Adding Cuddle to ByAnnie Projects

Today I’m joining Annie on her Facebook Live (it’s at 2pm Mountain!) and I’m excited to share a bunch of tips for working with Cuddle® fabrics and ByAnnie patterns. I’ve used a number of her bag patterns over the years (A Place for Everything, Pack It In, Tools of the Trade, and Travel Essentials, to name a few), but for this we decided to use Cuddle® for a few other patterns and started with the Bosom Buddy as part of the #SewPink initiative.

The Bosom Buddy pattern is a free download from ByAnnie and was designed to help create a comfortable way for the seatbelt to rest. This is a great project to add a little Cuddle® to since it will just make it even softer and more comfortable!

I made a couple of versions of it, and Annie made her own version, which gave us an opportunity to compare and contrast what worked and what didn’t. The first one I made with Cuddle® fabrics and Soft and Stable foam stabilizer. I used Pellon® SF101 (ShapeFlex®) to give the strap wrap some body, which worked out great! Then I used the typical 1/2″ Cuddle® binding method rather than the one in the pattern. You can find out more about it here, but Annie went rogue and did it with a 1/4″ binding! I love that she tried it her way (and now I’ll need to!) You can see the wider binding in the version I made:

Bosom Buddy made with Luxe Cuddle Hide® in Rosewater and Flor Digital Cuddle® Woodrose

I also used the Cuddle® to keep my iPad comfortable in the iCases pattern. It seemed like a no-brainer that the inside should be soft, but I’d never really considered it before. It was easy peasy and I love the look and feel.

iCases pattern made with Alexander Henry ‘Ghastlies’ Fabrics and Cuddle 3

Both of these projects use Soft and Stable to give it shape and stability. Adding Cuddle® was super easy using the ODIF 505 spray and then stitching around the outside edge with a big zig zag stitch. I found this kept it in position pretty well and I didn’t have any issues with shifting. You could also use Wonder Clips along the edges and of course, I use my favorite stiletto to control it even better.

All of this soft sewing is wonderful and I would hope that the only reason any of us would need a Bosom Buddy for is to keep the seatbelt from rubbing against our necks, but we all know that breast cancer is too common to avoid us all. In fact, one in eight women, on average [source], will develop invasive breast cancer and the best ways of catching it early is to do breast self exams and get regular mammograms.

To find screenings available near you, visit one of these sites or ask your physician:  

Breast Screen (Australia) (US)
WebMD (free screenings)

It’s important to take care of ourselves; we’ve got so many things still to see, do and sew! For more projects, ideas and info follow along with the rest of the folks on #SewPink blog hop:

Oct. 1 (Fri):Fat Quarter Shop – The Jolly Jabber
Oct. 2 (Sat):Sallie Tomato
Oct. 4 (Mon): Hugs ‘N Kisses
Oct. 6 (Wed): Sewfinity
Oct. 11 (Mon):Beyond the Reef
Oct. 13 (Wed): Great Heron Thread Co.
Oct. 15 (Fri): Love You Sew
Oct. 15 (Fri): Emmaline Bags
Oct. 16 (Sat): Meadow Mist Designs
Oct. 18 (Mon): OklaRoots
Oct. 20 (Wed): Suzn Quilts
Oct. 20 (Wed): Teresa Coates
Oct. 22 (Fri): Knot and Thread Design
Oct. 23 (Sat): Shannon’s Studio
Oct. 25 (Mon): The Littlest Thistle
Oct. 27 (Thur): Mister Domestic
Oct. 27 (Wed): Sookie Sews

The #SewPink Initiative was created by LLC to raise awareness for breast cancer throughout the year. Our efforts culminate in an annual blog hop during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month to promote self-care, awareness, early detection and support for those affected by breast cancer. 

To learn more and see the calendar of events visit:

Making Masks Again

The International Quilt Festival is back after a long hiatus and I’m excited to get the chance to get back out on the road and chat with quilters and sewists in-person again. (I’ll be teaching the Ellie Elephant–join me?) Because the event inside and the coronavirus has done a doozy on Texas over the last couple months, they are instituting a mask mandate. I’ve been using my masks for a while now, so I figured this was just the excuse I needed to make a few new ones.

