Bessie Bunny debuts in Sew-a-Softie 2018

Meet Bessie Bunny. She is having her big debut today on Sew-a-Softie.

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Sew-a-Softie is an annual month-long event in July that expands all forms of social media. It was created by Trixi at Coloured Buttons. Please go to Trixi's website for a link to all the wonderful people who are participating in this blog hop. Wait until you see all the free patterns and tutorials. They will be awesome. Just use the tag #sewasoftie to find them. There will also be lots of fun prizes. We would love to see your creations, so please post them on facebook. 

Thank you to Shannon Fabrics for donating Bessie's sweet fabric for her body and tail. Thank you to Fairfield World for donating her soft stuffing. By the way, on the back of all the Fairfield World bags of poly-fil there is always a cute pattern and now they even include a stuffing stick to assist in the process of stuffing. 

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Bessie is so easy to sew by machine or by hand. She only requires scrap fabric about the size of a piece of paper and a handful of poly-fil stuffing. I used Shannon Fabrics Cuddle 3 in Baby Pink for the body and their Monkey Shag Fur in Baby Pink for the tail which is only 4" wide. I also used a teeny-tiny piece of Liberty London tawn fabric for the inside of the ears. 

Here are some links to tutorials on hand sewing stitches. You basically only need the backstitch for constructing Bessie and then a french knot for her eyes. The ears and tail are put on with a whip stitch and the running stitch is for basting the tail. 

Click here for Bessie Bunny's template

NOTE: This project uses a 1/4" seam allowance and it is included in the template.

STEP ONE

Print the template twice. Cut out the templates. 

STEP TWO

Following the instructions on the template cut the fabric with the nap of the fabric going in the downward position.

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STEP THREE

Sew the two body pieces together along the sides and top with right sides together. Leave the bottom open. 

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STEP FOUR

With the body still inside out, attach the bottom to the body with right sides together. Leave a two inch opening.

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STEP FIVE

Turn right side out.

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STEP SIX

Fill the body with poly-fil.

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STEP SEVEN

Close the bottom with a hand whip stitch.

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STEP EIGHT

Sew the ears with right sides together, leaving the bottom open.

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Turn right side out.

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STEP NINE

Fold the bottom of the ears up and inside.

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Then attach to the head with a hand whip stitch and pinching the ear a little in the middle for a simple pleat.

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STEP TEN

Baste around the edge of the tail leaving two long lengths of thread.

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Pull the lengths of thread to form the tail into a ball leaving a very small opening to fill the the tail ball.

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STEP ELEVEN

Stuff the tail ball with poly-fil.

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STEP TWELVE

Sew the tail ball closed with a whip stitch. Use something thin like a bamboo stick to pull the long pile from out of the sitches.

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STEP THIRTEEN

Attach the tail to the body of the bunny.

STEP FOURTEEN

Add the eyes with the french knot stitch.
 

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Hoppy trails to you and your bunny!

 

 

Published in "Designs in Machine Embroidery" and a GIVEAWAY by The Embroiderist!

The January/February issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery routinely is their “monogram” issue and this year it is really amazing. Eileen Roche always hits the nail on the head with her trendy contributions. This year it is expressions using “Vintage Embroidery” software, which is so cool. You will find it prominently displayed on the cover in Texas fashion.

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Personally, my favorite article is “Monograms for Men.” Cathy Sundermann has so many different samples and such a broad spectrum of embroidery designs. She must have been writing this article for years. You are sure to find something for that man in your life.

This issue I have the honor of two articles being published:  a project article, “Illuminated” on page 38ff, and a special feature, “Pressing Matters” on page 56ff.

You will notice that the “Illuminated” is the only project that is not monogram related. If you notice in the magazine in general, there is usually one or two articles that are not within that issues’ theme. This allows for a little variety for the reader and to the catch the interest of someone who might not otherwise be so enthralled with the idea of monogramming.

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This article is also very unique in that the embroidery is not done on the project. It is machine embroidered on polyester organza, then it is applied to the paper lantern.

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This technique works for so many different projects. See how I did it and the step-by-step instructions in the issue.

Pressing is so integral to machine embroidery and yet it is something that I think we all take for granted. There are tips in the article on how to take your project from wrinkly to wrinkle-free.

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In the article there is a free project on how to make your own embroiderer’s pressing pad. Mine cost about $10 – the cost of a sweater on Ebay and I use it almost every day. There are really thick 100% wool pressing mats that you can purchase, but some of them are as much as $80. They do work fantastic though and are incredibly convenient, but if your budget does not allow for this luxury, you might want to make your own. 

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For a long time, I used a felted sweater in Kelly green that I salvaged from my children’s grown-out-of-pile. I just put a muslin cloth on top it and it worked perfectly until one day the green bled through the muslin and into my project. I was quite upset. It was obviously time for a white sweater. Since I went to the trouble of purchasing a sweater on Ebay, I figured I might as well go all the way and make it into an easy to use embroiderer’s pressing pad. The step-by-step instructions can be found in this issue of the magazine.

GIVEAWAY by The Embroiderist!!!

Did you know that February is embroidery month? In celebration of that and to celebrate having two articles published in the same February magazine, I am offering a machine embroidery giveaway.  To be considered for the drawing, please sign up for my newsletter in the button on the right. If you are already a subscriber then you will automatically be considered in the drawing. One name will be randomly be chosen by the computer from the subscriber’s list. The giveaway is only open to subscribers who live in the contiguous United States and this giveaway is not endorsed by anyone. I will email the winner on March 1st, and ask them for their mailing address. I will post the name of the winner on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. 

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On March 1st, I will be giving away the following to one random newsletter subscriber:

·      One new unopened copy of the January/February issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery 

·      One new unopened copy of the November/December issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery 

·      One new unopened package of 3 paper lanterns measuring 9.5 in. in white (the same size I used in the article)

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·      One new unopened CD of floral machine embroidery designs by Floriani – Design Collection 27 – 15 floral designs in the following formats: C2S, WAF, DST, EMD, EXP, HUS, JEF, PES, SHV, VIP, VP3, XXX.

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Thank you for subscribing!

HOW TO MAKE A CHILD’S CUDDLE HEADBAND

This series of winter accessories for your little one is perfect for Valentine’s Day with these cute pink colors. The series includes this sweet headband, a pompom scarf, incredibly warm mittens, and bootliners.

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This is the blog post for the last in this series - the darling headband. It is so versatile, I have plans to make one for myself in faux fur and lined with Solarize for extra warmth. It will keep my ears and head toasty warm, but my bun will be able to stick out the back and I will not mess up my hair putting it on. This was designed by the cutie pie in the pictures below. She obviously had a wonderful idea. 

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The little cutie pie in the picture actually picked out her own fabric and designed each accessory piece to be the way she wanted them to be.

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She is the one who wanted the fur on the mittens and on the top of her boots. She wanted a big button on the mittens and her headband because she had noticed that my sweater had large buttons. I just could not make them that big. She is so much smaller than me, but she thought they were a perfect size.

The headband was designed so she could keep her ears warm and not mess up her hair-do. She clearly did not want a hat. Also, she did not want the headband lined with Solarize because she wanted to wear it inside. 

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That was actually the most important part of the design process. This headband has a button closure on the back so it can be removed without taking it over your head.

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Keeping your hair neat is important even at this young age. In my book, she is just the cutest model (sorry I could not show her adorable face).

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Thank you to Fairfield World for donating the wool batting and compensating me for this blog post series. Thank you to Shannon Fabrics for providing the inspiration and a discount on the fabric.

MATERIALS

  • Sweet Posy Cuddle in Fuchsia by Shannon Fabrics – 1/8 yard
  • Wool Batting by Fairfield World – 1/8 yard
  • Matching thread
  • Walking Foot
  • Curved corner cutter ruler or something similar
  • 2 – coordinating ¾” buttons
  • Corded elastic – 3”
  • Optional: wonder clips and a hemostat
  • Sewing machine and supplies

INSTRUCTIONS

NOTE: Use ½” seam allowance and a walking foot, unless noted otherwise.

STEP 1

NOTE: To determine the size of the headband, measure the circumference of the head in the place where it will be worn for the length, and add 1" for the seam allowance. Also, check to see if the width is appropriate. These are the measurements that I used for this project. When I make mine it will be longer, but probably not any wider. 

From the cuddle fabric cut:

  • 2 pieces measuring 21” by 3 ½”
  • 2 pieces measuring 6” by 3 ½”
  • 1 piece measuring 3 ½” by 3 ½”

From the wool batting cut:

  • 1 piece measuring 21” by 3 ½”
  • 1 piece measuring 6” by 3 ½”

STEP 2

Please Note: The pictures shown below are for the smaller piece used for the bow, with the exception of STEP 3 which is the headband. That is the piece that the elastic is added. STEPS 2 - 8 are for both pieces. They are just different sizes. The smaller one is for the bow and the longer one is for the headband. Only the headband gets the elastic in STEP 3.

