Sunday, September 19, 2010

GreenStitch Episode 7 - Pets, Polos, Presents, and Patchwork

It was quite the mish-mash of topics for this episode! Here are a few more illustrations and measurements in case you're interested in making any of these projects for yourself.

Above is little Betty's new cat bed. It will be much cuter with Betty curled up in it! Here are the measurements I used - Betty is on the small side (although the vet says she's three or four years old) so you may want to make yours a little bigger. Leo napped in this one tonight and he could barely squeeze into it -- didn't stop him, though.

For the cushioned tube, I cut a strip of fleece 11 inches by 40 inches and stitched the two long ends together to form a tube. I stuffed it (but didn't jam-pack it) with fiberfill I had on hand. Shredded batting, old pantyhose, or even worn-out socks would do the trick as well. I hand-stitched the ends together to form a circle (OK, not exactly a circle, but a circle-like product). I then serged several other squares of fleece together to form a cushy base (these ended up around 15 inches square) and hand-stitched the tube onto the base. Easy as can be.

It may be a little more fiddly if you use an old fleece jacket or sweatshirt, but I think it'd be a great way to use one - if the garment is stained, I'd just turn it inside out!

Here's the refashioned polo shirt. It's still, well, a polo shirt -- with all the unflattering fit issues that go along with that -- but I was much more comfortable wearing it with a softer look. I just changed out the buttons, then removed the collar with my seam ripper. I cut the collar into strips that I used for the ruffles, leaving the edges raw.

And here's a look at my first attempt at sewing paper gift bags. I used the Martha Stewart lunchbag pattern as the basis for the bag.

To make your own, first determine the dimensions you want for your finished bag. Let's use some algebra:

  • Height of bag = H
  • Width of bag = W
  • Depth of bag (sides) = D

It's up to you how many thicknesses you want to make your bag. My ad circulars were fairly thin, so I used three thicknesses for the long strip (front, back, and bottom of bag) and two thicknesses for the side panels. Regardless, use these dimensions for your components:

  • Front/back/bottom piece: 2(H) + D by W
  • Side panels (cut two): D by H

Follow the assembly process on the Martha Stewart tutorial. Just zig-zag your seams and leave them exposed, rather than doing traditional inside-out seaming.

Tuck raw ends of some sort of handle material (cording, yarn, pieces of an old shoelace, etc.) between the thicknesses of the top edge, and stitch in place.

I'm definitely going to hunt around for an outdated roadmap to make some more.

For the little gift card wallet (I know they tend to come with their own paper folders, but this kind is more fun) I cut a 4 1/4-inch-wide strip of advertising circular, then trimmed that strip to be 5 3/4 inches long. I pulled a scrap of fabric out of my wastebasket and cut some one-inch strips out of it, then pressed them in half (the long way) so I had half-inch-wide strips. I encased each 4 1/4-inch-wide end of the paper with the fabric strip and stitched it into place (just leave the edges raw,) I folded one end up to make the pocket as deep as I wanted it to accommodate the card, then zig-zagged the sides shut. Another fold for the top flap, a tiny bit of stick-on Velcro, and the wallet was done!

Finally, here are a few links that might help you locate some fellow sewing enthusiasts. If your area's not included here, just ask some experts at a local fabric or hobby shop.

As always, thank you so much for listening!


  1. Can't wait to try that ruffle trick! Another super-fun-to-listen-to episode!!

  2. i just started listening to this podcast and had to make a comment about the cat you have at your store. i'm sure you have not thought about my issue, as most people don't. but, you need to think about the customers of your store and how some of them are allergic to cats and animal dander. they will not be able to shop at or buy anything from your store now that you have a cat there. i find it distasteful to buy something at a store and find that it is covered in animal hair because i am very allergic to it. also, some people are afraid of animals, and would have a very bad shock to enter a store and be face to face with a dog or cat or whatever. animals don't belong in stores, in my opinion. (unless it is a guide dog of course)

  3. Sara - thanks for your comment! Actually we thought very thoroughly about the issue before we took Betty in. Rest assured that little Betty is at home in the upstairs (non-retail) portion of our store, away from customers and product. She's not allowed anywhere near the retail floor, and she's perfectly happy in her spacious little "apartment" as we are able to spend a lot of time with her.

    We're looking forward to getting our "home cat" population down to one, at which time we'll bring Betty home. I prefer to not have three cats together under one roof! :-)

  4. Interesting post, I couldn't ignore those insights. It's all about new perspectives and I will do my best to follower it.