I didn’t know I liked making quilts, but, it seems like I’ve been hit by the bug!
Before this year, I had made a lot of quilt piles. Little sets of fabric that must-never-be-separated because I wanted them to be made into something. I collected these for years until a few months ago I had had enough. Enough piles, enough scraps… I could never see myself finishing all of my piles and that was discouraging.
Around Christmas, I decided to make a scrap quilt and posted a few photos on Instagram as I worked – followed a few weeks ago by the sewn quilt top. I love it, despite a few things (I’ll not mention) that are driving me crazy! Now all I need to do is sew the quilt back and (I think) do some very simple in the ditch or straight line quilting. It’s a queen size, and despite my machine having a large throat space, I’m still nervous to try any free motion quilting on something this large.
That quilt got me started… the bug took on a life of its own and, in January, I decided to join 3 quilt samplers. It helped that my sponsor Sew Sisters asked me to design a block for their Canadian Sampler – Block of the Month. As part of the deal, I get to take part in the sampler and receive all of the block patterns. I had no idea it would be so addicting! (By the way, this round of registrations for the Canadian Sampler closes in just a few days at the end of February!)
I finally figured out why… Turns out I love the “mystery” behind following lots of little instructions to get the final block, but not making tons of the same block over and over again – the only kind of quilting I knew before now.
(Oh, and I also love 12″ blocks, because they are BIG and you don’t need a lot of them to make something!)
Here are the details for each sampler:
- Sew Sisters Quilt Shop (Canadian!) - The Canadian Sampler - 2 blocks sent monthly (paid subscription, paper pattern)
- I’ll be making all 20 blocks, and am excited to show you my block when it’s released.
- Sew Fresh Quilts (Canadian!) – Have a Jolly Little Christmas- bi-weekly block on Saturdays
- I am making most of these, but not all of them, in a blue and gray palette. Hopefully something different and fun for a Christmas Quilt!
- Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland - Sewcial Bee Sampler - weekly block on Wednesdays
- I will make all of these, but I’m not adding the framing pieces until I find the perfect fabric for it. Something pink and yellow I think!
I’m hoping to post monthly photos and explanations where necessary all year. So you can keep me accountable, and feel free to bug me if I forget *please do!* You can follow me along in “real-time” on Instagram too if you’d like.
Maybe some of you want to join me? I’ve linked all of the Samplers and blocks so you can find the tutorials. If you’re sewing along let me know, I’d love to see what your versions look like.
2017 Samplers – Update No. 1
January: Pacific Stars by Daphne Greig, Patchworks Studio
January: Keep’n Warm by Sandy Whitelaw, Upstairs Hobby Room
Block 1: Christmas Stockings
Block 2: Winter Mittens
Block 3: Christmas Bow
Block 1: Patience Corners
Block 2: A Dandy
Sometimes you don’t get what you expect! I put a cat-ear headband on my youngest for this photoshoot. Turns out that means she has to act like a cat in all of the photos! Of course… *facepalm* Anyhow – it was super cute, and she had fun, so all in all, win for both of us!
While writing the Fat Quarter Skirt pattern, I thought up a ton of ideas for embellishments and ideas for how to make it. Enter my lovely pattern testers and they suggested even more options! So, with no further ado, today I’m introducing the… *drum roll please!*
Fat Quarter Skirt Pattern Inspiration Series (#FQSPinspiration)
I’ll be posting a tutorial or some tips every couple of weeks. ‘Specially made to work with the Fat Quarter Skirt pattern – but of course, to be used as inspiration with your own skirt patterns as well.
Today’s Inspiration: Winter! (How to Sew a Fleece Fat Quarter Skirt)
The Fat Quarter Skirt isn’t just for warm weather. Sew up a fleece version that is even-faster-than-the-original – you don’t need to finish your seams, plus, check out the tips below to skip pressing too!
Fleece is so cozy, plus it adds warmth to the perfect winter outfit. Pair it with leggings and boots, or tights and heels. Your little one will love how fluffy it is – plus it twirls!
As you sew, these four tips will help you sew the perfect Fleece Skirt!
