Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Halloween Bat Pillow Tutorial

This post contains affiliate links!

Hello sewing friends! Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. I have had a lot fun decorating for it this year. It has been especially nice to have something to look forward to this year even though I'm still not quite sure how we will be celebrating it. My mom as sister made the cutest little Halloween decoration the other day. It is a cute little bat shaped pillow! I couldn’t let them have all the fun so I got my hands on their pattern and made one too. Isn’t the design so cute?!! I love the shape of it. It’s a great little shape to sit on the couch and add a little fun to the Halloween season. Your little one will love to cuddle it and fly it around the room too. Want to make one? Mom and Sis were kind enough to let me share it here with you so you can make one too! Keep scrolling for the full tutorial

You’ll need…

 2/3 yard of cotton fabric (you can get away with 1/2 yard but you have to get real creative with the layout) 

2 rectangles of cotton batting 33” x 12” each (This is a great way to use up some scraps if you are a quilter)

Polyester stuffing

Needle and thread

Fabric Marker or Hera Marker

Printed Bat pillow pattern. CLICK HERE to download and print the PDF from Google Drive

Cutting instructions...

1. Print the pattern, tape the 2 sheets together overlapping at the designated markings, and cut out the bat shape. 

2. Fold the fabric to the width of the bat and position the pattern piece so it is aligned with the fold line of the pattern. Cut 2 Bat Pillow pieces. 

3. Using one Bat Pillow piece as a pattern cut 2 Bat pillow pieces from the cotton batting. Alternatively you can pin your bat shapes, with right sides together, directly to the rectangles of fabric and ew around the shape before you cut it out. You will see later on in the photos that I only included batting on the wings. This was a big mistake and made it harder to stuff. You will have a better result if you use batting across the whole bat.

4. If you've cut your batting out already, place the 2 fabric Bat pieces together with the Right sides facing each other. Place the 2 batting bat pieces on top of the stack and pin all around the shape as seen below.


4. Starting at the bottom center of the body, sew with a 3/8” seam allowance all the way around the shape. Yes, I like to sew the shape closed. It will mark the stitch lines for when you stitch it up later.

5. Using sharp pointed scissors, clip into each curve down to about 1/8 inch away from the stitch line. Be careful not to clip the stitches. Trim the excess fabric away from each point. Unpick 3 - 4 inches across the bottom of the Bat body.

6. Turn the Bat right side out. Use a chopstick or a BLUNT to pencil push out the corners. Make sure you have trimmed and clipped the curves enough so that they lay flat and smooth. You can give each curve a little stretch to help it lay flat. Iron around the edges of the bat. 


7. Using a your fingernail or a Hera marker, press and draw a crease on the fabric where the wing and body stitch lines should go. You could also use a fabric marker or a white colored pencil to mark the line. Use the printed pattern as a reference. You will see that each wing is divided into 3 sections.

8. Starting with the wing tips, stuff the outermost section of the wing. Increase the stitch length of your sewing machine to 3.5 - 4.5mm and sew along the first stitch line while holding down the stuffing with your hands. As you sew, stop every couple of inches with your needle in the 'down position' and use a chopstick to stuff a little more stuffing into that area in needed before you sew all the way to the point. 

9. Continue to stuff and sew each wing section.

10. Mark and sew the body stitch lines.

11. Once the final lines are sewn around the body, stuff it firmly. Using a needle and thread sew the opening closed with a ladder stitch using the previously stitched lines as your guide to help maintain the original seam allowance. Add a little more stuffing if needed as you close it up.

12. And you are done!! Isn’t it sooo cute!

Make one for yourself or give it to a friend who needs a little Halloween Happiness.

For more Halloween fun join me on Instagram @bluesusanmakes

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Bat Scrunchies

Hey there! Some how this summer is absolutely flying by.  I woke up to a fun notification that I sold another Bat Scrunchie on Etsy and couldn't help but thinking we aren't too far off from HALLOWEEN!! I think these Bat Scrunchies are a fun addition to a braid or a bun for a little Halloween dress up fun. I was wearing a bright orange shirt from the VIPKid classes that I taught this morning so I threw a couple of bats on and tried to get a photo to share. This is self-conscious me trying to take a selfie. I did find a fun filter on Instagram that put on some sparkly eye shadow, but I think I better leave the selfies to the younger crowd.

Also I was pretty excited to see that the Etsy order was from a gal in my town that I don't know. I was able to refund her shipping she was able to come pick up her order from my house WIN-WIN!! If you are local and want to pick up your order instead of pay for shipping just enter LOCALPICKUP at checkout and it won't charge you shipping. 

Of course this little bat is a fun addition to any scrunchie. If you want to make some scrunchies you can find my Tie Scrunchie Tutorial here. Let me know if you want a little add on tutorial for the bat. Maybe I'll put one together before Halloween. 

PEACE OUT for tonight!! 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

How to Sew an Invisible Zipper in a Pillow

This post contains a few affiliate links.

