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DIY “I Spy” Valentines!

February 6, 2014


It’s Valentine time and my kids are pumped about their Valentine’s Day cards this year. Last year, Eleanor drew up her own and I scanned, scaled, arranged and printed it out. That was fun. But this year, both kids are into I Spy books and I have been storing this idea away for the perfect year. My friend Sarah made one with her daughter once and the image has stuck in my mind since- “I Spy” valentines!

It’s incredibly easy. Here’s what you need:

– a camera (duh)

– approximately 20-2000 teeny tiny little trinkets and toys

– a platform of varied levels (we grabbed books with a pink or red spine)

– fabric or paper for a background

– a kid who loves to arrange, rearrange and re-rearrage

I spy valentine, DIY valentine, valentine ideas for kids, preschool valentine ideas


This is one instance where I was actually glad my kids have tons of little trinkets!

The kids came up with some of the items on the list and I added others.  InDesign was used to arrange the photo and some text, but any photo editing program will work. I set the dimensions to print as a 4×6 photo (printed via mpix) and we will put them in A4 envelopes. We printed several extras to mail some to friends and family in addition to passing them out to their classmates.

I spy valentine, DIY valentine, valentine ideas for kids, preschool valentine ideas

An early Happy Valentine’s Day from our family to you! If you make one of these, please share. My kids would love to hunt down items on your list!

Oliver + S (and a doll) Christmas Dress

February 1, 2014


Back in November, Eleanor tallied up her piggy bank cash, visited the bank to count her coins and took a trip to the American Girl store to pick out a doll. I have vivid memories of my parents having me pay for my own Samantha Parkington doll (which I still own!) and knew I wanted Eleanor to do the same. She came home a proud owner of a Kit Kittredge doll and I promised her I’d make her and her doll matching Christmas dresses.

I knew I wanted to make Eleanor’s dress from The Library Dress pattern by Oliver + S and thanks to the ever helpful fabric-swatch-mailing and phone consultating with Diana at Pink Chalk Fabrics, I knew I wanted to make it from Robert Kaufman Interweave Chambray in Pepper  for the main dress and In the Beginning Modern Solids in Slate for the sash.  Eleanor would have been a picky pants about buttons down the back of the dress and I wanted to put an invisible zipper in the dress instead. I’d done one in the Fairy Tale Dress I made last Christmas and loved how it turned out. Lucky for me, Liesl shared a very helpful reader-written post for making that change.

Oliver + S doll dress, doll library dress, american girl, liberty jane dress pattern

Eleanor was delighted with her new dress and wore it several times at Christmas and since then, too. She even begged to wear it to school last week for the 100th day of kindergarten.

Oliver + S doll dress, doll library dress, american girl, liberty jane dress pattern

To make the doll dress, I modified this kimono dress from Pixie Faire patterns. I axed the apron and used sleeves from another doll dress pattern I had so that I could lengthen the sleeve and eliminate the gathers at the top seam. I also skipped the binding on the bodice and instead sewed it much like Eleanor’s dress, with two layers sewn together to make each of the overlapping pieces. I added the trim at the top and bottom of the sash and ended up chopping off a few inches from the skirt width because I wanted the pleats to mimic the real dress. I really love how it turned out, though I am highly annoyed that I didn’t notice that the pleats point the wrong way on the doll dress front. If I hadn’t already finished the edges of that seam and if it hadn’t been the wee hours of the morning, I might have fixed it. Oh, well!

I have a feeling that many, many doll outfits are in my future!

Giveaway Day Winners

December 18, 2013

I’m busy sewing up a Christmas dress for Eleanor and a new stocking for Rhett, but wanted to pop in for a minute to announce the winners of the Giveaway Day bundles!

The Stitching bundle goes to #322, “Betsy”:

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The Christmas bundle goes to #332, “mjb”:

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And the International winner is #116,  “Anne D”:

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If you are one of those lucky commenters, check your e-mail!

Back to my Christmas sewing hidey-hole I go!


Giveaway Day 2013 + PDF Pattern Sale

December 8, 2013

Welcome to Giveaway Day!

Up for grabs today are two different pattern and fabric bundles. I’ve also got a PDF pattern sale code for all readers, so look for that at the end of the post!

giveaway day, card table playhouse

The Stitching Bundle: Five fat quarters and a copy of the Card Table Playhouse pattern, Cover Up sewing machine cover pattern and Studio Stitches embroidery pattern. Perfect for anyone who loves all things sewing!


The Christmas Bundle: Five fat quarters and a copy of my Advent Activity Calendar, Sleigh Bells Stocking and Wonderland tree skirt patterns.  I get to see these in my house every day right now and I have loved making them!

Christmas stocking pattern, patchwork christmas stocking

International Bundle: International readers, you’re not left out! I’ll give away a PDF copy of the patterns from one of the above bundles. Winner’s choice.

Shipping: US shipping only for the first two bundles listed. International entries will be for pattern bundles without fabrics.

How to enter:

Simply tell me which giveaway you’re entering to win: “Christmas Bundle”, “Stitching Bundle” or “International”! Telling me what you’re sewing right now isn’t required but sure would entertain me today! Be sure your e-mail address is easily found in your profile or comment so I can contact you if you win.

The winners will be selected on Monday, December 16th at noon CST.


And now, a coupon code for everyone!

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After getting more and more e-mails from international readers trying to find copies of my sewing patterns, I finally caved and opened a PDF store. Many of the patterns are ready and uploaded and the remainder will be added over the next few weeks. Independent shops will continue to be the only way to get paper copies of my patterns, but digital copies will be available here at long last.

To christen the newly launched PDF pattern store here at Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio, I’m offering a 20% off code through Monday the 16th at noon. Simply enter the code GIVEAWAYDAY at checkout for 20% off your PDF pattern order. Ready? Head on over to the shop after you enter the giveaway!

Note: If you don’t see your comment show up right away, don’t worry. First time commenters go through a filter and will show up just as quickly as I can approve them. I’ll work to be speedy!

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