shoes.  Coats and shoes that will have to move one day because as the boys grow bigger, their bigger shoes aren’t going to fit in there.  It hadn’t occured to me that I might make this space a little cheerier until I met this fabric.


These fabrics are Michael Miller and are called “Mending Madness” and “Tidy Up”.  Cute, huh?  A few months back I Mod Podged some fabric to paper mache letter forms for my sewing room.  I really liked how they turned out.  And these prints are perfect for the laundry room (and other places, too…but one project at a time, folks).

Materials needed:


  • Mod Podge (I prefer the matte finish because it has fewer fumes than the gloss)
  • Plastic container for mixing the Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper mache letter forms (available at Michael’s or JoAnn’s)
  • Cotton fabric
  • Scissors that you don’t mind getting sticky
  • Newspaper to cover your work surface

1) Lay your newspaper over your work area.

2) Mix the ModPodge in your container with water 1:1.  Mix it up with your paintbrush.

3) Determine which fabrics will go on what letter and cut pieces of fabric large enough to cover the front of the letter.  Be generous here, making adjustments for centering a design on the fabric, etc.


I positioned the words along the long line of the S.

4) Brush the front of the letter with ModPodge.

5) Lay your fabric on top of the letter.

6) Snip the fabric around the edges, making sure the fabric doesn’t slip around while you’re snipping.  The end result will be that the fabric is the exact same shape as the letter top.  If there are dry spots of fabric, brush the top of the fabric with ModPodge using your paintbrush.

7) Measure the depth of the letters and cut strips of fabric in this width (mine were 1-inch deep).  Soak the strips in Mod Podge, squeeze a little bit out between your fingers so that it isn’t drenched, and stick them around the edges of the letters.

8)  When the letter forms are completely covered on the front and side, the let them air dry on the edge of your plastic container.  They seem to stick too much to anything else.

9)Take a few moments to pick the dried Mod Podge off of your pudgy hand (who knew the camera added 10 pounds to each finger?).   This is my favorite part – I’m a big picker.  🙂  Look at that pinky!


The 4 of these letters took me about 2 hours from start to finish.  Please note that this includes clean up time and about 15 minutes of picking-glue-off-the-fingers time (oh it’s so addicting).


And I hung the letters with 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips.  They let me reposition my letters and can be removed without damaging walls.

Lotus Bag revisited


This isn’t a tutorial for the Lotus bag.  This isn’t even a pattern.  But here are some basic instructions on how to make it since so many people asked.  I wouldn’t recommend using these instructions for making your first bag, but if you’ve made a bag before, there’s a strong likelihood that you can make this bag for yourself!  All seams are 1/2″ and all measurements noted are on the straight line.  There are no curve measurements.

1. Here’s the basic shape of the interior pattern piece.  Cut 2.  Sorry, I don’t even remember how to measure an arc:


 2. Fuse interior pieces with a fusible fleece cut 1/2″smaller all around.

3. Then for the  exterior panels, I used the same shape but added 1/2″ seams to each panel so that it would measure the same when sewn up with a 1/2″ seam.  Cut 2 of each piece.


4. Fuse interfacing on exterior fabric pieces.

5. Put a pocket on an inside panel (or two) if you want to.

6. Attach magnetic snap now if desired.

7. Sew interior pieces together, right sides together.

8. Assemble exterior panels.

9. Sew exterior pieces together, right sides together.

10. Clip corners on interior and exterior.

11. Place interior inside exterior, right sides together.

12. Sew around the top, leaving a 4″ hole for turning in the middle and four 1″ holes where the strap handles will go in.  I put my straps right on the seam where the different fabrics lined up at the top of the bag.

13. Turn right side out.

14. Press crisp seams around the top of the bag.

15. Slip leather handles into opennings (My leather straps were cut to 24″ long)

16. Edgestitch along the top of the bag, securing straps into place and closing up 4″ opening as you go.

Do not be tempted to put one long strap on the side seams of this bag.  It will not hold it’s shape this way and will collapse.  Believe me, I know.

If you have questions, leave me a comment and I’ll try to update the post to make it more clear.

Craft Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well, crafting is my apple. It’s what I do to maintain my sanity while taking care of my family. I homeschool my three boys, ages 14, 15, and 16), am a quilter, a bagaholic, and pattern designer.  Oh – and I also like taking pictures.

© 2006-2018 Craft Apple Creations