Do you remember earlier this year when I blogged about my Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge fabric and how I said you could get an insanely early start on your holiday sewing? Did you start your holiday sewing yet? No? Yeah, me neither.
But now, you may have noticed that Christmas decorations are starting to pop up in stores. So now, it's game on, full on Christmas prep! Too much? Ok, we'll ease down the road with a simple tree skirt project that utilizes a forgotten WIP or reuses an old quilt!
For this tutorial you will need to finish the edge of the tree skirt with a bias binding. I did a quick tip tutorial with Rob about bias binding as well, so be sure to take a look at that video for tricks on easy bias binding.
Get ready to throw another log on the fire, sip peppermint hot chocolate, and listen to some holiday tunes!
Have you ever tuned into Man Sewing with Rob Appell? I know what you're thinking, is it a sewing show just for men? It's a show for all, with Rob, a lovely, caffeine fueled man who loves to sew and share that love with others. Every Manly Monday he has a new tutorial. Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Rob for a quick and easy paper pieced tutorial perfect for any level of sewer.
Afraid of paper piecing? So was Rob, but together we made a quick and easy project featuring Rob's needle bolt logo. It's very rock and roll, you could add it to a bag or perhaps sew it onto the back of a jeans jacket. It will be great for your street cred.
Tune into the video below!
You can download the free template here and make your very own needle bolt.
Happy Sewing and Rock On,
Perhaps this isn't your first dip in the foundation paper piecing pond, you're more than a beginner, but sometimes a tough angle looms up and you put it off because it's a little intimidating. Or maybe you're using scraps of some precious hoarded fabric and you need to make each little piece fit. This technique utilizes smaller pieces of fabric, so the angles will need to be just so. This method will also come in handy when fussy cutting small designs and pieces for your foundation paper piecing. If you're unsure about foundation paper piecing you can check out a beginner course here, using my Forest Abstractions - The Bunny pattern.
You can see piece A4 has an interesting angled shape and I have the perfect fabric to fit there.
Pieces A1, A2, and A3 are already pieced into place.
I want the Catelope to fit right in the center of the A4 diamond shape with the Catelope antlers positioned into the wider section of A4.
To prepare my templates for piecing this angle perfectly, I first trim the seam allowances of the previously sewn fabric from along the seam I want to sew next. In this case that seam is the line between the A4 section and the previously pieced A1 & A3.
With RIGHT SIDES DOWN against the cutting mat, use any thin cardboard along the seam line to fold a crease in the paper. I use a paint swatch.
Fold the paper back along the line to get a good crease.
Trim 1/4" past the fold in the paper, creating your seam allowance.
I use an Add-A-Quarter ruler to quickly get a perfect 1/4" every time, but any quilting ruler with 1/4" markings will do.
Take a minute to think about this. Trimming the seam allowance in advance shows you exactly where your next piece will need to line up and prepares you to get that A4 piece perfectly fit for sewing.
I have moved the desired A4 fabric under the paper. The fabric is RIGHT SIDE DOWN towards the cutting mat. This will be the fabric's final home. It fits here and the right side is facing down like all its neighbors. If you are worried about the fabric shifting, this is a good time to pin your A4 fabric to the paper. You will be removing the pin prior to sewing.
Hold the A4 fabric and foundation paper firmly in place and fold the rest of the foundation back again along the seam line.
Repeat the process of trimming 1/4" past the fold in the paper.
The seam allowance you created in the previous section of steps now perfectly matches the seam allowance you just cut.
Let's stop to take a quick minute to think about this again. You have now cut both of your seam allowances and your angle is perfect and ready to seam in. There is one more step in making sure the angle lands exactly where you want it to when you bring the fabric to the correct side of the paper to sew it.
Use a fabric marking tool or a pin to mark the exact spot the two fabrics meet up at the top and bottom. In this case, the bottom points are coincidentally matched up.
Bring the A4 fabric back to the top, still RIGHT SIDE DOWN (unpin from the paper, if you did in a prior step). Match the position of the pin or marks to ensure the fabric is still in the desired position.
Holding everything carefully in place (this is a good time to put a pin back into these fabrics through the paper to hold them in place), unfold your paper back out.
Carefully turn the whole piece over and sew along the seam line.
