Organizing Fabric

Just thinking about organizing my fabric was daunting. I have fabric everywhere in my craft room. I have tried organizing it before but with limited space, I had few choices so it all ended up in big plastic totes and two dressers. Every time I need something, I have to dig into the totes and everything ends up a chaotic mess. I had to find a better solution.

Years ago, I had a beautiful craft room with shelves and shelves where all my fabric was neatly organized but I moved and had to downsize. I decided to give away 35 boxes of fabric. It was painful but it went to a friend whose husband worked at a school for Native American kids and she taught a lot of them how to sew regalias for pow-wows.

My craft room, or rather my craft storage room, is a small bedroom upstairs. My crafting table and sewing machine are downstairs in the kitchen so I keep fabric in cubbies on the shelves of the table. Cubbies are smaller than plastic tubs but the fabric still gets messed up because I have to dig to find what I want. I needed something that was shallow so I could see it at a glance.

About a year ago, my sweetie bought me a bunch of clear, shallow plastic bins with lids because I had complained how heavy the big tubs were. He just went out and bought them one day. He’s amazing like that. They sat in the craft room until I started using them to carry fabric downstairs for projects. I still hadn’t organized anything though so they were a mess too.

I formed a plan. I mostly have cotton fabric but I do have some flannel and other types. I decided to start with the cotton and flannel for now.

I broke it down by size and color. There would be three sizes.

A yard and over

Under a yard

Small but big enough to use for my bookshelf quilts.

Everything else would be thrown in a scrap bin and probably forgotten because who knows when I will ever really make that scrap quilt I promise myself I’ll make one day.

These bins are light enough to carry up and down the stairs.

I thought the cardboard squares that fat quarters are wrapped around were 5 inches by 5 inches so I started cutting cardboard from the recycling bin and then I went and bought posterboard because who has that much light cardboard? Found a use for those ads that usually get tossed. I think that the fat quarter squares are actually 5 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches though but oh well.

I cut 120 squares and started folding fabric around them but that was not enough. I doubled that and then cut more. I have a lot more fabric than I thought I had.

Chop! Chop! Chop!

I did my best trying to fold the bigger pieces. I didn’t cut cardboard for them. I did okay but not all of them ended up the same width. They look okayish but way better than they were. I ended up with three bins of the big stuff and I know I have more but I need more of the bins. I have one and a half of the smaller ones so far.

5″ x 5″ squares

The smallest ones were folded around 3″ x 5″ posterboard and were a pain in the neck.

Not perfect but better

The above photo has flannel on the side.

It is so nice to see my fabric organized. I’m sure it will make sewing a lot easier. It was a chore to dig through it all. The colors look so nice up against each other.

My Thread Catcher Attempt

I made so many mistakes on this that I hesitated sharing it but I like showing that I’m not perfect and nobody is.  Maybe my mistakes will help someone else somehow.

I should never sew when I’m tired and my back is sore because I just wind up powering through things and I make mistakes which just adds to my frustration.

I don’t usually like writing a dissertation before I get to the “How To” section but I thought some fellow crafters might get and understand some of the craziness that was going on while I was sewing.

My craft table is to the side of our small kitchen where the kitchen table used to be. I often use the kitchen counter to iron small items but I couldn’t do that today because my grandson was learning how to clean out the refrigerator with the help of my significant other, Max. They had food out all over the stove and counter as we all chatted and did our own things.

And then there was the dog who thought he needed to go in and out ten times while we were all busy. The sliding glass door that goes to the back yard is right behind my sewing machine. He is a big dog and will stand at the door scraping at the glass until we let him out or back inside. It’s nerve racking. I finally had to lock him in his kennel so we would stop tripping over him. You should have seen the dirty look he gave me when I locked him up like “How dare you, Cruella!”

In the middle of making the pin cushion, my sewing machine started messing up. I accidentally hit one of the buttons with my finger because they are inconveniently placed (but that’s a whole other rant) so I had to re-thread it a few times, turn it on and off a few times, change the needle and take the needle plate off to see if anything was stuck under it. There wasn’t. After the third time re-threading, it started sewing correctly again.

Let’s get to the thread catcher. I looked up a few patterns and kinda sorta went off those. Next time, I will probably make the bag a little smaller.

Outside fabric


17.5″x 8″ (outside of bag)

5″ x 12″ (pin cushion)

3.5″ x 7″ (strap)

Inside of bag


17.5″ x 11″ (inside)

Optional – 1″ to 1 1/2″ cotton webbing. I used 1″ wide heat and bond. It’s just to help the top of the bag hold its shape.

You could cut your own from fusible interfacing too.

