Wrapping up a Sweet Valentine

Snack Size — beautifully holds just a few home-baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

For me, it’s all about beautiful, functional simplicity and sharing love from the heart.

I’ve always loved handmade and home-baked gifts. Both giving them and receiving them. That’s how my Sew TracyLee FabMagic Wrap sewing pattern idea was born. Isn’t she pretty!?!!

The pattern offers 4 sizes that are loosely based off of common plastic food storage bag sizes. The snack size is wonderful for making a lot of gifts quick as just one batch of cookies should yield several gifts (depending on the batch and cookie size). For example, the picture above shows 4 cookies (heaping tablespoon of dough per cookie) made from a single batch that nets 3 dozen. That makes a total of 36 cookies and divides out to 9 gifts from just one batch of cookies! And, since you can make 3 snack size wrappers out of just 1/4 yard of fabric (assuming 42″ wide fabric), you’ll be stunned at how economical these pretty and delicious gifts will be to make.

SEW…this Valentine’s Day (which is just a week from today!) I’m wrapping up a bunch of snack size sweet Valentine gifts for family, friends and neighbors.

My oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are shown in the picture above, but you could choose to use almost any cookies you love to make. Voila! With the snack size wrapper, you’ll be able to give delicious home-baked treats that are just the right amount of sweet packaged in beautiful, hand-made, re-usable fabric wraps.

How does it look all wrapped up? I’m so glad you asked. What do you think?

Sew TracyLee Designs Introduces: FabMagic Gift Wrap pattern

I’m over the moon with excitement to announce the birth of my newest pattern, FabMagic Gift Wrap, RE-USABLE fabric gift wrappers with a beautiful built-in ribbon.

Everybody loves beautifully gift wrapped packages. But who loves throwing away all that pretty wrapping paper (money) every year? Not me. Who likes storing wrapping paper in a closet and it gets all wrinkled and crumpled by the next time we need it? Not me.

Sew…NOW is the perfect time to change the way we gift and save both time and money in the long run.

Most of us already have tons (literally?) of gorgeous quilting cotton fabrics in our stash that would make incredible gift wrapping. But how do we use it and make the package look sleek and professional without using pins or everything going wonky? The answer is my new FabMagic Gift Wrap sewing pattern.

The pattern includes 4 sizes that are loosely based on common food storage bag sizes: snack, sandwich, quart and gallon. So it’s the perfect wrap for gifting a variety of your homemade baked goods as well as small, soft items such as socks, hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts and more. Depending on the size wrapper you choose to make, you could make several from one half yard of 42″ wide quilting cotton fabric.

The finished FabMagic Gift Wrappers are washable, press-able, RE-USABLE and bound to be collectible. There are no exposed raw edges, so the finished wrap looks sleek and professional. They’re gonna last for YEARS of repeated use. Simply sew up a stack to have ready to wrap…and, once you’re ready to wrap, you’ll discover that wrapping time is cut in less than half because you simply insert gift, fold over flap, wrap ribbon around and tie a bow. BOOM…you’re done. No measuring paper, no paper ripping, no tape, no fuss. It’s almost magic. It’s FabMagic!!!

We are offering an Introductory Special Sale Price this week only (special ends 1/30/2021), so you’ll want to be sure to grab yours ASAP! Click here for a closer look…

FINISHED: Twister Sofa Back Pillows Re-Cover Project

With all that’s going on in the world right now, I must admit that I found it very difficult to focus and force myself to finish this Twister Pillows sofa back pillows re-cover project. That said, I am so very glad I did.

Pushing through the daily madness and finding my rhythm in sewing and quilting the new pillow covers was actually quite healing. I guess because I was doing something that I “COULD DO” instead of worrying and being caught up in the insanity. And at the end of the day, I had something to show for it.

Quick recap. Here’s the BEFORE sofa look:

Here is the AFTER:

As mentioned previously, I needed to make my pillow covers larger than the pattern so I simply enlarged the borders. I also decided to apply a scrappy binding instead of the prescribed “turning” method which would have been OK, but I love the look of the scrappy binding.

The Twister Pillows pattern offered directions for two methods of closure on the back: Envelope Style and Zipper Closure. I opted for the zipper closure and I really like the professional feel and finish. Here are a few shots of that:

Twister Pillow Back Side – Zipper Closure Finish
Twister Pillow Back Side Zipper Detail
Zipper Detail Close-Up

There you have it!

I loved the process of making my Twister Pillows! In fact, after I finish a couple other small projects, I would really like to design and make a coordinating Twister Table Runner to put on our coffee table that sits in front of the sofa.

What do you think?

Do the new pillow covers improve the look of our living room?

Have you ever made Twister Pillows or any projects using the Lil Twister Tool?

I’d love to hear your constructive comments and sharing below!

I Broke the (Quilting) RULES! And I like It.

Quilting on my domestic sewing machine using standard only the standard foot. No freemotion quilting. No walking foot.

Using my domestic sewing machine (it’s an older Juki TL98E straight stitch only machine) and it’s regular foot, I quilted my Twister Pillows with an orange slice design in each blade of the pinwheel.

Why did I choose to use my regular foot instead of freemotion quilting or walking foot?

Because I could and I wanted to see how they would turn out.

Be sure to scroll all the way down to view all pictures as the 4th pic shows the quilting from the back side. Surprisingly, it turned out pretty great. At least I think think it is and since it’s my quilt (pillows), my opinion is the only one that matters on this project!

ALSO…while I was doing quilting, I started thinking all this might be good to share publicly. Especially for new quilters, very young quilters or those who can’t afford or don’t want to spend big bucks on fancy machines or even purchasing a walking foot or an old machine. You see, I remember having absolutely NO budget for these things when I first started machine quilting and had little babies at home. That didn’t mean I couldn’t make nice things. It just meant I needed to be a little more aware and take my time if I wanted things to turn out right. For example, I needed to have the quilt sandwich basted really well (another blog article will be coming shortly on that). I decreased the pressure of my presser foot so there was less drag. I realize not all machines offer that option and you can still do this even if your machine doesn’t have that feature, but if yours does you may want to play with that a bit.

Pillow #4 quilted!

This design was very easy to stitch continuously. By that I mean I had no need to stop, cut threads and tie off anywhere unless a thread broke or the bobbin ran out. Simple stop/pivots were the only slowdowns.

Sew…how did I actually DO it? By the numbers, of course.

Quilting By The Numbers!

Using the picture above, imagine sewing toward the next ascending number, as follows: #1. Start at center of the pillow’s center most pinwheel secure a few stitches. From there stitch a gentle arc up the long edge of one blade of the pinwheel. #2. Stop. Needle down, lift presser foot, turn quilt, lower presser foot, stitch a deeper arc returning back to the center stopping at #3. Needle down. Lift presser foot, turn quilt, lower presser foot, stitch a gentle arc to #4. Stop. Needle down, lift presser foot, turn quilt, lower presser foot, stitch a deeper arc returning back to the center at #5. Repeat this on the remaining two blades of the pinwheel (i.e., follow the quilting lines to #6, #7, #8 and return to very center for the last time #9).

Once each blade of the pinwheel has been stitched, put needle down in the very center again. Lift presser foot, turn quilt to aim for the next pinwheel block and #10 carefully stitch in the ditch to the center of the next pinwheel. If you do this correctly, you will be able to travel to the next pinwheel without needing to remove the quilt from your machine.

After I finished quilting each of the pinwheels, I simply did a wonky echo spiraling around the outside of the pinwheel design until the entire quilt was quilted (relatively) evenly.

Are you wondering how the back turned out?

The back side of quilted Twister Pillow #4

I was pleasantly shocked at how nice the back of the quilt top looks! In the end it doesn’t matter at all for this project because this is a pillow top and this back will be inside of the pillow and completely unseen.

You know, I never seem to be able to follow a pattern’s instructions 100%. I always end up having to add my own twist. This project is no exception when it came to finishing. I chose the zippered pillow back option. The pattern instructions are well written and the results are really professional looking. So I did follow the instructions on that part, but I decided to take it a step further this time. Instead of turning, I decided to apply a scrappy binding. I pieced random fabrics from the top to make the binding. Yes, it took more time. But I just LOVE the results!

Any why not?! It is MY quilt (my quilted Twister Pillow), after all!

What do you think? Have you ever quilted using just your regular foot? How did it turn out? I genuinely welcome all related, constructive thoughts, ideas and comments below.

Back to designing…Sew Sharky!

Sew…this is the prototype for my new downloadable sewing pattern design (coming VERY SOON to SewThankful.com).

Sew Sharky! is a shark hot pad with a pocket mouth for your hand to wear him like a mitt.  He will look awesome sitting on your table, waiting for a hot pot of food to rest upon him…or, hanging on the wall of your kitchen.

Sew Sharky is a Sew TracyLee original design!

I’ve got just a couple minor tweaks to make (mostly in the instruction/editing process), but I like him quite a lot. What do you think?

A dear friend from Jr. High School was my inspiration.  She loves sharks.  LOL.  This one will be a great one for any shark/ocean lover in your life.

SewSharky1