Friday, December 23, 2011

My wish to you for a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays....

MY Grown UP Wish....
is that you all have a very special holiday...
with family and friends. Know that in my heart
I will be wishing you all the best today, tomorrow
and all the days yet to come...
You have been kind, smart and sew important to me...!

Merry Christmas
( see you all next Monday)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Comfort and JOY with Liz and her Quilted Scarf with from Painting the Bridge Red

Hello ladies! I'm Liz, and though I haven't had a blog for many years up to now, I run around answering questions on lots of different crafting and quilting websites. I've got a *brand new* blog at Painting the Bridge Red. So far, I've only got a paltry few posts, but I've got great ideas and the best is yet to come. I've been quilting since I was 8, seriously since I was 20, and now I'm a longarmer, too. I'm *delighted* Madame Samm has allowed me to share my project with you today, and am so appreciative of all the effort and her hard work she puts in here for all of our benefit.

So. It's three days before the big day. And you have just discovered that your (daughter / brother / mother) has invited their (new significant other / best friend / great aunt Tillie) to spend the holidays with your family. You, being the glorious self-motivated, organized person that you are, finished the gift shopping weeks, nay, months ago. They are wrapped and ready to go. But... (there's always a but...) you do not want the newcomer to feel left out. (Alternately: Your husband decided to tell you on Tuesday that his office was doing secret Santa. On Thursday.) You now need the perfect gender neutral, inexpensive yet stylish gift, and you would rather walk over hot coals than spend today in the mall. Amazon cannot get you what you want, in time. Feel anxious yet?
Scarf (1 of 1).jpg
( this is what I will show you how to make today)

Calm. Take a big deep breath. We've got this covered. Literally.

A few times in the past, I've managed to find myself in much the same situation. And I *think* I've finally come up with the perfect response - a quilted scarf. It is almost infinitely variable, can be made in as little as an hour, and if you're as thrifty as me, it can cost you only a couple of dollars, depending on how you want to do it.

At the base of it, all we're really going to do is make a long, thin table runner. So you get to make all kinds of fun choices, based on your needs and your desires, what you have on hand, or the final look you want. Pick an idea, and run with it - here are just a few of the choices you can make.

First, you can decide how plain or fancy you want it. Realistically - what do you want to show off? Do you want to show off your perfect, perfect piecework? Have you been working hard on applique this year and want to show that off? Did you finally get your free motion quilting down pat? Do you have scraps left over from your very favourite project - ones that you want to see a little more often? Or do you need the fastest. easiest. cheapest thing possible just to get something done as. soon. as. possible and you're going to barricade yourself in your sewing room until it's done? All of these are valid choices - pick one for each scarf you're going to make up, and we'll move on to the next step.

We need to decide what size we want the scarf to be. Through trial and error, I found that the unfinished width that works best falls between 6.5" and 8.5" Anything within this range is perfectly acceptable - there are very few hard and fast rules here. Write that number down, for each scarf you're going to do - for simplicity's sake, I'm going to use 8.5" as my example. Next, you can decide on length. The most inexpensive way to do it is to simply use the width of the focus fabric - somewhere between 42-44". For me, this is the perfect length - it's enough to go over the back of my neck, where I get cold, and tuck into my coat. You might want it twice as long, or another length entirely. When I make them for other people, I hand them my measuring tape and tell them to hold one end, and to wear it like a scarf - the right length will be from their right hand, to an even point on the other end (this can be 60, 70" if they like to wrap it twice around their neck and then have it hang low.) There is no right answer - just write down whatever one you're going to use.

These measurements form the dimensions of your "top". For the "back", any plain fabric will do. Muslin, if you've got it, plain broadcloth, a co-ordinating print, or my favourite, Kona cotton. If your budget is tight, you can use scraps left over. Its size will be the exact same as your "top". (Trying to do both sides pieced, or one applique and one pieced is really tricky - not recommended.)

So now we're going to revisit our options, and see what we can do.

First: A note on colours. The *only* recommendation I have in this regard is not to use white. Unlike quilts, this will spend a lot of time rubbing right up against your skin, your hair, makeup, who knows what. White turns dingy looking really fast under these conditions.