First mistake – I sewed the bag part first which would have been fine if I would have left the seam open to sandwich the strap piece. I’m just going to show you how I did it.

Put right sides together of the inside and outside lengthwise and sew.

I folded it afterwards so the two raw edges met and ironed it to know where the top of the bag was and used that seam to place the heat and bond strip and iron it onto the other side of the fabric.

Iron on strip of stabilizer

Fold this with right sides on the inside and sew around the three edges but leave a space open at the bottom of the lining piece so it can be turned inside out. I turned it right side out just to show you what it looks like but had to turn it wrong side out to complete the next steps.

With it inside out, flatten out the seam at each end so it is centered in order to cut off the corners. This is hard to explain but hopefully, the photos will help.

Take a square quilting ruler and use the diagonal guides to do this and measure an inch and a half from the corner and draw a line.

You can barely see the diagonal guide

I pinned it in place to sew it.

Mark it and pin it.

I feel a nursery rhyme coming on.

Sew on each line and cut the points off.

Note: It’s tricky to do this on the lining or inside piece because of the opening so I pinned it closed to help.

Cut 1/4″ from seam to get rid of points

Turn it right side out and sew the opening closed.

It’s starting to look like a bag.

Fold the strap in half with right sides together and sew, leaving an opening to turn right side out.

I have to add that my machine tries to suck everything down so I am constantly fighting it and trying to keep things straight. It doesn’t always work.

Optional: Top stitch around.

You don’t have to close the seam because it will be hidden.

Take the pin cushion piece and fold it in have to fingers the middle. Then center the strap, putting the open seam at the top, and sandwich it inside. Sew around the sides, leaving an opening to turn inside out.

When I turned it right side out, the Eiffel Tower was upside down so I ripped out the seams and resewed it but put the wrong edge of the strap at the seam. I left it because it wasn’t that noticeable and I really didn’t want to rip it apart again.

Center the strap on one side at the top.

Add rice or stuff with something that has weight to it like sawdust.

Add rice

Sew opening closed.

You can topstitch around but I didn’t because my machine was being a jerk.

Love my crooked lines

I sewed the strap to the back of the bag. The stitches weren’t straight but, at this point, I was exhausted. My hour long project had turned into hours so I just left it.

My Wonky Thread Catcher!

It’s not perfect but it will do the job.

Rounded Yoke Summer Dress

Fun retro dress

A friend gave me this dress and I love everything about it except the color washes me out. It’s retro and fun and super comfy so I thought I would try to find another like it but I couldn’t so I thought I’d sew something similar.

I thought I would just whip up a sleeveless dress with a rounded yoke. How easy! {Insert the sound of screeching brakes and shattering glass}

It was a nightmare to make!

So many things went wrong!


The Good

To tell you the truth, I can’t think of anything positive to say about this experience. I guess it didn’t turn out too horribly but it wasn’t great.

The Bad

The biggest problem was my sewing machine. I have never been more disappointed in a sewing machine as I am with this one. It is a Singer 8060. I feel guilty about even saying this because my boyfriend bought it for me as a surprise and he spent good money on it. I loved it for a few days because it was quiet and sewed straight lines smoothly but after a few day, I started finding out it was cheap and was not any better than the cheapest machines out there. In fact, my old $150 Brother was a better machine.

Three days in, the automatic thread cutter broke. Instead of cutting the thread, it sucked the fabric underneath the sewing plate so I would have to try to dig it out without destroying my fabric. I decided to just not use that feature. I didn’t want to send it back for something so simple.

It stopped being super quiet about five days in. It wasn’t loud. It was just like my other machines.

One of the biggest reasons my boyfriend bought the machine was because it claimed it could sew through thick layers of fabric and was great for quilting but it had troubles even going over seams or hemming cotton fabric. I had never had a machine that had problems going over seams. I have to pull the fabric through whenever it sews over a seam. I thought maybe I could adjust the feed dogs because they seem to be up pretty far but it gives the option of having them up or down. There is no in between.

It’s almost impossible to sew stretch fabric, even with a walking foot and putting paper underneath the fabric. It eats the fabric. I’ve tried everything I can think of but it still eats it, especially at the start of the seam.

I could not find a pattern in my size so I adjusted a pattern I already had.

The Ugly



I first cut out the fabric for the yoke but it kept rolling up on itself so I tried ironing on thin facing. That was a no-go. I forgot to put paper or a teflon sheet on top and mucked up my iron. I tried sewing it but my machine kept eating it.

The fabric was too thin and I could not find anything else so I thought I would crochet a yoke. An hour later I had a yoke but it was way to thick and it stuck up like wings at the shoulders.

