Easy Way To Transfer Embroidery Design Pattern

Items needed:

  • Design you wish to embroider by hand. I googled images to select one and printed it out in the size I desired)
  • Fabric of choice (I tend to use fine muslin, or linen fabrics)
  • Embroidery hoop of selected size.
  • Window with good light coming through or light box
  • Tape
  • Fabric marking pen. I use Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Pens..BRAND is important!  (the design goes away with heat..so be careful where you store before done.)

Tape your design to glass window or light box (if using a window use a comfortable height).

Embroidery pattern

Use your embroidery hoop to center where you want to tape fabric over design.

Hoop Embroidery

Tape fabric in place at the top and bottom edge.

Tape Fabric to window

Use your fabric marking pen to trace design. (Sometime a design, if faded due to heat, can be revived in a freezer if left for a few minutes.)

Tracing with gel pen

Hoop and embroider as desired.

Remove completed stitching.

Press finished design with a dry hot iron to remove fabric marking gel pen.

   Voila…you are done!

Here is a sample of a pillow top I did using my grand kid’s hands and their favorite colors at the time, using the above method after tracing their hands.

Gran kids hands


Happy Stitching

Make Easy Grip Sewing Washer Weights


Sewing weights are wonderful tools for arranging and holding your patterns on fabric.  They allow making adjustments easy, since pins are not used to secure the pattern to the fabric. There are just two down sides to washer weights; they can get lost in the folds of fabric, and they are not fingernail friendly. So I created these little sewing notions.

Here is what is needed to make these weights.

  • A collection (I like to use the same size and brand) plastic easy off juice bottle lids.
  • Super glue, used for plastic and metal
  • Washer the same size as the bottom of the lid
  • Protective paper for your work surface
  • Acetone nail polish remover (for finger clean up)

I use the “Simple” brand juice lids (get friends to save them for you, too!) since they have a nice grip sides. They also have a sweet “S” on them which says “sewing” to me. (Of course any plastic lid can be used.) Remove any stickers then wash/dry well.


Measure the bottom of the lid to make sure you get the correct washer size from your local hardware.


Notice washers are little different on each side. Feel with your fingers, you will find one side a little smoother/rounded on the edges.  This smoother side is NOT the side you want to glue to your lid.  This smoother side is what you want to touch your fabric, since it is more fabric friendly.



Place protective paper on work surface, and have lids upside down, and washer set so you know each good and bad side. (You may wish to note the bad side with a sharpie “x”, if needed).

Working fast place a thin line of glue all around the edge, it may be hard to see.


Using your fingers, hold through the center of the washer and place evenly centered over glued edge and press in place then leave alone for about 10 minutes. Quickly move on to your next lid, since glue dries fast. (I used single use tubes of glue, which allowed me to make about two at a time from each tube.) Centering is what gets glue on your skin and you will need to remove excess with acetone when done. Don’t make these when your nails are polished!



Voila! You have just created a new user friendly sewing tool without spending a lot of money!



Happy Sewing
Picture 7


Mark With Ink And Remove With Heat

I was introduced to this pen at a Quilt Show.  Marking fabric is always something I am interested in, so I had to own a few of these pens

Gel Pens



Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Pens, Fine Point are what I am talking about.  They come in a variety of colors (check out Amazon). Not just any gel pen will do what these pens will do.  They are sensitive to heat and cold.  This is important to know when using them.

Tracing with gel pen

Here I have taped fabric to a pattern to a window and I’m using the fine tip gel pen to traced a design to be embroidered by hand. They could be used for marking almost any type of pattern markings.

The interesting thing is these inked lines will go away with heat.  Below I have drawn a simple flower then I removed the bottom half with a warm iron.

Gel Pen drawing before heat

    Gel Pen Ink removed with heat

A word of caution, leaving a gel marked fabric in a hot car or in any place where it is subjected to heat can cause your markings to leave.  Some markings can be restored by placing it in a freezer for a few minutes…but I would not depend on this, if I didn’t have to.

Try these, you may love having them in you stash of tools.

HINT:  Try to store any liquid pens used for marking in a zip lock bag to give the pens an extra layer of protection from air that could dry them out.

Store Gel Pens

Happy Sewing

Picture 7


Latch Hoop Fabric Tube/Strap Turner

There are a number of fabric turners and methods.  I was just at a quilt show where one was being sold upwards of $50. Yes, people have used little safety pins and cord to turn fabric tubes, but this little tool hangs on my cork board in my sewing room, and I find this tool handy and affordable.  Just a few things need to be considered when using it.

