Outdoor Movie. DIY Screen

It all started with an amazing find for only $3 at our local Goodwill… a vintage school projector screen.  I knew I could do something with it.  Plus, it had the nostalgia factor going…brought back memories of the overhead projector and dittos at school.  Not sure why it reminded me of dittos, but it did.  Remember getting hot off the press ditto sheets passed out at school, and every kid would lift them up to smell them?  Ahh, memories.  My kids have no idea what I am talking about.  I am old.  Anyways, back to the projector screen find.  My husband (on a very rare thrift store appearance) agreed it was cool, so we brought it home and thought immediately of using it for an outdoor movie screen.  Inspired by sites like this and this, I was determined to plan an outdoor movie night for the girls.  Laying out blankets, eating popcorn and sitting under the stars while enjoying a great movie.  Like a drive-in without the car or the commute to the theater.  While we are lucky here in Buffalo to still have  a Drive-In theater close by (within 30 minutes) you just can’t get any more convenient than your back yard!

So, the invitations went out, the movie was chosen (Willy Wonka- the original!) and we did a trial run of the borrowed projector and our vintage screen.  BUST.  Romanced by the nostalgia, we didn’t really think about aspect ratio, the size of the screen vs. the size of a widescreen modern day movie.  Not ready to cancel our party I had to come up with a better idea.  Armed with some spare blackout lining from my latest roman shade sewing project we headed outside to test it out as a movie screen- and it looked pretty good!  A trip to Joann’s was in order to buy enough for our screen and I got to work.  After some research on aspect ratio (google it- it is a real thing!) we determined our ideal measurement would be to use the width of the blackout lining fabric of 54 inches, and a length of around 96 inches.  You can look up aspect ratio here, but we went with a 16:9 ratio.  I purchased 3 yards of the lining to make it easy, and cut it down a bit to 100 inches.  Measurements do not have to be totally accurate, you just want a good ratio between your height and width.  I used PVC pipe to stabilize the top and bottom, using a heavier pole for the bottom to weight it down.  Head to your local Home Depot or hardware store and buy a 1/2 inch PVC pipe, and a 3/4 inch PVC pipe.  Home Depot will cut it for you for free (at least mine did), so go ahead and have them cut each to 100 inches.  The poles cost less than $5 total, and come in 10 ft sections.

At first I planned to use Duck tape and tape a border around the screen and onto the poles, as I found a few online tutorials doing this with white fabric screens.  My instincts told me to sew it, but my husband vetoed that and said- keep it simple…tape it.  I agreed and bought some black Duck tape to mimic a real movie screen and got to taping.  After the tape sticking to itself a half dozen times, and the girls running in and interrupting, and me messing up again I decided this was far from simple!  Yikes.  A big mess.  Trimming a piece of fabric 100×54 in sticky tape is not an easy job!  So, I ignored the tutorials (and my husband) and went up to my sewing room.  I broke it down in case you want to make your own!


the kids at their “drive in” with their decorated box cars


Sorry about the horrible pics- it is really hard to take good pictures at night when you are entertaining a dozen kids (and you are shilling out tons of candy!).  The wrinkles that show up weren’t visible during the movie, and had we set this up earlier than 10 minutes before our party we would have spaced our hooks out farther!  Live and learn.  Also, want to copy the sweet (no pun intended) lollipop balloons?  I used the tutorial here as a guide. I skipped the paint and tape and kept it simple (or lazy).   I bought dowels at Joann’s for 1.00 each, blew up a balloon, placed it into a cellophane bag, twisted around the base of the balloon,  and tied it onto the dowel and just stuck them in the ground.  The balloons and cellophane basket bags (2 in each pack) were from Dollar tree.  Super cheap- I made 4 for only $7, but I still have plenty of balloons left and plan on using this idea again- for Halloween ghosts!  The kids loved these, the perfect touch for a Willy Wonka movie party!



What you’ll need:

3 yards  54″ Blackout Drapery Lining (I used RocLon Budget lining in ecru/white)

100 inches 1/2 inch PVC pipe

100 inches 3/4 inch PVC pipe

White thread

pipe caps to fit pipes (optional)

rope/hooks depending on your mounting situation


1.  Hem your short edges; the 54 inch width using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  You do not need to double fold the seam, just fold it over once and sew using white thread.  This will be a bit difficult to do given the weight and amount of the fabric.  Do not force it through your machine, I found it helpful to use my left hand to hold up the weight of the excess fabric and let my feed dogs pull it through the machine.  Take your time!  Repeat this with the other 54 inch side.
2.  Create your “pockets” for your poles.  Fold down one side roughly 2 inches and sew.  Again, no need to double fold.  Adjust if necessary depending on the size of your poles.  Repeat on the other side but fold down 3 inches to fit the larger pole.  Be sure to backstitch a few times at the beginning and end of each since these will be holding a bit of weight.

3.  Insert your PVC pipes into the pockets and pop on your pipe caps (optional).  I found them at the end of the PVC aisle, and bought two in each size- 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch for under 40 cents each.  These finish off the look of the poles, and help keep the poles from slipping out of their pockets.  Your screen is done!

4.  Now for the hanging hardware.  We chose to hang ours on the front of our garage.  My husband screwed in two of these type hooks to the wood trim above our garage door.  You could purchase these and just rest the ends of your pipe in the hooks if you have a similar place to hang it, or you could eliminate the pipe caps and slip some rope or string through your pipes and hang from two trees or across a fence or structure.  We simply rested ours on the hooks and it worked great.

Thanks to the fabric being on sale at Joann’s ($4 a yard!) the total cost of this project came under $20.  Can’t beat that!  When you are done simply roll it up around one of your polls and store it away until the next time.  After the fun we had, there will surely be a next time!!

Simple Summer Sewing Series

Simple Summer Sewing Series Day 3: Drawstring Bags

How is it that I have been sewing for over 5 years and I have never made a simple drawstring bag?  Until now.  I think I have gone a bit crazy over these bags- but I am sure I will find uses for them…toys, knitting supplies, travel etc.  I’ve got plans to make several more, let me show you the basic directions on how to make one!


The easiest tutorial ever:

What you need:

Two pieces of fabric in your desired size- (mine pictured is large 17x20inches, Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Children at Play- Parade)

Nylon cording, ribbon, rope, whatever you want your drawstrings to be made of. (I use a knit flat braid cord)

Coordinating thread


How to:

  1. We will be using french seams for this project- if you’ve never done this don’t worry it is super easy and will keep your inside seams nice and clean since we are not lining these bags.  Line up your fabric wrong sides together and sew the sides and bottom with a 1/4 inch seam  (to keep room for your casings start and finish 2 inches from top of each side)DSCN4165
  2. Turn inside out and sew around the sides and bottom again (still keeping 2 inches from top), but with 1/2 inch seam allowance.
  3. Fold over 1/4 inch on each side (where you left your 1 1/2 inches open) and press.  Fold top down 1/4 inch and press, and again 1/2 inch down and sew your seam across.  This creates your casing for your drawstring.DSCN4167
  4. Attache a safety pin to your cord or ribbon and pull it through the drawstring channel on one side of the bag and then back around the other side so that you have both ends of the ribbon on one side.  Repeat on the opposite side with the other cord or ribbon.DSCN4169
  5. Knot your ends together and cut off excess.  Fill ’em up with your stuff and you are done!DSCN4173
Simple Summer Sewing Series

Simple Summer Sewing Series Day 2: Reusable Placemats


Nothing says summer like packing a picnic lunch and heading to the park or playground.  There is something about loading up the picnic basket, blanket and snacks that makes eating lunch outside extra special.  To avoid the inevitable crumbs, spills and “oops” on your picnic blanket (or having your kids eat directly off of the dirty picnic table-yuck) you can whip up these simple, wipeable placemats.  I used a beautiful laminated cotton (Amy Butler- rose, peacock feathers) so there are no worries about stains- just wipe them clean and reuse.  The pocket is perfect for sliding in your cutlery, and the ribbon lets you just roll them up and store them away.  Great to carry around in your purse or diaper bag too- so you’ll always have a clean surface for you or your little one to eat on (with or without a plate!).


Reusable Placemats Tutorial:

What you will need:

1 yard laminated cotton (57inches wide)

coordinating thread

ribbon or bias tape for ties

How to (use a tiny seam allowance- fabric will not fray):

  1. Cut your fabric pieces.  You should be able to get 4 placemats our of 1 yard.  Dimensions for the placemats are: 10 1/2 x 16 1/2 inches. Cut your pocket pieces: 5×10 inches.  Cut your ties to your desired length- roughly 10 inches (will be folded to form two)
  2. Fold your pocket piece right sides together and sew side seams (to form a 5×5 inch square) leave bottom unsewn and turn right sides out.  Place on top of one placemat piece, one inch from the left botton corner.  Sew sides onto your placemat and sew lines to form slots for cutlery (roughly one inch apart)  You should now have a double thickness pocket with 4 slots for cutlery.  Your bottom edge is still unsewn.
  3. Fold your ribbon in half and baste to center of right side edge.  This will form your ties.
  4. Place one placemat piece on top with right sides facing.  Take your time, do not pin or you will leave holes in your laminated fabric.  Sew around the perimeter leaving at least 2 inches open to allow you to turn it right side out.  Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end.  Be sure your ribbon is tucked inside.  Turn right side out.
  5. Topstitch all around your placemat, closing up your opening.

Repeat for other placemats and you are done!  Now pack a lunch and get outside before Summer is over!

Simple Summer Sewing Series

Simple Summer Sewing Series Day 1: Bag Holder

My first sewing series!  Each day this week I will create a project that:

  1. Can be completed in under 30 minutes.
  2. Simple instructions, no more than 5 steps
  3. Use a yard of fabric or less (use up all of those scraps!)
  4. Fit under the umbrella of going “green”.  Good for you, good for the environment, good on your budget.

I am so excited to get started.  Hopefully at least one of the projects this week will inspire you to get sewing!  For more details on this series see last week’s post here.

Day 1:

Our local grocery store sells and encourages the use of reusable bags.  I have purchased over a dozen of these reusable bags over the years- but they always seem to get “lost”.  Lost in the trunk of the car, used for swim class or taken to the library, soccer stuff etc.  Or, simply forgotten in the trunk of the car in the grocery store parking lot!  In other words, I often forget to bring them in or can’t find them and kick myself when I walk out of the store with an endless supply of plastic shopping bags.  I hate throwing them out- it feels so wasteful when they can be saved and used again.  Unfortunately they are not the most attractive looking and can get a bit out of hand- they seem to multiply on their own!  Not the most attractive thing hanging in the kitchen.

ugly plastic bags

Here comes the Bag Holder.   A great excuse to introduce an awesome fabric into your kitchen and corral those ugly plastic bags.    This is extremely simple and fast to make.  Plus, it looks a bit better hanging in my kitchen!

bag holder
bag holder

You can really make these any dimensions you like, my measurements are just an example.  This is a great way to use up fabric scraps, I actually used the dimensions of my scraps to determine how large I made mine.  Fabric is Alexander Henry Mecca for Moderns- Mercer.

Bag Holder Tutorial:

What you will need:

20x20inches quilting or home dec fabric

coordinating thread

1/4 inch elastic (roughly 9 inches)

How to:

1.  Cut your fabric to desired size.  (My example shows 2 pieces of 10×20 sewn together, had I not used a scrap I would have cut one piece 20x20inches.)

2.  Sew your seam, and finish your edges.  (I chose to use a 1/2 inch seam allowance and pinking shears) If you use one piece of fabric you sew the long edges together to form your back seam.  If you use two pieces like I did, sew up the long sides to form side seams.

3.  Create your casings by folding over the edges 1/4 inch, and again at least 1/4 inch (room enough for your elastic).  Press if necessary, although I just wing it and finger press as I sew.  Sew the casings at the top and bottom of your fabric, leaving 1/2 inch space unsewed to insert your elastic, be sure to backstitch at the beginning and the end.

4.  Cut your elastic in half.  Use a safety pin to insert your elastic through the casing, sew the ends of the elastic together and sew up your openings.

5.  Create your hanging loop by sewing a 2x8inch pieice of fabric together lengthwise.  Turn inside out.  Fold in edges and topstitch.  Fold in half to form loop and sew onto the center back of the bag (you will be sewing it at your center seam if you have one, on the inside of your bag at the elastic casing)

You could also choose to use cotton webbing, or ribbon or a coordinating fabric.  Depending on where you will be hanging your bag you may choose to use a shorter or longer loop.  Adjust as necessary, my door hook is pretty high so I chose to have a longer loop.

Now, stuff your plastic bags in one at a time through the top.  When you need one simply pull one out through the bottom- so easy!  I know these aren’t the clearest directions, but hopefully it makes sense…I will be sure to take pictures during the process next time.

Simple Summer Sewing Series

Simple Summer Sewing Series- Going Green!

How is it August already?  This summer is flying by…where is the time going?  I don’t know about you, but my summer schedule is packed!  With the longer days, warmer weather and two little girls to entertain I am not left with much time to myself…let alone sewing time.  By the time the kids are in bed (sometimes after 9pm!) I am too wiped to sit down and start a project.   I can only spend so much time in front of my sewing machine while the girls run around the house screaming at each other.  Yikes.  Don’t get me wrong, I still sew almost every day but I have to be mindful of how long each project takes…enter- the Simple Summer Sewing Series.  Say that twice fast.  Almost as hard as She sells seashells by the seashore.  I am so corny.

Anyways, I am pretty excited about the projects I am going to show this week; 5 easy and QUICK projects perfect for the beginner sewer or anyone looking for a simple project.  Best part- totally doable in less than an hour (sometimes less than 30 minutes!), so you will never feel guilty staying indoors on a beautiful day locked up in your craft room.  Yay!  Pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

I hope this will become a recurring series, this first one focused on being GREEN; simple projects to satisfy your creative urges and produce something useful and eco-friendly at the same time!

The details:

Day 1:  Bag holder- a pretty disguise and holder for all of those ugly plastic bags you save/recycle.

Day 2:  Reusable placemats- wipeable laminated cotton placemats perfect for a picnic

Day 3: Drawstring bags- self explanatory- fill ’em up with toys, use them for your knitting, etc.

Day 4:  Reusable snack bags- never (well, in an ideal world) buy another plastic sandwich bag again.    Fill them up, eat your snacks, wipe them clean and repeat.

Day 5:  Cloth napkins- go green and add something pretty to your lunchbag at the same time.

So please stop by Monday and check out what I’ve got in store for you.  I can’t wait to get started…already thinking of the fabric for each project.  That’s the best part isn’t it?

Here’s a little preview of day 1!  Gotta throw in at least one picture right?

bag holder
bag holder

KWC Day Two: Crochet yoke top (with crochet pattern!)

I am so excited to participate in this Kids Clothes Week Summer sewing challenge.  As I vowed earlier, I am challenging myself to sew one entire garment each day this week.  Call me crazy but I am pumped.  For day 1 I started a bit slow, but I prepared to come out in full force today, and came up with a tutorial as well.  I have made MANY different versions of this top/dress over the last few years- it has kind of been a signature for me so I can do it with my eyes closed (well, not really) so I figured writing up a tutorial would be easy.  Again, not really.  I usually wing the crochet part, and guesstimate the number of stitches and the type of crochet stitches I want depending on the fabric I am using.  Writing up a crochet pattern isn’t something I have ever done before, but I think I did a good job!  If anyone makes this and has any issues please let me know!  Scroll down to the end and see some of the other versions I have made in the past.  It is the sweetest summer top, and can be adapted into a dress or using a wool yarn and heavier fabric become s a cute jumper in the fall or winter as well.

For this tutorial I am making a summer top for my 6 1/2 year old daughter.  I used an all cotton yarn in a natural ecru color, and the fabric is a quilting cotton.  I have made two different versions.  The first is a bit easier, and uses the dress pattern for the Oliver and S popover sundress.  This results in a clean front- no gathering.  The second version uses a peasant dress bodice pattern so it is fuller and gathered, and the necline is larger resulting in a pretty flutter or ruffled “sleeve”.  I love them both!  Since Isabel is in summer school (I am so mean aren’t I- sending my Kindergartener to Spanish Summer school) Eleanor stepped in to model, although it is large on her she did an awesome job!

Crochet pattern:

Hook size: H/8- 5.00mm

I have never checked my gauge and wasn’t about to start now…I don’t find it necessary for this project.


Version 1: Easy

Chain 70

Row 1: DC across, ch 2 and turn.

Row 2: DC in first stitch, *ch2, sk 2 sts, DC 3sts in next st*.  Repeat from * to *.  End with ch1 sk1st, DC last stitch.  Ch2 and turn

Row 3: DC across all sts (inc chain sts) , ch 2 turn (111sts)

Row 4: HDC across all sts, ch1, SC 6sts across side of work, ch1 turn, sc 6sts,ch 8,  join with sl st to first st to form buttonhole.

Fasten off



Version 2-  Flutter sleeve version:


Row 1: Sc across, ch 1 and turn

Row 2: *Hdc in back loop 6sts, 2sc in back loop in next st*, repeat from * to *, end with hdc in back loop 7sts.  Ch2, turn

Row 3: Dc in back loop 9sts, 2dc in next stitch, repeat from * to *, end Dc in back loop 9sts.  Ch2 and turn.  (85sts)

Row 4: DC in first st, *Ch2, skip 2sts, 3Dc in next st* repeat from * to *.  End with 1Dc through both loops.  Ch 1 and turn.

Row 5: Hdc across all sts (including each of the ch stitches).  Ch 1 and turn.

Row 6: Sc across (135 sts)

Row 7: Ch1 and crochet 8sts along side of work, Ch1 and turn.  Sc 6sts (still along side) Ch8 and sl st in to first stitch to form buttonhole.  8sc across chain and join at other end.  Fasten Off



This will form a semi-circle for the neckline to be sewn at top of the fabric dress or shirt you have cut.

For the body of the dress you will use any bodice or dress pattern you have, or you can draft your own by tracing a t-shirt or dress your child may already own.  For the flutter example I used a peasant top pattern (from this book) and gather the neckline before sewing it to the crochet yoke.  After you gather your neckline (just eyeball it as to how much or you can measure your child from armpit to armpit for a measurement of how wide you want the front and back to be. ) you will either serge the top or zigzag to keep from fraying.  In a pinch I have also used pinking shears.  However you typically finish your seams.  Then, you will also need to finish off your armholes, either with bias tape or a double fold.

I like to sew on the yoke before hemming the top/dress to see what lenght I want it to be.  Line up your yoke to your top/dress top and pin.  I fold both of mine in half and line up the centers and pin.  Then pin out towards the armholes and repeat for the back.  Remember you will need a bit of overlap in the back for your button.  Then sew with a normal stitch with the crochet edge on top, backstitching at the beginning and end.  Repeat for the back and you are ready to try it on your little one and finish it off with your hem.    Sew on a special button and you are done!

I have adapted this pattern so many times, with wool yarn and denim, cotton yarn and quilting cotton fabrics etc.  Some of the past projects are:

20130716_093819    20130716_093711  20130716_094122


Home Depot+$15+a few hours sewing=endless fun


Teepee, tent, reading nook, hiding place, girl zone, clubhouse.  Whatever you call it, I am in love.  Every kid needs a spot to unwind and have time to themselves, there is something about crawling inside a cozy little nook to play or relax that is so charming.  I wanted to create a  little tent for the girls that we could set up in the living room (instead of trying to find spots for blanket forts that always fall down!) or can be taken outside to the garden for a bit of shady outdoor play.  Also, we attended a super cute camping party at a friends house and I was challenged to recreate one of the tents- challenge accepted!  My interpretation was a canvas teepee tent.


According to the internet- this is so 2012, or 2011.  What can I say I am a little late on trends.  Anyways, there is certainly alot of online inspiration out there, but the directions I found online and in one of my favorite sewing books “Growing up Sew Liberated” were a bit too complicated for me so I decided to wing it and just try coming up with it myself.  Doesn’t make sense right- but to me somehow it seemed easier than reading through twenty odd steps of coming up with my own pattern anyway.  I decided to use the cheapest form of canvas out there- a drop cloth from Home Depot!  Home Depot was actually the only store I had to go to for this project which is pretty awesome.  Eleanor and I made a trip there this morning and picked up two 1/2 inch pvc pipes (had them cut them in half so I had four 5 foot sections) and a 6×9 ft. canvas drop cloth.


When we got home I roughly set up the poles, tied them together up top, while winding yarn in and around the poles to hold them together in a teepee shape.


I pulled out the tape measure and roughly measured the distance between the poles, height etc.  I drew up this sketch.


I then laid out my drop cloth, folded in half and drew up the measurements- the ends became the doors, the folded triangle is the back triangle of the teepee and the triangle cut in the center became the two sides.  I then folded each triangle down at the top around 8 inches and pinned what would later be finished with bias tape to look like bunting flags.


For the doors I cut off 15 inches off of each top and traced them (complete triangle shape) and cut out chalk cloth to sew to the remaining door fabric.  This is by far my favorite part of the tent, and ideal spot for the girls to doodle, draw or make signs.

Now for the tough part!  The sewing.  I sewed up each side wrong sides together first- not an easy task when you are using a heavy drop cloth and this much fabric!  I added the bias tape to the triangle top flags.  I used pink, yellow and red to add color and also finished the edges of the doors with yellow bias.  Once all of the sides were sewed together I turned it inside out and encased those raw edge seams and sewed the pockets for the poles.  Then had to undo half of those seams to make them larger- ugh.  So much work.


Finally, after a few long hours of sewing this up I slipped the poles in their slots, added pvc pipe caps to the bottom of the pipes to keep out dirt/grass when we bring it outside and set it up.  Given that it was a self drafted pattern I think it turned out pretty awesome!  Seeing the girls playing inside it with their “Girls Rule” sign posted on top makes it all worth it.

*although I don’t really give enough direction for this to be a true tutorial it might serve as some inspiration for anyone trying to tackle this project..saves so much money!  I was so excited to post about this I couldn’t wait to finish it- I plan to get longer poles since I made the fabric a big large, and I need to replace the yarn I held the tops together with some twine or leather shoelace.  But for now it is done, and the girls love it.




Chalk Mat Tutorial


I have yet to meet a little person who didn’t love to draw.  Crayons, markers, paint and CHALK!  I have been making crayon rolls and bags for a few years now, and they have been great at restaurants and car trips.  Awesome as a birthday party gift for classmates, filled with crayons and a few doodle books or coloring books and they are sure to please even the kid who has every toy imaginable!  Don’t you find it impossible to pick out gifts for school friends- you never know what they already have, are allowed to play with, or will think is “cool”.  Again, every kid likes to draw!

This is where my FIRST tutorial comes in.  I wanted to branch out of the crayon bags and rolls and try a portable chalk board using chalk cloth.  Until now this elusive fabric has only been seen on Pinterest for me, I have never seen it in person.  After a quick google search I found that Joann’s carries it and I was psyched.  Chalk cloth has to be the coolest thing ever.  I ran to Joann’s yesterday looking for it and waited for almost 1/2 hour while two different sales ladies searched high and low to find it for me after I insisted the website said they had it in stock…a bit annoying since I had Eleanor with me and shopping for fabric with a three year old is already pretty tought but they were so sweet and helpful and finally found it- yay!  I guess normally it should be in the Utility fabric section, with the vinyl’s and reusable shopping bag fabrics.  I believe they sell it for 4.99 a yard, but with a coupon on my smartphone I scored 5 yards at 50% off- woo  hoo!  Be very careful once they cut this for you that you do not fold it, roll it instead so that it does not crease.    The fabric is also rolled up with a sheet of printed instructions behind it stating how to care for it.  Basics are priming and cleaning with a damp cloth and priming again.  Priming is just rubbing chalk over the entire cloth and erasing.  Rub the stick of chalk on its side, not on the tip.  I didn’t find all of this “priming” to be necessary…I jumped ahead and drew directly on it before priming because I was so excited to try it out and it still wrote and erased just fine.  Just to be sure though, I would recommend you follow the instructions provided.


Ok, so for this tutorial I want to show you how to make a small, portable chalk mat.  The perfect size to stick in a little backpack for the school bus ride, take to the doctors office, to restaurants or leave in the car.  The basic idea can be easily sized up and would be great in a larger placemat size as well.

Supplies needed:

Chalk cloth (amount needed for this approx. 1/2 yard but you will have enough to make a few!)

Cotton Fabric of your choice for the back

Double fold bias tape (around 40 inches, again you can make a few with one package)

Coordinating thread

3/4 inch elastic

Optional- colored elastic or pony tail elastic

The dimensions of mine are 10x10inches.  Start by cutting your chalk cloth to this size.  You do not need special scissors for this, I used my normal sewing shears.  Cut your cotton print (for the back) to the same dimensions.


I chose to round the corners not only because I think they look cute, but it is also easier to bind it with the bias tape- not mitered corners!  To round the corners, simply trace around a glass and cut off the corners.  I went ahead and traced it with my chalk since it was so easy to just wipe it off after.  Repeat this on the cotton print.  To be sure they are the same size you may want to trace the chalk cloth on top of the cotton print.



Once the two fabrics are cut to size you will need to cut your bias tape.  I used double fold bias tape and cut it to around 40 inches to ensure it would be enough to go around, because you rounded your corners you will have a bit extra.  If you are enlarging this pattern be sure you have enough bias tape by adding up all of your four sides and cutting this amount (add a bit for overlap at the end).  You will also cut your elastic to hold your chalk.



This mat holds one piece of chalk with 3/4 inch elastic cut to around 1 1/2 inches.  You will also cut elastic to sew at the opposite end to hold your mat together when you roll it up.  You can either cut the same elastic to to 5 inches or use a simple pony tail elastic (in green shown below).  I like the green elastic the best, but didn’t think of it until I was on my second mat…this is why you see it pictured both ways!

Ok, so you have your fabric and supplies ready.  Now, line your fabrics up with wrong sides facing.  You will not be pinning this so take your time and make sure the two fabrics line up.  Fold your elastic and baste them on the chalk cloth as shown.


One will go on each side.  I placed the chalk elastic facing in on the chalk cloth side, and the other elastic facing out on the printed cotton side.


Once these are basted, sandwich the bias tape around the two fabrics and sew around the entire perimeter.  If you have never used bias tape before you might want to check out an online tutorial.  I recommend the one at Made.  I have to admit though, that I do the cheater method she mentions…not the easiest with the small tape I used.   If you are a beginner (or  a perfectionist) I would recommend a thicker bias tape and the traditional method.  Take your time!  You want to make sure both layers are sandwiched in the bias tape.  I have found the “cheater” method easier using a zig zag stitch, and it also looks really cute.  You may want to fold over the end of the bias tape when you overlap the edge to where you started.


Sewing is done!!!  Now,  if you haven’t already you can prime your chalk cloth and erase it and your are DONE!


Just know that it won’t stay clean for long, I walked away from mine to start dinner and found it looking like this just 5 minutes later.  I guess it means she likes it.  I wouldn’t recommend the sidewalk chalk on it though…man, do those produce some crazy dust!