Category Archives: free patterns and designs

More Harry Potter

Harry Potter Gryffindor crest on shirt and Hp golden snitch on shorts

 

Grandson Alastair, 8 yo, is still enchanted with the Harry Potter series.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, prior to HP, this 2nd grader was a good but unenthusiastic reader.  Now he can’t put the books down and is an excellent reader with a greatly enlarged vocabulary.  His college English major Nana couldn’t be more pleased.

 

reading Harry Potter while waiting for  his orthodontist appointment

 

So I’m feeding his literary enthusiasm with Hp embroidered items, like the Gryffindor crested shirt and the shorts with the prized golden snitch shown above.  The designs were all found on Etsy.

 

 

 

He was absolutely delighted with the 9 3/4 applique shirt I sent last week.

 

This  is Alastair modelling his shirt just moments after he opened the package. This design I arranged myself in my Brother PE-Design is free for the asking. Just leave your request in a comment below.

 

This black shirt  was also included in the package I sent today.  The Marauder’s Map embroidery really tickles me because I love the fun that comes with glow-in-the-dark thread.  The footprints are stitched in Superior’s NiteLite but I couldn’t wait until dark to take a picture of the glowing tracks.   You can use your imagination.

FYI:  from http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Marauder%27s_Map— “The Marauder’s Map is a magical document that reveals all of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Not only does it show every classroom, every hallway, and every corner of the castle, but it also shows every inch of the grounds, as well as all the secret passages that are hidden within its walls and the location of every person in the grounds, portrayed by a dot.”

 

 

I thought this sleeveless black tee was perfect for the bad boy image the design projects. It’s funny because our compliant,responsible,  obedient, well-behaved little guy is anything but a bad boy.  He can do a little role playing while wearing this.

 

 

He can do a little role playing while wearing this.

Just in:  Alastair playing the bad boy.

 

It’s really ridiculous that I spend so much time trying to get exactly the look that I want.  It’s likely that Alastair neither notices nor cares that the applique’ fabric is fussy cut to show the vintage compass.

It is part of a fabric collection celebrating the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the Americas. The print is of an antique map, much like the one  explorers used when–you know what’s coming—

“In 14 hundred and 92 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  October 12th they sighted land, And set their feet upon new sand.”

I wasted precious time searching unsuccessfully on-line for old map fabric, then studied all the tan fabrics in my stash, even checking the wrong side hoping to find an old parchment look.   My thoughts returned to an earlier post, How Good is Good Enough?     I was so pleased when I found just what I wanted right there on a shelf in my sewing room, a piece I had long since forgotten.

The footprints caused me no end of grief.  That thread does not like short stitches and each footprint has a multitude of tie off stitches at the beginning and end of both the foot and the heel.  For each of the first two footprints, I rethreaded at least 5 times after the thread broke.

I soon figured out that one or two tie offs was adequate, then advanced the design stitch by stitch until they were longer.  Still the back is messy and there were some thread breaks.   The design includes 18 footprints, 9 above and 9 below the text and map.  In frustration, I skipped the last two which would have completed the circle next to  “I”.    In retrospect, I would have had fewer problems if I had resized the footprints a bit larger.

Now I’m off to embroider more Crookshanks (Harry Potter) kitty cat shirts for Vivian Rose.  I had to include something in today’s package for her so an unphotographed Second Hand Rose pink smocked bishop dress was included.   But without a cat, rainbow or leopard skin component, I doubt she will wear it.

So what are you sewing for summer? for your children or grands?  I’d welcome the sight of some stitching other than Harry Potter.

 

 

Free Harry Potter Design

free applique’ design 9 3/4, the train platform where students board the Hogwarts Express.  Request the designs by leaving a comment at the end of this post.

LEAVE YOUR REQUEST FOR THIS DESIGN AND THE SLEEVE TEXT IN A COMMENT AT THE END OF THIS POST.

Our daughter and her family recently spent the day at Universal Studio’s Harry Potter World in Orlando.  What a grand time they had!

 

“I don’t want to share with my sister.” “Ok, Daddy can drink it.” “I want to share with my sister.”

 

It’s no surprise that Alastair would be so smitten with Harry Potter.  Both of his parents are rabid readers and great fans of the books and movies.   Before Alastair, their first child, was born they asked me to sew a Harry Potter themed nursery for him.

The Harry Potter  books have had such a great impact on 2nd grader Alastair, 8.  Before he began the Harry series, he was a good reader but he did not enjoy it.  Every night as he sat down to read for the required 20 minutes, he dreaded it.  Once he began reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, he couldn’t wait for reading time, finishing hoework and chores quickly to have extra time.  He read on the school bus, at the orthodontist office, and at every possible opportunity.

He even reads to his beloved NanNan when he visits her.  Of course, his wand is at hand.

 

Alastair and his beloved NanNan

 

His reading comprehension, speed,  vocabulary,  and spelling skills have sky rocketed.  He is just finishing book 6 and can’t wait to move on to book 7.

At Universal, Alastair bought his very own Hogwarts robe.  Just where he plans to wear it outside Harry Potter World I can’t guess.  But he loves it.

Continue reading

How good is good enough?

children with their teepee bags at my grandson’s 8th birthday party

 

This is a question I have struggle with frequently.  Does EVERY project require or deserve perfection?

Most recently, my struggle focused on the party favor bags for my grandson’s 8th birthday.  The party had a sports theme, with a football pinata and soccer field cake.  My contribution to the festivities was 12 teepee bags  (click here for the post with the free pattern) 3 each  from football, baseball, basketball and soccer novelty fabrics.  After enjoying the bounce house and the girls swapping clothes and changing again and again with the garments in the dress up box,  the bags were stuffed by the children with the spilled contents of the smashed pinata.

Like most of you readers, I am very, very busy.    But I am also very, very fussy about my sewing.  Often I ask myself, is it better to sew more with a few imperfections or better to sew less and get my projects as close to perfect as possible?  In fact, I rarely achieve results even close to perfect.

I wrestled with this question when making the quick and easy bags , which take 10 minutes each without finishing touches.  Two of these touches include topstitching the zipper, finishing the seams and trimming stray whiskers from the seams. Ultimately, taking time to cut out and make each bag unique (who wants mass produced?) with different colored zippers and handle loops, winding different colored bobbins and changing threads, I spent about 20 minutes each.  But was it worth it?

 

Do the seams really need to be finished for a candy bag? Must the stray thread be trimmed?.

 

In search of the answer, I did not sit in my Adirondack chair under a freshly leafed oak tree on a sunny Florida spring afternoon.   Remember, I am very busy. Oops, I think I already mentioned that…  Instead I contemplated the quotes  below while folding laundry, feeding the cats and scouring the kitchen sink.

Confucius said, “”Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”  Hmmmm….

But Aristotle said,  “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”  I have an abundance of pleasure in the job, but I don’t get perfection.  Hmmmmm…

Plato really muddied the waters with his declaration, “Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly.”  Hmmm…again and again.

Then, many quotes addressed the subject of excellence along with perfection.

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” ~ Pat Riley

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” ~ Aristotle

Ultimately, it was the wisdom of a football legend who spoke to my heart.

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” ~ Vince Lombardi

As you can see from the photo of the single soccer teepee bag, the seams were finished, the zipper was  topstitched,  and finally the stray threads. were trimmed.  I’m not sure it was the wisest expenditure of my time, but I couldn’t help myself.   I’ve decided that I am in search of excellence in all I sew rather than demanding or expecting perfection.  Whew!  That’s a relief!

So what would you do?

 

 

 

Free Fil Tire’ Heart design

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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.

The wing needle design is very versatile.  I’ve used it in combination with other designs on thees baby pillows.

 

 

It stitches beautifully on Swiss flannel, as seen on this baby shawl.

 

This is how it really looked.  Below the image is shown with contrast to show more detail.

 

The design was reinterpreted on the bodice of Judith Dobson’s tea dress.

 

 

I wish each of you a happy Valentine’s Day with lots of love.  And spread some around, ok?

 

 

 

Christmas Tidbits

Truly, this is the most wonderful time of the year.  And it’s just around the corner.

Meanwhile, the black velveteen for Vivian Rose’s Christmas dress (because black is this child’s best hope for an all-day appearance of cleanliness) is still in the package from Farmhouse Fabrics.    I’m still returning china, laundering and pressing 140 dinner napkins while recovering from Thanksgiving.  We were deeply involved in a fabulous almost family wedding Thanksgiving weekend.  FYI, the groom is almost family–there was nothing” almost” about the wedding!  That’s what the 140 dinner napkins were all about.

For 5 days of Thanksgiving and 5 days with so much for which to be thankful,   our house was filled with the families of both of our children, including all 4 of our precious grands.  It was a glorious time, but exhausting with the wedding thrown in there.

But back to Christmas……

Tidbit #1:  Do you all know about Jacquie Lawson‘s electronic greeting cards?  They are just spectacular.  For a small fee you have unlimited access to cards all year long. I share this with you now because of the advent calendar she offers each year.  Members, for a very small fee (as little as $2 each for 10 or more) can give a daily magical electronic Christmas experience to children or anyone.

This year there are two versions, a Victorian Christmas

 

This year's Jacquie Lawson electronic Victorian Advent Calendar

This year’s Jacquie Lawson electronic Victorian Advent Calendar

 

and a Seaside Advent calendar. Continue reading

Easter Baskets and Free Grass Design

5 basketsA

OH DEAR!  I have just accidentally deleted a comment from “Janice” and I am so sorry!   (It’s purely coincidental that we have the same name.) March 29, 2017, Janice asked for the free design of Easter eggs and grass and I would like to get it to her.  Please, if you are Janice please resend your request.  Or of if you know a stitcher with that name, please give her this message.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After two full weeks of fun and sewing, my Aunt Rheeta just left for home in Indiana.  Her suitcase is stuffed to the limit with finished projects.  I’ll share details of those wonderful items in a future post.

With Easter just around the corner, this seemed like a good time to re-run this post and offer the free Easter grass design again. Take a look at the grass and eggs under Harry and Alastair’s names.  That is the free design.

To get the grass designs, just leave your request in the comment section below.

It also might give you some ideas for decorating your own baskets and other Easter projects. There is another Easter freebie rerun  in the queue so check back for that in the next few days.  I’ve got to get started on my grandchildren’s outfits!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My struggle to break away from spring gardening was put to rest when two days of much needed, non-stop rain fell on Glenwood.  As it poured, I planned Vivian Rose’s size 2 Easter dress, pulled out all the goods needed and even did a little work on the fancyband.

In the midst of planning the granddaughters’ Easter finery, a huge, eagerly awaited box arrived with these 5  baskets.   That box changed my direction right then and there.  I had to get them personalized and out of my way.  They will be used at our church’s Bunny Lunch and egg hunt as well as on Easter morning.

 

Harry 1

 

One is for the 6 month old Harry, the long awaited first grandchild of a beloved friend.   The little guy won’t be hunting eggs this Easter, but his grandmother wanted him to have a special basket for his first Easter.

Harry’s basket was a challenge because my friend asked me to include a frog if possible.  I’m not sure that goofy amphibian passes for an “a” but I hope it is close enough.  After the Precious Boy Child blanket, I was focused on substituting an animal for a letter, hence the frog/a.   After it was finished, I wished I had just nestled a tiny frog in the grass.

Speaking of grass, I frequently use the greenery design used on Harry and Alastair’s baskets.  I think it might be equally useful for you readers.  Suzanne Sawko and I often discuss how we prefer embroidered figures to be anchored, somehow, to the ground or something else. Suzanne digitized the grass, which is best stitched with a fine machine embroidery thread such as DMC 50/2  or Mettler 60/2.  But regular 40 wt. thread also works.

 

Laurel2

 

The grass provides a great foundation for the addition of other elements. .  Each basket is embroidered with a combination of grass and other designs from here and there.

 

A 1

I am so pleased to have these finished–well, I think I am finished.   Almost 9 yo grandson Robert has yet to declare his preference for a plain basket, basket with an unembellished liner or basket with embroidery like his sister’s and cousins’.  To proceed without his input might, in the end,  be a waste of time and a waste of a cute Easter basket.  The blue one is in reserve while he deliberates.

