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How to Hem using a Sewing Machine

2017 January 20

So, the funny thing about this post about hemming is that I will do almost anything to avoid hemming, even though it is a really simple task! Not sure why the simple things are the most tedious… but that seems to be the way it is!

Hemming (and pressing) properly are the best ways to ensure your project looks super professional. It’s worth the extra time to fold the edges up neatly and sew a straight seam. Plus, it’s really satisfying to be able to tailor your store-bought clothing to the right length!

How to Hem On a Sewing Machine in 10 Simple Steps

Curtains, Skirts, Pants… You can do it!

What project are you hemming right now? Any tips for us? 

Star Wars, and thoughts on internal wars.

2017 January 16

Star Wars! (Need I say more?!) Our family loves sci-fi so anything with aliens, the future or time travel goes over big!

I’m always in need of a fun idea for Father’s Day. So I decided to make him a throw pillow. Strange gift, maybe… and Father’s Day you say? Yup, you guessed it – I’m not really, really early – I’m really, really late with this one!


Last year I downloaded this Darth Vader paper-pieced pattern from Quiet Play’s free downloads and proceeded to make it. I love paper-piecing, it’s super fun and rewarding to be so precise! I hit a roadblock, though when it was time to quilt the pillow.

Turns out I’m super afraid to mess up my carefully pieced block! Thoughts of unpicking a quilted design and even thoughts of a more experienced quilter thinking I’d done it wrong (argh) ran around in my brain for… oh… about 5 months!

Yup, I put myself through…

The guilt of not finishing my husband’s gift… the fear of worrying about ruining my hard work… and, worst of all, being afraid I’d be seen as ruining my project or a “bad” sewer.

…and I thought all of this stuff for 5 months! Just thinking about the wrinkles it probably earned me is maddening.

I’m writing this because I don’t want to do it anymore… and maybe it is something someone else is dealing with? Especially someone that tend towards attempted perfection and are in general, not so easy-going. (Ooh, Ooh… *raises hand* Me! Me!)

and… I’m super hoping I’m not alone in this! Please tell me I’m not alone!

Now, there is an upside – I worry so much about what to fabric to cut into and how each seam will go that I rarely make major mistakes. (Bonus!) But I don’t think it’s healthy, and it causes me so much stress sometimes I don’t sew at all. Which is definitely not what I would like to be doing. Instead, I’d love to be churning out lovely projects by the dozens!

As it’s still January, I’m hoping to take a new look at my unfinished projects this year. Proceed with less caution… but still be careful. Not be so afraid to do what I think is fun and exciting, without worrying about how it is accepted. Then, if I can finish my projects earlier, the guilt of being “late” will go away too!

I really want to apply this to is my Lil’ Red quilt top. I’ve been SUPER afraid to quilt it for months now, despite the fact that it has been finished and even backed and basted for about 2 months. Hopefully, I can try not worry if the quilting is fancy or complicated and just finish the thing! I think I may just do some in the ditch quilting and maybe some echo quilting to fill it in a bit more.

Wow… tangent much? I believe we were talking about a Star Wars pillow here?! (Oops!)

I actually finished the pillow at my last Sewcial, having friends around while you make decisions is super helpful! The quilting hopefully represents the moving stars at the beginning of each movie. The finished pillow back is flannel, and I put a simple envelope backing on it.

The flannel is left over from lining the hood of an unblogged Finlayson I made my husband.  (Side note: It’s pretty funny that Darth Vader is floating with no body! I should likely have put the block at the bottom of the pillow instead of the center. But I can live with that!)

Any Regrets? Probably only that I beat myself up for so long before finishing the pillow. (And the 17 other unfinished projects I’ve got going…) But, since it’s not going to happen anymore. (*she said hopefully*) I can let that one go now…

Here’s to a super productive year ahead! 

P.S. It needs to be noted that I have never had another sewer say anything negative about my projects. In general, the community is amazing and fantastic and so supportive. No idea why I worry?!

How to Re-Thread Your Sewing Machine

2017 January 13

Ooof! When I began sewing, I HATED re-threading my machine. Even though it was quick, it was just so annoying to do! Now that I’ve sewn a bit longer I don’t hesitate to change thread colours to match what I’m making. I promise it does get easier!

Unfortunately, I have a stack of old projects with crazy coloured thread that I wish I had taken the time to change. Taking a few extra minutes really does create a better, more professional result! (Next maybe I should tackle a post about re-threading the serger. But I think you’ll have to give me a few years to master it first!)

