Tag Archives: Sewing FYI

The Reason I Sew…

My Grandma aka: GiGi

Over the years, I find that I sew for a number of reasons.  Sometimes it’s for hire but mostly it’s for love.

I sew because I love my Grandma, my mom, my husband, my kids, in short, my family and my friends.  I sew because I like to give my loved ones something that is one of a kind, that only I can give.  I sew because I enjoy the process of making the gift almost as much as the moment of giving the gift and seeing the look on their face when they open it.  (See my GiGi’s face?  Her smile makes my day!)

When someone takes the time to hand make a gift, whether it’s sewn, painted, or glued & taped, it’s like giving away a part of themselves.  The gift is sort of a token that says, “I love you.  I stopped everything else I was doing to take time to focus only on you and create this for you.”

I don’t know about you but, sometimes, when I make a gift instead of buying one, I’m not sure if what I have given is adequate.  In the end, I shouldn’t worry.

It’s always adequate to tell someone that you love them.  Whether it’s through sewing, baking, sending a card, a phone call, a visit, a hug…. taking the time to say, “I love you” is always a precious gift.

Well, that’s all for now.  Thanks for reading!

Why don’t you take a minute to let me know your reason/reasons for sewing.  I’d love to know.  Or better yet, take a minute to tell someone how much you love them.  It’s a gift that only you can give!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego: StitchinJenny

Easy Pillow Case Dress Tutorial – w/ Elastic, Bias Tape, and Ric Rac!

Hello again!

I hope you and yours are enjoying a wonderful season of fun, family, food, and fellowship!

Our friend and mentor, Nancy Zieman, has shared a wonderful video tutorial for making a pillowcase dress.  She also demonstrates embellishing with ric rac, some hemming tips, making the casing for elastic, and also using bias tape to finish the raw edges of the arm holes!  (If you’ve ever had to press a tedious, narrow hem around little arm holes, you are going to love the bias tape method as an easier and quicker alternative!)

In the video, Nancy is encouraging us to participate in making this dress for a little girl we love, but also in making a 2nd dress to send to a needy child in Africa.   She’s even provided us with a pdf including yardages and templates for sizes 3 to 12.  Click here for the printable instructions and be sure to watch this helpful video:

It would be so easy to add a cute embroidery design or applique to the front of these little dresses!

This project is perfect for using up your extra fabrics and it’s a great way to touch a needy child’s life with love from halfway around the world.

Contact me to share pictures of your completed dresses and I’ll share them on the blog!

The new year’s almost here!

Let’s get sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego: StitchinJenny

Festive Apron w/ Boutique Style Pocket

Simplicity Apron 3752 View C - w/ Jenny's updated Pocket...

I love this cheerful apron!  It has a lovely flounce, uses red piping in the flounce/apron seam and also in the apron hem.  CUTE!  And it uses bias tape to make the waistband and waist ties.

The original pattern instructions wanted me to use piping to outline the pocket, but I decided to do something a little different that would allow me to bring in some coordinating fabrics and add a flirty touch as well.

Below, you will find instructions to make this boutique-style pocket as well as a pdf of my customized pocket pattern pieces.  Enjoy!

pocket tutorial pattern pieces

#1 Cut: 2 pocket pieces, One 3"x3" square, & One 5"x6 3/4" rectangle

#2With fabric right sides together, sew the upper edge of the pocket using a 1/2" seam

#3Lay the pocket open and press the seam. Set pocket aside.

Fold the rectangle piece in half lengthwise and stitch a 1/2" seam down the long edge.

#5Turn this fabric tube right side out and press. (I like to align the seam in the center back)

#6Take the 3"x3" square & fold right sides together. Stitch a 1/4" seam on one edge.

#7Turn tube right side out and press. Centering seam along back side.

#8Fold tube in half with right sides together and matching raw edges. Stitch a 1/2" seam.

#9Trim seam & turn right side out. Press.

#10Slide the "cube tube" onto the pocket band.

#11Place pocket band onto pocket just below the seam line. Pin & baste in place.

#12Lay the main pocket pieces right sides together so that the band is sandwiched in between.

#13Stitch around the sides and bottom curve with a 1/2" seam. Make sure to leave an opening along the bottom so you can turn this pocket right side out.

