Category Archives: turn tube hem

Kiss the Cook Dishtowel for Basic Machines


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and many readers have already mentioned that they are working of projects for the day that honors love.

Many, of course, are stitching special outfits for their children or grands.  One dear grandmother is making 35 gifts for her grandchildren’s classmates, some pencil toppers and the others toothbrush wraps.  I’ve never heard of toothbrush wraps and think it’s something I need to find out about.  Do you know anything about them?

Others are creating gifts for family and friends.  Since not everyone has an embroidery machine, I’m going to be adding blog projects, like this dishtowel, which require only a basic machine. Continue reading

Cars 3 Fun for Guys and Gals

See detailed instructions for this less bulky tutu skirt here


As Disney/Pixar’s wholesome movie Cars 3 roared through theaters across the nation this summer, offered a dozen beautifully digitized racing designs.  With so many macho characters associated with the Cars movies, Cruz Ramirex is truly the rising star of gender equality in the racing world.

This skirt features Cruz colors and embroidery. Fabric tutus similar to the one shown above are all the rage with younger girls.  I’ve heard of birthday parties at which each guest makes her own hula-type tutu.  One kindergarten class made these for an end of the year project.

Most of the quick, easy, and fun skirts are simply strips of fabric knotted over a circle of elastic.  Cruz’s skirt is tutu Version 2.0, with less bulk at the waist.  It includes a casing waistband which captures folded strips rather than knotted.  It also features her personal embroidered crest at the center front.  The skirt is paired with a simple white tee embroidered with the equivalent of Cruz’s business card.



Detailed instructions for this less bulky skirt and more photos are posted here at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial. Continue reading

Last Minute Gifts

By now we’re all down to the wire for those last minute Christmas gifts. I have a few suggestions that I hope will help you finish up.

Time is short and the list is long. I’m down to the postmistress, a sad and stressed neighbor, some neighborhood children and a few others outside the family. So now I’m really scurrying and relying on these tried and true projects.


Orange marmalade recipe design from Embroidery Library with oranges added at the top..

Orange marmalade recipe design from Embroidery Library with oranges added at the top..

My personal favorite for a last minute gift is a dishtowel. Blank towels can be purchased and embroidered with a personal design. Or one can be personalized with a turn tube/burrito hem and 1/4 yd. of novelty fabric that reflects and interest of the recipient.

I love making recipe towels, like this one featuring orange marmalade. It is made with a turn tube hem. I pick up jars of homemade jams all summer in anticipation of making these gifts. Of course, I only buy goodies for which I have recipes. Embroidery Library has a nice variety of berry jams, as well as root beer floats, and others. This year they have added blackberry preserves, orange marmalade, blueberry jam, peach and more.

A towel like this with an added print hem would be received by our friends with an olive grove if only I could find olive fabric. But that has proven to be hard to find so that one may require embroidery.




Another of my all-time favorite last minute gifts is the washaway gift bag towel. You begin with a towel and add a little embroidery–or not. Continue reading

Sweet Dreams, Baby Girl

While spending the past weekend with our daughter and her family, we celebrated her birthday and her husband’s.  After running across this post, I decided to put it up again.  Daughters are wonderful!! (But so are sons.)


pc shams vert

Monogram is Dazzle from OESD. Tthe floral design is from Brother’s Holiday Card #77. This is a beautiful collection, with a pretty companion design for this one.


With a teary eye for the quick passage of time and a proud heart for the woman she has become, I celebrated my daughter’s birthday by making this pair of pillowcases for her.  With these and the wonderful life she has made for herself,  I expect she will have sweet dreams.



The monogram is  Dazzle   from OESD.  It’s certainly convenient that she and her husband have the same initials.The floral design is from   Brother’s Holiday Card #77. This is a beautiful collection, with a pretty companion design for this one.


Luxurious bed linens have always been a priority for my girl.  As a freshman moving into a dorm at University of Florida, she asked me to custom make pima cotton sheets for the non-standard dorm bed, and, of course, matching pillowcases.    She confided that she was a bit like storybook character in the Princess and the Pea.  How could she get a decent night’s sleep on anything but pima cotton?  Oh dear, I thought.  Have I raised a “pima” donna?   But of course, two sets of fitted pima sheets were packed.


Sending off our French foregin exchange student days before Rebecca (in red) headed to University of Florida.

At  the airport, sending Claire, our French foreign exchange student,  home to France.  This was just a few days before Rebecca (in red) headed to University of Florida—along with her mama-made pima cotton bedding.


From the dormitory to the sorority house to her first college-girl apartment to her first little bachelorette house and now in her lovely marital home, she has always had pima cotton bedding. Continue reading

My Dishtowel Rave

NOTE: This post was first named “My Dishtowel Rant.” Reader Shirley wisely suggested that a better name would be Dishtowel Rave. I agree, Shirley! Thanks for your comment.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.
Ben Carson

Ben, that’s just one reason for my happiness. But it’s true that for any occasion– large, small or no occasion at all– I love giving gifts. But it can be tricky.


