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Jun 24 15

Fresh Picked Pincushion – Working On + Giveaway

Phoebe

Edit 7/1/15 10:15: Our lucky winner is number 21! Congratulations! I’ll be contacting you soon about getting your hands on this pattern. In other news, this blog will be taking a short break over the holiday weekend for a chance to recuperate – I’ll see you next week with more new awesome reviews, back to basics, and tutorials!

fresh picked pincushions by heather bailey

 

You know how sometimes you look at the cover of a pattern and you either think “I could never replicate that cuteness” or, even worse, you think you can do it and then try it and it doesn’t look anything like the pattern cover? Yeah, the Fresh Picked Pincushion pattern from Heather Bailey is not one of those – it was an absolute breeze to make!

 

fresh picked pincushions by heather bailey

fresh picked pincushions by heather bailey

 

The Fresh Picked Pincushions pattern has options for 5 different pincushions: a pear, apple, tomato, and two different strawberries. I felt like I should make one that was different from the cover, but that pear was really calling my name! The pattern uses 1-6 fabrics and suggests using quilting cotton, wool felt, corduroy, velveteen, and other fabrics for your pincushion. I decided to keep it simple on the first one and chose one of the new prints from Morning Walk by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Fabrics, along with a coordinating wool felt – I used Gold. It calls for some additional, basic notions: coordinating thread, some Shape Flex interfacing, embroidery floss for details on the leaves (which I skipped), and some other odds and ends for the different shapes.

 

fresh picked pincushions by heather bailey

 

I know you’re used to me making some tips or suggestions about a pattern, but with this one the only thing I can say is that I wish I’d taken the time to add the embroidery details to the leaves. I skipped them because I thought I wouldn’t have time, but the reality is that the Fresh Picked Pincushion pear only took me 2 hours, start to finish! I don’t know about you, but I often spend more time deciphering bad patterns than that. I can be a bit stingy with hand-made gifts for people, but the Fresh Picked Pincushion pattern will certainly be going on my list of to-make holiday and birthday gifts – perfect for any sewer or quilter in your life!

 

fresh picked pincushions by heather bailey

fresh picked pincushions by heather bailey

 

Want to win a copy of the Fresh Picked Pincushions pattern? Leave a comment below telling me what you’re going to be working on this summer, and we’ll pick one lucky winner using random.org.  The deadline for comments is 8AM EDT on Wednesday, July 1.

Phoebe

Jun 19 15

Bow Tie Block – Hand Pieced Quilt

Phoebe

Can you believe we’re half-way into our hand pieced quilt? I am so excited. Although you will notice that there are only five blocks that I’ve finished – the churn dash block still isn’t done. Whoops! This month I’m introducing you to the bow tie block. I’m sure you’ve seen it before, but it has quite a bit of versatility, so even I was hooked. It’s also introducing a new technique – Y-seams – which are so much easier to do when you are hand piecing than when you’re sewing on the machine! This is a great block with which to practice the Y-seams as it’s fairly simple.

 

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

 

Bow Tie Block

*Download this month’s templates here. Once printed the large square should measure 6″ and the smaller square should measure 3″. These templates are for tracing your sewing lines. Once traced, cut 1/4″ outside the drawn line all the way around.

Supplies:

  • 8 – main fabric pentagons
  • 4 – center squares, cut from main fabric(s)
  • 8 – background pentagons

 

Directions:

Step 1 – Take two of your print pentagons and 1 print square and lay them out as shown.  Pin the square to the pentagon along the shortest edge with the right side facing. Piece. Do not press.

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

 

Step 2 – Repeat with the second pentagon.

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

 

Step 3 – The next part is to add the two background pentagons to the block section. The block pieces will align as shown in the picture below, with the shortest edges of the background pentagon also touching the center square.

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

 

Step 4 – Place one of the background pentagons right side against one of the print pentagons as shown. Pin. Sew to the end of the seam, knotting at the beginning and backstitching at the end – do not cut the thread!

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

 

Step 5 – Pivot the background pentagon so the shortest edge is now aligned with the square. Pin. The print pentagon may fold a little, just make sure it doesn’t get caught in the next part of the seam. Avoid sewing through the seam allowances, just as you would when piecing a long straight seam. Sew the seam – begin and end with a backstitch.

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

 

Step 6 – Once the center section is sewn, pivot the background pentagon again so that it now is aligned with the second print pentagon. Pin. Piece, remembering to not sew through the seam allowances and to backstitch at the beginning and knot at the end.

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

 

Step 7 – Repeat with the second background pentagon. Press seams as shown.

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

 

Step 8 – Repeat 3 times to make a total of 4 bow tie blocks. There are 3 different options for block layouts – choose your favorite and piece together!

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

bow tie quilt block - hand piece block of the month quilt

 

Pretty easy, huh? One thing to note – if you’re doing the 6″ blocks and need a little bit of time to catch up, feel free to use the large templates and make just 1 bow tie!

 

Phoebe

Jun 16 15

Ironing + Pressing- Back to Basics

Phoebe

ironing and pressing for quilting

 

Ironing and pressing. Two of the most commonly misunderstood sewing techniques, along with the hardest for beginners to get down pat. More than once in my beginners’ classes I’ve had someone say to me “oh, I’ve been ironing and pressing wrong all along, I think that fixes my issues.” And you know what? They’re right.

The difference between ironing and pressing is actually semantics. Think about the words themselves, and they really do mean something a bit different. And that’s where we, as quilters, need to pay attention. Ironing is using the iron to smooth the fabric, often using the movement of the iron to do so. Pressing is just that – using the iron to press down, often setting something, in our case, a seam. Now, there are two main problems that arise from these differences – one is curved, or wonky seams, due to ironing instead of pressing. The other is seams that are not fully pressed, which can arise when either pressing or ironing.

 

ironing and pressing for quilting

 

Here’s what I would consider to be the best way to press if you are pressing your seams to the side, which I would recommend whenever possible – the seams are stronger and make nesting seams easier. Begin with your fabrics still facing each other after your seam is sewn. Press the seam to set the stitches and smooth out the fabric. Do this by literally using the iron to press down. If you have a long piece, pick up the iron and move it down before pressing down again. Do not, for any reason, move the iron on the fabric.

 

ironing and pressing for quilting

 

Once you’ve set the seam, place the iron aside and open up the fabrics so the right side is facing you. The seam allowances should be slightly folded towards the darker fabric, or whichever way as directed by your pattern. I like to have my dark fabric on top, so when I open up the fabric the seams automatically go towards that fabric. Using just your fingers, press down hard on the seam to set it. You should be making sure that the fabrics are folded all the way back from the seam line here. If they are not it will throw off your 1/4″ seam allowances because you’ll be losing fabric in the seams here. You can be somewhat harsh here because your fingers are not hot and heavy like an iron, however do not, for any reason, pull or tug on the fabric as this will stretch it out of shape. Make sure that there is not a fold or tuck at the edge of the seam allowance.

 

ironing and pressing for quilting

 

Once you’ve finger pressed your seam, use your hot iron to set the seam. It doesn’t matter if you use steam or not. This final step is just making permanent all of the work you did in the last step. As with any time you are pressing seams and working with a longer piece, if you need to move the iron, do so in the air and only ever press directly up and down.

 

ironing and pressing for quilting

 

That’s all there is to it! If you are pressing seams open you probably do not encounter some of these issues, however I’d still recommend doing the first part – setting the seam while it’s still closed – before pressing the seams open. I would also recommend never pressing from the back when you are pressing seams to the side. You’re less likely to encounter tucks in your seams if you always press from the front.

 

Phoebe

Jun 10 15

Zippered Pencil Pouch – Tutorial

Phoebe

zippered pencil pouch

 

I love to write. Well to read, too, but that’s another story. And one thing that I’ve found that’s an issue for me is finding a pen when I need it, because, let’s face it, my purse can be a bit like Mary Poppin’s or Hermione’s. I’m also pretty picky about my pens – I need a archival one for sketching, a fountain pen to write with, and a ball-point to sign checks. And they’re all always at the bottom of my purse – seriously. Enter my elasticized zippered pencil pouch!

 

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

 

My zippered pencil pouch is perfect because it slips over either the cover of your journal or sketchbook or calendar, or the whole thing. That way you’re never at a loss for a pen, plus, you’ve always got the correct writing utensil attached to the correct surface (man, am I weird or what?).

zippered pencil pouch

 

 

Zippered Pencil Pouch

Supplies

  • Outside – assorted fabric scraps or piece 7 1/2 x 9″
  • Binding – 2 bias strips 3 1/2 x 1 1/2″
  • Zipper tabs – 2 scraps 1 1/4 x 3 1/4″
  • Lining fabric – 7 x 8 1/2″
  • Casing fabric – 1 3/4″ x 10-25″ long, depending on length of elastic (optional)
  • 1/2″ non-roll elastic
  • batting scrap approximately 8 x 10″
  • coordinating thread
  • 1 – 14″ zipper in a coordinating color
  • walking foot, zipper foot
  • bodkin or safety pin (optional)
  • pins, marking pencils, etc.
  • Wonder Clips (optional)

*** To determine the length for you elastic and optional casing fabric:

Step 1 – Measure all the way around your book, vertically. If you intend to just slip the case over the cover, just measure around the front cover. If you intend to slip it over the whole book, measure around the whole book. I wanted my case to slip over the whole book – I got 20 1/2″.

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 2 – Take the measurement found in step 1 and subtract 7 1/2″, which is the length of the pencil pouch. To determine the length of your elastic, subtract an additional 1 1/2″. My original measurement was 20 1/2, and then I subtracted 7 1/2. (20 1/2 – 7 1/2 = 13). I then subtracted 1 1/2″ to determine my elastic measurement. (13 – 1 1/2 = 11 1/2). To determine the length of your optional casing, go back to your original measurement with the 7 1/2 subtracted (mine was 13″). Add 3″ to that measurement. (13 + 3 = 16). Cut your optional casing 1 3/4″ by this measurement. The casing will completely cover the elastic if you don’t like the look of “naked” elastic.

 

Directions

**Seam allowance should be specified in each step.

 

Step 1 – For the exterior of your zippered pencil pouch you have several options. To start with you can either do a solid piece of fabric or you can use scraps. The other choice is to quilt the batting and fabrics together, or to just baste them and use them that way. You can quilt as you go or piece together scraps and then quilt it to the batting. I chose to use long strips from my scrap bin and to quilt as I went. If that’s what you’d like to do, start by gathering your scraps. They need to be at least 8″ long to cover the whole piece of batting. If they aren’t long enough, piece a few together to reach that length.

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 2 - Note: If you’re just quilting a solid piece to the batting, or basting the two together, do so and then skip to step 5. Place the batting on your table with the shorter edges along the bottom and top. Take your first long strip and place it right side up along the bottom edge.

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 3 – Place your next strip right side down on top of the first one, aligning the top long edges. Pin. Using the walking foot on your sewing machine, sew through the fabric and batting along the edge you’ve just aligned. Use whatever seam allowance you want, just keep your seam allowance in mind as you’re deciding on which scraps to utilize. Flip the top fabric back and press.

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 4 -  Take the third fabric and place it face down on top of fabric #2. Pin along the edge and sew. Flip back and press. Continue this process until your piece of batting is covered.

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 5 – Trim the quilt sandwich down to 8 1/2 x 7″.

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 6 – Take your two zipper tabs and fold them in half to measure 1 1/4 x 1 7/8″. Press. Open up and fold the two ends in to the center fold. Press again. Now fold the thing in half, again, to measure 1 1/4 x ~7/8″.

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 7 – Trim off the metal zipper stop at the closed end of the zipper. Slide one of the zipper tabs over the end of the zipper and pin. Top stitch 1/8″ from the edge, through the top of the tab, the zipper, and the bottom of the tab.

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 8 – Trim the excess zipper tab flush with the edge of the zipper.

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 9 – Measure down 8 1/2″ from the end of the zipper and make a mark. Unzip your zipper!!!! Trim the excess. Slide the two loose ends of the zipper into the remaining zipper tab, making sure to push the zipper teeth until they’re touching. Pin. Top stitch 1/8″ from the edge, through the top of the tab, the zipper, and the bottom of the tab. Trim the excess zipper tab flush with the edge of the zipper.

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 10 – Place your lining fabric right side up on your work surface. Align the wrong side of the zipper along one long edge and pin. Place the outer, quilted fabric right side down on top of the zipper and add more pins.

