My Red Leather Coat

As I promised a couple of days ago, I’m here to tell you the story of my red leather coat.  It’s a tale of love, disappointment and rebirth.  You’ll love the ending – it’s a happy one.

Years ago, I was a loan officer at a credit union.  Those were my skirts and heels days.  At the time, there was a clothing chain called Lerner’s.  This was also before the internet, so I used to get their catalogs in the mail.  One day, one of those catalogs landed at my house with a long, red leather coat inside.  I was in love. 

leather coat 1
leather coat 1

I ordered the coat and waited anxiously for it to arrive.  When it finally did, I was pretty disappointed.  The coat was so stiff, it could stand up by itself.  When I put it on, I couldn’t even move.  But I loved the color and just didn’t want to admit I’d made a mistake.  I hung it in the closet. 

About 18 years later (not kidding!) it still hung there.  I pulled it out every couple of years or so, tried it on, remembered why it was there, and put it back.  A few months ago, I moved it to my craft room.  I decided you can’t really ruin something that’s been with you for that long and NEVER, EVER worn.

I decided to start by shortening it to a jacket.  I cut a large chunk off the bottom, then hung it back up for a few more months.  Ok, maybe I was still a tiny bit intimidated.

leather coat 2
leather coat 2

I did a little research on altering leather, but in the end I cowboy-ed it.  Big time.  I pulled the stitching out of the lining enough so I could fold the bottom up an inch. 

leather coat 3
leather coat 3

I clipped it up with binder clips.  I stitched from one side to the other, overlapping the top of the leather with the folded-under edge of the lining.  I didn’t take photos of any of that, probably because even I was afraid of what I was doing.

I’ve never sewn leather before, but my little sewing machine was a beast.  Even the parts so thick I could barely fit it under the foot.

I don’t know why, but my crazy attempt actually worked.  Close inspection of the inside gives me away, but I love the way it turned out!

leather coat 4
leather coat 4

Because of the cut of the original coat, the jacket ended up with a bit of a peplum effect in the back, which I really like.

leather coat 5
leather coat 5

Cutting off all that extra leather really helped with the flexibility of it.  This, I will wear!  See, I told you there would be a happy ending.

Now, you may be asking, what happened to all that leather you cut off the bottom?  Here’s a sneak peek:

leather coat 6
leather coat 6

I’ll show you that, and one or two other reincarnations of my red leather coat, next week!

Ruffled Oven Mitts

You might have caught my tutorial last week for the Spring Apron I made for my sister.  If you made one, or even read through the instructions, you probably noticed there’s a good-sized piece of scrap left over.  I’m not one to let fabric go to waste, so I HAD to come up with a project to use it.  What better accessory to a cute, ruffley apron than cute, ruffley oven mitts? 

oven mitts 1
oven mitts 1

To make one of these (you’ll probably want two, so just do everything twice) you’ll need this pattern.  Everything is sewn together using 1/4” seams.

Cut:

one (on the fold) from the outer fabric

one (on the fold) from the lining fabric

one (on the fold) from Insul-Brite

one (on the fold) from cotton batting

one 2 1/2” x 18” piece of contrasting fabric (for the ruffle)

one 1 1/2” x 16” (cut on the bias) from the lining fabric for binding the bottom edge

oven mitt 2
oven mitt 2

Fold the ruffle in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.  Press.  Baste the raw edge.  On a side note, yes, I have scorched the heck out of my ironing board cover.  I have the world’s hottest iron, which is both a blessing and a curse.

oven mitts 3
oven mitts 3

Layer the pieces opened up with the lining right side down, the cotton batting, the Insul-Brite (with the shinier side up) and then the outer piece right side up.  Pin together using lots of pins. 

oven mitts 4
oven mitts 4

You can quilt these together by stitching through all the layers in a few lines if you’d like.  It’s not required, but it will make everything a little easier to handle, and you can remove the pins.

oven mitts 5
oven mitts 5

Leave the piece laid out flat.  Find the center of the ruffle and pin it to the center of the mitt with the raw edges even.  Pin the ends of the ruffle to the outer edges of the mitt.  Pull the threads from each end to gather.  Pin the ruffle in place.  Baste in place if desired.

oven mitts 6
oven mitts 6

Fold the bias piece in half, wrong sides together and press.  Press edge under 1/4”.  Cut to fit the edge of the mitt, setting the remaining piece of bias aside.  Pin over the ruffle with the raw edge of the mitt even with the unfolded edge of the bias.  Stitch 1/4” from edge.

oven mitts 7
oven mitts 7

Pull the bias down toward the seam and wrap the folded edge to the back, just covering the stitch line. 

oven mitts 8
oven mitts 8

Pin in place.  Stitch from the front near the edge of the bias closest to the ruffle.

oven mitts 9
oven mitts 9

Cut 3” from the remaining bias.  Fold both raw edges under 1/4”, the fold in half.  Stitch near the edge.  This will be your hanging loop.

Fold the mitt right sides together.  Fold the hanging loop in half and put between the two layers near the wrist with the loop to the inside.  Stitch around the edge of the mitt, tapering your stitching to meet the fold and keep a smooth curve.  Clip the seam where the thumb meets the hand.  Zigzag over the seam all the way around.

oven mitts 10
oven mitts 10

Turn right side out and go make some cookies.

oven mitts 11
oven mitts 11

Spring Apron

Of all the tutorials I’ve done, this apron took the most time and work on my part to develop, so I’m kinda proud of it.  Now to find time to make one for myself!

Apron 0

To make this apron with a main fabric and contrast, as shown above, you’ll need

  • 1 2/3 yards of the main fabric (skirt, top and waist ties)
  • 1 1/2 yards of the contrast (ruffle, waistband, neck tie and pockets)

Wash and dry both fabrics before cutting so your apron can be washed later with little to no shrinkage.

You’ll also need this pattern.  It’s a big one – 25 pages – but for this project we’re dealing with large pieces.  You’ll have to piece them together by printing out the pages and matching the X’s.  The pieces overlap, so just look for matching letters next to the X.  It’s also printed on a grid, which should make it easier.

Fold the main fabric with the selvages together.  If you’re not familiar with the term, the selvage is the long finished edge on both sides of the fabric perpendicular to the cut edge.  Cut top and skirt as shown.  Mark dots on bottom edge of skirt and for pocket placement.

Apron 1
Apron 1

Unfold remaining fabric and fold with selvages apart, just enough to fit waist ties.  If the waist tie piece is too long to fit the width of your fabric, simply shorten it.  It won’t be noticeable on the finished apron because the ties are very long.

Apron 2
Apron 2

Fold the contrast fabric with the selvages on the same side, but only wide enough to accommodate the waistband, since it’s the tallest piece.  After cutting the other pieces, fold smaller for the pocket, as shown.  This will keep all your scrap fabric in a larger piece.  Fold the necktie and ruffle pattern pieces and cut on the fold.  Add the point to one end of the necktie.  Mark the dot on the waistband.

Apron 3
Apron 3

Use a 1/2” seam allowance for all stitching on the apron.

Fold the pocket, right sides together.  Stitch around edge, leaving a 1 1/2” opening on one side for turning.  Trim seam.  I leave the seam a bit wider at the opening to make it easier to turn in.  Turn right side out.  Press, turning in opening.  Repeat with remaining pocket.

Apron 4
Apron 4

Match top corners of pockets to dots on skirt.  Pin in place and stitch near edge, leaving top open. 

Apron 5
Apron 5

Turn sides of top under 1/2”, then turn edge in to fold to create a 1/4” rolled seam.  Press.  Trim off ends of seam even with lower edge of top.  Stitch.

Apron 6
Apron 6

Fold upper edge of top under 1 1/2”.  Press.  Fold edge under 1/4”.  Stitch near inner fold to create casing at neck.