Goldilocks said, “This gift is too big!”

Too large or too expensive a gift like this jewel encrusted package or a trip to Paris for lunch would make a friend feel beholden and I don’t want that. (Let me be perfectly clear, I would not give a trip to Paris for lunch.Or a jewel encrusted package. So don’t ask.)


Goldilocks said, “This gift is too small!”

Too small a gift, like a coat hanger, is just tacky. Getting it just right takes some thought.


Goldilocks said, “This gift is just right.”

Continue reading


1-Winners L dress

Does this child look excited or WHAT? Seven year old Laurel was thrilled beyond words when  she saw her polka dot A-line jumper had earned a Best in Show award in the junior sewing category.   The matching teepee bag is part of her “ensemble.” The matching, lined teepee bag is on the hanger with the ribbons.




In September, after she had finished on a rainy day in North Carolina, she proudly checked it off her fair entry list. Continue reading

Part II Goodbye SATB2011

I hope you are not yet tired of the details of Sewing at the Beach 2011 because I am still enjoying the fresh memories of a great school.

The young man in the handsome blazer was a doll and a great escort for the cutie pie in the smocked dress. She had been well-coached to smile at people. But the minute her eyes turned away from a member of the audience, her dazzling smile warped into bored fatigue. It was late for little ones.

As a wrap up, I would like to share with you a few photos of the students projects, fashion show and banquet table party favors.

Then I want to introduce you to living proof that sewing is, indeed, a bona fide Elixir of Youth.   Continue reading

Liberty Turn Tube Pillowcase

Pima cotton, midweight Swiss and Liberty of London tanna lawn turn tube pillowcase. The monogram is from OESD's Dazzle Alphabet.

Pima cotton, midweight Swiss and Liberty of London tanna lawn turn tube pillowcase. The monogram is from OESD’s Dazzle Alphabet.


It’s no secret that I love Liberty of London tanna lawn.  On this pillowcase,  the combination of English pima broadcloth, a trim strip of mid-weight Swiss  batiste and the Liberty tanna lawn are simply luxurious.  The silken textures almost guarantee sweet dreams and gentle slumber.

This particular piece of Liberty is very unusual.  Noted in particular for the sharp registration of their prints, Liberty of London has produced this almost watercolor pattern.  I really like it, but somehow it just seems odd– akin to Pizza Hut adding Chinese food to their menu.  Just out of character.

The linen tea  towel featured in an earlier post and this pillowcase are the projects for the Magic Hem Pillowcase class that I will be teaching in Myrtle Beach, SC.  This will be the 18th annual  event, named appropriately, Sewing at the Beach.  After all the delays, which continue, by the way, at least this class is “in the box.”  The kits are all cut and bagged up with the handouts.  Extra pieces/parts, threads, demo pieces and more are all in a well marked  MAGIC HEM box, the first of four such boxes to fill.  Continue reading

Blackeyed Susan Tea Towel

Did you ever feel like you were running into barricades as you tried to get something done?  That’s what has been happening to me since Christmas.  I knew it would be a scramble to get the kits and samples done for classes I will be teaching in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Jan. 31-Feb.4.

I expected that my holiday houseful of family and friends would depart Dec. 26 and I would hit the ground with my feet running. Of course, I was delighted when they stayed later and then with extra coming and going, we had various combinations of grandchildren and families until Jan. 3.  It was wonderful and I loved every minute of it.  But, uh……now I realllllly would have to scurry.

Then as I began cutting kits for this black eyed Susan towel, I ran out of linen.  It should have been easy enough to get more, but my supplier changed the product on me.  After multiple phone calls and driving around central Florida to locate a similar fabric, I finally found a suitable substitute for the  last few kits.

In the midst of all this sleuthing for the right linen, my dear, 89 year old aunt was  taken to the hospital in very grave condition.  She is childless so I have primary responsibility for her care and spent hours and hours in  the emergency room with her.  After several days, thank God, she stabilized and was released to her assisted living home.  Now I was really ready to roll. Continue reading

Little Santa Workshop


turn-tube Christmas pillowcase for Cousin Mikey

Today was the official opening of our Little Santa Workshop.  Newly empowered by success in the workshop and at the sewing machine and puffed up with confidence,  Robert and Laurel have composed a very long list of friends and family members for whom they intend to make gifts.  Trying not to put a damper on their enthusiasm and generosity, I suggested that we prioritize the recipient list and begin right away.  So we did.

There are so many quick and easy sewing projects that I think Laurel just might be able to check off most of the names on her list.  Coming up with comparably simple projects for the 5 year old “shopper,” Robert’s title for  his woodworking persona,  presents a greater challenge.

Today, Laurel made a Christmas pillowcase for one of her cousins.  The turn-tube decorative hem technique is detailed in an earlier post  Even with her little Brother set at a very low speed, Laurel finished this pillowcase in less than an hour.  Continue reading