Sierra’s moustache shirt

It’s time to clear out the saved posts in my drafts and show them up here. I hope to get back to posting a little more regularly after a long hiatus. Even though I made this shirt last spring, now is the perfect time to revisit it. Sierra had mustache day in school last week, but insisted that she didn’t want to wear a mustache. No problem, child, you have a mustache shirt!

The shirt is store bought, and I made it using a freezer paper stencil. I found an image that I liked and printed it off. I transferred the image to freezer paper and cut it out. I ironed the freezer paper onto the shirt where I wanted the image to be.

moustache shirt

With the image in place, I used a stiff brush to apply fabric paint inside my stencil. In this case, I went for an ombre effect, so with each mustache, I added a little more white to my black fabric paint.

moustache shirt

When the fabric paint had dried, I went over with a layer of glitter because … glitter!

moustache shirt

The shirt turned out well, and the girl is happy with it!

moustache shirt moustache shirt

St. Louis MQG Cares

Another I-actually-finished-this-awhile-ago-but-haven’t-posted-it finish.

My local Modern Quilt Guild participated in a charity sewing project at the end of last year and the beginning of this. We made pillow covers and gave them away to people receiving treatment at the Siteman Cancer Center sites here in the St. Louis area. You can read more about the project on the STLMQG Cares page.

We wanted to use high quality, beautiful fabrics and finish them in a way that would make the covers last.


The envelope backs are double layer on each side and the pillow covers are finished with French seams.


Members of our guild gave the first round of pillows away on Valentine’s Day and another round a little later.



Check out more great finishes!

Crazy Mom Quilts

Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday

Mini seat back pocket


I found this post in my drafts and thought that I might as well share it.

When my daughter’s kindergarten teacher learned that I was an avid seamstress, she asked if I would be willing to take on a project for her classroom. I agreed and she purchased the fabric.

Sh wanted to have a seat back pocket for each of her students so they have their desk space open but still have their work and pencil boxes close. I measure the chairs and made a couple of prototypes. This is my first prototypes:


It’s a straightforward concept. One piece of fabric is folded over to create the sleeve that goes over the chair.


The second piece of fabric is cut shorter and wider than the first to create a pocket with a gusset.


In this first example, I sewed bias tape on all three exposed edges. Ultimately, though, I changed the construction a little bit. I sewed bias tape along the two side and then finished the bottom with a French seam. This made a nice, sturdy finish and it was less fiddly than attaching the bias tape around the corners and not eliminating the effect of the gusset.


I ended up making 19 for a class of 17, so my daughter’s teacher would have a couple extra. I have some extra fabric, and I will be making a few more. My daughter’s teacher tells me that she will have a larger class next year.

Minion Pinion



A friend posted a picture of a minion in her Instagram feed, wondering if anyone had seen a pattern for one. She commented that she thought it would be great to have a minion in her sewing room with her.

I thought that if one were going to have a minion in one’s sewing room, the minion should do something. Like hold pins.

And I was thus inspired to make her a minion pin cushion: A PINION!


I used felt for the body and the hands and raw edge appliqué to add the overalls, goggles, and eyes.

IMG_1449 IMG_1450

I used a tight zig zag stitch on my sewing machine to add details: the goggle strap, the shoulder straps of the overalls, and the middle of the eyes.



Now I think *I* need a PINION to help out in my sewing room!

Let’s DO this!

Oh my goodness! I can’t believe that I posted my Sewing Room Clean-Up Along: Before post so long ago. My delusions are so much more ambitious than my reality. In that post, I suggested we clean up our sewing spaces together and then share our nice, tidy spaces two weeks later. That “later” was a month ago.

But now is the time!

Tomorrow, let’s share our tidy spaces. Really. I’m going to go take photos right now. I can’t wait to show you the improvement from this:


I really should recover that ironing board, though. There’s no improvement there!

I’m really looking forward to seeing where you sew, too.

See you tomorrow!


Tiny chair pocket

My oldest daughter is in kindergarten and I guess I must have admitted a talent with a sewing machine on a volunteer questionnaire I filled out at the beginning of the year. I had forgotten about it, but her teacher asked me if I could make some chair pockets so her students could get their supplies off the tables when they weren’t using them.

I agreed to make her a whole set, 24 tiny chair pockets, donating my time, if she would buy the fabric.

It’s a win-win really. I get to do something nice for my daughter’s teacher, and her teacher gets something she really likes for her classroom for less cost than the store-bought variety.

The design is super simple, just two pieces of fabric, and all straight lines.


The pockets are deep enough to hold a pencil box and wide enough for the kindergarten workbooks to fit nicely.


This Prototype I is bias bound along three sides, but for Prototype II, I just used bias on the two sides and closed the bottom of the pocket with a French seam.


The pocket itself is just a single piece of fabric, 4 inches wider than the body, and folded to make a gusset on each side.


Easy-peasy. We’ll see if I’m still saying that when I’ve made 24 of these!

The perfect parting gift

“Ms. Rob,” as she is affectionately known, as been like a surrogate grandmother to my girls during the five years we lived in Virginia. She is the switchboard operator at the school where we lived and after lunch in the dining hall, we would often go by the switchboard and Ms. Rob would have crayons and paper for the kids, and often a sticker or lollipop as well. She loves all the children at the school, both the students, and all the children of faculty. She was sad to see us go, but she gave me something that I always remember her for.


