July 2, 2015

City Block Sew Along - Block #22

Train Station is the name of block #22 for our City Girl Sew Along. It features reverse applique which is super easy to do. The train is set against a light gray background (Solid by Riley Blake Designs), so the train could be coming out of a tunnel, too!

Here is what you will need:

(1) 2-1/2" x 5-1/2" rectangle medium gray fabric for tracks
(1) 6" x 5-1/2" rectangle of blue/gray fabric for train (I used Mini Quatrefoil by Riley Blake Designs)
(1) 8-1/2" x 8-1/2" square of light gray fabric for background
Scraps of yellow fabric for lights
Fusible web (I use HeatnBond Lite)
Matching thread for applique (I always use Aurifil, unless I don't have matching color)
Fabric marker

This is what I gathered near my sewing machine. The template can be downloaded by clicking here. Trace template onto smooth side of fusible web (for details on how to work with fusible web, click here).

Iron applique shapes to wrong side of fabrics as shown above. As you can see, my lines are not usually straight because of the bumpy side of the fusible web. However, that is not a problem because I can fix them as I cut each shape.

Cut shapes inside the train carefully. Your train should look like this when you are done. One of the reasons we are doing this is because we will then be able to choose any print for the train and won't have to worry that it will show through the yellow for the lights, for instance.

Fuse shapes to fabric according to the photo above. I ironed some fusible web to the back of two pieces of yellow fabric, then inserted them between the train and the background where the holes for the lights were. For the reverse applique, machine applique around the cutouts on the train using thread that matches the train fabric. Then, machine applique the top lights and the tracks. Finally, using the fabric marker write the destination for your train.

How are you doing with your blocks? Take a look at Ann's blocks 13, 14 and 15 - aren't they gorgeous?

I can't wait to see what her finished quilt will look like. In the meantime, we have a few more blocks to make - I am thinking we will have about 35... If you get delayed, remember to check the City Girl Sew Along page where you can find all the blocks we have made so far.

Have a wonderful weekend,

July 1, 2015

Another Little Gem

Yesterday I finished another quilt from the Little Gems book by Connie Kauffman, this one for my son Ryan who turned 14 at the beginning of June. I was busy trying to meet a couple of deadlines so he had to wait a few weeks for his gift. I think it was worth the wait! Although it measures only 12" x 12", carefully chosen colors and fabrics make it really striking. It will eventually hang in his bedroom but for now he wants it downstairs where he can see it all the time.

Martingale - Little Gems (Print version + eBook bundle)
This is Connie's version (and also the cover of the book). Ryan likes teals, blues, etc, so I found lots of perfect batiks in my stash. He loves it! I decided not to add buttons or beads and he is glad. 

I had the perfect, super light batik to use instead of her white for the prairie points. I pieced it using Aurifil 50wt thread, and quilted in the ditch using Aurifil's monofilament - it added light and shine to the quilt. Martingale's Papers for Foundation Piecing was easy to use and rip when the top was done. 

The quilt uses only one block, just like the one I made for Christopher from the same book (click here to see it). One block + great step-by-step instructions = a fast project. This equation always works for me...

The patterns in Little Gems are so beautiful... Two quilts down, 13 more gems to go!

June 29, 2015

Bed cover makeovers

Martingale - Quick Change (Print version + eBook bundle)Have you seen this book?  It gave me the idea of having a couple different, plain bed coverlets which can be spruced up with bed runners and matching pillows/pillowcases. What do you think? It would be a wonderful way to keep bedroom decor fresh without spending a ton of money and time!

Quick Change, compiled by Karen Burns at Martingale, showcases beautiful designs by a host of accomplished quilters, including Kimberly Jolly from Fat Quarter Shop. The 13 patterns offer many color/block combinations for when you just want to start working right away on a project. Alternatively, they provide enough inspiration and opportunity for you to customize a design to your own liking.

Patterns are divided into bold and bright, rich and earthy, ocean blues, and summertime. You can skip to the theme that appeals to you or make one of each. With that in mind, making one of each theme would make a perfect bridal shower gift...

Take a look at some of the gorgeous bed runners:
Martingale - Quick Change (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Quick Change (Print version + eBook bundle)
(Photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale)
Martingale - Quick Change (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Quick Change (Print version + eBook bundle)

Whether you are a beginner (plenty of diagrams make the whole process soooo easy!) or an experienced quilter, the hardest part will be to decide which one to put together first. I am dealing with that 'problem' right now...

The book has an eVersion, too, which is great for those of  us who are running out of bookshelf room. If  you are looking for a quick, fun project or need a gift which will make a big impression without a huge investment of time and money, this may be the book for you.

Enjoy your day!

June 26, 2015

City Girl Sew Along - Block #21

This is another common sight in cities - the Bus Stop - and it is block #21 for our City Girl Sew Along. Simple and fast to make: you can use one fabric for the background or piece it as I did. All fabrics are by Riley Blake Designs and the light green print is my favorite -  Sew Charming C4546 - super cute!

Here is what you will need for this block:

(1) 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" rectangle of white/gray print fabric (background bottom)
(1) 3-1/2" x 8-1/2" rectangle of green print fabric (background top) -
(1) 5-1/2" x 1/2" rectangle of medium gray fabric (pole)
(1) 6" x 3" rectangle of same medium gray fabric for bench
(1) 3" x 3" square of light gray fabric for the stop sign
fusible web
matching thread for machine applique' (Aurifil 50wt will be perfect!)
fabric marker

Gather all pieces next to your sewing machine. To download template click here and for details on how to work with fusible web, click here. The picture above shows templates fused to wrong side of fabrics already (except for the third leg of the bench which I forgot but added later).

Cut around the fused shapes. Snip the corners of the light gray square so you will turn it into an octagon for the bus stop sign.

Stitch background pieces together using a 1/4" seam allowance. Press seam towards green fabric.

Fuse shapes to background according to placement shown above and machine applique with matching thread using a blanket stitch (or the stitch of your choice). Using the fabric marker, add the words 'Bus Stop' to the sign. Press on the wrong side to set the applique stitches.

That is it! Thank you for sewing along for the past 21 weeks! Send me photographs of your blocks so I can feature them on my next post. If you are catching up with us you can find all the blocks on the City Girl Sew Along page of this block or in our Pinterest Board.

In the meantime, have a fun weekend! (I am linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts)

June 24, 2015

All Grown Up Irish Chain Quilt

I can finally show you the quilt I had been working on for Moda Bake Shop! I had a  lot of fun designing, piecing, and quilting it. All Grown Up, going from small 4-patches, to medium and then larger 4-patches... the growing patches symbolize the coming of age of little girls (or boys, just change the colors).

Moda fabrics are so easy to work with! Very little fraying, soft hand, and Bella Solids have such amazing colors! This pattern would look great in a number of color trios. The free tutorial is very detailed with pictures and diagrams to make it easy for you to make your own beauty.

I pieced it and quilted it using Aurifil 50wt. This thread weight was perfect for the quilt, lending it a soft, delicate touch. I am so happy with the results!

So, if you are looking for a new project, head over to Moda Bake Shop and download the pattern. Pick Bella Solids colors that speak to you, and get quilting!

Enjoy your day,

June 18, 2015

City Girl Sew Along - Block #20

This week we are crossing The Bridge as we finish block #20 of our City Girl Sew Along. The background can be one or two fabrics (ocean/sky) - I had to piece my ocean because I did not have a large enough piece of the fabric I wanted to use, but you don't have to.

Here is what you will need:

(1) 8-1/2" x 3-1/2" rectangle of fabric for sky
(1) 8-1/2" x 5-1/2" rectangle of fabric for water
(1) 8-1/2" x 4" rectangle of fabric for bridge
Fusible web (I use HeatnBond Lite)
Thread for applique'

Gather all materials near your sewing machine.

Stitch water rectangle to sky rectangle with a 1/4" seam. Press towards darker fabric.

Trace bridge template (to download template click here) onto shiny side of fusible web. Fuse to wrong side of bridge fabric according to instructions of fusible web manufacturer.

Using sharp scissors, cut around the bridge shape. Notice that I decided to extend the bridge template so when the block is sewn to the other blocks, the bridge ends will be inside the seam. That was not my original plan when I designed it. So, you may want to do the same. I will, however, change the template and upload it again to reflect this last minute change.

Since the bridge lines are so skinny, I used a straight stitch to applique' it to the background. This closeup lets you see the fabrics and their colors better.

I made this block very quickly (usually the tutorials take longer!). Afterwards, I noticed the yellow on the right side where the sky meets the water... happy serendipity reminiscent of the setting sun...

If you are just joining us, you can find tutorials for all 20 blocks at the City Girl Sew Along page, as well as on Pinterest.

It is past my bed time... Have a restful sleep!

June 11, 2015

City Girl Sew Along - Block #19

Let's go to the Street Market, our Block #19 for the City Girl Sew Along. I have wonderful memories about street markets in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where I grew up, and of markets here in the US. In Brazil the weekly markets sell fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, spices... The ones I've been to in the US also sell flowers, pottery, homemade jams and jellies, and handmade goods. So, this block celebrates the markets I've been to in US cities.

Here is what you will need:

9" x 5" rectangle of white fabric
9" x 5" rectangle of light gray fabric
fabric scraps for applique shapes
Fusible web (HeatnBond Lite is what I use)
Thread for applique (Aurifil is my preferred thread)

(2) 4-1/2" x 4-1/2" squares from white fabric
(2) 4-1/2" x 4-1/2" squares from gray fabric

Gather all your materials near your sewing machine.

Stitch the white squares to each of the gray squares leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Press seams towards the dark fabric.

Stitch the two rows together to form a four patch block which measures 8-1/2" x 8-1/2". Press.

Trace templates (click here to download templates) onto back of fusible web. Iron fusible web to wrong side of your scrap fabrics. Using sharp scissors, cut each shape carefully. (For detailed information on how to work with fusible webs, click here.)

Peel paper backing from fused shapes, arrange them onto block as shown on picture above, and fuse shapes to background. I like the fabric I chose for the pottery (bottom left)...

Machine applique using blanket stitch. In areas where the applique is too tiny (such as the stems on the berries) use the straight stitch for the applique. There you have it!

Our next block will also use applique (some scenes lend themselves easily to this method).  In the meantime, how are your blocks turning out? I am so tempted to stop designing and start stitching them together! However, I will make a few more before it is time to begin thinking about quilt design.

Until next time,


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