Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nothing to do with sewing!

I went shopping for one of those Hot Wheels Stealth Riders - the Batman one- and was having a hard time locating one.  Or should I say, locating one that was less than $50.  These originally sold at Wal-Mart, Target or Toys R Us for $15 - $25.  I know, because I bought one early on.  Then I guess they became so popular, people started price gouging.  I was undeterred though and found one reasonably priced right here.   Not only did they have them in stock and priced at $22, but the shipping was fantastic.  I received my order in 2 days.  I was very excited and wanted to share my experience.  So if you are looking for one of these, and they are extremely popular, try  They have lots of other stuff too. I didn't check pricing on the other stuff, but I would imagine they are equally reasonable.  Shipping is free over $49, but I actually paid $4.99.   So for $27, I found just what I wanted and didn't break the bank.  Give them a try.  I have no stock in them.  I just like to pass along good information to others who may benefit.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stupid Pillow Case

I snapped this picture right before I threw the now infamous pillow case into the wash.  I had already tried twice to dampen the case with water to remove the blue marks.  They just kept coming back.  Anyway, I have 3 pintucks in red and then stitched the folded seam in red thread.  I really wanted the pop effect.  Those didn't bleed!   I realized, however, that pintucks are much easier and prettier in white thread.  It is really hard to keep the fabric moving straight under the presser foot with those tiny little tucks.  The white thread isn't too noticeable if you don't have a perfectly straight stitch.  I can't say the same about the red.  I was going to rip out the seam because I didn't like how crooked it looked.  Of course, that was before the bleeding fiasco this weekend.  I still may rip it out and just redo the embroidery part and simply re-attach it.  Luckily for me (did I say luckily?), the red only bled on that part.  The rest of the case is salvageable.  And you may also have noticed that I uploaded a picture which means I have a USB cable.  Yay!  I found it late yesterday following my little tantrum.  I did feel better though afterward.  I guess we all need those at times - even us adults.  Although, I wasn't really acting like one after I washed the pillow case.  lol.  I think I may try Pearl Cotton this time in lieu of the silk.  I will definitely test it first in the wash with the same fabric BEFORE I put one stitch in the new pillow case.  We don't want a repeat, because I'm afraid my tantrum next time will be full blown! 


Monday, November 28, 2011


These pillow cases are kicking my rear!!  I finished the embroidery on one over the weekend, and it turned out really pretty.  Except......I had the design upside down.  Surprisingly, I didn't say any ugly words - not a single one.  I simply removed the stitches and thought I'd start over.  Then I realized that pencil marks DO NOT come out of white linen.  Still no ugly words - I was thinking one but didn't say it.  I applied a little bleach with a toothbrush, and the marks were so faint, they were barely noticeable.  I washed it so the bleach wouldn't cause a problem later with the floss.  Apparently, I used too much bleach, because it washed out the red thread I had used for my pins tucks.  One little ugly word - I was thinking a lot more but only said the one.  But I was NOT going to let this pillow case beat me.  I would beat it or die!!  Now it was a test of wills.  I ran another line of stitching right over the bleached ones.  Wasn't exactly perfect, but at this point, I just didn't care.  I got the design where I wanted and this time in the correct position.  It was really pretty.....again.  And this time I used my blue tracing pen I bought from Joannes a few weeks ago in lieu of the pencil since we know how that turned out last time.  I loved that the blue really popped, unlike the pencil, and made the embroidery much easier on my old eyes.  I used a little water to get the blue marks off after, but that didn't work.  So I used a little more water just with my fingers.  Still didn't work.  So I just popped it in the machine again for a quick wash.  Then it was off to Joannes again for more linen fabric since when I originally bought it, the girl cut it 2 inches too short.  I tried to make it work; all I needed was a few inches.  I should have taken it back right then.  But I'm a glutton for punishment, plus I wanted needed to get these done.  So I started on one case thinking I'd go back for more fabric for the other.  That never works out well, and this time was no different.  I get home with the fabric, and the color is off - just slightly but enough to notice.  Another ugly word - still thinking many more but again only said one.  Then it was time to check on the first pillow.  I pulled it out of the washer, and that's when I wanted to cry.  The red floss bled all over the white linen fabricI was heart broken.  The pillow case had won!  I should have used vinegar in the wash to set the color, but I wasn't thinking.  I had never had floss bleed on any fabric before - never.  Stupid floss.  Stupid pillow case.  Stupid girl at Joannes.  Stupid bleach.  Stupid washer.  Stupid everything!  Stupid me!