A long while ago, I was telling Ms. Rob about an antique sewing machine that my grandmother used to have in her basement but was no longer there. I wished to have one and was looking around online. The night before we moved away, she brought me this:


She had originally brought it home for her husband, but he preferred hand sewing to machine sewing, so it stood unused in her house. Inside one of the drawers, there was a well-used manual and a “sewing secrets” book, which I have yet to look at in depth.


Another drawer contained this Yardley’s lavender soap box…


…with the accessories to the machine.


Inside the cabinet, is this absolute gorgeous Singer treadle sewing machine. I have never attempted to sew with a treadle, but wow, I am so excited to try it out when we have a new  place and I can unpack my sewing room.


As best I can figure out from the serial number, this machine is close to 100 years old!


It is a treasure and I am so grateful to have a little piece of sewing history!


Five little zippered pouches

A couple weeks before Aurora was born, some friends hosted a brunch for me. Because this is baby #3 for me, I was really humbled that they still wanted to have a baby “sprinkle” in my honor. It’s always nice to have a reason to get together with your girl friends, I guess! I decided to make them each a little hostess gift.

Five zippered pouches

Because I decided on this project late, these are simple, “no frills” zip pouches. Just outside, lining, and a fun colored zipper.

Five zippered pouches

They are each about 8 x 4.5 inches, if I remember correctly, so they will work well for a little wallet or cosmetic bag or a place to keep smaller items in a larger bag.

Five zippered pouches

I tried to choose the fabrics that reminded me of each friend, or that I already knew they liked. I hope they enjoy their little bit of handmade fun!

Five zippered pouches

How to make a pretty checkbook cover

There’s no reason why those “everyday things” can’t be lovely to look at, is there?

Maybe you don’t write a lot of checks anymore, but as a parent of little ones, I certainly do (preschool tuition, dance class, soccer). For all of those, checks are the best way to complete the transaction. When my new checks came in this week, I decided I just didn’t want to carry around that blah, dark blue, flimsy plastic cover that comes along with them.

So I made one out of a favorite fabric. It took less than 40 minutes. Here’s how you can make one, too!

Checkbook cover tutorial


You’ll need a fabric for the outside and the lining and a fabric for the pockets. You can use the same if you are so inclined. I used the flimsy, plastic cover to measure the size. It is 6-3/8 inches wide and 6-7/8 inches long when opened.

Checkbook cover tutorial

From outside/lining fabric cut: (2) 6-7/8 x 7-3/8 inch rectangles

From fusible interfacing cut: (1) 6-1/2 x 7 inch rectangle

For pockets:
From fabric cut: (2) 6-7/8 x 6-1/2 inch rectangles
From fusible interfacing cut: (2) 6-1/2 x 6 inch rectangles

Checkbook cover tutorial


Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the outside and wrong side of the pockets according to the directions. I left the lining without interfacing, but if you want a stiffer cover, just cut another piece.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Optional: round the corners. You could leave them crisp and pointy, but I chose to round mine. You don’t want to cut off much of the area of your cover, so trace a small diameter circular object.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Fold each of the pockets in half so that they are 6-7/8 x 3-1/4 inches.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Edge stitch along the folded edge of each pocket.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Align the pockets on the right side of the lining so that the raw edges match up and the folded edges are toward the center.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Place the outside piece, right side down, on top of the lining and pockets. Pin in place. Round the corners of the other layers. Sew around the perimeter with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving a large opening for turning the cover right side out. (I actually left most of one side open so it would be easier to turn with all the interfacing.)

Checkbook cover tutorial

TIP: As you round those tightly rounded corners, go slowly. Move a stitch or two at a time, then lift the presser foot, leave the needle in the fabric, and turn the piece. And repeat.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Notch the corners to reduce bulk.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Turn the checkbook cover right side out through the opening. Poke out each corner. Iron flat, tucking the seam allowances of the opening under to press.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Edge stitch all the way around, enclosing the opening in the process. Again, so slowly, a stitch at a time, as you move around the rounded corners.

Checkbook cover tutorial

Well done! Something pretty for your everyday!

Checkbook cover tutorial


Custom “fill in the blank” tote

I had a request for a bag that a 3-year-old child could be involved in “designing”.

Mary wanted to purchase a bag for her daughter and have her granddaughter add some artwork to it.  She said that she had some fabric that she wanted me to use in the construction of the bag and that she would sew on some patches later with her granddaughter’s drawings.

When I went to pick up her fabric, I realized it was a heavy weight fabric, like I would use on the inside of one of my totes.

I suddenly had a brilliant idea.  I would use her fabric on the inside of the bag.

Fill in the blank tote inside

The next day, I brought selections of a few different color combinations to show Mary.  She chose the one you see in the photos, and I created a patchwork bag that included several patches of white fabric.  She could purchase some fabric markers and guide her granddaughter in adding artwork before she gave the bag to her daughter.  It would save her the trouble of sewing on patches later.

The bag includes “blank canvas” patches of various sizes, and I was sure to include one that would be large enough for a 3-year-old’s handprint (I used my 4-year-old as a model. Handy that I had one of those around!)

Fill in the blank tote side 2

There’s plenty of room for drawings on the front and more on the back!

Fill in the blank tote

The bag has a small accessories pocket for all those small things the recipient wants to find easily.

Fill in the blank tote: zipper pocket Fill in the blank tote: pocket I’ve requested a photo of this bag when it’s “finished” with the art embellishments.  This was a fun project for me, I can’t wait to see the final version.