Be Smart When Shopping for Sewing Supplies

sewing supplies collage

Stores that sell fabrics and other sewing supplies are constantly trying to attract your business. This is good for you as a consumer. The fact that there is so much competition in this industry means that the prices will be very competitive. However, you still need to be cautious as you are shopping for your sewing supplies. Do not buy all of your supplies from the first store that you come across. That would be a mistake that could potentially cause you to pay much more money than you need to. You should spend some time carefully investigating the various stores that sell all of the items that you are interested in. Here are some tips that you can use when you need to buy some sewing supplies.

1. Find a store that offers frequent discounts.

There are sewing supply stores that frequently discount many of the items they have in stock. They might do this to clear out some of their older inventory. They also frequently mark down items as a way of attracting new customers to their store. Whatever the case may be, you need to make a point of finding out which sewing supply stores discount their inventory more than their competitors. Then you will need to check back with that store frequently to see if they have marked down any items that you need. You need to stay on top of things because the best items are sure to sell out shortly after they are discounted.

2. Search online to learn about the newest products.

Online articles are written by professionals and regular people on a wide variety of topics. The sewing supply industry is no exception. One of the best and easiest ways for you to get the most current info regarding the latest products that are related to sewing is to frequently read online articles. There are some outstanding sewing sites that have been around for a very long time. They have many knowledgeable contributors who are constantly writing posts about new and exciting products in the sewing industry. Suppliers like Paccana are constantly adding new items to their inventory. It is always helpful to stay updated about what these new items are. However, these sewing sites tend to vary greatly in terms of their quality. You need to find out which ones are the most popular. You should also make sure that you only read articles on sites that are updated regularly.

3. Talk to people who are knowledgeable about sewing supplies.

You might think that you know a lot about which sewing supplies are the best. However, there will always be someone out there who knows more than you or me. This is why we need to seek out these people in order to learn as much as we can. There is no shame in seeking guidance from people who have been buying sewing supplies and fabrics for longer than you have. Go to companies that need to purchase sewing supplies on a regular basis. Find out what their criteria is for the materials they purchase. Why do they choose certain brands over others? What type of results should you expect if you buy products made by a specific company? Get their reviews of as many different sewing supply companies as you can. The more research you do, the more money you can save on sewing supplies. 

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Diabetes Supply Case: A New Sewing Project

I have been wanting to make a pretty bag for a diabetes supply case for quite some time. The problem has been that I could not find a pattern for what I wanted. So, after exhausting all the searches on Google, I decided to just try to make one. This version needs some work. It is NOT perfect, but it still looks better than the plain old drab black case that is standard issue for glucose meters.It is pretty close to my vision for what I wanted to make, but I am not satisfied with it. However, it is a good starting place. It just looks all wonky. 

diabetes supply case

My first draft for a diabetes suppy case

I wanted a bag that I could take with me when we go out to eat, or when we travel. I thought for a long time about what needed to be in it. 

  • a place to hold ice, to keep my insulin cool
  • a place to put the insulin
  • a place to hold the glucose meter, lancette device, a pen, test strips
  • a pocket for insulin syringes
  • a pocket for used supplies (so I can dispose of them when I get home)
diabetes supply case

The zipper part turned out pretty good, but need a longer oner.

Then I thought about what else I wanted to be in it:

  • Slots for debit card, insurance card, driver’s license 
  • A zippered pocket on the outside
  • A place to hold credit cards
  • A place for a food/blood sugar diary
  • A travel size Beano (I take them at every meal to reduce the amount of gas discharged into my colostomy bag.)
diabetes supply case

The inside of the bag.

When the case is opened up, the first thing you see on the left is the pocket with credit card slots. I have six slots. These are holding a debit card, some alcohol swabs, and some business cards. On the right is a see through (clear vinyl) pocket to hold used syringes until I can get home and put them in a Bio-Hazard container. 

diabetes supply case

Insulated, vinyl lined removable pouch for ice pack for insulin.

When you turn over the clear pocket, the removable insulated vinyl lined pouch for an ice pack is located under it. There are hook and loop strips on the case and pouch to help keep it in place. I can put my insulin vials inside the pouch and zip it shut, where they will stay cold all day. Then, if we are traveling, I can remove the pouch, put the insulin in the hotel refrigerator, and the pouch of ice in the freezer section. It will refreeze overnight and I will be ready for the next day of travel or sightseeing fun. 

The removable ice pack is easy to take out and put back in.

The removable ice pack is easy to take out and put back in.

Just another view of the removable ice pack. It stays in really well with the hook and loop strips. 

Credit card slots

Credit card slots

The pocket for credit card slots needs to be improved a bit. This one is divided into six slots. I can put my driver’s license and a debit card in there, and not have to take my purse with me everywhere. I think that is a big plus. 

diabetes supply case

The glucose meter and test strips.

Turn over the credit card slots, and there are the glucose meter, test strips, an empty test strip container to store used strips until I can get home and dispose of them in a bio-hazard container, my lancet device, and ink pen, and my Beano. These look a little wonky too, but remember, I did not have a pattern, and I was making this up as I went along. 

diabetes supply case

Pocket for new insulin syringes

On the underside of the credit card slot pocket, is another pocket for my new insulin syringes. This pocket is big enough to hold a bag of ten syringes. I can keep other syringes in my suitcase until they are needed. 

case 09

This is not really bad for a prototype.