Lay one large piece of the cuddle fabric with the right side facing up. Place the next piece of cuddle on top of it with right sides together. Place the wool batting on top. Pin in place.

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STEP 3

Fold the corded elastic in half. Place it on one end with the edges matching the edge of the fabric in between the two pieces of cuddle. Stitch in place.

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STEP 4

Trim the all four corners of the sandwich with the small side of the curved corner cutter ruler or something similar.

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STEP 5

Using a walking foot, sew around the perimeter of the sandwich with a ½” seam allowance, leaving a 1-2” opening on one side.

STEP 6

Trim the batting close to the seam allowance. 

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STEP 7

Turn right side out. Finger press.

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STEP 8

Topstitch the sandwich. This will close all the openings.

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STEP 9

Do STEPS 2, and 4 - 8 for the smaller pieces of cuddle and batting, omitting step 3 for the bow. The large piece is for the headband and has the elastic. The shorter piece is for the bow.

STEP 10

Fold the last little piece of cuddle in half. Sew it along the long edge.

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STEP 11

Turn it right side out.

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STEP 12

Matching the two raw ends, zig-zag stitch the ends together.

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STEP 13

Turn right side out.

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STEP 14

Take the sewn bow fabric and fold it in half lengthwise.

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STEP 15

Fold it again lengthwise but in the opposite direction. This will be like an accordion fold. Keep in place with a wonder clip.

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STEP 16

Pull this folded bow through the loop made in STEPS 10-13.

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STEP 17

Carefully using the hemostats again, pull the headband carefully through the back of the loop of the bow.

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STEP 18

Adjust the bow and sew in place by hand from the back.

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STEP 19

Sew the button to the opposite of the headband from the elastic but on the same side facing up as the bow.

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Now you have a darling headband to match all your other winter accessories. Enjoy! 

HOW TO MAKE A CHILD'S THERMAL BOOTLINERS

Children and snow go together like peanut butter and jelly. They are inseparable. But those little toes suffer the consequences of them playing long hours outside. These bootliners are just the trick. They are made with Fairfield World’s Solarize that is a thin insulating thermal barrier fabric.

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Thank you to Fairfield World for donating the Solarize and the stabilizer, and compensating me for this blog post series. Thank you to Shannon Fabrics for providing the inspiration and a discount on the fabric.

Top these bootliners off with the cutest faux fur ever – baby pink monkey shag fur from Shannon fabrics and you are sure to beat the cold. Because Shannon’s fur is a knit, there is no need to line the fur or finish the edges. You can merely cut it and sew it on to the top. It is super easy.

These bootliners are loose fitting liners that slide inside of a boot. They are intended to be worn with socks. They assist in keeping feet warm and are not intended to be worn as slippers since there is no sole. Solarize could be used to line slippers for a wonderful snuggly warmth.

If your child’s boots have trouble staying dry, just add an extra layer of Shield, a moisture-proof fabric. These are your creations, so make them just perfect for your little one.

MATERIALS

  • Solarize by Fairfield World – 1 yard for a small size (22” wide)
  • Shannon Fabrics’ Monkey Shag Fur (faux) in Baby Pink – two pieces measuring 13” (or desired length) by the circumference of the top of the boot plus 1” – mine measured 13” by 11”
  • Stabilize by Fairfield World for the bottom of the foot only– mine measured 16” by 11”
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine and supplies
  • Optional: Coordinating faux fur Pompoms – instructions in this blog post

INSTRUCTIONS

NOTE: Use ½” seam allowance, unless noted otherwise.

STEP 1 – Make the Pattern for the Sole

With a sock on, trace the child’s foot on a piece of paper.

On the paper with the foot pattern, add 1” all the way around the foot. See my example of the pattern. Cut out the pattern.

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STEP 2 - Make the Pattern for the Upper Boot

With the boot on, measure the height from the top of the sole to the top of the boot. Measure the boot’s opening circumference. Measure the distance from the boot sole to the ankle.

Measure the length of this foot pattern and add 2” to it. This will be the bottom measurement of the boot top.

Draw an L shape from the bottom of the boot with the side being the measurement of the height of the boot.

At the top of the L extend it half the circumference of the boot top plus 1”. Draw a line straight down stopping at the ankle height from the bottom. From the ankle point curve a line to the toe. See my example of the pattern. Cut out the pattern.

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STEP 2 – Cut the Fabrics

·      From the foot pattern, cut 2 pieces from the Solarize

·      From the foot pattern, cut 2 pieces from the Stabilizer

·      From the boot top pattern, cut 4 pieces from the Solarize – 2 should be facing left and 2 should be facing right

STEP 3 - Construct the Bootliner

With right sides together, sew both sides of the boot top.

STEP 4

Place the stabilizer of the foot pattern flat on a table, put the solarize foot pattern on top of it with the silver facing up. Pin in place.

STEP 5

Place the bottom edge of the boot top around the perimeter of the foot pattern in STEP 4. This will be the widest part of the boot top. Pin in place.

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STEP 6

Using the piece of Monkey Shag Fur with right sides together sew the length sides together.

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STEP 7

With right sides together (silver matching the fur) place the sewn piece of Monkey Shag Fur inside the top of the bootliner and pin in place.

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STEP 8

Sew the fur to the top of the solarize bootliner.

STEP 9

Fold the fur cuff over so that it is on the outside of the booliner. The inside of the bootliner is silver, the outside is the white of the fabric, but to be honest, it can work either way.

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Enjoy! These boot liners that coordinate well with the cuddle scarf with pompoms and the mittens

 

 

 

 

HOW TO MAKE A CHILD’S THERMAL MITTENS

Children love playing outside in the snow. They make snow angels, snowmen, throw balls, and eat enough snow to keep them hydrated for a year (okay, an extreme exaggeration).  But we all know what that means…wet soggy mittens when they come in. Their little fingers are ice cold. Unless, you own several mittens, you need to wash and dry them before they can go back outside again. Today’s technology has these wonderful thermal gloves, but to be honest, many times they are not as waterproof as they claim and they are surely not very fashionable. This mitten pattern is just the solution. It combines today’s technology with high fashion fabric.

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Fairfield World has two products that will keep those little fingers actually sweating from the heat they generate and dry on the outside. Solarize is an innovative product. I so wish I had this thin insulating thermal barrier fabric when my children were growing up. I think I would have made liners for all their outdoor clothes with it. Do not laugh, but I actually thought of making some petty pants for me (you young sewers will need to look that word up) as my bottom gets so cold. This would surely do the trick.

The other product is Shield, a moisture and allergen barrier that is also incredible. The other day I did a test on it to see how “moisture proof” it was. I hung a piece on my octopus clothesline in a manner to create a hammock affect.

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I then poured a cup of water into it and let it sit for 24 hours. Not one drop leaked out. Now I do not know the technical reason why this fabric is not called “waterproof,” but in my book, it is very waterproof. I think this product could be used everywhere with little children from drool bibs to beds.

Combine the thermal properties of Solarize, with the moisture-proofing of Shield, and top it off with the softness of cuddle – oh, my, that is the perfect recipe for an awesome mitten for a child. The little cutie pie that I made them for fell in love with them and did not want to take them off all evening until she realized that her hands were actually sweating.

Thank you to Fairfield World for donating the Shield and Solarize, and compensating me for this blog post series. Thank you to Shannon Fabrics for providing the inspiration and a discount on the fabric.

MATERIALS

  • Shannon Fabrics’ Sweet Posy Cuddle in Fuchsia – one piece 4 “ longer than the hand length and four times the width of the hand pattern plus 2” – mine measured 11” by 36”
  • Shannon Fabrics’ Cuddle in Baby Pink – the same size as the Sweet Posy Cuddle piece
  • Shield by Fairfield World – the same size as the Sweet Posy Cuddle piece
  • Solarize by Fairfield World – the same size as the Sweet Posy Cuddle piece
  • Shannon Fabrics’ Monkey Shag Fur (faux) in Baby Pink – two pieces measuring the circumference of the wrist plus 1” – mine measured 5” by 9”
  • 2 buttons ¾” (or any desired size)
  • 6” corded elastic – cut in half
  • Matching thread
  • Walking Foot
  • Erasable Frixion Pen
  • Ruler
  • Flower head pins (easier to see in cuddle and faux fur fabric)
  • Optional: Painter’s tape
  • Sewing machine and supplies 

INSTRUCTIONS

NOTE: Use ½” seam allowance and a walking foot, unless noted otherwise.

STEP 1

Trace the child’s hand on a piece of paper. Decide where to stop and start at the wrist. At the widest part of the hand draw a straight line down on the side opposite the thumb. This will allow for ease in opening. Add 2 ¼” extra on the bottom for a fur cuff. Add 3/4" around the perimeter. Cut out the pattern. See my example of the pattern.

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STEP 2

Make a fabric sandwich to quilt. Place one piece of the Shield with the fuzzy side facing up. Place one piece of Solarize with the silver side facing up on top of it. Place a piece of Cuddle 3 on top of those layers with the right side up. You will now have three layers. Pin in place.

