Use simple appliqué and embroidery techniques to place a design on clothing, placemats or other objects. McElwee embroiders her sons’ favorite creatures on their shirts to make them smile every time they put them on.
Use scraps of colorful prints to add interest to a neutral-colored garment or household object, such as the skirt and pillow projects found in Sew Liberated. This is also a great way to use up every bit of favorite fabrics.
Encourage children to be independent by giving them clothing that’s easy for them to put on and take off themselves. McElwee especially loves easy-to-sew elastic shorts that are comfortable and durable enough for her toddler’s messy play.
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Prominently display favorite possessions. By giving her piano, a family heirloom that her mother learned to play on, a fresh coat of gray-blue paint, McElwee created a beautiful (and sometimes loud!) focal point in her home.
Add unique touches with objects found in nature. McElwee suspended a large branch from the ceiling with fishing wire, then perched colorful fabric birds on it to create a fun decoration.
Accessorize with what works. McElwee doesn’t wear earrings or lots of jewelry because of her sons’ curious fingers. Instead, she wears fun scarves or hair ties she’s made with beautiful fabric.