This case is not finished. It needs to have some bias tape to cover the raw edges (I did not have any gray or pink on hand), and a couple of other little tweaks, but all in all, it is not bad for a first version. I am going to add a cross body strap to it too. When we get home from our vacation, I am going to make another one, and do a tutorial post on how to make it. I am also going to try to make a pattern for it. It will have some optional features, because not everyone needs the same supplies. 

So, what do you think of my Diabetes Supply Case? What would you want in yours that is not in this one? What would you leave out? 

Yum

Making a Toiletry Bag For My Next Trip

My new Toiletry Bag

My new Toiletry Bag

I’m headed out on a trip soon, and I wanted to make a simple cosmetic bag for myself. The one I have is about twenty or so years old and I just wanted a new one. I looked and looked online and googled looking for a pattern to use or a tutorial. I finally found a cute pattern on Etsy. I got my prettiest fabric and a pretty pink zipper, and started making the bag. It was soon apparent that pattern creator had left something out. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it, but I will say that it was a complete waste of my money for the pattern, my nice pretty fabric, and my pink zipper. I had to go to plan B, which was asking in a sewing group on Facebook what tutorial or pattern the sewists there use for making a boxy cosmetic bag. True to the nature of people with like interests in groups, I soon had several links to follow and finally found a free tutorial that I liked. 

I love this fabric

I love this fabric

I used the tutorial from Sew Like My Mom, but made a couple of changes to it along the way. I did not have any laminated fabric to use, and I was able to salvage the handle from the previous hot mess that was thrown into the trash bag. As I have no sewn much since my surgery in 2012, I am a bit out of practice. I messed up this bag too, by inserting the zipper upside down. I was so ready to quit and forget about a new bag, but I decided I could save this project, for at least the trip coming up, by threading a piece of ribbon through the zipper pull so I can open and close the bag. That’s what I did, and was able to save the project. 

Lined with woodgrain gray fabric

Lined with woodgrain gray fabric

I also quilted my bag by sandwiching the lining, the batting, and the outer fabric, and stitching them together before cutting it down to 14.5 X 20 inches. It’s a bit smaller than the tutorial called for, but it is what it is. I am happy with the size of it. 

My toiletry bag

My toiletry bag

When I get back from my trip, I will try making some more of these, and get the zippers in right. It really is a cute bag, and a good size for holding all your things you need in your carry on bag. What do you think of my bag? 

Yum

This Grandma Will Cut You! Cricut You, That Is.

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cricut iron ons

The Princess Amelia T-Shirt

A couple of years ago, I won a Cricut Explore ™ in an online giveaway. I sat in my closet in the box it came in for over a year. Then last summer, my daughter, Emily came over and we played around with the Cricut again, trying to make some things for her scrapbooking. It took us a couple of days to figure it out, but we finally got two scrapbook pages out of the machine, and then it sat around in my craft room for another few months. This month, I finally got around to playing with the Cricut again, and I wanted to show you what I have made with it so far. 

The photo above is a glitter iron on. It took me a couple of tries to get it right, because you have to remember to check a box to “mirror” for iron ons. Here is Amelia showing off her new T-shrit made for her by me:

Such a little ham! But cute as can be.

Such a little ham! But cute as can be.

And one more:

Amelia in her glitter princess t-shirt

Amelia in her glitter princess t-shirt

Owen's Helicopter T-shirt.

Owen’s Helicopter T-shirt.

Next, I made Owen a T-shirt with a iron on helicopter. That boy is obsessed with helicopters. Well, with anything with a blade, like fans. He is not as into the photo taking as his little sister, so his Mummy had to catch him on the run to get this photo for meYou can tell he did not want his picture taken. That big foot didn’t hide that helicopter though! Thanks for taking the picture for me, Sarah. 

The last thing I did was a Peppa Pig iron on for Parker. At three, he is in LOVE with Peppa Pig. I searched the internet for a free SVG file, to no avail. I had to pay for the file on Etsy, just in case you see and go trying to find a file to use for yourself. And if you do buy this particular file on Etsy, note that once you click to check the box to mirror the first cut, it shows all the rest of the cuts as checked to mirro as well. Only they don’t. You have to “cancel the cut” in between each piece, then “go” again to cut the next piece, check the “mirror” box, and cut. And do it all over again for each of the 8 screens. I WAS a pain in the rear, but I finally got through it before I used up all my vinyl with wasted cuts. This iron on has about a hundred gazillion teeny tiny pieces, so a pair of tweezers was a really handy piece of equipment. It turned out really great and I am so proud of it! 

My finished Peppa Pig iron on for Parker

My finished Peppa Pig iron on for Parker

I haven’t seen Parker since I finished this, so he doesn’t have it yet. Therefore, I have no picture of it with him wearing it. I’ll come back later when I get a pic and update here. I also made a pair of shorts with some Peppa Pig fabric I found in a fabric selling group on Facebook. I thought I had a boys shorts pattern, but I did not. I DID have a pattern for a pair of pajamas that included a short version so I used that, and the slash pocket piece from a different pattern, to make these shorts with side pockets. Because, you know, boys need pockets for all their stuff. 

The new outfit I made for Parker.

The new outfit I made for Parker.

I can’t wait to see his face when I give it to him! 

What have you made this week? Do you have a Cricut? What do you use it for? Did you work on any sewing or crafting projects? I’d love to hear about them. 

Yum

Chocolate Easter Bunny Wreath Craft Tutorial

I had fun creating an Easter craft for Chocolat Frey, and said I would show you how I did it. So, here is the tutorial on how to make the Chocolate Easter Bunny Wreath. 

Chocolate Easter Bunny Wreath

Chocolate Easter Bunny Wreath

To make this Chocolate Easter Bunny Wreath, you will need the following supplies:

1 (12″) styrofoam wreath form

1 precut Jelly Roll Fabric pack, or 2 3/4 yards of fabric, cut in 2.5 inch strips width of fabric

5 chocolate Easter bunnies wrapped in aluminum foil, such as the Chocolat Frey Chocolate Bunnies

4 (3″) tiny plastic Easter baskets, or 4 baskets cut using Cricut Design Space

4 plastic Easter eggs

7 assorted color pipe cleaners

candy to fill the plastic eggs if you wish

2 yards satin ribbon for hanging

fabric jelly roll

fabric jelly roll

plastic eggs

plastic eggs

Cut the fabric strips in half

Cut the fabric strips in half

Tie the cut fabric strips around the wreath form.

Tie the cut fabric strips around the wreath form.

Knot the strips loosely twice

Knot the strips loosely twice

As you tie the strips on the wreath form, push them tightly together. Keep tying strips on until the entire wreath form is covered. Next, add your embellishments.

 attach the bunnies to the wreath.

Use a pipe cleaner to attach the bunnies to the wreath.

I tried to pick pipe cleaners that matched the color of the bunnies, so that they would blend in. I twisted the pipe cleaner around the bunny’s “neck” (I know that sounds mean, right?), then run one end of the pipe cleaner under a couple of the fabric strips and twist again. Hide the ends behind the bunny. 

Card Stock Baskets cut with Cricut

Card Stock Baskets cut with Cricut

 To attach the paper baskets to the wreath, carefully thread the pipe cleaner through the holes on one side. Run the other end of the pipe cleaner under a couple of fabric strips, and twist the ends together. Hide the ends behind the baskets. If you use plastic baskets, you will attach the same way, but don’t have to be as careful because they won’t tear as easily. 

Close up showing pipe cleaner threaded through paper basket.

Close up showing pipe cleaner threaded through paper basket.

Last, fill the plastic eggs with candy, and put them in the baskets.  Slip the ribbon through the wreath and bring ends together. Tie a knot in the end. All done. This is Chocolate Easter Bunny Wreath really easy to make, and requires no sewing. Do you think you would make one? 

Chocolate Easter Bunny Wreath

Chocolate Easter Bunny Wreath

This post linked to the GRAND Social 

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January Pinterest Party: Valentine Heart Garlands

I have wanted to have a Pinterest Party for a long time. I invited some friends over to make some crafts inspired by things we found on Pinterest. For this first party, there was just me and my friend, Elaine.

I look at Pinterest as a starting place, and almost never make the craft or other item exactly as it is made by the pinner. I look for inspiration for making my own things. These Felt and Fabric Sachet Hearts are very pretty, but I wanted to make a garland. I used the basic idea of felt and fabric hearts, and put my own spin on it to create a pretty garland to hang in my living room.

This is the inspiration for our Valentine Garland that we found on Pinterest:

Here is my finished Valentine Heart Garland. It was on the wall in my sewing room:

Valentine garland made from felt and fabric

Valentine garland made from felt and fabric

These hearts were really easy to make. I cut out two pieces of felt or fabric, and used some scrap stuffing or batting for the inside, to make them puffy. Then, I used a blanket stitch with red embroidery floss to stitch all the way around them. You can stitch them with a blanket stitch on your sewing machine, but I think they look better done by hand. After I had them all stitched, I sewed a small red ribbon flower on each heart. Then, the hearts were stitched to a length of red grosgrain ribbon. 

Closeup of one of the felt hearts.

Closeup of one of the felt hearts.

Elaine had never done a blanket stitch before but she was glad to learn how to do it. She wants to make an applique quilt using the blanket stitch for her appliques. Making crafts like this is a good way to learn how to do things you don’t know how to do. 

Close up of fabric heart.

Close up of fabric heart.

Elaine took her garland home to finish at the end of the day. We had such a good time, pausing long enough to have lunch and coffee. We are going to do this again in February, and make some St. Patrick’s Day crafts. 

Here is a picture of Elaine’s garland hanging from her fireplace:

Elaine's garland hanging from the fireplace.

Elaine’s garland hanging from the fireplace.

What have you made recently that was inspired by Pinterest? Do you make your crafts exactly as they appear on Pinterest, or do you get creative?

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