Paper N’ Plastic

Paper N’ Plastic

I don’t know about you, but I love to save time and room, especially when it comes to my sewing space. One of the best ways to save time when you are preparing or working on a sewing project is organization. I find it so much easier to move from one step to next when everything is not scattered all over the place. With that being said, I have a helpful organization tip about storing your pattern pieces.

I prefer the slider bags, but the snap bags work just as well.

I prefer the slider bags, but the snap bags work just as well.

Have you ever opened your sewing pattern and taken out the beautiful folded paper pattern inside of it? Doesn’t look it look neat and tidy?! Well, have you tried to refold the paper pattern once it has been unfolded and put it back into that same pattern pack? Or even worse, have you tried to refold it once you have cut out the pattern pieces you need for project? Those of you who have successfully refolded your paper pattern and neatly placed it back into its package…well done!!! I think you are amazing magicians with wonderful refolding powers.

Sadly, for the rest of us (me included), it is a painful and tedious task (say that three times fast) to get the paper back into the pack. However, I have a found a solution that works great. All you need are permanent markers and plastic storage or freezer bags. I prefer the slider bags (see photo 1), but the snap bags work just as well. For one of my patterns, I used a 2.5-gallon jumbo slider bag because the pattern pieces were very large. You can adjust the size of your storage or freezer bag based on the size of your pattern pieces.

Place the pattern package in the bag with the paper pattern pieces (photo 2) in order to keep them all together.

Place the pattern package in the bag with the paper pattern pieces (photo 2) in order to keep them all together.

There are two ways that you can store your pattern pieces. The first way is to only cut out the pieces from the paper pattern that you will use for your sewing project. Then with remaining pattern paper, you can simply fold it to make it smaller and put it into the storage or freezer bag without having to make the shape precise in order to fit into the bag. The second way is to cut out all of the pieces found on the paper pattern and store them in the slider or snap plastic bag. The second way will also save you cutting time later should you decide to use the additional pattern pieces from the same sewing pattern for a future project. I also like to place the pattern package in the bag with the paper pattern pieces (photo 2) in order to keep them all together, especially because the pattern package contains fabric measurements and finished garment measurements that you may need to refer to in order to prepare for your sewing project.

Once you have your paper pattern and package in the bag, I would suggest using a permanent marker to label the bag with the corresponding pattern number (photo 3).

Use a permanent marker to label the bag with the corresponding pattern number.

Use a permanent marker to label the bag with the corresponding pattern number.

Side note: If the paper pattern pieces do not have the pattern number printed on it, mark the number on the pieces themselves so you will know to which pattern package and bag they belong. Write the number in a place on the pattern pieces that does not interfere with the pattern markings.

The bonus of using the storage or freezer bag is that it also provides you with space to make notes right on the bag. If you have, for example, a fabric idea or found an easier way to put the pattern together why you were sewing, you can simply put a note or reminder on the bag without having to mark all over the pattern or the pattern package. So there you have it…a simple and inexpensive way to organize your paper pieces without all that refolding hassle. Sewing is fun so do not let refolding and refitting take the joy away from you.

“Pin”ny Time Savers

“Pin”ny Time Savers

All you need are clothes hangers, clothespins, and a marker or pen (not pictured).

All you need are clothes hangers, clothespins, and a marker or pen (not pictured).

Whether you are new to sewing and quilting or just love to follow commercial patterns, you quickly find out that once you cut out your pattern pieces, they are EVERYWHERE. Along your pattern cutting journey, you may get a little lost, especially trying to keep track of “which piece goes where” and “what label is this piece?” After all your cutting is done and it is time to reach for your cut pattern pieces to begin sewing or quilting, you find you find yourself spending even more time figuring out which one is “A, B, C” or “1, 2, 3”. Here is a handy solution to help you organize your fabric pattern pieces with items you probably already have at home.

First, use a marker or pen to label the clothespins based on the labels found on the pattern pieces or the pattern guide.

First, use a marker or pen to label the clothespins based on the labels found on the pattern pieces or the pattern guide.

All you need are clothes hangers, clothespins, and a marker or pen (not pictured). First, use a marker or pen to label the clothespins based on the labels found on the pattern pieces or the pattern guide. Using a permanent marker may make it easier to write on the clothespin, especially if it is made out of plastic. When choosing the marker and pen, make sure that you choose an ink that will be very easy and quick to see on the clothespin. (The goal is to make find your pattern pieces easier.)

Second, once you have labeled the clothespins, clip them on the hanger. To make finding the pins easier, place the labeled clothespin in alphabetical and numerical order. Continue clipping the pins onto the hanger until you have all your pins in a row. If you run out of space, use additional hangers until you have all of our labeled clothespins on a hanger.

Once you have labeled the clothespins, clip them on the hanger. Finally, attach the cut fabric pieces to their corresponding labeled clothespin by clipping the fabric to the hanger.

Once you have labeled the clothespins, clip them on the hanger. Finally, attach the cut fabric pieces to their corresponding labeled clothespin by clipping the fabric to the hanger.

Finally, attach the cut fabric pieces to their corresponding labeled clothespin by clipping the fabric to the hanger. For quilting patterns, there may be many pieces that same labels (for example, a repeating quilting pattern). In those cases, clip several pieces with the same label on the same pin. If there are a large amount of pieces with the same label and the clothespin get too bulky, create several clothespins with the same label. Organize the clothespins with identical labels next to each other for convenient and quick access.

Now you can hang the hanger on a door handle, a rod, or a rack. Place your fabric pattern hanger in a location this close to your project a quick reach to start your sewing and quilting. This idea not only helps to organize your pattern pieces, but it also helps to organize your sewing process. It can be such a distraction to have pattern pieces scattered all over your sewing and quilting workspace. A great sewing and quilting project takes focus and time. Organization around you in the workshop help you focus on project and saves you the time of having to search for your pattern pieces and figure out which piece it is.

The beauty of sewing and quilting is its creativity, attention to detail, and precision. Let this handy solution give you the freedom to put all of your time and energy into those things. So check out your closets or laundry rooms for the clothespins and hangers that will save you sewing and quilting time. But, just in case you want to go a purchase new one just for your sewing and quilting space, have fun with colors, prints, textiles, and more. From hardware stores to houseware stores, the possibilities are endless. Spruce up your creative environment with fashionable hangers and fancy clothespins to create a simple gadget that will help to make your sewing and quilting experience less frustrating and more exciting.

Dashing Dish Mat

DIY – Dashing Dish Mat

Dishes everywhere! I’ve been learning how to cook from scratch. I also made the wonderful journey into the world of baking bread. Yay, so much fun! Boo, so many dishes that must be hand-washed. Oh no, can’t just throw them in the dishwasher!  My beloved husband’s coffee pot may only be moved upon threat of death, so I created a dish mat to fit our small, unique space.

Viola! The Dashing Dish Mat!

Before:

Impossible dish counter space.

Impossible dish counter space.

After:

Beautiful organization, bright space.

Beautiful organization, bright space.

Level: Beginner

Time to Complete: In an hour

Sewn By Machine: 1/4 in. straight stitch except where indicated

**Tip: Wash all new materials prior to use to avoid shrinkage when you wash it later on.

**Tip: Iron cut pieces before sewing and in between each step. This helps in the sewing process and the end results will look more professional.

Materials.

Materials.

Materials:

1 – 26 1/2″ L x 14 1/2″ W     Terry Cloth long part of L- for back side

1 – 13″ L x 17″ W                 Terry Cloth short part of L- for back side

3 – 27″ L x  5″ W                  Colorful fabric strips

3 – 5″ L x 17″ W                   Colorful fabric strips

  1. Measure the area where the dish mat will be. My dish mat will be L-shaped so I had to take measurements for each side. Final measurements – For lengthwise section, 26 1/2″ L x 14 1/2″ W. For L piece, 13″ L x 17″ W. I always use measuring tape instead of a ruler when measuring spaces. Measuring tape is flexible and much longer than most rulers. I add an 1/2″ to 1″ in. depending on the project to account for the material that will be used for seams. Otherwise the end project will be shorter than I want.
  2. Cut the terry cloth for the back side. Cut fabric strips.
  3. Sew two pieces of terry cloth together, right side together 1/4″ with regular straight stitch.
    • **Tip: Make sure you have the smaller L portion of the terry cloth on the correct side. This can be tricky. When you match right side together with terry cloth and fabric sides, make sure they are both on the correct side. I had to rip stitches and sew the terry cloth on the other side. I use a seam ripper with a safety ball so I cut only what I want and don’t end up ripping other areas of the fabric. 
    • **Tip: Don’t let mistakes discourage you. I make mistakes all the time, as is obvious with my terry cloth L error. Rip stitches, go back a step, start from scratch. Sewing is an adventure, and sometimes those mistakes turn into great ideas!

      Example of strip stitching.

      Example of strip stitching.

  4. Sew the vertical strips together, right sides together. Sew the horizontal strips together, right sides together. Then sew the vertical strips and horizontal strips together, on the right side.
  5. Sew the terry cloth back and the striped front together right sides together. Leave one end open to pull the fabric through.

    Outside pieces facing together.

    Outside pieces facing together.

  6. Cut off the corners before pulling the fabric through.
  7. Pull the fabric through. Iron.
  8. Top stitch all the seams for the strips. This adds a professional look as well as making sure the seams don’t cause problems later. Iron.
  9. Top stitch all around the outside. Make sure to sew the side that was left open to pull the fabric through. Iron.
    Top stitching seams.

    Top stitching seams.

    • **Tip: A creative use of thread colors can really make a project pop. Top stitching any of the seams in different colors or in a color that would really stand out against the fabric can be that “extra touch” that makes everyone say “Wow, you made that? Could you make one for me?”
    • Place on your kitchen counter and enjoy washing dishes!

I hope you enjoyed this project. If you have any questions or comments, please share! Any ideas, shortcuts, or other contributions are welcome.

I would love receiving picture posts from you showcasing your dish mat creations 🙂