Holiday, sewing, tutorial

love mail valentines tutorial

{Just re-posting this tutorial, originally posted on Fat Quarterly’s blog}
It’s a fun little valentine that should be pretty appropriate for a wide variety of ages.  I think this would be an awesome project to start with for a child who’s just learning to sew.  What could be more fun than making your own valentines, right?!


  • vellum
  • white cardstock
  • sewing machine, white thread, old sewing machine needle (used only for sewing on paper)
  • m&m’s (or whatever else you’d want to fill it with)
  • color printer
Print the two downloadable sheets available here and here, they’ll print off 6 to a page.  For the side with ‘love mail’ printed, I chose to use vellum paper.  You certainly wouldn’t have to use vellum (available in packs in the scrapbooking isle at Hobby Lobby or Michaels – don’t forget your coupon), instead just use regular 20# printer paper – you just won’t be able to get that cool translucent look like the vellum does.  A little tip about printing on vellum: you’ll want to give your sheets plenty of time to dry before cutting and sewing them up.  For the to/from side, I simply printed that on white cardstock.
Cut apart the valentines (there are 6 printed to a page).  Have your child address the valentine’s to/from parts.  It’s easier to do this now rather than try to write on them after you sew them together with the candies inside.
Place one front piece and one back piece together.
Sew around edges using a longer stitch length, mine was set to 3.0, but it could be different on your particular machine.  It’ll just take you less time with a long stitch.
When you get to the last side to sew, stop with your needle in the down position and wiggle your finger into the opening of the two papers and insert your m&ms!  (You for sure will want to wash your hands before doing this step or just use latex gloves.)
Once you’ve tucked in about 20 candies, scoot them back away from the opening, squeeze the two papers together with your fingers and finish by sewing the last side shut!  No need to backstitch, just clip your threads and you’re set.
Holiday, Home, sewing, tutorial

vintage hankie pillow cover tutorial

  guest posted on Elsie Marley with this tutorial a few weeks ago…

It’s a sweet and simple project you can create in time for valentines day.  This would even be a great project for a beginner or for a child who’s fairly comfortable using a sewing machine.

I thought of these pillows one day after I saw some of my vintage hankies.  Their colors were perfect for valentines day and I thought they would add a little bit of character to an empty chair or sofa.  My mom had given me a few of the hankies and I had collected a few from local estate sales.  If you’re not sure where to get vintage hankies, I suggest looking at estate sales, etsy, or ebay.  They’re usually in pretty good condition and will be durable enough to add to a pillow  After all, they were originally intended for nose blowing!
Now I’m sure there are some enthusiasts who would never do this to a prized vintage item, but for me I’d rather have them out on display where we can enjoy them more, instead of stashed in a drawer somewhere. 

Let’s get started!

1/2 yard linen or base fabric for making the pillow cover
1 vintage hankie (wash, iron, starch)
1/2 yard heat n bond lite (available at Joanns, even pre-packaged at walmart)
thread, sewing machine, pins, etc.

I’ll give measurements for both a 16″ pillow form, but of course feel free to adjust these as needed for your particular hankie/pillow form.

Cutting the pieces:

top 16″ x 16″

for envelope back:

cut one piece 16″ tall by 14″ wide, and another 16″ tall by 11″ wide
Attaching hankie:
Apply heat n bond lite to the hankie using manufacturers directions.  Fuse hankie to pillow cover top, centering hankie. 
The next step can be potentially tricky, but you’ll need to sew the hankie down to the pillow cover top as close to the hankie’s edge as possible. 
Depending on how your particular hankie is shaped/hemmed, you might have to take it really slow and lift the presser foot and turn as you go.  You could alternately used heat n bond ultra (which requires no sewing to ensure the quality of the bond), however it will make the pillow more stiff, so I’ll just leave that up to you!
Finishing the pillow:
Next you’ll want to hem the edges of the envelope back opening.  Take one piece of envelope back and press the long side over by 1/2″ towards the WRONG side of the fabric and again by another 1/2″. 
Sew close to folded edge.  Do this for both envelope back pieces.
Then place the pillow cover top facing RIGHT side up, on top of that layer the larger back piece RIGHT side down on top, aligning raw edges.  Then place the smaller envelope back piece over that, also RIGHT side down.  Pin.  Sew around entire perimeter using a 1/2″ seam allowance. 
Serge or use a zig zag stitch around edges to finish them off so they don’t fray in the wash, clip corners.  Press.  Insert pillow form and enjoy!