4 Steps to Re-thread Your Sewing Machine (and fill the bobbin!)

P.S. Quick Tips: It does matters which way the bobbin turns when you insert it. And don’t forget to use the thread guides near the needle – they make a big difference!

Let me know how it goes – and more importantly – what project you’re working on! I’d love to see it!

PDF Patterns and Tester Call!

2017 January 10

Good Tuesday Morning to you! 

Many of the friends and readers I talk to are beginner sewers. They love the DIY community and want to start sewing themselves. So, this month I am excited to post quite a few beginner sewing skill posts (+ regular stuff thrown in) and thought it would be a great time for a beginner-friendly pattern release. (Tester call below!)

Why am I doing this?!

These patterns help me to support this blog and my family! We’ve been a one-solid-income family since my kids were born. Both girls have been in full-day school for a few years now and so one of my blog-goals this year is to use my time to provide more for-sale content to help add to my husband’s hard work!

I’ve created PDF patterns for a few of my most popular free tutorials. These are PDF e-patterns with all of the instructions, updates, and pattern pieces in a tidy document. So far I have two available for a purchase of any donation.

SUPER HERO CAPE PDF PATTERN: available for any donation!

This listing is for the 9 page instant PDF download of the Super Hero Cape Pattern + pattern pieces, a tidy version of the free tutorial posted here. It is available for any donation. Thank you for your support!

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CAT-EYE POUCH PDF PATTERN: available for any donation!

This listing is for the 10 page instant PDF download of the Cat-Eye Zippered Pouch Pattern + pattern pieces. A tidy version of the free tutorial posted here. It is available for any donation. Thank you for your support!

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P.S. You can find the Forest Glen Satchel Pattern and more in my Pattern Shop as well!

And… I’m also releasing a new PDF Pattern in a few weeks!

The free Fat Quarter Skirt tutorial has always been a favorite, and is well-used at our house. When I taught this skirt as a workshop at Creativ Festival, I sized it and provided a proper pattern to the students. Now I can release it to you!

The Thread Riding Hood Fat Quarter Skirt Pattern fits child sizes 2-6.

This skirt is a creative beginner-friendly pattern made simply with a few tricks to keep it easy and fun. A great start for quilters who haven’t had garment sewing experience, and fun for kids to sew as well! Plus it’s a great stash-buster, requiring only 2 fat-quarters + elastic for a quick finish.

Pattern Testers, Please!

Before posting the final version, I would love to have some of you sew a skirt to make sure the pattern is perfect! If you would like to test the pattern between January 13-23, let me know by filling out the form linked below.

Click Here to fill out the Fat Quarter Skirt Pattern Tester Sign-Up Form.

Anything Else?

Yes! Is there a tutorial here that you’d love to have a PDF for? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.

Thank you so much for your continued support. I’m so excited to begin this new year with you!

2016 In Review

2017 January 5

Happy New Year! I hope you and yours have had time to relax (and sew) this season! I know we partied too hard, because all four of us are sick over here – but not to worry, thankfully also on the mend thanks to my mom’s trusty Broccoli Cheese soup recipe (which we’ve eaten too many nights in a row to speak of – it’s easy and delicious!)

I love turning over a new year and talking about the last one. It is especially fun to tally up the posts you loved most in the past year. Since the #bestnine of Instagram 2016 were posted last week, it seemed fitting to post more Top 9′s. All blog-related this time – your favorite posts from 2016, and your all-time favorites. Plus, I had to choose my favorite Top 9 blogged makes from 2016 as well. Let me know if we’ve missed your favorite in the comments below!

Top 9 Thread Riding Hood Favorites of 2016:

1) Free 12 Page Quiet Book Tutorials ~ 2) Quiet Book Construction ~ 3) Perfectly Unperfect Quiet Book ~ 4) Quiet Book Cover Assembly Tutorial ~ 5) Quiet Book Page Assembly Tutorial ~ 6) Sewing Diaries – 12 Tips & Tricks for Sewing Knit Fabric ~ 7) Sewing Diaries – Tips for Sewing Thicker Fabrics ~ 8) Coiled Rope Baskets ~ 9) Sewing Diaries – Tips to Quilt on Your Machine

Top 9 Thread Riding Hood All-Time Favorites:

1) Free Quiet Book Sew Along  ~ 2) Free Stuffed Animal Chair Pattern ~ 3) Free Cat-Eye Zippered Pouch Pattern ~ 4) Free Sunny Glasses Case Pattern ~ 5) Canadian Online Fabric Stores ~ 6) Quiet Book Construction ~ 7) World’s Fastest Pencil Case Tutorial ~ 8) Free Super Hero Cape Pattern ~ 9) Free Pretty Floral Divided Tote Pattern

Sherri’s Top 9 Favorite Makes of 2016:

1) Violette Easter Dresses  ~ 2) Fancy Green Dress ~ 3) Chobe Bag ~ 4) Design Diva – free apron pattern ~ 5) Sweet Talk Phone Bag ~ 6) Tree Party Cargo Duffles ~ 7) Marmalade Faux Leather Jacket ~ 8) Makers Tote ~ 9) Frozen – Anna Costume

  Thanks so much for your support through 2016 – Here’s to the next year!

P.S. Other year-end reviews are here if you are interested – 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Have a Holly Jolly Holiday!

2016 December 26

Merry Christmas! I hope you have had a lovely holiday season so far.

SO much thanks goes to each and every one of you! I am reminded at holidays especially, how grateful I am to YOU! For coming back and reading and following along all year. I couldn’t do this without you!

For everyone following along on Instagram. everyone is posting their “Best Nine” pics again. The nine photos in 2016 that got the most likes (thank you!) So I thought it would be fun to share mine here with links to the blog posts if they exist.

Thread Riding Hood Best Nine of 2016:

(Top to Bottom, Left to Right)

1) Reposting a photo when Instagram was changing their feed from chronological to “whatever it is now”! ~ 2) My youngest’s “A Very Hungry Caterpillar” skirt ~ 3) My youngest sewing an unblogged chalkboard zipper pouch. You can find out more about the sewing videos for kids she’s using though. ~ 4) Tree Party Cargo Duffles for my kids ~ 5) My gold Chobe handbag ~ 6) My Sister’s Makers Tote ~ 7) An Extraordinary Girl shirt for my oldest ~ 8) Our cat! Her name is Cyan – because of her eye colour ~ 9) Faux Leather Marmalade Jacket

Have a wonderful holiday and I hope you get to spend some time off relaxing – and sewing of course!

I’ll be enjoying visits with family and friends this coming week, but I’m hoping to check in with an old project I just finished. I’m really excited for what next year holds and I’d love to hear what you are up to as well!

(P.S. My daughter has been wearing her shweshwe Pinafore all season – it’s perfect for Christmas!)

Teacher Gifts {+ no-sew leather zipper pull DIY}

2016 December 21

It does not feel ready to be almost-Christmas over here – and it’s not for any lack of snow – we’ve got piles outside! Thing is, our kids are still in school and will be right up until Friday. Crazy – they get out for holidays this year on Christmas Eve’s Eve.

So, I’m right on time with my teacher gifts – even though it’s so close to Christmas and they went to school with the kids this morning.

I try to get the girls involved in choosing fabrics and making cards for their teachers, plus we’ve made a tradition of giving something simple to each of them, along with a World Vision gift. I always have a hard time choosing something useful to sew (ie. something they would love to actually use!) – so a few years ago we decided to supply textbooks to kids in the teachers’ names.

We already sponsor two World Vision kids, so it is something we believe in. Plus, the girls have a connection to it and think the gift is pretty cool too! (This isn’t a sponsored post – just something we like to do!)

The awesome Japanese Girls fabric by Alexander Henry came from a Fat Quarter Swap with my friend Rachelle who writes That’s Sew Venice. I’ve been hoarding it for a year now and hope it’s perfect for my oldest’s teacher! Speaking of my oldest – she also insisted her cat-loving teacher would want the cat faces fabric for the lining. Let’s hope she’s right!

My youngest chose a less bright palette with my favorite plaid scraps and the navy owls I used to line this jacket. Of course, it is in her favorite colour, not her teacher’s. (Which I tried and failed to find out.) Again with hoping that she loves it!

Leather and Rivet Zipper Pull Mini DIY ~ a no-sew project!

The zipper pulls were a fun inspiration I thought up a month ago and finally got to use! These are “no sew” zipper pulls and are made the same way as my “Change a Zipper Pull” tutorial – except they are way more awesome because they are leather. And they have rivets to hold them together!

All you need to do is cut up a tiny 1/2″ by about 3″ piece of leather (or vinyl). Fold it over a large jump ring and attach it with a rivet. Take the original zipper pull off as per the tutorial – then use a smaller jump ring to stick the whole thing together. They look super professional if I can say so myself!

 What is your favorite teacher gift?

Wholecloth and Pompom Christmas Pillow

2016 December 16

I have a general lack of Christmas pillows, so I’ve been trying to make one each year to add to my collection.

