Bocce Ball with Marci Girl Designs

Today’s guest is Marci, from Marci Girl Designs!!! Another online friend that I can’t wait to meet one day soon! My face to face friend Debbie, introduced us when I was looking for pattern testers and we’ve been online friends ever since! She makes such adorable things for her kiddos and quilts! You’ve got to check her out if don’t already know her! Welcome, Marci!!

Hi Guys!  I’m excited to be here today participating for the first time in Sew Ready to Play.  When I received the invite from Louise I instantly knew what project I wanted to create, Bocce Ball.  You see, back in the day before I had children (about 8 years ago now) my husband and I really got into the game.  We have a large yard, plenty of space and it was really fun to play and in my mind at the time a wee bit of exercise. HA!  The problem started once we had children, if you are at all familiar with the game it uses these really hard heavy balls, and you are chunking them (sometimes pretty far) across the yard.  This isn’t really safe to play around toddlers who want to play too but don’t understand that they can get injured (badly) if hit by one of these balls.  So sadly my husband and I picked up our set waiting for the day when our kids were old enough to understand and play along.  So how do I remedy our predicament?  Fabric Bocce Balls and now we can even play indoors!  Woohoo!  For any of you not familiar with Bocce Ball or want to know the rules of the game, click HERE for the basics and images of how the game plays.

23 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

3.5″ Fabric Bocce Ball Tool and Supply Lists

Tools Needed:
Paper, Pen, Sewing Machine, Thread, Pins, Scissors, Ruler, Rotary Cutter, Self Healing Cutting Mat

Supplies Needed:
Drafted template onto paper.
6 fabric prints/solids for each ball, cutting 2 pentagons from each fabric for a total of 12 for each ball.
Iron on interfacing scraps, I used Pellon SF-101 in both black and white.
Fiberfill or Batting Scraps

How to Draft the Pentagon Template:

How to Create Pentagon

I wanted to include a PDF download template file for you guys, but alas my scanner decided to HATE me and isn’t working right now, but that is ok because I can easily show you how to draft the template yourself.  All you need is a piece of paper, pen and a ruler (preferably a quilters ruler that has both parallel and perpendicular lines on it.)

1.  Draw a dot, which will be the top of the pentagon.  Draw a line straight down from the dot that measures 3 1/8.”  Next draw a perpendicular line at the bottom that measures 2″.  This line should be centered with 1″ on either side.  Draw two dots, one on each end of this line.
2.  Measure up 2″ from the bottom line and draw a line that is perpendicular with the center line.  This line should measure 3 1/8″ and should be centered just like the bottom line.  Since this measurement is a bit odd, I just measured over 1 1/2″ and then marked 1/16″ over from that.  Do that on both sides and then check to make sure the overall line measures 3 1/8″.  Draw two dots, one on each end of this line.
3.  Now that you have 5 dots, ignore everything else and just connect the dots.  Voila!  You now have a finished pentagon template.  To double check and make sure everything is the correct size, each side of the pentagon should measure right at 2″.  Trust me, if the measurement is a little off, you will still be fine.  Now cut out the template and move on to the next step.

3.5″ Fabric Bocce Ball Cutting and Interfacing Instructions

1 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

In order to play Bocce Ball, you need 8 balls, 4 for each player.  In a normal set, 4 of the balls are red and 4 of the balls are green.  I decided to change things up and instead made a cool color and warm color set.  Originally I thought of using prints but in the end thought solids would be fun and less distracting.  You can see in the above photo my fabric pull for the 8 balls.  You need to have 6 different colors for each ball if you don’t want any duplicate colors or prints touching each other.

2 and 3 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

I didn’t worry with making the template on card stock, as long as you don’t cut the actual paper, it will be fine, you don’t have to be super accurate when cutting out the pentagons, just close enough.  The above left photo shows that I am using scraps.  I then line up my ruler along the edge of the template and cut with a rotary cutter.  Continue for each side just making sure not to cut the paper.  You can see on the right photo that I’m not even that close to the paper.  You need to cut 12 pentagons for each ball, ideally in 6 different prints/solids.

4 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

The next step is key to getting a nice sturdy, tough and smooth ball.  You need to interface each piece.  So I used Pellon Shapeflex 101, which is an iron on interfacing.  As you can see I used scraps, they don’t have to be perfect and it is better to cut the pieces about 1/8″ smaller than the fabric.  This is also beneficial when Ironing as you have less chance of getting glue on your iron or ironing board.  I used both black and white interfacing.  White on the light colors and dark on the dark colors.  I also used the interfacing to create a subtle difference between solids that are really close in color.  For example the two orange pentagons were very close in color, the top has black interfacing and the bottom has white interfacing.  Notice how it creates a greater color difference between the two, subtle but different.  Now that cutting and interfacing are finished let’s get to sewing these babies!

3.5″ Fabric Bocce Ball Sewing Tutorial

Steps 1 through 4 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

1.  You will be using a 3/8″ seam throughout.  You need to mark (I use the pins) 3/8″ in from each side.  Line up two pentagons, right sides together and pin them together.  Since I put these pins in at 3/8″ I just stitch from pin to pin.  Another crucial feature of making these balls sturdy is to lower your stitch length.  I used 1.5, it is a small stitch.  Back stitching at both ends is crucial, don’t forget to do this every time.  Remove pins.
2.  Open up the two pentagons and finger press the seam to the left.  Taking a third pentagon, right sides together, pin right where the seam is in the middle and pin the other end at 3/8″.  Stitch, remembering to back stitch at both ends.
3.  Open up the three pentagons.  Now here is the tricky or neat part, you need to connect these three pentagons together.  Gently rotate the upper right pentagon over onto the upper left pentagon. As seen on the green fabric that I am holding.
4.  Now pin these two together.  3/8″ in from the left side and then put a pin right where the other seam ends.  You can see I have this pin at an angle, be careful not to catch the fabric that is sandwiched in there because it is neatly tucked inside.  Stitch, back stitching at both ends in between the two pins.  Remove pins, open up and you should have three pentagons neatly stitched together like the blue one I am holding.  Congratulations if you can get this far, you can make a fabric ball and you have successfully sewn a Y seam!

Steps 5 through 8 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

5.  Decide which pentagon you want to act as the “middle” pentagon and orient it on top.  Take a forth pentagon, pin (right sides together) right at the middle seam (finger press that seam upwards towards the top pentagon) and then pin the outer edge 3/8″ in.  Stitch.
6.  Remove pins, open up and it should look like the upper aqua set that I am holding.  You will then do the same neat rotating trick (the same as step #3) and attach the newly sewn forth pentagon to the now designated middle pentagon.  Pinning and stitching in the same manner as all the others.  Remembering to always finger press that back seam out of the way and not catching any of that sandwiched fabric.  Once finished you will have 4 pentagons sewn together.
7.  Taking a fifth pentagon, add it to the top of the forth pentagon, sewing the same way as all the others.  Open it up and it will look like the top blue set.  Then repeat that neat little rotating trick to stitch it onto the middle pentagon.  You should now have a middle pentagon and 5 other pentagons attached with just one opening as shown on the bottom pink set.
8.  This is what step #7 looks like when you rotate it to stitch it onto the middle pentagon.

Steps 9 through 12 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

9.  Now close up that one last opening.  Rotate the right side pentagon onto the left side opening, right sides together, pin and stitch in the same manner as all the other seams.  Be careful not to catch any of the fabric or back seams.  Remove pins, open it up and it should look like this photo, which is now exactly half of the ball.  You will need to create the other half of the ball, so repeat steps 1-9.
10.  You now have 2 ball halves that you need to stitch together.  Rotate the halves around until you have no prints/same colors touching.  The key to joining the two halves together is to remember that the peaks join into the valleys as shown in the photo.  The upper half (peak) nestles into the lower half (valley.)
11.  Pin, finger pressing the left seam in the back towards the left and finger pressing the right seam to the right as shown in this photo.  Stitch.
12.  Continue to stitch around the whole ball, one short seam at a time, finger pressing the seams out of the way.  Stitch all nine joints, leaving the tenth open.  You can see in the photo I have my finger stuck in the opening, leave it un-sewn as this is where you will turn the ball right side out.

17 and 18 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

Two techniques that I found helpful: 
1.  Once you have sewn all your seams and are ready to turn the ball right side out.  I found clipping the corners 1/4″ in on every intersection produced a smoother ball in the end.  I didn’t trim the seams, it wasn’t necessary.  You can see my clipped seam in the left photo above.
2.  Another key to stitching these and having a smooth ball with no tucks or puckers can be seen on the photo to the right.  When stitching each separate seam make sure you don’t overlap your stitching and you don’t even have to meet the adjacent stitched seam, it is better if you don’t.  You can see in the photo that my seams are about an 1/8″ away from each other.  I even messed up that top seam by starting out at 3/8″ and then gradually shifting to 1/4″ (old habits.)  You can see I just left it and restitched the seam correctly.  By leaving that little bit of space you are making sure not to catch other bits of fabric on the inside and creating tucks.  When in doubt, leave the space!  This is not the type of project where you have to be precise.

