Monday, January 30, 2012

Pattern Giveaway Winner

Thanks everyone for entering my giveawy for Kat's lovely pouch patterns. The lucky winner is:

who is:

Debbie, I will email you with your patterns!

EDITED TO UPDATE on 2nd February.

When I contacted Debbie, it turned out that she had won a copy of the patterns on another giveaway before I contacted her, and she asked me to redraw as she wanted someone else to have them. I have done this and the new winner is

who is:

And I have contacted her by email! Congrats :-) 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

First Quilt Finish of 2012 - at last!!

At last, finally, I have a quilt finish this year. It feels like a long time. It has been a long time! I finished up the last quilt of 2011 on Christmas week - more than 5 weeks, eek!

Fresh Pinwheels quilt finished side view

But I think it was worth the wait and I hope you do too :-)

This is a quilt for a baby boy born last week. I was asked to make it in yellow, white and blue, and while this combo of colours is quite traditional, I really loved working with it (much more than I anticipated.) The lemons and yellows are so cheerful and happy and absolutely lovely to have peeping out at me every time I looked at my sewing stack in the kitchen on these gloomy days. And the blues, well, what can I say, you know I love my aquas. Interestingly when I went to my stash for blues, there are very few true blues there, most of them are in the aqua/turquoise/teal family, but I think that is ok, and it keeps this quilt very fresh.

Fresh Pinwheels rolled up

The pinwheel blocks are approx 7.5" finished size. I am really happy with the point matching on this one. When making my HSTs I took my time, gave myself an extra 1/8" while cutting and piecing so that I could trim them to a perfect size, and you can see it in the blocks. It was so much easier to piece the top than other HST quilts I have done because it was so much more accurate. HSTs are a LOT of work, but I always think they are worth it in the end. The quilt measures 39" x 47" finished.

I love the movement in the quilt and pieced my blocks so as to give a slight optical illusion to the pinwheels spinning.

Fresh Pinwheels quilt hanging.jpg

I also, for the first time on a full size quilt, handfinished the binding. I wasn't convinced I was going to love it but I got friendly with my thimble, stitched away in front of the tv a couple of nights, and I *might* be a convert. I went with a slightly wider binding than I normally do and I must admit I like it more than I thought I would.

Fresh Pinwheels binding

The backing is a cream fabric with a tiny blue and yellow floral print and works great with the front.


I quilted this one with a meandering stipple and a few loops. It was so much fun to quilt because the size is so manageable, compared to the big quilts I did at the back end of last year. I used Aurifil white thread on the front and cream on the back. Now that its been washed and dried, the quilting has sunk into it nicely and its beautifully crinkly!

Fresh Pinwheels folded

 This one is wrapped and ready to post off in the morning and I hope baby will love it!

Fresh Pinwheels quilt finished.jpg

I'm linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday, Manic Monday and Fabric Tuesday with this one!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

{Sew} Get Started: Easy Napkin Tutorial

Today I am really excited to introduce you to my great friend Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts. Jennifer and I bonded over quilts and sewing chat via email last year, and we went on to jointly host the Across the Sea Quiltalong last Autumn. If you've never visited Jennifer's blog, you should pop over and take some time to have a look around. She has beautiful quilts to inspire you, not to mention a collection of great tutorials. This fabulous Starflower quilt is one of my faves, and she has a great tute if you want to make it yourself (which I do!):

So, on to the main event. Jennifer has done a great tutorial for super easy table napkins for your home. This is part of the {Sew} Get Started: Beginner Sewing Tutorials series. Full list of tutorials and links can be found by clicking the link below.

FairyFace Designs

I love this tute and am definitely going to make some of these myself. They are a perfect beginner project, simple to make and yet packing a great punch in terms of impact. Just wait till your guests start asking where you bought them and you get that little glow...the one you get when you tell someone "I made it myself" and you watch their reaction. Happy sewing everyone!

I'm really excited and honored to be here at Fairy Face Designs today sharing a super easy and quick napkin tutorial with you. These are a great beginner project that look great and add a lovely decorative touch to your table.  If you can sew a straight stitch, you can do this!

