Happy St. Pat’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day outfit for Vivian Rose


I couldn’t let St.Patrick’s Day go by without a fun little outfit for 5 yo granddaughter Vivian Rose.  This isn’t the traditional “wearin’ o’ the green,” but it combines her favorite color, purple, with her favorite fabric print “rainbow.”  So I thought it would do.

It was given to her at Alastair’s birthday party.


Earlier, she had lamented to her mother that Alastair had a party in a few days and her birthday wouldn’t be for sooooo long (January).  Rebecca replied, “But you will have fun at Alastair’s party.”  Vivi boo-hooed, “but I won’t get to open the presents and they won’t be for me!”    I thought this little outfit might help assuage her grief.

She doesn’t look very sad now.

I hope you all have a great St.Patricks’s Day.  We’re enjoying a quiet day at home. My hard working husband was hard at work early on, then rushed in for a quick shower.  Now he is parked in front of the tv, simultaneously watching baseball and March Madness.  He deserves to relax. So..

And I am off to the sewing room. YEAH!  I’ll be listening to some Irish classics like this.

Most moving rendition of "Danny Boy" I have ever heard

🍀 🍀 The most iconic Irish folk song of all time! I forgot to wear green on St. Patrick's Day, so to make up for it I give you my favorite folk song of all-time! 🍀🍀 Share with those you love. (Just wait until the end cutest thing ever!!)

Posted by Peter Hollens on Monday, March 20, 2017

Quilted Bed Foot Warmer and Free Design


No one likes cold feet–not at a wedding nor in bed.

There are many ways to keep your toes warm, like this.  Who wouldn’t love that?  But you need a lot of puppies.



Or you could do this:


There are risks with this method. Mildred “Mimi” Turner almost burned down our hotel (and her feet) when we were teaching in Australia’s cold Blue Mountains.


This quilted foot warmer is risk free, readily available, pretty, and fun to make.  It is also my latest project for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial, for which I am a paid sewing specialist (this is a required disclosure).  The blog post includes a FREE download link for the quilting design used for the spaghetti bias Celtic knot in the center of each square.  But more about the special use of that later.


The design measures 7.76 x 7.87″.


The primary design, which is built in to the Brother Dream Machine, has intrigued me since this technological wonder moved into my sewing room.  With March being National Quilting Month (at least in the sewing world) I jumped at the opportunity to use the design in a quilted piece for Stitching Sewcial.

A complete tutorial with photo illustrations is posted on the blog.  Still, there are a few tips I’d like to discuss.

Basically, each block of the foot warmer consists is composed of 4 squares of this embroidery design.



Three of these blocks with 2″ sashing and borders made the foot warmer’s length measure 60″.



The lovely blue/green/gold print was a piece I had on hand, just barely enough to finish the project.   The strips for the spaghetti bias require a lot of fabric.  The little gold metallic circles do not show up in the photo, but they add a nice bit of glitz to the print.

I love spaghetti bias and the unique dimension and extra touch it offers.  I thank both  Connie Palmer and Kari Mecca, renowned designers and teachers, for introducing me to its delight and many uses.  While it can be purchased in a huge array of colors and prints, often I find it necessary to make my own, as I did on a child’s dress with a companion dress for an AG doll.

Much as I love my Tiger Eye and Turn Tube set, I sometimes wrestle to get the tube turned.  This is probably due to the fact that I like to cut the bias strips very long as a seamed bias piece is not recommended.  It creates too much bulk for the tube.

On this project I had more trouble than usual, likely because of the metallic in the print.  Sorting through my miscellaneous tools, I came across my loop turner and found that for this fabric it was a better gadget than my Fast Turn set .  I think that will be my go-to tool now after using my Tiger Eye.



The FREE quilting design offered at Stitching Sewcial was used not to quilt, but to use as a guide for my spaghetti bias.  It was stitching in the center after the squares were pieced.  Then the bias was first glued in place over the design and then stitched down.

Let me tell you, I was tickled pink when I realized that I could use many machine embroidery quilting designs for spaghetti bias templates!  And better yet, the designs can be edited to whatever size you need without concern about the length of the stitches.

Of course, you also could simply print the edited quilting design and trace it on your fabric.  But my tracing would never be as precise as the machine embroidered piece.

Finally, a gold button was sewn to the center of the Celtic knot to emphasize the gold in the print.  It also covers any less than perfect corner seam matches.  But it just seemed to me that the center needed a button.

