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Warp & Weft Sewing Society: Lotta Jansdotter Challenge – Spring Market Totes {+ a giveaway!}

2014 April 22

I’m so excited to be part of the Warp & Weft Sewing Society’s first ever blog hop this week! We were all given a 6 fat quarter bundle of Lotta Jansdotter’s new (gorgeous!) collections Mormor and Sylvia. The challenge was to make something that celebrates Spring. You can get your hands on some of this amazing fabric by entering the giveaway at the end of this post – 12 Fat Quarters of Lotta Jansdotter goodness!

I had so many ideas for this challenge, most involving quilts – but, since many of the other Sewing Society members are talented quilters I supposed I should choose something else! In the end I decided a new spring tote bag was the way to go – because you can never have too many bags! The bright, springy bundle Esmari expertly mixed for me is so light and happy, that I decided to share and make 3 totes. A Mommy and Daughters trio! (This post was getting a bit long, so the Spring Market Tote tutorial is coming up tomorrow!)

I wanted to make something striped that could feature each of the prints in my fat quarter bundle and was inspired by the beachy rope handled totes I was seeing online. It was great when the prints came together into a tote that is a bit more formal – perfect for shopping! The large size makes a very roomy bag, and I tried to duplicate that by making the girls’ mini totes oversized as well. They were able to fit all of their (self chosen) shopping necessities with them. It was fun to see them excited to feel “all grown up” with their own matching totes!

I had fun trying to find rope that I liked in an appropriate thickness for the totes. With my pre-made options exhausted, I bought some braided cotton at the hardware store and made my own rope! A 4-strand round braid is actually very simple to make and I’m really happy with how it looks. The grommets are fun even though it was momentarily terrifying to cut holes for them in my perfect “finished” bag!  They turned out so well I think I’ll have to do it again!

The tote is made with a quilt-as-you-go technique so the outer comes together really quickly.  Inspired by my Noodlehead Cargo Duffle I layered quilting cotton, low loft batting and canvas. It holds it’s shape really well, and the interfaced reinforcement strip at the top of the bag folds over to easily install the lining. There is a small pleat on the ends of each oval base, making it simple to fit the outer perfectly to the circumference of the base. And I love how it gives the Spring Market Tote a little more shape.

I would like to thank Esmari especially for choosing the perfect bundle for me! The Slate Blomster is my favorite print in the Mormor collection, my oldest loves pink, and my youngest’s favorite colour is green – so the emerald was perfect for her. Win-win all around. I split up the girls’ totes to accent their favorite colours, while mine includes all of them together – lucky me!

You can win 12 Fat Quarters from Lotta Jansdotter’s latest collections, Mormor and Sylvia! In order to enter this Giveaway please follow the Rafflecopter instructions in the widget below and leave a comment on this post. You can obtain 7 entries in total by leaving a comment on each participating blogger’s Lotta Jansdotter Challenge post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m second on the blog hop this week – be sure to check out the kick-off post! The quilt Esmari posted yesterday on the Warp & Weft blog is gorgeous. The fabrics look amazing on a white background with the coloured thread she chose. Carla is coming up tomorrow and her work is impeccable, I’m so excited to see what she’s going to post!

Esmari – Warp & Weft:  April 21 ** blog kick-off yesterday!
Sherri – Thread Riding Hood:  April 22
Carla – My ½ Dozen Daily:  April 23 ** tomorrow’s post!
Shannon  - The Finished Garment:  April 24
Cathy – Blueberry Patch:  April 25
Cynthia – cynthiaf:  April 26
Lysa – Lysa Flower:  April 27

Winner to be announced here on the Rafflecopter widget:  April 28th 

I hope you like the totes and come back to check out the tutorial! It’s really simple in its construction – and if you want to get some Lotta to make your own you can find it at the Warp & Weft shop - I know you need a new Spring Tote! Be sure to get all of your entries in by following the blog hop around, I’ll see you at Carla’s tomorrow!

** Please note: This is a sponsored post and the fabric was provided to me at no cost by Warp & Weft. However, as always, all opinions are my own and I will never promote something to you that I do not love myself. **

What’s going on?! {+ a new Pinterest board}

2014 April 17

In lieu of a quiet book post tutorial today, I thought I would start something new! I’ve noticed quite a few events happening in blogland. Seems everyone is collaborating with each other to create more and more sewing contests, sew-alongs and sales. Things like Project Run and Play and Kids Clothes Week are great places to collaborate and sew “together” with other like-minded individuals!

As I added them to my paper calendar I thought that there should be a better way to keep track of the many opportunities there are available. Not to mention the giveaways, link-ups and contests that go along with them. So, I did what every other like-minded individual is doing when keeping track of the interweb, I started a new Pinterest board of course! The “Sewing Events” Pinterest board will contain all of the events I run across as I get to them, and I will do my best to keep it updated properly. Here are just a few things that are already happening or coming up…

Elegance & Elephants
Elegance and Elephants is hosting a new series where you sew something for your kids. The catch is that they pick the fabric, outfit and accessories! I’d love to see what my girls would come up with, so I’m hoping to play along. You can link up your projects from May 1st to 9th. There are even 3 prizes to be awarded on May 11th.

The Spring Top Sewalong has been going since 2009. The concept is that you sew something for yourself for spring, because you need a few new things to brighten up your wardrobe right?! Link up your photos in the provided Flickr pool, and could be featured on Rae’s blog as well. The Spring Top Sewalong started this Monday (14th) and will finish up on May 11th.

Need an excuse to sew for yourself? I know I always get caught up in sewing for my kids and my projects get put on the back burner. Here’s your permission to sew for yourself. Selfish Sewing Week happens from April 28th – May 3rd. Conveniently right in the middle of the Spring Top Sewalong, so you can enter both at the same time. Sounds good to me!

