Category Archives: machine sewing- crafts

Hawaiian Inspired Applique Pillow



So recently I took a trip to Hawaii to visit my grandparents. They live on the island of Oahu. On our trip we decided to learn as much as we could about Hawaiian Quilts. They are just amazing. A traditional Hawaiian quilt is made using a technique called appliqué.

Applique is when you sew one piece of fabric onto a larger piece of fabric. Almost like putting a sticker on a piece of paper. It’s a fabric sticker!

The designs of traditional Hawaiian quilts are usually symmetrical (the same on both sides) and are inspired by nature or the animals of the area.

Check out some beautiful examples of Hawaiian Quilts here.

So my mom and I bought some patterns and want to make a Hawaiian quilt but that’s going to take a while so we decided that it would be fun to try and make a simplified version of a Hawaiian appliqué and make a pillow.

It was pretty easy and SO much fun.

Try it out!

The supplies you need for this project are…

background fabric (we used white)- you decide how big your pillow will be.

fabric for applique. a piece about the size of a piece of paper is enough.

fusible appliqué paper- use lightweight paper. (basically this is two sized sticky stuff that you iron onto your fabric to make it stick together. – fabric stickers!)

1 sheet of paper and scissors

stuffing for your pillow


here’s a separate picture of the fusible fleece/webbing we used.


First thing we need to do is to make the pattern for our design.

Take a piece of printer paper and fold one edge up to the other side. (we’re trying to make a square piece of paper instead of a rectangular one)

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once  you have that done then cut off the little rectangular extra bit.

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take your big triangle and fold it in half to make a smaller one.


now take a pencil and draw curvy line (anything is fine but the simpler the better for this project) from one corner to the next.

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make sure you’re drawing on the long side (the open side) not the folded sides.IMG_8824

now cut on your line, open it up and see your design! We made 100 of these it was SO fun.

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Okay now we get out our fusible webbing paper and make sure you have a big enough piece.


read the directions on the package on ours you peel off one side of the paper, lay it down on the wrong side of the fabric and then iron it on.

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now cut out your fabric to the same size of your paper and fold it just like you did the paper in the beginning. Use the pattern you made (folded up) to trace onto your fabric paper and then cut on the line.


It should look like this.


Alright then, cut your pillow fabric to the size you want and make sure it’s big enough for your design to be placed on it. Cut two pieces! You need a front and back. We made ours a little bit of a rectangle.


Once you have your pillow pieces cut out you’re going to iron on the appliqué piece. Peel off the other paper and place it on your fabric (right side), iron it on and take a look!

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Now we get to sew! You could just leave your appliqué on the pillow just like it is but it will probably start to peel off with time and use. The best thing to do is to stitch it down.

I used a really small zig zag stitch and went really slowly to stitch it on. This is where the design can make things hard. If you have a design that has too many turns in it it will take a while to sew it on.

Take your time with this and use your presser foot to help you with the corners!


Once you have it stitched on you’re ready to sew up your pillow!

Place the right sides of the fabric together (your design will be on the inside!) and stitch around leaving a space for stuffing open. We always use a 1/4 inch seam allowance (which is the width of your presser foot) to make things easy. Ohh and make sure you backstitch at the beginning and end so your stitches don’t come out.

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Once you get it sewn flip in inside out. Time to stuff it!

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Stuff it pretty tight, no one likes a lumpy pillow! I use my fingers to press the stuffing into the corners.

Once you have it all stuffed you need to stitch it up by hand. Take breaks if you need to, this can take a little time.


Now admire your work! Here’s my sister and I holding it up. She wanted to show you her watch.


Hope you enjoy! Make a bunch!


Crayon or Marker Roll Up- take it with you!



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Sunday is my friend Jace’s birthday. He’s going to be 6 like me. For his birthday present I decided to make him a marker roll because he likes to draw.

My mom and I have made these to hold crayons, fat markers and skinny markers. My mom was thinking she might make   a version of this for my sister to hold her matchbox cars in. Really it could work for a lot of different items.

This is a project that requires a sewing machine. You could hand sew this but it would take quite a while.

For this project you need

markers (we’re using skinny ones)

fabric (two colors)- when you go to the fabric store they often have precut squares of cotton called Fabric Quarters or Fat Quarters that are made for quilters. That’s an easy way to quickly pick up a couple pieces of fabric that go nicely together.

coordinating thread

hair band (elastic band)


Iron both pieces of fabric well before starting. It’s really important to be careful with the iron. My mom helps me with the iron because it’s pretty dangerous.


Measure and cut your fabric to 10 inches by 12 inches- you can use your first piece as a template to cut your second piece. My mom and I have a self healing cutting mat with measurement marks on it and a rotary cutter that make things really easy but if you don’t have that just use a regular ruler and scissors. It’s important to cut very carefully on this project if you want all your markers to fit.

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pin the right sides together (in sewing when the directions say “right side” they mean the colored or pretty side of the fabric)

leave about a 4 inch gap at the bottom for turning your piece inside out.

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Along the 12 inch side you are going to place your hair elastic. This will become the holder for keeping your roll closed. Measure 4 inches from the top of the fabric and slide and pin your elastic inside the two layers of fabric with about half an inch or so sticking out. (this part will end up on the inside when you’re done. You want the larger part of the elastic inside with the right sides of the fabric- does that make sense?)

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Now it’s time to sew this up. Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance (seam allowance are the words used in sewing for how far in you measure and start your stitch) start stitching at the beginning of your opening point. Use a backstitch for strength  after you make your first few stitches.

Most sewing machine feet are about 1/4 inch to the edge. That’s what I use as my guide. I just keep the fabric right next to the foot of the machine and it stays really nice and even.


stitch all the way around leaving that gap for stuffing in the middle of the bottom.

To turn your fabric you sew almost to the edge. Stop. Raise your presser foot. Turn. Lower your presser foot and continue on..

Here’s some pictures showing that series of moves. Don’t just try to rotate the fabric while your stitching, it won’t look very good unless you want curved edges (which could look cool too)


IMG_8173 lift foot

IMG_8175 turn

IMG_8177 lower foot

IMG_8176 off you go!

When you get to the hair elastic you need to move very slowly, this is tricky! I pinch the hair elastic with my fingers and press it right up into the bottom of the foot. I then sew it really slowly and then backstitch over the elastic to add some strength to the stitch.

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Now that you have the piece stitched you want to lay it out flat, trim the threads from your stitches and then clip the corners very carefully. Clipping the corners make your corners look a lot nicer once you get it turned right side out just be careful you don’t go over the stitch line!


Now turn your piece right side out and iron it flat making sure you gently turn the extra fabric inside that is part of your opening.

IMG_8205 IMG_8214 IMG_8210 opening with fabric pressed inside

Now it’s time to stitch it again! This is called top stitching and gives your piece a finished look and strength. Use that same 1/4 inch seam allowance you used before.


Once you’re done topstitching you can lay your piece out with the side you want eventually facing out down and fold up the flap. You want the  flap to be about 4.5 inches up. That gives you enough space for the markers with the lids coming out from the top.


Start on one end and stitch from the folded side up along the topstitched line. Backstitch at the end of the line where the green and blue meet in the above picture)  so the markers don’t rip the pockets open.

stitch lines all the way down the piece starting on the folded edge and backstitching at the top every time. I spaced mine 3/4 inches apart and it fits 11 skinny markers. You could also do 1 inch and it should fit the fat markers. Just try your marker first before you stitch a bunch of the lines! (that would stink if it didn’t fit!)

Once you have it stitched all the way across clip all your excess threads off, insert your markers, roll up and you’re ready to go!

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I think Jace will like this very much and I really enjoyed making it for him. Handmade gifts are the best!!

Thanks for reading and Happy Sewing!


Reversible Ribbon Headbands!


A few days ago I had the most fun playdate with my friend Margaret and my sister. They love crafting and sewing too and we decided to make headbands out of ribbon and elastic. They’re super cool because they’re reversible. You can flip them over whenever you want to change the look.

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The supplies you need for this project are

two kinds of ribbon (they need to be the same width)

thread that matches (or not if you want a contrasting color)

1/4 inch elastic

tape measure



Start by measuring your head from ear to ear. It helps if you have a friend help you with this part. Both our heads were 13 inches!


Cut your ribbon about 1 inch longer than your head measurement. We cut our’s 14 inches.


Now match up your ribbon with the wrong sides together (the non-printed sides) and stitch down the edges. We used a zig zag stitch on one of the headbands and just a straight stitch on the other.

Start sewing about half an inch down from the end. You need to leave a little space to turn the edges in.


Margaret and her mom sewing


Once you get it sewn on both sides turn the edges inside and stick the elastic in and stitch it up closed. You probably want to sew across the elastic end a few times to make sure it’s secure.


Once you have one side done, sit it on your head and have a friend help you pull the elastic under the back of your head and mark a line where you should sew it on the other side so it fit’s just right. Stick it inside the layers of ribbon with the edges turned under and stitch it closed.

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Trim your stray threads off and you’re done!

Wasn’t that easy? It looks so great too! You could make these for a friends birthday gift, for yourself, or even for your Mom or teacher.

Here’s some pictures of Margaret, my sister and I wearing our headbands!

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Make one and send us a picture for our creation gallery! We want to see your work!

Machine Sewn Family Dolls



These are super simple little dolls you can make and play with all day. You can draw your own pattern or feel free to print out the ones we made at the bottom of this post.

Start by printing out the pattern or drawing your own pattern on the wrong side of a piece of fabric. Use chalk, it washes off easily.


Pin two pieces of fabric together with the right sides (printed sides) together and think about where you want to leave open for stuffing. It should be an area that doesn’t have any big curves in it. I’ve marked our area in the picture below.


Stitch up the doll except for the stuffing area and cut it out.


My mom says that if you snip the area inside all the little curves and turns (like the neck, armpits, inside the legs etc..) area it makes it look better once you flip it inside out. The picture above shows her doing that.

Once you have your doll flipped right side out, stuff it up using a pencil or chopstick to get the stuffing into the head, arms etc..


Hand sew the opening closed that you used for stuffing and then you’re done!!

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You can make a whole family of dolls and soon we’ll make some clothes to go on them!

Hope you enjoy playing with them as much as my sister and I do!


mine turned out a little lumpy but I still like him.


These are the ones my mom made for my sister. She loves green.

Click on the pictures below to open a full sized version of the template and print it. I apologize if you have to do any resizing. I’m new to this and think I did it right but am not 100% confident.

Thanks as always for reading and Happy Sewing,


baby Dad kid 1 kid 2 mom