Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dashing Through The Snow! Free Table Topper Pattern and Tutorial and A Holiday GIVEAWAY!!!

The final tutorial in this design series.  Just in time for Christmas and quick as a wink you will have this made in plenty of time to go Dashing Through The Snow!  There is NO elaborate piecing so let's get to it!  Finished size is 14".  READ ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST. (sewing is just like cooking and carpentry, read everything through, know where you are going and measure twice, cut once, there is wisdom in sage advice)

You will need:

1/4 yard - Pellon 805 Wonder - Under 

1 fat quarter of a focus fabric or scraps of your choosing ( I used Cynthia Frenette's Retro Christmas for Robert Kaufman Fabrics) 

1 fat quarter of background fabric (I used Kona Cotton White)

1 fat quarter of backing fabric (I used a scrap piece that I had from over 20 years ago, the backing is a good place to use up bits. You can even scrap together a backing. No one sees this on a table topper but you)

2 strips of binding fabric cut 2.5" x WOF (Width of Fabric) You will have left over here.  ( I used PotLuck by American Jane Patterns Sandy Klop for Moda, I purchased a yard and cut it length wise rather than WOF to enable me to use the portion I wanted, lots of left over)

1 piece of batting 17" square.  (I use Warm and Natural Batting)

Contrasting Embroidery Thread and a needle

Scissors, iron, sewing machine, thread.

A Word About Fabric

You may elect to purchase the same fabric I used and you can still find it out there but don't stress over that.  Make this yours and use a focus fabric you already have or one of the many that are out right now. Check out the Christmas Fabrics at Use something you love that fits with your style.  It doesn't have to be Christmas themed, maybe you like pretty birds, abstract prints, florals, whatever you like, you can use it.  

Print out your pattern piece and after tracing it on to your Pellon Wonder-Under, slide it around your fabric, you can see through it. Do you like the image you see? Is it too big or too little to create a design that you would like? Now remember you will be ironing this on the wrong side of your fabric, what you see will be reversed. Make sure when you are laying out your pattern pieces on the backside of your fabric, that you have the points going in the direction that you want them to be on your finished piece.  

It's not the end of the world if you end up with an upside down or backward image from what you wanted, but it's a whole lot more fun if you take your time here and think how they will sit on your finished piece.  

Remember last week, we made the California Coffee Tree Potholder?  Well, we are going to follow all the steps to create the top square and then we will pick it up again here.  So if you do not have those steps, you can find them and the pattern PDF on the blog by clicking the link here:  California Coffee Tree Potholder Tutorial  
* * *
Okay, you are back!  Let's pick up now with a finished square as shown below.  You should have already top stitched your design pieces into place using whatever top stitching method you like. 

You will need to cut 2 squares of fabric that measure 4" square.

Set your block aside and taking your two 4" squares, cut them in half on the diagonal as shown.

You should have 4 triangles.  Take each triangle and fold them in half as shown, make sure to line up your tips and finger press a crease on the fold as shown.  This will help up perfectly line up our triangles with our block.

Do the same for your block, folding it in half and finger pressing the fold to create a crease, crease both sides and then fold in the opposite direction and finger press both sides as well.  You want a crease in the center of each of the four sides.

Line the crease in your triangle unit up with the crease in your block and pin as shown below.  I like to use three pins and I pin them as shown so that I can sew without having to stitch over or remove a pin.  Keeps everything perfect.  The triangle edge is on the bias so you want to be very careful not to stretch this as you are sewing, pinning will keep it all where it needs to be.

Stitch each triangle unit to the block as shown using a 1/4" seam.

Remove your pins and press open your triangle units as shown below.

Create your "quilt sandwich" by laying down your backing fabric wrong side up, on top of that place your batting and on top of that place your block.  

Pin your quilt sandwich together using straight pins or safety pins, what ever you are comfortable with.  I put a pin in each design element and in each of the "tips" of the block.  You don't need a whole lot, you just want to keep it secure while you do your decorative stitch.  Using your embroidery floss, cut a workable length.  You want to use 3 of the 6 strands.  You can see from my close up here, that my stitches are not perfect!  It adds to the charm of the item you are making and it's perfectly okay!!!  If you agonize over your stitches, you'll never get it done.  Enjoy yourself.  You are just adding a little color and texture design element.

Once you have finished your top stitching, trim the excess batting and backing away from your block. I have found that by placing a rotary ruler on the edges, and carefully using my rotary cutter, I can make most of my cuts, nice and clean. You may have to use your scissors to finish the inside corner cuts so you don't cut your block. When you have it all trimmed up, make a tiny cut, about 1/8", in each inside corner of your block. This will help you when you go to bind it.

Take your two strips of binding fabric and lets stitch them together to create our binding.  

Lay one strip on top of the other as shown.  Place a pin in the lower right corner.  Using a straight edge, mark a diagonal line as shown. Check yourself here, make sure your fabric is lined up as shown and you are marking the diagonal in the same direction as shown.  

Take it to your machine and stitch right on that line.  Now back to your cutting mat and trim away 1/4" from your seam line as shown.

Take your binding strip to the iron and press open the seam you just created.

While you are still at the iron, press your binding strip in half length wise as shown below.

Binding Your Table Topper

A few words before we get started on this. You cannot pin this binding into place and then sew.  The only pin I use is to start the binding, pinning outside of the stitch line as you see in the photo below. You have to move through one corner at a time. If you will carefully follow these instructions, you will have a lovely finish. Don't be impatient here, take your time. Read through the instructions and look at the photos before you start.

I use a fine point permanent marker to make my marks, you can use a pencil, another type of marker, chalk, what ever you like as long as it DOES NOT bleed into your fabric.  The marks will never show.  You will need a ruler with a 1/4" marking on it.  

I am using my regular presser foot and stitching just a tiny bit outside that 1/4" seam allowance by lining up my edge of my presser foot with the edge of the fabric.  

Place your binding strip with the raw edges to the raw edges of your block on the BACK SIDE.  Starting at an "outside" tip, take a few stitches to secure your fabric and still allow yourself to make your marks with your ruler as shown below.  If you sew all the way to the corner and try to make your marks you will be in trouble. You cannot make your marks for all the corners ahead of time, make them as you reach each corner.

Lay your ruler as shown measuring 1/4" from the edge and make a mark. 

Move your ruler to line it up with the next raw edge as shown below and so that it intersects your first mark and make another mark  1/4" from the edge as shown.  Make sure that mark crosses your first mark, this will be your needle down pivot point.

Your marks should look something like this below.  Stitch to that point and not beyond!  Needle down and pick up your presser foot. Straighten out your fabric so that you are lining up your binding with the next edge.  This is where that tiny slit will help you maneuver your fabric into position so you are sewing with your binding on a relatively flat straight surface.

Note how I have pulled the first seam, behind my presser foot and lined up my binding with my raw edge to continue out of the inside corner in the photo below.

Whew!  You made it through your first inside corner! Congratulations, now we will bind the outside tips.  Stitch almost to the tip stopping about 1/4" from the edge.  Leave your needle down and turn your piece so that you can back stitch off the edge as shown.  Now for the purpose of these photos, I have clipped my thread here.  You do not need to do that.  If you feel that you can make your corner without clipping the thread, that is just fine.  For a beginner, I would clip your thread and follow the instructions below to get a perfect miter.

Laying your block down in front of you, fold that piece of binding straight up as shown below, you should be creating a diagonal fold as shown below.  

Now bring that piece straight down, keeping that diagonal fold in place and line your raw edges up with the next side of your block. Place a pin outside of your stitching area to secure your fold and go back to your machine.  Start your stitching just about 1/4" in from the back edge and continue stitching your binding to your block. REMEMBER!!!  DON'T STITCH ALL THE WAY TO THE INSIDE CORNER, you have to make your marks, so leave yourself room.  Repeat these steps until you are all the way around your piece.

When you reach the final tip, smooth open the binding from the back side as shown and only stitch to the edge where they intersect.

Press your binding away from your backing as shown.  This will help you make a smooth and even turn on the front.

Bring your binding over the edge sufficient to cover your stitching and pin into place.  There is no folding at the inside corners, you will just make sure your binding covers the seam and pin into place. As you are sewing, you will straighten that inside corner, just as you did when you were attaching the binding, and top stitch into place. To make a miter at the tip, just follow the fabric out to the edge with your finger tip and finger press it, then wrapping the next side around, you will bring that fold up and match it to your seam for a perfect miter as shown.  Tuck a pin in to secure.  Top stitch close to the edge of your binding to secure.  

I hope you enjoyed this.  If you have any questions please let me know, I'm happy to answer.

If you make one, please send me a photo or post it to our Facebook page, I would love to see it!!!

Leave a comment on this post below and I will hold a drawing on December 15th to give away this table topper!  Good Luck Quilters!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

California Coffee Tree Potholder Tutorial for Andrew

This tutorial is for my son Andrew, who loved the Coffee Tree in Vacaville, CA.  Sadly it is no longer there but the memories live on!  Along with the Nut Tree, they were an iconic stop on the way to Lake Tahoe for us.

To make this easy, I have created a PDF template to use for fussy cutting your fabric pieces.  No Curved Seams to piece. 

You will need the following materials to make this potholder:

1 - 10" square of background fabric
1 - 10" square of focus fabric for your petals or scraps
1 - 12" square of backing fabric
1 - 12" square of Insulbright Insulated Batting
1 - 12" square of Warm & Natural Batting
Binding - 47" of binding. ( 2.5" wide strips pieced to make the length you need. )

Print out the PDF template of the petal ACTUAL SIZE. This is important!  Do Not resize or size to fit the paper when printing.

Cut four pieces of the Pellon 805 Wonder Under large enough to cover the template.  Lay one of the pieces over your pattern and trace with a permanent marker or a pencil.  Stack and pin all your pieces together as shown.  You only need to trace one.

Remove the thread from your needle and remove the bobbin.  Now stitch on the line through all four sheets of Wonder Under.  This will create a line for you to see without having to trace each one.

Clip away the excess to about 1/4" or so from your line and place your Wonder Under pieces on the Back Side of your focus fabric. You can easily see through the Wonder Under  which will let you place your petal on your focus fabric in a way that you can take advantage of the fabric design.  Just remember, what you see will be reversed when you finally place your petal. 

Following the instructions for the Pellon Wonder Under, press it into place and then cut your pieces out on the line.  For the pieces that you stitched with the machine, you can rub a little colored chalk along the line with your finger and you will see it easily to cut.  

Once you have trimmed away the excess you are ready to place them on your background.  Fold your background piece in half and press, fold it again the opposite way and press.  This will create a grid that will help you line up your petals before you press them down.  Take a pin and scratch across the back of the Wonder Under and this will create a little tear in the paper so you can easily peel it off.  Trying to peel from the edge will only shred your fabric.  Now place your pieces about 1/4" away from the "Grid" lines as shown below.  When you are pleased with the placement, press them according to the instructions for the Wonder Under.

Okay, you are ready to thread your machine and top stitch these pieces in place.  You won't need to pin, they are already attached with the wonder under.  Line your fabric up so that you are stitching on the edge, you can see the needle placement in this photo.  If you will keep your fabric to the inside right edge of your presser foot and use that as a guide you will have a nice perfect line all the way around.  You can back stitch if you like or pull your threads to the other side and tie them off.  Stitch around all four petals.  Give it all a good press.

Now take your backing fabric and lay it down with the wrong side facing up.  Lay your Warm & Natural batting on top of that and then lay your Insulbright batting on top of that (make sure the glossy side is to the bottom and the woolly side to the top) Finally, lay your petal piece on top and center it.  Carefully pin it into place making sure you have all layers smooth.

Stitch around each petal, starting from the center of your potholder, through all layers.  This will "quilt" your potholder together. Once you are done quilting, trim the excess batting and backing fabric away and square up your piece to 10" square.

You are ready to bind.  Take your 2.5" strips and piece them together like this:  Lay one strip right side up in front of you, lay the other strip perpendicular to that one as shown in the photo below.  Place a pin in the corner to hold them together as shown. Using a small ruler or a straight edge, mark across the piece on the diagonal as shown.  This will be your stitching line.  Stitch on that line and then trim away the excess to 1/4" as shown.  Press the seam open to reduce bulk.

Fold your piece in half lengthwise and press to create your binding strip.

On the back side of your potholder, lay your binding strip along one edge, raw edges to the raw edges of your potholder. Leave about 1/2" or so hanging past the starting point and stitch 1/4" from the edge until you come to the first corner.  Stop 1/4" from that edge, leave your needle down and lifting your presser foot, turn your piece to the next side.  Back Stitch OFF that piece.

Now take that loose piece of binding and fold it so that it is straight above your piece as shown.  This will create a little "miter".

Bring that loose binding piece straight down now, folding it right over the top of that "miter".  Place a pin to the left, outside of your stitching area.  

Starting about 1/4" in from the edge, continue to stitch your binding in place until you get to the next corner and repeat.

When you are almost all the way around, Stop.  Fold open the binding that you stitched at the beginning and lay your final binding piece on top of that.  Stitch just to the edge of the seam where they intersect as shown and back stitch to secure.

Remove your piece from the machine and using your iron, press out the binding away from the backing as shown.

Turn to the petal side and you will start to wrap your binding around the edge to cover your 1/4" seam as shown pinning in place. Trim away the excess binding even with the edge of the potholder as shown, only on the one side, you will leave a long 6 inch piece of binding on the other side to finish making your hanging loop.

Pin down to the first corner, take your finger and finger press that corner straight out as shown, this will help to create your miter on the front.  Bring your next side up and they should meet in the corner neatly.  Adjust as needed and place a pin.

Stitch close to the edge and leave your needle down when you reach the corner and turn, continue to stitch your binding in place.

When you get to the last corner, fold the raw edges of the binding in and continue to stitch for about 5-6 inches ash shown.

Make a loop the size that you want from that strip of binding, curling it back on itself to the front as shown.  

Fold the excess back between the potholder and the loop you are creating as shown.

Using a zigzag stitch with your feed dogs dropped, tack your loop in place a couple times as shown.

Trim off the excess binding tab from the back side as shown.

It should look like this when finished.