This one is my favorite of them all! The Sew Fab Pattern Sale is an amazing deal if you like to sew for kids and for yourself. The sale happens twice a year – the spring bundle this year starts May 5th and only lasts 1 week! I bought the Spring and Fall patterns last year and they are not to be missed. The sale is comprised of many indie designers’ patterns at a deeply discounted price. I can’t wait to see what is in this spring’s bundle!

What are you participating in? Let me know and I’ll see if I can add it to the Pinterest board. The more events the better!

Made by Me Monday – not-so Skinny Jeans! {+ pocket hem mini-tutorial}

2014 April 15

Well, I managed to get 2 things finished for Kids Clothes Week. 1 Pair of Jeans and a dress. Argh! I felt a bit like I was wandering around in slow motion last week. But – they are finished and I’ve started on the second Easter dress. So we are getting somewhere!

I have wanted to make my youngest some jeans for a while. She wants to “match mommy” but her proportions make it hard to find a properly fitting store-bought pair. So I thought I’d give the PeekABoo Patterns Skinny Jeans (affiliate link*) a shot. I’ve had this pattern since the Sew Fab Fall Pattern Bundle, so it was nice to have it on hand when my daughter started asking! This is also the main reason they have a “random” green button on the fly. Everything she loves must have green on it!

The details and instructions in this pattern are great. It went together well and the top-stitching and mini-pockets are so cute. It even includes instructions for using button elastic for an adjustable fit. I used some stretch denim that I already had on my shelf – destashing, hooray! I added pockets in an embroidered denim that I bought on a deep sale a few years ago. I have no idea what I will ever use the rest of the embroidered denim for – there’s about 2 metres of it and it’s super flowery. Thankfully it looks great in small doses!

When I sized the jeans I was torn about how to go about making them. My daughter has a size 4 leg length and a size 6 or so hip/thigh. In the end I decided to make a size 6 and re-work the next pair. I’m glad I did. Otherwise I would be so disappointed! They are pretty big on her – so the back elastic gathers quite a bit, and the rise is a bit high at the front. I know it was a lot of work to top-stitch everything and finish it properly, but I didn’t want to make a muslin, so here we are!

I think the next time around I will make a size 4 with a bit lower front rise and bit higher back rise. I tried them on my six year old (who flat out refuses to wear jeans – no help there!) and the rise fit really well – so it is definitely not a pattern problem.

The only thing I changed was the method for hemming the back and mini pockets. I much prefer to turn the top edge of the pocket rather than fold it under twice and hem it. The edges turn out a bit cleaner. Here’s how I finished my pockets:

  1. Fold the hem to the wrong side by 1/4″. Fold the hem to the right side by 1/2″. Stitch around the sides and bottom of the pocket with a 1/4″ seam – to attach the top hem and mark the fold lines for the rest of the pocket. Clip the top edges of the pocket to remove bulk before turning.
  2.  Turn the top of the pocket inside out and press. Turn and press the sides and bottom edges to the wrong side following the seam lines you made. Finish the pockets, hemming the top edge and stitching the others as indicated.


Overall I’m happy with the little details on the pants. The pattern includes super tiny cute belt loops as well, but when I made the pants too big I decided not to spend the time stitching them on. Either way – my youngest was quite upset that I even tried to get my oldest to wear them as capris instead and has now claimed all rights to them. We will have a bit of a saggy bum when she wears them unless I decide to take off and redo the rise and waistband. It’s almost worth it, but I think I’d rather start over. What would you do?

If you want to get the pattern you can find it here: PeekABoo Pattern Shop Skinny Jeans (affiliate link*). Thanks!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I receive financial compensation for any sales made through these links. I bought this pattern and made the jeans before I found out there was the possibility of compensation for the affiliate link. 

Quiet Book Sew-Along: Pocket Photo Album Page – Tutorial {week 7}

2014 April 13

Oh, I’m so behind this week with everything due to my wanting to sew for Kids Clothes Week last week – and I don’t even have much to show for it yet! I think I will be posting some of what I made this week. Today, though, I am posting the tutorial for the first option of two Mini Photo Album pages. Before you begin, get the shopping list for these photo albums and find all of your materials.

You Will Need:

  • small safety pin
  • matching thread
  • glue stick or basting spray
  • washi tape or teflon foot for your machine (used to sew the vinyl)
  • your normal sewing gear, including a ruler, iron and washable fabric marker

Before we begin/Important Notes:

  • When you are sewing this book it is good to remember that some of the edges will be covered after the book is completed and sewn together. 1/2″ on the top edge of your page and 3/4″ on each side edge will not show in the final project.
  • Remember to use your iron liberally when you are sewing this book. It is going to be a work of art when you are done! Since it is thick and some of the pages will not be iron-able once you are finished with them it is advisable to take all of the care you can to remove wrinkles so they are not accidentally permanent in your final book.
Here We Go:
  1. Background Prep: (skip this step if you are using a one piece background(a) Lay your 3 background pieces together in the order you would like. Place the top piece on top of the middle piece right sides together. Stitch across the top of these pieces with a 1/4″ seam. Iron the seam open. Place the bottom sky piece right sides together with the middle piece. Stitch across the bottom of these pieces with a 1/4″ seam. Iron your seam open. See photo below for a front and back view of your finished sky. (b) Press the 9″x9″ piece of medium fusible interfacing onto the back of your finished background following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Make the Pocket: (a) Iron the pocket interfacing onto the back of your outer pocket. Press the top of each pocket under by 1/4″. Pin pocket outer and lining right sides together. (b) Stitch around the sides and bottom of the pocket with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leave the top open. Clip the corners and turn the pocket right side out, push out the corners neatly and press. (c) Mark and stitch your top-stitching. Pin and stitch along the top of the pocket to close the opening. (d) Pin the pocket to the centre of the background and top-stitch the sides and bottom edges of the pocket. Set your pocket aside.
  3. Finish the Pocket: (a) Pin your 8″ ribbon  2 1/4″ up from the bottom of the page. Make sure it is centred left-to-right. (b) Stitch the ribbon across the bottom. I used a zig-zag stitch. (c) Pin the pocket over the ribbon in the centre of the page background. (d) Stitch the pocket to the background. Stitch close to each side and bottom edge, leaving the top open.
  4. Album Cover: (a) Apply interfacing to the wrong side of the album outer and lining. (b) Pin outer and lining right sides together. Mark a 2″ opening on one short end. (The opening is between the 2 pins on the right short side in the photo.) (c) Stitch around the album cover with a 1/4″ seam allowance beginning and ending at your opening marks. Clip all corners. (d) Iron down 1/4″ on each side the end with the opening. (e) Glue or use basting spray to place your batting inside of the stitching lines on either end of the album cover. You are placing these on the wrong side of the fabric and interfacing. (f) Turn your cover through the opening, keeping the batting in place. Push out the corners and press the outer flat. Match up the opening and top-stitch around the edge of the cover, this will also close the opening. Stitch to quilt as desired.
  5. Vinyl Pages: (a) Fold each piece of vinyl’s short ends so they almost meet – making the total height of the vinyl piece 3″. Keep them folded by using a piece of masking or washi tape. Do not pin through them because pins will leave a permanent hole in the vinyl. (b) Stitch along the sides of the pocket. The fold is at the bottom, leave the opening at the top un-sewn – this is where you will place your photos. TIP: When stitching over vinyl, it tends to stick to your presser foot making it almost impossible to sew properly. You can use a teflon foot to help the machine to slide over the vinyl. Or you can place a piece of washi tape on the bottom of your presser foot.   (c) Mark the centre of your album cover. Line up all photo pages and pin them to the album centre line at the top as close as you can to the to edge of the vinyl. These holes will be permanent. The fold of the vinyl page will almost line up with the outer edge of the album cover.
  6. Finish the Album: (a) Fold over aprox. 1/4″ at the end of your ribbon. This can be pinned or adhered with a glue stick. (b) Fold your album in half, like a book, with the pages pinned inside. (The two pins sticking out of each side in the photo are holding the vinyl pages.) (c) Fold the ribbon over the centre edge of the album. You should have aprox. 1/2″ on each side of the cover’s fold. (d) Stitch through the cover, aprox. 3/8″ from the folded edge. Stitch between the seam and the folded edge with a zig-zag stitch to add extra-strength. Make sure the stitching has gone through both sides of the ribbon at the fold and that all vinyl pages are secure.
Attach the ribbon tag to the side of your page with a safety pin for safe keeping. Place your photos in the vinyl pockets and you are finished!
You have just finished your third page! Post it on Flickr so we can see it – or check this page for more quiet book sharing ideas – Pretty please? I’d love to see what you are making!


2014 April 12

I’ve been a tad delinquent in posting the winner for the Facebook Giveaway. And the Fabric Spark giveaway ended last Thursday, so now I can post the last two giveaway winners together! Hurray!

Facebook Giveaway Winner

The lucky winner of the Sunny Glasses Case and Walking on Sunshine Bundle was Emily who has actually bought the Sunny Glasses Case license and is selling it in shops around her area! What fun! She writes an interesting blog called Taea Made if you want to check it out.

Fabric Spark – Thread Riding Hood Fat Quarter Bundle Giveaway

The Fabric Spark winner was Deanna who had to enter on her mom’s computer because hers doesn’t like the entry widget. It was totally worth the effort! She will be getting the fat quarter bundle that I was able to curate myself (yay!) and is on sale at Fabric Spark here.

Congratulations to both winners!  

Simple Fat Quarter Skirt {a tutorial}

2014 April 8

I have way too many fat quarters and I don’t quilt (yet!).  I have seen many tutorials for fat quarter skirts, but I hadn’t really found one I was happy with. I love that you can use one fat quarter to make a simple skirt for a very small child, but as they get older the skirt may fit, but it ends up too short. I worked this tutorial out a few weeks ago.  I was teaching my friend’s daughter a bit about her new sewing machine and seeing me teach someone else to sew was enough for my daughter to want to make something herself. The simple two fat quarter skirt was born! It is very easy to sew, so as long as you can stitch a straight line you’ll be fine. This was a good project to do with my daughter (she’s six), though she got a bit tired of finishing all of the seams properly!

Today also has the advantage of being the second day of Kids Clothes Week (sew 1 hour a day for your kids each day this week) and I’m fully ready and on board! I’ve even got my patterns printed and some of the fabric cut. Though I finished these fat quarter skirts on Sunday I think I will post them on the KCW blog anyhow, I also need to stitch up some knit skirts that have been waiting for over a month now, two Easter dresses (very important!) and I am hoping to finish a pair of jeans for my youngest who has been asking to “match Mommy” for quite some time. I don’t think I’ll finish it all in 1 hour a week – so I’m trying to dedicate the whole week to the process instead. Of course there are normal other things going on… ha! Who am I kidding – I’ll likely be lucky to finish one or two of my ideas but hopefully I will surprise myself!

Want to make the skirts? I’ve included all of the steps you need below. The fat quarter skirt has a great contrast band at the bottom, and an easy to sew separate casing. Use non-roll elastic for a more comfortable fit.