19 and 20 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

Turn the ball through that little opening (yes it requires some work, pulling and a lot of tugging but it will work.)  You can see all eight turned above and you can see the opening really well on the yellow one  Now it is time to stuff them.  Stuff them really full, I mean really full, tight as you can stuff it!  This is a great project to use up all those random batting strips and scraps you have laying around, just stuff them in.  If you don’t have that, just use Fiberfill, one bag was plenty for all eight with leftovers.  Once it becomes too hard to put anymore filling inside it, you are ready to stitch it closed.  I used matching polyester thread (it is stronger) and stitched using a ladder stitch 1/8″ apart just to get the opening closed.  There will be some gaping and it won’t look wonderful.  I then went back over the seam a second time with a whip-stitch just catching both sides and stitching as close together as I could, pulling tightly.  You can see my stitching on the right photo.  Knot off the end with your preferred method and clip the thread.  Keep in mind this is for children to play with, it doesn’t need to be perfect, they won’t mind.

21 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

Congratulations!  You are finished and now have a neat hand made fabric ball.  Stuff and hand stitch the remaining balls until you have a set of eight.  Play ball!

22 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

Now if you have a good eye you might notice I am missing something, the jack or pallina, which is another small ball that you throw at the beginning of the game, it serves as the target in which you are throwing your larger balls at (or as close as you can get them.)  This ball measures about 2″ in diameter and is too small to sew using this method.  I plan to English Paper Piece this ball and sew it all by hand, but haven’t done that yet.  In the meantime I am just going to let my kiddos use a ping pong ball or another small plastic ball that is lightweight and can’t break anything or hurt anyone.  Not a big deal but I don’t want you to think I forgot about it!

24 Bocce Ball Marci Girl Designs

Louise, thank you for having me.  I truly hope you guys will give this tutorial a try, even if you only make one ball for your kiddos, it is a quick and rewarding project.  Your kids will go nuts for it too, trust me, my oldest has been dying to get his hands on them.

Be sure to stop back by for more!

Sept 7th- Debbie from A Quilter’s Table

Sept 9th- Jennifer from Busy Being Jennifer

Sept 11th- Ari from Max California

Sept 16th- Stacey from Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts

Sept 18th- Karly from Paisley Roots

Sept 21st- Louise from I’m Feelin’ Crafty

Sept 23rd- Narelle from Cook, Clean, Craft

Sept 25th- Al from Shaffer Sisters

Sept 28th- Rachel from Let’s Begin Sewing

Sept 30th- Marci from Marci Girl Designs

Monopoly with Cook, Clean, Craft

Well, this season has seen a couple of scheduling snafu’s! This time, I’m off… My project was scheduled for Monday, but I had some technical difficulties and wasn’t able to get it posted. It’s done and I can’t wait to share, but…. I’ll sneak it in ASAP! Sorry!

BUT ANYWAY… THe real star of the show today is my blogger friend Narelle from Cook, Clean Craft! She’s one of my original Sew Ready to Play guests and I love that she comes back each year! Have you seen her blog? It’s awesome! So much fun stuff for the kiddos. Clothes, toys and even yummy food! But I guess her name could have told you that, huh! She’s inspired a few sewing projects in this house and one of her recipes has become a staple. I think of her every time I make it. One day I want to meet this woman in person! Welcome, Narelle!!!

I’m so happy to be back for another year of Sew Ready to Play. But to start with, let’s get one thing straight.

I HATE Monopoly!

My older brother always wanted me to play Monopoly when we were kids. The games lasted forever, and he always beat me. I remember tears, fist fights and the game board getting flipped over many a time.

When my son took an interest in Monopoly, my heart filled with dread. It’s just about the last game in the world I want to play. My 6 year old son loves numbers and money, so he thinks it’s fantastic (he even spent his pocket money to buy a second game – with electronic banking – because he loves it so much!). I try to avoid playing as much as possible, but sometimes I have to – oh the joys of being a Mother!

Monopoly was the first thing that came to mind for Sew Ready to Play. I thought about clothes for my son, but wasn’t inspired. Then I had the idea to make floor cushions or stools to sit on at our “board game table”. The idea stuck in my head, and before you know it, here’s what I made:

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (26)

They’re a sort of a stool, or a bean bag, or a really tall floor cushion.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (29)

The floor cushions have different properties on the bottom too, to mix things up a bit:

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (32)

After having done some crazy cutting and machine applique in the past, this time around, I cheated and used my Brother Scan’N’Cut for cutting the letters, and Heat’n’Bond Ultrahold so I didn’t have to sew the letters in place. This will be a good test to see how it holds up to two small kids using the cushions.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (3)

I tried to take a photo of my kids using them while playing Monopoly, but it’s a dark room, and my kids won’t stay still, so this is the best I got:


Here’s the tutorial for how to sew monopoly floor cushions or stools – these instruction make 2 floor cushions.


How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (2)

2.5m (2.75 yards) black quilting cotton
1m (1.1 yards) pale green/spearmint quilting cotton
20cm (8”) strip of quilting cotton in red, pink, green and orange
30cm (12”) Heat’n’Bond Ultrahold
7m (7.7 yards) Black Bias Binding
7m (7.7 yards) Piping cord (Size 2)
Scissors, thread, sewing machine
Basting Spray (optional)
Brother Scan’n’Cut (optional)
Beanbag beans, pillows or polyfill to stuff (I’m not sure how much – I stole the beans out of a beanbag that I don’t like!)


Cut a 30cm (12”) by 17cm (7”) strip from each of the colours for the top of the properties (red, green, pink and orange for these ones!).

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (8)

Cut 4 pieces the light green fabric that are 50cm x 30cm (20” x 12”). This is the top and bottom of each floor cushion.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (9)

Spray some basting spray (optional) on the back of the coloured strip, and place on top of one of the light green pieces, lining up the top edge.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (10)

Sew a short zigzag stitch along the bottom of the coloured strip with black thread. I used a stitch length of 0.6 and width of 4.5.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (11)

Attach the Heat’n’Bond Ultrahold to the wrong side of a 30cm x 30cm (12” x 12”) piece of black quilter’s cotton, following the packet instructions.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (15)

Either trace your letters onto the backing paper, and cut out by hand, or use a Brother Scan’n’Cut to cut out the letters. I used the Brother Scan’n’Cut Canvas online app to create the lettering, using a standard font. I also selected the properties with the least number of letters! I had to add lines to an S to create the dollar sign.

My letters cut beautifully – here is what was left of my fabric:

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (14)

Peel the backing paper off the letters, and arrange on the pale green fabric. Iron in place, following the directions on the Heat’n’Bond Ultrahold.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (13)

Repeat for the over 3 light green pieces to make 4 properties in total.

To make the piping, iron the bias binding flat (ie iron out the pre-made folds in it). Fold it in half and place the piping cord against the fold. With a long stitch length, sew the bias binding together close to the cord. Using a zipper foot can help get close to the piping cord.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (4)

Then you should have a long spaghetti of piping:

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (7)

Pin the piping cord around the edge of the right side of the light green fabric, make a small curve at the corners. The raw edges of the base fabric and the cord should line up.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (16)

Where the two ends meet, unpick the basting stitches so you can see the cord.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (17)

Snip the piping cord so there is just enough to go around the outside of the base fabric. Fold over the raw edge of one end of the piping, and then fold that section over the top of the other raw end.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (18)

With a long basting stitch, sew the piping cord into place.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (19)

Cut 4 strips of black fabric that are 50cm (20”) x 76cm (30”). This is for the sides of the two cushions. Sew the 50cm (20”) edges of two pieces together to form a cylinder.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (20)

With right sides together, pin the black cylinder to the pale green fabric, lining up the raw edges.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (21)

Sew in place.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (22)

Repeat for the bottom of the floor cushion, but this time, leave a 15cm gap along one edge.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool (23)

Turn the floor cushion right way out. Fill with beanbag beans, stuffing or pillows, and hand-stitch the opening closed.

How to sew a monopoly floor cushion or stool. Fun sewing tutorial as part of Sew ready to Play.

And there you have a reversible Monopoly-inspired floor cushion or stool.

Thanks again for having me, Louise. For more sewing, craft and homemaking inspiration, head over to Cook Clean Craft.

Be sure to stop back by for more!

Sept 7th- Debbie from A Quilter’s Table

Sept 9th- Jennifer from Busy Being Jennifer

Sept 11th- Ari from Max California

Sept 16th- Stacey from Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts

Sept 18th- Karly from Paisley Roots

Sept 21st- Louise from I’m Feelin’ Crafty

Sept 23rd- Narelle from Cook, Clean, Craft

Sept 25th- Al from Shaffer Sisters

Sept 28th- Rachel from Let’s Begin Sewing

Sept 30th- Marci from Marci Girl Designs

Picnic Party with Froo & Boo

I can’t believe this month has totally flown by! Behind the scenes I have been busy as a bee and one thing I’ve been working on is a 6th birthday party…  And our next guest has also been party planning for a 6th birthday, but was still able to put together an adorable project for us! Irene is the blogger behind an adorable blog, Froo and Boo, where she sews fantastic clothes for her also adorable kids! You’ve got to check out her amazing wedding outfits she just made! And yes, you probably remember her from Project Run and Play as well! Super talented!

Welcome Irene!!

I’m excited to be here today! My project is based on a “game” that my kids, aka Froo & Boo, play all the time. Picnics. Tea parties. Picnic tea parties. Any combination or variation of the two. Anywhere, anytime. Just the other day, I found toy lettuce in my bed. While making this skirt, I overheard Froo say to Boo, “Ooh, look! Mommy is making us a new picnic blanket!”

I know it’s not really a game in the traditional sense–with an objective, a bit of friendly competition and an outcome, but it involves imaginative play, a sense of humour and fun. It can get pretty serious: Froo & Boo have a “clubhouse” where they meet on a picnic blanket and no grown-ups are allowed.

Anyhoo, I was inspired to make a patchwork skirt, while looking at the lovely quilts that Louise makes and posts on her blog. For a fresh and updated look, I decided on bright pink gingham, instead of the traditional red & white gingham used for picnic blankets.

Let’s begin the tutorial!

To get started, cut your patchwork squares using a rotary cutter. For Froo’s skirt, I cut 4×4″ squares (28 bright pink squares, 49 light pink squares and 21 white squares). I cut enough squares for 7 rows and 14 columns.

In the end, I only used 5 rows! The top photo shows 6 rows, but I hemmed one row up afterwards! Let’s just call it a miscalculation that would have made the skirt long enough for me to wear. You can always play around with the size of the square, the number of rows and columns, but the number of columns must always be an even number.

Piece your squares together. The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker, by Elizabeth Hartman, is an excellent resource for getting started with patchwork piecing. There is also a great tutorial on chain piecing on the Sew Mama Sew blog.

One thing I modified for everyday wear: increased seam allowance to 3/8″. I also used pinking shears to cut 1/8″ from the unfinished edges before pressing the seam allowance open. This is what your fabric should look like from the inside:

Measure your patchwork piece. Then cut a piece of white fabric using the same dimensions. This will become the backing of the skirt. Cut another piece for the waistband, the same length and 3.5″ wide. This will become the waistband.

Sew your patchwork piece into a tube using a 3/8″ seam allowance, trim with pinking shears and press open. Repeat with white piece.

With right sides together, sew the backing to the patchwork piece with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Flip the fabric so wrong sides are together and press. Then, baste the top of the skirt together using 1/4″ seam allowance.

Sew the waistband together at the short ends with a 3/8″ seam allowance, then press the waistband in half, with the wrong sides facing. You’ll notice that mine is just the 7th row pieced together, but you could cut one solid piece.

With right sides together, sew the waistband onto the top of the skirt with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Press seams upward.

Press the unfinished edge of the waistband so that it is just over the seam line.

From the right side, stitch in the ditch over the waistband seam, making sure the inside waistband edge is catching the thread. Leave a 2-3″ opening. Topstitch the top edge of the waistband together. Thread a piece of 1″ non-roll elastic through the waistband. The elastic should measure the circumference of the wearer’s waist minus 1″. Stitch the elastic together. Sew the opening of the waistband closed.

I have this silly decorative stitch of ants on my machine–which I sewed onto a piece of twill tape with a piece of tracing paper underneath as stabilizer, to make a small tag to indicate the center back.

That was a long one! It’s definitely not a quick project, especially when you make some crazy miscalculations, but I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Thanks, Louise, for inviting me to your Sew Ready to Play series!

Fabric Bunting Tutorial

Today I am working hard on projects to get done before we head out on a spur of the moment vacation, so I thought I’d bring home another tutorial I did last year for Go To Sew! I know it’s a repeat, but I’ve got some other fun things in the works to share so just bear with me!  A fabric bunting! Quick and easy! A sweet thing to hang in the house or give as a baby gift (or any sort of gift for that matter)!


