Category: how to

lamb ornament DIY

These little sheep are super fast and very easy to make. And the pattern includes two sizes so you can make little sheep families.

DOWNLOAD THE PATTERN

You will also need:

  • basic sewing kit
  • scraps of fabric – cotton, flannel, or light wool all work
  • black felt
  • glue stick
  • stuffing – I like wool
  • chopstick or similar
  • embroidery thread – black and ivory

1. Pin the body pattern onto doubled fabric -right sides together – and cut out. Pin the head, tail and leg to a single layer of felt. Cut out one head, one tail and two legs.

2. Clip out the little triangle mark on the body.  Draw on the seam allowance and indicate the area to leave open.

3. Separate the body pieces so the right side of the fabric is facing you. Place the body pattern on one piece of fabric – matching the little triangle notch.

4. Mark the three dots on the pattern on the fabric with a pencil or disappearing marker. You only need to mark one fabric piece.

5. Put a dot of glue stick at the center of each leg.

6. Fold the felt legs in half – forming  V shapes.

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frog (or toad) doll tutorial

Think “elf on a shelf” but amphibious.

They are remarkably expressive. A combination of the long limbs and eyes that follow you everywhere, silently judging you. An amphibious elf on a shelf. Why not.
Do you need more supervision? They are easy to make.

frog doll pattern sheet and supplies

download the pattern sheet

You will also need:

1. Fold your fabric with the right sides together. Pin one leg and arm along the fold and pin the body and cut out.

2.  Refold the remaining fabric, place the arm and leg on the fold and cut out. Pin the oval to a scrap of contrasting fabric and cut out.


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3. Fold over each bottom edge of the frog body – wrong sides together – and press. Mark all your seam lines.

4. Stitch all seams. You can sew by hand or machine.  Leave open as indicated.

5.  Trim little triangle section around the curves of the head. Be careful not to snip the seams. Trim away about 1/2 of the seam allowance on the arms and legs.

6. Use the chopstick to turn the body right side out. Use this trick to turn the arms and legs:  insert a turning tube or straw cut in half into a limb. Push the straw all the way in.

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sewing tutorial : long pincushion and raw edge patchwork

11 inch long thin pin cushion with patches

11 inch long thin pin cushion with patches

September is National Sewing Month! I didn’t even make that up – it’s completely real. Thanks Ronald Reagan.

Let’s make a long pin cushion. Or a couple. It’s a perfect way to celebrate National Sewing Month and I’ve been meaning to make one for ages. Just right for the front of the sewing machine and great as a pattern weight, it’s stuffed with crushed walnut shells. I love them. You can find them in big bags at most pet supply stores (not a good idea if you have a nut allergy though). You could use wool stuffing (packed really firmly) as an alternative.

This is also a great project to experiment with raw edge patchwork. I love it when I see it but I have a had a hard time getting myself to do it. Not neatly folding those edges under feels like breaking a rule but I’ve been messing around with it lately on some jeans and a super old and worn quilt and liking the results.

Back to the pincushion

I took a meandering approach to adding my patchwork, a pleasant afternoon on the couch with piles of scraps adding little bits of fabric. The lack of planning invites all sorts of happy accidents. This is a great project to do with friends and a low pressure project for a beginner.

scraps sorted in piles by color on a coffee table with scissors and thread

For the pincushion you will need:

  • 6 X 11.5 inch piece of tightly woven fabric
  • scraps for patches
  • basic sewing kit
  • embroidery thread
  • filling – crushed walnut shells are ideal
  • small funnel

1.  Gather some scraps for patches. I sorted mine into piles for two pincushions – the one in warm pinks at the top of this post and another in berry-ish and indigo shades that I’m demonstrating with.

2. Cut and pin on a couple scraps and start sewing. You can stitch around or through or whatever you like. I’m using embroidery thread and a little sashiko thread.

3. Notice I kept most of the interest toward the middle of my base fabric, the seam will be on the bottom so this will be the most visible part. And in a bold move I used some bright red thread. I love the contrast with the cool colors.

4. When you’re done patching fold it in half, right sides together, carefully matching the edges. Sew the long side seam with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

5. Press the tube with the seam in the middle. Press the seam open.

6. Sew one end closed – also 1/4 inch seam allowance.

7. Turn the tube right side out – a chopstick or similar helps for pushing out the corners.

8. Put a box or bowl or dish under you to catch spills.  Insert the funnel and add the crushed walnut shells a little at a time.  Tap the bottom and push the shells down to completely and firmly fill the tube.

9.  Fill the tube to about one inch from the top. Optional – a little wool or cotton on top helps the fill not spill while your closing the tube.

10. Fold in the edges and stitch closed.

I love it.  It’s an awesome pin cushion and an excellent weapon if things get weird. I hope you make one!

 

long pin cushion on tool chest with antique sewing machine

P S- In honor of national sewing month, my first sewing memory : standing next to my mother as she sewed this little draw string bag for me, made from grandma moses barkcloth, on the machine above. I must have been about 4.

What’s your first sewing memory? Did you start young?  Happy National Sewing month!

happy cats : a free sewing pattern

small stuffed cats in two sizes - sewing diy

Happy cats to sew, in two sizes! Cause I’m nice like that. They’re quick and easy and there’s tons of room to experiment – add some applique and embroidery to make it resemble somebody you know and love. You can sew by hand or machine. I’ve made a bunch so far and I’m not ready to stop, there is something satisfying about this growing crowd of cat friends.

small stuffed cats in two sizes - sewing diy

They are straight out of my daily paintings, the funny little cats who wander around the cobblestone streets and forests. This is a great beginner project and there are a couple tips mixed in the instructions. Let’s make happy cats!

download the patterns

You will also need:

  • cotton fabric
  • a basic sewing kit
  • chopstick or similar
  • stuffing – i like wool
  • buttons
  • embroidery thread for the features

patterns and supplies for sewing happy cats

1.  Download and cut out the templates. There is a small and large, you could make a whole cat family. I’ll be demonstrating on the large. Cut out your template and pin it on a double layer of fabric – right sides together. Cut out.

2. Separate the two fabric pieces and mark your seam line. I measure the quarter inch and make little dots around the pattern – every couple inches – as a guide and mark in pencil. Pro tip: place a sheet of fine sandpaper under the fabric piece and it won’t slide around so much. I always recommend marking the seam line and it is essential in this pattern for getting the legs just right. Also mark the area to leave open.

3.  Make guide dots for the face.  Decide which direction you want your cat to face while looking at the right side (printed side) of the fabric. Mark the dots. Push the pencil through the paper as shown and mark for guides or alternatively you could trace the whole face onto the fabric.

back to the happy cats in just a moment:

It has been a priority here for years to create high quality and fun free patterns (there are tons) like the happy cats on an ad free site. There are not very many of those left and it is becoming increasingly difficult. In an effort to keep the free awesomeness flowing I’ve created an opportunity for you to support and show some love to my free pattern library.

support the ann wood handmade free pattern library with a happy donation 

Support free patterns like happy cats with a happy donation. 

Click here to add your support.

 

Back to the happy cats:

sewing the seam

4. Pin the fabric pieces back together – right sides of the fabric together.  Use lots of pins.  Sew around the seam line. You can hand or machine sew. I’m sewing on the machine. Leave open as indicated for turning and stuffing.

5. Before turning the cat right side out clip little notches around the curve of each foot as shown on the front foot above and the tip of the tail. Clip off the points of the ears near the seam and remove a little of the seam allowance. Clip a notch into each of the corners where the legs meet the body, Clip notches into the curve  where the tail and back meet and at the neck.

6. Turn the cat right side out. Use a chopstick to gently push out the legs, ears and tail. Slow firm pressure and twisting a little help. Stretch and massage the curved seams a little with your fingers to smooth them.

7. Stuff -I’m using this wool stuffing.  Add a little at a time and be careful not to block the legs and tail with clumps of stuffing until you’ve filled the toes etc.

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make a miniature camping scene with this doll tent diy

The spot was chosen long ago. A cool and sheltered little rise in the foothills of the mountain, far above her home in the Green Valley. Generations before her have come here each year in summer to  gather berries and mushrooms and herbs.

miniature tent, campsite and doll with miniature dishes and a paper chicken

The camp is neat and cozy. She has a stove and a camp fire for warmth.  A favorite hen comes along for companionship. The days are long and the work is hard, joyful and satisfying.

miniature tent, campsite and doll in forest

Tiny Rag Doll patterns and kits are on sale until 8/1!

tent with ministure wood stove, teacup, stool, quilts and a pillow

She sleeps soundly in a big pile of quilts. The chicken does too. Her day starts at dawn with strong tea in her favorite cup and saucer.

The pattern and instructions for the tent are below. You might also be interested in tutorials for the stove, dishes, quilts and chicken  – find them all here.

You know who else loves to camp? Mr. Socks.

While he is a mostly “under the stars” kind of guy in certain situations he enjoys the comforts of a tent.

cat doll with mini tent and campfire

Let’s make the tent

It’s reversible and everything!  The size is perfect for the tiny rag doll or mr. socks and super duper easy and quick to make – you’ll be miniature glamping in about an hour.

download the tent pattern sheets

You also will need:

  • A basic sewing kit
  • 2 pieces of fabric – 16 X16 inches each
  • tape
  • embroidery thread or light string
  • optional – little scraps for patches
  • optional – laundry starch

materials and pattern sheets for doll tent

1.  Download and print the templates – there are two sheets.

2. Cut out the templates and tape them together to create one pattern piece. Fold one of your fabric pieces and place the pattern on the fabric with the top edge on the fold as shown. Cut out.

3. Unfold the fabric and place it – right sides together – on the other piece of fabric.

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miniature wood stove diy : new miss thistle society project

doll house doll and stove

Make a miniature wood burning stove for your tiny rag doll. You’ve probably already got everything you need and it’s pretty quick (and super fun) to make.  The stove is made from a TP tube and paper egg carton. 

 

The little stove is intended for the bedroom of the cardboard cottage I’m making for the tiny rag doll.

What’s more luxurious than a sweet wood burning stove in your bed room? I can think of nothing.

get the tiny rag doll pattern here

 

Before we dive into the construction steps lets talk a little about finishing. Let the glue dry completely before painting or you will be sad…  And speaking of glue, I do prefer wood glue for this, it sets up fast.

find more miss thistle society  projects here

Use a paint that has a pretty flat finish – lots of craft paints do. I added little bits of lace to mimic the ornate details of antique wood stoves – you could go bananas with this idea and add all sorts of decorations. During the lengthy research and development phase of this project I looked at tons of antique wood stoves, there are lots of fascinating shapes and details you could play with.

Apply 2 or three coats rather than a single heavy coat and let them dry in between coats. Use a stiff brush and work the paint into the lace details. For even more detail you can rub a graphite stick over the textures and edges to highlight them. I also like to draw details and decorations with a pencil.

Tools and Materials:

  • paper egg carton
  • corrugated cardboard
  • 1 TP roll tube
  • toothpick
  • masking tape
  • small lace trim
  • wood glue (you can use white glue but I prefer wood glue)
  • scissors
  • manicure scissors are helpful
  • black paint

1. Gather your materials for building the shape – corrugated cardboard, one TP roll and an egg carton.

2. Measure 1 and 3/4 inches from one end of the TP roll and mark a line.  Cut as shown- make a straight cut from the longer side to the line and then around the line.

