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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...

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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...

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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     Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Pens,...

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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...

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Seam Rippers, YES there are different kinds and they... 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...

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A Fix For Fabric Not Cut Straight From A Store

Category : Fabric Information, featured, Sewing Tips

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




Reading a Ruler or Tape Measure (non metric)

Category : featured, Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

When sewing, measuring IS the most important skill! Without proper measuring skills, construction just doesn’t work. Imagine someone building a home who never measured. Nothing fits well or looks correct!

Here is a simple graphic of how to read the most basic portion, an inch, of a non metric measuring device. Bookmark this section if you need to reference it if you are not sure in the future!

Dollar Store Doll’s Tea Set

Category : featured, My Projects

American Girl dolls or as the grand girls call them, “the girls”, are a part of our family! I found this cute little mini toy tea set at our local dollar store, and though it would be perfect for “the girls” to use when they have tea parties.

A dollar later for the tea set, 1/3 yard of inexpensive pink fabric (to match the roses), and 2 yards of trim and a new gift was created.

Add a dollar tin and the gift for “the girls” is ready to wrap!

The gift of sewing skills can let one turn something quite simple, into something more!

Happy stitching and have a wonderful Christmas.

Amish Puzzle Pincushion Used for Christmas Ornament

Category : featured, My Projects

I found this picture in the December 2010 Better Homes and Gardens, and was intrigued by the construction, but no pattern was found in the magazine. I did a little research. I discovered this seems to come to us from Amish craft women, and was a pincushion which was pretty and so typical of Amish home arts.

No sewing machine is needed for this project!

I drafted up a rough pattern and went to work

2 sheets of craft felt (as sold in craft/fabric stores)
Poly stuffing
Sewing thread of desired color (s)
Beads or buttons (optional as desired for embellishment)

Cut felt pieces:
You need a total of 36 pieces

You will notice I selected my colors to resemble a poinsettia.
(I need “soft” low hanging ornaments since I have grand babies)

Use a blanket stitch to sew three sections together, leaving about a one inch opening on last side.
Use this opening to stuff with fiberfill and continue to sew this last inch closed. You will end up with 12 segments.

Begin to sew tips together to form the following arrangement

Join the last 4 tips together to form ball

At this point one can embellish the ball as desired. See the magazine picture above for some inspiration.

I choose to use gold embroidery thread to make “safer for kids” ornaments.

I sewed, with double gold thread crisscross, where all tips were joined together to give the poinsettia “look”. Use a thread or ribbon to attach a hanging loop.

Happy Christmas Stitching!

Re-Visiting a Sewing Machine

Category : featured, My Sewing Room, Sewing Tools

Today I taught a private lesson that took me back in time. My student was new to sewing, but had been given a very old “vintage” Husqvarna Viking sewing machine, not much different than the one I sewed on for years. Here is a picture of the model I was presented with today.

All the bells and whistles of this wonderful machine came back within a few minutes. The best part of using this machine was the feel. I will never forget the feel of a smooth running mechanical sewing machine and to use it was pure bliss! The machine model I had is below, and yes, I just plain wore out this machine! You will notice the machine I had was a newer model since it had a carry handle, something the older machine didn’t have, but it was still the “same” machine in many ways.

This was a fun teaching day and this student is going to do so well. I love giving “birth” to a new sewer!

Happy stitching!

Mad Men Style for Halloween Date!

Category : featured, My Projects

My daughter-in-law loves the styles in Mad Men.  She asked if I would make her a “vintage dress” to wear to their Halloween party.  Of course I was thrilled to do this for her.  She purchased the very vintage pattern from ebay and I went through my stash of fabric and supplies and came up with this creation.  We changed the first button selection to some 4 petal flowers I had in my collection, and I added a placket down the front to set off the buttons.  Also, I found some “vintage” cording in my trim supply and added that to set off the details of the dress.

Notice the very vintage side placket closed top zipper. The design lines on the zipper illustration have lots in common with the actual pattern used!

Pocket detail, cording shows off the top of the pocket edge (sleeves and neckline) much more than leaving the top plain.

Finished dress before delivery

The happy “vintage” couple!  (These gloves were my mom’s.  I remember being amused trying them on in church!)


Horse Lover’s Skirt and Top

Category : featured, My Projects, Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

This little outfit was made for my 7 year old grand daughter, who loves anything horses, especially riding them at the other grandma’s house.

The top is store bought, a Faded Glory Girl Tee (about $4)

1/3 yard of Robert Kaufam, “The Real McCoy” fabric, for the skirt body

6″ x45″ 85% cotton/15% lycra knit fabric for the yoga pant type waistband

The embroidery on the shirt was done on my Brother PE-700II with a free online download.

I changed the suggested  colors to coordinate with the fabric’s horse colors.

The yoga waistband did not require elastic, since it has Lycra in the fabric.

To make this little skirt without a pattern, here is what I did.