Piecework - Pick 2 blocks - one for each end. These can be as fancy or as simple as you choose - I really like the look of sawtooth stars, trees, and crazy-quilt style - but these are just my taste. You can use one or two of 'em on each end, and then just fill the gap between them with plain or co-ordinating fabric to make it whatever length you need.

Applique/embroidery - choose your design and apply it to either end, treating the short edges of the scarf as the bottom of the design. (hint: there are so

Free motion quilting - simply pick a fabric, and have a really nice thread on hand - something that you want to show off. (I like using highly contrasting thread & fabric, like bright red on black, green on red, etc.)

And finally, for those that need the cheapest, fastest possible: Pick two fabrics - one patterned, one plain. You want them to be at least 45x6.5 - 45x8.5 is better. This is a great place to use up your stash (hey, you can give Great Aunt Tilly a scarf that matches that quilt you made her!) or to take advantage of a good pre-Holiday sale. (The fabric store isn't the same as the mall. It just isn't :) Because you're using just a quarter of a yard, you're looking at a few dollars, tops, for the fabric.

Now, we choose our batting. You might live in Florida and not want any batting. You might live in Cold Lake and want three layers of wool. Again, choose which is best for you or for the recipient. If you're somewhere in between, a simple layer of flannel is perfect. For this project, I used a 100% cotton, no scrim, low loft batting. (I don't recommend "puffy" batting, though, unless your quilting is going to be very dense.) If you've done a lot of quilts this year, you've probably got scraps that are perfect- use your favourite joining technique to build them up to the right dimensions. If you don't have scraps, a single package of "craft" size will do between 2 and 4 scarves, and is, again, very inexpensive, especially with a coupon. There's no rule that says you have to have batting in any case, so if you don't have it, don't sweat it - the scarf will still be warm.

Finally, we're going to choose how we want to finish it. There are really only 2 choices - using the "birthing" method, and using binding. If you want to do this quickly and cheaply - go with the birthing method.

The walkthrough below is an example of how to make one inexpensively, quickly, and easily - and have it look really, really good. It took much longer to type out the instructions and take the photos than it took to actually do, and once you've done one, you know how to do lots! If you run out of oomph and need inspiration, check out the Quilt Index. They have a *huge* visual database of quilts, and for ones from specific areas (like Canada, Australia, or Germany), see here.

Scarf (1 of 23).jpg

First, we choose our fabric. This is one from my Christmas bag - but it's in French, so it isn't particularly "holiday-ish" and I just love the gorgeous deep taupe.

Scarf (5 of 23).jpg

Start by trimming off the uneven edges, and then cutting it to your specified width. The ShapeCut makes this really fast, and easy - I cut it to 8.5".

Scarf (6 of 23).jpg

Then trim off the selvedge. Some fabrics now come with decorative edges right before the selvedge - if you like this, then leave a 1/4" margin of the selvedge there - on this project, you're not really matching seams, so it doesn't matter. You'll see later on how pretty it looks.

Repeat the step with the backing fabric, trimming it to width and then cutting off the selvedges. (I used black, which didn't photograph well.) Don't worry about the length in this step - it's okay if the top and bottom don't match. We'll fix that in just a second.

Scarf (7 of 23).jpg

Start by folding both the fabrics in half, matching the short ends. Finger press the fold - you'll need it a few times, but you don't want something that's really set in, like an iron would do. If you're doing traditional binding, skip the next few steps. Baste it as you would a regular quilt, quilt your design in, and then trim as desired - easy peasy!

Scarf (8 of 23).jpg

Now a tricky bit. Rather than having to fuss about length - especially if you're using 2 widths of fabric to make a really long scarf - match the folded middles (or, if you're using 2 widths, the folded seam, and let the other ends just be uneven, as in the photo above. Put the shorter fabric on top, and line a ruler up with the edge - trimming the longer so that they match. If you *do* have a set length - say 72.5", then feel free to measure and trim up as you will - the end result is that you want both fabrics exactly the same size. (This is less important if you are using traditional binding, as you'll be able to trim after the quilting.)

Scarf (9 of 23).jpg

Put the fabric right sides together, and put pins in each end, perpendicular to the long edges and parallel to the short ones. The reason for this is that even with the best sewing machine, you need the edges to be just the same. We're going to baste it first, before we add the batting.

Scarf (10 of 23).jpg

We want to stitch the whole way around, an eighth of an inch away from the edge. Because this is a temporary, tacking stitch, set your stitch length to its' maximum setting, and if you have an edge-stitching foot, now's the perfect time to break it out. If you don't have one, the only thing you really want is "less than 1/4"." A bit less or a bit more than 1/8" is just fine - eyeball it. This step is extra important if you've decided to piece the top like a normal quilt but are going to use the birthing technique. Unless you've used a border, you'll want to use this to hold the piecing together evenly as you sew the batting on. Because you're using a long stitch, the machine *will* move fast through this, so hang on!

Scarf (11 of 23).jpg

This is what the stitching looks like. I'm using darker thread for contrast, but you'll probably want to use something co-ordinating.

Scarf (12 of 23).jpg

Go back to your finger-pressed line, and mark it with a pin. Then, lay it out on your cutting mat, and mark 2" away from the pin in each direction. These are your start-stop points, so you can eventually "birth" your scarf.

Scarf (13 of 23).jpg

Cut your basting stitches between the pins - just use a plain old seamripper. This'll give you your gap.

Scarf (15 of 23).jpg

Take your batting and trim it to the same width as the other fabric. Again, don't worry yourself over-much about the length. If you're using flannel, do the same thing - if you're not using batting, I'll tell you how to proceed as we go.

Scarf (16 of 23).jpg

Using the same technique we used before, trim the batting to the right length. Lay the fabric and the batting together, with the "back" up against the batting.

Scarf (17 of 23).jpg

Ahh, basting. This is less urgent if you're using flannel, but you may want to use straight pins to keep everything from being stretchy. Baste near the edges, using your favourite technique, about a fist width apart. You just want to make sure you don't stretch either one as you go along, and keep the ends lined up. I used small curved basting pins.

Scarf (18 of 23).jpg

*** Important: Remember to re-center your needle, and shorten your stitch length back to its regular length. Also, make sure you're using a thread that co-ordinates with at least one of the fabrics.

Take out your walking foot, and, line the quilt up against the 1/4" mark.

If you're NOT using batting, welcome back! You need to do this step as well, but without the batting, and you can just use a regular foot. Start sewing at one of the pins we used to mark the edges of the opening, and backstitch a few times to make it extra secure. You can do the batting on top if you want, too - I just used the fabric on top for photo purposes. Go all the way around, keeping your stitching 1/4" from the edge. Stop at the other pin, backstitching again at the end. You want to make sure that while you're turning the scarf right side out, your stitches aren't coming undone.

Scarf (20 of 23).jpg

Take a sharp pair of scissors and cut ONLY THE BATTING around the outside of the stitching. This is a bit fiddly, and probably takes the longest of any step in this. I haven't come up with a good way to do it faster. If you didn't use batting, or if you only used flannel, you don't strictly need to do this step.

Scarf (21 of 23).jpg

You should have something like this when you're done. Cut the corners of, leaving a bit of room between the cut and the stitching (otherwise your corners will have holes in them, and that's just not awesome.)

Scarf (22 of 23).jpg

Using the gap you left, turn it right side out, poking out the corners with something pointy but with a rounded tip, like a chopstick. (See the pretty selvedge detail?!) Fiddle the edges all the way along so that the edge is fully separated. You might see bits of the stitching - that's ok.

Scarf (23 of 23).jpg

Once you've got it turned and laying flat, stitch a tiny bit (1/8" or so) away from the edge. This helps reinforce the edge that will receive heavy wear. It also lets you fold in the unsecured fabric at the "gap" in the middle, without having to handstitch (but if you'd prefer to do that instead, go nuts.)

