Life Sew Beautiful

my little handmade corner of the world

Two Christmas Quilts January 24, 2017

Filed under: quilts — faithandfamily @ 8:38 pm

It seems like I haven’t sewn in forever. I just haven’t felt like I have the time anymore. But I’ve managed to fit it in lately, and it is so good to be back!

My sister-in-law moved to Bangladesh in the summer of 2015. In preparation for the move, she sold or gave away most of her belongings. I acquired a lot of her sewing stuff. Amidst the treasures, she gave me a set of vintage sheets and told me that she had wanted to make a quilt with them, but she never got around to it. I knew immediately that I was going to make that quilt for her. I wanted it to be something she could take back to Bangladesh with her to remind her of home and of family. I knew they were coming back to the states for a few months in the summer of 2016, so my goal was to have it done in time for them to take back with them when they returned to Bangladesh. As it turned out, terrorism kept them from returning, but I still wanted to make the quilt for her, maybe even as a remembrance of the time apart and as a symbol of hope if she ends up in another lonely place in the future. img_0554

I ended up really loving this quilt, and she did too. The basic idea for the blocks can be found here. It’s called the Tuscan Cuddle. Of course, I didn’t use precut fabrics, as the pattern suggests. I used four different fabrics, including the white. I felt like the white was important to break up the busyness of the yellows. When I was cutting the fabric, I cut every fabric into twelve 10″ squares. I kept 7 squares whole,  I cut four squares in half for the rectangles, and I cut one whole square plus one of the rectangles into quarters to make the smaller squares. I rotated the fabrics and made sure that each of the blocks had one of each of the 4 different fabrics. Once my blocks were assembled (with one large square, two rectangles and a small square), I sewed the blocks together with 4 across and 5 down, for a total of 20 complete blocks. This made a nice, generous lap size. This was the visual I used when I was planning the quilt:


I hope this visual helps if you decide to try something similar.

The other quilt I made was for my mom. I’ve made many quilts over the years for many people, but I’ve never made one for my mom. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished quilt before I mailed it off, but here is a picture of the finished quilt top before I added the border:


I used this pattern and I tried to pick traditional fabrics that would match her living room. This made a nice, generous-sized lap quilt.

It was good to be back with my sewing machine again. While sewing, I listened for hours to podcasts and even managed to position my phone so that I could watch Netflix while sewing. It was really restful and fulfilling. It’s good to be back.


Harry Potter Costume December 5, 2014

Filed under: costumes — faithandfamily @ 7:04 pm

My son and his best bud are all about Harry Potter right now. My friend and I made our sons a couple of great Harry Potter costumes for Halloween, but it’s taken me a while to get it up here on the blog.

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The hardest part was figuring out how to make the robe. I didn’t find any tutorials online, but I did find this image, which helped a ton:


I used the ideas from this image to create my own pattern. My friend had gobs black fabric given to her that was perfect for the robes. I used a loose fitting oxford shirt of my son’s to make a a pattern for the robe, and I just extended the sides down, letting them flare out. For the sleeves, after I traced the oxford’s arm holes, I just free-handed the length and tapered bottoms, making the long part of the sleeve extend approximately to the fingertips and the shorter side (top) more wrist-length. For the hood, I traced a hood from a sweatshirt, but he really wanted a pointy tip, so on the crown part of the hood I drew it pointy, rather than the way this pattern shows.

I had thought that I would just find a gold or maroon-colored tie and use colored duct tape to make stripes, but I didn’t have any success finding a discarded solid-colored tie. Instead, I found this reasonably priced, perfect tie at I thought it was a great deal at $7.95, and it’s a very nice tie.

The Gryffindor patch was just $2 plus shipping, from an online seller.

I didn’t want to spend a lot on the glasses, and we have a quirky little store around here called Wilson’s 5 and 10 (an old dime store), where I found gold “Santa glasses.” They were round and looked about right, so I bought them for a dollar or two and used a black permanent marker to make them black rather than gold.

The wand? Just a stick from the yard made fabulous after a few moments with an orbital sander.

My son dressed as Harry, and his best bud decided to be Neville Longbottom. Those two were absolutely adorable and had a fabulous time. Time and money well spent, I’d say.

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Ballet Stocking December 3, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — faithandfamily @ 3:25 pm

My daughter is involved in a “Secret Santa” exchange at her ballet studio, so I scoured PInterest, trying to find a cute idea for a unique gift. I saw this idea for a ballet-inspired stocking on Martha Stewart’s website, and, in my maybe-not-so humble opinion, I like mine better!


I drew the foot and tried to make the foot a little prettier and the ballet shoe a little more realistic-looking than Martha’s. We used ballet pink, because who wears blue ballet shoes anyway? My daughter did the sewing on one, and then I quickly made two more, since my youngest wanted one and I decided to make one for her ballet teacher’s baby. These came together so quickly that I made the other two in about 10 minutes. We used felt and skinny ribbon. These will be a nice gift during Nutcracker week. Maybe we’ll fill them with gifts from the Land of Sweets!


Belated Crochet Hat Post September 21, 2014

Filed under: crochet — faithandfamily @ 8:09 pm

A few posts ago I shared about the crocheting binge I went on during Christmas break last year. I taught myself how to crochet using blessed youtube videos and online tutorials. (Thank you, internet! I love you sometimes!) I made several scarves, and then one of my brothers asked me for a hat. I was pretty nervous about trying something else, but I decided to give it a try, and it worked!


