Monday, July 4, 2016

Single Paper Piecing Fun - Doves in the Window

I tried something new!  Jamie Swanson posted a tutorial on Instagram for "Single Paper Piecing", where she puts multiple sections of a paper pieced pattern on a single page, and uses fold lines as an aid to assemble the sections.  I'm not sure I explained that well, but the tutorial is super clear, so check it out!

I needed to make some 10" Doves in the Window blocks, and I really didn't want to use traditional templates for something so small.  I think that could easily become a mess.  I couldn't find that particular size anywhere so I made my own paper piecing pattern. 

You can grab the paper piecing pattern that I made here.  This is for a 10" block.

Happy sewing!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Scrappy background and a suggestion of flowers created with straight lines.

Quilted using a serpentine stitch (walking foot) for a soft texture.

And the binding that happens when nothing that's "right" is also big enough.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Restyling for dummies (and you)

Note to the reader:  I had this sitting around in my queue and decided to post it because it's kinda fun.  The shirt actually was not improved by my "restyling" so I didn't take a photo at the time, and now I don't even know where it is.  Please don't actually follow this tutorial.

Last night I restyled an old shirt into a fabulous creation.  Now once upon a time, in the early days of my clothing sewing, I used to see clothes restyles around the internet and I was like "omg, that is so AMAZING!  I wish that I had the skills to do that."  Gonna let you in on a little secret folks.  It is DEAD EASY.  First of all, you are starting with something that you don't give 2 #2's about.  Big deal if you mess that up, right?  No.  Restyling knits is for those days when you have lots of swears built up in your system and you don't want to do something fiddly.  I'm determined to prove to you guys how easy this is, so I'm gonna walk you through a restyle.  Soon, you will all be believers.

Ok, GO!

Step 1:  Put on the subject.  This is so that you can examine it for flaws. 
Step 2:  Go to the fridge and eat a spoonful of bumbleberry jam (another kind is ok).  This is because jam is good.
Step 3:  OPTIONAL: Turn on the tablet so that you can take a picture of the shirt's flaws in order to put them in an internet tutorial.
Step 4:  OPTIONAL: Discover that the tablet is out of batteries.  Plug it in and go empty the dishwasher.
Step 5:  OPTIONAL: Come back and take pictures of yourself showing the shirt's flaws. 


Sleeves that do not extend to the wrist make my face look like this.

Step 6:  Create your game plan.  In this case, we are going to make this shirt short sleeved.
Step 7:  Execute! 
 Shortening sleeves on a knit (Use your own judgment in deciding when to implement this unsophisticated method.  Ugly brown/grey shirts are a good choice.)
Step 1:  Draw a line on each sleeve at the length you want.
Step 2:  Halfway through, decide that the light in the bedroom is not bright enough for this.  Wonder why you always try things first in the bedroom  mirror when the light in there sucks.  Move to the bathroom. Try to make the sleeve lengths even.
Step 3:  Take off the shirt and cut the sleeves off at the lines you drew.
Step 3.5:  Put the shirt back on and double check in the (bathroom) mirror that the sleeves are mostly even.
Step 4:  Cut 1" off of the ends of the cut off sleeves, at the wrist.  Or the "partway-up-your-forearm" if your surgical patient resembles mine.
Step 5:  Put on your original shirt (the one you were wearing before you started this) because it is cold in the house.
Step 6:  Change your sewing machine needle to one of the following:
Jersey Ball Point 70/10
Jersey Ball Point 80/12
Stretch 75/11
If you have a needle that says the right words but is the wrong size, load 'er up anyway.  Whatever.  The shirt is brown/grey. If you have NO needles that say Jersey, Jersey Ball Point, or Stretch on the package, go to the store and get one (OR throw the shirt across the room and get yourself some wine). 
Step 7:  Set your sewing machine to zig-zag stitch.  Make sure you have a foot on the machine that has a wide opening to accommodate the zig-zag.  Sewing into his own foot makes your machine just as unhappy as it would make you.  Sometimes sewing machines can die from it.  RIP, Brother XL2600I.  *sniff*
 Step 8:  With your shirt right-side out, your 1" cuff piece wrong side out, and your cut edges together, pin the cuff onto the outside of the cut sleeve, stretching as you go.  Start by pinning opposite points, then split the distance between each pin until you have pins spaced ~1-2" apart.
Step 9:  Change your sewing machine thread to something that sorta matches because earlier you forgot that thread existed and didn't change it.  Use nice thread because remember those swears are still in you and if anything goes wrong with the thread they will probably start trying to come out.
 Step 10:  If possible, adjust how hard your presser foot pushes down.  You might have a dial and an indicator float that goes from 0-3.  If you do, try setting it to 1.  If not, good luck with guess & check.  With knits it is better if your presser foot doesn't go all crazy on them, because they are thicker and stretchy and won't always want to move through the machine.
 Step 11:  Sew the cuff to the sleeve, then repeat with the other side.  Stretch as you sew so that the sleeve part is flat.
 CAUTION:  At this point, do not look at your shirt and freak out thinking "omg I have ruined my favorite ugly brown/grey shirt and I am never going to be able to do this!"  That is, unless you REALLY hate the shirt and you are planning to show it to your husband while crying about how your sewing project went wrong and telling him that you need to go shopping for a new shirt.  If you are not planning to do that, don't freak out.  It is normal for your shirt to look like it was sewn by a dog.  That's because it is a knit. 
    My dog actually does like to sew.  He's just not very good.
Step 11:  Press your seam so that it will hopefully be obedient and stay to the inside.
Step 12:  Try it on.  Marvel.

Reader note continued: The best I can recall is that I did not get the sleeves the same length in step 2 so I needed to take off one side and redo it.  Then... I didn't.  Because that shirt was ugly anyway. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Off the UFO wagon

I was doing so well.

In early 2012 I had 14 UFO projects - and last month I had 5 left, with 3 of them being group quilts (like round robin, etc) that were currently in someone else's hands.  In my mind, that means two, TWO projects left to knock off the list.  My giraffe blocks are ready for the two-side low volume borders that I have planned, and my medallion quilt is getting bigger and bigger:


But then I went crazy and started 4 new projects within about a month.  The good thing about starting so many new things is that I have lots to show you!

I offered to design and piece an opportunity quilt for my guild.  The fabric kits are ready for that (blocks will be done by guild members and then I'll put it together) and I'm super excited about the colors:

I took back-to-back workshops from Jacquie Gering (uh... no regrets there, though.  She is such an awesome teacher) and I started a new quilt in each one.  My quilt from the first class is still just a start, but hopefully it won't be sitting that way for too long:

The second class I went for simpler design in baby quilt size and I finished that top in one more sewing session after the class was over.  I'm thinking I might quilt this one with squiggly lines to soften it up a little:

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Happy Scrappy Giveaway!

Edit:  The giveaway is now closed!  I'll be contacting the winner by email.  

I'm sure you guys know this already, but it bears repeating... the online quilting community is so, so nice!  When I was making this quilt:

I really wanted it to have lots and lots of different fabrics, but also be very color coordinated.  I got tons of help from friends and strangers to collect scraps in my colors, including people who just shipped stuff to me without asking anything in exchange.  So as a thank you to all of those kind folks, today I'm paying it forward and giving away some of the extra scrappy bits from this quilt.  

This is a photo showing the scrap colors.  You may receive some of these fabrics and you will definitely receive a lot of others.
I will ship domestically in the US, one small flat rate box stuffed to the brim with scraps in rainbow colors.  To enter, leave me a comment to say what you're working on OR post a link to your favorite thing that you have ever made. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My oldest UFO

This month I finished up my oldest UFO.  I'm happy to have it completed... it is 1/3 as old as I am!  Don't get the wrong idea here - this poor guy has spent most of his life in a drawer.  I busted him out recently and got to work so that I could start a new knitting project.  When it comes to yarn, I'm committed 100% to just one project at a time and no stash.  After all, I've got plenty of stash and UFOs around from my sewing projects without adding more crafts to the bins.

Pattern from the book Color-Bright Creatures by Anne Halliday.  

I started crocheting when I was a kid, and by the time I graduated high school I had made a crocheted blanket for each of my sisters.  I never got to making one for myself, so I guess this little guy is mine!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Snowflake Things

Inspiration on a walk

Plans and sketches

Make for a new quilt design

The fabric is from the Color Me Happy line, which I love because I adore those beautiful sketchy flowers and so many low volume prints.  I backed it with a lightweight Japanese print that I bought several years ago at a local shop and pieced a binding from little pink dots and my favorite aqua floral print.  I wrote up a tutorial for this quilt design, and you can find it on The Intrepid Thread's blog. Happy quilting everybody!