Please email me if you have any questions,, and I’ll do my best to help you out. And of course, I’d love to see your creations! You can share your projects on Twitter and Instagram @sherrisylvester with the hashtag #alongforthreadride or #threadridinghood, or post them on the Thread Riding Hood Facebook page. (As usual, this tutorial is for personal/charitable use only – thanks!)

To Sew this (check below for sizing information), you will need:
  • 2 fat quarters (18″x22″, pre-washed and ironed)
  • 3/4″ elastic (non-roll recommended, length 1″ longer than your child’s waist measurement)
  • matching thread
  • safety pin
  • measurements as per instructions below
  • your normal sewing supplies
Before you begin:
  • Measurements needed: 1) Your child’s waist measurement, 2) The desired length of the skirt – measure from the waist down to the desired length.
  • Will this skirt fit my child? This tutorial uses 2 fat quarters – 22″ wide by 18″ high (after they are pre-washed). Measure around your child’s waist and then their hips. If the separate measurements are both between 15″ and 27″ this tutorial should work to fit your child. If the hips are slightly larger you should be fine as well, the fullness and loose fit of the skirt allow for some extra room. Also check the desired length of the skirt – the longest you can make this (when working with two fat quarters) is about 11.5″.
  • My child is too small, what should I do? The main reason this may not fit is the width of the fabric. If your child is very small, and the width is more than triple their waist measurement, the fabric will become bulky in the casing area making it impossible to gather it small enough to fit your child. Instead of using the full width of the fat quarter, use a width that equals the waist measurement of your child. (ex. Waist = 18″, use two 18″ wide pieces of fabric as indicated when cutting)
  • My child is too large, what should I do? You will need to account for the extra fabric needed and ignore the cutting instructions. The main instructions will work fine once you have your pieces cut. Your main skirt should be as wide as your child’s waist measurement (use two pieces as indicated in the cutting directions). The contrast band can be any height you’d like, so: double the desired height and add 1/2″ for seam allowances. The width of the casing (which is always 2″ high) and contrast band are the same as the main skirt width.
Here we go – Cutting your fabric:
  1. Casing Height: The casing pieces will always be 2″ high so the 3/4″ elastic will fit through them. Cut two pieces from your contrast band/casing fat quarter that are 2″ high.
  2. Contrast Band: You now have a fat quarter that is approximately 14″ high by 22″ wide. You need to get two contrast bands from this piece. To calculate how high you would like the contrast band, double the desired height and add 1/2″ for seam allowances. Example: If the desired contrast band height is 3″ – double that to get 6″ and add 1/2″ for seam allowances. This gives you a contrast band height of 6 1/2″. You need two bands, so the total fabric height needed is 13″. This will fit within the 14″ of fabric you have left after cutting the casings. If it does not fit, choose a smaller contrast band height – when working with a fat quarter, the height of the contrast band fabric pieces cannot exceed 7″.  I cut my 6 year old’s contrast band at 5 1/2″ (for a 2 1/2″ desired height) and my almost 4 year old’s at 4 1/2″ (for a 2″ desired height). 
  3. Main Skirt: Find the desired length of your skirt (“Before you begin, Measurements needed” above) and subtract the desired contrast band height. Add 1/2″ to this height to account for seam allowances. You will need two main skirt pieces. Example: If the desired skirt length is 9″, and the contrast band height is 2″, the skirt length will need to be 7″. Add 1/2″ for seam allowances to get a main skirt height of 7 1/2″. You will need two main skirt pieces, so the total height needed is 15″. This will fit within the 18″ fat quarter height. If it does not fit, choose a shorter skirt length – when working with a fat quarter, the height of the main skirt cannot exceed 9″. I cut my 6 year old’s main skirt at 9″ and my almost 4 year old’s at 8″. 
Here we go – Sewing the skirt:
  1. Prepare the casing, main skirt & contrast band:(a) Place each matching fabric piece right sides together. Pin the short ends. (b) Stitch with a 1/4″ seam. (c) Finish the seam allowance with pinking shears or a zig-zag stitch. Press the seam open or to one side. You will now have 3 tubes of fabric. 
  2. Prepare the contrast band: Fold the tube sides in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together, matching raw edges. You will have a large tube with right sides showing on both sides, one folded edge and one raw edge.
  3. Add the contrast band hem: (a) Place the contrast band tube over the bottom of the main skirt matching the seams and raw edges. Pin. (b) Stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Finish the edges with pinking shears or a zig-zag stitch. (c) Press the seam up towards the main skirt. Top-stitch along the bottom of the main skirt aprox. 1/8″ away from the edge of the contrast band.
  4. Add the casing: (a) Place the casing tube over the top of the main skirt matching the seams and raw edges. Pin. (b) Stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance. (c) Iron the casing up from the main skirt. Iron the raw edge of the casing under 1/4″ all around. (d) Fold the casing over at the seam line around the main skirt top edge. Press well. (e) Pin the bottom edge of the casing. Mark a 2″ opening along the casing bottom, I like to use 2 pins to indicate the ends of my opening. (f) Stitch around the bottom of the casing about 1/8″ away from the bottom edge. Begin and end on either side of your marked opening.
  5. Insert the Elastic: (a) Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic. Use the safety pin to thread the 3/4″ wide elastic through the casing. (b) Use a safety pin to secure the elastic and try it on your child if possible to check the size. Cut to size, leaving 1/2″ for seam allowances. (c) Overlap the ends of the elastic by 1/2″ and pin. Stitch over the overlapped area with a zig-zag stitch to secure. (d) Pin and stitch the casing opening closed.
  6. Finishing the Skirt: (a) Even out the elastic through the casing so the gathering is relatively equal. (b) Pin through the elastic and casing at each side seam. (c) Stitch from the top to the bottom of the casing along the seam line (stitch in the ditch). This will secure the elastic and help prevent it from rolling.

All done! I hope the little person who gets this skirt is super happy. They are great for twirling (just a hint!).

Sewing Survey Saturday #12

2014 April 5

Last Survey’s Results:

Two weeks ago I wanted to know about your scissors. I am here to report that I am completely and totally jealous of the poll winners – those of you who own Ginghers – Lucky you! Second in the popularity lineup are rotary cutters, and the makes vary greatly from there. Turns out a lot of you who commented however, including someone who works at a large retail-chain, use Fiskars. Makes me feel not so bad to use them as well!

My conclusion to the dilemma “To buy or not to buy shears”? I think I have concluded “not” for now. But in the future, should a little extra funding come in I would definitely splurge for some Ginghers! (Note to any family members buying gifts in the future perhaps?! Hee, Hee.)

This Week’s Question:

This photo was taken last Friday night in my dining room when I was waiting for everyone to arrive for our monthly Sewcial. Today I am curious about how often you get together with others to sew. I started a group last year and we get together on the 4th Friday night of every month. It is very informal, and we bring whatever project we are working on and squeeze into my living/dining room area to sew. Mostly I find I don’t accomplish much because we are chatting so much!

What do you do? How often do you get together with others to sew? Is it just you and one other person, or are you part of a Guild, if so – which one? (Want your sewing project or blog featured on Sewing Survey Saturday? It’s easy! Find out how at the bottom of this post!)

How to get your Sewing Project or Blog featured on Sewing Survey Saturday: Send an email to that includes your sewing related multiple choice question, your name and where you live (if you’d like it included). Please send your question with 3 to 5 multiple choice answers. Also send your blog information including which post you’d like me to link up to if you are featured! If you do not blog I would love to post a photo of one of your recent projects, so please send it along with your question. (Note: I may also feature a photo from your blog post (if applicable), if you do not want a linked photo please let me know in your email.)

Fabric Spark – a Canadian Online Fabric Store {+ a giveaway!}

2014 April 4

Welcome to an Online Fabric Store post with a giveaway today! I get to introduce you to the 7th Canadian Online Fabric Store in our series - Fabric Spark, located in Toronto, Ontario. Since I’ve been collecting online fabric shops on Pinterest, I’ve had quite a few contact me and ask to be added to the list. Daryl’s shop opened just recently and already she has an extensive and beautiful collection!

Daryl worked in advertising and marketing for 30 years before she sold her business and took a year to “live creatively” in 2013. The name of her store comes from a desire for every fabric she chooses to spark your imagination – to get you thinking about what you could create with it! I’ll let her tell you a bit more about her background…

“I’m from a large family of do-it-yourselfers. They’re all really creative and we are great cheerleaders for each other’s work. We do a few group projects too. Last year we were dying fabric at the cottage and all of us had purple hands for a few days.

I’ve been sewing since Miss Fair taught me how to straighten the grain in Grade 7. I’m sure she didn’t predict that I would stick with it, but I’ve always loved fabric and have an embarrassingly large personal stash. I buy fabric when I travel and people buy me fabric as gifts. I’m especially fond of Indian textiles, I have a few saris that I treasure.”

When Daryl contacted me, she wanted to know if I would like to curate my own fat quarter bundle for her shop. Would I? Ummm… ya! So, without further ado – here is the Thread Riding Hood Fat Quarter Bundle currently available for sale at Fabric Spark! (Eeeekkk!) I’m so excited to have been able to choose from Daryl’s amazing selection. I still have the page I printed out with over 35 fabrics to add to my “must have” list!

Thread Riding Hood: What inspired you to start Fabric Spark?

Daryl: “I called 2013 my year of living creatively.  I committed to making every gift that year, and in the process, became smitten with this amazing community of creative talent around fabric, quilting and sewing.  They are generous, inventive, funny and enthusiastic makers. I think that collective is what really inspired me.”

Thread Riding Hood: What is your favorite type of sewing project?

Daryl“I think the honest answer is whatever I’m working on in that moment.  I’ve only made a couple of quilts but I loved making them.  With my sisters, I slipcovered all of the old furniture in my little cabin in the woods and loved that.  I love smaller projects like bags and pillows.  I am probably the most chicken around apparel – but I LOVE the Merchant & Mills patterns so I’m being brave and sewing clothes.”

Thread Riding Hood: What is something coming up in the near future that you are especially excited about?

Daryl“I’ll be at Creativ Festival on April 25 and 26.  Fabric Spark will have a booth in the show.  I’m excited and curious to see what that’s like.  I have four sisters helping me who are all incredibly talented makers (sewing, knitting, needlepoint, felting, etc.).  I’m excited about us being there together, though not at the same time…we won’t all fit.”

Daryl is giving away my most favorite fat quarter bundle ever – mine! (hee, hee!) This giveaway is open to all Thread Riding Hood readers, internationally (No one gets left out, hooray!). It will be run from today, April 4th – until Thursday, April 10th at midnight. Enter by filling out as many sections as you wish in the Rafflecopter widget below. More points = more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And just so you have somewhere to start shopping… like you need an excuse?! Here are links to all of the Thread Riding Hood bundle fabrics – pick your favorites and go get ‘em! Of course, they are amazing all together – so you can also get the bundle here.

Note: Fabric Spark is a Thread Riding Hood sponsor and I have received my own fat quarter bundle as part of this post. As usual, I will not post anything that I don’t love myself, and my opinions will always be my own.


