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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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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

Sewing ADD

Category : My Sewing Room


Holidays always remind me I really should clean up my sewing room.  Here is a cute story about sewing ADD so many sewers develop!

Spring Cleaning


P.S.  I know I’m not alone since I just Googled Images of  “sewing room disasters”.

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!

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

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.

Easy To Thread Sewing Machine Needles

Category : My Sewing Room, Sewing Tips, Sewing Tools

Helping us sew

As a sewing instructor I have a large spectrum of ages and abilities of sewing students.  There are sewing aids to help with some of the basic physical problems for sewing machine users.

– – – – – – – -Easier to thread sewing machine needles – – – – – – – – –

This type of needle is great for:

  • Low vision sewers
  • Hands that have limited mobility or feeling
  • Sewers without machine with built in needle threaders

Schmetz makes a sewing machine needle to assist with threading a machine needle.  The needle is “universal” in function, and comes 5 to a pack and in two sizes:  12/80 and 14/90.

Here is how this needle is threaded.  Instead of passing the sewing thread through the eye of needle from front to back, which is like attempting to hit a bull’s eye on a tiny target, this needle has a small opening/slit on the right side of the needle.  The sewer can simply pull the thread down the side of the needle and it will snap into the eye of the needle.

When using this needle  be aware the thread can come out of the same opening.  When completing a seam never pull the fabric to the RIGHT to cut the thread, it will UNthread.   ALWAYS pull the thread to the LEFT and BACK before cutting.  Once this habit is learned this needle is wonderful sewing assist!

A window into my childhood sewing room

Category : featured, My Sewing Room

My ears are always open when I sew.  As a young girl sitting upstairs on warm summer Southern California days at my mom’s Necchi Sewing machine, I listened to the radio.

Arthur Godfrey (Arthur Godfrey Time, 1960-72) was one audible window to my world.   I adored the voice of  Kate Smith http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Smith; she had a wonderful strong voice that thrilled me to be an American girl! She is the person that made Irving Berlin’s God Bless America a well-known classic.  This American girl wants to share a bit of my window of the world from the early 1960s, which I enjoyed while learning to sew.  Enjoy, and Happy 4th of July.

Kate Smith introduces “God Bless America”

My Sewing Room: Stuffed Toys

Category : featured, My Sewing Room

“Grandma, what are we going to make today?”

When the GRAND girls come over, they want to do things!  Making Felt Stuffies has been popular these days.  I have been sewing these on my Janome Mini, since I bought if for them to learn on someday.  They see it used, and what it can sew. I always throw in little learning lessons, like how to thread a sewing machine.  They love designing, selecting the colors, stuffing and rummaging through my buttons!  (I take the huge jar of buttons and pour it into a wash pan to make their searching easier!)  Life is Good if your a turquoise cat with a little girl to love you.