Tuesday, August 21, 2018

So many turtles!

I've been keeping an eye out for Trish and Birdie fabric for awhile now and was thrilled to finally get my hands on some! This newest line from Deane Beesley for Sweet Bee Designs is the cutest. The turtles, the flowers, the little birdies - all totally adorable and suuuper soft. I was piecing this top at a sew in with some friends and they were all raving about just how soft this fabric is.

There were two prints in particular that jumped out at me, wanting to become a quilt - the aqua turtle shadows and the navy stripe. They are both great blenders with lots of surprise turtles in the aqua when you look close. Deane was kind enough to send me a yard of each along with fat quarters of the whole line and that was enough to make this 51" square quilt. Can you believe it? I of course had to include some of the main turtles (Trish!) and I'm thrilled with how the whole quilt came together.

I'm looking forward to playing around more with the other prints and have gotten some great inspiration from the other stops on the tour. Lucky us, there are plenty more projects to come - be sure to visit these other crafty sewists to check them out:

Keep an eye out at your favorite quilt shop for these new prints from Sweet Bee Designs and be sure to ask for them if they are not on the shelf yet. You are going to love sewing them up!

Are you following Sweet Bee on instagram? I hear there may be a giveaway at the end of the tour plus, who doesn't like pictures of pretty fabric.

Friday, June 29, 2018

A Wonder Full Zipper Pouch Secret

Surprise, surprise, it's another zipper pouch post from me. I love making pouches for just about everything and when Lizzie Clark asked me if I'd like to play with some of her new Wonder Full fabric, I knew it would make some darling bags! I was so excited to jump in and cut it up that I neglected to take a picture of the full collection together. Luckily, Lizzie has one I can share with you:

Those pinks! The blues! I love them! I wanted to use them all but limited myself  to just a handful of the pinks with some accents of the olive and navy. Ahh, triangles. And then more triangles. Before I knew it I had 2 panels all finished up and ready to be pouched.

I don't know about the rest of you but baggy pouch linings that don't stay put really bug me. I've experimented with a few ways to keep them in place and I thought some of you might like to know my secret. This works for any size pouch.

I start by sewing my pouch per the usual instructions (the Open Wide pouch is always a favorite) and stop once I've boxed the corners of both the exterior and the lining. And then:

1 - Sew your pouch, box your corners and trim off the excess. Leave about 3/8" seam allowance.

2 - Looking at the (still inside-out) pouch with a side seam facing up, hold one lining corner and one exterior corner.

3 - Bring these 2 corners together and pin to hold. Do not twist them.

4 - Fold and pin the other side in the same manner.

5 - Here's what you should see looking at the exterior  - that's the bottom seam. The zipper/top seam is in the middle of this rolled up sandwich.

6 - And this is what it looks like from the lining side bottom seam, with the unsewn opening for turning the pouch right side out. 

7 - On the first side, sew these two pieces together making sure to stay in the seam allowance from the boxed corner. Sew the second side the same way.

8 - All sewn up and looking like a rolled-up knot.

9 - Go back to your lining side and find the unsewn section.

10 - Turn the bag right side out, sew up that opening and give it all a good press. 

Bam! An awesome pouch with a lining that stays put. As they all should.

These fabrics were fantastic to work with. Super soft and sewed up like a dream. Be on the lookout for the Wonder Full fabric collection by Lizzie Clark Designs for Sweet Bee Designs at your local quilt shop and if you don’t see it, ask your quilt shop to carry it!

Be sure to follow along on a Wonder Full project tour at these blogs:
6/25 Sarah at Sarah Goer Quilts
6/26 Becky at Be So Crafty
6/27 Becca at Sunflower Seams
6/28 Stephanie at Steph Jacobsons Designs
6/29 Allison at Allison Sews
6/30 Andy at A Bright Corner
7/1 Lissa at Lovingly Lissa
7/2 Jennifer at Dizzy Quilter
7/3 Sherry at Powered by Quilting

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Windsor Garden blog hop + giveaway

There's nothing quite like a fresh bundle of pretty fabric to inspire you to try something new, and that's just what I did with Kelly Parker Smith's new line Windsor Garden when it arrived on my doorstep. How adorable are these prints?!? Perfect for a bright, summery project.

I so enjoyed working with Kelly's fabric. In addition to being adorable to look at, it is super soft and has fantastic drape. I especially love the Amelia print with it's variety of whimsical flowers and shapes - I knew that would be a great starting point for the Brimfield block that I've been seeing pop up all over instagram lately. I'm not one for a whole lot of hand sewing and I already have another EPP project in the works so I though I'd try something a little different - fake EPP!

I starched all my fabric before starting the process to make sure it would hold it's shape when the paper was removed, then glued the fabric on to the paper pieces as usual. I then gave it a good press to make sure the fabric was creased really well. Here's where I veered off track.

Instead of stitching the pieces together by hand, I wanted to see if some fusible interfacing would hold it all together in place of hand sewing. I tried a really lightweight interfacing first and it wasn't quite strong enough so I switched to Pellon SF101 and it worked great! I cut it into 1/2" pieces to use over all seams I would have hand sewn. I made sure to butt the edges right up against each other as I heated the interfacing - watch those fingers though!

I was pretty gentle with the fused pieces (especially when removing the papers) but it definitely held together. I did find that it was a little easier to interface them with the papers still in versus without. Next I used some good ol washable Elmers to glue baste the blocks on to the background and then stitched them down by machine. All that's left now is to quilt it.

These fabrics were really fun to work with and I could definitely picture them in many more projects. This is just the beginning of the blog hop so lucky us, we will get to see lots of ideas in the next few weeks! Make sure to visit these other makers to see what they have up their sleeves:

June 21 - Kelly Parker Smith
June 26 - Allison Sews
June 28th - By Dylan M
July 3 - South Bay Bella
July 5 - Knot and Thread
July 10 - Color Girl Quilts
July 12 - The Little Green Bean
July 17 - Elise and Emilie
July 19 - Steph Jacobson

Whew! So many projects to still look forward to. Would you love to have a fat quarter bundle of your own to play along with them? Visit my instagram later today to win a bundle of your very own!

For more information on where to buy Windsor Garden, visit Sweet Bee Designs and then come back here Thursday for a peek at another new Sweet Bee line, Wonder Full by Lizzie Clark.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A bright & happy garden

Spring is coming (well, it will be in a few months) and that has me thinking of bright, happy flower gardens. For this month, the Emerge circle of Do. Good Stitches will be creating a happy little garden quilt of our own.

I've always loved Cori's Bloomin' Quilt As You Go tutorial and even made a pillow with this method once or twice. My scrap bins are overflowing and these are a great way to use up some of them.

For our blocks this month, please use Cori's method (minus the QAYG part) to each make (2) 12.5" blocks. Each block should be a monochromatic bloom in any color you might find flowers in your garden. If you'd like to include a smidge of greenery in a corner or two, that's fine too. It will look like little bits of leaves peeking through.

Start each block with a 13" square of muslin. I tried to use the wrong side a quilting fabric I don't care for but it was showing through the yellow fabric, so muslin it was. I pulled fabric from my bins and laid them out somewhat in order of saturation, started with the lightest in the center of the square. All flowers are different - you could certainly start with the darkest in the center if you prefer. If you'd like to work from stash instead of scraps, cut 1.5-3" wide strips of various fabrics.

Please trim off as much of the excess as possible after attaching each piece so that it will be easy to quilt once fully assembled. I snipped a few little holes in the muslin when trimming excess pieces but that's fine - it's just the base to sew to. Continue adding strips around the bloom and try to vary the angles a little each round.

Once you've covered all the muslin, go ahead and trim to 12.5" or send to me and I can trim as I assemble. I made a time-lapse of sewing the pink flower if you'd like to see it here.

Again, do not use batting or do any of the quilting. I'll piece the whole top and then quilt it as one. This should be a nice and cheery quilt when we're all done!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

SWAK quilt

Welcome to my stop on the Piece and Quilt with Precuts blog hop! There have been some pretty great quilts so far and a ton more coming. I was delighted that Christa asked me to join. Have you seen her new book yet? I highly recommend you get yourself a copy ASAP so you can make all of these quilts too! Stay tuned, there just might be a copy up for grabs at the end of this post.

All of the quilts in the book use precuts from charm packs up to fat quarters. As is turns out, I have fat quarters coming out my ears and the SWAK quilt was a great way to show off a few! I picked a bundle of Joel Dewberry's Wander to work with - choosing the prints that would best contrast from both of my background fabrics.

There were still quite a few prints left in the bundle so I used a few to make a scrappy binding and a few more to coordinate the back with the front. This pattern uses only 7 fat quarters to make all those X and O blocks which leaves me with more than enough to make a second quilt. That might be kind of neat - two of the same quilt with different colorways.

Christa has this quilt in the walking foot quilting section of the book but you know me, FMQ is my BFF, so I broke the rules and changed it up. I flipped through other sections of this book and The Ultimate Guide to Free Motion Quilting to get some ideas. In the end, I kept it simple but interesting by densely quilting back and forth in the background sections to flatten those and let the prints pop out a bit. Then the prints got a loose figure eight for a little texture and that was it. I posted a short FMQ video on Instagram if you'd like to see and a time lapse FMQ video as well.

Would you like to try making SWAK or one of the other quilts in the book? Leave me a comment about your favorite - or scariest! - part of free motion quilting. I'll draw a random winner at the end of the hop to win an e-copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts. **Please make sure you include a way for me to contact you. And for those of you with scary tales to tell below, my advice is to practice, practice, practice!

Be sure to visit Sherry and Michelle to check out their SWAK quilts today and definitely hit up Christa's blog to keep up with the entire hop, win prizes galore (no seriously, so. many. prizes.), and purchase a signed copy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The summer of Helena

Growing up, my mom made tons of matching dresses for my sisters and me - and we loved wearing them! She said she did it because it was cheaper than buying dresses but I think she actually made them so she could use the fabrics and trims she liked.

As an adult who sews now, I love sewing little girl dresses too. Let me tell you, they are SO MUCH easier than adult dresses - you don't have to worry about fitting curves or darts. Lately I've been following along with all of the adorable patterns put out by Simple Life Pattern Co. So much so that I've been making quite a few of their Helena dress lately! The first two were for my niece, the third for a friend. And then the fourth for the niece again but somehow I did not get a picture yet.

When you are turning 6 years old and your favorite color is purple, everything must be purple! I love making dresses for my little niece and though I love purple as well, I had a harder time finding bigger pieces in my stash to use for dresses. Luckily it all worked out.

This first version uses an Art Gallery print by Frances Newcombe and went very will with a pink and blue crossweave linen I had on hand. The niece was particularly fond of the buttons down the back. I, on the other hand, am a little concerned they might poke her when she sits down. Time will tell I suppose. She's very tall for her age so I made a bigger size - it's a bit too big for her now but will fit her for awhile.

The bodice on the second dress gave me a little trouble. I started by using a rayon spandex for the bodice and it was difficult to work with but I made it through. I was really unhappy with the waviness of the waist seam so I threw it in the wash to see if it would go back to it's original shape. It did not. The washing also highlighted a few tiny holes in the fabric that were now much bigger. Crap.

I ended up cutting the bodice and skirt apart to redo the bodice with a heavier weight cotton lycra knit by Art Gallery. I changed the gathered skirt to be pleated instead, hoping that would make the waist seam look a little nicer. I think the final version ended up pretty cute! The skirt is a cicada print by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cotton and Steel.

The third dress was this cute little number for my redheaded friend. I let her choose from a few fabrics I had in my stash and the pink was her favorite. It's from Amy Sinibaldi's Playground line for Art Gallery and the 1 yard I had was just barely enough to eek out the outer pieces in size 4T. I used something else for the bodice lining and embellished the front with some ruffled ribbon. Ahh, it feels good to use some of my stash!

The fourth version is a tunic for the niece our of the cutest mermaid fabric! It's a Michael Miller print but I don't know the designer - sorry. This tunic is going to be adorable with some leggings or jeans. I made the back neckline a little more modest too so it will be appropriate for back to school.

Now, let's tackle that pile of finished and nearly-finished quilt tops...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sleepy Sloths

I've been working on this one awhile, possibly procrastinating because it's just so cute to look at. But now it's complete and has gone off to live at it's new home.

I used Elizabeth Hartman's Sleepy Sloth pattern and altered the layout a little to suit me - I wanted both sloths to be hanging out on the same tree. This quilt is for a baby boy so I was a little worried at first that the body fabric might have too many girly designs but it turned out just right. This was my last bits of the Whimsicol print from Jeni Baker's Nordika line for Art Gallery Fabrics a few years ago.

Quilting this was a lot of fun and was all done with Aurifil on my Juki 2010. The tree definitely needed a bark-like motif and I knew I wanted some type of leaves in the background. Flipping through Christina Cameli's Step-by-Step Free Motion Quilting, I found several designs that would work and this is the one I settled on.

The sloths themselves were a little harder. I thought about trying to make it look like fur but that seemed like it might get complicated. Instead, I went with the swirls I've been practicing a la Vicki and Angela. I do love a good swirl. The backing is from Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis.

I think they all work pretty well together in the end. Plus, all that texture will be fun for tiny hands. It's now washed, dried, crinkled, and gifted!

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