Archive of ‘Sewing’ category

Kick off to the Farmer’s Wife 1930′s Sew Along!

By Melissa LeRay

I am so excited to be a part of the fabulously talented team of bloggers that are participating in the Farmer’s Wife 1930′s Sew Along, hosted by Angie of @gnomeangel and Fat Quarter Shop.  You can follow along with me on Instagram at @ohhowsweetco!

We are sewing our way through every block in the book, starting with the easiest and working our way up to the more challenging blocks.  I was equally excited and petrified to go first. *gulp*

So let’s get started, shall we?

I’m going to show you how to make blocks 12 and 16.  These are very simple blocks to make, and require no techniques besides cutting straight lines and sewing straight lines.  I’m going to start by showing you a few basic tips, and then will show you the entire process of block 12, and then will follow with block 16 so as not to confuse anyone :)

First things first – have you picked your fabric yet?  I’m planning on using exclusively Hello Darling by Bonnie + Camille


After you’ve printed out your templates, measure the 1″ line provided to be sure you didn’t accidentally scale it up/down or check the dreaded “scale to fit” button.

The Farmer’s Wife 1930′s Sampler Quilt, Block 12 – Becky:

Because this block was so simple, I opted to just cut out the pieces to use as my templates (as opposed to paper piecing, etc). Alternatively, you could measure each piece and just cut out the corresponding block size because they are all perfect rectangles/squares.  (Just be sure to include the seam allowance in your cutting, as the templates already account for.). I note directly on the pattern pieces which ones are to be cut multiples, if any.


Now I’ve got all my pieces cut to size, and laid out to be sure I have the proper placement.


Next, I’ve laid out the pieces just like the book shows, as this will be my order of piecing the blocks together.  I’ll start by sewing C to D, E to B, and F1 to F2.


I’ve pressed all my seams and now I’m ready to sew the F piece to the EB piece.


At this point I’ll join the CD piece to the FEB piece:


And then we’ve almost completed the block by adding the skinny rectangle G on the bottom


and finally adding piece A to all of that, giving you your beautiful completed block:





The Farmer’s Wife 1930′s Sampler Quilt, Block 16 – Bonnie:

Just like for block 12, we’ll begin by cutting out our templates, and you can see here where I’ve noted which ones will be cut more than once:


followed by cutting out our fabric:


We’ll begin this block by joining pieces A to C, C to D, and B to D as follows:


Next we’ll join the CD piece to the AC piece:


Now you’ll add the lone B piece to the CD/AC block:


And finally, you’ll join the BD piece to the lower section:


And you’re done!


I’m so excited to see everyone’s blocks, and don’t forget to use our hashtag #FQS1930FarmersWife so we can see all your progress!

Also, if you haven’t already joined, The Facebook Group can be found by clicking here.

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt

Farmer’s Wife 1930′s Sampler Quilt

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Toddler bibs with Lotta’s Lucky

By Melissa LeRay

One of the things that has been on my to-make list for quite a while has been a set of aprons for the girls.  Windham Fabrics kindly sent me a FQ bundle of Lotta Jansdotter‘s newest collection, Lucky, recently and I knew it would be a perfect match.  I wanted a waist-high tie style and a classic shape.  I drafted up a bib template and set off from there.

Instructions to make one apron follow, fits 2T – 5T
To get started, you’ll need:

  • Two 6″x 22″ rectangles for waist band
  • Two 2″ x 22″ rectangles for ruffle
  • 12″ square for bib of apron
  • Additional scraps for appliqué if desired.

First, sew the two waist band rectangles RST at one of the short ends with a 1/4″ seam. Press the seam open.  Repeat for the two ruffle rectangles.

Now, prepare your waist band by folding the one piece WST so that the two long raw edges meet. Press.  Then unfold that and bring both of the long raw edges to meet in the middle, press again.  Bring both folded long edges together to meet and press once again.   

Unfold the short ends and fold in a 1/4″, WST, press, and then refold so that your waist band edges are clean.  Set aside.

Next, using the template found here, cut out the bib fabric on the fold.

Now you’ll create the ruffle.  I prefer to use my rolled hem foot to sew the visible edge and my serger to create the adjustable gather.  You can do both of these steps any number of ways, though; so pick one you’re comfortable with.

To get started with the rolled hem, it’s helpful to sew an inch or so, WST with an 1/8″-1/4″ seam.  Then, you slide this into the rolled hem foot, and away you sew.  Way easier than sewing two 1/8″ seams, imo.

When this is done, you’re ready to create the gathers, or ruffles.  I used my serger with the two upper loopers set to 8 and a stitch length of 5.  Check your manual incase yours works differently.  Or, if using your sewing machine, sew two lines of basting stitches 1/8″ and 1/4″ away from the long raw edge and then gather by pulling on one set of bobbin threads.

At this time you’re ready to pin or clip your ruffle to the bib.  Using the joining seam at the middle fn the ruffle, line it up to the bottom center of the bib and clip/pin accordingly.

Sew the ruffle to the bib using a 1/” seam.  I found it easier to sew this part with the ruffle facing down so that I was sure the bib didn’t gather along with the ruffle if there was any shifting.