I came up with this pattern about a year ago, incorporating the different features of other masks that I appreciated. Since I’ll be wearing it lots, I wanted it to fit comfortably over my nose, scooping down below my eyes and fitting snug around the chin. Since it works so well for me, I figured I might as well share it!

8″ x 13″ piece of quilting cotton
8″ x 13″ piece of batik fabric
8″ x 13″ piece of non-fusible interfacing or additional quilting cotton layer, optional
nose wire, optional
20″ – 26″ elastic
rubber elastic grips, optional
Crinkle Dreams 3-D mask pattern [click to download]

  1. Iron fabrics, then fold in half with fold down 8″ length.
  2. Trace around pattern and cut out with rotary cutter or scissors.
  3. Trim interfacing/additional layer to cut-line, if using.
  4. Press interfacing to batik fabric. Fold as one and pin chin dart.
  5. Sew chin dart with a 1/4″ seam allowance tapering at chin; backstitch.
  6. Repeat with quilting cotton exterior chin dart.
  7. Pin lining combo and exterior together along top edge, right sides together.
  8. Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance, backstitching at point and valleys to secure.
  9. Clip off seam allowance at points and clip to seam on valleys, being extra careful to not cut any stitching.
  10. Turn inside out and use a point turner to push points out as much as possible.
  11. Press well.
  12. Top stitch about 1/8″ from seam edge.
  13. If desired, add channel for nose wire, by topstitching about 1/2″ away from seam edge centering the 4″ channel along the middle point.
  14. Bring bottom edge up to meet, right sides together. Pin a few times to nest the chin darts and sew with 1/4″ seam allowance.
  15. Turn inside out through side opening.
  16. Press well.
  17. If using, insert nose wire though side opening and topstitch ends closed.
  18. Mark fold line and press. Stitch with a 1/8″ seam allowance, making a tiny pleat across entire top of mask.
  19. Fold sides over 1″ then in half to create a 1/2″ channel for the elastic.
  20. Pin and sew close to folded edge.
  21. Using a bodkin or safety pin feed elastic through the channels.
    • If using over the ear loops, cut two 10″ lengths of elastic. Feed one through each channel and knot, then hide knot in channel. Attach rubber elastic grips, if using to tighten.
    • If using over the head elastic, cut a 26″ piece. Feed from bottom of channel, up and out, then continue to feed it from the top of the second channel to create a loop. Knot and hide knot in channel.

I really like the way this mask fits and you can lengthen the front easily if you want to make it more spacious for talking or for beards. 🙂

I hope I’ll see you from behind your own mask at International Quilt Festival in Houston next week!

Happy sewing!

Willard Springs Lodge, somewhere in Wyoming

It might not need to be said, but after ten weeks on the road, I’m pretty tired. Exhausted in ways that were more than physical, to be honest. Thankfully, I’d seen that coming (because… duh) and clear back in June reserved two full days and three nights at Willard Springs Lodge in the middle of nowhere, Wyoming for the end of the tour.  It may have been the best reservation I’ve ever made. 

Willard Springs Lodge is owned and operated by Leann and John Moses, a respite for local hunters and adventure-seekers in the Bighorn Mountains. Leann is also a Shannon Fabrics brand ambassador, which is how I knew this place even existed. The idea that the lodge is isolated enough to get both me and Hawke away from phones, Internet, meetings and driving the RV sold it. I knew we’d need the break and Leann provided just that.  We left the RV at her place in town and hopped into Hawke’s Jeep. She told us to follow her and off she sped; we were left to follow her clouds of dust for nearly two hours.

Continue reading “Willard Springs Lodge, somewhere in Wyoming”

Parents, Paper Piecing and KC Maker Studio & Fabrics

After a nice weekend in southern Kansas, we made our way up to Kansas City on Sunday afternoon. I knew it was going to be a special Sew Together Tuesday for a couple of reasons: we were using my friend Sam Hunter’s “Bloomin’ Too” pattern and we were visiting a brand new shop: KC Maker Studio & Fabrics.

We’d worked together with Hunter’s Design Studio to get her patterns in stock for the event, plus she had all the Sweet Strips and a nice variety of Cuddle® fabrics in stock, ready to go. I felt pretty good about it, despite not having as much prep time as I would have wished.

As we were getting set up and I was making a post on Facebook about the day’s show, Hawke told me I needed to help him get something in the RV, so I started heading that way, still typing away and he started recording…

Continue reading “Parents, Paper Piecing and KC Maker Studio & Fabrics”

10 Tips for Sewing with Cuddle Minky

If you are new to sewing with minky fabrics, I know they can be a bit intimidating. Minky is completely different than quilting cotton, requiring different techniques and tools.

I’ve found that lots of quilters have wanted to use minky, but when they’ve tried it with their quilter techniques, it’s been a frustration. Cuddle® is the Shannon Fabrics brand of minky fabric and I work with it exclusively (obviously, since I’m their National Educator!) and along the way I’ve learned a lot that can help learn to tackle this fabric in a way that makes is successful and not stressful.

For Sew Together Tuesday, we visited Red Roxy Quilt Co. in Decorah, Iowa and filmed this updated version of the 10 Tips:

You can read more about the tips that I shared and get the downloadable PDF over at the Shannon Fabrics blog!

Happy sewing!

Studio Visit with Heather Jones

When I first met Heather Jones, years ago, she was creating quilt patterns and I was enamored by her oversized-quilt-block style. I bought a couple of her patterns, chatted with her at Quilt Market when we’d see each other, and followed along with her career trajectory via Instagram.

Over the past few years, I’ve watched as she made the transition from pattern designer to textile artist, intrigued by both her technique and her path.

I realized we would pass near Heather’s studio in Dayton, Ohio on our travels so I reached out and she was kind enough to let me visit her. She has a fabulous studio where she shares space with Divisible Projects, a joint effort with her husband, Jeffrey Cortland Jones.

“Chasing Down the Days” by Heather Jones, 2021 + additional works
Continue reading “Studio Visit with Heather Jones”

Hitting the Wall

I like to think that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. Years of solo parenting made me work through some seriously difficult days, but the truth is that sometimes my body says nope. This week was one of those times. 

We’ve had an intense month with 3-4 days of teaching and 2-3 days of driving every week for the last four weeks.  I knew the teaching days would be exhausting, but I honestly expected that on driving days I could pull out the ol’ laptop and get a bunch of work done. 


The truth is that driving the RV is intense. It requires a lot of concentration from Hawke. I have to help with navigation because Google likes to choose the most inane routes. It’s super loud from both road noise and the internal rattle of a household in constant motion. Driving feels like you are on a boat, rocking from side to side and up and down due to road construction, or roads in dire need of repairs, everywhere.

We finished up classes at Blue Bar Quilts on Wednesday evening and headed south to the Iliinois State Beach Park. I’d bought tickets to go see the Bisa Butler exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago and went to bed eagerly anticipating the day in Chicago with Hawke—our first real day off!

On Thursday I woke up feeling like utter crap. My body decided to give me and my plans the finger and instead of seeing the beautiful quilts and art and architecture of Chicago, I laid in bed and stared into space for hours. 

Thankfully I was able to convince Hawke that he didn’t need to stick around and do anything to “take care of me” and he took off for adventures of his own, including seeing the Bisa Butler exhibit.  

Three days later, we are chilling out in Ohio and I’m feeling better again. My body and brain just needed a break and so they forced it on me. I’m feeling better and making headway on the to-do list over here.  From here on, we are taking it a little easier with less teaching (except for the week I’m at the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo with Sew It Up Bernina), less driving and more time to recharge.  

See you Tuesday from Quilt Beginnings in Dublin, Ohio! 

