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!

Tip from Reva: Convenient Pinning Pins

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Convenient pinning pins are an absolute necessity in one’s sewing room. Not all pins are created equal, though, and this is why most sewists have several different styles of pins within easy reach while working on a project. The style that I use the most are the Clover Flower Head Pins:

Clover Flower Head Pins

Clover Flower Head Pins

Here are some of the finer points (pun intended) of this style of pin:

  • Large head is easy to see
  • Size of head is easy to grasp and manipulate into the fabric
  • Pin is long enough to work well with multiple layers of fabric
  • Pin shaft is fairly thin and has a nice, sharp point, good for most all fabric types
  • Head can be stitched through without breaking a needle if accidentally left in
  • Since the pin lays flat, it won’t interfere with a ruler that is placed over top

Consider having two pin cushions, one at your machine and one at your cutting table. This way you will have your pins within easy reach when you need them. I prefer a magnetic pin cushion. A magnetic pin cushion makes it easy to grab a pin when needed and drop it back onto the magnetic surface when done. If you happen to drop some pins, one swipe of the pincushion over the mess picks them right up for you. Try out the brand-new Zirkel Magnetic Pin Cushion. This little critter is cool!

Zirkel Magnetic Pin Cushion

Zirkel Magnetic Pin Cushion

When a pin is placed on its surface, the pin tip gravitates towards the center and the heads hang out around the outer edge, leaving each pin exposed for easy grabbing when you need one. Just look at it in action:

Take a little time to set up your sewing environment so it is most convenient for you. You will get more done, save time, and enjoy the process so much more.

Have fun, play, and create,

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.

One of Our Own Wins Koala’s National Holiday Sweepstakes!

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Congratulations, Genelle!

Congratulations, Genelle!

Over the Holidays, Koala held their nationwide “I’m Dreaming of a Koala Studio” holiday sweepstakes. When they drew the winner last month, it turns out it was someone who filled out the entry form at one of our own stores!

Congratulations to Genelle T., who won Koala’s grand prize of a Koala Storage Tower!

“I have too many used machines. My husband said I can’t get anymore,” laughed Genelle. Now with the Koala Storage Tower she’ll have much more space for those machines!

See the full article on Koala’s own website here:

Thanks to everyone who entered the sweepstake at our stores, and a big congratulations to Genelle!

A Great Rotary Cutting Safety Tip

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

I had the joy of spending time in my sewing room watching the Saturday morning sewing shows on KBTC this past week and saw a great tip on Fonds and Porter – Love of Quilting. Don’t you just love starting you Saturday that way?

A "Klutz Glove" keeps you injury free!

The tip that stood out to me was one concerning safety while using a rotary cutter.  When rotary cutting, be safe and use a new sharp blade and wear a “Klutz Glove” to help protect your non-cutting hand from accidental injury.  A fellow sewing enthusiast wrote in to the show to offer the following suggestion for remembering to be safe when cutting with a rotary cutter:

  • After using your rotary cutter,  store it inside your “Klutz Glove” when you are done using it.  This way,  you will have a reminder to use the glove the next time you do some rotary cutting.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times that I have had a “near miss” with my rotary cutter and felt so glad that there are simple tools like this to help keep clutzy me safe!


Sewing & Quilting Smart Phone App Roundup

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Did you know that iPhones only make up about 12% of all “Smart Phones” nowadays? Over 80% of Smart Phones are Android phones now, so I thought I would write a post about some of the quilting and sewing apps that you can download on your Android phones:

Quilting Calculators
Robert Kaufman Fabrics and Quilter’s Paradise have joined forces to bring you this collection of essential quilting calculators. Designed by quilters, all work with both U.S. and metric measurements. You’ll quickly see how much fabric is needed for backing, batting and borders, and how many rectangular pieces can be cut from a larger piece. There are even calculators for square-in-a-square, set-in, and corner triangles.

Stitcher’s Helper: $0.99
Almost a more powerful version of Quilting Calculators, this Stitcher’s Helper app has several advanced features:
- Several calculators for calculating yardage, cost, or many other measurements.
- Project tracking. Mark your project as “In Progress”, “On Hold”, or “Completed”.
- Attach pictures to projects
- Attach project items to projects. These can be either any of the below calculators with your yardage and data saved, or simply a needed item.
- Projects also have space for pattern information and notes.
- Automatically generated shopping list page that can either be added on the fly or marked as “Include on Shopping List” on the project item edit screen. These items are grouped by project for easy organization.

