Category Archives: advanced sewing

Cute Elephant Quilt DIY-

This fun elephant theme quilt was lots of fun to make. The elephant theme is so cute to dress up any nursery and the colors will work for a boy or a girl.  It was a fun experience to make this one. The pattern is simple.

Cutting Squares

It is made of 10″ squares and sew down to about 9″ squares finished.


I drew the picture below of the elephant.  I have scanned it for you.  You should be able to print it .  Trace the pattern onto Pellon Wonder Under or similar bonding fabric. and then iron it on the fabric and cut it out after you have the pellon on it.     Follow the instructions that come with your iron on  fabric. Also trace  the ears and do the same.  I made the eyes by choosing the eyelet stitch on my machine.  You could hand embroider it or use a permanent marker.   

after sewing the finished squares together,  sandwich it with the batt.  I used cotton batting , and the back.  This quilt it backed with a dark gray minky that reminds me of soft elephants if there is such a creature.



I quilted this on my machine.  It is done with the free motion method.  this method requires a lot of practice so if you haven’t done it before look it up on You Tube or take a class and do a lot of practicing first.  It is fun to do but give it some time.  I would not recommend quilting this method with minky on the back as it is too hard to see the back and check to make sure you have done it right.  Next time, I will use a cotton fabric on the back but babies love minky so it is a good thing if you are an expert at machine free motion quilting.

You could also choose to do it by hand or have someone do it on a free arm quilting machine.

This quilt will look great in my great grandson’s crib.  Or on a nursery wall.

How to shorten a lace wedding dress the easy way




Here is the secret.  A simple way to shorten a lace wedding dress.

The dress above was drooping on the floor 1 1/2 inches.  The lace is delicate and very difficult to unpick.

Shortening a lace wedding dress can be a daunting task but there is a simple way to do it.  20160829_100924These instructions are for a lace dress with a train.  The lace is along the bottom and looks like it is a part of the fabric but if you look closely you will see that it has been sewn on.   Unpicking all those tiny stitches on delicate lace is not a good idea.  You run the probability of damaging the lace and leaving holes in it.


20160829_100934Here is a simple way to change that hem.  Just carefully cut above the lace on the front of the dress if has a train.  The train does not need to be shortened. Just the front so insert your scissors above the lace and trim it off.  so it just droops down.  Co not cut the lace entirely off of the skirt in a piece.  Just cut where you see those dotted lines.



You can see in this drawing that the part you cut is just going to droop down.  Now…Ta DA!  Just raise the center of the lace up to the desired length.   Then carefully pin it.  If regular straight pins will not stay in then use safety pins until you get it right.  On each side of the lace section there may be a tiny pleat in the lace to accommodate for raising it above but it will not be noticeable.  Now top stitch it on with a medium stitch.  A fine polyester thread works great.  You may use invisible thread but it usually isn’t necessary.



In this drawing you will see the peaks hanging down from the cutting line.  Just carefully trim them off so they do not hang beneath the lace edge.


Now you will have 2 or three underskirts to hem.  they also only need to be shortened in the front You will want to trim the Satin underskirt to match what you did with the lace. for the underskirts I like to just turn them up and leave the extra fabric in there to make the bottom of the slips firmer and stand our  more.  That would depend on the wishes of the bride.


Machine Embroidered Purse

A Great way to use machine embroidered or other quilt blocks.

Machine Emboirdered purse

This purse was so fun to make and turned out perfectly beautiful.  I used another machine embroidered  quilt block from Hoop Sisters from the quilt called Jacobean Journey.  I used the wrong fabric in one area and it didn’t match the rest of it’s set.  It makes the perfect flap for this little handy purse just the right size to carry a phone a wallet in.

It is a great way to use those extra blocks and makes a beautiful and useful gift.

It might be a great way to use any beautiful quilt blocks that you have made.  these are just 5″ blocks but you can adjust to any size you make.

I can hardly wait to mess up again so I can make one for myself.  🙂

I purchased a handle for about $5.00 and that gives it a professional look.

