Category: patterns and kits

the first ever sew-along : make a crow (or raven)

handmade textile crow on a table with stones, cermaic vessels, plants and crystals- there is an antiquey feel

One of the great things about a sew-along is it gives you a container, some structure, for a project you might have on your someday list. It breaks it down into manageable pieces and those milestones create momentum. Plus the fun of working on something with lots of other people, the extra motivation and  inspiration that comes with that. And you get insight and tips that go beyond the pattern. We can take deeper dives into stuff like fabric choice, sewing tips and details.

handmade textile crow on a table with stones, cermaic vessels, plants and crystals- there is an antiquey feel

October is a perfect month to make a crow (or raven) and the first ever! ann wood handmade sew-along begins on Friday September 30th 2022. That gives you (and me) two whole weeks to get your stuff together.

A great way to start is the box method.  An actual container. Everything I make starts in a box and lives there until it’s done. The boxes are for organization and they are also a thinking tool. Most importantly a way to start, it is very easy to put things in a box.

In the sew-along posts I won’t be recreating every step of the pattern but I will be demonstrating some steps with further detail and tips. Also if you are participating and tagging on instagram, your progress photo might get featured.

Please use #annwoodcrowsewalong and #annwoodpattern . And – also optional -there’s a facebook group you can join here.

what you’ll need to participate:

sewing pattern for a realistic crowget the pattern button

The crow pdf sewing pattern (sorry booklets are not currently available)

Some time – the sew-along will take place over 4 weeks. I’ll give you a schedule on the kick off day (9/30) of what needs to be accomplished each week. Plan on having 2 – 4 -ish hours per week to work on your crow steps.

The pattern contains a material list but a couple notes:

Fabric – For the body a medium weight cotton is ideal. Scraps of silk and velvet work well for feathers and details. Incorporate different shades to give the feathers iridescence – very dark blues, green and purples work well.

Old or vintage clothes are great – suits, lace, prints over-dyed with black would be cool. And speaking of prints, your body fabric does not need to be solid. I used a calico print for the crow in the pattern. Most important is to have a variety of sheen, textures and tones.

textile crow on a pink table next to a pile of black scraps from victorian garments

Really old garments are interesting and inspiring to work with, lots of pleats and trims etc. Ebay is a good source and there is a helpful link in the crow pattern to a specific search category that I’ve been using for years. If you are persistent you can pick up damaged antique garments for not too much money that make great feathers.

There are resource links in the pattern for a couple supplies that are out of stock. I don’t currently have an alternative source for the paper covered wire for feet so we will use the alternative method included in the pattern and make our own. You can find the 18 gauge wire you’ll need in most hardware stores. And floral tape is available in lots of places online and in most big craft stores.

Let’s get inspired! Checkout a few crows made from the pattern.

handmade crow posed on a pink upholstered chair in a forest

Meg McElwee (sew liberated) wrote a beautiful post about her experience stitching her crow – check it out here.

And more awesome crows below – links to the makers where possible.

 

1. by Maralee, 2. by Brandi, 3.  by Amy, 4. by Donna 5. by Elizabeth

Are you feeling inspired to stitch a crow? Gather your materials and check back on September 30th for the first sew-along post. If you feel like sharing your material gathering I’d love to see -please use  #annwoodcrowsewalong and #annwoodpattern on instagram. There’s also a facebook group – you do not have to join to participate but you can if you like – find it here.

If you’re joining the crow sew-along let us know in the comments!

new tutorial : miniature farm house plate rack

doll house with tiny dishes in a green wood plate rack on the wall. The house is made from cardboard and has a rustic feel.

A farmhouse plate rack for her perfectly mismatched heirloom china. It’s easy and quick to make and it might be the sweetest thing in the world. A new miss thistle society project is a perfect way to celebrate the 6th anniversary of the sewing pattern.

There has been major progress and one big set back in miss thistle’s cardboard house. The blue and white combination for the stamped walls was fine. I just didn’t love it. When I tried to paint over it the stamp pad ink ran and smudged and bled through. Relentlessly.

What finally fixed it was a wash of orangey/brownish paint that neutralized the weird blue and made a perfect variegated background for re-stamping with a more teal blue. The result feels just right. I can feel many generations of thistle women in this little room.

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link. Links are highlighted and marked with an asterisk.

Let’s make the plate rack. It’s super easy and you could use the same technique to make all sorts of tiny shelves. And it’s quick, less than an hour except for drying time.

tools and materials

Please read through all the instructions before beginning

  • scissors
  • paintbrushes
  • wax paper
  • popsicle sticks  – *find them here
  • wood coffee stirrer
  • optional – miniature clothespins – so cute – *find them here
  • wood glue
  • fine sand paper
  • light weight cardboard
  • paint

1. You need 9 popsicle sticks, 1 coffee stir stick, a piece of light cardboard and – optional- 1 mini clothespin.  Use scissors (that are not your favorite scissors) to trim the popsicle sticks. Measure carefully and make the cuts as straight as possible. Also use caution- the ends you trim will go flying. Note– if your sticks break your scissors are too dull.

2. Cut 7 sticks to 3 and 3/8th inches and 2 sticks to 2 and 1/4 inch.

3. Cut one piece of cardboard to 3 and 1/2 inches X 2 and 1/4 inches

4. Trim one corner on each of the short pieces to round it. Lightly sand the edges of all the cut pieces.

5. Place wax paper on your work surface and paint wood glue onto the top half inch of the cardboard.

6. Press one of the longer pieces into the glue – centering it on the cardboard along the top edge.

7. Paint another half inch of glue below the first stick and add another – pressing it firmly against the first stick. Repeat with another stick so you have 3 sticks glued down..

8. Apply a strip of glue right under the third stick.

9. Press the edge of the fourth stick into the glue – perpendicular to the other sticks. Hold it for a minute or two to let the glue set a little. This will be your top shelf.

10. Apply a half inch of glue and press the next stick flat below it – pressing it firmly against the edge.

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customer and reader project gallery

This year we are celebrating the 16th!! anniversary of ann wood handmade with the charming, magical and imaginative work by customers and readers. I’ve added links to the maker wherever possible – check them out –  there are tons of links and you will find a pinterest level of rabbit hole fun exploring them. The mushroom below (little mushroom pattern) and gorgeous photo are by Trish.

projects made by customers and readers

You can find all the patterns for the projects below in the shop or on the free pattern page.

Crows by Gillian and Anni the wing details are fantastic!

Songbirds by Gabi, blue bird by Alexandra and colorful songbirds by Sue.

mushrooms by Sarah and Michelle

elegant rag dolls by Marilina

Frogs (find it on the free pattern page) by Barb and Cris.

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textile book tutorial part one – organizing and assembling

*This tutorial is divided into two parts. This is part 1, part 2 is here. Please read both completely before beginning (start here with part 1).

book made form cotton and linen fabric scraps rest on a worn blue table with sewing notions and a pile of scraps

The easiest way to understand how this little textile book is constructed is to watch the video of the last step –  assembling it –  first.   After that we can talk about creating the pages etc.

Don’t see the video? – find it here.

I’m using the book as a 100 day stitch book project – my first two pages are above. If you are stitching along with me stitch your pages before you assemble the book. I’m sharing the assembly tutorial now so you know where we are headed. Plus it’s a really cool way to make a textile book that you could use for all sorts of things.

Learn more about the stitchbook project here 

To create your pages you need 20 rectangles – 7 X 5.5 inches – you can use the page template download below to make them.  Ignore the other marks on the pattern for now – just cut the rectangles. I’m using cotton and linen for the pages

Stitch whatever you like on your rectangles, embroidery, collage, mess around, try stuff, meander. Leave about 1/2 inch margin all around the edge to make book assembly easy.

To make the book  you will need these  templates:

download the page template here

download the page chart here

Before assembling the book finish stitching on each of your 20 rectangles however you like – (I’m using plain fabric rectangles for the demonstration book today).

Clearly mark the  – right side –  of each of the 20 finished pages with its number using masking tape and a sharpie marker.

The book has 20 pages, including cover and back. There are five sections – each composed of 4 rectangles/pages.

3 sections have slots.

and 2 sections have tabs.

Use the page chart to layout the sections.  For example The first section (a slot section) would look like this.

Use pages 6 and 1 for the front and 2 and 5 for the back of section one.  We are looking at the right sides of the fabric.

And here it is assembled – front and back – page 5 is on the back of page 6 and page 2 is behind one. Use the chart and it all works out.

Below is section 2 – a tab section.

Lay out your 20 numbered pages in 5 sections following the chart and then use the instructions here to sew the slot and tab sections.

With all your sections sewn assemble the book.

assembling the book

Get set up by laying out out your pages just like the left hand column of the chart. Then follow along with the video at the top of this post.

PS – the designer of the slot tab method of binding books is Michael Budiansky – checkout the handmade books blog for more– it’s a cool site.

textile book tutorial part two – making the sections

*  The tutorial is divided into 2 parts. Please read both parts entirely before beginning. Seriously, it helps. Start here.

The book has 20 pages, including cover and back. There are five sections – each composed of 4 rectangles/pages.

3 sections have slots.

and 2 sections have tabs.

This tutorial demonstrates how to construct the two kinds of sections in the book – slot and tab. Before you begin to sew the sections please read this post on how to create and organize the pages.

You will need:

  • your 20 pages/rectangles
  • chopstick or similar
  • a basic sewing kit
  • embroidery thread

make a slot section

1. To make a slot page take two rectangles and lay them out with the right sides facing you.

2. Place one over the other – right sides together.

3. Draw a half inch margin down the right hand side of the top piece.

4. Clip the short lines on your page pattern. Fold the center section back.

5. Place it over the rectangles and mark the short horizontal lines.

6. Sew the half inch seam above and below those marks.

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dancing hares : sewing tutorial

4 stiched and stuffed cotton bunnies in a cancing pose on a wooden tablel

4 stiched and stuffed cotton bunnies in a cancing pose on a wooden tablel

Recently I received a strong spiritual directive from the universe: There should be bunnies and they should be dancing. You can’t fight this sort of thing so I’ve made a sewing pattern. It’s very easy and the result is charming, especially in a group. Plus I’ve included a few tips on getting smooth curves and stuffing along the way.

bunny doll in dancing pose with lace collar held in hand - other bunnies in background

The thought appeared in my paintings first, I love the idea of a little troupe dancing through the forest. There’s room to play and embellish with details like buttons and ribbons and scraps of lace. You definitely have some tiny scrap of something that is destined for these bunnies.

embroidering a simple face with black thread

Before we make the body let’s talk about the details.  The features are super simple. You can trace the features on the right side of the fabric before you sew, marking with a pencil or disappearing marker. I used backstitch and 2 strands of embroidery thread.  You will find this tip for hiding your knots helpful. The paws just have three little stitches on each.

deawing black slippers on the stuffed bunny with a sharpie marker.

The slippers are sharpie marker. Why not… You could embroider them if you like too. Add scraps and buttons and patches.  A pink colored pencil is great for rosy cheeks or stitch on little pink patches. So many possibilities.

If you’d like to hang your bunnies make a large stitch on the back of the neck with embroidery thread. I hung my bunnies.

table with vintage sewing machine and stitch projects hung on wall behind in groups

making the body

*This post contains an affiliate link – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link.

download the pattern

you will also need:

  • light cotton fabric
  • basic sewing kit
  • chopstick or similar
  • stuffing (I like wool)
  • embroidery thread
  • scraps, buttons, lace etc.

1. Cut out the pattern and pin it on your doubled fabric -right sides together – and cut out. If you’d like to trace the face on do that now – on the right side of the fabric.

2.  Carefully mark the 1/4 inch seam line on one piece – on the wrong side of on fabric.

3. Pin with right sides together and sew the seam by hand or machine. Leave open as indicated on the pattern.

4. Clip the curves as shown, being careful not to clip the seams.  Also snip at each end of the opening. – indicated in red.

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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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Support free patterns like judgy frogs! And keep the awesome free projects flowing.

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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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the crow sewing pattern

get the pattern

He’s about 9 inches tall and 11 inches from top of head to tip of tail. The pattern has everything you need to make an awesome crow: learn to sew the sculptural shape of his body, carve a beak from a twig, make wire talons and create shimmery layer of feathers.

crow made from black textiles

I used calico for the example crow in the pattern. I like the combination of a sweet traditional print with more realistic details,  sort of celebrating the make believe. The other fabrics, for his feathers, are scraps of garments in different shades of black.

The sheen also varies. Incorporating fabrics that are flat and shiny and satin in the feathers emphasizes the layers. It makes a huge difference and gives crow -ish iridescence and depth.
Thrifted and antique garments are a great source of material for crows. I’ve always loved using really old garments for details. Pleats are particularly useful – you can incorporate them into the feathers for extra interest and dimension. And antique clothes often have mends and other stitch details that add character. The downside of very old garments is they are often fragile but fragile works for feathers since they aren’t part of the structural sewing.

Perhaps my most frequently asked question over the years has been “where do you find antique clothes to work with.” One of my best sources for Edwardian and Victorian clothes is Ebay. In the pattern I share a specific link (resources page) that’s helpful. I look for damaged garments – perfect for cutting up and not too expensive. And I check often – finding great stuff requires persistence.

In the not super old department thrifted suits are great – there’s tons of fabric and the weight and colors are good. Pin stripes would be awesome for a crow.

I took him down to the Henry Whitfield Stone House Museum for his beauty shots. It was the perfect environment.

get the pattern

I hope you make crows!! If you do you can share images on instagram  – please use :  #annwoodpattern or email photos to me at info at ann wood handmade dot com