Then my husband decided I could just use his camera so we wouldn't have to buy another.  I was okay with that.  It wasn't the ideal camera, but it had to be better than mine.  So I took plenty of pictures over the weekend of all my projects I was working on - mostly the stupid pillow case.  I had to wait to get the USB cable from the office this morning so I could upload the pics.  I was uber excited to see how well the camera worked.  Are you ready??  There was no USB cable in the box.  It's nowhere to be found.  The USB cable for my old camera won't work nor will the one for my phone.  So I guess I'll have to make a trip to Wal-Mart for another.  Any bets on how easy that will be given my current track record?

And that's only part of my weekend full of bloopers.  I had more this morning with my 17 year irresponsible son, but that would take too many words, and I'm super tired after having had to pick him up from work at 11:30 last night when I'm usually in bed by 10 because I have to get up at 5:45 every morning.  I won't even go into why I had to pick him up from work in the first place.  I also won't mention having to drive 15 miles to pick up car keys that I asked him to leave at home.  A waste of an hour this morning.  But my 7 year old informed me this morning, "It's not like you have a lot to do anyway" when he insisted that I take him to school this morning rather than him carpool with my gracious neighbors.  I nearly blew a gasket!  I'm thinking more ugly words though.  I love my children, I love my children, I love my children.  God, give me grace - not patience. PLEASE don't give me patience.

Anyway, once I have a cable for my camera (stupid camera), I'll post some pictures of my beautiful pillow case before the washing machine fiasco.  In the meantime, the little tantrum pic above pretty much sums up how I feel right now.  Stupid pillow case.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baby Pillow Tutorial

First, determine how large you want your pillow.  I chose my size based on the embroidery design.  I made my pillow 7" x 10".  My cut dimensions are 8" x 11".  Find your center and mark it for placement of your design.  I simply fold my fabric in half vertically then horizontally to find the center.  I've also cut the fabric large enough, then embroidered my design, then cut to size. 

Because I used muslin as my main fabric, I chose to line it with a piece of white broadcloth.  Cut it to the same dimension and baste together after you've embroidered your design.  Also, I used a blue broadcloth for the back of the pillow.    Cut one the same size as the other two.  So now you should have one main piece, one lining piece, and one backing piece all 8"x11".  Now for just a short side note on squaring your fabric.  If you have good quality fabric, you can tear your pieces rather than cutting them to get a true square piece.  I did not tear my muslin, because it doesn't tear well.  I tore both the lining and backing pieces though. Below is my already torn piece for the width.  Simply lay your top piece on top of your backing and/or lining right on the selvage edge, and snip on the selvage edge right where you would normally cut.  You can do both sides.  But always tear across the selvage not down vertically.  I've torn both sides here and have left the length just to compare.  My selvage edge is to the right.
Now all you have to do is use your ruler to cut off the other side.  Now your pieces should be square.

This is a close up of the torn edge. Nice and straight, but I should have pressed before snapping the pic.

Now you are ready to assemble your pieces.

Because I made my own whipped piping, I wanted to be certain I really secured the stitches.  So I stitched my piping to the top piece first, then stitched to my lining, then added the back piece so I'd have 3 layers of stitching.  Start at the bottom of the backing piece right sides together and pin all the way around leaving a 2 inch overlap at the bottom.  I'll show you a neat trick to piecing these together without overlapping.  It makes a nice seamless piece.
Stitch the piping to the top piece using the same stitch line used to enclose the cording on the piping.  Leave an opening at the bottom where the two pieces meet. I would say 2 inches will suffice.  Be sure to clip the piping at the corners to help ease it around, but be careful not to cut into the stitching on the piping.

