Pink baby quilt for Winslow

Front of Quilt

Front of quilt with pink checkerboard

A colleague had a lovely baby girl named Winslow recently and I made her a baby quilt to celebrate.  I pulled out pink and purple fabrics from my stash and set to work.  I chose a purple flannel for the backing that would be soft and cozy for the new little bundle of joy.  For the front, I combined a pink, plaid flannel with eight pink cotton prints.  I chose a simple checkerboard design with the plaid flannel dispersed throughout.

As with all my baby quilts, I machine bound the edges.  I always feel this is more secure and up to the task of many washes and tougher use.  I used a decorative leaf stitch with variegated pink thread.

Baby quilt

Baby quilt for Winslow with solid purple back ground and pink checkerboard front

Binding detail

Binding detail with leaf stitch

Dimensions: 42″ (l) x 42″ (w), approximately
: Pink plaid and purple marbled flannel from Jo-ann’s, assorted pink quilting cottons, Aurifil pink variegated thread for binding.
Assembly: Pieced, quilted, and bound on home machine

– Stephanie , HoustonDIY



Tutorial: Easy DIY Dog Leash

I was visiting some friends with a new dog and wanted to make something for the new little guy. I thought that using some of my bag making materials I could make a custom dog leash. I saw some flannel with bicycles on it that was perfect since my friend is an avid cyclist. From project conception to completion was about 60 minutes.

Completed Leash

Completed leash, ready for a furry best friend

Supplies Needed:
Fabric, 10-12″ WOF (sturdier fabric works best, but I made it work with flannel)
Strapping, nylon, 1″ wide, 6-7 foot length
Clasp with 1″ connection (I get mine from BeingBags on Etsy)
Tube turner (I think this is a must for this project)
Sewing machine
Basic sewing supplies

1. Cut fabric. To cover a 1″ strap, you’ll need to prepare a tube of fabric. I’ve done this a few times to cover bag straps and I always use this formula: width of fabric needed = width of strap x 2 + seam allowance x 2 + a fudge factor. I use a fudge factor of 1/4″ minimum and up to 3/8″ or 1/2″ if the fabric I’m working with is thick. This fudge factor allows you to manipulate the tube around the strapping. For this project, I used 1″ wide strapping, 1/4″ seam allowance, and 1/4″ fudge factor = 2.75″ wide fabric strip needed. I cut three strips WOF (width of fabric, selvage to selvage) at 2.75″ wide. The number of strips needed depended on the finished length of your leash.

2. Sew fabric tube. Sew the fabric strips into one long strip, attaching the ends at a 45 degree angle like you were making binding. This creates a smoother finish on the leash compared to just sewing the pieces end on end where there would be a lot of bulk at each seam. Fold the long strip of fabric in half hotdog style (i.e. long ways) with right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam along the entire length of the raw edge. At this point you should have about a 100″ long tube with the wrong side of the fabric on the outside. If using a tube turner, sew on the end of the tube closed with a basting stich.

3. Turn the tube right side out. Turn the tube right side out using your preferred method. I use a basic tube turner but there are many methods. No need to iron since this will cover the strapping.

4. Insert strapping. Place a large safety-pin on one end of your piece of strapping. Feed the strapping into the fabric tube by leading the safety-pin through the tube and manipulating it from the outside of the tube. You’ll need to frequently pull the fabric along the strapping. Again, use your favorite method to lead the strapping into the tube.

5. Straighten the fabric. This was the most time-consuming part for me. Manipulate the fabric tube so the seam is on the edge of the strapping and the seam allowance lays flat on one side of the seam allowance the entire length of the strapping. Pin or clip as you go. This step shows the importance of having some fudge factor in your tube width. It takes a bit of time, but eventually everything is smooth and ready to sew.

6. Assemble the leash. Sew 1/8″ from both of the long edges of the strapping. This keeps the fabric in place and gives a finished look. On one end, place the fabric through the clasp and fold over 1.5″ of the strapping. Tuck the fabric to give a finished look and pin or clip in place. Sew a square 1/8″ from the edge of the folded over piece, right up to the clasp. Sew the square a few times and sew a large X inside this square to secure the clasp.

Detail of finished ends

Detail of the lead loop and clasp secured with square and X stitching

7. Create lead loop and finish. Decide at this time the finished length of leash you want. I folded over about 10″ of strapping to create a generous lead loop and allow 1.5″ of strap to sew everything in place. Once you’ve chosen your length and size of your loop, tuck in the raw edges and pin in place. As with the clasp end, sew a 1.5″ long rectangle 1/8″ from the edges with a large X inside to secure your lead loop. Now you have a great new DIY custom dog leash!

Leash in Action

The DIY leash in action with Carver, the cutest dog in Oklahoma

Recommendations for further customization:
– use 1/2″ or 1.5″ wide strapping for a petite or large dog
– use up some fabric scraps making the fabric cover out of bright and mixed-up fabric pieces
– add an embroidered name of the pet to the fabric tube before sewing for a custom embellishment.

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY



Baby Boy Quilt – Monogram, Spiral Aligator

The second quilt I made for my friends’ new baby was inspired by alligator fleece I found at the fabric store.  This is the second quilt for the same new bundle of joy – I also made a mixed texture plaid quilt.

Front alligator quilt

Front of finished alligator quilt

Quilt #2: Alligator Monogram Quilt
With the yellow alligator flannel I wanted to make a smaller and simpler quilt. I decided on a square with an unfinished size of about 42″ to make assembly straightforward. To add some interest, I decide to piece in a monogram “L” for the baby’s last name. I did a simple piecing with navy flannel and the alligator print flannel to make a square.

I used low loft 100% cotton batting and plain navy flannel or the backing. For the quilting, I wanted to try a technique I had seen a friend from my quilt guild (the super talented Amy from House of Bad Cats) do on a small baby quilt – an offset continuous spiral. First, I traced a circle off-center using a salad plate positioned towards the “L”. I started quilting with yellow thread on front and back by sewing around the circle. Then, after a complete circle I eased out of the circle to eventually align the very right edge of my foot with the previous seam. I had set my needle to the left of center to created about 1/2 inch distances between spirals. Just keep sewing for a while and you’ll have a continuous spiral covering your quilt. Even with lots of safety pins on the quilt sandwich, I found the flannel tended to shift a lot. I tried to minimize this when I could and squared up the edges when I was done.

Close-up of alligator quilt

Concentric circle quilting starting just outside the “L”

Next, I wanted to try the rickrack binding technique I learned in Kathy Kansier’s “Quilts with Great Edges” class at Houston festival this November. (This class is great, by the way. If you can ever take anything from Kathy, I recommend it) I added green rickrack and a blue flannel binding. The flannel was not a good choice for the binding and I ended up with very pointy dog ear corners. I must need a refresher from Kathy. Oh we’ll, it was good practice of my binding techniques.

Overall, both quilts were easy to piece, assemble, and quilt and ended up good sizes for the new bundle of joy.

Alligator quilt

Alligator quilt ready for baby!

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY