Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jingle Boots

This tutorial was originally posted on the Timeless Treasures Blog. You can check it out here.
I am adding it here to give some added tips and tricks for completion of your Christmas table runner. If you don't have a pattern you can purchase one on the side bar of my blog home page under the heading PATTERNS FOR YOU.

Jingle Boots is a two-sided table runner that will add a little tinkling sparkle and kick to your holiday decorating. It is easy and fun to make with the step-by-step instructions included in the pattern.

PLEASE NOTEThis picture tutorial is meant to be used with the pattern instructions. Not all the steps are shown here. I have given the tips in the same order as the steps in the pattern.

Follow along as I give you some hints and tips to make this adorable runner. For this tutorial I used the following Timeless Treasures Fabrics:

Main Runner - C1820-Red
Pleated Ruffle & Boots - CM8787-GREEN
Bottom Color Band - CM1285-Holiday
Prairie Points - SOHO Solid White
Stockings - C9186-RED

Let's get started. The first step is preparing the main runner.


Following the pattern instructions you will cut one or two pieces of the main runner fabric, across the width of your yardage. Whether you have one or two pieces will depend on the size of your table. (Since most tables will require two pieces that is what is shown in the following steps.)
Cut off the selvage edges to insure flat seams.

With the folded fabrics open, place them right sides together matching one of the short sides and sew together as per the pattern instructions. You will have one long piece.

Press the seam open and refold the whole piece in half lengthwise, matching the center seam. Pin and stitch along the length to form a long tube with open ends.

You will next be pressing this long seam open and positioning it in the center of the runner.
To find the center quickly, with your tube flat and the seam to one side, finger press the fold for an inch or two.

This will give you a center mark which you can then match up with the seam on the opposite side.

Center the seam and press it open. At this point your runner will look like the picture on the left.

The next step will be to trim the center runner to the desired length. Following the calculations in your pattern, you will be trimming some from each end. This keeps the seam centered in the middle of your table.
Rather than trim each end separately, fold the runner in half at the seam with the open ends together.
If you are using a rotary cutter and ruler, note the amount to trim and cut through both ends at once.
Now sew across the open ends marking and leaving a 6" opening in one end to turn it.

Before turning take the time to press the seams open on the ends. This makes things much easier once it is turned . . . ESPECIALLY for the seam allowance in the opening. To press the seams open on the end of your tube you will need to clip each corner as shown below. Put the scissor tip into the fold and clip down close to the stitching but not TOO close. This will release the seam to fold open.

Start with the seam allowance on one side and press it back. Then turn the whole piece over and press the other seam allowance back towards the runner. Repeat for the opposite end of the runner.

Use the 6" opening to turn the entire tube right side out. Work the corners out flat and press all around.

To temporarily close the opening I use a WASHABLE WHITE GEL glue stick and run it along the inside edge of the opening. Pressing it lightly with the iron will dry it quickly and keep it in place until it is top stitched down in later steps.


The pattern includes one boot pattern. Rather than copying it once or even four times I take it to my printer and make four copies.  This preserves the original. Just be sure the printer is not re-sizing the copy. Laying out all four copies at once lets you see that you are allowing enough space between them and they will fit across the width of your folded fabric.

With the patterns pinned in place use a pen to trace around each boot. You may use a thermal erasable pen such as  a Pilot Frixon or just an ordinary pen. The thermal erasable pen mark disappears when it is heated by an iron.

This line will be on the inside seam of the boot and so will not show. Pens tend to drag less than a pencil when drawing on fabric and they create a defined dark line that is easy to follow for stitching. If you are concerned that the pen will bleed through and mark the table or mat beneath, just slip a piece of plain paper under the fabric in the area you are working on. If your fabric is too dark for a pen to be clearlyvisible, use a soap sliver recycled from the shower.

When you are done tracing remove the patterns, pin the two layers together in several places and rough cut the boots out. This means just quickly cut them apart without cutting too close. Notice that the top ONLY is cut along the pattern line.

Sew around the boots using a very short stitch length (1.0-1.5) as instructed in your pattern. Start at the right top and sewing around to the left side leaving the boot open across the top. Repeat for all four boots. When sewing around the toe it is better to round out the point a bit. This will make it easier to turn and still be pointed enough.
Next trim and clip around all sides.
Outside curves are clipped with a wedge and inside curves are clipped with a straight clip -  close to the stitching but not too close. Notice how the seam allowance is trimmed to about 1/8" in the toe area.

Before turning right side out, press down 1/2" along the top. This is much easier to do before turning than after.

Stuff the stockings lightly starting with a small piece of polyfil worked into the toe area.

A small stick or dowel with a rounded or flat end can be a useful tool. Be careful with sharp ends that can poke through the seams.

Continue working with small pieces until the stocking is lightly stuffed to within about an half inch of the top. Repeat for all four boots.

Prepare the stocking strip as directed in your pattern but sew across ONE END of the tube to close it.

