Finishing Ideas for Handcrafts

Bah, Humbug!

October 13, 2009

Not really.  I love humbugs, those sweet stuffed smalls.  They remind me of biscornus – you can use them as an ornament, a pin cushion, a scissors fob or what ever your little heart desires.  They can be tiny, or as big as you want to make one!

Construction is really simple.

A Little Humbug Tutorial

A Little Humbug Tutorial

And now that you’ve learned how to make a Humbug, how about some sample charts?

First, a little geometric, kind of Quaker-y influenced:

Humbug Geometric 1Can’t you see those red stitches replaced by red beads?

Or how about a traditional style pattern?

Humbug Birds and Hearts 1And because, after all, it is me – a Butterfly chart:

Humbug Butterflys 1These all will finish at approximately 3 X 3 inches on 14 count or 28 count, stitched over 2.  All pics are clickable to see a larger view.  Then use your browsers back button to return to this page.

As always, I’d love to hear from you.  And if you stitch one of my charts, won’t you please send me a picture?


Posted in freebie, smalls

Floss Wallet

September 20, 2009

I’ve been working on this idea for a while.  I love the little zip-loc bags to keep my floss in, and I normally use a ring to keep all the little baggies for a project together.  But what’s the use of being a cross-stitcher if you can’t make a little useful item, right?

TIP: When combining cross stitch and fabric – pick your fabric first – then choose your floss.  It’s much easier to find the right floss colors to use with a fabric – not so easy to find fabric to match an existing cross stitched project.

The chart I used for this project is Petit Abécédaire aux Fleurs.

1. Cut two pieces of fabric 7 x 11 inches for the inside and outside of the Floss Wallet.  9-2009 192
2. Cut one piece of fabric 7 x 6 inches (for frame lining).
3. Cut two pieces of fabric 4 x 7 inches for two pockets.  Fold under a ½ inch hem on each pocket, apply lace trim to the right side, if desired. 9-2009 193
4. Top stitch the lace in place, catching the hem as you go. 9-2009 194
5. Pin the pockets to either end of the lining (inside) fabric, right sides up.  If you want to make a divided pocket, fold the lining in half lengthwise and mark the center. 9-2009 195
6. Top stitch the center line (the pencil is pointing to the top stitching). 9-2009 196
7.  Find the center of the 7 x 6 inch piece of fabric and mark it on the wrong side.  9-2009 197
8. Measure the cross stitched piece to determine the size opening you need. 9-2009 198
9. Mark the opening size on the wrong side of the 7 x 6 inch piece of fabric, centering on your mark.  I wanted to have curved corners, so I used the handle of my rotary cutter to mark curves at each corner.  9-2009 199
10. Lay the 7 x 6 inch fabric, right sides together, on one end of the 7 x 11 outside piece, matching the corners.  Pin securely (I believe in using straight pins – they give you 300 hundred in that little box for a reason, right?).  9-2009 200
11. Stitch on the marked line.  Cut out the center, leaving about ¼ inch seam allowance, and clip the inside curves nearly to the stitching.  9-2009 201
12. Turn the lining thru the center to the wrong side.  Press the seam flat.  Lay the opening over your stitched piece and center it in the opening.  9-2009 202
13. Trim the stitched fabric to match your fabric and pin around the edges thru all three layers.  9-2009 203
14. Forgot about cutting a tab – cut a scrap of fabric about 6 x 1-1/2 inches – fold in half lengthwise and stitch the long sides.  9-2009 204
15. I again used the handle of my rotary cutter to mark a curve on the folded end of the tab and stitched along that curved line.  Trim the seam and clip the curve.  9-2009 205Turn the tab right side out.
16. Lay the front piece down right side up.  Lay the lining piece on top of it right side down.  Put the tab in between the two pieces at the center of the short end, matching the raw edges.   Sew a ½ inch seam along the two long ends and across the short end where the tab is.  Trim the seam and clip the corners (sorry, the photos of these steps didn’t come out – I didn’t realize my camera batteies were nearly dead.)
17. Cut two pieces of iron on quilt batting 5-¾ inches by 10 inches.  Cut out four holes 1 inch in from the sides and about ½ inch from the center (to allow for grommets) .  Iron the batting to each of the wrong sides.  9-2009 206
18. Be sure to use a pressing cloth to iron the batting in place.  This is what happens if you get impatient and don’t use a cloth. 9-2009 207
19. Turn the wallet right side out.  Mark the positions of the four grommets. Don’t apply the grommets yet! 9-2009 208
20. Cut two pieces of thin cardboard, each 6 inches by 4-1/4 inches.9-2009 209
21. Slide one piece of cardboard inside the wallet between front and back batting, all the way to the end.  Apply the four grommets.  9-2009 210And yes, that’s a Crop-o-dile peeking in from the edge of the photo!
22. Slide the second piece of cardboard inside the wallet and push down to the grommets. 9-2009 211

23. You may have noticed that I had applied a snap closure.  Unfortunately, after I applied it, I tried it out, and it wouldn’t snap!  So I had to pry off the snap, and sew on a button instead.  9-2009 212I made a matching button hole in the tab.
Fold under the raw edges on the open end 1/4 inch, and whipstitch it closed.  I used matching floss.  (You can barely see the pins holding the opening closed in the above photo).

24. Here’s the inside of the wallet, with a packet of needles in one pocket and my scissors in the other.  9-2009 213
25. And the inside with some floss baggies on the rings (which went thru the grommets).  These are the flosses I’m using for a current project (shh – it’s a secret!) 9-2009 214
26. The back of the outside, showing the tab buttoned.  9-2009 215
27. And the front.  9-2009 216
28. Here it is standing up, so you can see some of my mess scattered around the table – lol!  9-2009 218

And here is the chart I’m planning to use for my next wallet.  BAPIf you’d like to use this chart, feel free to take a copy for your personal use – and please send me a photo of your project!

Your comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks for visiting today!

Quaker Hedgehog Pyn Pillow

September 11, 2009
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I know you’ve seen the free chart for a Hedgehog Quaker on The Workbasket. When I first saw it, I immediately conceived the idea for this Pyn Pyllow:quaker hedgehog 012

I stitched it with some beautiful floss I received from Iza with the floss tag she stitched for me for the Tiny Treasures Floss Tag Exchange. I’ve emailed both Candy and Mary at The Workbasket to ask their permission to post the directions for finishing this little treasure on my blog, but I haven’t heard from either one yet.

So, I’m going to go ahead and share my finishing idea for this Pyn Pillow. Please Click on this link and then right click and save the pdf file to your computer: Hedgehog_Quaker_by_The_Workbasket (I’ll figure out an easier way some day!)

If you use my finishing idea, won’t you please send me a picture?  My email is on the About Me page, towards the bottom.

And I’d love to have your comments about this finishing tutorial!

Thanks for visiting today.

Monkey Scissor Fob

October 17, 2008

Recently stitched for an exchange on the EMS Cross Stitch Board

I added a beach scene to the Monkey S and finished as a scissor fob.  I thought it turned out well.

Finishing was simple:  I stitched a backstitch border all around the square, and made a matching back piece out of the same fabric.  Whipstitch the two pieces together, stuffing in a little fiberfill before I finished the last side.  Then I tacked the ribbon and bow to the center top with a few small stitches.

Here’s the chart I made.  Enjoy!

Posted in scissor fob, smalls

A Stitch in Time

June 6, 2008
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I had believed that this proverb was attributed to Benjamin Franklin.  Imagine my surprise, when I began to research it (so that I might attribute it to him for this article) to discover that it was not!  Oh well, it’s still a good saying.

My DS, seeing me work on this small chart, said “That doesn’t make any sense!”  When I explained that my sense of this proverb is that taking one stitch when it is needed, saves having to take nine stitches later, he said “You left out the commas.” Sigh.

But I think it’s a good proverb anyway, and appropriate for my purpose, which is to make a small sewing kit for my handbag.  If you’d like to make one, too, you are welcome to use my design.  Today I’m giving you the chart.  If, as I hope, this weekend I get the finishing done, I’ll post the instructions next week.

I stitched this on 14 count white aida, a scrap I had left from another project (Waste not, Want not – right!)  BTW, I used DMC 115, not DMC 815.  At the time I created the pattern, I had not yet discovered how to create new floss lists in PC Stitch Pro.  And now, even though I have discovered how to use that feature, I still haven’t created a list for DMC Varigated floss.  You may, of course, use any colors you wish – lol!

Please, if you stitch this, send me a pic.  I’d like to start a Gallery page.  As an incentive, if you are the first to send me a pic, I’ll send you an empty Altoid TIn.  Really!  You can send me your address in a separate comment, which I won’t post.

Posted in freebie, smalls

Mama’s Violets

May 12, 2008

What do you give a Mama for Mother’s Day? My Mama is in her seventies, lives in a small home with very limited wall space and has a life-long dislike of “dust collectors”. But she loves flowers and violets are one of her favorite flowers. So I stitched up this little freebie from  ABC Free Cross Stitch Patterns (I saved it back in 2004, but when I just checked, it was shown on their Free Patterns page). With the addition of a simple heart and leaves border on either side (using colors from the chart), I made this pocket tissue holder

I used four threads (2 threads for backsitiching) on an 11 count beige aida, which has gold threads woven throughout (the pictures do not even hint at how sparkly it is!) – the manufacturer is unknown. I received this fabric as a lagniappe from an Ebay vendor when I purchased some round plastic frames for Christmas ornaments

Here are the critical dimensions: Border areas are each 1-5/8 X 5-3/4 inches (4 X 14.5 cm). The main area is 3-1/4 X 5-3/4 inches (8 X 14.5 cm). Allow at least ½ inch (1.5 cm) to turn under at the borders for the opening and for side seams.BTW, even though I serged the edges of this fabric, and sewed it by machine, it is entirely possible to do all the finishing by hand.

Stitch your desired design.

Wash, block and iron the finished stitching.

Iron On InterfacingFor items that will be handled, I like to iron on interfacing to the wrong side. It serves the dual purpose of protecting the stitching and helps prevent any thread from working it’s way loose.

Turn under 1/2 inchTurn under hem at each border edge. I top-stitched the hem with a Stitch down hemsneutral color thread, but you might want to use a color from your design and hand stitch a decorative hem.


Fold the border edges to the center of the design, wrong sides together. Stitch the seam on each raw side. Trim and finish the seam by serging, zig-zagging or overcast by hand (we don’t want pesky little threads coming out each time a tissue is pulled from tissue holder, do we?)

Sewing Edges on the serger

Turn the holder right side out and press. ( A knitting needle is useful to turn those corners!)Turn Right Side Out

Fill with pocket tissuesFill with pocket tissues. In a pinch, you can fold regular size tissues to fit.


 Turned out that the opening gapped with tissues inside – so I added a button and ribbon loop to help keep it closed.

Button and Ribbon Loop closure

Total finishing time was about thirty minutes – so this is a quick finish.  I would estimate that hand finishing would probably take no more than an hour.
FinishedIt’s that simple. I hope she’ll love it!  (She Did!)


Posted in freebie, smalls

Scissor Fob Finishing

August 29, 2007
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I love the scissor fobs featured at

Casey Buonaugurio’s Jack-o-Lantern FobThis chart is a freebie from, another one I stitched for my Halloween Tree, a SAL at the Yahoo Group wXSw.

I like to finish smalls by hand, rather than machine.  I feel it gives me better control aligning  the threads of my stitched piece.  And when finishing by hand, I adore the method of backstitching around my piece, and then whipstitching the edges together from the right side.  Here is my own twist on finishing a scissor fob type ornament. 

Scissors Fob Step by Step

If you have problems accessing the PowerPoint presentation, email me and I’ll send you the jpegs.