Friday, December 30, 2011

The Handy Pocket

Great as a gift- can be any size to fit keys or a phone etc.  I make them in two finished sizes 7"x4" and 5"x3".  To make one: cut 2 pieces of pre-quilted fabric (include seam allowance).  Stitch a zipper on, using a zipper foot.  At the same time, stitch on trim.  There will be fabric behind the zipper. Cut out behind the zipper.  Add a small hanging loop (see above left).  The photos above show the front and back of the same piece.

Place the back and zipper piece, right sides together.  Unzip the zipper.  Stitch around the outside edges.  Clip corners and turn right side out.

Add a colorful carabiner so you can hook it to your beltloop, backpack, purse strap etc.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Joy, Love, Peace!

I wish for you a Happy Hanukkuh, Peaceful Solstice, and a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

1611 Gown

I was not aiming for historical accuracy went I put this outfit together for a recent 400th Birthday Tea.  But I do think I was in the ballpark at least.  The skirt is actually from my colonial gown.  The top was originally my mom's, but since I think breathing is important, I left it unbuttoned and added a white blouse underneath. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nativity for Small Children

 This is a pre-printed panel to construct a Nativity scene that is perfect for young children to play with.  No trims or buttons- just sew and stuff.
Here they are finished.  Last year my cats kept stealing the baby Jesus, but we always managed to find him.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Logo Tote Makeover

This tote came to me as one of those freebies with a business logo stamped on the front.  Seeing an opportunity, I dug out an embroidered sewing machine patch and some sewing themed cat fabric and got to work.  I bordered the patch with the fabric to make it large enough to cover the original logo.

I had fun adding some machine stitching.  Now I've got a tote I know I'll use and it was mostly free!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nifty Teenie Kleenie Holder

This makes a great small gift, easy to sew too!  Start with 3 pieces of fabric 6 1/4"x 4 1/4" and 2 pieces 4 1/4"x4 1/4".  Press 4 of the pieces in half (wrong sides together) as shown above.

 Layer the pieces kind of like how you might reclose a cardboard box, with all the flaps overlapping.  The striped fabric shows this.  All of the folds should point towards the middle and the raw edges should be even with the unfolded rectangle.  Right sides together.  Sew completely around the edges.

 If you like, you can use a 3"x5" piece of paper to stitch around. 

 Trim the excess off.  Then pinch the corners and stitch across as shown below.  This should create a box corner.
 Box corners as seen from the underside.  Turn right side out and slip in a tiny package of tissues.

Here are some finished holders! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Emma, The Escape Artist

Emma is the sister on the right.  She is the Cat Singer.  Alice and Emma are sisters we adopted about 4 years ago from our back alley.  They didn't run from me when I went to pick them up.  Emma has always been a little skittish though.  Yesterday she gave us a real fright.  I realized at lunch that I hadn't seen her for a couple of hours.  Not too worried because the cats usually take an afternoon nap.  I figured she'd come out for dinner.  By dinner we were getting concerned.  With flashlights we looked in every closet and under beds.  She never goes outside, so she had to be in the house somewhere.  Calling her and cat treats didn't work.  Panic was setting in.  We went up in the attic and looked everywhere.  I was really afraid she had gotten stuck in the walls.  I was imagining horrible things by then.  Trying to stay positive, I tucked tearful kids into bed that night.  In the morning I woke up and found Emma sleeping peacefully on the sofa!  Where did she go?!  She was perfectly fine, no cobwebs stuck to her.  I wish I could speak cat.  We are so happy she is back!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Needle Weaving a Purse Flap

This is the Chameleon Handbag by Shirley Adams of The Sewing Connection.  It is a great bag with interchangeable flaps so you can coordinate outfits etc.  The body of the bag is an embroidered suede-like upholstery fabric.
I used a variety of yarns to needle weave a flap.  You have to make your weaving really tight together.  I fused interfacing to the back of the weaving before lining and piping the flap.

I wanted to showcase a few of my favorite buttons.  The flap attaches with velcro to the purse back, and with a magnetic snap in front.  Shirley Adams has wonderful examples of her weaving at  Check here to see my other flap

Friday, December 2, 2011

Colonial Ball Gown

Here I am in a gown that I made for my mom and then altered so I can wear it.  I had to replace the stomacher.  I added the fabric flowers and the cream sleeve details to disquise my alterations.  I wore this to a ball at the beginning of November.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Counting Down the Days

If you are planning to sew gifts for the holidays, time to start now if you haven't already!  There are a variety of patterns and instructions available in my shop- all for a low $7!  The pajama pants pattern is quick and easy to sew.  Pick out a fun print that reflects the recipients interests and you could knock out several gifts in one weekend!  For the musician on your list, a nice new Gig Bag would be much appreciated.  Of course bags and purses are always welcome, and I've got several to suit your specific needs.  Anyone who sews or crafts would love a chatelaine , so handy for holding tools etc.  Don't forget, I've got a free tutorial here on this blog, just click on the tab at the top.  This shopping bag style tote is great for filling with items to match each recipients hobbies and interests for custom gifts sure to please.  Don't wait any longer to get started, that way you can enjoy the sewing as much as your friends and family will enjoy the gifts!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Etsy Patterns and Your Long Weekend

What could be easier? 

