Get Kids Sewing in a Pinch by Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs

When I was little, I had a favorite blanket and my sister had a favorite pillow. Looking back, I think she had the right idea. While sometimes it was too hot for me to snuggle under my blankie, she was never without her pillow. She used her pillow everywhere, year-round – in the car, snuggling with mom, even a trip to the hospital when she had her tonsils out. Remembering how my sister loved her pillow, I designed the In A Pinch travel-sized pillow. Read on for details and a giveaway.

Here’s the cute travel pillow I made for my nephew. I used a soft brushed cotton novelty print, perfect for long car rides or flights.

Here’s the cute travel pillow I made for my nephew.
I used a soft brushed cotton novelty print, perfect for long car rides or flights.

Perfect First Project
This little pillow project is a great fit for young and new sewists. There’s nothing like accomplishing a quick project that looks awesome to help build confidence and skills. Use anything from novelty prints to elegant designs for the pillow cover, and make/buy a pillow form.

Pretty pillows In A Pinch, LGD133 Fabric is ‘Piper’ by Dear Stella.

Pretty pillows In A Pinch, LGD133 Fabric is ‘Piper’ by Dear Stella.

There’s a little ‘pinch’ detail at the side that gives the pillow shape and a little fun. Here’s a better look at that detail.

In A Pinch8

Buy or Make a Pillow
For this quick project, you can either buy a ready-made travel-sized pillow which is 12″ x 16″, or make one from the instructions included in the pattern.

A basic pillow of this simple construction offers room to build skills and sharpen techniques. This is two rectangle cuts of fabric, stacked, and stitched on all edges, leaving an opening to turn. That’s the easy part, right? A frustrating part can be turning in that open seam allowance so it’s nice and even with the rest of the seam. I have two tricks for you here.

Perfect Seam Closing
First, use a slightly larger seam allowance on the edge with the opening for better control. I used a 1/4″ seam on three sides, and a 1/2″ seam on the edge with the opening.

In A Pinch1

Second, use the Hot Hemmer (item #7806) from my Clover Press Perfect line to fold and press the seam allowance before turning the project right sides out. Fold the seam allowance over the Hemmer and match the edge to the 1/2″ mark, then press. Do this for both pieces of fabric at the opening. Once turned, the seam allowance will be easy to finish by machine or hand.

In A Pinch2

I like to make the pillow form and I don’t put too much stuffing in. I love a pillow with a little give.

Pillow Cover
The next place the Hot Hemmer saves me on this project is the hem on the pillow cover. Fold the fabric over the bottom edge of the Hemmer and match the edge to the size needed, then press. Rather than measuring and marking, here and there, you can tackle the whole hem in one step. The long firm edge of the Hemmer allows you to press a good portion of the project at once, rather than approaching it piecemeal. Press with the Hemmer in place – it can take the heat and steam without getting too hot to touch.

In A Pinch4

That Little Pinch
The pillow has a little pinch at the sides that draws the fabric in around the pillow form for a more elegant option. It’s a simple open ended dart or tuck, and it’s a great way learn about structure and design. This little detail is simple, yet takes the project to a whole new level. Use the Hot Hemmer to measure and mark the pinch, then stitch.

In A Pinch5

The In A Pinch is a great project to share with someone new to sewing. Learn about fabric selection, construction, working with different materials and tools. It’s a very forgiving project, so it will look great whether it’s perfect or not. But it will be loved plenty by the sewist or gifty recipient.

lazy girl   WEB_7806_Hot_Hemmer

Pattern and Hot Hemmer
The In A Pinch pattern is available at local quilt shops, online and at Craftsy. Ask for the Hot Hemmer wherever Clover products are sold or buy it here!

Three lucky winners will win a Hot Hemmer! Here’s how, we want you to tell us how you can use the Hot Hemmer, most helpful tips will win!!!

Hot Hemmer Giveaway

Project: Takumi DNP Stocking Ornament!

Clover VH_BLOG_BANNERstocking copy

I’m loving the new, sharper tips on the Takumi double-pointed needles so much that I’ve been thinking about gifting them to some of the knitters in my life. I know I’d love receiving a set either by themselves, or bundled with some luscious yarn! Well, here we are barely into mid-summer, and I’m already pondering holidays — so this week, I thought I’d post a little (literally), “Christmas in July” gift idea that you can either start churning out in advance, or else bookmark for later. Stitch a wee stocking for a set of DPNs for the perfect, parcel topper or tree ornament. Not only is a sweet sock sure to put a smile on any stitcher’s face, but it’ll also keep the needles together when they’re not in use. Bonus: you can use the same needles to knit the stocking that will later keep them all Christmas-cozy. Enjoy! xx, Vickie

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Scraps (about .2 ounces), DK weight yarn
Set, size U.S. 6 (4 mm) Takumi Bamboo Premium Double-Pointed Needles
Waste yarn
Clover Tapestry Needle
Optional: size U.S. E (3.5 mm) Takumi Bamboo Crochet Hook

Fits one set of up to size U.S. 6 (4 mm), double-pointed needles

Approx 6″/15 cm (from cuff to toe)

22 sts x 28 rows = 4″/10 cm in Stockinette Stitch


CO 10 sts; divide evenly onto dpns; join, taking care not to twist.

Rnds 1-3: *K1, p1; rep from * around.

Rnd 4: Knit.

Repeat Rnd 4 until piece measures 4″/10 cm from CO edge.

Next Rnd (Heel prep): K 5 sts with waste yarn; slide sts back onto LH needle, k sts again with working yarn; k around.

Continue knitting until piece measures 5 1/2″/14 cm

Rnd 1: K2, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k1. –8 sts.

Rnd 2: Knit.

Rnd 3: [K2tog] 4 times. –4 sts.

Cut yarn, leaving a tail. Using tapestry needle, weave tail through live sts, letting them drop off of needles; cinch shut. If any gaps show, sew together using tail. Feed tail end through toe.

Carefully remove waste yarn; place sts on dnps. –9 sts.

Set-up Rnd: Knit sts, picking up 1 additional st at each gap. — 11 sts.

Redistribute sts on needles as follows: Needle #1 (back of “leg”), 5 sts; Needle #2, 3 sts; Needle #3, 3 sts.


Rnd 1: Needle 1: ssk, k1, k2tog. Needle 2: ssk, k1. Needle 3: k1, k2tog — 7 sts

Rnd 2: K4, k2tog, k1 — 6 sts.

Place 3 sts each on two needles; hold parallel. Bind-of using the 3-needle BO method.

Use tail to sew together any gaps.

Create hanging loop by either braiding 3-strands of yarn and attaching, or crocheting as follows:

Join yarn at top edge of stocking; place slip knot on hook. Chain 12; slip stitch in same place as yarn joined.

Fasten off.

Weave in ends.



“Hana-Ami” Embellished Summer Bag

Brighten up your summer with fun, colorful flowers made with the simple and easy “Hana-Ami” Flower Stitch technique!


Bag of your choosing (we used a bag with a basket weave for a summer look)


Fabric Glue

“Hana-Ami” Flower Loom

Step 1: Refer to instructions included in “Hana-Ami” packaging to construct 14 large round flowers using the raffia in three contrasting colors.

*Please note we used the double-layered flower pattern to get the look shown in the picture.


Back Stitch

Step 2: Plan an arrangement on your bag this will be determined by the size and shape of your bag. We used a simple method of doing rows of flowers each time subtracting one.

Step 3: Glue all flowers onto the bag and your finished!!!!

This was an easy way to transform an ordinary bag into a colorful summer bag!!! You can use these flowers to embellish just about anything..

clover basket

Purchase your “Hana-Ami” Flower Loom here!!!

Hana Ami

Kids Activity Bag Project by Nancy Zieman

Activity Bag 1

Most fabric bags or totes for kids are rather wimpy. I remember putting toys and books in fabric bags for my boys, but the parts and pieces would often get lost in the bottom of the bag. After buying adorable finger puppets for my granddaughters, I knew they needed a home in an activity bag.

Kids Activity Bag


Activity Bag 2

  • Fold two fat quarters, meeting the short edges and trim off the selvage edges. Unfold the fabrics. These fabrics will be used as the outer and inner lower bags.
  • Stack the fabrics and cut 10″ x 13″ rectangles (two outer lower bag rectangles and two for the inner lining). Trim out 3″ squares at the lower corners, as shown in photo.

Activity Bag 3

  • Stitch the outer bag shapes right-sides together along the lower edge. All seam allowances are 1/2″. Press seams open.
  • Cut the craft interfacing, Peltex, the size of the sewn outer bag. Pin wrong sides together to the outer bag.
  • Zigzag the outer bag edges to the Peltex.
  • Stitch the inner lining shapes, right sides together, along the lower edge. Press seams open.

Activity Bag 4

  • Cut a pocket from another fat quarter, 9″ x 13″.
  • Fold the rectangle, right sides together, meeting the long edges.
  • Stitch the long edge, using a 1/2″ seam allowance (ends will remain open).

