Monday, February 28, 2011
I knew Heather Ross was going to be listing a few fabrics on Spoonflower today, so when I checked back, I couldn't believe that one of them was going to be this print with the girl playing with the little horses! This fabric is going to be super-super limited. Is it still going to be there tomorrow? I don't know. As a lifelong horse lover, I had many Breyer horses when I was a kid. I really really really wanted to buy this fabric to make some sort of book cover or book sleeve with, but thinking about paying $18 for a yard of this makes me feel really guilty. I just can't do it. Sorry Heather Ross.
Here's another block I made for the Mod Stash Quilting Bee. For this block, the host, Casey, wanted it to be done using this tutorial from the Sometimes Crafter. This was the quickest bee block I have done so far! Casey wanted it to be done in pink, yellow, and purple so that she could make something for her daughter's room. Apparently I have a lot of pink and purple scraps. :-) I hope she likes this block, I had a lot of fun making it, and I would love to make a quilt with these blocks in the future, the design was pretty nice!
Friday, February 25, 2011
I won a set of five "Sew Inspired" Kokka fabrics from Pink Chalk Fabric's weekly newsletter giveaway. I knew right away that I wanted to make a cover out of them for my sewing machine...I mean, come on, it's perfect...sewing machines, scissors, buttons, dress forms... I used a great free tutorial from Spool.
Fabrics - Since I was working with three of the fat quarters that I got, I decided to make things interesting and use the large print blue and the large print red colorways split in half (the back of the cover looks the same as the front). I used the third fat quarter for the sides of the cover. After I sewed the front two pieces together, I sewed two lines of decorative stitches down the front, like I did for the Amy Butler Origami Bags. On the designer's blog, they mentioned that they made their covers with canvas material; two of the fat quarters that I used were mid-weight quilting cotton and one was canvas, so the two that were lighter-weight I stabilized with fusible woven interfacing.
|Decorative stitching down the front of the cover.|
Pattern Pieces - There are 3 different shapes to cut from the fabrics, based on measurements in the illustrations. Two of them are rectangular pieces, and the third is almost a pyramid shape, which is easy enough to cut (I just drew mine on the fabric, but you could also put it down on paper first).
Illustrations/Instructions - I found this pattern simple enough. There were no color pictures or illustrations except for the cutting instructions. I thought this was adequate to get the project completed.
The instructions mention that you should just sew the top to the front and back, and then sew on each side. I thought it might be helpful to add that when sewing on the sides, it's easier if you begin sewing the side onto the top piece. Start and stop 1/2" from each end. This makes it easier to rotate the side toward the front and back panels and and then finish sewing the sides on. This is a minor detail, but if you haven't sewn on a box-type corner like this before, you might find it useful.
Conclusion - Great tutorial, simple project for any level of sewing. This would make a great cover for your own machine, or a quick gift for a sewing friend.
P.S. I'm sharing this project for Modern Monday, Fabric Tuesday, and Sew and Tell Friday!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
I'm just going to be honest here...I felt stumped by this block when I started working on it, and I still feel stumped and slightly uncomfortable by it. This block is for Toni from the Mod Stash Quilting Bee, and I used this tutorial to make it.Toni wanted the block to be made using reds and pinks. I am so glad that I made it, because I am learning new things about quilting and this is good. Maybe it is just the design of the block, but I don't feel like I did a good job, or something...I just have a weird feeling about it. Perhaps it's just me.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I am getting ready to sew another dress (my last one was this one). I'm doing one of the dresses that I wrote about in an earlier post, the Eclair dress (the first one pictured).
Anyway, I know some people have never sewn clothing for themselves before, so I wanted to share 2 sewing patterns that would be great for a beginner. These patterns are from Betsy Ross, and the first is called the Twirly Skirt (I believe this is for one of the smaller sizes); I also have a tote bag pattern called the T.G.I.F. Bag pattern. Both come with paper pattern pieces to cut out, and an instruction booklet. I will draw 2 winners.
How you can enter:
1. Leave me a comment and show me some love! Also, tell me which Betsy Ross pattern you would like to win.
2. "Follow" my blog (if you're already a follower, super!). Then, just leave a second, SEPARATE comment saying that you follow me.
You can have up to 2 entries. I will randomly choose 2 winners, each will receive one Betsy Ross sewing pattern! The drawing will close on Wednesday, March 2 at 11pm CT.
Monday, February 21, 2011
I saw this tutorial for quilted placemats and napkins from Amanda Murphy Design and knew that I had to make them. I've never seen any placemat patterns for anything other than the standard rectangular-shaped mats!
|Back of the placemat.|
Fabric -The pattern calls for 4 placemats and napkins to be made, but I just doubled it and made a set of 8 (so just note that the amounts of fabrics is for 8 placemats and napkins). I used Robert Kaufman Metro Living in four different colors for the outside of the front of the placemats (I got 1/2 yard of each), and I used Alexander Henry On the Spot in blue for the outside of the back of the placemats (2 yards). The back of the placemats is a lovely fork, knife, and spoon fabric called Metro Utensils (2 yards). I had extra of the Metro Utensils leftover from the placemats, so I used the rest to make the main panels of the napkins, so it worked out perfectly. The pieced front circles of the placemats is Ann Kelle Metro Market pears in aqua, Ann Kelle Remix in Argyle summer, and Alexander Henry Willow Berries in the two different-sized berry prints (1/2 yard each).
Pattern Pieces - This was a .pdf pattern, and there were just 3 pattern pieces to cut out (two different-sized circles and the flower piece). The pieces, however, were halved, and so just needed to be taped together.
Illustrations/Instructions -The photos and illustrations that accompanied this pattern were really nicely done and very helpful to assembling the placemats. I especially liked the table at the beginning of the instructions; since you have the option to use many different fabrics to make these, it was nice to see everything organized in a table to help keep track of what fabric you're using for which portion of the placemat.
The front of the placemat is assembled using 5 fabric strips the width of the fabric. I used this technique when I made my Postage Stamp Quilt. Then these long blocked strips are cut again into 3" strips and sewn together in another set of 5. Brilliant and beautiful.
Before I continue, I'm going to stop you right there because this is important. USE FABRIC GLUE. This wasn't mentioned in the pattern instructions, but I sewed the circles onto 3 of the flowers, pinning the heck out of them, and getting puckers in my fabric each time. Finally, I got a fabric glue stick at the store and it worked like a charm, perfect on the first try. So just...get the glue and save yourself a lot of headaches.
Basically, there is a lot of assembly required, but you sew one solid circle onto a flower piece, sandwich a piece of flower batting with that sewn piece and the outside flower of the front of the placemat (in my case, the Robert Kaufman Metro Living solids with the white rings), and turn right side out. After that, you sew the circle onto the front of the placemat (the pieced circle), and then quilt up the whole thing. There is a lot of time that goes into making these placemats, but besides getting your circles glued on, lol, nothing is extremely complicated.
I wasn't going to make the placemats that are also included in the sewing pattern, but I had extra fabric of my lovely forks and spoons fabric, so I used that for the napkins. The napkins are lined, and there is an option to have an applique (but I didn't do that).
The only modification that I made to this pattern is that it calls for you, in one of the final steps, to either applique or blind hem stitch the front (pieced) circle of the placemat onto the flower. Instead of doing this, I just basted the circle, pressed it under, and topstitched, just like the pattern called for to attach the circle onto the back of the pattern. It worked out great. Oh! Also, when I quilted it, I didn't stitch-in-the-ditch, I quilted 1/4" off of each seam.
Conclusion -I would recommend this pattern for an intermediate sewer. Even if you have never quilted before, this would be great to get your feet wet because it is quilting on such a small scale. Lately I've been piecing the fronts of quilts and setting them to the side to quilt at a later date, because I don't particularly enjoy that last step. But this was fun because I could actually quilt through all of the layers and be done in short order because...just look at how small it is. :-) Amanda Murphy has designed such a lovely pattern...your living room table needs these!
P.S. I'm posting this project for Sew Modern Monday, Fabric Tuesday, and Sew and Tell Friday!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
First off, this idea was 100% my friend, Kim's. She asked me a couple weeks ago if I would make a few quilt blocks for a quilt that she was making for Soldiers' Angels, a group that organizes care, donations, blankets, snacks, get well cards, and a lot more for soldiers wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq, who are being treated at a base in Germany.
Kim sent me all the fabric squares and asked that I follow this tutorial to create wonky star blocks. Here's one of the blocks I made, pictured above. I'm going to do as many blocks as I can with the fabric that she sent.
I just wanted to share because I think this is a great cause, and Kim is such a generous person. I think I would like to join and "adopt" a solider as well...I've just been thinking about something creative - I've got my thinking cap on.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
I just noticed that Sew Mama Sew has the .pdf sewing pattern for Amy Butler's Blossom Bag posted for free! I have this pattern, but from the Style Stitches book. I just finished the last bag from the book, the Take Flight bag, and I was actually browsing through the Blossom Bag pattern in the tub last night. It is so stylish, and I already have my fabric on hand (Echino!) for when I decide to make it.
I just wanted to share, since this is a really great pattern!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
I wasn't really supposed to be making this bag until the end of the year for the Amy Butler Style Stitches Sew Along. When I got this book last year and saw the sewing pattern for this bag, I knew that it was meant to be made for my friend, Kim. She is the most generous person ever, and the reason that I started quilting. I am so thankful for that, because I really love making quilts and it's opened a whole new sewing door for me! Kim and I are working on a Heather Ross Quilt Along right now, and she basically sent me all of her Heather Ross/Munki Munki collection. She.is.the.best.EVER. So that's why I started this bag way ahead of schedule, because I think that she deserves to have it now.
I made the bag with some of the Heather Ross fabrics that Kim sent me. She doesn't really like pink, so I went through and picked all of the fabrics with blue as the main color. If you have seen this bag from the book, maybe you noticed that that bag has 7 petals and mine only has 6. I started out with 7 petals (the other one was from some Munki Munki pajama bottoms with roller skates on them), but one of the fabrics was a bit too green, so I opted to leave that one out. I just rearranged the petals to compensate for the one that was missing in the center of the bag.
Fabrics - The sewing pattern calls for 1-1/2 yards of fabric for the top, edges, and inside of the bag; 1/2 yard for the main exterior; and yardage for the petals, but since I was using scraps, it worked out just fine. This bag needs a lot of interfacing (some pieces are interfaced with woven, fleece, and peltex...all 3!).
Pattern Pieces -There are 4 different pattern pieces to cut out for the petals, a piece for the main side of the exterior, and one for the side panels. All of the rest are rectangular cuts based on measurements from the pattern. A lot of cutting, measuring, and organizing here people!
Illustrations/Instructions - If you've made up any of the other patterns from this book, you'll know that there are no photos to accompany the instructions, and that the illustrations are very limited. If you are new to sewing bags, I would not start out with this bag as your first project from the book!
There are several parts to this sewing pattern that can be a bit tricky. First off, the petals are surrounded by bias. It's not necessarily tricky sewing the bias onto the petals, but it is a bit difficult getting the curved edges of the petal bias to lay flat. It takes a lot of clipping and easing! Then, the petals must be attached to the main part of the exterior via stitch-in-the-ditch. I have never done this before, but I wanted to make my first quilt last year (initially) using this technique. Was I crazy?!? Stitch-in-the-ditch is very time-consuming, and I was almost squinting to make sure I was getting it in the 'ditch' between the two fabrics.
The zipper is really easy to install with Amy Butler's instructions; you just sew the two top pieces of fabric together with a basting stitch, sew in the zipper over that seam, then use your seam ripper to remove those basting stitches.
I love the detail on the handles (if you can see). I sewed 1/2" from each edge of the handle and then again 1/4" from both edges. Another simple detail I really enjoy is the stitches across both side panels, right below the zipper.
I didn't make any other modifications to this pattern besides removing one of the petals. This was sort of a complicated sewing pattern in every aspect, and so I did my best to just stick to the instructions, lol. It is such a beautiful bag, and I can't wait to make another one for myself (but in a little while, haha!).
Conclusion - This sewing pattern is not for a beginner. I would recommend this for an intermediate sewer with some handbag-making experience. It is really, really nice to make up though, and completely different from any of the other bag sewing patterns out there. I am so happy with how it turned out, and I hope Kim loves it!
P.S. I'm posting this project for Sew Modern Monday and Fabric Tuesday!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
|One of the napkins (they'll all have different borders)!|
So, we are currently house-hunting. My sewing friend, Amy Lou Who, is making things for a sewing swap right now, and that put a little seed into my head, so I decided to make some place settings and napkins from this awesome (free!) pattern over at Amanda Murphy Design. The pattern makes a set of 4 placemats and napkins, but I decided to double that and make 8.
|Back of the placemat, all laid out and ready to sew.|
I already had a good amount of the fabrics that I was planning on using for the napkins and the placemats. However, to keep me under my $25 a Month Budget, I did sell some other fabrics in my stash to be able to buy those super-cool Robert Kaufman Metro Living fabrics (the solids with the white circles) and a couple of Ann Kelle fabrics (the pears and the argyle, in the last picture below).
|Outside border of the front of the placemat.|
The back of the placemat is just one fabric centered inside another, but the front is going to be really interesting. The center of the mat is going to be pieced 3" squares sewn from strips, just like I did on my Postage Stamp Quilt. This will be nestled in one of those beautiful Robert Kaufman Metro Living fabrics. There is also batting in the center of the placemats, and I'm going to quilt them like the original pattern showed.
|Fabrics I am going to use to patchwork the center of the placemat.|
I can't wait to see how these look all finished...it might take me a bit since I'm doing 8 settings!
Monday, February 7, 2011
I am going through each bag in Amy Butler's Style Stitches book for the Sew Along. I'm a bit ahead, as project #3 is not until March, but I'm trying to keep myself going at the sewing machine. I cut into my last bits of these two fabrics...this Gothic Rose (the green) is one of my all-time favorites. The instructions for this pattern make 6 different-sized bags, but I'm not sure I have a use for so many, so I just made two, the small and the extra-large.
Fabrics - I made the small and extra-large sizes, and used 1/2 yard pieces of each of my exterior prints, with plenty of fabric to spare. I used Amy Butler Gothic Rose in burgundy and Amy Butler Garden Maze in red, and the interior is a gray Riley Blake. The pattern also calls for a zipper and woven fusible interfacing.
Pattern Pieces - There are no pattern pieces to cut out for this pattern. Each size bag has three different rectangular-cuts. If you're making all 6 bags, Amy Butler recommends that you mark the pieces with masking tape so you don't get them confused.
Illustrations/Instructions - There are no photos to accompany the instructions in this book. However, there are a few more illustrations this time as opposed to the first two patterns in the book. I think this is particularly helpful when you get to installing the zipper. I'm not sure why, but I see quite often that people are timid about sewing in a zipper. People that make amazing, complicated quilts are afraid of the zipper! But fear not...it's really much easier than you think. If you can sew two fabrics together, then you can sew in a zipper.
I didn't make any modifications to the pattern except that I left off the little 'tab' on one edge of the bag. I don't really have a use for something like this, so I spared myself a step in the instructions and left it off.
Pictured below is one of the last steps, making the gussets on the two bottom corners of the bag. I thought it might be helpful for you to see a photo if you have never done a gusset before. Basically you fold the corners in so that they are touching, creating a triangle. The important thing is that you need to line up the two seams so that they are touching, otherwise your seam will not be even. You sew across the line (measurement noted in the pattern), and cut it down to a 1/2" seam. Easy!
Conclusion - I had a blast making these bags. The first one (the smaller one) took me about 2 hours to make, but I flew through the next one much quicker as I already knew what to expect. These are very cute and useful bags; I'm using the biggest to hold all my quilting rulers, and the smaller one to hold zippers. I would definitely make this bag again if I needed another sewing-supply organizer! This pattern is great for a confident beginner, and a great introduction to sewing in a zipper if you have never done so before.
P.S. I'm posting this for Sew Modern Monday and Fabric Tuesday!
Ready to sew! Last week I got all my fabrics cut for the Heather Ross Quilt Along. Week 2 is for assembling the first row (so, 5 blocks). I am using the tutorial for the Boxed In quilt from Freckled Whimsy for my quilt. I sewed the strip on the top and bottom of the 5" square, then sewed on the sides. Since each of those 4 strips are different sizes, I chose them in random orders so all the squares don't look the same.
Since I am not sure of the layout of the blocks yet, I am going to wait until assembly is finished to start sewing the blocks together in rows.
I was nervous about using solids for the outside of my squares, but I think it's really coming together! I can't wait to get more done!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
This month for the Mod Stash Quilting Bee, the host, Terri, wanted a pinwheel block. Any pinwheel would be fine, as she wanted to make her quilt a pinwheel sampler. I looked around and found a tutorial on Riley Blake for a pinwheel that I thought was really fun.
For my fabrics, I used Alexander Henry Lou Lou (in both pink and blue colorways), Michael Miller Brady Blossoms, and Jessica Levitt River Timber in Dogwood.
The block was really fun to make. I sewed four 21" strips of fabric together, used a strip of Kona white to sew on top of it, then cut into 45 degree triangles. I sewed those four squares together, then trimmed the block in pink.
Hope my partner enjoys this block, it was really fun to make my first pinwheel!