Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Cutting Mat Bag

When the children were babies I used to say that going anywhere with them was like moving house – there always seemed to be so many things that I had to pack just for a day out. Now the children have grown up and left home and I feel the same way about going to quilting workshops. I’m sure that other quilters are much better organised than I am, but I seem to end up with lots of bags with bits of this and that in them. That’s why I decided that it was time for a cutting mat bag.

My cutting mat is 24” by 18” and my ruler is 18” by 6” so I have designed my bag around those measurements. I’ve kept it really simple, but obviously you can embellish your bag far more than I have done.

To make this bag you will need one 26” strip, one 8” strip and one 2.1/2” strip cut across the width of two fabrics.

From the 8” strip in both fabrics cut one 16” length and cut the remainder in two. In my case that gave me two strips at 9.1/2”. These will be for pockets for the rotary cutter and scissors. Trim these 9.1/2” lengths to 5” wide rather than 8”.

Place these strips of fabric with right sides together and sew together on two long sides and one short side to create three pouches.

Turn the pouches right side out and press.

Trim the 26” strip of both fabrics along the selvedge to give a width of about 40”. This will allow your cutting mat to slide easily in and out of the bag. Measure 10” in from one side along the 40” edge and place the middle of the 16” pouch with the open end in line with the raw edge of the brown fabric. The brown fabric is right side up as this will be the front of the bag. Place the other two pouches either side of the large pouch about an inch either side.

Check that the right hand pouch isn’t too close to the edge of the brown fabric. Sew up the two sides of each pouch. These will form the pockets for the ruler, rotary cutter and scissors, so don’t sew across the top.

Fold the brown fabric in half so that it measures 26” by 20” and sew the two seams across the side and bottom. This creates the outer bag. Fold the yellow fabric in the same way to create the bag lining, but only sew down one 26” length to create a tube. Don’t sew across the bottom of the bag lining at this stage.

Now to the handles of the bag. Take the two 2.1/2” strips of fabric. With right sides together sew the brown strip to the yellow strips along both long edges to create a tube. Cut in half and turn the tubes right side out. Press and top stitch along both long edges of each handle to hold them in place.

Pin the handle strap edges to the top edge of the bag as shown. Do the same on the other side of the bag. Pull the bag lining down over the bag and handles with right sides together and line up all the raw edges around the top of the bag.

Sew around the top of the bag and then pull the bag lining up so that it stretches out above the bag. Turn under a small seam at the open end of the bag lining and sew the seam close to the edge to close the lining. Push the lining down inside the bag and pin and sew a line of top stitching around the top of the bag.

With your new cutting mat bag you can now carry cutting mat, scissors and rotary cutter much more easily to your next quilt workshop.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Hope to see you again soon.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Card Trick Quilt Block

Whenever anyone mentions giving depth to quilts, I always think of the card trick quilt block. This is such an easy way to trick the eye into thinking that those cards are overlapping each other.

In fact, it is just a series of half square and quarter square triangles and the secret is of course in using colour.

This is a nine patch quilt block and the patches are sewn together in three rows of three.

You will need one fabric for the background and four fabrics for the cards. In the four card fabrics you will need one 4.1/2” square cut once along the diagonal to make two triangles and you will need one 4.7/8” square cut across both diagonals to make four triangles.

In the background fabric you will need two 4.1/2” squares cut once along the diagonal and one 4.7/8” square cut into quarters.

Sew one background large triangle to one large card triangle and repeat with the other three fabrics.

Sew one white small triangle to each of the card small triangles and then sew one green and yellow triangle together and one pink and brown triangle together. It’s important to get the triangles on the correct side of each other, so do check the photo before sewing.

The first row of patches is as shown on the right: one pink/white half square triangle unit, one brown half square triangle with a pink/white quarter square triangle unit and one brown/white half square triangle unit. Sew the two parts of the middle square together and then sew the squares together across the row.

The second row is made of three squares as shown. Sew together the two parts of each square and then sew the three squares together.

The third row is as shown. Sew the three squares together and then sew the three rows together to make an eyecatching card trick quilt block.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Hope to see you again soon.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Shadow Applique Heart

With Christmas approaching, I'm going to try and start posting more small projects that would make great gifts and don't take too long to make.  This shadow applique heart would make a great dressing table coaster for someone special. It’s really easy to make and I’m sure that you could make yours more flat than mine is.

Shadow applique is just normal applique with a layer of organza, net or some other fabric that is totally see through laid on top. It gives a lovely sheen to the fabric.

Begin with the applique shape of your choice. I have chosen a simple heart. Back it with fusible interfacing and press to the background fabric – a 9.1/2” white square in this case. The right hand photo shows the organza layer on top: you can see how it tones down the fabric and gives a lovely sheen.

Place the backing fabric right side down and lay the batting on top. Lay the heart on top of this and then the layer of organza. Baste the edge of the square and baste the heart.

Using a small running stitch, quilt around the edge of the heart. I’ve shown front and back here. I then added a further echo line of stitching ¼” outside the first line of stitching.

Using a plate or something similar draw a circle as large as possible on the square and cut along the line. Pin as the basting will now have been cut off. I know that this seems an odd way of doing it, but I wanted to be sure of how far out the heart and quilting went before I cut the circle.

Bind as for any quilt, but don’t forget to use binding cut on the bias. Because the binding is on top of the organza layer, it shows up as a richer colour than the heart itself, giving a lovely contrast.

This was made as a gift for a girl – somewhere for her to put her jewellery when she took it off – but it could just as easily be made with another shape (holly leaves for example) to make a lovely Christmas gift.  You can't beat handmade gifts for really showing that you care.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Hope to see you again soon.

Monday, 3 October 2011

I Spy Quilts With Flaps

I love I Spy quilts both because they are such fun to make and because they can often be used as stash busters.
I made this I Spy Quilt with flaps over each quilt block. I've used 2.1/2" wide sashing (finished size 2") between the blocks to separate the flaps from each other.

The flaps are made from a nine patch quilt block sewn to a plain 6.1/2" square on three sides so that it makes a pouch.

To make the nine patch quilt block, sew together 2.1/2" strips of fabric: one strip of dark, light, dark fabric and one strip of light, dark, light fabric. Cut these strips at 2.1/2" intervals and with right sides together sew three strips together as shown in the photo. You could sew two plain squares together (right sides together) on three sides but I just felt that a nine patch block looked good as a flap.

Turn these flap pouches right side out and press. My I Spy Quilt was made of four rows of four quilt blocks, so I needed sixteen flaps.

Now for the I Spy quilt blocks! I began by rummaging through my fabric stash to find any pictorial fabric. I cut 6.1/2" squares of any that gave me images and sewed a 6.1/2" strip of sashing fabric to the right hand side of the square. Sew these squares together in a row with four blocks to a row.

Sew one further 6.1/2" sashing strip to the left hand side of the row of quilt blocks so that the row begins and ends with a sashing strip. Pin a nine patch flap on top of each quilt block with the open end of the pouch at the top. Cut a 34" length of sashing and with right sides together sew this across the the top of the row.

For the quilt blocks I used shapes (a triangle block and a star block), applique, lots of different colours, embroidery .... anything that took my fancy, basically. The butterflies on the left were cut in felt and then sewn onto a plain square of fabric. I sewed the edge with blanket stitch and then used backstitch for the feelers.

To make this applique butterfly square, I backed the fabric with interfacing and cut out the entire shape. Then I backed some black fabric with interfacing, cut out the shape of the body and feelers only and placed this on top of the original shape. This way I had a block with layers to give texture - more to talk about with the child. To secure the butterfly I zigzagged all round.

When you have finished playing and have four rows of four quilt blocks, sew a 34" strip of sashing across the top of each row and sew this sashing strip to the bottom of the quilt block row above it. I find that it is worth pinning up the flaps of the row above so that they don't catch in the seam.

Finally sew a strip of sashing across the bottom of the quilt top and that's your I Spy Quilt ready for layering, quilting and binding.  The video shows some of the techniques:

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Hope to see you again soon.