DIY: Fall Patchwork Kitchen Trivet Tutorial

It's National Sewing Month! Did you know that? Did you know it was President Regan who started  National Sewing Month in 1982.  He wanted to celebrate and honor the importance of home sewing in the United States.  If you want to learn more about National Sewing Month check out the National Sewing Month website.  However I am here to show you how to make a Patchwork Trivet just in time for the beginning of tea and soup season.   This is a good project for a beginner or intermediate but you do need to know how to use a sewing machine.


scissors or rotary cutter

pins /  iron

double wide bias tape 

cotton woven fabric scraps adding up to 9" square

Insul Bright batting

wool - I use Mary Flanagan wool that comes in beautiful colors and patterns 

1. Cut your cotton woven fabric scraps into 3" squares.  I used 3 different patterns/colors. 

2. Arrange your squares into the design you would like for the top part of the trivet. 

3.  Once you decide on your design, take 2 squares and lay them face to face, pin them and sew 1/4" seam allowance on one side. 

5. Remove the pins and with a hot iron and the back side facing up, press the seam to the darker fabric side. 

6.  Arrange your pieces again into your desired design.  You can see in my photo I sewed 6 pieces together to create 3 2 patch blocks.  My design is 3 swatches across, 2 are sewn and the 3rd isn't.  Now I will sew a third square onto each row of 2.


Continue this step with the other 2 rows of 2 squares each and this will complete your trivet top.

Next Friday will be part 2 of this tutorial and I will show you how to make your quilt sandwich and  complete the trivet. 

Have a great weekend! And please ask any questions or comments below!


Setting the Table: Sewing 101 Lesson 2

A few weeks ago I wrote about DIY and Setting the Table.

 I taught you how to make a reversible napkin.   In today's tutorial I will teach you how to make a Tea Towel.  I like giving tea towels as hostess gifts.  I usually will give two wrapped up in pretty packaging.  Tea towels are great to use for many reasons.  You can hang them on a stove for decoration.  You can use them on a small table or coffee table for serving hors d'oeuvre.  You can use them in a basket as a bread roll blanket or under a dish rack as a drying cloth.  It is a very multi purpose textile.

In this week's edition of Setting the Table I will show you a quick and easy way to make a tea towel.  Very easy for the beginner.  There is also an option at the end of the tutorial to add a ribbon detail.


5/8 yard of home dec weight or medium weight cotton woven or cotton linen fabric

6" of 1/2" or 3/8" wide twill tape or trim (I use a linen cotton webbing)

3/4 yard of 5/8" wide ribbon or twill tape for decoration (I use a ribbon called Fettucia

from Purl Soho)

Pre-wash all fabric.

1. Cut a piece 20" wide and 28" long

2. fold all 4 sides in at 1/2" and press

3. fold in again 1/2" seam allowance and press.  I press with the pins in to hold down the fabric for me. You can pin the pins all the way but I just push them into the ironing board. If you are more comfortable you can pin the seam allowance completely.  Once you press it with steam, the seam allowance should stay flat without the assistance of the pins.

(note: pressing is with the iron on steam)

5.  Cut 6" of your thinner webbing or ribbon for your hanging loop.  My fabric has a directional print, there is an actual top.  Fold your webbing in half.  At the top of my towel on the shorter side and 1" in from the side seam place the raw edges of the loop under the seam allowance and fold towards the top so it overlaps the top edge and pin in place.

Now sew a 3/8" seam allowance.

4. Sew all four sides at once, pivoting at each corner.

(note: Pivoting is sewing down one side to the corner, leave the needle in the fabric and lift presser foot.  Turn your fabric, place presser foot back down and sew the next side. There is no need to back stitch since this is one continuous seam.)

5. Press.  Finished!

Now an optional decoration is adding a ribbon, rick rack or pom poms to your tea towel.  You will need 22" long of trim. (Or 25" if you want to make a loop on one of the sides, read step 7).

I used a beautiful yellow ribbon called Fettucia.

6.  2" from your bottom fold place your ribbon with 1" overlapping each long edge.  Pin in place.

7. Fold underneath twice so the raw edge is not shown.  If you want, you can cut this ribbon at 25" long and on one side fold a loop to the back side.  You then have a side hanging loop. This is shown in the photo.

8. Sew an edge stitch, pivoting. Normally you shouldn't have your fabric underneath your arm of the sewing machine.  But in this case since you are pivoting you will need to roll up the fabric when you sew the other side of the ribbon.

9. Press and finished.

If you would like to give this as a gift I suggest making two so buy double the amount of fabric or buy the same amount in a complimentary print.

Happy Crafting!


Tracey  //


Setting the Table: Sewing 101


In New York City most apartments are on the small side.  We live in shoe boxes.  Most of us all live on tight budgets.  And most of us are single and like to go out.  Sometimes though it is nice to entertain, even in our little shoe box.  I used to live in a 300 square foot apartment.  My husband to this day makes fun of it.  It was my bed, my work table, and 3 cats.  Plus a few bookcases here and there.  It was cozy.  It was in Hells Kitchen which is a very fun place to hang out in and filled with history.  Even though I lived in a small studio I still liked to have friends over.  I didn't have chairs or a dining table but we could have drinks and appetizers.  Entertaining is nice, pleasant, cozy and personal.

The next few weeks I will be posting a series of DIY called Setting the Table.  You don't need to be an expert sewist to do these projects but it will help if you know the machine.  

There will be projects for every living situation.  We will start with simple and easy, a napkin.

double sided napkin using Liberty Wiltshire backed with muslin

tea towel  (spoon by   Cor Pottery)

tea towel  (spoon by Cor Pottery)

Moving on to a tea towel with hanging loop.

felt octagon coasters (mug by LennyMud )

felt octagon coasters (mug by LennyMud )

Felt coasters

Table cloth

Embroidered placemats

Quilted table runner

table runner and coaster

table runner and coaster

Each above item can be used in any table setting, big or small, casual or formal.  What will determine the feel is what fabric you use.

The first project, the double sided napkin, can be used for every day meals or only when special meals with guests are held.


  • For 4 Reversible Napkins
  • 1 yard of 44" wide fabric - quilting cotton, broadcloth, or light to medium weight cotton woven fabric
  • 1 yard of 44" wide
  • 200 count muslin
  •  I use the higher count muslin because it is much softer than regular dress maker's muslin
  • matching cotton or poly machine thread.  I prefer Gutterman brand but Coats and Clark is also good.
  • Size 10 machine needle

All fabric should be pre-washed.

1. You can layer both pieces of fabric on top of each other for cutting.   Cut out 4 18" squares.

I use a rotary knife to make sure I cut a completely even square

2.  Lay one piece of muslin and one piece of your print face to face.  Muslin has no face so just choose one side.  Pin it together.  Sew 3/8" seam allowance on all sides leaving a 4" opening.  When you are sewing the sides continue with one seam,  you will pivot when you get to each corner.  Start your sewing in the middle of one of the seam allowances, so don't start at a corner.  Press with a steam iron.

The face is the nice side. 

Pivot at the corners

 3. Pivoting: Leave your needle in at the corner, raise your presser foot and turn the fabric to sew the next seam.

Leave a 4" opening so you can turn the napkin back to the right side.

Clip corners before turning out

4. Clip corners before turning back to the right side. This reduces bulk and will help you get nice pointy corners.  Use a point turner for this.  I like the bamboo kind.

5. After turning out, press with a steamy iron. And sew around all 4 sides using a 1/4" seam allowance. And press again.

 Finished! Beautiful and soft spring napkins!

The next post will be making a tea towel with hanging utility loop.




