Category Archives: Tutorials

Tutorial – Sock Rabbit (aka Sock Bunny)

Diamond the Rabbit

Happy Easter everyone!  This tutorial might be a bit late, since you can’t make these for an Easter Basket, but I really wanted to post this cute little rabbit I made from some socks bought at Target for a dollar!  My plan was to make up my own directions, but I figured someone had already done something like this and a quick Google search turned up a free sock rabbit pattern at Clubhouseb.com.  Download the pattern and cut out the sock pieces per the directions listed.  This tutorial assumes you have the pattern handy for reference.

Step 1 - Plain Sock

As you can imagine, you start with a plain sock.  Turn the sock inside out and arrange the heel so that it is facing you.   Following the directions on the downloaded pattern, draw lines on the socks for the ears and legs.  Stitch around the lines (per the pattern) and cut the ears and legs apart.

Step 2 - Stitch along lines for ears and legs

Turn the whole thing inside out (there will be a opening in the crotch for this).  Use a point turner to poke out the tips of the ears and the corners of the feet.

Step 3 - Turn inside out

Stuff with fiberfill.  The socks I used were children’s size, so the rabbit will be about 7″ high (the ears add about 4″ more height).  Be careful when stuffing – you don’t want to overstuff and you don’t want the sock to run near the raw edges between the legs.  Whipstitch the opening shut with matching thread.

Step 4 - Stuff and stitch

Next, make a running stitch around the base of each ear, pull to gather, and tie off  (the pattern indicates doing the running stitch across the ear, but I did it around in order to make it easier to gather and tie off).  Figure out where the neck is going to be and make a running stitch around the neck, pull to gather, and tie off.

Step 5 - Make the face

For the face, take two buttons with shanks and sew on according to the directions.  If you try to use buttons with holes you will find that the eye indentations will not look correct.  Rabbit eyes are positioned more to the side instead of the front, so using the shank buttons makes the indentations appear on the sides of the face, instead of the front.   Create the mouth and nose per the directions. I didn’t statin stitch a nose since the pink diamond from the argyle pattern is positions perfectly for a nose – what a happy accident!

Step 6 - Make arms

Take the other sock and create two arms.  For my arms, I cut off the toe of the sock and stitched down the middle (like I did with the ears) so that the arms would be pointed on the end like paws.

Step 7 - Sew on arms and add bow

Stuff the arms lightly and whipstitch them into place at the neck.  Tie a bow around the neck to complete the look and you have an Easter Bunny!   If you have the inclination, you can also embellish him (or her) further by adding a hat, shirt, dress, basket, etc.  If you want to get really fancy you can sew a running stitch at the wrists and ankles to make the paws more defined.

Keep it Thimble!

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Tips for Sewing Charm Square Bags

It seems that I am living up to my “bag lady” name, this is the third or fourth bag I’ve posted in the last 2 months!  Bags are a great project because you can completely finish them with 2 – 3 sessions of good sewing time.  They are also very functional and make great gifts!

Sew Charming Bag - Small

If you are frequent reader you will know that I am crazy about charm square bags.  After making so many, I’ve come up with some guidelines for how to place the charms to create more aesthetically pleasing results:

  1. Place dark squares on bottom, medium squares in center, and light squares on top of the bag.
  2. Another variation is to alternate between light and dark squares on each row to create a checkboard of lights/dark.
  3. Be mindful of where squares are placed on the side and bottom, as these will touch squares on the other side of the bag when the exterior is sewn together.
  4. For pocket pieces or other accents that need to stand out from the bag, use the squares that will contrast the most in terms of pattern and then color.  For example, when working with a predominantly floral fabric line, use the squares that feature lines/shapes or other bold patterns.
  5. Group squares of like colors when creating pockets.  This sets off the pocket as a decorative element on the bag.  Additionally, you can alternate two different colors or two different values to create something that looks unified.
  6. When choosing fabric for the handles, pick a medium tone.  Since the handles provide a unifying element to the bag I find that medium tones blend better with the bag.
  7. Don’t have squares of the same pattern but different color touching each other (but they can be placed diagonally from each other if needed).
  8. Mix up the small, medium, and large patterns in the square placement.
  9. Avoid using the solid colored squares (this is just personal preference since I like to show off all the fabric patterns in the bag).
  10. When only using part of a charm pack, it is useful to focus on using 4 – 5 colorways.  For example, I had a charm pack that featured red, white, light blue, dark blue, and black.  I entirely removed the black and dark blue from the choices.  However, you can use these colorways for lining or handles.

