I’ve been wanting a sunhat for ages. But, as seems to be an issue for me with lots of fabric made goods, I pause each time just before buying one and say to myself, “Well, I could make this out of my reclaimed stash…”. And the sunhat goes back on the shelf or gets deleted from the online cart.
Yes, I *could* make one, there are lots of patterns already out there, so I wouldn’t even have to draft one or figure out measurements on my own! Still, summers have come and gone with me wistfully window shopping sunhats, promising myself to sew a delightful head covering.
Then not following through.
My friends, today was finally the day. This morning I bought the pattern I’d been eyeing and rummaged through my fabric stash until I found the perfect combination. There was barely enough of a lightweight denim shirt left that went perfectly with some yellow and white vintage faux ticking. After reading the instructions, I placed my pattern pieces so as to avoid stains (hazards of upcycling) and got to cutting them out.
Only to discover that a pattern piece had been mislabeled.
Once I figured that out, and pieced together smaller bits of the shirt that hadn’t been cut, I ended up with only enough usable fabric to make a brim that was ½ shorter than I needed.
It was sad.
That’s the thing when working with reclaimed fabrics or special memory fabrics. You don’t always have much fabric to work with. Or the fabric you do have holds so much sentimental value that a cutting error can be irreparable.
The three frustrating hours I spent stumbling through a sunhat pattern with unclear instructions and mislabeling drove home my desire to write patterns specifically for reclaimed and sentimental textiles. Careful labeling can be the difference between a finished project or one abandoned due to incorrect cutting and running out of a specific fabric. Thorough, clear instructions can be the difference between despair and joy while sewing.
Meaningful, carefully reclaimed fabrics deserve patterns and tutorials that will enhance creative and joyful crafting, while minimizing costly mistakes and frustration.
My sunhat struggle has a happy ending, though! I modified the brim so you can’t tell it’s shorter than it should be. Besides, while there’s some wonky stitching in places I couldn’t quite figure out the instructions for, it’s a perfectly functional sunhat.
So, if you need me, you can find me strolling down the sidewalk with my precocious toddler, dreaming about pattern designing.
And wearing my sunhat.
Together we can find more ways to reclaim fabric and breathe meaning, joy, and life into our sewing.
Welcome to Week 1 of our T-Shirt Quilt Sewalong! I can’t wait to get started making memories with you through sewing. This week, I’ll be sharing a supply list and t-shirt quilt basics, including different methods for stabilizing your t-shirts so they’re easier to work with.
Sewing with knits and other stretchy fabrics is often what keeps people from tackling projects like this one. That was me just a few years ago! Thankfully, I’ve discovered that sewing with knits doesn’t need to be a difficult or frustrating endeavor.
Don’t forget to join our Summer Sewalong group on Facebookfor extra tips, community, and encouragement! **The Live Sewalong is now over, if you’d like to be notified when we do another t-shirt quilt sewalong, sign up for newsletters at the end of this post!**
Okay, let’s break down the t-shirt quilt.
What You’ll Need
T-Shirts The number of t-shirts you need depends on what size quilt you’re making and what style of layout you choose (more on layout options below). Generally a lap sized quilt will require 12-15 shirts if constructed in equal blocks; 24+ shirts will be needed for a twin sized quilt. But, instead of aiming for a certain sized quilt, I prefer to start with however many shirts I have, then see what layout and size I end up with. This will make more sense when we get to the layout stage!
Stabilizer There are a variety of ways to stabilize knit fabrics to be used in quilting. Read below to find which method will work best for you. Try not to get overwhelmed, and feel free to message me with any questions! **During our live sewalongs, I also host a Facebook Live session and have a post in our sewalong group where you can comment with questions you might have about stabilizing your shirts.**
Thread Use whatever your favorite, standard thread is. A color that coordinates with your backing makes for a nice finish and binding at the end.
Ballpoint Needle (not always required) A ballpoint needle is recommended when working with knits. However, when I use a fusible stabilizer, I do my sewing with a regular point needle and have not encountered any problems.
Walking Foot (not always required) I like to use a walking foot on my sewing machine when I don’t use a fusible stabilizer on my t-shirts. Otherwise I use my regular presser foot for piecing the top together. At the end of the sewalong, you will also need a walking foot if you plan to quilt your quilt (that’s a mouthful) on your home machine. Alternatively, you can tie your quilt and avoid the need for a walking foot.
