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Perfectly unPerfect Quiet Book

2016 April 27

I’m a bit embarrassed to show you this project today… I love taking pictures of perfectly sewn products and posting them here. Of course, it’s not a realistic view of how I live – my house looks like I haven’t cleaned in a month right now! (Which might be right – argh!) But it sure is satisfying to make everything look pretty.

I promised everyone at my Creativ Festival Trunk Show over the weekend that I would post the quiet book that started my free 12 page Quiet Book patterns. The one I made my oldest for her first birthday, about 8 years ago now! This Quiet Book is anything but perfect. I had so much to learn about sewing and was working it out as I went along. It has so many things I’d change now, least of which are my fabric choices. Pattern & character overload – wow!

This book’s unperfectness (#itsaword) is exactly what I want to share today. Things don’t have to be perfect to be loved and given away. My oldest was thrilled when I found this book in storage. She spent time looking at each page and laughing at the photos. Her smallest cousin isn’t even in the book, and everyone is 8 years younger. Crazy how fast things change. She doesn’t care about the overuse of the zigzag stitch and fraying edges. She just likes it because I made it just for her.

So here’s my unPerfect Quiet Book. I’m hoping it might inspire you to go ahead and make that project that you’ve been putting off – because you “don’t know enough” or “won’t get it exactly like the Pinterest photos”. Comparing is not allowed when you are doing what you love!

 I’ll be sharing my Creativ Festival re-cap later this week and the lovelies I brought home on Instagram as well. See you again soon!

Isogram Mini Quilt {How to sew with Alphabet Panels}

2016 April 21

So there’s thing called an isogram, which I didn’t know about until my sponsor Fabric Spark emailed to see if I wanted to make a project with a Nature Walk Alphabet Panel. It’s gorgeous, but right away I was worried… my kids are too big for alphabet projects, no matter how amazing the fabric is! Of course, I now *needed* the fabric, so for a couple of days my husband and I thought of things to write with one panel of the alphabet until I Googled it and found out what I needed was an isogram: “a word or phrase without a repeating letter”.

Moving ahead for a second, this project is the last thing I need to finish before my Trunk Show at the Creativ Festival in 2 days! Wow! I am running around like crazy person over here. If you are in the Toronto area, I will be presenting a Trunk Show – “Be Brave and Sew” on the Fashion Arts stage at 2:30 on Friday and 9:30 am (gulp!) on Saturday. You can also see the original sample projects from the Sewing Diaries, other past projects and the girls’ Easter Dresses. I’m so happy to be working with Janome to present this!

But, back to isograms, it turns out there are tons of these things! I got a few from this website – “Stand By Me”, “Rocket Man” or “Rhapsody in Blue” (plus lots more) if you are a music enthusiast and Playground, Trampoline, Ambidextrous or Subdermatoglyphic (!) according to Wikipedia. I also found a great example of a sewing isogram after I finished my project, from Sherri Noel (great first name, btw!) – she wrote “Sew Crazy” on her sewing machine cover! Of course, you could always think up another phrase and buy two or three alphabet panels.

One last thing still bugged me – cutting up the panel without a use for the leftover letters. But, I’m in luck and know a whole bunch of people with first and last names that start with each of the leftover letters – so, if you know me – you “might” be getting a pillow or zippy pouch (or other sewn something) with a letter on it for your next birthday/Christmas or other random holiday!

This project, however, is for my oldest daughter. I thought the isogram “Quick on the draw” was perfect for her bedroom wall. She does not stop drawing – and you rarely find her without a drawing implement of some kind in her hand. She visits art supply stores like they are candy shops – she needs this mini quilt! Fabric Spark was amazing and sent me the alphabet panel and some of her other fabrics from Tamara Kate’s Nature Walk collection for Michael Miller Fabrics. I love that this Tamara Kate art can inspire my little girl!

I’ve made up a little mini tutorial for the project below, with links to all of the fabrics I used, plus the gorgeous Little World in Amberthat didn’t make it in – vetoed by the fact that after it was pieced in it didn’t really match my daughter’s room so well.

Keep in mind that the amount of fabric you need will drastically change depending on the phrase/word you want to spell! This mini quilt is actually quite large at 35″ x 23″. If you are coming to the Creativ Festival, it will be on display in the Fabric Spark booth, #248!

As a gauge I used this much fabric:

1) Cut alphabet rows apart. Measure the halfway point between the rows, mark first, cut after!

2) Cut letters apart with 1/4″ seam allowance on both sides, making sure to keep the sides parallel. We will trim the top and bottom after sewing each line.

3) Sew the letters together into words with a 1/4″ seam, I pressed my seam allowances open. Make sure to align the letters so they line up side by side before sewing, don’t align the top/bottom of the white space or they will be uneven.

4) Cut and sew 2 1/2″ wide strips for spaces between words and sew words into lines. Trim the top edges, including a 1/4″ seam allowance on each, so everything is square. My letter rows ended up about 7 1/4″ tall each. Make sure each row is the same height.

5) Add 2 1/2″ strips to each row end, then the top and bottom and between your rows. I pressed these seams open as well.

6) Sew all the rows together to make the center of the mini quilt.

7) Cut & sew 2″ strips to the top, bottom and sides to create the border.

8) Piece your backing if desired, make a quilt sandwich and quilt your project. For lack of more experience, I mostly stitched in the ditch around the letters. Then did a few border rows around the edge.

9) Add quilt hanging sleeve if desired.

10) Make enough binding with 2 1/2″ strips to go around project. Then bind with your favorite method.

I hope you love your new mini quilt! My daughter is so excited to hang this in her room.

The Sewing Diaries – Week 6: Quilt on Your Machine!

2016 April 14

  We are talking about quilting on this last Sewing Diary entry. As most of you know, this blog doesn’t talk about quilting as much as I’d like it to! I’ve got grand plans for at least 7 different stacks of coordinated fabric in my stash – and those are only the ones I can think of off the top of my head! Of course, my first love is quick projects and apparel. But I have actually finished the occasional quilt, and will always own a machine with the capability to make quilted projects.

Today I’m sharing tips I’ve found helpful as I learn about piecing and quilting, link to some great quilty tutorials and I’m even going to share a potentially embarrassing mug rug I made. Yikes – taking “professional” photos of something I’m not terribly proud of is hard! #perfectionisoverrated?

Before we head into the post, here’s a re-cap of the Sewing Diaries posts, since, amazingly we are already at week 6 of 6! Each post covers a different topic, by the end you should now know your sewing machine inside and out! Plus I hope you’ve found a few tips and tricks on how to make it sew what you want like a pro.

Week 1: Unboxing Your New Machine Part 1/Part 2 ~ Week 2: Closures ~ Week 3: Heavy/Uncommon FabricsWeek 4: Knits (without a serger!) ~ Week 5: Embellishing your Projects (ie. Stitches and Machine Feet) ~ Week 6: Quilting/Piecing (today’s post!)

Disclaimer: A Skyline S7 has been loaned to me for the purpose of writing this series.  As with all products I write about, I will always tell you my own honest opinion. I purchased and loved Janome machines long before they contacted me. Janome has not asked me to qualify my opinions in any way. Also, the fabric for this post was given to me by Fabric Spark. Thank you for supporting my sponsors!

Today’s main project is “the Herringbone Runner” – a table runner pattern from Carolyn Friedlander – in Carolyn Friedlander-designed fabric no less! The selection of fabrics are from her last few collections and were provided by my lovely sponsor, Fabric Spark. They have also put together kits for this runner so you can make one too! Her well-curated collection is always amazing to browse through, I know you’ll find something you love.

These fabrics play so well together and I’m really pleased with how the table runner turned out. It was a surprisingly fast project – about 6-7 hours. Four of those for the paper piecing alone, but not because it was hard, but because I was thinking way too much about making sure the colours were evenly distributed. My brain likes everything to be super symmetrical, so this was a stretch for me! The pattern includes a really great explanation of how to paper-piece and I love how precise the final product is.

This leads to my first quilting tip: Remember, sewing is your hobby. If it’s not fun, don’t do it! Don’t get hung up worrying about quilt police. Make something you love, following the way you want to do it and it will be perfect! Of course, like anything, if you want to be more knowledgeable about how to do your hobby that’s ok too. Here’s a great article I love from Sew Mama Sew about keeping your hobby fun.

Keeping all of this in mind, here are some important things you should know when learning about how your sewing machine handles piecing and quilting.

Check out your Feet:

Piecing a quilt can be done on any machine but you will need at least one type of special machine foot to quilt a project on your sewing machine. Take a look at the feet that came with your machine. If they are specific to quilting, look them up in the manual. Find out what they do so when you come across quilting lingo you know what it’s talking about!

The Skyline S7 is great for quilters with lots of extras including the AcuFeed Flex, several Free Motion Quilting Feet and a 1/4″ Piecing Foot. I have found that even basic Janome machines (my first SUV1122!) tend to come with an included Walking/Even foot, which is a huge bonus for beginners.

If you happen to have a Dual Feed option like the Skyline S7′s AcuFeed Flex (more about this foot in the Sewing Diaries: Week 4) or an Even/Walking Foot count yourself lucky! These feet are the key to producing an evenly sewn and quilted project. They move the top and bottom fabrics together, keeping all of the layers in line. When quilting, this lets you move the fabric around without accidentally creating  sewing wrinkles in the unseen underneath layer.

Check your Tension:

Tension is especially important when quilting your pieced project because a layer of batting adds a lot of extra thickness.  If you are using different spool and bobbin colours, it is especially important that the tension is set properly. The two threads need to cross in the middle of the quilt layers so they don’t show on the other side. I used cream bobbin thread to match the backing and multiple colours to match the top and the Skyline S7′s automatic tension did a great job. Find out about adjusting your tension in the Sewing Diaries: Week 3.

Have a perfect seam:

Find out how to sew with a super-precise 1/4″ seam allowance. This is so important! Without a precise seam you will not be able to follow most quilt patterns. A piecing foot comes in really handy for making sure you sew your seams accurately. The Sewing Loft has provided a great article about how to simply find your machine’s perfect 1/4″ seam.

Basting your Quilt:
I still find it tricky to figure out how to get large quilt layers straight and basted before quilting them. Generations Quilt Patterns has some great detailed information on how to Successfully Layer and Pin Baste Your Quilt. Of course if you don’t mind watching for the quilt police and your project is smaller you can use straight pins. I have had good luck doing this and am too cheap (so far) to buy curved quilting pins to make the process easier.
Machine Quilting

I generally tend to default to straight line quilting in my projects, just because it is simple and easy to do. Plus, there is little to no learning curve, which helps! Mark straight line on your project, attach a Dual Feed or Walking Foot and start sewing. If your machine happens to have a quilting guide bar attachment, even better. Mark one line on the quilt and follow your seams with the guide bar to continue sewing evenly placed lines. I used it on my table runner to help follow the herringbone lines with my quilting.

I also tried out the included knee bar while quilting as well. It’s works so well it’s disappointing that I sew standing up and can’t really use it properly. You would have laughed! I’m balanced on a bar-stool with my knee in the air working the thing. Great for my abs, though! And so easy to turn pivot at corners, move the bar to the right to lift the presser foot, turn the quilt, let go to release it and lower the foot again.

Free Motion Quilting

Here’s where I “show off” my lovely mug rug.

As you can see free motion is not as yet a skill I pull off easily! It does take practice, and the nice thing about the Skyline S7 is that it sets everything up automatically so a lot of the guess-work is taken out of the process.

Sew Mama Sew has some great Tips on Beginner Free Motion Quilting. One thing I’ve read that is not included in their list is to practice with a pencil and paper. I’ve found this really helpful when figuring out how to get the shape you want. Practice putting your pencil down on the paper and don’t lift it until the shape is finished, just like when your quilt is in the machine!

Clasp Stitches

I used a few of these automatic stitches on my mug rug to try them out. It’s like tying a quilt, only by machine. I can see this being really cute and a great alternative to all-over quilting. I like the star shape best, but couldn’t resist adding a snowflake or 3 since our “springy” April has been full of them!

Bind your project:
Ideally it is best to hand sew your quilt binding. And it does look nicer – but I usually don’t want to take the time to do it, so I machine bind my projects. So far I’ve been happy with the results, but I can see it being really relaxing to sit and hand-bind a quilt. I always use Cluck Cluck Sew’s Machine Binding tutorial. It is well explained and easy to follow.
I hope you have enjoyed the Janome Sewing Diaries series! I have (of course) been spoiled rotten using the amazing Janome SKyline S7. It really is a fantastic machine. Great for advanced sewers and beginners alike. If you have any questions about your machine, please let me know and I’d be happy to help find answers for you!

Happy Sewing!

Creativ Festival News + 2 Giveaway Winners!

2016 April 11

Hi, how are you doing? Well, I hope? I feel like it’s been a rollercoaster of prep-work over here since I started the Janome Sewing Diaries. Can you believe it’s already the last week of the six weeks?! That means next week is the Spring Creativ Festival in Toronto!

I’ve been going to the Creativ Festival for quite a few years now. This year I was thrilled when Janome Canada asked me to present a Trunk Show once each day! I’m excited to pull out old and new favorite projects to show you and I’ve got a list of tips and tricks to share (and some sneaky things I do to save time!). My amazing sponsors have provided giveaways and exclusive discounts for show attendees! Plus, anyone attending the show can enter for their chance to win a Janome Skyline S7! Woo Hoo!

Best of all, I am really excited to get to meet Thread Riding Hood readers and say “Hi”. If you see me, please introduce yourself – I’d love to meet you. (Just look for the pink hair!) Now that it’s so close I’m ready – but so nervous! Normal-nervous, but nervous just the same. Getting up on a stage is not as natural for me as I’d love it to be! I’m so fortunate that the sewing community is full of lovely people – that makes it so much easier!

If you are in the Toronto area. I will be on the Fashion Arts stage starting at 2:30 pm on Friday and 9:30 am on Saturday. I can’t say enough about how fun it is to walk around these fabric-full Creativ booths with so many like-minded people. Plus, I’ve got “a few” things on my shopping list to look for!

Before I go back to Creativ prep… We have two giveaways that need some winners!  Have a wonderful week. :)  

Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to both of our fabric bundle winners! I can’t wait to see what they will make with their new fabric. And a huge thanks to both my sponsors’ Canadian online fabric shops for providing these giveaways! 

The winner of this lovely Acorn Trail organic canvas from Birch and Carolyn Friedlander Architextures Cross Hatch in Poppy combo from Mad about Patchwork is…

#518: Erin! Who won by visiting Mad About Patchwork on Facebook.


The winner of this 9 Fat Quarter bundle of Michael Miller Cotton Couture Solids + a $25 Shop Credit from Zoey & Bean Fabrics is….

Entry #308: Michele! “I love the Sashing Stash fabrics in all the colourways! This fabric would be fun to play with!! Thanks!”

Don’t miss out! The Zoey & Bean discount code expires tomorrow, April 12th at midnight. Make sure you get 15% off your purchase with code: TRD15

The Sewing Diaries – Week 5: 9 Ways to Embellish & Label Your Projects

2016 April 7

This past week I have been busy organizing, labeling and embellishing my projects. I’ve collected 9 ideas you can use with your sewing projects to make them more useful, or more fun! I’ve used the alphabet feature on the Janome Skyline S7 a lot for this week’s content. But I made sure to include several ideas that don’t require any special stitches at all – I hope you like them!

For my main project this week I wanted to make a couple of Fat Quarter Skirts. This tutorial is a few years old now and is so easy to make (and so cute to wear!) – a great beginner project. Perfect for embellishing, and using up any “spare” fat quarters you might have lying around! I added permanent shorties underneath these as well using this Add Shorts to the Fat Quarter Skirt follow-up post from last year.

Each skirt uses just 2 fat quarters, and my sponsor Country Clothesline was kind enough to provide this week’s fabric. These fabrics are just gorgeous together. They almost look like the came from the same fabric line! Country Clothesline curates a lovely country-inspired shop full of fresh and pretty fabrics. The butterfly skirt is a mixture of  Kate Spain’s Aria in Begonia Butterfly and Bonnie & Camille’s Vintage Picnic Check in Coral. The floral one (my favorite!) is from Colette – Floral Leaf Paisley mixed with Tanya Whelan - Barefoot Roses in Pink Dot. The extra green on shown in the photos is from Tanya Whelan as well – Rosey in Green Plaid.

I thought it would be fun to add a book quote to one of the Fat Quarter Skirts using the Skyline S7 alphabet feature. It turned out so cute! Check out Idea #9 below for more details. (P.S. Do you know which book it is?!)

 Disclaimer: A Skyline S7 has been loaned to me for the purpose of writing this series.  As with all products I write about, I will always tell you my own honest opinion. I purchased and loved Janome machines long before they contacted me. Janome has not asked me to qualify my opinions in any way. Also, the fabric for this post was given to me by my sponsor Country Clothesline. Thank you for supporting my sponsors!

9 Ways to Embellish & Label Your Projects

Idea #1: Twill Tape Size Label – Three Ways!

  1. Cut twill tape to about 3″ long. Write the size using a fine tip fabric marker. Heat set the marker ink on high heat for about 30 seconds. Use pinking shears and/or Fray Check to seal the raw ends. Fold the ribbon in half. Sew into the back of your project.
  2. Follow the first method, but use your machine to embroider the size onto your twill tape. Make sure to use a stabilizer under your ribbon for a clean finish.
  3. Use your machine to write the size and any other embellishments (like a super-cute clothesline!) parallel to the ribbon edge. Remove excess stabilizer. Use pinking shears and/or Fray Check to seal the ends. Fold the ends under 1/2″ or so – I use a school glue stick to hold the ends in place. Sew across each short end to attach it to your project. You can also attach these over the side seam! Tip: Use bobbin thread that matches the outer fabric so the stitching is less visible. (Check out the blue Soleil Dress pictured + 12 tips for sewing knits in Week 4 of the Sewing Diaries.)

Idea #2: Decorative Ribbon Loop

Little ribbon tags are so cute and add a little extra to the side seam of your project.

Cut decorative ribbon to an appropriate length, depending on the ribbon pattern. Fold the ribbon in half. Insert the ribbon along the side seam of your project as it is being sewn. Be sure to allow for the seam allowance when you are aligning it – Ex. for a 1/4″ seam allowance, make sure the ribbon design is at least 1/4″ over from the raw edge of the ribbon.

 Idea #3: Fancy Top-Stitching

Use a zigzag stitch (or another decorative stitch on your machine) to top-stitch, instead of always using a straight stitch. I chose a medium width zigzag for the Butterfly skirt.

Idea #4: Leather Labels

I could have made these for days! I used one in the Forest Glen Mini Satchel a few weeks ago and it was so easy. I didn’t even need stabilizer – and they look so professional. Plus it helps that the Skyline S7 went through this leather like butter! Remember that any holes you make are permanent, and use a leather needle for your stitching. Check out these tips for sewing thicker fabrics from Week 3 of the Sewing Diaries.

Idea #5: Custom Stitches

The Skyline S7 comes with a really fun feature – you can build your own stitches! The Stitch Composer loads onto your home computer and allows you to build the stitch, save it, and transfer it to the sewing machine through its USB port. I found a butterfly picture to use as a template and then traced my own butterfly stitch. Woo Hoo! I would love to try to make a Little Red and the Wolf using my logo when I get more time to play with it.

My first butterfly had something like 175 stitches in it, and only came out about a 1/2″ wide! Oops! You can see what this tiny butterfly looked like on Instagram.

I can’t get WordPress to upload the file directly. So if you have a machine that can accept .stx Stitch Composer files and would like the butterfly file, please send me an email and I’ll send it over to you! 

Idea #6: Add Ribbon

An easy way to make a zigzag stitch a bit fancier is to zigzag over ribbon! Cut ribbon to the width of the panel you are making. Glue baste or pin the ribbon in place before stitching a wide zigzag stitch over it. Start and end your stitching with 3 or 4 straight stitches to hold the ribbon in place. I also sewed ribbon on with a straight stitch in an embellished skirt tutorial a few months ago.

Idea #7: Quick & Dirty Camp/School Name Labels

Create quick fusible name labels for everything your kids own!

Stitch names onto twill tape, I didn’t use stabilizer for this one because I wanted these to be super-fast. You can see they are slightly wonky but not too bad! Attach fusible web to the back. I love to use Steam-A-Seam (#notanad) because it is tacky and allows for easy placement and trimming. Press the fusible lightly to adhere it permanently to the label. Cut the labels apart and store them until needed. Then just iron them on! You can Fray Check the ends if desired – but the fusible should be enough to stop them from fraying. (The shirt is my oldest’s well-loved Extraordinary Girl shirt. Pattern  from Filles à Maman.)

Idea #8: Printed Fabric Labels

Design and send a file to Spoonflower and have your labels printed! I ordereded these a few years ago on a knit fabric. This way they are easy to cut out with no need to hem because they won’t fray. You could apply fusible web to the back of these (as per Idea #7) and have simple- to-make fusible labels with your own design! Or you can buy a pre-made design and support a designer. #goodforyou!

Idea #9: Adding Text

I love the idea of personalizing a project with a fun quote and this floral paisley skirt just needed something from “The Secret Garden” on it! My kids love to plant flowers in the spring, water them (too much!) and watch them grow. I re-found my grandmother’s Ladybird Book copy of the book to go with the skirt so now we can read the abridged version together as well!

“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.” ― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

  1. Type in a few words and test the width of your lettering. This is very general, since spacing depends a bit on how fast you are stitching! My machine works out to 5 or 6 letters/spaces per inch. So I would need about 22-27 inches for the quote + the length of my test text.
  2. Cut some twill tape double the width of the skirt panel. Enter the quote into your sewing machine. The Skyline S7 has a built in memory – so I stored the quote as 3 files in the machine. Double-check your spelling! This machine has a view screen where you can see all of the text all at once. Really helpful.
  3. Place stabilizer on the back of your twill tape. I used a glue stick very lightly to adhere the two together. 
  4. Start stitching about 1-2″ in from the raw end. I used a slower speed and it took me about 25 minutes to stitch, open the next file, stitch, add leaves to fill the open space and double-check my work. Remove the excess stabilizer and cut/remove the threads between letters if desired.
  5. Sew one side of the skirt panel/contrast border together. Glue baste or pin the ribbon near the bottom and edge-stitch it on. I like using the over-edge foot that comes with the S7 to make my stitches really straight. The edge of the twill tape runs along the edge of the black divider on the foot and works to keep everything in place.
  6. Once the ribbon is sewn on, finish the other side seam and then finish the skirt!

I hope you found a few new fun ideas to use from this list! Next week we are going to talk about quilting. I’m looking forward to trying all of the piecing/quilting options on the Skyline S7. Plus I’ve been wanting to make the project I’ve chosen for ages now. Nothing like a deadline to get ‘er done. Have a great week!

Quiet Book Sew-Along: Overview {Free 12 Page Book Tutorial!}

2016 April 5

Today is a momentous day, the Quiet Book Sew-Along is finished! I am so glad that to share this book and I am excited to know that there are so many of you that want to make one too! I will always treasure the Quiet Books I have made for my kids – and hope they treasure them later on as well. (I should find the one I made my oldest and post it. I made it when I was a “sewing newbie” and cringe looking at it now – let’s just say my tastes have changed a bit!)

