Monday, April 16, 2018

Fun Way to Use a Panel :: A Tutorial

I had an idea recently for a fun way to use a panel. With the help of one of my talented employees, Peg, I was able to get two samples made.

For the first one we used the entire panel. It's a bit long, but for taller folks or certain projects where you need more coverage, it works well. It is unlined. In addition to the panel, you'll need 1/4 yard of fabric for the ties (1/3 yard if you want to make your ties longer).

For the second one we shortened the panel. It is lined as well. In addition to the panel, you'll need 2/3 yard of fabric for the lining and 1/4 yard of fabric for the ties (1/3 yard if you want to make your ties longer).

These are so easy to make and based upon the Towel Apron idea I shared with you in the past. 

To make an unlined apron you need to decide if you want to use the entire panel or not. If you are going to cut down the panel like we did for our second version, do this first. Even if you aren't going to shorten the panel you still need to cut off the selvedges and square up the sides. When you trim the panel keep in mind that you need to leave a 1/2" seam allowance on each side for the unlined version.

Once you have your panel cut the way you want it, you need to finish the raw edges all the way around by pressing 1/4" under (to the wrong side of the fabric) all the way around once, then do it again to hide the raw edges completely. Topstitch this twice folded hem in place all the way around the panel.

*From this point you treat this like your "towel" in the Towel Apron idea. You need to mark the center of the top of the panel, which will be the top of your apron. Measure over 5" from either side of the center and make a small mark either with a marking tool or a pin. (Note: The panel is a little wider than the towel so I adjusted this measurement from 4" to 5").

Measure down 10" from the top right and top left corners of the panel and make a mark. Cut the top corners off the panel. See diagram below. Dashed lines represent the cutting lines.

This is now a bias edge so be careful not to stretch it. Fold these cut edges under (to the wrong side of the fabric) 1/4" and press. Then fold it again 1" wide and topstitch to make a casing for the ties.

To make the ties: Cut your tie fabric into 3" by width of fabric strips. You'll need at least three of these, four if you want to make them a bit longer. Join these into a 3" wide by really long piece. (You can sew them together with a straight seam or on the diagonal. A diagonal join will be less bulky and is what we did for our samples). 

Press this in half lengthwise to make a 1.5" wide by really long piece. Open this back out and press each edge to the center fold, then press in half again along the first fold. Tuck the raw edges inside along the short ends. This makes a 3/4" wide by really long piece with all the raw edges concealed. Topstitch all the way around. 

Feed the ties up toward the top of the apron through one side casing and the down through the other. This makes the side ties and the neck ties all with one step. 

To make a lined apron, trim the panel to the size you want making sure to add 1/4" seam allowance to each side. Cut your 2/3 yard of lining fabric to the exact same size. Place them right sides together and sew all the way around using a 1/4" seam allowance but leave a 4" opening at the top of one of the side seams (along one of the parts you will be cutting off later). Turn this right side out through the opening. Press and then topstitch all the way around the outside edge. Then follow the directions above from the * to complete your apron.

Monday, April 2, 2018

For A Friend, Part 2 :: A Finish

You can read my previous post about this project by clicking here.

It has taken me a long time to decide how to quilt this. In the end I decided to do some simple stitch in the ditch and a simple border design.

The old fabric I showed you in this post is the fabric I used for the binding. It is the right shade of olive green even if it is a bit darker than the olive green used in the other fabrics. 

My friend is out of town for a few more weeks so I can't give it to her yet. It is nice to check this project off my list though.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Petite Stitched Purse

I'm a bag pattern collector! I have every intention of making every bag pattern I buy, but it doesn't always work out that way. Now that I own a fabric store it's even worse. I see a cute pattern and buy one "to try out for the shop." I have quite a collection going now.

Recently I decided that I really need to make a commitment to make up some of these patterns. I'll file the ones I don't like and order more for the shop of the ones I do like.

I picked the Petite Stitched Purse from my pattern stack to try out over the weekend.

