Family Tree Embroidery Designs

Family Tree Embroidery Designs are a fun way to display your family tree for others to see. Here I am going to show you the process it takes to make a pillow.

A neighbor of mine asked if I could design a family tree for her grandmother that included the grandmother’s children and their spouses. She typed up a list for me, and I added the children and their spouses around the

After the first design, my friend realized that names were missing so she sent me the extra names and I added them in.


The last version we moved the names around a little bit and came up with thread colors. She wanted her grandparent’s names and their children’s names the same color while the spouses names be a different color. family-tree-embroidery-design-final

The last step is to put the design onto my machine and then have my machine start embroidering the fabric!

After the design is finished, I take it out of the hoop and cut all the connecting threads. My friend is taking her finished family tree to a craft store and they are going to professionally frame it for her! The other option is turning it into a pillow.


Interested in buying one? Then click here!


Where’s my luggage? Personalized Luggage Tags

Does your plain black suitcase get lost among all the other suitcases at an airport because it doesn’t have a luggage tag? My parents looked for suitcases that would stand out from all the others because they travel a lot. However, they still had a hard time finding their luggage.

I thought a fun present for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for my parents would be personalized luggage tags. I found some Florida State fabric, and I used a scalloped banner charm for my mom and a quatrefoil banner charm for my dad. I added their monograms during the embroidery steps, and once they were done added some coordinating ribbon so they can tie them onto their luggage.

After doing these fun gifts for my parents, I thought they would also make great end of year gifts for teachers! All of my boys teachers received these as gifts at the end of the year.

You can find my luggage tags here. I can find fabric that matches your school colors or even your favorite colors! What a fun and unique gift!

Carpool Number Tags

How did the idea for monogrammed carpool bag tags start? My kids ride the bus, and if I ever have to pick them up, I simply write their names on a piece of paper and drive through the carpool line.  When this school year started, a lot of Ethan’s friends were instead given a carpool number. They keep this special number all year, and once their number is called, they know to get up and go to their car. As we all know, not all kids are good at remembering numbers or maybe they get a little anxious with all this new stuff they have to learn. Ethan’s friend’s parents asked if I could come up with an idea to help their child out, and the idea for these bag tags started!

Now you can pick from a wide range of canvas colors: red, pink, yellow, navy, aqua, green, and orange!

They also work perfectly for your child to pick out which bookbag or even lunch box is theirs. This came in handy for Jacob when he left his lunchbox in the cafeteria on the second day of school! Luckily his tag was on the lunchbox so it was easier to find in the lost and found!

Come find them here and help your child feel more confident at school!


Do you have a different idea for a product? Please feel free to email me and let me help you out!

Pillow Covers: Invisible Zipper and Dog Ears

I always wondered why the corners of my pillows stuck out a bit and were kind of pointy. After a bit of searching, I found out they are called “dog ears” in the sewing world. You can see how they kind of stick out here on this pillow I made:IMG_20170420_122214

There are rulers out there that you can buy that show you how to cut your fabric to eliminate these dog ears. After much searching, I found a few tips that I liked, but I wasn’t sure how to add an invisible zipper.

  • This site basically has you take your measurements and divide them by 4. Then you would use that to mark your fabric. That is what I did.
  • Other sites said to divide in thirds and that is where you would put your first mark. I thought that might be a bit too much.

The pillow I am making in this tutorial will be a 16″ finished pillow. I know other tutorials call for you cutting the material 16″x16″, but I don’t do that (personal preference).


  • 2: 17″x17″ pieces of fabric
  • 1 invisible zipper (12″-14″ invisible zippers work with this method).
  • invisible zipper foot
  • zipper foot
  • straight stitch foot

Cut your fabric so that you have 2 17″x17″ pieces.  Now the above tutorial has you make the following marks:

  • 1/2″ square at the corner – I just put a dot 1/2″ in on both sides
  • place a mark 4″ from the corner – how is this figured out? I took my finished size of 16″ and divided by 4.
  • connect the marks you made with lines – I actually used my ruler and just used my rotary cutter to cut those sections off.


