Summer Fun and Sewing for the Grands continues

I took a mini-vacation from sewing for a week while 3 of my grandkids were visiting. They are so active and busy during their visits that sewing is not an option. (My sewing space is not “kid safe” currently with all the excess stuff I have from 2nd Time Around and my friend June’s sewing room stuff).

 I am usually up around 6 am, and shortly after getting up, the youngest is  awake and we get 15 or 20 minutes of time together before the household is up and moving.  She wanted to pick out fabric for 2 dresses and we did get a few minutes of time to do that.  She likes to touch the fabric and make combinations that please her 6 year old eye! I also got out my bin of kids patterns and she selected a pattern for her second dress.  We were “too busy” to sew while they were here.

Our week was full of adventures.  We rode bikes at a nearby state park one morning and had a picnic. Another day we got together with their cousin & aunt for a some beach fun. Their aunt brought pizza for dinner one night.  We went to her house to play and swim one day. Lots of great time with play time with cousins.  I hope they were building memories!!   Of course, playtime with remote control cars and Grandpa, and bike riding at home. We went to an evening concert at Abbott’s Mill Nature Center and enjoyed another picnic.  Every afternoon there was time spent in the pool to cool off and relax. My daughter and Grandpa and I enjoyed floating around watching the kids splash and play.   All that time at the YMCA over the winter has made them into great swimmers.  Swim lessons for kids really built their confidence. The 2 oldest kids figured out how to use snorkels and had fun staying “underwater”.  

Hopefully they had a good week of fun, and my daughter enjoyed a little break from her normal household responsibilities etc. She, of course, still had to “mother”, but not worry about meals and chores and the boxes that still need unpacked for a few days.  We enjoyed lots of time to visit too.

Once they headed home, I went to my sewing room to work on the 2 dresses.  The patterns were chosen for each dress already, and I very easily constructed the sundress .  This was the 4th time I have made this pattern, by BURDA,# 9994, this summer and it went together in a few hours.  I spent as much time tracing the pattern to a size 5 on butcher paper as I did cutting out the dress! I know have the pattern traced in a size 3 & 5, and the original goes from 18 months to size 8.  Too bad summer is nearly done, as I have this pattern down!!!!  

Sundress front

I was ready to put the buttonholes and buttons on at the end of the first round of sewing late Friday afternoon.  On Saturday afternoon I did buttons and buttonholes and the dress was finished.

Back of sundress

I had to give it a good wash (to get my chalk marks off the back where the button holes are), and it is ready to pop in the mail.  I will do that this morning!  This granddaughter turned 6 while she was here, and I know she will enjoy getting her dress “in the mail”.

The second dress has taken me quite a bit more time.  It has a collar and sleeves, and calls for a zipper.

Dress with collar

Granddaughter chose dress B in the lower left corner.  I traced that pattern into a size 5 on butcher paper on Saturday, and got everything cut out.  On Sunday I started to work through the directions, making the collar, the sleeves and the bodice.  I learned about “easing” stitches for the sleeves.  I love how full the skirt is with all the gathering.

I still have to shop for the right zipper to go into the dress, and dig in the trim bin for the trim around the waist. I have lots of zippers, but nothing appropriate.  I have it nearly finished with the exception of the hem and zipper and the trim.  I am TERRIBLE about reading patterns, and had to “redo” the sleeves.  Thankfully I had plenty of fabric.  I think she made a fun combination of fabrics. She wanted contrast, and she got it!  Hey, when you are 6, you can mix plaids and stripes, right?   🙂  I think the 2 prints are cute.  I would not have chosen them to coordinate, but she liked it!

Size 5 dress

I didn’t get a chance to work on the dress on Monday.  I spent my morning with my youngest daughter and granddaughter, taking a 6 mile bike ride at the beach, followed up by a ride north to pick up some fabric for 2nd Time Around and a long nap!

Before dinner I did a little “tidying up” in my sewing room so I could get near my embroidery machine. My sewing desk was buried under dress patterns, and batik strips and sundress fabrics.  I can now “see the top” of the desk.  An hour well spent putting patterns away, labeling folders and pattern boxes, and putting batik strips in a basket.  (Yes, the placemats are still a work in progress…of course…another UFO).

I needed to stitch out a couple of “die-line” files for Embroidery Club today, and get my “gear” packed for going today. I have “minimized” how much I am taking, but did throw in a couple of extra pieces of fabric, and 5 extra spools embroidery thread.  We are doing an Embroidery Library  “in the hoop” key chain project and I will write about it once I get it done.

The rest of the week is pretty busy with Material Girls Bee on Wednesday, and an afternoon of sewing at the Assisted Living Center on Thursday, and 2nd Time Around on Friday morning, along with lunch and swimming with the ladies on Friday afternoon.  I am hoping to finish this dress before Saturday morning when we head over to the DC metro area for that 6 year old’s big birthday bash!  (Debating a bike ride on Wednesday evening or sewing……hmmmm) Deadline is looming on this one!

Hope you are staying cool during the hot days of August and finding time to sew or enjoy other summer time activities with family and friends.   Do tell what you are working on, and if you have any good tips for installing zippers in garments!!  (I think I failed zippers in home-ec in 1969…)

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Small projects and small bits

Gosh, since the last post I have been washing & ironing that fabric I talked about.  The vinegar was a great success in ridding the fabric of the smell of smoke.  The big pieces washed up nicely.  I can’t say that about the small pieces.  Even putting the pieces in lingerie bags the strings created a balled up mess of fabric.  I have spent countless rainy days untangling the mess and ironing those bits of fabric.  Has it paid off?  I hope so.  There were LOTS of 2.5″ strips that I will trim to 2″; and many blocks that were sewn in preparation for joining into a quilt that need now to be squared up.  I have over 100 pieces that were parts of a quilt that I pressed and will end up subcutting to rid the ragged edges and turn the fabric  into something that is usable.  There were yards and yards and yards of fabric that just needs a slight trim, and measured & folded to be sold at the guild.   So, I will let you know when we sell it at the guild and see what kind of money it brings.  The small stuff may not be worth selling and end up in the scrap boxes. And, if you read my blog, you know I love scraps.  Our guild had a class in March that got people excited about scraps, and I had someone stop over this week to go into the scrap boxes, looking for bits for her “wonky houses” she wanted to build.  At our quilt show next spring, we will fill a playpen with scraps and let shoppers fill their bags for a nominal fee.  While sorting to wash, I found small quilt tops that hadn’t been finished, and now they will end up as charity quilts later on.

In between the rain storms that have kept the entire East Coast of the USA wet and soggy for nearly 2 weeks, I have ducked out to my sewing room and made another sundress. This one is also a size 3, for my youngest granddaughter.  The one I made previously I had to shorten.  I shortened the pattern before I made this sundress.

Front Size 3 cotton dress

FRONT – size 3

Size 3 cotton dress back

BACK – size 3

This is a BURDA pattern, and goes together quickly. The dress is 100% cotton, and her mother is not going to like that it might need to be ironed.  Grandma will have to stick to “Tutti Fruitti” fabric for future sundresses. (Or bring it home to be ironed….)  I dropped it off on Sunday after church, and hoping she will “fit” into it for a time!!  Kids grow so fast!

I had an opportunity early in the week to go fabric shopping with my Queen Bee friends and I picked up more Tutti Fruitti at JoAnn’s for my stash.  Since I have been in the “fabric washing mood”, I washed it, along with all the other that I had on hand.  I’ve mastered this pattern for sundresses, and have dug in my drawer of patterns and began thinking about other sundresses I might want to make.   I made a lot of sundresses for the older girls when they were “this size” and may now repeat some of those patterns for the youngest.  The big girls are coming to visit next week, so there will be at least one size 5 started while they are here.

Sunday afternoon.  I just didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do.  I picked up a stack of 4 3/4, and 5″ batik squares my friend from church gave me. I played around with them, making half square triangles.

Batik HST

I ended up trimming them to 4.5″ when they were finished. And then I decided to build some blocks.

Playing with batik HST

This was kind of “no pattern/mindless” sewing.  And FUN sewing.  My hubby wondered what I was up to .  He & I played with some of those fuzzy stringy strips that I washed….and wove sashing in between and up and down.  Nothing really hit me, so I left the strips and the blocks hanging on the design wall for a few days.

Today, I came up with a plan!  Table runners…….so I have got one started!

batik fun

The blocks are 7.5 and the strips are 2″.  As is, I think, finished, it will be about 18.5″ wide by 35.5.  I like my table runners a bit longer, as I have the leaves in my table all the time, so I might go one more ‘row’, if I have enough fabric for those cornerstones.  Otherwise, I will leave it “as is” and start putting the other blocks together with different sashing and cornerstones, and make another runner or maybe placemats.  Fun to just play around with fabric that my friend from church didn’t have a use for anymore.

Thinking of ironing….I was counting irons…..in my sewing room I have 4.  Two Oliso’s, which are always in use.  One ironing station, and 1 ironing board.  I have an iron “in reserve” in case I have a need.  I also have a travel iron in my little ironing bag for trips to class and other locations.  In the house, I have an ironing board and an iron.  So, if the granddaughter’s dress needs pressed, I do have the technology to handle it.  (I actually ironed the hubby’s shirts 2 weeks ago……and showed him where the iron is stored in case he wants them done in the future!) (Just kidding !)  Quilters don’t iron, we PRESS!  🙂

Hope you are not roasting in the heat and humidity of July…but able to find a cool spot to keep stitching.

Little girls Sun Dress

In a previous post this month I mentioned making a sundress (https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/summer-sewing/ ) with fabric my 8 year old granddaughter chose.  That dress went off in the mail yesterday after I put a size tag in it.

When I finished her dress,  I pulled fabrics that I considered “suitable for sundresses” for young girls.  Look at these fun fabrics!  I’d forgotten I had an entire tote full of “tutti fruiti” fabrics.

Tutti Fruitti fabrics

This batch is that puckery Tutti Fruiti fabric. I have a couple of yards of each print. I think I used the green plaid (c) in a sundress a few years back.

Tutti fruiti choices

This group is my favorite of all the prints. Again, it is the puckery Tutti Fruiti fabric and I have at least a yard or more of each.

coordinating prints

These two are also Tutti Fruiti, and are coordinating prints. They would make a nice outfit together.

I also dug into my stash of “pink cottons” and came up with this –

fun cotton fabrics

They of course don’t play well together but each is fun on it’s own.  I must look for some lime green to go with that fabric I marked with a J.  These are quilters cotton.

Digging deep into the box of red & orange & pink fabric in my stash I pulled out these more “grown up” fabrics –

from the pink stash

They are soft, lovely cotton pieces that don’t scream “kid fabric”.  That box was overflowing, so I pulled out ALL the pinks and refolded them (ruler fold), and created a container of “just pink”.  Now both lids will close.

All of these fabrics were the choices I sent off to the  5 year old granddaughter to ponder!  You might remember she decided she wants to “feel the fabric” before she decides!  (Makes my heart sing with joy, because I am like that when I am in a quilt shop!!)

Meanwhile…..I decided to  start on a size 3 for the littlest granddaughter. She didn’t get a choice in fabric selection, I chose for her.  I chose a yard of fabric E, and after the pattern tracing got started with the sewing. I finished up today, attaching the bodice to the skirt, making the button holes and sewing the buttons on by machine.  The dress is in the wash and ready to deliver tomorrow.

front of size 3 dress

Size 3 sundress – front

Size 3 dress

Size 3 sundress – back – 11 buttons!

I can’t wait to try it on my youngest granddaughter and see if I guess right on the size.

I always find commercial garment patterns to run rather large, or maybe I just have small grands.  I’ve never recorded her measurements, but this grandma is taking the tape measure along tomorrow when I deliver !!

Middle granddaughter will make her fabric choices when she is visiting in August.  Her mommy said she is SO excited about all the fabrics and getting to chose!

That’s all for this StitchingGrandma this week!  What have you been up to lately?

 

Summer sewing

I have been doing a little summer sun-dress sewing.  My grandchildren were here for a bit in June, and the 8 year old wanted to pick out fabric for a sundress. Her favorite color is blue.  I was not surprised with her fabric combinations. The fabric on the top is tutti fruiti and the bottom is a batik like print.  Both are 100% cotton and we chose a piece of white cotton to line the bodice.  Challenges – CRUMMY directions on the pattern by Burda.  (I always say this about patterns for garments….hey, I’m a quilter and I need pattern makers to assume I have never sewn before!)  I overcame the challenges because I have sewn before, but gosh if I hadn’t…… There were very few alignment marks on the pattern, and no marks for aligning buttons or number of buttons etc.  I just got out the ruler and chalk and figured it out for myself!

