Christmas, Finished Product, Free Pattern, Gift Idea

Holiday Sewing for 2012

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year.  Our home transforms into a bit of a winter wonderland, both inside and out (if Mother Nature helps out) and I love  the many traditions that are a part of this wonderful time of year.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is making gifts for various friends and family members.  I enjoy trying to come up with the “perfect” personalized gift that will bring a smile to the recipient’s face.   I thought it would be fun to share some of the holiday sewing I did this year.  It was a very busy, but fun December!  Some of these projects will be posted in future blogs as well to share more of the details and learnings I had along the way.

Christmas Stockings

Erin's Fleece Stockings I Embroidered
Erin’s Fleece Stockings I Embroidered

When I was decorating our house for Christmas, my friend, Erin, called and asked if I could put some names on some stockings she made.  I was pleased to do so and thought I would include a photo of the stockings she made out of polar fleece.  Aren’t they adorable?  I embroidered the names and then realized that I had spelled “Derik” as my son-in-law spells his name, but Erin’s Darik has an “a” instead of an “e”.  I carefully used a seam ripper to remove the “e” and repositioned the stocking on my embroidery module and inserted an “a” instead.  I was pleased the “a” and “e” take about the same amount of space, so it worked out okay and Erin’s stockings were complete!

Edited stocking - thank goodness an "e" and "a" are similar in size.
Edited stocking – thank goodness an “e” and “a” are similar in size.

While I was embroidering Erin’s stockings, I got an idea to make some stockings for our daughter, Anna, and her husband, Derik.  I texted Anna to see if she would like some stockings and she agreed.  Since they have a very contemporary style in their home, I chose to make the stockings simple, but also relevant to them.  Anna works at CM Company and builds commercial buildings.  Therefore, she views a lot of building plans.  I found a design several months ago from one of my favorite design studios, Urban Threads.  The name of the design is How to build a Heart.  I embroidered that design onto some linen fabric.  Anna’s husband, Derik, is a talented, natural artist and one of the things he enjoys drawing is trees, so I embroidered a tree on linen for his stocking.

Close-Up of embroidery stitched on linen
Close-Up of embroidery stitched on linen

I cut two pieces of decorator fabric and embroidered their names on the top and then lined each stocking with a light muslin lining.  I will post a future blog with details on how to make these stockings, if you like.

I decided to use the selvage edge of the fabric as a sort of trim for the top of the stockings as it really was pretty the way it was finished.

The completed stockings hanging on the mantle
The completed stockings hanging on the mantle

Infinity Scarves

Christmas is also a very social time and it is always fun to get together to celebrate the season.  I have a sewing group that I thoroughly enjoy and this year I decided to make the ladies each an infinity scarf.  Here’s a picture of my Sew Neato sewing group modeling their new scarves.  These are so much fun to make and easy to personalize, as you can do so simply from your fabric selections.  If you would like to make your own infinity scarf, I will provide a link to a video that shows you how at the end of this blog.

Margie, Darlene and Marsha with their infinity scarves.  Aren't they lovely?
Margie, Darlene and Marsha with their infinity scarves. Aren’t they lovely?

Christmas Dresses

As you would guess, my favorite duo to sew for are our adorable grandchildren, Belén and Eloise.  Once again this year, I made their little Christmas dresses.  Alecia had found some cute dresses online and asked if I could make them.  I combined a few patterns and drafted a final dress pattern for B’ and then scaled it down in order to use it for Eloise as well.  The dresses were tiered, with a piece of folded tulle between each gathered tier.

Eloise and Belén in their Christmas dresses
Eloise and Belén in their Christmas dresses
Eloise on the run in her dress
Eloise on the run in her dress

Since I was able to find some pretty stretch velveteen fabric, I made them without zippers or buttonholes, but instead the girls were able to just pull them over their heads. They looked so cute in their dresses and seemed to enjoy wearing them as well.



Handmade Dolls for Belén and Eloise

I decided to make dolls for the girls this year.  I saw some cute ideas in a couple different books.  I thought it would be fun to make both of the girls a doll and doll quilt for Christmas.  There will be a future blog on this as I learned a LOT and really enjoyed making both dolls.  Here are the finished products!

Eloise's Tag-A-Long doll with her doll's Amish doll
Eloise’s Tag-A-Long doll with her doll’s Amish doll

Eloise’s doll has the cutest little pigtails that stick out, very similar to the way Weezy’s pigtails look sometimes.

The fabric for her little dress is the cutest Japanese fabric that has characters from the Three Little Pigs on it.

The little Amish doll that is sitting next to the Tag-A-Long doll is from our trip to Amish country this fall.  It was the perfect size to be a doll for the Tag-A-Long and Sadie dolls.

Weezy's doll on her doll quilt, with Minky background fabric
Weezy’s doll on her doll quilt, with Minky background fabric

Of course, every doll needs to have a quilt, so I made a quick strip quilt for Eloise’s doll.  The backing for the quilt is an oh-so-soft minky fabric that helps to make their quilt every so snuggly.  I also used a wool batting in the quilt to provide a little more loft than the standard cotton batting.  I’ll tell you more about this in the upcoming blog on making these dolls.

Eloise playing with Mommy and her new doll
Eloise playing with Mommy and her new doll

It was so cute to see how excited Eloise was when she opened the present with her doll.  She giggled and immediately went to work caring for her doll, as you can see in the picture.  In no time at all, her little Tag-a-Long doll was all nestled in her little quilt with a very attentive Mommy nearby.


Belén with her Sadie doll
Belén with her Sadie doll

Belen’s doll is called Sadie and she was an exciting challenge to make.  I developed a healthy respect for the art of doll making in constructing these dolls.

The pattern designer for Sadie provided very detailed instructions for each step of the doll’s construction.  She also had a good supply list and I ordered the wool batting she recommended from Lancaster, PA.   (More details will be provided in my future doll making blog.)

One of the things I attempted to do was to make Sadie’s eyes similar to Belén’s eyes.  In order to do so, I studied the various colors that are in Belén’s beautiful blue eyes.  It’s amazing to see all the colors that our eye irises contain.  Here’s a close up of the end result of one of Sadie’s eyes.

I used at least 6-8 colors of embroidery floss to try to replicate Beléns eye color.
I used at least 6-8 colors of embroidery floss to attemp to replicate Beléns eye color.
Each strand of hair is individually attached to the head of the doll
Each strand of hair is individually attached to the head of the doll







Sadie on her doll blanket
Sadie on her doll blanket


I was was amazed at how the dolls literally started  to “come to life” as I began to stuff and stitch in all the details and various features.  Sadie has a lot more details (ten little individual fingers, etc.) than Tag-a-Long.  In addition, each strand of her hair was hand sewn and attached to the head of the doll with a 4-inch doll needle.  I have some great pictures for my upcoming doll-making blog.  Although it was extremely time consuming, I also found it very relaxing.  I couldn’t wait for the girls to finally get to see and play with their dolls on Christmas Day and they were both delighted.  Belén and I are going to have a sew afternoon and make Sadie some shoes and, of course, there are always ideas for new outfits and accessories for her doll.  The nice thing about Sadie is that since she is an 17″ doll, there are a lot of fun patterns available for clothing and accessories.  In addition, I can possibly foresee  some matching outfits for B’ and her doll, and Eloise as well!

 40th Wedding Anniversary Outfits

Anniversary Outfits for Ray & Eileen's 40th Anniversary
Anniversary Outfits for Ray & Eileen’s 40th Anniversary

 As noted in a previous post, in December we also celebrated the 40th Wedding Anniversary of our friends, Ray and Eileen, who are also the other set of grandparents for Belén and Eloise.  To help commemmorate this special day, I made the girls matching outfits for the Open House that said ” I Love (Heart) Grammy and Papa”.  They were quite the cute little hostesses, at least until bedtime rolled around.

Holiday Pillowcases

Anna, James and Martin Connington with their pillowcases
Anna, James and Martin Connington with their pillowcases

It has become a tradition that each year I make Anna and Martin Connington a pillowcase.  This year their brother, James, was also here to share the holiday with them.  Therefore, it was important to make a pillowcase for James as well.  Since James is attending college in London, I wanted to use a fabric that would remind him of the U.S.A.  I found a sexy cowgirl fabric that soon became the focal point for his pillowcase and he was thrilled.  He said it will be his new main pillowcase at school.  Anna and Martin were pleased with their pillowcases as well as you can see in the picture their mother, Montse, sent me.  What a handsome trio!



Each year I usually make a few ornaments with my embroidery machine.  Sometimes to commemorate a new member to the family, etc.   This year I made a Christmas cookie tree ornament to commemorate our the First Annual Grandma’s Cookie Decorating Tea Party.  Eileen and I had a delightful time with our 2 granddaughters and I was so pleasantly surprised when she too had an ornament made, with our photos, which I absolutely love.

Eloise's Ornament from 2011
Eloise’s Ornament from 2011
IMG_1222 - C
Photo Ornament from Eileen and felt Christmas Cookie Cutter Ornament








That’s a summary of my holiday sewing for 2012.  It was a very busy, but fun month of December.

I’m sure you too were busy with all your holiday preparations.  What were you busy making in your Santa’s workshop this year?  Please send me an email to:  [email protected] and include a photo if you like and I’ll post in a future blog!

Hope you are enjoying 2013.  I have a feeling it is going to be a great year!!!

(Here is a link to a how to video to make an infinity scarf at TheCraftyGemni.  Enjoy!)


Happy Sewing!





