Applique Strips Basted

Basting after pinning applique pieces is one of my favorite parts of the craft and I like that the turned edges seem smoother when compared with my turning-on-the-line only applique. Basting may seem like it’ll away time from stitching, but trust me, it doesn’t, and I don’t worry about being stuck with needles. I love all parts of needle-turn applique.

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Pattern Name & Author: Aerial Grove & Carolyn Friedlander

Right before I started this I stopped myself from working on a needle-turn applique project I wasn’t enjoying. The project and I did not mesh creatively and when I realized this it was an easy decision to move on. Now I’m stitching away happily.

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I recently (today) had guests, and one was my sewing auntie; she helped applique one strip and I’m finishing up the second. When I first saw this quilt pattern I was excited to start working on it. The pattern is fun, graceful, and lends itself to great amounts of color play.

Have any projects you’ve moved on from?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrappy Quilt Top

This improvisational quilt top happened a few weeks ago when I was staring deeply into the ever growing stack of quilt scraps crowding different areas of the house. I felt a bit overwhelmed. What should I do?  I just sat down, started trying out fabrics, and boom: quilt top started. I was cutting and pressing and sewing away for a couple of days. Then I folded it up and put it away (except to snap thess photos so quickly I didn’t even press the fabric smooth!).

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Improving is a skill I come to naturally in quilting; the first four quilts I made never saw a ruler or felt pins, and I thought those quilts were the best. The ruler is my friend now, and I use it unsparingly, but what I learned is that I’m a person that likes to explore a craft and all the different approaches.

The quilt top’s colors and lines are playful. Watching the sunrise from the window is such a great way to start off the day, and this quilt top turned in to a compilation of a few different sunrises. For the borders I would like to push my boundaries and go for a big lush floral print, because the clouds here are often large and crowded.

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On my travels I was able to stop by the beach a few times. Growing up coastal, I always feel grounded when I’m near the ocean.

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What have you been improvising lately?

US Passport Cover Tutorial

Completing this pattern has been an exciting process, but highlighted the challenges of communication. I hope this tutorial/pattern is easy to navigate and helps the user make a passport cover. This is a fun project! The covers make great gifts to your friends that travel or are perfect for making yourself a personalized cover.

Tutorial & PDF: Passport Cover by Brambleton Threads

Materials:
Fabric: scraps or 1 Fat Quarter or 2 Fat Eighth of different colors.
Woven Fusible Interfacing
Thread
Sewing Machine
Rotary Cutter
Self-Healing Mat
Fabric Pen
Scissors
Iron
Spray Starch

  1. Measure and cut
    Shell: 1) 5 3/4” x 11 3/4”
    Lining: 1) 5 3/4” x 11 3/4”
    Fusible Fabric: 1) 5” x 7 1/2”

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2. Using the instructions provided by the manufacturer, iron interfacing to the center of the wrong side of the shell fabric. IMG_5724

 

3. Place right sides of the shell and lining together and pin all sides.IMG_5721

 

4. Using a fabric pen and ruler, mark 1/4” at each corner. Use scissors to clip all corners 1/4”.IMG_5758

 

5. With a 1/4” seam allowance sew three sides, both lengths and one width (two longs & a short), leaving one side open. Backstitch the start and beginnings of each edge.  Set stitches by pressing with hot iron.IMG_5723

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6. Pull the fabric right-side out through the open edge. Press edges.

7. Fold the short-side’s open seam under a 1/4” and press using fingers or iron. Pin.IMG_5730

 

8. Sew shut the open seam with an 1/8” top-stitch. Set stitches. Trim thread. IMG_5737

 

9. Fold the piece in half and press, creating a crease in the middle. Reopen the piece flat.IMG_5741

 

10. To create the flaps, fold each width in towards the middle crease 1 3/4” and press. Pin in the middle of the creased edge and flap edges. Do this on each side.IMG_5764IMG_5762

 

11. With an 1/8” top-stitch sew the entire length of the top of the piece, backstitching at each corner of the flaps. Repeat this on the bottom edge.IMG_5766

 

12. Set stitches. Trim. Add passport & admire! The fabric will soften with time & travel. IMG_5852IMG_5850

Please share your results and comments! Thanks for stopping by.

