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

Saturday, October 29, 2016

"Love, Charlie". How to Adapt a Child's Artwork for Applique Quilting

The Background Story
"Love, Charlie" is the first little quilt I've based on a piece of child's art. I had so much fun, and the resulting mug rug is one of my very, very favorites. I do hope it won't be the last piece to be inspired by a child.

Two years ago, Charlie made this painting in his art class. This lovely boy is the very talented son of one of my daughter's coworkers. I've sort adopted the family, and I designed the Tooth Fairy Pillow for Charlie when he lost his first tooth.

The Process

Step 1: Make a photocopy of the section of the artwork you want to use. Reduce or enlarge it to fit the size you need for your quilt.

The painting is greatly simplified, but it is definitely recognizable, and it retains much of the flavor of the original.
Step 2: Use a light table or a sunny window to trace a simple outline of the drawing onto paper. Working with fabric is quite a bit different than working with paints or a crayon.The artwork will more than likely need simplification and a bit of reshaping. The antlers were too skinny for fabric pieces, so I enlarged them and rounded them out. I eliminated some details.The black outline of the deer's head and the little white accents on the nose and ears were some of the details that I left out. The mouth ran into the chin, so I changed the shape just a bit.

Step 3: Back to the light table or the window. Flip the original drawing upside down and trace it onto a fresh sheet of paper. This will give you applique shapes that are already reversed and ready to use.

Step 4: Make dotted lines to show the overlap of the different pieces you'll need to cut for the appliques.

Step 5: Trace all the pieces you'll need onto a piece of paper or card stock and label them. You can trace them onto the paper side of your fusible web for quick fuse applique from here. This also works with freezer paper for turned applique.

Step 6: This step is optional. I always draw my pieces on card stock so that I can cut them out for tracing onto my fusible web. In this way, I know that I can make numerous identical copies of my pattern very quickly.

Finishing Touches

I embroidered the mouth, nose and eyes.

And finally, I embroidered a message to Santa. This wasn't part of the original painting at all, but when I looked at that little deer's face with those big eyes and that quirky smile, I knew this little guy wanted something.

What a blast! I do play and enjoy myself in my sewing room, but this was the most fun I've had in weeks. Charlie's deer was the lighthearted and very sweet pick-me-up that I've been needing.

I'd like to play around with other children's artwork to see how they might turn out. If you'd like to send me photos of your favorite child's drawing, I can see if anything else might adapt as nicely to applique as Charlie's deer did. No promises for using your photo, but I'll definitely respond to all emails.

Send photos to my email:

Happy Last Weekend of October! 

October Halloween.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tutorial: Bias Binding on a Scalloped Edge

I love the curvature of scalloped borders on quilts. It takes a bit of patience to put the bias binding around the curves of the border, but when I buy the most perfect fabrics I can find and spend many days working on a quilt, I'm not about to cut corners at the end. I'm sure there are almost as many ways to bind a quilt as there are quilters. I'll be describing the way I work with bias binding. I'm sorry to say that I know of no wonderful shortcuts for this job. 

I think that most of us are often intimidated by something new, and at first, the very idea of working with bias binding can sound pretty scary. Binding edges with curves does require fabric cut on the bias, so it pays to at least give it a try on practice piece. Attaching binding around a  curved edge is like any other skill. Once you've practiced a bit, the fear almost always disappears.

There are two main disadvantages to working with bias binding.  First, it uses more fabric than straight binding does. In order to get binding sections that aren't too short, large triangles from the corners of the fabric will wind up in the scrap basket.

Then, there is the pinning. I don't know of a way to avoid using lots of pins to get the fabrics to lie flat and smooth in the end.

Other than the need to pin around inner and outer curves, sewing bias binding onto a quilt is very much like attaching any other binding

The "Kitty Craft" quilt shown in this tutorial has been designed with a gently scalloped border.

Part 1: Make the binding. 

160 inches of binding ready to attach.

My favorite tool for measuring 45 degree angles on bindings

1. Measure halfway around the quilt, snugging the tape measure up against the scallops. Multiply by two to get the distance around your quilt. I recommend adding 10" - 12" to that length to determine how much binding you'll need to make.

2. Lay your cutting ruler at a 45 degree angle and cut as many 2 1/4" strips from the fabric as you will need. From here on, the binding is made much like any other binding.

3. Cut both ends of each strip with the 45 degree angle going in the same direction.

4. Lay two strips perpendicular to each other. Stitch the seam with a 1/4" seam allowance.

5. Press the seams open and trim off the little ears.

6. Press the binding in half lengthwise.

Part 2: Attach the binding.

1. Pin the raw edges of the folded binding to the edge of the quilt. Leave a tail of about 6" and start pinning in the area where the outer curve begins to transition to an inner curve. Joining the ends of the binding on an outer curve is easier than it is on an inner curve.

I like to pin and stitch about 2 to 3 feet at a time. Be careful not to stretch the binding as you pin it around outside curves. It shouldn't be so loose that it gathers, but it shouldn't be at all stretched. If the binding is too tight on those curves it won't lie flat when you fold it over and stitch it to the edge of the quilt.  The inner curves need to be treated in exactly the opposite way. Pull the binding nice and snug on those inner curves. That will help to minimize puckering on the inside of the curves. Backstitch to secure the stitches and sew with a 1/4" seam.

2. Stop about 6" or so from the starting point. Backstitch.

3. Lay the binding on the curve bringing the two ends together in the middle. Pinch the ends together and connect them with a pin. 

4. Mark both ends of the binding with pins exactly where the ends need to meet.

5. This next part gets a little trickier. Work with one tail of the binding at a time. Keep your ruler at a 45 degree angle. Align the sewing line of your ruler with the pin exactly on the marked center fold. You need to cut 1/4" on the outside of the sewing line so you will have that 1/4" seam allowance for stitching. Do this on both tails of the binding.

Take extra care to cut those edges at the very same angle! When you go to sew the ends together you don't want to find that one is cut on the opposite slant from the other. I've done that. Not fun. :(

6. Pin the two ends of the binding together. Double check to make sure that the pieces aren't twisted.  Sew in the same way that you sewed the strips together to make the original long piece of binding.

7. Finger press the seam open. Fold and pin to the quilt edge. Stitch in place.

 8. Fold the binding to the back of the quilt and sew it down with neat hand stitching.

9. Press. Place the iron flat on the bound edge of the quilt, press down, and give it a burst of steam. Bias binding has a lot of give. The steam sets it so it will lie smooth and flat on the scallops.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Summer Purse, Part 6, Finally Finished

Attach the lining and call it done.

Which bag are you making?

Note: All seam allowances are 1/2" unless otherwise instructed. 

There are two more pieces of lining to cut.

1. Cut two strips of lining, 3" x 16' each.

 2 Locate the center of the 16" sides and mark with a pin or a notch. Also mark the centers of the encased zipper units.

 3. Sew the 3" x 16" strips to the encased zipper. Make sure the right sides of the strips are facing the right side of the zipper (the side with the zipper pull on top).

4. Cut a 1 1/2" square from each bottom corner of the pocket sections of lining. These cuts will be used to make the boxed corners on the bottom sides of the bag.

5. Sandwich the encased zipper between the 3" x 16" strips and the larger, pocketed sections of the lining. The large sections of lining will face the wrong side of the zipper. Sew right on the stitching line that attaches the 3" x 16" strip to the zipper casing.
The zipper is sandwiched between a narrow strip of lining and a pocket section on both sides. 

 Note: Place the zipper pocket on whichever side will allow it and the encased zipper to open in the same direction. My zippers open from left to right.

6. Tuck the zipper ends out of the way and sew the two side seams of the linings right sides together.

View from the top of the bag.

 Note: Open the zipper to finish sewing the bag.

 7. Tuck the body of the purse and the handles inside the lining. Right sides should be together.

8. Place the side seams of the lining in the exact center of the 3" wide sides on the outside of the bag. Pin the lining to the bag all the way around. 

9. Sew the bag and the lining together at the top.

 10. Turn the lining to the inside of the bag. Do not fold the batting down.  Fold the lining over the batting and to the inside of the bag.  The 1/2" strip of lining that remains on the top looks like binding and matches the trim on the main front pocket.

11. Pin the lining in place. Stitch in the ditch right along the seam. Press.

Note: Double check to make sure the bag zipper is open. 

12. Turn the bag inside out. Pull the lining away from inside the bag to finish sewing the bottom.

13. Stitch either side of the bottom edges of the lining together for 1 1/2" - 2" from the side edge inward. This will leave an 8" or 9" opening at the bottom of the lining.  Backstitch so the the short seams don't rip out when you pull the bag through the opening later. 

14. Pinch the square opening at the corners together. Align the side seam with the bottom seam. Pin together.

15. Stitch across. This will create the box corner at the bottom of the lining.

16. Remember that 11" x 2 1/2" piece of plastic canvas you cut and put away back in Part 2 of this tutorial? You need it now. Slide the plastic canvas under the insert at the bottom of the bag and center it. I hope you don't have to cut another piece like I did. I put the one I made earlier away in a place that was evidently too safe.

17. Pull the bag through the opening you left in the lining. Stitch the opening closed, and push the lining to the inside. 

18. Give the whole bag a good pressing and it is done!!

Optional last step.

If you want your bag to remain clean over time and with lots of use, I recommend taking it outside and spraying it with Scotch Guard. Spray it lightly, allow to dry, and spray one more time.

One final note. 
 I would truly appreciate hearing from you about the usefulness and quality of this tutorial. As I said in the beginning, I've made many bags, but this is my first attempt at writing a pattern for one. I welcome any suggestions you might have. If I ever get it figured out, I may design more bag patterns. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Summer Purse: Part 5, Lining with Pockets

I had planned to finish the summer purse tutorial with this post, but it was simply getting to be too long. There will have to be a sixth and final post. This post covers making the lining with the pockets that are found inside the purse. The last post will cover assembly and finishing the bag.

Pockets galore!

I want lots of pockets inside my bags, and I used my favorite combination in this purse. One side of the lining has four open pockets lined up in a row. They keep my odds and ends of little things neat and easy to grab. The other side of the lining contains a generous zippered pocket which is partially unzipped in the photo. This pocket is for my wallet, receipts, and any other items that I want to keep secure. I keep a notebook in the center of the bag, and I can toss my keys in there as well. There is still plenty of space to add a book, a snack bag, or whatever small something I may want to carry on a given day. Since the pockets have done away with clutter, I don't have to go digging and searching for the things I want.

Getting ready to cut.

I definitely recommend that a lightweight fusible interfacing be ironed onto the wrong side of each piece of fabric in the lining. The interfacing should be just a hair small than the lining fabric to protect your iron. The fusible substance can be nasty if it's melted to the iron, itself.

The little bit of extra thickness and firmness added by the interfacing assures that linings hold together over the long run. Pockets don't rip out so easily, and the linings will look and feel more substantial. This step is optional, of course, but interfacing is cheap, the extra work is minimal, and it makes a world of difference.

Note: All seams allowances are 1/2" unless instructed otherwise. 

The open pocket section

Cut one of each of these pieces from the lining fabric.

A. Make the open pocket unit

When finished, the pockets in the unit will be the sizes shown in the diagram below. Pleats between the pockets give them depth.

Note: I gave this piece of fabric a good spray of heavy starch before beginning. It helps with pressing the pocket pleats for sewing. 

1. Fuse a 4 1/2" x 15" piece of interfacing to one end of the wrong side of the 15 1/2" x 9" lining fabric.

2. Fold the lining with right sides together.

3. Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew around the three open sides. Leave a space of about 2" open on the long side.

4. Trim the corners and pull through the open part of the seam to turn right side out. Press.
Stitch the opening closed by hand. The long edge with the seam will be the bottom of the pocket.

The piece now measures 4" x 15".

5. Measure and mark the pleats using the diagram below. The spaces for pleating between pockets are each 1 1/4". The edges of the pockets are folded to the center of the pleated areas as shown by the red arrows. Dotted lines show the inside center of each pleat.

I marked the pocket edges with pins and pressed a line from top to bottom along each edge.

I pulled the pocket edges together and pinned them to the center of the 1 1/4" space between pockets to form the pleats.

After a good pressing with steam, the pocket pleats hold their shape nicely.

B. Sew the pocket unit to the lining section.

1. Lay the 11" x 16" piece of lining with a long edge at the top. Center the pocket unit 2" down from the top of this piece. Pull the pocket edges snugly against each other and pin in place.
Place the pins back a bit from the edges of the creases. 

2. Sew the inside centers of the pleats to the lining.

Fit a narrow foot to your sewing machine. I used my quarter inch foot.

You will be sewing in the center of the spaces between pockets. The seam will be at the bottom of the ditch between pleats. Start at the bottom of the pocket and stitch up to the top. Pivot at the top, sew one stitch over to the side, pivot again and sew back to the bottom. Do this for all three of the pleats.

3. Topstitch close to the edge all around the sides and bottom edges of the pocket.
Begin 1/4" in from the side edge and 3/4" down from the top of the pocket unit.  Stitch a "u" at the beginning and end of the stitching.  The diagram shows it much better than the photographs do. The "u" shaped stitching on pockets protects them from ripping out easily.

The finished lining section will be 16" wide and 11" tall.

The Zippered Pocket Section

Cut these pieces from the lining fabric. 

A. Make the zippered pocket.

Put the two 4" x 11" pieces aside for now, and get out your 9" zipper. If your zipper is too long, you can trim it off after the pocket is finished. I already had the perfect color in an 18" zipper, so I used it.
1. The zipper will be sewn onto the 10" edge of the lining fabric. Start with the zipper pull side facing down against the right side of the 10" x 9" lining. 

(I like my zipper to open from the left, so I make sure that the zipper pull is on the left side of the top of the fabric.)

 Line the zipper up at the edge of the fabric and sew with a zipper foot.

2. Flip the zipper over so the zipper pull faces up. Pull the larger section of the lining out of the way to the left. With right sides together, sew the 3" x 10" strip of fabric to the other side of the zipper.

3. Lay the piece you've just sewn on top of the pocket fabric. The wrong side of the section with the zipper will face the right side of the pocket. Sew along right on the stitch line from step 3 to sandwich the zipper between the pocket and the lining.

 5.  Take the opposite side of the pocket fabric and fold it up and over the zipper.

Align the edge of the fabric up against the edge of the zipper and sew it in place.

The zipper is sandwiched between the the pocket and the lining on both sides. 

Wrong side of pocket unit.

Right side of pocket unit.
6. Press the pocket down toward the larger piece of lining.This zipper unit should measure 10" wide and 11" long. If needed, trim the bottom of the lining fabric to get the right measurement.

7. Before finishing this piece of lining, unzip the zipper part way.

8. Sew a 4" x 11" piece of lining fabric to either side of the pocket unit. If your zipper was longer than 9", trim the ends off.

The zipper opened to show the pocket.

The finished lining section should be 16" wide and 11" tall as shown below. Trim if necessary.

 The last post for the summer purse will be out in a few days. I promise not to keep you waiting too long this time.

The Finish.
Coming Soon!

Happy Stitching!!