DIY: April showers tees

“April showers bring May flowers” or so they say. Well, I say make April showers fun with a rain inspired D.I.Y project. The weather is slowly warming up and my kids are longing for those special hours of outside play. While the clouds resisted to cooperate, we spent some time creating these great t-shirts. Kids love getting crafty, so take your little ones, nieces, nephews or cousins (or just your inner child!) and gather your supplies!

You will need:

* A pre-washed t-shirt

* Freezer paper

* Acrylic paint in colors of your choice

Textile medium

* A foam or spouncer brush

* Exacto knife

* Cardboard

* Surface for mixing colors (I use the cover of a take out container)

* April Showers stencil

1. Make your stencil. Click on the link to get the April Showers stencil. Cut a piece of freezer paper to  fit the image's 8.5" x 11" size. Feed the piece of freezer paper through the printer manually as you print the image, making sure the artwork gets printed on the dull side of the paper. Carefully cut out the drops and cloud shapes with your exacto knife. You have made your stencil.

2. Iron the stencil onto your t-shirt. Place the stencil shiny-side down on the center of the t-shirt and press with your iron on the hottest setting. Do not use steam.

3. The part the kids love, mixing colors and printing! Mix 2 parts acrylic paint/ 1 part textile medium. Textile medium is great because you can use acrylic paints to paint, stamp or print on fabric without having to spend a big budget on textile inks and your project will be washable. Place the piece of cardboard inside the t-shirt, under the stencil, so that the paint doesn’t transfer to the back. Take your sponge brush and dab it on the cloud area. Make sure you cover the whole thing. If you’re letting kids do this part, let them have fun while guiding them.

4. Move on to printing the drops. Mix different colors and dab your sponge brush. For lighter colors, you may need two coats of paint. Let the first coat dry before doing the second one.

5. Let the paint dry for at least an hour or so. Gently remove the stencil off of the t-shirt. Your stencil can be re-used a few more times so don’t throw it away!

6. Heat set the design on the fabric. Using your iron in the hottest setting, iron over the printed area for 20-30 seconds. Do not use steam. Wear and enjoy!

My kids are very happy with the results and are proudly saying “I made this”. Now they’re thinking to make them as gifts for all their friends but I’m not so sure about that... Remember to supervise children while doing this project, only adults should do steps. 1. 2. and 6.

Have fun and please share pictures of your April showers tees!

Natasha K.

*on Etsy*

*on Facebook*

Rice, Fabric and Some Basic Sewing Skills- Make a Door Snake!

My husband and I moved into a ground floor apartment two years ago.  Two winters have passed.  There are 2 doors into the foyer where our main door is located.  The second entryway door is always left open creating a very chilly hall way in the winter.  This lovely chill makes it's way into our apartment via under the door.  Now with a baby who spends alot of time on the floor we had to fix the problem.  Time for me to make a draft blocker also called a snake.  If you have a machine and fabric this will take no time at all.  It probably will take you longer to go to the store to pick up the rice.


  • 1/4 yard of woven fabric that is 44" wide

  • rice

  • sewing machine

  • I used a basic quilting cotton for one side and a ticking canvas for the other side

  1. measure the length of your door
  2. cut fabric to be this length with a width of 3 1/2 - two pieces needed
  3. lay fabric face to face and sew 3  sides with 1/2" seam allowance keeping a short side open
  4. turn inside out using a loop turner or a safety pin with a ribbon attached.

Ok what's a loop turner?     Check out this fantastic description on for instructions.

  1. pour rice in
  2. turn in seams at the opening and sew shut

All done and warm! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Crafting!

Tracey  //

etsy shop



While looking for inspiration I scrolled through recent blog posts published by Etsy NY team members on their personal blogs, when this post by Tracey, one of our own contributors, caught my eye.

