Make an Easter Apron Tonight!

Just in time to make that strawberry pie, this apron is a quick project, perfect for your cooking day on Easter or to tuck into an Easter basket as a gift! Made from a tea towel, nothing could be easier or faster to create. You'll be in and out of the sewing room in no time!


Tea Towel Apron

Supplies include a tea towel (I used Riley Blake's Bunnies and Cream towel and prints), 1/2 yard fabric for a ruffle and pocket, 1/4 yard for neck/tie strap and a scrap for the applique monogram.

Want to fancy it up a bit? Try adding an applique´monogram. I chose a circular monogram, like this one from Designs by JuJu, stitched on my Baby Lock Destiny. Using the camera for placement made it a breeze to center.


After stitching the monogram, the first step is to shape the apron by trimming away a triangle from each top corner. Refer to the photo below to see the approximate size to trim away. Nothing is concrete here, just trim the corners, bearing in mind that you will fold about 1.25" to the back side and stitch along the edge to form a casing for the neck strap/ties.

Trimming the apron.

Next, round the bottom two corners. Serge or zig-zag all the raw edges. Press under 1/4" on the top, angled corners and fold about 1.25" to the back side. Stitch along the pressed edge to form the strap casing. Make the strap by cutting three 2.5" strips, width of fabric and sewing them end to end. Sew into a long tube and turn. A tube turner is your best friend here! For this long strap, leave the opening for turning in the mid-section. This allows you to stitch across each end for a nice finish, and turning half the tube at a time is much easier than turning the whole long tube.

Narrow hem foot. With a lamb.

For the ruffle, cut three 4" strips, width of fabric. Stitch together end to end. I like to use this rolled hemmer foot to finish each long side of the ruffle. It leaves a very professional, clean finish. Practice just a bit and you'll be a pro!

Ruffle edge with a narrow hem finish.

Fold under the short ends of the ruffle strip twice and stitch in place to finish the ends. Gather the ruffle strip to fit the apron's edge, beginning and ending at the bottom of the strap casing on each side. Lay the gathering over the serged/zig-zaged edged, overlapping the edge by about 1/2", and straight stitch it in place.

Run the tie/neck strap through the casings and toss on a sweet little pocket, if you like, and you're finished! Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy sewing and God bless!


Homemade Christmas Cheer

I posted this picture of my annual cookie mix marathon on Instagram yesterday and had so many requests for the recipe that I decided the best way to provide that would be in a blog post with, here ya go!

Cookie Mix Gifting

I love to make these in bulk to give away to folks around town that we appreciate all year (my hairdresser, the mailman, the post office counter employees, dentist office, etc.) They also make great hostess gifts and family treats at get-togethers . You've probably seen similar things given in glass jars, but I think the cone shaped bags look more festive and Christmas-y, like an icicle hanging from Santa's sleigh!

Ateco 18" Piping Bag

I pack the mixes in this 18" disposable piping bag, actually made for icing. I've tried the 17" bags (made by a different company), but they aren't as wide and will not hold the recipe. These can be found at kitchen stores like Kitchen Collection, or maybe your local kitchen supply store. While Wal-mart and Michael's carry cake decorating supplies, they only stock the 12" bags.

Improvised Piping Bag Stand

I have a piping bag support. Somewhere. We've moved twice and I've bought it twice and they are both packed my husband came to the rescue and made one for me, and his version actually works better than the real thing! He went to Lowe's and found a bird feeder, made by Garden Treasures, for $6 that has a removable top shaped like a cone! It just fit inside a 10" vase, making the perfect height. The goal is that the last layer of brown sugar is supported firmly for packing.

Cookie Mix Icicle Bag

The recipe: (see below for vegan version)

  • 1/2 cut white or milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1/2 cup nuts
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon each soda and salt
  • 1 & 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (I just put in a heaping 1/3 cup)

I usually make about 50 bags, so working assembly line fashion with large bowls is the most efficient method for packing. Using actual size measuring cups as scoops also helps. Layer the ingredients in the bag in the order given above. Shake gently to settle after each addition. With the bag in a stand, pack the brown sugar firmly (the bottom of a glass works great). If you change the order of ingredients, be sure to keep the brown sugar last (on top) because packing it helps to hold everything else in place nicely. Twist the top and close with a twist tie. (I found shiny metal ones at Michael's. A red or green chenille stick would also work great.)

Attach baking instructions and your Christmas sentiments with a ribbon to the bag. These could be printed on a sticker and applied to the side of the bag:

Cranberry Kringles

  • 1 bag Cranberry Kringles Mix
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients by hand. Drop by spoonfulls onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350º for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

I had to make a few vegan mixes for Bonnie, David, Bear and Ollie. It was simple by substituting vegan chocolate chips and changing the directions to include 1/2 cup Earth Balance and 1/3 cup apple sauce or egg re-placer. Bear thought they were beautiful and when Bonnie helped me with the last photo (above) he said, "Me want to hold it like a baby, too." So he did.


Enjoy making and giving this Christmas season! Thanks for stopping by and God bless! Maxie

Sewing: Repurpose, Up-cycle and Repair!

I love re-purposing things into something else, and starting with something that is already a finished product can save you loads of time! Take these sweet little bathrobes made for my sweet little grandchildren!

Terry Robes from Towels

When I couldn't find nice terry on the bolt (Really? I own a fabric store! No terry in stock!) I resorted to the softest terry towels I could find. I  found both a blue and a white that were large enough to make robes for Bear and Ollie. When I laid everything out on the cutting table I discovered that I could take advantage of the finished edges by laying the pattern pieces at the edges of the towel, allowing for facings and hems to be disregarded.

