Blue Cat Pet Bed

Blue Cat Pet Bed
Blue Cat Pet Bed

It has been awhile since I made a pet bed, but the schnibble bag was getting too full.

The fabric is one of the last I got from Amanda, *I think*. I had to trim the gusset a little as I thought it was too long and made a long tunnel in the opening, which makes getting the schnibbles into the pet bed, without much on the floor, difficult.

I thought I had a lot of schnibbles, but the bed isn’t even half full. Refer to my post on having less time to sew. 😉

Finished: Sewing Machine Mat

Sewing Machine Mat from above
Sewing Machine Mat from above

I finished my sewing machine mat Friday evening after work. I got off a little early for the holiday weekend, which was nice and had some time to sew before the DH got home from Grand Parlor**

I had very little left to do, but it just seemed like something was always grabbing my attention away from sewing. There is a lot of house stuff going on and it just has to be dealt with step by step.

Sewing Machine Mat from front
Sewing Machine Mat from front

There were a couple of things I did differently. Vanessa of Crafty Gemini called for the threadcatcher to be held on to the mat by a loop (see an image on her site). I thought that design looked weird-I didn’t want stuff hanging off of the mat I was making, so I used sew-in magnets. I used two on the threadcatcher. It will not hold up to heavy garbage, but the threadcatcher is named “threadcatcher” and not garbage can for a reason. Since I had my giant stack (ooops purchase!) of sew-in magnets out, I used a set for the pincushion as well. The pattern calls for a snap.

The snap and the loop work fine! I just wanted a little different look.

I also made mine a little wider to accommodate a machine with a larger throat. The pattern was really good about mentioning this type of adjustment.

Sewing Machine Mat - threadcatcher detail
Sewing Machine Mat – threadcatcher detail

I think the project came out very well, but I am not a huge fan of this particular pattern. I think the threadcatcher is too big and somewhat unnecessary. Most of us have a garbage can by our sewing machine. I also think the pink cushion is extraneous. How many pincushions do you have?


This is a great piece to have on a retreat where you may not have all of your pincushions or a garbage can nearby.

I found a pattern in Issue 35 of Love of Patchwork & Quilting magazine. I am going to make one of those as well – sometime – just to compare.







**I had to leave early to go back to work.

CG Sewing Table Mat

As mentioned back in April, I am a member of the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club. I made a couple of the projects, but haven’t been able to keep up the pace since the beginning of April. After getting the Octagon Nine Patch ready for the quilter, I decided to work on a club project.

Crafty Gemini Sewing Machine Mat
Crafty Gemini Sewing Machine Mat

For reasons you will find out later, this project not going to be part of the set. I chose the ice cream cone fabric, because it is super fun.

As you can see, I am part way through the project. I cut the mat slightly larger than the pattern called for to accommodate larger machines.I have bound the vinyl pocket and basted it to the main fabric, but have gotten no further.

Crafty Gemini Sewing Machine Mat detail (in process)
Crafty Gemini Sewing Machine Mat detail (in process)

Crafty Gemini projects are known for zippers and vinyl. This project only has vinyl and I have an idea in my mind to make several of them for gifts. I saw another similar project in Issue 35 of Love of Patchwork & Quilting magazine. It looks very similar with a few differences. I am thinking of making that one to compare the two projects. Stay tuned to see if I do it. I have a lot of plans for gifts.

Tooly McToolston

Tooly Easel Stand
Tooly Easel Stand

OK. This pattern is not called Tooly McToolston. That is, however, the way I think about it for some reason.

Mary's Gifts
Mary’s Gifts

I am still working on various gifts. This latest item in the group is part of the group I posted a week or so ago.

I like the idea of this easel because it would make my tools available quickly when I was at a retreat or workshop or generally away from my workroom.

This is a gift, but the issue for me is that I already have a box for my tools when they are in transit. The other thing is my box doesn’t make the tools available right away. I have to dig around to get at them. I don’t know. I am on the fence. I like the idea. Clearly I am not linking this change.

