Category Archives: Ask Sewfie

How to Get Rid of Your UFOs

Dear Sewfie,
I have so many UFO‘s, I can’t deal with them all. I promised myself my New Year’s Resolution would be to finish them all up before starting anything new, but I’m so overwhelmed I don’t even know where to start. And, truthfully, some of these projects I don’t even care about anymore. Some of them are just ugly or boring or BOTH. I don’t know what I was thinking when I started them. I want to start some new projects but I feel to guilty with all this unfinished stuff lying around. What should I do?

– Abducted by UFOs

Dear Abducted,

UFO’s are indeed the bane of many a crafter’s existence. Sewfie recommends the F.R.o.G. approach to managing your UFO backlog: Finish, Recycle or Give Away.


Just try to finish just ONE thing. Sewfie likes to lead by example, so here is a table topper she started for her SIL three years ago. Check it out, hot off the press.

Three year old UFO finally finished!

This table topper is Stargazer, one of the Pieced Tree Patterns Tiny Ones. The fabrics are from the Northern Territory collection by Marcus Brothers. I tried to fussy-cut the animals so you could see their faces, or in some less successful cases, their butts.

Don’t you just want to swat those cute little mosquitoes?
All ready for the cabin by the lake


Maybe you were going to use that fabric for one thing, but that project just isn’t coming together. Its OK. Just rip it apart and use it for something else. You know you will be happier when you do. I was going to make a bandanna quilt, but doesn’t this little whale look so much cuter? He’s now my sewing studio mascot whom the kids named Moby Purple-icious. The adorable pattern is by DIYFluffies.

I used to be a bandanna!

Give Away

Sometimes you bought stuff with the best of intentions but now you realize you are NEVER going to use it. Accept that reality and just give it away. Don’t think about what you could have, should have, might have or may someday make from it. Just Give. It. Away. Its new owner will be so happy you did and will make something fabulous out of it.

I was going to make my son all these cute toddler pants… back when he was TWO. Now he is old enough to have an opinion about being dressed like a dork, so I just gave this fabric away to another mom who was looking to get her sewing chops back.

These kind of prints would be OK… if you were 2.

There. Now don’t you feel better? You:

  1. Got something finished
  2. Re-purposed something, and you
  3. Gave something to someone who really appreciated it.

Time to go fabric shopping!

Warm Stitches,

Don’t be a Handmade Grinch

Dear Sewfie,

Last Christmas I made beautiful handmade bags as gifts for all of my sister-in-laws. I started back in July, I spent quite a bit of money not to mention time and I made a concerted effort to choose fabric and patterns which I thought would suit each woman’s individual style. You can imagine how surprised and disappointed I was when I received a check from one of them with a note saying “here is some cash so you can buy real gifts next time”. I’m still steaming over it. How should I respond? I am loathe to send her anymore handmade gifts, but what about the others who didn’t say anything. Do they think I’m being “cheap” too? I don’t know what I should do about gifts this year.
– Still Steamed

Dear Steamed,
The first thing you should do is fill in the memo field of the check (in really big letters) with the words “for fabric”, cash it and then go fabric shopping with your dear SIL’s money. Next, I would permanently scratch her off the handmade gifts list. Save your creative efforts for those who appreciate why handmade is better. Finally, for all future holidays, I would stuff her stocking with a re-gifted fruitcake.

Don’t be a handmade Grinch
Warm Stitches,

Gifts Quilters will LOVE

Dear Sewfie,

Every year I struggle to come up with unique gift ideas for my wife. She says she has everything she “needs” but there has to be something. She is an avid quilter and I know she would appreciate cool tools and widgets for her craft, but I don’t really know that much about it myself. Any suggestions?

– Not a Quilter

Dear Not,

It’s awesome that you are making the effort to find something your wife will truly enjoy and use. And you have COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE. Here are some suggestions. Sewfie personally owns and/or uses all of the items listed below so she can personally attest to their awesomeness and usefulness.

Zirkel Magnetic Organizer ZMOR Pin Cushion

The Zirkel magnetic “pin cushion” is the best way to hold your pins that Sewfie has ever found.

It apparently has a circular magnet inside it because the pins magically arrange themselves in a radial pattern… which makes it SO EASY to pick them up…. plus it looks really cool and is fun to play with. You can literally THROW a handful of pins at it and the very strong magnet just sucks them right in, arranging them so neatly. No more dropping a tin full of pins all over the floor EVER AGAIN. And if for some strange reason you did, just wave this little beauty over you carpet and Presto! it sucks them all right back up again. I can’t say enough great things about this product. At close to $20 retail, it may seem a little “pricey” for a pincushion, but think of it more as an organizer. Totally worth it. You can find them at your Local Quilt Shop and as of this writing, they have them on Amazon for only $15.93! See here:
Zirkel Magnetic Organizer ZMOR Pin Cushion

Zirkel Pincushion – a perfect circle of pins at your fingertips

Clover Wonder Clips

Sewfie does not know how she ever lived without these. They are especially useful for applying binding. No more stabby fingers! Clover sells them in various denominations (Sewfie recommends at least a 50 pack) including this rainbow colors version in a hard case! Sewfie acutally bought these for her Mom this Christmas. She’s totally going to love it me.

Clover 3183 50-Piece Wonder Clips, Assorted Colors

Clover Wonder Clips – you will WONDER how you ever lived without them

Wood Quilt Pins

Of all the incredible ETSY artists, Woodquilter is one of Sewfie’s favorites. From their shop:

Woodquilter offers unique wood products using American Patchwork quilt designs. Handmade items include: wood quilt pins, wood quilt earrings, wood quilt pendants, wood inlay quilt boxes, clocks with inlay quilt patterns, and wood ornaments depicting quilt patterns. All woods utilized are natural, as no stains, paints, or dyes are used. We take pride in offering a quality unique American made product, paying tribute to quilt patterns that have graced homes for decades.

Beautiful “wooden quilt” jewelry from the ETSY artists at Woodquilter

Sewfie personally owns the Log Cabin Quilt Pin as well as a Log Cabin Christmas ornament… can you tell which quilt block is her favorite? You can visit artists Rob and Martha Nettleton at their shop at their ETSY shop, Woodquilter.

Quilt Hang-Ups

She spent a year making that beautiful quilt, don’t leave it folded up… hang it up! These wooden quilt hangers will do the job with class. Note that you need one every 12″-18″ of your quilt so keep that in mind when ordering. Sewfie likes the Ash version, but they come in lots of finishes to compliment any decor.

1 Pair Ash Wood Quilt Hang-Ups Clamps Clips – Large

A New Cutting Mat!

This might not be very romantic but its definitely going to be very well appreciated. Cutting mats are pretty much the most frequently used quilting “tool”, second only to the sewing machine itself. They take quite a beating and although the good ones are “self healing”, they do eventually wear out. Unfortunately, they are also expensive, so if your Quilter is like Sewfie, getting a new cutting mat is perennially on the “to do” list but never quite happens.

Olfa 35-Inch-by-70-Inch Gridded Cutting Mat Set Clipped

Sewfie prefers the Olfa brand, it is the same brand as “the good” rotary cutters. Fiskars is cheaper, but its a lot harder and slipperier in her opinion. They come in all sizes and if you are not sure what size to get, go sneak a peek at what your Quilter has now, then buy something bigger. You can never have to much cutting mat surface area!

Gingher Embroidery Scissors

Most quilters these days use rotary cutters for cutting their fabics, but your Quilter still needs a good set of little embroidery scissors for the hand work and cutting off all those little dangling threads. Not just any pair will do! Go for the best – Gingher.

According to their product literature, Gingher claims to be “recognized as the finest name in scissors and shears”. In Sewfie’s opinion, no truer words have ever been spoken. They are quite literally THE BEST! They are guaranteed for life (although Sewfie has NEVER had to call them on that…) and they are beautiful, too.

Gingher GNG220272-1011 Scissor Designer Embroidery Sawyer, 4″

These little embroidery scissors come in plain silver, the classic “stork” design and in lots of designer patterns, like the ones shown above. The Designer series are limited edition so the colors and patterns change each year. Each pair comes with a little leather scabbard so your quilter won’t poke herself (or you!) in the butt when they are inevitably left on the couch.

Don’t touch my scissors

Sewfie loves loves LOVES her Ginghers (and she has many pairs). Even if your quilter already has scissors, these will be a welcome addition.


I hope these suggestions have helped you and your quilter to have a quiltier-Christmas!

Warm Stitches,