Noodlehead Pepin Tote muslin

Got to be having some fun, right? I love the Noodlehead Pepin Tote, just released. It’s so well drafted and just begs for customization. The instructions are, as always, amazing. Bonus – seam allowances are included.

My first thought was to make it a bit more narrow and less deep, as shown in my pics. I cut my fabric at 16.5″ wide, rather than 19″ wide, and mine is 3′ deep. But I’m going for the full monte on my future versions.

I love the idea of using waxed canvas, as above, but it’s not practical for the sub-tropics. I don’t relish the idea of my bag melting in my car, on my clothes, eating outside. And it would, I researched it!. So I’m using a mid-weight canvas.

I have enough canvas left for two final versions, one for me and one as a Christmas gift. This morning I ordered this delightful Andover Quail cotton from Marshall Dry Goods for the lining and inside pockets (I’ll oppose the stripe on the pockets).

Bye for now! Coco

Christmas pageant costumes

Greetings! I just realized yesterday that my last post was almost a month ago. I’ve been so busy, in a wonderful and fulfilling way.

I’m so happy in my new church home, and I’ve looked for ways to serve and get involved. In early November, the call for sewists went out – the Christmas pageant costumes were in need of ‘revitalization’ and/or replacement. I went over and, to my surprise, came home with the animals! Talk about a challenge – 3 sheep, 3 cows, and 3 donkeys for the little 3-5 year olds. I haven’t attempted costumes since my own children were that age, long ago. And my only animal was a bunny…

Thank goodness for Pinterest, which opened a world of examples. I chose my models:

And I found two great patterns for the costume basics:

Each costume has a top from S2068 and a hood from S2855, with embellishments. For the bottoms I used True Bias Mini Hudsons. I chose these because the cuffs are easily turned to accommodate our shorter grazers.

Fabric, XXXL Gilden T-shirts, JoAnn
Fabric: Cotton interlock, JoAnn
Fabric, Blizzard fleece, JoAnn

These 9 costumes took me much longer to sew than I anticipated, but I’m really pleased with the results, and I’m excited to see the little ones in the pageant. Christmas Eve will have additional meaning to me, and I’m grateful.

Bye for now – Coco

Sunday project – a padded phone case

Since my daughter gifted me with an IPhone 8 Plus for Christmas, I’ve had some anxious moments. It cost almost as much as my MacBook Air! And seems fragile to me.

I immediately ordered glass protective shields for the face, and a really nice snap-in case. But I dislike carrying it around! it fits in my wallet, and I’ve been thinking about a padded envelope for its travels in my handbag. Yes, I looked all over for one online, and they all came up short on some feature. Picky…

So I made my own 🙂

Sewing notes:

  • Materials: fabric for the shell (Kaufman Balboa Essex linen), lining (poly/cotton broadcloth, and fusible fleece, 1 x size 3 sew-on snap.
  • About closures: velcro would work but also catch all kinds of lint. And magnets are a big no-no for anything that has a circuit board.
  • All my seams are 1/2″ and are trimmed quite a bit after sewing.
  • My phone, in its backing case, is 3.6″ x 6.5″.
  • Pattern and construction:

I cut 2 layers of the shell fabric, lining, and fusible, and a 4″ x 2″ strip for the closure tab.


It’s just a bagged shell with the tab added at the top. And the snap sewn to shell and tab.

It’s perfect! Happy Sunday to all, Coco

Artwork while waiting for fabric…

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 12.56.24 PM

Words for a perfect day…two pieces of Brussels Washer Linen from are almost here!

Meanwhile, I’m continuing my Chameleon Colortone Pen journey. After practicing for 5 weeks, I’m confident enough to commit to something. The design has taken me a couple weeks. I started with pencil, added the black detail, and used a white rubber eraser to clean it up.

This is for my son, who got me started with these pens for Mother’s Day. It’s 5×7, and I began adding color just this morning.


It’s actually on white cardstock, but I took this pic with my antiquated flip-phone 🙂

A tremendous help – I finally made a color chart with all my pens. It’s just to the side of my work table, an easy reference as I colorize the picture.


For now – Coco

Meet Callie Lapin…


Callie is cousin to Luna Lapin, a little French hare.


Originally I planned to use wool felt for Callie’s body, and I ordered it online from The Felt Pod. But I couldn’t work with it – allergies. So I opted for grey kona cotton, which works really well.

Some pics along the way…

I drafted my patterns with a 1/4″ seam allowance and sewed everything on my machine. I find it easier to sew small doll pieces using the pattern on top of the fabric, with a very small stitch length (2.2 on long edges, 1.2 around curves).

sewing the pattern

After tearing away the tissue, I cut out my pieces with pinking shears. The pinked edge is safer than clips on curves and adds ease to all the seams.

sewn and pinked

I happen to like floppy ears on rabbits, so I redrew her head and lengthened her ears (more in a later photo).


I’m always happy when all the body parts are sewn and I can start turning and stuffing. Over years of making fabric dolls, I’ve collected and adapted some great tools.


Chopsticks, manicure sticks, cocktails skewers, hemostats, and tweezers.



I also find doll needles to be indispensable.  I used one to stabilize the head while I attached it, and ran one side to side, straight through the body and head, to attach the arm buttons and eyes.

Doll Makers Journey is my go-to source for tools, fabrics, and much more!

Callie has a pink nose, eyes, and shoulder buttons. Outlining her nose with thread made the embroidery work very simple.



Cute bunny.


Of course she’s after me for something to wear. The fitting of her first outfit (dress and knickers) is scheduled for this afternoon 🙂

first dress

She was fun to make, and I plan more outfits as well as some flip-flops in her size. Rather than do more posts here, I’ve set up a Pinterest board for Callie and any other Sarah Peel designs that grab me.

Ciao! Coco

Quilted eyeglass cases…

2 versions

The holidays are right around the corner…time to get busy on handmade gifts!

But first – thank you for all the nice comments wishing me a speedy recovery. So appreciated, and I’m doing great now. You guys are the absolute best.

These quilted eyeglass cases are perfect for readers and sunglasses – the ones that get lost on the bottom of a handbag. I used to make them back when Ashley and I sold handmade fabric and mixed media items at charity craft fairs. We even had a moniker and logo: Back Alley Five & Dime (because most of our items were $1, $5, or $10).

square 5x5 rose scroll

The case is basically a small drawstring pouch, with a quilted shell and plain lining.

Quilted shell
Inside of shell, showing fused fleece, quilting and curved bottom.

Lining, showing 1.5″ circle template to draw bottom curves.

Shell in lining
A chop stick works great to push the shell into the lining!

Turning the case
Turning the assembled case through the side of the lining.

Press it
Turned case, nice and pressed.

Once the lining is pushed back inside the shell, I topstitch the case 1/2″ from the top edge, forming the casing for the drawstring.


The drawstring goes in, the cord lock goes on, and, voila, done!

Materials and so on:

  • Finished size 3.5″ x 7″.
  • 1/2″ seam allowance.
  • Shell, lining, and fusible fleece or low-loft batting: Cut 1 of each, 17″ x 4.5″ (or 2 pieces, 8.5″ x 4.5″, if using smaller scraps). I prefer the fusible fleece over batting, because it makes the case a little stiffer.
  • Drawstring: Cut 1, 14″ long  x 2mm or 3mm. I like faux leather or waxed cotton cord, found in the jewelry making section of craft stores.
  • 1 medium cord lock. There are loads of sources online, and JoAnns carries these as well.

So, I’m thinking I’ll make some more little things to match, maybe card wallets. These are perfect to tuck into a clutch or wristlet, where a wallet just doesn’t fit.  Actually, I use mine to hold my Coco’s Loft cards, just in case someone asks for one (or I want to force one on people!) There are loads of DIY card wallet ideas on Pinterest.

case and card

I love the holiday season! Bye for now – Coco

Sewing thingies for the sewing room…

New year, cleaner loft? ummm. No! But I did take time to brighten it up a couple days ago.

First, my pin cushion. Much loved, much used. I cannot tell you how nice it is to have a ‘roll’ that fits right in front of my machine. And is long enough for me to segregate my pins by type.

I made my first one back in 2011, and it was looking pretty drab after 6 years. So, a new one. I took the oldie apart, both to re-use the sand bag that was inside and to retrieve any lost sewing needles. The latter was gratifying – I rescued 12 needles, most of them self-threading needles that I use all the time to sink thread tails.

The pin cushion is easy to make. It’s basically a rectangular bag, finished at about 7″ x 3″, with a opening on the side for inserting the innards.  Inside, on the bottom, I have a fabric bag of super-fine sand that I found at PetsMart (bird department). The bag is sewn from a high-thread count fabric and hasn’t leaked at all. On top of the bag, poly batting and fiberfill, stuffed in until I just couldn’t stuff any more. And the opening is just hand-sewn to close.

Those sewing needles. Usually they’re on a magnetic card that’s stuck on the metal base of my lamp. This works great, because they’re right at hand and not populating my pin cushion. I still see this Singer notion at JoAnns, it comes with a few needles and is very inexpensive.

Next up, a notions tray for the little things I use constantly at the machine. Seam ripper, measuring tape, long tweezers, Frixion pen, hem gauge, 7″ ruler, spool caps…lots of stuff 🙂 I’ve been using a pasta bowl from my dinnerware, which bugged me no end. Making a quilted fabric replacement was easy peasy, I should have done this sooner.

The materials are simple: A top, bottom, and batting layer, all cut at 10″ x 12″, then sewn as a bag, turned right side out, and quilted. 


Ta dum!


I’ve made these trays so many times as travel gifts. Most of them are smaller, about 7″ x 5″ – they pack flat and have snaps to close the corners. They’re great for holding jewelry, change, and keys on a hotel nightstand. And in my living room right now, this one has the notions I’m using while basting a bunch of quilt blocks.

I’m glad I took the time to spruce up the loft, but it was just exhausting. LOL – actually I’d rather be sewing.

Bye for now! Coco