A quick note: my fall online teaching schedule is up! In addition to repeating a couple of my most-requested classes, I’ve got some brand-new classes to share with you all. 🙂
And now to the topic at hand – foundation piecing (also called foundation paper piecing) is a great technique for achieving precise piecing and sharp points even with tiny pieces and fabric edges that are not on-grain. For this method, the pattern is printed (or traced) onto foundation paper. This paper acts as both a stabilizer and a stitching guide while the block is being constructed. When all of the pieced sections of the design have been joined together, the paper is carefully torn away from the underside of the quilt top.
New to foundation piecing? We All Sew has a great FREE foundation pieced block tutorial that provides a good starting point. Don’t worry if you don’t have the same kind of machine used in the tutorial – most any machine with a basic straight stitch should do just fine.
Although I generally don’t do a lot of foundation paper piecing, I fell in love with the Take Wing pattern by Lillyella Stitchery when I came across it on Instagram. Just beautiful!
I purchased the pattern right away, but then had to set it aside for a bit because I already had too many irons in the fire. But when the August Java Batiks box from Cotton Cuts arrived, I knew immediately just what I wanted to make! Continue Reading…
When life seems particularly unpredictable and scary, I find it tremendously helpful when I can identify something productive to do – and doubly so when it will potentially benefit not only me and my family, but our community as well. Anyone watching the news lately will be aware of the shortage of face masks for health care providers on the frontlines of this pandemic, as well as for everyday people who are at risk of either spreading or contracting the Coronavirus/Covid-19.
Graphic from Instagram – I don’t know who created it originally, but we are encouraged to use it to promote home sewing of face masks. 🙂
While the face masks we sew at home may not meet the CDC guidelines for medical professionals, it is my understanding that depending on the design, cloth masks can be used in conjuntion with the N95 medical grade masks, acting as a removable cover that can extend the usable lifespan of the medical grade mask underneath. When the medical grade masks are not available, they can be used by themselves to offer at least some protection.
Cloth masks may also be in high demand from local hospitals, nursing homes, cancer-related organizations, or other health care facilities.
Please note that I am not a medical professional. But as I understand it, by themselves, fabric masks will not completely prevent the spread of the Coronavirus or Covid-19. However, they can help us keep our germs to ourselves; and hopefully, slow the spread of the disease. A mask can also help remind the wearer to avoid touching their face. 🙂
I’m including a link to the guidelines from the World Health Organization for when and how to properly use face masks. They suggest masks for those who as sick and for those who are caring for the sick.
UPDATE from the CDC: “CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations. Cloth face coverings may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others…. While people who are sick or know that they have COVID-19 should isolate at home, COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people) and wear cloth face coverings in public settings. Cloth face coverings provide an extra layer to help prevent the respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people.”
And here some of the free patterns and tutorials I’ve collected from around the web that I feel are particularly helpful: Continue Reading…
I’ve gotten some requests for more information about two projects I posted on Instagram recently – the Tiki Tote pattern from Bluprint (featured on the Midnight Quilt Show with Angela Walters) and the Persimmon Dumpling Pouch from Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness. Not only are both these patterns FREE, but they also have free video tutorials that show you exactly how to make them.
I found these projects are a lot of fun – both to make and to use.
It all started with a jelly roll (collection of 2.5″ strips) that I picked up on clearance from Bluprint…
Jelly roll – coordinated collection of 2.5″ strips – a fun way to play with a wide selection of fabrics!
Have you ever heard of cork fabric? I was dimly aware of it, but it hadn’t really registered for me as something I’d like to try until I came across this post on the Sew Sweetness blog by Sara Lawson. In conjunction with an online book club she is hosting, Sara is posting a free project pattern and video tutorial every month. The first project was the Clydebank Tote, and several of the sample projects featured cork fabric on the side panels. I was intrigued!
I first purchased some cork fabric from Fabric.com, but wasn’t quite happy with the color match when it arrived. So I went back to Sara’s site, which has a great selection in a wide variety of colors.
Note: watch out when you are searching for cork fabric – the fabric I’m referring to in this post is high quality cork with a polyurethane backing and a smooth, leather-like hand. It is NOT regular quilting-weight cotton that has been printed to look like “cork”. Cork fabric is also sometimes referred to as “vegan leather”.
Selection of cork fabric and the Clydebank Tote pattern. (I have plans for the Clammy template and Glam Clam pattern later!) Note: the black cork I eventually used in my tote isn’t shown in this photo.
I opted to use fabrics from my Winter Romance collection in my Spoonflower shop for my tote. Continue Reading…
Cathedral windows has been a favorite pattern of mine since I first saw this traditional quilt style many years ago, but I’ve never made more than a few blocks at a time because the handwork proved too frustrating for me to manage wth my peripheral neuropathy. So I was immediately intrigued when I heard about the Cathedral Window Pillow episode from Angela Walters on her Midnight Quilt Show. I checked out Angela’s demonstration on YouTube and was excited to see how the process had been reimagined and reengineered to make it relatively quick and easy to create by machine.
You can also download the (currently) free pattern from Bluprint 🙂
The cutting instructions are for two 20″ pillows, but I opted to make just one this time. Angela was using a charm pack (precut 5″ squares), but I raided my scrap bin and leftover bits and pieces from other projects and cut my own squares and triangles.
I decided to make my pillow with a mix of scraps of my custom fabrics from Spoonflower and of my carefully hoarded Kaffe Fassett fabric. The white fabric I’m using is Lily & Loom Brilliant White from Bluprint (formerly Craftsy).
One of the really great things about sewing is that you aren’t dependent on what you can find (or afford) in the store – you can create or customize all kinds of things to your specific tastes and needs.
Lately, I’ve been on a streak of making totes, bags and purses.
Since my work (both as Creative Director for Lakeshore Sewing and as a quilt/textile artist and designer for my own business) requires a lot of intense focus and creativity, I find it relaxing to take a bit of a break and let someone else do the basic designing and let me have the fun of customizing to my heart’s content.
I really enjoy it when I get a chance to make something quick and (relatively) easy. And bonus points if it is functional, too!
Product info from the ByAnnie.com website:
BYANNIE’S SOFT AND STABLE® OVERVIEW
ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable® is a new product which I developed to use in place of batting or other stabilizers in purses, bags, totes, home dec items, and more.
Why use ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable®?
- Great lasting body and stability
- Maintains shape
- Gives a professional finish to your project
- Easy to sew
- Fabric can be quilted to ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable® or just sewn around the edges of the pieces — no need to quilt every 2 to 4″ as with batting
- Soft and comfortable
- Washer and dryer safe
My summary – I love it! But…
I am very happy with the shape, structure, and finish of bags I’ve made with Soft and Stable. They look great, hold their shape, and don’t collapse under the weight of the straps or handles – all while remaining lightweight and easy to carry. The extra protection for the contents is pretty great, too – especially for things like a phone, tablet, laptop, sewing machine, etc. I’ve given the sewing machine travel bag I made with Soft and Stable away as a gift, but here is another great example of a well-used bag still holding its shape after a couple of years and a lot of use:
One of my favorite travel bags is this duffle, designed and made by my friend and colleague, Laura Witt. Not only did Laura use Soft and Stable to support the bag, she also inserted a strip into the shoulder strap to make the bag more comfortable to carry.
But I don’t always find it as straightforward to use as is sometimes implied… Continue Reading…
What a month! Not only is late November through December extra-busy with the holidays AND one of the most demanding times of the year for my day job as Creative Director for Lakeshore Sewing, but our plumbing saga continued with more water in the basement, where my studio is located. Needless to say, my creative plans for the month had to be adjusted.
But I’m happy to say that I did manage to squeeze in at least a little sewing fun.
Below are 3 of my December projects, plus links to the free patterns I used. All 3 patterns are keepers for me – ones I’m sure I’ll use again.
Scandiavian Star Ornaments
I was first introduced to these folded & woven fabric ornaments through a delightful instragram post by misterdomestic linking to this tutorial on his YouTube channel.
I also found a handy photo tutorial by Anna Curtiss.
Stow-Away Shopping Bag
I resized the free pattern from Moments Designs (pattern download offered through Craftsy) to make giftable shopping totes that fold into their own snap pouches for storage. I enlarged the pouch slightly because I used heavier fabric than was used in the original pattern. The instructions are terrific, with step-by-step photos for every step.
My pillow lounger – ready to use! Next time I might buy enough fabric to match up the print properly; but I don’t think the kiddos will mind this time.
I love to sit on the floor with William (age 3) and Emilia (age 1) and play, but I sure don’t love trying to get up again. Nor am I impressed with how hard the floor feels after a while. Given that and also knowing how much fun the little ones have falling/jumping/snuggling into pillows, I figured we could come up with something that would work for all of us. Continue Reading…
I’m planning to put my new Baby Lock Jazz through its paces by testing how it performs while making a series of different projects. I’m starting with decorative pillow covers with invisible zippers.
Spoiler Alert – this is how my pillows look with their new covers 🙂
If you’d like to make a pillow cover of your own, here is what you’ll need:
- square pillow form to cover (or existing pillow that needs a facelift)
- invisible zipper, preferably at least 2″ longer than your pillow or pillow form
- home decor fabric (if using quilting-weight cotton, I recommend fusing interfacing such as Shape-Flex to the fabric before making the pillow – this will bring the fabric closer to decorator-weight)
- zipper foot and/or invisible zipper foot
Since I had 10 pillows to make new covers for, I purchased my invisible zippers in bulk – saving quite a bit of money in the process.
The zippers I purchased for my pillows
Infinity Scarf – looped 3 times
Infinity scarves are one of my favorite sewn gifts to give or to receive – easy to make and easy to wear! The continuous loop means no worrying about the scarf sliding out of position or the scarf ends being blown right off your body in a passing breeze.
There are many Infinity Scarf tutorials online and the majority get the job done just fine, but most of them end with a very wide opening that straddles the intersection where the ends of the scarf are joined. This can be a bit of a pain to hand stitch. I think this method, which I learned from Nancy Zieman, is a little easier and leaves a smaller, easier-to-sew invisibly, opening.
Since I’m working here with Telio Reflection knit fabric, I’m going to use the serger, but it could also be sewn on a regular sewing machine. As we go along, I’ll include photos showing how the stitching would look on a sewing machine. Continue Reading…