Scarf (1 of 1).jpg

Congratulations! You're done! Technically, you don't even *have* to do anything from this point, if your scarf width is less than the quilting width listed on the batting (this'll be on the package. If you don't have the package, check the manufacturer's website.) It will still lie flat because of the edge stitching. If you feel like it, though, quilt it however your heart desires, using whatever technique you like - hand, walking foot, free motion. (If you're not using batting, but still want to quilt it, I really recommend hand quilting - it looks *so* pretty) I just did simple lines on this one, underlining the words printed on the fabric. Label it if you want to (and if you have time... I've finished these mere minutes before guests show up), then wrap and give!

Comfort and JOY with Sharon and her well you may need a tissue cover!

I would like to thank Madame Samm for inviting me back for another tutorial post. This is Sharon from VroomansQuilts and I would like to share a very quick gift project - a tissue box cover. This is long with lots of photos. They are actually very easy, but feel the more visual the more help. And you are always free to express yourself with the pattern, share it, and even make these for church/bazarre sales.

Most of these small tissue boxes are the same size, but check your measurements. I measured the top of the box which was 4.5" square. Add a 1/2" to your pattern for seams. So we are working with a 5" square.

Take the side measurements. This box is 4.5" x 5" - add the 1/2" for seams. So we are working with a 5" x 5.5" rectangle.

Top: cut 5" square and cut in half so you now have two 2.5" x 5" rectangles
Sides: cut four 5" x 5.5" rectangles
Bindings: cut two 1.5" x 5" for top and one 1.5" x 22" for bottom

With right sides facing, sew your binding strips to one long side of each top rectangle.

Press your binding out. Turn over and press the binding edge to the top of seam raw edge.

Fold over and press in place. Pin and top stitch from the front. There is plenty of room to stitch and catch that binding edge. Even have some fun and use a fancy stitch here if you like.

Now butt up your two top pieces and stitch across 1/4" seam to hold in place. Mark your 1/4" seam locations in each corner as we are going to learn some set-in seams - DON'T get nervous, use this as a learning curve.

Take one of your side pieces and pin right sides together on one of the 'seamed' top side, making sure your pattern or directional fabric is going the right direction - don't want anyone standing on their head. Stitch from 1/4" mark to 1/4" mark.

Now we are going to add the OPPOSITE side piece, pin right sides together again checking our pattern direction is correct - and stitch from 1/4" mark to 1/4" mark.

Press your two side pieces out. Here you can play. If you are a beginner at set ins, I would skip this. If you are a confident beginner or experienced, you could top stitch or use a fancy stitch - just REMEMBER to start 1/4" in and end 1/4" from end! You can hand stitch with floss and large stitch AFTER completed.

Now for our other sides. Place right sides together (check your pattern directions so no upside down) and pin. If you pull back you previous seams, it will aid you in pinning your start and ending 1/4" points. Stitch from 1/4" to 1/4".

Add your last side using the same method. Pin your seams out of the way to help with the 1/4" mark. Stitch from 1/4" to 1/4".

Press your side pieces out. Again, you can leave them as is or use a top stitch or fancy stitch - remembering to start and stop 1/4" from edge.

With right sides together, line up your seam sides. It helps to fold the entire piece in half. Set a pin at your starting point - your 1/4" should be easy to see with your prior stitching. START at this point and stitch down the side.

Use the same process on the OPPOSITE corner/side. Your 1/4" seam sets are visible at that top - start there and stitch down the side seam. Repeat for the other two sides.

Turn your little fabric box right side out. Almost there. Time to check those corners and do any fixing. Don't stress it - it's a tissue cover! And if your first experience at this, relax and breath. It's better to take some hand stitches to fix than try to re-sew. Make a few more and you will be a pro.

Now to bind the bottom - just the same process as the top edges. Press one end 1/4", pin binding around bottom with right sides facing.

Start stitching just before a seam/corner, go around and end just after the last seam/corner. If you have the option to use the 'hem and sleeve' smaller bed on your machine, it makes it easier to do this process.

Match up your binding - I fold back butting up to other ends fold. Then pin those two fold lines together. Stitch across. Trim excess. Finger press those seams open and pin binding in place - finish stitching down. This is a skinny binding and a small opening - no need to stress over bias edges like on a quilt.

Again like the top binding - press the binding out, then fold and press to match raw edge of seam and binding edge. Fold over the seam and pin in place for stitching.

Again just a lot of room for a straight stitch or play with your fancy stitches.

