Make Fast & Easy Drawstring Cords from a T-shirt

If you need a fabulous soft drawstring for small to mid-size projects, this could be just the ticket for you!

When I designed my Got Sudz Soap Scrubby Bags, I wrote the pattern to include instructions for making a woven fabric drawstring. This year, when I was making a bunch for gifts, I decided to give the t-shirt yarn method a try and it is AAAAAMMMAAAZING!!!

I have posted a quick Facebook video that you can watch on facebook by clicking here.

If you’re not on Facebook or you’d just prefer the written tutorial, here it is:

You can use virtually any cotton or cotton/poly t-shirt, even if it has a side seam. The t-shirt can be new, used, a thrift store find, swiped from your spouse’s/partner’s/kid’s closet or drawer…whatever works for you.

Lay the t-shirt out on your cutting mat and smooth it out well, lining up shoulder and arm hole seams. Make it as wrinkle free and smooth as possible and cut off the bottom, hemmed edge.
After removing the bottom hemmed edge, measure and cut a 1 inch strip, making sure you have nice clean edges on both sides of the strip. NOTE: You can make wider strips if you need a thicker drawstring.
Pick up the strip and separate the t-shirt layers to see the large loop of fabric you now have.
Insert both hands into the loop. Using both hands, grasp each end and pull outward, stretching the loop. You have now formed a rolled, knit cord loop.

Now all you need to do is cut the length of cord you need for your project.

Since the t-shirt fabric won’t fray, once the drawstring is inserted into your project, simply tie off the ends, as was done with this Got Sudz bag.

Have you ever used this method for making a drawstring? If you have needs for a drawstring in your future, I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think!

I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

I’m Coming Clean — FREE New Year’s Day Got Sudz Sew-Along

Are you interested in joining a New Year’s Day 2021 Virtual Sew-Along with me?

This coming Friday, 1/1/2021, I’ll be “Coming Clean” with my first ever FREE Sew-along via Facebook Live Video. You’re invited! You can easily find out more and RSVP to this Facebook event by clicking here.

Around 3PM Eastern Time on New Year’s Day, I’ll be sewing up another Got Sudz Soap Saver & Scrubby Bag with you. I’ll also be sharing some modifications I’ve made to the pattern that make it even easier and more fun to work with.

One of the fantastic modifications is the method and type of drawstring. You can use a t-shirt (new or old) to create drawstrings. Find the video how-to on our facebook page by clicking here.

These little soap bags make great gifts all year round and they’re so easy to customize to any recipient. After all, who do you know that doesn’t use soap and wouldn’t like to make their favorite soaps last longer?

The Sew-Along itself will be FREE, but you’ll need to purchase the pattern and supplies ahead of time. If you don’t have the pattern already, you can grab a download now while it’s on SALE.

In addition to having your sewing machine threaded and ready, you’ll need your Got Sudz pattern and the following items, as shown in the picture above:
1. Drawstring
2. Drawstring casing, cut, sewn and turned per pattern directions
3. Soft Poly Mesh cut to size and marked per pattern
4. Cord Lock

Ready, Set…SEW! Let’s get ‘er done. This sew-along is designed to be short and sweet. The plan is to show you how to whip one out in under 15 minutes. We may stay online and have some fun chatting a wee bit longer, but the sew-along portion should be fast and fun which means you’ll need to have your pattern and materials prepped in advance (and do a tiny bit of pre-event sewing) so that you’re ready to go. If you don’t have the pattern already, you can grab a download now while it’s on SALE.

This Quilter Eats Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast! Plus…my recipe.

On Friday I prepared a homemade pie crust. I’m neither the best nor worst crust maker. Truthfully, I could use more practice making pie crusts. But I’m afraid. You see, I love pie so much that if I practiced more that means I’d be baking more pies. And eating more of them. Probably for breakfast! Once in a while is fine, but at 55 years old, my metabolism isn’t what it once was and I’d like to not have to buy or sew a whole larger size wardrobe due to an out of control pie habit.

OK. Sew. Don’t judge.