Sew most of your fat quarter skirt as is noting the tips below. You can even skip any pattern notes that involve finishing the seam allowances. Fleece does not fray, so you won’t need to zig-zag or serge the edges. In fact, serging them can make them more scratchy!
Contrast Band – Step 3
Fleece seam allowances are thick! Pin the contrast band seam allowances so they do not overlap to help thin them out. When matching the contrast band seams with the main skirt side seams, open the skirt side seam and then pin them well before sewing.
Elastic Casing – Step 4
Open each seam when matching them up to help distribute the thick fleece. Pin well so they match up once they’re sewn!
Avoid pressing! – Skip turning the edge of the casing under in step 4(c). Instead, turn the whole casing over as shown in step 4(d). When it is time to stitch the casing in step 4(f), stitch 1 1/4″ away from the top edge, leaving 1/2″ of raw-edged fleece underneath.
Sew the rest of your Fat Quarter Skirt as shown in the pattern and enjoy it!
You can also check out the pattern tester’s Fat Quarter Skirts for more inspiration.
If you have any other fleece sewing tips, please let us know in the comments below!
It’s extra fun when a random happening turns into something for my youngest and you too. Spoiler alert: There’s a discount code and giveaway in this post!
My youngest kinda gets the short end of the stick with clothing. The girls they have reached a stage where they both wear basically the same size clothing. This means my oldest rarely “grows out” of something while it still fits the little one. Ready-to-wear clothing isn’t the simplest solution, I end up hemming or altering a lot and may as well have made it myself!
This brings us to a happy coincidence, 1) the cutest robe pattern – she’s been wanting one for ages, and 2) yards (and yards) of gray fleece already in my stash!
I found the Pollywoggles Patterns Finley and Quinn robe on my friend Rachelle’s blog, That’s Sew Venice. It was quick to make, I cut it out and sewed it all the same evening. Since I made mine from fleece, the seam allowances don’t fray and don’t need finishing – one less step to do. Plus, I made a size too big, so it would last longer!
I have to say (not a #sponsoredpost) that I was really impressed with the instructions and photos for this pattern. Everything is very clear with lots of notations for how to make your sewing easier. For example, attaching the collar worried me once I saw it was a separate piece set into the front of the robe. I’ve had bad experiences sewing these square corners into clothing and was very relieved to make my way through the steps simply and quickly.
Here are a few other things I like about the Finley and Quinn robe pattern:
- The professional finish. It includes a loop for hanging, belt loops, and the inset collar looks great and lays well. A quick extra step for the loops and belt allows them to be flatter with the seam allowances in the center rather than on the side of the loop.
- You can tell a lot of thought was put into it. Heidi, the designer, talks about sewing the belt onto the back of the robe because her kids would otherwise lose it or use it to tie something up. Hers and mine too! I appreciate her thinking about how it would get used and providing a solution for it.
- The size range. The pattern fits sizes 12-18 months through 10. And it wouldn’t be hard to upsize it yourself since it is a loose fitting garment. And how cute would this be on a 1-year-old!
- There are lots of tips and tricks. This pattern includes a section on how to blend sizes and sew with stretch fabrics, plus notes throughout. It also includes 3 ways to attach the pockets – so you can pick the one that works best for your fabric.
- Pollywoggles Patterns is Canadian! I love writing about the Canadian sewing community!
- I totally forgot to sew the sleeve cuffs and just realized that as I’m writing this. I meant to check the length on my daughter and finish it up. (Note to self: You should really do that!)
- I kind of messed up the inset collar a bit by rushing (late night) and not pinning enough. Next time I’ll be more careful. I fixed the sections that the straight stitch didn’t catch with a wide fancy stitch on the Janome Skyline S9 I have on loan.
My little one is very happy with her new robe, and I’m pleased to have found a great pattern designer! In fact, I’ve already planning to use another one of her patterns – but it’s a secret, so you’ll have to wait until the end of April or early May to find out. Eeeek, I’m so excited!
When I was preparing to write about this robe, I emailed Heidi to ask if she would like to provide a discount and giveaway for you and she said “Yes!” So, many thanks to Heidi, you can try out her patterns for yourself at a discount and also take a shot at winning one of them too!
