There’s a special treat on the blog this week: the fabulous Karen LePage of One Girl Circus is guest-blogging! Welcome, Karen!


Little Bee Summer Tutorial

We had a lot of interest in the sleeveless Little Bee Babysuit at Spring Quilt Market, so we thought it might be time to put together a tutorial to show you how simple it is to “summerfy” it yourself! Plus, we’ll show you how to apply the trim in a different way for super-fast construction using a serger.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Marrakech Knits - Little Bee for Summer

In a beautiful coincidence, Cherie wrote a tutorial to make a similar adjustment to a woven pattern earlier this year.  She did such a great job, we’ll just build on it here for our knit babysuit.

Make a sleeveless Babysuit.

For the Sleeveless Little Bee Babysuit, you’ll only need to trace 2 pieces: Front and Back. To adjust the arm openings for summer baby arms and not sleeves, let’s remove some of the shoulder width. I pulled in the shoulder on my sample by 1/2″ by measuring 1/2″ in from the armhole edge and marking, then re-drawing the curve for the top half of the armhole.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Use a Seam Gauge to measure easily

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Mark before you cut to adjust your pattern

Repeat the process for the back – or copy like I do, by lining up the pattern pieces and cutting both at the same time.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - cut together for a perfect match

Now you can cut out the pieces.  For the “binding” we are going to use a t-shirt style finish.  To simplify cutting, I usually cut a couple of strips across the entire width of the contrast fabric 1 3/4″ wide.  Press the binding fabric in half lengthwise right away so it’s ready to apply.  That way, you can avoid measuring and save time while still achieving a nice finish.

Construct the Babysuit.

Begin as in the pattern instructions, stitching the shoulder seams right sides together.  Press the seams open (if sewing on a regular machine) or toward the back (if using a serger to construct).

Next, measure the binding against the entire front of the baby suit neckline/wrap opening.  Cut the binding 1/2″ -1″ shorter than this total measurement. Repeat for the arm openings. (I already finished the arm openings in this photo).

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - measure twice, cut once

Find the center of the binding and clip or pin to the center back of the babysuit neckline, aligning all raw edges.  Stitch the binding in place, gently pulling the binding in place to match the neckline as you go. (Use a 3/8″ seam allowance, as in the original instructions. I like to use a 5-thread safety stitch for my serger construction stitch.)

Repeat for the arm openings, matching the center band to the shoulder seams.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - stitch on a serger if you like

Press the seam allowance under, exposing the folded edge.  You can topstitch in place, using a 3-step zigzag (as in the camel print top photo at the arm openings) or leave it as is.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - press with steam

Repeat to finish the armholes.  Continue construction at step 4.

Using this method is really fast, but there’s a bit of a downside (isn’t there always?) and that is a pretty bulky underarm seam.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Reduce Bulky Seams


I like to flatten that pileup of fabric with some strategic topstitching.  Press the side seam allowances toward the back, then, using your sewing machine, stitch a box to control hold those 6 layers flat.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - press bulky seams toward back

There, that’s better.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Stitch seams in place


Measure the bottom edge in the same way as for the neck/wrap and arm openings, but this time, you will sew the band into a circle. Find the opposite edge from this band seam and match to the center back of the bottom edge. Match the seam itself to the center front. (This will cover the seam when snapped, and distribute the binding evenly while attaching.

You’ll end up with a seam all around the bottom like this:

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Bottom seams

Which you will press like the top bindings to resemble this:

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Finished bottom

Now, attach the snaps and you’re done! Next time, we’ll help you transform the Little Bee Yoga Pants into summery shorts.

Monaluna Little Bee Summer Tutorial - Sewing with Knits - Summer Little Bee in Meadow Knits

Euclid Avenue in Haven Organic Fabric


I’ve been loving the Euclid Avenue quilt that Kristy and Shayla from Sassafras Lane Designs made for our Quilt Market booth in May, so I thought I’d give it it’s own post today. It was a huge hit at the show, and I think it really works well with the subtle, fresh palette of Haven. These two are such sweet and talented designers, and I love the style and spirit of their company. You can buy the quilt pattern here, and the fabric is available here.

Euclid Avenue in haven


I love the irregular linear quilting they used – it’s subtle, but gives the quilt a really nice texture and structure.

Euclid Avenue in Haven closeup


Here’s the quilt, paired with some pillows that also made an appearance at Quilt Market, sewn by Jeanne Verrinder, a local sewist.:

Euclid Avenue and Pillows in Haven


And on display in our Quilt Market booth in May. Thanks, Shayla and Kristy, for your beautiful work!

Haven at Quilt Market

I’ve been asked a few times recently where I get inspiration for my designs and collections. I usually say “everywhere” or “nature”, both of which are true, but this time I found inspiration in a bottle of beer. I thought I’d share a specific example and tell you the story behind the development of our upcoming collection for fall, Westwood. As you will see, the design process is long and winding, and it rarely ends up where I think it will, but I guess that’s all part of the fun.


Inspiration struck last summer when Dave and I were visiting family in Minneapolis. We were picking up some white wine for dinner, when what should my eyes behold but the most beautiful bottle of beer I had ever seen. Yes, a bottle of beer. It was from Odell Brewing Company, and it was adorned with a gorgeous wood-cut style owl. Plus, it came in a cute little mini-pack of four. Cute little packages get me every time.



Of course I had to buy it. Even though Dave hates Pilsner. Most of the beer was consumed during our trip, but I made it home with one bottle intact. When we got home and were unpacking, Anabelle managed to get ahold of the bottle and lovingly shred off the label, but luckily I had saved the little carrier. It went into my inspiration file, but the image stayed in my head and took root. I don’t know who the artist is (I did look on the website for some credit, but didn’t see any), but I love the intricate but imperfect, rustic quality of the design. Love it. And I love the subtle palette, and, well, it’s a really cool owl.


When I started pulling together my inspiration for fall, I remembered this little guy, and pulled him out of the file. Up on the inspiration board he went, and was soon surrounded by examples of wood-cut and block printing, and sketches of unicorns and foxes and folkloric animals. I was trying to capture the hand-carved feel of the artwork, and the folkloric, mythic feel of the character. I wasn’t successful. But, as often happens, failing at that left me with a bunch of interesting stuff, which then became step two of the process. I’ll tell you more about that next week!

organic garden

Ours is not a tidy garden this year. Usually, we have neat little rows and lots of space, but we got a little zealous (quite possibly over-zealous) this year and planted just about everything we could think of. We have 11 tomato plants, 2 potatoes, onions, zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, basil, lettuce, eggplant, 4 peppers, 2 cucumbers, watermelon, pumpkins, rhubarb, purple beans and a crop of cranberry beans. Whew! Oh yeah – and that tree-like thing growing in the middle of the closest bed is a volunteer dill plant that I decided should flourish. And flourish it has! The garden is a little out of control, but in an exuberant and productive way that I have found so delightful. And so-far, everything seems to be healthy and happy. We’ve been amending the soil with our organic compost, and I’ve been trying to water as little as possible, since we’re in a drought. The chickens get out of their coop regularly and wreak havoc, but they also help to aerate the soil and, well, fertilize.

organic melon & jalepeño

Our watermelon and jalapeños are growing cheek-by-jowel, and we have pumpkins winding up through the tomato plants. Since our lettuce is just about done, I’m thinking of putting carrots or beets into their spot. Any other ideas?


Are you growing a garden this year? What are your favorite plants to grow? In the next month I’ll start posting some recipes of things we’re making with all this produce, and I’d love any ideas you’d like to share!


Our new Under the Sea collection has arrived and is now shipping!

