Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Floribella fabric + Pattern Jam

A few weeks ago, Emily Taylor sent me some fat quarters from her newest collection, Floribella for Riley Blake. So pretty and perfect for spring. 
I recently took down my red Valentine's decorations including my red table runner and was in need of a new spring table runner for my kitchen table and these fabrics were perfect.
I used the trusty quilt-as-you-go table runner method to make this new one. And it came together so quickly. You can find the original Quilt-as-you-go Table Runner tutorial here.
There are a couple of things you can do when quilting this table runner, and I thought I'd show the difference in the looks you can create. The bottom half of this picture shows the strips sewn on without any additional quilting. The table runner is technically quilted because you sew the strips down to the batting and backing when you piece. But if you like, you can add more quilting afterward, if you like a denser quilted look (see top half of the photo.)
I like to use a neutral colored thread so that it blends with all of the fabric. I used an Aurifil 50 wt thread - mainly because that is what I keep threaded in my machine all the time, but a 40 wt thread would work well too. (I typically keep 50 wt in my machine because I think it's perfect for piecing, but a heavier weight - 40, etc. works really nicely for quilting.) I also used the same thread for hand-sewing my binding.
I'm in love with this micro-stripe print and loved using it for the binding. 
 Here are a few more pretty pictures from the designer, Emily Taylor, using Floribella
These dresses are made with this pattern by Emily. The pattern will be coming soon to Emily's site, Pattern Jam.
Pattern Jam is such a cool concept. You can chose any of their patterns and audition fabric from current fabric collections by putting the digital image of that fabric directly into a temple of the quilt or garment design. That way you can get a visual for what those fabrics will look like in that design, as well as instruction on how much fabric to buy.
This pattern is called MacKenzie clan. You can find it on the Pattern Jam website

Today, Emily is giving away a free copy of another quilt pattern, Campbell Plaid, to you readers. You can click here to see the pattern and play with the feature of choosing and testing fabrics and then download it for yourself! Here's a version that I cam up with. It was so fun!

Thanks so much Emily! Floribella is shipping to your favorite local or online quilt store any day now. I'll update the post with links to online retailers as soon as it's in stock!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Awesome giveaway and discount from Lady Belle Fabrics

Lady Belle Fabric
Today I'd like to introduce you to a new online fabric shop called Lady Belle fabric. Lady Belle is owned and run by husband and wife team Rob and Brooke Becker in Tennessee. The store is named after their beautiful malamute dog that passed away last summer. You can read more about their story here
Lady Belle stocks a beautifully curated collection of the latest bright, colorful, modern fabrics and specializes in pre-cuts and bundles as well as some coordinating yardage. Some current collections in stock are (clockwise) Fresh CutDaysail, Flora, and Color Theory. They also carry a great selection of basic notions.
Two other recent additions include Zebra by Michael Miller
and this Doe/Architextures bundle from Carolyn Friedlander. Be sure to also check out the Sale section that includes great prices on selected yardage as well as bundles from Heather Ross, Joel Dewberry, and Heather Bailey. 
And today Lady Belle fabric has a super fun and colorful giveaway for one of you!! It includes Aurifil Thread, Wonder Clips, a Fresh Cut charm pack and a Daysail Jelly Roll. To enter, just take a quick trip to Lady Belle Fabrics and come back here to leave a comment telling me something that you like. For a second entry follow Lady Belle Fabric on instagram (a great way to keep up on the latest news there) and leave a separate comment.  Giveaway open until midnight, Wednesday March 4.

And something for everyone: Lady Belle has a 10% off all bundles coupon for you. Use code DOAQ at checkout. Discount good through Wednesday, March 4. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Amy Smart Quilt Patterns

I'm so excited today to finally be releasing some long promised patterns. All three of them are found in my Pattern Shop. Let me introduce you.
The first is called Craftsman because I was inspired by windows in Craftsman style houses when I originally designed it. This quilt was created specifically to show off large-scale prints and collections. You can see the original post about this quilt here. It was in a magazine a few years ago and I am finally releasing it for sale in my own shop.
I also made and shared a crib-size version of this quilt last year. Both throw and crib sizes are included in the pattern.

Crossroads is a modern quilt perfect for using up pre-cut 2 1/2'' strips. I loved playing with the colors and creating an ombre effect with the fabric choices. This pattern comes in the original crib size as well as throw size and twin size instructions.

You can read my original post about the Crossroads quilt here.

