Monday, May 29, 2017

How to Make Sewing Machines Enjoyable for Kids / Published with Permission

Hello there, this is Janelle (previously known as Jane here) back from a long hiatus from blogging. I am more active here but I'm hoping to make a return to recreational sewing in the near future. 

Sally of Stitch and Sew recently contacted me to share an informative piece about selecting the proper sewing machine for children. As someone who learned to sew as a young adult, I admit that I wish I had started earlier!

From Sally:

How to Make Sewing Machines Enjoyable for Kids 
Children give up on tasks if they aren’t good at them immediately. Yet, you notice how interested your daughter or son always is as you take out your sewing machine. You might let them help thread the needle or perform other tasks, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty of sewing, your adult-sized machine may be too much for them. How can you choose a sewing machine for your youngster that will make their experience enjoyable while keeping them safe?
There are a few key features you should look for in sewing machines for kids. First and foremost, you need a machine that is designed for safety. Next, it should be dependable. Last, but certainly not least, the machine should be able to help develop the sewing skills of your child. If the learning curve is too steep, your child may lose interest. Let’s take a closer look at the best selection of sewing machines for kids.


Please check out the article and happy stitching!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Completed Project: Poppy Dress

For the Fourth of July, I wanted to make a dress in festive colors, so here it is! (I debuted it on my style blog on Monday.)


It's an update on this dress pattern:


I'm really proud of this piece! It's a simple design, but I'm really happy with the finishing (which is one of the trickiest parts about sewing, in my opinion). I'm not sure what a more experienced seamstress would say, but I'm so proud to say that this garment has no exposed raw edges!




  • Fabric: cotton or cotton mix
  • Lining: cream muslin (fully lined)
  • Elasticized waist
  • Neckline casings for tie (black sash is from a purchased dress)
 Thank you for looking :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011


As a sewing enthusiast, the one activity I've had to learn to enjoy about the art of sewing is ironing (or pressing). In addition to having an initial fear of the iron (I was accidentally burned by one when I was 4 years old), I always found the task inconvenient, especially in my limited sewing space. Having a full-sized ironing board was cumbersome, so I've been using a small "Cut 'n Press" board laid flat on my cutting table. While more convenient than a folding ironing board, the size was still a problem.

There is a happy ending to this story! I've had this idea of creating a larger version of this small pressing board, and with the help of my loving parents, it happened! Pictures won't be able to do it justice, but just believe me: I am thrilled.


It's made of 32"x30" particle board covered with cotton batting, ironing-board cover fabric from Joann's, and canvas-like material from an old curtains. The fabric was stapled to the bottom of the particle board using a staple gun.

I haven't actually used it for pressing yet, but I'm hoping it will work as well as I expect!


I'm actually looking forward to the next time I have press a dart or seam.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sew Simply

Another sewing update! The past few nights I made some simple dresses: tube dresses with a ruffle at the top. This type of dress is quite simple to sew and is a perfect summer dress!

Here it is in a paisley-like remnant fabric:


Here it is in a shocking electric blue color, with straps:


And lastly, here is a picture of this dress worn:


I'll probably be making several more of the ruffle dresses for summer!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sewing Update: I am a Nocturnal Sewing Machine

Hello there! Finally I've been getting some solid (late-night) sewing in, so I have something to update here!


I just completed this dress this morning! I didn't use a pattern and pretty much winged it with a "cut-and-sew" approach. I was inspired by the Vogue pattern V8380, which I considered buying but dissuaded myself with the somewhat naive idea that I could draft something similar myself.


It didn't work out exactly as I had envisioned, but I'm pleased with the final product, especially since I completed the entire dress in about four-five hours and "free-handed" a pattern.


I used the rest of the fabric from this dress and lined it with muslin because I had it on hand. To make the casing for the ribbon, I made something like a very narrow facing which I stitched down to the bodice.


I also made another Open Heart dress, this time using up the left over fabric from my Valentine's Day Dress. It has the same bodice as my Yellow Bow dress. I cut out the pieces a while ago, but I became frustrated with the project and stopped working on it. I decided to finish it and put an open heart at the back, this time bound with bias tape.



Thank you for taking a look!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wild (Open) Heart Dress

I'm so happy to share my latest dress! Inspired by Addie Marie and her simple yet genius video tutorial, I was able to create a dress featuring a heart cut-out detail. I have always wanted a heart cut-out dress, and thanks to Addie Marie, I was able to make one for myself!



Fabric: $2/yd clearance fabric, approximately 2 yards
Notions: 16" zipper, fusible interfacing
Construction details:
  • Bust darts and back darts
  • Bodice back is lined
  • Heart circumference and facing are interfaced
  • Heart is top-stitched
  • Exposed front zipper
  • Invisible hem
  • Seam finishes: French seams and pinked seam allowances
The pattern is my own; the bodice is based on my Yellow Bow Dress pattern and the skirt has a gathered A-line silhouette. I'm pleased with this prototype, but I will still be making adjustments.

Comments always appreciated!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sewing Update

So, it turns out that the size 10 pattern for McCall's M5800 is much too big! Luckily, I only traced the pattern pieces onto another piece of paper, so the original pattern is still intact. I will need to retrace a smaller size, but now I'm not sure which size: 6 or 8? 4 even? I think some research into McCall's sizing is in order.

However, I did get some sewing done using the McCall's pattern as light inspiration. Using the bodice pattern as a guide, I drafted a bodice pattern for this little yellow dress:

I deepened the V a little bit, and I love this neckline! This dress pattern is meant to be pulled over the head so it is only has some bust darts for shaping.