Monday, December 27, 2010

Rats in My Tree!

Don't worry I put them there!  This is Cloud and Stripe enjoying a Christmas romp in the tree.  The kids go back to school Jan.3rd.  I will have lots of sewing posts after that!

Friday, December 17, 2010

6 Star Blog!

I am happy to announce I have now achieved a 6 star rating (out of a possible 6) from Sewing Blogs!  Thank you to all my readers and folks just stopping by! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's New At Cat Song Stitchery-Its not too late to email a gift!

It is not too late to email the sewing people on your holiday gift list a pattern or two from Cat Song Stitchery !  I have 9 instructions/patterns for $7.00 each.  Purses, quilt, PJ Pants, cats etc.  Check it out!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

American Quilts- Selections from the Winterthur Collection

Yesterday I visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond,VA  to see the special exhibit- American Quilts- Selections from the Winterthur Collection.  It was beautiful!  There are 36 quilts on display from the 1700's to 1850.  No pictures allowed, so these are from the brochure and the newspaper.
This star is actually part of a quilt.  See the last picture. 
Some quilts were from small scraps while others were made from (individually) an old dress, an embroidered wedding gown, brown wool breeches!  Actually, the brown wool quilt was very different looking with long strips of wool embroidery and then solid strips of chocolate brown wool from the breeches.  Very eye-catching and contemporary looking.    

This article appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch in October.  Left: Small (30"x30"?)Hand applique, tiny people and animals are at the base of the tree. We would call this fussy cut now.  Center: A bed-sized applique Album Quilt.  Right: Bed- sized applique counterpane. 

There are examples of whole cloth (same fabric all over, but not necessarily one piece of fabric), trapunto, counterpane (applique but not quilted), stenciled/ painted, mosaic hexagons with paper backing, political, etc. 

The applique was stitched either with invisible stitches or the tiniest buttonhole stitch.  Some quilts had a handkerchief as the center square.

During this time period, quilt patterns mirrored floor and ceiling designs.  Sometimes they would quilt a dressing table cover and the bed curtains, pillow covers all to match the bed quilt.

A very inspiring show, I was amazed at the tiny precise stitches!

This show continues until Jan.2,2011

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Legs for Raggedy Andy

Meet my dad's old Andy.  I'm guessing he is from the late 1930's.  He has held up quite well except for his legs.  The "socks" portion are rotting away, revealing a hard stuffing that looks like dryer lint.  Time to repair him.

I found some strong fabric, and added red ribbon to look as close to the original as it could. (The old leg is on the left of the picture.)  I hand stitched the new fabric over the old to help hold it all together.

Here he is with his new legs and his original clothes etc.  I think he's happy with the repair.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ideas for Using Men's Ties by Jolee Tarbell

I was recently inspired by a speaker, Jolee Tarbell, at an American Sewing Guild meeting.  She showed us dozens of projects made from men's ties.  She uses only 100% silk.  She deconstructs some ties, but others she uses as is.  Above is a tree skirt on the floor (using ties-as is) and a crazy quilt (using tie pieces).

These are all tie scraps, fused with interfacing, pieced and framed.

Sorry for the blurry picture, but I love her jacket with a print tie sewn around the neck.

This is a vest with dyed lace over a tie. 

Other ideas included scarves, belts, padded hanger, collars, ruched and gathered trims for garments and purses.  Amazing!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Interesting Valance Decoration

I'll be honest, I pretty much hate making window treatments.  I find them to be tedious and boring.  But, when a favorite customer asked me to sew one, I agreed.  Her projects are always interesting and creative, plus she only wanted one.  (I hate doing bridesmaid dresses too because it is multiples of the same thing!). 
She travels a lot and had these pins and belt that she wanted as trim.

I made a simple swag with a rod pocket.  Pleated the ends and attached the pins and pendants.

They don't match, but they balance each other, color and size.

This is a close up of the belt.  I attached it with a decorative machine stitch that echos stitching already on the belt.  I think it is a great way to use travel souvenirs.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

One of 50 Stellar Sewing Blogs!

I'm so excited to announce I've been included in Guide To Art Schools' list of 50 Stellar Sewing Blogs!  I really love sharing projects and how tos with my readers.  My husband calls me a compulsive teacher.  There are so many great sewing blogs out there.  Thank you so much for the honor!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crazy Christmas Quilt

Here is my entry!  I just finished it.  I have always wanted to make a Christmas Quilt, but I usually hang our stockings from my quilt display rack.  All year long I hang different quilts up and we don't have a fireplace mantle for the stockings. 
It is 37"x37".  I used a variety of fabrics from my stash- 3 upholstery fabrics, fake suede, green silk noil, gingham, Asian print cottons and one actual "Christmas" print cotton.  I like using scraps because it gives a quilt an interesting look.

I did some fancy machine stitching in places.  The suede already had stitching on it.  The quilt has a flannel back and could be a table covering, wall hanging, sofa drape etc.  I haven't decided what to do with it yet.  
Thanks for visiting!
See the other entries at  

Monday, November 15, 2010

American Sewing Guild Annual Bazaar

The American Sewing Guild will be having our annual Bazaar Sat. Nov.20, 9-3.

St.Matthews Church corner of Patterson and Forest., Richmond, VA

If you are local, come on by!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Virginia Fashion Week

The fourth annual Virginia Fashion Week is going on now through Nov.14, 2010.  Lots of shows and events featuring lots of different designers.  Exciting to have this all happening here!  Unfortunately, I can't attend any of it.  To see designers involved

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Good Sewing Resource and Cat Pictures!

A catalogue from Connecting Threads arrived the other day.  It is beautiful and inspiring.  I haven't ordered from them before, but I did check out their website. is well worth visiting.  They have over 81 tutorials, 124 free patterns!  In Nov. they are supposed to be featuring beginner machine quilting and finishing will be in Dec.

 Emma, trying to doze.
 Sleepy Emma on top of the freezer.
Emma, caught on my watch and hat!  The whole rest of the bed was empty!

All right, back to sewing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cardigan to Purse

This is a special order to make a purse from a cardigan.  The sweater is 100% wool but refused to felt, so I inserted a sturdy lining to keep it from sagging.  There were alot of holes that needed mending.

I replaced all the buttons with more substantial metal ones.  I used everything except the sleeves.

The finished purse has a large outside pocket created by the V neck (see left, below).  It also has a large secret pocket reached by unbuttoning the front (see right, below).  The strap is webbing with a strip of the lining fabric sewn on top.

For step by step instructions on how to make similar purses from sweaters, see my shop

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Book Review: Pretty Little Presents

It is that time of year again.  If you haven't started sewing gifts, check this book out.  Pretty Little Presents published by Lark Books contains 29 gifts suitable for weddings, babies, hostess, housewarming, but of course would be good for the holidays too!

I sewed these baskets and found the directions to be easy to follow with beautiful pictures.

These cute ladies were shown strung from a ribbon.  Fun, quick and easy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fantasy Fabric

I bought this fabric panel from Quilting Adventures because I love the vibrant colors and intricate design.  It is Oceanica by Julie Paschkis for In The Beginning Fabrics.  Now, what do I do with it?

I also wanted to mention is having a Holiday Quilt Show Contest soon-  starting Nov.14th.  I started my quilt today! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fun with Fabric (and a Baby)

I ran across this site where the mom constructs elaborate scenes around her napping baby.  They are adorable!  You have to see them to understand- 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Really Neat Fundraiser

A few years ago, my kids' school did a funraiser that involved putting their artwork on a variety of items.  Mugs, pillow cases, boxes etc. were all choices as well as fabric squares.  I ordered the fabric and finally got around to finishing them.  Part of the reason it took me so long is I was waiting for the school to do it again, so I would have more squares to work with!