This is Sew Charming Bag by Rose Hip Lane and is by far my favorite!   You can make two sizes small (shown above) and large (shown below).  The large bag contains a nifty divided pocket that has room for notebooks, pencils, and other supplies.

Charm Tote

Charm Tote - Large

One reason this bag stands out is because of the ruffle on the pocket and top of the game.  The ruffle is easy to create and sew on – even for beginners.  You start by cutting two strips of fabric and then you join them to create one long strip.

When joining strips, I prefer using a mitered seam since it has less bulk and looks more polished.  Here’s a quick tutorial on how to create a mitered seam:

Step 1 – start by putting your strips right-sides together at right angles to each other.  On the top strip, use a pin to mark where the bottom strips ends (this way you can clearly see where the strips overlap to make a square).  Take a ruler and draw a diagonal line from left to right.  Refer to the picture to make sure you are drawing your line in the correct place.

Joining Strips with Miter - Step 1

Step 2 – Sew along the line you just marked.  Before cutting off the extra corner, open up the two strips to check that they match up and you have created the miter correctly.  Now, you can trim off the excess corner.

Joining Strips with Miter - Step 2

Step 3 – Press the seam open and you will have a nice diagonal seam joining the two strips together!

Joining Strips with Miter - Step 3

Keep it thimble!

Tutorial – Foundation Piecing – Little House on the Prairie

I really love miniature quilts – they are like little works of art and it’s a great way to use up your scraps.  However, don’t be fooled into thinking that since they are so small they will take less time to make.  It seems they actually take more time to make since you are dealing with such small pieces and there are a lot of pieces in to sew together!

Little House on the Prairie

I saw this adorable little house in a book called Little Bits of Whimsy by Kathleen Brooks Rindal and decided to attempt my first miniature quilt.  The finished product is about 9″ square and has about 175 little bits of fabric.  Almost every single piece of fabric in this is unique – look closely to see if you can find where there are repeats (one is VERY obvious – at least to me).

Since the fabric pieces are so small for miniature quilts, it needs to be foundation pieced.  This is something I have always wanted to try, but have always been a bit leery of it – it seems so difficult.  After doing it, I can honesty say foundation piecing is easy to do and the results are wonderful.   You do need to concentrate while doing it, but once you get into a rhythm it all goes smoothy.

Here is a brief tutorial on the basics of foundation piecing.  You start by tracing (with a pencil) the pattern onto tracing paper or vellum.   This paper template will form the foundation of the block.  Each piece on the pattern is numbered, and these number tell the order in which the pieces are sewn onto the foundation (see picture – Step 1).

Step 1 - Pieced Border Template

Once the pattern is traced, you rough cut a piece of fabric that is the shape of the first piece.  Include a generous 1/4″ inch seam allowance when rough cutting the piece.  Place the fabric right side up on the front of the pattern.  Next, rough cut fabric that will be used for the second piece in the pattern.  Place this piece right side down on the first piece (see picture – Step 2).

Step 2 - Placing Fabrics

Pin these piece in place.  Flip over the paper foundation and you will be able to see the lines of the pattern (this is why the paper needs to be transparent).  Sew along the line on the pattern where the two pieces are overlapping (see picture – Step 3).

Step 3 - Sewing First Seam

Once the seam is sewn, flip the foundation over to the right side.  Press the two fabric pieces open (see picture – Step 4).  If necessary, trim off any excess fabric – but be sure to maintain the extra for the 1/4″ seam allowance.

Step 4 - Pressed Seam

Continue sewing the pieces in this manner following the order of the pattern until completed (see picture – Step 5).

Step 5 - Pieced Border

Step 5 - Back of Pieced Border

Once you have the pattern completed, trim off the excess fabric while still maintaining the 1/4″ seam allowance.  To do this, take your ruler and line up the 1/4″ line measurement with the pattern edge and trim with a rotary cutter.  This section is completed!

Step 6 - Trimming 1/4" Seam

Step 6b - Trimmed Border

This little house pattern is structured so that you foundation piece the different parts (the house block, the inner border, the outer border) and then sew the whole thing together.

The last step is to quilt and bind it.  I did a little of stitch in the ditch quilting around the inner borders.  The project is so small you could probably get away with not quilting it at all.  However, the quilting around the borders makes it look more finished.  There were some places where the machine quilting is obvious, so I may rip it out and just quilt by hand (however, I have to find the time first!).

For another fun and quilty project, check out the Radiant Folded Star and Covered Box pattern!

Keep it thimble!

Tutorial – Easy Nine Patch Coasters

I promised to share a tutorial for how to quickly and easily make nine-patch blocks.  So here it is!   I even took it a few steps further to show you how to turn it into a fun little coaster!

Easy Nine Patch Coaster

This method works best for making scrappy quilts and it’s also great for hosting a block swap.  Get a group of friends together and have everyone bring in fifty 6″ squares.  Throw all the squares into a pile and have everyone randomly pick out fifty new squares.  Then use this method so everyone can create 50 nine-patch blocks that are all different!

Use this method for any sized square, although it is best to pick something that is easily divisible by three (3″, 3.75″, 4.5″, 6″, etc).  This tutorial uses 6″ squares.

Start with two 6″ squares in different fabrics.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 1

Put the squares right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam on the right and left sides.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 2

Using your rotary cutter, cut the unit into three rectangles that are 2″ x 6″.  Make sure you are cutting parallel to the seams you just made.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 3

Press the seams towards the darkest fabric to create two pieced units.  Take the center rectangles and sew them to the appropriate side of the pieced units.  Press the seams to the darks.  You now have two units of alternating fabrics (A-B-A and B-A-B).

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 4

Take these new squares and place them right sides together.  Make sure the stripes for both are running in the same direction.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 5

Sew along the shorter sides of this until with a 1/4″ seams.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 6

Cut this into three rectangles that are 2″ x 6″.  Again, be sure the same you just sewed is parallel to the cuts you are making.  Press the seams.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 7

Sew the center units to the appropriate unit to make a nine-patch block.  Press the seams.  You will now have two complementary nine-patch blocks.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 8

If you want to make into a coaster, layer one block with backing and batting to make a quilt sandwich.

Easy Nine Patch Coaster - Step 9

Quilt as desired (I just did some diagonal lines).  Trim off excess batting until each block is 4.75″ square.  At this point, you can just bind the squares for square coasters (use 2 1/4″ strips that are  22″ long).

If you want to make circular coaster, create a template that is a 4.75″ circle (or download my template) and use it to cut around the block.

Cut 22″ inches of 2 1/4″ bias binding.  You need bias binding because it is much easier when working with something circular.  I didn’t use bias binding on my coasters and you can see that the circle is not very smooth around the edges.  Bias binding would have been a better choice (although I was trying to save some time by using some binding scraps I cut for another project).

Sew binding, press, and then attach to back.  Make a cute set of 4 coasters, tie together with a ribbon, add some teabags and a mug, and you’ve got a great gift to give your favorite tea drinker!

Keep it thimble!

Easy Nine Patch Coaster

Goals for 2011!

Happy New Year!

Well, it’s time to kick of 2011 at Keep It Thimble!  I wanted to have a great new project to share with you today, but I had a Wool Crazy emergency!  I took the block with me on the road over the Christmas holidays so I could finish basting down the wool appliques.  I only had a few more left – they were all cut out, they just needed to be stitched down.  When I got home, some of my appliques were missing – I’d left them in the hotel!!  Long story short, I spent yesterday recreating the missing appliques and stitching them down so I wouldn’t lose them again.  This was a blessing in disguise, as I’ve been missing to finish the applique part so I can get started on the crazy quilt stitches.  Now this project is more portable and I won’t lose anything – as long as I don’t misplace the entire block :).  Here’s how it looks now:

Wool Crazy Progress

2011 Goals

Big plans are in the works for 2011. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect this coming year!  I appreciate everyone who reads my blog and I look forward to sharing more with you this coming year:

  • More free patterns
  • More tutorials
  • More giveaways
  • More book reviews
  • Guest bloggers
  • Etsy shop

Finally, here are some fun stats about Keep It Thimble that were sent to me by WordPress (my blog host).