Backing & Binding Once you decide what size quilt you’ll end up with, choose a backing material that is at least 8 inches wider and longer than your quilt top size. Backing material can range from quilting cotton to minky to even more t-shirts! I like to use a coordinating quilting cotton for my binding. Here’s a handy binding calculator for figuring how much you’ll need once we get to that step: https://cutsewquick.com/pages/binding-calculator
Batting Choose your preferred batting. If you plan to use a heavier quilt back like minky, choose a lightweight batting (or even pre-washed flannel). I’ve also used fleece as batting and it’s worked well!
How to Stabilize Your Shirts
One of the most confusing parts of a t-shirt quilt is how to sew quilt blocks with stretchy fabric. This is where stabilizers come in. There are multiple ways to stabilize knit fabric. In fact, you can find various blogs all over the webosphere (is that a word?) which swear by one way or another. I’m going to lay them all out for you here and let you choose what will work best for you and your shirts. I’ll also go over these in a Facebook Live video next week in case you have any questions!
Things to consider when choosing a stabilizer:
The thickness and durability of your shirts
Your level of sewing experience
What type of sewing machine you have
What finishing style you’ll be using (quilting vs tying)
Frequency of quilt use (will it be decorative or heavily used)
Types of stabilizing methods:
1) None. That’s right, it is possible to sew your t-shirt quilt with no stabilizers whatsoever. This might work for you if –
All of your shirts are a thicker material and in good condition.
You are experienced with sewing knit fabric and already have a technique that works well for you.
You have a sewing machine (or serger) that handles knits well.
You have a walking foot for your sewing machine.
You don’t mind some possibly wavy seams or stretching in your finished product.
2) Tissue paper. It might sound strange, but tissue paper can help when sewing with t-shirt fabric. Yes, even the crumpled pieces shoved in your closet from old Christmas presents just waiting to be used again. There are two different methods you can try with tissue paper (or pattern paper).
Place a piece of tissue paper under your knit fabric (flush with your seam), between the fabric and the feed dogs. Sew along as normal, over both pieces of knit and the tissue paper.
Sandwich your knit fabric between two pieces of tissue paper and sew your seam as normal. Make sure your tissue paper is light enough that you’ll be able to see the seam edge of your fabric!
Rip the tissue paper out of the threads when you’re done. Note, this will stabilize your knits for sewing, but it will not stabilize the entire quilt top for easier quilting and assembly. As with the “None” option, only choose the tissue paper method if you don’t mind some possibly wavy seams or stretching in your finished product.
3) Starch. If you’re looking for a method that provides a little more stiffness to your shirts than no stabilizing, but you don’t want to commit to interfacing each piece, starch is an option. I have used starch to stabilize my knits when piecing memory quilt backing out of a loved one’s t-shirts. I didn’t want to use additional interfacing because the front of the quilt was quite heavy already with denim, plus there was a light batting sandwiched in the middle.
More notes on using starch:
I recommend only using starch with t-shirts in good condition and a thicker jersey material.
Starch each shirt piece two or three times, letting the starch fully dry between applications.
Consider still using a walking foot on your sewing machine for piecing the shirts together.
4) Sew-in interfacing. On to interfacing options! Interfacing is a fabric that is sewn or fused (more on that below) to another fabric to provide stability, thickness, or lining. There are more types of interfacing than is possible to count, so I’ll have recommendations below to help you choose!
Sew-in interfacing is used by literally sewing it on to the piece of fabric you’re working with. For a t-shirt quilt, you would sew a piece of interfacing to each individual t-shirt square that you’ve cut out. Your sewing can be as simple as layering your shirt piece right side up on top of your interfacing fabric and stitching an “x” over the two pieces from corner to corner to sew them together. For extra stability and less shifting, consider using spray adhesive to hold the two fabrics together before sewing.
Things to note when working with sew-in interfacing and t-shirts:
This is the most time consuming method, but it can be less expensive than a fusible interfacing and provide similar results.
If you plan to have an “all over” quilting design as your finish, the stitching lines of your sew-in interfacing might clash with your quilting.
It’s best to use a walking foot to prevent shifting of the shirt layer.
You can use pretty much any type of fabric as sew-in interfacing. A piece of quilting cotton would work just fine if you have some on hand and don’t want to buy true interfacing. Just make sure to choose a lighter weight woven fabric that will NOT stretch, as the point of interfacing is to make your shirts less stretchy.
When prepping your shirts for interfacing, trim each piece with an extra ½” (or so) margin and then trim down to the final desired size after sewing in the interfacing. Knit fabric tends to shift and it’s super sad when you end up with a wonky block that needs to be trimmed smaller after you interface it!
