Friday, January 7, 2011

Tips, Tricks and a Tutorial...

Hello every one! I'm Karen from Sew Many Ways and I am so happy to be here at Stash Manicure. I want to thank Madame Samm for having me here again. Today, I'll be sharing some of my tips and tricks to help you whittle away at your fabric stash.

Whether you have a sewing room full of fabric or a little stash like mine, we all need to dig into it and use up what we have. I know we all have that fabric that we just can't cut into or can't find the right pattern to use it with, but every once in a while it's a good idea to pull out the yardage we've had for a while and do something with it.

Later on in this post, I have a quick tutorial for an endless scarf or cowl neck that will use up a quick 1 yard piece of fabric. Right now, I'll share some tips that will help you organize your stash, so it makes it easier to just Grab and Go to start sewing. There is a lot of precious sewing time wasted looking for patterns, fabric and what nots just to start a project. Here are some tips to help you get ready to sew.

The first area...our patterns or books of inspiration. We all have magazines, books and pictures of inspiration. Here is how I store mine for a quick reference. The top shelf are cheap cardboard magazine holders from Staples office supply store. Organize them by magazine title or by seasons of the quilts. It may be your first instinct to organize by the title (like all of the Better Homes together), but just think when you want to make a quilt for Christmas, you'd have to look through a lot of different bins of magazines for something for the holidays. If you stored all the magazine you have for Christmas creations, it's easier to browse through that pile.

Here are the cheapo boxes I bought. They were in the clearance section for 50 cents for a package of 6! Woo Hoo! Love a bargain...but the colors weren't so great. My best tip to make your sewing room look cohesive and not so AHHHH, is to have things match. The boxes came in a rainbow that would have been too much going on, so I covered the front part with a little piece of fabric. Love my Mod Podge (glue/sealer).

The bottom shelf holds my notebooks. These are priceless in terms of finding something fast! I have one for patterns, one for templates, one for inspiration etc.

I buy top loading, clear page protectors that can be used with a three ring binder.

The page protectors are easy to see, keeps things clean, wrinkle free and easy to flip through.

Just slip in your pattern on the top.

Here are the templates.

This one is my house inspiration book. All my dream kitchens in one book.

When you are in the office supply, look around for different ideas for holders. I saw these in the clearance (where else would I be LOL) They hold disks and business cards, but think outside the box.

These are coin collecting holders. Shhhh...I stole them from my dad. He'll never miss them.

Little square pockets that hold coins. I just grabbed this quarter to show you , but I just so happened to grab a 1965 coin...the year I was born. I just turned 46 this week. Yikes, how did that number creep up on me?

Forget about using these for coins. How about little fabric swatches. If you store your fabric in big bins or containers where you're not sure what's in there, why not take a snip from each piece of fabric in the container and put it in this organizer. Label the containers by numbers and then put that bin number on the corresponding sheet of fabric swatches

For example...all these swatches could be in bin #1. Easy to just look through a notebook of swatches rather than 15 bins of fabric. These are also great to hold a certain project of fabric. Just take this sheet to the fabric store to match more fabric. Oh, shouldn't be going to the fabric store to buy more fabric. This is Stash Manicure, not Stash Builders. Another great holder is for baseball cards.

Another idea for Grab and Go sewing is having projects AT THE READY! How many times do you feel like starting a new quilt, but just stand there in front of your stash and stare at it like it's going to throw fabric out at you for the whole quilt. Take an afternoon and get out all your patterns that you want to make and start putting together all the projects...LOTS of them!

Where to store them? Remember my theory about matching about using gift boxes that are all the same size and color. They will store nicely, keep things clean, dust free and out of the sunlight. This was a 10 pack of boxes size 11" x 17"...they're on sale now after the holidays too.

Gather up all the fabric for your project...

add your book or pattern...

cover it up...

and put a label on the front with all the info...pattern name, fabric name, colors etc.

Here's another storage idea for a project. My sister founds these for me. They are 12" x 12", zip lock craft bags.

Kits all set to go!

Another tip to keep you organized for ease of sewing is folding your fabric so you can see it better. I use this cover from a notebook, because it's the same depth as the shelf I keep my fabric on.

When you buy fabric off the bolt, it's folded selvage to selvage.

Take the folded edge and bring it up to the selvage edge.

and then bring up the folded edge again to the top. You now have a piece of fabric that is about 5" wide by the length of the yardage you purchased.

Take your cardboard piece that is the depth of your storage space and place it on the end of the folded piece of fabric.

Keep folding your way down the length of the fabric.

Slide out your cardboard and you're ready to store it away.

Neat and all the same size.

Now that you have all your fabric's a Grab and Go tutorial for an endless scarf. I finally figured out how to make one of these by picking apart one that I purchased. Grab one yard of fabric and cut it to 30" x 36". You can use your cotton fabric, but fashion fabric works great for this too.

Take your piece of fabric and lay it out with the 36 inches going left to right and the 30 inches going top to bottom. Fold in half, right sides together and sew the length of the 36 inches with a 1/4 inch seam.

You should now have a tube that is 15" x 36".

Reach into the tube and grab the other end of the open ended tube and bring it towards you. Wow, that was a mouthful.

Here is a picture of both ends of the tube.

You should end up with 2 sets of fabric right sides together.

Match the one seam that you sewed.

Pin the seam and then pin all the way around the circle.

Leave an opening to turn the scarf right side out. I leave it open as big as my hand, so it will fit in there to grab the fabric.

Sew with a 1/4" seam all the way around and then turn right side out.

Machine or hand sew the opening closed.

You now have an endless cowl neck scarf or a fabric donut!

You can make these to match any outfit or coat.

They can be worn with an outfit as an accessory or as a scarf to keep your neck warm for the winter.

You can use fleece, flannel, faux fur, silk, rayon etc. The size can be changed of course, so experiment if you'd like. My daughter has a super long tube that her sister gave her for Christmas. You just keep wrapping it around your neck for a fuller look.

These would also make great gifts too. So how about making some now and tucking them away for a quick present when you need one and dare I say...start sewing them for Christmas presents. I don't even want to think about it. Don't hate me for mentioning it LOL!!

Well, I hope you enjoyed all the tips and tricks to get your stash organized so you can start digging into it and whittling away at some of the yardage you have piling up. If you like this post, hop over to my blog Sew Many Ways... to find more organizing tips and my popular posts from the Tool Time Tuesday features.

A big thanks again to Madame Samm for having me here and a great big Happy New Year to every one.

#48 Winner of wheeled bag


( email sent, take a peek)

This beautiful large wheeled bag - has more compartments
than you can possibly imagine...
it is perfect for even the largest machine...
it has an extension handle sew easy to tag along on your next
quilt retreat... and it is PURPLE
BLUE FIG is our sponsor of these bags...
and to add to it a Winter quilt Batting from Bosal 
who has Katahdin lightweight organic cotton, stable enough
for all of your hand and machine quilting...
( Did I mention there are a few extra surprises in the bag too?)

We have had a few winners of these bags 
and I just know they love them....

Who is wheeling this out of here? welll you are.....
( color is more in the photo I took) 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Just Playin'

Hi and Happy New Year to everyone!  I'm was thrilled to be asked to be a guest blogger by Madame Samm, in fact just a little shocked!  LOL  Oh, sorry, how rude, let me introduce myself, I'm Trudi, a mad, mother of two teenagers, a quiltaholic, who's been quilting in one form or another for over 20 years.  Then I discovered blogging and wow, the world got a whole lot smaller! You can find me over at Quilting Prolifically please pop over and say hi, I'd be thrilled to see you!

Like I said 20 years and still going strong.  Like a lot of quilters out there, I was making clothes before I got into quilting.  In fact I'd been doing that since I was sat at my mothers knee helping thread needles for her dressmaking antics.  One day whilst I was living in Belgium, a colleague of mine came to me with a Keepsake Quilting catalogue, the lady whose post it was had already been posted back to the US and would no doubt have made it to a quilting shop, my friend thought my need was far great.  So you can imagine my eyes almost popping out on stalks at all the goodies and possibilities inside, and the fabric,  ooooooh the fabric, like nothing I'd seen before!  So here we are 20 years later and a stash, well, less said about the stash the better!  LOL

We've seen many a cave here, and my own is somewhat small to say the least, alas our English homes are all so small. So here is a little peak at my 'office'.
We are only talking 8' x 6' (ish)

Anyway, so why did I name my blog Quilting Prolifically I hear you ask, well... this may explain a little...

I think we'll just skip over the numbers, shall we?  LOL

So it's fair to say I have a little bit of a stash, and with all that fabric and all those quilts there are plenty of scraps to be playing with.  May I be so bold as to ask you a question?  Do you save all those offcuts of wadding (batting - sorry!) when you are trimming down your quilts to bind?  Hmmm, so it's not just me then!  And may I indulge in just one more question? 

Is your 'Must Do/Try' list as long as mine?  ...  I thought so!

Well I decided there is a much easier way to play with those scraps and try out new techniques without making a huge pile of quilts along the way ... Postcards!  See nothing scary in that, is there.  My first foray into the world of postcards was printing onto fabric, layering and quilting the images, then sewing into a postcard.  I quite enjoyed this, but it didn't hit the spot.  There were other techniques I wanted to try, crayons ala Mamacjt, acrylics, layering ...... you get the picture right? 

So I had a little play...

Up until now I had just been playing around practicing my free motion quilting on scraps of my own dyed fabric,  but now.... oooooooh!  So here's a little resume of how I did these and a few others ...

I grabbed a scrap of white on white, and the crayons ..

Drew a little, coloured a little ...

Heat set with the iron, with a bit of baking parchment to protect everything  (I pressed from both sides) ...

Outline quilted the feather, then sewed in the loose threads ...

And proceeded to play a little with free motion quilting the background to really make the design pop... 
almost like trapunto without all the hard work!

And I just carried on playing down the fabric until I'd filled the whole piece..

This piece was about 7" x 22" (ish) ..

I trimmed them ...

and squared them up so they were just a smidgen over 6" x 4" ...

Had a little play with some acrylics... just what was in the house, ordinary craft stuff, nothing special..

This is the view from the back, no backing just wadding (sorry!  batting)  I've dabbed a smidge of bookbinders glue just to hold the quilted sandwich to the postcard.  (I've had them separate at the perforated edges, so now I dab with glue)

Apply Postcard, (these I had printed at the local printers, it was just too difficult to get the right size in the local shops,  so now they say what I want them to!)

At this point I trimmed again snug up against the card ...

I zigzag around each one keeping the edge of the card snug against the needle so it falls just off the card on the outside ...

I know, I can hear you screaming at the screen saying ' that's all very well, but I don't fmq!' 

so I delved into a box of scraps, grabbed something that had already been started ...

had another quick play, introduced some fusible vilene ....

Fused, trimmed, glued and zigzagged in the same way ...

and before you know it, you've got yourself a pile of play things!

Usable, useful play things ...

So next time you are practicing your fmq or playing with your scraps, (do you save all your fused appliques scraps?  They'd be great!)  just for the fun of it ... or you are playing with a new to you technique ... instead of thinking of those practice pieces of wasteful, what now?  How about having a play with postcards too? 

Just sayin'!

 Madame Samm, thank you sew much for inviting me over to spread a little love, I've had a ball playing with postcards, and every time I do, I think of new things to do, if only there were more hours in the day!  LOL