Category Archives: Zakka Style sew along

Fussy cutting is too fussy for me!

My Polka Dot Cafe Apron. Week 4 of the Zakka 2.0 sew along.

My Polka Dot Cafe Apron.
Week 4 of the Zakka 2.0 sew along.

I like this definition by the Nerdy Sewist – “Fussy cutting” is the phrase used, generally by quilters, to describe cutting a detail or particular piece of a pattern from the fabric, as opposed to just cutting a strip from the fold to the selvedge. Fussy cutting is particularly common when it comes to novelty printed fabrics…”

Polka Dot Cafe Apron - photo from the book Patchwork Please by Ayumi Takahashi

Polka Dot Cafe Apron – photo from the book Patchwork Please by Ayumi Takahashi

This week’s Zakka 2.0 sew along project from the book Patchwork Please is the Polka Dot Cafe Apron.  This apron involves making up 3 patchwork squares sewn together to form a pocket for the apron.

Patchwork squares by Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces.

Great example of fussy cutting by Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces.

As you can see, both Ayumi and Angela meticulously cut their fabric in order to place these little bits of fabric exactly where they wanted them in their patchwork squares which are only 6 inches square! Their aprons really look fabulous and show all the work they did.

Cafe Apron by Angela Pingel

Cafe Apron by Angela Pingel

Angela is the guest blogger this week for the sew along and has a wonderful post here of making this apron with lots of tips and pictures.

The book comes with templates for these little patchwork squares and triangles and suggests you position them on your fabric and cut around them. This already seemed too fussy for me but I gave it a try.  Basically I turned a perfectly good piece of fabric into this:

How I tried to fussy cut some of these kitchen motifs.

How I tried to fussy cut some of these kitchen motifs.

And the result was not wonderful due to the size and spacing of the objects on the fabric. Not to mention the fact that they are all on the diagonal!

My attempt at fussy cutting

My attempt at fussy cutting

For the other 2 blocks I decided to flat out paper piece them and not worry about fussy cutting. It was not difficult to turn the template in the book to a paper pieced pattern.

Paper pieced pattern

Paper pieced pattern

This piecing went rather quickly once I decided on the fabrics to use.

Paper pieces ready for joining

Paper pieces ready for joining

I tried to use as many polka dot-like fabrics as possible.

Polka dots!

Polka dots!

I had bought some dishtowels for the week 2 project that I did not end up using and they seemed the perfect size for this cafe apron. So I simply sewed my finished pocket onto this pale yellow dishtowel and then added the sash as described in the book (by folding the top over an inch and catching the sash in the sides).

xx

Finished cafe apron.

I am very happy with the result. In the future, I may try to fussy cut a piece here or there, but I will never be able to cut every major piece this way. I just love the sewing too much to spend that much time on the cutting!

13 Comments

Filed under Pattern review, Zakka Style sew along

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Towels – Zakka 2.0

 

IMG_2738

This is the second week and second project in the Zakka  2.0 sew along of Ayumi Takahashi’s book Patchwork Please. The project is a set of adorable dish towels. I bought some pretty eggplant colored towels at a quilting store this week and when I was looking for some fabrics for the appliquéd letters, I happened upon this garden fabric in my stash that I thought would be perfect.

Garden fabric

Garden fabric

I cut my letters out of the different vegetables and here is the finished towel.

Dish towel - Zakka 2.0

Dish towel – Zakka 2.0

I considered edging it with the same fabric, but decided I wouldn’t use it as much if I did that. I would like to use the towel rather than just hang it up to be pretty. That is just the size and situation that is my kitchen!

 

8 Comments

Filed under Zakka Style sew along

And “sew” it begins again . . . Zakka 2.0!

First project from new zakka sew along!

First project from new zakka sew along!

Last year, just as I started blogging, I learned of a sew along for the book Zakka Style which I had just bought at my favorite quilt store. The sew along involved starting at the beginning of the book and sewing a project each week through the entire book. It was hosted by Lindsey Rhodes of LR Stitched who each week introduced a different blogger who shared her experience of making up that week’s project. If you made the item and blogged or posted a picture of it on Flickr, you could link up and have a chance at winning a sewing related “prize”. More fun than the chance to win something, was following the links and seeing all of the similar but different projects that everyone made that week.

Zakka 2.0 started this week and we are going to sew through Ayumi Takahashi’s book called Patchwork, Please.

8430757533_92f602cc8f_o

The book starts with a nice list of Tools and Materials and then a chapter on Techniques. A lot of helpful information is given.

The first project chapter is “for the kitchen” and project #1 is the Bell Pepper Coaster. This week’s blogger is Penny from Sew Take a Hike. She decided to enlarge the pattern and make a hot pad instead of a coaster. I felt that this would be more useful as well. So here is my finished bell pepper hot pad:

Front of pepper hot pad.

Front of pepper hot pad.

Back of pepper hot pad.

Back of pepper.

I love it! When I started thinking about making it today, I knew exactly which fabric I was going to use. I had just bought a bundle of yellow fabrics from Del Ray Fabrics.

Fabric bundle from Del Ray Fabrics

Fabric bundle from Del Ray Fabrics

These fabrics came wrapped together in that pretty brown ribbon that was perfect to use for the pepper stem!

This pattern went together very easily. I took Penny’s advice and enlarged the coaster pattern by 180%. The final hot pad is about 9 inches tall and wide. There are step by step directions in the book for sewing this, but NO pictures of the process. So I had to really read carefully. I guess I must be more of a visual learner because I really missed having pictures of the steps.

After enlarging my pattern and picking the 3 fabrics for the front and 1 for the back, I cut the fabric to fit the pattern pieces.

xx

Fabric and paper pattern

First step was to sew that middle pepper piece (I used polka dot fabric for this). I had already read through quite a few blog posts from those who had made their peppers and linked them to LR Stitched. Amy from Amy made that! . . .  by eamylove said she used freezer paper to make her templates. She ironed them on the fabric and sewed around them and this allowed her to use the same pattern for each of the pepper coasters she made instead of tracing the shape on each fabric. This sounded like genius to me, even though I was only making one today. I just pinned the pattern piece on my fabric and carefully sewed around it.

With right sides together, I sewed all the way around the paper pattern.

With right sides together, I sewed all the way around the paper pattern.

Middle piece trimmed and a slit cut in one side for turning.

Middle piece trimmed and a slit cut in one side for turning.

Since this piece is going to be sewn on top of the larger piece, that hole will never show!

Turned

Turned and set aside

Next is to sew the two other fabrics together with a straight seam, press seam open and place the pattern on top with the seam down the middle.

xx

Oops! I almost cut that fabric too small.

Under this I layered the background fabric and 2 pieces of Insul-bright which is a thermal batting. One piece would probably be enough, but when I set something hot on a pad on my table, I want to make sure it’s not going to hurt the table.

xx

Again, I sewed around the paper pattern.

I trimmed the whole piece to about 1/8 inch and then trimmed that Insul-Bright as close as I could get it to get rid of the bulk in the seam. (I knew it would be topstitched after turning and if some of it pulled free of the stitching on the inside, it would get caught in the top stitching.)

Trimmed close!

Trimmed close!

Seam opened.

Seam partially opened.

Turned.

Turned.

To finish the pepper, I topstitched around the edges and then covered the middle opening in the seam with the pepper middle (hole side down) and topstitched around that, catching the ribbon for the stem in the top.

xx

I love this new hot pad! I’m visiting my daughter in Chicago this weekend and will be gifting it to her. I guess I’ll know if she read to the end of this blog post by whether she expects it or not.

To join in the fun, grab a copy of the book and get sewing. Besides sewing “for the kitchen”, there is sewing. . . for kids, for the home, for going places and for crafting. Lindsey from LR Stitched and Debbie from A Quilter’s Table are the awesome hostesses. I had the pleasure of meeting Lindsey at the Sew South  retreat this past spring.

5 Comments

Filed under Pattern review, Sew South Modern Sewing Retreat, Uncategorized, Zakka Style sew along

Wool Embroidery and a Triple Zip

Baby chicks

Baby chick candle mat – Size is about 7″ across (small!)

Isn’t this a happy little piece? I bought it as a wool felt embroidery kit. It included all the pieces already cut out. All I had to do was pick some embroidery floss to make it up. I was inspired to stitch it while I was visiting my friends in CO. A couple years ago, my friends and I made this larger piece as a gift for a week in the friend’s cabin together:

xx

Felted wool and embroidery – size is about 15 inches across

Close up of wool and embroidery

Close up of wool and embroidery

Once I left Colorado, we drove to MT where I have a sewing machine. I finally made a triple zip pouch that I’ve been wanting to try making for some time. I used this tutorial by Debbie of A Quilter’s Table. It is an ingenious pattern and makes up fairly quickly.

Fabric and zipper selection

Fabric and zipper selection

All pieces cut out and ready

All pieces cut out and ready

Zipper tabs applied about 3/4 inch from each side of pouch piece.

Zipper tabs applied about 3/4 inch from each side of pouch piece.

Piece after all zippers and linings have been attached

Piece after all zippers and linings have been attached

Somehow, after all of that, it turns into this:

Finished triple zip

Finished triple zip – Size 7 1/2″ wide by 6″ tall

I’m trying to decide what sort of pouch would be the absolute best for carrying charging cords around when traveling – or maybe just for storing them when not in use. I currently use my House Pouch from the Zakka Style book:

Zakka Style House Pouch

Zakka Style House Pouch

I can fit my computer cord, kindle cord and telephone charging cord in this pouch but I have to take the whole bunch out and untangle them to get one. I thought the triple zip pouch might work but it is too small. (A larger version may be in the works soon – if I can figure it out).

