Art Gallery Fabric's Fat Quarter Gang!
Fer-shizzle! This has to be the best gang evah! I can't wait to see what they do with LillyBelle!
Check out the details about Art Gallery Fabric's Fat Quarter Gang and get involoved here.
Art Gallery Fabric's Fat Quarter Gang!
Fer-shizzle! This has to be the best gang evah! I can't wait to see what they do with LillyBelle!
Check out the details about Art Gallery Fabric's Fat Quarter Gang and get involoved here.
Bari J. + Suzy-Homemaker = Kid Pattern Yumminess!
About a year ago I mentioned to my friend Suzy of Suzy-Homemaker if she'd like to do a project with me. I adore Suzy. She's not only an incredible designer, she's also one of the best friends a girl could ask for.
It's been a long time coming... please welcome Suzy as the first licensed pattern designer for Bari J.! I love what she's done with the first two girls clothing patterns. Both are available this June. Retailers, please contact me for ordering information at Bari at BariJonline dot com.
Also coming in June... two bag patterns by yours truly...
All of the fabrics featured are from my LillyBelle line for Art Gallery Fabrics.
Good heavens, I think I just gave birth to an 15 pound baby!
(A fabric line reveal!)
For whatever reason, this line was incredibly difficult to bring to life. It was in my head, but I couldn't get it out. I kept telling Pat, "I'm stuck. I'm stuck.". And then suddenly, I was unstuck... and out she came! It was like giving birth, no kidding. And, dang the kid had a big head.
Here is just a little sneak peek ... She's inspired by my latest obsession, Downton Abbey. I have my sister-in-law, Mary (my brother's wife... we have a couple Marys), to thank for getting me hooked. Thank you, Mary!
Making projects look professional... pillow details and a zipper how-to.
Today was the start of pillow making for my quilt market booth. If there's anything I've come to really understand in the past few years, it's the details that really count in making projects look professional. For pillows in particular there are a couple details that I think make things really have polish.
On this pillow, you'll note several things. First, the corners are rounded. After I cut, I always take a bowl from the kitchen and draw rounded lines at the corners. This way, I don't have those dog-eared corners where there's no fluff.
Second, I always cut my fabric an inch shorter than the pillow size. If I have a 24" pillow, I cut at 23". When I pop the pillow form in the cover, it really fills it up nice and fluffy. Love that.
Another thing that I'm really loving these days in the way of detail is adding things like piping and ruffles... and fringe. And pom poms. Here, there's piping outlining the mid-section of this pillow. I think adding a detail like this gives added punch and definition. For the ruffle I used a solid from Art Gallery Pure Elements to frame the pillow very nicely. The Pure Elements colors are uber-rich. If you are interested in an easy way to do piping, I love using Nancy's Zieman's Wrap and Fuse piping which made by Clover. It makes piping super easy. It is cording covered with fusible web, so you simply cut your fabric, wrap it around and fuse it together, saving you a sewing step... and pins. I adore it. Also, it comes in several sizes.
I additionally think that a pillow should be fluffy. I always use fusible fleece as interfacing to give it some added oompf.
One last thing... it's easy to make a pillow back where you overlap two pieces, insert the pillow between and use ribbon or trim to tie it, but I think a zipper makes it have a professional polish you really can't get with the overlapping method. A couple years ago, I learned an extra easy way to do this... here's how...
I hope that helps, and if you want, on the next pillow I'll videotape as I go along... I have at least two more to go before market!
Details on the fabric here: The maing fabrics are LillyBelle, of course... the center is Lily Bouquet and the sides are Flower Pop. The piping is Art Gallery's lace elements, and like I said before, the ruffle is an Art Gallery Pure Elements.
Home and a Quilt.
We finally got word from the bank. They accepted our bid on the short sale. Which means we got an exceptional deal on a really awesome house! With a pool. This has been a seriously long road and I realize it could have been far far longer and more difficult. And for that, I am grateful.
We won't be moving in until after quilt market which is mid-may though we close on the house May 4... I just can't imagine finishing up quilt market prep and moving at the same time. So, we will wait until I get back which is really a blessing because the kids finish school for the year two days after I get home. The furniture will arrive the day after Em's graduation.
In other news, I finished the next fabric line for Art Gallery, and it will be available to see at quilt market in may at Art Gallery's booth. I need to think up a name, stat. Meanwhile, my booth will be filled to the rim with LillyBelle which ships in June. The sewing with LillyBelle has begun in earnest. I need loads and loads of aprons for part of my booth, so if you're interested in sewing a full length apron with the pattern of your choice, let me know. There's free fabric involved in that deal, you know... and of course, after market, the apron is yours to keep.