3.  Cut the roll in half – marked in red.

4.  The 1 and 3/4 inch tube will be the center of the stove and the remaining pieces will become the pipe.

5. Pull off a couple pieces of masking tape so they are handy. Roll the two piece into tubes about 1/2 inch in diameter.

6. Glue the edge down and secure with masking tape

7.  Cut 2 – 2 inch squares of corrugated cardboard.

8. Apply wood glue to one end of the tube.

9. Glue the tube to one of the cardboard squares. Squeeze the tube a little to make it as round as possible if necessary and press down.

10. Wipe away the excess glue with your finger.

11. Repeat for the other end of the tube.

12. Put something for weight on the glued cardboard and tube. Cut out 2 of the egg carton sections.

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the 2021 scrap festival : 11 + ideas for your scraps

Consider this magnificent scrap, I’ve been holding onto it for 50 years or so. Loosely rendered daffodils on cotton, one of my all time favorites. It was my grandmother’s dress. This last little bit will be a couple hexies, there is pretty much, just barely, enough. I like scraps. My beginnings are in the mountains of scraps my mother kept in the attic. Giant garbage bags (seriously, the jumbo ones) bursting with mostly cotton prints.

For the third year in a row, in February, we celebrate scraps. A little extra. I’ve rounded up a bunch of scrap friendly projects and made you a new free sewing pattern.

stacks of cotton print scraps arranged by color

11 + project ideas for your scraps :

 

minimalist mice pattern

1. Minimalist mice (or bunnies) by wild olive. You could turn the sweet, simple  design into all sorts of pocket creatures.  The combination of raw linen and small charming prints is lovely.

2.  This needle and thread case. I shared this in the newsletter last year and I think it is the most popular project to date.

scraps pieced into edge binging

3. Scrap seam binding.  Checkout this easy way to make seam binding from scraps. I use tons of seam binding for mending and I love the way this pieced together stuff looks.

4. Angry apple cores – my newest free pattern – disgruntled and mostly eaten fruit.

quilt top assembled from scraps

5. Scrap quilts. This collection is impressive and inspiring and it might motivate me to finish one of the many scrap quilt tops I have begun and abandoned.

6. For your wool and felt scraps – an embroidered scissor keeper.

7.  Fabric sailboats – they twirl in the breeze and cast lovely shadows plus they are great for your bigger scraps –

hexie and log cabin potholder piecing

8. Hexie-logcabin  pieced potholders from sewshecan.

9. Stitched envelopes. so many possibilities for these. Find a DIY for cotton envelopes here and   and a wool or felt version here.

10. And you will of course need sweet stamps.

11. For tiny scraps, classic sarubobo plush.

And so many more! I added  a bunch of other scrap projects last year – lucky fish, minimalist chickens and a little owl ornament among them –  find them all on the free pattern page.

Do you have a great idea for a scrap project? Do you have a half finished quilt top in your closet?! Let me know in the comments and happy 2021 scrap festival to you.

apple core sewing pattern

Valentines day is right around the corner and nothing says “Hey, I love you and thought of you” like an angry apple core you made yourself. Just saying. Plus I made you a free sewing pattern and everything. Say it with ragey, mostly eaten fruit this year.

Everybody’s in such a bad mood!

download the pattern sheet

You will also need:

  • cotton fabric scraps
  • a little wool felt for the stem
  • wool stuffing
  • a bamboo skewer
  • a chopstick
  • a basic sewing kit

apple core sewing pattern materials - fabric, stuffing and thread

1.  Cut out 3 center pieces and two top/bottom circles. Draw the seam allowance on the wrong side of all pieces – you can trace or use a ruler.  Mark one of the center pieces with the dots on the pattern (this will be the opening for turning and stuffing). Cut out the stem and two leaf shapes.

2.  Flip one center piece (not the one with the dots) over and trace the face lightly on the right side of the fabric in  pencil. You can embroider the face at this point if you like. I prefer to embroider on finished stuff shapes.

