Category Archives: accessories

AHA! Tip Used Again

My AHA! moment #2, learned from a Christmas stocking last year,  was a new gadget for my sewing skill toolbox. And like good tools, it was needed again this year to complete a project for the same sweet friend.  Since the stockings for her family of four were “hung by the chimney with care”  last Christmas Eve,  the need for 3 more has arisen, one for their Elf on the Shelf “Snowflake,” one for their new dog “Jaxx” and one for visiting grandmother, “Sarah.”

This friend will be getting a Brother embroidery machine for Christmas (shhh!), but right now she knows very little about the process.  So when she came to me with the 3 stockings to be embroidered, oblivious of the difficulties that they posed, all I could think was oh how I wished Santa had brought me that single head free arm Brother Persona!!!!  But where there’s a will, there’s a way.

 

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A stocking for their Elf on the Shelf? Who knew.

 

So….first I tackled the little red knit stocking for Snowflake, the elf.  It seemed to be the easiest of the lot and I needed to warm up to the task. I was so happy to have already figured out the two-baste-frame technique from last year. Continue reading

Wash Me!

Wash Me – Personalized Laundry Bag

Yeah!  My personalized Disney Alphabet laundry bag tutorial has just been posted on Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  It was a fun and enjoyable project.  Those alphabet characters are cute as can be.  I felt like a real in-the-know and up-to-date Nana when I recognized most of characters.  I’m studying up on the others.

Check out the post for detailed construction and embroidery instructions.  If you  find it interesting or useful, I’d really appreciate a comment left on the blog.

Like dishtowels, my favorite hostess or whatever gift, a laundry bag can be used even if it’s not in the recipient’s favorite colors.  It’s good for children, campers, college students and even adults.  I meant to make one for my elderly Aunt Aileen when she moved into a nursing home.  Sadly, she left us before I got it made but I know she would have loved it.

“Laundry bag” sounds so utilitarian and boring.  But they can be a fun and gentle reminder for children (and others) to bag up those dirty clothes.  For each of my grandchildren I have made a bag and they are used regularly.  When she was here for the weekend, 3 yo Vivian Rose asked where her laundry bag was as she put on her pajamas. With no reminder, she put that day’s outfit in the bag and went to brush her teeth.

 

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Jungle Book Cot Sheet

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During my lengthy absence from this blog, I did get some sewing done.  This cot sheet is a fun little project.  It can be plain or fancy, utilitarian or heavily embroidered as is this one.

First, I have to be up front with you all–my name is Janice and  I am a textile snob.  My linen closet has nothing but pima cotton sheets.  My master, guest and children’s beds have always been made up with silky pima cotton.

Many years ago, there was a brief and almost sleepless few days when my 8 yo son slept on stiff and scratchy Garfield sheets.  They were a gift for which he had begged his grandmother.  After a week, he wanted his old sheets back.  “They just don’t feel good, Mama.”  From the mouths of babes–raised on pima.

Before she even moved into her freshman dorm at University of Florida, my daughter begged me to custom make two sets of pima cotton sheets for the odd sized mattress.  She was like the Princess and the Pea.  “Mama, I won’t be able to sleep on anything else!”

So what does this have to do with Disney’s Jungle Book themed cot sheet shown above? Continue reading

Fun Halloween Projects and Lessons Learned

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Check the UPDATE below. The ghost and skull glow in the dark.  Happy Halloween towel V.2 below is a great improvement.

 

NEWS FLASH–Urban Threads is running a sale on their designs especially designed for glow-in-the-dark threads–$1.29 each with a neat bonus set that comes with a purchase of $10 or more.  That’s just 8 designs.  I finished these towels just about an hour before I found out about this sale.  I had spent a lot of time searching my design library for files that would be suitable for glow-in-the-dark. Oh well.  Children are crazy about this stuff.  I  look forward to stitching my new designs for the older grands.

A package of fun Halloween items will go out in tomorrow’s mail to my two younger grandchildren.  A fingertip towel for each child should make them smile.  When the children were here a few weeks ago, they were so pleased to have embroidered personalized towels for their bathrooms.

Three year old Vivian Rose is infatuated with cats so the cat and hat towel is for her.  Seven year old Alastair was equally infatuated with glow-in-the-dark threads when he discovered them during that same visit.  So that is the fun factor on his towel.

It looks pretty ho-hum until the lights are out.

 

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Be sure to check the UPDATE below if you haven’t already.

 

LESSON LEARNED:  When dealing with glow-in-the-dark, areas outside the glow are best stitched in regular colored thread.  The ghost mouth and nose were stitched with orange thread. That looks good.  I mistakenly thought that having the ghost and skull eyes glow in a different color would give a great effect.  Wrong.  It would have been so much nicer with the lights on or off if I had used black or orange thread for those features.  Live and learn.

UPDATE: After this post was written,  I couldn’t live with the Happy Halloween towel.  I knew the fix would be easy.  So the towel was rehooped and the scan feature on my Dream Machine was engaged.  After the embroidered towel was scanned, the original design was opened.  As it appeared on the screen, I dragged it over the existing design with the stylus.

After scrolling through the first few colors, I came to the skull eyes and then the ghost nose.  They were re-embroidered with black thread.

 

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The fix took less than 3 minutes and towel looks much better in daylight— even better in the dark.

 

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Restitching those elements of the design in black was a huge improvement.

Even more was learned on the next project, a pumpkin door hanger.

 

Fun project! Pumpkin Door Hanger from Hang To Dry. The applique' font and the text were from Brother's PE-NEXT editing program.

What a fun project! Pumpkin Door Hanger from Hang To Dry. The applique’ font and the text were from Brother’s PE-NEXT editing program.

Continue reading

A Small Token of Love

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This is Icolin wearing her new apron.

 

This is my sweet Jamaican friend, Icolin.  We share our burdens, few though they are, and joys, of which there are many.  Her strong faith and cheerful attitude bring sunshine into my already sunny home.

 

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Icolin considers this her office. She prefers to eat lunch and take breaks in the potting shed. My sewing room is my favorite spot, but this is the place I like to be when I’m not sewing. 

In an earlier post, I sang her praises, though not loudly enough, and featured an apron I had embroidered for her.   For the longest time, she just left it hanging, declaring it too pretty to wear for cleaning–ppsshaw!, I said, teaching her an uncommon English word.

Finally, that apron was worn for her first day at another cleaning job.  I thought it was time for her to have another–another apron and another very small token of my appreciation.  Aside from that, I was ready for something more satisfying  than the Too Many Cats dress.

 

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This is a design from Loralie’s Colorful Ladies III.  I replaced the design’s paintbrush with a feather duster. Icolin keeps her’s handy as she works her way through the house.

 

The apron is from All About Blanks, my go-to site for a variety of ready-to-embroider items.

We are all so lucky to be able to sew or embroider small gifts like this.  Nothing says “You’re special,” like a handmade gift.  Except, of course, a new sewing machine!

Have you made any little tokens of appreciation lately?

 

Alice Tea Linens Tutorial

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This child sized tea linen set features Alice in Wonderland characters.  With the heavenly scented Confederate Jasmine in full bloom on my front porch, a sweet tea party could be held, if only I had a few grandchildren in house.

 

Making this linen tea set was such a pleasure.  The project and accompanying tutorial were just posted on Brother’s Stitching Sewcial  blog.    This is especially timely with the recent release of Disney’s new movie, Alice through the Looking Glass. A whole new generation of children will meet the characters through this movie.

The tutorial includes .pdf downloads for the corner templates (a smaller one for the napkins and a larger one for the tablecloth).  It also includes a link to download the zig zag feather stitch which I created in My Custom Stitch,  available on many Brother machines.  I find this stitch useful for many projects–baby bonnets,   baby shawls,   blankets and more.

If your machine has this feature, you might want to download the zig zag feather even if you are not planning to whip up an Alice tea linen set.  Instructions for getting this stitch from the download to a memory stick to your machine are included in the tutorial.

When I began this project, my biggest challenge was to select the designs from  the 13 designs available at iBroidery.com.   Somehow, they would be have to be color coordinated with sweet Alice’s dress because the Madeira tablecloth corners just had to be blue.

 

 

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Finally, I decided that the napkin corners would have to coordinate with its many colored embroidered characters. Continue reading

Kid Sew Monogrammed Scarf

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Our 11 yo grandson, Robert, gets such a kick out of machine embroidery.  He is very, very savvy about technology so my Brother embroidery machines fascinate him.

 

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Recently, he monogrammed a polar fleece scarf for his mother, thoroughly enjoying the process of selecting, setting up and transferring the design to the machine.  Curious about the need for water soluble stabilizer on top, about why  we don’t hoop polar fleece, about how the machine knows which hoop is in place, etc. etc. etc.

He even made some design decisions, choosing to alternate the fill and outline colors between each letter.

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But he really wants to know just how the machine does what it does.  I just tell him to be grateful for its capabilities and DO NOT TRY TO TAKE IT APART!!!  If he tries, I threaten that I will cut his hair while he sleeps.  I almost wish he would make an attempt so I could shear those blond locks.

Summer Camp Sewing

items embroidered for Alastair's summer camp

items embroidered for Alastair’s summer camp

 

MY-OH-MY!  This summer is just flying by.  Among other activities, I have been busy embroidering gear for our 7 yo grandson Alastair’s first sleepaway camp experience.  Each item in this huge pile carries the camp logo.

I have to say again how much I love machine embroidery for so many reasons.  Saving money is just one. Participating in his camp preparations is another.

 

Watitoh entrance

 

A long list was issued with required “logo-ed” screen printed items, such as a minimum of four $17.99 tees from the camp store.  After getting approval for the substitution of machine embroidery over printed, Alastair’s clever mama (my darling daughter) ordered blanks for all required gear and much more.  At a 24-hour, on-line flash sale, she purchased his things for less than $70 from the same manufacturer as items from the camp store.   Meanwhile, I got to work preparing the machine embroidery design. Fortunately, it is a simple logo. Continue reading

Readers’ Easter Sewing

Big announcement coming in the next few days!

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Annette Poole

 

Ahhh…Easter dresses!  Thanks to Annette Poole for this photo of two adorable girls in their finery.  The checked dress is silk dupioni cut from Sew Beautiful’s  Pascale pattern, size 3.   I made a Pascale  Christmas dress for granddaughter Laurel Cade when she was 9.   That is one of my favorite patterns because it is so versatile.   As a matter of fact, Maggie Bunch has a post on her blog dedicated to the versatility of Pascale.  Check Maggie’s blog for variations and insight into Laura Jenkins Thompson’s excellent pattern.

There is something so sweet about checked silk dupioni.  I think it’s a charming combination of the elegance of silk with the innocence and playfulness of gingham.  With the smocking and excellent construction Annette has made  a special  heirloom. I love it. Continue reading

For the Boys

He asked that his face not be included. That's a shame because he is so handsome. But I respect his privacy.

Grandson Robert, 10 yo, embroidered this fleece poncho on my Brother Dream Machine.

 

Shops, internet and sewing groups inundate us with beautiful and adorable projects for our girls.  Items for the boys appear far less frequently. Yet we want to shower them with the same love that is stitched into items made for our girls.

My friend Judy Day faithfully and thoughtfully includes something for her grandson in packages she sends with garments for her granddaughter. See one example in her Even Steven post.

When our delightful 10 yo grandson Robert spent the night recently, he spent a lot of time cuddled up on the couch, wrapped in a fleece throw.  March Madness was well underway, watched intently by Robert and his Granddad.

As Robert trekked into the kitchen for a drink refill, with his blanket dragging the floor and slipping off his shoulders,  Sonia Showalter’s poncho   came to mind.  That’s just what Robert needed!

He agreed it was a great idea and wanted to help.  The technology of my Dream Machine fascinates him and he always asks a lot of questions about its capabilities.  In my experience, kids love sewing machines.  Robert chose a dragon from the built-in designs.

 

R dream dragon

 

Continue reading