Tag Archives: sewing projects

Check Out My New Sewing Apron!

I’ve been teaching my sewing classes for over eight years now, but it took a while to realize I would need a sewing apron to make the job easier!

When I first began teaching, I was always running back and forth through the studio to grab supplies to help the students. This gave me quite the workout, but it was also frustrating not having everything on-hand whenever I needed it. Not to mention, this made it much easier to lose things in the process!

This process went on for a while, until I came up with an idea: I could make things much easier on myself by creating a customized sewing apron to fit my needs.

Check Out My New Sewing Apron!

This project came in stages, as I tried new things and figured out what worked best. The first version was a simple, 3-pocket apron sewn out of linen. This worked great for a few years, but as I got busier I came to the conclusion that I needed more pockets to hold everything.

I sat down and sewed a new sewing apron, which is the one I use today. First, I used some leftover fabric that I had made my sewing machine covers out of (along with some twill tape), so that my apron would match my new studio. (Haven’t seen my new sewing machine covers? Click here to see them!).

I then sewed two rows of pockets across the front, which would be ideal for organizing my supplies. The top row has small, narrow pockets – necessary for organizing my sewing gauge, fabric marking tools, writing pens, and other skinny, narrow objects.

I sewed larger pockets for the bottom row to hold things like my painters tape (to be a sewing guide on the sewing machine), receipt book, seam rippers, small screwdrivers, bobbins, cough drops, chapstick, etc.

I absolutely love my new sewing apron – it’s extremely useful! Now I have everything I need at all times, right at my fingertips.

Here’s a picture of the final product:

Sewing Tip:

One of my favorite things about my new sewing apron is that I can use it for a variety of activities. For example, it makes things like gardening, cooking, and cleaning much easier! Once you sew something you love, try to think up new, creative ways to use it. The more versatile your creation, the more you’ll appreciate it (and the less extra items you’ll have to sew unnecessarily).

Stay tuned for my next blog, where I’ll show you my new ironing board cover.

Happy Sewing!



sewing machine covers

My Latest Project: Sewing Machine Covers

Today I’ll be showcasing my latest project: new sewing machine covers!

One of my greatest delights comes from being able to sew something myself, rather than purchasing it from a store. I love taking ordinary materials, and transforming them into something functional and fun. As a result, almost everything in my sewing studio is hand-sewn by me!

My sewing students love walking through my studio, pointing to things and asking, “Did you make this? How about that?” This has inspired me to continue sewing new pieces to show my kids that, when you put your mind to it, you can create something that looks just as good (if not better) than what you can buy from a store.

One of my most recent projects has been sewing brand new sewing machine covers for my studio sewing machines. This has been such a fun project, since I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with different fabrics and piece together a creative and cohesive look for my studio.

First, I found some fun fabric in three different colors: red, white, and black. This was perfect for me, since it would match the new décor in my studio. I also gathered some fun looking buttons, as well as some twill tape with measuring tape printed on it. This would work as my trim.

Then, I went to work on my sewing covers. I must say, these came out even better than I expected them to! Plus, I was able to use my creativity to come up with a truly unique design that is a reflection of my unique style. The kids love them!

I made six of these covers – one for each of my students’ sewing machines, one for my machine, and one for my serger. . The project turned out to be a complete success! You can see the finished product in the pictures below:sewing machine covers

sewing machine covers

sewing machine covers

Sewing Tip:

If you are sewing something for yourself, make it your own! Get creative and choose fabrics and accessories that you love. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, or to try something new. Remember: you can always change something if you want to. However, these projects often turn out much better than you’d expect! By making something your own, you can be proud of the work you put in, and the piece will truly be a reflection of you.

Stay tuned for next month’s blog, where I’ll tell you all about my new sewing apron.

Happy Sewing!


A Many-Pocketed Big Bag with Personality

In the summer heat, Christmas might feel far away, but it’s never too early to start scheming what handmade gifts you want to make for friends and loved ones.

Last Christmas, I made this bag for Heather, a dear friend.  She likes big bags to carry all her treasures, and has a variety of bags for different purposes. Though I’m not sure what she uses this one for; I thought of her when I saw this pattern.

JoLene Heather Bag

One of the things I like is that this bag has many pockets, but is not your traditional bag. It has personality! It seemed like the perfect fit. For the fabric, I chose two colors from the same color palette. One has big bright flowers and the other stripes in the same colors. I love the outside pocket on each side and pockets on the inside. The magnetic closure is the perfect touch. It was so fun to make! One of the fun parts is overcoming a challenge, and the handle gave me a bit of trouble. I took it apart  a couple of times to get it to lay just right. The satisfaction of getting it just so is tremendous!

The final result is just delightful! This would make a great beach bag or farmers market bag. The pattern I used (Butterick B5658) has several different styles. Make one for you and a friend or one of each for all of your bag needs.

Jolene Bag Pattern

Happy sewing,


A Rainy Day Sewing Project for Rainy Days

As everyone knows, Oregon and rain go hand in hand, at least during this part of the year!

When I arrived Oregon for the first time, I was 20 and came to visit a high school friend living in Corvallis. What a wonderful place! I just loved it. I visited during November and the whole time I was here it was raining this light mist. Everything seemed to explode with different colors of green. Not long after, I moved to Corvallis and vowed never to take the wonderful trees and the green landscape for granted.

I have now lived in Oregon for over 30 years, in Corvallis, Salem, and Portland. Umbrellas are a necessity in this climate.

A while ago, a student asked me to help her make an umbrella kit that she bought from Cool Cottons, a fantastic fabric store on Hawthorne in SE Portland. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to make my own.

So here it is! I had such fun with this, from picking the fabric to the quick and simple assembly. It’s very easy to make; you just purchase the frame and pattern, all available at Cool Cottons. There is only one pattern piece that you cut out 8 times, sew them together, and finish the seams. You put the finished cover on the frame, tack it down, and waterproof the fabric.

Voila! You have your very own Oregon Umbrella.

It’s such a joy to create things that are unique and further make it your own, matching your personality and interests. As you can see in the pictures, I made my umbrella a sewing theme, with a tape measure cotton fabric pattern.

This would be a great project for any of you to try! Stretch your wings and try something out of the ordinary.

Happy sewing,

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