This pillow was designed to be super simple. Two square sides, some quilting, and an invisible zipper closure + pompoms for some fun! My husband isn’t sold on them (yet?), but the kids and I think pompoms are definitely the way to go.

I’ve been stashing the materials for this in a project bag since before last Christmas. Which (of course) is when I planned to make it. As usual – the number of ideas “to sew” were bigger than the time there is to actually sew them. Sound familiar?!

This year I decided to buy all of my gifts, save a few simple zippy pouches for the babysitter and our teachers. I am so much more relaxed, and (thanks to online shopping) we only need to find a couple more things! I really miss planning homemade ideas and sharing them. But to be honest – it’s pretty stressful since I am a procrastinator and never (ever) start early enough. (Plus, there are always birthdays to make up for it!)

I’m also happy to be part of Janome Canada’s series “12 Days of Best Loved Accessories and this pillow fits perfectly into my favorite! I have LOVED the AcuFeed Flex (dual feed) system on the Skyline machines I’ve been loaned.

The dual feed system works like a walking/even foot – but the top feed dogs are connected directly to the machine – so it’s more accurate. Since I’ve been using it I’ve haven’t had any bunching or shifting on my quilted projects – and they worked great when sewing the matching the plaid pattern on the seams of my new pajama pants.

The Skyline S9 (and some other Janome machines) include more than one width of the foot – so I have a narrow and a wide foot available to me. Plus a 1/4″ quilting foot, open toe foot and a zipper foot! Great for making sure everything moves along evenly!

I spray basted these layers together and quilted them in a grid pattern with creme thread. I marked a few lines and then used the quilting guide bar to keep them “even”. I prefer a slightly wonky look to my quick projects since I generally can’t keep the lines perfectly straight anyhow! After that, it was simple to trim the pillow into a square, add the pompom trim and zipper and done.

Hmmm… as I’m writing this I just realized there’s a gold shirt in a project bag that is due to be upcycled into a pillow as well… maybe next year?!

Are you hand-making your Christmas gifts?

Fabric: Riley Blake Designs “Lost & Found Christmas” by My Mind’s Eye, from Country Clothesline (out of stock)

Plaid & Paisley Pajama Pants {+ DIY Cuff Tutorial}

2016 December 13

What do you think of my new workwear?! Great, right? *Kidding* (of course), but that’s what I feel like they should be! I’ve been wearing these lounge/pajama pants every day since I finished them. This flannel is hands-down the coziest and warmest fabric I have ever had the pleasure of sewing with.

After school today I was out shopping for stocking stuffers with my kids. It is finally acting like winter around here, we even got about 5″ of heavy snow recently! Dark had settled in when we got home and we were all feeling a bit chilled. I went upstairs to change into my new pajama pants, and (I kid you not) I was warmed up in minutes. They really are as fluffy and thick as the photos look. My oldest is asking for her own now!

Sylvia from Country Clothesline and I worked together to bring you this new tutorial today. Adding cuffs to a pair of pants is a quick and simple project. Dress up your handmade pajama pants or add cuffs to a ready-made pair! 

This fabric sells out fast! But you can find links to all of these re-stocked Mammoth Flannels below, available as of today. They are 100% cotton, yarn-dyed and double napped + it’s so soft to wear and washes up beautifully. I almost think I should have made a full-body onesie complete with feet and a hood – I’d never be cold again!

Sylvia’s usual selection of fresh and pretty fabrics also provided the contrasting cuff. It was so hard to choose from the three she sent over. After a ton of consideration, the paisley won out.

Country Clothesline Shop News

  • All the Christmas fabric is now 40% off while it lasts and in store.
  • Just in time for Christmas gifting – Gift Cards are available! Purchase and use them at the 471 Coburn shop in Toronto.
I’m also super pleased to say that I’ll be teaching classes at the Country Clothesline and Fabric Spark’s Toronto brick & mortar location in the New Year. Can’t wait to meet more of you, lovely readers!

DIY Pant Cuff Sewing Tutorial

These cuffs are a great contrasting addition to make a simple pair of pants more special. They use about a 1/4 yard of fabric, so you can probably even make them from a fat quarter!

This tutorial will make cuffs for any size you need. I used my favorite Ladies’ Harem & Lounge Pants pattern for the pants. This is my third pair – it’s great to have a well-fitting go-to pattern!

  1. Pre-wash and sew your pants according to the pattern, omitting the leg hem. (Or add cuffs to a ready-made pair.) Try the pants on and mark your desired length. Add 1/2″ for cuff seam and cut off the excess.
  2. Calculate your cuff size. Cut 2.
    • Cuff Height = Double your desired height + 1″ for seam allowances
    • Cuff Width = Double the Pant Leg Width + 1″ for seam allowances
  3. Place each cuff RST, matching the short side seam. Stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Overedge stitch, zig-zag or use pinking shears to finish the raw edges.
  4. Turn and fold the cuff so the wrong sides are together and raw edges are matching, press. This will create a tube.
  5. With the pants inside out, place the tube over the leg opening, match the raw edges and pin. The cuff seam should line up with the inner leg seam on the pants.
  6. Stitch the raw edges with a 1/2″ seam.  Overedge stitch, zig-zag or use pinking shears to finish the raw edges.
  7. Turn the pants right side out. Press the cuff seam allowance toward the pants.
  8. Fold the cuff up along the seam line and press.
  9. Tack the cuffs into place with a few stitches along each side seam to keep them in place.
  10. Press well. Done!

Enjoy your new pants!

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I’d love to see your project! You can share your project on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links below) using the  hashtags #alongforthreadride and/or #threadridinghood. Thank you!

 This is a sponsored post. All content, opinions, and ideas are my own.

Kids Sewing Video Lessons

2016 December 9

My youngest really likes to sew, but I’ve had a hard time teaching her the basics. I’ve hand-sewn and machine sewn projects with her and let her do her own thing, but neither option seemed to work well. We even bought her a small machine for her birthday last summer (which she loves) but it didn’t help us with the basics.

Turns out it’s not exciting to have Mommy tell you to finish your seams, or tell you how to put your project together. But it is exciting to learn them from a video series designed especially for kids!

A few months ago I was fortunate to run across a Facebook ad for a beta run through Kids Sewing. We had access to 35 sewing project videos for 6 weeks and at the end of the run were to provide photos of 5 completed projects and a testimonial about our experience. It seemed like (hopefully) the thing to get us going, so I made sure my daughter would commit to the projects and signed up.

My daughter chose to finish the Pixie Sandy series, because she wanted to make sewing related projects. We worked our way through a Sewing Bag, Pin Cushion, Fabric Tote, Scissors Pouch and Sewing Apron.

I was so impressed with how great her projects looked when they were finished.

We have created a few things together, but now she was sewing almost on her own – just by following the videos! We’d choose the next project together, use the cute shopping list printout to shop from our stash, then find the video and let her sew. She’d sit and watch them, rewinding or fast forwarding, and then pin and sew through the projects – asking me for help when she needed it. The videos really kept her engaged and interested in the process – we finished most of the items in a couple of hours or less!

The pattern pieces for each project we chose were generally rectangular – and there is a video with each lesson so you (or your child) can draw the pattern pieces. I pre-made a lot of these since my 6-year-old wasn’t as used to measuring with a ruler. I did find one of the project pattern pieces was a bit different than the video – it just included an extra step – but in the end, it didn’t matter to the process.

The instructional videos are so cute and kid-friendly, my daughter was really excited to be taught by a Pixie! Each one has a different colour theme and Pixie name. There are 7 series’ to choose from, each with a different theme. Pixie Zandy will show you 5 “Artsy” projects, Pixie Andy will show you 5 “Cool” projects and so on!

If I did have to choose one thing I had a hard time with it would be that two of the projects we did don’t have finished seams inside. Though I know why Katrina Marie has done it this way – Kids don’t like finishing seams! I’m so used to it, ‘tho I found it difficult to skip, so my daughter got an impromptu mini-lesson on serger use!

This probably corresponds back to why I didn’t get very far with teaching my daughter on my own – I was too adamant about her doing all the “boring” things – and she didn’t get to just play and enjoy sewing.

I’m really thankful I got to try these videos. I didn’t know my daughter could sew this well, or even understand the process of a project until we used them.

I was blown away by how well she did, and how much she could accomplish on her own and I’m so proud of her! It wasn’t just her either, there was a Facebook group for beta testers and all of the kids were doing this well! Plus, the videos are really reasonably priced at $10 or less for most of the projects – and that includes the pattern! Might I suggest a unique Christmas gift?

There are lots of different options for lessons. You can choose the “Yearlong Sewing Adventure”  with access to 35 projects. Or one of 7 Pixie Series’ with 5 themed beginner projects in each. This is the one we tried.

You can access the FREE “Ready, Set, Sew” lesson anytime to get your kids used to a sewing machine.

The smile on my daughter’s face was enough to get me excited about these lessons. I hope you consider using them as well. Please let me know your experience, I’d love to see what your kids (or grandkids) are making!

This is a sponsored post, and all ideas, words, and opinions are my own.

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