Backpack and Dingle Dangles



Lately, I’ve been on a Disney roll embroidering items for a good friend.   This backpack was a fearsome task, making me wonder if it was a mistake to take it on.   It brought to mind my “sewing in a cave” experience monogramming a large tote bag.  I did NOT want to repeat that.



bag cave


The bag was a Christmas gift for grandson Alastair’s favorite pre-school teacher.  Then I tackled another one for my dear Aunt Rheeta.  But it was no fun at all!


RCB emb



But embroidering this backpack was a very different experience.  My Brother Quattro has an “applique” feature that made this sort of undertaking much more manageable. And it seems with some effort, it could be done on other embroidery machines.

The Disney gang was embroidered on white denim and and outlined with a straight stitch about 1/4″ away from the outer design edges.  That piece was removed from the hoop and trimmed to just a few threads outside the straight  stitch outline.

Next, the backpack was turned inside out.  The zippered pocket flap was basted to hooped stabilizer.  The outline was repeated on that piece.


pack close

With a glue stick, the embroidered piece was then applied to the backpack, matching outlines.  It was like a child’s cut and paste activity book,  matching up the outlines.  Then the satin stitch joined the two pieces and covered the raw edge of the white denim.

Voila!  Sooo much easier than working in a bag “cave” and stitching all the embroidery directly onto the backpack.

So what about the dingle dangles? Here they are.



Each character hangs from its own ribbon. Don’t let the photo deceive you. I just lined them up with the lower character ribbons behind the uppers so all that ribbon wasn’t cluttering up the pic.


I have it on  good authority that kids like to hang something like keychains from the straps of their backpacks.  Of course, those dingle dangles/keychains reflect the student’s interest, thus the Disney characters for this child.

These were made using that same applique feature on my Quattro that was used on the backpack.  The only difference is that these are free-standing.

The embroidery was done on stiff craft felt to give them some rigidity.  For backing color matched cotton was used.  What a fun project!  I might even try those Pokemon designs on dingle dangles for kindergarten grandson Alastair to hang from his backpack.

There were lots of other Disney projects that I will detail later.  Finally, they have all been handed off to my friend.  Whew!  Now I’m on to Vivian Rose’s Easter dress and I’m loving it.

The dress is made from Wendy Schoen’s Petite Poche Alice pattern, with ultra sheer dusty aqua Swiss batiste.  I’m loving it.  More on that later.




So where are you all with your Easter sewing? And have you seen dingle dangles hanging from backpacks?



Whimsy Dresses

Inspired by Kari Mecca's Whimsy classes.  Sorry for the boring picture but it was raining outside and this was the best I could do.

Inspired by Kari Mecca’s Whimsy classes. Sorry for the boring picture but it was raining outside and this was the best I could do.


I’m still reeling with ideas from Kari Mecca’s classes at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo ’15.  Fortunately, while there I had stocked up on spaghetti bias, so I was ready to go full steam ahead on this dress and a matching one for and AG doll.


dress bodice

The ladybug button just tickled me. I was especially happy to find a tiny bug button for the doll dress.




I started with a Simplicity pattern but wish I had found one without a yoke.  It left precious little room for the applique’ and I doubt the rick rack would have fit even if I had thought about it.  Also, I find the separation of bodice to skirt distracting, even with the coordinating lime green whipstitch piping.  Oh well.


dress back

Thinking of Elizabeth Travis Johnson who admonished her students to put something interesting on garment backs.  That top button should have been moved to the left so the back opening would close properly.


The doll dress was just as much fun, as I learned a few things about working in miniature.


Kit's dress is a little short, but that seems to be the style now.

Kit’s dress is a little short, but that seems to be the style now.


Kari often uses ribbon trim made from her Whimsy Sticks to outline the spaghetti bias.   I had no suitable ribbon (I’ll remedy that soon!) for the girl’s dress but even if I had some on hand, it would have been too large for the doll dress.


doll dress close

Notice that tiny, proportional ladybug button, about half the size of the one on the girl’s dress. It is just the right size.


Instead, the doll dress applique’s were outlined with baby rick rack which I did have on hand.  Hmmm…woulda shoulda coulda used rick rack on the girl dress, which I did have on hand, but that idea came toooo late. Next time, I’ll do that.

The doll size was a bit small for applique leaves, so I just fray-checked the ends of baby rick rack and made them into leaves.


doll dress sleeve 2

So  this is what I have done for fun.  What are you up to?  Easter sewing updates?  I’ll post mine when they are finished.


Robert, our 9 yo grandson, is quite the tech savvy boy.  He answers my questions and solves problems on my Kindle Fire and iPhone.

When he and his sister were here last weekend, I challenged him with an on-going Pandora/iPhone problem.  I love to listen to Pandora  when I am sewing.

Nana:  “Robert, when I put the phone in the cradle (a small phone speaker system) the music plays for about 20 seconds then stops.  If I stand there, it keeps playing, but as soon as I walk to the other end of the sewing room (35′ away) to my Brother Quattro machine, the music stops.  I spend too much time walking back to restart the music.   What should I do?”

Robert:  “Hmmmmm….Move that machine next to the phone.”


Peter Rabbit Blanket

Peter blanket ed


We’re re-modeling our kitchen.  What, you might ask, does that have to do with a Peter Rabbit blanket?  Let me explain.

We have no counters, no kitchen sink, and until last week, no stove.  Of course, breakfast and lunch are cold or prepared in the microwave and eaten on paper plates.  For dinner, we have no choice but to eat out every night.  What a hardship!  I told the kitchen guys to take their sweet time.


Mrs Rabbit

Continue reading

Only for the Love of Grandchildren

Is there no limit to what we will do for our children or grandchildren?  Apparently not.


Pokemon ninja headbandss


I can’t believe I’ve just made 43 Pokemon Ninja headband birthday party favors for sweet grandson Alastair.  That’s LOVE!!!

Now 6 years old, he and most of his friends are  smitten with these characters.


party ninjas

Alastair is the little guy standing with his hands in his pockets.

Continue reading

WOW! OSQ Expo ’15

round yoke bright flowers

a Kari Mecca creation with her signature ribbon trim (made with handy Whimsy Sticks) and spaghetti bias


Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Lakeland, Florida– what a fabulous event!  This past week with my dear friend Carol (my son-in-law’s mother)  we took classes and shopped at the enormous and tantalizing market.  Seeing so many friends, making such great buys, and learning so many new things made OSQE a circus of fun.

My schedule included 2 “Whimsy” sessions with Kari Mecca, two serger classes and one quilting adventure.  Each offered great techniques and loads of inspiration.


heart bouquet dress


My classes with Kari Mecca inspired me beyond words.  Being the smitten grandmother of 2 year old Vivian Rose, I dream of making every garment on Kari’s sample rack–a dream that’s unlikely to come true! Continue reading

Monogrammed Wedding Gift

Weddings are important because they celebrate life and possibility. Anne Hathaway

twelve dinner napkins like this one

The wedding gift includes twelve linen, hemstitched dinner napkins like this one.  And in case the bride or groom read this post, please note that nothing else in the picture is part of the gift ;-)


These napkins were stitched for a couple who embrace both life and possibility.  They seem to know that

“In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.” —Janos Arnay

And for them, one of those possibilities is a great deal of entertaining.

The gift includes 12 hemstitched linen dinner napkins monogrammed with designs from JuJu’s Adorn Trio Ornamental Monogram. This set comes in 4 sizes and is now marked down from $20 to $5!  I love this collection and Juju’s other designs.  Note: I have no affiliation with JuJu except as a satisfied customer.

Along with the dinner napkins, there are 12 monogrammed cocktail napkins, too many to include in the photo. Continue reading

Easter Outfits from my Past

Is there any more joyous occasion for sewing than Easter? It’s time to get started but instead of pulling out the lace and batiste, I find myself looking back at those confections from the past. For me, it’s not about seeking inspiration so much as it is about enjoying the memories all over again, like re-reading a very good book.

Among these outfits, there might be some inspiration for those of you who have not yet jumped into this special sewing season.

Who doesn’t love babies in daygowns?  And with a sweet big brother they are even more precious.



If daygowns interest you, details are posted here Happy Easter ’13.  This post details the daygown with fagotted lace and a hand embroidered front placket


The next year Big Brother Alastair wore this little suit.

Another hurry-up outfit, made for my grandson Alastair.

This hurry-up Easter suit  was made for my grandson Alastair.


It seems like I am always in a rush to get Easter outfits finished.  This one for Alastair was no exception.

Making this dress was pure joy.  I love the Swiss handloom and laces.

dress pink2

Baby’s Easter Dress, made for Vivian Rose last year. It was a modification of a dress I made for her mother 31 years ago.


And I love this picture of her strolling through the grass.


Vivian Rose, 15 months old, Easter 2014

Vivian Rose, 15 months old, Easter 2014

Continue reading

Happy Valentines Day Celebrations

I hope your Valentine’s Day was filled with


Our family had wonderful celebrations, both at our home with the older two grands and across the state where our littlest darlings live.

The younger ones marked the occasion in their own special way.  While she prepared things to take to the school Valentine party, Rebecca asked her 5 yo Alastair to sit with his sister, 2 yo Vivian Rose, and to please make sure she didn’t leave the table with the markers.

“No problem, Mom,” said Big Brother.


VR and A

True to his word, she never left the table with the markers.


At school on the big day, Alastair spent a whole dollar to have a carnation delivered to the darling girl who sits next to him in kindergarten.  According to his mother, who volunteers in his classroom every week, this little gal runs and wrestles and roughhouses with the boys.  Many are as smitten as Alastair.


A carnation

When he was a toddler, it was obvious that he would be a charmer.  For that Valentine’s Day, I embroidered this shirt for him. Continue reading

True Friends

towel 1


I have a sweet story to share with you.  It’s a story of a daughter’s love and the loyalty of her friends.  And there is a sewing connection.



Aunt Rheeta, 73


Many of you may remember my dear Aunt Rheeta who has stitched many projects featured on this blog. (See  Aunt Rheeta’s Communion Cloth, Vacation or Sweat shop,  Bible Cover, My Heroine, Patient Pillowcases.)

Just before she left her home in Indiana to come visit me, Aunt Rheeta celebrated her 80th birthday. Continue reading

More Church linens

eucharistic corporal (2)ED

The photo has been darkened to show the detail in the design.


Needleworkers–or sewists if you prefer–so often share their time and talents with friends and relatives and charitable organizations. I am especially touched when I hear from readers who do faith-based needlework.  Some have sent pictures which are shared below.

After the previous post about church linens, reader Sandra commented that she too had made eucharistic corporals for relatives. I was delighted to read that  she is, in fact, my Sigma Kappa sorority sister!  That’s just one more benefit of writing this blog!

I asked Sandra if she would send pictures to share and hurrah!  She did.  Here’s what she had to say about the exquisite pieces she made.

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