Customized Burp Cloths

Our family is growing by one this spring, so it is baby shower time! And for us creative types, that means it is time to think outside the gift registry and come up with something that we can hand make that will still satisfy the mother-to-be. I started looking around online for inspiration and found several tutorials for cute burp cloths, so I thought I’d start there. The mom has particular tastes so I didn’t want to stray too far from her nursery theme. Turns out I didn’t have to stray at all!


I went to my local Babies R Us and printed up her registry, went trolling up and down the ailes trying to decide what I’d pick up for the expectant couple, when I came upon their nursery bedding.

And then it hit me. I didn’t see crib sheets; I saw fabric! There it was, my inspiration. After I checked out, I went next door to Hancock’s (conveniently located!) and picked out three coordinating flannels and headed home. If you do this project yourself, don’t do what I did and go to the fabric shop fueled only by one cup of coffee, and only get 1/4 yard of fabric. It wasn’t a disaster, but a healthy sized burp cloth is about 10-18″ so mine wound up being 8″ since I only got 1/4. But hey, I have less to throw in my scrap pile now, so it wasn’t all bad. And I think they came out at a useful size regardless.  PLEASE NOTE: Disregard the batting you see in the photo below! You’ll read why below.



The basic instructions are:

  • Cut off the elastic part of the crib sheet and iron it out (you’ll have about 2 yards)
  • cut out rectangles of 8″ x 18″ of the flannel and crib sheet (or 10×18 if you bought more flannel)
  • Sew wrongs sides together, leaving and opening on one side to turn it inside out.
  • Clip corners
  • Turn right side out and press
  • Top stitch the perimeter
  • Top stitch a couple of lines across the burp cloth, either straight across the width or length, or diagonally (which is what I did)

If you need a good tutorial for a burp cloth, see Dana made it

I saved the cute burlap Velcro band that came with the sheet and used it to package them up.


A note about these: I used batting for some reason. I think they are a little too stiff. I hope they wash up nicely, but if I had to do it again I would definitely not use the batting. Mine seem like tiny rectangular quilts. But the good news is I have enough leftover sheet fabric to make washcloths to redeem myself once I find some nice, soft baby terry cloth.


Another note: If your sheet and your backing are both cotton, use cotton thread and don’t worry about pre-washing anything because it will all shrink up about the same size. However, I have seen a lot of tutorials using polyester backing (Minky or chenille) and quilting cotton for the other side. Definitely pre-wash your cotton in that case because when they get washed for the first time the cotton will shrink up but the polyester won’t and it will look weird.


Thanks for reading and happy sewing!


Embellished Hexies

Hello and thank you for stopping by! Today I’m sharing my method on making 1″ hexies embellished with embroidery. I hunted and pecked my way around it until I found a method that worked for me, so I hope to share any tips you might not know yourself!


Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Fabric (I used quilting cotton) with small scale prints that you like
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery thread and 50w thread for basting and needles for each
  • cardstock hexagons
  • 1″ hexagon template (the one I used in the photo I found at my local quilt shop)
  • iron
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Heat disappearing marker. (I use Pilot Frixion)
  • small embroidery hoop (4″ is what I use)




1. Place embroidery hoop around the portion of the fabric you’d like to embroider. I usually do not cut the fabric until afterwards, and I work towards the outside edge of the fabric, so as not to waste.


There are several fabrics that I would consider printed and primed for embroidery. Use your clear hexagon template to see what is the right scale. Then go ahead and embroider whatever you’d like. A note about technique: I use knots to start and finish, but that would not be the case for “regular” embroidery. There is simply not enough from to start  and finish. Also, we will be using the fusible interfacing to kind of seal the back. As you can see, the back of my embroidery work is quite the mess!


After you are satisfied with the embroidery, prepare the fusible interfacing.


Using the hexagon template, trace around the shape on the fusible interfacing (I “accordion” the interfacing up so I can cut several at once. These don’t have to be perfect!). Trim just inside the traced line. You can see I’m about 1/8″ inside the template. This helps to not have so much bulk when you are turning in the edges for basting.


Now iron on the interfacing to the back of your embroidery work, making sure your interfacing hexagon is placed correctly. I use the traced lines on the fabric as a guide, since you can see them fairly well through the fabric if you are using a dark erasable marker.

