Guest Author - Tamara Bostwick
When you are done with sewing projects, don’t throw away your scraps. They can be used to make a number of small items that make great gifts. I like to keep my scraps in an organizer drawer for those days when I have some free time but not enough energy to tackle a large project. I can take out a few scraps and whip up a few things to add to my gift stash.
I will be writing an ongoing series of articles about small projects that can be made with scraps so be sure to check back for additional projects.
Everyone has seen the ubiquitous brown cardboard finger protectors that every coffee shop provides. If you have ever used one, you know that it is better than nothing, but your fingers still feel the heat. And, if you set your cup down in a busy area for a minute, you may not know which one is yours when you get back.
Solve these problems by taking a few minutes to make a personalized cozy as a gift to yourself or for your friends and family. They are easy to tuck into a purse.
There are patterns available online, but you can easily open a cardboard version and trace your own pattern. Remember to add a quarter of an inch (or whatever you prefer) for the seam allowance and add 3/4 of an inch (or 1/2” plus the seam allowance) to the length on one end only to allow the edges to overlap. You will need to cut an outside piece, a lining piece, and a piece of batting. When it comes to batting, you can use regular cotton batting such as Warm and Natural, but a thermal batting will give you extra protection from the heat of the drink.
Layer your two fabrics right side together and top with your batting. Sew a 1/4" seam around, beginning on the bottom (shorter) side, about 1-2 inches before the corner, and leave a two inch opening for turning. Clip the seam allowances and corners (also clip the curves if necessary) and then turn right side out and press the edges flat making sure the seam is on the edge and doesn’t roll over to one side or the other. Hand stitch the opening closed. Top stitch 1/4” from the finished edge. You can use a contrasting thread or a decorative stitch for extra zing. Sew hook and loop tape along the short ends so that when they are connected, a cup shape is formed. VOE*: When sewing hook and loop tape, do not use the stick-on kind. You *will* gum up your needle.
If you have pinking shears, you can make an even easier version that omits the turning right side out part of the process. Make your fabric sandwich with right sides facing out with the batting layered in between and sew a straight seam all the way around using 1/2” seam allowance (instead of 1/4" ). Then use your pinking shears to trim close to the stitching (be sure not to trim too close). Apply the hook and loop tape as described above.
TIP: When sewing items that will need to be turned right side that have corners, such as pillows, be sure to sew around all of the corners at least a little bit. This way, your corners will all be sharp and the same shape when you turn them right side out. It also makes it easier to press and stitch closed the opening, especially if you are closing the seam by hand.
*VOE=Voice Of Experience. Let my pain be your gain.
Fabric Leftovers: Simple, Adaptable Ways to Use up Scraps
Do you have more scraps than you know what to do with? Here is a beautiful book with even more suggestions for those bits and pieces you can't bear to part with.