St Kitts Island Quilt

fullsizeoutput_2d35My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary on a cruise in the Caribbean. One of my favorite tours was on the island of St Kitts which is known for its batiks made on the island since the seventies. Caribelle Batiks is located in the historic Romney Manor, “Once home to Sam Jefferson II, the great great great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson (3rd President of U.S.A.) the great house was renamed Romney Manor following its acquisition in the early 17th century by the Earl of Romney”. You can visit the website here: Caribelle BatiksIMG_4756The grounds of the Romney Manor are quite lovely, with a 350 year old sprawling tree that spans over a half acre as a focal point. Colorful island flowers and plants complete the magical garden.IMG_4757Within the Manor, rooms filled with expertly dyed batiks of all colors and patterns are made into scarfs, garments, bags, pillow covers, napkins, tablecloths, wall hangings, etc. Just about anything you can imagine is made from the expertly designed and dyed batiks. I purchased a bag of scraps and a large table cloth.IMG_4761With the bag of scraps I wanted to make something special and representative of our trip to the Caribbean. Once home, I looked through the scraps for inspiration. The colors reminded me of the turquoise water and waves, the amazing sky and picturesque sunsets, and the ships and boats.IMG_4774I researched quilt blocks of sailboat patterns and when I found just the right one, I started to cut and sew. My mini quilt came together quickly, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had used just about every inch of the scraps except for the yellow/ purple pieces that just didn’t fit the color palette. fullsizeoutput_2d30I added white sashing and a  turquoise border with a tiny border made from the bits and pieces left from the nine sailboat blocks. fullsizeoutput_2d33I free motion quilted the little wall-hanging with designs that resembled waves and sails, and used my favorite sew-by-machine binding method to finish it.fullsizeoutput_2d2fIt presently hangs on our living room wall, a sweet reminder of the wonderful trip we took together. It was a  fun and exciting trip that I enjoyed more than anything. I look forward to more adventures together with my husband in the years to come. Meanwhile a quilting and a sewing I will go as I love that too!




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I Remember Mama

Thinking about Mom today and to all the moms out there…Happy Mother’s Day!


I Remember Mama

Yes, I fondly remember Mama. I’ve spent weeks thinking about my mom and trying to remember everything I could about her. You see, my mom passed away when my youngest daughter was just over three years old. Mom was only 68 years old. Unfortunately her health declined rapidly in her later years and she died during surgery.  One thing I distinctly remember was that my mom did not want to end up in a nursing home, old and needy, so I guess it was a blessing that she left us before that. Still, even as I write this, emotions well up inside me, because she could have been her now, and not missed so much of our lives and we her’s.

Mama and Me

I remember a lot of this and that about Mom, she was born and raised in Mass. in a big…

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My First Bargello Quilt

fullsizeoutput_2b4cAttracted to the complex design of the Bargello quilt pattern, I did some research to find out how to put this seemingly complex quilt together. I learned that the original Bargello design is a type of needlepoint embroidery consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs. The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello palace in Florence, which have a “flame stitch” pattern. (Wikipedia).

fullsizeoutput_2b46This pattern as been adopted by modern quilters to replicate the “flame”. It is accomplished by cutting and sewing strips together in a particular order. The size, width, color, and the variety of different shades and hues of the strip sets make for a multitude of pattern designs.fullsizeoutput_2b52You can learn the fundamentals from Craftsy. Angela Walters has a great 3 minute presentation on making a bargello quilt block .

I followed this tutorial to make my first one. I chose to make a smaller size using vintage fabrics. I made 6 identical strip sets, then sewed them into loops. Then I cut the loops vertically. The trick is to unpick between two squares so that when you sew it to the previous strip, it is offset by one. Angela does a great job of explaining this.

fullsizeoutput_2b5aI free motion quilted my quilt using this easy pattern. I quilted in columns from top to bottom. First I quilted the center wavy line then I quilted a line to the right and to the left, adding a circle at each indentation. For the inner border I quilted “e’s) and a simpler wavy line with loops for the outer border.
Quilt design


fullsizeoutput_2b48Visit my previous blog posts to see how I make a binding with a flange and attach it to the quilt by machine instead of by hand. I will never hand sew a binding again! I love this method!