Sit at home, eating leftover Thanksgiving meals,
Shopping on the computer.  You can buy etsy patterns all weekend long, I'll be checking my shop frequently, so you can start sewing gifts without ever having to leave your house!

Sounds pretty good to me!
Happy Sewing.

Aprons from Pre-Printed Vest Panels

I recently ran across some pre-printed vest panels. I didn't think I'd wear them as vests, but maybe as aprons.   I don't have all the steps pictured here (I was in a rush to get them ready for the bazaar).  Basically, I used the vest back as the apron top and the vest fronts as the apron lower half.  I had to trim off the shoulders.  I used the same arm shape.  After trimming as needed to fit together, I sewed the 3 pieces together.  The fabric was a lightweight, so I lined the entire apron (making it reversible too!).  The photo above shows the wrong side after the lining has been sewn on (right sides together).  The ribbon ties were inserted and sewn at the same time.  I turned the whole thing right side out through a small hole I'd left open.

Then I edge stitched all the way around, closing the turning hole at the same time.

I like that they are heavy enough now to really protect your clothes.  So dig through your stash and see if you have any pre-printed panels waiting to be sewn!  Actually, I've often thought it would be cool to make something using the panel as yardage and having the directions showing too!  An interesting thought for another time...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Great Bazaar!

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to the Sewing Guild Bazaar today!  If you missed it, just visit my shop .  I had many more items that aren't listed too.  If you came and saw something you wanted, but it is not in my shop, just email me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

American Sewing Guild Bazaar

The American Sewing Guild Bazaar
St.Matthews Church corner of Forest and Patterson

Lots of great items by a bunch of talented ladies!
I'll have plenty of pattern samples so you can see them in person
plus fun bags, aprons, quilts, dolls, table runners etc.
Stop by and say hi!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pillow Case Class

The past few weeks, I have been teaching an afterschool sewing class.
Here are students showing off their pillow cases. 
They have been bitten by the sewing bug.

Good work ladies, keep on sewing!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lovely Lace

I love lace in all its delicate forms.  I don't wear much, but I'd like to.  I've just never thought of myself as a ruffles and lace gal.  Here is an exhibit, "Lost in Lace" , that promises to be anything but traditional.  Here is another photo .  Of course I love lace wedding cakes .  There are lots of types to choose from.  Lace dresses currently in fashion (not really into see-through, but the red undies really make an impact!).  Lacey looks for resort 2011.  I think lace is always classic and in style to some degree, like the Little Black Dress.  Come to think of it, I don't have a LBD but I do have a lacey Little Navy Dress.  Haven't had the chance to wear it yet, but looking forward to it when I do!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Annual Sewing Guild Bazaar

Attention all locals:

November 19, 2011, the American Sewing Guild will hold its annual bazaar at

St. Matthews Episcopal Church
1101 Forest Avenue, Richmond, VA


There will be all kinds of fabric items, great for gift giving as well as plenty of non-fabric crafts.

Stop by and see me!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

DIY Polka Dots

Sophie Okulick shares a simple but effective way of adding perfect polka dots to your projects.   More polka dot inspiration .  And more from etsy!  Dots are so classic, but never boring.  You just can't go wrong with them.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Joann's Quilt Your Colors Contest

Here are the winners from 2010 .  I think the Taxi and the Rooster are my favorites, but they are all quite good.  I don't know if I'll get a chance to enter, but here are the details .  Great prizes too!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Here is a sewing inspired pumpkin made by my daughter to wish you
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

More About Chatelaines

A Chatelaine was said to be the lady of a large chateau or an 18th century  chain to hold the house hold keys and tools, I am calling my neck sewing tool pouch , a chatelaine- because it sounds better!  It is very comfortable to wear, and handy with 5 pockets and built in pin cushion. 

Here is one fully loaded!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jeans into a Chatelaine

I love a good challenge!  My local American Sewing Guild chapter had a denim challenge at our annual meeting.  You had to take a pair of jeans and make something from it.  They didn't specify a size, so I used 12 month old baby jeans.  They had nice embroidery already on them.

 This was all that was left.

I constructed a chatelaine to hold my sewing tools.  There were already plenty of pockets, so I didn't follow my pattern, but I did take the general idea of it.

I added the heart and button in the left picture above.  I also added some fabric from a denim skirt as the backing and the neck section.

There are 7 pockets (the lower right is a flap, but no pocket).  It was a bit difficult sewing through all the layers on the side seams.  If I were to make another one, I would use slightly larger jeans like size 18 months.  Then I would cut off the bulkiest parts.  I am quite pleased with the results, plus I won 1st place for the accessories category!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you all a very joyful Thanksgiving! 
No this is not a turkey , or a partridge, but a hen with pears on it. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

New Chatelaine Pattern- keeps your most used sewing tools handy!

