Very easy projects for pretty fabrics

Sometimes I buy fabric that seems almost too pretty to use. Recently, I bought half a yard of this Marimeko fabric that I was both eager and reluctant to use. In cases like this I opt for an easy project that almost keeps the fabric in tact. Here are three projects that really showcase a beautiful fabric.

1. Simple envelope enclosure pillow. If your fabric is about the right size for your pillow form, you hardly have to waste any, and you can finish in no time. I used most of my Marimeko fabric for this pillow. Download the easy instructions here:  Simple Envelope Enclosure Pillow.

2. Napkins. For this project, I use Martha Stewart’s pattern for linen napkins from her Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts. Just add a fancy hem to your pretty fabric and voila. I have to say making this hem is super satisfying–one of the rare things in my sewing life that really comes out perfect. (The only problem, of course, is that you actually have to let people use your beautiful cloth napkins. But, I’m a firm believer in not saving things for special occasions, and this hem will stand up to lots of trips through the washer.)

3. Double-gauze receiving blanket. This pattern from purl bee makes wonderful use of Japanese double-gauze fabric and shot cotton. This fabric is so beautiful, and you hardly do anything to it–just sew two squares together then add a running stitch in embroidery thread around the border. I made a blanket for a friend’s baby and I hear it was a very popular item!

Origami and Quilts for Japan

This is what I’ve been up to this week: folding paper! Specifically, cranes–for a “1,000 crane” fundraiser at my son Zeke’s preschool for those affected by the recent earthquake in Japan.

Maybe you are making origami strawberries (like this one we bought at another Japan fundraiser at Abe’s elementary school)  

or contributing in another way, but if you are a quilter, Gather Here, the fabric store/stitch lounge at 370 Broadway in Cambridge is offering a couple of novel ways to join the effort for Japan:

  • Stock up on your favorite Japanese fabrics (including Kokka, Echino, Kiyohara) and the store will donate 25% of your purchase to Red Cross.
  •  Join Gather Here’s quilter’s bee for Japan, the last meeting of which is this Sunday, April 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the shop. (Oh, and if you do read this post by Virginia: I am not the “very nice lady” named Margaret that she mentions. I am definitely another Margaret.)

Virginia also posted about an effort by Quilter’s Newsletter to gather quilts from Amerian quilters for those in need in Japan. If you have a quilt (any size, baby to adult) you’d like to send, the information is here. The deadline is April 30.