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STEP 3

Draw lines on the back of the quilt sandwich that you made in STEP 2. Place the Shield fabric up and draw on this side. Draw diagonal lines spaced one-inch apart in one direction and then in the opposite direction. The lines should form a diamond on the back.

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STEP 4

Using a walking foot and a basting stitch to sew along the lines that you have drawn in STEP 3.

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STEP 5

With the Cuddle 3 quilted fabric facing up and the nap in the down direction, cut out 4 of the hand patterns – two with the thumb facing right and two with the thumb facing left.

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STEP 6

With the Sweet Posy Cuddle fabric facing up and the nap in the down direction, cut out 4 of the hand patterns – two with the thumb facing right and two with the thumb facing left. You will now have 4 mittens in each of the two fabrics – Sweet Posy and the quilted Cuddle 3.

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STEP 7

With right sides together sew a Sweet Posy Cuddle mitten together; however, on the non-thumb side stop 4” (or more for larger sizes) from the edge. This will be a right and a left side mitten facing each other. Do this for the other mitten in this fabric.

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STEP 8

With right sides together sew a quilted Cuddle 3 mitten together; however, on the non-thumb side stop 4” (or more for larger sizes) from the edge. This will be a right and a left side mitten facing each other. Do this for the other mitten in this fabric.

STEP 9

Turn the Sweet Posy Cuddle mittens right side out.

STEP 10

Place one of the Sweet Posy Cuddle mittens inside one of the quilted Cuddle 3 mittens making sure that they are facing right sides together and that the thumbs match.

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STEP 11

Fold the corded elastic in half. Place it about 2” from the top of the opening on the quilted Cuddle 3 mitten – make sure that they are on opposite sides. The elastic should be on the bottom of the opening when completed. Stitch in place.

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STEP 12

Match the 4” (or larger) openings and pin in place.

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STEP 13

Sew from the top to the bottom of each side of the opening, tapering it to the existing seam allowance in the mitten.

STEP 14

Turn the mitten right side out.

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STEP 15

Pin the Monkey Shag Fur with right sides together on the top of the mitten with about ½” overhanging on each side. Stitch in place.

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STEP 16

Fold the Monkey Shag Fur back on itself so that the right sides are together. Pin the ends.

STEP 17

Stitch this in place. Fold it back right side out.

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STEP 18

Zig-zag stitch along the edge keeping the fur pile in place with painter’s tape, if desired.

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STEP 19

Sew the button in place with corded elastic.

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STEP 20

Follow STEPS 9-19 for the other mitten.

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Enjoy! These mittens coordinate well with the cuddle scarf with pompoms.

 

 

 

 

HOW TO MAKE A CHILD’S CUDDLE SCARF with POM POMS

This is the perfect time to make winter accessories for your little ones since they will not grow out of them next year. They are going to want to wear them all day long when you pick their favorite colors and they feel the softness of Cuddle fabric. Start with an easy scarf adorned with cute pom poms. This is sure to bring a smile.

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Thank you to Fairfield World for donating the wool batting and compensating me for this blog post series. Thank you to Shannon Fabrics for providing the inspiration and a discount on the fabric.

This is a small size scarf that is 29" long plus the length of the pom poms. Please increase the length and width for a large child or even an adult. It is easy to calculate - take a tape measure and place it where you would like the scarf to start and end, wrapping around the back of your neck, and add 1" for the seam allowance. Remember you may want to shorten the length if you are adding pom poms.

MATERIALS

Sweet Posy Cuddle in Fuchsia by Shannon Fabrics – two pieces measuring 30” by 5”

Fairfield World's Wool Batting measuring 30” by 5”

Matching thread

Machine Walking Foot

Curved corner cutter ruler (available at Nancy Notions) or something similar

2 Pom poms – see instructions here

Cording or ribbon to attach the pom poms

Sewing machine and supplies 

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1

Lay one piece of the cuddle fabric with the right side facing up. Place the next piece of cuddle on top of it with right sides together. Place the wool batting on top. Pin in place.

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STEP 2

Trim the all four corners of the scarf sandwich with the small side of the curved corner cutter ruler or something similar.

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STEP 3

Increase the stitch length to 3 mm. Using a walking foot, sew around the perimeter of the fur scarf with a ½” seam allowance, leaving a 2-3” opening on one side. If adding pom poms to the ends, also leave a ½” opening on each end.

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STEP 4

Trim the batting close to the seam allowance.

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STEP 5

Turn right side out. Finger press.

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STEP 6

Tie a knot in the pom pom cording 1-2” from the pom pom and trim the cording.

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STEP 7

Insert the cording into each end of the scarf and pin.

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STEP8

Topstitch the scarf. This will close all the openings and secure the pom pom inside the scarf.

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Now you can rest assured that your little one is nice and warm, as well as fashionable with their new pom pom scarf.

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See how to make a matching headband, mittens, and bootliners in upcoming blog posts. 

HOW TO MAKE A FURRY POM POM

Faux fur is so trendy and pom poms are even more fashionable. I have always loved both, so for me, this is so much fun. I now feel like I am in vogue for a change. Will I look like I am in style when I am still wearing them ten years from now? No, but I probably will be; that’s how much I love them. They are so easy to make and the best part is that you can make them any size and color that you want. You do not have to search the internet for just the right ones. This could be a great stash project if you have leftover faux fur and poly-fil. It is one of those versatile projects that can be sewn with a sewing machine or by hand. In just a few minutes, you can be wearing cute pom poms too.

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Thank you to Fairfield World for donating the Poly-Fil and compensating me for this blog post series. Thank you to Shannon Fabrics for providing the inspiration and a discount on the fabric.

MATERIALS

A square of faux fur - mine was 8” and I used "Monkey Shag Fur" in baby pink by Shannon Fabrics

Poly-fil (large handful) by Fairfield World

Matching upholstery thread

Bamboo stick or something similar

Needles: standard sewing (hand or machine) and a curved upholstery needle

Optional: Cording or ribbon; cording foot

Sewing machine and supplies or hand sewing supplies

 

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1

Find something that is a circle with the diameter the same as you’re your square or draw a circle.

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A quilting circle template can be used.

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Trace the circle on the back of the faux fur.

STEP 2

Cut the faux fur circle using short snips on the back of the fur so as not to cut the long fur fibers or use the gliding technique as I use – like when you use your scissors on wrapping paper. Whichever method, do not cut with a rotary blade or cut all the way through the fur. This will result in cutting the fur and will leave the edges unnatural looking.

 Glide the scissor from the back. Do not cut the long fur fibers.

Glide the scissor from the back. Do not cut the long fur fibers.

 Gliding the scissors instead of cutting leaves the long fibers natural looking

Gliding the scissors instead of cutting leaves the long fibers natural looking

STEP 3

Sew around the perimeter of the fur circle. If you are sewing by hand, use a running stitch with a standard needle and upholstery thread. If you are sewing with a machine baste stitch with upholstery thread. If you are using cording, sew this with a wide zig-zag stitch on the machine. Upholstery or standard thread can be used. A cording foot is very helpful.

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The zig-zag stitch should be wide enough to not catch the cording.

STEP 4

Pull the basting stitches

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or the cording to form a ball from the circle. Leave a small opening.

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STEP 5

Fill the opening with as much poly-fil as you can fit inside the fur ball.

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STEP 6

Pull the stitches or the cording completely closed.

STEP 7

Using a curved upholstery needle, sew the opening closed by working from one side to the opposite side until the entire circle has been enclosed.

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If you are hand sewing, or did not use the zig zag stitch with the cording, you can fold a piece of cording in half and insert it into the opening before stitching. You can also use ribbon(s) inside the pom pom.

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Use a bamboo stick or some other item to pull the fibers out of the seam. 

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Enjoy decorating your world with easy peasy pom poms! Hang them off banners. Make a statement on a purse.Use them on winter accessories.

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Be creative!

Haiti Part 1 of 4 - Bonjour Haiti

   

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Roosters are crowing,

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goats are bleating,

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dogs are barking –

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to exhausted Americans, it sounds like an idyllic countryside, but the constant clicking of the gecko startles us back to reality. We are in the heart of the capital of Haiti – Port au Prince. My companions and I have been restless all night from the orchestra of sounds and the sweltering heat under the mosquito nets that lie over our bunks. 

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The motherly habit in me causes me to rise early before the others to claim first dibs on the bathroom. We have been advised to sparingly use the water that has been sterilized and transported from the hospital for brushing our teeth and to conserve on all water usage. We flush only when absolutely needed. For me, that also means sacrificing one shower when I would dearly love two – one before I go to bed to wash off the sweat from the day and one when I wake up to get my day started after an even sweatier night. In preparation for the trip, one of my first questions was if there was a shower. A resounding, “yes” meant that I did not pack the ingenious can of dry shampoo. Simple answers sometimes need further questions. I should have asked about the shower. I turned it on…trickle, trickle, trickle of ice-cold water. Well, that was not going to work to wash to my long hip-length hair, but I am so very grateful for the invigorating shower. I decide to put my hair up and deal with that tomorrow (I wind up filling the kitchen sink before the two cooks arrive).

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Outside, life has begun to awaken. At 5:30 AM, people are making the trek to the water source in front of our guesthouse that is hidden from me by the towering concrete wall. Large plastic containers are expertly balanced on top of heads with crowns of fabric to keep them in place. I am in awe at how these women can maneuver it on top their heads and balance it so gracefully.

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My heart is aching as I see a pregnant woman coming up the hill with her load of water for her family, but she is so accustomed to the task that she walks no slower than the others. Only the teenage boy struggles; he has not learned the art of balancing and tries to carry the load with his hands wrapped in cloths around the metal handles. He stops every few feet to switch hands. When he reaches the top of the hill he stops longer to rest and exercises his hands by playing his imaginary piano. I can hear the rhythm of the song from his body motions. He catches me watching and finds the strength to move out of sight quickly. I was so mesmerized; I lost the opportunity to take his picture.

Someone comes out of a house and piles the trash along the side of the street. It is quickly lit.

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As I look out from our perch at the top of the hill, I see other smoke columns rising all around the city. During the morning, more people come along and add to the burn. It is then left unattended to burn out on its own. During the day, I notice these scorches along the roadside and I now understand what they are.

Slowly, children dressed in immaculate school uniforms start making the hike up and down the hills on the unpaved roads. They still adhere to the long gone sidewalk and each one walks in exactly the same place. No one wanders to the middle of the street even though there are no vehicles coming or going.

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Men further down the road have resumed their responsibility of clearing an extremely large tree trunk from the road (in the picture below it is front of the driver on the last day). They haul the heavy and thick branch on their shoulders after spending hours hacking and sawing it free from the rest of the tree. This laborious process has taken all week and it still was not cleared by the time we left. We yearned to give them one of our fast chainsaws. They would have been the envy of the country with a tool we take for granted, but it is not meant to be.

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Later merchants start their business of selling their wares on the street. There are merchants on every street no matter how small.

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Stands are set up with baskets of bread, bags of water, fruit, packaged food, and clothes hung along the walls for all to see, even shoes are hanging along the sidewalks.

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The one outside our guesthouse has the advantage of a permanent freezer that has no electricity - instead it is used as a cooler.

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Electricity, like water, is scarce in Haiti. Only 25% of Haiti (https://www.export.gov/article?id=Haiti-Energy) has the luxury of electricity. Not even the hospital has a supply 24/7. They must rely upon their own generator when the municipal source is down. The guesthouse seemed to have every source possible: municipal electricity, a generator,

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propane,

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and there were even the creative car batteries.

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The hired security guard could be seen going from one source to another to keep the house running flawlessly for us “blans” - the Creole word for foreigner. Interestingly, it technically means “white,” but all foreigners, no matter their ethnicity are “blans.”

Every day we have the extravagance of having our Haitian breakfast and dinner cooked for us. Oh, the food is so spicy and delicious, even the peanut butter lunch sandwiches are spicy. I honestly, thought it was my taste buds until someone else mentioned the spicy peanut butter.  I did slip into the kitchen one afternoon to see if I could help, but as you would all suspect I was clearly not wanted. They did let us clear off the table if we thought of it before they did, but the conversation was so engaging that many a night we were too busy talking to notice.

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Our driver would arrive shortly after breakfast

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and bring us to our destination for the day, which is where I leave you for another post on Haiti. 

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Children's Hospital Gown - How to Sew the Gown

These are instructions on how to sew a hospital gown for a child.  The hospital gown has an opening at the back that completely overlaps to give full coverage.  The back has two 14" tie closures on each side - one is on the outside and one is on the inside. There is also a 14" tie closure at the neck. It has a square neckline and butterfly sleeves. The short butterfly sleeves allow for full access to the arm for ease in medical procedures.

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The pattern is a very simple pattern to sew and is designed for beginner sewers. There are no complicated bias trims or rounded edges. A traditional sewing machine or serger can be used. It is helpful if the sewing machine has a zigzag stitch, but this is not necessary. 

 Butterfly Sleeve Completely Opened

Butterfly Sleeve Completely Opened

 Another View of the Butterfly Sleeve

Another View of the Butterfly Sleeve

Please note that you may want to buy grosgrain ribbon instead of making your own ties as this will save considerable construction time; in which case, please omit the instructions below on cutting the ties. Each gown will require three yards of grosgrain. 

 Child's Hospital Gown with Ties on the Inside

Child's Hospital Gown with Ties on the Inside

 Child's Hospital Gown with Ties on the Outside

Child's Hospital Gown with Ties on the Outside

 View of All Three Ties in the Gown

View of All Three Ties in the Gown

The pattern includes five sizes: small (sizes 3-4); medium (sizes 5-6); large (sizes 7-8); extra large (sizes 10-12); and XX-large (sizes 14-16). Yardage ranges from one yard to two and a quarter yards. A good quality cotton/polyester blend is recommended. This blend will allow for the garment to be laundered with minimal or no wrinkling. 

 Back View of the Gown

Back View of the Gown

Please see the blog post on how to make the pattern and cut the fabric by clicking here.  This blog post is merely on how to sew the hospital gown. Please read both before starting the gown. Both posts are available as a PDF to download without pictures at the end of each post and by clicking here. 

All fabric should be washed and dried on the hottest temperatures possible before cutting. 

TIME FRAMES

  • The pattern will take about an hour to create.
  • It takes about 20 minutes to cut the fabric.
  • The gown takes about an hour and a half to sew. 

FABRIC YARDAGE BY GOWN SIZE

  • Size Small (3-4) - 1 yard
  • Size Medium (5-6) - 1 yard
  • Size Large (7-8) - 1 1/4 yards
  • Size Extra Large (10-12) - 2 yards
  • Size XX-Large (14-16) - 2 1/4 yards

MATERIALS to Sew the Pattern

  • Traditional sewing machine (with a zigzag stitch if possible) or a serger
  • Universal or standard sewing machine needle
  • The patterns for the gown - CLICK HERE for the pattern
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Seam ripper (optional)
  • OPTIONAL: 3 yards of grosgrain ribbon to substitute sewing the ties for the closures. Cut it into 6 equal pieces (or 16" each tie) and finish the ends with fray check, a zig zag stitch or tie a knot. Skip the instructions on how to sew the ties. Add them to the gown like the sewn ties.
  • You will also need a good quality polyester thread in white or matching color. If you are not sure about your thread quality please try this test:
    • Cut off about 12” of the thread
    • Knot the thread in the middle
    • With your hands gripping about 3” on each side of the knot, pull on the thread hard.
    • Did it break? If it did, please do not use this thread.

INSTRUCTIONS on How to Sew the Gown

NOTES: 

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  1. All seams are 1/2" (the edge of the foot). This is usually the width of the foot and makes it an easy gauge.
  2. Start sewing 1/8" to 1/4" from the edge so the fabric does not bunch up under the feed dogs.
  3. All sewing should begin and end with a backstitch or a tack down stitch to secur the stitches.
  4. Most seams do not need to be pinned as they are straight and the fabric is not slippery. If this is a new concept to you, try it. It is very fast and this easy project is a great one to try new skills. Plus it is a lot faster. 
  5. While garments should be pressed, this fabric is so nice and the pattern so simple that no pressing is necessary. 
  6. If you do not have a zig zag stitch, please double stitch instead. The second stitch should be close to the edge of the opposite seam stitch. 

STEP 1

Make the pattern and cut the fabric. CLICK HERE for the pattern and instructions on how to make it and cut the fabric.

STEP 2 - Edge Hem (Reference Only)

Edge hemming will be used on most of the edges of this garment. Edge hemming is a three step process of sewing the edge of the garment so the woven fabric does not unravel. Most garments use a 1/2" edge hem, but since this is for beginners, we will use a 1" edge hem. Please refer to this step when "Edge Hem" is mentioned. It is as follows:

  • Fold the edge of the garment 1/2"
  • Fold the edge of the garment a second time 1/2" (this will encase the raw edge)
  • Topstitch or stitch close to the edge that is not on the fold. 

STEP 3 - Making the Ties

Skip this step if you are using grosgrain ribbon instead of making the ties with the same fabric. 

  • Fold in the short ends of the fabric 1/4" and then 1/4" again (this will encase the raw edge of the ends). 
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  • Fold the fabric in half lengthwise. It will now be 15" by 1".
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  • Finger press along the crease.
  • Open the fabric and fold one long edge up to meet the center fold line.
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  • Do this for the other side as well.
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  • Now fold it closed. The raw pieces will be encased inside. 
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  • Topstitch or stitch close to the edge that is not on the fold. 
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  • Repeat this for all 6 ties. 
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  • Set the ties aside. 

STEP 4 - Sleeve

  • Edge Hem (see step 2 above) the top edge of the sleeve.
  • Edge Hem (see step 2 above) the straight side that has both corners a right angle (the butterfly opening).
  • Edge Hem (see step 2 above) the bottom of the sleeve.
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  • Do not hem the diagonal or the straight seam below the diagonal as these are the sleeve and side seams.
  • With wrong sides together, place two of the opposite sleeves on top of each other leaving 5/8" that is not overlapping on each end. The sleeves should have the two hemmed straight edges overlapping in the middle and the two diagonal edges should be on the sides. 
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  • Zig zag the top edge where it is overlapping. Widen the stitch width if necessary.
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  • You should now have 2 sleeves with a butterfly opening. Set the sleeve aside.
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STEP 5 - Front & Back

ON THE FRONT PIECE: Edge Hem (see step 2 above) the top edge.

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ON THE BACK PIECE:

  • Edge Hem (see step 2 above) the large diagonal that is 3" less than the other. CAUTION: This edge is on the bias. It will stretch. You may want to pin this to avoid stretching. 
  • Edge Hem (see step 2 above) the top edge.
  • Edge Hem (see step 2 above) straight edge that extends from the above sewn diagonal edge.

 

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  • Do not hem the little diagonal,  the straight seam below the little diagonal diagonal, or the bottom.
  • Do this for the second back piece.
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STEP 6 - Adding the Ties

  • On the back piece, pin one tie to the wrong side of the corner of the diagonal and the straight edge that have been hemmed. This is where the long diagonal meets the long hemmed side. It should be about 3/4" from the edge with the length of the tie extending past the garment.
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  • Zig zag the tie to the back. 
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  • Do this for both back pieces. These will be the side ties.
  • On the back piece, pin one tie to the wrong side of the corner of the diagonal and the straight edge that have been hemmed. This is the top edge and the diagonal. It should be about 3/4" from the edge with the length of the tie extending past the garment.
  • Zig zag the tie to the back. 
  • Do this for both back pieces. These will be the neck ties.
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  • Lay the front of the garment with the right side down and the top up.
  • Lay the back piece on top of it. Match the hem lines and the side seams. Where does the tie on the back meet on the side seam of the front? Mark it with a pin on both side seams on the front. For the size Large it was 6" from the diagonal. 
  • Remove the back piece.
  • On the front piece pin one of the ties on the edge of side seam on the right side where you marked the spot with a pin.
  • Do this for the other side, but on this time on the wrong side of the fabric
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  • Zig zag the tie to each side seam. 
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NOTE: On the front piece, one tie will be sewn to the wrong side and one to the right side. It does not matter which side is which.

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  • Pin all the ties to the main pieces so they do not get in the way when sewing the remining seams. 
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STEP 7 - Sewing the Sleeves to the Body

  • With the tops of the front and one sleeve matching at the top, and right sides together, sew along the edge with a straight stitch.
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  • Finish the edge with a zig zag sttich. 
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  • Do this for all four sleeve seams.
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STEP 8 - Sewing the Side Seams

  • With right sides together, match the edge of the sleeves and the sleeve seams.
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  • Sew the seam together with a straight stitch.
  • Finish the edge with a zig zag sttich. 
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  • Do this for both side seams.

STEP 9 - Hem the Bottom Edge

  • Edge Hem (see step 2 above) the bottom of the garment. 
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This completes the child's hospital gown.

Please download the PDF of these instructions here. They do not contain pictures.

If you have any questions, or there are any errors, please contact Colleen Bell. 

 

 

 

Children's Hospital Gown - How to Make the Pattern & Cut the Fabric

These are instructions on how to make the pattern and cut the fabric for a hospital gown for a child.  The hospital gown has an opening at the back that completely overlaps to give full coverage.  The back has two 14" tie closures on each side - one is on the outside and one is on the inside. There is also a 14" tie closure at the neck. It has a square neckline and butterfly sleeves. The short butterfly sleeves allow for full access to the arm for ease in medical procedures. 

IMG_3950.JPG

The pattern is a very simple pattern to sew and is designed for beginner sewers. There are no complicated bias trims or rounded edges. A traditional sewing machine or serger can be used. It is helpful if the sewing machine has a zigzag stitch, but this is not necessary. 

 Butterfly sleeve completely opened

Butterfly sleeve completely opened

Please note that you may want to buy grosgrain ribbon instead of making your own ties as this will save considerable construction time; in which case, please omit the instructions below on cutting the ties. Each gown will require three yards of grosgrain. 

The pattern includes five sizes: small (sizes 3-4); medium (sizes 5-6); large (sizes 7-8); extra large (sizes 10-12); and XX-large (sizes 14-16). Yardage ranges from one yard to two and a quarter yards. A good quality cotton/ polyester blend is recommended. This blend will allow for the garment to be laundered with minimal or no wrinkling. 

Please see the blog post on how to sew the pattern by clicking here. That blog post also includes the full list of materials to construct the gown. This blog post is merely on how to make the pattern for the gown and how to cut the fabric. Please read both before starting the gown. Both posts are available as a PDF to download without pictures at the end of each pos and by clicking hers. 

All fabric should be washed and dried on the hottest temperatures possible before cutting. 

TIME FRAMES

  • The pattern will take about an hour to create.
  • It takes about 20 minutes to cut the fabric.
  • The gown takes about an hour and a half to sew. 

FABRIC YARDAGE BY GOWN SIZE

  • Size Small (3-4) - 1 yard
  • Size Medium (5-6) - 1 yard
  • Size Large (7-8) - 1 1/4 yards
  • Size Extra Large (10-12) - 2 yards
  • Size XX-Large (14-16) - 2 1/4 yards

MATERIALS to Make the Pattern and Cut the Fabric

  • Access to a computer & a printer to download and print the patterns
  • Paper wide as the gown width - minimum 7" and maximum 12" (brown paper bag, tissue paper, medical table paper, craft paper, printer paper, etc.)
  • Pencil or pen
  • Tape
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
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PATTERNS - Click on the size to download the pattern to your computer. There are two pattern downloads for each size. There is a body and a sleeve pattern for each size. 

SMALL

MEDIUM

LARGE

EXTRA LARGE

XX-LARGE

The sample pattern shown in the pictures is a size XX-Large and a size Large. Please make adjustments for the pattern you are making. 

STEP 1 - PREPARATION

  • At the computer download the pattern and print it.
  • Cut out both patterns on the inside of the dark line. 
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STEP 3 - CONSTRUCTING the Body of the Pattern

  • FInd the body pattern. Place the edge of the body pattern that says "CENTER" on the edge of the paper. Trace this on the paper. 
  • EXCEPTION for size 16 - Size 16 needs to have an additional 2" added to the left side of the pattern. Place the pattern two inches from the edge of the fabric and then follow the directions below. 
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  • Each body pattern has inches to be added to the length. This measurement can be found at the bottom edge of the body pattern. 
  • Using the ruler measure this amount below the bottom of the pattern. To keep the same distance from the edge of the paper to the other edge that you are drawing, mark the width of the pattern at several places along the length of the paper.
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  • Connect the lines so that there is a continuous line from the bottom of the pattern to the amount to be added to the pattern.
  • Connect the line from edge to edge.
  • Cut the body pattern.

STEP 4 

Trace and cut the body of this pattern two more times.

NOTE: If you are making a pattern from the smaller sizes, you can trace the body pattern on the fold and cut one pattern. This will be for the back. 

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You will now have 3 full-length body patterns. [Or a front and back, if you took the shortcut above, in which case, disregard the tapping instructions below.]

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STEP 5 - PATTERN FRONT

  • Label one of the patterns "FRONT".
  • Write the size on line 2.
  • Add the words "Cut one on the Fold" to line 3
  • On the longest left line - CENTER - add the words "FOLD" with an arrow.
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STEP 6 - PATTERN BACK

  • Tape two of the body pieces together at the "CENTER." [Disregard if you took the shortcut in the cutting instructions above.]
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  • On the right side where there is a diagonal, measure 3" and mark.
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  • Cut this 3" off just the right side. You will now have a trapezoid with a short diagonal on the left and a long diagonal on the right. 
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  • Label the pattern "BACK."
  • Write the size on line 2.
  • Add the words "Cut two" to line 3
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STEP 7 - PATTERN SLEEVE

  • Trace the sleeve pattern onto the paper.
  • Each sleeve pattern has inches to be added to the length. This measurement can be found at the bottom edge of the sleeve pattern. 
  • Using the ruler measure this amount below the bottom of the pattern. To keep the same distance from the edge of the paper to the other edge that you are drawing, mark the width of the pattern at several places along the length of the paper.
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  • Connect the lines so that there is a continuous line from the bottom of the pattern to the amount to be added to the pattern.
  • Connect the line from edge to edge. 
  • Cut the sleeve pattern.
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  • Label the pattern "SLEEVE."
  • Write the size on line 2.
  • Add the words "Cut four" to line 3
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STEP - CUTTING THE FABRIC

  • Fold the fabric in half with the wrong sides together (colorful on the outside).
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Match the selvages (the finished side of the fabric). The raw/cut ends should be at the top and bottom.

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  • Each pattern will require a different placement due to the size. The pictures show size XX-Large; however, size Small can fit more pieces next to each other. Please play with the pieces to make the most of the pattern on the pieces.
  • Align all the pieces on the fabric before cutting. Pin in place then cut as follows.
  • Place the "Front" of the pattern on the fold. Cut one on the 3 sides. 
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  • Place the "Back" next to the "Front" or below it, depending on the size. Cut one on all 4 sides. This will give you 2 pieces facing opposite directions. NOTE: For some sizes you can place this on the selevage and it will save you the step of edge hemming this piece here.
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  • Place the "Sleeve" where it will fit twice. Cut this pattern 2 times. This will give you 4 pieces with 2 facing opposite directions. NOTE: For some sizes you can place this on the selevage and it will save you the step of edge hemming this piece here.
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  • Measure and cut 6 pieces of fabric (for the ties) that are 16" by 2". 

Please download the PDF of these instructions here.  They do not contain pictures.

Please CLICK HERE for the instructions on how to construct the gown

If you have any questions, or there are any errors, please contact Colleen Bell. 

 

 

Entertaining Tray with Temperature Control

Most of us entertain during the holidays and serving food is always on the entertaining list. It does not matter if the food is to be served is cold or hot, it is always a challenge to keep it the correct temperature. Make this serving tray to help control the temperature of the food. The key to the tray is the "Aluminor", which is a thermal insulating barrier. It will keep hot things hot and cold things cold. This reversible serving tray is to not for lifting and serving, but for sitting and maintaining the food’s temperature within the upright sides. It is also just beautiful by itself as a decorating piece as seen in this picture.

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Hope you enjoy using this double-sided serving tray all year round - New Year's, Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Super Bowl - any entertaining occasion. It is even perfect for just for decoration as in the picture above. You can embroider on one or both sides for a particular season or even embroider your family’s monogram. You can leave one side blank so that it can be used in the summer for entertaining as well as during all those winter festive occasions. The possibilities are endless. Make yours to fit a specific space just like I did.

Thank you to Fairfield World for providing the Aluminor for this project. 

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MATERIALS

1 1/2 Yards of Gold Aluminor

1 1/2 Yards of Silver Aluminor

1 Yard Oly-Fun™ Metallic Gold or prepared piping

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5 Yards 3/8” cording for piping or prepared piping

Coordinating Good Quality Polyester Thread

SUPPLIES

Sewing machine and related supplies 

Piping foot (optional or use a zipper foot)

Zipper foot

Small sharp sewing machine needle (I used 75/11)

Rotary cutter, ruler, and self-healing mat, are preferred, but not necessary 

Wonder Clips

FOR MACHINE EMBROIDERY:

Embroidery Machine

Sharp 75/11 embroidery needle

Embroidery design of choice (the center design is “The Harvest” by Sonia Showalter http://www.soniashowalterdesigns.com/for-the-harvest/the-harvest/) with built-in fonts

Floriani Embroidery Threads

Prewound bobbin in white

Floriani Medium Cutaway Stabilizer

“Snap Hoop Monst

er” by Designs in Machine Embroidery  (Magnetic Hoop)

Snips by Famore Cutlery

 

STEP 1

NOTES:

1.    This project uses 1/4” seam allowances, except where noted.

2.    Finger press the seams open. Do not use an iron.

3.    Do not bend, fold, or crease any of the materials as a permanent mark will remain.

4.    Spot clean only.

5.    A “Snap Hoop Monster” is strongly recommended for machine embroidering on Aluminor as the back of Aluminor does not stick effectively onto tacky stabilizer.

6.    The edges of this tray were cut at a 60 degree angle so that the sides stood up slightly; however, a 90 degree angle would make the sides stand up completely and a 45 degree angle would leave the sides laying flat.

7.    When sewing Aluminor for such a large project, roll it up as you go along so it does crease or get in your way.

 

PREPARATION:

Please read the instructions below before beginning. Gather the materials and supplies.

For instructions on how to make piping with Oly-Fun™ Metallic Gold and cording, please visit my blog post at http://www.the-embroiderist.com/blog/2017/11/20/oly-fun-metallic.

STEP 2

Cut the fabric as follows -

From the Silver Aluminor:

1 piece measuring 48” by 14.5”

2 pieces measuring 52” by 3.5”

2 pieces measuring 20.5” by 3.5”

From the Gold Aluminor:

1 piece measuring 48” by 14.5”

2 pieces measuring 52” by 3.5”

2 pieces measuring 20.5” by 3.5”

Trim the ends of the four the 3.5” strips to a 60 degree angle as follows:

On each end measure 2” from the end and mark.

Draw a diagonal line from top corner of the strip to the bottom corner where you just drew the line.

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Cut along this diagonal line.

Do this for all the corners making sure that the longest point is the top of each strip. It will look like a trapezoid.

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STEP 3

MACHINE EMBROIDERY: Download the machine embroidery design and load it into the embroidery machine.

STEP 4

Open the magnetic hoop and place the cutaway stabilizer on the bottom.  Place large piece of the silver Aluminor right side up into the hoop and center it – verifying the correct orientation of the design.

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STEP 5

Machine embroider the design.

STEP 6

Take the Aluminor out of the hoop. Trim the threads and stabilizer to about ¼” from the design.

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STEP 7

Follow step 4 again, if more than one hooping is desired (my design was 3 hoopings).

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STEP 8

CONSTRUCTION:

Sew the four gold Aluminor strips together to form a continuous loop.

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Begin sewing at the widest part and sew down to the shortest part. STOP sewing a stitch away from ¼” mark from the edge.

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The two short ends and the two long ends will meet at a 60 degree angle with the largest part at the top and the shortest at the bottom. It should form a rectangle with the two shorter sides on each end and the longer strips on the opposite sides.

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STEP 9

Sew the four silver Aluminor strips in the same manner as the gold ones in step 8.

STEP 10

Clip the silver Aluminor loop to the large piece of Aluminor.

STEP 11

Sew the loop to the large piece of the Aluminor, pivoting at the corners and being careful not to bend the material.

STEP 12

Finger press the seams towards the large piece of Aluminor.

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STEP 13

Follow steps 10-12 for the gold Aluminor.

STEP 14

ADDING BINDING:

Using a piping foot with the needle adjusted accordingly, sew the piping to the edge of the gold Aluminor with right sides together and using a ½” seam allowance.

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Clip the corners just before pivoting to make the turn easier.

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You may need to use a stiletto to push the binding back under the foot and into the groove.

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Splice the ends together to form a seamless edge.

Stop stitching 2" from the matching point and trim the excess binding to about 2" longer than the other side.

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Open the free end.

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Trim about 1" of the cording.

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Slip the two pieces together to form one piece of binding.

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Continue sewing to complete the loop.

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Trim corners. 

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Remove the piping foot.

STEP 15

Finger press the piping towards the top of the strips.

STEP 16

Set the sewing machine length to a basting stitch. Baste the top edge of the silver Aluminor ½” all the way around, pivoting at the corners. This will be used as a guide to turn it down. Trim corners.

STEP 17

Fold the silver Aluminor down along the ½” basting stitch and finger press in place.

STEP 18

Turn the gold Aluminor piece inside out, with the right side facing down.

STEP 19

Place the silver Aluminor piece inside the gold piece, matching the silver edge that has been folded down snuggly against the gold piping.

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Clip in place.

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STEP 20

Check to make sure that they both fit snuggly one inside of the other. Adjust if necessary.

STEP 21

Using a zipper foot with the needle adjusted accordingly, stitch as close as possible to the edge of the silver edge that was folded down without going over the edge.

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22

Check to make sure that both pieces are sewn together well.

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Remember it is reversible so you can use either side depending upon your décor or occasion.

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Enjoy! 

Having Fun with OlyFun Ornaments

OlyFun is a techy fabric that is so cool to work with. It does not fray, has no grain, and is water-repellent. It comes in 18 different colors so it is a perfect match for making in-the-hoop machine embroidered ornaments. I had so much fun playing with it, but I decided to step it up a notch and  I did three ornaments as a test using "Support Soft Foam Stabilizer" with the OlyFun. 

 Machine Embroidery Designs by "Embroidery Library" -Gingerbread Cookies in-the-hoop

Machine Embroidery Designs by "Embroidery Library" -Gingerbread Cookies in-the-hoop

Thank you to Fairfield World for supplying the OlyFun, the "Support Soft Foam Stabilizer"  used for these ornaments, and the inspiration. 

OlyFun is readily available at many of the big chain stores. In my area in the Connecticut shoreline, the best place is Hobby Lobby. There is a whole display at the end of an aisle where the home decorating fabrics are. I have seen the "Support Soft Foam Stabilizer" at Joann's. 

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OlyFun did not require anything special and it stitched like a dream.  Because it does not fray I could use it in the designs that left the edges raw. It is thinner, so I did not need to worry that it would catch in the feed-dogs or in the foot. I wanted to see what the different colors looked like in these gingerbread cookie designs so I tested with green, red, and sand. 

