learning to sew: tic tac toe roll up

Roll up cover

My second level of sewing classes started this week and in this series we are doing a machine AND a hand project in each class. I’ve been searching for a good machine practice project for a while and see paper mazes all the time on pinterest, but I just wasn’t sure I wanted my students sewing through paper on the machines. The original plan was for me to trace a “maze” onto some fabric, but after doing a little more research online I ran across this great project on the Sewing School website (home of the great Sewing School series of books). I took the idea of a tic tac toe bag and altered it some to meet my objectives. It turned out to be a great project and is an easy one for you to recreate at home.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

You need some muslin for the front (or any other solid light colored fabric) and some craft felt for the back.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Cut the muslin and the felt into 6×8 rectangles.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Using a ball point pen and a ruler, draw your lines to make your squares.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Set up your machine on the lines and using a straight stitch, sew from end to end.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Use a zig zag stitch to sew the muslin to the felt. Make sure to leave the top open for your pocket!

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Cut an 18″ length of ribbon, fold it in half and sew the folded end to the inside of the felt.Count out 4 buttons each of 2 different colors and throw them inside the pocket.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Roll it up from the bottom and wrap the ribbon around and tie it up.
Throw it in your backpack and have a quiet little game to play with a friend where ever you go!

After the girls were done sewing their little pouches they each received a “sewing machine driver’s license” that I found online. These were such a hit and we had a lot of fun celebrating!

Random Other Things…

If you grew up in church youth group in the 90’s you know all about the music of Rich Mullins. There is a movie out about his life and a coordinating album that is filled with covers from some great artists. In addition to Rich Mullins, you might also remember Sixpence None the Richer. Leigh Nash has an amazingly haunting voice and I never knew that she did her own album of hymns. It’s beautiful. So set up your sewing machine, have a listen and take a trip down youth group memory lane 🙂

tip-sy tuesday {trick for threading a needle}

Introducing a new goal for myself: tip-sy tuesday! On Tuesdays, I hope to offer a quick little tip that I’ve learned or use with sewing or maybe just in general life.

Today I’m going to show you a neat little trick for threading a needle; especially good to use with new little seamstresses. Last spring I was introduced to the Loran needle threaders. They are pretty neat and do a great job threading needles. I bought them for all my 7-14 year old sewing school students and it opened up a whole new world for them (and me…not having to chase back and forth re-threading needles).

loran needle threader

These little threaders are pretty inexpensive, at roughly $2 each, but having to buy a whole class set got pretty pricey. When I went to do my introductory class for using my new serger, my teacher there introduced me to floss threaders. While the Loran needle threaders are roughly $2 each, I can buy a pack of 50 of these floss threaders for less than that!


So here’s what you need:


~ A pack of floss threaders (I found mine at Walmart for less than $1.50 for the pack of 50 and it came with a case!)
~ a needle (we use chenille size 22 needles in my sewing classes)
~ some thread (in class we use crochet thread…which is a little bit thicker but holds up better for stitching with and it’s way cheaper than buying embroidery floss)

And here’s how to do it!