Lunch Money Cuffs

Kid No 1 needed to bring money to school for a bake sale fundraiser. But she’s a bit young for a wallet or purse, and doesn’t always have pockets for change. What to do? This is the latest project I made for the kids.

Three cuffs ready for wrists.
Three cuffs ready for wrists.

These are the Lunch Money Cuff, which I made following Christie’s tutorial over on a Lemon Squeezy Home. It’s a nice easy tutorial and I whipped up three cuffs in an evening.

All three cuffs.
All three cuffs.

I’d love to call this stash busting, but it’s more like scrap busting. Each cuff only takes four 8.5” x 3” pieces of fabric. It’s a miracle I had even that much.

This is the Anne Kelle ladybug fabric.
This is the Anne Kelle ladybug fabric. Sorry for the bad photo.

The fabrics are all by Anne Kelle and were leftovers from some other projects. The whales were from my Whale quilt. The yellow was from my Sunshine Bug quilt. The ladybugs and cats were from a couple of Oliver + S Ice Cream Dresses I made a while ago. The velcro is the heavy-duty variety and left over from Halloween costumes. All I had to buy were the zippers.

Two cuffs in whales and ladybugs.
Two cuffs in whales and ladybugs.

With this project and another that I have cut, but not assembled, I managed to use up all of my Kona Red and Corn Yellow, and most of the two red prints. I thought I had used up all the whales as well, but then I organized my quilting fabric and found a bit more. Oops!

I didn’t make any modifications to the pattern. The tutorial says the cuffs are the right size for kids aged five and seven. It’s a bit loose on my two-year-old, but then she also won’t have any money in hers. Still it’s fun to have the same thing the bigger kids have.

Mini cuff. This one probably won't get any money in it for a couple of years.
Mini cuff. This one probably won’t get any money in it for a couple of years.


Tutorial Review: Lunch Money Cuff by A Lemon Squeezy Home.


  • Bright Whales by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).
  • Kona Corn Yellow
  • Red Ladybugs by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).
  • Kona Red
  • Liquorice Cats by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: None.

Results: Great. I would recommend this tutorial.

This project is linked up at Make It, Wear It.

Sunshine Bug Quilt

I think I probably started this quilt in the depth of winter last year. That probably explains why I chose such bright, colourful, sunny fabrics. So it’s fitting that I finished it yesterday, the day after another big snowstorm.

Sunshine Bug Quilt
Sunshine Bug Quilt.
Sunshine Bug Quilt
Sunshine Bug Quilt – folded.
Sunshine Bug Quilt
Sunshine Bug Quilt – folded.

This is a stacked coins quilt. It was quite quick to piece the front.

I didn’t piece the back this time, but used a single piece of Tangerine Dots from Anne Kelle’s Remix collection. It’s a baby quilt, though it would also fit on a toddler bed, so it’s small enough for a single piece of backing fabric.

Sunshine Bug Quilt
Sunshine Bug Quilt – back with Tangerine Dots from the Remix collection.

For the quilting, I just did some straight line quilting, but it is quite dense over the white sashing.

Sunshine Bug Quilt
Sunshine Bug Quilt – front detail.
Sunshine Bug Quilt
Sunshine Bug Quilt – quilting detail.

Again, I followed the tutorial by Red Pepper quilts on machine stitched binding. The binding is entirely machine stitched. I save quite a bit of time this way.

So far this quilt has no home. I didn’t have anyone in mind when I started it. Of course that’s probably a good thing, because they would have been waiting a long time for me to finish.

My toddler has already refused it. She wants a quilt with birds instead. I’m working on that. Even though she doesn’t like it, I like it a lot. I really like the sunny colours.

I didn’t use a pattern for this quilt – it’s quite a simple design. But if you are a beginner looking for a pattern, there’s one that is very similar in the Moda Bake Shop called the Stacked Coins Baby Quilt. This project is linked up with Finish It Up Friday.

Sunshine Bug Quilt

Quilt block: Stacked Coins

Size: 36 by 43.5 inches

Sashing and binding: Kona White
Orange stacked coins:
Deena Rutter’s Happier collection for Riley Blake Designs: Happier Floral in Orange, Happier Bugs in Orange
Kona School Bus, Papaya, and Corn Yellow
Beetle Boy by by Ellen Crimi-Trent
Spots in Taffy from Kaffe Fassett for Westminster
Stof basics fat quarter bundle in orange/yellow
Backing: Remix Tangerine Dots by Anne Kelle for Robert Kaufman
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Cotton

Sunshine Bug Quilt
Sunshine Bug Quilt – pieced front.

A Linen Kelly Skirt

The Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen
The Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen.

Have you seen the Kelly skirt pattern by Megan Nielsen? It’s quite cute.

The Kelly skirt is a softly pleated, button-up skirt. It’s quite flattering on a variety of figures and according to the pattern designer, “created with the beginner sewer in mind”.

I’ve seen several cute versions online, but my favourites are by Adrienne at Stitching on the Edge, and Andrea at four square walls. Both used piping and linen, and I thought I would do the same.

My fabric is Robert Kaufman’s Essex yarn-dyed cotton-linen blend in black. I’m a huge fan of linen, and this fabric is amazing. It’s a bit heavier than your standard linen and has a really great, slightly nubby texture. I’m already dreaming up new clothing I can make with it.

I bought the pattern online from The Workroom, and the fabric online from Mad About Patchwork. Both are Canadian. You can find a big list of online Canadian fabric stores here.

I used store-bought black piping from one of the local fabric stores. I really like this look, but when I was trying the skirt on, I found that in real-life wearing of this skirt, I would probably go with a longer top, which necessarily covers the piping detail. Oh well. I know it’s there.

Kelly Skirt
Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen in linen with black piping.

I fully lined the skirt (I’m not sure what the lining fabric is), mostly so I could wear it in the winter with tights. It makes for a warmer skirt, with smoother lines and fewer wrinkles in the fabric. The pattern does not come with instructions for the lining.

Kelly Skirt
My Kelly skirt is fully lined. I have no idea what the lining fabric is.

The pattern and instructions are great. It’s an easy pattern (only 5 pattern pieces) which really is great for beginners. I’m not a beginner, so the whole project went quite quickly. I especially like having the instructions in a booklet. The pattern is printed on thick paper, so you need to trace the pattern onto tracing paper. Both the booklet and pattern are quite durable, which is always nice with a pattern you intend to use multiple times, which I do.

Kelly Skirt
Piping detail on the Kelly skirt. The piping lines up nicely in real life.
Kelly Skirt
A better shot of the piping on the Kelly skirt.

I only have two complaints. The first is really very minor, nit picky even, but when constructing the skirt, it’s a good idea to baste the pockets to the side seams before joining the front and the back. It keeps the pocket from rippling. It’s a very small detail, but one that would probably help beginners.

The other problem I had was with the sizes. In the US, the average waist circumference for adult women is currently 37.5 inches. In the UK, it’s 33 inchesIn Canada, it’s 34 inches. This skirt fits waists between 26 and 34 inches (66-86 cm). In commercial pattern sizes, that translates roughly to sizes 12 to 20. That is a pretty good range, but it would be nice if the pattern were available in an even larger range of sizes.

I recently had my fourth baby, and although I would normally be a size large in the Megan Nielsen size range, my waist is (temporarily I hope!) larger than the largest size included in the pattern. I graded the pattern up a size, which was quite easy, but not something that every beginner will be able to do.

Despite my small complaints, I thought that overall this was a very good pattern and it makes a very wearable, flattering skirt.

Kelly Skirt
This is how I would normally wear this skirt, which means that you can’t see the piping. Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielsen.

Just before I made this skirt I got a belated birthday present in the mail. Can you identify these presser feet?

New presser feet.
Can you identify these presser feet?

One is an invisible zipper foot, the other is a sew-on button foot. I was so excited when I opened these up. I know, I’m such a sewing geek.

I’ve been sewing for years, but on a very basic machine. It was one of the first purchases I made when I moved out on my own. It’s a basic Singer, with no special presser feet. Having this machine has meant that all the finishing details of my clothes were done by hand. I had never sewn on a button by machine. I had also never made a blind hem, any way except by hand. I once made a formal gown for my sister. It had a floor length, full circle skirt in satin, with layers of tulle underneath. I hand-stitched the entire blind hem. It took ages.

Kelly Skirt
Kelly Skirt in linen with black piping.

A couple of years ago my husband bought me a much better machine. One of the most eye-opening things for me is trying out all the special presser feet. It has made sewing much easier and much more precise, though I still like the look of hand-finished details.

This is the first time I’ve machine sewn buttons to a garment. I like it a lot, especially for casual clothes. With a coat, I would still sew on the buttons by hand. I’ve been looking at Colette Pattern’s Beignet skirt for a while now, but the number of buttons was so discouraging. I think I see a Beignet skirt in my future now.

Kelly Skirt
The Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen.

