Sewing for the Non-Sewer

Sewing for the Non-Sewer

Sewing seems like something that requires loads of skills and creativity. Often, that’s the case, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can dip your toes in the sewing pool without even owning a sewing machine. You will need a needle and thread though, so add those to your shopping list!

Sewing for the Non-Sewer

Start Small

Making a shirt or skirt can be really overwhelming for someone who thinks they can’t sew. Instead of starting with something that big, do something smaller and less complicated with more instant gratification. For example, a fabric credit card holder or wallet. Simply choose a fabric remnant you like (ask the fabric store clerk to show you where those are) and purchase a spool of thread that coordinates with it. And don’t forget the needles!

Credit Card Holder or Wallet

At home, grab a credit card from your existing wallet. Unfold the fabric remnant and place it right side down on your work surface. A kitchen or dining room table works well. With a pencil or machine washable pen, trace the credit card then flip it so that the long side abuts where the trace mark now lies and trace it again. Using a ruler, draw a line around the full tracing to encompass the double size of the credit card about one inch from the trace line. This becomes the line you will cut on.

It may take a few tries to get this right.

If you’ve got fabric scissors, use those. If not, use the sharpest pair you’ve got in the house. Carefully cut around the outer line. Placing the right side of the fabric together, fold the fabric in half along the line where you abutted the two credit cards and iron it flat. This will help you hold and sew it evenly without needing pins.

Cut a length of thread you’re comfortable working with from the spool you purchased. To easily tie a knot on one end, lick your index finger and wrap the thread around it two or three times. Using the opposite hand, roll and slide the thread off your finger and pull the knot tight. It may take a few tries to get this right. Take the other end and thread it through the eye of the needle. It helps to wet the thread to form a point. This can be tricky even for the most skilled sewers, so stick with it if it doesn’t work right away.

Now that you’ve got the needle and thread situated, sew the two short sides of the wallet between the cut edge and the line from when you traced the cards. When you’ve reached the end of the seam, tie down the end by feeding the needle under a stitch and through the loop that creates. Pull it tight. The open long side will become the opening. First, fold down the edge halfway between the trace line and the cut edge. Again, iron flat so you won’t need pins. Sew those edges down making sure to leave the opening accessible and tie.

Finally, turn it right side out and put your credit cards inside. DONE! You just made your first sewing project. You can consider yourself a sewer and move on to machine projects!

Fabric Stash Ideas

Fabric Stash Ideas

If you’re like me you’ve got a giant bin (or two) of left over fabric from projects dating back to the stone age. It takes up valuable closet space, but you refuse to let it go. Maybe it’s even a point of contention with your spouse/partner. With these fun ideas you can free up your closet space, make some fun projects, and maybe make a little money on the side too.

Fabric Stash Cash Wallet

Fabric Stash Cash Wallet

With just a small bit of fabric scraps, some ribbon, and a quick row of stitches you can make a unique cash or coin wallet. Measure out your scrap so that it is the dimensions of a credit card (2x height), plus seam allowances and room for a ½ inch ribbon. Fold it in half with right sides together and stitch up the sides. Make a pocket for the ½ inch ribbon and sew that up. Feed the ribbon through and turn the cash purse right side out.

The ribbon can be tightened to close the wallet and prevent spillage in a large purse or bag. It’s cute, unique and keeps all credit cards, cash and coins neatly organized. Even better, you can make a bunch and give them as gifts or sell them at craft fairs or on Etsy.

Fabric Stash Rag Clowns

Fabric Stash Rag ClownsTo give credit where it’s due, this is an idea I’m stealing from my great-grandmother. Right up until the day she died, just shy of 100, she made these adorable clowns. They were all over her apartment and each of the grandkids and great-grandkids had at least one. I’m not completely sure how she did it, but the basic idea is this.

Cut a circle of scrap fabric, fold it in on itself so that the edges meet in the center and sew it into the now smaller circle. Make a bunch of these and then string them on wire to create clown legs, arms and body. Add a pre-purchased head and voila! So cute! For extra fun you can add bells on the ends of the arms and legs and/or an accessory like a necklace. Sure to be a hit with any children in your life, at craft fairs, and likely a best seller on Etsy.

What other ideas do you have?