Quilt Troubleshooting – Check the Basics

Are you ever disappointed with your quilt when you are finished?

quilt too fast

Ooops! Now this was just a case of going too fast!  The trusty seam ripper and a flip of the fabric will fix the problem.

 

But sometimes the problem is a little more, and harder to fix – it’s not square, there are tucks or gathers, it’s not the size it’s supposed to be, it’s just generally wonky.  It might be time to go back to basics.  Even if you are not having trouble, it would still be a good idea to revisit these important habits.

1. Prewashing. Now that’s a whole debate on it’s own (LINK TO PREWASHING POST), but whatever you decide to do, it’s a good idea to do the same thing with all the fabric in a particular quilt.  Either wash it all before you start, or don’t wash any of it.  Otherwise when you wash your completed quilt, the parts that were prewashed have preshrunk; the parts that weren’t prewashed may shrink more that the rest and skew the whole project.

2. Cutting. If you need to cut several strips, be sure to square up your fabric after every few strips.  It’s not uncommon to be just the tiniest bit off on each strip and then that adds up.  The next thing you know you are 1/8″ (or more!) off. It’s also a good idea to keep change your rotary cutter blade as soon as it gets the slightest bit dull.  A sharp blade means smooth and even edges.

3. Quarter inch seams – make sure they really are!  Being off by just the smallest fraction on every seam can really add up!  There are several ways to ensure you are sewing consistent quarter inch seams.  Choose your favorite way, then stick to it!

4. Pressing. That’s right. Pressing. Not ironing. Always lift your iron as you move to a new section to be pressed. Pushing your iron around the fabric and result in fabric that is stretched out of shape.  Even worse, it can stretch your finished blocks out of shape!

5. Pin your borders.  When sewing long lengths of fabric together one of them can stretch or get “gathered in” as you go, thereby throwing your quilt out of whack. After you have measured and cut your borders, lay them on your quilt and use several pins.  This will ensure that both the border and the center of the quilt will load through your machine evenly.

Do yourself a favor and review these before you next project. Then reap the rewards of a quilt well done!

Fabric Makes The Bag

Time for a new purse!  Well, when isn’t it time for a new purse?!  I spent some time choosing patterns and then fabrics that I thought would work well with the patterns.

Instructions for Zippered bag with pocketswatercolor flowers

Purse-O-Nally Yours bag and Wander Blossoms fabric: the flowers for the body of the bag, plaid for the top and bottom borders and for the handles, and the blue polka dot fabric for the trim on the flap pocket.  Or would you use the stripes in place of the plaid?

 

Purse with pocketsgrey and yellow fabric

Twin Pocket Tango bag and Zest fabric: the gray flower circles for the bottom corners with yellow piping, the flowers for the two curved pieces with grey piping, and the yellow flower circles for the center of the bag.

 

Recessed zippered top purse patternRed and gray

Margo Handbag by Lazy Girl Designs and Petite Odile fabric: Red for the main body of the bag and for the handles.  The darker fabric for the pocket background.

 

Pouch style pocket purseBoldly colored butterfly fabric

Quattro Purse and Flying Colors II fabric: the colorful butterflies on the black background for the main body of the purse, the light background with the hummingbirds for the first pocket, and the stripes for the last pocket and for the handle.

Now it’s time to pick a favorite.  That might be a little harder!

 

 

Bunny Doll Patterns for All Ages

Happy, fluffy, friendly bunny doll patterns… what’s not to like?!

Springtime Easter pattern

This adorable bunny says Welcome! Holding bunches of carrots and flowers (which you can either paint or make from fabric) bunny hangs out at your front door or on a wall, putting a smile on guests’ faces as they enter, and delights any children that come to visit.

 

Stuffed rabbit pattern

 

Old MacBunny has a farm and it looks like he is planting carrots.  Smart bunny!  The pattern for this adorable semi-jointed doll also includes the wire for his glasses.  And, since every farmer needs a wife . . . .

 

Farmer's Wife bunny doll pattern

 

Enter Ester MacBunny!  Her apron is on and it looks like she’s ready for anything, maybe gardening or baking some cookies for after lunch.  Who knows what the day will bring when you are a farmer’s wife?! Mary Kerr’s easy to follow instructions include several cute ideas for Ester’s accessories. And, again, the wire for Ester’s glasses is included with the pattern.

 

 

Bunny Doll pattern

 

Blossom Bunny is so very ready for Spring (me too! how about you?!) with her beautiful jacket sporting button and yo-yo flowers, embroidery, and applique.  Her hat has flowers, too.  The 8″ x 10″ inch “no stitch” sampler has a friendship poem and is embellished with yo-yo flowers.

 

Bunny Basket pattern

The Bunny Stuff pattern make a bunny doll holding a nice size bag that’s perfect for filling with treats.  Leave a bowl and decorate at the same time.  Or you can use the bunny as an Easter basket and fill it with candy and toys for your favorite little one.  Once they are finished with the contents, they can use the bowl to hold any little treasures they want to have handy.

