Very little sewing unfortunately…

I haven’t sewn as much as I wanted this weekend.  I haven’t sewn as much as I wanted for weeks now!  I’m beginning to go into withdrawal.

Saturday was our modern quilt guild meeting.  Northeast Louisiana (NELA) guild met yesterday and we had a lot of fun.  After the meeting we all stayed and worked on different projects.  One was binding, one was paper piecing, another was working on cathedral window blocks and I was marking pieces from templates in preparation of hand piecing more oriental star blocks.

Marfy 2417_01My muslin for the French jacket sew along has been adapted a bit, but it is still not in final form.  And to top that, I have purchased a couple more patterns!  I’ve actually cut a muslin for Marfy 2417.  I really wanted to see how the Marfy fit compared to the Vogue 8804.  The neckline on this one is different of course from the traditional Chanel style jacket, but I’m thinking I might actually like this dropped collar neckline for my red boucle.

2013 10 Misc Collage

Now if I could only find a lining for that red boucle!  I’ve ordered samples.  And can I say Mood in New York was awesome about matching a sample I sent to them.  I worked with a lady named Lisle who was wonderful.  She was very sweet to work with and sent some fabulous fabric choices.

Most were crepe de chine and I have my heart set on Charmeuse, which is proving a problem.  Do you see the dark fabric at the top right of the photo… it appears black/chocolate brown with watercolor flowers?  It is a silk twill that is just beautiful.  I keep trying to think of something to make from it just to have the excuse to order it.

I’m narrowing the choice down to these three (not the best photo….cropped a bit too much.  The crepe de chine top left is actually a good choice for this fabric.  There is a blue thread running through the selvage that is almost periwinkle.  I would love to use the selvage in the trim and keep trying to pick up that color in the lining.

I got the purple / oyster sample (bottom left) from nyfashionfabric.com, and for some reason I keep going back to it.  It is a charmeuse and the price is a bit dear.  Friday they released a 20% discount which makes it easier to bear.  I just haven’t made my mind up!

I’ve actually ordered from Mood a navy boucle and a coordinating charmeuse as backup.  We’re supposed to be cutting fabric this week.  I guess it’s just as well I don’t have my muslin finished since my fabrics aren’t ready.

And this is my recent haul from Marfy.  I wanted the 2010 catalogue for the free patterns shown below.  I love the blue jacket with the simple collar and the tie blouse.

At the same time, I picked up a couple french jacket styles as well as a simple top.

The very worst thing about shopping fabrics for a specific project, is that I get sidetracked and end up buying more fabric!!  Britex had some of their wool on sale and I picked up a couple pieces for slacks that I need.  One is a worsted wool and they both have a wonderful crisp feel.  Their service and delivery was excellent!  The order shipped the same day the order placed.

While in Hancock’s Fabrics in town, I noticed they had some 100% wool pieces…on sale … and picked up a few there as well.  The top piece is lightweight with a brushed flannel feel.  Very soft hand.  The next two are a navy and brown lightweight wool with a crisp hand.

I need to sew these up before they end in my stash gathering dust!!

2013 10 Patterns CollageSo today, I finally got busy cutting muslins with plans to get some of this done.

There was a muslin for the Marfy French jacket I mentioned earlier.

This slacks pattern by Claire Shaeffer.

And a Cynthia Rowley top I’ve had in my file for a while.

My goal is to get those sewn up in the next two days.  Once I have a slacks pattern that works, I plan to sew up a few pair out of this new wool.

This feels like a long post today, and I’m leaving so much out!  I haven’t covered some of the books I’ve bought lately.  I’ll have to throw those in on another post.

 

The Bag Bostonian

While at QuiltCon in February, I saw the pattern for the Bag Bostonian by Jeeum Quilts.   The Sewing Party had made a couple demos in Enchino Linen that looked fantastic.

BagBostonian.DoneI’ve finally made the bag.  This is actually my test version.  I have some Enchino Linen that I’m really thinking about using for another, but wanted to be sure I didn’t have any issues before cutting into it.

In this version, I’ve used an upholstery weight fabric lined and trimmed with 100% cotton fabric from the Parisville line by Tula Pink.  I chose not to interface because I thought the weight of the main fabric backed with batting and lining would give the bag plenty of body.  I would definitely rethink that if I were to start over.  It has the feel of a carpet bag and I would like more body that would encourage the bag to stand up.

Jeeum Quilts is Korean I believe, and I get the sense this has been translated into English (rather than originally written in English.)  There are a couple spots in the instructions that aren’t totally clear.  On the most part, I could reason through.  One major problem I had was on the side binding.  The pattern was not clear on the size binding to use and the application instructions were not clear.  I ended up making up my own.  I used the same size binding as on the top edge of the bag and laid it over the raw edge of the seam allowance.  I threaded the hook onto the binding strip end that extends past the top and attached that end to the inside lining.

I also found Elizabeth’s blog post that talked about taking a class for this bag.  Seeing what they had done on that side seam helped a lot in deciding how to tackle that.  Elizabeth was gracious enough to share with me how she applied the binding on her purse.

The trim strips are only as long as the sides, plus about 5 inches, to take them along the seam, then over the top of the zipper and down the inside a bit–maybe 16″ that is visible with another 3″ sewn into the boxed corner–maybe 19-20″ in total in length, and about 1 1/2″ in width? They are not bias, but instead cut on the straight of grain.
 
The seam is sewn with the lining sides together, so all the raw edged seam allowances end up on the outside of the bag.  I have a photo on my blog, and if you look carefully at the middle of the three photos, where I’m talking about the side strip, you can see the seam allowances.  Basically you pin the strip down, top stitch it into place on both sides in order to cover the raw edges of the side seam.  (Elizabeth of Occasional Piece)
Below are a few shots of the bag that may give you an indication of the construction.

BagBostonian Collage

BagBostonian4Other than that, the bag went together really well.  I can definitely see me making more in the future.  I didn’t put pockets inside as I normally do.  I plan to make some small zipper bags to keep things separated in this bag.

Are you wondering what size this bag is??  Take a look at what I had inside the bag to make it stand up for photos.  These Harry Potter books are pretty darn thick.   I think it’s safe to say the bag is pretty roomy!

The bag bottom and handles were made from leather I picked up at Tandy for a bag class by Don Morin.  I still haven’t made a bag from that Craftsy class!   Still on my to do list though.  I did use some of his tips in this bag though.  The handles are made with many of the tips Don taught.

This is one of my projects this Labor Day weekend.  I have been so busy and still have so much to do.

So, did you sew this weekend or hang out with family and friends?  Either way, I hope you are blessed.

Simply Solid Bee – Puce Alternate Block

I’m participating in the Simply Solids Bee hosted by Sew at Home Mummy.  The block I chose was the Duck Creek Puzzle block.  You can find my original post here.   This bee is made up of quilters of all skill levels and I worried I may be making this too hard for some.  I’ve been sewing for more than 30 years and even though I’ve only been quilting a couple years, I take for granted a lot of skills I’ve picked up over the years.

I’m offering an alternate block that I believe will mix in with the Duck Creek Puzzle block and create a fun quilt.  This block is simple and is similar to the string block shown on Film in the Fridge blog which can be found here.  I’m wondering how many people have linked to this tutorial.  I have seen so many of these quilts.  It is a huge favorite.  There is a Flickr swap group that’s dedicated to this block.

First, I want to apologize.  I’ve created this post in a rush and the sewn illustrations aren’t my best.  I believe in ironing seams and I didn’t here.  I was playing with dimensions, so my sample block isn’t really correct or squared, so you just have to use your imagination!  LOL.  Forgive me.

This is a very rough draft and created in a hurry.  Not the best example.
This is a very rough draft and created in a hurry. Not the best example.

I have altered my block so that strips are attached to a base triangle.  We will be making four 6.5″ blocks and attaching pinwheel style.  The color scheme shown is just a suggestion.  You can make the colors totally scrappy if you choose to.

The beginning of this post describes sewing strips in a semi-improvisational style.  The second half of the post describes paper piecing.

As I describe the steps, I will refer to the photos in the following collage as “Pic #”.  

Strip Piecing

To begin, cut your neutral fabric (whites, tans, grays, etc) into two 5 1/4″ x 7″ rectangles and cut into half square triangles (Pic 1).

Cut your colored fabric into 2 1/4″ strips.  If you are cutting yardage, you will need two strips cut wof (width of the fabric).  If you are using fat quarters, I believe you may need four 2 1/4″ strips cut on the 18″ width.  If you are using scrap strips, then you can actually choose pieces as the fit.  You will use less of the ‘brown’ strip.

