Category Archives: use for fabric scraps

Make Your Own Simple Yet Adorable Tea Cup Mouse

Making your own charming Tea Cup Mouse is easier than you think. I designed this project to be suitable for even beginner sewers. And you can adjust the project according to skill level.

This is a sweet way to use a lovely tea cup that has no matches. A cup with a chip or crack would be undesirable for drinking tea but these signs of wear would only add character to these little beds.

Sewing workshop: if you live locally (Southern Maryland) you might be interested in my Tea Cup mouse workshops for children (and adults too). Click on the Classes link above.

Tea Cup Mouse takes a break

This is Leo. He was made from a retired linen shirt. His bedside table was made from a slice of a tree branch and an old wooden spool of thread. The rug was made by cutting a rectangle from an old sweater. The tea cup was from a second-hand store.

Tea Cup Mouse snuggles under handkerchief

Leo loves his super soft handkerchief blanket. The handkerchief is vintage and the tea cup was a thrift store find.

Playful Tea Cup Mouse On The Move

This adorable mouse loves to play!

 MYO Tea Cup Mouse Kit

Three ways to give.

1. Make and give the finished mouse for a special gift.

2. Give a kit with pre-cut pieces and all the rest of the supplies, tea cup and all for a child to make for his or her self. Precutting the pieces might be necessary for younger children. Work together with him or her.

3. Give a kit with the pattern and all the rest of the supplies and let them have the fun of making a mouse friend just the way they want it. You might supply a few different pieces of scrap fabric for them to choose from. Give support as needed.

How to:

The first thing you will need to do is gather supplies.

You will need:

Salvaged fabric for the head and body of the mouse. No need to go out and buy any fabric; you only need a little from a past project or salvaged from an old pair of pants or shirt…

A washable marker for tracing your stencil on fabric.

Scissors for cutting the fabric.

Scrap pieces of felt for the mouse’s hands, feet and ears.

Embroidery floss of some type to embroider on the whiskers, nose and eyes and an embroidery needle. Or a black permanent marker to draw on the face. Tiny black pompoms could also be used for the nose and eyes.

Tea Cup Mouse can't wait until Christmas

This is Leo’s friend Lola. She can’t wait until Christmas! Her mouth, whiskers, and nose were drawn on and the eyes are pins that have the tip cut off. The pins make cute eyes but are not appropriate to use as a toy. Ears, hands and feet can be glued on for easier construction but I like to sew on pieces for a more secure attachment. Her scarf was made from a sweater that I felted. Just snip the ends to make the ends fringed. I included a felted wool blanket as well. She snuggles in a second-hand cup.

Some piece of thin rope or leather cord to use as a tail.

Some kind of stuffing. I used dryer lint and a little dry rice.

Needle and thread for hand sewing.

A sewing machine for sewing the main body and head pieces.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse cutting fabric

Cutting out the pieces.

You will need a Tea Cup Mouse pattern.*

*Because it takes a tremendous amount of time for me to develop projects like this, design and draw a pattern, test ideas, make, take pictures, edit pictures, write the how to, etc… I’m asking for a mere 2 dollars (see side donation button for quick payment with paypal). Send me an e-mail and I’ll send a pdf file with the pattern right out to you.

Use stencil to make your own card board stencil. A cereal box works well. Trace the body and head on your fabric. Cut two at a time if possible.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse machine sewing

Sew the head. Sew the two head pieces (right sides together) using a sewing machine. Use the edge of your foot (sewing machine foot) as a guide. Keep the edges of the fabric running along the edge of the foot. You only want a narrow seam.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse body and head

Sew the body. Again with right sides together, sew around the body leaving a hole for the head. You will want a narrow seam allowance here too (not to exceed 1/4 inch). 

Trim the corners (A’s in the picture). Be careful not to cut your stitching. Also, clip the inner curve a few times (at B in picture).

Turn the pieces right side out.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding tail

Add the tail. Use a mechanical pencil or other sharp object to make a hole on the backside of the mouse. Tie a knot in the cord. Put the tail through the hole you just made. The knot should be on the inside of the mouse and the tail should extend out the back of the mouse.

Stuff the body. Next add some rice into the body of the mouse until it is about 1/4th full. The rice isn’t necessary but I like the way it gives the mouse weight and help it stand. Loosely fill the rest of the mouse and the head with dryer lint.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding a head

Connect head to body. Tuck in the raw edges of the body and stick in the head. Pin in place. Hand sew together sewing around the head.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding hands...

Sew on the hands, feet, and ears.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding smile

Embroider facial features. Use an embroidery needle and some black embroidery floss to make the mouth, nose and eyes. Use a French knot for each eye. Alternatively use a permanent marker to draw on the mouth, nose, eyes and whiskers.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse complete

Have a blast making the mouse a quilt, pillow, clothes, scarf, hat, whatever.

Make Your Own No-Sew Eco-Friendly T-Shirt Tissues

MYO no sew t-shirt tissues

Tissues made from old t-shirts work really well and they are soft on the nose. Kids will like the fun colorful fabrics and you will like the part about saving money and resources.

