Category Archives: Sewing


The blogosphere is happily abuzz with crafty inspiration for the holidays. One place in particular I’ve been keeping an eye on is Sew Mama Sew’s Handmade Holidays series (start here if you haven’t already stumbled across it). There’s been a different theme for each day this month, all “curated” by different people.

Time constraints make it impossible to actually make even half of the projects that appeal to me, but I have enjoyed browsing through them—usually over morning tea before dashing off to work. I did get to thinking though, that surely there must be at least one small project I could do that would satisfy my yen for handmade gifts. Sachets! That was it—old fashioned, tried and true, lavender sachets. They’re a great way to use up scraps and truly don’t take much time to put together.

I decided I wanted them all to be backed with unbleached linen (ordered from Hancock’s of Paducah). Along with a plastic bin of scraps I pulled out a basket of leaders and enders I’d sewn together over the years. Many of them are quite tiny and it dawned on me that this might be a good project for some of them. The ones below are about 1 ¼-inch square, so four of them stitch up at, yeah, about three inches. I liked the these particular bits against the linen so both the front and the back of this one have linen.



By the way, if you aren’t familiar with the leaders and enders thing, do check out Bonnie K. Hunter’s blog and her books.

This next one ended up mostly linen as well, but I added a strip of novelty yarn for some rustic bling.



These two use bits leftover from a batik quilt I made a while back.




Here they are looking like little stuffed pillows. The all blue one uses scraps from a quilt I made for my grandson several years ago.






And here a few favorites that I bundled up as a small hostess gift for my daughter on Thanksgiving.



Threads on the Loose

Sew, Mama, Sew wants to see your threads. Answer the call for a chance to win . . . more thread! Tell them a bit about your thread thinking and add a picture of your thread collection. So, here goes . . .

Ask and tell

How did you select colors for your personal thread collection?
I like to have a fair number of neutrals on hand: white, off-white, grays, tans, etc. These get used most often for piecing. I’ve also become fond of shades of gold.

Do you always match the color perfectly to your project?
That depends on how you define perfectly. Does everything match? Blending can be good.

Do you ever use contrasting thread?
Oh, yes.

Do you use the same color in the bobbin as the upper thread?
Pretty much all the time. Someday I want to get crazy with bobbin painting. I’ve seen some great effects with the “wow” color in the bobbin and contrasting thread on top. The “wow” threads are generally pricey, though, so I haven’t yet been bold enough to go for it. I did try it once in a class, hence the lone spool of Razzle Dazzle. I figure I need to do some serious practicing before I use it on a project.

What if a fabric has big areas of very different colors?
Not a problem. Decide which areas you’re ok with the quilting showing the most.

Do you have any tips or suggestions about choosing thread?
Buy good thread. Good thread isn’t always the most expensive stuff but you’ll know it’s decent if it plays nice with your sewing machine.

Can you show us a picture(s) of your thread collection?
Neutrals and color.

Pretty Jewels

Do you ever buy thread because you fall in love with the color (without a particular project in mind)?
I’ve resisted so far.

Do you “invest” in thread?
I haven’t thought of it that way, although I guess making sure I have certain colors on hand could be considered investing.

What types of thread do you have? (elastic, quilting, all-purpose, wool, etc.)
Most of my thread is cotton. I do have a collection of beautiful rayons that I haven’t figured out what to do with. They were included as a gift package when I purchased my Koala sewing table. I’ve also got some monofilament that I used on earlier projects. I’d read that they were a good choice so not-so-great-quilting wouldn’t show up much. I didn’t especially like working with it. My quilting may not be show-worthy but I’ve decided I’m ok with that.

Pillowcase Challenge

American Patchwork & Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge - I Donated! Click here to learn more.The two local quilt shops that I visit most often are both collection points for the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge. Mom and I have had a blast doing these (ok, only three of them are mine—but Mom’s retired!). There are so many adorable children’s fabrics to choose from. When I saw the Beatrix Potter print I knew that one had to go into the pile. I could not walk away from Benjamin Bunny.

One of the shops had assorted pillowcase kits made up and discounted for the cause. Their kits included the sausage (also known as the hotdog) pattern with the accent strip. I had seen the pattern before but avoided it thinking it was too convoluted. Not so! And it didn’t take much longer to make than the standard cases.

Pillowcase FanThe kit pillowcase is the one on top. Anyone recognize the Jetsons? Kudos if you can remember the names of all the characters.

Pillowcase CollagAnother view to show off the contrasting bands. Erica’s offers a pattern similar to the one I used from the kit. A google search will turn up lots more.

Make a pillowcase or two for the cause. They’re fun and easy to do and it’ll make you feel good, too.

Happy sewing!