Machine Embroidering on Hard to Hoop Items!

Hooping your items for machine embroidery can be one of the biggest challenges embroiderers face. There all types of stabilizers to help us, including adhesive, fusible, water activated glue, and more, yet my favorite stabilizer remains a 'crispy' tear away with no adhesive at all. I found the best answer is to simply baste the item to the stabilizer and then hoop it as usual. For example, our local Platoons were in need of gear tags for their troops, and two of my friends and I wanted to help. We needed about 150 gear tags, so we searched out a tactical supply source, divided the names and tags and got busy.

I found the easiest way to hoop these small tags (they are about 8" x 2") was to carefully draw a grid on a stabilizer sized for my hoop, with a line down the side of the length (to help me keep things straight) and perpendicular lines for each tag to be basted to.

Embroidering Gear Tags

The next step was to lay each tag on the grid and baste in place. All ready to hoop and embroider!

Gear Tags Stitching

A topper stabilizer kept the stitches from burying into the tags, so I just taped it in place on top of the hoop. I used my camera on my Baby Lock Destiny to load all the names at one time and let them all stitch. If you don't have a camera, it's pretty easy to center and place the names independently on each tag because the grid lines kept all the tags nice and straight in the hoop!

So, things that are practically impossible to hoop can always be stitched to tear away stabilizer and hooped very easily! (Shirt collars, cuffs, socks, etc.!) What hard-to-hoop thing can you embroider today?

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless! Maxie

Maxie Mail October Reveal!

Are you ready? Spoiler alert: If you want to be surprised when your October Maxie Mail Box arrives, don't watch the reveal video below!! And remember, the deadline to receive October's box is tomorrow, October 20. Subscriptions received after tomorrow will receive November's box!

As promised, I'm sharing October's contents prior to shipment so that all can see the value included in each box. We are starting off with a small project, but the box is packed with great notions and information in the tutorial inside the Member's Only page. This month's project will teach (among other things!) mitering a 120° angle, and perfect machine stitched binding! I think you'll love it!

If you haven't subscribed, please join us! Here is an excerpt from Bonnie Christine's (my daughter's) current blog post, and I couldn't have said it better myself:

What's special about this sewing box? I'm so glad you asked!

  • The purpose of the box is to help you be successful in your sewing room. No more UFPs (unfinished projects), no more frustrations in trying to figure out a project. Can I get an amen?
  • By working through each box, you'll be growing your sewing skill set. Each month you'll learn a new technique that you'll be able to use for projects for the rest of your sewing life!
  • Subscribers will get access to a member's only portal where they'll find exclusive content to support that month's box each and every month. Think patterns, video tutorials and more!
  • Projects will use an assortment of modern fabrics exclusively from Art Gallery Fabrics, the highest quality pima cotton in the industry.
  • Each project box will include helpful tools, notions and a special treat just for you.
  • Boxes make great gifts and a fun opportunity to host a ladies sewing night each month!

Click here to subscribe!

I hope we will be stitching together soon! Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and blessings in your sewing room.

Maxie

Maxie Mail October Deadline

I'm so excited I can hardly breathe! The response to my Maxie Mail Subscription Sewing Box has been fairly overwhelming! I can't tell you what this community of sewing enthusiasts does for me, and to be able to share the thing that brings therapy and creative expression to my life is a dream come true. In fact, this particular dream has been a while in my thoughts and I'm glad its time has come! Here is a short video sharing my goals for what this sewing box can do for you:

The deadline to sign up to receive the October box is tomorrow, October 20! Subscriptions received after the 20th will receive November's box. So sign up and let's sew together!

Thank you for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless!

Maxie

 

Maxie Mail Subscription Sewing Box is Here!

You probably know how passionate I am about sewing, and even more so about sharing that love of sewing and the benefits it brings, not only to our souls, but to those that we love. I understand what expressing this inspiration does for us, and that we are fulfilling an innate need to create when we work with our hands. So this project comes from an anticipated plan to share with you in such a way that will nurture that creativity inside you and help build skills that will give you the confidence to tackle anything your sewing heart desires!

Maxie Mail Subscription Sewing Box.jpg

Maxie Mail is a subscription box for sewists that comes right to your door every month, filled to the brim with happiness that will include fabrics, patterns, new ideas and tools to help you be successful in your sewing room. But perhaps most importantly, my motivation for this box is to sweeten your skills month to month, growing your knowledge and self assurance! There will even be something personal tucked inside, just to celebrate you! And if you subscribe before October 16, I’ll include one of my favorite notions in your box!

What's in the box? Having owned a quilt shop for over 12 years, I know the value of having the best fabric, quality tools and notions, well composed patterns and, of course, good instruction through either written or video tutorials. My box is packed with all of the above, and will include a password to the "Members Only" section where you'll find even more information, available exclusively to subscribers! Hop on over to the Maxie Mail Subscription Box page to read more about it and get started! It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Let's celebrate YOU! You get a value-packed surprise once a month, filled with something wonderful, easy enough for beginners yet sophisticated enough for the more experienced.

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless! Maxie

Another Go-around with the Honey Pot Quilt Kits!

I'm so happy to say that I have restocked my supply of Honey Pot Quilt Kits! And the best part of this kit is that it's completely pre-cut for you with my Accuquilt die cutting machine! Hexagons aren't all that fun to cut out, and when you need 257 of them, pre-cut is the only way to go, right?  And another wonderful thing about this quilt is that there are no blocks to piece! I love one-patch quilts for that reason. There is even a video tutorial to help you along the way, in which I share my very easy, fail-proof method of sewing "Y" seams! You can view my video in my original blog post.

The photo below shows the pattern front in the Spring version of Bonnie Christine's fabric line, "Sweet as Honey". Since most of those fabrics are unavailable, I have made two color choices from the "Autumn Harvest" colors in that line, and from her newer line, "Forest Floor".  And those hexie edges are not bound with traditional binding; they are faced with backing fabric for a smooth, easy finish!

The Honey Pot Quilt featuring Bonnie Christine's Fabrics

Pretty fabrics = pretty quilt! Don't be afraid to try "Y" seams! Hop on over to my video and check it out!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless!

Maxie

Wonderful Things Blog Tour!

Here am I, coming up on the last day of Bonnie Christine's wonderful blog hop tour for her new line, "Wonderful Things", for Art Gallery Fabrics. This has been one of my very favorite lines (that's a lie, they are all favorites, but as I can't choose a favorite between Bonnie and my other daughter, Becky, I can't choose a favorite fabric either). I do, however, love the bright colors that she included in this line, stepping slightly away from some of her beloved soft hues we've all come to associate with her style, so evident on her blog.

Wonderful Things Blog Hop Tour

So, for my tour stop I decided to share a favorite wallet pattern with you. I've made more of these sweet little clutches than I can count because they perfectly meet my needs for what I require in a wallet/purse...a place for cards, money, coins, lipstick, a cell phone and more! And I suppose one of the most appealing things about this pattern is that it's so very easy to make!

SewSweetnessWallet.jpg

The Prima Diva Wallet, by Sew Many Creations is not only beautiful, but one of the most functional wallets you'll ever own. The outside can be trimmed with ribbons, (as shown above using Bonnie Christine's ribbons for Renaissance Ribbons) or in any manner you like. I made one of my favorites using Bonnie's canvas for Art Gallery and added no embellishments at all. And you may recall my woven version from this post.

Prima Diva Wallet

Just look at all those pockets! You can't even see the credit card pockets, but they are there, neatly tucked in the center fold.

wallet2.jpg

I love how it falls open

...and stays open! It sits nicely on the checkout counter when I'm shopping. And I love getting all those compliments!

 

 

 

Purchase Bonnie's fabrics at a number of online shops or your local shop, including my former quilt shop, A Stitch in Time. Wonderful Things fabrics, offered in cottons, knits, voiles and canvas, in typical Art Gallery quality, are truly wonderful things!

Yesterday's beautiful post was written by Alexis Wright of My Sweet Sunshine. You can see the recap with the full lineup on Bonnie's blog, Going Home to Roost.

Thanks for visiting my stop on the blog tour! Happy sewing and God bless!

Maxie

Presenting the "Hello, Bear Buck Forest" Quilt Kit!

Quilt kits make our lives easy and let us get straight to the fun of sewing! This project was a long time in the making, but today's the day that I can finally say that the "Hello, Bear Buck Forest" quilt kit is ready! The Buck Forest fabric line, designed by my daughter, Bonnie Christine, is now a basic with Art Gallery Fabrics, but it is originally a print from her "Hello, Bear" fabric line. Prompted by my good friend, Linda, I began to think about using Hello, Bear to make Buck Heads and border it all with a Buck Forest print.

Hello, Bear Buck Forest Quilt

The quilt, which is 76" x 84" includes sixteen (16) pre-fused, die cut buck heads, (ready to apply to the background fabrics!), background, sashing, outer border and binding fabrics!

I used Lite Steam-a-Seam2 as the fusible material for each head. This product is re-positionable and very easy to work with. Although touted as "no-sew" on the package, I recommend stitching around each head after fusing in place. To do this, simply drop your feed dogs and work free-motion style with each block individually, before constructing the entire quilt. I recommend a dark thread in the bobbin and top, and I'm loving this whimsical straight stitch, with about 3 rounds to hold everything securely.

Stitching the edges of Buck Forest Blocks

However, I have to share that I found an even easier way to stitch the Buck Heads in place...on my Handi Quilter long arm machine! I simply loaded the completed quilt top without the batting and backing, put dark thread in the bobbin and top, and stitched away!

Stitch Applique´on the Handi Quilter Long Arm!

I may never look at applique´ the same again! I've stitched applique´ on my long arm in the past, but always when loaded with backing and batting, which results in a lot of stitches on the back side of the quilt. Working with only the top loaded prevents any of the these stitches on the back, and allows me to use dark thread in both the bobbin and the top, regardless of my backing fabric color! (This quilt's backing, by the way, is Art Gallery's billowy cotton voile. Soft.)

For the quilting, I chose a free-motion woodgrain design in Superior Thread's clear Monopoly, allowing me to stitch over the Buck Heads without conflicting with the applique´stitches. Straight lines or simple meandering would also be great with that same thread.

So, go ahead, order my kit (here) and whip up a Buck Forest quilt for your own little woodland adventurer!

PS...Want a little back side view of making a quilt kit?

There were so many details to work out in creating this in kit form, and I began with contacting Custom Pro-Dies to make a die that would allow me to cut each buck head accurately and quickly. That required a letter of permission to the die company from Bonnie Christine before they would even agree to make the die. That's right. Bonnie gave me exclusive rights because I gave birth to her.

Even before the die was ordered the quilt and yardage had to be determined. I work in Electric Quilt, so I downloaded Bonnie's fabrics into the program so that I could use the actual fabrics I wanted for the quilt. As soon as the die arrived I began the sample. I fused Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 on the back side of every buck fabric prior to running it through the die-cut machine. The machine will handle about 3 layers, so that required about 5-6 passes to cut sixteen Buck Heads.

After all the Buck Heads were ready, I cut the background fabrics to size and fused the heads in place. I use a steam press in my studio, which makes all the fusing more efficient and it results in a good, strong bond. This is how the rest went:

  • Make the quilt top.
  • Write a rough draft of the pattern as I sew.
  • Stitch the applique´ on my HandiQuilter long arm machine.
  • Reload the quilt with batting and backing. Quilting time!
  • Bind the quilt.
  • Photograph the quilt for the pattern. (This involved a trip to the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC!)
  • Edit photos.
  • Figure fabrics for X number of quilts and place an order with Art Gallery Fabrics.
  • Order a boat load of Lite Steam a Seam2.
  • Cut Buck Head fabrics and Steam a Seam to size for each block, 16 per quilt kit.
  • Fuse Steam a Seam to each fabric, one by one.
  • Run fabrics through die-cut machine.
  • Cut fabrics for background blocks, sashing, outer border and binding.
  • Prepare final draft of pattern and order copies.
  • Assemble and package quilt kits.
  • Begin dreaming about the next quilt I'll make...

Happy Sewing! Thanks for visiting! God bless, Maxie

Lambkin Goes To Spring Quilt Market!

It's that time again...Spring Quilt Market with all the preparations and excitement for new fabric lines, notions and products! I always anticipate Bonnie's new fabric lines and have the unique opportunity to get my hands on them before they hit the stores! I'm excited to share two little quilts made from the line, with a video, (below) sharing a few of my favorite sewing features on my machine.

Little Lambkin loves it!

Bonnie's newest line, Lambkin, will be released by Art Gallery Fabrics in August, 2017, and it's justifiably as sweet as all her previous lines!

Lambkin Fabric by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics
Both Quilts.jpg

Both quilts are made using the new pattern, Orange Blossom, from Plum Easy Patterns by Bethany Miller. The petals are not fused in place, but sewn! Don't leave, please, I promise this is easy and that you'll love the technique Bethany uses! (I'll link to Bethany's video tutorial at the end of this post!)

Bethany uses freezer paper templates for perfect curved edges and seams. Her pattern is also layer-cake friendly for a scrappy look.

Orange Blossom Quilt by Plum Easy Designs

Let me share with you three of my favorite sewing features on Baby Lock's Destiny sewing machine (These features are available on several other Baby Lock models as well!)

Orange Blossom Blocks ready for assembly!
Orange Blossom by Plum Easy Patterns, made with Lambkin fabrics by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics

To view Bethany Miller's video tutorial for Orange Blossom Quilts click here! Thanks for visiting today! Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

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.

Applique´Monogram

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!

Maxie

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 instructions...so, 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 away...so 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.

Bear

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 project...one 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!

Weaving

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.

PrimaDivaFront1.jpg

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 maxiemakes.com

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