Showing posts with label Tutorials. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tutorials. 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? 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Selvedge String Block Tutorial

Greetings from Tennessee! As you may have guessed, I am still  on the road. One week as officially turned into two and I've traveled from New Jersey to Tennessee. I'm working like mad, hence the lack of postings around here, but it sure is pretty in these parts! 

But today I've got a new tutorial for you. Now, I am sure there is a great tutorial out there on how to make a string block using selvedges, but I haven't found one. I've found several on making a standard string block and a few on working with selvedges, but none that merge the two together. I'm asking members of the Sew Fun Bee to make me string blocks using selvedges for my month, and working with selvedges is a little different so I thought I'd write up a quick tutorial explaining how I do it.

Selvedge String Block Tutorial


Rotary Cutter
Cutting Mat
Selvedges (in a variety of lengths from 13" and shorter)
Sewing Machine (duh!)
Coordinating Thread


Step 1: 
First, you need to create your template. I'm asking for 12.5" (unfinished) blocks so I need to first create a 12.5" square template. I'm using plain white printer paper for my foundation. You can also use thinner stock paper, but you want it heavy enough to told it's shape. Since standard letter sized paper is only 8.5" x 11" you will need four pieces to create your template. Tape the four pieces together to create one large piece. Then, using your cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter, measure out a 12.5" square and trim. Since standard printer paper has sharp, straight edges I use that to my advantage and shore it up against two perpendicular lines on my cutting mat and measure out 12.5" from each straight edge so I'm essentially only making two cuts.


Step 2:
Using your ruler measure a straight line diagonally across your template from corner to corner. If your cutting mat has lines on the angle, you can use these to your advantage to measure out your line. If you don't, it's not a problem. You can easily eyeball from corner to corner. Take your pen and draw a line straight through the center of your template.



Step 3:
Choose your first selvedge. But wait, I'm going to stop here for a moment and talk about working with selvedges for a second, if you don't mind. How much of the selvedge you retain when cutting off from you main fabric is entirely up to you. It comes down to just how much of the mother fabric (I just made that up. I don't know what else to call it.) you would like to peek through in your project. Some people don't want any of it at all and cut close to where the selvedge meets the main fabric. I, personally, am looking at this as a little memory book. It's a reminder of all the fabrics I've worked with over the years, and I like a little of the original fabric to show through, so I cut my selvedge edges a little fat. I also keep them a little long. 


Choose your first selvedge. You'll need to start with a longer one, at least 13", than can traverse your template with a little overhand at each end. Lay the first selvedge over the center line and pin in place. Choose your next selvedge. This should be another long one. Lay it directly on top of the first selvedge (right side of the first selvedge to the wrong side of the second), leaving some of the "mother fabric" exposed BUT (and this is the tricky part) covering enough of that mother fabric so it will stay securely under the top selvedge when sewn. Please keep in mind, selvedges don't always lay as flat as regular fabric because they tend to be a little bulkier, so keep your stitches slow and steady to help smooth out any bubbles along the way.


Using the thread color of your choice (be aware that your thread will show!) stitch a straight line as close to the selvedge edge as you can possibly get. Remember to make sure there is enough of the first selvedge underneath so it stays securely in place and the raw edge doesn't slip out from underneath. This is the trickiest part. Especially if you're working with narrower selvedges. Stitch from one end of the template to the other, just like you would an ordinary string block except the seam is exposed and there is no pressing or ironing.



Step 4: 
Repeat this process until you get to the corner of your block. Your selvedge lengths will get shorter and shorter as you progress down the template to the corner. Once you reach the corner, make sure you have a selvage with enough "mother fabric" width to cover the entire corner.


Step 5:
It's time to do the other side of your block. This works a little differently than the first side. Select a long selvedge and this time you're going to slip it under the first (center) selvedge. You still want to make sure there is enough of the bottom selvedge under the top one so you don't have any holes in your block. Edge stitch in the same manner as before, staying as close to the selvedge edge as possible.


Step 6:
Repeat this process of slipping the selvedges under all the way to the next corner. Once you reach the corner, as before, make sure your last selvedge is wide enough to cover the entire corner.

Step 7:
Press your block. After you stand back and admire all of your hard work, of course. This is the only time you'll actually be using your iron during this whole process. And you don't even have to iron if you don't want to. I just like to for good measure.


Step 8:
Flip your block over so the paper foundation side is facing up. Using your rotary cutter and ruler, trim your block. Line up your ruler with the edge of your paper template and trim one side. Repeat to trim the remaining three sides.


Step 9:
Carefully remove the paper template from the back of your block. Then flip your block over and smile. You've just completed a Selvedge String Block!


Notes on the block: 
Remember, you can easily make these blocks any size you want. The size of your foundation template dictates the six of your (unfinished) block. So if you want an 8.5" block, create a 8.5" square paper template.

Part of the fun of working with selvedges is exploring how you can use them creatively. Like texture like I do? Then don't be afraid to work with slightly frayed selvedges like you find on Kona Solids or Japanese linens. Like to play with words? Fussy cut the selvedge edges with texts. Want to keep it simple? Try making a block using only the selvedge edges from the non-texted side. The list goes on.

