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!


Patchwork Hot Water Bottle Cozy :: Step by step tutorial and pattern

It's still the middle of winter here in the Hoosier state, and my homemade hot water bottle cozy has gone missing *cue dramatic music*. I don’t know if it's a sign of my age, but in the wintertime I get so sore from the freezing (below freezing!) temperatures that I pretty much can't sleep without it, especially after having to shovel snow three times in the past two days... So, I need to make a new one!

My first hot water bottle cozy was made with a single print, but this time I decided to do a patchwork version with tons of bright colors to make the frosty days more cheery. And...I thought I'd share the pattern with any other chilly folks who might like to stitch along!

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

I didn't prewash my fabric so the finished cover is on the large side to account for shrinking (and lovely batting scrunching) in the wash. The cozy perfectly fits my Fashy hot water bottle--if you have a different brand you might need to alter the template a little bit. Just make sure that the edge of your template is about 1-1/4" wider than the long side and 7/8" above and below the top and bottom of the bottle (when the templates are assembled and the bottle is centered on it). If you want a water bottle like mine you can find it here.

Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

Lots of quilting cotton scraps (1-1/2" and 2" wide of various lengths)
1/2 yard solid quilting cotton for lining
cotton batting (wadding)
2" x 46" bias cut strip pressed into double fold tape for outside of cozy (1 yard of fabric will allow you to do this with a single strip; see Step 10 for pressing instructions)
Two 2" x 10" strips pressed into double fold bias tape for envelope opening
Thread for piecing and quilting
Hand Quilting Thread for hand finishing the binding
Template (click for PDF)

1. Assemble your patchwork for the front and back of the cozy into three pieces that measure as follows (after quilting and squaring up):

15-1/2"H x 11-1/2"W for the front (One 2" row, thirteen 1-1/2" rows, one 2" row)
11-1/2"H x 11-1/2"W for the back/top (One 2" row, eight 1-1/2" rows, one 2" row)
7-1/2"H x 11-1/2"W for the back/bottom (One 2" row, four 1-1/2" rows, one 2" row)

I used 1-1/2" strips of random lengths for my patchwork, all sewn with a 1/4" seam allowance and seams pressed open. I used a single fabric for the top of the front patchwork and the top of the back/top patchwork because of the narrow shape of the template.

Laying out the strips (top and bottom strips are 2"W)
 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

rearranged a little, and rows trimmed to about 12"W
 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
2. Cut a piece of batting slightly larger than each of the patchwork pieces, then cut lining pieces from solid cotton slightly larger than the batting.

3. Make three quilt sandwiches with the patchwork, batting, and lining pieces. Pin the pieces together, then quilt. I used the seams as a guide and quilted a generous 1/8" above and below each seam with cream colored thread. Square up each quilted rectangle.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
4. Fold the back/top patchwork in half lengthwise. Place the back/top template on the quilted fabric, connected arrows pointing toward the fold, then trace the curved and short straight edges with an erasable fabric pen. I centered my template so the patchwork rows would be evenly spaced on the top and bottom. Cut along the marked lines. Repeat for the back/bottom patchwork and template.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
5. Assemble the top and bottom template pieces to make the template for the front of the cozy. Overlap the two pieces and place along the line so the little arrows are pointing toward each other, then tape the pieces together. Trace and cut out a front piece using the new template with the remaining patchwork fabric.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial/
Whoops! Just noticed that my tape dispenser is empty. Must've used the last bit to assemble my template!

6. Zig-zag stitch around the raw edges of each piece of patchwork. This will keep the edges neat and flat for binding, and also helps prevent the quilting threads from coming loose.

7. Bind the straight edges of the cozy top and bottom pieces with the double fold bias tape. It took me awhile to decide which fabric to use for binding, but I finally decided to go with Essex linen as a contrast to the bright colors.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial 8. Assemble the cozy: place the cozy front face down. Line up the cozy top and bottom over the front, wrong sides together. Overlap the pieces so the top piece is on the top. Use binding clips around the outside edges to secure the pieces.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

9. Baste the pieces together around the outside edge with a straight stitch 1/4" from the edge.

10. *Bind the outside of the cozy with the long piece of bias tape. I pressed the binding for the outside of the cover with the long edges a scant 1/4" apart so there would be a little extra space for the thick layers to fit inside.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Tutorial

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

*If you want to connect the pieces before sewing for a perfect fit without overlapping ends, see my circular binding tutorial for instructions on how to do this, just note that the binding has a single fold in that tutorial, so attaching the double fold tape is a little different.

*I made my original cozy with a machine-finished binding and I found that after washing the little loose edges decided to flip up. This is purely an aesthetic issue, but I decided that I prefer a hand finished binding so this time they should stay put!

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
Let me know if you have any questions! If you'd like a fabric name for anything in particular just call it out and I'll do my best to help ID it! Many of the fabrics are out of print but there are some newbies in there too.

Happy Stitching (and stay warm!),


Retro Mama :: Hans and Greta Winners!

It's a bit late in the day, but I have for you the winners of the Hans and Greta doll giveaway! I enjoyed reading all of your stories about how and when you started sewing, and so many of you crochet, too! Crochet runs in my family, although I'm a very casual dabbler I really enjoy it. Thank you for sharing your sweet memories with me, it's wonderful getting to know all of you!

So, with the assistance of Random.org....here are the winners!

 photo tn_DollWinners_zps3e6671f9.jpg
Hans goes to Jane, who wrote:

I love them both! I have a grandson turning one on Feb 4 and a granddaughter turning one on Feb 25 so either doll is perfect! I've been sewing since I was 12 so that would be a looong time :) 

Happy Birthday to your grandkiddos, Jane!

and Greta will go to Liezel:

They are so cute!!! Both of them! My daughter would give one of them a great new home, I'm sure! I have not been sewing for a long time. I am still learning, but I love it. Unfortunately I don't have much time, but I hope that will only get better in the future! I like your blog!

Congratulations to both of you, I will contact you shortly for your mailing addresses!