Monday, November 29, 2010

Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays...

Alright, the Turkey is finished, family and friends are back home and if you have kids, they are in school. Four weeks until Christmas and only one week until Hannukah, gulp. December arrives every year and it is always seems to somehow sneak up on a person! OK, now is the time to think of all of the holiday projects on your list. Let's start with some easy projects.
Christmas Stockings. Have you pulled yours out of the storage area yet? Maybe this is the year you go all out, think of the magic you could create in just one afternoon. Mary Jo's has Velvet, Satin, Taffeta, Tapestry, Linen, and Faux Fur. As always you can create just about anything with fabric from Mary Jo's.
Today we are featuring a Sweet Stocking designed by Fabric Designer Linda Lum DeBono. She is one talented gal. You can check out her very inspired work on her blog Scroll down to her Sweet Stocking Article to download a template (PDF) for this fun and interesting Christmas stocking.
Sweet Stocking [approx. 12" x 22"]
You will need:
1/2 yard lime green for the stocking front and back exterior
1/2 yard of your choice for the lining
2 fat quarters of different stripes
coordinating thread

From the lime green fabric, cut:
1 stocking front
1 stocking back [reverse the stocking template]

From the lining fabric, cut:
1 stocking front
1 stocking back [reverse the stocking template]
From the red fabric, cut:
1 ruffle, 6 1/2" x 42" - then trim in half lengthwise to yield two strips, 6 1/2" x 21"

Fold your exterior fabric together, selvage to selvage right sides together. Cut out the stocking template. Do the same for the lining fabric.

Follow manufacturer's directions and fuse the candy canes to the front of the stocking. Stitch around the candy cane applique with a zig zag/satin or any other decorative stitch. Make sure that you have some stabilizer behind the applique when you're doing this step.

Next, layer the front of the stocking with a piece of batting on the wrong side of the fabric. Quilt the stocking as desired. Swirls, loops and circles are always fun! Repeat for the back of the stocking. Trim excess batting away.

Fold the ruffle strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and press. Open up the piece and fold in at each end 1/2". Stitch the ends with a 1/4" seam allowance. Use a needle and hand-stitch with a large running stitch at the raw edge of the strip. Pull the thread and gather to form ruffles. Repeat for the other red strip.

Pin the ruffle to the top edge of the stocking with the raw edges aligned 1/4" in from each side edge. Stitch together with a scant 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat for the back of the stocking.

With right sides facing, pin the front of the stocking to the matching lining. Repeat with the back of the stocking. Stitch across the top edge of the front of the stocking and lining. Repeat for the top edge of the back of the stocking and the lining.

Open up the stocking/lining pieces. Pin the front/lining piece with the back/lining piece with right sides facing. Stitch all around and leave a 4" opening for turning. Turn right side out and hand-sew the opening closed.

Push the lining back inside the stocking. Stitch a 1/4" across the top of the stocking body.
Hand-stitch the ribbon to the inside of the stocking. Overlap each end of the ruffle from the front and the back ruffle. Sew a small black button or just a plain stitch to hold the front ruffle to the back ruffle. Repeat for the other side of the ruffle.
There you have it! Your very own candy cane Sweet Stocking!

There you have it. Super simple and oh so sweet. Have fun and remember to surf around the internet to discover other new and different ideas to create a whole new pile of Christmas stockings this year. During this busy time of year, save yourself some time and log onto Our online store is open 24-7 and you don't have to worry about the weather or parking your car. Getting what you need could not be easier.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Not Your Mothers Apron Strings...

Aprons, fun to wear and a time honored tradition. With Holiday Dinners, Entertaining and Crafting in full swing maybe it is time to pop on your apron! Our Moms and Grandmothers were always big fans back in the day. We have collected a few stories about the history of Aprons and a few ideas on Aprons you can create yourself. Mary Jo's Cloth Store has fabric just waiting for your inspiration. On our Sale Page we have some cool Dr. Suess fabric, cheap to buy and fun to wear. When you are online, check out our collection of fun retro prints, you are going to love them.

A gal named Emily has a cool blog called "The Open Pantry" she has a sweet take on Aprons and their history. I don't think our kids know what an apron is.The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be along time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Another happy and creative blogger posted her very cool Apron, from a pattern called "Emmeline". Ta Da.It was fun and fairly simple to make. The most tedious part being the bias tape (making it). I love this bright colorful fabric from Alexander Henry. I think my favorite color combination right now is this red and aqua.The contrasting fabric is red and white polka-dot. Those tiny dots are hard to photograph. Photo credits go to Emma. I made her take a bazillion and yet we still didn't get very good ones. I did not hand sew the bias tape on. I used the machine and if I were to make this apron again (surely I will) I would make that same decision again. Next time I will use thread that is the same color as the trim. I was trying to be all artsy fartsy and I used an aqua thread-- it is far too revealing of my lame sewing skills. The reverse side is a little blue dot pattern. You can see it in yesterday's post (it was the liner in the little clutch I made.)

