Searching for an idea for last minute teachers’ gifts, hostess gifts or stocking stuffers for a loved one?
I was doing just that yesterday when I came upon this lovely post for scented sachets. Alas, I had no easy access to a bushel of lavender on a cold snowy day, but I had the idea of making them into hand warmers … exactly what one wants on such a day. In place of lavender buds, I filled mine with rice (I started with sushi rice, and am now onto basmati, as I have gone overboard with stacks of these pretty little packets.
A simple, quick, pretty gift idea that uses fabric scraps you have lying around your studio. A wonderful plus is that they can also be stuck in the freezer to be used as eye packs to refresh tired peepers. Should you feel the urge to whip up a few of your own, read on:
What I used:
- For each warmer you will need 2 pieces of 4″ x 4″ fabric. I chose a number of co-ordinating patterned fabrics from Flight Patterns and Helen’s Garden for the tops and more simple, yet colourful, fabrics for the backs (Parterre in all its colour options worked wonderfully)!
- ¼ cup rice.
- co-ordinazting thread for stitching together & for the little tuck in the centre of each warmer.
What I did:
As I made a gazillion of them, I did it production-style. A Match your fronts to backs, right sides together. With a ¼” seam allowance, sew along one edge and, without raising your machine’s presser foot, continue onto the next warmer, and the next until they all have one edge sewn. Clip all those extra chains of sewing between each & start again with another side, then another. You should now have 3 edges sewn shut on each warmer. B For the final edge, start sewing about 1″, then backstitch to secure your sewing. Raise the presser foot, skip about 1½”, lower foot and sew to the end (remember to backstitch both ends so your stitches don’t get pulled out when turning your warmer right side out).
C Clip all your corners diagonally, being careful not to clip any stitching. Turn warmers right side out, using a pin to get the corners as sharp as possible.
Use a funnel to fill with rice. Using a slip stitch, close your opening, then make a knot right at the fabric surface, insert needle just beside the knot & exit about ½” further along. Gently pull your thread until the knot pops through to the inside of your warmer, thus nicely hiding it. Cut your thread where it exits from the fabric.
Last step is the stitched tuck in the centre. Measure or eyeball the centre of the square. Starting on the back side, insert needle with unknotted thread through to the front, leaving an end 3″ or 4″ long at the back. Make a stitch about 1/8″ long, and bring your thread through to the back. Repeat this stitch 3 or 4 times. Pull both ends of the thread taut, then make a double knot. Insert both loose ends into the warmer with a needle, coming out ½” away. Clip ends at fabric surface.
I even made a little instruction card to go with them that you can download to print here:
I chose to go with sets of 6 that co-ordinate well together. Place your instruction card at the bottom, stack 6 lovely warmers atop each other, tie with a pretty ribbon, and voila! Pretty present to go!
Helen’s Garden has started shipping to stores!!!
To provide an initial bit of sewing inspiration, I wanted to feature these gorgeous bags that Jennifer Ladd so creatively whipped up for me for my Quilt Market booth.
Helen’s Garden offers so many colour and pattern matching possibilities, that with just a few fat quarters of fabric, some stiff fabric interfacing, and some lovely wooden handles (a Google search brings up many possibilities), one could create a stylish gift.
With some careful cutting, patterns can almost seamlessly align as above. Or one could go all out featuring one eye-catching print like the Dahlia Medallion (I could not come to part with this one, so it is an early Christmas present to myself).
The interiors of Jennifer’s bags are as artfully done as the exteriors. She uses a contrasting fabric as lining, in this case Enchanted in cream, and even a little pocket in yet another fabric, Pollen.
If you are loving these pretty purses as much as I am, and are not quite so craftily inclined as to try creating one for yourself, Jennifer should soon have these and possibly others made of Helen’s Garden fabrics available in her Etsy shop.
It’s been quiet here. I’ve been a busy woman. Who hasn’t lately?
This is the third year in a row that Greg & I have been exhibiting at the 10-day Marché Casse Noisette (Nutcracker Market) in Montreal. My work life outside of designing fabric has consisted of designing labelling for our company that makes indoor gardening kits (think everything you need to grow a …). While Mano Verde was a wholesale venture for 8 years, we have pared things back in the past year to focus on other things, but still keep our hands in the dirt, so to speak, by participating in fun events directly with the final customer. The market is put on by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal and a percentage of all exhibitors’ proceeds help underprivileged children attend performances of the ballet.
Every year I sew up a stack of tea towels to sell at the market. Here are some of last year’s models.
