3 New Sewing Books to Check Out

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

Last week I moved some new sewing books from my Amazon wish list into my cart and then I tossed a third one in there because it was on super sale and that ended up being the one I'm most excited about! 

 Three new sewing books to check out! 

Since that super sale may not last long, I'll tell you first about Superhero Sewing, by Lane Huerta. You guys, this book is SO FUN and super cute and it's on sale on Amazon right now for $8.88!! It's regularly $24.99, so this is a great deal. 

If you have little people in your life, (or heck, big kids like my 13-year-old who just said she wants the rabbit hat out of this book), or if you are looking for fun ideas to sew for or with your kids, this book is so adorable and all the projects are super easy. It looks like many of them are made out of felt, which simplifies things even more. No fraying edges! 

 Excerpt from Superhero Sewing

Some of my favorite dress up items in the book are the pirate set, complete with hats, eye patches and a pirate ship's flag, the magician hat (with bunny and never-ending flag trick!), and the woodland creatures. The rabbit is just to die for. 

 Excerpt from Superhero Sewing
 Excerpt from Superhero Sewing

Another way I can see this book being useful is to use the base patterns to create other costumes. I made multiple Narnia creature costumes for a play our homeschool co-op put on this year and I used the same hat pattern to make all the animals, just changing up the fur and ears. This book includes great patterns that can easily be adapted to make other things. 

The best part is, my youngest students can handle these projects and they would be so excited to make dress up things. I can't wait to show it to them next class! 

Next up, Making Faces in Fabric by Melissa Averinos probably wouldn't have been on my radar as something I'd like to try if I hadn't stumbled on Kristin Shields' example and this photo on Instagram of Thread Sewing School's students' finished faces. These are amazing! I've since started following the author, Melissa Averinos on Instagram and am so inspired by her work.

While sitting outside with my hens today, I was able to skim through the steps and I am truly excited, not only to try this myself, but to teach it to my students. How fun would it be for them to make their own self portraits in fabric!? 

 Making Faces in Fabric by Melissa Averino

Making Faces in Fabric by Melissa Averino

The thing I like best is that she includes thorough, but not overwhelming instructions for drawing faces and where all the parts go and how to make noses that don't look dumb (ha!) so this book is not just for those who consider themselves artistic, it's a way to grow as a fabric artist and get really creative. 

Last but not least, I have long been a fan of the Sewing School series by (not to mention, we absolutely love Baking class and have Cooking Class on our wish list!) so when I found out there was one I didn't have, I ordered it right up. Sewing School Quilts, like the others in the series, is written for kids, not for grown-ups, in words and pictures that make it easy for them to complete projects with minimal help. However, there are tips in the front for quilting with kids in a group setting and I love the idea of hosting a quilting club for my kids to invite their friends! 

Because this is a kids' book, the projects in the book are made by kids with all their glorious imperfections! The book offers ideas for projects that kids can make on their own or in a class or at a sewing party. Super fun. 

 Excerpt from Sewing School Quilts

That's it for now, I can confidently recommend each of these books. I have several more on my radar that are coming out in the next few months, so I'll keep you updated as I add to my collection! 

Kids Can Sew Shorts! Tips for sewing clothing with kids

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

The weather is warming up and we've been making shorts! My afternoon sewing class on Mondays has been itching to make clothes, I could tell. This can be hard in a group setting, but pajama shorts were something I knew we could manage and I'm so glad we did! 

 Tips for teaching kids to sew clothes

Natalie made up a pair just for fun using Simplicity 8401 and it's such a simple pattern, I knew it would be perfect for my students. Plus, it includes a matching doll shorts pattern! 

This pattern takes just one yard of fabric and has only two pattern pieces! I've made pajama shorts with sewing classes before and we used a Jalie pattern that was much more complicated (although very nice). This Simplicity pattern was easy to fit and easy to adjust by taking in the side seams if they were too large. 

Here are a couple things I've learned when sewing clothing with kids: 

1. Size up. I either take measurements beforehand or ask their moms to send me the needed measurements so I'm prepared with the right sizes. It's easier to make smaller than to make bigger, so if someone is in between sizes, I go up!

2. Explain pattern sizing to them. Make sure they know that pattern sizes are different than ready-to-wear sizes. If you have a child who may be sensitive about the number of the size she is sewing, do what you can to make sure she knows that the number doesn't mean much. This can be hard, I know. To avoid the issue altogether, I've sometimes traced patterns and put only their names on them and NOT the size that I traced. Everyone gets their own pattern and no one has to dwell on what size it is. Instill in them that the beauty of sewing is that we can make things to fit our own unique bodies! My 13-year-old, who has a hard time finding dresses off the rack to fit her long and lean frame, sews a size 10 in patterns, but with a size 16 for length! 

 Natalie made her Easter Dress this year! We used New Look pattern #D0917

Natalie made her Easter Dress this year! We used New Look pattern #D0917

3. Give them one step at a time. Sewing garments can seem very abstract to someone not used to it. When sewing with one of my own kids one on one, we do read the instructions and I help them understand step by step, but in a group setting I offer one step to the class at a time and we do our best to stay together. It seems like ages 12 and up are better able to understand pattern instructions than younger ones, in my experience. 