Good thing it isn’t for me, because it makes a great gift. I didn’t have much trouble making it. There was one part I didn’t get, but It wasn’t problematic enough to affect the outcome of the overall pattern.

Tooly McToolston in process
Tooly McToolston in process

I found it was really important to label all the pieces. The pocket pieces are very similar, so labeling them helped me keep them in order. You can see the green Post-it notes in the photo above.

Tooly Closed
Tooly Closed

I think this might be a great gift to make for people. I already have the pattern. I already have the a big piece of mat board left. It doesn’t take very long and is useful.

In terms of my new gift grouping, I am not sure if I will put this in another One Hour Basket or if I will make something else. I do like the Big and Little Patchwork Totes from the Make It, Take It book.

Tooly Tool Easel pattern by Sew Together products. $5 No affiliation.

Julie’s Gift

Julie's Birthday Gifts
Julie’s Birthday Gifts

Don’t you love this photo? We went out to lunch for Julie’s birthday and I took this in the restaurant.

Friend Julie‘s birthday is December 1 and generally it sneaks up on me, but this year I was prepared! I got a jump on it. In the frenzy of fabric pressing before Thanksgiving, I found some fabric I had bought to make napkins. I picked out some purples to go on the back and started some napkins. I also decided that Julie needed a One Hour Basket, so I made one of those as well.

I bought her some books and things as well, but I do like to make things for people who appreciate them. Also, I feel like I am sewing in place, so a couple of finishes was great.

Final Napkins

Thanksgiving is next Thursday in the US.

Is the pie crust made?


Pie filling?


Rooms tidied of their pieces and piles?

Sort of.

Napkins - final
Napkins – final
Napkins - final
Napkins – final



However! The napkins for Thanksgiving are done! As I mentioned last time, one got eaten so I went and bought another pack. The dusky purple was an inspired choice. All of the motifs turned out really well on that background.

Even the Pennsylvania Dutch style turkeys is appealing.

Thanksgiving Tablerunners

Pumpkin/gourd tablerunner
Pumpkin/gourd tablerunner

The tablerunners are ready for their first outing in a couple of weeks. I have no illusions about finishing the tablemat, but I am pleased with my efforts thus far.

The first one I finished is shown on the left. I really like this one and kind of wish I had bought more of these panels, so all of the runners could match. I didn’t and I am not making more.

Tablerunners #2 & 3
Tablerunners #2 & 3

I did very simple quilting, for the most part, though the quilting ended up being much more complicated on the alternate design just because of the fabric motifs. I did a lot of outline quilting of the leaves and such, so it took more time.

I think, depending, that I will plan to take the tablemat to the next quilt retreat. I get a lot of blocks made at retreats, but quilting is also a good task for a retreat.


BAM Retreat Projects

As discussed a couple of days ago, I went on the BAM Retreat. I didn’t just have boatloads of fun and eat until I was sick, I also made some valuable progress.

The Thanksgiving tablerunners have been hanging over my head. Thanksgiving is now 1.5 months away and the hanging became more like the Sword of Damocles than an item on my to do list. I am pleased to say that the two remaining have been quilted. I still need to make and apply the binding, but the quilting part is done. I didn’t get to the tablemat, but I am pleased with my progress.

One thing I did on the pumpkin tablerunner was use Aurifloss (12 wt thread). I used it in the machine with 50 wt Aurifil in the bobbin. There was more breakage than I normally experience with Aurifil. I really like the effect and was pleased that the 50 wt did not show through to the top. I didn’t have to adjust the tension.

I also made a few blocks for the Tula Pink City Sampler/ Tale of Two Cities project. The blocks were a good break from quilting, which I needed after I completed the quilting on the first tablerunner. Julie joined the #100blocks100days challenge on Instagram and, while I have not joined, it is inspiring me to work on them. Also, she is now ahead of me on making blocks! I need to get myself in gear. Michelle S was a good support for this project at the retreat.

I also FINALLY started the Valori Wells Little Cell Phone Wallet pattern. I really, REALLY need something to carry my phone and hotel key when I am wearing dresses with no pockets. REALLY. Since the project was small, it seemed like a good time to work on it. I had some trouble with the directions, which should be no surprise. I did get a good working sample by the time I left the retreat. It isn’t one that I will use for various reasons. I’ll write more about this pattern in another post.

While my descriptions might not seem like a lot, I was busy and working hard the whole time. I am pleased with my progress and will be really pleased when I can finish these various projects and cross them off my list.

Thanksgiving Tablerunner #1

I was determined to work on some of the projects on my to do list at the Retreat. I also wanted to work on some projects I wasn’t likely to work on at home.

First up was the Thanksgiving tablerunner. It has only been on my to do list for 5 minutes, but I started with it because it is small. I figured that I could actually finish it.

Thanksgiving tablerunner - quilted
Thanksgiving tablerunner – quilted

I was able to finish the quilting. I am a bit of a maniac when I do decide to quilt, so the project took me all afternoon and into the evening. I did go out to dinner and socialize, but otherwise sat in front of my machine and quilted.

I quilted diagonal lines in the center (red) using some blue painter’s tape to keep the lines even and straight. As I got more comfortable, my mania started to kick in and around the edges I did a lot more quilting. I followed the outline of the pumpkins and gourds. I also quilted a lot around the leaves on the top and bottom and in the orange sashing.

Next up binding, then I will have a finish for 2016.

Fons & Porter Pillows

While at my SIL’s I looked through some quilt magazines I brought with me for her. We looked through the magazines and discussed the various projects. I had looked through the magazines before, but looking through them with my SIL made me see them differently.

I actually like looking through magazines with almost any other quiltmakers. I get a different perspective on the project as I talk with another person.

Pillows from Magazine
Pillows from Magazine

In the magazine, I caught a glimpse of some pillows. These were projects made from leftover HSTs. One had a very interesting pinwheel pillow.

The thing I like about that design is that it is simple, but interesting. The maker used at least four fabrics. It is hard to see the light blue in the corners so there could be more. The more fabrics keep the design simple, but make it interesting and not boring.

This would be a good follow-up/practice project to the Sampler Class Triangle Project.

Book Review: The Bag Making Bible

The Bag Making BibleThe Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have an idea to make the perfect work bag. I haven’t yet found a pattern out there, but with the right knowledge of techniques and an ok pattern, I can probably make something that will work.

After reviewing Big City Bags by Sara Lawson, I put the book in my database (I am a librarian after all!). In the course of testing the records and the search results, I came across Lisa Lam’s The Bag Making Bible and had to look through it for more ideas.

If you have this book and Big City Bags, you have everything you need to make almost any bag out there. Big City Bags by Sara Lawson has good techniques, but is mostly a project book. Lisa Lam‘s book focuses more on techniques, but has projects to go with each technique. The projects are not the focus of the book. In fact they are even hard to find, hidden as they are in the midst of detailed instructions for techniques.

One of the different aspects of this book is that the techniques build on each other. This is a more down and dirty, ‘here’s everything you need to know’ kind of book than Big City Bags. It goes from very basic (explaining parts of the sewing machine-pg.14) through intermediate (explaining a pattern with a glossary of terms) to advanced (modifying patterns). You will have to think, because skills or techniques you learn in one section are referred to again in another section.

On careful examination of the table of contents, I saw that the projects were, indeed, named and given a page number as a subheading under the main point/heading of the chapter. I like this idea, because by scanning the list of techniques, I can find projects that will illustrate the technique I want to learn.

