Category Archives: Tutorials

Free Happy Face Pencil Toppers Design and Tutorial

8 finished

 With the new school year about to begin, it seems appropriate to run this post again. These quick and easy pencil toppers will give your favorite students happy  encouragement.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of the things I love most about sewing is that it can be a useful tool when applied to almost any situation.  It can solve so many problems–and I’m not just talking about a ripped out hem, or torn seam.   This past week, the problem was  my Sunday School lesson and the solution was these pencil toppers and an embroidery design.

The teacher instructions were to print out the memory verse on an index card for each child to use in class and take home.  Even on colored cards this would be BO—RRRINNNNG.  Instead, I pulled up the .pdf file from one of my favorite collections, Designs by JuJu’s  Heavenly Inspirations 2 , which includes this scripture.  Won’t that get more attention than a hand written index card?

 

REJOICE

 

With my wonderful, free, photo editing program Picasa, a frame was added and the verse was printed on card stock.  On the back, other information was printed–the “bottom line,” and “basic truth” they could take from the story. The children went away with a shortened version of Cliff Notes for their lesson that day.

Thank you, JuJu, thank you Sewing!

Next the teacher’s guide suggested draping the room in Christmas lights as an indication of rejoicing.  Continue reading

Keychain Tutorial Posted ~ New Hints

 

pack pals for Alastair and his friends

Pack pals/ keychains for Alastair and his friends. I’m pleased to report that my keychain tutorial is posted at Brother’s website.  Any of these links will take you there.

 

I’m pleased to report that my keychain tutorial is now posted at Brother’s website.  Any of the links at the end of this post will take you there.

Apparently, I was not very clear about the felt.   A reader wrote with some questions,  asking if she needed to buy from a bolt.  My answers/comments are:

 I just buy the felt sheets at WalMart, JoAnn’s or Michaels.  They are 9×12″ or 12 x 18″.  The smaller soft ones run about  $.25 each and the larger stiff ones about $.59.   Of course, you could use some by-the-yard felt, but I don’t think that comes in the stiff weight. 

When I first got on this jag, I used soft for both with a cutaway stabilizer for the first hooping.  But then I could not get rid of the stabilizer beyond the outline and had to color it with a sharpie.  Still, the keychain was too floppy to suit me.  So I went with the stiff stuff. 

You can use stiff for both layers, but with my stiff hands, it is hard to cut through two layers of that. Now I always use stiff for the top but when I can’t find matching colored soft felt, I use stiff for both.

When I first heard about these keychains, I too was puzzled about their attachment to the backpacks.  I discovered that they just loop over the hanger loop  with the embroidered piece slipping through the loop or over the wider shoulder strap.   That is why you need such a long loop.  I’m guessing backpack straps are about 2″ wide, so that uses up 4″ of the ribbon loop.  Then the embroidery has to fit through the remaining opening.

 

Maddie n Elsa

 

A second tutorial for other machines was to be posted at this time.   But a wicked case of bronchitis and life in general got in the way.  I expect you know how that happens.  But it will be posted soon.

NANA FUN 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

Blue Bows~Handlooms and Swiss Embroideries

bluebowgownwhole

Originally posted in 2011…

Stitching a nightgown is always a pleasure.  Often made as gifts for birthdays, holidays or bridal showers, pretty sleepwear is appreciated by ladies old and young.

BlueBowsMaryLydia

This gown was made for my daughter when she was a teenager.  The pattern, Mary Lydia, is an old, all time favorite of mine.

Its versatility allows you to use goods of any width.  The armhole curve is placed over the finished fancyband and dips into the skirt fabric.  It is also suitable for a sundress.

bluebowgownFyokeBrite

SWISS HANDLOOM blue bow insertion on back yoke

 

 

bluebowgownbackyokeBrite

SWISS HANDLOOM blue bow insertion on front yoke

 

Made of all Swiss goods–batiste, galoon beading, blue bow handloom insertion and edging–it is guaranteed to present sweet dreams.

This handloom is one of my all time favorites.

 

SWISS HANDLOOM. It is exactly like hand stitched shadow embroidery.

SWISS HANDLOOM. It is exactly like hand stitched shadow embroidery.

————– Continue reading

Tutorial: Disney Project & Fun for All

 

I’m getting ready to post some new garments I made using a few of  the delightful new Disney designs.  They have really updated the characters and created very contemporary designs.  I stitched a new Minnie on CC Callie, Ariel on a two piece play set, and Nemo on a beach scene baby outfit.

With the new Brother machines being introduced there is a lot of  Disney excitement.  I thought you might enjoy this old post with my daughter’s tutorial for her castle pin/bulletin board.   This is a great back-to-school activity for kids and parents.