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 11 – Using a zipper foot and a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew through all 3 layers, moving the zipper pull as necessary.

 

Step 12 – Fold the lining and outer piece back and press with a cool-ish iron.

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 13 – Fold the lining up so that the remaining long side is aligned with the open zipper side. It should be right side of the lining against the wrong side of the zipper. Pin. Fold the outer quilted fabric up and aligned the remaining long side with the pinned edge. Add more pins.

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 14 – Using a zipper foot and a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew through all 3 layers, moving the zipper pull as necessary.

 

Step 15 – Flip the pouch right side out by folding back one of the tubes until they’re located inside one another. Press the outer fabric away from the zipper with a cool-ish iron.

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 16 – Unzip the zipper half way. Flip the pouch inside out. Press the lining fabric away from the zipper with a cool-ish iron. Warm up your iron and press the whole pouch a second time, making sure that the zipper is centered in the pouch.

 

Step 17 – Take your elastic casing and fold in half with right sides together so the long edges are touching. Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 18 – Press the seam open.

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 19 – Turn right side out. I found a hemostat to be helpful here. You might also try a chopstick or turning tubes. Feed the elastic through the tube with the seam centered along one side. Baste the end of the elastic to the end of the tube about 1/8″ from the end.

 

Step 20 – Slide the elastic between the two outer fabric layers of the pouch, with the right side of the elastic casing facing the zipper. The elastic should fit almost perfectly in the space where the zipper is. Pin or clip in place at both ends. The elastic is probably longer than the pouch itself, so allow the excess to buckle inside the pouch.

zippered pencil pouch

 

Step 21 – Sew the ends of the pouch closed with a 1/2″ seam allowance, making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of each seam.

 

Step 22 – Press your two bias strips in half with the long edges together and the right side facing outwards. The raw edges do not need to be enclosed as they won’t fray. Slide over the raw ends of the pouch and pin or clip in place. Sew the ends, again, this time with a scant 1/2″ seam, to hold the bias binding in place.

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

zippered pencil pouch

 

Turn right side out and your zipper pouch is done – start organizing!

 

zippered pencil pouch

 

Phoebe

Jun 2 15

Starburst Clutch – Working On

Phoebe

starburst clutch from wives of whitewood

 

The Starburst Clutch has been on my want-to-sew list since last year when I did the Tuxedo Trio pattern review from the same company – Wives of Whitewood, a local design duo. Well, I am thrilled to say I finally got that chance! My version of the Starburst clutch is done with three fabrics, this wonderful fuchsia True Colors print from Anna Maria Horner, Sketch in Berry (for the interior), and Kona Pepper – which isn’t a true black, more of a “light” black, and looks amazing for this!

 

starburst clutch from wives of whitewood

 

But here’s the thing – even after wanting to make the Starburst clutch for so long, I only just finished it yesterday morning. And then forgot to photograph it. Until the storms came. So I ran out before the first cell hit and listened to the thunder and got 14 whole pictures before it started pouring. The bag is fine, I didn’t get struck by lighting, but the pictures all kinda sucked. So you’ll just have to go to the shop and check it out – it really is quite pretty in person.

 

starburst clutch from wives of whitewood

 

The Starburst clutch has a fun flap that is quilted, along with an interior zip pocket and a magnetic closure. I made two (and a half) significant adjustments to the pattern: the Starburst clutch pattern calls for Peltex for stiffness – I cheated and used Peltex that was fusible on one side and fused it to the outer pieces instead of basting. The pattern calls for a magnetic snap, and I could not, for the life of me, get one to work well with the pattern, so I switched from a regular magnetic snap to an invisible magnetic snap and it worked like a charm! You just sew the snap to the Peltex on the non-fusible side before fusing the Peltex to the exterior. And this brings me to my third tweak – I felt like the other half of the magnetic snap, the one that is in the flap, needed a little bit more structure to support it so that I didn’t rip it while trying to open it, so I added a layer of Shape Flex woven interfacing on the interior of the flap, plus a second piece behind the snap. Then I sewed the snap on the wrong side of the flap lining fabric before assembling the flap.

 

starburst clutch from wives of whitewood

 

All in all, I think my Starburst clutch is pretty cute. I hope that you can stop by the shop to see it so you don’t have to trust my not-so-great pictures!

Phoebe