Tuesday, September 15, 2015

War Pups

For what avail the plough
 or sail, or land or life,
 if freedom fail?
              ~Ralph Waldo Emerson                               

   This little project is near and dear to my heart for so many reasons.  As  you can see there is nothing really complicated about it, but the cause just gives me warm fuzzies.  First of all, it was for my daughter's childhood best friend, and even though they have been separated by miles since their high school graduations, they continue to stay close and enjoy watching their children develop  friendships. 
    I never could have completed 50 of these little burp cloths without the help from friends, and a sweet friend from the company Darn It All digitized the design and  saw to it that the embroidery was completed.  This would have taken quite some time even on my speedy Bernina 780, with just one needle, so Linda had them completed  on a multi head machine.  Lin and her trusty little snips helped me cut lots of  stray threads.
  Most importantly, it is heartwarming to think of the little ones who will be wrapped in love by mommies wiping up spit ups and burps with these little cloths.
   And so many fine men came to mind as I sewed.  My father and Uncle Earl who were so proud to serve as marines.  Mary's husband and Lin's Daddy. Lots and lots of love went into this little project, that is for sure, andI loved doing it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Easy Zip Pouch

Zip it Up!

     I'm going to teach a class of little girls soon, and during our last class one of the girls requested that they learn to put in a zipper.  I have made several different little pouches with zippers and have decided which one I will use for the class.  I loved a little one that was pieced, but decided it may be a little more difficult than it should be for a beginning sewist.

     I found this little pattern in the Kids' Clubhouse booklet from Babylock.  I thought it might look a little cuter with 2 different black and white fabrics, with the added touch of lime green.  It is made like any of the other fabric pouches that you can find on the internet, but before I sewed up the end seams, I rolled the pouch to get a top closure.  The 2 fabrics are cut 5" by 12", and a stabilizer was used to give the pouch a little structure.  You cannot see the quilting detail, but the fabric is quilted in 1" intervals.  When I make another I think I will use a little heavier interfacing to give the pouch some bulk.
     I'm looking forward to teaching zippers to my little girls, and hope to take away the fear of them that they all seem to feel.  Wish me luck, and I hope I have some cute examples to show you soon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Infinity Scarves for 4 little girls

Infinity is love that never ends.

  ~Issa Allbritton, age 10

   We made these scarves for one of our Kids Sew Sunday classes at the store, but I had a difficult time separating them from Katelyn and Sarah.
   These scarves were made last winter at Katelyn's home in Birmingham. We measured the length by holding a tape measure from fingertip of the left hand to fingertip of the right hand, going around the neck.  That was the length.  We used a width of 6 inches for Katelyn's scarf and a width of 4 inches for Sarah's.  Then we sewed the loooong side seam,  leaving a space to turn it.  The part that makes this scarf twisty and interesting is sewing the ends together, but not matching the seams like you normally would.  We scooted the seam of one end about halfway around the circle instead .  
   The fun part is... putting the scarf over your head, looping it, and putting the second loop over your head, too.  :)


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Its Mittens! Its a scarf! No! It's a SKITTEN!

                  Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
                  The hours pass quickly when I am sewing.
                                               ~Author Unknown

                Vintage Winter Clip Art

Kathy sent me the idea for this class from Becky's Fabrics and Bernina, in Lewiston Idaho!  I actually called the store and asked if they minded if I used their scarf for a class, and they kindly agreed.  You can tell from the photos that you don't really need a pattern...the fun part of this scarf is the dreaded MINKY cloth!!

 My 4 little girls bravely tackled this project.  I cut out the fabric for them; this is a beginner class and I knew the Minky would slip and slide all over the table.  I determined the length by measuring Katelyn, with arms at her sides, from fingertip to fingertip around her neck.  this was the length of the scarf.  I then added an extra 12 inches so that I would have 6 inch pocket on each side, and another inch for seams.  Of course all of these measurements are approximate, but they seemed to work!

So I had 2 different Minkys that I cut to my measurements.  I used contrasting colors, and you can see that she really loves this turquoise and blue combination.  I then let the girls pin the scarves right sides together, we fitted them with pockets and they sewed these down.  Voila!  Not just a scarf, Not just mittens, but SKITTENS!

The saving grace in the construction of this scarf was a walking foot.  The entire scarf was sewn with one and I do think it might not have been possible without it.  A good time was had by all, and I hope that the scarves are being used these cold winter days.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I'm Back!

Do not follow where the path may lead.  
Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. 
 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I took a blog vacation, but after spending some time looking through the past few years with my sewing and my girls, I decided I loved having this little keepsake to look back to from time to time.  They are growing so fast, now they are all loving little girls, no babies or toddlers.  My dress sewing time is limited I can see, but there is an entire world of fun projects to make  after that!

This past Christmas I knew they would want something a little more grown up.  I had decided on dark blue or navy when the American Girl catalog hit my mailbox.  On the front of the catalog was a sequined dress, with some netting and taffeta trim.  It was a little too frou frou for my taste, so I decided to tone it down a little.  I found a pretty blue taffeta from Gail K. on Cheshire Bridge Road, and they had a bolt of sequin fabric that I could use for the sash.  I did some quick figuring and purchased both.  I had in mind silk, but after looking at the price per yard times 4, I knew that was not going to be.

I used Children's Corner LOUISE for the dress; I had to make some pattern alterations for the largest size, but it seemed to come out fine.  I worried about the sash and sequins, but after trying a few different things, my dual feed on by wonderful Bernina 780 and a Titanium needle worked like a charm. 

So my Florida girls got their dresses in the mail, and only one went to Birmingham, as Katelyn politely declined the offer of a Bibi Christmas dress.  I have a picture of the Florida girls here in their dresses; they forgot to bring their dress shoes when they came for their Christmas visit, but I think I like the boots better anyway!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Late Summer Sewing

Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither.
      ~William Wordsworth

  These little hands are so precious cutting out her first little zipper bag.  I  had some late summer  time with the Florida girls before school started so we decided to make pencil cases.  So far they have turned into lip gloss cases, change cases, treasure cases, and whatever is little and will fit cases.  We are all very proud.

We decided to google zipper cases so that we could make one any time, even if Bibi wasn't here to guide as we sewed.  We watched many videos on U-Tube, and combined several to make our cases  special.  Both girls chose their fabrics from Bibi's scraps, chose a lining that they like, and decorated the front of the case with ribbon and decorative stitches.  It was fun to practice the decorative stitches on the Bernina 350, and they used the guide foot to make their lines as straight as possible.
 We have had many discussions about straight pins on the floor, and right now we are using quilting pins that are easy to spot if they fall.  Uncle Brent has stories to tell about straight pins and bare feet as he was growing up, but we will not go into those stories right now.

It was absolutely AMAZING to put the zipper in between the rectangles of fabric.  Both girls have learned to sew nice straight seams!
 And we have learned that everything that you sew looks better when you take the time to press every seam as you go, but that you have to be careful with special ribbons or a hot iron will melt them!
 Of course, the joyful part for BIBI is to take a snapshot on the completion of the project.  We had a great afternoon sewing, and Issa wore a cross body bag that she designed on her own after Sew Camp.  She loves her little hair bow, too.
All of this fun is almost more than a Bibi can take in one afternoon!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sew Fun


Learn as much as you can
while you are young,
since life becomes too busy later. 
                      ~Dana Stewart Scott

    I have had this post on my mind most of the summer.  I taught 3 little sewing camps; two at the store and one at home.  It took some time to plan, but I absolutely loved sharing my love of sewing with these little girls. They were so excited to have the opportunity to use a sewing machine and to create something that they could wear or use.  
   We did our camp in four days, four hours a day.   Our first day we made aprons that I had personalized with their name in embroidery.  The apron was made from a dish towel; we made a casing at the top and ran a ribbon through it for the ties; folded it to form pockets and sewed them down.  I think they were precious, and the girls enjoyed having something the very first day that they could wear.

Our next project was a travel pillow.  For the pillow I made sure that we had cute fabrics and a very basic pattern.  We added a pocket to the front of the pillow and the girls used an edge foot to sew the pocket down with a straight topstitch.  an added ribbon handle gave the project a little more color, and I know they used them for late summer vacations.  Turning the pillow and stuffing it was next, and a very difficult task was closing the opening on the bottom with a hand sewn whipstitch.  But they persevered and we we proud of our pillows.
     Our third day was buttons and bows.  We made hair bows that   we sewed to a ready made headband, and learned how to sew a button onto a felt flower.  Sweet Gracie went a step further with her button and made herself a ring!

Our final day was spent making a skirt.  Each girl chose two coordinating fabrics and we made a gathered skirt with a two inch band at the bottom.  Having precious models helped, but the fashion show with 5 little girls was a sight to behold!
  The sight of these little ones at their machines just warms my heart.  Everyone at the store said that it was evident who was enjoying the class the most....and I will give you a clue, it was not my little girls!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sundress for my Sunshine

What more pleasant sensation
than sunshine on skin,
Spirit and flesh drinking in the light
Of God and energy itself.
   ~Terri Guilllemets

I first made this little dress in orange and navy prints so that the girls would have fun sundresses to wear on Game Day when Auburn University played football.   I have had a pack of 1 yard cuts that had been sitting in my sewing room for a good while, and decided that one of the girls needed a sundress.  Mae always seems to enjoy them, and loves to twirl in the full skirts, so she was the recipient of this Isabelle dress by Gingersnap Designs.

I cut the number of fabric strips down from what the pattern originally called for because the first dress was really very full.  I had ten strips using each fabric twice, and then has the large print for the bodice and straps.  I had another dot that I used to line the bodice.  I could have added a two inch band along the hemline in the bodice print, but decided there was enough going on just as it was!

These photos were taken early in the morning shortly after Mae had just rolled out of bed; she still had her sweet sleepy eyes and voice but was willing to try on yet one more dress for her Bibi, who loves her very, very much.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Last project!

The ordinary arts
we practice every day at home
are of more importance to the soul
than their simplicity
might suggest.  
      ~Thomas Moore

I saved the most difficult project for the last...the quilted pillow sham.  I am not a real quilter, all those points and angles seem foreign to me, and the math, oh me, I decided to tried my best.  Cutting the half square triangles was tiresome and getting them to go together perfectly was a pain.
Making the "Contrary Wife" quilt block was a challenge also.  I thought I had the half square triangles laid out just right, but it was evening, I was tired, and this is what the block turned out like.  Sigh.  I had to UNSEW one of the rows to get everything in the correct place, and I turned the Bernina off for the evening.

After the blocks were made it was just a matter of cutting out the borders and sashing to complete the sham cover.  I had decided I was not going to purchase any more fabric when I have a room full, so I used my stash.   I have always liked the French script linen and I had plenty of it.  I used some left over toile from a long ago project, some white toweling for the prairie points and a comfy know
T for the back.  I had to piece some of the toile to get the recommended strips, but it is a quilt, so hey, I decided that wouldn't be a problem.  I wanted a neutral look to the sham, but I wasn't too happy with the way the fabrics blended.

After finishing the front, I folded 48 prairie points and placed them on the outside stitching line,facing inward,and placed the prepared zippered back on top. I partially opened the  zipper so I could turn it easily, and stitched the perimeter right sides together.
So  my last project is done, It has been graded and I passed, so as far as I can tell I am a Martha Pullen Licensed Teacher!  Yay for me!  I do believe it was worth the effort, and it was certainly fun!

Friday, July 4, 2014


And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

                   ~Lee Greenwood

This next to the last project for Martha Pullen Licensing is a rag quilt.  This one was fun to do, and it was a little quicker and easier than the other rag quilts I have done.  No batting sandwiches to prepare, no stitching an X from corner to corner of the sandwich, just cutting and sewing squares.

I used four different flannels for the front squares, and a chevron print in the pastels.  I cut them in 8 inch squares, and matched them wrong sides together.  On the yellow squares I did a little pink heatr applique.  I sewed the hearts with just a quarter inch seam, and so did not have much to clip and fluff;  I have in mind that I may re sew them, but we will see how that works out for me.

Here is a photo of my efforts to lay the quilt blocks out.  Since the instructions said to offset the blocks, it was hard for me to get a pattern going, so I tried to place the squares as randomly as possible.

Clipping the seam allowance is no small task. Special spring scissors helped, but my arthritic right hand feels the pain..

I alternated the chevron on the back, and lets just say I had to take out more than one to get them all going the correct way.  After you complete the clipping, a good wash and spin in the dryer fluff up theedges, and it will only look better with each washing.  The fiinished quilt is 50 by 55 inches.