Sewing Space re-do, Phase 3

From the angle of the first photo, one might assume things are looking pretty good! But it does not tell an accurate story. The re-do finish line was in sight! It was glorious. Then I started sewing. I could not stay disciplined enough to avoid participation in a lovely IG sew-along, which then turned into a few more fabric pulls, and then I hadn’t finished that before I had an idea to exchange quilted postcards with friends to help decorate my space, and then I wanted to list more pincushions and then prom dress season started and I suddenly had hems to take up and straps to fix. Now my sewing area is in it’s final configuration, but nowhere near as tidy as I had intended. IMG_0311Here’s the long table. Not bad. But it’s stayed this way for about three weeks. I haven’t finished the project. Not ideal! But it’s organized. Speaking of organized, remember the pile of paper patterns I was going to put in page protectors and organize in a binder? I did put them in the protectors, organized them by piling them up, alternating each pattern by direction. They’ve stayed on a chair seat this way since I accomplished the task. This morning I went to photograph them and moved the chair. And they all slid down. I snapped the photo and walked away. savingPNGMy husband went down to the basement this morning. I hollered down “leave those papers as they are. I’m hoping to re-organize them and they might still be in order.” Hope springs eternal. I find things like this funny. As the saying goes, “We’ll all laugh about this eventually.” I choose to laugh now and eventually. My sanity thrives this way, but other people tend to judge me about this character trait. I laugh about that, too. Moving on, here’s one of my cabinets with my 10-inch squares and fabrics organized in a new way:

IMG_0316I’ve got my Heather Ross, black and whites and low volumes in here. Also some novelty fabrics.

I sewed up some 2″ black and white buffalo check valances, which I felt tied in my sewing space nicely with the rest of the man-cave basement feel. My space truly is transitional and proof that I can compromise and prove myselfย  a friendly cohabitant with my hubby. Here is a view from my sewing table. Yes, it needs attention. And I’ll be giving it the attention another day. But for today I am focusing on a few laundry piles and hemming one of the prom gowns.savingPNG

I’ll close today with a view of what’s under the window. I’m grateful for these windows, but they leave me with less wall space for quilty fun. Also, I love the vintage sign and chalkboard I found, so those are the upper focal points of the space. They would not have worked well hung lower, so I chose to hang two mini quilts. One is from my amazing sister…the one with the houses. The other was a work of art from an Instagram mini-quilt swap partner.


The garbage can is actually a planter, but it works perfectly as a trash can. I like the mini quilts here, because I see them constantly. Well, friends, happy Sunday to you. Thanks for your visit!


Sewing Space Re-do, Phase 2: Just a small accomplishment

The “Table of Doom” that I included in my last post is getting so much better. Yesterday I spent less than an hour finding new homes for things and sorting out the piles of quilting magazines.

Here is a stack of supplies that I’m trying to find a spot for in our storage areas that are already full. Fingers crossed that a solution will be revealed to me! At least it is tidy. I’m happy to have gained the clear floor space, as this is where I work out. You are looking at part of my home gym! No membership fees required!

And here is where the magazines are, patiently waiting to go on the shelf once we reconfigure space to accommodate the bookshelf I took out of my sewing area. I found these at IKEA. I don’t love the open rectangle. But they will be out of sight, so I’m not going to spend time rectifying the situation.

Next up is pattern and paper organization. On my list today is to purchase a box of sheet protectors. I’ll have to really focus on not getting distracted while I work on this!

Today is a work day for me so all this will just be sitting and waiting for me tomorrow. I’ll also be hanging store-bought curtains in my son’s room. I usually would make them myself, but he is happy with plain curtains, so no need to go looking for the “right” fabric at the shop. Have a happy day and thanks for following along in my sewing room re-do process!

Sewing Space Re-do, Phase One: The Awful Truth

One evening, I decided to just sew a quilt block. One little block. Just one. To sew that day. For a little sanity, you know what I’m saying? Sounds harmless. Inconsequential, really. But what happened was a maelstrom of havoc on my sewing area. You see, I was a chronic sew-and-dasher. That means I would sew something and then dash off to the next activity. The chaos that ensued is nothing short of disaster. But back to that block.

I needed my add-a-quarter ruler because the quilt I’m working on is a paper-pieced pattern. I could not find it. Anywhere. So I sat at my sewing machine and looked around at the awful truth. I had reached maximum out-of-control sewing supply and fabric clutter. I had found the proverbial ruler/straw that broke the camel’s back. It was time to take control.

Here, for instance is the inside of my green cupboard:

And here are some other shots of the embarrassing truth:

Anywhere there was a horizontal surface, I would just pile stuff in there. And it kept on growing with each trip to Joanns, each purchase online of the latest fabrics, and each project I never cleaned up after starting. I was deeply ashamed.

So, for the last several days I have been going through every thing. It has been daunting. But finally I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll be back to show you phase II after I dig out a little more.

I found the ruler. But I won’t sew another block until I have a sewing space I can be proud of.

I hope you still love me.

Pinnies Just Listed in the Shop!


Liberty of London fabric + Milk Glass = Beauty. I’m still loving it and not planning on getting over it anytime soon. I just listed a couple of fresh beauties in the shop. The hobnail one in the photo above just sold, so if you like anything you see, you might want to snatch it before someone else does. There are also a couple of other fun ones:


I think she’s got a crush on him. But he’s busy being a Beefeater and I wonder if he notices her? He should. She’s cute. And really looks like she’s in to him. Both are adorable pinnies. And if you can’t bear to break them up…well, maybe they will both go to the same home!


And I can never pass up a nice deer or fawn. Especially when they are this sweet.

I really enjoy giving these treasures new life. Thanks for reading and looking at the pictures!

These are currently available in my Etsy shop!

Pincushion Tutorial


I’ve been making these beautiful Liberty of London and milk glass scissor holder pincushions, along with using fun vintage Japanese planters. You might like to go vintaging as much as I do, and if you sew, re-purposing these items as a pincushion is a lot of fun. I’ve made quite a few and thought I’d share about the process. I first watched a YouTube video about up cycling teacups, and while it was very informative, I’ve fine-tuned the process a bit more. I’ve had my hits and misses, so now I feel qualified to share! I also sell these in my Etsy shop atย iquiltsewwhatshop


First off, you may have a dish or planter already. Terrific! If not, your first assignment is to find something you love and picture it as a pincushion. Not too big, though. Unless you have a million pins to wrangle. I’ve made some really small ones and they turn out pretty darn cute.

If you have one of these lace-edge milk glass dishes, they hold small lightweight embroidery scissors nicely. Any bigger or heavier ones really don’t work too well.


Now, gather your supplies. You will need:

  • cup, dish, egg cup, small planter…
  • Scissors
  • Strong needle. So not a tiny one and it must have an eye large enough for your button or home dec thread to go through
  • button or home dec thread (I can’t stress this enough)
  • coordinating fabric (enough to cut a circle about 2x the width of your item’s opening
  • tape measure or ruler
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • poly fiber fill
  • patience ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Measure the opening of your dish


As you can see, this one measures about 3.25 across. Now I go to my kitchen or someplace and start looking for something with a smooth round shape that is about 7″ or so (bigger is OK. Smaller is not). My Fiesta sandwich plate fit the bill for this one.

2. Trace your circular object with pencil on the fabric.


3. Cut the circle out.


You’ll notice I’ve used Liberty of London Tana Lawn. I love using this for pincushions because I find it can really take the tugging that is required to make a really firm “pouf”. Plus, isn’t it just gorgeous?

4. Using a long pice of thread (trust me on this. You want it long…about 20″ long), thread your needle, knot the long end and make a small bite for your first stitch. Then go back and make a stitch over your first one. This provides a good anchor for your first stitch. You are going to need it because your thread will get pulled a lot. When I first started making these, I would pull and sometimes the thread would just come right out. To say the least, it’s very frustrating when that happens, so this anchoring technique helps avoid that. If you aren’t using a lawn, make sure you aren’t too close to the edge. On this example I’m about 1/8 in, but on regular cotton wovens, I would stay at least 1/4″ away from the edge in case of fraying.

5. Start going in and out with your needle, making a running stitch with long-ish stitches. Once you’ve made a few, then you can start stacking them on the needle, making an up-and-down poking motion and pushing the fabric up on your needle. This is a time-saver; not a requirement!

6. Once you’ve gone alll the way around to meet up with your beginning stitch, slightly pull up the thread (making sure you also are pulling your tail through your needle some more so you don’t lose your needle) and you’ll start seeing it form sort of a purse.

7. Start moving the gathers around until they are evenly distributed and then pull up to make a circle….but do not close it! Now we stuff it. Grab a handful of your poly fill and roll it around. This isn’t the entire amount you will use…just make a ball as sort of a “place marker”.

It get a wee bit tricky at this stage. Once again, take a look at that needle and make sure its not going anywhere and your thread tail is long enough to take some moving around. Now pull up your thread to make it a little tighter, kind of adjusting the gathers as you go so that you wind up with a nice, even circular “pouf”.

