my simple ditty bag tutorial

This is my quick & dirty, no measuring required, simple method of creating a little drawstring bag.  If you’re like me and far too impatient for preciseness, this is the way to go :)

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To start, I used a piece of linen that was cut 8 x 18.  I folded it in half and centered the design on the top half of the fabric… this picture shows the placement of my finished stitching.  I then laid it on top of a piece of muslin and loosely cut to size. 2

Next, I folded my linen/muslin combo in half and ironed in a sharp bottom crease. 3

I turned my top edges in just a tad, maybe not quite an inch, to provide a finished edge on the top of the little bag. 4

I made those edges super sharp with the iron, eliminating the need for pins, which I personally find very tedious to use in sewing projects. I’m too impatient to pause to remove them… I just want to zip along with my machine!

(However, I will pause the machine for an official Cat Inspection) 5

For my next trick, I ran a line of sewing a little bit away from the top edge on both sides… I didn’t measure, just used the guideline on the base plate of my machine that I thought looked the best distance from the top. 6

And then I flipped the whole shebang over and ran a second seam across both edges, using the presser foot to guide me this time.  That second seam provided the track for the drawstring to run through. 7

I folded my bag with right sides together and (after changing the thread to something bright) sewed the two side seams, just eyeballing the distance away from my stitching. 8

I changed the thread back to the one that matched my linen and ran a seam down each side, just to the inside of those bright lines I had recently put in… 9

and this is what I was left with after all that… 10

So I cut right up the sides, again using that bright thread line as a guide. 11

I flipped the whole thing inside out and pressed it a bit…. almost done! 12

After braiding my DMC to make a drawstring, I stretched out a paper clip and tied the thread to one end so I could pretty easily get that thread through the little track I had made earlier.  I did that to both sides, knotted the ends, and viola!

It is finished.

For the record, the design I used for this tutorial was “Scatter Sampler Ditty Bag” by The Primitive Jewel (hey, that’s me!) which you can find at your favorite needlework shop. 011515tpjlogo

from xs to felt

I love this design (Me & You Sampler by Midsummer Night Designs), but our little house is white so I wanted a white house.  But I hate stitching with white because it always lays funny for me and looks fairly awful.  (anyone else have that problem?)  I decided to convert the house to felt and applique it instead.  Problem solved!

I used a scrap of Aida the same count as my base fabric and cut pieces to size using the cross stitch chart.  I’m stitching on Aida, but this would work on linen, too… just use 14ct. for 28ct., 16 ct. for 32 ct., and so on.

I used the Aida templates to cut out the felt bits:

And this is how it will look when I get it all stitched onto my base fabric:

I decided to skip the chimneys, to give the little house a more contemporary feel.  I haven’t had time yet to actually sew the house down, but I think it will look pretty cute, and it’s certainly an easy solution to my problem.  Now that I think about it, there are several designs I’ve seen that I like but have a ton of solid stitching… this method might be good to use on some of those, too :)

adding a needle as a design element

I have done a few designs where I used a real needle in the piece rather than a stitched needle… I think it looks neat. When I was finishing up this model I took pics so I could share how to do it:

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You’ll need to start by leaving a blank space in your stitching where the display needle will go. Make sure you stop with the thread on top, and remove your stitching needle.

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Run thread through the eye of the display needle and stick it in the fabric wherever it needs to go, then re-thread your stitching needle.

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Complete the stitch to hold the display needle in place, and finish the backstitching like normal.

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There you go ;) And if we zoom out:

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Have a marvelous Monday!

make a little box

**repost from 2005… I don’t think anyone read my blog back then ;)

OK first things first, gather up all of your materials: tacky glue, super sticky tape, a square of batting, beaded trim, scissors, a little paper mache box, and your stitching! A snack of some kind isn’t a bad idea to have on hand, either…there are a few of those waiting-for-the-glue-to-dry moments involved in this project.


Smear a bit of tacky glue on the box top and attach the batting first, then run a double line of the super sticky tape all around the edge. (If you have wider tape, probably a single line will do, but all I had on hand was the 1/8″ stuff.)

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Next, with the batting side up, lay the stitching over the box top (making sure it’s centered) and press the edges onto the tape. Flip it over and trim away the excess fabric, leaving about a half inch or so depending on the depth of your box lid.

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At this point, you need to finger press the fabric into neat corner points and fold over the edges, just like the doing the corners when wrapping a present. You’ll need the tacky glue to hold the points down; use cute clips to hold the fabric until the glue dries. Actually, I’m sure that not-so-cute clips would work fine too… I just happen to be addicted to fun office supplies.

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After the corner folds are dry, run a line of the super sticky tape all around the inside of the box lid edge. Cut notches at each corner–doesn’t have to be precise, just enough to get the extra fabric out of the way so it will fold in nicely! Fold each of the 4 edges in, straight down, and press onto the tape.

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Time for more tape! Run a double line all around the outside edge of the box lid. The box will need to be raised to work with the dangling beads, so use the box bottom turned sideways as a handy working base.

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Press the beaded trim onto the tape, starting at the back. The bottom of the ribbon/trim should be just barely hanging over the bottom edge of the box lid. When you get around to where you started, cut the trim leaving just a smidge for overlapping. Glue that tiny tail down (time for the cute clips again) and let dry.

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Aha! There it is all done… a neat little box for your desk! BTW, the trim used in this example was purchased at WalMart (as was the little box, actually) and the design used is from My Mark, “life’s mottos”.

tutorial time: ornament with wire hanger

** this is a repost from last year, in case you missed it then :)

Gather up: stitching, a matboard square cut to size, coordinating wool felt, wire, and a bead.

Lace the stitched piece onto the matboard square…

then glue the laced board onto a piece of felt. (I used Tacky Glue)

Loosely fold the wire length in half and string bead up from bottom; bend out wire legs.

Run the ends of the wire under a few fabric threads near the top edge of the ornament. Pull through until center hanging loop is desired length and cut wire about an inch from edge. Curl wire in and viola!:

BTW, this is the same finishing method I used on my ornament in the 2008 JCS issue.
Happy ornamenting!