Apron 7
Apron 7

Pin waistband to lower edge of top, right sides together, matching tip of lower edge of top to dot on waistband.  Stitch, slightly stretching waistband if necessary to match edge of top.

Apron 8
Apron 8

Lay waistband, with top attached, right side up.  Pin upper edge of skirt to raw edge with right sides together.  Stitch.  Press seam toward waistband.

Apron 9
Apron 9

Fold waist tie right sides together.  Stitch, leaving straight end open.  Clip corners.  Turn.  Press.  Topstitch.  Repeat with remaining waist tie.  No, the end is not symmetrical.  Yes, it was an accident.  I decided I like it, but if it bugs you, feel free to fix it on your pattern before cutting.

Apron 10
Apron 10

Match raw end of waist tie to edge of waistband, with the edge next to the skirt seam, right sides together.  Stitch.

Apron 12
Apron 12

Fold short ends of remaining waistband piece under 1/2”.  Press.  Fold top down over skirt. 

Apron 13
Apron 13

With right side facing top, pin second waistband to first, sandwiching top between, and matching folded edge to stitching line where waist ties were attached. 

Apron 14
Apron 14

Sew along previous stitching line.  Press waistbands down toward skirt.

Apron 15
Apron 15

Sew short ends of ruffle pieces right sides together to create one long strip.  Zigzag stitch over edges of seams to finish.  Press seams to one side. 

Apron 17
Apron 17

Turn one long edge under 1/2” and then turn the edge into the fold for a 1/4” rolled hem.  Stitch.  Do the same on both short ends.

Apron 18
Apron 18

Stitch a long basting stitch 5/8” from raw edge, then 1/4” from that.  Stop and restart stitching at each seam, leaving long threads.  Mark center on edge of skirt.

Apron 19
Apron 19

Pin ruffle to bottom edge of skirt, right sides together, matching center and dots on skirt to seams on ruffle.  Ends of ruffle should be next to waistband seams.

Apron 20.1
Apron 20.1

Gather each section of ruffle by tying long threads together at one end and pulling threads from the other.  Even out gathers and pin. 

Apron 20
Apron 20

Stitch.  Remove basting threads.  Zigzag stitch over edge of seam.  Press seam up toward skirt.  Top stitch near the edge of skirt through seam and again 1/4” away.

Apron 21
Apron 21

Turn remaining raw edge of waistband under 1/2”.  Press. 

Apron 16
Apron 16

Pin over first waistband, covering raw seams on upper edge of skirt and at sides where waist ties were sewn on. Topstitch.

Apron 22
Apron 22

Stitch short ends of neck tie pieces right sides together to create one long piece.  Press seam open.  Fold right sides together.  Stitch, leaving an opening near the middle.  Trim seam.  Turn.  Press, turning in opening.  Top stitch.

Apron 23
Apron 23

Feed neck tie though casing at upper edge of top.  Make sure neck tie is flat and centered.  Stitch through casing at center to hold neck tie in place.  Push sides of casing toward center while holding neck ties to gather.

Spring Apron from craftystaci.com

Ready for the kitchen!  Hang onto those leftover fabric scraps – I’ve got another cute kitchen project coming next week.

Apron 24

If you happen to make one of these yourself, I’d love to see a photo.  Just tag me @craftystaci!

Spring Apron Free Pattern from craftystaci.com #easysewing #apronpattern #giftstosew

Fat Quarter Half Apron

If you’re keeping score at home, you know I have two fat quarters left out of the bunch I received from my New Zealand fabric swap partner.  They’re my favorites, so I wanted to make sure I used them for something I could keep.  I’ve been working on a full apron pattern I’ll be sharing with you soon, but sometimes all you need is a half.  Since I don’t own an apron at all, that settled it.

FQ apron 1
FQ apron 1

To make this apron, you’ll need two fat quarters and this pocket pattern

From the first fabric, cut:

Apron skirt – 21” x 19”

From the second fabric, cut:

Bottom edge trim – 21” x 4”

Waistband – 21” x 4”

Ties (cut two) – 21” x 2 1/2”

Pockets (cut two) - from pattern

FQ apron 2
FQ apron 2

Sew the two pockets, right sides together, leaving a 2” opening at the bottom to turn.  Clip the corners.

FQ apron 3
FQ apron 3

Turn the pocket right side out and press, turning in the opening.  Place the pocket, centered on the skirt, 6 1/2” from the top edge.  Stitch around the straight edges of the pocket, leaving the two curved sides open.

FQ apron 4
FQ apron 4

Fold the bottom edge trim in half with wrong sides together.  Press the fold.  Open back up and line up one edge with the bottom edge of the apron skirt, right sides together.  Stitch.  Press seam toward the trim.

FQ apron 5
FQ apron 5

Repeat the same process with the waistband, stitching it to the top of the skirt and pressing the seam toward the waistband.

FQ apron 6
FQ apron 6

Create a 1/4” rolled hem on each side by folding the edge under 1/2”, then folding the raw edge in 1/4”.  Stitch.

FQ apron 7
FQ apron 7

Fold tie the long way, right sides together.  Stitch near edge, angling at the end if desired and leaving the opposite end open.  Turn and press.

FQ apron 8
FQ apron 8

Turn the raw edge of the waistband under 1/4” and press.  Fold in along the previously pressed center line, so the folded edge covers the seam on the back.  Tuck the raw end of the tie into the end of the waistband.  Stitch near the bottom edge and down the sides of the waistband.

FQ apron 9
FQ apron 9

Repeat with the bottom trim, leaving out the ties.

FQ apron 10
FQ apron 10

This is quick and easy to make and takes very few supplies.  You could even change up the shape of the pocket.

FQ apron 11
FQ apron 11

I’m not only the proud owner of a new apron, but a new apron with a story behind it.  The very best kind.

FQ apron 12
FQ apron 12
Smile
Smile

Bet you can’t guess what my Friday Favorites theme is tomorrow!

Fabric Postcards

Last month, I was in the middle of cleaning out my fabric when I stopped to catch up on some email.  I subscribe to a blog called Ninth Street Notions, which caught my eye a while back because she’s a fellow Oregonian.  She was organizing a Fat Quarter Swap and asked that interested readers sign up.  It seemed like good timing, what with me sitting in the middle of all that fabric…

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Pan Protector and Hot Pad

If you happen to follow me on Facebook, you may have caught a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago with a young bachelor I know (ugh, that made me sound old!) about how to keep his brand new pans from scratching each other up while they’re stored.  After I had a little laugh about the fact that my own pans are separated by paper towels, I got to work on a solution to our problem.

Pan Protectors and Hot Pads from craftystaci.com

This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy and point of view, click here

He suggested a fabric circle, which is perfect, but I wanted to take it a step further than just protecting the pans.  It would only take one additional layer to turn it into a pan protector that could also be used as a hot pad, so it was almost a no-brainer.

To make these, you’ll need fabric for each side, cotton batting and Insul-Brite.  I made these with home dec fabric, which is a bit heavier, but I also made one using regular quilting cotton and it worked out fine.  I recommend using a different color or print for each side because the Insul-Brite works best when the metallic side is facing the hot pan and that will make it easier to tell which that is.  Whatever you use, you should pre-wash the fabric and the cotton batting you’ll use inside so these can be washed later without shrinking.

