Friday, February 26, 2010


As the snow has finally started to melt I keep on dreaming of spring,
more exactly a spring picnic.
With a sandwich, some chips and a treat.

I was inspired by this tutorial:

I do not have their pattern/templates.
I just made my own version but the directions are good, just use measurement from actual food!

Here is a closer view of my sandwich:

and of the chips.

 I really like the ruffle kinds, it probably comes from my childhood. Chips were very uncommon, a very special treat. I only had some when I had lunch with my uncle and my aunt on their little boat, just before enjoying the cold beaches of Brittany.

I also made the lunch bag and the rolled cake. My children and I did not recognize the dessert but it seems good enough to eat! Chocolate and cake go so well together.


My daughter was fast to point out that she needed a drink in her picnic bag!

Enjoy making your own or contact me if you would like me to make you one.

Happy sewing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Of cakes and dolls

The slow melting of the snow has brought home some kind of spring fever.
And there is nothing like a big cake with strawberries to bring memories of warm spring.
So here is my version:


The strawberries are just resting on the top, they can be used for other fine dinning experience!

I really like this cake.
 My first attempt was very pink and less realistic!

But Miss C. is very anxious to play with it, I guess pink icing is after all a very acceptable color for a cake

Later this week, I will write about the aprons the dolls wear.
With a new season, there is a need for new aprons!

Happy sewing.

Monday, February 22, 2010


This week end was bitter sweet,
 I went to a silent auction where I was able to bid on a used but perfect pleater and take it home!
I am really excited about it, I am still learning how to use it.
Here is a picture of my new toy.

It came from a good home and was well taking care, its previous owner Sara was a fellow member of SAGA (smocking arts guild of America). Sadly it came in my possession after her unexpected passing.
While we sewed together, we always talked about her volunteer work in New Mexico, one of her passions.
And since I had lived there many years, we exchanged addresses on sewing, quilting stores and of course local restaurants! She was a wonderful lady.

I was also able to get some cool vintage costume patterns:

Apparently we had more in common!
I have a real weakness for costume patterns.
I do not sew too much for adults, except for unrealistic attires, nothing like a pirate outfit or a pseudo renaissance gown to get me going!
Of course I have made my share of little kids' outfits,
from princess to Jedi master to cowboy to ballerina...
I will keep you posted.

Happy sewing

Saturday, February 20, 2010

dolly's wrap skirt

Earlier this week, I showed you a cute doll's skirt.
Here is another great little skirt, the pattern is from " can make".
Here is the link:
The pattern is free, just register and download it.  The explanations are great, with many drawings, making it clear and easy to make this wrap skirt.

Here is my version with a cute applique.
You will need a scrap of fabric, some Wonder Under or other type of fusible web.

Roughly cut around the design, iron the Wonder Under on the wrong side of the fabric, using a smaller piece than the fabric, otherwise you iron and/or ironing surface will get messy! (it happens to me a lot!!)

Cut carefully around the design.

Remove the paper backing and iron it in place.

Using a straight stitch, sew around the applique, taking your time.

And voila a perfect applique.
You can also purchase iron on applique from the craft/fabric store.

Following the instructions, stitch the loop tape to both sides.

Here are the 2 pieces for the skirt.

With right sides together, sew around the 2 skirts, leaving a opening at the top.
Turn it right side out, hand stitch the opening, then top stitch.
And here your new cute wrap skirt.

It fits very nicely and has a great tailored look.

Here are some other examples of the skirts I have made.
I have made many more of these skirts for friends and family, and also for the "toys for tots" Christmas program.
I also added some rickrack to one of them, before sewing the 2 side of the skirt together.

Since there are 2 sides, you can get two different or coordinated looks.

This skirt is versatile enough that it also fits other sizes dolls and even bears!
And the Velcro makes it easy for little fingers to put it on and off.

Give it a try and email me some pictures of your skirt at
Happy sewing!

Friday, February 19, 2010

teaching children how to sew

My children always see me sewing and they are interested.
 I have been thinking of a way to teach them beginning sewing.
I remember as a kid spending many hours embroidering with my mother. She was a school teacher, so the summer was long, and living in the country side, there was not so much to do!
So we did a lot of embroidery!
I would say I am a good "cross stitcher", a decent "stem stitcher" and I am still working on some other stitches!
But the point is that I am not afraid to try, after all it is for personal enrichment, not a contest!!!

My kids did get the stitching cards, you know the ones with the shapes and the colored shoes laces, they are a great beginning.

And Miss C. has been trying making felt food with me, which also a great way to learn, and a lot more rewarding, in the end you have something cool to show! She used craft felt (sold by the yard or the sheet, about $0.25), a blunt needle with a large eye and some embroidery floss.

But today I found another cool project from Ottobre design. It is a free activity you can download and print from their web site.

There are 4 dogs to stitch and color, if the stitching does not go well, they can at least color them!
I printed mine on cardstock.

I then punched some holes so it would be easy to see where to sew, it was a little tedious!
My daughter was quite happy and went right to work, perfect activity for a sunny and cold afternoon!

Here is the result:

Happy sewing.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


As I grow more and more tired of snow, I feel the need to redecorate my living room, and the best way (at least for me) is to update the pillows on the couch.
I used to make them with zipper and pipping but lately I have been taking the faster approach!
I already tried that technique to make Christmas pillows and it was quite successful and fast.

Here is the Christmas version, with a old cross stitch insertion.