This was the last piece. And it was DEEEEEElicious! Plus, pumpkin pie has way more nutrition than most commercial cereals! And technically, this isn’t even “pumpkin”. It’s an heirloom Spanish Squash called Buen Gusto de Horno which means, “good taste from the oven”. I just couldn’t help myself when I saw the gorgeous warty green “pumpkin” picture in the seed catalog listing, but I digress.

So…squash pie. This breakfast is actually pretty darn healthy, don’t you think? You knew all pumpkins are squash but not all squash are pumpkins, right?

I planted just a couple of this variety in my garden this year. Squirrels took one of the plants, but I still managed to get a few 7+ pound beautiful warty fruits from the remaining plant before the early freeze and snow came.

Buen Gusto de Horno Squash

Baker Creek (the seed company from which I purchased my seeds) says this in their description of this pumpkin…er…I mean, squash, “The dense, firm, medium yellow-orange flesh is sweet and fine-grained, and definitely excellent for baking. Add excellent keeping quality, and you’ve got a real winner that everyone is sure to love!

Here’s what it looks like when it’s cut open and the seeds have been scraped:

Now, maybe you’re thinking the inside flesh and thin green rind reminds you a little bit of cantaloupe? Well, I was surprised to discover it also smelled very sweet and quite a lot like cantaloupe. I wondered how this was going to work out for making a pie, but I charged ahead using the roasting and pureeing techniques I used for my New England Sugar Pie Pumpkins.

I was surprised again when I pulled the roasted squash out of the oven and the flesh had turned the most gorgeous deep gold. And the most heavenly, rich pumpkin aroma (no more cantaloupe smell).

OK…on to my recipe. This recipe is inspired by the one I used for YEARS (it came from the back of the can of a famous brand of commercially canned pumpkin). Yes, I did change it up. I don’t like my pumpkin pie too sweet so I cut the sugar a little bit. I also don’t care for quite so much ground cloves. I feel cloves are very strong and overtake the delicious pumpkin flavor; so, I use about 1/2 as much as the original recipe called for.

SewThankful Pumpkin Pie Ingredients:

  • Slightly less than 3/4 cup Granulated natural/unbleached Sugar (I remove about a tablespoon +/- from the 3/4 cup measure)
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon Ground ginger
  • Scant 1/8 Teaspoon Ground cloves (if you don’t have a 1/8 teaspoon, just eyeball about half of a 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups pumpkin (or winter squash) puree (or one 15 oz. can of commercial pumpkin puree)
  • 1 12 fl oz Can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell (4-cup volume)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together the dry ingredients: sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Mix well, making sure all ingredients are evenly distributed.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Then add puree and sugar/spice mixture. Next, slowly stir in the evaporated milk. Stir thoroughly, making sure everything is well mixed and evenly distributed.

Pour pumpkin filling into pie shell.

Bake pie at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for an additional 40 – 55 minutes or so. Test for done-ness by inserting a knife straight down near the center of the pie. The pie is done when the knife comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack for at least 2 hours, then chill in the refrigerator at least another 2 hours to over night before serving.

Optional Serving Suggestion: Top slices with a dollop of your favorite whipped cream, ice cream or other topping.

And Sew On…Reigniting Passion

Life is funny.

You can love something so much all your life and yet one day you wake up and find yourself in a rut. Tired. Burned out. It’s not that you–and by you, I mean me–hate what you’re doing. You still love it way down deep inside, it’s just not quite the same anymore. What used to hold so much excitement now feels lackluster and dull.

Shhhh….I’m going to tell you a secret. This happened to me with sewing and quilting. YIKES!!!!

Don’t get me wrong. I still love it.  I’m not leaving. I plan to be around for a long, long time.  But the same old stuff just wasn’t lighting me up like before.  I felt like something was missing. I needed something….more.

But…what?  I reflected a long, long time. I resisted an even longer time.  And then…I surrendered. Meet my new best friend, Buelah.

  • B – is for Brave, together we will bravely explore new territory.
  • U – is for (virtually) unbreakable…quite literally, she is an industrial machine.
  • E – is for exquisite stitches sewn, strong and straight.
  • L – is for love, my love for creating beautiful new items out of old stuff that would otherwise go into the trash.
  • A – is for able, because together we are.
  • H – is for happiness and the joy that has been returned!

