Hexie Pincushion Tutorial

I love pincushions, all kinds and I have a bunch all around my sewing studio.  I first saw a version of these pincushions at Quiltcon 2015.  I was in Carolyn Friedlander’s class and behind me on a table sat a cute hexie pincushion.  I found out later it belonged to Nicole Daksiewicz from Modern Handcraft.  (She has some amazing hexagon quilt projects, check them out on her blog!) I discovered that she had a Hexie Pincushion tutorial and I wanted to make one for myself.  She used a die cutting machine to cut out all those cute 1/2 inch hexies.  I bought a bunch of wool felt and decided I would cut them out by hand.  Fast forward to December 2015 and my hubbie gifted me a Sizzix Fabi machine and that little 1/2 inch hexie die. I decided to make some of those pincushions inspired by Nicole but I added my own twist.  Here is how I made it.

First, here is my new Sizzix Fabi die cutting machine and the dies I received for my holiday gift.  Isn’t it so cute? (Check out the cute storage bag I made for it too.)

sizzix hexies

I had several colors of wool felt and I ran them through the machine.  I used a muffin tin to organize all of the colors of hexies.


I cut a 6 inch strip of a linen blend.

I folded the fabric in half with the fold at the bottom.  Then I used a 60 degree triangle and positioned it so that the  top and sides measured 3 1/2 “.  This is an old Kay Wood ruler that I had.  I am thinking I really need to update some of my rulers, but this one still worked.

When you open up the fabric, you have a nice large hexie shape.  I fold it to mark the center and then iron out the fold lines.

Then, using some fabric glue stick, I arrange the hexies in a sort of circle shape.

Once the shapes are all arranged, I get a piece of scrap batting and start to quilt.

First you stitch through the center of each little hexie starting at the edge of the big hexie.  I like to use a large stitch and a walking foot to quilt this part.

Then you just keep quilting across the little hexies from point to point.

This shows the final quilting of the last corners of the little hexagons.

Here is a picture of one trimmed after the quilting.  Now you are ready to stitch on the bottom of the pincushion.

Trim the excess batting from the top of the pincushion.  Using the same method as the linen hexagon top, cut a coordinating bottom for the pincushion.

Stitch a 1/4″ seam all around the hexie leaving an opening for turning on one side.  Trim the corners and turn right side out.

Tuck in the open sides and press.

I stuffed my pincushion with a bunch of batting scraps I had.  You can stuff it with your favorite pincushion filling.  Then just whip stitch the opening closed.

These would make great gifts or be a good project for a sewing group to stitch up together.  Happy Sewing!



Holiday Yo-Yo Ornament (free tutorial)

yo yo ornament by Lori Miller Designs

Create fun holiday yo-yo ornaments for a homemade gift for a teacher, music instructor or bus driver.  A nice sewing craft for older children to learn some basic sewing skills, even how to sew a button.  You can make it even faster with some hot glue at the finish.  Plan an afternoon to put these together for holiday gifts or your own homemade decorations.

Materials needed:

  • 1 giant yo-yo (6 inch circle)
  • 1 large yo-yo (4 1/2 inch circle)
  • 1 button
  • 12 inches of ribbon
  • Thread
  • Needed
  • (hot glue optional)

P1050138 001

  1. First make your yo-yos.  Take the 6 inch circle of holiday fabric.P1050139 001
  2. Carefully fold over the raw edge (wrong sides together) about 1/4″ and baste all around.  You can use pretty large basting stitches – yo-yos are pretty forgiving.P1050140 001P1050142 001
  3. Once you have basted the whole circle, pull the thread to gather the yo-yo tight.P1050143 001
  4. Tie a sturdy knot and bury the end of the thread in one of the folds of the yo-yo.
  5. Make the 4 1/2″ smaller yo-yo in the same way.P1050146 001
  6. Assemble the ornament together.  Loop the ribbon to form a hanger and tack it in place with thread at the center of the giant yo-yo.P1050147 001
  7. Layer the large yo-yo on top of the giant yo-yo and tack or sew it to the center of the giant yo-yo.P1050148 002
  8. Finish the ornament by sewing a button to the center of the large yo-yo.

Tip:  You could have ready made yo-yo’s and just hot glue the ribbon, yo-yos and button together to make them up in a jiffy.  

CAUTION:  Hot glue is HOT!  Protect your fingers and have an adult help and supervise children.



Upcycled Christmas Card Bookmarks

upcycled bookmarks by lori Miller Designs

I received one of these upcycled Christmas card bookmarks as a little gift and it is just too clever not to share.  This bookmark is an ingeniously folded old christmas card.  I took it apart to figure out the pattern and I am gladly spilling its simple but intricate secrets.  Make a bunch for stocking stuffers, for an afternoon craft with the kids or to mail to friends far away for the holiday.

Materials Needed:

  • Fronts of old christmas cards (thin ones work the best)
  • Yarn or Thread Tassel (optional)



  1. Grab your assortment of pretty christmas cards. (Any cards will really do)P1090143
  2. Measure and cut the card down to 4 x 7 inches.P1090145-001
  3. Try to capture the bulk of the picture or design.
  4. Fold the card in half the long way, right sides together.
  5. Now, fold the card in half again.  I like to fold each side separately so it is a crisper fold before putting it together to fold in half.P1090156-001
  6. Measure 1/4 inch down the single fold side of the bookmark.  mark this so that you do not cut past it later.P1090157-001
  7. Now, on the double folded edge, measure up 1/2 inch from the bottom and mark at 1/2 inch intervals until you have 11 marks.P1090158
  8. On the other side on your 1/2 inch line, measure up from the bottom of the card 1 1/2 inches. Mark at 1/2 inch intervals until you have 11 marks.bookmark
  9. These marks should be offset at an angle.  It will look something like this above.P1090163
  10. You will now cut the angles every half inch being careful to stop 1/4 inch from the edge.  Make sure you are cutting from the double folded edge.  You will make 11 cuts.P1090166
  11. Now open the card back up carefully.P1090167
  12. Fold it in half again with the right sides facing out.  Make sure that the angle cuts from a V shape as you look at them.P1090172
  13. Begin folding up every other V shape starting from the bottom.  As you fold them up, tuck them under the next  V shape.  Move up the bookmark folding and tucking.  Tuck the last V shape under the top V.  They should hold in place.P1090178
  14. You can leave the bookmark as is or punch a hole in the top and string a yarn tassel through it.P1090140-001

A beautiful bookmark from a card you might have thrown away!

Hint:  If you have a smaller card, just make fewer cuts.  You will just need an ODD number of cuts for the folds to work.


Easy Holiday Fleece Pillows (free tutorial)

Here are a couple of ideas for some last minute holiday gifts to stitch.  You probably have a stash of fleece somewhere in your sewing room from a sale at JoAnns Fabrics 3 years ago, if not, find yourself a couple of remnants and get sewing.  These are some clever and creative pillows for big and little kids to enjoy. They stitch up in a snap so they are quick and easy for a beginner to make.

Fleece Dog Bone Neck Pillow (For the BIG Kids)

I really wish I had thought up this pattern. My girlfriend Wanda said it was the best little neck pillow ever, great for napping on an airplane, in the car or just drifting off in the lazy chair. I found this pattern at Sew4Home.com.   It is a free pdf pattern.

You just cut out the pattern and tape it together. Then cut out three of these shapes.

You are going to stitch around 1/2 of two shapes.

Then add the third piece and sew all around leaving only a small opening for turning.

Turn it right side out and stuff it with some polyester stuffing. Then just whip stitch the opening closed.  All done!
Sew4home has the full pattern with instructions. You can whip one up in about 30 minutes. It will use up about 1/2 a yard of 45″ wide  fleece.

Fleece Friendly  Holiday Tree Pillow (For the LITTLE Kids)

This pattern is from me.  I thought it would be a cute accent for the chair or a great little gift for the little ones to get as an early gift before the holiday.

Here is my Free Tree Pattern for the cute little tree pillow.

Finished Size: 10″ x 12″

Materials Needed:

  • 1/3 yard of green fleece
  • Assorted scraps of fleece for the ornaments, eyes, note and mouth.
  • Polyester stuffing
  • Embroidery floss for the mouth
  • Coordinating threads


Note: Use a 1/4 ” seam allowance.

  1. Print out the pattern and use it to cut out two pieces of  green fleece placing the center of the tree on the fold.
  2. Embellish the front of the tree.  I cut out little circles for eyes, mouth and ornaments.
  3. Then I pinned them where I wanted them and then used a narrow zig zag stitch in matching thread to sew them all on. It goes pretty fast once you get started, the longest part is changing the thread color. I just used little circles for ornaments, but you can get fancy, add shapes, add rick rack, decorate your tree how you like it!
  4. Embroider the mouth with a large stem or running stitch.
  5. With wrong sides together, stitch ¼ inch from the edge of the fleece leaving an opening at the bottom for stuffing.
  6. Clip the points and turn right side out.
  7. Stuff the tree with polyester stuffing and whip stitch the opening at the bottom closed.

Now you have a cute, washable, and huggable holiday tree!  Enjoy!



Heirloom Thanksgiving Bread Cloth (free tutorial)

It is not Thanksgiving at my house without some fresh homemade rolls.   If my son does not eat them all, they are pretty tasty for little turkey-cranberry sandwiches. I have a very pretty bread cloth that my mother in law gave me many years ago.  It makes me think of her when I use it and we lost her last year.  Everyone needs a little bread cloth to make Thanksgiving special and perhaps it will become an family tradition.  Here is how to make an heirloom Thanksgiving bread cloth for your hot, buttered rolls (homemade or not!). Use the fancy stitches on your sewing machine to sew the heirloom inspired hem. Then embroider one of my designs in fall colors for to match your Thanksgiving decor.  This would be a great gift too!

Materials needed:

  • 18″ x 18″ square of heavy cotton fabric (1/2 yd of linen or a heavy white kona works well)
  • Size 100/16 Wing needle (for those fancy heirloom stitches on your sewing machine)
  • White thread
  • Embroidery floss in Fall Colors
  • Free breadcloth pattern below


  1. First make the bread cloth.
  2. Cut out the Thanksgiving bread cloth using my FREE Pattern. It also has my free embroidery designs too!
  3. Iron and starch the cloth really well.  You may want to put down something on your ironing board for the overspray as it gets pretty crunchy with a lot of layers.bread cloth
  4.  Fold over 1/2″ all the way around the cloth and iron.bread cloth
  5. You will need to snip the inner corners to get the fabric to fold.bread cloth
  6. For the pointy corners, fold in the corner.bread cloth
  7. Then fold each side to form a miter.bread cloth lori miller designs
  8. After you have ironed,I like to hand sew the inner corners so that there are no raw edges. The rest of the sides get caught by the fancy heirloom stitching. Just fold each edge under and take some tiny whip stitches to hold them down. At the point in the corner, I just make about 3 or 4 satin stitches and it looks just fine.

Stitch the fancy hem

  1. Put your wing needle in your sewing machine.  I just used regular white all purpose thread.P1090318
  2. Choose an heirloom fancy stitch. Here are couple to try.  The ones I used were 701 and 711 on my Bernina 630. Just find a stitch on your machine that looks like one of these.P1090322
  3. Stitch about 1/2″ away from the edge so that the fancy stitch catches the raw edge of the hem underneath. Hint: If the fabric is puckering, add a little stitch and tear stabilizer underneath it.
  4. Stitch all the way around. This will take some time so be patient, but you will be so happy because it looks awesome. Now your bread cloth is ready for embroidery.
  5. I have included two FREE embroidery designs to try on the pattern, a little pumpkin and a fall tree.


  6. Here is the pumpkin.P1090326
  7. Using three strands of embroidery floss, embroider the pumkin and leaves with a stem stitch.stem-stitch-clean-and-sized-600x276
  8. Here is a diagram of a stem stitch.

  9. For the little tree, I made the trunk with a chain stitch (just a bunch of lazy daisies strung together) and the leaves are just lazy daisy stitch.lazy-daisy-stitch-clean-and-sized-600x276
  10. Now your bread cloth is all ready to place in your basket and fill with rolls or bread for Thanksgiving.  These would also be great with a holly design for christmas gifts.  Happy Stitching and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Crochet Halloween Skull Pins (free tutorial)

Halloween is just around the corner. Get a head start and join in the fun with these crocheted scary, silly, skull pins.  You can whip one up in just a few minutes. This is a great beginner crochet project as there are only a few stitches to learn. They are also a great stash buster since you only need a few scraps of yarn and some buttons to make one.

Materials Required:

  • Bits of Yarn (White, black, red, or any creepy color you want)
  • Buttons for eyes (Black, red, white, green)
  • Size H Crochet hook
  • Yarn needle
  • Thread needle
  • Pin Back (Optional)


DC = Double Crochet


First create a magic circle to start your work. This is an alternative way to start your crocheted circle that achieves a very tight crochet (no hole). Instead of chaining and doing multiple crochets in the second chain from the hook, you create a kind of slip knot.

The magic circle is a deceptively simple way to start your crocheted circle that achieves a very tight crochet (to keep all that stuffing in). Instead of chaining and doing multiple crochets in the second chain from the hook, you create a kind of slip knot. The best way to explain this is to see it, so check out these two excellent examples from YouTube:

Round1 (R1): Chain 2, 11 DC in the magic circle.

Pull or work the yarn tail from the magic circle to tighten the loop of stitches so there is no center hole.

Slip Stitch in top of next DC to complete the circle.

R2: 2 DC in every stitch (24 stitches total), slip stitch to top of next DC to close circle.

R3: Chain 3, DC in next 4 stitches, chain 3 and slip stitch to next stitch to form the chin.
Then fasten off and weave the ends in the back. Viola! The main skull is done.

Now all you have to do is embellish them with some eyes and mouth.

Here are a few ideas:

 You can use double buttons, an X, or even felt for the eyes. I just used big stitches for the teeth and mouth. Once you make a few, you can get creative.  Make the skull more zombie like with weird leftover colors of yarn and mix up the sizes of the  eyes. I even found neon yarn that stitched up very cute.  You could add a ribbon bow and make it fancy.

Add a pin back , or just safety pin it.  This would be cute to add to a headband or hair clip for Halloween style.  Enjoy!


Stitch up some Tailgate Napkins (free tutorial)

Are you ready for some tailgating? It is football season, and the crisp air and smell of the brats on the grill are here. A little party with friends and good food is in order before the game, so make it easy and fill these cute DIY napkin pockets with silverware, and set them out for your guests. The napkins are super easy to stitch up. Then you just fold ‘em, stuff ‘em and arrange ‘em in a pretty basket or container. Clean up is a snap — just toss them in the washing machine and they are ready to go for the next game.  Below are directions on how to make the hem and how to fold the napkins to hold that silverware.

Materials required:


  • 2 yds of a football themed cotton or a mix of your teams colors
  • Coordinating thread

Finished size: 16″ x 16″, 8″ x 8″ folded.  Makes 8 napkins.



  1. Cut 8 – 17 1/2″ x 17 1/2″ squares.
  2. Stitch a 1/4 inch double fold hem all around the fabric to form napkins.  Here is how to make a double fold hem.basics hem 3
  3. Fold the material over 1/4″ with wrong sides together.  Fold it over 1/4″ again to encase the raw edge inside of the hem; pin in place.basics hem 4
  4. Sew the hem about 1/8 inch from the folded edge of the fabric. Backstitch one or two stitches at each end to secure the threads. Pull out  pins as you go, so you don’t sew over them.basics hem 7
  5. Trim your threads.basics hem 8
  6. Iron the hem flat to finish.

 Here is another way that you can sew the corners on your napkins:


Fold the corner up 1/4 inch twice.


Then when you fold the sides, it will form a tiny miter that you can sew through.


Here is the finish of the corner.


I stitched the top side with red thread for a nice accent.

Here are directions on how to fold your napkins for the tailgate party.


Iron the napkin flat, wrong side up.


Fold the napkin in half, with the fold on the bottom.


Bringing the left edge to the right edge, fold the napkin in half again with a fold on the left.


The top right of the napkin will have all the corners.


Taking the top right layer, fold down in half and iron a crease.


Open back up and fold the corner to the crease.


Take the folded top edge and fold down to the crease again.


Fold the whole thing down again.


Now, take the next top right layer and fold down the corner about an inch or so.




Fold again two more times until it meets the first folded corner.  Iron it all flat.


Flip over and fold over each side in thirds to form the pocket on the front side. Iron the napkin flat.


Flip it back over and you can see the little pocket on the bottom half your napkin.


Just tuck your silverware  into the bottom pocket. Make sure you get them in the right place or the silverware will slip out.  Pretty nifty, huh?  You can stack them in a basket or bucket for the tailgating party so everyone can grab them as they go!

Happy Tailgating!