Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pattern Jam - Free pattern/fabric audition software

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I love when I find something new on the internet that is a helpful tool. Think of all those times when you wish you could audition your fabrics with a pattern before you start cutting. Or you have just the right pattern in mind, but aren't sure what colors or fabrics you want to use. Pattern Jam is for you! I first heard about Pattern Jam this spring and I'm so glad to have Emily Taylor here to share it with you. (Not only is Emily the creator of Pattern Jam, she's also a talented fabric designer with Riley Blake Designs.)

Choose a pattern.… Customize it with fabric on PatternJam….Make it!

Thank  you, Amy, for giving me the opportunity to introduce to your readers! On PatternJam, creative folks like yourself can shop for beautiful fabric. Not only can you shop for fabric, but you can audition it too! image02
PatternJam lets you to see and play with the fabric in a project! You can create your own quilt using our block templates~mixing and matching fabric to your hearts content!
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PatternJam also allows you to select beautiful designer patterns (quilts, children’s clothing, bags, aprons, softies, and more) in which to audition fabric choices. The patterns are for sale and are available for immediate download upon purchase. Also, once you’ve purchased a pattern on, the pattern remains available to download in your project library indefinitely!
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All of this functionality is FREE to use! The carefully curated collection of fabric from major designers and manufacturers ensures that you will find the perfect assortment of fabric for your next project. What will you create?
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To encourage you to give a try, I’m offering an exclusive GIVEAWAY
to readers of Diary of a Quilter! Here’s how to participate:
1. Visit, play around a bit & sign up for my newsletter (be sure to mention that you learned about from Diary of a Quilter)

2. Connect with PatternJam’s social channels:
3. Select 5 fabrics that you’d like to add to your stash, and leave a comment for Amy letting her know your choices.

4. Amy will select a winner in a random drawing for one yard of each of your favorites!

Happy Sewing!
Emily Taylor

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Fabric Sale

Just a little FYI about Craftsy's Summer Supplies Clearance Sale going on right now. There are some pretty sweet deals on all their fabric, pre-cuts, bundles and workshop kits.
Which means if you've wanted to get in on the fabric kit for the Kona Cross quilt they are on sale for a really sweet deal. And the pattern and workshop materials are included.

Just saying. ;)

Happy end of July!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A brief recap of Fat Quarterly Retreat and Liberty of London

This is entitled a "Brief" recap. I haven't had time to process the pictures I took with my real camera of the weekend in London at the Fat Quarterly retreat yet, so I will share more after I've had time to go through them. But here are a few quick phone images of a lovely weekend. The best part for me of sewing retreats is always the people. Quilters are just great folk. It's so fun to make connections in person with people you've only ever interacted with online before as well as meet new friends and fellow-fabric-lovers.
I was also SO thrilled because I got to take a class from Jen Kingwell. (I literally screamed out loud when I first saw the teaching schedule and saw that she was on it.) She has been a quilting hero of mine for a long time. This is everyone ogling and taking final pictures one more time of her Green Beans and Sweet Tea quilt. So amazing. This is on my quilting bucket list. I started one block while I was there. I have a ways to go! lol!
And I'm happy to say that Jen is as wonderful and lovely in real life as any of her quilts. She is such a genuine and generous person. It was a treat to get to interact and spend time with her.
I also got a little time to get out and explore a few favorite places in the city. Like Liberty of London
So much eye candy to behold - even before you walk in the door!
As sew-y folks we often discuss the fabric they're famous for - but their world-famous prints are on lots of other products as well. It was pretty amazing. (And pretty posh, as you can imagine.) I'll do a full post on Liberty once I get to go through my real pictures.
And yes, I may have brought home just a little bit of fabric as a souvenir. There was another fabric shop called Shaukat near the retreat that had smaller remnants and cut pieces smaller than a meter, which was a little more quilter-friendly.

If you are looking to start collecting some of your own Liberty stash, Amanda at Westwood Acres is opening up limited spaces in their monthly Liberty club. I have LOVED getting my little bundle of pretty-ness each month in the mail from Westwood Acres. I'm sure spaces won't last long so if you're interested, check it out soon! 

In the mean time, carry on and all that.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Greetings from the road

Briefly checking in. We're here and on the move, a little bit tired, but still pinching ourselves that this is actually happening!
Apart from one very soggy day in the Lake District the weather has been amazing! Each day is a different adventure - I'll sum up some of the highlights when I get home and can go through the pictures on my camera. But here are a few quick snaps from my phone. One day we drove up into Yorkshire and realized by sheer coincidence that we were driving along the route used by the opening legs of the Tour de France (yes, the TdFrance opened in England this year). Miles of roads through the countryside and towns were lined with pennants and bunting. So cool. Or maybe they just did it for us because they knew we were coming...
A few more quick highlights - this pub is right down the road from us. I think this might be a pub just for sewists...
Anyone fancy a fleece Union Jack 'onesie'? If only I had more luggage space...
Here's a little bit of stitching on the north coast of Wales, getting ready for my classes at the Fat Quarterly Retreat. (eeek.) Today I am heading to London on the train and feeling all kinds of excited, nervous, anxious... wish me luck. Our Wifi/computer access has been minimal (#sorrynotsorry) but I'll try to share some more via Instagram in the coming days and more in depth when we get home.

Life is good and we are feeling so excited/tired/blessed/homesick/lucky/wanting-to-stay-forever every day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quick Tips: Glue Basting perfect points, curves, and applique

Over the past few months we've talked about quick quilting tips and tricks. Even as a seasoned quilter, I am finding there are so many helpful techniques to learn that not only improve the speed of piecing, but can improve the accuracy and quality of piecing as well. 

I'm so excited today to have guest-poster Cristy Fincher share some tips about glue basting. Cristy is an amazing quilter and piecer. Her technique and accuracy is amazing. She'll be teaching at Quilt Con in February. I have only just started using these glue basting techniques in my piecing and asked Cristy if she'd share her wisdom here. She is a wealth of knowledge with thorough tutorials and youtube videos.

Hi everyone! I'm Cristy Fincher. I have a fun blog called Sew Much Like Mom where I share my favorite sewing and quilting techniques. I also have an online shop called Purple Daisies, where I sell wonderful sewing and quilting tools, as well fabulous tutorials and patterns by my mom, Master Quilter, Sharon Schamber. I'm so excited to be visiting Amy's blog and to share my love of glue basting with you!

Glue basting is one of my favorite sewing and quilting tools. It helps me with efficiency and accuracy when I sew, which makes me happier with my results. Most of the time, when I mention glue basting to new quilters, or to experienced quilters who are new to me, I see confused looks come over their faces. But, they change their tunes really fast when they see what can be done with glue basting, and how much it can improve their results. 

My mom introduced me to glue basting when she taught me how to appliqué, 14 years ago. Since then, my love for glue basting has only grown, and I find uses for it in almost every sewing or quilting project. Here are just a few of the things I use glue basting for: precise piecing, appliqué, curved seams, zippers, bindings, and clothing. There are many many more uses for it, too. Basically, you can use glue basting almost anywhere you would use pins or clips.
Elmer's Washable School Glue, topped with a Fine Glue Tip, is my go-to for glue basting. The Elmer's glue is easy to find in local stores, especially just before school starts, like now. (If you live outside of the US, I sell Elmer's in my shop, and happily ship it to you.) The Fine Glue Tips are manufactured by my mom and her husband, and fit perfectly on the 4oz bottles of Elmer's. They're made from clog resistant plastic, and I find that they clog much less often than other glue tips out there.

There are other products out on the market that can be used for glue basting. I've tried virtually all of them, but the Elmer's Washable School Glue and Fine Tips combo is, by far, my favorite. 

The accuracy that I can achieve with glue basting, is addiciting. I love when my points match! I know you'll love it too!

Pretty, right?!

Glue basting is so simple:
  • Simply draw a fine line of glue inside on the inside of your seam allowance. I draw mine about 1/8" from the selvage. The glue shouldn't be right on your seam line.

  • Line up, or nest, the next piece with your first.  Be sure that all edges are lined up, just as you would if you were pinning.  Then, heat set the glued edge with a hot dry iron. Heat setting dries the glue completely, and just takes a quick second or two because the line of glue is so fine and thin. The heat setting also prevents any shifting. Awesome, right? Immediately, you'll experiece more accuracy in your sewing and piecing.

  • Then sew as usual. When I piece, I prefer 1.6-1.8 stitch length. After sewing, press to the side.

That's it! Super easy! If you want to see glue basting in action, I have some videos for you to watch on YouTube.

This is usually when I'm asked many different questions about the effect of glue basting. You might be asking yourself some of the same questions, so I'll try to answer most of them for you.
  • Will the glue ruin my iron? No. Absolutely not. Elmer's Washable School Glue, is water soluble. If any glue were to get on your iron, it washes off easily.
  • Will the glue gum up my needle? No. Absolutely not. As long as you apply the glue close to the selvage, you wouldn't be sewing through the glue. Even if you did get the glue close to the seam line (like with appliqué), sewing through it is no problem at all because you heat set the glue. Heat setting dries the glue quickly making it no longer gummy.
  • Will the glue wash out of my quilt? Yes, it sure will. I always recommend washing quilts with the textile detergent, Synthrapol.
  • Do I need to pin when I glue baste? No. In almost all situations, glue basting replaces the need for pins. 
  • Can I glue baste if I press my seams open? Yes, if the seam needs to be opened you can easily pull the seam apart or use a sewing stiletto to open the seams. In most cases, I would encourage you to press to the side. Pressing your seams to the side will make your quilts stronger, putting the strength of your quilt in the fibers of fabric as well as in the thread. This protects the seam and creates a stronger hold. When you press your seams open, the strength of your seam is only as strong as your thread. Open seams run the risk of popping with dense quilting, washing, wear and with time. There are times to press a seam open, for example: mitered corners and binding strips, but in most cases pressing to the side is a wiser choice.
  • Is glue basting faster than pinning, or just sewing and "going for it", without pins, at the machine? I believe so, yes. Glue basting may take a bit more time, before you get to the machine. Any extra time is made up by how quickly and effiently you'll be able to sew everything together. The time you use to spend having to unpick and resew mismatched seams will be virtually gone. Sometimes faster isn't better. Sometimes good technique and efficiency is better, expecially if you're happier in the end.
  • Can I use this type of glue basting to baste my quilts before quilting? No. This type of glue basting is not recommended for basting your quilts.
If you only try one new thing to improve any aspect of your sewing or quilting, please let it be glue basting. I think you'll love it as much as I do!

Here are some examples of my favorite ways to use glue basting:

Glue basting and machine pieced hexagons are a match made in heaven! (Tutorial coming soon on my blog!)

Prepping my strips with glue basting, before sewing, makes chain piecing more accurate and pretty darn quick.

Glue basting to attach rows together keeps my points matched up, and I never accidently sew over pins.

 Glue basting makes Paperless Paper Piecing possible. This technique will rock your world!

I use glue basting with Piec-lique to make any type of curve, including inset circles.

When I glue baste my appliqué pieces to the background fabric, I can easily sew them down by hand or by machine. Without pins in my applique pieces, I get no puckers or distortion. Love!

Using the Fine Tips on Liquid Stitch (permanent fabric glue), replaces the need for fusibles with raw-edge appliqué.

I also glue baste when I make clothing. Here, I used glue basting to attach the binding/strap onto the edge of the bodice of a dress for my daughter.

Quilt bindings is probably the most popular place to use glue basting, largely due to my mom's wonderful binding video. The best part of the video is at the end, when my mom shows you how to do that final join for the binding strips. It's life changing!

When I glue baste my binding, I can stitch it down by machine or by hand, without the need for any pins or clips. It stays in just the right place, until I sew it down. Magic!

If you have the fine glue tips, my favorite way to keep the clogs away is to use the thick end of a price tag holder. Clip off about an inch and put the stick of it into the glue tip to prevent clogs. To make it easy to find on your pressing board, you can color the "T" of it with a Sharpie, or put a washi tape flag on it. (Big thanks to my friend Becca at SewPixie for these fabulous ideas.)

Glue basting can be a life changing tool. It might take a little bravery to give it a try, and when you do, I'll bet you'll never go back! I am having a sale in my shop where everything is 10% off through July 20. (No coupon code needed)

Thank you for joining me today! Come visit me at Sew Much Like Mom, sometime soon! You can also find me on InstaGram, Flickr, and Pinterest as CristyCreates.

Happy Stitchin'

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bobbie Lou Fabrics Discount and Giveaway

Hopefully by now you are familiar with Bobbie Lou's Fabric Factory - it's one of my favorite online fabric shops because of it's very unique 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 just moved from an Etsy shop to a new online shop. It is not only pretty, but so well organized and easy to navigate. Fabric can be searched by Manufacturer, Design, Color and Style. One of the very coolest features is you can sign up for a free personal account and save "swatches" of fabrics you like to your own page and then drag the swatches around, mixing and matching. So cool - and such a great way to keep track of things you see along the way and want to remember. You can order fabric in increments of 1/4 yards, including fat quarters. 
By clicking on New Arrivals, you can always go directly to the latest collections in the shop. Some recent arrivals at Bobbie Lou's include Emily Herrick's newest collection Rustique, Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft,
and Nightfall from Camelot. Bobbie Lou's carries some really fun, distinctive prints including a great selection of Novelty prints.

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.

Today Chelsea is generously giving away 3 yards of fabric from Bobbie Lou's! And that can be 3 continuous yards, or an incremental combinations that you choose (i.e. 12 fat quarters, 6 half yards, etc.) Pretty awesome if you ask me. To enter take a quick trip to Bobbie Lou Fabric Factory and leave a comment here sharing something that you love. Giveaway open until Thursday, July 17 at midnight MST. Good luck!