Tag Archives: Finch Sewing Studio

Fabric Postcard

Fabric postcard

Fabric postcard – Size is 5 x 8 inches.

Nicole at the Finch Sewing Studio is celebrating the 1 year anniversary of her shop being housed in an old building in the historic business district of Leesburg, VA. I met Nicole through the DC Modern Quilt Guild and I have been an avid supporter of her business.

Photo from July 2014.

Photo from July 2014.

It hasn’t been hard to support her. I have had so much fun taking classes with my sister, my daughter, and my friend Anne at her shop. She always has an interesting and varied selection of modern fabric. She has inspired me to try my hand at sewing clothing that actually fits me.

Last night, knowing that I would see her today (to shop her Anniversary sale!), I made a little fabric card to give her.


How did I do?

I didn’t take any “progress” photos. Basically, I new that I wanted to replicate the front and side of her building. I wanted the front of the building, but also the Finch sign and pretty bay window on the side. I searched on the Finch Facebook page, Instagram, and Google Maps for photos of the shop.

I wanted the card to fit in an envelope that is 5-1/2″ by 8-1/2″ which is a regular sized piece of paper folded in half. I sketched out the design in pencil.

Pencil sketch

Pencil sketch

I realized at this point that the overall design had to be a little smaller than this to fit in the card and for me to do a satin stitch around the edges. I simply reduced this drawing to 85% on my copier and cut out the pieces for the front of house, side of house and roof to use as templates.

Everything sort of fell in place after that. A piece of Pellon Peltex (really stiff interfacing) forms the core of the card. I used Wonder Under to fuse the pieces to the card. I also had to interface the white building pieces to avoid having the blue of the sky or the red of the brick walk show through. Sewing themed fabric was incorporated just for fun. I debated about free motion stitching the “Happy Anniversary” at the top. I knew it would look messy. In the end, though, I decided to go ahead and do it. It is a hand-made card after all!

Happy Anniversary Finch Sewing Studio!



Filed under DC Modern Quilt Guild, Quilt Shops

Sewing with Daughters

I am a lucky woman – I have three daughters. I sewed a lot of things for them when they were little.  This included not only dresses or other clothing to wear, but also costumes – dress up clothes, Halloween costumes, dance costumes and school or church play costumes.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them. Circa 1990.

They saw me sew a lot of things and now as adults they all have sewing machines and can sew themselves – when and if they have the time! Sometimes I feel silly that I named my blog “I Finally Have Time”, because I actually never feel as though I have that much time to spend on sewing. However, compared to my young professional daughters – I do have much more time. Nothing pleases me more than to actually sew with them.

My youngest daughter, Megan, asked for a sewing day with me for her birthday in May. She wanted to make the Moneta Dress by Colette. We made plans to spend the day at the Finch Sewing Studio in Leesburg, VA where we knew we could purchase the pattern, some great fabric and have lots of space to work without the interruptions that come up at home. We also knew that if we got into trouble with sewing the pattern, Nicole would be there to bail us out. We have already taken a variety of classes from Nicole, but this time we decided to just use her wonderful sewing studio space. Although she does have classes coming up for this dress pattern!

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

I didn’t take any process photos and Nicole took this one right before we left for the day. Don’t you LOVE this polka dot dress! And those pockets! Megan did a great job putting it together and there were some tricky parts. Actually, it is not a tricky pattern, but if you chose the sleeveless version, the bodice is lined and there is a magical way of sewing it in which requires extra attention to the directions. Colette also provides a video link to the process for people like me who would like to see it done instead of just reading the instructions. The waist has a narrow clear elastic sewn onto the seam allowance which will keep the knit from stretching out of shape there.

A week later I met my oldest daughter, Lindsey, in Montana and she had a knit maxi skirt that she had bought last summer and some fabric that she wanted to use to try to replicate it. Here is the original skirt on her.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

We did not have enough fabric to do those chevrons and so decided to run the stripes vertically on the sides. This had an added benefit of not having to match the stripes. Here is the result:

New skirt

New skirt

The waistband of the purchased skirt looks like this on the inside:


Inner waistband and elastic

There is a strip of clear elastic sewn into the seam allowance of the waist – just like with the dress above! Do you see the line of stitching about an inch below the top of the waistband? That is where a second strip of elastic is sewn inside the waistband. As nice as it is to have a knit waistband, my experience is that cotton knit fabric does stretch and it is nice to have the security of that extra elastic. We did not have access to clear elastic but where able to find 1/2″ white elastic to sew into the new skirt. It worked perfectly. The side seams of the waistband also had some elastic in them to cinch the sides which looked nice.

