Flower Sugar + Pretty Patches


In keeping with my theme of catching up on projects from this spring, I wanted to show you this amazingly gorgeous fabric that my friend Amy sent to me a while back.

 Retro Mama | Flower Sugar Spring 2015

The spring Flower Sugar line from Lecien is stunningly beautiful, and I really love the grey prints! There is something so lovely about a neutral mixed with bright colors. I thought that all of those wee florals were perfect for a sewing kit.

 Retro Mama | sewing kit

I had planned to give this to a friend who recently got a sewing machine, but I made a little goof on it (not shown) that wasn't easy to get to (I missed sewing one of the quilt lines), so I will have to decide if I want to disassemble it to fix it. Don't you hate when that happens? Oh well, it's pretty on the inside! I sewed on some brown and off white apparel buttons to keep the kit very functional.

 Retro Mama | sewing kit
The sewing kit was made with a pattern from my book.

And while I'm on the subject of book projects, I happened across this magazine while browsing at Barnes & Noble and something caught my eye.

 Pretty Patches Magazine issue 13 June 2015

If you squint just a little...

 Pretty Patches Magazine issue 13 June 2015

Oh hey! That's my tote bag!

This pretty magazine has a range of projects inside, from the cute owl on the cover, to delicately intricate embroidery. My jewelry roll and craft tote patterns from Scrap Happy Sewing are also included, with all the instructional photos, too! This is the June issue of Pretty Patches (printed in the UK, apparently just now available here in the US), and it came with three adorable little rolls of twill tape.

 Pretty Patches magazine issue 13 June 2015

 Pretty Patches magazine issue 13 June 2015

Anyway, I think that's about it for catch-up! I find it so difficult to get things done in the summer when the kids are out of school, does that happen to you, too? As much as I love spending the long summer days with my boys, my sewing room does end up getting neglected. But I'm working on sneaking in a little time here and there.

Happy Stitching!

Pinwheel Palette


I went to a local quilt shop and stopped in my tracks when I saw a sample of this adorable pattern stitched up, Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheel by Primitive Gatherings. It was made with Civil War reproductions but in my head I immediately pictured it in feedsack prints. I was taken with just how tiny those little pinwheels were and couldn’t wait to try it myself! The pattern came with a wee pinwheel template and now I finally had an excuse to pick up an 18mm rotary cutter to go with it.

 Retro Mama | Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheels

My favorite and most time consuming part was choosing fabrics. I decided to pull out all the tiniest 30s prints I had and see where that left me. I still had to go back to pick out another 25 more fabrics after this photo! I ended up repeating just three prints (the navy ones that you'll see further down), so including the border and backing there are 80 different fabrics.

 Retro Mama | pretty feedsack reproductions

The blocks and border, all stitched up. Yes, you’re cute, but it’s time to chop you up again!

 Retro Mama | pretty patchwork
 Retro Mama | Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheel WIP
No turning back!

 Retro Mama | Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheels WIP
Aaaannd...Pinwheels! So bright and cheery! I added in a few blue and navy prints because I was worried that it would look a bit too washed out. I needn't have fretted though because once the prints were condensed into pinwheels the colors appeared more concentrated, but I'm still glad that I added in the darker bits, which contrast nicely. Each pinwheel is 1-1/2" from tip to tip. The whole mini quilt is 10-1/2" x 10-1/2". It's going to look so cute on my quilt wall!

 Retro Mama | Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheel WIP

I love the back before I finished it, the seam allowances are so layered that light doesn't go through!

 Retro Mama | Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheel WIP
 Retro Mama | Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheel

This pattern is crazy fun and will look sweet no matter what kind of fabrics you choose! The instructions are best for confident beginners as it's a little bit of a brain teaser. Just one or two more photos would have made the pattern clearer but even so it's pretty easy to tell if you're going in the right direction.

 Retro Mama | Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheel
My favorite little pinwheel on this quilt has to be the one with this text. I adore text print fabrics but after closer inspection of this one I found that it actually has a lot of negative words on it. Hrmph. I decided to include it anyway, and to my shock and delight, the words that were most legible were these: love, integrity, live, admiration, and freedom. And though I finished this quilt a while back, I'm glad I waited until now to post this because the timing seems perfect with the Fourth of July coming up. You can find the pattern at the link above or at Fat Quarter Shop.
 Retro Mama | Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheel

Have a safe and happy Fourth to those of you in the US, and Happy Stitching to all!

Scrap Happy Giveaway Winner!


Happy Wednesday!

 strawberry pincushion
I’ve been working on some scrappy things to share with you very soon, but in the meantime, have you had a chance to check out Angela’s Blog Hop post? She made the most beautiful doll—her first ever!—so be sure to pop over to take a look!

It’s been a crazy day so I’m getting to this a little bit late: it’s time to announce the winner of the Scrap Happy Giveaway!

Congratulations to Pinkadot Quilts! Please let me know your address and I'll get your prize package in the mail right away!

 Retro Mama | Scrap Happy Giveaway winner

Her entry:
These fabrics are so my colors! I love them and it would be exciting to pick something from your book to make with them. Who doesn't love a cute pincushion?

 Retro Mama | Scrap Happy Giveaway

Thanks to all who entered! There are still some chances to win Scrap Happy Sewing:

Veronica of Vivid Felicity is giving away the e-book versions of Scrap Happy Sewing and 50 Fat Quarter Makes. Enter by April 30 for your chance to win!

Stitch Craft Create is running a fabulous giveaway open to folks in the UK: both books AND 16 fat quarters. The deadline for entering this giveaway is also April 30.

Good luck, and Happy Stitching!

Scrap Happy Giveaway


Good morning from my sewing room to yours! (disclaimer: this is the tidiest you will ever see my cutting table, it’s only this clean because I had to clear off a large spot to cut binding--everything else is piled outside the frame of the photo!)

 Retro Mama | my sewing table

Sometimes you get a new sewing book and you know exactly which project you want to sew first. That’s how I felt when Lori Holt’s gorgeous book, Farm Girl Vintage, showed up in my mailbox last week. I knew right away that I had to make the Strawberry Block into a mini quilt with its sweet, scrappy goodness: I’m obsessed with ballet pink and strawberries (Exhibit A: the walls of my sewing room and the 1/3 of my accessories that are not white or aqua).

 Retro Mama | scrappy strawberry block WIP from Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage book

 Retro Mama | scrappy strawberry block mini quilt from Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage book
I made little pockets on the back to hold a dowel for hanging on the wall. I folded over 3” squares backed with lightweight fusible interfacing to give them added strength, sewn on right before the binding.

 Retro Mama | pockets on mini quilt for hanging

 Retro Mama | mini quilt and hoop wall
I did a quick and dirty stitch in the ditch around the outside of the strawberry and between rows to quilt it and I love how it turned out! It looks right at home on my mini-quilt/hoop wall. All of the blocks are adorable though, if you haven’t purchased your copy of Farm Girl Vintage, what are you waiting for?

In other news, last week I kicked off the Scrap-Busting Blog Hop--check out Abby’s lovely review of Scrap Happy Sewing, and Svetlana’s adorable pincushion. It’s turning out to be a pincushion-y kind of week! You can see the rest of the schedule on my original post. Thank you so much to those who left such sweet reviews of my book on Amazon. I can’t tell you how excited I am that you like it and dug straight into your scrap baskets to start sewing, your support means so much to me! If you have the book but haven’t yet left a review I would be so thankful if you would take a few minutes to leave your honest thoughts to help others decide if the book is right for them, too!

And now for the promised giveaway...

I had such a blast cutting fabric to make the scrappy strawberry that I kept on cutting! I pulled out lots of my favorite remnants, trimmed the funny edges, and made this gorgeous stack of scraps just for you.

 cute stack of scraps

This sweet scrap collection is perfect for making small patchwork projects like pincushions and sewing kits. AND because I still get asked about this fabric after all these years, and I love it so much that I put it into almost every single scrappy, patchy thing I make, you'll also get a 12x42” cut of American Jane multi measuring tape fabric cut straight from the bolt. Along with the scrap stack I'm including a copy of my book, Scrap Happy Sewing, and this scrappy green pincushion. Inside the pincushion is a bit of emery sand for sharpening your pins and giving the cushion a nice bit of weight.

 Retro Mama | Scrap Happy Giveaway

 photo tn_PincushionScraps_zpsg30zdduf.jpg

If you’d like to win this sweet little prize package, please leave a comment below telling me what you would make with this fun stack of scraps! Everyone worldwide is eligible to enter. The winner will be announced Wednesday, April 15. The giveaway is now over, thanks to all who entered!

Stash-Busting Blog Hop :: Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing


Happy Spring!

 The Scrap-Busting Blog Hop with Retro Mama
I've definitely caught the Spring cleaning bug; I keep finding myself tidying up my sewing room, finishing WIPs, and making projects with leftover fabric scraps and stashed fabrics.

 Retro Mama :: Scrap-Busting Blog Hop

 Retro Mama | fat quarters
I have a giant tub of quilting cotton scraps in my sewing room (not pictured, lest there be photographic evidence of my fabric-hoarding mess; Spring cleaning hasn't yet reached that corner of my room!), and inside it holds about 9 years' worth of remnants, including those from my very first project—aprons I made for friends and family.

 Retro Mama | vintage sewing tray with scrappy sewing supplies

Well, about this time last Spring I took a look inside (and by “look” I mean that I pulled out handful after handful of fabric until I found myself buried up to my neck in scraps) and thought, "I could make a TON of great stuff from these little bits of fabric!". So...I combined favorite scraps and new fabrics, designed a whole bunch of patterns, and put them all into one book!

 Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing
Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing is now available (both in my shop and at Amazon), and I’d like to invite you along for a Stash-Busting Blog Hop! A bunch of my most admired Internet Crafty Folk will be sewing their favorite patterns from Scrap Happy Sewing, as well as sharing their own scrappy projects, tutorials, and giveaways. I hope they will inspire you to dig into your stash and get stitching, too! And check in next week for a giveaway right here on my blog! If you'd like to follow along, be sure to visit these fabulous bloggers all month:

April 3 While She Naps

April 3 SCC

April 8 S.O.T.A.K. Handmade

April 9 Fabricworm

April 10 Clover & Violet

April 13 Robot Mom Sews

April 14 Vivid Felicity

April 15 Cut to Pieces

April 16 Straight Grain

April 17 Sew Take A Hike

April 20 Vintage Grey

April 21 Miss Print

April 22 Pink Penguin

April 23 Sew Creative Blog

April 24 Follow the White Bunny

April 27 A Bright Corner

April 28 Sew Justine Sew

April 29 LRstitched

 Retro Mama | vintage lunch tray with scrappy sewing supplies

Thanks a million to everyone who has already bought a copy of the book; if you have a few moments I would be so grateful if you might consider leaving your review at Amazon. You are also very welcome to leave links to your Scrap Happy Sewing projects below--I am just tickled at the gorgeous projects that have already been shared on Instagram, every single one makes my day!

Thanks again, my friends, and Happy Stitching!

Scrap Happy Sewing :: now shipping!


 Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing

I'm so nervous but so happy to share with you, sweet crafty friends, that my book, Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing, published with David and Charles (F+W Media), is shipping this week from Amazon in the US! It was originally scheduled to be released in April, but has arrived early and will begin landing on doorsteps over the next few days today! The shipping dates to countries outside of the US appear to be as scheduled in April but I will let you know if that changes!

This hardly seems real, and I have each and every one of you to thank for reading, supporting, and stitching with me and my little blog--you have all helped to make this dream come true!

Here are some of the projects from Scrap Happy Sewing:

 pajama bears from Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing
pajama bear softies

 pincushions from Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing
scrappy pincushions

 tote bag from Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing
on-the-go tote bag

 sewing kits from Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing
and these cute little sewing kits!

Each project has step-by-step instructions with photos and tips, just like my individual sewing patterns, so that whether you are new to sewing, new to a particular type of project, or someone who needs visual instructions (like me!), you will have lots of help along the way. The templates are full sized, too!

 Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing

I can't wait to see your #scraphappysewing projects!

Happy Stitching!

Softie Love


 6 Weeks of Love for Softies

Yay, I'm so excited! Sew Mama Sew is spending six whole weeks on a softie spree! Kristin and Beth have gathered up the biggest names in softie making (and me!) to write up free patterns, how-to's, and tons of other info about making softies. You'll definitely want to check out the softie contest, too, there are some seriously amazing prizes. The grand prize includes a Pfaff sewing/embroidery machine worth $3,999 (check out the full list of prizes and contest rules here). Please also consider participating in the Soft Toy Drive!

 Spectacular Softies Contest

My article is: 10 Tips for Stuffing + Finishing Softies, which includes hints tools to achieve an extra-professional finish on your stuffed toys and fabric dolls. I'm also answering questions in the comments if there's anything else you need help with. If you've ever wondered why your softie turned out too floppy or wrinkly, or how on earth to *really* hide the closing seams, then this is the post you've been looking for! And just for fun, I've demonstrated the techniques these cute little pajama bear softies (the pattern can be found in my book), who are decked out in super cute Pam Kitty Garden print jammies:

 Pajama Bear Softies from Scrap Happy Sewing book

It was a happy accident that they ended up looking at each other. Here is a WIP pic (I always get a kick out of this part):

 Pajama Bears WIP
The crazy-talented list of contributors:

Abby Glassenbery of Abby Glassenberg Designs
Jodie Carleton of Ric Rac
Kerry Goulder of Kid Giddy
Mariska Vos-Bolman of DIY Fluffies
Pauline McArthur of Funky Friends Factory
Wendi Gratz of Shiny Happy World
Mimi Kirchner
Erin Weiss of Boolah Baguette
Carley Biblin of Making It Up As I Sew Along
Annette Huval of Oliver Rabbit
Helen of Bustle & Sew
Hillary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls
Christina of Bamboletta
LiEr of Ikat Bag
Sarah of Dolls & Daydreams
Betz White

So if you're considering learning how to make softies, or if you've already made a few and want to pick up some tricks of the trade, head over to Sew Mama Sew and you'll be sure to learn something new!

Happy Softie Stitching!