Friday, March 30, 2012

"Flower Path" mini - Doll Quilt Swap 12

Doll quilt finished

Last night I finished off my binding on my "Flower Path" mini quilt for the Doll Quilt Swap 12. I love this little Doll Quilt! I used the Drunkard's Path die on my Go! Baby to cut the pieces and I love how this arrangement works.

Doll Quilt handquilting closeup

I hand quilted it with perle cotton, matching the threads to the colours for each quarter, although the quilting in the centre is unique to each side, inside the circle on the front, and outside it on the back.
Even though I used very bright and vibrant fabrics in this, the overall effect is a little bit muted against the silver grey solid I used...but this was a pleasant surprise. I think if I had used Coal it would have popped much more, but this has a delicate feel that I adore.

Centre of back of doll quilt

I made a little label using one of the leftover pieces of fabric from the cutting, using a laundry pen to write the details, and securing with some Bondaweb and a blanket stitch.

Doll Quilt Label

The binding is a dark grey dotty poplin, I love how it frames it. I auditioned about 10 different fabrics for the binding and wasn't happy with any of them, and then this fell out of the back of a box of fabric yesterday and solved my problem!

Doll Quilt back2

This little mini measures 16" x 16", so it really is a smallie. This is all ready to go in tomorrow's post with some chocolate and some scraps. I really hope my partner will like it.

Doll quilt received

And that will leave me all done with the DQS, as I received my gorgeous quilt during the week all the way from Sharon of Lilabelle Lane in Australia! I can't tell you how much I love it! It's just perfect - fab colours and eye catching design! I also got some choccie all the way from Down Under, which has since vanished!!

Thanks so much Sharon, I really love it :-)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

{Sew} Get Started: Pot Holder Tutorial

Today I am really excited to introduce you to my friend Sheila! Sheila has a lovely blog at bluepatch quilter and is a very accomplished lady.  She teaches classes in quilting in real life so I thought that it would be great to have her contribute a tutorial so we could benefit from all her knowledge! Sheila makes both modern and more traditional quilts and I love looking at her projects. This recent quilt with Little Apples is just gorgeous!

This tutorial is part of the {Sew} Get Started: Beginner Sewing Tutorials series. To go to the master page with a full list of tutorials and links to past tutes, please click on the link.

FairyFace Designs

So, Sheila, it's over to you!

Hi everyone, my name is Sheila and I blog over at bluepatchquilter. Thank you Sarah, for asking me to contribute to your [Sew]Get Started series, I hope you are all enjoying it.

My project derives from Somerset Patchwork and doesn't involve a whole lot of sewing - this technique was something the Victorian ladies would do but my version includes a few up to date tricks.

These little pot stands are fun to put together and make good gifts. You can use them perhaps as a teapot stand or for  placing a potted plant.

So - here is what you will need.

3 fat quarters, say one solid and two patterned.
Some fusible web, (you know, the sort folks use to take up their trousers when they don't want to sew.)

It is possible to use just 2 fat quarters but I have opted for three today to accommodate the smaller US fat 1/4 size and also to give a bit of contrast. I used my solid white piece for the foundation layer onto which we will build our mat, and for some of the folded pieces. I used a print for the other folded pieces, and then the second print for the borders and backing. There is no need to use any wadding/batting for this project as it is quite thick when finished.

Cut the solid fabric into - 1 x 9.5" square & 4 x 4" squares
1st print - Cut 8 x 4" squares
2nd print - Cut 4 strips, 2.5" x 10"
& 2 pieces, 5" x 10".

Fold and press the 9.5" square in half, in both directions.

 Fold all of the 4" squares in half, diagonally & press. A bit of steam helps here, but watch your fingers!

This is the fusible web I mentioned, a little advantage we have over those Victorian ladies. Cut some small squares of web.

Next, we want to fold down the two outside corners of the folded squares, to meet the bottom corner.

 And this is where I use the addition of a small square of fusible web, to hold down the sides.

Pop in the square of web, fold and press. Take your time here and concentrate on trying to achieve a neat folded point - this might be at the expense of the raw edges being a tad uneven, don't worry.

and repeat until all 12 squares have been folded and pressed. Now it's assembly time.

Place 4 of your print squares onto your foundation square. All the folded points come together in the centre and the folded edges will align with the creases in the large square. Now, on reflection, I think it would be a good idea to pop another square of fusible web under each quarter and lightly press. 

Pin in place and then tack (baste) around the edges either by hand or by machine. To machine tack, choose as big a stitch length as your machine will allow.

The next layer will be the 4 solid squares. When you look at the four of these laid down as in the above pic, you can see they form a loose square together, but it has been set on point. All the folded points are still towards the centre, this time the centre folds of each little square aligns with the this is the stage where you have to do as I say and not as I did because you will see quite clearly that my left and right squares do NOT align too well. This has either been sloppy placement, or the squares moved when I machined them down. Once again, use a wee bit of fusible web to help you position, pin carefully and tack (baste) all round. If yours ends up a wee bit wonky like mine, never fear, it all adds a bit of character!!

Now, you might be forgiven for thinking you have morphed into a different tute, but when I was sorting and editing the photos I was gutted to find I had missed the third layer from the photo shoot!! Luckily I had an older version on file so I hope you will forgive me. The third layer returns to the 1st print and is placed in the same orientation as the first layer. You are aiming for even spacing and once again, use a bit of fusible web and some pins and tacking stitches to hold. We are now at the actual sewing stage!!

Take one of your 2.5" x 10" strips, lay it across your mat, aligning the top of one long edge with the edges of the last two squares you laid down. The strip should be right side down. Pin, and stitch along the long edge. If you have a walking foot, it might be useful to use it at this point as there is a bit of thickness to get through but I managed without. Take it slowly. These strips could have been cut to a more accurate length but cutting all four to 10" allows a bit of leeway, extra padding and room for squaring up later....The seam allowance can be whatever happens when you keep the edge of your foot to the edge of your seam.

Press the strip open and away from the centre.

Repeat for the opposite side. Press open, and away from the centre.

Repeat for the other two sides and give it all a good press, with steam. If you have revealed any of your tacking stitches, these can be carefully unpicked. Now it all looks a bit rough at this stage doesn't it? In previos mats, I have trimmed excess fabric before placing the strips but I think leaving them alone can be an advantage as the extra bulk is a good thing in a pot stand isn't it?

But, we do need to square this baby up.

I like to line up a vertical line on my ruler with the centre vertical line on the mat. I have carefully chosen my pink ruler so that you have difficulty seeing it in the photo!!

I started with the 4.5" line and adjusted until the right side edge could be trimmed neatly. It was 4" in the end. I then turned the mat so that this newly trimmed edge was at the bottom giving me a nice clean edge to trim from. I lined up the 4" vertical line on the vertical centre line of the mat but also lining up a horizontal line on the ruler with the cut edge. Trim. Now I have two trimmed edges running at right angles

Then, out came my 9.5" square up ruler and I positioned the bottom right corner of the mat onto the 8" marking on the ruler. Then I was able to trim the left side edge and the top edge. If you don't have a square up ruler you will be able to square up using the markings on your cutting mat.

Now to back this mat.....almost there.

Fuzzy picture alert!!

Place your backing pieces right sides together and sew along the long edge, using a 1/4" seam - leave a gap in the seam in the middle, of about 3".

Open and press seam to one side.

Now place your mat, right sides down onto the right side of the backing piece, position centrally, pin and then stitch all the way around the edge of the mat, using a 1/4" seam.(or thereabouts)

Trim all around and cut across the corners - see pic - being careful to avoid the stitching. This will result in lovely corners in a minute.......

Turn thro the opening in the back, I always think of this as the birthing moment. Use something pointy, like a chopstick, to poke out your corners. I can take wonky fronts, but I like a neat corner!

Hand stitch the opening to close.

Now it just needs a final press............

 and a plant....

or a teapot!

I do hope you will try this.

Thanks so much Sheila for a great tutorial - I love this and think it would make a perfect pressie for my mum who has about a million pot plants in her house!  If you make a pot holder, please add to the Flickr group :-) Don't forget that next week Sarah is doing a tutorial for a fabric wallet so pop back next Thursday for that.

Monday, March 26, 2012

{Sew} Get Started: Easy Mug Rug - Introduction to Quilting

Today's post is an introduction to quilting for those of you who haven't tackled it before. We have covered a lot of the essential skills in previous tutorials, including cutting, piecing and binding. So today, we are going to put those together and learn how to make a little quilted mug rug. I'm calling it my Slice of Cake, as the little wedge shapes remind me of exactly that. And what are mug rugs more perfect for than holding your cup of tea and a slice of cake?

Mug rugs or placemats are great projects to make when you are learning to quilt. Their small size makes them manageable to work with and because you don't have too much time or fabric invested in them, you don't have the fear of messing them up that I think everyone has when they are quilting for the first time on a bigger project.

This tutorial is part of the {Sew} Get Started: Beginner Sewing Tutorials series. For a full list of tutorials and links to past tutes, please click on the link to take you to the master page:

FairyFace Designs

So let's get started!

Materials Required:

5 coordinating scraps of fabric at least 4" x 6" and a large scrap/ Fat Eighth of solid fabric for borders.

