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Sparkle Skirt

Nov15 - 1 (26)


I love simple, quick sewing projects that produce a big effect. This season I have been playing with gathered skirts using elastic that is exposed. Pictured below is Aelyn, my granddaughter in one that took about an hour to sew.

WARNING… This skirt will generate holiday enthusiasm. As soon as Aelyn got the skirt on, she started to rattle off her Christmas wish list. I snapped her picture as she was on item 99 of her list… my Little Pony something rather. But she did like the skirt!


Here’s what you need to sew the skirt…


  • fabric  about 3/4 yard for a girl and 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 for an adult (see amounts below)
  • elastic waist band (this amount is the same as waist meaurement)
  • thread
  • You will also need scissors, pins, a measuring tape and your sewing machine.


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Measuring and Cutting…

  1. Measure your model’s length.  Measure from where the skirt will be worn on the model (waist or hips) to the finished length. Now double this number and add 4 inches. Example… my model’s measured length is 13 inches. So I need 30 inches of fabric (13 x 2 and add 4 inches), basicly a yard.
  2. Measure the waist (or hips). Get an exact measurement at where the skirt will be worn and then cut the elastic that length. The elastic tends to grow when you sew it but we will make up for that by over lapping the band an inch when we sew it together.
  3. Cut the fabric into two pieces from selvage to selvage. See the below diagram that Sam drew for us. You will have two wide narrow pieces. The back and front are the same size. For my model these were 15″ x 44″. Cut off 1/2 inch (the selvage) on all short sides of the fabric.


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  1. Sew the short ends ( selvage ends) of the fabric together, right sides together. You will make a large tube, about 82 or 83 inches total. This amount doesn’t need to be exact. When sewing the sides, you can sew it right sides together and finish the seam with a zig zag stitch or serge the seam if you have a serger. I really like my Juki M0-1000. It serges and trims in one step.
  2.  Finish the top of the skirt with a zig zag stitch or serger (the top and bottom are the same, so you can decide which to make the top and which is the hem). Remember to pay attention to directional fabrics. You don’t want your foxes upside down.
  3.  Sew a row of basting stitches 1/4 inch from the top of the skirt, on the front. Stop at the side seam and then start up again at the back. The back and front are gathered separately because it is easier to get all that fabric bunched in two parts.
  4.  Sew a second row of basting stitches 1/8 inch below the first row of basting.

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5. Remember to adjust the stitch length to its highest setting for your basting stitches and then turn it back for hemming your skirt.


Making the band…

  1. Sew the waist band into a circle. Over lap it on itself 1 inch and sew it at the cut edge. I use a zig zag stitch and it hardly shows on this textured gold band. I like to sew both cut edges of the elastic. Some elastic waist skirts use the technique of stretching and pulling the elastic as you sew it onto the skirt. I don’t like this because I think it turns out messy and I usually break needles. So I gather the skirt and then sew it onto the elastic with a zig zag. Much nicer finished product and very worth the little effort.

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2. Divide your waist band into 4 equal parts and place pins for markings. (Pin at back, center front and sides).

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Attacing the band…

1. On the fabric, grab both tails of  basting threads on the wrong side of your  skirt. Pull the tails and slide the fabric until it gathers up enough to fit the waist band.Nov15 - 1 (15)

2. Now divide the gathered part of the skirt into 4 equal parts. Pulling the gathering threads to make the fullness even all around.

3. Match the fabric and the elastic waist band up. It takes a lot of adjusting to get the fabric evenly dispersed and sized to fit the band. Place the gathered skirt into the elastic band. Let the elastic band just hide the basting stitches. And pin that baby like crazy. I like the pins on the outside so that I can see them when I sew.

4. Sew the elastic waist to the skirt with a zig zag stitch. I sew on the outside of the elastic so that I can get the stitches even.

Nov15 - 1 (18)The last step…

Hem your skirt. Turn under to the wrong side, the bottom edge, 1/2 inch and press with your iron. And then turn it under again another 1/2 inch. Top stitch the hem and you are done!!

This skirt works great for bigger girls too!

Edited with Polarr Photo Editor

Here is April’s made in her very own Bound Fabric.



I made one in a Cotton and Steel Rayon for me. I like how this fabric drapes and doesn’t add bulk to the hips.

I hope you will enjoy making this skirt. Stop in to see our samples up close and personal. And if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Happy Sewing,

Anita (with help from Sam)

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On 03, Nov 2016 | No Comments | In Sew to Speak News | By admin

It’s that time of year again! The annual Sew to Speak softie contest is under way. This year our theme is Under The Sea.  Feel free to visit our pinterest page for inspiration, or come up with your very own Fishy Creation. Rules as follows, and most importantly HAVE FUN!

The Official Contest Rules:

1. Your softie must be sew, knitted, or crocheted by you. It can be a combination of sewing, knitting, felting, etc. It can have other embellishments such as embroidery, buttons, felting, etc. This year it can be more than one creature if they relate to each other, like a school of fish.

2. They can be as small as you like but no bigger than 30 inches tall.

3. You can use a pattern, book, or create your own.

4. Softies must stay at the shoppe until December 24th and then they are yours to take home.

5. Your creations need to be given a name, so we know what to call them!

6. All entries must be in by close (6pm) Friday, December 9th. One entry per person.

At our holiday party we will give one Team Choice Award, one Customer Choice Award and one Honorable Mention. Winners will take home Sew to Speak gift certificates. We will have special prizes for the kids who enter.

This is going to be our best year ever!!!



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Courthouse Steps

On 20, Jun 2016 | No Comments | In Sew to Speak News | By admin

Mountain courthouse

Recently I made a quick little baby quilt after becoming inspired by a paint by numbers mountain scene from Erin Michael of Moda. Hailing from the west coast myself, its easy to long for the diverse landscape of mountains and coastline. I quickly grabbed some bold crosswoven solids, and tried to pay homage to my love for the mountains we miss so much!

       Mountain courthouse 2Mountain courthouse 3

I decided a variation on a log cabin block called “courthouse steps” was exactly what I had in mind. As I perused my pinterest page, I realized I have been pinning variations of this block for years now, and never realized my obsession. Funny how things seem to keep needling you until you do something about it!

I thought it might be fun to share some of the Courthouse steps quilts that I found inspiring.

Whenever I think of a traditional quilt, I ALWAYS go back to the quilts of Gee’s Bend. If these quilts are new to you, drop everything and go find out all you can. They inspire me on so many levels! Here are a couple gorgeous Courthouse quilts. Locally, they call this block the “bricklayer”.


brick layer

Gee’s Bend- Leola Pettway, born 1929.

Blue Courthouse steps

Gee’s Bend- Loretta Pettway, born 1942


This gorgeous Amish quilt, I can only assume, is made of scraps collected and compiled over time.

Amish courthouse

Amish Quilt (credit not found)

I loved this variation using modern fabrics from Denyse Schmidt. That little lime center square is fantastic.

20130724 Courthouse Steps quilt-1

Audrie of Blue is Bleu


The label on this one said it was polyester. I picture someone collecting all those Polyester shirts from the 70’s and putting them to good use.

courthouse steps- polyester

All Polyester! (credit not found)


This one from Mary of Molly Flanders has always been a favorite. Like the blue quilt from Gee’s Bend (above), it’s just one large courthouse step block.

Molly Flanders

Molly Flanders


The stark contrast of black and white makes this version feel so modern. Her instagram feed is a full of eye-popping inspiration.

alexis denise


We hope you find some inspiration for your own creative endeavors!

Happy Sewing!




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Quick Sew Barbecue Apron for Dad!

On 06, Jun 2016 | No Comments | In Sew to Speak News | By admin

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Father’s Day is right around the corner, it’s time to think about sewing something up for dad. A barbecue apron will surely please him and get him firing up the grill, which has benefits for you too! We made this one reversible, making it quick and easy to finish, but also lets dad slop barbecue sauce on one side, then turn it around to the clean side to serve you dinner. You will love how this apron inspires the dads in your life to cook for you!