Crochet yoke

I bought a blue men’s t-shirt. I bought heavier infusible facing and ironed it on the fabric before I cut it out. It worked but the fabric was no longer stretchy. I was determined to make it work.

Cut out yoke

A lot if times, the dress neckline gets sandwiched into the yoke but this would be nearly impossible to do with stretch knits and my machine so I did not do that.

I made sure I changed my needle to a ball point for stretch knits before I even started the project. The best stitch for stretch knits for me is the lightning bolt stitch. That’s probably not the official name for it. A straight stitch will just pop the stitches if it gets pulled so never use a straight stitch on stretch knits.

Lightning Bolt Stitch

There were four pieces: two fronts and two backs. I sewed the front to the back for both pieces but left one end open.

Keep one end open

Put the top on the bottom with right sides facing and sew the inner edge and the outer edge. Turn right side out.

I pressed it and turned each edge inward.

Turn edge inside

I tried to sew the circle closed but my sewing machine would not sew through the layers so I ended up unfolding the edges and sewing it together so there was an ugly unfinished edge underneath.

I cut out the dress part and sewed the front to the back.

Body of dress

I sewed a strip of fabric along the arm holes and turned it inside and sewed two rows to keep it down. I clipped the edges of the curves carefully.

Armhole facing

I decided to pleat the top of the neckline instead if gathering it. I made one big pleat in the middle and two smaller pleats on each side. I sewed over the pleats before  I sewed it to the underside of the yoke.

I did two small pleats in the back about three inches from each edge.

Pleat the neckline

Sewing the yoke to the neckline was hard because my sewing machine did not like how thick it was but I forced it through.

The hem stretched a bit because the sewing machine kept trying to eat the fabric.

I need a new machine before I attempt stretch knits again.

I love the pattern of this fabric. It didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked but it will work for comfortable days at home.

Boxy to Fitted T-Shirt with gathered neck

I cut out a design with my Cricut and realized the black vinyl was too dark for the navy blue t-shirt I had purchased from Amazon. I love these particular t-shirts because they are lightweight, tailored at the waist and are flowie at the bottom. They are also long enough for me but they cost three times more than other t-shirts. Men’s t-shirts are too boxy for most women but a lot of the time, they are less expensive. Most women’s t-shirts aren’t long enough for me.

I had already cut the design out and didn’t want to wait on an order to arrive in the mail so I grabbed one out of a pack of men’s t-shirts that I already had. I knew I wouldn’t wear it with the neckline the way it was or with how boxy it was. Nothing makes a a woman look heavier than a high neckline and boxy shirt.

Wrinkled men’s tee

First, I ironed it.

That neckline had to go! I cut it off and then decided to cut an inch more off.

Cut the neck band off

I also cut the hem off of the sleeves to make it more flowie. I don’t know if I am spelling that right but I like the word “flowie”. The good thing about t-shirt fabric is that you can cut it and it won’t fray. T-shirts can have raw edges because they’re casual and that is the style.

Off with the hem!

The sides needed to be taken in to fit my curves. I drew a curved line that started at the armpit, folded it in half and cut it. I pinned it up the sides and sewed it closed.

Cut a curve

The shoulder seams hung off my shoulders so I needed a quick fix. I cut two 3″ long pieces of 1/4″ elastic and tried to pin it on the inside of the top shoulder seam from the neckline to the shoulders but ended up just holding it while stretching it and sewing over it because pinning it wasn’t working. I started about an inch away from the neckline.

Stretch the elastic while sewing

Next, I sewed two rows of loose stitches around the neckline. I did not back stitch. I pulled the two top threads and gathered all around the neck. Then I zigzagged all around the neck to hold the gathers in place.

Two rows of loose stitches
Ruffled neckline

It seems like a lot of work but it didn’t take long at all.

I pressed the image on to the shirt after I weeded it. Weeding it took forever but it was so worth it! I bought the image from if you want one like it. I added the Warrior Goddess to each side.

Finished shirt before image was added

Now, I gave a much more feminine looking t-shirt that is both casual and pretty.

Bra Fix for Better Side Coverage

Criss cross bra

I love these bras but, like a lot of bras, they do not sufficiently cover my side boob. Yes, I said boob because that is what I call the extra that escapes under my armpit. When I was young, I didn’t have this but as I aged, my little…er not so little…birdies drifted. I have found very few bras that address this issue. Even bras that are made for plus-sized women aka curvy women do not amply cover this area.

