Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sewing a fabric book for baby

A cute little gift to sew with love, and a nice way to use up some of your fabric scraps!

-Some colorful fabric scraps
-Assorted thread
-Batting, not too thick. You could also use polar fleece.
-Fabric glue or sticky fusible web 
-For the embroidery machine version: you can download my embroidery files for free
-For the sewing machine or hand sewing version, go to the download page and choose the files handembroidery 1 and 2. They're templates you can print.
All the files can be found here.
Of course you could also design your own.


1. Decide what your book will look like, page by page. For an 8 page book, you'll need 4 rectangles of fabric. For a square shaped 15cm book, cut four 32cm x 17cm fabric rectangles (this includes the 1cm seam allowances). The page order is illustrated here.

2. If you use the paper templates, transfer them on you fabric using some tracing paper and a tracing wheel or a sharp pencil. Cut. Place the pieces on your rectangles of fabric in the order shown in the first drawing. Use fabric glue or sticky fusible web to hold them in place temporarily. Sew them with a narrow zigzag or a simple straight stitch. Don't forget to leave space for the seam allowances when placing the designs.
For page one, draw, cut and sew letters to write the baby's name or embroider a nice message. :) 

If you use the machine embroidery files, place the applique fabric on top of the book fabric and embroider. If you want to use several different fabrics in a single animal, here's how to do it. The machine will first embroider the design as a single line. Pause the machine after that first step and arrange your fabrics using the line as a guide. Restart the embroidery. When it's done, cut the excess fabric as close as possible to the embroidery. If you're like me, you may need a little practice and patience to get good results : I recommend doing some tests on scrap fabric first.

3. When all the appliques are done, put two pages right sides together (1-8 with 2-7, 6-3 with 4-5), and place your batting underneath. Sew as shown, keeping a short space free for turning.

4. Trim the fabric close to the corners.

5. Turn inside out, fold the free seam allowances on the inside and press.

6. Topstitch close to the edges.

7. Assemble your pages with a straight stitch in the middle. For closing the book, you can sew a nice ribbon or add a piece of fabric with snaps or velcro on the side. You can add it after the book is done or catch it between pages 1-8 and 2-7 on step 3 (if this sounds confusing, just leave me a note and I'll add a drawing).

Happy sewing!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Machine embroidery animal appliques

Here's some new machine embroidery designs for you to enjoy. I created them a while ago for a friend's baby.
A sewing tutorial on how to make the fabric book will be available soon.

The designs are free and can be downloaded here:

I made those for my own use and since I'm not a professional, I cannot guarantee that you will obtain good results on your machine. The designs have not been tested on every compatible embroidery machine brand. I recommend that you test them on scrap fabric first.
Please use only for personal or non-profit projects.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Free machine embroidery design: Totoro

Several people asked me to share this design so here it is!

Click here to download a zip file with the following embroidery formats: .pes, .jef, .vip, .hus and .sew.

The design is 4" x 5" approximately.

Use only for personal projects.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


This comfy and easy to sew scoodie will keep you warm all winter.


Download the free pattern here and print it, making sure it isn't scaled down. Tape it together, placing the corresponding green letters side by side.
PLEASE NOTE: this pattern is sized for an adult and has enough ease to wear a hat under it. If you're making it for a child or if you prefer a smaller hood, scale the pattern down when printing and check the measurements before sewing.

Cut the pieces as shown (use a single fabric if you prefer):

A: cut 1 in main fabric, 1 in contrast fabric (lining)
B: cut 2 in main fabric, 2 in lining fabric
C: cut 2 in main fabric, 2 in lining fabric. This is the scarf part and you may change its size if you'd rather have it longer or shorter.
The allowances are all 5/8" unless otherwise specified.

Sew piece A with both pieces B right sides together. Do the same for the lining.

Sew the hood and its lining, right sides together. Turn right side out and edge stitch as shown.

Sew both pieces C right sides together. Do the same for the lining.

Align the unfinished hood edge, lining side, with the scarf lining edge (right side). Make sure the hood is well centered on the scarf lining. Place the other scarf part on top, right sides together, forming a "sandwich". Sew together as shown, leaving a space for turning.

Turn right side out. Fold the remaining raw edges inside the scarf, pin and edge stitch all around, making sure the opening gets closed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas stocking for a little girl

Here's a fairytale stocking to give your favorite little princess.


Download the free pattern here and tape it together, joining the crosses and putting the green letters side by side.

Cut the pieces as shown:
1: cut 2
2: cut 2
3: cut 2
4: cut 1
5: cut 10
6: cut 10
You will also need some narrow ribbon and some lace (optional).
Pieces #2, #3 and #5 can be cut in the same fabric if you prefer.
All seam allowances are in red on the pattern and are 1.5cm wide except for piece #4 which is 6mm.

