Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Surprises Finished!

The quilts for my two kids are finished and wrapped!

I'll blog more details on both quilts soon. Right now, it's time for this elf to hit the sack!

Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sneak peek: Christmas Surprise #2

Here's a sneak peek at the quilt I'm making for my daughter. She is obsessed with mustaches!

All of the mustaches are appliquéd, the blocks are ready to sew together, and there is a ginormous mess of fabric in my sewing room! I'm using this tutorial, except I decided to use a solid background fabric, and alternate the appliquéd squares with non appliquéd squares.

Hopefully, I'll have some finished pics tomorrow!


Christmas Surprise # 1

Today, I took a break from custom orders to work on a surprise Christmas present for my fourteen year old son. He is a huge Boston sports fan, and wanted to make a quilt of all four jerseys. This was going to be the second quilt he made (he sewed an Irish chain quilt when he was ten). He designed it and collected all the fabrics, but eventually lost interest in it and wanted me to finish it for him.

I had intended to finish it last Christmas, but never got around to it. After many hours of machine appliqué today, the top is basically put together (although I will probably end up fixing that upside down T in the center caused by accidental matching fabrics -- too bad it didn't fall right side up, since my son's name begins with T!)

I may end up adding another border to add some length -- it is intended to be a lap quilt, but the intended recipient gets taller by the minute!

Tomorrow, I've got a surprise project in mind for my daughter. Then I need to get these presents quilted and wrapped!



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tutorial: Quilted Christmas Stockings

Since we're having a bit of this today....

...I thought it would be the perfect day to share my first-ever tutorial! I've been making some quilt-as you go patchwork stockings and promised in an earlier post that I 'd share what has worked for me!

First, a disclaimer: You will need to provide your own stocking template. You can use a ready-made stocking as a template (be sure to add 1/4 inch around the finished edge for seam allowances), or use a template from another pattern, or even draw your own. I used the stocking shape from this pattern as my template. You could also look online for free stocking templates.

Here's what you'll need for the project:

  • Some scrap strips (jelly rolls or Moda scrap bags work great!
  • Batting pieces (large enough to cut two stocking shapes)
  • Backing fabric (large enough to cut one stocking shape)
  • Lining fabric (two stocking shapes)
  • Piece of leftover binding (2 1/2" double-fold straight of grain)
First, you'll need to trace your stocking pattern onto a piece of batting. Be sure to trace it with the toe facing the same direction you would like it to be in the finished product. Do not cut out. (By the way, you'll see some zig zag stitching on my batting -- I piece batting together by butting two trimmed edges against each other and securing with the zig zag stitch.

Next, stitch on the drawn line with a straight stitch. The reason for this step is that it will transfer the shape easily to the reverse side so that you'll be able to cut it out once you've covered it with strips.

Place your first strip in the center. Be sure the edges extend a little past the drawn line.

Place your second strip next to your first strip to make sure it will be long enough to cover the template.

Put the second strip on top of the first strip, right sides together. Stitch a quarter inch seam through both strips AND the batting.

Unfold the second strip and press. Your stocking should look like this:

Continue adding strips. As you get near the toe area, be sure to cut your strips long enough to cover the drawn shape when unfolded. In fact, you should cut them a little longer just to be safe!

Trust me -- you don't want to end up with this-- see how the red strip falls short of the drawn line after stitching? That means seam ripping will follow!

Continue to add strips until your entire stocking shape is covered.

Now, flip the piece over and use the outline you stitched in the first step to cut out the shape. Cut right on the stitched line.

When you're done cutting...

...flip it over and admire your work!

Now, layer another piece of batting, your backing fabric, and your quilted stocking front. Backing and stocking front should be right sides together. If you wish, you can omit the batting, but I like the extra body it adds to the stocking. This batting piece should be on the bottom. Pin the pieces together.

You don't need to cut out the stocking shape from the backing and batting yet. Stitch through all layers 1/4 inch from edge of stocking front. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end, and leave the top opening of the stocking unstitched.

Trim backing and batting even with stocking front and clip around the curved edge, being careful not to clip stitching line.

Turn your stocking inside out, and press.

Cut two stocking pieces from lining fabric; sew together with a 1/4 inch seam and clip curves.

It was hard to get a picture of this next step! Leaving the lining wrong side out, stick your hand inside like an oven mitt, and push the lining inside the stocking. Make sure the toe parts end up in the same place! (Again, trust me on this!)

Pin raw edges together at the top, matching seams. Baste.

At this point, you can add your hanger. You can use a piece of ribbon, or you can make your own tab. Cut a 2 1/2" x 5" rectangle, fold in half right sides together and stitch 1/4 " seam on long edge (secure beginning and end with backstitch).

Turn tube right side out, press, fold in half with raw edges together. Stitch to stocking, lining up raw edges (I like to center it on the heel seam).