This pretty quilt is a donation quilt destined for the Local Children’s Shelter. The fun is in the making and the joy is in the giving.


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Maya’s Quilt

fullsizeoutput_2a87I made this quilt as a gift for my oldest granddaughter and gave it to her on her 19th birthday. My daughter, pieced this simple rail fence top together when she was in high school, but never finished it. It got passed to me and I’ve held on to it for years.IMG_4384Now that I’ve taken up the art of quilting, finishing this quilt as a gift for my granddaughter was high on my list of projects. It didn’t take long to find a suitable fabric from our quilting guild stash for the backing. It looks like it came from the same era, the 90’s!fullsizeoutput_2a8dI tried a new free motion quilt pattern, a meandering loopy design with occasional flowers. It worked out very nicely, although, it took about 8 hours to quilt.fullsizeoutput_2a8bI used my tried-and -true binding method, which is stitched on by machine. It looks so pretty with the tiny contrasting flange edge. I probably will never hand sew another binding, since this looks so wonderful. It is stronger and also practically invisible.

fullsizeoutput_2a90 You use 1 1/4 in strips for the binding, and 1 1/2 in strips for the flange. The strips are sewn together, seam pressed, and then folded in half. The flange fabric faces up and is sewn to the back side of the quilt. When you fold it over to the front, the binding fabric covers the edge and just a tiny edge of the flange fabric extends out. You can machine stitch in the ditch, and it turns out wonderfully!

Needless to say, my granddaughter was delighted with her new quilt and it’s history: top pieced by Mom at age 17, completed by Grandma 20 years later.fullsizeoutput_2a93




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Little Birds and Spring Lake


It’s finished! My new quilt is on the bed! It’s been a laborious but enjoyable project that I’ve been working on for several months. After the holidays, I pulled it out again and set up my machine for free-motion quilting, enlarged my sewing space by adding a table behind the sewing cabinet, and then covered both with a large piece of oilcloth. This allowed the 72″ square quilt to glide and rest happily on it’s surface.


I used a Supreme Slider on top of the oilcloth for easier quilting.

img_3533My featured fabric is from White Tree Fabrics, a curated fabric store with a wonderful assortment of patterns, notions, and amazing fabric. The featured fabric is by Tilda. I used an assortment of prints from the Spring Lake Collection. I included the little bird fabric, to add a bit of whimsy and a pop of color. I decided to use a pattern that I found on the McCalls Quilting Sew-Alongs called “Show Case Your Fabric“. The pattern comes with a movie that walked me through every step of the process. That was just what I needed! img_3535After I cut all the pieces, I made the snowball blocks and the rectangle blocks.fullsizeoutput_286aI shuffled the blocks around  until I was happy with the final arrangement.fullsizeoutput_2864My dog, Heidi, gave her approval after the top was finally pieced.


Free Motion Quilting

The next step was to make the quilt sandwich. This is hard to do on the floor (for me anyway). So, when I had the opportunity to join the local quilting group for a Sew Day, I was able to use two big tables set up side-by-side. I used masking tape to make sure the backing fabric was smooth and secured to the table. Next, I placed 100% cotton batting on top of the backing and then the pieced quilt top on the batting. I used spray adhesive and quilt safety pins to hold all the layers together.