This year they all went so quickly, I had extra space available and brought a slew of fat quarters to sell. While they definitely could have used ironing, they added a great colourful splash to the booth.
It was a fun venture that took a fair bit of prep time and all those days of chatting with cheery holiday shoppers that were tickled by the idea of offering a little gardening kit to a friend, or a small stack of locally designed fabric to the sewer in their lives. It has definitely put me in the holiday mood, though I can do without hearing another christmas carol for a good while.
And now I am back to having time to focus on this little venture. We celebrated Hanukah a week ago, the laundry is finally being tended to, festive cookies were made for the sweet little boy-in-my-life’s school christmas breakfast (cookies for breakfast … yes please) this morning, and hopefully we can get our act together to find a tree this weekend to make the house sparkle a bit.
Hope you are all finding time to embrace the warmth and cheer of the season.
My boy is so excited … his first tooth is wiggling. These little life’s big moments take precedent and should be marked with something special. Ever since his big sister lost her first tooth a few years ago and I had made her a little owl pillow so the tooth fairy would know where to find it, he has been anticipating his turn. This is Emma’s:
Max does the most delightful line drawings of “des bonhommes” (little guys … whether it be super heroes, aliens, monsters, family members … we refer to them all as “des bonhommes”, pronounced “bonom”). So after mulling over various ideas with him (a race car, a fire truck, an airplane with a giant propeller), we decided he would draw a monser and I would translate that to fabric & take care of the rest. In about a minute & a half, this mini masterpiece was whipped up.
I scanned it, enlarged it & printed it to the desired size (about 4″ tall). As I did not have any printable transfer paper, I decided to go the route of a light box to transfer the image to fabric. An iPad with a white screen works wonderfully for this (or any computer monitor, for that matter). Simply adjust the screen’s luminosity to its highest, lay the paper image on the screen and place the desired fabric over top. Trace the image with a pencil & you’re set. A skein of embroidery thread and lots and lots of lovingly done little backstitches later, a few other scraps of fabric and some stuffing, and the project was complete.
I wanted to stay true to his mark making, so I left in all those overlapping bits of lines.
I did the same thing with his signature to embellish the tooth pocket.
Now we wait patiently to have something to put in it.
I promised this tutorial, and finally, it’s here! So … without further ado … The Les Monsieurs Skirt
What I used:
This was made for a 7-year old. For a younger child, I would just cut the shorter measurement of the 2 main pieces each a few inches shorter, but still use the full 45″ fabric width, as full = fun.
All fabrics used are from my Les Monsieurs collection in the Retro colourway:
- A – 13″ x width of fabric (45″) Gentlemen Start Your Engines
- B – 45″ long x 16″ wide Tire Treads in Wave (This print runs vertically, hence the direction I cut the fabric. For other horizontal prints, ex, Scribble Cars, simply cut 16″ long x width of fabric)
- C – 2 pieces, 6″ wide x 2″ Scribble Cars
- D – 2 pieces, 8″ long x 6″ wide Tire Treads in Wave (again, this print runs vertically. If using a horizontal print, switch the dimensions accordingly)
- Approximately 48″ of 3/8″ wide elastic (double the wearer’s waist measurement, plus a few inches extra).
What I did:
First, the pocket: Fold up ¼” to the wrong side along lower long edge of both C pieces. Press. Lay pieces right sides together & using a ¼” seam allowance, sew around the 2 short edges and the top edge. Clip corners, turn right side out & press.
Lay your 2 main pocket pieces, D right sides together. Using the following diagram #1 as a guide, cut the curved pocket shape. Keeping right sides together, using a ¼” seam allowance, sew the entire way along the long curved edge. Clip curves and turn right side out. Press.
Using #2 in previous diagram as a guide, form a symmetrical box pleat in top edge of pocket so that it fits into the opening of C pieces. Place it all the way to the top of C. Pin in place. Top stitch 1/8″ from folded edge, as in #3.
Locate the horizontal centre of piece A. Measure 3½” from top edge & mark with a pin. Position centre of top edge of finished pocket at this spot. Pin the pocket in place, allowing centre-top of pocket to pucker out from skirt a bit (room for a little hand or a secret treasure to get in easily (so that top corners are about 4 3/4“ apart). Pin in place. Top stitch all the way around pocket, except top edge, 1/8” from edge.
Serge or zigzag raw edges of pieces A & B. Right sides together, fold piece A in half horizontally. Using ½” seam allowance, stitch side edges together to form a tube. Turn right-side out. Repeat with piece B. Insert tube A inside tube B. Right side of A should be against wrong side of B. Using a ½” seam allowance, sew top edges together. Iron seam toward A. Turn right-side-out. Pull A fabric an extra 1/8” to the inside (so that the seam lies 1/8” down on the inside). Press.
Top stitch 1/8” from top edge, all the way around. Form 2 elastic channels by stitching another line ½” below this line, and again ½” lower. Measure your little one’s waist & add 1”. Cut 2 pieces of elastic this length. Open the side seam at each channel to insert elastic with a bodkin or safety pin. For each piece of elastic, overlap the ends by 1” making sure the elastic is not twisted in the channel. Stitch a few zig-zag lines to securely fasten ends together. Finish stitching the channel closed.
Now just the hems. Press to wrong side ¼” all the way around bottom of A, then turn under again 1/2”. Stitch in place. Repeat with the 2nd hemline.
Welcome to my Quilt Market booth!
In comparison to my last booth at Quilt Market, this season’s was simpler, with a greater emphasis on the quilt. I have discovered the wisdom in some of the most rudimentary of quilters’ rules (measure ACCURATELY, press seams, obey the scant 1/4″ seam allowance, etc), and making quilts for this season was less stressful and more rewarding … I am learning.
Once again this time, I was presenting two fabric collections in one tiny space. The collections’ colours play off each other well and they met with a resoundingly positive response.
First up, I present you with Helen’s Garden:
Helen is my Mom. She keeps, and has always kept, a beautiful, inspiring garden. There is occasionally order within, but generally colour and scent abound. Her current garden includes a range of lovely blooms, as well as a forested area that wanders down to the ocean, wherein one can find berries, mushrooms, fiddleheads and other treasures. This collection is a little nod to what she has taught me.
I made some simple pillows that show off some of the collection’s prints in their two colour families. Spy some dragonflies? That’s Garden Dancers. And see those gorgeous bags, they were created by the very talented Jennifer Ladd. She makes the most lovely bags and purses and whipped up these with solid wood handles just for the show.
Here is another quilt I created, based on the traditional log cabin.
I completely lucked out this time to have my baby sister, Tanya join me for a few days. Here she is sporting a Schoolhouse Tunic (by Sew Liberated) she made with my Pirouette fabric in coral. She had so many compliments on that tunic … she even had someone offer to buy it off her back! I am wearing a peasant-style dress of my own creation (sorry, no pattern yet available) in Enchanted in plum.
Those two sweet small quilts you see were created by the wonderful Brooke Sellman of Silly Mama Quilts. Brooke was completely up for the challenge of making pieces to highlight the two focal prints. Stay tuned for a tutorial on each of these shortly.
The dress and short pyjamas came from my head, but I think these pj’s by Marie-Madeline Studio would be equally sweet in the Princess & the Pea fabric.
I made a modern Princess & the Pea bed out of queen-size bed pillows. The majority use Freckled in it’s many colour versions. I had grand ideas of doing a crocheted edge on each pillow, but after the third, I came to terms with the fact that a crochet hook is not my favourite tool, and opted for pompom fringe for the others. The top pillow is edged with a beaded trim I had purchased years ago, that I was happy to finally put to use. Oh, and the “pea” is a wooden ball covered with some Floating Blossoms.
I will be writing up tutorials for both of the Helen’s Garden quilts in the next while. They will be posted when the fabric becomes available in stores. December 15!
Thanks for stopping by and visiting!
I wanted to share with you all a quick look at a few booths and fabric lines that inspired me at Quilt Market last weekend (while my camera was co-operating, that is). Sadly, there were a few amazing sights that ended up a blurred mess on my camera, so here is an abridged look at Quilt Market through my eyes:
Anna Maria Horner did not fail to leave me in awe with her soulful new collection, Dowry and her True Colors, not-so-solid-solids.
Amy Butler’s Hapi was vibrant, layered & bohemian
I also loved her geometric prints in the line
I am far from being a cat person, but I love the focal print in Lizzie House’s new collection
Jeni Baker had a lovely vintage inspired line, Dreamin’ Vintage
Carolyn Friedlander created an entire wall of gorgeous pieced blocks
as well as a lovely quilt. Her new collection, Botanics is full of beautifully pared down fine line drawings.
My fellow-Michael Miller designer, Sarah Jane introduced her sweet new collection, Wee Wander, full of fireflies, trees and horses.
Loved this new print on organic knit by Monaluna
And a wonderfully creative booth was by Green Bee Patterns. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most effective!
I am trying to salvage enough pictures of my own booth so that I can properly introduce you to my two new collections. That will be next.
Until then, have a fabulous weekend full of inspiration!