 

Vivian 1

Font is Jazz from Five Star Fonts.

 

The bunny design on Vivian Rose’s basket is from Bernina’s Warm Wishes from Ingrid collection.   It had to be rearranged somewhat to accommodate Vivian’s name but I was pleased to be able to use it again.  The lettering for her name is from Five Star Fonts Jazz alphabet.

So  the children have Easter baskets, but still no Easter outfits.  Back to the sewing room.

I’d love to see your Easter projects.

Star Wars Cape and Vader’s Wedding Death March

 

cape all2x

Are your friends and family as Star Wars star struck as mine?  I was so busy with projects inspired by The Force Awakens  that I have gotten a very late start on grandchildren’s Christmas clothes. For a number of reasons, the dress for 3 yo Vivian Rose and bow tie for 6 yo Alastair are not specifically Christmas, so they can still be worn after their December 24th delivery.  The next post will  include photos and details of the “holiday” clothes.

But back to Star Wars. This super hero cape was posted some time ago for a few hours, until I discovered that I had accidentally added the watermark for granddaughter Laurel’s SewAmazingGifts Etsy store.  So the post was removed.  But I cannot remove the watermark, which is the point of a watermark, I guess. So I am now  reposting it.

Though my blog is titled Janice Ferguson Sews, Modern Projects for Old Fashioned Nanas, this modern project is not my style.  But Star Wars is a hot topic now, as Star Wars fans eagerly await the the Dec. 18 release of The Force Awakens movie.  These fans include boys and young men (and some not so young)  in my family.

With that in mind, I’m on a Star Wars roll which began with this cape.  I choked a little, working on fabric soooooo far from Swiss batiste, though  the quilting cotton is very nice quality. The trims and embellishments–plastic buttons and metal snaps–are 180 degrees from the heirloom laces and MOP buttons which I prefer.  But I stitched my way through, anticipating the grins on fan faces.

The free pattern is from Nancy’s Notions.  It’s quick and can easily be embellished as much or as little as you like. Nancy offers so many free projects and, of course, wonderful products for sale. Continue reading

Christmas Apron How-to

apron

Don’t you love my vintage painted sifter and the kiddie sized rolling pin?

It’s time to bake everyone’s favorite Christmas cookies.  Children love to “help” though even with youthful assistance, really delicious holiday treats CAN be made.

We all know that if you start too early, the goodies are all eaten up before Dec. 25.  (Be sure to read the cookie storage tip at the end of this post.)  “Helpers” often love to be “tasters,” and require great quantities of cookies to be certain they are fit to serve.

A special child’s apron, whether plain or gussied up with embroidery, will make the experience even more fun.  Plain, personalized or embellished with embroidery–whatever–a child will love it.

Here’s how this one was made. Continue reading

Christmas Pillow–not ME

no embroidery machine needed!

no embroidery machine needed!

 

It’s not too late to whip up a holiday pillow.  Brother asked me to design a simple Christmas project that did not require an embroidery machine and this is what was created.    A dishtowel with a decorative hem is  teamed up with a bevy of buttons to create a whimsical Christmas tree pillow. It’s a quick and easy way to add a fresh look to your holiday décor and have fun doing it.

The template is at the end of this post, but you could just as easily draw your own.  If you download the .jpg and print it, you can resize as needed. Continue reading

Dressed up Play Top

eyelet 1

Doesn’t this look cool and comfortable for a Florida toddler?

 

I seem to be stuck on the simple, free, gathered play top pattern from The Purl Bee.   (See Mountain Sewing Getaway and Free Patterns~Summer Play Top)  There are so many variations dancing around in my head that I doubt this will be the last one I make.  I  really hope to make some for Operation Christmas Child.

For this version, the top is cut to a dress length–at least for an 18 month old– and given a more elegant look with the  a finer fabric.  The contrasting casing of which I am so fond and is embellished with stacked  yo-yo’s, a single leaf and a tiny pearl button. Continue reading