Quiet Book Sew-Along: Purse/Pocket Photo Album Page – Materials & Printable Pattern {week 6}

2014 April 3

Ready for the next Quiet Book Sew-Along Page? This week we are gathering materials and cutting out everything we need for the Purse/Pocket Photo Album page. I decided to add a new version of this page because I am trying to create a unisex book. Everyone wears jeans – so a little jean pocket seemed the best way to go! Next week will cover making the Pocket with the mini Photo Album and the week after will be the tutorial for making the Purse version.

The mini Photo Album can hold up to 12 photos. Each little vinyl pocket is double-sided and the little square photos are so cute. I filled the new album with pictures of when my girls were little, because babies love looking at other babies! When I made the original quiet book, I put a photo of each relative in the book, so my youngest could learn to recognize their faces. (If you are just starting find all the information you need on this Sew-Along page.)

Shopping List:

I recommend that the background for this page be a quilting cotton weight so it is not too thick later when you stitch the pages together. Make sure to get the materials needed for both versions as well as the materials needed for your chosen page version. The pattern pieces are provided under the materials listing and directions for cutting below that. If you’d like, print out the pattern pieces now so you can cut them out as you go. If you chose to make this book with the cohesive look, you will need to use your cohesive fabric for the background of this page.

Materials needed for both versions:

    1. Click here for the Purse version pattern pieces
    2. Click here for the Pocket version pattern pieces
  2. Page Background
    1. Option 1: 3 piece ombré background – Top & Bottom pieces: 3 1/4″ high x 9″ wide + Middle piece: 3 1/2″ high x 9″ wide
    2. Option 2: 1 piece 9″x9″
  3. Page Interfacing: 1 piece 9″x9″ square, medium weight fusible interfacing (*all interfacing is from your Week 1 shopping list)
  4. Album Outer/Lining: 2 pcs 3.5” x 7”
  5. Album Vinyl: 2 3/4” x 5 3/4”, cut 1 for every 2 photos you have (I used 12 gauge, 8 gauge would be fine as well)
  6. Album Batting: 2 pcs of low loft batting, 2.75” x 3”
  7. Album Interfacing: 2 pcs 3 1/2” x 7” medium weight fusible interfacing *
  8. Album Photos: 2 1/4″ square
  9. Ribbon: 8″ long to attach the album to the purse/pocket
  10. Ribbon: 3 1/2″ for the side tab

Materials needed for Purse Version Only:

  1. Purse Outer/Lining: 2 pieces, 7 1/2” wide x 6” high
  2. Purse Outer Interfacing: 1 piece, 7 1/2” x 6” – medium weight fusible interfacing *
  3. Ribbon: 1 piece, 7″ – to embellish top edge of purse
  4. Ribbon: 2 pieces, 2″ each – for purse loops
  5. Metal Hoops: 2 pieces, 1″ diameter
  6. Purse Handle: 1 piece 8″ x 2″
  7. Purse Handle Interfacing: 1 piece 8″ x 2″ – medium weight fusible interfacing *

Materials needed for Pocket Materials Only:

  1. Pocket Outer/Lining: 2 pieces, 6 1/2” wide x 7” high
  2. Pocket Outer Interfacing: 1 piece, 6 1/2” x 7” – medium weight fusible interfacing *

Before you begin: 

  • Print out the pattern piece pdf on letter size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 paper. Important: Do not select “fit to page” when printing, make sure you print at the original size. Once you have printed the pages, measure the 1″ test square to ensure the pattern is the correct size.

Cutting Instructions:

  • Pre-wash (if possible, a baby might be chewing on this book!) and iron your fabric well before beginning.
  1. Cut 2 of either the purse or pocket using the printable pattern piece provided in the materials listing.
  2. Cut each piece of fabric, interfacing or ribbon as it is noted in the materials listing.

Your pieces should match the drawings below – check the photo that matches your desired version.

Purse Version

Pocket Version

That’s it for this week. See you next week to put together the pocket version!

Warp & Weft Sewing Society: Storybook – Flutter Sleeve Nightgown {a tutorial to draft & sew}

2014 April 1

When I opened my email a few weeks ago I saw there was a note from Esmari, owner of the online fabric store Warp & Weft. When I read what she had to say I was excited, to say the least – Esmari was asking if I would like to be part of her Sewing Society. Umm… really? The one I obsessively follow around the interweb? Yes, ok, sign me up (like yesterday!). Break for an extended happy dance! Here is an introduction to Warp & Weft and my first Sewing Society reveal, a darling tutorial for a nightgown every little princess would love to wear. (Trust me, I’ve got 2 of them!)

The Warp & Weft Sewing Society centers around some really great bloggers and sewists from across Canada that sew using Esmari’s well-curated stock of fabrics. If you have not visited her shop as yet, you are in for a treat. (I also interviewed her last year.) Esmari has an amazing sense of design and has chosen her fabrics accordingly. When your fabric arrives it looks as amazing as you would want to expect – brown paper packages tied up in string – literally. Gorgeous, and that’s just the packaging!

For my first reveal, I was able to work with Storybook, the latest fabric collection by Kate & Birdie for Moda. This fabric is seriously the softest brushed cotton you can imagine. If it were not for the nightgowns, I would have made a baby quilt with it, front and back – it’s that soft! I used the “Hot Air Balloon”, “Castle”, and “Mistletoe” prints in peach, but Esmari has the more unisex Banana and boy-centred Aqua colourways available as well – making your choice that much harder! (Trust me, you should just buy the bundle!)

Want to make the nightgown? I’ve included all of the steps you need below. This raglan sleeve nightgown has an elasticized neckline to help the little ones with dressing. It also makes it super comfortable and easy to customize for multiple sizes. I was able to use the same size for both of my daughters by only changing the elastic and hem lengths. This tutorial may seem long, but it is not hard, just follow the steps one at a time. I’ve included lots of information and photos so you get a great result!