Press your seams toward the bib and then top stitch.


Using your ruler, trim the excess beyond the bib’s raw edge.

Now you’ll grab the waistband piece and using the center join seam on that, center the bib inside of it, nesting the bib all the way into the fold of the waistband. Sew around the entire rectangle to enclose and finish.

Embellish as desired, and you’re done!

The oldest doing her best to not smile haha!

Check my Instagram feed tomorrow (@ohhowsweetco) to enter a giveaway to win a complete FQ bundle of Lucky for yourself!

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Sweet Storybook Vacation Zipped Pouch

By Melissa LeRay

Next month, Windham Fabrics is releasing Storybook Vacation by Whistler Studios.  It’s an adorable collection of repro-like prints that are all about the idyllic scenes of a beach vacation.  These prints are so sweet and really allow for some great fussy cutting.  I thought this collection would be perfect for the simple patchwork zipper pouch pattern from Amy Sinibaldi‘s book, Sweetly Stitched Handmades.

I love how small scale these prints are! Perfect for the little 1.5″ squares I had to cut out for the pouch.

Instead of the little patch that is on the pattern, I thought some crochet lace and fabric stamps made with more fussy cuts would be a cute modification, and a way to show off more of my favorite little images.  Here’s the finished front, including some little vintage buttons:












And the back:

Here’s a closeup of the stamps on the front:

And the stamp on the back, and also the cute flower zipper pull I used:

Storybook Vacation was so fun to work with, and my oldest little agrees, as she’s already claimed the pouch for herself!

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Glisten tea towel tutorial

By Melissa LeRay

I had the pleasure of playing with one of the new holiday collections that Windham Fabrics has released, Glisten, by Whistler Studios.  There’s gorgeous golds and silvers, but I am very partial to the gold!  I’ve drawn up a tutorial to show you how I made this festive tea towel.

These linen/cotton blend tea towels are available in most online embroidery blanks shops.  For each towel you’d like to make, you’ll need a strip of accent fabric (the gold in this case) at 1.5″ x {1.5 x width of tea towel} in this case it was 1.5″ x 22″.  You’ll also need a strip of your main print, at 3″ x {width of towel + 1″}, and here that was 3″ x 15″.  If you’d like to add piping, measure that out at the same length as the main fabric strip.

Next you’ll want to pull out that dusty rolled hem foot and put it to work.  A trick for me is to begin by folding the long edge in a 1/4″, just once, wrong sides together, and sew for about a half inch to get the gold started.  Then I take that small section and position it under the rolled hem foot and I can keep it going much easier. 

Alternately, if you don’t have a rolled hem foot, you can create the same look by folding one long edge to the wrong side by 1/8″, pressing, then folding again an 1/8″ and sewing along the seam.

Once you have the rolled hem, fold in each short end to the wrong side 1/4″ twice and press. Stitch down to secure.

Now is the time to ruffle the accent strips.  I used my serger, but use whatever method you prefer.  A standard way to do it is to sew two lines of stitches 1/8″ apart adjacent to the raw edge, using a long stitch length, such as a 4.0.  Leaving tails at each end, gently pull on either the upper or lower threads and create gathers until you get the desired length.

If you haven’t already, press the towel flat since they usually come heavily pressed and starched. 
Take your main fabric piece and first fold in the short ends each a 1/2″ to the wrong side. Then fold the long ends in a 1/2″ to the wrong side as well.

If you’re going to use piping you have to prep the ends as well, and to do is you’ll want to pull out the cording  about a half inch, cut that half inch out, and then fold it to the back, as shown below.

Use a clip or pin to hold the piping ends in place until your ready to secure them. 
Now you should have your pressed towel, your prepped ruffle, piping and and main piece.  If you don’t already own 1/4″ two sided heat fusible tape, you should buy some promptly.  I use this constantly for so many projects.  Both Pellon and Steam-A-Seam make them, and I bought this at Jo-Ann’s in the fusibles section for about $5 before a coupon.

Now you’ll want to measure and mark at about 3″ on both sides of the towel. This is where the top edge of the strip will ultimately be placed.

Now is when you’ll be able to put the fusible tape to use.  You’ll want to add it to both of the long edges of the main fabric, on the edge folded in.  Then, add the piping to the top edge if using that.  Then add again to the piping edge.  

Peel away the fusible backing on the lower edge and add the ruffle, raw edges aligned.  Add the fusible tape to the wrong side of the ruffle as well.

Peel away both tapes and then place the entire strip where you placed your marks, and iron to secure.  Finally, top stitch around all four sides of the main fabric and re- 

Press the towel and enjoy!


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Flora Hour Baskets and an Instagram Giveaway!

By Melissa LeRay

I had the great pleasure of playing with Kelly Ventura’s new collection, Flora, for Windham Fabrics. These watercolor florals are so rich and saturated. To me, they’re the perfect balance of modern and classic.

I wanted to pick a project that would highlight the prints themselves, letting them stand alone instead of being incorporated into a patchwork, and I also wanted something that would be pretty enough and functional enough to sit out in my house at all times.  Enter the #hourbasket by Kelly Bowser (@kelbysews).  The free pattern is available on craftsy.

I picked two of the floral prints and paired them with two of my favorite smaller scale prints in the collection.  I happened to have some dusty pink webbing on hand, and it matched the subtle pink perfectly.

I did vertical quilting on the grey floral and horizontal quilting on the white.

I’m so excited about the finished product! These are so pretty and clean, and I feel like this genuinely adds to the aesthetic in our house.

Would you like to create with these as well?  Visit me on Instagram @ohhowsweetco to enter the giveaway that kicks off tomorrow morning! One lucky winner will get this pretty set of FQs!

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Zipped Sewing Travel Case Tutorial #ohszippedcase

By Melissa LeRay

image image

At long last, here is the promised zipped sewing travel case tutorial!  I am so in love with this little case,  I hope you will be too!  There are so many ways to customize this, and I would love to see how you make it your own.  Please tag me @ohhowsweetco and use the #ohszippedcase so we can all gape in awe and amazement at your handiwork! xoxo

zipped case tutorial:

finished dimensions (open): 10.5″ x 15″
finished dimensions (closed):  7″ x 10.5″

supplies needed:
1/2 yard linen or other heavy-ish weight fabric
FQ accent fabric
FQ binding fabric
*FQ or other detail work for the front cover, if desired

12″ zipper (10″ may work IF it is at least 10.5″) for vinyl pocket
26″ zipper for perimeter

12″ x 12″ piece of light weight vinyl (I used 8 gauge)

FQ of Annie’s Soft and Stable (or thick sew in/fusible interfacing)

1/2yd light weight fusible interfacing

10″ piece of 1/4″ elastic

1 package 1/4″ Pellon Lite EZ-Steam II (photo below) or other heat fused strips (not a sponsored tutorial.)

1/4″ seams unless stated otherwise


Click here for the PDF tutorial: OHS zipped case


Please feel free to email me at or message me on Instagram @ohhowsweetco if you need any help or have any questions!

Lastly, please tag me and #ohszippedcase so I can see what you’ve made! xoxo

Paper Pieced Medallion

By Melissa LeRay

Finished EPP Triangle Medallion

Finished EPP Triangle Medallion

Hi!  If you follow me on Instagram (@ohhowsweetco) then you’ve probably come here looking for the paper pieces for the medallion mini – look no further!

I had come across the block and tutorial that Pileofabric that created here for the triangle color wheel.  I was really struggling to get the seams to match up, and my original mini just looked awful.  Have you seen her blocks? She’s AMAZING, and clearly far more talented than I.  I really loved the look, so I decided to create a paper pieced pattern that would allow my triangles would come out looking, and fitting together, more evenly than I was able to previously.   This also allowed me to create a larger block so I could get a mini closer the size that I wanted.

When you download the PDF for this paper pieced medallion, you’ll see there’s two pages – the original, and the mirror image.  You’ll need one of each to create a complete triangle, and six of each side for the entire mini.  There are no instructions here; this assumes you have some basic paper piecing background, but I’m always happy to help you figure things out.

I’ve included a 1″ reference square, but as long as both pages are scaled up/down to the same %, your block will work out.  As it is, the finished mini (after creating 6 full blocks, each block with a regular unit, and a mirrored unit), the finished dimension will be roughly 23″ across.  I’d love to see what you create – tag me and/or #epptrianglemedallion so I can marvel at your work, and of course let me know if you have any questions!  Click the link below to get your pattern pieces:

EPP Triangle Medallion

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On The Go Organizer as Teacher gifts

By Melissa LeRay

On the Go

I’m the room mom for Elise’s preschool class.  That doesn’t really mean all that much; I’m pretty much just in charge of helping to organize their parties, and coordinating the various teachers’ gifts: Christmas, birthday, teacher appreciation week, you get it…


For Christmas, I didn’t do anything overly special.  I was overwhelmed with all that we had going on, and ended up just getting them a cute little movie-themed bucket of goodies with an adorable ceramic “Popcorn” bowl from Pier 1.  Don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas and giving gifts, but I really like focusing on birthdays.  The special-ness of it.  Christmas is about everyone getting gifts, and I like that birthdays are about a certain someone getting gifts.  


I saw Gail post about her On the Go organizers recently, and just fell in love.  I thought they would make really great stationery organizers, and combined with some pretty letterpressed stationery, it would make an extra special gift.  The Gingercake On the Go organizer is a great pattern that’s quick and easy to follow.  I’ll certainly be making more of these.


As far as modifications, I shortened the height by an inch; it was too tall for stationery.  I did folded-edge pockets – thank you, Darcy, for the heads up about that.   And thank you, most especially, for the OTG organizer that you made for me!  I also made my own simple flap, as I wanted to use a snap for the closure, and moved the pockets to be a bit more centered on that divided section.


For good measure, I threw in somegiftcards from Coldstone Creamery and Gigi’s cupcakes.  Hopefully they’ll love their birthday presents.  One teacher will get hers this week, and the other’s birthday is in about two months – feels good to have it already off the to-do list.

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