Category Archives: Sewing Techniques

Newer T-Shirts…

These are two new  t-shirts I am working on at present. Both are made from recycled clothing and both are the exact same design that I drew, scanned and digitized using the IQ feature on my Destiny. This is something I haven’t tried and wanted to see if it would work for what I wanted to design.


I drew out two different doodles of shapes, sort of flower-ish. I only wanted a line design to out-line the shape. dscf3141

The rest was so hand work while watching Masterpiece and waiting at the dentist….. I still have more to finish but I’m almost finished with two shirts in about a week.


DIY Tablet Case

Sewing at the Beach 2016 was a big success.  I promised to post the Kids class project I taught … so I had to re-learn how to post on my blog! It’s been sooooo long.

This was so much fun. They got to choose their fabric and design their case to make it their own. I had enough fabric for them ready to take enough with them to go home and make another case for their BFF.

img_4007-2This tablet case was made by one of the girls using the shell we collected from the beach during our Lunch break, for the button closure. The class started at 8:30 and ended at 4 with about an hour and a half lunch break and every one finished!!

Below are the directions, however, in our class I decided it would be easier as a group to stay together by switching the order of sewing. We first making the flap section, then the bag section, the directions say to work on the bag section first. I thought it would give more sewing practice right from the beginning.

Also, Children in our School district are given tablets instead of textbooks. Not all schools issue the same tablet so this pattern is for the I pad/ 10″ sized from Middle School. We had several different sizes needed for the children, so we just measured their device  with the assigned protective case on and adjusted the pattern. If the tablet measured 7″x 5″ I added an inch on all sides.

Tablet case
2 Fat quarters (18” x 22″) piece of precut fabric
6 strips 2.5″ wide by 8″ long
30″x 14″ backing fabric for quilting which will not be seen
Batting 30″x 14″ Iron on Fusible type
14″x 30″ Lining fabric for the bag
80/12 needle for construction
90/14 needle for quilting and side seams
1 skinny hair tie
Neutral thread for construction
Body of the bag first. Using the two fat quarters and one piece of backing muslin press and cut to your size of tablet case.For a 10″ inch tablet cut the fabric to 14″x 19″. Press fusible batting to the fabric you chose to be showing on the outside.
Layer backing batting and pieced fabric in a quilt sandwich. Simply put, a quilt sandwich is the two layers of fabric and one layer of batting that are “stacked” on top of each other just before the quilting process. Start with the backing, press and starch the back fabric. lay that with the right side of the fabric facing DOWN. Lay and smooth the batting starting from the middle outwards on top of the backing fabric. Last, the pieced top goes on top of the batting with the right sides facing you.
The quilt sandwich is actually what makes a quilt a quilt! What differentiates a quilt from a blanket is multiple layers of fabric and batting stitched together.
We will make the quilt sandwich .Set aside the lining (inside of the bag) for right now
Fold the fabric in half to find the center (bottom) of what will be the case. At your sewing machine set up for a 3.0 length straight seam and sew across to secure the fabric. If you chose this would be a great time to quilt the entire bag. Try fancy stitches or zig-zags or even freemotion stippling. After you add some quilting press your fabric, clip threads and now square up and cut to 13″x 18″.
Top Flap
Pick out 6 assorted strips of fabric (2.5″x 8″)
Sew the strips together using a 1/4″ seam.
Press with the seam allowances all facing in one direction
Quilt. To quilt our tablet case flap we have some options. We can stitch a straight stitch right down the seam lines kind of hiding our stitches. We can use a decorative stitch in the same place and show off our stitches. You get to design what your quilting will look like. It won’t matter what the back looks like because we are going to hide that with the lining.
Lay the pattern on top of quilted fabric and cut out. Add a hair tie at the bottom center edge, stitch in half with one “loop on the fabric and the other off to t he raw edge. Cut out the lining piece fabric and place and pin with right sides facing. Stitch around the side and bottom edge leaving the top (the straight part) open to turn. Clip edges and turn inside out. Press
Assemble the bag
Sew the two sides together on the main bag piece, Turn and press. with right sides together sew the top edge of the flap to the top edge of the the outer bag.
Sew one side of the lining side and on the other side leaving a 4″ opening for turning the bag
Insert the outer bag into the lining with right sides together matching seams sew along the top edge about 1/2” SEAM encasing the flap.
Turn the bag inside out through the opening in the lining
Press entire bag.
Sew the opening closed and chose a button to sew on the front of the bag.

Here are a couple of other cases:dscf3138



My Destiny

I’m am not writing a post about my ultimate fate and future, rather I am writing about my new sewing machine. I finally updated my well loved Viking for a Babylock Destiny.

DSCF8054Good Bye old friend!


Hello new friend! I preordered her back the first week in September, and she finally came last week. We got off to a rocky start and she needed the online update to run properly but the web page was down for half the week. Once I got the update and installed it she was much happier and so was I. There are a few other things I see that Babylock will have to update in the future, but for now I’m learning a new machine and having fun.

Sunday afternoon was the first block of time I had to spend trying out new things. I had planned a project back in September to be the first thing to make and do and it was all cut and ready to go. I made  linen Skirt, back in September this was a great idea, but here and November it’s a bit too cold to wear my skirt, but it was a great learning project.


I laid the skirt out on the breezy, cold deck so you could see the front and backs of the designs. I made the faux cutwork design on the  machine itself . I had the triangular floral design. I combined two designs, then added an applique’ border around the edges so I could cut the bottom hem. I used a prewound black bobbin and black polyneon thread in the top. I was pleased with the turn out, but the water-soluble stabilizer is a bit tricky to get out… I need another soak to get rid of the remaining stick. Even with all the stadium lighting and the camera I still had trouble seeing to line up the design, but I didn’t want to print out a template, I wanted to see if it could all be accomplished without a computer. I’ll get more familiar with lining up on the next project.

The next project I wanted to try out the scanning feature. I found a line drawing of the Eiffel Tower. I scanned it in just like the directions said to and voila it turned out terrific. I didn’t need my digitizing program or an outside computer to edit the design in anyway. I’m not a fan of the auto digitizer on my software program as I like to manually digitize my designs.  I really didn’t think an auto digitizer on a machine using an open scanner would do much better than my computer program but BOY was I wrong! Now this was a simple and clean drawing keep that in mind, I wouldn’t do logo design work yet.

I added the “Bonjour” from the designs that came on the machine and ran a test stitch out to see how it turned out.


The Back ground fabric is scraps that I stitched together so there are seams that the tower had to sew over and still it turned out even and smooth on top. Here’s the kicker. I forgot to change out the black bobbin thread and it ran out. I changed it to a white Bobbin and you can’t tell a difference on the top thread… so the tension is nicely balanced!


I’ll post more as I learn…..


Jr. Marshall Dress

DSCF7079My DD has the honor of being one of the Jr. Marshall’s for 2013  High School Graduation class. I had the great honor of making her dress.

Sally at Farmhouse fabrics to the rescue!

The best part is receiving a package from her, the fabric is wrapped like a present in a ribbon bow… and all of her fabrics are a treat to sew with.

This lovely vintage eyelet was the perfect choice for an all white dress. DD wanted a simple dress and this suited her perfectly.  I used a basic sloper pattern  for the bodice along with her measurements for a true fit. The I just added a gathered skirt and lined the entire dress with a white cotton. This can also double as a simple cool summer dress. The eyelet is all the decoration this dress needs.

Pattern Review

DSCF7011I was in Walmart the other day and in the magazine section was this pattern… waiting for me to find it. The walmart near us now has an one lane section for craft supplies and I guess now, patterns. Who knew? Well, this simple pattern caught my eye with the t-shirt top. The pattern was around $2.00 and worth it!

DSCF7007While it was raining and in one afternoon I de-stashed a couple pieces of fabric (which actually took more time than actually sewing,) and constructed these two shirts. The pattern fit is pretty true. I am of the shorter in length variety, so I had to make that adjustment and that was it! 4 pattern pieces supper simple and with the lac version above it took less than 30 minutes to put together. I didn’t even hem it I used the salvage as a ruffle edge.DSCF7009Because this went so quickly I had time to make another and I fancied it up a bit with some embroidery and decorative stitching.DSCF7008Two new white t-shirts that aren’t your standard T’s…. they have a feminine flare which is nice and well worth the $2.00 investment for the pattern. If the rain keeps up I may hunt for some fabric to make the skirt!

