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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2017 Christmas Stockings Part 2

Hooped using the under-the-hoop method

     I had a client call me looking to re-do the name on a Christmas stocking.  I told her I could and that she could save a lot of money by removing the stitching of the old name herself.

     She did remove the stitching, leaving a couple of small holes.  She remarked that it was really difficult and I agreed with her.  Removing the stitches of a design is not easy and sometimes can't be done or it damages the item.  I prefer a client to do it so I don't have that liability.

Stitching the name

     I added some iron-on interfacing on the back of the cuff as it had multiple holes.  This added some body but also a smoother back surface.  Because of how the cuff was attached to the stocking I couldn't remove it for easier hooping.  I chose the under the hoop method to do the embroidery.

     I hooped a piece of heavy cutaway stabilizer and then cut a window for the embroidery.  I then pinned the stocking underneath and slipped it over the bobbin arm of the embroidery machine.  I had to be sure to rotate the name so it stitched in the correct orientation.


     If you look closely you can still see the outline of the first name that was stitched but otherwise it turned out exactly like the client wanted.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2017 Christmas Stockings Part 1

Original stocking

     This past Christmas I had three different stocking projects.  The first was to make three stockings to match an original one as much as possible.  The client could not find velvet fabric in the shade of red and green she wanted so she bought a double face quilted cotton.

Base stocking

  I used a pattern I had from Embroidery Library that was very similar in size and shape.  I cut two outer pieces and two lining pieces for each stocking.  Even though the quilted fabric was finished on both sides I like a contrast lining for the stocking, looks more finished I think.


     I sewed the lining pieces together with right sides and then the same with the outer pieces.  I then just tucked the lining into the outer stocking with wrong sides facing and basted around the top.

Finished cuff

     I bought some plain cotton fabric to match the quilted one and also some cord that had a lip on it so I could sew it into the bottom of the cuff.  The client had bought a pretty twist cord but it didn't have a lip.  I tried couching it down with an invisible thread and also a matching thread but neither of those worked.
     For the cuff, I embroidered the name on one piece and then added an iron-on batting to give it more body.  Then I sewed the cord in place along the bottom and then added the back part of the cuff.  Turned in right side out and basted the raw edges together.

Separating the cord from the lip

     To make the hanging loop, I removed the lip from the twist cord and just used that for the loop.  I basted it in place and then added the cuff.

Hanging loop basted on

     The cuff was placed inside the stocking with the right side of the cuff to the lining.  I added a couple of pins and then just stitched the circle.

Cuff pinned in place
     I then flipped the cuff to the outside and the raw edges are all hidden under the cuff.  I usually serge or overlock stitch the seam so it looks nicer.

Finished stockings

     Three finished stockings for the new family members, matching as closely as possible to the original.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Fur Scarf

My faux fur scarf, final version

     I wanted a 'fur' scarf to add to my winter wardrobe.  I had seen a couple in the stores but none of them wowed me or they were too expensive.  While shopping at JoAnn Fabrics I saw this silky soft faux fur.  It was on sale so I bought a1/2 yard.

Elastic loop on the back of the scarf

     I didn't want to figure out how to do the buttonhole thing that most of the scarves I saw had.  I decided to just add an elastic loop to the back instead.

Scarf version 1

     I cut a piece of the fur, 9" x 45", and then rounded the corners.  I then cut a piece of lining the same size and sewed the two together with right sides, leaving an opening for turning.  Before sewing them together I added an elastic loop to the right side of the lining piece.  I just machine sewed the opening closed, the stitches disappeared in the pile of the faux fur.  I then spent quite a bit of time picking the pile out from the seams.

Gathering stitches near the elastic loop

     When I had finished, I put it on my mannequin and it looked great but when I put it on, it seemed to not want to lay nice and the lining kept shifting to the front around where the elastic loop was.  I solved that by taking large basting stitches to gather it up slightly and that did the trick.  Should be a fun addition to my winter wardrobe.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sweatshirt Pillows

Sweatshirt pillows

     A client had several sweatshirts that her mom had embroidered.  No-one was going to wear the sweatshirts but she really liked the embroidery and wanted to share with other family members.

Scarecrow pillow

     She opted for pillows to be able to enjoy the embroidery.  We chose a rectangular form to go along with the more horizontal nature of the designs.  Because the designs were placed closer to the neck, I was not able to center them in the pillow.  I did cut as close as possible to the neck opening to bring the design as close as I could to the middle.

Shamrock pillow

     After cutting the front apart from the back, I applied iron-on interfacing  to the back, the same as when I do my t-shirt quilts.  I then cut the shape for the front.  With limited fabric for the back, I only did a single fold over for the opening flap.  Since it is a knit fabric, it is not going to ravel.

Snowmen pillow

     I did an overlap opening in the back to make it easy to remove the insert for washing when necessary.  What a fun way to preserve some memories.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thanksgiving Napkins

Napkins ready to be placed on the table

     I host Thanksgiving dinner for the family on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  I have been slowly adding to my table setting items each year.  Last year I bought felt leaf placemats.  This year I bought napkins and a second table runner for the other table.

Matching thread to napkin

     I bought 24 napkins from Bed, Bath and Beyond that came with four different fall colors in a set.  I decided they needed a bit of decoration.  I bought a couple of patterns from Embroidery Library.  I stitched them out and decided on the pumpkin design.

Screen shot of the design showing placement line and pattern

     I took the design into my software and added a placement line for the corner of the napkin. I rotated the design so it would be angled to the corner.

Stitched napkin on sticky paper showing the placement line

     I then hooped sticky paper and stitched the placement line.  I then placed the napkin down on the sticky and stitched the design.

After removing the napkin

     After removing the napkin, I was left with a hole in the sticky paper.  I then added a patch of sticky to the back.

Patched sticky paper

     I then placed another napkin onto to the sticky paper, and at the machine, I just skipped the first stitching, the placement line, and stitched the pumpkin design.  I did change out the sticky paper after about 6 napkins because it was losing its stickiness.

Finished napkins showing contrasting thread used

     After choosing thread that matched each color of napkin, I then put the green on the gold and the gold on the green.  I did the same with the rust and brown.  I liked the simplicity of the design and the fact that it was just one color so the stitching went quickly.

Design detail

     I then bought some ribbon and floral picks at JoAnn Fabrics and tied the napkins up.

Place setting

     I set the table with the placemats that I bought last year, white dishes that could go into the dishwasher, my mom's silver and crystal and the new napkins.  It made for a pretty place setting at our Thanksgiving feast.
Our Thanksgiving table

    The napkins looked great but then I washed them.  I made the mistake of also throwing in the white linen tablecloth from the other table.  I washed it all in cold but the napkins bled and shrunk.  I still haven't been able to get the tablecloth white again.  At the worst part is that when the napkins shrunk, they only did so in one direction so they are no longer square.  I wasn't able to see these napkins on their site at this time so I can't warn you which ones they are.

Over half an inch in size in one direction

  Still in all I had a pretty table for our Thanksgiving celebration.  I'm thinking about what I will add to next year's table.  Maybe plate chargers or napkin rings.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Meal 2017

Place settings at the main table

     We celebrated Thanksgiving with the family this past Sunday.  I don't care for turkey, so I made a couple of pork roasts instead.

Brown sugar and garlic pork loin

     For side dishes, I had butternut squash and sweet potatoes from our garden.  I found recipes on Pinterest to make lighter, more healthy dishes instead of lots of sugar.  Both turned out yummy.

Garlic herb butternut squash

Cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes

     For an appetizer, I made a turkey cheeseball.  I should say, I made the cheeseball and my daughter-in-law Kate made it into a turkey.  I think ours turned out really close.

Turkey cheeseball

My version of the turkey cheeseball

     I had lots of help from my husband, son and daughter-in-law Emily, the night before and that morning, getting everything together.  Family also supplied some Polish sausage, a pumpkin carrot can, sweet potato pie, turkey cookies and wine.  I believe everyone enjoyed the food and company.  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family.

Place setting

     I also embroidered napkins using a design from Embroidery Library.  I will write more about that process next week.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Kindness Ninjas

Finished Kindness Ninja

     A friend who is a teacher wanted something to give her students when they practice a random act of kindness.  She sent me a couple of pictures of something she would like.

     I played around with felt and came up with a sample one.  She liked it so I made a pattern for each piece.  To help her save some money, I had her cut out all the pieces.

Hearts glued on and drying

     When I got back all the pieces, I started working on them assembly line fashion.  First I used Rowley's fringe adhesive to glue on the hearts.  I let them dry overnight and then the next day I hand sewed on the beads, tacking the white part down.

     After that was all done, I sewed a back on, adding a little stuffing in the head and body areas as I was stitching.

All finished

     Result, twenty five kindness ninjas to be given out to her students.  I hope they enjoy them.