Piecing Together a Dresden Plate Quilt

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It was about this time last year that I took this picture. It was in the midst of Birmingham’s Snowpocalypse 2014, and with the office closed and roads a mess, I had nothing better to do than start a quilt. Now – more than a year later – I found the motivation to pick up where I left off with the hopes of finishing my first full-size quilt before the end of March.

The pattern is called the Dresden plate. (I also heard it be called the flower or floral plate.) The idea has been floating around in my head ever since I finished my last quilt (as my Pinterest board can attest.) Finally, I bit the bullet (a year ago) and purchased the template blocks and got started.

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Piecing this pattern is a two step process that involves a lot of ironing. Step one: cut out the pieces. I used the template, a rotary cutter and mat to cut out each piece. I then took the top of each piece (where the fabric comes to a point), folded over a 1/4 inch seam allowance and pressed the seams. Step two: sew pieces together in sections. Instead of sewing the ring together piece by piece, it is much easier to work in sections: sewing pieces into pairs – stop and iron – then pairs to quarters – stop and iron – quarters to halves – stop and iron – and finally 2 halves into 1 whole circle.

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With a plate completed, the next step is to applique it to a block of fabric. For my quilt, I cut each block to measure 15 x 15 inches.

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Now some tutorials will show you how to hand-applique the plate in place, but I decided to cheat and use heat n’ bond iron-on adhesive. I cut a piece of adhesive to be smaller than the plate, leaving the outer points untouched. (A downside of using iron-on adhesive is that it will make the fabric stiffer, but I find it so helpful in keeping the fabric in place.)

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After ironing the piece of adhesive to the plate, I peeled off the back side, placed the plate in the center of the block and ironed it in place.

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Next, I cut the center circle. Instead of pressing the seams, I decided to use the heat n’ bond to avoid frayed edges. (This may back fire on my one day, but for now, it makes this step super easy.) I simply ironed the circle in place.

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Finally, I hand stitched the outer edge and center circle to help secure everything in place. (Plus, I think the stitching enhances the overall look.)

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For my quilt, I need 35 of these blocks, and I have made 10 so far. So I have quite the feat in front of me. In the meantime, feel free to visit my Patchwork Pinterest board. (And remind me I cannot start a new quilt until I finish this one!)

Applique Lake Lanier Pillow

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There is a point early on in a sewing project when you just know that the final product is going to be fantastic. This idea – a pillow with a map of the lake my parents live on – had been floating around in my head for months. And finally, back in December (yes, this is another overdue post) I finally put the plan into action. One day at work, I found a map online that I eventually used as my template. It was that early on – before I had even picked up a piece of fabric – that I knew in my heart this pillow was going to turn out awesome!

I think it turned out to be just that.

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I used the map I found online as a compass, pointing me in the direction I should take the project. The map’s size decided the dimensions, and its green outline inspired me to use layers of fabric.

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The pillow’s map has 3 layers of fabric. The first (though it may be hard to see in the pictures) is a layer of light blue tulle. The second layer is a dark denim material someone gave me as scraps. Using heat n’ bond iron-on adhesive, I cut out a rough outline of the map without the worry of fraying edges.

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Finally, the third piece is the most detailed. Again using heat ‘n bond iron-on adhesive, I pined the map to the fabric and cut out the map along the green border. (I thought if I cut any closer, some of those tiny coves would be crazy difficult to cut out.) This piece took awhile to cut because I went nice and slow. I didn’t want to make any mistakes.

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With the three layers made, I ironed the denim piece with the tulle underneath to the pillow. I then did the same with the light blue piece. With everything loosely attached, I used the embroidery foot on my sewing machine to sew everything down.

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With the map in place, I added a few details, embroidering the lake’s name and a small compass. I then attached the back piece, placing right sides together and sewing along the edge with a 3/4-inch seam allowance. Leaving a small hole, I stuffed the pillow with poly-fil, and hand sewed the hole closed.

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It’s been awhile since I used my embroidery foot with my sewing machine, and for me, it’s take a few minutes before I feel like I have the hang on it. But even in it’s imperfect moments, I love the free-form look of this sewing foot creates. For me, it just enhances the homemade quality.

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After attaching the lake map, I felt like the pillow still needed something extra. I knew I wanted to embroider the lake’s name, but the idea of the compass came to me at the last minute. It was the perfect finishing touch.

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Overall, this pillow is of great quality. I used canvas for the front of the pillow and a thick, blue cotton fabric for the back. Both pieces were in my collect of scrap fabric, so I don’t know about cost. But I do know the fabric choice helps make the pillow feels so sturdy.