Above: first blog of starlight quilt... which will be a free download.
"Quilts Take You Home" ...
Between sewing samples and designing patterns for quilt market from my limited LillyBelle strike-off stash, designing a new line which will debut at market, and house hunting (we are still waiting on the short sale) just one of the many things I've worked on in the past couple weeks is this fun pattern cover for Road Home Quilting.
Now I'll be immersed in the new line plus a special little project for Miss Kay at Serendipity Studio until at least Friday... I've promised myself I'll finish two prints a day. Then it's sewing sewing sewing sewing sewing sewing... If I don't surface before May 14, please send reinforcements.
Welcome to the World of...
LillyBelle. For me, a whole world came to life in a fabric line. It's LillyBelle's world. I imagine her gathering flowers in her gorgeous garden estate on a quiet morning. She peacefully reads in a cozy library while she waits for the noon chime of mora clocks. The chateau is gracefully decorated in moire silks and beautiful lace. Here and there there we find pieces collected from trips to far away lands. Sweet and smart LillyBelle drinks her afternoon tea on the lawn sitting in a beautifully worn rocking chair. She gazes at fields of bright wild flowers. It's a whimsical fantasy, this land of LillyBelle. For if you are going to dream, dream it all, take liberties. Dream bright and lush. Dream soft and airy. Let worlds collide. In my imagination, colors of the past are transformed as evening falls into modern brights that pop like joyful rockets creating a "warm sunset". By morning colors languidly fade back to the soft hues of yesteryear soothing and relaxing for a "cool sunrise".
LillyBelle. She's strong and fierce, bright and clever, sentimental and soft. LillyBelle goes where I dare to dream she can go.
Pull up a chair. Rev up your sewing machines. Create a bit of LillyBelle's world for yourself.
Coming to stores June 2012. Retailers and manufacturers can order now through Art Gallery Fabrics.
LillyBelle Tweetchat Recap
If you missed our tweetchat earlier today, here is a recap. This is just part of the conversation. To view it in entirety, search #LillyBelle on Twitter.
@crowzandroses: Where did you start in the design process: design, color or shape?
@BariJ: I almost always start with color.
@crowzandroses: How do you choose? Favorite color or an item?
@BariJ: Partially I choose color based on trends and partially just what mood strikes me.
@artgalleryfabrics: FB Question...will you have sewing patterns released using your new fabrics?
@BariJ: I will definitely have new sewing patterns featuring LillyBelle. Can't wait!
@crowzandroses: Was it hard to eliminate or did it all come together easily?
@BariJ: It was hard to eliminate certain designs, plus this line went through a huge metamorphosis from beginning to end.
@ellieannapurses: How many designs in this collection?
@BariJ: There are ten designs in 2 different colorways each. It's very diverse and super fun!
@MelissaStramel: Where did the name come from?
@BariJ: Was simply after a beautiful woman's name… imagining her grand estate and gardens. This is the home of LillyBelle.
@MelissaStramel: Will you have a booth at Spring Quilt Market.
@BariJ: Yes. I will be right next to the Art Gallery Fabrics Showroom booth.
@crowzandroses: Do you see it more for smalls or home dec or will it work for larger quilts?
@BariJ: We were very careful to make sure that pieces fit into charm pack sizes, and kept some larger.
@BariJ: I'd say it's a large array of sizes. Some very small (the zig zag) and some large (the lilies). But even the large prints we were careful to make sure that good bits would be visible in a charm pack size.
@BariJ: I can see it being used for home dec, clothing, purses, quilts and more!
@Caraquilts: Will the larger print be good for collaging? like from your book Inspired to Sew?
@BariJ: Yes! Most definitely!!! Collage is always in my mind when designing fabrics.
@ArtGalleryFab: LillyBelle will be great for collaging... the style is funky vintage and works well with the collage style.
@BariJ: I think it's the color palette that makes for a funky style plus the the mixture of scale.
@CaraQuilts: Will LillyBelle be able to be combined with any past collections? or planning for future?
@BariJ: I think that I tend to keep with palettes that combine well together. I'd say it could be mixed.
@CaraQuilts: What is your dream project to see LillyBelle in?
@BariJ: I'd love to see it in home decor. And as I started with purses, I am usually picturing them as I design.
@SzyHomemaker: Will @artgalleryfab ever consider other fabrics such as knits for @BariJ or their other prints?
@Artgalleryfab: We have started printed Voile for some collections, but the possibility of knits still up in the air.
