Monday, January 2, 2012

Quilted Coasters

Looking to make a very fast, very easy gift? And if you could eat up some of your stash, all the better? Coasters. Perfect. I've been meaning to make some for ages and once I finally did, I am now wondering why I didn't start doing these sooner! Here's a quick little tutorial:

First, you need to figure out how many coasters you want to make, and if they are to have the same material front and back, or different. My tutorial shows making a set of 6 coasters, with all the same material on the front, and two different colours for the backs.

First, cut one 5" square for each front, and one 5" square for each back. I have 6 grey fronts and 3 each of yellow and amber for backs.

Then you want to cut 6 squares of cotton batting, each at 4.75" square.

Lay a front and back square together, right sides facing. Place a piece of batting on top.

Sew around all edges at 1/4", leaving a 1" opening.

Trim the corners.

Turn right side out, through your opening.

Poke out the corners with a chopstick.

Sew around all side 1/8" away from the edge.

Quilt the inside as you wish. I marked mine with a sewing chalk that disappears when steam ironed, to help me with my quilting. I made six different designs.
These do get a little smoother with practice, and I do suggest ironing the coasters before you sew the edges as this helps quite a bit. With some practice, I found that the maze-type pattern works best as there are fewer starts and stops to sew, giving them a slightly cleaner look. Below are a few others I've made since these above.

All done!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Uterine Tea Cozy?

So, I find these days that although I adore coffee, I can't seem to drink it much anymore, which makes me sad. In my sadness, I have turned to tea. And then had to get a teapot, when single cups just weren't cutting it anymore. My little teapot.

And then I remembered how quickly a pot of tea can go cold. Fast...very, very fast. A tea cozy was in order, and stat. I measured it out and grabbed two fat quarters from my stash and snipped and sewed. I tried it on the teapot and thought "there's lots of room in there", so I trimmed the corners and then thought "a little point at the top to have a loop would be nice."

Well, this is what I ended up with. Not too too horrible, but if you turn it upside down you think "uterus?"

Then I still had a bunch of fabric left over from the fat quarters, so I made matching coasters.

Never made these before, but surprisingly easy. I'm thinking of making up some more to give out as little gifts for Christmas to unsuspecting family members. I'll do up a little tutorial for those, but not the Uterine Tea Cozy, I promise.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Easy Tree Skirt (aka, The Bulls-Eye)

Since moving, we are now able to have a real Christmas tree for the first time and we are SO excited about it. I have so much Christmas fabric suddenly that I thought it would be best to make my own tree skirt instead of spending good money to buy one. I’ve seen lots of beautiful patterns for them, but I would have needed to start back in September to get one done in time, so came up with a quick solution (and by quick, I mean begun and completed in 3 hours). This will make one 42" across tree skirt.

1.25y/1.05m of background fabric 44”/45” wide (I used broadcloth)
1.25y/1.05m of Christmas fabric 44”/45” wide (I used cotton quilting fabric)
1.25y/1.05m of backing material 44”/45” wide (I used cotton quilting fabric)
45” square piece of quilt batting
7.25y/6.5m of double-wide bias tape
Basting spray (or Heat N Bond, or any temporary fabric adhesive)
Tailor’s chalk

First, take your background material and fold it in half width-wise and then again length-wise so it is in a square. The corner of the fabric (where all the folds are) is the centre of your piece of background fabric. Use a marker and put a dot on it (it will get cut out later, so use whatever is handy).

Unfold your fabric so it is flat and measure out from that mark 4.5” and make another dot with your tailor’s chalk. Continue around the dot until you have a circle of dots around your centre dot. It's a bit hard to see in this pic, but if you squint just right...

Take your Christmas fabric and fold as you did above for your background material. You may want to iron it flat in this square shape to make the next steps a bit easier. From the corner (aka, the centre of your piece of fabric), measure out 7” and make a mark. Make the same measurement in several points across the fabric so that you have one arc. Measure again at 9”, 11”, 13”, 15”, and 17”.

Cut along each of your dotted lines – you should have cuts that look like above. Unfold each piece and your will have a circle of fabric.

Lay out your background fabric on a flat surface. From your Christmas fabric, you will use the smallest circle, and then every OTHER circle you cut. In total, you will use 3 consecutively larger circles.

Starting with the smallest circle, lay it right side down on newspaper or scrap paper, and spray the back with basting spray.

Position the circle on your background fabric, using the circle of dots you placed on there as a guide. Complete the same with your remaining two circles.

You will have something that now looks like a bulls-eye.

Set your sewing machine to a zigzag stitch and stitch along the inside and outside edge of each circle, affixing it to your background fabric.

Layer your backing material (face down), batting, and your new bulls-eye, using the basting spray on each layer.

Quilt as you like (you can see I used some red thread to give it a little more colour and only a few lines of each.

Measure out from the edge of your largest circle by 4” and make a mark. Complete around the full edge of the circle.

Trim along this edge, through all layers.

Mark a straight line from the centre dot out to the very edge. Cut along that line.

Cut around the circle of dots at the centre of the tree skirt.

Cut two piece of bias tape (about 17” each) and apply to either side of the straight cut you just completed.

Cut another piece 70” long for the inner circle. Leave 20” of loose bias tape at the beginning of the inner circle when applying. This should leave you with about 20” on the other end once completed – these will be the ties on your tree skirt.

Use the remaining bias tape and apply around the large outer edge.

You’re done!

And in case you're wondering, it also works well as a toddler blanket....apparently. We may have issues keeping this under the tree...and that Ikea pillow form too...hmmm....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giant Star Quilt

I  absolutely loved this quilt idea at In Color Order and had to make one for myself. I didn't have the fat quarters that she used for hers, but I did have a layer cake patiently awaiting use, so my main block is quite a bit smaller. I decided to add a wide white border and made large HSTs for each corner.

For the back I used 16 layer cake pieces to make it (almost) a double-sided quilt. This one has already been gifted to family, but from what I remember, it ended up around 50" square - a perfect lap size!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sewing Supplies Pockets

So, sometime before the Summer of Stashbusting began, I bought a couple of yards of this fabric. The lighting doesn't do it too much justice, but the coulors are gorgeous. Mostly, it's sati in a bag looking pretty waiting for me to decide what to do with it.

Then one day I was looking at my printer's tray/thread holder and realized I was tucking everything onto the precarious 1" edge to keep cutters, scissors, pins, etc. out of reach of the toddler (who, by the way, got hold of a dowel from my fabric rack and was flicking spools of threads off here one by one...sigh).
So, I decided to bust out my fabric and make a little set of pockets that could hold all these bits and pieces...and stay out of dowel reach of my daughter. I measured the space I had underneath the tray and over the sewing machine. I needed something that would be about 33" x 11" or so.
I picked a simple off-white for the lining and cut two identical pieces, each measuring 33"x23".
I layered them together, with right sides facing, and sewed a 1/4" seam all around the outside edges, leaving a 2" opening.
Trim the corners, and using the 2" opening, turn right side out. Use a chopstick to poke out the corners gently and iron flat (make sure to iron the hems flat at the opening as well.

Fold over one long edge by 1 1/4", with lining together, and edgestitch. This will create a channel.
Fold up the other side of the long edge until it meets the top edge you just sewed into place.
Edgestitch around the entire border (do not sew the channels shut!).
Then choose where you would like your pockets to be - I made a few very narrow ones for pencils, etc., and the rest quite large for holding scissors, rotary cutters, pin boxes, etc.

Once you've decided, sew a straight line from the bottom up to the edge (do not sew into the channel) - be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end.

Mark where it is to be hung on the wall - use two cup hooks and space them evenly on the wall (ensuring they are balanced evenly) and then slide a 5/8" dowel through the channel and rest on the hooks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oliver + S - Finished Products!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the Oliver + S patterns? Actually, any patterns that Liesl Gibson decides to share with the world. She has created fabulous children's clothing patterns, written a book Little Things To Sew (love!), and also has created patterns for the grown up girls (yay! Adult sizes!) with her Lisette patterns that are distributed by Simplicity.

Why do I love these so? First, the designs are classic. When I think of kids clothing and how I want it to look, this is the style that comes to mind. Second, the patterns are easy to read and if you are a novice clothing sewer, you learn as you go (I love french seams now. Love.) and all the pieces look proplerly finished, not just slapped together as many "easy" patterns tend to. Thanks to these patterns I am no longer terrified of sewing anything other than curtains (and quilts - mais oui!).

Below are pics of some of the things I've made recently. I'm slowly making my way through the entire book, so it seems!

First is the free pattern she offers the Mother Daughter Tote Bag. Easy peasy and the perfect mid-size for lunch or scooping up a few little person things to bring in the car - angel does not leave the house without hers in hand filled with water bottle, snacks, and other assorted bits and bobs. I altered the pattern a little and used one solid piece for the outside of the grey ones - they're my "work" ones.

Then there is the No-Tie Scarf, Mittens, and Cozy Winter Hood pattern from Little Things To Sew. I blithely ignored the warning about working with velveteen and jumped right in (way to go stubborn streak....thank heavens for a walking foot!).

Next up, the Bias Trimmed Apron from Little Things. Talk about quick - this was a naptime creation and great for helping mum cleaning up and in the garden.
Then there is the Red Riding Hood. Another easy one to put together - I made this one with wool coating (deep clearance in the summer at Fabricland...wicked cheap). Nice and warm for this fall though - it's getting lots of use!

The Art Smock - one small, medium, and large (angel and her cousins!). Pardon the paint stains on the little one...this now permanently lives in the kitchen with the painting supplies!

And let's not forget the Reversible Bucket Hat and Tea Party Sundress.

I also just picked up the Family Reunion Dress pattern and am just about done my first one of those - will post that pic when it's finished.

If you're interested in some of these items, visit Liesl Gibson's various sites:
Oliver + S (be sure to visit the blog - there are some free patterns there!)
Lisette Logo