Monday, August 24, 2015

Baby Blocks in a Box Tutorial

Happy Monday! It's hard to believe school (and fall) are both right around the corner...
although we still have two weeks of summer vacation left here in Michigan!

I'm starting out the week with a tutorial as part of Windham's Lotta Jansdotter blog hop

My oldest son is six and my youngest just turned one last week, so babies have been on my brain for, oh, about 7 years now. :)

When I saw the Stella fabrics by Lotta Jansdotter, I knew I wanted to make something baby related. I love the gray and citron addition to the basic blue and pink. Plus, some of the prints are corduroy! I decided to take advantage of the corduroy and make textured baby blocks. And, because toys are constantly spread out all over my house, I also made a "box" to store the blocks in. Both the box and blocks are super easy to make, and I think the box concept could have plenty of other uses, as well. Enjoy! 

The fabrics: Stella by Lotta Jansdotter for Windham
(Those bottom four are corduroy!!)

You'll Need:
1/2 yard gray star corduroy (for outer box and blocks)
3 additional corduroy fat quarters (for blocks)
4 cotton fat quarters (1 for box lining, 1 for box binding, and 2 for blocks)
2/3 yard Pellon Flex-Foam
1 yard medium weight fusible interfacing

From the gray star corduroy:
One 18" square
Four 4-1/2" squares

From each of the additional 3 corduroy fat quarters:
Four 4-1/2" squares

From 2 cotton fat quarters:
Four 4-1/2" squares

From the lining fat quarter:
One 18" square

From the binding fat quarter:
Two 2-3/4" x 21" strips

From the Flex-Foam:
One 18" square

From the fusible interfacing:
Twenty-four 4-1/2" squares

Making the Box:
Step 1: Layer the 18" Flex-Foam square on the wrong side of the 18" gray stars square and pin in place. Fold in half with right sides of corduroy touching and pin the sides. Sew both short sides using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Step 2: Cut 4-1/4" squares from the bottom (folded edge).

Step 3: Fold so the side seam touches the middle of the bottom on each side as shown and pin. Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance to box the corners. 

Step 4: Turn the outer box right side out. Repeat steps 1-3 using the 18" lining square (without Flex-Foam).
Step 5: Position the lining inside the outer box with wrong sides facing. Line up the raw edges along the top. 
Step 6: Sew the two 2-3/4' x 21" binding strips short ends together. Prepare your binding and sew to the inside of the box (through all layers). 

Step 7: Press the folded edge of the binding over the top edge of the box and pin or use Wonder Clips to secure. Topstitch the binding to the outside of the box. Your box is done!

Making the Blocks:
Step 1: Press interfacing to the wrong side of each 4-1/2" square. 

Step 2: Sew four squares together in a row, starting and stopping 1/4" from the edge and then join the ends to make a "tube."
Step 3: Position a 4-1/2" square on top and pin to secure. Sew to the sides, pivoting at each corner to stitch along the next side. 

Here's what your block should look like now:

Step 4: Pin the remaining square to the opposite end and stitch in place, leaving one side open. 

Step 5: Turn block right side out, stuff with fiberfill, and slipstitch the opening closed. Make four blocks. 

Tuck the blocks into the box and you're done! Babies will love the variety of texture the corduroy provides! 

Windham is offering a giveaway of a bundle of the Stella collection! Visit the Windham Facebook page or blog and tell them you like these Stella fabrics. Then leave a comment below letting me know if you've ever sewed a baby gift for a chance to win the Stella bundle. Giveaway open through Thursday, August 27th at 11:59 pm EST.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

August ALYOF Goal

My sister-in-law is having her second little boy very soon and I promised her a quilt.
 I love making baby quilts! 
 I finally decided on a pattern, something I designed myself, and I took Ben, my almost 1-year-old, to the quilt shop with me last Saturday morning while my husband and the older two boys went biking. (This is how you realize life has changed--when only taking one kid to the fabric store seems like a luxury!) Ben giggled and shrieked his way through the store, delighting (I think!) the other ladies, while I pushed the cart and browsed. I had a color scheme in mind based on the nursery, and crossed my fingers I'd find the perfect fabric to inspire me. 

And I did! I found this helicopter fabric. Perfect because it contained the colors of the nursery AND matched the wall decals--helicopters! 
I picked out the coordinating prints you see here and have gotten started. We live three states away from this new little nephew-to-be, so hopefully I'll have the quilt finished by the time we get to meet him. For now, though, my August ALYOF goal over at Sew BitterSweet Designs is to piece the top!

Friday, July 31, 2015

ALYOF July Goal Complete!

My July ALYOF goal was simple--to bind this quilt. I had ideas of doing something fancy--either a binding that was pieced so each section was color coordinated, or a new technique I learned to bind from the back side (more on that later!)...however, my ultimate decision to go with the plain periwinkle binding was made for one reason only: fabric availability. 

I had forgotten that when I made the quilt I had very little left in the way or scraps. The periwinkle was the only option I had without buying more fabric! So periwinkle it was!

After I bound the quilt, I washed it. Love the enhanced texture!

Linking up with ALYOF over at Sew Bittersweet Designs.
Until next month...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Glisten bundle winner!

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my Glisten tutorial post. Congratulations to Shauna, who was randomly selected to win her own fat quarter bundle of Glisten!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Christmas in July Hop: Stocking Tutorial!

I'm over at Windham's blog again this week, taking part in their Christmas in July blog hop. If you've followed my blog at all, it should come as no surprise that I chose to make a stocking; I've made stockings for my immediate family, all of my nephews and nieces, as well as my sister and brother-in-law and sister-in-law and brother-in-law (see them here). Each family's stockings use different color palettes and have a slightly different look as I've experimented with various designs. One thing they all have in common? Color! So I was excited to work with the Glisten collection by Whistler Studios. It's all gold and silver with metallic accents--a little more sophisticated than what I've used for stockings in the past. 

I couldn't stop with just one stocking, though, so I created a second one (fat quarter bundles are great for making multiple stockings!) and am sharing the tutorial here, on my blog. Enjoy! Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of my post to find out how you can win a fat quarter bundle of Glisten! And don't forget to visit Windham's blog to see my second stocking tute!

Here's a look at the Glisten fabrics:

10 fat quarters*
1/2 yard of lining fabric
12" x 22" piece of batting
12" x 22" piece of fusible interfacing
Fabric chalk

*You'll only use a strip or two from many of these fat quarters, so you'll have plenty left to make additional stockings or some other Christmas project!

Let's get started!
Download the template here. You'll have to assemble the three pieces to make the full stocking shape. Then you can decide which way you'd like your stocking to face--I've seen them both ways! 

Lay the stocking template on the batting piece and trace it. This will help ensure that your fabric strips cover the entire stocking shape. 

We'll be assembling this stocking front using improv strip piecing, with the batting as the foundation. I'll list the strip widths I used to piece the stocking front, but you can also use whatever strip widths you'd like--especially with the improv piecing--yours won't look exactly like mine.  The lengths are approximations--just make sure your strip is long enough to cover the stocking outline. Reserve one full fat quarter for the stocking backing. 

Cut one 3-1/2" x 12" gold strip and one 2-1/2" x 12" white/silver snowflake strip. Layer the gold strip right side up on an angle, making sure it covers the bottom of the stocking outline by at least 1/4". Layer the snowflake strip on top, right side down. Pin, and then stitch through all three layers.

Press the strips open.

Add a third strip (mine is a 2-1/2" x 14" fussy cut gold snowflake strip). Here's what the fabric looks like:

I cut the snowflake strip you see here at the bottom to use on the stocking but I love the little houses too!

Lay the strip right side down on a different angle than the snowflake strip. Tip: Always aim for a little more angle than you start with. You want the end result to look like angled improv strips and not strips that you might not have sewed straight!

My next strip is a 4" x 14" ornament strip. Set it on a different angle than the previous strip.

After each strip added, fold the batting back and trim the seam allowance to 1/4".

Add a 2" x 12" gold strip, and then a 4" x 12" fussy cut reindeer strip, continuing to vary the angles and trim excess seam allowance.

Here's a look at the fabric with the reindeer and sleigh on it:

My last three strips are a 2-1/2" x 12" gold snowflake strip, a 2-1/2" x 12" silver strip, and a 4" x 12" gray strip. Tip: Cut your last (top) strip wider than you need it. This gives you some wiggle room to make your stocking slightly taller or to simply square up the stocking top. 

Lay the stocking template on top, making sure the strips cover all the areas under the template. (The stocking shape doesn't have to line up exactly with your original drawn line--that was just a guide.) Pin the template and cut out around the shape.

Your stocking front will look something like this:

Following manufacturer's directions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fat quarter you've reserved for the stocking back. Lay your stocking front on top, right sides together, pin in place, and cut around the stocking shape. You could use the template as well, but I like to use the stocking front to eliminate any possibility of cutting out the backing shape with the stocking toe facing the wrong direction! :)

With the front and backing still right sides together, sew around the stocking with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving the top edge open. Turn right side out.
Fold the lining fabric in half right sides together. Pin the stocking template on top (direction doesn't matter here!) and cut out the shape. Sew around stocking edge. Leave wrong side facing out.

I cut the stocking binding and loop from the same fabric--the metallic gold. Cut a 2" x 9" piece for the loop and a 2-1/4" x 22" piece for the binding. Press the binding strip in half lengthwise wrong sides together as you would for a quilt. Press the 2" x 9" loop piece in half lengthwise wrong sides together, then open up and fold each long raw edge in to the center fold and press again. Refold on main seam to enclose all raw edges and stitch down the middle. This is your hanging loop.

Tuck the lining inside the stocking so wrong sides are facing. Line up the top edges of stocking and lining, and pin, aligning the seams of both layers. Fold the loop in half and pin raw edges to the lining, just to the back side of the non-toe side seam. 

Stitch back and forth with a scant 1/4" seam allowance to secure the loop (this will all be covered up in the next couple steps). Pin the binding in place, matching raw edges, like you would a quilt. Arrange binding strip so the seam will be on the back of the stocking, near a seam, where it will be least visible. 
Stitch the binding to the stocking layers from the inside of the stocking. This may seem strange, but trust me, it's much easier! Join the raw ends of the binding with a straight seam rather than the traditional angled seam--it's just easier on a project this small. 

Fold the top of the stocking down for easier access and hand stitch the folded edge of the binding to the stocking lining.

After the binding is secure, fold the loop up and stitch back and forth several times where the loop is folded. This will make it more secure and point it in the right direction.

Don't forget to head over to Windham's blog to see their entire Christmas in July blog hop and my second stocking tutorial!

And last but not least, here's a little behind-the-scenes look at my "photoshoot"!

Now for the giveaway!

For a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Glisten, like Windham on Facebook, follow their blog using Bloglovin' and leave a comment here with an idea of what you would do with this bundle. Giveaway is open through Friday, July 24th at 11:59 pm EST.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Magazine winner and what I've been working on...

First, congratulations to Debbie at Sheltered Stitches! You were randomly chosen to receive my extra copy of Modern Patchwork! I have emailed you for your mailing address.

I saw this the other day--my name (misspelled!) and quilt in a suggested post in my Facebook feed! :)

And here's what I've been working with lately...which you'll see in a tutorial here on the blog soon...the Glisten collection by Whistler Studios from Windham:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My name in lights...(or actually, a magazine!)

The summer issue of Modern Patchwork magazine recently hit newsstands, and I'm thrilled to have two projects featured in it! 

I pieced each of these quilts in a few days (tight deadlines!) back in February, so it's been really fun to see them in the magazine.

Here's the first quilt in the magazine, a variation of a disappearing nine-patch. The fabric line is Morning Walk by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Fabrics. It was quilted by the lovely Diane Oakes and is being held up here by my two older boys.

Here's my original (and smaller) version of this quilt, made using a layer cake of Tula Pink's Nest collection. I quilted this one myself. Amazing what different fabrics do, isn't it? 

Here's a close-up of the quilt, showing Diane's quilting:

And here's the second quilt, which is my favorite of the two (have you noticed I love turquoise?!). I made this using only turquoise scraps from my stash. And then when I decided to add in the four gray squares, I bought six different gray fat quarters to supplement what was in my stash to find grays in the right shades, as well as the right "color" gray--some were too purple-y, some too yellow, some too blue... And I also discovered a cool feature on my iPhone camera--you can convert the view to grayscale, which is really helpful for judging scale!

And a close-up of the quilting, also done by Diane Oakes. She did a great job on both quilts!

If you want to see more of the magazine, you can purchase it in your local book shop or quilt shop. You can also purchase it online here. But...I bought a few extra copies and I'm going to give one away!
Leave a comment before Friday, July 17th at 11:59 pm EST letting me know what color scraps you have most of in your stash. I will randomly choose a winner to receive one of my extra magazine copies.