I just got back from Quiltcon and my first visit to Austin, Texas, and it was so fantastic! I am working on a post about it with lots of photos, but in the meantime, slowed down by a major post-flight cold, I wanted to share a little project I sewed last month for the Woolen Mill Store: a set of Pendleton puppies!
Michelle asked me and several other sewists to make some projects with Pendleton’s wool, especially their marvelous plaids, for their Sew Expo booth. I sent her several ideas and was so excited when they picked my favorite one, the George the Puppy softie from Jennifer Paganelli’s book, Girl’s World.
I’ve made several in quilting cottons for my kids and I knew they would be so adorable in wool plaids of different scales and colors. It’s a super fun little pattern to sew.
A few tips/details on sewing them in wool instead of quilting cotton: I cut mine on the bias instead of on the straight grain as directed with absolutely no issues.
For the curves, I “clipped” them with pinking shears, turned them right side out, and then top-stitched them for stability. No interfacing or any other materials necessary.
I love how the ears turned out!
And how the bias lines of the plaids looked along the seams.
Pearl and I named them Oliver and Madeleine and had a little indoor-outdoor photo shoot.
One of my favorite things was making a tiny wool-felt binding collar with a mother-of-pearl button “tag” for each of the puppies.
Buttons just find their way into a LOT of my projects. I love them so much.
The two puppies are so cute together. I used Pendleton’s ombre plaids in shirting weight, which is lovely to sew. I mixed larger-scale plaids for the bodies with smaller, more delicate plaids for the ears.
If you go to Sew Expo, I hope you’ll stop by the Pendleton booth and say hi to Oliver and Madeleine! Check out all the beautiful Pendleton project samples everyone sewed in Michelle’s post here.
If you go:
February 28-March 3, 2013
The kids and I got our valentines for relatives across the country made and in the mail this morning, so that was a relief! These holidays always sneak up on me, and the next thing I know we’re rushing to finish something in time for USPS to get them to all the aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I wanted to share two Valentine’s Day project tutorials I wrote up a few years ago that you might like to make between now and Thursday. They’re both quick and easy and pretty fun!
The first one is felt fortune cookies with a tiny heart on the “fortune” – I love this little project. You can either make one the size of a real cookie, or a teeny-tiny version to wear on a ring. I got a great surprise this week… my little project won second place in a DIY Valentines contest courtesy of Sybille, so I won a prize: a set of washi tape and packaging supplies! Very exciting.
The second is a hand-stitched beaded heart card. This one is very sweet and elementary-school age kids could probably pull it off with a little help, especially if they like hand-sewing.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all and happy 154th birthday to Oregon! I’m deep in some pre-Quiltcon sewing but hoping to share some new projects I’m working on soon – especially skirts and zip bags. Also, plaid puppies, curtains, tablecloths, and pillows. Sewing has been a lot of fun lately, and I’ve been excited to make some new things here and there in between deadlines and kid illnesses (sigh). Hope you have had a chance to make some things you like lately too!
I had so much fun sewing my PMQG challenge block using all the lovely solids Michael Miller sent us! I have always wanted to try string quilting and this felt like the perfect chance to work on something new. Love all the colors together! I wanted to share how I made my block, so if you’re interested, you can read on for a simple tutorial.
We were so lucky to have Kathy Miller speak at our February meeting, and she brought Cotton Couture cards for each of us with swatches of all 80+ colors in their new solids line. (Fabric Depot is now carrying every single Cotton Couture color, if you are local!)
So Heather, Nancy, Petra, Ale and I met up and chose 8 colors we loved from the collection for a PMQG challenge, and Michael Miller generously sent us a bolt of each one. We had an all-evening cutting party at Nancy’s studio, and ended up with this beautiful box full of fat eighths to share with everyone at the March meeting…
I stitched up a little pennant of the eight challenge colors – Fog, Meadow, Clementine, Luna, Charcoal, Kryptonite, Tangerine, and Aqua.
So, the challenge details are all on the blog, and I was so excited to work with these colors, but the specific block size requirements (15.5″ x 18.5″) threw me a bit at first. I usually piece square blocks, and rarely anywhere near 18 inches across. But doing a little math, I realized that if I pieced five 8″ square blocks and cut one into 2″ x 8″ strips to sew on both the horizontal sides (using a 1/4″ seam allowance throughout), it would magically translate into the correct finished size!
I started by cutting five eight-inch fabric squares for foundation piecing, using an extra piece of Luna (the pale blue solid in the range), and then cut two varied-width strips from each of the 8 colors the length of the fat eighths (22″). I cut each strip randomly between 1 and 3 inches wide, without thinking about it too much. I made and photographed this block very quickly during one naptime, so I didn’t take step-by-step photos of my piecing – for the basics of string quilting, I’ll send you to this excellent film in the fridge tutorial. The differences with mine are that I pieced on fabric instead of paper (so don’t adjust the stitch length at all, you won’t be tearing the back away), and instead of using a glue stick, I just pinned my first diagonal strip in place and stitched the second one on to it, removing the pin afterward, and continuing the same way to fill the square. You’ll press and trim the same way as on paper, but you’ll have a nice sturdy fabric foundation layer underneath. I loved how much calmness the double layer gave a larger block – Cotton Couture is silky and wonderful to sew with, so it is not heavy or bulky at all.
After I made five 8-inch blocks, I stitched four together to form a big, colorful diamond pattern. Then I sliced the 5th block into four 8″ tall, 2″ wide strips, thinking they would be perfect for adding to the sides to yield that magical 15.5″ x 18.5″ dimension!
…but I figured out that while they are exactly right size-wise, to continue the diamond pattern, you need two strips with the diagonal going one way, and two with it going the opposite way. Whoops! So I stitched up one more 8″ x 4″ opposite-diagonal section with the scraps (the one on the left – I had just enough time and fabric left, yay) and cut that one into two strips to use instead. And ended up with this!
If you don’t want to try string piecing, maybe imagining four 8-inch blocks of any style, with an extra one sliced and diced for the sides, will help you plan something fun to build out to 15.5″ x 18.5″. I think that it would be fabulous to use log cabin, improvisational patchwork, paper piecing, or any other block style you’re into this way…
If you are a PMQG member and haven’t gotten your challenge fabric yet, you can pick it up from Nancy at her Just Quilting studio, Monday through Friday. Just give her a call first (503.234.0403). And if you’re working on your challenge block, please share photos in the PMQG flickr pool, we’d love to see them! You can bring your challenge blocks to our April meeting (Thursday the 19th at 7 pm, PNCA) or email us at portlandmodernquiltguild at gmail.com so we can collect them and take photos. Kathy Miller will choose 16 of our blocks to create a special Cotton Couture quilt for the Michael Miller booth at Spring Quilt Market! We’ll make a PMQG-collective quilt with the others plus any improv blocks using your scraps you’d like to bring in May, and hope to show it in Sisters.
I wanted to share a tutorial for making cute, simple patchwork (or patterned fabric) tote bags for kids – perfect for sending to The Littlest Warriors project over at Craft Hope, which is also the PMQG charity quilting opportunity for February. I used two 12” quilt blocks/pieces of fabric for a child’s size bag, but I included some suggestions for sizing them up for sturdier adult-size versions – plus some of my other favorite tote tutorials – at the end of the post. I hope you like them!
A quick note: I sew in a basement room without a whole lot of childcare time, and it’s February in the Pacific Northwest, so be forewarned that these photos aren’t exactly professionally lit or painstakingly staged. It’s a simple tutorial though, so hopefully you can follow along easily – I made these two tote bags in about an hour and a half, counting all the quilt block piecing! If you use stash blocks or just cut solid pieces of fabric, you can fly through these. My goal is to make 5 for the littlest warriors by the March 12 deadline – all the details are here.
-Two quilt blocks (or solid pieces of fabric) in the 11”-12” square range for the outer sides of the bag. I used 12” blocks and fabric squares.
-If using quilt blocks: muslin, the same size as your blocks, or slightly bigger, for reinforcing them
-Lining fabric of your choice, the same size as your outer blocks or fabric
-1.5 yards of webbing for handles
-Thread, rotary cutter, quilt ruler + mat, scissors, iron, sewing machine
1. Cut two pieces of fabric (I used an Alexander Henry zoo print for my blue bag) or piece two quilt blocks of your choice, approximately 12” square. (You can also make them smaller or bigger if you like – 12” makes a nice toddler/preschooler-to-elementary-school size).
This is a great project for stash quilt blocks, or if you need to piece up two quick ones, log cabin is an easy one! I made a random log cabin block in the six yellow fabrics I originally used in my Bright Furrows quilt from Modern Log Cabin Quilting. To make two 12” blocks like these, cut 6 selvage-to-selvage (44”) strips that are 1.75” wide, in the quilting cottons of your choice. Here’s a short video of how I piece log cabin blocks…
For an approximately 12” block, you’ll start with a 1.75” center square in one of the fabrics and add 4 tiers of logs using different fabrics in any order, piecing clockwise and pressing when each tier is completed. Press front and back and square up your blocks.
2. If you’re using quilt blocks, quilt them with a muslin backing (or use the technique of your choice) to add stability. I quilted a square outline pattern about 1/8” outside the center square and then each tier (you can see this more easily in the photo that precedes step #4). Press again and trim excess so your blocks are square. (This would also be a great project for foundation piecing/quilting as you go!)
4. Pin the two outer pieces together around three sides, right sides facing and leaving the top open, and then repeat the same way with the lining fabrics. Stitch the three sides with a 1/2″ inch seam allowance, back-stitching at the beginning and end to hold the seam. You’ll sew the outer and lining sections together the same way.
5. Make box corners by pressing the corners into flat triangles with the seams pressed open, pinning them, and stitching 1” in from the corner. You’ll do this the same way for the outer and lining bag sections.
6. Trim the extra fabric at each corner, as shown.
This is what your finished box corner will look like from the outside!
7. Now turn the outer bag right side out and tuck the lining in, making sure they fit snugly together. Turn the raw edges of both the bag and lining under and press them evenly (you can turn under 1/4″ to 1/2″, depending on how bulky your quilted outer section is – just keep your bag and lining consistent). Pin the bag and lining together all around the perimeter of the opening.
8. Cut two 18” lengths of webbing for handles and pin each of them in place. I placed mine 2” (patchwork) and 2.5” (wholecloth) in from the side seam – I followed the outer edge of the second tier of my log cabin blocks as a guideline for my patchwork tote, and eyed it with my wholecloth one. Just make sure they’re even with one another and match the handle on the other side, and that the handles aren’t twisted!
9. Edge-stitch around the perimeter of the bag, catching both layers evenly, and then reinforce the four handles with double-stitching.
To make a larger/adult size, try starting with 15” or 16” quilt blocks or fabric squares (and same-size lining) instead of 11”/12”, and reinforcing the blocks with a home dec weight fabric instead of muslin. You can cut your handles to 24” each (instead of 18”), too.
Some other tutorials I like:
-The Purl Bee’s Twenty-Minute Tote (my original inspiration – an adult-sized bag without lining or box corners)
-The Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag tutorial
-And here are four other tote bags I’ve made for my own kids and their friends in this same style!
So, the March 12 deadline is two weeks from tomorrow… I would love to cheer you on if you are sewing for the littlest warriors too! Please comment or keep me posted on what you’re making, and I will be so excited to share photos of all the finished bags and hats I see. Thank you!!
I used Everett’s naptime today to sew something new for a gift swap in a few days, and it was so fun to make, I thought I’d share it over here – a set of tiny stocking ornaments! These are super easy, each one only takes a few minutes to cut out and stitch up.
-a scrap of paper + paper scissors
-a 4″ x 6″ remnant of fabric (I used by-the-pound plaid scraps from the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store for mine, but I think solid-colored felt or home dec fabric would be perfect too, maybe with some embellishments like these?)
-a 6″ piece of ribbon
-and a sewing machine (or needle and thread).
To get started, sketch or trace a simple paper stocking pattern like the one in the photos (I cut mine freehand from an old envelope, and it measures 3.5″ inches tall and 2.5″ inches across at the widest part, the toe). Cut that out with paper scissors.
Then fold your remnant and pin the pattern to it. Cut out two identical stocking pieces with pinking shears. Cut a 6″ length of ribbon to loop for the hanger and fold it in half. Tuck the ribbon’s raw edges inside the stocking pieces, at the top left corner, at an angle as shown. Pin the stocking pieces together at the ribbon fold and at the toe on the opposite side.
Stitch around the perimeter of the stocking, from upper left where the ribbon loop is all the way around, back-stitching at the beginning and end of your seam. Trim threads and you’re done!
I cut seven out in different plaids and flannels and just sewed them in quick little batches, using three different ribbons of varying widths. (I couldn’t get a good photo on the tree this afternoon, but Pearl let me borrow her Advent calendar.)
These are so fast to make and would be a nice extra to decorate a bottle of wine or cider for a party…
Anyway, I hope you like them!
I’m working on a new round-up of all the holiday projects I’ve ever shared a tutorial for (or done a variation on and linked over to elsewhere), and I’m hoping to have that posted tomorrow afternoon, too. Update: Nope, naptimes go fast and this mega-post is still in progress a few days later. Looks like I will be posting it in December 2012, and I have a nice head start… in the meantime, I wrote up a review of this lovely book with lots of holiday projects for kids to make!
I recently got my contributor copy of the fabulous BUST DIY Guide to Life and I love it! Flipping through all 350 pages has been a treat – it’s basically 15 years’ worth of the magazine‘s awesomeness in one gorgeous place.
Debbie Stoller (whose birthday is today – happy birthday Debbie!) and Laurie Henzel have rounded up hundreds of how-tos from contributors and editors alike and organized them into hefty chapters like “BUST-ier Homes and Gardens” and “Your Style, Your Way.” Along with craft projects of just about every kind, there are dozens (hundreds?) of recipes to try, plus tutorials on tuning up a bike, buying a house, polishing a resume, and just about anything else you might want to to figure out how to do. Here are a few of my favorites…
I’m so happy that two of my articles for BUST made it into the book, too! I wrote “Chains of Love” in 2005, I remember making those three necklaces in our apartment in LA. I was so excited to see it on the page!
And I wrote “Get it Together,” a quick organizing guide, within a year or so of that one too. I could do worse than take my own advice when it comes to my craft room these days…
This Saturday afternoon, Debbie and Laurie will be at Powell’s here in downtown Portland for a signing and party – I would love to see you over there! Powell’s has a nice display of the book (sorry, the photo is blurry – Everett was in the carrier and really wanted to help) if you want to flip through and see some of the awesomeness for yourself.
The BUST DIY Guide to Life signing with Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel!
Powell’s, 1005 W. Burnside St. in Portland
Saturday, November 5 at 2:00
I’m so happy to be today’s stop on the Sewing for Boys blog tour with a review and giveaway (read on!). Shelly and Karen have created a fun collection of 24 projects to make for the boys – or girls – in your life, from newborn to age 7, from pants and shirts to hats, belts, and Lego bags. There are full-sized paper patterns included for all the clothes projects, and thorough instructions and diagrams throughout. Be sure to check out the Sewing for Boys flickr group for tons of inspiring photos of reader-made projects!
I have my heart set on making the Treasure Pocket Pants for Pearl (as a good hand-me-down for my little boy Everett), but when I saw the To-Go Artist, I knew that would have to be my first SFB project and the one to show over here with my book review. (It didn’t hurt that Daniela designed the airplane fabric for this one – love it.)
My nephew Julian turned 10 (!) this year and though he’s a little too big for the clothes size ranges here, I knew he would love a portable mini-art studio.
I did a few adaptations to make it more him – left off the shorter crayon holder in favor of a larger one just for colored pencils,
kept it to one main solid fabric with a bright peace-sign print instead of using three different ones, and added a 10 applique on the front.
I also did a few things that made it more me – made a quick handmade binding tape to edge the top of the notebook holder instead of top-stitching,
and used a snap (with a button cover) instead of Velcro since I didn’t have any handy. I also added this little tag, which resurfaced from 2000 or so when I moved my craft room. (This photo also shows the truest color of the solid green canvas I used, a home dec fabric from IKEA that I also sewed Pearl a set of curtains with.)
Here’s another look at the inside. The only thing I wanted to do, but didn’t, was top-stitch the whole perimeter to finish as the instructions mentioned – I love top-stitching, but with up to six layers of thick canvas layered in a few places, my universal needle was not happy. So I hand-stitched the opening with invisible thread and it worked very nicely, it’s not quite as defined but it works. It’s plenty sturdy with all that canvas, especially once I pick up a hard-covered sketchbook to add…
So, on to the giveaway! Wiley sent me my review copy and has generously donated another copy of the book for me to give away to a blog reader, and I’m adding a piece of the print I used (Alexander Henry’s “peace” from 2005, which I bought around then at Michael Levine in LA and just cut into for the first time for this project!). To enter to win the book and fabric, please leave a comment on this post by next Thursday, September 22 (midnight PST), mentioning your favorite craft project you’ve ever made for a kid, and I’ll let Shelly and Karen pick the winner then!
Even better, for locals: Shelly will be signing books at Modern Domestic tomorrow night, September 16, from 6-9, and at Powell’s Books on October 22. Don’t miss Wiley’s author blog and tomorrow’s stop on the blog tour, True Up!
Wow, two weeks since I posted last, huh? Things have been so crazy lately — first there was the excellent and busy Crafty Wonderland weekend, then Pearl turned two (yay!) and there was plenty going on for that… plus lots of work and regular stuff, and then in the middle of that whirlwind (thankfully, after the birthday festivities) I ended up super, super sick. It’s taken a week to feel even slightly like myself again, but boy, I am glad to even be this much better!
I have gotten to do a few fun craft projects lately, so I thought I’d finally share those. First, I signed up for a really great handmade kids’ clothes swap and we sent out our packages earlier this spring. I’ve been longing to post these photos, but my recipient in Scotland didn’t get my package for a few extra weeks (thanks to the volcano tangling everything up on that side of things) and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise!
In the swap draw, I got a sweet little almost-one-year old who loves bright colors and bold patterns. Of course I grabbed my trusty favorite kids’ pattern, Burda 9772, and used some extremely bright and bold fabric from my stash (I remember lining a bag with this about four years ago, but hadn’t touched it since) to make a simple pair of pants and a matching embellished t-shirt. Her initial is I, so I used that as part of the shirt decoration!
My swap sender turned out to be a super crafter in Brooklyn who made this lovely dress for my tall, lanky Pearl… she paired this awesome soft olive green corduroy with a cool large-scale paisley print. They look so nice together.
The back has an ingenious button closure that can be moved, so when she’s bigger and taller, it can evolve into a smock top to wear with jeans. Such a great idea.
I also made a Mother’s Day craft project that I highly recommend! I used this tutorial on Design*Sponge to turn an 8 x 10 side-view photo of Pearl into a template to cut my very first silhouettes.
It was a surprisingly easy gift that everyone loved — I made one for my mom (pink background), one for my mother-in-law (blue), and one for us (patterned) in about an hour, with one practice version to try things out in there too. I had a terrible time getting a decent photo behind glass (btw, they’re in Ribba frames from Ikea), but it really is a fun project to try. I’m excited to do one every year now — maybe a smaller version to put in a photo album with snapshots, or for a holiday card?
Oh, and the garden is super happy (except that all kinds of sneaky things seem to love eating my chard), I’ll post some Week 5 photos tomorrow! I was excited to see how much everything has grown.