1 yard of main fabric

1 yard coordinating fabric (reverse side)

1 fat quarter for the pocket


1 yard pattern paper (we like Pellon “Easy Pattern”, inexpensive and pretty much the same as Swedish pattern paper)

ruler, at least 12 inches long but 36 inches is better

rotary cutter (with cutting mat) or scissors on a regular table works too

sewing machine, (we prefer Jukis of course!)

iron and ironing board




  1. Start by drawing a straight vertical line down the side of your pattern paper 31 inches long
  2. Make an X at 14 inches from the top
  3. At the top of your long vertical line, draw a perpendicular line 6 inches long
  4. At the X draw a perpendicular line 13 inches long
  5. At the bottom end draw a perpendicular line 13 inches long.
  6. Now you have what looks like an “E” shape, except the top line is shorter than the other 2
  7. Connect the ends of the 6 inch line and the 13 inch line and then connect the two 13 inch lines.
  8. Mark “Place on Fold” as shown.
  9. If Dad is really tall or is a little bigger in front, you can easily add to the length or width.

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  1. Wash and dry your fabric before you cut out your pieces.
  2. Remember you are placing your pattern piece on the fold of your fabric, so you will cut out an entire apron front! Lay out your fabric flat on your table or floor (wherever you will cut), with the right side facing down. Fold one selvedge edge in about 14″, with the fold running down the length of your fabric. Make sure your pattern piece fits entirely on your folded section. This will give you enough fabric left over to cut your apron ties.
  3. Pattern paper is great because it sort of sticks to the cotton fabric. Rather than pinning, we prefer to just weigh our pattern pieces down while we cut. Bottles, canned food, metal washers from the hardware store, and even river rocks are fantastic pattern weights and save time too. You can use a rotary cutter and mat if you have one but scissors work fine also.
  4. You will cut 2 aprons total. One from your main fabric and one from your coordinating fabric for the reverse side of the apron. june16 - 1 (13)
  5. The ties are cut from the full length of fabric. They can be either your main fabric or the reverse side fabric. Cut two strips at 3″ x 34″ for the waist ties, and two for the neck ties at 3″x 17″ each. If you fold the fabric into quarters you can cut the 3″ strip with your rotary cutter or draw a line at 3 inches and cut it with scissors.

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1.Start with one neck tie. Fold one of your 3″ x 17″ strips in half  long ways, making a long thin strip about  1.5 x 17 inches and pin it.

2. Sew across the short end, pivot, and then down the length of the long side with 1/2 inch seam allowance. Leave one short end open for turning.

3. Trim off the corner before turning but be careful to not cut through the stitches.

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I use a chop stick for turning. Start on the sewn end and push the fabric tube over the stick.

4. Once you get your tie turned right side out, give it a good pressing.

5. Make the other neck tie and the two waist ties using the directions above.


6. Lay your reverse side apron fabric on your table, right side up. Use the photos as reference to place and pin ties onto the apron. Place the neck ties about 3/4″ in from the edge on the top. Place the waist ties about 3/4″ down the middle point on the side. The raw edges should match up and the ties should lay onto the apron.

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7. With all 4 ties pinned in place your are ready to put the main fabric on top of this, right sides together and all sides and corners matched up.

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8. Pin the two apron pieces together. Make sure all your ties are inside at this point.

9. Sew around the entire apron leaving just about 3 inches open on one side for turning.

10. Give the new stitches a good pressing with your iron at this point. It will set the stitches and make it look better when turned.

11. Turn the apron right side out. Tuck in the edges of the opening you left for turning and press again.

12. Top stitch around the entire apron on the right side, closing up that opening. (Be careful that you don’t catch a loose tie.)

13. Now you can add a pocket. The pocket is made from a fat quarter cut down to a 15″ x 18″ rectangle. Fold it in half right sides together so it measures 15″ x 9″, press it flat and sew the two short sides with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Leave the long end open for turning. Press the raw edges on the long end in about 1/2″. Turn your pocket right side out and stitch the long end closed. You now have a self line pocket with all edges finished measuring about 8″ by 14″.

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11. Center this pocket on the front of your apron, about 4 inches from the bottom and pin it in place.  Sew it on the sides and across the bottom. I also added a line of stitches down the center to divide it into 2 pockets!

It’s now perfect for Dad’s cell phone and a beer!

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Or a younger, handsome guy will do too! Why not let dad sit on the sofa and watch TV while someone more attractive cooks? The apron is pretty much one size fits all! Enjoy!

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If you have questions stop in to talk to one of us at the shop. You can see this apron and lots of other things that we have sewn up for you. We hope to inspire your sewing and we are always happy to help you with your projects.

Happy Father’s Day from Sew To Speak!




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Moving Sale

On 25, May 2016 | No Comments | In Sew to Speak News | By admin

Our New Location on the Green: 752 High Street, Worthington

Have you heard that Sew To Speak is moving? We will relocate just 2.3 miles north. Our new location is twice as big, which means there will be room for more fabric, more classes, more sewing machines, and we will be adding YARN, along with knitting and crocheting classes. You are gonna love the space!

The projected move date is mid-July but as we prepare to move nothing really stops with the shop. Classes will continue, store hours don’t change, and fabric shipments continue to come in to our already packed space. We need to reduce inventory. Your job is to take some fabric home with you!

Thursday, May 26th to Wednesday, June 1st
Come in for PHASE ONE of our moving sale.
We will have a large selection of
Fabric 30% off
We also have a several shelves of fabric at
50% off !
(one yard minimum on sale fabric)

It’s been a wonderful 8 years in Clintonville. We are very grateful to the supportive community we have found and we will miss our little home here, but it’s time to grow. We know you will want to come with us as we find new ways to create with you.
Happy Sewing from your Sew To Speak Team!

ps… We will be closed Monday, May 30th. Happy Memorial Day!



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How to Bias bind

On 29, Feb 2016 | No Comments | In Sew to Speak News | By admin

We recently received a shipment of gorgeously luscious gauze, that has us dreaming of warmer days and cuddly babies! So we dreamed up this super simple gauze blanket with handmade bias tape. In our shoppe, we often mention to customers that you can always make your own bias, and it’s sometimes met with surprise. While this is not a new technique, we thought it might be nice to dispel some of the mystery surrounding bias tape. (Spoiler alert: its EASY and kind of addicting.)

I picked a lovely gender neutral gauze from Sarah Jane’s Sommer line. I pre-washed it hoping it would soften up a bit, and it’s even dreamier than I imagined. Initially I cut a 50″ square, but it did shrink in the dryer, so my blanket ended up being about 42″x 50″. (Something to keep in mind if you’re wanting an exact size for your blanket.) For my bias tape, I picked a lawn from Liesl Gibson’s new line, Woodland Clearing. It’s soft, silky and orange, perfect for a snuggly blanket.

Here’s the complete cast of characters:

  • Gauze, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 yards (a double gauze would work beautifully too!)
  • Bias tape maker
  • Fabric for your bias tape, 2/3 yard, (this may change depending on your blanket size)
  • thread to match bias tape2016-02-23 16.45.45-1

Cutting bias tape has been well covered, so I wont waste your time with talking you through this part. I tried this new-to-me method and found it fast and easy, (and maybe magic?!?)

Once you have your continuous bias strip all pieced and ready to go, it’s time to iron. I used a 1″ bias tape maker, which ends up making 1/2″ bias tape once its folded over.

Let’s start! Insert your bias trip into the large end of the bias tape maker. I usually use a safety pin or my seam gauge to help wiggle it through. It’ll come out a bit wonky at first, just straighten it before you start to iron.

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You’ll be pressing bias tape as you slowly pull the bias tape maker away from the iron. That nice metal handle stays cool for you to pull. Don’t be like me and try to grab the metal shuttle, it gets hot!! Once you’ve pulled all of your strip through the bias tape maker, you need to go back and press it in half.

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Did you know most bias tape is slightly uneven? One side is just a little bit wider than the other. When I’m pressing it in half, I make sure I press one side slightly shorter than the other. I sew with the short side facing up at me, that way I always know I am catching the back side in my seam, since it’s a bit wider. Genius!