Welcome! Find everything you need to sew this Quiet Book here. All post listings, links, buttons and more. All of this information was posted in a Sew-Along tab at the top of the blog. I’ve decided to move everything here to keep things simpler. You can also find a link to all of this information on the right sidebar.

(pages pictured above are from the original Quiet Book)

This 12 page Quiet Book Sew-Along is finished! These pattern pieces and tutorials will be always be available, so feel free to join in whenever you can.

Please share your quiet books!

  • Join up on Flickr. Join our Sew-Along Flickr group and post your photos, comment and see what other members are sewing as we go. (I did a little tutorial on joining Flickr and posting photos to help you out!) *Note – this page has not been updated recently
  • Post photos on Facebook!
  • Post photos on Twitter or Instagram! Hashtag your Sew-Along posts with #quietbooksewalong and/or #alongforthreadride
  • Blog about it! Blog your progress, it provides a place for you to let us know more about your process!


Click on the photos or text below to access each post.

*edited* The First Original Quiet Book is now posted as well! I finally photographed my oldest’s book with new page ideas not in this tutorial set.

The Original Quiet Book: 

Original Book Construction Original Book Pages 1-6 Original Book Pages 7-12


Quiet Book Sew-Along: Overview (If you are new, start here!) Yardage Overview: Week 1 (Cover & Page Fabrics, Interfacing, Binding) Flickr Update (Where to find us and a Tutorial on joining the Quiet Book Flickr group)

Page Construction Tutorials:

House Page – Materials List: Week 2 House Page – Printable Pattern & Tutorial: Week 3 Mitten Page – Materials List: Week 4
Mitten Page – Printable Pattern & Tutorial: Week 5 Purse/Pocket Photo Album Page – Materials & Printable Pattern: Week 6 Pocket Photo Album Page Tutorial: Week 7
Purse Photo Album Page Tutorial: Week 8 Rainbow of Colours Page – Materials List: Week 9  Rainbow of Colours Page – Tutorial: Week 10
Puzzle Page – Fabric Prep: Week 11 Telephone Page – Materials: Week 12 Telephone Page – Pattern & Tutorial: Week 13
Abacus Page – Materials & Tutorial: Week 14 Button the Flower – Materials, Pattern & Tutorial: Week 15 Tie a Shoe - Materials, Pattern & Tutorial: Week 16
Puzzle – Materials & Tutorial: Week 17 Buckle Up Page – Materials & Tutorial: Week 18 Teddy Bear Page – Materials, Pattern & Tutorial: Week 19
Race Track Page – Materials, Pattern & Tutorial: Week 20 Page Assembly – Materials & Tutorial: Week 21 Cover Assembly – Materials & Tutorial: Week 22

 Want more tutorials and posts like these? Follow below and come #alongforthreadride. Thank you!

Quiet Book Sew-Along: Cover Assembly – Materials & Tutorial {Week 22}

2016 April 5

We are here, this is it, you are ALMOST finished! Making the cover is the easy part in comparison to your amazing quiet book pages. Here we go!

(If you are just starting find all the information you need on this Sew-Along page.)

Before we begin/Important Notes:
  • Remember to use your iron liberally when you are sewing this book. It is going to be a work of art when you are done! Since it is thick and some of the pages will not be iron-able once you are finished with them it is advisable to take all of the care you can to remove wrinkles so they are not accidentally permanent in your final book.


  • Cover: Cut 2, 11″ high x 21″ wide, from the Yardage Overview
  • Fusible Fleece: Cut 1, 11″ x 21″ for the outer cover
  • Inside Cover Ribbon (to hold binder/key rings): Cut 1, 11″ high, I used 1″ grosgrain
  • Outer Wrap-Around ribbon: Cut 1, 27″ (roughly, see below) and 1 piece 9″ long
  • Strap Tab (Fabric): Cut 2, 3″ wide by 1.5″ high (1/4″ seam)
  • Velcro: Cut 1 each hook & loop, 1.5″ long
  • 2 binder rings or key rings

Outer Cover:

    1. Press fusible fleece to the outer cover as per the manufacturer’s directions. Quilt if desired. Note that the wrap-around ribbon will be sewn horizontally in the center of the cover.
    2. Place the shorter length of wrap-around ribbon directly over the longer piece matching the ends and edges. Baste, fuse or use a glue-stick to temporarily hold them in place. Top-stitch the long edges to hold the two pieces together.
    3. Pin the wrap-around ribbon horizontally across the outer cover parallel tot he long edge. The double-layer from Step 2 will be on the left, with the shorter edge underneath. The shorter ribbon should overlap the cover by at least 1 1/2″.

  1. Mark 1″ over from the left side of the outer cover edge, beside the double ribbon layer. Stitch a large rectangle around the edges of the ribbon to secure it to the cover, pivoting at the 1″ mark.
  2. Stitch the soft side of your Velcro 2 1/2″ over from the right edge of the outer cover.
  3. Attach embroidery or label at least 1″ away from all edges, if desired. The right side of the cover is the front, the left side is the back.

Inside Cover:

  1. Pin the inside cover ribbon down the centre of the cover, marking openings for the rings that match up with your page ring tabs. I marked 3 1/2″, 4 1/2″, 6 1/2″ & 7 1/2″, measured from the bottom edge of the inside cover.
  2. Stitch around the ribbon edges, leaving the spaces between the markings un-sewn.
Assemble Cover:
  1. Place the outer and inside covers right sides together. Stitch around the edges with a 3/8″ seam leaving a 3″ opening along one edge. Make sure NOT to sew over the free end of the wrap-around ribbon, it should be in between the layers of fabric.
  2. Clip all corners, turn, press and top-stitch all edges. Again, do not sew over the free end of the wrap-around ribbon.
  3. With the inside cover facing up, top-stitch through all layers 1/4″ from either side of the inside cover ribbon to hold the cover together.