This apron is pretty cute on, especially flattering in the area that I am, ahem- lacking. Now its your turn. Get the pattern.Emmeline Apron Pattern

The Emmeline Apron is the one you’ve been waiting for - modern, stylish, and fun to sew. You’ll never want to take it off! Best of all, Emmeline is completely reversible, so it’s like two aprons in one. It can be tied in the front or back. Make it for yourself, your mother, your grandmother, and your friends. It’s guaranteed to add some spice to your culinary adventures!
This pattern includes easy-to-follow photo tutorial instructions and full-sized pattern pieces. It is suitable for advanced beginners. It is now available for $11.95.

Lastly a blogger named JCaroline weighs in with her take on Aprons and their functionality. May 14th is National Wear an Apron Day. Don't know who came up with it, but I felt compelled to participate by making an apron on Saturday. The Anna Griffin's Calorie fabric from the Elsie collection was just made for kitchen and dining accessories. The pocket is out of the coordinating Red Double Dot fabric. The ties in the back and the top are 7/8" Lemongrass grosgrain ribbon.

My mom made the pattern, which I will put on our how-to's this week. The apron took about an hour to make and takes 1 yard of fabric for the apron and you can vary the pocket size based on how much fabric you have. Great gift idea!
The instructions and pattern are on the web. Click here.)

If you are not inspired yet, cruise around on our website, find some fabric that really grabs you and stitch up an old fashioned, time honored Apron, some traditions are fun and worth keeping.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Mary Jo's Cloth Store.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fabric, Family, Friends & A Feast...

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. Daydreaming of that special day is hard not to do. The house will be filled with the aroma of roasting Turkey, and all of the side dishes. Just thinking of who will be gathered round the table or maybe even how many tables will be full, is part of the fun! Laughter fills the air, oh yes it will be a good day. This yearly tradition of feasting and being with family and friends is a ritual worth to holding onto.

Here at Mary Jo's we have been helping our customers with Tablecloth and Napkin fabrics for almost 60 years! Our shelves are full of beautiful Heavyweight Cottons, Woven and Printed patterns as well as lovely Damask-style patterns that wash well and always look like a special event! Log onto or if you are close enough pop into the store, we would love to see you.

Speaking of the holidays, the next biggie is only six weeks in the future. Yikes. We have many new styles of Holiday Prints and colors to choose from.
Did we mention the Trim Department? In a few weeks we are featuring an article on "Trimming The Halls". You will be amazed to see the fantastic array of trims we stock. Golden & Silver Braided Threads, Shiny and Brightly Colored Beads, Painted Baubles, and plenty of over the top Baroque-style Tassels. That is a short list of the trim possibilities, cheap enough to by by the Spool to easily decorate your home for the Season.

If you have moment during this busy season could you snap a few pics of the holiday finery you have created and email them to us? It is always a delight to share our talented customers beautiful work.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gear Up For The Holidays, Mary Jo Style...

It is the time of year to turn back the clocks, sunnier mornings, darker earlier. Hmmmm, fall back, maybe it is not such a bad idea after all. The plus side is we have more time indoors before suppertime and possibly a bit more time to get into the sewing room and create some magic. The seasonal checklist includes, New Tablecloths and Napkins for holiday dinners or maybe a new Tree Skirt for your Christmas tree. A few more simple ideas could include Christmas stockings, Holiday style Aprons for looking your best while creating your holiday feast. Holiday Guests will be arriving soon, this is the perfect time of year to consider recovering a sofa or chair, stitching up some new pillows for a fresh look or you could even top off your decorating project with some new curtains. Yes, as always the possibilities outweigh the time you may have available but the benefits are a gift that will keep on giving.

At Mary Jo's Cloth Store we have everything you will need for your holiday sewing binge! Our shelves are stocked to overflowing and have an array of holiday inspired prints and colors that will make you swoon with delight. The upholstery section has heavy weight fabrics that are durable and affordable. Some of the woven styles that are as much as 40-60 dollars per yard in other fabric stores can be had at Mary Jo's Cloth for 20 dollars and under per yard! Yes you can really pick up high quality fabrics for less.
We have a beautiful collection of fabric for all of your curtain/drape needs. Lovely and inexpensive, it just does not get any better.
Log onto the website and as always check the sale section for some extra special bargains.

A few weeks ago we featured several costumes created by some of our Mary Jo's sewing community. We recently received a few more pics from some of our MJ Blog readers. We love the Wizard of Oz crew. So sweet and well done, so happy our fabric can be turned into beautiful costumes and memories, Dorothy and her motley crew never looked so sweet! A creative Mom stitched up a viking costume for her toddler. Cute as a bug.
Thanks for sending in your photos, we are always so proud to be able to share your beautiful work on our Fabric Blog. Do you have a project we could share? Drop us an email with a photo today.