Fold the fabric out and roll or press the seam on your perfectly placed piece!
Did it work for you? Let us know in the comments!
ORIGINS IN 3D MODELING
My Abstractions patterns originate from creating 3D models of real animals I have photographed. I create the patterns in such a way that the shapes of the pattern pieces combined with the placement of the fabrics distinguish skeletal and muscular structure in the animals.
In the Forest Abstractions Stag notice the curvature in his back and haunches. Where the lines break out the individual shapes and combine with the fabrics to create the movement and curvature in these places. Now look to the facial structure and the long snout area and the contrast created by the area for set back eyes. In his legs the lighter fabrics and long lines of the pieces highlight the long sinewy shape of the legs. Each fabric was chosen to highlight or lowlight the appropriate places to capture this movement and curvature while still retaining the abstract sharpness of the design.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE FABRIC CHART
To retain the same look in your blocks you can use the exact or similar prints as I used or you can select your own and follow a few simple guidelines.
Let's take a closer look at the fabric chart included in all of my foundation paper pieced patterns and how it can help. The example below left is for the original Stag block from the cover quilt.
The fabrics are listed on the chart with the background fabric first and then all other fabrics follow from dark to light.
To retain a similar look select fabrics and arrange them in the same order with background fabric first and then from dark to light. An alternate "Bright Palette" chart is shown below right using this method.
When I was placing the fabrics on the chart, I wasn't exactly sure which order they should go in. To make sure I had them in the correct positions I took a photo of them and then also used a filter to make the photo gray scale and then it became more obvious.
It is very important that the background fabric you choose contrasts well from all other fabrics that will touch it. In the example of the Forest Abstractions Stag, all other fabrics will touch the background fabric so I chose the Cotton Couture deep Eggplant in the original quilt which contrasts well with all of the other prints. In the Bright Palette I used all very saturated prints, so the lighter linen-blend background contrasts well with all other prints.
In this version I created a rustic Christmas Stag. I reversed the lights and darks which still highlight the appropriate places and results in the chart shown below. For the background I chose a deep red to contrast with all of my other choices.
I also created this Forest Abstractions Stag head pillow in lighter prints where the lights and darks are reversed from the original. I chose the very light Rosemilk in White as the background.
So, let's say you want to do a completely scrappy version, but still maintain the same contrast in these areas. Gather your scraps and then organize them into piles from high saturation to low saturation. When the pattern calls for one of the darker fabrics, select from your high saturation pile and so on and so forth through to the lightest fabrics. Again, choose a background that will contrast well with all of the scraps you have chosen to use.
So, you want to know more... let's get picky. When looking at any of the blocks, look to the original cover quilt and think about which pieces are important to you. For the Stag, my starting point would be his face. That long, strong snout is a standout piece in the pattern. The face really sets the attitude of your entire Stag. This is the fabric I would choose first. Once you have determined this piece, you can really choose which of the above routes you want to go down for the rest of your selections.
In the original Stag I chose Timber Valley in Fog. Although my other fabrics are all a little sweeter than this fabric, the moodiness of the Fog print really sets the attitude of the Stag. The sweet peach and coral prints don't take on the softness they would if his face weren't set as such a strong focal point. Looking to the chart, I found that the face was second to top position under the background and the hoof fabric making it almost the darkest print on the chart. This coincides with the fabric I chose, so I went down the chart from darkest to lightest from there.
Now, let's look at the Stag Pillow. I chose the sweet Rosemilk print to create a more romantic attitude for the pillow. Because this print is the lightest I wanted to use, I reversed the order of prints so that they fell lightest to darkest on my chart.
TAKING IT FURTHER
Once you start to look at positioning you can really customize your look and see if it makes sense before you even begin. You can see that the chart shows where the hooves are and that the hoof fabric is not used anywhere else and choose accordingly. You can see the lightest fabric on the chart is the setback for the eye position. Does the fabric you chose for this position on your chart make sense in this part of your Stag? If not, you can change it up before you start.
I hope all these tips are helpful. Show me those blocks on Instagram and remember to hashtag #forestabstractionsqal.
Last week when I posted the Falcon with it's little broken wing problem, Katie posted a great question that I thought would benefit many readers:
"How are you going to fix the wing? Will you have to re sew all the seams in sequence that follow the wing fix? Is there a good way to go back in and fix one segment in the middle of the block if you don't see the error until all the pieces numbered after the error are sewn? I finished the doe and then saw that I left a hole in one of the hoofs where the fabric wasn't big enough to fully cover the section. All the seams around it are sewn and look fine. Thank you."
Let's start with my wing fix and then I'll specifically point out what my plan would be to fix Katie's little problem with her Doe.
Here's our broken wing. You can see where piece D4 was just completely missed, which left the brown fabric from D1 left there making the wing look like it's sticking out below where it should be. I gathered my tools: seam ripper, small scissors and the replacement piece of fabric.
Looking at the pieces, I found the path of least resistance to get to the piece that needed to go in. I seam ripped the G section on the right away from the CDEF group on the left, only about 1/2" past the next seam I need to take out.
I then ripped the seam that connects the CD group from the EF group, again only about 1/2" past the seam I need to fix.
The final seam ripping separated C and D, again just about 1/2" from where I need to sew the missed piece on, fully exposing the area we need to sew on the new piece. Fold back any pieces that are in your way and secure them with pins.
Place the new piece of fabric in the same way you would if you were just getting to this step for the first time. Sew the seam and trim the allowance, then press forward as normal.
Trim the outside edge seam allowances.
Now re-sew the groups back together, starting with re-sewing section C to section D. Next, re-sew the section connecting CD to EF. Finally, re-sew CDEF to G.
Complete! Total time was about 30 minutes to fix and well worth it.
Below we can see Katie's litte doe hoof is missing a tiny corner.
From another photo I found I know that this is the farthest right hoof. I would begin by ripping the horizontal seam from the right side of the block to at least 1/2" past the last seam we need to work with as pointed out by the white arrow below.
Next, I would rip the seams on the right and left side of the leg to at least 1/2" above the hoof seam.
Third, remove the small background piece under the hoof.
Finally, remove the hoof fabric that doesn't fit.
The final steps would be to replace the hoof fabric with a piece that fits, re-sew the background piece on, re-sew the seams on the right and left of the leg and finally re-sew the horizontal piece under the hoof.
I hope this is helpful information. Good luck and happy sewing!
Welcome to my workspace. On the left I have a 14" rotating cutting mat, an Add-A-Quarter ruler and rotary cutter. Right behind the mat is a large glass jar that I use for my trimming scraps. My sewing machine, the Janome 1600P, is set with a short stitch length to help notch the paper and strengthen the seams for easier paper pulling.
Please notice my seam ripper front and center on the sewing machine. For me, the seam ripper is a main tool in foundation paper piecing. Fabric placement changes WILL happen. The seam ripper shouldn't be viewed as something you get out for mistakes - it's a part of the process and I use mine frequently to change the placement of fabrics while I work.
On my left is my handy lightbox sitting on a small table. My husband made this giant beauty for me as a gift several years ago using an Instructables tutorial. My Fabric Palette is taped up above my lightbox and I have each fabric lined up in front of the Palette & Piecing Guide.
Not pictured: My iron and pressing board are at my right also on a tray table, a paper bag is at my feet ready for paper scraps and my templates are all cut and lying in order with A on top of the stack.
Here is my filled Fabric Palette for this block. I have chosen a fresh, light and bright palette of mint and yellow. I am using a more scrappy look and have picked more than one fabric for a few of the slots.
Background: solid white
Black: In place of black for Bunny's eye and nose, I have used the gray from the background of Waterfront Park Flight in charcoal.
White dot on gray ground: I have two fabrics on my palette. These two prints, Brambleberry in Aqua and Shimmer Reflection in Mint read as a very similar color and saturation and I want to use them interchangeably as I go along.
White triangles on gray space: I have a lighter mint fabric than the earlier prints, Flight in Mint.
Gray lines on white: Memoir in White
Gray dot on white: I have placed three different fabrics. These three yellows, Wild Carrot in Straw, solid straw and Reflection in Starfruit, I planned to use interchangeable throughout the block. You will see that as I went, I ended up removing Reflection in Starfruit from the block.
White: In the final slot I have two solids as I wasn't sure which one I wanted to use until I got going. I chose the fog gray.
