As the last remaining days of summer become shorter and the temperatures cooler, anticipation is in the air. Deciduous trees begin their time-honored color change, animals busily prepare in expectation of the coming cooler weather, and we all begin to look for our favored warmer clothing. The splendor that is autumn is soon upon us; a change of seasons is inevitable. As the season anticipates change, we too look forward to a change not only in how we dress, but how we update our living spaces as well. Some easy to sew changes for the colorful autumn season:
Convert a sweatshirt into a jacket
Remove the ribbed cuffs and waistband from the sweatshirt, cut straight up the center front, sew or iron-on a medium-weight interfacing, about 2 “ wide along both center front cut edges to stabilize, embellish the outside with your choice of embroidery, applique of autumn leaves, or iron-on fall themes, and if you choose, line with a contrasting fall print. Turn back the cuffs to reveal the lining, add a single frog closure or large button and loop closure at the top front, and enjoy your new jacket.
Use a favorite pattern to make an autumn print table topper and matching fabric bowl. Fill the bowl with a variety of hard shell nuts to add a beautiful lost-cost seasonal touch to your fall decorating.
Scented hot pad or coaster
What would autumn be without the aroma of cinnamon, spiced apple, and pumpkin? Sew a scented coiled hot pad or coaster and let your hot tea or coffee rest on the pad to release the fragrance of the season. Cut fabric (any printed cottons or seasonal calicos work well) 1 ½" wide (or a little wider) by approximately 1 yard long. Fold right sides together, sew across one short end and down the long side using a ¼" seam allowance. Turn the now sewn tube of fabric right side out, fill with scented rice and securely hand-stitch the end closed. Beginning at one end, fold back about one inch of the filled tube against itself and hand stitch closely together; continue coiling and stitching until the end.
Scented rice: In a glass Mason-type jar pour a teaspoon or slightly more of potpourri-type essential oil, swirling the jar around to coat the insides. Add nearly a pound of uncooked rice. Place a coffee filter over the top and screw the lid on tightly. Shake well to coat the rice. Over the next few days, shake the jar occasionally until the rice has taken up the scent of the oil.
Wool or fleece poncho
The poncho is one of the most versatile of easy body coverings to make. Most ponchos require only one yard or slightly more of fabric. Lay out the folded fabric and cut a semi-circle opposite the folded edge. Find the center of the fold and cut a small semi-circle for the neck opening. If you would like the poncho to have a front opening, open up the fabric and cut from one edge to the neck opening. The poncho can be lined for extra warmth. Clean finish all edges by folding under a small amount and top sew. Add a decorative button closure if the poncho has a front opening.
Folk art penny rug
A penny rug uses decorative simple appliqué, traditionally made from felted wool. Easy shapes are cut out and sewn onto a wool background using an embroidery blanket stitch of contrasting colors. An inspirational saying is sometimes seen embroidered on the rug. Although rarely actual rugs, the term endures. The folk art appliqué can be seen on table runners, candle mats, wall hangings, and bed linens and is identifiable by circles of penny-sized trim and on circular appliqués. The term Penny Rug is first mentioned in the early 1800's. The large penny coin of its day (today the size of a 50 cent coin) made it an ideal circular template for appliqué designs or for fashioning a scallop-type edging.
Sew happy, sew well.