@3kitchenfairies: Tell us about your creative process, what inspired you to create LillyBelle?
@BariJ: I imagine places a lot. I dream of traveling. I tend to look at photos and start with just doodles. An element gets mixed with another. Drawings get put on shelve and then taken back out. Eventually it all comes together.
@fiberosity: What is your favorite color incorporated into the line?
@BariJ: Mustard yellow + raspberry! It's like a great big crazy surprise when u look at it. I LOVE it.
@BdAnderson: What is something different about LillyBelle compared to your other fabrics?
@BariJ: I think that this line has a bit more sophistication than the others. It is definitely a step beyond.
@artgalleryfab: Bari J. offers a more vintage feel to our company but the fabrics are still the same high quality, hand that you love.
@steynhandmade: the background looks quite ikat inspired, is that true?
@BariJ: Silk Moire inspired. It is very textural and meant to be an interpretation.
@3kitchenfairies: please tell?? How did you get to work together??
@BariJ: Pat and I had chatted years ago about working together. The stars really aligned.
@artgalleryfab: Great minds think alike and the pairing was just inevitable ;)
@BariJ: And here's the thing about Pat Bravo :When she says something,she means it. A true good person!
@artgalleryfab: I always wanted 2 work w/ Bari J. and timing was just right this time. We love her style & r super excited she joined our team
@Bdanderson: I love the combo of geometrical and florals - Keep them coming!
@szyhomemaker: I love the 'untraditional traditional' nature of this line, semi-traditional prints in untraditional colors and vice-versa
@BariJ: I love the 'untraditional traditional' nature of this line, semi-traditional prints in untraditional colors and vice-versa.
@BariJ: I'm thrilled to get to have 10 prints in 2 colors rather than 7 or so in 3. Gives shops more variety!
@Crowzandroses: Makes it easier to work with and for stores to sell.
@BariJ: 10 prints gave me many more options when designing the free quilt pattern for this line. So fun.
@SzyHomemaker: I think they're going to be great for garments and home dec for sure -- not just for quilters anymore ;)
@artgalleryfab: FB Q... fb: Start from palette of colors? Doodle designs first and then fill in the color?
@BariJ: I start with a palette of colors which may or may not change. Then I doodle doodle draw doodle and mix and match. designs from years ago can be taken out of files and suddenly they find a home in a line
@caraquilts: Do your teen daughters influence your art?
@BariJ: they tell me very very honestly when something sucks.
@BariJ: But really, having teen girls means I have to keep up on trends or be punished by them. LOL.
@CaraQuilts: Do you ever come up with a design, and think "where did THAT come from?"
@BariJ: Yes! All the time. And when things come together, it happens all at once as an epiphany.
@CaraQuilts: What is your favorite print/colour in the line?
@BariJ: There is a large scale floral you haven't seen all of yet. I'm crazy about it.
My first line with Art Gallery Fabrics will be released soon... for now I'm so excited to tell you a little about it and share a bit of the world of LillyBelle with you! Please watch the video below. Also, please join Pat Bravo and me for a live twitter chat tomorrow at 1PM EST ... details here.
To Hand Quilt or Not to Hand Quilt, That is the Question.
First the plan was to hand quilt the hexie quilt. Then the plan was to machine quilt it myself. Then the plan was to send it to a long arm quilter. Because I have no time right now. Being that, oh, I'm selling a house (and moving), designing fabric lines and sewing patterns that are due soon, I'm throwing Thanksgiving for 30 and my daughter's bat mitzvah is two days later.
Despite all that... I've chosen to do hardest of the three which will take the longest... you know... because I have time for that that's what this quilt was screaming for. So, my sister will have to wait until 324 hexagons are hand quilted to receive her 40th birthday present... probably right around the time of her 50th birthday.
Now, I've done a little bit of hand quilting before and tons of embroidery so in my pea brain I thought this was going to be a piece of cake.
As you can see from the back of my work, It is not a piece of cake. Until you get your groove. And then, suddenly, you get it. The light bulb goes on, your stitches get more even and you realize that the center of the quilt where you started is going to suck while toward the outside, the quilt will be perfection. You consider tearing out the first stitches until you realize you don't have the stomach for that. And you decide it's not so sucky after-all...
Here's what I've learned so far:
2. Do use a thimble of some sort. I like the ones that stick on your finger (even though I'm allergic to the adhesive... if I leave it on too long I get a blister).
3. Stitch toward yourself.
4. Mark your lines if you expect them to be straight... I did that here with a Frixion pen.
4. Don't expect perfection.
You will get it... This is the latest hexie I'm on. The stitches are getting pretty dang even. By hexie 324 I'm sure I can be renamed Bari J., queen of French Knots AND hand quilting.
That will be in 2022. I'll let you know then.
Good Lord, My Sewing Machine is SMOKING!
This is not the way I planned for her to go.
I bought my sweet and lovely Pfaff about eight years ago used and she worked extremely hard for me for those eight years. And she was well taken care of. She had yearly/bi-yearly spa dates over at the sewing machine shop. She has had her circuit board replaced.
But despite all her tender loving care, when it's time, it's time. And you know it's time to replace your beloved sewing machine when certain things happen. One of them is she starts to smoke.
No. I'm not kidding. There was actual smoke coming from the top of my sewing machine. Now granted, I let her cool off for an hour and then sewed two king size pillowcases with her and she seemed just fine. But the truth was undeniable. She'd been on fire. Somewhere within the mechanisms of her sweet little frame, there had been an actual fire. Or was about to be a fire.
I could no longer be in denial. I needed a new sewing machine. And considering what happened to her sister, Babylock Grace, when I opened the rear gate on my SUV (she may or may not have fallen out), I knew I needed a work horse that would not be in need of a backup for at least a little while. (Have no fear. Grace is currently undergoing a series of treatments at the spa. I will need her and all of her stitches very much.)
I ended up buying the above sewing machine, a Juki T2010. I am totally in love. Of course there are a few things I'm not totally in love with, but let me tell you, this baby is a speed demon work horse.
Made of steel, the Juki T2010, has some incredible industrial like features. She's a straight stitching/quilting machine. No fancy schmancy stitches or functions that can break.
Here are the things I love about her:
• Has a built in cutter in the foot pedal. You just step back with your heel and the thread is cut. Love that!
• Great LED lighting.
• Doesn't make any clicking or crazy sounds when you turn her on.
• Has a handsfree knee-lifter lever for the presser foot. This is key when you are fiddling and fuddling with pieces of fabric trying to keep them straight while putting under the presser foot. In fact, I had no idea what I was missing. This thing is the bomb.
• This sucker is FAST and has three speed settings.
• I haven't witnessed it myself yet, but I hear tell she sews through multiple layers flawlessly.
• Has a needle down and feed dogs down position.
• Came with an extension table that has legs that pop up for easy storage. My last table's legs we stationary or screwed in, which made it very difficult to store.
• The stitches look impeccable.
What I don't love:
• The bobbin case is to the side, and it's a little goofy to reach in that way to put it in.
• You have to screw off the presser feet, which is inconvenient.
Overall, I am crazy about this machine so far.
Now, let's get sewing, right? Last night I finally finished my sister Ilisa's 40th birthday quilt using my down and dirty new sewing machine ... It is *slightly* overdue. Her birthday was in April.
But alas, the top is finished and I'm sending it out for quilting!
This quilt is made from Flower Sugar by Lecien and was started last winter. You might want to check out the post. There are links to videos on how to machine stitch a hexie quilt.
I have to admit to procrastinating on this quilt. Once I got to the white hexies it became quite boring and tedius. I'm thrilled it's finished. And I really can't wait to give it to my sister, who I adore. Happy (um, belated) birthday, Ilisa!
There once was a very fickle decorator...
Super Husband doesn't really take well to "knocking holes in the wall" because I need to take a photo for a single pattern cover. He also doesn't take well to rearranging furniture and stuff like that ... This is what he says, "If I knock holes in the walls every time you have take a photo there would be thousands of nail holes in every wall of this house.".
To which I say, "But how am I supposed to stage this quilt and get a beautiful pattern cover? I NEED you to hang a curtain rod over the buffet!". Or "I need you to hang this coat rail in the living room!"
The bottom line here is, the rod over the buffet in the kitchen? And the coat rail in the living room? They are "permanant". Super Husband is "Not. Moving. Them. Again.".
Which means there must always be a quilt hanging above the buffet and in the living room. And the problem with this is that not every quilt I need to take a photo of is always going to look fantabulous with my decor at any given moment. Know what I mean?
Especially since I may or may not be prone to changing curtains and pillows every five to ten minutes... Um. I mean months. It *apparently* *seems* as though I change curtains and pillows every five to ten minutes. Apparently I am very fickle with the decor in this house.
When there's new fabric, there's new pillows. And there are new curtains. Duh.
The only obvious solution is I also need to keep making new quilts to go in these places that go with the curtains and pillows and all the other changes I make every five to ten minutes.
Which is a very long story to tell you the reason for my presto-chango-quilt-o-rama this weekend. Here's the latest "over the buffet" quilt rendition... I'm loving this new one. If you are wondering, the fabric is my Paris Apartment mixed with Atsuko Matusuyama's Fruit Flower Garden printed by YUMA (the seed packets and the border prints). I am thrilled with it's off-centered-ness and somewhat planned scrappy look. And you may or may not notice... I was extremely reserved with color/pattern here... Um. For me, that is.
It took every single ounce of will power I had not to add in one more print or one more color. I was like crazy uber disciplined.
My Loss of Brain Cells? Your Gain!
I wanted to give-away one of these Springtime in Paris Pocketbook kits during the Sewing Summit, and wouldn't you know it, I totally forgot. I'm 42 years old, and apparently my brain has reached it's capacity, thus anything extraeous spills over. It's problematic, really.
The good news is, because I didn't give away a kit when I meant to, and I love to give stuff away (always better than winning), I'm thinking I'll give the kit to a blog reader. I'm sure you agree this is a good idea.
The kit holds about 3/4 yards of fabric combined, interfacings, a zipper, a magnetic closure, ribbon, plastic canvas and a Springtime in Paris Pocketbook sewing pattern. I'm offering up the kit in the orange Paris Apartment fabric colorway in the 14" size.
(This cover was the alternate that didn't get printed... in case you are wondering.)
What you need to do to win is simply leave a comment here. Your comments are numbered. I'll be picking a winner using random.org on Friday, no later than 8PM PST.
Thanks for entering!
And now, for your viewing pleasure, a silly little video I made for Sewing Summit. This video played prior to class starting as people walked in. I wanted to get the party started, you know. I also plied students with chocolate. That's the secret to a good class. Silly songs and chocolate.
The song on this video is called My Pocketbook ... iTunes. I think they have a bunch of great kid's music.
UPDATE: OCTOBER 14, 2011 8:10PM PST
AND THE WINNER IS...
If this is you, hit contact at the top of this page to send me your address!
COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED. PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Sewing Summit and a Bag Handle How-to Video
Warning: I'm about to be somewhat corny. The reason is that I'm still feeling all warm and fuzzy inside from Sewing Summit. As the event approached, I have to admit, was nervous. Would people like my presentation? Will I live up to who people think I may be? Will they be disappointed? How am I going to teach a whole handbag in one hour without the use of any sewing machines?
But in the end, all that anxiety was for nothing. Sewing Summit was filled with down to earth people. There was lots of learning and sewing and it was a low key, accepting atmosphere. All of which we have two wonderful, passionate women to thank, Erin and Amy. The most wonderful part of the weekend was truly meeting all of the "friends in my phone" from Twitter.
While there, I taught Handbags 101. Because I knew I only had an hour (and no one would be sewing) I made a ton of how-to videos for my class. And in the spirit of Sewing Summit (which in the end sorta' felt like it was about sharing and sisterhood as much as sewing), I'd like to share one of them with you. This video is about how to make a cute trendy handle. In it I am referring to my Springtime in Paris Pocketbook pattern (there's a kit here) which I taught in it's entirety. But, of course, these handles can be made for any bag. Happy stitching!
Free Project and Kit Giveaway at Sew4Home
I was away when this project made it's appearance on Sew4Home so I'm sorta' late to the party, but if you make your way over there, you can still download it and comment to win a kit. Good luck!
I thought I'd get more done this summer than I did. In the end, I ususally over estimate my get it done prowess. I know some of you've been waiting on the Beachside Holiday pattern... it will be back from the quilter soon, and I promise I will bind it FAST and take photos. The pattern is done. I'm just waiting on a good photo for the cover. So, if I'm not overestimating my binding skills (ahem) it really will be done shortly.
Also, I did say I'd have the Fall Quilts and More in my shop and it is now there. (Wipes sweat off brow. Marks one thing off The List.)
And now I'm wondering... What else have I promised? Seems like I'm working my tushy off here. Although ... just thinking aloud here... the tushy seems rather large for having worked it off... and on the other hand, the juicing has really been helping... if you wondered.
On the sewing front, I made my little 2 year old nephew a t-shirt. The guy is obsessed with clocks for some reason. My sister has a photo of him sleeping with his wall clock. So for his birthday party he will be wearing this hand embroidered T-shirt. I'll post the pattern over on We Love French Knots for any of you who want a cute simple clock pattern. I hear toddlers love them. Apparently it's not just our little man.