Here's the finished tissue cover. Wouldn't it be fun to use some rick-rack instead of binding? Add some yo-yo's? Oh your imagination makes it your own.

Just to show you can hit that scrap bin - how about a tissue cover for your little buck-a-roo! Enjoy your creations and feel free to ask any questions if something is hard to understand. ABOVE ALL - have FUN.

Thank you again Madame Samm for a month of shared inspiration and to include me in the mix. May everyone's celebrated holiday of the season be Merry and Bright.
Sewingly yours,

Let's Stick together with a PELLON giveaway..AND. Bonus of 2 Guests today Sharon and Liz

Pellon is serving up this collection 
of a variety of fusible interfacing
for one of you lucky quilters.
( btw that is a very large cup 8 cup)

I have been using  PELLON products
for as long as I can remember.
Rolls of wonder under fusible interfacing #805
can be found in my notions closet. 
Their quilt Batting is far superior than
any I have tried to date. It is lofty, creates
a thick billowy feel. As I hand quilt
I love how it puckers up my completed project..

I am certainly going to STICK with PELLON
for the new Year. Take a peak at what they offer...

LIKE this collection?
What PELLON product is your MUST HAVE?

Winner announced in the morning!

Jenn has been contacted....This lovely package
is on its way to UK....
( she wants to stick to PELLON) lol..

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays
from Pellon and us here at Sew We Quilt...

 PELLON products can be 
found at independent quilt and fabric
 stores as well as on ShopPellon.com 

In Canada I purchase mine at Fabricland 
Hope that helps you all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Comfort and JOY with Tammy and her Christmas Table Topper with perfect mitered corners Bonus 2 Guests today!

Good Morning to all!
My name is Tammy and I am from Sugar Town Quilt Co.!

Let me begin by thanking Madame Samm for this amazing opportunity, the time she puts into each event is a blessing to all of us that want more information.
I have loved all the post to date and wish I had time to make them all, but with just four days left they must be EASY
so hopefully you find this one to be that way, and if you made yesterdays you are well on your way
Here at the shop we call it the turned baby blanket, or self binding, but have added a new twist for the holidays
your first will take about 1 hour
your second under
A quick and easy table topper

This is what you will need
TWO  yes 2 fabrics

one needs to be 10 inches bigger than the other
the smaller piece will be the focal point
and the larger will be the border
If you are using 60 inch wide fabric you will be able to make a much larger table topper, but for today we are using our
standard 45 inch wide cottons
this is awsome when made from two pieces of flannel
for a baby recieving blanket
but today we are going to make a christmas table cloth
or maybe one for after christmas as time is short 

you will start by squareing up your two pieces
to do this you will fold your fabric in half and measure from each
fold out the same distance, cut as needed to keep square

for the focal point fabric you will measure mark and cut
16 inches from the fold both ways
this will give you a 32 inch square

for the border you will do the same making your
measurment from each fold 21 inches
this will give you a 42 inch square

*note you may be able to make it slightly bigger if the fabric allows
but for today we will stick with these measurments*

now find the middle of both pieces of fabric on all four sides
PIN the two pieces together right sides together

your bottom or bigger piece will have access on the
corners we call this the elephant ear don't worry it is suppose to
look like this
sew all four sides
ending a 1/4 inch from each end of the short piece
Once this is done remove your pins
we are going to 45 your corners
this is a little tricky so stay tuned


take each corner and fold with the shorter piece on the inside
matching your seam to the end
yours will actually be sewen not just pinned

lay your ruler on the corner placing the 45 degree line running along your unfinished edges NOT THE FOLD
you will do this on each corner
drawing a line
then sewing each corner

I am not yelling just making a point

You want your corners to come to a 45
once you are happy with your corners you can cut them leaving a 1/4" fabric from stiching

Turn, lay out nice and flat iron creases on your border and a nice 45 on all four corners

stitch closed your turn hole
either by hand or by machine
if you know how to use your fancy stitches
this may be the time
for all of you out there hop on over to my blog and leave a comment
become a follower and two that's right 2 lucky people will receive a kit in the mail sadly after Christmas...

Happy Holidays