Garden Girls Winner!


This post is a little later than I planned as things got a little crazy with hurricane preparation last week. Thankfully everyone here is fine, as Orlando was spared of the worst of the storm. I'm hoping all of you are safe and that life returns to normal quickly for any of my friends who might have been in Matthew's path.

But back to business! I have a winner to announce for my Garden Girls FQ and pincushion giveaway, and the winner is...

 Retro Mama | Garden Girls giveaway winner

Mary on Lake Pulaski--Congratulations, Mary! I hope we might see those four Halloween costumes you are making soon on Instagram!

Thanks to all who entered, I would love to see all those fall makes! Everyone sounds so organized with already starting their holiday sewing and I'm still unpacking boxes! But for those who asked, I am writing up the pincushion pattern as we speak, which I hope to share with you soon!

Happy Stitching,

Late for a Date :: Garden Girls Fat Quarter Bundle Giveaway!


 late for a date
We recently moved to central Florida, a place full of beauty and wonder (and a few scary creatures), far away from our old home in Indiana. I knew right away that I was going to love it here, with all the gorgeous lakes, water birds, and Spanish moss-covered trees. It's a little bit alien to me, but fascinating just the same. So it seemed appropriate, and timed perfectly, that my friends at Blend Fabrics asked me to make an Alice in Wonderland doll for Market this fall.

With. This. Fabric. *heart eyes emoji* *brain melts*

 Late for a Date fabric from Wonderland by Blend Fabrics
When I laid eyes on the Late for a Date print (by the mad-talented Josephine Kimberling) I immediately knew I would be designing a doll with some new features.

She required blonde yarn hair...

 Retro Mama | Alice doll
...a puff sleeved dress...

 late for a date dress
...and of course, a white, ruffle-sleeved pinafore apron.

 Retro Mama | Alice doll pinafore

 Retro Mama | Alice Doll

 Retro Mama | Alice doll detail
This darling blue card suits print was perfect for her hair bow and apron trim.

 Retro Mama | Alice doll
It's been a long while since I've been able to devote time to designing patterns, but this project was the perfect mix of challenging and just "playing in my sewing room". I'm really looking forward to writing up these patterns to share with you!

Tea, anyone?

 Retro Mama | tea time
 photo retro flowers
Now for the giveaway portion of this post...

I also got the chance to play with some fabrics by Cori Dantini. Cori's art is so delicate and dreamlike--it's simply gorgeous.


I happen to have a fat quarter bundle of her new fabric line, Garden Girls, to give away (details below)!

 Retro Mama | Garden Girls tomato pincushions
I whipped up some tomato pincushions with these gardeny prints. I love projects that require me to dig into my vintage button stash.

 Retro Mama | Garden Girls tomato pincushions

 Retro Mama | Garden Girls tomato pincushions

 Retro Mama | Garden Girls tomato pincushions

 Retro Mama | Garden Girls tomato pincushions

 Retro Mama | Garden Girls tomato pincushions
Courtesy of Blend Fabrics, I will be giving away a FQ bundle of five Garden Girls prints, and I'll be adding in some vintage buttons and a pincushion to boot.

For a chance to win, leave a comment below telling me about your sewing plans for this fall. It's still super warm here in the south so I'm not quite ready for hot cider and s'mores (who am I kidding, I'm always ready for s'mores!), but I'd love to hear about your cozy autumn projects!

Entries are open until midnight on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016 and the winner will be announced soon after.

Good luck!

Lovely Little Patchwork Blog Tour


The moment Kerri Horsley's Lovely Little Patchwork arrived in my mailbox I could see that it was quintessentially Kerri: 18 projects bursting with her signature style--lots of lush aqua and red, and completely adorable--just like her blog and Instagram. I couldn't wait to get started on my project for the blog tour!

 Lovely Little Patchwork
 Lovely Little Patchwork book
When I found this sweet bunny planter on Etsy (@ VintagePrairieHome) I knew instantly that she was perfect for a pincushion. Hop in my cart, little bunny, we've got hexagons to sew!