Sew Together Tuesday and the ultimate Shop Hop

If you’re like me at all, you love a good shop hop. It’s always fun visiting new stores and checking out the displays, the fabric selection, the notion wall… all of it! Starting in less than two weeks, I’ll be embarking what I think will be the ultimate shop hop.

Hawke and I are taking our Sew Together Tuesday on the road and doing our Lives from 10 different shops across America, every Tuesday a different store in a different state. Crazy, right?! Yes, but it’s going to be so great!

You’ll be able to join in, both in-person and online for the Tuesday sessions, but wait… there’s more! HA! I’ll be teaching additional classes in each of those shops, plus a slough of weekend classes as well. I’ve listed them all in my calendar, so keep an eye on those upcoming events listed to the right —–>

Over the twelve weeks I’ll be teaching at 16 different shops:

Cali Quilt Co (Rancho Cordova, CA) 
The Fig Leaf Quilting (Fort Collins, CO)
The Quilt Shop (Wakefield, NE)
Old Alley Quilt Shop (Sherburn, MN) 
Red Roxy Quilt Co (Decorah, IA)
Time Flies Quilt & Sew (Negaunee, MI)
Blue Bar Quilts (Middleton, WI)
Always in Stitches (Noblesville, IN) 
Quilt Beginnings (Dublin, OH)
Sew It Up Bernina (Hurst, TX)
Poppy Quilt & Sew (Georgetown, TX) 
KC Maker Studio & Fabric (Kansas City, MO) 
The Pin Cushion (Mitchell SD) 
Sew On & Sew North (Langdon, ND) 
Quilts & More (Sidney, MT) 
Backdoor Quilt Shoppe (Billings, MT) 

I can’t wait to get out there and share the LQS love with everyone. I’ll be doing store spotlights and impromptu visits, searching out and sharing shops along the way.

If you’re interested in following along on our travel adventures (especially on our days off!), make sure to subscribe to Makers At Large, the blog I am doing with Hawke.

Friends are an excuse to make

You know how there are some friends who are just steady, its-ok-if-we-see-each-other-once-a-year friends? Jaymee is one of those and I was lucky enough to have her visit me just a couple weeks ago. We ate sushi, walked on the beach, visited the desert and made a couple handkerchiefs for her pup.

Using a pattern I found on the Spoonflower blog, I made a small version for little Pablo using some batik and cotton scraps. Then I used my Embrilliance software to design a little embroidery with his name (in a cute, but not cutesy font). We stitched it out and he loved it! Okay, we love it and he tolerated it.

But he tolerated it well enough, we made him another, this time in Essex Linen and it was perfection! For not being an animal person, I really did love it.

No matter what your reason is, just keep making…for you, your friends or your friends’ pets.

Happy sewing!

New Embroidery Designs + the Brumby Pouch

Before work and on the weekends, I’ve been collaborating on embroidery designs with my artist daughter and we finally (finally!) have a couple available! There are two versions: one pincushion with a happy little face and one pincushion with a strawberry. The images are her original artwork that I digitized and I’m pleased as punch with them!

I wanted a way to show off the design and decided I would do it on a bag of some type, so I started looking through patterns and found that I’d bought the Brumby Pouch pattern from Sew Sweetness and it was perfect. It’s part of her Minikins Season 3 package, a fab collection of 12 PDF patterns and videos that show you how to do each.

I have used Sew Sweetness patterns a few times over the years and I’m always impressed with her pattern writing and her attention to detail. There are some patterns that are “quick and easy” and that’s their selling point. The thing I love about Sara’s patterns is the fact that your finished bag is going to be well-crafted and beautifully finished. She gives little details and hints to make the most of the pattern and I have loved every bag I’ve made with her patterns. If you’re new to working with her patterns, read them carefully, watch the video and trust her. It will turn out great!

The pincushion appliqué was made with Cuddle® minky (shocking, I know!) and I love the way it turned out, so textural and fun. It is available now in the Etsy shop in  DST EXP HUS JEF PES and VIP files. If you get it and use it, please tag me! I’d love to see what you do.

Happy sewing!