Under the Sea organic fabric


This is our first ocean-inspired collection, and we’re having so much fun with all these friendly fish, pretty mermaids and happy octopi. The palette of blues and greens is punctuated with bright coral and orange, and works well for a wide variety of sewing projects. As usual, the collection is 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton fabric.


under the sea organic fabric

under the sea organic fabric

monaluna under the sea organic fabric

woodland organic cotton knit fabric

Three of our popular Woodland organic cotton knits are now back in stock! Swedish Forest, Foxy Knit and Polka are here and going fast. Get ‘em while they’re hot!

woodland organic cotton knit fabric

raaga cross quilt


The other day when I was doing a little Q and A with our studio assistant Amy, I asked her to tell me her favorite project or thing she’d made. It got me thinking a little about my own favorite projects. There are a lot of little things I’ve really enjoyed sewing, especially some of Anabelle’s first dresses (here, and here thanks to Oliver + S patterns), adorned with special little buttons from my collections. But the one that I get to enjoy most often is the Raaga cross quilt that covers our bed. It was the first project I made with our Raaga organic fabric collection, and I absolutely loved working with it, and loved how the quilt turned out. It still makes me very happy. I thought I’d share a little tutorial on how to make this quilt, or one like it. Easy peasy!


the Raaga Cross Quilt tutorial

You will need (for a 84×75″ quilt):

scant 1/2 yard cuts of 8 fabrics (I used selections from the Raaga collection)

5 yards off-white or other solid

about 6.5 yards of fabric for the backing

quilt binding or about 3/4 yard fabric to create binding

Step 1 

Cut your printed fabrics into 4×4″ squares. I used between 30 and 40 squares of each print. Then  cut the solids. I used about 182 4×4 white squares, and 97 4×10″ white strips.

Step 2

Lay out your crosses and sew them together with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

step 2

raaga cross quilt step 2

Once I have the basic crosses sewn together, I like to lay them out and arrange my design.

raaga quilt layout

Step 3

Once you know how you’d like to arrange all the crosses and squares, go ahead and sew together the full quilt blocks. You will need to sew another set of squares and strips to the top and right sides to finish off the quilt top and make it symmetrical (these were included in the initial count).

raaga cross quilt step 3

raaga cross quilt step 3a

Step 4

Sew your quilt blocks together in your arranged design. I usually join them from left to right and then sew the strips from top to bottom.

Step 5

Create your quilt back. This can be as simple as one solid fabric, or you can do a design on the back as well. I joined 6 16×78″ strips of 3 fabrics cross-wise to create the backing for this quilt. Be sure that the backing works out to be larger than the quilt top – I usually add 2 or 3 extra inches all the way around.

raaga quilt back

Step 6

Cut your batting a few inches larger than the quilt top and pin all three layers together at regular intervals about 1 foot apart (unless you’re handing off to a long-arm quilter, which is what I do, because they usually want the quilt unpinned).

Step 7

Quilt your quilt. Ha! Funny how the longest step can be summed up into such a short sentance. Full disclosure: these days, I hand the quilts off to a long-arm quilter at this point. As much as I love the look of hand-quilting, I just don’t have the time, and my sewing machine is not really set up for major quilting projects. This one was quilted with a wonderful geometric pattern by Holly Trapp of Sunnyvale, CA.

Step 8

Add your quilt binding. Elizabeth Hartman at Oh, Fransson! has a great binding tutorial here, and Allison over at Cluck Cluck Sew has a great tutorial for machine bindings here.

Aaaaand you’re done!

raaga organic fabric cross quilt

About 6 weeks ago, a most wonderful thing happened here: I finally hired a studio assistant! Amy Shade has a background in sewing and organic fabric, and has been keeping things humming along beautifully here. Many of you may have gotten to know her a bit over email, and she’s been packing and shipping most of the orders as well. Welcome, Amy! Here’s a photo, so you can put a face with the person on the other end of you order or email (or even phone – she does that too sometimes!), and a little Q and A so that you know something about her.


Hey Amy! What do you like to do when you’re not holding down the fort at Monaluna?

A: I like to sew, hike, and I like turtles and cats. I read a hell of a lot, too!

Q: Do you have any pets?

A: I have a black cat named Momo.

Q: Do you have any favorite designers?

A: I adore Lotta Jansdotter and I really like Orla Kiely, too.

Q: What’s your favorite spot in the world?

A: Karuizawa, Japan. We used to live in Japan and had a cabin there – it’s a beautiful place.

Q: Do you have a favorite project or thing you’ve made?

A: I’m pretty happy with the upholstery job i did on my couch recently!


I can hardly believe it, but Anabelle turned 4 on the last day of Quilt Market last month. We had a little party with family in Pittsburgh, but Anabelle had made it quite clear that she wanted to have her friends over for a birthday party at her house this year. Her birthday usually gets short shrift, since we’re always either at market or just home, so I wanted to do something fun this year.  We sent some invites to neighbors and her closest friends at school (I had initially wanted to invite the whole group, until I realized that with siblings and parents, that could top 200 people) and went off to market with no further plans. By the end of the show, I realized I still had no idea what to do with close to 20 kids and 20 adults, and would only have 3 evenings to prepare. Luckily, I complained to the right person! Karen LePage was helping us in our booth that day, and 5 minutes after my “what am I going to do?” moment we had brainstormed and hashed out pretty much everything I needed for a crafty, bubbly birthday party for 4-year-olds.


We picked up 3 Lack coffee tables from Ikea for craft stations, did a run to Michael’s (Warning: not recommended shopping with young children! Waaaay too many sparkly things at eye level!) and found some easy bubble recipes online. By Saturday morning, we had glitter glue, paint, stamps, feathers, jewels, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, paper bags for puppets, clothes pins for dolls, crayons, markers drawing paper, and enough bubble mixture to fill about 36 1/2 pint mason jars. We were set!


little bee cupcakes

homemade bubbles

crafty kids


I thought there might be some hesitation by the kids, but no: one look at the Elmer’s glue and feathers and they were all in.


crafty kids

We ended up with a lovely (improvised) gallery of paintings…

the gallery

… and a lot of CRAFTERMATH!



That’s the beauty of an outdoor party.

cupcakes and b

Hello friends! We just got back from the spring International Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, PA, and we had such a great time! It always feels like an insurmountable task the month before the show, but somehow samples get sewn (thanks to Karen at One Girl Circus and all you other helpers), materials get designed, props get ordered and delivered, and it all comes together. This show was a breeze, thanks to our dear family in PA (and the road-trippers from TX) who pitched in and helped. These days I get precious few minutes out of our booth, so I didn’t get any photos of the rest of the show, but I have a bunch of shots from our booth to share. We had a lot to show off this time, with two new woven collections (Haven and Under the Sea), two knit collections (Marrakech and Meadow knits, both due this August/September), and new sewing patterns (out next month).


First of all, the David L. Lawrence convention center is gorgeous! I truly never thought I’d use that adjective to describe a convention center, but as they go, this one really is nice. Lots of natural light from skylights and big windows overlooking the river, and that makes spending 3 solid days indoors much, much more enjoyable. In fact, the whole city really was lovely, and the fact that it was raining much of the trip made it even better, since I’ve almost forgotten what rain feels like.


pittsburgh convention center


This is what our booth looked like upon arrival…


monaluna booth


… and once we’d finished with it:



We created little vignettes of each of our new collections, along with some of the inspiration photos and early sketches of the collection. Here’s the Haven group:


haven collection


This photo shows off the gorgeous Euclid Avenue quilt by Sassafras Lane Designs:


haven by monaluna


Here’s our vignette for Under the Sea (though i just noticed our little boy is missing his shirt… that came last minute before the show):


Under the Sea by Monaluna


And this photo shows the Tatami Mat quilt by Lunden Designs. I LOVE how well this quilt pattern shows off the fabrics! Also, notice the adorable Shelby Satchel by Sassafras Lane Designs.


under the sea by monaluna


We had some darling samples using our Fox Hollow collection, and our Woodland Knits (special thanks to Fishsticks Designs and Olive Ann Designs)!


fox hollow and woodland knits by monaluna


AND we have three brand new sewing patterns coming out next month! The adorable Ella Dress, the skater shirt and the Solstice dress and tank/short set (for knits) will all be available by the end of June. (Check out the stunning turquoise sewing machine that Karen at One Girl Circus lent me to use in the booth!)


sewing patterns by monaluna


I can’t believe the show has already come and gone, but the next one will be here before we know it!


monaluna quilt market booth