Binding with a decorative flange

I liked the binding method. You use 1 1/4 in strips for the binding, and 1 1/2 in strips for the flange. The strips are sewn together, seam pressed, and then folded in half. The flange fabric faces up and is sewn to the back side of the quilt. When you fold it over to the front, the binding fabric covers the edge and just a tiny edge of the flange fabric extends out. You can machine stitch in the ditch, and it turns out wonderfully!FullSizeRender.jpgThis is the biggest piece that I have ever free-motion quilted, so I didn’t want to try anything to0 complicated. I decided to do an overall pattern of “ripples”. I guess that would describe it. My quilting is not perfect, but it certainly  improved after I achieved a good rhythm. While I didn’t keep track of all the hours I put in to make it, I did keep track of the free motion quilting work. It took 8 hours! Don’t worry, I did it over several days, but even so, my neck and shoulders felt it.

Thank you, White Tree Fabrics, for the opportunity to work with you!













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Happy New Year Quilt

You could say patriotic or you could say red, white, and blue with a few apples and tomatoes tossed in. This was the fabric I chose from the donated fabric given to our local quilting club. The purpose and intention of the fabric is for the quilters to make quilts for a child in need.img_3929I chose colors that were bright and bold, with the thought that a particular child would love it. Most of the donated fabric is very dated, and not in a cool retro way.  So my selection had to be very precise for what I had in mind.


Free motion quilting practice

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Each log cabin block consists of blues on one side and reds on the other. When I played around with the orientation of the blocks, I decided to face the reds toward the center creating a design that looked planned instead of haphazard. I added blue sashing and borders to isolate the bright bold squares. Easier on the eye, don’t you think?

img_3914It turned out crazy cool, even if I do say so myself! I had fun stitching-in-the- ditch with my new machine that has a walking foot and free motion quilting settings. I must say it was really a fun quilt to put together from start to finish.


Heidi helps to hold down the layers as I sandwich the quilt together

The backing and the binding are made from a striped fabric that was simple enough to not detract from the busy-ness of the top.


Striped backing and binding

Soon I will deliver it to the shelter and then think about my next quilting project.

img_3927Thank you for following my blog and leaving such encouraging comments. I hope all of you have a new year filled with love, peace, and understanding.img_3917

Happy Sewing and Quilting!


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Turquoise Treasure Pin Up Dress

fullsizeoutput_24a0What Pattern did you use? I used  Patterns by Gertie for Butterick  _ 5953. It is a fitted vintage inspired wrap dress with front bands, and a slightly shaped right front. The left front crosses underneath the right and ties to the side seam. There is a button closure on the right front side. The sleeves can be long or just above the elbow. There is also a godet in the back.fullsizeoutput_24a3What fabric did you use? Why did you choose it? I used a solid turquoise linen fabric, and a coordinating tone on tone cotton fabric.  I used the cotton fabric for the row of buttons on the side front, the front bands, and the godet in the back. I loved the color of view B on the pattern envelope so I used that for my inspiration, and the shorter sleeves on view A which are a better fit for my lifestyle and climate. fullsizeoutput_2493Would you recommend the pattern? Would you change anything next time?  I recommend the pattern because it is an easy construction with good step by step instructions. The added details: covered buttons, front bands, and godet make it look more couture. It does have a low-cut neckline, that can be somewhat revealing. I used a bit of fashion tape to keep the dress from gaping open too much. I got a thumbs up from my hubby, so you might see me in it! The only thing I would change is an adjustment to the depth of the neckline if I were to make it again. I don’t think I will though, one dress like this is enough.fullsizeoutput_2498Any interesting details? The pattern called for 1 inch buttons. I purchased 7/8 inch buttons that you cover. I used the same fabric for the buttons, front bands, and godet. It looks really pretty and totally unique.fullsizeoutput_2496What do you think of your finished garment? I’m very pleased with the fit and style, and I love all of the unique details such as the covered buttons and the godet in the back. I chose it because it is different than what I usually sew for myself. It was fun to make, and the result was exceptional! fullsizeoutput_2490First worn? I modeled it for pictures while my daughter was visiting us. She snapped the photos in our backyard in front of our colorful maple tree, that just happens to be crimson red this time of year.

Happy Sewing!


Posted in Blogging, DIY, Dressmaking, Family, Fashion, nature, photography, Sewing, vintage, Vintage sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lekala Reversible Dress

94f07071-d7ed-4ef8-b07f-0c11b58bc1b2I’m thrilled to share this unique and easy to make reversible dress with you! This is Lekala pattern 4545. Lekala patterns are made to fit your personal measurements, so it’s fun and easy to make a dress and know that it will fit just right. Still, there’s always a chance that minor adjustments might be necessary in regards to your personal preferences.

1000’s of styles are available at and new ones are added almost daily. Many of the newer patterns are free to test, just by signing up through Sewist is the sister site to where sewists from all over the world share, post, and review their makes with other members. Both sites are free to join. I invite you to explore both sites, and try some of the free patterns. Lekala patterns are less than $4.00 and the PDF’s can be printed on a home printer or in wide-format at your local printers.

But back to Lekala 4545, the reversible dress. I think it would be a cute bathing suit coverup, or a work to out-for-drinks look. I can see taking it along on vacation when your packing is limited. Maybe on a cruise?

Choosing the fabric is key to a successful reversible dress. It can’t be to heavy, or prone to wrinkles. My test fabric is two coordinating seersucker prints. The two layers don’t feel too heavy and it’s wrinkle-free!

Here’s a simple tutorial:


Cut out the pattern pieces. I folded the fabric in half widthwise, to cut the back. Be sure you cut the neck side near the fold, so you’ll have enough fabric to cut the front.


Cut the front on the fold and mark your darts. The darts are pressed up and not down on most Lekala patterns.


Follow the sewing directions. You’ll end up with a front made from your two different fabrics. Narrow ties are sewn in the seam. They will tie in back under the back of the dress.


Following the directions, you’ll sew the center back seam of the two backs and then sew the neck and armholes.


Sandwich the front section in between the two backs and up through the shoulder openings. Pin together carefully.


Tip: use your zipper foot to easily sew the shoulder seams inside the small space.


Leave the front sandwiched inside the backs. Place your pre-made front ties at the corner seams of the back that wraps around to the front. Leave a 6 to 8 inch opening in the lower vertical seam. Turn the dress right side out through the opening and slip-stitch the opening closed.


Notice that I have a center seam on the front of this fabric. That’s because I didn’t cut the back with the neck edge toward the fold. So, there wasn’t enough to cut the front on the fold. Beware and buy extra fabric!






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I’m With Her * Mini Quilt

Mini quilt

I’ve designed a 6 1/2 inch block that resembles one of Hillary Clintons campaign buttons. I stitched  9 blocks together and added sashing. I gave this little memento of Hillary Clinton’s campaign to my daughter for her birthday. She’s a big Hillary fan like me, so I knew she would love it. If you want to make one, I have Free Pattern directions in my previous blog post, or you can click on this link for the Free Pattern.

Happy Sewing!


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I’m With Her Quilt Block…Free!


I’m happy to share my first quilt block design with you! I’ve done the math and tried it out a few times. So it’s ready to share and it’s free!. This is a 6 1/2 inch block. I’ve written cutting directions and made a diagram of the block.

I’m a big Hillary fan, so if you are too, please make a block or two, and share them on instagram, Facebook, or wherever you want! I can’t wait to see your versions! Please leave me feedback on any improvements or suggestions you may have.

Download the I’m with her block here: I’m with her block

Here are the photos I took along the way:

  1. Cut out the pieces:IMG_2617
  2. Make the half square triangles: IMG_2618
  3. Assemble the top and bottom rows: IMG_2619
  4. Assemble the middle row: IMG_2620
  5. Assemble the center block and add top and bottom borders:FullSizeRender
  6. Add left side border:FullSizeRender-2
  7. Assemble right side border: IMG_2623
  8. Sew the strips together creating the arrow point:IMG_2624
  9. Sew the strip to the right side of block: IMG_2631

And that’s it! for detailed cutting directions and sewing directions:

Download the PDF file: I’m With Her Block



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