Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tips for using the Nancy's Notions Pattern for Little Dresses for Africa

Hi everyone!
 I wanted to share a few tips on using my favorite pattern for making simple dresses for the Little Dresses for Africa Sew along. Nancy's Notions has the easiest pattern! And it's free!
click here for pattern!
  As a quilter I have lots of cotton yardage available so I prefer to use yardage instead of pillowcases. Yardage also makes it easy as you use the selvages for the back seam, so no raw edges to worry about!

You can find a full tutorial on the blog here: LDFA Tutorial. But here are a few tips that will speed things along!

On the Nancy's notions pattern you will find the armhole templates as pictured below.  Cut out these templates on the outer most ( XL) line.

Using a piece of thin cardboard, cardstock or plastic, trace around the outside edge of the XL size. Then trim down the pattern to the Large size and trace, then trim down to the Medium and trace and finally trim down to the Small and trace!

Now you have 4 armhole templates!

Find the cutting and sizing information on the pattern:

Write this information along with the elastic lengths and bias tape lengths on each of the 4 templates. Be sure to mark the fold line on the templates also. You can flip over the template for the opposite armhole so no need to make 2 templates of each size :

Now you have all the information handy on each template for each size dress! This really saves lots of time!

 The patterns calls for making a casing for the elastic for the front and back of the dress. I simply cut the length of elastic the required length according to the pattern and using a large or diaper pin I start threading it into the casing. When I get the end of the elastic even with the edge of the casing on the right, I go ahead and stay stitch it so it will not pull all the way through! (see where it is stitched on the right side) Then you can continue to pull the elastic all the way through the casing without the end of the elastic getting lost inside of the casing. Leave the gathers in the middle of the bodice, remove the safety pin and stay stitch the left side. REMEMBER : Leave the gathers in the middle of the bodice until AFTER you finish off the armholes with bias tape.

See how the gathers are away from the armhole making it easier to attach the bias tape.

I use my favorite Aurifil 40wt thread on the bias tape with a decorative stitch! It makes a really fun and cute addition to the simple dresses!

After you have attached the bias tape to both armholes you can evenly distribute the elastic with a gentle tug. Woohoo! Sew simple and fun!

Four down and 6 to go if I reach my goal of 10 Little Dresses! Wish me luck! I hope you will join in the fun and link up with a photo of  your little dresses July 1 thru 3rd!
Happy Stitching!
xo Jan

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Update on Little Dresses for Africa Sew Along!

    Hi everyone! I hope you are gearing up and getting ready for our Little Dresses for Africa Sew Along!. You can find all the details for  this years sew along HERE! 
  I am running a little behind this year but just completed my first Dress for this year!
  I just adore this fabric and try to use some each year. This year I have it in gray and some in Navy. I love the green bias tape ties with the gray! 

 This year we have some amazing prizes being offered by our very generous sponsors Aurifil and Fat Quarter Shop! and I wanted to share a photo of the prizes!
 Aurifil sent two fantastic prizes! First a large 12 spool box of 40 weight Designer collection of "Sand Dune" by Kathy Engle! 

Aren't those colors just gorgeous?? I love Aurifil's 40 wt for both machine piecing and free motion quilting! 
 And Aurifil also sent a a 50 wt 10 small spool collection of "It's A Girl" !
These colors are fantastic! Their 50wt is my favorite machine and hand piecing thread! 
Thank you so much Aurifil for your generous donation!

  We also have 2 Gift Certificates available! Woot! Woot!
First the Fat Quarter Shop is offering a $50.00 Gift Certificate to be used in their fabulous online shop! 

Woohoo! Shopping spree! Thank you Fat Quarter shop for your generousity! 

And I am also offering a $25.00 Gift Certificate to my ETSY shop Featherweight Quilt Company

If you have ever wanted to learn English Paper Piecing this would definitely get you started on that journey! 

 So just to recap - you will have 4 chances to win one of the prizes just by linking up one or more of your home made little dress or boy short. Here are a few of the details regarding the linky party and sew along!

 Below are the patterns for :
1. Pillowcase Dresses from yardage- Please make sure fabric is good quality and not see through. This is the pattern I use. I also pre-washed my fabrics. These dresses have to last and hold up to alot of wearing and washing.Please make sure that all inside raw edges are finished. You can also do a French Seam and enclose raw edges.

2.. Pillow case Dresses from Pillow cases.
4. Boy Shorts - made from T Shirts ( or any drawstring type of shorts will work) 
      Will you sew along with me?  You can make one or ten or more! Any help is greatly appreciated!!
 The link up party will run right here on this blog July 1st through July 3rd, 2017. The winners will be announced on or after July 4th, 2017!! So gather your friends and fabrics and have a great time stitching! Please note to be eligible for the drawings your entries must be made between July 1st 2017 and July 3rd 2017. All dresses and items must be mailed directly to Featherweight Quilt Company at P.O. Box 1715 Chatsworth Georgia 30705 and should be received by July 4th. BE SURE TO PHOTOGRAPH YOUR DRESSES ETC BEFORE MAILING THEM SO THAT YOU WILL HAVE A PHOTO TO LINK UP!  ALL PRIZES WILL BE MAILED/EMAILED ONCE YOUR ITEMS ARE RECEIVED!!!! ALL ITEMS WILL EITHER BE SENT WITH A LOCAL MISSIONARY GROUP OR I WILL MAIL THEM DIRECTLY TO LDFA.


Friday, May 12, 2017

God's Love from A diaper Bag and Mother's Day!

  I received the best email ever today from my dear friend Pastor Bill Barker from Appalachian Regional Ministries in West Virginia. Mr. Bill was writing to share some photo's of Mom's and Grandmother's learning to sew on the sewing machines that I donated last year. The machines, fabric and supplies went to a ministry in Kentucky that serves new mothers " God's Love from a Diaper Bag".  Several of my super generous and kindhearted friends donated fabric and other sewing supplies to go along with the machines to get the group started.  

It looks like a full class! And they have really set up a nice classroom too! I love those full aprons!

God's Love from a Diaper Bag serves a huge community including new moms on a daily basis with everything from diapers to clothes, formula, blankets etc... 
Below is a list of just some of their current needs if you would like to help out:

List of current needs: 
1. Diapers and Baby items
2. New toys for Christmas this year.
3. Emergency Food.
4. Baby Clothes and Children's Clothes.
5. School Supplies.
6. Hygiene Products.
7. Janitorial Supplies.
8. Tennis shoes in all sizes.
9. Dental Supplies
10. Lice treatments

   I am really happy to see that the machines are being used to teach sewing and quilting and so excited to be a small part in that endeavor! 
Here is the link to God's Love from a Diaper bag and Appalachian Regional Ministries!
You may be familar with Appalchian Regional Ministries through your church and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and Christmas Backpacks program.

I also wanted to tell you about a great sale that Craftsy is offering until May 14th for Mother's Day!  Any class for $19.99! I love Craftsy classes. I am a Craftsy affiliate and I only endorse products that I have used and enjoyed. One of the many things that I enjoy about a Craftsy class is that once you purchase a class you can view it as many times as you like. You can also stop, start and rewind or replay any portion that you need. The teachers in the classes are also available to help and answer questions through online emails and chats! This is a great way to learn new techniques such as English Paper Piecing, Quilting, needle turn applique and even Cake decorating! You can also gift classes! Offers end May 14th!
 Click on this link for all the details and included classes and fabric sales!

   We had Mother's Day last weekend , so this weekend I am planning on planting a few garden beds with the plants I received from my daughter! We just don't have time for a full garden any longer so I have switched to a few raised beds and that has worked great in the past. 
 Whatever your plans for the weekend, I hope you have a fantastic , fun filled Mother's Day!
 xo Jan

Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017 Little Dresses for Africa Sew Along!

  In 2013 I heard about a not for profit organization called "Little Dresses for Africa". Below is a little information about this organization from their website:

About LDfA

Little Dresses for Africa, founded in 2008 by  Rachel O’Neill is a registered  non-profit 501c3 Christian organization. Our mission is to provide relief to vulnerable children throughout the Continent of Africa and beyond.  Volunteers from all over the world join together to make little dresses out of pillow cases or other simple patterns. Some sew. Some donate. Some go to Africa, and some send others. Little Dresses for Africa sends the donated dresses through misions teams, mails them directly to verified communities and takes them personally with their short term teams.   Your donations are distributed through orphanages, churches, and schools.  Together, we can make a difference.
How We Make a Difference-
Because of the widespread AIDS pandemic, and other disease, little girls are often left to be the primary care givers of their young siblings. The road is especially tough for little girls and women. It is our hope that in delivering dresses to these young girls, that a seed will be planted in their hearts, in the name of Jesus, that they are worthy.  We plant the seeds; God sends the harvest.
It’s more than just a dress! 
Although clothing is needed, these  little dresses are so much more.  They go as little Ambassadors into the homes and villages where we are able to teach simple lessons clean water, and sanitation and to promote good  health and family skills knowledge. As relationships are formed we are able to identify other needs that can be met through your generosity.
Who Is Making the Difference?
Simply stated… you are! We believe that most people want to help others less fortunate than themselves. They just need to know how!  Lives are changed here and across the ocean as we join together to help others.  Whether you sew or not, this ministry has something for you!  You can sew independently or form a group to sew.
    After reading more about the organization AND seeing all the beautiful photos of the children , I knew it was something I had to participate in. In 2013 I made my first 10 little pillowcase dresses. I so enjoyed making those little dresses. It is a great Charity project and now I really enjoy hosting a linky party every year with prizes to encourage people to make a few dresses and link up! Below are photos of some of the previous Dresses I have made. I am very excited to announce I am once again hosting a Little Dresses for Africa Linky Party for 2017!!.