Zig zag around each side to help with fraying and press each side with your iron.


Zipper installation:

  1. Place your zipper on the bottom of one side of your fabric with the correct side facing down. I started with the top of my zipper about 1.5″ from the left side and pinned. Take it to your machine and use your invisible zipper foot to sew it on.IMG_20170906_132009027
  2. Now you need to sew the zipper to the second piece of fabric. You want to line up your sides so the zipper goes in correctly. Once you do that start pinning at the top of the zipper, stopping your last pin around the same point as you started the first side. IMG_20170906_132302171
  3. Now that the invisible zipper is in, pin that side together since it isn’t completely sewn together yet. IMG_20170906_132644814_HDR
  4. You will then put your regular zipper foot on your machine and move your needle position all the way to the right. Pull the ends of your zipper out to make sewing the zipper in easier and sew from the zipper to the edge of the fabric. You want to start about 1/2″ before where you stopped stitching the invisible zipper in.IMG_20170906_134450992


Now all you need to do is pin the whole pillow together. Keep your zipper open some so you can turn the pillow right side out.


And here is your finished pillow! The dog ears are almost completely eliminated, and my pillow looks square!IMG_20170906_122523


Happy sewing! If you have any questions, please let me know!

Sweater Pillow

Before we left for our 4th of July vacation, my mom asked if I could help her transform a sweater into a pillow. She had found the pillow at a yard sale that she visited with a friend, and her friend loved the sweater!

When I saw the sweater, the first thing I did was seam rip all the stitches that held the bottom hem together. I also seam ripped the sleeves where they came together. This gave us the ability to use the sleeves for a second pillow. By seam ripping the bottom seam, it gave us the ability to see more of the pillow design.

The sweater was a pretty good size so we bought an 18″ square pillow form at Joanns and a bolster pillow.

We cut the main part of the sweater into a 19″ square. When I sew sweater pillows, I use a 1/2″ seam allowance. If you feel the sweater is not tightly woven, then you should iron an interfacing onto the back of the sweater before you cut it apart. IMG_20170703_152526

Place right sides together and pin it A LOT!IMG_20170703_152924

Now sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance straight stitch around the whole pillow. We slightly rounded each of our corners. Remove all the pins, and then zigzag around the edges – this just helps make sure your sweater doesn’t unravel. Unbutton your sweater and turn it inside out. Fit your pillow form inside!


The front of the pillow


The back of the pillow

To do the smaller pillow, I first cut the sleeves off of the remnant of the sweater.IMG_20170703_153725

I cut the sweaters into rectangles. The pillow we bought is 12″ x 16″. IMG_20170703_154948

I then took each piece and zigzagged the center seam of each of them as shown in the picture above. I wanted my seam to lay flat when I sewed the two pieces together. Next I placed them right sides together and did a 1/2″ straight stitch down the center. I then cut the sweater to be 17″ wide x 13″ tall.

I didn’t have enough sweater to make the back from the sweater so I found a coordinating piece of fabric and made an envelop enclosure. (Note to self: I need to write a better tutorial here.) I like a 3″ overlap between the pillows so I cut 2 pieces of fabric:

  • 13″ tall x 6.5″ wide
  • 13″ tall x 18.5″ wide (okay this piece was probably too big but I would rather it be too big than too small)

On the 6.5″ and 18.5″ sides, I turned the fabric over 1/2″ and then over another 1/2″ so I could make the seam.

I placed the two pieces together (so that the smaller section was underneath) on top of the sweater piece and made sure there was a 3″ overlap. Then I sewed around with another 1/2″ seam allowance and then zigzagged the edges.


The front of the pillow


The back of the pillow


Enjoy your upcycled sweaters! Happy sewing!