Make Your Own T-Shirt Tissues

Make your own tissues from t-shirt

I set aside some children’s t-shirts that were too worn or too stained to pass on.

How to:
Gather some old t-shirts. Thin, uber soft t-shirts are best. Use a salad plate (whatever size you like) and a rotary cutter with a cutting matt. Cut around the plate. The beauty of this project is that the edges do not need to be hemmed.

Alternatively, you can cut square pieces.

t-shirt tissues and home-made bear

Keep these eco-friendly tissues on bedside tables for use on little noses.

recycled wool sweater bear and hankie hamper

Hankie Hamper: find something around the house or at the thrift store to be your hankie hamper.

Recycle Worn-Out Shirts Into Handkerchiefs
When choosing old shirts to be made into hankies; the softer the better. Pick an appealing fabric if that matters to you. You want it to also have a bit of absorbency. Obviously, stiff fabric is no good for this project.

How to:

Cut strips 7 inches wide (or your preference) with a pair of pinking shears. Next, cut the strips into squares and you’re done. Using pinking shears will help to prevent fraying.

make your own no-sew hankies

To take with you, fold in half then fold in thirds: it fits nicely in your purse or pocket.

recycled fabric hankies
Hankies in a variety of fabrics: My husband’s favorite shirt (blue plaid cotton) was eventually turned into little hankies. It was a soft fabric to begin with but repeated washing only made it better. The kitty fabric was made out of worn-out flannel pj’s.

eco-friendly tissues and hankie hamper
Be sure to provide a place to put the used tissues or your kids will leave them all around the house.

How To Make A Bird Nester: Like A Bird Feeder But Contains Nesting Materials

home-style bird nester

I call this a bird nester because it is like a bird feeder but with nesting materials instead of bird seeds. I designed it out of recycled materials and made it look like a charming cottage complete with a chimney that has a wisp of smoke coming out.
How to:

You will need to save a plastic berry basket, a box type milk carton, scrap yarn or salvaged twist ties, and nesting material (see below).

milk carton roof for bird nester

Use a box type milk container to make the roof: cut out two adjoining sides as shown in image.

chimney for home-style bird nester

If you want to make a chimney, print out the chimney stencil I provided. Use the stencil to make a chimney out of the left over piece of milk carton or another scrap piece of cardboard. Add a small piece of white stuffing extending out of the chimney to simulate smoke rising. The chimney stencil makes a nicer chimney than the experimental one in the photo. Use the bottom tabs to glue the chimney to the roof or make two slits (with an exacto knife) in the roof and insert the tabs through.

Fill your bird nester with left-over odds and ends.
Suggestions: bits of left-over yarn, sheep’s wool , wool roving (ask a spinner), dryer lint (especially when you are drying a wool blanket or are felting a wool sweater ; but I wouldn’t recommend using fabric softeners, because the birds don’t need the added chemicals.) You can also use: fur, human hair, horse hair, snake skins(sure why not), leaves, feathers, plant fluff from a cattail plant or from a milkweed pod, straw, tree bark, pine needles, moss… For fun add: small colorful pieces of scrap yarn (4 inches more or less), strips of cloth, shredded paper… Experiment and see what happens.
Use a hole punch to make a few holes in the roof along the edge. Attach roof with a bit of scrap yarn or twist ties (salvaged from toy packaging etc. or from produce).
You may also be interested in checking out a similar post at FunInTheMaking : Bag Of Nest Building Material, Great Gift For Birds Or Bird Lovers
The following is a note I received:
“I’m not sure if you know or not, but dryer lint is not a suitable product for bird nests.
If it becomes wet it is dense and takes a really long time to dry out thus keeping fragile babies cold and wet.
If conditions are not fixed in time, they will perish.
My vet has confirmed and if you search long and hard on the Internet you may also find a stray post or two.
Better materials would be soft WHITE feathers, human, cat, dog or better yet horse hair, thread only 2″ long at most, 100% cotton 3″ long by 1/4″ wide etc..
.”
-Debra
(Thank you for your input Debra.)

How To Make A Doll Pillowcase: A Simple Sewing Project

After my daughter made a quilt for her doll, she needed a matching pillowcase and this is the result. See doll quilt post.
How to make a doll pillowcase:


Picture 1 shows the fabric after is has been cut out and folded in half: right sides (the good sides) together. Also two of the long sides have been sewed-up (note: Use a ½ inch seam allowance; which means that the line of stitches that you sew should be ½ inch from the edge of the fabric.) One end of the pillowcase is left open. Fabric size needed: 10 ¾ inches x 6 inches.


Picture 2 shows the edge of the opening folded over ½ inch and ironed. If you could see the other side, it would look the same.


Picture 3 shows the edge of the opening folded over again, this time 1 ¾ inches and then ironed.


Picture 4 shows it after it was sewed by machine. You could hand sew it if you prefer.


Picture 5 shows the completed pillow case after it was turned right-side out, ironed and with the pillow inside. Easy smesy!
Size of finished doll pillowcase is approximately 8 ½ inches by 5 inches. A pillowcase should always be made a little larger than the pillow itself.

This is a pillow that came with the bed we bought for my daughter’s doll. It is easy to make if you don’t already have one.

How to make A doll pillow to go with the above pillowcase

Cut two pieces of lightweight fabric 8 ¼ inches x 5 inches.
With good sides together, sew almost all the way around. Leave a few inches of one side open (not sewed). Turn the pillow outside right (through the hole). Add stuffing into the pillow then hand-sew the hole closed.
Finished pillow size is approximately 4 x 7 ¼ inches.

Adorable Doll Quilt Project For The Beginner Sewer: Or Keepsake Quilt For Sentimental Mom

Quilting is the mother of eco-friendly crafting in my option. Nothing should be wasted and people of past generations knew that instinctively. I designed this project using scrap fabric for my eight year old daughter. She wanted a blanket for her 18″ dolls. I was so proud of her; she did all the sewing herself.
How to: I’m going to explain the parts that I helped her (Helper) and the parts that she did herself (New Sewer).
1. New Sewer (NS) Choose fabric: decide on a color scheme.
The helper could give good options to choose from.
Material needed: Use scrap fabric (lightweight cotton works well here). If you don’t have any, ask around. Fabric can also be salvaged from unwanted clothing.

2. Helper (H) Using a plastic square as a guide (found at a crafting store in quilting section) and a rotary cutter, cut out 20 squares. You could cut out the squares with scissors but it is so much faster and more accurate this way.
Size of squares = 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches

3. (NS) Layout the squares in the desired arrangement. You could use a checkerboard pattern, diagonal stripes, or randomly arranged. My daughter went with a random pattern but she had to check to make sure no square was touching a matching square. She used six different fabrics.

4. (NS) Place right sides facing (that means the prettier side of each piece should touch) and using a sewing machine; sew strips leaving a ¼ inch seam allowance. Sew in groups of four squares end to end. When done you should have 5 rows (strips) with four squares in each row.

5. (NS) Iron the seams of the strips you just sewed. (Parental guidance!)You can iron the seams allowances open (B in photo) or you can iron the seam allowances all to one side (A in photo). If you iron them all to one side it will be easier to sew with the sewing machine. If you iron the seams open you need to be very careful to not let them get bunched up as you sew over them. It will be obvious what I mean when you begin sewing.

6. (NS and H) Pin two strips together right sides facing. Line up edges the best you can. Then draw on a sewing line with a washable marker. This is very helpful to someone new using a sewing machine. Because the strips were not sewed by professionals to begin with, the squares will not be exactly lined up.

7. (NS) Machine sew the strips together. Then pin the next strip onto the end and sew, then pin another…

When sewing, try to have the seam allowances open towards you. When you run the machine over them, they will not bunch up.
Note: when the strips are all sewed together you may find that the corners of the squares don’t all meet up. No worries, it will still be super cute. We’ll leave that ambitious outcome to experienced sewers.

8. (H) Cut a strip of fabric for the top and bottom boarder. The size of these boarder pieces will be the size of one of your strips x 3.5 inches.

9. (NS) sew on the top and bottom boarder just as you sewed the other strips together.

10. (H) Now you need to cut a strip of the border fabric the length of the unfinished quilt x 3.5 inches.
11. (NS) Sew on the side borders. Now you have the top of your quilt complete. Iron the quilt top.

12. (NS and H) Cut a piece of batting and a piece of fabric (for quilt back) each the same size as your quilt front.
Material needed: use a piece of scrap batting. I had a scrap piece of 100% cotton batting left over from another project. If you don’t have any, ask a quilter or two. This small quilt will use up pieces that would otherwise be wasted.

14. (NS) Stack the layers like this: back then top of quilt right sides facing, then have the batting on the very top. Line up edges the best you can. Pin.

15. (NS) Machine sew around the edge of the quilt but leave about 3 ½ inches un-sewed. This hole is where you turn the quilt right side out. This part is a lot like making a basic pillow.

16. (NS) Hand-sew the hole closed. (H) Helper might need to demonstrate how to make stitches. (whip stitch)

17. (NS) Quilt the blanket by hand-sewing along the border starting at a corner (see A in photo). Use a running stitch. (The top side of the quilt should be facing up when you are making your stitches so you can see where to sew. Also, quilt means to sew through all layers of the quilt). Then sew along the lines between strips (see B in photo). Normally quilters quilt between the squares in the other direction too but that is left out here for two reasons: one because the new sewer will probably be tired of hand-sewing by now and two because the squares may not be lined up perfectly.

This quilt fits the American Girl Doll beds, as well as, similar sized doll beds.

Finished quilt size: approximately 18 ½ inches X 15 ½ inches.

Alternative project: A sentimental Mom might want to make a keepsake quilt made out of baby clothing when her little-one outgrows them. Just use more squares to increase the size of the quilt. This will give an added sentimental value to the quilt. I’ve saved some clothing from when my girls were babies/ toddlers. I’d like to make a small quilt out of their little dresses someday.