Turban Style Costume Hat

My mom needed a hat for a costume for Vacation Bible School. I had a pattern that I had modified to make a Hindu wedding hat for a friend’s son. One of the hats in that pattern set had the definite look of a turban. So I suggested that pattern to my mom. I also said that I would make it for her if she wanted me to. She bought some material and brought it to me to sew. After measuring her head, I was ready to go.

The Pattern

Simplicity pattern 2494

Simplicity pattern 2494

The pattern is Simplicity 2494, Size A. The pattern includes small, medium and large sizes to fit heads with the circumference of 21, 22 or 23 inches. It comes with patterns for six different styles of hats. I used the purple hat shown in the upper left corner on the pattern cover.

Sewing the Hat

Making the crown part of the hat is really easy. Attaching the brim is another matter. I had to repin twice and ended up ripping out my first stitches. Now that I’ve practiced sewing this pattern a couple of times for other people, I think it’s time for me to buy some fleece and make myself a nice winter hat. Since all the patterns are so cute, maybe I’ll have to make more than one.

The hat being modeled by my pressing ham.

The hat being modeled by my pressing ham.

Quick Tip

You know how it’s so hard to fold a pattern and get it back into the package once you’ve opened and unfolded it? Instead of trying to stuff the delicate pattern paper back into the envelope, fold the pattern neatly and store it with the envelope in a gallon zip-top bag. I’m pretty sure I found that tip in Threads magazine. It sure has saved me a lot of frustration and keeps my patterns neat and dust-free.


Crazy About Crazy Quilting


My unembellished crazy quilt square.

My mom and I recently went to a class at The Quilter’s Garden in Fenton, Michigan, to learn how to sew a crazy quilt square. Crazy quilts are traditionally made from scraps of fabric sewn in a random pattern. Embroidery and other embellishments are then used to decorate the fabric. Wow, talk about fun!

What I Like Best About Crazy Quilting

I found several things to like about this method of quilting. First of all, you can use scraps of fabric. You can get your fabric from just about any source. You can use fabric from scrap pieces left over from quilting projects or other sewing you have done, pieces cut from clothing worn to a special event or made for a special person, or from clothes or bedding you have bought at a yard sale or the second-hand shop.

You don’t have to worry about what type the fabric is and if it is washable, because you don’t usually wash a crazy quilt. Silk, satin, lace, corduroy, denim, cotton, wool, synthetic–anything goes. I had gone through my fabric before the class and actually chose colors that wouldn’t clash, but basically you can sit down with your bag of scraps, pull out some pieces of fabric and go to work.

Secondly, you don’t really have to be an experienced quilter to make one of these quilts. (It does help if you know how to embroider, but I’ll get to that later.) All of the seams are straight, so no complicated curves.  You will get a decent product by just slapping down some fabric and sewing it together. You do want to avoid spaces in the design where there are gaps between fabric pieces (referred to as “holes”). I admit, I had to fix a couple of holes on my square. Because the fabric has a random placement and will be embroidered later, the “mistakes” are easy to fix and won’t really show at all. Other than that, there is no wrong way to place your pieces.

Thirdly, the sewing goes quickly. You don’t have to cut any intricate pieces of fabric. You don’t have to worry about getting that perfect seam allowance. You overlap fabric as you sew, so getting your points to line up perfectly doesn’t matter. I finished sewing the fabric pieces onto my 12″ by 12″ muslin foundation piece during the two-hour class. That was with a lot of talking going on and sharing an iron with the other quilters.  Crazy quilting is just a fabulous and fun way to make a quilt.

Crazy Quilt Decoration

Crazy quilts are often heavily embellished with fancy stitches. This is where a little bit of embroidery practice beforehand pays off. However, don’t be discouraged if you haven’t done much embroidery. If you start with a small project like something that would fit into a small frame, you can practice on a piece that is not so large as to be overwhelming. Then make your next project bigger, and the next one even bigger than that to build your confidence.

Sometimes crazy quilts don’t have much embroidery on them, instead using the color and placement of the fabric to set the design of the finished project. You can also use ribbon, buttons and charms on your quilt in addition to the embroidery.

Most of the quilts are used as wall hangings or as decorative fabric for 3-D projects like pincushions, pillows or other stuffed decor items. Some projects are framed just like any other piece of art. Many of the projects are small-scale, so finishing your embellishing isn’t such a daunting task. Although piecing the square together goes quickly, embellishing it can take a while to finish.

Read More

There are several versions of how to assemble a crazy quilt square. The one we learned was developed by Barbara Blankenship, if I remember correctly. She wrote an article called “Piecing a Crazy Quilt Block” about how to use her version of assembling a crazy quilt square. I also found a really good book by Allie Aller called Allie Aller’s Crazy Quilting. The book is a great source to have on your shelf because it gives five methods of putting together a crazy quilt square, ideas on how to embroider and embellish your quilt squares and several projects to get you started.

Another good book to have on hand is one that shows a variety of embroidery stitches. I have a book I picked up at a used book sale. It is called An Encyclopedia of Crazy Quilt Stitches and Motifs by Linda Causee. Any book like this that shows how to make the stitches would be helpful even if it isn’t necessarily geared toward crazy quilting. (Used book sales are great places to find books about embroidery because the stitches don’t change over time as other styles change.)

More to Come

I’ll show you my square when I finish embroidering it. It might take me a while though, since I can embroider about 15 minutes at a time without my hands hurting. Gotta remember to take care of the old body but have fun in the meantime. Right? I also am working on a stitch sampler to practice and preview stitches before I use them to finish my square. More on that later, too.

DIY Tomato Pincushions

Tomato pincushions

This has been a bear of a week. Two doctor appointments, doing too much house cleaning, running too many errands. Needless to say, I’ve also taken quite a few long naps. So, I did a little sewing this week. Sewing is one of those things that make me feel better just because I have thread and fabric in my hands.

About a month ago, I hemmed some curtains for my sister-in-law. While I was working on that project I realized I didn’t own a pincushion. How could that be? I needed to remedy that problem pronto! I remembered seeing a tutorial by Martha Stewart for a tomato pincushion. I perused Pinterest and Google to see if there were other good pattern ideas out there. I found this one {Sew an Old-Fashioned Tomato Pincushion} at petticoatjunctionsmom.blogspot.com. It’s a really good tutorial. She goes through all the steps with pictures to illustrate how she put the pincushion together. I followed her directions for the pincushion on the right. I followed Martha’s directions for an heirloom tomato. That is the pincushion on the left.

Pincusions stuffed and sewn shut (bottoms)

Almost done!

I liked the pincushion I made following Petticoat Junction’s tutorial the best. It gave me the finished product I was looking for. I would definitely use this method again. I used the full 6″ by 12″ piece of fabric to make the pincushion. I would not make the pincushion any larger than that. I think maybe a 4″ by 8″ piece of fabric would also make a good size. I made the heirloom tomato by tracing a 9″ dinner plate onto the fabric and cutting out the circle. I used a couple of handfuls of poly fill for the heirloom tomato and stuffed the other one with about 5 or 6 handfuls.

If I was going to make a pincushion that was attached to a jar or some other container, I would use the heirloom tomato pattern. It’s the perfect size and easy to squash into shape whether you want it flat or more round and tall. I didn’t wrap embroidery floss around the edges of the heirloom tomato pincushion, but I did tack the center to make it sit flatter. That nice domed shape that would make it look good in a can or on a jar lid doesn’t allow it to sit flat on the work surface. What’s the point of having a pincushion if it’s going to roll all over the place? Just a couple stitches fixed that problem. Bottom of heirloom tomato pincushion

While I was making these pincushions, I thought of several more designs I could make. I would like to make one to strap to my wrist when I am pinning patterns to fabric. I also would like to make some that are useful but more decorative. I found a pattern for one in the shape of a dress form. That’s a must have for the sewing nook. I also could make decorative ones in any style by using the heirloom tomato pattern and recycled cat food cans. Or maybe add one to the lid of a mason jar. Hmmm.

You see I don’t have a problem with running out of ideas. Stop by again and you might see those ideas come to life.