Autumn Table Runner


The tutorial below is for a 25.5” x 13” table runner (good for a coffee table) which requires 18 5” fabric squares. Simply double the number of materials depending on how long you want the runner to be (e.g. for a 51”x13” runner you will need 36 5” squares). I made this Halloween theme table runner using leftover fabric from the fabric ornament tutorial – i just love using every last bit!

Materials:

  • Charm pack (a charm pack is a bundle of pre-cut 5″ squares)
  • Backing fabric (for a 25.5″x13″ runner, get 29″x16″ of backing)
  • Batting
  • Coordinating thread

Step 1 – Pair your 5” squares into 9 groups of 2 squares each. When choosing pairs, pick colors/patterns that complement each other. Pair the squares so that the right sides are facing each other.

Step 2 – As shown below, cut a diagonal line to form 2 half square triangles.

Step 3 – For both half square triangles, sew a ¼” seam along the diagonal line that you cut in the previous step.

Step 4 – After sewing the ¼” seam, press open with an iron. This will create 2 squares. As shown in the 2nd picture below, trim the excess fabric tags.

Step 5 – Repeat the above for all the squares you paired in step 1. Then arrange the squares in 6 rows of 3 squares each. I arranged mine as follows.

Step 6 – Sew the 3 squares in each row together: with right sides facing together, sew a ¼” seam. Press open with an iron.

Step 7 – Then, sew all 6 rows together: with right sides facing together (pin to keep in place), sew a ¼” seam. And then press open with an iron. Continue until you have all rows sewn together.

Step 8 – Now layer your quilt top, batting and backing (in that order) to create a quilt sandwich. Layer it so you can see the right sides of the quilt top and backing fabric (i.e. wrong sides should be facing the batting). Pin to keep the quilt sandwich in place. Then using your sewing machine, quilt the runner however you like. I simply stitched diagonal lines, using the stitch-in-the-ditch method.

Finish the quilt via the Quick Quilt Binding Tutorial, which uses the extra backing fabric. : )

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Fabric Ornaments

I know it’s only mid-Sept., but it REALLY feels like Fall in Seattle! So, I went to my local arts and crafts store the other weekend to buy 2 simple items. I ended up leaving with a bag full of foam balls, candy pumpkins, fake leaves, a sack of buttons, Mod Podge, the list goes on… And of course the 2 items that I was originally there for were forgotten, ancient history. :-}

Anyway, after getting all my supplies I thought up the idea of fabric ball ornaments. This is a fun weekend project; only 5-steps below. If anyone else tries it out, I’d love to see how it turns out!

Materials:

  • Scrap fabrics – I used a charm pack (pre-cut 5” squares)
  • Foam balls
  • Wire
  • Mod Podge
  • Clear brush-on glaze finish (optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • paint brush

All of the above can be found at your local arts and crafts store. For the wire, I used fabric-coated stem wire which can be found in the floral section.

Step 1 – Cut fabric scraps into 5” long strips no wider than 1”. If you’re using smaller foam balls, I wouldn’t cut them any wider than ½ ”.

Step 2 – Get your hands messy! (Tip: I covered my table with parchment paper). With a paint brush, apply a single coat of Mod Podge where you plan to place a fabric strip:
Place the fabric strip over the Mod Podge and smooth down with your fingers. Then, secure the strip by brushing it down with more Mod Podge. Don’t brush it on too thick:
Repeat the above steps but with another strip. Simply layer the fabric strips as needed until the entire foam ball is covered:
Let the fabric/Mod-Podged ball(s) dry on parchment paper overnight.

Step 3 – After the fabric balls have dried, apply a thin coat of clear brush-on glaze coating and then let it dry again overnight.

Step 4 – Create the ornament hanger. As shown below, cut approx. 4” of stem wire. Bend approx. 2” of one end over to create a ½”-1” loop, and using the remaining wire secure the loop by wrapping the wire around the main stem to create a little knot.

Step 5 – Using a thin blade (e.g. the tip of an old pair of appliqué scissors), make a small incision on the fabric ball so that the blade cuts through the fabric. Insert the end of the wire hanger (the end that doesn’t have the loop) into the incision until it stops at the knot. The foam secures the wire better than I thought, but you can also apply clear glue around the base of the knot to reinforce it. If desired, add a bow using ribbon at the base of the loop.
That’s it! I’d love to see someone use Christmas-themed fabric. In case anyone is wondering where I got the black tree in the first photo, it’s from JoAnne’s (an arts and crafts store in WA).

Also, I plan on posting a tutorial for the Halloween table runner (also shown in the first picture). Should have that up shortly!

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Machine Quilting – the basics

This is a wall-hanging quilt I finished last Saturday using scrap fabric and leftover charm squares. This quilt makes for a perfect example of various and simple ways to machine quilt (e.g. for this small quilt, I machine quilted this via straight-stitching, stitch-in-the-ditch, echoing, free-motion quilting).
Here’s how the back looks like – you can really see the quilting in this lighting.

Stitch-in-the-Ditch:
This is probably one of the easiest ways to quilt as it only involves straight lines. The placement of the stitch is in the pressed seams. In this photo I’m using a presser foot.
All you have to do is decide what shaped you want outlined (or stitched in the ditch), and then go for it. When deciding what shapes on your quilt top you want outlined, try to keep in mind how the back of the quilt will look.