Play with thread! Since your seams will be exposed play with using different thread colors as you work.


Have other creative ideas? Let's hear 'em!

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!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Triple 'T' Tuesdays: Fabric Organization

Welcome back to another Triple "T" Tuesday. If you stash looks anything like mine (I'll be starting a support group for that later!) then organization is key. Now, I can't take credit for the way I organize my fabrics. I've seen this technique used in more than one place, unfortunately I can't remember the first place I saw it.I wish I could so I could give credit where it was due, but it was probably two years ago the first time I saw this. Then I tried it myself, fell in love and I've been organizing my stash like this ever since. Have you heard about magazine boards?


Yeah, those little puppies are the key to my organization. You can find these several places online or at your local comic book store. Yep, that's where I get mine. They're called different things by different people and come in different sizes. If you go directly into your local comic book store ask for "Comic Book Boards". Then make sure you buy the "Magazine" size. Magazine size is 8.5" x 11" which is the perfect size for organizing all of your 44" wide fabrics - because what's 44 divided by 4? Yep. 11! I might not be great with math but even I could figure that out!


So how do I do it? It's simple...
Step 1: Fold your fabric in half, selvedge to selvedge.


Step 2: Fold it in half once more. I like to make sure the selvedge edge with the fabric name is facing out so I can see it even after I fold everything up.


Step 3: Since I like having easy access to my printed selvedge edge, I flip my fabric so the printed selvedge edge is facing down, against my table (or whatever flat surface I'm using). Then place one of your magazine boards centered between the two folded edges and close to one of the raw edges of your fabric.


Step 4: Make sure the board is close enough to the raw edge so you can fold the fabric over without covering the entire board, but far enough away that you have a fold of fabric substantial enough at the other end so you can secure it down well. (See Step 6)


Step 5: Fold the board over several times until you reach the opposite raw edge.


Step 6: Make sure there is enough fabric when you reach the other raw edge to fold back over securely.



Step 7: Secure with a pin. Some people fold a triangle of fabric under first. I used to but, frankly, now I'm too lazy.


By The Way: This works even if you're not working with 44" wide fabric. Simply play with folding your fabric to approximately the right width and you're golden!


Easy Peasy! Hope this helps! Do you have a great Tip, Tool or Technique that you'd like to share? Email me and I'll set you up to do a guest post on an upcoming edition of Triple "T" Tuesdays.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Triple 'T' Tuesdays: The Slipstitch

Welcome Back to Triple "T" Tuesdays. Today I wanted to to talk about the slip stitch. I love this stitch because it's so versitile and hidden. Lately I've been using it a lot because I've been doing a lot of hand binding and garment construction. In fact, I jammed through a bunch of cowls the other day so I spent some time on my couch turning them right side out and finishing them off by closing the opening with the trusty slip stitch. So here's the simple technique I use for closing a seam.


I find it easier to iron the seam I am closing first, so it creates a natural crease along the seam line. This fold will act as your guideline and ironing it down will help ensure that your seam will lie flat and naturally against the rest of the seam.


Loop your thread through your needle so you create a double strand, matching the ends together. Create a double knot to secure the ends. A double knot will better help anchor your thread in the fabric, so it doesn't pass all the way though.


Bring your needle up though the right side of the crease on one side of the seam, as close to the end of your machine stitching as possible.


Pull your needle and thread though all the way until the knot meets the underside of the crease. Now your knot should be hidden in the fold on the wrong side of the fabric.


Working on the right side of the fabric, and side A of the fold, place the tip of your needle through the crease on the opposite seam edge (Side B). The key is getting it directly across from where you came up so the stitch essentially disappears and lies flat.


Work the tip of your needle into the fold on Side B (and on the wrong side of the fabric) but not through both layers - only the top layer. You want to nestle your needle so it's sandwiched along the crease and between the two layers of fabric that create the fold of that side of the seam. Bring your needle back through the right side of fabric at the crease on the same side (Side B) about 1/4" from where you inserted your needle. Think of it as hiding your thread / stitch directly in the crease.


Pull your needle and thread all the way through on the right side of the fabric on Side B and pull tightly to create your stitch.


Repeat this on the opposite side of the seam (Side A). You stitches will alternate from one side of the seam to the other until you reach the end of your opening and the beginning of your machine stitching.


To finish your seam, once you reach the opposite side and the machine stitching, loop your needle under the first stitch of machine stitching.


Bring your needle through the loop and create a single knot around the stitch.


Insert your needle at the knot and pull it back though the seam as far as you can go with the needle, then come up again on the right side of your fabric.


Clip the tail of the thread as close to the fabric as you can without cutting the fabric. Pull the fabric slightly to pull the tail back down into the seam and hide the loose ends.


Walla! Now you've created an invisible seam. You can use the same basic technique when hand binding your quilts. You binding will already have the natural crease, but your quilt backing obviously won't. Apply the same theory, but one side of your seam will be flat so you will have to "imagine" a crease there, but it will work the same.


Please let me know if you find any of this confusing so I can clarify my instructions. I hope this helps. Do you have a great Tip, Tool or Technique that you'd like to share? Email me and I'll set up a guest post for an upcoming edition of Triple "T" Tuesdays.