Add the Velcro Tab:

  1. Place your finished Quiet Book pages inside the cover to measure the thickness of the book. (Do not insert them into the key rings yet!) Test the length of the wrap-around ribbon and shorten it if necessary. The ribbon should wrap around the book with all pages inserted and cover the front Velcro.
  2. Fold the right short edge of the top tab fabric in 1/2″. Fold the left short edge of the bottom tab fabric in 1/2″ –  this side will face the cover and have the Velcro attached.
  3. Stitch Velcro to the bottom tab, 1/4″ from the folded edge.
  4. Place tab pieces right sides together with the folded edges matching. Stitch with a 1/4″ seam, leaving the folded edges open. Clip, turn and press.
  5. Insert the free end of the wrap-around ribbon into the open end of the tab. Top-stitch the tab, catching the ribbon and stitching the folded edge closed.

Finishing Touches:

  1. Insert the binder or key rings into the book.
  2. Attach the pages in the order you have determined. (Take photos to share with everyone!)
  3. Gift wrap and give your work of art to a small-someone you love.
  4. Feel so proud to have accomplished this amazing book! Wow!

** As usual: This tutorial is for personal or charitable use only. Please do not sell items made with the Quiet Book Sew Along posts. If you wish to sell these please contact for information on how to purchase a license. Thank you!

Quiet Book Sew-Along: Page Assembly – Materials & Tutorial {Week 21}

2016 April 4

This week I’m making good on a promise I started a long time ago, I’m posting the last few tutorials for the Quiet Book Sew-Along! They have been in the works for so long. I have been delinquent in finishing the Sew-Along, and I apologize for that. I have learned a lot about what I can and cannot accomplish in a reasonable timeline in the last few years – and this was definitely something where I bit off more than I could chew.

Thankfully, the instructions for the pages are finished! So all we need to do is bind them and make the cover. After these two instructional posts, I’ll post a final overview of the whole Sew-Along. During today’s tutorial we will finish each page set for the book. Add the ribbon loops that will secure the pages to the book, stitch on the fun ribbon tabs and finish the top and bottom with bias tape.

(If you are just starting find all the information you need on this Sew-Along page.)

Before we begin/Important Notes:
  • Remember to use your iron liberally when you are sewing this book. It is going to be a work of art when you are done! Since it is thick and some of the pages will not be iron-able once you are finished with them it is advisable to take all of the care you can to remove wrinkles so they are not accidentally permanent in your final book.

Materials: (Note – the word “Ribbon” is used throughout the final assembly. I have used Grosgrain ribbon or Twill tape. Be sure to finish all ribbon ends to prevent fraying by using Fray Check or melt them carefully with a flame.)

  • Double Fold Bias Tape: 3 1/2 Yds, from the Yardage Overview
  • Ribbon Loops: Cut 1, 3″ long 1/4″ or 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon per page (if you are making all of the pages you will need 12, 33″ in total)

Assembling the Pages:

  • Stack and match your quiet book pages based on how they will fit together best. For example: Placing two very fluffy pages together might cause an overly-high bump in your book. This is the order I used, the first page mentioned is the top page, the page after the slash (/) is the bottom page – these are arranged wrong sides together. It is also good to pay attention to which side of the page will be on the outside edge of the book and which will be near the middle/spine. Pages with ribbons attached on one edge (ex. puzzle page) look best when the excess ribbons are in the centre of the book.
    • Purse or Pocket Photo Album  / Puzzle
    • Race Track (single page) / Race Track (double page – folded right sides together) / House
    • Teddy Bear / Rainbow of Colours
    • Abacus / Mitten
    • Buckle Up / Telephone
    • Tie a Shoe / Button the Flower

Finish Each Page Set:

  • Race Track Set:Since this page is different from all the others we will cover this one first.
    1. Place your single pages RST (Right Sides Together) with the double Race Track page. The Car Garage must be on the right, the other single page is whichever one you have chosen (called the “House Page” below because that’s what I used) and must be on the left. Make sure all the pages are the same way up!
    2. Remove the ribbon tabs from the House and Race Track pages and pin them on the left side of the House page. Pin as you like. I alternated my tabs so they did not all end up at the same spot when the book was finished.
    3. Fold two of the Ribbon Loops as shown and centre them on 3″ and 6″ on the right side of the House Page. They should stick out about 1/4″ over the raw edge.
    4. Set the double Race Track page aside. Align the ribbon loop side of the the House Page and Garage RST. Stitch with a 1/4″ seam, back-stitch over each ribbon loop as you sew over it to strengthen the seam. Press the seam allowance open carefully, not to melt any ribbons or embellishments.
    5. Match the double page and stitched single pages with right sides together. Trim the double page to the width of the sewn single pages if necessary. Pin the short ends and stitch with a 1/4″ seam. Again, double-stitch over the ribbon tabs to secure.
    6. Turn the pages right side out. Press and align the seamed edges, top-stitch about 1/8″ away from each edge.
    7. Align the centre seam between the single pages. Pin and stitch down this seam (stitch in the ditch) to secure it to the back page. The stitching will show down the centre of the racetrack, so choose your thread colour carefully. I used white thread and coloured over the road stitches with a black fabric marker.
    8. Trim all pages if necessary to make them even. Make sure they are still close to 9″ tall.
    9. Open the bias tape and lay it along the bottom raw edge with 1/2″ extra on each end. Stitch at 3/8″. Cut off the excess if needed, being sure to leave 1/2″.
    10. Turn the bias tape over to the other side. Fold the extra 1/2″ in to hide the raw edge, pinning or gluing to hold in place.
    11. Fold the bias tape up and stitch to finish the edge. Repeat for the top edge of the pages.
    12. Fold the pages in half and secure using the velcro on the Racetrack page.
  • All Other Page Sets:
    1. Choose a set of pages to sew together based on your assembly stack from earlier.
    2. Remove the ribbon tabs from the pages and pin them on the right side of one page (this will be the outside edge). Pin as you like. I alternated my tabs so they did not all end up at the same spot when the book was finished.
    3. Fold two of the Ribbon Loops as shown and centre them on 3″ and 6″ on the left side of the same page. They should stick out about 1/4″ over the raw edge.
    4. Place the two pages RST. Stitch the tab and ribbon edges with a 1/4″ seam. , back-stitch over each ribbon loop as you sew over it to strengthen the seam.
    5. Turn the pages right side out. Press and align the seamed edges, top-stitch about 1/8″ away from each edge.
    6. Trim pages if necessary to make them even. Make sure they are still close to 9″ tall.
    7. Follow steps 9-11 above to finish the top and bottom edges with bias tape.
    8. Finish all page sets in this way.

