Tag Archives: patterns

My First Sewing Pattern

For the past two years I have had an item on my to-do list that never gets checked off.  That item is: create a PDF sewing pattern.

As of today, that item is now checked off!  After months (er…okay…years) of percolating I finally took the plunge and just did it!  It was perhaps just a wee bit more work than I had anticipated, but I can’t tell you how much I actually enjoyed the whole process of it.  Okay, I will admit to a few cries of frustration as I navigated the learning curve of digital drawing, but I am SO PROUD of the finished work.  And I am pretty sure this won’t be my last pattern! :)

If you have visited my shop lately, or if you follow me on Facebook, you might remember this:

Finger Puppet Sewing Pattern

Well, now there is a sewing pattern so you can make one of your very own!   Like all of my favourite PDF patterns, I included lots of photos to make the process simple and easy-to-follow (I hope!)  This is a great scrap-busting project, and a fun way to upcycle a mint tin.   Both the pattern, and the finished product, are available in the shop.

What have you been checking off your to-do list lately?




My First Knitted Sweater! In Progress.

I am extremely blessed to have a wonderful second family.  My husband’s parents are almost as near and dear to me as my own, and we enjoy doing so many of the same things!  This week-end, my mother-in-law helped me start my very first knitted sweater.  Up to this point my knitting has consisted primarily of dishcloths and scarves, so this feels like a big step.  My mother-in-law is an experienced knitter and I appreciate her patience and willingness to help me learn!

This is the sweater I picked out to try:

Photo: www.lionbrand.com

It’s called the Waterford Cardigan and it’s a free pattern from Lion Brand Yarns.  It uses a bulky yarn and large needles which is perfect for me as it’s working up nice and quick!  Look how much I got done yesterday!


My first knitted sweater!


The yarn is Loops & Threads Country Loom which was on sale for half price just after Christmas!  I had actually picked it up for another sweater project which didn’t work out, but I think it will work nicely with this pattern.

It was really nice to spend the day with my Mom-in-law.  We shopped for yarn and then spent the afternoon curled up in cozy chairs, knitting the hours away. Bliss!

My first knitted sweater

And even though this sweater is only just beginning, I have already picked out my next project.  I bought this pattern on Ravelry and can’t wait to knit it!  The yarn she used is beautiful, but just a tad too expensive for me.  I am thinking of substituting something like this as it is a similar heavy weight.  We’ll see when the time comes!

What projects are you working on right now?


A Trio of Turtles

There is a lot of problem solving in my job.  I love making custom creatures, but I don’t know everything there is to know about making and designing stuffed animals (yet.)  Each one has it’s own unique set of design problems.  It is one of the reasons why I enjoy the work so much.  There is always something new to learn!

Sometimes I just work it out on my own.  These are the days that bits and pieces of animal body parts fill my studio as I try to get a particular piece to look just right.

Sometimes having a husband who is a structural engineer comes in handy.  He doesn’t know anything about sewing, but he does understand how to get something to balance!

And sometimes, I seek outside help.

I feel so blessed that there are so many stuffed animal designers out there who are willing to share their expertise through their patterns.

Each time I make a new one, I learn more about how to sew, construct, and design on my own.

This last week I have been making turtles.

Like this one.

The pattern is from Fluff and Fuzz.  I must say I loved this pattern, and it adapted well to a fleece stuffie.

And then there is this happy turtle friend:

This is a Funky Friends Factory pattern.  I love the unique shell design and the sweet little smile on his face.

After building my confidence with a little pattern research, I was then ready to tackle a turtle of my own.

Enter this cute custom stuffie:

A turtle who travels with a snake on his shell.  A dynamic duo (and I think the snake is a fierce protector!)

From start to finish, hours and hours of work are put into each new creature.  But to me, the time and effort is worth it.  There is something very satisfying about creating something so completely unique!

What things in your life are worth that extra bit of effort and time?

Cute Snake Stuffie!

When it comes to snakes, I am a bit of a wimp.  Mice, spiders and other creepy crawly things don’t really bother me.  But even itty bitty garter snakes make me freeze up in fear.

Until now.

Because somehow I just can’t help loving this little guy:

I made him using the Squeaky Snakes Pattern from While She Naps.  (Remember the Lovey Dovey?  That was one of her patterns, too.)  This guy is actually of the non-squeaky variety, but I like him just the same.

Next up on my sewing list are some cute and cuddly turtles! 

What creepy crawly animals are you afraid of?


Little Puppy Lovey Dovey

A few weeks ago I won some free patterns from While She Naps.  Abby Glassenberg is a very talented softie designer and I was super excited to try out some of her patterns.

Here is the first one!  This is the little puppy Lovey Dovey, made with this pattern.

Isn’t he cute?  Designed after one of her toddler’s favourite toys, it’s the perfect size for carrying and snuggling.

I found Abby’s pattern to be incredibly easy to follow, and the only thing I changed was how I made the face (embroidering facial features isn’t something I often do, but I think the fleece nose and eyes look just as cute!)

He’s just as sweet from the backside, too!

This one already has a home and I can definitely see myself making a few more of these as baby shower gifts.

What have you been creating lately?

Handbag with Summer Stripes

Last week I had one of those days where there was a lull between custom orders, and it was just me and the sewing room and a whole day ahead.

And so I did something that I haven’t done in months – I went through my bin of UFOs, and projects “to start” and cleaned it out right to the bottom!  I found I have lots of great patterns and fabric ready for summer tops and dresses (and hopefully will make the time to sew them this year!)

I also discovered three cute little bags that I had cut out but never sewn together.  As I finished the first, I thought I might write up a bit of a pattern review, but have since discovered that the pattern is no longer available, so I won’t bore you with pattern details for a pattern you can’t even try!

Here is the first one, pretty in summer stripes!

The inside even has a pocket, and I really like how the handles are part of the bag itself.

The original pattern is Keyka Lou (they have lots of great little handbag PDF patterns!)  but Amy Butler has a pattern for a similar, if bigger and boxier, bag.  A coworker of mine uses a very similar bag for carrying her lunch and I have always admired it and now have my own!  Oops!  On further clicking I have discovered that Keyka Lou sells their retired patterns for $3!  So if you really like the bag, you can buy the pattern here.  It’s a good little pattern all in all, although I found the handles a little finicky and am trying to work out a better way to do them.

Have you found anything interesting in your UFO or “to make” pile recently?


Another Crochet Project – Mary Jane Slippers

One of the projects I really wanted to crochet was a cute pair of bunny slippers from this book.  I really gave it my best shot (and persevered long after the point I would usually give up – this is what being on vacation allows me to do!)  But in the end, it just wasn’t meant to be. 

And maybe it was for the best.

Because instead I made these super-cute Mary Jane slippers:

I just love them!  They were fun and easy to make, and only took a few hours.  I also found them easy to customize and to add a row here and there for the perfect fit. 

If you crochet, and would like to make your own, you will find the pattern here.  I’m so thankful for talented crafters who share their expertise through tutorials, aren’t you?   


In love with Amigurumi

So what does a sewer do when she is on vacation? 

Crochet, of course!

I am lucky enough to have a mother who is a master crocheter, so when I went to visit my parents over the holidays, I had a few patterns I wanted to try out with her guidance.

My planned projects didn’t work out so well (there were so many errors in the first pattern I tried that I actually gave up on the whole book), but I discovered a book an Amigurumi and now I am hooked!  (Yes, that pun was totally intended.)

According to my pattern book, Amigurmi is a Japanese word referring to small knit or crochet dolls, and in the crochet world has become synonymous with crocheting in the round in single crochet. 

Mom and I had a great time sitting and crocheting together, and I made four of these cute creatures (and all but one have already found their new homes!)

I made two of these hippos, one with a slightly larger hook for a bigger beast.

This owl is all set to deliver a birthday gift by “owl post.”  (If you are a Harry Potter fan, you will know what I mean!)

(As a side note, I took these photos outside, without a coat, in my sock feet, at the beginning of January.  The grass is even green!  Crazy weather we are having this year – although winter certainly rolled in today!)

And finally, I made this little seal. 

I think they are irresistibly cute and I can’t wait to make some more!

A Handmade Holiday

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I have enjoyed a wonderful (snowy!) holiday with family and friends (and our celebrating isn’t done yet!)  One of my favourite things about Christmas is making handmade gifts.  And although I didn’t make quite as many gifts as I usually do, a few handmade things made their way under the tree.


I have a very good friend who has been wanting a Gryffindor scarf for a very long time.  This is only the 3rd thing I have ever knit, and the first time I have ever done the seed stitch, so, although it took a few visits from my mother-in-law for help, I am quite proud of the finished project!  And I now know how to knit! (well, scarves anyway!)  The pattern I used can be found here.

Then came this angry little fellow.

If you love Angry Birds, tutorials for the whole collection can be found here.  I have never played the game and am still tempted to make them all, just because they are so much fun!   

My sister-in-law asked for a quilted case for her hair dryer.  This is what I cae up with:



The button almost didn’t make it on, because my sewing machine was convinced that there was no such thing as a button bigger than an inch!  But I persevered and am glad that I did, a smaller button just wouldn’t have had the same impact.

Before Christmas my sister-in-law and I visited a craft show together.  We spent a long time looking at some fabulous mittens made out of old sweaters.  After she decided not to buy herself some, I knew what I had to make her for Christmas!  I found this excellent pattern on Etsy, and made two pairs, one for her and one for my mother-in-law.



This was my first experience at felting sweaters, and I must admit that I think I am hooked!  The mittens are lined with polar fleece, so they are extra warm!  And I couldn’t resist these little gingham buttons:


For my mother-in-law, I used a Cashmere sweater for both the outside and the lining. 




A fancy button finishes them off nicely.

The last gift was a scarf made out of a very soft and lacy sweater, based on s0mething I found in this book.  I really love the way it ruffles along the yarn – and it looks much better on a person than it does on my deck post!



I didn’t quite get to everything on my “to make for Christmas list.”  Next year I definitely need to start in September!  And I still have a few things to whip up before the last family gathering on Jan. 1.  (I always make Pjs for my nephews and I have another little something I want to try out – I’ll post pictures if it works!) 

I also received some really wonderful handmade gifts.  My husband surprised me with a Kayak he restored and a paddle he made himself!  This was completely unexpected (I never would have dreamed of getting a kayak for Christmas!)  My mother-in-law also made me a beautiful quilted and embroidered wall-hanging for my sewing room.  And beyond the gifts I feel blessed to have been able to spend time with family and friends over the holidays – it’s been a wonderful Christmas!

Did you give or receive any handmade gifts this year?

Art Every Day – Day 4: Costume Sewing

Yesterday was a full day of sewing.  Hubby and I were off to a costume party last night and needed some medieval-type garb.  Due to a date mix-up on my part, as of yesterday morning our costumes were just fabric pieces lying on the sewing room floor.  But it’s amazing what one can do with a sewing machine in 6 hours! 

Hubby got  a long grey tunic, based on McCall’s 3789.  The black cape almost didn’t happen.  I had the fabric, but not the time (or so I thought.)  But he seemed so disappointed that a cape would not be forthcoming that I did a quick Google search, discovered this tutorial, and had this little puppy done in 20 minutes (I think that must be a record!)  Now, it’s not up to my usual standards, as I left all of the edges unfinished, but for one night’s wear, it was perfect, and was a much-needed accessory for a thief.

I did a lot of Internet reading on medieval/renaissance dressmaking in preparation for making my costume.  I learned a lot about historical garb and fitting techniques that was truly fascinating, but for simplicity’s sake decided to make my costume from a pattern and chose Butterick 4827.  The dress is not 100 percent historically accurate, but it certainly suited our purposes.  I have to admit, I was a little worried about sewing this dress, especially with a short time limit!  I have never made a dress with princess seams before, had never had to hem a curvy train, and have limited experience with  grommets.  However, I was really impressed with the pattern instructions, and was surprised at how easy it all was.  I did have to make one change to the original pattern.  After trying the dress on, I had to add a centre seam to keep the front from gaping open.  It’s not ideal, but it worked for a quick solution and with the princess seams in front as well it doesn’t look out of place. 

The lacing in the back is one of my favourite parts of this dress!

So, although this is a bit more “craft” than “art,” I did spend almost the entire day sewing, and that is art enough for me!

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