5) Fusible interfacing. I saved my favorite method for last! Fusible interfacing is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to t-shirt quilts. However, not everyone wants to use fusible interfacing or has access to it, so I wanted to provide other options as well.
Fusible interfacing comes in different weights and has a bumpy side, which is actually little dots of glue. As with sew-in interfacing, I like to start by trimming my shirt piece with an extra ½” or more. I trim my interfacing piece just a little smaller than the t-shirt square (this will save you from accidentally fusing to your ironing board). Lay your t-shirt piece right side down on your ironing board. Next, put your interfacing bumpy/glue side down on top of it. Add a damp cloth to help the glue set better and to save your iron from getting glue gunk on it. Then iron away! (Follow your specific interfacing’s manufacturer’s instructions for this, of course.) Trim your shirt piece down to its desired size once the fabric has cooled.
If you haven’t used fusible interfacing before and this sounds confusing to you, don’t worry! I have video examples for you in Week 3 when will go over your chosen stabilizing method in more depth.
Yes, this takes a bit of time and you have to buy interfacing, but I find it brings the most consistent results for my t-shirt quilts. It also adds longevity to your shirts. So, if you have some shirts that are a bit on the worn side or you’re planning on using and washing your final quilt a lot, utilizing fusible interfacing will both stabilize and help your t-shirt material last longer.
Fusible interfacing comes as woven or non-woven. You can choose either. What you’re looking for is a light weight, flexible, fusible, not-too-stretchy, interfacing.
Types of fusible interfacing:
Pellon SF101 is probably the most suggested interfacing for t-shirt quilts. I use it so much that I buy it by the bolt! SF101 is especially helpful to me in memory quilting when I need to add stability to a t-shirt fabric for piecing a quilt top that also has denim or other thicker fabrics. If your t-shirt quilt is completely knit fabric, you can also choose one of the lighter weight options below.
Additional light weight fusibles that work well with t-shirts and are often less expensive that SF101:
Your local quilt shop would be more than happy to help you find the right stabilizer!
Quilt Layout Basics
That was a LOT of information all at once! Each week won’t be this long, but I wanted to make sure you got off on the right foot with your quilt and had ample time to decide on a method and gather your supplies. Again, I covered each method briefly, wanting to give a “quick” overview. We will go more in depth and have lots of pictures on how to use starch, tissue paper, or interfacing during weeks 2 and 3.
One last thing to cover before I go today and you can get to your supply gathering – how much stabilizer you will need to buy (if using one of the interfacing methods).
How much interfacing you’ll need will depend on both how large your quilt will be and how large each of your quilts blocks will be.
To make a rough decision on the size and design of your quilt, fold your t-shirts to showcase the design you want from each one and arrange on the floor. Are you using shirts that all have a large front design? Choose a block size that will fit the largest design and make a patchwork quilt with all equal sized blocks.
If you’re hoping to showcase designs of different sizes (perhaps there’s a logo on the sleeve), you can choose a layout with varying block sizes. Kind of like a puzzle pieced together.
This post has a nice overview of different types of designs for t-shirt quilts. We’ll get more in depth with design and layout in our next session, so don’t get too hung up here. For the moment, our goal is simply to get an idea of how much interfacing you’ll need to buy.
Back to buying interfacing. If you are doing 10” blocks (block = t-shirt square) or smaller, that are all the same size, you will be able to fit multiple t-shirt pieces across the widget of the interfacing. That’s because interfacings usually come in 20” wide bolts (though double check with your specific interfacing material before buying). If your blocks will be bigger than 10” but less than 20”, you’ll buy whatever length of interfacing you need to accommodate as many blocks as you’ll be cutting. You can figure this out by multiplying the number of blocks you’ll have by their width. It can be helpful to use grid paper when figuring this out, especially if your blocks are varying sizes and widths. Also, always buy a bit more interfacing than you think you’ll need!
Again, if this is confusing or just way too much information right now, it is broken down into bite-sized steps over the next couple of weeks. I even have videos in Week 3 that show you real life examples of each and every method!
I’m always happy to answer questions about interfacing and supplies in the blog comments or on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. Can’t wait for you to get started!
I know I’m not the only one with loads of t-shirts sitting in a drawer. Ones that hold special meaning, but don’t get worn anymore. I used to look wistfully at other people’s t-shirt quilts and google every so often to see how much it would cost to get one made.
