Sew a Sue Doll

Sun Bonnet Sue.

If you are scratching your head wondering what that is, then you perhaps are a bit new to the sewing world. This also means, you must read on to catch-up with what she is all about.

Classic Sewing talks about her in their blog, and describe the Sun Bonnet Sue as an iconic character in the textile industry, that is often seen doing different things, some playful, and some quite troublesome. She is popularly appliqued and embroidered, and we have seen plenty of books that showcase her in various quilted patterns. We know it is Sue, because of her sunbonnet, a classic giveway identifier: hence, she is popularly referred to as The Sunbonnet Sue.

A simple Google search, and I discovered that Sue has both haters and lovers. I wonder how true this stands…. but the fact is, there actually was an era in the 80s, where quilters released patterns and made quilts that were boycotting Sue. How interesting is that! Sometimes, I tend to forget how enriched the history of quilting really is.

So right now, let us hit the refresh button, and think about Sewing a Sue. We actually sourced a really nice fabric panel, that leads one to create THE cutest Sue Dolls ever seen. Pictures to follow, if you don’t believe me! If you have little girls at home, or heck, you have a great appreciation for Sue, then you will find this project absolutely perfect for your list of September sewing goals.

Sewing Level: Beginners

Time to Complete- Roughly a day of sewing

Perfect for: If you are looking for a one-day sewing project or want to sew with your friends or if you want to sew with your child!

The Kit: Fabric panel for the Sue Cushion, PolyFill, lace and a few embellishments. Classic Quilts is selling this kit for a price of AED 90/pack. Limited Stock.

Sewing Supplies like scissors, threads etc.

AAAANNND a Sewing Machine (Although you can hand-stitch this if you are really keen!)

Here are a few pictures that showcase how we have gotten this together!


Align that panel, and you can clearly see guidelines for cutting the pieces out


Use a nice pair of fabric scissors and snip snip!


Apron making is indeed the funnest part of this, and is SUCH an important Sue factor. Instructions on how to ruffle in the kit



Remember this post from out Instagram page @classicquiltsdxb ??? We LOVE lace, and have provided this cute embellishment in the kit !



Once you have all the pieces ready and stuffed with Polyfill, you just have to spend some time assembling and securing it all together with some hand-stitches


We think she is just CUTE! It IS a Sue Doll!

So use the SUE doll as a gift to your kids or grand-kids or just a nice gift to yourself! We felt so relaxed and happy as we went through this stitching process, and we hope you feel the same!

Kits available at a limited stock only at Classic Quilts and Quilting. Project fabric sponsored by the lovely Robert Kaufman

If you have done this project— WRITE to us! We would love to share your Sue with sewists around the world 🙂

Till our next post


Quilt Admirer, Quilter Lover!

BDM, Classic Quilts and Quilting-A local quilt shop in Dubai, UAE


Instagram: @classicquiltsdxb







Squeeeeaky Clean Sewing

Dust bunnies seem to be everywhere, don’t they? Having a mother who can’t stand the sight of something messy, has made me very well-educated on how to keep things spotless (whether I actually work on being spotless or not, is another story). According to mum, dusting is a once-a-week routine for every household. This is because of the sheer behavior of dust: You brush off your shelves today, and magically, after three days, the dust is back! How annoying.

It is a tad worse for us back home, as we don’t just have dust monsters, but we also have other forms of “dust” to eradicate. I remember while growing up, when I used to visit my uncle and family back home in Chennai, we used to have a routine of cleaning off cobwebs, lodged at various corners of every room in the house. I actually enjoyed dusting off cobwebs; the spider that built that web, would dance about so much when we removed it’s sticky web-world off our walls,  that we couldn’t wait to dust again. We sometimes wondered whether the Spider would understand that this isn’t a spot to build a web, but invariably, around ten days later, the cobwebs were back, and the demolition process had to start again.

Dust bunnies, cobwebs…. these are monsters that consistently infiltrate a home… so what is the monster that attacks a sewing machine? Top off my head…lint!

No no no, this isn’t chocolate (I wish). Lint is the accumulation of cotton fibers- so when you use a sewing machine, and sew on different textures, with different thread weights, it is very possible that your machine starts to collect lint, and this interferes with the mechanical functioning of your machine. In short words, your machine might not be sewing as properly as it should be.

I’ve done some really nice research, and have had a nice chat with our in-store technician and I have outlined a nice process for all of you to follow. Hopefully, this should help you get your sewing machines squeeeeeeeeeeeaky clean, and lead to consistent spectacular sewing.

Step#1: Before you do anything, find the manuals that come with your sewing machine, and flip over to the pages that carry the instructions on cleaning your sewing machine. Different brands dictate different machine parts you get to touch/not touch whilst you clean up.

Step#2: Identifying areas where lint would most likely be. Ask yourself: where would the most lint be? The hint is, think of where most of the thread activity usually is. So if you guessed anything beyond the stitch-plate area, bobbin case, and top threading area… we would like to see your machine, because there could be a new way for thread to run through in a sewing machine.Why I asked you to see the manual before you started with the brushing, is that some sewing machine brands allow you to open the top casing and dust off the lint from the top thread area; whereas in the BERNINA, that usually is something we don’t advice (as per my knowledge) – unless while sewing your top thread broke and you need to get it off. There are tools in the accessory kit that helps you open the top casing, just FYI!

Step# 3: Tools! Hehe, this is the fun part. Those of you who have a real liking of tools apart from what come with your sewing machine (let us face the facts, that tiny brush that comes with your machine for dusting is a bit too tiny!), this portion of the blogpost will interest you for sure. Admittedly, it was when I did my research that I discovered these really nice tools to aid cleaning- and I’ve ordered for the following products (which will arrive to Classic Quilts by July, I believe). See if you get the “oooo” factor on when you read about these handy-cleaning-gadgets:

  1. The Brush: As much as I am in full appreciation of the little brushes that most sewing machine manufacturers provide as an accessory, we really think that those brushes aren’t “brushy” enough. A regular sewist would love something a little funkier, and something that suits the purpose of the dust-off process better. Here is one great product that we will be selling in-store by July. It is called the “Brush-Off”. It has a nice design that allows you to store the brush well after you use it, and it also is thicker, therefore allowing you to remove your lint really well
  2. The Air Duster: Our Technician has this huge air blower which literally blows off dust from areas in the machine that is hard to dust. Now, note that this blower is (A) too loud and (B) too industrial for me to recommend this to sewists with domestic sewing machines. That was the bad news. Now, the good part: CQuilts will introduce a new product that serves the same purpose as the air blower. It is called the “Blow Off”; an air duster that looks like a spray can. It basically blows off compressed air with the right amount of pressure that takes the dust off without the noise. Totally recommend this gadget as something that gets your machine squeeeeeeeeeeaky clean!

    (You may click on the pictures above for a better view)

  3. The Machine Oil: Good sewing results are not confined to the gathering of lint. With regular machine movement, there are parts in your machine that require a bit of oiling as well. We’ve got cooking oil, hair oil.. and of course none of those can be used on your sewing machine!!! Sewing machine oil, once again comes with your machine (usually)- and once this finishes, we recommend you get the sewing machine oil available in store by Classic Quilts- “Zoom Spout”. What is great about this, is that the long spout makes it easier for you to get the oil onto the bobbin area

Step#4: The Process- It is going to be a bit tricky guiding you through the process of cleaning a machine on a blogpost. Let us hope that the pictures help out!

I will be showing you how to clean a Bernina 380 sewing machine. Cleaning once again differs from brand to brand, but I’m pretty certain that essentially, the process is pretty common. Let’ do this

  • First, spend ten seconds just admiring this BERNINA sewing machine

    Photo 21-06-2016, 12 57 10

    A well-lit B380 thanks to Daylight Desk Lamps. You can get that too at CQQ

  • Let us also ensure we have our tools with us: a brush, machine oil, and the air duster (we will use the blower and our very old, handy brush in this demo)
Photo 21-06-2016, 12 56 42.jpg

Brush and Oil 


  • The next thing we focus on is what we remove, before we start cleaning. You need to remove the following- the foot, the needle, the stitch-plate. Then open the door to the bobbin area, and remove the bobbin case, unlatch the shutter-door, remove the CB hook and then STOP removing anything else! View slide show below to get an imagery idea.

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  • The fun starts now. Take that brush, and start to dust (and I will take this time, to stop this unnecessary rhyme)
  • Then take your air duster (which we will have in store for sale in July) and spray around the same areas so that dust that your brush couldn’t reach gets removed as well
Photo 21-06-2016, 13 02 19.jpg

For this demo, we used our industrial blower. Do not confuse this with a hair dryer. It is NOT the same. 

  • You’re almost there. Time for a bit of oiling. The following picture will show you where you need to apply just about 2-3 drops of machine oil. Please do not go beyond the suggested 2-3 drops. Overdoing oiling is not good for your machine.
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I’ve put back the CB Hook, and I’ve applied 2-3 drops in that bottom area. See, how a long spout helps! Zoom Spout Oil is the way to go!

  • One last step- like the hokey pokey, once you put that right oil in, you need to shake it all about (Corny reference, but I laughed okay!). Don’t put back all parts. Just close the shutter door, and without a bobbin-case, close the bobbin door. Do not add the stitch plate back yet. What you will do now, is turn your machine one and put it on a slow speed; and then let the needle (so there is no needle inserted, and that is the right way to do it) go up and down in slow speed for 5 seconds, and then super fast for 10 seconds. Have a look at the slideshow.

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Then turn your machine off, and add back all remainder parts (bobbin case, needle, foot)… and you are good to go! SQUEEEEEEEEEEAAAAKY CLEAN SEWING!

Thank you for reading this week’s blogpost. If you found it useful, SHARE it! So that other sewists can utilize on the education.

Till I write next 😉


(A Quilt Admirer; A Fan of All Quilters)

Classic Quilts and Quilting is a happy store located in the heart of Jumeirah 1, in a very pink building called Jumaira Plaza. We encourage and entice people into the art of sewing and patchwork quilting. Visit our website or just hop into our store and together, we can create beautiful things!

Facebook Page:

Call us at: +9714 3497943


The Story of The Sewing Machine

Funnily enough, there is a celebration of something happening at every day of the year.

Sometimes, these celebrations are fun… like I would totally enjoy International Carrot Cake Day (that was on Feb 3rd), International  Relaxation Day (August 15th) or even World Kindness Day (13th November).

Some of these are just plain creepy/bizarre: Like can you believe that there is a Root Canal Appreciation Day (sorry, but who celebrates things related to Dental). There also is an Evaluate Your Life Day– and I don’t know about you, but if I really spend time evaluating my life, the days that follow would be Eat a lot of Ice-Cream Day and Spend the whole day watching TV Day and Don’t ever leave your bed day.

Jokes aside…. we’ve been in big celebration this week, as it was the week that contained International Sewing Machine Day. For a store like ours, that dedicates a whole floor to a full range of sewing machines; a place where silence is forever broken by the sounds of a needle, thread and feed-dog… this day (June 13th, 2016) is practically like New Years Day for us.

So, like on any special day, we reminisce on the good ol’ days. Days when the sewing machine wasn’t even there, and how this invention just changed everything!

All of this started off with a bunch of failed inventions and prototypes created by inventors across the globe in the 16th century and forward. Here is a fun fact: as much as majority of our sewing machine purchasers in the domestic market of today are female… the sewing machine was conceptualized, designed and engineered by men. The earliest date I found off the world wide web was the year 1755, where a German Engineer called Charles Wiesenthal created a machine with a double pointed needle. This was perhaps the first attempt into a device that assisted in sewing, but owing to many many flaws, he wasn’t dubbed the inventor title. Back to the drawing board, I guess!

A few decades passed, and an English inventor called Thomas Saint created a design for a sewing machine which was to be used on leather/canvas material. This machine looked something like this (image to the left).ismd1

He didn’t patent it, market it or advertise it. So essentially, the world did not consider him the inventor (a point to note for inventors of today. Always patent!)

I’m cutting this history part a bit shorter… because eventually there were further developments by inventors/engineers from France, Australia, The Americas…. GOSH this was some intense history: I’m sure there was a point where historians were arguing about who The Inventor really was. The world today gives this honorary title of The Sewing Machine Inventor to two gentlemen: One Isaac Singer and One Elias Howe in the year 1851.


Elias Howe’s lock stitch machine, 1845

P.S. Does the name Singer ring a bell?

What was life like before this helluva invention??

Was pretty hard on women, in terms of household-sewing. Can you believe that there used to be an organized family clothing management system in every home?  Women would be at home hiring seamstresses to work with them in managing their family clothing. It was not like everyone walked around in a new dress

singer machine

An early model of the Singer Machine

every other day. Families limited their wearables to like one Sunday dress and one set of work clothes that they would wear for the rest of the week. I don’t blame them, because it took 14 hours to stitch a shirt for a man….10 hours for a simple summer dress. Affordability was a big issue.

Now that the sewing machine was finally in the picture…

…. we had more time- it would now take someone an hour and 15 minutes to stitch a shirt for a man. A breakthrough that the world very much needed.

Next Steps: Commercialization.

The moment manufacturers saw the time save, and therefore the potential money-making angle in this device, investments started to pour in. Singer soon became the largest producer of sewing machines in the world. Lifestyles changed right after: more clothes were being manufactured, and the cost of making apparel dropped significantly. Households could now afford to buy their dresses, and this economics sort of led women to seek other jobs. Other industries grew thanks to the mechanization of sewing: like, if you were stepping into the Cotton Growing Business in the late 1800’s .. good for you! Because the demand for cotton went up exponentially high, as garment manufacturers were trying to hit the increased demand for ready-made apparel.


……how this one invention changed life as we knew it.

Today, like many other inventions, the sewing machine has completely evolved. Industrial machines are the power-horses, performing a singular function at high speeds.

What I like to talk about is…the domestic side. Perhaps one of the saddest side-effects of having others sew for you, is that many people don’t value the home-economics of sewing your own cloths/home decor. But, on the other hand, the smart cookies that have continued to keep the sewing tradition on in their families get to enjoy something way more than a sewing machine.

We have reached level sophistication in terms of how classy the domestic sewing machine is. Touch-screens, USB sticks, ability to execute pre-set embroidery, stitch regulators… and with every 5 years, brands are introducing features that really make you go WOW.

Let me end this historic writeup into a couple of questions. 


The Ultimate Sewing Machine in today’s Domestic Market      The BERNINA 880

  1. What machine is your dream sewing machine?
  2. What feature of your sewing machine do you use the most?
  3. What feature of your sewing machine you wish you used more of?

Enjoy this week by spending some extra time with your sewing machine. It is after-all, a great companion. For some people, it is the reason that they are still sane!

Celebrate  International Sewing Machine Day  with Classic Quilts in one of the following ways:

  • Selfie Competition: Upload a selfie with yourself and your sewing machine on FB or Instagram and use the hashtag #lovemymachinedxb and win a goodie bag from CQQ. Upload your selfie before the end of day of Thursday, 16th of June 2016
  • Get your machine cleaned up for FREE by our service center during the entire month of Ramadan. Call us and book an appointment. This is limited to BERNINA owners.
  • We went live on Facebook on 13th of June, 2016- that was International Sewing Machine Day; and we displayed Fabric Painting on the B580. Watch it now, in case you missed out, on our FB page:
  • Till the 26th of June, 2016, we are selling all new BERNINA sewing machines and Handiquilter Quilting machines at a 10% discount
  • And of course, reading this post is a way to celebrate this beautiful day!

Till the next Blogpost!!


(A Quilt Admirer; A Fan of All Quilters)

Classic Quilts and Quilting is a happy store located in the heart of Jumeirah 1, in a very pink building called Jumaira Plaza. We encourage and entice people into the art of sewing and patchwork quilting. Visit our website or just hop into our store and together, we can create beautiful things!

Facebook Page:

Call us at: +9714 3497943









IQSD2018: Our First Official Announcement

We figured, why not make our first post all about Middle East’s Biggest Quilt Fest, right?

It will take a bit of time for this show’s execution to fully emerge and gain it’s well-deserved buzz. As we wait for that, let us talk about a few finalized concepts for the 2018 show.

It usually will happen in the month of February, or March. Those of you who haven’t been to Dubai, this is a very good time to visit. The weather is fabulous, the the entire city has so many activities in place for incoming tourists- The Dubai Shopping Festival, for example; or the well-talked about Global Village. You will definitely have a lot to do apart from just quilt-related things.

When I mentioned the above to a visiting quilter in our most recent show, though, she exclaimed “Honey, my money and time here is all allocated for the quilting stuff!” I must say, quilters say the sweetest and funniest things. Always expect the unexpected from those with creative minds, afterall.

We turned 5, as a Quilt Exhibition and Festival, as we went through the 10-15th of February 2016. We experienced moments unlike previous quilt shows, and for me, a 24-year old girl who does not quilt much (actually, I haven’t quilted at all! The only project I’ve ever finished, was a cushion), I really did learn so much about quilt show organization. Some in terms of how to think bigger for the shows to follow; and others in terms of how to be more fair towards the categories and prize allotments for our show. Feedback isn’t always going to be sugary and positive. I understand that. I also hold fairness as a very important virtue; and as a continuing member and organizer for future shows, I have noted some changes that I will definitely put as primary things for us to address and work on in our 2018 showcase.

Shall I number this list?

Okay, here we go.

  1. Let us start with how we had the opportunity to introduce vendor tables in our show this year. We had Rosa Rojas and her Apliquick Stand; Egyptian Tentmakers; Clover (Japan). Small indeed; but the feedback we got from our vendors was that quilt show visitors were eager shoppers! As an organizer, this gives me a lot of excitement in seeing the possibility of extending invitations to more industry-related brands and services in the future, and therein expanding the offerings of the Dubai Show. As you read this blogpost, if you can think of any vendors that our Show would do well with; please do send me an email ( I will save your emails and when we get to putting things in place in 2017, I will reach out.
  2. Supplies. I think when I mentioned eager shoppers… I meant EAGER. We underestimated the shopping potential of quilters in the Middle East. We will not make this mistake twice 🙂
  3. Categories and Prizes. Paula Nadelstern, Nancy Prince and Sue Nickels were our 2016 judges. As they went through quilt after quilt, and worked very hard to make a choice on which quilt would be a prize winner, they kept bulleting down suggestions for us to incorporate in future shows. The ones that I will personally ensure is put in place in 2018:
    1. A quilt can only receive one prize. So, if you bagged more than one prize for your quilt this year and in previous years, please note that this luxury will not be available in 2018 and beyond.
    2. The Art Category had about 45 quilts, and it was an overwhelming task for the judges to pick top 3. So we have taken a conscious decision to break this down into “Art Small” and “Art Big” quilts. Dimensions…. are yet to be decided. Once we get to that, you will have a clearer idea on which art category your quilt will best fit in.
    3. A special place for the Best of Show Quilt– since I am the genius behind the floor planning (phew!), I am going to see how to give the BOS quilt a special viewing spot!
  4. Location: So it wasn’t a mall. But irrespective of that, we had 800 visitors (based on the forms filled at the door!). The viewing was nice and quiet; no mall noises, and no oddly shaped passages to squeeze quilts into. We were at a lack of space this time! So we know now that if we have more than 131 quilts, we will bank for a bigger space.
  5. A note to quilters who sent in their quilts from other countries: THANKYOU! I think for local quilters to have a look at other quilts from other parts of the world in one show, is quite inspirational. We do understand that sometimes shipping costs can go out of hand. Our experience with this is when you work with post over courier, there is a save. I also believe if you send it with a bill that undervalues the quilt, the postage charge is quite minimal. I am still trying to see how to bring these costs down. Perhaps a future blogpost will carry this information

Now that I have gone over my learnings from the feedback received on the 2016 show, I am now inclined to take a look into the future…. *mystic vibes*

What can I disclose about the International Quilt Show Dubai, 2018?

  • Categories. Yes, I can tell you about the categories for the show. I believe changes will be only further clarifications to existing categories or will be new additions to the following list. Hopefully, this will help early planners to not divulge from where they want to place their quilts.
    • Traditional Quilts
    • Contemporary Quilts
    • Art Quilts (Small)
    • Art Quilts (Big)
    • Beginners (For those who have been quilting from 2016 onwards)
    • The Themed Category- Travel and Destination
  • Prizes will be allocated as follows
    • Best of Show
    • Best of Each Category; a second and third place in each category
    • Best Hand-Quilted
    • Best Machine Quilted
    • Best Long-Arm Quilted
    • Judges Choice (One vote for each judge)

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I think I would like to end this first post with a nice story. It was on the decks of the Dhow Boat on which we were having our 2016 Quilt Show’s Gala Dinner. The excitement of the ongoing show was so intense, that a table of quilters were asking me too many questions regarding the theme of the 2018 show. So we decided we would make this a topic of discussion on the table, with an intention to get off the boat with a new theme. Thus, a group of creative thinkers from the Capital City Quilters from Abu Dhabi, after a lot of debate on different topics, thought of Travel and Destination. Goes to show- a little bit of team work, focus, and excitement… and you can come up with great ideas. I hope that between now and February of 2018, you can use these elements to create great quilts that will stun all of its viewers. Don’t know about you, but I cannot wait for 2018 to get here.

Aishwarya Ramakrishnan

A Quilt Admirer; A Fan of All Quilters

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