Well, it became apparent that this was it.  So I asked the kids to pick out fabric from my stash that they would like me to use to frame their art.  I sewed them separately in case they wanted to hang it in their rooms.  I pieced the borders and then sewed, right sides together, around the edges.  No interior stitching so I can actually stuff each one and make them pillows later on, if they want to.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cool Sewing Machine Photo  Found this picture, its on flickr of a store front full of old sewing machines in Boston.  Wish I could see it in person!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pattern Review: Simplicity 3796

This is going to be my new go-to skirt for fall.  I have sewn this pattern before (capri pants) and love its easy style.  The details add alot, but I tend to skip some of them for speedy construction.  To make the waist more comfortable, I add elastic to the drawstring so it will hug me better.  I can see myself wearing this from early fall with sandles, all the way through winter with boots.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What's New At Cat Song Stitchery- Cat and Mouse Sewing Pattern-pdf

Meet Cat and Mouse, they are great friends and love hanging out in unexpected places around your house.  In fact, once I get started, it is hard to stop sewing them!
These can be stuffed with catnip for a real cat treat.  My kids love playing with them too!

Free shipping- I email the instructions and pattern straight to you!  Check it out

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pattern Review: Christine Jonson #714

This is my new favorite top!  I used Christine Jonson's #714, Cross Your Heart Top (green illustration).  It was quick and easy to sew (took about 1 hour 15 min.).  The instructions and pictures are clear and informative. The illustration shows a little more gathers than there really are.  The length is very flattering and the v neck is comfortable- not too low as some wrap-style tops are. 
It is hard to tell details with the print I chose, so I skipped any extra topstitching.  I just know I'm going to wear the life out of this top and then sew more of them! Visit her website to see other patterns available.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's New At Cat Song Stitchery-Everything Bag!

The Everything Bag #410 is a new instruction booklet
now available at .  The great thing about this is you can customize it to fit anything you need to carry using the instructions!  This example shown is a ballet bag I made for my niece's birthday.  She needed lots of specialized pockets.  The bag is softly structured using fleece.  Fun, easy, quick plus you get the bag you need!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pattern Review: Simplicity 3775

I love this pattern!  It is easy to sew, wear and very flattering.  I used a velvet burnout knit.  The photos don't do the fabric or pattern justice.  I lengthened the bodice 1" to get a good fit and used my serger for most of the sewing- super speedy!
This is my second time sewing Simplicity 3775.  The first one was a short sleeved summer dress.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Contest Fabric

This picture doesn't do justice to how beautiful the fabric is!  This is my prize from SewCalGal's Pets on Quilts contest.  She runs some great shows, contests and giveaways. Stop by and visit! donated the fat quarters above.  I'll come up with something special for them.  Thank you again!

Well, the kids are back at school and I am working on my projects that have been piling up.  Also working on 2 new patterns for

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quiltathon for Cancer Support- Update

Happy Labor Day!  Remember the Quiltathon back in April?  We raised over $10,000 for Massey Cancer Center!  We are not done yet.  Now we are raffling off the 7 quilts.  $1.00 per ticket.  The drawing will be held November 6, 2p.m. at Quilting Adventures (Richmond, VA).  

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September is National Sewing Month!

Happy National Sewing Month!  Celebrate by following this blog!  There is so much happening with sewing these days.  Loads of great blogs, sites, magazines etc.  I get so inspired and excited its hard to know what to start sewing first!  I have a stack of projects ready for the minute the kids are back in school.  Be sure and check out my how tos here at Cat Song Stitchery and my patterns for sale at .  I'd love to hear what projects you are working on or dreaming about.
Happy Sewing!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cute Pet Pictures

Okay, so any time I post pet pictures, it pretty much means I haven't had any time to sew!  School is starting soon so I will be able to sew more.  I do actually have a project in the works.
This is Alice sleeping on the fridge.
Emma is posing with the girls.
Stripe and Cloud exploring.
More sewing soon.  I promise.