Keep It Thimble – 2010 in Review

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2010. That’s about 24 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 61 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 81 posts. There were 124 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 232mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 20th with 326 views. The most popular post that day was Free Pattern – Shaker Pincushion.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were sewing.patternreview.com, craftster.org, libertyrosepatterns.blogspot.com, pumpkinpatchprimitiveswoolcrazy.blogspot.com, and facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for folded patchwork, patchwork, folded star patchwork, wool crazy, and folded star.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Free Pattern – Shaker Pincushion January 2010
6 comments

2

Free Pattern – Folded Patchwork Star December 2009
5 comments

3

Free Patterns October 2009

4

Free Pattern – Stuffed Sea Creature Toys April 2010
5 comments

5

Grommet Purse August 2010
4 comments

Moravian Stars – Tutorial

I found this great tutorial online for making Moravian Stars.  I used 12 x 12 scrapbooking paper to make my strips.  I made two different sizes.  The strips for these small ones are 3/8″ wide by 12″ long.

 

Add an Image

Small Moravian Stars

The strips in this larger one are  1″ x 24″ wide (I had to tape two strips together in order to make it long enough).

 

Large Moravian Star

Here’s how they compare in size to each other.

 

Moravian Stars

I was looking for paper that was the same color on each side, however, I was able to get nice variations by arranging the strips differently before folding them.  In one of the smaller ones, I folded the strips in half so that the wrong side of the paper was facing out.  This created a pattern where the centers on side were patterned, the center on the other side was white, and the outside points alternated between pattern and white.  On the red star, I used two strips that were right side out and two strips that were wrong side out.  This created the pattern seen in the picture above.

These are a lot of fun to make.  If you have trouble with the tutorial pictures, check out the video at the bottom.  The only step that can be difficult to understand in the last one where you create the center points of the stars.

You can use these for all kinds of things – package tie-ons, ornaments, and garlands.  I’ve also read you can dip them in wax (which is a nice way to preserve it and make it one color).

Tutorial – Beaded Candy Cane and Wreath

My son and I have been having fun making some beaded christmas ornaments.  I remember making ornaments like this when I was a kid and thought he was at the right age to have a lot of fun doing it.  I started out with something simple – a wreath and a candy cane.  These are simple and cheap to make, and you have the benefit of some great bonding time with your kids!

Beaded Ornaments

For the wreath you need:

  • 18 Green Paddle/Star Beads
  • 17 Red Faceted Beads (round)
  • 10 Tri Beads (any color, all the same color creates a nice looking candle)
  • 1 Red Pipe cleaner

Start by putting one green paddle bead on the pipe cleaner, then add a red faceted bead.  Continue with this pattern until all the red and green beads are gone.  One end of the pipe cleaner should have about 1 inch sticking out.  Bend the beads into a circle and wrap the short end of the pipe cleaner around to secure the circle.  Take the long end of the pipecleaner and twist it so it sticks up in the center of the wreath.  String 10 tri beds on this end to create the candle (my son got creative and created a striped candle).  Take the free end of the pipe cleaner and tuck the end into the top of the candle to create the flame.

You can finish this by tying a red bow out of narrow ribbon and gluing to the bottom of the wreath just under the candle.  Loop clear thread through the top bead and tie into a loop to create a hanger.

For the Candy Can you need:

  • 16 Red Tri Beads
  • 18 White Tri Beads
  • 2 Red Faceted Beads
  • 1/2 Red Pipe Cleaner

Start by stringing one red faceted bead on the pipe cleaner.  Leave about one inch of pipe cleaner free on the end.  Then string on 2 white tri beads and then 2 red tri beads.  Once those beads are gone, string on the last red faceted bead.  Tuck each end of the pipe cleaner into the top of the red beads.   Bend into a candy cane shape.

Finish by tying a green ribbon around the middle of the candy cane and tying on a clear thread hanger at the top of the candy cane.

Have fun!  I have an idea for little christmas trees, but I need to special order the paddle beads.  I will post a picture when done.