Showing posts with label Tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tips. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spray Basting Tutorial


Recently I basted my Broken Triangles quilt and it's not secret that I favor spray basting over pin basting. And I've had a couple friends ask me in the past what method I use when I spray baste. I don't know if my method is pretty standard or not, but this is how I do it. Ideally I would prefer to spray baste outside, unfortunately, if I'm basting at home I don't have an outdoor slab of concrete flat, large or clean enough to baste a quilt so I have to do it indoors. I usually clear out my dining room since it's pretty open, which means better ventilation. I also open all the windows to keep the air circulating. Spray basting isn't horribly messy, but you're dealing with aerosol glue in a can, so you need to protect your workspace. I wouldn't recommend basting too close to furniture you want to keep. 


First, I lay my quilt back (right side down, of course) flat and use masking tape to adhere it to the floor so it stays as flat and taught as possible. I use 1.5" or 2" wide masking tape (the wider the better) and I tape the quilt back down with newspaper to protect my hardwood floors. I leave a small gap between the quilt top and the newspaper so the tape can also adhere to the floor, securing the quilt top. The first time I spray basted in the house I didn't use newspaper and it took me about an hour and a lot of elbow grease to get the dried glue off my floors. I learned that lesson quickly.


Then, I lay out the batting over the quilt top, smoothing out any creases. Once I am happy with the positioning I fold up one short side about 12" or so and I spray the basting glue onto the quilt top all he way across and then I fold the batting back down, smoothing out all the creases and bumps. 


After I've secured that end of the batting to the quilt back I move to the opposite side of the batting and I roll the batting all the way back to the other end, stopping where I can feel the adhesive on the other end doing it's job. I will be on my hands and knees (no shoes but with clean feet!) In the center of the batting that's been secured down and continue my way down through the middle of the quilt as I tack the rest.


From here I start spraying the adhesive about 12" wide from one side of the quilt to the other. Depending on the brand of spray baste you're using will dictate how densely you apply the glue. I usually spray from one side to the other in a zig-zag motion, and then sometimes add one more spray, directly across in the opposite direction for good measure. (I hope that makes sense!) Then roll out the batting, to around the point where you think the glue ends and smooth out any bubbles and creases. Repeat this until the entire batting is tacked down to the quilt back. 


After the batting and the quilt back are adhered together I repeat the entire process to secure my quilt top to the batting. Once it's all sandwiched, I remove the tape and it's ready to quilt. I am sure there are lots of other ways to spray baste out there, this is just the method I've developed that works for me. Do you do it differently? What works for you? 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Little Pouch Hop

Good Morning everyone! First of all I just wanted to thank Elaine and Emily for inviting me to participate in the Happy Little Pouch Blog Hop. Don't you just love a little bag? I'm not really a purse person in my everyday life, but I adore little pouches and bags of all sizes, especially for storage and travel purposes. And I travel a lot. Recently I decided to test out one of Ayumi's patterns for her little fabric basket and I was instantly addicted. These baskets make a great addition to any swap gift you might be cooking up.


Her pattern is super easy to follow and the basket comes together very quickly. There are also a bunch of modifications you can make to personalize it and make it your own. I made another one of these for a friend (and I forgot to take pictures, ugh!) using Echino. I didn't want to cut up the print so I just cut two 9.5" x 3.5" strips instead of making the patchwork square strips.



Another way to easily personalize these baskets is by using a decorative stitch instead of an edge stitch around the top of the basket like I did here. 


Just make sure you're lining is lying flat when you edge stitch our you could get a pucker like I did. (Boo!)


Although Ayumi's pattern is for small baskets (perfect to hold a few fat quarters or your collection of buttons) it's easy to modify her pattern to make larger baskets. And these come together so quickly and easily that I think I'll be whipping out many, many more of them in the near future.

Want to see more Happy Little Pouches? Check out the rest of the Blog Hop Participants:

Monday 11/26: Emily from Mommy's Naptime and Elaine from Dashasel Sews
Tuesday, 11/27: Courtney from Mon Petit Lyons and Lucy from Charm About You
Wednesday, 11/28: Hollie from Undercover Crafter and Katie from Katie's Korner
Thursday, 11/29: Lindsay from Lindsay Sews and Michelle from I Like Orange
Friday, 11/30: Sara from Sew Sweetness, Cindy from Adventures of the Singing Quilter, and Jennifer from Ellison Lane Quilts

Monday, 12/3: Holly from Bijou Lovely and Heidi from Fabric Mutt
Tuedsay, 12/4: Elizabeth from Don't Call Me Bets and Emily from Mle BB
Wednesday, 12/5: Shruti from 13 Woodhouse Road and Liz from Dandelion Daydreams
Thursday, 12/6: Beth from Plum and June and Kaelin from The Plaid Scottie
Friday, 12/7: Emily from Mommy's Naptime and Elaine from Dashasel Sews

Thank you for stopping by! And please join us in the fun and share your pouchy makes in our Flickr group. The Flickr group is also where you can upload your pouchy makes, and at the end of each week we will have some great prizes to award!

Prizes have generously been donated by:


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fixing A Piecing Error

I remember the first time I ever paper pieced a block. I was so completely intimidated. And soon that intimidation turned to frustration as I tried to fit the scraps at just the right angle so it covered all the surface area necessary and then some for the seam allowances. By the end of that first block I had developed a love / hate relationship with paper piecing. I adore the precision that you get with paper piecing, but it can be a very annoying process. But what happens when you still make a mistake? Some can be fixed without ripping out your entire block. 

Can you see my mistake?
I've been paper piecing a lot in the Bee A Lone Star(burst) Bee. I have to make four, very time consuming blocks a month in the bee. And, quite honestly, there hasn't been one month when I haven't had to, at least, rip a few stitches out. But recently I had quite a little freak out over a mistake, that ultimately, I was able to fix. I got to the end of a block section and realized there was a hole in the block. Yes, sometimes that means you need to start over but, with a little bit of creativity I was actually able to save the block. While preparing to build the block, I saw that the tip of my star center wasn't adequately covered. Once I calmed down I saw that the gap was small enough that I might be able to repair it and the mistake would easily disappear in the big picture. This is something I think translates to lots of different types of piecing mistakes, not just in paper piecing. Always remember that eventually there will be another 1/4" same there, so it gives you some room to play. 

How about now? I'll give you a clue - look in the center of the star.
I reached into my scrap bin and pulled out a coordinating piece of fabric, trying to line up the design as much as possible, keeping in mind there would be a 1/4" seam as I lined up the pattern. I gently folded back the paper foundation and stitched a 1/4" seam, then ironed and trimmed. Yes, it resulted with a tiny seam in the center, but once stitched together with the rest of the pieces to make the entire block, it virtually disappeared. 


Well, I'll admit this happened on two pieces and the other one was only slightly more significant so the seam is a little more prevalent in the finished block BUT remember (and this is hard for the perfectionist in me) once you quilt it and wash it, I guarantee you it will disappear completely. Moral of the story: All is Never lost. Be creative and don't be afraid to try and fix your mistakes. And for those of you who get as frustrated over paper piecing as I sometimes do, here are a couple more tips I hope might help ease your anxiety...


Tip #1: Use large scraps, larger than you think you need. Yes, this creates more waste but it eventually outweighs the headache for me. Larger pieces are more forgiving, especially when you're piecing odd angles in the reverse. 

Tip #2: Always check your points and second seams before moving onto the next piece. For instance, when I'm piecing these stars, the first seam runs shorter than the second, so I always make sure that there is enough fabric to cover the entirely of the second seam when I fold the fabric over the correct way, otherwise paper will end up peeking though my points and my seams will be so scant that the block could start to fall apart first time through the wash. I check when I'm laying the new piece in, and then I double check after I sew. It's much easier to rip the stitches and move the fabric piece immediately than later on in the process.

Tip #3: This might be unpopular with some, but I do a little back stitch when I get to the points in the middle of the block. This isn't so necessary on the side seams as those will be secures later when you piece the block together or into your quilt top. But in the middle of the block I find a little reinforcement helps. Yes, it does create a little bulk  but if you're using paper for your foundation thicker than tissue (I use plain copier paper because that's what I have at my disposal right now) then it can be a little difficult to pull off once your done. That reinforcement at the internal ends of your seams does help strengthen those seams.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sew Fun June Blocks

Ever thought working in Television was lovely and glamourous? Well, think again my friends. Saturday afternoon I got a phone call informing me that I was booked on a flight to New York on Monday morning. Um, how about a "Hello. How you doing?" first. I wasn't armed with much other information than I was needed on location in New Jersey for an indefinite amount of time. Yeah, and I'm already behind on bee blocks and have a To Do List a mile long. Ugh. So I prioritized and started hustling, even waking up at 5:30 am yesterday morning to finish up a couple "Must Dos" before I left the house at 9:30 am to catch my flight. I didn't even have time to get to the post office, so my lovely and amazing husband is doing that for me.


I caught up on several Bee Blocks. I'm still behind, but I'm getting closer. Hopefully I'll only be out here on the road for a week, so I'll be able to catch up on the rest as soon as I get home. But my first priority was to finish up Amber's Bottled Rainbows block for the Sew Fun Bee. This one was the furthest past due.


She's making a king sized quilt, so these blocks were ginormous - not your standard Bottled Rainbows. She sent us out the frames already made, but couldn't find the batting she cut when she sent the packages out so it wasn't the standard QAYG method. Since the scraps are machine appliquéd onto the background, using some sort of stabilizer really makes difference, otherwise the fabric could pucker or bubble. I opted to use a lightweight fusible interfacing on the back of the white center to provide some stability for my appliqué. This worked like a dream. If you want to make these blocks but don't want to quilt-as-you-go, I would highly recommend using a lightweight interfacing as backing.


I've made this type of block before, and I used spray baste last time to keep the pieces in place after I settled on a layout. This time I tried something a little different. I cut double sided Steam-a-Seam into pieces the same size as my scraps to fuse them onto the fabric. It's a little more time consuming, but not really that much more, and it's cleaner - less gummy. Don't get me wrong, I love spray baste, but for a project with pieces this small, sometimes it can be a little annoying since it's an aerosol spray and covers larger spaces better than little tiny ones. So one more down and safely on it's way back home. I hope Amber loves it! P.S. It was also a little breezy when I was taking pictures of the blocks I caught up on this weekend. I just love seeing blocks and quilt tops blowing in the wind. It makes me happy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Little Stitches Week 14 - Pattern R - Cuddle Kitty Toy

Little Stitches Week 14 - Pattern R - Cuddle Kitty Toy


Slowly, but surely, I am making my way through the book. I know I way being way ambitious trying to do one project a week, especially with my busy work schedule. But the good news is: I'm over halfway through completing all the projects and I still have friends making babies. They just don't seem to stop reproducing! Work has been hectic again, and has put a damper on my sewing time, last weekend I helped throw a baby shower for a very close friend of mine and even though I was on the planning committee, I could't come empty handed. So I decided to make something simple for her.

Pattern R - Cuddle Kitty Toy - Difficulty Level: 2


I met Nancy (and her husband Steven) at a Halloween party six years ago. I had just started dating my husband and we were in the phase where we started introducing each other to our friends. Nancy and I met and we clicked immediately. It was one of those moments where you know you're going to be friends. And here we are, six years later. I married that boy and Nancy and Steven are having a girl. Life keeps moving on. Nancy is an extremely talented wardrobe stylist for commercials, who hates to sew. Funny, right? I've actually been teaching her how to make her first quilt so I opted to make something small for her little girl instead. And the Kitty Toy seemed perfect. Since I've been helping her with the quilt I wanted to pick out complementary colors for the Kitty Toy and red and aqua were the perfect choices. They still feel feminine without being over-the-top girly.