4. Let them choose fun fabrics. I try to provide everything we need for my classes, including fabric, but sometimes I do let them know they are welcome to bring their own if they want, and tell them exactly what to look for and where to find it. Who doesn't love going to pick out their own fabrics?? For those who don't, though, I keep a stocked stash of fun and trendy fabrics. For this shorts project, I added a few trims to my stash too. Although I already have a nice stash of laces, I was low on pom-pom fringe and I knew that's the one they would all likely want (I was right!)

5. Explain useful terms as you go. For example, when cutting, show them the arrow that goes with the grain line and with the selvedge, and why you want the stretch to go across your body, not up and down. Don't bog them down, but help them learn terms that will be useful for next projects, like hemming, edge stitching, basting, casing, seam allowance. That kind of thing. Help them learn the lingo and they'll better be able to attempt using patterns on their own! 

 Sewing clothes with kids

I'm already brain storming more clothing projects because these girls really loved making something they could wear and most said this was their favorite project so far. Layla thinks circle skirts would be fun! I own the books #ootd and Girl's Guide to DIY Fashion and they both have some promising choices. I'll let you know what come up with! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing :)

How to Make a Unicorn Headband

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

 Unicorn Headbands DIY

Unicorns are all the rage right now! I have an 11-year-old daughter who's a tad obsessed. I thought a unicorn headband would be a fun DIY project to post a tutorial for. My 13-year-old got to work a couple days ago and made one together, the Layla whipped one up today. Super fun! 

 Unicorn Headband tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Before you get started, you'll need to grab this free pattern. Just click on this photo to make it big, then right click to save it to your desktop. From there, you should be able to print it (make sure you click "fill page"). 

 Unicorn Headband Pattern

As for fabrics, anything goes! We used small scraps of some sparkly costume fabrics, some fleece and novelty fleece we like to call "Flur", and felt for the flowers. You'll also need a headband. Ours was the wrong color, so we wrapped it in ribbon, but that's optional. This project can easily be sewn by hand (there are only a couple small sewing parts) if you don't use a sewing machine. A glue gun is also a must. 

Start by cutting out one horn and four ear pieces total, two from your ear back fabric and two from your inner ear fabric. You can cut two at a time, but make sure your ear face the opposite direction from each other, if that makes sense (see photo). 

 Unicorn headband tutorial

To make the horn, just fold the piece right sides together and sew from point to bottom edge in a 1/4" seam. Clip the corner to eliminate bulk and turn right side out, using your handy dandy chop stick to gently poke the point out. Stuff the horn. Nest, thread a needle and use a long running stitch to hand gather the opening edge: 

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Then pull it tight, creating a flat-ish bottom. Knot and trim your thread. 

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To make the ears, place your outer and inner ear pieces right sides together and sew the sides, leaving the bottom open. Clip your corner and turn right side out.

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Now, to shape the ears, for our first version, we sewed a pleat, but ended up shaping them further later on by folding the outer edge in toward the middle. So when Layla made hers, she folded both sides in toward the middle and sewed across the bottom and we liked that better. Just do what you think looks best. 

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At this point, if you want to wrap your headband in ribbon, start by gluing the end of the ribbon to the bottom of the headband and then wrap it diagonally around until you get to the other end. It's fiddly to get started, but just do your best. 

Then we glued the pieces on, first the horn to get it centered (be sure and put the seam facing the back!), then the ears. The glue alone isn't secure enough, so next, thread a needle and sew the pieces, as shown in the photo. 

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Next, the flowers! These are so much fun to make, my girls have been making them just for fun now for two days. There are plenty of felt flower tutorials out there, but we think these are the easiest kind and perfect for this project. Find a couple circles to trace onto felt. Ours ranged from 2" to 5" in diameter. Cut out your circle and then cut it into a spiral, about 3/8"-1/2" wide. 

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Then, just start wrapping it around its center, ending with a dot of hot glue. That's it! I takes a little practice, but it's pretty simple. Cut some leaf shapes and arrange your flowers and leaves over your horn and ears before hot gluing them down. 

 DIY Unicorn Headband free pattern and tutorial

I hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial! If you made some unicorn headbands, I'd love to see them! And for the unicorn lover in your family, we recommend this cool book. Layla has really enjoyed it and has read some parts to us during our home school. 

 DIY Unicorn headband free pattern and tutorial
 How to make a unicorn headband

Tips for sewing with kids

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

I've been teaching kids to sew for a couple years now, have had well around 80 children come through my studio and finish projects successfully, so it's about time I share some tips with you, whether you're wanting to sew with your own children, or teach others. And if you desire to help your own kids learn to sew, but don't have sewing skills yourself, this post is just as much for you as it is for the pros! 

 Tips for teaching kids to sew

Tips for teaching kids to sew

I'm going to jump right in! 

FIRST, gather quality tools. I get asked very often by the mothers of my students and others for my recommendation on a beginner sewing machine. My advice is and has always been, DO NOT buy the cheapest machine of any brand. You will only be frustrated. If you've made this mistake and have had lots of problems, let me reassure you, it's not you, it's the machine! That said, a good machine doesn't need to break the bank. I use this one in my studio. I have six of them and they've been dreamy. Here is more on why I like them and why I upgraded from the ones I used to teach on. 

 Teach kids to sew

Teach kids to sew

Your machine isn't the only tool you don't want to cheap out on! I know the little packaged sewing kits you can pick up for $10 are cheap and sometimes even cute, but you're not doing anyone any favors, as they tend to include the flimsiest of supplies. Here are the basic tools you should have and my recommendations on good ones: 

1. Scissors. I've used many kinds in my classes, but realized the kids were always scrambling for dibs on the regular orange Fiskers scissors. For some reason, they just don't dull or get out of whack like all my other brands did. So now I have six pair of the Fiskers and also the Fiskers sharpener. This eliminated our scissor woes. I also noticed that my younger students sometimes have trouble with cutting and ordered a pair of the Fiskars for small hands. That solved the issue for most littler ones! 

2. A good seam ripper! Unsewing is a necessary skill, so get a good sharp unsewer and replace it when it start to slack off on the job. 

3. Pins. You don't have to be too picky about these, I like quilting pins because they're longer, but any pins will do. Along these lines, Wonder Clips are wonderful to have on hand, although totally optional, because they are sometimes easier for kids to use and they don't get poked as often. 

4. Pin magnets. I use plenty of pin cushions on my classes, but have a pin magnet next to each machine and they're nice because they make it so easier to pick up the piles of pins left on the table and even on the floor! Plus, the kids just think they're fun. 

5. Fabric! Ok, I know this is obvious, but what I want to say about it is that kids will take to sewing much more gleefully if you have some cool fabrics in trendy prints.  Think, cactus, llamas and unicorns! The hand-me-down quilting fabrics from the 80's or that box of polyester suiting you were "gifted" from a well-meaning person who found out you sew ... these won't go over quite as well. Let your kids pick out some fun prints, have lots of felt on hand and see what they can do! 

6. Stuffing. When told they can sew whatever they want, kids will sew a pillow or a stuffed something 99.9% of the time. Ha! Have stuffing. I keep the big box of polyester fiber-fill on hand. I use a coupon from Hobby Lobby or get it at Wal-Mart (for some reason, it costs a ton more at JoAnn's). 

 TEaching kids to sew

TEaching kids to sew

SECOND, don't teach them everything at once. Others may have another method than me, obviously, but I don't teach the kids to thread the machines when they're brand new. I teach them to use the machine by going around a sheet of paper, learning to backstitch, stop and pivot, etc ... and then we get down to our first projects. I have found that the older girls pick up the threading as they watch me thread and before long, they learn how to do it naturally. Choose projects that build skills incrementally and let them come up with their own ideas too. Before long, they'll start to understand more and more about construction. 

 Kids can sew

Kids can sew

THIRD, try not to micromanage. Many moms have a tendency to hover, overcorrect and criticize when their kids are learning to sew. Please don't worry so much about "wasting supplies" or not having a perfect outcome. The reason I teach kids and not adults as much is because kids are always just so proud of what they've made! They don't see the flaws, they are just thrilled that they produced something. And when something's a total disaster, they're always willing to try it again, having just learned how not to do it. Relax, moms! ;) Keep your cool. Teaching children a skill like this requires a lot of patience and positivity. 

 Kids sewing

Kids sewing

FOURTH, provide them with inspiration! This is the fun part. There are so many great projects out there that kids can attempt to make on their own, once they know the sewing basics. I know I've mentioned several of my favorite kids' sewing books in various posts, but a few of my favorites are Sewing for Children (perfect for brand new beginners, younger learners or hand sewers), and the We Love to Sew series. There's so much good stuff on YouTube too, including my channel, Pin, Cut, Sew, which I try to keep very beginner friendly! Pinterest is a well spring of ideas, of course. You can follow my "Kids Can Sew" board and find plenty of ideas. In class recently, we made hoop art (check out their creations in the photo below!) and had Pinterest open browsing for hoop art inspiration. So I even use Pinterest in my classes! 

 Hoop art sewing class

Hoop art sewing class

I hope this has helped some of you and given you courage to give sewing with children a try. I know there's a lot of logistics about what classes actually look like that you may have questions about, so I'd be happy to help answer those the best I can if you'll ask me! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing :)

Upcycling jeans!

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Well, hello there, readers! I know it's been some time since I have posted. I let my life fill up just a little too much this past school year and I found I just did not have time or energy left to post anything remotely helpful for you. But we wrapped up our school year and I am excited to start sharing here in this space again! 

To update you on life here: I am still teaching sewing to kids and I am still sewing with my own kiddos. I am not currently creating sewing tutorials for YouTube, but it's not something I've decided to totally give up on, so we'll see in the future how I feel about that. I am glad those videos seem to be helpful to so many, though, according to the subscriber number! I am still sewing many of my own clothes and my kids are all still sewing as well. My oldest is starting to learn to use  patterns and make clothing too, which is so gratifying for us both! 

Yesterday in sewing class, we upcycled jeans into some really cute purses. Here's a photo of the finished product: 

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These were pretty fun. I had quite a stash of jeans that the girls had outgrown and a couple pair of Casey's and mine, but they all chose the purse sized girls' jeans. They all turned out so differently! 

I have been a long-time jeans upcycler. One time, probably fifteen years ago now, I made a library bag out of jeans and I have flat put that thing through the wringer with heavy loads of library books and it is still going strong! 

I thought I'd round a few good jeans upclying ideas that I've coming across recently while pinning ideas for my classes to use up this pile of jeans! 

  1. The Brother Sews blog has this great idea to make a modern looking tote bag out of jeans legs. I like this because it's non-cheesey looking and you don't even have to line it since the hem makes the top of the bag and the inside seams are bound with bias tape. Cool! 
 Photo from http://blog.brothersews.com/upcycling/earth-day-reusable-tote-bag/

Photo from http://blog.brothersews.com/upcycling/earth-day-reusable-tote-bag/

         2. I absolutely love these adorable bone shaped dog toys out of old jeans. We know they'd be sturdy too! 

 Photo belongs to: https://www.pillarboxblue.com/handmade-dog-toys/

Photo belongs to: https://www.pillarboxblue.com/handmade-dog-toys/

      3. You would have to have been following my sewing adventures for many years to remember this picnic quilt I made out of upcycled denim and cotton. The borders are vintage tea towels and the back is a sturdy tapestry from Urban Outfitters. These photos are from 2010 and this quilt is still going strong. We use it constantly, it just lives in the car. So turn those old jeans into a picnic blanket! 

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       4. If you search for denim teddy bear on Pinterest, you'll see how cute a teddy can be made from old jeans! Here's a great pattern to use. Teddy bears are not hard to sew at all, they're usually just two pattern pieces. You will just need some animal eyes, which are super easy to install (and are not the choking hazard that buttons would be, if gifting to a little one). 

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      5. Old jeans scraps would make great hair bows or triangle bags! You could get a lot from just one pants leg, making them great quick gifts! Find both those video tutorials below: 

I could on and on, there are so many things you could do with those old jeans. Here's some more just off the top of my head:

  • Doll jeans.
  • Clutch purses
  • Tablet cases
  • Notebook covers (use the back pocket on the front!)
  • Coffee cozies
  • Coasters
  • Wall hanging with jeans pockets
  • Throw pillows
  • Fabric flowers. The way the fabric frays make these extra cool!

Do you have any more ideas? What kinds of things have you made from jeans? 

Sewing Star Wars

I live in a household of Star Wars fanatics. I grew up a Trekkie, but am a Star Wars person by marriage and my kids insist that no other space story could ever be better than Star Wars. My husband reads the books, refers to the "canon" and eye rolls at the movies that mess up the story. 

Over the years, I have gifted him many Star Wars things, and I've even made a few (well, more than just a few, I realized after typing this out!) For example, I bought Star Wars fabric and made him a couple pillow cases. This is the method I use for pillow cases. And, I made some ornaments out of the ships on a certain fabric. Maybe when I dig the Christmas stuff out, I'll write a tutorial on that! I've even made my husband and son Obi Wan and Yoda costumes for Halloween! I used this pattern. I made Layla a Rey costume too and my son a Kylo Ren cloak, but today is one of those days when I just can't wade through photos to find all these old pictures, ha! Sorry. 

But there are so many good ideas out there for sewing Star Wars that I just had to write a post and link you to the best ones! These are all FREE and include tutorials and/or patterns. See below that photo collage for the links!

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  1. Storm Trooper doll on crafting-news.com. Ridiculously cute. 
  2. Bugaboo Studio's DIY Star Wars pillows
  3. Quiet Play's Star Wars quilt is so amazing. She has lots of free paper piecing patterns for Star Wars on Craftsy. I'm currently working on the At-At! So much fun, I can't wait to show you. 
  4. Free patterns for felt Star Wars ornaments on diygeekery. 
  5. Oh my goodness, Wild Olive's Chewbaca and Maz Kanata plushies are too cute. 
  6. R2-D2 apron by so-sew-easy.
  7. Pattern for a fleece Yoda costume on fleecefun.com.

Those are the best free Star Wars sewing patterns I've found on the web so far. Have I missed any?? Feel free to link us in the comments! 

Recently I checked out this book from the library and we all got a huge kick out of it. Especially the Jabba the Hut body pillow, soooooo funny. I actually made that crochet R2 hat for my nephew last year! 

Have you sewn anything Star Wars related? I want to hear about it! 

Cheers :) 

(this post contains affiliate links, which means that I receive a small percentage when you purchase through them. I only recommend products I love!)

 

 

 

Sew Inspo: Inaugural edition!

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Welcome to the first edition of Sew Inspo, where I link you to fab sewing inspiration/ideas/tutorials/resources that I've spotted around the web on any given week. (I'd love to tell you I'll be doing a new edition every week, but we'll see ... because, life is so time consuming, ha! 

I won't waste time yakking. Let's get started! 

If you've seen any other cool ideas around the web this week, be sure and let me know! 

Cheers :) 

Kids can sew owl softies!

My Monday class girls chose this cute owl softie from the book Sewing for Children to make this past week and they turned out so, so cute! I didn't manage to get a photo of my students' finished projects, but I did get some of the owls my kids and I made, after the fact. 

Here's mine. Because who wouldn't want to sew along while teaching this class, right?? I made mine a feathered headband. Should I call him Woodstock? Is it even ok for a bird to wear feathers??

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My girls almost always join in on sewing class, but my son tends to wait until after class to make the projects that appeal to him (just too many girls, I guess) and he cut his out and sewed it almost all on his own! And whenever one machine became unthreaded he would just switch to a different one, lol. Sewing is a good skill for boys to have too. 

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In the book this is a hand sewn project, but we did ours by machine. 

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We've made several things from this book over the years. It was one of the first kids' sewing books we got, long before I started teaching sewing. My kids were able to make many of the items without help when they were younger! I'd call this one worth buying. 

**This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage when you purchase through these links. I only recommend things that I own, use and love! 

How to Sew a Zipper Pouch -- a beginner friendly tutorial

I'm thrilled that our YouTube channel has reached (and now surpassed!) 500 subscribers! I know that's a drop in the bucket compared to many other channels, but we are so thankful for each person who found our content entertaining and useful enough to click that subscribe button. 

 How to sew a zipper pouch, by Pin, Cut, Sew studio

How to sew a zipper pouch, by Pin, Cut, Sew studio

I have a new video tutorial up on the YouTube channel for you today, the first in our new Utah sewing studio! I've been asked to make a video on how to make basic zipper pouches and I've tried to make this as beginner friendly as possible. I had six kiddos sewing these up on Monday in my classes, so I know you can do it too ;) 

Enjoy! Be sure and subscribe if you haven't already and share with your sewing friends! 

Sewing and Ballet

My oldest daughter Natalie got her first pair of pointe shoes a few weeks ago. Kind of a big deal to a dancer!! My knowledge of dance is minimal, but I do know sewing and am fascinated by how the two relate to each other. 

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Pointe shoes are not something you go in a just pick up off a shelf. The fitting process takes some time and the ladies who helped us find the right shoes were meticulous and made the appointment so much fun. The shoes have to fit perfectly -- there is no buying a size to big so she can grow into them, since a dancer could get injured if they don't fit just right. 

Then you have to sew on the elastic and ribbons. I got the needle and thread out and directed her to YouTube and made her do that part herself ;) 

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She had her first pointe class on Thursday. I so wish I could have gone in there with my camera as all the girls learned to put their shoes on for the first time! But, that's not allowed. Booooooooo. 

Natalie also auditioned for the Nutcracker yesterday and got a part! She'll be a candy cane and she's so excited. I'm not sure how excited either of us will be when I drive her to rehearsals at 7 a.m. every Saturday morning, though, ha! As a seamstress, I love looking at costumes. Costume sewing (for Halloween) tops my list of favorite things to sew, but I know costumes for ballet are a whole 'nother thing. 

I have no idea what her candy cane costume will look like, but I'm enjoying looking at these beauties! Also, poor Clara's nightgown in this photo is a corset. Sounds comfy, haha. 

 Sharni Spencer as a Mirliton and Jessica Fyfe as Clara in the Australian Ballet's Nutcracker. Photography by Jeff Busby

Sharni Spencer as a Mirliton and Jessica Fyfe as Clara in the Australian Ballet's Nutcracker. Photography by Jeff Busby

 Mirlitons: Eloise Fryer and Jill Ogai in Sir Peter Wright's The Nutcracker. Photography Jeff Busby

Mirlitons: Eloise Fryer and Jill Ogai in Sir Peter Wright's The Nutcracker. Photography Jeff Busby

I love being involved in dance productions and sewing is the way I know how to do that.  I do have to join "a committee" for this Nutcracker production. Not sure what that entails. But if there's a costume committee, I'm there. Just don't give me the snack bar committee. Haha! 

While on the subject, out of curiosity, I was researching how pointe shoes are made and found this video. I love how the ballerina calls the makers artists and their craft an art form that enables their very livelihood. It really is a cool industry! And now I know why they cost so much, ha! 

During the hour of jazz she has on Thursday nights, I always go to the library nearby. I picked up a few kids' ballet books, including this one

Natalie read it and said it was really good, so I read it too. Did you know that the brothers responsible for bringing The Nutcracker to America were from small town Utah? It's super interesting. I got a kick out of this page, of course: 

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Cheers! 

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*This post contains affiliate links, which means that while I'm not paid to promote certain items, I do earn a small percentage from your purchases when you use these links. rest assured that I only recommend items I truly love! 

Recent (and a few not-as-recent) makes

I have some recently sewn things to share with you! I have quite the queue of sewing projects all the time. Some are for my local classes and many are things my family asks me to make for them (costume time is coming!!!), but I always try to fit selfish sewing projects in between the selfless ones. 

First up, a month or so ago, I made a lightweight cardigan out of a pretty rayon jersey. I do like this pattern and may use it again, but it doesn't beat out my favorite, which I'll get to later. I like the peplum on the back and it's nice to have several cardigans like this on hand as Summer turns to Fall (my first Fall in three years! So excited!!)

 McCall's 6996

McCall's 6996

Next up, I made a dress recently from a 90's pattern I bought at a thrift store. The pattern cover was not cute. But it had a great detail in the back and I knew if I used a flowy fabric and made the skirt less full, it could be great.  Here's the pattern:

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And here's my dress: 

 Vintage Simplicity 6392

Vintage Simplicity 6392

I didn't get a good photo of the back, sorry. But it's pretty, I love the cut out! And I didn't make the skirt quite as full as the pattern, I just cut the width of my rayon, placing the stripes vertically, then pleated it to fit the bodice. I also elasticized the waistline seam allowance. Someday in the future, I may shorten it, but for now, it's super comfy and I like it. 

Next, none of these pieces are things I've made super recently, but they tend to get a lot of rotation in my wardrobe and I've never shared any of them here, so I think it's time! 

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The cardigan is one of two Blackwood Cardigans I've made so far and I LOVE them. I have plans for a green one in a rib knit from Girl Charlee. I only buy Indy patterns if I feel like I'll get several makes out of them and this is definitely a favorite! 

The skirt is the Chi-Town skirt, another Indy pattern I've managed to get quite a bit of use out of! I think the denim is part of it's success, though, I happened to pick it up at my Hawaii Fabricmart and it's a good one. Wish I could get more! 

The tank was self-drafted from a ready-to-wear tank that shrunk to oblivion (eye roll). I like the print for Fall! 

As a side note, let's talk about shoes for a minute. I have a bit of scoliosis and discovered after buying my first pair of Chacos a couple years ago (I have some like these and some like these) that shoes make a HUGE difference in how my back and hips feel. I need firm soles, with good arch support. Chacos are my favorite and I plan to order a pair of Chaco boots pretty soon, since I have moved to a state where sandals are seasonal, haha. But I've been checking Savers for nice shoes that can get me into Fall. Good shoes are expensive and if you aren't sure they're going to work for your issues, it's hard to spend that kind of money to just try them out, ya know? Anyway, I found the Sperry Topsiders (similar pair here) in the photo above at my local Savers thrift store and they are GREAT! They were in super good condition, they're real leather, which means my feet neither sweat nor get cold in them and they have the proper arch support. 

If you are super picky about shoes or have back/foot issues, can you recommend some more brands I can try? I haven't needed winter shoes in three years, so help me find some stylish ones! 

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that while I'm not paid to recommend products to you, I am earn a small percentage for referring you to items I love when you purchase through these links, which helps keep this operation going.

Tour my new sewing studio!

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Well, we have successfully moved from Hawaii to Utah, where we bought a house that we immediately had half of renovated. Thankfully, we had a truly wonderful contractor who treated our home as if it were his own and went above and beyond our expectations! One large room in the downstairs of our 1978 split level was tagged for my sewing studio. I have been so excited about bringing my sewing class business here to Utah and knew that a separate set-up would make things so much easier than using my dining room like I was doing in Hawaii. 

Anyway, without further ado, here is the end result! 

I upgraded the four mechanical Brother machines I had to six new computerized Project Runway Brother machines (affiliate link). They have already made my life so much easier!! A couple reasons: First, they have speed control, which is a no-brainer when teaching kids, I have learned. Second, they have certain features that prevent me from having to constantly rethread or unclog the thread. For example, if you try to sew without the presser foot being down, you'll get an error code. Also, I've already used the fancy stitches, the alphabet, the button-holer and and button foot and they all work like a dream! These machines cost $160 on Amazon and I highly recommend them! 

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I'm happy to say I've already put it to good use, not only sewing for myself and with the girls, but I've already held a couple classes here and this space was a dream to work in! 

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The large cutting table is something we got on Craigslist because it was part of a handmade set. My husband is using it's taller partner, but this thing was way too big for my dresser and I already have a dresser I like. So I painted it blue, added cool drawer pulls and had Casey put a new, larger top on it to serve as a perfect cutting table that also holds ALL of my fabric and then some! Casey even put it on castors so if we need this floor space for other uses, this can be pushed to the wall and sewing machine tables (which are from IKEA and were given to me) can be pushed to the other wall. The little stools were actually taller stools we already had, but aren't using. I asked Casey to cut them shorter and they're perfect and don't take up space like bulky chairs would. The curtains were ones I made for our bedroom two states/homes ago. Glad I kept them! 

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My personal sewing space is at the far end, along with the ironing station. I gave myself the mountain view, it's so pretty out that window. That wooden cabinet my father-in-law made me years ago and it holds notions and things. The retro metal desk was a side of the road rescue that I painted, also many years ago. 

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This vanity was a gift from my Dad, which made over for me one Christmas when I was young. I gave it a fresh coat of paint a couple years ago and I love it in this space now. Everyone needs a mirror in their sewing space! 

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I hope you've enjoyed the tour! I'm certainly enjoying the space. I already have more classes planned, so I'll soon have photos of it in use, I'm sure. 

Cheers! 

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Two Ways to Finish Seams

While most of my sewing stuff is still in boxes while we wait for the remodel to be done, I did manage to make a dress yesterday and it felt soooooo good to sew something! It's like therapy, for real. 

 McCall's 2632

McCall's 2632

I used a very simple shift dress pattern that I knew the fit was perfect on (I had made a muslin of it in the past), McCall's 2632. It's out of print now, but here it is on Amazon. Here's the dress unbelted, but I like it a little better with a simple belt, as shown in the other photos. 

Unfortunately, I could not get my serger working! I'm hoping I just made a threading mistake and it didn't get banged up in the move, but I didn't want to spend too much time on it so I finished my inside seams the old-fashioned way. I thought I'd share with you how to do the same! 

If you are making clothing for yourself, or your kiddos, or your dolls and you don't want the seams to get tattered in the wash, here are two ways to finish them so they'll always look nice. 

First, a French Seam. Here's how to do it! 

1. Place your fabrics WRONG sides together and sew in a 1/4" seam. Trim this down to 1/8".

2. Press the tiny seam to one side. This will help you get a crisp edge when you then fold the piece RIGHT sides together, encasing the first raw edge inside. Sew in a 3/8" seam. 

Your seam will then look nice and pretty, with the raw edges tucked away, never to be seen again. This is how I finished my center back seam. 

 French Seam

French Seam

For my side seams, I needed them to be pressed open because of the way the sleeves needed to be hemmed. So I simply sewed my 5/8" seam, then turned the raw edge of each seam allowance under and sewed a tiny hem. So it looks like this: 

 Seam finishing

Seam finishing

You can see I didn't sew them down to the main fabric, I kept that out of the way as I turned the tiny hems under. A good press and it looks so neat on the inside! 

I had enough of this fabric to cut out a simple top too, so I'll be working on that next. And hopefully I'll get my serger working, but there's something satisfying about finishing the insides this way too! 

I know I'll get a lot of wear out of this dress. Today I found a belt of Natalie's lying around and put it on with it. 

Gracie wanted to be in all the photos, she's a camera hog. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

 How to sew finished seams, two ways, without a serger

How to sew finished seams, two ways, without a serger

A Little Llama Love

Oh my gosh, I was browsing the new Simplicity Fall line last night and just about died over this pattern. 

 Simplicity Pattern 8441

Simplicity Pattern 8441

I mean, COME ON!! 

 Simplicity Pattern 8441

Simplicity Pattern 8441

Llamas are everywhere right now and I am quite happy about the trend. They're just so darn silly looking. 

I had to make a curtain for my hallway closet because the door track broke. I went to Hobby Lobby and was soooo close to picking this duck cloth (I didn't, but just a little part of me wishes I had): 

 Llama Drama

Llama Drama

How about the Lloyd and Lola quilt pattern by Elizabeth Hartman?? Unbelievably awesome. This would be so fun to make. 

 Lloyd and Lola Quilt Pattern

Lloyd and Lola Quilt Pattern

For a simpler project though, how cute is this little llama key chain?? Free pattern and tutorial! 

 Llama key chain tutorial on HobbyCraft

Llama key chain tutorial on HobbyCraft

Oh, and another mini quilt pattern. Hipster Llama. Amazing. 

 Hipster Llama Pattern sold by Craftsy

Hipster Llama Pattern sold by Craftsy

 Pattern by MaisieMooNZ on Etsy

Pattern by MaisieMooNZ on Etsy

Ok, I'll stop! But seriously, go make some llamas! They're such silly guys :D

 Llama sewing pattern roundup on pincutsewstudio.com

Llama sewing pattern roundup on pincutsewstudio.com

How to Sew a Triangle Pouch

Hello, strangers! Ok, I know it's me who's been absent, but that's because we have moved across the ocean. Before we left, I filmed two tutorials, hoping I'd get to work on them during the travel. Our stuff arrives tomorrow, six weeks after getting packed up, and I just now finished the first video, ha! It's a good one, though! 

You may have seen these cute triangle pouches around. I tried a few tutorials, but none were quite right, so I perfected the method for myself and Natalie and I filmed the how-to. These are super easy! We made them for dance teacher gifts, Mother's Day gifts and some for ourselves too. 

We hope you enjoy! As referenced in the video, here are the sizes you'll need to cut your fabrics for the three different sizes of triangle pouches: 

Small: 4x7 for bag pieces and 2.5x6 for handle. 

Medium: 6x11 for bag pieces and 3x7 for handle.

Large: 8x15 for bag pieces and 3x9 for the handle. 

Also as referenced in the video, here is the link to my favorite zippers! They come in packages of various colors and are so much fun. 

Without further ado, here is our video! Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and be sure and show us what you've made using our tutorials by tagging me on Instagram

In case you're wondering ...

If you don't know me in real life or follow me on Instagram, the reason for my silence here and on YouTube lately is because we are in the big middle of a military move from Hawaii to Utah. An overseas move is so complicated, y'all. But I find myself with a few free moments, which will hopefully be more frequent in the coming weeks than they have been in the past few! 

So, how does a sewing blogger blog when she cannot sew? She dreams about sewing, of course ;) 

We bought a house in Utah and it's a dream come true because it has an ideal space for the sewing studio! I plan to continue teaching sewing there, but doing it in our dining room/living room/kitchen island was not going to work for much longer. We need a designated space and this house has it. So excited! Here are a few photos of my space from our realtor:

It's a large room in a daylight basement, so there are large windows. I'm very excited about the windows! We need lots of light for sewing and to film tutorials for the YouTube channel.

So I've been browsing set-ups on Pinterest, of course. I even have a sewing room board. I don't want a crazy cluttered look, I really like a clean space, free of clutter, which may seem oxymoronic when it comes to a hobby that requires quite a bit of gear. 

I absolutely love this office/craft room reveal on Andrea's Notebook! These colors and the peg board and the textures. I get so much inspiration from this! 

 Photo belongs to www.Andreasnotebook.com, click over for more details! 

Photo belongs to www.Andreasnotebook.com, click over for more details! 

Casey wants to build some kind of narrow desks for the machines, maybe even some folding ones like these

 photo credit: https://superkitina.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/black-oveja-en-kireei/

photo credit: https://superkitina.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/black-oveja-en-kireei/

A recent edition of Mollie Makes magazine has instructions for building some hexagon shelves and Casey's already looked about big pieces of peg board. We love house projects, it's what we miss about home ownership, so we're just really excited about all we have planned! 

Can't wait to get in there start sewing! And teaching! And filming! 

 

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How to make an emoji sleep mask. Free pattern!

