Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Finish, Halloween

Happy Halloween!
October sure blew by fast! And literally, too--it's been very windy this month!

Good news and bad news for my monthly goals and the finish.

Good news:
I got the little guy's costume done....This morning before I headed to work.

Big brother wanted to be his panda again. No worries--everyone loved it!
Cat in the Hat went over well, too! Little brother loved it!
This is after we got back from trick or treating. They were so excited and had so much fun.

Bad news: I didn't get the hubby's station quilt top finished. I worked on it, and showed it to him, and he didn't like it. I completely missed what he had described a few weeks ago!

We had to lay it out on the floor and mess with the border designs again. Then I had to rip out all my work, which took a few nights, because of my wrists and numb fingers. By the time I was ready to start again, I had to work three nights in a row, and it was crunch time for making little brother's costume.

I just saw this posted tonight, and thought it appropriate!

Finally, since both these costumes were made with the same pattern and fleece, here are some tips for sewing with fleece. There are some new that I learned this week, and some I've used stvsaw already. This is mainly to reduce skipped stitches and distortion.

#1 -- Sew fleece using the walking foot. Fleece is a knit and stretches and ripples some, plus it's nappy fuzzy, so a walking foot is essential for keeping the layers together as they're being sewn.

2-- use a longer stitch length. The layers are thick, fuzzy, and spongy. Longer stitches are needed for the thread and needle to lock the stitches together.

3--added bulk from thick fabric means that you need to reduce bulk as much as you can. Hems don't need to be turned up and turned again--the ends won't fray. Seam allowances usually don't need to be finished, because they usually don't fray. Trim seams in curved areas with lots of friction: underarms and crotches. Trim and clip curves. Trim excess seam allowances where the hems intersect with seams

4--if thick seams can't be reduced, and the presser foot can't get up and on top of thick seams, or back down again, use  something to bring the foot up to the level of the seam. One of my favorite gadgets is the Jean-a-ma-Jig, which has a slot for the needle and is rectangle-shaped to help lift the whole presser foot and sew along. A thick rotary ruler would work quite well, too.

5--press lightly and quickly, with a lower temp than usual. Polyester fleece melts and gets scratchy and brittle !

6-- and lastly, use a new ballpoint needle. It's for knits, and fleece is a knit! The rounded tip slips between yarns, not cutting through them like a regular needle. 

Hope you've had a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


....making little brother's costume. The hood is almost done...making the lining right now. 

Here's the stack of pieces, ready to be sewn. It's basically fleece pj's with a front zipper. Oh and there's the tail, stuffed, waiting to be sewn into a seam.

And my attempts to clean up the cutting table before starting to sew.

Keep your fingers crossed that I can get a lot done tonight!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cat in the Hat

Here's my little guy--he's so adorable!

It only took about 20 minutes to attach the hat brim this morning.

If you noticed, I added an extra stripe and made the brim white (contrary to the tutorial at, because I wanted the hat true to the book character.

Tonight's adventure: a hat!

Hi !
Tonight's adventure: Halloween costume, and specifically, a hat!
My little guy with autism decided he wanted to be his panda again. Done! Saves me some work!
Little brother has been wishy-washy and not particular. Last year, I seatched for, and came across, a tutorial for a striped Dr Suess hat, at The animal costume I've used for the last two years running, Butterick 3238, has options for cats, bunnies, monkeys, lions and bears (OH My!). I've only used the bear (made a panda and a Winnie the Pooh).

Bet you can't guess which animal little brother's going to be, after I show you the hat!

After picking up big brother from school with parent/teacher conference, the little guys and I headed to Joann to get red and white felt for the hat.

Have you guessed yet?
This is as far as I got tonight.

I'm so ridiculously proud of my mad matching seams skills. It's one thing I do really well, whether I'm matching star points or simple stripes like this.

What do you do well, that you should pat yourself on the back for more often?

I'm not trying to make myself scarce, but I haven't gotten much done, because my wrists and hands have been so sore and numb. Apparently, according to my doctor, any nerve and tendon damage can get worse with pregnancy, since pregnancy hormones relax joints and muscles to make room for baby...and that affects the whole body.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

More Swoon

Hello. I know it's late, but I just got home from work and needed a few minutes to decompress and show off.

Swoon blocks #3 and #4 are finished!

I just love how they're turning out!

Six more blocks to complete.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Favorite Tools: Dritz Thermal Thimbles and Creative Comfort

I want to introduce you all to two of my new favorite tools, both by Dritz. The Thermal Thimbles and Creative Comfort support gloves.

1-Dritz Thermal Thimbles. These nifty little blue silicone finger covers are made to keep your fingers cool while you're ironing. The package comes with three thimbles, one for a thumb and two different sizes for two fingers at once (or if your pointer finger is bigger).

A--First, they let you get in close to the iron on tricky little parts to press, and help you hold down different seams at once while ironing so that you don't mess up the seams you've already pressed.

B--If you notice, there are little grippy nubs in rows all around the thimbles. 

C--Then they help grip the fabric to separate layers and hold them down.

2--Dritz Creative Comfort support gloves.  There is a whole line of Creative Comfort products. They are made of powerful, soft knits with flexible, firm strip supports. 
I love these gloves because they're comfy and have half-fingers so I can still feel and manipulate my projects.
Here, I'm trimming my half-square triangles (HST). The gloves give more support and stability to help me hold the ruler in place and also grip the rotary cutter.

(I also learned that using a larger ruler than the piece I'm trimming, is easier to hold onto, and doesn't slip off the center seam of the HSTs.)

I like to wear them while hand-stitching, trimming and cutting, pressing (on the hand that's holding the iron--it helps hold my wrist in a more ergonomic position to relieve stress, with the Thermal Thimbles on my left hand to hold my patch). And I wear them while piecing at the machine.

After all, I bought them because of repetitive stress injuries to my wrists...that I received while production factory sewing. These gloves are designed just for people like me with tendinitis, or arthritis, weak grip, poor circulation, or anyone that needs a little support. The gloves hold some heat in to increase circulation and soothe.

Where can you get these cool tools?

I bought the gloves and other supports in the Creative Comfort line at my local Joann fabric. I also saw the Thermal Thimbles there, although I bought them online at 

I've also seen the thimbles at Annie's quilt and sew online catalog, and I think I even saw them at Fat Quarter Shop.

Annie's also has several different pairs of support gloves and wrist wraps too.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October Goals

It's time to post my goals for October.
Linking up with Melissa's Sew Bittersweet Designs.

Melissa asked us to list ONE goal to accomplish for October. 

1-- Finish the quilt top and backing for my husband's fire station quilt.

Silly Melissa! How can we just post one? We all know we have multiple projects going on at once!
So here's the rest:

2--purchase fabric for the baby's quilt.
3--build the rest of the blocks for the Swoon quilt.
4-- decide on and make little brother's Halloween costume. (big brother wants to wear his Kung Fu Panda costume again.)