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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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Bridesmaid Dresses

Category : Design, My Projects


The now famous “infinity” style dress was the style my daughter selected for her wedding.  I flew back to Memphis where we made 4 in one day.  There are few (2 seams) and a little elastic attached, and that is all one uses a sewing machine to accomplish.  No hems or handwork needed!  My daughter did all the sewing and I helped with cutting and the pins!  The trick is in the cutting and then how each maid selects to tie her dress.  There are an abundance of youtube clips on how this can be done.  This picture is of my beautiful daughter in law and the grand girls!

The fabric is a four way stretch from Designer Alley Fabrics.  This was a wonderful online store, and very helpful.  I recommend getting swatches for accurate color and “‘hand” (feeling/thickness) of the fabric.  They get a big gold star from me!




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!

Teaching a 7 year old to sew.

Category : Fabric Information, My Projects, My Sewing Room, Sewing Tools, Student's Projects

Making lasting good sewing memories!

For several years I have sewn with my oldest granddaughter by my side.  She was always egging me on to sew doll clothes and other critters (see my post here) with a little Janome Mini sewing machine. I purchased this machine on sale for $39.99 on a whim from Hancock Fabrics since I had small granddaughters (You can get one here).  I kept the carrot out in front of her that soon she would be able to sew with the machine.

FINALLY she was old enough and we had 2 glorious days when she was on vacation from school and mommy and daddy were on a mini get away vacation.  I kept in my head that if it was too hard for her we would not proceed, but this child is very good at drawing, writing and cutting.  Along with a good attention span, and I felt it might be the right time.

I started her introduction with Sharpie lines drawn on paper, straight line, then lines that formed boxes, then in curves like ocean waves.  Without thread in the sewing machine she punched away, holding them up to the light to see the holes.

  • First teach what the sewing presser “foot” and take up lever are /do on a sewing machine
  • Second name the foot power pedal the “pedal” so the difference from the foot can be explained when sewing.
  • Third learn what the hand wheel is and which way to turn it.
  • Turning corners is a great practice to learn to use the take up lever, needle down concept while learning to control the pedal use.

As I fixed supper she was working away with the machine, hopping up and down to show me what she had done, giggling with delight!

We then traced out a very basic pine tree and drew it onto a brown paper sack and cut it out.  We were going to sew around it in green thread.

  • How to wind a bobbin (the cute little spool of thread that is wound on a bobbin that looks kind of like a donut).
  • How to put a bobbin into the bobbin case of the sewing machine
  • How to use the spool to thread a sewing machine, using the thread guides
  • Threading the eye of the needle
  • Testing the stitches to see if we did the job correctly (HINT: Ugly on top, bobbin not correct. Ugly on the bottom, the spool not threaded correctly)

Now we were ready sew around the paper tree.  We laughed, if it was funky, we would just do it again…no big deal!  We cut new shapes, and around we went.  She used the edge of the presser foot as her guild for sewing even.  While I fixed breakfast the next morning, she was back at the sewing machine working away.

Kit, her beloved 18″ American Girl doll is the perfect size with which to start sewing projects.  I went to the web page that has the .jpg ( free ) for Molly clothes and downloaded the one piece pajama bottoms.  As a side, this is the same project, but adult size I use to start beginning adults. (If you are interested in the dolls pattern:  http://www.agplaythings.com/AG%20Patterns/DollDressPatterns.html ).  After I printed out the 4 pieces that make the pants, we taped them all together like the puzzle they are, and with PAPER scissors, cut them out.  I started the girls cutting paper dolls at 4 to help them with basic skills.  We then went into Grandma’s stash of fabric, picked out our “favorite color, pink” fabric.  We pinned and cut together, with Audrey doing most of the cutting as I sat and watched.  Lots of praise, never a “let me do it” from me, but a “let me show you” then turning it over to the child.  Sure I could have done the whole thing, but this is not what teaching sewing is about.  I would tell stories about how I goofed up lots, and how every time I made a goof I learned something new!  We talked about how our bodies are not flat, but curved and we have to remember that when we sew.  She asked me, how do people know how to make patterns, and we talked about how some people do that for their jobs.

Step by step WE worked through the process of the pants.  Patience is the name of the game for Grandma, learning is the game for the child!  We talked about how irons and sewing machines work together.  I have a mini iron, that does not get too hot, and she learned to use it.  Before long we had performed magic, and she turned her Kit’s sleep pant right side out, and saw the “magic” of sewing.

Audrey doing the “magic”!

As I was driving her back to her house, she was planning what she was going to make next time!

WE both had a good time!

More information about Janome Mini?  http://twowildflowers.typepad.com/two_wildflowers/2009/11/janome-mini-sewing-machine-manual-instructions.html  I have referred to this as a “toy”, and it is NOT, it is a mini sewing tool!

*BOLD used to indicate sewing vocabulary

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.