“Sew” cozy with soft flannel and richly colored patterns! Easy sewing projects to brighten and warm your kitchen and table for winter.
Do You Sew?
I love to sew!
Even though I have very basic skills.
I don’t have the patience to follow a detailed pattern. And zippers scare me. Same with button holes.
And I can’t even begin to understand how people just whip up slipcovers for their furniture.
But you all know how much I love fabrics — mixing and matching patterns and colors.
So I have always enjoyed sewing simple things for the home — window treatments, table runners, napkins, and other easy no-pattern-required projects.
It is a great way to get custom accessories for your home!
I recently had my sewing machine repaired after being out of commission for almost two years.
I am overjoyed to have it working again! So much so, that I have been on a bit of a sewing binge.
Inspired by some thick brushed flannel I found at a local store, I started with a new kitchen sink skirt, a pennant banner, and a runner for both the big dining table and my little fireside table. Then of course I needed some napkins to go with the runners… (If you give a mouse a cookie…)
It has been the perfect creative outlet for all the cold and stormy stay-at-home days we have had.
And my new accessories have brightened and warmed my kitchen and dining area.
It is all “sew” cozy now!
Let me show you what I made! But first, we need to shop for fabric!
I love poking around in fabric stores! Taking in all the colors and patterns, with ideas swirling around in my head! It is heaven to me.
We seem to have a large per capita number of crafters and quilters here in Maine. (Might be those long winters, ha!)
So there is also an abundance of great fabric stores.
I hadn’t been into our local fabric store, Clementine, in Rockland, since before the pandemic.
But it was a serendipitous visit here that put me on my recent sewing streak.
This small but mighty store carries a carefully curated selection of beautiful fabrics, including their own line of local-themed fabrics designed right here in our little seaside town.
This is not your typical lobster-patterned fabric, though. Instead, think fun colors and punchy designs! Whoopie Pies (Maine’s official state treat), Puffins (which spend their summers on a nearby island), colorful sardine cans (a former local industry), mussel shells, and more! I think you will definitely be seeing their blueberry and lighthouse fabrics somewhere in my house next summer!
It was flannel, thick and brushed on both sides, that I brought home with me on this visit, though. I thought it would make for a different twist when used for kitchen and dining accessories. The perfect fabric to cozy things up for winter.
Lucky for you, you don’t have to live here in Maine to shop at Clementine! They have a full website with all their fabrics! Again, many of these prints you can only find here!
I hope you will think about supporting this wonderful women-owned small Maine business!
Fiddlehead Artisan Supply
Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast is one of my absolute favorite stores.
Just stepping through the door, I can feel my creative juices start to flow. It is the kind of place that makes me want to become more skilled at sewing.
If you are a quilter, this is paradise for you! They carry a huge range of fun and beautiful patterns, arranged in the store mostly by color. Rifle Paper Co. has its own section. As does William Morris and Liberty. Do you see what I am talking about? So many great fabrics!
On my latest trip there, I told Maddie and Cisco I wouldn’t be long. I returned to them in the car over an hour later, with fabric for napkins, plus three fabrics for some late winter/early spring projects and something special for my grandson Jamie. Oops!
This is all just the tip of the iceberg — if you are into fabrics, be sure to visit their online store!
Let’s get sewing!
Before we get started, here are some tools I recommend:
- Sewing machine I have had a Bernina for years. It is way fancier than my sewing skills warrant, but I love it!
- Seam ripper For all those mistakes I invariably make…
- Sharp fabric scissors These should be used only for fabric!
- Good pins I just started using the kind with the glass ball heads. They are so much easier to handle!
- Roller cutter and cutting board This is fairly new to me and definitely a game changer. Makes cutting the fabric so much easier and more accurate! I got mine as a set at Walmart.
- Yard stick I am a terrible measurer. For me, it is measure 10 times cut once. And somehow I still don’t always get it right…
- Iron and ironing board It is important that your fabric be wrinkle free and all seams pressed open.
The Sink Skirt
It all started with the sink skirt.
When I removed the cabinet doors below the sink, my intention was to change the skirt up seasonally.
That didn’t happen for the holidays…
But when I saw the flannel at Clementine, I thought it would make a fun — and different — sink skirt for winter.
This was a relatively easy project. Since this is high quality woven flannel, I was able to just cut the fabric along the lines of the plaid. I also didn’t need to hem the skirt since I liked the look of the short little fringe on the selvage edges.
To “fancy it up” I added a ruffle at the top. This is just an extra piece sewed onto the top.
Beware: I didn’t think this through completely before sewing and had to do some fudging. Hem both the ruffle and the main body of the skirt before sewing them together! At first I ended up with the ruffle having the back side of the hem facing out.
Remember, I am no expert!
The final step is to sew across the top of the skirt to create a pocket for the rod. I use a tension rod to hang the skirt in the cabinet opening.
Do you remember from my post 4 Ways to Add Cozy Charm to Your Kitchen This Fall how I hung a pennant banner over one of the kitchen windows for a touch of whimsy?
To go with my new sink skirt, I thought it would be fun to make a banner out of coordinating flannel plaids.
This project was a little more involved, but I am so happy with how it turned out!
I used a poster board template to cut the triangles for the pennants.
For each pennant I cut out two pieces of fabric, 6 inches across the top and 7 inches each angled side. With 1/2 inch seams, this made for a finished size of about 5X6.
Sew the triangles with right sides together. Snip the tip of the triangle close to the stitches, then turn right side out. I use the end of my scissors to work the tip into a point. Press with an iron to flatten.
I used two lengths of purchased binding to hang the pennants. This got a little tricky and required some Liquid Stitch glue in addition to a zigzag stitch on the machine. Next time I will fashion my own binding so I just need to sew it.
Again, not an expert, ha!
Isn’t the banner so fun?!
These were both relatively straightforward — no fudging hems or Liquid Stitch required!
They are basically just two lengths of the plaid flannel sewn together (remember to leave an opening!), then turned right side out and ironed flat.
I opted to do a top stitch only on the ends (to close up the opening) and not all the way around.
I also pieced together blocks of several different fabrics for the top of the runners. You know I can’t resist an opportunity to mix some patterns!
We always use cloth napkins.
They add a bit of elegance to everyday dining. They feel better on the skin. And of course they create less waste for the landfill.
As soon as I finished my table runners, I knew that I needed some fun napkins to go with them.
So off I headed to Fiddlehead!
Usually I am pretty fast at making decisions, but it took me a while to pick out fabrics this time. I wanted four different fabrics that felt wintry, but were not necessarily “winter themed” in shades of greens and blues with pops of rusty brown or orange.
After much hemming and hawing, I love what I came up with — three botanicals plus one print that does scream winter, but in a fun way! Two have dark backgrounds and two have white. All in all, a good mix!
I usually make two-sided napkins — like sewing a pillow cover. I like the weight of the double fabric and I don’t have to fuss with ironing and sewing a hem all around. Plus, this way, there is never a wrong side!
Sometimes I do a different fabric on each side, so you can go with two different looks. Since I was already working with four different fabrics this time, though, each napkin has the same pattern on both sides.
To make these napkins, simply cut two squares of fabric. I like a 20×20 napkin, so I go with 21″ squares.
Place right sides together, pin, and sew, leaving a small opening on one side.
Snip corners close to the stitching, then turn right side out.
Use the tip of scissors to create sharp corners.
Press to flatten.
Top stitch all around to finish.
I can’t decide which fabric I like best!
This Week Into Next
Well, I obviously survived last Saturday’s storm. The winds were not as bad as the storm earlier in the week, but the tide was higher. In fact, the storm surge combined with what was already the highest tide of the month to produce the highest tide on record. It led to devastation up and down the Maine coast.
Seeing the photos made me feel lucky that “all” I ended up with on our lawn was a massive wall of seaweed, large sections of two docks, a wooden platform, huge logs, and a whole lot of other debris.
It will be expensive to clean up, but our home was safe and dry. For that I am deeply thankful.
And then on Tuesday the madness continued with snow! Only a few inches, but it was enough to cover all the mess on the lawn.
Now we have frigid temperatures, but I don’t mind. I just got back from a frosty walk in the woods with Maddie and Cisco. Now we are all relaxing by the fire. This is what winter is all about!
Our stormy and wintry weather has also meant time spent in the kitchen.
This chickpea and sweet potato soup from Jane Brody has been a favorite of mine for years. I use green beans instead of green pepper. (Frozen are fine!) And I added a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh.
My daughter Zoë shared this nutritional yeast salad dressing with me from YouTube. It is a robust earthy dressing, great for winter salads. The addition of nutritional yeast and tahini give it a little protein boost. I halved the recipe and still have plenty in the fridge after dressing several salads.
These Spicy Chocolate Cookies from Martha Stewart get a little kick from cayenne pepper. Yum!
Hitting the Road
Or really the air.
Next weekend I am headed to Minnesota to celebrate my grandson Jamie’s 1st birthday! It is hard to believe it has been a year. And also so amazing to see how he has changed in a year! He is crawling around the house and eating solid foods now!
Keeping up my sewing streak, I am going to make him a fabric birthday crown. As usual, I am not working off a pattern, but I have a plan! If it turns out okay, I will share it with you, along with directions.
Time for me to go hop on the Peloton. Today I am doing an Earth, Wind, and Fire ride! A throwback to frat parties during my college days, ha!
Be well, friends!