Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Time for Tea - "Petite Treat" Fabric by The Cottage Mama from Riley Blake Designs Blog Tour Projects!

“Petite Treat” fabric collection by Lindsay Wilkes from the Penny Rose fabric division of Riley Blake Designs

Lindsay Wilkes, “The Cottage Mama”, has done it again with her latest precious fabric line from Penny Rose Fabrics of Riley Blake Designs! I’ve had so much fun making pretties with this adorableness, as you can see. In fact, this set inspired a whole new set of machine embroidery designs because I really, really “needed” to make my granddaughter a tea time table topper and the works…

That cheery little dollie print was just too cute to cut up. It made such a cheerful tablecloth edged with rickrack trim! And of course a topper embroidered with my Tiny Tea designs and napkins to coordinate were a must from the tiny stripes.

And Kate needed a new dress, of course! That blue and white stripe trimmed with the wee floral - oh my, how sweet a combination!

Don't you just LOVE ruffles? I’ve got to make her more dresses with sleeve ruffles. They are so much fun and really easy to make! And pockets make everything perfect. (Did you know you can make pockets in the hoop? Click HERE to learn about my online class at "The Sewing Collection" for this fun technique and so much more.)

Know what else I love? Those pretty little motif stitches we never seem to know what to do with on our fancy sewing machines. My Baby Lock Destiny has so many I haven’t even tested them all yet, but this one is a favorite already. It looks like a tiny, tightly stitched star, almost like a candlewick. It's so fun to add pretty touches so easily with my Baby Lock machines and their onboard motifs!
Superior Thread's King Tut made the motif stitching so pretty. I also love Sulky's variegated rayon for embroidery. Check out that kitty- looks like a real striped tabby, doesn't it!

Click HERE to find these Tiny Tea embroidery designs. This set includes all the designs you see on these projects, and more too.

And Des needed a new shirt because it turns out little boys like kitties just as much as little girls do… and this Gramma, too... I need a shirt with kitty fabric!

I used Pintucks & Petticoats “Luke” shirt pattern by Paige Alexander for the little chambray shirt. (The chambray fabric is from Organic Cotton Plus.) I love that little touch of "sweet pop" on the pocket and under the button placket, don’t you? (I had to do a pattern hack to make the placket with the kitty fabric – stay tuned, I’ll blog about that hack soon!)

And check out the Baby Lock Sashiko stitching - the perfect finishing touch!

So, y’all ready for tea time? I know I am!

More to come! There are just so many neat little tricks that I love to use when sewing children’s garments, and these outfits gave me the opportunity to use a lot of them. Would you like to read about them?
  Okay! I’ve divided the tips into three additional blog posts which will be coming soon: "How to clean line a little girl's dress bodice", "How to make a zipper dress into a button dress", and "Tips for sewing little boy shirts." Sign up for the Stitch Bits blog post via email and you’ll get them all delivered right to your inbox when they debut! (Sign up box is above, on the right.)

Thanks for reading, come back soon!


Children's photos taken by Lydia Maria Hawkins of Telafante. Click HERE to visit her awesome tutorial website!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Beautiful Buttonholes!

Don’t you love it when you have an “Ah HA!” moment and discover something that fixes that thing that's been bugging you in your sewing adventures? YES, you do? Well, I had a major "Ah HA!" moment this year and it has been an awesome discovery: how to make my buttonholes look really, really good - crisp, clean and super sturdy!

I’ve loved the buttonhole foot attachment that has come with each of my Baby Lock sewing machines and I've used them faithfully for years. I love how easy this sweet little foot makes the job of sewing buttonholes! However, I’ve always had a beef with the buttonholes as I just didn’t feel the stitching was close enough. I wanted a REALLY tight zigzag, no fabric showing through at all. Yeah, I know that may not be practical, but that’s what I wanted anyway. Sometimes on very special garments I would resort to... *gasp* …hand sewing a buttonhole in. (Yes, I'm that crazy!)

Lo and behold, I recently discovered that my buttonhole attachment has a cording guide on the bottom so you can add cording to your buttonholes while you sew them! Oh. My. Goodness. This has been a game changer. Now I love ALL my machine sewing buttonholes.

I mean, look at this:

And this:

And this:

Perfect coverage! Nicely packed, very sturdy and neat little buttonholes, woo-hoo!

So, whip out your buttonhole attachment and turn it over.

At the front you should see two little grooves that form a sort of hook and a more obvious hook at the back on the very end. In the plastic part that glides within the attachment as you sew and under the front part of the attachment itself there should be two sets of grooves. Those are the cording grooves that help hold the cord in place as you buttonhole over it.

I found that when I was using fine cording like 12 wt cotton thread (Sulky’s Petite cotton thread is perfect for this), the cord stayed just fine inside those grooves.

Then I discovered that embroidery floss was exceptionally suited for making the buttonholes even nicer, and I had a supply of that in every color of the rainbow, yay! However, it had a tendency to jump out of the grooves while stitching. I fixed that by applying a bit of tape to the tip of the foot. Just make sure the tape is wrapped around the foot at the front a bit so it won’t catch on anything while you work. You can see in the photo below how the tape helps to hold that thicker cord in the grooves at the front.

Here’s how you load it: First put your button in the button holder part. Cut a length of cord that is twice as long as the attachment with the button in place, plus about 6”. Fold the cord in half. Hook the halfway point over the hook in the back and pull the cords across the bottom to the front, being sure to press the cord into both sets of grooves. Keep it taut while you bring the cord to the front of the foot and tie it snugly at the front hook on top of the attachment. Put the foot on the machine and sew the buttonhole.

When finished, raise the foot, clip the cord at the front of the foot at the knot (if you need to) and tug the cord out of the hook on the back. Once the cord is free from the foot you can easily remove the fabric.

If the stitching did not extend into the cord, you should be able to pull the cord from the bottom of the buttonhole until the loop at the top is tucked slightly under the top end of the buttonhole. Then just clip off the excess cord at the bottom. This pretty much only works when using skinny and very taut cord. Embroidery floss… not so much; you’ll need to clip it off at the top and bottom. Clip carefully - you don’t want to cut into buttonhole. Use those curved snips!

You’ll find that using heavier weight threads in the top of the machine will create much better coverage than your average sewing thread. I love Sulky’s 30 wt thread for buttonholes. I use a size 16 top stitching needle and regular sewing thread in the bobbin that matches the color on top. Sometimes, though, you just WANT to use a pretty decorative thread like our 40 wt. embroidery thread. It’s nice and shiny and sometimes you need a shiny thread, right? Here’s a handy little trick for those of you with machines that have that extra spool holder on top. Load up both of them with the same thread, thread the machine as if it were a single strand... and voila! Your 40 wt. thread has now become 20 wt.!

There’s just something so satisfying about really neat buttonholes!

May all your buttonhole projects be awesome! Happy Stitching!


Find the Happy Hedgie embroidery designs HERE and find the Wildflower Friends (floral frame design) HERE. Stitch up some pretty pillows with beautiful buttonholed backs!