Exploring the feet of my machine

Specifically, overedge and blind hem.

Ooh, look at that! Professional!

(Though she, of course, posted it about a week after I finally figured it out, the Scientific Seamstress has the best tutorial I’ve seen on blind hems. I hope she does rolled hems next…)

Followed by the gathering stitch on the machine. I would kill for a ruffler foot. (Hint, hint, moms that read the blog.) I adore my machine. I just push the screen to the task I want to do, and it tells me the correct foot and sets the tension and such automatically. Coming from a very basic Brother, it’s magic!

A summer dress and two bloomers for my niece, A. We’re going to the beach with them in a few months and I can’t wait to see the ruffles on her butt! I have enough leftover fabric to make another top, one of my favorites that I stole from my mother. (In fact, that top is the reason I went hunting through her patterns in the first place.)

This dress and bloomers was Simplicity 4243. Not difficult at all, although I wasn’t thrilled with finishing the collar and armholes with single-fold. My mother-in-law made the same top and finished it with pinked fabric, and I think it looks nicer. Love the pleats, though! (Hey, a ruffler foot does pleats, too…)

Published in: on July 22, 2010 at 10:21 am  Comments (1)  
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Not a Rhinestone Cowgirl…

This year’s holiday party theme is Hoedown. I don’t do cowboy boots and cowboy hats. In fact, I pretty much don’t do cowboy.

So I decided to make a skirt out of bandannas, with some vague asymmetrical pattern in my mind, and call it a day. Except then I saw some cute bandanna-like fabric at Hobby Lobby, and a yard was cheaper than the amount of bandannas I would need to buy anyway. And I did have that skirt pattern from the 99-cent sale a while back…

I bought a yard, and boy was it barely enough. I did plan on cutting it shorter in the first place, and make a lining out of cheaper muslin, so I didn’t actually need to cut four. (Well, I did, four total, two on folded fabric.)

I like where I stopped – there’s just a tiny bit of the flip in the bottom instead of a whole lot.

I cut the lining about five times, making a ton of adjustments and errors, and finally realized, um, the pattern worked exactly as it was (except shorter.) Good thing it was just the lining!

The pattern gives the same seams in the front and back. Which works perfectly fine over my butt, but I don’t need butt seams in the front,thankyouverymuch!

So I drew a chalk line straight down (love the chalk pen!!) and then actually pinned and checked it before sewing! I know, I know, me, actually checking something before sewing it. It’s odd. Just to prove it’s still me, I took a crappy photo with flash. 😛

The most nerve-racking part was the zipper. I’ve only done one once, and it wasn’t to both the liner and skirt at the same time. Mom freaked me out last time I bought an invisible zipper, so I didn’t attempt one for this one. I wouldn’t say it turned out great, but it’s not terrible except near the bottom. And my shirt will cover it!

And the semi-finished product!

I still need to cut the bottom of the liner, and decide on the hem. I’m thinking black sparkly beads or white lace. Something fun! The shirt has black beads, so if I can match them… And of course, I need to hem the top. I’m thinking about being lazy and just doing black double-fold binding.

Published in: on December 9, 2009 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Quilt Class Christmas Quilt – Fabric and Some Blocks

Did I mention I was taking a quilt class? Like, finally? Always wanted to in Spokane, signed up for one in San Antonio but no one else did, and finally, finally, in the smallest town I’ve lived in since, um, college, I get to take a class. But it’s okay because my teacher is awesome! It’s just me and another lady, so it’s very hands on. I’m learning a lot….and spending a lot. But for stuff I totally need! Love the chalk wheel. Who would have thought it was that easy? Really could have used it on the Cowboys quilt! Not to mention how much I want a Gypsy Gripper! And yet, I have yet to buy a 1/4″ foot for my machine. Christmas is coming, I’m told…

Let’s see if I can remember all the fabrics I’m using. Lots of Moda Crazy 8s, but my teacher encouraged me to look outside of one collection when planning.

The green is Moda Crazy 8 Christmas Mint. I completely forgot (and tossed the selvage) what the gold is – but it’s from the Christmas room. I thought it was a Benartex, but… I’ll check the bolt after the next class. The red is Twelve Days of a Froggy Christmas by Winky Wheeler (South Seas Imports.)

This block demonstrated strip sewing, which I already knew, but I did learn that it’s useful to plan out which way you’re ironing seams. And knowing what I was doing means I can brag about those awesome seams! Look at how nice they match up! If you look really closely, you can see that a lot of the “strands” on the lightbulbs follow along between the blocks – at least in my head. My comment on this caused my teacher to realize I’m OCD. If only she knew…

Not quite as awesome seams here… It took three tries to make the middle match up. But I did learn that you can take out about a half inch on each side of the seam instead of the whole thing! Saved a lot of seam ripping. I also learned the incredibly useful “sew then cut” method of half square triangles. That plus the chalk wheel to mark said lines, is so far the best thing I got out of class. Considering I’m planning pinwheels on the Jungle Babies quilt for my cousin’s baby, this method will make life so much easier!

The back side is more Moda Crazy 8s – the reindeer panel with Christmas Berry on the sides. I still need to decide how to do this – I’ll need it to be about 38×38, and the reindeer section of the panel is 31×24. There’s 11″ of fun squares under the reindeer, so I’m thinking about cutting those off and sewing them onto the sides…with some sashing…or maybe just cutting them off, using them elsewhere and just bordering the reindeer with the Berry…

Not pictured yet, but the sashing, border and binding for the front of the quilt is Moda Crazy 8s Berry Ornaments.

Published in: on December 4, 2009 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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I Wanna Be a Cowboy Baby…Quilt (Fabric & Pattern)

Hee. I just like the name of this one. I was going to go with “The Stars at Night Are Big and Bright Deep in the Heart of Texas” – seeing as it’s a Dallas Cowboys’ quilt and all. But really, Kid Rock just flows better!

So I got a request for a pink Dallas Cowboys’ quilt. Go ahead, do a search for pink Dallas Cowboys fabric. Yeah, doesn’t so much exist. I got the brilliant idea to get the white Cowboys’ fabric and dye it. Except Joann’s online freaking ran out before they filled my order (but helpfully sent me the rest of my order. Now if I don’t have one of the fabrics, what use do I have for the others???) Joann’s in-store didn’t have the fabric, and special ordering required two yards. No thanks, I don’t need extra!! I ended up buying it at Jandofabrics.com – cost more than Joann’s, but they promised not to freaking run out on me!

White Dallas Cowboys fabric….

Pink Dallas Cowboys fabric!

It washed out to a lovely pale pink that goes perfectly with the pink star fabric from Joanns.com. The blue fat quarter was from Walmart, snatched up in their misguided closing of the fabric section. I figured more stars can never hurt.

This is my pattern – like I said, more stars! I’m probably going to sash it out in the blue for accent. I’m a little worried about all the star corners – there’s a lot of angles to sew instead of straight lines! But I think I know what I’m doing. We’ll see!

(Also, I’d like to point out the current standings. Giants, 5-0; Cowboys, 3-2. And the mom-to-be is from Jersey. Tsk tsk!)

Published in: on October 14, 2009 at 9:06 pm  Comments (3)  
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Butterfly Baby Quilt – Fabric and Pattern

I have a new niece! And man, nieces are way more fun to sew for than nephews, not that I don’t adore her big brother. But boys can get cool Christmas jammies. Girls can get pink EVERYTHING!!

But new baby means new baby quilt. I wasn’t going to work on hers right away, since I have a pile to work through, but I saw this butterfly fabric at Prairie Quilt and, well, I can’t not buy fabric. I forgot to take a picture of the fabric before starting, but there’s a bit of it in this picture:

Cloud in Fairy Frost and a purple batik for Tine’s Cinderella quilt, brown and beige butterflies from Marcus Brothers’ Close to My Heart, a pink batik and a Precious pink dotted flannel by Teresa Kogut for P&B Textiles, Debbie Mumm’s snowflake flannel from JoAnn’s — oh, and an obnoxious cat.

The fabrics were supplemented with a striped cotton from Hobby Lobby, and I’ve got a striped flannel for the border, also from Hobby Lobby.

The pattern is pretty simple, obviously, and was chain stitched in less than an hour. I have more leftover than I thought, so I’m going to attempt letters for the first time and put her name on the bottom of the back. Also, a butterfly, since my incredibly graphically un-enabled husband said it’s not a butterfly unless there’s an ACTUAL butterfly on it. And I have enough of that pink batik left. Something like thus:

And, big step for me, I bought a butterfly quilting stencil! This is going to be my first attempt at free motion quilting and I’m nervous… But I’m armed with the stencil and some Magic Chalk and I’m ready to try. Wish me luck!

Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 8:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Christmas Pajamas – Fabric & Pattern(??)

I have a wipe-off board separated into months. Guess how many of September’s projects I finished? Well, two, that’s not terribly bad. But it’s not the five I had planned! So naturally, I think the best solution is to add to that and try to make the Wee One’s Christmas jammies by the end of the month. Just ‘cuz Sew Mama Sew told me to!

This is my first attempt ever to make clothing – and it’s actually going better than the &#@%$ elephant sewing pattern. Of cours, I bought the pattern two years ago, when the Wee One might have actually fit size 2, the largest size in this pattern. So there’s been some modifications – basically a little bit wider and a lot a bit longer. And once I started modifying, well, I didn’t stop.

The pattern is (originally!) Simplicity 8493. I’m making B, the long-sleeve, long pants jammies. And eventually A, the robe.

The fabric is from JoAnn’s Debbie Mumm collection, a nice warm flannel picked out by the Wee One, with some prompting from Mommy to get matching red for the robe/accents.

So far, in addition to cutting the shirt slightly wider, I decided to edge it with the accent flannel instead of doing the interfacing. Since the Gator eats jammie buttons, I never planned on doing the neckline the same, anyway. I cut it into a V instead of the |_| shape the pattern had, since it’s too hard to turn inner corners with binding. Or at least, I don’t know how! I still need to stitch the V better at the bottom.

Of course, this and the pants are the easy part. Since I cut the sleeve holes wider – and probably need to cut them wider still – I’m not really sure what modifications will need to be done to the sleeves themselves. I plan on experimenting with freezer paper before cutting fabric!

Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 8:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Monkey See, Monkey Quilt! (Fabric & Pattern)

There’s a bit of a baby boom going in our former squadron. I think this is the last one I need to do before working on my sister’s, my cousins’ for Christmas, my two nieces and the Wee One’s. Woo! (Just by saying that, someone is getting pregnant somewhere.)

But thank goodness, it’s not another airplane quilt! E is having a boy and gave me the nice vague instructions of “monkeys, green and brown.” I already had a green fabric with bananas on it for the jungle themed quilt for my cousin, so I worked from there. I didn’t like the sock monkey fabric Moda has out right now. Didn’t want to use the same Patty Reed jungle babies I already have for my cousin’s.

Finally checked Joanns.com and found out the banana fabric is part of a collection. Unfortunately, the “local” Joann’s doesn’t carry it. And by local, I mean, 90 minutes away. Man, I love living in the middle of nowhere! Online, you have to order an entire yard. So I guess I’ll have a lot of extras.


Hey, I should make a doll quilt for E’s daughter!!

This is the first pattern I came up with, but I couldn’t figure out the dimensions to cut it (does Electric Quilt have this kind of stuff??) and I searched for online instructions, but the quilt block doesn’t exist under the name EQ gives it (right and left.)


It would have looked nice, though! Maybe someday. When I can do math without freaking out and calling my mom to find out the square root of the hypotenuse, or something.


Instead, we’re going for this very simple design. But it goes quite fast and looks nice laid out. And I decided I’m going to quilt about an inch from the seams instead of stitch-in-the-ditch so the quilting pattern is a little more interesting. It’ll give me a chance to see if either of the walking foots (feet?) that came with my new-old Singer work on my regular machine!

Published in: on August 14, 2009 at 6:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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Another Airplane Baby Quilt – Fabric & Pattern

It’s really not my fault. My husband’s in the Air Force. Most of our friends are Air Force. Most of our friends who have boys go with the airplane nursery theme. I’m not one to talk – the Wee One’s nursery was airplanes. (Now it’s a wonderful mix of space, airplanes and Mickey Mouse.) So when my friend J found out she was having a boy, I got ready to make another airplane quilt!

At least my sister-in-law is having a girl and has requested butterflies. And my next quilt for an Air Force friend will be monkeys!

So I got started on this one while in Virginia visiting my parents and continuing to live like a vagabond. (Virginia would be the third state and fourth address in nine months. Oklahoma is the fourth state and fifth address in ten months. Being a military family is super great!) Being a vagabond meant my sewing machine and the pattern I did for the last airplane quilt are in storage in Oklahoma.

But that’s ok – J got an assignment to England, so I had to make it quick, which for me, means a nice simple block quilt. I thought I’d pick some nice different types of fabric, like fleece and flannel and chenille, like all those pre-made block quilts you cn buy and finish at Joanns and Hobby Lobby.

