Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Faux Leather Wallet Tutorial

My boyfriend only likes wallets that are only for cards. He also only uses wallets that are slim enough to fit inconspicuously in his front or back pocket. Last summer when I was in the Caribbean, I found the PERFECT wallet for him. He loves it! However, it is worn slap out.  We have searched high and low for a similar wallet and have yet to find one. SO...time to break out the sewing machine :)

I cut the leather...

1-------> 4.25"x6" 

Obviously, the largest piece is the back. The 4 smallest pieces are the top two dividers on each side and the 2 medium sized ones are the bottom pieces that show completely.

I lined them up using gift/credit/debit cards as guides.

Next, just sew and trim if necessary.


ashli brooke

Bow Pillow Tutorial

Two pillows in two days...I am doing pretty good! :)

This pillow is also a small and simple one.  I figured I would go a head and post a tutorial as I made this one, too.

-Typical sewing supplies
-2 pieces of main fabric (1 front and 1 back)
       -Fabric needs to be 1/2" longer than your pillow form on each side (mine is 12"x16")
-Fabric for bow
       -Fabric needs to be the same width as your main fabric and however thick you want your bow ends to be
-Scrap fabric to wrap around center of the bow...could also use button


  1. Fold the long edges of your bow fabric and iron
  2. Sew along the folds so that you have finished edges
  3. Center your bow fabric on the front fabric piece
  4. Sew along each edge to attach the bow fabric to the front fabric
  5. Gather bow material in middle to make the shape of the bow and hand stitch so that the shape holds
  6. Fabri-tac one end of the scrap material to the back of the bow's center
  7. Wrap around the center and then place glue on the wrong side of the fabric and press to the wrong side to create a clean fold that will hold
  8. Place another drop of glue on the back of the clean fold you just created and press it to the wrapped center to hold the fabric strip in place for good
  9. Now, place fabrics right side together and sew all the way around except for a gap in one side large enough to get the pillow through
  10. Turn right side out
  11. Stuff pillow case
  12. Stitch the gap closed
  13. Enjoy! :)
ashli brooke

Summer Sewing Projects

If you would like to see a tutorial for any of these projects, please comment and let me know.

ashli brooke

DIY Piping

Piping is super easy to make yourself! 
It may be the easiest thing to do yourself.

All you need is...

a sewing machine
matching or contrasting thread
fabric cut in strips of 2" and as long as you need your piping
some form of rope or line (singe ends with the lighter to prevent fray)
a zipper foot or a similar one will be very helpful
(you want to be able to sew as close to the line or rope as possible)

It's easy as..
1.  Fold your strips over the line
2. Sew along the line, but not on the line
3. Admire your beautiful piping!

This is the rope that I used for my Reverse Applique Pillow

ashli brooke

Freezer Paper Uses

Freezer paper is that amazing tool you never thought of for sewing, but you can find it in your grocery store with Ziploc bags and foil wrap. One side is paper and the other has a light coating of a plastic which melts like wax when you iron it.  

To adhere freezer paper to fabric, place the wax side down on the wrong side of the fabric, then use a medium iron to adhere it to the fabric.  

Buy good quality freezer paper - Reynolds.  It is way better and easier to use.  It is well worth it in the long run.