Pattern details

Buttons….the dress sat for 2 weeks waiting for buttons and buttonholes.  I decided to tackle them one day this week, and got out the book for my machine and did some “test buttonholes”.   Then I tested sewing the buttons on by machine.  Lessons learned during practice were my machine did not like the small spool lying on it’s side, and jammed up the thread. I put that small spool on my thread stand it ran perfectly.  But while I was fixing the jam, I cleaned the entire bobbin area of my machine, since I had the plate off.   (Been a bit since that has happened….)  Also, the button sewing on foot and setting were EASY to use!  I chalked where the buttons were to be placed and went for it after only practicing on 1 button on a scrap. The other lessons….I think the button hole foot/ making function is fine, once I got my eye on the chalk line where I wanted the button to be etc.  I don’t think that “one pass” with the stitching is enough.  It seems flimsy to me.  My friend suggested to make a 2nd pass before moving on to the next button hole.  Great advice from Nancy.  The button sewing function only did about 6 stitches, so I ran it 3 times before moving on to the next button.  Hoping those buttons stay put!

9 buttons

Dress size 8

This dress will go off in the mail this week, and I have started one for the 2 year old granddaughter.. Her’s will be all one fabric, in a tutti fruiti material, and I will post a photo when finished.  Middle granddaughter is going to “select” her fabric next time she visits. I sent her lots of photo options of fabrics, but she likes to “feel” the fabric!  Completely understand sensitive skin and like a quilter, who doesn’t like to go around the fabric store and touch it all!

Is anyone else as “pattern direction challenged” as me???  I do enjoy sewing for the girls, and figure once I master the directions I better make one for each! I don’t think it will bother them to have the same style dress in with 3 different fabrics. Hope not!  Ohhh….must remember to put a size tag in the side seam of the skirt, out of the way where it won’t scratch.

Happy sewing!

Small projects for gifts

I finally found my sewing room again at the end of last week.  Yes, just a few days before Christmas, I managed to steal some time for myself and just play around a little.

You might remember in a previous post I mentioned having the Queen Bees for a holiday luncheon and a card making session.  Well, one of those lovely Queen Bee members left a little gift behind for me.  I was delighted to find a pretty set of coasters.

15 Minute Coaster

The coasters were made following a pattern found at Cool Cottons  .  The pattern was familiar, because the Queen Bees had done this for a project at one of the bees in 2016, and during our guild luncheon in early December, everyone was given a little “kit” of fabric squares and the directions.  My friend Dee, was so sweet to sew a set and give them to me.  How did she know that I never “got around” to making some for myself.  (I might have said something about that during the luncheon, as we were seated next to each other!)  I remember that bee pretty well.  We had a new member who was “learning” to use a rotary cutter and ruler, and I spent my time assisting her.  I think my “test coaster” is still in the bottom of a busy box somewhere.  Anyway, I love these bright cheery colors, and they inspired me to get busy and make some for gifts.  I did another “test coaster” with the kit we got at the luncheon, and now the hubby  has a cheery coaster on his hobby desk.

I deviated slightly from the pattern.  I used 5″ squares.  I also top stitched.  (I like that they lay a bit flatter when they are top stitched).  I used a charm pack of 5″ Christmas fabric squares, and then I went diving into my “scrap storage system” for more 5″ squares.  I also dug into the scrap bin for more holiday fabrics.    All said and done, I made 8 sets of 4 for gifts.

Six sets of coasters to gift

Two sets were already gifted before I got this photo taken!  I love all the fun fabrics!  I did 2 sets in spring fabrics.  Check out the backs –

Back of the coasters

The pattern is fairly easy to follow, but if you are like me, sometimes a visual tutorial is handy.  Today, I was browsing around on you-tube and found multiple “methods” for these type of coasters. Some use 1 additional piece of fabric, and they vary in size from 4 to 5″ squares as the basis for the coasters. Some don’t include batting, but I like a nice piece of batting inside to help with any moisture that might be on your glass.

