The Perfect Wristlet

For a couple of years, my favorite wristlet has been the two zip wristlet made from a pattern by Erin Erickson at Dog Under My Desk.  I’ve got a couple of these wristlets, and I carry them on a regular basis.  Here’s one of my favorite ones:
Essential wristlet with two zippers

Recently, I had a customer ask me to make her a wristlet that was bigger than the ones I use.  I showed her a sample boxed bottom wristlet, and she liked the larger, roomier style.  She also insisted that she wanted an extra zipper on the outside of her wristlet like the ones I add to the flat wristlets.

I was hesitant to add another zipper, and I told her that it probably wouldn’t work.  “Why not?” she asked.  I wasn’t sure why not, but the pattern didn’t offer that as an option, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t a good idea.

Was I wrong about that one!  It really is okay to try something different.
Two Zip Boxed Bottom Wristlet

The zippered pocket that I added on the front of this red chevron zipper works perfectly!  It definitely adds something to the functionality of this wristlet.
Two zip boxed bottom wristlet I used the same pattern for this wristlet that I always use, The Essential Wristlet.  I liked the results so much that I had to make myself one of these.  I made another small change to my wristlet, and it has now become indispensable to me.  I’ll show you my new wristlet in my next blog post.

Anyway, if you think you’d like to try one of these two zip boxed bottom wristlets, let me know.  I’m selling them for $24 and hope to get a few of them in my Etsy shop in September.  Custom orders are always welcome, too.

I’m glad I gave this a try.  What choice did I have?  The customer’s always right!


Dress A Doll and Help a Girl

Little girls and dolls belong together!     Little girl with dolls

Sadly, not every little girl has that privilege of a fun, safe childhood with dolls and doll clothes.  This summer, at My Grandma Knows, I want to give you an opportunity to partner with me to help young girls in Managua, Nicaragua.

La Chureca is a village within a garbage dump in Managua, Nicaragua.  The residents of this village suffer from extreme filth, poverty, and hopelessness.  The air is so contaminated that it slowly poisons the people who live there.  Girls are especially vulnerable to drug abuse and sex trading as they are sometimes given in exchange for first access to new loads of garbage.

 Forward Edge International has built Villa Esperanza, a “Village of Hope” in Managua and has rescued some of these vulnerable ones from their life amid the garbage.  Natalie Goss, one of my former students and now my friend, serves at the Villa Esperanza as their Child Sponsorship Representative and Field Staff.  (That’s Natalie on the right in the picture below.)

What does any of this have to do with you?

How can you help?

It’s simple, really.  All you have to do is purchase doll clothes for your 18 inch dolls (like the American Girl dolls) from My Grandma Sews Facebook page or Etsy shop.  For the next three months, I will be donating all of the money from doll clothes sales (after shipping and Etsy fees) to the girls at the Villa Esperanza.  The money will be used to help the girls buy Christmas presents for their family members who still reside in La Chureca.

The Villa Esperanza is helping to restore these young ones by meeting their physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs.  The girls who now live at the Villa maintain contact with their families and visit them regularly, but they no longer have to fight to survive.  They can be children again. 
villa girls

Check my Facebook page and Etsy shop often for new items!  Your girls can help other girls by shopping at My Grandma Knows!

First image courtesy of artur84/

“Dress My Doll, Please”

Recently, one of my alterations customers brought me a doll that belonged to her mom and asked me to dress the doll.  I have been sewing doll clothes since December 2013, but only for 18 inch dolls like the American Girl dolls.

The doll that my customer brought to me was quite small and old and fragile looking.  I decided to accept the challenge.

First I rummaged through my patterns and found a vintage pattern that I had recently bought at a thrift store for $.25.  The pattern included clothes for 13-15 inch dolls, but the doll that I was dressing was barely ten inches in height.  I would have to improvise.

I started with a basic pattern and made it quite a bit smaller and shorter.  I chose a peasant style top and bloomer style pants in coordinating calico prints that have an old-fashioned look to them.

outfit for ten inch doll

The tiny bloomers are made from a very tiny floral print in peaches and cream colors.  I made the top from a coordinating print in blue, tan, peach, and green.  I added a strip of the peaches and cream fabric down the front of the top to make the two pieces look like an outfit.  The tiny tan button at the neckline was my finishing touch.
ten inch doll outfit

I love the way this little outfit turned out, and I hope that my customer likes it, too.  At least her little doll isn’t naked any longer!

Lalaloopsy Doll Quilt and Pillow

Allow me to introduce you to Lalaloopsy:


Lalaloopsy is a long and rather skinny doll that is quite popular with one little girl I know.   I’m beginning to see patterns for Lalaloopsy clothing, so she must be popular with other little girls, too.

Recently a friend of mine, whose little girl is the Lalaloopsy fan, asked me to make a blanket and pillow to fit in a cradle that she is passing down to her daughter.  Lalaloopsy will we sleeping in the cradle after this weekend.

I accepted this mission which held particular appeal for me since my friend is a talented jewelry maker, and she agreed to pay me in jewelry.  Here’s what I came up with in my sewing studio this week:
Lalaloopsy quilt, pillow and pillowcase

My friend asked me to use girly colors in bright tones, so that’s just what I did.  My inspiration for the quilt came from a remnant of a border print in green, pink, white, and blue.  I added the yellow in the quilt for a pop of sunshine and to keep the quilt from looking too matchy-matchy.  (I’m pretty sure that’s an official quilting term.  If not, it should be.)

I’m no quilter, and I wasn’t sure how to proceed with this blanket, so I used the same method that I used to make mug mats in the past.  The pillow is merely a stuffed rectangle made from a white cotton scrap.

For the pillowcase, I used a method that I use when I teach beginning sewing lessons.  I hate to admit that the one of the most time-consuming parts of this whole project was figuring out the measurements for the pillowcase.  This is why I never sew without a pattern!
Lalaloopsy pillow and pillowcase

The back of the quilt is a solid floral print that I repeated on both ends of the top of the quilt.
Lalaloopsy quilt back
The dual feed system on my Janome sewing machine was so helpful with the quilting!  I simply stitched in the ditch between the fabric strips on the front of the quilt.  Too bad I didn’t plan the placement of my label.  I ended up quilting through it.   quilt back with label
This was such a fun project.  I hope the recipient of this gift enjoys it for years to come!  Happy Birthday, Sage!

Today’s Sewing: A Toddler Romper

toddler girl's romper

A few weeks ago, Justine requested that I make a few rompers for Aaliyah to wear this summer.  Justine really likes rompers, and Aaliyah, of course, looks adorable in rompers, so I agreed.

This is the first pattern that I tried, and it’s a very simple and somewhat old-fashioned design.  This pattern includes what we now call a pillowcase dress, so I suppose we could call this a pillowcase romper.

The construction was quite simple with elastic in the neck and ribbon ties at the shoulder.  The fabric that I chose is a beautiful cotton print that I bought at Joanns.  The cream background with pink flowers has a vintage look to it.

I can’t wait to see Aaliyah in this one!

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