Category Archives: machine embroidery

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.

REQUIREMENTS

  • 16” pillow form
  • Fabric: Winnie the Pooh print: 18” square for front, 10.5 x 1.5” strip for handle embellishment, (2) 17x 13” rectangles for back envelope closure.
  • Pooh bear gold: 22 x 16” for embroidered pocket front to enable hooping in 9.5 x 14” frame, later trimmed to 17 x 11.5”. Smaller embroidery frames may be used and will require less fabric but will also require more than one hooping.
Note: If using directional fabric, take care that the pattern is facing the same direction on both rectangles.
  • Red gingham: 17 x 11” for pocket lining, 10.5 x 7.5” for handle
  • Generic fabric: 18” square to back the batting (this will be inside, against the pillow form and will not show)
  • Batting: lightweight cotton, 18” square for pillow front, 22 x 16” for pillow pocket
  • Notions: adhesive spray, glue stick
  • Thread: embroidery, monofilament for free-motion quilting, cotton for construction

Embroidery Design from iBroidery.com

Add text from your embroidery software. 

Instructions• All seam allowances are ½”.
• All basting allowances are ¼”.
There are four parts to the reading pillow;
1. The pillow front (Pooh print)
2. The pillow pocket (solid gold with embroidery lined in red gingham)
3. The 2-piece Pooh print envelope back
4. The handle. The parts may be made in any order and then the pillow will be assembled.

Pillow Front

1. Use spray adhesive to bond generic fabric backing to batting. Repeat to bond front Pooh fabric to batting. It is helpful to add safety pins around the perimeter for extra security.
2. Quilt the layers together with free motion or grid quilting. Insert monofilament thread in needle (follow instructions in THE Dream Machine manual for using monofilament thread.).
FOR FREE MOTION: This is a very brief overview of one method detailed in THE Dream Machine instruction manual.
a. Insert the straight stitch needle plate.
b. Attach quilting foot “C”
c. Thread needle BY HAND (gentle reminder) with monofilament thread.

Pillow Pocket

The pocket as shown was embroidered in one hooping in the 9.5 x 14” hoop from THE Dream Machine and then lined on the sewing side. The iBroidery.com design default size is 2.65″ x 3.76″ and could be stitched in the 4 x 4 frame. It can also be resized in increments up to 4.5 x 3.18. With PE-Design or BES 4, text can be recreated in any size or embroidered from the free downloadable design in a 5 x 7 frame.

8. Hoop 22 x 16” gold fabric bonded to batting in 9.5 x 14” THE Dream Machine frame.
9. Load both text and Classic Pooh designs into machine.
10. Open the tan Classic Pooh design. Edit the color to RED.
11. Enlarge to 4.28 x 3.02 or desired size. Rotate the design clockwise 90 degrees.
12. Mirror the design. Save in memory.

13. Open text file. Rotate clockwise 90 degrees and if desired angle 20 degree counterclockwise (as shown on the sample). Add edited Classic Pooh design.
14. Embroider.
15. Trim pocket embroidery to 17” x 10”, leaving 1 1/2″ above top of rocker.

Add Pocket Lining

16. Stitch gingham pocket lining to top of pocket front with ½” seam allowance. Press seam allowance toward gingham.
17. Press gingham fold at top of pocket.
18. Spray batting with spray adhesive. Smooth gingham over batting, matching bottom raw edge of gingham to bottom raw edge of gold pocket front.
19. Stitch around both sides and bottom of pocket with scant ¼” seam allowance.
20. Select decorative honeycomb stitch #7-049 just below gingham with red thread.

21. Attach open toe foot. The Brother metal open toe foot (SA186) offers excellent visibility for exact placement of this stitch. I love this stitch-it’s like the bee just left the honeycomb.

22. Trim pocket to 17 x 10”.

Envelope Back

Note: If using directional fabric, take care both pieces are facing the same direction..

23. Press 3/8” doubled hem on the left edge of one back and on the right edge of the other back.
24. Straight stitch close to folded edge.
25. Work honeycomb stitch over doubled hem.

Note: Envelope backs are cut with extra width. If your double hem varies or if you are unsatisfied with your honeycomb stitching or choose another stitch, you can cut it off and have enough fabric to redo it. I had to. Twice!

26. Trim envelope backs to 17” x 11.5”.
27. Overlap backs so that outer edges measure 17” side to side. There will be a 4 to 5 ½” overlap depending on number of double hem do-overs. Baste along top and bottom of overlap ¼” from raw edge.

Handle

28. Press 10.5” gingham vertically. Open and fold raw edges toward center, pressing folded edges. Fold again encasing raw edges in center, creating the strap.

29. Topstitch each folded edge.
30. Fold 1.5” Pooh character strip in thirds, with raw edges meeting in the center wrong side. Secure in center of gingham with glue stick. Then topstitch each side. Ends are raw.

Construction

31. Place finished pocket at bottom of pillow front. Baste on three sides ¼” from raw edges.
32. Place handle facing down, centered about 5” apart on pillow front. Baste in place ¼” from top raw edge.
33. Stack envelope backs right sides to right sides on the pillow front and pocket. Pin in place.
34. Stitch around all four sides with ½” seam allowance and shortened stitch length (2.0). Reinforce stitches across handles, at sides of pocket, and at top and bottom of envelope backs.
35. Mark diagonal line ½” across each corner. Stitch across this diagonal line, then stitch around the perimeter of the pillow again going across these diagonal corners. This rounds the corner, reducing the floppy “dog-ear” often seen on square pillows.
36. Turn the pillow cover right side out and stuff with a 16” pillow form. Now it’s ready to delight a child–or and adult–or you.

 

Other Ideas:

  • This precious birthday Classic Pooh design would be delightful on a birthday party tablecloth or it would charm any child when embroidered on a birthday shirt. It’s available here on iBroidery > Classic pooh 200811116

  • The book pillow isn’t just for children. Adults and teens would be happy to have their current book handy with a pillow to snuggle up to as they read. An ailing friend or a shut in would enjoy a book pillow with a new book. And so, would you. Make one for yourself!

Required disclaimer: I am a paid Brother Brand Ambassador.  Not required:  I LOVE my Brother Dream Machine!

 

Birthday Tea at Sea and Free Designs

I’m sorry it has been sooo long since a new blog has been posted.  Hip replacement, shingles and husband’s shoulder surgery has kept me too busy.  Now, at last, I can share this bit of Nana fun with you.~~~~

Grandchildren are just sooo much fun!  Fun is what we had recently on a cruise to Cozumel with our daughter and her family, including 10 yo Alastair and  Vivian Rose.  The occasion was to celebrate Vivi’s 7th birthday.

There, on board and overlooking the aqua blue Caribbean, she was the guest of honor at a genuine Fancy Nancy afternoon tea. It was pure delight!

Vivian Rose, wearing her smocked Ode to Joy dress (Maggie B pattern) and flaunting a purple boa, looks on the tea table set for the celebration. Note the lollipop centerpiece.

The birthday tea was a huge success.  Refreshments included pastries and dessert treats from the ship’s buffet accompanied with  Fancy Nancy Tea.  Feather boas and a chest of costume jewelry added to the elegance of the fete.

We had a fine time, or,  as was often said so many years ago in the Glenwood News column of our tiny local newspaper, “a good time was had by all.”  Several other ship passengers as well as servers stopped by to ask about the gala affair and offer Vivi birthday congratulations.

The tea also offered several opportunities to teach proper, ladylike behavior.

Vivian delicately wipes her mouth with her napkin–with no reminder!

She learned  that it is  impolite to discuss politics, religion or her health at a tea party or in any “polite” company.

“What’s politics?” she asked.   “Don’t worry about that now.  Just don’t talk about it when you find out.”    “Okay,” she obediently replied. What a good girl!

She listened attentively as her mother read Vivi’s new Fancy Nancy’s Tea Party book.  Little did we know she was already planning to soon host her own little tea party.

As her mother read, Vivian listened raptly to her new Fancy Nancy Tea Party book.

The idea for this event came about during her latest visit to our home.   We had been rummaging through boxes of my treasures in the garage when she came across a  few doll size tea sets. She was enchanted and asked if she could keep one.  We promptly had an impromptu tea party with her mother’s old Cabbage Patch doll (wearing a smocked dress) and a teddy.  Of course, she went home with the doll set, but I had this another in mind for her.

Having put aside this little porcelain set for her years ago, I presented it to her for her birthday at sea.   At the tea party she saw it for the first time. To me it has a distinctive Mary Engelbreit look.

Several years ago, Cousin Laurel was presented with the identical set and put it to use for several tea parties. At her Second Annual Tea Party,  guests were invited to bring their dolls.  It added a whole new dimension to the festivities.

To accompany Vivian’s service for 6, I made coordinating tea linens with monogrammed napkins.  The centerpiece is a painted flower pot loaded with jelly beans and lollipops.  Card stock leaves were added to the sticks to create a sugar illusion of a pot of sugary flowers..

Even before I was blessed with the grandchildren of my dreams, this tea set was the inspiration for a class I taught many times around the country.  Detailed instructions and the recipe for the Kindergarten Tea (now renamedFancy Nancy Tea) are included in this post http://www.janicefergusonsews.com/blog/2009/08/30/tea-party-time/ 

The perfect machine applique’d bow design was ever so kindly digitized by Mary Alice Smith of Alabama.   The hand-look embroidered napkin corners are part of a set digitized by my dear friend, Suzanne Sawko.  If you would like the free tea linen designs (available only in .pes), please leave your request as a comment below.

Just hours after returning home from the port, Vivian insisted on hosting an impromptu tea party in her yard under the Florida sunshine.  I asked my daughter if she had reminded Vivi about forbidden conversation topics.

She replied, “I didn’t have to.  Vivi firmly instructed her guests what not to talk about.”  Her previously informed too cool brother, attending only for the Oreos and banana slices, just rolled his eyes.

 

 

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.

 

Vivi’s Cruise Dress

Almost 7 yo Vivian Rose is tiny. A size 5 Children’s Corner Louise would have fit her ever so much better. She poses in Central Park on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas cruise ship.

Life has been a whirlwind for us these past few weeks.  Of course, Hurricane Dorian was expected for a very long time and preparations were non-stop.  With 3 acres of patio furniture, potted plants, a standing basketball hoop, pool, and other miscellany, it seems there is always more you can do to prepare for a Cat 5 hurricane.

My fabulous husband, Bob, up on first story roof to put up storm shutters on second story windows. Already the skies were gray.

 

Additionally, I spent more hours in front of  the television than I have in the past year.  The weather and each of Dorian’s tiny turns to the east and then the west were monitored vigilantly.  The weather  had never seemed so important.

But living 30 miles inland from the coast, we were spared. Our damage amounted to two downed palm fronds and a few clumps of Spanish moss.  But days were spent waiting and watching Dorian’s painfully slow progress as it viciously battered the Bahamas and inched up the Florida coast.  We thanked God for His mercy, prayed for the poor Bahamians who were suffering bitterly, and prayed for those still in the storms path.

We had a cruise to the Bahamas scheduled for Sept. 2 and that was cancelled, of course.  By the time the storm passed, we were rebooked on a cruise which departed from Port Canaveral Sept. 5, just 30 hours after we received confirmation.

The purpose and highlight of the cruise was spending time with our two younger grandchildren, 10 yo Alastair, 6 yo Vivian Rose, and their parents.  We had a fabulous time.

The “cruise” dress I made in such a rush for Vivian Rose was done well before the hurricane was due to make landfall.  Inspired by a gorgeous dress made by famous smocking plate designer Terry Collins, I ordered the fabric the very day she posted her dress on-line.  The pattern is Children’s Corner Louise.

 

This is a terrific pattern, a blank canvas for a variety of embellishments.  Or it is lovely as shown as a jumper or sundress.  The bodice is fully lined.

While making this, I faced many of the problems familiar to those of you whose grandchildren do not live nearby.  Though Vivi soon will be 7, she is very tiny. Yet her mother declared that she wears a size 6 and that’s what I should make.  So I did.

Obviously it it too large in every respect except the length.  You can see  the gaping armholes in the first picture.

 

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Free Happy Face Pencil Toppers

My turn to present the Children’s Message at church came this week just in time for back-t0-school.

The children range in age from 4-10 so the message needed to be catchy to get their attention and brief enough to keep that attention.  Additionally, there must be a meaningful message.

 

This bag and fabric was a gift to me from the Ghana mission team in thanks for the garments our sewing group made. The bright colors certainly caught the children’s attention.

 

With a large, colorful  tote bag next to me,  I mentioned that they had all begun a new school year.  Then I asked what they learn at school.  The answers were just as expected–math, reading, manners and to be kind (that was nice to hear).

They were curious about the bag but I said they would see what was in it later.  It was a surprise.  Darling tow-headed Reid, 4 yo,  had snuggled up to me before the service began and sneaked a look in the bag.  He shouted smugly, “I know what the surprise is!!!!” Continue reading

Summer Yo-Yo Frock

This is my latest creation for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  I must say, this is one with which I am almost completely satisfied.  That rarely happens!

 

Isn’t that back cute?

I do regret not noticing  that Farmhouse Fabrics has gingham buttons.  I would like to have used those instead of the MOP pink ones as shown. But then again, maybe not.  I’d have to have them on hand to compare.

These are the bloomers.

The little garment, size 24 months, was inspired by Kari Mecca’s Yo-Yo and Buttonholes Bubble pattern https://karimeccasblog.typepad.com/my_weblog/yoyo-buttonholes-bubble-pattern.html which appeared on the cover of Sew Beautiful magazine summer, 2009. Continue reading

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

Garments for Ghana

This is the first of 7 clotheslines that hung from the walls in fellowship hall.

Required disclaimer: I am a paid Brother Ambassador.  Not required:  I genuinely LOVE Brother machines.

UPDATE:  The first picture is in from Ghana!  Though this little girl is not needy, I think she is the daughter of Ghanese pastor who hosts the mission team.  Gayle had said this child would be given first choice.  She certainly looks pleased. Her father reported that she didn’t want to take off  the dress and slept in it!

 

What an exciting, satisfying project this has been!  Since the end of Feb. a group of ladies and 4 children of River City Church, EPC, have gathered every Thursday to sew for the needy children of Ghana. Our goal was to make 100 garments. We finished the last week in May with 76 dresses and 44 pairs of shorts!

Getting started with basic instructions.

 

Starting a pair of cargo shorts.

Our efforts were in support of this summer’s second medical mission trip to Ghana, led by a church member Dr. Lyle Wadsworth and his nurse wife Gayle.

NOTE:  Please excuse the wrinkled dresses.  The garments were pressed before being hung on the clothesline. But after being packed for shipment to Ghana, many were unpacked to be photographed.  It was just too time consuming to iron all of them.

Overturned yo-yo’s created puffy balloons. The teepee bag covers a runaway balloon.

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What has been keeping me busy!

My goodness but life has a way of keeping me busy and away from writing blog posts!  But I have been sewing.  Here us a sampling of some of my projects.

I found this heart headband slider as a freebie (for a short time only) for Valentine’s Day at Tattered Stitch.  It makes up quickly and was a big hit with my granddaughter 6 yo Vivian Rose.  She wore it to the family’s special Valentine breakfast and then to school.

Vivian Rose at the family’s special Valentine breakfast.

 

It was so quick and easy to make that I made 18 for the little girls at church.  They were delighted.  This is just the first batch I made.

 

 

Then Aunt Rheeta made her annual pilgrimage to Florida to escape Indiana’s bitter cold winter weather.  She sewed and sewed, making 10 mug rugs.  Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of all of 12, but she made a set of 4 hunting themed mug  rugs for each of two of her sons, one more feminine design for her daughter and one for her house/dog sitter.

Then she made these two for Joanne and Kyle, parents of precious baby Bea.  She said she has been praying for them since March so they almost feel like family.  She went to our Bible study group at their home and was so pleased to meet this lovely couple and spend time with darling Beatrice.  Kyle loves to hunt so one is for him and the fall print seemed to go well with Joanne’s home decor.

 

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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