Category Archives: Techniques

Back-to-Front Binding Tutorial

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One alternative to making traditional binding is to make a quilt-back big enough to fold over to the front of the quilt and sew in place.  That’s right, you can use the backing for the binding!  I’ve had a tutorial for this process up on the blog – it was one of my very first posts back in 2010!  But that tutorial needed some updates – here we go!

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Filed under Quilting, Techniques, Tutorial

Laurel in Red

Coletterie has launched a new pattern called The Laurel and is having a contest!  And it just so happens that this contest is happening at the same time as Made By Rae’s Spring Top Sew-Along showcase/contest!  So I had double inspiration to make a couple of tops.

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Here’s my first Laurel blouse!  I made it with some red polka-dot fabric that was handed over to me from a friend.  I think it’s rayon?  It goes swish-swish when you rub it against itself, it doesn’t wrinkle, it pretty transparent, doesn’t fray, and it holds its shape.

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Adjustments to the pattern included dropping the armhole down an inch, reducing the shoulder ease, adding about three inches to the waist and another to the hem (!! am I really that stretched out!?!?) and I moved the back darts down an inch.

Also – instead of bias tape binding for the raw edges, I did piping!!!!!  I am so happy with this choice.  I think the edges look super sharp and it was SO EASY (especially since I just used ready-made piping binding from the store).

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Yay new blouse! Clap clap.

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Filed under Challenges, Clothes, Fabric, Techniques

Trapezoids at Work – Quilt Top and Tutorial

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After seeing THIS IMAGE float around pinterest ( “Trapezoid Love” by Melanie Mikecz), I knew I wanted to do a wonky tumbler quilt.  And, like the inspiration piece, I wanted my points to match.  Wow… how was I going to make a liberated trapezoid quilt (no meticulous calculating and template-making), and still get the points to match?

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It took a couple of unsuccessful trial runs before coming up with this method.  It’s not for everyone – at the end, you’ve got the entire quilt-top in your lap and you’re completing seams and wrestling and it’s a bit gnarly.  But I LOVE the final product.  I see more of these in my future…

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I’ll chat a bit more about this quilt when I finish quilting it and binding it, but for now – a full tutorial!  I have no idea if the below will make any sense, but I tried my best and… you know… it’s free for you to read.

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Pattern Walkthrough – Vogue 8615 in Jersey

After seeing this post, I knew that once I felt I had a handle on garment sewing, I wanted to try to replicate this look: Vogue V8615 Very Easy in a jersey.

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I cannot emphasize enough googling the name of the pattern before proceeding to sew a garment.  Find all the blog posts you can and read up on the desired alterations.  After reading though a bunch of posts I knew I was going to…

  • Alter the neckline so it wasn’t such a dramatic boat-neck. (I didn’t want my bra straps peeking out).
  • Cut the front bodice piece on the fold of the fabric so it didn’t have a center-seam.
  • Not do a zipper (the jersey would allow me to stretch the dress over my head).
  • Lengthen the torso and the sleeves
  • Adjust the ease on the shoulders.
  • Adjust the sleeve pattern to avoid the elbow dart.
  • Use stay tape on the neckline, skirt hem, and sleeve hems.
  • Only line the bodice – not the sleeves or the skirt.
  • Not do pockets.

Read on for tips on pursuing each of these alterations and for a general walk-though on the pattern!

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Pattern Walkthrough – BurdaStyle Princess Seam Pencil Skirt

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I needed a sharp looking skirt that would work for winter, and I turned to some handwoven fabric I received as a present and this chic Burda Style Pattern.

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If you are interested in learning how to put a vent into a slim-cut dress or skirt, how to add a lining, or tips on working with handwoven fabrics, read on!

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Archicoop! Quilt Top

Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander is the first line of fabric where I needed every.single.piece.  So wasn’t I a lucky duck to get a 1/2 yard bundle of the entire line for Christmas?! (Thanks, hubs!)

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The colors shout “Spring!” and ever since I saw Rossie’s Pebble Quilt, I’ve been hankering to make an egg blanket.

The pattern on this fabric is so geometric and linear, could it work for this design?  I needed to do a Photoshop mock-up!  (Check out this STUPID EASY tutorial for how to make something like this – I was shocked at the ease!)

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I looked good to me, so I went ahead and started making my egg blocks using Rossie’s Applique tutorial.  If you’ve seen the Famous Porthole Quilt by Lucie Summers I think this is the method!

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I verged from Rossie’s tutorial in a couple of places.  For one, I didn’t trim the seam allowances before flipping the facing to the back.  I found that the facing would flip easier if I had more fabric to convince it to go with the flow.  And instead of top-stitching the layers together, I opted to pull out my fabric glue stick and do the Six Minute Circle method.    Just a couple dabs of water-soluble glue on the flipped fabric and stick it to your egg.  Then you sew along the same line from when you sewed your flipping fabric into place.  Essentially, you are sewing the seam allowance from the foreground piece to the egg background piece.  Go slow.  You can do it.

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No top-stitching! No hand-sewing!

After I sewed my facing to the egg fabric, I clipped the seam allowances.

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Pretty quilt top!  Ready for backing and batting and basting and quilting and binding.

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Filed under Fabric, Inspiration, Techniques, Tutorial

Sew and Turn Applique

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Do you love the look of needle-turn applique, but don’t have the skills or the patience to pull-off the technique? Then this style of applique is for YOU! No needle-turning, no raw-edges, no cutting of precise shapes; Yes gorgeous, and polished appliques in ANY SHAPE YOU CAN IMAGINE.

I’ve used this technique for a boat-load of projects, such as…
This red tree quilt and its leaves:

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These clouds:

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And this quilt top I’ve had in the works:

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Read on for a full tutorial!

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Filed under Techniques, Tutorial

Panama Wave Pillows

My sister-in-law had a bunch of leftover fabric after re-upholstering some chairs, so she asked me to make some pillow covers!

I took this as the perfect opportunity to learn how to install invisible zippers.  I used this tutorial and it was totally painless!

The fabric is Panama Wave by Waverly.

Oldest son photobomb

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Filed under Fabric, Pillow, Techniques

Photoshop’s Content Awareness – A love letter.

Dear Photoshop with your awesome Content Aware feature,

From the first moment I watched your promotional youtube video, it’s been love.  I love you.

Thanks to you I was able to take this picture (a quilt, with legs, and fingers, on a stand)…


… and turn it into this picture.  And it only took 60 seconds.

Magic quilt floats magically.

If you, reader, think I am fancy enough to be sponsored by Adobe – thanks!  But I’m sad to report I am not  : ( 

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Filed under Techniques

Scallop Shorts Tutorial

On Pinterest (of course) I saw these adorable scalloped shorts from J.Crew.  But the price tag ($100?!)  and the pleated front made them unlikely to ever be purchased.  So I decided to alter a pair of shorts and make my own!

Find a pair of shorts or pants

Draw a scallop pattern.

You want to have a whole number of scallops – no half scallops – cover the bottom hem of your new shorts.  So take the circumference measurement of the leg from where you want the tip of the scallop to hit.  On mine it was 20 inches around – divided by 6 scallops gave me 3 1/3 inches.  It takes a little guessing.  I made my scallops be 2 1/4 inch long and sketched my curve.  Once it looked right, I folded the scallop in half and cut out the shape.

Trace the scallop shapes on a rectangle of lining fabric and pin it to the RIGHT side of the shorts fabric.

Start in the inside thigh seam of the shorts – that way if things don’t end up lining up perfectly, it’ll be in an inconspicuous place.

Sew **on** the trace line, using a very tight straight stitch.

When you’re done sewing, cut off the excess fabric leaving a very scant (less than 1/8″) seam allowance. Clip into the valleys between the scallops. Be careful not to clip the threads.

Flip the lining fabric into the shorts. The valleys between the scallops may look a little funky. Use your seam ripper to knock out a couple of these threads and things will lay flat.

After ripping out a couple of stitches in the valleys, things look great! If you are going to top-stitch your shorts, no worries here. If you are not planning on top-stitching, you will want to blind stitch the valley where you snipped the stitches so things don’t fall apart.

Top stitch the scallops for a finished look.  You can also blind stitch a folded over edge of the lining material to the inside of your shorts.  This will keep everything laying nice and smooth even after washing.

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