Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tutorial: 7 patch quilt

Okay, so I'm not the type to start cutting and sewing without having any directions to follow (which is why I love tutorials), but I'm trying to branch out. I bought the fabric for this quilt with a pattern in mind and then changed my mind about it and just started doing my own thing... I was going to just do a bunch of 9 patch blocks and sew it all together, but I had one fabric that I really wanted to showcase and little 4" squares just don't do it, so I made a 7 patch. The end result was pretty fun because it is such a versatile quilt block, there are so many variations you could use.

Here's how you do it:

You can start with pieces of fabric that are any size you want or scraps from your stash. I got fat quarters. Then you pair up the fabrics that you think look good next to each other and iron them together, right sides facing with starch so they stick together a little bit. Then cut each pair of fabrics into 4"x4" squares. Move them carefully into a stack so they don't separate. They're completely ready to sew at this point. Cut all your fabrics this way and lay them out next to your sewing machine so you can sew all of them at once. Stitch one edge of each of the squares together with a 1/4" seam allowance. All seams in this project are 1/4". After you sew the first piece, don't cut the thread, just feed the next piece in and keep going until you've finished all of your squares. This method is called chain piecing. It saves time and thread. I separated the pieces a little more than usual so you could see what was going on.Now you have your twosies. Cut the threads between each one and press all seams toward the darker fabric so that it doesn't show as much once you're done. Do that to all the pieces and then lay them out again by your machine so you can see what you've got.Then take two of your twosies and sew them together to make a 4 patch. The only pinning I did was to just pin the two pieces of fabric together where the seams meet to make sure they line up. It's best if each block is different so you get the random look when you're done. Press seams.Then take your 4 patch blocks and sew another twosie on top of it to make a 6 patch. Press seams.Then take the fabric that you really want to show off (in this case a yellow and blue toile), and cut it in strips of 4"x11". This will make up the third column. Sew it onto either side of the block, on the side that has 3 squares. The finished block looks like this:You may have to do a little bit of trimming to even up some of the sides. Then lay the blocks out on your design table (I like to say that because it makes me feel like Fons & Porter, but really I just lay it on my living room floor) and move them around until you are happy with how it looks. As I said before, there are a lot of variations in how you can put them together. You can do something more random:

Or something more organized:Once you decide on a layout, sew the blocks in one row together and press seams and do the same for the rest of the rows. Make sure you're lining up each seam.Then sew the rows together, and press the seams. Again, make sure you line up the seams. If you don't want a border, then you're done! Quilt or tie and bind as you like. If you do want a border then you're almost there! You can put as many borders on in whatever thickness you like. I did my inner border 3" wide and my outer border 6" wide. Cut your fabrics into 3" strips and sew as many strips as you need to cover all 4 sides. Repeat for the outer border. And...Voila!! You are finished. Quilt or tie and bind as you like. I'll post a finished product picture once mine gets back from the quilter.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tutorial: Brick pattern quilt

This quilt is very self-explanatory, so you might say, "why make a tutorial for it?" I've decided to put a tutorial up for those of you who just need a little encouragement and a little guidance; this is for someone who is too hesitant to just try anything without instructions (like I used to be :) Buckle up friends, 'cause here we go:

Find your favorite line of fabric and buy a charm pack (or 2 or 3). What is a charm pack? It is a sample of each fabric in a line of fabrics that is already washed, ironed, and cut to a 5" square, and is made to look good together, thus making your job much easier. For this one, I used the blues and oranges from Lila Tueller's Woodland Bloom line, which I have been stalking all summer and it just came out!

Arrange all the squares to be how you want them on your design board (aka my living room floor). Make it as big or as small as you want, just remember that each square is going to end up being only 4 and 1/2" by the time you're done with it.Next: take every other column and sew the squares together to make strips. Press the seams to one side or the other (usually toward the darker fabric so you don't see it as much). I pressed them all the same way going the direction that I was going to sew it together so the seams wouldn't get caught on the footplate of the machine...I'm lazy... what can I say!Then, take the other columns that you haven't sewn together yet, and pick up the square on the end. Cut it in half and place one half on the bottom of the column and one half on the top. Then sew all these squares together into strips.Sew all the strips together. Don't worry if the ends don't quite match up, we'll fix it later...that's the beauty of this design: no pinning or matching seams...lots of room for error!Press your new seams to one side or the other:
Take your straight edge and rotary cutter and even the ends up:And voila! Easiest quilt top ever! Quilt and bind as you wish and enjoy how little time that took! This makes the perfect gift because it took you all of one hour but it's a gorgeous thoughtful handmade gift that anyone will enjoy!Here is this same layout in some different fabrics...This one is Moda's Nest:Another Woodland Bloom with all the colors in it:Moda's Portugal:Moda's At Water's Edge:And one that I can't remember what it is!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cowboy/girl bib

Check out this little cowgirl/boy bib I made from an old pair of jeans and a scarf...yeehaw!