Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sachet Sweetness

Just in time for Mother’s Day! Make this quick and easy sachet in your hoop using the frame tool feature on your embroidery machine. These are so easy; you’ll want to make a boxful!

Here’s what you’ll need:

 - 1 fat quarter or approximately 9” x 20” of quilt weight cotton, cotton organdy, handkerchief linen or damask in a color of your choice (I used white)

- Sewing thread to match the fabric

- Embroidery threads for your design

- Any suitable embroidery design that is approximately 2” x 3” in size – or at least no larger than 3” in any direction

Click HERE to find perfectly sized designs for tiny places just like this sachet. (And a free lace frame design suitable for framing tiny designs!)

- Lavender petals (or other pretty smelling sachet ingredient)
Click HERE to find French Blue Lavender from All About Blanks – perfect for this sachet!

- 4x4 hoop

Now you’re ready to get started; here’s what to do:

Cut two blocks of fabric approximately 8” wide by 4” tall. Serge across one long side of each block. Turn under the serged edge on one block, press and stitch to hem it.

Cut another block of fabric slightly larger than the 4x4 hoop. Stabilize this fabric with one layer of a lightweight tear-away such as Totally Stable by Sulky. Hoop the fabric and embroider the design. If you are using the Framed Flower Motif design (free offer), embroider the lace frame portion and then float an additional layer of soft tear-away under the hoop before you stitch the flowers in the center. If you are using a design of your choice, use a stabilizer that is suitable for your fabric and the design density.

Center the embroidery design before you begin stitching. Don’t remove the fabric from the hoop when you are done…keep reading!

Thread the embroidery machine with regular sewing thread in the top and bobbin in a color that matches the fabric.

Locate the frame tool function on your embroidery machine. Usually it’s on the home screen somewhere. (On my Baby Lock Destiny I’ll click on “Embroidery” and there it is on the left.)

Choose the single running stitch outline under the square frame choices.

In your editing tool box choose size and resize the box to fit within the 4x4 hoop. I resized my box to 3.89” x 3.89” which is just about right for this pretty little framed flower design.

Some machines will allow you to change the stitch density of the frame designs. If so, run that number up as far as it will go. On my BabyLock Destiny that’s 120% which is a pretty nice regular sewing seam! If your machine only has a long basting stitch for this frame you might consider using one of the other frames. Experiment by testing a few to see which will work best for “sewing” in the hoop.

If you wish to sew the frame around the embroidered design before you add the back fabric pieces, go ahead and do that. That’s not really necessary as long as you center the frame design just like you centered the embroidery design. It will work!

Lay the hemmed block of fabric across the hoop, aligning the hemmed edge slightly lower than the center of the embroidered design. Make sure this fabric piece is facing right side down. Next, place the block with the serged edge on top, right across the middle and slightly above the hem on the piece of fabric underneath.

Sew the frame design. Watch the embroidery foot carefully; when it goes over that flap of fabric on one side it may catch. So pay attention and use a wooden skewer to help keep that bit in place as you stitch across it.

You may wish to sew around twice. If so, just repeat the frame stitching.

Remove the fabric from the hoop and tear away the stabilizers. When ripping along the frame seam stitching, press your finger on the line of stitches and tear toward it. This will help prevent dislodging those stitches!

Cut out the sachet leaving a fat ¼” selvage past the stitching line. Clip the corners and turn right side out. Use your Dritz Point Turner tool! That curved edge is the perfect thing for smoothing out rounded edges if your sachet has rounded corners.

Press the finished sachet lightly from the wrong side if necessary. Whip up a little packet of sweet smelling something to slip inside. This is very easily done with silk organza and your serger. Click HERE to find plain silk organza, perfect for this use!

Pop that packet inside your sachet. Wasn’t that easy? Now go make one for every “mother” friend on your list and a dozen or so for yourself!

Happy Mother's Day to you, thanks for reading!


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Darlings in Dainty Darling Aprons! The Cottage Mama Blog Tour

Cottage Mama Dainty Darling Blog Tour

I’m so tickled to be part of the Cottage Mama’s Dainty Darling fabric tour! When Lindsay told me last year that she had a new fabric collection coming out with Riley Blake Designs, I knew I’d love it at first sight – everything Lindsay does is just so pretty – and I was right… I LOVE these sweet prints! AND, did you know that she also has machine embroidery designs that match? How awesome is that! Since machine embroidery is my cuppa tea anyway, this is a win-win for me – pretty fabric and pretty embroideries!

There are several really dear prints in the Dainty Darling fabric collection, but the two that really spoke to me were these little dainty florals – so sweetly vintage!

Don’t you think this fabric is perfect for aprons? I sure did! These aprons are reversible. One side has a pretty monogram and the other has a cute little made-in-the-hoop pocket!

Want to make some aprons for your sweeties? Follow along with me here and let’s do that.

Here’s what you’ll need:

The free “Lucy’s Apron” pattern – download that HERE
1 yard each of Dainty Daisy Yellow and Dainty Daisy Aqua
            (or fabric of your choice)
Sewing thread to match both fabrics

You can find the floral Dainty Darling embroidery designs and the fabric on the Cottage Mama website HERE, and you can find the large Curly Appliqué Alphabet letters HERE and the Pocket Fun set from A Bit of Stitch HERE. Of course you don’t have to appliqué or embroider your aprons, but it sure does add a sweet touch, doesn’t it?! (Want to see more alphabet appliqués? Click HERE)

I used my editing software to combine the large “S” appliqué from my Curly Appliqué Alphabet (Large Size) design set with one of the Dainty Darling embroidery designs. As I was applying this light yellow fabric onto the slightly darker blue fabric, I prevented show-through by removing the fabric behind the appliqué. (Click HERE to read more about that little trick!)

The monogram on this apron is from the same Curly Appliqué Alphabet set with another Dainty Darling embroidery design. (I think my little red-headed sweetie thought it was pretty cool!)

I like to start with pre-shrunk fabric, especially for children’s things. I back all of my appliqué fabrics with fusible web as that keeps them pretty for the life of the garment. (If you need help with machine embroidery appliqué, click HERE to read more about that.)

Aprons should have pockets! These in-the-hoop pockets are as fun to make as they are to use. This one comes from my Pocket Fun collection and is just the right size for a little hand. (Click HERE to see more in-the-hoop pocket fun!)

Print out and put together the pattern according to the directions on it. You’ll need to add the skirt portion by extending the bottom as long as you want your apron to be. I added 12” to the apron pattern for the two aprons shown.

Use the apron pattern to cut out one apron piece from each of the two fabrics.

Cut out the ties as indicated on the pattern. They should be cut on the straight grain. Fold in half lengthways, right sides together, and sew with a 3/8” seam allowance; leave one short end open. I finished the ends of both sets of ties (neck and waist) at an angle. Turn them right side out and press.

If you plan to add pockets or embroidery, go ahead and accomplish that before you construct the aprons.

Pin the waist ties at the upper back edges of one apron fabric piece. Each tie should be placed so that its raw edge is aligned with the edge of the apron, ½” down from the top sloping edge. Pin both waist ties in place.

Pin the neck ties along the flattest part of the apron bib as shown.

Overlay that apron fabric piece with the other apron fabric piece – right sides together as shown – and pin through all layers.

Sew all the way around the apron with a ½” seam allowance. Make sure you don’t catch the ties in the seam. Leave an opening on one lower back straight edge near the bottom.

Trim the selvages on the curved parts around the top.

Clip the curves.

Before you turn the apron right side out, you might want to stay stitch the opening seam allowance selvage.

I like to sew one line of stitching, starting and stopping a short ways past where the opening begins and ends, on both sides of the selvages. This keeps the fabric from stretching out of shape there at the opening while you are turning the apron right side out.

Top stitch all the way around the apron, closing up the opening as you sew. For prettiest results match the thread in both the bobbin and on top with the fabric. You can see that I used yellow thread in my bobbin for the yellow fabric side and blue thread in the top for the blue fabric side. Pretty, isn’t it – a nice touch!

Fun, simple and sweet! I hope you enjoy this little apron project – thanks for reading!


Photo credits: Amber Purcell

Friday, March 10, 2017

Baby Lock Love of Sewing Challenge Part 4

It’s been so much fun participating in Baby Lock’s Love of Sewing Challenge this week. Miss Destiny and I have had a wonderful time making beautiful borders! I hope you try it out and see for yourself just how quickly the Destiny II can make this seemingly complicated task SO simple. No more guesswork; just click that connect button!

Just for fun, here are a few more photos because seriously, y’all, Baby Kate was just too cute in her little fancy princess dress. Besides...photographing a toddler is hard work - got to take advantage of all the good photos!

First we had to catch Kate and she was like, ready set go!

She’s a master escape artist…

And then we had to actually keep her in one spot.

Rachelle was pretty much in charge of catch and release and re-catch. She did a great job and - whew - thankfully is young enough to be faster than Kate.

I couldn’t resist putting a border along the top of Kate’s little dress. And making a faux leather gold metallic bow for a wee crown! 
The day was beautiful, perfect weather. Only one problem: it was HOT. Oh my goodness. Wouldn’t you know I had planned on the girls wearing faux FUR coats with their sparkly gold printed outfits. We did get a few fast pics before the melt down.

I had been saving this blue faux fur for just the right project for these dearies because - look! - it exactly matches their eyes!

Des was rather taken with the fur. He announced that Gramma needed to use it to make a blanket for him! 😊 He wanted to get in on the action too, little monkey. Usually you point a camera at him and he scoots!