Visit Pollywoggles Patterns and use the discount code “POLLYWOGGLES” to get 15% off store-wide! Valid today through Friday Feb. 17, 2017 at midnight EST.
One lucky winner will receive a Pollywoggles Pattern of their choice!
This giveaway is open to everyone, from today until February 20, 2017, at midnight EST. 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!
You can never have too many zipper pouches! What does this have to do with a blanket stitch, you ask? Well, you could add a cute applique to your latest zipper pouch! (See what I did there?! #fullcircle)
I made this cute pouch as a good excuse to be creative and use a cute applique heart I made a few months ago. One of my latest Craftsy Sewing blog posts is a tutorial on how to sew a Blanket Stitch and use it three ways. Way number two was to use it to finish the edges of an applique – resulting in this ultra-cute heart – if I do say so myself!
Figuring that it would need to be made into something sooner or later, Valentine’s Day presented itself and I pulled out some stashed fabric to play with. The bunting fabric is perfect and I love it! It’s Kelly Panacci’s Tree Party line for Riley Blake fabrics and there was just enough left over from making my kids’ Cargo Duffles.
Did you see the tiny Heather Ross strawberry on the pouch’s bum? My kids think is hilarious, and I think it’s pretty funny too! But maybe it’s just the happy vibes from “making a cute pouch with no plan in mind” talking. *grin*
Check out the Blanket Stitch tutorial. You might be surprised, I didn’t know it could be so versatile – and despite my prior feelings, I’m slowly learning hand-sewing is relaxing. Give it a try!
I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
Sometimes I make something on the fly, while my kids are in school, and it fails miserably. I try to rework it, and even take photos. Then I don’t post about it on the blog because, well… it failed. It’s frustrating that I spent so much time on it – and I can’t say anything positive, really. So I don’t.
Then I find the photos 2 years later and decide it’s a good opportunity to write about something that failed… funny how your perspective on “a good post” changes over the years!
These hats look cute – they even seem like they might be perfect, but the amount of trouble they caused was… well – here’s the story. (With numbered sewing fails!)
It was the winter of 2015 and my kids were at school. I wanted to create some cute unicorn winter hats for them, since “everyone” was wearing one! I had a hat pattern from a year previous (1) and a few hats to trace (2) for samples. I was set and proceeded to cut the only fabric in my stash that would be the right colour, a nice white fleece (3). Lengths and lengths of shiny knit were cut for the unicorn mane, ears sewn and horns created (4). The kids arrived home from school and tried them on, much to my dismay they didn’t fit! (5) Not to be deterred I took them apart and tried to resize them. (6) They were better, but the horns kept falling apart. (7) They didn’t get worn a lot. (8) Eventually, we gave them away, or threw them out – I can’t even remember now! It’s been bugging me ever since.
Eeep! Here’s a breakdown of what went wrong:
(1) Right – don’t use a pattern sized to your child from the year before. And don’t use the older child’s sizing to guess the younger child’s sizing… In general, I don’t make things while they are at school without double-checking the size first anymore.
(2) So, the traced hats had a different stretch than the fabric I was using for the hats. Super unfortunate – since the hats had a lot of stretch I made the fleece version way too tight.
(3) Nice white fleece + children = Nice dirty fleece – ‘nuf said!
(4) The horns were surprisingly difficult to create! It was hard to know how big to make them. Then I couldn’t make them stand up properly. I ended up hand stitching them to the top of the hat – but they fell over. Plus, the strip of knit I used to create the rings on the horn kept coming off.
(5) My size guessing resulted in hats that were too short and not big enough around.
(6) My awesome brainwave was now not working. I was demotivated to fix them and so disappointed that all that time I’d spent was seemingly wasted. Instead of fixing them properly, unfortunately I chose to do a sloppy job of trying to fix them.
(7) See (4)! I really should have hand sewn the knit wrapping the horn, but of course – that would require patience, which I was now out of.
(8) The hats were not really comfortable. Which in kid-language = not worn.
So there you have it, the story of the ”Failed Unicorn Hats of 2015″ – to go down in history. (Or not!)
Sometimes things go wrong, and it is not fun and time is “wasted”. And you have to move on. But I will always remember those crazy hats – because they were going to be so cute! And I still might be a bit disappointed that they didn’t turn out…
Do you have any sewing fails you still remember? Do share!
It’s almost February’s “Day of Love” and Valentine’s Day can kinda get a bit of a bad rep sometimes… This year, take matters into your own hands and treat yourself!
Around here, Selfish Sewing can often get put on the back burner. Well, to be honest, the back of the sewing table – or in project piles in the closet, for longer than I’d like. Everyone else (and the laundry) seems to take priority!
Here’s a little help to stop the cycle, click over to my latest Craftsy post to find 10 inspirational sewing patterns you can make to treat yourself this year. There are options for everyone, whether you are getting ready for date night or staying in!
Take the night off, grab a cup of tea and some fresh
flowers floral fabric and sew!
This post makes my week. Wednesday’s Fat Quarter Skirt pattern release post has everything you need to know (+ some cute pictures), but today I get to truly share my excitement with you!
Getting pattern tester photos in my email is like Christmas! It’s so fun to see what they have created. It reminds me how great our sewing community is. I am so grateful for all of their hard work, double-checking my measurements and finding new and better ways to do things.
Working together has made this pattern better that I could have alone, 2 whole pages longer, and more beginner friendly. The very hardest part of my job was to go through and pick one or two photos from each of them to share. So, especially to the pattern testers… Thank you for helping to make this release a success! And thank you for all your kind words!
Purchase the Fat Quarter Skirt PDF Pattern – $8.50 CDN
Enjoy the cuteness!
Sewn by Barbara. (Find her on Instagram)
Love, Love the twirl! The kittens and sea-foam green are perfect together. Plus, I think I need some of her shoes in my size!
Sewn by Lauren.
Lauren has made 4 skirts already! Including one with a matching bib. It was so hard to pick which ones to show you!
Sewn by Maire.
Mermaids and bright colours, my girls would love this skirt. Also, I’m wishing it was this warm in my part of the world!
Sewn by Bev.
Happy Birthday Canada! I’m so glad Bev chose to use this fabric for her skirt. Check out the perfect folding and sewing on the contrast band. Wow!
Tiny skirts on little people! Gah! She’s so cute. Makes me wish my little ones were still little! The little bit of extra width on the smaller sizes makes a nice full twirly skirt.
Sewn by Francesca. (Find her on Instagram.)
The combination of fabrics here looks so Bright and Happy! Great choices Francesca!
There’s something about little ones in black and white that is just perfect! I love the upward stripe Mirjam chose to use here. This skirt would go with almost any outfit!
Sewn by Monique.
Monique’s model wasn’t available, but that didn’t stop her – this skirt fits on the life-size doll her daughter’s grandmother gave her. And yes, I am drooling over the amazing machine and sewing box too!
Sewn by Nikki.
I’ve got to get me some of this bird fabric! The contrast band is just perfect with it.
Sewn by Simone.
This little one looks like she’s enjoying her skirt! Seriously – could it get any happier than this?! No questions here!
Sewn by Andrea. (Find her on Instagram.)
Is that Tula Pink fabric I spy?! Gorgeous! And I love Andrea’s idea to add a ribbon tag and size marking to the back of the skirt!
Sewn by Jessica.
The Minnie Mouse fabric is fabulous and you can’t go wrong with Swiss Dots! Plus, look at her tiny feet!
Sewn by Julie.
These look like super warm cozy flannel. Great idea Julie! They’re so cute!
Sewn by Liz.
This little super hero is decked out for action! Love that Liz added a row of baby rickrack, it’s so cute!
Sewn by Robin.
This sunny skirt is sure to be loved by its new owner. I hope she likes twirling!
Cutest! In her blog post Tori says, “It is also TWIRL-TASTIC!! (Niece S approves!!)” She has written a great review of the pattern, check it out to find out more!
Sewn by Alison.
This fabric is great for a little dinosaur-lover! I’m sure they’re going to love it. Thank you Alison!
Sewn by Danielle. (Find her on: Instagram)
Gah! Sloths! This fabric is so fun! And each sister got a skirt, way to go Danielle! In my house new patterns usually “need” to be sewn for both sisters too!
