quilt binding, quilting, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Make Scrappy Binding

Scrappy binding is a favorite among quilters. Not only is it fun to make, it’s a great way to use longer scraps of fabric. I don’t choose it that often, but I do enjoy making it and I love how it looks. Going scrappy is also a fun way to add more color to a finished quilt. Never tried it before? No problem, this tutorial will show you how, step-by-step. Let’s get started.

First, choose your fabric strips making sure you have enough to equal the total length required. For the project illustrated in this tutorial, I used Kona Cottons from the Citrus Burst bundle.

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Next, cut your strips 2 ½” wide. The lengths of the strips will vary. I usually don’t use anything less than 8″ long and over 14″ long for a mini quilt; I’ll go as long as the length of a fat quarter for a throw quilt or larger. This is a personal preference; you may want to experiment to see what you like best. It’s important to note that you’ll be cutting off some length off of the strip ends when making the binding.

Once the pieces are chosen, there are a few options before sewing. You can go totally scrappy and sew your strips together in no particular order or you can plan your color order according to your quilt. I like to do it this way so like-colors don’t end up next to one another on the finished quilt. This method is easy to do and takes just a little extra time.

If you want to make your binding by controlling the color order, lay out your quilt. Place the chosen binding strips around your quilt in order that works best with the colors in the quilt. It’s always a good idea to take a photo in case you lose track of the order when sewing. You can also number the strips in an inconspicuous area.

Once your preferred method is determined, lay out the first two strips, right sides together, and draw a diagonal line, as shown. Pin strips in place.

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Sew on the drawn line.

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Line up the ¼” ruler line on the sewn line, as shown.

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Cut away fabric ¼” from the sewn line, as shown.

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Cut off tips, press. Seams can be pressed either to the side of the darker fabric or open.

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Repeat steps until you have sewn and pressed all the strips together, making one continuous strip of binding.

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Lastly, fold your completed binding strip in half horizontally, pressing as you go, until the entire strip is pressed in half. Trim raw edges. Your scrappy binding will look like this when finished:

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For this particular project, I made controlled color binding and I’m happy how it came together with the mini quilt.

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Now’s the time to give scrappy binding a try and here’s to your next project! 🙂

quilting, Quilting 101, Uncategorized

Quilting 101: Quilting Terminology for Beginners

When I started to quilt, some of the quilting language had me really confused. Everyday words referring to animals, winter and food with a quilting-related meaning….huh? It just didn’t make sense. If your experience is one of the same, this post will help clarify some of the terminology used that has other meanings.

I chose my top ten favorites, or I should say, my top ten most confusing quilting terms. 🙂

1. Dog ears – Dog ears are those small pieces of fabric that appear in quilt block corners and edges when two triangular pieces are sewn together—results of a diagonal seam. Always trim dog ears before finishing a quilt block.

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2. Feed dogs – The feed dogs are the metal teeth located in the slots in a sewing machine’s needle plate. Feed dogs are comprised of metal bars, crosscut with diagonal teeth that move back and forth; they grip fabric and pull it through the machine and away from the needle.

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3. Flying geese – Flying geese is a traditional quilt block pattern created by sewing a triangle at each end of a rectangular piece of fabric, forming a peak in the middle. Finished flying geese blocks resemble geese flying in formation, hence the name.

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4. Nesting seams – Seams that line up precisely at an intersection of a block or quilt are known as nesting seams. To achieve nesting, press seams in opposite directions to reduce the bulk created by the seam allowance.

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5. Snowball – The snowball technique is used when a quilter chooses to give a square a rounded effect (like a snowball). To achieve this result, the quilter draws a diagonal line on a background fabric square (white or light colored), sews on the line, cuts away the corner and presses back the triangle. This process can also be done in reverse, using a central white square and a color triangle in the corner.

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Preparation to snowball a corner
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Snowballed corner

6. Quilt sandwich or sandwiching – Sandwiching is assembling the quilt top, batting and backing, then securing the layers together by basting with either quilting pins or glue–readying it for quilting. The batting and quilt backing are always cut a few inches larger than the quilt top to allow for fabric shifting while quilting.

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7. Chain piecing – Chain piecing is sewing together squares in one continuous length of thread instead of sewing piece by piece. This method saves time and is popular among quilters. Once multiple squares have been sewn in a strand, the thread is easily cut to separate individual pieces.

