Beginner Sewing Project, Finished Product, Free Pattern, Gift Idea, Holidays

Gift Ideas for Most Any Occasion

I’m always looking for ways to personalize my holiday gifts each year.  One easy way to do so, is to choose a themed fabric that is meaningful for the recipient.  I want to share a few gifts I made this year for Christmas, because all of these gifts could be used for most any occasion throughout the year.  Some of them have free links to free patterns.  Here are a few gift ideas to consider:

Burrito or Roll It Up Pillowcase

Choose a themed fabric and add complementing fabric for trim and cuffs.

Pillowcases are always a great gift and with the clever roll-it-up or burrito method, you can make a pillowcase in no time at all.  A great source for a free can be found at the All People Quilt site for American Patchwork and Quilting

You will be amazed at how quickly they sew together and they really are a lot of fun to make.

Ten Minute Table Runner

Several table runners folded in half lengthwise

This popular free pattern has been around for several years and is another great gift idea.  It only requires 1/3 yard of focus fabric and 1/2 yard for your border and background.

You can get a free pattern for this fast and easy project at the Utah State University Cooperative Extension website.

You can achieve some interesting variations depending on whether you fold the fabric to the front or the back when sewing the final end points as shown in the following photo.

End points folded to the front on the top table runner and to the back on the bottom table runner.


Have a good time choosing your fabrics and customizing your table runners.  This is a great beginner pattern and can be somewhat addictive!




Hopeful Hatchlings (Stuffed Animals)

There is a darling new book called Hopeful Hatchlings by Jessica George from the Sweet Brian Sisters.  The book that has patterns and instructions for 10 adorable baby animals. Each of the animals will fit inside a Zipper Egg and a pattern for the egg is also included in the book.

Our granddaughters were very quick to point out their favorite animal in the book.  I told them their selections would be part of their Christmas gifts.

Eloise chose Paddy the Penguin in her egg
Belén’s favorite was Dalton the Dragon







Choose a fun fabric for your eggs to complement the little animal who will live within.

These really are a lot of fun to make and the girls were thrilled to get theirs as you can see.

Eloise her Paddy Penguin
Belén with her Dalton the Dragon










I think there were be other Hopeful Hatchlings hatching around our house for future occasions.  They really are quite charming and somewhat addictive!

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and will be able to try some of these gift ideas.

Happy Stitching!



Family, Finished Product, Holidays

Happy Halloween 2017


The bewitching night is right around the corner so my day was spent finishing up the girls’ costumes for this year.  Here’s a sneak preview…

Final Try-On Before the Big Night!

Eloise wanted to be a fairy again this year.  (I made the girls fairy costumes a few years ago.)  I was going to make her a costume, but when we were out shopping for something else, we came upon a darling little costume that was in the exact color she wanted, so we purchased it.  I told her that we would do something special to make it look magical – so we added lights to the skirt of the costume.

Belen had seen a photo of her Mom (Alecia) and her Auntie Anna when they were little girls with some costumes I made for them.  She asked if she could please be a “Sack of Potatoes” like her Mom was in that picture.

I agreed that she could be a “Sack of Potatoes” but didn’t realize how hard it would be to find a potato gunny sack.  Apparently, they do not use burlap bags any more to store potatoes.  However, a friend of mine had one that she so generously offered for me to use.

After hand washing the bag, I put it on a drying rack to dry.  Next, I removed the stitching out of the bottom bag (the potato sack was printed so that the design was upside down) and pressed out any creases.

I trimmed off 2 1/2″ from the length of the bag and stitched in around 6 1/2″ from each end of the new “top” of the bag, leaving an open area for Belen’s head.  I waited for Belen to try the bag on to insure her head would fit and then stitched under a rolled hem around her neck opening.  (Note:  Because burlap has such a loose weave, I stay stitched the area I was about to cut first and then cut the burlap.  This really helped to hold it in place and keep it from unravelling.)

Belen was so tickled with her finished Potato Sack costume – she just beamed!

After a second Belen try-on to properly place her arm holes, I removed stitching from one side seam to create her first arm hole.  Next, I cut a hole on the opposite side for her second arm – this one was faced with a piece of linen remnant.

Her circle of potatoes that ringed her neck were created by stuffing the leg of a pair of panty hose and then stitching here and there to create the dimpling.

I used the same technique for her matching potato barrettes.  It was fun to see her reaction when she did the final try-on.


Eloise was thrilled with her illuminated fairy costume

For Eloise’s costume, I made a small quilted bag to hold the battery pack for the lights.  I put a sleeve on it and slid it onto a small belt.  This held the battery pack for her skirt in place.

Next, I sewed a buttonhole through a couple layers of the netting of the skirt to provide an opening for the string of lights.  I gently pulled the lights through the buttonhole and pinned them in place, while Eloise was trying on her outfit.

Finally, I carefully safety pinned the string of lights in place – and once they were turned on, they were quite the spectacle.  The lights were already woven into a shear mesh, which made them a lot easier to attach.

Eloise was equally excited when put on her finished costume, as you can see.

The girls are all ready for Halloween and were very excited to show their Mom and Dad their finished costumes.

Have you been doing some Halloween sewing as well?  If so, I would love to hear about it.  Wishing you an early “Happy Halloween”!

Happy Stitching!


Christmas, Family, Finished Product, Gift Idea, Holidays

A Dress for Dolly & B’

Christmas is such an exciting time of year and we feel especially blessed to be able to experience it through the eyes of our grandchildren.

Belén proudly introducing me to her doll, Caroline
Belén proudly introducing me to her doll, Caroline

This year our oldest grandchild, Belén, asked Santa Claus for an American Girl doll named Caroline.  She was absolutely ecstatic when she brought her doll to brunch on Christmas Day and proudly introduced us to her.

Belén's American Girl's Caroline Doll
Belén’s American Girl’s Caroline Doll

It just so happens that Santa gave us a tip as to what Belén wanted for Christmas, so Nana decided it would be fun to make B’ and her doll matching dresses.  I had a darling pattern from Olive Ann Designs that I had made a sun dress from and it included a matching doll dress pattern for an 18″ doll.  I decided to also make Eloise a matching dress, so she did not feel left out.  I ordered coordinating long sleeve knit tops for the girls and allowed a little extra ease in the patterns so the dresses could be worn as jumpers.

Pattern from Olive Ann Designs
Pattern from Olive Ann Designs

Each of the dresses is trimmed with a gathered row of ruffled fabric at the hemline and around the neckline.  In order to make several yards of ruffled fabric for trim, I used my roll and shell hemmer foot (#64) for my Bernina sewing machine.  It was a very fast and easy way to finish both edges of the ruffled trim.

Hemming the ruffled trim with my rolled hemmer foot.
Hemming the ruffled trim with my rolled hemmer foot.

Next, to simplify the process of gathering the trim, I used my Bernina Ruffler Foot #86 and set it on setting #6, which creates a pleat every sixth stitch in the seam.  It was almost magical to watch it quickly transform a long hemmed strip of fabric to a ruffled trim.

Using the ruffle attachment to gather the trim fabric.
Using the ruffle attachment to gather the trim fabric.

I made a couple variations on the pattern itself to simplify some of the suggested finishing steps.  If you are interested to know these, please comment and I will forward this information to you.

Belén was excited when she opened her package to find a new dress for her and she quickly tried it on with her knit top.  Then she opened a package with a matching dress for her doll and she was thrilled – as you can see…

Belén discovering Caroline's matching jumper.
Belén discovering Caroline’s matching jumper.

Eloise is 2 1/2 and has very strong opinions about things. Although she seemed to like her jumper, she was not in the mood to put it on, so here is a picture of her coordinating jumper.

Eloise's jumper with her red knit top
Eloise’s jumper with her red knit top

On the other hand, Belén danced around with her doll and was thrilled that they she and Caroline had matching outfits – and that made it all so very worthwhile.

Belén and Caroline in their matching outfits
Belén and Caroline in their matching outfits

What kind of sewing did you do for Christmas?

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and send the best holiday greetings your way!

Happy Sewing,



Trick or Treat??? Are you ready?

It’s hard to believe that October is only two days away and before you know it, we will have all those cute little ghosts and goblins at our doorstep.  I’m excited to start to plan Belén’s costume for this year.  My daughter, Alecia, (Belén’s Mom) mentioned that she was thinking about a duck as a cute costume because she loves to say “Quack, Quack” when singing the Farmer in the Dell.  She also thought the idea of a bee would be cute for our “Little B'”  so I need to do some checking at the local fabric stores and put my thinking cap on to see what is out there.  It will be alot of fun, whatever we end up making… I will keep you in the loop.

BTW, I must apologize for my lack of consistency on this blog.  I am the first to admit, I do not feel very confident blogging as there is so much I don’t know about the process.  But, my daughter has reassured me, “Mom, the best way to learn is to just do it!”  So, my friends, I hope you will bear with me as I sail through some unfamiliar territories and, hopefully, learn along the way.

So, back to Halloween…  a friend of mine forwarded on a very cute and useful link from Sew News today that I would like to share with you.  It has a link to various .pdf files that you can download to make some darling and easy masks that you can make for Halloween.  They really are adorable.. in fact, here are a few pics of some of the finished projects…  (Q:  I think it is it okay to post a pic from another source as long as you quote the source?)  If you would like to read the article and download the .pdf files, simply go to:

Halloween mask patterns

I think they are pretty cute and just may have to make up a few for fun.

Happy sewing!  😉

For the Love of Sewing, Holidays

The Adventure Begins…

Welcome 2010…

We are off to a new year and I am starting a new experience – writing a blog.   I promised myself that I would begin this journey by Q2, 2010, and my time is running out… so here goes!

My goal in writing this blog is to share my passion for sewing.  I have been sewing since I was a child.  The first experience I can remember is when my grandmother, Magdalena Sveen, traced a table knife and spoon onto one of her dish towels and then patiently introduced me to hand embroidery.   I was delighted as the faint images began to reappear in living color as I followed her original tracings with my needle.  It was magical and I was hooked.  I often wonder if she had any idea of the seed she had planted?

Now that I knew how to use a needle, I continued to explore hand sewing, making crude outfits for my Barbie doll from various scraps of fabric.  Soon I was sewing on trims, buttons and snaps and was quite proud of my stylish creations (I still have that Barbie doll and will share some of these creations in a future blog).

My interest and passion really took off when I learned how to sew on a machine in a Home Economics class in junior high school.  Sewing was not only fun, but incredibly practical and economical.  It enabled me to create my own personal wardrobe and I reproduce fashions I saw in the stores and magazines.  They were not perfect, but I was pleased and proud to wear them.  Occasionally, I would create a stir with one of my creations and I inadvertently started a trend amongst my friends when I made a pair of Bermuda shorts out of decorator fabric, with a matching headscarf.  This idea was a real hit in junior high and many of my friends copied my idea and were wearing similar outfits (with different fabric, of course) – we all thought we were pretty cool in our colorful creations!

I loved to sew!  I made clothes not only for myself, but also for some of my sisters.  There were times when I would begin an outfit on a Saturday morning and finish it so I could wear it that evening.

During my first pregnancy, I sewed up a storm to prepare for our new little addition.  And, in those days, there were no “cute” maternity shops, so if you wanted something other than a modified tent, you really had to make it yourself.  When Alecia Dawn arrived, it was so much fun to make little outfits, blankets, etc., for her.  When it was time to move Alecia to her own room, I made new gingham curtains, with matching shades and painted her furniture to match.  She was so excited to move to her new room.

Alecia sitting in her new room

After Anna Marie was born, I continued to sew and many times the girls had matching outfits for Easter, Halloween, etc.

As my blog evolves, I hope to share ideas and patterns that you can use  and personalize.  That’s what I love about sewing, you can make your projects and apply your own personal style to arrive at an end result of something that is uniquely yours.

I’m looking forward to this new adventure and hope you’ll join me!

Sew on!  😉