red flannel pantry

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Archive for the tag “lanyard”

birthday blankets


For a couple of Daughter #2’s friends turning another year older, I made lanyards and fleece blankets.

MKs bday tea 1.2014

What better way to celebrate than with high tea?! Happy Birthday girls!

lanyards for friends old and new


I pieced 20 lanyards about a month ago. Over the past couple of days I have begun finishing them up. They will be gifts for Daughter #2’s old friends and gifts for Daughter #1’s new friends when she studies abroad next semester. You can read how I make them here.

lanyards in production


I am working on making a bunch of lanyards so I will have a stash later for birthday gifts and stocking stuffers. (You can read how I make them here.)


It’s fun playing with my 2 1/2-inch wide scraps. The random piecing process allows experimentation with color and pattern on a small scale. I have been fussy-cutting these cute corgis from Spoonflower and inserting them here and there. The corgi fabric was originally purchased for a special mini-quilt; now I find excuses to tuck the scraps into new projects–they are such charming fellows!

school spirit lanyards


In an earlier post, I mentioned how I thought a lanyard would make a great high-school graduation gift. Well, today I finished up production of seven of them.


Finding the swivel hook on a D-ring took a bit of doing–I tried Joann’s, Hancock Fabrics, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby–geez. I finally ordered them through Amazon–you can find them here. The 42 mm (or 1 5/8″) size is perfect. I added a 1-inch split ring too.

I relied on two tutorials to guide me: one by Simply Cotton and another by Ms. Elaineous. I cut the fabric 2 1/2″ wide in random lengths. I sewed these pieces together to make a strip approximately 42 inches long.


Per Dorrie in Simply Cotton, I added a very lightweight fusible interfacing but made it 2 1/4″ wide rather than 2 1/2″–then I didn’t have to fuss at getting it to align perfectly on the strip.


These Wonder Clips were great for holding the folded strip together when I headed from the ironing board to the sewing machine. Only once did I forget to put the hardware on before I began sewing–aye yi yi! I joined the two ends of the strip per Ms. Elaineous’ technique, which makes for less bulk.


I thank Ms. Elaineous as well for her suggesting the use of an edgestitch foot. I had forgotten it was even in my sewing foot collection. It made topstitching a piece of cake.


I added a split ring (like Ms. Elaineous), sewing it in place with a straight line of stitching, but first I secured the D-ring with a decorative x-box stitch pattern (like Dorrie). (This is a photo of the first lanyard I made and already gifted. I used a jewelry clasp since the swivel hooks hadn’t arrived yet. The swivel hooks are much cheaper!).


I used fabric to reflect the graduates’ college school colors. Represented above are University of Texas (orange/white), Clemson (orange/purple), University of Colorado (gold/silver/black), Harvard (red/white), and Texas Christian University (purple/white). I also made two others in orange/blue so I would have extra on hand for last-minute gifts. Since I used modern prints and mixed in gray as a neutral, they don’t scream rah rah but are rather a subtle play on the traditional.


I had fun with the Clemson lanyard. Earlier this year, I made a mini-quilt for a friend using great corgi fabric from Spoonflower. When I was going through my scraps to find fabric for a lanyard for her daughter, I came across this bit with Clemson-tinted corgis–perfect!

graduation gift ideas–part III: gifts you can sew

I have saved the best for last. I love to sew, so here are my favorite ideas for gifts to sew for graduates.


personalized pillowcase–pillowcases are a go-to gift of mine to make. They are easy to sew–I’ve made dozens for birthday and graduation gifts. You can read more about how I personalize them here. I sew on the recipient’s name, but you could put on a graphic design, sorority symbols or a monogram–there are lots of directions to choose.

floor pillow–large pillows can decorate a bed and provide additional seating. I use 24″x24″ or 26″x26″ pillow forms, but you can make your own oversized pillow forms like Amanda Jean of crazy mom quilts (check out her technique here). She makes beautiful stuffed reading pillows that I find irresistible. I plan on giving her design a try someday.

Grinnell reunion093Grinnell reunion092

For a boy graduate, I made this pillow from old jeans. I had a friend embroider the recipient’s name with her machine.


For a girl graduate, I made this pillow from interior design fabric samples.

sprocket pillow w/chenille--front

sprocket pillow–I wrote about these pillows in an earlier post. You can find the link to the Cluck Cluck Sew tutorial here. By choosing fabric that reflects the graduate’s favorite colors or interests, you can make it extra special.

t-shirt pillowcase–a friend recently asked me if I had any suggestions on how to make a pillow from a t-shirt. Great idea, especially for a young man! I looked online and found this quick tutorial that I think would work beautifully.

september 2011077

doorstop–I know, this sounds like a totally bizarre gift, but it is perfect for an incoming freshman. For firecode safety and security reasons, most dorm room doors now have automatic closing mechanisms, which is good; however, with all of the doors closed, the opportunity for random passing-by-the-room getting-to-know-you encounters is nil. With the door propped open, the student can give the signal that drop-in visitors are welcome and friendships can begin. When Daughter #1 was a freshman, she requested a doorstop for this very reason. I hopped online and found this tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman–perfect! You can personalize it with fabric choices. I made the body of this doorstop for D#1 out of upcycled jeans for the sake of durability.


picnic blanket–students love an excuse to be outdoors, and a picnic blanket gives them a cool place to hang out with friends. I have used this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew to make picnic blankets for both D#1 and D#2. This blanket is a very basic tied quilt, so it is easy to assemble, but you could certainly quilt it if you wanted. For the daughter in college it does double duty: when not being used for an outside place to sit, it is draped over the chair in her dorm room to hide the dirty upholstery! For my younger daughter, her blanket has gone to the beach and has been handy for sitting on cold stadium seats.


Rather than tying it, I do a close zig-zag stitch to tack the layers together. Because this blanket gets lots of wear and tear, I use busy fabrics that won’t show stains readily.

Two other riffs on this same idea to check out, both from Sew Mama Sew: a stadium blanket made with t-shirts and a fleece backing and a picnic quilt made with fat quarters.


garland–I have used this tutorial to make fabric garlands to decorate a dorm room. This scalloped shape is pretty, but I have also seen them in a pennant shape, which I like too and would work better for a guy grad. Again, I personalize through fabric choices. I fussy-cut from US map fabric to show their hometown and the location of their school, and I use fabric that represents their interests and their hometown sports teams (Go Cards! Go Blues! Go Rams!).

lanyard–though I haven’t made a lanyard yet, this idea has garnered the approval of D#2. My kids and their friends like to hook their school IDs and keys on lanyards that they then have hanging out of their pockets–it’s some kind of fashion statement, I suppose. I found two tutorials I like (here and here), which have straightforward instructions and easy-to-follow photos, and I plan to make several this year. I am thinking about bright modern fabrics for girls and upcycled men’s dress shirt fabric for guys. (I have read that this particular style of lanyard should not be worn around the neck for safety reasons since there is no break-away closure. It would be easy to modify this design and add a Velcro or magnet closure if desired. Since my kids just shove them in their pockets, I will make as instructed in the tutorial.)

eye mask–another untested (by me!) but clever idea is an eye mask. My college kids have no trouble sleeping day or night, but sometimes roommates insist on turning on the lights to study at 2 am. What is an exhausted college student to do? I came across this pattern and tutorial from The Red Kitchen and think it would be a terrific gift for a college student. Once again, fabric choices can be tailored to the tastes and sense of humor of the recipient. Packaged with foam earplugs, it would make a great sleep-themed gift.

Well, that’s that. If you have any ideas to share, please do. I am always looking for more!

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