Saturday, May 4, 2013

Finally sewing again!

Phew!  My maternity leave ended on March 10th and almost two months later, I'm happy to say that I'm back and blogging!  Life has been pretty crazy between working full time, being a mom, and keeping my house in decent order!  Now that I have some amazing Birch Organic Fabrics for sale on my online fabric shop, I am also pleased to say that I have some beauty fitted crib sheets available at my handmade shop as well!  I am most thankful to my fellow sewing/quilting buddy (who I have nicknamed Bizzy Izzy) for getting the ball rolling again!

These crib sheets are so colourful and fun.  Two of these just made their way over to a baby shower for a very good friend of mine.  I'm hoping to get some bedding sets in the works also.

I just love the simple look of a white crib with a bright and cheerful sheet.  The organic cotton used for these is so silky and soft, that I might have to think about making an adult size version for myself! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sewing Scant

My latest WIP (work in progress) is a twin size Pow Wow quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew.  The chevron blocks in this quilt call for a scant quarter inch seam allowance, meaning that the seam allowance should be just under a quarter of a inch.

I have learned that many newer sewing machines have a programmable option for sewing scant seam allowances; however, my Janome 3160QC does not.  The twin size Pow Wow quilt calls for 99 of these chevron blocks, so after eye balling my first few scant seams, I knew there had to be a better way to use my quarter inch seam foot to its full potential.

What if I increase the stitch width setting on my machine thereby moving my needle over closer to the guide on my quarter inch seam foot? 

This is probably old news to many of you experienced quilters out there.  Unfortunately, it took me a little longer to figure this out on my own!   My regular straight stitch settings are 3.5 (width) and 2.2 (length).  I increased the width from 3.5 to 5.0 and voila, my seams are scant and oh so consistent. 

Regular Straight Stitch Settings

Modified Settings to Achieve Scant Quarter Inch Seam Allowance

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bizzy Kid Quilt 2

This is my second time making the Bizzy Kid quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew.  I sewed this for a special friend of mine who is having a baby boy in April.  After making several crib size quilts, I decided to make a kid's size throw, measuring 48" x 60", so that this little guy could get longer use out of this project.

I was originally going to stick strictly to greys and whites for this quilt, but decided to add in some aqua for a pop of colour.  I primarily used print fabrics for my blocks, even though the pattern calls for solids.  The result is definitely busy, but I find it incredibly suiting for a busy little boy!

Because of the busy quilt front, I chose a solid fabric for the back.  In hindsight, I wished I had opted for a print on the back, or at least chosen grey over white thread.  My free motion quilting is far from perfect and the solid fabric offers no forgiveness for mistakes, especially with my white thread choice.  I also think the back of this quilt could use a little something to spice it up.

I have always hand-stitched the binding on my quilts, but after reading this tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew, I decided to attempt machine binding for the first time.  I'm not an overly patient person, so when I read Allison Harris' suggestion that machine binding is ideal for baby quilts because they better withstand frequent washing, it didn't take long to convince me to try it.  I probably would have attempted machine binding a lot sooner but have had serious guilt holding me back from doing so!

I shared this quilt at a show-and-tell and my fellow hand-binding friends did not notice the machine binding until I pointed it out.  That being said, I would machine bind again!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Red Square Quilt

I have always been drawn to modern quilting.  I love the bold colours, solid fabrics, and use of increased negative space.  I made this quilt using the Red Square pattern from Alissa Haight Carlton's book Modern Minimal: 20 Bold & Graphic Quilts.  For my fabric, I chose Kona Cotton solids in rich red, bone, and khaki, which are very similar to what is suggested in the book. 

The patterns in this book minimize wasted cuttings, which I LOVE!!  Larger pieces are created by sewing smaller ones together end-to-end and once the project is quilted, these extra seams really aren't very noticeable.

The book offers two different quilting options for each pattern and it's even more fun if you mix and match.  I originally intended to quilt his project in a large swirl, starting with a small circle at the center of the quilt and working my way out.  In the end, I decided against this, given the limited arm space on my sewing machine.  Instead, I opted for straight line quilting, mimicking the spacing of the strips of fabric.  To do this, I drafted chalk lines on the fabric using a long metal ruler and quilted with my walking foot.

This 60"x75" quilt is the perfect size for snuggling up on the couch and looks fabulous folded or draped across furniture.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Kaleidoscope Quilt

I absolutely love the quilt patterns by Cluck Cluck Sew.  I made the Bizzy Kid pattern for my very first quilt and had so much fun making it that I knew I had to make another from Cluck Cluck Sew.  I bought the Kaleidoscope pattern for this baby quilt and I couldn't have been happier with it.

The cutting is done using pattern pieces as templates.  I printed these from the PDF pattern and used them to cut.  In hindsight, I wish I had traced the pattern pieces onto card stock prior to cutting, because even the slightest shavings from your pattern templates can really add up over time.  I had to work my fabric a lot to make sure that my seams lined up nicely.

The circles are applied with fusible web and finished with a blanket stitch.  I haven't done applique before and was a little bit leery about how this would turn out.  I used a rotary circle cutter for the circles and found that this really helped with the prep work.  I free motion quilted the entire quilt and added swirls inside each circle using my free motion foot.  The swirls are far from perfect but I think the free flowing motion adds more than it takes away.

The backing fabric is Zoology by Michael Miller.  I used 100% cotton fabric for this quilt, but would probably give flannel a try next time to make it even cozier for baby.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Handmade Beginnings 2

I am finally doing some sewing for girls!  This is my second post from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings book.  This projects is called the Pretty as a Picture dress.  I made two of them and would love to experiment with a more complex block for the center panel on the next go around.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Charm Square Baby Quilt

This pattern from Oh, Fransson is oh so fun to sew because it goes together so quickly and really shows off the modern prints.  I used a combination of free motion and straight line quilting and was happy with how this turned out.

I used some of my scrap fabric to add interest to the back of the quilt.  I will definitely do this again on future projects, as it ties the front and the back together nicely and also makes use of those cuttings that may not otherwise be used.