I have taken my first piece of fabric and placed it underneath the template, under the A1 position. The template is right side up and the fabric placed under the template is right side down. Notice that the fabric piece extends at least 1/4" beyond all of the A1 edges. Since the A1 position is along the edge of the A template piece, the fabric also extends all the way out to cover the 1/4" seam allowance dotted line.
This fabric piece was fitting almost perfectly... almost too perfectly. I was worried it would slip as I was sewing on the second piece, so I carefully lifted up the paper and used a small piece of double stick tape to hold it in place. I love this tape (Duck brand Easy Stick Double Stick Adhesive Roller) and I've never had any problems with it. The main reason it works so well for foundation paper piecing is that it barely sticks to the fabric. It loves to stick to the paper. It holds well enough to keep my fabric from shifting, but when it comes time to pull paper, in my experience the tape has always stayed with the paper.
Take a good look at the space you are about to fill, A2. Notice the line between A1 and A2, this is your stitching line. The piece of fabric you use to fill the space needs to be large enough to cover A2 and at least a 1/4" seam allowance on all sides. Place a piece of fabric under A2 with the right side down and ensure it covers these seam allowances.
Holding all the layers in place, carefully flip everything over so that the fabric is lying right side up.
Focus on where the line between A1 and A2 lies. You should not be able to actually see it right now, because it is covered by the fabric. The fabrics should both be lying right sides up covering the places they will be once they are sewn down.
Flip the A2 fabric back across the line between A1 and A2 so that right sides are together and there is at least 1/4" of fabric crossing the stitch line on the A2 side of the line.
Again, holding all the layers in place, carefully flip everything back over so that the template is right side up and transfer the layers to your sewing machine.
Place the layers under your presser foot. Put your needle in about 1/8" before the A1/A2 line. Sew along the line and beyond the 1/4" dotted seam allowance line.
From here, you can see that the fabrics both extend at least 1/4" across the A1/A2 line and the seam extends through the dotted seam allowance line.
With the template face up, fold back the template paper along the A1/A2 seam line.
Trim off the excess fabric from the seam allowance. I use an Add-A-Quarter ruler as it makes this step quicker, but any ruler with 1/4" line will do.
Smooth out the fold you made in your template. Place your template on your work surface so that the fabrics are facing up and the template is facing down and examine your work. Make sure the fabric covers the A2 space as well as extends 1/4" into all adjoining areas and extends across the 1/4" dotted seam allowance line.
Using a dry iron or a seam roller, press the seam in place!
Yay! You did it!
Seam Allowance "Shadows"
So, what happens when you run into a light fabric that goes on after a dark fabric and creates a "shadow" in your seam allowance? Most people will probably not even notice this. I'm not convinced that I would notice it after the project was completed, but while it's right up in my face, it bugs the heck out of me. My solution is ever-so-slightly trim back the dark seam allowance.
With the template lying on the work surface, fold back the light seam allowance and the template and hold it back under your ruler so that it will not be trimmed. Place your ruler so that about 1/16" of an inch of the dark seam allowance is sticking out and trim it away.
Odd Angle Seams
This pattern has a LOT of them... okay, mostly ALL of them. Let's take a look at one. In this example I have pieced D1 through D4 and am trying to fit the white fabric D5 triangle shaped piece. The D5 triangle does not have a 90 degree corner angle, which is going to make your fabric shift in an odd direction when you sew it on and press it in place. Here is how to get a perfect flip in the expected direction.
With the template face up on your work surface, place the fabric piece on top of your template where you want it to be positioned after it is sewn, ensuring all seam allowances are covered. You can see that my fabric fits well on the top of the D5 triangle space, but has some weird jagged edges on the bottom edge by the seam.
Place your ruler so that the flat edge extends 1/4" across the seam line with a little extra room. Using a chalk pencil or other marking tool, mark the seam allowance line where you will trim away the excess fabric.
Place the fabric on your cutting mat and trim. Now you have the correct angle on your fabric and it should align when sewn on.
Sewing Together Template Pieces & Aligning Points
With all of the angles in this pattern, it is sometimes difficult to see exactly where the end points should match to get perfect alignment. As you complete each template use the piecing guide to lay them out on your work surface with fabric right side up.
When you are ready to sew two template pieces together, align them along the seam with fabric right sides together. Take a pin and put it through the top seam end point. Poke the pin through until it goes perfectly through the bottom template seam end point.
Transfer to your sewing machine and secure the pieces under your presser foot. Remove the pin and sew the seam.
More posts coming with the original and alternate pallets for the bunny. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or where you would like to see more information or detail.
Here is a little project I had a great time putting together for Janome. The full instructions can be found on Janome's Project Page- HERE.
I love to add a little bit of patchwork to our home every chance I get. This Spring I have been admiring some contemporary watercolor quilts, also referred to as color washing. My style frequently combines a little something classic with a little something modern and for this project I had the idea to use only one modern print and one solid to create a flowering heart pillow.
I had the perfect print in mind and my assistant agreed. Look for areas of loose or solid background when selecting a print to work with. Then select a solid closely matched to the background color. For my example I chose Wild Carrot from my Madrona Road collection matched with white background.
Head over the the Janome blog and check out the rest of the tutorial!
Happy Valentine's Day, friends!
I have a
today showing four different ways to finish a project with ruffles. I am a ruffle-aholic and have featured many a ruffled quilt over the years (
), so head on over to
to find out more about my trials, errors and successes in ruffles!
In my tutorial I have created four little mini-quilts a.k.a. snack mats. Two of them use a thread painting technique. Over the holidays, my friend Ale was using a similar technique for some pillows. I modified it a bit and here are a few pictures to show you how I did it.
First off, cut your three layers: top, batting and backing. During this whole process I have the top and batting sandwiched together so that the bottom stitches of my thread painting will not show on the back of my project when I add the backing for finishing.
Using a water-soluble marking pen, draw an outline of the image you want to thread paint. I wrote the word "Luck" in cursive. The blue ink would NOT photograph to save my life, so I've enhanced it here :) And it's still hard to see.... sorry folks.
Using a free-motion foot and your feed dogs disengaged, carefully sew along the outline. This part can actually also be done using a regular foot with feed dogs engaged if you move very slowly and turn a lot. I find the free-motion foot to be an easier process, but grab a scrap piece of fabric and try out both ways to see which you are more comfortable with.
Increase the outline of your words with a second row of stitching. Sometimes I will draw this area in with my water-soluble pen for a guide.
Reattach a zigzag foot and reengage your feed dogs. Use an appropriately sized zigzag with a longer stitch length to fill in the center space of each letter. You can repeat this a few times to get a nice fill. Don't completely fill with zigzags, just enough to get a base.
With your free-motion foot and feed dogs disengaged fill in the area with smooth front to back lines as opposed to the side to side lines of the zigzag stitches. This will give a smoother surface to your thread painting.
Two examples of completed words:
Now - to see how I finished these with ruffles head over to
Happy Love Day!
Recently we took a little road trip up to Gig Harbor to see my bestie and my most awesomest nephew. Since I normally talk her into painting a bedroom or tearing out her bathroom while I'm there (seriously - this happened) this time we wanted to keep it low key but we HAD to at least fit a craft project or four in to the trip.
This little guy saw some really cute matching blocks on
and told me he just had to have them. The first thing I thought when I saw them was that would be a great project for the Go! Baby... so I brought it along with the scrap bins and 1/2 yard of charcoal gray felt.
First off we dug through the scrap bins and found 18 bright, simple prints that were large enough to cut two circles from. I think we used every color of Falling Flowers from Peacock Lane, because that print's awesome. Just sayin'. Next, we used the Go! Baby to cut 72 of the medium size felt circles and the 36 print circles. Cutting multiple layers at once really made this job a lot faster.
The next step was a tad trickier. To cut the center ring without cutting off part of our original circle we had to fold each circle in half and then half it again. Then, lining up the point with the center of the circle on the die, we ran it through again and it cut the ring right out of it. Repeat 35 more times.
Yeah, that part was boring... but this guy helped entertain me through it!
Next, we stacked the layers: felt circle on bottom, fabric circle in center and donut ring on top. Then, using a zigzag stitch we stitched both the outside and the inside of the donut ring.
And that's that. A super simple project - and so far Mason says they taste great. Yeah, he's a little young for them right now, but we're ahead of the game over here :) His momma saved a wipes container to store them in too. Mmmm. Hmmmm. She's a thinker, that one.
Then, when no one was looking, I used the larger size circle to make myself a set of coasters that we actually use every single day. I love these things!
xoxo ~ Violet
Gina has this special way of curating her inventory. I don't use that word lightly. Walking into the front door of Bolt you are immediately greeted with a feeling of style, fashion and urban make-ing. Gina has a way of editing collections down to this refined boutique of prints and notions that suit Bolt's aesthetic perfectly.
So when I discovered that Gina had chosen to include Peacock Lane in Bolt's offerings I was truly ecstatic.
And when she asked me to pick out a fat quarter pack to
... well, I got so excited by what I had to choose from that I had to go and make new pillows for our living room... and a mini pattern to go with them!
Mod Petal Pillows
I chose a fat quarter pack consisting of the following five prints for
Quilting Treasures - Juicy Blossoms in Orange
Bluehill - Savannah - 7443 - Green (5)
Lecien - Cocoa Eraser Dots
Moda - Basic Grey - Max and Whiskers - Maybley Fur in Black
Lecien - Rosalie Quinlan - Sweet Broderie - Daisy Chain in Orange
I couldn't quite stop there though... my shopping pile also included:
Daisy Janie - Geo Grand - Crystal Ball in that yummy bright citron-y green
Andover - Melissa Averinos - Dazzle - Shadow Stripe in Teal (for the backing)
Kona Cotton in Ash for the middle square and border
Kona Cotton in White for the dash of sashing
I thought you might also like to see what this same pattern would look like done in the fat quarter pack of Peacock Lane that Bolt is also
! In this example I've swapped out the Kona Ash and replaced it with Kona Medium Gray (or even Charcoal). The prints are fussy cut pieces of Meadow in Pink, Meadow in Gray, Falling Flowers in Aqua and Parade Day in Gray.
Shopping List (makes two 19" square pillow covers):
1/8 yard each of five to seven prints
1/4 yard of Kona Ash for center background and border
1/8 yard of Kona White for sashing
1 yard of print for backing
3/4 yard of batting
3/4 yard of no-show lining for inside of quilted pillow fronts
thread to match
water soluble marking pen
2 pillow inserts - 22" square
(optional) 1/8 yard of Wonder Under or other paper backed two sided fusible web
Various Prints: 40 @ 3 1/2" squares
Fusible Web: 8 @ 3 1/2" squares
Kona Ash: 2 @ 9" squares; 4 @ 2 1/2" x 15 1/2" strips; 4 @ 2 1/2" x 19 1/2" strips
Kona White: 2 @ 3/4" x 9"; 2 @ 3/4" x 9 1/2"
Backing: 4 @ 18" x 19 1/2"
Batting: 2 @ 22" squares
Lining: 2 @ 22" squares
(please keep in mind this is a quickie mini tutorial - for detailed explanations of how to cut, piece, quilt and bind, I would suggest the many awesome blogs that detail those techniques... might I suggest my personal favorite,
1. Cut all pieces according to Cutting List (1/4" seam allowance included in measurements)
2. Trace Mod Petal Template on paper backed side of fusible web squares. (Template should print out at 2.7" wide x 3.3" tall) Fuse web to eight 3 1/2" squares. Cut out.
3. Fuse petals to center squares in your desired arrangement. Play with this! There are many fun ways to arrange the petals. Example leaves a 3/8" space between the petals. Attach with desired edge stitch. Example uses tight zigzag stitch.
4. Piece two Mod Petal Blocks by using the diagram. Press all seams flat.
5. Layer a 22" lining square face down, a 22" batting square and the Mod Petal Block face up.
6. Quilt as desired. Example uses straight line quilting 1/4" from the seams. Trim to 19 1/2".
7. Hem one 19 1/2" edge of all four backing pieces. If backing is directional, hem one top and one bottom for each pillow back.
8. With quilted pillow top lying right side up, layer one pillow back right sides together with hemmed edge running horizontally across the middle of the pillow top, aligning raw edges along the top. Layer the final pillow back piece with right side down, hemmed edge running horizontally across middle of the pillow top, aligning raw edges on the bottom edge. Pin.
9. Stitch 1/4" from edge around the entire outside edge of pillow cover layers. Turn right side out and enjoy!
Ahh - it's all SO good.