8. Once you have the approximate size you want for your opening, tie off your loose thread in a knot but do not cut it. Then stitch across (not too tight-you want your shape to remain round). I like to stitch in a star shape. Once I have that star, I stuff a lot more poly fill, using my thumbs and fingers to really smooth it out and I stuff it until it is nice and firm. I don’t like a really soft pinnie. I like them tight. Once you’ve gotten it as full as you like it, pick up your needle (should still be on this original thread) and sew another star to secure all the new poly you just pushed in.

9. Test your pouf to see if it’s the right size. If it is too big, you can always run some stitches across, kind of pulling it in some more, but you need to do this in an equal fashion so it remains round. If it’s all set, now you are ready for the final step: the glueing.img_7954

10. Do not run a bead of hot glue around the inside rim all at one. Ask me how I know this is a terrible idea. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just start on one small section and secure your pouf in there. It will only be glued on one side…on this one I applied about 1.5″ of glue.


Once your pouf is in, then you can gently pull each side over and put dots of glue to secure it on the rest of the circle. Do this with care. You don’t want glue coming over the top. It’s much nicer if you can’t see any glue.


There! You should have a beautiful new old pinnie.

Just a note…if you have another shape besides a circle, then measure each direction and double it. They can be a little trickier, but with practice, you’ll become a pro, too!


If you make one, I’d love to see yours! Post it on Instagram, using the #pinnielove or #milkglassscissorholder if you have found one of those. Or tag @iquiltsewwhat or @shopiquiltsewwhat

I have many pincushions listed in my Etsy Shop, in case you’d rather not make your own. ๐Ÿ™‚ย iquiltsewwhatshop


Thanks so much for reading. Come back soon!

Pinnies Galore!

About 20 years ago, my new husband and I spent time together antiquing. As an avid collector himself, he was eager to show me the ropes. The problem was I wasn't too interested in collecting anything so our trips were a tad boring for me. I decided to just choose something, so I chose enameled circle pins. The hunt for those was fun for a little while. Fast-forward to a time when my Mother In-Law came for a visit and joined us on our quest. We went to one of those giant antique malls and I kept going back to a cabinet full of vintage Japanese head vases. I could not explain the attraction. They were a tad kitschy, impractical and on the expensive side! Regardless, my Mother In-Law told me "if they speak to you, then you must buy one" so I did. I gathered a few more over the years and I think I have 5 or 6 now but I'm not adding to the collection anymore, but I still love to look.

I also had a milk glass collection, but the size of some of the pieces were hard to store, so now I look for smaller pieces. Speaking of smaller pieces, egg cups also joined my merry band of pinnies.

Now I'm drawn to vintage Japanese planters, which are usually much less expensive than the head vases. My practical side won out when I decided I couldn't just collect the little darlings, so now I upcycle them into cute little pincushions. I also Here's a few of them (I'm not sure why the photos are so giant!):

The little Southern Belle girl I call a "Pintushion" ๐Ÿ™‚
I may change out the Beefeater's fabric to Liberty.
If you would like to see all of them so far, here's my Etsy shop where they can also be purchased: Iquiltsewwhat shop

Thanks for looking!


Recently I hosted a fabric swap on Instagram involving Tiny Floral fabrics. I’ve been involved in other fabric swaps hosted by @purplepoppyquilts where we all purchased three yards of fabric in a color scheme and sliced them up into 10″ squares. I became a huge fan of these swaps because it’s a terrific way to build up stash without having to buy large quantities of different fabrics. I also like scrappy looking projects, so it was a good fit for me. Briawna’s (aka @purplepoppy) Color Square Swaps focus on a color theme. I wanted lots of florals, so after contacting her for advice (and also not to step on her toes since the format was her brain child), I cautiously hosted the first swap, limiting it to just 40 participants. 

The spots filled up quickly and off we went! Everyone posted a photo of their selection, in hopes that we wouldn’t duplicate prints and it worked! Everyone checked in before purchasing for the go-ahead. I kept track of all the choices. 40 wasn’t bad! My choice was from Quilt Gate, which I discovered after seeing it on @sunnydaysupply’s Instagram feed. Her feed and her shop are irresistible!

All the packages started arriving (I wonder what my mailman thought?) and I was giddy with excitement! I sorted them and sighed a bunch of sighs. You fabric lovers know what I’m talking about! Here they are:

Others posted their own arrangements and I LOVE them all! I actually might have a hard time deciding what my favorite is between the fabric selections or the creative posts showing all those lovely prints off! 

I’ve decided to host another round. Sign ups are Friday, April 21 at noon EST (USA participants only).