#14Trim seams. Clip corners and notch curves. (This helps it to shape better when you turn it right side out.)

Turn pocket right side out and press. You could hand sew the "cube tube" in place to prevent it from slipping later. Pin pocket to the apron and sew in place by stitching close to the edge around the pocket's sides and bottom.

Close-up of pocket on Simplicity apron 3752, view C

Close-up of piping in the flounce/apron seam.

Close-up of piping along apron's hem.

Close-up of bias-tape waist ties.

Thanks so much for reading.  I hope you get a chance to try this pocket tutorial on your next apron or even a cute skirt!

Let’s Get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

(Gotta get back to finishing those gifts!)

Place Mat Luv – Video Tutorial “Mitered Binding”

Let there be much rejoicing!!!!  After 3 prior attempts to film a sewing tutorial, edit, render, and upload it with EPIC FAIL results….. My dear, sweet, hubby, stepped in and rescued me!

He filmed me demonstrating this mitered binding method that does not require any hand sewing and I am sooooo HAPPY!  Yes, I am doing the dance of JOY!

Watch the 3 part video tutorial to see how you can get from this....

To This!

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Well, thanks for watching!
That’s all for now!
Let’s get sewing!
Jenny Gabriel – alter ego: StitchinJenny

Sewing Machine Nostalgia with Betty Hutton

Hi Ladies! and any Crafty Gents!

I hope you all had a lovely Monday!  I spent the day working on my promised “Place Mat Love Part 2 – The Binding…”  For now, I’ve got some pictures to share and soon, yes, very soon, I will actually be posting my very first official video tutorial which details the “how-to’s” of putting this baby together with NO hand sewing required!!!  Woot!  LUV those sewing tips!

But, before I share place mat pictures, please join me in a moment of cinematic nostalgia with the lovely, Betty Hutton, singing, “The Sewing Machine Song.”

Wasn’t that fun? I hope you liked it as much as me. She was one great performer….

Anyway, here’s a few pictures (a sneak preview) of what I’ve been up to today. And I will be posting the binding video just as soon as possible.

Getting Started.... Cutting out front, batting, and backing 14"x20" & Marking a grid on the front fabric...

My friend and yours, the "Curved Safety Pin"

All pinned up and ready to quilt!


All Done! Ooops, you blinked and missed my binding trick.... Stay tuned for the video.... Coming SOON, I promise!

Front View - Close up

Back View - Close up

Thanks for reading!  That’s all for now, except a friendly reminder that there is STILL time to register to win our current gift give-away.

Please Click on the image below for details:

Let’s Get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Made some Scrubs Tops for my Sister! Simplicity 4378

My “little” sister just had a birthday.  Happy Birthday Kat!!!!

And, I made her something she can use for her day job at a dental office.  Her other job is sewing and designing costumes for the renaissance festival’s clothiers and of course being super Mom to my 2 feisty, um…., wild,  um…. AWESOME, nephews.

So, I wanted to share some pictures and some sewing tips for her two new tops that I just finished at about 2 am this morning…..   Sometimes I just can’t stop sewing  until it’s finished.  You know the feeling?

Photos & Close-ups of Spiffy Scrub Tops for Kat!

Please Scroll Down for some sewing tips……

Front View Teal Scrubs

Teal Scrubs Back View

Batik Scrubs Front View

Neckline Detail - Triple Row of Stitches

Neckline Detail - Decorative Stitching - MC6600

Side Slits - Top Stitching

Patch Pockets w/ Serged Band Hem Cuff

Sewing Tips:

I used my serger and sewing machine to complete these 2 tops.  When serging, I like to pin parallel to the seam so I don’t accidentally run over a pin with my cutting blade.

Parallel pinning when serging

This top has facings that are under-stitched to keep them from rolling to the outside of the garment when wearing.  I used my ditch stitching foot to help me sew close to the seam and catch the seam allowance.  I laid my fabric right side up for this.

I moved the needle slightly to the right of the flange so that I could stitch on the facing and close to the seam.

In many casual-wear patterns, you don’t have to “set-in” sleeves the traditional way.  Instead you can sew the shoulder seams first and then attach the sleeves.  After that, you can sew up the side seams….  See…?

I like to lay my garment & the sleeve right side up and align the pieces to make sure my sleeves don't end up backwards.

Can you see the triangle notches on the arm-hole area and on the edge of the sleeve cap? This helps me make sure that the front of the sleeve cap is getting sewn to the arm-hole front....

Then I lay the fabrics right sides together and pin them to death with about a million pins.

Here’s a closer look:

One million and one, one million and two... BTW, tailor's hams come in handy when shaping a garment.

After the sleeve is pinned, I use my sewing machine to baste the seam. Once it's basted, I serge the seam on my serger.

Here’s a closer look:

I love the clean finish that my serger provides.

Once the sleeve caps are sewn in, the next step is to pin the underarm and side seams and serge!

Whew! We're almost done!

The last things were to press and top stitch the side slits, hem the sleeves and bottom edge of scrubs.  I used my tailor’s ham to help with some of that and also with pressing the neckline.

Tailor's Ham: Very helpful pressing tool.

That’s all for now!

Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for my promised next blog post of:  Placemat Love Part 2 – Binding Technique (no hand sewing required – BooYah!)

Oh, and, it’s not too late to enter our current prize drawing!  Click on image below to find out more.

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)

Still Busting My Fabric Stash: Just Made the Cottage Apron!

Cottage Apron from book: "One Yard Wonders"

In between blog posts, thinking of new give-aways, being a home school mom, shuttling my kids to dance classes, teaching sewing classes, etc., I am still diligently chipping away at my fabric stash.

Remember those cute place mats I just made and posted a tutorial for?  Well, I had about one yard left over of the gingerbread fabric and I said to myself, “Self! You can make the cottage apron from that sweet book you just bought!  Your friend Stacie  just did, and hers turned out so cute!”  So……I did.

The patchwork place mat has matching gingerbread fabric on the back. It's there......trust me.

Back View of Cottage Apron Designed by: Charlot Meyer

The apron pattern called for using ribbon for the waist ties and back straps, but I didn’t have any 2″ wide ribbon on hand.  So, I made straps from the remainder of my fabric.  Here’s a view of the back of the apron.

The pattern calls for sewing the eyelet to the neckline of the apron AFTER the bias tape binding.  This makes the eyelet point towards your face.  I liked the way Stacie did hers, so I followed her example instead of the instructions.

Jenny's Cottage Apron

Also, the pattern did not call for trimming the pockets with the pre-gathered eyelet, but I love eyelet.  So, I chose to add in an extra touch of it….

Eyelet trimmed pockets

Victory!!! One more yard of fabric is officially BUSTED!

With the gathers, bust darts, eyelet trim, criss-cross tie backs, etc., I think this is one of the “cutest” aprons that I’ve made so far.

I hope you like aprons, too, because, I’ve got a shameful amount of patterns and good intentions to sew them out soon……   Be forewarned, more aprons to come!

Thanks for reading!

Let’s Get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

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

Gift Give-Aways Coming Soon! Sign up to follow our blog!

Hey everybody!  I hope you’re having a great weekend!

I’m gearing up to schedule several gift give-aways from now ’till Christmas.  There will be a number of opportunities for you to win custom embroidered items, one-of-a- kind StitchinJenny creations, and more!

Ways to Win:

  • Make Contest Entries
  • Sign up for Random Prize Drawings
  • Make Comments on our Blog Posts

No worries!  Each contest/drawing etc. will be fully announced and all of our followers via email will be the first to know!

Soooo, if you haven’t already, please take a second to sign up to follow us by filling out the email link on our side-bar.

Let’s Get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Holiday Home Decor: Christmas Tree Skirt

Last year sometime before Christmas, I found a really neat video of Nancy Zieman making a custom tree skirt using jumbo fusible piping.  I followed her tips, made my own, and took it on a photo shoot with my Sew Crafty Houston friends.   (I also made the banner with my embroidery machine and a fun applique font, but that’s for another post.)

    Crafty Holidays & Good Friends!

Photo By: Laura Burlton

Photo By: Laura Burlton

Here’s my tree skirt under our crafty stuff:

You can’t see much of it here, but watch Nancy’s video and you’ll get a better view of the skirt and some helpful how-to tips.  I’m also attaching a link at the bottom of this post so you can buy her tutorial and pattern if you want step by step instruction.


Let’s Get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny