DIY Bean Bag Tutorial

Beanbags are a childhood staple. As a teacher, I often used bean bags in my elementary classroom for lots of different learning activities. The possibilities are truly endless! Homemade Bean Bags are a perfect easy beginner sewing project and can help use up fabric scraps. The materials are practically free, and even if you have to buy a bag of beans for the filler, each beanbag only costs pennies to make. Make a set for the kids in your life and enjoy hours of fun!

DIY Bean Bag Tutorial

 

DIY Beanbag Tutorial

Sewing level: Beginner
Time: 5 minutes
Cost: $0-$5

*Affiliate Links are present in this post.*

Materials:

Square scrap fabric
Sewing machine
Thread
Beans (any will do!)
Hand Sewing Needle (optional)

How to Sew a Beanbag

  1. Cut your fabric to a 4×4 square. You will need 2 squares per bean bag. (Mine were 3.5 inches square in the photo. They were fine, but a little smaller than I wanted.)
    Cute two squares for DIY beanbags
  2. With right sides together, sew around the square. Make sure to start halfway down one side and stop sewing early, leaving a 2 inch space.
    Sew two squares together to make beanbags.
  3. Clip corners, making sure not to clip the thread.
    Clip corners before turning beanbag right side out
  4. Turn the bean bag right side out through the hole. Use a pencil to push the corners out.
    Use a pencil to push corners out when you turn the beanbag right side out.
  5. Place beans inside the bean bag. I used regular dry pinto beans that I’ve had in my cabinet forever, but whatever kind of beans you have at your house will work.
    add dry beans to the bean bags
  6. Sew the small opening shut. I used a needle and did a quick whipstitch by hand, but you can also use a sewing machine.
    whipstitch the beanbag opening shut

That’s it! So easy. Now, you’re ready to hand these to the kids and make up a game!

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DIY Door Draft Stopper {Easy Sewing Project}

As I quietly creep through the house to the coffee maker, I catch a chill as soon as my feet hit the hardwood floor in our entryway. It sends a shiver through me and I make a quick detour to look at the thermostat. It’s holding strong and steady where it was set, but it’s winter and the cold air still finds its way in through the tiniest cracks. A draft stopper, or a draft snake as we called it growing up, is a quick and easy fix for stopping cold air from coming in through door cracks. Using a Door Draft Stopper or a Draft Snake is a great way to lower your heating bill and make sure your home is energy efficient. It just so happens that a door draft stopper is also a very easy DIY sewing project. With some scrap fabric and fifteen minutes, you can stop drafts in your house, too.

DIY Door Draft Stopper or Draft Snake to keep the chilly air from sneaking in the door cracks and helping your heating bill

DIY Door Draft Stopper/Draft Snake Tutorial

Sewing Level: Beginner
Time: 15 minutes
Cost: $0-$10

Materials:

Fabric (mine was from my stash)
Thread
Sewing machine
Measuring Tape
Rice
Twill Tape (optional)

 

How to Make a DIY Door Draft Stopper/Draft Snake

  1. Measure your door and add a few inches. Cut Fabric. I found a piece of fabric in my stash that was perfect, so I didn’t even cut the length.
    Use scrap fabric to make a DIY Door Draft Stopper
  2. Fold in half lengthwise (hotdog fold). Pin the long edge and one short end closed.
    sewing scrap fabric into a DIY Draft Stopper
  3. Sew one short end. Lift your presser foot, turn, and sew all the way down the long side. Clip corners, being careful not to cut the seam.
  4. Turn the tube inside out. Use a pencil to gently help you poke the corners out if you need to.
    turning scrap fabric tube inside out for DIY Draft Snake
  5. Fill 3/4  of the way with rice. My husband helped me with this part.
    DIY Draft Stopper made from rice and scrap fabric
  6. Fold the rough edges on the open end of the tube inside about an inch.
  7. Optional: If you want to add a handle loop for easy storage when not in use, cut a piece of twill tape. Insert it in the opening to form a loop. Pin in place.
    Sew a loop at one end of your DIY Door Draft Stopper for easy storage
  8. Sew shut. Reinforce the opening with more than one stitch. (I scooted my sewing machine all the over to the edge of the table and asked my husband to hold the rice tube while I sewed the opening shut.)
    sewing end of the rice tube for a DIY draft snake

Note: I store mine hanging on a hook in my laundry room when not in use.

I’ve made draft stoppers for all of our exterior doors in our house, especially the door between the garage and our new basement homeschool room. They keep the cold air out and the warm air in. I’d say that’s a pretty fantastic frugal winter sewing project that will keep you warm.

DIY Door Draft Stopper or draft snake

Want more DIY Projects? Buy the Ultimate DIY Bundle and get busy!

DIY Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer {Beginner Sewing Project}

In my quest for pantry organization, I have a love/hate relationship with plastic grocery bags. On one hand, we reuse them for easy disposal of stinky diapers, mini trash can liners, and more. On the other hand, they seem to multiply faster than rabbits. Even with the use of reusable canvas shopping bags, we STILL end up with a lot of plastic grocery bags that need to be recycled or reused. That’s where my kids come in—one of their chores is to put the plastic grocery bags into the grocery bag holder. It works well for us and even the 3-year-old can do it. The problem is, our plastic bag holder has seen better days. I’ve had it for at least 15 years and it is falling apart. It was literally holding on by a thread and wasn’t really doing its job anymore. The plastic bags were overflowing and falling out, which led to even more clutter. It was time for a new Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer to contain the plastic shopping bag clutter.

 

Use a tea towel to sew a Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer. This beginner sewing project is an easy way to organize plastic shopping bags and cut down on pantry clutter!

Making a Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer is an easy sewing project. If you can sew a straight line, you can tackle this—it’s a perfect beginner sewing project. By using a tea towel instead of fabric, I eliminated the need to finish seams and save some time. Or, if you want to use some fabric, it is a great fabric stash busting project. This sewing project took me less than 15 minutes from start to finish and made a big impact in my pantry organization efforts. Ready to get started on your own? Let’s sew!

 DIY Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer Sewing Tutorial

Sewing Level: Beginner
Time: 15 minutes
Cost: Less than $5 (I had everything on hand, so this was FREE for me)

*affiliate links are included in this post

sewing materials for an easy to sew plastic grocery bag holder

Materials:

Tea Towel (mine is from the Dollar Tree!)
Sewing Machine
Thread
Skinny Elastic (mine was 1/4 inch)
Safety Pin
Twill Tape (you can buy this in a package or in at the cutting table. You’ll only need about 8 1/2 inches, so you could ask them to cut some to be extra frugal)

How to Sew a Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer

 

  1. Fold the tea towel in half, bringing the two long sides together to make a long, skinny rectangle. (Or as I tell my kids, a hot dog fold.)
    a folded tea towel can be sewn into a plastic grocery bag holder. Easy DIY project for a beginning sewer.
  2. Pin along the long side (or if you are a sewing rebel like me you could totally skip this step)
    pin your tea towel plastic grocery bag holder before sewing to make a straight line
  3. Sew a straight line on the long side. (FYI: the top corner was really thick, so I moved over a little and used the seam from the towel as my sewing foot guide.)
    with only a few straight seams, you can make a DIY plastic Grocery Bag Holder  to organize all those extra plastic bags from shopping trips
  4. Trim if you need to to remove bulk along the seam. Make sure not to cut over your sewing line.
  5. Fold the top and bottom of the tube down. Iron and pin in place. I eyeballed this part using my elastic as my guide. 1 inch was plenty for me.
    sew a plastic grocery bag organizer from a tea towel
  6. Stretch your tube on the sewing machine ( I removed part of my machine so I would have more control.) If yours won’t fit around your sewing machine arm, push the bulk out of the way.
    removable sewing arm on a sewing machine
  7. Sew around the tube, leaving a 1-2 inch gap from your starting point and ending point.
    grocery bag holder top seam
  8. Lay your tube flat. Cut two pieces of elastic about the length of the short side of your tube. (I totally eyeballed this.) Using a safety pin on the end of the elastic, thread the elastic through the hole, working it through the mini tube. If this is your first time making an elastic seam like this, make sure to hold onto the other end of your elastic, or pin the loose end close to the opening. This will ensure you won’t pull the elastic all the way through. If you mess up and the elastic pulls through, just do it again.
    safety pin on elastic
    easy to make plastic shopping bag organizer
    making an elastic seam
  9. Pull elastic through and overlap the ends to make the elastic like a continuous circle. Sew.
    elastic seam for plastic shopping bag organizer
    sewing elastic seam
  10. Place the tube on the sewing machine again. Sew the 1-2 inch gap closed on the top and bottom seam.
  11. Turn the tube inside out.
    elastic seam
  12. Trim any loose strings you might have hanging.
  13. Measure the twill tape. I measured about 8 1/2 inches. Once again, you can eyeball this. Trust me.
    use twill tape to make a loop for the DIY plastic bag holder
  14. To make a loop, I folded the twill tape in half, then moved one end down a 1/2 inch. After that, I folded the longer edge over to make sure my edges were clean and didn’t fray. If you didn’t want to do this, you could put some Fray Check on the raw edges.
    twill tape
    twill tape 2
  15. Stretch one of the elastic ends over the sewing machine again and sew the twill tape loop onto the plastic grocery bag organizer. Since my kids will be tugging on it frequently, I reinforced my stitching on the loop a few times.
    sewing a loop on the plastic shopping bag organizer

