I have this habit.  I get projects to 99% completion, and then something happens to distract me (life) and the project sits.  My apron needed no more than a dozen stitches to finish… 3 nights ago, I finally wrapped it up after 2 months wait.  Bob’s Amish pants still need the suspenders fitted, but he won’t be wearing them until summer, so I guess I can let that slide.

I’m working on another Amish pattern based dress for Meeps.  I have added a zipper, intend to sew on an exterior pocket and have used wonderfully bright fabrics, all very UN-Amish things.  Hoping to have this done by spring.  There’s no pattern for the dress, you just estimate a box shape for the top, double the width for the skirt portion, and unlike most dress/shirts I’ve sewn, instead of attaching the arms to the body at the shoulders and then sewing it together at the sides, you insert the arms (already sewn into tubes) into holes you have cut into the body.  You could easily do it in an afternoon, if you were child free.  If not child free, estimate one week of evenings.

It’s not done, and I am not by ANY means an accomplished seamstress, so please excuse my wiggly stitches and yet-to-be trimmed threads.

Because I needed something else to do, I have decided to start to try to learn needlepointing.  I am attempting to sew a cut out flower from the body fabric onto a pocket.  I am guessing this would be easier if (1) I had one of those needlepoint hoops and (2) I had any basic idea at all about what I was doing.

Anyone do needlepoint?

How do I stop the threads from twisting and not laying flat?
Should I have folded the fabric, as the thread seems to pull through?
Where should I look up stitches and things, anything good (free) online?
I doubled my thread, was this wrong?


  1. Erika Conolly · January 26, 2010

    1. Your daughters dress is cute and you make me want to learn to sew… I’m still trying to grasp knitting though so maybe I should mater that first…
    2. I think that its alright that you doubled the thread over, I do it when I needle point. Try using some green thread if you have it on the little green dots in the center of the flower( or some red there in the center). Not only will it look pretty but also it will help secure it if the other threads do pull through.
    Maybe use a dab of fabric glue to keep in in place as well?
    Anyway, good luck!

  2. Ginger & Pickle · January 26, 2010

    here’s a tutorial on fabric appliqué – you could always add top stitches afterwards to see the thread. has awesome tutorials as well!

  3. Ginger & Pickle · January 26, 2010

    the sew mama sew blog has great tutorials too!
    Looks super cute!

  4. Ro · January 26, 2010

    Okay, what *I* would have done is procured some double-sided “vilene” (basically, a double-sided interfacing). You iron it to the wrong side of your applique item, then peel off the other side and iron the whole thing to your garment and it is stuck there. Then, I would have done blanket stitch around the applique to neaten up the edges (

    I love the dress! Keep it up!

    I’m hoping to have some more free time on my hands soon, so I’m going to take up the sewing again in earnest and start making my own clothes again!

  5. Delma · January 26, 2010

    That’s so cute!!!

  6. Caitlin · January 26, 2010

    I agree with the double sided interfacing idea, it makes everything nice and stiff too.

    Another way to do applique, which I’ve been learning at quilting class, is to ‘finger iron’ the edges around-so you cut a quarter inch around the outside of the picture you want, then fold the seam back that extra part, it makes the edges neat with no loose threads. Then sew in any fashion you want-we did an invisible stitch in class, but you could do a blanket stitch which always looks nice to me. Easy enough to google too.

    Needlepoint rings are cheap and sort of fun to use, I’ve done my share of embroidery. If you can’t get them there, ask Tony to pick some up to bring you on his next trip. I have a wonderful book of stitches, I’d be happy to loan it out!

  7. Caitlin · January 26, 2010

    Also, I don’t know if you’re using embroidery floss for that flower, but you’re supposed to split the threads, like, in half or less, and not double the threads either, just a knot at one end. Does that make sense? It keeps it from getting too chunky. Unless you like chunky!

  8. Chicky · January 26, 2010

    I like how the doubled up thread looks on the flower! When you do cross stitch you do split it into smaller threads though. For what you’re doing it would depend on what look you’re aiming for I think.

  9. Alex · January 26, 2010

    When I do embroidery (which I only started because I broke the sewing machine a month or so ago), I halve the threads, partly because I am into the habit of it from cross stitching. The threads twist up sometimes, so I just let the loose bits dangle and unwind before I carry on, like it was an old phone cord. Also, ironing the bits you want to embroider on really help, but I think I am probably stating the obvious. Also Ro already commented above me about doing a blanket stitch around the edge.

  10. e · January 26, 2010

    alternately, you can cheat and satin stitch the applique on with your machine…..

  11. Christi · January 26, 2010

    That dress is very cute. I love that Heather Bailey fabric.
    I know has an applique tutorial.. though I believe it’s for machine applique. Even if you don’t use it though that site has some general sewing tutorials here: that I’ve found helpful, plus some cute home decor projects if you’re into that sorta thing.

    I have to tell you that I love reading your blog, especially since I have a little one that’s going through the same breastfeeding woes you wrote about a few entries back. I hope it’s gotten better for you!

  12. Pam · January 26, 2010

    so cute! Ro’s got it right. we do applique at work all of the time and we double fuse the face fabric to a heavy double sided sticky fusible interfacing before we set it to the pocket. sometimes we’ll even sandwich the fusible inbetween: face fabric on top, fusible between, under fabric backing (we tend to do that mostly if we’re putting a flower applique on the end of a spaghetti tie or something like that). don’t change the thickness of the thread! you want it to pop. if you do the fusible and watch your tension it should turn out perfect.

  13. Diane Higgins · January 26, 2010

    I suffer from projectus-interruptus as well.
    I have given up knitting for the moment and have taken up unfinished screenplays as my hobby.
    I think there is fear in finishing something for fear of criticism or having nothing to do.
    Even when I have time things get unfinished.
    My house is NEVER clean – there are always more dishes to do, litter boxes to scoop, laundry to do etc..
    I need hard and fast deadlines in order for me to complete projects.
    It’s sad.. but’s it’s true.
    It’s not the end of the world.. but I can see it from there.

  14. Tasha · January 26, 2010

    That little dress is adorable.

    I have no needlin’ skills, but I think a hoop would help.

  15. Josh · January 26, 2010

    Check out the sublime stitching website, and you tube has some great tutorials on the basic stitches.

  16. MK · January 26, 2010

    I will start a project, and as soon as I make a mistake, I consider the project no good anymore and instantly lose interest. :( I don’t know why. This usually happens with my knitting. I can be such a perfectionist. I am that way about my art work too.

  17. taryn · January 26, 2010

    Did you hand sew the dress for Meeps? It’s lovely! I’d love to try making one for Hanna!

  18. Twwly · January 26, 2010

    I use a machine, Taryn. But you could definitely do it by hand, very simple!

    Thank you everyone for the tips! Scott has brought home a hoop for me. Will post pictures of her in it soon, it’s actually complete!

  19. W · January 26, 2010

    I read this and thought of you. It’s a prime example of being steam-rolled in the medical system:

    Beautiful dress by the way!

  20. Priscilla · January 26, 2010

    Wow, I love that fabric and I can’t wait to see Meeps in it :) Pictures PLEASE!

  21. Nicole · January 26, 2010

    I didn’t read through all of the comments and I still know a ton of people have probably sent you links but the most comprehensible online tutorials I’ve ever seen were on sublime stitching so check em out- you wont regret it. And if no one has yet said it- don’t double up!

    talk soon

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  23. Mother Ship · January 26, 2010

    I have ONE Roman shade to finish seewing since last FEBRUARY. It has 72 little rings on the back that I need to sew by hand through apholstery fabric… hence the delay. My hand hurt for a month after tha last one I made!

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