- January: Organisable Zip Pouches
The arrival of the new year is always a time for getting organised and starting with a clean slate. It’s also a great time to try out some new patterns and get a little creative with your designs. Zip pouches are a perfect project for meeting both those goals! Whether you're creating flat pencil cases or gusseted bags perfect for travel toiletries, there's plenty of opportunity to practise all kinds of skills, from piecing and zipper insertion to applique, embroidery, and working with unique materials.
- February: Scrappy Valentines
These sweet little heart-shaped ornaments are great little scrap busters and, even better, they offer a chance for you to use up all the bits of trim, edging and lace you can't bear to throw away. Stitch tiny heart-shaped pillows embellished with trims and embroidered with your Valentine message. Add a loop of ribbon to turn these keepsakes into hanging ornaments. For an added special touch, stuff them with rose petals and lavender and turn them into fragrant sachets.
- March: Luggage Tags and Key Fobs
Planning a spring getaway? Stitch up some luggage tags to keep your baggage all present and accounted for. They're simple to make and also make great gifts for the jet-setters amongst your friends and family. Stitch a layer of clear plastic—like the sort used in page protectors—to a sturdy backing fabric. This creates a protective pocket while keeping your information easy to read. For those who prefer a driving holiday, opt for quick, quilted key fobs are an excellent alternative. You can even monogramme them for a personalised touch.
- April: Bow Ties
The dapper bow tie is making a comeback! They're easy to make for yourself. The trick is to cut your pieces on the bias to provide a little extra stretch for comfort. For crisp points on your tie, use a light fusible interfacing to provide extra structure. Though high-end ties are traditionally made of silk, you can make everyday ties from less pricey fabrics&mdashincluding colourful, lightweight cotton prints. Of course, it also helps to be able to tie them! Here's a quick reference in case you need a refresher.
- May: Market Bags
These are great starter projects for beginning sewists, so if you've got friends or children who are interested in the craft, get them started with market bags. The best fabric choices are sturdy, medium-weight, and washable. Denim is a good option, and you can even upcycle old blue jeans if you've got old pairs that no longer pass muster as fashion. For handles, you can opt to make your own from layered strips of fabric, or buy woven nylon straps to an extra-sturdy option. Be sure to use a heavy-duty needle if you opt for nylon strap.
- June: Pretty and Practical Aprons
From kitchen tasks to crafty endeavours, it's always wise to have an apron or two on hand to keep the mess off your clothes. Whether you prefer something utilitarian, like a lightweight canvas chef's apron, or something a little frilly, aprons are a good way to get into constructing garments without too much fuss over fit.
- July: Simple Sundress
After June's aprons, it’s time to move on to a garment that's a little more complex. The Tricia sundress pattern from On The Cutting Floor features a drawstring halter neckline, bodice darts, and a knee-length skirt, and—even better—a full tutorial on assembling the free, printable pattern.
- August: Plushie Pals
There's a real art to adding personality to dolls and soft toys. Why not experiment with creating some of your own? Whether you prefer high-end art dolls that make use of all kinds of techniques from painting to couture stitching or simple children's toys made to be loved until their fur falls off, there are plenty of options for all kinds of sewists.
- September: Embellished Throw Pillows
If you feel your interior design is getting a bit humdrum, spice up your decor without breaking the bank with some new throw pillows. Smocking is a simple technique that makes a simple length of fabric look very high-end. All you need is a ruler, a marking pencil, and your needle and thread. Another way to embellish you pillows is by stitching on felt shapes. With no risk of fraying, there's no need to stitch all the way around the edge, leaving them free to provide some extra dimensional interest.
- October: Reversible Scarf
The weather's getting brisk and it's time to think about some warmer accessories. Flannel makes a great fabric choice, and a reversible scarf is an easy way to showcase several favourite colours or patterns at once. If you plan to leave your scarf flat, it's as easy as stitching two layers together and turning the finished scarf right side out. For an infinity scarf, first stitch the ends of each of your fabric rectangles together to form rings, then, with one ring set inside the other, stitch the top and bottom seams together, leaving a gap to turn the finished scarf.
- November: Cosy Lap Blanket
If you're interested in quilting, a lap blanket is the perfect place to start. While you can create a pieced top layer, you can also quilt on plain fabrics, which is an excellent way to showcase fancy stitching. When quilting, be sure to liberally pin your work to keep the layers from slipping. Safety pins are best for this; unlike straight pins, they won't slip out. You can also use basting sprays or fusible adhesives between the layers of your "quilt sandwich," but for beginning quilters, pins are the most forgiving, as you can easily adjust for errors.
- December: Christmas Tree Skirt
With the holidays at hand, it's time to get festive with your sewing projects. A tree skirt is a great addition to your decor, or a fun and unique gift item for friends and family. Tie it in with your decor in terms of theme and colour. String pieced panels, made of narrow strips of fabric, add a pop of colour. If shabby chic is your prefered style, add alternating layers of ruffled white cotton and burlap for informal appeal. Of course, you can always go traditional, with deep red and green velvets embroidered with a hint of gold thread for added sparkle.