Finished Product, Gift Idea, New Patterns

It’s In the Bag, Bottle Bag That Is!!!

Three variations of the pattern
Three variations of the pattern

Just in time for the holidays, a very simple, fast and easy wine bag pattern, Put A Cork In It Bottle Cover pattern.  It’s easy to personalize by your choice of fabrics and/or message you embroider on the bag.  In addition, it is so much fun to make, I know you’ll make more than one.

A cork with drilled holes is used to cinch the cording around the bag (instructions are in the pattern) or you can substitute a large button instead if you are using the bag for a bottle of cider.

Back of bagTop of bag



The pattern is available online at Craftsy and at the Quilt Crossing in Boise, Idaho.

This would be an ideal gift for those “difficult-to-buy” for people on your gift list.

Happy Holiday Sewing!!!


View of bag from above




Finished Product, Gift Idea, Kitchen Accessories, New Patterns

Anna’s Apron – My New Pattern…

Last year, I made an apron for a gift exchange for our annual investment club’s Christmas party.  The girls really liked the apron I made and the final recipient said she loves to wear it because it is not only cute, but extremely practical as she no longer has to search for a kitchen towel when she is working in her kitchen.  Both of my daughters suggested that I should  create a pattern for it so I could share it with others, so…  

My first prototype of Anna's Apron with Terry Cloth Kitchen Towel and Route 66 themed fabric

I’m pleased to introduce my new pattern, Anna’s Apron.  The wonderful thing about this apron is that once you have it on, you always have a kitchen towel within your reach because it is the base of your apron.

Terry Cloth Apron with Optional Pocket

The pattern includes 2 different versions for the waistband as well as an optional pocket pattern piece and has detailed instructions and illustrations that walk you through the apron’s construction, step by step.   It is a fun and easy pattern to make.

The apron is a great gift idea and can be personalized for almost any occasion.  It is the perfect solution for those hard-to-shop for people on your gift lists. 

Anna's Apron with Woven Kitchen Towel as Base

You can also make the apron using a woven cotton kitchen towel.  I prefer the terry cloth towel because of the body and absorbency it provides and it is more wrinkle resistant. 

What I enjoy most about this pattern is that you can easily personalize the apron and really make it meaningful to the recipient,.  I have several pieces of fabric that I have collected for future aprons that will be a lot of fun to give because the theme of the fabric is relevant to the recipient.  For example, I have some fabric that has a coffee theme and the resulting apron will be a gift for my favorite coffee connoisseur.     The jumbo rickrack is a fun accent and perfect trim for this pattern.

This Apron has fabric with theme of San Francisco on Terry Cloth
Pat, my Apron Model


If you would like a  pattern, you can purchase a copy on Etsy  or by replying to this blog post.  It is also available locally in Boise at the Quilt Crossing. I think you will find this pattern to be a fun apron for yourself as well as for others.  You’ll be amazed at how handy it is to have your kitchen towel “at hand”.   I would love to see some of your finished projects and hope you will share pictures of them.   I also want to thank my friend, Pat Henderson, for being the lovely model for my apron pattern. 

Pattern Cover

I’m excited to share this new pattern with you and hope you will give it a try.

Happy Stitching!


Finished Product, Gift Idea

Anna’s New Hat – A Find from Quilt Works in Bend, OR

I have to confess, since the birth of our beautiful granddaughters, the focus for my sewing shifted, as far as sewing clothing, quilts, toys, etc.  Alecia, the mother of Belén and Eloise, occasionally has received a gift of some sort that is often associated with her girls.  Anna Marie, our youngest daughter, however, has not received a lot of handmade items from me; which made me feel a bit guilty.

To help remedy this situation, on Sunday, I made her a hat from a pattern that I found while on vacation last week.  Anna happened to drop by our house while in the area this morning.  I was delighted to see her, of course, and also excited to show her the hat I made for her. 

Anna being kind enough to model her new hat

Of course, the best complement you can receive is when someone genuinely likes the item you make for them, and I’m pleased to say, this was the case. 

Here are a couple photos of Anna Marie in her new hat.  If you look closely, the brown fabric has coffee beans with little hearts.  This is perfect for Anna as her day does not begin until she has had her coffee.

Side view of Anna's new hat
All smiles in her new hat...

 I realize the next question I will be asked is where did I get this pattern?  So, now I’ll  unveil the source for this adorable hat. 

While we were enroute to the coast last week, I had the good fortune of visiting a wonderful quilt store in Bend called Quilt Works

Quiltworks in Bend, Oregon

The owner, Marilyn, has a lovely store that is well stocked with beautiful fabric,  interesting patterns, along with wonderful models of the different patterns she carries.   While perusing her collection, I came upon a pattern called Chic Newsboy Cap and fell in love with it.  This is the pattern and models that inspired me to make Anna’s cap.

Disply at Quilt Works of Chic Newsboy Cap

In addition, Quilt Works has an ongoing Quilt Show/Museum on the second level of the store of local artists’ quilts and wall hangings and they were remarkable.  Marilyn told me that the quilts in the display are rotated periodically and feature a variety of artists.   I wish I would have taken a few pictures of some of the quilts on display as they were amazing!

Marilyn with Mary Ann

Best of all, the staff at Quilt Works was great to visit with.  Marilyn is extremely knowledgeable and helpful and a wealth of information pertaining to her fabric, samples, the patterns she carries as welll as information on the Bend Area in general.

Another view of Quilt Works

Both Marv and I really enjoyed our visit to Bend and especially to Quilt Works.  Marilyn and her team and lovely store will definitely be one of our destinations on our next trip to the beautiful Bend area.   I think Anna is pleased that we stopped there as well…

Banner above door as you leave Quilt Works

If you are in the Bend area, be sure to check it out.  I guarantee you will be glad you did!

Happy Stitching!


Finished Product, Gift Idea, New Patterns

New Kit Available – Ride ‘Em Cow Girl (or Cow Boy) Western Paper Doll Play Quilt Kit

Belén with her Western Paper Doll Quilt

For Christmas this year, I made our granddaughter, Belén, a western play quilt.  It became one of her favorite toys to play with and she really enjoys it. 

Belén dressing the dolls in her quilt.

I had several requests for a kit for the western play quilt and am pleased to announce the “Ride ‘em Cow Girl (or Cow Boy) Western Paper Doll Play Quilt” kit.

The finished play quilt is 50” x 42” with little cow boys and cow girls as the main focus on the center fabric of the quilt.  They are all ready to be dressed in their western wear that is on a separate coordinated fabric.  The coordinating outfits will be backed with fusible fleece (included in the kit), to help keep them in place, even when the quilt is in an upright position.  

Close up of Western Clothes and Gear for Paper Dolls and Horses

The cost for the kit is $59.00 and includes all the 100% cotton fabric for the quilt top and borders as well as the fabric for clothing and gear for the paper dolls and horses, including:

  • Pattern with detailed instructions for making the play quilt and western clothing and gear for dolls and horses.
  • Fabric for main focus fabric with horses, cow girls and cowboys on it.
  • Blue fabric for outside border of quilt that has boots, ropes, horseshoes & cowboy gear
  • Fabric for paper dolls’ western clothing and western gear
  • Fusible fleece for the backing of the paper doll western clothing and gear
  • I will make a custom label with your child’s name (4 lines maximum) and your own personal message that you can put on the back of your finished quilt – see sample below.  The cost for the label is $10.00.
Quilt with all the paper dolls and horses dressed

You’ll need an additional 2 ½ yards (42” fabric) or 1 ½ yards (60” fabric) for backing and 3/8 yard for binding.  (Note:   I used a minkee cowhide print for backing Belén’s play quilt.)

This is a fun project to make for your little cow poke.  It is an easy pattern to follow and sew and does not take long to complete.  Once it is finished, you’ll be amazed how well it will entertain your little buckaroo. 

Finishing Touch - Custom Label will be included with your kit

If you would like to order your kit today, please leave a comment to this blog post or send me an email at:  [email protected].

Thank you and Happy Sewing!


Bias Trim, Finished Product, Gift Idea, Kitchen Accessories, New Patterns, Serger Option

New Pattern for Cake and Casserole Carrier with Potholders

Casserole Carrier with Potholders and outer spoon pocket
Fresh off the press!!!  I’m excited to share my new pattern for a very handy item – a cake and casserole carrier.     I made one for myself many years ago and after numerous requests, have recently made it into a pattern to share with others.
This view shows the inner pocket and lining

It is an easy to make pattern for a very practical item. If you make this for yourself, you will discover that this carrier will be one of your favorite items to use to transport hot dishes or cakes to your next picnic or social event.

The pattern includes 2 versions of the carrier and potholders.  Instructions are included for 2 types of edge finishes, a bias trim edge as shown in the previous pictures and a serged edge finish as shown below.
A carrier with a serged edge finish and inside spoon pocket
 It’s also a great gift idea that will be used over and over again.   This pattern will quickly become one of your favorites and if you can’t find a pre-quilted fabric in the kitchen colors you want, you can simply make your own quilted fabric to use.  What a great way to practice your free motion quilting.
Don’t forget the pair of matching potholders…

This is also a great project to use a binder attachment, if you have one for your machine.  I was able to make the models you see in the pictures using Bernina’s Binder Attachment #88 and it worked great.The pattern is currently available at Etsy and is also available locally in Boise at the Quilt Crossing.

I will be teaching a class using this pattern on Tuesday, June 12th at the Quilt Crossing, which should be a lot of fun.  I need to caution you, this pattern can be addictive! Happy Sewing…Jane