The book is laid out in a pretty standard way: Table of Contents, Foreword and Introduction. The introduction has one line that explains the premise of the book “I have purposefully moved away from quick and easy bag projects because I believe that when you spend a little more time in creating something special you will cherish the results all the more.” This is a great description of the premise of the book.

The first sections after the above are all about the basics. They start with Basic Equipment. The author has good photos of the basic equipment, some of which I have never seen in a bag book. I like it that these unusual tools are included. I did wonder why no rotary ruler was included in the list, though a rotary cutter is included.

The sewing machine section includes some information on machine stitches and photos of the machine feet.

The next section is called Anatomy of a Bag, which covers all the aspects of a bag from parts you have heard of like flaps to parts like the gussets, which are less common.

The basics continue with ‘Getting Started’, which discusses using patterns, ‘Understanding Patterns’,’Fabric Preparation and Cutting,’ Modifying Patterns and then the book continues on to the techniques and projects. The ‘Understanding Patterns’ section is good also for garment sewing.

‘Choosing Fabrics’ is very complete. It includes a description of different types of fabrics and the pros and cons of each. The section talks about how best to use the fabrics for bags. This section has a subsection on choosing interfacing and interlining. Again, there are descriptions and definitions of different types and weights of interfacing.

I like the section called ‘Working with Colour and Pattern.’ The author has some beginner level suggestions. While there is no color wheel, the section gives the reader some suggestions about choosing colors as well as using pattern/motifs.

This is where the projects come in. The techniques are all associated with projects and the project teaches the reader those associated techniques. For example, in the Structure and Reinforcement section, there is a chart of ‘Volume Adding Features’. These are darts, pleats, etc and the chart tells the reader the benefits and suggested uses of each. The project photos have good detail shots and lots of instructions which, together, help understand how to use the featured technique while putting the project together.

The book has sidebar boxes throughout the book. The color and pattern section has boxes about using texture and sourcing fabrics. Some of the sections have a ‘Need to Know’, which covers important concepts that don’t fit into the other text.

I like the section on ‘Linings.’ It includes a chart of different types of pockets (charts are a good way to get a lot of information across quickly) as well as photos of the linings.

As with Big City Bags, zippers are covered really well. This book helps me understand what Sara Lawson was doing when I followed the directions for her Flush Zipper Pocket on the Petrillo Bag pattern. I was able to make the pocket from Sara’s excellent directions, but didn’t understand the underlying concept until I read this book. This is a great example of why these two books work really well together.

Information about zippers leaks over into the section called ‘Closures.’ Again, Lam includes a chart of different types of closures with benefits and suggested uses. There are photos different types of closures and how to insert them. I really liked the instructions on adding a pull tab to a zipper. This would have really helped me in some projects I have made recently.

Different types of trim, such as tassels, and edgings, such as piping, are also covered. Ready made handles and the different types of pockets that can be used are defined and instructions are provided.

I do think this book, and most bag books, could have benefited more from photos of the inside of the bags. I thought this, especially, when I saw The Organized Office Bag project. There are plenty of gorgeous pictures of the outside, but, frankly, the inside is heart of the matter for me. How many pockets are there?

This is a comprehensive book and would be a great addition to any bag maker’s library. It is a necessity for anyone who wants to understand bags and their components to an extent of designing or modifying patterns.

View all my reviews

Kelly’s Bag

Kelly's Bag
Kelly’s Bag

A little while ago I participated in Kelly’s monthly BAMQG Challenge, which was to quilt a half yard fabric sandwich. The goal ended up being to make a bag from this piece. I wasn’t entirely happy with the quilting, but I didn’t sincerely dislike it either. The quilted piece laid around for awhile, but it was on my mind. It is only recently that I made time to start the bagmaking part. Part of the delay was because I couldn’t understand and extrapolate out from Kelly’s excellent directions. You know me. Sometimes I can read and read and the words look like gibberish. She was very patient with me and agreed to give me one step at a time. Broken down I could do it.


