Category Archives: General Sewing/Fashion/Miscellaneous





Christmas fabrics usually go on sale in the days leading up to December 25th.  Yesterday, with that in mind,  I stopped in to a local store to see what was left on the shelves that I might be able to use. I was rewarded for my effort with the lovely piece shown above  which I brought home and quickly turned into a set of cases.   My favorite material for pillowcases is flannel, but soft cottons are also suitable.

It takes a full yard to create a pillowcase.  They are an easy project and perfect for a beginner… even the youngest sewer can have success as I will demonstrate below.


Begin by trimming the selvage edges from the 1 yard piece.


Press back  4.5 to 5 inches at the top.


Fold 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the folded edge and press.


Stitch into place.


With right side out, stitch the side seam at 1/4 inch.


Turn and press seam to one side.


On wrong side stitch at 5/8 inches.  This creates a (modified) French seam with the raw edge contained within the seam.


Optional:  Press the seam down and stitch on the finished edge creating a flat fell seam.  I take this step to help eliminate bulk that sometime happens with washing.  When the seam is stitch down it decreased need for ironing… if you’re not keen on ironing pillowcases.


Turn the fabric right side out and stitch both at 1/4 inch as done for the side seam.  Follow the same instruction for creating side seam at the bottom seam line.

Give the pillowcase a final steam press stretching on the bias to square up the corners as needed.fullsizeoutput_c72

And voila, a perfect pillowcase for yourself or someone else.





I spotted a new store, NADEAU, at Washington Square and having an interest in interiors,  I stopped in to have a look round. Everywhere I looked I saw these fabulous cabinets that would be so perfect for fabric storage.  Imagine the shelves loaded up with colorful prints and giant thread spools showing through the glass providing a mix of utility and display.   I really like the red dresser which could also have many practical uses such as storing bolts of interfacing and notions, etc.   These pieces fun and visually interesting.   Any one of them would be a perfect complement to a dressed up sewing room.

Which one do you like best?






… and, I love the orange chair. So fun!!!


A JUST FOR FUN – Halloween Project.

A JUST FOR FUN – Halloween Project.

I am not a serious quilter, but I do on occasion like to make little quilts for wall decoration.  Being that Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to see what I could make from my left-over fabric scraps.  My goal was to create something interesting using only things that I had on-hand… without making additional purchases!

After sorting through my stash, I came up with this collection of possibilities.fullsizeoutput_ba9

Considering overall design, scale, color, etc., with size of pieces available, I selected the jack-o-latern motif fabric as the center-piece with coordinating strips for the sides to be sewn in a log cabin pattern.

fullsizeoutput_baaAfter assembling the pieces, I hand basted the decorative block to a piece of muslin to give added support for the embellishment to come.


Then it was into the embroidering hoop for adding decorative features.

fullsizeoutput_bafI began by placing small orange and black beads on the bottom and top sections.  They are a little small and tend to get lost, in the photos I taken, but show quite well when examining the piece in person.


More beads.IMG_6087

Next I added cross stitches and French knots to the skeleton fabric.


And lastly, I  finished up with orange and green primitive stitches on the last side piece.


I added a black border and chalked in guide lines for more primitive stitching to be added.


Once the decorative block was embellish, I layered it over cotton batting and an orange contrasting fabric.



All additional stitching, such as the outlining on the jack-o-latern and more French knots were sewn through all layers to secure the sandwiched pieces.



After all the embellishing, I trimmed the excess fabric away and machine stitched the bias binding, also made from scraps, to the outside edge of the piece.


The binding was applied to the front and then wrapped around to the back side and hand basted into position for a final stitching down.


Special attention was paid to the mitered corners to help create nice and neat finished look.


With matching thread, I used teeny tiny stitches to secure the  binding and corners into position.


After the binding was completed, I pressed it lightly.  If desired, small plastic rings may be sewn in the top corners for hanging if desired.

This fun little project measures 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ and will be hanging in my work station between now and October 31st.

I hope you like it!





Creative Solutions


Unique Hand-Crafted Gifts

Learning to finger knit was my entre` into the realm of using yarn to create .  Knitting along with a variety of other creative pursuits was part of the cultural landscape I was born into … hands were always busy making interesting and beautiful things.  With that level of  industry and interest modeled before me,  it was most natural I, too, would learn to thread the needle.

I well remember the project in which I was allowed to use knitting needles for the first time; it was a yellow pot holder with a little loop knitted in one corner used for hanging.  From there I moved onto to slipper making; they had pompom embellished toes… in the same yellow yarn.    To this day, I could make those slippers in my sleep; I was so proud slip-sliding around the house in them.  I eventually moved on to knitting hats and mittens and sweaters, but that was long ago.    My knitting work was eventually was set aside to make way for my primary focus on sewing and tailoring.

It was during this past Christmas season that I had a challenging gift selection to make for someone special. I gave it good thought, but nothing seemed particularly fitting.   It was only after considering making a gift that I was knew I was on track as it is in the making of something that the true gift resides, the gift of time and thought and effort.  And so it was that I reached into my bag of tricks, dusted off my number 9’s and knitted a beautiful, one of a kind, Christmas scarf.

Considering her smile, I think she likes.




I’m knitting again.  Since making this scarf I knitted two more and have yarn for number three and four.   I’ll keep you posted.


Projects Revisited


From Start to Finish

IMG_3443I recently went through a box in my sewing room marked “winter projects.” The box contained the best of the best projects I salvaged during our sizing down move three years ago.  I have always found it difficult to start up work on old projects.  It is usually a lack of interest as whatever it was that got my creative juices flowing has long since dissipated and the prospect of picking up in the middle of an uninteresting project seems like work more than fun.  Fortunately, that was not the case with this piece.  It had been long enough that I had forgotten I had ever started this jacket.  The fact that I still loved the red quilted fabric was good and I still liked the striped douppioni… so far so good.    After studying the pattern and the pieces that were already cut, I decided I definitely needed a third piece to create additional interest.  So off to The Mill End Store I went with swatches in hand.

 It’s really quite remarkable that I was able to find a douppioni print that complemented the stripes so perfectly, but not without considerable effort.  I was in the store for at least two hours searching, searching, and searching again every piece of fabric at least five times.  I was finding nothing suitable and finally decided it was time to surrender.   Resigned to defeat, I headed for the exit pausing only to notice a silk display… and there it was.  It was exactly what I’d been looking for; the colors were right, the scale was right, it was perfection and obviously meant to be.   And so I begin the satisfying endeavor of resurrecting an old project to new life.    More to come…


A Simple Sewing Project

A Simple Sewing Project

Bringing Beauty Into Your World

Table linens are a simple sewing project that are well worth the effort.  These small pieces of fabric artfully arranged add pop, sizzle, glamour, elegance  and just plain fun to an otherwise ho-hum table.

They are quick and easy to make and the choices are as endless as the selections at the fabric store.  So have fun and be boldly creative!

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Begin by cutting out a large square.  Determine the width of the hem and miter the corners to suit.  My favorite size is 21″ x 21″.  To create the mitered corner remove 3 1/4″.

Turn under 1/4″ all around the perimeter of the square  as shown below.


Bring folded edges together at mitered edge and stitch a 1/4″ seam.


Clip threads and trim corner to stitching line to ensure a crisp point.


Press open and complete on each of the four corners.


Turn each corner and carefully press hem into place.


Stitch hem into place.  You may wish to decrease stitch length for added strength at the corner seam lines.  Once stitched, your napkins is completed.



Decorative Accent Towels


While shopping during the Christmas season, I came across some decorative accent towels that inspired me to try making some of my own. The thing I like most about this type of project is that they are simple to sew and offer a myriad of opportunities to use up scraps of fabric and trim in unlimited creative ways.  They can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to make them and are easily picked up or set aside to work on later.   I find this a good fit for my creative outlet during this very busy period of my life.




Vintage Illustrations.


Taking Inspiration from Historic Costume


I’ve always had an interest in historic costume; I imagine most of us who sew share this interest, as studying past fashions can provide endless inspiration for contemporary designs.  I recently came across a collection of charming illustrations of British children’s costumes from the 18th and 19th century that I wanted to share with my friends in Sewville.  I adore these and plan to frame a set to hang in my sewing room… they are so sweet.   I’ve put a couple up in my RemnantWorks Etsy shop and will be adding more as I have the time.



British Children's Costumes Illustrations


British Children's Costume Illustrations





Sewing With Vintage Patterns

Sewing With Vintage Patterns

RemnantWorks Vintage Patterns Shop 

I remember when this dress pattern first came out.  I was completely taken with the design; it seemed so fresh and unlike any of the dress styles I was used to seeing.   I made it up, but don’t remember wearing it very much.  My sewing skills were somewhat limited in those early days and the dress probably didn’t turn out to look quite as nice as the picture on the pattern envelope.

Simplicity 5562

Simplicity 5562

Now that I have begun to sell off my old patterns, I find myself struggling with letting go of this one.  Most patterns are very easy to part with once the decision has been made, while others, not so easy.   I found myself thinking about making it up in a contemporary fabric.  I know it would be cute even though I couldn’t possibly fit into it anymore! 🙂


Sewing- mini tutorial – CHANEL JACKET TRIMS

Sewing- mini tutorial – CHANEL JACKET TRIMS

Creating A Unique CHANEL-style trim

Last year I made my first Chanel-style jacket.  Finding a suitable trim, a hallmark of a Chanel, proved to be challenging.  I decided to try making my own.

I began with a skein of ribbon yarn and number 9 knitting needles.  Four stitches provided a nice width and using a basic stockinette stitch  I created a long strip.  Stockinette stitches tend to curl at the edges which works to advantage for hiding  hand stitching when applying the trim to the garment.

Creating a trim from ribbon yarn

Creating a trim from ribbon yarn

I would recommend making individual strips for each pocket and a continuous length for the center front and neckline.  By doing this it will reduce the chance of the trim unraveling at the edges during application and can more easily be tucked in at seam lines or pocket edges.  Otherwise, apply Fray Check or a fabric glue to secure the edges.

Once the trim is completed it can be attached by hand-stitching into position along the pockets, center front,neckline and sleeve edges.

Creating a unique trim for Chanel-style jacket

trim applied to sleeve edge