"Freezer paper is great for appliqué. There are several methods of freezer paper appliqué:
  • Draw your motif on the dull side, cut it out and iron it to the top of the appliqué piece. As you are appliquéing, you tuck the fabric under the appliqué piece, then peel off the freezer paper. You can usually reuse this piece several times.
  • You can also draw your motif on the dull side in reverse. Iron the freezer paper to the wrong side of the appliqué piece. You appliqué as above, but just before you get to the end, you remove the freezer paper with a pair of tweezers.
  • Or, you can iron the freezer paper to the wrong side of the appliqué piece then iron the fabric over the edges, giving you a crisp edge to appliqué. Remove the paper before doing so. 
Freezer paper can also be used for paper piecing. 
Freezer paper templates are great for hand sewing, too.  For example, you can use them to make Grandmothers Flower Garden blocks.  Print a sheet of hexagons on freezer paper, cut them apart and iron them to the wrong side of your appliqué piece.  Iron the edges over the freezer paper.  Now you will have a nice sharp edge for whip stitching.  For stability, leave the freezer paper in until you are done but be careful not to catch the thread in the paper.
Freezer paper can be run through your ink jet printer (not a laser printer!) if you would like to print several motifs at once. Set your printer to accept heavy paper, and feed the sheets one at a time.  To keep it from curling, you can cut it a day or two ahead of time and put it under something heavy to flatten it. If you are in a hurry, you can iron it flat (shiny side down) on a Teflon pressing sheet, or iron it to a piece of copy paper and put the combination through your printer. Ironing two pieces together may work, too.  It's best to pull them apart while they are warm.
Freezer paper can also help you to print on fabric. For example, if you would like to personalize your labels, you can iron your freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric, cut it to just shy of 8 ½" x 11" so stray threads don’t get caught in the printer, and print your labels on the fabric. The freezer paper gives the fabric just enough body to go through the printer as if it were a piece of paper. 
To make attaching your labels even easier, use basting spray to adhere the fabric to the shiny side of the freezer paper. When you pull them apart, the fabric will remain just slightly sticky which will help keep it in place when you sew.  You can also use the muslin/freezer paper combination to make a fabric foundation for foundation piecing, too."

Here is what Reynolds has to say about using Freezer paper in quilting: "To use Reynolds® Freezer Paper in quilting, trace quilting design onto dull side of freezer paper, cut it out and iron shiny side onto the fabric. Cut out the fabric around the design, allowing 1/4" seam allowance. Fold the fabric seam allowance under the freezer paper and stitch the applique onto the background fabric. Pull out the freezer paper through a small area left unstitched.
Save your money for quilt fabric! Here are great tips for using everyday items in original ways to save time and money in quilting.

Get crafting!

Laptop Sleeve Tutorial
Add caption

ashli brooke

Reverse Applique Pillow Tutorial

This summer, my sewing goal is to make 6 pillows for my bed in my new apartment and maybe a couple for the couch. Yesterday, I completed pillow #1! Yay!!! I went to √Hancock Fabrics in Paducah, Kentucky at the beginning of the summer and bought the fabrics I wanted to use for my pillows.  

I have never made a pillow before and was a little nervous to start out which is probably why I have waited so long to make the first.  However, as I created this pillow I created a tutorial to share with you so that you can create your very own. Don't be intimidated, it is not hard.  :)

Materials Needed:

  • Main Fabric ( I used 1/2 yard of Michael Miller Mini Mike Dot n Square)
    • Front Fabric
      • Enough material to cover your pillow form and add 1" to your length and 1" to your width (mine was 12"x16" so I cut my front fabric to be 13"x17")
    • Back Fabric
      • You will need two pieces for the back, since we are making an envelope style pillow
        • TOP Back Fabric: 13"x 12"
        • BOTTOM Back Fabric: 13"x12"
  • Enough piping or fringe or whatever else you want around the edge of your pillow
  • Applique
  • Matching or contrasting thread and bobbin
  • Sewing machine (I love my Brother LB-6800PRW!)
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Scissors
  • Cutting mat
  • Exacto knife
  • Fray Check
  • Iron and Ironing board
  • Pins
**You may or may not actually use all of the supplies above based on your preferences**

Now, let's get down to business...

  1. Press your fabrics
  2. Cut your fabrics to match the dimensions listed above
  3. Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the applique fabric following instructions that were with the interfacing
  4. Use the freezer paper to draw or trace your design for the applique 
  5. Use the exacto knife to cut out the design
  6. Iron the main piece of freezer paper to your Front Fabric with the waxy/shiny side against the right side of your fabric so that your fabric shows through the cutout how your want it on your pillow
  7. Use the exacto knife to cut out the piece of fabric showing through the cutout in the freezer paper (you could save this and use it on another project if you take your time and cut it perfectly)
  8. Fray check the edges of the cutout on the Front Fabric
  9. Pin the applique fabric to the back of the Front Fabric with the applique showing through the cutout Front Fabric as you want it to look once finished
  10. Sew around the edges of your cutout to hold the applique in place (I used 1/8")
  11. Trim the extra fabric with interfacing if you would like to (good for thin fabric so it doesn't show as much)
  12. Iron finished Front Fabric  
  13. Layout your 3 pieces of fabric
  14. On the 2 Back Fabric pieces, fold the 12" edge down 1" and iron, then sew along bottom of fold
  15. Layout the 3 pieces of fabric wrongside up
  16. Now, you want to overlap the 2 Back Fabric pieces so that once overlapped, combined the length is the same as the Front Fabric
  17. Pin the piping or whatever you chose to the right side of the Front Fabric
  18. Pin the Front Fabric and Back Fabric right sides together
  19. Sew around your pillowcase **make sure you sew on the side of the piping that is closest to the unfinished edge so that it will show once complete**
  20. Turn your pillowcase right side out 
  21. At this point, I made the bows and stitched the tail on the kite then sewed on the bows
  22. Insert pillow form
  23. ENJOY!!!!!!

I would LOVE to see your pillow if you make one! Please comment if you may use this tutorial.
ashli brooke

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Furniture Makeover (Desk) Tutorial

Furniture makeovers are much easier than you think, but there will definitely be sweat, hopefully no blood and surely no tears.

Step 1: sand your piece.

I like to use an electric sander, because it takes much less effort than regular sand paper.
***make sure all hardware is off before sanding***

Step 2: prime your piece.

I like krylon spray paint primer. It is awesome! And not expensive :) make sure the primer dries completely before moving on**

Step 3: paint your piece.

I like Valspar and Krylon spray paints. They are of great quality and less than $4 per can. This desk and the chair took 4 cans or Valspar.

Step 4: protect your piece.

Once paint is COMPLETELY dry and looks even, coat it with a satin finish clear coat. Again, I like Krylon. This will protect you from color bleed and your piece from scratching the color.

See, easy! Let's see what you painted.

Toiletry Roll Tutorial

This project is definitely a beginner project and will only take about 5 minutes! How great is that?!?

You will need
--typical sewing tools
--fray check
--1/2 yard of ribbon
--1 wash cloth, fabric placemat, or hand towel
--matching thread


First, lay out your placemat or other cloth, fold the bottom up for the depth of your pocket and determine how wide you want your pockets and mark them with pins or just eyeball it.

Second, sew along each side from top of pocket to the bottom. Make sure to back stitch a few times for reinforcement.

Third, fold your ribbon in half and see the fold onto. The edge of your placemat or other cloth.

Fourth, fray check the ends of your ribbon.

Enjoy! Roll up the goods and tie in a pretty bow. I made this one for my boyfriend so I am sure there will be no bows, just knots. Either way though this is much better than a bag with the toothbrush at the bottom.

If you have any questions please let me know. I would love to see your completed toiletry roll :)

Bow Tie Tutorial

Bow ties are much easier to make than people make them out to be. However, tying them is well...not exactly a piece of cake. That's okay though, because it is up to the man to take care of that.

To make a bow tie you will need:
--typical sewing tools
--matching thread
--1/3 yard fusible interfacing
--1/3 fabric

First, you will need to find a bow tie or a pattern of a bow tie. It is easiest to find a cheap bow tie at Goodwill or Salvation Army so you know it will fit.

Next, trace your pattern,or your pre-made tie with an additional 1/2 inch, onto your fabric twice.

Now, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric using the iron.

Then, cut out the two pieces of the bow tie.

Next, break out the machine! I know you are excited, but go slow!! Sew around the edges with a 3/8 inch seam with the right sides of fabric together. Be sure to leave about a 5 inch opening along a straight side at the back of the neck so that you can turn it right side out later.

Now, you are ready to turn it right side out. You may want a chopstick or the end of a pen or pencil to help. Be patient and take your time.

Next, make sure the gap you left unsewn folds in and matches up, then sew around the entire bow tie with a 1/4 inch seam. This will hold the gap in place as well as give your now tie a more polished look.

