Saturday, September 27, 2014

Plush Fur Binding

That nip in the air makes me want to grab a cozy, furry quilt!  


Have you sewn with Minky or Cuddle fabric?  It's a poly plush fur fabric that comes in varying lengths and designs of furry goodness that's hard to resist.  I've sewn with it a bit, and quilted it a lot.  The key is pin, pin, pin, and if you aren't sure it won't stretch or slide, pin some more!

My favorite product is Shannon Fabrics' Cuddlesoft.  It has a little stretch, but usually only cross-grain.  I pin it to the frame with the selvages along the sides then I pin the cut edges at the top and bottom leaders with extra pins to control the stretch.  I love quilting on this stuff - it really emphasizes the quilting and kids of all ages can hardly keep their hands off it's soft goodness!

Here are some tips for machine-stitching plush fur binding to a fuzzy creation.

Use a single layer for binding strips:  1-1/4" strips for a generous 1/4" finish.  Cut strips from the lengthwise grain - same direction as the selvage edge.  Join strips by overlapping short ends 1/4" using a zig-zag or mending (serpentine) stitch.  Mine is #18

If the fur is especially long, I'll sometimes zig-zag the quilt edges after trimming to control the bulk.

1)  Leave about an 8" tail and begin to stitch binding to the back of the quilt.  I use my quilter's 1/4" seam foot with the edge guide.  You may want to use a walking foot to be sure it doesn't stretch as you go.

2)  Stitch to 1/4" from the edge, then backstitch a couple of stitches and remove from the machine; clip threads.

3)  Fold binding back 45o to form the mitered corner...

4)  Fold binding strip back down with the fold even with quilt edge; align raw edges together.  Pin to secure.

5)  Turn the quilt and begin stitching at the folded edge, repeating the miters at each corner.  Stop about 8" from the beginning stitches.

6)  Overlap ending strips and join again with zig-zag or mending stitch for the final binding seam, then continue stitching to quilt, overlapping the beginning stitches.

6)  Form miters on the corners of the quilt front; pin to secure.


7)  Stitch edge of binding to the front of the quilt, pivoting at the corners.  I really like the look of that serpentine stitch. Looks great on the back, too!

p.s.  Keep a lint-roller, dustbuster, vaccuum, or garbage can  handy - the fur really flies!  After each cut, clean off your mat with a dry washcloth.  Shake out the quilt over a garbage can, or just take it outside and shake it off!

Happy Cuddling,

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer Sewing! (& Giveaway)

September, already!?!

After a summer of sewing among other things - it's such a pleasure to take a minute for a little Sew & Tell on the "See You in September" blog hop!  We're to display three projects made this summer, with at least one article made with Riley Blake Designs' gingham prints. A big thanks to Mdm. Samm at Sew We Quilt who organized this wonderful hop and sweet Shari at Living With Purpose for cheering us all along!  It's been a great motivator for me, especially with the push to "Save the RBD Gingham!!"   I've been trying to knock out some UFOs.  Now, it's tough to narrow it down to only three projects!!  How about three... categories???  Ok, read on.

1)  Saving RBD Gingham!
Many of you know that I do some contract work for Riley Blake Designs.  You can find my "Sewing (& Quilting) Basics" tutorials on the "Cutting Corners" page of www.rileyblakedesigns.com, and Cindy (co-owner of RBD) invited me to help her put together a series of How-to-Quilt videos based on those tutorials. (Only slightly mortifying!)  It has also been my assignment to feature and promote their Basics line of fabrics - the solids, shades, dots, chevrons, and of course, ginghams!

Here I am at Quilt Market last year to demonstrate some quick Make & Take projects.  I spy gingham! (lanyard, bag, backing on the Bullseye Baby quilt, orange-peel runner and I even made my gingham shirt.)


Cutting Corners with Riley Blake DesignsSome of my recent RBD tutorials have focused on vintage stitchery techniques using different sizes of gingham.  You can click the button for a link to all my RBD tutorials.
The 1/2" gingham check is perfect size for Smocking.  For Shirring and Chicken Scratch, I like the 1/4".  Embroidery and Cross-Stitch are so easy to learn and practice on the 1/8" gingham checks.  Ruching works well with the smaller checks, too.  I like all the sizes.

Here's a little collection of Gingham Stitchery.  I plan to use all my samples in quilt blocks.

And my actual Gingham project?  An Orange Peel Table Runner.  After teaching the technique several times, I ended up with a nice little pile of extra circles.  I decided to add them to my existing runner.


 I tried it as a square, 
 as separate place mats, 
and finally, decided on the long runner.  
Gingham-y Goodness!

If you'd like, you can see the video instructions HERE.  (You can probably tell how terrified I am in front of the camera, argh!  But just turn the sound off, and you can see how we made it!)  I could keep adding blocks to make it a larger quilt, but this runner fits my dining table nicely!  

#2)  Tree Skirts!  I've been playing with my EQ7 quilt design software a lot this summer, learning new things every week.  Here's this year's version of my Star Medallion Tree Skirt.  Can't wait to see it made up in these fabulous fabrics.

And my actual project?  Star Weave Tree Skirt ~ Done!
This and the original Star Medallion Tree Skirt patterns are available on my Craftsy Store.  It's never too soon to get ready for Christmas!

And last, but not least...
3)   Round Robin quilts!
Have you ever participated in a Round Robin Exchange?  Form a group, and each person supplies a center block.  The next person will add a border, send it to the next person to add another border and so on.  Sometimes the group will establish rules, and sometimes anything goes.  When your quilt has made the rounds, your block has grown to a decent size wall-hanging with several borders.


Here's my "Little Ruby" that took a 'round the world trip to Montana, Australia, Georgia, Paris, New York, a detour to Ontario Canada, then North Carolina! The rules for this RR were to add simple 2" to 2-1/2" borders.   Little doo-dads were added along the way - a bit of ribbon, a few charms, along with some super-cute fabrics and fun piecing.  Oh, how I love her, hanging in my sewing room!
"Cherish, Love, Joy."  Sweet.
Right now I'm working on another Round Robin I call "Around the Block."  My cute friend Amber Sisson sketched it out and I've been working on the pattern all summer long.  Let's just say, I've learned alot about designing with applique'!  Giveaway:  If this piques your interest, I'm giving away a center block and embellishing supplies along with the pattern (as soon as it's ready) for this adorable (trust me) wall hanging, and a tree skirt pattern of your choice.

Leave a comment below telling about your favorite summer outdoor activity as a kid.  Giveaway ends on Tuesday, September 16th at 5:00 pm.
UPDATE:  Contest over and winner notified.  CONGRATULATIONS, BarbCarol!!!
Thanks to everyone for playing along!

Stay tuned for the full story and "Around the Block" reveal in the next little while!  And remember, you're always welcome to follow along for more quilty goodness!

Be sure to visit all my Hop Sisters today - they're amazing!  If you've missed the previous hoppers, see Shari's master list HEREThanks for stopping by!
 >>  Quiltscapes  <<

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

RBD Flannel Hop ~ Pajama Pants & Matching PJ Pillow!

It's Day 2 of the Riley Blake Designs Flannel Exhibition Blog Tour!


When I was a kid, it was a tradition to get a new nighty or jammie bottoms to wear on Christmas Eve.  So soft and warm to snuggle in on the night before Christmas.

Oh, my...  We are all just little angels!

Last Christmas Eve, after an Über-busy season, I finally had a minute to make pajama pants for my own family.  I made 5 pair that night.  They were mostly Riley Blake Designs' flannels, with a little Zombie Apocalypse cotton thrown in...



I'd previously made a pair for my dear husband, and still needed to make some for my son, but his legs were toooo long for the amount of fabric I had, so he got shorts.  Which he wore over his long thermal underwear.  You'll just have to imagine - I was laughing so hard, I forgot to snap a picture!  But with this hop, I have the perfect excuse to make some for my little boy.

He is working on an aviation degree...


... and I just HAD to use the Fly Aweigh flannel that features little airplanes and helicopters... Awwwww.

PJ pants are one of the first projects I teach my 4-H kids at summer sewing camp (for the past 15 years), not to mention the million pair of pants and PJs made for my own brood when they were little.  I've learned a few tips:

1)  No Surprises:  Prewash.  I don't normally prewash fabric for quilts, but if I'm sewing articles of clothing, I want to be sure that I don't get any shrinkage after construction.  Allow extra yardage for shrinkage and a bit of raveling.

And this high quality, soft flannel is even more luscious after washing and drying.  Even after nearly 9 months of use (yes, I quilt in my jammies), mine are as soft as ever.

2)  Save Stitches:  Nothing fancy.  I like to use a pattern with no side seam. If it does have a side seam I've been known to pin the front and back together at the side seam.  I skip the pockets too.  Sometimes I use elastic, sometimes a self-tie at the waist, sometimes both.

3)  Pattern Usage:  Unless you are using an old pair of pants or PJs as a pattern base, use the markings on the pattern to align on grain.  They'll look and hang better if you do.  Add length or shorten on the indicated lines.  Then lower the waistline by about 3" for today's fit.  Your kids will thank you.

4)  Clean-Finish:  That's a fancy way to say finish the edges of your fabric so the seams won't ravel. Serge or Zig-Zag the edges.

5)  Get to Know Your Buttonholer.  Practice making buttonholes on scraps.  Mark the line, hook up the fancy foot or press the right buttons.  Even most old machines have a buttonhole dial.  Be sure to use stabilizer - a bit of heavy-weight fusible interfacing does the trick.

6)  Double-Stitch the Crotch Seam.  'Nuff said.

And... just because...  I made a PJ pillow to match.  Applique'd with fusible adhesive (Heat'n'Bond Lite) and a blanket stitch.  I used an 18" x 14" rectangle as the pillow base.  Here's a free download of the applique' pieces:  BIPLANE APPLIQUE' TEMPLATES

Double flap overlap for the back (skip the zipper; button and buttonhole also optional.  Can you tell it's my quest to simplify?  Machine-bind with a simple faux-piped binding (see the full TUTORIAL <<) and you're all set!

1)  Cut one 16 x 18" and one 20 x 18" rectangle; fold each in half and overlap at center.
Layer pillow top over pillow back, wrong sides together.    
Match raw edges and pin, then stitch to baste edges.  

2)   Stitch binding strips together:
Outer color:  2 @ 1-1/4" strips;  Piping color:  2 @ 1-1/2" strips.  
Sew each color at the short ends, then sew both strips lengthwise together using 1/4" seams.  
Press in half, lengthwise.  This will form the flange that will become our faux-piping. 

3)   Stitch binding to back side of basted pillow.  
Form miters and finish seam as with any quilt binding.
Here's the Basic Binding TUTORIAL <<

  
4)  Stitch-in-the-Ditch by machine on the front for a quick finish.

Cute pillow top...
...and the back.

Stuff your jammies in the back of the PJ pillow for storage, like we did as kids.
Love me some soft flannel jammies!   *Ü*  

Fly Aweigh Flannels by Samantha Walker for Riley Blake Designs

 Christmas 1971.  Oh, yeah.


Don't miss the rest of the schedule for the RBD Flannel Exhibition Blog Tour.  The hop started last Friday, and new projects will be showcased every Tuesday and Friday from now until October 23rd!



September 5th through October 23rd
9/5 Julia @ Riley Blake Designs
>>  9/9 Deonn @ Quiltscapes  << Thanks for stopping by!
9/12 Bonnie @ Fishsticks Designs
9/19 Remona @ The Stitching Scientist
9/23 Paula @ The Sassy Quilter
9/26 Liz @ Simple Simon & Co.
9/30 Heidi @ Fabric Mutt
10/3 Carol @ Just Let Me Quilt
10/7 Amanda @ Jedi Craft Girl
10/10 Rose @ Rose and Odin
10/14 Samm @ Sew We Quilt
10/17 Marni @ Haberdashery Fun
10/21 Karin @ Leigh Laurel Studios
10/24 Lindsay @ The Cottage Mama
10/28 Sara @ Flannel Queen
10/31 Lucy @ Lucy Blaire

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