Press the seam open along the side and use a dowel, chop stick or eraser end of a pencil to push the closed end up and through to the other side. 

No more safety pins to turn the tube!
Now just trim off the end that was sewn shut.

Press the sock tube with the seam running up the center back. Cut into four equal lengths. Insert one sock into each boot top about 1/2" and pin in place.  Pin carefully matching the tops on the back and front through the fabric so that when you sew from the front you will be catching the top of the boot on the back. Make sure that you have two RIGHT facing boots and two LEFT facing boots. Top stitch through all layers.


The white triangles on the color band are 4 1/2" squares folded diagonally twice forming Prairie Points. The 10 needed squares are cut from a fat quarter. Rather than cutting out squares one at a time here is an efficient way to cut them with a minimum of motions.

Note: The following instructions are written for a right-handed person. Reverse the directions for cutting if you are left handed.

Start by folding the fat quarter into thirds. First fold the selvage edge into the middle. 
Next fold the single layer side over forming three equal layers. Check to see that the selvage edge is snugged up against the fold on the inside.

Trim a small amount off the right side to create a straight edge as in show on the left below.
Carefully flip this over to the left side keeping the cut edges together. Lining the 4 1/2" mark along this straight edge cut a strip 4 1/2" wide through all three layers as in the picture on the right.

Square up one end by cutting off a small amount.
Again taking care not to shift the layers turn this end so it is at your left. Using a 4 1/2" square up ruler or your larger ruler, sub-cut the strip into 4 - 4 1/2" squares through all three layers. (You will have two extra squares.) OR you may cut three times through all three layers for 9 squares and cut the last square from a single layer as shown below.

When pressing Prairie Points remember that the diagonal fold is a bias edge and will stretch. Handling it with care will help keep things sharp and square. Bring the opposite corners together and hold securely. Using a hot DRY iron press firmly for several seconds. Do not scrub! There is a difference betweem ironing and PRESSING. Just PRESS.

The triangle should be flat and crisp with the corners meeting exactly. Fold in half again bringing the raw edges together.

Hold the corner points together securely and press as before. There you have a perfect Prairie Point! Flat and crisp!


Cut one WIDTH of FABRIC (WOF) to the required size. Cut off the selvage edges.
Measure the required length and cut through both layers for two bands.

Fold each band in half lengthwise, right sides together and sew across the ends. Before turning right side out fold the seam allowance toward the band and press. Then turn to the right side. This will allow the corner to turn easily and press out flat and crisp.

Mark each color band 1/2" from the raw edge and put a mark in the center of the band. In this case the dark fabric is best marked with a white soap sliver. Use this guide line and the center mark to position the Prairie Points across each color band as shown in the pattern. Pin in place. 

Set your stitch to a longer length (3.0) and baste the Prairie Points down. As you sew, the presser foot tends to push the narrow point out of place. Use a stiletto or other pointed tool to guide the points under the presser foot where your fingers can't fit.


Position the runner over the color band as instructed in the pattern. Top stitch the main runner over the Prairie Points and color band stitching close to the edge of the runner. Draw a line 3/4" above the edge of the main runner with an erasable pen or marker.

Before stitching on this line turn to the runner to the back and tuck the corners under to be caught in the stitching. This will keep them from 'peeking' out to the front.


This is a fun easy ruffle! NO GATHERS!
Mark the center of each ruffle strip. Pin it to the middle of the runner using the your last row of top stitching as the guide for the bottom of the ruffle. Pin each end even with the sides of  the runner. The ruffle will be laying floppy between the pins as in the image below.

Starting on the left side as you are looking at it in the picture, fold and pin 6 approximately 1" pleats on each side of the center. The pleats should lay over toward the left side. This will allow you to sew with the direction of the pleats when they are placed on the machine.

Again, using a long stitch, baste the pleats down by sewing 1/4" from the raw edge through all layers.


Place the ric rac over the top of the pleated ruffle. Center it by positioning it so that the each side of the runner falls in the same part of the ric rac 'wave' as shown below. Yours may be in a different part of the 'wave' but they should be the same on each side.
The lowest part of the wave on the top of the ric rac should just cover the raw edge of the ruffle and the upper most part of the wave on the bottom should cover the basting stitches. See the arrow in the picture below.

Tuck the ric rac ends to the back and pin in place. To stitch straight down the middle of the ric rac, sew 1/4" away from the inside waves as shown below.


Attach the elf legs and embellish with bow and bells. You are ready to JINGLE your BOOTS!! HO HO HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Whimsical Halloween Table Runner Tutorial

Sew :) many Ms. Bindweed's Boots patterns are out there that I am adding this tutorial to my library to give some extra tips on the construction. This post was originally part of a guest post on I did last week for Timeless Treasures Blog. You can check it out here.

Ms. Bindweed’s Boots is a whimsical two-sided table runner that has everyone smiling.

The step-by-step instructions make it simple enough for all levels of sewers.

Follow along as I give you some hints and tips to make this adorable runner using the following fabrics from Timeless Treasures.

Main Runner                       Glow Webs
First Ruffle                           Ziggy
2nd Ruffle                            Soho Solids
3rd Ruffle                            Rain Basic
Stockings                            1/8” Stripe
Boots                                  Rain Basic

PLEASE NOTE: This picture tutorial is meant to be used with the pattern instructions. Not all the steps are shown here. I have given the tips in the same order as the steps in the pattern.


The first step is to prepare the main runner. Following the pattern instructions you will cut one or two pieces across the width of your fabric, depending on the size of your table. 

Removing the selvage edge is important to creating a flat seam.

The fabric is refolded right sides together and sewn up the length to form a tube. When sewing and turning tubes, it makes things just a whole lot easier to press the seam open BEFORE turning. Then turn the whole thing and press with the seam running up the MIDDLE of the back.


Next step is getting the boots ready. With the boot fabric folded wrong side showing, the boot pattern is traced four times with  ½-1”  space between each one.

Any number of pens and pencils will work but you may like my favorite, a thermal sensitive gel pen -  Frixion from Pilot. It is available in red, blue or black and one touch with a warm iron and the marks are GONE! Just think of all the things you can do with disappearing ink!

 If you are using very dark fabric, like solid black my favorite marker in this case is a soap sliver. Yup, the kind you get in the shower.

Shows up great! 

Pin through both layers of fabric on the inside of the traced boots and rough cut around each one leaving at least ½” on all sides. Sew on the lines you have drawn with a VERY SHORT stitch (1.0 on most machines), leaving the top open. Sewing with such a short stitch will keep the seams secure when you turn and stuff the boots.

Trimming and clipping are the secret to getting a smooth edge when the boots are turned. Start by trimming around the boots leaving about a ¼”.  Cut on the line across the top. The pattern allows for what you need to turn down on the top.

Next clip the corners and curves. Clip close to the stitching but not TOO CLOSE. Clip into the inside curves and cut out a wedge on the outside curves. Cut across the corners on the heels.

Turn the boot right side out taking care not to stress the seams as you smooth out the curves and corners. Using a wooden stick or skewer can help get into the tight spaces. Push gently!

Stuff lightly with poly-fil adding smaller pieces of stuffing one at a time.. A small stick with a round end is helpful in getting that fluffy stuff worked around into the toe and down into the heels.

Leave the stuffing about a one inch from the top  and  fold in ½” and press

Slip the prepared stockings (see pattern for instructions) into the boot, pin in place and top stitch through all layers.

Make sure as you prepare to stitch the boots that you have TWO FACING RIGHT and TWO FACING LEFT!


Ruffles may be hemmed or serged along the finished edges. If you have a serger follow the cutting instructions in the pattern and use a narrow hem stitch with contrasting color – like BLACK! Hemming is just fine, too.

For the bottom ruffles only one side is finished by adding lace. I started by serging the lace to right side of the fabric on the long edge of each bottom ruffle. Without a serger you could use a zig zag to stitch the lace along the edge. If the lace has a right and wrong side make sure the right side faces down against the right side of the fabric. The lace pieces (1 yd long) will be shorter than the ruffle piece before trimming.

Now turn the edge to the back and press.

 To hold the lace ‘seam’ in place, set your machine on a very narrow zigzag with a slight longer stitch length and stitch along the edge. I used a 3.0 stitch length and a 1.0 zigzag width.

Sewing right down the edge of the fabric you will stitch back and forth onto the lace and then onto the fabric.

The stitch will be almost invisible but will hold the lace nicely in place. This kind of stitching is much more forgiving than top stitching that can show every wobble!


The first ruffle to go on is the bottom ruffle. Gather up the top of the ruffle according the pattern instructions. Adjust the gathers and pin in place right sides together on the end of the table runner. Pin the stocking legs in place, 3½” from each end, right side down. Stitch through all layers. Finish the seam edge, press up and top stitch in place.

The top and middle ruffle are top stitched above the bottom ruffle. To mark the position of each one in turn, use a quilting ruler and your favorite erasable marking pen or pencil.

On this black fabric a soap sliver shows up really well..

Holding gathers evenly along a straight line can be a challenge that requires lots of pinning. I prefer to glue them down with a washable glue stick before stitching. Use the WHITE GEL kind like this one.

In this picture the top ruffle was basted down with glue, then the Ric Rac was pinned into position for stitching.

Even bows can be temporarily held in position for stitching with a glue stick.

And there you have it!
Ms. Bindweed’s Boots are ready to hang out at your house! Bring on Halloween!!

P.S. She really belongs on the table kicking up her heels at both ends but I couldn’t resist hanging her over my sewing room door.

Happy Sewing and Happy Halloween from SEW MUCH GOOD!