Turns out it costs a pretty penny. And for good reason! There’s cutting, interfacing, piecing the puzzle together, sewing with knits, quilting (or tying), and binding. And all with some of our most precious memories!
Whew. That’s enough to scare anyone off.
But I’m here with the hope of demystifying the t-shirt quilt for you, making it an accessible sewing goal, and encouraging you along the way. I’ve broken down the t-shirt quilt making process into weekly sessions with thorough instructions, resource links, photos, and even some videos to help you stop staring at those old shirts and start sewing!
As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have along the way and would also love to know tips and techniques that you’ve found helpful. The sewing community is a wonderful place to be. Happy sewing!
Grab this detailed checklist to stay organized while working on your t-shirt quilt. It’s complete with links to each blog post to keep you on track along the way!
Mother’s Day is going to look a little different for us this year. No going to church with my kids. No meeting at a state park for a family picnic with my parents. No quiet chatting with the husband while kids fall asleep on the way home. No hike, because even the weather is less than ideal!
I’m betting today is going to look different for you, too.
I wrote the following words last year as a reminder to myself that the beautiful moments of motherhood aren’t wrapped up in a single day. That I can appreciate being a mom even when I don’t feel appreciated. And I can acknowledge the hard bits, but lean into the good.
Little did I know that they’d be even more applicable this year!
So I’m posting not only last year’s words, but also an invitation to dwell on the best bits of motherhood today and to share your favorite pieces with others, most of all the people you love.
Mother’s Day 2019
What’s your favorite part of motherhood?
Why am I asking? It’s my small attempt to encourage a perspective shift (in myself and others) as the “Big Day” approaches.
Because Mother’s Day is tricky.
Much like birthdays and other “appreciation days”, it’s easy to anticipate the day with expectations of receiving certain gifts, hearing certain words, and feeling certain emotions.
Often, the day falls flat because the people in our lives don’t live up to what we want them to be saying and doing.
After all, don’t they know how much we do for them every day? How much we pour ourselves out for their happiness? Is it too much to ask to be able to sleep on for one day or not have to make dinner? Is it too much to expect a thoughtful gift or to hear words of appreciation?
And before you know it, the day is over and we’re left with a tangled mess of unmet expectations, frustration, and anger at the ones we love most (and the ones that love us most!).
So let’s do our best this year to keep the focus where it belongs on Mother’s Day- on the little loves who made us mommas.
Give yourself the gift of scooping up your baby and breathing in his hair for a moment. Of sitting down with your teenager just to chat. Of going on a slow, destination-free walk with your toddler. Of laying next to your kindergartener as she proudly stumbles through reading aloud.
Give yourself the gift of enjoying motherhood, in all its mess and glory, regardless of whether your kids and your spouse (or even you!) live up to your expectations, for just one day.
Because you are an amazing, strong woman on this beautiful (and difficult!) journey of motherhood.
How in the world do you have time to sew when you still have kids at home??
It’s a question I get a lot.
More than a lot.
With many people having to work from home over the next several weeks, I thought I’d finally take a minute to share some methods that have helped me out over the past few years.
But, before I get into how I find time to create and work from home, there are some things you should know for context:
First, I don’t crave a spotless house. Second, I have kids that are old enough to help with chores. Third, I have a firm “people first policy”. More on that later. Fourth, our family is not dependent on my income.
So what I’m about to share here might not work for you. That’s okay! We’re all unique and operate differently in our day to day lives. Don’t feel my jive when it comes to working from home? I have a whole bunch of links in this post that might lead to something more your style (and keep you from having to scroll Pintrest to find what you’re looking for)!
Okay, now that’s out of the way, here’s my current approach to handling a bunch of kids and a small sewing business.
Routines and Rhythms.
It used to be that I didn’t have much passion for utilizing a routine in our home. Between working, going to school, being in the Army Reserves, and having kids left and right, there didn’t seem to be a ton of time to figure out a routine in the first place- other than a consistent nap schedule, that is!
A few days into my first summer as a newly minted stay at home mom, though, my five year old asked if I could add a little more structure to our days.
Yes, my five year old.
So I moped around for a bit, complaining to my husband that our daughter didn’t like my free-living approach to life. And then I gave in.
Turns out having routines and rhythms in our day made us all function a bit better and enjoy life a little more. In fact, most of the points I share below have to do with routines and rhythms.
Oh how I’ve changed.