Activity Bag 5

  • Turn the pocket right side out; press.
  • Overlay the pocket on one half of the outer bag. Pin the lower edge of the pocket 5/8″ above the lower edge of the bag.
  • Topstitch the pocket to the bag across the lower and side edges.

Activity Bag 6

  • Stitch the side seams of both the outer bag and the lining, using 1/2″ seam allowances.
  • Press seams open.

Activity Bag 7

  • Pin the bag corner, stacking the side seam on top of the lower seam. Use Wonder Clipsto “pin” the thick layers.

Activity Bag 8

  • Stitch the corner seam, using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
  • Repeat pinning and stitching lining corner seams.

Activity Bag 9

  • Turn the outer bag right side out.
  • Tuck the lining inside the outer bag, wrong sides together.
  • Zigzag or serge top edge.

Activity Bag 10

Cut upper bag fabric.

  • Cut two 10″ x 13″ rectangles for the polka dot fat quarter version.
  • Cut two 12″ x 13″ rectangles for the striped longer upper bag option.
  • Fold the rectangles in half, wrong sides together, meeting long (13″) edges.

Press folds, pressing in a memory line for later!

Activity Bag 11

  • Unfold the rectangles. Align the rectangles, right sides together.
  • Stitch the sides, using 1/2″ seam allowances. Press seams open.

Activity Bag 12

  • Turn the fabric right side out. Refold along the pressed memory line.
  • Zigzag or serge the lower edges.

Activity Bag 13

  • Edgestitch along the fold and 1/2″ from the fold, creating a casing for the ribbon. (Make certain that the distance between the stitching is slightly wider than the ribbon.)
  • Pin the upper bag over lower bag, pinning entire edge together.
  • Stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Activity Bag 14

  • Turn the upper bag fabric right side up.
  • Use a seam ripper to remove the stitches between the casing stitches.

Activity Bag 15

  • Cut the ribbon into two 1-yard lengths.
  • Using Clover’s Flex ‘n Glide Bodkins, thread the ribbon through the casing. Tie the ends together.

The Flex ‘n Glide Bodkin is a long flexible bodkin featuring an elongated “eye” with grippers. The elongated eye accommodates ribbons and trims up to 1-1/2″ wide. The “grippers” hold trims and elastic in place while pulling through the casing. The handy length and flexibility allow for a smooth passage—even along curves. Purchase yours today!!


  • Repeat at the other side seam, inserting the remaining 1-yard length of ribbon.

Activity Bag 16

Presto, you’re done! The inside is bright and sturdy, thanks to the Peltex There will not be any lost toys in this activity bag!

Bye for now,

NZ signature

Nancy Zieman—author, pattern designer, businesswoman, producer, and national sewing authority—is the host of the popular TV show Sewing With Nancy®, which appears exclusively on public television stations across the United States and Canada. Follow Nancy’s Blog at and sign up to receive Nancy’s E-News for the latest news in Sewing, Quilting, & Creating.

Tool School with Steve Butler 6-in-1 Stick ‘n Stitch Guide by Nancy Zieman


Tool School with Instructor Steve Butler
6-in-1 Stick ‘n Stitch Guide by Nancy Zieman
What is it?– We take such great care with our sewn projects.  Crafts, quilts, fashion, home décor, it doesn’t matter what.  We envision exactly what we want to create.  Once we have that picture, everything about it has to be just perfect.  Patterns, fabrics, threads, and accessories are all selected with great care.  We measure, mark, cut, pin and press with precision.  And then, well, then we put it all together.  We sit down at our sewing machine and put thread to fabric.  And that has to be perfect too.  Unfortunately that’s easier said than done.  And if the stitches aren’t in the right place, what then?  We take them out and start over.  That’s time consuming and frustrating.  It’s also unnecessary.  Nancy Zieman and Clover have collaborated once again to bring you a new sewing tool that will enable you to place all your stitches with precision every time and on every project.
What does it do? Clover’s 6-in-1 Stick’n Stitch Guide is truly a multi function tool that will make sewing even the most difficult and demanding applications of thread to fabric a breeze.  The stitch guide itself is a two piece interlocking plastic guide.  They can be used together or separately depending on your stitching application.  Connection with your sewing machine is accomplished by a renewable adhesive attached permanently to the bottom of each guide.  Just remove the guides when you’re done.  They leave no adhesive residue.  The shapes and edges of each guide makes it perfect for a multitude of sewing applications.  A handy template ensures that the stitch guide is always in the correct position.  So how’s it used?

  • Both sections together for straight stitching
  • One foot on either side of the needle for quilt strips or precision top stitches
  • Curve side up for outer curves
  • Curve side down for inner curves
  • Top stitch right side
  • Top stitch left side

Watch Tool School Here