Please email me if you have any questions,, and I’ll do my best to help you out. And of course, I’d love to see your creations! You can share your projects on Twitter and Instagram @sherrisylvester with the hashtag #alongforthreadride or #threadridinghood, or post them on the Thread Riding Hood Facebook page. (As usual, this tutorial is for personal/charitable use only – thanks!)

To Draft this, you will need:

  • large roll of paper
  • letter size paper
  • pencil/marker for drafting
  • scissors
  • ruler/straight edge
To Sew this (check below for sizing information), you will need:
  • 1 yd/metre for the main fabric & flutter sleeves
  • 1/4 yd/metre for the casing & contrast band (a fat quarter (18″x22″) will work as well)
  • 1/4 – 3/8″ elastic
  • Matching thread
  • Self-drafted pattern piece with sleeve, casing and contrast band measurements (as per instructions below)
  • your normal sewing supplies
Before you begin:
  • Will this draft a pattern piece that will fit my child? This tutorial uses a 1 yd/mtr piece of 42″ wide piece of fabric (after it is pre-washed). Measure around your child’s chest. Due to the loose fit of this gown, if the chest measurement is roughly 18″-27″ this tutorial should work to fit your child. To determine if the gown length will fit within 1 yd/metre, put a well-fitting but not tight tee on your child and measure from the bottom of the armhole to the desired length. If this measurement is not longer than about 26″ everything should fit within 1 yd. Of course, please draft the pattern piece first, and take into account the sleeve, casing and contrast band pieces before purchasing your fabric to avoid disappointment. Also, if the length is too long the child will not be able to walk within the 40″ circle of the gown hem. It is good to double-check this before you begin.
  • This doesn’t fit my child, what should I do? You could use a thinner/wider piece of paper (for ”Drafting the pattern piece: Step 2″) to change the width of the gown to fit a smaller/larger child or even an adult. Take the recipient’s chest measurement and divide it by 4. Double this number and use that as your new paper width measurement. If you are short on fabric, you could probably even get away with only adding 1/2 of the divided chest measurement, instead of doubling it. Take all of the pattern pieces into account when buying fabric. The cutting layout may also need to be different.
  • Measure the Length: Place  a well-fitting (but not tight) tee on your child. Measure from the bottom of the armhole down to the desired length. Note this for later. Keep the tee around, you will use it to draft the pattern piece.

Here we go – Drafting the pattern piece:

  1. Fold the tee in half with wrong side out and fold sleeves into the body along seam line.
  2. Cut a letter/A4 size piece of paper to 10″ wide (or other width as discussed in the “Before you begin” section above).
  3. Line up the folded tee with the side seam on the right side of the paper and the neckline at the top of the paper.
  4. Mark the right side of the shoulder seam (where the neckline is) on your paper. Also mark the top of the side seam (where it meets the armhole).
  5. Remove the tee and draw a curved line between the two marks. This is your armhole. (It is helpful to have the curve end in a 90° angle  between the bottom of the armhole and the side seam.)
  6. Measure the armhole and make a mark at the halfway point and at 1″ past the halfway point (towards the shoulder seam).
  7. Draw a straight line across to the left side of the paper that is parallel to the paper top & bottom. Now, curve the straight line starting about halfway across up to the 2nd armhole mark. Cross off the second half of the straight line – you will not use this for the pattern piece.
  8. Measure the armhole mark from the top of your paper to the 2nd armhole mark. Multiply this measurement by two and write it down. This is your strap length. (My measurement was 5 1/2″ for both girls.)
  9. Cut out the pattern piece along the neckline and armhole. This is the top of the dress/gown.
  10. Get out your large sheet of paper. Kids’ easel paper is great for this step, or taping several sheets of letter paper together works as well.
  11. Place the left side of the pattern piece on the left side of the larger paper, trace the top of the pattern piece.
  12. Subtract 4″ from your length measurement (from the “Before you begin” section, above) for the bottom contrast band. Measure down to this new measurement – this will be called the hemline. Draw a straight line between the armhole and hemline, and then another line from the side seam back to the left side of the paper. Make sure the pattern piece is 10″ across (from edge to edge) all of the way down. (My length measurement was 18″ for my 3 year old and 22″ for my 6 year old.)
  13. Add 1/4″ seam allowance to the neckline and 3/8″ seam allowance to the armhole, side seam and hemline.
  14. Write “Cut on Fold” on the pattern edge, and the pattern details in the centre – including:
    1. Strap Length: This is from step 8. My measurement was 5.5″.
    2. Strap Size: Cut 2 pieces 5 1/2″ wide x double the Strap Length (My strap length measurement was 5 1/2″ so I doubled it and cut 2 pieces 5 1/2″ wide x 11″ long.)
    3. Contrast Band Size: Measure the pattern’s hemline including the seam allowance. Cut 2 pieces 8 3/4″ high x double the width of the hemline measurement you just took. (My hemline width was 10 3/8″. I cut 2 pieces 8 3/4″ high by 20 3/4″ wide.)
    4. Casing Size: Measure the pattern’s neckline. Your Casing Length = “Neckline Width x 4″ + “Strap Length x 4″. Cut 1 piece 1 1/4″ wide x casing length. (My casing length was 54″. 8″ x 4 + 5 1/2″ x 4.)
  15. Done! Cut out the paper pattern piece.