Now take the long piece and remove the floss from the piping but DO NOT cut it.  Now use your seam ripper to remove the stitching from your piping.  You want to expose the cording inside, because you are going to cut it.

Cut your cording so the ends just meet.  You have two choices on joining them together.  1. You can stitch the ends together with a needle and thread. You would definitely choose this option on large cording just to keep it in place.  2. You can leave the ends alone and simply slide one end of the piping into the other end. It's really hard to see in this pick, because the flash was way too bright.  But on the right side, open the piping flat and fold the end in 3/8" and press.  Keep the piping flat, and lay the left side of the piping inside the right side.  Then fold the right back together enclosing the left side.

I'm a little ahead in this next shot, but my camera just wasn't cooperating. I tried to zoom and darken the photo.  You can just see the hem at the bottom.  Now pin the two ends together but do not pin it to the pillow yet.  Take your tail of your floss and restitch it to the piping.  When you get to the end and on your last stitch.  In this photo, it's the one right at the seam, bring your thread up at the last mark or right at the bottom of the next stitch and bring it to the bottom as shown.

Stitch this section to your top piece.  And this is what it should look like.

Now you want to attach your ribbon to the top if you want it to hang from a door.  You could omit this step if you just want a pillow.  I used a 20" long piece of ribbon.  Measure the top piece to find the center.  Place your ribbon 5 inches apart from outside edge to outside edge as shown.  Make sure the ribbon is straight and will hang the way you want.  Pin it to test it if needed.  Baste the ribbon in place.

Now place your backing piece to the top piece right sides together making sure your ribbon is out of the way.  You may want to pin this to the middle of your pillow to keep it out of the way.  Start at the bottom and stitch all the way around the pillow on the same piping stitch line leaving a 3 inch opening at the bottom for turning.  Clip your corners to remove the bulk being careful not to clip the stitches.  Turn right side out, and use something pointy like your scissors to push out the corners.  Stuff your pillow to the desired thickness using polyfil and pin the bottom closed.

Whip stitch the opening closed.  And you are finished.  I used DMC floss color 519 for the embroidery and on the piping.

I'm so sorry for the photos.  I'm hoping to have a new camera at Christmas.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Whipped Piping Tutorial

This is my version of whipped piping.  I saw this particular piping used on a back pack in an issue of Sew Beautiful Magazine.  I loved it.  I knew I could buy it, but I had a special project I was working on, and I needed it a bit more custom.  I used cotton batiste for the bias and DMC floss for the whipped part. And I used a Chenille needle to sew the floss to the piping.

First, start with your bias binding.  You can buy it or make it.  Just make sure if you are using it to go around corners, you cut it on the bias.  The first picture shows my binding after cutting and pressing.  The second picture is with the cording already inside the piping.  If you need more information on this process, please shoot me an email.

Next, you'll want to mark your binding every 1/2" just below the stitching.  This marks the placement of your floss.

Then thread your needle with your floss.  DO NOT KNOT THE FLOSS.  Leave a tail on the end of your floss.  This eliminates the bulk in the bias when you stitch it to your project.  You don't want your machine needle hitting the knot.  Once you sew it to your project, the machine will stitch it in place.  You want your floss long enough to run the length of your bias.  If the piping is super long, you can do it in sections.  My piping was only 24" long, so I used only one piece of 6 strand floss.  Bring your needle up on one end of the piping at the first marked dot as shown below.

Notice that my marks are well below the stitch line. Once you press these marks, they become permanent.  I wanted them hidden.  So I brought my needle up on the stitch line just above the mark.  Take your needle to the opposite side and bring it up just above the next mark right on the stitch line as shown.  You are basically just wrapping your piping with your floss.  Continue until you reach the end of your piping.  Go very slow if you are working with a long piece of floss.  It will get tangled very quickly otherwise.  Stop a few times and allow your needle to unwind to keep your floss as smooth as possible.

This is what it should look like once you've sewn on your floss.

DO NOT TIE OFF AT THE END.  Again, you do not want that knot in your piping.  If you need to secure, place a piece of tape on the ends to secure until you are ready to attach to your project.  Once you sew this onto your project, the stitching will catch the floss to secure it.

