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Back to Blogging!

Did you miss me? Er, maybe I should ask, is anyone still here?! It’s been a much longer break than I anticipated, but I think things are settled enough around our house that I can jump back into blogging regularly. I have a long, long list of things to share, including tons of quilting, some new crafty pursuits and plenty of tutorials. I’m even hoping to have a few new patterns ready to release in the next several months. Continue reading

Love for Clara

Please join us for a fundraiser/giveaway for our friend, fabric and pattern designer, Sandi Henderson of Portabellopixie, who just welcomed sweet little baby Clara into the world. She was born in May with a congenital heart defect, pulmonary stenosis with an inssificent tricuspid. Her little body has recently undergone a 5 hour heart surgery that went well! She is now in the healing process, but still needs much love and care. Sandi, her husband Dustin, and little Clara are at a special hospital in Seattle Washington where Clara is being treated and watched over, while their family and other two children are patiently waiting for them to return home to Montana. 

Funds earned will be donated to the YouCaring site that has been set up especially for the Henderson Family to help with medical costs, future travel to and from Montana and Seattle, and to help Sandi and her family get into a separate home where they can live together and heal.

With your donation, you will be entered into a drawing to win some amazing prizes from various designers! Please visit the blog for more information:  Love for Clara.

The Perfect Pattern Parcel #1

Perfect Pattern Parcel

Oh, how I love finding opportunities for creative people like you and me to exercise our skills and give to others! Have you heard about the Perfect Pattern Parcel? Here’s what the founders have to say about this ingenious new program:

About PPP: Put together two entrepreneurial makers driven by their internal voices and one self-taught hacker with an “if you build it, they will come” mentality, and Perfect Pattern Parcel was born. We are passionate about supporting independent designers in their craft and fostering a community of makers to grow. Our mission is to offer high-quality pdf sewing patterns written by indie designers while supporting children’s education.
Parcel 1 Collage
About Parcel #1: Pattern Parcel #1 includes sewing patterns for women that are modern classics, featuring both flattering silhouettes and garments that are comfortable to wear. From a new little black dress to weekend play wear, the patterns in Parcel #1 have got you covered.One of the patterns included in this first Pattern Parcel is the Lady Skater from Kitschy Coo, and I chose to sew a peplum top version for me! I found the instructions for turning the Lady Skater dress into a peplum-style top on the Kitschy Coo blog right here: Lady Skater Peplum. I adore the flattering fit of this top. (I texted a picture to my 24-year-old daughter to ask her opinion, and she said, “Super freaking cute!” She also suggested that I should wear it with leggings, but … um … my rear end requires complete coverage when it comes to leggings. Skinny jeans work just fine!) Speaking of my most well-endowed feature, my 16-year-old daughter/photographer insisted that you needed to see the back of the top.And, then she said, “You should spin around,” and since I never quite know what to do with myself when someone’s taking my picture, I did!The basics of the Perfect Pattern Parcel? You get an amazing set of patterns, all designed by awesome independent designers, and a portion of your purchase price goes to charity. The coolest thing, though? You get to decide what you’re going to pay, even what portion goes to the designers, the charity and PPP. Decide what you pay, give to charity and get patterns … could you possibly ask for more?

Perfect Pattern Parcel Buy Now
See more Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 examples from these bloggers:

One Little Minute
SeamstressErin Designs
One Girl Circus
casa crafty
the quirky peach
Sew Caroline
Fishsticks Designs <<< Me!
the Brodrick blog
sew a straight line
Adventures in Dressmaking
true bias
Idle Fancy
La Pantigana
Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts
Max California
la inglesita
Diary of a Chainstitcher
four square walls
Lauren Dahl
mingo & grace
Dandelion Drift
Sanae Ishida
Sew Jereli
Froo & Boo
a happy stitch
Disaster in a Dress
Things for Boys
mama says sew
sew Amy sew
Sew Busy Lizzy
Made With Moxie
imagine gnats

Aprons with a Dash of Love
A New Create Hope Designs Pattern!

Have you seen that Hopeful Threads is doing a Create Hope Designs Sew-Along this month? If you’re not familiar with CHD, I encourage you to go read the project announcement for this month — it’ll give you a great overview: September CHD Sewalong. Oh, and don’t miss yesterday’s post all about China Little Flower, the amazing organization that is supported by Create Hope Designs: Get to Know China Little Flower.

In honor of the sew-along this month, I thought I’d finish up a pattern that I’ve had in mind for a bit and donate it to Create Hope. Meet With a Dash of Love ~ Reversible Aprons for Mom & Her Little Helpers!This apron pattern includes three sizes — The Mom size which will fit moms from about size 4 to about size 16, the Big Kid size which fits little ones from about 7 to 10 and the Little Kid size for ages 3 to 6.The neckband is a simple no-fuss pull-over, and the apron can be sewn with cotton woven quilting fabrics or with waterproof fabrics.And, for those of us who love having two looks in one (or just want to be able to hide a spill when necessary), this apron is reversible!My testers did such a great job with this apron! Kelly sewed the cutest craft apron for her little guy with cotton laminate.Tania and Denise sewed the sweetest mother & daughter aprons.And, Ann made coordinating aprons for herself and her grandchildren. The little guy’s apron is a bit big, but is this not the sweetest picture? Ready to go grab the pattern and get sewing? It’s only $5 and all the proceeds go to support the children at China Little Flower! Just click right here: A Dash of Love.

The Fisherman’s Fidget Apron

Whew! I finished my second Busy Hands Fidget Apron just before the end of the month. This Hopeful Threads project is all wrapped up now, but I know that the folks at Communities of Faith Liaison of Hospice in Charlotte would be thrilled if you sew and send them a fidget apron or two anytime! You can find the details about this project and where to send aprons right here: Fidget Apron Project. The free pattern will stay available right here on my blog for you to use for family, friends or charity whenever you’d like: The Busy Hands Fidget Apron.I really enjoyed making this fishing themed apron. I’m hoping that a gentleman who loves fishing will be excited to receive it!I kept my eye out whenever I was out shopping this month for anything that I thought would work and fit the theme. That squishy worm-like creature has disappeared from my sewing room enough times since I purchased him — I’m fairly certain that he’s great for keeping fidgety hands busy.I think my favorite part of this apron might be the “fishing net” pocket, though. It has a great texture to it, and it makes the perfect home for any little loose additions.Thank you so much to those of you who sewed and gave this past month! Be sure to stop in at Hopeful Threads this morning and read all about this month’s project for the kids at Pine Ridge Reservation!

Bundle Discounts, Upcoming Sew-alongs and Busy Hands

Are you ready for the Charlie Tee & Hoodie Sew-alongs?! The Charlie Tee sew-along starts Monday at Pattern Revolution, and the Charlie Hoodie sew-along will follow a week later right here on the Fishsticks blog. Oh, and in case you didn’t already know, you only need one pattern for both the tee and the hoodie! AND, it’s on sale for one more week for only $5!The Charlie Tee & Hoodie pattern is available in three size sets. You can find each one right here: Infant & Toddler, Big Kid Sizes, Teen & Adult.In addition to the Charlie Tee sale, I’m introducing a Buy 4, Get One PDF Pattern Free Bundle Option! For every 4 PDF patterns you purchase in a single transaction, you will receive a fifth PDF pattern free of charge. If you buy 8 patterns in a single transaction, you can select 2 additional patterns to be emailed to you FREE! Each multiple of four PDF patterns in a single order, earns you a free PDF pattern. If you purchase in the Etsy store, simply note the free pattern(s) that you’d like in the comments section of your order. If you purchase through the main store, just add a note in the comments on Paypal or send an email to leigh@fishsticksdesigns.com once your order is complete.

Finally, have you sewn a Busy Hands Fidget Apron for this month’s Hopeful Threads project? Time is winding down and the Flickr album needs filling! I’m working on the man’s fishing apron that you see above right now. Sewing these is so much fun because you really get to be creative with them! If you can spare a few hours this weekend, I encourage you to sew one to donate. Just click on the picture below for the free pattern!

A Little Love in the Shape of a Pillowcase

My oldest daughter and her husband (Katie’s mom & dad) are house parents at a children’s home here in Florida. Right now, their house is home to ten teenage girls. I know many of you just took a deep breath at that thought, but I have to tell you that these two LOVE their job and can’t imagine doing anything else. The girls that they live with are just like other teen girls. They’re beautiful. They’re funny. They’re caring. (They adore Katie!) Some love sports. Some love video games. Some love art. They’re all amazing girls with bright futures ahead of them. Like every person in this world, though, they need to know that people care about them. I think that their house parents, along with the rest of the staff at the children’s home, do an amazing job of that, but I’ve had this idea for a while that maybe I could sew something for each one.

All of you who sew know that when you sew a gift with love for someone, that finished gift reminds the receiver of how much you care about them each time they use it. I really wanted to do that for these girls. Like many of you, though, my schedule is crazy busy. I’d put this on the back burner until a few weeks ago when I was reading about Simple Simon & Company’s Skirting the Issue project. I saw that they were sewing pillowcases to give and thought, “Pillowcases! That is perfect!” I can personalize them for each girl, she can use her pillowcase for as long as she wants, and she can take it with her wherever she goes! So, I called my daughter, and we put this plan in motion!Each girl shared her favorite colors or animal or character or sports team or whatever she wanted me to know about her likes, and I used those to choose the fabrics. All of the fabrics came from Joann Fabrics locally, and I used my own 9 1/2 Minute Pillowcase Tutorial to sew them up.

Lions & Scooby Doo

Florida Gators & Zebra Stripes

Jamaican Colors & Lime Green and Black


Pink and Purple & Cats

Once I had all the pillowcases done, I thought they needed fun packaging . . . and chocolate. I folded each one and slid it into a clear zippered bag with a few goodies, and I added some ribbon to make it pretty.Then I added each girl’s name on a washi tape label. (I did use the girls’  real names on the finished packaging — these are not their real names.) Much more fun than just the pillowcase, right?Now they’re all ready to deliver to their new owners! I hope that these amazing girls enjoy them, and that they provide a little reminder that someone cares about them and is praying for them wherever life might take them in the years ahead.

The Busy Hands Fidget Apron Pattern & Tutorial
Hopeful Threads’ July 2013 Project

I absolutely love working with Kristy at Hopeful Threads on a project, and this month is another great opportunity for me (and you!) to do that! This month’s Busy Hands, Ours to Theirs project is a unique way for you to sew and give to many older men and women who have spent much of their lives giving to others.  You can read all the details right here:  The Busy Hands, Ours to Theirs Project.  The Fidget Aprons that we’ll be sewing are designed to be used by those who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. The trinkets, trims and activities attached to the apron provide a way for patients to keep their often restless fingers busy. This can provide much-needed relief for both loved ones and their caregivers.The Busy Hands Fidget Apron is a free pattern and tutorial that I put together just for this month’s project.   The tutorial includes instructions for how to safely attach the trinkets while keeping the apron washable and not overly cumbersome. The apron is easy to sew and includes a comfortable easy-on, easy-off pull-over neckband.Before you get started sewing, you’ll need to gather your fidget items. Here are a few details on the things that I used to get you ready to start digging through your stash or to grab your coupons and head out to the craft store! (In addition to the these items, the apron itself requires 1 1/2 yards of cotton woven fabric. Quilting fabrics and lightweight twill work perfectly.)Choose trims that feel nice to the touch.   (I found this fluffy trim above on clearance at Joann Fabrics for $.99 a yard.  Pom-pom trims or even a long rectangle of minky or cuddle fabric folded in half would work well, too!) Things that make a slight clicking noise like the round plastic rings (knitting stitch markers) are great.  Try to avoid things that are really loud, though.   Buttons and beads are great, especially large ones or uniquely-shaped ones.  Knit fabric scraps, cording or shoelaces can be used for braiding or lacing.Be sure to grab some keyrings!  You’ll need them to make it easy to remove items that can’t be washed and dried.  For a little fun, find small toys that can be attached easily with ribbons.  I found the stretchy frog above in my boys’ toy stash, and the tiny Slinky below came from the dollar section at Target.You’ll need plenty of ribbon to attach your fidget items.  (Small pieces from your stash are a great choice, or check out Michaels, Joann or Hobby Lobby for a huge selection!)  The pattern includes instructions for the little zippered pouch.  You’ll need a zipper that is at least 7″ long.  A longer zipper is fine, though.  We’ll just cut off the extra.  (Don’t panic if you never sewn a zipper before.  The method that I use is really, really easy.  Just make sure you know where your zipper foot is!)Use your imagination.  You most definitely do not have to sew your aprons exactly the way that I did mine!  This is a project that you should interpret in your own way!

One more thing, this project needs aprons for men and women, so keep an eye out for items that can be used for either.  I have this fishing fabric washed and dried and ready to be sewn into a man’s apron next week!Once you have your fidget items ready to go, just download the pattern right here: The Busy Hands Fidget Apron. Be sure to share your finished aprons in the Hopeful Threads Flickr album! It’s going to be so much fun to see what you put together!

It is such a blessing to give!

Remember this huge stack of bibs from the February “Dinner for Two” Hopeful Threads project?Many of the bibs that you sewed and gave are already being put to use at The Hidden Treasures Foster Home, and the others are making their way over in suitcases a little at time as volunteers travel from the states to serve. I’m so excited to get to share with you some beautiful pictures that were emailed to Kristy and me . . . pictures of the children who received your handiwork! These pictures should warm your heart and encourage your spirit.A portion of the thank-you letter that was included with the photos said, “We are so touched because we can feel the outpouring of tender love, quality of workmanship and genuine giving that went into the making of each bib. These bibs brighten the daily life of not only the children but everyone who cares for them and visits the home. The variety of patterns and colors makes a person smile, and I believe makes the child feel very special.”

Thank you so much for giving of your time and your talents!

The above photos are property of Hidden Treasures Foster Home/Loaves and Fishes International, and are used here with permission. Please do not copy or reuse without permission.

Sewing to Rebuild

Do you happen to have some sewing time to spare this weekend? Pattern Revolution and Green Style Creations have teamed up with a group of independent PDF pattern designers to collect handmade clothing, as well as stuffed toys and bags, for families affected by the tornadoes that struck Oklahoma this week. As of yesterday morning’s update, they had nearly hit the original collection goal of 100 items in only TWO days! With all the incredibly giving sewists in this online community, I think we could easily hit 10 times that number. Want to know how to use your sewing skills to help, too? Just click on the logo above to find all the details, including free patterns and downloadable tags!We’re at Florida’s state homeschool (FPEA) convention this weekend, but I was able to squeeze in a couple of hours of sewing before packing our bags on Thursday night. I used my free The Tank pattern and my Mud Puddle Splashers pattern to make these two little boy outfits to add to the collection of items heading to Oklahoma. First up is this navy blue airplane set in size 4T . . . . . . and then this black and gray soccer ball outfit in size 6.When disaster strikes, we all want to be able to do something to bring a little hope to those affected, this is a little way that we can do just that for little ones whose families have lost all of their material possessions. I’ll be sending these two little outfits off with prayers that they’ll put smiles on the faces of the little boys who receive them and that their families will soon be back on their feet looking forward to a bright future!

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