Showing posts with label Tutorials. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tutorials. Show all posts

Thursday, January 11, 2018

When the Creative Muse Doesn't Strike, Sew Anyway!

A jillion ideas for new mug rugs and wall hangings are bouncing around in my head, but nothing is actually taking hold. It happens now and then - more frequently as time goes on. I'm sewing anyway - just not something totally original.


My daughter likes these little microwave soup bowl holders that are all over Pinterest.  There wasn't time to make some for her Christmas, but January is a good soup month. This was also a super way to use some of those 10" precuts that I keep collecting.

 I was having fun, so when the bowls were finished, I made a bread basket to match, and gave it  button-on handles that can be placed up or down. Then I added a reversible napkin for the bread basket. Playing with my favorite toys is always fun.


 
I haven't made a pattern for the bread basket, because it isn't all that impressive, but I will be playing with more basket ideas in the future. 

I did make an actual pattern for the soup bowl holders, though. The idea of drawing lines from corner to corner and side to side on each 10 inch square seemed a bit much. A pattern shortened the process considerably, and the measuring was finished when the pattern was done.

Make a pattern for 10" fabric squares.

1.  Cut a 5" x 10" rectangle from your paper. Draw a dotted down the center to make two 5" x 5" squares.

 

2. Measure 2 1/2" down from the top on the dotted line. Make a dot.

3. At the very top of the dotted line, measure 1" to either side of the line and make dots.

4. Make dots 1" up from the bottom on each side edge of the paper.

5. Make dots 2 1/2" in from each bottom side edge of the paper.


6. Connect the dots. These are the stitching lines for the darts.

7. Measure exactly 1/4" to the inside of each dotted line and cut.

 8. Two pattern sections can be taped together for a complete pattern.

Cut and sew the bowl holders:
1. Place a 10" x 10" square of fabric right side up on a piece of 100% cotton batting.


2. Pin the fabric and batting at the corners and in the center. Use the pattern to cut out the "v" shapes on each side of the square. (It took a few turns of the paper, but the half pattern worked just find for cutting darts.)



3. Mark the dots for the inside corners on the batting with a fabric marker or ball point pen. 
 

4. Fold the cut edges of the "v" together. Stitch the dart 1/4" from the edges of the cutout, ending right at the dot.


5. Snip the end of the four darts open almost to the dots and press the seams open.

6. Pin two of the fabric/batting sections right sides together. Using a 1/4" seam, stitch all the way around leaving about a 4" opening to turn the soup holder right side out.


7. Turn, stitch the opening closed, and press.




Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas Place Mats, Part 2: The Mat

Hooray! All eight of my Christmas place mats are finished! They really were quite easy and fast. I intentionally made them without binding for two reasons. 1) I didn't want to spend the time it would have taken to hand stitch the binding on the back side of the mats. Eight is a big bunch. 2) I wanted the outer edge to have no extra bulk in the seam.



Figuring out how to go about this process quickly became an irresistible challenge. An extra step or two had to be added in order to do the job right. Did it save time in the long run? Yes, but not as much as I'd hoped. 

The instructions shown here are for a set of four place mats. I made two sets.



 Place Mats: 14" x 18"
 Use 1/4" seam allowances.


Fabrics needed for four place mats
  • 1/2 yard inner background fabric  
  • 1/4 yard or one fat quarter contrast fabric for narrow, inner border
  • 2/3 yard coordinating or contrast fabric for wider, outer border
  • 1 yard backing
  • 1 yard batting

Cutting for four place mats

From inner background cut:
  • four rectangles, 10" x 14"
From narrow border fabric cut:
  • eight strips, 3/4" x 10"
  • eight strips, 3/4" x 14 1/2"
From outer border fabric cut:
  • eight strips, 2 1/2" x 10 1/2"
  • eight strips, 2 1/2" x 18 1/2"
From backing fabric, cut:
  • four rectangles, 15 1/2" x 19 1/2"
From batting, cut:
  • four rectangles, 15 1/2" x 19 1/2"

Sewing for each place mat

1. Position the tree from on the 14" x 10" background fabric. Fuse and stitch in place with a machine zigzag stitch.

Instructions for making the trees are found in last week's blog post. Christmas Placemats, Part 1


2. Sew a 3/4" x 10 strip of inner, narrow binding to either side of the 10" x 14" rectangle of background fabric.

3. Sew a 3/4" x 14 12" strip of narrow binding to the top and the bottom of the background fabric. Press.
Strip piecing makes the process quick.
4. Sew a 2 1/2" x 10 1/2" strip of outer border fabric to each side of the quilt top. Press seams to the border.

5. Sew a 2 1/2" x 18 1/2" strip of outer border fabric to the top and to the bottom of the quilt top. Press seams to the border.


To make place mats with binding, add the batting and backing at this point, quilt, and bind.

The following instructions are for making the place mats without binding.

1. With a removable fabric marker and a ruler, draw a line all around the outer border of the place mat top. Make the line 5/8" in from the edge of the border.

2. Center the place mat top right side up on a 15" x 19" piece of batting. Pin in place.

3. Stitch in the ditch on one side of the narrow, inner border. This will hold the batting securely in place under the place mat top.


3. Stitch on the line with a very long machine stitch to baste the place mat top to the batting.

4. Trim the batting to 1/4" beyond the edge of the basting stitch.

The edge of a cutting ruler can be used to flip the edge over so that the batting can easily be trimmed to 1/4"
5. Trim the corners of the batting.

6. Place the quilt top right sides together with the backing fabric. Center and pin together.

7. Stitch together, 1/4" from the edge of the place mat top. Leave an opening of about 4" on one side of the place mat for turning.

 8. Trim off the excess lining and pull through the opening to turn the place mat right sides out.

I use a large knitting needle to poke the corners out, then I smooth the seam open with the needle, pressing it flat as I go.
9. Tuck the edges along the opening inside, press, and pin in place.


10. Sew very close to the edge all around the place mat enclosing the opening at the same time.


11. Remove basting stitches. Quilt as desired. I kept the quilting very plain and simple to complement the minimalistic design of the place mat.


Simple, straight line stitching on the outer border.


Quilting around the tree with a walking foot.

Drawing the quilting lines with my removable marker.



I'm so ready to move on to other things. The last two months have been so disrupted with health issues that I decided not to try sewing Christmas gifts this year. I've ordered everything online, instead.

The place mats were the first thing I'd made just for myself in quite awhile. It felt good to be sewing for me. I think I'll sew myself something else. Let's see .... I need a new robe, a pretty spring table cloth, everyday place mats, a cozy lap quilt ...  Well, maybe not all at once.



Wishing you a very happy December!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Christmas Tree Place Mats, Part 1: The Tree

Eight Christmas Tree place mats are in the works. So far, I have four of them almost finished and waiting for the inner panel to be quilted.


I'll have instructions for the actual place mats ready in a few days, but today, while my leftover turkey stew is simmering on the stove, I'll focus on just the tree.


This is such a sweet little tree, and it's a super stash buster to use up some of those leftover bits of green fabrics. Not too large, not too small, just right for either a place mat or for a really quick batch of mug rugs.

The scrappy strips finish at 1" each. Templates for the trees are traced onto the paper side of fusible web, fused to a rectangle of pieced fabric strips, then appliqued to a background fabric. Fast and so easy.

A. Make a template for the tree.

1. On a piece of stiff paper like card stock, draw or cut out a rectangle 3" x 5 3/4".
2. On the top of the 3" side of the rectangle, make a mark 1 1/2" in from the side. This will mark the center point for the top of the tree.
3. Use a ruler to draw straight lines from the mark at the top of the template to each corner at the bottom of the rectangle.
4. Cut the template on the lines.

B. Make a layout to use with fusible web. 
 
The layout shows the position of the trees on the pieced strips. Dotted red lines show the direction and number of the fabric strips.

1. Either start with a rectangle of paper to trace onto a piece of fusible web, or draw directly onto the paper side of the fusible web.

  • For two trees, make the rectangle 4" wide and 6 3/4" tall. 
  • For four trees, make the rectangle 7 1/2" wide and 6 3/4" tall. 
  • For eight trees, choose one of two sizes for the rectangle as described below.
If making eight trees, determine the size of the rectangles by the way you want to place the trees.
  • To place the two sets of four trees one above the other, make the rectangle 7 1/2" wide and 13" tall. (Many of my scraps were short, so this is the layout I used.) 
  • To place the two sets of four trees side by side, make the rectangle 15" wide, by 6 3/4" tall.
2. To draw the first tree, line the template up with one one long side parallel with the edge of the rectangle. Align other trees with side edges together as show in the photo above.

3. Set the layout on the fusible web aside.

 C. Make the strips sets of green scraps.

Six strips of green may be enough, but I cut seven just to be sure.

1. Cut green fabrics into strips 1 1/2" wide.
  • For two trees, cut six or seven strips, each 1 1/2" x 4 1/2
  • For four trees, cut six or seven strips, each 1 1/2" x 8".
  • For eight trees placed with one set of four above the other, cut thirteen strips, each 1 1/2" x 8". 
  • For eight trees placed with two sets of four laid side by side cut six or seven strips, each 1 1/2' x 15 1/2". 
2. Sew the strip set together with 1/4" seams. Press all seams to one side.


3. Lay your fusible web cutting layout on top of the wrong side of the strip set, paper side up. Press to fuse.


 4. Use a quilting ruler to cut the trees out on lines drawn on the paper side of the fusible web.

5 Make the tree trunks. Fuse a small piece of fusible web to the wrong side of brown fabric. Cut each trunk 1/2" x 1 1/4".

6. Remove the paper backing from the trees and trunks. Position them on your background fabrics and stitch in place with your favorite zigzag stitch. I used the blanket stitch. As usual.

Done!

And my stew is done, too! Oh, yum! It smells so good!

Oven roasted carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes, leftover turkey, leftover broth from the turkey, parsley, rosemary, and thyme, salt and pepper - dumped in a pan and simmered slowly.


Wishing you a lovely week!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Paper Foundation Piecing - the Basics

I've designed a paper foundation pieced tree for the Christmas Elves wall hanging, so his seems to be good timing for a blog to help those who are wary of this quilting method.


Paper foundation piecing should be neither scary nor curse worthy, yet there are many quilters who would almost rather put away their fabrics and hang up their rotary cutters than quilt on paper. I've been trying to get to the bottom of the problem, and I I'm going to try to help with three of the biggest issues. I won't even attempt to discuss everything, but I'll go over some basic tricks that I hope will be of help to some.

1. There is so much wasted fabric. Quilters hate to waste valuable fabric.  No matter how clever we are, there will probably be some waste with paper piecing. It doesn't have to be a huge amount, though. The waste can be controlled with careful cutting of the pieces of fabric. 

2. I don't know how to cut the shapes to fit. This issue is actually the same as the wasted fabric concern, and it's easily resolved.

Solution:
 
Cut fabric pieces the right size and shape.
When I started out with paper piecing, I just guessed and cut out chunks of fabric, hoping they'd fit. That didn't always work, so I slowed down and added a step. 

Start with two copies of the paper piecing pattern. Set one aside for sewing on, and cut out all of the numbered shapes on the second copy.

Lay each of the shape cutouts on the wrong side of the fabric you plan to use for that particular piece. You could use a fabric marker to trace around the shape right onto the back of the fabric or not. Cut around each shape leaving a seam allowance of about 3/8". You can use a ruler and rotary cutter to get the sizing exact, or you can estimate.

I'm more of a "wing it" cutter for this, so these are not perfectly cut.  I can see already that shape 2 and shape 3 are going to be a bit larger than I needed them to be, so I'm wasting more fabric than i should. 


3. It's just so confusing. Nothing ever fits right. Constantly ripping seams and trying again with a fresh piece of fabric, over and over, gets terribly frustrating. This issue is harder to fix because the ways in which our brains visualize things are as individually unique as our personalities. I do have an idea or two that might be helpful for some who get confused by the whole mirror image placement of fabrics and sewing everything backwards through a piece of paper.

Solution:

Lay the first piece on the back of the paper, right side facing up. I like to use a tiny dab from a glue stick to secure piece #1 in place so it doesn't slide around. A pin would work as well.

Next, lay the second piece right beside the first with the seams more or less lined up. On the pattern in the pictures above, piece #2 is to the left of piece #1, but on the back of the paper we're looking at the right sides of the fabrics, so that arrangement is reversed.


Flip piece #2 over onto the right side of piece #1. Line up the seams.


Turn the paper over and hold it up to a light source. Make sure that piece #2 overlaps the stitching line by about 1/4".

Sew right on on the line.

Flip piece #2 back and check with a light source to make sure it covers the whole shape nicely.

Trim the seam back to about 1/4".
I estimated and cut the seam with a scissors, but if you are a perfectionist, you could fold the paper back out of the way and trim it with a ruler and a rotary cutter. Just be careful that you don't cut the paper in the process. Been there. Done that.

Open the new piece, and press the seam.

Piece # 3 will be added in the very same manner. It helps to look at the fabric section and how it fits in the pattern before placing it.


You might even want to slip the piece under the paper to see how it will fit.


Turn the pattern and the new piece over. Line up the seams.


Flip this new piece so the fabrics are right sides together and align the seams as before. 


Use a light source to check the alignment from the front. Slide the new piece of fabric so it's about 1/4" from the stitching line. Sew in place, open, check that the fabric covers the space, trim the seam, and press.


When all of the pieces are stitched and pressed, use your ruler and rotary cutter to trim the section exactly on the 1/4" cutting line.

Trimmed and finished from the back.

Front view of this section.
When all of the sections have been prepared, you can sew them together according to the pattern instructions. Depending on the pattern, I may leave the paper in place and sew the sections through the paper. Other times, I may remove the paper and then sew the sections together like any other piece of patchwork.




I would really appreciate feedback on this tutorial. I'd like to know if this is at all helpful and if you have any ideas about what I can do to improve or change my explanations. 

If this still leaves you cold, don't fret. Next week I'll share another option for making a tree that doesn't involve paper piecing. 

Have a super week!