Quilt along with me! Step 2- Cutting, Blocking, and Patterns

Quilt along with me! Step 2- Cutting, Blocking, and Patterns

 

LEARN.pngHere we are at the second step of making a quilt- cutting your fabric, making blocks, and rearranging your pattern.

*If you want to go back to the beginning, check out step 1 here.*

So I started with two jelly rolls and a charm pack for my quilt.  The charm pack pieces were going to be left whole, and the jelly rolls got sewn into strips.

If you’re starting from whole cloth fabric, or if your precuts need to be cut before you make your blocks- this is where you do it.

To cut smaller quilt pieces from bigger cloth for the first time, it can be a challenge.  You definitely need a cutting mat (get as big of one as you have money/space for), a rotary cutter, and a ruler.  If you’re cutting squares or triangles, you might want to get a mat that rotates and get templates that are your exact size. So if you’re about to cut 400 3″ x 3″ squares, you might want to get a 3″ ruler or a 3″ square template.  Either way, DON’T try cutting these pieces with scissors- trust me.  Use a sharp rotary cutter and always cut away from yourself.

This is a GREAT cutting tutorial. Square up the fabric, use your ruler, and then make a cut. You’ll get better at it, promise.

For the quilt I’m doing, my jelly roll precuts had to be sewn together before cutting (it’s a common quilt hack to sew precuts together and then cut them at once!).  So, I did a quick 1/4 inch seam on them and made 40 strip sets.

So I took my grey strip, sewed it to my teal strip…and then I started cutting.  These needed to be cut into 4.5″ pieces.  (Truth be told…I goofed on ALL of these, cutting all 320 of them 1″ too big. Then I had to go back and recut them all. So, learn from my mistake, and measure TWICE. Cut once.)

I was supposed to get 360 pieces, so I started stacking as I cut.  I cut two strips at a time, cutting through 4 layers of fabric. I would make stacks of 10 pieces, then once I got 5 of those stacks, I would make a big stack of 50. (I ended up only getting 320 pieces because I messed up).

You can see here my stack of 50 on the left, a stack of 10 in the middle, and then two pieces I had just cut on the right.

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Here are all 320 pieces cut and ready to be ironed.

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Once you get all your pieces cut, you need to iron them. It seems like a hassle, but TRUST ME, your quilt will be better if you iron your pieces. These are sort of mini blocks- but they have a seam that needs to be pressed.

There’s a saying in quilting videos, “Set the seam and roll it back.” This means you first press the block and then you roll it open.  You want to start with the darker fabric up, so as you roll it, the seam goes under the darker side.

This is me setting the seam…

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And this is the roll back to open it.

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Here’s a great video on ironing. Yes, there’s a technique. 

 

Once you have all your pieces (or blocks, if your blocks are just a seam like mine), you’re ready to start sewing.

But you have to make sure your pattern is ready. For me, I’m having to refigure my pattern since I only had 320 pieces instead of 360.  Or maybe you don’t want to make as big of a quilt as you pattern calls for (that’s often me!).

Don’t be afraid here. It’s just a little math (I’m talking to myself because math can be overwhelming).  If you’re doing a pattern that is just a block repeated, you just need to measure your block and determine how many you need.  For example, if you’re making an 8″ block, and you want to make a baby quilt (standard is around 31 1/2″ x 52″) then you need your quilt to be 4 blocks wide and 7 blocks long (because once you account for a 1/4 seam allowance as you sew the blocks together, you’re right on the measurement!).  So you need 28 blocks.

For my quilt, I had to sort of figure out the pattern of the quilt pattern (if that makes sense.

I am sewing it in a diagonal, and I figured out it grows by 2 from rows 2-13, then has two rows that are the same, then comes back down by 2.

So I needed to cut at least 2 of these 2-strip blocks…and the easiest way for me to visualize it was to literally start blacking out squares on the printed pattern.

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I figured out my layout, so my next step is to lay it out on a flat surface (I use the floor or the top of a bed) and then start sewing.

Up next is the sewing rows! Woohoo!

 

 

 

 


Quilt Along with Me! Step 1: Pattern and Fabric

Quilt Along with Me! Step 1: Pattern and Fabric

LEARN.pngI have completed 9 quilts, but I don’t feel like an expert yet.  I still have to refer to many resources as I quilt.I taught myself to quilt using Youtube videos and blog tutorials.  I’m far from perfect. So when people ask me to help them learn to quilt, I don’t feel qualified.

But here’s my solution- a quilt along! I’m going to document my steps as I create this next quilt and link to ALL my resources so you can create your own quilt.

Seriously, all you need is a sewing machine to do a quilt from start to finish.

So today is the first step: the pattern and fabric.

We will also talk about cutting your pattern (and resizing it), piecing the topper, basting the quilt, quilting the quilt, and binding the quilt.

There are SO many quilt patterns out there. I like using patterns that come with tutorials (at first at least) so I can see what’s being done.  I have some go-to places for quilt patterns.

My favorite place for tutorials is Missouri Star Quilt Company on Youtube. Jenny shows you TONS of quilts- and you can see them finished on the wall behind her. The tutorials are also here.

There are also some fabric companies that put out turorials including the Moda Bake Shop . Also check out McCalls and Craftsy.

You want to consider a few things when looking for a pattern.  Some of them will be made with precuts – which are precut pieces of fabric that you can rearrange to make different patterns.  These are the easiest since you won’t be cutting from big pieces of fabric. Words to look for if you want precuts are charm packs (5″ squares), layer cakes (10″ squares), jelly rolls (2.5″ strips), fat quarters (18″ x 22″), honeybuns (1.5″ strips), and turnovers (6″ triangles).

You also want to consider the size of your quilt.  The pattern can be adapted, but some designs won’t work if you make a smaller quilt.

Lastly, consider the colors or patterns you want to use. Some patterns look great in solids, others will work with busy patterns.

For my next quilt, I’m doing this chevron quilt from Moda. I’m making it with solids in teal and grey. My quilt is made from two jelly rolls and 1 charm pack along with the backing fabric and binding fabric.

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As you consider fabric, I love these episodes from Quilty (a great quilting magazine!) to help you choose.

You can buy fabric locally from a sewing shop or online. My favorite fabric shop is Missouri Star Quilt Company. Buying precuts is easy because the prints and fabrics all go together. Or go rogue and buy fabric by the yard and cut your own. I’ve done nothing- and it’s easier to get started with precuts, but if you have your eye on yardage, it can be done.

There is a HUGE difference between cheap fabric I’ve found at Walmart (or even the cheap stuff at Hobby Lobby or JoAnns) and higher quality fabric from a sewing store. The fabric makes the quilt, so don’t skimp! On average, it can cost $100-200 for fabric for a quilt with good fabric. These are heirlooms so make them to hold up my first quilt was a baby quilt for a friend and her little boy still carries that blanket 4 years later!

For my quilt, I chose Bella Solids silver and egg blue for my fabric. I got is at Missouri Star online. It’s a good weight, gorgeous colors, and I like that it comes in the precuts I need as well as yardage for my backing and binding.

Here are my jelly rolls and charm pack ready to cut!

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I’ve also made a T-shirt quilt before. It’s a little more involved. To make your “fabric” out of your T-shirts, you need to apply interfacing to make them stable. The T-shirt quilt was a bit harder to piece together, but it’s doable. Check out this tutorial for more info on T-shirt quilts.

 

So that’s all the info I have on choosing a pattern and fabric. That’s your first step. 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions!


Weekend Recap: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Weekend Recap: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

This weekend was fun. Lots of good times (and lots of couch downtime too- which is always nice).

On Friday evening, I got home and we had dinner then put up our Christmas tree.  I had planned on it being a little more leisurely, but Tyler got a call to work overtime that night- so we only had a couple 

Tyler didn’t go into work until 8:30- so after Home Alone, we watched Jingle All the Way.  Arnold Schwarzenegger Christmas classic.

I had an early night since I was home alone. It was great to rest.

On Saturday, I did the gym, ran some errands, and came home to help my friend Rachel get ready for a fancy date.  I did her hair and makeup.

Her cute hair lasted until Sunday- this was it at church!

I also got inspired to do my own hair from the blog where I got Rachel’s hairstyle from.  I rocked this cute messy ‘do on Sunday.

After church, I went to mom’s and finished a quilt for Christmas.  This one was tough.  I cut all those TINY squares (they were 2.5″ square!) and had some trouble making the blocks. I kept messing up and having to rip seams and do them over.  It was a bit daunting. I was so glad to have it finished.  This quilt actually turned out the most square (which is a good thing- means the sides are straight) and the binding turned out good, too.  I was happy with it.

I also had some quilt tags made so I can mark my quilts.  I love it!

 

So that’s my weekend!  How was yours? Are you still wrapping gifts?  I’m almost done wrapping them!


Shabby Chic Ribbon Banner Tutorial

Shabby Chic Ribbon Banner Tutorial

I made a ribbon banner for a baby shower that was easy and the hit of the party.

ribbon banners are great for baby showers

 

The good news is, it’s super easy.  All you need is ribbon and a sewing machine.

Start out with ribbon.  I buy ribbon in bulk on ebay.  I like the 3″ wide ribbon for the base, and I searched 3″ ribbon lot and found a seller who would sell it in 1 yard increments in the colors I specified. The one above used 3″ wide solid ribbon for the base (I only used blue, turqouise, grey, and white for the base). I used between 10-12 yards of base ribbon.

For the one above, I had two different accent ribbons, in around 1″ widths.  I also had 10-12 yards total of that.

This was all the ribbon for my second banner.  It was a little longer and used more colors.  Again though, it included 3″ wide ribbon and 1-1.5″ wide accent ribbon.

baby shower ribbon banner tutorial

I start by cutting the ribbons in varying lengths.  I am not precise, and I didn’t mind raw-looking edges, I didn’t do this carefully.  However, if you want super straight edges, take more care.  I varied the ribbon lengths between 4″ and 8″.

Then I stacked them in pairs, with each wide ribbon getting an accent.  I made a big stack in the order they would be sewn together. (You can see the jagged raw edges.  If I were more of a perfectionist, I would have carefully cut them all straight).

how to make a ribbon banner for a party

Now you’re ready to sew.  I used white thread (you could use an accent color if you wanted) and just chain pieced them together.  I sewed them “backwards” through my machine (with the ribbon on the right instead of the left) so I could take a picture while I was sewing.)

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Chain piecing means you sew through the first two ribbons, and keep sewing the next ribbons (leaving a little gap in between) without breaking thread.  Depending on your machine, you may be able to just thread the next ribbon under the foot without raising the presser foot.  I can do that on my machine.

 

For more on chain piecing, read here.

 

You just chain piece all the ribbon together until you’re finished! This was the second banner against the cabinets at mom’s house.  I actually didn’t attend the second baby shower, so I don’t have a picture of the ribbon banner in action. But you get the point.finished baby shower ribbon banner