All posts by teresa

Thoughts on: Making the Bartow

Bartow-2As part of the 30th anniversary of Kona Cotton, 30 different designers were asked by Robert Kaufman Fabrics to design something to show off the beauty of Kona colors. I was particularly enamored with Carolyn Friedlander’s quilt: Bartow, so when my young friend Maya asked for that one, I was pretty excited to get the chance.

I still have a nice stash of Kona Cotton (one of the perks of working for RK in 2014), so Maya and I dug through the them. She chose the Elizabeth Hartman Patchwork City: Autumn bundle, which includes a whole lot of purples, blues and green. Then I chose an additional 20 from a 10-Square of the Dusty Palette Konas.

Then I start cutting hundred and hundreds of strips.

Then I sewed hundreds of strips together. A bunch after work, then the rest at home.

I pressed them to the color side and organized them with the infinitely handy Wonder Clips.

I organized strips and then sewed them together into rows. Then started putting those rows together.

Which went just fine until the fifth row, when it didn’t quite fit… 

What the what?!

So, come to find out, the 1/4-inch stitch on the machine at the Fabric Depot sewing studio doesn’t give me the same 1/4-inch stitch as my machine as home. I didn’t realize it, but sewing all of those strips together and losing just a smidge on each seam caused my strips to be almost THREE INCHES too short.

Three inches. That’s what happens when one machine is stitching a quarter-inch seam just 1/16th of an inch larger than the other.

So for now, I’m picking out some of the seams to re-sew them and hope I can make this work without re-doing it all.

Lesson learned: Check your quarter-inch seam when switching between machines. I should have listened to you, Mandi.

How to: Add Weight and Emery to Your Pincushion

Four Patch Pincushions So I have a little pincushion addiction. I love making these little guys and after making a few dozen of them, I’ve figured out a few tricks to make them even more useful. The most important part is adding some weight. I also add covered buttons for a special pop. For my own and those I sell locally, I make emery balls.

The weight is really a necessity to make the pincushion usable. If you’ve ever had one that was filled only with polyester batting, you know how light it is. Great for shipping, but sucks for keeping your pincushion on the table. Instead it seems to just float away.

I use a few things to weigh down my pincushions. Generally I use the ground walnut shells. You can buy them in bulk at pet stores, but for personal projects, it’s just as easy to pick up a small bag at your local quilt shop. They come in plain and lavender scented, if that’s your kind of thing.  You can also use short-grain rice or lentils if you are in drier climates. Even here in the PNW I’ve never had an issue with rice, but I’ve hear that others have.

But how do you get the weight in there? I’ve seen a few where they just mix it in with the stuffing, but I prefer to keep it strictly at the bottom, so I add a layer to the bottom of mine. Continue reading How to: Add Weight and Emery to Your Pincushion

Handmade Holidays Time!

hh2015I’m excited to be the one to kick off the Handmade Holidays over at Sew,Mama,Sew! If you’re new to the series, you’re gonna love this. Every year Handmade Holidays runs through November, each day offering up tutorials gathered by a variety of designers, authors, and bloggers.

My focus was Gifts for Crafty People and I included tutorials for a pincushion, apron, clock, lanyard, crochet hook case and my own needle book. Plus there are a couple of my favorite recipes (mmm!) and some printables. Continue reading Handmade Holidays Time!

Bespoke Baby Quilt: Start to Finish

I love when clients send me pics because this is why I make quilts:

The first quilt I made was for my son, twenty-three years ago. Since then I’ve made dozens more, both for my family members and for clients.  Every time I make one, I imagine how it will not only wrap the little one in love, but it will also be drooled on, chewed, dragged, and dirtied, then washed and dried so it can start all over again. My favorite thing may be a love-worn baby quilt. Continue reading Bespoke Baby Quilt: Start to Finish

Pattern Review: Sew House Seven Albert Street Pencil Skirt

Alberta Street Pencil Skirt

I first saw this pattern at work; one of our sample sewists had made it up in a cute print and it sat out on the floor taunting me for weeks. Then I saw it on Instagram. Then I ran into Michelle at Quilt! Knit! Stitch! and she was wearing it. I asked a few questions about her experience with the pattern–any problems? Instructions good? How’s the fit? Her biggest feedback: Get a fabric with some stretch. The slim fit led to more than one popped seam for her.

I happened to have some Stretch Corduroy (21 Wale) that I’d bought from Robert Kaufman Fabrics and have been holding on to, just waiting for the right project. I figured this just might be it. The bottom weight, stretchiness and my long-standing love of corduroy made it a great option and one I’d totally recommend. Continue reading Pattern Review: Sew House Seven Albert Street Pencil Skirt

The Importance of Pressing

“It’s a waste of time. I’ll just iron it when I’m done.”

The first time I heard someone say this I audibly gasped, horrified that anyone would put off pressing. But the mm-hmming  of those around me made me realize that it was a common sentiment.

As a long-time garment sewist, the need to press as-you-go has been drilled into me, but many quilters and new garment sewists don’t realize  the difference it can make in the final outcome.

Because I can be a bit fanatical (I prefer devout) about this aspect of sewing and quilting, Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio invited me to share my experience and tips in her Back to School Blog Hop. If you haven’t checked out Cheryl’s post about the quilter’s knot or Peta’s post about diagonal quilt backs, go check them out. And make sure to follow along with the rest of these talented quilters and sewists: Continue reading The Importance of Pressing

Introducing the Hexy Bottom Bag

It’s here, at last–the Hexy Bottom Bag! The pattern has been written, edited, tested, edited again and finally, with the help of my daughter we got the photos taken and the pattern finished.

(insert cheers from the crowd here)  

I love how it turned out with a circle on the top, hexagon on the bottom. It’s big enough to store lots of stuff, but adding the little pockets keeps you from losing things.  I made up a bunch of these in the process of designing it and perfecting the pattern, so I’m using one as a scrap bucket on my sewing table. My daughter is using this one for her crochet stuff. A friend is using hers to store her rotary cutter, scissors, small rulers, etc. I’m thinking I might give some to my nephew for Christmas to store Legos in, too. I want to try it with laminated cotton, too, and stick a potted plant in it (sans pockets). It’d be cute, right?!


Continue reading Introducing the Hexy Bottom Bag

Row by Row Experience — have you played along?

Before this spring I’d never even heard of the Row by Row Experience, but from what I hear, I’m not the only one.

This nationwide shop hop is right up my alley, promoting brick-and-mortar shops and the quilters who love them. My work over the years with shop owners has given me a real love for the them and all the effort they put into have a local place for us fabric petters to converge. The folks behind Row by Row Experience are on the same wavelength and started this hop a couple years back to encourage quilters to seek out and visit their local quilt shop, then go on a little road trip to visit others. <3!

This year there are several shops in the Portland area participating, including Fabric Depot, Cool Cottons and Modern Domestic (is it weird that I’ve worked with all them at some point over the last three years?!). Each has a free row pattern for you, but you have to go into the actual shop to get it. And while you’re there… buy some fabric and notions.

Working with Fabric Depot, I got to design three different rows for the Row by Row Experience participants–applique, paper piecing, and patchwork.Row by Row - Bridge Row by Row - Mountains Row by Row - Sailboats

It’s been a bit crazy with thousands of patterns being taken and hundreds of kits bought. Awesome and nutty. It’s a challenge to try and keep up, but I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see people liking the designs. 

Get on in to your local shop and see what they’ve got. I’d love to see what you make!

Let’s Talk: Sewing Pillows

IMG_3043Head over to Sew, Mama, Sew for an inside scoop on how to make pillows that look more professional than a simple envelope pillow cover. I did a guest post for them earlier in the month, but forgot to get it published over here. Oops!

I’ve been making pillows for a while and have them up as PDX Pillows on Etsy and have figured out a few tricks that make a real difference in the final appearance.

One important thing that I don’t really talk about in the SMS post is the choice of pillow form. I prefer a down pillow form, but they can be hard to find (and expensive!). Instead I have been using the Home Elegance pillows from Poly-Fil. They have them at work and feel more like down than most other pillow forms. They sell for $20-25 for a 20-inch square pillow, so they cost a bit more than your typical stuffed pillow form, but they feel so much better. And really, when you’re leaning back against pillows on your sofa, you want them to feel nice.

Do you have other tricks for making nice pillows? Do you prefer invisible zippers or lapped? What’s your take on button closures?