Thursday, August 30, 2012

Embroidered Lunch Box Napkin Tutorial

What better way to send a little love to your child at school than with a little message tucked into their lunch box? I decided to make Olivia a set of cloth napkins for her lunch box and, on a whim, added a message to each napkin in embroidery.

So, how about a little tutorial on how to make them?

a. Two different colors 1/4 yard cuts of solid fabric (amount may vary if you decide on a different finished size - see Step 1)
b. Coordinating embroidery floss and embroidery needle
c. Masking tape
d. Fabric pen
e. Embroidery hoop

Of course, you will also need the usual materials for a sewing project - machine, thread, rotary cutter, iron, etc. :)

1. Decide on desired finished napkin size. Then add 1/2" each direction for a quarter-inch seam allowance on both sides. For instance, my finished size was 8" x 8". So, my cutting size was 8-1/2" x 8-1/2".

2. Cut 4 pieces of each color fabric. You should have 4 pieces of Fabric A and 4 pieces of Fabric B, for a total of 8 squares.

3. Take 2 of each Fabric A and Fabric B colors and fold them into quarters. (Set aside the remaining squares for now.) Finger press along folded edges.

4. Open to reveal lines marking 4 quadrants.

5. Using a ruler, measure 1" from the side and bottom of the lower right quadrant. Make a small mark. Then draw a line about 2" from the mark to about 1" from the fold on the left. This makes a guide so your embroidery will be straight. (Using this method, you could place the embroidery any where you'd like on the fabric as long as you make sure to stay outside the seam allowance.)

6. Print the embroidery PDF on a regular 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper.

7. Tape the embroidery PDF print out with masking tape to a window. Then tape the fabric over the embroidery PDF print out, lining up the line you drew to the text you will trace.

8. Trace the words from the embroidery PDF print out to the solid fabric using a fabric marker.

9. Thread your embroidery needle and follow the text you traced with the fabric in an embroidery hoop. You can do any stitch you'd like - I chose a back stitch.

10. Complete the steps above for each of the remaining 3 messages.

11. Now it's time to sew! Take one of the pieces of fabric you set aside in Step 3 and place one of the embroidered pieces on top of it, right sides together. Using a quarter inch seam allowance, stitch around the parameter of the napkin, leaving approximately 3" opening for turning.

12. Turn the napkin right side out. Press seams out. Then, press the opening fabric 1/4 under. You will close the opening in the next step.

13. Edge stitch approximately 1/8" around the whole napkin. Trim threads.

14. Repeat the previous steps for the other 3 napkins.

And that's all there is to it! A cute set of napkins to last all school year long. Now, if only I can get Olivia to use the napkins... So far they've come home folded as neatly as I placed them in her lunch box when I packed it. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012


It's been a week of firsts. Isabelle's first birthday - as seen above, questioning if the whole cupcake is really for her. "Who? Me?"

And Olivia's first day of school - as seen above, putting on a brave face while clutching her American Girl doll, Sophie, who was also in her school uniform.

What's a mom to do when she realizes her little girls are growing up on her? I still haven't figured out the whole time reversal thing. So, until I do, I'm going to keep holding them close to me... And be there to support them in all the many other firsts to come.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Modern Quilts Unlimited

I'm writing from the land of back-to-school and first birthday party craziness. Hoping to get back on a more regular blogging schedule once things settle down a bit! In the meantime, please forgive my absence!

I received an email about a new magazine that I want to share with you. The publication is called Modern Quilts Unlimited by Meander Publishing, Inc.

Looks like it's conveniently available as both a paper and digital version. The premiere issue is due out in the fall.

Please let me know if you try out the magazine! I would love to know your thoughts

Also, for those of you who are pattern writers, they have a submission link too. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back to School Sewing

It is unbelievable to me that Olivia starts kindergarten in two short weeks. I cannot believe my baby is going to put on her plaid Catholic uniform jumper, mary jane shoes, and knee-high socks, and walk through the school doors for the first time. I, for one, plan to wear sunglasses that morning so she doesn't see my tears... and then the full-on bawling - as I make my way back to the car. 

We're having a great time back-to-school shopping - our first time buying school supplies! There are also some great patterns out there for back-to-school sewing. Here are just a sampling of some fun ones I've found cruising Pinterest. 

(perfect first day of school outfit)

I've had a BTS sewing project idea percolating for a few weeks. After I put needle to fabric, I'll be back with a fun little tutorial.

Until then, what are some of your favorite back-to-school sewing patterns?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Can't Go Wrong...

... With an Amy Butler Birdie Sling. Seriously. I love this pattern. It's simple and makes a great bag - the perfect size and stability. I've given finished bags as a gift several times over the years.

This one is a gift for my grandma. She travels frequently, and I can see her using this on one of her upcoming cruises.

The fabric is Joel Dewberry's Heirloom. The color palette is cheerful but not too youthful - it's a perfect balance for the gift recipient.

What about you? What's your favorite go-to pattern for gift giving?