confessions of a fabric obsessive

Tag Archives: Tutorial

WIPs on Wednesday (just)

It’s Wednesday but only just. It’s evening here in the UK, a lot later than I usually post my “WIPs on Wednesday”. I’ve had a busy couple of days as you will see, and I’ve been struggling to find time to write this.

Today you’re getting the story of just one WIP in particular.

The quilt for my new niece is now finished!

It started as a pile of fabric:

I was inspired by a load of quilts that I found all over the internet and pinned to one of my boards on Pintrest so that I wouldn’t forget them.

This is the Rainbow Stack of Coins quilt that I made for my first niece born last year:

that I have blogged about here. My sister-in-law told me at Xmas that my nine month old niece tucks a little bit of it under chin every night because the fleece backing is so soft. Ahhh.

I wanted to make another bright and colourful quilt that would still be useful as my newest niece (my sister’s child) grows up and hopefully be a much-loved lap quilt when she is an adult. I didn’t want to make an identical one because, well, where’s the fun in that?

I liked this one by Spotted Stone Studio on Flickr, but I’m not ready to curve my piecing yet.

 I’d seen this rail fence quilt on Ludlow Quilt and Sew

and wanted to do a huge version of the blocks in rainbow colours (just for a change). I also spotted this one on flickr:

and this basketweave pattern  (on a website selling wooden floors, but we can’t be fussy about where inspiration comes from, can we?)

So I drew out a plan:

and did some calculating. For this six block basketweave quilt, with each block 18 by 18 inches (the quilt would have been 3 ft by 4 1/2 ft which is a perfect size for a baby/lap quilt in my opinion), I worked out that the stripes would be just over an inch wide.

Waaaay too fiddly! I probably will recycle this design for a king-sized bed quilt at some point. The quilt could be just 4 blocks, each block can be 36 to 40 inches on each side, I’ll have fewer stripes so that each one is a lot wider.

Then I looked at some of my favourite zigzag quilts, like this one from Cluck Cluck Sew:

and realised that this one:

from Bee Squared doesn’t have any half-square triangles!!! I’m really nervous about machine-stitching on the bias, which is pretty much all you do when using HSTs.

Bee Squared has retired from blogging recently but has left her blog intact. She has a tutorial on how to make a zigzag quilt with half squares, but I didn’t notice it until I was putting together this post (d’oh!). Just seeing a completed quilt top using half squares instead of half triangles was enough (told you before, I am genius!) to spark the plan in my head.

Here is the initial sketch,  as you can see it all got a little confusing at the beginning:

I also drew out a final plan with numbered fabrics (you try cutting a gazillion different fabrics into 2 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch rectangles) and a cutting list before I realised that I could cheat a little with the cutting. Basically exactly what Bee’s tutorial would have shown me to do, if I’d slowed down and noticed it.

So I cut and I sewed and I ironed and I sewed some more and after about 12 hours (from getting the iron out before cutting, to taking this outside to photograph) this is what I had:

It was different working with tiny little pieces compared to the huge 8 by 10 inch pieces that I’d used for the previous quilt, my daughter’s quilt :

I then just (just!) needed to back it (with brushed cotton so it will be soft), quilt and bind it.

I made the binding myself because I already had the fabric I wanted to use. I found this tutorial over on Modern Quilt Love, which made it look really easy. This was the only tutorial I could find that made me brave enough to make my own binding. I’m glad I did, it came out exactly how I wanted it too and didn’t cost me any money because I already had the fabric (yes, I know, technically it cost me whatever I had paid for the fabric in the first place, but the point is I didn’t have to spend any extra money to get the binding I wanted, which was good because I’m broke at the moment).

Just to prove I made the binding myself, here it is at the just-been-cut-into-one-long-strip-and-needs-folding-and-ironing stage:

I used two half metres of spotty fabric, cut it into 2 inch strips (because that’s the widest ruler I have) and got 19 metres!!! The quilt only took about 8 metres, so I have well over 10 metres of very cool home-made bias binding left now 🙂

This tutorial by Bee Squared was a life saver.

You know the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? This is that picture from Bee’s tutorial:

Oh, and here’s the finished quilt in all its glory:

I couldn’t stop looking at it all day yesterday after I’d finished it. This (as yet unnamed) quilt took six months of thinking about, a fortnight of design and planning (including my false start with the unworkable thin stripes on my original design), and 24 hours over 2 weeks to cut, stitch, quilt, bind and finish.