And here is my newest version, perfect for spring.
I like unadorned pillows, and if possible washable.
With a kindergartener and a tween and their friends, pillows become quite rapidly weapons... so we are always looking for safe and sturdy ones.
Also if I do not spend hours making them, I am less likely to become the yelling mom!!!

To make it on a budget, I only use decorative fabric for the top, and plain fabric for the back, so with 1/2 yard to 5/8 yard (depending on the size of your pillow insert) of fancy fabric I can make 2 pillows!
To avoid zipper and other closure difficulties, I just overlap 2 pieces of fabric in the back, they are cut wider than the front piece.

Since this spring fabric was on the thin side, I ironed on some interfacing, it gives it a more crisp look and also it will wrinkle less.

I also decided to add some pipping (purchased), I just stitched it all around, cutting it at the corners, using 1/4 inch seam allowance (the piping allowance)

I just turned under the edges on the back fabric and overlapped them, to close the back of the pillow.
And then stitched all around the edges.

And voila a perfect pillow.

If you need more help for a pillow, this blog page has a geat tutorial.
And here is one even without sewing!
And here is the pillow on the couch.
See that smaller pillow?

It is from an old cashmere sweater, I know it seems like a waste to use a 100% cashmere sweater, but I wore it a lot, and often at work. And not matter how careful I was, some acid holes appeared on the sleeves and bottom band.

So since I always wanted to do one of the pillow sweater, I thought it would be a great occasion.
I choose a smaller pillow, and just use it to basically sew around it.
I used the buttons for closure, a really fast project and oh so soft!

I am happy to report all pillows have been tested for nap and fight, so far so good...
I knew there was a reason for new pillows!

Happy sewing

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi gras

Today is Mardi gras.  To me it brings back memories of dressing up and eating great cakes!
You see in France we do not have Halloween, so this is the day to wear costumes to school.
And to have some sort of parade/carnival, not really like in Rio de Janeiro or New is always cold and often part of the school program!

So I will like to share with you my daughter and I favorite costume, and yes we have the same!  We both love Cinderella, so I made us similar costumes!
I know very cheesy, but fun memories.
Hers is from a Butterick pattern (4320) and mine is from Simplicity 2813.

And since I have a tendency to over do it, I made one for her doll too!

The pattern is Simplicity 5705.
It also includes other Disney Princess costumes: Tinkerbell, Aurora, Snow White, Ariel, and Belle.
The dress has a petticoat of tulle, for added puffiness.

Happy sewing!

Monday, February 15, 2010

dolly's skirt

Today we are getting our third snow storm in 10 days....I definitively need to create warm weather craft!!
So here is my first attempt at a tutorial, a dolly's skirt, perfect for a nice spring day!

to make this skirt, you need
  fabric (less than 1/4 yard)
(I like to use at least 2 different fabrics, so that the bottom ruffle has a petticoat aspect, you can also use some lace as I did for the second skirt.)
elastic (measure the doll's waist, I use about 10.5 inch)
(3/8 inch width works well, but 1/4 or 1/2 is fine too)

you need to cut
for the top band a rectangle 4 * 13 inch
for the middle band a rectangle 4 * 26 inch
for the bottom band a rectangle 1.5 * 42 inch
if using lace cut to 27 inch

the seam allowance is 1/4 inch.
here are the two sets of pieces for both skirt.

First let's focus on the bottom skirt, without the lace.
Take the top band, fold it in half, wrong side together, iron it, sew 1/2 inch away from the ironed side to make the casing for the elastic (if using 1/4 inch elastic sew 3/8, if using 1/2 inch elastic, sew 5/8). Mark the middle of the band

Take the middle band, sew two rows of long stitches at the top for gathering at 1/8 and 1/4. Mark the middle of the band.
Pull the the thread and gather the top.
Match to the length of the top band, matching the middle points, distributing the gathers.

Sew just below the gathering stitches, a large 1/4 inch.

Zigzag the raw edge, iron the seam allowance toward the top band.

Stitch the seam allowance to the top band from the top with a straight stitch.

Hem the bottom of the third band, you can fold under twice 1/4 inch or use a narrow hemmer foot, and just roll the fabric to make the hem.

Gather the top of the band with two rows of long straight stitches, match the length to the middle band, and pin in place.
Sew with a straight stitch and then zigzag the edge for a neat finish.

With your iron, press the seam allowance toward the middle band and sew a straight stitch from the top to secure the seam allowance.
Insert the elastic with a safety pin, stitch the elastic 1/8 of each side.
Put the skirt right side together, stitch the side seam and finish it with a zigzag stitch.
Turn right side out and you are done!!

For the second skirt, start the same way for the top and middle bands.

To attach the lace, put right side together, leaving about 1/8-1/4 inch between the fabric and the lace.
Use a wide zigzag stitch (about 3.5 in width and 0.9 in length), it will roll the fabric toward the lace, securing together.

This is what it will look like when you are done.

Iron, press the seam allowance toward the middle band.
Stitch from the top a straight stitch.

Finish the skirt the same way than the first skirt and voila!

These skirts fit well the 18 inch dolls (like American doll), but it also work for other size dolls, you might need to adapt the length of the middle band and the elastic width, unless you like it longer.

Here are other versions of the same skirts.
I like better the shorter versions, the long was made with a longer middle band and longer bottom band, rickrack was added just above the seam.

Please let me know if you need help making your own version.

Happy sewing!

Coffee, bunny and Easter eggs

Can anyone have too many bunnies, really? OK, maybe, but I am not there yet! I changed my cocoa station from last winter to a spring coffee ...