Category Archives: Tutorials

How to Turn Leggings Into Sleeves – DIY Kid’s Clothes

How to turn leggings into sleeves tutorial diy

I don’t sew a lot for my kids because clothes are SO cheap new (and even cheaper used) and what with having kids, I have SO much less time to sew.

But I recently ran into a problem – my daughter hates short sleeved shirts. She’s 2 so you know, nutso. But people keep buying us short sleeved shirts for her, and she won’t wear them, even when they are special gifts from special people, you can tell it makes her sad they have the dreaded “naked arms” when she only wears “down sleeves.”

So she has about 5 long sleeve shirts that sort of fit her, and they are all worn out and ragged from being worn over and over. And the stores don’t sell long sleeves in summer (new or used!).

Yesterday I was going through her clothes and pulled out all the short sleeves, and all the leggings that show her butt crack and had a flash of inspiration. The leggings are really too worn to donate – she is a rough and rowdy kid – but too good to throw away – and too small to cover her butt!

Thus, combining them! I was able to convert about 6 shirts in a few hours. Even though not everyone may have a picky kid that won’t wear “naked arm shirts” I bet there are plenty of people looking to extend their kid’s wardrobe – including special items like her Big Sister Shirt that Grandma got her when baby brother was born. And re-purposing old clothes is so cheap (and eco friendly). Used leggings run about $1 a pair around here and new fabric is more than that!

The first method I did was just serging a long sleeve into the existing shirt – I think it looks cute and it is SO FAST AND EASY. Here are some photos of how it is done!

How to turn leggings into sleeves tutorial diy

Ok this is my worst photo. Step 1 is coming up with a pattern for the sleeve. I used this one from a Peek a Boo Pattern shirt, but honestly it is easy enough to eyeball by using an existing shirt that fits them well. For some of the leggings I had to trim down the legs to make them into a sleeve – including these. But for some the legging was already the perfect width. For this pair, you could leave the extra width at the shoulder and make a little gather which is very cute. Because I was tucking this sleeve into the existing short sleeve, I wanted it to be a perfect fit.

How to turn leggings into sleeves tutorial diy

You can see here I held the sleeve pattern up to the shirt and they are a pretty perfect match. Because frankly t-shirt sleeves don’t have that much room for variation!

So next you want to cut out your sleeves and if necessary serge the new seam. Be sure to make the top of the sleeve for easier insertion.

How to turn leggings into sleeves tutorial diy

Then turn your sleeves right side out and poke it into the sleeve how you want it. Line up the bottom seams and the top.
How to turn leggings into sleeves tutorial diy

Then reach inside – if you have a wide neck shirt you can just peek in the neck area to do this – and pin the long sleeve around the serged edge of the existing sleeve.

How to turn leggings into sleeves tutorial diy

If that is confusing see here for more clarification – what you are looking at here is the existing serged seam of the existing sleeve (wrong sides out) on top of the new sleeve (right side facing up). You can see the collar of the shirt (wrong side up) in the middle and then through the collar opening are the two sleeves layered correctly together.

Serge or sew the new and old sleeves together. I cut a little of the original seam off while serging but it isn’t necessary.

How to turn leggings into sleeves tutorial diy

Ok, I think you are done! Turn it right side out and see how it lays. Make sure you try the first one on your kid before you make 10 more!

How to turn leggings into sleeves tutorial diy

This is what it looks like inside the finished sleeve, if that if helpful!

How to turn leggings into sleeves tutorial diy

My daughter loves them and is so excited to wear them! I have been having fun pairing together leggings and shirts from the donate pile to get new life out of her clothes!

Next I aim to make a tutorial of doing this by cutting off the original short sleeve and also showing how to add a ruffle to make shirts a little longer if your kid is also a skinny tall one.

How to turn leggings into sleeves tutorial diy

Zipper Pouch Demo for Quilt Guilds

Noodlehead Wide Open Pouch

Last fall I put together a demo for the Cincinnati Modern Quilt guild on how to make a zipper pouch. I used the free and excellent Noodlehead Open Wide Pouch as my example and walked our guild through the steps. At the end of the demo I had people share their own tips and tricks for making better pouches.

Afterwards, we did a sign up for a pouch swap. People were allowed to use whatever pattern they liked, but it was helpful for people have an example pouch to get started. Zippers can be intimidating, so most of the talk focused on zippers!

I also gave out this hand out which I am sharing here in case it is helpful to anyone else. 

It is nothing life changing, but I thought it might be helpful to anyone else planning something similar for their guild!

Hand Piecing with a Running Stitch

I put together this hand out for my quilt guild this evening and I thought it might be useful to folks to post it here! Ideally I’ll update this with pictures and what not, but we’ll see!

Handout for Hand Quilting with a Running Stitch

The Basics:

This style of hand piecing involves drawing the sewing line onto the back of the fabric, and using a running stitch to sew along the drawn sewing line.

Compared to EPP there is less prep time, less supplies needed, and I think it is a little easier for beginners to pick up and piece accurately. There are disadvantages, including having more exposed seams and having to press your seams.


Needle: I like a milliners needle – which is long, thin, bendier and more flexible. I use a size 11 but it is difficult to thread the eye is so small. Some people prefer a firmer needle like a sharp (often used for hand quilting).

Marking Implement: Basically, you want to use something that either washes out very easily, or is very permanent so it won’t bleed! And if you are doing light colors, you don’t want it to show through.

  • Pencil -Some people like a mechanical pencil – either a regular one or a sewing specific pencil.
  • Permanent marker – my fave is the Sakura Pigma Micron Marker – which has a fine line. I use in the lightest color I can see on the fabric.
  • Other marking options include an inkjet printer via Inklingo or purchasing stamps and using a permanent fabric ink like Versacraft.

Thread: Some people prefer very fine thread like So Fine Bobbin thread or silk thread. I like 50 wt Auriful or Guterman basic polyester because it “grips” the fabric and puts less stress on my hands when sewing, and I feel more confident my knots will hold. However, sometimes my stitches are a little visible so if that would really bother you, using a finer thread, or switching thread to match your fabric can help.

Drawing your shapes:

There are three basic methods for drawing the shapes –

  • Tracing from a template (similar to EPP)
    • Tracing your stitching line around an EPP Paper piece will do, or you can purchase templates.
    • You can make your own ¼ seam or get/make templates that include the quarter inch seam.
    • I like having the quarter inch seam precisely placed on my pieces because it makes the hand sewing process a little faster, however, it’s not necessary.
    • I print my own templates onto heavy cardstock and carefully cut them out.
  • Stamping – stamps generally include a stitching line and a cutting line – this allows you to have consistent quarter inch seams
  • Printing – via Inklingo. If you are comfortable with computers, the website has excellent customer service and I highly recommend it. The learning curve is a bit of a pain, but once you figure it out (took me about an hour of frustration) if you are doing a larger project it can really save time.

The Process:

I’ll spell out the basic steps, but watching is always the best way to learn!

  1. Mark your sewing lines on your fabric and cut out with at least a quarter inch seam allowance. Tip: You can cut off points on diamonds/triangles to reduce bulk.
  2. Line your two pieces up. I sew from right to left, therefore I’d place a pin in the LEFT corner perfectly joining the sewing lines at the corner.
  3. Make a quilter’s knot (or whatever knot you like) in your thread. Use a single strand of thread.
  4. Insert your needle one-two stitches away from the RIGHT corner, making sure it is evenly placed through both pieces precisely on the sewing line. I don’t put my knots in the corners, because I don’t want to add bulk there.
  5. Take a back stitch into the corner to perfectly secure your corner.
  6. Do a running stitch along the edge of the piece, taking care to check and readjust that your two drawn sewing lines are perfectly lined up. Some people do a back stitch every few stitches, though I don’t.
  7. When you get to the next corner, pull out your pin and do a back stitch to secure your point. If you have to tie your thread off, go back a few stitches to make your knot to avoid bulk at your points.
  8. One advantage to this method is doing continuous stitching as much as possible. I plan out my piecing to allow me to start and stop as little as possible. If you are able to add the next piece, then align the next piece, run your needle through the point/corner on the right side and place your pin in the left corner, and continue sewing.

Ironing: Generally speaking, press your blocks from the center going outward and have your seams facing in the same direction. You can finger press as you go or use an iron, depends on what you are sewing and your preference. I generally iron units before joining them or adding the next layer or piecing.


Note – there are many, many websites where you can get templates designed for EPP, but fewer where you can get stamps and hand-piecing specific products/tutorials so I have only included those.

InkLingo not only sells printable templates, but she has some nice videos on how to hand piece, search “How to Sew La Passacaglia by Hand” for a great overview – even if you don’t want to make La Passacaglia it goes over the basics really nicely. is a well-known instructor in this technique, lots of tips on her webpage

Pat Sloan’s blog has a lot of helpful pictures sells stamps and has lots of information on her website. is a source of clear stamps (most are rubber so you can’t see the fabric placement as precisely) – sells rubber stamps and has nice tutorials – is another source for clear stamps and has a La Passacaglia stamp kit

How to Get Started On Your La Passacaglia Quilt

When I told my brother we wanted to have kids but didn’t feel quite ready, he said, “You’ll never be ready, you just have to be brave.” I think the same advice applies to starting a La Passacaglia quilt.

Normally I think it’s a bit of an exaggeration when people compare a sewing project to having a child, but with the amount of time (and money!) I’ve put into this quilt, I’m starting to feel like that’s pretty accurate!  Though this quilt has fewer temper tantrums 🙂

La Passacaglia Progress Using Inkligo

This gorgeous quilt pattern has been very popular and I’ve admired it for several years – HOWEVER I also thought that everyone doing it was totally out of their minds!

What changed? Well, when my daughter was about a year old she was a terrible napper. But she would nap in the car. So I started to spend a lot of time sitting in the car! I started to have an itch for a hand sewing project to keep my hands busy. I decided the people working on La Passacaglia had the right idea. And then I became obsessed with this beautiful quilt.

Now my daughter naps in her own crib, but I am still sewing! I sew listening to audiobooks and while watching TV. My hands have stayed busy.

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P4P Sunshine Dress Lined Bodice Tutorial

I have a favorite hiking dress made by Eddie Bauer, which I have outlined my quest to re-create here (using the Colette Wren) and here (using the Patterns for Pirates Sunshine Dress)

I loved the Sunshine Dress but wanted to have the bodice lined, so I experimented a bit and came up with the method below. My first two dresses I made using this pattern are really low cut – due to some bad adjustments I made, but I am happy to layer them I know I’ll wear them all the time.

Adding the lining takes a while longer, especially the first time, but I am really happy with the finished result!

Step 1. Buy the pattern here

Tip – if you are using a slippery swim knit or lining you might try wash away wonder tape by Dritz to hold your layers together. It has made a big difference in the quality of my seams!

Ok, let’s get started!

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Hand Quilting Workshop

I recently did a demo on hand quilting for the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild.

Modified Dresden Hand Quilted Mini Quilt
I covered both perle cotton hand quilting – aka big stitch quilting – as well as traditional hand quilting – since really, there isn’t much difference in the technique, just the size of the thread, needles, and knots. 

Here is the hand out I made for the talk – it’s based on the longer class I have taught a few times. Of course, to really understand hand quilting, you need to see it done!

I want to make an illustrated version of the hand out above, but hopefully it can be helpful to others – at least it gives you the terms you’ll want to google to find videos that show the technique being done.

I love hand quilting – it is such a beautiful, therapeutic way to enhance your quilting. I also like it because so much of my sewing I’m squirrelled away up in my sewing room -this allows me to sew while still hanging out with family.

Woodlands Baby Quilt Car Seat Cover

Monogram Bunting Wedding Quilt

Bunting Flag QuiltBunting Flag Quilt

Do you know who made the first bunting quilt? I’d like to know! I feel like they just sort of popped up all over the internet at once about 5 years ago, but surely someone thought of the first one.

Well, that person wasn’t me, but I have made a fair few of them in my time and I’d love to give the original person the credit! They are just perfect for weddings and baby gifts! Here is the latest.

I also wanted to share a bit on my process of making bunting flag quilts – not so much a tutorial, more of some tips and tricks.

I actually layer, baste and quilt the whole thing BEFORE adding the flags. I use a sheet for larger quilts so I can get a solid background with no interrupting seams. So for this quilt, I was just basting two totally blank sheets together! It’s very odd looking, but I think it is faster than quilting around the flags once they are sewn down and creates a nicer effect. I use an all over meander, though a grid would also look really nice, and I have done that before. It is a real challenge to get the grid to be perfectly even with no squares to go by!

Then I cut out all the flags and iron the edges under – I don’t do raw edge applique with them.

Bunting Flag Quilt

I use a bias trim maker to make the ribbon – a half inch wide – and then lay out the ribbon, criss-crossing it across the quilt till I like the lay out. then I lay down my flags and pin them into place. I quilt along the ribbon top and bottom and then around the flags.

This quilt also had a monogram added – I do this last- and I do use raw edge applique, and you can see on the back where the letters are. I don’t love the look of the backwards letters on the back of the quilt but I think it’s so much nicer to have the letters quilted and outlined.

Bunting Flag Quilt

Finally, no quilt is ready till it’s lint rolled! It’s not glamorous, but it does make a quilt look so much nicer! And a last picture of the binding. I used the Whispers by Michael Miller line and it has these lovely just off shades of clay. They look great together on the binding. This line is just perfect for a wedding quilt that will translate well into day to day life around the house I think. Bunting Flag Quilt

And a last look at the binding – I used

How to Make A Really Scrappy Lone Star Quilt

Really Scrappy Lone Star TuturialTraditional Lone Star Overview
The Lone Star is a traditional diamond shaped block – traditionally you do planned colors so it makes a cool radiating star pattern. For an example of that, here is a cool tutorial! It requires really careful piecing, because if all your bias cut seams don’t match up just right, you lose some of the effect. The strips are all the same length and width and you have to carefully calculate your strip piecing and color placement to get the perfect effect.

Another option is the slightly scrappy lone star, which Better Off Thread has a nice tutorial  with examples for that effect! While her version uses a variety of colors with random placement, the strips are all the same length and width.

HOWEVER, I didn’t use either of these wonderful tutorials, because what I wanted to  do was to make a lonestar with different width strips, for an effect that is truly, madly, deeply scrappy.  So far my quilt looks like this – it has about 33 pieces per block which means it has about 2,770 pieces so far! Here is before I added the blue strips along the outside edge to square it up.Scrappy Lonestar

And one block looks like this – a strip pieced diamond with 45 degree bias cut edges. Using my math below, you’ll create a diamond block. You can certainly use smaller measurements for a smaller block!

Scrappy Lone Star Tutorial
So this tutorial is going to be how to turn a pile of string scraps of a million different lengths like this:
Scrappy Lone Star Tutorial

Into the quilt above! The quilt isn’t done yet, but I have made enough of these things to explain the process!

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Charley Harper Bird Pixel Quilt – Plus Tutorial

Charley Harper Tutorial

I’ve long been obsessed with making Charley Harper quilts for years now – I love his artwork! However, I can’t seem to make my self finish one of them! Here is a an early process shot of my goldfinch quilt and here is the finished top from last fall. Miraculously, I made the back and basted that yesterday, so hopefully photos soon of that coming along! May be a few years before I can decide how to quilt it – but I’m thinking orange peels?

Charley Harper Goldfinch Quilt
I also started a cardinal version last fall at the #OHCraft Retreat that the amazing Kara puts together every year – maybe I’ll finish it at this year’s retreat? Update! I did finish it! Details here. 

Anyway, a few people have asked me for a pattern for these quilts. I don’t have anything fancy to share, but I will share details on my process that should make it a lot easier for you! Continue reading