Category Archives: Using Fabric Scraps

Letting the Faux Fur Fly

Have you ever tried to sew with faux fur? If you haven’t you are lucky… and I bet your home is spotless.

Faux fur is very, very messy. When you cut it, you end up with fur everywhere. On you. On your sewing table. In your sewing machine. On the floor. Everywhere! You cannot pick it up. You cannot wipe it up. You have to vacuum it up.  The vacuum cleaner has been residing by my cutting table for the past two weeks. We are becoming very attached.

This Christmas, I am making soft fur scarves for gifts. I bestowed the first one upon myself because I thought I should conduct a little product testing. This luxurious scarf was a hit, so my production line began.

I have finished five scarves with three more in various stages of completion. I am ready to be done with the flying fur in my house but have been hampered by my own frugality.

Instead of buying new fabric, I am making my gifts using fabric scraps I already own. The problem is that while I have a room full of fabric, I do not have yardage in colors that lend themselves to beautiful scarves. I have a mountain of bright green iridescent material, which I used a long time ago to make a costume for my son. That green looked great on the Monster from the Green Lagoon but would probably look out of place adorning someone’s neck. Then there is all the leftover fabric for Zubaz I never got around to making. Never heard of Zubaz? Just google it and you will understand why this craze came and then quickly went. I have found some old soft suede that should work nicely but I will have to get inventive to make the amount of suede I own into three more scarves.

Now all I need is a burst of energy or all this fur will be stowed away once again. If that is the case, I guess I will just have to expect the fur to continue to fly.

Goldilocks in Winter

It’s not quite winter but nights are getting colder and falling asleep is more difficult because the sheets are icy when I first get into bed. I have tried an electric blanket and electric mattress pad but they were too hot. I have tried different nightwear but these were too cold. I have been searching for the ‘just right’ solution and finally found one…a bed warmer. No, I am not talking about my husband. He’s cold too. I am talking about an actual bed warmer.

I got the idea from something my dad said long ago. He slept on the unheated second floor of an old farm house. Heat from the wood burning stove on the main level was supposed to rise up through the second level floor grates (which he liked to remove and jump through). Well, at least that was the premise. Dad said he froze his tush off. Dad fondly recalled his mom heating bricks and placing them under his covers before he went to bed. The warmth from those bricks made bedtime possible.

Flash forward 70 years. While we have heated homes and our discomfort is not comparable, I am freezing my tush off when I first get into bed. I thought about heating bricks and then remembered we are in the 21st century, surely we can update the brick solution. I came across a website with instructions for making a ‘new age’ bed warmer. This I had to try.

The first thing I needed to do was purchase a 50 pound bag of feed corn. Yes, both statements are correct. 50 pounds. Feed corn. This past Saturday I asked my husband to go with me to the local Farm and Fleet. I am strong, but if I don’t have to lift a 50 pound bag on my own, I don’t. Our conversation went like this…

Me: “Will you run some errands with me this morning?”
Husband: “Where are you going?”
Me: “Farm and Fleet”
Husband: “Why are you going there?”
Me: “I need to buy some feed corn…”
Husband: “What?!?”
Me: “for the bed warmers.”
Husband: “Come again?”
Me: “I need the corn for the bed warmers I am making so we won’t be cold at night.”
Husband: “That doesn’t…”
Me interrupting: “You can’t stop me. You can’t change my mind. So are you coming or not?”

Now that is the benefit of being married 31 years. He had only two choices, to come with me or stay home. He is the love of my life and he stopped questioning me and actually drove the car. I didn’t tell him we had to purchase a 50 pound bag until we were beyond the point of no return in our journey. I am happy to say I was able to quickly distract him with other topics.

It turns out the most difficult part of this project was purchasing the feed corn. The rest was easy. I found directions for making my bed warmer at make-it-do.com. I used scrap fabric from my pile at home and the actual sewing took about 15 minutes.

Last night we tried it out. It was wonderful. We were warm and snuggly with the side benefit of our bedroom smelling like popcorn. Evidently I have enough feed corn to make 17 to 25 bed warmers. Guess what everyone on my list is getting this Christmas.

She Who Dies with the Most Fabric Does Not Win

When our grandson was born, I went to the fabric store and purchased new fabric to make a quilt. When our granddaughter was born, I decided it was time to use the fabric I already own to make something beautiful. How much fabric do I have? One closet, two dressers, a couple of baskets and a bin full.

I sorted my fabric scraps looking for pink and decided to make a rag quilt. Rag quilting is something I had never done and is quite easy. 

To make this rag quilt:

  1. Cut sixty 8-inch blocks of fabric
  2. Cut thirty 7-inch blocks of cotton batting
  3. Center a 7-inch square of batting between two 8-inch squares of a matching cotton print (wrong sides together)
  4. Top stitch an “X” on each block going from corner to corner, creating 30 squares
  5. Arrange squares into a pleasing design
  6. Sew the blocks together into strips with a 1/2″ seam allowance
  7. Sew each strip together with 1/2″ seams
  8. To create the rag effect, snip each seam at 1/2” intervals to within 1/8” of all seams being careful not cut into the stitching
  9. I bound the edge with a purchased satin binding ~ Simple directions for binding can be found on Heather Bailey’s Quilt Binding tutorial.

To rag your quilt, wash the quilt in warm water and detergent. It is important to shake the quilt before drying to shake off loose strings. Dry, with no dryer sheet, making sure to clean the lint trap once or twice during drying. Once dry, repeat with a second wash and dry this time with dryer sheets. Remember to clean the lint trap half way through.

The best fabric for rag quilting is flannel because it makes a soft, cuddly quilt. I didn’t have enough pink flannel so I used cotton fabrics to create a beautiful gift for the special little one in my life.