  1. Cut the cotton/Lycra knit strip 1″ smaller than desired finished  waist measurement.
  2. Sew waistband  6 ‘ ends together , right sides facing each other with a 1/2″ seam using a stretch stitch.
  3. Turn waistband right side out and fold in half, so the long cut raw edges are together. HINT when pulling knit fabric it will always tell you the “right” side, since the cut edge will always curl TO the “right” side.
  4. Along the long cut edge divide the waistband in quarters, marking with pins.
  5. Trim off selvage from skirt fabric.
  6. Sew up edges to create a back seam where selvage was trimmed off. (I used a french seam).
  7. Quarter the top edge of the skirt fabric and mark with pins like on yoga waistband.
  8. Run a very loose gather stitch around top edge of skirt.  Only gather to fit the yoga waistband when it is stretched to its maximum length.
  9. Match up quarter marking on yoga waist band and skirt fabric.  Match center back seam of yoga waistband and skirt match.
  10. Stretch the waist band to fit the gathered skirt fabric as you sew using a stretch stitch.
  11. Turn up bottom and hem as desired.

HINT  If you have an “overedge” presser foot, you may want to give this foot an opportunity to show you how nice it works.  The black ledge under the tiny white brush is the seam edge guide. The bush keeps the “fuzz” from the raw edge at bay.  The zig zag stitch (check your machine stitch options) works with this foot giving you a type of serged edge finish.  I was in a hurry and my serger had hot pink thread on it, so I opted to used this foot to sew the back waistband seam and attach the yoga waistband to the skirt body.

Bobbins That Work

Category : featured, Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

One of the biggest issues with sewing machine users is bobbin “puke”, as one student called the rat’s nest of thread that developed in and around her bobbin case of her sewing machine. One important thing to understand is that not all bobbins fit your specific sewing machine. The best way to be assured you are using the correct bobbin for your machine is to make sure your model is specified on the package before you buy.  The backside of a bobbin package will tell you if your sewing machine will accommodate the packaged bobbin. If it doesn’t say your machine brand, do NOT buy.  Just to be safe, I buy the bobbin brand that is made by my machine’s company.  I don’t believe there is a generic/universal bobbin that works well, and for a few pennies more a cause for bobbin “puke” can be eliminated.

I have found some wonderful prices on large quantities of bobbins on eBay. Anyone who sews lots can never have enough bobbins. Search by brand name and the word bobbin to locate your machine’s specific bobbin.

It is never a good idea to wind thread colors over other colors.  If you have a small amount of thread on a bobbin and you wind over it with another color you can’t use the first color anywayHINT Drop a bobbin you want to empty into a clean coffee mug, and let the bobbin dance in the mug as you pull off the un-needed thread.

Pre wound bobbins, which are often used by quilters and embroidery machine users should also be brand specific.  Pre wound bobbins can save time when using large amounts of thread.  There also are small bobbin winder machines; Sidewinder is one brand name (it may be machine brand specific, so check this out before buying one).  Some people love them.  The rational I have heard for using one is people hate it when their bobbin runs out of thread while sewing, and they hate to unthread their machine to wind a bobbin.  In my opinion, you still have to unthread your machine to use a bobbin winder device, unless you have 2 spools of thread. Most sewing machines can be left threaded if you use this second spool of thread to wind an additional bobbin.  My machines wind bobbins just fine, so I don’t have one, but I know some people love them. HINT If you are fearful you will run out of thread on a sewing project, and don’t want to unthread your machine to wind a bobbin, wind a spare bobbin with thread.  It can always be used just like a spool of thread at a later time.

Power Surge CAUTION!

Category : featured, My Sewing Room, Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

We had a huge thunder and lightening storm last night!  If you’re like me, rain makes perfect weather for reading or sewing.  If you have a sewing machine that has a computer “brain”, you need to remember to use a power surge protector that grounds your precious sewing machine.

What a SHOCK it would be to ruin your sewing machine tool!

Single Plug surge protectors are available from the $6 to $8 range.  I like these small ones, since they are portable like my sewing machine.

Look Mom! “No Feet”

Category : featured, Sewing Tools

Sewing machines have morphed over time, becoming more user friendly. Machines have gone from the hand crank, which made fabric control difficult, limiting a sewer to one helping hand.

Treadle machines gave both hands back to sewers and also gave them a good work out, vigorously pumping with the feet to power the machine. Treadle machines still allow one to sew without electricity. (Janome makes a more current model of one of these “exercise” machines http://janome.com/index.cfm/Machines/Specialty/712T).

With electricity came the knee lever.  The sewer pushed a lever, secured at knee height onto a sewing machine cabinet.  This was not great for bad knees and it forced the sewing machine to stay in a stationary location.

The foot accelerator/peddle seemed like a natural since more people were driving cars. Today most home sewing machines use this method. These foot controls have allowed for portable sewing machines.

With quilting arts being done on home sewing machines, many of the new multi-use sewing/quilting machines have the “no feet” ability.  (Note: I am not talking about the presser foot that a sewing needle goes through). These machines have the ability to start and stop the machine sewing with the tap of a finger. I feel like a race car driver who taps the button when the race call “start your engine” is heard!   This feature allows for sustained consistent machine sewing as one quilts for long periods of time.  Many of these machines also have a thread cutting option that snips the thread next to the project when finished sewing. This is the machine I most recently used when a student brought it to class, I was impressed! (http://janome.com/index.cfm/Machines/Sewing-Quilting/3160QDC).

This machine is a Godsend for people who quilt for long periods of time, but also for people with bad legs, hips or  knees who love to sew, or for those who no longer have use of part of their lower bodies

Sewing machines have come a long way.  Just like I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would have thought of email, I wonder what the early sewing machine inventors would think of these machines today!

These inventions are to keep us happy, productive sewers!