The first design was the Christmas tree in green. The project instructions call for leaving it open and stuffing it with a poly-fil then closing it by hand.

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 I had done many ornaments that way and to be honest, I wanted to see what an ornament looked like that was flat. So here it is...the flat Christmas tree. It turned out pretty well if you ask me. I know that if I am ever in a pinch, I will feel comfortable leaving out the poly-fil.

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On to test two - OlyFun with Support Soft Foam Stabilizer" (I'm just going to call it Support herein) in the gingerbread man in sand. Support is a foam stabilizer that I found out about this summer. It takes a bag from looking sewn to looking store-bought.  It helps anything keep its shape, which Is why I thought I would use it here. One layer of Support on the back just before the back was tacked down made it a wonderful ornament with depth.  

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It was so quick and easy that I plan on using this from now on to fill my ornaments. It gave the ornament just the right amount of loft and texture. 

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Last but not least, I used two pieces of Support in the bell ornament in red. The first piece was added just before I put the red OlyFun on the top. This allowed the design to stitch through both the OlyFun and the Support.  The second was at the same place as the one above.

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I was not sure if my machine would think it was too thick, but it did not have any problems. The only issue I found was that when I cut away the ornament, the foam could be seen on the edges because the OlyFun was popping up. This could be rectified with trimming it before or after the final stitching.

The testing was so much fun and helped me to venture into new fillings for Christmas ornaments in the future. I think you will be seeing more of that Support in this blog as my overall favorite was the gingerbread man in sand with one layer of Support. It seemed to have all the chemistry for these designs.  

They will be cute as a whole set of gingerbread cookies in sand with Support. 

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Hope you have time to stitch out a few for yourself. Happy Holidays!

Leftover Batting Tags

Over the holidays we get so many leftovers from food to fabric scraps. If you are a quilter or use batting for other projects, you probably have a lot of leftover batting. We cut off those wide portions and save them for just the right project.  Well, the right project is here.  It is so quick and so easy to use leftover batting for tags. 

 Machine Embroidery Design X3580 by "Embroidery Library"

Machine Embroidery Design X3580 by "Embroidery Library"

Thank you to Fairfield World for supplying the black batting used for these tags and the inspiration. 

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Gift tags are the perfect way to make a gift extra special and with leftover batting, there is no added expense involved. It only took 30 minutes to stitch three gift tags - super easy. 

These tags are machine embroidered in-the-hoop tags from Embroidery Libraryyou could use this same concept with a sewing design for gift tags. 

Some tips for machine embroidering with batting:

  • You do not need to cut each piece of batting and line it up before the stitch down, merely cut a piece of batting larger than the area and place it on top before the normal placement step.
  • Press the batting before placing it over or under the hoop. 
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  • Use a black "No Show Mesh Nylon Cutaway Stabilizer." 
  • Use a water-soluble topper on the top as well as the bottom of the batting.  Batting has loose fibers and they can get caught in the feed dogs especially.
  • Do not use a heat activated topper as I did. The loose fibers of the batting will stretch and make permanent rolls of the topper that must be cut loose. 
  • Remember to use the same colored thread in the bobbin as in the top thread.
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  • Do not use a spray adhesive to keep the parts together as it will leave a sticky residue on the batting.
  • Use a basting stitch to keep the top pieces together.
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  • Use painter's tape to keep the bottom pieces together. First apply it to the batting and then apply it to the topper. 
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  • Remove as much topper as possible by hand. 
  • Cut the tags with a rotary cutter or scissors after it has been removed from the hoop.  This step alone makes using batting so much easier than other fabrics. 
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These gift tags are so easy that you can make lots of them for those last minute gifts. Happy Holidays!

Entertaining Plate Charger with Temperature Control

 

Thank you so much to Fairfield World for supplying the materials to make this plate charger and compensating me for this blog post. 

Holiday entertaining is so much fun and there is always so much food. Keeping that food the right temperature is usually difficult when it is sitting out for hours while people enjoy nibbling. This charger is the perfect solution. You can use it under plates to keep the food warm or you can use it on a serving table for keeping food cold when it is steamy outside. It is reversible so you can make one side plain that would work for any occasion and embroider on the other side for that special day. 

 "Wheat Sprigs Monogram Blank" by Sonia Showalter. Font built in on the Ellisimo Gold by Baby Lock. 

"Wheat Sprigs Monogram Blank" by Sonia Showalter. Font built in on the Ellisimo Gold by Baby Lock. 

 Plates from the restaurant owned by Henry Ford. Freestanding "Harvest Wheat" design by Sonia Showalter.

Plates from the restaurant owned by Henry Ford. Freestanding "Harvest Wheat" design by Sonia Showalter.

These plates look so small against this full-sized charger that is 16", but for us, Thanksgiving means using the family heirloom china, not the large department store ones that we use regularly. Some places can say so and so slept here, but in our family, we use china dishes that say so and so ate off these dishes. My grandmother had the privilege to be the personal waitress to Henry Ford who had his own restaurant in the Detroit area. He had his own personal set of china for when he was in attendance. When the dishes were discarded due to chips or cracks, my grandmother would bring them home. These were his dishes. I am so glad that I was the one chosen to inherit them from grandmother and I love them dearly, including the cracks and chips. I am sure Mr. Ford could never have imagined a material like "Aluminor" that could keep food temperatures regulated with its thermal capabilities, but then there is so much in our time that is way beyond his comprehension. 

The key to these chargers keeping temperatures hot or cold is the special "Aluminor" material that is quilted providing a thermal barrier. It comes in a gorgeous gold or silver. Fairfield World has lots of projects on their website using this wonderful material. 

INSTRUCTIONS

MATERIALS

17" circle of Gold Aluminor

17" circle of Silver Aluminor

1.5 yards of premade piping or make your own with 1/2 yard Oly-Fun™ Metallic in Rose Gold and 1.5 yards of 3/8" cording - see this blog post on how to make it yourself http://www.the-embroiderist.com/blog/2017/11/20/oly-fun-metallic

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Coordinating Good Quality Polyester Thread

SUPPLIES

Sewing machine and related supplies 

Piping foot (optional or use a zipper foot)

Zipper foot

Small sharp sewing machine needle (I used 75/11)

Rotary cutter, ruler, and self-healing mat, are preferred, but not necessary 

Wonder Clips

FOR OPTIONAL MACHINE EMBROIDERY:

Embroidery Machine

Sharp 75/11 embroidery needle

Embroidery design of choice (the center design is “Harvest Wheat Monogram Blank” by Sonia Showalter http://www.soniashowalterdesigns.com/garden/greenery/wheat-sprigs-monogram-blank/) with built-in fonts

Floriani Embroidery Threads

Prewound bobbin in white

Floriani Medium Cutaway Stabilizer

“Snap Hoop Monster” by Designs in Machine Embroidery  (Magnetic Hoop)

Snips by Famore Cutlery

NOTES:

1.    This project uses 1/2” seam allowances, except where noted.

2.    Finger press the seams open. Do not use an iron.

3.    Do not bend, fold, or crease any of the materials as a permanent mark will remain.

4.    Spot clean only.

5.    A “Snap Hoop Monster” is strongly recommended for machine embroidering on "Aluminor" as the back of "Aluminor" does not stick effectively onto tacky stabilizer.

STEP 1

PREPARATION:

Please read the instructions below before beginning. Gather the materials and supplies.

STEP 2

MACHINE EMBROIDERY:

Download the machine embroidery design and load it into the embroidery machine.

STEP 3

Open the magnetic hoop and place the cutaway stabilizer on the bottom.  Place the silver "Aluminor" right side up into the hoop and center it – verifying the correct orientation of the design.

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STEP 4

Machine embroider the design.

STEP 5

Take the "Aluminor" out of the hoop. Trim the threads and stabilizer to about ¼” from the design.

STEP 6 

Set the sewing machine length to a basting stitch. Baste the top edge of the silver "Aluminor" ½” all the way around. This will be used as a guide to turn it down. 

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STEP 7

Fold the silver Aluminor down along the ½” basting stitch and finger press in place. 

STEP 8

Using a piping foot with the needle adjusted accordingly, sew the piping to the edge of the gold Aluminor with right sides together and using a ½” seam allowance. Splice the ends together for a seamless joint. Remove the piping foot.

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STEP 9

Finger press the piping towards the top of the center.

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STEP 10

Place the silver on top of the gold "Aluminor" with wrong sides together. Clip in place.

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STEP 11

Using a zipper foot with the needle adjusted accordingly, stitch as close as possible to the edge of the silver edge that was folded down without going over the edge.

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Check to make sure that both pieces are sewn together well.

Remember it is reversible so you can use either side depending on your décor.

 Plates from the restaurant owned by Henry Ford. Freestanding "Harvest Wheat" design by Sonia Showalter.

Plates from the restaurant owned by Henry Ford. Freestanding "Harvest Wheat" design by Sonia Showalter.

Enjoy! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oly-Fun™ Metallic Piping

Thank you to "Fairfield Processing" for providing the Oly-Fun™ Metallic for this blog post. I am so grateful that you donated some, as I have now fallen in love with it.

Oly-Fun™ Metallic is an innovative craft material that in every way resembles fabric.  It even comes on a bolt. If you love bling, you will love this. It is ideal in a cutting machine or in crafts that you do not want to sew. It is easy to sew and does not fray. It can be spot cleaned. It is available at local craft/sewing stores. The place I see it the most is at the end of an aisle at Hobby Lobby.  They have all the wonderful array of the basic colors as well as the four metallics in gold, silver, red, and a gorgeous rose gold.

   Oly-Fun™ Metallic  in luscious colors of gold, rose gold, silver, and red

Oly-Fun™ Metallic in luscious colors of gold, rose gold, silver, and red

Since Oly-Fun™ Metallic is so similar to fabric I wanted to put it to the test and see how well it would do under pressure. I made piping out of Oly-Fun™ Metallic for a project that is upcoming. It worked beautifully and because it does not fray, I decided to try making a longer piece without a seam. It was great! Instead of sewing the two ends together like traditional fabric, you pick up one end and slide the other end underneath, pull it tight under the binding foot and continue sewing.  It was a breeze to sew and saved some time by not having to seam it first. I have instructions below on how to makes piping with Oly-Fun™ Metallic with both methods – traditional method of sewing the seams and the Oly-Fun™ way that does not need sewing.

 Traditional piping with a sewn seam

Traditional piping with a sewn seam

 Easy piping with  Oly-Fun™ Metallic  does not need a seam

Easy piping with Oly-Fun™ Metallic does not need a seam

 No seam on the left and with a seam on the right

No seam on the left and with a seam on the right

Some things to keep in mind when using Oly-Fun™ Metallic in general:

·      Use “Wonder Clips” instead of pins so that marks are not left in the material

·      Be careful sewing as marks will be left if a seam must be ripped out

·      Be careful that the feed dogs do not leave a mark when the right side will be down against the feed dogs

·      If using it with a stretch fabric, consider placing the piping under the fabric when attaching to avoid puckers

·      While Oly-Fun™ Metallic does not have a grain, it does have a slight texture that should be kept in mind when planning your project

 Texture of  Oly-Fun™ Metallic

Texture of Oly-Fun™ Metallic

·      Do not bend or fold the material as it will leave permanent creases

  Oly-Fun™ Metallic  with permanent creases

Oly-Fun™ Metallic with permanent creases

·      Use a sharp needle that is as small as possible so that marks are not seen from the needle

·      Do not use it on a project that will require washing

INSTRUCTIONS

MATERIALS

·      Cording for piping the width and length necessary for your project (pictures are 3/8” cording and 12” long)

 3/8" cording used for this tutorial

3/8" cording used for this tutorial

·      Oly-Fun™ Metallic - cut the width to be the circumference of the cording plus 2” if you are using a ½” seam allowance and the length the perimeter of your project

·      A Piping/Cording foot for your machine is very helpful, but a zipper foot can also be used

 A piping foot has a groove to hold the piping

A piping foot has a groove to hold the piping

 The piping foot holds the piping/cord in place while you stitch

The piping foot holds the piping/cord in place while you stitch

 

·      Rotary Cutter

·      Self-healing Cutting Mat

·      A “Piping Magic Tool” is a great help in trimming the piping (www.NancyNotions.com)

STEP 1

Cut your cording and Oly-Fun™ Metallic to the desired length and width. The width of the Oly-Fun™ Metallic should be the circumference of the cording plus 2” if you are using a ½” seam allowance, otherwise, adjust accordingly. This allows for the material to go around the cording and create a margin of fabric on both sides that accommodates a ½” seam allowance. For example, I used 3/8” cording and cut the width to be 2” (the pictures show 3”, but my actual project used 2”).

STEP 2

If you would like to connect your pieces of Oly-Fun™ Metallic the traditional method before piping then, sew the two ends right sides together with ¼” seam allowance (it does not need the bulk and will not fray so a small seam allowance can be used).

 Only a 1/4" seam is necessary with  Oly-Fun™ Metallic

Only a 1/4" seam is necessary with Oly-Fun™ Metallic

STEP 3

Replace your standard foot with a piping/cording foot.  This foot has a groove that allows the cord to stay in place while you are sewing close to the cord. It is important to adjust the placement of the needle so that the needle lands just to the right of the cord, but does not catch the material wrapped around the cord.

 Adjust the needle placement so that it is just to the right of the cord

Adjust the needle placement so that it is just to the right of the cord

STEP 4

Wrap the width of the Oly-Fun™ Metallic tightly around the cord and match the raw edges with wrong sides together.

STEP 5

Slip the cording with the Oly-Fun™ Metallic under the piping foot, pulling the material tight around the cord. Sew with a regular stitch length.

 Place the piping foot over the cord and the needle to the right of the cord

Place the piping foot over the cord and the needle to the right of the cord

STEP 6

Stop 2” before you reach the end of the material. Lift the material up and slide the next piece under the first piece about ½”. Place the sewn piece on top and pull tight. Align the raw edges.

 Stop sewing 2" before the end of the material and slide the next piece inside

Stop sewing 2" before the end of the material and slide the next piece inside

 The material should overlap 1/2" and be tight

The material should overlap 1/2" and be tight

STEP 7

Continue sewing the piping until you reach the end.

STEP 8

At the cutting mat, trim the raw edges of the piping to ½” (or wider if needed for your project). A “Piping Magic Tool” slips over the cording and gives you an automatic ½” seam allowance to allow for easy straight cutting.

 Trim easily with a special grooved acrylic ruler

Trim easily with a special grooved acrylic ruler

 Trim to 1/2"

Trim to 1/2"

STEP 9

Now you are ready to add it to your project. Follow the pattern guidelines. In general, you place the raw edge of the piping on the edge of the right side of the fabric and using the piping foot, you place the piping under the foot and sew in exactly the same place as before.

 Place the piping on the raw edge and stitch with the piping foot

Place the piping on the raw edge and stitch with the piping foot

Then you add the second piece of fabric on top with right sides together. You place the piping under the foot and sew in exactly the same place as before. Fold the fabric back and the piping will be on the edge sandwiched between two pieces of fabric. If your project uses it in a different method, please refer to those instructions.

 Add the second piece to the top and stitch again with the piping foot

Add the second piece to the top and stitch again with the piping foot

 Finished piping inserted into two pieces of fabric

Finished piping inserted into two pieces of fabric

 5 yards of gold piping ready for a great project

5 yards of gold piping ready for a great project

Fairfield Processing has many projects on their website using Oly-Fun™ Metallic. A tray to keep food warm or cold while serving will be posted on their website that includes using Oly-Fun™ Metallic piping. Hope you enjoy it!

Designs in Machine Embroidery – Article "Headrest Covers"

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The September/October issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery has a spectacular cover featuring Katherine Artines’ “Shapely Sunflower.” The theme of the magazine is techniques and technology in the machine embroidery world, and she exhibited the many aspects of machine embroidery.

Magazines routinely work many months in advance of the publication date and some magazines publish an editorial calendar that reflects the different themes for each issue. They release it to prospective freelance writers, which is terrific if you are on that list. However, when you are new to freelance writing, you do not have this privilege and have to submit a proposal blindly and hope that the editorial staff finds it attractive enough to include it or put you on their list to submit proposals for the future.

Blind proposal submissions are difficult as not only do you not know the theme but also you do not know their timetables. You do not know if you are close to a proposal deadline or if you just missed one. It is just a shot in the dark. The hardest part is waiting many months to hear a response, let alone receiving that rejection, which in the worst case scenario never comes.

Designs in Machine Embroidery has an amazing editorial staff and submitting a first-time proposal to them was way beyond my expectations. Personally, I do not believe they would ever ignore a proposal or let one sit for months before responding. To my astonishment, they accepted my first proposal, which happened to be for this issue.  It did not include any new technique or technology, but it was unique in that it had a broad base of interest. It appeals to all ages and genders. 

 Circle Monogram Set 1 by Embroidery Arts

Circle Monogram Set 1 by Embroidery Arts

Many of us drive or ride in cars, so “Headrest Covers” is something that appeals to most and, as it turns out, they are a status symbol in some areas. When my then twenty-something Army Drone pilot came home on leave and asked me to make him a set for his new car that reflected his favorite sport’s team, of course, I dropped what I was doing and started them immediately. I measured his headrests and googled what they look like when you buy them from the professionals and finally came up with an idea and a pattern. He loved his first set so much that he asked me to send him a set that would be for each season’s team. I loved doing it, especially since he was the one that had said so adhamantly, “Sorry Mom, machine embroidery is just not for me!” Huh! We showed him that we machine embroiderers could come in handy.  We just needed to think of the right project. Well, in this instance, he thought of it and I am so glad he did because now I get to share it with all the machine embroiderers that read Designs in Machine Embroidery.