Layout of pattern piece on the edge of the towel.

See how the robe front piece is placed over the edge of the towel? The facing fold line is right on the finished edge, as is the actual hem line, which means I won't have to face or hem the edges! (I used Simplicity 8224.)

Robe layout.

You can see in the above photo that the sleeve and back pieces are also laid with the actual hem line at the edges, so no hemming anywhere!

Finished Robes made from Terry Towels

Finished in record time! Complete with a little belt, simply serged around all edges and attached at center back so it will never be lost!

Repurposed Sweater

And then there was this not-so-foxy sweater. It was a great sweater, but didn't fit me well. I hated to let go of it, so I repurposed it for Bear! I used the very same method of slipping the pattern pieces over the finished edges so that I didn't have to hem the sleeves or the lower edge. He loved it so much Bonnie could hardly get it him out of it for bedtime!

One more of my daughter's beloved shirts sadly acquired a stain on a pocket. After 3 different stain removers didn't do the job, our last resort was bleach, which took the stain out along with the dye in the fabric. The stain was now replaced with a white spot! Removing the pocket was out of the question because the spot went through to the shirt front.

Shirt with stained pocket.

The back of the shirt has a lace yoke, so I decided I might be able to cover the pocket with lace. From my stockpile of old doilies, I found a beautiful lace runner that blended nicely. Placing the pocket underneath, I cut out a piece large enough to cover all four sides. Note that, once again, I let the finished edge help me along the bottom of the pocket! A fabric glue stick held all the edges in place for pinning and sewing it back in its original locale on the front of the shirt. Note: the top of the pocket is larger than the bottom to allow for an open, relaxed look. I re-attached it over the original stitching in the square shape to allow for the same finished look. Click on the pictures below to enlarge for detail.

Lace pocket

What do you think? No need to throw something out just because of a stain or ill fit! And you can repurpose things to be completely different things by using a little imagination!

Happy sewing and thanks for visiting! God bless! Maxie

A Prima Diva Wallet for Me!

Like most of us that love to sew, many of my sewing projects are made for others (or for shop samples), but occasionally I get the urge to have a party in my sewing room and I'm the guest of honor. Something else that I rarely do is to take a class. And I love learning new things. So when Sarah Overton offered a weaving class at my shop I clocked out and sat in!


So everyone in class finished successfully with Sarah's instruction using the Wefty Needle from Tara Curtis. What a great tool this is! Weaving has become very popular, and with lots of different patterns offered by Tara, the results can leave you with a plethera of woven chunks to sew into just about any project you can dream up. Now we just needed to decide what we wanted to do with our beautiful woven masterpieces! I decided on the Prima Diva Wallet pattern from Sew Many Creations. Sarah had made this bag and I just loved how it looked both practical and gorgeous! I found the pattern directions well written, with plenty of extra tips for guaranteed success.


The fabrics I chose were from a variety of lines and companies. The front weaving consisted of a print from Maureen Cracknell's Nightfall and Katarina Rochella's Imprint, both for Art Gallery Fabrics, and a navy blue with gold metallic from Rifle Paper Company for Cotton and Steel

Prima Diva Wallet Inside

The inside pockets were made using a variety of Art Gallery Fabrics, including a new print from Pat Bravo's line, Heartland. Just look at all those pockets! I count 9 in all, with 12 more sized for credit cards! I can fit my cell phone, lipsticks, etc. all in this one handy little bag.

Click to expand images.

Prima Diva Wallet with Woven Front using Wefty Needles

Oh, and that clasp? It's a breeze to attach, so don't be afraid! Now, go get yourself some Wefty Needles and make a beautiful Prima Diva Wallet! That's my advise, take it or weave it.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Sewing and God bless! Maxie



Furry Friends Finished!

I making good on my promise to share these furry friends after they were given away as birthday gifts to my two grandchildren, Bear and Ollie! They were so much fun to make as 'in the hoop' projects by Dolls and Daydreams. I used dreamy cuddly fabric from EE Schenck, which was wonderful to work with!

These little critters are big! I used the 8 x 12 hoop, but Dolls and Daydreams includes sizes for smaller hoops in the file. My finished size, head to toe, is about 17".

Dolls and Daydreams In the Hoop Stuffed Toys
Big Caribou Reindeer by Dolls and Daydreams

As every part laid in place my smile grew bigger and bigger! This one is for Ollie Doe, my granddaughter, and her fabric body is from Bonnie Christine's line, "Hello, Ollie" for Art Gallery Fabrics. Of course, the fabric on Bear's Monkey is from "Hello, Bear"! What else would a grandmother do?

Tips on making stuffed toys in the hoop?

  • Keep tape handy for holding things in place. I used masking tape, but painter's tape and even scotch tape work well.
  • Cut furry fabrics outside and shake them well before bringing to the embroidery machine. You don't want all that fuzz to make its way down inside your machine.
  • When you've got all the limbs and ears, etc., assembled onto the hoop, tape them in place well so that they don't shift during stitching. Place tape on the stitching line because it helps the embroidery foot to glide up and over bulky parts.
  • For the last stitching (with the body back placed face down over everything) cover the whole piece with sticky tear-away stabilizer. This prevents the embroidery foot from getting caught against a stuffed limb as it moves around the hoop. It easily tears away after your finished. See below.
  • See the previous post for a short video on making the limbs.
  • Keep a sweet dog close by.
Dolls and Daydreams In the Hoop Stuffed Toys

Be sure to check out Dolls and Daydreams In the Hoop projects, as well as their sewing projects. Her instructions are great and her designs always stitch up beautifully!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

Sewing with Furry Fabrics

Birthday celebrations for both my grandchildren are coming up this week and I'm happily sewing away! I'll share my projects after the gifts are given, but in the mean time, here is a little video about my secret for turning tubes right side out!

