Category: Tutorials


School Letter Banners

Ack!  Busy, busy, busy — sewing and stuff, and updating the blog with that stuff hasn’t made it to the top fo the mental to-do list.

I mentioned a day or so ago a project I was working on for a customer, and I’m finally done and have pictures:


Apparently, kids (around here) these days don’t wear letter jackets, and so their Varsity Letters have nowhere to hang out.  (I’m shocked.  On Smallville the athletes all wore their letter jackets, so I assumed that Kids These Days still did that.  That’ll teach me to get my learnin’ from the box with the moving pictures…)


My customer had me make two of these.  Oon eof the boys just has the Sports Letter, the other also has music insignia.

Twenty years ago, when my husband went to school here, they got a separate Jazz Band insignia, so when I make one of these for him, I’ll have to make it bigger.  (He didn’t get a letter jacket, either.  Apparently the North Tama jackets are wool with leather sleeves and he told his Mom not to bother, since he didn’t want to mess with having to take care of a leather jacket.  Practical, even at an early age.  Me?  I would haven’t asked for the jacket and then cursed about the sleeves the whole time.  *My* school jacket was all wool.  Haven’t the slightest clue where it ended up…)

As it is, these banners are big enough that they can pin on whatever other medals they receive, or add on their numbers for their graduation year.

They were pretty simple to make.  I drew the triangle out first on the white muslin (our school colors are Red and White).  The top end of the triangle is approximately 16 inches.  The length is 24 inches, as measured from the center of the top to the bottom point.

The quilting was done in a 1inch grid.  I drew the entire grid out on the muslin with a wash-out marker before tsitching, in order to make sure it was as accurate as possible.  I did the stitching on my longarm quilting machine, but this could be pretty easily done on a sewing machine with a walking foot.

I chose to do a double-fold binding.  The mitered corners were…interesting, but they seemed to turn out pretty well.

I did add a small hanging sleeve to the backs of these, though I’m not sure how my customer is planning on hanging them.  I think they could use some additional embellishment (i.e a tassel hanging off the bottom), but these were for boys and she wanted plain (and I don’t blame her…).

All the materials were out of my stash — if you were to purchase new for this project, you’d need 1 yard for the banner, plus 1/4 yard for the binding.

I think that’s all for tonight — double nine patch tutorial tomorrow — I promise!

Happy Holidays!



Wool Felt Checkbook Cover Tutorial

This weekend is the Gals and Pals Event in Traer — it’s a ladies day out — complete with shopping, food, make and take projects, and lots of fun!

The theme this year is Handbag Holiday — and all of the stops during the day are handbag related.  Here at Knots & Bolts, we’ll be making checkbook covers out of wool felt.

I was cutting rectangles of wool felt, and thought I’d take a couple of pictures and post a really quick tutorial on how I made them — they are super-simple!

To start:  cut a rectangle of wool felt.  I’m cutting mine 7.25 inches by 12.75 inches.  I measured my checkbook cover and added a little bit ease and seam allowance.  It would be easy to adjust yours to fit if your checkbook is smaller or larger!

I’m using my new Bohin Mechanical Pencil to mark some guidelines.   The pencil has an eraser, but I’ve found that the marks just brush away with a little bit of rubbing with a fingernail.

The guidelines are marked 2.5 inches in from each short end and in the center.

The guides are to show you were to fold to make the pockets and also to define the space that you are going to decorate!

Next, gather up your supplies for decoration.  This weekend, I’m offering the participants several options:

I’ve got supplies for simple wool felt appliques, embroidery floss, buttons, beads and wool roving for needle felting.

This is the fun part!  Have a good time and be creative adding whatever decoration you can think of!

I’ve only decorated the front of my checkbook cover, but you can do front and back as you choose.  Just remember to stay within the guidelines that you defined in the first step.

Here are some examples:

You’ll notice an abundance of my favorite color (red!) in these examples…that’s why that last one is some brights to give some other ideas!!

When you are decorating, it’s time to fold the pockets to the inside (wrong sides together) and pin them in place.

Take them to your sewing machine and sew a quarter inch seam on each side of the checkbook cover, remember to backstitch and lock the stitches and the beginning and end of the seams.

Because this made of wool felt, the seam allowances are on the outside, the felt is not going to fray

And that’s all there is to these checkbook covers!!  If you have any questions or need clarifications on any of my pictures, please send me an e-mail — as I said before, this is a very quick tutorial, put together in just a few minutes.

Happy Sewing!!