Archives for category: Sewing

What does a quilter do when she gets invited to a baby shower just a few weeks away?

She reads the registry and improvises!


My friends chose not to learn their baby’s gender, so my gifts had to be husband-approved for a boy and sweet enough for a girl. These bandana-style bibs are so popular these days that I came up with a simple pattern and sized it on my toddler. I backed them in a flannel shirt, and I made sure they are adjustable without tricky snaps or Velcro.

And the front fabrics match…


A pair of pairs of baby pants! These are based on a pattern from Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings which, thankfully, is often in our local library. My husband suggested a little patch of contrasting fabric which I think turned out quite sweet!

And finally…


I didn’t have time to piece an elaborate kitty softie for the baby, but thankfully I had a panel from the Cotton + Steel line From Porto with Love, which includes a perfect little kitten ready to be sewn and stuffed. Mine I filled with cotton batting scraps and teeny fabric shavings, part of my effort to reduce textile waste.

Baby is due late this summer, and I can’t wait to see if it’s a boy or a girl! Hopefully these gifts will help him or her feel welcome no matter what!

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My rodeo-riding cousin married the cowboy of her dreams, and I made a little wedding gift for the occasion!


Their style is very Western-inspired, so I took that as a jumping-off point. I’ve held tight onto my Alison Glass prints for awhile, but the colors and motifs in her original Handcrafted line seemed perfect for the occasion, letting the fabric do the talking. Variegated thread for quilting and a zipper back later and we were done! Blessings to the newlyweds for a long and happy life together!

Reinventing the wheel I am sure I am not, but when on a whim I decided to whip up a breezy maternity skirt, I thought I’d document the process! Bonus:  materials sourced from thrift stores and friends’ cast-asides. Extra bonus:  it didn’t take more than an hour to make, and that includes wrestling a toddler out of every photo!

Materials:

  • XXL men’s dress shirt
  • Tee shirt that would fit you pre-pregnancy (you want a fitted but stretchy waistband)
  • Thread, sewing machine, pins, measuring tape, mirror 

Let’s begin!

  1. Measure your men’s shirt from the bottom of the armhole to the hem. Then hold up the measuring tape to the bottom of your belly. Make sure you’re comfortable with a skirt that length!
  2. Measure your hips around the widest point and compare to the width of the shirt beneath the armholes. Make sure you have several extra inches of shirt width for comfy gathers! Cut off the bottom of the shirt. 
  3. Decide how thick a waistband you want. I wanted mine to ride under my belly, so I opted for about 3.5-4 inches wide. If you want your waistband to cover your belly, adjust accordingly, making sure to include about half an inch for seam allowance. Cut off the bottom of the tee shirt. Adjust the circumference to fit comfortably – still a bit stretchy but tight enough to hold up the skirt. 
  4. With right sides together and cut edges together, pin the heck out of the waistband to the skirt. Stretch the waistband as you go around. Use every pin in your pincushion! Ha! Note:  the bottom hem of the tee shirt will be the top of the waistband. 
  5. Sew using a half inch seam allowance, stretching the waistband as you go. I zigzagged around afterwards just to be thorough – and because my machine doesn’t do fancy stitches for knits (no shame!) 
  6. Turn the waistband up and topstitch the band, catching all layers of the seam beneath and stretching as need be. (This part is optional, but I like the finish.) 
  7. Try on your skirt, adjust the fit if need be, and rejoice in one more way to go pantsless in your summer pregnancy! 

Closing thoughts:  if you are concerned about modesty, you can stitch the placket so the buttons will stay put. Also, I’d recommend doing a better job than I did matching the tee to the shirt! I intend the waistband not to show, so it won’t matter much, but the mismatch limits the style choices, perhaps? On the plus side, I used what I had already, so that’s a win!

Questions? Thoughts? Comments? Thanks for your interest, and happy preggy sewing!

I am so thankful for my community. We are among five families with children around the same age, with new babies coming every so often (our turn is next!) The fun part for me is making gifts for all the littles. Summer means boy birthdays, but this spring we celebrated a little lady. Here’s what I made.


In the spirit of reducing, reusing, and recycling, I rescued one of my husband’s button-downs for a pint-sized apron! I used just a scrap of coordinating floral print to keep it fun, and the Velcro closure ought to make playtime easier.


What’s a princess without a crown? Spring flowers and bright buttons suit this little lady’s declarative personality.

I have my plans for four summer boys, and I am excited to get those going! It’s so fun to put my heart into these little people I love so much!

In a fit of inspiration (which I’ve learned to follow and ride like a surfer), I decided to update my maternity wardrobe with some hand-me-down yardage received from a friend. Chambray, denim, and polycotton are not my go-tos for quilting, so this was a lovely way to use what otherwise would go into the Goodwill-textile waste cycle. Bonus:  I am certain that these garments were produced without child slavery, etc. Extra bonus:  I love them!


Happy little tunic, perfect for popping over a tank top and shorts…


Chambray and lace top modified from an old Simplicity pattern, making the most of some crocheted trim leftover from my wedding dress…


And finally, denim, pleats and vintage ribbon from the same modified pattern!

My rodeo-riding cousin has her wedding on the ranch pretty soon. Now to decide which of these to wear!

In a sad turn of events, I was not able to attend my cousin’s baby shower this weekend, but I had so much fun making presents! These days, given enough time, I scroll through a registry to get a sense of a family’s style and start sewing accordingly. This sweet family favored greys and neutrals, some of my favorites!


