Greetings to my new followers!! Thanks so much for your interest!
Look for sales and coupons for my followers as a thank-you! I’ll also add a page of sewing tips when I have time, so keeping watching.
Thanks for joining me! I’m sew excited to start sharing my tips and selling inexpensive and usually very easy digital quilting and sewing patterns. I hope to keep up a weekly chat. (No way will I annoy you with a blog every day!) I give simple instructions and shortcuts for quilts, wall hangings, throws, runners, also skirts, decorated sweatshirts, platter pads, aprons, totes, appliques, and small gift items, with occasional free patterns, such as the traditional Apple Core quilt. Stay tuned!
“Well begun is half done”–Aristotle–is quoted often by my husband, and I really hope it’s the case! Wish me luck in 2019, everyone. Follow me if you want to see the updates!
No new patterns this week. I’ve been busy getting my new Sewgocreate Sewing Studio started–the excavation is done, and they’ll be ready to pour the concrete by early next week. YEA!
HOWEVER, don’t forget that there are SEVERAL patterns on sale for another few days, so you might do a little scrolling to check them out. It’s really a busy time for me, but I do have a bunch of new patterns in process–so keep checking my emails….(I’m working on a lavender castle, a Mexican tile, a 3D folded hydrangea block, a leopard skirt, a Christmas door hanging, a gentleman’s lap quilt, and a quilted play house, among others, so I promise some goodies soon!)
I’ve also spent the past three days editing an arts magazine. It’s hot off the digital press right now, so I’ll include the link. I promise it’s a treat for your eyes because it’s full of of photos, including a few heirloom quilts.
So, baseball or football….maybe eyeball? What’s YOUR favorite? At the moment, mine is “Bouncing Ball,” the cutest scrappy toddler quilt I’ve made. I spent today writing up the instructions for two versions–one is simple and straightforward. It can be made with 12 fat quarters if you don’t have a big stash. My sample was more complex with pieced balls (using up little scraps!) that are eased, stuffed, and piped to make them puffy and 3D! Now that’s what I call “playing ball”! On sale through the end of the month for $3.50, this one is a winner–can so easily be made for a girl, boy or an unknown. Wonderful gift!
Click for more info and more pics
I made my first real scrappy patchwork skirt in 1968. It was then that I really learned to appreciate scraps. I had played with Barbies like all girls of my time period, and I loved every piece of material my mother let me have, especially the glitzy ones. But my skirt was cotton, made of nine-patches. I gave it a navy background and then picked a solid color for center of every patch, which I then finished with carefully chosen coordinating fabrics.
That must be the thrill of quilting, getting to mull over the design and match up the colors and prints–these were precious pieces of my shorts and tops and first dresses I’d ever made, a few leftover from baby dolls and Barbie doll dresses. Every color is a revelation; every piece was a precious memory. I love that about charm quilts, but even if not every single piece is different, it’s still a challenge to pick and choose like an artist loads the color on her brush.
I’m working on my inventory these days and organizing my fabrics. It’s comforting and appalling–way too many, yet never enough. I love having the biggest box of crayons! Speaking of which, here’s one of my all-time favorite quilts. I made it, but I didn’t design it–it’s “Montana Cartwheel” by Quiltworx. It won the quilt top challenge at an Alabama National Fair a decade ago and was quilted for me as the prize. This is the design that made me WANT to quilt!
This week I didn’t do a new “pattern” because I was working on a patternless subject, a self-portrait! However, I’ll share it because it was loads of fun. For those who don’t sew–friends, family, children–it could be done with construction paper (scrapbook paper maybe) and glue, even paint, but for the savvy seamstress with lots of fabric stash, scraps and fusible web, well, it’s a cinch to cut and fuse the whole thing. I DID use a needle and thread for the beads, craft eyelashes and the borders, but that’s it. Tips follow. (Notice I decided to do Right Brain-creative, Left Brain-logical, to explore both side of my personality. That’s just an added twist.)
Because there is no new pattern, I’m putting SEVERAL hot pad appliques on sale until my birthday in late August. Can you find them? Click here.
Now for my tips:
Start with a pencil sketch on paper of an oval (circle for MY round face) and general placement of features. Don’t worry; you have an eraser, and this doesn’t have to be realistic. (However, a photo or mirror may help.)
Use the sketch as a “pattern” to cut head and neck out of some “face” fabric. It can be realistic (on right above) or funky (left was actually an ombre, and I placed the darker part as the neck shadows.The eye on the left is dark purple!)
I fused the head to background fabric. On the right (left brain) I did some straight piecing of quiet fabric then the left (right brain), I collaged onto plain fabric.
When working on the eyes and mouth, I found it important to place some hair to get the proportions right. (Try to DE-emphasize the nose, and just use a subtle coloring difference or little shadows underneath. You don’t want to look like Cyrano de Bergerac!)
About fusing–always fuse the paper onto a section of fabric first, cut out shape, then tear off the paper. (This ensures that the glue will get to the edges–NOTE, use a pin to score the paper for an easy release. )
Pin first, a lot, before fusing.
Work on details and background, using fun fabrics, and don’t be afraid to add 3D notions like my curly ribbons and beads–just raid your stash for ideas. (After walking away for a while, I returned to add eye glints and wrinkles [I mean “laugh lines”], plus a few extra shadows.)
Use fusible fleece to back, or quilt with regular backing if you want. I like adding 2 borders, but I just turned this hanging like a pillowcase instead of quilting and binding. (Your portrait, your rules!)
HAVE FUN!!! This would be a great guild challenge, wouldn’t it? I’d make the challenge in Sept and let everyone try to match portrait with quilter in December to see who gets the most correct. What a hoot! Send me pics to post!! I did MINE for an art challenge because I was supposed to do a portrait–oh my! At least the fabric is more forgiving. HA!
If not, you should be! Get this wonderfully customizable “Pick a Pocket”book pattern–pick the pocket you want (zipper, phone, key holder loop), the color, the size, and the style. Quilters will love that it has “jelly roll friendly” 2 1/2″ block graphs, but that’s a choice as well. (I’ve made it of decorating toile.)
I chose this pattern to put on sale until Aug. 18 because I had so much interest in the Rainbow Totebag last week. This purse is made much the same way except that the lining is attached a bit differently. If you can sew, you can make it. In fact, you can make it in a dozen colors, plain or pieced.
Here are some suggestions to consider for creativity:
Rob your button box. The button on front is decorative only. It’s a great way to use an antique or really “arty” button.
Speaking of buttons….you can embroider a circle by handle or by machine and make it into a covered button!
Speaking of embroidery…there’s a space on the quilted version left especially for monograms; however, a beautiful embroidery design would be perfect there as well.
Show off your quilting. If you want to use a fancy quilted block or maybe an “orphan” block–this is a wonderful way to showcase it.
Don’t stop with quilting cottons. While it’s darling made of novelty quilting fabrics, such as Red Hat ladies or crazy cats, truly, this purse could be done with fuzzy leopard, red velveteen, even interesting curtain or other decorator prints (if not too thick).
Crazy quilting, beading, couching, rows of lace, pleating, fabric painting, piping at the top instead of a decorative fringe….I even found a fringe made of wooden beads and shells.
Don’t forget that you can transfer photos to fabric–just a P.S.
The possibilities are endless. If you made something interesting, send me a photo to post!
…this BIG “Rainbow Totebag” is the treasure at the end of the rainbow. We’ve had a lot of rain in Alabama–no local flooding so far, thank goodness–but our usual summer thunderstorms. The other day I saw a beautiful rainbow while driving home and got the urge to design this tote. I was thinking “beach bag” for summer, but truly I found it’s good for many other things as well. I made it deep and roomy with very useful pockets. I always like a zippered pocked for security, a pocket sized for phone or sunglasses, and this time I added one for a bottle holder. They take just a little more time, but the basic bargello-style quilt piecing is really easy, and the quilting is optional. I added metallic thread “rain” on mine and have already gotten compliments.
If I had good photos of rainbows, I’d add them, but I never seem to have my camera at the right time. What I WILL do is give some tips on sewing with metallic thread. It doesn’t have the same “stretch” as normal thread and will tend to break easily and all too often. However, you can tame it:
Lower the tension on your sewing machine down a LOT.
Use a special embroidery or metallic thread needle, which has a bigger eye and gives more “play” to the thread.
Sew SLOWLY, and watch carefully to make sure the thread is flowing well from the spool. If it catches on something, it’ll break!
…and who wants “breaking rain”-just NOT logical. I used little pointed ovals and circles for raindrops. I think it’d be just fine to use a pretty rayon or polyester embroidery thread as well–blue, green, gray, white–whatever you have or want. Make it rain, quilter style!
…and this “Serge’n’Sew Meadow Skirt” is the coolest! My pattern gives instructions on how to use a serger to quickly make shapes to fuse into a meadow pattern. This unusual skirt technique can be made ANY size and nearly any length. It also includes instructions for a rope belt or elastic–so flexible! It’s even self-lined. Skirt and sandals are definitely the way to go in mid-summer, so make yourself a piece of “wearable art” while the pattern is on sale this month for just $3.50: