Mind Your P’s and Q’s


The Oxford Dictionary lists multiple meanings for this proper and quaint saying “mind your p’s and q”s.   I always considered it akin to mind your own beeswax.  Oh boy our language is full of interesting twists and turns!  There is the story about wild ruckus starting out at a public house – pub for short, and the land lord or land lady, now known as the pub keeper, or bartender shouts out a command to the rest of the patrons to mind their p’s and q’s.  This is rather a reminder to use one’s best manners, and focus on the pints and quarts of lager (beer) in front of the patron.  Rather like minding ones own business or beeswax.  Which is also a form of politeness.  I love the please and thank you reference!  Wish I had known this when my children were small, to use as a gentle reminder to use those magic words.  This would have been a useful tool combined with ASL to remind a little one to say thank you or please, or a number of little niceties that make the world a sweeter place.  A simple and silent hand signal to a child like the pub keeper’s call to the patrons.  Bar tending and child tending have much in common, but I digress here…

Today I want to share why I made these sweet little fabric baskets.  My family is continuing to make the progression from plastic to glass.  First the kids are older, now and less prone to dropping. The rainbow of plastic cups I purchased years ago with the intent of each child using a particular color during the day and only using one cup per day was well thought out, but not put into practice by my children or their friends, so often it was like Easter around our house with many colored plastic cups around the house.  I was also guilty, as I did not want to drink out of the same cup that was left by someone else, and I did not always remember if I was using the magenta or purple that day, so all to often I just pulled a second (or third) out of the cabinet.  Defeating the entire purpose.  Then there was one lone canning jar or maybe two that got put into the cup cabinet (by some sweet soul who emptied the dishwasher) before making its way towards longer term storage until the next canning season.  The cool thing was, they were so uncool, that no one else would touch them.  I always knew which was my “cup” and could refill in germ free bliss all throughout the day.  Water tastes better from glass.  Plastic has a bad reputation for leaching toxins.  My DH was on board with glass, and we cleared the plastic from the cup cabinet.  Glass breaks, though, and as tough as they are, canning jars can crack.  A protective cover, with some sort of hanging loop that would keep cool water cool was needed.

My first version looks like this. mason jar cozy It is a sweet way to use those wonderful Kam Snaps that come in a mind blowing number of colors.  It is a great small project for a begining sewist.  InsulBright does the job in keeping that layer of air trapped around your jar, holding it’s temperature a little bit longer.  I wanted then to enclose the bottom of the jar entirely, as that would help with coffee table rings and such, but keeping the bulk at the bottom to a minimum is a must, because a jar full of liquid that is not stable will do more harm than a simple coffee table ring.

I saw this wonderful post from SewMamaSew that has a nice design for what I really wanted, a top and a bottom, and I made a few adjustments.

First, there are so many lovely fabrics that I wanted to include several, and I love the look of a belt (small strip/pop of color near the center of a project, like a birthday card).  Like the flat piping or flange on a sweet pillow case.  It is easy and makes a nice difference.

Second, less bulk.  Two side seams are not necessary.  I cut the fusible fleece smaller than the body of the cover which leaves a 1/2 inch margin all round, so that the seams do not include any fleece, and sides (and most importantly) bottom has no extra bulk that could cause uneven seating and gasp…tipping!

Third, more sizes.  A pint of tea is nice.  Perfect for a smoothie or protein shake, but if you are leaving the house for the duration, a quart of tea is really nice, and this little cozy will keep that tea hot for hours (like two or more).  Be sure to put the jar in the cozy first, and fold the top down a bit, so hot water can be poured, and you do not need to fit a piping hot jar into a snug cozy.

Canning jars come in a plethora of sizes.  The 24 oz jar fits nicely in the quart size, and not sure what one would want to tote in a half pint jar, maybe applesauce or another snack, but it would fit with room to spare in a pint-sized cozy.  Ball makes super handy tops regular and wide mouth,  that fit a straw.  Drinking out of a lovely quilted bag is so hot or cool, which ever you prefer.  Go for the wide mouth if you will be using a fork or spoon, trust me on this one.

On to the how part of this!



Lining 13 x 8.5
Fusible fleece 12 x 7.5
Top 13 x 3
Bottom 13 x 6
Casing  2 @ 3 x 6.5
Flat piping 13 x 1.5
 drawstring  2 @ 20
Lining 14 x 10.5
Fusible fleece 13 x 9.5
Top 14 x 4
Bottom  14 x 7
Casing  2 @ 3 x 7
Flat piping  1.5 x 14
drawstring  2 @ 20
All measurements are in inches
First pull those flat piping and casing pieces and fold them in half lengthwise and give them a nice press.  Use starch or best press to make them behave.  Those in the photo have been pressed.
Second, with a scant 1/4 inch seam, baste the flat piping to the top of the bottom strip.  long sides together, and right sides together. You can use a magnetic seam guide for more accurate stitching or a vintage business card calendar (from 2003) that has a little more height than a regular card.

Then flip this over so you can see the wrong side, and slide the top strip underneath so that the right sides are together, this way,  you can see the stitching line you just made, and stitch right on top of that, or perhaps just a thread’s width to the left of it.  This will keep your first line of stitching hidden.


Next, open the piece, and with the flat piping pointing downward or to your left, top stitch the seam allowances from the right side of the project.


Next cut the casing in half so that you have two pressed rectangles.IMG_1678

Open up the rectangle casings, and hem each of the four three-inch sides, by folding over 1/4 inch twice, so your raw edges are nicely tucked in.


Fold your lining in half, then almost in half again, placing the center fold 3/8 inch away from the raw edges.  Finger press or mark the last fold you made. Wheels are perfect for the person who takes their home-brewed beverage on the go.  If you plan to stay home, or are dressing up, a full on Tea Cozy may be the answer.


Fold each of the casing pieces in half by matching up the hems.  Finger press or mark the center fold.


Match up the center creases with the top edge of the lining piece, right sides together.  If your fabric is directional, pay attention to which end should go up!



Fold the lining in half right sides together, and make a seam from the top to the bottom with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.  Open this up and finger press the seam open.  place that seam (that you have just finger pressed open) in the center, and stitch across the bottom with a 3/8 inch seam allowance,  Set the lining aside.



For the main body of your bag, center the fusible side (bumpy with little dots of fusible glue) of the fusible fleece against the wrong side of the bag body.  You should have approximately 1/2 inch margin all the way around.  Hold this steady and place  fleece side down on your ironing surface.  Feel the edges to be sure that margin is still even all the way round. You will be ironing on the right side of your cotton fabric.

Press to secure the fleece to the fabric.

At this point, you can top stitch the loose edge of the flat piping to the body of the bag.

You can also choose to use quilt batting, InsulBright, Annies Soft and Stable or if you are going really green, some upcycled material to the back side of your bag front.  Quilt until you are happy.

While we are diverting here, this project can also be made in multiple dimensions, for instance, I have used Annies Soft and Stable and laminated cotton in a project called waisties, or catch alls.  A great little storage tote, or place to contain scraps and thread while you are creating.

I like fusible fleece, it is fast, stays put,  and requires no quilting.  Sometimes it is a matter of what is at hand!

Fold the cover right sides together and stitch that side seam top to bottom with half-inch seam allowance.  Your seam should come to the edge of the fleece and possibly include a tad of it here and there.

Press the seam open, and match it to the center, then seam the bottom closed just like you did the lining, with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.



Here are the bag and lining.  Mark a square on each bottom corner.  On each side the edges will be the seam on the bottom and the folded edge on either side.  .  For pints, mark a 1 inch square, for quarts, mark a 1.125 inch square.


Clip these corners on your markings.  Notice the parts that were clipped out do not look square.  That is because of the seam allowance on the bottom.  (if you have a local non-profit, or day care, with an art room like Explora, they are happy for your fabric scraps.  I put a bag, or empty cereal box near my cutting table and toss all the usable – but too small for me – scraps in there and deliver it periodically.)  The bag is then opened up and folded so that it looks like the photo below:


Do this for both the lining and the bag.


Make a seam across each of the two openings on the bag and the lining.  I used a 3/8 inch seam allowance here.  Be sure to secure the beginning and end of each seam, and make sure that the seam across the bottom lies flat one way or the other.

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The boxed bottoms of your bag and lining will look like the photo above.

Turn your bag right side out, and matching up the seams, slip it into the lining. See photo below.

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Seam almost all the way around the top of the bag with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.  Leave an opening that is at least 2.5 inches wide. If your machine is fancy and has a bed that can be removed for making cuffs, that could be handy here.(null) (15)

I like to use an “L” seam which has you start at the edge of the fabric, sew in to the fabric seam allowance, needle down, presser foot up, then pivot and stitch around the seam till you get to the other end of your opening, then needle down, presser foot up, and pivot so you sew off the raw edge.  This makes turning easier and leaves less loose threads in your opening.

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Above, I have highlighted the “L” seam with pencil.   Reach into this opening, and find the bottom of the insulated bag, and pull it out.  Then pull out the lining, and turn it right side out.  It will look like the photo below.

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Tuck the bag back inside the lining, and poke out the corners at the bottom with your fingers.  IMG_1706 (1)

Top stitch around the bag with the bag side up.  Do this on the very top edge of your bag, and you will close that opening.  No handstitching required.


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Fold down the cuff, and voila!  Seriously cute fabric bags (or buckets) are revealed.

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Better yet, they are reversible!  A fabulous option for those like me who can not commit to one or two fabrics, or for using up those bits and bobs left over from larger projects.


Only two of these are in the photo above.  The center bucket is for a quart size jar, and much taller!

You can stop here, and have cute little cozies for your jars, and water bottles.  Or you can keep going and add a pair of drawstrings!  I like to cut a meter of poly cording, cut that in half and melt the ends enough to keep them from fraying.


About an inch or so above the flame is enough to get those fibers to melt.  Too close and they will char or catch fire.


Thread those cords through your casings with a bodkin, or in a pinch, tie them around a crochet hook, that works rather bodkin-like.  Gently tug on two ends to make sure they are two ends of the same cord, then tie them at the end in an over hand knot.  Then you can tie the other two together, and twist it around, so there is a knot coming out each end of the cozy.


Knot the top and you are ready to go.  Pack a salad in a wide mouth pint jar, a quart of hot or iced tea (or even coffee) that you brewed at home and spend that frappuccino money somewhere really fun like Hip Stitch on a Third Thursday!

This is the most fun place for fabrics and inspiration.  I found all of these fabrics there in January of 2016, if you hurry, there might still be some, or perhaps a kit, that is pre cut and ready for you to stitch right up!  They even will ship something to you, if you mind your p’s and q’s and ask nicely.

Fabrics used:

Tucker Prairie by One Canoe Two for Moda Fabrics  – Aster and Stormy Daisy

Life… Enjoy the Ride Gray Wheels designed by Tina Higgins Designs and licensed to quilting treasures.

Canyon Succulent Moonlight by Kate Spain for Moda

Blueberry Park Pickle, Nectarine by Karen Lewis Robert Kaufman

Ardently Austen  and Love Bugs- Riley Blake

Sparkle – White

Zuzu – Red Black Timeless Treasures


Kimono Garden by Pippa Moon





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