I use these Fasturn Fabric tube turners for all sorts of things...purse handles, spaghetti straps for clothing, piping, and these little critter limbs! I've had mine for about 30 years, but the company hasn't changed them one bit, thank goodness! There are six sizes in the complete set, allowing for just about any project. They aren't listed on my website, but I do carry them in my quilt shop and I'll be happy to get a set for you, so just email me if you want more information.

I'd best get back to work if I'm going to finish this in time for the party, but come back to see the finished project!

Thanks for visiting. Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

Quilting with Clear Monopoly Thread

I love, love, love, quilting with clear Monopoly thread! It solves a myriad of problems for me (no more changing threads for different color fabrics, my boo boos don't show so much...). But, because it is clear, when meandering it can be hard to stay on track if I can't see my previous stitching path. I discovered that if I clip a small light to the quilt surface and point it over the previous quilting and toward the machine needle, suddenly I can see my quilted surface perfectly!

Quilting with the Mighty Bright Light

Working with Monopoly Thread is easy, but most quilters are a little shy about trying it. It's polyester, so there are no issues of longevity or damage to your quilt (as with the older nylon threads). I do not, however, use this in my bobbin because winding it can be problematic. I simply use my favorite bobbin thread to match the quilt backing. I use this thread in both my conventional Baby Lock sewing machine and in my HandiQuilter longarm machine, and both machines are quite happy with it! I decrease my upper tension slightly, and, on my HandiQuilter I skip one of the pretension thread guides. A size 14 needle usually works perfectly, but if I'm on heavy fabrics I might go up one size. Give it a try!

Another tip I can share is that I discovered the Micro Stitch Basting Gun for quilters! Look at the little black tags on the surface of the quilt...I think they look like fleas, but I promise they aren't! No more safety pins and no more hand basting and tangled threads! I love it! Don't have them on my website yet, but if you need one just send me a comment and I'll be glad to get one to you.

Using the Quilt Basting Gun

Thanks for visiting! Happy Quilting and God bless! Maxie

Forest Floor Blog Tour for Bonnie Christine

Forest Floor by Bonnie Christine

Today is my stop on the Forest Floor Blog Post featuring Bonnie Christine's current line, Forest Floor for Art Gallery Fabrics! This collection comes right from Bonnie's heart, because she and her sweet family live in a beautiful forest, quiet and serene. She lives in a part of the country that is noted for trails and waterfalls, so it's her little piece of heaven on earth. I traveled with Bonnie and Callie Lynch (her photographer) deep into the forest to photograph the Lookbook, so for a personal glimpse of her area, just click here!

Forest Floor Fabrics at International Quilt Market


I love that, as Bonnie's mom, I help her set up her booth at International Quilt Markets. At right is a look at part of her booth from Forest Floor. Like that Cross quilt? I shared about it in a previous blog post! You'll find the pattern here.

While at Quilt Market I found another beautiful addition for my quilt shop: Leather! That's right! The Old City Quilt Shop had a booth showcasing their leathers, with bags, wallets and even quilts made from them! (More on that soon!)

So... for today's project I chose to combine a beautiful saddle brown leather with Bonnie's Wild Posy Flora in a pattern from Swoon Patterns, Brooklyn Handbag and Traveler.

Brooklyn Bag by Swoon Patterns, made by Maxie Makes for Bonnie Christine's 'Forest Floor' for Art Gallery Fabrics.
Swoon Patterns' Brooklyn Handbag in Bonnie Christine's Forest Floor fabrics for Art Gallery Fabrics.
Leather trimmings for Swoon Pattern, Brooklyn

Have you ever sewn with a Swoon Pattern? The directions and pattern pieces are clear and easy to understand, and following their step-by-step instructions ensures a well-made, professional outcome. Here are all my leather pieces, ready to go! Look, just look, at that metallic gold zipper!

Working with this leather lead to a few customized changes in some of the pieces, particularly the strap connectors.  Swoon works with a lot of faux leather (vinyl) which permits the raw edges to be shown as trim, but my leather was much thinner and I wanted to finish off those edges. After a couple of trials for the strap connectors, I decided to cut them with a 3/8" seam allowance and turn that seam allowance to the wrong side. To do so, I stitched with a straight stitch along the seam allowance and then turned the allowance to the back side, bringing the stitches slightly to the back side as well so they would not show from the front side. The seam allowances were glued to the back side of each piece with an adhesive roller. I also found that a fabric glue stick worked great, and double sided tape is also a good choice for this process.

I did lengthen the handles a few inches just to fit my preferences. Other than these things, I followed the pattern just as it was written.

Clipping the leather in the curves was mandatory! Click on the photos for detail.

My leather is very thin, like gloves. It stitches beautifully, but there are a few rules you must follow for success:

  1. Use a leather needle! This needle has a blade like tip that cuts through the leather. A regular needle tears through and will tear between the stitches.
  2. Stabilize your leather! My favorite stabilizer is a cotton woven stabilizer called Shape Flex. I cut the stabilizer to exact size, with no seam allowances and fused to the wrong side of the leather. (Use a pressing sheet so that your iron does not touch the leather.) This allowed me to fold the seam allowance just over the cut edge of the stabilizer and glue it securely in place. The stabilizer acted as a guide for me while gluing. I stabilized every piece.
  3. After gluing, use a small brayer to flatten the seam allowance and press it nice and flat to the glue.
  4. Don't use pins! You'll make a hole in the leather, and once it's there, well, it's there. I glued everything. I tried to use the binding clips, but abandoned them when I found that they left an indention in the leather.
  5. Use a Teflon foot on your sewing machine! I've heard that you can alternately put tape on the bottom of your foot, and various other solutions, but...just get a Teflon foot because it was completely smooth and problem-free!
  6. Lengthen your stitch length. Stitches too close together could cause the leather to tear. Besides, it's just not necessary. Look at your shoes or a bag that is made from leather and examine the stitch length.
Brooklyn Handbag by Swoon Patterns in Bonnie Christine's 'Forest Floor' Fabrics for Art Gallery Fabrics

Lastly, make a little leather tassel for your zipper tab! I used two 1"x3" strips of leather, slicing 'fringe' in 1/4" increments, stopping 1" from the top. I sandwiched them inside a folded 1" x 6" strip that I fringed on both ends. Then I added a D ring and a stud to hold them together. 

