Friday, December 9, 2016

Mistletoe Table Topper Tutorial

This little mistletoe table topper is just perfect for Christmas and pretty enough to leave out year round. I'm going to go over some basics in this tutorial. You can select any kind of fabric you want.

You will need the following:

1- 12.5"x 12.5" square of background fabric
2- 5" x 5" squares of background fabric
A wide mouth jar ring
8" by WOF light weight Pellon fusible.
A pencil or a permanent marking pen. (something to draw with)
A focus fabric, the amount will depend on how far apart your focused interests will need four focus pieces.
Batting and backing 22" square.
2- 2.5" x WOF strips for binding.

Take your 12.5"square background fabric and press in half both ways, also press again in half on the diagonal both ways to look like the photo below. This creates a "grid" for you to lay out your design and match up your side pieces.


Now take your two 5" squares and cut them on the diagonal as shown in the photo below. Set them aside for now.  These will be your "star" tips later.

Now take your wide mouth canning jar ring and use it to draw 4 circles on the paper side of your fusible as shown below.

Now use your wide mouth canning ring to select the focus area on your fabric that you want to feature in your ornament.  Cut a square of fabric that gives you enough room to move your fusible paper around to get your design centered as you wish.

Once you have isolated your focus feature and cut it out, place your fusible on the backside of your fabric, with the paper up and press into place.

Trim away the excess cutting out your circle on the line. Repeat this so you have 4 "ornaments".

Lay your "ornaments" out on your background fabric, using the pressed "grid" to lay them out in a pleasing design. Peel off the paper backing and press them into place according to your fusible directions.

Print out the pattern for the mistletoe and trace the design onto the paper side of your fusible. You will need to make 4.                        
                          PDF PATTERN FOR MISTLETOE

Again, press your fusible design onto the backside of your selected fabric and then cut out carefully on the lines.

Place your mistletoe as you like it and press into place.

To make the top of the ornament...draw a circle using a bobbin and a removable can either hand stitch or zigzag a couple times across to make the top of the ornament hanger. You can blanket stitch around the ornaments or simply straight stitch close to the edge for a raw edge finish. Embellish as desired.

To create the star points, take the triangle pieces you cut earlier from the 5" squares and fold them point to point. Finger press on the long edge to create a crease.

Line the crease on the triangle with the crease on your 12.5" square and folding right sides together, pin into place and stitch 1/4" along the edge.

Fold out and press seam to the outside. Lay your backing fabric wrong side up, your batting on top of that and place your star topper right side up on top of that to create your quilt sandwich. Quilt as desired. Once quilted, trim away your excess batting and backing and bind. 

For more tips and ideas refer to: Christmas Table Topper Tutorial

Posting will be updated with binding.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Star Block Tutorial

Christmas is coming and I wanted a pretty little quilt made from some Moda Juniper Berry fabric. My 25 year old Bernina is in the shop getting a new motor, so I am stitching this quilt on one of my Singer Featherweights. This block is so easy and so much fun to make, you can easily put this quilt together in a weekend! 

The quilt requires 3 Charm packs. I elected to purchase 1 Layer Cake and cut it into fourths.  This way I get my 3 Charm packs and a bonus 4th to use on another project.

Set your layer cake out on your cutting mat and cut in half. A layer cake is 10" so when you cut it in half you will have two 5" by 10" strips.  Now cut those in half and you will have four 5"x 5" Charm squares. I cut 4-6 layers if fabric at a time, I would not recommend that you cut through more layers than that, you start to lose accuracy. Make sure your blade is sharp.

For this project you only need 3 so you will have a bonus Charm Pack to use another time.

I like to use the wrapping that came with the Layer Cake to rewrap the little left over Charm Pack and that way I will know what it is when I go to quilt with it.

For the background fabric you will need 1 3/4 yards. I used Kona Cotton White. Kona Cotton has a wonderful feel and stitches up so nicely. It really is my favorite for solids.

I fell in love with Reindeer Games and will be using that for my backing fabric and possibly my border as well.

So here we go.  First thing to do is sort your charm packs into like fabrics...we have 3 charm packs so we should have 3 of each fabric.
Once you have done that take one stack of 3 like charms and remove one of those to your cutting mat.  Cut 1 charm into four squares that will measure 2.5 x 2.5 each.  You do this by cutting your Charm in half (2.5") and without moving your fabric, turn your cutting mat and cut the Charm in half again (2.5").  You will need two of those small squares for this block and one of the charms...the others will create a second block set for you.  

From your background fabric (I have used Kona Cotton White) you will need to cut 24 strips that measure 2.5" x WOF (width of fabric)

From your strips you will need to cut a piece 7" x 2.5 and a piece 5" for each block.

Take the small 2.5" squares and fold them in half on the diagonal as shown below, you can press them to get a clear crease or if you want to, you can mark them with a marker that will not bleed into your fabric.  This crease is our stitching line.

TIP: if you have directional fabric...lay your block out on your cutting mat next to your sewing machine and make sure you have your 2.5" pieces folded so that you are lining up the direction of the fabric...see below.  Place the 5"x 2.5" strip at the top and the 7" x 2.5" strip at the right of your charm.  Lay your folded 2.5" squares as shown to create the block and check your direction.

Make your fold and check again.

Keep your folded squares where they are and open them up. You can pin them in place if you wish.  Take them to your machine and stitch on the crease. TIP: it will help if you start your stitching from the long edge and stitch out to the point, rather than starting from the point.  If you start at the point, you risk jamming up your sewing machine by having that fabric tip get jammed down into the needle hole.

Take your strip to your mat and cut away the excess fabric leaving a 1/4" seam allowance as shown below.

Open out your piece and press toward your darker fabric. Place the 5" strip at the top of your charm and stitch in place, again, check your alignment to make sure you have your piece laid out correctly.  Press toward your charm.

Lay the 7" strip along the right side of your charm and stitch into place. Press toward your charm.

You should now have a block that looks like this...

Place four blocks as shown below...

Stitch the top two and the bottom two blocks together just as you would a four patch, as shown below...TIP:  start your stitching at the star point. Press your seams to the left.  Press both star halves in the same direction, when you turn them to place them together, they will nest giving you a perfectly matched center.

Stitch the top and the bottom together and you have your final star block as shown below...

Hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial for this star block.  Check back and I will post the quilt when finished.

BONUS: save all of your little triangle cuttings and you can run them through your machine as leaders and enders to be used in your border or your quilt.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Basic Potholder Tutorial

Pretty Potholders can be yours to give or yours to keep! This easy pattern can be adapted to use stray blocks you may have laying around. It's a great way to clean out those pretties that you know you will never finish into a quilt. This is a suitable project for a beginner.

To make two pot holders as shown you will need the following:

8 - 5" squares of 100% cotton fabric
2 - 9" squares of Insulbrite insulated batting (keeps you from burning fingers)
2 - 9" squares of regular 100% cotton batting (thin)
2 - 9" squares of backing fabric
2 - 2.5" x 44" or WOF (width of fabric) strips for binding

Thread, pins, scissors, rotary cutter, cutting mat, 6 x 12" ruler,  12" square up ruler (optional), Sewing Machine

Pick out your 5" fabric squares. For this project, I have selected Moda's Basic Mixologie. You want a little contrast in color or design.  You don't have to run out and buy a charm pack, this is a a great project for using up your scraps too. Just cut your scraps to 5" squares.

Pick two of your squares and put them right sides together, do the same with the remaining two, draw a line using a pencil and a ruler that runs diagonally as shown below (removable marker, chalk, what ever you have that will not bleed into your fabric.) You could also use your iron to press a crease but I find for beginners, marking is easier with less chance of stretching the bias.

Take these to your machine and stitch 1/4 inch from the center line going down one side and then turning and going down the other.  It should look like the example below.  

Once you have stitched both, then cut them on the line as shown below.

Now press these pieces open.  I like to finger press my fabric first, to make sure that the piece is open all the way before I press with my iron.  Your pieces should look like below once they are pressed.

Now take two of your half square triangle pieces placing them right sides together, and match up the seams. You will draw another line running diagonally as shown below.

Same as you did before, stitch 1/4 inch away from that line and turn your fabric and stitch 1/4 inch away from that line on the other side. Again, cut them along your solid drawn line as shown below.

Take to your iron and press open...Take four of your pieces and arrangement to suite your fancy. These are just some of the options.

Pick the arrangement that you like and sew this together, just like a four patch.  Stitch 2 top pieces together and then the 2 bottom pieces together, using a 1/4" seam allowance, press open. Check your design and make sure that it is still lining up properly.

Here is a close up of what your blocks should look like for the center match up. Take a pin and poke it through from the backside of one half into the intersection of the pieces. Then poke that same pin through the right side of the other half, into the intersection of the pieces. Keep this pin perpendicular  and while you hold it, place a pin on either side.  To see this in more detail, I will refer you to another tutorial here: Matching your seam intersection Photo included for your reference below.

Once you have matched up and pinned your intersection, stitch your remaining seam. Press.

Make a quilt sandwich of the follow in this order, backing, then your Insulbrite, then your batting and finally your quilt block.

You will notice that the block measure about 8 inches and your other materials measure 9 inches.  This is purposeful. Center your block on your batting and backing, pin in place and we are ready to begin quilting.

Start from the center of your block and needle down, stitch in the ditch to the outside edge and clip your threads. Do the same in the opposite direction, starting again from the center, needle down and stitch to the edge.  This will keep your fabric from bunching up in the middle like it would if  you try to stitch from one side to the other. Continue to stitch from the middle out until you have anchored all of your seams. If you want you can then go back and stitch in the ditch around the block in the center. Here is the back of my potholder and you can see the stitching. Notice, there is no bunching.  I also stitch very close to the edge of the block all the way around the outside, this helps hold everything together when you are binding.

Cut away the excess batting and backing, this is easily done with your rotary cutter and this is a good time to use your square up ruler, if you don't have one, no worries, just trim off the excess.
It should look like below when you are finished. All ready for binding!

Take your 2.5" strips and fold them in half and press to create your binding. Starting on the TOP corner of your potholder on the face side, lay your binding raw edges matching the raw edge of your potholder as shown below and stitch 1/4 inch mitering the corners as you go. You will either start this edge flush or trim it flush when you are done. 

Before you sew off the end...stop your sewing, fold out your beginning binding and end your stitching just before the edge as shown below. Leave a long tail hanging on this end.

Take to your iron and press you binding away from the top to open the seams before you finish... see below.

Fold your binding to the wrong side and carefully miter your corners, pin them in place. The tail of your binding will fold in on itself. Starting in the same corner as you started your binding, stitch in the ditch catching your binding fabric on the backside as you go. 
Continue to stitch the tail of your binding as this will create the loop for the top.  Five inches is plenty to work with.  Turn and tack into place, clipping off your excess binding tail. Here is a link to give you a closer picture of this process: Binding your potholder and creating the loop