Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Jay's sister is having a little girl this spring, and I wanted to give his sister and the new baby, Madeline, a great baby gift, not just another pack of onesies.  Unfortunately, she already had many of the things she wanted and needed, and the things she still needed were a little out of our price range.  (Hey, we're still students after all.)  So I decided I'd try to make something for her.  Jay's aunt cross-stitched his sister's name onto a large piece of fabric and had it framed for her when she was a little girl.  The hanging is still on the wall at my in-laws' house today, and I thought, "Hey, it'd be neat to do the same thing for her little girl!"  Unfortunately for all of us, I can't cross stitch.  Let's be honest:  I can barely straight stitch with my sewing machine.  But the idea had been planted, and I could find nothing in a store that I liked so well as the idea of stitching Madeline's name, and having it framed. 

Then, inspiration struck.  I remembered this framed picture of appliqued fabric flower cutouts that I'd seen at Anthropologie last summer, and I decided that my sewing machine and I, distant friends though we were, could band together and do this for my soon-to-be niece.  I took a trip to my local Hobby Lobby, also known as my dealer, found some cute fabric that I thought might match Madeline's bedroom decor, and went home to start cutting.  I opened Microsoft word, typed Madeline's name in all caps, and changed the font and font size to match my project.  I printed out the letters, and then used my rotary cutter to cut the fabric to match. 

I didn't want to use a satin stitch (very close zig zag stitches) to applique the letters because I didn't want a nice 'finished' look to the project.  I wanted the edges to fray a little, giving it a more childish, crafty look, so I just used a straight stitch and sewed the edges of the letters onto a piece of off-white cotton.  It was not a perfect job, but I was happy with the result because it was my first real sewing project in ten years.  (And I thought it was kind of cute.)  I had it framed at, you guessed it, Hobby Lobby, and this was the final result:

(Pardon the smudges and glare on the glass...I'm not a professional photographer, though it is something I'd like to learn!)

Now the worry was that my sister-in-law wouldn't like it, either because it looked so homemade or didn't match Madeline's room or she didn't have space for it or...something.  I was just very unsure of myself and my work.  However, my worries were unfounded.  She loved it, and it matched Madeline's decor so well!

This is a picture of it hanging above Madeline's bed, courtesy of Elizabeth Duvall and cropped by me.

The point of my little (or not-so-little) story is this: don't let what you can't do stop you from creating something.  You can always learn a new skill, or you can take the ones you already have to do something else that's just as good.  Happy crafting!


  1. You make me wish I could sew. Maybe someday I will learn.

  2. I don't think you ever had anything to worry about. This is adorable! Learning to sew is on my list of things to do!