 Vintage bunny pincushion
 Vintage bunny pincushion
 Vintage bunny pincushion
Half-inch hexies were the perfect size for this planter, and it turned out super cute! Probably the biggest challenge of this project was digging through my stash to find fabric prints with a small enough scale to fit in such a tiny space. I printed my hexagons on cardstock, punched little holes in the center of each one, and used a tiny crochet hook to remove the papers when I was finished.

These patchwork Heart Coasters were calling to me too (monochromatic color scheme and ric rac? Yes, please!), so I jumped right into a second project from the book. Despite having a large collection of ric rac, I didn't have any in a 3/4" width. I happily discovered, however, that Riley Blake makes thoroughly gorgeous trims that are just the right size.

 patchwork heart coasters
Though I've never done stipple quilting before, this turned out to be a great first stippling project. After much practice and a few mistakes (shhhh!), I had a darling set of coasters, and my tea mug is thrilled to have a pretty new resting spot!

 patchwork heart coasters
 patchwork heart coasters
(itty bitty tea infuser from TheTinyHouseFarm)

For more Lovely Little Patchwork project inspiration, be sure to visit each stop on the blog tour and search #lovelylittlepatchwork on Instagram!

27.08.16 Amanda Niederhauser Jedi Craft Girl
28.08.16 Sarah Edgar A Happy Little Place
29.08.16 Heidi Staples Fabric Mutt
29.09.16 Megan Jimenez Quilt Story
02.09.16 Cheri Lehnow Tinker With This
03.09.16 Ange Hamilton A Little Patchwork
04.09.16 Sedef Imer Down Grapevine Lane
05.09.16 Kimberly Jolly Fat Quarter Shop
06.09.16 Samantha Dorn Aqua Paisley Studio
07.09.16 Ayda Algın Cafenohut
08.09.16 LeAnne Ballard Everyday Celebrate
09.09.16 Sharon Burgess Lilabelle Lane
10.09.16 Lauren Wright Molly and Mama
11.09.16 Kate May Homemakery
12.09.16 Debbie Homick Happy Little Cottage
13.09.16 Wynn Tan zakkaArt
14.09.16 Kim Kruzich Retro Mama
15.09.16 Jennie Pickett Clover and Violet
16.09.16 Veronica AM Vivid Felicity
17.09.16 Nadra Ridgeway Ellis and Higgs
19.09.16 Minki Kim Minki's Work Table
20.09.16 Sharon Yeager Daisy Cottage Quilting
21.09.16 Peta Peace She Quilts A Lot
22.09.16 Sarah Scott Piccolo Studio
23.09.16 Kristin Cobb Gooba Designs
24.09.16 Erin Cox Why Not Sew
25.09.16 Kerri Horsley Lovely Little Handmades

 Lovely Little Patchwork blog hop
Happy Stitching!

Mixed Bag (Part II)


Wow! Thank you so much for the amazing response to my little drawstring bag tutorial! I get a bit giddy whenever I see that my lovely stitchy friends are pinning my projects! There was a lot of interest specifically in my pocket drawstring pouch so I thought I'd give some additional details on the embellishments for that bag and all the others as well, just in case. This tutorial is just for the decorations, for the full instructions on sewing the bags click here!

Pocket Pouch

 Retro Mama drawstring pouch
For the pocket, you'll need a piece of fabric measuring 2-1/2" W x 3-1/4" H (6.4cm x 8.3cm).

1. Fold over one of short edges 1/4" (6mm) toward the wrong side and press with an iron. Edge stitch. (The sides of my fabric are pinked because I used a jelly roll precut)

2. Fold over the same end, again toward the wrong side, this time 3/4" (1.9cm). Press and sew over the original stitch line.

3. Fold over the bottom short edge to the wrong side 1/4" (6mm), then the long sides, pressing all folds to crease.

4. Mark your placement lines on your big rectangle except you'll want the bottom of the pocket to be about 3/8" (1cm) from the fold (drawstring pouch tutorial, Embellish Step 2) and pin the pocket to the fabric.