Hello Sewing friends!! I have a fun make to show you today!! I sewed up this beautiful pillow for  my sister's birthday and I am in love with how it turned out. I made it using the Patchwork Prism Pattern designed by Anna Maria Horner for Janome. I used the pillow sham variation and now that I see how beautiful it is in real life I just may make the whole quilt. Anyway as I was making it I thought I'd snaps some pics and write up a little tutorial for you on how to insert an invisible zipper in a pillow. Scroll down to see all of my tips and tricks. 

For a long time invisible zipper installation was very frustrating to me. I would read those directions that come on the little cardboard packaging and get confused. Also I tried using that little special invisible zipper foot you can buy which somehow is supposed to make it easy to sew. I didn't really have luck with those feet. Instead over the years I have figured out a few tricks that make invisible zipper installation much less painful and more successful with out much extra effort. So here we go!

If you take a look at the RIGHT side of the invisible zipper you'll see that it is completely flat and the zipper teeth are "invisible". The zipper teeth actually sit on the WRONG side of the zipper. In fact, the teeth are folded toward the wrong side. Unzip the zipper , unfold the zipper teeth, and iron the WRONG side of the zipper flat.  This takes a little persistence but this step is KEY to getting a good invisible zipper insertion. I usually have good results using a HOT iron and have never melted my zipper but I would suggest starting with a medium hot iron to start with and use just enough heat to get a good press. Do this with both halves of the zipper. 

For my pillow panels I chose to make mini quilt "sandwiches". I used a layer of batting in between 2 pieces of quilting cotton and added some quilting stitches for each side.  For the front Patchwork Prism panel I stitched in the ditch of each triangle line. Here is what the back panel looks like all read to go.  

Quick Tip: You can use a patterned fabric for the inside and follow it to make nice even quilting pattern, I used this fabric on the inside of the back panel and just sewed along the purple flowers so I didn't have to mark a grid. Sew easy! These will make a nice sturdy pillow cover for my pillow insert.

I also serged along the edge of each panel to minimize fraying. You can use a wide zig zag stitch here as well but it isn't really necessary. 

Pin or use binding clips to attach one zipper half to the edge of one pillow panel, in the center and with the RIGHT sides together.

Using a zipper foot, and starting with the zipper zipped up a little, sew as close to the zipper as you can and stop about an inch away from the zipper stop. Keeping the needle down lift the presser foot and slide the zipper open so the zipper slide is on the other side of the presser foot. 

Now open up the fold all the way and sew close to the zipper. Use a stiletto or sharp scissors to hold the fold open as you sew close to (but NOT ON) the fold line. 

Sew all the way through past the end of the zipper tape. This photo also shows how close I sewed to the fold line.

Lay the 2 panels with right sides together and match up the corners. Pin or clip the the other side of the zipper to the 2nd panel. 

Get it started with the panels together and then flip the panel over to pin it the rest of the way. Sew the zipper to the panel as in STEP 3. 

 One more thing to note: At the end near the zipper stop it is impossible to sew close to the teeth. Don't sweat this! It will be covered by finishing stitches. Just sew all the way to the end of each zipper tape. You can avoid this problem by using an invisible zipper that is much longer than you need but I didn't have that luxury here. 

Zip up the zipper and coax the fabric together to hide the zipper. Make sure the zipper tape is laying flat and open underneath.  Press over the zipper from the top using STEAM and EXTRA TIME to allow the heat to travel through all of the layers. As you can see in the right side of the photo below, there is about an inch or so at the end  near the zipper stop where the fabric does not meet. This is OK because we will hide it in the next step.

Place the 2 pillow panels together, match them at the corners, and pin around all 4 sides. You will need to sew around the pillow with a 1/2 inch seam allowance starting about an inch below where the zipper starts and finishing about an 1 1/2 inches above the zipper stop. DO NOT FORGET TO UNZIP THE ZIPPER PART OF THE WAY.

Use the zipper foot to sew near the zipper. I usually sew near the zipper at the top and bottom first and then switch to a regular foot to sew the rest of the way around. You will notice the half inch seam comes about 1/8th inch to the inside of the zipper seam. These 2 seams should never meet. 

STEP 7. TURN THE PILLOW RIGHT SIDE OUT AND PUSH OUT THE CORNERS. It is not necessary to trim the corners for a perfect point. Insert a pillow form and you are done! This pillow is the perfect fit for a King sized pillow. I stuffed it with this Bamboo pillow I found on Amazon.

Last TIP: Do not overstuff  the pillow! The zipper will be more visible if you do.

And that is IT! Enjoy your beautiful new pillow and make another so you can practice your new skill. 


Sunday, June 21, 2020

How to Clean a Self Healing Cutting Mat

 Hello Sewing friends! I have a little tip to share with you today. This is a tip I've shared previously over on the C&T publishing blog and I'm happy to bring it home today.  My very favorite sewing tools are my rotary cutter and self healing mat. I use them with almost every sewing project I ever make. Seriously what did people do before these were invented?! I love to sew handbags and I use my rotary cutter to quickly cut out the pieces I need. Unfortunately, whenever I cut felt or fusible fleece interfacings the fibers get stuck in the cut lines and I end up with a fuzzy mat.  Does this happen to you?

 I used to avoid cutting my interfacings with a rotary cutter but it is just so much faster than scissors! So, I found a way to take care of the problem and I'm going to show you how to make cleaning your cutting mat a breeze. Want to know the secret weapon? Packing tape! Here's the trick

STEP 1. Cut a piece of tape large enough to make a tape circle that fits around the 4 fingers of your hand. (with the sticky side out, of course.)

STEP 2. Slightly bend the cutting mat to open up the cuts in the surface. They are still there even though its hard to see them when the mat is flat

STEP 3. Drag the tape along the mat letting the sticky tape to grab all that fuzz. Change the direction of the bend if necessary to get all of it.

STEP 4. Continue to bend the mat and clean it across the entire surface. Get a fresh piece of tape when it's no longer sticky. Your mat will be good as new in no time.

It really only takes a few minutes and your mat will be clean and ready for your next project.

Hope this tip helps. Check out my sewing book Just for You: Selfish Sewing with your favorite SewCanShe Bloggers for great projects to sew for yourself all year long. Follow my blog Blue Susan Makes where I share sewing tutorials and tips. Find me on instagram @bluesusanmakes. And come browse my Blue Susan Etsy Shop where you'll find beautiful handbags and easy-to-read PDF sewing patterns for sale.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

4 Easy DIY Face Mask Tutorials

Hello!!! I'm jumping in the mask making frenzy and I keep getting asked by my non-sewing friends what is a good tutorial to use. So I thought I'd do a quick round up review of some of the ones that I have tried. A couple things to think about before making your home made mask.  I found a good article on an NBC site that suggests using a double layer heavyweight quilting cotton material instead of knit fabric is best. It even suggests that a layer of flannel in between increases the virus filtration. There are many tutorials out there that use elastic loops to go around the ears. The word on the street is that the elastic behind the ears gets painful after a while so if you are making these for Healthcare workers opt for ties instead of elastic. Ties make the fit more adjustable as well.  I used to be a surgical nurse and it is really not as hard to tie these on as you think it might be. Also if you are making masks to donate to Healthcare workers please contact the facility to see if there are any specifications that they require and if they are actually taking donations. In our area there is a local facebook group that is coordinating orders. Take a look, you might have one  for your area too.

**Remember none of these masks are intended to be used as sufficient protection by themselves. Please follow the CDC and WHO guidelines if you are making one for yourself or family member.**

First up is this simple pleated mask by Dana from MADE EVERYDAY. I love her tutorial because it is simple and easy to follow. It includes instructions for ties or elastic, as well as multiple size option. I would say this style is probably the best and easiest if you are making them for yourself to help prevent spread of the virus if you have to go to work or to the store. This tutorial is easy to follow and she has a video too! Find her awesome tutorial HERE.

Next up is this molded version called the Olson Mask. Caroline of Sew Can She made a beautiful tutorial for this mask. The construction is a little more complex but it includes instructions for inserting a removable filter as well. It is more fitted than a pleated face mask and may be the option you are looking for. She also has a great video explaining the process. Check out her tutorial HERE

This next tutorial is also for a fitted mask but is constructed a little differently. It is designed by Suzanna of Hold it Right There. I like this one because it is specifically designed to go over a N95 mask to help prolong the life of those that have to be reused. It is simple and comes with a variety of sizes and tie options as well.  However, this pattern is only for use for those making masks for the Healthcare workers. This feels to big and strange to be worn on it's own anyway  Download the pattern HERE if you are sewing for your local health care facility.

One last tutorial I found a super simple mask designed by Bijou Lovely  for the Million Mask Challenge. You can read all about the project and help make masks to donate.

I hope these are helpful!! Signing out not to go sew a mask! Stay healthy everyone!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sweet Caroline Girlfriend Clutch and a Baby Shower gift

This week I had a little fun at my sewing machine. I spent Spring break in Southern Utah last week and we made a stop at my Aunt Sandy's house. She is ever so talented and makes amazing quilts and Doll clothes, and actual porcelain dolls, and everything. She was showing me all the string quilts she has been making and I just had to try out her method! I made something a little smaller than a quilt of course.  I used my Girlfriend Clutch Tutorial and sewed it up in the new fabric line from SEW CAN SHE. Her fabric line is called Sweet Caroline.  Isn't it pretty? You should see the rest of the stack!

This is what the inside looks like.  I haven't made a Girlfriend Clutch in such a long time. I have forgotten how much I love them.  I also added a little leather to the top of this one. I have all these leather scraps I need to figure out how to use up. Let me know if you want a tutorial on how to add some leather to the top.

I also got my Serger out today and made some quick burp cloths. These are so easy you guys!

 I could write a tutorial but you probably don't need one.:) Just some pretty fabric, some Minky or flannel and a serger. Cut yourself a shape and go!

 I hope you all made something fun this week too! Until next time, SEW long and be SEW happy!