Fractal Crochet Tablecloth

My first ever crochet project. It’s Fractal doily pattern by Essi Varis, available on Ravelry. Being my first project, I decided to go for a larger hook than the pattern calls for so that I would easily be able to see the stitches. So, instead of petite doily, I ended up with a tablecloth. I’m happy with it, regardless!


How to Back an Embroidery Hoop for Framing

There are many ways to frame an embroidery. I really like how they look framed in wooden embroidery hoops. This is tutorial for how I permanently frame an embroidery in an embroidery hoop. You need: Wooden embroidery hoop. Available cheap at craft stores. Not recommended for use while embroidering, but pretty for framing purposes. Felt for backing. Synthetic craft felt works just fine, but if you have nice wool felt you can use that too. Other fabrics are possible, but it must be something that doesn’t ravel. Fine tip permanent marker. Shears. Regular shears (or scissors) are necessary. Also having pinking shears is suggested. Hot glue gun. Trace around the edge of the outer ring of the embroidery hoop with your permanent marker. Cut out the circle of felt just inside the marker line. Position your embroidery in the embroidery hoop. Use pinking shears to pink the fabric 3/4″ from the edge …

Apple Bottom Skirt

I found this fabric recently on super-sale and couldn’t pass it up. I know that it’s probably better suited for a jumper for a 6-year-old, but I don’t care. And since it’s kitschy, I had to make it scream kitsch. So I took the fuschia skinny-wale corduroy with green apple print and added green corduroy accents to the hem, pockets, and belt loops. Oh yeah, and I added gigantic apple pockets to the bottom.


How to Sew Half Square Triangle (HST) Quilt Blocks

I’ve now made February’s blocks for the Craftsy 2012 Block-of-the-Month. Both blocks use all half square triangles (HST), but use different methods to make the HSTs, which I will explain below. For a video demonstration of the methods, register for the Craftsy class – it’s free! This is the Balkan Puzzle Block. I think this is a fun block and it’s fun to know that it was popular in the 1930’s.


Roses on Black Shirtwaist Dress

I made this vintage-style shirtwaist dress form Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. Like my bow-neck blouse from the same book (and made from the same stashed cotton-rayon blend fabric, incidentally), I thought I didn’t like it as I was finishing it up. However, I find myself having worn the dress several times already, so, fortunately, my initial opinion has been proven wrong!


Morgan of Crab&Bee on Sewing and Style

I’m delighted to introduce another guest blogger in my Sewing & Style series, the lovely Morgan of Crab&Bee. She and I were introduced through the stashbusting sewalong and I’m delighted to say that I traded her some linen from my stash for a new-to-me dress pattern. I’m excited to see what she eventually does with the linen and I look forward to eventually sewing up the pattern. I appreciate Morgan’s eco-friendly emphasis and the way she seamlessly melds comfort and elegance. I’m Morgan, and I blog at Crab&Bee where I share my creations and ponder sewing, sustainability and fashion. I started sewing a few years ago and it’s steadily become my favorite hobby. Describe your style. Describe what you sew. What inspires or influences your style? Comfort is a huge consideration what I wear and sew. I started out sewing cute dresses but I’ve realized that I wear a lot …

Yellow Twill Skirt

This is a wearable muslin for a pattern I drafted for a trouser skirt. I know that “wearable muslin” is a contentious term, but that’s exactly what this is and I think it serves a purpose. Since I drafted the pattern myself, I need to wear it around for a bit to see how the fit works with use. I know it works if I’m standing still in front of the mirror, but I want to know about fit while sitting, riding my scooter, walking around.

How to French Knot

My favorite embroidery stitch, and the one that gave me the most persistent headaches while learning, is the french knot. It makes a lovely accent with other stitches and can be quite beautiful on its own. It’s one of only two stitches you need to know to stitch my embroidered love letter (along with backstitch).


Dorothy’s Vintage Shawl

I had the pleasure of adding a satin back to gorgeous vintage shawl, knit by Dorothy, the lovely woman who recently gave me a stack of vintage knitting patterns. I’m not sure exactly when it was knit, but Dorothy is in her late 80’s and she said this was her second knitting project ever, so perhaps in the 1940’s??


Red Scalloped High Waist Pencil Skirt

I added scallops to the pattern I made from Gertie’s New Book to make a red pencil skirt, just in time for Valentine’s Day. (Yes, I just posted this picture a few days ago, but that was about the blouse and this is about the skirt, so you get to see it again!) While I’m always drawn to patterns, I think that a solid colored pencil skirt (or a few!) will be a nice addition to my wardrobe as I can easily pair patterned tops with a solid bottom. And the scallops give it a bit of personality that it might otherwise lack.

Lauren of American Duchess on Sewing and Style

I’m excited to bring a guest post by Lauren of American Duchess in my continuing series of guest posts exploring individual connections between sewing and style. I love drooling over Lauren’s beautiful historical creations and am excited to hear how sewing enables her love of historical fashion. My name is Lauren.  I am a designer and historical costumer primarily interested in Western fashions from the 16th century to the early 1960s.  I love to sew everything from bustle gowns to simple Mad Men style dresses.  I also design ladies’ historical footwear and accessories for my company, American Duchess.

How to Backstitch

I thought I would share how to do a couple of different embroidery stitches for those of you interested in getting into embroidery for your wall or to spice up a handmade wearable. First up, backstitch. One of two stitches you need to know in order to stitch my How Do I Love Thee? embroidery. Backstitch is a great stitch for working straight lines and outlining shapes. You can make the stitch length as long or as short as you want and it’s easy to use on tightly woven fabrics as well as aida cloth. To make a line of backstitch growing from right to left: 1 – Start the stitch, coming up from below. 2 – Insert the needle one stitch length to the right. 3 – Come up from below one stitch length to the left. 4 – Insert the needle into the same hole as the left …


Bow Neck Blouse

I made the bow neck blouse from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. I was frustrated and disappointed by the time I finished the blouse. But now that I’ve worn it a couple of times, I wish I could take back those emotions, because I disagree now. I really like the blouse! The fabric is a cotton-rayon blend (I’m guessing) and a gift from a friend.

Easiest Homemade Dog Treats

 For valentines day, what about making your beloved canine a special treat? I make these treats for my mom’s dogs every Christmas and they go nuts for them. (They love them so much that I simply could not get a picture of them patiently waiting for the treats.) They are about as easy to make as possible, but healthy and delicious (well, from the dog’s point of view).


Sew Grateful For Mom Blouse

 My sew grateful project is for my mom. Who better to show my appreciation than the woman who sewed my clothes as a kid, let me raid her fabric stash when I decided I wanted to start sewing as a tween, and taught me how to read a pattern and do things right when I finally had the patience to ask for help as a teenager.


Sweaters Blanket Tutorial

For Sew Grateful week I want to re-share a tutorial I put together a couple of months ago for a blanket made out of sweaters. I’ve made it for my home and for several important people in my life. It’s simple to sew, fun and appropriate for all levels of sewers. It’s also easy to really give it your own aesthetic based on your choice of old sweaters. If you make up the blanket, let me know!


Why I am Sew Grateful

I am sew grateful because sewing brings me great happiness. Sewing is more than a hobby for me. It is a creative and intellectual pursuit and brings me great peace and happiness. I am sew grateful because sewing brings me closer to my mother. My mom sewed a lot of my clothing for me when I was a child and she has since become an amazing quilter. Having a shared interest brings us closer, allows us appreciate and understand each other’s successes and stresses. I am sew grateful because sewing brings me closer to history. Long considered women’s work, home sewing has experienced a revival and a reclamation of the skill as something of value and pride. I appreciate what it can teach me about the past and the pride that I can be a part of carrying it into the future. I am sew grateful because sewing is something …


How Do I Love Thee Embroidery Pattern

Edit: This pattern is not currently for sale I’m so very excited to announce the release of an embroidery pattern! It’s a love letter, stitched onto notebook paper. The pattern was inspired by one of my favorite movies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It’s from a love letter that Roger Rabbit writes to Jessica Rabbit and reads “How do i love thee? Let me count the ways. One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand, five one-thousand, six one-thousand, seven one-thousand, eight one-thousand, nine one-thousand….” If you’re new to embroidery but want to give it a shot, this pattern is a very simple way to start. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks and I’ll have step-by-step instructions for the two different stitches you will need to do the embroidery – french knot and backstitch. The pattern includes instructions for how to stitch it on aida cloth (usually used for …