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English Cottage Christmas Stockings: Christmas in July

Thursday, 06 July 2017 1:00

Did you ever wonder where "Christmas In July" came from? It turns out this summer celebration of Yuletide has been around for years. In the early 1940s, relief groups planning to send presents to soldiers or missionaries overseas, would gather everything together in July in order to have it ready to ship it off in time to arrive before Christmas. Then, in 1942, director Preston Sturges released a comedy titled "Christmas In July” and the popular film did much to make the term fashionable. In the 1950s, retailers started having Christmas In July sales as a way to lure in shoppers during the long stretch between Father's Day and Back-To-School. Although not as common any longer for general retail, in the sewing world, Christmas In July promotions continue to be successful because they actually make sense. If you're sewing Christmas gifts, you really should be getting your patterns and fabric ready in the summer. Otherwise, at the big family gift-opening, you face the humbling experience of giving half finished projects and then quickly taking them back with promises to return them by Valentine's Day... or thereabouts. In honor of Christmas in July 2017, we have the quintessential holiday project: stockings to hang by the chimney with care.

Cord Wraps in Two Sizes

Wednesday, 05 July 2017 1:00

Although it may seem as if our varied electronic devices operate by magic, we know sooner or later they require a cord to sync, transfer or re-charge. All those little cords can become a tangled mess, making it hard to find what you need when you need it. Keep your cords tidy with these quick and easy wraps. We offer two sizes: one small version for things like tiny ear buds, another for larger items, like power cords. They take just teensy scraps of fabric. We worked with pre-cuts, using a charm square for the small size and a layer cake square for the large size. Great for travel!

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Floral Half Apron with Slash Pockets

Monday, 03 July 2017 1:00

It may be a half apron, but it’s full of pretty details. For yourself or as a delightfully easy gift, this pretty apron mixes a very lightweight solid cotton with a bold quilting cotton print. The gorgeous fabric we chose is from Jennifer Paganelli’s Color Brigade collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Its swirling floral motif and sunny color palette does the heavy-lifting to create eye-catching accents. And the solid sheer cotton helps keep the gathered skirt and wide waist ties soft and flowing.

Fast Fridays: Button Loop Overlap Pillows

Friday, 30 June 2017 1:00

What’s faster than a pillow. Well… cheetahs, Italian sports cars, and the time it takes for your kids to age from 2 to 20 to name a few. So, let’s be more specific. When it comes to sewing projects, what’s faster and easier than a pillow? Nothing! This pillow design is certainly quick and easy, but the classic styling makes it look like it stepped right out of a high-end home décor store. We took a traditional envelope closure and brought it around to the front. Add a beautiful button, and you have instant elegance. 

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Toddler Booster Seat in 2 Sizes and with a Carry Handle

Thursday, 29 June 2017 1:00

Booster chairs are becoming more familiar in restaurants, but are still not commonplace. And if you and your kids like to visit friends and family who don't have children at home, you're unlikely to have many options other than the classic phone book to boost your child to table height. But wait a minute... who still has a big phone book?!! It's time to make your own portable booster seat in cute, wipe-clean laminated cotton with a sturdy yet lightweight Project Foam core, a resilient, affordable home décor foam option from Fairfield. 

Burrito Style Pillowcase

Wednesday, 28 June 2017 1:00

Pillowcases are fast and fun, and they make a great beginner project. We have lots of easy options in the Sew4Home Project Index, several of which we've linked to below, but we've also gotten a number of requests to demonstrate a construction technique known as "burrito style." It creates nicely finished seams inside and out with an easy roll-and-turn method. This project is another great topic we pulled from our You Asked 4 It list. We always welcome your emails with future suggestions. 

Patchwork Triangle Pillow with Octopus Appliqué + Starfish Pillow: TokyoMilk presents Neptune and the Mermaid by Margot Elena for Coats

Thursday, 22 June 2017 1:00

Sometimes, a very special fabric collection sometimes deserves very special shapes! We’ve created a pair of dimensional pillows in Neptune and the Mermaid. One is a brand new triangle pillow with pretty patchwork on one side and a custom octopus appliqué on the other side. Its pillow pal, completing the ocean theme, is our classic Starfish pillow. Make one or make them both. The brilliant colors and interesting shapes would be perfect as beach cabin décor or as toss pillows in a sunroom or covered patio. 

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Beach Duffle Backpack: TokyoMilk presents Neptune and the Mermaid by Margot Elena for Coats

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 1:00

It’s a duffle and a backpack in one! The drawcord top looks great and makes it fast and easy to load and unload the bag’s contents. Then, slip it on as a backpack for hands-free strolling to the beach (or river or park or....) and back again. We love all the clever fussy cutting we were able to do with our three Neptune and the Mermaid fabrics. Front and center is the vintage diver plunging into the ocean waves of the pocket panel. A bit more hidden, but nonetheless clever, are lining panels with their hints of a sly octopus. Margot Elena’s collection is so boldly brilliant and filled with such cunning motifs, you can tell your own little story within each and even project. In our seaside tale, Larry the lifeguard and his team of daring diving companions are racing to rescue sweet Sally who’s spilled her seashells by the seashore. 

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Elegant Fantail Kimono & Matching Obi Belt: TokyoMilk presents Neptune and the Mermaid by Margot Elena for Coats

Monday, 19 June 2017 1:00

Welcome to our wonderfully, watery world of mermaids, octopi, vintage bathing beauties, fantail goldfish, and more! We are celebrating a week of Neptune and the Mermaid by Margot Elena for Coats. Margot is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Margot Elena Companies & Collections. She is the design and marketing mind behind several cult-classic, niche beauty brands, including TokyoMilk. To her long list of accomplishments, she now adds: Fabric Designer. We were thrilled when Coats approached us about doing a series with this dynamic new collection. It starts today with our Elegant Fantail Kimono and Matching Obi Belt, incorporating three of the beautiful designs: Lost Atlantis, Age of Aquarius, and Anthemoessa. Just the names conjure up an enchanted ocean adventure. 

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Shirring: Learn It, Then Make a Top or a Dress – All in a Single Afternoon

Friday, 16 June 2017 1:00

It’s shirr magic! Elastic shirring creates a wonderful stretchy texture and is the perfect warm weather technique. It occupies the space between the simplicity of gathering and the intricacy of hand-smocking. We’ve gathered together links to our full step-by-step tutorial plus three shirring projects: a flirty little top plus a full length sundress for both big and little girls. We think you’ll find it fun to learn and easy to do. 

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