I'll openly admit my first mistake. I got all excited and wanted to save time so I laid my main panel and backing fabric out together to cut them at the same time. Only, I laid them directly on top of each other with both fronts facing up and started cutting. I was about a 1/4 of the way through cutting when I realized my mistake. Um, yeah. You need to reverse the backing fabric so when cutting both fabrics together (which does save time) you need to lay one facing up and the other facing down so the wrong sides of your two fabrics are together. Um hum. Just call me the queen of stupid mistakes.


Realizing my mistake I flipped the bottom fabric over and cut them again. This pattern is easy BUT you're working with a lot of curves. Cutting curves can be challenging, so I recommend making sure your rotary blade is extra sharp. Put a new one in if you can. The sharper the blade, the easier it will move around the curves. Also, have a sharp pair of scissors on hand. These will come in super handy for snipping into those corners and you may find yourself using them to help snip trickier portions of the curved pattern. But just remember that you want the fabric for the front side of your cat facing up and the back side of your cat facing down, otherwise you'll end up with a reverse cat, like mine. Oops, again!


I did reach another little stumbling block with the stripes on the tail. The pattern says to cut more than needed, so I am assuming that the spare stripes go on the back of the cat but I didn't read that step in the instructions and you can't really ever see the back of the cat in the pictures so I couldn't tell if she wanted me to put stripes on the back of the tail as well. So I only put them on the front and ended up with extra stripes that went into my scrap bin.


But I do have a little TIP for any of you as anal as I am. It does add an extra step, but not much time. If you're diligent about making the 1/4" folds on your stripe pieces but are having trouble eyeballing them, I suggest doing a 1/4" basting stitch (using your 1/4" foot if you have one) and then ironing along that as a guideline. Then you can easily pull the basting stitches out after you've ironed.


Since you are working with a lot of curves, clipping into your seam allowances (but not into your seams) is the key to making your kitty look curvy when you turn her outside out. The use a turning tool to help get those small curves precise and also the stuffing up in there good.


This is one of those projects that comes together quickly and easily. I think from start to finish it took me an hour, two tops. And it makes a cute little baby gift.


So what are you working on? Link up your latest projects here and show everyone what you're making. You can share your projects in any start from start to finish and join in the sew-along at any time. I'll keep the linky party open all week. Remember, you can also share your "Little Stitches" projects anytime in the Undercover Crafter Sew-Along Group on Flickr. See you next week - if work hasn't killed me. Just kidding!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Shattered Glass Block Tutorial

Hi everyone! I'm the next stop on Jane's Desperate Housewife's Quilt. If this is your first time here, welcome! Glad to have you. Have you heard about this amazing project? Jane of Quilt Jane is posting one 8" block tutorial a week for 50 weeks and she's invited other bloggers to contribute tutorials, too so that's 100 blocks. How cool is that?! I am super excited to be sharing my very first block tutorial with you for week 49. I'm calling this one Shattered Glass. It's really easy, quick and gives you a little opportunity to improvise and make it your own. I hope you like it!


Shattered Glass Block
Finished: 8"
*1/4" Seams used throughout*

8.5" square of background fabric
Several fabric strips measuring between 9 - 12" long and 1 - 2.5" wide
Cutting Mat
Rotary Cutter

Step One:
Place the 8.5" square of background fabric on your cutting mat. Place your ruler at an angle across the entire block, and slice it in half.

Choose one of your fabric strips and line it up with one of the edges you just cut, making sure the strip hangs over at least 1/4" at each end. Sew these together then press. (I prefer to press my seams open.)

Then trim any overhang from the strip so it is now flush with the edges of the background fabric.

Step Two:
Match up the remaining piece of background fabric with the strip you just sewed. Make sure you are placing the cut edge (from step one) to the edge of the strip. Since we're working with angles here you need to shift your background fabric up 1/4". It's going to look and feel off, but trust me, it will square up after you sew and press.

I use my cutting mat to help measure the 1/4" adjustment like so:


Sew together then open and press. (*Tip: If your unfamiliar or uncomfortable with sewing at odd angles you can "cheat" until you gain some confidence. Try sewing your first seam using a basting stitch to check if your angles are lining up. Then you can always re-sew using your regular stitch length if all looks good. Basting stitches are mush easier to rip out if you need to.)

Step Three:
Place your ruler across your block at another odd angle of your choice, crossing the block the other way and cut with your rotary cutter.

Chose another strip and repeat steps One and Two.

Your strips will be a little off but that's the beauty of this block. Think about shattered glass, it doesn't line up perfectly.


Repeat the process as many times as you like to create the shattered effect. When you're satisfied square up your block to 8.5" and you're done. It's that easy!


If you would like to create a larger or smaller block, just adjust the size of your background fabric. For a 12" finished block start with a 12.5" background square. For a 6" finishes block start with a 6.5" background square and so on. Also adjust the length (not width) of your strips. You will need longer strips for a bigger block: 12.5 - 15" long for a 12" block.


I hope you enjoyed this block. Make sure you hop on over to Quilt Jane and check out her awesome blog and all the other amazing blocks in the Desperate Housewife's Quilt. And if you end up making and Shattered Glass blocks I'd love to see them! Be sure to share them in my Flickr group so everyone can see your beautiful work!

Monday, May 14, 2012

More Bee Blocks

Sorry I disappeared last week. I am officially back to work and I ended up shooting all day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That means long hours and no time to breathe. But today I'm settling into my new office and starting pre-production on a new show. We don't start shooting until mid-June so I have a little respite. Saturday my husband had to work all day so I got to play in the studio without any guilt. I have a few things stewing in my head that I can't wait to work on, but first my mission is to eradicate my MUST Do List and that means catching up on Bee Blocks. The exciting news: I am almost 100% completely caught up. Yippee!




The Hope Circle of do. Good Stitches is actually taking May off so we can all work on getting caught up on everything, so I finally made the Antique Tile Blocks that Robyn asked for in March. She wanted a bright color palate and her only other requirement was that the center block was solid white, using this tutorial. Otherwise we could go as scrappy as we wanted, but I kept it pretty simple. One thing about the tutorial - perhaps, I just missed it and I'm crazy, but I couldn't seem to find the correct cutting measurements for the center square anywhere on the page so if you're wanting to make this block just know you need a 4.5" X 4.5" square for the center.




Then, I finished up Melanie's blocks for April in the Bee a Lone Star(burst) Bee. This bee started in April and we're on a condensed schedule so we make two Lone Star Blocks using this tutorial every month for two different people. I was invited to join this bee by Sarah who I "met" through a swap last year. I still need to make her blocks for April. Funny enough Sarah and Melanie had the same color palate so it made things a little easier.


Finally I finished up (on time I might add) the Dear Jane blocks for Corley in the Sew Fun Bee. She asked us to help her out by making two to three hand stitched blocks. She sent us the templates and white fabric, already pre-cut and ironed onto freezer paper with a desired color for each block. She sent me block C-3 "Rayelle's Fence" and asked for it in purple as well as block D-ll "Snow Crystal" in blue. I attacked "Rayelle's Fence" first. This was my first ever attempt at hand stitching a quilt block. I mean, I have a background in garment construction so the concept of hand stitching isn't completely foreign to me but I've never done a whole block by hand before. I was so excited about this challenge. I found the block came together so quickly. I finished it in an evening before April even ended. In fact, I had so much fun with it I immediately told Corley that she could send me more blocks if she wanted.




Personally, I'd never make a sampler quilt for myself. It just doesn't fit my style so I wouldn't ever think to undertake a Dear Jane myself so I am so grateful and thrilled that Corley was brave enough to ask us to attempt these blocks for her. It helped to further motivate me to do my Double Wedding Ring entirely by hand. The "Snow Crystal" block was more complex than the first block because it incorporates Y-seams and appliqué. As soon as I got the hang of the first Y-seam it was all downhill from there. Seriously, if Corley wanted to send me more, even in months to come, I would gladly make more blocks for her. I was disappointed that I ended up with one of the packages with only two blocks, not three. If only I was into Samplers. That's the fun of working in bees. Now, I'm only behind with three more. My goal is to finish them this week so I can finally get all caught up. Wish me luck!