Turn stocking inside out. Sew your leftover binding strip to the top. You may want to attach it first with a basting stitch, as in order to join the ends diagonally as you would on a quilt, you'll need to have some of it free, and I found that every time I did this step, I needed to detach more than I thought to maneuver it in order to join the ends. Once the ends are joined, you can resew the binding edge.

Turn stocking right side out, fold binding over, and machine stitch to secure it. Press stocking, then admire and enjoy!



Friday, December 14, 2012

More Stocking Fun!

Just a quick post to show you some more stockings-in-progress pics. I am making this set using scraps from Kate Spain's Twelve Days of Christmas fabrics.

I promise to share a tutorial soon on the quilt-as-you-go method I used! In the meantime, I'm having lots of fun making these from scraps!

Edited to add: tutorial is HERE!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Stockings Were Hung...

I have been hoping to make some new Christmas stockings for our family for quite a while -- it just seems to be one of those things that gets overlooked on the list! I purchased this pattern by Camille Roskelly almost 2 years ago, and finally decided to play around with it this past weekend.

For my prototypes, I chose some non traditional colors-- scraps of the fabric line Hometown by Sweetwater for Moda fabrics. I used a quilt as you go method to make the fronts, which I will illustrate in an upcoming blog post (edited to add: click HERE for that post!) Then, I used this tutorial by CluckCluckSew to make and attach the cuffs.

I liked the cuff, but it also covered up some of my strips, so I also tried one using some leftover binding to finish up the top edge.

I'm in the midst of making another set using leftover strips from Kate Spain's Twelve Days of Chrismas fabric collection, and then I might actually get to work in the ones for our family!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Bound and Determined!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been making my way through the stack of quilts waiting for bindings. Here are a few finishes to share!

I made two Vroom quilts (by Leslie Grainger for Robert Kaufman fabrics) in the bright color way, and I will be making two more in the grey and blue color way. I'm not usually a big fan of panel quilts, but I loved the faux patchwork design of the main fabric. I used Kona cotton in School Bus for the orange inner border, and a striped fabric from the Vroom collection for the binding. I use stripe bindings whenever I can -- I love the interest they add to the overall design!

The backing fabric was a lot of fun, too! The two Vroom quilts are available in my Etsy store.

The next finish is Marmalade by Bonnie and Camille for Moda fabrics. I finished the top using an early release layer cake this summer, but I really wanted to use one of the Marmalade fabrics for the backing, so I had to wait for the yardage to be released in October.


The fabrics are so pretty-- love the combo of vintage and modern in all of Bonnie and Camille's collections. (On a side note, Camille revealed their Spring 2013 collection called Happy-Go-Lucky on her blog yesterday-- can't wait for that fun, new color palette!)

I used a striped binding on Marmalade, too! The quilt, and the pattern to make it, are in my Etsy shop.

I also finished a couple of custom orders this week. Another Backyard Baby quilt...

And a twin size Sophie quilt. So pretty!

More finishes to come, soon!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Show and Tell

Happy Thanksgiving! We are celebrating at my Mom's house, and I thought I'd share a couple of pictures of quilts that I made for her, while I test out the new Blogsy app on my iPad.

I have collected a fair amount of men's cotton shirts and upcycled them into quilts, inspired by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville. For this quilt, I used Bonnie's Smokey Mountain Stars pattern. It was a quick and easy pattern to make. I had fun looking for a variety of prints and colors in my thrift store treasure hunts! The quilt has been washed many, many times and has held up beautifully.

The second quilt is simply a mixture of patchwork squares. I was even brave enough to do a little freestyle quilting on this one-- a series of ups and downs that change direction every block. These two quilts are inspiring me to go home and play with my pile of cotton shirts! I forgot how comfy and cozy they are!

Hope you have a wonderful Turkey Day!



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Power Sewing!

My goal this weekend was to try to quilt as large a pile of tops as possible so that I'll have some bindings to hand sew during Thanksgiving break. I think I accomplished it!
None of these are huge quilts (I think the biggest is 48 x 55), which is why I was able to get so many done!  I've trimmed the edges, but I still have to clean up threads and machine sew the binding to the front so they're ready to take on the road.
Come to think of it, I also have to make miles of bindings!  And in case you're thinking I've managed to whittle down my pile of unquilted tops, here's a basket of evidence to the contrary (Disclosure: there is ANOTHER basket of tops to quilt near my quilting machine! This is just the one in my sewing room!)
 It has been great to finish so many things recently, but it has given me another goal/project:
 This is how I package up my Etsy quilts for shipping. I really like to look the quilt over carefully for loose threads, etc. and package it up ahead of time so that it's ready to go as soon as it sells. My policy is generally to ship within 24 hours, and if I wake up to find that a quilt has sold, I like to be able to take it with me on the way to work without worrying that I rushed through the packaging.
Usually, my quilts look like this: I have a numbered system so it's easy to find the one I need (and for my substitute shipping dept -- a.k.a my husband -- to ship for me if I'm not home).
You can see from this picture that I have a lot of catching up to do!
  I think I'd better try to package up 1 or 2 every night until I'm caught up!