Easy Clips for Machine Embroidery

Easy Clips for Machine Embroidery

Need to keep fabric out of the way while in the hoop?  I bet you’ve got something in the house that will work perfectly!  Try clam clips for hair, black office binder clips, or Wonder Clips for quilting if you have them.  I prefer the clam clips because they are easy to maneuver on-the-fly if needed and can fit around a wad of fabric to keep it from slipping under the hoop.  These are especially helpful for smaller items like tiny Onesies that have to be almost flipped completely inside out to stitch.


I keep my clips, and other small sewing room items, in repurposed clear glass candle jars.  Why throw that beauty away when the candle is gone?  A half hour in the freezer easily removes all the old wax and after a run through the dishwasher, it’s ready for re-use.  I like jars with wide open tops I can get my hands in.  These are designated for my embroidery.  No gummy hair spray residue please!


Here’s the finished tee for my granddaughter.  She adores her bunny!  The design is from UrbanThreads.com.




New Quilting Machine Cover

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Preacher’s kids are always the worst…”  Well, here’s how I’ve been covering my sit-down quilting machine since I got it in 2014.  For shame!   20160720_184802

While surfing around YouTube, I came across a video from the Crafty Gemini where she shows how to make an easy sewing machine cover.  I figured it was about time and decided to give it a go.  I had some green fabric with lots of sewing sayings on it but I only had enough of it for the ends and top.  I needed an complimentary fabric for the side panels so  I searched around the web and discovered the green is from the Moda Bobbins and Bits line from Pat Sloan.  An Etsy search landed me at Raccoon Hollow Fabrics and I found a really cute daisy fabric from the same line so I ordered it.  The shop owner, Dee, sent me an email immediately telling me the order would ship in the morning (this was on a Sunday night mind you), and she included a complimentary 4″ strip of dots from the same line.  Perfect!  Piping! YAY  Don’t you LOVE freebies!  It’s like Christmas!  I highly recommend this shop.  The customer service was excellent and the shipping was fast.

This was kind of a patchwork job on the padding.  I only had enough fusible fleece for the end panels, the top is Pellon ShapeFlex and the sides are Pellon Flex Foam 1-Sided Fusible Stabilizer.  I got this at WalMart for $7.99 a yard and let me tell you, it quilts up BEAUTIFULLY!   I quilted it on the very machine I’m making the cover for.  The thread is  King Tut variegated Sands of Time.

To make the piping, I only had enough fabric and cording for the ends of the cover which was fine.  To get a good result when making and attaching piping, I like to use the old-school adjustable zipper foot as opposed to the one that comes with my machine.  This type of foot allows me to get right up beside the cording to make a tight seam against the rope.

I have to say, I’m thrilled with how this turned out!  It really cheers up my sewing area.  The piping added that extra pop that really brings the whole thing together, don’t you think? 🙂

I think my dog is as excited about this as I am.  She’s overcome!

(Note, there are affiliate links in this post).


Nursery Material & Other Projects

Here’s what’s keeping me busy this week.  Note: There are affiliate links in this post.(Google makes me say that.)

The nursery fabric arrived and I’m excited to get to it.  Unfortunately, I forgot to order the bumper pads so they are on their way now from Amazon.  And for some strange reason, I don’t have the pattern pieces for the bumpers or the crib skirt in the pattern envelope.  No worry, they are pretty straight forward as far as cutting rectangles to fit the bumper pads and more rectangles to create the skirt.  I normally use the Pellon from an old bed skirt as the base of the crib skirt.  I’ve got to dig around and see if I’ve got something that will work.

I found this Spice It Up kitchen embroidery design pack from Urban Threads and I absolutely loved it!  The pack has 4-5 designs and this one stitched up beautifully.  I’m very happy with how it turned out.

My DIL asked me to make her a new nursing cover for the baby due in October.  I chose a gorgeous Joel Dewberry fabric in the colors she said she liked.  I’ve never made one of these before but it was pretty easy.  This will be my go-to for baby shower gifts from now on.  Instead of boning, I chose rigilene.  It is so much easier to use and sew through. Quilt clips are the perfect tool to hold it to the fabric as it’s sewn vs. pins.

And for some reason yesterday, it occurred to me that we’re on the downhill slide to Christmas – ACK!  I had a couple of red hand towels left from last year so I whipped up the first of two I’m going to have on hand to take as hostess gifts for parties.  I wrap a bottle of wine, add a ribbon and show up with a gift!  That’s how I make sure we get invited each year. 🙂

I also started a gift for my granddaughter.  She was born on Christmas so this will be her birthday present – she will be 3.  This is from the Lil’ Red Riding Hood panel from Moda.  I saw this made up in my local quilt shop and it was so cute!  I’ll need to get a baby bed to complete the gift.
20160710_081309This was my first attempt at a stuffie and I had to reference a class I’m enrolled in on Craftsy, Fusible Applique with Wendy Gratz  where she demonstrates how to do a ladder stitch to close up a stuffing hole.  This is a fabulous class.  It contains the patterns for all the animals seen on the quilt behind her too.  And you can turn them into pillows too like that adorable bear.
Craftsy FusibleAppliqueClass

And my final make is also from Urban Threads.  I thought this Ima Little Teapot stitch out was just too adorable!  Please excuse the crosshairs on the shirt.  They have almost faded and should be completely gone in a few hours.  This too is for my granddaughter.  I washed the shirt before stitching to prevent distortion from shrinking in the wash.

So that’s it!  Hope everyone enjoys what’s left of the weekend!

New Pants – Simplicity 1069

Simplicity Pattern 1069I love the big blousy pants that are popular now.  Simplicity 1069, View A fits the bill perfectly.  It has a tie at the waist as a design element but I didn’t make that.  They fit like palazzos with a zipper up the back.

I found this fabric at Joann – it’s one of their signature fabrics and it’s a woven Rayon Challis in Ocean so it’s very flowey, drapey, extremely soft and loose.  A perfect lightweight fabric for the hot and humid summers here in South Texas.  I love this paisley print.  It’s hard to see here but the background is a rich deep blue and the paisley is a beautiful teal. A rotary cutter was a must with this fabric because it would shift just by looking at it!

I added one of my old labels.  Oh, I just ordered new ones from Dutch Label Shop.  If you order some, use coupon code girlsinthegarden (all one word lower case) by 23 July 16 for 15% off. They have a really cool interface to help you design your labels.

This pattern turned out so comfy and pretty!  I’ve already worn them to work a couple of times.

I also made a pair of shorts, View C using Gertie’s Strawberries in rayon challis too!  Love them!  Just hanging loose at our coast house!


June is for Babies!

Oh goodness, where to begin?  June seems to be the month of babies!!  One of my besties had a grandbaby boy so “Aunt Becky” knocked out some new bibs on the embroidery machine.

Look at this First 4th of July applique!  Isn’t it just darling?

Then my next door neighbor’s youngest had a baby girl earlier this month.  Truthfully, the 0-3 month Onsie is WAY too big for her, but hey, she’ll grow into it.  Disclaimer, the “House White” design is from a Craftsy class , Embroidering With Knits with Deborah Jones.  Also, for a good starter class, choose Craftsy’s Big Embroidery in a Small Hoop with Lisa Shaw.  She’s very good about explaining all kinds of basics.

And what else…OH!  My beautiful DIL is expecting grandbaby #3 in October…a BOY!  Once they found out the sex, she created the most beautiful virtual nursery set at babybedding.com and my son asked if I would make it for them.  Are you kidding me?  A project!  YAY!  I’m going to see them in August so hopefully I can have it finished in time to check it vs. ship it.  The new addition won’t be here until October but it’s way too cold in Oct where they live for this Grammy to visit.  I’ll see the newbie next summer.  Y’all, I don’t go north of Dallas after Labor Day.  Ever.  CarouselDesigns

Have you guys heard of Carousel Designs at babybedding.com?  They allow you to create your own nurseries out of the most beautiful fabrics.  And either they will make them for you based on your fabric choices for an outrageous amount of money ($125 for bumpers?  Seriously?) Or, if you have a very cool MIL, like my DIL does, said MIL (moi’) will make the nursery for you at no charge!   I’m glad she emailed me about it when she did because they were having a Father’s Day sale at 20% off with free shipping.  Total fabric cost for the entire nursery was only $84.  SCORE!  My DIL has such great taste.  Isn’t this gorgeous?   I use Vogue 7245 as a pattern that I bought for my first nephew’s nursery…and he’s almost 21!  Lawd, the time!  And you no-bumpers-in-the-crib people can stow it.  Of course cribs need bumpers!


She also asked if I’d make her a nursing cover.  When I asked about fabric choice, she said she liked grays & blues and the colors of the one in the link she sent, but to surprise her.  So I hopped over to ConnectingThreads.com and chose the Monarch (Graphite) #8938 in the Atrium line by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit Fabrics.  I love buying fabric from them.  Their website is awesome and the service is great.  I’ve received shipping notices from all the companies so this week my front porch should look like Christmas.

My grandson turned 5 this month.  He wanted a Cat in the Hat themed birthday.  Okie dokie!  I found this applique and embroidery pattern on Etsy.

And I whipped out a 4th of July tee for my granddaughter.  But now it’s too late to send to her.  I hate it when I do that.  I didn’t send it because I had to make one for her big brother too and that never made it into the queue.  Oh well, I’ll find a willing recipient I’m sure.


So that’s it!  Happy US Independence Day everyone!  Be safe!


Serger Tip Clips with Gail Yellen

One of the things I love about the sewing community is the willingness to share knowledge and tips with others who love the craft.  One day while watching a video from Joyful Expressions, she mentioned that her friend had told her about free serger videos on YouTube by Gail Yellen.  I was intrigued, because not only do I jump on any opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills, but I’m enrolled in one of Gail’s classes on Craftsy, 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know, and she’s an awesome instructor.

Here is the first of her tips clips.  They go from the very basic to using advanced specialty feet that cover ruffles and serging in elastic.

Gail has 19 videos out there now and I’ve binged-watched them all.  Her machine is a serger/cover stitch combo, but the techniques she describes and teaches apply to the machine that just a serger as well.

And check this out…In several of her videos, she encourages you to contact her by email to make suggestions for new videos.  So I did.  This morning I emailed her asking if she could do a Tip Clip on how to install a zipper with a serger and guess what?  SHE REPLIED!  She said she has added it to the list of future videos so I guess my suggestion made the cut!  Yay!  Also, in her email she encouraged me to share her Tip Clips with others and encourage them to subscribe to her channel.  So I am!  Here’s the link to her channel.  Please visit!  You’ll be happy you did!

Computerized Machine Updates

This is just a short post to remind sewers with computerized machines to be sure your machine has the most recent firmware or software updates.  If you have a machine made in the last 10 years (or more), it’s probably got a computer inside of it.  How do you know if it has a computer?  Well, if you screw up, it beeps at you!  HA  I would venture to guess that many of you just pulled the machine out of the box, read the set-up guide (if that) and got to it.  You should do this even if you bought your machine second or third-hand.  There’s no penalty from the manufacturer to re-register a machine you might have bought from a previously registered owner.

As a computer security geek by day, this is near and dear to my heart.  You should do this in case you haven’t been to the manufacturer’s website in awhile too just to make sure you have the most recent update to your machine or designer software that came with your machine.  Your sewing machine really is a computer and it requires the latest updates just like a laptop or your phone.  NOTE:  If you take your machine in for service regularly, your certified technician will make sure your machine has the most recent version of required software.  An off-brand machine repair technician may not.

If you haven’t registered your machine at the manufacturer’s website, you should.  They will make sure you receive important newsletters and firmware updates.  If you get a new laptop or upgrade your home computer’s operating system (Windows 7 to Windows 8 for example) you need to make sure that your sewing machine is ready to work with these files.  If anything, if you are robbed, your machine’s serial number will be logged with the manufacturer and you can go there to get the number and reclaim it from the local pawn shop.  Yes, I think like that…

What’s my inspiration for this post?  Hint:  There’s a reason I recently needed to access a manufacturer’s website for firmware updates.  :)  Hmmm, whatever reason could that be???  A follow up post to let you know soon!

So dig out your owner’s manual, see how to do this, and be a good to your sewing machine!



Disney Frozen Dresses

Disney Frozen Dresses

I have been sorely remiss in blogging as of late.  Sometimes, life just gets in the way.  I’m in a new position at work, not more money of course, just more aggravation and responsibility (of course).  But I love what I do so that’s something I suppose.  Don’t think for a minute that the new business of my work day will stop me from sewing daily.  I have to keep my sanity somehow!

Before Hancock’s announced they were going out of business, a friend’s daughter had asked me to make some custom baby burp cloths for her sister’s upcoming baby shower.  My go-to shower gift is to stitch some cute fabric down the center of a couple of Gerber cloth diapers and call it good.  Too simple.  I had made some for the first of her two daughters and she said she loved them because they didn’t allow spit-up to soak through to her shoulder, they held up in the wash, they were cute, and they were custom from a friend.  That was enough to say I’d make some for her to give to her sister.  So she and I were in Hancock’s looking for baby boy fabric and she came across some adorable Frozen pre-shirred dress fabric.  The girls were scheduled for a Frozen birthday party so she asked me if I’d make dresses for the girls – now ages 5 and 3.  Of course “Aunt Becky” will make them!
Disney Frozen Dresses

Suffice it to say, I didn’t get enough fabric for one of them – it was light pink.   I have no idea how I managed to screw that one up but I did.  It required another trip to the store – now Joann’s (45 miles away) since Hancock’s is a madhouse and looks like a tornado went through it in their “Going out of Business” sale.  These things are too simple to make.  Just fold the fabric in half wrong sides together being sure to match the shirring in the middle so it’s not wonky, sew a single seam and boom.  Done.  They even come hemmed already so you don’t have to do a thing to it.  In truth, I’m kind of glad the first one didn’t work out because it had a border print across the bottom that would have made the dress too long for the youngest, Miss Madeline.  First of all, thank Goodness Joann’s carries the same type of Frozen shirred fabric!  Could you imagine if they didn’t??  Tears! ACK!  For the 2nd attempt, the fabric I chose allowed me to shorten it by cutting off the bottom using a narrow 3-thread serge stitch.  I did this so it would match her sister’s…’cause, you know…  Without a border print, the dress retained the complete look and didn’t lose any of its Frozen-ness. 😃  Here is Miss Madeline and Miss Peyton fresh from gymnastics.  Aren’t they adorable?


I added 12” straps that crisscross in the back with 3 sets of button holes and small buttons on the inside of the back near the shoulder blades to adjust for growth.  Construction of the straps was a 4″ x 12 1/2″ wide matching cotton, creased with an iron to fold in half lengthwise.  Fold in 1/4″ on each short end.  Fold the side edges inward toward the crease, and fold along the crease to enclose all the raw edges.  I fused a 1″ wide strip of lightweight interfacing internally for body, then stitched the long edges 1/8″ from the sides and across each end.

How could I say no to making dresses for these two sweethearts?  When I was asked how much I was owed, I said hugs and kisses would be payment enough.  Don’t you think?




Check Meowout! A bag for mom on Mother’s Day

Check Meowout! A bag for mom on Mother’s Day

This ain’t your Grandma’s embroidery.  I found a new site called UrbanThreads [IG @urbanthreadsemb] and oh my goodness!  They have the most awesome stuff.  When I saw this cool guy, I just couldn’t pass him up.

NOTE:  A shout out to Urban Threads on their customer service.  I originally bought the wrong size of this cat for my embroidery machine.  I emailed them about my mistake and within a couple of hours, they switched it out.  Awesome!

I made this bag for my mom for Mother’s Day and this design is on both sides of the bag.  She’s down to just 4 cats now so I’m not sure if that’s still considered Crazy Cat Lady status or not.  I used the “Riviera” Pink Sands Beach Designs bag pattern and whipped this cutie up in an afternoon.  I’ll admit I had trouble with this pattern.  I’m sure all the problems were user error but I ended up not being able to have the outside pockets because the inner lining was too short.  So I just stitched them shut across the top – no biggie.  It seemed weird anyway to have the outer pocket opening only between the handles in the center yet the entire front was the whole pocket.  Seems you’d be digging around from side to side without much room to see what got down into the far corners.  The image below is not blurry…it’s your eyes. 😉

The thread on the sunglasses is a Mederia Poly Neon variegated and I chose the orange/yellow because of the other fabric I found in my stash.  Seriously, I did not buy the “floral” abstract print, solid orange, or gray all at the same time or from the same collection.  It literally was Fabric Carma that they all came together perfectly.

Having all the Pellon products for this project is the result of buying the bolt vs. just the amount needed at the time.  I’ve had the DecorBond and Peltex 70 for some time now and it’s always so nice to have what you need when you need it.  On the inside I added an embroidered monogram for mom from @TheItch2Stitch in the Natural Circle Sketch Monogram.  Due to the monogram, I had to alter the pockets on that side of the bag to be different from the pattern.  I made them a bit deeper to hold pens or reading glasses.

Zipper installation was easy by the instructions.  However I chose a sport zipper vs. just the regular one called for in the pattern.  I thought it would look cooler – like the cat. ;)
I really tried for a pattern match…believe me.  But the print was so wonky on the fabric, I’m grateful being “on-grain” wasn’t required.  Hey, good enough for government work, right?

Well, needless to say, SHE LOVED IT!!  She’s traveling from Tennessee to Wisconsin this coming weekend for a family wedding reception and she said she’s going to take it with her.  She was always good at hanging my school projects on the refrigerator and now she’s taking my bag to show off at a family event.  :)   What a great mom!

Have you made any bags lately?  Link to them please!




Super Hero Cape!

Super Hero Cape!

What 5 year old doesn’t want to be a super hero with a cape?  Remember tying a towel around your neck and flying across the living room furniture or jumping high on your bed until your Mom yelled at you?  I sure do!  But really, bath towels are so yesterday.  Enter, the Super Hero Cape!  This is for my grandson, Super Calvin.

I followed this tutorial to make it.  http://www.momsrising.org/blog/how-to-make-a-superhero-cape-by-lara-from-howdoesshe .  However, this power-tooling grammy must customize of course.  I ended up making it 13.5″ across the bottom vs. just 11″ and the length was 33.5″ vs. 31.

I found the emblem at Planet Applique and the fabric was a stretch twill with a beautiful drape I got at Hancock Fabrics. I like to do a preliminary stitch out just on a piece of stabilizer to see the size and shape.  Note the shape outline of the hoop?  It is stitching horizontally vs. vertically.  When hooped, the bottom point of the emblem is pointing toward where the hoop attaches to the machine arm – away from the machine body.
20160424_131436 20160424_131747

Up front, I could not hoop properly until recently.  The words torqued, wonky, and AARRRRGH! come to mind when I attempted to hoop.  Hair pulling ensued and I’d give up on the project.  Then one day, I got an email from Eileen Roche from Designs in Machine Embroidery and it had an advertisement for the PAL. The Perfect Alignment Laser.  OMG.  Hooping Nirvana.  This bad boy provides a perfect 90 degree crosshair laser light on your hooping surface.  Slick!  I love technology.

You mark the design center of the garment with a crosshair.  I’m not going to tell you how to do this because it’s totally subjective depending on the item, but folding in half, and then quarters, and then ironing a cross-crease began the process for this project.  Because this is a lightweight fabric, I’m using a heavy duty regular stabilizer (it feels like sturdy interfacing) and Sulky Sticky+  for two layers of stabilizer.  I’ve found that when you have lightweight fabrics, using two layers of stabilizer prevents the puckers.  Puckers suck.  I’m certain there’s a better or more professional/efficient way of doing this but I don’t know what it is.

I use a pin to score the paper and pull off the top center of the sticky backing is up.  Then I mark on the stabilizer using the plastic guide thingy that came with my machine to mark the center, sides, top and bottom.


Then I mark a crosshair with a pencil using the dots I made.
Now PAL comes into play.  Press the button to turn it on and TA-DAA!  A laser crisscross!  I align it exactly over the pencil marks.  Seriously, how stinking cool is this?!

Then it’s just a matter of aligning the fabric in the hoop so that my ironed creases match up with the laser light.

That center dot is a placement sticker from Designs in Machine Embroidery.  Hubs gave me the Perfect Placement Kit for Christmas (because I asked for it and he’s a good Santa) and these markers are included as part of it.  You can buy these stickers separately for $20 but honestly, you can get the same result with those sticky dots from the dollar store and mark a 90 degree crosshair in the center.

Now you can’t see it in the image above but I almost TOTALLY screwed this up!  I originally aligned the cape with the neckline at the top of the hoop.  No, no.  Remember on the sample stitch out it was horizontal?  Thankfully, I remembered that just in time.  Total disaster averted.  Whew!  I also like to put a few pins to help the fabric stay in place on the sticky.

The next images are the machine doing its thing.  In machine applique, the first stitch is called a placement stitch and it outlines the amount of space your fabric needs to cover.

Then place the first fabric over that stitch line and the machine will tack it down over the first stitching line.  The only solid yellow I had was a little transparent so I used two layers.

When that’s done, remove the hoop and cut away the excess fabric around the design. I use those curved scissors so I don’t cut the under fabric or stitching line.

Then the machine will do a couple more rounds to tack it down real good and then do a satin stitch around the first fabric.  No worries about extra threads.  It gets a good haircut at the end.

Change thread colors and repeat with the other fabric.  I always cut jump threads (those long crossing threads) whenever I can in between the stitching cycles to prevent them from being anchored down where they don’t belong.

Then I stitched the top of the cape to the back RST (right sides together), turned, pressed, top stitched and added Velcro to the neck closure. 🙂

Yeah, I know, the cape clashes with Dolly’s skirt.  lol  Here’s the neck closure.  All done!  Yeah…Who’s the super hero now?  :)  BANG!  POW!!  BOOM!!