And that’s it! Hang it up in your pantry or laundry room to organize all those pesky plastic grocery bags that are cluttering up your space.

 

Make a plastic grocery bag organizer made out of tea towels. Perfect for beginner sewing project.

Caterpillar/Butterfly Finger Puppets {Flip Dolls Pattern Hop & Giveaway}

I first “met” Laura while I was pregnant with Asher. If you were a reader during that time, you’ll remember I was SO sick with Hyperemesis Gravidarum and the entire house was a little down in the dumps. During that time, Laura sent us a package with hand-drawn artwork from her daughter and a homemade crown for Jonah. It was a slice of sunshine during a rather rough time in our lives and we were touched by her kindness.

homemade crown

While the crown was a nice surprise, I was also drawn to Laura’s fabulously creative blog. She comes up with some of the most clever patterns that just beg to be replicated.

And then she gathered all of those clever projects into a book! A real book! It’s the most delightful thing to flip through.

When Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & Go arrived on my doorstep, my boys piled up on my lap. As we flipped through every page, they made a list of sewing projects for me….pretty much every project from the book!

Flip Dolls Pattern Hop & Giveaway

Laura asked if I’d join in the Flip Dolls Pattern Hop and I couldn’t resist! I knew immediately I wanted to master the art of flip dolls, but honestly, the flip dolls intimidated me a little. I decided to start small.

Caterpillar/Butterfly Flip Doll

Caterpillar Flip Doll finger puppet reversible finger puppet

For my first attempt at flip dolls, I chose the Caterpillar/Butterfly pattern. With adorable pom-pom trim for the legs and a simple handstitched smile, I’m somewhat smitten.

Tucked inside, there is a small surprise…

Caterpillar Butterfly Reversible Finger Puppets Flip Doll

An adorable butterfly–perfect for little ones to use as a finger puppet!

Butterfly flip doll finger puppet

I’ll be honest, the butterfly pictured in this post was my second attempt. It took me a little while to picture how things were supposed to work and I was a little too sloppy on my 1/4 inch seams. It made for a tight squeeze! Another thing that I think contributed to the tight fight inside was that I added another layer of felt on the underside of the wings to hide my stitches from the wing details.

After completing the Caterpillar & Butterfly flip doll, I immediately started on another!

Flip Dolls & Other Toys that Zip, Stack,  Hide, Grab and Go Review and Giveaway. These adorable dolls are reversible and can be used as puppets!

Giveaway

Would you like to win your own book and give sewing flip dolls a try? Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Then, visit the first 5 links in the blog hop below for more chances to win!

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Have you made a Flip Doll? Use the linkup below to show off your creations! The first five links are part of the Flip Dolls Pattern Hop and each have book giveaways! Visit them for more chances to win!

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Tutorial: How to Applique Without an Embroidery Machine

Ok, so I know that I have an embroidery machine to make most of my cute appliques for my Etsy Shop. However, I know not everyone has a fancy embroidery machine to do all the hard work. Fear not, my friends, you too can add a cute applique to clothing, pillows, or anything else you can think of that needs some extra cuteness without an embroidery machine!

How to applique without an embroidery machine

How to Applique Without an Embroidery Machine:

Materials:

  • Shirt (or item you are adding an applique to)
  • Fabric for applique
  • Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive (says “sewable” on the package)
  • Pattern for Applique (mine is an outline of Africa straight off the internet)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread

Directions:

1.  Gather your materials (Forgive me, I switched shirt colors after I took this picture)

2. Iron the Heat-N-Bond Lite on the wrong side of the fabric. Make sure you are ironing the side with adhesive to the fabric…if not, you’ll have a mess on your iron! The smooth paper side should be the part you are ironing. (A word about Heat-N-Bond Lite: There are different kinds. You want to make sure you get the kind that is sewable. If you don’t, it will be really stiff and will get your needle all “gunked” up. Make sure it is the LITE version.) Read the directions if it’s the first time you’ve used Heat-N-Bond.

ironing

3.  Cut out your pattern (if you haven’t already).  Flip your pattern and trace your pattern BACKWARDS on the paper of the Heat-N-Bond. If you trace your pattern right side up, your pattern will be backwards when it is time to place it on your clothing. Trust me.

4.  Cut out your applique. Flip it over…see, told you it would look right in the end. :)

5.  Peel the paper backing off the fabric. There will be a “sheen” from the adhesive that transferred to the fabric. Find the proper placing for your applique.

6.  Using the proper heat settings (refer to the packaging), iron the applique in place.

**Oops! I missed this picture….imagine an iron :)

7. In order to make it easier to maneuver my shirt, I removed the bottom portion of my sewing machine. Now I can slide my shirt over the arm of the sewing machine.

8.  Topstich around the applique. Go slowly and stop as needed to turn your needle or adjust your shirt. I did a simple straight stitch, but you can get fancy if you’d like depending upon the stitches you have on your machine. Zig-zag is always fun, but might be hard to control the first time using this technique or if your applique is curvy…like my Africa shape.

9.  Voila!

Love For Africa Ribbon Ruffle Shirt

See, it is easy to applique without an embroidery machine!

Any questions? Ask it in the comments!

Toy Story: Jesse Cowgirl Outfit

My niece’s birthday was last weekend. She’s a huge fan of Jesse from Toy Story and I was inspired to make her an outfit. Since I don’t have a girl of my own yet, I loved getting the chance to sew something extra girly for her present….I live vicariously through the little girls in my life.

http://www.happybrownhouse.comI embroidered the shirt using the Cowboy Applique Alphabet from Planet Applique. The skirt is a a three-tiered twirl skirt. I also made ribbon ruffle socks. The cowboy hat was a lucky find at the Dollar Tree! I used my hole punch to poke holes in the edge of the hat and added some white cording to mimic Jesse’s hat. I can’t wait to see her in her outfit!

*Tutorial for Ruffle Socks and a Three-tiered Twirl Skirt coming soon! (Taking pictures for tutorials is a lot of work!) Make sure to subscribe so you won’t miss these adorable tutorials!

Linking up to:

A Crafty Soiree @ Katie’s Nesting Spot, Feature Yourself Friday, Just Something I Whipped Up @The Girl Creative

My Standard Wedding Gift

Over the weekend I went to a wedding shower for Jake & Maggie. I took a gift that is becoming a standard around here….a monogrammed market tote filled to the brim with free cleaning supplies from my couponing adventures.

While it wasn’t exactly on their gift registry, I think it’s pretty useful. I’m wondering 3 things:

  1. Is it ok to give things that aren’t on the couple’s gift registry? (Especially if they have really expensive taste?)
  2. Is it considered tacky or smart to give things I get for free with coupons? (They don’t have to know I got it for free, right?)
  3. If it is considered tacky, does the adorable monogrammed market tote cancel out the tackiness? (I’m really hoping you say it does.)

Feel free to share your thoughts!