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Monthly Archives: March 2013

  • Spring Chicken Pincushion

    March 27, 2013

    Nothing says Spring like baby chicks, even when they are the type you stick pins in (No live animals have been harmed in the creation of this blog). Make these chicks in different sizes and colors. Use them as a center piece for your Spring table or add pins and send them off to live with your sewing friends.  Some of your chicks might be versatile and able to hold different jobs at different times.

    Supply List: Two 5” squares fabric for the body One 3 1/2” square fabric for tail One 2 1/2” square fabric for tail Felt for the comb and beak Polyester fiberfill for stuffing


    1. Cut beak and comb shapes from felt. Think of the shape of a beak and add an extra 1/4” or so to the back of the beak for the seam allowance.  Apply the same concept to the bottom of the comb.

    2. Lay out one of the body pieces right side up and arrange beak and comb pieces as pictured. 3. Pin to secure beak and comb in place. 4. Place the other body piece right sides together over the comb and beak. 5. Stitch along three sides leaving a small opening for turning. 6. Leave the the last side open.

    7. Prepare the tail pieces, aka prairie points. 8. Fold square, wrong-side together,  to form a triangle. 9. Fold again.

    10. Repeat with the other tail fabric piece. 11. Place the smaller triangle on top the larger one and pin. 12. Align the top and bottom seams of the body - this will form the pyramid shape of the chicken. 13. Center the tail relative to the opening, push the tail into the opening, and pin all layers.  NOTE - the smaller triangle tail piece must be against the seam that  holds the comb.

    14. Stitch the seam closed.

    15. Turn the chicken right side out through the small opening. 16. Stuff with polyester fiber fill. 17. Hand stitch the opening closed. 18. Add the eyes.  These can be rhinestones, buttons, large-head pins, sequins, beads, or - - - - use your imagination.

  • When An Embroidery Project Goes Wrong - Part One (and a bonus bunny applique design)

    March 20, 2013

    What happened? Sometimes you find yourself asking this question when you take a project out of the hoop. There are a few tips in this week's blog that might help you find an answer(s) to your question and minimize or avoid the problem in the  future.

    Garment cut while trimming cutaway stabilizer: 1. Turn the garment inside out. Bend the backing away from the garment and trim cutaway stabilizer using scissors in a gliding motion. You need a good pair of sharp scissors with no nicks in the blades. Cheap, flimsy scissors and/or dull blades will make this hard to do. Round nose scissors are less likely to grab your fabric and poke a hole or slice the fabric. 2. A sharp seam ripper might be used instead of scissors. Position the ball of the ripper against the fabric, and slide it around the perimeter of the design.

    Distorted Design: 1. When removing tearaway stabilizer, place your fingers near the stitching to reduce the amount of fabric that is stressed or stretched during the process. 2. If you used more than one layer of stabilizer, remove the layers one at a time.

    Hoop Marks (Oh-No):

    1. Natural fabrics tend to mark more than polyester/cotton blends do. Light hoop marks can be erased with a spray of Magic Sizing or plain water in a spray bottle. 2. Steam from an iron or a steamer generally will remove hoop marks. Brush up nap and remove hoop marks with a soft brush - a toothbrush usually works well. 3. Use hoop-less methods on delicate garments like silk and velvet.

    Incomplete Water-Soluble Topping Removal: 1. Remove excess topping by carefully pulling it away from the design. To remove remaining topper, wash garment or try one of the suggestions that follow. 2. A hot, damp cloth will remove topping with minimal water. 3. Steam, and then blot with a coffee filter. The filter will absorb the topping.

    Happy Spring – a free bunny design -

    This design was created with Floriani software. There are pes and vp3 files. Download the file type you need for your machine.

    Applique bunny design notes -

    Color 1 – placement stitch Place applique fabric over placement line Color 2 – tack down stitch Remove hoop from machine and trim excess applique fabric – DO NOT remove fabric from hoop Replace hoop in machine Color 3 – satin stitch around the bunny Color 4 – eyes and nose stitching Bunny done – remove from machine

    This bunny will look cute on a baby's bib, tee shirt, napkin, placemat, mug rug, and more...

    Be creative, have some fun, and enjoy the results of your efforts....

    Download pes version here

    Download the vp3 version here

  • Straps for Totes

    March 12, 2013

    Totes are great for carrying a variety of things. Totes are easy to make, usually without much effort or time. They can carry groceries from the store, books to and from the library, and a current project to work on while waiting somewhere for an appointment. Add your own uses for a tote or three.

    The only thing I frequently don't like about totes is the plain webbing that is usually used for the strap. On commercially made totes, that can be expected, but on my totes or totes you might make, there is little excuse for a plain and boring strap. I decided to try two techniques to see if I could take that plain webbing strap and make it a bit more interesting.

    Technique 1 - Adding fabric:

    Supplies: Cotton or poly webbing - in desired width and length. I prefer one inch wide for tote handles. Fabric Strips

    Instructions: 1. Cut webbing to desired length - make sure you have allowed extra for attaching to your tote. 2. Cut fabric twice the finished width you want the decoration strip to be. 3. Use a bias tape maker, or any other method you prefer to fold and to press the edges.

    4. Use either Wonder Tape or glue stick to hold the fabric strip in place on the webbing. 5. Set sewing machine to sew a blind hem stitch with a stitch width of 4.0 and a stitch length of 2.5. Use a contrasting or variegated thread on top and a bobbin thread that matches the webbing. 6. Edge stitch along both sides of the fabric strip. 7. Attach strap(s) to your tote.

    Technique 2 - Adding chenille


    Cotton or poly webbing in desired width and length. Bias cut chenille fabric 3 times the length of web strap. This can be purchased or you can cut your own.


    1. Cut fabric strips one inch wide on the bias. 2. Three layers gives a nice full chenille appearance. 3. Sew down the center of the three stacked strips. The photo above shows a chenille foot on my machine. If you have a chenille foot use it, if not, use your regular presser foot.

    4. Trim the sewn strips to ¾ inch finished width. 5. If your machine has a chenille foot, it makes applying the chenille sandwich strip much easier.

    6. Place webbing next to feed dogs. The chenille strip goes through the guide on the foot if you are using a chenille foot. If using a regular foot, keep the chenille strips centered on the webbing.

    7. Sew chenille sandwich along the center line  to the webbing. 8. Using a chenille brush, or other stiff bristle brush, brush the bias strips to fluff them.

  • Cascading Scarf made with Velour Fabric

    March 7, 2013

    Several months ago, I wrote a blog on making a cascading scarf using a soft fabric such as chiffon or silk. I like the way the elastic makes the scarf drape, but the scarf provides no warmth. With strong traces of the cold weather of Winter still hitting me in the face these mornings as we approach Spring, I want a scarf that has that same cascading look plus the warmth of fleece or velour fabric.

    Thinking that the increased bulk of a fleece or velour fabric would require adjustment of the dimensions of the fabric to achieve draping qualities similar to the light fabric version of the scarf, I tried several combinations of length and width of the heavier fabric. Thinking is good, a logical approach is good, and learning is good.

    The final result - I found that the same finished 7 inch width I used for the chiffon scarf worked best. The thinking part was good mental exercise, the logical approach was good for my self-discipline, and the learning experience was satisfying.

    Supplies: 15” x 60” piece of velour fabric for a finished scarf 7 inches wide by 29 inches long 2 – 32” pieces of ¼ inch elastic (this elastic does not have to be the clear type used in the previous scarf blog)


    1. On the back of the fabric, mark two elastic sewing lines selvage-to-selvage. Each line should be 4 inches in from a cut edge, resulting in a 7 inch space between the lines.

    2. Set machine for a straight stitch with a length of 3.0mm. Start and end stitching with a back tack one inch in from each end of the fabric. Stretch the elastic as you sew, centering it over the line you marked.

    3. Clip off any excess elastic.

    4. Repeat sewing elastic on the other marked line.

    5. Fold the fabric right-sides together.

    6. Sew with a ½ inch seam allowance along one short end and along the long edge.

    7. Trim excess fabric from corners.

    8. Leave one short end open for turning out.

    9. Turn the scarf right-side out.

    10. Fold the raw edges in ½ inch.

    11. Edge stitch to close the end opening - - - and this is the end - - - of the instructions.

4 Item(s)