Fast Projects & Gifts

September Sew Fun Harvest Sweatshirt Tutorial

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

This is a fun use for an embroidery design set that was originally designed to be a table runner. Lee decided to be extra creative and use the design set to embellish a cute sweatshirt jacket. It was simple to do and makes quite an impact. You could use a variety of design sets to create your own stunning project.

Here are the steps:

  1. Back of Finished Sweatshirt.

    Back of Finished Sweatshirt.

    Embroidery Design: “Along the Fence Table Runner” by Jana Davidson. Large design, pieced together. Leave the extra fabric on the end pieces. (You might need to add a little more to reach around the front.)
  2. I used a men’s size medium sweatshirt. Cut the ribbing off the sweatshirt. Cut it open at the center front. Staystitch the neckline.
  3. Bind the top of table runner using 2-1/2″ straight strip of fabric. Sew the table runner onto the bottom of the sweatshirt. Bind bottom of sweatshirt and the sleeves.
  4. I used a straight strip of fabric: 5-1/2″ wide for the front bond. I cut 2 strips of fabric 5-1/2″ x 45″, seamed them at center back and then padded them with fusible fleece.
  5. Shape the front by cutting 2″ off the center front at the bottom and cut a line to the shoulder seam. Sew the band on center back to bottom on the wrong side of the sweatshirt. Seam across the bottom. Trim off excess. Turn, top stitch and you’re done.

Happy Sewing!

Light Up Halloween with Spooky and Bright Designs!

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Spooky and Bright Designs

With Halloween approaching it’s time to have some spooky fun with Amazing Designs “Spooky and Bright” CD. This design pack was created so you can add lights or crystals to embellish your embroidery projects. We offer Fabric Lights that fit perfectly within the designs.

To add lights to your design:

  1. Embroider the desired design on anything you want to add a little sparkle to.
  2. Use small sharp scissor to poke a hole in the middle of the eyelets with-in the design. Trim away the extra fabric close to the inside of the eyelet; be careful not to cut the embroidery
  3. After the holes are trimmed, begin inserting the lights from the wrong side, taking care not to tangle the wires.
  4. Once the lights are inserted; place a rubber holding ring over the lights to secure them.
  5. Your lights are now in place and ready to use…enjoy!

For even more Halloween fun…

Download Baby Lock’s FREE Halloween Project E-Book Here!

8 Fun Halloween Projects!

8 Fun Halloween Projects!

More Great Halloween Projects:

Happy Halloween Project: Minkee Monsters!
Quick & Easy Halloween Tutorial Round-Up

Chalkboard Wine Bag Sewing Tutorial

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Sew Fun for August has many great ideas for gifts for you to make. To get you started, here is a quick wine bag that you can personalize with Chalkboard Fabric, and Bistro Chalk Markers.




  • Sewing Machine and Serger in good working order
  • 18”x18” Burlap
  • 4” x18” Chalkboard fabric
  • Serger thread in beige (4 cones)
  • Sewing thread in black
  • Temporary Spray Adhesive
  • Edge Stitching Foot
  • Rotary cutter, mat and ruler
  • Clover Wonder Clips
  • Bistro Chalk Marker, your choice of color
  • 25” of 1” wide ribbon, your choice of color




1. Burlap – 18” x 18” (I cut mine so that the frayed selvedge edge was the top of the bag. Example 1)

2. Chalkboard fabric – 4” x 18”

3. At your sewing machine: Place the long edge of the chalkboard fabric strip, across the width of the burlap, 8” from the top, not including the fringe. You can use a spray adhesive to keep the chalkboard fabric in place while stitching. Spray the back of the chalkboard fabric lightly. Example 2

4. Top stitch along both of the long edges with black sewing thread.

NOTE: Using an Edge Stitching Foot would make this task much easier.

5. At your serger: Bring the edges together, matching the short edges of the chalkboard fabric. Serge seam with a 4-thread or a 4-thread safety stitch.

6. Center the seam in the middle of the bag. Example 3. To simplify Step 8, press a crease in the lower sides of the bag.

7. Serge across the bottom of the bag.



8. Bring bottom seam and side crease together to form a triangle. Measure 1 ½” – 2” and cut with a rotary cutter. Repeat for the other side. Example 4.

9. Because burlap ravels easily, use Clover Wonder Clips to secure as you go to your serger. And, the Clover Wonder Clips are great for the serger, because you can’t accidently serger over them :)

10. Serge both edges. Example 5.

11. Press seams and turn bag right side out.

12. Write your celebration on the chalkboard fabric with a Bistro Chalk Marker.

13. Place wine bottle in bag and tie on your ribbon. Example 6.







Enjoy your sewing adventures!
Lana L Jones
Educational Consultant

Create an Easy Jacket from a Pashmina Scarf

Monday, May 12th, 2014

What a quick and easy project to make for yourself or a gift?

Why not give transforming a Pashmina Scarf/Shawl into a cute jacket?

Pashmina scarves come in so many pretty colors and are so soft, you just want to wrap yourself up in them  (A pashmina is a long rectangular scarf/shawl with fringe on both short ends and is typically 27″ x 72″).

A friend of mine shared with me an easy way to turn one of these lovely scarves into a jacket that is great for an evening out or just to compliment your outfit.

At a recent event I whipped one up in a jiffy and it turned out so cute that there were so many requests for the instructions that I just had to get it posted right away.

Are you ready? You are only two seams away from a finished project!

Here are the instructions for this neat project that is oh so quick to make.

  • Along one of the long edges, measure in 9″ from each corner (this will be your sleeve opening).
  • Along the same edge, measure 2.5″ on either side of center (this will be your neck opening).

Once you have your pashmina marked, you are ready to sew your jacket.

  • Bring one fringed edge up to the marked edge, matching the top corner with the sleeve mark that you made.  This will create about a 45° fold line.
  • Align this short edge with the marked long edge, letting the fringe hang off of the edge.
  • Stitch both layers together, close to the edge (approximately 1/4″ seam allowance).  If you do not wish to have any fringe, consider using your serger.
  • Use a matching thread in the needle and in the bobbin.
  • Stop sewing when you reach the closest neck marking.  The remainder of the short edge (which is loose and unstitched) will become a collar.

  • Repeat with the other side
  • You are finished!!

Feeling frisky? Wear your jacket so that you have the fringe on the outside.

When you want your jacket to be more subtle, turn it inside out so that the fringe will be inside the jacket

Can’t decide if you want a jacket or a scarf?  How about sewing a series of button holes along the stitching area of the long edge.  Add some little buttons along the fringe edge and then you can button it up into a jacket or unbutton it for a scarf or shawl.

Want it to be even better?  Add some machine embroidery to make it a truly one of a kind piece.

Have a great time making your jacket!



Make sure to check  back and see my video blog on Embroidering on a Pashmina.

Make Quick and Easy Wool Felt Ornaments

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Sometimes when you’re looking to make a quick hand-made gift, there is not much better than a pretty little kit containing all the coordinating fabrics and threads that you need to create a perfect project. Honestly, kits are far too often something that I “pet” as opposed to dismantle and cut up to create the designated project. I think that’s okay, too; it makes me happy.

Warm Hands Kit & Pattern

Warm Hands Kit & Pattern

These Warm Hands Wool Felt Ornaments looked so cute I could hardly wait to tear into them and try out the new Brother ScanNCut. May I say: fabulous!!

Here are my step-by-step instructions on how I created these ornaments:

My theory is that if the felt is well stabilized, inside and out, then it will be less spongy and will cut better.  That is why I chose to use the liquid stabilizer “Perfect Sew”. When the fabric that is treated with the liquid drys, it becomes firm and crisp.

Stabilize the Felt for cutting

Stabilize the Felt for cutting

A spoon is great for spreading

  • First thing I did was to stabilize the felt with Perfect Sew. This is a liquid stabilizer that simply rinses out when no longer needed.
  • I laid the felt pieces out on a cutting board and then poured a puddle of Perfect Sew onto the felt.
  • To smooth out the Perfect Sew and completely coat the felt, I used the back of a spoon to spread the liquid around.  The Liquid is thick like honey.
  • Once this side was coated, I flipped the felt over and repeated the process.
  • My goal was to get the felt fully saturated.
  • As soon as I was satisfied, I hung the felt pieces to dry on a line over my laundry sink. To secure the pieces to the line, I used Wonder Clips – they are good for so much more than just quilting!

Felt on the mat and ready to be cut

  • The felt cut just like butter!

    Once dry and ready, I placed the felt pieces next to each other on the prepared ScanNCut fabric mat.  By this, I mean that the mat had the extra sticky fabric carrier sheet on it and it is ready to go.

  • Now it was necessary to get the pattern for the mitten that I wanted to make into the ScanNCut so it could cut out the pieces for me.  This was done by having the machine scan the pattern.
  • To scan the pattern booklet, I used the optional Scanning Mat. The clear overlay of this specialty mat held the booklet in place nicely.
  • I used the included deep cut blade for cutting the wool.
  • Once the pattern was on the screen to be used, I used the feature on the ScanNCut that scans and displays an image of what the mat, and it’s contents, look like.  This allows the user the ability to actulally see where the different fabrics are located and the shapes can be visually placed in the right spot.

Pick a great decorative stitch

Line up where to stitch with your foot

Stitch away! Find a stitch that you like

  • With the pieces cut, layer the pieces as the instructions state. Use the decorative stitches from your machine to add the embroidered decoration. They are so much fun to sew. You will probably find some that look like the stitches suggested in the pattern. I found that the Perfect Sew also made stitching the decorative stitches ideal! No puckering or shifting.
  • Line up the fabric edge with a reference point on the machine’s foot (the foot I am using is called the “Sewing Stars” foot).
  • To give more of a “hand” look, I chose a stitch that repeats each stitch several times so  that it is heavier. Also, I chose to use a cotton embroidery thread so that it looked more like cotton floss.
  • The felt cut so easy with the ScanNCut

This is a great kit, designed for handwork, that is so easily adjusted to be done on machine.

These little gems make such cute ornaments or gift holders. You will want to make a passel of them.

Happy Sewing,

Personalize Every Gift with Unique Gift Tags

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Anita Goodesign Christmas Gift Tags

The perfect touch to a Holiday gift is the presentation. A beautiful wrapping job can add so much anticipation and joy. One thing that I find frustrating is that so much effort and resources go into our holiday wrapping, just to be thrown away. If there were only…

I enjoy creating things that are quick and fun to make and the Anita Goodesign Gift Tags fit the bill! These are perfect little touches to a special gift, or they can be a gift all in themselves.

On the CD for the gift tags you will find complete step by step instructions. Here you will find my tips for creating the tags that I made:

  • In the instructions, you will find that they suggest using a 5×7 hoop for one design. If you rotate the design 90 degrees, you can easily fit 2 in one hoop. I chose to use the large hoop for my multi-needle machine so that I could do four at one time. Hoop a piece of tearaway stabilizer in the hoop and stitch out the placement lines for your tags.
  • I used a fabric glue stick to hold the pieces of fabric in place while I stitched down the tack down stitches and decorative stitches.
  • When all of the decorative stitching is complete, it is time to place the backing fabric on the under side of the hoop. Use Floriani Embroidery Perfection Tape (I call this “Pink Tape”) to hold your fabric in place. It is very sticky, can be used multiple times and does not leave a residue on your fabric.
  • This is where I chose to customize my tags: I added a strip of fabric (folded lengthwise with wrong sides together) over the back of three of the tags, leave about an inch space from the edge of the fold to the hole end of the tag. This creates the perfect pocket for a gift certificate or money.
  • I chose to add a piece of clear vinyl over the backing fabric of the tree design. This created a re-writable surface when using an overhead transparency pen like a Vis-a-Vis.
  • When the back has been stitched on, you will want to take your time and carefully trim away all of your excess fabric. You want to trim close on top and bottom with out clipping the thread.
  • Wind a bobbin to match your embroidery thread and stitch the edges of the tags.
  • Once all of the stitching is completed, carefully tear away the stabilizer and trim open the hole.
  • Use a ribbon to tie them to your packages or hang them from your tree.

Holiday Gift Tags

Happy sewing,

Recipe Towels Make a Fun and Festive Gift for Anyone On Your List!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Holiday Recipe Towels from Lunch Box Quilts

With the Holidays quickly approaching, do you anticipate finding yourself in need of a quick and easy gift that is beyond the normal and one of a kind? Make sure to read to the end to see what fun ideas you can make!

Might I suggest a gift that will not soon be forgotten? How about a kitchen towel that is lovingly embroidered with a delicious holiday recipe? It’s even a real recipe!

Holiday Recipe Towels is a multi-format embroidery design collection from Lunch Box Quilts. In this collection you will find 10 different recipe designs that will surely make your mouth water.  Also included are tips to ensure beautiful embroidered results and the instructions to add fabric trims to the towels. The results are spectacular! In addition the the given instructions that come with the designs, here are some of my suggestions:

Mark your towel for the center of the design

Hoop the towel and wash-away stabilizer

  • Mark your towel lengthwise. On the end that you would like the embroidery design to be located, make a horizontal line that is seven inches up from the hem.  The intersection of this horizontal and vertical lines will be the location for the center of the embroidery design
  • Next hoop your towel and a piece of wash-away stabilizer. I like to use Floriani Wet ‘n’ Gone (white), it is stable and washes out nicely, Align the horizontal and vertical lines on your towel with the center marks on your embroidery hoop to make sure that it will stitch straight.  I prefer to hoop both my project and my stabilizer when ever possible.  In my experience, this give me the best results.

Use a water-soluble topping

60-wt for lettering and 40-wt for the rest

60-wt for lettering and 40-wt for the rest

  • Place the hoop onto the machine with the bulk of the extra fabric to the outside of the machine.
  • On the top, use Floriani Water Soluble topping – this will allow the thread to lay nice on the surface of the towel and not be lost in the weave of the towel (clear).  Baste into place with your machines basting stitch.
  • For the lettering, use a 60-weight embroidery thread.  This light-weight thread will produce crisp and  clear embroidered lettering (I like the Floriani Micro threads – they are polyester and come in lots of colors).
  • For the rest of the embroidery use a standard 40-weight embroidery thread.  For items that will be laundered often, I prefer to use a polyester thread (they are color-fast even if bleached). If you were to use a lighter weight thread for the rest of the design, the areas would not fill in nicely.
  • Once the embroidery is complete, rinse out the stabilizer.  If you are having a tough time rinsing out your stabilizer and topping, try adding a bit of water softener.

Trim Fabrics

  • stitch fabric band to towel bottom

    Choose the fabric you want for your towel’s trim.  The main piece is 2″ wide and the accent is 1″ wide that has been folded and pressed in half lengthwise.

  • Stitch the accent piece to the top edge of the main piece and press the accent piece up.
  • Un-stitch the bottom edge of your towel and stitch this edge to the bottom edge of the fabric strip, right side of the strip to the wrong side of the towel.
  • Flip the trim piece to the front and press.  Then top stitch the edges to secure in place.

Fun to make and a great gift too!