The corset belt covers a knit band elastic waist. This gives the wearer some growing room. (Important when you’re making samples possibly to be worn by different girls!) I applied fusible woven interfacing to the lining. Then I sewed the lining and gold print fabric right sides together along the top edge. Next, I turned the belt right side out and embroidered the border through both layers along the bottom edge. I then finished the two back edges and added the button holes. 

It looks really nice peeking out from under the jacket – of course the jacket was too hot to wear, but high-waist skirts are in fashion again, right?

It was way too much fun making borders and zapping them together with that Connect Tool. I had to invent a DOUBLE border to really give Miss Destiny a work out. I was totally mind blown. Perfect placement. Every. Single. Time. (Fair warning, dear friends: Once you’ve played with Destiny II, you are going to “need” her to come stay with you!)

Want to see the whole border collection I used? Click HERE to find them.

Don’t forget to go download the free designs! Click HERE to find those. (Hurry, they will expire March 31, 2017.)

Okay, that’s it, I’ll stop with the photos. (Yes, I have more, but I’m sparing you!)

This was an amazing adventure right from the kick off at the very beginning of this twelve week challenge. And best of all, there are still two weeks left! Can’t wait to see what’s next, how about you? Bookmark this link: and check back next week, more fun to come!

Thanks for reading!


Lydia Maria (photos)
Riley Blake Designs (fabrics)

State of Georgia Botanical Gardens

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Baby Lock Love of Sewing Part 3

Are you ready to finish your project? Yes, of course you are. Let’s do it! :-)

The first step to finishing up a cutwork border design is trimming the tails and removing the stabilizer. So, first things first, let’s get that done.

Use your little snips with curved blades or the snips with a crook on the end (you’ll see those in my video) to trim away any long thread tails on the wrong side. Don’t cut off the knots, but do clip off the tails. If you accidentally clip off a knot, go ahead and apply a drop of seam sealant before you proceed.

I like to cut away as much of my wash-away stabilizer as I can. I use my big scissors to rough cut off the large parts around the border, and then I use my little trimming snips to trim away most of the remaining stabilizer closer to the border’s edge. THAT is optional. You can always just dump the whole lot in a tub of water and soak the entire stabilizer away. So why do I bother to cut it away? Ha! I’m always in a hurry to get something finished, don’t you know! Removing as much stabilizer as possible greatly reduces the soak time, and the stuff floating around in my rinse water (which tends to make the fabric a bit stiff) is greatly reduced as well.

Before soaking, I like to go ahead and serge (or zigzag) any remaining raw edges. It isn’t necessary to serge tiny bits of exposed raw edge – just the big strips. Do not cut off any extra bits of fabric extending past the ends of your border; you’ll need those later. Be sure to leave a good seam allowance where the fabric pieces need to be joined.

Once the stabilizer has been cut away, the rest must be soaked away with water. (Check the stabilizer package to see what water temperature is recommended.) I find that the following does the trick for most of my cutwork projects: two fast cold soaks, followed by a longer cool soak with a drop or two of laundry detergent, and then a final cold rinse. Then I roll up the fabric in a bath towel, squeeze out the excess water, and hang it up to dry. After that, a good press from the wrong side with a steam iron (using a press cloth to protect the embroidery) finishes it up perfectly!

Line up your border ends – right sides together – and take a quick whip stitch by hand at the very edge to secure the two layers together. This will keep the bump of that thick embroidery from shifting when you sew the seam. Try not to sew too far into the embroidery.

Make use of Miss Destiny’s brain and extra eyeballs! Here are some tips:

Turn on the Width Control in the machine menu.

Put your fabric under the needle, lower the presser foot, and choose your stitch. I’m using the straight middle stitch with my “N” foot because I can see what I’m doing with that foot. Now press the Camera icon. You’ll see the fabric under the foot with your proposed stitching line on top. See that little magnifying glass icon with the + inside? It’s at the bottom of that camera view window. Press that icon. 

Now you’ll get a close-up view where you can see exactly where the foot is placed. Press the “Needle Drop Position” button. Woo-hoo! Now you’ll see PRECISELY where the needle will drop and where the machine will begin to stitch.

Not lined up where you need it to be? No problem! Click the magnifying glass at the top of the camera window (photo below on the left) to enlarge the view so you can see even better what Destiny is seeing. Now just move the Speed Control lever back and forth to move the needle. HOW COOL IS THAT? Oh my goodness. I love this feature! Talk about a bird’s eye view – this is awesome!

Now you can sew that seam together precisely.

Press open the seam allowance selvages and tuck up the extra ends.

Whip stitch those ends under nice and neat by hand. I like to whip stitch a small distance up both sides of the seam allowance selvage edges too, just to keep everything under there in place. Grab only tiny bits of the fabric with the needle so that your stitches won’t show from the right side.

There, a prettily finished seam in your border!

Thanks for reading this final project post for my week with Baby Lock’s Love of Sewing Challenge on the Destiny II. I hope you were inspired! Stay tuned for Friday's post-post, a short collection of photos and a few more garment details just for the fun of it!