Let's get started! 
First things first- wash and press your fabric. 
Materials needed: 
1 yard of fabric = 4 napkins
rotary cutter
long quilting ruler
cutting mat
coordinating thread
sewing machine
Please read through all directions before getting started!
1. Since you washed your fabric first, you will need to fold your fabric in half matching the selvages. Press with your iron, along the fold. Next, fold your fabric in half from the side so that the fold remains at the top and the selvages at the bottom. Line up your fabric on your cutting mat and using your rotary cutter and trim to remove the selvages. 
Now, unfold your fabric so you have your 1 yard of fabric flat on your cutting mat. Keeping your edges together, line up your fabric with the 0 on the mat and using your ruler, cut your fabric at the 15" mark and again at the 30" mark.  You should now have two pieces, each 15" wide and approximately 20-21" tall. 
Next, turn your fabric so the fold is on your right and lined up with lines on your cutting mat. 
Trim your fabric to 15" x 19." Repeat. You should now have 4 pieces
OK, that was the hardest part!

2. Now, take your fabric to your ironing board and fold down each side of the fabric 1/4" and press into place. (Don't iron back and forth- just lift and press.) 
Work your way around all 4 sides of the napkin then repeat.

Fold that 1/4" hem over once again to have a nice finished edge, and press all the way around the napkin. It helps to use some starch!

Insert a pin in the corner to hold in place. (Take those out when you sew.)

3. Now, it's time to sew!  Place your fabric face down and start stitching at a corner. Backstitch a few stitches to anchor your thread then keeping a 1/4" seam allowance, sew along each side of the napkin. 
The 1/4" seam is important because you want to catch enough of the corners to keep them turned in and tight. 
Once you get to a corner, leave your needle down, lift the presser foot, and pivot your fabric. Put your presser foot down once more and continue sewing along that side.

Continue until you reach where you started, backstitching once again to anchor your stitch. Cut your threads and you are done!
  • stitch another line beside the one you just sewed to create a double topstitch
  • use a zigzag stitch instead of a straight stitch for a decorative touch
See, easy, right?!

I hope you enjoy making something beautiful for your home. Grab your favorite fabric and get started! You can do it!
Feel free to email me with any questions. You can find many more of my tutorials, including the double sided placemats, here.
Thanks Sarah for hosting me! 

Thanks so much Jennifer - don't forget everyone if you make napkins from this tute to upload them in the {Sew} Get Started Flickr group. Next week Irina will be sharing another great, easy tutorial for making baby burp clothes - a fab gift for a new mum, or a nice addition to your own baby supplies, so check back then!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pattern Giveaway!

Yippee, it's giveaway time again! Today's giveaway is very kindly sponsored by my bloggy friend Kat, who has a fab blog Mumma's Time to Create which you should definitely go and have a little look around. Kat makes all kinds of beautiful things, and besides blogging about them, she also has a shop, where she sells handmade items, including some amazingly pretty toddler dresses. Check out her shop to see more - you won't be sorry! She has recently launched another arm of her business “Flutter from.Kat” to now include some sewing patterns, and is giving away her first two patterns here today. You should definitely keep an eye on her shop as she will be adding more patterns in the coming weeks.

Big Cartel header

I made this lovely zippy pouch before Christmas from the above pattern and found it super easy to follow. I was really happy with how it turned out and it was very well received by my friend!

This is a pattern I will definitely be using again :-)

I also can't wait to try the other pattern I am giving away today - for this insanely cute patchwork purse.

Scrappy pouch pattern button

Isn't it gorgeous?

So, you want to win a copy of these patterns, right? The winner will get both patterns! I'm giving you 3 chances to enter :-)

1. Leave a comment telling me what fabrics/colours you would use to make up the zippy pouch.
2. Pop over to Kat's blog and follow using GFC or Reader, and leave me a comment to tell me (or tell me if you already follow her).
3. Like Flutter from.Kat's Facebook page

You don't have to be a follower of mine to enter, but, of course I would love it if you did and I think that I will have plenty to keep you interested here over the next few months ;-)

And it goes without saying that if you are not lucky enough to win, you can always pop over and buy a copy of the patterns, which at $5 AUS won't break the bank! Just click on the pics above to bring you to Kat's site.

I will leave the giveaway open until Sunday evening 9pm (Irish time). Please make sure you leave your email address in your comment in the following format fairyfacedesigns (at) gmail (dot) com.
If I cannot get in touch with the winner, I will redraw. PDF patterns will be emailed to the winner following the draw. Everyone is welcome to enter!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter Stitching - The Mid-Winter Check In!

So. It's almost the end of January and its time to do a little review of how you've been getting on in your Winter Stitching lists. I hope its been going well for you? I'm starting to feel slightly alarmed at how over-ambitious I was back in October.....and ready to ditch some of the projects mid-term.

FairyFace Designs

On a side note, before we start, I'm sorry its been pretty quiet around here of late, apart from the {Sew} Get Started tutorials. You haven't seen much else new from me since Christmas :-( That's because, in the main, I have been sick. Sick over Christmas, recovered a little for a couple of weeks or so I thought, and now sick again with a horrible dizzy type thing that means that I am very limited in what I can do, anything requiring focus and concentration is a big problem for me.  I am really hoping that by the end of this week I will be back to normal. But enough moaning! On to the fun!

So, here's my update:

1. Finish the quilt for my friend A's baby girl E. Done! And very pleased I was with it too :-)

2. Quilt for my son D.  No - still not done :-(

3. Yellow and white baby quilt. This turned into my lemon and blue pinwheels and is currently stalled mid-piecing until I am better. Should be done this month.

4. Christmas Table Runner Swap. Ooh, done and in style too - I loved this runner and it even got a prize in Celebrate Colour for November, winning me a FQ bundle of Echo!

5. Finish my Skittles quilt. Still haven't gotten to this one either.I do have a plan for the backing though, so its just finding time to do it.

6. Finish my Tumbling Blocks baby quilt and sell it! Not yet, but hopefully before the end of Feb.

7. Take part in the 2nd round of the Solids Swap. Yippee! I am signed up and have my partner and am busy planning :-)

8. Make a quilt for my lovely hubbie who insisted I put that in my list! Nope....he is still waiting...

9. Finish the curtains for our bedroom. Not finished, but there is progress! Curtains are all hemmed and I am onto the lining now. This one will get done, and sooner rather than later.

10. Make a quilt using the Ruby layer cake I just bought to go on the 2nd sofa in the living room. This is in planning :-)

11. Finish the cardi I am knitting for myself - not finished, but progress has been made. Need to get back to this!

12. Finish the scarf I'm knitting since last year... Guess? No!

13. Crochet a granny square blanket . Not a hope, I am officially taking this off the list!

14. Make another skirt for myself. Hmm. Another one I am taking off the list until later in the year. It is summery fabric anyways!

15. Write some tutorials for my blog!  Yes! Some done, more to do! 


16. Crochet a wrap for myself - Another one I'm taking off the list for the moment!

17. Make an engagement gift for my good friend R  - Yes :-) Another table runner!

Stepping Stones Table Runner full view1

18. Quilt for another friend A in the New Year.  Still not ready for this one yet
19. Make a quilt using my Little Apples FE bundle - I signed up for Sarah's Stained QAL for this fabric, I think it will work great!

Stained QAL

20. Continue following along Cindy's Free Motion Friday and improving my FMQ skills. Alas, despite doing a few weeks of this, the last few escaped me. But it was fun and I want to come back to it in the future.

21. Keep up with Sew Bee Blissful and figure out what I want to do for my month as Queen Bee in February. Ooh, well, Sew Bee Blissful has been great fun and I am pretty sure now what I'm doing - packages will be going out later this week, all going well.

22. Make some long overdue handbags for some friends., sorry girls!

I did add a few things.

  • My {Sew} Get Started tutorials series. I didn't put this in the original list because even though it was in planning, I wanted it to be a big announcement. You can't imagine how happy I am to have gotten this off the ground.
FairyFace Designs

  • The Matryoshka Quilt - I totally forgot to include this one on my list when I was writing it, despite having the whole thing planned out. In the end, it was one of my fave quilts of 2011.
  • The Christmas Quilt - this was an impulse make, but I'm so glad I made it. The kids snuggled under it every morning over Christmas watching cartoons.
  • I wrote a tute for the Christmas Stockings block for the 12 Days of Christmas Sampler QAL.
  •  I finally finished the embroidery piece I've had hanging around for months and it is going in our hall!

As always, I have a couple more things to add before the end of the Winter Stitching:

  • Pay It Forward - I got 3 volunteers to be recipients for my handmade gifts. I *might* get these done before the end of March, so I'm putting them in here, although its not guaranteed.
  • Mouthy Stitches - I joined up, and as of the weekend, I have a great partner and am stalking her right now. She might even be reading this, who knows?

  •  Pattern writing. I am really starting to get to grips with my EQ7 and am hoping to get some new patterns written and out there. I would love to get one published, or to sell one. Anyone interested in pattern testing if I was to go that route? Shoot me an email if you are. It's not going to be immediately, but hopefully soon enough. 
So, that's my update. Actually, at first I thought it was a lot of "not dones" in this list, but as I went down through it I am really happy with everything that I have done! It's great seeing what I've achieved in a few months, particularly in a week like this one where I am getting nothing done at all!

