Kid's Sewing, craft business, sewing classes

Let’s make some magic…

Travel pillowcase

Miss Teresa’s Magical Travel Pillowcase that is!

Join us on Saturday, January 13, 2018 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Stitch ‘N Quilt in Mableton to learn how to make a travel size pillowcase.

Cost:  $10.00 + supplies

The shop is offering kits (including a pillow) in either a pink or turquoise colorway. If you prefer to DIY, please bring your fabrics cut and ready to sew.

This is an EXCELLENT first class for those with no or minimal sewing experience.

* Basic sewing vocabulary.
* How to maintain a consistent seam allowance.
* How to construct a French seam.
* Finishing details that make a difference.

We prefer that you bring your own sewing machine in good working order. If you need to borrow machine, please let the shop know when you register for the class. A limited number of machines are available for student use.

Not able to join us on 1/13/18? Here’s my magical pillowcase tutorial  with supply list and basic directions.

craft business

On the Subject of Gifting

Have you ever thought of not gifting something tangible to the people in your life?  Gasp!  Shock!  Horror!

Why not gift them an “experience” instead?
-Tickets to a concert or play.
-A meal at their favorite restaurant (or a gift card if you’re out of town).
-A gift card to *that* bookstore, coffee shop or stationery store.
-Classes to learn a new hobby.

For sewing folks:

  1. Sewing classes offered by local quilt shops, recreation centers and big box craft stores, if you aren’t inclined to teach the recipient yourself.
  2. Tickets to the big sewing expo if it comes to your town.
  3. Online sewing classes offered by Craftsy or similar platforms.
  4. Annual membership to Pattern Review, Modern Quilt Guild, American Sewing Guild, QNNtv (F+W Media video channel now part of The Quilting Company).
  5. Gift card to their favorite fabric store, complete with chauffeur (you) and lunch.
  6. Subscription to their favorite sewing or craft magazine.

If you give a tangible item(s) as a gift, be deliberate and thoughtful in your giving. Be sure to give them something they can actually use, rather than something that will take up space.

For a beginning/returning sewist:
1. Quality thread in white, natural, light gray or light beige.
2. FQ bundle in solids, a favorite color way or theme.
3. 5 pack of rotary cutter blades.
4. Needle packs (Schmetz Chrome Microtex Size 12/80 anyone?)
5. Nice scissors (Gingher or their favorite brand).
6. Superfine glass head pins and a magnetic pincushion.

If your favorite sewist has some experience, listen carefully. They are bound to tell you exactly which fabric line, book or sewing notion they’d love to have.

Some of my most favorite gifts have been my birthday “day trip” last year to Missouri Star Quilt Company, a weekend quilting class at the John C. Campbell Folk School and my subscription to QuiltFolk.

If you are able to gift the “machine of her dreams” without breaking the bank, then by all means go for it!  You’ll have a very grateful stitcher on your hands.

Merry Christmas!



craft business, Quilting, Tech Editing

Psst – Pattern Designers – Hire a Tech Editor to Edit Your Patterns!

As a quilter whose “sew for me” time is a precious commodity, nothing is more AGGRAVATING than sitting down to start a project only to discover I have issues with a pattern I downloaded as a pdf file.  I mean, at least in the store, I can open the pattern up and look through it before purchasing.

Four friendly suggestions from this tech editor for quilt pattern designers:

  1. Format the pattern so that there are no pages with only a single line of text and the rest of the page is blank.  At the very least, insert a statement like [THIS SPACE IS INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK].
  2. Patterns with lots of half-square triangles and other intricate bits of piecing require using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.  Put a reminder in the general directions section near the beginning of the pattern. [Use of a scant 1/4″ seam allowance is recommended for best results.]
  3. If your pattern makes use of a special notion or technique – say HSTs using triangle papers – clearly state this on the pattern envelope IN LARGE PRINT.  If offering the pattern as a pdf download, make it clear in the description that triangle papers are needed for this project – especially if fabric requirements, cutting directions and piecing directions are written exclusively for the use of triangle papers. (You may also consider putting an errata sheet on your website listing modifications for sewists who use a different HST construction method.) Putting an asterisk and mice type at the bottom of the fabric requirements grid suggesting triangle papers for HSTs doesn’t really help.
  4. There should be at least 3 photos in an online ad:  front of pattern envelope, back of pattern envelope, and a snippet from the sewing instructions featuring any specialty tools or techniques used in the pattern.

Hiring a tech editor doesn’t guarantee a 100% foolproof pattern – but it does mean another set of experienced eyes has reviewed your pattern and lessens the likelihood of glaring errors that will significantly impact your customer’s sewing project.

A fun time and successful result using YOUR pattern increases the chance that the customer will buy ANOTHER pattern from you.

So, hire a tech editor to help make you look good in print!

In case you were wondering, I am now accepting tech editing projects for January 2018. Easy to intermediate patterns require 2-4 hours to edit and have a 1-2 week turnaround time.   Email:





craft business

Updates & Deadlines

Happy Thanksgiving to those who will be gathering around the table to stuff yourself on turkey and all the trimmings today!  Be sure to rest up and peruse the Thanksgiving newspaper ads to plan your day of shopping on Black Friday! (I won’t be joining you!)

Now that the last customer quilt project for 2017 has been delivered, I plan to take a couple of months off from quilting for hire and spend them quilting for me.  My Black Friday will be spent shopping my stash for fabrics to make a Lady of the Lake quilt I picked up from a shop off my Instagram feed. If I do any shopping this weekend, it will be spent at the two local quilt shops that carry Kaffe Fasset fabric!  I am also going to try my hand at a Cashmerette Pattern with some luscious imported knit fabric I found at Topstitch ATL a few weeks ago (I foresee a blog post on this).  The next 3-1/2 weeks will be a little crazy at the day job, so having a project at the ready will keep me sane.

For your convenience, here’s a short list of services offered and current availability:

Teaching –  Ongoing (scheduled classes @ Stitch N Quilt, private lessons available)
Tech Editing – Now accepting projects for January 2018
Quilting Studio – On break until February 2018
Etsy Shop – Always open (watch for new items!)

I also plan to exhibit at a local community event in late January!  More details on that later!





craft business

Applique Letters

Need to add a name or monogram to a project and don’t have an embroidery machine?

You have options.  Most involve some tracing and a bit of paper backed fusible web.

Option 1:  Make your own letters either by hand or computer:  Reverse the letters before tracing onto paper-backed fusible web.

Option 2:  Die-cut machine.  If you own a Sizzix, Accquilt or similar manual machine,  you can buy letter dies to run through your machine. There’s a variety of fonts and sizes available. You are only limited by your budget and amount of storage space.

Option 3:  Electronic cutting machine.  If you have the funds, GO FOR IT! Make sure it can cut fabric. ‘Nuff said. 

Option 4: Bulletin Board Letter Sets – You can find these at any teacher supply store or in the school sections at your local office supply/big box craft store.  I have a 3″ basic letter set for when I need to use capital letters and a 4″ set in Playful and Friendly fonts for when I use lower case letters.


Option 5:  Freebies from around the web. Check Pinterest for alphabet letter sets or monogram letters that may meet your needs.

Be sure to use a size 75/11 or 80/12 embroidery needle and polyester thread. I like Isacord and the small spools of Coats Dual Duty thread. I either use a satin stitch or a small  zigzag (W=2.5 and L= 1.0)

craft business

Truth in Advertising

I am inundated with sales pitches at both the day job and my creative arts biz. I am skeptical of anything that claims to solve all of my problems, so I frequently hit the delete key or throw the mailer in the round file (a/k/a trash can).  Occasionally, I find value in a promotional pitch and look at the item/service a little more closely.

Recently, I received an invite to join a professional directory. For an annual fee, I could be listed in this directory and be “ranked” on certain attributes by the self-described “world’s leading expert” in this industry. My Clark Howard radar immediately went off!

I realize this organization/person obviously thinks there is a “need” for this sort of product, or else the marketing email would not have shown up in my inbox. I’ve had some interactions with the “expert” and yes, the person is quite knowledgable about the subject under discussion, but to bill themselves as “the world’s leading expert?” –  I think not!

I realize this is nothing more than marketing hype using some hired-gun verbiage at best. Hopefully, the “expert” is well aware of the claims made on the website and in the advertisement. My guess is this was done to raise the ire of others in the community and to get people talking (thus, driving people to the website).  Some of my friends and I certainly had a fun discussion about this tonight.

I am all for businesses promoting themselves and trying to increase business. However, when you make the claim that you are “the world’s leading expert” on ______, you’d better have the credentials and data to support that claim.  This is one of the major discussions I have with my students about evaluating information. (Can you see a future library skills lesson coming?????)  IMHO, this person does not have said credentials nor the data to make that claim.  Nor does this organization’s ranking system make a lick of sense to me due to the fact it is so highly subjective. 

Once I feel I have all the details and facts surrounding this “promotional offer” I may post links to the website and other discussion on the subject.  Then again, I might not!

The takeaway:  Be sure you are truthful in your advertising and that the claims made can stand up to public scrutiny.





craft business

Minimizing the book stash

I must confess.

I HAD a 5 shelf commercial bookcase in my sewing studio FILLED with books and magazines.  (Hey, I’m a librarian by trade!)

Today, I still have the bookcase, but 60% of the books and nearly all the magazines are gone. What’s left will be arranged by subject (garments sewing quilting, embroidery, general reference, craft business, kid’s sewing, etc.).

I donated the last of the books to Better World Books this morning. Apparently, several others in my area must have had the same idea!  The organization has several collection bins locally. I had to go to 3 separate locations before I found a bin that had room to take my books.

Moving forward:  I’ve been sewing for a long time.  Honestly, it seems that much of the content published in books and magazines today is simply old content repackaged and gussied up a bit. I already have a good print collection in my personal library. In the future, I’ll look to borrow books from the local library or simply flip through them at the newsstand.  My wallet will thank me!  My print magazine subscription list has also been narrowed down to: Block Magazine (Missouri Star Quilt Company) and American Patchwork & Quilting (Meredith).

While I prefer printed books and magazines for pleasure reading/browsing, I find myself moving more and more toward a paperless office with the record-keeping side of the business.  I use an app to keep up with the die-cuts for my Sizzix and Accuquilt Go! systems.  It took some time to input the data, but boy, does it save time when planning projects and needing to see a photo of the finished applique for placement of the cut pieces.