Recently in Christmas Category

Last Minute Hostess/Teacher Gifts

December 13, 2013

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If you are like me I am still trying to get everyone on my list a little something homemade. Luckily, my family all knows how much I love them everyday so they are at the bottom of my list and my daughter's teachers are at the top. Even though I tell them all the time how much I adore them I also know how much they give and sacrifice to give my daughter a great education so I place them at the top of my "homemade list".Also at the top are all my hostess friends who work so hard to make my holiday season festive. Everyone's list is long so the only way to get it all done is to pick great gifts that pack a punch. I love tote bags, cowls and sweet little details for those really special givers in our lives. 



For my teacher/hostess gifts I chose to make a chic but simple cowl, a quick but so cute tote bag and a super sweet little girl's dress. The cowl makes the perfect hostess gift because you can wrap it around a bottle of wine and its use goes beyond the party. I learned to make this cowl from Craftsy's Beginner Serging class but it is basically two 60'' wide fabric pieces serged together. It is so easy but so lux. There is knit on the inside and twill print on the outside.



For a teacher gift I made the Pleated Shoulder Bag from Amy Carol's Bend the Rules Sewing. This is a great book for quick, creative gifts. I had previous cased out my teacher's handbag to determine her style but I wasn't sure I had the time to take on a really great handbag project. I opted for a super great tote bag instead; something every teacher can use. This bag came together with 1/2 yd of each fabric: Organic Cotton in Gray and Denyse Schmidt Cotton Print. This tote carries a lot and looks great doing it. It goes together pretty fast and it is easy to customize. The large gussets help it to accomodate lots of books, games or tasty treats. 


Finally for my daughter's head teacher I made something for her own daughter. She has a 2 yr old who is very dear to her and I wanted to make something special since she is always admiring my little one's dresses. I casually asked about her daughter's favorite colors and when I found this pink dog print I knew I had struck gold. I modified the back for a zipper for ease and added a tie to the back so there would be a big pink bow on the back for cutness. You can't go wrong with an Oliver + S pattern. 

For those of you still scrambling or looking for more quick gifts check out our other great gifts blog posts here.

The coolest pillowcases ever!

December 10, 2013

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Around the office, we are buzzing about all the really cool fabrics for kids of all ages we have in stock right now. We are dreaming up quick gift ideas, and the one that keeps coming up is to make pillowcases with a theme. Sew4Home has a great Sleepover Pillowcase project that's quick and easy. Here are just a few of the really cool prints we have: Peanuts, Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvel Comics, Family Guy, Angry Birds, Strawberry Shortcake, Sesame Street, The Big Bang Theory and Hello Kitty. Check out the Famous Character Cotton Print fabrics if you want to see all the great prints of characters you know and love.

Make a Fabric Deer Head: Free Pattern from Charming Doodle!

December 2, 2013

Free Fabric Deer Head Pattern from Charming Doodle! Free Fabric Deer Head Pattern from Charming Doodle!

This adorable free pattern and tutorial for a whimsical stuffed deer head (that
you could interpret as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the holidays) if from the creative mind of Charming Doodle blogger Elisa Clark. She calls herself and ''adventuresome beginning'' sewist, and she has some terrific projects at Charming Doodle. We spotted this project for holiday decorating and wanted to share it with you. Happy Holiday Decorating!

Hostess Apron Tutorial- Inspired by Threshold

November 26, 2013

Hostess Apron Tutorial- Inspired by Threshold

Tis the season for hostess gifts which are one of my favorite gifts to make and give. I love reciprocating when I've been invited for a good time and good food. One of the best gifts to give is an apron. An apron doesn't need to be sized, is easy to make and easy to customize with colors, details and embellishments. I saw this version at Target a few weeks ago and fell in love. My family spends Thanksgiving and Christmas at my parents' house and twice my mom creates an incredible meal in which I usually repay by cleaning the kitchen. This year I thought I would step up my game and make her a beautiful apron as well, in her favorite color: pink. 

Continue reading Hostess Apron Tutorial- Inspired by Threshold.

Christmas in July: Burlap Bags

July 21, 2013


This year, I am taking steps early to make sure that I have ready gifts on-hand when the holidays roll around. I always get frustrated when I'm invited to a party or cookie swap or caroling event, but I don't get to relax and enjoy the time with family and friends because I've worked myself into a frazzle trying to make sure I have a gift so I don't fall victim to empty-handedness syndrome. I get equally frustrated when I have to give something that has no personal touch because I was ill-prepared.

Continue reading Christmas in July: Burlap Bags.

Rolled Edge Napkins (AKA Super Easy Napkins)

February 22, 2013



Bunny Folded Napkin

So because I was already set to blog on my serger (See previous post- Product of the Month: Sergers) I decided that you readers should have a project too. This is especially true for the newbies who are considering a serger but think they will only use it to seam up some t-shirts. These super easy napkins are a great stash buster (if you like to mix n' match) or the perfect way to add a splash of color to your table. If you have a dinner party coming up or are hosting your first family meal at your house and you need some gorgeous napkins fast then this project is for you. Bonus: You can learn yet another feature on your serger.


Most sergers are equipped to create a rolled edge so check your manual to determine how your machine needs to be configured. My Brother 1034D needs to have the stitch finger removed. Once you have your machine set up it is time to test the tensions on your 3 threads: Needle, Upper Looper and Lower Looper. Take a piece of waste fabric that is approximately the same as your project fabric to test your tensions. Turn your knife on and then trim away any messy edges as you stitch until you get your tension correct. I had to make my upper looper tension heavier than the recommended range so experiment inside the range first and then outside the range if the tension is still not right. Change each dial one at a time, stitch a few inches, check it and then make another change. If you make several changes at once and something is not right you won't easily be able to determine the problem.


My tension settings


Making a clean corner


The red is the messy tension and the green is the corrected


Stitch Finger release button

To make clean corners, don't pivot at the corner like with a traditional sewing machine. Stitch to the end of the fabric plus some extra to make a thread chain and then lift the foot and turn the fabric. Begin each corner beyond the edge of the fabric. Finish each corner with a small drop of Fray Check then clip off the thread chain. This will keep the corner threads from coming undone and will give it a nice finished end.



To make 8 napkins you will need 2 yds of cotton print fabric (44'' wide). Make an 18'' square template from poster board or freezer paper. Take your pre-washed fabric and fold it in half 4 times (you will have 8 layers) and then lay your template on top and cut out all 8 napkins at once. With your knife on run each napkin through your serger cutting off ¼'' to eliminate any frayed or wonky edges.



You can recreate any of folding designs by following my Kitchen board on Pinterest. The bow is my personal favorite but I also have a soft spot for the rose for having girlfriends over for tea. My napkins were created from Riley Blake Flutter in Doily Blue and Dream Blue (Due to be back in stock mid April)


Crochet Edging for Your Stocking

December 21, 2012

For my girls' first Christmas, I made them a stocking. Here is Devon's stocking back in 2009. I want the stockings to be similar but not identical so I used a common fabric and am keeping similar details. I love the rick rack cuff edging on my 2009 stocking but I decided to keep the effect with a crochet trim. My goal was to add a scalloped crochet trim in a similar color. The tricky part was adding a crochet trim to a fabric project. Well...Problem solved! With a little embroidery floss we were in business. Here's how you can add a crochet trim to your fabric projects, whether that be a stocking, tree skirt or apparel.


1 skein of embroidery floss is a coordinating color (I used green for show but try to use a color to match your yarn)

Enough yarn to complete your edging (to be determined by the stitch pattern)

Project to be embellished.


Here is my stocking cuff


With your embroidery floss using a backstitch or running stitch to work the edge where the trim is desired (I used a running stitch along the edge of the cuff for the stocking). Use a running stitch if your yarn is worsted or thicker and using a backstitch if your yarn is thinner than worsted. The running stitch will have spaces incorporated that work well for thick yarns. Also, let the size of your yarn determine your stitch size; a bigger yarn needs a bigger stitch to work into and smaller yarns need a smaller stitch. Don't work a thin yarn into a big stitch it will look sloppy.


Secure the end of the embroidery floss with a good knot. Using your crochet hook (size determined by your yarn gauge) work a single crochet into each stitch of embroidery floss. Use this first row to create as many stitches as needed for your pattern. Start your pattern on the second row. This first row should be all single crochets and will help hide your embroidery floss.


To recreate my scallop pattern use Martha Stewart's Merino Yarn in Peacock and *SC, DC, DC, TC, DC, DC, SC into one stitch, chain 3, repeat from *

SC: Single Crochet

DC: Double Crochet

TC: Triple Crochet


Chalk Cloth Santa Cookie Mat

December 12, 2012

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As the big night approaches don't forget Santa in your holiday decorating. Just as in the top restaurants presentation is everything; insure you and yours will earn everything on your list by making a Chalk Cloth Santa Cookie Mat. The cookie mat will enhance any Santa snack by bringing Christmas cheer to every corner of your home. This decorative mat is a placemat made from chalk cloth with cotton flange and ornamental trim around the beverage and plate settings. Your kids can inform Santa which cookies he is sure to enjoy and point out his favorite beverage, be it milk, hot chocolate or a hot toddy. Your kids can even add a final plea for presents.
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To make your own Chalk Cloth Santa Cookie Mat you will need:
¼ yard of chalk cloth
¼ yard of quilting cotton
1 yard each various trims and ribbons
Cut a rectangle 17" by 15" from the chalk cloth. Trace your cookie plate and glass using chalk onto your mat and select your trim. Carefully pin and top-stitch your trim in place over your chalk marks. You can pin since you will be sewing right over any pin holes. Embellish your trim with rick rack flowers by simply rolling your rick rack into a roll until your flower is large enough and secure with some hand tacking stitches. Finally add your cotton flange using Sew4Home's Flange Pillow instructions. It is so easy and adds just the right touch to finish off your cookie mat. This Pattern
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This Pattern can be easily modified for a birthday mat, Mother's Day breakfast mat or just a kid's place mat by changing the fabric flange. 
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No Sew Felt Christmas Tree with Ornaments