Echoing: After stitching-in-the-ditch, I then echoed the heart with a straight stitch using a 1/4″ seam. Again, I used a presser foot.
Here’s how the back of one heart looked after outlining and echoing with a straight-stitch:

Straight-stitch: After outlining and echoing each heart, I quilted inside of each heart differently. For the first heart, I simply quilted symmetrical lines using a straigh-stitch with a presser foot. I started and ended each stitch with a back-stitch:
For the last heart, I quilted wavy-lines, still using a straight-stitch. I simply guided the quilt top in long, wavy motions underneath the presser foot.

Free-Motion Quilting: For the middle heart, I used a darning foot (picture below). Follow your sewing machine’s instructions to replace the presser foot with a darning foot. Also, you will need to cover the feed dogs on your sewing machine (there should be instructions in your machine’s manual for that too). With free-motion quilting, you have total control of the movement of fabric beneath the needle because the feed dogs on your sewing machine are covered. On the contrary, when using a regular presser foot for straight-stitching the feed dogs are exposed (which is why you should never pull the fabric when straight-stitching, simply guide the fabric through). Maintaining a constant sewing speed and fabric movement under the needle will help you sew even stitches. To secure a stitch, simply hold the fabric in place and sew several times in the same spot. This is basically the equivalent of doing a back stitch but with a darning foot. Do this when you start and end a stitch. When free-motion quilting, it helps to choose a continuous pattern (i.e. loopy-loops or swirls).

With the darning foot, I quilted free-motion stippling which is basically a bunch of squiggilies that never overlap (though i confess i messed up several times, you can see my mess-ups in the video below :-o). In this video I’m wearing what I call my Michael Jackson-Gloves, aka quilting gloves that have traction on the finger tips to help give me more control over the quilt top. You can get these at your local crafts shop; i can definitely tell the difference when i use them vs. not using them.

Here’s a mini video of me free-motion quilting with my MJ gloves 😉

Anyway, for those of you that have never machine quilted and are thinking about it, I hope this gives you some helpful insight. Feel free to post any questions and I’d be happy get back to you. I’m no machine quilting guru, but i’d be happy to try help!

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A Quilt from Across the Continent


I started this blog 4 months ago not only for my love of fabric and creating beautiful things from it, but also to make daunting projects -such as piecing together an entire quilt top- not seem so daunting. Anyway, I feel a step closer to accomplishing that as of last week. =) I received this beautiful picture of a quilt that Melissa from Kings County, New Brunswick in Canada made. This was Melissa’s very first quilt, and she used the Cuttin’ Corners Quilt tutorial as a guide. I absolutely adore the color choices she used. The wavy-lines quilting compliments the shapes on the quilt top, and the best part is you can use a straight-stitch on your sewing machine; simply move the quilt top in long S’s under the presser foot.
Melissa also used the Quick Quilt Binding tutorial to help finish the project. It turned out beautiful! And it looks so soft.
Thanks again, Melissa, for sending me these photos and for encouraging me to continue my posts. 🙂

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Visor CD Holder

I made this handy CD holder for my husband last night. The elastic band allows it to attach to to the back of a visor. I’m really happy with how it turned out! My husband even picked out the fabric himself. 🙂 It’s a really quick project; the longest part was figuring out the measurements but since I did that, you won’t have to 😉 Check out my 8-step tutorial below.

Here’s another angle. It can hold 12 CD’s.

Materials:

  • ½ yard fabric
  • ¼ yard heavy weight fabric for the back of the CD case
  • ½ yard elastic, 1.5” wide

Step 1 – Create the main front and back panels.
From your cotton and heavy weight fabric, cut a 13.5” x 6.75” rectangle from each.

Step 2 – Create the CD pockets.
From your cotton fabric, cut 12 4.75” x 6.75” rectangles. For all 12 of the rectangles, do the following: On the side that measures 6.75”, fold the fabric inward ¼” lengthwise; press with an iron. Repeat once more, and press again.

Step 3 – Sew a ~ 1/8” seam to secure the folds you pressed from the previous step.

Step 4 – Using a ruler and marker, mark the following lines on your cotton panel: Starting from the top of the panel, measure 5.5” down. Mark a line, as shown in the picture below (I marked my lines in red to help illustrate where the lines should be). From that line, mark 11 more lines that are each 3/4” apart, as shown below.
Step 5 – Attach the pockets to the panel. Follow steps A-D: Start with the first line you marked, and work your way down.

A. Align the seamless side of the pocket along the FIRST line you marked, as shown below. The side that has a seam should be facing the top of your panel.

B. Pin in place, then sew a ¼” seam along the edge of the pocket.

C. Repeat the above, working your way down all the lines you marked. Once you reach the 11th line, it should look like this (I put CD’s in to help you visualize):

D. Attach the 12th pocket by simply aligning the seamless side to the bottom of the panel, and secure it with a 1/8” stitch along the edge. Below is how the FRONT and BACK should look. [Click to enlarge pictures].


Step 6 – Attach the elastic to the heavy weight fabric panel:
Cut 2 ~7” strips of elastic. Place each strip about 3” inward from each end of the panel, as shown in the first pic. below. Secure the elastic by sewing at least 2-3 back-stitches. Trim excess elastic so it’s flush with the panel.

Step 7 – With right sides facing together (as shown below), align both panels.

Pin panels in place, and then sew a ¼” seam around the entire perimeter except for a 4″ opening at the top, as designated below in red. Start and end your stitch with a back-stitch.Trim excess fabric on the corners so it doesn’t bunch.

Step 8 – Finish it!
Remove the pins, and then turn inside-out through the 4” opening. Press with an iron to flatten.
Press the 4” opening closed with an iron (fold the fabric ¼” inward and press). Stitch closed, or use steam-a-seam to press/glue it closed. Yay you’re done!!

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