Here we go – Cutting out the Nightgown:

  1. Make sure to pre-wash your fabric and iron well before you continue.
  2. Fold your fabric in half and iron to mark a crease. Unfold and fold each selvage (pre-finished, not raw) edge to the centre mark. You will have an aprox. 10.5″ wide folded edge on each side of your main fabric.
  3. Lay the pattern piece on the fabric with the fold at the left-side fold of the fabric (noting one-way fabrics are in the correct direction). Cut one. Turn the pattern piece upside down, with the top of the pattern piece still at the top of the fabric.
  4. Line up the fold edge at the right-side fold of the fabric. Cut one. Now you should have two opposite main dress/gown pieces.
  5. Cut 2 sleeve pieces from the bottom of the main outer fabric.
  6. Cut the casing as multiple pieces from the 1/4 metre. Stitch them together to make the correct length as noted on your pattern piece.
  7. Cut 2 contrast bands from the 1/4 metre as well.

Here we go – Sewing the Nightgown:

  1. Prepare the casing: Turn 1/4″ to the wrong side along one edge of the casing length. I recommend using this folding template.
  2. Prepare the sleeves: Fold each sleeve piece in half lengthwise. Iron well.
  3. Prepare the contrast band: (1) Match up each short edge with right sides together. Pin. (2) Stitch with a 3/8″ seam allowance to make a large tube. (3) Iron your seams open. Fold the tube sides in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together, matching raw edges. You will have a large tube with right sides showing on both sides, one folded edge and one raw edge.
  4. Attach the sleeves to the front: (1) Lay one dress/gown piece right side up. Match up the top of the armhole with the short raw edge of one sleeve. The raw edges of the sleeve will line up with the neckline, the folded edge will be within the armhole area. Double-check any one-way fabric to ensure it will be right side up once it is sewn. (2) Stitch each sleeve with a 3/8″ seam, starting at the neckline and continuing to the edge of the armhole. We will be using the seam line to hem the edge of the armhole later on.
  5. Attach the sleeves to the back: Lay the front dress/gown fabric right sides together with the back. (The front and back are the same.) Match, pin and stitch the sleeves to the back the same way you did for the other side.
  6. Side Seams: (1) Match the side seams of the front and back dress/gown. Pin. (2) Stitch both side seams with a 3/8″ seam. (3) Finish the edges of your seam with pinking shears or sew a zig-zag stitch over the edges so they will not fray.
  7. Finish the armhole: (1) Use pinking shears or a zig-zag stitch to finish the straight edges of the 2 armholes (the curved edges will resist fraying because they are mostly bias-cut). (2) Clip the bottom of the curve 5 or 6 times to allow it to open up.
  8. Finish the sleeves: (1) Press each sleeve seam allowance towards the main dress/gown. (2) Press the rest of the armhole seam under along the stitching line. Make sure to fold the seam over enough to hide the stitching inside your dress/gown. (3) Top-stitch about 1/8″ away from the armhole seam. Stitch from neckline to neckline on each armhole, this will stitch down the sleeve seam allowance and hem the underarm portion of the armhole.
  9. Adding the contrast band hem: (1) Place the contrast band tube over the bottom of the dress/gown matching the seams and raw edges. Pin. (2) Stitch with a 3/8″ seam allowance. (3) Finish the edges with pinking shears or a zig-zag stitch. (4) Press the seam up towards the dress/gown. Top-stitch along the bottom of the dress/gown aprox. 1/8″ away from the edge of the contrast band.
  10. Adding the casing: (1) Pin the unfolded edge of the casing to the dress/gown neckline somewhere on the dress/gown (do not start the casing on a sleeve). Match the right side of the casing to the wrong side of the neckline. (2) Starting aprox. 3″ in from the beginning of your casing, stitch along the edge of the casing/neckline with a 1/4″ seam until you reach the point 3″ from where you started. Stop stitching and remove your fabric. (3) Fold the fabric in half about halfway between the un-stitched space. Line up your casing and pin. (4) Draw a line on the casing that follows the folded edge of the dress/gown fabric. (5) Stitch along the line being careful to only stitch the casing. Trim the casing seam allowance to 1/4″. Unfold the fabric and casing. Finish stitching the casing to the dress/gown. Iron the casing up, and fold it over the front edge of the nightgown so the wrong side of the casing is on the right side of the gown/dress. (6) Iron the casing up along the neckline, but do not press out the 1/4″ fold you added previously.
  11. Finishing the casing: (1) Fold the casing down over the front of the dress/gown along the seam line. Pin the casing to the neckline making sure the 1/4″ edge is folded under. (2) Top stitch the casing to the neckline along the bottom folded edge with a 1/8″ seam allowance. Leave a 1″ gap in the seam for inserting the elastic.
  12. Insert the Elastic: (1) Feed your elastic through the entire casing. (2) Find the sleeve seam you reached when inserting the elastic, stitch through the casing from top to bottom to secure the elastic. (3) Find the next sleeve seam and measure between the seams. Pull the elastic through the casing to tighten/loosen this measurement until it equals the Strap Length from “Drafting: Step 14″. Secure the elastic by stitching through the casing at the second sleeve seam. (4) Now measure across the back/front neckline between the sleeve seams – this should be 1/2″ or so larger than the Strap Length. Secure the elastic by stitching through the casing at the next sleeve seam. (5) Repeat Step 12.3 for the next sleeve and then the final neckline back/front.
  13. Finishing the Dress/Gown: (1) After measuring the final back/front, cut the elastic with 1/2″ extra space for overlap. (I had not trimmed the elastic in the photo.) Pin, stitch to secure. (2) Place the elastic within the casing, top-stitch the gap shut, matching your other stitching. Done!

Try your lovely nightgown on your little one and watch their happy dance. Or maybe a fairy princess ballet? They’ve inspired both in my daughters!

Love it? Don’t forget to pick up your own Kate & Birdie Storybook fabric from Warp & Weft!

** Please note: This is a sponsored post and the fabric was provided to me at no cost by Warp & Weft. However, as always, all opinions are my own and I will never promote something to you that I do not love myself. **