5. Sew the sides and bottom of the pocket with a scant 1/8" seam allowance. Sew another seam inside the first, with a scant 1/4" (6mm) seam allowance.

6. Sew a button to the pocket (my button is 5/8" or 1.6cm in diameter).

 Retro Mama drawstring pouch

Purple Pouch

 Retro Mama drawstring pouch

1. Mark a line for the bottom of the lace at 1/2" (1.3cm) from the fold (Embellish, Step 2).

2. Sew on the lace first, then twill measuring tape (or other trim) on top of the lace.

3. For the fabric tag, cut a piece of fabric 1-1/2" W x 2" L (3.8cm x 5.1cm).

4. Press the long edges 1/4" (6mm) toward the wrong side.

5. Fold the fabric in half so that it measures 1" (2.5cm) in length and press.

6. Ladder stitch the folded edges, then insert the fabric "tag" (Embellish, Step 4). Sew a small button to just the top layer after the bag has been assembled.

 REtro Mama drawstring pouch

Patchy Pouch

 Retro Mama drawstring pouch

The dimensions for my patches were red: 1-1/4"W x 1-3/4"H (3.2cm x 4.4cm), blue: 1-1/8" square (2.9cm), and strawberries: 1-3/8"W x 1-1/4"H (3.5cm x 3.2cm)

1. Back each of your selected fabrics with a small square of Wonder Under fusible web (following package instructions), then peel up a corner of the paper so it will be easy to remove after cutting. Cut the fabric to size.

2. Iron the red patch on the bag at least 1/2" (1.3cm) from the side and 1/4" (6mm) from the fold (Embellish, Step 2), and zig zag stitch around it. Then iron and sew the next on top of it, and the final one stacked on the others.

Hexie Pouch

 Retro Mama hexie flower

I used 3/8" hexagons to make my hexie flower (0.375" or 1cm) using this hexagon generator.

Space the hexagon 1/2" (1.3cm) from the side and 3/8" (1cm) from the fold (Embellish, Step 2). I used mint colored thread to match the hexie fabric. Attach the hexie flower with ladder stitches.

And that's it! I don't have more comprehensive instructions for the hexagon because I'm not an expert paper piecer and there are tons of great tutorials out there already, but do let me know if you have any questions!

Happy Stitching!

To Market


 Retro Mama ballerina doll

Aren't you just so inspired by all the amazing photos from Quilt Market this past weekend?? My fabric shopping list for this winter and spring is getting very long! I wasn't able to attend, but I did make a little batch of samples for my friends at Blend Fabrics. I received a beautiful box of fabric, and when I laid eyes on Josephine Kimberling’s new line I immediately pictured a ballerina doll that was ever-so-slightly edgier than usual. Hand drawn florals, dots, and stripes were perfect for pairing with black satin ribbon!

 Retro Mama ballerina doll

 Retro Mama ballerina doll
A couple layers of tulle over the skirt softens it nicely. And because I get the occasional question about the skirt closure, here is a view of the back. It's just a simple tie, which also makes the dress reversible.

 Retro Mama ballerina doll
 Retro Mama ballerina doll
 Retro Mama ballerina doll
 Retro Mama ballerina doll
 Retro Mama ballerina doll
Next up...

Maude Asbury designs the most fun modern retro prints! Her new line, Colorific, is full of bright geometrics that are perfect for making mod critter softies. I liked how the doxie’s 60s style eyelashes looked so much with these fabrics that I put them on my mini elephant, too!

The doxie was made at 90% of the full pattern size with no other alterations, so it is about 2-3” smaller than the regular sized dog. I love those bits of dark green mixed in with the brights.

 Retro Mama doxie softie
 Retro Mama doxie softie
 Retro Mama doxie softie

Wee elephant was made with the templates printed at 75% of full size with no other adjustments, and is about 6” tall. I used the eyelash template from the doxie for the eyes and I love how it turned out! And sooo easy, too!

 Retro Mama elephant softie
All of these fabrics will be available soon!

Elephant and ballerina, and doxie sewing patterns can be found in my shop.

Happy Stitching!