Sewing Supplies: The Professionals Share their Secrets

Rotary Cutters – Which way do you roll?

There are so many sewing supplies available to us and it can be overwhelming to decide which is best and why.   Rotary Cutters are no exception, and they are even more difficult becasue they are available in two different sizes.  What size is best for you and for which projects or fabrics.   We asked the professionals to answer these questions for you, and here’s what they had to say.

Jamie FingalJamie Fingal

I use the 45mm size, because it is what I am used to, and it’s easy to use and it fits my hand.  I use my rotary cutter as much as possible, and then I use the 7″ precision cutting sewing scissors for everything else.  I can cut a large and very small polka dots and hands with these scissors, because they hug the fabric.

Leslie Tucker JenisonLeslie Tucker Jenison

I use both sizes, 45mm and the 60mm.  I really can’t tell you why I use one over the other. I like them both and it is nice to have a choice.  Obviously, the smaller one makes more sense when working with a smaller size project.  Other than that, they are both wonderful and get the job done!  I believe the 45mm rotary cutter is my preferred one, probably because it is easier to hold.


Liz KettleLiz Kettle

I love my 60mm Havel’s Rotary Cutter.  I like the 45mm too, but I always grab the 60mm first.  I like to cut through as many layers as I can at one time and am often cutting non-traditional fabrics.  The 60mm never hesitates and rolls right through whatever challenge I give it.

Ruth ChandlerRuth Chandler

It’s very simple when it comes to my sewing supply list for the rotary cutters.  I prefer to use the 45mm for thinner fabrics and the 60mm for thicker layers.


Terry WhiteTerry white

I love the 60mm because it feels good in my hand.  It’s one of my favorite sewing supplies.


  We hope this helps you to decide which rotary cutter size will be best for you.  Click below to view the artist’s favorites.


Posted in Fabric Rotary Cutters, Jamie Fingal, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Liz Kettle, Ruth Chandler, Sewing Supplies, Terry White, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Free and Easy Craft Project to Create This Spring:

Fly Your Own Flag this Spring

By Jamie Fingal

I am excited to tell all of you that I am a new fabric designer and my very first line is titled Home is Where Your Story Begins ,by Hoffman California Fabrics.  So naturally, when Jackie Marsal, the account executive for Havel’s Sewing, asked me to design a “Spring Fling” themed project incorporating my new fabric line (just for fun!) I was obviously more than willing to get to work making these fabric flags for you all to create!

Fly Your Own Flag- 3 Fabric Flags for Spring

Bloom, Spring and Grow! Vibrant & fun these fabric flags are certain to cheer up anyone that is stuck experiencing cold weather!

These festive and fun flags are not only great for a variety of fabric artists, but they are also easy enough to make just in time for the upcoming Spring season.

Sample of Jamie Fingal's New Fabric Line

To give everyone an idea of what Jamie’s new fabric line consists of, here is a visual of the sample card.

 The fabric pictured below is hands down one of my favorites. It is covered completely with words, and based on my watercolors. The best part is that you can use the words available or you can easily cut out individual letters in order to create your own words, which is what we will be doing for this project. It only comes in this colorway – bright and fun!

Jamie Fingal's Word Covered Fabric

One of Jamie’s favorite from her new fabric line- It is covered completely with words, and based on her watercolors.

  This project will break down how to create three fabric flags inspired by the Spring season. (Each flag will measure 6×8 inches, vertical format.)

Black Wool Blended Felt

Three pieces of black wool blended felt by National Nonwovens TOY 002.

We are going to start this project off with 3 pieces of black wool blended felt -cut 6” x 8”- as the foundation. This is made by National Nonwovens TOY 002.

I also fused all of my fabrics with Mistyfuse to prepare for this project.


House Patterned Fabric

This house covered fabric is a perfect focal point for the fabric flags.

The next fabric that we need is the house patterned fabric. This is a a colorful fabric which can be used in a variety of ways.

This particular fabric- covered in different styles of houses of various shapes, colors, sizes- is the perfect focus point for two of the flags we will create.

Next, simply cut out a house out from the fabric, which is near the size of the flag, or slightly larger.

House Covered Fabric

 Fuse this to the felt.

Fused Fabric House

If you turn it over, you can cut the excess from the back, which will make it easier to get it straight. Find the letters B-L-O-O-M and set them aside.

B-L-O-O-M Fabric

Place the letters on the side and iron into place.

Fussy Cut Flowers

Using your favorite fussy cut scissors, cut out some flowers from the house fabric.

Fabric Flower Arrangement

Place the flowers on the lower portion of the flag and iron into place. Trim any areas that overlap from the back. Set aside.

Sky and Flag Fabric Cut Outs

For the second flag, using the blue circle fabric, cover one of the felt foundations, to cover about 2/3 of the felt from the top down.This will be used to create a sky effect.

Turn the flag over and cut from the back.

It would be fun to use some of the bunting flags in this one.  So, from the landscape fabric, find a row that would work for your flag.

Fussy cut out.

SPRING Fabric Flag



Place the flags in the upper portion.

Find the letters for the word SPRING, and place them just below the bunting flags.

Iron into place, and cut the extras from the back.



Using lime green striped fabric, cut the top with pinking shears.

It makes a great little detail, and it’s fun!

Pinked Grass Fabric

Using Havel’s PInking Shears adds a fun & unique effect to your fabric.

Fussy cut out a row of houses, and the larger flowers, like this blue and pink one below.

Houses and Various Pictures

The text fabric also has little houses and artful drawings which are useful for various art.

Place the houses in place, just below the pinking line.

Ironed In Place Fabric

 Once the house is set, iron the fabric in place.

Next, cut out the flowers and place them on the flag.  DO NOT  iron this down yet.

Flower Your Flag

Using the landscape fabric, fussy cut out the stems and leaves. (So that basically you are cutting off the top of the flowers.)

Cutting Larger Flowers

The stem and leaf unit will be used for your larger flowers.

After you decide where you want everything – flower-wise, iron them to the background.

Spring Flag #2

Set this flag aside, and now we are onto Flag number 3.

This house is larger, so you need to allow for that.

Creating the house Flag

We will add the blue circles to the sky, to make up for the empty space.

You can see where I have a strip of blue on the top.

Floral Landscaping

Then you can see where I have added some floral landscaping to the bottom portion of the 3rd flag in order to fill in the green.

Next, find and cut out the letters for the word G-R-O-W.


Place the letters on the top and iron them into place.

Back each flag with a coordinating color of wool blended felt.

Now they are ready to be free motion machine quilted.

Backing the Fabric Flags

The backing for these flags is Fuschia WCF 001.

  After they are quilted, press with an iron, then trim the backing.

You want the backing to show just a tad- this helps to bring out the colors in the flag.

Havel's Rotary Cutter and Mat for Trimming

Using Havel’s 60mm Rotary Cutter and Cutting Mat to trim the backing.

Using the free motion foot,  zig zag the edges of each flag into place.

Zig Zag Stitching the Backing

Example of how the backs were easy to free motion machine quilt. You can see where Jamie went around the houses, objects and lettering with ease.

Here are the three finished flags:

All Three Fabric Flags

And individually:







I hope that you have enjoyed making this Spring Fling fabric flag project as much as I did!


Jamie Fingal

About Jamie Fingal:

Jamie is a an award winning artist & fabric designer from Orange, CA. You can contact her and order fabric at


For more of Jamie’s inspiring and creative projects, click here.


Posted in art ideas, Fabric, Fabric Art, Fiber Art, Free Quilt Projects, Fun Stuff, Guest Writers, Jamie Fingal, Mixed Media, Patterns, Quilting, Wall Hangings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Retro Applique Linen Scarf Sewing Project

Retro Applique Linen Scarf

By Terry White

Retro Applique Linen Scarf Project

This simple retro scarf is made of linen.

Linen is one of my favorite fabrics on which to stitch and to wear. I love that it is making a comeback in fashion, and I especially love the scarves. The natural way it looks and feels, and the variety of types available make this fabric very versatile. You can wash it and it is very strong and will last a long time.

Linen Fabric

Linen is made of flax and is characterized by its even weave.

Linen is made of flax and is characterized by its even weave. The weave is even, but the threads are uneven and natural slubs occur in the fabric.

The term linen is now used in a broader way to describe any type of fabric that is made to look and feel like linen.

You can find linen at most fabric stores- especially when the spring fabrics come into the stores. There are dress linens and drapery linens. A lot of times, you can find the perfect one in the drapery department. Linen sheers are wonderful fabrics with which to use for scarves.

Cotton threads for Applique details

Cotton threads for the applique details.

I am warning you: Wash and dry your linen as you will wash and dry the finished scarf. It will shrink. Was and dry the fabrics you will use for applique. You want to be sure that when the scarf is finished that appliques won’t shrink everything up.

So, besides using this great linen fabric, you will use some pretty cotton threads for details on the appliques.

I use Star cotton machine embroidery thread but you can use anything called cotton machine quilting thread.

These threads are most like embroidery floss for hand embroidery because of the cotton content and the colors available.

What You Will Need:

-2 pieces of linen that contrast -I used pink and green – cut at least 14″ wide and then as long as you want for your scarf.

-Small pieces of linen for the appliques. I used bright pink, blue and some of the green leftover from my scarf cut.

-1 yard of medium weight interfacing.

-Cotton threads as described above.

-Spray Starch.

-Spray adhesive, such as Sulky Temporary Spray Adhesive.

-Morgan No-Slip Hoop or a good hand embroidery hoop. My hoop is 9″ in diameter.



Cutting the Linen

Cut linen to size.

1. Press Your Two Linen Pieces:

Cut your linen to the size you want it to be.

How to cut the linen: Snip edge of linen and pull a thread. This will give you a guide so that you will  cut the linen straight.

Press your two linen pieces with spray starch.

Tip: I buy a pillowcase from the thrift store to use as a pressing cloth when using spray starch. I cut two pieces and use one to protect my ironing surface and one to protect the iron. I use these when making fusible applique as well.

Trace Applique Designs

Tracing Applique designs on the linen.

2. Make Appliques: 

Press your small linen pieces with spray starch.

Trace the designs onto the linen pieces. I like to use a Sharpie in a color close to the color of the thread I’ll be using. Press the tracing and will heat set the ink.

Stitch details on your appliques.

Use medium weight interfacing on the back of the applique.


Pic 6 linen scarf 496x480

Pansy Applique.

Pic 7 linen scarf 640x478

Center of the Pansy Applique Details.

Pic 8 linen scarf 480x610

Free Motion Stitched details.

You can free motion stitch the details or use a straight stitch on your machine.

You can use your favorite applique stitches on your machine or stitch the details on by hand if you prefer.

You can find how-to’s on machine applique in Havel’s Sewing’s Guide to Quilting.

Cut out the appliques close to the stitching.

Pic 9 linen scarf 480x636

Curved scissors will help with getting close to the stitching.

Pic 10 linen scarf 640x478

The applique being used on the scarf.

3. Stitch Appliques to Each Side of the Scarf:

Position the appliques on each side of the scarf.

I suggest using spray adhesive to place the pieces.

Use interfacing away from the fabric. This prevents accidental snips into the linen.

Pic 11 linen scarf 480x621

Using Interfacing.

Pic 12 linen scarf 640x438

Duckbill scissors being used to cut out appliques.

4: Stitch Scarf Together: 

Stitch the two pieces together right sides facing in along the long sides.

Turn and press.

Pic 13 linen scarf 640x478

Applique on the scarf.

Topstitch about 1/2 inch to the two sides of the scarf.

Pic 14 linen scarf 640x480

Details of the blue pansy.

Pic 15 linen scarf 640x434

Here are the two sides of the scarf.

Pic 16 linen scarf 640x478

Opening edges to press.


Press the opening edges about 1/2 inch to the inside.

Place trim on the pressed side of the scarf.

Pic 17 linen scarf 640x478

Trim for the scarf.


Pic 18 linen scarf 640x478

Applying the scarf’s trim.

Fold and press.

Topstitch the ends.

Pic 19 linen scarf 640x478

What the trim will look like on your scarf.

Pic 20 linen scarf 480x493

Trim added to the other side.


The end result will look like this:

Retro Applique Linen Scarf Project

Retro Applique Linen Scarf.

Hopefully you enjoyed making your new retro appliqued linen scarf! This is the perfect scarf for spring and summer so be sure to make scarves for all of your friends and loved ones to add to their wardrobe this season.

Below are the applique patterns that you can print out and use for making your scarf:

Pansy Applique Pic

Leaf Applique Pic

Check out more of Terry’s fantastic projects here.



Posted in Applique, Applique Scissors, art ideas, craft, Craft to make, Crafting, Fabric, Fabric Art, For Beginners in Sewing, Free Craft Projects, Free Quilt Projects, Free Sewing Project, Guest Writers, How To, How to Make A Scarf, Terry White, Tutorials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Fun and Easy Quilt Project- Creating a Pineapple Wall Hanging

By Beth Novak

Hello! I’m Beth Novak from modernJax. I’ve been sewing for over 10 years and quilting for almost 10 years. I am so excited to have found my passion! Adding to my excitement is the opportunity to blog for Havel’s Sewing. Not only does Havel’s make quality products and have excellent customer service, but also they are a great group of genuinely nice people!

Today’s tutorial is for a pineapple wall hanging.

The pineapple is a symbol of friendship and hospitality, so this would look great in your foyer, adapted as a table runner for your dining room table, or even made into a pillow for a housewarming gift.


I’m also a big fan of Hawaiiana, so until I master Hawaiian applique, this is my tribute to my favorite state! Also, check out my blog for a variation on this block – especially for those of you who prefer peacocks to pineapples!


  • Scraps at least 2.5″ square of tan, yellow, gold, or brown fabric
  • Scraps at least 2.5″ by 5.5″ of green fabric
  • Solid white fabric or the background fabric of your choice
  • Backing, binding, thread
  • Rotary cutter, ruler, cutting mat, and sewing machine

1. Cut enough yellow,brown,tan, and gold scraps to make sixteen (16) 2.5” squares.


2. Let’s make quick half square triangles! This method will make enough corners for two (2) pineapples. Cut out one (1) white 5.5” square and also one (1) yellow, brown, tan or gold 5.5” square.

 3. Lay the white 5.5” square on top of the color 5.5” square, right sides together. Using a ruler, draw a line from corner to corner, making an X through the center.


4. Sew 1/4” on either side of each line (4 seams per pair).


5. Cut on the center point both horizontally and vertically.


6. Now cut diagonally following the lines you drew earlier. Voila! Eight half square triangles!


7. Press your seams away from the white.


8. Now assemble your pineapple “body.”


Using a 1/4” seam allowance, sew together five (5) 2.5” squares. Repeat, making two rows.

9. Sew together three (3) 2.5” squares. Sew one half square triangle unit to the top (so the color triangle is on the bottom right), and sew one half square triangle to the bottom (so the color triangle is on the top right).


10. Sew one complete row to the other complete row on the long edge, using 1/4” seam allowance. Add a half square triangle row to one side making sure the white portions of the half square triangles are on the outside.

Repeat, sewing a half square triangle row to the other side.

11. Cut two pieces of white 3.5” by 10.5”. Using 1/4″ seam allowance, sew a piece of white to either long side of your pineapple body.

12. Now for the stem. From your green scraps, cut nine (9) 2.5” by 5.5” rectangles.

13. Fold one scrap in half lengthwise and finger press. Line up your ruler so the 1/4” mark goes through the center point at the bottom, and aligns with the top edge forming a diagonal.


14. Trim along this edge and then repeat for the other side. This should yield a wedge that is 1/2” at the bottom and 2.5” at top (and still 5.5” tall).

Repeat this with the rest of your green pieces.


15. Fold one wedge in half lengthwise right side together. Sew a 1/4” seam along the wide edge of the wedge.

Repeat this with the rest of your green pieces.


16. Turn right side out to form a “point.” You may need to use your scissors to poke out the point – be careful not to poke through the fabric!


17. Press flat, creating a petal.


18. Take two wedges and place right side together. Sew a 1/4” seam on one long edge. Press seam open.


19. Repeat with all petals until you have a fan.


20. Cut a piece of white 6.5” by 14.5”. Fold in half and finger press, then open and place the fan so the center petal aligns with the center crease.

Note: do not align the bottom of your fan to the bottom of the white fabric. Instead, align it so that the arch made by the bottoms of the petals will be completely hidden in your seam allowance.

Pin really well. (You’ll be happy you did later!)


21. Applique the petals to the background fabric by stitching
between 1/4” and 1/8” from the edge of the petals.


22. Trim the bottom edge so the green fabric is even with the white.


23. Placing the fabrics right sides together, align the bottom of the appliqued petals to the top of your pineapple body. Sew 1/4” seam. Press.


You will now have created one pineapple block!


To create the wall hanging: make a total of four of these units.

Stitch two pairs together along the long edge making two horizontal rows of pineapples.

Add a 2.5” by the width of the row (approximately 28”) piece of fabric to the bottom of each row.

Back, quilt, and bind.

You’re now done! Thank you for checking out my tutorial and I hope you enjoyed this fun and summery quilt project!

For more gorgeous projects by Beth, click here.


Beth Novak headshot

If you have any questions email me at

Beth Novak is a mother, wife, sewist, blogger, and comedienne (in her own mind) living in southeast Ohio. She also finds time to work full time as a professor of digital media. Find her at Flickr, Twitter, and Pinterest, too!


Posted in Beth Novak, Fabric, Free Quilt Patterns, Free Quilt Projects, Fun Stuff, Guest Writers, Quilting, Tutorials, Uncategorized, Wall Hangings | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Rainy Day Tote Bag Sewing Craft Project

By: Liz Kettle

I have to confess that I have a pretty severe tote bag habit. I don’t dare count them or put them all in one place because I would surely have to have an intervention! As we head into rainy spring weather, I realized that I only have one that is waterproof. GASP! How could that be?

Rainy Day Tote BagFortunately I have been playing around with the new DIY vinyl laminates from Pellon and Therm-O-Web. And I love making tote bags as much as buying them so I thought I would share my process with you. I have designed an improvisational pieced bag and one that uses fabric strips with no piecing because if you are going to make one you may as well make two! They are so simple to make you may find yourself with a new addiction.


-17″ x 30″ of Multi-Purpose Cloth (MPC) from Roc-Lon *

-Fabric of your choice: use scraps of coordinating fabrics. Pre-wash your fabrics so the vinyl adheres properly.

-Vinyl iron on laminate from Pellon or Therm-O-Web

-Web handle strap: 60″ for each bag

-Havel’s rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler

 Improvisational Pieced Tote Bag:

Improvisational piecing takes out the precise measuring of many quilting techniques. I free cut the main pieces and somewhat randomly piece them together. Once I have a fairly large section I trim them up and add them to other sections. Here’s how…

Step 1: Cut fabric using your Havel’s rotary cutter and mat. Cut straightish lines. We aren’t using a ruler so be careful to keep your free hand off the mat. Make a big pile of strips using all your chosen fabrics.

Step 1

Step 2: Take the strips to your sewing machine and begin piecing them randomly. Piece some along the long edges as shown and piece some along the short edges so you have long lengths.

Strip Piecing

Step 3: After you have stitched a few sections, press seams to one side…

Press the Seams

and trim sections straightish.

Trim Sections

Step 4: Lay out your sections to see what else you need to create to make a piece of fabric large enough for your bag. At this point I decided that I needed to add some white strips.

Lay Out Sections

Step 5: Continue piecing until you have a piece larger than the 17″ x 30″ Multi-Purpose Cloth. Following manufacturers’ directions, use Misty Fuse or other fusible web to adhere the pieced fabric to the MPC.

Continue Piecing

Step 6: Follow manufacturer’s directions to apply the Vinyl Iron-on to the surface of your pieced fabric.

Apply Vinyl

Step 7: Fold the fabric in half along the long sides with right sides together. Stitch up the side seams.

Step 8: To create the bag box bottom fold the bag along the side with the seam running up the middle as shown. Measure up 1 3/4″ from the point. You will have 1 3/4″ from the middle seam to each edge as well. Draw a line.

Create the Bag Box Bottom

Step 9: Stitch along the line.

Stitch the Line

Step 10: Trim the excess point ¼” away from the stitch line.

Trim the Excess

Step 11: Turn bag right side out. Press as needed using the protective sheet that comes with the laminate material. Cut each web strap 30″. Apply the edge of the strap 4″ in from the side seam on each side. I stitch a box with an interior X to make it strong.

X Box Stitch

 Now the rain won’t keep you inside and your stuff won’t get wet. You could even apply the vinyl to the inside of the bag to make it completely water resistant for a pool bag!

Rainy Day Tote

Low Sew Option:

If you want to stitch less and let the fabrics do all the work try this method.


 Use bold prints and cut strips 30″ long. Create a pattern with the strips or simply use one piece of fabric.


Fuse the fabric to the MPC base, add the Vinyl Iron-on and follow the rest of the steps to complete your bags.



For more of Liz’s inspiring and fun projects click here.


Posted in Fabric, For Beginners in Sewing, Free Quilt Projects, Fun Stuff, Guest Writers, Liz Kettle, Tutorials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments