Friday, April 18, 2014

2 Fat Quarter Stocking Tutorial

Welcome to the fourth month of the HO, HO, Ho and On We Sew link party - April!

I'm thrilled to guest host this month's the HO HO HO and on we sew linky party.  It has really helped me to to get motivate to start early on my Christmas and Hanukkah gifts this year, and I hope that you will join me by linking up your Christmas project too.

Celtic Thistle Stitches  

Every month on the 18th, Paula at Mud, Pies, and pins and Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitches will be hosting a link party where we can showcase our work and get inspired by each other and the variety of guest hosts that they have lined up. There is also a wonderful giveaway for entering the linky party.

To Add your link click below!

This month's prize was kindly donated to us by Raystitch,  It's great little mini Cross Stitch Kit that would be great framed, as a pin cushion or even threaded with a ribbon for a pretty ornament.

Raystitch HHHaoWS giveaway

My Project this month is a Super Simple Stocking Tutorial.  This pattern is suitable for most beginners with some basic knowledge of sewing and you can download the stocking pattern here.  The best part is that it's fat quarter friendly; you only need 2!  

This stocking is based on the set of stockings that my mother made for our family back when I was a little girl.  Hers always seemed to be just the right size for most stocking stuffers (not too big that it never seemed full, and not too small where nothing would fit).  They were made from pre-quilted calico and rick rack and I've always adored them.  My mother was kind enough to fish this one out for me and trace it so that I could share this pattern with you today :)


My version is the same size and shape as the original, but it includes a lining and is quilted by machine instead of using pre-quilted fabric (although you could use pre-quilted fabric if you want). It finishes to around 13h x 11w inches.


The pattern comes in four pieces that you will have to tape together.  Make sure to turn the "scale to print" feature OFF!  

Supplies You Will Need
2 Fat Quarters (one for the body and one for the lining)
A piece of batting as big as a FQ
A piece of scrap fabric to back your stocking body for quilting (this doesn't show so it can be any cheap fabric that you have on hand)
A scrap of Felt or Fabric for the Initial
Medium Rick Rack for the loop and to trim


1. Lay your pattern pieces out on your FQs and cut 1 normal and one reverse for both the body fabric and the lining.


2. To add quilting to your stocking you will need to take the body pieces and make a quilt sandwich.  I used a piece of cheap muslin for the backing (since the lining will cover this) and a scrap piece of batting for the middle.  Lay your body pieces on the top and pin through all three layers.


3. Quilt your body pieces using any technique and pattern you desire.  I quilted a simple diamond pattern to accentuate the dot design.Cut you quilted body pieces out.


4. If you plan on adding any embellishments such as an initial or trim, now is the time to do it.  For an initial, print your letter out to size using your favorite font.  If you are going to use a fusible to adhere your letter, make sure to choose the "mirror print" option so that when you flip your letter right-side-up, it is not backwards.


5. Sew down your letter using a zig-zag or straight stitch and sew a straight line through your rick-rack to secure it.


6. Pin your rick-rack loop in place making sure that it is more than 1/4 inch in from the edge so that it doesn't get caught in the seam when you sew the edges.


7. Okay, here's where it gets interesting :)  Lay your body fabric and lining fabric right-sides together and sew across the top edge using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Repeat for both sides.


8. Open up your joined pieces and lay the right sides together matching the edges.  Sew the body side using your 1/4 inch seam allowance.  When sewing the lining side, increase your seam allowance to 1/2 inch so that it fits better when you turn it right-side out.  At the bottom of the lining, leave an opening big enough so you can easily invert your stocking.


9. Trim the excess seam allowance from your lining fabric side and take a moment to notch your outside curves, and clip your inside curves on both the body and lining.  Don't skip this step.  Your seams are bulky and wont turn smoothly without a few notches and clips.


10. Reach through the opening that you left in the lining and turn your stocking right side out.  Smooth your seems and your curves down from the inside until you are happy with the shape.


