Diagonal Seam Tape — LOVE IT!

I’ve been meaning to write this product review for weeks.

Then I made a video demonstrating how to use it to make 3 different quilt blocks/units and after that I promptly got distracted by other projects. Sew…now it’s time.

Let me start by saying that when I initially heard of Diagonal Seam Tape and how it worked, I was relatively unimpressed. But I try to keep an open mind until I actually try a product for myself.

After purchasing some, installing it on my sewing machine/extended table, and giving it a try, I have to say I was totally wrong in my initial impression and assumption. This stuff works and it works well without costing a lot of money or needing to fiddle with fancy feet.

Not only is the tape great for sewing diagonal seams to make Half Square Triangles and Flying Geese, it’s fabulous for sewing an accurate 1/4 inch seam any time you need one. You can watch the video to see for yourself, but here is the 4 patch block that I made super fast that turned out perfectly:

You can use the tape to make HSTs in 2 different ways.

The first way, you sew 2 squares together, diagonally from point to point using the red center line. Then trim your 1/4″ from your seam. This will give you a single HST.

The second way, you sew 2 squares together, diagonally from point to point using the black 1/4″ line, then flip and sew the other side in the same way. Then you simply trim between the 2 seam lines, giving you 2 (smaller) HSTs.

You can also make Flying Geese Blocks in the same manner as making the first HST variation above, sewing from point to point on the smaller square using the red center line as your guide.

In conclusion, using Diagonal Seam Tape to sew HSTs and Flying Geese blocks is so much faster, so much less frustrating and so much more accurate than drawing diagonal lines on the back of each unit you want to sew together. Given that it’s priced well under $10 at this time and there are 10 yards on the roll, I am SOLD on this stuff and won’t be making HSTs or Flying Geese without it ever again. You can find Diagonal Seam Tape ON SALE NOW, click here.

Honestly, I love the stuff and I think you will too.

Here’s a link to watch the full video demo on YouTube:

Using the Loop Turner Tool to Load Drawstring in a Cord Stop

Sometimes it can be tricky to figure out how to do something that seems like it should be super easy. One example of this (for me) was loading a drawstring through a cord stop, as is required in my Got Sudz soap bag pattern.

There are lots of different ways of doing it, but the fastest way I’ve found is to use my Loop Turner Tool by ToolTron to pull the drawstring through. If you don’t have the Loop Turner Tool by ToolTron but you do have a tiny crochet hook, that will work as well!

To do this using the Loop Turner Tool, first, hold the cord stop in your hand and squeeze down the top push tab several times to warm up the spring.

Next, hold the tab down while you insert the latch hook end of the Loop turner through one of the cord stop holes. Release tab gently and load drawstring onto latch hook as shown:

After you’ve done the above, press the cord stop spring tab down again then pull the loop turner latch hook back through the hole of the cord stop, like so:

Now, repeat this with the other hole of the cord stop using the other drawstring end. Once both ends are loaded, press the spring tab and slide the cord stop up and down a few times while you even the length of the drawstrings and position the cord stop where you want it.

Trim drawstring to the length you desire then finish by tying the drawstring ends together in a knot and trim ends again, fairly close (about 1/2 inch or closer) to knot.

And that’s all there is to it! Have you used this method with either the Loop Turner or a tiny crochet hook? Let me know in the comments below!

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.

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.