Category Archives: Videos: Notions & Accessories Tips

Fringed Fleece Scarf Tutorial

We’ve had a very chilly Tuesday, so I thought, “Hmmm, maybe it’s not too late to post the scarf tutorial I created….”

Considering how often Texas weather changes and considering that maybe you are a reader living in a colder region than Texas, I figured that it’s ok to post this scarf project sooner than later.  Right?  Right!

This project is perfect for the beginner who is just learning to sew AND/OR it’s a great gift to give to loved ones who’s birthdays are during the cooler months.

Here’s the PDF link to instructions for the Fringed Fleece Scarf

And, if you’d like to see a neat trick to help make cutting all that fringe an “easy as pie” job, then take a few minutes to watch Nancy Zieman’s video tutorial for making some fringed fleece blankets.  Yes, this blog post is just full of surprises and bonus projects!

Nancy shows you step-by-step how to make quick low-sew and no-sew fleece blankets.

Thanks for reading!

Let’s Get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Sewing Basics: An Illustrated List of Essential Sewing Supplies

Because I am a sewing instructor, I am frequently asked certain sewing questions.

The number one question from my beginner students is:  “What supplies do I need for sewing?”

I’ve recently created an illustrated  list that I am sharing here.  Feel free to share this list with the beginner sewers in your life –  it may save them some time when they venture out into one of my favorite places on earth:  The Notions Isle!

The Bare Essentials Sewing Kit:

1.  Straight Pins:  They come in a variety of lengths and even gauges of thicker, thinner, sharper, etc.

My personal favorite, multi-purpose pin type is the flat-heat flower one you see to the left of the quarter.  It’s got no-melt technology so if I bump it with my iron, no melting occurs.  Yay!  And, it’s long and very sharp which really saves time when pinning through multiple layers of fabrics or even when working with delicate fabrics.

2.  Pin Cushions:  Gotta have a place to keep all those pins!

But, I must tell you, not all pin cushions are created equal…. let’s look at the magnetic pin cushion verses the traditional “tomato”.

Ever wonder what that little dangling chile pepper you find on tomato pin cushions is for?  Well, it’s filled with sand, and it’s for sharpening your dull pins.  Just jab your dull pins in and out several times to re-sharpen.

That chile is pretty impressive, but wait, I think I hear the magnetic pin cushion talking some smack!

"Hey little tomato! Check out my fully awesome magnetic powers!"

"Hah! I am on a mission to save feet from pins on the floor!"

A Trio of Kai Scissors

3.  Scissors:  Invest in a set of scissors that will be used only for fabric.  Using them to cut paper or plastic will cause them to become dull.

You are looking at a trio of Kai scissors.  Notice the scrap of selvage that I have tied to my scissor’s handles?  This is a gentle reminder telling me, “Fabric Only, Please!”

From left to right:  8″ Dressmaker Shears, a pair of 5″ Scissors for precision cutting, and Curved embroidery scissors (great for cutting threads, and teeny tiny cutting jobs requiring great accuracy).  I love these scissors because they are easy on my hands and are noted for their ability to handle multiple layers of fabric.

4.  Threads:  Most projects will do well with a coordinating poly-cotton blend of thread.

As you can see, I use a variety of brands.  Coats n Clark all-purpose thread, Mettler, Gutermann, etc.  If you inherited someone’s old thread collection, check to make sure it’s still good.  If the thread strand seems fuzzy, has lumps, or breaks easily, it should not be used in your machine.  Thread on a wooden spool is definitely too old and should not be used either.

You may want to get some extra bobbins and a little box to keep them organized. Just make sure you get the right sized bobbins for your particular machine.

Fabric Marking Tools - Mechanical Chalk Pencil with Interchangeable colors

Dressmaker's Tracing Paper and Tracing Wheel

5.  Fabric Marking Tools:  Often times, you will need to transfer marks from your pattern to your fabric and it’s important to use something non-permanent that will wash or rub out.

Choose from chalk pencils, dress maker’s tracing paper, water soluble markers, air soluble markers, etc.  My personal favorite is presently the mechanical chalk pencil that I found in the quilter’s notions at Joann Fabric.

I’m also looking forward to buying the new fine line, heat erasable, Frixion pens… Check out the video link below!

I was going to say, “These are so cool!”  But, maybe I should say, “These pens are so HOT!”

Seam gauge

Measuring Tape

6.  Measuring Tools:  You will need a measuring tape and a seam gauge.  Trust me, these will come in handy many times as you dig in and get sewing.

Seam Ripper - Your Friend and mine!

7.  Seam Ripper:  Last but not least, in your bare essentials sewing kit, you will need a seam ripper.  Think of it as an eraser for thread.  If you stitch something in the wrong place etc., this tool is used to cut individual stitches so you can pull them back out of the fabric.

Bells & Whistles Sewing Kit:

As you sew and try different kinds of projects, your tool box may need to grow.  This is because, there are some jobs that are easier done if you have the gadgets and do-dah’s invented to make them a piece of cake!

For example, when I’m hemming a large area of fabric, I whip out my handy dandy….. Ezy Hem Guide!

Ezy Hem

And, when I’m making straps or fabic tubes, I love to use my awesome….. Tube Turners!

Dritz Quick Turn

When I have a lot of cutting to do, I often use my rotary cutter, rotary ruler, and mat to make quick work of it:

Rotary Cutting Supplies - It's like a pizza cutter for fabric....

If I’m making a pillow, a pocket, or anything that needs crisply shaped and pointed corners, I use my point turners:

Point Turners can be bamboo, plastic, wood, metal, etc. As long as it's "pointy"!

5-in-1 Seam Gauge:  In the beginning, you may be quite content with the traditional seam gauge for most of your measuring needs, but later on, you may want to pamper yourself and get the 5-in-1 Seam Gauge.

It has many features and functions beyond the norm, but one of my favorite things is that the slider clicks into place and does not shift or slide out of place when using it to measure and mark, etc.  Take a few minutes to watch Nancy Zieman demonstrate this versatile little tool in the video clip below!

5-in-1 sliding Gauge

Thanks for reading!  I hope you found this list helpful and that you will share it with your sewing friends.

By the way, what are some of your favorite go-to sewing notions?  I’d love to know about the tools you’d recommend as well!

Have a great week!  The New Year is almost here!

Let’s get sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Embellish Towels with the Ruffler Foot and Flower Stitch Foot

As Christmas draws near, I am steadily working on those last few gifts that are not quite finished….  If you are looking for something special to give a friend or family member this year, but you are feeling short on time, why not try making some embellished towels?

In this video clip from Nancy Zieman, you will see how to use the Flower Stitch Foot and also the Ruffler Foot to make some beautiful transformations to an ordinary kitchen towel.

Nancy’s so sweet, she even provides us with free instructions!  Embellished & Ruffle Trimmed Huck Towel

Isn’t Nancy awesome?

Well, I’ve got to get back to those unfinished gifts…..  I’m still in the process of making about 4 pairs of slippers, 4 more in-the-hoop wallets, some key fobs, embroidered mugs, 2 or 3 aprons, a couple of monogrammed towels, and a pair of tie-dyed looking batik bell bottom pants for my 14 year old….    (This list just needs a partridge in a pear tree and it could be a song!)


By the way, take a look at these slippers!

These are a downloadable PDF pattern I found online. Click the image to go there and purchase. The pattern is half price for the holidays!

Let’s get sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Place Mat Love Part 1 of 2 – Stitch ‘n Turn Quilting Technique

Part 1 of 2

Is my virtual sewing mentor, Nancy Zieman,  following my blog posts and copying my projects?  Not likely, but, creative minds must track on the same wave lengths or something because, the same day I posted my patchwork place mat tutorial, she posted a clever method of quilting a place mat.

Nancy’s video clip was so helpful, I just had to show it here.  I’m calling this post “Part 1” because, in “Part 2”, I’m going to show you a nifty way to make and apply the binding for the place mats that are featured in Nancy’s video clip.

Nancy’s Tips Summarized:

  • Cut 2 fabric layers and 1 batting layer 20″ x 14″.
  • Use chalk to mark bias lines on placemat.
  • Pin layers together.
  • Stitch along one marked bias line. Turn the placemat 1/4 turn, stitch along next marked bias line. Repeat until all marked lines are sewn.
  • Trim placemat to desired size.
  • Use your favorite binding technique to apply binding around edges.

(The binding of the place mats is where I come in!  Keep a look out for Place Mat Love Part 2 of 2!  The binding method I’m going to share works great on quilts, too!)

Let’s Get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

P.S.  Click Photo Below to  find out how to Enter our Current Gift Give-Away:

(Drawing will be held on Dec. 16, 2011)

Using the 1/4″ Foot & other Accessories to Make Quilted Place Mats

Holiday Placemats

In the holiday spirit of trying to bust my fabric stash……  I decided to use up some remnants of Christmas fabric and make my family some much needed table decor.  Behold, the Quilted Place Mat!

For those of you who are only here because you’d like to see some tips for using the 1/4″ foot and other accessories, I’m putting those video links just after these remarks.  The details about the place mat tutorial are found just below the video links.

Video Links:

1/4″ Presser Foot

Ditch Stitching Foot

Quilting Guide Bar

Place Mat Tutorial:  (Makes Four 18×13 Mats)

Supplies:  1/4 yard of four coordinating fabrics for front of mat, 7/8 yard of fabric for backing, 7/8 yard of fusible fleece or preferred low-loft batting (I used 987F Pellon), 1 to 2 spools of coordinating thread


Cut 4 rectangles of each 1/4 yard fabric,(9 & 3/4" x 7 & 1/4") and arrange as desired for place mat front.

Also cut:  4 rectangles of backing and 4 rectangles of fusible fleece, (18 & 1/2″ x 13 & 1/2″)

Use the 1/4" foot to sew the front pieces together with a 1/4" seam.

Fabric A is joined to Fabric B. Fabric C is joined to Fabric D.

Press Fabric AB's seam one direction. Press Fabric CD's seam the opposite direction.

Lay fabric AB on top of Fabric CD, aligning the seams.

Pin at the seam and sew AB to CD. Don't take the pins out until your needle is a millimeter away. (This helps prevent fabric shifting.)

Press the seam open.

Fuse the fusible fleece to the wrong side of your place mat topper.

Lay the place mat topper on top of the place mat backing fabric with right sides together.

Sew around the perimeter with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving an opening for turning right side out.

Clip the corners diagonally and turn right side out.  Use a point turner to shape the corners.

Press your place mat. Turn under the remaining seam allowance at the opening and pin closed.

Choose a decorative stitch and sew around the border of your place mat. This will also close the opening.

Use your ditch stitching foot to stitch the center and cross wise seams of your mat with a decorative stitch.

You can also use your quilting guide bar to help you stitch rows of parallel lines across your mat, etc.

Repeat all steps for remaining mats. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

P.S.  We still need 2 more winners for the free stocking pattern.  See the bottom of post at this link for more info.: Stockings

Let’s Get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Sewing Room Make-over

Note to all visitors:  Our 1st Gift Give-Away is winding down but, there’s still a few chances left for you to win!  Click this link and be a winner!  Please?  Gift Give-Away


Having a sewing/crafting room all to yourself that is truly just for you, is a real luxury.  Sometimes this is achieved by the joint efforts of a husband-wife team.  And, sometimes, it must be achieved slowly, over time, in stealth mode…..

Over a period of about 4 years, I slowly overpowered an entire room of our home with all of my sewing/crafting supplies.  This was a deliberate process.  At first I started out with putting a regular computer desk into our spare bedroom.  This desk often did double duty as a sewing table, but it was just too high to use comfortably.  So, eventually I “had” to bring in an official sewing desk.

Before: Functional, but Drab

Then, it became difficult for me to prepare meals in my kitchen because my large counter-top was also my fabric cutting area.  So, I “needed” to buy a fold-away cutting table and large rotary cutting mat.

Before: Naked Cutting Table & lots of storage underneath

Anyway, having a room all to yourself is a real treat.  But having one that is decked out with your own personal touches is even better!

So, here are a few pictures of my room AFTER I decided I would also use it for teaching sewing lessons.  I really enjoy using this space for teaching classes and for creating my own projects as well.

AFTER: Same Room, Lots of Changes...

AFTER: Cutting Table - wearing a skirt (still storing stuff underneath!)

StitchinJenny In-Home Sewing Studio w/ White & Green Arrow Sewing Cabinets

If you like these cabinets, you can get them at Humble Sewing Center.  Note:  I added the skirt to the white one.  You can check out more from Arrow by clicking this link:  Arrow 

As you can see, I like “cute” looking vintage decor.  By the way, if you look at the 1st “Before” photo, there is a dark brown chair with a piece of blue fabric draped over it’s back.  That chair was once my Grandmother’s and I have since painted it pink and re-upholstered it to go better with my pistachio green sewing desk.  I think she’d like it…

Even though I absolutely love this room, I can understand if the pink and green theme may not be quite your preference.  So, I am posting a short video clip of our beloved, Nancy Zieman, giving us an inside peek at her personal sewing room aka “Dream Sewing Studio by Koala.”   It is VERY classy and amazing.

Gotta mention:  Humble Sewing Center is also a dealership for Koala and they always have some great deals.  For more dream room options from Koala, just click this link:  Koala

Happy viewing, shopping, sewing, and crafting!

Let’s get sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

p.s.  Have you entered our give-away yet?  There’s a contest link at the top of this blog post.  Yep!  Way up there!

Sewing for Girls and their Dolls.

How many of you have daughters or granddaughters that have an American Girl doll? If so, do the girls like to dress like their dolls? I know that I have a few granddaughters that like to have matching dresses for themselves and their dolls. I’ve spent many hours creating the outfits for them.

Nancy Zieman recently had a “you tube” video on the subject. I thought that I would share it with you. Nancy shows you how to use an open toe foot to stitch ribbon to fabric; she uses a special “pinning” technique. She also demonstrates how to use the ruffler foot.