Flip over and use your hexagon template again to trace around the design on the front, and trim from the traced lines at least 1/2″. Give yourself plenty of room. You can always trim some more away, but adding is impossible and you’ve already done all that beautiful embroidery work!


Now you are ready for the final couple of steps. Are you excited? Use your cardstock hexagons and fold over the edges and baste in place using your 50w thread.


Use your iron once last time to get rid of the heat disappearing ink line. Not too much…just enough to get rid of the line. You don’t want your card stock to warp. Please not there is a whole punched in the middle of the cards. This facilitates removal of the paper after they are all sewn in. A chopstick or something similar would work. (And notice I didn’t give myself enough allowance on the deer head so I stitched a few more on that one)

All done! They are secure, ready to use, and best of all CUTE!






Dumpling Pouch

Here’s my latest completed project I am happy to cross off the list for #sewufo2016. This one was an Angel project, which means I sewed up and sent a package to an Instagram swap participant that did not receive a package from their original partner (aka a FLAKER). I’ve been flaked on before and let me tell you, an empty mailbox when you are expecting a package is no fun.

This Instagram swap was the Dumpling Swap. Participants were to sew a Dumpling Pouch from Michelle Patterns and one other sewn object. I have sewn several dumpling pouches, so since I had the hang of it, I decided to embellish this one a little more. Someone commented on Instagram that it looked like the top was whipped cream. I have to agree!


The pattern is cut on the fold, so if you are using directional fabrics, you’ll need to sew a seam where the fold is, paying attention to how you are cutting the fabric (with the direction headed in the way you want). On this one I didn’t want to do a seam, although I did utilize directional fabric (the strawberries and the music staff). I used batting instead of the fusible interfacing the pattern calls for. I stitched in the ditch and also stitched across, making little boxes.


For the strawberry fabric I simply switched it so who knows which way is the right way! I didn’t mind about the music (although I am a musician…so I surprised myself that I didn’t mind). In the end, I think it looks just fine.


I used the green striped fabric (which is Tasha Noel…as well as the strawberries) to line the interior


Here’s a photo of the two sewn items I did. I will cover the needle book in the next post. Thank you for reading!




Swaps and bees…bees and swaps. That pretty much summed up my 2015. I made some new and interesting friends, honed my 1/4″ seam skills and learned some new techniques (as long as there are innovative tools being released, there will always be new techniques!) Now that I have LOVELY blocks for the three bees I participated in, I have quilts to sew, promised family projects to complete and ideas in my head that just won’t stop!

2016 will be a year of tremendous change for my family and while I absolutely have loved swapping on Instagram with my quilty friends (with two very disappointing results…sigh…ok, moving on now), shipping deadlines and coming up with the perfect creative new project might not be the best pressure for me this year. But I realized if I wasn’t actively swapping or in a bee, I might lose touch with this wonderful IG quilting community that has brought me such joy. And then I discovered the perfect solution!


#SEWUFO2016 was born! It means I’ll be sewing up my unfinished objects this year and whoever wants to join in certainly can! To join, simply post a picture on your Instagram feed with the hashtag sewufo2016.

Have fun and I’ll be enjoying seeing your UFO’s become FO’s!


Well hello there, lovely master of making! And superior swapstress! First off, thank you so much for joining in the fun. I hope you are enjoying your house party and you are making new friends, especially with your partner. Have you checked your partner’s Instagram feed for their inspiration mosaic? Getting any ideas about what you are going to include as extras? How about the mini quilt itself, the “piece de resistance”? Now is your chance to scoop up awesome patterns for GREAT discounts! Maybe your partner wants one just like the pattern…or the pattern will give you something to just springboard from. Or, just maybe…you need a few more patterns. Oh, heck, or you just plain old want one. Well, act now…discounts will end soon!


The first one is from Thimble Blossoms. It is the Mini Dwell PDF (only) pattern. It finishes at 13″ x 15″. It’s just so cute. And totally worth buying and you won’t be sorry because with the 30% off discount it’s ONLY $4.55!!!! To order, click HERE and at checkout use SEWWHAT30 Please order quickly as this offer is good through May 1, 2015 only. Thank you so much Camille Roskelley!