One of the BEST tutorials on you – tube is with the Gourmet Quilter – Gourmet Quilter Tips and Techniques 002 

Susan Claire gives such good instructions, and if you are a “visual” learner, this is a good one to watch.

I found another tutorial on you tube that had some variety in the way the coasters were made, so take a look at this video if you want to up your “style” a little – Craft Genie Folded fabric coasters  . She starts you out with the style I made, but without batting.  Then she ventures off onto other “shapes” that are quite fun.  I hope you find her tutorial easy to follow also.

Post Christmas I was able to spend some time working with a panel that I was given.  My dear friend Nancy B. picked out a panel for me when she was on a shopping expedition in Lancaster PA.  I got busy and got it all cut up and made into a little story book for my youngest granddaughter.  I used my embroidery machine to make a cover for the book.

Around the world fabric book

A is for Amsterdam

Barcelona and Cairo

Back cover

and so forth.  There were a lot of pages!  Such cute designs for cities around the world.  More pictures can be found in my FLICKR album – Sewing for the Grandkids

As I was working with this panel, I was challenged by the “stamping” of the fabric.  Nothing on panels is ever square, so no matter how you “size” the piece, you might end up with a bit of white showing through. I didn’t want to cut off too much of the color so I went with the best possible size, and have touches of white peeking through.  I don’t think the not nearly 2 child will care too much.  This panel wasn’t designed to be made into a book, but that is what I chose to do with it.  I was challenged by “how to assemble” it, and decided today to make buttonholes on each page and thread ribbon thru the buttonholes.  I think the ribbon is securely knotted, and should hold up to the rigors of childhood.  If not, I can always “thread new ribbon”.  (I doubled it through the button holes so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  The pages are assembled with a square of quilt batting in between the pages.  It is completely washable, which I have learned, is a priority to my daughters!

I have several other panels out of the bins, waiting for me to get busy with them, and I think I might sew tomorrow afternoon too.  I get to babysit for the recipient of this book tomorrow for a bit, and will send the book home with her.

I am enjoying these little projects that have been set to the side for a very long time. In the back of my mind my list of UFO’s is sitting, waiting for me to tackle them…..one at a time.  Meanwhile, I have re-acquired the Second Time Around for the quilt guild, and have spent some time sorting through the donations. I think most of that is in good shape to take to guild on Jan 8th.

Of course, I still have over 40 boxes of stuff from my friend who moved to assisted living.  I have been taking bits and pieces to her at her new apartment, and know that she is wishing she had it all.  I’ve inventoried a dozen boxes, and labeled them.  We are trying to figure out a way to get together at the assisted living facility and sew.  I imagine making kits, already cut, for her will satisfy her for a bit. I tried to get the activities director to call me, as I would be willing to lead a small group at the facility.  Perhaps after the first of the year, she will call so we can come up with a plan!  If you have ever led a quilting group with “senior” senior citizens, please let me know what type of projects you worked on.

I hope you are able to stay warm where ever you are this night.  Our temps were down to 14 deg fahrenheit last night, and never got above 25 deg today.  Keeping my sewing room warm enough to work in out over the garage is tricky at best.

Happy stitching!

Busy December days

I know…when are you ever going to get back to the sewing room???  I keep asking myself that question! Have no fear, the weather is above 40 degrees today, and I might brave the winter temp and wander out.  It’s been downright cold around here, and I have had plenty to keep me busy!  (Note – this post is FULL of photos!!)  Grab a cup of your favorite warm beverage!

Snow on Dec 9 2017 Delaware

Two weeks of what I call “Quilt Guild Time”.  First Monday of the month was the guild meeting, and there was a board meeting on Thursday. The snow came on Friday.  (Thank goodness).

The program for the meeting was our annual holiday luncheon and show & tell.  Frankly, I had nothing “ready” to show, that I could wrap my head around. You see, we were coming off 2 weekends in a row of “model rail road club open house”, and I just could not think what to bring. Between an ear infection for me, and hubby coming down with a cold, and long days at the train club, I was just not ready.  Late Sunday evening I remembered that  I had to bring a dish of food to share, and was NOT ready for that either.  An early morning run to the local super market provided some wonderful frozen meatballs, and a few jars of marina sauce.  I popped those meatballs in the oven to heat, the marinara sauce in the microwave, heated up the crock pot, and in under an hour, had them ready to go, and I got out the door by 9 am.  (Note to self….keep those meatballs/sauce on hand for the next food crisis!).  Really, my own fault, as I took the hubby out to dinner on Sunday night with some friends for his birthday, and failed to prepare.   Anyway…the meatballs were a hit, only a few left at the bottom of a very empty crock pot, and nobody cared that I didn’t have a show & tell.  (PHEW….).  I did get to relax and have a little fun at the luncheon, and enjoyed visiting and conversations with members I don’t often get a chance to speak with at meetings.

The feeding continued following our monthly board meeting, where our host provided a delightful brunch.  This is a group of about 20, and again a delight to sit and visit during this busy month.  The snow arrived on Friday, and pretty much kept us at home through the weekend.  Somebody said we got 6″ of snow, heavy and wet.  Luckily the roads were still warm, and it did not stick around long.  Hubby and I spent the weekend finishing up decorating for Christmas.

2017 Christmas Tree

Took me all week to get the tree up and the lights on and the decorations on.  Hubby suffered quietly with a cold and emerged long enough to get the angel on top and some of the highest ornaments on.  Every year we decorate a little differently, and this year, the lights seem “dim” to me.  I realised after I was finished,  I only used half as many lights as last year.  (I think I was burnt out).  The LED bulbs are not as bright as the old fashion type either.

Tuesday I hosted the Queen Bees for a luncheon/Christmas party.   I decided that I would ask them to help with a card making project that Carole / From My Carolina Home    asked for help with.  On her Dec 8th post, she invited others to take part in making cards for a woman’s shelter.  So, when I asked my Queen Bee’s, they all agreed.  I put some supplies on the table, and they got busy!

An artistic group

Crafting and creating Queen Bees

They created 12 cards in just under an hour!  They used cardstock, punches, old greeting cards, stamps, pens, tape runners etc to create these cards.

Fun creations

Special cards made by the Queen Bees

More special cars

Holiday greeting cards

Greeting cards made by bee

Some of these women had never done any “paper crafting” of this sort before, but were eager to prepare cards with heartfelt messages inside.

Sentiment inside

We have so many talented women in this group, and I love the way this card was done inside.    We got the dozen cards out in the mail to Carole to meet her deadline.  I think the Queen Bees enjoyed the project, although it wasn’t quilting, it went for a very good purpose.  Two of the women in the Queen Bees knew about Carole’s project, because they follow her blog.

I got to follow-up a great lunch on Tuesday with the Queen Bees by attending another lunch with the Material Girls Bee on Wednesday.  It was hard to remember to take “small portions” but I did!!

The Queen Bees inspired me and I spent the rest of the week with my own card crafting. I had a birthday card to make and Christmas cards I wanted to do.  I was so inspired I made a trip to Michael’s Craft Store and purchased more “card blanks & envelopes” and treated myself to a heat gun and embossing powder.  I picked up a BUNCH more stamps at Tuesday Morning too.  More about those cards “next time”…as I want to give the recipients a chance to receive them before I spoil the surprise.  

I did make it to the garage on Sunday afternoon for a few hours.  I managed to help the hubby “move” a table back into “my area”, and do a little “cleaning up”  of patterns and files, and stuff.  I actually turned on my machine, and repaired the velcro and snaps on some baby items for my daughter. I wasted 30 minutes fighting with 1″ sticky back loop velcro before I threw it away, and got out the 3/4″ sew in loop velcro I had on hand. Not as wide as I wanted, but it will have to do.  I ended up throwing away a heavy-duty needle that was immediately gummed up too with that sticky back velcro.  GRRRR……..hate that stuff……

So, I am “ready to sew” my own stuff again after nearly 2 months out of my sewing room.  What to work on today?  ?  ?

What are you doing to get ready for Christmas?

 

 

Machine embroidery and applique

Promised my daughter I would make a couple of hooded bath towels for the youngest grandchild. She is growing so fast and those little hooded baby towels are just not big enough any more. My daughter asked for 2, and I chose the basic fluffy “white” bath towel and hand towel to use.

I found a great pattern/tutorial on “French Frills” embroidery website for making the hooded towel work with embroidery on the hood.  I’d done hooded towels before but they always had a seam at the center of the forehead.  French Frills offers the pattern as a free download, and you have to select 5×7 hoop size.  French Frills freebies page

They also have some cute designs to purchase. They have some very elaborate designs, and also offer SVG files for cutting the applique pieces.  They do offer some 4×4 designs, but not many.

Because my Brother PE500 is only capable of a 4×4 design, I was limited by design choices.  I knew I wanted a unicorn, and I knew I wanted some “undersea” designs.  I ended up at Embroidery Library  and chose from the “animals on the edge” category for both my clown fish

clownfish - ready tocome off the hoop

and my unicorn.

Ready to deliver - 1 Unicorn towel

I’m really pleased with the results.  I’ve only done applique on the embroidery machine one other time, for a baby bib, so there was a learning curve for me with this project.  (Note to my embroidery friends….sometimes I do break down a BUY designs….but ONLY for a really special project!!)

All wrapped up and ready to go

I read somewhere that if you don’t have embroidery software, you can load a sheet of paper in your hoop and “stitch out” the die line to make cutting the fabric for the applique easier.  I did that for the clownfish, but not for the unicorn.

I also read that if you put water soluble stabilizer (wss) on over the toweling, then do the first die line stitch, it will help to keep from snagging the towel, plus help with the sinking stitches.  I did that, and then once I set the applique fabric on top of the wss, I put a 2nd piece of wss over the applique fabric.  I think it really helped the overall stitching.

Another thing I did was use Floriani sticky back stabilizer, so I didn’t have to hoop the towels.  I also floated a piece of tear away under the hoop.  So, count the layers….4 stabilizers and the applique fabric.  I only had 2 issues with the stitching where I had a thread break and had to go back and restitch.  I am really tickled with the outcome.

I decided to add a piece of that soft “tender touch” to the back after the project was done, and I cleared away as much of the tear away and sticky back as I could.  The sticky back will eventually dissolve in the washing but the tender touch will stay in place.  I don’t know if you can see it, but I stitched the tender touch to the back of the towel, as the “glue” doesn’t really stick well in my opinion. (I’ve had it peel off of a cotton t-shirt in the first washing)

inside of hooded towel

I put it on the back, stitched around the design with a straight machine stitch, then trimmed it close to the edge, then pressed it in place.  This will keep the back of the design from scratching little faces and bodies.

I chose some other designs for the “undersea” towel to put along the edges –

Undersea motif hooded bath towel

The fish on the right is from Designs by JuJu – “Sassy Fish”.  I purchased that several years ago and don’t find it available now.  There were 22 steps in that little design, 6 fabrics.

Sassy Fish

They have a LOT of great designs, that would have worked well for this project.  I love Designs by JuJu  and have used many designs in the past.

The crab applique is from OhMyCS.  I had a challenge with it, because I did not cut the applique fabric perfectly. It came a little low and did not catch in the tack down stitching around the eyes.  I ended up adding some extra stitching on my sewing machine to catch the raw edges.  Also, the design had so many curves, I could not trim it well.  I figured those bits will ‘fray’ in the washer and give it “character”, so it will turn out ok.

Feeling crabby

Overall, I think they turned out cute.  Trimming applique on towels is a real BEAR! I left the wss in place when I started trimming, but removed it “too soon” I think.  Not perfect, but it “is a bath towel” and it “WILL” fray and still look ok. (Trying not to obsess any longer……where are my snippers…….breathe…..)

I am second guessing my “ribbon” decision, and may have to replace it “down the road” if it doesn’t stand the test of time.  I could not find any other unicorns that would work on the white towel.  (Next time I would choose a colored towel I think!)  Again….trying to stop obsessing……..

Unicorn towel and floral ribbons

Anybody that makes these to sell gets my respect!  If I was to make them and put in a “craft sale”, I wouldn’t charge less than $50 a piece, as there is a lot of time in the embroidery, and construction.   Then of course, I would be obsessing……looking for absolute perfection.

These were made with two “medium quality” bath towels from Big Lots, and one hand towel.   Of course, they are “priceless” in my opinion because I am making them for one of the grandchildren!

Time to deliver this afternoon!

Back to quilting……………what are you working on?