Archive for the ‘learning to sew’ Category

Introducing Florabunda’s Page

February 5th, 2013

Today tech support (husband) has uploaded Florabunda’s page to the website. Everything on this page is free. You will find new beginning hand sewing patterns, craft ideas, and my Florabunda stories on the new page. We decided that this was a good spot for the free global pincushion pattern. The free sundress pattern, the free quilt patterns, and the Tools, Tips, and Techniques download are still on the pattern page.

To go to Florabunda’s page, click the button at the top of the page, or “Florabunda’s Page” in the box to the left of this post. Or you can click here.

The new page has required a few changes on the patterns page. All the website pages have a new button at the top. Please check out the changes, especially Florabunda’s page. I hope that you will share Flo’s page with any children that you think will enjoy it. Thank you!

Free Children's Stories, hand sewing, learning to sew

Coming Soon

January 6th, 2013

Tech support (husband) and I are working on a new page for my website. It is designed to be kid friendly, with beginning hand sewing projects, craft projects, stories, and lots and lots of entertaining “Easter eggs” courtesy of tech support. Everything on the page will be free.

Here is Florabunda with animals made from some of the patterns.

The miniature bears are just the right size for dolls

I made the kitties in honor of Kitty, my newest cloth doll pattern.

The elephant pattern contains three sizes of elephants. The costumes for Florabunda and the elephant are not available. I made them up as I went along.

We hope to have the new page up and running in a month or two.

blog, hand sewing, learning to sew ,

A Pillowcase in Three Sizes

June 17th, 2012

In my newest book, Learn to Sew for Your Doll, one of the earliest projects is a pillowcase for an eighteen inch (45 cm) doll. If you are using this book with a young girl, I think it would be fun for you to make her a matching pillowcase, while she is making the doll’s pillowcase.

For the pillowcase I cut a fabric rectangle forty-two inches (105 cm) by twenty-two (55 cm) inches. For the trim I cut a rectangle forty-two inches (105 cm) by fourteen inches (35 cm). Fold the trim wrong side together to make a rectangle forty-two inches (105 cm) by seven inches (18 cm). Match the raw edges of the trim to one of the forty-two inch (105 cm) sides of the pillowcase. Sew the trim and pillowcase together using a one quarter inch (.6 cm) seam allowance. Fold your new rectangle in half right sides together to make a rectangle twenty-eight and one quarter inches (70 cm) by twenty-one inches(53 cm). Sew the two sides with raw edges together using a one quarter inch (.6 cm) seam allowance. Turn it right side out.

For even more fun, make a small doll’s pillowcase. The pattern is in my Doll Bed pattern.

Here are Springfield’s Emma and Florabunda with their pillows.

Now all they need is a little girl to put them to bed.

learning to sew, My books ,

Printing on Fabric

April 16th, 2012

Look at the right bottom corner of my new book’s cover.

Florabunda is wearing a sundress that matches the eighteen inch doll’s dress. Here is a close-up of the two dolls.

The pattern on Florabunda’s dress is scaled to match her smaller size. The smaller size print was not available at a fabric shop, so it was printed with a computer printer on printable fabric. I do not have the skills to create this interesting fabric on my own. I had my husband’s help and we found that the project took more effort than we expected. The first step was to scan the original fabric.

Then we picked out a rectangle of fabric that included the complete design without any repetition.

My husband used a photo-processing program to straighten the design so that it would match the straight of grain when it was printed. He also used the program to crop the scan, leaving only one complete design.

While he was still in the program, he shrank the design and then repeated it until the now smaller design would cover a sheet of printable fabric.

The colors on the first printed sheet did not match the original.

We went back to the photo-processing program and worked on making the colors match. We printed several paper samples before using another sheet of printable fabric.

The computer printed fabric is a little more difficult to sew on than regular fabric. It is slightly thicker and does not drape as well. It took some effort but, I was happy with the little dress when I had finished it.

learning to sew, My books, sewing tips ,

Learning to Sew

April 13th, 2012

I have finished my third book. It is called Learn to Sew for your Doll.

It is a little different from my patterns and my other two books. This book is written for elementary students to use with an adult. It is a series of sewing skills presented in a learning sequence. The patterns are for bedding and clothing for eighteen inch ( forty-five centimeter) commercial dolls, such as the Springfield dolls or the American Girl dolls. I think that making clothing for larger dolls is a good starting place to learn to sew.

I felt comfortable writing this book, because I taught elementary school and have an MA degree in curriculum and instruction.

If you think that this book sounds interesting, please go to the the “My Books” page on this website. You can learn more about it and also see ways to order it.

learning to sew, My books , ,

Christmas Shopping Ideas

November 20th, 2011

A kit of basic sewing tools is a nice gift for many people. Anyone who wants or needs to learn a few sewing skills would appreciate the gift. Check my free download “Tips, Tools, and Techniques” (available on my patterns page) for tool suggestions.
If you are making a doll wardrobe for a special little girl’s Christmas, she might enjoy a sewing kit. She could try her hand at sewing for her doll after Christmas. The pillow, pillowcase, and cover from my “Doll Bed and Accessories” pattern are excellent patterns for beginners. Next she can make the simple sundress  from my free sundress pattern. It is also a good pattern fro beginners.
With a few tools and instructions you might give someone a lifetime of sewing pleasure.

Christmas Sewing, learning to sew, my patterns

“Sticky Pins”

September 5th, 2010


When my daughter was about three years old, she developed an affection for my glass head silk pins. She also had a fondness for my tomato pin cushion, but that is another story. She called the pins “sticky pins.” I think that the name came from the constant warnings that she was given not to stick her finger. I let her play with the pins when I was around to watch her, although I worried that I was a bad mother for letting her play with something that could hurt her. For her the pins were little people that had adventures as she took them out of the pin cushion and then replaced them.


I have written about learning to sew from my grandmother. Unfortunately we were not able to continue this tradition with my daughter. My own mother passed away before my children were born and my mother-in-law never lived close enough to give consistent lessons. My daughter did have at least one sewing adventure with her grandmother, however. My mother-in-law stayed with my daughter and her older brother, when my youngest child was born. Weeks later, when I had time to look at my sewing things, I noticed little triangles pinned to many of my pins. I ask my daughter about them and found out that Grandmother had made dresses for some of my sticky pins.

Here are some dressed “sticky pins.”

This is their close up shot.


learning to sew, Uncategorized

Brownies and Sewing

August 19th, 2009

Not long ago when my husband and I were out walking, we saw a Girl Scout meeting in a neighbor’s yard. The sight brought back many pleasant memories to me of my days as a scout leader. My daughter has recently finished college and married. She is in her early twenties, so it has been quite a few years since a friend and I lead her Girl Scout troop through the Brownie and then Junior levels of scouting. My co-leader had many wonderful project ideas, but it is not surprising that my own most successful unit was work on the sewing badge. We did an embroidery cross stitch project and then stuffed a little flat cat doll and sewed clothes for it. The girls enjoyed all of the activities, but I think they showed most enthusiasm for tearing cotton fabric across the width of the piece to help us find the straight of the fabric grain. I am not certain if they just loved the loud sound the ripping made, or if they felt that they were participating in some sort of approved destruction. For what ever reasons, preparing the fabric for sewing was a very happy time. Several of the girls’ mothers told me later that their daughters continued their sewing projects at home. Sewing can be an enjoyable and relaxing hobby for children as well as adults.

learning to sew

More Sewing Memories

June 19th, 2009


When my grandmother gave me my first sewing lessons, she was following a family tradition. My mother told me the story of her grandmother sending her to the store with the money to buy her first set of embroidery hoops. When my mother returned, my great-grandmother taught her several embroidery stitches.

While my great-grandmother was teaching my mother to sew, she told my mother a story about her childhood. When my great-grandmother was sewing doll clothes with her grandmother, she had to unravel thread from a scrap of fabric to use in her sewing. Doll clothes were not important enough to rate store bought thread. My great- grandmother disliked the process so much that she told my mother she would never make her use unraveled thread in her sewing.

I love this story, because of the glimpse it gives me of life in the nineteenth century, and because I can count seven generations of seamstresses in my family.

learning to sew

Sewing Memories

June 7th, 2009


My brother was born a few months before I turned five, and I spent a several days with my grandmother. I remember that one way she entertained me was to hand me a can of copper polish and some pennies to shine. I knew that it was in my best interest to go along with adults when they claimed that they were giving me a treat. I polished away at my pile of pennies even though I did not see a point to it. As an adult I have wondered if she was just keeping me quiet, or if she hoping to teach me to keep the bottoms of my Revere Ware pots shinny when I grew up. If penny polishing was intended as a lesson in housekeeping, it failed.

What my grandmother did give me that I will always appreciate is a love of sewing. When I finished with my pennies, she wrote my initials on a square of fabric, handed me a needle and thread, and showed me how to sew over the letters with a running stitch. I have never stopped sewing.

learning to sew