Monogramming Pillowcases

A friend got in touch with me recently and asked if I could monogram the cuff of a pillowcase. This is the process I follow to figure out what design and what colors they want.

  1. I ask what initials they want and then do mock ups of all the different font options I have.crjcrj2
  2. Once my customer picks the option they like the best, we figure out color choices. She picked the circular monogram with the beading around it.colors
  3. Now we pick which color option she likes best. In this case, my customer went with yellow letters surrounded by white beading.

Once my customer dropped off the pillowcase, I had to get it ready to be monogrammed.

  1. You need to seam rip the cuff of the pillow. I like to do this so that you don’t see any of the stitches inside the pillow.
  2. Next find the middle of the cuff, and embroider it on your machine.IMG_20170613_152722869
  3. Pin the cuff back in place. IMG_20170613_153212367
  4. Sew the two seam lines again.IMG_20170613_154155506

Now enjoy your newly monogrammed pillowcase! As always let me know if you have any questions!


How to make and attach Bias Binding

I am slowly getting this t-shirt quilt done. I quilted the top, batting, and backing together. I like to stitch in the ditch between the shirts and the sashing. Personally I don’t like seeing stitching on the shirts. IMG_20170609_155738

The next step is to make the binding. I measured the quilt and it is approximately 84″ x 100″. When I find the perimeter for the quilt I need about 368″ of bias binding. You always want more than this amount based on the corners and joining the two ends together.

To make the binding:

  1. Lay your fabric on your table, and fold the cut side down to the selvage giving you a 45 degree angle.IMG_20170611_143649453
  2. Press this angle using your fingers or an iron.
  3. Open the fabric up and you will see your pressed line. Cut along this line.
  4. Now cut 2.25″ strips along this same line. I cut 8 strips for this quilt.IMG_20170611_143929815
  5. Now you want to join the strips together. Take two of your strips. Lay one down on your ironing board horizontally. Lay the second strip right sides together vertically on top of that strip. Fold the top strip down at a 45 degree angle and press. Pin these strips together being careful to not move the fabric.
  6. Sew along this diagonal line. Cut the excess fabric off. I eyeball about 1/4″. Press the fabric outwards. Keep repeating until all the strips are sewn together. IMG_20170611_150126490
  7. Now that you have one long bias strip, you want to press it. Fold it over on top of itself bringing the cut side over to the other cut side. Iron the whole strip of fabric. I like to put the whole strip of fabric on a piece of cardboard to make it easier to deal with when sewing it to your quilt.

Sewing your binding to your quilt:

  1. Start at the bottom middle of your quilt. Leave a long tail of binding so that it is easy to sew the two ends together. I like to put pins 1/4″ away from each of the corners so that I know where to stop.
  2. Sew all the way to that pin and then turn it 45 degrees and sew off the quilt.IMG_20170612_103736074_HDR
  3. You then want to move the quilt away from the needle. Fold the binding at a 45 degree angle and then fold it back down so that the selvage edges are touching. (Sorry I didn’t take enough pictures so I am using my floor as my quilt… You can see in the first picture how I fold it up at an angle and in the second picture how I then fold the fabric back down along that line, my pretend quilt edge.)
  4. Now start sewing again 1/4″ from the top of the quilt. You can eyeball where the line is from where you just sewed your binding on. Continue sewing until you get back to the bottom of the quilt. Leave a good amount left undone so it is easier to sew both pieces together.
  5. Lay the two ends of binding on top of the quilt straight across the bottom. Overlap the two pieces and use a pin to mark where the top piece is 2.25″ longer than the first piece. Cut along this line. IMG_20170612_111605687
  6. Now you want to take your top piece open it up, and lay it on top of the bottom vertically piece right sides together. I then folded it at a 45 degree angle and finger pressed this line. Sew up this line and your binding will be all together.
  7. You can now sew the rest of the binding to the quilt!
  8. Once you are done, flip the quilt over and start sewing the binding to the front. I go slowly and just turn the binding over to the top of the quilt. Because of how you did the corners it makes the corners on the front easy! Just pull the back binding to the front all the way to the bottom and then fold the next side up and it will be a perfect angle!

Here is my finished quilt!!!!


Here are some binding links that I found helpful, and this is how I learned…

Let me know if you have any questions! Happy Sewing!!!!


T-Shirt Quilts

More and more people these days like the idea of putting their college/race/baby clothes into a quilt. I now have a pile of my boys clothes so that hopefully I can do the same…. Here are some tips and the process that I use. I also find this site to be very helpful with fabric yardage needed.

Some decisions to make before you begin:

  • Do you want borders (sashing) between your squares?
  • Do you want your squares to be all the same size?
  • What size finished quilt do you want – lap, twin, double,…?

All of these decisions play a part in what materials you need!


  • old clothes that you want to cut a part
  • rotary cutter
  • ruler
  • 16.5″ plexiglass template – Lowes will do this for you so don’t try it at home. We failed miserably cutting it ourselves…. The size of the template depends on the shirts you have also. You can go bigger or smaller depending upon your shirts. This will give you your square size before seams. Note: this isn’t necessary; I just find it speeds the process up. I use this template to cut the shirts apart.
  • 15.5″ plexiglass template: I use this one to do the final cutting of my squares after the interfacing is on.
  • interfacing: I really like Pellon SF101 which I buy by the bolt. I bought 2 bolts for this project
  • fabric for sashing if needed


A 1/4″ seam is used for this whole process! I also find a walking foot to be very helpful when working on t-shirt quilts. It helps handle the bulk nicely.

  1. Lay your large 16.5″ template on top of your shirts and use it to cut the shirts apart.  Determine the largest design you have as that is how big your squares should be. Note: you don’t have to have squares in your quilt. I will show you some finished quilts I have done at the end.IMG_20170228_110822
  2. Cut your interfacing 2″ bigger than your largest shirt. With this quilt I am showing you step by step, I cut the interfacing 16″ wide and used the length of the bolt for the length. I then placed it the longest way on the shirt.
  3. Adhere your interfacing to the back of each shirt either using a handheld iron or a heat press. If you use an iron, pick up your iron and put it down. Do not smooth it over the top of the interfacing.IMG_20170301_122356
  4. Using your smaller plexiglass template square up your shirts.IMG_20170516_100650947
  5. Now it is time to arrange your squares! I try to make sure that a like colored shirt is not near a like colored shirt, i.e. there is no white shirt next to a white shirt in any direction.IMG_20170516_105954768_HDR.jpg
  6. Once I get the go ahead from my customer, I cut the sashing. For this quilt, I cut the sashing 2″ wide x 15.5″ long. Pin it to each of the squares except the last one in each row.
  7. Now that you have the sashing attached to each square, you want to bring your stack of squares to your ironing board. Iron towards the sashing as the t-shirts are bulky and the seam presses nicer that way. If your emblem is big, you will want to use a piece of muslin to cover the emblem as you iron. You do not want to ruin a shirt by having the iron stick to it.
  8. Now pin each square to it’s neighbor and sew the columns together.
  9. Once the whole row is sewn, you will want to add the sashing underneath. For this quilt, it took 2 15″x w.o.f. (width of fabric) pieces. You want to join these two pieces at a 45 degree angle so that it is harder to see the seam. I call this mitering your seams.
    • Lay one piece of fabric down on your ironing board. Lay the second piece on top with right sides together at a 90 degree angle.IMG_20170530_090951835.jpg
    • Make a 45 degree angle with that second piece of fabric and press this seam. Open the fabric up carefully holding onto it, and pin.
    • Sew along this pressed line. Press the seam open and cut off the excess fabric.
  10. Now you have one long piece of sashing that you can attach to each of the rows of shirts except for the last one. Pin the sashing into place and cut it to the appropriate length. IMG_20170528_162752882
  11. Once the sashing is attached to each row, you can sew the rows together.
  12. The last step is to create the outside borders. For the top and bottom borders, you will need 6 – 2.5″wide x w.o.f. strips sewn together in the manner above.
  13. Attach each strip to the bottom and top of the quilt with pins. When sewing these strips, start 1/4″ in from the top if you want mitered corners at the top. I reinforce these starting and stopping points. I also had a 3″ tail at the beginning and end of the quilt. These helps me to miter the corners.
  14. After you have sewn these on, cut the excess fabric off, but leave at least 3″ of fabric on either side of the quilt.
  15. You can use the leftover pieces from the border along with 4 – 2.5″ wide x w.o.f. strips. Sew them together as I did above.
  16. Attach these vertical strips to the quilt starting with 3″ of overhang and pin 1/4″ in from the top, making sure you also have a 3″ overhang at the bottom. Attach the borders to both sides.
  17. When you sew, start 1/4″ down from the top and stop 1/4″ from the bottom, which you can see in the picture above.
  18. Now you will want to miter your corners. This is the same technique as when you mitered your seams, but it may seem a little different.
    • Take your horizontal border and make a 45 degree angle with the vertical border. You can do it the other way around also.
    • Iron that angle.
    • Fold your horizontal border up to your vertical border at a 45 degree angle while holding onto the borders. Pin on either side of the ironed seam.
    • Next sew down that ironed line, starting at the 1/4″ seam from the two borders you added.
    • Cut the excess fabric off and iron again!
  19. The top of your quilt is now done!IMG_20170530_103323