DSC_0669The pillow now lives in my parents’ kitchen in a cute sitting area they created (instead of having a kitchen table). On a good winter day, you could stand up from this spot and see the lake through the windows. I couldn’t think of a better home.

 

Anthropologie-Inspired Felt Christmas Stocking

IMG_4921I know, I know. I’m writing about my Christmas stocking in the final days of January, but to my defense, this month has flown by. I’m ready to flip my calendar to February with hopeful thoughts that next month won’t be as crazy.

But back to Christmas: this year I decided I wanted to buy a nice Christmas stocking, one that I would treasure year after year. When I stumbled across this stocking at Anthropologie, I was instantly smitten, but the price tag made me think twice. The thought is almost reflexive at this point: I could totally make this!

IMG_4907I’ll keep the picture of the Anthopologie stocking small because when placed side-by-side, my stocking looks pretty “crafty” in comparison. The difference is in the quality. I’m sure Anthopologie used expensive wool. I used acrylic felt from Hobby Lobby. They used these adorable mini pom poms with a trendy color pallet. I was stuck with the primary colored trim selection at JoAnn Fabrics.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how my stocking turned out, especially when you compare the price. I spent about $8. The item is now out of stock, but I remember Anthropologie selling it for almost $50.

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In my excitement of the project (plus, I made it really late at night and the lighting would have been a mess), I didn’t take many step-by-step pictures. But the process doesn’t venture far from a normal Christmas stocking tutorial. After cutting out the main piece of the stocking, I simply attached rows of trim. And instead of using my sewing machine, I used a blanket stitch to hand sew the stocking together. I used light blue thread to provide a little contrast.

My final touch was the accent of purple and magenta yarn pom poms. I hunted for the white yarn in the similar style, but after going to a few stores, I felt lucky to have stumbled across the purple yarn. So I made it work!

I’m sure when Christmas comes around this year, I’ll go through the same thought process of wanting a buy nice stocking. But for now, I’m excited that this Christmas stocking is mine.

Pack Yourself a [Felt] Lunch

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Just when I thought the felt pancakes and fried eggs were the cutest things I had made in awhile, I decided to make a felt lunch, complete with a sandwich with all the toppings, a bag of chips and a bright red apple.

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Thanks to Pinterest, I found the idea to make a bag of felt chips. After cutting out two ovals of yellow felt, I used my sewing machine to create ridges. I sewed rows of straight lines and then an additional line that outlined the whole thing. I also found an idea for tortilla chips, using off-white felt cut into triangles.

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The felt chip bag took less than 10 minutes to make. After cutting out two rectangles, I used my pinking scissors to create the zigzagged edge. Then taking one of the rectangles, I sewed the strip of light blue felt to the right side of the fabric. Next, I hand stitched the the yellow sun (again, cut out with my pinking scissors).  Finally, I put the right sides of the two rectangle pieces together and sewed along the edge (you don’t need a large seam allowance with felt). Flipped it right side out and voila!

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The felt apple was a little trickier. I found this tutorial online that I used as my guide. Basically, you need 6 pieces of red. (I just eye-balled the shape based on the tutorials’s template.) Putting rights sides together, I blanket-stitched the sections together. As you can see, this made it so you could see the red stitches. You can hide the stitches by using a sewing machine, but I think I prefer the exposed look.

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The felt sandwich is made up of several layers, each adding a pop of color.

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Starting with felt lettuce, I cut out a leaf-type shape out of green felt. Then, using my sewing machine, I stitch short lines to create veins.

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For the felt tomato, I used three pieces of felt: two round pieces of bright red felt with sections cut out and and one round piece of the dark red felt, sandwiched between the other two. I used white thread to stitch seeds, and then I hand stitched everything together. The felt onions were made with a piece of purple felt and a piece of white felt.

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I spent an hour or so trying to come up with the right meat. Using pink felt seemed strange, but then an epiphany hit. If I blanket stitch the edge with red thread, I can create felt bologna. (And yes, I did just sing the Oscar Myer’s song to help me remember how to spell bologna.) The felt cheese was much easier. I simply cut out a few holes to make it look more distinct.

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After making a version of the bread by blanket stitching two pieces of felt together, I decided that felt bread needed some dimension. It needed to seem more prominent than everything else. So I added some volume by creating a border of light brown felt and stuffing it with polyfill.

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I simply adore how colorful the sandwich turned out to be. Plus, when combined with the breakfast items already made, you have even more possibilities for the type of sandwich your child could create. BLT, anyone?

Scrap Fabric Pillow

Inspiration can strike anywhere. I first saw this pillow in an Instagram photo. The pillow was in the background and very out of focus, but I was able to get the idea. It was a simple pillow with what looked like strips of different fabrics. And with my overflowing baskets of scrap fabric, I knew I could easily pull it off.