One of the most important factors here is that everyone contributes to keeping our house running, not just me. However, I will admit, sometimes my husband and I need to have some “lively discussions” with the kids about this. Someday it will pay off. *fingers crossed*
Here’s the chore chart we keep on our fridge. Each day has a theme on the top section, and I dole out separate chores within that theme to each family member. During the school week, these are their after-school chores. They do them after snack and free reading/chatting time, and before going outside to play. The bottom section is a rotation of the after dinner chores.
When we have after school activities, the kids do that day’s chores the day before or the day after. When someone is sick, the rest of us pick up his chores for him (or her, as the case may be).
I have a monthly/yearly chore checklist somewhere gathering dust. Good intentions, I know. We’re still on a “fix things as they come up” theme there, so I may be checking these links again myself!
Mother Like a Boss: great tips and resources for how to keep homemaking consistent and fun
During the week, I stay at home with my toddler and preschooler (who goes to afternoon preschool four days). I do my best not to do any business work in the mornings or in the after school/before bedtime hours during the week. Keeping my day sectioned out really helps me stay less scattered.
After we stand at the living room window in the morning, waving and counting the number of kids hopping onto the bus, the littles and I (well, mostly I), clean up the kitchen from breakfast, start a load of laundry, do our chores from the top section of the chart for the day, and then have a “book break” and read together. Next, we do our best to remember to change the laundry over before heading outside for a walk when the weather’s good, or heading upstairs to play.
After lunch and getting the five year old to preschool, the toddler goes down for a nap and I get to work! I find that if I at least get the kitchen spruced up, one load of laundry done to completion, and my morning chore done, I can focus on work without feeling guilty.
Links for routines:
Time blocking: great post on how to use “time blocking” to get more out of your day
Ahh work. I love it. But (and this is a BIG but), I don’t want to be constantly looking forward to the next stage of life when all the kids are in school and I can sew as much as I want. I want to enjoy where I am right now.
So, while I still dream big, I work hard to set realistic expectations. Even then, I’m continually adjusting my expectations. And then adjusting them a little more. Through trial and error, I’ve found I’m more at peace with myself and my family (and do a better job sewing!) when I have long turnaround times for my projects and don’t pack too much into one week. And I’ve learned that production style sewing isn’t for me.
I take on fewer custom orders than I had originally hoped to be able to and have moved my business along more slowly than I had anticipated. A surprise pregnancy will do that do you 😉
Good thing life isn’t a race, people. You can move at whatever pace is right for you and your family. Don’t let social media make you think otherwise!
Down to the nitty gritty of work: I work while the toddler naps. He still takes around a two hour nap every day, so that gives me a decent amount of time to work with. On Mondays, I use that time to catch up on household paperwork such as paying bills, writing letters, or calling the insurance company for the hundredth time. Tuesdays through Saturdays I sew. Sundays, I rest or sew for fun.
My husband is usually gone a couple of evenings each week, so I use the “after the kids are in bed” time to respond to emails, write and schedule posts, update my bookkeeping, and other non-sewing related sides to running a business.
Links for working at home:
Theme days: using theme days to add structure to your week
Making time: my post on motherhood, mending, and making
Focusing: tips on focusing to get more done in short periods
All of these things are made easier for me by using a paper planner. Having space to physically write out what I need to do helps me keep it all straight. For the most part, anyway 😉
I sit down at the beginning of each week and do a “brain dump”, then portion everything out by priority/category and write it down where necessary in my planner. There are some great posts about brain dumping already written, so I’ll just link them below instead of going into detail!
Links for brain dumping and paper planners:
Brain dumping: get those swirling ideas out of your head and on to paper
I love setting goals when it comes to my sewing. Instead of just thinking about them, I keep a running list in Google Docs that I refer back to often. I started in 2017 by setting a couple of large goals for what I would like to do with my business over the next 5-10 years. Having a clear picture of what I’m aiming for has allowed me to break each large goal down into actionable steps with a timeline. This might sound a little “heady” and restrictive, but I’ve actually found it to be quite liberating when it comes to deciding what to do next in the day/week/month.
Here’s my real-life example that I haven’t shared with many people! One of my 5-10 year goals is to have enough passive income to fund free sewing classes in a women’s shelter setting. I’ve broken that down into what I’ll need to be doing 3 years from now for that to be a reality. Then broken it down again into what I’ll need to be doing next year. Then broken it down again further to what I need to be doing this year and month. And guess what my baby step is this month? Releasing my first free pattern! Nerve wracking and out of my comfort zone, yes. But I’m excited for it anyway because it’s one step closer to a goal that’s been on my heart since before starting Reclaimed for Good!
There are a lot of balls in the air every day. The one that takes priority, though, is my “people first” policy. If I’m unable to take the time to help a friend in need or sit with one of the kids when she needs attention, then I’m trying to do too much. This simple idea is how I decide how many orders to accept, how many volunteer opportunities to take, and how many extra curricular activities we’re involved in.
Routines, chore charts, goal setting, people first. All sounds pretty neat and tidy, with a little bow on top.
But, my days rarely fall into place as perfectly as this post makes them sound! Life throws some curveballs, doesn’t it? And sometimes, curveballs or not, we just need to take a break from it all and rest.
I find that having a good structure to how we live and work means that it’s easier to get back on track when we derail from time to time.
Even more than that, it all needs to be flexible. Goals can shift, schedules can change, you can have a bad day. Don’t let those shifts, changes, and tough spots define who you are. Roll with them.
Then get back at it.
Here’s the thing. I love to sew. I love to see other people sewing and creating and coming to meaningful realizations in the process. It’s important to me, so I make time for it.
I’m incredibly thankful to be living a life where I’m able to make time for it and have the resources to do what I love!
Together we can find more ways to reclaim fabric and breathe meaning, joy, and life into our sewing.
I developed the Stand Firm Zip Pouch in 2019 as a personalized gift for our church’s confirmation students. I’ve now used it to give countless gifts for a wide variety of occasions and am so excited to finally be able to share it with you!
Plus, you can get it FREE when you sign up for Reclaimed for Good’s quarterly newsletter below!
With the Stand Firm Zip Pouchpattern, you’ll receive everything you need from designing your own lining fabric to sewing a zipper for the first time if you’re new to sewing. It’s a quick and simple sew, but has such a personalized result. I genuinely enjoy creating each and every one!
Check out the pattern page here for more info and a video tutorial. Just don’t make fun of my first time on tape 😉
Also, for a short period of time, I’ll even have a small number of kits available on Etsy!
I wake up in the morning, get five kids fed and ready for church, sit in a sweltering balcony by myself with them so we don’t put on a wild show for everyone else in the sanctuary, hold Cheerios with one hand for my toddler, point to the words in the hymn for my Kindergartner with the other, bounce the baby on my knee, and use my foot to nudge one of the preteens so they’ll quit sulking and pay attention.
Just another Sunday morning.
My pastor husband asks me after the service what I thought about the sermon. My response is usually, “What sermon?”
Sundays are just plain rough in this phase of life. (More on our Sunday rodeos here.) I’m not able to sit in church, soaking in Scripture, focusing on the day’s teaching, and reveling at being part of the body of Christ.
But maybe this phase of life can serve as a reminder that being in the Word isn’t just a Sunday morning activity. Maybe, just maybe, it can be an encouragement for dwelling in the Word during the entire week.
Therein lies the rub, though, right? How do you find the time to drink in the Word when you barely have time to drink your morning coffee?
A while ago, an amazing group of ladies had a Facebook thread going about how to fit daily Bible reading into the hectic mom life. I followed along, eager for a magic formula that would give me the space and time to immerse myself in Scripture on a regular basis. Because those Sunday morning snippets weren’t cutting it.
There were some great ideas ranging from morning routines to naptime devotions to audio Bibles and devotion apps. I found that many of the ideas revolved around organizing your day and setting up routines to fit in regular Scripture reading. The thing for me, though, is that I found those ideas left room for me to have an excuse to push off devotions until I had the chores done. Or if the baby had a rough night, so I overslept in the morning and our routine was off, I would push my Bible reading aside until the next day. And then the next day. And then the next.
I found myself waiting for my life to be organized and the rhythms of of day to be running smoothly before spending time in personal devotion.
Thankfully, one comment on that Facebook thread really struck home for me and completely changed my persepctive. A friend of mine said, “Just do it. No excuses.”
So I quit waiting for the perfect, quiet time to read. Quit waiting for the chores to be done, the little kids to be sleeping at the same time, the big kids to be playing together nicely, my coffee to be hot, and for the table to be cleared. And I read whatever amount of the Word I could read while holding a fussy baby with one arm and gulping down my breakfast with the other. Sometimes it’s just a few verses, sometimes the stars align and I can read for fifteen minutes.
Over the months I’ve discovered that whatever the amount, whatever our state of mind, whatever the mess, the Word of God remains. And I can remain in it.
