Category Archives: Projects/Tutorials

Projects perfect for young sewists: Key Fobs

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Last week we talked about bookmarks, this week I want to show you how to make key fobs or fabric key chains.  These are super simple and make wonderful teacher gifts, christmas gifts, birthday gifts, or just an everyday “happy” for you or your child’s favorite person who has keys to keep up with!
Key Fob multiple 

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So let’s start with what you will need to get this project started:

Sewing Machine

Iron & ironing board OR ironing surface

Fabric scissors OR rotary cutter & ruler with grid

Cardstock – You will need this to make your pattern unless you just use your ruler to guide your fabric cutting. You will be making a rectangle shape cut so it’s up to you how you want to do it.

Thread – A coordinating all-purpose thread will work great!

Fabric – You can use just about any fabric here, but cotton, IMO is the best option.  It washes well and you can use either quilt-weight or a heavier weight cotton.  You will need a piece that you can cut down to 3″ x 10″, so dig out those scraps and find one big enough to cut down to this size!

Webbing – You will only need a small piece of poly (also called polypropylene) webbing – a 10″ piece.  You may even find an old canvas bag with webbing as the handles you could cut out and use.  If you aren’t familiar with what this is, it’s just a soft, flexible fabric of woven fibers used as tote straps, belting, and more.  I’m including a picture so you know exactly what you are looking for.  We also sell it in our store- you can find it here in white but we also offer a few other colors. Color doesn’t matter because it’s going inside the fabric to make it stronger.

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Key fob hardware & key chain – I prefer to use this as it’s specifically made for this project.  You can also use a variety of D-rings or a large O-ring if you would rather do that. You will have to do that last step differently if you choose the latter.

Pliers – If you are using the key fob hardware you will need a pair of pliers handy to secure it in place. Ask hubby or a friend to borrow some if you don’t have any in your own toolbox! You will also need to grab a small piece of scrap fabric or batting to use as protection so that you don’t scratch up your hardware from the teeth of the pliers.

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After you’ve gathered all of your materials, the first thing you’ll need to do is preheat your iron and set aside. Then, cut a piece of cardstock 3″ x 10″ to use as a pattern for your fabric.  You can also use a rotary cutter and follow the lines of your grid on your cutting mat and cut your fabric piece to that size instead of using cardstock.

Take the 10″ piece of webbing and cut fabric to your ironing station. If you hate pulling out your ironing board everytime, try using one of these Fuse N Press pressing sheets or Kandi’s XPress Mats (pictured below). The Fuse N Press has two sides: one side has your ironing surface and the other side is fiberglass for when you need to iron onto a non-stick surface.

Fold the fabric lengthwise in half and press.

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Place the webbing along the center fold line on the wrong side of your fabric. Fold the outer edge of the fabric onto the webbing and press. Do this again to the opposite outer edge. If you find your iron is too hot, you may melt the webbing so watch out for that.  You can always use an iron shoe or iron sleeve to help keep your iron clean and avoid these type of issues.  We carry both in our store and they are WONDERFUL!

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Fold both sides together and press again.

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Sew along all four edges, starting with the folded edge about 1/8″ from the edge.  Lengthen your stitch to about a 2.5 or 3 so that the stitches aren’t so small.

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Fold in half, shorten your stitch length back down to about a 2 and sew the short edges together about 1/8″ down from the edge. Stitch back and forth several times to reinforce this area.

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You’re almost done! Grab your scrap piece of fabric and fold several times.  Insert the sewn edge of your fabric piece into the key fob hardware, cover with scrap fabric, and then squeeze with pliers.  You will have to squeeze gently in several places before it’s completed secure.  Try not to squeeze too hard in any one area, or you will have dents in the hardware. After a few of these you’ll get the hang of it!

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Aaaaannnndd…you’re finished! You’ve created the perfect accessory to keep those keys easily found in your black hole of a purse.  Oh wait, maybe I’m the only one with a black hole of a purse? Probably not… If you have an embroidery machine, monogram your initials or name before you sew the short edges together to really personalize it!

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Projects perfect for young sewists: Bookmarks

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Looking for sewing projects for young sewists can be daunting.  It’s not so hard to find  them, it’s the sorting through that makes it rough.  Trust me when I say all you have to do is google Sewing projects for kids to see how many sites pop up. Something else I want to add is that when I say young sewists, I am talking about two groups.  First, young meaning actually young, youth, KID.  Second, young meaning beginner, rookie, NEW. Whether it be your daughter (or son) who wants to sew something, or your friend who calls thread “string”, I believe all of these projects are wonderful for getting started with sewing. The best part is most of these can be done with your scraps!

I’m going to share one project each week for the next few weeks.  This week I want to show you how to make bookmarks!

Bookmark Tutorial Figg Fabrics

With another school year quickly coming to a close, these aren’t only a quick and easy project, they’re also wonderful teacher gifts! My daughter made these bookmarks for her teachers last year and then made some for a few friends.  Everytime she’d bring one to a classmate, another classmate would request one.  She ended up with a waiting list and worked diligently to get them made for each friend who asked for one.  It was a great way to introduce her to sewing without a lot of stress and also sparked her creativity because I let her pick the fabric combinations and ribbon colors.  She thought hard about each one so that it would be meaningful to the recipient.

The first thing you will need to do is gather up what you will need:

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  • The basics: Sewing Machine, scissors, all-purpose thread
  • Fabric (2 small pieces about 4″ x 8″ in size.  These can be 2 of the same print, coordinating, OR, use two completely different prints or colors to make it “reversible” as my daughter would say)
  • Thread (any color, either coordinate to match fabric or use a contrasting color that will stand out)
  • Light-weight batting (if you are a quilter, you probably have small scraps you can use.  You will need one piece the size of your fabric pieces)
  • Ribbon, about a 7-10″ piece (I used 7/8″ grosgain ribbon, but you can choose what works best for you)
  • Cardstock to make your pattern
  • Ruler to mark straight lines
  • Point Turner
  • Straight pins
  • Lighter (if you are helping a little one, you will have to complete this step!)

IMG_1384[1]IMG_1388Now that you have everything gathered up, grab your piece of cardstock and decide what size you’d like your bookmark to be. We made ours 2.5″ x 6.5″ but you can make it any size you want. I wouldn’t suggest going any smaller because it gets a little tough to turn out. Use a ruler to draw your preferred measurements on the cardstock and cut it out using your non-fabric-cutting scissors.

Next cut out your batting using the pattern piece and set aside. Now use the pattern to cut your 2 fabric pieces. You can also stack all three pieces together, lay the pattern on top, pin and then cut out. My daughter preferred to do it this way but smaller hands may not be able to cut that many layers at once.

bookmark tutorial

IMG_1433[1]IMG_1434[1]Take one of your pieces of fabric and lay it right-side up. Lay your second piece of fabric right-side down on top of the first piece. Now, lay your batting on the top of both fabric pieces and pin together.

Sew along the edge with a 3/8″ seam allowance or let the edge of the foot be your guide along the edge of the layers.  Start on the top right edge, pivot at the bottom two corners, and then stop at the top left edge, leaving an un-sewn top edge.

Clip the bottom corners, then trim the sewn edges so it won’t be as bulky when you turn out.IMG_1408

Turn right-side out so that the batting is now on the inside.

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Use your point turner to push the corners to the right shape. Fold in the un-sewn edge.

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Take your piece of ribbon and fold in half, then tuck the folded edge into the open edge of the bookmark about 1/2-3/4″ down inside.  Pin closed.

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Sew along the pinned edge as close as you can. (Remember to take out your pins as you sew) Continue along the outer edge of all 4 sides. When you get back to the beginning you can either backstitch to secure it, or you can pivot again creating a maze pattern. Stop when you have no more room to go and backstitch to secure your stitching. This really helped my daughter to learn how to pivot at corners and reinforced stitching in a straight line, along with introducing her to quilting without her even knowing it!IMG_1418

Lastly, singe the edges of the ribbon so that they don’t frey with use. Be careful not to keep the flame too long in any one place or you will burn your ribbon, and maybe even your whole project! It may be important for you to know I always did this part for my daughter because I wasn’t comfortable with her using a lighter at her age.

ANDDDDD, that’s it! All done and ready to give out to a friend or tuck in your favorite book!

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