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I used canvas as the base fabric, cutting two 12×19-inch rectangles. And then, after selecting the fabrics I wanted to use, I cut 1×12-inch strips of those fabrics.

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I liked the idea of the pillow having an “imperfect” quality. (I mean, Anthropologie pulls it off all the time.) So I didn’t worry about unfinished edges with the strips of fabric. I simply stitched the stripes in place with my sewing machine.

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With the strips in place, I sewed the two rectangle pieces together with right sides together and a 1/2-inch seam allowance, leaving a couple inches open to stuff the pillow. Once the stuffing was in, I whipped stitched the pillow closed.

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So quick and easy! But of course, if you don’t have time to make it now, you can simply buy the finish project at my Etsy shop!

A Chevron Quilt

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Several months ago, I pinned a chevon quilt on Pinterest with the intent of making it. But as the months past, the idea never came to fruition. That is, until I started to think about what I wanted to make for a friend whose baby is due at the beginning of October. I knew it was a design she would adore, and I am excited to say, it’s a design that is super easy to make.

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The entire quilt is made of these squares. For my quilt that was 36 inches x 40 inches, I used 90 of them.

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The process of making these squares is a trick that  all beginning quilters should learn. Once made, these squares can be arranged in several different patterns, including a pinwheel. The first step is cutting out 7×7-inch squares of both the white and grey fabric.

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Next, I  layer a square of the grey fabric on top of one of the white and sew a border, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

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I then cut the square in half, diagonally. I repeat this step with the two triangles I just created.

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To finish, I unfolded the triangles and ironed the seams. I also cut off the extra fabric at the corners. As you can see, one 7-inch square quickly creates 4 smaller squares. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find you have 90 squares before you know it.

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Once you have made all of the squares, you simple have to sew them together. My quilt was 10 rows of 9 squares each. You arrange the squares so the same colors are always touching.

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Since we’re dealing with squares, it means we’re exclusively dealing with straight lines. So once you create the rows of 9 squares, all you have to do is sew the rows together.

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To accompany the chevon design on the front of the quilt, I used a yard of an adorable elephant pattern for the back that matches perfectly (if I do say so myself).

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Once I basted both sides of the fabric to the polyester batting I purchased, I simply quilted along the chevron pattern.

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For the binding, I chose a green fabric that matches one of the elephants on the back. I cut the fabric into 2.5 inch stripes, sewing them together to have enough to fit the diameter of the quilt. I next ironed down a half inch of one side of the fabric.

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I sewed the binding to the quilt, using a 0.5 inch seam, using my short cut you can read about here for the corners.

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Now that I have made a handful of quilts, I wanted to create a tag that would start to mark them as mine. But for this quilt, I didn’t want to use my initials since I am making the quilt for a friend, so I decided to use the year – the year her baby would be born.

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I couldn’t be more happy with the final result. Of course, the quilt contains a few mistakes (if you look closely, you’ll notice I accidentally purchased two different colors of grey fabric). But with such an easy first-time experience,  I know I will make another chevron quilt in the near future. And coincidentally, when I gave the quilt to my friend, I found out the chevron and the elephants match her nursery perfect. I guess you could just say I am very on top of the current trends!

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A World View

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Another quilt, another day. My mother purchased this fabric for me months ago, asking me to make a quilt for her. At the time, we just had heard the news of our my coming nephew, and I was all into quilt making! Little did I know it would take me forever to finish it (mainly because my crafting leave-of-absence over the summer.)

I started with the fabric. The map piece was a yard, so I purchased a coordinating yard of fabric for the back. Basting it together with a layer of batting, I purchased a ton of black embroidery floss for the next step: quilting.

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I traced each contient. Europe would have killed me if I traced each country. And I will tell you this, the process takes a long time (as hand-sewing does), but I think it is totally worth it.

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I did not hide the knots on the back, My initial thought was the quilt would be cute hung on the wall, so hiding the knots wouldn’t matter. By now I wish I took the extra time and did it anyways.

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Once I finished quilting, I cut down the border to prepare for the binding. I only wanted an 1/2 inch edge.

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For the binding, I cut 2-inch wide strips. See how I finish quilts here.

For a patriotic picnic

With the 4th of July only days away, I wanted to make something “festive,” but I knew I didn’t have enough time to make something big/time consuming. So the idea of napkins seemed simple and easy to make – and trust me, it was! The idea of making the pinwheel design had been floating around my head ever since I made an quilt, and I managed to find this video that made it so easy to make!

  

I started by cutting out 13.5 inch squares from both fabrics. Then I arranged both squares with the right sides facing in and sewed a continuous seam (with a 1/4 inch seam allowance) along all 4 sides.