Routines can falter. Rhythms can syncopate. Sundays can be exhausting. Life can be (and usually is!) messy.
God meets me there anyway. And He promises to meet you too.
Rest in His Word today, friend.
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of my favorite resources for daily devotions:
First 5– Short and sweet devotions paired with a Scripture reading each week day. Read with the online community, a small group, or on your own. I do these every day with a long distance friend who keeps me accountable!
YouVersion Bible App – This is a great Bible app. For all your auditory learners out there, this one will even read the Bible to you!
Looking for a way to design your own lining fabric to use with the new Stand Firm Zip Pouch pattern? Spoonflower.com has made it easy to do yourself. And now I’m trying to make it even easier by giving you step-by-step instructions on how to use Spoonflower to make your lining piece! Follow the arrows on these photos (and written instructions, of course), to quickly make something unique and personalized for your zip pouch lining.
If you’d rather just grab a presdesigned verse, I have several available in my Reclaimed for Good Spoonflower store. Make sure to choose “Lightweight Cotton Twill” as the fabric type and “Test Swatch” as the size. (Full disclosure, these predesigned linings are exactly the same price as the ones you would design yourself, I just earn a very small commission on the purchase- thanks for your support!)
Email me at email@example.com or send me a message on Facebook/Instagram if you have any questions! And please share your finished products with me; I can’t wait to see what you design!
Step 1: Head to Spoonflower and click on “Join”. If you’re already a Spoonflower member, click on “Log In” and skip down to Step 4.
Step 2: Scroll down to Create an Account. You’ll have to scroll down further than the screenshot shows here to find the button!
Step 3: Enter in your info. Self explanatory, I know 😉
Step 4: Once you’ve completed the account creation process, or if you’re already a member) log in to Spoonflower and click on “Upload Your Design” on the top left of the page.
Step 5: Scroll down to “Other Design Options” at the bottom and click on “Swatch”. This will take you onto the PicMonkey website.
Step 6: You’re now on the PicMonkey website with a blank white square. Click on the little box the red arrow is pointing to in the picture above. This is going to give you a grid to align your design on.
Step 7: In the box that pops up, click on the 8 x 8 grid and check “snap to grid”.
Step 8: Now you’re ready to add your text. First click where the red arrow is pointing, on the “Tt” image on the left of your screen. Next follow the green arrow and click “Add text”. You can then choose whichever font you’d like on the list below “Add text”.
Step 9: Add your text by clicking on the box in the middle of the white square and typing in what you’d like. The pop up box on the right of the white square has options for you to change text color, size, alignment, and add desired effects. The grid allows you to move the text box so that you align it exactly in the middle of your square. This is important for it to show up correctly in your zip pouch! For best viewing after sewing, try to have at least 2.5″ blank on the top and bottom of the text and 1.5″ blank on the left and right sides. This is where the 8 x 8 grid comes in handy! Above, the text leaves 3″ blank on the top and bottom, and 2″ blank on the left and right sides.
Step 10: Now you can add some background designs if you’d like! Click on the box the red arrow is pointing to at the bottom of the screen and click the grid to “off” so you have a blank background to work with. Next, follow the green arrow and click on the box that is second to bottom on the left side of your screen. This will show background options.
Step 11: Choose the background you’d like to use by clicking on one of the choices and selecting your desired options before clicking “Apply”. There are lots of different choices and variations, so have fun looking around!
Step 12: Once you’re satisfied with your image, go to the top left of the screen and click on “Export”. This will take you back to the Spoonflower website.
Step 13: Do not worry if your image shows up as blank after coming back to the Spoonflower website! It will come back in the next step if it doesn’t appear here.
Step 14: From top to bottom in the box on the right of your image, choose the following: Under Repeat, choose “Center”. Under Design Size, click “Smaller” or “Bigger” until the image is 8″ x 8″. Under Choose a Fabric, click on “Lightweight Cotton Twill” (this is my preferred option, but you can choose whichever fabric you’d like). Under Choose a Size & Amount, click on “Text Swatch”. Now you’re ready to “Add to Cart” and order!
Once you receive your fabric, follow the Stand Firm Zip Pouch tutorial to make your own unique zip pouch for yourself or a friend! I’m so happy you’re sewing with us!
When working on projects for Reclaimed for Good, I often find myself dwelling at the intersection of sewing and faith. Working to create something new from something old turns out to be a beautiful metaphor for the work Christ does in each of us.
I’d love to share a little of my process so maybe others can discover how faith intersects their own creative endeavors. But mostly, I want to share a sliver of hope and encouragement.
Each month of 2020, I’ll be giving away a Hope Pouch from Reclaimed for Good. Read on to see how they’re made and what’s inside. (Or just scroll to the bottom to find out how to enter 😉 ).
Every Hope Pouch starts off as a pile of scraps. Wrinkled, fraying, odd shaped, unneeded bits and pieces that appear to have no function left.
These discards are carefully made even by trimming, joined together by stitching, and pressed into place with a hot iron, until a patchwork piece is formed.
Together with other, larger scraps, the patchwork piece is carefully assembled and reborn as the exterior of the Hope Pouch.
The pouch is then lined with new material, fabric crafted from a child’s painting, and then stamped with a label of HOPE written by another child’s hand.
From scraps, tossed aside with uncertain purpose, comes a brand new creation lined with hope.
For our monthly giveaways this year, each hope pouch will come filled with a stack of Scripture encouragement cards from PureJoyCreative, a set of four notecards by Dear52, a True Hope bookmark by Knowledge of Him, and my favorite Trader Joe’s chocolate bar.
I am painfully aware that our real need is not a little zipper pouch filled with goodies, but rather something greater and far more eternal. My simple wish is that these Hope Pouches, can serve as a tangible reminder of the true hope that we have. And share a piece of the little corner where I keep discovering God’s mercy and goodness – that sweet combination of sewing and faith.
***MINI HOPE POUCH WEEKLY GIVEAWAY INFO***
I’ll be giving away one small Hope Pouch each week of social distancing rather than one big one a month. I figure we could use a ray of hope more frequently these days. Mini pouches are appx 4.5” high and 5.5” wide, with a lobster clip to make them perfect for your key chain. Plus it comes with Scripture encouragement cards from @purejoycreative and a blank greeting card from @dear_52
We all know that there’s fabric to be found at Joann Fabrics, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, and large online stores like fabric.com and fabricwholesaledirect.com. Even Amazon carries fabric! But if you’d rather buy locally, sustainably, ethically, or just want to try something new, don’t think you’re out of options! You might be surprised at the amount of other places you can “buy small” and still find great fabric for your projects. Here is a list of a few of my favorites:
Start with what you have!
Before you go anywhere, try using a critical eye and be amazed at what you have around your home that you can use to sew. Old sheets and curtains, clothes past repair, couch pillow covers that need a refresh, scraps from old projects, even discards from friends and family (hint: your grandma might have a stash of old fabric!)
Also, especially if you already have a fabric stash, consider deciding only to work within the realm of what you have currently available when starting a project. Sometimes the greatest creativity can be found when having to operate within limits!
Local Thrift Stores & Antique Shops
Luckily I have a local thrift store not to far from my home and an antique store just down the street. Buying from there means I’m not just buying secondhand, but the money I spend there goes back into our community. Look around for thrift stores near you that are either run locally or part of a bigger chain. It may take some extra time and digging, but treasures can be found there! I often use button down shirts from thrift stores to line my tote bags.
Online Thrift Stores
There are also online thrift stores that specialize in fabrics, both vintage and overstock.
A Thrifty Notion, based in Manhattan, Kansas, is both an online and brick and mortar second hand fabric store. They have great finds and also take fabric donations if you’re looking to destash. I love checking out their features each Friday, but they sell out quickly!
Queen of Raw is a place to find unused, high end fabric, called deadstock fabric. This fabric is generally from companies that ordered more than they needed for projects and the excess would sit in warehouses if not for organizations like Queen of Raw. It ranges from luxury leather to interior decorating, to linen, to pretty much anything you could want!
Local Quilt Shops
Local quilt shops are wonderful places. My daughter and I attempted our first quilt after winning a fabric “layer cake” from Experience Quilts. They cheered and helped us every step of the way! Nothing beats quality fabric and a personal touch!
Zipit Zippers – not a fabric store, but my favorite place to buy zippers
Think Outside the Box
One other site that’s been fun for me to use this past year has been Spoonflower. The flexibility and creativity in being able to design exactly what you want for a project is a blast! The lining of the pouch below is a combination of a painting and handlettering by my kids. They love seeing their art on fabric being used in my work!
You can always go beyond fabric, as well. The embellishments on this zip pouch are cut from old feedsacks and a coffee sleeve! There’s hidden art everywhere you look :).
I’d love to hear about your favorite places to go fabric hunting!