Recently in Quilting Category
I am taking a break from my Denyse Schmidt Hills n' Hollers quilts to make a floor quilt. My goal was to finish a quilt before baby #2 makes her debut. My plan hinged on the idea that a precut quilt might speed my process up a bit since cutting out the Hills for the Denyse quilt (I'm 2 twin size quilts for the girls) took a LONG time. I have been eying the Charm Packs we carry for a while now and decided to make my move. The charm packs can just be stitched up and pieced together to make a very cute and just the right size floor quilt for the nursery (Why not a crib quilt? See my post on "What not to make for Baby"). After a careful selection of which charm pack to use I set to work.
Charm Packs are sample sizes of quilting cotton collections sold in 5'' squares pinked on all sides. The charm size is just big enough to show off the print and to be used as a quilt piece but small enough that you don't feel the need to cut into it, but you can! There is a wealth of charm quilt patterns out there online. My favorite place to window shop is the Moda Bakeshop. However, Charm packs are not the only precut packs out there. You can also try your hand at Jelly Rolls: 2 ½'' by 44'' precut quilting cotton bundles that are sold in rolls that look delicious. There are also Layer Cake Bundles: a collection of 10'' squares that make up one of the newer precut themes. There are several more divisions of a fat quarters out on the market but these are the major players and make up the majority of quilting patterns.
I stitched my charm pack together using ¼'' seam allowance and a 5 x 8 grid. Next, I finished the quilt top with a 5'' border of cotton muslin (log cabin style) all the way around to make a roughly 50'' x 35'' quilt top. This was just the right size for playing on the floor, car rides, picnics in the park and any impromptu outings that require a soft place for baby to play. I have only finished the top and while it took me a while (I really wanted everything to be perfect) most of my apprehension is for the unknown. I have never made a quilt sandwich before and this will be my first time quilting on my non-quilting machine. Though with all your Facebook tips, I do feel more confident. I have my batting and my quilt backing (the green ribbon print by Denyse Schmidt) and when next you see this quilt it will be all done and ready for baby. I have to look into whether to baste my sandwich together or pin- decisions, decisions!!!
The quilt is done!! The binding was easier than I had convinced myself and thanks to all the tutorial suggestions on Facebook I was able to figure it all out. I added 1 strip of blue print to the binding to add some fun and embroidered my daughter's name on the quilt in my handwriting. She loves it and so do I!
I have decided to take the next step in sewing, a new challenge to push myself and a new set of skills as well as to see what all the buzz is about. Yes, that's right I am making my first quilt. Actually I am tackling 2 quilts at once but I am using the same pattern for both though one quilt is a twin size and the other is crib size (however, I will be using it as a floor/play quilt*) I am both super excited and scared. I think I have chosen a relatively simple quilt pattern for my first foray into a great art, Denyse Schmidt's Hills n' Hollers, but I am still shakin' in my boots a bit. If I mess up, that is a lot of fabric at stake or if it doesn't look good, it is on a big scale. But I am not going to think about all that because the pattern I choose is a Denyse Schmidt and I am also calling upon her book: Denyse Schmidt Quilts. The quilt is appliquéd which makes me feel much safer than making quilt blocks. And having read the pattern instructions I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Read on to check them out.
Ok so here is my game plan. I am not looking forward to hand appliquéing 25 and 60 hills for the baby and twin quilts respectively. So I googled a few other blogs to see what short cuts, if any, that they used and decided from there. Off the few blogs posts I read the only short cut I found was Blair Peter's on Wise Craft. Her quilt was GORGEOUS but she attached her hills with fusible web. She swears it turned out well and even looks great after washing. I believe her and want desperately to try it just to save time, but I have not have the best success with fusible web over the long turn without some sort of stitching to hold down the edges. So I have decided to choose her option #2 but modified. Side note: I giggled a bit at Denyse's description of the hills seams allowances as "generous 1/8''. Being new to quilting I don't really know if this is generous but coming from the land of 5/8- ½'' seam allowances this is hardly generous. End Side Note.
My modified option is to add 1/4 '' seam allowance to each hill pattern piece and then baste ¼'' away from the edge, press along the basting line and then topstitch each in place. I think it will look great; granted not as great as hand appliquéd but my goal is to finish this sometime this year and to keep myself focused. If I hand appliqué, neither goal will be met. To accomplish this, I first traced each pattern piece from the original (which Denyse instructs you to do so) then cut each out and then traced each piece again adding the ¼'' seam allowance and then cutting those pieces out. The larger pieces I then traced onto my fabric and cut those out according to the pattern instructions.
For my girls, I am FINALLY cutting into my favorite fabric collection (Erin Michael's Uptown by Moda). I am excited and scared about this as well but what better way to enjoy this collection than to see if everyday nestled around my little ones. Plus this is my only fat quarters collection which is perfect for making this quilt. This quilt is a great excuse to purchase a fat quarter bundle. The background of each quilt is muslin; I love the color and texture. For the backing I am using some fabric that I have already used for some window treatments in the girls' room and I want to tie it all in together. I cannot wait to see the finished projects!!
* See my post "What not to make for baby"
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Don't be fooled by this attractive nursery picture: the crib quilt and bumpers are considered unsafe. Check out my safe recommendations below.
For first time moms it can often be overwhelming and excited to decorate a nursery for your first little one. However, many stores, magazines and merchants can lead you astray with adorable pictures and over-the-top nursery decorating ideas. Here are some new regulations and recommendations on what not to make (or use) for your nursery and some helpful tips on what to make instead.
Crib Bumpers: This cute, decorative, soft boundary
tie to your crib and run the perimeter of the inside of your crib and were
designed to keep your babe from bumping his/her head on the side. While crib
bumpers have not been declared against the law, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics,
who in my book makes baby law) have officially come out against crib bumpers.
The AAP takes the stand that bumpers do not really protect against injury and
can increase the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment and strangulation. While
these decorative beauties do add a wow factor to you crib, the effect is not
worth the risk. (Read more here)
Instead of creating a crib bumper, make a fitted sheet and crib skirt combo to really show off your nursery colors and beautiful prints. These items are must haves for baby and the crib skirt can hide all your clutter or abundant baby toys once your little one has gone to sleep.
Crib Quilt: these little gems are a beautiful
way to show off your or a loved one's quilting skills and a great way to bring
more life and color into your nursery but a baby should not be covered with a
blanket or quilt until they are old enough to remove it themselves should they
become overheated or trapped. Make instead a slightly bigger quilt for floor
play, car travel or outdoor play instead. You can change out the quilt backing
from lightweight cotton to a heavier weight cotton or home décor fabric for a floor
quilt or laminated cotton for outdoor play. A floor
quilt will get much more use then a crib quilt which might be too small by
the time your little one it old enough to use it as intended and will provide
comfort for tummy time and a great backdrop for all those pictures!
3) Crib Pillows: Pillows have been declared dangerous for the crib for the same reason as crib bumpers but have been so for many years. Infants can easily get their face stuck under the pillow, inhale the pillow or become stuck under them so they pose a suffocation danger and increase the risk of SIDS. It will be at least 1-2 years before it is safe to leave your child unattended with a pillow in the crib so create some floor pillows instead. The floor is where most of your infant's play will take place and consequently where you will spend most of your time so make it comfy for all parties. Floor pillows make great seats for you, dad and siblings as well as an opportunity to make your nursery bright and engaging. You can appliqué animals or quotations of love and laughter while making sure you are as comfy as baby. Plus they make ideal reading areas when your infant grows into a toddler and beyond. I love Amy Butler's Gumdrop pillows because they are so fast but you can mix and match each panel to create a look for you.
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So I consider myself an avid sewer, but I have never sewn a quilt! I have been stashing these gorgeous Anna Maria Horner Flannel fabrics from, picked out a free download, Folk Dance Quilt, from Anna Maria Horner, and I am ready to go. I attempted a quilt about a year ago. A king size one. With no pattern. And no quilting experience... you can imagine how that turned out. It's a bunch of mish mash blocks sewn together in a heap in my storage fabric box...
So now I want to do this the right way! Following a pattern, step by step. Here is the beginnings of cutting out my triangles, and with stellar advice from our quilting expert, Vickie, I feel very confident now. I purchased some Kyoto batting and coordinating Anna Maria Horner Biased Binding to complete my supply list. Almost done cutting and on to the sewing! Stay tuned for first completed quilt!
I remember few years ago I was watching a quilting show in which they demonstrated a Fons and Porter pressing sheet. I had never beheld a tool such as that before and my eyes lighted up! When I discovered that Fabric.com carried them...well, needless to say there was much jumping and clapping. I am not much of a quilter. I have aspirations but very little opportunity. But I do love to appliqué and any tool that can help me to be more creative and at the same time keep my iron gunk free is for me! I decided to start with something simple to start with and get comfortable with the pressing sheet.
I am making another kid tent for some boys who are big hunting fans. Since every hunter needs a few deer head trophies, deer head appliqués were on the cutting table. I found a free coloring sheet with a shape that I liked and printed it out to use as a pattern. I started by tracing the pattern pieces onto the back of my fusible and basically cutting it out. Then I fused the pieces onto the wrong side of my quilting cotton and cut out the appliqués. Then using my pressing sheet (and removing the fusible backing) I was able to perfectly line up and combine my appliqué. Once my appliqué was complete, I could fuse it to my background and stitch around it. It was so easy and there were no mistakes. I felt a rush of excitement and a surge of ideas flooded into my brain.
*Edited- You use the pressing sheet as a base to build your appliqués. After you have cut out all your appliqués pieces and added fusible (Like Steam a Seam) then you peel the backing off all your appliqué pieces (I have 2 pieces: antlers and the head but I could have added more like the round nose you see below and the ears could have been separate as well). Then using your pressing sheet as a base you place your appliqués pattern underneath the pressing sheet. The sheet is transparent so you can see where to place your appliqué pieces and make sure you are assembling correctly. You can place your appliqué pieces on the pressing sheet and fuse them in layers. Once the appliqués is cool, carefully peel it off the pressing sheet and you can then place your completed appliqué in its finished location whether that be a hoody or a quilt. The pressing sheet allows you to assemble and reassemble your appliqué while checking placement. Then you can assemble without attaching it your finished article. Using the pressing sheet lets you see your finished appliqué before placing it so you can determine where it will fit and look best.You can see right through the pressing sheet (it's a tan color) to the pattern sheet below)
The pressing sheet can be used to solve another of my dilemmas. Whenever a pattern calls for you to cut pieces from fusible interfacing as well as fabric pieces to match, inevitably my fusible pieces and fabric pieces never match as much as I would like. Sometime the discrepancy is as much as ½ in. So usually I cut the fabric piece first and then fuse it and then cut the whole deal out of the fusible interfacing. However, this leads to gunk on my ironing board or iron. With my pressing sheet, I can pull off this feat without the mess. I am super pumped about this. The pressing sheet also comes with a color coded, tulip quilt block appliqué pattern for free! It would also be really great on the front of a messenger bag or backpack.
Let us know what you do with your pressing sheet on our Facebook page or twitter. You can follow Fabric.com to find out the latest deals and you can follow me(@tdangermiller) and get the inside dish on my projects.
Being a full-fledged, pledge-swearing Disney nerd, I was so excited when the Thomas Kinkade Disney collections arrived. I could not WAIT for the Snow White collection in particular (she's my fave Princess, without a doubt). Looking at the deep hues of the wooded glade where the dwarf cottage nestles contrasted by the parchment style script print gave me an idea for a summer skirt that would have a slightly rustic feel. I cut a simple a-line skirt with a band of green color on the bottom, assembled it, and then started to have the real fun. I cut the large portrait of Snow White from the collection's quilting panels, and multiple small elements from the patchwork print, and then I just had fun playing with placements until I got the look I wanted, then I straight-stitched everything in place, leaving the raw edges exposed. The wave live of smaller pieces wraps all the way around the skirt.
A quick run through the laundry to get some fray on the cut edges was all I needed to complete the look - a slightly grown-up take on the adorable Disney Princess clothes I see little girls wearing, but can't fit into myself!
Alice in Wonderland has been incredibly popular this year, thanks to Tim Burton. As much as I love the design of the movie, it made me think back, longingly, to the wonderful Alice illustrations of Sir John Tenniel. Lucky for me, the British Library Board licensed Tenniel's drawings to Quilting Treasures to create a cotton print collection! This particular project was a very quick affair, a mishmash of colors and patterns all jumbled together, much like Alice's time spent in Wonderland. I just cut 6 panels of equal size from various fabrics, with a waistband cut on the bias and cinched slightly with elastic. A "garland" of imagery around the bottom and voila! A patchwork vibe skirt that keeps me relatively cool in the Georgia heat, and makes me smile every time I look down.
I've got plans for more endeavors of this nature, all in the long project queue. Skirts like this are like art therapy for me; there's no wrong or right way to combine things, and they go together quickly so there's a sense of immediate gratification.
I've got plans for a dress made with the Haunted Oz collection, a Royal Peacock skirt, some kind of delicious silliness made with Viva! and heaven only knows what else. I have no doubt that some other collection will come through the door and trip my creativity circuit. I can't wait!
While I love writing these blog posts for Fabric.com, some topics are more fun than others. Today's topic will be filed under the Super Fun category. I always begin every article with research, though some need more than others. Today's article on Craftster didn't, at first, seem to be one topic that needs much research. However, it has been a while since I have visited Craftster so I went back just to reintroduce myself. Within seconds (literally seconds!) I was kicking myself for not continuing to visit daily. Right on the home page, I spotted a dress I cannot live without and nor will I!
Craftster is full to the brim of swaps, projects, tutorials, reworking, recycling, challenges and forums. Craftster is a great place to show off your latest FO as well as check out inspiration when you are hankering to start something new. Knitting, Crochet, Sewing, Upholstering, Jewelry are just a few of the crafts welcome at Craftster. In the past I have learned to make yoga pants from old t-shirts, found one of my favorite dress patterns and discovered projects that make me want to run to my sewing room and get to work right away.
Upon entering Craftster you will see 4 sets of pictures that change all the time: Hot New Projects, New Projects, Featured Projects, and Current Craftster Challenge. These pictures alone are enough to secure you on the website for hours, since one picture inevitably leads to another and another. But if you click on Community on the bar above the pictures you will find a drop down menu of all the crafts on Craftster. You are sure to find something interesting and more. My favorites are clothing, home sweet home and, oddly enough, crochet (that is my next craft to tackle). I love how you can find projects created with all new goods as well as recycled and reused items. I feel ashamed to say that the days I am able to dedicate ample amounts of time to Craftster are followed a short time later by a delivery from Fabric.com. I am duly inspired by the new prints in
Just Arrived Quilting as I am by the projects on Craftster. More often than not, my shame spiral starts with a visit to our website to get ideas for new articles, when I just pop in to peek at the new prints. It is all so innocent in my mind. I see a fabric or 15 that I LOVE (that must be said in a sing-song voice for full effect) and then I descend like a lion onto Craftster to give me a reason to purchase these new prints. 15 min later I have an order confirmation. It is all so shameful that I walk around the house berating myself for 10-20 seconds and then I feel so much better. After all I cannot possible be expected to work on my new projects in a bad mood. Plus, I have new fabric coming in the mail and an awesome Craftster project awaiting me. Who can feel bad in that situation?!
P.s. Check out the Green Ophelia Dress here!!
Keeping with yesterday's theme of handmade goods for soldiers, I wanted to write an article featuring sewing patterns but amidst my search I stumbled upon a small niche for soldiers' families. While our hearts and thoughts follow our troops into battle everyday and we watch the progress every night in this news, the soldier's families blend, often unnoticed into the crowd at home. Moms and Dads doing the work of 2, putting on a brave front while worry is a constant companion and the news a continuous reminder of the danger. Children carry on normally but knowing that half their heart is a world away and longing for the day when Mommy or Daddy will be home again. Supporting our military families rallies both at home and aboard. Seeing their child smile and know that a 'stranger' cares can ease the burden for both the soldier and their family. Below are a few projects perfect for spreading good spirits near and far. Operation Top Knot- Created by a college student who wanted to share her admiration for expectant and new mothers of military families. This operation sends care packages to new moms and soon-to-be mothers to help them care for their new family members as well as themselves. Items to sewn include but not limited to: Bibs, blankets, burp cloths, booties, hats, onesies, washcloths and diapers. Since many of these items are for new babies be sure when you prewash your fabric to do so with a gentle detergent. Choose soft fabrics that wear well. You can also nominate a family you know or donate fabrics suitable for their projects, clip coupons and contribute store bought goods.
Daddy Dolls- Giving a child a doll sewn up with Daddy or Mommy's image not only allows a kid to snug up with their loved one but also helps them remember and be proud of their soldier parent. All you need is some Muslin or Broadcloth, printable transfer paper and a sewing machine. This is probably best done for a friend of family member whom you know and have access to their pictures since I could not find any websites that organized making and sending Daddy Dolls to military families. Once you have a picture of a solider you can have it sized to whatever size you like at any photo center. Print your picture out on the photo transfer paper and follow the direction included with the package to affix it to your fabric. Cut 2 pieces approx. 2-3 in. around the picture and place right sides together sew around the edge with a ½ in. seam allowance leaving a small gap for turning. Stuff your doll and hand stitch closed. If you are not up to sewing one of these treasures or want one bigger than your transfer paper allows, you can order one from these fine folks.
Drawstring bags- Not technically for troop families, these drawstring bags can be whipped up from quilting cotton in no time and sent full of toiletries for a taste of home overseas for our troops. Hearing how good it is to have toothpaste, deodorant and gum, home front parents will love the feeling of knowing that it is not just family members who care about their spouse.
P.S. Changing pad tutorial here
I hope that you all enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend as much as I did. I lazed about Chef Bubba's pool while he barbecued, of course! I did bring the potato salad. As I rested, I thought that it was nice to be right once in a while. I know this because it doesn't happen that often. I have been trying for a couple of years to introduce the Martelli ergonomic rotary cutters into our product line-up. I have been using a "Martelli" for at least 5 years. If you cut fabric often, this rotary cutter is a heaven-sent tool for your hands. Kathy, in our purchasing dept., says that she can cut 25 layers of fabric at one time. I don't usually try to cut that many layers. The rotary cutter comes in 2 sizes- 45mm and 60mm. It is also designed for right handers and left handers. I call this rotary cutter the "Cadillac" of rotary cutters. Quilt Home reviewed rotary cutters in their magazine last year. They did not give the Martelli the review it deserves. Every quilter and sewer has a tool they love. This is my all-time, cannot live without this rotary cutter.
I was introduced to this fine tool and the Martelli family at a Sewing Expo event in Atlanta. My sister had come to visit me and we decided to go to the show. After meeting the Martelli family, I soon left half my bank account with them. They demonstrated all of their products and I bought everyone of them. They put on quite a show with their products. I have never regretted my purchases. I can truly say I use my Martelli everyday. If you want to preserve your hands for your tennis playing and still sew, the Martelli is the way to go. As a special treat, we are having a notions sale starting today. Try the Martelli and let me know how you like it.
In a video recently Victoria talked about precuts and how they are such a time saver if you want a quick start to a project. You can view Victoria's video at Youtube.com. Well, the August issure of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine has finally agreed with Victoria. A large part of this issue is devoted to quilts designed around precuts. So check out the August issue for some great ideas. They also have great interviews with Alice Kennedy of Timeless Treasures and Me and My Sister Designs from Moda Fabrics.
Summer is a great time to slow down a little bit and enjoy the sun! I am also planning my Christmas projects. Feel the chill in July! This is the perfect time to start those big projects so you will have everything done by November so you can enjoy the holiday parties, Start planning now!