Quilting Color Match:
A very interesting app that lets you take photos of fabric (or anything, really), then create a quilt pattern and apply the fabric photos to the quilt pattern to see what they’d look like on the finished quilt. It doesn’t have the most easy-to-use interface, but it can be great way to see what certain fabric combinations look like together in a finished quilt without having to buy swatches and swap them around. Plus you can save your projects and export them to your phone’s image gallery.

Quilt Shops
Quilt Shops is a free application to find quilt shops across the U.S. from Quilters Club of America and Fons & Porter.
- Use your smart phone or tablet to search for 2,500+ quilt shops (U.S. stores only currently)
- Versions will be available for iPhone, iTouch, iPad and Android phones
- Search for quilt shop by city, state, Zip, or see stores closest to your current location
- Look up individual stores to see location, Web site URL, map directions and dial store phone number
- Feedback form enables users to easily alert us if a store is missing or needs updated information
- Requires internet connection for GPS mapping and distance calculations

Quilt Index to Go:
More of an app for inspiration rather than utilitarian uses, Quilt Index to Go has images of over 50,000 real-world quilts from the whole range of quilting history. With this app you get a quilt a day from the Quilt Index ( There is a Browsing page to scroll endlessly through 50,000+ quilt records
Detailed quilt record information is available for each quilt (when documented) such as:
- quilt pattern names
- quilt-maker names
- dates and/or date ranges
- collection
- links to full information on the collection record

Fabric U
A handy reference to more than 120 different types of fabric used for quilting, crafting, and sewing. Written by Mary Beth Klatt, the app shares her extensive knowledge about needle and thread combos for various sewing projects. Includes links and videos to help users choose appropriate fabrics and how to care for them.

Quilting Guide
An informational reference app that is full of all sorts of information about the art and craft of quilting. If you’re an expert quilter already this might not be as useful as if you were a beginner, but there are probably some good tidbits that you could find in the many different sections:
- A Notion About Notions
- Add Life to your Quilting with Embroidery
- All About Appliqué
- All About Hoffman Fabrics
- All About Quilting
- All About Thread For Quilting
- Best Books for Quilting
- Choosing And Preparing Fabric
- Choosing Fabrics for Quilting
- Choosing Quilt Fabric
- Essential Supplies for Quilting
- How to Choose the Right Batting
- How to Use Stencils for Quilting
- How to Use Templates in Quilting
- Making Sense OF Quilt Patterns
- Patchwork Techniques
- Quilting 101
- Sewing Tips For Beginning Quilters
- So You Want To Make A Quilt
- The Best Quilting Pattern For Your Needs
- What Are Quilts?
- Where to Find Free Quilt Patterns
And more!

• You can look at these and more apps in the Android store by clicking here:

Do you use any sewing or quilting apps for your smart phone? If so, let us know about them in the comments.

Happy sewing,

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,

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,

Class @ APWQ 2013 – Decorative Quilting with your Embroidery Machine

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Decorative Quilting w/Hooped Embroidery

Learn Machine Embroidered Quilting w/Reva

Do you ever feel intimidated when it comes to quilting your latest project?  I sure can.  Sometimes it seems as though I do more “over-thinking”,  stressing and just plain old “un-stitching” when I quilt my quilts using free-motion techniques.  I think I need a lot more practice. One thing that I can do really well is to put fabric into a machine’s embroidery hoop, put the hoop on the machine and then push the start button.  That is when the magic happens!  Perfect every time. You may feel this way, as well.  If you have not tried quilting with your embroidery machine, you must give it a shot.  It is much easier than you may think!

  • Look for a machine embroidery design that was meant to be used as a quilt pattern or that is a simple running stitch (like red work)
  • Print out templates of your designs for you to use to plan the placement of the designs
  • Mark the desired locations of the designs onto your quilt
  • hoop your quilt in the appropriate location – Top, Batting, Back and all!
  • Put the thread you want to use in both the needle and the bobbin
  • Embroider your designs – many machines have aids for getting designs to stitch exactly where you want them, easily.  A Multi-Needle machine can be the easiest of all!

If you are not acquainted with multiple hooping, consider taking “Decorative Quilting w/Hooped Embroidery“  at the upcoming  APWQ Quilt Show in Tacoma Aug 22-25, 2013. In class you will work with planning and placement of three different types of quilting motifs:  focus medallions,  borders, and corners.  You will be amazed at how easily you can achieve spectacular results.

Whether you already have an embroidery machine or are just curious as to how they are used for quilting, this class is for  you. I look forward to seeing you in Tacoma at the Quilt Show!