Find a circle that’s 1/2” larger than you want the pan protector to be.  I rifled through my cabinets measuring bowls and plates until my daughter asked what size I was looking for.  I told her, and she grabbed a plastic lid and said “About like this?”  No, EXACTLY like that.  These kids did not get their crazy math skills from me.

pan 2
pan 2

Trace your circle onto the back of your fabric.  Trace the same circle onto the Insulbrite and cotton batting.  Cut an additional piece 1” by 2 1/2” from whichever fabric you prefer for the hanging loop.

pan 3
pan 3

To make hanging loop, fold 1” by 2 1/2” piece in half lengthwise.  Press fold.  Open out and fold both edges in to meet fold.  Press again.  Fold in half at original fold and press once more.  Stitch near the 2-fold edge.

pan 4
pan 4

Layer pieces, starting with the cotton batting.

pan 5
pan 5

Followed by the bottom fabric, right side up.

pan 6
pan 6

Fold the loop in half and pin to edge.

pan 7
pan 7

Lay the top fabric over that, right side down.

pan 8
pan 8

Follow with the Insul-Brite with the shiny side down.

pan 9
pan 9

Pin all layers together.  Start sewing on the edge opposite the loop, stitching in 1/4” straight from edge, pivot and stitch a 1/4” seam around, backstitching over the loop  and stopping about 3” from where you started.  Pivot and stitch out to the edge. 

pan 10
pan 10

Turn right side out.  Turn in the opening and press.  I wish I had a fantastic trick for turning in a curved edge, but I don’t.  If you have one, please share it in the comments, as I would LOVE to know a great way to do this.  I did find it worked better if I turned and pressed one side at a time.

pan 11
pan 11

Top stitch around edge.

pan 12

Trace a smaller circle in the center.  I found my travel coffee mug to be a good size.

pan 13
pan 13

Stitch along the line.

pan 14
pan 14

I finished the set for our friend and liked them so much I made some for our house and a couple for a kitchen-warming/get-well gift.

pan 15
pan 15

These only look about a thousand times better in the drawer than the wad of paper towels I had there before.

pan 16
pan 16

If only everything in my kitchen was this easy to organize.  Thanks for the great idea, Kyle!

Expandable Mail Bag

You probably know by now that I have an Etsy shop.  Last November it was slowly becoming clear I was going to have a pretty busy holiday season.  Through the rest of the year, most days had looked about like this.

1

1

By November, more days were looking like this.

2

2

The problem was, I needed something to carry the mail to the post office in.  I didn’t want a big bag, because on those slower days I’d lose the envelopes in it, but some days I needed the extra room.  I decided what I needed was a bag that could be adjusted to meet my needs on any given day.  Turns out, it’s pretty handy for shopping trips too!

3

3

To make this bag, you’ll need to choose a fabric for the outside, and another for the inside and pocket.

From the outside, cut the following pieces:

  • A - two 16 x 12 1/2”

  • B - two 16 x 7 1/2”

  • C - two 32 x 4”

  • D - one 10 1/2 x 12 1/2”

  • E - two 6 1/2 x 4”

From the lining fabric, cut:

  • F - two 16 x 12 1/2”

  • G - two 16 x 7 1/2”

  • H - one 10 1/2 x 12 1/2”

You’ll also need 5/8” wide Velcro, cut:

  • one 4” (you’ll only use the soft side)

  • two 2”

  • one 1 1/2”

And one 1/2 to 1” button.

We’ll start by making the outside front pocket.  Lay piece D and H right sides together.  Stitch both 12 1/2” edges with a 1/4” seam (all seams throughout the pattern are 1/4”, unless otherwise noted).  Turn and press.  Fold in half with the seams touching and the side you want to be the outside of the pocket to the outside (I used the lining).  Press the fold.

4

4

Open the pocket back out.  Place the back of the pocket on the front of piece A, 4” from the upper edge.  Stitch the pocket 1/8” from the top edge.

5

5

Stitch the 4” soft side of the Velcro onto piece A, centered side to side  and 3” from the top edge.  If your fabric is very lightweight, you may want to iron a small piece of interfacing onto the back before sewing the Velcro to add stability.  Fold pocket up and pin in place.

6

6

To make the Velcro tabs, fold piece E the long way and press the fold.  Open and turn both edges inside to the fold.  Press.  Fold one end 1/4” to the inside.  Press.

7

7

Flip over.  Sew the hard side of the 2” piece of Velcro 1/4” from the short, turned under end and centered between the center fold and the left edge.  Repeat all steps with remaining piece E, centering the Velcro between the center fold and right edge.

8

8

Fold at the center fold with the Velcro to the outside.  Stitch across the short end near the Velcro and down the long edge.

9

9

Stitch the soft side of the 2” Velcro to piece B, 3” from the upper edge and 1 1/2” from the right side.  Repeat with remaining piece B, with Velcro 3” from the upper edge and 1 1/2” from the left side.

10

10

*****

Stitch pieces B to front A (with the pocket), right sides together with Velcro on B closest to the front. 

11

11

Lay out remaining piece A, right side up.  Place Velcro tabs, Velcro up, with top edge of Velcro 3” from the top edge of A.  Either pin with the pins sticking out the sides so they can be easily removing while stitching or baste in place.

12

12

Lay front and sides that you already stitched together (A and B) on top.  Match remaining B edges with back A edges.  Stitch, backstitching over tabs for strength.

13

13

Press seams to one side.  Flatten the bag with the front centered and side seams matching.  Stitch the bottom edge.  Press folds into sides (in center of side panel B).

14

14

Open out side panel, flattening corner at bottom.  Keep center fold and seam underneath even with each other.  Press corner flat. 

15

15

Turn over and stitch horizontally across the corner along stitching line.  Repeat on opposite corner.

16

16

Trim corners to 1/4”. 

To make lining, repeat steps above using pieces F, G and H, beginning with *****  and ignoring Velcro, pocket and tabs.

To make handles, fold piece C in half the long way, press, then open and fold edges into center.   Fold in half again. Press.  Stitch 1/8” from the long edge.

17

17

Turn back right side out.  Pin or baste straps in place to front (A), extending 1” beyond upper edge and 2” from seam on each side.  Repeat on back (A).

18

18

Lining should still be inside out.  Stuff bag inside so bag and lining are right sides together.  Match the upper edge and seams.  Pin and stitch around upper edge, leaving a 4” opening on one side for turning.

19

19

Turn bag and lining through opening.  Push lining into the bag.  Press the edge, turning in the edge of the opening.  Topstitch all the way around top edge.

020

020

Box stitch at base of handles by sewing a square with an X through it.

054

054

Press bottom of bag flat like a grocery sack, making sure lining is pushed all the way in.  Stitch 1/8” from the edge across the front and the back.

021

021

Lay bag flat, front up.  Flip out Velcro tabs.  Fold bag up and press well.  For ease of folding, turning back inside out.  Pinch each fold of lining and outside and stitch 1/8” from fold.

022

022

Stitch soft side of 2” Velcro to bottom of bag, centered and near front edge.

23

23

Fold up bottom and push underneath pocket.  Use pins to mark the corners of the Velcro on the bottom piece.  Pull pocket up and mark with pencil.  Stitch hard side of Velcro to underside of pocket at marks.

24

24

Make a button hole to fit your button in the center of the outside pocket and 3/4” from the top edge.  Sew button behind it onto the bag.

25

25

Your bag is finished!  To fold it up for use with smaller items, lay flat on it’s back.  Fold up the bottom and slip it under the pocket, making sure the Velcro attaches.

26

26

Flip the tabs across the front, attaching to the center Velcro on the front of the bag.

27

27

Perfect for a few smaller letters or envelopes.

077

077

For larger packages, pull out bottom and remove Velcro tabs from front and stick to sides.  The front pocket is great for carrying customs forms.

073

073

I’d love to embroider my logo on the front pocket.  Maybe one of these days when the mail bag isn’t so full I’ll have time to tackle that project!

Fabric Inventory System

I spent a day last weekend gathering, organizing and calculating in preparation for our meeting with our tax accountant this week.  I love being self employed, but when the new year comes and I realize I have to make sense of the file I threw everything into all year, I start to wonder if I don’t need a better boss…

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