Here are some other quilts that I have done that don’t have borders and have different sized blocks.


Sewing Machine Mat

With a new sewing room comes a new sewing table. I saw so many Pinterest links to the Ingo Table from Ikea and how it works well for sewing! So I ordered one and when it came unfinished I realized I should paint it. Well it’s so humid here that even though I let it sit for over a week after my 3 coats of paint, my big sewing machine stuck to the table. Ahhhh!

I started searching Pinterest yet again for sewing mat ideas. I saw this one, but I couldn’t find any pre-quilted fabric that I liked. I also saw this one and thought that’s more like it! But I didn’t want to add ribbon and I wanted something super simple.

I found two fabrics I liked and cut the following:

  • 31″ wide x 25″ tall: one from each fabric
  • 31″ wide x 21″ tall batting – I didn’t want the batting where the pocket was in the front. I thought it would be too bulky.

Place your main fabrics right sides together, and place your batting on top. Pin around the whole outside, leaving a gap on one side so you can turn it inside out.

Trim your corners at a 45 degree angle, and turn inside out. I then pressed all the seams and pinned the area that needed to be close. I did a finishing stitch around the whole entire mat. Then I flipped the bottom up 4″ and sewed the two sides closed. I created 5 pockets in this area, just by eyeballing it every 6″ or so. I wasn’t exact because I really think I will only use one of these pockets.


Sewing machine mat

Sewing Room Updates!

I have shared my sewing room space since we moved to North Carolina. After Ethan was born, I moved my sewing room downstairs because the sound woke him up from his naps. My sewing room was next door to his. Downstairs it shared a space with my guests.

We recently moved Ethan’s bedroom, and his old bedroom became our guest room. The closet in there is huge so it gives us a lot of storage that we need.

Now my sewing room is in one room – my embroidery machine and cutting table were in our office! I bought a table from Ikea and painted it gray. Jason and I painted the room “peach“. Then we could move furniture in! My mom also brought me a heat press so I had to figure out where that went. It is on the desk that was originally my sewing desk.

I added some pictures to the room so far – all sewing inspired pictures. The cross stitch pieces my grandma did. The shelf above my embroidery machine came from my parent’s house, and it hold my special angel collection and other quilt like figurines.

I recently made a sewing mat to go under my machine! I will write a post for that soon! I am loving my sew space now!