Christmas Project Reveal – Dollhouse Stocking

I know Christmas has now passed, but I was unable to reveal this creation until it was received and thoroughly enjoyed by the friend I had made it for! I love to make customized Christmas stockings and for the past few years I’ve been honing my skills using quilted cotton and felt for my designs. This year I decided to try a new technique because the concept I came up with was much more intricate that these materials would allow for. The friend who inspired this has wanted to start collecting dollhouses her entire life and I thought what better way to start her off than to create a dollhouse stocking! (This way she wouldn’t have to worry about finding the space to fit a real dollhouse in her house either)
I started off by sketching out an original dollhouse illustration in pencil directly on to butcher’s paper and used that to paint directly on the front stocking piece. Instead of using any additional fabric, I hand painted the blue fills and gold outlines. I wanted a bit more dimension to the artwork so I kept building on that base, adding paint and also using fabric markers to create shadows throughout. On top of that I began to freehand embroider, sometimes to enhance the lines that I had already painted and in some places to add new aspects of pattern, detail, and 3-D quality.
I integrated some seed beads and sequins with the embroidery floss to add a little bling, such as on the “mini” Christmas lights. The wreath, Christmas tree, and drapes were made from tulle and do actually stick out from the stocking instead of laying completely flat. I loved being able to add a bit of texture in that way!
The stocking is actually fairly large, I believe measuring about 17 inches long, so the details aren’t too small to see in person. I think it turned out rather well and my friend was quite excited to receive it 🙂 This project method was similar to
my stitched postcard design back in October and I think is a technique that I would really like to explore more!

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Crafty Gifts – Needle Book Tutorial

A few weeks ago, I posted about using a Spoonflower swatch to create a needle book (image shown above). I had to wait until I made a few more so I could get some process photos but finally had a chance to put together a tutorial with images for my needle book project. It is easy sewing machine project and a scrap buster! I hope this is useful to some of you who need a handy place to hold your sharp implements and for anyone who wants a last minute crafty gift to create 🙂

Supplies
Note: Project requires sewing machine and iron.
-full 8” x 8” Spoonflower fabric swatch (as printed with white borders still kept on) [In this tutorial, I’ve used a swatch of the larger scale version of my Sew, My Darling fabric]
-piece of fabric at least of equal size to full fabric swatch for lining (or second Spoonflower fabric swatch)
-one sheet of felt (or two, if you prefer to have different colored pages)
-9” section of bias tape (I use ½” single fold bias tape, but you may prefer a variation)
-OPTIONAL: fusible interfacing, ribbon

Instructions

  1. Create three pattern pieces using plain printer paper:
    -COVER: 8 3/8” x 5 1/4”
    -POCKET: 8 3/8″ x 2 5/8″
    -PAGES: 6 1/2” x 3 3/4″
    These pieces have a 3/8” seam allowance factored in.
  2. On the Spoonflower fabric swatch, cut off top and bottom white borders. Keep the smaller borders on the left and right edges, these will be hidden inside your seam allowances.
  3. Center the COVER pattern piece in the middle of the white bordered areas on the left and right sides, aligning bottom edge of pattern piece with bottom of fabric. Pin and cut. 

    1. OPTIONAL: To add some structure to the outside cover, you may choose to use fusible interfacing. To do this, pin and cut out a piece of fusible interfacing with the COVER pattern piece. Following the directions for your specific type of interfacing, fuse using an iron to the wrong side (inside) of the cover fabric.
  4. On leftover Spoonflower fabric swatch piece, center POCKET. Pin and cut out.
  5. Cut second COVER and POCKET pieces out of lining fabric.
  6. Pin and cut 2 x PAGES out of felt.

    alotecki-needlebook

    Here are all my pieces lying out except for the pocket lining which I had already basted to the underside of the pocket piece.

  7. Now you are ready to sew! Pin wrong sides of POCKET and POCKET lining together and baste 1/4” from edges with sewing machine. This will keep everything secure and flat while you work.
    alotecki-needlebook
  8. Take your strip of bias tape and unfold one edge, pinning flush to top of basted pocket edge. Sew (the distance from the edge will depend on how large your bias tape is, just make sure you go lower than your basting stitch so it is hidden).
  9. Wrap remaining width of bias tape over the top pocket edge, encasing the raw edge inside. Pin and sew closed, a scant distance from the front outside edge of the bias tape.
    alotecki-needlebook
  10. Position the POCKET on the right side of the COVER lining piece, matching the bottom edge and sides. Lay the right side of the outside COVER face down against the pieces you have just positioned lining up all the edges and sandwiching the pocket inside. Pin all edges together. Sew 3/8” seam allowance all the way around, leaving a two inch opening at the center top.
    alotecki-needlebook
  11. Clip corners and then flip inside out using opening. Push out corners using something blunt if necessary. Press so the edges are nice and crisp.
    alotecki-needlebook needlebook-insidecover
  12. Pin the opening closed** and pin around the rest of the edges to ensure when stitching everything will sit where it should. At this point I do a double row of stitching, mainly because I like the aesthetic of it. It is possible to do just one row of stitching (or more) if you’d like but you must ensure that you catch the seam allowance of the opening so that it is closed properly. Sew 1/8” from edge. Repeat sewing 1/8” from the first line of stitching.
    alotecki-needlebook

    1. **You can hand sew the opening closed before proceeding or you can just use the top stitching to close everything up.
  13. OPTIONAL: If you would like to add any extra embellishments to your pages such as a ribbon, elastic, buttons, etc., this would be the time to do it (before Step 14).
  14. Mark the center of the inside needle book at the top and bottom using pins. Repeat with the felt pages, making sure they are stacked and aligned on all sides before pinning. These will be your place markers for centering the pages on top of the inside cover.
    alotecki-needlebook
  15. Position the two felt PAGES on top of the inside of the needle book cover using the pin guides. Make sure the pages are equal distance from the top and bottom and from left and right sides. Pin and stitch down through all layers from center front top to bottom.
    alotecki-needlebook
  16. Fold entire book closed along the center and press along the center fold. This will help keep it closed.

alotecki-needlebookalotecki-needlebookNow you have a lovely little homemade gift that will help keep you or someone else organized! Please let me know if anyone has any questions about this project or any issues come up with my directions 🙂 Happy Holidays!

Crafty Gifts – Needle Book

Also known as “What can I make with a Spoonflower swatch?”

I love to give presents. Seriously! Sometimes these are purchased gifts (I especially love to support local artists and retailers if possible) and sometimes they are things I have made myself.

This year I started entering some of Spoonflower’s weekly fabric design contests and putting some of my designs up for sale through my store. To sell designs, you need to order proofs in the form of an 8″ x 8″ printed fabric swatch to test the quality. With a growing pile of finished proofs, I decided to start using the fabric swatches for personalized projects that would be great as gifts and let me be more sustainable.

My first project is a needle book design that utilizes a full Spoonflower swatch of my “Sew, My Darling” fabric design (small pattern version) and is pretty easy to make! It has an inside pocket on both inside front and back covers and 4 felt pages. I didn’t add too many things inside, but this is definitely a project that could be customized in many ways!

I will be posting a step-by-step needle book tutorial later this week or early next week 🙂
alotecki-smd-needlebookalotecki-needlebook-icoveralotecki-smd-needlebook-center alotecki-smd-needlebook-iback