In her post Tracey shows us a number of different uses of bias tape like the panel trim on this little dress. Binding tape basically consists of strips of fabric that are sewn together until they are long enough to go around the item you want to decorate. There are two types of binding tape:

  1. Bias tape where the fabric is cut at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric resulting in a stronger binding that easily adjusts to curves; and 
  2. Straight-grain-cut binding where the binding is cut parallel to the grain resulting in a less durable binding that is, however, easier to cut and handle than bias tape

Making your own binding is pretty easy especially when you have one of these handy bias tape makers that look like this:

This is my 1/2″ tape maker.

You cut up your fabric to the requisite width, feed it through the tape maker and it comes out perfectly folded on the other side. You then fold the tape in half and iron it flat. I used this tape to decorate an upcycled cardigan

and a cashmere throw

Amy Karol still has the best and funniest instructions on how to sew on bias tape. Check out her video here:

 So, what will you do with your fabric strips?


Sewing Tutorial: Father's Day Pocket Square

Father's Day is coming up, June 16th, and I wanted to share a special and easy gift you can make for the dad in your life.  And this doesn't have to be just for dads, my friend Kayte loves these pocket squares for herself.  She uses them all the time especially in the New York City humid summers.   If you are a beginning sewer this is a great project for you.

The key ingredient for this pocket square is you want very soft cotton.  I used Liberty of London which is called a Lawn Fabric.  The count is high, which means there are a lot of very fine threads per inch making it softer (think of high count bedding sheets). Robert Kaufman, a popular fabric manufacturer, also makes a lawn fabric in solid colors.

  • Materials:
  • 1/2 yard of fabric ( you will be using a 12" square but stores usually require you buy a minimum)
  • matching cotton machine thread
  • size 8 needle
  • fine pins

Step 1:

Cut out a 12" square and iron.  Fold over 1/4" twice on 2 opposite ends.  I pin down, iron, then secure the pins into the fabric.

Step 2: where the raw edge meets the now folded edged, fold in the corner at an angle, this way your corners will be nice and neat and have no fabric overhang. Repeat step one, fold over 1/4" seam allowance twice.

step 2 - fold corner at angle

Step 3: all fabric is pinned down. Because this is such a skinny seam allowance I do pin it parallel to the seam. Normally in the classes I teach I tell my students pins should be perpendicular so the pins can be pulled out while you sew or the needle can jump the pins.

step 3 - pinned down on all 4 sides.

Step 4: Sew on the inside fold. This ends up being about 1/4" seam allowance.  If you are using the Liberty of London or the Robert Kaufman Lawn fabrics use a size 8 needle since it is finer.  Start your sewing somewhere in the middle, not on a corner.  This reduces the risk of the fabric getting bunched up on a corner or pushed down into the machine.

step 4 sewing

 Step 5: when you reach a corner, sew to the end and back stitch to the beginning of the fold.  Leave the needle in, pick presser foot up and pivot.  Sew down the next seam. Repeat on all corners.

step 5 turn the corners

Step 6 all finished, iron and steam and gift!

The fabric I used is the Liberty of London Margaret Annie in color purple green.  And remember to pre-wash your fabric.


Tracey Toole

Broccoli Dreams: Printing with Veggies

In search of a fun baby shower gift, I rummaged through my refrigerator and found some veggies to print baby onesies. So here it goes:


  • Onesies (or anything else you want to print)
  • Fabric Paint
  • Veggies and fruit (broccoli, lemons, apples, celery, mushrooms)
  • Cardstock 


1. Brush the print side of the vegetable with a thin layer of paint. 

2. On a piece of scrap paper practice printing with your vegetable to get a feel for what it will look like and how much paint you want to use. Here I printed with broccoli, lemons, mushrooms and celery.

3. Once you feel ready to commit to fabric, lay out the onesie and slide a piece of cardstock between the front and the back of the t-shirt to prevent the paint from leaking through the fabric. Brush the paint on your veggie and go for it.

