Sew Simple / By Vicki Farmer Ellis - The Buffalo News

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Sew Simple / By Vicki Farmer Ellis

Dear Vicki: I am retired, and my husband and I need to do something with our hands to keep busy and perhaps sell our products. Could you tell us more easy projects to make with very little cost, since we are on a limited retirement income? We are both Native American of Navajo origin, but we are not into artistic rug weaving or silver jewelry making. We are interested in needlework. – Norma Jean J.

Dear Norma Jean: This is surely a simple, practical and lovable suggestion. It is called a Spool Pocket and is from the Quilt Gallery in Kalispell, Mont. You can make different sizes, but the idea is to hold spools of yarn or crochet cotton under control so they don’t roll all over as you are working.

I love the idea of it as a purse holder for pacifiers. You can make them out of leftover bits of other projects, or buy some great print that you love and just want to sew something with. It’s a chance to use a neat button, decorative trim or do a small embroidery. Look for the pattern at a local shop, but if you can’t find it, send me $10.50 (Vicki Farmer Ellis, P.O. Box 220463, St. Louis, MO 63122), and I will send the pattern to you. The pattern also can purchased online through the Quilt Gallery’s website,


Readers, we have a guest columnist today; this is from Eunice.

She had so many answers to your questions that I am going to delve into them for the next few weeks to remind you of her wonderful mentorship for all of us.

Dear Eunice Farmer: I love belt loops on my pants and skirts because I also love belts! It seems like I’m all thumbs when I try to sew and turn the little tubes of fabric to make them. Is there an easier way? – Natalie P.

Dear Natalie: To make “quickie” belt loops, cut strips of fabric that are twice the width you desire, fold both cut edges to the middle and press. Now cut lightweight double fusible and fuse both folded strips together and then finish by top stitching on the edges! This leaves no bulky seams to turn and no ravely edges.


This week’s reader’s tip is from Lori Scott, of Hamilton, Ill. “I had 28 quilts to finish, and I use a large bias binder on my sewing machine. The strips of bias are long, unwieldy and like to get tangled and knotted. My tip is that I first roll the bias around the cardboard rolls from toilet paper, then I use the spindle from a stack of CDs to hold the roll of bias. The binding feeds smoothly and easily for my machine to apply.”

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