September 24, 2015

Fabric Sales Alert!

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Last week I 'replenished' my fabric stash. I still have not put anything away as it will require a major overhaul of my fabric drawers (ai, ai, ai...). I am thinking you might want to take advantage of sales as I did, so I am posting below a few sales opportunities to make your 'job' a little easier:

Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter Shop

Fat Quarter Shop has 24-hour Flash Sales which you must check out. Notice the precuts of the week page for spectacular savings.

The Little Fabric Shop Logo

The Little Fabric Shop is going out of business. Worth going through the pages to see what discounts you will find.

Sew Simple Fabric store on Etsy is also closing. There are a few prints left...

Yes, I could go on but then how could I stop myself from shopping? I hope all the eye candy will make your quilting day a little sweeter. Remember, the holidays are right around the corner and we could use more fabric to make all those great gifts, right?

See you later,

September 14, 2015

Awesome bag patterns

Martingale - Style and Swing (Print version + eBook bundle)I was thinking of which gifts I could make for my nieces and remembered this book I received for review. As I looked through it I realized I will be making bags for them AND for me in the next few weeks.

Style and Swing by Susan Dunlop showcases 12 projects including a wallet, satchel, tote, and clutch. I really liked the sections "Recommended Equipment and Tools" and the "Bag-Making Techniques": they take the guesswork out of choosing interfaces, boxing the bag base, and how to apply various bag closures.

Each pattern provides detailed instructions and step-by-step diagrams. Susan's projects are great for every level of sewing skills, and we can mix and match features as we choose our favorite ones in each bag. I love this clutch on the cover because the pattern can be whipped up in no time at all. Sometimes it is difficult to find a bag that matches a particular outfit - this clutch would be a perfect solution!

Take a look at some of the bag designs:

Martingale - Style and Swing (Print version + eBook bundle)  Martingale - Style and Swing (Print version + eBook bundle)
(All photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale)

Martingale - Style and Swing (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Style and Swing (Print version + eBook bundle)
Yes, these are the ones I will tackle first. I always wanted to make a wallet but had never found a pattern I liked until now.  My holiday line-up of projects is looking more attractive!

What will you be working on today?

September 10, 2015

City Girl Sew Along-Block 30

It is "Show time"! This is block #30 for the City Girl Sew Along and it works well for the movies or for the circus, so we have both these events covered with one block. My son Ryan would have preferred a larger box, he said, but since I am watching my waist...

Here is what you will need:
8-1/2" x 8-1/2" square of grey fabric for background
5" x 5" square of stripped fabric for box
7" x 9" rectangle of white fabric for popcorn
Fusible web (HeatnBond Lite is my favorite)
White thread for applique (I used Aurifil 40wt on top and in the bobbin)

Trace template shapes (to download template, click here) onto smooth side of fusible web, cut them and iron them to wrong side of fabrics (for details on how to work with fusible web, click here).

Cut shapes using sharp scissors. Note: I chose this fabric for the box because I wanted to repeat it from other blocks. Also, red does not seem to go well with the colors I used on the previous 29 blocks. Otherwise, my popcorn box would have shown the traditional colors: red and white.

Peel paper from each shape, place them onto background fabric according to picture above, fuse them and machine applique using blanket stitch. When I am ready to quilt everything, I will free motion around each popcorn piece - it will look cool. Add more popcorn to the block, or leave it just as is, it is up to you. I intentionally did not double the white fabric to cover the box, as we can see the box through the popcorn when we get it. Ryan said he would have doubled the fabric. (He is so tactful when he gives his opinion on blocks I have already finished! I love him...)

And so, we have made 30 blocks. Will there be more or are we ready to put them together? That is the big question for next week.

Quilt away...

September 7, 2015

Layer Cakes 20% off at FQS

Heads up for all of you who want to save time cutting fabrics and a bunch of money, too. Fat Quarter Shop is offering 20% off layer cakes until this Wednesday. I am hesitating between Bloom and Bliss, Bella Solid Neutrals, and Bella White, or maybe I should get all three!

Neutral Bella Solids Layer CakeSKU# 9900LC-21Bloom and Bliss 10" StackerNadra Ridgeway for Riley Blake DesignsWhite Bella Solids Layer CakeSKU# 9900LC-98
Anyway, I am sure we all have room for some more fabric in our stash... and we deserve a treat as we celebrate all our labor in our quilt studios! If you have a better excuse to buy fabric, on sale or not, leave me a comment!

Enjoy your day,

September 3, 2015

City Girl Sew Along-Block #29

Welcome back to our City Girl Sew Along. "Smoke Stacks" is block # 29 and features a very special guest designer: my niece Soraia who lives in Brazil. When I asked for her input on the City Girl Sew Along blocks she jumped right in. Soraia is 17 and is already an accomplished artist - her drawings are gorgeous...

What a talent! The textures on this lion beckon me to touch him... What an honor it is to have such an artist contribute to our sew along. Thanks, Soraia!

The choice of fabric for the sky (which Soraia noticed on previous blocks and suggested I repeat on this block) is important as it brings to mind smoke or 'particles' in the air. All fabrics used are by Riley Blake Designs.

Here is what you will need:
6" x 4" rectangles of assorted grey prints for smoke stacks
17" x 6-1/2" rectangle of grey dots/white fabric for sky
Erasable fabric pen
Neutral thread

From grey dots/white fabric: (4) 3-1/2" x 2-1/2" rectangles and (4) 2-7/8" squares
From assorted grey prints: (4) 3-1/2" x 2-1/2" rectangles and matching (4) 2-7/8" squares

You've asked me which neutral thread I use the most, and this is it. This shade of Aurifil 50 wt is perfect for every fabric combination. It works very well for paper piecing, too, and it is the one I used on the blocks in the paper piecing video tutorial I posted this week.

Get ready for this week's block tutorial:

Bring all your fabric pieces next to your sewing machine. Although you cannot discern well on this picture, the darker fabrics are a bit different from each other.

Begin by assembling the half-square triangles. Take a sky square and one of the smoke stack squares, RST, draw a line on the diagonal on the lighter fabric. Repeat with remaining 3 sky squares and 3 smoke stack ones. Yes, you will end up with four extra half-square triangles which you can save them for another block.

Stitch 1/4" away from the diagonal line on both sides, then use your rotary cutter to cut each block on the line.

Clip ears and press each block with seams towards the darker fabric.There are other ways to make half-square triangles, yet this is a quick one for this block.

Next, match 3-1/2" x 2-1/2" rectangles with their half-square triangles. This is what you should have up to now. Stitch each column, then sew columns together to form the block.

And here it is. I had missed piecing a block for the City Girl Sew Along as the previous blocks have all used machine applique. Stop by next Thursday to see block #30!

Have a fun sewing day...

August 31, 2015

Paper piecing-video tutorial

I made these paper (foundation) piecing blocks for a project that is not ready yet. When I paper piece I need to remind myself of the steps involved. This time I decided to create a video tutorial in case you also need a refresher, or for those of you who are intimidated by paper piecing. The video is short (4.11 minutes) but covers all the steps to make the block above, which are the same steps you will use for any other block.

Here are the tools you will need:
Add-A-Quarter Ruler
1. The Add-a-quarter ruler to trim fabrics as you stitch them.

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2. I prefer to use Aurifil threads, either the 50 or the 40 wt. They are thin yet sturdy enough so stitches will remain intact when you remove foundation paper. I like the neutral colors for paper piecing.

Martingale - Papers for Foundation Piecing
3. Lately I have been using the foundation paper by Martingale, which is very easy to remove.

4. If you do not notice on the credits at the end of the video, the pattern for this block can be found in Carol Doak's book "300 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks", which I mentioned on this post. I love the blocks in this book and am so glad I have it.

5. A piece of heavy card stock or a greeting card, an old credit card, or a hotel key card are needed for when you trim each fabric you add.

Finally, here is how we paper piece:

I hope this tutorial helps you. Have a great day!

August 27, 2015

City Girl Sew Along -Block #28

"Water Pipe" is the name of block 28 for the City Girl Sew Along. I almost used red on the fire hydrant but it would not have worked well with the fabrics I have been using. So, I chose the next best thing and my hydrant, sitting amidst a flower bed, is wearing a dotty outfit! A solid fabric would have outlined its features better but once I had the idea of using large dots I could not give it up.

Here is what you will need:
(1) 4-1/4" x 8-1/2" rectangle for the bottom (flower bed)
(1) 4-3/4" x  8-1/2" rectangle for the top (skyscrapers or sky)
(1) 6" x 8-1/2" rectangle of fabric for hydrant
fusible web (HeatnBond Lite is my favorite)
matching thread for applique' (I used Aurifil 40 wt)
sharp scissors

Maybe your fabric combination won't be as crazy as mine... but get it all together and get started.

Stitch bottom and top rectangles and press seam towards the darker fabric.

Trace template (to download template click here) onto smooth side of fusible web. Cut around the outline and iron it onto wrong side of fabric. Using sharp scissors, cut on the outline, peel backing and iron it onto background block.

Machine applique' with blanket stitch and matching thread, then press on the reverse side to set stitches.

28 down, a few more blocks to come. So... how are your blocks coming along? Send me pictures and I will post them with the next block.

I hope you get a lot of sewing done today!


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