Kelly sewed this skirt from her latest fabric collection – “Road Trip” for Riley Blake Designs. The vertical strip is so fun! I happen to have gotten some of her fabric to play with too, and I can’t wait! I also made some Cargo Duffles with her “Tree Party” collection.
Sewn by Melody.
I love this puzzle piece fabric, makes me want to see if I can put it together! Either way, these prints are great together. And I love Melody’s careful top-stitching.
Sewn by Pam.
This skirt is the perfect shades of lavender to go with everything. I bet she’s loving it!
Sewn by Susan.
Such a cute outfit, way to go Susan! This little one even got a matching bow to go with her new skirt!
Sewn by Aurelie.
The embellishments Aurelie added are so good. Can’t go wrong with pompom trim and pockets! The yellow pops right off the print, it’s perfect!
Sewn by Elena. (Find her on Rascando Horas)
This skirt is perfect with tights for winter. Love the cute dog in the photo too! Elena was one of the first testers to blog about this skirt, she provides summer and winter styling for it + a twirly photo!
Sewn by Laura. (Find her on Instagram)
These bold large scale prints look great here! So summery, and still great with leggings for colder weather.
Sewn by Stacey. (Find her on Instagram)
Love yellow and pink together! And this fabric looks extra comfy with its textured pattern.
Sewn by Gillian. (Find her at Tall Tales of the Kantor Family)
This grin. How can you resist?! Her mom said her daughter “… would like to add that, as you mentioned in the pattern, the skirt is definitely great for twirling.” They took advantage of the separate casing and used a fun contrasting fabric there too. *Update: Gillian has blogged about the skirt! Find more about her experience sewing with her daughter.*
Sewn by Jen.
Rainboots, Love it! These fabrics are so cute together. I happen to know this little girl in real life and her mom said she was excited to wear her new skirt the very next day.
I totally need this girl’s style! Love the boots! The mixy-matchy print-on-print skirt is perfect.
Sewn by Tiffany. (Find her on Instagram)
This little girl is ready for Valentine’s Day with the most adorable cozy outfit. Love the tiny envelopes in the fabric!
Purchase the Fat Quarter Skirt PDF Pattern – $8.50 CDN
I’m so glad that so many of you love the Fat Quarter Skirt and I’m excited to keep seeing them popping up around the interwebs. I would love to see your photos! Link over to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links below) using the hashtags #fatquarterskirt, #alongforthreadride and/or #threadridinghood. Thank you!
The Fat Quarter Skirt pattern is now available!
This skirt pattern has been a favorite at our house for years. Combine just two fat quarters of fabric (commonly stashed in many sewing rooms!) to fit a child wearing sizes 2-6. My girls love wearing them with sweaters and leggings in the winter and t-shirts in the summer time. I love that it is cost-effective and quick sew.
“The only thing that would have made this pattern better was less choice in my stash so I could decide faster!” ~ Stacey, pattern tester
This “twirl-friendly” skirt has a fun contrast band at the bottom and an easy-to-fit elastic waistband. It is a simple, beginner-friendly pattern with a few tricks to keep it easy and fun. Great for quilters who haven’t had garment sewing experience and would like a simple starter project – it even has a 1/4″ seam allowance! Or, are you teaching your kids to sew? It’s simple enough for them to understand as well.
Purchase the Fat Quarter Skirt PDF Pattern – $8.50 CDN
“… love that my four-year-old could help out a little… she assisted in fabric selection, cutting and a couple of side seams. Great for learning!” ~ Gillian, pattern tester
This skirt features 5 sizes, child’s 2-6, to create a skirt that is 9-11 1/2″ (23-30cm) long. The easily adjusted elastic waistband fits your child perfectly, and it makes dressing easier too! A hidden casing is simple to sew and the hem band eliminates the need to press multiple folds, plus it adds a cute pop of colour!
Expect lots of tips and tricks throughout, a glossary of terms, recommended best practices and instructions geared towards an absolute beginner. This pattern is truly a quick sew – allow yourself just 1-3 hours to finish, including your fabric cutting time. It’s also a great stash-buster, requiring only 2 fat quarters and a length of elastic… things you probably already have in your stash.
“I like your little extras like the “seam allowance icon” and the “check boxes”. Great ideas!” ~ Kelly, pattern tester
Here is what you can expect when you purchase the instant PDF Pattern download:
- An 8 page PDF pattern e-book with clear instructions.
- No pattern pieces to print out! Use the easy-to-follow cutting chart.
- Simple, detailed instructions to help you complete each step.
- Clearly marked colour photos to illustrate the step-by-step process.
- Both metric and imperial measurements throughout.
- This e-book is viewable on your mobile device, or print to letter size or A4 paper.
- Granny’s Sewing Basket – highlights Notes and Tips to make your project faster and easier! (introduction to Granny)
- Large seam allowance icons throughout, no more searching when you forget.
- Check boxes in all lists and for each step, for those of you who love to keep track of your progress.
- This pattern includes a limited production seller’s license.
“It was a lovely, quick project that was nice to do in between other projects. And who doesn’t love a quick, cute, easy to complete project?” ~ Monique, pattern tester
- 1 fat quarter for the main skirt
- 1 fat quarter for the contrast band and casing
- thread (for sewing and edge-stitching)
- 1 yard (metre) of 3/4″ (20 mm) elastic (non-roll recommended)
- safety pin, bodkin for threading elastic
- scissors, sewing machine, pins, ruler, iron, pressing surface etc.
“I love it! What a great stash buster.” ~ Liz, pattern tester
Purchase the Fat Quarter Skirt PDF Pattern – $8.50 CDN
If you need any more information or help throughout the pattern I am always available – please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Since January is almost over (say what?!) I’m going to post my almost-to-last beginner-friendly post today. So far we’ve covered off some fun beginner stuff…
So… how about using those skills to make a fun project? I write for the Craftsy Sewing Blog - which is a great resource, and I’m not just saying that because I write for it! In addition to selling classes, Craftsy also publishes a sewing blog with informational articles, quizzes, freebies and more. Lots to do and learn there! (+ they have a Quilting Blog, and one for knitting, baking, art…)
Anyhow, (tangent over) I wrote a round-up article recently with 12 free beginner-friendly projects and I thought I’d share it here. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t gently remind you all of some of the beginner sewing projects I’ve written too, though I am not great at self-promotion. (It just feels weird!) Here are a few things you might like, with the link to the 12 free Craftsy patterns at the bottom.
These patterns aren’t just for beginners! They make a great quick project for an experienced sewer.
Oh… and a quick plug for the very Beginner Friendly Fat Quarter Skirt pattern – since I’m right in the middle of finishing it up. It’s going to be released this Wednesday, February 1st and I can’t wait to show you the cute, cute tester photos I’m staring at right now. Be sure to follow me on Instagram or Facebook so you won’t miss the pattern release!
What is your favorite beginner project or pattern?
Though it is possible to sew on a button with your sewing machine (Bonus!) this post focuses on good old-fashioned hand sewing. I do think, however, that “old-fashioned” is coming back in style. There’s a lot of hand sewing going on across the interwebs.
Mending your own clothes is super rewarding and cost-effective. It’s a great skill to have, and isn’t gender or age specific! With just a needle, thread and a new button, you’ll be finished in no time.
Tip: If you are traveling, a lot of hotels will provide a sewing kit at no extra cost – for those button up shirt emergencies!
A funny hand-mending story – My husband and I went on a special trip to Jamaica for our 10th wedding Anniversary a few years ago. We’d planned for ages, but of course didn’t start packing until the last minute. In the rush, I forgot to hem the new linen pants I’d bought the week before. Once we got there I realized I was going to have to hand hem them with the resort-provided sewing kit. Meaning black, blue, red, or white thread for my turquoise pants – Ha!
Not letting that stop me, I proceeded to hand-hem the wide leg only to run out of “matching” blue thread in the first 2/3′s of the way around. Not being deterred, (I was going to wear those pants!) I finished the hem using all the black, then red thread. Thankfully it was a blind hem and didn’t matter too much. Finally finished, I tried them on only to discover I’d spent 45 minutes hemming them 1 1/2″ too short! Argh! I wore them anyways and fixed them when I got home… goes to show you should always double-check the length of your hem, or (ya know) not rush so much!
Any other tips for travel mending emergencies?