A chatelaine was the mistress of the chateau and/or keeper of keys and household tools.  I just finished this pattern to sew one yourself!  The chatelaine features 5 pockets and a pin cushion.  I load mine with scissors, flashlight, screw driver, post it notes, pen, pencil, pins, needles, thimble, bodkin and a seam ripper.
It has been a real lifesaver when I teach classes.  I was always ending up at the opposit end of the room from my tools.  It would be quite handy for any kind of craft really.  There are 2 safety straps on the 2 bottom pockets to keep tools where you need them!

As always, free shipping!

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Love Kermit!

I can't wait to see the new Muppet Movie!  I think I'm more excited than my kids even!  Here is my buddy Kermit's fashion showRadmegan's needle felted Kermit is adorable and so life like.  Some more kermit crafts from Craftster.  And 279 more Kermit inspired items on etsy

Sunday, October 16, 2011

5 Things You Might Not Guess About Me

After reading my blog, here are 5 things you might not guess about me.

1- I LOVE Dr. Who on BBC America.  Can't get enough of him.
2- My favorite foods- pizza, salad and ice cream!
3- So you know I love sewing, but I actually love all kinds of crafting, drawing and creative stuff.
4- I volunteer a lot.  2 different schools, youth group, weblos, SPCA, teach Sunday School, Christmas Mom etc.
5- In spite of the name of this blog, I love birds too, and all animals.  I am pretty much a nature/ animal lover except I do draw the line at biting insects.  Can't say I like them much at all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Harriet Hargrave

I went to an excellent talk by Harriet Hargrave sponsored by my local American Sewing Guild.  It was a 2 day workshop but I was only able to attend the first day.  I learned so much though!  Harriet has written many books about heirloom machine quilting.  One thing she stresses (and I agree) is to always make a sample block first.  Try out your thread, needle and pattern etc. first, then only when you have all the elements right, start the project.  It saves so much time and fabric later.  She covered setting up your sewing table (correct height etc.), correct thread, getting tension adjusted etc.  It was interesting to hear her take on quilters as opposed to piecers.  Quilters plan the design of a quilt with an eye for where the quilting will be shown to its best advantage.  People who prefer piecing- the quilting design takes a backseat.  Heirloom quilting is all about texture.  Harriet stressed the idea that "the more mediocre quilting you do, the better your quilt looks.  The less mediocre quilting you do, the more mediocre your quilt looks."  So if you don't think you are great at it (and who is starting out anyway?), then cover all the space with quilting and your mistakes won't be as noticeable!  She had examples illustrating this too.  Wonderful speaker to listen to, if you get the chance, see Harriet Hargrave in person. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hanging Shoe Storage

A shoe storage solution was way over due when I decided to sew a new one.  This is my old one that I made 22 years ago from leftover fabric.  I think I randomly chose the size because it holds 4 1/2 pairs of shoes.  4 1/2 !?
The new and improved version holds 8 pairs of shoes.  The back and front is a cotton print and the pockets are a brown upholstery fabric.  This coordinates with the dark wood and blue/green quilt and curtains.

The whole thing hangs from a wooden dowel.  It is so nice to have my shoes off the floor.  Easier to sweep now and I'm not tripping over or stepping on them any more.  My husband's reaction was "you have a lot of shoes!".  Oh no.  I also noticed that I have very boring shoes- 3 pairs of black, 3 pairs of brown, and 3 sneakers.  I think Stacy and Clinton of What Not to Wear would have a lot to say about that!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Seat Cushions!

 I am on a roll fixing up the house!  I love quick, easy projects with impact.  The kids and husband complained the chairs were uncomfortable and hard.  I sewed 4 seat cushions for our kitchen table from fabric and ribbon I got off the free table at a Sewing Guild meeting.  Love the Free Table!   Basically just a pillow with ribbon on 2 corners.  I boxed the front 2 corners.
I stuffed them with several layers (3 maybe) of leftover batting.  The print will hopefully hide food stains.  Now no one can complain about sitting at the table to eat!

Friday, September 30, 2011

A New Lampshade

 My lampshade on my bedside table was old and gross and falling apart.  It was bringing me down every morning to wake up and look at it.  So I thought, I'll just rip the fabric off and recover it.  I ripped and the whole thing fell apart!  Apparently it was stiff fabric with no metal frame.  My husband came to the rescue and made a frame from wood slats.  I had this piece of embroidered linen left over from  this lined tote bag.   I basically just hot glued it to the wood frame.
I especially love it turned on!  Now I smile every morning (once I can pry my eyes open) when I see my new lamp shade!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Framed Pin Cushion

Here is a neat idea I saw over on Spincushion.  The Frame of Mind Pincushion got me thinking about this lovely frame I bought at a yard sale.   I used an Asian embroidered black satin for the cushion because I thought it went well with the opulent frame. 

Thank you Spin Cushion for a quick, easy project!