This is my project.  I'll have the tutorial on that tomorrow with a way to join the piping without overlapping, so it looks seamless.

The embroidery is from Kim's Shhh......Baby's Sleeping Pattern Packet over at bigB.  You can find it here.

My first attempt at whipped piping was with this same pillow.  It did not turn out the way I wanted.  It looks more shell like than whipped.  But I do like it and will use again.  Here is the pic.

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

These were almost too easy!

These are the Amy Butler scarves I made yesterday.  You can find the pattern here.  Scroll all the way to the bottom.  It's free.  There is another smaller scarf pattern too, but I liked this one the most.  Basically, you cut a piece of fabric 17x90, and cut the fringe to 17.  You baste the fringe to the scarf end right sides together folding the ends of the fringe in about 1/2" to remove the bulk in the corners.  Then turn the scarf right sides together and stitch around all 3 side leaving a 6" opening for turning (1/2" seam allowance).  Press flat and whip the opening closed.  That's it.  It's really, really easy.  This is a great pattern for a beginner. 

I bought 2.5 yards of fabric and 1 yard of fringe.  (You can actually get 2 scarves out of the 2.5 yards.) I spent a total of $10 for each with my Joannes coupons.  If I had gotten another yard of fringe, I would have 2 scarves for roughly $13. These took right at an hour to complete from cutting the material to sewing.  Of course I was interrupted many times by Gabby and Robbie.  But Robbie was a huge help.  He modeled the orange one for me to get a good picture.  I guess he was trying to look manly while modeling a girl's scarf.  He's so funny.  These will come in handy when he's 16 and dating.  hahaha.  He just doesn't know it yet.

I will be shopping on Black Friday for a new camera.  I don't know what I'm thinking battling those crowds.  I must be absolutely nuts.  But I really need a new one.  I just haven't determined which one I want yet.  Suggestions would be most appreciated.  I like the Nikon brand.  I have the coolpix 4300 now.  We bought it the year Robbie was born.  So it's had a good 7+ years.  I'm looking at the L120, S9100, or the S8200.  I'd like one with a wide angle, but most important will be the optical zoom.  I'm not tech savvy, so I have no idea which one would be better for the pics I'm posting on my blog.  Help!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Sneak peak!

I bought this fabric Saturday.  The two on the left will be scarves, the two in the middle will be more boxers and the white linen on the right will be embroidered pillow cases.  I have a really great idea to incorporate red work with pin tucks and a ferrell (spelling?) seam.  I'll have a tutorial on these in a week or so.  I'll be snapping pics as I go.  I cut most of the pieces yesterday but then discovered that the person who cut the fabric, cut it 2 inches too short!  I was so aggravated.  So I thought rather than having one long piece that I just fold back to be the outer lip like a cuff, I would just sew a piece to the end then fold it back on the seam to hide it.  I thought it would be easier to embroider that way too.  But I only had enough for one piece.  And then, like an idiot, I forgot that it needed to be cut on the fold and lopped it off instead.  *&^%!  I hate it when I do that.  So, I'll go back today and get enough for those outer lips.  That's what I get for getting in a hurry. The left over scraps will not go to waste though.  I will be making hankies with those.  I am learning how to tat, so I'll be able to add a tatted edging.  I'll also finish up my day gown with the tatting.  That one isn't a Christmas gift anyway, so it can wait a while.  There is the cutest pattern for a hanky bonnet in one of the tatting books I just got.  You make the hanky into a bonnet for baby, then when baby gets married, you snip the threads and turn it back into a hanky for her wedding day!  That is a fabulous idea and can't wait to make one.

These two will be scarves using an Amy Butler pattern.  I'll probably have these done this week.  It's a very easy pattern.  The bright orange will be for a friend of Britt's who is also an Auburn Tiger.  I thought it would be precious for a ball game.

The two fabrics on top will be boxers for my nephews.  I hope they have a sense of humor.  The girl cutting the fabric thought it was a gag gift, but I am dead serious. No one else will have a pair like them!  They are boxers for crying out loud.  Aren't they supposed to be fun?!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The newest addition to our family!!

Isn't she sweet?  This is Gabby and Robbie.  We picked her up Tuesday, and she is so adorable.  She's a 9 week old dachshund.  I love her coloring.  She gets mistaken for a beagle a lot!

We lost our chocolate lab in June after 14 years.  We were all devastated, but Robbie took it the hardest.  He cried for days.  Then our totally awesome neighbors bought this book for him.  Once he realized that Snickers was in heaven having loads of fun jumping on the clouds, he felt much better.  He knows he'll see her again someday.

I couldn't stomach the idea of a new dog for a few months.  But when I saw Gabby's picture, I knew we had to have her.  These two are totally in love and inseparable.  She loves chewing on Robbie's ear.  Go figure.  Welcome home little bit - welcome home.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pinwheel posy tutorial.

As promised, here is the pinwheel posy tutorial.  My camera is terrible.  I really need to invest in another one.  But it's too close to Christmas to be buying anything for myself.  This was done in a hurry and it took forever to get good pictures since my camera wouldn't focus properly, and it kept shutting off.  So naturally, I was getting frustrated.

First, draw your circle on your fabric where you want your posy.  For the purpose of this demonstration, I made an extra large circle.  Ideally, you'll want the outside of your circle to be the last of your wraps.  See below.

Next, you'll want to insert your pins into the fabric.  The closer you space the pins, the smaller the circle.  The wider you space the pins, the wider your circle.  Again, for this demo, I spaced them wider.

Next, you'll bring your needle up to the left of the top pin as shown.

Now move your needle out of the way as shown and begin wrapping your thread under your pins as indicated.  I went clock wise, but it would work well counter-clockwise too.

For the purpose of this demo, I wrapped maybe 7 or 8 times.  Obviously, the denser you want the posy, the more you'll want to wrap.  When you have made your last wrap, you'll take your needle down in the same spot you originally came up - to the left of the top pin.  Ignore my pathetic nail.  I've got to get a manicure!

Now, you'll need to secure your posy.  You need holding stitches at each space between your pins.  So bring your needle up on the inside and cross the wrap and take down on the outside edge as shown. You'll want to angle your needle slightly so it goes just under your wrap.

 And this is what it should look like.

 Then finish the other three sides.  And this is what it should look like.

Notice that I did not take my posy all the way to my circle.  That was done purposely for this demo.  If you were to keep wrapping, you could go all the way to make a fuller posy.  Remove your pins.

And this is the finished posy.

You can add french knots to the middle if you want.  I added them to my daisy but chose to leave them plain for my day gown.  It all depends on your project.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Baby daygown....sneak peak.

This is my first attempt at making a daygown.  I've always made bishops even for newborns.  So I thought I'd try my hand, and I really like it thus far.  I'm using this pattern.  It's fairly simple thus far; although, I had some trouble with lining up the pin tucks at the top.  I'm hoping I'll correct this when I add the collar, or at the very least, it'll be less noticeable.  The embroidery design came with the pattern and are done in between the pin tucks and button holes on both sides.  I finished the embroidery last night, and it looks so sweet.  I love the little pinwheel posies.  I used this same embroidery stitch on my daisy purse.

Here is another, larger view of the stitch.  The posy is the very center of my daisy with french knots inside the circle.  I've tried to find a tutorial on this, but alas, there is none. Had I known that, I would have snapped pics and posted one.  I'll try to do that later today or tomorrow.  Basically, you draw a circle of the basic size of your posy onto your fabric.  Then insert 2 pins into the fabric inside the circle to form an +.  Next, bring your needle up at the point to the left of the top pin. Take your thread under the pins to make your circle.  Make certain your thread is under all the pins.  I only wrapped 4 times on the day gown, because I wanted smaller posies.  I wrapped lots of times for my daisy, because I wanted it to pop.  Once you are finished wrapping your thread, bring your thread down at the same place where you initially came up.  Then you'll need to anchor your posy.  To do this, make small stitches at each point where your pins come together.  You can see the anchor stitches (there are 4) in the daisy picture above.

Hopefully, I'll have a tutorial on this today or tomorrow.  It's really easy!