A Bow Clutch

This is a very special piece of Fabric a Friend asked me to use to make her some type of bag.

This fabric was handwoven in the Isle Of  Harris, Scotland and is a true Harris tweed.

Cutting this beauty took courage! After a few emails back and forth we came up with an idea and this was the result:DSCF6970

This is the back of the Clutch with an added slip pocket, and monogrammed for identification. I like the back to be a special as the front!DSCF6971I couldn’t resist the inside  either … When the flap is opened the handwoven and Harris Tweed labels will show…

We looked at photos of different Clutches and envelop style bags and I drafted a pattern for this fabric and bag. If you are interested in a bow Clutch I happened to find a wonderful DIY tutorial for a similar clutch using a zipper here:

Happy Sewing!


This is why I love to sew!DSCN2625Something as simple as a necktie makes me a hero in my daughters eyes! Her winter formal dance is tonight and her dress changed on Sunday when she got an early birthday present shopping spree with her BF Mom. (How cool!)

The problem then became  MINT tie to match!

Last night one of my shops had this fabric 5 minutes before closing, and then after choir practice 9-ish I started the tie. Before bed it was finished and ready to give to BF at noon today!

DSCN2626Label and all…

Ties only need 7/8 of a yard fabric. They are cut on the bias and you have plenty left over after you make your tie, you just need that much fabric to get the length on bias to make a proper tie. Not the bow tie, but that’s another post. As for interfacing or foundation for the tie… that’s the trick. Resources are scarce for me, so, I re-purpose older ties or cut several layers of inner facing. The best ties have a woven wool that is tacked into place for the drape-ability factor. I’m not a huge fan of fusibles for this project as it binds the fabric sometimes when tying the knot and the tie doesn’t hang properly. I have used a tightly woven flannel (make sure if it’s an ulgy print it doesn’t show through the main fabric,) and that seems to work nicely.  I also like to slip stitch by hand, the back main seam. It’s not a long seam and the whole tie really can be made in under an hour once you get the hang of it. The cost savings, and the time savings (especially for us trying to find a mint green tie this time of year… )it’s a no-brainer for me.

Make your ties!

DSCN2627I ran inside and grabbed the first few ties I could find that were spot-free) for this photo…  both the mint tie and Christmas design ties are 100% cotton and the floral-ish deign is a liberty of london finer lawn fabric…. Yes, My DH keeps his ties stored “pre-tied” so all he has to do is “zip-it-up!”

DSCN2530Yes, my boys wear ties!DSCN2602Can you look any better going to church????


Necessity is the Mother of invention

Thread comes in all sorts of cones and spools in different shapes and sizes.  When sewing you want the thread to ‘spool off’ in an even fashion for the best sewing results.

I was taking a break from painting during a pop-up storm today. The only machines I have at the Riverhouse are two treadles.  Now, back in the day when ladies sewed on these I don’t think thread on industrial cones were available to home sewers…. The thread came on spool and fit nicely on the thread spindle, which fed nicely into all the guides for a perfect stitch.

I only had read thread on a cone… what to DO?? The cone will not fit on the spindle nor will it spool off evenly.

There is a sewing notion called the thread-pro. It is a base with with two spindles, one horizontal and one vertical. It goes behind the machine to guide the thread up and over for better threading…. I didn’ t have one with me… so let’s get creative……. I hope you can see this….. It got dark out side in that fast and quick storm. I had a spool of wiring and I removed the mini blinds turning bar. I stuck that bar in the center of the spool to hold it up right. I Then just threaded the cone thread by placing it next to the spool and up through the hole on the bar… I brought it around to the machine in front and thread as normal.

Here are some examples of what I have at home…

Here is a close up of the top if the bar … I added bent paperclips in the ones at home

Here is another one I have with an added bee’s wax ring I have used that a number of times for cording or gimp or yarn  in couching and decorative  machine work. The two I have at home are from broken mini blinds, the one at the riverhouse today was NOT broken and I didn’t want it to break, but it has a clear plastic hook on the end which hooks to the mini blinds. That hook is perfect for just hooking the thread and guiding to your machine.

It really is a simple fix. In my classes I have made emergency thread guides out of a liter soda bottle (empty) and a dowel rod or mini blind bar and it works wonders on tricky threads to run smoothly. Just insert the bar into something that will hold it upright.