Buelah is a Juki DU-1181N, single-needle, straight stitch, top and bottom feed industrial sewing machine. She is truly a WORK HORSE! She comes with a high capacity M bobbin, has her own Servo motor, and can sew up to 2,000 stitches a minute (not that we ever get close to that!). She has a max stitch length of 9mm and even has her own sexy knee lifter that can lift her presser foot up to 15mm.

Right about now you’re probably asking what on earth possessed me to purchase this machine. The short answer to that is: Bike Tubes.

As you may–or may not–know, I love recycling UP-cycling old bike tubes (and other things) into useful items. Yes, it’s true. I was able to sew bike tube on my domestic machine…but not without a lot of fiddling, prepping and babying because that machine was NOT made to sew rubber. Buelah? Well…she sews rubber like butter, baby. The truth is that–before I made the decision to get Buelah–I knew I was killing my domestic machine. That made me really sad. So I realized what I was doing was really limiting myself not doing the sewing/work that I crave the most because of course I couldn’t bear to kill my domestic sewing machine. I love her.

What have I created so far?  These are just a couple items. Several more prototypes are in the works.

UP-cycled Bike Tube and UP-cycled Bike Map Cell-Phone Wallet/Pouch gift I made for a dear cycling friend from the southern part of New Mexico
Inside of the UP-cycled Bike Tube/Bike Map Cell-Phone Wallet Pouch.
The patch pocket is an original block print by Tammy Schurr, my very dear friend and Adventure Cycling Event Director/Tour Leader.
Minimalist UP-cycled Bike Tube Zip Pouch
Minimalist Zip Pouch
Lined with UP-cycled DenimJeans

Sew what’s the point of all this?  Here are 3 points I can share right now: 

  • Exploration of my passion to recycle/UP-cycle old materials into something new, useful and beautiful through sewing.
  • Diversification of business for SewThankful. I will be sewing and selling a limited number of finished UP-cycled bike related items. Many bike friends and associates have asked me to sew and SELL my creations. This will be a new adventure and I am excited to see where it takes me.
  • Vehicle for development of new Sew TracyLee Designs patterns. The patterns will be adjusted and written for sewing quilting cottons and traditional fabrics.

What do you think?  I’m interested in your constructive thoughts and comments.  Please feel free to share below but note that in order to prevent spambots and junk I have to moderate each comment so it may take a little while for yours to post.

Discovery Day Sewing — Adding a Carry Strap/Handle to Glamsy

Glamsy vinyl mesh Spa Bag with Carry Strap

On Thursday last week (9/24/17), I did some Discovery Day Sewing. I wanted to add a carry handle/strap to the Glamsy Spa Gift Bag (pictured here). She’s  for my brand new StandZa Zip Bags sewing pattern.

 

I filled Glamsy with delightful bath/spa items chosen specifically to pamper and please, including: lavender scented Epsom salt soak, body wash, buff pad, spa eye mask, lip balm, shower brush, lotion and more. I *loved* that she could hold so much so beautifully; but then I decided that I really wanted an attractive and easy way to carry and present her.

 

Sew…I decided on adding a single carry strap as a quick, easy and inexpensive solution. After making this, I do believe the method should not be limited to this project. I think it would be great for adding single or double straps/handles of any desired length to a multitude of different bags types and styles. Why spend a bunch of money on designer pre-made straps or handles when you can easily make your own custom straps?

 

What do you think? Would you like to know how I did it?

 

If I get at least 200 unique and positive responses combined I will make a 1-page, step-by-step tutorial full of pictures and provide it as a FREE PDF in NEXT Sunday’s eNews (10/1/17).

 

My time is super limited, so I need your feedback if you would like me to do this for FREE.
There are four easy ways to let me know:
  1. Make a comment on the pinned post on our SewThankful Inc. Facebook page.
  2. Email me directly.
  3. Follow us on Instagram and like the Glamsy with Straps picture.
  4. Make a comment below, on this blog post.