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8. Sashing – Sashing is a strip of fabric sewn between blocks on a quilt top. It gives a windowpane effect and shows off blocks individually. Most often lighter-colored fabric is used for sashing to make the other colors pop. As a variation, sashing can be used to contrast quilt block colors.

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9. Stitch in the ditch – Stitching in the ditch is a technique where the quilting stitches on the quilt top are minimized by quilting ‘in’ the seams that were created when the quilt blocks were pieced together. Using a specialized foot helps makes this process neater with more accurate results.

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10. Fussy cut – A fussy cut is used when a quilter wants to showcase a specific section or element of a fabric pattern, e.g. a flower, an animal, etc. A fussy cut should always include a seam allowance.

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I hope this blog post helped clarify some quilting terminology confusion.

I plan to continue my Quilting 101 series with my next post delving into the variety of precut fabric.

diy, tutorials, Uncategorized

DIY Quilt Ladder Tutorial

Don’t you just love those beautiful leaning ladders for displaying quilts? I know I do, but I didn’t want to pay upwards of $200 for one. I knew my husband and I could do a DIY for a LOT less, and we did, we made ours for under $20!

Here’s what we had to buy:
(4) ¾″ × 1 ½″ × 6′ Select Pine boards = $3.83 each
Total cost of $15.32 (+ tax)

1 box (of 25) 1 ½″ construction wood screws
Total cost of $2.17 (+ tax)

We purchased the boards and wood screws at Home Depot. Any big box hardware store should carry all other supplies and tools.

I should note that that was our price was less than $20 because we had the additional necessary items on hand: paint brush/foam brush, wood stain, polycrylic protective finish, paint, primer, a variety of sandpaper and the tools. If you don’t have these items, it will cost more, but nowhere near what a retailer is asking.

I was so happy with the first one, I asked my husband to help out again and we made a second one. I finished them differently; the first one I stained and the second one I painted white. That way, I can move them around the house and always have a fresh, new look.

This was a fun project for both of us. It was really rewarding to make something for our home that not only is attractive, but useful, too. I also found that working with wood was relaxing and rather enjoyable. 🙂

The time spent on each ladder varied. Estimated time on construction was about 2 ½ hours and it took about 3 – 3 ½ hours to sand, stain and apply polyurethane. It was much more time consuming to paint. I applied one coat of primer and four coats of paint, which took several hours, but was worth it. I love both results.

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Finished ladder measures 6′ H × 19″ W × 1 ½″ D.

If you’d like to make your own, click here for my downloadable PDF DIY Quilt Ladder Tutorial. The tutorial is easy-to-follow with step-by-step instructions and plenty of photos.

Here’s to creating and saving a ton of money at the same time!

mini quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Corner Hanging Sleeve Tutorial

Hanging mini quilts is a must-do, right? Whether you’re a quilter who hangs minis all over your walls or one like me who hangs one at a time—having an effective method of displaying them is essential no matter how many or how few. This corner technique is so fast and easy, in no time your minis will be ready to show off!

Required materials include two squares of fabric and a round dowel rod. I usually use 3/8″ width (oak) as it’s sturdy and doesn’t tend to bend or warp. It’s not necessary to go any larger than 3/8″ with most mini quilts. I’ve also used a 1/4″ dowel rod on a very small mini and through my experience, it held up well.

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Dowel rods can be purchased at any big box home improvement store for under $2 each (36″ length/oak). There are a variety of sizes and types of wood so you can choose what best suits your needs.

Let’s get started. Once your mini quilt is quilted and trimmed (but before binding), cut two 3″ x 3″ squares from your backing fabric (or from scraps). Press squares in half diagonally.

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On the back of the quilt, pin one pressed square onto each top corner.

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Attach binding, sewing carefully around the pins, making sure to keep the all the edges flat.

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Finish sewing on the binding using your preferred method.

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And it’s finished!

Measure from one end of the binding to the other, cut the dowel rod to measurement. Sand off any rough edges.

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Insert and hang!

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Got a lot of mini quilts? Need a few tips on storing them? Click here!

tutorials, Uncategorized

DIY Portable Ironing Board

One thing that’s for sure is I’m all about recycling and reusing, and I especially enjoy repurposing. With the help of my husband, I turned an ugly unused piece of plywood into a cute, portable lightweight ironing board.

After watching videos of quilters using wooden boards transformed into actual ironing boards, I knew I needed one. I really liked the idea of something lightweight and easy to move around, and it was time to say goodbye to my metal tabletop ironing board (via donation).

So, I did some research and made my own. Here’s how you can make one, too, and here’s what you’ll need:

*A board of your chosen size (plywood recommended)
This DIY = 13 ½” W x 24″ L piece of plywood (reused from irrigation pump packaging)

*Two pieces of cotton batting

*Cotton fabric for board cover

*Aluminum Foil – Enough to cover top with approximately 1″ wrap around back.

*Wood Glue – To glue down aluminum foil edges on back.

*Staple Gun / Staples – To attach batting and fabric.
This DIY = Heavy Duty Staple Gun and  3/8″/10mm staples (a less powerful one would also do fine).

Additional materials: scissors, measuring tape, toothpick, sewing machine and general sewing supplies.

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Once supplies are ready, there are just six easy steps from start to finish!

  1. Cut both pieces of batting:
    Cut ONE approximately 1″ larger than your board, on all sides.
    This DIY = 15 ½” W x 26″ L

    Cut ONE approximately 1 ½” larger than your board, on all sides.
    This DIY = 16 ½” W x 27″ L

    Place the smaller one on top of the larger one (it will be against top of board). When it’s folded around the board, edges will be hidden under the larger one.

    Cut fabric:
    Cut approximately 3″ larger than your board, on all sides. NOTE: Subtract 1″ for selvage edge, if included in the cut fabric.
    This DIY = 18 ½” W x 29″ L (fabric included selvage edge)

  1. Press a ½” hem along all edges, sew a straight stitch.

Tip: Save time—skip hemming salvage edge, if included.

  1. Cover your board with aluminum foil (like wrapping a present). I used a toothpick to apply the wood glue under the folded edge on the back side. Gluing down the foil really helps keep it in place.

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A side note about the foil…I was skeptical if this actually helped to protect the wood, as I had covered this board a while back (this is a redo). Fast-forward a year and a half until now, when I removed the cover and batting. The fabric and batting were water-stained and scorched, but the board was untouched! It definitely works, so I don’t recommend skipping this step. 🙂

  1. Staple on the batting once the glue has dried. Start by pulling in at the point of the corner (helps reduce bulk), staple once. Trim off point. Fold in the sides, staple down each side. You can see what lovely corners you get! Repeat for each corner.

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Continue along stapling down the sides, wrapping the batting nice and snug, but not too tight. Once my batting was attached, I chose to trim it back so the fabric would completely cover it when stapled on.

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  1. Lastly, center your fabric over the board. Using the same method as above, wrap and staple the fabric onto the board.

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As an option, you can apply felt pads to the four corners. I put them on mine as it gives the board a bit of a lift and helps it set even on your table.

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I love this DIY project because it puts an unused item to good use, and it uses materials most people have on hand. As for me, I was happy to use adorable stash fabric that I wouldn’t have used otherwise.

I also discovered that my board doubles for measuring. It’s 24″ long so if I need a quick estimate on how much fabric I’m working with; I can use it as a general guide. You might want to keep that in mind when choosing your size!

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Enjoy your portable ironing board and kudos to you if you salvaged an unused board and raided your stash!

quilting

Zippered Quilt Block Pillow Cover Tutorial

Looking for a fun and decorative way to showcase your orphan blocks? Make a zippered pillow cover! It’s quick and easy enough for beginners, and it’s a great way to use some of those set aside blocks. If you’d like something new, visit McCall’s online library of over 150 free quilt block patterns.

For a different look, I wanted my pillow front just pieced, not quilted. I also wanted to be able to change the cover for different seasons or holidays, so I added a zipper. And I made it reversible. We put lovely fabrics on the back of quilts, why not on a pillow? I used a fat quarter from the Acreage collection by Moda, it added just the right touch of color.

This tutorial is based on applying fusible fleece to the non-quilted pieced front. I knew that inserting and/or removing the pillow form would make a mess of the raw edges so I adhered fusible fleece to seal the seams and give it a smooth, crisp look. Quilting your block is certainly an option and if chosen, you can use either the batting of your choice or the fusible fleece.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Materials:

One 12 ½” x 12 ½” pieced quilt block*

Four 3 ¼” x 12 ½” rectangles for borders

Four 3 ¼” x 3 ¼” squares for border corners

-OR- One 18″ x 18″ pieced quilt block (eliminating borders/corners)

One 18″ x 18″ fabric square for backing

One 18″ x 18″ square of Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece

One 18″ x 18″ square of Pellon PLF36 Fusible Interfacing/Ultra Lightweight -OR- Pellon 906F Fusible Sheerweight

One 14″ coordinating color zipper

One 18″ x 18″ pillow form insert

* If using a block size other than 12 ½” square, adjust your border measurements accordingly. The front and back pieces measure the same size as the pillow insert so it will fit nice and snug.

