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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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Easy Way To Transfer Embroidery Design Pattern

Category : Sewing Tips

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

Marking Sewing Patterns With Disappearing Ink Pens

Category : Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

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?

Category : Design, Sewing Tips

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!

Category : Sewing Tips

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

Category : My Sewing Room, Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

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. Contunue Reading

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!

Covered Snaps

Category : Sewing Tips

I have always been a big fan of covered snaps to give a garment a classy/custom finish!  Threads Magazine has a tutorial on it http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/16428/how-to-cover-snaps .  I have an additional technique to assist while doing the sewing.  Little snaps are difficult to hold onto when covering, so I use a 3×5 index card to hold my snaps while I sew the covering over the snap.

These picture show a hint on helping you accomplish a beautiful covered snap!

1. Cut the fabric you are going to use to cover the snaps, and prep with centered holes to pierce with the snap male part.  Also make a hole in the 3×5 card.

2.  Sandwich as follows.  female 1/2 of snap, fabric, card, fabric, male snap.  Snap together. (I do some trimming at this point for better control).

3.  Run gathering stitch around the snap, pull up threads and finish as the magazine shows.

Happy Beautiful Finishes!

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.