Monday, August 20, 2018

Simply Happy Project Tour!

You know that feeling you get when you spy some fabric and it practically leaps off the shelf into your arms?  Yes, that's how it was with this sweet line of fabrics, Simply Happy, designed by Dodi Lee Poulson for Riley Blake Designs.  Especially that border print!  Love the combination of vivid colors and soft pastels. I'm so happy the folks at Riley Blake invited me to play!

Summer is usually a time for kids' summer camps, and for years I've volunteered as a 4-H leader for our county's Sewing Camp and Quilt Camp for kids ages 9 to about 14.  Moms or Grandmas come for those three afternoons too, sometimes learning right along with the kids!

Here's a look at some typical SEWING CAMP projects:

Begin with the basics.  Kids learn the parts of the sewing machine, how to wind a bobbin and thread the machine. Once they've mastered sewing a straight line through paper, they transfer the skill to fabric and make something simple and useful such as a headband or hair scrunchie.  Yep, they're coming back in style!  I used a 4" x 18" rectangle of fabric with 6 inches of 1/4" elastic and this super-easy tutorial.

Add a few more skills such as using the iron and seam gauge to press up a hem or make a casing and you have a quick drawstring bag.  Raw edges are finished with a zig-zag.  This cute unlined bag whipped up in about 15 minutes using a 9" x 21" rectangle of fabric and a shoelace pulled through an opening in the side seam.

The final project is always something wearable such as pajama pants or a gathered skirt which uses all their new skills.  Dodi's border print inspired my friend Debbie to make this adorable skirt for this cute kid.

Side note: This little gal made one of these skirts herself, received a blue ribbon at the county fair and it's now headed for the state fair!  Woohoo!

This skirt doesn't really use a pattern.  It's simple to make, whether teaching a kid or making it yourself.  Calculate the width at least 1-1/2 times the hip measurement plus 1" for the back seam.  The length is calculated by measuring from the waistline to the length desired, then add 1-1/4" for a hem, and add 2" for the ruffle top and double casing. This little skirt used 1-1/2 yards of border print fabric and 1-1/2 yards of 1/4" elastic.  Trim to remove the selvage edge before cutting the size rectangle you need.  This one measured 48" x 22-1/2". 

1) Finish the short edges using a zig-zag stitch or serger. 

2) Pin the finished edges together and begin to stitch the back seam, down about 1/2"; backstitch.  Leave a 1-inch opening, then backstitch again and continue stitching the seam. Use 1/2" seam allowance.  Press seam open.

3) Fold top edge down 1/4" and press.  Fold down top edge again, about 1-3/4" to form the casing. 

4) Edge-stitch the inside folded edge all the way around the skirt.  This is the bottom of the casing.  (Use an edge-joining foot with the needle offset for a nice, straight line.)  Take a line of stitches at about 3/4" from the top edge.  Now stitch halfway between the two stitched lines to create two channels for the elastic to go through.

5)  Cut 2 lengths of elastic the kid's waist measurement plus 1".   Put a safety pin in the ends of each length of elastic and thread them through the openings in the back seam.  Gather them both at the same time!  TIP:  Pin the ends together so they don't pull through all the way!  Then you don't have to start over...

6)  Overlap the elastic 1/2" and stitch it together securely. ↑ Tuck the elastic back in the openings, then distribute the gathers evenly around the waist.

7)  To complete the hem, fold under 1/4 at the bottom edge of the skirt and press.  Use a seam gauge to measure a 1" hem, and press again.  Edge stitch the hem all around the skirt, overlapping beginning stitches.

8)  Make a big floppy bow using 2 @ 6" x 11" rectangles.  Stitch with right sides together, leaving an opening along one side.  Turn right side out and press.  Edge stitch around the perimeter, enclosing the opening.   Make the bow center with a 3" x 3" square.  Stitch along one side, turn right side out, and stitch the raw ends together.  Slip over the big bow and stitch to the front center of the skirt to finish.  A-dorable!


Now, here's a look at QUILT CAMP ideas:

It's always a good thing to start kids and other beginning quilters with squares, then move to half-and quarter-square triangles, then flying geese units.  I think these are found in nearly every pieced quilt out there.

Recently, I taught a class for an adult Quilt Retreat - my "Magic Instant Blocks!"  These seven quick techniques will produce multiple blocks at the same time using just a few strips and a few squares. They include some great basics for any quilter, no matter what the age!  These techniques use about one yard of fabric, and will yield 20 six-inch blocks!

I couldn't get enough of these fun fabrics... and when the blocks come together so quickly, well... we just kept making them and the quilt kept growing!  This "Charming" quilt used 2 batches of Instant Blocks and a couple of 5" charm square packs.  Add a bit of sashing and borders and it quickly grew to a twin size quilt, and I still have enough leftover blocks to make another crib-size quilt!  Once it's quilted, I'll bind it in the dark pink stripe.

Debbie was my Go-To girl as I taught the class, and she sewed these 22 demo sample blocks in about three hours!

From Strip Sets:  

From Square sets:

No-Waste Flying Geese (1 large and 4 small squares for each set.)

You can find the Instant Blocks! pattern brochure as a Bonus that comes with my Quilter's Bible ~  available on my Etsy store HERE.  It's my compilation of charts and formulas to calculate these blocks/units in any size.   I use it practically every single day.

Be sure to check these blogs to get more inspiration for using these happy fabrics!
Aug 13th ~ Megan & Dodi @ Loose Threads
Aug 20th ~ Deonn @ Quiltscapes < Thanks for coming!
Aug 27th ~ Lindsey @ Primrose Cottage Quilts
Sept 3rd ~ Elizabeth @ Brown Bird Designs


  1. That is such happy fabric. I LOVE that cute skirt with the big bow. Those are all nice projects for a beginner seamstress.

  2. Beautiful fabric, thanks for the skirt tutorial, darling skirt.

  3. This Happy fabric does make me smile. Love this uber cute skirt and your model is beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing your great tutorial. Awesome August...<3

  4. That skirt is so cute!! It's exactly what I was thinking of for that border print! And I'm going to have to get your quilter's bible: it sounds like the perfect addition to my sewing arsenal!! :-) Hugs, H

  5. Omgosh I just love your projects with this new wonderful line! Found your blog via Riley Blake's email I receive. I think I'm going to have to bookmark you!

  6. Gorgeous! The colors are lovely. What a beautiful spot for pictures.
    Great skirt and yes, a lovely photo spot for you!!


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