I invite you to watch the show to see and hear some behind the scenes stories from the Set of It's Sew Easy TV, along with tips for planning, prepping, and achieving perfect placement for your own embroidery design projects!
Recently, I had the opportunity to be a guest on Eileen Roche's weekly live show. We had a great time chatting about machine embroidery, a favorite topic for both of us!
I invite you to watch the show to see and hear some behind the scenes stories from the Set of It's Sew Easy TV, along with tips for planning, prepping, and achieving perfect placement for your own embroidery design projects!
Enjoy the show!
Conversations with Industry Experts and fellow Sewing and Embroidery Enthusiasts just like YOU!
Sew tell me is back! Formerly presented in written format, the show now comes to you via a Live YouTube show, with the replay on my YouTube channel.
My debut guest for this new show is none other than my friend Reen Wilcoxson. Specializing in machine embroidery designs created for stitching entirely in the embroidery hoop, her designs stitch out so that little to no finishing is required at the sewing machine. This makes her designs ideal for both newbie embroidery enthusiasts and seasoned stitchers alike! embroiderygarden.com website is a treasure trove full of downloadable designs for machine embroidery enthusiasts!
Reen and I worked together at a supersized embroidery event in Louisiana several years ago and made fast friends.
Here we are on the set of It's Sew Easy TV where Reen presented some of her in-the hoop projects to the TV show audience for show 1704.
I'd like to invite you to watch the one hour show where I had the chance ask Reen about her sewing life both past and present. Highlights include behind the scenes stories plus tips and tricks to help you enjoy embroidering in your own sewing space.
Please feel free to leave your comments about the video below. You’re welcome to leave your questions for Reen too! She promised to answer any that roll in.
Here is the video, enjoy!
I designed this snack mat as an In-the-Hoop embroidery project. Project features a free scrolling heart design download courtesy of Brother sewing machine company, along with the free multi-sized designs I digitized in the Brother PE Design 11 program. You'll find links to files and step-by-step instructions below. Are you ready? Lets go sew!
You can read about my first version of the snack mat, produced for the Brother blog as a Brother Ambassador.
View instructions and download the scrolling heart design shown by clicking on the image below to visit the blog.
Now, let's get started with steps for creating my In-the-Hoop Snack Mat.
Step 1. Download the free design files from Let’s Go Sew.
Note: This mat comes in three sizes in the Brother .pes format. You’ll need to use conversion software for other formats. Be sure to check each file to see if it's compatible with your hoop size. No software? Designs in Machine Embroidery has a free program you can download. CLICK HERE if you are interested in more information on their Embroidery Tool Shed program.
Important: Depending on hoop size files may stitch in a vertical layout.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Approximate finished size for size A: 10" wide X 8" long.
Size A files for 10 5/8-inch X 10 5/8-inch or 10 5/8-inch X 16-inch hoop:
LGS_Snack Mat Outline_SizeA.pes
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Approximate finished size for size B: 9 1/2" wide X 7" long.
Size B files for 8-inch X 12-inch hoop:
LGS_Snack Mat Outline_SizeB.pes
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Approximate finished size for size C: 9 1/4" wide X 6" long.
Size C files for 6-inch X 10-inch hoop:
LGS_Snack Mat Outline_SizeC.pes
Step 2. Cut a piece of solid or tone on tone print fabric to fully fit in your hoop. Cut a matching piece of 987 Pellon Fusible craft fleece and fuse to wrong side of fabric.
Step 3. Cut two additional pieces of fabric for creating the envelope style back closure. Fold each piece in half crosswise and press. See fabric sizes for each snack mat file below:
Step 4. Download and transfer both snack mat files sized for your hoop, along with the free Brother February 2021 embroidery design shown below. Click on image to download file from blog.brothersews.com.
Step 5. Create a combination design as follows:
Step 6. Hoop fabric backed with fleece with right side facing up.
Embroider completed design for front side of snack mat, stopping before final rectangular outline. Tip: For best results stitch fancy fill sections at 600 stitches per minute or less when possible.
Step 7. Center folded pieces over the embroidered front, overlapping by 1-inch in the middle. Note: Excess covers the design, leaving room for seam allowance. Use low tack, removable tape to secure folded edges. It’s important to keep folded edges flat so embroidery foot doesn’t catch while stitching. Stitch final outline.
Tip: 3M Transpore tape is my preferred low tack tape. It's easy to find, you can stitch right through it if necessary, it's reusable, and removable. Just remember to take it off the fabric as soon as you're finished stitching.
Step 8. Time to finish! Carefully peel away tape. Remove fabric from hoop. Trim seam allowance and clip corners to reduce bulk. Turn right side out through back opening. Press and then topstitch close to the edge. You are finished! Enjoy!
Wearing my Brother Ambassador hat, I recently contributed this project to the official Brother Stitching Sewcial Blog. I named the bag you see in the photo above the Confetti Gift Bag. It's easy and fun to make with little more than a strip of organza, snippets of fabric, and strands of colorful thread! You can re-size this bag and use it for hostess gifts, thank you gifts, party favors, and more!
Instructions and a full tutorial are available when you CLICK HERE.
Wrapping gifts in something other than standard tissue and fancy paper has always been a "thing" for me. I've used colored comic strips from the newspaper, brown butcher paper decorated with stamps and stickers, and even fabric yardage in place of gift wrap. How about you? It would be fun to hear similar tales for recycling and using ordinary wrappers as coverings for gifts hidden inside.
In the last few years, I've challenged myself to make some bags that are worthy of being kep and reused, or at least put on display for a period of time. Today I want to share a few more from past archives, in the hope of inspring you to make some of your own.
Below you'll find some photos and links to full instructions. Most of these are from the archives of Brother Sews projects. When you see specialty feet mentioned, check your machine options to see if you have similar accessories to tackle specialty sewing tasks.
This Paisley Pearl trimmed bag features the two accessory feet, the SA150 Pearls & Sequins foot and SA184, Edge Joining foot. This one is a super easy to make! CLICK HERE for instructions.
I had so much fun decorating this one! It's almost like making a gingerbread house. Perfect for "housing" (sorry, I couldn't resist the pun) home-made goodies, this bag is sure to be a keeper. All you need is a bit of fabric, a few trims, and a piece of felt. CLICK HERE for instructions.
This bag and tag project shows you how to make an in-the-hoop tag using the Brother BES software program. The tag design is one of the built-in appliqués. It's perfect for a quick embellishment on a simple bag or any holiday package. You'll find instructions HERE on my site.
I hope these bags brighten up your holidays! Let me know if you plan to create your own pretty package wraps for gift giving season.
This 45-minute video features tips and techniques shared on a recent Quilts & Lace Facebook live show.
We talked specifically about the Brother Circular Sewing Attachment for sewing and embellishment. There are other simple circle sewing tools available for generic use. Check with your sewing machine dealer to learn about options for your particular machine.
Below you'll find addtional circular sewing ideas and project links. I hope this video and the ideas presented here will inspire you to make something special with a circular attachment!
In the first part of this post I'm showing the parts included with the Brother Circular Sewing Attachment bundle, (SACIRC1). This accessory item works on a wide variety of Brother machines. Check with your dealer for a current catalog of Brother accessories and compatible models. SAMDRIVER1, the Brother multi-purpose screwdriver is ideal for attaching the screw for the circular attachment.
The bundle includes the circular attachment and placement pin for the machine, two embellishment feet (SA110, the 3 slot Cording foot & SA141, the Braiding foot), a protractor for figuring exact spacing for decorative stitching on circles, and two screws. Note: You only need one screw to secure the attachment. The second one is "just in case" you misplace the first one.
In the above photo you can see a circular sample where I used both embellishment feet to add interest and texture to the circle. These are two of my favorite embellishment feet and I use them for much more than circle stitching.
The three slot cording foot on the left is perfect for couching cords that are on the thin side. You can learn more about this foot HERE. The braiding foot is ideal for couching narrow ribbons. I used 4mm silk ribbon for this example.
This attachment makes it really easy to sew a perfect appliqué in the shape of a circle. I started with a square backed with interfacing and placed it in the center of my felt practice piece.
I set the circular attachment to sew a small circle using a straight stitch and then trimmed close to the stitching.
Next, I selected a zig zag stitch and set it for a medium width and a short stitch length to make it into a satin stitch. I switched to the Clearview foot and sewed all around the circle to cover the raw edge.
To couch down the cording I selected a stitch from the Character/Decorative menu. I love using this checkerboard style stitch to couch cords with the cording foot. The circular attachment makes it easy to do this in a perfect circle!
I started by threading the cords in the foot, knotting them at the back to keep them from slipping out.
I stitched all around the circle overlaping stitches just a "smidge."
After using the tie off feature for decorative stitches, I fed the tails of the cord to the wrong side of the fabric using a tapestry needle.
For the next circle I selected yet another favorite stitch. This one is considered an heirloom hemstitch but I htink it's perfect for couching down thin cords. Tip: In my example I used Pearl Crown Rayon, a decorative serger thread. A similar, easy to find alternative would be pearl cotton sold on skeins for hand embroidery.
This time I left tails of cording at the beginning and the end of the stitching.
Tie loose cords together and for a tassel effect.
I decided to tie them in a knot, add a bead, and then tie more knots to keep the bead in place.
For my final row I threaded 4mm silk ribbon into the braiding foot. I selected another stitch that works well to couch ribbon in place. This time I started stitching at the side of the circle, sewing two half circles, leaving a tail of ribbon free at each end.
See how I started and stopped at the half-way point, left tails, and then sewed a second half circle.
I finished by tying the ribbons in pretty bows.
Looking for more circular sewing projects?
Here are a few links to explore on the Brother blog, where I contributed projects wearing my Brother Ambassador hat. Click on each image and it will take you directly to the project.
Going Sewing Circle Bag
Glamourous Circular Rosette
If you have any comments or questions please let me know. I'd love to know if you have played with sewing in circles on your machine!
Twin or "double" needles have been around for a long time. Machines with even the most basic stitches can use a twin needle. As long as the machine has zig zag capability a twin needle will work on most all modern machines. Of course machines with extra stitches means extra opportunities! this post will introduce you to some of the many ways a twin needle can expand your sewing repertoire!
Decorative stitches from the utility menu look spectacular when stitched with a 2mm twin needle!
The tips are 2mm apart on this twin needle. Many machines come with this twin needle in the box of included accessories.
Check your machine for a twin needle key.
On Brother machines activating this key prevents you from choosing an improper stitch or stitch width.
IMPORTANT!!! Machine “thinks” you’re using a needle no larger than the 2mm version when you select this key.
Manually test other twin needles with all stitches to be sure needle does not hit the throat plate.
This blouse with corded 2mm pintucks was recently featured on It’s Sew Easy TV show 2002-1. CLICK HERE to read instructions and you'll find a link to watch the show!
Looking for more twin needle tips?
Wearing my Brother Ambassador hat I contributed a blog post on the topic of twin needle decorative stitching. You can read the post HERE.
But wait . . . there's more!
As a follow up to the original Brother blog post, I appeared on the Brother sponsored Facebook/YouTube Live show where we had a lively discussion on the topic of twin needles. I've posted the re-run here for you to watch.
This 55 minute video aired on the BrotherSews YouTube channel.
I hope you enjoy watching it!
As I promised in the above video, here is my top ten list for twin needle techniques:
Top Ten Tips for Twin Needle Stitchery
If you have questions or comments I'd love to hear from you!
Did you know that the thirteenth of June is National Sewing Machine Day? It's designated as a day to celebrate the invention of the sewing machine. According to the National Days Today website, the origin is unknown but I'm happy to celebrate the day anyway, how about you?!?
How I Met My First Sewing Machine
Many of you have heard me tell the story of learning to sew in Junior High school and finding it love at first stitch! I had the chance to share this story and honor my Mom HERE in this It's Sew Easy TV segment. This super short clip also tells the tale of how I got my first, mine all mine sewing machine!
I have fond and vivid memories of the hunt for that first machine. Mom and I traveled to two independent sewing shops before visiting the machine department at Sears. You see, Mom was a savvy shopper and sought to find a machine that would be made to last and provide good value. I can't say why we settled on Sears, but I do remember my Mom being unimpressed with the other well-known brand at the time and even less impressed with the store personnel. Mom was a tough sell and I know she had my best interest at heart. Just goes to show you how important it is to trust the person helping you to select a machine. Back then Sears was staffed with well trained, knowledgeable staff. Sears won her over. I suspect their warranty and satisfaction guaranteed motto also had something to do with it.
My first machine was green, the quintessential color so prominent in the 1970's. Complete with a "jewel box" full of intriguing cams, this machine was promoted as ready to handle all the newest knits coming into vogue at that time.
Buying a Sears Kenmore, it meant I was entitled to free lessons in the classroom tucked into a corner of the upstairs section of the mall store. Mom came along with me for each of the lessons and it was a fun time together.
At that particular time in her life, Mom had pretty much abandoned sewing. Like many in that era, sewing wasn't really a necessity anymore. Being the last of five children, with a big gap between myself and my siblings, all of my sisters were married, and Mom didn't feel the need to sew for me or herself. However, the rest of the story is quite amazing! Seeing my enthusiasm for sewing, Mom decided she would give it a go again too. After installing my machine in my bedroom, remember, this one was mine all mine, she brought her old Singer out into an open space at the end of the living room. Soon, she was making many new outfits for herself too! While I happily sewed in my own space, she happily sewed in hers! Her fabric/pattern choices were mostly Stretch and Sew and double knits while I opted for the latest teen scene fashions of the day, but we encouraged each other's creativity.
I could go on with many more sewing tales and recollections of sewing stories that led to where I am now. However, what I'd really like to hear is the story of your first sewing machine. Please share your memories in the comments so we can all enjoy the tale of how you met up with your first machine!
Click on the sewing machine for a messsage and a little mood music to introduce this project.
Continuing with our apron show and tell, this time I have a two sided apron for you. An oldie but a goodie, this one let's you choose your mood and flip to the side that suits you, whether it's stichin or cookin in the kitchen!
Let's start with the sewing side, shall we? Featuring the same FREE sewing lady design you saw in my previous blog post HERE, I combined lettering created in software and a sewing machine design from an old floppy disk pack. I told you this was an oldie!
Time for a quick flip! Now you see the "cookin" side of the apron, with kitchne themed redwork designs from the Brother iBroidery.com site.
This double duty apron is easy to make following the basic steps below:
So, which side of the apron would you wear the most if you had the choice? If both sides suit your fancy I'd like to know that too!
Let me know in the comments below!
Written by Joanne Banko - Brother Ambassador
Continuing with the apron theme, I thought I would share this cupcake and polka dot one with you today. There's a story to tell about this apron. It's a bit of a blast from the past. This unique apron was originally featured in a Brother Foot of the Month post back in 2016. It's a fun apron to make with wipe clean fabric. We'll talk more about fabric options later in this post. If you'd like to make one like this, you'll find the full instruction file I created for this project on the www.brothersews website, inside the Brother Foot of the Month archives. Just click on the apron image to read or download the file.
If you're not familiar with Brother Foot of the Month projects, I contribute these tutorials on a regular basis. FOM as I call it, is now posted on the official Brother blog called Stitching Sewcial. Recently, FOM had a title change to Accessory Spotlight. Hope I haven't confused you with titles and websites! Suffice it to say that I've been creating these foot of the month projects, monthly of course, since 2010. Within the various links and archives, you'll find lots of techniques for using various presser feet!
At the time the apron was published, Brother was celebrating a relationship with the Laura Ashley Company and I was commissioned to create a few special items with their fabric. I received a roll of pink with white polka dots and a roll of pretty pink cupcakes along with free rein to come up with samples to showcase the material.
I checked the fabric section of the Laura Ashley site today and believe it or not these two fabric coordinates are still listed there. CLICK HERE if you'd like to take a look at them. In the photo above you can see how cute these two fabrics look together. While I had sewed with some similar fabric before, I never thought about what it was called. Laura Ashley had it listed as PVC and I went with the term. Now I see that their category listing for the fabric says Oil Cloth. I think there's some confusion with these two terms, along with another similar wipe clean fabric called laminated cotton. I'll try to sort out these fabric terms in the next couple paragraphs so stick with me.
I have worked with cotton coated with clear vinyl, also known as Laminated Cotton. In fact, I've even made my own version by adding therm-o-web iron-on vinyl to the front side of cotton fabrics. In my experience, this is a great way to make your own version of a wipe clean fabric that has a smooth backing. If you haven't done this yourself, I highly suggest you give it a try! It's perfect for items like cosmetic cases, travel bags, pouches, wallets, and more! Curious about laundering this unique combination? I have washed small items treated with the afore-mentioned vinyl, it may be a little trickier with larger items because you don't want them to be wrinkled up. Keep the fabric piece as flat as you can and you should be okay. Obviously, since the top side wipes clean, laundering can be kept to a minimum and depending on the project may be totally unnecessary. CLICK HERE and you'll find instructions for laundering coated fabric directly from therm-o-web, the manufacturer of the clear iron on vinyl.
I'm sharing this apron with you today to give you both inspiration and instructions. I think once you see how easy it is to make your own coated fabric you won't have to hunt for pretty prints in the Oil Cloth aisle of the fabric store. Yes, I switched my terminology from PVC to Oil cloth. Seems they are sometimes used together or as interchangeable terms. Technically, PVC, or polyvinyl chloride is a vinyl fabric that comes in a variety of different forms. Herculite.com is a site that provides more technical information if that interests you. As a laminated fabric, you may think of diaper covers when you hear someone talk about PVC material.
Oil cloth material is different. It is rather stiff and has a mesh like backing. It is readily available if you do some searching online and comes in some pretty prints.
Whatever fabric you choose, this apron is easy and fun to make! Purchase wipe clean fabric or make it yourself by fusing iron-on vinyl to the front side of a cotton fabric.
So, at the beginning of this post I told you the apron was a Foot of the Month project. A focal point for the project was the use of the non-stick rolling foot. It's really essential for smooth stitching on this sticky fabric. This foot is also perfect for sewing on leather and suede. You'll also find the non-stick foot in a flat, non-rolling version.
I hope you're inspired by the apron photo and the instructions linked at the beginning of this post. If you'd like to take a peek at a coordinating project, hop on over to the official Laura Ashley blog post archives. I see that they still have the napkin, napkin rings, and placemat project I submitted in September of 2016. Although you won't see my name, you will see the cupcake and polka dot fabric used in some unique ways. CLICK HERE to view the project and instructions. I think this set is just as endearing today as it was back then.
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Written by Joanne Banko- Brother Ambassador
By popular request, I'm sharing details and free downloads for my version of this Molly Made special apron pattern featured on a recent Brother sponsored live stream.