Ruffler and hemmer quick tutorial

Two feet I have used a lot…. especially during the “Dorothy Ruffle Curtain” era are the hemmer and ruffler. Remember these??I’m not saying this is coming back, but I do see more and more ruffles…. Ruffles are popular again and these two feet make the job a breeze!

The hemmer foot comes in different sizes. This foot is a tiny rolled hem foot….

It is a bit tricky at first to get the hang of this foot. Using a straight on grain cut (it’s not a good idea to start to learn this foot with a bias cut)  gives you the best results.Place the fabric in the opening of the slot and slowly start to sew. I keep my thumb in the fold to keep the fabric feeding evenly into the guide. This guide rolls the fabric over for a clean finish, and depending on the size of the guide is the size of your rolled hem. This is about a 1/4″ rolled hem when completed. The big trick here is to sew slowly and guide the fabric into the foot evenly.

There are two places to attach this foot to the machine. the first place is the foot bar where you attach all your other feet, the second is placing the fork arm on the the needle clamp bar. It is easiest to raise your take up lever to the highest point. Attach the fork arm over the needle clamp then slide the shank into position and tighten the screws to secure the foot.

Most ruffler’s have a few setting on the front. There are four slots with the number 0,12,6,1. When you select the 0 setting your ruffler will not engage or make ruffles. The 12 setting is for a “pleated look” at every 12th stitch a pleat is made with the ruffling blade.  The 6 is for a pleat at every 6th stitch and the 1 is for a gathered effect on every stitch. These can be modified by stitch length.

More gathers use a shorted stitch length, and less gathers use a longer stitch  length.

Naturally I thought of something after I’m about finished with this particular blog…so back to the ruffler… I’m using an old sheet to make a new pillow case with ruffles… I used the ends that were already hemmed to make the ruffles so I didn’t use the hemmer on this project.

One row of perfect gathering… less than a minute. (seriously it takes longer to blog about this than to make…)

one ruffle row

Two rows of ruffles

Add a row of decorative stitching and a bit of embroidery….

And now I’m ready to link up to White Wednesday over at Faded Charm!I alos linked up over at:


Hope you enjoy!

Linen Ruffle Skirt

This is my Favorite Skirt…. It’s a black, short lightweight skirt with ruffles. I wear it with tights and black boots . I just feel good in it!

Since I fixed up my jacket I was thinking about what to wear with it??  and I knew I wanted to copy that skirt!

So I dragged out an old stained linen table cloth and some other random linens to match. I wanted a vintage-y feel so Linen seemed best. My orginal thought was to make each layer a different linen color, with the table cloth being the base fabric.  As I was trying to make that work I realized the linen was a heavier fabric than the cotton sateen of the black skirt, so I abandoned that idea for now and just used the table cloth. I love this skirt so I just wanted to copy the pattern without taking anything apart. I laid tissue paper down first then placed the skirt on top and made “pin-holes” through the skirt and on to the tissue paper. Then I just connected to dots on the paper to make the pattern pieces. I am showing the pattern piece which will be placed on the fold of the fabric. I needed the waistband, top yoke and bottom underskirt pattern. For the ruffles I cut straight lengths based on the measurements of the ruffles on the original skirt. That skirt also has a neet thing, the ruffles are different lengths. SO I went with that. Again the linen table cloth fabric was heavier than the Cotton so I took out a row of ruffles to help with the weight.I made the top section first with the zipper in the side seam. (I laid out the zipper section so you could see it… it is really in the side seam.)I like to finish off the ends of zippers since I usually never ever have the shorter sizes, I just fit the zipper in and cut the remaining length. Invisible zippers are easier to put in that way too.

I worked on the bottom half all in the round so I wouldn’t have any seams showing or ruffles  sewn into the side seams. This makes for a smoother finish. The table cloth had a hemstitch accent around the border. I just incorporated that into some of the ruffles.

I then put the two parts together…Terri's skirt and now I have a whole ensemble to wear this summer with Peggy at the    French Flea Market,  read about here…

If I make this skirt again, I would like to make it out of the lighter Cotton sateen because it lays so flat even for being ruffles.  I think because I took out of row this fabric works. I also somehow want to make a skirt with rows of different linens and maybe even lace… I just have to dream about it first….