I’m a big fan of other blogs’ awesome give-aways, so I know mine is going to be miniscule in comparison.  But I got these new little quilting helpers, and thought I’d share with my fabulous readers. Both of you.

WowCrafts Wonder Clips! They are to replace basting pins.  I’m loving the concept.  Plus they are so bright and festive. Well, I had to share them.

WowCrafts WonderClipsI will tell you, the jar is a lot smaller than I thought it would be. Don’t want to disappoint you when it arrives.  Way to motivate the masses, Donna! 😀

So we’ll do this.  Please comment below, and at the end of the week (Saturday Morning), I will randomly pick a winner from the comments (I’m a database administrator in my real life, so I can randomly generate like there’s no tomorrow).  I’ll announce the winner on the blog, and will send you an email.  We can work out the shipping details and your very own Wonder Clips will be coming your way!


UPDATE: Sheri, is the winner by random drawing! Shocking, I know.

Other Craft Projects:

This project was one of the more challenging of my sewing career (going on 40 years now), but I was able to get it out the door in a short time frame, and my friend is finding it very useful, so it’s a win all around.

So here’s the story of the walker bag:


My friend Tricia posted on Facebook that she was struggling to carry items while using a walker.  I remembered seeing a walker bag pattern in a pattern book the last time I was at the fabric store, so a quick trip to the Googles, and I had found this pattern.














I even offered to make it for her, and she excitedly took me up on my offer.  I had the PERFECT fabric for this techie girl, Mod Geek Eyeglasses Atmosphere Grey . FabricChoices I sent her the link and she quickly gave her approval.  We were off!!










My friend Sheri graciously picked up the pattern for me at Joann’s, using a 40% off coupon, getting the pattern for 9.60.  Better than the online sale that Simplicity was currently having.  I thought I had several yards of the fabric, but when I pulled it out of my stash, I only had one yard!  When I got the pattern, I read the back and realized it called for 1 and 1/8th yards.  Doh! First fail.

Second fail realization came shortly after.  I looked at the “recommended fabric” and was shocked to find “Double-Faced Pre-Quilted Fabric” as the fabric choice.  Grrr.  The nerdy fabric didn’t meet that requirement either.


Now.  At this point I SHOULD have gone back to my friend and pointed her to’s dizzying array of Pre-Quilted fabrics (I love the owls).  But I was determined to make this happen for her.  Instead I found a semi-matching nerdy fabric, Science Fair Formulas Grey, which I would use for a backing, and grabbed some cotton batting from the stash to MAKE some quilted fabric.  I cut the backing to a yard, and ironed it, then laid it on top of the Eyeglasses fabric.  Oddly, it wasn’t as wide (was a yard long, but wasn’t 44-45 inches wide!).  It was only about 42.5 inches wide!  Oh well, I thought, won’t be an issue.  I use basting spray and made a quilt sandwich with the fabrics.














I cut out the pattern pieces and ironed them,PatternCutoutIroned and then looked at the layout for cutting. LayoutForCutting



The major piece used all assumed 45 inches of the width of the fabric.



Now.  At THIS point I should have stopped, gone back to my friend and said, “Hey, can you pick out some different fabric from”  But NO.

Stubbornly, I instead PIECED another 3 inches onto the backing fabric, just wide enough for the front/back pattern piece.  This upset me terribly.  I wonder if anyone notices it when they see the bag now, but honestly at the time, I was on the verge of tears over having to do this.


But, we make do, right?!?! And I did.


PiecesCutOut I cut out the rest of the pattern pieces and fabric from my impromptu quilt (which I didn’t quilt, as my husband’s Poe quilt is still on the long arm and I was too lazy to run it through the DM – instead I’m relying on the basting spray and a hopeful idea that it won’t need to be washed frequently), and read the instructions step 1.

(I left the picture of this on my camera, I’ll add it tonight)

Um.  WTH?  I had no idea what it meant.  First I’m to sew the bottom and sides of the side tab, then center the long seam, then sew across the bottom again?  In the picture it looks perfectly flat, but in real life, it’s physically impossible.




Here’s a pic of the side and bottom sewn:SideTabSewingAcrossBottom

Did they make a mistake on the instructions?  It looks like a horrible mess.  I was once again on the verge of tears.  I walked away from it twice, thinking I clearly couldn’t read instructions properly.  I examined the diagram.  No, it was clearly telling me to sew the bottom, shift the seam then sew the bottom again. Which DOES NOT WORK.

Then I struggled to turn the damn thing right side out.

There were 7 total tabs that needed this treatment, so in the  end I scrapped the pattern instructions and just “did my own thing.”  I didn’t sew the bottom ¼” seam, and instead sewed across the bottom after centering the lengthwise seam.  This made really nicely squared tabs, unlike the previous attempt. Here’s a pic of comparing the two:

Having tried one other way of doing the tabs, there was another wonky one, but the rest came out ok















The rest of the pattern went ok.  It was tough sewing several layers of the quilted tabs, Velcro, and the back, or the pockets with their gussets made it three-dimensional and hard to manage under the presser foot.  I should have engaged the Feed thingie (technical term) on my Pfaff, but honestly I forgot about it until the very end, when it snagged the bias tape and caught my attention.


Here’s a collection of pictures of the sewing progress:SewingOnVelcroPinningBindingOntoPocket  GussetSewnOntoPocketOtherSide BindingSewnOntoPocketPocketsSewnTogether SloppyBindingSewing














The final problem I encountered with this pattern and the construction was with adding the bias tape binding.  The directions indicated if you put the wider side underneath, then you simply sewed through all the layers and magically it would catch the bottom.  Well, that really didn’t work when the fabric you are encasing was SEVERAL thicknesses of the “quilt.”  It slipped and in several places I went back and whip-stitched the bias tape into place rather than re-sew the seams and junk up the front.  The exception I made was to re-inforce the tabs with an extra row of stitches.  This was to A) capture the underside of bias tape in many cases and B) give extra strength to the seam.

Here’s the final two pictures, one of the bag in use
























(Photo Credit, Tricia Owen)

Other Craft Projects:

New Look 6237.


I’ve already done the pants pattern. Several times.

Finally got around to making the shirt.


I didn’t have the ribbing to make the neckline. This is as far as I got:



Ok, so I found a post. on how to make a neckline for a tshirt using knit fabric.  So I gave it a whirl with the jersey knit fabric the shirt is made out of.  Couple of things.  I HATE how short the sleeves are.  But the recipient doesn’t mind.  So I guess I shouldn’t complain.  But I followed the cutting lines on the pattern.  I really wish I had made this long sleeve as it’s winter here and my foster daughter could use some more long sleeve shirts.  She talked me into short sleeves, but these are just like sleeveless!


Finally, the neckline looks terrible.  I should have cut it from a solid stripe.

But it fits her perfectly and she’s happy.  Makes a good PJ shirt if nothing else.


Other Craft Projects:

I was thinking the other day that my posts on making the capris really didn’t go into specific details of sewing the pattern.  This was done purposefully under the assumption that ya’ll know how to sew a pattern.  My husband pointed out that such assumptions are presumptuous.  So, I thought, I’ll do a step by step how to sew a sewing pattern!  Brilliant!
So brilliant, it’s been done before!

Fiskars How to Use a Pattern

Why reinvent the wheel. This is the go to guide you should start with if you are unfamiliar with how to cut out a pattern. The author actually appears to have sewn before, unlike some of these how-to blog sites that seem to hire freelance writers with no other talent beyond writing (or not). My only complaint is that she drops off before actually sewing anything. Mostly it’s about cutting out the patterns (makes sense on a scissor website). But following ALL the directions of the pattern is obviously important, and can be intimidating. Let’s see the whole process!

Sew Mama Sew Patterns…Demystified

This is a great tutorial with detailed pictures. I would recommend this one highly.  Again, only gets you through cutting the pattern then stops. Maybe it’s just not feasible to do a tutorial of the whole process? Do I ask too much?

Adventures in Dressmaking How to use a sewing pattern

This tutorial isn’t. It has descriptions but I like to see pictures of the steps, personally.  This is more like a discussion about using patterns vs not with some details of how to use a pattern strewn about.

Reading a Sewing Pattern for Dummies
Where are the pictures? Man, I like me some pictures! This tutorial has ZERO.  I just skimmed it. Yeah, I’m that lazy. If you didn’t know that you must be new to my blog.

MimsMusings 25 Steps to Sew From a Pattern

Love this one, but would have liked to have seen more pictures. Love that step one is to measure. Yeah, do this before you leave for the fabric store, please! Again, someone who actually sews.  More like 25 tricks when using a sewing pattern, though (like not all patterns have zippers, but great tip on how to install them).  Still some good advice.

Ok, so there are tons of “How to sew from a Pattern” Tutorials or rather, blog posts, out there. I’m not going to waste your time writing what’s already out there dozens of times (if not more).  You can obviously use the googles or the search engine of your choice to find more.  If you find anything worthwhile, please post in the comments. I would love to see it!
I am however going to blog step by step my attempt to teach my husband to sew from a pattern. That would be educational AND entertaining. So stay tuned for that.

Other Craft Projects: