Wool felt letters

Desmond is turning ONE! We are having a little party this weekend to celebrate, and I needed some “Happy Birthday” garland.  I looked around on etsy and found a lot of cute birthday banners, but then I realized: Wait. I can do this myself!  I used Evy’s AlphaBlocks designs to stitch the outline of the letters, cut them out and connected them with striped yarn.  They are awesome.  I am so glad I decided to make my own and seriously wanted to keep making more letters out of every color of felt in my sewing room.  They are so much fun to make!


2 felt 5 inch squares

cut away mesh stabilizer (This gives the letters a little more structure.)

coordinating thread (Make sure you use the same thread in the top and in the bobbin.  Do not use bobbin thread, just use general purpose thread for both the top and bottom.)

embroidery machine and hoop


Step 1: Cut your stabilizer to fit inside your hoop with about an inch sticking out over the sides.

Step 2: Cut two pieces of felt into 5 inch squares.

felt letters -1

Step 3: Apply temporary spray adhesive to the center of one of your felt squares in a circular motion.  You do not need to spray the entire piece of felt; just the area in the center.

felt letters -2

Step 4: Stick your felt square to one side of your stabilizer.  Flip it over so your felt is on the bottom and place your stabilizer in the hoop.  You need to make sure that the felt piece is centered in the hoop, not the stabilizer.  It would be helpful to mark the center of the felt and line it up with the arrows on your hoop.  Make sure you secure the stabilizer in the hoop, but do not pull at the stabilizer to adjust it once you tighten the hoop.  If you need to shift the stabilizer in the hoop, loosen it, and then adjust it.

felt letters -3 felt letters -4

Step 5: Once your stabilizer with the felt attached to the back is positioned in your hoop, place the other felt piece on top of the stabilizer.  You should have three layers now: a felt square on top, your stabilizer in the middle, and your second felt square on the back.  You should be able to see through your stabilizer, so make sure you position your top felt square exactly over your bottom felt square.

felt letters -5

Step 6: Now you are ready to start sewing!  Place the hoop in your machine and stitch only the first applique material outline.

felt letters -6

Step 7: After the stitching is complete, remove your fabric from the hoop and cut out your letters.  You want to cut close to the stitches, but not too close or your stitches will come out. (Ask me how I know…)

felt letters -7 felt letters -8And that’s one letter! Now go stitch out the rest of the alphabet!

Here’s a sneak peek at the birthday garland!

felt letters (9 of 1)

Vintage kindle case

vintage kindle case (11 of 1)

So, I’ve had this awesome floral print sitting in my sewing room for the last three or four years.  I love it.  It’s a vintage upholstery weight fabric that belonged to a sweet lady who was a fantastic seamstress.  It was almost thrown out when we were cleaning, but I couldn’t let it go.  I wanted to sew a little something out of it to see how it would handle under the needle, and I still have more left to play with some other time!

I ended up making a “vintage” kindle case.  Here’s a tutorial, so you can make one too!

vintage kindle case (13 of 1)


2 – 8″ x 9″ pieces of main fabric

2 – 8″ x 9″ pieces of lining fabric

2 – 8″ x 9″ pieces of lightweight fusible interfacing

1 – metal snap and snap setter

coordinating thread

Step 1: Cut out your main fabric, lining fabric and interfacing.

vintage kindle case (1 of 1)

Step 2: Iron your fusible interfacing to the wrong side of each of your lining pieces of fabric.

Step 3: With right sides together, sew the two main pieces of fabric together with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Clip corners and press seams flat. Turn right sides out.

vintage kindle case (2 of 1)vintage kindle case (3 of 1)

Step 4: With right sides together, sew the two lining pieces of fabric together. (You should see the interfacing on the outside while you sew.)

Here’s a trick you will want to know… When you put the case together, the lining fabric can sometimes be bulky on the inside.  If you want to keep that from happening, follow these steps:

At the top of your lining pieces, measure and mark 1/2″ from the left and right sides of the fabric.  At the bottom of your lining pieces, measure and mark 3/4″ from the left and right sides of the fabric.  Using a ruler, draw a line from the top mark to the bottom mark.  Sew along that line.  This way, the seam at the top of the case is the same as the outside fabric, but slowly takes away any extra bulk towards the bottom of the bag.

vintage kindle case (4 of 1)

Step 5: Place the outside of your case inside the lining pieces with right sides together. Pin them together and sew around the top edge of your case with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Turn the lining pieces right sides out.

vintage kindle case (5 of 1)

vintage kindle case (6 of 1)

vintage kindle case (7 of 1)

Step 6: Tuck the raw edges of the lining inside about 1/4″ and pin.  Before you sew, tuck the lining inside your case to see if the lining is too long and bulky on the inside.  If it is, you can trim it, tuck in the raw edges and check again.  When the lining is the correct length, and you’ve tucked your raw edges inside for the last time, topstitch about an 1/8″ from the edge to close your opening.

vintage kindle case (8 of 1)

vintage kindle case (9 of 1)

Step 7: Tuck your lining inside the case and iron around the top edge.  Topstitch about 1/8″ from the top edge.  This will keep your lining from sliding out of place at the top.

vintage kindle case (10 of 1)

Step 8: Attach your snap at the top and put your kindle in its fancy new case!

vintage kindle case (12 of 1) vintage kindle case (14 of 1)

{You can also make a more masculine version, like this one!}


Lumberjack shirt

lumberjack shirt (9 of 1)Eeek! I made a lumberjack shirt for Des! I’ve been wanting to make some sort of button down shirt, but it always seemed too intimidating.  Well… thanks to lots of help from my mother-in-law, it wasn’t so intimidating after all!  It was so much fun, and I can’t wait to make another one.  I see a cute chambray shirt in his future!

lumberjack shirt (7 of 1)We started with Simplicity pattern 7994 as a base for the shirt, but altered it to make it fit Desmond better.  The smallest size in the pattern was still too big for him.  Then, we added my favorite detail- a cute little squirrel!  The embroidery design is available from my mother-in-law’s site at A Bit of Stitch.

lumberjack shirt (8 of 1)He looks so adorable, doesn’t he!

Mug warmer tutorial

 mug warmer  (6 of 1)

So, fall is in full swing and like everyone else out there, I’m making my hot coffee and chai tea lattes (okay, buying them) as much as possible.  I found some wool scraps in my sewing room and decided to make a mug warmer to go with all my highly caffeinated drinks.  Here’s a tutorial, so you can make one too!


- 2 pieces of fabric cut to 10.5 inches by 3 inches – one for the front of your warmer and one for the back

- 2 mini hair elastics

- 1 piece of fusible fleece interfacing cut to 10.5 inches by 3 inches

- 2 coordinating buttons

mug warmer  (1 of 1)

Step 1: Cut your fabrics and interfacing to the correct size.  I started with 2 rectangles that were 10.5 inches by 3 inches.

mug warmer  (2 of 1)Step 2: Iron on your fusible interfacing to the WRONG side of the fabric you will use for the front of your mug warmer.

mug warmer  (3 of 1)Step 3: Place your fabrics right sides together with the hair elastics sandwiched between them as shown.  Position the hair elastics about 3/4 inch from the top and bottom edges of the fabric, so they will not get caught in the seam allowance.  To keep the elastics from shifting, you can baste them in place about 1/4 inch from the side of your fabric.  Pin all three layers together around the edges.

mug warmer  (4 of 1)

mug warmer  (10 of 1)Step 4: Sew (with right sides together) around all edges with a 3/8 inch seam allowance, but be sure to leave an opening to turn the fabric right side out.  Turn the warmer right side out and press the seam allowances flat at the opening.

mug warmer  (5 of 1)Step 5: Topstitch around all the sides (slightly more than 1/8 inch) to close the opening.

Step 6: Sew your buttons onto the end of the warmer without the elastic.  Be sure to get them close to the edge, so your elastic will not have to stretch very far.

mug warmer  (12 of 1)

Now go enjoy a cup a coffee with your fancy new mug warmer!


Tote bags

A few weeks ago, I had some fun machine hopping and ended up creating three different tote bags! It all started with a bag for cute little Ava to carry her toys and books in on the road.  It was the first time I ever monogrammed anything, and it turned out to be a lot of fun!

Ava tote (5 of 1)Ava tote (1 of 1)Ava tote (2 of 1)

Then, I went tote crazy… I made a blue and yellow one for a sweet baby who was turning one and added a little Sashiko detail to it.  Such a sweet and simple bag!

Daniel tote (1 of 1)Daniel tote (2 of 1)Daniel tote (3 of 1)

The third bag was for a new mother, and we all know how moms can never have too many bags!  The fabric I used on the outside is one of my favorites!  I love pretty much anything that comes from Birch Fabric Collections, but this quail fabric is pretty high up on my list.  The teal Sashiko stitching on the outside added the perfect touch and was such a great contrast to the orange background.

Courtney tote (5 of 1) Courtney tote (4 of 1) Courtney tote (2 of 1)


Fanfare shorts

Okay, I know I’m way late to the fanfare flannel party, but when this fabric first came out, I was busy becoming a mother and wasn’t able to think about much else.  Now that I’ve stopped my full-time job, finished moving and almost wrapped up a part-time job, I finally have time to sew again!  I was secretly (but not hiding it so well) jealous of all these other people I know and follow creating one awesome thing after another and wanted to yell at them to wait for me!  Naturally, the first thing I made was for little mister himself.  I’ve always wanted to make little shorts for Des and create my own pattern, but was never quite successful on my own.

fanfare shorts 1 (2 of 1)

I took a pair of knit shorts that fit Des well and traced them out as a start for the pattern.  Then, I made a few pairs and made adjustments as I went until one finally worked.  They’re the perfect little pajama shorts!  He can crawl around in them without sliding on the hardwood floors, but the flannel keeps him nice and cozy.  Aren’t they just the cutest!

fanfare shorts 1 (5 of 1)

fanfare shorts 1 (4 of 1)

Can you believe how much he’s grown!  Already 10 months old!

fanfare shorts 1 (1 of 1)

All work and no play

Since my maternity leave ended, I haven’t had a lot of time for sewing. I spend my day at work, come home and hold my baby until I have to do things like cook supper or go to bed. People keep telling me that you can’t spoil a newborn… When does that newborn stage end? As far as I’m concerned, he’s still pretty new. I have had a few minutes here and there to whip up some more burp cloths. It took multiple days to finish what normally takes a few hours. These soft, cuddly burp cloths are now available in my shop.

blue arrows (2 of 1)

black and grey triangles (2 of 1)

black elk (2 of 1)

Hand Embroidery Tutorials

I’ve been working on hand embroidery a lot the last few weeks and loving it!  My mother-in-law taught me how to do several different stitches a while back, and since then, I’ve been playing around with different patterns.  I’m currently working on creating my own patterns to sell in my etsy shop.  I will offer the patterns by themselves and in a kit with all the materials you need to complete the project.  For those of you that need a project completed in a rush, I’ll even have finished products ready to ship.  My goal is to have a few completed projects up and ready to purchase in the next week or two.  In the meantime, here’s a little freebie for you to work on for Valentine’s Day!

my favorite (3 of 1)

The only traditional Valentine’s Day color I had was red, so I had to use some other not so normal colors.  I embroidered on a plain white drying towel, so that when it’s hung up you can see the heart in the center front.  Now if only our oven had a place to hang it from…

Click below for the design:

You’re My Favorite

If you need instructions on how to hand embroidery, there are two tutorials below to download as well!  Enjoy!

Backstitch Tutorial

French Knot Tutorial