Sloth Plush Video Tutorial Part 2 and Backpack

Part 2 of the Sloth video tutorial is finished and ready to share! I hope you are excited to complete this project!

Sloth Supplies:

  • 7 x 48 inches Faux Fur or Fleece for body and legs
  • 4.5 x 18 inches of fleece for the face and claws
  • Scrap felt for face details
  • Two 16mm Safety Eyes (You could also use felt circles or buttons if you prefer)
  • Embroidery floss
  • Magnets, Velcro, or Snaps (optional)
  • Scrap fabric to cover magnets (optional)
  • Coordinating Thread
  • Poly-fil Stuffing

Helpful Tools:

Files:

Sloth Quick Overview:

Sloth Video Detailed Instructions PART 1:

Sloth Video Detailed Instructions PART 2:

BACKPACK

When I made the sloth plush project I always intended for there to be accessories to go with it. So, here is the first!

This is a tiny little backpack that is just adorable on the sloth project!

It could easily be adapted for other dolls and stuffed animals by adjusting the elastic straps.

You can choose to make the backpack out of a single layer of fabric (like my denim example), or you can make it with lining (pink example). There are also two different options for the lower straps. Loops that go around each leg, or a single strap that goes around the belly.

Overall, I was really happy with how this one turned out. I hope you enjoy it as well!

Supplies:

  • 4.5 x 18 inches of Main Fabric
  • 4.5 x 18 inches of Interfacing (optional – I used Pellon SF101)
  • 4.5 x 18 inches of Lining Fabric (optional)
  • 1.75 x 4 inches of fabric for the trim
  • 3 inches of 1/4 inch wide ribbon (optional)
  • One 7 inch Zipper
  • 3/4 yard (27 inches) of 1/4 inch wide elastic
  • Coordinating Thread

Files:

Backpack Video Instructions:

Sloth Plush Video Tutorial PART 1

The sloth plush has been one of my posted free projects for quite some time, but I thought it was time to make a video!

I absolutely LOVE this project! It is so cuddly, which just makes me happy! It does take a bit of time, especially if you choose to work with fur, so the instructions for this project will be in two parts.

Supplies:

  • 7 x 48 inches Faux Fur or Fleece for body and legs
  • 4.5 x 18 inches of fleece for the face and claws
  • Scrap felt for face details
  • Two 16mm Safety Eyes (You could also use felt circles or buttons if you prefer)
  • Embroidery floss
  • Magnets, Velcro, or Snaps (optional)
  • Scrap fabric to cover magnets (optional)
  • Coordinating Thread
  • Poly-fil Stuffing

Helpful Tools:

Files:

Video Instructions PART 1:

Skill Builder – Finishing Seams

One thing that comes up frequently in sewing is finishing seams. This can be just as important on simple projects as it is on garments and in more complex construction.

Having a bag of tricks for finishing seams can remove the need for linings and can simplify projects. It can also provide a more polished and professional look.

In my video I will demonstrate four different methods of finishing seams.

PINKING SHEARS

This is the easiest method for finishing seams. It takes very little time and is really convenient. However, it does require a nice pair of pinking shears and they can be a bit pricey.

Zigzag Stitch

This method is very convenient as well. Most sewers are comfortable with the basic zigzag. It doesn’t require any special tools or accessories and it gets the job done.

Zigzag Over the Edge

This is a quick substitute for the overcast stitch if you don’t have the overcast foot available. However, depending on the weight of your fabric the edge may roll a bit when it is met with the tension of the stitch. I find it works well on heavier weight fabrics. The fabric shown in the example is a mid-weight flannel.

Overcast Stitch

This stitch provides the most professional finish. Since it is actually designed to go over the edge it is great for finishing seam allowances. However, it usually requires a special foot for your machine, and depending on your machine the stitch may or may not be an option.

Watch the video and learn how to use these seam finishing methods!

Learn to Sew: Lesson 5: Felt Carrying Case

Thanks for your patience for this latest post! I am a full time teacher, and with school starting back in full swing I haven’t had as much time to devote to new posts as I would like. Don’t worry! I still plan to post new content. However, it just may not be as frequent as it was over the summer. I hope you enjoy the new projects as they come and until then check out my free projects that are already available!

This is a fun quick project that helps practice sewing straight seams. It also introduces bag making basics with boxed corners.

Lesson Category:

  • Machine Sewing – Straight Seams

Lesson Topics:

  • Essential Tools
  • Cutting Rectangles
  • Sewing Straight Seams
  • Boxing Corners

This project uses large sized felt fabric, since the pieces are larger than the standard sized felt sheets available in most stores.

Felt is a great fabric to start with for your first projects because it doesn’t fray. You don’t have to worry about raw edges and it will look nice inside and out!

The top of the bag is made with two layers of felt stitched together for added strength and to provide contrast.

It also has boxed corners. Boxed corners can be a bit of a challenge, but it adds a lot of great features to your bag.

It provides space at the bottom of the bag so it is no longer flat.

In this case it also allows the bag to stand up. Once you learn how to add boxed corners it is a great feature to add to many different types of bags and cases.

Lesson:

Skill Builder – How to Sew a Seam

Once you’ve mastered threading and using seam allowances, as we studied in Lessons 3 and 4 of the Learn to Sew videos, you are ready to sew a seam.

This is where all machine sewing begins!

It’s important to be able to distinguish between the Right Side of the fabric, the bright side, the side you want to see on your final project, and the Wrong Side of the fabric, the dull side, the side you want hidden inside.

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Almost always, when you sew a seam you sew with right sides together. This means the pretty sides of the two pieces of fabric will be touching.

You then align one of the sides with your seam allowance guide mark on your machine, and sew along the edge.

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You use the needle plate on your machine as a guide to measure your seam allowance. As a result it is important to know your machine so you can ensure that your needle position aligns with the markings on your needle plate.

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Once your needle is on the correct position and your machine is set to the correct stitch you can follow your guides as you sew to create a nice even seam allowance. It’s helpful to practice using different seam allowances so you feel comfortable using the different guides. That way when those seam allowance sizes appear in a project you are prepared.

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It’s important to always back stitch when you start and stop your seam, unless told to do otherwise. This acts as a knot and prevents the seam from coming undone. Back stitching on a machine is different from the hand sewing back stitch. On a machine it’s when you make a few stitches in the opposite direction to secure your thread in place.

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It’s also a good idea to trim your threads after each seam. This helps prevents tangles and having a lot trim at the end of your project. It also improves the overall appearance of your project.

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In the videos below I have demonstrated sewing a seam on two different machines, on both a Brother Mechanical and a Brother Computerized Machine. The principles are the same for both, but there are slight differences in how you select your stitches and prepare your machine.

SEW A SEAM – BROTHER COMPUTERIZED MACHINE

SEW A SEAM – BROTHER MECHANICAL MACHINE

How to Change a Sewing Machine Needle

When I was younger and had been sewing for just a few years, my sewing machine started acting funny and I thought for sure it was broken. Turns out, that wasn’t the case at all. The problem was I had been using the same needle the whole time I had been using the machine. My goodness, I was lucky it lasted as long as it did!

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Now that I have quite a bit more experience I realize how important your needle is, both the type of needle and its quality and condition.

When to change your needle?

There are many times and situations when changing your needle is a good idea. Here are a few examples.

  • Every 8 – 10 hours of sewing
  • Whenever your needle is bent or damaged
  • Whenever you need a specialty needle or specific size
    • Ball point / Stretch Needles (knits)
    • Denim Needles
    • Quilting Needles
    • Microtex Needles (vinyl)
    • Small Universal Sizes (8 -10) Lightweight fabrics
    • Medium Universal Sizes (11 – 14) Mid-weight fabrics
      • I usually use a size 12 when sewing cottons
    • Large Universal Sizes (16 – 18) Heavyweight fabrics
  • For every new project (or every few projects if they are small and/or lightweight)
  • After sewing heavy duty projects
  • When your machine is sewing with irregular stitches
  • When your machine has tension issues

Once you become familiar with how to change a needle it’s really quick and easy! And since you can usually find needles at very affordable prices it’s best to change your needle rather than use an old one, if you are in doubt.

I like to purchase needles frequently, so I always have them on hand. Here is my favorite place to buy needles for both regular point universal needles and ball point needles.

Video Instruction:

 

 

Learn to Sew: Lesson 3: Machine Stitching Practice

Using a sewing machine for the first time can be exciting, intimidating, and often frustrating.

With this lesson I hope to provide you with tips and instructions that will help you feel comfortable and confident as you begin to use your sewing machine.

Lesson Category:

  • Sewing Machine Basics

Lesson Topics:

  • Basic Machine Functions
    • A Brother Computerized Sewing Machine is used as the example
    • How to control the speed
    • Basic Stitches and Parts
  • Sewing Lines
  • Sewing Corners
  • Sewing Curves
  • Sewing with a Seam Allowance

It may seem strange, but the best way to start using the machine is to practice sewing on paper.

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This allows you to learn how to control your machine without having to deal with the complications that arise when using fabric and thread.

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We’ll learn how to sew corners and curves. We’ll also learn how to use a seam allowance.

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This lesson uses a Brother Computerized Sewing Machine for the example, but the principles can be applied to any machine. If you are using a different type of machine you may want to do some research or consult your manual to find your machine’s default needle position as well as how to use the seam allowance measurement guides so you can accurately read your needle plate.

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Stitching Practice Sheets:

Stitching Lines Practice by learncreatesew

Stitching Corners Practice by learncreatesew

Stitching Curves Practice by learncreatesew

Seam Allowance Practice by learncreatesew

Here is a Seam Allowance Measurement Guide for Brother Computerized Machines:

Brother Computerized Seam Allowance Guide by learncreatesew

Brother Computerized Seam Allowance Guide by learncreatesew.pdf

LESSON:

Water Bottle Holder

The supplies for making a water bottle holder have been sitting in my closet for quite a while, and I was excited to finally use them!

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I was walking through the Dollar Tree and found this super cute water bottle and thought it was just perfect for the water bottle holder that I wanted to make.

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This water bottle has an optional drawstring at the top.ย The pattern is adjustable and can work for water bottles of various sizes. The pattern has templates and measurements calculated for water bottles with diameters from 2.5 – 3.125 inches. You can also adjust the height and the handle length as you like.

So, whether you are using a disposable water bottle or one that is more durable, this pattern can work for you.

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I have been using this water bottle holder for a week now and I have to say that I LOVE IT! I have started carrying it around with me and have found it super handy ๐Ÿ™‚

Supplies:

Exterior Cotton Fabric (1/3 yard should be enough for holders up to 9 inches tall)

Lining Cotton Fabric (1/3 yard should be enough for holders up to 9 inches tall)

Rattail Cord (Optional – Approximately 1/2 yard)

Spring Cord Stopper (Optional)

Here is the free pattern:

Water Bottle Holder Pattern by learncreatesew

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:

Learn to Sew Lesson 2: Rice Bags

The second Learn to Sew lesson continues to focus on hand-sewing. Most of the time when we are hand sewing we are not working with felt or yarn. As a result, it is very helpful to practice your stitch size and placement, as well as working with regular all-purpose thread.

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Recommended prep before this lesson:

Lesson Category:

  • Hand Stitching

Lesson Topics:

  • Careful Cutting
  • Identifying the Right Side of the Fabric
  • Using a Seam Allowance
  • Double Threading a Needle
  • Tying a knot
  • Sewing a Back Stitch
  • Blanket Stitch Applique
  • Stitch Size & Placement
  • Slip Stitch

Whether you have been sewing for a while or are picking up a needle and thread for the first time, rice bags are always a fun project ๐Ÿ™‚

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For this project, you get to add decoration of your choice to really personalize your project! Decorative stitching can add dimension to any project and is a great skill to have even when sewing complex projects. These also make great gifts when you are finished.

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Supplies:

5.5 x 11 inches of Cotton Fabric

Scrap Felt

1 Cup of Rice

Coordinating All-Purpose Thread

Here is the free pattern:

Owl and Sloth Rice Bag Patterns by learncreatesew

LESSON:

Blanket Stitch vs Buttonhole Stitch

Yesterday I was working on a project that I had hoped to have ready for you today. The project involved a lot of blanket stitching, and as I was in the middle of sewing it I realized that without noticing I would randomly switch how I made the stitch.

It got me thinking…what stitch am I actually sewing? This led me to do some research. Come to find out, the blanket stitch is often confused with the buttonhole stitch. I practiced both for quite a while and as I did so I found a stitching method that worked great for me for both stitches, and allowed me to distinguish between the two.

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I realized after doing this that I had actually been using the blanket stitch the whole time, I would just every once in a while switch to making the stitch backwards. This wouldn’t have been a big deal if I always did it that way, but going back and forth isn’t the best method. So, I made a consistent routine that helped me keep my stitches uniform. Since this helped me with my sewing project, I thought it may also be helpful to others, and decided to share it with you today.

The Blanket Stitch

The Blanket Stitch is often used for decorative edging, embroidery, and in felt crafts. You can sew the blanket stitch on the edge of fabric for decoration or to join to layers together.

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It’s a little tricky at the corners, but not too bad once you know the process.

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I most frequently use the blanket stitch for applique. This is when you sew one piece of fabric on top of another, usually for decoration.

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The video will explain how to change your thread if you happen to run out or want a different color.

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To help me remember the correct way to stitch a Blanket Stitch I think of this…

FRONT to BACK…UP and OVER.

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The Buttonhole Stitch

The buttonhole stitch is stronger than the blanket stitch. While the blanket stitch hooks over the next stitch, the buttonhole stitch actually wraps around it.

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This stitch is not as commonly used, but you do see it in embroidery, as well as actually constructing buttonholes. When making the buttonholes, you don’t leave space between the stitches. You stitch them side by side. This creates a really strong edge with all of the “knots” right next to each other.

To remember how to sew the Buttonhole Stitch I think of this…

BACK to FRONT…AROUND and DOWN.

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I hope you find this information as helpful as I did! Happy Sewing!

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:

QUICK OVERVIEW: Blanket Stitch vs. Buttonhole Stitch