I’ve become something of a bib connoisseur since my first child cut a tooth at 4 months. These bibs are based on my favorites, quilted, batted, and backed in soft jersey and including a little loop for a fancy paci clip! Snaps will give them longer life than Velcro, and they reflect the muslin bibs on the registry.

I also made a pair of teething pads to snap onto a carrier, something we couldn’t do without and which were also on the registry. They were simple, though, and I forgot to take a photo!


But this was just for fun. Every little girl needs a bit of frippery, so I went to town on a modified old PurlBee pattern. My grandmother gave me a few handkerchief cotton blouses with the express purpose to cut them up, and I did! Pintucks and lace were repurposed, and my only addition was the satin ribbon trim.

Truth be told, motherhood is hard. I’m hoping that my gifts reflect love and care and that I can continue to encourage my cousin as she enters into this life-changing, lifelong adventure!

Every year I make Christmas gifts for the family, usually on a theme. This year, I wanted to make a small difference in the amount of textile waste that accumulates in our nation. Rather than buying new fabric, I found some large men’s shirts at a thrift shop and used those as my source material. A few extra scraps were added in (like the red linen and Star Wars print), but the rest of the cotton and linen were repurposed.


Couples and families got tea towels made from the fronts and backs of the shirts. I played around with little Dresden plates to evoke snowflakes or poinsettias! The blue one went to my brother and comes from my late Grandfather. The linen shirt was first used in a quilt made for my son. I felt my brother would appreciate the sentiment and style. The other blue rosette went to my parents for a similar reason – and the contrasting “petal” was a scrap from my son’s outfit he wore home from the hospital!


I have a few unmarried brothers-in-law who I didn’t think would appreciate holiday towels. Instead, I turned a fine cotton shirt into bow ties for them! I almost couldn’t bear to cut into the shirt. The pattern matching and detail were exquisite! But I am glad I did – the bow ties turned out so nicely! My brother got one of these as well, and as he is such a sharp dresser, I also made a hand-rolled matching handkerchief (or pocket square). The brother-in-law who received the Star Wars bow tie had instructions to open it before going to see Rogue One. If we lived closer, I know we would have enjoyed seeing it together.

Being apart at the holidays isn’t our favorite, but I hope it’s made a little sweeter with lovingly made and thought-through gifts!

Hoping you feel loved and cherished this holiday season!

I have not been blogging my sewing as I prepare for the holidays because I’m not sure who would peek! But there are a few things I’ve sewn and sent to friends in England, and as they’ve arrived already, I am free to tell the interwebs!


I actually cannibalized an unfinished quilt that just wasn’t working for me. These two quarter dresdens were salvageable and perfect for the personalities of two friends in Sunderland. I turned them into quilted cushion covers! My friends live in the same flat, so if these go in a sofa, they coordinate!


The other gift is actually a collaborative project for friends getting married this week! My accomplice across the pond made six large star blocks with a grey background using greens and blues. I sent along a little navy floral print for binding along with the batting, so once the two sets of stars come together, they will make a lovely little wedding throw! I think it’s appropriate that this quilt is being made on two continents as the couple are also international. I can’t wait to see it all done!

Hoping everyone likes their gifts and that they feel love from the sunny south!

Recently two friends of mine came to the conclusion that it is time to sell their home of over a decade. Many times I have been on the receiving end of their generous hospitality, so I wanted to make a gift for each to reflect all the love and memories of that home.


I started with sketches of the house itself.


I thought of the nonhuman residents as well.


Then it was just a matter of raw-edged appliqué, a bit of decorative stitching, turning under the blocks’ edges, and fitting them to embroidery hoop “frames”.

Sometimes I love a gift more in the making than the person receiving, but I could tell this time that wasn’t the case. Hoping that as time goes by, these little mementos will bring back sweet memories!

I’ve been neglecting my blog – but not my 10-month-old! We have been so busy crawling, cruising, eating, climbing, clinging, investigating – and napping in 30-minute stretches – that it’s all I can do some days to sew a stitch, much less document it. This little project came together so quickly that it’s worth a nap to write it up! The idea came from our first trip to the pool this summer and a need for an easy way to dry off the Squish!For one baby beach kimono, you will need:

  • Two microfiber kitchen towels, about 15×25 inches (I got mine from the dollar store!)
  • Sewing machine, scissors, pins, and thread

That’s it!


Pre-wash your towels if you’d like (I did), then cut one in half width-wise. You now have two rectangles 15×12.5 inches.

Turn the cut end under about 1/4 inch and pin. This will be the center opening of your kimono.


Zigzag stitch over the raw edge. Or, if you’d like, turn the edge in once more and straight stitch. Either way is fine!


With right sides together, pin the cut rectangles to the second, whole towel. Pin straight across the top, but only pin halfway up the side. Be as precise as you choose! (I just found the center by folding and marking loosely with a finger.)


Sew along the top and two sides with a straig stitch, leaving the armholes open. Sew as close to the original hemmed edge as possible, or even catching into it. Then just turn it inside out…


And plop it on the nearest baby! (Bonus points if you’ve matched it to the baby’s eyes!) Size-wise, it ought to do for a child age 6 months up to at least 18 months.

Now to slather on the SPF and hit the water! Happy summer, y’all!