I can't wait to see what you have done. The linky will be open for a couple of weeks (up to Feb 5th) for your updates, so go write up your post and then come back and link up. If you didn't link up for the first round or missed the linky date, you can still join in the fun! Anyone who is in this round or the opening linky, and posts in the final linky at the end of March will be in with a chance to win a little giveaway. Last time round it was a charm pack and a handmade goodie - most likely something similar this time.

So, get linking!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

{Sew} Get Started: Simple Pincushion & Needlebook Tutorial

It's great to finally kick off the practical tutorials today! If you are learning to sew, a pretty pincushion and needlebook are a nice project to make. Small, simple and at the end of it, you have something beautiful and practical that you will use every time you sew. I have lots of pincushions and love them all! One for my sewing basket, one for handsewing, one for my little sewing travel kit, and some more...well, just because! Those horrible little plastic jars with spongy tops that you can buy for storing your pins have nothing on a beautiful pincushion you made yourself.

This tutorial is part of the {Sew} Get Started: Beginner Sewing Tutorials series. For the full list of tutorials, click here.

FairyFace Designs

So lets get started sewing!!

4 coordinating scraps of fabric for the front, and a complimentary one for the back.
1 pretty medium size button.
Small length of embroidery thread (if you need to go buy, you are looking for a skein of embroidery thread)
Some toy stuffing for the centre. (You will get this in craft stores.)

Some coordintaing scraps of felt - 2 x 9" squares should be enough. (Wool mix felt if you can get it)
Assorted buttons to embellish the front, including one for the closure
Matching thread

Please note:

All seams are 1/4". Please read all the way through before starting.  I have included very detailed instructions for beginners, with a lot of photos. More experienced peeps will not need all the detail :-)

Making the Pincushion

Press your fabric scraps, then cut 4 pieces for the front measuring 2.5" x 2.5" each. (If you want to use a 1/2" seam allowance instead of a 1/4" one, cut your pieces 3" x 3".) If you need help with cutting your fabric, I have information here about how to cut accurately.

Cut your fabric for the bottom piece 4.5" square.  (If you cut your top pieces 3" x 3",  then cut the bottom piece 5" square.)

Decide how you want to lay them out.

Place your top 2 pieces right sides together and sew, using a 1/4" seam allowance. For pieces this small, you don't really need to pin but do so if you wish for best accuracy. I just sew over my pins, I have only ever broken a needle once, but remove them if you want as you get to them. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam, as the top of this seam will be an outside edge.

Repeat with the bottom two pieces.

Now you need to press your seams. You can press them open but it is quicker and easier to press one of the seams to one side and the other to the opposite side, and they will fit together nicely when you are sewing together.

 Place your top two squares on the bottom two, right sides together, matching the seams exactly. Place a pin on either side of the point where the seam points match, as close as possible to the line of stitching, about 1/8" on either side.

Pin the rest of the seam, close to either end, then sew, remembering to backstitch to tie off at the beginning and end.  Press your seam - you can press to one side, I pressed open just because I liked how flat it got the seam.

 If your points don't meet up precisely, don't worry about it as the button will cover this.

Take your bottom piece of fabric, and place it right side together with your pieced top, and pin. Then, starting about 1.5" from a corner, and backstitching at the start, sew a seam all the way around the outside edge. At each corner, put your needle down, lift your presser foot and pivot the fabric to change direction.

Then just put your presser foot back down and continue sewing. Stop about 2" from your starting point and backstitch to secure.

Using your scissors, very carefully trim the excess fabric from each corner. Be careful not to clip your stitches, don't go too close! This will reduce the bulk of the fabric to give you nice crisp corners.

Now, reach into the gap in your seam and turn your pincushion right way out, pulling the fabric out through the gap. It might be a little bit fiddly but you will get it out!

When you have it turned right way out, it will look like this:

Take an old knitting needle, chop stick or the closed point of your scissors and very gently push out your corners till they sit correctly. Don't push too hard, you don't want to tear the fabric, and if they don't push out totally, don't worry about it. This is fun, remember!

Now, take your toy stuffing. It comes in tufts like this:


Tearing it into smallish pieces, stuff into the pincushion until it is full and firm. You don't want it to be bursting at the seams, just a nice amount so it will hold your  pins securely.  It will probably take more than you think. If you want, you could put a little rice in the bottom of the pincushion to give it some weight too but it's not essential.

Once it is full, you need to handsew the closure. This is very easy, so don't panic!

Firstly, turn under your seam allowance - mine usually sits pretty ok without any help. Use a pin or two to match and hold your seams in place.

Thread a needle with some thread matching your fabric and tie a knot in the end. Then insert it into the interior of the seam, somewhere the knot won't be seen, and bring up at the beginning of the gap. Take a small stitch through the crease in the seam, then take a very small stitch in the opposite seam, picking up only a few threads.

Repeat all the way along until you get to the end, then make a few stitches in the same place to secure, push your needle in the same place and bring out an inch or so away. Clip the thread where it comes through the fabric and stretch out your fabric to make the thread disappear into the pincushion. (See picture below for the back of the pincushion to see what I mean) See, easy peasy! Don't worry if its not terribly neat, mine are never totally perfect and once you have the rest finished off you will never notice.

 Last thing to do is to add the decorative detail.

Cut a length from your embroidery thread and split the thread in 2. (Embroidery thread is usually made up of 6 threads twisted together, you want 3). Thread your needle with it and tie a knot in the end, and clip the thread quite close to the knot but not right on top of it.

Insert your needle through the centre point of your seams and bring out in the centre of the other side. Bring it all the way back around the front, following one of your seam lines, and push your needle back in and out through the same points again.

Pull it a little bit taut so it separates the quarters of the cushion, and is sitting nicely on your seam line.  Repeat the process, changing the direction of the thread each time until you have the 4 seams done.

The back should look like this:

After you have done the last seam and your needle comes out the back, push it back in through the centre point at the back and up through the centre point of the front, and thread the button onto it.

Sew the button in place by a few stitches up and down through the centre to secure. When you are done, take a stitch or two to secure at the back, then hide your thread in the same way as you did for the seam.

And, TA-DAH! you're done! Isn't it pretty?  Stick some pins in it, and admire :-)

Making the Needlebook

Cut 3 complimentary pieces of felt measuring 7.5" x 4", 6" x 3", 5.75" x 2.75". Felt is a lovely fabric to work with as the edges don't fray.

 Take your three pieces of felt and line up, centering the smaller pieces inside the larger piece.

Once you are happy with the arrangment, take a ruler and mark a crease in the centre of the pieces. I did this with the closed point of my scissors.

Using a matching thread, sew a seam down the centre, securing the "pages" of the needlebook, remembering to tie off your ends at the beginning and end. Start and finish about 1/2" in from the top and bottom of the outside page.

Round off the corners of your outside edge with your scissors. I just eyeballed it and cut.

You need to cut your buttonhole on the front of the needlebook next. (You could skip this step if you wanted as a closure is not really necessary.) You just need to snip a small cut with a sharp scissors, 2" from the top and bottom and at least 1/2" in from the edge. The cut should be just large enough to accommodate the button you will use. Felt doesn't fray and once you are reasonably gentle opening and closing, the buttonhole will not tear but don't cut too close to the edge of your needlebook.

Next, take some of your small scraps of felt and cut some circles in them - I cut 3, but if you want to play with the design a little, do. I used basic household things to trace my circles before cutting - an egg cup, a spool end, a coin etc. The biggest circle just under 2" diameter. I cut around the inside of the marked line so as not to have any marks on the felt.

Now, taking your buttons and your felt pieces, decide how you want to lay out your embellishments on the front. I piled my 3 circles of felt on top of each other with a button to finish. You could use more or less circles, whatever you like. You could also use a different shape if you preferred - like hearts for example. Be creative and go with what you like! Here is one of the layouts I considered.

Once you are happy with the layout of your buttons, handsew in place using matching threads.Clip your thread ends neatly on the other side. You don't need a lot of stitches to secure these buttons as they are not going to be used. Remember to also sew your button for the closure on the inside of the back cover of the needlebook, matching where you cut your buttonhole.

For the circles decoration, I stitched all the circles in place through the button initially. I then got some complimentary embroidery thread and sewed a simple running stitch around the edges. If you do this, just keep your stitches and gaps small and let your eye guide you. Take your time! A running stitch like this looks very pretty and though you will notice if your stitches aren't exactly even when you are doing it (as you are concentrating on it), once it is done and you are looking at the finished thing, you won't notice small differences in stitch length etc, they will disappear into the general loveliness!'re done!! Go find your handsewing needles and put them inside it, and admire.

I hope you enjoyed making these simple projects and that the instructions are all clear. If you have any questions, just leave me a comment below or post it up in the Flickr discussion group. If you make a pincushion or needlebook from this tute, please post a picture in the Flickr group, I would love to see them :-)

Next Thursday, Jennifer will be guest posting with her tutorial on simple table napkins so don't forget to pop back then.

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