I made a bunting a LONG time ago and I made it too big! But this version is a smaller one with a little something extra. Quilting! Recently a colleague asked me to make one, so I did! And I thought I’d tell ya how I made it so you can make your own!


The materials you need… You’ll need fabrics for the bunting pieces and fabric for the binding, a cutting tool, pinking shears, and batting. And if you’re wanting to add letters you’ll also need something like heat and bond (two sided fusible adhesive) and your letters. The pattern for the triangles is here.


step 1- Cut and cut and cut! Your fabric and your batting into triangles.


step 2- Stack your bunting pieces. Lay the back side right side down, then your batting and then your front side right side up.


step 3- Sew the three pieces together on the two long sides. You don’t need to sew the top side.


step 4- Trim the two sewn sides with pinking shears.


step 5- If you’d like to add letters you can here. Iron on the interfacing to the back of the fabric you want the letters cut out of. Then trim the fabric to the right size of the letter. remove the backing from the interfacing. Then iron on the letter. Depending on the interfacing you use, you can stop here if it’s a no sew interfacing.  If it’s a sew on interfacing, topstitch now.


step 6- Now for the binding. You could use premade binding if you’d like. Or you can make your own. I cut two inch strips, sew-ed them together at an angle and then folded it in half and ironed. Then folded the sides in again and iron again. And lastly, sew it to the flags.


And you’re done! See? Simple! What fabrics would you use? What occasion would you make one for? Enjoy!

Sew Ready to Play Checkers with Sugar Bee Crafts

Today my special guest is Mandy from Sugar Bee Crafts! I’ve been following her blog for a long long time. I can’t even remember how I found out about it, but it doesn’t matter how. It matters that it’s very cool, with all sorts of sewing and craft projects. And some of my favorite sewing projects she does are her Halloween costumes! It’s not one costume here or there! It’s the whole family dressed as a theme! Love it! I can’t wait to see what they are planning for this Halloween! But in the meantime…..

Welcome Mandy!!

Hi Everyone!  I’m Mandy and I blog over at the super-cool blog, Sugar Bee Crafts – come see me over there!  I enjoy all things crafty, including sewing and games so of course I jumped at the chance to be a part of this series that puts the two together.  I tried to think of the most popular game at our house, which by far is checkers.  They all LOVE it!  And so I dreamed up the Checkers Skirt:

This would be super-easy to make if you had some large checkered fabric on hand.  But I didn’t.  It still wasn’t hard – let me walk you through it.

First I cut the black and the white fabric into 4 inch strips:

And I sewed them back together, alternating colors, like so:

Then, I turned those sewed strips on their side and again cut 4 inch strips, as shown:

Then I sewed those strips back together, being sure to stagger the black and white to make the checkerboard effect.  I cut off any excess to make a large rectangle and then sewed the short ends together (right sides together) to make a big tube/skirt form.

I made a casing at the top and inserted elastic:

And I serged (you could zig zag) the bottom hem and then covered it with some cute red lace as a fun accent:

For the pocket that plays off of a round checkerpiece, I cut 2 circles (just trace something you have sitting around, like a lid)

Then I sewed those two circles with right sides together, leaving an opening that is an inch or two wide.  Clip all around the seam to help it lay flatter, then turn the circle right-side out through the hole.

Sew it to the skirt, leaving the top of the circle unattached so that it will function as a pocket.

I love how it came out!!  Simple, but really makes a statement, and has a definite shout-out to our love of checkers!

Hope to see you over at Sugar Bee Crafts!

Craft Blogger

Sew Ready to Play Pick Up Sticks

Yea! We’re on! Another series of Sew Ready to Play starts now!! Starting with Pick Up Sticks!


I’ve realized two things about myself and this series. The first one is I make actual games! I invite everyone and tell them to make something ‘inspired by’ their favorite games. Me. I seem to make the actual game! Last year I made a Memory game. This year a giant sized Pick Up Sticks! The second thing… We always seem to come up with the game while we’re camping. I have to say that the family helps me come up with my games!


We have had some fun with this one!


So you throw them up as high as you can…


Watch them drop! And of course, if they fall on you, they don’t hurt!


And then play the game!


They are super simple to make! I’ll show you how. All you need is different colored fabrics, a cutting device, the pattern and some stuffing (ok, a lot of stuffing that I forgot to put in the picture!).