11. Fold the seam allowance to the inside of your lining and sew shut.  Don't worry about making this invisible.  It wont show since it's at the bottom.


12. Push the lining into your stocking body and maneuver it around until it sits smoothly inside. To give your top edge an added layer of security and finish, top stitch the body and lining together using a generous 1/4 seam.


Now your are all done and your stocking is ready to hang or to give as a gift!  I hope that you found this tutorial easy and fun.  If you have any questions please feel free to email me.

It's your turn to link up and show us the Christmas project or Christmas gift that you've been working on this month.  You have 'till the end of the month to join us and be entered into our lovely give-away!

Click on the link below to enter!

Also, I'd like to thank our sponsors.
My PhotoQuilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter Shop Ray Stitch HaberdasheryPosie: Rosy Little Things Backstitch   Plush Addict Logo

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Birthday Girl Apron

I know that all moms say that they can't believe how fast their kids are growing up, but it seems that every child's birthday sneaks up on me and catches me off guard.  My youngest just turned four this week and I barely got her present done in time.  Thanks to a husband who stood guard outside of my sewing area, I finished my daughters birthday apron just in time for her party.


I love aprons.  They are great practical gifts, and it was high time my littlest helper got her own for when she helps me with the dishes and when she cooks in her play kitchen.


This is a reversible pinafore apron with a crisscross  back.  I like these for little kids because they can get them on and off without anyone having to untie them.  Sorry, I didn't use a pattern for this apron, but here is a free pattern by Japanese sewing books that is similar.  You could use to get the same style.


I love the retro coffee pots and tea kettles fabric (by blank textiles) on this side of the apron.  I added some useful pockets and decked them out with some scrap binding and bows.


The reverse side was made from a butterfly fabric that's been in my stash for awhile now, and I scrounged up just enough apple fabric to make two pockets on this side too. I was happy with how quick this came together and my daughter is thrilled to have an apron "like Mommy's" when she helps out.


Since I had everything out already, I went ahead and made a second apron for my niece.  I used the same brown butterfly fabric for the reverse, but did a full pocket on the front with some appliqued birds.  Since I'm trying to do at least one future Christmas gift or project every month this year as part of the Ho Ho Ho and on we sew link-up party (see my links to the right --->, I'm going to stash this away until Christmas.  I might add a child sized oven mitt to her gift too.

Friday, February 21, 2014

February Sketch

Did you think that I forgot to share my sketch for this month???  While this may be a little late for Valentines day, I firmly believe that it's always the right time to tell someone that you love them or express how grateful you are to have someone in your life.  Right now, I want to thank the whole blog community for always being so wonderful and generous.

 robot card blue wb

I hope that you like my little Robot buddy.  He's hand drawn and then colored on the computer in Adobe Photoshop Elements.  The font used for the message is called Forget me not and it can be downloaded for free personal use.

As always, I want to show you a bit of my process so that you see how a doodle can become an illustration.


This was a doodle that I did on a scratch piece of paper.  I did a few different robots, but this was my favorite concept.


Here is where I redrew the doodle into my sketchbook so that I wouldn't loose it.  I also refined the idea a bit more.  You can see that I first thought about doing a gauge on his chest, but then I changed my mind when I was doing my final inked image.  


After scanning it, I decided on how I was going to color it with the help of my best buddies!  It has become a household tradition that each time I finish a new sketch, my kids get to color their own copy.  My middle son was a bit bummed that my robot didn't have a sword so he drew his own :)

You haven't seen the last of this sketch!  I have a plan for my little robot buddy; you will be seeing him again very soon.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

100 days of school toy wreath

My poor blog is feeling a little neglected this month so I think that it's time to do an update on some of the projects that I've been doing.  I have a really fun blog post in the works that I want to get out, but it's still not quite ready. So, in the interim, I want to share another fun project that I just finished up with my six-year-old.