Cinched side seams.

Cinched side seams.

If only we had one more clothespin!

If only we had one more clothespin!

Lindsey happily left for home a few days later wearing this skirt.

I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to sew with my middle daughter, Sandy, but I hope it is soon. Most of the sewing she has done recently is to make pillows which she sells. She has a process to create a stencil using her computer and a Silhouette cutting machine. She can take words that are meaningful to someone and “paint” (actually ink) them onto fabric and then create a pillow. Below is one of three pillows she made for my brother and sister and me regarding our childhood summer home commonly referred to as “camp”.



Back (zipper hidden underneath)

Back (zipper hidden underneath)

My family will all be gathered at camp soon and can not wait to get there!



Filed under Family, Garment sewing, Pillows

Schoolhouse Tunic and Arts Center Exhibition

A few weeks ago the Anacostia Arts Center in Washington DC opened an exhibit of quilts by local quilters.  DC Modern Quilt Guild members have a variety of quilts hanging there including one of mine.


Stitched DC

My husband and I helped to hang the quilts on the day before the opening. The quilt below was made by a member of the Daughters of Dorcas quilt organization.

My husband hanging the largest quilt in the exhibit.

My husband hanging the largest quilt in the exhibit. Photo courtesy the Anacostia Arts Center.

I wanted to make something new to wear to the opening reception. I had some Nani Iro double gauze fabric just waiting for this purpose and chose to make a pattern by Sew Liberated called the Schoolhouse Tunic.

Linda Fasules with "Zakka Style Quilt"

Linda Fasules with “Zakka Style Quilt”

The pattern comes in two lengths and I chose to make the longer version.

Carla Voorhees with "HST Journey"

Carla Voorhees with “HST Journey” (and me!)

I love how it turned out and it is beyond comfortable. Because the fabric was so precious, I did make a muslin first, but ended up not having to make any changes. This is a very quick and easy pattern to make.

Other quilts in the exhibit with their DC Modern sewists –

Susan Fuller with "Pinocchio"

Susan Fuller with “Pinocchio”

Dana Seltzer with DC Metro Map

Dana Seltzer with DC Metro Map

Anne Brill with "Four Flowerpots"

Anne Brill with “Four Flowerpots”

Natalie Hardin with "Little Star"

Natalie Hardin with “Little Star”

Meli Mathis with "Simply Styled Color"

Meli Mathis with “Simply Styled Color”

Frederick Nunley (on the right) with his partner Keith and Shoofly Orange Slice. Photo courtesy Anacostia Arts Center

Frederick Nunley (on the right) with his partner Keith and Shoofly Orange Slice. Photo courtesy Anacostia Arts Center

Elle Sutherland Irby (and Miles) with "Smooth Sailing"

Elle Sutherland Irby (and Miles) with “Smooth Sailing”

Lynne Mackay-Atha with Katte's Paintbox (back)

Lynne Mackay-Atha with Kaffe’s Paintbox (which is the back of this beautiful quilt)


The front of the quilt above. Read her post  about the Arts Center choosing to show the back.

There are many more quilts to see and the exhibit is running through March 29, 2014. If you are in the DC area, make plans to go see it. There is a wonderful cafe in the center that is well worth visiting as well.

On Saturday, March 8th there will be quilting lectures and pop up shops at the Anacostia Arts Center.

March 8 event

March 8 event

Katie Blakesley and Laura Gunn will be speaking from 1 to 3 PM. You do need tickets to attend the lecture. More information and a link to buy them can be found here.

Finch Sewing Studio and Del Ray Fabrics will be selling from 3 to 5 PM.

See you there!