The next one is the breathtaking Sought-After Neighborhood pattern by the talented and generous Tina Curran. This one is also 30%, same code at checkout: SEWWHAT30 also expiring May 1, 2015.


This is from Tina’s Etsy Shop description:

“The directions here are for paper piecing a decorative quilt with blocks that finish at 7-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ and that ends up approximately 36” high by 36” wide when completed. If you prefer to sew with templates, templates can be made from the diagrams included with this pattern.”
Swappers, this might be bigger than you want to tackle or your partner wants to receive, so you may want to consult yourself and your partner on size…and adapt the pattern accordingly.

And last but certainly not least, here are three wonderful patterns from PieceByNumberQuilts

She’s running a sale in her entire shop right now through May 3. You’ll notice there is a $10 minimum for her other shoppers, but for us there is NO MINIMUM AND 30% off instead of the 25% everyone else is getting. Use SEWWHAT30 for the discount code.

Here is a pattern for “Hearts At Home”:

hearts at home

“The Heart and Home block paper piecing quilt pattern has easy directions and marked paper piecing patterns to create a 6 inch (15.2cm) heart quilt block. Refer to the resizing chart included to enlarge or reduce the pattern to several popular quilt block sizes.”

Or you might like Cozy Cabins:

cozy cabins

“The Cozy Cabins block paper pieced quilt pattern has clearly marked paper piecing patterns and easy sewing directions. The pattern pieces provided make one 8 x 10 inch (20.3cm x 25.4cm) quilt block of 9 cabins and 3 pine trees. Consult the handy percentages chart to enlarge or reduce the pattern to your desired quilt block size.”

Or maybe you fancy Beach Cottages Quilt:


“Paper piece a tropical vacation with our Beach Cottages quilt pattern. Choose fabrics reminiscent of your favorite beach — South Pacific batiks, Caribbean brights, Bermuda pastels, African prints, or Californian/Mediterranean white, terracotta and turquoise. Personalize your house quilt with novelty fabric faces in the windows, embroidered flowers, fish in the ocean, shells on the sand, novelty buttons — your imagination is the only limit!

The paper piecing quilt pattern includes complete instructions, yardage requirements and foundation patterns to print and sew. The quilt finishes to about 57 inches x 67 inches (145 x 170 cm).”

Beach Cottages is bigger than a mini, so be sure to adapt accordingly to your desired size.

A HUGE thank you to these awesome partners for providing these great discounts for us!

Thanks for visiting, and piece out, quilters! Buy a pattern today! 🙂

Swap Virgin, part II

In case you want more. Read on. My apologies for duplicate info, rambling sentences and the like. This pertains to a recent swap I posted called “Home Sweet Home Mini Quilt Swap” on Instagram. Some people have had “how to” questions. Read below and perhaps the other Swap Virgin post. I’m also providing links to other people’s prettier, more involved swap below posts because I know how un-blogger and un-glamorous this post is. Hope you still find info that’s helpful, though.

Instagram (aka “IG”) swaps are very easy to participate. Basically you go to the host’s profile information via touching their IG name. In this case @iquiltsewwhat and you will see a blue link to click on which will bring you to Google Forms. You simply fill the form in. The form has several questions to answer and you will need to provide pertinent info (required) such as your real name, mailing address and email address. This will allow your partner to send their side of the swap to you when we mail out.
You will be matched up to a partner. This is an “open” swap, which means you and your partner will know who each other are. There are sometimes “secret” swaps, where you would be assigned a partner but they don’t know who you are. Then you “stalk”, which means look through their IG feed every now and then, to get to know a little more about them.
You will also see photos participants post of “inspiration collages” or similarly names photos that will give partners an idea of their taste. For example, I might like cowboys, so I’d look for cowboy fabric online, convert it into a picture, and then post it on my feed. There are apps that will allow you to easily make a collage on your smart phone if you have one. If not, I believe there are some online ones you can use.
The swap will have a unique hashtag (#) that will allow participants (or curious followers) to take a look at what’s going on with the swap. Ours is #homesweethomeminiswap  Once you join, you may want to search that # on IG occasionally to see what’s new or if there are any updates. If you post anything pertinent to the swap you think others need to, or would enjoy seeing, use the #homesweethomeminiswap when you post the picture and the others will see when they do the #homesweethomeminiswap search.
You will reach out to your partner, and your partner will reach out to you either on IG or via email. Everyone in the swap will not know your address or email. Just me, a swap mama and your partner.
Which brings me to swap mamas. SM’s are participants who agree to help manage groups of participants.
Swap angels are participants who sew extra items, in this case another or more if they want, so if someone gets “orphaned” then they will still receive a mini quilt. Orphaned means their partner flakes out or life happens and they aren’t able to finish out the swap with something sewn.
As far as what the swap will contain, you will make one mini quilt and then we will have “extras”. Extras are just that. Extra things that you decide your partner will like. Sometimes they are listed (FQ of fabric, sewing notion, treat, etc). For this one I am still working on the extras list.
Participants cover all costs involved for their end of the swap. And you need to indicate whether or not you want to ship overseas.
I know Fickr sees a lot of swap action too, but I feel like IG is more interactive and easier personally.
I hope that covers your questions. Don’t hesitate to ask if it doesn’t. Again, swap masters…leave comments that might help.
See these blog posts from others for more info on swaps:

