October 14, 2019

Quilty Gifts for Quilty Friends with Little Sewists Fabric


Do you ever have one of those moments when you are staring at your fabric thinking, "I couldn't possibly cut this up, I am going to save it forever so I can just keep looking at it and falling in love with it all over again." Yeah, I had one of those moments with this fabric. From the sweet florals to those cute sewing girls, I did not want to cut it up and lose any of those sweet illustrations. And I knew this was going to be one of those collections that I would be sad to use up. I mean, just look at it!


But, after spending way too many days just starting at it and admiring it, I came up with a solution that would allow me to use it but not lose any of its character. I decided to make a large-scale cathedral window pillow to showcase the fun prints, and I made a matching pincushion to go with it. Wouldn't this little set make the cutest gift for one of your quilty friends? If there's anything I love more than making, it's gifting the things I make. Do you feel the same way? If you do, you're in luck because I'm going to tell you how I made the pillow so you can make one too!!

Supplies Needed

  • Various prints for the scrappy background. This is a great way to use a fat quarter bundle, and when you're done you will still have plenty of fabric leftover!
  • Fabric you can fussy cut for the center of the "windows"
  • 1/2 yard white fabric
  • Fat quarter for pillow backing
  • 1 zipper, at least 18" long
  • 18" square of batting
  • 19" square of lining fabric

Sewing Instructions

  • From your white fabric, cut three 4.5" x WOF strips. Subcut into twenty 4.5" squares.
  • Fold the white squares in half to make triangles and press.
  • From your background prints, cut sixteen 4.5" squares.
  • From your fussy-cuttable prints, cut five 4.5" squares.
    • TIP: use a 4.5" clear ruler so you can make sure what you are wanting to show off will be in the center of your square.
    • TIP: cut these squares "on-point"
  • Arrange your background squares into four rows of four squares.
  • Place the white triangles on the background squares according to the layout below. Pin in place.
    • NOTE: In this image, none of the squares have been sewn together yet.
  • Sew the squares in each row together. Press seams open.
    • TIP: do not remove pins yet!
  • Sew the rows together and press those seams open as well. Now you can remove the pins.
  • Place the fussy cut squares in the center of each of the white squares and pin in place.
  • Prepare your square for quilting. Place your lining fabric right side down on a table. Place the batting square on top. Place the pillow top right side up on top of the batting.
  • Using your finger, gently fold down each side of the white squares. You will notice as you do this, it creates the fun curve that is unique to the cathedral window. Stitching close to the edge, sew along the curve.
  • Repeat this process for all of the sides of each of the squares. When you are done you should have something that looks like this:
  • Trim the pillow front to 16.5" square.
  • Cut the backing fabric into a 16.5" square.
  • Cut two 1" x 4" strips from one of your fabrics. Fold them in half, wrong sides together, and press.
  • Insert zipper along bottom edge of pillow. I like the tutorial from Alli of Woodberry Way. It's the quickest way I have found of inserting a zipper, and it's great for pillows that you don't want to bind.
  • Once your zipper is installed, open the zipper all the way. Place your pillow front and back together, right sides facing, and stitch around the other three sides of the pillow.
  • Turn the pillow right side out and press. Insert an 18" pillow form, and enjoy!
    • (or gift it to someone else to enjoy!)
And the little cathedral window pincushion you see? That's a smaller scale version of the pillow. I have a pattern available in my Etsy shop if you need it!


Thank you Michael Miller fabrics for the opportunity to work with another one of your wonderful fabric lines! See you soon!



September 19, 2019

Fabric Stamps 101


If you have been following my sewing journey for a while, it's no surprise to you that I love making fabric stamps and using them in my projects. From zipper pouches to mug rugs to pillows, I often find a way to incorporate them in to the things I make.


For one thing, they are a great way to use even the smallest of scraps. For another, they add a little extra detail that gives a project a little more interest. And finally, they are super easy! Want to know how to make your own? Follow the tutorial below!!


Supplies

  • HeatnBond Fusible Interfacing
  • Pressing Paper
    • This is optional, but it protects your iron from getting the goo from the HeatnBond all over it. This stuff is my favorite!
  • Cutting Tools:
    • Small ruler (I use a 2.5" x 6")
    • Rotary Cutting Tool
    • Pinking Shears
    • Small Cutting Mat
  • An iron. This is a great project for the Oliso mini iron if you have one!
  • Fabric scraps
  • White fabric



Sewing Instructions

  • Cut your fabric scraps into squares or rectangles. You do not need to be precise at this point. Cut them a little larger than you actually want them to be. We will trim them down later.
  • Cut a piece of HeatnBond large enough for you to place your scraps on.
    • TIP: If using pressing paper (which I highly recommend), cut your HeatnBond to a size that will fit inside the paper. So, no larger than about 8x10. 
  • Arrange your fabric scraps on top of the glue side of the HeatnBond. Place them as close together as you can so there is not too much of the adhesive showing.
  • Place your HeatnBond paper with your fabric scraps on it inside of your pressing paper (the shiny side of the paper is the inside).
  • Close the pressing paper and iron according to the HeatnBond instructions.
  • Open the pressing paper and remove your stamp sheet. 
    • NOTE: Your stamp sheet might stick to the pressing paper. If it does, just peel it off.
  • Using your rotary cutter, cutting mat, and small ruler, cut each stamp down to the size you want it to be. Remove the paper from the back of each stamp. Set them aside for now.
  • Cut a piece of white fabric large enough for you to place your stamps on and leave space in between.
    • I usually leave about 1/2" between each stamp for this part.
  • Cut a piece of HeatnBond the same size as the white fabric.
  • Fuse the HeatnBond to the back of the white fabric. Do Not remove the paper from the white fabric!
  • Arrange the stamps on the white fabric and fuse in place. No need to use pressing paper for this step; none of the adhesive will be exposed.
  • Using your pinking shears, cut the white fabric close to the stamp on all sides.
  • Keep the paper on the back of the stamp until ready to use.
    • TIP: make a bunch at once and place them in a box. That way you will have some when you need them!
I hope this tutorial helps! These stamps look great on my Lovely Letters Pillow pattern. I am hosting a Sew Along from now until October 5, 2019. There is still plenty of time to join!

Happy Sewing!
-Stephanie-


September 15, 2019

Dew and Moss: A Project Evolution


If you would have asked me a year ago what I thought my sewing style was like, I would have quickly said traditional and vintage. Now, I'm not so sure I could answer that question. I have felt an evolution of sorts this year, one that leaves me feeling a bit like a kid going off to college. Part of me wants to stay "home" where it's comfortable, and part of me wants to break free and embrace the new. Sometimes I look at my stash and my unfinished projects and I feel bad for them, wanting to go back to the friends I left behind, but when I turn my head and see all the new things I have, I can't wait to get started creating something new and seeing where new fabrics and ideas might take me.

Part of this (r)evolution has been the direct result of being exposed to so many new opportunities this year. My ambassadorship with Michael Miller Fabrics and becoming a designer for ThermOWeb have both opened so many doors and pushed me creatively. Just by using different fabrics and products, I have been inspired to create projects that I never would have dreamed about before. I am extremely grateful for both of those opportunities that have helped boost my creativity, and my confidence, this year.

Recently I saw another opportunity that really spoke to me. A wonderful new designer for Art Gallery Fabrics, Alexandra Bordallo, posted on Instagram that she was looking for designers to be part of a sewing party for her new fabric line, Dew and Moss. I had been seeing sneak peaks of this fabric before then, and I just loved it. The newly evolving modern designer in me was drawn to the colors and designs, and the traditionalist loved the whimsical illustrations and nod to nature. So, I applied and was accepted to join a team of other wonderful designers to help promote this sweet new fabric. When she asked what I planned to make, I confidently said a cathedral window pillow, just like my Trixie one.
By the time my package arrived from Art Gallery Fabrics, I really didn't have much time to complete my project. And on top of that, my son joined three clubs at school, and I was asked to work 8 days in a row to help cover some empty shifts at two different hospitals. So, by the time I was able to sit down and sew, I was exhausted and feeling a little overwhelmed. I cut out my fabrics one night, and got to sewing the next day.