I first tried a plain, flat button with a shank but it flopped around.  So I had to use a 4-hole gold button.  This arrangement also creates a pretty frame for a monogram on a pillow.

So  this is what has kept me busy for the past two weeks.  We’ve had gorgeous spring weather, but a few cold nights calling for a  bed foot warmer.

I sew better with warm feet.  And I’ve done more sewing since my previous post,  which I will share with you later.

Easter is just around the corner.  I’d love to hear about what you are sewing.





Lenten Church Paraments


These Lenten paraments were made at the request of our pastor for our River City Church of DeBary.   The   purple fabric reflects the liturgical color for this season.

The embroidery is another beauty from  Windstar Embroidery Designs which has an enormous selection of spectacular liturgical designs.  This one is offered in two sizes, the smaller for the side-hanging bookmarks and the larger for the pulpit scarf.


Additionally, the cross drape, seen on the far right, was included in the set.  It is a 4 yards by 45″.  The set was hung the day before Ash Wednesday.

I’ve been sewing for many, many years and created a variety of items from clothing to quilts to home dec.  But none of this experience seemed helpful as I ventured into the world of stitching church paraments.  There are so many things that go into making what looks like a simple project. Continue reading

Valentine Towel for Coach


This is Joy, my bubbly, enthusiastic, encouraging exercise coach at the Herbalife Nutrition Club in downtown DeLand.   When asked about her plans for upcoming Valentine’s Day, which fell on a day of our regular exercise class, Joy said that her guy, (a nurse) was working a double shift that day.  So the only celebration would be with her children.

This little tea towel certainly is no substitute for wine, roses, chocolate, and the man in her life, but it was a small reminder that others love and appreciate her.


heart balloons from Zundt designs, towel from All About Blanks

Continue reading

Free Design for Minnie’s Birthday Playsuit

The floral borders below each of the Minnie designs are offered as FREE downloads at the blog web site. The Minnie designs are for sale at iBroidery.com.


This cute and cool little play outfit was made for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  Minnie turned 60 years old in January so the blog post was a part of the birthday celebration.   As a “paid consultant” (inclusion of this info is required), I designed this and wrote the step-by-step tutorial, posted here.

As much as I love lengthy, complicated projects like an heirloom Easter dress or intricate quilt, there is a lot of satisfaction from making a quick and easy outfit for our little ones.  This  play suit certainly fits the bill. Continue reading

Valentine Free Fil Tire’ Heart


With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I am again offering this free fil tire’ heart design.  There are many new readers who might enjoy this and some older readers who might have missed it.  The design is so suitable for this holiday celebrating love.  And what says love better than a heart?

I so appreciate the support and encouragement you dear readers have given me  through the years.  For the some time now I have been extraordinarily busy and posts have been few and far between. And yet you still stop by to read my infrequent chats. I thank you for that.

For this day celebrating love, I am offering this free machine embroidered fil tire’ heart, along with wishes for love each day.  Just leave your request for the design as a comment at the bottom of this post.
Continue reading

Sewing Ho-Hum and Holy Holy

Life at our house goes on at a breakneck pace, causing me to neglect posting as regularly as I would like.  But my sewing room is a beehive of unreported activity, not all of it very interesting.

Wouldn’t you love to sew only creative, fun items?  Does anyone get to do that?   Check out an earlier ho-hum post for an interesting view of what constitutes fun sewing elsewhere, like  “baju kurung, kebaya, punjabi suit.” Just how much fun would it be to sew a punjabi suit? More fun than I had with these projects.



But duty calls and I have a running list of  ho-hum sewing which is in addition to routine mending.  These ho-hums become occasions for which my sewing machines can actually save some money.  While there is no creative satisfaction, there is the satisfaction of contributing to the family, being a helpmate to my dear husband, and  satisfaction in proving that my Brother Dream Machine is more than just an expensive toy.


Mending pool leaf filter baskets….yawn…

Continue reading

Kiss the Cook Dishtowel for Basic Machines


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and many readers have already mentioned that they are working of projects for the day that honors love.

Many, of course, are stitching special outfits for their children or grands.  One dear grandmother is making 35 gifts for her grandchildren’s classmates, some pencil toppers and the others toothbrush wraps.  I’ve never heard of toothbrush wraps and think it’s something I need to find out about.  Do you know anything about them?

Others are creating gifts for family and friends.  Since not everyone has an embroidery machine, I’m going to be adding blog projects, like this dishtowel, which require only a basic machine.

This was one of the many SM1738 machine samples assigned to me by Brother.   It is very basic, with only 17 stitches.  They include 3 straight stitches–short, medium and longer, 3 zig zags –short and narrow, medium and wider, and longer and much wider, a blind hem and a few others, a look at the video shows how much can be done without all the bells and whistles that owners of high end machines enjoy.  I made all of those samples on this machine, except the pillowcase which was made by someone else.

You all know I LOVE my Brother Dream Machine, but there is much that can be done on a basic model. It’s likely we all started out with a simple workhorse. The SM1738 is much like my first sewing machine, which as a bride, I used to make curtains and pillows for our first home in 1968.  I thought it was to-die-for and stitched miles and miles of seams.  I wish I had had some creative suggestions then!

To make this towel, I used: a plain white dishtowel, 1/2 yd. kiss fabric, 2/3 yd. red and 2/3 black rick rack, regular sewing thread and monofilament thread.

Here’s how:

  1.  Cut away hem on dishtowel, leaving a raw edge.
  2.  Join kiss fabric to raw edge with turntube/burrito hem technique.  The tutorial calls for just 1/4 yd. of hem fabric.  But without embroidery, I wanted a larger hem.   The finished hem will be seam’s width less than half the fabric.  A quarter yard will render a hem approximately 3 1/2″ wide and the 1/2 yd. piece used on this towel created a hem of approximately 8 1/2″.  Just suit yourself or use available scraps.
  3. Twist red and black rick rack together.
  4. Baste through the center of rick rack with monofilament thread.
  5. Free motion with monofilament and #60 needle over humps of rick rack.
  6. Fold ends to back and tack in place.
  7. Remove basting stitches in rick rack.

Of course, any print with any color combination of rick rack could be used to make a special dish towel.  Kiss the Cook or any other text could be quickly hand embroidered. If you are lucky enough to have an embroidery machine, the addition of text would be a breeze.



With any sewing machine, you can create fabulous items for your family and friends.

Coming up in future Basic Machine posts are

  • an heirloom pillow complete with shadow pintucks, inserted Swiss beading, a monogram and shell tucks
  • Minnie Mouse dresses
  • Elsa costume
  • fabric greeting card
  • cell phone case
  • and more



Bye Christmas ’17 and Frozen X 25

Not exactly a Griswold house, but it was enough to please us. And there is more in the back around the pool.  Bob really wanted to please the children with all the lights. Lighted reindeer are perched on the garage roof, 4 snowflakes hang in front of the breakfast porch, candles are in the windows and my sewing room on the right is lighted up like an airport runway.  Should have turned that off before Bob snapped this shot.


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  Good friends, good times, good food, and good worship makes this time of year so special.  But Christmas ’17 is over.

The lights and tree are down, all decorations are packed away and our precious family have all returned to their far away homes.  It was a wonderful, joyous time, but now it’s seems very quiet in this house.  Several of us were sick at various times, but that didn’t keep us from having fun.


Gotcha gang ready for the next round. The dogs insisted on being in the middle of it all and were more help in the finding than the hiding.  Laurel is wearing her new Theater Geek hoodie and Vivian Rose is in her beloved leopard print tutu dress.  Sigh…


We went to church, ate turkey and pie, drank gallons of eggnog and played our family’s traditional holiday games.  ” Gotcha” is a favorite of all four grandchildren.

Basically, it’s just Hide and Seek in the dark, with the use of on-off head lamps.  When “It” finally finds someone in the dark, he yells “Gotcha” and we all race back to the center of the yard so as not to give up a good hiding place.

Once when we reassembled, we noted Harvey’s absence.  Vivi announced that he was in the house.  “See, Daddy’s in the kitchen!”  And sure enough, there was Harvey clearly visible through the window, probably eating a cookie.  Nothing gets by that girl. Continue reading

Christmas Cat Dress


CC Lucy embroidered with a darling cat Christmas tree from Apex Embroidery


It’s rush, rush, rush around here and, except for you amazingly organized ladies,  I expect we are all scurrying around with Christmas preparations.

This season has been especially busy for me as I am working on an heirloom project for Brother’s Stitching Sewcial blog.  Hurrah!  But I only had time to make a simple CC Lucy Christmas dress for 4 yo Vivian Rose.  And of course, a matching bow tie for big brother Alastair.



I was tickled pink to find the cat Christmas tree in the huge and wonderful Apex Embroidery catalogue.  Of course, cat-lover Vivian was delighted when the package arrived. Continue reading