Other materials needed: General sewing/quilting materials such as a ruler, cutting mat, rotary cutter, thread, scissors, pins, iron, sewing machine, zipper foot.

To make the front, I used 36 – 2 ½” half square triangles from the lovely Riley Blake collection, Floriography. I removed most of these HSTs from test blocks for reuse.

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I sewed the HSTs in a simple six by six layout making a 12 ½” block for the center.

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Tip: If you don’t use a marking system like illustrated here, it’s a good idea to take a photo once the layout is decided; it’s a helpful reference when sewing.

To reach the 18″ needed for the pillow front, I sewed one 3 ¼” x 12 ½” rectangle on each side. For the top and bottom borders, I sewed a 3 ¼” square on each end of the two remaining rectangles, then sewed them onto the top and bottom of the block.

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NOTE: If you are new to quilting and need instruction on making half square triangles and/or instructions on block construction, check out my Scrappy Heart Block Tutorial for general guidelines.

Before adhering the fusible fleece, trim threads off the back so nothing will show through the front.

Following the Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece instructions, iron the 18″ square onto the back of your pillow front.

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Ironed on fusible fleece
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Since I used regular quilting cotton fabric for my back piece, I used lightweight interfacing to give it a bit more stiffness and weight.

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NOTE: You always have the option of using your choice of interfacing, or none at all. The same goes for the fusible fleece weight on the front, you can go loftier or with less loft.

Next step, sewing in the zipper. If you’re feeling intimidated by this, don’t! It’s really easy to do.

First, place your pillow front and back pieces right sides together. Make sure to note the direction of your fabrics.

Center the zipper on top of the bottom edge of the pillow. Place a pin to mark each end of the zipper. These will be guidelines on how to sew the bottom.

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Set the zipper aside. Using a ½” seam allowance and a standard stitch length, sew from the edge to the pin. Once you get to the pin, take a few backstitches.

At the pin, set your sewing machine to the widest stitch possible (mine was 5). Long basting stitches are used because they’ll be removed later.

Sew with a basting stitch until you get to the next pin. At the pin, reset your machine to a standard stitch length. Sew, taking a few backstitches again, to the end. Your sewn pillow bottom should look like this…

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Press seam open. It’s best to use a towel over the seam so you don’t get residue on your iron (like I did).

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Place the zipper facing down and centered onto the pressed open seam. Pin in place.

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Sew in the zipper using a zipper foot.

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If you’re new to sewing in a zipper, here are a few helpful tips:

  • Leave the zipper completely closed.
  • Start sewing at the end with the bottom stop (make sure to backstitch).
  • Sew until you are a few inches away from the zipper pull, stop with the needle down.
  • Gently unzip the zipper until it clears your foot (place the point of your seam ripper into the zipper head then use it to help slide the head out of the way). Resume sewing.
  • Sew until you reach the top zipper stops, backstitch.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Make sure the zipper pull is sticking up/out when sewing down second side.

Once the zipper is sewn in, gently remove your basting stitches with your seam ripper.

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Once stitches are removed and threads are cleaned up (a lint roller and tweezers help), test the zipper—it should work perfectly! To reinforce the zipper, you can sew vertical stitches at both ends.

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Time to sew the pillow cover closed. First, unzip the zipper at least half way. Keeping right sides together, pin the remaining three sides. With a regular foot and a standard stitch length, sew around the edges using a ½” seam allowance. To reinforce your corners, backstitch about a ½” away from each edge.

Almost there! Trim the corners so they’ll look nice and sharp when the pillow cover is right side out. You may need to use a blunt pointed object to help push out corners once turned.

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Also, it’s worth the few extra minutes to run a zig-zag stitch around the edges to keep them from fraying, or of course if you have a serger, it’s a great time to use it.

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Trim any remaining threads.  At last, turn pillow cover right side out and insert pillow form. You’re done!

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Note: I am not endorsed by any products I have mentioned or photographed in this post; they are just items I like, use and wanted to share information on.