Category Archives: Embroidery

Craft Trends – Cross Stitch

By Craft Trends Contributor, Gillian from the blog Dried Figs and Wooden Spools. Check out our Craft Trends board on Pinterest!

I think my very first exposure to crafting, of any kind, was watching my mother cross stitch. It was an evening ritual that began with the winding of the thread onto cards and ended with samplers and pillows and embroidery galore. And I have to admit that when I had my chance to pick up a needle and thread and give it a go I found it…boring. Not the sewing, but the results. I didn’t like the style of the patterns available, so I just avoided cross stitch. For a long, long time. But lately, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, cross stitch is cool again. Cross stitch patterns themselves have come a long way, with a wide range of stylish, modern and funky styles available, not to mention the growing trend to create your own patterns.

And cross stitch sewing isn’t the only thing that’s in, cross stitch style, from painted and printed to oversized yarn stitching crops up in all manner of design situations. I love these wall sized cross stitch art pieces, so simple but so fun!

Cross-stitch as Wall Art

Equally cool is this idea of labels for your pantry staples using cross stitch fonts. Think how fun this style would look on your craft room bins!

Cross-stitch Canisters

Whether you want to take advantage of cross stitch style, or you’re interested in jumping into the craft itself, check out our archives and kits to help get yourself started. And don’t forget to hop over to our Craft Trends Pinterest Board for more inspiration!

No Sew Lace Pillow

By Craft Celebrity Mark Montano, from the blog Mark Montano’s Big Ass Blog.

I’m always looking for a good way to cover up a stain on a pillow. I finally found one. OK, I’m only half kidding! I just like gluing fabrics together because the bond is just amazing! Hot glue is an amazing fabric bond and did you know that E-6000 is washable? Either glue will work wonders on this project.

Any lace will do for a project like this and if you’re really adventurous, try doing it all over an old ottoman that needs some sprucing up. I think you might really like the results.



1. Cut your lace apart to separate the flowers and leaves.

2. If there is a rough edge or an edge that you think my fray, use Fray Check on it.

3. Carefully remove the stuffing from your pillow (or if you’re making a pillow, do this before you start stuffing it).

4. Lay your pillow flat and start arranging how you want your lace flowers.

5. Pin your lace pieces in place

6. Start gluing them with the hot glue until you’re satisfied.

7. Stuff your pillow and sew the hole closed and you’re done!

For this project and 100 more check out:


Also, for 150 terrific projects using items you probably already have, check out


4 Days to Decorate Your Thanksgiving Table – Table Runner

By Sewing Contributor Jessica, from the blog Life Sew Good. 

Day 3:  The Table Runner or Banner

You have table cloths, so why not just use what you already have and make it more special with a handmade runner? You don’t need a sewing machine for this one; all sewing is done by hand.

You Need:

If you want, google “leaf templates” and you will have plenty of options to print for this project. You will need a bigger leaf and then littler football-shaped leaves. I used a Wilton leaf cookie cutter for my template.

Cut leaves out of felt. I used 10 “big” leaves and 6 “little” leaves. However, you can make as many as you want to make it longer, shorter, or fuller.

If desired, you can hand embroider words that represent what you are thankful for (i.e., family, friends, faith). If may be easiest to use a pencil to draw the word you want, then hand stitch over the top.

Lay out leaves in the order you like and pin together.

Using a running stitch, sew leaves together. It’s helpful to occasionally lay it out to make sure it’s straight!

If you want to make it a banner instead of a table runner, stitch a piece of hemp cord onto the ends and hang.

Project 3: Complete!

1 Tee + 1 Tote Equals Fun

By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog “Coffee Pot People”.

This is a very easy redo for a tote bag. All you’ll need for it is a t-shirt with a front or back you like, and a tote bag you’d like to dress up a bit. Your t-shirt front needs to be a little larger than the front of the tote.

First, flatten your tote bag so you can either draw around it to make a pattern, or cut around it, if you’re not worried about snipping an edge.

Now, lay your t-shirt out nice and flat. Put the pattern or tote on top of the tee, and cut, leaving ¼” to ½” extra all the way around to turn under. Turn under the edges to make the tee piece exactly the same size as your tote.

Most tote side edges are top-stitched or bound in seam binding. This makes them kind of separate from the body of the tote itself, which is why this is such an easy refurb. Starting at one upper corner of your tote bag, pin the tee piece right to that edge, and do a tight, close zigzag stitch all the way around.

That’s all there is to it–easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

(Note: My tee shirt front, as you may have noticed, was actually a bit short, so I let the hemmed lower edge be the upper edge, and blind stitched it across the top, rather than zigzagging. If you’re going to do that, make sure the shirt’’s design looks okay upside down!)

Embroidery Floss Storage

By Kid’s Craft Contributor, Gillian from the blog “Dried Figs and Wooden Spools”.

