We’re Back!

It’s been a long time since we’ve written here!  You know how you sometimes really have good intentions, but you just don’t make it happen?  I have the same situation with exercising.  I was never lucky enough to find any exercise I enjoyed.  Several years ago, I discovered I could watch Sue Hausmann in my netbook while I walked on the treadmill, and I even went longer than my target time, to see the end of her show,  America Sews!

Unfortunately, my best laid plans to continue with exercising went by the wayside.

As did posts on this blog!

So now I’m walking on the treadmill again, (still watching sewing and quilting shows on my iPad as I go,) and getting back to our blog posts!  I’ve been promised help, which is good anyway, because that way we have more of a variety of topics.  Look for us about every two weeks.

This one is a short one, brought about by forgetting my own tip!  I wanted to pre-wash something I was working on for Quilts of Valor.  (We have QoV Sew Days at the shop on second Thursdays of the month starting at 10am- everyone welcome!)  Anyway, I just threw the fabric in the washer and dryer, and this is what I got!20160725_134143

Please read my tip in a previous post on how to prevent this from happening!

Agadget-cushionnd for my fellow cat lovers, here’s a phone photo of my beautiful Cagney, sister to Lacy.  The phone’s propped up on my Gadget Cushion, 909270.  More about that next time I write.


(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Did you know that you can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day??  Karen does a great job of updating that page every time she adds something.  Sometimes it’s brand new fabric, books, tools, accessories or yarn, and sometimes it’s what just went up on our Rummage Page or Bargain Ends of Bolts.  Sometimes it’s something that we expect in soon that you can pre-order.   Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out!  Many people have told us they bookmark that page, so they’re always up to date!

Reviving the Pillow Case

pillowcase 4At our last Creative Sewing Club meeting Mary Ann showed how to use border prints and directional fabric for the cuffs of pillow cases and how to use the “Hot Dog Pillow Case” method. Many of the ladies there hadn’t heard of it, so I thought I’d bring it back here on our Blog.

peekThey’re called “Hot Dog” because the hot dog is rolled up inside the bun. That hides the seam that connects it. The side seam can be finished with an  overcast seam, a French seam, or serged. They’re really very quick to make!

For several years our customers have been making pillow cases through ConKerr Cancer, now called Ryan’s Case for Smiles. We have taken pillow cases to local children’s oncology wards and hopefully brought smiles to the faces of children undergoing such difficult times in their lives.pillowcases ready to go

If you’d like to make pillow cases for us, or for your community, for your children or grandchildren, you can download our PDF.

And for our many cat lovers, this was the help I got as I wrote this. post


I Glue it and Sew it!

I remember years ago hearing Aleene of Aleene’s Glue fame say, “if you can’t glue it, don’t do it!”  A dear sewing friend (well known in the sewing industry,) retorted with “if you don’t sew it, they’re going to know it.”

Well, with time gone by, we sew-ers both glue and sew!

For example, here I needed to fold my fabric under ¼” for a project I was working on. The easiest way I’ve discovered to do that is to draw a line at ½” in, press the fabric to that line, then lay glue inside it, and press it dry. I use my Frixion Pen (A20672) to make the line. It disappears with the heat of the iron. The glue I use is “Glue Baste It.” (44929) I like the fine tip because not too much glue comes out.combined rotated

I needed to add a zipper to my project, so again I used Glue Baste It. I pinned the zipper to my ironing board to keep it from moving around. Then I laid a line of glue, laid my folded fabric on the zipper, lined it up straight, and pressed it dry.  ( Then I sew to permanently attach the zipper.)Zipper 1 rotated20151022_145113Of course I add the other side using “Glue Baste It,” too.second side

BTW, this is the finished project. It’s one of three sizes of Hunter Design Studio’s Chunky Wee Zippy Pouches. (A30186)  The pattern doesn’t use glue, but these are techniques I use all the time and they can be applied to most patterns.Finished pouchIf you didn’t know about this, I hope it’ll be of help to you in some of your next projects.  Posted by me, Erica

(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.

If you signed up for our blog posts long ago, or you don’t get “WordPress” emails, please sign up again on this one.  It doesn’t split sentences or put photos in the wrong place.
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Let’s Color!

As a child, almost nothing made me happier than a new box of crayons and a coloring book or blank paper. The ladies at Crabapple Hill Designs must have felt the same way because many of their recent patterns include coloring. And yes, they use crayons!  I also enjoy handwork, so these patterns are a “win-win” project for me. Never mind how charming Crabapple Hill patterns are in general. Here are some tips for enjoying coloring once again, while creating and embroidered project.

Use Crayola Crayons. They may cost a bit more, but they’re worth it because they have more pigment, (the stuff that gives the crayon its color,) and give smoother results. This especially matters when you’re coloring fabric rather than paper. You want a crayon that puts the color down smoothly, providing better coverage.

Trace your pattern onto your background fabric first. You can use a light box and which ever type of fabric pencil, pen or marker you like.crayon blog 1

Be sure your fabric is smooth and sitting on a hard surface, like a table top.

Begin by coloring white all the areas that will have color. Using the white “preps” the fabric, filling in the fibers, making the surface more even and smoother.crayon blog 2crayon blog 3Then add whatever color you need to the appropriate areas. The amount of pressure you use helps determine how strong the color appears, but you can also work in layers until the color is as dark as you want it.crayon blog 6Heat set your colors by ironing. Place a piece of clean paper or a plain paper towel on top of your colored fabric, and gently press. The heat bonds the color to the fabric and melts the wax. The paper towel absorbs the excess wax, leaving the color behind, fused into the fabric. The crayon can add a stiff feel to the fabric once you’ve colored it, so melting the wax away will also make the fabric softer.

crayon blog 5After white and one layer of color, then ironing:crayon blog 6After one more layer of color, and one more ironing:crayon blog 7Now you can add the stitching to your project and finish it! The crayon color adds a wonderful richness to your project, adding another dimension to your piece.

Coloring is still fun! Who knew as adults we’d once again enjoy coloring with crayons? Enjoy!

Credit for some of the above information goes to the Crabapple Hill Designs.

Thanks to Cathy Mark for this post.


and it could be a little purse…

I made a cell phone bag for my smartphone. To this point, I’d only had a dumbphone. old cell phoneI only used it a few times a year, when we went to Quilt Market and Baby Lock and Viking sewing machine conventions, so I could find my co-workers when we separated, and I dropped one in the toilet at one of those.  (Got a new one.)   It might have texted, but I never did that.

When I saw everything my daughter, Cathy, did with her phone, like take pictures without having to carry a camera, sharing photos, and easily keeping in touch with her kids, I decided to spring into this century and get one. I went to my  know-everything-tech-guy son, and told him I wanted a smartphone. He wondered why, since I only used the other one a few times a year. But, as usual, he did what his mother tells him (ha!!) and got one for me.  I thought this one would be different and, oh my gosh, is it!cropped

I’m sure, just like with the microwave, I’ll never know everything about it, but I’ll certainly use it for more than heating frozen dinners. However, let me tell you, don’t get started on Spider Solitaire! But that’s another story…

Anyway, being a sew-er, I wanted to make myself something to carry my wonderful new smartphone in.  I found the Cell Phone Bag by Quiltsmart, (39055)39055So I jumped right in to make myself one. I kept going, even though I couldn’t believe it would really make a bag, only to find out that the designer really knew what she was doing with all the twists and turns. It was amazing, and I loved it! Then I put my phone in. My phone was too tall! That’s when I started experimenting, and how this information sheet came about. The original fits cell phones about 5” tall. The next one I did fits phones 5 ½” long, and the one I ended up using fits cell phones 6” tall.togetherIf this sounds like a commercial, I guess it is!  If you don’t use a cell phone (smart or dumb,) it’s a great little purse to fit just essentials. It’s so fun and easy that I’m going to make more. I still can’t figure out how she came up with something that uses interfacing this way!. It’s ingenious. And it could be a little purse.

If you decide you want to make one and make it larger than the original, I’d be happy to have you click here to download my notes.

Happy sewing.



Is it Paper or Fabric?

Have you seen our new “fabric?”  The manufacturer calls it PaperA23502 Fabric, and it’s a rugged paper that looks, feels, and wears like leather, but sews, cuts, and washes like fabric. It’s supple and lightweight, but strong enough to use for projects that get tough wear.

I’ve used the brown for two projects.  White DSC01426and black should be here soon, giving us even more options.

The first thing I made was the bag from the instructions included in the package.  I was surprised how easy it was to sew!  A10057

I used Transfer Artist Paper (A10057) to put a copyright-free image on the flap.  It worked beautifully, though I notice in my photo that it’s slightly crooked.  (Maybe you wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t said it!  Oh, well, I never said I was perfect!)

I  “marked” the folds of the bag with a Hera Marker (85259 – it’s at the very bottom of our web page.)  I’ve also DSC01322used the Hera Marker for “marking” embroidery placement without any kind of ink or chalk.

Instead of pins, we use Wonder Clips on this kind of fabric, leather, or vinyl.  (A12995) Keep them close to the edge to avoid “teeth marks.” In this photo you can see the DSC01340difference between this inside flap that I washed, and the unwashed fabric below it.

When I decided to reduce the weight of my purse, the first thing to go was the heavy ready-made wallet!  I made myself a new one, using the Easy Zip 40698Wallet pattern (40698), paper fabric, and cotton.  I made it even easier by not putting a zipper around the outside edge.

To add an inside zipper, I kept it straight by taping it to my cutting mat.  Then I used Double Face Basting Tape  DSC01332 copyDSC01333(86508) on the piece I wanted to add the zipper to.  You can see it above right, before I took the paper off.  Then I just sewed along the edge to secure the zipper.

I like to have my wallet in my purse in a way that my credit and loyalty cards are easy to get out without removing the wallet.  So the other thing I changed was the direction of the inside slots.  I made them all open toward the top of my purse.  If you’ll be taking your wallet out of your purse, use her instructions for the zipper and the slots.

Here it is, inside and outside.  There are slots for everything!  I love it!DSC01354 copyOf course I had help all along the way.DSC01346

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Locker Hooking 101

Locker HookingThe most fun and relaxing craft that you might not be doing is called Locker Hooking. It’s a personal favorite of mine since I love to create larger scale projects with minimal cost and enjoy the process along the way. Locker hooking is one of the most relaxing creative processes I have tried.

The basic tools are pretty straightforward.  You need mesh canvas for your base, fabric strips to create the design, locker hooking twine (86992) (or yarn), and your locker hook (86993). A locker hook looks just like a crochet hook, except that it has an additional eye on the opposite end of the hook, which is how you pull the yarn through your fabric loops.

Locker Hook rug in progress

As you can see above, your fabric strips sit below the mesh, so you can pull loops up, and then “lock” them with your twine/yarn. When you come to the end of your yarn, you just tie a knot and go on. The knot will be hidden inside your loops.

While I tend to focus primarily on making rugs, you can make just about anything using locker hooking. We have several great books full of ideas how to embellish your life with locker hooking. Kathleen’s Fabric Locker Hooking (18004) is great for a beginner with all of the basics covered well. Once you’ve mastered the process you might want to move on to home decor and fashion accessories with Hook, Loop & Lock (44063).  Take a look at all our Locker Hooking books and supplies..

booksAs always, please let us know what you decide to make, and send pictures! Until then, happy hooking!

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.