** As usual: This tutorial is for personal or charitable use only. Please do not sell items made with the Quiet Book Sew Along posts. If you wish to sell these please contact for information on how to purchase a license. Thank you!

The Sewing Diaries – Week 4: 12 Tips & Tricks for Sewing Knits

2016 March 31

Knit fabric is really rewarding to sew. It stretches, so the fit doesn’t have to be perfect – and it’s so comfy. (That’s my favorite part.) It has a bit of a bad rep for being tricky to sew, but with a few tips you can conquer knits on any sewing machine that has a zigzag stitch – no serger needed!

I learned a lot about sewing knits and hacked my old basic Janome SUV1122 like crazy to do it. Today’s post covers 12 Tips and Tricks for Sewing Knits that I’ve learned along the way, and how some fun features on the Skyline S7 help the process. Plus I got to make my youngest a really cute spring dress without my serger, entirely on the sewing machine!

Yikes, this girl was hard to take photos of yesterday! Every photo is her dancing around – so much fun to look through, I should really make a collage for our hallway. I suppose that even though the weather co-operated by giving us a “lovely” 14°C – I think she was a bit chilly (and a little bribed with lollipops!)

Disclaimer: A Skyline S7 has been loaned to me for the purpose of writing this series.  As with all products I write about, I will always tell you my own honest opinion. I purchased and loved Janome machines long before they contacted me. Janome has not asked me to qualify my opinions in any way. Also, the fabric for this dress was given to me for this post by my sponsor Fabric Please! Thank you for supporting my sponsors.

This week’s project was sponsored by Fabric Please!, a lovely online Canadian fabric shop with a growing selection of knits in both solids and prints. They were kind enough to indulge me when I asked to make a Soleil dress in blue for my youngest. I promised her one last fall and it’s finally getting (almost) warm enough to wear it outside.

The main dot fabric is 100% cotton Glow, Quarter Moon by Amy Butler (*oooooh!*) and the raindrops, cotton/spandex Abundance Monsoon from Bonnie Christine (*aaaaah!*). I love how the two prints play off each other, they’re so fun in this dress.

12 Tips and Tricks for Sewing Knit Fabrics

Tip #1: Ballpoint/Jersey Needle

Make sure to buy ballpoint or jersey needles for your knit projects. The tips on regular needles are sharp and will cut tiny holes in your knits. I know from experience! A couple of machine washes and there will be little holes all down your seam.

 Tip #2: Sew with a Stretch Stitch

If your machine has them available, choose a stretch stitch to sew with. This will allow your sewn seam to stretch with the stretch of the knit you are sewing. They tend to look like a lightning bolt (no’s 6 and 7 in the photo below). If your machine doesn’t have a stretch stitch, use a thin, long zigzag stitch or a triple stitch (no. 5 below) instead to allow the seam to stretch. The Skyline S7 has quite a few stretch stitches, numbers 5 – 10 and a knit stitch, no. 14 below.

Be sure to double-check your seam allowance when choosing a wide stitch (2nd photo below). The markings on your machine are based on sewing straight down the middle of the machine foot, but a wider stitch will sew to the left of that. Use your seam gauge and mark or find a new line to guide your correct seam allowance.

Tip #3: Dual Feed Device – Janome AcuFeed Flex

The AcuFeed Flex is a super-cool machine foot, and it’s the first time I’ve used a dual feed device. It is similar to a walking/even foot (next tip below), but is physically attached to the machine’s upper feed drive instead of just resting on the needle clamp screw bar. This means it is mechanically moving the top layer of fabric forward at the same speed as the feed dogs move the bottom layer of fabric forward. The results are so good! It totally eliminates the stretching you would normally get when sewing knits.

This foot is also great for seams in leather and oil cloth – both of which tend to stick to a normal presser foot. Matching plaids, quilting and seaming other slippery specialty fabrics is much easier because the layers of fabric are moving together. The dual feed can also be balanced with the dial on the side of the machine for when you are seaming two different types of fabrics and one feeds faster than the other.

Tip #4: Walking/Even Foot

This foot does a similar job to the AcuFeed Flex in Tip #3. A Walking foot is really helpful when sewing knits, and it is what I have used previous to the S7. The bar on the walking foot rests on the needle clamp screw bar, which feeds the upper layer of fabric at the same time as the feed dogs move the lower layer along.

To comment on it in comparison to the AcuFeed Flex – I do notice more stretching with the walking foot. The AcuFeed Flex is more accurate – likely due to it being directly attached to the machine’s feed drive. The fabric moves through together more mechanically with almost no slippage on the top layer of fabric.

Tip #5: Use a Twin Needle

Twin needle sewing seems complicated, but it’s not as bad as it looks! Two spools are fed down from the top of the machine and one bobbin thread stitches the bottom of the seam together. The threading path can be found in your machine manual. You can also read this post about double/twin needles and how to thread your machine, where I sewed pyjamas using my basic Janome SUV1122 a few years ago.

The twin needle stitch is really stretchy and a great option for sewing knits. It also looks really professional when used for hems and topstitching. You can get different widths of double needles. I like the one with a 1/4″ space for hemming. The 1/8″ one would be better for sewing seams.