Here are some examples:

Lemon Sun

Celery Smile (The hair was printed with the celery ribs)

Apple Buttons (slice the apple in half to expose the star shaped seed center)

Broccoli Trees (slice the broccoli lengthwise to get a flat surface)

Lemon Boat

4. Lay out your onesies to dry. Once dry, heat set the paint in a hot dryer for about 30 min.

That's it, a really simple OOAK baby shower gift. You could also print paper, diapers, napkins, table clothes, dish towels. . . I'm sure you can come up with a huge list of things. Have fun,


Eat Your Veggies

This spring I will visit my adorable almost one-year old niece. I've been thinking about what to bring her and decided to make her some veggies since she's the only baby I know who actually likes eating her broccoli.

May I introduce: Madame Aubergine, the adorable pea-pod triplets Henri, Jaques, and Felix, Grand Mere Carotte, and Tante Tomato. They will soon be joined by Monsieur Brocoli.

This nutritious bunch would have not come into being without the generous contributions of these fellow bloggers who shared their patterns.

The pea-pod triplets are based on a pattern by Yarrn. Grand Mere Carotte is part of a collection of Easter themed patterns by Midnight Knitter. Madame Aubergine's pattern was provided by Lion Brand a long time supporter of our team.

I more or less made up the tomato on the fly. It's a basic amigurumi ball

For the Fruit

  • Chain 2
  • 6 sc in first ch.
  • 2 sc in each stitch - 12 st
  • *sc, 2 sc in next stitch* repeat - 18 st
  • *sc, sc, 2 sc in next stitch* repeat - 24 st
  • *sc, sc, sc, 2sc in next stitch* repeat - 30 st
  • Crochet 3 rounds of sc in each stitch
  • *sc 2 together, sc, sc, sc* repeat - 24
  • *sc 2 together sc, sc* repeat - 18
  • *sc 2 together sc, s* repeat 12 (at this point you probably want to start stuffing the tomato before the opening gets too small)
  • *sc 2 together* repeat 6
  • Sew up the top

For the leaf

  • Chain 2
  • 5 sc in first stitch
  • Crochet 2 rounds of sc
  • 2 sc in each stitch - 10 stitches
  • *sc, 2 sc in next stitch* repeat - 15 stitches
  • *sl, chain 8, sc in 7th chain and work a total of 6 sc back down the chain, sl, sl* 5 times.

Sew the leaf to the top and embroider the face onto the tomato.

Have fun

Tutorial: Stenciled Spring Shades

It seems that every time we upgrade something around the house another project is calling out to me. After we painted our kitchen, it was painfully obvious that we needed new window shades. It was equally obvious that these shades had to fit a minuscule budget. In the end I decided on plain white, stenciled shades - one of a kind, within budget, perfectly matched to the new color scheme!


What you need:

  • A plain shade. The big box stores will cut it to size for you.
  • Acrylic paint. I used leftover paint from my kitchen "remodel" and a paint sample
  • Stencils (Thank you Martha)
  • Spray mount
  • Sponges to sponge on the paint and something to pour the paint into

The Process

Roll out the shade and place it on your work surface. Because I'm lazy I only stencil the shade to fit the actual window opening. I leave the part that no one will ever, ever see blank.

Lightly spray adhesive on the back of the stencil. (Do this in a place that's easy to clean up. There may be spray over and you don't want to get that on your shade.) Place the stencil on the shade flattening out the stencil.

Pour a little of the paint in a dish and dip your sponge in. At first use paint sparingly until you get a feel for how much you will need to cover the stencil. Starting from the middle of the stencil begin sponging on the paint.

Once you've covered the stencil with paint, carefully pull off the stencil and place it on a different part of the shade. You don't have to re-apply the spray mount. The back of the stencil should maintain its tackiness through the whole project.

Continue in this manner until you're satisfied with your project. I was using two colors and two stencils. First I stenciled all the large blue shapes, then I washed off the large stencil, re-applied some spray mount, and continued with the red paint. I used the same process to fill in the spaces between the large shapes using the smaller stencil.

One more window to go. . .