Free Pattern: Back-to-School Hangers

College Hangers

Send your college student off to school with something special this fall.  Cover hangers with theme fabrics or sport their alma mater.  Storage is always a challenge in the dorm room, but add a pocket to the side of these hangers and your student can store their iPod, jewelry or other accessories out of site.

For the full instructions, click here: College Hangers Instructions

FREE Pattern – College Laundry Bag

College Laundry Bag One of the least favorite tasks for any student is doing laundry. This applies to college students and to high school students who are just learning the responsibility in preparation for college. So I thought it was high time to create something that might make laundry time a bit more enjoyable.

This bag is designed to be made using college print fabrics – but it could easily be made with any other fun print the student will enjoy.

I have created a downloadable pattern page for this project, so I’m not going to re-write the entire project here.  If you are considering making your own laundry bag, I suggest that you download the pattern, and have it printed out as you follow along with a few more detailed explainations below.  Laundry Bag Pattern

One of the most notable design elements is the line of black prairie points that runs down the side of the bag.  If you don’t know how to create prairie points, I have explained it in the pattern, but a more detailed explaination can be found at  I used a 6 1/2″ square ruler to make sure I had the points spaced perfectly.

The bag is constructed as a tube, with only a small strip of the coordinate fabric used to accent one side.  Again, you can change this if you want, but one reason to not make the tube using seams on either side of the bag is to reduce stresses on the seams when the bag is overfull (and we all know that’s going to happen at least once).  So if you make changes, I suggest that you still use one large piece of fabric, and one smaller piece for the accent.

Another important step is finishing the bottom of the bag – instructions are included for sewing into the corners of the bottom, this will allow the bag to stand up more easily than if you just used a single seam across the bottom.  It will also reinforce the corners and provide a bit more strength to the finished piece.

A few suggestions to personalize the bag:

  • Use blanket tabs (also known as tags) instead of prairie points.  These can be made from a coordinate fabric, or just use ribbon.  I would still use buttons to finish the tabs off.
  • Add a pocket inside for quarters.  Or, make a small matching drawstring bag that could fit over the mouth of a coffee mug to collect quarters in through the week.
  • Print washing hints and instructions (don’t wash new jeans with white t-shirts) onto a colorfast sheet, then topstitch into the inside of the bag.  This can be done on fusible webbing, and use a decorative blade to trim before topstitching into the bag.

I’m sure you can come up with lots of new ideas… feel free to share a few!
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

FREE Pattern – Patriotic Tablerunner

July 4th is almost here – you might be planning on grilling, or having a picnic, or maybe just enjoying some ice tea on the porch while you watch the local fireworks display.

Are you tired of ‘decorating’ by buying appropriately themed paper plates?  I thought a new tablerunner was in order this year – and I had been asked to make a June pattern for OLFA’s website, it was perfect – my pattern would be a tablerunner and I would post it here for my readers as well.  (If you haven’t checked out the patterns on OLFA’s website, you might want to.)

You’ll love this pattern – it really does make up a great runner in a hurry!

The key to how quickly this pattern can be made is that it uses the “Stitch & Flip” method of quilting.  Never used this method before – don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through the basics – then you can download the pattern below and try it out for yourself.

  • Lay out the backing fabric for your placemat, right side DOWN against the table.
  • Lay your batting on top of that, with the center point of the batting marked (as you will see in my pattern – I suggest folding the batting and marking the center with a pen)
  • Take your first strip (for this pattern, it’s a red fabric strip), and lay it along the center line.   This is laid right side UP.
  • Take your next strip (white in this pattern) and lay it right side DOWN right on top of the red fabric.
  • Now, sew through the white strip, the red strip, the batting AND the backing – one line of stitching (on either side of the white strip), using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This was the ‘stitch’ part of the “Stitch and Flip” method.
  • Next, FLIP the white strip down (so it’s now right side UP), and iron flat. Yep, this was the ‘flip’ part of the method.
  • It’s just about that simple – just repeat these steps, alternating between red and white strips to create the stripe pattern seen in the picture above.

It might seem a little tricky when you get to the stars at the edge of the table runner – and to be honest, those stars are why I rated this pattern as ‘intermediate’ for the OLFA website.  I suggest you try making one using scrap fabrics first – after trying the scrap version, if you decide the star is too frustrating, then consider making your placemats with applique stars instead.  Or use a blue/white star print for the edges of your table runner.

Pattern for Patriotic Tablerunner – I hope you enjoy it!

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing