Category Archives: DIY

Tutorial: DIY Placemats With Pockets!

DIY Table LinensWith Christmas fast approaching and my employment still in the “un” category, I’m looking at trying to do an almost entirely handmade holiday season this year. I think kitchen linens can make a great hand sewn gift, and I know my mom appreciated the double-sided napkins I made her earlier this year! Anyhoo, with this type of gift in mind I decided to try out a pattern for placemats with utensil/napkin pockets on them. Cuuuuuuuute!

DIY Pocket PlacematsMaterials (for a place setting for 6):
1 yd linen/burlap (heavy)
2 yd coordinating lightweight cotton (1 yd for placemats and 1 yd for napkins)
coordinating thread

As I’ve mentioned before, I absolutely love the fabrics available from I came across this fabulous print from Tegan White for Birch Organics and thought it would work well with the current color scheme happening in our apartment.

Fort Firefly, Jars Gold

Awwww, I want a string of firefly jars to light up my apartment!

I liked the idea of making a place setting for 6. Even if we don’t always have that many people for dinner it’s nice to have extra around in case something gets an irreparable stain or to put serving dishes on. So. Using my roller blade, I cut out 6 15″x15″ squares from the Firefly cotton for the napkins, and 6 19″x15″ squares each of Firefly cotton and my linen for the placemats (the Firefly cotton goes on the back to make them reversible!).

Placemats with PocketsI also cut 6 8″x5″ linen pieces and 6 5″x2″ cotton pieces (or 5″ lengths of coordinating bias tape) to make a cute little pocket for your silverware and napkins!

As was the case with the double sided napkins, ironing with this project is key. Siiiiiiiigh. To make the napkins iron a quarter inch hem on all sides, then fold it over and press again with about a half inch hem. Top stitch using a coordinating thread and you’re done!

Handmade Cloth Napkins

Table Linen Tutorial

BAM! Cute napkins. Done.

To make the placemats, you’re going to want to sew the pocket to the linen before assembling the front and back pieces. This keeps the back neat, without any visible stitch lines making the placemat reversible. So pull out that iron again, we’re not done with it yet!

You’ll want to fold and press the 5″x2″ strips of cotton into bias tape (I’ve talked about how to do that before here), then sew them to one short edge of each 8″x5″ square of linen. This will be a decorative edging on the top of the pocket.

How To  Make PlacematsNext, press a half inch hem into the remaining three naked sides of the pocket piece, folding toward the wrong side.

Placemat Sewing Pattern

More ironing? Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh!

Next, attach the pocket to your linen placemat front. I put the pocket on the left side of the placemat (though a quick interwebs search told me that people do either side) 2.5″ from the left edge and 2″ from the bottom edge.

How to Make Placemats

Once you’ve got your pocket pinned in place, neatly top stitch the three unadorned sides down as close to the edge of the pocket as possible.

DIY Placemats

Placemats with PocketNow we’re ready to sew the backing to the placemats. With right sides facing, sew the linen to the cotton backing with a half inch seam allowances on three sides. Leave one of the short sides open. We’re going to turn this inside out so cut the corners to help the fabric lay flat when we do this. You should end up with something that looks like this:

DIY Placemats

Flip the placemat right-side-out. You might have to use a pencil to really get in the sewn corners and get them nice and crisp. Fold a half inch hem inward on the open edge of the placemat and press (siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh). Top stitch around all sides of the placemat with coordinating thread about a quarter inch from the edge.

Pocket Placemat Sewing PatternAnd blammo! You’re done!!!!!!!

Handmade Placemats

Placemat Sewing PatternHandmade Place Settings

Sewing Placemat Tutorial

DIY Placemats




T-Shirt Quilt, Finally Done!!!

Almost a year ago to the day, I published an On The Go post. I’ve finished a few of the projects from the list; Pete’s hoodie, my nephew’s sweater, and a solution for the garbage area in my old apartment. I finally just got around to finishing off another of those projects – my T-shirt quilt!!!

DIY T-Shirt Quilt

I know it doesn’t look like a T-shirt quilt in this picture, but I just loved the warm and fuzzy nautical flannel I chose for the backing!

I would love for this to be a “real” tutorial, and originally intended it to be that. But then I remembered I don’t know how to quilt. Sooooooo…… instead I’ve documented the steps that worked for me and what I would do differently next time! I’d love for people who know better to leave some comments with suggestions for my next attempt!!

I had a ton of old t-shirts that had a lot of sentimental value but were pretty grubby and were just taking up space in my closet. When it came time to move from the East Coast of Canada to San Francisco I figured it was also time to do something about my t-shirt hoarding.

I cut the fronts off all the t-shirts, paying no attention whatsoever to trying to keep them the same size, packed them away and forgot about them for another year or two. When I pulled them out and looked into making a t-shirt quilt, I realized the whole thing would go waaaaay easier if I had squares that were all the same size to work with. I was inspired by the way this one looked where less attention was paid to preserving the whole t-shirt pattern and decided to do mine that way.

I cut 7″ squares of all my t-shirts then laid them all out on the floor and moved the pieces around until I had an arrangement that I liked. The first tip I have that worked well for me is to first sew your panels together into long rows, then sew the rows together to create your quilt.

DIY T-Shirt Quilt

How To Make a T-Shirt Quilt

Sorry for the terrible photo, I took this over a year ago! It’s supposed to be showing that I’ve pinned the rows together to make the quilt 🙂

Aaaaannnnnnnd, this is where it sat. For a year. I found myself in need of a picnic blanket recently and, on a rare rainy afternoon, I decided to finish it off. This is where things got a little….er….less than pretty.

I knew my quilt was going to be a bit smaller than I’d wanted so I purchased some plain white fabric for a border to add size and some nautical striped flannel for the back. Of course, my white fabric was just to short to be able to make a border without cutting separate corner pieces. So, I cut 4 strips of white fabric (4.5″ wide) the length of the quilt, and 4 squares of the striped fabric (4.5″ x 4.5″).

DIY T-Shirt QuiltI sewed two of the white strips onto opposite sides of the blanket.

DIY T-Shirt QuiltThen I sewed the striped squares to either end of the remaining white strips (I made sure to keep the pattern in the same direction), and sewed the whole thing to the other two sides of the quilt.

How To Make A T-Shirt QuiltHere’s the thing about that. I sewed non-stretchy flannel strips to really stretchy jersey fabric. Which means I ended up with a super wonky/wavy border. Maybe I should have stay-stitched the t-shirts before attaching the border??? Maybe I should used jersey for the border and the backing??? I dunno.

I cut 4 large squares of the backing and sewed them together with the strips going in different directions since the fabric wasn’t wide enough to cover the whole quilt in one large piece. Here’s the calculation I used to figure out how big to make each square;

CalculationThe extra 2.5″ was for a border around the front of the quilt. I decided to just fold up the backing fabric over the quilt front, then fold it under and top-stitch it for a border. I have no idea if this was “proper” quilting and I’m sure there’s a ton of tutorials out there that will teach you the right way!

I assembled my quilting sandwich by first laying the backing on the floor, wrong-side-up, then the quilt filling on top of that, and finally the quilt front on the top of the pile, right-side-up. I pinned the three layers together right in the center then worked my way out to each edge, pinning as I went, then filled in the rest. This was to try to keep everything smooth and centered.

To do the actual quilting I figured the “stitch in the ditch” method would probably be best for a beginner like me on busy patterns, so I just top-stitched all the seams using navy thread to co-ordinate with the backing. I was surprised at how easy it is once you get the hang of it (and how hard it is once you get bored of it, lol!). As you can see from the picture of the back, below, though top-stitching the stretchy jersey to the non-stretch flannel backing made for some wonkiness. I think for my next quilting attempt, I’ll stick to quilting cottons to avoid this kind of issue, but I tell you what; I’m really not in any danger of becoming a regular quilter – way to much math and precision, LOL!

Upcycled T-Shirt

How To Make A T-Shirt Quilt

DIY T-Shirt Quilt

Anyway, it’s pretty rough but I’m proud of my little t-shirt quilt. It’s so puffy and comfy and cozy! Besides, how perfect does something that you’re going to sit on in the dirt have to be???

Wedding Dress DIY: Custom Touches to Ready-to-Wear

My husband and I left ourselves just five weeks to plan our beautiful San Juan Island family-only wedding this summer! Five weeks! It came together so perfectly though, that I now truly believe wedding planning takes as long as you have to plan the wedding, be it five weeks or five months.

The one thing I was really worried about was my wedding dress. Having recently done some support shopping with a friend who’s getting married at the end of this month, I knew that most stores need at least 3 or 4 months to order a dress as well as time for alterations. That left just off-the-rack options. Unfortunately, the vast majority of stores carry size 6-10 for their samples with very little selection in the plus sizes, so I didn’t even try wedding boutique sample sales. Instead, I opted for what seemed like the only option: online ready-to-wear.

I found a beautiful wedding dress that perfectly fit what I had imagined (for under $200!!) from the unfortunately named Trashy Diva (also occasionally available from ModCloth). The Honey Dress was the right length for me, a gorgeous peach-hued ivory color and was retro inspired without leaving me feeling like I was in a costume. There were just a couple details I wasn’t happy with. Fortunately, as you’ll see, it’s easy to add very small and easy DIY touches to really add some custom features and unique details to your ready-to-wear wedding dress!

Wedding Dress DIY Before 2The first issue was that this dress showed just a teensy bit more cleavage than I wanted to show on my wedding day! The second issue was that I thought this dress was just begging for some sort of belt to visually separate the bodice from the skirt. The cleavage issue was solved with a quick hand-sewing project and the belt issue had an easy no-sew solution!

To reduce the amount of cleavage I was showing but leave the open, sexy and classic feel of the neckline, I decided to edge the neckline with some beautiful lace that I found at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. I made sure to bring the dress with me so I could perfectly match the lace to the dress in both color and style.

Wedding Dress DIY LaceThese beautiful laces can cost a pretty penny so the smart woman who helped me at Britex pointed out that since the lace I chose was double sided, I only needed to buy half the required length! I cut the lace in half to have enough to cover both sides of the bust.

I hand stitched the lace to the inside lining of my dress using whip stitch and being very careful to not put my stitches through the front side of my dress.

Wedding Dress DIY 2

Wedding Dress DIY 3I slowly worked my way along the lace making sure that I took a step back here and there to check that the lace was perfectly lined up (I didn’t pin it because I didn’t want to have any visible pinholes).

Wedding Dress DIY 4To be honest, I was a little nervous about sewing the lace to the dress. I just never pictured myself as a “lace” girl, and was afraid I’d wind up just wrecking the dress. But once I finished one side of the neckline and could see the side-by-side comparison, I loved the alteration!

Wedding Dress DIY 5I was really happy with the finished product with just a hint of the lace peaking over the edge of the dress. It didn’t add much fabric but that half inch or so of lace went a long way in covering up my cleavage and making me feel more comfortable and classy in my dress. It also gave my dress a custom detail and made me feel that much more special on my wedding day!

Wedding Dress DIY After

Wedding Dress DIY After DetailTo solve the second problem of a belt for the dress, I once again turned to the Britex notions section. I purchased a nice long length of a ribbon that matched the ivory of my dress but was just a few shades darker. I had originally wanted a thinner ribbon, but I’m so glad I listened to the Britex sales clerk. She was pretty adamant that I need a ribbon that was closer to 3″ wide and in the end I really think that she was right!

Wedding Dress DIY Bow

Photo adapted from one taken by our fanastic photographer, Matt Land –

On my wedding day I had my maid-of-honor tie a nice big bow in the back of my dress and we snipped the ends of the ribbon with an angled cut for a nice finished look.

All in all, I really think these two little DIY touches added so much to the look of my wedding dress! Not only did they make me feel special and unique, most importantly they helped solve some simple fixes to make me feel comfortable on my wedding day!

Wedding Dress DIY Wedding Day

Photo taken by our amazing Seattle area photographer Matt Land –






DIY: Hand-Stamped Wedding Thank You Cards

My in-laws’ beautiful sailboat was very involved in our wedding, so when it came to making some ‘Thank You’ cards I wanted to keep with the nautical theme. I decided to try my hand at rubber stamping and wound up with some pretty cute note cards, if I do say so myself!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter poking around the stationary section at my local art store for a while, I decided to buy individual alphabet stamps rather than stamps with phrases already on them. While individually stamping each letter is definitely more tedious, have the whole alphabet gives me much more flexibility and lets me use the stamps for different projects (like my new blog header! You like??). I liked the Times New Roman typewriter-looking fonts and figured these would be more forgiving if I didn’t stamp in a perfectly straight line.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also went with a set of cute nautical-themed stamps. I picked a set that had a least 4 or 5 stamps that I thought I could use for the cards and envelopes but also some stamps that might be cute for future projects (like the skull and bones!!!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo be honest, I didn’t really put much careful thought into my choice of ink and just knew that I wanted a nice seaworthy shade of blue. Once I got home and actually read the package, I found that I had apparently bought a water-based ink that could also be heat-set and used to stamp fabrics!!!! Look out adorable textiles, here I come!!! The ink was supposed to be quick-drying, and for the most part it was. I found though, that even about 10 minutes after stamping (onto cards that were specifically made for stamps) I could still smudge the images with my thumb using a bit of pressure. After leaving everything out overnight it dried completely and there were no more smudging issues.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy inspiration for the front of the cards was a cute stamp I saw online that had a view of the back of a car with a “Just Married” sign and tin cans trailing behind. I thought it would be super cute if I could do the same with a boat! I tried drawing some tin cans behind the boat stamp and that just looked….well….stupid. So I left it alone. I like the way it turned out, like we’re sailing into the sunset for an explorer’s honeymoon…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI played around a bit with the positioning of the ‘Thank You’ on the inside of the card and decided that I liked it best centered at the bottom of the card. It still felt prominent but left room to write personal notes to everyone who helped make our day incredible!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs a final touch for the cards I also put a little stamp on the back with “ec ❤ pc”. Which brings me to another point. Think creatively about the stamps you have. My kit didn’t come with any punctuation or a heart stamp. For the period in “thank you.” I simply used just the dot from the letter “j” and for the heart on the back I used just the wing of a firefly stamp that mysteriously came with the alphabet stamp.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI really enjoyed playing with stamps and can’t wait to try stamping fabric. I’ll tell ya though, not sure if I would have enjoyed the process as much if I had more than about 25 cards to make!!






Hand-Sewn Felt Embroidered Baby Onesies: Tutorial

Since all my friends simultaneously decided to hop on the baby train about a year ago, I’ve been making adorable (if I do say so myself!) hand-sewn onesies for the little booger machines. I’ve given a sneak peak before in my previous post showing what I made my nephew for Christmas and now it’s time for a tutorial!

This week I made a couple onesies for some cute little baby girls and took pictures along the way. Check out this cute skull with a bow onesie!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s what you’ll need for this project;


Materials List:
– onesie
– felt
– embroidery floss
– scissors
– fabric glue

Seems like for a new born baby you’d buy the newborn size (0-3 mos.) onesie, right? Not always. Some of my friends have birthed behemoths….er….I mean, healthy-weight…..babies that actually never fit the 0-3 mos. clothing size. You might want to consider purchasing a 3-6 mos. onesie, the baby can always grow into it!

When getting started I take the time to first sketch my pattern out on a piece of paper. This gives the nice advantage of reproducibility if I save the paper template for future projects.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUse this template to trace out your pattern onto a square of felt and cut the pattern.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlthough I reinforce the felt with embroidery, I always like to first adhere the felt to the onesie with fabric glue. This helps to hold the applique in place while I’m sewing and adds a little extra strength to the final product.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI use bottled glue instead of spray glue because I find that when working with small pieces of fabric like this, the spray glue can get a little messy. I try to keep the glue away from the edges where I’ll be sewing because putting the needle and thread through the glue repeatedly really gums it up and leads to tangling while trying to embroider.

Center your felt cutout on the onesie. I usually try to position it so that it will center on the child’s chest, but it can be pretty cute to sew something to the bum of the onesie.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor both a decorative detail and additional strength, I embroider around the edge of the felt with a complimentary color of embroidery floss.

Standard embroidery floss is actually composed of 6 thin threads. I find it is too difficult to work with the floss at full thickness so I separate out 3 strands to embroider with. Just hold on to the 3 you want to use, gently pull on the 3 you’re setting aside and it should separate pretty easily (the longer your thread, the more likely it is to tangle).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used blanket stitch to embroider around the edges of the felt applique. Blanket stitch is a really easy way to add a cute embellishment that I’ve shown before in my double-sided napkin post.

To do blanket stitch, first come up through the fabric from the bottom, then put the needle back down through the fabric about 1 cm over and 1 cm down (or whatever spacing you’d like), and pull the floss through. Leave a little slack in the floss, don’t pull it all the way through.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen bringing the needle back up, bring it up on the edge of the felt across from where you brought the needle down. Make sure to bring the needle up inside the loop of floss left on the top. Pull taught.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a nice YouTube video describing the process if you found that a bit confusing.

Embroider around all edges of the felt to give it a cute hand-made look.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to add just a touch more sweetness to this little skull so I also cut out a bow in pale pink felt. Just cut two pieces, one larger oval and one thin rectangle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo form the bow, pinch the oval in half along the long edge, then fold the edges back onto themselves.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI added a little stitch at this point to hold it together while I used the thin rectangle segment to wrap around the center of the bow and stitched it all together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHand-stitch the bow to the skull and you’ve got one adorable onesie!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve probably made about 20 of these over the past year or so. Once you get the hang of it, it usually only takes about 1.5-2 hours to pull a onesie together!

Here are a few other ones that I’ve made over the past year…






SAMSUNGI’ve linked this onto parties over at Thirty Handmade Days, So You Think You’re Crafty and Nap Time Crafters. Head on over and see what other crafters have linked to the parties!



DIY Mixed Flower Bridal Bouquet: Tutorial

I got married last week in a small family-only civil ceremony on Jones Island in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington. It was perfect! It was really important to both of us to have the things we wanted without breaking the bank. For me, that meant a couple small DIY projects. One of these was the flowers.

Photo credit: Matthew Land

Photo credit: Matthew Land

Getting married in such an isolated location puts some limitations on vendor availability. I really just had two florists in town to choose from and at a starting price of $125 for a bridal bouquet, I chose neither! Instead, I bought my wedding flowers from the grocery store!!

I popped into the grocer a couple days before the wedding to scout the flower situation and found out when their shipments of flowers come in so I could buy the freshest flowers with the largest selection. I chose three mixed flower bouquets in a purple and yellow color scheme for a total cost of $28 (that’s $97 savings!).

2-3 bouquets of flowers
Green florist tape
Straight pins
Elastic bands

Step 1: Strip your flowers.
While all those leaves and filler bits look great in a bouquet in a vase, they get in the way when trying to construct a bridal bouquet. So before getting started with any arranging, you want to strip your flowers of ALL leaves and organize them by flower type.


Step 2: Pick your “Show Off” flower.
Once you’ve got all your flowers laid out, you’ll want to choose one or two flowers that will be the center of your bouquet. This should be a larger flower and should be your favorite. I chose the Gerbera daisy as the focal point for my bouquet.

Next you want to select a few flowers to surround your center flower. When adding these it’s nice to work in odd numbers and to keep things even. I add three stalks of flowers around the daisy (pardon the blurry photo!).

Take the time to arrange these few center stalks. When you’re satisfied, use florist tape to hold them in place. Florist tape is a stretchy green tape that’s a bit tacky, so when you wrap it around itself it will self-adhere. It’s what boutonnieres are often wrapped in.


Step 4: Add more flowers.
Next you’ll want to add a few more flowers, in the same even manner as above. If you’re going to add odd flowers, try to balance them with an odd flower on either side of the bouquet. Here, I’ve added clusters of purple flowers evenly spaced around the yellow. Secure the stems with more florist tape every four or five stalks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’re going to add flowers unevenly, try to balance them. For example, in my bouquet I added a yellow lily and orange carnation to one side, then some white daisies to the other (see finished pictures).

Step 5: Add your “filler” and greenery.
Once you’ve got your bouquet built up a little, but not quite finished, it’s time to add your filler and greenery. I added stalks that stood up straight to the back of the bouquet and added looser more droopy stalks to the front of the bouquet.


As the bouquet gets larger it gets more difficult to secure the stems with florist tape alone. I wrapped the florist tape with an elastic band when I found it was getting a little unwieldy, just to make sure everything would stay nice and secure.


Step 6: Add finishing flowers.
The final step is adding a few flowers to the outside to fill in the bouquet and to surround the filler and greenery. I just added flowers until I was happy with the size of the bouquet, making sure the central showcase Gerbera daisy was always visible.

For the final step to keep things nice and tight, I secured the florist tape with straight pins.



Since the bottom of the bouquet would be visible, I also took the time to give the stems a nice even blunt cut at the bottom. I don’t have any pictures of it, but as a final step I wrapped the bottom of the bouquet in my granny’s handkerchief to cover the florist tape.

And voila! My finished bouquet! (I’m hoping there might be a better picture when we get our photos from the photographer. I’ll update the post if I find a better shot).

bouquet in action

DIY: Plaid Elbow Patch Appliques

Pete has a sweater that goes everywhere with him. It’s been stuck overnight on the top of Mount Hood with him, it’s been to Yosemite, it’s been to the Alps, it’s been to sea, it’s been to Alaska. It’s been crammed into his backpack on virtually every trip he takes. It’s actually shocking that it’s taken this long to develop a hole!

On a trip to NYC Pete saw a dude wearing a sweater with plaid elbow patches and asked if I could do something similar for him. No problem!

The finished product!!

The finished product!!

With the knit sweater I was worried about two things if I simply sewed a patch on top; 1. that the hole would continue to grow under the patch, and 2. that the patch would be difficult to sew on stretchy knit fabric. So I decided to make my own iron-on applique elbow patches using an adhesive web called Pellon. Below are step-by-step directions to make your own applique patches.

Materials list;
– sturdy plaid fabric
– paperbacked adhesive web, such as Pellon
– scissors
– pins
– iron
– damp cloth
– sewing machine


1. Cut out a rough shape in fabric, and the same shape, slightly smaller, from the paperbacked adhesive web. 

2. Lay the paperbacked adhesive web on the ironing board, bumpy-side-up, and lay the fabric over top, wrong-side-down. Iron on high for about 8 seconds. Now your fabric should adhered to the adhesive web. Be careful to not touch the bumpy (glue) side of the adhesive web to the iron or it might muck up your iron.


3. Trim the fabric fused with the web to the desired size. I made a patch that was about 6″ x 4″ with rounded edges.

4. Peel the paper backing from the adhesive web. It can help to grab the edge of the fabric and make a little tear to get the backing off. Now you left with an iron-on fabric patch!


5. Make someone model the sweater so you can position the patches properly on the elbows and pin them in place, web-side-down. I did this on the side with the hole, then removed the sweater and positioned the other patch by measuring, to make sure they’d be positioned symmetrically.

6. Lay the sweater with pinned-on patch on the ironing board, patch-side-up. Overlay with a slightly damp towel (needed to keep the fabric from burning while adhering the patch). Carefully remove the pins without changing the position of the patch, then iron for ~15 seconds with firm pressure. The Pellon instructions say to do this on the wool setting, but I was repairing an acrylic sweater so used the synthetic setting and found it still adhered well.


7. I worried the edges of the patch might peel up or fray over time so I finished them with some decorative stitching around the edge on my sewing machine. I set my sewing machine to a zigzag stitch with 4.5 width setting and 0 length setting and carefully sewed around the edge of each patch.



I gotta hand it to Pete, the plaid patches were a great idea and the sweater looks pretty cute now! We had also debated leather/suede or corduroy patches, but I’m glad we went with the plaid.

Baby Name Art: Felt Embroidery DIY

A friend of mine just had a gorgeous baby girl: Stella Joy! My go-to baby gift is normally a set of felt applique onesies (tutorial, one day!), but I really dropped the ball with baby Stella and before I knew it….she was here!

I decided to branch out a bit and, inspired by some things I found on Pinterest here, here and here, I made Stella some baby name art. I’m so happy with how it turned out and I hope her parents love it too!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis project wasn’t too difficult, but all the stitching around the name took a lot longer than I expected!

To make this, all you’ll need is;

– an embroidery hoop (mine was 16″)
– one sheet each of green, white, pink, and blue felt
– white and pink seed beads
– one skein each of white, black, blue and pink embroidery floss
– two skeins of green embroidery floss
– lightweight cotton/muslin (18-20″ square)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI first cut a large circle from the blue felt, about 1″ diameter smaller than the embroidery hoop and, with muslin secured in the hoop, sewed the blue felt to the white cotton backing using the blanket stitch with blue embroidery floss. I then sewed the green felt on just as I had the blue.

To make the name, I cut paper stencils and held them in place with straight pins while I gently traced around them with a felt pen. (I’m not sure why the color is off in these couple photos, the green is really more of a soft mint rather than the harsh lime it appears here).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce I had the name traced onto the fabric I sewed around it using a simple backstitch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe grassy embroidery effect around the name was created by sewing small straight stitches in a random pattern about a centimeter around each letter. I diluted the stitches toward the edge of the letters to try to give the impression of grass.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInspired by something I’d seen on Pinterest I used concentric circles cut out of felt to make some sheep and flowers, adding a seed bead to the center of each for a nice girly touch.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe little sheep legs were made using backstitch and the heads were a simple satin stitch. The expanse of blue sky seemed a little vacant when I was done and I was worried clouds would compete with the sheep, so I added a little heart embroidered on using blanket stitch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the front finished, I wanted to make sure the back looked just as polished, so I tried to finish it as nicely as I could (without wasting too much time on it). Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the process because I was going to just link to another tutorial on a blog I frequent. When I went back to look at it though, I realized that I didn’t actually follow it at all and made up my own method instead after I’d already finished without taking any pictures….whoops!


I cut the excess backing fabric away leaving about a 2″ border. The I ran my needle through it very loosely gathering it toward the center of the backing. I cut a circle from felt about and inch smaller in diameter than the embroidery hoop and attached it to the gathered backing using blanket stitch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd that’s about it! Hope Stella likes it! 🙂










Tutorial: Simple Double-Sided Cloth Napkins

My mom’s kitchen is blue and white, so when I saw the Ravena fabric line by Dear Stella on Fabricworm I immediately thought of her. I decided to make her some simple double-sided cloth napkins for a birthday/Mother’s day gift and I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI started with a half yard of each fabric (the smallest size I could order) and cut two 17″ squares of each using my rotary cutter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReflecting on the New Year’s resolution I made this year to be more patient with sewing projects and take the time to use proper techniques, I did something that I’ve never done before…..I ironed my hems! I folded the fabric 1/2″ on all sides and ironed them flat to make them easier to pin and sew.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I got to the corners, I tucked the fabric in to make much neater mitered corners.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI then pinned the fabrics with wrong-sides together in pairs of light and dark fabric, making sure that the folded edges stayed tucked inside and taking special care to make sure the corners stayed neat. (Note: when buying fabrics online, if you purchase fabrics from the same line/designer you can be assured the colors will match).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was only after I top-stitched around the edge of each napkin, with about 1/4″ seam allowance, that I realized making the napkins with one dark side and one light side might not have been the best idea – if the light side gets stained, the dark side makes it so it can’t be bleached! Ooops!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe napkins were probably good as-is at this point, but since they were for a gift I wanted to add a little extra handmade touch and decided to embroider a decorative border around the edges using navy embroidery floss.

I used three different very simple stitches. The small ‘x’ pattern was made by sewing the first lines of all the ‘x’s all the way around the napkin, then going back and crossing over with the line in the other direction to complete the ‘x’ (like cross-stitching).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe larger ‘x’ pattern was made in the same way except the embroidery floss was brought up and over the edge of the fabric so that the ‘x’ pattern actually wrapped the edge of the napkins.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also made a couple napkins using a basic blanket-stitch (I was actually a little disappointed with how these ones turned out, I was hoping the edging would be more visible).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI gave them all a final iron before folding them neatly and wrapping them up with a bow for the gift!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think my mom really appreciated the gift, especially since it turns out her old navy napkins had been getting faded and she’d been searching for some new ones to replace them!