Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Last Cathedral Window Quilt on My Planet

I've made Cathedral Window quilts, both small and not so small, before. I wrote instructions on how to make them. (You can see some of my earlier Cathedral Window quilts and see instructions here.) If you happen to use my instructions, I make them this exact way. The one I'm making now is starting with a 9" square of a kind of dark blue ivy fabric:

The blue is darker than shown in the photo. I will be making 670ish of these to make a queen cover. I have 555 to go. There are always more! My husband honestly described this type of quilt as "the most labor intensive" of anything I've done. I'm not sure that's true, but I'll take it!

Now why do I say this is the last one? I will be hand sewing for about 3 years or so on this, I'm sure. I'm 62 now and my hands are not what they used to be, so it'll be slow going. I'm sure I'll make other patterns of patchwork and quilting (I have too much denim not to), but I'm fairly certain this is the last of this particular breed. And I'm okay with that!

My in-progress sewing includes:

  • Jack-o-Lantern placemats. 
  • Two tunic tops for me.
  • A long skirt or two for the summer.
  • And then some..... 

I'll update the quilt over the days/weeks/months as it progresses.

What are you sewing?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

One of the most beautiful updates ever - Anna, Brian, and Catherine's quilt

Any of you who follow me know that I love to make quits for babies. My daughter's bestie, Anna, and her husband, Brian announced they were expecting and I got to work hunting for fabric and coming up with a design. He's into trains and she's into him, so by default, she's into trains too, right? ROYGBV makes for a nice color scheme. I found the train fabric first (had to order more!) and then took that to the fabric store to match up the nontraditional red/orange/yellow/green/blue/violet colors. Babies like bright and contrast, so I tried to keep that in mind.

To refresh your memory, here are the posts from conception to completion:
Yesterday, February 20, Anna posted the most beautiful pictures on Facebook featuring Catherine with her quilt and pillow. Cuteness overload! This kind of stuff makes it all worthwhile. And now, here's she is:

I told Anna I had tried to make the pillow as delicious as possible. 

Must have worked!

Look at this beautiful baby. Who cares about the quilt!?!

Thank you Anna, Brian, and Catherine for sharing the pictures with me and for allowing me to share them here. How can you not smile when you see this? 




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Hashtag Sewing

Visited Twitter today and found some fun #Sewing items. A lot of the posts are ads, but reading through, there's so much more. Here's a sampling from my travels today:

Look at this cute coat the @sablefedora made for his or her dog!

@JanomeAustralia says it best. 

@QuiltingProfits brings great quotes to the party often.

I'm a sucker for a tote bag and this one by @phildanmor caught my eye. Giddy up!

@bestsewingreview also posted several wonderful sayings. I had to follow this one :)

Feel free to follow me, though I don't post much sewing stuff, believe it or not.

ScrapStitcher - @Donna_Apperson

That's it for Twitter today! 


Open weave vest tutorial, Part 2 - Complete

 Here we go. Part 1 can be found here. But now it's time to cut and mark your pattern and start sewing.
I used Pellon's washaway stabilizer. You can use whatever brand you like as long as it will wash away when you're done. Be careful not to get it wet as you use it as it will disappear right before your very eyes. 

For the tutorial, I am using a child's vest pattern, but the concept is the same no matter what size you use. Even if the vest says it's lined, you will not line it; you won't need to. If it is a lined pattern, take a little extra off the front center seam allowance as you will not be using it. 

Place the front of your vest pattern on 2 layers of the stabilizer and cut it out. 

Mark the right side of each piece (the marking will wash away and will not show). Make a line with a ruler on the front of the vest (right side). I chose a diagonal pattern. You can use horizontal and vertical, though. That choice is yours.

Decide how far apart you want your woven strips. For the child's size vest, I used a 1" wide ruler and followed the first line I drew, marking lines 1" apart. 
Mark the stabilizer from top to bottom with your pencil and ruler. 

Make a line in the other direction (again, I chose diagonal). 

And make your 1" line markings all the way from top to bottom.

Repeat this process with the other front pattern piece, trying to match the diagonal lines where they meet in the center. 

Now, let's weave!

Using the roll of strips that you made earlier, put the strip on or beside one of the lines you drew. Whether you choose to put it on the line or beside it, do it the same for every one. I chose beside the line for this one. Stitch from edge to edge onto the stabilizer. Turn and stitch back to the first edge. Pretend the stabilizer is not going to wash away and make sure your strip of fabric is firmly attached. 

Place a second strip on or beside your next drawn line and repeat the process. 

Stitch close to the edge of your strip. This particular fabric didn't show the stitching lines much, so I had the freedom of being a little less than perfect. 

Continue until you have all strips going in one direction stitched to the stabilizer. 

This is not a true weave per se, but it will look like it when done since the strips are of the same fabric. If they were different fabrics, I would have done over and under weaving. In this case, place a strip on or beside a line that is going the other way and stitch your fabric from end to end, turn and stitch again. This time, the two directions of stitching are more important because you're anchoring the strips to one another and not just the stabilizer.

When all of the strips are sewn (you can see my sewing lines here), turn the pattern over and stitch a scant 1/8" from the edge of the pattern all the way around using the stabilizer as your guide. 

Here's the right side view. 

And here's the wrong side view which also shows the edge stitching that holds the strips stable until the binding is done.

Trim excess fabric edges and set aside. Repeat with the other front pattern piece. 

Looking like a vest front now, isn't it? 
Using your favorite method, make bias binding out of the same fabric you are using for the vest back.

Cut out the vest back. Even if the pattern is lined, you will not line it, so you need to cut a little extra at the armhole and neck seam allowances.

Construct your vest by sewing the sides right side together and the shoulders right side together. Finish the seams however you like. I find that using your serger is a best practice, but you can also use pinking shears and press the seam open or press the seam to one side and stitch it down. 

Apply bias binding by machine to the armholes by encasing the seam allowance in the bias tape you made. I generally start at the side seam and go around the armhole, careful not to stretch the binding too much. The rest of the bias binding will go around the remainder of the vest. I usually start at the neckline and take it all the way around, finishing at the neckline. You can machine stitch both sides or machine stitch one side and hand stitch the other (my preferred method for hiding of stitches).

When you are done, wash the vest. Trust me. You'll want to do this part to get rid of the stabilizer. Another way to do it is to spritz the wrong side of the front of the vest with water. 

And you're done!




The addition of washaway stabilizer to my sewing room has opened up new design possibilities. You can use a real weave with over and under on strips or simply place them one upon the other like this vest. Once you encase the strips in bias binding, they're as stable as they can be and your vest is machine washable and able to be put in the dryer (if the fabric allows).

Have fun and be sure to share pictures if you make one for yourself or a child. Or even for your dog. Just sew. That's the big thing.

Let me know if you have questions!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sewing in the new year

I promise I'll finish the open weave vest tutorial. In the meantime, I've made two of the size 4 vests and one for me, a bit bigger than size 4. I've also made two patchwork Minions vests in size 4. Photos of those to come. For hand sewing, I'm working on a calico and white muslin Cathedral window doll quilt. Lastly, I'm still working on folded fabric ornaments for next year's Christmas (those will be on sale). I've stocked up on Hanukkah fabric to make some placemats, but that's on my to-do list.

My new thing is painting rocks for the Kindness Rocks Project. My painting skills are not the greatest, but that's not the point. Here are a few I've painted and set free to be found:
My daughter placed this one in Boston for me. 



The above were all released in Williamsburg, VA, where I live.

This one went out today on National Law Enforcement Day. 

I have officially semi-retired and have more time to sew than ever before. It's very odd having real free time. Raising three children and working full time forever have kept me more than busy. Relax? What's that? I don't know how!

I have the photos for the open weave vest ready to go. I need to sit down and just do it. It's a fun and tedious project, and the results are so worth it.

Keep sewing!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Open weave vest tutorial Part 1

I made this vest in the late 90s. I didn't really know what I was doing and there was no such thing as wash-away stabilizer, so there was a lot of paper picking to be done when it was finished. I still love it and wear it often, but was feeling like it was time to make another one. 

Find a print you like and make a whole lot of strips. 

I cut my strips (not on the bias!) in 2" widths, sewed them together, pressed the seams open, and then pressed the whole thing while folding it in half. I'd love to tell you exactly how long your roll of sewn strips needs to be, but I can't. I eyeballed it. The good news is if you don't have enough, you can make more. 

Ignore that shoe in the corner. You can see the fold here. 

Now, open the folded strip and fold the edges toward the center. You don't need to press at this point, but you can if you like.

Fold the two new edges to meet each other and stitch down the edge, finger folding as you go.

This is a little better view of the stitching the folded edges together. 

When you're done, roll up your now very long strip of stitched fabric and set it aside. 

You will need a vest pattern with no darts and no closure. You may be able to use frog closures or something unique, but there will be no way to put buttonholes in the front of the vest. I like this one: 
I did round off the edges at the bottom; it will make bias application later much easier. 

You will also need fabric for the back of your vest that complements the strips as well as a yardish of wash-away stabilizer. You will use this for making the front of the vest. You will be using a lot of thread making the front. A child's vest uses at least one bobbin's worth! 

Part 2 coming soon!