Tag Archives: Tutorial

Holiday Ornament Tutorial: Goldfish Bowls

img_0700I love goldfish. My logo has been a goldfish for years and years. (His name is Smee.) I have 2 goldfish named Harold and Henry that spend their summers outside in the waterlily pond and the winters in my living room begging for someone to feed them. So goldfish might not seem like an obvious ornament choice, but I love ornaments that are a little whimsical.

Materials

  • 4 x 8 inches of blue felt
  • 2 x 3 inches orange felt
  • assorted small seed beads; gold, brown or cream colored
  • 1 white 8-10 mm sequin
  • thread to match your blue felt
  • green embroidery thread
  • 6 inch piece of narrow ribbon
  • 2×3 scrap of fusible paper backed webbing (Heat & Bond Lite, Wonder Under)

Tools

  • small sharp scissors
  • beading needle, embroidery needle
  • sewing machine with straight stitch (optional)
  • iron & ironing board

Instructions

1. Right-click or option-click the pattern pieces below and save them to your computer. Then you can print them out. Cut two bowls (circles) from the blue felt. Set one aside.

2. With the embroidery needle and a piece of green embroidery thread, use a feather stitch to embroider a plant in the fishbowl. Here’s a great feather stitch tutorial

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3. Use the beads to add a pebble bottom to your fish bowl. With a beading needle and thread, stitch individual beads in a random scatter. Be sure to keep your beads about 1/4 inch from the outside edge of the bowl.

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4. Iron the fusible webbing to the back of the orange felt piece, following the instructions on the packaging. Trace the fish pattern and cut it out.img_0686

5. Peel off the paper backing and fuse the fish in place.

6. Using the beading needle and thread, stitch on a large white sequin and dark colored bead to make the fish’s eye. Tie a knot in the end of the thread. Bring your needle through from the back and add the sequin and then a seed bead. Bring your needle down through the same hole in the sequin. Pull it tight. The bead will hold the sequin in place and makes the pupil of the eye. Tie a knot on the back. Add a few small clear sequins to make bubbles around the fish, if you like.

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7. Layer the two fish bowl pieces together. Fold the ribbon in half and place the cut ends inside the top of the bowl between these two layers. Pin the ribbon in place.

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8. Machine stitch 1/8 inch from the edge of the bowl (shown in photo). Or you can handstitch using a blanket stitch and matching thread to go around the edges.

Pattern Pieces

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Holiday Ornament Tutorial: Peppermint Candies

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Materials

  • Felt – two 9 by 12 inch sheets in different colors
  • 4 x 8 inch piece of fine bridal tulle in a pale color
  • embroidery thread

Tools

  • rotary cutter, mat and ruler
  • scissors
  • sewing needle, thread

Instructions

1. Using the rotary cutter and ruler, cut the felt in to strips 1/2 inch wide by 12 inches long. You will need 2 strips of felt for each candy.

2. Choose two different colored strips. Layer one strip on top of the second, matching the long edges. Starting at one short edge, roll up the two strips. You will now have a disk with a two-colored spiral. This is your candy.

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3. Stitch the short ends of the felt to the roll with a couple of small stitches to hold them in place.

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4. Cut a rectangle of tulle about 4 by 8 inches. It should be wide enough to wrap around your candy with a little overlap. This will be the wrapper.

5. Wrap the candy in the tulle wrapper. Cut two pieces of embroidery floss or ribbon. Use a square knot to tie the ends of the wrapper on each side.

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6. Trim the ends of the wrapper so they are even.

7. Thread a piece of embroidery thread in your needle. Stitch through the candy and then back again to the other side. Remove the needle and tie the ends of the thread together to make a hanging loop.

Holiday Ornament Tutorial: Frosty Polar Bears

img_0620Materials

  • 6 x 6 inches of white felt
  • 6 x 6 inches pale blue, grey or green felt
  • white embroidery thread, white sewing thread
  • an assortment of white, clear, silver and pale blue sequins, any shape or size
  • white, clear or silver seed beads
  • narrow ribbon, about 6 inches long

Tools

  • Small sharp scissors
  • Beading needle
  • Embroidery sewing needle

A note about the sequins I used: I found snowflake shaped sequins in the scrapbooking section at the craft store and I think they were really perfect on this snow bear. You can also find squares, stars and other shapes.