For future reference for myself (and anyone else who might want to try a beginner-level hat), here’s what I wrote down to help me remember what I did:

I started with a chain 12-14 inches. (This is going to be the length from the crown of the head to the end, including the folded up part.) Then I stitched rows until it was about 21 inches wide or the circumference of a head. (Remember there will be stretch due to the ribbing.)

I used this youtube tutorial as a guide:

Happy crocheting!


Quilt for My Youngest

Filed under: quilts — faithandfamily @ 8:00 pm

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. Partly because my sewing machine hasn’t been too active, and partly because I’ve just neglected to post about some of my most recent projects.

I am so proud of this quilt I made for my youngest daughter.

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I decided to go with the color scheme of orange, pink, yellow, turquoise, and lime green, and then I went to my stash and tried to use up scraps from other projects. This quilt took a lot of fabric, so I ended up having to buy several fabrics to get the amount I needed. But it is neat that there are so many scrap pieces in it that remind me of other projects I’ve made.

I used this tutorial for my quilt blocks, although I made them bigger. I decided I needed a sashing around the blocks to really define the blocks, but the quilt blocks were so big that I used a very skinny sashing to avoid adding a lot of length or width to the quilt.

For the actual quilting, I love the hearts that I made. I learned how to make the hearts using Leah Day’s online tutorial. Instead of outlining the hearts 3x though, I liked the look of two outlines. I tell my daughter that each heart I stitched means “I love you,” so there are countless “I love yous” woven into this quilt!


Made By Me January 5, 2014

Filed under: kids' stuff — faithandfamily @ 7:05 pm

I recently bought the book Made by Me by Jane Bull for my oldest daughter.


It is full of really cute craft and sewing projects that creative little girls will love. The book has sections on cross stitch, sewing, and knitting. So far, my daughter made a dolly for her little sister and three little outfits:

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If you have a creative little girl in your life, this book would be a great resource full of fun projects that you can do together.


I’ll Never Buy a Scarf Again

Filed under: crochet — faithandfamily @ 6:54 pm

I’ve tried to learn crochet a few times in my life and had always decided that it wasn’t for me. I was content to limit my creativity to fabric and a sewing machine. But recently I’ve been wanting to try again. I saw a few things on Pinterest that made it seem doable. I decided to spend some time during our holiday travels, sitting in the car or in front of the TV with relatives, trying again. And….I’ve been successful! I used this tutorial for the Pavement Infinity Scarf and found it to be really clear and easy to follow. I love it that she has written directions, a photo tutorial, and a video. Here are my first two crochet projects, ever:


The first one I made seemed a bit wide. I used the leftover yarn on my skein to make a mini scarf for my daughter.


I made three more, but instead of making 5 “V’s” in each row, as described in the tutorial, I used only 3. I like the thinner style a bit better.

If you’re interested in learning to crochet, I recommend that you give this tutorial a try. Now that I’ve got the hang of it, it only takes me about 1 1/2-2 hours to make a scarf. I made the black one last night while watching a movie with the family. I was a beginner before trying this tutorial. I knew how to chain and had attempted a double-crochet stitch before, but that was about it. I did have to google how to tie off the yarn when you’re all done, how to switch to a new skein of yarn,  and how to stitch together the ends to make it an infinity scarf, but there were lots of instructions out there, and none of those steps was hard.

Happy crocheting!

*Note to myself: Start with a chain of 11 (rather than 19) to make a thinner scarf that has just 3 V’s.


Adam’s Quilt August 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — faithandfamily @ 7:36 pm

I recently finished a quilt for my brother Adam. When I told him last Christmas that I was planning on making him a quilt, he already had an idea in his head of what type of quilt he would most like. He sent me this picture from the internet for inspiration:


He told me that he wanted it to look like something you would find in a country lodge or cabin, and he wanted it to have appliqued animals on it. I had never done applique before, so I was a bit intimidated, but I was willing to give it a try. First I shopped for cute plaids, then I did an internet search to look for some applique shapes that I could use on the quilt. I used this tutorial from the internet to learn how to do machine applique. It was pretty easy and fun. In the square with the log cabin on it, I also used a technique called paper piecing to to make the log cabin. I had done paper piecing years ago, but I watched this youtube video to refresh my memory on how to do it.

And here is the finished quilt:


I’m very happy with it, and, if I do say so myself, I think it’s even cuter than the quilt that I used for inspiration!

Sweet dreams under your new quilt, little brother!



Summer skirts July 5, 2013

Filed under: girls' clothes — faithandfamily @ 10:09 pm

I sewed a few skirts for my daughter this summer. Check ’em out!

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For the first skirt I used an Old Navy men’s t-shirt. (My guy wouldn’t wear that color, for sure!) I cut a waistband that is doubled and folded over. I had to cut it a bit smaller than her waist to make it fit right. The bottom of the skirt is the original width of the t-shirt, and I even used the original hem for the bottom. It was a quick and easy project.

For the second skirt I made another twirly skirt. I’ve been making these for my daughter for years, and they’re still her favorite kind of skirt. This time I went extra long, because she likes her skirts very long. If you’re not sure how to make these, just search my archives under “girls’ clothes.” I’ve made several, and I’ve linked to the directions in a previous post.


Little Girl’s Baby Doll Sling June 10, 2013

Filed under: kids' stuff — faithandfamily @ 12:25 am

My niece had a birthday a few weeks ago, and one of the gifts I gave her was a baby doll sling. They were so fast to make (20 minutes?), so I made one for my little girl too.


I used this tutorial, which I thought was great, but I would recommend adding a bit of ease to the back measurement, to allow a bit more wiggle room for the baby doll to be put in and taken out, and to keep the baby doll from being too tightly pressed against your daughter’s body.