Easy Passport Cover

I always travel with a passport, but I never found the perfect case.  I first wrote and made this easy passport pattern last Fall to solve my passport case woes. I’ve made a few demos in the process of pattern writing and I love the final product. Later this week I’ll share the pattern and tutorial!

I was traveling this early part of April and I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone. Thanks for stopping by!

Diamond Star Baby Quilt

This is a quilt for a special person: first nephew I’ll ever meet! He comes from very bright and sweet people. When I saw Lizzy House‘s fabric line Natural History I fell in love with the playfulness of color and design. She seems pretty awesome. Check her out on Creativebug too (I am a huge fan of Creativebug, but more on that another time). I consulted School of Sewing‘s instructions for a baby-sized quilt, but then added in my own arrangement. IMG_5648.jpgIMG_5642.jpg

Carolyn Friedlander‘s new line Caraki tones down the color and adds to a structured effect. Bones are the best. We all need bones and they are beautiful to look at. Caraki is beautiful and strong. Perfect!

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I wasted no time using my favorite FM curved shape while quilting. I love this quilt, and I’m excited to meet the little guy it is for.

What have you been sewing up lately? Happy end of March to everyone!

Arcs + Free Motion Quilting

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The Free-Motion quilting bug caught me! Carolyn Friedlander’s awesome pattern Arcs  waited patiently to be quilted and with the new Janome now here I was more than happy to start quilting. The sun came out strong yesterday, perfect to sit down and sew by.

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Speed and stitch length are two of the things I am thinking about while quilting. It takes strong hands and arms to move the layers quickly under the needle. Sometimes I have a gap, but others I don’t move enough and the stitches are tiny. I am staying present! If my mind wands the needle wiggles! Quilting gloves may be helpful in this department by making sure for a more steady grip. Have you tried quilting gloves?

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The design translated prettily from the front to the back. My husband said it looks like an ancient calendar, and it certainly does! The scale was an easy and the most fun shape for me to make, with a swoop-away-and-back towards me. The thread is gold Aurifil, and didn’t break at all. For the background fabric I used Sarah Watts’ Honeymoon. Earlier I mentioned the front of the piece felt like a sunrise to me and this background fabric felt like night and how light time feels around those hours.

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The trees are blooming. Awhile ago I noticed this tree was shaped like a heart from growing around the powerlines and thought it would be magnificent in Spring. Here it is! The blooms aren’t in entirely, but this is a sneak peak.

What is blooming near you? Have a great weekend!

 

Easy Kid’s Apron

The School of Sewing is a book I return to again and again since being recommended it by my seamstress aunt. A lot of people are worried about using a sewing machine, and I was no exception. The School of Sewing helped demystify my machine and got me comfortable using a variety of sewing schools. It’s a great book for those looking for a book to help them with beginning sewing. The apron, project three, is a great one and well fitting.

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Pattern Source: The School of Sewing    

 

This is the child’s size and is a gift for a friend. The dinosaur fabric is Lizzy House’s Natural History for Andover fabrics. Lizzy House is one of my favorite fabric designers. She is playful and vibrant and sweet. These are great prints to work with.

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Fabric: Natural History

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I picked solids for the rest of the apron because it seemed to balance out the print. This apron is for a boy, and I wanted it to have a more stark appearance. The apron is already on its way in the mail to the recipient and I couldn’t be happier. Making a gift for another has always been such a pleasant experience for me.

How have you been sharpening your sewing skills? Thanks for stopping by!

 

T-Shirt Top with Applique

Two summers ago I took Alabama Chanin’s Studio Week. It was an amazing experience and helped me understand a lot about garment construction and the make up of fabric and a pattern. I’ve made a dress, circle skirt, and a pin cushion since that time. Ideally my entire wardrobe would be handmade Albama Chanin, and I’m working on that! Whenever I wear the baby-doll dress people stop to ask about it and are shocked to learn that I made it.

At the workshop I also cut out a long-sleeved t-shirt top in a dark blue cotton jersey. Like all items cut and set aside I planned on finishing this top a long time ago, but now I am grateful for the time. I hadn’t learned how to applique yet, and I really wanted to applique a panel of this top.

The other week I caught the flu like many others and was laid out in bed. Luckily this shirt was all handwork! I used blanket and straight stitches. The fabric is Alabama Chanin’s cotton. IMG_5417.jpgIMG_5399.jpgIMG_5409.jpg

The shirt is incredibly soft and form fitting. I love the sense of accomplishment I have each time I make a garment, especially a hand sewn one! Have you made any of Alabama Chanin’s garments?

 

Tiny Cards & Applique Arcs

Valentine’s Day is fun. This is a sweet time of year, and I love to send out cards. For previous Valentine’s Days I’ve sent out postcards, embroidered hearts, glitter cards (and those turned in to glitter bombs after being processed through the mail!), and now these old school grade school valentines I found about a year and a half ago when helping a relative move.

These sweet animal cards were perfect. Time has been a bit crunched the past two weeks, but I still wanted to send out cards.

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The other evening I sat down with some Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache in Gold and set to drawing. It’s been about eight months since I used a calligraphy pen and nib, so there were some rusty moments and valentines were limited, but I was able to ease up on the amount of pressure my fingers wanted to apply to the pen and the cards turned out cute. The sun came out just as I was taking pictures, and the gold really sparkles.

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How and why colors coming together are constantly on my mind. I want to tell a story with each piece I make, and it should not be a story that leaves one wondering why it was created. The story should be steady enough to enter and fresh enough to the eye each time that one keeps returning; I’m thinking a lot about it! After trying many other combinations, these two were my final contenders.

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Chain-piecing was one of my favorite skills I learned in beginner quilting. The product makes me want to hang garlands all around the house.

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A new sewing machine is close to being a part of my life, but I still love my little Janome. It is doing a great job sewing up those seams!

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I decided to nestle the clouds between the solid purple and blue Arcs to give this more of a sunrise feeling. Catching the sunrise everyday is one of the most amazing times of the day, and the sun pushes the pinks, purples, and dark reds against the blue sky. With this much print, I felt it was important to create a balance within the already chosen colors, and then find the most cohesive union between these rows. I’ve been contemplating a border the entire week and have yet to settle on any one idea.

Any tips on how you decide on borders?

Happy Valentine’s Day! What are you doing to mark the day?

Applique Today

This is my first time using one of Lori Smith’s applique patterns. The directions are simple and well numbered. I was introduced to her work through the applique class I’m taking at the LQS. It is a great pattern to learn many of the skills needed in applique…as I’m finding out! IMG_5265.jpg

The pattern encourages scrap usage and to date I haven’t used any new fabric. We used bias bars to make the stems and these helped make the stems bendy, easier to apply on. Glue was recommended to keep the stems in place, but since I am on the go and recently learned the joys of basting, I decided to baste the stems on. I’m saving most of my pennies, and glue feels like something I could run to pick up if I was screaming for it, but am glad not to buy right now!

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To make circles close to perfect (mine aren’t perfect!) we utilized Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles. The O-ring to hold all the circles is included, and I love that! Not only are my circles better than anticipated, but each one looks like a sweet little flower while awaiting application.

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I worked on Carolyn Friedlander’s Arcs all week. What I appreciate about this pattern is how dynamic the arcs are despite being a simple shape. I learned a lot about tucking under and securing corners.

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This is all scrap fabric I had from other projects. The raspberry fabric in the middle row almost had me cutting out new arcs, but I decided to roll with it. This project still has a lot more to be added, and the colors can be balanced. Thread color is going to be crucial.

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Other exciting things have been going on here too. I’ve been drawing a lot and am thinking about ordering some supplies to make printed fabric by hand. Any tips? Has any one worked on making fabric?

What are you working on?