In addition to the towels, consider adding tasty tidbits to make your gift even more memorable. If you like (and have the time), create the recipe and give it along with the coordinating towel. Several of the recipes lend themselves very nicely to giving along with the completed towel. What a nice gift that won’t soon be forgotten (although you may have to think twice about giving a Turducken). Here are the two recipes that I made:

Nutcracker Spiced Pecans Recipe
• 1 egg white
• 1 tbs water
• 5 c pecan halves
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp salt, cloves, nutmeg
Beat egg white with water. Stir in pecans, until moist. In a separate bowl mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves, & nutmeg. Add pecans to mixture, stir until well coated (note: I put the dry ingredients in a large zip lock bag, then poured the pecans into it, sealed the bag, and mixed).

Spread on a lined cookie sheet & bake for one hour at 225F.

Peppermint Bark
• 2 lbs white chocolate
• 30 small peppermint candy canes
Smash candy canes into ¼” pieces.

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Stir in crushed candy canes. Pour mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet.
Refrigerate for 1 hour (Once it began to set, I used a knife to score lines in the bark so that the piece size and shape could be regulated a bit. I wanted to have longer sticks that I could put into a coffee mug for a complete gift).

Break into pieces.

If time is scarce and you don’t think you’ll be able to complete a recipe, gather the ingredients for the recipe so that it can be easily assembled by its recipient:

Not much time? Gift the ingredients.

Present your gift in a clever container like a whimsical jar or a cute mug.  Not only will your gift be thoughtful and reusable, but it will be tasty too!

Use a cute mug to present your yummy gift

Spiced Nuts, Yum!

Happy Sewing,

Happy Halloween Project: Minkee Monsters!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Minkee Monsters: they are oh-so-soft, cuddly, and cute (with just a tiny dash of scary).

Minkee Monsters

Minkee Monsters: Embroidered Plush!

If you are looking for a quick and simple project for a special little one, then we have just the right one for you. We are really excited to bring you a tutorial for these furry little creatures. Minkee Monsters are destined to be a crowd-pleaser for the whole family to enjoy. I’m so excited to show you guys how to make these, so lets not delay any longer. Here we go:

Supplies needed:

Now that you have everything together let’s get started!

  1. Transfer design of your choosing in to your machine.
  2. Hoop a single layer of No Show Mesh stabilizer.
  3. Lightly spray stabilizer with temporary adhesive. Place a piece of your Minkee fabric on top of stabilizer and let your machine stitch out the first color, which is called a “Placement Stitch”

    Step 3: Placement Stitch

  4. Remove hoop from the machine and lightly spray a piece of water soluble topping with spray adhesive (piece of topping should be at least 1 inch bigger than placement stitch) and place on top of fabric.
  5. Put the hoop back on the machine and stitch out the rest of the colors EXCEPT the last one (the last color change is the “Seam Stitch”).

    Step 5: Stitch out your Monster

  6. Once you have stitched out all the colors (except the last one), remove the hoop from the machine. Do not take fabric out of the hoop.
  7. Gently remove as much topper as you can and cut any jump threads if you have any (but do not wet the topper at this time; we will do that later).
  8. Place your second piece of Minkee right side down directly over your other design. If you want you can pin or tape the corners so your fabric doesn’t move.

    Step 8: Add 2nd Piece of Minkee

  9. Reattach the hoop once again and stitch out the final stitch which is called a “Seam Stitch”. This will stitch through both layers of Minkee.

    Step 9: Seam Stitch

  10. Remove hoop from embroidery machine. Now is when you will remove fabric from hoop.
  11. Using embroidery scissors, trim as close as possible to the Minkee Monster (without cutting through the Seam stitch).

    Step 11: Cut out your Monster!

  12. Once you have trimmed the excess fabric off, very carefully make a slit about 1½” long in the back of the Minkee Monster.
  13. Turn right-side out, and if necessary use a point turner or tool to push out corners and curves.

    Step 13: Turn right-side out

  14. Now stuff the Minkee Monster with the polyester stuffing (stuff as full as you want; there’s no over-stuffing these cuties).

    Step 14: Stuff!

  15. Ok, here it is: you now have to hand-stitch the back slit closed. I promise it really doesn’t take long and is almost painless.
  16. Make sure to remove any excess topping at this time and voila! You have a perfect, little, scary (yet cuddly) friend for your little lovelies at home!!

The Finished Minkee Monster!

And that’s it! It really is very simple. If you make any Minkee Monsters of your own, we’d love to see photos! You can email them to

Thanks, and happy sewing!

Easter Weekend Sewing Projects Roundup

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Well, it’s Easter weekend, so just as I did for Valentine’s Day, I’ve compiled some of my favorite free tutorials and patterns for Easter sewing projects! Take a look at these and let them inspire you:

Bunny Candy Pouch Easter Eggs Bunny Bag
Jelly Bean Garland Rabbit Bag Tutorial Bunny Hat
Quilted Easter Bunny Basket Bunny Toss Floppy-Eared Bunny Purse
Easter Dishtowel Skirt Marshmallow Peeps Marshmallow Peep Bunnies
  1. Easy Bunny Candy Pouch Tutorial
  2. Plush Easter Egg Sewing Tutorial
  3. Bunny Bag Pattern
  4. Jellybean Garland Tutorial
  5. Zakka-Inspired Rabbit Bag Tutorial
  6. Baby Bunny Hat Tutorial
  7. Quilted Easter Bunny Basket
  8. Bunny Toss Game Sewing Tutorial
  9. Floppy-Eared Bunny Purse Pattern
  10. Easter Dishtowel Skirt Tutorial
  11. Marshmallow Chick Plushies Tutorial
  12. Marshmallow Bunnies Sewing Tutorial

What are your sewing projects for this year’s Easter? Share in the comments please, or email a photograph to or post it on our Facebook wall. And if you try any of these projects, please let us know how they turned out!

Happy Easter Sewing!

Valentine Weekend Sewing Projects Roundup

Friday, February 10th, 2012

This weekend is the last weekend before Valentine’s Day. Have you already started your Valentine Sewing Project? If you’re looking for some tutorials, we’ve collected eighteen projects here to get you inspired:

Ruffled Heart Valentine Dress Frayed Heart Applique Shirt Cookie Cutter Heart Valentine Shirt
Ruffle Heart T-Shirt Shaggy Heart Valentine Dress with Heart Knee Pad Leggings Boy's Monster Valentine Shirt
Make Your Own Heart Sweater His & Hers Pajama Shorts Box of Chocolates Heart Pillows
Cross-my-Heart Pillow Quilted Heart Throw Pillow Pretty Polka-Dot Valentine Pillow
How to Sew a Heart Pillow with Embroidery Felt Valentine Envelopes Chair Back Valentine Envelopes
Deep-Dish Candy Gift Baskets Chubby Valentine Heart Coasters Valentine Heart Sachets
  1. Ruffled Heart Valentine Dress
  2. Frayed Cutout Applique Heart Shirt
  3. Cookie Cutter Valentine Heart Shirt
  4. Ruffle Heart T-Shirt
  5. Shaggy Heart Valentine Dress with Heart Knee Pad Leggings
  6. Boys’ Monster Valentine Shirt with Template
  7. Make Your Own Heart Sweater
  8. His & Hers Pajama Shorts
  9. Box of Chocolates Heart Pillows
  10. Cross-My-Heart Pillow
  11. Quilted Heart Throw Pillow
  12. Pretty Polka-Dot Valentine Pillow
  13. Heart Pillow with Embroidery
  14. Felt Valentine Envelopes
  15. Chair Back Sewn Valentine Envelopes
  16. Deep Dish Candy Baskets
  17. Chubby Heart Coasters
  18. Valentine Heart Sachets

What are your sewing projects for this year’s Valentine’s Day? Share in the comments please, or email a photograph to or post it on our Facebook wall. And if you try any of these projects, please let us know how they turned out!

Happy Valentine’s Sewing!