Tip #8 – Overedge Foot

First off, my apologies for the fuzzies in this photo, oops! Moving on… This foot is great for making a serger-like overcasting stitch on both woven and knit fabrics. I used it to seam the dress’ pockets using the Knit Stitch available on the Skyline S7. The fabric runs beside the black bar on the foot making it really easy to stitch right along the edge of the fabric. You can see how it turned out in Tip #10 below!

Tip #9: Top Stitching and Edge Stitching

Straight stitches are not really recommended for sewing knits, because they don’t stretch with the fabric. However, I’ve successfully used them for topstitching with a few tweaks. (Though I’d still recommend a twin needle if the fabric is really stretchy.)

Make sure to lengthen your stitch. Instead of sewing with my general length 3, I used a length 4 straight stitch to topstitch this project. Also, it is good to slightly stretch the fabric while stitching to allow the final seam to stretch just a bit more.

Tip #6: Use Tissue Paper

If your knits are not behaving, you can place strips of tissue paper underneath (and over top!) of your seam while sewing them. Then remove the tissue once the seam is finished. This prevents the knit from being stretched by the presser foot pressure. I’ve used it a lot on hems for really stretchy thin knits.

Tip #7: Start off with a “Thread Handle”

This tip comes straight from the lovely Linda Pidzamecky, educational consultant for Janome. She gave me a really helpful tour of the Skyline S7 before I brought it home.

Starting a seam on knits can be tricky since the needle likes to bury the edge of the fabric into the needle plate. To stop this: Pull a longish spool thread out to the back of the machine, insert the needle into the fabric, and hold the thread gently while starting the seam. This has totally changed how I begin knit seams and it would work great for thin wovens and specialty fabrics as well!

Tip #10: Press and Starch

Thinner knit fabrics can tend to roll up on the edges making them hard to cut out and seam. To reduce this, use spray starch and a good pressing to unroll them enough to be able to cut out and stitch them more easily. Pressing also helps to reduce stretched seams. I stitched these two pockets below, then pressed the upper one flat with a bit of steam to show you the difference.

Tip #11: Change the Pressure of the Presser Foot

If your machine allows it, reduce the presser foot pressure to allow the knit fabric to slide through the machine with less stretching. Check your manual for how to do this and do a test seam to make sure the change in pressure will still feed the fabric through properly.

Tip #12: Use Clear Elastic

This elastic is genius! Zigzag baste it onto a seam in your knit project to reduce stretching while sewing and during wear. It is great on heavy seams like the Soleil dress waistline – where the heaviness of the gathered skirt might pull the waist seam down. It’s also great for shoulder seams in drop shoulder and dolman sleeves – again, to reduce the pull from the heavy sleeve.

Next week is going to be so much fun, I can’t wait! I’ve been collecting ideas about how to embellish your projects and I finally get to share them with you. See you then!

Zoey & Bean Fabrics – a Canadian Online Fabric Store {+ discount & giveaway!}

2016 March 29

Happy Tuesday! Today I am happy to be interviewing Kristi, owner of Zoey & Bean Fabrics and recent blog sponsor. Amazingly, this is the 18th Canadian Online Fabric Store interview – a great collection of home-grown Canadian shops!

Zoey & Bean Fabrics is offering you a discount and a bundle giveaway today! They are located in Leduc, Alberta and ship to Canada and the US. They opened recently and have a well curated growing selection of fabrics. I can’t wait to see what they order next, they already have a ton of my favorites!

Zoey & Bean opened at the end of January and is continually growing- both with new fabrics and new friends! When I’m not running Zoey & Bean, I am a wife to a nerdy bearded guy, mom to two energetic girls and one lazy bullmastiff, as well as a full time Elementary Special Education Teacher. I sell fabrics I love, I hope you love them too!” ~ Kristi, Zoey & Bean Fabrics

I love that Kristi offers Michael Miller Cotton Couture Solids. They are good solids to use for garments because they drape better than most solids available. I’m going to try them out on a kids’ summer dress soon. She also carries Riley Blake Sashing Stash, which I haven’t seen before – and wouldn’t they look great on the edge of a quilt? Plus, super cute, you can collect “beans” as part of their Rewards Program to earn discounts to the shop!

Thread Riding Hood: Why did you decide to start Zoey & Bean Fabrics?

Kristi: I’ve always loved pretty patterns and cute things. I discovered a few local fabric stores but was constantly disappointed when I could not find fabric that I actually wanted to sew with. I researched starting my own store three separate times over the past 10 years and decided it was finally time to go for it! I now get to find those pretty patterns and cute things and share them with others!

Thread Riding Hood: What is your favorite type of sewing project? Quilting, Apparel… ?

Kristi: I am a brand new quilter and won’t torture you with any pictures of misaligned seams and bunched up backing, but I have so many plans for my next quilts!

Thread Riding Hood: What is something coming up in the near future that you are especially excited about?

Kristi: Zoey & Bean’s very first curated bundle was added to the shop recently. I’m looking forward to creating more and collaborating with others for future bundles! I am also working on building Zoey & Bean’s collection of basic fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics, Lecien and Dear Stella as well as increasing the selection of colours of Michael Miller Cotton Couture.

Thread Riding Hood: Thanks Kristi! 

Go ahead and stash up on solids and your favorite blender and sashing prints with this 15% discount!

Use the discount code “TRD15″ to save 15% on your order at Zoey & Bean Fabrics until April 12, 2016! 

One lucky reader will get this amazing stash builder when they win this Michael Miller Cotton Couture 9 Fat Quarter Bundle PLUS a $25 store credit! Woot, Woot!

This giveaway is open to readers from Canada and the US, from today (March 29) until midnight April 5, 2016. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter”, no social media login entry too!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

  Thanks for reading! Don’t miss a post – come #alongforthreadride

Disclosure and Privacy Policy: Zoey & Bean recently became a Thread Riding Hood sponsor and I asked them to be part of this interview series.  I will never recommend or highlight a shop that I do not love, and my opinions will and have always been my own. Thanks for reading! 

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