I took a few extra days off around Easter recently planning to have a 5 day sewfest and ……would you believe it? The weather here in Vancouver, BC (where it is usually grey & wet this time of the year) was absolutely magnificent: bright warm sunshine every day for almost a week. It was almost a sin to be inside sewing while most other people were out & about taking advantage of our incredibly gorgeous weather. SO…….. I compromised: I spent one day with my “babies” enjoying an Easter Egg hunt with them & lazing around in the sun and part of another day doing other family stuff. But the rest of the time, I sewed & sewed & then sewed some more……bliss!

No, I did not sew their Easter dresses.....sorry to say.  They looked SO cute!

No, I did not sew their Easter dresses…..sorry to say. They looked SO cute in their matching dresses!

I have quite a bit to show for the fruit of my labours during my sewfest.   Pic’s are better than words so here goes for PART 1  where I share the baby sewing.

PART 2 will cover the garment sewing – coming next week on 1st May. Sign up for email alerts if you need reminding.  And please do tell us if you like the projects or were inspired to try something similar…..we love to hear from you – Use the comment box below this blog post.


This baby quilt has 6 blocks embroidered on my JANOME MC12000 (embroidery had been done previous to the Easter weekend I will admit. I just sewed it all together & quilted it during my sewfest). The embroidery design is a Stitchitize design I have used many times before. The body of the sheep is an applique-in-the-hoop and I used minkee scraps for this so it is lovely & tactile for tiny fingers to explore.  I then joined the blocks together with pink polka dot flannel for my sashing & borders.  NO batting was used. I back my baby quilt tops with minkee (or fleece) which makes them much softer & more baby cuddly.  I also used the “envelope” method for this quilt so there is no binding – just a top stitching about 1cm in from the edge.

I had pink “dottie” flannel left over so I made 2 burp cloths as well.  I must say that I’m not wishing the necessity for these on the Mom of this soon-to-arrive baby girl but after our experience with our little girl who will be a year old real soon, I know burp cloths can be vitally important!! Thankfully we no longer need them but my daughter was SO pleased I had made lots of them.

Note that I serged the dge with a 4 thread overedge and then turned that over once & stitched it down with a straight stitch on my JANOME sewing machine. I think this makes the edge stronger and less likely to unravel with frequent washing - which is what I would expect with a burp cloth!

Note that I serged the edge with a 4 thread overedge on my JANOME SERGER and then turned that over once & stitched it down with a straight stitch on my JANOME sewing machine. I think this makes the edge stronger and less likely to unravel with frequent washing – which is what we would expect with a burp cloth!

I now have something to share that some of you might think odd? However, it is a great RECYCLING idea. After I made one for my first grandbaby, this is what my daughter told me: “Mom, you have no idea how great this little toy is for car rides. Many times, when she was yelling in her car seat, I gave her your thread spool ‘thing’ and instantly she stopped yelling and it kept her amused for quite a while.”

Have you seen those blankets with ribbon loops coming out of the sides? Well ribbons & braids seem to be the current IN thing for amusing babies.  I have been collecting empty thread spools (which incidentally make great bath toys too!).  This toy is a NO SEW project. Just be sure to tie the ribbon scraps VERY securely as you would not want them to come undone  & be swallowed!


BABY TOY MADE WITH EMPTY THREAD SPOOLS & SCRAPS OF RIBBON & RIC-RAC. It looks kind of odd & “messy” but it sure amuses little ones.  AND  the plastic spools did not end up in the landfill!  Can you spot the JANOME  spools???

Minkee blanket for my next little grandbaby, a little boy, due next month: was specially ordered & most lovingly made, of course…….can’t wait to meet this little guy!

Double sided minkee baby blanket : smooth on the one side, fluffy on the other

Double sided minkee baby blanket : smooth on the one side, fluffy on the other

And I have an appropriately blue thread spool toy ready for him too:


About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
This entry was posted in 1200D Serger, Creativity, Horizon MC 12000, Horizon MC7700QCP, Janome Embroidery, Janome Fun, Janome Sewing Machine, MC8900 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Laura says:

    Loved the projects Liz…I might just have to try your Sweet Dreams Quilt just using flannel as minkee and I do NOT get along at all…thanks for the ideas…


    • lizafrica says:

      Thanks, Laura. Pity about the minkee – what is that you do not like about minkee? Is it the fact that it stretches & moves so extra care is needed to keep things lying flat & even? Or is it the mess from all that fluff after you cut it? You are right, flannel is probably easier but I absolutely LOVE minkee so I have persevered with it. I cut it on my kitchen table now so that the clean up afterwards is much easier! Fleece is another option – not as “slinky” or messy as minkee (but I still far prefer the soft feel of minkee). I always wonder if the minkee or my cat shed more in my house? I think minkee might be the winner!
      Janome Canada.


  2. cherylsewing says:

    Liz, That thread spool toy is awesome – would never have thought of that. My grand babies like to play with the bigger ones and some have been added to their toy box at Grandma’s house.

    You are being blessed with grand babies these last 3 years. Another one in a month – WOW! and a boy to add to the mix.


    • lizafrica says:

      Thanks, Cheryl. Not altogether sure what made me think of doing that with empty spools. Maybe scraps of ribbon + empty spool threads = ??? & it suddenly came to me. Maybe? One thing I do remember from when my two were little – we lived in a country where most things like kid’s toys were imported and worked out rather more expensive than they were worth so we tended to improvise rather than waste money on overpriced toys: my kids spent many long hours playing with plastic lids & and spray can lids which come in all sorts of different sizes and colours: great cups for water play, bath playtime and “building blocks” of a sort. I remembered that so the basket of bath toys currently in my house for when the grand babies come to stay over is full of just such plastic lids etc that would otherwise land up in recycling. So empty thread spools which also come in different sizes and colours was a natural progression I guess.
      Yes, 3 grandbabies in just over 2 years – total blessing!


  3. Deb E says:

    Thanks for the thread spool toy idea. I have to make one of these (or a few)!


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