Entries for the ‘patterns’ Category

Vintage Pattern Review

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016


About two weeks ago I moved my sewing room into my bedroom so that my girls could each have their own room.  Of course there isn’t near enough room in the master bedroom for all my sewing stuff,  there are still boxes and bags of fabric and pillow forms all over my room. Monday I decided I couldn’t wait for everything to be perfect to start sewing again and I started a blouse.


The pattern is McCalls 5120 from 1959.  It was super simple and straight forward to sew.  I originally sewed the tucks at the waist line but didn’t like the look (it gave a nice nipped in waist look, but it would have been uncomfortable on my daughter), so I unpicked them. I also made the neck a little wider so my daughter didn’t feel like she was choking with the top bottom done. I debated about doing the buttons vertically, which is typical for dress shirts, but decided against it as there wasn’t the traditional placket. Altogether cutting and sewing was probably 3-4 hours.

The fabric is an in house designed AGF print, Chic Flora, that I picked up the last time I was in Houston visiting my mother. After I finished the blouse I realized my daughter had nothing to wear with the shirt!  Which was really not a bother, just an excuse to keep sewing.


I whipped up this super simple Simplicity 4763, wrap skirt in a navy corduroy that my friend Janet gifted me. The pattern I have is a waist of 26″ and 36″ hip.  Even though it was cut for an adult figure, I knew as a wrap it would be very forgiving. I omitted the pockets and the contrasting top stitching and cut 5″ off the length. After cutting out the three pieces I probably spent 2 hours total sewing this up, it was very simple.


My daughter was a little worried that the wrap would show her underwear, but there is enough overlap that everything is covered, even in a twirl.


I love this skirt so much I want to make one for myself!

Valentine Candy Bags

Friday, January 23rd, 2015


I started playing around with red and pink fabrics and ended up making a few of these little draw string bags.  They are perfect for Valentine’s Day treats, candy, gift cards or any small gift!

sequin-heart copy

This heart was fun to create.  I used felt, invisible thread and sequin trim.  Each bag I tried something new, french seams (bad idea!), self casing (tricky to sew) until I came up with the best way to sew these bags.

candy-co-bag copy

I put together a pdf tutorial that you can download HERE (for free). This project is best for someone who has some sewing experience.  Its quite simple to make, but its written as if you already know a thing or two about sewing.

scrappy-heart copy


Please email me or leave a comment if there is anything in the tutorial that doesn’t make sense or you need more clarification. Sometimes I don’t explain things in the most clear way!  If you stitch one up will you tag me or send me a pic, I’d really love to see it!!

Halloween 2014

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

After all the praise and attention my youngest got last year as a ballerina, my oldest daughter decided she wanted to be a ballerina this year!  Of course no new modern pattern would do for me…I scoured ebay and etsy for vintage ballerina patterns. I’ll tell ya what, those things are NOT cheap (take this one for example)!  I finally found a pattern that was affordable and in my daughters size!

(isn’t it adorable?! How could I not want to sew it?)

heatherhalesdesigns-halloween 2014

I let her choose the color, and of course she went for shiny satin in bubble-gum pink!  The littlest asked to wear the ballerina outfit from last year again (who am I to say no, one less costume to worry about!)  My son, who usually doesn’t dress up, agreed that an old-time-y cartoon bank robber was cool.

The ballerina pattern was made in 1965…when leotards weren’t a thing?? The bodice and skirt are all attached, underneath is a pair of tap pants, complete with darts and a zipper!  I had expected it to be all one piece but nope, I suppose it will make going to the bathroom easier.

heatherhalesdesigns.com-ballerina costume

I learned that all tulle is not created equal.  The most common and easy to find tulle is soft, almost netting like with medium to small “holes” in the weave.  After making and attaching the first layer (there are THREE!) of tulle, I knew it wasn’t going to work. She had specifically requested that I make the tutu stick out, not fall flat. Back I went to the store where I found stiff large holed tulle- the stuff that sticks out!  Each layer of the tutu has 216″ inches of tulle….lots and lots of tulle.

I love sewing with vintage patterns…I love seeing they way things used to be constructed (before some of the modern tricks and gadgets we have today).  Have a favorite vintage pattern yourself?  Seen something that you’d like to see sewn?  Leave me a note in the comments and let me know- I’m game to give it a go for you!

A Person to be Loved

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

I’m sure by now everyone has seen Amy’s amazing Be Joyful embroidery. I am so inspired by her attention to detail and amazing skill with a needle and thread.  Amy kindly sent me a copy of her pattern and I was/am dying to stitch it up, but to be honest I am a bit intimidated by Amy’s amazing work…afraid mine will fall flat. So, I decided I wanted to do a “trial run” before stitching the real thing.


Enter a heart to heart and joke between my husband and I.  We were having a talk about some parenting frustrations we were having.  We decided to take a new approach to the problem, I read the following quote to my husband- “Life by the inch is a cinch, life by the yard is hard”.  We both liked it and thought it would be a perfect approach to our problem. My husbands response was that we needed to have it displayed somewhere we would see it often.  I jokingly said that I would embroider it on a pillow- he took me seriously!!


So, I set about creating a pattern, and decided that really it was a silly phrase (good sentiment, but wrong for a pillow).  I found another quote I liked that also reminded us of the same sentiment.

“Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved”-Thomas S. Monson

I decided to stitch it up and let this pillow be my trial run for Amy’s pattern.  I am really tickled with how it turned out- and my husband of few words (and fewer compliments) has commented multiple times about how impressed he is!


I was absolutely inspired by Amy’s work, I just loved her flowers!  Here is my pattern (free download) in case anyone else wants a trial run before staring Amy’s gorgeous Be Joyful pattern.  The pattern shows only the green vine and words, I made the flowers up as I went along.  I really liked the blackeyed susan at the top and wish I had done a few more.


King Arthur’s Court

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

This is what happens when you let an almost seven year old pick out the pattern, fabric and trim for her Christmas dress.

It begins to look more  like something meant for a stage production of “King Lear” than for a Christmas church service.  BUT, she loves it; so I guess its all good.

(she wouldn’t smile, she’s was upset that I made her step away from an episode of Curious George!)

So Sunday evening I decided that with family coming for Christmas my daughter needed a special dress to wear.  The budget being as tight as it is, I thought I would make her a dress…thinking if I went with a simple dress I could get fabric for about $10 (with coupons) and all would be well.  Monday morning we headed out to look for fabric….but moaned and moaned over the fact that I would spend the rest of the day sewing the dress and how I didn’t want to.  So, we took a detour to Goodwill in search of a used x-mas dress.  No go.  On the way to the fabric store I got a call from Jaylee, I lamented to her about how I couldn’t find a dress and was going to have to make one.  She started laughing and told me that I was the only person that she knew that would determine if it couldn’t be found at Goodwill, that it must be handmade…as if I had no other options.  I saw her point and laughed at myself.  BUT, I was sure I could get the fabric for less than I could buy a dress at Old Navy (or this $40 one from the Gap).  Well, turns out this lovely Shakespearean dress cost about $28 to make a about 5 hours of my time.  NEXT YEAR I AM BUYING A DRESS, NEW!

To add insult to injury this pattern (Simplicity 2269) was a PAIN to sew.  It looked so simple.  I’ve been sewing for 20+years, but this pattern took the cake!  The yoke for the neck…the pattern pieces were a total nightmare to pin into place and get the fabric to lay flat (from the upper gathers).  The pieces also didn’t quite fit, I ended up cutting off about 2″ from the back neck yoke on either side, just to make it fit.  On a positive note, I do like the bubble sleeves and they were easy peasy to make.  Has anyone else tried this pattern, I would love to hear your review?


Tuesday, May 4th, 2010


It’s teacher appreciation week at school, each day has a theme.  Today’s theme was flowers, so we picked these big beauties from the back yard and wrapped them up nice.

It seems more than overdue to express my appreciation to all you great people for sticking with me.  Blogging has certainly taken a backseat since babers was born.  It almost seems silly to call this a “crafty blog” anymore…but here is an Art Deco Butterfly embroidery pattern I designed a few years back.


You can download the full pdf here.  Would LOVE to see pics if anyone gets it stitched up.

Felt Floral Barrettes

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

OK, before I get to the meat of this post, here are some linky loves that I must pass along.  Tasha, of A Little Sweetness is giving away some of her personally designed fabric.  It is SO CUTE, and if you don’t win, you can always pick some up in her shop!  I think the Little Red Riding Hood on white is my favorite!

Also, if any of you are a Flea Market Fancy fans like myself (I still have a few pieces I’m hoarding!), go sign this petition to get Free Spirit to reprint the line (oh to dream!), and while you are there enter to win this selection of 29 FMF fat quarters and some great books.  If you win, will you share a  FQ with me?

Yesterday my daughter was invited to a birthday party of a girl from her preschool class.  I always have a hard time buying gifts for families/girls I don’t know very well.  Not everyone appreciates the homemade, and I don’t want to waste my efforts if they won’t be appreciated.  Soooo, off to the big box store we went for some plastic Princess crap.

birthday gift

After getting it all wrapped up I felt guilty for A. Shopping at Target & B. Not making something…then I remembered all of the great felt I bought from the HB booth at Blissfest (you can also buy it online) and whipped up a little flower.  Not only does it look great as part of the wrapping, but it’s a barrette for the little girls hair!

flower barrette

First, I strongly recommend that you use wool, or wool blend felt for this project.  The cheap craft felt you can get at most craft stores will pill and stretch and not give you the lasting look you are going to want.  Here is what you’ll need:

2 colors of felt
1 piece of green felt
1 metal snap barrette (or a pony tail holder)
1 coordinating button
any other trims that appeal to you

Here is the pdf with the pattern pieces I free handed for the above barrette.  Cut all your pieces out, for the front circle, I folded it in half and cut little triangles out of it to give it the fringed look.

Layer the pieces as you’d like them to be, place the button on the top and stitch through all the layers.  For the back, take the circle and cut 2 small slits in the back about an inch apart in the center, thread the pony tail holder through.

Attach the circle to the entire flower, stitching through all but the top layer.  It should look like this when you’re done.

To do a barrette back, you can do it 2 ways.

You can measure your clip and cut out a piece of felt the length of your barrette, be sure to cut a small slit in it for the metal arm to go through.  Then sew this to the back of your flower, sewing through all but the top layer.

Using the circle pattern provided for the back, you can cut a small slit for the barrette arm and then stitch the whole circle to the flower.  The barrette side goes against the flower, the metal arm is what you should see when your barrette is finished.

I made this one to match one of my daughters shirts!  Be creative, try different shapes, add embroidery, seed beads, ribbon anything that appeals to you!

AND, because you made it through this whole LONG post, I made a holiday poinsettia barrette to give away.  Just leave me a comment telling me you’d like to win, I’ll pick a winner on Monday Nov 29th.

poinsetta barrette GIVEAWAY!

Free Fall Pattern

Monday, October 12th, 2009

I have nothing to blog about, unless you want to hear me whine about sleeping on the couch because it is the only place i can get comfortable, or about how I am still fighting a cold, or how I’m tired all the time… I figure the masses don’t want to read about that, so I give you a free fall embroidery pattern.

Free Fall Tree Pattern

You can download the full sized .pdf HERE.  I based the pattern off the tree pillow I made last fall that I gave to my sister in law.  Send me pictures if you stitch it- or applique it, I’d love to see it!!

Fall Leaves Pillow

Sewing For the Boys!

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Ages ago I bookmarked this Little Boys Tie tutorial over at Purl Soho, yesterday I finally got a chance to try it!

A Turtle Tie

Getting the above boy dressed for church is a REAL challenge.  I asked him yesterday if he would like me to make him a new tie and he happily agreed and said (in an excited voice) that he could wear it to church.  So, anything that got my son excited about getting dressed for church- I am all over it!

We went to the fabric store and I let him pick whatever fabric he wanted- he chose this great little turtle print!  The tutorial was very easy to follow (and was done almost exclusively by hand- for those of you without machines!!).  My fabric was 45″ not 54″, so I bought a yard and a half and just cut out 2- 27″ squares to work with.  I was worried about sizing though, I wasn’t sure what they meant by “little boy”…Well, it fits my 50” tall son perfectly!

I so enjoyed using this pattern that I started racking my brain about who I knew that also had a son that I could make a tie for!  The tie width would be perfect for 4yo-10yo, I would only adjust the length of the tie for the different age ranges.


Thursday, June 25th, 2009


My aunt let me dig through her stash of old embroidery patterns and this was one of the patterns I loved enough to scan.  I just had to share it- it was not in an envelope and was unmarked so I don’t know who the maker is.

We’re heading to the beach today, but not before we visit the 1 1/2 acres of fabric at Fabric Depot!!!