For both sides of the stocking sew piece #2 on piece #1 using a satin stitch or short zigzag.

Sew both pieces #2 right sides together. Do the same for pieces #3 and turn that part inside out.

Sew the lace as shown or finish the hem by folding the edge and topstitching.

Fold piece #4 in two.
Sew 6mm from edge and turn using a safety pin.
Fold the tube in two as shown.

Sew both parts of the stocking together, right side facing wrong side, inserting the folded tube in between the layers (you may align it with the side seam or place it in the middle as shown).
Turn inside out.

Cut five ribbon pieces and place them on the stocking with the flowers (pieces #5 and #6) on top. They may be glued or sewn on.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Eco-friendly recycled wool quilt

This warm and comfy quilt is made entirely from recycled materials.
You can play with patterns and textures, make it small or large, muted or funky. It's a fun, creative and inexpensive project.

Several wool sweaters (don't use cotton or synthetics, they won't felt)
A sheet or blanket for the lining
Another sheet or large fabric scrap that will be cut in strips for binding the blanket edges
If you're using a sheet or thin fabric for the lining, you could use quilt batting to make it thicker. I used fleece as my lining so it wasn't necessary.

The number of sweaters you'll need depends on the final size you want for your quilt. Keep in mind they'll shrink a lot when felted.
For a baby quilt like the one in the picture, I used 6 large sweaters.


1. If you don't have enough old sweaters on hand, try garage sales or goodwill.
Don't forget to look through men sweaters, they're usually larger which is good.
Machine wash them in hot water with soap and put them in the dryer.

2. Cut the felted sweater into squares - the size is up to you. They will be easier to combine and sew if they're all the same size.
Of course you can use other shapes if you prefer.
Place the squares on the floor and decide how you'll combine them.

3. Sew the squares together as shown using a zigzag stitch, letting them overlap just a little. Assemble the squares into strips.

4. Sew the strips together using a zigzag stitch.

5. Place your work on top of the lining, wrong sides together. Put your batting in between if you chose to use some.
Pin and assemble by sewing over the zigzag stitches with a straight stitch.
Pinning is important so that both layers remain flat against each other.

6. Edges:
Cut four fabric strips. They should be 6 times larger than your desired binding width and a bit longer than each corresponding blanket edge.
Fold the strips in two and press. Sew the first strip along one edge as shown, on the lining side of the quilt.

7. Fold against the right side, pin and edgestitch as shown. Do the same thing with the opposite edge.

8. Finish with the two remaining edges, folding and sewing the ends as shown.

I used this tutorial as my inspiration.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sew cute bloomers for your baby or toddler

This fun project doesn't require a lot of fabric so you can recycle old t-shirts and tops instead of buying new fabric. The bloomers in the picture are cut in one of my sister's old tops.
Use only stretch fabric for this project.


For a 3 year old, print the pattern so that the reference line on the right measures 10cm.
Scale it up or down for an older or younger child (you won't need to scale it a lot).

A: Cut 1 in main fabric
B: Cut 2 in main fabric
C: Cut 1 in main fabric
D: Cut 1 in contrasting fabric - optional
E: Elastic, 1cm wide or narrower (enough for waist and both leg openings, depends on your toddler's size)

Dotted lines: place on fabric fold
Red lines = seam allowances
Grey areas = wrong side
White areas = right side

Illustration 1 shows how to place the pieces on the fabric fold (use a different fabric for piece D). However, there are better ways to do it if you want to save fabric.


Sew the heart or any other appliqué you like on piece A, using a zigzag stitch. Don't place it too close to the edges.
Cut your elastic. Waist: your child's waist circumference minus 3cm (I cut 42cm for my 3 year old).
Leg openings: your child's thigh circumference minus 1.5cm (26 cm for my 3 year old).

Assemble piece A and both pieces B as shown, sewing 1cm from the edges. If your machine doesn't have a stretch stitch, use a very narrow zigzag stitch.
When you're done, roll up piece A so that it stays out of the way.

Sew piece C as shown, right side facing up, 1cm from the edges.
Trim the seam allowances to reduce bulkiness.
Turn inside out.

Sew 1cm from the edges. Trim and finish sides with a zigzag stitch if you like.
Fold the waist edge as shown (1.5cm wide). Sew along the edge with a narrow zigzag, leaving a 3cm hole to insert the elastic.

Attach a safety pin to the elastic and slide it inside waistband.
Sew the elastic ends together, tuck it in and finish the waist.
Do the same for the remaining elastics.

Please note that the panties in the first pic were finished using a serger. With an ordinary machine and the zigzag stitch method described in the tut, it will look more like this (use a narrower elastic for a more discreet finish):