Archive | Sewing RSS feed for this section

Farm Fresh Baby Shoes

12 Mar

We’ve had some beautiful weather here lately, and with it I’ve been bitten by the sewing bug. It all started with a baby. Not mine! But a beautiful little girl who was born just a couple of weeks ago.

This little sweetie had the cutest feet. What is it about baby feet? So I started digging around for a pattern for baby shoes, similar to the Robeez (or the Target knock-offs my little man wears sometimes). And I found one, because the internet is an amazing place and chances are some kind soul has done whatever it is you want to do and posted about it.

I chose a fabric from Riley Blake for the outers. It’s from her Farm Fresh line and I love the sweet country feel of it. Lots of aqua, yellow, rose and pink, sage green, gingham… The inside is a chocolate brown minky velour, left over from a blanket I made for our son (the other side of that blanket was also Riley Blake – I believe Hooty Hoot in flannel.). I chose a pinkish red wool blend felt for the soles, since newborn babies don’t do much walking.

I love these shoes.

I want to make some in every fabric I have. Must. Resist.

Want to try a pair? Here’s the pattern from Stardust Shoes.



What I’ve Been Up To…

29 May

I wanted a lighter-weight diaper bag because I kept hitting random people in the grocery store checkout with my 5-pound glazed Petunia Picklebottom backpack…
Diaper bag sewing

Pleated diaper bag

This door leads from our kitchen to our laundry room. It’s always open so the cats can use the litter box, but the visual clutter from the shelves of cleaning supplies and kitchen storage was driving me crazy. This curtain helps hide it. It’s a twin sheet from Target, hemmed and hung on a tension rod. The tie-back matches our cafe kitchen curtains.
Kitchen curtain in doorway

My friend recently graduated so I whipped up this handy business card case. Now I want one! Not that I have business cards.
Sewing business card case

Sewing business card case

I’ve been taking the kids for long walks lately to help my daughter run off some steam. The other day we saw a crow on our walk and started talking about what a crow’s nest might look like, what color the eggs would be, etc. So after nap we sat down and painted a crow’s nest. We didn’t have any black paint; brown crows look a little less… uhhh…. greasy? anyway. I painted the crows, tree trunk and cloud; my 3-year-old did the rest.
Preschool art

The eggs hatched…
Preschool art

That’s all for now. Hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend!

Springtime Felt Finger Puppets

7 Apr

Felt finger puppet bunny chick pig

I love springtime. I love pastel Easter eggs, bunnies, chicks and little piggies. (Pssst… I love bacon. But don’t tell that to the little pink one on the right. He already looks a little high-strung.)

I also love felt – soft, comforting, colorful felt. I have lots of scraps left over from when I made my daughter a felt “paper” doll set, so when I saw a photo of felt finger puppets in Kata Golda’s Hand-Stitched Felt: 25 Whimsical Sewing Projects, I decided to give it a try.

The book has patterns for a little mouse, but I wanted to make Easter-themed felt finger puppets instead. So I did these freestyle. The bunny, pig and chick are three different sizes; all three can fit on either an adult finger or a child one.

Felt finger puppet bunny chick pig

All you need are some felt scraps, embroidery thread and a needle, scissors, and peace and quiet for about 30 minutes. Because that’s about how long it will take you to make one of these little guys, once you get started. I just used a basic running stitch, the whip stitch, and the satin stitch for the eyes, the bunny’s nose, the inside of the pig’s ears and his nostrils. Stitch the face details first – I think freehand stitching makes for a fun and interesting expression – then attach the front and back pieces and whip stitch them together, leaving the bottom open. If your creation has ears, attach them when joining the front and back. You can make this as simple or as complicated as you like. I vote simple.

(Note: If there’s interest I’ll try to create a basic pattern for these. Just post in the comments if it’s something you would use.)

These would make a cheerful addition to an Easter basket or even a springtime flower arrangement. So hop to it! Felt finger puppet bunny chick pig

I Spy a Super Quiet Toy

2 Apr

I Spy Bag

Ahhh, do you hear that?


It’s the sound of a child quietly playing with a favorite toy – a toy that doesn’t have flashing lights or music so loud you have to put a piece of tape over it to muffle the sound. That is my kind of toy.

I Spy bag

Don’t get me wrong. I believe a child’s work is to play, and play often and with joy and exuberance. It’s not the child I am hoping to silence, but the toy.

And one of the best quiet toys I’ve found is the I Spy bag. A while back I did a swap with a fellow sewing mom – her son received a crayon roll and my daughter an I Spy bag. This toy has lived in my diaper bag for well over a year and it hasn’t lost its allure. We bring it out at doctor’s appointments, car rides, and cart rides.

I Spy Bags

Recently I bought a new sewing machine (the Brother CS6000i Sew Advance Sew Affordable 60-Stitch Computerized Free-Arm Sewing Machine), which I love so far and would recommend if you are in the market for an inexpensive hobby machine. So I decided to break it in (and end my four-month sewing hiatus/babymoon) by sewing vinyl. Smart, no? I quickly found myself Google-ing “how to sew vinyl without driving yourself to the madhouse and destroying your project” and discovered this tip for sewing with vinyl. Hooray!

Essentially your standard I Spy bag consists of fabric of your choice (fleece from Jo-Ann), a vinyl window (I went with 20 gauge and also found it at Jo-Ann), clear plastic pellets (hmmm… Jo-Ann), and a variety of trinkets to be found among the pellets (fine, Jo-Ann was having its big weekend sale and I went a little overboard). I found a variety of tutorials on the bags using both cotton and fleece and tried it both ways. I found the fleece easier to work with since there aren’t fraying edges to contend with.

I Spy Bags

Here’s my ultra-basic tutorial sans photos. Use your imagination!
1. Cut two matching pieces from your fabric. Mine were around 6″ by 8″ to give myself some room to mess up pink the edges.
2. Trace a shape in the middle of one of your pieces and cut it out. This will be your window. It can be any shape but let’s face it, rectangles are far easier to sew around than circles.
3. Cut a piece of vinyl (larger than your window with at least an inch to spare around each side) and, using the tip above for sewing vinyl OR a teflon foot, attach the vinyl to the fleece. Be careful with your stitching – you do not want to end up with a bazillion poly pellets buried in your carpet or scattered across the floor at Costco. I double stitched for added security.
4. Cut the excess vinyl.
5. Place the two pieces of fabric wrong sides together and stitch around three sides. Fill partially with pellets and trinkets, sew the fourth side together. Don’t stuff it with too many pellets or it will be difficult to find the trinkets. At this point I added a second row of stitching around the first one, and used pinking shears to pretty it up.

These would be a fun addition to Easter baskets, don’t you think?

I spy bag

I Spy bag

A Pleated Pouch

18 Oct

Pleated zippered pouch tutorial

If you like to sew but you’ve never braved a zipper before, this little pleated pouch tutorial is a great place to start. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even use a zipper foot (as the tutorial called for) and was just very careful to place the foot as close to the edge of the zipper as possible.

I love the versatility of this pouch. Increase or decrease the size, add some straps and make it into a little shoulder bag, dress up the fabric and lining for an evening clutch. Endless possibilities!

I discovered a perfectly sized piece of fabric from the Amy Butler Love collection, Water Bouquet in Midnight, in my stash. Lined with a coordinating pinkish lavender, this pleated pouch was the perfect wrapping for a pair of tiny hoop earrings for my beautiful sister’s birthday.

Pleated zippered pouch tutorial

Make it in an Hour: Tutu Tutorials

15 Oct
Tutu tutorial

Halloween 2009

We’ve been sorting through our closets this week, and one of the things I dug out was the shoes I wore at our wedding. I’ve been holding on to them for 4 1/2 years now, for no good reason really. They don’t go with jeans and they’re a little too dressy for dinner at Jalapenos.

I handed them to Kaitlyn and told her she could keep them. Her eyes widened and she said, “Oh THANK YOU Mommy, THANK YOU!” She immediately put them on and starting shuffling around the house. On a whim, I dug out the tutu I made for her last Halloween. Honestly, this was such a hit I should have just put it all in a box and given it to her for Christmas. She wears it up until bath time and pulls it on first thing in the morning.

Toddler tutu tutorial

You can find hundreds of tutus for sale on Etsy or at boutique shops for $20 and up, but I’m here to tell you that this is a project you can – and should – do yourself! Once you have your supplies you should be able to bust one out within an hour. The longest part of the process is cutting the tulle. I was being super thrifty last year so I bought tulle off the bolt, which meant I had to cut it in width and length. If you’re wanting to make a tutu in specific colors, for example black and orange for Halloween or red and green for Christmas, this may be your only option. But a much faster way is to buy the spools of tutu they sell in craft stores, generally in the wedding section, for about $2.99 a spool. Look for these on sale or use a coupon. You’ll need three or four, and a package of 1/2 inch elastic (I like the ribbed non-roll elastic). (You can also find tulle on the spool from online shops, and even on Etsy, with a little searching.)

Now for the tutorials. They are all very similar, so pick one that speaks to you.
Tutu Tutorial
How to Make a Tutu
Tutu Tutorial Time

All right folks. I’m off to look at last year’s Halloween pictures some more and reminisce. Sniff, sniff. They grow up so fast. Let them be princesses/ballerinas/fairies for as long as they want.

More Fun with Felt: Flannel Board Doll Set

12 Oct

As promised, here’s another fun felt gift idea for the toddler in your life.

Flannel board doll set felt

It’s a felt doll set in its own travel carry case!

I would have loved this as a kid. Actually, when I was taking pictures, I wanted to keep dressing up the dolls in all the outfit variations. So I guess sometimes you just don’t grow out of that sort of thing.

I purchased this dress up felt doll pattern on Etsy – it was well worth it! The seller e-mailed me the pattern within a few hours of payment and I printed it out on cardstock and got to work.

The pattern includes one 7 1/2 inch doll (with her own little doll), four hairstyles, 12 items of clothing and four pairs of shoes.

Felt doll set

Felt doll set

Honestly, I probably could have kept going. I did at least one of each item, and a couple extra. I cut two of the 7 1/2 inch doll so Kaitlyn can play with me a friend. I was really enjoying working with the sheets of high-quality, wool-blend felt I purchased at a local quilting shop. I highly recommend using the pricier felt for this project. I cut a dress and shirt out of the less-expensive Eco-Fi felt I had on-hand from Jo-Ann, and those pieces stretch, pull and just generally look cheap. The wool blend looks durable and doesn’t stretch. With all the handling I’m hoping this set gets, I’d rather have something that will last.

I used fabric paint to add very basic eyes and a mouth. I didn’t want to get too carried away decorating the clothes – I love the simplicity of the felt and the dolls. I couldn’t resist, however, adding little pink ears and a nose to the bunny slippers.

I originally planned to make Kaitlyn a full-size flannel board, but then I realized how nice it would be for this to be a portable set. This way, we can bring it on car trips or to the doctor’s office, and when I’m nursing the baby she can play with it quietly on the sofa next to us.

A lot of the travel flannel boards I found online rolled up, which is a nice design too, but I wanted it to have handles and a place to keep the dolls and their accessories. So I drafted up a pattern for this travel case. It has batting to add a bit of thickness without being firm, and pale blue flannel on the playing surface. There is a velcro pocket on the outside to store the dolls, and a small velcro closure to close the case itself. Little handles make it easy for a toddler to carry around.

The seller of the e-pattern, luckypennymake, is generous enough to allow me to sell items created from her pattern. If you’re interested in ordering a set of these felt dolls with or without a travel carry case, let me know! Your set would include two 7 1/2 inch dolls plus the full set of clothing and hairstyles, unembellished and unpainted, for $20 (including shipping); $35 including the travel flannel case (I’ll send you fabric options to choose from). I can also do the dolls in a variety of skin tones. Contact me at

Of course you can also purchase the pattern and the felt yourself, and make your own version. Either way, your little one is bound to have hours of fun with this set!