My middle child had to do a 100 days project at his school where he shared a collection of 100 things.  It could have been anything from 100 stickers to 100 toothpicks, but since we had just got done going through the kids' toys to weed out stuff that was going to get donated to our local thrift store, I figured that we could use a lot of those tiny toys to make his teacher a 100 days wreath.

I wrapped the wreath in black ribbon to give it a nice base before we began, and my son manned the toy bag and kept count while I wielded the hot glue gun.


I think we managed to use every fast food, birthday party, broken, and seasonal toy in our house in order to get 100 toys to fit on the wreath.  I especially love the broken etch-a-sketch because the teacher can use a dry erase marker to write different messages on the wreath over the year.  I think that my son's favorite part was the warring army guys at the top.  


I'm also quite pleased that everything on the wreath was reused from other projects.  The wreath form has been used in a few seasonal wreaths so far this year, the ribbon was left over from Halloween, and the toys were all from my kid's stash of tiny toys.  I do so like a project that makes me feel all thrifty.

Now that I've made this wreath for my son's teacher, I totally want one too!  It's a great way to transform cheap and old toys into something totally new and unique.  I could see it used for a birthday wreath or even a way to save and display special toys.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cranberry and Pineapple Crochet Shawl

I had a totally different post planned for this week, but I really needed to share this finish with you all before the end of the month because I'm participating in the HO HO HO and on we sew link party as a way to get motivate on my Christmas and Hanukkah gifts a little bit all year instead of freaking out in Autumn because I haven't gotten anything done.

Every month on the 18th, Mud, Pies, and pins will be hosting a link party where we can showcase our work and get inspiration from each other and the variety of guest hosts that they have lined up.  I'm really excited to have been asked to host in April, and I can't wait to see all the different projects the the other hosts have lined up.


For January, I finished this cranberry colored pineapple shawl for a lucky family member (who shall not be named just in case).  The pattern is named, Sidewalk Shawl, and you can download the instructions for free from Red Heart. The shawl might look a bit big, but when you drape it over your shoulders in really looks quite nice and can be worn with jeans or with something much dressier.

Sorry that my pictures are a little off for this project, but for some reason the pattern and color of this shawl made it extremely hard to get any good quality shots.  Plus, in none of these pictures do you see a sock on my floor.  There is no sock on the floor; it's just a optical illusion :)


The pineapple repeat was surprisingly easy to crochet once I got the basic pattern down.  I used 3 skeins of a worsted weight yarn aptly named "I love this yarn" in cranberry.  It's acrylic, but it's super soft and wears very well.  It's one of my favorite acrylic yarns in that weight.  


If you decide to make this shawl I just want to warn you that you will have to block it once you're done because otherwise the pattern just doesn't show up very well when you are wearing it.  I've heard some people say that you can't block acrylic yarn.  I do it all the time with only water and pins to hold it in place and I've never had any trouble.  I also didn't put fringe on every row as per the instructions because I didn't want the fringe to over take the shawl pattern.  You could do it either way but remember to buy a bit extra because long fringe uses a lot of yarn.

I know that January is a bit early for some of us to start thinking about Christmas, but I really hope that you'll join me and link up some of the Christmas gifts and projects you are making this year.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pink Mosaics

Rachel over at Stitched in Color announced a pink themed mosaics contest sponsored by sew modern fabrics this week until the 23rd.  This is right up my alley because pink is one of my very favorite colors and almost all the projects that I've worked on since the first of the year have included pink. So, it was no hardship to peruse the pink fabrics and put together two different bundles that I'd love to win.

My first mosaic is titled "Pink is Bold" because pink is not just a soft girly color; it can be bold and strong.

pink is bold

From top left to right: 1. Art Gallery Fabrics - Rapture - Vivacious Marvel - Cherry 2. Michael Miller - Birds of a Feather - Tweet - Aqua 3. Riley Blake - Simply Sweet - Sweet Quilt - Blue 4. Violet Craft - Waterfront Park - Union Station - Navy 5. Sweetwater - Noteworthy - Fly A Kite - Kisses 6. Art Gallery Fabrics - Minimalista - Optical - Watermelon 7. Cloud 9 Organics - Seven Seas - High Seas - Red 8. Lizzy House - Catnap - Kitty Dreams - Cranberry 9. Riley Blake - Flutter - Stripe - Red 10. Urban Chicks - Boho - Market - Whisper 11. Riley Blake - The Simple Life Cottons - Simple Buntings - Red 12. Thomas Knauer - Asbury - Ferris Wheel - Red

My second mosaic is called "Pink is Happy". That Heather Ross bee fabric is 
definitely making me smile right now and I love it with the Thomas Knauer Matchstick fabric too. 

pink is happy

If you love pink too, go and make a mosaic and enter it in the contest.

Finishing the Pink Chevron Quilt!

For all of you that have been following along with my progress on the Pink Chevron Quilt, I'm proud to report that I buckled down this weekend and got it completely finished.  Now I can get it out in the mail so that it arrives by my sister's due date in February!

pink chevron frntnbck

This week my main job was finishing the binding.  Binding seems like it should be a very straightforward business, but there are still plenty if decisions to be made at this stage.  Fabric choices, binding width, straight grain or bias binding all need to be decided on.

Before even beginning this quilt I knew that I wanted to complete it with rounded corners.  It really would have looked good either way, but I like the mix of soft edges with the straight chevrons.

I also love how the backing turned out.  I tend to do a lot of pieced backings because I love the look, and also because I don't tend to have yardage in my stash.  I think that pieced backings are where thrift and design mingle. :)

Cutting Corners:

Since I chose rounded corners, I had to make bias binding.  Straight grain doesn't like to curve around corners.  Because of this, I didn't have enough of the original fabric that I had chosen for the binding :(  Oh well, plan B!  I had more than plenty of the white on black dot fabric to make binding so it all worked out just fine :)

I was surprised that a few of my quilting friends told me that they would be nervous about making curved corners on their quilts.  I totally understand this fear.  It's nerve racking to hack off a corner of your nearly finished quilt.  But, fear not!  It's really fairly easy and you don't need special tools that you don't already have.

1. Find a bowl with a pleasing diameter and place it on the edge of your squared-up quilt.


2. Trace the curve on all four corners.


3. Cut on the traced line.


See :) No worries.  It's easy.

The other worry my buddies had was binding the curve.  For some reason, this strikes fear into the hearts of some quilters because they don't want to end up with puckers and wobbly or cupped corners.  With just a little extra care curved corners can be pucker and wobble free no matter if you are hand finishing or machine finishing your binding.

Binding the Curve

1. When sewing on your curved binding it is very important not to stretch it around the curve.  Don't yank it or pull it in place because this will cause your quilt edges to cup.  Gently lay the binding flat around the curved edges while you sew.

Next you have to flip your binding to the back side in order to sew it down.  There are lots of good ways to do this, but for curves I use the glue method.  You can buy basting glue in most quilting shops, but washable school glue works just as well for this method.

2.  Place a line of glue inside of the stitch line from where you sewed on the binding.  Lay the binding over it making sure it covers the stitches and lightly press it down with a hot iron.


This method is great for getting perfectly flat corners and does not damage your quilt at all.  If you mess up, no worries, just pull the pieces apart and re-glue.


Now all you need to do is either hand or machine stitch your binding down and you are finished.  The glue will come out completely in the wash.

I hope that you've enjoyed this post and got a few tips that will help you in the future.  If you want to see more about the glue binding method, I recommend you watch this video by Sharon Schambers.  She has a lot of great videos on quilting that will blow your mind!

I will be doing one more post relating to this quilt next week.  I'm really excited about it and *hint* it has something to do with the label :)

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