Category Archives: Modify Commercial Items

Sulky Zen II Machine Embroidery Seminar

Embroidered Mini-tote

What a fun break – traveling with my sewing room to Hanover, MD with friends and a fabulous couple of days of just sewing and forgetting the rest of the world is out there. Would love to have stayed for a couple more days, but it is time to get back to reality.  Now comes the task of putting my sewing room back together again.

I just attended the Sulky Zen II machine embroidery seminar.  It is always fun to gather with those of like-minds and spend the hours sewing.  Now here is a shocking reality – I actually completed 3 of the projects at the seminar.  That NEVER happens.  I usually spend my time experimenting with some of the new techniques and socializing with the other students, picking up new ideas along the way.  One of the projects was a cool mini tote and being the original bag lady, I had to finish that project.  Good thing I did because when it came time for our class photo, our instructor wanted all of us to display our completed totes.  I was able to stand with the rest of the class and be photographed with my tote – finished!

Some of the students from my previous years of Sulky seminars were there and it was great seeing them again.  We learned a lot of fun things and made our annual trip to Timbucktu for dinner.  Our instructor, Ellen Osten, was superb and we learned that the Sulky cotton threads are bleachable.  My favorite Sulky stabilizers are still the water soluble collection and the heat away.  We stitched over puffy foam for great padded monograming and over  felt to make a fun little in-the-hoop scissor holder.  We stitched over organdy to make free standing butterflies and over toil to make a lace pocket.  We stitched on commercial products like the mini-tote and jewelry case and created fun tea towels with free standing appliques and a tea-time poem.

I am ready to pack up my sewing room again and return next year.  Who knows – I might complete 4 projects!

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Mini Wine Glass Lamps

Mini wine glass lampWine glass, battery tea light and a shade

Here is a fun idea for that 4th of July backyard Bar-B-Q or tailgate party.  All you need is a couple of wine glasses (I use plastic ones for outdoors), some battery operated tea-lights, and a little time in your sewing room with the new Quilt-Smart pattern for wine glass lamp shades.  Whip some shades up in red, white, and blue fabric, add a little trim if you like, and you have a very simple, fun decoration for your party.  Do them in white lace and you have a perfect addition for your wedding reception tables.  Why not some pastel “shades” for the baby shower?  These are sure to get comments – and they are fun and easy to make.  Bright colors will add a magic glow to that special birthday party.  Check out your local Quilt-Smart dealer (or buy them on-line if you can’t find them in a store near you) and start designing your next party.

Multi-functional Traveling TV Tray

To increase the functionality of the traveling TV ironing table, add a cutting mat under the removable ironing board cover and attach a small bag for rotary cutter and ruler, and your ironing board becomes a handy personal cutting table.  Remove cover and cutting mat, add a cup holder clamped to the side and your snack table is ready when you are.  Sewing classes, here we come!

From T-shirt to Draw-string Tank Top

From T-shirt to Tank Top
Modified T-shirt to Draw-string Tank Top

Here is a cute idea for modifying a T-shirt in order to make these extremely hot days more comfortable.  

  1. Cut the sleeves from the shirt.
  2. Draw a line straight across the top of the shirt from arm hole to arm hole, even with the lower edge of the ribbing on both the front and the back of the shirt.  (Note:  The line on the back will be higher than the line on the front of the shirt.)
  3. Cut away the back and front of the shirt on these 2 lines, removing the ribbing, neck edge, and shoulder seams. 
  4. Turn under and stitch a narrow hem around the arm holes.
  5. Turn under and stitch a ¾ – 1” hem on the top of the shirt front and back to form a casing.
  6. Thread a long cord or ribbon through the casing, connecting the front and back.
  7. The part of the cord/ribbon that passes over the arm holes creates adjustable shoulder straps.  
  8. When the shoulder straps are the desired length, tie a knot in the cord/ribbon.    

Variation:  Thread 2 separate cords, one on the back and one on the front.  Tie the cords together with a decorative knot to form the shoulder straps with a designer touch on top.  Cords of different colors may be interchanged to alter the accent color of the new top to match coordinating pants and skirts.

By all means, save the ribbing from the neck edges – these “collars” may be stitched onto terrycloth towels to form baby bibs, and beach robes.

Now – for the creative challenge:  What shall we do with all those T-shirt sleeves that we have removed?  Do you have any suggestions?   I will look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks, Jocelyn, for the tip and photo.