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It was a fabulous weekend, full of fun.   Rebecca had a project in mind so after the downtown Mardi Gras Dog Parade (details below the tutorial), this is was our family project.  It really is useful to anyone, young and old.  It would be great for teachers.

What is it for, you might ask?  Well, read her explanation below. Continue reading

G’Kid Stuff and Preschooler’s Cot Sheet Pattern

 

A sheet

Alastair with his new preschool cot sheet, fresh out of the priority mailer envelope. There is a tiny race car crossing the “t” in his name.

It’s been busy and hectic here with lots of fun with grandchildren and friends.   And some sewing, but there is nothing pretty to show you.

Alastair is 4 now, though the celebration at Nana and Granddad’s is not scheduled until next week.   But to my great surprise, this early birthday cot sheet gift seemed to thrill him only slightly less than a visit from superhero Captain America.  It was made to compensate for the duck fiasco detailed below. Continue reading

AG Doll Spa Wrap Tutorial & Free ME Designs

 

 

Well, I promised this tutorial would be posted today “if the good Lord’s willin’ and  the creeks don’t rise.”  I have to tell you that I’m not sure the Lord was willing but the creeks did not rise.  So I took the normal water level as a reluctant “okay” from above, even though just about everything else that could have thwarted my goal today did.

After the pictures from my granddaughter’s 8th Spa-tacular Birthday Party  were posted, the American Girl spa wrap has gotten a lot of attention, as well as many  requests for the long promised tutorial.  This is a follow up to the Girlie Spa Wrap for the girl doll owners.

So all day and into the wee hours of early morning, I have held on to this tutorial mission with the determination of a Pit Bull.  Finally, here it is.  Please let me know if you find any errors.  I didn’t have the luxury of reviewing this for a day or so before posting it.  That makes me really nervous.

 

Continue reading

Tutorial: Consumer-made Entredeux

Looking back over 35 years of teaching needlework classes (WOW!  That’s a lonnnng time!), from quilting to smocking, heirloom to machine embroidery and more, there is one question that is asked again and again.   “What is the difference between pinstitch and entredeux stitch?”  Considering all those years and all those classes, that amounts to a lot of curiosity about hemstitching.

At a cursory glance, the two stitches look very much alike–rows of decorative holes.  But they are very different.

 

lacetapedolldresskirt

 

This photo shows a doll skirt with pinstitch outlining the U shapes beside and above the yellow lace tape machine made entredeux below below  the curves of yellow.  The lace tape was stitched in place on the wrong side of the fabric (a machine applique’ technique) and the pinstitch covered the tiny, ho-hum straight stitches which held the lace tape in place. Continue reading

Girlie Spa Wrap Tutorial

K all

There have been several questions and comments about the spa wraps I made for my granddaughter’s spa birthday party.   The most frequent question is how to get a proper fit, especially for children who are not available for measuring.

After a lot of trial and error, mistakes and do-overs, I think I finally have the sequence and details worked out.  So here is a step-by-step spa wrap tutorial from sizing to finish that I hope will be helpful.

 

materials 1X

Materials you will need to make spa wrap. Note: my color ink cartridge ran out today. On the embroidery design template, the blue is supposed to be green.

REQUIREMENTS

  • 1 bath towel (not too thick)
  • black gingham 2″ x 60″
  • 30″ green grosgrain ribbon 3/4-1 1/2″ wide
  • 1 novelty button  (watermelon button is hidden by ribbon)
  • 4″ scrap for yo-yo
  • water soluble stabilizer~4″ square for yo-y0, 8×8″ to cover embroidery
  • embroidery design for monogram to match button
  • 10″ velcro
  • 10-18″ 3/4″ elastic
  • green thread for embroidery and top stitching
  • black  thread for embroidery
  • monofilament thread for stitching ribbon in place
  • 30-36″ scrap ribbon with large safety pin

SIZING–The standard/average chest measurements below are from a chart found on-line.    If you are unable to measure your spa wrap recipient, just guestimate by age. Continue reading

Pin Stitch~~ Part II

angelwatchcorner

 

In the previous post, Pin Stitch…What’s it all about? basic information was given about fabric, needle, thread, foot and fabric preparation.  There was more, because pin stitch is one of my favorite techniques.  And my writing style can be summarized as why-say-in-a-sentence-what-could-be-said-in-a-paragraph?  But I bet you already knew that.

This is part II with how-to details and applications for this classic stitch.  I hope it is more useful than boring.

NITTY GRITTY HOW TO–After reading all this background  and materials preparation info, you are probably wondering  HOW DO YOU DO IT????  Finally, we get down to it.

 

shadsmock-sleeve-2

Lace edging is pin stitched to the sleeve of a shadow smocked dress, as detailed a few posts ago.

 

Pin stitch is almost always connecting one thing to another, like lace to fabric on the sleeve to this shadow smocked dress or the angel blanket above. Continue reading