Yeah, those suckers are not made by real people. Chenille SUCKS to quilt with. Luckily I got to leave all the delicate seam ripping to my mother. Love you, Mom!

Fabric choice was not too bad (though I’m sure Mom and the Wee One, who were dragged all through Joanns, would disagree.) We found some dark blue Air Force fabric right away, and debating using it for the front or back. After not finding much fabric that matched, we decided it would be the back and picked the following for the blocks on the front:


Clockwise from left top: blue terry cloth, blue & yellow stars on flannel, airplanes on polyester, stars on (evil) chenille. There were 17 blocks of airplanes and 6 blocks each of the others. And of course, now I don’t remember the yardage.

I cut everything into 6.5″ blocks because I couldn’t decide on a pattern. On paper, they all looked bad. Laid out, it was a harder decision. I asked on Facebook, and it became obvious that all the women in my family have OCD.




Design A didn’t look right with all the deep blue in the middle. Design B was random (as random as my OCD mother and I could make it.) Design C split up the deep blue and won the Facebook poll.

My original goal was to get the entire quilt done on Mom’s machine and shipped off to J before they left for England in July. The top went together fast – especially since Mom handed me each set of blocks ready to be sent through the machine. Even though we had issues with the (evil) chenille pulling and bunching and generally being evil, we had the top done in two hours.

(BTW, chenille melts when you iron it. It’s evil for quilts!)

Mom taught me to baste (next post) and I was all set to machine quilt it together and have it on its way. But Mom’s machine disagreed. Poor old thing. I suppose with a walking foot or maybe better thread it would have worked, but at that point I should have been packing for Oklahoma. So we gave up and decided I would finish it as soon as I got my sewing area set up in Oklahoma. After all, we had until July….

Yeah, J is in England already. She even has a house there. I think the baby is due in six weeks. And I still haven’t quilted it together. Thank goodness for APO addresses, at least! My goal is to get it quilted and bound and in the mail by the end of the week. Since the husband is off on yet another TDY, I have plenty of spare time! *sigh*

Published in: on July 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Spring Messenger Bag – Fabric and Pattern

This one is a purse I made for myself just for fun – I needed something bigger than my wristlet because my super-fun sliding-QWERTY-keypad-for-super-fast-texting cell phone was too fat. So we went off to Hobby Lobby, bought 1.25 yards of fabric for a mere $7, cut out a pattern, made a bunch of mistakes, but ended up with a pretty cool little messenger bag.


So the lessons I learned were: don’t ignore the instructions for fusible interfacing. Don’t ignore the instructions for fusible interfacing. Don’t ignore the instructions for fusible interfacing.

Yeah, this sucker needs some interfacing. Especially in the strap. It’s only been a month and mine has totally lost its shape and I’m always afraid the straps are going to pull out of the bag.

Also, don’t be stupid and sew all the layers together. Even if it’s the correct order, your liner will have a seam on the inside instead of the outside. Duh. Eventually I’m going to be spending some time with the seam ripper.

Anyway, posted the previous picture on Facebook and one of my friends asked me to make one for her daughter, a purse fanatic. Sure, why not? I’d even use interfacing! So I headed back to Hobby Lobby for the fabric.

And it was sold out.

And the lady at the cutting table claimed they wouldn’t be getting any more in.


I searched online for the pictures of the other fabrics in the line to show my friend, but it’s a Hobby Lobby specific brand and not online.


Then I was there buying something else a couple weeks later and the fabric was right there!


I love-love-love this fabric. It’s pre-matched which is even better! Flowers for the outside (1/2 yard), dots for the inside (1/2 yard) and stripes for the pocket (1/4 yard). Cut correctly, you have plenty of the dots or flowers leftover for the strap. And enough other scraps for a coin purse or checkbook cover or, for my friend’s daughter, an eyeglass holder.


The pattern came from U-handbag, which is one of my new favorite sewing sites. (I’m also a fan of Sew Mama Sew. Just sew you know. Hee!) The gal who runs U-handbag is English, so the measurements are in centimeters. I didn’t bother translating it into American – it’s the right size as is. I didn’t do her straps or the button or the piping – just the basic bag pattern.


