Category Archives: Family

Quilt Top Finish

Quilt top is done!

Quilt top is done!

To find out more about the design of this quilt, please read my last post. I am making it for my married daughter and her husband and it is made from fabrics that were used as pretty fall napkins during their wedding reception.

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Each circle block is 20″ square

It seemed to take me forever to make those center two blocks. I strip pieced the fabrics and then laid them all out in order to make sure that I cut them right to get the alternating striped pattern that I wanted.

Not sewn together yet.

Not sewn together yet.

I was very careful to pick up each one and orient it the right way when I cut it so that it would form this pattern when I sewed it together. I did this meticulously for all 8 blocks and then I took them to the ironing board to press them, and guess what?

They all looked the same!

They all looked the same!

I felt so stupid! How did I not realize that I could have just simply laid them all out in the same direction and I would get the same pattern?

It was a breeze to sew the 12 large circle blocks together once these middle two were together. I’m really happy with the result. Here is how it looks laid out on my queen size bed – it’s only meant to be a lap quilt, but a big one!

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Next is making up the back. I’ve decided to simply sew the napkin squares together.  Circles on the front and squares on the back.

Napkins set out on my design wall.

Napkins set out on my design wall.

I will have to put a border around these as they are smaller than the blocks on the front. I’m in the process of trying to wash the cotton batting I am going to use to eliminate shrinkage when the finished quilt is washed. Most of the time I love that “crinkly” look when a quilt is washed for the first time. However, with this quilt having such a large design, I think it might be better if it lays more flat. If the batting survives the washing and drying process, I guess we’ll see.

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More wedding pictures!

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The groom made the photo booth. It was so much fun.

The groom made the photo booth. It was so much fun.

Both families

Both families together

It was a remarkable day and the two families have blended together perfectly. If we lived closer together (we’re in DC and they are in IL), I’m sure we would be good friends. As it is, we have great fun when we do get together.

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Filed under Family, Quilts, Uncategorized

A Single Girl Quilt for my Married Girl?

My daughter got married to a most wonderful man on October 15, 2011.

"First look"

“First look”

As many modern couples do these days, they had pictures taken before the ceremony and so the first time he saw her in her wedding gown, they were outside instead of in the church. This wedding was on a beautiful fall day. The ceremony was in the afternoon.

throwing leaves

The reception hall was decorated (by friends and family) with fall flowers and candles.

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We made napkins by serging the edges of fabric to add some other fun fall color to the tables.

tableThe reception hall was a park building that had large glass windows and a stone fireplace. It felt magical, as though we were outside.

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When the party was over, we collected all the fabric napkins with the idea that I would make the happy couple a quilt out of them. (Yes, I washed them first!) Here they are:

All 150 of them!

All 150 of them!

I’ve had these for a year and a half now and have been trying to decide what the perfect quilt pattern would be for this couple using these colors. I’ve made several other items out of them – notebook covers and zippered pouches for family or friends who helped with the wedding.

Notebook for my mother-in-law.

Notebook for my mother-in-law.

My daughter has made her own beautiful fall colored quilt out of other fabrics since she got married.

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Isn’t it pretty?

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She had it quilted by a longarm quilter.

I’ve decided to make a “snuggle on the couch together” quilt. The pattern I have picked is the Single Girl Quilt by Denyse Schmidt.

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I would call it a modern version of the traditional wedding ring quilt.

Traditional Wedding Ring Quilt.

Traditional Wedding Ring Quilt.

I assume that it is called “Single Girl” because the rings do not interconnect. However, as I look at the Single Girl Quilts that others have made and posted on Flickr or Pinterest, I can see that plenty of people make them up as wedding quilts. The quilting can add that interlocking component.

My version is still a work in progress.

Blocks laid out on my rug. Middle two blocks not done yet.

Blocks laid out on my rug. Middle two blocks not done yet.

I’m going to make the center two blocks the opposite colors of the outside blocks. I will strip piece the background with the napkin fabrics and do the rings in the cream colored fabric. I love the thought of this. The middle blocks symbolize Lindsey’s and Brian’s wedding rings and they will be surrounded by circles that symbolize their families and their friends. Circles surrounded by circles. Okay, this is really dorky but “the circle of life” also comes to mind. (and with that term – The Lion King!)

So stay tuned for the big reveal once I get the other blocks made and have the whole top sewn together!

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Filed under Family, Quilts, Uncategorized

Simple Personalized Tote Bag

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Simple Tote Bag

I was recently asked by my brother-in-law to make a few tote bags for my niece’s birthday party. She is having a sleep over with 3 friends and their American Girl dolls. He wanted tote bags that would fit a doll and a few other things. I think he thought that I could whip these things up in 5 minutes using fabric on hand and put them right in the mail. It didn’t seem like that quick of a project to me, but of course I wanted to do this for my niece who is turning 9 years old. It became a challenge to make something simple but nice. And I did manage to use materials I had “on hand”!

Other 3 totes in progress.

Other 3 totes in progress.

I decided to make the totes 18 inches tall which is the height of an American Girl doll. I didn’t want them to be too wide and randomly picked 11 inches for the width and 5 inches as the depth. Using these dimensions, I cut two pieces 23-1/2″ tall x 16-1/2″ wide.

Design on fabric should face this way.

This fabric is “directional”. It has a definite “up” and “down”.

I had these decor weight fabrics I had mail ordered some time ago, thinking they were quilting cottons. These are perfect for an unlined bag! I wanted to put the girls names on the front of the totes and had this booklet by Atkinson Designs. (now out of print)

Fat Quarter Fonts by Atkinson Designs

Fat Quarter Fonts by Atkinson Designs

The letters in the book are printed in reverse which make them perfect for tracing onto paper backed fusible (Wonder Under). I ironed the fusible to the colored fabrics and then cut them out and fused them to the front of the bags. Of some interest is that after I had done all this I noticed that the back of the book says “No fuss, No fusibles” so I THEN looked at the actual directions. They want you to print the letters on tear away (foundation) paper and then layer the fabric that you want for the letter on top of the background fabric but place the paper letter BEHIND this to sew along the lines. You then cut along the stitching line on the front – either closely to get a smooth look, or less close for a frayed look. Interesting! Doing it this way might have saved me time! But I really wanted the look of the next step.

Name fused on tote

Fold line pressed across top to help with letter placement.

I used a blanket stitch in black thread to stitch around the letters. I did this on all of the bags for it to coordinate with the black 1 inch webbing I’m using for the handles.

Blanket stitch letters. Could satin stitch or straight stitch instead.

Blanket stitch letters. Could satin stitch or straight stitch instead.

I  put the 2 pieces right sides together and serged across the bottom using a 1/4″ seam. Next I opened up this long piece and pinned the webbing in place. I did not stitch the webbing onto the bag above the fold line as that will be tucked into the bag as a hem on the top.

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Webbing was pinned on measuring 4″ in from each side with the ruler.

Sewing the webbing on is a breeze if you use an edge stitching foot and move your needle position!

Bernina #10 foot

Bernina #10 foot

Once the webbing was in place, the sides were sewn/serged together and then a gusset made across the corners. Since I wanted the bag depth to be 5″, I layed my ruler along the seamline on the 2.5 inch line and moved the ruler until I had 5″ across where I drew a line and then sewed.

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5″ Gusset

Once that was done, the very last step was to iron the top under 1/2 inch and then fold the hem in and stitch down. All of these fabrics were white on the wrong side. Since I used white thread on my serger and in my sewing machine bobbin, the inside is very finished looking, despite not being lined. I hope they like them!

Happy Birthday Maya!

Happy Birthday Maya!

A few days later:

Pajama party!

Pajama party!

(One of the girls was sick and couldn’t come).

 

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Filed under Family, Purses and Bags

Chess anyone?

Fabric Chess Board

Fabric Chess Board

My nephew (who is 10 years old today!) visited us for Christmas. Before he came, his dad asked me if we had a checkerboard because he was going to give his son a chess set for Christmas but the board was too big and heavy to travel with. We don’t have a chess or checker board so I told him I’d make one. How hard could it be?

I picked out 2 fabrics that I thought he’d like.  One was a dark brown wood grain fabric and the other was a national park map fabric. I cut it into 2 1/2″ strips and started sewing.

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2 and then 4 strips sewn together

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Cut in half lengthwise

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Sewn together and pressed towards the dark fabric

A chess board is 8 squares by 8 squares. So now I cut these into 2 1/2″ strips.

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Eight 2 1/2″ strips

Rearranged!

Rearranged!

These were sewn together, sandwiched with batting and batting, quilted in the ditch, and a 1/4′ binding put on.

Finished chess board

Finished chess board

His new chess pieces are really cool. They are stone African animals.

Chess anyone?

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Filed under Family, Gifts

Shower Caddy

I made this shower caddy for my daughter, Lindsey, for Christmas.

Shower caddy

It is made with laminated cotton fabric. I ordered this fabric from lu summers on etsy. I love the fabric and at the time I ordered it months ago, I wasn’t in a rush, so I didn’t mind ordering it to be sent from England and paying the postage. Laminated fabric is fairly heavy and this added to the postage fees. I was going to make this pattern by Terry Atkinson which I blogged about here

However, there are so many pieces with fussing and cutting, zippers and binding that I decided this was not the pattern to use laminated fabric for. I did an online search for “shower organizer sewing tutorials” and came up with this:

This pattern is a free tutorial by Alida Rad who blogs about DYI projects at http://www.Radcrafter.com. She has many other fun tutorials for all sorts of things on her site. Her organizer finished is about 9″ long, 6 inches wide and 7 1/2″ inches tall. I used her pattern pieces but I cut 2″ off of the height. This pattern has only a few pattern pieces – 2 sides, bottom and handles. I added the pockets to the inside by simply cutting an 8″ wide strip which I folded in half lengthwise to create 4″ deep pockets (less seam allowance) on the inside.

These fabrics are all laminated

I had to do some research on sewing with laminated fabrics. If you use pins, they leave holes so you have to either use them in the seam allowance where the holes won’t show or use something else like binder clips or paperclips to hold pieces together. Another problem is that the laminated side of the fabric wants to stick to the presser foot and to the throat plate. I happen to have a teflon presser foot but I found that using my walking foot worked better. I used painters tape on the throat plate to keep the fabric from sticking there.

Walking foot and painters tape to keep the laminated fabric moving!

I added the pocket pieces to the sides with small pleats in the bottom to create room to insert things like makeup brushes or hair brushes.

Pockets sewn onto side piece

The next step is to sew the bottom to both sides.

Sides are sewn together.

Sew the bottom to the side next.

Held together with binder clips.

Lining finished.

The outside of the bag is sewn together in the same way except that there are no pockets involved.

Outside of bag.

Lining sitting inside of outer bag.

If I followed the traditional directions for this bag, I would sew the handles onto the sides and then place the lining and outer bag together right sides together and sew around the top. I would have to have an opening somewhere in order to turn it right side out. I did not want to do this.

The laminated fabric will not fray and at this point in my sewing shown above, with the lining looking taller than the outer bag, it seemed to be a brilliant idea to just fold the lining over the top and sew it in place. I had to decide what to do about the handles.  I thought I might just add them under the “binding” as I had in the original caddy.

Possible handle placement

However, this makes the handles somewhat awkward to use. I decided to simply make a “slit” at the top where each handle would fit.

Slits made for handles

Before I sewed the handles in and topstitched around the top edge, I decided to stiffen the sides and bottom with pel-tex. I cut pieces to size for the bottom and all 4 sides and inserted them in between the lining and the outer bag. The Pet-tex that I used was fusible so I did try to fuse the sides together by touching a hot iron to them with a press cloth in place. I’m not sure this fusing will hold indefinitely but I figured if it held it in place while I sewed the top edge, that would be enough to keep the inside pieces in place.

Inserting the Pel-tex to make the organizer more sturdy.

Finished shower caddy

The finished bag is a great size, about 9″ x 6″ x 5 1/2″.  It has inside pockets on all 4 sides and can be easily wiped off, inside and out if it get’s wet or dirty. How great is that? I can’t wait to try another project with laminated fabric.

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Filed under Family, Gifts, Pattern review, Tutorials

Christmas Sneak Peek

I thought it would be fun to give you a little “sneak peek” of some of the things I’ve been sewing for Christmas but cannot totally reveal!

Megan

Megan

Sandy

Sandy

Lindsey

Lindsey

Shawn and Lindsey

Shawn and Lindsey

Koleen

Koleen

I wish I had time to sew a few more things but there will be plenty of chances after Christmas is over. Time to relax a bit and enjoy the holiday season.  Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Family, Gifts

Doll Quilt

I made a doll quilt today. It is only 14 x 18 ” and it took me all day despite being fairly simple (and small!) but I loved working on it. I used this tutorial by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts as a guideline. I previously made a twin size bed quilt for my niece and gave it to her for her 8th birthday last year. She and her brother (and mother and father) (and dog!) will be visiting me in DC for Christmas. She has an American Girl doll that looks like her so I thought it would be fun to make the doll a matching quilt and give it to her at Christmas.

Twin size quilt

Twin size quilt

Doll quilt

Doll quilt

You know how a coin is often used in a picture to show how small something is? Well, I thought a dollar bill would be a better indicator for the size of this. The quilt was pieced using 2 1/2″ squares which gave a 2″ finished block.

Fabric squares on design wall.

Fabric squares on design wall.

Once I had those all sewn together, I added the borders and then fused 1″ square pieces to the middle of each of the 2″ blocks. I did stitch around the edges of these little 1″ squares to make sure they stay put. Finally I quilted the whole (little) thing and that was a real labor of love because I actually tried to match the quilting design to the larger quilt. The larger quilt was quilted by Marina Baudoin on a longarm machine.

Quilting on 8" block

Quilting on 8″ block

Quilting on 2" block

Quilting on 2″ block

Talk about “fine motor skills!”

I bound both quilts with multicolor binding.

Doll quilt

Doll quilt

I’m really happy with the result.  I hope my niece and her doll like it!

Addendum:

I guess they do!

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Filed under Family, Gifts