I love using decorative stitching on the bias tape ties.
  Boy shorts and Sanitary pads are also desperately needed.
 Did you know that the girls cannot attend school during their monthly periods because they do not have sanitary pads!!!  

 Below are the patterns for :
1. Pillowcase Dresses from yardage- Please make sure fabric is good quality and not see through. This is the pattern I use. I also pre-washed my fabrics. These dresses have to last and hold up to alot of wearing and washing.Please make sure that all inside raw edges are finished. You can also do a French Seam and enclose raw edges.

2.. Pillow case Dresses from Pillow cases.
4. Boy Shorts - made from T Shirts ( or any drawstring type of shorts will work) 
      Will you sew along with me?  You can make one or ten or more! Any help is greatly appreciated!!
   AND once again the generous folks at Fat Quarter Shop and Aurifil Threads are sponsoring the LDFA Sew Along with prizes for linking up! 
Woohoo!  A $50.00 Gift Certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop for one lucky participant! Someone will have a great time spending that!! 
  I haven't received the threads yet from Aurifil but I will post a photo once I receive their contribution! 
I will also be offering a Gift Certificate to my ETSY shop!
  Please help spread the word through your blog, facebook, twitter, instagram and with your sewing friends and groups. 
Feel free to copy this image to help spread the word!

I am so excited about getting started on this years Dresses. A new to me online fabric store sent me a few yards of my favorite "Carousel" fabric in 2 colorways to use for dresses: Thank you so much to Tonia and the great folks at Fashionable Fabrics in Alta Loma, Ca for their generous donation. They have a large selection of adorable and up to date fabric collections! Tonia also works with her church group on making little dresses! 

  I mentioned above that I like using the decorative stitches on my machine with  Aurifil thread on the bias tape. I think it looks really cute and maybe all the extra stitching will help the bias tape ties endure many, many washings! 

Please let me know if you have any questions! I can't wait to see the paradof Little dresses and Shorts . 

   The sew along begins now and will run until the link up party July 1st through July 3rd, 2017. The winners will be announced on or after July 4th, 2017!! So gather your friends and fabrics and have a great time stitching! Please note to be eligible for the drawings your entries must be made between April 30th 2017 and July 3rd 2017. 

  There may be another missionary group going to Africa this fall so you may have the opportunity to send your items to go with this missionary group or you may be sending directly to LDFA headquarters. More on that later. 

  I love the Little Dresses for Africas' motto: "

"We're not just sending dresses, We're sending Hope!

Thank you for stopping by everyone! I hope to see ya'll linking up those adorable dresses, pads and shorts in July! Watch this blog for more information!

Happy Stitching!
Thank you for stopping by!
xo Jan

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day 2017 - Homemade Laundry Liquid!

 To celebrate Earth Day 2017 - I thought I would revisit a previous post and my recipe for making eco friendly liquid laundry soap.

Plus I need a new batch, so this is a great way to celebrate Earth Day and make up a few jugs! I hope you enjoy this beautiful day!


 Hey yall! Don't you just love freshly laundered quilts? Warm from the sun. I took the opportunity to wash my Scrappy Many Trips Around the World. 

When I went to the laundry room I realized I was almost out of my favorite homemade laundry liquid. So I set about making a new batch and thought I would share the recipe. It is super simple to make and All Natural. Plus it is very economical!  Here is what you will need:

1/2 cup Borax ( I use Mule Team 20X)
1/2 cup Washing Soda ( This is different from Baking Soda but is also made by Arm & Hammer)
1 cup soap flakes ( You can use Zote Soap, Lux Flakes or Fels-Naptha. I personally do not like the smell of any of those. I would not recommend using Oil of Olay, Tone or any of those bar soaps that have alot of added ingredients. Stick to a natural, pure soap product. I like to use my homemade soap but all I have left  are some Oatmeal bars,and since I didn't want Oatmeal in my laundry , I used an old bar of Ivory. )
8 quarts of cool water
2 quarts warm water
2 pots ( I use a small, old stock pot and an old, large canning pot)
A potato peeler or grater
A Measuring Cup
Something to dip your liquid soap with ( I use a large plastic measuring cup)
A large Funnel ( I make mine out of soda bottles. Just cut off the top about where the wrapper starts)(Oh, and save the cap. You can put it back on your funnel to keep stuff from dripping everywhere :))
Wooden or plastic spoon
At least 3 large containers to store your detergent in.
And a hot pad to place the pot on when you remove it from the heat.

Start by grating your bar soap. I prefer to use a potato peeler instead of a grater. It's easier on my knuckles!  You will need 1 cup of grated soap.You made need to lightly pack the soap down . You want a full cup.I use the whole bar!

Put the 2 quarts of warm water in the smaller pot and heat over medium heat. Then slowly add your grated soap and keep stirring gently until the soap melts. I like to use a wooden spoon. You will see small bits of soap floating around, that is ok.

Remove from the heat. Now slowly add the 1/2 cup of Borax and the 1/2 cup of Washing Soda. Stir until it all dissolves.
Now, pour the other 8 quarts of cold water into the larger pot. Slowly add the hot liquid to the cool water. Keep stirring until it starts to thicken as it cools.

Using a funnel, fill your jugs to within a few inches of the top. (You will need room in your container to shake your detergent before using it.)  I use a large plastic measuring cup to scoop up the liquid instead of lifting the heavy pot. I also use a cut off Soda bottle as a funnel. It works great! 

 See how the mixture kinda thickens and clumps up.

Be sure to leave a little room in the top of your containers for shaking. I also have a small container handy that will hold the last little bit.

As it cools and settles, it will separate a little from the extra water. That is fine. Just give it a good shake before using.

 You only need 1/2 cup per load!!! If you have extra dirty laundry, like I do sometimes after we have worked cattle all day, then you can use a full cup!

Now a couple of notes to mention:

You will NOT see suds in the washing machine. This does not make suds. And bubbles are NOT what cleans your laundry. Also, I don't have to use Downy! So that's another savings.

 If you want to add a scent like lemon, rose, lavender or whatever. You may add some using an essential oil. I like the smell of the Ivory or my homemade soaps, so I do not add anything. Plus I don't think my handsome farmer hubby dude wants to go around smellin' like a rose, (although I'd probaly prefer it)  Or you could seperate the liquid before pouring it in your jugs and add a few drops of an essential oil to a few quarts and just write "Smells good" on tha jug!  Or write "His" on one and "Hers" on tha other.

Also, depending on whether you have hard water or not, your whites may not appear as white as normal after a few washes. If so, then the next time you make a batch you can add 1/2 cup Oxy clean to the mix. I do not use the stuff and haven't had any problems. I like keeping it gentle enough to use on my quilts. If you have really stubborn stains, like a cow pattie, just pour a little on the nasty spot and let it sit a few minutes before washing!

If you have little ones around, I would not use a container that normally would hold a beverage item. They may think they can drink it. Instead use old Downy bottles or something of the sort and keep it put in a safe place like you normally would.

Cost Comparision: 1 to 2 cents per load! Yes .01 cents to .02 cents per load depending on how much you use! Most popular well known liquid detergents are approx. .45 cents to .52 cents per load!

The savings alone should make your laundry smell a little sweeter! Plus you know that you are helping to do your part to keep this world a safer, greener place to live!

Well, I hope that yall have enjoyed this little tutorial on how to make Liquid Laundry Detergent! We are expecting rain today and tomorrow, but I can't wait until the next sunny day to launder a few more quilts!
Thank yall for stopping by! I hope that Spring is making an appearance in your neck of the woods.

I would also like to give a big shout out and welcome to my newest followers! Welcome to the farm ya'll! 
Enjoy makin the bubblies!
xo jan

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter from the Farm!

   Happy Easter everyone!
  Spring has definitely sprung on the farm. Iris, periwinkle, Apple trees and Snow on the Mountain are all blooming profusely this year.
    I have a little Doe visitor everyday down at the house. There are 6 deer that stay scattered out all round the house, but this little doe likes to graze along side the driveway. She watches me watching her.
  One of my 1930's & Feedsack Patchwork of the Crosses Block of The Month members made great progress on her quilt for March. Liz is using a pretty pink for the connecting squares. This is going to be such a bright, happy quilt!
 It has been a really busy Spring around the farm with alot of beautiful sunrises and sunsets. All of the cows are doing great and we have a few new calves.
  The photo of Lily with the Easter basket is from a couple of years ago but was so fun I wanted to share it again.
I hope everyone has a beautiful, blessed Easter day!
xo jan