Hellllloooo Elna Owners. Are you really out there?

Elna Excellence 730 stock photo

Last year we took our vacuum cleaner in for repair. I left with a new sewing machine. It was the furthest thing from my mind going in but the shop owner is an excellent salesman. My mom gifted me a sewing machine for high school graduation a couple of decades ago which sewed very basically and was just fine for me, as basic sewing was all I did at that time. Suddenly I found myself with a small monthly payment and a big, beautiful fancy machine. I fretted about the purchase for a little while until I was sucked into the world of designer quilting fabrics.

I’d never quilted before and really was not interested. I was never really drawn to the calico prints and the long process it seemed to take. I realize now my perspective on quilting was based on assumptions. Now there are so many beautiful, fun and fresh fabric designs and several tools to cut the time involved in quilting.

Back to the issue at hand, which is…

I’m frustrated with the lack of information online about my great machine, the Elna Excellence 730! Most of the quilters out there seem to use Bernina or BabyLock and probably for good reason. Right now I’m not interested in their reasons. Well, actually, I briefly considered trading this one in for something with more online information. I am impatient. Frequently I am working on a sewing project early in the morning or late at night when my only option is the manufacturer’s instruction manual or the internet.  Honestly, though, spending more money on a sewing machine is not preferable.

I’ll share what info I have so far and maybe someone will land here that can give me info I need. Elna Excellence owners, let’s gather and unite! Back to business for now…

What led me to this post are two things:

1. How the heck do I get to the Straight Stitch settings?

I wanted to do some free motion quilting and was following the manual’s instructions. The manual had been very handy so far. (It’s getting that well-worn look that I love books to have. Can anyone relate?) It told me to use Pattern MODE 1: 4S. I could not get to 4S for the life of me and the instructions were leaving me stranded. My dealer wasn’t opening for several hours (we rise early in this house) so I tried looking online (&%^$#!) and finally resorted to contacting Elna service in NJ. I was able to reach a real, live person (!) with little difficulty. She explained they didn’t really offer help over the phone (I’m supposed to contact the shop where I bought it) but she could help me look through the manual to see if I’d missed anything.

Here’s how it works…the machine is so smart it knows if you are using the wrong needle plate. All I have to do is switch to the straight stitch needle plate and voila, I can 4S away all day long! As frustrating as the process was to find this out, I’m super glad the machine won’t let me make costly mistakes. I only wish they’d include that info clearly in the manual (are you reading this, Elna?).

2. Does this machine need to be oiled?

There is nothing that I have found online about this. Nada. Insert blowing wind noise here. My machine is up for a very detailed cleaning. It’s a fuzzy mess. I’m very hesitant to just go ahead and oil it because I did find in my research that some new machines don’t need to be oiled. And of course everyone says to check with the manufacturer.


I finally found a source that might answer my question about the oil. I’m still waiting to hear. Until then, I’m off to clean this lint with my brush and pipe cleaner.

Please share in the comments if you have anything to add. it’s been delightful talking Elna with you! I would love to connect with other Elna owners out there.