  

Next, I cut 2 diagonal lines. This created 4 squares with perfect half triangles. I then arranged it into the pinwheel design.

  

Next I sewed together the squares 2 at a time. Then the final 2 rectangles (making sure the center seams were aligned).

      With the top side done, I cut out a back piece from a navy blue fabric. Like before, I created a seam around all the edges, leaving about an inch so I could flip the fabric right side out.

As the final touch, I sewed a seam along the edgse of the finished napkin, securing everything in place.

And with that, it’s done. I made 6 napkins in about 2 hours – again, SO EASY!

 

 

DIY: Throw pillow with Piping

Last week I ran into JoAnn Fabrics to buy something and found myself spending an hour in the store after I stumbled across this fabric. I finally decided that I wanted to make some pillows, so I purchased two 18×18 inch pillow form, a half yard of the floral fabric and a basic blue fabric to match, and cord to make the piping edge.

Before cutting the fabric, I made a game plan. For the 18X18 pillow, I planned to cut a 19×19 inch square (in the floral fabric) and then two 19×12 inch rectangles for the back (in the blue fabric). And then for the piping, I calculated I would need it to be 72″ long.

Making the piping edge was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. I purchased the cheapest craft cord I could find. And for the fabric, I cut a long 2″ wide rectangle. I knew it had to be 72″ long, so with the scraps I had leftover I made two 36″ long rectangles.

I then folded the fabric over the chord, and using my zipper foot, I sewed the chord in place. Back to the fabric of the pillow, I took the the 19×19″ square and used a cup to round off the edges.

I did the same with the blue rectangles, but only on one of the long sides. The other long side I hemmed in place (about 1/2 inch).

Then it is time to assemble it all together. I ending up making two pillows. On the first pillow, I assembled each layer, pinned it down and sewed it all together. The second time, I sewed in parts, and it produced a much better pillow. So with the right (floral) side up, I pinned the piping in place (clean edge facing inwards). And I used the zipped foot again to sew in place.

Then I pinned down the two rectangle pieces, alining them with the rounded corners.

Sew it all together, flip it inside out and insert the pillow form – and you have yourself a pretty adorable throw pillow.

DIY: Tablecloth with Ruffle Edge

Have you ever fallen in love with a fabric?

I fell in love with this fabric one day walking through Hobby Lobby, and I literally spent 2 weeks thinking of something I could make out of it. It didn’t come across as a fabric for a skirt or a dress, so I thought beyond clothes. And the idea of a tablecloth finally became clear. So with some measurement and brainstorming, I headed to Hobby Lobby to buy my 3 1/2 yards of the wonderful fabric.

I assembled everything together in the common room of my dorm room. It was definitely a small space (all my cutting took place on the floor), but luckily I had everything I needed, even a dorm room sized ironing board.

Step 1 was measuring. I wanted to send this to my parents, so I had my dad measure the diameter of our patio table (42 inches) back home. And with 44 inch-wide fabric, I decided to cut the circle with that diameter (since I couldn’t get any bigger).

I used a technique to cut the circle from this website that I found when I was doing some pre-sewing research (see her first sketch). But basically, the technique is taking your fabric pencil and attaching it to a string that measures your radius – like a compass circle. After marking, I simply made the cut.

With the top done, step 1 is complete, and it’s time to more on to the ruffled skirt.

And we start step 2 like step 1 with lots of measuring. I measured two long panels 10 inches high and 3 1/2 yards long. After cutting them out, I sewed the two panels together, making a one 5 yard long panel and began pinning the rik rac on the fabric. I placed the rik rac 2 1/2 inches above the unhemmed edge.

In Step 3, we sew on the rik rac. After pinning it down, I simply ran a straight stitch right down the middle of the ribbon. Then I took the time to go back and sew in the zig-zagged pattern, making sure the edges were securely sewed down.

Then I changed the settings of my sewing machine to allow for a looser and longer stitch. With this, I sewed along the upper part of the fabric, not sewing backwards to secure the ends. Then, taking only one string on the end, I gently pulled on the string to gather the fabric. Continually spreading out the fabric and pulling the string to gather the fabric, a nice ruffled effect is created.

And then with right sides together (ignore the left picture above, it is wrong) pin the ruffled skirt to the circled top. With everything in place, sit yourself down at a sewing machine and sew – using the standard 5/8 seam allowance.

The final step is to sew a hem for the skirt (the easiest part) and iron out all the wrinkles. And ta da! You have yourself a beautiful, spring tablecloth.

Note: I did make this for a 42″ round table and the one picture above is on a 35″ one, but I kind of liked how it looks here. (I’m thinking I might have to make another one!)