Pip-pip, y’all! It’s been donkey’s years since I last had a tutorial for you, so let’s not fanny about anymore. This is such a thrill for me – I was approached by Riley Blake Designs to take part in their Union Jack Blog Tour and today is the big day! I decided to spruce up my little living room with a burst of these great colors and, besides, my sad little ottoman needed a pick-me-up. [Read more...]
What a clever little pie chart; equal parts truth and hilarity. What is it about quilting that makes one start hoarding fabric? I’ve done more non-quilt sewing than quilt sewing, so I find it odd that even though I use my stash for all sorts of non-quilt sewing projects, I didn’t really start building a stash until I took up quilting almost two years ago.
Your machine should have a dial that adjusts the length of your stitches, which may lead you to wonder to yourself, “my goodness, self, there are so many stitch length options, how do I know which one to use?” Stitch length is going to depend on a few factors: weight of fabric, texture of fabric, and the kind of sewing you’re doing. In general, though, you’ll want to use shorter stitches for thinner, finer fabrics and longer stitches for thicker, heavier fabrics and for basting. However, should you wish to know more about stitch length, do read on.
The third video in my First Steps series covers everything a beginner needs to know about buying and cutting (or ripping) fabric. Next time you venture into a fabric shop, you’ll be able to step right up to the counter and say, “I’ll take 5/8 yards of this fabric, a fat quarter of that fabric, and a few of these fat eights, thanks,” and you’ll know what you’re talking about. Then, when you get back to your sewing room, you can cut everything up for your next project. Enjoy!
Once you have all your garments chosen, I recommend putting them all through the washer and dryer together. This is particularly important if you want to be able to wash your finished quilt. If any material is going to shrink, now is the time for it to happen. Be aware that if some of the garments shrink when washed then you may not get as many fabric pieces out of the garment as you originally thought you would.
Next, I start cutting. I only rip open seams if it will yield more usable fabric pieces – we don’t need any extra work! Otherwise, I use fabric scissors to cut just next to the seam and use the rotary cutter and a ruler to do the rest. Keep a hot iron handy to press gathered or wrinkled areas flat for rotary cutting. Don’t forget to save the scraps. You may want to turn that smocked waistband into an adorable headband later on.
When you go to a thrift store to begin a new project, expect to spend some time. You should check every section including linens, men’s, and children’s. I employ the rule of grabbing whatever strikes my fancy and ruling out garments after I’ve been through the whole store. Be aware that the smaller the garment, the fewer useful pieces of fabric and the more expensive those fabric pieces are.
In this outdoor quilt, I have some squares of fabric that came from a camisole or a baby dress. Sometimes I only got 3 squares out of a garment, but if I loved the fabric, I didn’t mind taking seams apart to get just one more usable square.
Sometime last year I fell in love with this quilt design by Kelly McCaleb. I loved everything about it: the wonky crosses, the blues, the reds. One day, I will make this quilt. In the meantime, I began making wonky crosses on my own using this tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew! My first wonky cross project was a set of coasters that I made for my sister, Amey. Now, I’m using this block to make a baby quilt for my great friend, Angela.
While I like the look of wonky cross blocks sewn together with no sashing, I’m using sashing on this quilt to make it bigger. This quilt was another instance of using what I already had in my stash. Ultimately, I had enough for 12 blocks, but deciding to buy some additional material for sashing and backing.
A few weeks ago, I decided to make a log cabin quilt using what I had available in my meager, yet trusty, stash. Halfway through the 30 log cabin blocks, I began to worry that what had started out as a queen-sized quilt would end up a throw for my sofa. Somehow, I managed to eek out all 30 squares as though my stash was miraculously multiplying before my eyes. Since I almost wiped out my stash, I quickly saddened at the realization that I couldn’t just make something when the urge took me. I was in Lakeland, Florida, last week so I visited my old stomping ground, the Fabric Warehouse, for some new additions.
While I plan on using some to make Kindle covers and iPhone covers for Heavens to Etsy, I also just wanted to add some random pieces to my dwindling stash. I like to be able to just make something that pops into my head. So, I picked up some half-yard cuts, some fat quarters, and some fat eighths. While many pieces are from some of Amy Butler’s collections, I did try to broaden my preferences and choose from other designers as well. Not a week later and I’m already wishing I had more.