Candy Cane Huggers & Holders

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I usually wait until December to put up the Christmas tree, but when Aunt Sallie called and said she’d be passing through and stopping by the next day, I had an immediate change of plans. Aunt Sallie is the family queen of holiday décor. It would be the only time she could share a little holiday cheer, she had said, and as I looked around and saw no sign of Santa, I panicked!

I was able to drag the table top tree out of the basement and give it a good dusting, but the ornaments were in a storage area where only my husband could reach.  And even if I could get the boxes off their shelves, I wondered about the condition in which I’d find them, recalling my haste when storing them away. I contemplated this little dilemma, igniting my inspiration with a bit of sugar from a candy cane, while cleaning up my sewing area.  I found a couple of samples and decided it was a shame to tuck nice embroidery into a shoebox.  Then, with a candy cane in one hand, embroidered star sample in the other, I recalled seeing similar ornaments that hold candy canes.  Yes!

As the clean-up mission continued I managed to find a few more embroidered samples that would work fine for ornaments and stitched out other holiday appliqué designs on felt I had in my stash, and then I embellished each with whatever I could gather up in the craft room.  I admit some of those that I made may have been improved, had I more time.  Some I didn’t add back pieces to and others could have used a ribbon or some sort of pop, but in the end, I realized all was well when I saw Aunt Sallie smile.

These ornaments can be made quickly, depending on the sewing time of the designs you choose and the amount of embellishment that you desire. In general, each can be assembled within an hour’s time and they can be created from scraps of felt and other fabrics that you might already have in your stash. I’ve used appliqué designs in this project because they usually have a satin stitch column outline that works well for the edge of the ornament, but any design could work if you use a little imagination. The designs featured in this project require either a 4 x 4” or 5 x 7” hoop. The first five steps are the basic instructions, followed by steps for each of the 10 designs.

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Materials

  • 1 square of craft felt suitable for each ornament
  • Fabric pieces to cover areas you plan for appliqué
  • Cut-away stabilizer
  • 40 WT Threads; variety of colors for each design
  • Fabric or felt glue
  • Ribbon or cord for each ornament that requires a hanger
  • Misc. trims, gems, beads, stick-on stars, dry glitter, and/or glitter glue
  • 10 Candy Canes

Designs

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Step 1:1-Step

Gather the materials. You will need pieces of felt large enough to hoop and stitch each ornament design. If you have felt pieces large enough for the design but not enough to hoop, you can hoop an adhesive type stabilizer and lay the felt on top for “hoopless embroidery”. Use a heavy weight tear-away or firm cut-away. Find those bits and pieces of ribbons and trims in your stash that need a purpose and other materials for embellishment.

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Step 2:

2-Step

Embroider the designs. I used designs that are digitized for appliqué but it isn’t necessary to use fabric pieces in all areas intended for the appliqué. If you choose to use appliqué, the machine will stop after sewing the placement line and you can either set in your pre-cut piece that has been lightly sprayed with adhesive or backed with an adhesive stabilizer, or you can lay a piece of fabric to cover the area, and then stitch the cutline (the next color digitized in the design). When the machine stops stitching that color, trim away the fabric up to the outside of the stitches and then start the machine again and finish sewing the design.

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Step 4:

4-Step

Cut out the designs (fronts) and backs for the ornaments. You can cut as close to the border stitches as you prefer, but take care not to cut the stitches. Keep a bottle of Dritz Fray Check handy to dab on any stitches accidentally snipped. To be safe, leave a margin of about 1/4” to the outside of the stitches all around the design by first measuring and marking. For the Polar Bear I used my hem gauge and a ball point pen, marking dots around the outside, and then connected the dots before using a scissors to cut out the ornament. The Poinsettia was trimmed up close to the stitches very carefully with a small hand scissors, and then I pinned the front to another piece of felt and used a craft knife to create the back and cut out the holes for the candy cane (the holes for holding the candy canes should be cut on back pieces before they are glued in place). You can leave the stabilizer in place and it will add to the firmness of the ornament, but you may want to trim away the very outside up to the stitches to avoid any poking out of the edge. Attach the backs to the fronts with a thin line of fabric or felt glue around the inside edges.

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Step 5:

5-Step

Decorate the ornament. The hook of the candy cane is used to hang the candy cane huggers, but the candy cane holders will need a hanger of some sort. I cut a piece of ribbon about 5” long, folded in half and then I used a couple tack-down stitches to hold in place. You could also use a good dab of glue to attach the ribbon, but you will need to wait until it dries to continue working with the ornament. I used red Zazz glitter glue to seal the outside edges of the Poinsettia. For the Christmas Tree, I applied yellow glitter glue to the front edge and sprinkled multi-colored dry glitter on top of the glitter glue to add more sparkle.

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Step 6:

6-Step

Gingerbread Man Holder: This cute design actually includes a heart on each side of the gingerbread man, but those elements were unnecessary for this project. I chose to delete them from the design before it was stitched, but if you don’t have an editing software program, you can let the hearts sew and simply cut them out of the final ornament. I decided it was fine without adding a back piece to it. A ribbon was attached for a hanger (as shown in Step 5).

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Step 7:

7-Step

Poinsettia Hugger: This was stitched on the red fabric with green appliqué added for the leaves, and then the entire ornament was backed with red felt. Holes for the candy cane were cut prior to attaching the back to the front (as shown in Step 3). Red glitter glue was applied on the outside edge to embellish and it also hides the white cut-away stabilizer that is sandwiched between the fabric front and felt back. Note, the metallic gold thread that was used for both the berries and inside petals ran beautifully for these elements.

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Step 8:

8-Step

Snowman Holder: This was stitched on one piece of white felt and it has no back. After stitching I carefully snipped a hole inside the satin stitch ring at the top for the 11” long ribbon used for the hanger. I chose to leave a 3/8” wide margin around the outside to better support the area where the hole is cut at the outside of the elbow for the candy cane. A pink, red or blue felt with a white appliqué for the snowman may have been a better idea to help the snowman stand out, so I added polar white Flower Soft particles to highlight areas of the snowman. Dots of red glitter glue were dabbed in the center of the elements of the snowman’s scarf.

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Step 9:

9-Step

Christmas Bear Hugger: I added a back piece to this ornament because I wanted the candy to be placed vertically and the embroidery wouldn’t allow cutting candy cane holes through the stabilizer. Additional embellishment didn’t appear necessary, though you could add gems or glitter to the eyes for a bit of sparkle.

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Step 10:

10-Step

Merry Christmas Holder: This design was likely digitized with the intention of using it for a gift tag; slip a ribbon through the “button holes” to tie on a package or around a bottle of wine. Simply embroider the design, cut around the outside of the border and snip the centers of the button holes, and then attach a ribbon to hang.

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Step 11:

11-Step

Star Hugger: I stitched the design on red fabric and cut-away and attached a red felt back with a thin line of glue at the edge. The holes for the candy cane were cut into the back prior to attaching it to the front. I used a template made from shipping cardboard to mark a circle around the embroidery. Yellow glitter glue sprinkled with dry multi-colored glitter was added around the outside edge and a stick-on star was added to the center.

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Step 12:

12-Step

Christmas Tree Holder: White felt and cut-away were both hooped and the design was stitched as an appliqué by adding the plaid fabric after the placement line was sewn. Holes for the candy cane were cut into the stabilizer (as shown in Step 4). Yellow glitter glue with dry multi-colored glitter was added around the 1/8” margin left at the outside of the border stitches. A ribbon was tacked to the back for a holder. A stick-on star was attached to the ribbon at the top of the tree and gems glued on for added sparkle. Note, this design is pictured on the product page at EmbroideryDesigns.com with the plaid running horizontally and vertically; I chose to angle the plaid to offer the illusion of garland.

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Step 13:

13-Step

Santa Claus Hugger: This was stitched on white felt and a red appliqué piece was used for the hat. An option for this design is to also use a white piece of fabric like polar fleece for the appliqué that is digitized in this design for the beard and cap tassel. A white felt back was cut and holes cut for the candy cane about an inch apart and the back was attached to the front. No embellishment was added.

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Step 14:

14-Step

Gingerbread Man Hugger: Stitched on tan felt and a back with pre-cut candy can holes was attached with a thin line of glue at the edge after the stabilizer was trimmed away (as shown in Step 3). I chose to add polar white Flower Soft particles to the embroidered snow and a dab of red glitter glue to the nose and yellow glitter glue to the stars on the ornament.

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Step 15:

15-Step

Polar Bear Hugger: This was stitched on white felt and cut-away stabilizer; no back piece was necessary. I cut a 1/4” wide margin around the design (as shown in Step 3). Holes for the candy cane were cut and no additional embellishment seemed necessary. If preferred, you could add a bit of black or silver glitter to the nose and paw pads, or add embellishment on the scarf. You could also choose to stitch on colored felt and add an appliqué piece of white polar fleece or similar fluffy fabric for the body of the bear that was digitized for appliqué.

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Step 16:

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Decorate the tree!

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With a little thought, most any design can become a candy cane hugger or holder.  Let your imagination have some fun! You may even already have a few embroidered test samples that were screaming for a purpose and what better way to put them on display!

You’ll find these instructions and many more to help you decorate for the holidays archived in the Projects at EmbroideryDesigns.com!

~ Till next time, keep on stitchin’!

Bonnie
CSR & Design Support Team EmbroideryDesigns.com
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing
Images © 2014 EmbroideryDesigns.com – B. Landsberger

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Nutty Pillow-Style Pin Cushion

final-pinEverybody needs a pin cushion. Maybe you don’t think so if you’re not a seamstress or tailor, but think again. What do you do with those packaging pins you remove from new clothing before you wear it, or where do you poke that stray safety pin or needle and thread?  Whether you’re a hand or machine embroiderer, you’ll need a temporary home for needles that are still new, but not the right size for the project you’re about to tackle. Heck, I even use pins to fasten fragile items onto my bulletin board so that they’re not damaged with a big tack hole. A pin cushion will find a use in every home, so why not make it as pretty as it is functional? When embroidered with the right design for the person in mind, a pin cushion even makes a great gift!

Traditionally a pin cushion was often seen as a tomato shape, a practice which is thought to have begun during the Victorian Era when tomatoes were considered a sign of good luck. But any shape can be made, as long as it’s stuffed with a material that will hold the shape, is flexible and that preferably offers some weight so that the pin is pulled from the cushion easily. It’s said that today’s pins are made to stay sharp, but I believe anything will dull over time, so if you will be avidly using the pin cushion, you might want to stuff it with a filler that is thought to keep the pins sharp such as fine sand, rice or flax seed. If you don’t experience nut allergies, you can try what I used for this project – crushed walnut shells used for reptile bedding and found at pet stores. It’s relatively easy to work with and the stuffing process is fast. Crushed walnut shells are inexpensive at about $8 for a 5.5 quart bag and can also be purchased from various craft stores by the cup.

A pin cushion is a great way to use up those quilt scraps or most any type of fabric from cotton to felt. Embroidery on various prints will have interesting results, such as the fat quarter of an Alma Lynne Hi-Fashion print I had in my stash that I used for the square pin cushion. I found thread color tones of those recommended in the design color information to match closely with those used in the print. Trims from your stash can also be added, such as beads, ribbon, buttons and bows, to give this quick project your own special touch.

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Materials:

  • 2 pieces about 6″ square or round of cotton fabric
  • 15-20″ length of lace trim (optional)
  • 2 cups (approx.) of crushed walnut shells
  • 40 WT thread

Designs:

PINCUSHION by Great Notions, SKU: GN01-65568

I Love Sewing by Ace Points, SKU: AP01-APE1164_007

*More designs to choose from for your project at EmbroideryDesigns.com.

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Step1

Step 1: Sew a sample of the design planned for your pin cushion. Gather the materials and choose the thread colors by referring to the color information included with each design and use the closest tones you have in stock to what will look best on the fabric to be sewn.

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Step2

Step 2: Hoop the fabric and sew. First, set the inner hoop over the fabric to decide where the design will look best, preferably balanced well at the center of other elements. For this print, I wanted the pin cushion to result with the roses placed at the four corners. Then, hoop the fabric with the stabilizer and embroider.

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Step3

Step 3: Cut out the panels for both sides. For the square pin cushion, I trimmed away excess fabric, keeping the design at center of a 6″ square, and I used the roses at each corner as a reference. I used a rotary cutter and ruler to cut the straight lines, but a scissors will also work well when it is marked first as I did for the round pin cushion. To keep the design at center of the round pin cushion, you can use a see-thru template or a cut-out circle made from shipping cardboard, or do as I have by using a 6″ glass lid from a bowl.

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Step4

Step 4: Attach a lace trim. To create a ruffle in lace trim, begin by calculating the length you will need to reach around the sides and include a few inches to the total. Then sew close to the edge with a long stitch length; this automatically causes the trim to ruffle. Pin the ruffled trim on one panel, with the stitched edge to the outside. Line up the stitches that made the ruffle with where you will be sewing the final seam (about ½” from the edge) and baste in place. Basting it to one panel will make it easier when stitching the seam.

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Step5Step 5: Pin the right sides together and stitch. Begin at the side that is below the bottom of the design. Leave a 1-1/2″ opening; the smaller the opening that you can manage will make the stuffing process easier, as well as result in less time to stitch closed. (This image reveals that I used a black bobbin thread for the outline. When sewing narrow columns, the machine I used sometimes has a tendency to pull the bobbin thread to the top, so I used a bobbin thread in the corresponding color.)

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Step6Step 6: Trim corners and turn. Remove some of the bulk by trimming away the corners. Turn by gently working the embroidery through the opening first and the rest will follow. Use an eraser or rounded end of a marking pencil or similar object to push out the corners; do not use an object with a pointed end.

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Step7Step 7: Stuff the pin cushion and stitch to close. Set the turned pin cushion in a cup or bowl to hold it steady while pouring in the crushed walnut shells slowly through a small funnel. Close with a blind stitch.

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Reverse - Pin CushionThere are many shapes that can be created for a pillow style pin cushion from triangles to tomatoes, and they can be embroidered with the design of your choice. The square pin cushion with a weighted filler will stand nicely for small spaces, as well as display the design upright. You might also consider embroidery on the backside for a reversible option or to personalize.

Finished Pin CushionThere are no strict rules! Just use your imagination and get those pins and needles organized!  ~ Till next time, keep on stitchin’!

Bonnie
CSR EmbroideryDesigns.com
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing

Images © 2013 EmbroideryDesigns.com – B. Landsberger

Towel Pull-Over Baby Bib

Pull-over Baby BibIn my “new Mom days” I had been given a pull-over bib that offered the best stain protection and clean-up was easy. I admit, at first I had thought a tie-on bib was more logical to avoid the “drippings” from finding their way into my baby’s hair during removal, but after I learned to roll or fold the bib from the bottom to the neckline to catch the lost morsels before pulling it over the head, I had a change of mind.  And the price can’t be beat! There are oodles of towels to be found at discount stores that come in bundles at a bargain. I found a 5-pack of microfiber hand towels for $3.85 and in a variety of bright colors cheery enough for gift giving, especially when embellished with a cute embroidery design.

Assembly time for each bib is about 5 hours for a medium-advanced skill level, along with the embroidery sewing time, which of course, depends on the stitch count of the design you choose to use. I combined two designs and the total stitch count came to 8959 stitches; 20 minutes sewn at a slow speed. I chose designs that were created with minimal coverage of line stitches at a somewhat short length to keep the embellishment flexible and easy to clean. I used a 40 WT thread, but if the design is not stitch intensive, a thicker 30 WT might even work better on terry cloth or microfiber to allow stitches to be seen through the fabric fibers. Although I used a rayon thread for this particular project, a bib might fair better when laundered in hot water if sewn with a polyester or cotton thread. Also, cotton terry cloth may be a wiser choice if the bib will get tossed in the dryer, because microfiber should be air dried to extend its life.

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Materials:

  • 1 hand/utility towel 16 x 19” (size and fabric type optional)
  • 1 strip of ribbing about 8” long for the collar
  • 1 strip of bias tape about 72” or the length of the bib edge
  • 30-40 WT. thread (colors optional)

Designs:

Rattle Monogram Frame by Adorable Ideas

Cross Stitch Lamb by Logopunch

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1-StepStep 1: Combine designs and test sew. Merge the two designs in your editing software, arrange the lamb inside the frame and save as one design. Test sew the design on sample fabric such as felt. If you are unsure of what colors you will use on the final garment this is the time to experiment. For this sample, I used most of the colors found in the color information that accompanies the design files just to test the results. I also chose to use a silver for the “wool” in place of the white so that stitches would be clearly seen against the white felt.

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2-StepStep 2: Gather your materials and supplies. If you don’t have a sewing or artist’s template, you will also need something to use as a guide for cutting the neck hole in the towel; a small 6” dish or bowl works well for the average baby’s head. You can also measure the circumference of your own child’s head for a tailored fit, and choose an appropriate size dish or other item for a template. I had serged ribbing on hand, but if you don’t, then you will need to fold a 3-3.5” wide strip of ribbing along its 8” length and serge or zigzag stitch the open edge. Note, a serged/zigzag edge isn’t actually necessary because ribbing doesn’t fray, but it does help speed the sewing while pinning and stitching to the neckline.

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3-StepStep 3: Fold one third of the top of the towel to the inside with right sides together, lining up the side edges, and pin to keep the fold in place. Lay the sewn sample in the approximate area where it is planned to be sewn to insure there will be a large enough sewing field. Set your template at the center of the fold, so that one half of the template is on the towel. I used a ruler to determine the half-way mark of the dish I used for a template. Also, be sure to measure from each side of the towel to the edge of the template to be sure the shoulders are of an equal length.

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4-StepStep 4: Mark the edge of the neckline around the plate and cut along the mark. Unfold the towel and pin at four cross-points to use as a guide for pinning the ribbing on evenly.

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5-StepStep 5: With right sides together, stitch a 1/4” narrow seam to attach ribbing to the towel, starting and stopping about 1/2” away from the tails of the ribbing. Match the ends of the ribbing so that the outside folds meet evenly and serge or zigzag once or twice to close the ends and trim away excess ribbing. Stitch to finish the seam between towel and ribbing.

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6-Step

Step 6: Choose the colors to use for the embroidery by laying them together on the towel. Do this in a well-lighted area to determine whether a particular shade will work well.

 

 

 

 

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7-Step

Step 7: Determine the center of the embroidery by folding the towel first along its length, measure to find the half-way mark and pin, and then fold along its width, find the half-way mark and pin. The center is at where the pins cross.

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8-StepStep 8: Hoop the bib with a poly mesh cut-away on the back and a water soluble topping. Rip away a bit of the solvy to expose the needle tops which will make quick removal easier. My bib is too short to be completely hooped in the 6.2 x 10.2” hoop, leaving about 1” of the bib un-hooped at the bottom, so I’ve made sure that the sheets of stabilizers are large enough to be completely hooped to help keep the bib taught and I pinned the edge of the towel to the stabilizer to help keep it in place (not seen in this image). Place the hoop in the machine and move the hoop until the needle is sitting over the point where the needles cross. After sewing begins, stop the machine, remove the pins, and proceed with sewing. If the design you choose begins sewing at the center point, remove the pins before sewing begins.

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9-StepStep 9: After sewing, remove from hoop. Cut away the backing up to the outside stitches, leaving about a 1/4” allowance. There’s no need to remove the backing at the inside of the design if you use a flexible poly-mesh. On the front, rip away all of the excess topping. To remove from small elements, use the tip of sewing scissors or a seam ripper to get it started and pick away the excess. Note, you can also wash away the excess, but drying the bib would increase time before finishing. Keep in mind any remaining topping will disappear the first time the bib is laundered.

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10-StepStep 10: Cut a strip of bias tape at a length that will cover the edges of the bib to leave an approximate 2-3” overlap. I used a 16 x 19” towel that required almost 6 feet of bias tape. I also used bias tape that is 1.5” wide which made it difficult to attach to the bib after folding over the thick microfiber, so I recommend using bias tape that is at least 2” wide or wider.

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11-StepStep 11: Trim the edges where necessary. More often than not towels will have irregular edges, if only slight, but enough to cause an uneven edge. To be sure edges come out evenly, examine and trim by using a ruler for a guide and cut with rotary cutter or mark and cut with scissors. Cut away the corners to enable pinning the bias tape easily and to create a rounded corner.

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12-StepStep 12: If you’re not lucky enough to have a bias tape helper or bias-binder foot (as I don’t) you will have to do as early seamstresses did. Fold the sides of the bias tape to almost meet at the inside center, leaving a small gap to allow for the thickness of the towel and press. Pin the bias tape over the edge of the bib, beginning and stopping at the center back of the bib. Stitch near to the folded edge of the bias tape slowly, making sure that you catch the tape on the underside. (The wider the bias tape, the easier that process is.) Overlap the end of the bias tape and tuck the end to the inside. Pin and stitch the seam to close.

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lastStep 13: The bib is now completed and can be laundered to remove any excess water soluble topping.

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If you’re a beginner at sewing, don’t fear giving this project a try. I hadn’t used my machine for anything but mending and embroidery for a couple of decades. I found it to be the perfect project that will either help you recall what you once knew or give you practice for those projects ahead, while at the same time, result in something quite functional and cute enough for that next baby shower!

~Till next time, keep on stitchin’!

Bonnie
CSR EmbroideryDesigns.com
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing

Images © 2013 EmbroideryDesigns.com – B. Landsberger