Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Sonnet" and "Amsterdam" Free Patterns Available

When I first posted the two quilts I made for Quilt Market, many of you asked about the patterns. Cloud 9 Fabrics has posted the free projects sheets on their website! 

Sonnet by Elizabeth Olwen is the perfect, quick baby quilt that will show off all of your large prints! It looks like turned over pieces of paper. I can't wait to make another (I love that it looks more complicated than it actually is)! My version is below in Cirrus Solids and Elizabeth's new Morning Song Fabrics. Click here to see the free pattern and feel free to tag your progress with #sonnetquilt.

For something more playfully traditional, the free pattern for Amsterdam, written by Michelle Engel Bencsko, is available here (and many versions have been made already - check out #amsterdamquilt on Instagram!). Below is my version in Michelle's new Aubade fabric paired with Cirrus Solids.

 Both pictures are from the Cloud 9 website.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Herringbone Wedding Top Finished!

This past weekend was the bridal shower for one of my oldest friends, Julie. We met in high school (we clicked at a friend's birthday party and quickly became inseparable), and we both attended the same college. She's two years older than me, and we have both been there through each other through everything! She was a maid of honor at my wedding and I'm a bridesmaid in hers. Basically, no matter what, as long as she and her fiance Brian were game, I wanted to make them a quilt for their bed as a wedding gift.

"In the process" picture taken at a recent sewing day with some quilty friends. This quilt is bigger than it looks - it's queen sized with a large drape!

 My husband says we look alike. Lol. I guess that's true. :)

The big reveal (or "part 1" of the big wedding gift) was at the shower! I seriously couldn't wait for Julie and Brian to open the first side of the quilt. They chose the colors and the pattern. The other side will look completely different (autumnal, with signatures from the wedding), so we explained that to our guests. I can't wait to finish this quilt for them and to see it on their bed! :)

I sewed the top together using quilt-as-you-go and a modified version of Maureen Cracknell's Herringbone quilt. I'll talk more about the design process when the quilt is finished, but I just really wanted to share these photos! The wedding is in October, so I probably won't have the whole quilt done until the end of the year (realistically November, if nothing else distracts me). There won't be much quilting involved with this one but piecing the backing will take a while!

One of Brian's relatives also gifted the couple a lap quilt; it was started by his grandmother who has since passed away, and it was then finished for the couple. It looked hand pieced and it was just lovely. The sentiment of quilt giving was everywhere! I don't think I'll ever go to another shower without gifting a quilt (as long as I can manage it :) ).

It was a beautiful shower, and I hope Julie is feeling the love!

Linking up to Fabric Tuesday, Needle and Thread Thursday 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Selvage Along: Selvage Strip Pillow Tutorial

Hi all! Today's the first tutorial as part of the Selvage Along. Read on to make your very own Selvage Strip Pillow. It's fun and easy, and don't be afraid to delve into your stash *just* so you can cut some selvages off your fabric (I've done it - no shame). :)

Finishes at 18.25" x 18.25" for a standard 18" x 18" pillow form
  • 20-25 selvages cut 1.25" width away from the end of the text* ** (about 1.75 total width) - and at least 18" long (most half yards and fat quarters will be at this length)
  • Sewing machine
  • Universal needle (easiest to sew selvages with - they are a heavier/tougher fabric than quilting cotton)
  • Thread
  • Rotary cutter and ruler
  • Iron and ironing board 
  • 1.75" wide white fabric - 2 - (13" long) strips and 2 (18.5" long)
  • Batting for middle  - 19 x 19
  • Optional - Muslin for back of pillow front (behind batting) - 19 x 19 
  • Half yard of backing fabric OR 2 fat quarters of different fabrics
*You may need more selvages if yours are cut smaller width-wise, or less if they are cut bigger. I am told I cut mine bigger than most sewists. I do this so that I can save some of the prints for projects like this! You can make this project with ANY size selvages - they can even be various sizes! Anything goes. Just have fun. :)

**For my pillow, I chose two colors to focus on (blue and green) plus four "low volume" selvages to quiet them a bit. I dispersed them randomly within the pillows (see two pictures below).  


1. Press your selvages. It will be much easier to sew them together, promise!

2. Sew the selvages together just as you would fabric (right sides together) - just make sure the words are facing all the same way. I use an 1/8th of an inch seam to make sure that the words show as much as possible. Pin, go slowly, and yours will come out beautiful! You can use a 1/4th inch seam if you wish, but you probably won't see all of the words. You do NOT need a foundation behind them to piece these.

3. Sew them together until you have pieces roughly 13" x 18". Trim to 13" x 15". Again, feel free to add as many selvages as you need to get to these numbers.

4.  Slice BOTH pieces into 3" strips. You should have a little sliver of a scrap to throw out.

Soooo pretty. Sigh. I love color.

  5. Arrange the selvage strips so that there are three of each in the middle, alternating like so (see picture below). Really, you could do any design. Feel free to experiment! Sew the 6 middle strips together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and press open. Your top should be at 13" x 15.5."

 6. Add a 1.75" white border around the middle selvages, sewing with a 1/4 inch seam. I did this to break up the busy-ness of the fabric. Add the two sides on first, then the top and bottom. Make sure you press!

7. Sew on the extra selvage strips to the top and bottom as seen above (I sewed two green and two blue together, and cut off the scraps). You will also need to cut down the outer selvage strips a little bit when putting your pillow together, but just wait until you are adding the back.


7. Layer with batting and muslin behind your pillow top and quilt as desired. I like to have three layers because it makes the pillow more sturdy (plus, if you ever want to wash the covers, you won't have to worry about your batting being exposed).

I decided to quilt using a wavy walking foot motif (inspired by the lovely Melanie Tuazon).

The following directions for finishing the pillow are taken from my Gentle Improv Waves Pillow Tutorial:

To make the envelope pillow back:

Cut two pieces of fabric 11" x 18.5" and 13.5" x 18.5." The larger one will be on top of your pillow back. Make sure if they are directional prints that you lay them out first to ensure they face the right way!

Fold the bottom of the top piece over twice at a quarter of an inch, press, and sew along the edge. Do the same for the top of the bottom piece. This way, you will encase the raw edges in a "hem."

To make the pillow:

Place the pillow top face up. Place the longer part of the back face down, then the smaller part face down (they will overlap). Pin all the way around and sew 1/4" from the edge. I like to back stitch where the overlaps are for increased security. You can snip the corners if you'd like to reduce bulk.
Flip the pillow right sides out, stuff in an 18" pillow form, and you are done!
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial! If you make one, please share with me and if you blog about it, please include a link from here.   :)
Join us next Monday for another selvage tutorial. Happy Sewing!
Selvage Along Schedule:

Selvage Along Schedule
July 20 - Intro post
July 24 - Selvage storage/collection linkup
July 27 - Selvage Strip Pillow Tutorial by Jess @ Quilty Habit
<<<You are here!
August 3 - Anna Maria Horner Selvage Feathers Tutorial by Renee @ Quilts of a Feather
August 10 -  Selvage Zippy Pouch Tutorial by Chris @ Made by ChrissieD + mid-way/check-in linky on both blogs
August 17 - Selvage Binding Tutorial by Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
August 24 - Project by Vera @ Negligent Style
August 31 - Project by Jess @ Elven Garden Quilts
Sept. 7 - Selvage Churn Dash Project Share by Helga @ Cluckin' Pineapple 
Sept. 14 - Tutorial round up on both blogs
July 24 - Linky - selvage projects on both blogs
Sept. 21 - Last linky party- link up all your selvage projects!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Selvage Along: Link Up Your Selvages!

For the next week, as a start to the Selvage Along, you can link up how you store selvages and/or a project (with selvages, of course) that you would like to work on through September. This is a joint linky party shared between Renee and myself, so you can link up on either blog!

I store all of my selvages from the last five years in this huge basket. I promise there's a basket under there. :D Clearly, I need to find some new storage or actually start making something! There are some gems in there!

A bookshelf quilt made from selvedges. I wish I knew who the quilter was to give proper credit! This is amazing!

I've been toying with making a selvage bookcase wallhanging like this one (artist unknown) but I can't decide on a background (I just can't get with the brown). I'm thinking rainbow selvages... maybe on white, like my own bookcase? What do you think?

Write up a blog post or link up a blog post. It's always fun to share!

Selvage Along Schedule:

July 20 - Intro post
July 24 - Selvage storage/collection linkup <<<You are here!
July 27 - Selvage Strip Pillow Tutorial by Jess @ Quilty Habit 

August 3 - Anna Maria Horner Selvage Feathers Tutorial by Renee @ Quilts of a Feather
August 10 -  Selvage Zippy Pouch Tutorial by Chris @ Made by ChrissieD + mid-way/check-in linky on both blogs
August 17 - Selvage Binding Tutorial by Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
August 24 - Project by Vera @ Negligent Style
August 31 - Project by Jess @ Elven Garden Quilts
Sept. 7 - Selvage Churn Dash Project Share by Helga @ Cluckin' Pineapple 
Sept. 14 - Tutorial round up on both blogs
July 24 - Linky - selvage projects on both blogs
Sept. 21 - Last linky party- link up all your selvage projects!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cascade Skirt - Finished!

This month, I tried my hand at making another rayon challis skirt. I had made a simple one a few months ago using about a yard of rayon and elastic for the waistband. Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved twirling around in dresses, so I knew it was time to try another. My friend Rebecca (@sewfestive) suggested the Cascade Skirt by Megan Nielsen; I had bought Anna Maria Horner's Echinacea rayon last summer with the intent of creating my own version of this long, flow-y skirt. I finally bought the pattern and if you check her Instagram, Rebecca is working on another, too! 

I feel so glamorous in this picture. Beach hat! New skirt! On the beach! <3

Hanging out with Renee 2 weeks ago when she came to visit me in NJ. We finished our skirts together!

I absolutely LOVE how it came out! The best part about it is being able to wear my favorite fabric (have I mentioned that I own the Echinacea prints in almost every color and substrate?). I am so happy with the scalloped look  - an unplanned effect of the stretchy rayon - and how it fades from shorter in the front to longer in the back. It is THE perfect wrap skirt for the beach and for summer barbecues. Look at how it flutters in the wind!

The skirt didn't come out to my satisfaction without a few challenges (but if there weren't challenges, well, it wouldn't have been as much fun). As a confident beginner garment sewist, I'm not shy about sharing how the pattern worked out for me (and I hope it helps one of you out there!). Luckily, I have sewn French seams before so they weren't an issue at all (and they lend such a professional look to the garment. This tutorial is my favorite for French seams).

The first difficulty was adjusting the skirt to fit me. I added about 6 inches to the waistline because I didn't want it to fly open easily. I need to anchor it with a button still, but it does the trick for now. I also added 3 inches in length because I'm a tall gal (5'10" and proud). Luckily it all worked out in the end, but I was using the very last of my fabric (and I had already bought an extra yard or so). 

I also had to work with the directionality of the Echinacea; they all needed to tilt about the same way. As a result of the size changes and directionality, I had to cut the pieces of the skirt separately and sew them together (this was completely different from the pattern). My advice to beginning garment sewists who want to adjust to their body type - make sure you buy plenty of extra fabric if you are enlarging the pattern or if it's directional!

The hem was a project all its own. At long last, I learned how to use the rolled hem foot that came with my Janome MC 6300 - after 2 different YouTube videos and at least 4 hours of trying/ripping out stitches from practice fabric and the rayon itself. 

A rolled hem foot takes the fabric as you sew and rolls it over a second time to create a finished hem. I found it easiest to press my fabric an 1/8th of an inch all the way round first. Once you get into a groove of using the foot, it's like magic.

I'll hopefully be able to use it again in the future with no issues. It feels glorious to conquer the rolled hem foot.

Another difficulty was the sheer slippery nature of the rayon. I'd prewashed it (I only do this for garment fabric - it's just a personal preference). I don't really have any tips for making it easier to work with, except to make sure to work/cut on a large surface and use pattern weights. My friend Kristina mentioned using Sullivan's spray fabric stabilizer. Do my fellow garment sewists have any other tips for working with slippery fabric?

My impromptu pattern weights. I picked up some nice heavy rocks from the beach for next time!

Overall, I'm totally thrilled. Now I just want to make another (for next summer maybe. :) ). Back to quilts!

P.S. Thanks to my sister Marisa for the beach photoshoot! It was an absolute blast and we made some more memories before she left for her internship and college for the first time  - *sniff* :(. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Selvage Along - Introduction

Who's ready for the Selvage Along?!

Join Renee (Quilts of a Feather) and I for the next two months on Monday as we explore the many ways you can use selvages in your sewing. We have a bunch of great guest posters, too. Gather your selvages together and get ready to go! Use the hashtag #selvagealong to show us your selvage pile on Instagram!

Also, Renee and I have been collecting our favorite selvage projects on a shared Pinterest board, Selvage Sewing. Feel free to start scheming for your project. :)

Selvage Pillow projects (18" x 18") by members of the Central Jersey MQG at our June meeting. We swapped! From left to right: Kim, Kathy, me, Janneke, and Janet.

To me, selvages are like free text fabric. :) They (almost always) accompany any yardage you buy. I usually buy half yards or yards of fabric, but you can get them on fat quarters and fat eighths, too (though they are shorter). 

Here are three articles that cover the basics of selvage sewing:*
Craftsy - Sewing With Selvages
Lynn Derolf (Nancy Zieman's blog): How to Sew a Selvage Quilt Block
Clover and Violet - Sewing with Selvages Tutorial 

 *Some of these sewists sew selvages (try saying THAT five times fast) with a foundation underneath, but you can totally do it without a foundation.

Make sure to pop over to Quilts of a Feather today for more beginner selvage sewing links!
  • This Friday (July 24), we will have a joint link up for you to share your selvage project ideas. Maybe you want to create something with selvages only, or with selvages as an accent. Maybe you just want to show us your selvage bag or pile and brainstorm a list of ideas.

  • There will be a mid-way check-in linky on August 10 so you can share your project progress.

  • Finally, you can link up any selvage project that you made during the Selvage Along on September 21 for the last linky party. Share your love of sewing selvages with the world!

This pillow tutorial will be right here next Monday!


Selvage Along Schedule

July 20 - Intro post <<<You are here!
July 24 - Linky - selvage projects on both blogs
July 27 - Selvage Strip Pillow Tutorial by Jess @ Quilty Habit
August 3 - Anna Maria Horner Selvage Feathers Tutorial by Renee @ Quilts of a Feather
August 10 -  Selvage Zippy Pouch Tutorial by Chris @ Made by ChrissieD + mid-way/check-in linky on both blogs
August 17 - Selvage Binding Tutorial by Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
August 24 - Project by Vera @ Negligent Style
August 31 - Project by Jess @ Elven Garden Quilts
Sept. 7 - Selvage Churn Dash Project Share by Helga @ Cluckin' Pineapple 
Sept. 14 - Tutorial round up on both blogs
Sept. 21 - Last linky party- link up all your selvage projects!

P.S. Thank you for all the love for the new website look. You make all that work feel worth it! :)


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