It’s now drying on the radiator. I always wash my quilts before I give them to their new owners. That way I can be confident about how they survive in the washing machine (this is a baby quilt after all, and is going to have something spilt on it at some point) and I can also make sure that the finished quilt is clean of all evidence of pricked fingers (pins attack me at every opportunity, just call me Claire-the-human-pin-cushion).

Quick snap taken at 10pm this evening of the new quilt drying, along with some of my children’s soft toys that I discovered during my recent clear out of the loft. Very dusty, they needed a trip through the washing machine too.

Not perfect, but the most ambitious quilt I have ever tried.

Very, very proud Claire Bear

More WIPs here

More quilts here

favourite blogs – the long thread

Another blog that I started following long before I started blogging myself is The Long Thread .

It’s well laid out, easy to see what’s there, there are links to tutorials on other blogs as well as on The Long Thread. I’m constantly finding new stuff on it that helps me, whatever my project. Ellen has a great eye for colour (important for me ) and an easy writing style (important for dyslexic me) and lots of photos (fun for me).

Ellen has even written a book, 1,2,3, Sew and is writing her second 1,2,3 Quilt (guess what that one’s going to be about)

Look at this photo

Don’t you love her style? I wish my photos were as good as hers (I wish my house had stairs like this as well, but that’s another story).

I love this bag of hers:

and I want to make it, but it’ll have to wait until I’ve finished some of my WIPs.

I love this pencil case of hers, too:

cllick to see the tutorial on The Long Thread

I’m thinking of making two for my aunt-in-australia (aka: my godmother, my favourite aunt), who is an artist. I’ll probably make one for her brushes and another one for her pencils. I’ll use grown-up fabrics of course, or maybe not, live is too short to be a grown-up all the time.

Another two for my to-do list!

Busy ClaireBear

WIPs on Wednesday (that I couldn’t show you last week)

Now that all my presents have been given out, I can show you some of the stuff that I have been working on.

An apron for my Mum, specially requested in fabric that I thought I only had in little bits, I was glad to find a large piece at the bottom of the pile.

Some braces (suspenders) for my Dad, made from the back of the legs of the jeans that my son has grown out of (and washed thoroughly, in case anyone is thinking “euw”). I only had to buy clips.
I had a bit of a problem finding a tutorial for these, they all seemed to be for children not adults and elasticated, not plain fabric.  Also, I’m allergic to buttonholes.

I looked at this pattern from Simplicity  (and I do mean just looking at the picture not the actual pattern, if I’d had the pattern, I’d have been laughing!) and this explanation from E-How and then worked it out on my own, but I did cut out two sets of denim pieces just in case. I also looked at this tutorial from Simple Simon, this tutorial from Running with Scissors and this tutorial from Me Sew Crazy as well. They are all for children, but a kid’s tutorial was better than none at all. It’s going to be a long time before I recover from making these, but eventually I will make some more and then I’ll take photos for a tutorial. Probably.

A lined mini tote for each of the women in my family.

The Russian doll one in front is for my sister-in-law who lived in Russia for a little while before marrying my brother (I saw the cotton-linen-mix fabric on eBay and had to get it). Three of them have the same outer fabric, two have the same linings, all are gorgeous (even if I do say so myself) and I’m feeling very proud of myself right now (can you tell?). Also, my SIL went “Aaaah! Matryoshka! I love this bag!”

(And one for me too)

Lined mini totes with proper squared off bottoms, big enough to take a book and a snack. My first attempt at totes with a gusset (although I’ve made them in my head so many times). They worked out pretty well, don’t you think?

The tutorial from Teresa Down Under helped a lot, especially the straps and the bottom corners (you can see that I didn’t use patchwork or put in a ruffle). I’ve seen a lot of tote tutorials, and I’ve put off making them for ages, but in the end it only took two hours to make all four of them (and I swear that half of that time was spent ironing/pressing the fabric) .

All of them are made the same way, with drop in linings (basically, make two identical bags, turn one of them the right way out, then drop the inside-out one inside the other one , top stitch around the top, catching the handles as you sew and Bob’s your Uncle!)

There are a load of mini tote tutorials on You Tube as well…

…pages and pages of them. Sometimes it’s easier to watch someone else do it.

Go on, have a try yourself, a mini tote doesn’t take much fabric, and I managed to make all 4 and only had to pull out some of the stitching on the first one, the others went together fine and know I know how to sew mini totes!

Proud Claire Bear

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