Be sure to check out yesterday's blog post by Alex of Alextilalila Designs in Barcelona! Isn't it fun to have sewing friends all over the world? She made the cutest tote, you won't want to miss it! Tomorrow's stop is Terri Steele. Click here to see a lineup of all the links to the blogs participating. It's a great group with so much inspiration to share. Purchase Forest Floor fabrics at A Stitch in Time with free shipping!

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless! Maxie

Organization in My Sewing Room!

My sewing room can get in a mess, for sure, but thanks to a good friend things are looking a lot better around here!  Through my quilt shop, I have met some of the most talented people and made some very sweet, creative friends. Meet a very special one today, Mr. Paul Johnson. His wife, Ann, is a prolific quilter/sewer, giving away most of the things she makes to charities and family. I can't say enough about how thoughtful and kind and generous they are.

Placing Paul's ladder (which isn't technically a ladder, but a quilt display rack) right next to my machine keeps strips in perfect order and ready for sewing.

Placing Paul's ladder (which isn't technically a ladder, but a quilt display rack) right next to my machine keeps strips in perfect order and ready for sewing.

Sewing organizing tips at

Paul happens to love woodworking...and he's very good at it. His finished projects are as smooth as melted butter, and the woodgrain is fine and pure. He loves wood like I love fabric.

For my birthday, Paul and Ann (Ann's part was allowing it to come to my sewing room and not hers!) gifted me with a beautiful 'ladder' for displaying quilts. It lives in my sewing room, and when I'm working on a project that requires sewing lots of strips together I remove the quilts and hang my strips on the rungs! Placing the ladder right beside me at my sewing machine is like having a sewing butler at my side, holding the strips neatly in order for me!


Then...just look at this thread cabinet (below, left)! It organizes my embroidery thread cones and keeps them free of dust! The other cabinet holds containers of buttons and other necessities, all handy and harmonized. Notice the yardstick trim and wooden spool knobs on the doors? Perhaps one of my very favorite things is the embroidery hoop organizer placed between the two cabinets. Where else does one keep all those hoops? Oh, and don't overlook the ruler rack on the left wall. Thank you, Paul and Ann!

In addition to the things I've shared today, Paul makes wooden chests with clear sides and tops for storing quilts, custom plastic rotary cutting templates (any shape!), customized wooden quilt hangers, and thread stands for using large cones at your sewing machine. If you're in need of something beautiful to help you organize, just let me know and I'll put you in touch with the Handicrafter!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

What I wish I had Known When I was starting out

Bonnie has written a most beautiful, encouraging letter to all of us, sharing the things she has learned through looking back on her journey thus far. Because we can't see into the future, sometimes we don't know just how hard the journey to reach our goals can become, but Bonnie does a great job of inspiring and cheering us on to fulfill our dreams, and asked if I would share what I have learned along the way.

What I Wish I had Known When I Was Starting Out

If I answer this challenge honestly, I have to look at several journeys. I'm old enough to have had more than one 'start' in my life, from the first seam I stitched at the age of 12 to a fairly recent start into the world of blogging. So let me go back and hit just one thing about several of my journeys and goals.

1. Never worry. The things I worried about never happened. If I could go back and re-live my youth, or my newlywed years, or my early days of motherhood, I would live them blissfully without worry. Trust God.

2. Dream. Pray. Little known fact: I dreamed of being a dental assistant when I was a teen. After I married, I applied for an open position in a local dental office, prayed much about it and was hired! I worked and learned a lot about life for the 5 years in that office. It was the best thing that could have happened for me, and I left to start my family.

3. Believe. I wanted children so badly, and after 10 years of marriage Becky was born! 3 years later, Bonnie arrived.

4. Give. Give your time; give your talents; give your financial gifts. Make yourself available for others, but don't overlook giving time to yourself.

5. Forgive. This one can be tough, and the longer I live the more forgiveness I have to experience. Sometimes I'm forgiving others and sometimes I'm asking for forgiveness. We are human and no one is exempt. I forgive so that I can be forgiven. When you're working hard toward a goal, remember that you'll need to let go of some things at times and keep moving.

6. Have fun. After my girls left home, I opened my quilt shop, A Stitch in Time. It was, and continues to be, a source of community, strength and outreach for me. I'm happiest when I'm teaching and sharing, and my blog and shop give me plenty of opportunities.

I still have goals, and things I want to do, both in my sewing career and my personal life. So, in looking back at what I have learned, can I apply these things to my own future? If so, I will never worry, I'll keep dreaming and praying and believing and giving and forgiving, all while having the time of my life.

I'm tagging Sarah Overton and Andrea Walker, two beautifully creative young women that I am blessed to work with! Visit Bonnie's blog to read all the responses from other creatives...and be inspired and encouraged!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless. Maxie

A Pincushion for My Daddy

You know that feeling when you hold an object in your hand that you’ve made. Some things are distinctive, and you know how that feels, too. Like this little pincushion. It's an unconventional memorial, I know, but this pincushion is dedicated to the memory of my father, who passed away March 12. As I share a little tutorial, let me also share why this is for Dad.

Juicy Goosey Paper Pieced block from Jeli Quilts

Juicy Goosey Paper Pieced block from Jeli Quilts

The pincushion came about because of a challenge hosted by my local Modern Quilt Guild. I ended up with all the solids shown, and we were instructed to make something using them all plus one additional fabric of our choosing. I chose Tim Holtz' Dictionary print as a background, and decided to check off a paper pieced block I'd been longing to make: Juicy Goosey, designed by Jeli Quilts.

Four paper pieced sections.

 Even though I have sold about 12 bolts of this particular fabric in my quilt shop, I had never read the words on the dictionary fabric. But as I began to piece the tiny 2" sections, I noticed the word "memory" landing in my focus over and over. Each time I saw it, I thought of Daddy, who had been in memory care for several months before he passed. The entire project stirred up so many memories of him, and I thought of him every minute I sewed. Lots of minutes...

4" paper pieced block.

Memory care is hard. Hard on families, hard on caregivers, but hardest on the sufferer. Although Dad never forgot who his family was, the only other thing he could remember was that he was not with Mom. They had been separated for six months because my mother had sustained brain trauma in a car accident, requiring full time skilled nursing care. I brought her to North Carolina to be near me, but dad remained in Georgia while I worked out his transfer to my town. When I finally was able to bring him to North Carolina, I arranged a meeting with mom. It was the sweetest day. Dad was strong for the 30 minute ride to Momma's facility. Every day for six months his only goal had been to get to Mom, and this day had finally come to fulfillment. Their visit was beautiful; they were both so happy, embracing while the family and nurses watched and cried.  Mom's doctor said it was "the most touching scene of love and devotion he had ever seen". 

Thought you'd like to see the back side. Mmmmmhhhhhmmmm.

Thought you'd like to see the back side. Mmmmmhhhhhmmmm.

It took just about everyone present to get dad to the car to head back to my town, but he finally agreed to leave Mom and we headed back to his home. The next day, Dad wasn't himself. He continued to decline and passed away 10 days after that visit with Mom. They never saw each other again, but Dad spoke of the visit often, and how beautiful Mom was. Hospice felt that he had been holding on to see Mom just one more time. I will always be thankful for that meeting, and for bringing him to my town.  I cherish the time spent with him during the last few weeks of his life, and recalling our visits as I sewed this little pincushion has been such a blessing.

I decided to add yellow piping to the top edges around my little block. Baby Lock's mini piping foot made short work of that task, both in creating the piping and attaching it to the edge of the little paper pieced square. I also used this foot when sewing the sides to the block, because the piping stayed right in the groove, keeping the seam straight and close to the piping. Click on the photo, left, to read more about this helpful little foot.

After applying the piping, I attached the sides and bottom. The top of the pincushion measures 4.5", so I cut four sides 4.5" x 2.5". I cut a 4.5" square for the bottom piece.

The sides are attached separately, placing each one on the pincushion top (right sides together) and stitching the seam, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance unsewn at the beginning and end of the seam (as shown in the first photo, below). Be sure to secure the seam with a knot or back stitch at each end. Sew all four sides on.  Next, sew the short sides together, leaving the 1/4" seam allowance unsewn at both ends in the same manner (last photo).

Sewing a box pincushion.

The bottom is sewn on in the same way, leaving about 2" unsewn on one side for turning and stuffing. Slipstitch closed.

So, Daddy, every time I use my pincushion I'll be thinking of you. Thank you for all you meant to me. I walked into Momma's room the other day to find her clutching your photo to her heart. I promise to take care of her until you're together again and never have to be apart.

Thank you for

  • Never telling me that I sewed the buttons and buttonholes to the wrong side of your shirts I made for you. You wore them proudly.
  • Surprising me with money for the expensive puppy I wanted.
  • Believing that I could sing, and buying me a guitar. I pushed through the lessons, mostly to please you.
  • Lots of airplane rides, and even one glider ride. You were a great pilot and I always felt safe.
  • Loving my peach pie.
  • Letting me bring you a bowl of ice cream and cookies every night to the sofa. (How did you stay so thin?).
  • Making a cradle for my baby, and beautiful fabric display tables for my quilt shop.
  • Driving me to church every Sunday without fail when I was a teenager. Oh, how I wanted you to go to church with me.
  • Giving your life to the Lord, finally.

I could go on and on. I'll love him forever.

Thanks for visiting. Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie


A Noteworthy Notebook or Journal Cover

Everyone loves a journal cover, but making one requires a bit of math to figure out the wrap and the perfect amount of extra fabric to tuck under at the edges. Right? Wrong! My quilting friend, Lee Monroe of May Chappell Designs has developed a great Scrappy Journal tutorial that includes a downloadable worksheet with fill-in-the-blanks for your specific journal's measurements. The result is just about as math-less as possible! Since she has done all the work and provided a step by step tutorial for creating our own personalized cover, we have no excuse to not have a beautiful journal cover! You'll find her worksheet available in the Scrappy Journal tutorial link above.

Journal Cover in Sweet as Honey fabrics.
Journal Cover with Sashiko Stitching.

I used one of my favorite fabric lines, Sweet as Honey, by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics. I did a bit of fussy cutting for the patchwork, and then I had fun quilting it with my Baby Lock Sashiko machine! It looks like true hand stitching, but is done in a fraction of the time! By the way, the Sashiko machine has many other facets of performance. You'll find a myriad of Sashiko ideas on Evy Hawkin's blog, A Bit of Stitch.