Do you have a “pouch” that you like to carry charging cords in? Please let me know and I hope it is something that I can make.

 

8 Comments

Filed under Pattern review, Purses and Bags, Uncategorized, Zakka Style sew along

Zaka Style project #16 – Patchwork Ribbon

My favorite gift!

I didn’t plan on doing this week’s Zakka Style project but I’m glad that I did because I’m quite happy with how it turned out and will actually use it! There is a BIG incentive to complete this project and to link it up to the sew along – a nice collection of Cosmo Thread by Lecien.  I was intrigued by the post by The Patchsmith who said she has threads all over the place from making this.  After thinking about it for awhile and reading the directions again, I thought that starting with a large patchwork piece and cutting it into strips on the BIAS might be an answer to the loose threads.  So I tried it!

I sewed some strips together, cut them into smaller pieces and then sewed the pieces together in an arrangement that I thought would give me a long run of bias.

I cut bias strips 1 1/4 inch wide from this.  No frays on the edges and the front of the stripes looked great. The back, though, had all those seams.

Front of bias strips – beautiful

Back of strips – not so pretty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I joined the strips together using a bias join technique.  I thought about stopping here and using the “ribbon” this way.

Single layer

However, there was so much of it that I decided to go ahead and sew it all together with the wrong sides together using a simple running stitch down each edge.  After that, I had only half of the length but no raw edges showing at all!

Double layer

After looking around for something to be the gift to tie it onto for the photo,  a wine bottle seemed perfect.  My sewing space is incredibly well “stocked”! Don’t you agree?

Fabric to the right. Wine to the left.

12 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Zakka Style sew along

Zakka Style project #15 – Elephant Bookmark

This week’s project from the Zakka Style sew along is an Elephant bookmark.  It was designed by Kat Mew.  The guest blogger for the sew along is Angela from Cut to Pieces.

An Elephant Never Forgets Bookmark

I used a fabric strip set that was already sewn together.  It is hard to tell this in the picture because the batik fabrics are so similar. I put the strip set right side to another piece of batik fabric, put the pattern on top, and sewed around it.

Sewing around the paper pattern

I did not use any interfacing.  There were so many comments from others who made this about how hard it was to turn, I just decided not to interface it. Here is a picture of the back side right before turning. I trimmed very closely and clipped all the inside curves.

Trimmed with my beautiful Gingher scissors!

These scissors were a Christmas gift from my daughter, Lindsey.  I love them!  There is nothing in the word that cuts as smoothly as these. I didn’t have any trouble turning my elephant right side out but it was pretty flimsy without the interfacing so I did the next best thing – I spray starched the heck out of it – several times! This was actually quite effective and it is now pretty stiff.  I then sewed an ultra suede ear on.  I didn’t bother with an eye because somehow there is a star on the fabric right where the eye would be.  I couldn’t have fussy cut it any more perfectly.

Marking it’s place in my Zakka Style book.

Linking to LR Stitched Zakka sew along.

2 Comments

Filed under Zakka Style sew along

Zakka Style project #13 – Patchwork Pot Holder

Finished front

Finished Back

This week’s project from the Zakka Style sew along is a patchwork potholder. Kim from Retro Mama designed these potholders for the book. She has also updated the instructions for putting on the binding which can be found here. This was a pretty quick and easy project to put together. The great thing about these is that they are large and thick enough to make a nice trivet for the table as well as protecting your hands from a hot dish.

I started the project by making a strip set. I had some strips that were already sewn together. Adding a strip of linen to those gave the potholder the look I wanted. After all, linen is the fun element of the Zakka Style projects!

Strips sewn, layered with Insul-Brite, batting, and backing and then trimmed into an 8 ” circle.

I layered 10″ squares of the strip set, a piece of Insul-Brite, a piece of cotton batting and then a piece of linen for the backing. A walking foot made quilting these together very easy. Once they were together I cut an 8 inch circle.

Bound edge of partial circles

2 partial circles were cut out of linen and 2 out of a cotton print (which ended up unseen on the inside). The flat edge was bound and then these were placed onto the back of the round piece and basted around the edge. Now it was ready for the binding.  I have avoided binding in linen on other Zakka projects due to the fraying of the fabric. However, since this binding HAD to be cut on the bias, fraying would not be a problem so I went ahead and used it.

Binding turned to the back. Ready for hand stitching.

Unfortunately, I didn’t read the updated binding instructions and just overlapped and sewed the edge of the binding which did not give as clean a finish as doing it the other way would have. I look forward to trying it again and perfecting the binding.

I’m happy with how this turned out and will be making some more for gifts.  Any sort of quilted design could be put on the front and it would be fun to try some different things to make a useful and pretty gift.

2 Comments

Filed under Gifts, Tutorials, Zakka Style sew along