I am off again on Friday to Quilt Market. I have been sewing up a frenzy for the past few weeks, hence the lack of posts here. I had more time this time, and yet I still don’t feel nearly as prepared as I did in the Spring. I’m sure … well, let’s say “I hope” … it will all come together once I’m there.
Once again I will be presenting two new fabric lines. There will be a happy, colourful young girl’s line, Quiet Time and a richly coloured grownup girl’s line, Helen’s Garden. Here’s a little peek to whet your appetite …
I will give you a much more extensive look at the two lines once I am back. For now, I hope you like the bit that you see here.
If you are planning on attending Market, please do stop by and say “hi”. I will have my own booth within the Michael Miller booth area. Have a fabulous week!
You’ve been asking for it, so, without further ado, here is the promised reversible superhero cape for your little one.
What I used:
Keep in mind, I made this cape for my five-year old son. It should work fine for a child between about 4-6 years. If making it for an older child, I might lengthen it by a few inches, and perhaps even make it a few inches wider. You will still be able to make it from a width of fabric. Keep the neck opening as is, just place the bottom corners a bit further apart & a bit lower down.
All fabrics used are from my Les Monsieurs collection in the Retro colourway:
- 1 yd Scribble Cars
- ¾ yd Racing Stripes
- 1 yd Castle Blocks
- An 8″ diameter circle of unbleached cotton
- A 7″ diameter circle of quilt batting
- An 8″ x 5″ scrap of charcoal flannel (felt would work just fine, too. This is for the hair & facial features, so dark brown or black would also work)
- A large velcro dot or a cut velcro strip approx. 1″ long.
What I did:
I used 1/2″ seam allowances everywhere.
Fold Scribble Cars fabric in half vertically (tip: Position your fold so that it runs through the centre of a column of cars. This way, your racing stripe won’t cut into any cars).
Use the following cutting guide to cut the basic cape shape. Measure & mark as indicated and connect your markings with smooth curves. The neckhole is a perfect circle, so you can use a compass or search for something you have around the house that’s the right size.
Now use this cut piece as your pattern to cut the same piece from the Castle Blocks fabric.
Cut a 3¾” wide strip from the entire length of Racing Stripes (tip: I positioned mine so that the dashed black line is centred on the strip).
Press under ½” of fabric along both long edges of strip. With wrong side of strip on right side of cape, lay the Racing Stripes strip up the centre of the Scribble Cars cape piece, using your centre fold line on the cape as a guide. Pin in place. Top stitch ⅛” from the edge along both long edges. Trim any extra length of the strip that extends beyond the cape piece.
Clip into the ½” seam allowance all the way around the unbleached cotton circle and press seam allowance to wrong side. Insert the batting circle under the pressed edges on the wrong side. Centre circle, right side up, on right side of Castle Blocks cape piece, with the top of the circle about 5″ down from the bottom of the neckline. Pin in place. Use an invisible stitch to sew in place. Using the following template as a guideline, draw hair, eyes & a mouth onto the flannel. There are no seam allowances here as the flannel or felt will not fray.
Carefully cut out & position pieces on cotton circle. With matching thread colour, stitch in place with a small running stitch. There is no need to stitch this all the way through to the cape fabric, just catch the cotton circle with the needle as you go through, then come back up.
With right sides together, pin the two cape pieces together all the way around. Starting halfway up one side, sew all the way around, stopping about 7″ from your start point (to be able to turn piece right side out). Clip all corners & curves. Turn your cape right side out. Close the opening with an invisible stitch. Press all the way around so your edges are smooth.
Position velcro so that the two cape tabs overlap. You don’t want any rough velcro edges along your little one’s neck, so be sure that there is a comfortable amount of fabric around each velcro piece. You will have one velcro piece on a Scribble Cars fabric side and the other on a Castle Blocks fabric side.
Pin them in place and top stitch all the way around each (tip: Keep in mind that the cape is reversible, and will be seen from both sides. Choose a thread colour that will disappear on the back fabric for each one. Don’t worry about the stitching being visible on the velcro, as it won’t be seen).
And there you have it. One reversible Les Monsieurs cape, ready for action!
Who says cars are just for boys? Not this mama! While I designed Les Monsieurs for my son, I thought it would be really cute to make something for the girl in my life with some of her current favourite colours. She is all about blues these days.
I had designed this skirt for a Spoonflower contest a year or two ago and thought I would revisit it with Gentlemen Start Your Engines. It sews up easily, shows off co-ordinating fabrics well, is really comfy and the best … has a nice deep pleated pocket for a couple treasures or an idle hand.
I will post a tutorial here shortly, so stay tuned!