Fabric for backing - approx 14 x 8"
Fabric for binding
Large scrap of batting

Curved safety pins for basting, or basting spray

To Make:

First, make a template to cut your wedge shapes. I have made this mug rug a few times, and always end up with a slightly different size. For this one I drew my wedge as per the measurements in the picture below (using squared or graph paper really helps draw this accurately). You just need to make sure your top line is centred. Then cut your template out.

Press your fabric scraps and decide what order you want them in. Then stack them on top of each other, with the 2nd and 4th ones turned upside down. You can see what I mean here (obviously when cutting I lined them up properly, this is just to show how they were arranged).

If you are using fabric with a directional print, make sure you have it arranged correctly before cutting. It helps if you press your stack of fabric with an iron before cutting, it helps to stop them from moving around.

Place your template on your fabric, and lining up your cutting ruler with the edge of the template, cut out your shapes.

Now, lay out your pieces as you want to sew them. Take the first two, and place right sides together, lining up the corners.

Sew using a 1/4" seam. Without taking out the first piece, feed through your next 2 pieces and sew in the same way. (This is called chain piecing, a really useful technique for quick piecing).

Now, clip your threads, and sew these two parts together, and add the last wedge to the end. Press your seams open. Don't worry if the edges are a little wonky, next step will fix that!

Trim into a rectangular shape.

First straighten up the two long edges, and then use the lines on your ruler to cut a straight line up from the corner on each side to give you a rectangle. This should measure approx 5.5" x  11".

Next you need to cut your border pieces. You need 2 pieces 5.5" x 1.5", and 2 pieces 13" x 1.5".

Piece the shorter border pieces to each end of your rectangle, then piece the long pieces across each of the long edges using 1/4" seams. Trim to neaten up and ta dah! Your quilt top is done.

Doesn't it look pretty? Next we need to prep it for quilting.

Get your scrap of batting, and smooth it out. For something this small, you don't really need to tape it down or stretch it, but you can if you wish. Place your mug rug top on top of the batting and smooth it out so that it  is taut on the batting, but not stretched or distorted. You should have at least half an inch of batting showing around all the edges, more if possible.

Flip it over and do the same with your piece of backing fabric. Make sure that you have it lined up so that the print pattern sits nice and straight on it. Now, use your pins to pin all three layers together in the middle of each of the wedges, or if you have basting spray give it a quick squirt to secure.

Now you need to mark your quilting lines. For this, I first marked a half inch on either side of my diagonal lines, and then I used the quilting lines to work with for the interior quilt lines. 


I use a Hera marking tool but you could use the outside edge (i.e. not the sharp one!) of your scissors, or a butter knife to mark this either. All you want is a sharp crease marked in the fabric to quilt on. When its done it should look something like this:

So, you're ready to quilt!! Excited? This is the best bit!

Change your thread, if necessary and set your stitch length to 3 or 3.5 which will give your stitch nice definition for quilting. If you have a walking foot, now is the time to put it on (mine is an attachment which is integrated in my machine, so I just need to engage it). Line up your presser foot on one of the lines you have marked in the middle of the mug rug and set your machine to the needle down position. Ready? Take a deep breath and quilt slowly down the line you have marked. Yay! It's that simple. Turn (in the batting, off the quilt top) and stitch to the next line you've marked, then get your needle lined up to do that line. Continue like this until you have all the lines done on one side, then go back and start at the next line in the middle and work out to the other side. Working from the middle out is a good way of working when quilting to help avoid any puckers or gathers of fabric (although you wouldn't really need to worry about it on something this small). It's also good practice to quilt in opposite directions on alternating rows, particularly for straight line quilting, to avoid your lines sloping off in a particular direction.


When I had done my half inch lines, I decided that I wanted it a bit more densely quilted, so I used the already quilted lines as guides to do 1/4" quilting lines:

See how the outside of my foot runs along the stitching line? Easy peasy! Here's how it looks when I am done:

Now it's time to trim it back using your ruler and rotary cutter. Keep it nice and straight and line up your angles using the ruler. The quilt top may have gotten a little distorted from the quilting so there might be tiny bits of batting showing along the line, but that's ok, your binding will cover it.

Ok! You are almost done. Time to put on your binding now! I am not going to go into detail about binding here, but if you need help, there are instructions here showing how to do it. The rule of thumb I use to decide on how much binding I need is to add the length of all the edges and add at least 10". So for this it is 13 + 7.5 + 13 + 7.5 = 41 + 10  = 51. So I cut 2 x 2.5" wide strips of binding fabric and joined them to make up the required length.

Put on your binding, hand or machine finish it and you are done!

One lovely mug rug measuring approx 13" x 7.5". Perfect for a cup of tea and slice of cake!


And back:

I hope you enjoyed this tute and it gives you the confidence to give quilting a try! I promise, you will find it addictive :-) Please add anything you make from the series to the Flickr group. Don't forget to pop back on Thursday when Sheila has a tute for a lovely potholder.