Posts Tagged ‘sewing’


We just returned from our spring break trip to the Ozark Mountains. It was awesome. Mostly….

What wasn’t awesome was returning to a home filled with the sights and smells of a dwelling used for band after-parties! Yep. That was us. Each year we rent our house out for spring break because it’s also known as SXSW around here in Austin, Tx. People come from all over the world to hear music on literally every street corner. We make a lot of money renting our home, and the crews get a nice place to relax while enjoying our fair city.

Every time has been awesome… this time… not so much! The smell of cigarette smoke is every where, and I found a cigarette butt underneath my daughter’s bed. UGH!!! AND, as it turns out, Airbnb.com no longer collects the security deposits they claim to collect. Yep. So, here we are forced to figure out how to rid our carpets, curtains, sofas and so forth of the cigarette residue on our own…

If you’re feeling stressed, so AM I! So stressed in fact… that the only logical thing to do in this situation is… think, Think, THINK…


In all of my frustration yesterday, I had the BEST Realization… I’M A PATTERN HOARDER! And I should do something about all those patterns I own!



Somewhere along the way, I let my FABRIC hoarding overflow into PATTERN hoarding, too! Probably around the time my second child was born. I think I decided that if I own the pattern then that’s practically owning the dress…makes sense, right!

Anyway..I’m challenging myself to do something about/with all these patterns. It may sound crazy, but I think I’ll try SEWING with them!

Looking around my sewing room, in the drawers and little nooks and crannies, I chose a stack of patterns.



They were camouflaged as a lamp, I’m sure you would have never noticed them! 

I chose this stack of patterns and came up with this challenge for myself:


Here are the rules:

1. Choose a stack of patterns but DO NOT sort through or look at them prior to choosing them.

2. Start with the pattern on top and sew through the stack on pattern at a time.

3. If at all possible, use the fabric you already have. (Goodness knows I’ve got plenty…or do I?)

4. It’s acceptable to buy notions.

5. It’s acceptable to purchase fabric or other supplies when necessary to make the garment what you like..but do NOT go crazy…her hee.

6. If you come across the same pattern more than once, I do not have to resew it…unless I choose to!

Wanna join me???

Here’s my first project:


Stack #1. EEEEK!! I see some little baby feet in there…. I wonder what’s ahead for me!!!


This pattern was on top of the stack and I am SOOOOOOO happy!


Here’s the fabric I chose- by Amy Butler…I love it! I’m taking a bit of a risk because the pattern is created for lace which has a significantly different drape… but this girlie girl is okay with fluffy dresses, so fingers crossed!

Okay y’all… I’d love for some of you to join me!

I’ll be posting other things as well, but be on the lookout for the finished products/pattern reviews/etc that coincide with this personal challenge…

Here’s to making room in my storage drawers for MORE PATTERNS!!!…….AND FABRIC!!!!



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Happy Monday y’all!!!

Some of you may have noticed that my Etsy shop is looking more like a poor pitiful shop than an actual clothing store.  OH WELL!!!  I’m having such a great time getting my house in order that I don’t even miss creating new dresses…yet.

This weekend, I began the process of transforming my son’s room into something noteworthy.  In our last home, we kept adding kids so the rooms never quite became anything worth anything.  A quote from the first realtor to visit our old home and tour the kids’ room:  “Oh my.  Hmmmm.  This will have to change.”

Well – I am now determined for that to change!!!  Owen’s room is slated to have matching bedding, a curtained reading nook, curtains for his closet, and actually worthwhile things on his walls. (not that last time he had mis-matched girlie things on his wall, right!?  cough cough)


Above is what I finished this weekend…. AAAAAHHH… it was SO fun!!  My son is only 7 years old so I wasn’t expecting much of a reaction to something as useless to him as fabric on his bed.  WRONG!!!  I was downstairs when he first saw it… I heard something that sounded like Super Bowl screaming coming from his room.  Then I heard, “MOOOOOM!!!  This is the Best Day Ever!!”  Be.  Still.  My.  Heart!  SEW worth it, right!?!

This has brought me such joy, I thought I’d spend the next few blog posts sharing with you how I upped the wow factor in his room.  I’ll share tutorials on easy pillowcases, easy coverlets, and easy fabric curtain panels.  I’m hoping that some of you will find these helpful!

Let’s start with the pillowcase… mostly because it’s fewer photos and that’s all I had time to download today.  (Apparently, the kids’ school thinks they need to be wearing “official” uniforms and not chevron fabric, so laundry has to be done.  UGH!)


If you google “how to make a pillow case”, you’re gonna find all kinds of crazy patterns that take about 14 or 15 steps. Seriously!?! It’s a pillow case. It’s gonna get drool and vomit on it. Why spend a whole day making one!!! Here’s I do it: Grab a pillow case that you already own. lay it on top of the fabric that you want to use. You can see here that my fabric is narrower than the pillowcase I’m using for my pattern, but it’s okay. It’s okay because it’s close enough. If it were much narrower, I probably wouldn’t use it, but since it’s close – bam. I’m using that baby! (also worth noting: I’m able to keep the selvege edges as they are. There is no need to hem them on this fabric. If you need to hem up the opening edges, you’ll need a little bit more fabric than I’m using.)


Be sure you match the folded edges together and the open edges together.


Then cut out your fabric just a bit larger on the sides than your pillowcase pattern. We’re going to do a French Seam, so you’ll want to cut your fabric about 1/4″ or so bigger than you usually would … but just eyeball it. Pillowcases are very forgiving!


A french seam is a seam that enclosed – meaning you can’t see the edges on the inside. It will make sense in a minute. I like to use this seam on pillowcases because they get a lot of laundering. The French Seams keep the inside of the cases nice and tidy. To do it – sew up the sides of the pillow case WRONG SIDE TOGETHER, I know, weird, and use a very narrow seam allowance.


Now, turn your pillow case inside out and press those sides.


Now you will do another seam down the sides. Be sure that your seam allowance it enough to fully encase the seam on the inside. If you do too small of a seam allowance, you’ll have fabric sticking out when you turn it back right side out. Now you have a French Seam Pillow Case.


Since I’m not hemming the selvedge edges (aka: leaving the opening unhemmed), I needed to be sure to reverse stitch my seams extra well and clip those tails very well.


This is kind of a whompy photo – but I wanted to show the inside so you can see the french seam. (at this point, I’m wondering why sometimes I capitalize French Seam and sometimes I don’t. Are you wondering that too?) Anyway, you can see the enclosed french seam on the right.


When you turn it right side out and press the side seams – Here’s what you get!!! I love it. It was super fast … that makes me so happy!


Coming next – how to make that easy coverlet! And I do mean easy!

There you have it y’all… how to make a very fast and easy pillow case!


Time: I think this took me 15 minutes…and that was with taking pictures.  You CAN DO THIS!!!

Cost: pretty darn cheap.  I used leftover fabric from the coverlet … but lets’ see… I think I used about 1/2 yard of fabric, so for me – $3.50.  YAAAAAAY!

I hope you’ll make a million of these.  Be sure to invite someone over to spend the night just so you can offer them a brand spanking new pillowcase!

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It’s been a while since I had a guest blogger … turns out people are busy out there!  What????  Seriously, y’all – you’re not obsessed with posting on my blog???  Shuh!

Well, I was thrilled thrilled thrilled to see my dear friend Jeana’s blog-containing email today.  I love her to pieces, and I know you will, too.

I first met Jeana in the hallway of a downtown coffee shop where our church was meeting.  She had three beautiful children in tow and had just discovered a fourth baby brewing in her belly!  I was crazy overwhelmed with my two children, so hearing of a fourth baby for her really made my eyes big.  Turns out – SHE WAS EXCITED!  Furthermore – even that early in her pregnancy, she was clear that #4 was not the final 4…they were planning on FIVE!


I say all this to give you a little glimpse into what I love about Jeana.  Yes, she’s one of the most beautiful women I know.  Yes, she’s the most naturally “cool” person I know.  Yes, she’s got a ridiculous eye for fabulous secondhand vintage style.  But what I most admire about my dear friend is her love of and for family.  In fact, when I found out I was pregnant with my surprise #3…I called Jeana first (yes, before my husband!) because I knew she would give me the proper perspective …”Children are always a gift from the Lord.”

So what does ANY of this have to do with celebrating sewing???  Shuh…everything!

Jeana is the epitome of creative…it manifests in tons of different ways…but, of course…very evidently in how she raises her children.  Which is why I was SO hoping would have time to submit a guest-blog post for me … and she did…  here is what she said about why she celebrates sewing.  Meet the lovely Jeana Hansen:

Elle, Ben, Mae, Jeana, Christian and Ava ... and...Baby #5 due this Spring!

So Celebrate Sewn Cards!

I have always been intimidated by sewing. My mom is an expert seamstress. I remember her staying up late into the night sewing for a wedding. She would frequently sew not just the bride’s gown but all of the bridesmaid’s and the flower girl’s dresses as well. Her mother taught her to sew. My grandmother’s teaching method was that if it wasn’t done perfectly, then you needed to rip out all of the stitches and begin again. I know that’s how my mom did such beautiful work. My sister followed in their footsteps sewing her own clothes, curtains and pillows for her house. I looked at the things she created in amazement, thinking there was no way I could do it.

