Sunday, February 27, 2011

School House Tunic

This past week I made the School House Tunic by Sew Liberated in Central Park by Kate Spain.  I found this pattern to be super easy to put together.  This is the first time I have made sleeves on something for me, and overall, I think they went together well.  I did have to use my seam ripper quite a bit because the fabric kept catching underneath, but that is all my fault.:)  I made it in a size 6, and needed around 2 1/2 yards. 

I plan on wearing it this week with some leggings and my dark brown tall boots.  I think it is going to be cute!  I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Scrappy Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt

This past weekend I finally finished my I-spy disappearing nine patch!  I started this back in 2008, and I finally quilted it this past weekend. It is so bright and cheerful that I am very happy with it.  I also love how scrappy it is.It is approximately 81"x 94", so it will fit a full size bed. It contains 2,052-2.5" squares, and the little black squares are 3/4" square. I quilted it with simple straight lines going vertically.  I used a polka dot on black for the binding.

I started thinking about why it took me so long to finish this one, and I realized that I finished the top before I got my new sewing machine for my birthday in 2009.   I couldn't quilt very well on my old machine, so I was tentative about using it to sew this top up.  When I did get my new machine, I was pregnant, and it was really hard getting on the floor to baste.  I then became distracted with new projects, but I am so happy I finally pulled it out to finish!

I wanted to make a pieced back, and I had this great city print that I thought would work well for an i-spy type quilt. 

Here is a close up of some of the blocks so you can see the complete craziness of all the novelty fabric it has from tennis balls, kittens, golf tees, to footballs and bats.  I had to include some Auburn fabric, too.

If you want to trace the journey of this quilt, here is where I have blogged about it previously.
Cutting fabric and assembling squares
Starting to take shape
Top is finished!

I also wrote a tutorial for the disappearing nine patch block if you would like to try it out!
Disappearing Nine Patch Tutorial

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Finishing up projects!

I went to my first meeting of the Front Range Modern Quilt Guild yesterday down in Monument, CO, and I had so much fun.  We met from 10-5 with a meeting at the beginning, lunch, and then sewing time!  I have been seeing my blog friends participating in the Modern Quilt Guild across the country, but there had not been one here this past December.  I missed the two first meetings because they coincided with the Auburn SEC Championship game and the National Championship game.  As much as I wanted to attend, those were the two sporting events that I couldn't miss, so this was my first opportunity.

I had a lot of fun, and I finished some sewing in the afternoon.  I am determined to finish up some of my projects this year, and I am bargaining with myself by not starting anything new until at least one thing is finished.  I pulled out my scrappy disappearing nine patch that I started way back in 2008.  The top was finished in October of 2008!  I pieced a back for it last weekend, basted it this week, and between yesterday afternoon and staying up way too late last night, the top is quilted and the binding is attached.  Now I just need to hand sew the rest of the binding down.

There was a small craft for us to make at the meeting, and we made these little flower pins.  Isn't it cute?  I think it would look awesome as an embellishment on a little girl's dress or as a hair bow.

I also had happy mail from my mom!  She made us this tablerunner for Valentine's Day.  I love it.  I would love to have tablerunners for all the holidays, and now Valentine's is covered.  I don't know why blogger keeps flipping my photos; it is driving me crazy!  If anyone knows a way to fix it, I would love to know.

I realized I never shared the tablerunner that I made for my mom for Christmas.  It is from Moda's Basic Gray Origins line.  Her kitchen has green, so it works well in it.

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mini Quilt from Scandinavian Stiches

 Look at what I found at my local library!  My library is about a mile and a half from my house, and I take my daughter for walks by it all the time when the weather is nice outside.  A couple of weeks ago, we were walking by, and I spotted Scandinavian Stitches through the window!  I have been wanting to see this book, and there it is!  I was beyond excited, and we quickly ventured into the library before it could be scooped up by someone else.:)  While I was there, I thought I should check out the other crafting books they might have and found Gees Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt, which is full of inspiration, and Doodle Stitching, which I want to experiment with more.

I have been enjoying all of these books, but Scandinavian Stitches has been great.  I love every single one of the projects in the book, and they are all well explained.  I want to make everything!  I did make this little mini-quilt from the book.
I love the birds floating through space.  It is about 10"x13", and it was fun appliqueing the little birds by using raw edge applique.  Now I need to find a space to hang it up!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Camera Strap Cover

We had two snow days in a row here in Colorado, but it was for cold rather than snow.  The windchill was -14 yesterday!  I also have had a cold the last two days-really sore throat and a fever.  I did manage to finish up this camera strap that I had been wanting to make for a long time! 

I love that this camera strap has a pocket built into the strap for your lens cover.  I am so bad about taking mine off and setting it down somewhere that I don't remember later on.

This is my new camera that I bought back in August, a Nikon D5000.  We had purchased tickets to go to an outdoor music festival, but we then decided not to go because I wasn't sure it would be the best environment for a year old.  So we sold the tickets, and I got a new camera instead for my birthday, several months later.  I love it, and it was a great choice to make not going to the show (which would have been tremendous fun).

My friend Vanessa has a great tutorial over on her blog LBG studio for the strap cover, along with numerous other tutorials.  We actually went to high school together, but I didn't sew then.  I think she might have, but we definitely never talked about it.  I wish we lived closer now because it would be great to have an old friend as a sewing buddy now!  Go check out her blog if you haven't been by before!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Birthday Banner Tutorial

 I have had a couple people ask me how to make the Birthday Banner, so I wanted to put together a tutorial on how I make these!  The first step is to gather your fabrics.  I have always made mine scrappy by pulling scraps and cutting off pieces of fabric from what I already have in my stash with an idea of the color scheme I would like to achieve in my mind.  Another way to have a variety of fabrics that go together would be to use a Moda Layer Cake to cut the pennants out of.

-fabric for the background of the pennants
-fabric for the letters (I used a white polka dot on white for the latest banner, but I have also used small black polka dots on white as well.)
-2" strips of fabric to make bias tape
-Heat N' Bond
-stabilizer-I used Sulky Totally Stable, Iron-On Tear Away Stabilizer
-Word "Happy Birthday" template
-Pennant Template

1. Cut out the pennant shape(s) from a piece of cardstock for your template.  I made the top of the pennant 7 1/2 inches across and it is 9 1/2" tall.

For "Happy Birthday", you will need 26 pennants-one for each side of each pennant since they will be sewn together.  You will need to add an additional pennant for each letter of the name, if you have a name at the end, for example, "Happy Birthday Anna."  In addition, you will need an additional pennant to have before and after each word.

 If you were making a pennant for the phrase, "Happy Birthday Anna", you would need 46 pennants total. 

Formula: Add up the number of letters you need.  Add a pennant for before and after each word.  Then multiply that number by two since they are double sided for the total of pennants you need to make.

I traced my design onto a piece of cardstock to use as template to cut each pennant out from.  I laid the template onto my fabric and slowly cut around it for each pennant.  Be careful not to cut the template because you don't want your pennants to slowly decrease in size because you are shaving off a sliver with each pennant.
Once you know how many you need, start cutting!  Once you cut these out put them to the side for now. 

3.  Now it is time to make the letter appliques.  I made a word document you can download here as a Google Doc.  Once it is open in your browser, if you select file--download--it will download as a Microsoft Word document, so you will be able to make changes to it as you would like to do.  This way you can add your name or you child's name to the end in the same font.

You could also create your own Word document with the phrase as well.  Here is what I used if you would like the same font as what is pictured here.
Font:  Verdana
Size:  300
The whole phrase is also "bolded" and uppercase.

4.  I printed the word document off the computer and then taped it backwards to my window, which acts as a lightbox.  You want it to be backwards when you trace it on the Heat N' Bond, so it will turn out facing the right way on your fabric.  I did this wrong several times, so you can learn from my mistakes! 

I traced the letters on Heat N' Bond Lite, which I purchased at Joanne's Fabrics with the fusible webbing on the roll.  I think it is around $2 a yard.  A yard is more than enough for this project!
 (I don't know why Blogger won't flip this picture, but this is what the packaging looks like.)

5. Once all of your letters are traced, it is time to fuse the bond paper onto your letter fabric.  I  cut out sections of my traced letters on the paper and placed it glue side down on the back side of my fabric.  You don't want to cut out each letter from the paper to fuse it because you will be making it much harder for yourself; I know this from experience!  Follow the direction on the Heat N' Bond packaging for fusing it to your letter fabric.  This letter should be facing the wrong way; this is one I traced incorrectly so when I went to fuse the letter on my pennant it was backwards.

6. Now that you have fused the paper to your letter fabric, it is time to cut out the letters.  You didn't cut out the letters previously because you would then have to cut them out twice.

Once they are all cut out, you will remove the paper from the letter.

7. Now it is time to grab the pennants you previously cut out.  We are going to iron the letters onto each pennant.  It helps to lay out all of your pennants on the floor and lay your letters out on them so you can see if you like the layout of your fabric.

Once you have decided which background fabric will match with each letter, carefully stack them up to take them to your ironing board.

Iron each letter onto the background fabric.  I centered each letter on the fabric and placed the top edge of the letter 1 1/4 inches from the top of the pennant.  I found it the easiest to just lay my ruler on top of the pennant, 1 1/4 inch from the top, and then center it by using the hashmarks.  I didn't mark any of these; just carefully move the ruler away and iron the letter down.  Iron all of your letters down this way.

8. The next step is to attach stabilizer to the back of each letter.  I found that without stabilizer the background fabric will wrinkle up when you are stitching around the letters.  I tried iron iron lightweight interfacing first, but this did not add enough support.  I had the best success with Sulky Totally Stable Iron-On, Tear Away Stabilizer.

I cut several four inch strips from the stabilizer and then cut the strips into 4" squares.  I went ahead and cut out all of my squares at once because it will be much easier to iron them on assembly line style.

 I then held the pennant up to the light so I could see the letter through the stabilizer and fabric to make sure my stabilizer was aligned correctly on the back covering up the entire letter.  If it isn't, the section that isn't covered will definitely pucker.

Iron a piece of stabilizer to the back of every pennant that has a letter.  This picture is from the first time I made a banner and the pennant was a little bigger, so the interfacing looks smaller in this picture than it will look in real life.

9. The next step is stitch around all the letters to make them more permanent.  According to the heat n' bond, you don't have to do this, but I want the extra security of making sure my letters don't come off.  Plus, the stitching helps to make the letters pop out from the background.

To make the stitches pop, I used a bright pink thread for my stitching.  My sewing machine has a computer display, and I selected the standard zig-zag stitch.  I set the width to 4.0 and the length to 0.30.  It will resemble a satin stitch.  I am not an expert at this, so you should play around to find what works for you on a scratch piece of fabric before you start on your good fabric pennants.  I just started at a corner and slowly stitched around until I got back to where I started.  You want to be careful going around corners, leaving your needle down while you raise the foot to pivot so there is thread all the way around the letter without any noticeable gaps.  When going around curves, just go slowly and watch carefully.  I do not profess to being great at this, but I am happy with how they turned out; therefore, you can do this too!

10. Once you have all of your letters fused and stitched down, you will need to remove the paper backing from the stabilizer.  If you gently pull, it should come off neatly and easily.

11. Sew the front and back of the pennant together.  Place your fabric right sides together and stitch 1/4" from the edge from the top corner down to the point and then back up the other side.
I used navy thread in the picture above so you could see my stitch marks.  Assemble all of your pennants in this manner.

12. Turn all of the pennants inside out.  The stack in the photo shows turned pennants on the left and unturned pennants on the right.

 I use this little silver tool for pushing out the point at the bottom of the pennant.  It has a ball on the end, so you don't push a hole in your fabric.  I picked this up at Joannes, but I don't remember the name of it.  I found it in the notions aisle next to the needles and pins.  I have also used chopsticks and the eraser end of a pencil to do this before.

13. Now it is time to make the binding!  You will need to cut 2" strips of fabric for the binding.  I sew it all together using this tutorial from Amy's Creative Side.  She has that you cut 2 1/2 inch strips, but for this usage, I cut 2" strips.   I sew them together using the same technique she has there.  I don't cut mine on the bias for this application since it does not need to go around curves. Cut 2 inch strips from selvedge to selvedge.

Once you have one really long strip, it is easy to using a bias tape maker to turn your strip into bias tape.  Feed your strip into the bias maker, and slowly pull it out while ironing it down. The fabric should fold  down towards the middle as you pull it through the tool.  You can do this without a tool by ironing your strip in half length wise and then ironing down the sides to the middle, but the tool makes it so much easier and is fairly inexpensive.  I have an old one by clover that is 1"/25 mm.  It will make an inch wide strip of single fold bias tape. 

 You can then roll your finished bias tape  into a roll like this one and admire how pretty it is!
I am assuming that you will want your banners to be separate words like I did with a banner for "Happy", a banner for "Birthday" and a banner for the name.

I cut my binding to the following lengths:
"Happy" (7 pennants)-109"
"Birthday"(10 pennants)-130"
"Lucy" and "Anna" (6 pennants)- 102"
"Maggie" (8 pennants)-116"

14. You will then need to fold your fabric in half towards the center and iron down.

15. The next step is to sew the bias tape together.  Fold the ends down 1/4 and then in towards the center to encase your raw ends.

16. Then carefully sew the short end down and start sewing up the side of the bias tape.

I start my pennants 30" into the bias tape so I have plenty of fabric to tie around a pole or a nail to hang up my banner from.  Make this a length that will best work for you!
Once I have sewn 30"  down the length of my bias tape, I start inserting my pennants into the tape.  I did not measure between each pennant, but I tried to insert them into the tape so they were about 1/8th of an inch apart.  Sew all of your pennants into the bias tape and finish off the other end so the raw edges are enclosed like you did previously.

Hang your banner up and enjoy it!