I’m not an embroiderer. Sure I pick up the odd assortment of embroidery floss now and again to add some pizzazz to knee patches or little boy ties, but on the whole, I don’t get around to a whole lot of embroidery. Which means that I don’t have a very good way of storing the thread. Instead, I tend to toss the leftovers from projects in with my ribbon and by the time I need it again, it’s such an unholy mess that I usually have to toss it out and buy more. My kids are seriously into friendship bracelets this summer and that means that, once again, I’ve had to go out and stock up on embroidery thread, but this time, I’m prepared for the onslaught of little colorful bundles of string. I’ve got clothespins. This method of storing embroidery thread is so simple and useful, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. Open the clothespin and then close it with the end of the thread on the inner part of the top, near (but not in) the smallest holes.

2. Start winding. Wrap the entire length of thread around the clothespin, keeping the thread between the spring and the large hole.

3. When you have reached the end, tug it through the end of the clothespin toward the larger hole. You can open the pin slightly iff necessary but you should be able to pull the string into place without opening the pin in most cases. The pin will hold the end in place until needed. When you want a section of thread simple pull it out from the end of the pin and unwind the length you need before refastening the new end!

Adding an Appliqué to Clothing

By Sewing Contributor Jessica, from the blog “Life Sew Good”. 

Making your own appliqué is not hard, but it does take some practice to make it look good.  To make your own appliqué, all you need is Heat & Bond, fabric of your choice and something that needs embellishing!

Here’s what you need:

  • Heat & Bond—make sure it’s the kind you can sew on
  • Fabric that you want to use as part of your appliqué  **Make sure you pre-wash it!!
  • Scissors, Iron, sewing machine
  • Clothing, towel, bag or anything you want to appliqué on!

1. Cut out a piece of fabric you want to use for your appliqué.  I found this bird & love it! Notice I decided to keep the fabric between the legs.  I decided that they are small enough that they would get when I sewed between them; thus, easier and better looking in the end if I left it.

2. Using your Heat & Bond’s instructions, apply your piece to your project.

3. Here’s the harder part that sometimes takes some practice. You need to choose a stitch to sew around the edges of your appliqué. You have some options. If your machine is pretty basic with few stitches, go for a zig-zag. If you have lots of options, you may want to play with what you think looks best. I chose to use #11 on my machine. After using different stitches, it was my favorite.

4. Starting in a less-conspicuous spot of your design, sew around the entire outer edge, making sure your stitches are always catching your appliqué.

Here’s another example of an appliqué a friend did on a towel:

A Few of my Favorite Things

By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog “Coffee Pot People”.

Several years ago, I inherited a small treasure-trove of craft items, including two little plastic doo-hickies that purported to be needle threaders. I looked at the odd little gizmo and thought, What in the world? How could that possibly thread a needle?

But I decided to actually read the directions, and give it a shot.

Let me explain first that my eyes aren’t the greatest. My usual method of threading a needle is to hold it up and look for the eye. Sometimes I can see it, so I do the threading like anyone else would. Other times, it just looks like a bit of featureless wire, but I know there’s an eye there somewhere, so I just start poking the thread at the place where the eye should be. If I think the thread has made it through, I try moving it from side to side, and if it won’t jiggle sideways, I know the needle is threaded. It’s a bit trying, this non-visual trial and error. Finding a “machine” that would take actually being able to see well out of the equation would be a Very Good Thing.

So here’s the gizmo:

Am I the only one who’s never seen one of these before?

Lay the thread across the V.

Drop the needle in the chimney.

You don’t have to worry about which direction the needle’s eye is facing. The threader turns it, if necessary.

Press down on the little paddle.

If you look closely, you can see thread and a fine wire poking out now, above the paddle. The thread I used was rather thick, so the wire shredded it just a bit where it pushed it through, but I just cut that part off later.

Pull the thread through.

Release the paddle, and grab the thread, pulling it through until the free end comes through the hole in the gizmo.

Lift the threaded needle out.

The “chimney” of the needle threader is slotted at the back, so when you lift the needle out, the thread comes with it, and you’re holding a threaded needle in your hand.

Is that the coolest thing, or what? It is, hands down and eyes closed, my new favorite tool.

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about favorite tools this month, trying to choose, if I had to, which tool tops the rest. I’m enthralled right now with paper punches… My spot welder is a true treasure…The laminator is useful in so many ways….

Then it hit me: The one tool that is absolutely essential, completely ubiquitous (sorry—it’s just such a fun word!), and so basic to our lives that it’s virtually invisible is…


Scissors rule. Scissors for paper, for fabric, for tin, for food, for hair, and nails. Scissors for clipping the stems of flowers, or shaping hedges. Scissors with straight-edged blades, or pinked, or fancifully shaped. More types of scissors than you can shake a project at.

I gave six pair with fancy edges to my granddaughters. I keep a folding pair in my purse. There are scissors in every room of my house except the living room. A quick walk through my daughter’s home showed me three pairs, without even opening a drawer. My husband is remarkably unhappy if he cannot readily find a pair. Our children get their own when they’re kindergartners, or younger, and use them throughout their lives.

I wouldn’t recommend hugging them, but have you treasured your scissors today? I do believe they are part of the very fabric of the Universe. Where would we be without them?

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