Monday, August 4, 2014

Stitchin' Up Cuteness...

I've been working on an applique' quilt pattern recently, but I thought I'd use it as a teensy stitchery pattern for my latest Needlenook - isn't it just. sew. cute?!    If you've always wanted to try embroidery, you may want to check my Stitchery Primer tutorial today ↓↓ over at Riley Blake Designs' Cutting Corners to get you going!

Download the free pattern over at Riley Blake Designs to stitch out this mini Bloomin' Garden Blossoms square.

Add borders to it, trim to 4" and basically follow this pictoral tutorial.  The original Needlenook pattern can be found on the Snippets page HERE.  I used two pockets for this one, which makes it even easier!

Stitch the front and back cover together:

Place folded 4" x 6-1/2" pocket pieces over top of cover, raw edges aligned.

Layer inside cover right sides together over folded pockets.

Pin long sides.

Stitch long sides

Turn right side out, with pockets still covering front and back cover.

Press flat.

Pin ends.

Stitch bottom ends.  Clean finish edges with pinking shears, zig-zag or serging.

Flip pockets over to the back (lining) side.
Use a chop stick to poke out corners.  Press.

Center felted wool piece over pockets.

Stitch along center seam, backstitching at ends.  Clip threads.

Load up with needles, thread, floss, pins, scissors, etc.

Everything you need to sew on the go!

Bloomin' Garden Blossoms Needlenook

Friday, July 25, 2014

5 Tips for a Terrific T-Shirt Quilt!

Dick's Marathon T-Shirts
Have you made a T-Shirt quilt?  Have you been saving all those T-shirts to make one someday?  I've got a few piles saved up...  I think it's a terrific way to save memories!

Collect a bunch of t-shirts, 12 or more.  Cut off the sleeves, neck binding, then slit the sides.  Rough-cut around the logo with plenty of space to cut out a nice size square or rectangle, as wide as the distance between arm holes will allow.

And here are some tips...

1)  Back blocks with lightweight fusible interfacing to stabilize stretch in the T-shirt material.
     I like to use Pellon 911FF.  Follow manufacturer's instructions to adhere stabilizer  to the wrong side of t-shirt squres; med-hot iron, count to 7 in each spot).

2)  Cut out blocks using a consistent measurement.
     Remember to include 1/4" seam allowance on all sides.  If you have smaller blocks, add strips of additional fabric or combine several small blocks to make one large block, (OR see tip #4).

3)  Use sashing to frame the blocks.
     This will help to stabilize the blocks, and provide a pleasing framework

Sashing between blocks
Sashing with corner posts
4)  Use smaller motifs as a border. 
     Use extra strips of the leftovers to fill in border or other blocks.

5)  Quilt the quilt.  Use batting.
     If tying, use a strong yarn or crochet thread, and anchor at the corners and middle of each block.
     If machine-quilting, use an overall pattern.

     PROBLEM:  Rubberized logos and motifs don't allow darning foot to glide over well while quilting without sticking to the logo or stretching the fabric.
     SOLUTION:  Use tissue paper to quilt over rubberized areas.  Then just pull off the tissue paper, perforated by the stitches.  Use a dry washcloth to rub out any stray bits.

Bind the quilt and give to your loved one to enjoy!  BINDING TUTORIAL

Natalie's Wedding Quilt
Have you made a T-Shirt quilt?  Share your tips here!  How about a Memory Quilt with pictures printed on fabric? Maybe that's next...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Binding ~ Faux Piping! (Plus a not-so-secret Formula!)

Try this great binding hack!
"If the Hat Fits" from the Buggy Barn book, Frightfully Crazy
Here's a way to pretend you went to all the work of adding piping to your binding without all the effort.  "If there's an easier way...", that's my motto.  This is also an easy finish for a lone UFO block - Make a pillow! (See TUTORIAL).

1-1/4" x width of fabric strips of main print - what you'll see as the outer edge.
1-1/2" x wof strips of accent print for flange/piping (NOTE:  1/4" difference creates a 1/8" flange)

You'll need 1 or 2 strips for a pillow, 5-6 strips for a baby quilt, 6-8 for a lap quilt, 8-10 for a twin/queen and 10 to 12 strips for a king size quilt.

OR ...
Want to know how to precisely calculate yardage for any binding?  Here's the Mathematical Formula:
* Measure the perimeter of your project and add 12" for mitered corners and final seam.

2 x (W + L) + 12 = P
* Divide that number by 40" (usable inches of width of fabric) to calculate the number of strips to cut; 
P / 40 = N
* Multiply that number by the width of strips desired to get the yardage amount.  In this case:  
N x 1-1/4" or 1-1/2" = Y
* Round up to the nearest 1/8 yard (0.125) or 1/6 yard (0.167)
Yardage      Decimal Conversion     Inches
(I keep all these quilter's math formulas and charts in my handy pocketbook  Quilter's Bible)

You're welcome.  Now, let's make it!

1)  STITCH all 1-1/4" main print strips together, end to end, using a diagonal seam to join, pressing seams open.  Repeat for all the 1-1/2" accent print strips

2)  STITCH to join both long strips together, using a 1/4" seam allowance.  This makes your binding 2-1/4" wide.  Press seams toward the main print, unless you want to fill your "piping", then press toward the accent color.  You may want to trim seam to 1/8".

3)  PRESS pieced binding in half, lengthwise.  See how the accent color peeks over at the folded edge?  YAY!

Use this neat little trick to roll and store binding.  Here's a little video:

Tuck the end in the back, and it will stay in place until needed.

Pull binding out of the center and it's ready to apply to the quilt.
If it's rolled like this, the binding doesn't twist or roll away.
4)  STITCH binding to quilt BACK using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Place binding with the right side of the main print facing the back side of the quilt.  Accent piece will be facing UP.

5)  MITER the corners as usual.  Stop stitching at 1/4" from the corner.  Remove from the sewing machine and clip threads.  Fold binding up to the corner at a 45-degree angle ↓.

Fold binding back down, keeping the folded edge evenly aligned with the previous corner, and realigning raw edges together ↓.  Begin stitching at the folded edge and continue around the quilt, mitering at each corner.

6)  FINISH the final mystic seam joint for a continuous, non-lumpy binding.  Here's a link to the tutorial: Binding Tutorial < or see in in my first (self-conscious, terrified) VIDEO <.

7)  Bring binding around to the front of the quilt and PIN the corners to form identical miters.

 NOTE:  I always take a minute to PRESS the binding away from the quilt, before folding the binding around to the front, getting a nice crisp fold at the seam.

8)  STITCH in the DITCH.  Pivot at the corners.

I'll sometimes use a stiletto or seam ripper to hold the binding in place as I stitch.

I've recently tried using those Clover Binding Clips, and those seem to work well too.  OR - skip the pins and the clamps and just get out the glue stick!  That works as well as anything!

Overlap beginning stitches, and you're finished!

 Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  And maybe another UFO checked off the list... now to work on those Christmas quilts!

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