3. Pin the center piece with the face to the center piece with the opening marks together as shown – right sides together (remember the face is on the right side of the fabric).  Stitch the seam that does not have the opening marked.

4. Open the pieces you just stitched so the right side of the fabric is facing you. Place the third center piece over the face piece and pin.

5. Sew the seam.

6. Pin the two remaining edges together and sew the seam- leaving open between the marks.

7. Make clips in the seam allowance at the opening marks. Be careful not to snip the seam.

8. Fold back the edges of the opening, press and baste each edge down – we will remove these stitches later.

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handmade christmas: oranges, tinsel and wax paper

making citrus slice ornaments

Simple and sweet. Low pressure. That’s what I’m looking for this year. Plus most of the Christmas stuff is at the bottom and back of all stored things. It seemed like a good idea when I moved in June but now digging it out is entirely unreasonable. I sure do love a Christmas tree though. And a festive smell. Making citrus slice ornaments delivered both. It was easy and I had fun doing it. The smell is exquisite.

making citrus slice ornaments

I followed this tutorial.  A couple notes: I sliced pretty thin and setting the timer was key. 175 degrees turning every hour worked well, my slices were done after four hours.

baking orange slices on a cookie sheet

A couple that were thicker were still a little soft and a couple of the lemon slices were overdone. I’ll eventually paint these with something shiny and clear for extra preservation.

orange slice ornaments on a norfolk pine christmas tree

I love the effect. They are super light and perfect for my norfolk pine who isn’t that into being decorated. I also had some wax paper snowflakes from last year, my mother’s glass bead garlands and some antique tinsel (I’ve been using the same tinsel for years).

I’m super happy with my super simple tree. For wrapping I’m sticking with painted craft paper with tags made from the paper trimmed off the daily paintings.  I go on and on about this here.  And the owl and chicken and fish make perfect additions for extra sweet packages.

hand painted brown paper and tags and ornament extras

I hope your holidays are peaceful and healthy and happy!

ann

owl ornament diy

And I’ve made you something!

These little owl ornaments are a perfect project for little scraps and they are quick to make. I’m making lots as gifts or to add to packaging.

They’re inspired by the little, lost Saw-whet owl who was accidentally transported to NYC with the giant tree for Rockefeller Center this year. He has since gotten some first aid and been returned to his forest.  What an ordeal for the little guy!

owl ornament sewing pattern

Let’s make little owl ornaments!

You probably already have everything you need. And they lend themselves to batch production A glue stick really helps with that – the parts are little and a glue stick is much quicker and easier than pins. You can set up a bunch of fronts so they’re all ready to stitch.  It’s easier than pins.

download the pattern

You will also need:

  • scraps – wool, cotton and linen are great
  • a basic sewing kit
  • chopstick or similar
  • gluestick
  • buttons
  • embroidery thread

1. Cut out two body pieces, two eye pieces and one head and beak and one each of the three wing pieces.

2. With the right side of the front body fabric facing you use a tiny bit of glue stick to place your pieces as shown. Leave the top wing piece off for now.

3. Use a contrasting color embroidery thread to stitch the head cover and wing pieces in place.

4. Stitch buttons to the center of the circles with embroidery thread also. Use regular sewing thread in a matching color to stitch the beak in place with tiny whip stitches around the edge.

5. Uses a contrasting embroidery thread to stitch around the eyes and add some straight stitches to his breast.

6. Create a loop of string or embroidery thread for hanging and knot the ends. Mark the 1/4 inch seam allowance on the wrong side of the back fabric.

7. Place the hanging loop on the face of the owl with the loop facing down and the tails near fabric edge.

8.  Place the back body over the front – right sides together-  pin and sew the seam leaving open along the wing side.

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chicken ornament : free sewing pattern

fabric scrap chicken ornaments

fabric scrap chicken ornaments

Let’s make minimalist chickens. They are quick and easy and the sort of thing you can make in batches. I bet you know at least a dozen people who need a chicken ornament. Stuff them with wool or something that smells good, they are a sweet and silly surprise either way.

The idea for them turned up in my sketchbook and then bounced back and forth between drawing and sewing as many things do for me in the percolation phase. As the design became increasingly simple I was more and more happy with it. The little legs especially make them expressive and animated. I used laundry starch to stiffen them so I could get just what I wanted.
You just need scraps (stay tuned for scrap swap news later this week) and a few other things to get started.

**download the pattern**

You will also need:

  • fabric scraps – light cotton or linen
  • felt (I like wool felt)
  • embroidery thread
  • glue stick
  • stuffing
  • a basic sewing kit
  • pencil

1. Pin the body pattern to 2 layers of fabric with the right sides together. Mark the seam line lightly in pencil. Cut out the three small parts from felt. Pin the body pieces – right sides together – near the tail end.

2. Fold back the front of the top body piece.

3. Add a tiny bit of glue to the edge of the beak and waddle felt pieces and place on the body fabric exactly as shown – note that there is a little empty space above the beak.

4. Fold the top body piece back down and pin in place. Stitch just the bottom curved seam. Place the felt comb piece as shown above the body.

inserting the felt comb

5. Insert the felt comb between the layers – placing it exactly as shown – note the little triangle of space between the comb and beak.

6. Stitch the top seams leaving the center open.

7. Clip little triangle notches around the curved seam and clip  off seam allowance  the corners. Be careful not to clip the seam.

8. Use your chopstick to turn the chicken right side out.

9. Stuff the body.

10. Make a loop with embroidery thread and knot.

11. Fold the edges of the body opening in and begin to whipstitch closed. As you are closing the opening insert the loop tails with the knot just inside the folded edges and stitch it in place.

embroidering details

12. You might find this method for hiding your knots helpful for embroidering the details. I added an X on each side for eyes.  Small buttons would be sweet too. Make a few stitches for the wings on each side. For the tail I stitched through both sides with straight stitches.

13. For the legs make a knot about two inches from the end of a length of embroidery thread. Make a tiny stitch in the seam about 2 and 1/2 inches from the point of the tail and pull until the knot catches.

14. Put the needle back in and come out about 1/2 inch away in the seam towards the head.  Make a tiny knot.

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lucky fish : slow stitch project

slow stitch scrap fish diy

slow stitch scrap fish diy

Who doesn’t need some luck? Plus these very simple fish are pulling me out of slushy, stubborn stuckness.

One thing leads to another, if you let it, but first you need to start. Where I really started was ironing, ironing scraps. It went on my to do list because it was an easy win (I felt like doing it). And I had saved a couple bundles of scraps, each sent by a friend, to sort and iron pre-move.

slow stitch fabric fish diy

As I ironed and sorted by color the wheels started to turn and I felt a strong and persistent spiritual directive to slow stitch some fish.

Maybe you feel like stitching some fish too. Let it be a meandering process, try stuff. Let one thing lead to another.

** DOWNLOAD THE FISH TEMPLATE **

You will also need:

  • fabric scraps – light cotton or linen
  • little scraps, buttons lace for embellishing
  • stuffing
  • a basic sewing kit
  • pencil

cutting out fabric fish shape

1. Pin the pattern to 2 layers of light cotton fabric – right sides of the fabric together – and cut out. Be sure to clip out the little triangle notches.

2. Mark the seam line lightly in pencil.

3. Stitch the seam by hand or machine, leaving open between the notches. Find hand sewing tips here. 

4.  Clip notches around the curves and clip off the points at the nose and tail. Be careful not to clip the seam.

5. Use a chopstick to turn the fish right side out.

6.  Pro tip: use a plastic mechanical pencil to push out the corners – retract the lead first.

7. Stuff your fish.

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