 

Time’s a wastin’!  Hop to it and make a bunny doll . . . . or two, or three!

Sewing and Quilting for Dolls

Have you ever made doll clothes or accessories?  They are so cute, and are relatively quick to make, and they sure make the dolls’ mommies happy!

doll sleeping bag and backpack

 

My Camping Gear has instructions for a zippered sleeping bag and a backpack, both sized for an 18′ doll.  The backpack is so cute!  It has a zippered top, pockets on the side and a flapped pocket on the back.

 

Doll Tent

 

The Backwoods Bungalow works for “camping trips” in the backyard or for pretending in the bedroom.  Window flaps roll up for “air circulation” (and so you can peek inside).  There’s room for two, so dolly can invite a friend to go camping with her.

 

Wardrobe case for doll clothes

 

For the more style conscious doll, here’s a case that will hold her wardrobe when she travels.  It measures 20.5″ x 12″ x 8″ and has an elastic pocket for those loose items.  Also included in the pattern are instructions for an accessories bag with 12 pockets for shoes, purses, etc. and instructions for a garment bag.  Again, so cute!

 

Doll quilt patterns

You’ll find several patterns in Child’s Play.  The doll sized wall hanging boasts (in embroidery) “My First Quilt”.  Two more quilt patterns are sized at 22.5 x 26.5 and 11.75 x 15.75.  Plus there are instructions for pillows, a rope bed, mattress, and tea party napkins.  Lots of little projects to delight the little ones in you life!

 

So many of us learned to sew by making doll clothes, before graduating to full sized clothes and quilts.  Have fun with these patterns, reminisce about your first sewing days, and share the fun with a new sewer.

We’re Thinking Spring In A Big Way!

One day winter WILL end and spring WILL arrive!  We’re trying to hurry it along by thinking about, and working on, spring patterns!

birds, birdhouses, and ivySoon the birds will be courting and building their nests.   Spring Row Quilt pattern by Carolyn Beam of Colorado Quilts has 11 birdhouses, 28 flowers, and three birdhouse poles covered in ivy leaves and vines….a bird’s paradise!

Foundation piecing, applique, and traditional piecing are all used to create this beautiful spring quilt that measures 62″ x 80″ when finished.

 

Baskets, flowers, bees, chicksBrush up on old technique skills or learn some new ones with Linda Zokan’s Ode To Spring sampler pattern. Paper foundation piecing, broderie perse, hand embroidery, and applique make this fun for experienced quilters and it’s great for beginners to sample new techniques. Birds, bees, bugs, and bunnies all dance around the flowers to remind us of spring. Finishing at 31″ x 35″, it’s the perfect size for a wall hanging to celebrate the season.

 

embroidered butterflies

Remember Spring? A dozen butterflies pose amidst bright, cherry, spring fabric and entice us to look a little closer at their beautiful designs.  This 52″ x 64″ pattern is available in either hand embroidery or machine embroidery. You could also use the patterns individually on tea towels or throw pillows.

 

Birdhouse, butterfly, flowers, and kittens

 

Bright colors in log cabin blocks frame four large spring themed appliques, all bordered by smaller Pieces of Spring.  This one finishes at 44″ square and would look great on a wall or tossed on a couch or easy chair.

 

Shake off the winter blues and bury yourself in some spring projects instead of snow!

Jan 31, 2014 - Patterns, Purses    No Comments

What’s in Your Purse?

Is there a big mess in there?  Can you find what you need without rummaging for ten minutes? What about if you need to change purses?  Do you just open up the new one wide and dump everything in there?   Make life easier and your purse a little neater with a purse insert!

Encore Purse Insert Pattern The Encore Purse Insert Pattern by StudioKat Designs has a place for everything!  It has a full length zippered pouch, an interior zippered coin purse, and tons of pockets for phone, tissues, wallet, pens, checkbook, keys.  You can’t help but be organized with this handy move-from-purse-to-purse-in-a-snap insert!  Sized at 11.5 x 5.5 x 6, this insert works in rather large purses.

 

Portapockets Purse Insert

If your purse is just a bit smaller, the Portapockets Purse Insert should be a perfect fit.  This one also has a full length zippered pouch, plus elastic-top pockets on one side, more pockets on the other size and fairly wide area in the center for more bulky items. It comes in two sizes: 6 x 8 x 2.5 and 6 x 10.5 x 2.5

 

 

Suzi Purse Insert & More

The Suzi Purse Insert & More Pattern is by Lazy Girl Designs, so you know construction will be a snap.  Fully lined, the insert boasts both inside and outside pockets.  It’s cute enough that you can use it in your sewing room to store little tools, or on your dresser for odds and ends.  Comes in both medium (6.5 x 4.5 x 3) and large (8.5 x 4.5 x 3).

Portapockets Plus

 

For the most versatile insert, try the Portapockets Plus.  This pattern has instructions for three different inserts that you can use separately or Velcro/zipper them to each other and use as one large organizer.  Pockets and pouches galore!!!

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