We have a some long flights and accompanying jet lag in our near future and Kelby and I wanted some sleep masks. We thought emoji sleep masks would be super funny! Everyone needs a chuckle on a long flight, amiright?? Enjoy our video tutorial and you can print the free pattern below the video for both sizes of sleep masks! 

Here's your pattern! Just click to save and print :) 

10 Last-minute Easter sewing ideas

I love putting a little something handmade into my kids' Easter Baskets, but I haven't had a lot of time to think about it until now! So I got on Pinterest tonight and my goodness, there are some super cute ideas and a lot of them don't take much time at all. 

 Easter sewing ideas

Easter sewing ideas

But first, just for grins, because I would't call this a last minute project, but my bunny basket I made last year is just too cute not to include in an Easter sewing post. This is an ancient McCall's pattern. It includes all holidays. I used to make these for gifts when I was a teenager and stash cute things in the basket. Aw :) I do think, even without the pattern, something similar to this would be easy to DIY for those who love getting crafty with felt and their glue gun. 

But, on to the list! 10 last minute things to sew for Easter 

1. Carrot Treat Bags. So cute! This is the one I'll probably whip up for my own kids. I think it would be fun for them to make for their friends too. 

2. Drawstring Bunny Bags. Equally adorable. 

3. Little Bunny Sachets, how cute. 

4. Last year I made these Hungry Bunnies for each of my kids. They're so cute and zippers used in creative ways are always fun! This one is Kelby's:

5. I made several of these patchwork Easter eggs many years ago. Here's a photo I scavenged up from my old blog! My photography skills have progressed. Haha. 

 6. Oh my goodness, a bunny bib!! So sweet. 

7. My kids would love these little love bunny softies. I think I may use this tutorial in a future sewing class. I think kids would enjoy making them even more than receiving them! 

8. This is the best bunny ears idea I've ever seen, I love it. I have a version of this brewing for next year's ballet bun accessory ;)

9. Some hair bows to match Easter dresses are always a good idea! Watch my video tutorial here. 

10. And of course, if you missed my felt Peeps bunnies tutorial, they're super fast and easy! You could make a bunch to dress up Easter baskets. 

If you have other last minute Easter sewing ideas, feel free to link us in the comments! Cheers :)

How to Make Cute Felt Peeps

Natalie and I love making hair accessories for her ballet class. I have made some super cute bun nets in the past, but I didn't have that kind of time before Easter! So instead, we decided on some kind of clips and thought these Peeps bunnies would be super cute. 

 Felt Peeps tutorial

Felt Peeps tutorial

We spent some time before dance on Friday making them and they were so much fun, pretty fast and easy, and the girls all loved them when she handed them out at ballet that night. We remembered to take some photos along the way so we could share the how-to here with you. 

 Peeps hair clips

Peeps hair clips

This is a great project to do with kids. Natalie did the tracing and cutting, I did the sewing, we tag teamed the gluing. 

Without further ado, here is the free pattern and instructions! Just click and save, then print. 

 Felt peeps hair clip tutorial

Felt peeps hair clip tutorial

Here are some photos of the steps, in case you need more of a visual. 

 felt peeps, free pattern

felt peeps, free pattern

 felt peeps tutorial

felt peeps tutorial

 felt peeps pattern

felt peeps pattern

 felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

 felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

 felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

felt Peeps hair clip tutorial

The key to making the hair clips secure is that felt rectangle hot glued over the inside of the clip! You won't have detaching clips if you do it this way. I'd do the same thing if attaching a safety pin or anything else to the back instead. 

Natalie put the clips in an Easter basket to deliver them! Such a fun little project. If you make some, I'd love to see :)

 felt peeps, free pattern

felt peeps, free pattern

Sock Monkey Tutorial!

I feel like I haven't checked in here in a little while, but things are really ramping up for us as our move approaches. We are an Army family, in case you didn't know that, and we are moving from Hawaii to Utah. Our movers come in 34 days, eek! We have about six weeks left on this beautiful island, but we know that Utah has just as much beauty and adventure.

So, we're currently attempting to buy a house from about 3,000 miles away. If you have bought a house site unseen, please share your positive experiences in the comments. If you have negative experiences, though, I'd probably rather not hear those, hahahaha!

I held my last sewing classes here last week and that was a sad bit of closure for me. I've loved teaching sewing here so much and will miss my students a ton. I'm so happy to have passed the sewing bug on to so many kids, though, and I can't wait to meet the students I'll have in Utah. Oh, our house, God willing, will have space for a sewing studio so that I no longer have to set up sewing camp in our dining room and pretty much take over the house every time. I can't wait for that! I hope to set up a great space to film videos for the YouTube channel too!

So, on to the new video! Oh my goodness, this might be my favorite video so far because these are so darn cute and cuddly. Target has so many adorable socks in the kids aisle (anyone find the Cat & Jack line just the best thing ever??) I think we will make lots of these for gifts in the future. We've already had requests.

Enjoy the tutorial! Pretty please, if you make one, show me! Tag me on Instagram @nikkischreiner or email me pics or something! I love to see. 

After making that video, we went to Target that very day to buy socks for more monkeys. Kelby's turned out super cute! 

We're still working on Natalie's, but it's going to be equally adorable. 

Layla named hers Stitches and she's been pretty much a permanent fixture in her hands since we made her :)