Filed under DC Modern Quilt Guild, Garment sewing, Pattern review, Uncategorized

Maxi Skirt Class at the Finch Sewing Studio

The Finch Sewing Studio is Leesburg, VA

The Finch Sewing Studio in Leesburg, VA

I took the Maxi Skirt Class  with my friend, Anne, and daughter, Megan, at the Finch Sewing Studio a few weeks ago. It was so much fun (as is any class offered there!) Nicole showed us how to draft a custom pattern for our skirts after taking our measurements.

In our new skirts after the class

In our new skirts after the class

We chose cotton knit fabrics from the beautiful selection she carries and got to work. I learned so much about sewing with knits. We used special needles and special pins and a walking foot. Being a quilter, I have not sewn with knits very much at all so it was well worth taking a class to learn all about this and to come away with a fun skirt.


Maxi skirt and my Passport Jacket

I’m going to be able to wear it into fall with my Passport Jacket. The fabric I chose is organic cotton and bamboo and has such a nice feel to it. Megan and Anne picked a lighter cotton fabric and Nicole showed them how to add a lining to theirs. We all learned a lot and had a fun morning together.

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Filed under Garment sewing, Quilt Shops, Uncategorized

Finch Sewing Studio

Finch Sewing Studio - Leesburg, VA

Finch Sewing Studio – Leesburg, VA      (Photo from FinchHandmade on Flickr)

The Finch Sewing Studio is owned and operated by Nicole Morgenthau in Leesburg, Virginia. Nicole runs this business out of her home and she has a great space set up for it – complete workspaces for up to 6 sewers with plenty of room for cutting and ironing.


Nicole Morgenthau

I know Nicole through the DC Modern Quilt Guild. I’ve been following her blog and reading about the different classes that she offers. She has occasionally brought some of her bolts of fabric to the DCMQG meetings, so I know she has a great collection.  She is also frequently wearing something that she has made and it always looks great! I’ve been wanting to see her studio and take a class, so when my sister decided to come for a visit from Connecticut, I thought this was a fun thing that we could do together – even though I am an avid sewer and my sister hasn’t touched a sewing machine in at least 30 years.



So, off we went yesterday, with my daughter, to Leesburg for a 3 hour tote bag class. We had a blast! It was such a fun thing to do together. We didn’t have to bring any machines or sewing supplies, the Finch Sewing Studio had it all. We just showed up and Nicole had us pick out our fabrics and got us started.

My sister at the ironing station

My sister at the ironing station

This was basically a beginner sewing class. It is probably a great thing for any of us that think we know a lot about something, to go through listening to the instructions given to someone who is just learning. There is always more to learn!

My daughter and her fabric.

My daughter and her fabric.

My daughter was quick to point out all of the things I had taught her that weren’t quite right – like how I pin my fabric pieces together before sewing them. Of course, there isn’t really a right and a wrong way of doing it (is there?), but one way is easier to remove the pins as you sew.

Here I am cutting out my fabric.

Here I am cutting out my fabric.

The tote that we made was an easy but clever way to make a bag. The bottom accent piece is just added on over the main fabric while the piece is still flat. I’m sure this has the added benefit of providing a sturdier bottom to the bag as well as just making it easy to apply and nicer to look at.

Class sample

Class sample – Photo from Finchhandmade on Flickr

The bag and lining are sewn together by topstiching at the top after the careful ironing under of both pieces. No sewing, leaving a gap, and then turning right side out and having to hand sew that opening shut. In fact, Nicole suggested that we let the lining pop up a little bit at the top so that it looked as though there was a pretty piping detail. So easy and so sweet looking.

After about 3 hours, here we all are with our finished totes!

"Wearing" our new bags!

“Wearing” our new bags!

The final detail was a leather handle. The Finch Sewing Studio has these in several lengths but we all liked this 26″ size that makes it easy to put the bag over your shoulder. We were all so happy with our new bags.  Thanks Nicole!

I will be returning soon to take a garment class and learn how to make a pattern actually fit my body.  Want to come with me? Let me know and I’ll set it up! Or give Nicole a call (503.964.2439) or send her an email (finchsewingstudio@gmail.com) and go have some fun sewing at her studio.


Filed under Uncategorized