Side View

I ordered these bras and loved the way they fit everywhere but under the arm pit. Nothing looks worse that putting a shirt on and having and overflow over the side of the bra. It is noticeable. I notice it so I imagine other people do too. I thought there must be someone who has invented something to fix this or maybe a pattern online that I could download and sew onto my bras but I could not find anything so I started cutting out crescent shapes and looking in the mirror until I made the right shape. It was harder than I originally thought it would be.

Crescent shape

It is sloppy. I know but it worked for me. I had some white lycra and cut out four pieces.

Unfortunately, I didnt take photos of my process but plan to do this to a few more bras in the future so I will add photos when I get to those.

The first thing I did, after I swtiched my needle on my machine, was sew the upper part of the shape. I put two pieces together. There is no right or wrong side to the white lycra I used. I sewed it together. My feed dogs on my sewing machine are hungry beasts so any kind of stretch fabric gets eaten and shredded by them. I have tried using a walking foot but it still gets caught up in the feed dogs so I put paper underneath the fabric as I sew and just rip it away afterwards. Sometimes, this messes with my stitches but it worked for this.

I turned the sewn piece right side out and sewed the other edge closed. The raw edges looked ugly but who is going to inspect the inside of your bra? I really should have done a zigzag stitch to make it look better but I am lazy sometimes when it comes to things I do for myself. If this was for someone else, I would have made it look prettier.

I pinned it to the inside of the arm hole and sewed along the seam underneath the lace.

Sew onto bra

It looks weird on my dress form but fits me perfectly.

My Mother’s Day Outfit

I love skirts and dresses, especially in the Spring and Summer. Tiered skirts are easy and fun to make. You can mix and match just about any pattern and it will work. It doesn’t even have to match and it will still look cute.

I thought my Converse would look adorable with a tiered skirt and I wanted to just buy one but I’m a plus-sized gal so certain clothes are often hard to find or spendy so I just bought the fabric and made it.

I found the image on Etsy and bought it. I cut it on my Cricut, weeded it and pressed it on the shirt this morning (Mother’s Day). I know. I’m a procrastinator!

Making the skirt was easy. The formula for making a three tiered skirt is to measure your waist to your ankle or wherever you want the length. Mine is 32″. Add 2″ for the elastic casing, 1″ for seam allowances and 1″ for the hem so it’s 36″ in all. Divide that into 3 for the width of each panel. Each panel should be 12″ but since I wanted Eyelet lace on the bottom of mine, I had to do it differently. The eyelet lace was 6″ wide and SPENDY.

The length of each panel:

1st Tier – 1.5 x waist measurement

2nd Tier – 2 x waist measurement

3rd Tier 2.7 x waist length

The eyelet panel was already gathered so I had to cut that the same length as the 2nd panel. Thank the eyelet making fairies for that because, like I mentioned, it was expensive.

Sew each panel into a loop by folding it right sides together and sewing the ends together.

Gather the tops of the 2nd tier and third tier. I do this by using the longest stitch length and sewing around it twice. I don’t lock the first stitches. I then pull the top or bottom threads and start gathering until it is the length I need. Make sure the gsthers are evenly spread around.

Sew loop
Sew two loose seams

Pin the 2nd tier to the top tier right sides together and sew. Do the same for the third tier.

Sew 2nd tier to top tier

Make the casing for the elastic on top and pull your elastic inside. I use 1″ wide pajama elastic because it never rolls and it is super stretchy and comfortable. I cut it 2″ shorter than my waist measurement. I sew the ends together and then close the rest of the casing.

Hem the bottom and it’s done.

Eyelet lace

I definitely have to wear a lip because it’s super see-through but I liked how it turned out.

Whole Enchilada!

Homage to My Favorite Authors

I did this quilt to pay homage to some of my favorite authors and series. It was something I did for the pure enjoyment of doing. I usually make things for other people or something that serves a practical purpose if it is for myself.

If you have read any of my blogs, you probably noticed I try to get to the point or to the “how to” part  without making you read a ton of unimportant blither first. This one will be different because the process is important to me.

I read A LOT. It is my escape and helps my anxiety because it takes me to another world and lets me forget about my worries. My preferred genre is Fantasy, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance and Science Fiction. I read biographies and other genres but those are few a far between. My love for books was the inspiration for this quilt.

This was a HUGE project!

I think I used every design principle that was known to me. I went to school for design. First, I went for a little over a year for Interior Design and then switched to Graphic Design for another year but never finished due to my severe anxiety. I learned a lot though and use what I learned in my art and my crafting.

The most important part of the design to me was to stay as true to the author’s book design as possible. I changed things up depending on my supply of fabric and vinyl.