It's a simple clutch style bag. There is suppose to be a small pocket inside, but I couldn't figure out the directions for it. There aren't any diagrams for the pocket and the written instructions just didn't make any sense to me. I started to try to wing it, but wasn't sure where the bottom of the pocket should be. So I just gave up on the pocket all together. I don't think it really needs a pocket inside. The bag isn't very big. The strap closure is pretty interesting and it has some hidden magnetic snaps too.

The idea for this bag is that you can customize it with a bunch of quilting or decorative stitching. The photo doesn't really show the simple quilting I did following the print of the fabric. I didn't want to do too much work on this one since I was just trying out the pattern. Despite not being able to figure out the pocket, I like the pattern. I'll need to figure the pocket out at some point. I think this would be a great pattern for featuring some of the many decorative stitches we all have on our sewing machines. The pattern gives good directions for how to mark your fabric for doing some decorative stitching. I'll try that on the next one and get that interior pocket figured out too!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

About Time to Use This One!

How old is the oldest fabric in your stash? I mean yardage, not scraps. I didn't sort through my entire stash but I pulled this one out to use it for a project recently and noticed that it is from 1997!

And I had three yards of it! I only used about 1/2 yard for the project I was working on so I still have about 2 1/2 yards of this. Sheesh! I wonder what I bought this for?

I didn't start sewing until about 1995 so this must have been purchased early in my sewing life. I have no idea what I got this for but I think it is certainly safe to go ahead and use it. Not sure what I will do with the rest.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Festival of Stars :: A Finish

This was a block of month my shop did last year. I have a few kits left so I decided to finish the top before hanging it back up in the shop in hopes that the rest of the kits will sell.

I really enjoyed making this one. It finishes at 78" by 83.5". The quilting was not done by me. In my area there are several long arm quilters and we hand out business cards for three of them in my shop when folks ask. I had never had anything quilted by this lady so I wanted to see an example of her work. She did a fabulous job! Here are some detail shots:

This is not a fast project or one that I would recommend to a beginner. You need to cut and piece accurately! The pattern is well-written and easy to follow, but again, it's not a beginner level project. My favorite part is the vertical sashing that twists and turns around the blocks. It really sets off the beautiful blocks so nicely.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Project Bag and Fabric Buying

When I was at Fall Market I purchased a few bag patterns to test to see if I want to carry them in my shop. One of them was the Project Bag by Annie Unrein.

I've already ordered patterns for the shop as I love this one! It is easy to make and the pattern makes four sizes of bag - small, medium, large, and extra large. I chose to start with the medium size which finishes at 10" by 12". The large finishes at 13" by 13". The extra large finishes at 16" by 16 which would be a perfect size for storing completed blocks for a project. I can't remember the dimensions of the small size, maybe 8" by 10" but I'm not certain.

Fabric Buying:

I often get asked, "how do you choose which fabrics to order for the shop?" Well, the way I prefer to work is to have fabric reps visit me at the shop and show me samples of what they have available.

Recently my lovely Moda rep stopped by. In the photo above you see our classroom tables piled high with all of the things I could choose from! If only money and space were not a consideration! Seeing the samples in the shop allows me to see if the new fabrics will fill in or blend well with what I already have.

In a nutshell, I like to see everything available and I make mental notes of what I like. Then as we go back through I set aside everything I like. Finally I figure out from this smaller stack what the shop needs and what the shop can afford based on when the fabric will be shipped.

It's a tough job, but somebody has got to do it. *wink, wink*

Monday, February 26, 2018

Playing with Ruler Quilting

When I was at Fall Quilt Market I bought a set of quilting rulers to try out. I'm just now getting around to playing with them.

These blocks are only 6" which is a nice size to practice with. Right now I'm just playing. Eventually I will develop a project or use the one that comes with the rulers and teach this as a class in my shop.

These are done on a domestic machine, not a long arm. They intrigued me for this reason. Not many of my customers have a long arm, but they all have a regular sewing machine. You don't need any fancy equipment to be successful with these rulers!