It’s a pretty simple pattern – 39 cms across the top, 30 cms to the bottom. Start the curve 10 cms from the bottom and 10 cms in from each side. I used a plate to get the perfect curve. The pocket is the same bottom and 22 cms to the top. Cut two pocket pieces and two pieces of interfacing, cut two each of the outside and the liner and four total pieces of interfacing from the bigger portion of the pattern.

Next up, adventures in interfacing!

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Airplane Baby Quilt – Fabric & Pattern (Updated with better pattern!)

A friend is having a baby boy, and they actually like the Air Force. So picking out her baby quilt was pretty simple – I knew I wanted planes on it. Then I saw that Hobby Lobby actually carries an Air Force fabric. Woohoo! Makes my life easier – what could be better than planes made out of planes? (Other than having a husband who doesn’t point out that the father doesn’t fly the A-10, the featured plane on the fabric. Thanks, dear. Hush!)

A quick lap around Hobby Lobby’s fabric section yielded a smoky-blue cotton for the “sky” and another five to ten laps finally led to the discovery of some matching flannel in the clearance section, of all places. Baby boy flannel selections suck if you’re not looking for John Deere or frogs. The one I got is a really good match for the front side, so thank goodness for the clearance rack!

Now here’s where some quilt know-how would come in handy. I had NO CLUE how much fabric to buy. I’m doing nine blocks of 12″ squares. The “sky” needs five blocks on its own, then four triangles within the plane blocks. There’s only four plane blocks, but there’s a lot of pieces in each one, so leaving for seam allowances… I bought a yard of each and am hoping for the best. Besides, it’s Hobby Lobby – likely the same fabrics will be there forever if I need more! (Which is not true, as I learned on a later trip.)


(Interesting sidenote: the Air Force has a commemorative quilt, made in 1997 for the 50th anniversary. The 75th anniversary is the same year my husband is eligible for retirement. I wonder if they’ll do a quilt that year. I wonder if we’ll still be in the Air Force that year!)

And the pattern. I’ve been surfing around for this one for, um, we’ve known it’s a boy since October? But I stumbled across this page a long time ago, maybe hunting for a plane block for the Wee One, who is obsessed with planes, trains and automobiles. And I always stared at the fourth block, which is the one used on the main quilt on that page.  It’s so close to right, but… The plane isn’t a prop plane, at least not in MY head. So I printed out the pattern, enlarged it to 12×12, and straightened out the nose. Now that looks right! (And look, less cutting and sewing necessary!)


UPDATED: I finally got around to fixing this picture after I discovered that people were actually coming to the blog after Googling “airplane quilt.” It’d be nice to actually have a pattern, huh? This is 8×8 because, well, I don’t have 12×12 paper. Or, apparently, a scanner that’s connected to the computer, hence the picture of the pattern.

Basic pattern is this:

1) Draw a line right down the middle. That’s the bottom of the wing.

2) Mark 2″ above that line on the edge, both sides. Connect the dots. That’s the top of the wing. (For a 6×6 block, I’d go with 1″, for 12×12, 3″.)

3) Midway of the top wing is 4.25″. I marked at 5.5″ and 3″, then drew lines from the top right of the block to make the top of the airplane. If you want it wider, make it wider. If you want it skinnier, well, it’s already pretty tight at the top. Use your own judgment.

4) At the bottom left corner, mark 1″ off each side. Connect the dots. Shake your tail…

5) Mark the bottom of the wing at the exact place the plane “ends” at the top of the wing. I used the lines on my nifty quilting ruler to line it up perfectly. I never use them any other time, so this must be what they’re for.

6) Mark 1/4″ on each side of the top of the tail. Connect the dots from the wing to the tail. Make it skinnier if you want, but too much wider and you won’t really have much room to work!

Today I cut out that pattern and traced everything onto another paper bag with 1/4″ seams. The first one I actually measured 1/4″ out at several points and tried to line everything up….then I realized my cutting ruler has 1/4″ marked on it and all I had to do was follow the line. So much easier! (I told you I was making this up as I went along.) Zipped through the rest of the pieces and cut those out.

Cutting the fabric, so far, has been easy. I had a moment of panic when I thought I hadn’t left enough 12.5″ for the solid blocks, but remembered you CAN get three blocks out of 44″. All five solid skies are cut now, and two of the four plane skies. Tomorrow I’m cutting plane pieces and attempting to sew one together to see if I really planned this out right. I’m prepared to be wrong.

Oh, and baby’s due date? Mid-March. I have a months, tops.

Published in: on February 9, 2009 at 10:20 pm  Comments (1)  
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