Chocolate, pom pom shorts, student sewing and a perfect thank you

Despite the bummer of Bronchitis, I have still had a great week.  I received an adorable little penguin needle minder magnet giveaway in the mail from Martina of .  She wrote about it here during the blog post for Small, smaller smallest.  He is practical, fun and so cute in person!   Why do I see it as a he?  That is a good question.  I don’t have an answer except,  that’s how I see it! He came tucked in a wonderful little fabric pouch (that is a gift all by itself.)  Wait, but there’s more!!  Martina wrote me a lovely card and … she put some surprise swiss chocolates into the envelope!!!  OMG…she lives in Switzerland and this chocolate is the real deal!!   Wow!! Am I a lucky winner or what!??  Here’s what the package looked like all together. Imagine if every week could begin with a handmade gift and fun treasures!?


I can’t imagine a more fun giveaway.  Thank you so much Martina!!


This has to be the cutest little handmade (needle minder) magnet I have ever seen!!  He is adorable and the best repurpose for a button.   While I was willing to share some of the chocolate, this guy is all mine. I think that’s completely fair, don’t you?

Despite being under the weather, I ventured to Joann’s for some much-needed teaching supplies.  I went in expecting to pick up elastic, a pillow form, some thread and perhaps a few patterns to make kids shorts.  Imagine the look on my face when I discovered that Simplicity patterns, (usually $10-$20 apiece) were on sale for only 99 cents each!!  At this price, I was able to buy a few different kids’ shorts patterns to sample before teaching to my students.  Instead of worrying about which pattern would be best, I was able to purchase several at one time.  I might have also bought some patterns for doll clothes, pillows and zippered totes too, but who’s keeping track?   I bumped into a woman with more than 100 patterns shoved in her cart!!  Apparently I wasn’t the only one stocking up but, I’m just an amateur buyer!

So what shorts are easiest to make when sewing with kids…especially when you have both girls and boys in your class?  In addition, those kids are different ages and sizes?  This Simplicity: American Girl #8401 pattern caught my eye with the adorable pom poms!!


These pom poms!!!

I sewed a sample using the doll sized pattern, since a doll can always be found to wear them!  The tiny pom poms are from Joann’s trim section.  (Who knew that they made pom poms this small!?) The pom poms come on a tiny carboard spool,  are also made by Simplicity,  and measure 3/8″ (article 1890003 if you’re interested).  I could only find the trim in yellow, which is probably a good thing or I might have needed every color!  I found the perfect fabric choice at home with this stunning print in the lagoon color by Allison Glass for Andover from her Diving Board collection.  I was able to fussy-cut one of the lady faces for both the front and the back of the shorts.  I love how these came out and yes, A Doll Like Me will eventually be getting them.  Despite two of my students wanting to make a pair of these, others felt they were “too short” and not the right style.  Ok, good to know and at least I had fun.   I will try one more pair of boxer-like shorts so stay tuned.


I can’t imagine a better fabric to complement the adorable little yellow pom poms.

This week my students are wrapping up pillows, hand sewing fabric balls closed and starting projects for Mother’s Day.  The first photos below show what an amazing job my 1st and 2nd graders did making our pillows with names imprinted on them.  They were so very proud of themselves!!   (The names were made with iron on vinyl from, which merits an entire separate blog post of its own.)


Having just returned from being out with the flu, Mike worked hard to catch up and was able to make his pillow in just one class!


Love the bubble letters in her favorite color pink and of course, the matching nail polish!

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Family initials were chosen for this colorful pillow!

The photo below shows the envelope fold closure that we used.  Easy, peasy!


And my older students are having a hard time giving up making fabric balls.  Learning to sew a curved seam was a task they embraced better than I could have expected.  Even the necessary hand stitching at the end didn’t deter them from this project.  Each week they want to do “just one more” and it turns into three more fabric balls!  Here are some of the final results because, sadly, I’ve insisted that we wrap up and move on to something new.  For more info on the fabric ball patterns, check out my previous blog post here.  So many parents, teachers and staff have asked about these that yesterday, one of their beloved teachers stopped in and they taught her how to make one!!

I had been struggling to find a way to properly say thank you for all the recently donated fabric.  Then the lightbulb went off and it hit me…a fabric ball!!! So…I also made a fabric ball utilizing donated fabric and sent it with a thank you note to the grandfather who generously dropped so much amazing stuff on us!


You can see the variations in color and size of these fabric balls.  Getting the kids to stop tossing and throwing these in the air and pose for a photograph is not easy!!  They have just loved this project and the entire school has been buzzing about these.  From a technical perspective, some of the kids are really perfecting their curved seams and hand sewing!


I made this ball using donated fabric and sent it as a thank you to the grandfather who was so generous!! I need to make another one to keep for myself since I just love how this looks!

Finally, the doll clothes obsession is continuing and here are my final two projects to show for the week.  These will be going to Amy for A Doll Like Me sometime next week.  I’m sure there will be a few more to toss in the box but this is the pièce de ré·sis·tance!  This is Ballerina Dress #2, which I’ll call purple passion.  Many of you commented on the first blue dress and i understand that it’s a typical “fairy” princess dress.  I love the pattern and it comes out so stinking gorgeous!  Remind me however, not to make this dress again in a fabric that unravels as much as these gorgeous prints did!  While I love how it came out, it is an unforgiving fabric for small details.  Nevertheless, some little doll will look smashing wearing this bright dress.   For more information on the Storybook dress pattern that I used, you can read my earlier blog post here.


A little ballerina dress from that same donated fabric.  I just purchased the purple tulle and the dress was born!  Another fun finish for A Doll Like Me.

Finally, because I am egalitarian, here is a final little outfit for a boy doll.  Amy, you asked for sushi pants but I just couldn’t stand that the little orange sushi fabric wasn’t showing so well with this tiny pattern.  Voila…it would show better with a matching vest, right?  So here is what i’m calling my “quirky sushi boys outfit” for the next little A Doll Like Me boy doll who needs something bright.  The orange sushi fabric, which I LOVE, is from the Bento Box Collection, and is Maki Sushi for Michael Miller in the color “ginger” (of course).  The green fabric is called Rice and is in “avocado” (of course).  This fabric line has quickly become a favorite of both my students and myself.  Even if you don’t love sushi, this print can’t help but bring a smile!


Quirky, nerdy sushi outfit for a little boy doll from A Doll Like Me.  Naturally there already is a little matching sushi fabric ball.

Linking up to :

Freemotion by the River

Let’s Bee Social

Midweek Makers

Needle & Thread Thursday

Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday

Finished or Not Friday

Crazy Mom Quilts

Whoop Whoop?




8 responses to “Chocolate, pom pom shorts, student sewing and a perfect thank you

    • Thank you for visiting. Today the younger kids completed patchwork heart lavender sachets. Busy, busy with so much to accomplish and very little time left in the semester. Tomorrow we will start fabric baskets. I’ll post more when I get a chance but yes, it’s not quilting, but there’s been a lot of sewing going on.


    • Tracy, Thanks for stopping by. The fabric balls have taken over my world right now! I do love them and it’s amazing how much fiberfill gets used for each one.


  1. What a FUN post! I love seeing all the work your students do – and thank you for keeping sewing alive and well with students where you live! I have the best memories of Home Ec and Sewing classes from middle school. Those doll shorts are adorbs, as are the pillows (GREAT JOB kiddos!!) and the stuffed balls! I can’t wait for the next update and which shorts are the winners – I may need to watch for a sale and then go get the pattern myself. Oh yeah – congrats on the win! I’ve had that chocolate from Switzerland and it IS delicious.
    And the penguin is definitely a ‘he’ and is so darn cute. ~smile~ Roseanne


    • Roseanne, Thank you so much for the wonderful comments. I am glad you agree that the penguin is a “he”. I still can’t explain why, but unless he conveys a different gender to me (you never know), then he remains male to me. I may have to give him a swiss name as well. Yes, the shorts saga goes on but with time running out, the kids are leaning towards a different final project. I’m determined to give it one more sample round though. I do love those pom poms shorts, even though I would NEVER get away with wearing them myself. I also remember Home Ec and Sewing. Fortunately, those fashion design competition shows have brought an interest in sewing to this younger generation. I’ll take it and run! My students are all wonderful and interestingly enough, I’ve always had at least one boy in every one of my classes. That’s an amazing stat all on its own!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The shorts photo caught my eye in the Let’s Bee Social link. of course they are for a little gir and doll! I had an idea that they were for a grown up, which would be very bold, indeed. Cute and fun, and I, too, ove to sew for my little granddtr and her doll. Nice work.


    • Jane, thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment. Yes, they are adorable and would be interesting on a grown up! Sadly, I couldn’t pull them off but perhaps someone else can!?? My students weren’t convinced of this pattern so we’re back to the drawing board. Frankly, the pom poms may have been out of my budget but it doesn’t matter anymore. We try again. all the best and enjoy your granddaughter. She must be wonderful!


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