This is also the first time I’ve made a blind-hem by machine. I’m not sure if I’m a fan. From the outside it looks perfect, of course. Though I’m not used to seeing all the stitches on the inside. When you hand-stitch a blind hem, it is invisible on the inside as well. On the other hand, the lining covers the hem, so I’ll never really see it.

Kelly Skirt
The machine-stitched blind hem of my Kelly skirt.


Pattern Review: Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielsen.

Fabric: Robert Kaufman’s Essex yarn-dyed cotton-linen blend in black.

Size: XL, graded up a size.

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: I added piping, a full lining and graded the pattern up a size.

Results: Good. I would recommend this pattern and would make it again.

Kelly Skirt
Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen in linen with black piping. I promise I am much more impressed with this skirt than my facial expression might lead you to believe.

Whale Quilt

These are some photos of my second quilt. Unlike my first quilt, this is the first quilt I made myself without a pattern or a class, and I’m quite happy with how it turned out.

Whale Quilt
Whale Quilt folded.

When I started, I was very sure about how I wanted the front to look, but didn’t really have a plan for the back.

Whale Quilt
Whale Quilt front.

When my cousin announced she was pregnant, I thought this would be perfect for her new baby. But now that the quilt was for a very special little one, it needed something a bit more fun for the back.

Whale Quilt
Whale Quilt back.

Anne Kelle’s whales were perfect and exactly the right colours!

Whale Quilt
Whale Quilt

I did some simple straight-line quilting, and I love the crinkly look it ended up with. I bound it in Kona white. It’s not the most practical choice, but it does look nice. I followed the tutorial on how to machine bind a quilt from Red Pepper Quilts. It worked very well. So much easier than hand stitching!

Whale Quilt
Whale Quilt close-up.

The quilt measures about 50 by 56 inches.

I’m not sure what all the fabrics are. But here is a partial list.

  • Kona white from Robert Kaufman.
  • Anne Kelle’s Urban Zoologie collection Whales in the bright colour-way from Robert Kaufman.
  • Crystal Palace from Classic Cottons.

The dark blue, light blue and yellow are just fat quarters that I picked up at a local quilt shop.

Whale Quilt
Whale Quilt test drive.

There may have been a test drive (ahem) before I shipped it.

Washi Tunic: Take 1

You’ve probably seen the Washi Dress from Made by Rae. So cute! So easy to sew! So beloved by bloggers and sewists. And, apparently, so unsuited to my figure.

I’d seen the dress and tunic on so many blogs, always with great results. Now I noticed that many of the Washi’s I saw were being worn by people who were taller and less curvy than me. Then a couple of photos showed up in the flickr pool that looked a little more like me, so I had hope! Maybe I too could wear the fabled Washi. I bought the pattern.

Washi Tunic
A green Washi tunic.

The Assembly

The printed pattern is great. I love that the pattern sizes are each printed in a separate colour. Genius! Why doesn’t everyone do that? I love that each piece of paper is printed with a grid overlay along the sides of the paper. So easy to assemble! I liked the instructions, especially the part on making a muslin.

So I dutifully got out some (hideously ugly) fabric from my stash, and made a muslin. And then I did a full bust adjustment (FBA) which I had figured I would have to do. I used the instructions for a FBA on Megan Nielsen’s website, which Made by Rae lists on their site and which are very clear. It still wasn’t working. I went down a size, redid my FBA and lowered the darts. And anyway…. five muslins later I had something I thought looked fairly decent, so I cut my fabric.

There is only one thing in the printed pattern I would change: the way the bust darts are cut out before assembly. After just one muslin, it was clear that by basting and pressing the dart to start, you can get a much better fit, because you can adjust that seam. But if the fabric is already cut, and you need to fine-tune the dart, there’s nothing you can do. You are stuck with the dart placement, as is. The curvier you are, the more this matters.

Assembling the tunic was a breeze. The instructions are great. The smocking with elastic thread was so easy! Everything came together so quickly.

Washi Tunic
Sleeve detail on the Washi Tunic.

It just didn’t fit, at least not as well as I’d like. Boo!

The Fit

I’m pretty sure it has more to do with my shape, than the pattern itself, since so many people have had such great luck with this pattern. I am extra curvy (and a breastfeeding mama as well) and I just had a baby six months ago. Can we say problem areas? I figured the pattern would be good for midsection coverage. However, this pattern, like any empire waist look, requires an excellent fit in the bodice. I needed to do the FBA, make sure the darts were in the right place, and make sure that the seamline where the bodice joins the skirt fell at the very thinnest part of my ribcage. This last point is important for avoiding the pregnant look. My muslin did not include the skirt portion of the tunic, only the bodice. It was all a bit frustrating.

Washi Tunic
Side view of the Washi Tunic.

In the end I had to take the tunic apart, and shorten the bodice a bit to get the skirt falling at the right place. It’s wearable, but could be better. The front view is good. The side view is only so-so. There is a bit of gaping at the neck. I think this tutorial on avoiding neck gape with a FBA from the Naked Seamstress would help. I would also add a couple tiny under bust darts, as suggested by the Queen of the Flies in her review of the Washi Dress. And there is still some pulling at the shoulders. Maybe I should go down a size? Hmmmm. Suggestions welcome.

Me, looking at my Washi Tunic.
Me, looking at my Washi Tunic.

Oh, and as a side note… if you disassemble your washi and abandon it in frustration for a couple of weeks (ahem), you may find that the elastic thread has worked its way out, so that you have to resew it. Entirely my fault of course.

The Fabric

I also made a poor choice of fabric. I used quilting cotton. It’s a bit, um, crunchy? Something with a lot more drape would have been a much better choice, especially with sleeves. The pattern recommends “Light to medium weight cottons or cotton blends (e.g. shirting, voile, double gauze, quilting cotton, poplin, or cotton/linen blends)”. Voile, lawn or batiste would have been better choices, at least for my figure. I also would probably have been better off with the dress, instead of the tunic. I suspect the weight of the extra fabric would make for a more flattering line. The garment would hang a bit more straight.

Washi Tunic
Front of the Washi Tunic.

Would I make it again? Yes. The hard part is over. Now that I know how to get a good fit, and what fabric to use, I’d like to try this again. I would also prefer to line the bodice and there are instructions for lining a Washi bodice on the Made by Rae website. (Even though I attached the facing at the side seams, I find the facing pops out sometimes, which is annoying.) It’s such a cute pattern. Let’s call this a wearable muslin and move forward.

Washi Tunic
Not a bad first try, but I think I can do better.


Pattern Review: the Washi Dress from Made by Rae (PDF).

Fabric: quilting cotton. I made this in Flea Market Fancy Flower and Dot in Green by Denyse Schmidt from FreeSpirit. (I also used this fabric for my Christmas Rabbits).

Size: XL

Sewing Level: intermediate.


I did a 1″ FBA, lowered the darts by 1″ and lengthened the bodice by 1/2″.

Results: Needs work, but I would still make this pattern again.

Washi Tunic
Me in the Washi Tunic.

My First Quilt – The Pink Rails Quilt

Isn’t it pretty? Since this blog is brand new I thought I’d post an older project that I couldn’t share before, because I had nowhere to post it. My first quilt!

Pink Rails Quilt

I made this baby quilt as part of a class at Montreal’s Emeline & Annabelle sewing lounge (now closed). It is about 36×36 inches.

This is a simple strip quilt made using only four fabrics on the front and a fifth on the back. I hand stitched the binding, but since then have switched to machine stitching bindings. It’s just so much easier.

Pink Rails Quilt

I have been sewing for ages, but had never made a quilt before this one. I thought a class would be a good way to get started. And I wanted a good excuse to get out of the house and spend some time with grown ups who also like to sew.  I was correct on both counts. Emeline & Annabelle also used to offer “Block of the Month” classes which were great for beginners.

Pink Rails Quilt

I made this quilt in the fall of 2011. I didn’t have anyone to give it to when I made it, but my last baby arrived the following summer. So I was making it for a very special someone, I just didn’t know it at the time.

Pink Rails Quilt
Pink Rails Quilt – My very first quilt

Sadly, Emeline & Annabelle’s sewing lounge closed this past fall, so I can’t go back and take another class. However, there is now a modern quilt guild in Montreal. The Montreal Modern Quilt Guild is a local chapter of the larger Modern Quilt Guild. There are monthly meetings and sew-ins. I went to my very first one last month. So much fun! You can see a picture of the January sew-in on the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild website. I’m the one way in the back, with the stroller 😉 .

Pink Rails Quilt

Quilt block: Rail Fence

Size: 36 by 36 inches

Loulouthi Framed in Shadow by Anna Maria Horner
Joel Dewberry’s Heirloom collection, Blockade Blossom in Garnet
Joel Dewberry’s Heirloom collection, Blockade Blossom in Blush
Joel Dewberry’s Aviary 2 Lodge Lattice in Lilac
“Grand Bazaar” collection by Patty Young produced by Michael Miller, Spade in Charcoal
Organic bamboo quilt batting