Sewing Buddies

Sewing Buddies

Among my group of friends, I’m the only one that sews. We all figure it’s a skill that they’ll all turn to me for after the Zombie Apocalypse. Kidding! I am the only one who sews and it is a valuable skill, but since I don’t have a group of friends to sew with, I’ve made my own sewing buddies. Really, they’re just stuffed animals I’ve made, but they sit in my swing area and keep me company when the cats take off at the sound of the sewing machine. If you need some sewing buddies too, check out these cute stuffed animal patterns and make some for yourself.


Stuffed Fox Sewing Pattern

Made from fleece, these little guys work up quickly and are loved by kids and adults. When finished, they’re about 15” tall and have the sweetest faces. I used buttons for the eyes and nose, since there aren’t young children playing with them in my house, but the applique idea is great for homes with kids. Make a girl one and a boy one so they can keep each other company.

Sock Monkey Pattern

I’m not sure why, but people seem to give me wild sox for birthday or Christmas gifts. I don’t wear crazy socks, never have. I re-gift them when I can, but that’s not always possible. So, this sock monkey sewing pattern is the perfect way to use those crazy socks and get myself a sewing buddy. Make two and they can cuddle with intertwined arms. Add some Velcro to their hands to keep the cuddle pose in place.

Fat Quarter Bunnies

I love these! So often when I’m at the fabric store, I see fat quarters and want to buy them, but typically, they’ll wind up sitting in my fabric stash, never used. These sweet bunnies are the perfect use for those fat quarters and they’re so cute in my sewing area.

Sock Dragon Sewing Pattern

Yet another awesome use for all those crazy socks I seem to get. The sock dragon is a bit more challenging than his cousin sock monkey, but it also uses an additional pair of socks! I love dragons, so having one, or several, in my sewing space is great company.

If you’re looking for some sewing buddies, these stuffed animal patterns are a great way to make some company for yourself. Try them and let me know what you think!

Keep Warm with These Fleece Projects

Keep Warm with These Fleece Projects

These Fleece projects will keep you cozy and warm

I don’t know about you, but if you ask me, this Winter can’t end soon enough. I’m dreaming of warm weather and beach trips, but the reality is that it is cold outside. On cold winter days, there is nothing cozier than fleece. So I’ve scoured the net to round up some fun fleece projects for you to sew.

Tips for Sewing with Fleece

Fleece projects are generally easy to sew, but only if you know some tricks for working with this unique fabric:

Needles – Some folks prefer to use a universal point needle when working with fleece. If you choose this type of needle, be aware that fleece will dull these quickly and you will need to change needles often. I find a stretch or ball point needle works better and use these instead for sewing fleece projects. Regardless of needle type, I use use size 14 for fleece.

Foot selection – A roller foot or an even-feed foot (also known as a walking foot) will be most helpful. Reduce presser foot pressure to allow for the extra bulk.

Stitching – I prefer to sew with a stretch stitch for fleece. If your machine does not have a stretch stitch, you can use a narrow zig-zag stitch instead. For straight stitching, use a slightly longer stitch length, about 3.5mm, to prevent skipping.

Thread – Fleece is not only tough on needles; it can also be tough on thread. Don’t try sewing fleece projects with cotton or cotton/poly thread, as this may ravel or break. To prevent breakage, use 100% polyester thread.

Other tips 

  • Don’t use an iron on fleece, as it has a very low melting point.
  • To know which side is which, pull the selvedge taut; fleece will roll slightly on the wrong side.
  • It is difficult to undo stitches from fleece, so work slowly and carefully to avoid mistakes.
  • Clean your machine frequently when working with fleece, as it has a tendency to shed fibers.

And now, for my favorite fleece projects:

Fleece Projects: Hats and Headbands

A U.S. Army survival manual from 1957 claimed we lose 40-45 percent of heat from our heads. There is some controversy about this figure, and this may be overestimated. Regardless, you lose less heat from your head when it is covered!  There are many cute ways to cover heads with fleece, here are just a few.

Delia shows how to embellish a simple ear warmer headband with a huge fleece flower.

Delia shows how to embellish a simple ear warmer headband with a huge fleece flower.

Fleece Projects: Scarves

A fleece scarf can help keep you warm and fashionable, too. You can make one in mere minutes.

Scarflette, courtesy of Leafy Treetop.

Scarflette, courtesy of Leafy Treetop.

Fleece Projects: Mittens and Gloves

  • Make It and Love It shows how to make a pattern for adjustable mittens to fit anyone.
  • These fleece mittens are even easier to make and feature two layers for extra warmth.
  • Here’s how to make fleece gloves with gussets.
  • Ruffled fingerless gloves couldn’t be cuter. These only look complicated; they are actually easy to sew.

Fleece Projects: Footwear

  • This instructable shows how to make fleece socks from a blanket. If you’d rather not cut up a blanket, you could use fleece yardage instead.
  • Here’s a video tutorial for making dainty, ladylike slippers from fleece.
  • These fleece slippers will keep your ankles warm, too.

Fleece Projects: Pants

Nothing is more comfy and cozy than fleece pajama pants. Simply Modern Mom shows to make them using your favorite pants as a pattern. The tutorial is for child’s pants, but you can use this method to make them in any size. If you don’t have a favorite pair to use for making your pattern, of course you can make fleece pajama pants using most any pajama pattern in your stash.

Fleece Projects: Sweater

Here is a tutorial for making a lovely cowl-necked sweater from fleece that is as impressive as it is comfortable. The cowl neck is quite versatile. This can be worn in different ways, depending on the temperature outside.

Fleece Project: Caftan

When it’s really cold and all you want to do is stay cozy indoors, you’ll appreciate this easy fleece caftan. This is even better than the popular snuggies, as it covers both your front and your back sides.

Fleece Projects: Coats and Capes

Fleece outerwear is great because it’s warm, comfortable, and even repels water on wet and drizzly days. You can choose something easy and unstructured, such as a poncho or cape, or go with something more detailed, like a jacket or coat.

  • This instructable shows how to make an easy poncho that’s also pretty.
  • Here are several ways to make a beautiful long cape, with hood or without.
  • This little girl’s cape includes a collar and dressier design details.
  • Craftsy has collected 6 different jacket patterns. This link has something for everyone.
My personal favorite fleece coat is McCall’s pattern 5987. This coat includes a built-in scarf that can be styled several different ways.

My personal favorite fleece coat is McCall’s pattern 5987. This coat includes a built-in scarf that can be styled several different ways.

My personal favorite fleece coat is McCall’s pattern 5987. This coat includes a built-in scarf that can be styled several different ways.  It has an attractive rounded hem that looks great with both skirts and pants. I have made this coat in camel, in charcoal, in navy, and one in red as a gift for my mother. I get lots of compliments on these coats every time I wear them. While they are fashionable outerwear, they are also so cozy that I wear them as an extra layer in the house all the time. Maybe I should make a fleece robe, because I don’t have any robe that feels near as nice over my nightgown as these coats do.

Fleece Projects are Fun

Don’t be afraid of fleece. It is different than other fabrics, but nothing compares to the comfort fleece offers. I also think of this fabric as being more environmentally friendly than many others, since it is often made from recycled plastic bottles. Sewing on fleece is easy if you know the tips and tricks shared here. I hope you will try some of these fleece projects this season and enjoy them for many winters to come.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt with Satin Binding

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt with Satin Binding

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt with Satin Binding

I’ve always adored the classic look of plaids during the holidays. And plaid combined with satin is just lovely. We recently moved to a new house and I’ve been doing Christmas on a budget this year. I knew I wanted a plaid Christmas tree skirt but also knew I needed to be frugal. Here’s how I accomplished both.

Fabric first!

I picked up this plaid fleece throw blanket at K-Mart for $1.99. To create a perfect circle, I folded the blanket into quarters and then measured the shorter height of the rectangle it formed. On this blanket, that was 28″. I, randomly, had a stick that measured exactly 28″. You could do this with a long ruler, or just measure out the length you need on any stick or piece of wood and do the same.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt with Satin Binding

Once you’ve marked the length on both sides of the rectangle, hold the stick at the corner of the folded blanket, and then draw an arc from point to point, moving only the top of the stick.

Making the cut

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt with Satin Binding

Now cut out that lovely quarter circle. Before you unfold the blanket, cut out the interior circle (the part that will wrap around the trunk of the tree.) To do this, determine your desired circumference, which will allow you to find the diameter, and thus the radius. If you need the formulas, they are: d = C/π and r = D/2

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

Once you know your radius, do the same thing you did to mark out the larger arc but this time at the corner where the blanket is folded into quarters.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

Wash away those wrinkles

At this point I unfolded everything but the fleece was far too wrinkly. One of the great things about fleece is that it doesn’t fray, so I took the opportunity to wash a few of my daughters’ blankets and threw them, and this tree skirt, into the wash on the cold, delicate cycle. I added white vinegar as fabric softener, and then dried on low. It significantly reduced the wrinkles of the fleece.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

Binding it all together

For a tree skirt that is 56″ wide like mine, you will need two packages of satin binding. I used a satin applique stitch and worked my way around the skirt. Pre-packaged satin blanket binding is NOT cut on the bias, so you will need to pay careful attention as you go around the curve of the skirt.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

Some skirt tutorials will tell you to cut a line up to the interior circle before you add binding; I like to cut my line afterwards.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

Looking at the fabric, I followed the lines of the plaid to cut a straight line from the outside of the skirt to the inside and then used more of the satin binding to trim each edge.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

Welcome to the inner circle

When it comes time to bind the interior circle, do yourself a huge favor and switch to binding that is cut on the bias. When fabric is cut on the bias it is much easier to curve it, which makes binding circles, especially interior circles tremendously easier.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

Here I switched to prepackaged white bias binding and though pinning is not my favorite, thing, for this project I pinned everything carefully in place.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

Pro tip: think ahead before you pin and place your pins in the direction that you sew. This will it easier to pull them out as you go around the circle.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

Tie it off

Lastly, don’t forget the ties! I used four pieces of the binding tape that I used on the interior circle to create ties, two at the top of the circle, and two 12 inches down the cut edges.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

Here is my tree before the plaid tree skirt.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

And voilà, the finished product!

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

The combo of fleece, plaid, and satin just warms my heart.

DIY Plaid Christmas Tree Skirt Satin Binding

What are you DIYing this holiday season? Let us know and happy sewing!

Charlotte Kaufman is a writer and sewist in Mammoth Lakes, California. She specializes in marine and home interiors and continues to fall more and more in love with quilting. You can follow her at