Originally, this apron was published in Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. In collaboration with Brother, the Sewing Lady design on the bib pocket, and one other design featured on the lower pocket were linked as free downloads. In addition to that, I digitized an In-the-Hoop pocket design to help you make the perfect patch pocket for the apron bib. You'll find all the details for creating the pocket HERE.
Follow along as I outline all the detials and share the links you'll need to create a similar apron for yourself.
Let's start with the Sewing Lady Redwork design I used as a decoration for the patch pocket on the bib. Follow the path outlined below to access this design from the archives of the Brother website.
Go to www.brothersews.com and click on the drop down arrow for Inspirations & Events.
Next, click on the Crafting Projects tab.
Click on the image to explore the Free pattern archives.
Fill out the form to access free downloads.
Select the Special designs tab. Click on Redwork Sewing Lady to download to your computer.
Take another look at the apron and you'll see that I used a string of redwork designs to decorate lower pocket "M" from Molly's Apron pattern. This pocket features more beautiful Brother Redwork designs! To create this pocket I cut an oversized piece of fabric and marked off lines for the pattern piece and the pocket stitching lines. I embroidered the designs, cut the pocket using the pattern piece with a modified top foldline, and finished construction of the pocket on the apron.
You'll find the pin cushion motif (second one from the left), available as yet another free design from Brother. The rest of the Redwork motifs are available for purchase in the Redwork design section of the Brother exclusive iBroidery.com design download site. Photos below show each individual design.
To access the free Brother pincushion design follow the same path as you did for the Sewing Lady but this time select from the archives of the Free Design of the Month menu shown below:
Last but not least, here is a link to instructions and free downloads for the perfect patch pocket used on the apron bib.
Click on the above image and you'll find everything you need, including an option for converting this pocket design to other machine formats. Enjoy!
By the way, you can learn more about Molly, the designer of this apron pattern HERE in an archived blog post.
Need a mid-week pick me up? Here's a new video for you to watch on my YouTube channel. This video highlights differential feed, one of my favorite features on a serger! You'll see how I serged and sewed a three tiered "broomstick" skirt.
I've scheduled this video as a Premiere event on YouTube. I thought it would be fun to have you watch it along with me at 7:00PM on Thursday May 13th. I'll be there to answer your questions and comments.
Click on the image below to watch Triple Tiered Boho Skirt as seen on It's Sew Easy TV show 1012-1, starting on May 14 at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard time.
I would call this skirt a classic. It actually is quite historic. Along with a unique pullover blouse, this skirt style was part of the Navajo woman's wardrobe as described in Folkwear pattern 120. It was influenced by similar styles popular in the post Civil war days. They say the three tiers on the Navajo skirt represent three periods of a woman's lifetime, infancy/childhood, adulthood, and senior years.
I've made several of these over the years. When selecting fabrics, you want to choose a fabric that will wrinkle. My show sample is made from a lightweight chambray, but I've used quilt cotton, and even lightweight denim in the past. Soft cottons are the best choice for a skirt that wrinkles yet falls softly on the body. I like wearing this skirt with sandals in the summer and boots in cooler months!
Look around and you'll see the "prairie look" showing up in a variety of spring and summer clothing collections. In both prairie and "boho" style garments, gathers continue to be in fashion on both bottoms and tops.
If you look closely at the strips for the skirt, you'll see how neat and even the gathers are.
Watching this video will give you some great tips for getting nice full gathers on your serger. With differential feed and the right settings on your serger you can quickly gather fabric for a wide variety of sewing situations.
Coordinating instructions are found HERE on the It's Sew Easy TV website.
Looking for more serger info? CLICK HERE to download a new free Let's Go Sew tip sheet titled Serging Versus Sewing.
You can CLICK HERE to watch the video. I'd love to hear from you with any comments or questions you might have. Enjoy!
Many moons ago I was interviewed by Eileen Roche for a special blog post. You can read it HERE if you like. I'm mentioning it today because the final, wrap up question she asked me was this:
Finish the sentence:
My mother taught me . . .
Enough to write a book, but above all she taught me to be thankful and to stick to your core beliefs and values.
Every day, but today especially, I'm missing Mom as she has been gone for quite some time now. Being the "baby" of the family, Mother’s Day brings many cherished memories to mind. I look back and think of gifts both hand-crafted and purchased that I gave to my appreciative mom.
Sometimes it can be difficult to come up with appropriate gifts. One year I was looking to present her with something totally unique. I had already been using my embroidery machine for lots of things, so I embroidered a card with a calico cat design. My mom was a big cat lover and I have a sentimental story about a calico kitten my sister found on the playground that later came to live with us for a full 18 years. I knew she would love a three dimensional image of a cat resembling the one we adopted into the family many years before. Wanting to make the card even more special, I wrote a letter inside thanking my mom for giving me my own birthday. As you may well guess, she kept that card forever!
If you’re looking for a last-minute card idea or a package decoration, I have one here that you may want to try.
Take this pretty rose design provided as an archived free design on the Brother blog, stitch it on netting or white felt, and attach to a vase like you see in the photo, place it on an envelope or gift card, or use it as a package decoration. You'll have something special for Mom in just a few minutes!
Click on the photo of the vase and it will take you directly to the project instructions archived on the Brother Stitching Sewcial site. You'll find a link to the free design courtesy of Brother International within the instructions.
If you're looking for a way to make greeting cards with embroidery designs I have a full, free tutorial for you HERE.
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!
I hope you'll take the time to leave a comment here and finish the sentence below:
My Mother taught me . . .
Watch and listen in as we chat about one of our favorite subjects, Machine Embroidery!
Eileen gave tons of tips for using her PAL2 Perfect Alignment Laser for ease of placement with embroidery and shared unique ways quilters can use this tool too!
We also had the chance to reminisce about places our paths have crossed over the many years we have known each other.
Eileen invited me to provide a sneak peek at the wraps and scarves inside Wrapped In Embroidery, published by DIME. You'll learn some simple ways to link designs for continuous embroidery and get tips for embellishing your embroidered projects so they rival the best in ready-to-wear!
Click the arrow to watch the replay video on YouTube. I'd love to hear your comments. Enjoy!
Would you like to review the photos and tips I shared during the show? You can view the presentation below. Please contact me if you have any questions. I'm happy to help in any way I can!
More resources! In the back of the Wrapped in Embroidery book you'll find a list of suppliers for fabrics and notions. Here are a few more to update the list:
Like many other sewists navigating this "not so normal time," I've found myself involved in a mask making adventure. I thought I would share my experience. Let me start by telling you I've researched the mask making subject until my eyes were crossed! I tried many different styles in an attempt to make some to please myself, family and friends. I'm also currently in a campaign to contribute masks to the Cleveland Clinic. These masks are for the general public, not for medical workers.
I'd like you to know that this post represents my personal opinions only. I am not giving any advice on the making of masks, the usefulness of them, or making any claims for protection against any illness. None of the masks shown here are designed for PPE (Personal Protectiion Equipment). For guidelines on wearing and caring for masks and face coverings please list the government website, CDC.gov.
If you'd like to get involved with the mask making effort for Cleveland Clinic please HERE.
Mask Making Reviews
There is certainly a measure of controversy surrounding the "wearing of the mask." I encourage you to do your own research on the whole subject, but please don't be lulled into thinking that this makes you bullet proof. We have all seen masks warn improperly and this alone can be a hot topic. If however, you need to wear one sometime, somewhere, it might as well be comfortable. Whether you are a fan of wearing these or not, it seems we will all be asked to cover our face if we want to enter certain establishments.
The one you see me wearing at the beginning of this post is my personal favorite as far as comfort, coverage, adjustability, and ease of laundering. You'll find instructions near the bottom of the page when you CLICK HERE.
As for the rest of the ones shown below, they are based on some variations of the many blog posts floating around the web these days. My guess is that you've probably seen most of these in some form or another.
This was my first mask. It has the traditional three pleats and is finished with binding at the sides. This side binding forms a casing you can use to loop elastic or ties through. The binding makes it a bit time consuming to make, but it does make a neat, smooth finish because the bukly pleats are enclosed within the binding.
Next, I made my version of what is known as the Olson Mask. This one is shaped to fit the curves of the face. The inside pocket makes it easy to slip in a filter. Actually, on the green version above, I sewed this lining the wrong way. The zig-zagged ends should be tucked under the side flanges.
Next up, in the search for an adjustable fit, I opted to make the common rectangular pleated style, modifying it by adding two small buttonholes to thread knoted elastic through. This one is pretty quick to make and may do the trick if you need adjustability.
Making the lining in an obvious contrast fabric seems like a good idea so the wearer can distinguish between the front and back side. This pleated button hole style one has a pocket opening for an added filter.
This last one is the same style I'm wearing in the photo at the beginning of this post, with two exceptions. The finished size is one inch smaller from side to side, and I did not bother to make a contrast lining.
If you look closely you'll see a seam on the wrong side of the back piece. I also wrote the word bottom and and drew an arrow on the fabric with a sharpie marker. Hands down, this is my favorite style. I think it can be resized to fit most any face, it's easy to sew, and relatively comfortable to wear.
Originally, I saw this one created by homemadeonourhomestead on YouTube. Her version is more detailed with a pocket for a filter and a place for a nose wire. I saw another one similar to this, simplified the style, eliminated the nose wire, and posted my own instructions on this page.
Personally, I haven't had much success with adding nose wires. While it may make the mask fit more closely to the face, it makes the piece harder to launder, and it seems the wearer "fusses" too much to get it conformed to the nose. Part of the purpose of wearing a face covering is to help you avoid touching the face so that very fussing may defeat the purpose.
As you can see, I've been on the mask making merry go round for a while now.
This last one only has only one drawback. You really need to instruct the wearer on how to wear it. I hope my face friendly photos help you see this face covering in action.
I'll close by wishing you all good health and happy sewing!
UPDATE! I wore this mask for an entire day and found it to be very comfortable.
Recently, I got an email from my friend Joan M. in Prescott Arizona. She has been making the most of her stay at home time and is churning out great gifts to tuck away for holiday time later in the year. Joan's hankie bags are simply delightful!!! I know I would cherish owning one of these myself. Another one of the bags is made from a dresser scarf. I believe Joan has inspired us to look at those hand-me-down linens in a whole new way!
Curious as to what kinds of gifts Joan is busy making? I'll let Joan tell you more in her own words, shown in purple below:
"I have been enjoying having more time to spend in my favorite room and making some Christmas gifts for my family. We do not exchange gifts any more (too many in the family now) but we have a white elephant exchange that everyone loves.
Last Christmas I decided to make something for everyone, so they got: bowl cozies, steering wheel covers (great for protections against the hot sun in Arizona), key chains made with zippers, and splash guards for the microwave. It was so much fun to see their faces because no one knew what these were. My son thought his steering wheel cover was a hat!
Next Christmas the gals are getting one of these zipper bags made from doilies my Grandmother and Aunts made in the 40's and 50's. I have a chest full and almost donated them to charity because none of my family will want them - I don't even use them. The bag in the upper right - hard to see- is made in the style of a crazy quilt using pieces of doilies used in other bags."
I don't know about you, but I was awestruck by Joan's creative use of vintage hankies and her re-purposing of a doily to make crazy patchwork for another bag. Each one is so unique! What a way to preserve family history and bring precious heirlooms into the fore front instead of keeping them locked away in a dark drawer or dusty box.
By the way, Joan's cheerful note had the title "Making Lemonade" in the subject line of her email :-)
When you're done reading about Joan's creative adventures and you have finished oohing and aahing over her beautiful heirloom style bags, please take the time to leave a comment at the end of this post.
Sometimes it's a challenge to find the supplies you need, so how about searching for something you already have and making something new out of it?
For this project I took a junk jean pocket, made another pocket from scraps, added them together, and turned it into a sewing "chatelaine." This is something you can hang around your neck and have much needed notions ready for the task at hand.
Here are the basic supplies you'll need:
Note: If your pocket is larger than approximately 6-inches wide X 6-inches long, you'll need to cut larger squares for your front and back pockets.
Steps to make:
You're finished! Here is what the piece looks like on the back side.
Day nine includes two sewing artists and friends of Let's go Sew. Take a look at their handiwork with quilts both big and small.
This one is from my friend Sue McGurk. What a perfect way to say "Welcome Spring!" Let's see what she has to say about her quilt.
Here’s a little wall hanging I made for a swap....tried to be a little springy and bright to forget about the winter dreariness! I’m so happy to see a little sun today!
Hope you are getting a lot of sewing done. I am 😀
Next we have a couple creative quilts from Diane. Looks like her loved ones are in for something special with each one of these one-of-a-kind quilts. Thanks for sharing these Diane!
I finished making this quilt for my nephew and his wife. When they opened the box their five year old grand-daughter Ryley was there and exclaimed “it’s a Frozen blanket”. She loves it so much that I told my nephew to give it to her for her bedroom in their house. My nephew said he probably couldn’t get it from her if he tried.
The second quilt is one I am making to hang from the balcony above our living room. The design if from Anitagoodesign. There are fifteen blocks done in the hoop and sashing between the blocks and the rows.
Update! Diane sent me a photo of her finished quilt with more descriptions about the fabrics she used. Please read her udated info below and take a look at her incredilbe finished quilt!
"The blocks were embroidered on canvas; the appliqué, sashing fabric and binding are linen and the back of the quilt is canvas. I wanted something substantial that would allow the quilt to hang from the balcony in my living room."
I think this will wrap it up for a bit unless I get some more photos and stories submitted.
Thanks to all who sent in such wonderful pics and stories! We'll have to do this again sometime soon!
Please leave your comments and questions for Sue, or for Diane below.
Hello Sewing Friends! I must say, you have all been very busy making beautiful things. It's been a pleasure to share them with the Let's Go Sew Sewing community!
Today's Sew & Tell is another wonderful quilt!
This colorful I SPY quilt came to me without a name. I hope the artist will get in touch so we can congratulate this person by name. I only know it is Tyler's Grandmother :-) Read the artist's description in purple.
UPDATE! This creative quilt was designed and stitched by Nancy Bell from Pennsylvania. Congratualtions on your labor of love expressed with stitches Nancy!
I finished An “I spy” quilt for my grandson Tyler.
To make it a little more special I embroidered the words of the things he needs to find in the quilt. It is was just something simple but it kept my mind off all of the crazy stuff going on in the world.
Such a clever use of the built in fonts on the sewing side of the machine! Tyler will have so much fun playing and cuddling with this quilt!
So, now that we have played I spy, we are left to play a guessing game to identify the artist. Hope we find out in the comments below :-)
Hope you are enjoying this great show and tell! I know I am!
Today my friend Jan Dees (Jana Designs) from Washington proves that staying inside is putting a real dent into her stack of UFOs! This should motivate all of us to tackle those unfinished objects.
I'll let her tell you all about her sewing adventures in her own words shown in purple.
"The first of March my husband and I self-quarantined as his immune system is compromised. Because of this, I had every day to sew. Yes!!! The first few days I cleaned and organized.
Then I finished a quilt in progress since December for my daughter-in-law’s brother. This baby quilt is long overdue as Michael will be 3 years old this summer. The pattern is Anita Good Design Playhouse of applique animals, but I used only penguins.
Because Michael is older now I put a racetrack fleece on the back and included some race cars, police cars, etc. for him to play with.
Today I'm finishing a Ravens' quilt for my son's 40th birthday (last October 31, 2019) I have to wait until our Governor lifts our mandatory "stay home" so I can mail it.
Tomorrow I will work on a Disneyland Theme quilt for my great nephew and wife who are expecting in July. This quilt will be on time!!! I'm going to embroidery the Disney characters on my Brother Luminaire.
Even though this virus has created a disruption and forced us to live differently I choose to use this time to finish UFO's and accomplish what has been “guilting” my mind for a while. Even still, I hope it ends soon.
Jan sent this to me a few days ago so I wouldn't be surprised if she has a whole bunch of UFOs all finished up by now :-)
Thanks for sharing these great photos and telling us how your're making the best of things. You are an inspiration to us all!!!
Please leave comments and questions for Jan below.
On day six I have yet another chance to share something from a local, longtime friend. Meet Pat Guerin! Pat regularly attends a local monthly sewing club meeting where I've played "hostess" for a long time.
Over the years, Pat has amazed both myself and all who attend with her incredible masterpieces. They've ranged from childre's items, to quilts, to formal wear, hand worked wallhangings, accessory items, and so many other things too numerous to mention! She executes everything to a high degree of perfection but presents it as though it is all so effortless.
After experiencing the loss of both her Mom and her Dad, Pat has put her hands to good work making lasting quilt gifts for family members, and for herself. Today, you have the chance to see see her in progress "precious memories" quilts which she describes in her own words in purple below:
"In total there are four quilts ( three brothers share one house)."
"This patchwork quilt is from Mom and Dads clothing. My Dad only ever wore Dickies, the blue color, he only owned three shirts three pants, two dress shirts, which he wore to my wedding, and one polo shirt, knit stripe.
A few close up photos of the cross stitch blocks.
"Each quilt has a “pocket” with a “Dickies” label, each quilt has a photo transfer of Dad's cigarette case (he rolled his own). The cross stitched squares are gathered from years of Mom cross stitching. (Actually I taught her to cross stitch.)"
The National Park quilt I made for my sister.
"This is my third quilt out of Mom and Dad’s clothing. This is the front (ABOVE), and a picture of the back is also included (BELOW)."
"This one is for my three brothers that live together in Richfield, Ohio. The backing has a little something for each of them. Two love fishing in Florida, one has a golden retriever, one was in National guard, loves backyard birds and deer. They also love growing “hot peppers”.
I still have to compose a label that will go on each quilt. The only one to complete is mine. The top is done & I need to create the backing. Hope to complete these in the next few days!"
Update! Below is a photo of Pat's finished quilt label. I know Pat was filled with emotion as she created this label on her computer and printed it on EQ Printables fabric. It's obvious Pat's quilts were stitched with lots of love. These quilts are a glimpse into the story of her Mom and Dad's life together. I'll let Pat tell you a littel more in her own words in purple:
"My folks were very simple people , both very creative. Mom was a homemaker most of her 87 years, crochet, needlework, minimal sewing. Dad served in the army out of high school, married his high school sweetheart, was a mechanic, welder extraordinaire! He welded until the day he died at age 89. They were married almost 69 years!"
Thank you Pat for sharing your handiwork and sharing your heart with us as well!
Won't you join me in congratulating Pat on her incredible masterpieces?!? Please leave your comments and questions for Pat below.
*As a believer in full disclosure, I'd like you to know that Blog posts may contain affiliate links for products and services I know and trust. Purchasing items through a link marked * results in a small commission for me, with no extra charges for you.