I followed the Missouri Start Cathedral Window shortcut instructions, sort of. I remembered the process from when I made my Trixie pillow, so I didn't go back and look at the instructions again. I sat down and got to work and sewed two rows of my pillow together in one sitting. I was so proud of myself and feeling pretty good about meeting my deadline. I stood back and admired my work...

 ...and that's when I noticed my mistake.
I forgot to sew my white "windows" to part of my blocks. Where you see a circle above, there should be another fussy cut window. I couldn't fix this mistake without completely undoing everything I had done, because one row is dependent on the other. What I had completed so far was too small to be a pillow cover. I didn't know what I was going to do. I just wanted to cry. I did not want to disappoint Alexandra, or myself. So, I slept on it. And I woke up with an idea.
The next morning I got to work painting some buttons to put on a...bag! Now, I am no bag maker. Bags are hard. Really  hard. But I love this fabric and I thought of how proud I would be to wear a bag full of it. So, I turned my cathedral window panel into a front pocket complete with a zipper, and made a bag out of it. I stitched on my mushroom buttons, added a "handmade" tag to the front, and inserted a magnetic snap on the inside to keep everything nice and contained. I plan to use it to carry my design books and pencils in. These fabrics are inspiring, And so is the story of how this project came to be. It's a nice reminder to not get hung up on perfection but to instead go with the flow.


And there she is! I won't lie, she wasn't easy. I got reacquainted with my seam ripper. More than once. Ok, more than about 5 times. But I stuck with it, and I'm so glad I did!

August 20, 2019

A Fruity Table Runner



Nothing says summer like bright colors, fresh flowers, and fruit off the tree. This Sew Fruity collection by Michael Miller fabrics captures that summer feeling perfectly. With its bright colors and fruity motifs, this fabric screams summertime and picnics, which is exactly what I had in mind when I made this table runner.

Table runners, pillows, and other small projects are a great way to get your feet wet when it comes to quilting. Making larger quilts is a big investment of time and money, which can intimidate some beginner sewists. For this project, all you need is small cuts of fabric, some backing fabric, batting, and a little knowledge of basic quilting techniques (how to use a rotary cutter, how to sew a straight line, etc.). If you can master all of that, keep reading and I'll tell you how to whip up a cute and easy table runner like this one!

Supplies Needed

  • 1/4 yard cuts of several different fabrics (or fat quarters)
  • 1/4 yard of binding fabric
  • 1 yard of backing fabric (or more depending on how big you want your runner)
  • Batting (if you are going to buy some, buy the Craft size or crib size package)

Sewing Instructions

  • Determine how big you want your runner. If you want to keep your investment small, consider making one that only requires 1 yard of backing fabric, make your runner 42" long or less. A yard of fabric measures approximately 36" x 42". 
  • This runner will be made of rows of 5 1/2" squares. Divide the length of your runner by 5 to get the number of rows you will need. Multiply that number by 4 since each row will have 4 squares. That will tell you how many squares you need to cut.
    • FOR EXAMPLE: To make a runner 40" long by 20" wide:
      • 40" / 5" = 8    (For this example you will need 8 rows)
      • Each row has 4 squares so...
        • 8 rows X 4 squares = 32 squares total
      • Cut the yard of backing fabric into a 22" x 42" rectangle
      • Cut the batting a little smaller than the backing but a little larger than the top. In this case cut it approximately 21" x 41".
  • If using 1/4 yard cuts, cut the fabric into 5 1/2" strips x WOF (width of fabric)
    • Subcut the 5 1/2" strip into 5 1/2" squares
  • If using fat quarters, cut 5 1/2" x 21" strips and subcut into 5 1/2" squares
  • Sew the squares together in pairs. Sew two sets of these pairs together to give you a row of four squares. Make as many as desired for the length you want. For the above example, sew 8 strips of 4 squares each. 
  • Whew! Stand back and admire your work:
  • Arrange your rows in a way that makes you happy. Press the seams of each row in the same direction. Press the seams of the next row in the opposite direction.
  • Place the two rows right sides together, nesting the seams. Pin at each seam.
    • What does it mean to nest seams? When you press the seams in opposite directions as above, you can butt them up next to each other on the right side. This ensures nice sharp points when you sew them together.

  • Press the seams of the rows open as shown below:
  • Sew your rows together and again stand back and admire your work:
  • Place your backing fabric face down on a flat surface (I use the floor!). Place your batting on top of that, then place your patchwork runner face up on top of the batting.
  • Baste in place. For this project I used basting spray by ThermOWeb. I love it! It's much quicker than pinning, and it works great for small projects like this one!
  • Take your runner to your machine and quilt as desired! I quilted diagonal lines from the square corners. I did not mark my lines, I just went for it! I set my stitch length to about 3 and used the walking foot for my Janome Skyline S7. I love this machine!
  • After I finished quilting it, I trimmed off the excess batting and backing fabric.
  • I cut my binding fabric into 2.25" strips and sewed them together to make my binding. I machine stitched it in place (I almost always hand-sew my binding, but because this is a table runner, I thought machine stitching might be more durable in the wash). I'm sorry I don't have a tutorial for the binding, but they are easy to find online!

  • After I finished the table runner, I used the border print from this fabric to make some tea towels as well. I love how the white of the border fabric pops against all the colors in the runner!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Happy sewing friends!
-Stephanie-



August 10, 2019

Renaissance Fabric: Inspiring New Projects



It's funny how the fabric can inspire the project. Sometimes when I have fabrics in my hand, I just know what they were meant for. Rarely do I buy fabrics for a specific project. More often I buy them, look at them, play with them, and then come up with something to showcase the prints and how I feel they can best be used. Some fabrics look great in quilts, some fabrics are meant for home decor, and some fabrics, like these, scream "make me into something pretty." So, that's just what I did.


Renaissance fabric is a new line by Michael Miller Fabrics, releasing to stores this month! When Susan from MMF asked if one of us Brand Ambassadors would do a feature on these fabrics this month, I gladly accepted. I knew exactly what these fabrics were meant for.

A few years ago I discovered a talented designer named Carla. I fell in love with her cute but useful patterns (and her absolutely perfect sewing!). She had a pattern for sale in her Craftsy shop at the time for a Ruffled Wristlet. I bought it and made a few...or a dozen...I loved making them for me, for gifts, and for different occasions. They are quick and easy and look much more complicated than they actually are to make. Which is a good thing, right? When I got my shipment of Renaissance, I wasted no time deciding what to make with them. I got out my pattern from Carla and started sewing.




I added stylish metal zippers and leather "Handmade" tags to add just a little extra something. And then for even something more, I made bow scrunchies with some of the scraps! (I grew up in the 90's. Super excited about the return of the scrunchie! Slouch socks and tight rolled jeans? I hope THEY never make a comeback!). Anyway, if you've never made a scrunchie you should totally do it. Super easy and fun. And the bow just adds a little extra fun.


I'm so happy that I had the opportunity to work with fabrics that are a little out of my norm. They inspired me to make something new (the scrunchie!) and to make something for myself that just makes me feel special. Thank you Michael Miller designs for the opportunity to work with you and for creating such beautiful fabrics!



Quilty Gifts for Quilty Friends with Little Sewists Fabric

Do you ever have one of those moments when you are staring at your fabric thinking, "I couldn't possibly cut this up, I am goi...