Baby Lock's Sashiko machine gives a truly hand stitched look.
Pieced and quilted journal cover.

You could omit piecing the cover altogether by using just one fabric for the entire cover...which would be a great place to feature your favorite fabric or practice your machine quilting skills (or let your quilting artistry shine)! A small project is the perfect way to try out a new skill or design.

Make a Journal Cover

So stop over at Lee's fun website, and while there, check out all her tutorials, tips and beautiful patterns. You can even sign up for her weekly Tuesday tip to be emailed directly to your inbox.

Enjoy making your journal cover! Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing, and God bless. Maxie

Machine Embroidery, Sweets for the Sweet!

I've been a fan of Evy Hawkins' work for a while. You may be familiar with her beautiful Sashiko techniques, or her monograms and embroidery designs, or her machine cutwork (she teaches a Machine Embroidered Cutwork Class on Craftsy). Her website is a wonderland of delicately beautiful needlework, ranging from quilting to hand embroidery. It's packed with projects, tutorials and inspiration, so brew a cup of tea and have a visit with Evy!

Baby Deer Embroidery Design by Evy Hawkins

When I first saw her Baby Deer embroidery designs I knew I had to make something for my new granddaughter, Ollie Doe! I could hardly wait for the 5 second download to complete. By the way, she offers this for both hand and machine embroiderers.

Baby Lock Destiny Sewing and Embroidery Machine
Baby Deer by Evy Hawkins (

My Baby Lock Destiny stitched it out perfectly! Tip: My machine has an optional basting feature, which adds a basting stitch around the design, spaced perfectly around four sides. Before removing the stitches, I used them to square up the embroidery piece perfectly! I simply measured 1" off the stitching line and trimmed. See photo below. Ready for the borders!

Using the basting stitching line as a guide for trimming.

I added 3" borders of pink check printed linen and piping and it was ready for little Ollie's visit in no time! Thanks, Evy, for your beautiful work!

And thank you for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless. Maxie

The LookBook: Forest Floor by Bonnie Christine

I love the day that Art Gallery releases their beautiful LookBooks for their fabric lines. You'll find one for each collection, and I'm so excited that the eagerly anticipated LookBook for Bonnie Christine's newest line, Forest Floor is here! Click the book to view! All fabrics are available with free shipping at A Stitch in Time.

This project was particularly fun for me for several reasons. First of all, not only did I make a few of the projects inside, I was able to tag along on the photo shoot, which took place in Pisgah Forest, NC. The photographs taken that day were shot by Callie Lynch, photographer and long time friend of Bonnie's.* What fun we had, traipsing around in the forest, clinging to logs and wading in the creeks, while finding spots to make wardrobe changes in the frigid weather!

Second, Bonnie is on the cover and in several photos inside!  A few of the other reasons I love this book are listed below:

  • My granddaughter, Ollie Doe, is on pages 19 and 43! You might remember that I shared one of the outfits she's wearing in a recent post, Sewing for Baby Girls.
  • You'll find my grandson, Bear, on page 43!
  • I have two new quilt patterns (Forest Path and Zippy Strippy), available as downloads on pages 29 and 31. Both of these quilts, along with several other projects from the book are on display at my quilt shop in Franklin, NC, A Stitch in Time.
  • You are probably familiar with Sarah Overton and her blog, My Crowded Nest. Sarah, who works with me at my quilt shop, has three marvelous bags with downloadable patterns featured in the book!

The book is packed with projects, many made by other pattern designers, and each have links to their downloadable patterns! So, have fun perusing the book! I hope it inspires you to take to the forest!

*Other photography credits are listed under info with the Look Book.

Uncomplicated Quilting

Sometimes a quilter's life just calls for the uncomplicated quilt. One that can be pieced one day, quilted and bound the next, and enjoyed for years to come! Zippy Strippy to the rescue!

Pieced and Quilted by Sarah Overton.                             photo by Callie Lynch

Pieced and Quilted by Sarah Overton.                             photo by Callie Lynch

This pattern, available here, is perfect for showing off a full line of fabrics and how well they play together. I've made several in the past, but for this Zippy Strippy, I chose Forest Floor fabrics by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics. Art Gallery offered one of the prints from the line in voile, which I decided to use for the backing! Pima Cottons for the top, organic cotton batting, and billowy voile for the back pretty much guaranteed the softest, cuddliest quilt I'd ever made!

Bonnie Christine all wrapped up in Forest Floor Fabric!

We took to the forest to photograph Forest Floor for Art Gallery's Look Book, and since it was a little chilly, Bonnie took the opportunity to bundle up! She said it was her favorite quilt, just because of the softness of the voile. If you've never tried using this ultra soft fabric, by all means, give it a try with your next quilt. By the way, the term voile comes from France and means veil. As a proper southerner, I tend to pronounce it as if it rhymes with spoil, but here's a YouTube video sharing the correct pronunciation. I stand corrected. No matter how you say it, it's soft, drapey fibers are wonderful for quilts, garments, scarves, window treatments and more!

Bonnie Christine, enjoying a quilty embrace.

You'll find Forest Floor fabrics, with free shipping, here. While on the website, don't forget to check out Bonnie's other fabric lines, which include 100% Pima Cotton, Cotton knits, canvas and, of course, voile!

Soft, billowy voile for a quilt backing! Forest Floor fabrics by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

Using the Silhouette Cameo Cutter to Repurpose Art!

So...we have been remodeling our home and I've been enjoying some DIY projects here and there. This one came from a gift from my husband. A little back story first...

We took almost 2 years to complete our little space, and the bedroom was practically the last thing on the list. We ran out of hardwood, so I had to settle for carpet. I researched my options and, for several reasons, landed on an organic wool from a wonderful company in Dalton, Ga.,  Earth Weave. They list on their website the many benefits from wool...did you know that it actually purifies the air? It was a splurge, but after all, my room was small. We planned the budget and decided to go for it! Installation day came, and it was as lovely and soft as I had hoped it would be. But it smelled of, well, sheep! Ok, a barn full of sheep. Wet sheep.

I figured the smell would dissipate, and it eventually did. But not until my husband had plenty of opportunities to tease me. One day he smuggled in a very old, framed canvas photo of sheep in a pasture and hung it in the room. He thought it was very funny, but I actually loved the picture so much that I decided to preserve it and make it mine by adding a sweet verse!

Silhouette Cameo Vinyl

The scripture verse is not painted on the picture, but is vinyl that I cut with my Silhouette Cameo machine. The font was created by my daughter, Bonnie Christine, in her own handwriting! The Silhouette Design Studio software is so easy to use that it made the whole process fast and easy!

Silhouette Design Studio Software

I love that this font is Bonnie's handwriting. One day we were playing around with an IPad app that creates fonts from handwriting. She just whipped out A-Z and I saved it to my computer. Since the Silhouette automatically imports all the fonts on my computer into the Design Software, Bonnie's Handwriting was right there, ready to use!

Silhouette Cameo Cutter

I cut the words apart so that I would be able to place them exactly as I wanted them on the picture.

Vinyl Wall Clings with the Silhouette Cameo Cutter

When transferring a vinyl decal, the first step is to place a piece of vinyl transfer paper over the top of the design. The red grid lines make it easy to keep things nice and straight. (First photo.) Simply peel it off it's backing, place it over the vinyl lettering and rub to transfer the letters to the grid transfer sheet. (Middle photo.) Peel up the transfer sheet and it's ready to set in place. (Third photo.)

Vinyl Wall Decals with the Silhouette Cameo Cutter

Place the transfer sheet in position and rub to transfer the lettering to the surface. It's as easy as that! And did you know that Bonnie also designs files for Silhouette? Check them out here! They coordinate with her fabric lines, but can be used for anything you can dream up! I have another DIY project in my head using one of her designs, so I'll be sure to share that with you soon!

And after it's all said and done, I love my wool carpet!

Organic wool carpeting

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing (or cutting) and God bless! Maxie

Sewing for A Baby Girl

You probably know already that I'm the happy Mimi of a little 2 year old boy named Bear, and you also probably know that he has a little sister named Ollie Doe. Bear affectionately calls her "Ah-ee Doe". I love how they already love each other.

Bear and Ollie Doe

When my daughters were small I enjoyed smocking and heirloom sewing, so I thought I'd try my hand at something a little modern with a touch of the old fashioned.

Smocking Bonnie Christine's Fabric

This little top is made from Bonnie Christine's latest line, Forest Floor, for Art Gallery Fabrics. We've been working on projects for the Lookbook that will accompany the line's release, and I thought I'd share a little peek with you today.

Getting ready to pleat the fabric.

The first thing to do was to find a pattern that would give me a place to insert the smocking. Kwik Sew 3689 fit the bill with a center gathered front section, just below the yoke. I cut that part of the pattern, adding a couple more inches at the fold to allow for a little fuller panel.

Smocking Stitches
Inserting piping

The piping, made from bias strips, is applied between the seams. I have two presser feet that help to make the piping smooth and perfect. In the above photo, left, I am using the Mini Piping Foot, which has a small tunnel under the foot that rides over the cord inside the piping. Moving the needle into a position that will sew just one thread closer to the cord will make that piping thread (shown with white thread) invisible.

The photo on the right shows my preferred way to attach the two panels. The normal technique is to sandwich the piping between the two panels placed right sides together and sew, hoping to sew at just the precise place that won't be too close or too far away from the piping. Instead, I sew the piping to one panel (which is what is happening in the left photo) and press the seam allowance to the wrong side, flipping the piping over on the panel's edge. Then I just lay the piped panel over the seam allowance of the piece it will be sewn to, pin in place and stitch in the ditch, catching the seam allowance of the unpiped panel in the process. I use the Edge Joining Foot for this technique, and it really is very helpful when sewing piped fabric to gathers or smocking because I am working from the top side and all fabrics are visible.

Photo by Callie Lynch Photography

I think Ollie Doe likes it! For more pictures, just watch for Art Gallery Fabrics' Look Book link here soon!

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless! Maxie

My Turn on Bonnie Christine's Succulence Blog Tour!

My day is here! I'm happy to, once again, participate in one of Bonnie's blog tours for her fabrics. This tour features her most current line for Art Gallery Fabrics, Succulence. You'll find all Bonnie's fabrics, including these, available with free shipping at my quilt shop, A Stitch in Time! And, did you know that I'm blessed to be Bonnie's mother?

Bonnie Christine's Succulence Blog Tour

I love the colors and prints in this line so much that I decided to use it to check off one of the quilts on my bucket list! I have wanted to make a Winding Ways quilt for years, but I just couldn't make myself take the time to do all the precise curved cutting. Hmmm...I do have an AccuQuilt machine, and to my delight I found that they make the Winding Ways die! Oh heaven. AccuQuilt recommends cutting six layers in one pass, but I found that the fine pima cotton that Art Gallery produces allowed me to cut eight! (I can cut at least 9 binding strips in one pass, too, using the 2 1/2" strip die!)

Cutting the Winding Ways Quilt with the Accuquilt

For the AccuQuilt machine, I cut 10" strips, width of fabric, and found that folding them in half fit perfectly on the die. I layered two dark fabrics and two light fabrics, yielding 4 blocks in about 30 seconds! Some people ask me, "Do you waste fabric with the AccuQuilt?" My answer is, "Maybe a little...but I don't waste any time!" And each piece is cut perfectly, with notches for matching together.

This quilt block is 100% curved piecing. Wait! don't leave me! I promise it's easy and I made a short video to show you how easy it is. Click here to view it.

Winding Ways Quilt. Succulence Fabrics by Bonnie Christine forArt Gallery Fabrics

The magic happens in this quilt by making two versions of the same block: a dark center with light corners, and a light center with dark corners. The effect is quite entertaining, to me, because my eyes just won't stay still when I look at it!

Winding Ways for the Succulence Blog Tour
Bonnie Christine's Succulence Blog Tour

I quilted in the ditch to accent the design, and to keep a soft feel. I used one of Bonnie's voile fabrics for the back to make it extra soft!

For now, this one will live on the wall in my sewing room because it just makes me happy...and because it makes me think of Bonnie. Do you have a quilt on your bucket list?

Maxie Makes Sewing Studio

Be sure to visit yesterday's post by Ali Brorsen and see her beautifully sewn projects and her angelic model. Tomorrow's stop is Michelle Cain at From Bolt to Beauty.  See the full lineup, and read more about the blog hop on Bonnie Christine's blog, Going Home to Roost.

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless. Maxie

DIY Ottoman Makeover!

So...we moved into our new loft apartment this week! It's been a long 2 years in the renovation, but we are finally just about finished. My sewing space was the first thing to be finished, because I record the Maxie Makes videos there. You can read all about how my daughter, Bonnie and I made that space into my little corner of the world.

But, after it was all said and done, I hated my ottoman. Ugh. (That's short for ugly.) Agree?

Slipcovering an ugly ottoman.

Transformation complete!

Slipcovering an ottoman.
Shabby Chic Slipcovered Ottoman

How? With a little bit of simple canvas, pom pom trim and elastic! I made a two piece slipcover. Here's how:


  1. About 3 yards 58" wide cotton canvas ( will shrink...and most likely, it will wrinkle so much that it can't be ironed out, which I adored)
  2. Enough pom pom trim for the perimeter of the ottoman.
  3. Enough 1/2" elastic for the perimeter, plus an additional yard for tying.
  • I measured the top length and width of my ottoman. I also measured the depth of the drop I wanted, which I decided to be 6 1/2" before hemming. I cut a rectangle the measurement of the top with 6 1/2" added on all four sides.
  • I measured for the skirt, planning to let the bottom edge ravel and not hem it. If, however, you want to hem your skirt, be sure to include that in your measurement. My ottoman has two sections attached to each other at the middle area. This middle allowed me to sandwich the top of the ruffle between the top and bottom section, nestling it in the crease. I measured the bottom section and added about 1" to tuck inside the crease between the two sections. If you work with an ottoman that doesn't have this option, you could use velcro attached to the ottoman and the top of the ruffle.) I tore 4 canvas pieces, width of fabric. Because I gathered the skirt with elastic, I didn't fuss too much with how much fabric to gather; I just knew I wanted lots of gathers, and four sections would give me a little more than twice the measurement of the perimeter.
  • Next, I boxed the corners of the top by cutting away a 6 1/2" square from each corner and stitching those cut edges together. Using a zipper foot, I attached the pom pom trim to the edge by stitching it to the right side, upside down, then flipping the seam allowance to the inside, allowing the pom pom trim to hang down. I also top-stitched the edge to give it a crisp look (first photo below).
  • Because the canvas is thick, I made a casing at the top edge to run the elastic through. For this casing, I cut 2" strips, sewing enough of them together to fit the top edge of the skirt fabric. I pressed the long strip in half, lengthwise, then attached it to the top of the skirt with a serger, (middle photo, above). Serger is optional, but heavenly! I pressed the seam allowance toward the skirt and top-stitched it in place (third photo, above).
  • Using a safety pin attached to the end of the elastic, I fed it through the casing. I allowed about 20" of elastic to extend out both ends of the casing for tying together.
  • Placing the skirt around the mid section, I nestled the casing into the crease and pulled the elastic tight, evening the gathers on all four sides. I tied the ends of elastic together, into a bow so that I can easily remove the skirt for cleaning and trimmed away the excess elastic ends.
  • Last of all, I placed the top section on, snugging the pom pom trim over the mid section to hide the crease where the casing fit. Tip: I placed a double layer of cotton quilt batting on the top of the ottoman to smooth over the existing piping, and I stuffed the top corners with wool batting to completely fill in the corners.

Ugh-ly ottoman: history.

Slipcovered Ottoman

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless!

Succulence Blog Tour is Just Around the Corner!

It's almost here...the Succulence Blog Tour!

Succulence Blog Tour, by Bonnie Christine

16 bloggers share for 16 days their creations with Bonnie Christine's latest line, Succulence for Art Gallery Fabrics! It begins this Friday, January 29 and continues through February 19! All you need to do is check in on Bonnie's blog this Friday for the lineup. Each blogger will link to the previous blogger, as well as the next-in-line blogger, so it's easy to hop from one blog to the next. I love the anticipation each day of visiting the current blogger's website to see where their imagination has taken them. You'll be inspired by creatives from various parts of the world, seeing their interpretation of Bonnie's fabrics in their own projects. Aren't these colors yummy?

Succulence Fabrics by Bonnie Christine

I'll be up on Tuesday, February 16, so be sure to check back here on that day. But for now, here's a sneak peek at where my imagination is taking me:

Succulence Blog Tour Project by Maxie Makes
Succulence Fabrics Line by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless, Maxie