First, Fold your fabric. First in half, so that the seam allowances are together. Then over again.


Secondly, lay out the pattern. Make sure the two sides that say to cut on fold are situated correctly on the folds.


The third step is to cut. After I cut, I was sure I had done it wrong, so don’t get nervous! Just unfold and you should have exactly the right pieces!


Fourth.. Sew the ends and the one side that isn’t the fold. Don’t forget to leave a hole for pulling through and stuffing.


The fifth step is to trim the ends to help get the pointy-est ends possible.


The sixth step is to pull it through itself, so right sides are out.


Seventh Step- Stuff! This is where the whole process slows down a bit. And here are a couple of tips for stuffing the very ends. Don’t use a lot of stuffing at first. And secondly, I used my frixion pen to really get it in the tip. Other pens and sticks kinda go right through the stuffing. But I think maybe it’s the eraser at the end, but it really helps get the stuffing into the very tip.


The last step is to hand stitch the hole closed.


And then repeat! Over and over!


And lastly… Take them outside and play!


And if you decide you’re tired of playing pick up sticks you can always have a super skinny pillow fight!


Or you can pretend you’re a multi colored banana….


And for the Pick Up Sticks Container and lid, we used a concrete forming tube  and wrapped it in poster board. Is Pick Up Sticks a favorite in your house?


La Petite Pouch Tutorial at Go To Sew

La Petite Pouch!


I needed a little special something to send to someone and I thought and thought about it. I almost just bought something. but then realized the error of my ways and decided to make something. And that’s where the La Petite Pouch was created!

Be sure to head over to Go To Sew to find out how easy it is to make your own!


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Sew Ready to Play Backgammon with The Long Thread

I have some good and bad news… We’ll start with the bad… I’m sad to say, but today is the last day of the series… ahhhh… Enough about that! The good news… We have a great guest, Ellen from The Long Thread!! Ellen has a fantastic blog, fantastic fabrics and a great book, 1, 2, 3 Sew! I was lucky enough  to win a copy of this really cool book and I have to say it does have some great projects in it! I’ve been a fan of Ellen’s work for some time now and throughly enjoy reading her blog. You can only imagine how stoked I was to find my Magnetic Bookmark listed among her Top 100 Tutorials of 2011. Wow! :) Yes, I was blushing! If you haven’t checked out her blog before now, you must! Well, after you read this…

And Welcome, Ellen!!!

Thanks to Louise for inviting me to be part of her clever Sew Ready to Play series! Today I’ve made a skirt inspired by the playful geometry of a backgammon board, which makes me want to actually get the game and teach my kids to play. I remember playing as a kid and think I loved the board as much as the game. This simple elastic waist skirt fits sizes 4-6, but could easily be adjusted to other sizes, even for adults! Use the triangle template to make patchwork for a quilt, a tote bag or placemats. If you want to be more faithful to the backgammon design, you could use two solid shades of fabric for the triangles and even make two bands of triangles facing one another.

This skirt was made with my new fabric collection for the Japanese company, Kokka, which will be available in stores in early 2013. Here I used this linen/cotton blend with a lightweight gray chambray cotton. This graphic skirt is perfect for fall paired with tights and boots, but light enough to wear year-round. Happy sewing!
Click here for the directions!
And you can check out another version of the skirt at Moda Bake Shop!
Ellen Luckett Baker is author of The Long Thread, where she writes about her adventures with sewing, crafting, and kids. Her book 1, 2, 3 Sew was recently published by Chronicle Books and her follow-up book, 1, 2, 3 Quilt, will be released Fall 2013. She has designed two fabric collections; the first for Moda, which is in stores now and the second for Kokka, which will be available in early 2013. Ellen lives in Atlanta with her husband, two daughters, and a growing number of pets.

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Sew Ready to Play Impossible Mission with Cook, Clean, Craft

Ready for another installment of Sew Ready to Play??? Today we have Narelle from Cook Clean Craft! If you’ve followed this blog for a little while, you know Narelle and I have become blogging buddies and she’s visited over here a couple of times now and I’ve made a few of her projects! I love the Men’s Jeans to Toddler pants which made some super adorable pants for my kiddo! You’ve got to check out her blog if you haven’t already! So many more tutorials and fun for the boys.

Welcome Narelle!