  • 1 yard of fabric (2 different half yard pieces will add interest)
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for straps and other fiddley bits
  • 12″ x 42″ (or WOF) ShapeFlex
  • 12″ square of coordinating fabric for binding
  • batting slightly larger than 18″ wide to accommodate the half yards above
  • Sewing machine and supplies to machine quilt/free motion quilt
  • Rotary kit
  • Judy Martin Point Trimmer ruler
  • Optional: Timtex or Soft & Stable

Here are the directions with some illustrations:

  1.  Layer and sandwich 2 half yards of fabric with batting
  2. Full Piece Quilted
    Full Piece Quilted

    Free motion quilt piece as desired. Shown is the piece that I did back in April. I know pieces of fabric don’t magically quilt themselves and I am not saying they do. It took me some time, but it is good practice and this is a good use for those practice pieces. Go back to the previous post and look at the different quilting designs I used.

  3. Kelly didn’t have me make the straps until after the bag was put together. I like to make all the fiddley bits first, so they are ready to go when I am on a roll making the bag and ready for them. That means: make the straps whenever you want. You should make them your favorite way. Here are the directions for making the straps that I used for this bag:
    1. Cut 2 strips 6″ wide by WOF. You could make them 5.5″ and they would be a touch skinnier.
    2. Cut 2 strips 5 3/4″ x WOF from ShapeFlex (If you make the straps skinnier, you need to adjust the size of the ShapeFlex. I cut it smaller to reduce bulk in the seams, which can get quite hefty without trying.
    3. Press ShapeFlex to wrong side of fabric, following the manufacturer’s directions.
    4. Fold each 6″ fabric backed piece in half and press well.
    5. Open the pieces you just pressed and fold raw edges to the center.
    6. Press folded edges.
    7. Fold entire strap on original center fold again. Raw edges should be inside and strap should measure about 1.5″.
    8. Optional: Depending on what you want to use the bag for, you can further line the straps with something like Timtex or Soft & Stable.
    9. Topstitch along both edges very close to the edge. You can use a decorative stitch or two lines of straight stitching to add interest
  4. Squared up Quilted Piece
    Squared up Quilted Piece

    Square up your quilted piece by trimming the excess batting and raw edges.

  5. Fold trimmed piece in half RST* and sew along side and bottom edges ONLY. Only the top will be open. You will have a flat piece that looks like an oversized iPad cover.
  6. Measure to Box the Corners
    Measure to Box the Corners

    Box the corners. Kelly does a minimum of 2″ from the side seam. FYI: there is no seam on one side, so I pressed the fold and treated the folded part as a seam. I used my Creative Grids 4.5″x8.5″ ruler to try out different corner sizes. I ended up doing a 3″ box, using pins to try out the size and see what I liked. You can see in the photo that I was able to use the side and bottom measurements to help decide. I had to see how big the bag would be and how it work as a bag I actually used. Once I decided on the size of the boxed corner, I drew a pencil line across the corner to know where to sew. I placed a couple of pins across the drawn line to hold the bottom in place. Then I sewed on that line to make the box. in the picture, I sewed along the short end of the ruler from diagonal line to diagonal line using the center seam as the straight line.

    Corners Boxed
    Corners Boxed
  7. Optional: Trim off the excess corners to reduce bulk. I like to do this because I don’t like the excess to interfere with my stuff once I start using the bag. Also, small stuff that migrates to the bottom of the bag gets tangled up with them. Since this bag doesn’t have pockets, small stuff will migrate.
  8. Press raw seams open. You’ll have to stick the iron inside the bag.
  9. This is the point where, when I make the next version, I will sew binding over the raw seams. If I knew someone with a serger, I would serge them, but I don’t, so binding it is. I could just leave the raw edges, but that just seems wrong. On this version of the bag, I did this step later, but it makes sense to do it after the corners, so there is not a lot of other stuff to worry about and you won’t have to fold the ends of the inside binding over, because you can cover the raw edges of the inside binding when the top binding is sewn.
  10. Make a bias binding like you would for a quilt. You will need about 50″. I cut my square (see list of supplies) into 2.25″ wide strips on the diagonal. The Judy Martin Point Trimmer ruler makes it really easy to sew the strips together. I suppose you could use straight of the grain binding, but I think a bias binding works well.
  11. Add binding
    Add binding

    Bind the top, covering the edges of the binding that covers the inside raw edges (step above). I sewed along the bottom first, making sure I caught the underside as well as the top. When I finished I sewed along the top of the binding as well. I thought it made the bag look more finished and added some interest (must be my favorite term today). I used an extra piece of binding leftover from the Spiderweb quilt and I am glad I used something that mostly matched. On another version, I would plan ahead better and use a coordinating fabric or the strap fabric.

  12. If you haven’t made your straps, make them now.
  13. Test the length of the straps until they are right for your height. I used WonderClips at different lengths to find the right length, then I trimmed the original length to my custom length, which was about 36″.
  14. Flatten the bag carefully so the edge of the side is folded. This means that the edge of the side measures an equal amount from the side seam to the edge of the side as is the top. Measure two inches from this fold.
  15. Place a pin at 2″ that you just measured.
  16. Measure 2″ down from the top and place a pin parallel to the top of the bag. This makes a half square where you will place your strap.
  17. Fold the end of the strap 2″ up and place the folded edge right beneath the bottom of the binding.
  18. Sew the straps to the bag, making a box with an X in the middle. Go around the edges and the X a few times.
  19. Optional: After you sew on the straps, sew along the fake edge of the side (see step 14) from the top to about 4″ from the bottom. Do this on all sides to make the bag into a box.

You are finished! You have made the bag. Hooray!!!

A Variety of Notes:

Crazy as it sounds, I am now thinking of fabrics I can quilt that would look awesome in bag form. I know. I think I have lost mind.

I like my bags to have pockets, but I also don’t like the stitching to show through, so I didn’t put any in this bag. You could make a lining and add it before you sew on the binding, then you wouldn’t have to cover the raw edges with a binding. You could sew the pockets to the lining. You’ll have to figure the measurements out yourself. Of course, your beautiful quilting would be covered.

*RST – right sides together

*WOF – width of fabric (usually about 42″-45″

Scissor Sheath

I have a weird image of myself wearing a lanyard to a guild meeting with a lot of tools, at my fingertips and never lost under fabric or pattern pieces, hanging off of it. Like a chatelaine that the mistress of an English or French great house or castle would wear, only more quilty.

This is probably a stupid vision, because I would get a neck ache carrying around all this stuff  and it would look a bit geeky as well. I did warn you that it was strange, and I just never know what images will pop into my head and inspire me.

A good reason to go to a guild meeting, probably the best reason, is to see what others are making. At a recent BAMQG meeting, Susan brought scissor sheaths she was making for the ladies at a retreat in which she participates. These scissor sheaths stuck in my head and I looked up a couple of YouTube videos with directions. They are very easy to make.

I took the best of both videos to try and make my own.


  • Template (cardboard or rotary version)
  • Interfacing to give the piece a little body. Batting would do as well.
  • Gluestick or Sewline glue pen
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread
  • Rotary cutter
  • Iron and ironing supplies
  • Chalk or chalk pencil (Sewline works well)
  • Needle
  • Thread
Fan/Dresden Template Selection
Fan/Dresden Template Selection

First, I went looking for templates. I didn’t have a heart shaped die for the Accuquilt, so I looked for fan or Dresden Plate rotary templates. I knew I had some and thought those would work.

I had a few different ones and tried the rounded Dresden petal template first. the first one I made turned out ok. I needed to reinforce the stitching in several places and I didn’t like cutting around the rounded bottom (thinner end) of the template.

Despite my annoyance, any of the above templates, as well as the Accuquilt heart shaped die (not really covered in this tutorial) will do.



Cut Fabrics
Cut Fabrics
    • 4 pieces of fabric from your template (this tutorial does not cover the modifications needs if you are using the Accuquilt Heart shaped die)
Pin Interfacing to Fabric
Pin Interfacing to Fabric
  • 2 pieces of interfacing or batting slightly smaller than your template


Mark notches
Mark notches
  • Make notches or markings where you want the top fold to be – about 1-5/8″down from the top. 1″ works well for some fabric looks.
  • Pin the interfacing, if it is not fusible, to keep in in place while you sew until after you turn it. ShapeFlex will work if you have some.
Pin Interfacing to fabric
Pin Interfacing to fabric


  • Two right sides together, leaving a small space to turn,using a scant 1/4″
  • Try to catch the interfacing (if it isn’t fusible)

Clip and Turn

  • Optional: Clip curves, if you are using a Dresden Plate template that has a curved edge.
  • Turn pieces right sides out

Trim, Poke and Press

  • Trim the corners if you are not using a rounded Dresden template.
  • Poke out corners and curves carefully so the outer edge is smooth
  • Press so the pieces look nice


  • Put two main parts together (4 Dresden fan pieces that you have sewn and turned)
  • Sew from notches/markings
  • Sew around bottom 2-3 times staying on the line to reinforce the bottom


  • Trim the bottom corners
  • Turn whole piece right sides out
  • Fold down front petal
  • Press
  • Optional: stitch folded petal down using hand-stitching needle and thread or you could add a button or bead as an embellishment.
Scissor Sheath, finished
Scissor Sheath, finished

Final Thoughts

Now I am thinking of sets of Pincushions, needlecases and scissor sheaths. Watch out world! 😉 However, these are kind of a pain to make, so I don’t know how many I will make.

You could add a tab with some hardware so you can attach it to your quilt club lanyard.


  • Stamping with Gail video on scissor sheaths.
  • Anne Clemmer (StamperDog) video on making a scissor pouch

Orphan Block Lanyard

Orphan Block Lanyard
Orphan Block Lanyard

Back in December, I put a post up on the Bay Area Modern blog about making lanyards, which was a personal challenge that the president put out to the guild. I wanted to do it, but I haven’t done it for myself yet. It is on the list.

It took me some time to get around to making any kind of lanyard, but I finally did in response to the Orphan Block Challenge also put out by BAMQG. This one will be given in to a pool of small gifts and then I will get something back. I kind of like this lanyard, but am ok giving it away, too.The best part is that now I have a better idea about how to do it.


  • 2 orphan blocks, at least 10″x10″
  • Atkinson Designs Swivel Hook & D Ring Set
    Atkinson Designs Swivel Hook & D Ring Set

    1 swivel hook and d ring set (See Atkinson Designs sample) OR a swivel hook and a ring. You can use any size that you have on hand as long as it is larger than 5/8″

  • 1 ring (yes, another one)
  • Sewing machine
  • thread
  • Rotary cutter, mat and ruler
  • pins or WonderClips

First I took a look at the Two Peas in a Pod tutorial. There are several tutorials listed. I picked this one, because it was the first one I looked at and I could follow it easily. Frankly, I already had an idea of how I was going to make the lanyard, but I needed to see how someone else did a few of the parts.

Then, I squared up the blocks a little bit to make sure the blocks to make them easier to cut into strips.

Since this was an orphan block challenge, next, I cut the blocks into 2.5″ strips. The blocks were 9″ or 10″ blocks (I don’t know -I didn’t measure) and I got about 3 strips from each one with skinnier bits leftover. It doesn’t matter what size they are as you can use regular fabric or a Jelly Roll strip and discard the leftovers.

After cutting, I sewed the strips together until I had a piece that was long enough to go from my belly button, around my neck to right below my collarbone (about an inch below or so).

Sew another strip that is long enough to go from your collarbone to your belly button.

Take both strips, fold them in half and press. Open them up and fold the raw edges to the center and press.

Sew D Ring Here
Sew D Ring Here

Then I wanted to add a loop at the shoulder so my nametag would be at eye level or I could use it to keep track of my glasses. Cut this piece about 4″.

I took one of the leftover skinny strips (from the block above), folded it in quarters, top stitched both sides, slid the fabric piece through a ring and sewed that piece to the right side of a strip that had not yet been sewed. Once you slide the strip of fabric through the ring, you will have a U if you hold both of the raw edges, one in each hand. The ring will be dangling from the bottom of the U.

Collarbone Loop
Collarbone Loop

Nota bene: In the picture, the strip to which you have to sew is upside down. Make sure you sew the the loop with the ring in the bottom to the right side of the strip. Nota bene due: In a subsequent step, you will fold the whole piece in quarters and top stitch. You may want to measure and sew this loop to avoid the folds that will take place later.

Collarbone Loop
Collarbone Loop

After you have your extra loop added, you should sew the strip to the other strips and keep adding strips until the piece is long enough. You will need a bit of extra length to fold up to accommodate the Swivel hook and other loop, so don’t cut it off too short.

Now you have a long strip about 37″ long. This measurement is from the Two Peas in a Pod tutorial. I cut mine a little shorter to accommodate my height and torso length.

Fold your long strip in half and press. Yes, the glasses loop will be a pain. I haven’t figured out how not to make it a pain. If you know of a way to make it easier, let me know.

Open your piece and fold the raw edges towards the crease in the center. Once you have completed this the raw edges will be encased in the center.

Top stitch very close to the edges on both sides. If you want to be fancy, you can do a double line of stitching or a decorative stitch. Depending on the size of the ring holder, you may have to skip the area where the ring holder is, or go around it.

Now hang the strip around your neck. Trim the ends if you think they are too long.

Take the loop and thread one end of your strip through it. Pin in place. WonderClips work well, too.

Thread Strip End Through
Thread Strip End Through

Take the other end of the strip and thread the swivel hook through it. Pin in place or use WonderClips.

Now you are ready to finish off the ends. The different tutorials tell you to do it in different ways. I went with the the way the Two Peas in a Pod tutorial suggested. I hadn’t really thought about dual hardware on the bottom, but it works.


I staggered the placement of my loop and swivel hook so they wouldn’t clank together as I (or the user) walked around. This means that I had to adjust the placement of the two pieces. It took a little bit of trial and error, but, ultimately, I am happy with the placement. As an added bonus, I had fewer layers to sew over as I finished the lanyard. That step is optional.

Think about what you might hook on to your loop and swivel hook before you decide on placement.

Place the lanyard carefully around your neck. Make sure to smooth out the twists, if any, so the lanyard lays flat around the back of your neck and on your chest.

Reinforcing Thread Box
Reinforcing Thread Box

Once you are sure everything is smooth, pin (or WonderClip) the two ends together and sew. I made “thread boxes” (the same technique you use to reinforce areas of stress when making a bag) out of my sewing line in order to keep the lanyard together and looking nice.

Change your needle so you are using a new and very sharp needle. Sew two reinforcing boxes, the top one going through all layers. Move the swivel hook out of the way to sew the bottom box to finish the lanyard.

Collarbone ring in use
Collarbone ring in use

Pain and Suffering

There are a couple of places that will be difficult. Using orphan blocks or mosaic piecing means that there will be extra seam allowances. With these comes the possibility of really thick seams [See above where I refer to the glasses loop]. To mostly avoid these thick seams, use 3 unpieced lengths of fabric for the neck and loop pieces. 1 Jelly Roll strip (2.5″ wide strip) will work.

Lanyard in use
Lanyard in use
Swivel hook in use
Swivel hook in use


Le Challenge

I am linking up to the Le Challenge #14-Small on the Le Challenge blog