Wednesday 22 February 2012

Firsts and progress!

This week already has been a week of firsts for me. Having signed up to The Littlest Thistle's FPPFTT course last week, I was anxiously waiting on Monday to find out just how I was going to be able to achieve my first-ever paper-pieced block. Well the proof is in the pudding as they say, and here it is!

I decided to kill two birds with one stone and use my new Terrain by Kate Spain fabrics with the intention that the block will eventually become part of the orange cushion for my set of rainbow cushions. To say I am delighted would be an understatement. Katy's instructions were really easy to follow. I only had one 'blip' at the beginning when my first line of stitches were so small that the paper ripped as soon as I took it out of the machine. I think my sewing machine has a mind of it's own when it comes to the setting of stitch length! However, with a slightly longer stitch length everything went just fine. I hope the rest of the blocks are as straightforward!

As you know I have been happily cutting up my husband's work shirts for my sewing and have, therefore, been left with various parts of shirts without any specific ideas of what to do with them. This week, however, I came up with a use for the sleeves!

Padded hangers! Now I can give him at least a part of his shirt back :)

I had read about the True Love contest at Sew Mama Sew and thought I would try my hand at writing a tutorial for the hangers, another first!

These padded hangers are a novel way to provide encouragement and support to family and friends, whilst helping to organise their wardrobe! They are thrifty too as they use up wadding/batting scraps that might otherwise be discarded. The hanger sleeve can be made from fabric scraps too, or do as I did and recycle the sleeve of a worn-out business shirt.

To make one hanger you will need the following supplies;

  • 1 Wooden hanger without a trouser bar (ideally with a removable hanging hook but it is not essential)
  • Double-sided sticky tape
  • Batting/Wadding scraps
  • Fabric scrap equivalent to the length of your hanger + 1/2"  and three times the diameter of the hanger (I used the sleeve of a business shirt which had more than enough fabric for 2 hangers)
  • Carbon-transfer paper
  • Embroidery thread/floss and needle
  • Blunt pencil and paper
The following are optional;
  • Felt scraps 
  • 2 small buttons (I used buttons from the shirt)

Step 1 - Padding the hanger

  Cut your scraps of batting into strips approx 1" wide. Stick strips of double-sided tape along the length of the front and back of the hanger. Starting at one end wrap the batting strips around the hanger, overlapping each strip slightly and beginning each new strip by overlapping the end of the previous strip. 

 When the hanger is fully covered by the batting place a second layer of strips of double-sided sticky tape over the batting and repeat the wrapping one more time.

Step 2 Cutting your fabric
 Measure the length and diameter of your wrapped hanger and cut your fabric to these measurements plus 1/2" on each measurement. My hanger measured 18" by 3 and 1/4" so my fabric was cut to 18 and 1/2" by 3 and 3/4" 

Step 3 Embroidering the hanger sleeve
Decide on the phrase that you want to embroider and either write freehand or print out on paper. I printed my phrases using the Monotype Corsiva Font in size 72. Mark the centre of the long edge of your fabric piece. Fold your printed paper lightly in half to mark the centre of the phrase. Place the carbon transfer paper carbon side down under your printed paper and place both on top of your fabric piece, matching up the centre mark and centre crease. 

 The top of your tallest letter should be approximately 1/2" from the top edge of your fabric. Taking care not to rest your hand heavily on the carbon paper (you will mark your fabric if you do!) trace the letters of your phrase with a blunt pencil pressing down firmly on the letter outline.

Remove the paper and carbon paper to leave behind a traced outline for your embroidery. You can now embroider your chosen sentiment using 2 strands of embroidery thread/floss. I used chain stitch and some backstitch for the lettering and french knots for the dots. For tutorials for these stitches check here and here

Optional - Cut two small hearts from your scraps of red felt and attach at each end of the embroidered phrase using small blanket stitches. A tutorial for this stitch is available here

Step 4 - Making the hanger sleeve

When the embroidery is complete measure 1/4" either side of your centre point of the long edge of the fabric and mark. Placing right sides together pin one short end together and sew with a 1/4" seam. If your hanger has a removable hanging hook pin the two long edges right sides together and using a 1/4" seam sew along the top edge to the first mark from the centre point and finish with a couple of backstitches. Start sewing the top edge again from your second mark (the mark after the centre point) and sew to the end of the long edge. 

If your hanger hook is not removable (as mine were) only sew one short end and then along the top edge to the first mark. 

Snip off the excess fabric triangle at the corner where both the short and long ends are sewn and turn your hanger sleeve right side out.  

Step 5 Final Stage

Gently ease the hanger sleeve onto your padded hanger to the centre. If you have a removable hook, remove it and continue easing the sleeve onto the hanger making sure that your gap in the top edge seam matches up with the hole for the hook. Replace the hook when you have eased the sleeve on fully. 
If your hanger hook is not removable, you will need to pin and hand stitch the sleeve past the hook, using a blindstitch.  A tutorial for this stitch is available here
For both types of hanger turn under and pin the 1/4" seam allowance on the short edges and stitch closed to complete the sleeve.

Optional - To stop delicate items slipping off the hangers you can stitch a small button about 1 and 1/2" from each end on the top seam. 

Your hanger is now finished and ready to pass on your sentiments to your family and friends!

It is also WIP Wednesday and time to have a look at my list, which just got longer with the addition of the FPPFTT! Some movement though, the (Almost) Irish Chain quilt is now, officially, a WIP! I still haven't even looked at the Craftsy BOM so must try to do that before we get into March and I end up even further behind.

  • Reindeer Cushion
  • Shades of Green, Fleur Bleu and Checkered Heart cushions 
  • Orphan Block needle roll 
  • Pieced arc tea towel  
  • Yo-yo maker purse
  • 9 blocks of Sew Happy QAL (this weeks to do)
  • 2 blocks of In Color Order HST BOM (up-to-date) 
  • (Almost) Irish Chain quilt now basted 
  • First block of FPPFTT completed
  • Centre of orange rainbow cushion completed
  • Indigo, yellow and violet rainbow cushions
  • Sunflower Quilt 
  • Last block of Sampler quilt - no progress but it is in the UK and I am in Latvia!
  • Amy Butler bag 
  • Bag Making Bible Fashionista Bag 
  • Dragon Bag
  • Patchwork Block bag
  • Christmas mini quilts
  • Craftsy BOM which I have signed up for but still haven't looked at yet! 

Linking up to Esther's WOW and Lee's WIP Wednesday and Linda's Nifty Thrifty Tuesday


    1. ohhh love those hangers...brilliant!

    2. The padded coathangers are so cool!!! Great tutorial, too... very easy to follow!!!

    3. Yay, so glad you got the stitch length worked out, sorry I missed the post yesterday on it, Flickr's behaving oddly for me right now :o/

      Great idea for recycling the sleeves with the hangers, and I can tell you were a Blue Peter devotee with your double sided sticky tape ;o)

    4. congrats on so many firsts! I love the clothes hangers, I will definately need to give those a try. thanks for writting up a tutorial :)

    5. Love the clothes hangers - what a fun project!

    6. Making hangers is such a great idea for your husband's shirt remnants! I really love your block. Kate Spain was a perfect choice! I can't wait to see the next block for that sew along!

    7. Great job on the block, I love that fabric line!

    8. Your block looks great and I love your hanger tutorial :)

    9. Thank You for participating in Show Your Stuff Blog Hop, You are invited to come back:


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