The first two seams are sewn with edges together.  The last two are slanted to create a fan.  I’ve tried to rough out the layout for you in Pic 2.  Your first colored strip will be sewn to the long edge of your triangle (Pic 3).  Be careful to leave enough length on your strips so that they are long enough when ironed flat.  I have a bad habit of misjudging the direction of the angle and invariably sew a strip that will angle up into the block.  Then it’s back to the seam ripper!   I now tend to leave extra on the ends just in case.  Pic 3 shows me folding the brown strip back before sewing to be sure the strips are edge to edge.

1. Cutting half square triangles, 2. Basic layout, 3. Attaching the first strip, 4. Before sewing, make sure the strip is long enough when folded into place, 5.  Angle strips to create fan, 6. Beginning to square up, 7. Needs one last strip, 8. Finally square using guidelines
1. Cutting half square triangles, 2. Basic layout, 3. Attaching the first strip, 4. Before sewing, make sure the strip is long enough when folded into place, 5. Angle strips to create fan, 6. Oops!  Duplicate,  7. Beginning to square up block, 8. Needs one last strip, 9. Finally square using guidelines

At this point we should be adding our third strip.  You can see (Pic 4) my third strip is red and I am pinning to the brown strip with the edges meeting at one end and angling away from the edge on the other.  You will come in about an inch or so from that edge.  You should end up with the finished strip width of approximately 3/4″ at that end.  The good thing about these blocks is these don’t have to be exact.  The goal is to have a finished block you can cut down to 6 1/5″.

Be aware of your layout.  Notice that the strips angle in on the same side as the short edge of your main triangle.  This will be important.

Pic 7 shows the base triangle with three strips attached.  At this point I begin to square up because I know I only need a small piece for that last stip.  I just need to know where to put it.  At this stage, I square up with an extra 1/4″.  This leaves a little room for error when really truing up the block.

Pic 8 shows my block needing that last strip and you can see what a small piece is needed here.

SimplySolid Puce AlterSquareUpNow we’re ready to true up our block.  We need 6.5″ blocks.  If possible, place your ruler so that the seam line of the first two strips are at the corner of the block, and the seam of the neutral triangle and first strip are at the 1 3/4″ mark.  Ideally, the opposite corner should hit the seam of the neutral triangle and the first strip.  I’m afraid I cut it out of this photo.  (Take a look at the pdf of the paper piece pattern for a better layout.)

Once you have four blocks, arrange them in a pinwheel as shown in photo at beginning of this post, and sew together.  You should have a 12.5″ block at this point.

Voila!  You’re done.  Yay!

Paper Piecing

This block can definitely be paper pieced.  I have created a pdf pattern that you are free to use.  A couple opinions about paper piecing.  You can get great definition when using paper piecing and it’s great for using odd sized scraps of fabric.  The most frustrating part of paper piecing to me is removing the paper when your done!  That’s what usually stops me from fooling with it.  I have found that the newsprint paper you can find in art or craft stores have been the easiest to tear away.  And once it’s cut down it will feed through your printer, so that’s a definite plus.

Other than that, if you haven’t paper pieced before it may seem a bit backwards.  I will do my best to describe the steps, but I believe there are probably much better resources online.  Feel free to let me know your favorite source.  I’d love to share them.

Shorten your stitch length.  I usually set mine about 2 or 2.25.  Shortening your stitch improves your ability to tear the paper away when you’re done.  Think of perforated paper in the notebooks these days.

To begin, the pdf I’m providing is a scant 6.5″ block, so be sure to allow extra on the edges.  I almost always allow extra on the edges when I paper piece because it is much easier to cut down than to realize you’re short and have to start over.

You will be sewing on the printed side of the paper.  Your fabric will be pinned to the backside.  This will seem really strange.  As seamstresses, we expect to use the fabric as our seam guide…can’t do that here.

So you will begin by placing your triangle base under your paper pattern.  Your first strip is the easiest to place.  You should still be able to match edges and pin so that your seam line falls at 1/4″ from edge of fabric (Pic 1).  Stitch paper side up using lines as guides (Pic 3).  Although I haven’t done so for this demonstration, I would highly recommend you iron strips back as you sew these.  Your block will have a great finish and it will be much easier to square up at the end.

Pic 2 shows first strip sewn in place and folded back.  You can see where it is pinned, the strip is a little short.  This is what I warned you about earlier and why I usually allow extra length for my strips.  It is hard to see here since my white triangle and paper base are both light, but as you sew the fabric to the backside of the block it will fold out to be the right side of the block.  Your seams are getting caught between the fabric and the paper pattern.  This is one of the reasons paper piecing seems backwards at first.

1. Pinning, 2.
1. Pinning, 2. First strip sewn and folded back, 3.  Stitching paper side up, 4. Marking seam lines 5. Attaching second strip, 6. Paper will need to be folded back so these seams can be trimmed.

As you add strips, it gets a little tougher to gauge were your seem lines are and where you should place your fabric.  At this point I pin the top and bottom of my seam lines with pins (Pic 4).  I can now turn block over and use those pins as markers to place fabric strips.  Remember the pins are marking seam lines, so the fabric is placed at least 1/4″ past pins.

As you start angling your strips to create the fan, your seam edges need to be trimmed (Pic 6).  Just fold paper back and use your rotary cutter and ruler to clean these up.  Remember, it’s best to do this as you go because these will be caught between the paper as you attach your next strip.

Continue in this way to finish the block.  Because you have the paper base, you can always tell how long a strip you need for the next section.  That is a nice point for paper piecing.  Just be sure your strip is long enough on the ends when you iron the strip back.  (Am I wearing that out yet?  That is always my downfall!)

Once you’re done and given you block a final press, rotary cut your block to a 6.5″ square.  Again, if you’re using my pdf, the grid is a scant 6.5″ and you will want to use your ruler, not the grid markings.

When squaring the final block, use the visual points mentioned above (seam line of neutral triangle and first strip should be at one corner and seam of first two strips should hit the opposite corner); but since you’ve paper pieced, these points should naturally fall in place.  Then you have the fun of tearing away the paper.  Ugh!  Big Ugh!  When using copy paper, I use steam in my iron when pressing in hopes it will help weaken the paper.  Fold the paper at a seam line and try to tear as you would a perforated sheet of paper.  For me it’s never that easy and I’m always pulling bits of paper out of my seams.  For those of you that are pros at this, feel free to leave tips in the comments.  I would really love to hear them.

Okay, wow!  This post feels huge!  I hope I’ve given you the information you need without overwhelming you.

Again, if you have any tips or suggestions, please share.  One of the great things about bees is having the opportunity to learn new things.  We all seem to have our specialties

But most important … Have FUN!

Scrap Busting Session

The new year is supposed to be one of those prime times for reorganizing and my sewing room needs a major overhaul.  One goal is to empty my scrap bins.  Here are a couple of bins of odd sized pieces.

Scrap Bins
Scrap Bins

I’m going to start improvisational piecing blocks until I clear most of the scrap stashes.

Today I worked for about four hours and have made a small dent.

These are the blocks I’ve finished so far.  Amazing how far a few scraps will go.

Blocks I've finished so far.
Blocks I’ve finished so far.

 

 

 

I also worked on a block for Curve It Up Quilt Along hosted at SewKindOfWonderful.

Block Six ... Curvy Geese
Block Six … Curvy Geese

 

I have had the Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful for almost a year, but still haven’t given it a try until now.  I have been watching all the fun blocks being created in this QAL, but with Christmas and the holidays, I haven’t been able to really get involved.  If possible, I’m going to work backwards and complete these blocks in shades of peach, gray and white.

This ruler is amazingly easy to use.  The blocks came our just as expected.  Great ruler!

And that’s my day today.  Hope you’ve had a chance to sew this weekend.

Simply Solids Bee – Duck Creek Puzzle

Erin, at Sew at Home Mummy, started a Simply Solids bee for the year.  I’ve signed up for February and have chosen my block.   I typically don’t work with blocks that require templates and this one does.  Hopefully I won’t have everyone up in arms the first month up!

DuckCreekPuzzleImage

This block is called Duck Creek Puzzle and I found it in BlockBase, a  CD-ROM Version of Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  I will be asking the bee group to stash bust and make this up in 4 colors…preferable 3 colors and a neutral.  I think this could be a fun quilt in a multi color version.

When making the center block, I started the seam connecting the middle square to the triangle where the right angles meet, and stopped the seam about an inch from the end of the square.  I attached each triangle to the center square in this way.  On the last triangle, you can now continue the seam which attaches the triangle ends together.  Work around this section and connect all triangle ends to complete your center block section.

DuckCreekPuzzle CtrBlock

DuckCreekPuzzle

Once that center block is constructed, you will want to pair the outside triangles (C and B) and connect a pair of triangle sets to “A”.

Sew an “A” to each side of the center block.  You should now have three ‘rows’.  (see photo top right below).  Match the seam points and sew to complete blocks.  Finished blocks are approximately 12.5″.  One of my blocks was just under 12.5″ and one was right at 12.5.  But they’re close enough to match for the quilt top.

And here are a couple finished blocks…

DuckCreekPuzzle Collage

And now to submit to Bee Momma and see what my group thinks.

Edited 1/10/13:  Great history, description and photos of this block here.  Can anyone tell me copyright rules on a block like this?  It was originally printed by Nancy Cabot in July 17, 1937.  Am I able to post a pdf of the templates without infringing on copyrights??

(update July 13, 2013…Block diagram and templates are posted on Template page.)

“A Lovely Year of Finishes”

Hosted by

Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts

and

 

 

I just saw this challenge posted and decided to join in.  First because having a deadline makes me more accountable.  I can get very distracted and end up with too many projects at one time.  And second, because it fits with the goals I have in mind anyway.

My plan this week is to catalog the projects I’ve completed in 2012, the works still in progress, and any new projects I plan (at this point) to start.  One major goal will be stash busting.  My fabric bins are overflowing.  And my wallet will thank me.  Now to see if I have the discipline….I can tell you that is pretty shaky.  Especially with the beautiful fabrics that continually come out.  Salt Water 😦 and Luxe in Bloom 😦 to name a couple.

So back to the Lovely Year of Finishes challenge.  The goal is to identify what you will finish that month, post the goal and then post progress and success throughout the month.  My January was easy to document.  The quilt below on the left is a baby quilt for a good friend’s new grand baby.  It’s a semi-modified Turning Twenty pattern and measures 50 x 50.  I’m trying to choose fabrics for the back now and want it quilted by the end of this coming weekend.

Next is my Tula Pink’s ‘Love‘ quilt.  It’s basted and ready to go.  I just need to get the nerve to get started on it.  Wish me luck that I don’t mess up all that beautiful negative space.  Notice the pinning??  Those are the new (for me) Pinmoors I’ve seen advertised by a few shops.  A darling friend, Melissa, gifted these to me at our recent guild meeting just because she new I wanted to try them!  Melissa and Marty were instrumental in helping me get our modern quilt guild (NELA MQG) started this past October.  We are still small, but I hope we can build some excitement this coming year.  We have had a lot of fun so far and are really excited about it.

50" x 50" Turning Twenty Baby Quilt, and Tula Pink's Love quilt
50″ x 50″ Turning Twenty Baby Quilt, and Tula Pink’s Love quilt

So that’s the goal for January….it’s really longer than that, but I do like keeping it manageable when possible.  What about you?  Do you need a deadline to keep you on track?  Check out the challenge above.  You can have (another) reason for finishing a project on time and have the chance at prizes as well.  Maybe I’ll get lucky enough to win a fabric certificate and add to those overflowing bins… Oh yeah!  DISCIPLINE.  (riiiiighhht)

My contribution to Pin It, Sew It.

https://i1.wp.com/pileofabric.com/Events/pinitsewit/sm-button.jpg

As part of Alyssa Lyncher's, Pin It! Sew It!, I've completed my version of a 
sewing machine cover by Ellison Lane Quilts.  Tutorial found here.

Her version:  
https://i2.wp.com/media-cache0.pinterest.com/upload/61009769922376416_F1eR8pO9_c.jpg

My version:
Sewing Machine Cover

I measured the cover to fit my Bernina 820 (the Hoss) and the measurements 
were RIGHT ON.  As in, next time I'll add another 1/2" to 1" for a little 
more clearance.  I also created mine to have closed ends and used Malka 
Dubrawsky's, Stitch in Color, for the patchwork sewing machine.  
I just love the fabrics.  The tutorial was easy to follow 
and Ellison Lane Quilts has some pretty awesome tutorials.  You should 
check out her blog.

Thanks to Alyssa for starting the Pin It! Sew It! linkup.  
It's always fun to see what others 're'create.