Category Archives: accessories

Fun Bug Bag

 

Summer is not yet over, and for some of us, it seems it never will end! As entertaining the children becomes more and more challenging, sometimes just getting them out of the house for a while is a worthy goal.

Whip up this quick and easy bug bag and they will be kept busy prowling the bushes and grass. Make it plain or make it fancy.  Honestly, it takes longer to read the instructions than to make the basic bag.Whether the prey be creepy crawlies or fireflies, the adventure is a child’s version of a jungle safari.   Work this into a lesson into entomology and identify some of these yard beasties and it becomes an educational adventure.

This fiberglass screen wire teepee bag (the name suggested by its shape) is a perfect accessory and holding pen. Use insect designs from design library to embellish the outside. Your  Brother embroidery machine and most others will handle the screen wire effortlessly. The stand-alone butterfly swaying inside the bag will intrigue the children and send them racing out the door into nature.

Let’s make a bug bag!

Requirements:

    • sewing/embroidery machine
    • open toe foot, basic sewing foot
    • 4×4 or 5×7 frame to embroider more than one design in the same frame
    • Fiberglass screen wire: 18 x 26” for bag embroidery and another large piece for stitch rehearsal of each potential design.
    • Utility scissors for cutting screen wire and zipper
    • Notions: zipper at least 18” or with plastic teeth. Longer is fine. It will be cut to size during construction; 8-10” cord or ribbon; monofilament, sewing and embroidery thread, seam sealant
    • Extra heavy water-soluble stabilizer (wss)
    • Download both left and right files below and piece together.

layout template left and layout template right (request below in comments and they will be emailed to you)Preparation

1. Print pattern/design templates. It is broken into two parts because my scanner bed is too small for the entire template. Print both the left and right templates and tape them together.
2. Print template of each design you plan to use. If deemed appropriate, resize to be proportional to the bag.
3. Cut 18 x 26” screen wire. This large size makes hooping easier.
4. Tape completed template to white surface or pin to padded surface.

Note: It may be necessary to trace over the lines with a wide black marking pen for better visibility.

5. Center screen wire over template and tape or pin corners to hold in place.
6. Trace section placement lines onto screen wire with child’s “school” chalk. These lines show each section of the finished bag for suitable embroidery placement.

Note 1: To make the necessary marks, neither a sliver of soap, chalk marker or washout marker could be seen on the screen wire. Only white chalk, like that used on school black or green boards worked. Hmmm… were you ever in a classroom with a chalkboard? If so, you must be a grandmother like me.
Note 2: The screen wire will slip if not well secured when placed over the template. The red slashes show where it slipped and the line had to be redrawn after pinning it more securely to a padded surface.

7. Place templates of selected embroidery designs in chosen location within the section.

Note: It is helpful to take a picture with your phone so you can refer to it as you embroider.

8. Wind bobbin in each thread color used in the designs.

Embroidery

9. Select one or two designs to embroider on one large side and load into machine.
10. Hoop screen wire and heavy-duty water-soluble stabilizer (wss). Puckering occurred when the screen wire was simply basted to the wss.

NOTE:  If you are blessed with a Brother embroidery machine with a camera capability, detailed instructions are posted at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial here.  Otherwise, proceed as you will.

13.  After embroidery, do not remove wss.14. Continue hooping and embroidering each section. The wss is still in place on the back. Do NOT embroider the ladybugs now.

Note: To create the illusion of the ladybugs trailing up the green zipper they must be embroidered after the zipper insertion.

Construction

Insert the zipper in this unorthodox manner, stitched flat on the top side of the screen wire. This is done so the ladybugs could be embroidered along the zipper edge.

15. Attach open toe foot. The zipper is placed on top of the screen wire.
16. Open the zipper, place the top of the tape at the top of the bag’s marked cutting, right side up with the teeth at the edge of the left marked bag side.

17. Straight stitch 1/8-1/4” from zipper teeth, with open toe foot positioned along the edge of the teeth. Needle position is in far right.
18. Open the zipper as far as possible. Repeat on the opposite side. WSS is still in place.
19. Stitch ‘grass’ for ladybugs’ home. On my Dream Machine that was  stitch #7-12, width 6.5, length 4.0.  Or select a similar stitch.

    • Return to Embroidery

      20. Open ladybugs design. Hoop with zipper near center of frame. Position design. Embroider.

21. Hoop 2 layers of wss in 4×4 frame. Embroider butterfly. This one was resized up to 2.56 x 2.55”. Be sure to use matching thread in the bobbin.

22. Remove as much wss as possible then soak in tepid water until the edges are clean. What remains between the layers will give the free flying butterfly stability. Pat with paper towels to help it dry.
When almost dry, shape it with wings spread as if to fly. The antennae are just loose threads. Applying a bit of seam sealant gives them some body.

Return to Construction

23. Cut screen wire to 8×16”, along marked chalk lines but do not cut zipper. Best to remeasure for exact sizing. Leave zipper open to its greatest length.
24. Remove as much wss as possible. Trim screen wire and wss from teeth edges to first line of stitching.

25. Immerse bag in tepid water to dissolve wss.
26. Lie flat on a towel and roll the towel around it, like a burrito. Squeeze out excess moisture and hang to dry. If you are in a rush, a blow dryer speeds up the process of drying the zipper tape.

27. Stitch a folded 8-10” cord or grosgrain ribbon to the top edge within the ¼” seam allowance. The loop should hang down with raw edges extended a little beyond the seam allowance. This creates a loop handle.

28. Close zipper a few inches above the bottom raw edge. Fold the bag inside out with the closed zipper in the center of the seam line. Stitch with ¼” seam allowance right over zipper.

29. Cut excess zipper-finally! Use utility scissors.

30. Fold top in half with zipper at one side. Begin stitching at zipper just above the first tooth. Back stitch for reinforcement. Angle up to ¼” seam line. The open toe foot gives best visibility for those first stitches.

30. Fold top in half with zipper at one side. Begin stitching at zipper just above the first tooth. Back stitch for reinforcement. Angle up to ¼” seam line. The open toe foot gives best visibility for those first stitches.

Does this make you want to hunt bugs or to sew a bug bag?

 

Pooh’s Book Pillow

Hello-0-0-0!  If there are any readers left out there, I’m still here!  Neither the virus nor lethargy has kept me quiet, just the hurry-up of life, even while in lockdown!

This is a fun little project that was done for precious little Beatrice, #1 fan of Winnie the Pooh.

The book pillow was also done for Brother’s Stitching Sewcial blog to celebrate Pooh’s birthday, hence the included book.  Finding that little paperback required  determination and skills worthy of Sherlock Holmes,  but I was driven once I knew such a publication existed, though long out of print.

Book pillows have surged in popularity and not just for children.  Who wouldn’t want to curl up with a good book and a soft pillow?  With the recent stay at home call, this is a soothing antidote to what might be seen as isolation.

Why not make one today, for a child, for a friend, for a shut in, for yourself, for anyone! The instructions are for the Winnie the Pooh pillow shown, but any fabric, any embroidery design may be substituted.

NOTE:  This pillow was made on my Brother Dream Machine.  Some instructions are specific to that.  Greater details can be found on Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial here. Continue reading

Fast and Fun Halloween Projects

These darling pencil toppers were just mailed off to my younger grands to share with their classmates. Did you know that Halloween is the most popular secular holiday in the USA?  Just ask my grandchildren.  They are crazy for this time of year.  Last month, 6 yo Vivian Rose told me she was counting the days until Oct. 1 so she could start wearing her Halloween clothes.

This is a bit of a joke, as she is required to wear a uniform to school.  So hairbows, headbands and pencil toppers are her only Halloween expressions for the school day.  Her Halloween “clothes” will only be weekend and after school attire.

These pencil toppers from GG Designs  are just a joy to stitch out.  They come as a single design or “sorted” with four pumpkins or ghosts or bats in a single 4×4 hoop. I combined 2 sorted sets of pumpkins into a larger hoop, did another color sort and stitched 8 pencil toppers in just a few minutes.  This was repeated with the ghosts and then with the bats.  It takes longer to cut out the felt designs than it did the stitch them. Now the set is on sale for only $4.13.

What a sweet little gift this would be to a favorite elementary teacher to share with her students.  There are so many who would be happy to receive these slightly spooky pencil toppers.

GG Designs Embroidery was the inspiration for another Halloween favorite which was sent to my grandchildren last Halloween.  This was digitized and also stitched for the children at church, making me one of  the more popular church Nanas!

As a paid Brother Ambassador (required disclosure), the project was posted at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial and includes a step-by-step photo tutorial., as well as a FREE download of the file for the pumpkin.

There is still plenty of time to whip up these cuties.  For your children, grands, neighbors, church children or for nursing home patients, these pumpkin treat bags are sure to bring a smile.

 

How-to: Garments for Ghana

Required disclosure:  I am a paid Brother Ambassador.  Not required:  I absolutely love Brother Machines.

Several readers have written asking if they may participate in the Garments for Ghana project.   Others asked how our project operated so they might do a similar event in their own community.  When I mentioned in response to a comment on this topic that I might write this post, at least one promised that she (sweet Sandee) would not find these details boring.  I hope she is not the only one because I am going ahead with this.

Before I began, I was given some direction from the mission team leaders.  The request was for bright colors, since the landscape there is pretty bleak.  We did that. Check.

Second, there must be no buttons or closures  that might break or need replacement. Such replacement is not an option for mothers in these areas.  Check.  Elastic at the neckline was the only closure notion.  I know elastic gives out after a couple of years, but I expect these garments will be worn out long  before the elastic is.

Third, in many African nations and apparently in Ghana, bare shoulders for girls and perhaps adult females, is taboo.  So we needed some sort of sleeve.  Check.  I did notice early on that many photos of pillowcase dresses for Little Dresses for Africa showed the girls wearing a  tee shirt under their dresses.  Now I see that the site offers a free pattern that has a sleeve, much like the pattern I used.

Fourth, each garment must be marked with its size.  I had a bag of labels for sizes 1-5 and for the others I embroidered sizes on grosgrain ribbon in the hoop.  Ladies who worked from home used a sharpie to write on ribbon, which like the others,  was tucked into the elastic casing at the back. Continue reading

Back at Last!

First, let me wish you a happy Valentine’s Day!  My latest post at Brother’s blog Stitching Sewcial is all about embroidered cards, specifically Valentines. I wish you all joy and happiness on this special day of love.

 

 

The tutorial gives all the ins and outs of embroidering cards, from choice of cardstock size and attaching embroidery.  Check it out and please leave a comment at Stitching Sewcial if you find it helpful or inspiring.  Here are a few of the other samples.  Details of each are included at Stitching Sewcial:

 

 

The front embroidery is covered and inside text is Minnie’s quote.  It reads:

 

This one is for our 6 yo granddaughter.  The inside text reads, “Vivian Rose, you are our favorite princess.”

More are posted.  I had a hard time stopping, since these are so much fun to make.

But much more has been going on since I last posted here at Janice Ferguson Sews.  Of course, Christmas was pure joy, with both of our children joining us with all four of our precious grandchildren.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Many gifts were stitched. Mug rugs caught my attention and I made several for my daughter-in-law, but didn’t manage to get a photo.  These are so much fun and make great gifts.  She is our nature girl and really liked the apron I embroidered for her with this fabulous bear from Urban Threads. Continue reading

Bees for Bea

 

This is longed for and long-awaited baby Beatrice, whose name means “she brings happiness.”  And she surely has!  Our church, family and friends prayed long and fervently for her safe arrival into the loving arms of her adoptive parents.

The afternoon of her baptism a few Sundays ago, friends hosted a barbeque for the entire church and other family friends in Beatrice’s spacious country back yard.

This sign greeted guests.

 

Did I mention that the theme of Bea’s nursery is Winnie the Pooh? Can you tell?

 

Of course, it was HOT!

I made the smocked bee sundress for Bea, complete with bloomers and a hat. She is  tiny, born 2 weeks early at just 6 lbs. Even the newborn size is huge on her. But babies grow and there is still plenty of steamy summer weather left here in central Florida.  It should fit her soon.

Using black on such a tiny baby gave me pause.  But there is no way around it when you are dealing with bees.  The picot edged bias softened it a little but I much prefer white or pastels for newborns.

At the top of her hat sits an adorable little bee which I found on the facebook Smocking DeStash site.  I bought 20 because I knew there would be many opportunities to use them for Baby Bea.

 

This country barbeque in a huge yard with pet goats and chickens was just the sort of fun children love. Still, they needed a few special activities. So while they were eating I discreetly hid bees all around. Continue reading

Easter ’18 Week

Vivian Rose at Oma’s house, decked out in her mother’s Rebecca’s Bow Dress.

 

I hope you all had a joyous Easter.  The Ferguson family had a fabulous week of Easter celebrations!  We saw both of our children with all four of our grandchildren, but not at the same time.   A good bit of sewing was done before and after their arrival.

Saturday we joined our son-in-law’s family for Easter dinner.   5 yo Vivian Rose was resplendent in her mother’s 35 yo Rebecca’s Bow Dress,  with her curls confined to elaborate, elegant French braids.

The original slip has been lost through the years so this white Imperial batiste slip was made.   Because it really can be worn as a dress, a bow was embroidered on the yoke.  To avoid it shadowing through the dress, it was stitched in a very pale pink and white.

 

The same yoke pattern was used with 1/2″ removed from the top half of the armscye.

 

Ever obliging 9 yo Alastair wore his bow tie made from the Little Boy Bowtie:the Quick and Easy Version pattern which I have used so often.

 

 

The color matched the green leaves in his sister’s fancyband.

 

The bows alternated with 3 vertical strips of lace.

 

I love this picture taken as Vivian was ready to put on her heirloom dress.  Alastair was proud that he was already dressed and ready for the egg hunt.

 

The bunny was tied at the top with a bow, but Vivian HAD to open it.

 

See the felt candy-filled bunny in Vivi’s hand?  That was such a fun little project.  I made 20 of these for the children at church, as well as for these two.  Vivian had a bunny filled basket and loved handing them out.  I so regret that I did not get a photo that or of all the pink, blue, yellow and white bunnies together.  They were a big hit with all the children. Continue reading

Beaded Bag

If you happened to stop by these past  two weeks, you must have thought I have dropped off the face of the earth.  Though very busy, I have managed to stitch a few things that I would like to share with you.

 

monogrammed for a bridesmaid

 

Today I’m showing a feminine drawstring bag.  This is a bride’s gift to her bridesmaid, stuffed with a few precious momentos, reminders of the young ladies’ time together and a matching monogrammed handkerchief.  After the wedding, the bag can hold more handkerchiefs or whatever pretties that need a container.

The fabric is a lovely organza from fabric.com.  The fabric was cut 10″ x 16″.   With a width of 118″ 7  bags can be cut from 1/3 yd. with plenty of room to straighten the fabric edge.

In order to show off the ribbon, ivory French lace beading was used instead of a casing.

The beaded trim was originally  joined to a dark brown twill base.  After it was stitched in place, the taupe colored satin ribbon stitched on top of it.

The same ribbon was used for the drawstring ties.  Thread for the monogram was chosen to match the ribbon.

I love a quick project every now and again.  This same bag could be purposed for so many other uses–bridal showers, birthdays or any gift occasion.  It’s nice to have a simple project to make up in a hurry when the need arises.  Then try stitching a pretty bag like this.

 

 

 

 

Clergy Stole

 

What a joy it was  to make this stole for our young, exceptional pastor! He has   the wisdom, powerful teaching and Biblical understanding of a much older, more experienced pastor.  Our church is growing in leaps and bounds with his leadership.

Sunday in  the pulpit he wears a suit and tie. A traditional black robe hangs in his closet, but he said he doesn’t wear it because without a stole he looks like a judge.  Hmmmm…I thought, I could make one!   How hard could it be?  How long could it take?

Well, let me tell you this one was not hard but it did take a very long time.   Operator error again.  I made so many mistakes!

Whenever I take on a project unlike any I have made, I like to research the subject to get a comprehensive view of just what is involved.  Google took me to a lot of blogs and sites for free patterns.  Pinterest took me on that same route. Both have numerous free patterns, mostly labeled quick and easy.  I didn’t want quick an easy.  I wanted good.  So I looked further. Continue reading

“..land that I love!”

 

our 4 yo grandson ready for the fireworks

 

Every day I am grateful to be living here in the USA, truly the “home of the brave, land of the free…”

We’re all eager to celebrate our nation’s birthday.   But it is important to pass our love and appreciation for the liberty we enjoy on to our children and grandchildren.

Special children’s clothing for the July 4th holiday shows them that this is an important celebration.  Since my grands are all far away this Independence Day, I’ve looked back at a few earlier celebrations with and for them.

This was granddaughter Vivian Rose’s first July 4th.

 

 

Our two older grands wore these outfits one summer.

 

 

Of course, the holiday specific food is also important—and enjoyed.

 

18 month old granddaughter Vivian Rose loves her corn on the cob!

Continue reading