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Congratulations, you’ve successfully made bias tape! I made 220″ of bias, so I know I would have plenty to sew around my blanket. I recommend double checking that you have enough before your start attaching it.

Lay out your gauze fabric, and place the edge of the gauze into the fold of your bias tape. (Make sure you have the shorter side on top!) Use pins or wonder clips to secure it before you sew. Be sure to leave a long tail of bias (mine is about 7″). We will use this extra when we are finishing our binding.

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Start sewing as close to the edge of your bias tape as you can. I sew right on the edge, but you can scoot your seam in a bit if you feel more comfortable. Go slow and try to sew as straight as possible. If your bias tape is straight along the edge of your fabric, you know you will catch the back edge all in one seam!

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Stop 1/4″ away from the corner edge, and backstitch.

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Lay your blanket out flat on a table, with the binding you just sewed at the top. Turn your bias tape 90 degrees so it is now running along the vertical edge of the blanket. Place the edge of your gauze into the folded bias tape. I always pinch the horizontal binding at the corner as I fold the vertical binding around the edge. This gives me a perfect mitered corner every time.

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Continue all the way around your blanket, repeating these steps at each corner. You’re almost done! When you reach the end, again, leave about a 7-10″ tail unattached.

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Many people would unfold these tails and sew them together, but I find it easier to simply overlap them with a clean edge.

To get that clean edge, you just need to do a little pressing. On one end of your bias tape, unfold it and fold the short end down about 1/4″ and press.

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Fold that bottom edge up towards the top edge to make a nice triangle tip. Press this as well.

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Re-press your binding in half again, you should have a really clean angled point to your bias tape.

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To finish, layer the unfinished bias end under the finished edge you just made. Use pins or clips to hold everything in place, and sew your last seam over all layers. I followed the angles of the bias tape to make a nice triangle seam, but this is completely optional.

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You’re done! We can’t wait to gift this to a snuggly baby, perfect for spring!

Happy Sewing! Xx


For another way to attach bias binding… see an older blog post… Bias Binding.



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On 05, Jan 2016 | No Comments | In Sew to Speak News | By admin

Apologies for the pun, we couldn’t resist! We are definitely obsessing about fur this season. Faux of course!

We decked the halls in our shoppe holiday season, and obviously we had to include this teddy bear skin rug, snuggled up by our fire.

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Anita has been a busy sewing bee, adding fur to as many collars as she can find! Very Dr Zhivago of her…

Working with this bulky stuff seems intimidating, but it is actually crazy simple! Both of these projects were no-sew. The key is working on the back side of the fur, which as you can see has a nice woven backing. You just need a nice sharp blade, like a box cutter.

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Simply pull the edge of the blade through the fur backing. Do not cut the fur. The fur will pull apart easily. Below you can see what happens when you use scissors. That poor fur looks like it got a bad hair cut.

For our bear skin rug… I hand drew my bear shape, (which took a couple of tries) and cut slowly with my razor JUST the woven backing. The fur separates as you cut, so there’s no reason to try and cut all the way through.

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Flip it over, give it a shake, and lay it in front of the fire. We added eyes, ears, and a nose to freshen him up, but honestly he looked great without too.


For her collar, Anita simply traced her collar shape onto pattern paper. Then used the pattern paper to cut the shape from the fur. The edges won’t fray, and the fur hides any crooked lines, so there is no need to finish any seams. This collar is just pinned right onto the coat!

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Happy Sewing with Fur!



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Quilt Market photo dump

On 16, Dec 2015 | No Comments | In Sew to Speak News | By admin

It’s been far too long since we went to Quilt Market, but somehow the months seem to be flying by. How is it already December?!?

For your viewing pleasure, please enjoy all of the lovely things we drooled and dreamed over at this past market in Houston. Everything you see here will be in our shoppe sometime over the next year! Enjoy.

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Some Violet Craft holiday, coming next summer

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Paper Obsessed by Heather Givens


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In case you hadn’t heard, Heather Ross’ Mendocino is coming back!

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The Cotton and Steel was drool worthy as usual! This is Rashida Coleman’s Macrame!

File Dec 16, 11 09 35 AMThis is Cat Lady by Sarah Watts

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This is Clover by Alexia Abegg

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This quilt using their current and past collections gave us so many heart eyes.


2015-10-24 14.04.10-EditedCotton and Steel are also doing an entire line in blue, called Bluebird. This whole wall of quilted fabric was so inspiring!2015-10-24 14.05.17-Edited

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Cotton and Steel also announced an incredibly exciting collaboration with Rifle Paper Co. This is coming Summer 2016, and we are dying to see more!!2015-10-24 16.07.56-Edited

Oh Nani Iro, how we love you!

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Some pre-quilted goodies are coming this year!

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Double Gauze for days

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More Japanese. This is metallic on Canvas weight!

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This wall of Aurifil had us at “hello color!”

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From the genius mind of Carolyn Friedlander is her newest collection Carkai. This is coming in January! Yay!

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Patterns from her slow sewing studio

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Elizabeth Hagh’s latest pattern is Fancy Forest. This is in store now!

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The latest Charley Harper is called Maritime, coming in January.

2015-10-25 15.59.29-EditedA nice bit of Tula Pink. We have foxes and chipmunks on their way.

2015-10-25 16.18.43-EditedAnd finally, this gorgeous pillow stitched by Maureen Cracknell featuring bits of her new collection, Fleet and Flourish.

Thanks for following along. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season full of happy sewing!



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We’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration lately. What are we inspired by? What gets us excited to keep moving forward in this lovely sewing and crafting world of ours? How can we be an inspiration to others?

Admittedly, we’ve been weak in our blog content as of late, and we want to be better! We strongly feel that our mission statement is “to inspire.” It important to us that we’re more than just “fabric pushers”, we strive to be a space where ideas are generated and shared, connections are made, and community is grown. As a staff, we feel so lucky to be surrounded by all these amazing fabrics and ideas! We are constantly inspired by our little shoppe, which includes the people that visit us here. We’d love to be able to share more of that with our community, both locally, and here on this world wide web of wonder!

SO what does this mean? Basically, expect more from us here on the blog. We hope to bring your more of us, who we are, what we’re sewing, and more of our sewing community that make us feel all those warm and fuzzies.

Our fearless leaders, Anita and April just got back from quilt market in Houston, and we’ve been experiencing a burst of creativity here as well. So with all this in mind, here are just a couple of things we’re feeling particularly inspired by lately….

We also have an exciting class in the works using Carolyn Friedlander’s Social Collection quilt pattern and kits. We’ve recruited a new teacher for this class, and couldn’t be more excited! Here’s a sneak preview….

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Fur! The fur trend is going strong, and we’re on board. Fur pillows, throws, vests, scarves. We can’t get enough. We have a fun project planned for this Christmas season, so stay tuned!

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Warm and sparkly and cozy knits! Because, let’s face it, fall is in full swing, and winter is fast on its heels.

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We have lots more coming up for you, so watch this space!



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Llamapalooza! Softie Contest Rules 2015

On 05, Nov 2015 | No Comments | In Sew to Speak News | By admin


It’s that time of year again! The annual Sew to Speak softie contest is under way. This year we’re feeling particularly tickled by Llamas. (Alpacas too, we’re not picky!) Feel free to visit our pinterest page for inspiration, or come up with your very own llamapaca creation. Rules as follows, and most importantly HAVE FUN!

The Official Contest Rules:

1. Your llama must be sewn. They can have other embellishments (embroidery, crochet, knit and etc.) but the body must be sewn.

2. They can be as small as you like but no bigger than 30 inches tall.

3. You can use a pattern, book, or create your own.

4. Softies must stay at the shoppe until December 24th and then they are yours to take home.

5. Your llama need to be given a name, so we know what to call them!

6. All entries must be in by close (6pm) Friday, December 11th. One entry per person.

Team Choice Award will take home a $30 gift certificate
Customer Choice Award a $30 gift certificate
Honorable Mention a $15 gift certificate

♥ All children who enter a softie get special prize just for participating! ♥