Tips and Tutorials Tuesday: My Rule of Thumb

March 24, 2015

It was a wild weekend here.

My 7 year old daughter fell from the monkey bars on Saturday and broke her arm. To get her out to the ambulance, we had to carry her 50 yards, through one of those winding, 5 story indoor-play mazes, on our knees, while being hit in the head with swinging foam obstacles. It was brutal, to say the least.

But we’re home today; she’s recovering from surgery, and we’re trying to get our lives back to normal.

A part of getting back to normal means putting up a blog post for Tips and Tutorials Tuesday!  It’s amazing how good normal feels.

For this week’s tip, I want to share with you the simple method I use to place my applique, binding and embroidery stitches exactly where I want them.

For the longest time, I had difficulty determining where to place my stitches as I sewed on a binding or around a piece of embroidery. I often want them to be exactly 1/4″ or 1/8″ apart, for a consistent look to my hand work. But I’d fail over and over, which left my embroidery looking as though it was stitched by my 4 year old (no offense to my 4 year old.)

Then I started using this simple little method:
2015-03-19 17.18.41-1

I just measure and draw a few marks on my thumb that correspond to the distance I want between my stitches. The ones above are drawn 1/4″ apart, perfect for the running stitch I embroidered around my quilt label.2015-03-19 17.15.58

Do you have a tip or tutorial to share this week?  If you do, please link up below and show us what you’ve got!


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  • Reply Serena @ Sewgiving March 24, 2015 at 3:45 am

    Those pesky monkey bars! My youngest fractured her arm falling off monkey bars 6 weeks ago .. hope your little one has a full recovery xx

  • Reply Mary Hyatt Gibbons March 24, 2015 at 6:09 am


  • Reply Stephanie March 24, 2015 at 6:56 am

    What a clever tip!! I struggle with the same thing so I’ll definitely be trying this 🙂

  • Reply Anne Beier March 24, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Great idea. Hope your daughter feels better soon!!

  • Reply Terri Ann March 24, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Great tip, I’ve used my fingers and knuckles as guides for measuring before too, all depends what you’re working on!

  • Reply quiltingjetgirl March 24, 2015 at 8:45 am

    So sorry to hear about your daughter; I hope she recovers quickly. Your tip is great and your stitches look very nice!

  • Reply leighlaurelstudios March 24, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Yikes! She needed surgery for the broken arm? So sorry all of you had to experience that. Monkey bars freak me out! Hope she recovers quickly. xo

  • Reply Pieces to Patch March 24, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Great tip!

  • Reply Pieces to Patch March 24, 2015 at 9:37 am

    So sorry to hear about your daughter, and through all of that you still had time to share a tip. 🙂

  • Reply Therese March 24, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Oooh, Wishing a speedy recovery for your daughter! I remember those days! Always such a long way from where they fall to the car….good you were there for her.

    What a great tip! Thanks & be well,

  • Reply Therese March 24, 2015 at 10:28 am

    p.s., I hope her stitches are as carefully rendered as yours!

  • Reply Jasmine March 24, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I broke my arm more than once growing up. I totally feel for your daughter. And thanks for your rule of thumb tip.

  • Reply cheryljbrickey March 24, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I am sorry about your daughter 🙁 I hope she feels better soon. That is such an awesome tip! It is one of those super simple ideas that I would never in a million years think of, thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Reply kittywilkin March 24, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Rule of Thumb!!! Perfect tip name! LOL I love love love it!

    I sure hope Sophie feels better soon, and that you can get some peace and rest. I’ve never broken a bone, but I had reconstructive knee surgery after destroying my ACL, MCL, etc in my knee in college. The first week is the worst, then it progressively gets better until boredom is your worst enemy. Please let me know if I can do anything (even though I’m all the way in Maine) <3

  • Reply Nurdan March 24, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    So so sorry to hear this!! I hope the recovery period is quick for her and you all.

  • Reply Chelsea Huckins March 30, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    That’s a great tip!! Omg and seriously do you have a tutorial for your label, that looks amazing! Great work here all around.

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