Lastly, iron that bad boy and lightly starch of needed and surprise a lucky man with a beautiful gift he could actually use! :)

If you have any questions, ease let me know. I would also love to see your bow tie once completed!

Laptop Case Tutorial

Okay, so this is super simple! It is the same as the iPad case, too.

All you need is:
2 pieces--enough fabric to cover your laptop (or other electronic gadget) plus 3/4 inch all around...I just laid out the fabric and sat my laptop on it and measured and marked 3/4 inch all around it and cut. More than likely a fat quarter will be more than enough for the outside fabric and you will have plenty left over. If you are doing a netbook or smaller gadget, then you may only need one fat quarter for the outside fabric.

2--1/2 square inch smaller fabric than outside fabric for inside fabric

2--5x5 inch square matching outer fabric (for flap)

6--pieces of Pellon fusible batting.. 2 pieces need to be the same size of outer fabric and 2 pieces need to be the same size as the inner fabric and 2 pieces the same size as the flap

You may also want some sort of closure like Velcro or snaps. I didn't use any on the laptop since it is snug but for the iPad I used Velcro.

You will also need the typical sewing materials such as sewing machine, matching thread, rotary cutter, scissors, and anything else you usually use.

INSTRUCTIONS: (sorry there aren't any pictures... But trust me, this is SIMPLE)

Timing: It takes me about an hour to do this one, but I am not super experienced. You may be able to do it faster

Use 1/4 inch seams except when sewing the flap to the outer piece.

First, iron the Pellon all of the matching sized fabrics (you should have six pieces)

Next, sew the 2 pieces of outer fabric with right sides facing each other. Sew the sides and bottom, but NOT THE TOP!

Then, sew the 2 pieces of the flap together with right sides facing. Sew the sides and the top. You don't have to sew the bottom, because it will be concealed. ***if you are using Velcro, you need to top stitch one side of the Velcro (either the hook or the latch part) to the inner flap piece BEFORE you sew the 2 pieces of flap together. ***

Then, pin the flap to the outer fabric. You should pin it in the place that you want the flap to be once finished. The unsewn bottom of the flap should line up with the unsewn top of the outer fabric. Make sure that both the flap and outer fabric are turned right side out and the corners are all pushed out and pretty.

Once the flap is pinned where you want it (on the outside of the outer fabric so that is looks upside down or as it would look if the flap was all the way opened once you are completed with the project) sew and back stitch all the way across the unsewn edges of flap and outer fabric. So this should be about 4 inches of sewing.

Now, sew the inner fabric on both sides and across bottom, but leave and opening on the bottom of about 5 inches or more so that you can turn it all right side out later.

Next, push the outer fabric right side out into the inner fabric that you sewed in the last step. Make sure that the flap is in between the inner and outer fabric and not sticking out. The Pellon should be on the outside now. Pellon, inner fabric color, flap, outer fabric color, Pellon.

Then, sew along the unsewn top of all fabrics. You may want to sew it a couple of times for added durability.

Once sewn, then turn case right side out through the gap you left at bottom of inner fabric.

Now, topstitch across the gap.

Next, Fix all the corners and make sure it is how you want it.

You are done!

If you have any questions, please ask. Also, I would love to know if you make this case!

Applique Tutorial

iPad Case!

So I decided that I am going to start posting my projects that I complete. I hope to eventually do some tutorials and post them as well. Anyway, this is the iPad case I made last night. It took me about 45 minutes and it was relatively cheap! The fabric is some of my stash that I found at salvation army and the fusible batting cost about $1 so all in all this case cost about $2!! I have made a couple other for friends and family, but they were more expensive due to fabric choices and additional batting. However, they were still reasonable.

I also made a few extra rosettes, because I couldn't decide which one I wanted to use. I think I am going to turn them all into hair pins.

Oh yeah, I also made a headband out of the scraps! I love it!! It has the batting on it and elastic around the back.

Tonight, I hope to make a case for my MacBook Pro and a couple cases for kindles and iPads.

Follow "ashli brooke" by Email