Machine Embroidered Bag

Elegant bag featuring machine embroidered quilt block.

machine embroidered bagI am making a machine embroidered quilt from Hoop Sisters called Jacobean Journey.  It has 80 blocks and they have to be in identical sets.  If I get the wrong fabric or thread in a certain spot then that block has to be set aside.  They are beautiful and take a lot of work to make so I wanted to use them in another way.  This made the perfect graduation present for my granddaughter.  It is just the right size to carry her music books in or anything else her heart desires.  the decorative block doubles as a pocket just the right size for her phone or whatever.

I quilted the fabric on my machine to give it body and purchased nice straps to give it a professional look.  It is a bag that I would be proud to use.  I suppose before I have finished the 80 blocks that there will be more extra squares to use.



Baby Boy Bib With Tie re-pursed jeans


Denim and Ties Are So Great Together

I wanted to make some baby boy bibs for a friend’s new baby.  Denim is always so much fun to sew with, especially if it is from an old pair of jeans and you can re-purpose them.

First I cut out a tie shape and appliqued it on using fusible pelon under it.  I then cut  out a collar shape and stitched it in with a satin stitch.

Next I cut out a pocket using the seam of the pant leg as the top.  then I stitched the lining to it wrong sides together leaving an opening and then turning it .

I top stitched around it to give the whole edge a crisp look that would last through the washing’s.  This bib quickly became the favorite bib of my friend’s bibs.

I closed it with snaps sewn snugly on.



Awesome Baby Blessing Dress from Wedding Dress

My friend Joyce O.  made this wonderful Blessing Dress for her granddaughter out of her daughter’s (the baby’s mommy’s) wedding dress.

The wedding dress above was beautiful and purchased at a good price.  I would never cut up the dress that I made for my own wedding when I was young.  It is a family heirloom and treasure, but if your dress or another doesn’t have that much emotional value then it is a great one to re-purpose. You could even buy a nice dress at a thrift store and make a very elegant blessing or christening dress.

I love how she used the sleeve as is as far as she could.  The ornamentation is in the perfect place too.
Adorable bodice with the beads and sequins all in the right spot.  The skirt is “to die for”.

The back is also beautiful and she has used little shiny buttons to close it.  They are so sweet. Joyce is an excellent seamstress and everything she does is to perfection as near as I could ever see.  “Neat as a pin” as they say!

Great work Joyce!

How to make a quilt from T Shirts

 Meri Kay tackled this challenge to make a quilt from her daughter’s swimming T Shirts.  Her is how to do it.

 gather the shirts you want to use together of course.

 Choose which parts of them you want to cut out for your quilt.
 Lay them out together and arrange them then you will know just what you need and add strips of contrasting fabric to give them a flow of harmony together.
Now, the trick, before you sew it together. Use this wonderful fusible interfacing pictured below.  It turns the stretchy knit fabric into stable firm fabric just like the woven quilt fabric you will use to piece it all together.

after fusing the pieces then sew them all together as you designed it.  She chose a light weight batting to sandwich in between the top and the back. Then ….

 then pin the front and back together in several places not far apart and quilt by machine or by hand.  You can see that Meri Kay is using a great machine to quilt hers.  She used a wavy design.  Couldn’t be more appropriate for a swimmer could ti!

Here is a picture of the finished quilt with the back flipped up so you can see it.  She now has one happy swimmer!

From strapless to stunningly modest.

It was a simple  strapless dress with a shawl  but we wanted  a nice modest dress .

 It came with a shawl that was double, Navy on one side and white on the other. 
I just cut it apart. and made the top from the navy and did a rolled hem on the white and made a scarf that can be used in several ways shown here as a sash. 

I ended up putting a tuck in the front.  It makes it fit better to the dress but it also adds interest.  I like it better than plain.

Just embellish as you wish.  I have been saving this beautiful lace for many years and it finally found it’s perfect match! 
This would also be beautiful in a softer color like pink or yellow.