December 7, 2012

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With 2 kids, I am constantly looking for ways to involve them in the holidays but without the risk to any of our decorations. That is a hard task when Christmas rolls around: glass ornaments, ceramic table toppers and porcelain angels abound. However, when I saw this Felt Christmas Tree project idea on Pinterest, I knew it was just right for my family. I set about planning my tree. I wanted it a bit different to blend with my funky/traditional Christmas decorating theme that I always seem to end up with so I cut my tree from turquoise felt. Next I cut several different circle shapes from red, green, blue and purple felt and some square and rectangle as well to serve as presents.

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To decorate each ornament I used a combination of fabric and felt. I cut small polka dots from felt for my 3 yr old to decorate ornament. I also cut a snowflake inspired overlay for another. A simple white flower centered on a red circle serves as nod to the traditional. For my fabric decorations I let my love of polka dots have full access. I used several sizes of polka dot fabric and cut using my pinking shears for a decorative edging. Some of the presents feature ribbon and some felt add-ons.


I recommend using fabric glue for affixing fabric to felt but for felt-on-felt and ribbon on felt use your glue gun or a simple running stitch in a matching thread. The felt really soaks up the fabric glue so you need something thicker to stick anything other than fabric. When gluing fabric to felt, apply your glue to the fabric and then press it to the felt. Don't apply the glue to the felt first as it will soak it up.

Lastly, I hung my tree with thumb tack so my little one could hang "real" ornaments from the branches. I made her some small pom poms and tied the ends into a loop for hanging. You could also make more felt ornament for hanging. My little bit loves her Christmas tree and re-decorates it every morning after a visit to her advent calendar (free pattern available here). It makes a great backdrop for her Christmas photos. The best part is it is unbreakable and cheerful!

P.S. I realize the length of her pants ruin my credibility but she could not be persuded to wear anything else

Pom Pom Garland

November 29, 2012

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I 'm so glad to be back from maternity leave after having my second child, a girl named Emily. I was going stir-crazy and longed to get my hands on some craft supplies again. Many hours were spent holding a sleeping baby, who would awake as soon as she suspected I would place her in a crib, so those hours were spent on Pinterest pinning ideas to make later. In those hours I rediscovered the Pom-Pom. Their fluffy, round goodness made my heart jump every time I saw them in another project. With Christmas rapidly approaching, I really wanted to incorporate pom poms into my holiday decorations. I decided on a pom pom garland because in my excitement I had already create a handful of pom poms in several colors and I had run out of wreath forms.

I got to work shifting through my studio looking for half finished skeins in colors to complete the rainbow garland I envisioned. In the end I had my color scheme but it was created with both wool and cotton. After I had made all the pom poms I would need I fell in love with the blending of the 2 fibers (wool and cotton) and loved the different texture it gave my garland. I used only worsted weight yarns and my medium Clover Pom pom maker. This made pom poms approximately 2 ½ inches wide. I wound them with extra yarn until I almost could not close my maker to create extra fluffy pom poms. I also trimmed some pom pom more than others because I loved the haphazard and impish look of a freshly made pom pom but I wanted a clean look to my garland so I did not leave all my pom poms with the "Beatles' haircut".

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In the end I made 16 pom poms to make a 6 ft garland. DO NOT CLIP the tie used to secure your pop pom; you will use it later. Using a bulky weight yarn (this will prevent the pom poms from sliding up and down and unifies the garland. Knot on end about 4 inches from the cut end (you can opt for a loop instead) measure 72 inches and mark to make another big knot later then clip the yarn 4 inches after. Thread the unknotted end onto a tapestry needle and begin threading your pom poms. Insert the needle perpendicular to the pom pom tie (the one we discussed earlier- see picture below). Slide your pom pom on and repeat for all remaining pom poms. It is easier to line up your pom poms before threading to determine the order. Once you are done, slide all your pom poms down to give yourself room to tie the end knot. And you are done! For an extra fluffy garland you can double the pom poms or use our extra large pom pom maker. You can opt for nontraditional colors like turquoise, coral, orange and bright green.  If you prefer a color themed tree, try making an extra long garland to create an ombre effect on your tree. Start with the darkest shade of pom pom for your color scheme on the bottom and work your way up to the lightest shade pom pom at the top.

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My pom poms were made using Lion Brand Cotton Ease and Lion Brand Wool Ease. The Garland was strung with Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky in Tinsel

A quick tip: Wind the Pom pom maker with both ends of the skein. You will make your pom pom twice as quick!

Don't forget to follow on Pinterest and you can follow me on Pinterest too!

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