Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quick-Tip: Curves & Corners

When sewing together a project that involves curves and/or corners, try this:

Corners: before turning your fabric inside-out cut diagonally on the corner. Be sure you do not cut where you have sewn or you'll have a hole!


Curves: Cut into your fabric down to where you have sewn. Cut all around the curve about 1/4" apart.



Monday, November 8, 2010

Quilting Block: Tilted Squares

Here is what I am working on with my Crazy Eight Reindeer Panel quilt - tilted squares! It adds a great "twist" to your quilt.

1. Add a border fabric to your middle square. (I added honey bun strips). After adding the border, make sure each block is the same size. In my case, I made all of mine 6 1/2". 

2. On my cutting board, I made a chalk mark where the 1/2" line would be since there is none. Then, I lined my bottom left corner with the 2" mark, and my bottom right corner on the 1/2" chalk mark. 

3. Mark all of your cut lines before cutting. Just remember the goal is to have straight lines even though the square in the middle is becoming tilted! I use my ruler as a guide from the bottom left corner and along the 2" line. See how it creates a straight line? It's also important here to mark before you cut because then you can see how your quilt block will come out before any cutting is done.

4. Below are all of my chalk marks. I put the ruler on the right side to show how you would line it up in order to mark all sides. Basically you start from the corner and go straight! For instance, I used the 2" line on the bottom, the 6 1/2" line on the right side, the 8" line on the top, and the 1/2" line for the left side. 

5. Now cut, and if you started out with a 6 1/2" square like me, you should now have a 6" x 6" finished square. 

These make for very whimsical and cute quilting blocks! You can view them within a quilt here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Add A Decorative Touch To Your Quilt

I bought this panel (awhile ago) called, "Crazy Eight Reindeer Panel". I saw the quilt put together and LOVED this detail: stitching! As you can see, I added snowflakes falling down from the sky. I also outlined a few items (like the striped blue hat below) to give the panel a 3D affect as well as to help hide the fact that this is indeed a panel! I'm not a huge fan of them, but this one is really cute. You can view the whole panel here. It comes with the large picture with the reindeer, and all of the squares you see with Christmas decor (ie. holly, Christmas tree, snowman, ornament, etc.) I plan to make up my own version of this quilt and have some cute quilting block ideas for you, so check back!

To stitch these falling snowflakes in, along with outlining items on the panel, I used cross stitch thread (all strands) and a needle. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dish Towel Bib

This bib is quick, easy, and affordable. You can use older dish towels, or buy them brand new (but I would only pay $1 for each one). It's best for kids 6 months or older. I personally like these because they cover the shoulders, are long in the front, and even cover the backside!

1. Take a normal kitchen dish towel, then measure and mark eight inches from the top as well as halfway across. (simply fold it in half to get the halfway mark)

2. Fold the top of the cloth down at the 8" mark.

3. Fold in half (hot dog style)

4. Cut at a 3" angle along the inside fold (where your 8" and halfway marks are will be directly under where my 3" mark is on my measuring tape shown below)

Here is what your towel will look like after cutting:

5. Cut your ribbing. I made mine 14" long. One way to test if it's big enough is to pin the end and where you're thinking of cutting, then see if it fits over your head. Once cut, fold it in half length-wise.

6. Take the two ends of your ribbing - on one side fold it inward so there's no raw edge, then tuck the other end inside of it.

7. Insert four pins total on the top, bottom and sides of your circle.

 8. Pin in ribbing at the four points on the front side of your towel. It stretches so it won't fit on exactly and that's okay!

9. Start on one pin and sew. I have a hemstitch on my sewing machine so that's what I used. If you only have a basic machine do a zig-zag stitch so it will hold better. The best option is to use a serger. 
**You will have to stretch the ribbing to make it fit. Sart at one pin, put your needle in the down position, and stretch your fabric to fit to the next pin. 

You're done! Here's a view of the back:

And the front:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Denim Flowers

After hemming a pair of jeans, I had about 3 - 4 inches of denim left and thought; surely there's something I can make with this! So I cut three different sizes of circles, stitched on a button, and kabam! 

I made seven little flowers to put on clips for my hair, my daughter's hair, or a headband. 

Or I can stitch them onto a shirt, a hat, a decorative towel, or onto a quilt top. 

I used quilter's thread to put on the buttons because it is thicker/stronger and therefore you don't need to thread through the button as much to make sure it holds.

Here are the clips I bought: I bought these kind of clips because they lay more flat against a head & head band. Hot glue works to attach the flowers - but I used super glue.
 I think it will work better, if not I'll let you know!

The denim will fray a little sooner or later, but will only add to the cuteness of these flowers.

Here's my daughter sporting her new flower clip!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hemming Jeans

There are different ways to hem jeans, but I found this way the easiest to understand and do! 

Follow these steps:
1. Try the jeans on with shoes you most often wear or size them up against another pair of jeans that you like the length of. 

2. Fold the jeans up to the length you desire (I just did one side but you can do both if you like).

3. Iron the folded section to create a crease in the jeans.

4. Unfold and mark that crease with chalk or soap - whatever you will be able to see.

5. Then measure 1" down and mark a new line. You'll fold the fabric under to create a new hem OR you can roll the whole hem under. If you choose the latter than skip to step 8.

6. Cut jeans on the line you marked in step 5.

7. Fold jeans under twice at a 1/2" fold each time. Iron each time you fold for easier pinning. Yep, you guessed it, now pin!

8. Sew your new seam! Don't forget to use thread that matches what was used on the jeans already. I also used a specific needle for sewing with denim. You can buy needles at Tacony Corporation Klasse Jeans/Denim Machine Needles-100/16 5/Pkg. Also, when sewing, make sure you backstitch but start sewing   near the side of the pant leg so it's not so obvious.

Here is the finished product on the outside:

And from the inside:

**If you had at least 3 inches of denim you cut off... don't throw it away! I have a project to do with it coming up next!!**

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Busy, Busy!

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile! I was busy entertaining a friend who came to visit, then visiting
Or rather, Boise, ID (my hometown)! I did still sew - 

I made up a lot of car seat covers for an upcoming craft fair! I also got this:
And now I am exploring all of my new options with this nicer sewing machine! (Viking Husqvarna)

With it, I've been able to (finally) finish my table runners I made as a part of my service project. Here's the result: 
What do we think? I LOVE summer colors!

I also received this picture of what Anita Waters did for her service project:
Beautiful circle blankets! She even crocheted around the edges which I think is AMAZING!

How about you? What did you do for service in September?? Email me your pictures and who you gave the item to so I can share!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Quick-Tip: Beware of the Sun!

Heat/the sun will destroy your sewing machine!!

Explanation: I had a neighbor call me over to her house because her sewing machine was not running correctly. Sure enough as I tried to turn her needle so it would go up and down, it was as if it no longer wanted to move! I could see that the grease that should be on the machine was non-existent. Long-story short; she had her sewing machine placed in front of her window where the sun would shine directly on it from about noon to sundown. The sun had dried up and warped her sewing machine parts! Her repair bill will now be $60 - $90. So please be careful of where your sewing machine is and keep it away from the sun and heat! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quick-Tip: Stippling

A good way to keep a firm grim on your fabric/quilt while stippling is to wear gardening gloves. There are special quilting gloves you can buy, but this is the cheaper (and just as good) alternative! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My First "Service In September" Project

I took a quilt pattern, made it a little smaller, and created a wall hanging for my aunt who has us over for dessert once a month and babysits for us continually! (We're deeply indebted, but hopefully this helps her feel appreciated.)

You can get the quilt pattern here

If you'd like to create something for someone, check out my Service In September post and make your pledge!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quilt Block: Stack 'N Shuffle

Tracey wanted an idea for a quilt block, here's one that is never the same twice!

1. Take some freezer paper or butcher paper and cut it to the size you'd like to start out with for your block. Do remember, however, that because of seams and trimming the block will be smaller in the end.
          - My block started out as 21 1/4" x 16 3/4"

2. Create your own cut lines on the paper (number of pieces should equal number of fabrics used). Don't do more than ten cuts/fabrics, or less than three. 
         - I have five fabrics and will make five pieces to cut out.

3. Cut each piece of fabric the size of your block.

4. Stack fabrics - a trick to keeping the fabrics from shifting when cutting is to run an iron over each one before stacking. Also, make a note of which fabrics are where if you are concerned you'll lose track of what is where!

5. Secure the paper on top of all of your fabrics; yes, you'll cut the paper too when you cut your fabrics. I used pins but you can also use weights or whatever else you can think of!

6. Cut through your lines. Below is an example of my first cut:

7. Now, in piece #1, move the 1st piece of fabric to the bottom; 2nd to the bottom; repeat that pattern until the last piece where you DO NOT SHUFFLE it AT ALL! 

8. Sew all pieces together for each layer. A few things to remember: sew from the inside of the block towards the outside, & sew pieces together in descending order from your last cut. Ex: I made five pieces, so I sewed together 5 to 4, etc. 

9. Iron sewn-together blocks separately. 

10. Trim each square down to the smallest block size you have so they are all the same size.

11. Now you should have as many blocks as you did fabrics and they should all be different  with like fabrics! This is a fun block to do because you can make up your own pattern and nothing ever turns out the same. 

If you are interested in seeing more ideas on quilt blocks, I found this helpful website:

Good Luck! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Service In September

"Service to others deepens and sweetens this life while we are preparing to live in a better world. It is by serving that we learn to serve. When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves!" - Spencer W. Kimball

I believe in the principle of sharing our talents with others, especially through service. That is why I have decided to challenge YOU (and myself) to help serve others around us. If you have a crafty talent, pledge with me to do something for someone else. You may or may not know them personally, but please join me and make something for someone else! 

My pledge: 
I pledge to make a quilt & a table runner by the end of September. (Details to come on who it will be.) 

So, will you join me and pledge to make something and give it to another? Expecting nothing in return?
I'd love to hear what you plan to do (through commenting on this post), and when you've given your item away send me pictures so I can post about all the goodness that has occurred! 

"May we ponder carefully, deeply, and prayerfully our roles in life, where we can give the greatest service, to whom we can make the greatest contribution, what we should do with our lives and with our special skills and training. Our success will be measured by what we can give of our lives and our contribution to others rather than what we can get and receive from others." - Again, Spencer W. Kimball

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quick Tip: Bordering Your Quilt

So I have this panel (shown in the middle), and plan to make this quilt up for Christmas! What I love about this quilt is that the outer border is just one fabric. You can take any striped fabric, stick it around your quilt in a perpendicular fashion, and your quilt will look more complex than it really is! You can also sew a line through some of the stripes (with the batting and bottom layer of the quilt) to make it look even more like separate pieces of fabric. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rag Quilt Tutorial

This quilt is great if you have scraps laying around! Naomi asked that I do a rag quilt tutorial as well; here it is!

Pro:Once you're done making your quilt top; the whole quilt is finished!
Con: Cutting the seams was my least favorite part.


  • Baby Flannel (I just used scraps so I don't have an exact yardage for you)
  • Thread (a color matching the quilt)
  • Basic sewing supplies, with walking foot optional 
  1. Cut your squares 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" (you can do any size)
2.  For this quilt, you'll be sewing on a 1/2" seam allowance. Put down a piece of masking tape on your sewing machine to help guide you, and remind you!

3.  The batting is baby flannel, and I suggest purchasing a solid flannel that shows on both sides so you can't really tell which side is which. You'll need to cut these into the same size of squares. 

4.  For each square: place the bottom fabric face down, place your batting on that, and then your top fabric face up. (Some call this a "sandwich"). Make two sandwiches to start with.

5.  Stitch (at 1.5 length) together the two squares - NOTE: here is where the trick of the quilt is... you forget everything you've ever done with sewing and do the opposite!! So instead of putting the fronts of your two sandwiches together, you put the two backs together because you want the seam to be on top and visible. 

6.  Sew together each sandwich row by row, and then connect all of the rows together.
(This picture is to show you how I connected each row's seams. I folded one below and one above so my sewing machine wouldn't have to sew over 12 layers of fabric at one time! Go really slowly here so you don't break a needle.)

7.  Sew around the edge of your quilt still with a 1/2" seam.

8.  Clip your seams about 1/4" apart - warning: get some good small fabric scissors, otherwise this is a hard process! Also, I'd suggest doing this while watching TV or in spurts because it can become tedious. 
9.  Wash your quilt.

10.  Dry & enjoy your quilt!