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Holiday sewing opportunities – great gifts!

November 22, 2014

Just a quick post to let you know what classes are available for the holidays and into 2015.

This year there is a Ho-Ho-Holiday Sewing Camp for Kids at each of the Hobby Lobby locations in Richmond.  The class meets on 12/26, 29,30,31 and 1/2. The camp in Short Pump is from 9 am – noon and the Chesterfield camp is from 12:45 – 3:45. They are for children from 8-16 years old. It’s a great companion gift for kids getting a sewing machine for Christmas. Cost for either camp is $250. Students will also need a $50 Hobby Lobby gift card so they can purchase their sewing pattern, fabric thread and other sewing supplies for class.  If you are interested, you can contact me by email at or by phone at 804.313.9717 or 804.869.7920. Please leave a message at both numbers. If you email, I generally get back to you within 24 hours.DSC_0004

Although I don’t have a holiday sewing camp for adults, the next series of Adult Beginners classes begins on 1/7/15 in Chesterfield and 1/8/15 in Short Pump. HPIM6689Gift Certificates are available for both classes and these, too, make great holiday gifts because gift certificates are available. email me for a registration form, or call for more information. or by phone at 804.313.9717 or 804.869.7920


Great fun in the studio today

November 13, 2014

The kids in the afterschool class finished their Machine-sewn Christmas ornaments. You can see the tutorial in a previous post. They did a great job and loved their ornaments. Week 2 of their class was about finishing those, and cutting for their zippered pillow covers. So, we squared up their fabric and cut it out for next week. These 8-year olds will learn to install their first zipper. From there, it’s 3 simple, straight seams to a finished pillow cover. I’ll try to remember to take pictures next week, so you can watch their progress.

In the adult class this evening, we discovered that half the students had Dritz tracing paper that didn’t even show up on their fabric and they had to cut their patterns, rather than tracing and saving their patterns. Tracing paper is funny. Sometimes, you buy one that’s got plenty of pigment on it and others……. well, it doesn’t work out that way :(  We did also covered how to mark darts and how to sew darts. My Liquid Stitch dried up within about 6 months of the purchase date. DARN. I hate when a product doesn’t last like it should. I need to get something to glue the knots on the bottom of darts.

I do have a place to teach private sewing lessons on Thursdays and on some Wednesdays, if you are looking for private lessons. Many of you just need refresher courses, not to enroll in a whole class. You just need to learn how to use that new sewing machine you got and were too busy to learn how to use. I can get you up and going in no time!

Sorry no photos tonight, but the classes were fun and I always enjoy working with my students. See you next week, if not sooner. We are working on some quilts for the nursing home, for the lady veterans in our county and for “fire quilts” to give to folks when there houses burn down. Keep us in your prayers.

Beginners sewing and after-school sewing

November 7, 2014

We began our latest beginners sewing class last night in Short Pump. The class has 7 registrants, so it was a busy night, but we covered a lot of ground. The homework this week is to layout and trace the pattern. I recommended dritz temporary adhesive instead of pinning the pattern to the fabric.
We are using McCalls pattern # 3830 to make pencil skirts.
In the after-school class, the kids learned to thread their machines and made a Christmas ornaments. Lots of fun for a first day of class.


November in the sewing studio

November 6, 2014

What’s going on in the sewing studio? It’s been very sporadic for the past 2 weeks simply because we just had Christmas and Thanksgiving. Yes, you read that right. Our family is spread across half the united states, living in 4 separate states and we had to ask the kids to travel in heavy holiday traffic and pay increased holiday rates to come home during the holiday seasons. So, we made our own date, well before the Christmas and Thanksgiving holiday season and celebrated our faith, our family and our blessings. It did mean down time in the studio and I’ve missed posting progress. So, let’s see what’s going on in the studio.

My quilt guild is making patriotic quilts for the lady veterans in our county. They are not “Quilts of Valor”, though that is a wonderful project. We didn’t want our quilts to have to be exactly to their specs, so we ventured out on our own. We are trying to work in buddy groups to produce 11-12 quilts. I’ve worked with a partner and gotten the squares done for one quilt using the “Churn dash” pattern. DSC_0008

It’s easy to make and I’ve done a .pdf tutorial that I’ll try to upload here: churn dash

Once we finished these blocks and were ready to put the quilt together, we couldn’t find the color fabric we wanted to put between the squares (sashing), so we’ve ordered it and will get back to this. Once we finished the Churn Dash squares, we decided to do a disappearing 9-patch quilt and in one day, sewed all the 9-patches for this project. Now, they have to be cut and re-assembled to create the “disappearing” effect. Here is the .pdf tutorial for the disappearing 9-patch. Disappear 9-patch In this tutorial, the possible combinations (some of them) are on the first page, and the instructions on the second.

Once we got these done, I worked on some sewn Christmas ornaments that I saw on youtube. I haven’t actually tried to upload a youtube video before, but let’s see if this works:

The tutorial is very clear and it’s a very easy ornament, that I thought was very elegant looking. BTW, it’s taught by a very talented man and his sewing machine is a beautiful vintage machine.

Today, I head to Richmond to begin a new series of beginner’s sewing classes. We meet on Thursdays at the Short Pump Hobby Lobby. The class is full this month, but I am registering for January already and there have been many inquiries about that class already, so book early. The Chesterfield class in January meets on Wednesday evenings and I had to cancel that class due to insufficient registration. I did find out why enrollment has been low, and believe the problem has been remedied. Remember that registration closes on the 20th of the month prior to the month your class beings in.

Other news, is that I’m also registering at this time for the kids sewing camp between Christmas and into the new year. The dates for the HO-HO-HOliday sewing camp are 12/26,29,30,31 and 1/2. That’s a whole week of sewing fun. Because I have gift certificates, you can give this camp as a Christmas present. What a great way to spend the Christmas vacation. The kids usually have a blast and make several projects. The cost is $250. Each student also needs a $50 gift card to Hobby Lobby, to buy their supplies for the week. There is a morning class at the Short Pump Hobby Lobby and an afternoon class at the Chesterfield Hobby Lobby. Join us?

If you are interested in classes or the HO-HO-HOliday camp, please call me at 804.313.9717 or email me at

I not only want to teach you to sew; I want to teach you to LOVE sewing <3

Gotta go. There is fun to be had in the studio. :D

Holiday Sewing Camp

October 15, 2014

I almost forgot to mention that I am offering the kids Holiday Sewing Camp this year at the Hobby Lobby stores. Book NOW, because sometimes the classes fill and I’m unable to accommodate everyone. If you are giving your child a sewing machine for Christmas, this is a great accompanying gift.

The camps will be at the Short Pump Hobby Lobby in the mornings and the Chesterfield Hobby Lobby in the afternoons.  Times are from 9 am-noon and from 1pm-4. Cost is $250 and the days we meet are 12/26,29,30,31 & 1/2. Since the school system is giving the kids the Friday of 1/2 off, we are able to do a full 5-day camp again this year. Hooray!20130629-094557.jpg

I do have gift certificates and try to make them fun and attractive for the kids. Each student will need a $50 Hobby Lobby gift certificate for the week also. That will cover the cost of fabric, pins, patterns, scissors, or whatever things they need for class.

DSC_0046Your young student will learn to thread the sewing machine, wind the bobbin, sew a straight line and use commercial sewing patterns to make a pair of pajama pants and then another project or two, based on the rate at which your sewist learns. It’s a lot of time in the sewing room and kids usually get 2-3 projects done.

Contact me at 804.313.9717  or 804.869.7920


Hope to see you in the studio.DSC_0065

Change of Plans – Blackout Curtains

October 15, 2014

I didn’t actually work on a new jacket today. As it turns out, I worked on blackout curtains. Some of you know we moved to WV in February. The winters here are brutal. Even with double paned replacement windows, the glass just zaps all warm air in a room. Last year, I made some window cozies with insulated batting and it helped a lot. This year, I have an additional 800 squ ft to heat and want to get the heating bills under control, as well as insure an environment very conducive to sleeping a full 8 hours. So I bought blackout lining and am working on blackout curtains for all bedroom windows. Shortly thereafter, I’ll have to do something to cover the large windows in the last room to be renovated, the living room.

So, today, I made blackout curtains for one window in my husband’s bedroom. I tend to buy girlie fabric, so when my husband saw BIG, BOLD flowers in deep, earthtones, he knew he better claim that fabric for his room.DSC_0001 DSC_0002 It wasn’t going to get any more masculine than that. I disassembled an insulated drape that I was using to keep the draught from entering at the back door, which I did as a makeshift project last fall, when the December utility bill was $1300 with no one living here! I found out that my contractor was running the heat at 80 while he had the doors open all day and fired him, the first chance I got! In any case, I needed to make sure that even with the additional living space, the bills are less than $300/month in peak months. We put a ventless propane heater downstairs in the stairwell. This will insure that the pipes, which are all in the core of the house, won’t freeze. It also allows heat to rise to our bedrooms upstairs and offer us a great deal of heat before we even turn the heat pump on.

Next, we will insulate all windows with 3M plastic seal, then put the blackout curtains over each window. In addition, we are closing vents to all bedrooms that aren’t in use and have finally gotten doors for those rooms, so we aren’t heating rooms that we aren’t using.

While I was making curtains today, my husband was building the stoop for our back door. This has been an “on hold” project for months and it has finally really come together in 3 days. As we have chatted about what we each wanted from the stoop, John decided that maybe what we really wanted was a mud room and he enlarged the base by 2′ in each direction. When we went out and again chatted about it, we realized that the upright freezer that we absolutely needed and absolutely couldn’t find a place for was going to fit in the mudroom and would pretty much heat it for us! Obviously, it’s not going to be cozy, but  as we come in from the cold, we will be protected from the elements and come into an area that has the heat from the condenser partially heating the space. What it will also do is give our draughty back door some protection from the wind. I’ve also bought some very heavy piping to build into the frame of that door to offer more draught insulation. I’ll post pictures when I’m done.

Same for the curtains. Once John gets in from working on the mud room and we get back from open mike/comedy night at the local restaurant, I’ll try to get pics of them up. Life is good and we are preparing for our first WV winter. BRRRRRRRR

Darn, No luck in Beckley

October 14, 2014

We drove all the way to Beckley and back (4 hour round trip) to get Tom to work on the serger. He wasn’t there!  I’m going to have to learn to call ahead. We did stop at Tamarack and had lunch after checking out some very fine craftsmanship.

I’m planning a new jacket out of a quilted jacquard fabric I picked up 4-5 years ago. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find the pattern I want in all my moving boxes and get started. Stay tuned for some pics tomorrow.


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