Then I met Robie, whose creativity and skill amazed me as well. I attended one of her sewing classes worrying I was going to be a waste of her time and lovely fabric. But to my surprise, I made a little dress that night for my daughter, and it fit her and it didn’t fall apart, and most surprising of all, it was fun! Robie showed me how it doesn’t have to be perfect (especially if sewing for oneself). I went home and got the machine that my mom had given me out of the depths of the closet and started practicing. I made that same simple dress pattern over and over again, I even gave some away as gifts (to close friends who were okay with imperfection).

I don’t devote near enough time to sewing to become a Robie or a Tiffany, although they do inspire me, but I get the machine out whenever I am feeling the need to create.

Today I wanted to share an unconventional way to use sewing. It is so simple, even a pre-beginner can do it. I have always loved making my own cards and recently started playing around with sewing paper.

You can either buy blank cards or cut your own from card stock. For these cards I did the latter. You can use paper or fabric, I used a glue stick on both just so they would stay put while I was sewing.

For the bunting I cut bits of a roll of wallpaper I thrifted, glued them on, and then sewed a basic stitch with pink thread. I went over it twice so that it would show up well.

On this one, I stitched all the way to the end of the card and left some thread so that I could tie the ends to keep it from unravelling.

And on this one I left the threads long so that they would hang down on either side.

I like to get my kids involved in the process as well. Instead of having my four-year-old use the machine, I made a lacing card by punching some holes in a pattern and then I had her thread the chevron design with embroidery floss. She loved it!

You can keep the fronts blank or write in a message if you like. I have found it is really hard to sew words, but I bet some of you are up for that challenge!

This is one of the ways I celebrate sewing and I hope you will try it as well!


I do love it, I do love it, I do love it!!!

And YES- I will try it!!!  (Probably even tonight!!!!)

I really wish for your sake that you could know Jeana.  I am so blessed to know her and call her friend.  She is a crazy good wife, wicked good mother, and insanely loyal friend.  Knowing that she celebrates sewing is just too good to be true!

~Jeana is a Minnesotan living in Austin, Tx, with her husband and almost 5 children.  When she’s not wearing her super mom/wife/friend cape, she raises chickens, makes amazing chocolate cake and cupcakes, and sneaks hot dogs into vegan restaurants!

Thanks Jeana.  Please don’t ever move!

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For day twelve of So Celebrate Sewing month, I’m happy to introduce you to a friend of mine, the darling Mrs. Lacey Prewitt.  I met Lacey several years ago after she moved here for her husband to attend UT.  Her family somehow found their way to our little church (it was really really small back then!).  She and the hubs and the 2 kiddos came over to our house for an all-church picnic one Sunday afternoon.  I gave an “interesting” first impression that day, but Lacey decided to befriend me nonetheless.  She has continued to be a loyal friend ever since.

Here is Lacey with her husband Andrew and her daughters Haddie (in red) and Stella. Baby #3 is due in a few weeks!

I had the privilege of teaching Lacey to sew a couple of years ago.  I always always always enjoy the process of teaching a new sewer; however, Lacey was all the more special.  Knowing that she was a young mother supporting her husband through college, I was excited to help her find an affordable but SO FUN way to build her household.

I asked Lacey to share with me/us what she celebrates most about sewing.  Here is what she said:

I Celebrate Family!

 I was taught the art of sewing three years ago by a good friend and have been in love with it ever since.  Thinking back on it though, my love affair with sewing actually started many years earlier.  As a little girl I watched my Grandma sew and was amazed by her skill.  My mom has often bragged about the fabulous prom dress my grandma (her mom) made for her in high school.   Seldom did I ever come home from a visit to Grandma’s house without a new jumper for school myself.  Grandma always sewed special buttons on my jumpers which were from her mother’s collection.  Remembering how special home sewn outfits were to me as a child makes it that much more special to create outfits for my two little girls.  One big plus about my sewing is being able to call my Grandma and ask her questions or tell her about my latest project.  I really think this craft has helped me get to know my Grandma as a person not just my grandmother.  Many times our conversation will start out about sewing but end up with me asking about her childhood.  I listen intently as she reminisces about the past, knowing that when she is gone I will have these moments to remember her by.  I will treasure forever my ability to sew not only as a wonderful artform, but also a very special commonality I have with my Grandma Nancy. Sadly grandma can’t sew much anymore, arthritis has prevented her from continuing.  I hope she enjoys sewing vicariously through me for many years to come. It feels good to know that I am carrying on the craft!

Wow, I'd learn to do ANYTHING this grandma wanted to teach me!

Stella and Haddie modeling momma's makings.

A beautiful example of Lacey's fun napkins ... how I love that fabric!

Lacey is a devoted mother – in addition to sewing projects, she’s constantly (and I do mean CONSTANTLY) reading books about improving their diets, gardening, crafting, and anything else family-centered.  I admire that so much.  She lives here in Austin with her (literally) growing family, is helping grow Austin Craft Crowd, and blesses me often!

Thanks for reminding all of us of the importance of heritage, Lacey.  I, too, have been inspired by  my grandmother to sew … how about any others out there?  Got any good Grandmother sewing stories???

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For day 10 of So Celebrate Sewing month, I thought I’d share how I made Ellie’s napmat cover.  It really is very easy to turn a plastic sleep mat into a fabulous personalized cushion!  And you all know I don’t mess around when it comes to EASY and FAST and CHEAP!

Which would YOU rather sleep on?

Grab yourself a regular plastic covered foam napmat.  I got Ellie’s at Walmart for about $8.  Yes, there’s a more expensive one…but really???  For fabric, the napmat measures 22″ x 44″, so you’ll need about 46″ of the main fabric and about 18″ for the pillow/contrasting part.  Plus scraps for the name applique.

Of course, I'm totally guessing on that measuring part because this is how I measure ... layout the napmat, lay your fabric on top. Make sure the ends of the fabric extend a little bit past the napmat and cut. Since the fabric is 45" wide, I knew it would fit perfectly around the napmat.

Then I just eyeballed how long I thought her pillow should be. (The napmat is only long enough for Ellie's body. It would be too short for her to just put a pillow on top. So, I designed this one to have the pillow extend past the foam.) Turns out the pillow was between 1/3 and 1/2 yard.

To keep the pillow from looking mushy, I cut a piece of scrap fabric exactly the same size - this serves as an inner pillow and gives structure to the pillow.

Now that you have your pieces cut, take the side of the pillow that will be the front, and applique your little one's name on top. ( I printed out her name using a Word document. Cut out the paper letters and used them as the template for the fabric letters.)

Match the centers of the main fabric and pillow fabric. Attach them together, right side touching - making sure the pillow lining is on top. You'll end up with one big piece of fabric - still 45" wide.

Now, you want to sew the fabric together like a big pillow case. Put right sides together, sew long the bottom and all the way up the side, leaving the top of the pillow completely open. Turn right side out.

Insert the napmat into the cover through the pillow hole.

You'll notice that the napmat wants to slide down, so I tacked it just a tiny bit at the top on both sides. This keeps it from sliding. Easy Peasy!

Now you'll need to sew the seam where the top of the napmat and the bottom of the pillow meet.

Now sew up the top of the pillow except for a hole wide enough to put your hand through. Stuff the pillow with fiberfill. And close it up with a final seam.

And you'll have yourself a perfectly fun napmat!

But then...how do we carry this little mat? With a drawstring bag, of course! I made sure to make the drawstring long enough to fit cross-body so I can have my arms free to carry all the gazillion pieces of glued beans I'll be holding!

So….I know what you’re thinking …”Um, Robie…how do you wash this?”

To which I answer…”Wash?”

Seriously – I chose to encase the napmat fully because it’s faster to make this way.  Yes, it was midnight the night before Preschool started!  If you want to make yours washable, I’d suggest sewing in Velcro at the two pillow seams – the top seam & the seam where the top of the napmat and bottom of the pillow meet.  Keep in mind you’ll have to use a pillow form rather than fiber fill for the pillow.  Then you’ll have yourself a washable napmat – you’ll just have to rip out those two little tacked seams holding the mat up.

I hope this comes in handy for you!  If you know another way to make one of these – please share!!!

See you tomorrow.

We’ll remember 9.1.01.

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Well, well, well, what have we here?????  A whole month devoted to SEWING?!?!?!  How totally stinkin’ fabulous!

I entered this contest - but, of course, didn't do it right, so my entry doesn't count. rats! Maybe YOU'LL be the winner!

It’s been a while since I posted any sort of a tutorial (mostly because unless you’re Betsy Ross it’s pretty hard to sew without a sewing machine) … but starting tomorrow, all that will change!

I’ve decided to host the first ever, and possibly annual:

So Celebrate Sewing!

Featuring Tutorials and Testimonies from me and my sewing pals.

Basically, what this means, is I’ve decided to do my best to post something EVERY DAY in the month of September about how and why sewing is celebrated.  I’m sure, if you’re reading this, you do celebrate the art of sewing…so let’s shout about it for the whole month!

I’ve got tutorials planned out for the home, babies & kids, accessories, & grownups.  You’ll meet some friends of mine as they chime in about why they personally celebrate sewing.  So hopefully you’ll learn a few new things, meet a few new people, get totally crazy inspired, and decide to Sew Something yourself!

Do you want to take this challenge with me?  The challenge to Sew Something Every Day???  I dare you!!!

See you tomorrow.  September 1st ——–


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