Color played a big part in this design. I chose my fabric carefully.  I have a ton of fabric. Most of it is under a quarter yard, so basically scraps. I dug through it and tried to match it the best I could to the author’s cover. I also had to be mindful of the colors that would be next to it, both the words and the fabric. I admit that I had to by a little fabric. I had to buy black fabric with designs in order to make the bases for the 1001 Dark Nights books and zip grabbed some more blues and yellows.

Fonts were important. I found similar fonts to what each author used and messed with them until they looked right by stretching and condensing them. I even mixed several different fonts together to match the author’s font. I did okay for the most part.

Balance and unity was a must. I must have looked at hundreds of bookshelf quilts and they all had books of every height and width next to each other. It looks great but, in real life, my bookshelf was neat and all my books from a certain author were one height. I know! I know! I’m picky. It drives me insane to see messy bookshelves. Paperbacks are usually one size for novels, smaller for novellas and a little larger for special books of the series. I owned very few hardbacks because I couldn’t afford them. I think my leather bound copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare was my favorite. I say “was” because I had to get rid of almost all of my books when I moved to a smaller house. I still have signed books, my Shakespeare and a few others. I really miss physical books but I have my e-reader. Wow! I really went off subject there. My point was that a lot of the books are the same size so it is a lot different from other bookshelf quilts in that regard.

Upcycled Box with Partition

Who else saves boxes with the intention of doing something really great with it?

My spice bottles came in this and I immediately knew I wanted it to organize all my reading glasses.

Cardboard box

It sat on my dresser for months. I finally decided to stop a huge project that I have been working on and work on this box because my blog was getting lonely.

I grabbed my duct tape and began.

Just some of my duct tape

I cut off the box flaps and then started taping.


The inside was a booger to do. Some of it ended up wrinkled.

I folded over the edge on the top.

Top Edge
Fold over top

I taped the insert thingy mcgoobers with white tape and cut the slits in it afterward.


It turned out okay. It had some wrinkles but I’m happy with it.

Finished box

Easy Sew Grocery Bag

Large Reusable Grocery Bag

My niece asked if I could sew her some reusable grocery bags. She didn’t like the ones you buy at the grocery store. I don’t blame her. They are thin and the handles constantly rip off. I decided to try making some that would hold up way better than store bought cheapies.

I found some checkered canvas on sale for $7.99 a yard so I grabbed it.

One bag takes quite a bit of fabric.

2 outer pieces at 20″ x 21″

2 inner pieces at 20″ x 21″

2 pieces the handles at 5″ x 22″

The 21″ is the height.

Optional – 7″ x 13″ iron-on stabilizer for the bottom.

I used a light canvas for the outside and handles and a quilter’s cotton for the inside. 

First, I washed and dried the fabric. Wouldn’t it be nice if fabric was already washed and dried before we purchased it? I swear I lose a few inches of fabric to shrinkage after washing it and then I have to iron it.

Cut the fabric.

Put the right sides together of the outer fabric and sew either a quarter inch or half inch seam along the bottom. I did a quarter inch but I think a half inch might have been easier because the next step is to iron the seam open.

Iron the seam open.

Iron seam open

Optional – Place the stabilizer, with the rough side down, centered onto the bottom so the seam is in the center and iron it on. I could not get it to stick all the way down no matter how much I tried with my iron so I ended up sewing it down on the sides. I was so annoyed by this that I forgot to take a photo.

Sew the sides closed.

The next part is tricky.  Fold the corners of the bottom on each side into triangles. They will measure about 3 ish inches.

Draw a line across and pin. If you used a stabilizer, the line is the outer edge of the stabilizer.

Sew over the line.

Stabilizer and corners

Cut the triangles off about a half inch from the seam.

Put the right sides together of the inner fabric and sew the sides and bottom.

The liner does not use a stabilizer so you will gave to measure the corners to match what you did on the bottom of the outer fabric. Mark it, pin it and sew it. Then cut the corners off.

Cut corner off

Fold under the top of both the liner and outer bag an inch and iron.

Make the handles

Iron the fabric for the handles lengthwise in half.

Unfold it and iron each side towards the middle and then fold it all in half.

Fabric for handles
Fold in half
Fold sides to middle fold

Sew down each side of each handle as close to the edge as possible.

Sew down each side

Measure 6″ in from each side of the inner bag and mark it. Pin the straps on the insides of the marks. Do this on the inside where the top is ironed under.

Pin on handles

Sew a square with an X on each side. It’s hard to see in the picture.

Square with X

Do the same with the other strap in the other side.

With wrong sides facing, put the inner bag inside the other. Pin around the top, matching seams.

Sew close to the edge all the way around. I sewed 1/8 inch and then did a zigzag stitch.

I think it turned out pretty well.

Finished bag
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