Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Flannel Strip Baby Blanket

My sister asked me to whip up a baby blanket for a friend who just had a baby girl.  I didn't have time to quilt her one, but when I saw this over at Oly Momma's blog, I knew it was perfect!

I made a "traditional" rag quilt awhile back... you know the kind... the one where you have to cut out all of the pieces, sew them together, sew the "X" through them, etc. etc. Well, this is along those same lines, but is soooo much easier and faster to do.

I got a little confused as to exactly how much fabric I needed, and Jess was kind enough to e-mail me that she used 1/2 yard of 3 different fabrics for the top, which she cut into ten 4" strips. She used 1 1/2 yards of fabric for the backing.

The only thing I did differently was make my seams 1/2 inch rather than 1/4 of an inch.

For the backing I just used the same white with pink floral fabric from the front.

Once I washed and dried it, I wrapped it up with an extra piece of pink flannel. Now it is all ready for gift-giving.

Thanks for sharing your project Jess :)

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Quilted Table Runner

I made my first quilted table runner last week and I am so proud of it. I think it came out pretty good for my first try:

I did it all without a pattern too!  First I made the three squares, using my Strip Tube Ruler to make the inside pieces... so easy and fun to use. Then I added the sashing and little block pieces to it.

I love the fabric I used for the interior of the squares; it was part of a jelly roll that I got over a year ago and had never even opened! The beige fabric is some muslin, and I had the green fabric and the fabric for the blocks and binding in my stash.

Once I made my quilt sandwich, I just followed along the design on the front. It came out really nicely on the back:

Next time I will use a contrasting thread color to really make it pop. This time when I quilted it I did not use my walking foot and it worked much better - no puckering on either the front or back. Maybe I will just use my regular presser foot from now on!

I found a neat trick to use for the binding - Steam a Seam! Yep, this binding is not even sewn down on the back.. I just used Steam a Seam around it! I would not recommend it for a quilt or something that you will wash frequently, but for this table runner it worked perfectly. The next quilt I do I may use it just down to hold down the binding to make it easier to sew (much better than pins or clips I would think).

I can't wait to make more table runners now... I see Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas ones in my future!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Check out this Site

I came across this website today and wanted to share it with you, my fellow sewists. It is part of the Riley Blake website, and it is called Cutting Corners College. You can find it here. It offers great tutorials in the following categories:

Home Decor
Sewing Basics

There are step-by-step tutorials for each project. I have already found a few things I want to make, like this:

And this market bag:

Or check out this cute Trick or Treat Table Runner:

I have a bunch of leftover Halloween fabric from last year that would work great for this project.

This site is definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a new sewing project.

(Note: All images are from the Riley Blake Cutting Corners College website)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pinwheel Wreath - A Tutorial

My friend Kaitlin showed me how to make these cute fabric pinwheels yesterday, and I knew I had to make something with them. The wreath that I made earlier this summer was looking pretty bad ... the humidity really did a number on all those bits of fabric!  So I clipped them all off and made this instead.  Here is how you do it.

What You Will Need:

Grapevine wreath
Assorted fabric scraps
Sewing machine, thread, etc.
Heat N Bond Ultrahold
Iron, Ironing Board
Pinking shears
Hot Glue Gun

First, take your fabric scraps and cut them into squares. I made 6 total - the largest was about 6 X 6, the medium 5 X 5 and the smallest 4 X 4. I then got out my Heat n Bond and cut a square for each one (6 squares total). With paper side facing you, fuse it to the wrong side of one of your squares. Peel off the paper, revealing the sticky surface it leaves behind. Set your other square of the same size on top with the pretty side facing you and press... the squares will now be adhered to each other. You will want to use 2 different fabrics for each square. I used 3 different fabrics total and just mixed and matched them.

After you have done this for all your squares, go to the sewing machine and sew 1/4 inch all the way around each square. Cut around the edges using your pinking shears. This will stop the edges from fraying and give it a nice, finished look.

At this point, go plug in your hot glue gun so it will be ready for the next step!  Now it's time to cut those squares.  I forgot to take pictures of this step, but if you go here, she shows you exactly how to do it.  You are going to fold your square from one corner to the other forming a triangle. Take a regular pair of scissors and cut from the small end up, almost to the middle. Now fold your square the opposite way and do exactly the same thing.   Your square should now look like this:

Now you want to make the pinwheel shape. Put a small dab of hot glue right in the center and fold the right-hand side triangle in like this:

Here is a great tip  ... use the pointy end of an aluminum knitting needle to press the fabric down into the glue.

Otherwise, you may end up with a finger that looks like this:

Ouch, that really hurt! Okay, back to gluing.  Put another dab of glue down and fold the top triangle down like this:

Put some more hot glue and fold in the left hand side triangle like this:

Finally, add one more dab of hot glue and bring the bottom triangle up like this:

Add one more dab of hot glue in the middle and press your button down into the glue; this will hide all of the tips of the fabric.

I played around with the placement of the pinwheels on the wreath till I found a grouping I liked. I then put a bunch of hot glue on the back of each pinwheel and stuck it to the wreath!

And there you have it.. a cute decoration for your front porch that won't cost a lot of money and only takes a little bit of time!  Wouldn't it be fun to make different pinwheels for the seasons or holidays - you could have a new wreath every few months!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you make one, please send me a photo, I'd love to see it!

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sew many ways

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Made a Dress... From a Pattern!

Believe it or not, I actually followed a store-bought pattern and made a dress! Trust me, this is big news for me, because I am not a fan of patterns... as you can probably tell if you read my blog, I prefer tutorials from the Internet instead! However, my sister wanted me to make her a dress, and she wanted one like the pillowcase dresses I make for toddler girls.  So I found this pattern:

View A is the one I made (the one she is modeling). It really does look like a pillowcase dress for adults!

I had one stumble as I was making it... entirely my own fault, nothing to do with the pattern. All in all, it was pretty straightforward and easy to do.

I know it looks long; that is because it's not hemmed yet. I want my sister to try it on so I know exactly where to hem it for her.

This is a view of the back. The ribbons tie in a bow on the back. And yes, that is bias tape you see lining the armholes... pretty easy to do once you get the hang of it.
Now if I could just get up the nerve to try buttonholes, I could finish the jacket I started for her last year!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sew a Candle Cozy

I just introduced a friend of mine to sewing, and she has embraced it full force. She is converting a room in her house to a sewing room, so I wanted to make her something for her new crafting space.

I saw this idea somewhere on the web, but I didn't bookmark it.  Mine is different from hers in that I did not quilt mine and add a buttonhole closure to it. That is because I am still deathly afraid of the buttonholer on my sewing machine and have not gotten up the courage to try it yet! So I substituted a pony tail holder instead. Oh, and mine is reversible!

If I make another one, I'll do a couple of things differently. I will use different buttons, as mine ended up being way more decorative than functional:

It has a bit of a gape at the top once it is buttoned, so next time I may do two closures, one near the top and one near the bottom, rather than just the one in the middle.  I could have probably cut my fabric a little smaller too, but I was just sort of winging it. It was kind of tricky trying to sew on two buttons at the same time, but I managed.

This was a really quick, easy project. I cut out my fabrics, and I added some batting between the two layers to give it some thickness. I tucked the pony tail holder between the layers of fabric and stitched over it several times, both before I turned it and during the topstitching.

I think this would make a great last-minute gift that you could sew up in a hurry.

I also printed out a sewing printable for her that I found here. It is in her right sidebar towards the bottom under "Fresh Free Art" and there are several colors/styles available.

I sure hope she likes these for her new crafting space!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Made a Bapron

Yes, you read that right... a bapron!  It is a baby apron and I found it at Jess's blog here. She has a great step-by-step tutorial, along with a pattern that you can print out and use!

Here is what it looks like:

I just used some fabric from my stash to make this to try it out, but I will definitely be making more. It was quick and easy to do, and turns out really cute.

Here is the reverse side:

You really should check out Jess's blog, if for no other reason than to see the photos of her adorable baby Charlotte! She also has TONS of free tutorials ... if you have a little girl to sew for, you will love them!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quilt #2

I made another quilt using Two Little Banshees' tutorial found here.  I really love this quilt pattern, it is so great for beginning quilters like me.

I did a much better job at quilting the horizontal and vertical lines this time, because I marked my quilt top and followed those lines.

I also used a really pretty variegated purple thread which stood out really nicely on the quilt. I made this for a very sweet teenager whose bedroom is ... you guessed it... purple and lime green!  I forgot to take a picture of her with it, but hopefully her Mom will take one and send it to me; if so, I will share it with you.

I can't wait to make more of these... they are so much fun and come out really pretty!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Zippered Pouches

I also made two zippered pouches yesterday. I used the tutorial found here.
I wanted to try a different way of doing the zipper, and I really like this tutorial. You sew small rectangles of fabric to either end of your zipper, and it gives your bag a nice, finished look.

I did something for the blue floral bag that I did not do on the red one, and I like it much better. When I was pushing out the corners, I also pushed out the areas around the zipper. It made it lay much better ... think you can see the difference in the photo above.

I added my signature beaded zipper pulls that I make for all my zippered pouches (click on the photo for larger view):

I love making these; they are great when you need a quick and easy gift, and who can't use a zippered pouch?  Enjoy!