This is a Dritz Loop Turner, it sells for less than $5. and is 9.5” long.


Hoop Tuner 1

How to use:

Sew you tube along cut edge, no need for any fancy stitcing at either end of your tube, you may wish to back stitch at the ends.  Just remember to have rights side of fabric facing each other when sewing. Trim you seam edge if wider than the finished tube/strap desired.


Open the latch before inserting the turner into your tube.


When you reach the other end of your tube, allow the latch to poke through the fabric or stitched side about 1/4” from the end.


Close the latch, which locks the 1/4” end of the fabric into the hook.


Start Gently for the fibrin to start folding into the tube.  Once it gets started keep a steady pulling action, not pushing the turner back up.

Once the latched end begins to show, you can remove the turner and finsih pulling the tub/strap with your fingers.


Remember to store this tool safely since it is thin and could easily bend or get lost.

Seam Rippers, YES there are different kinds and they get dull!

Robert Kaufman Fabric - Seam Rippers

Robert Kaufman Fabric


Seam rippers are a new sewers handy dandy tool.  The seam ripper does just what the name says, it rips out the mistaken sewing stitches.  Over the years methods to remove mistakes in sewing have taken many forms.  Early on tiny little scissors with very sharp points were the most common tool.  Latter came the use of blades (yes, like straight edge razors).  And some people used surgeon’s scalpels used to preform surgery.  I remember being introduced to a seam ripper when my dad bought a sewing machine for me to use back in 1962.  In the machines tools and feet was this strange very little tool, with a cap on it and the name of the sewing machine printed on the side, like a promotion item.  Once I got the hang of using it, I have never been without one by my side sewing side.

Years have passed and the seam ripper has only become better.  With the introduction of a longer handle, one’s hands didn’t cramp when lots of seams needed to be ripped.  When the ergonomic handle arrived life as a sewer took another great leap.  A shaped and fatter handle made all the difference in ones ability to control the ripper as used.

Let’s take a look at a few seam rippers.

Seam Rippers

It is easy to see these tools all belong to the same family.

The white one at the top is generic and came in the tool assortment with my latest sewing machine.  It is tiny, has a handle that also doubles as a cap for protection of the tip. You will notice it also is missing the little red protective ball on the dull end.  This ball is present on rippers as a protection for your fabric as you remove threads.  I keep this ripper with my machine tools, and rarely use it.

The second blue and pink ripper was my first ergonomic seam ripper.  It has a cap, for protection of the tip.  The cap does not fit anywhere but to cover the sharp tip, so it can be easily displaced or lost.  It has a thin blade, which is excellent for working with small stitches and fine fabrics.

The third and forth rippers made by Dritz look a lot alike, with one being just slightly smaller than the other.  The important thing to notice is the cutting blade end. The bottom one it longer and much thicker.  This size  ripper is used for heavy duty stitches and fabric, think blue jeans.  It is a stronger blade with a littler larger handle which helps make this type of seam removal easier. These two seam rippers do not have protective caps, so I keep mine in a snap lock box when not in use.

Now for those who like to risk doing surgery when they remove seams!  Havel’s Ultra Pro I Seam Ripper comes with replacement blades.  Thankfully I have never felt the need to invest

Blade Ripper

All rippers get DULL with use!  If you have had one for awhile and used it quite a bit, you may want to consider buying a new one… you may find out you were working pretty hard to rip seams with a duller blade.  Also, like a dull knife, a dull ripper can cause one to use excessive pressure, making slip-ups more likely. We change sewing machine needles, why not our rippers!

If you want to see the large variety of seam rippers do a computer image search.  This past summer I was in Ashland, Oregon and found a beautiful hand turned wood handled ergonomic ripper which became a gift for a friend.

Sewing Hint: If you find lots of small cut treads left after ripping a seam, use some sticky tape to dab at the treads.  This pulls out these thread specks and makes it easy to dispose.

Happy Stitching…and ripping.




Marking Sewing Patterns With Disappearing Ink Pens

There are 2 basic types of disappearing ink pens used for marking sewing patterns. These are not your everyday felt marking pens, but pens designed for the sewer.  One type of pen is made to disappear on its own after 3 or so days, so you need to consider this when you mark your pattern.  The other type of marking pen is made to disappear when moistened with water.

Both of these types of pens need to be tested on fabric before they are used on the specific fabric.  This will tell the sewer what to expect as an end result.  Some ink is set with an iron, so make sure you read the instructions and test you pen before use.

1. Identify the marking spot on you pattern and pin down straight through the pattern and fabric layers.




2.  Open back the fabric pattern to expose the pin marking.  Select the pen you wish to use.




3.  Using the fine tip of your marking pen, mark a dot at the exact location where the pen entered the fabric.  When markings are completed, remove the pattern from fabric.



Always keep the caps tight on your pens when not in use!

There are other methods and materials used to mark fabric, this is just one method which is often used on cotton and cotton blend/washable sewing projects .

Homemade or Handmade… Really?

Why do people feel the need to label how something was sewn together? I have created fabric items, starting when I was 7, and always considered them “custom made!”.  “Custom Made” means made special for a specific purpose with specific requirements.   Yes, I have been well paid to create garments for people, and I dare say they don’t say simply “homemade” or “handmade” if asked where they got it!  When you have poured your heart and soul into a creation, lift up your definition of what you created!  Remember, if asked, “did you made it?” you can always say, it was “custom made” just for me… add a wink to the end of that statement if you want.




Happy “Custom Sewing”,


Thread breaks when sewing!

Broken Thread

One of the most frustrating things which happens when you’re sewing with your machine is when the thread breaks! Not only does it slow you down, but sometimes, decorative stitches being created have to be removed back to a good starting point, before you can continue.

If the problem persist here are some things to take into consideration:

  • Are you using the correct size needle for the size of thread. Remember there is a grove that runs down the back side of your needle that must be large enough for the thread to fit in when it travels with the needle. You can check for this if the thread passes easily through the eye of the needle. If these are not compatible, you will have to change one to create a fit.
  • Look at the quality of your thread. Less expensive thread may seem like a good “value” but if you inspect it you may find slubs, knots or kinks which cause of like of uniformity. Thread weakens as it ages and dust that may have accumulated on the threads.
  • Check to make sure the needle is inserted correctly, sharp and tightened well in place.
  • You have threaded the machine incorrectly? Remove all the thread and rethread.
  • Feel with your finger, while the machine is turned off, for any rough nicks on the metal parts of your machine where the needle travels. Sometime nicks are created when there is a broken needle and can cause future threads to be caught and cut on the nicks. You may need to purchase a new throat plate or parts of the bobbin case, or have the nicks filed down to smooth.
  • Check for correct tension. Remember the tighter the tension, the more it holds the thread tighter… too tight it will break.
  • Check for lint build up, especially under and around the throat plate, remove it!
  • If you have checked out all these things and your thread continues to break, you machine may need to be serviced.


Kathleen’s Easy Peesy Iron Up Hem Guide

This is one of the most useful tools I use when sewing.  For years I have hand made my own to use, then tossing out when they get “used up”.  I hope you will find this as handy and useful in your sewing as I have.  Follow the images below to see how I use this device.


Download Sewing With Kathleen Easy Hem Guide This is the improved guide!


IMG_0725IMG_0726IMG_0728IMG_0729When the card is “used up” just print out a new one and keep sewing. Continue reading “Kathleen’s Easy Peesy Iron Up Hem Guide”

A Fix For Fabric Not Cut Straight From A Store

I am starting a little project on some linen fabric as a gift.  When checking the fabric in the store, I knew I would not get an accurate cut on the crosswise grain of the fabric.  This crosswise grainline is made with the filler or  “welf” yarn.  This is not the stronger of the two yarns used when constructing fabric, and will stretch more than the lengthwise or “warp” yarns.

Move your eyes across the cut edge and note it does NOT follow the textured filler yarn.

A way to correct the cut edge is to find the shortest end of the cut.  See how the folded edge is cut!


Find the shortest cut edge and pull the filler single thread.  Start to gently pull this one yarn.

Remember it is not a strong yarn so go carefully, and don’t be disheartened if it breaks.

With the tip of a ripper carefully lift the end of a broken thread and continue pulling.


When you get to the end, press to give a clear reveal of the true grain line and re cut the store cut end of the fabric.

Now you have a straight edge with a true grain line.

If the old store cut edge was used, rather than correcting the cut edge, this would be the grain line showing on a finished project.

The fabric would want to stretch and twist with use.  Obviously it would look amateurish.

Take a little time to look carefully at your woven grain lines, you will be much happier with your project.  When staying true to your grain line, the project will be easier to construct and look lovely.

Happy Stitching