Instructions

1.  Right-click or option-click the bear pattern below and save it to your computer. Then print it out. Using the pattern, cut out one bear from white felt.

2.  Thread your beading needle with a piece of regular sewing thread.  Tie a knot in the end.  Poke the needle through from back to front, where you would like one sequin to be.

3.  Thread a sequin, then a seed bead on to the needle.  Stitch back through the hole in the sequin, back through the fabric and pull the thread snug.  The bead will hold the sequin in place.  Cover the bear shape with as many or as few sequins as you like.

4. Continue to stitch the rest of the sequins in the same way.  Be careful not to pull the thread too tight between stitches making the felt pucker.  When you have finished adding sequins, tie off your thread on the back and trim the ends. You can add just a few or cover the bear with sparkles.  That’s up to you.

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5.  Place your be-spangled bear on the colored felt. Thread a needle with embroidery thread and tie a knot in the end.  Poke the needle from front to back just inside the edge of the bear.  Pull the thread until it stops at the knot.

6.  Blanket stitch around the edge of your bear. As you get to the top of the bear’s back, fold the ribbon in half, place the cut ends of the ribbon between the layers of felt and stitch them into the blanket stitch as well.

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7.  Trim the extra colored felt about 1/8 inch bigger than the bear, leaving an outline of the colored felt.  Be careful not to trim the ribbon.

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Holiday Ornaments: Deer in the Headlights Tutorial

img_0600I made these little deer ornaments originally as gifts for my co-workers one year. A friend took one look at the goggle-eyed deer and said “That’s what deer in the headlights look like.” The name stuck.

Materials

  • felt, 4×5 inch piece in any color
  • embroidery thread and sewing thread, any color
  • scrap of fabric about 4 by 5 inches
  • fusible paper-backed webbing (like Heat N Bond Lite or Wonder Under)
  • 8 mm sequins, white or another pastel color
  • a few dark colored seed beads

Tools

  • pencil
  • beading needle or small sewing needle
  • iron & ironing board
  • small sharp scissors like Fiskars microtip

Instructions

1.  Right-click or option-click on the deer pattern piece to save the pattern piece below to your computer. Then print it out. Trace the deer pattern on to the paper backed fusible webbing.  Following the instructions on the packaging, iron it to fuse it on to the back of your scrap fabric.deerheadlights

2.  Cut out your deer.

3.  Peel off the paper backing from the felt deer and place the deer, glue side down, on to a piece of felt.  Iron to fuse it in place. Note: If you are using acrylic felt rather than wool felt, please test a scrap first to make sure it doesn’t melt when you iron it.img_0586

4.  Cut out around your deer again, leaving about 1/8 inch border of felt all the way around.

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5.  To make the eyes, thread your beading needle with a piece of regular sewing thread.  Tie a knot in the other end.  Poke the needle through from back of the deer to front, where you would like one eye to be.  Pull until it stops at the knot.img_0590

6.  Thread a sequin and then a seed bead on to the needle.  Poke the needle then back through the hole in the sequin, and back through the fabric. Pull the thread snug.  The bead will hold the sequin in place. Repeat for the other eye.  Tie off your thread on the back and trim the ends.

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7.  With a 6 inch piece of embroidery thread, stitch through the felt between the antlers and make a loop to hang your deer.  Tie the ends together.

Holiday Ornaments: Becky’s Birdies Tutorial

I decided to give you all a gift this year. For many years I sold patterns for all kinds of things in my Etsy shop, including a bunch of simple holiday ornaments. But I have really changed the focus of my shop and what I am doing and I phased out those patterns a while ago. But I still have them and they are really cute and they shouldn’t just sit here on my computer with no one using them. So I decided that I would post them here for free as my gift to you.

 

img_0459The first one is a variation on an ornament I made with my mom when I was about 2 years old. She says I “helped”. I have the original on my Christmas tree and used it as the inspiration for this pattern.

Materials

  • two pieces of felt, 4 x 6 inches each in 2 coordinating colors
  • 6 inch piece of narrow ribbon
  • embroidery thread in a coordinating color

Tools

  • scissors
  • sewing needle
  • pins

Instructions

1.  Pin the pattern pieces to the felt and cut two birds and two wings.

2.  Place the bird pieces so that they are facing opposite directions.  Lay one wing on each of the bird pieces.  Adjust and pin in place.img_0454

3.  Using embroidery thread that matches the wing color, stitch each wing to the body piece.img_0455

4.  Cut a 6 inch piece of ribbon and fold in half.  Put the two bird body pieces together, wing sides out, sandwiching the ends of the ribbon in between.  Pin to hold the ribbon in place.

img_04585.  Stitch around the outside edge of the bird, through both layers of felt. Fold the wings back out of the way as you stitch.

You can use a running stitch, a whip stitch, or a blanket stitch, depending on what look you like.  Be sure to catch the ribbon in your stitches to hold it in place. When you have stitched all the way around, tie a knot and you are finished.

Here are the pattern pieces. Just option-click or right-click the image to save it to your computer and you can print it out.

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Fabric Design Tutorial: Create a “Mini Photo Scrapbook” Fabric Design

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 11.48.36 AMI am going to call this tutorial the first in what I hope will be a series of “Suggestion Box Tutorials“.

I got an email from a woman this morning asking for help designing a fabric to make a keepsake zipper bag. She and a collection of friends are meeting up this summer and she wanted a little something to give each of them to commemorate the occasion. She had a great idea for what she wanted the fabric to look like: a collection of photos and little graphics that were all significant to this group of friends. The photos should be scattered like postage stamps on a white background. She even sent me a sketch.

Her question was: did I know of anywhere there was a tutorial that could show her how to do this and how could she make sure that it was just the scale and size she wanted?

Could I think of anything? No. So, this seemed like the perfect tutorial for me to write.

What does your intention tell you about your design?

If you have had the chance to take a class from me, you know that one of my tips for creating really successful fabric designs is to design with intention. The intended use for your fabric can give you so many hints about how you need to set up your design files.

This fabric is intended to be a lining for a small zipper bag. So we know that will use pieces of fabric that are maybe 10-12″ square. If I create a repeating tile that is larger than 12″, I won’t see all of the photos that will be in the design because I will be just cutting out a piece. Maybe that’s ok. Or maybe you want to make sure that each bag has every photo visible. That’s a choice for you to make.

I also know that if my zipper bag is 10-12 inches, I probably need the photos to be pretty small in relation to that so that the scale makes sense. If the photos are each 6 inches, I will only be able to see a couple of them once I cut it out.

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Do the math.

So for this project, I am going to use that information to set up my design file (aka do the math). Why do I need to do that now? Can’t I just do the fun part (designing it) and worry about that math stuff later?

The number one thing I hear from new fabric designers is:

I uploaded my thing to Spoonflower and it was so awesome, but it was totally the wrong size! I thought it would be small but when I uploaded it, it was huge! I don’t know what happened. I was so surprised.

This is the step where you can make it turn out exactly the size you want it to be. It just involves a tiny bit of math.

  1. Decide what size you want your repeat to be. By “repeat” I mean the file that you will upload to Spoonflower. Spoonflower computers will repeat that file it to fill as much fabric as you want to print. Yes, you repeat your repeat. English is weird.

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I decided that for this zipper bag lining, I want my repeat to be 12″ because I want to be able to see the whole thing with all of the little photos when I cut out my lining piece. That’s my design choice. You make your choice.

2. The magic number is 150.

The only thing you need to remember about resolution for this project is 150. Resolution is the number of dots (or pixels) per inch that the file needs in order to print at the size you want. Dots per inch = DPI.

Spoonflower’s printers use a resolution of 150 DPI. That’s why 150 is our magic number. That means if you set your file to 150 DPI, you will get exactly what you expect to get. That’s a rule. 150 uploaded = 150 printed. In otherwords, if I make a file that is 12 inches at 150DPI, I will get a printed design that is 12 inches. No more, no less. So how do I set up the file?

3. Figure out how many pixels that is.

Resolution is the number of pixels per inch. Since we know how many inches we need (12″) and we know how many pixels per inch (150 DPI) we can figure out how many total pixels that is. And we need to know the total number of pixels because that’s the number our graphics program will ask for.

inches x resolution = pixels

12 inches x 150 pixels per inch = 1800 pixels

That means if I want a file that will print exactly 12 inches wide, I need to make a file in my graphics program that is 1800 pixels wide.

Remember that number. 1800 pixels. Write it down on a scrap of paper.

Create a new blank file.

For this design, I am going to use a program called PicMonkey because I think it is the ideal tool for this design. It’s going to make it easy. You can use any program you want to to make your designs, but PicMonkey has some built in tools that I know will work really well for this. That’s why I picked it. It’s a free online graphics software that works right in your web browser. You don’t need to download anything.

Go to PicMonkey.com. At the top of the screen you will see a menu bar.

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Click on the option on the right that says Collage.

Set up the Layout.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 1.22.09 PMThe reason that PicMonkey is such a great tool for this project is because of this collage tool. Look at the left sidebar on your screen for the icon that looks like a grid. If you hover your mouse over it, it will say “Layouts”. Click the Layouts button.

Feel free to explore the options in this panel! These are all of the different ways that PicMonkey can layout a collage for you.

(There are some options that are marked with a crown – those are part of the upgraded “Royale” package that PicMonkey offers, which is an annual fee of $40/year. We will use a free layout option for this project but that $40 per year membership is totally worth it. Note: I don’t get anything from PicMonkey for telling you that; it’s just my personal opinion. I just love PicMonkey.)

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 1.24.22 PMClick on the option called “Square Deal” out of that list and then pick the little icon at the very far right (a grid of 25 squares.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember when I told you to write down “1800 pixels”. The very next thing you want to do is set this file to be 1800 pixels. Look at the bottom center of the screen and you will see where to type that in. I put in 1800 for both the width and the height, so I will have a 12 x 12 inch square as my file size. (See how easy that was!) Hint, if you click the Lock Icon after you do this, it will keep it at this size while you are doing the next steps and rearranging things.

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Add your photos.

The dotted lines in this layout represent the places I can drop in my photos and graphics to make up this design. But first I need to load them into Picmonkey.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 1.35.43 PMLook back again at the left sidebar. Choose the top icon that looks like a picture of mountains and is labeled “Images”. The very first thing in the panel of thumbnails will be a button (top left) that says “Open Photos”. Click that and it will pop up a window for you to find the files on your hard drive.Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 1.36.58 PM

A hint: It’s super helpful if you collect everything you want to use for this design and put it all together in a folder on your Desktop (or somewhere else handy). Then you can select and upload them all at once instead of needing to hunt and peck all over your computer to find what you need. Load all of the photos you want to use right now. You can click that “Open Photos” button more than once to keep adding photos.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 1.44.14 PMYou will see all of your photos pop up in the thumbnails along the left side of the screen. They don’t have to be photos. Anything in a .jpg format will work, like little graphics or screenshots. Just make sure you have permission to use them.

Now the photos are ready to use. I chose a bunch of photos of my dogs for this example.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fill in the blanks.

You can now click and drag the photos from the left sidebar and drop them in the boxes in the template on the right. If I look back to the sketch my friend made, she has photos scattered all around the design, so I am not going to fill in every box in the template, but I will leave some spaces.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 3.05.41 PMWant to vary the sizes of the boxes a little? You can click and drag to change the size and shape of the rows and columns. Hover with your mouse between a couple of boxes and you will see a double arrow pop up. You can drag with that double arrow to make the columns and rows bigger and smaller.

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Recenter a photos? Hover over a picture and wait for your cursor to change to a 4-pointed arrow. Now you can move the photo around within the box (to recenter it).

Want to add another photo and insert an extra box into the template? Grab a photo from the thumbnails, drag it over to where you want to add it and wait for a blue outlined box to pop up. When you drop the photo it will add a new box where that blue outline was. Now there are two photos in that space.

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Zoom? Click any photo in the collage to see an Edit button (top left) or an “X” (top right). Click the “Edit” button and a menu will pop up that will let you zoom and rotate that photo you have selected. Click the “X” to remove the photo.

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How do you know if the photos you are using are going to work and not look pixellated? Pretty much it is what-you-see-is-what-you-get. I could help you do the math to check that you have enough pixels in each of these photos and so on, but honestly, if it looks blurry, or pixellated, or in any way yucky when you look at it in this step, it’s going to look that way when you print it. It’s pretty simple. Your best bet is: if it looks yucky, choose a different picture. You can’t fix blurry or pixellated.

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