Finally, a new pattern for an old favorite. This pattern was the first quilt pattern I wrote and sold on my site. Last summer I was invited to share it in the August issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting. (It was even the cover girl! You can read more about that here.)
This is actually the third version of this quilt. You can see the original Chain Link quilt here and the second version in grays and pinks here. It's such a fun quilt for showing off a variety of prints and perfect for 5" charm squares.
I am now at liberty to sell the pattern in my own shop again. I've made some modifications from the original pattern that make assembling this quilt even faster thanks to some new strip-piecing instructions.

As with all of my patterns, these are only available as instant downloadable PDF's. Thanks to all who have expressed interest in these patterns - not only for their interest in the first place, but also for their patience in waiting for them to finally get done. Woo! and Whew!

And just because I thought it might be fun, I'm offering 25% off your entire order with the code PATTERNPARTY at check out if you buy 2 or more patterns from my Pattern Shop. Offer good through March 1 at midnight MST.

Annoying disclaimers: If you are from the EU, please purchase the patterns from my ETSY shop as they are equipped to take care of the VAT issues. The same pattern discount applies! Thank you!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Think Big - Patchwork Pillow ideas

This week, Amy Ellis is hosting her second annual Pillow Collective series with lots of ideas for fun, patchwork pillows. (You can see my pillow ideas and tutorials from last year here.) Pillows are such a great way to make a quick project/satisfying finish playing with a new design or color scheme without having to invest a lot of time and resources.
I've had my eye on Maureen Cracknell's new fabric collection, Wild and Free, ever since I first saw it. I got a FQ bundle a few weeks ago from Lady Belle fabrics and have been waiting for just the right thing to do with it. (Wild and Free also found at Southern Fabrics and Pile O'Fabric)
For this year's Pillow Collective, Amy challenged us to use one of the blocks in her new book Think Big as the inspiration for a pillow. All of the blocks in Think Big are 18" x 18" - perfect size to make a throw-pillow. I pulled out my Wild and Free fat quarters and they worked perfectly for this block called Connections.

Here's how it looks after it's all quilted and looking pretty on my couch. I love how it turned out! The block and the fabrics cooperated so nicely together.
For the backing I used the big gingham print and a simple envelope opening. I used a 20'' x 20'' Ikea pillow form (even though it's only an 18'' x 18'' block) because it fills the pillow out nicely.
For more pillow and Think Big inspiration, check out Amy Ellis' blog this week for the schedule of other Think Big pillow creators. I'm excited to see what others do.
Amy also has 30% off copies of Think Big in her online shop. Just use the code ILOVEPILLOWS at checkout. Discount good through March 1st.

Amy is also giving away fun fabric bundles and even a big quilt made from her Moda Modern Neutrals fabric collection. To enter to win, all you need to do is Pin (via Pinterest) images from the Pillow Collective tour this week (including this blog post) using the hashtag #ThinkBigBook and #PillowCollective. You can visit Amy's blog for more details. Enjoy!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Down time and back to work

Remember how I was so productive on working on my WIPs a couple of weeks back? Well that all came to a grinding halt about a week and a half ago. Real life kicked it up a notch and was top priority. In the past 10+ days the only thing I've sewn is this one quilt block. 

But all of this is normal and just part of the ebb and flow of my quilting life. I try not to get cocky when I'm having really productive sewing periods and I've learned not to worry when sewing time head's to the back burner/nice-to-do list for a little while. Things always calm down again and sewing re-emerges.
Another reason for no-sewing is I've also spent the last three days hanging out with these chuckleheads.
My husband had a business trip to Orlando at one of the Disney resorts so we tagged along. I know, rough life, right? (Here they are anxiously awaiting a giant turkey leg.)
While my husband was working, I got these two all to myself for a some of the days. It was good to get off the computer and not look at my phone (other than to magically check wait times for rides on the Disney app. So cool!) It was all kind of fast and furious - we weren't really 'relaxing' much but it was great to just hang out together.

Above are a few pictures from one of my favorite stops at Epcot. A) because there's some great quilt inspiration there and B) the FOOD. I am obsessed (in a healthy way of course) with Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food. My mouth is watering looking at that food again.
And now, it's good to be home and catching-up. This weekend I am going to sew as I need to get a few projects done. And I'm going to finally start cutting into this bundle of Alison Glass New Sunprints. Because who can resist that bundle of fun?

(Alison Glass Sunprints available from Westwood Acres, and FabricWorm. Shoes are Red Keen Sandals and SO comfortable.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Giveaway from Bobbie Lou's Fabric Factory

Bobbie Lou's Fabric Factory is one of my favorite online fabric shops because of it's unique and beautiful selection of colorful, modern and contemporary fabrics. This shop is owned by Chelsea who named it after her grandmother who loved to sew, Bobbie Lou.
Bobbie Lou's is well organized and easy to navigate. You can order fabric in increments of 1/4 yards, including fat quarters. Fabric can be searched by Manufacturer, Design, Color and Style. The "Style" category is super cool with a lot of categories like Feather, Floral, Dia De Los Muertos, as well as motifs like PolkaDots, Cross/Plus, or Faux Bois (or woodgrain).

Chelsea has a great eye for color and style. It's a beautifully curated collection of fabrics. Even the Sale fabrics are beautiful! Bobbie Lou's offers free shipping on any order over $50 in the US and discounted shipping internationally.  You can keep up with the latest arrivals or sale announcements by following @BobbieLouFabrics on Instagram.
Some recent arrivals include the latest Cotton+Steel collections including Playful by Melody Miller, Mochi by Rashida Coleman, and Mesa by Alexia Abegg.
Also brand new this past weekend is the adorable Hello Bear collection by Bonnie Christine.

Today, Chelsea is giving away a $30 gift certificate to one of you! To enter take a quick trip toBobbie Lou Fabric Factory and leave a comment here sharing something that you love. Giveaway open until Saturday, February 20 at midnight, MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

Winner: Kathy E.February 17, 2015 at 8:20 PM
I'm always looking for little boy fabrics that are unique. I really like Tiny Trucks in Red. Don't all little fellas love trucks? :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Draw-string Shoulder Bag Tutorial

Last fall I had a really fun time making this bag as part of a challenge using Dritz sewing supplies. All along I've planned to share a tutorial to make this bag and here it is. (finally.)

Last Spring I got these mini charms of Carolyn Friedlander prints at quilt market. While I was there I saw Lee Chappell's amazing bag she made with a similar palette and was inspired to make something like it. (While we used similar colors, our styles and construction techniques are very different.  Lee's bag is amazing. You can find the pattern here.)

Here are the fabric requirements for this drawstring bag version. 
  • 32 squares 2 1/2'' x 2 1/2'' (this is a great pattern for using up mini charm collections.)
  • 1/2 yard of heavier-weight fabric for bag exterior
    • cut one strip 2 3/4'' x 33''
    • cut one strip 15 1/4'' x width of fabric and sub cut into two pieces 6'' x 15  1/4'' and two pieces 8'' x 15 1/4''
  • 1/2 yard fabric lining
    • cut into two pieces 16" x 15 1/4''
    • cut 1 1/2'' x 10'' piece (optional for swivel hook attachment)
  • 1/6 yard contrast fabric for shoulder strap and draw-string
    • cut one strip 2 3/4'' x 33''
    • cut one strip 2 1/2'' x 42''
  • Fat Quarter for pocket
    • cut pocket 14 1/2'' x 11 1/2'' (or two if desired)
  • Two 18" x 16" pieces of batting
  • 8 Dritz grommets + grommet tools
  • 1 Dritz swivel hook (optional)
*I used 1/4'' seams throughout.
Sew the 2 1/2'' x 2 1/2'' charms into four rows of 8 squares.
Carefully cut each of the four strips in half lengthwise to become 1 1/4'' wide strips. Trim 
1 1/4'' piece off the end of each strip to make them 1 1/4'' x 15 1/4''. (I trimmed a different end off the two strips, just to be exciting.)
Sew four strips together, staggering the seams by alternating which side starts or ends with the 1 1/4'' piece. Press seams all one direction. This will create two patchwork panels for the sides of the bag.
Sew each patchwork panel between a 6" x 15 1/4'' exterior fabric and an 8'' x 15 1/4'' piece to create the outside of the bag. Press seams toward the patchwork. (I used a heavier-weight, linen looking woven fabric for my bag exterior.) 
Center the exterior sides of the bag on top of a piece of batting and spray baste in place. Quilt the exterior pieces horizontally across the bag. My lines are about a 1/2'' apart, but you could do whatever width you like. I used my walking foot for this.
The quilting is optional, but here's a contrast showing off the great texture that the quilting creates. Also, I suggest using a thread color that contrasts with your bag exterior color.  I originally started by using the same color as the linen, but it didn't show up or look nearly as interesting.
Place the exterior sides of the bag right-sides-together and sew sides and bottom together, leaving top open.
To make the bottom gusset (or square bottom) of your bag: after sewing exterior pieces together, cut a 2 1/2'' x 2 1/2'' square notch out of the bottom of both corners. Pinch open corner edges together, matching up the bottom and side seams and sew them together. Repeat with other side. Press seams open.

Creating an interior pocket. Cut a 14 1/2'' x 11 1/2'' rectangle. (Two if you'd like a pocket on each side.)
Fold in half, right sides together to create a 7 1/4'' x 11 1/2'' rectangle. Sew three sides together, leaving a small opening for turning right-sides out. Clip corners.
Turn pocket right sides out, tuck in the seam allowance at the opening, and press well. Top stitch along one of the long sides of your pocket piece. 
Center pocket piece 5" from the top of one of the 16'' x 15 1/4'' panel pieces with the topstitched long edge at the top. Pin and sew pocket in place starting at the top of one side (backstitch a few times to secure it), around the bottom, and up the other side. Backstitch a few times at the top to keep in secure.
Put two 16'' x 15 1/4'' pieces right sides together (make sure the height is 16" and the width is 15 1/4''. Starting at the top of one side, sew down one side, across the bottom, and back up the other side. Cut a 2 1/2'' x 2 1/2'' notch out of the two bottom corners. Press seams open.
Match up bottom and side seams and sew the opening closed to create the bottom gussets. Turn top edge down 1/2'' and press it down.
Turn exterior bag piece right-sides-out. Turn top edge down 1/2'' and press in place. Carefully put bag lining inside the exterior piece, match up side seams and clip or pin top edges together. 
This is the first time I've ever added a fancy attachment to a bag like the Dritz Swivel Hook. (I don't think I would have done it, had it not been for the Dritz challenge. I had just never thought to do so!) They're available almost anywhere you can by notions. It was SO easy - now I'll do this for every bag so I'm not always digging around the bottom of my bag for my keys.

Attaching the swivel hook: take 1 1/2'' x 10'' strip. Fold in half lenthwise and press. Open up and fold sides in to the press crease, press again. Now fold back together so that the strip is folded into equal fourths. Sew strap piece together with seams on both sides and down the center for added strength. Thread strap piece through the round end of the swivel hook and match strip ends together.
Pin swivel-hook strap ends about 3/4'' inside the exterior and interior bag pieces. (I choose to put mine close to one of the side seams.) Now sew top edges of the bag together. I sewed about 1/4'' away from the top and then topstiched again around the top edge.
Decorative drawstring: take 2 1/2'' x 42'' strip of fabric. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Fold sides in toward the center crease and press again. Fold together so the strip is in fourths. Sew two side seams to hold all layers together. Carefully fold up ends and sew them down to finish them.
Now time for the grommets. Can I just say here that grommets have always intimidated me? Thanks again to the Dritz challenge for finally getting me to take the plunge, because they were SO much easier than I imagined!

I used the 3/8'' Dritz Grommets that come in a package of 8. To atatch them you'll also need the simple Grommet Tools and a hammer. (Again, all of these notions are available widely where ever notions are found.) First mark on your bag where you'd like the grommets to end up. I marked mine starting 1 1/2'' inches from the top of the bag and 2'' from the side seams, then spread 3 1/2'' apart so that the fourth grommet is again roughly 2'' away from the seam. You'll need to make a hole through both layers of fabric. I used a sharp dowel to start the hole and then carefully widened it using the grommet openings. Check out the Dritz website for a tutorial using the grommets and grommets tools.
I used a sharp dowel to start the hole and then carefully widened it using the grommet openings. Check out the Dritz website for a tutorial using the grommets and grommets tools.
Shoulder strap. Match the two right sides together of the 2 3/4'' x 32'' exterior strap and the 2 3/4'' x 32'' lining piece and sew then together with two side seams. (Optional - I quilted my exterior piece with a piece of batting, similar to the bag exterior and to give the strap some extra thickness. Do this before you sew the exterior piece to the lining piece.)

Turn strap right-sides out and press. Turn ends 1/4'' inside both ends. Topstich about 1/4'' away from  the side seams - to look nice and to keep the strap pieces from shifting.
Crease each strap end in half vertically to find the center. Center the strap by placing the crease on the side seam and about 2'' down.
Sew strap securely in place.
Thread drawstring through the grommets and you're ready to go! (Doesn't that sunshine look nice this time of year?)

If you decide to make one yourself, I'd love to see your version! Share it on the Flickr group or tag it with #DOQpouchbag on twitter or Instagram!