Saturday, June 06, 2020

Embroidery Projects.....





Several years ago while visiting Pigeon Forge, TN (in the Smoky Mountains) I found a super fun and friendly pattern shop called The Pattern Hutch.  I fell in love with a lot of the patterns they carry.  One of the pattern companies was Mac-A-Doodles.  I have come to LOVE their embroidery patterns!!!  I love the sayings, the style, the simple stitches used, etc.  I love it all!!!  I am just finishing up my third embroidery design of theirs.  After you complete the embroidery you can purchase a nice wooden frame from them to fit your work perfectly.  I really like that!  And I need to order one since this piece is now finished.







I made this one a few years ago.  It currently hangs on our wall.   I purchased the frame and I really feel like it completes the embroidery.  I enjoy having positive words and scripture on my walls.  It helps to keep my mind meditating on hopeful and joyful thoughts throughout each day.







This design hangs over our kitchen table and I enjoy looking at it every time we eat our meals!   I ordered this frame from the Mac-A-Doodles company as well.  I really like how easy it is to stitch these up and then pop them into the finished frame.  I don't have to worry about trying to find a perfect frame that fits.  I stitched all of these on muslin fabric backed with cotton quilt batting.  I put them in a simple embroidery hoop to stitch and then when finished it is super easy to frame them.  

I hope you all take some time to stitch and enjoy the simple things in life!!!  

xoxo,

Cindy





Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Fast and Easy Christmas Dress......


I have a friend that has a precious 2 year old daughter.  I wanted to make something for her but I knew it had to be fast and easy considering how close we are to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  So I turned to the Madeline dress pattern by my friend Samantha of The Handmade Dress.  I used a piece of fabric that had been in my stash for a few years.  I always thought I would make my Elisabeth a jumper out of it.....but she doesn't care much for jumpers anymore.  So I thought it would be perfect for this cute dress.  And honestly, I probably made this dress from start to finish in just 2 hours.  I can't tell you how many of these dresses I have made over the years.  I used to even make my girls Christmas nightgowns with this pattern.  Oh, and halloween costumes too!  This was one of my favorites...Pippi Longstocking!!!  Do you have a favorite pattern that you use over and over???

Happy Stitching!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Quick Kitchen Tip....


Today I have a little cooking/cleaning tip for you. I've been doing this for years and I assumed everyone else did too. But lately I've mentioned it to others and they say they have never heard of it. Since this is mostly a sewing blog and not a cooking blog, you can look at it this way.....this little tip will get you finished quicker in the kitchen so you can get back to your sewing. So here goes......

Anytime I cook something that yields a really messy pan....like today I made homemade stove-top mac and cheese for part of our lunch. The pan is always cheesy and sticky afterwards. Or, if we have to eat dinner and then head out the door somewhere....like church. I hate leaving a sink full of dishes but sometimes it happens. Or, if you are steaming vegetables and all the water boils out and your pan and its contents burn and get all yucky. I am sure that never happens in your house....but it does in mine from time to time. Or whatever else that happens to create dishes in your house that you really don't want to waste time cleaning. 

Well here is what I do.....I take my box of baking soda from my pantry and sprinkle it on the messy pan, my stack of dirty dishes, my burnt pan, etc. Then I add just a bit of water and I leave it. Yes, I just turn my back on it or walk out the door and I give it not another thought. Then when I either get back home or I am ready to tackle that burnt pan or stack of dishes, I turn the faucet on and run the pan/dishes/whatever under the water. I am telling you that whatever it was stuck to your pan or dishes will literally wash off underneath the flow from the faucet. Sure you can use your dishrag just to make you feel better...but it is rarely needed. 

You can even keep a sprinkle bottle of baking soda on your counter for this purpose...but most times I just grab my box out of the pantry. I am never without baking soda for this reason alone. And I hope you remember this little tip the next time you have messy pans or a stack of dishes you have to leave in the sink. Then you can get back to your sewing that much faster!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Quilt Binding: by Hand or Machine?




Hi Stitching Friends!!!  I have been so busy with parenting, homeschooling, and homeopathy that I have completely neglected my love of all things fabric!!!   I realize I miss it terribly!!!  So I decided I will have to be more intentional about sewing, stitching, etc.

With that in mind, I was determined to start binding this quilt today.  I pieced this quilt several years ago and finished quilting it this past summer.  All it lacks is a nice binding.  Today I started working on that.  

I often have been asked if a quilt binding should be hand-stitched or machine-stitched.  So I thought I would share my thoughts on what I do with my quilts.  




This is going to be a large lap quilt.  I tend to hand-stitch the bindings if they will not be machine-washed excessively.  So for our lap quilts I usually hand-stitch the binding because I do not expect to wash them all the time.  When I hand-stitch the binding I have a bit more control and can make sure it is nice, tight, and wrapped just right around the edge of the quilt.  And I use small hand-stitches that disappear into the backing fabric.  And an extra bonus, for me, is that it is very relaxing and therapeutic to hand-stitch!!!  




Now on the other hand, if I am making a quilt for a baby or small child (like this one I made my for second child 17 years ago), I usually machine-stitch the binding because I know it is going to be machine-washed a lot and I want the binding to be as sturdy as possible.  On the front side of the quilt I "stitch in the ditch" and hope that I catch the back folded edge of the binding with the needle on the back side.  Using my edge-stitch foot on my sewing machine makes this process so much easier!!!




The drawback is that it is a bit more difficult to get a nice and even line of stitching on the back side.  It is certainly not impossible, just a bit more tricky (for me anyway).  Another tip is instead of using straight pins, I use "Wonder Clips" by Clover, and they make the whole process easier whether I hand or machine-stitch.  

The bottom line is that there is no right or wrong answer. Rather, it is a personal choice and I think whatever motivates you to finish the quilt is the best answer!!! I machine-stitched the binding on this quilt years ago because I never would have finished it otherwise.  A finished quilt that is not perfect is better than a perfect quilt that is not finished!!!  That is how I feel about it anyway!!!  :) And remember, sewing should be fun!!!  If it is not fun you won't do it, so make it fun!!!  

Keep Stitching!!!

Monday, April 01, 2019

Easter Sewing Round-Up....



Oh Friends!!!  It is almost Easter!!!  And we know that Easter is an extra special time for people who enjoy sewing!!! :)  I have stitched a bunch of precious little Easter outfits over the years.  I thought I would show a few here and add a few links if you want to dig a bit deeper on this blog.

First though, Easter is late this year!  Do you know why?  Do you know how it's determined when Easter is every year?  I didn't know until about 15 years ago when I actually looked it up.  Easter is the first Sunday, after the first Full Moon, after the Spring Equinox.  Pretty cool!!!

Ok....so above is one of my absolute favorite little boy Easter outfits!!!  This was made with a Creations by Michie pattern #102.  Here is the link to the blog post about it.




And here is a close-up of the adorable little chick made with the mother of pearl buttons.  So cute!!!




This was a super fun dress to make.  And I really liked working with the rick rack to create the flower.  You can read all about it here and here.  And you can read the tutorial about creating the tucked hem here.  I love this technique!!!





This precious dress was not created for Easter but it would be perfect!!!  Here's the link for more information and more pictures.  This dress was fun to make because I pleated the collar fabric together with the dress fabric and left off the sleeves.  So fun!!!




Here's a sweet little bubble that stitches up super quick!  I made this as a baby gift for a family at our church at the time.  Here's the link.  This bubble is fully lined and stitches up fast!  And it could easily be made for a precious little boy or girl depending upon the colors you use.





Here's another adorable little boy outfit.  Little boys can be hard to sew for...but they don't have to be.  :)  I loved sewing for my two boys over the years!!!  You can read more about this outfit  here and here




Oh my heart!!!  Another one of my favorites!!  I have so many favorites!!!  :)  I loved this dress as it was great for a little girl who did not want a bishop dress that year.  It was so classic and beautiful!!! It was made from a Maja's Heirloom pattern called Larkin.  You can read about it here and see more pictures.




I have plenty more on the blog and I'll dig through some more if I can over the next week or so.  But I'll leave you with this dress for now because it is such a quick and fun sew.  This is made from the Children's Corner Lillian pattern.  I cannot tell you how many of these dresses I have made over the years.  I love this pattern!!!  It is fully lined and stitches up fast.  Plus it is really a blank slate and you can do SO much with it!!!  I love it!!  This one has some rick rack around it and a rick rack flower in the center.  You can read more about it here and here.  

I hope you enjoy this flashback of some of the Easter outfits I've stitched over the years.  There are plenty more.  I will try to highlight some more soon.  Until then......Happy Stitching Friends!!!

xoxo,

Cindy






Saturday, January 26, 2019

Hand-Stitched and Hand-Embroidered Handkerchiefs...


Not too long ago I decided to make a few handkerchiefs as a special gift.   I thought I could purchase some nice ones and then add some hand embroidery on them.  I had the hardest time finding any that I liked the feel of the fabric.  So I ended up making handkerchiefs.....and then I stitched on them.  The handkerchiefs were 7" x 7" finished and I used some nice batiste fabric that I already had.   I was very pleased with how they turned out.  




I flipped through various embroidery books that I have to find small design options.  And of course, I could have reduced larger images to make them the right size, too.




And I used my favorite floss colors again.  Sometimes I wonder if I use them so often just because they are easily available - meaning that I use them the most often so they are the easiest to find when I go looking for floss.  Speaking of which,  I am still using my fabulous and fun sewing pouch that I made many years ago!!!  I still love this bag!!  I usually keep a preemie gown in it that I'm working on, so if I am heading out the door I can grab the sewing pouch and have a project to work on if I have to wait while I am out.




I love how these handkerchiefs turned out.  I need to make a few for myself.  I love the idea of a cloth handkerchief.  The kids and I have embroidered many handkerchiefs over the years for their Dad.  They are a super simple project and a lot of fun!!!  I hope you will consider stitching one for a special friend and/or yourself!  

Happy Stitching!!!

P.S., I just remembered that I made another handkerchief years ago that I stitched into a cute little bonnet.  So I guess this wasn't the first time I stitched a handkerchief from scratch.  And for this one I put precious lace around the edges.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Free Directions for Smocked Christmas Ornament...



I hope you are enjoying the sights and sounds of this Christmas season!!! My favorite is hearing all four of my children playing Christmas songs on the piano!!!

This week I am working on my Christmas shopping and addressing Christmas cards to share with friends and family.  I also still have four pairs of pj pants to make for my little ones.  That has been a tradition of ours for many years.  I should do a round-up of past Christmas pjs that are here on the blog. (I have years and years of content on this blog concerning all types of sewing, tips, tricks, techniques, etc.  There's a search bar on the right side that you can use to search the entire blog.)

Anyway, although I don't have many gifts wrapped and under the tree yet....I do have this sweet smocked ornament on the tree.  I made this ornament many years ago and I still love it.  

I have basic directions for making the ornament that I shared with my local smocking guild years ago, and I'm happy to share it with you too.  Just drop me an email and I will send it to you.  I do not have the pattern for the cute little tree though.  It was in the Sew Beautiful Holiday 1988 issue.  However,  I tried to get a close-up picture so you can probably re-create it easily if you'd like.

Happy Stitching!

xoxo,
Cindy
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