Hi, I’m Narelle from Cook Clean Craft. After making UNO shorts for Sew Ready to Play last year (I still love them and they still fit – yay!), I really had to wrack my brain to come up with another game. I started thinking back to games I played when I was a kid, and suddenly this popped into my head:

“Another visitor? Stay awhile…Stay Forever” (in a very sinister voice!)

The introduction to the game “Impossible Mission” on Commodore 64, and so the Commodore 64 T-shirt was created:

Commodore 64 T-shirt

Yes, I was a bit of a geek (hang on, I still am…), and loved playing Ghostbusters, Le Mans car racing and Barbie and more on our family Commodore 64.

Commodore 64 Tshirt-010

(Scary to think how much more powerful his toy Leap Pad is!)

I remember the fights my brother and I had playing the C64 version of Monopoly (he’d  sell all my property to himself for $1 when I wasn’t looking). Aaah, the memories!

Commodore 64 Tshirt-005

So how did I make it? I used the Raw Edge Raglan T-shirt pattern from the book “Sewing for Boys”. I had the some knit fabric in my stash that was the perfect Commodore 64 screen blue, and some white ribbing (I’m trying really hard to stash-bust at the moment!).

I embellished the front and one sleeve before I did the sewing – freezer paper stencilling for the front (no fancy cutting machine here – it was all hand-cut with an exacto knife – why do I always pick such fiddly designs (like this and this)?).

Commodore 64 Tshirt-002

I made an applique for the sleeve from fabric scraps in my stash – using heat’n’bond lite and a satin-stitch (narrow and short zigzag) around the edge.

Commodore 64 TshirtCommodore 64 Tshirt-001

(a little wonky – don’t look too closely!)

I didn’t exactly follow the pattern for the T-shirt – I just can’t do the raw-edge thing… So I sewed it together with my serger with right sides together (after almost throwing it through the window when I decided to change threads – I’ve never had a problem threading it before, but it was up for a fight this time!), and hemmed the sleeves and bottom. I bravely did some contrasting top-stitching too.

Commodore 64 Tshirt-004

And we ended up with a cute geek T-shirt (for a cute Little Man who didn’t want to model!):

Commodore 64 Tshirt-008

Commodore 64 Tshirt-009

Commodore 64 Tshirt-011

Thanks for inspiring me again, Louise. For more fun crafty projects, head over to Cook Clean Craft. And a parting question: Are we cruel to force our geekiness onto our children?

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Curtains are so Easy Tutorial

If you are a sew-er you already know how easy curtains can be! If you are starting to sew, let me tell ya something… Curtains are so Easy! When friends ask for a sewing favor, I’m always happy to help with curtains. Why? because they are so easy!

Some friends once asked me to make cushion covers… It took me a couple of years. They were big and they intimidated me. They did finally get their cushions, but just think… If only they had asked for curtains! Anyway… Once again I digress!

Do you want to know how I make curtains?? Well, since you’re hear, I’m gonna tell ya!

Step 1: Gather materials. easy. Fabric, thread and a cutting utensil are all ya need!

Step 2: Cut! Which also means measure… You need the width and height of your window. The width is the easy part, double the width! So if your window is 20 inches, you need 40 inches of fabric. If you want 2 panels, you’ll have (2) 20 inch panels. For the height, add 7 inches to the desired finished height. The 7 inches is for a typical skinny curtain rod. If your rod is thicker, then you’ll need to add more length depending on the thickness of the rod.

Step 3: Sew sides. Fold over a 1/2 inch and fold over a 1/2 inch again. I use hair clip to hold the hem in place, but you can pin if you’d like. Mostly I don’t do either, but this is a longer curtain, so it helped. And then stitch.

Step 4: Sew top. Like the sides, you want to start with a 1/2 inch fold over and another 1/2 inch fold over. Stitch that hem. Then fold over 1 1/2 inches and stitch again. A little tip…. When I’m sewing a wide hem, I always put down a piece of painters tape to help me stay straight!

Step 5: Sew the bottom. Fold the hem over 2 inches and turn the corners over 45 degrees. Then fold it over 2 inches again. And stitch. I like to add a little rectangle detail at the corners to help keep down the 45 degree fold.

And Wah-la! Now see… so Easy!!

ok, I have to admit something… These curtains aren’t actually made for this window! You were probably thinking they look a little short, huh??? Well, yes, for this window they are short. But for the window they are actually made for, they fit perfect! I can hear the sigh of relief….

Hopefully this helps you overcome any fear of curtains. They really are soooo easy!


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