I will admit that I did make curtains for our kitchen again this weekend. I say I'm "admitting it" because I might have a small problem with changing curtains in that same spot...this is the fourth curtain rendition for the area. Can you tell that this is one of my favorite prints from Paris Apartment? (hint: the background on this blog)
I blame it on being a fabric designer (and mind you I am not whining ... I am SO lucky). But you want to use your fabric for everything. And you really shouldn't have four million different fabrics in one room. So I'm trying to go more one tone... I didn't get too far on one tone, but this fabric does have a cream background. And I went and made pillows to go with them. I'm thinking I brought it together by mixing white and cream, no? We are getting closer to matching or something of the sort.
I have a couple projects that have got to get done... stuff for other people's blogs and such and then I swear to the heavens above I will finish that hex quilt that was for my sister, Ilisa's 40th birthday which was in April. I am SUCH a slacker bad sister!!!
Ah, well, as I write, The List, it is a-growing. So have a super day, and happy sewing to you!
Were you wondering where you could get some Paris Apartment Fabric? Cause I know you want to make a Bari J. Green Living Market Bag in it, yo. (snort. I said, "yo" and it wasn't in a sentence with yo-yo.)
Whoa... sidetracked again. My point was ... I was getting to ... I'm making a list of all who carry Paris Apartment Fabric. Below is who I know has it so far. I know there are more stores that have it cause I hear a whole bunch of it sold, so if you are a store who has it, be sure to let me know and I'll add it to the list that I'm about to put on the sidebar. And thank you, btw, for stocking it in your stores. I can't tell you how thrilled I am that you are happy with this line.
In other news, I've started posting embroidery stitch videos on We Love French Knots, so it's time to high tail it over there and get you a look! The big old Grand Launch is about to happen, and you are going to need to know the stitches to win goodies.
This sure has become the land of give-aways lately. It's madness. But I promise you, you are going to want to stick around for this one.
It's time to give away a one of my Paris Apartment design cards for Slice Fabrique!
Of course, you do know that they're available from Strawberry Patches if per chance you don't win. I hear they are really popular at her store. Speaking of which, Susanne, we are passing through in July and I intend to halt the Ackerman-Mobile for a stop there. Hub and the kids will be *thrilled*, I'm sure. But Pam Kitty Morning tells me that it is a must do. And I always listen to Pam. Right, Pam? I always listen.
Wow... I digressed. Where was I?
How about a Slice Fabrique Machine to go with that card? You don't want a card without a machine, do you? That doesn't make much of a giveaway. Luckily, Making Memories has generously offered a machine as well. (No, Mom, Ilisa and Lara, you can not enter this giveaway.)
This little mint green sweetie makes the cutting fast and easy, and of course it is super accurate. As a bonus, I love the sound it makes as it's cutting. It's this low "I'm working and doing my thang" sound. I don't know. It just makes me happy. I also like to look under that clear plastic window and see the mechanism moving. (crazy town? I don't think so. I betcha' you'll do the same thing.)
Below are some projects I have already made. I think my next endeavor will be the dress form. I have a slight penchant for them. I should show you my little dress form collection one day.
You'll probably note that though I've machine appliqued each project I can't help myself but add little embroidered details. I think you should too. It seems only right that when machines are doing most of the other work that you should pitch in a teeny little bit.
This pillow was made for my booth at quilt market. I love that it fills up an entire 16" pillow.
This is another version I did for the card's packaging. As a side note, Making Memories took this photo. I've been wondering whose bed this is because I think it needs a pretty quilt. I'm just saying. It's a nice photo and all, but I'd like to see some Paris Apartment fabric on that bed.
This tea towel comes as free project with full instructions with the card. Indeed, I have been wondering who's kitchen it is in. I'm liking the granite a lot. And I totally want to know what the cups say on the inside. I'll have to ask them about these things, huh?
I'm planning on incorporating this piece into a quilt possibly. You can embroider any message onto the banner that you'd like. This just says, "Paris". Apparently this little birdie has never been and would like to go. (That's a hint, Super Husband... read: I am the little birdie. I want to go to Paris.)
To enter to win...
Leave a comment saying which applique you'll do first and what you'll put it on.
A winner will be picked on Friday the 24th using random.org.
Please visit the Slice Fabrique Blog
and the Slice Fabrique Facebook page for more information about the products.
And the winner is... #166, SoCalGal!
COMMENTS ARE CLOSED, A WINNER HAS BEEN PICKED. Thank you too all who participated for your wonderful comments!!!
I'm so honored my friend, Natalie, asked me to be part of the blog tour for her first book, Cotton Floss. Natalie is an expert stitcher with such an unmistakeable style. I'm crazy for her work. And I know if you are not already a Cinderberry Stitches fan, you will be momentarily. You'll need to find out her other exciting news over at her blog, but here's a hint... she's has something in common with Monica, Lynette, Denise, Sarah, Meg, Brenda, Rosalie and moi.
But with out further Adieu... here it is! Do you love the owls as much as I do?
The dreamy cover leads to super fun projects that feature simple stitches and great ideas.
I particularly love the way Natalie tells a story with each of her designs. This is Lizzie. She's got a "cheeky" and charming personality like her adorable creator.
I couldn't resist diving right into this book. So I started with one of the blocks above. It is also featured as a cover you can make for your books, which is what I'm planning on doing with my block. I framed it with a little Paris Apartment ("le salle du Soleil" or "sun room" in the coral colorway).
I bet you'd love a copy of this book. Natalie generously sent one for me to give away. AND... I'm also throwing in a Paris Apartment charm pack, which by the by mixes quite nicely with our friend Monica's Happy Mochi Yum Yum. (M gave away a charm pack on her end of the tour... I totally copied her for this give-away. You can't blame me, can you? She's got some rockin' good ideas.)
Here's the dealy if you want to win... leave a comment here swearing on your life that if you don't already embroider, you'll start.
Alright. I'm just kidding. But really. Stitch, K? And leave a comment here to tell Natalie that she is the queen of stitches and you love her dearly and that if you don't win, you'll purchase the book straight away.
That's all. I'll pick a winner on Monday. Deal?
Oh, and also, go to all these stops on the blog tour if you haven't already. You'll find not just the tour but a slew of incredible talent.
UPDATE: JUNE 20, 2011 -- The winner is #114
Indianna, please email me at bari at barijonline dot com to claim your prize!
Summer has started, and I'm happily stitching away here in Bari-land... Last night I made this little cutie. I like little patterns you can do in an evening. Especially when my attention span is grossly compromised, like it has been lately. I also like to stitch in the evenings because otherwise I'd be rifling through the fridge looking for something to chow down on. Busy hands = no time to pop chocolate in my mouth.
This is the second Paris Apartment Stitchery Pattern... Fabric Junkie. It features the dress form from my fabric line. I know some of you were worried about doing some of the stitches. So I stayed away from the more difficult stuff. This one would be considered a beginner pattern. It's stitches are back stitch, French knots (limited doses) and a lazy daisy.
You can get the pattern on my website (scroll to bottom) or on patternspot.com.
Secretly... ok not so secretly... my goal is to get everyone embroidering this summer. I'm telling you. It's easy.
I can make it even easier on you: If you'd like to see a demonstration video on the stitches, click here to see my mini-class in C&T publishing's digital lounge.
Grab a hoop, grab some floss and get stitching, people. You're gonna love it.
The original of this piece was made for an auction in SIsters, OR this summer where I'm teaching at The Quilter's Affair. So if you're going to be there come and bid high for a good cause!
But if not... I wouldn't want to leave you out. I've made it into a PDF pattern. And, not to leave you hanging if you don't already know the the stitches... there are 7 embroidery stitches included with detailed instructions and illustrations. Never you mind you'll only use five of them in this pattern. Two are just for fun!
This pattern is based on my Paris Apartment fabric line, and will be one in a series of patterns.
Leigh Ann over at Spincushion did a sweet post about Paris Apartment about a week ago. With it she posted a photo of macaroons, which I hadn't realized are totally the colors I used for Paris Apartment. I couldn't resist. I ran out to Boulange today and got myself some. I had to photograph them with the line. Wow. Who knew?
I'm exhausted. I shouldn't be writing this because I should go to sleep, but I felt compelled to tell you that I'm exhausted. I've finally got my patterns about ready to go to print (thank heavens), I've been sewing like a mad woman and everyone in my house is ticked off at me for ignoring them. And that includes the dogs.
People in this house are not used to me throwing frozen lasagna at them and saying "see ya". And heavens to Betsy, they've had leftovers too. People are not happy with me. They're socks don't match, their clothes are not clean and more than once a teenager has called from school to say, "Hey, my lunch account is not full." That's life in this household right now. That's life in this household the month before quilt market.
Ah well, whatever and whatever. I have my patterns almost ready, I've ordered postcards (above), the booth is being built (thanks to one INCREDIBLE Super Husband who has more fabulous ideas than you can imagine), and samples are being made. Oh, and I ordered "I'm Inspired to Sew" pins for 100 lucky people. I'll pass them out at my book signing (Saturday the 14th at quilt market, C&T booth) and then the rest will get given away at my booth. And "oh" again! I have a surprise, non-fabric related product that will most likely debut in my booth. It's pretty stinking cool, if I say so myself.
Maybe someday I'll send my kids to college with $ from this business and they'll thank me for not matching their socks.
Based on the original Millie Fleur from my handbag line, this new sewing pattern is updated a bit. Now it's fully reversible. It's also easy to sew with a drawstring closure. This pattern will be available early May. Featured here in my Paris Apartment fabric line from Lecien.
Edit (7:20PM): My sister just pointed out that it was the day of my grandma Millie's birthday. This bag is named for her. I knew it was her birthday when I wrote a check this morning, but it didn't occur to me until my sister said something on about it on Facebook. Oddly, I felt driven to post this today. I finished the sample late last night and spent the day photographing. Happy birthday, Grandma. You must be watching down from above.
It even has a pretty back side with a sweet pleated pocket:
And you get two bags for one with it's reverse side.
Since my Paris Apartment samples arrived last week, I've been on a tear to finish my sewing patterns. I'm loving how this one turned out. Jolie Vie will be available to order in early May. This new series of patterns is all about living pretty. I'm hoping you'll be brave and put it on the floor! It's washable and has a felted wool backing so it's nice and cozy too. If you insist on being a sissy, I'll allow it to go on a table top as well. It sure would be "pretty".
I've been giving you snippets here and there of Paris Apartment. I have now been cleared for take-off and can show you the complete collection. As much as I love my three previous lines, there is something so entirely close to my heart in this one. I can't put my finger on it, but when the samples came the other day from Lecien it brought me to tears. The fact that it came from Japan made it even more amazing to me. This line went to print in southern Japan the day before the earthquake and tsunami hit the north. I'm told the mill continued functioning in Osaka. It's due to their hard work and spirit that I am able to hold this fabric at all. As I sew, I will be thinking of them. I can't wait to see the pretty things you all make with it.
Quilt shops: the collection is available to order from Lecien.
Fabric is due to arrive in stores in June.
Be on the lookout for a free quilt pattern coming soon!
Oh, yeah. I'm making room in my studio for a big old load of Paris Apartment sample yardage that should be arriving soon. So how about some "Pretty and Petite Studio Stacks" of Country Lane for your stash? $9.25 for 5 fat quarters. Limited quantities.
This was the first day I had the opportunity to sew in about 2 weeks. I need to finish the edges and bind it. but. Soon. This will be a pattern. It will come in several sizes and varieties. And I just may have figured out the perfect material to back it in to make it nice and thick. I think I'm going to use this one by the bath.
Truly. Nothing can make me happier than making something. I think I may have my mojo back.
Hello again. I've been totally out of it sick with nastiness for the past week on top of the crazy root canal fiasco and have finally gotten around to this point on the to do list... #4,187: List goodies on website. Yeah, I skipped numbers 1 to 4,186, but who's counting? The goodies are there, and that's what matters.
Included are Spring closures for handbags, GORGEOUS real braided leather handles, incredible reproduction ribbons, rhinestone buckles and bags of usable scraps pressed and in big pieces from each of my fabric lines. Oh and PS... I added vintage buttons and baubles as a bonus to each fabric pack. Grab it while it lasts! You can find it all here: click click click.
After a somewhat painful emergency root canal and a itchy all-over allergic reaction to the ensuing anti-biotics (I'll spare you the gross details), I needed this to arrive today. The large floral is the second strike off for this particular Paris Apartment print. And the orange is the exact shade of happy I was looking for. The whole line is now off to production in Japan.
Teaching. It is one of the most satisfying things that I get to do. I feel really lucky that I'm getting to do quite a bit of it this year. The past two Wednesdays I taught my Patchwork Rose handbag from Inspired to Sew. There were four students and each left with a finished or almost finished bag which was really exciting.
Each student did their own version of the original in beautiful fabrics. This one is Sheila's bag. I think the mix of fabrics made it really interesting to look at.
There were the original velvet roses...
And then Laura Fraga who is a designer and expert at hand applique decided to do a different kind of rose on her bag. These are her roses made with bias trim and sewn on by hand. She showed us how to make them. They are apparently a traditional flower that is done on Baltimore Album Quilts often. If she gives me permission, I'll do a tutorial. I just love the pristine look of these.
Here are a couple finished bags. This is Connie's. I love her smile. She was super-excited to go show it off at school pick-up after class.
And here is Nancy. I love the Victorian feel of her bag.
Nancy also brought in a tree inspired by the one in my book but smaller that she is working on. It was so exciting to see it take shape!
Next class up is the container garden pillow at Cotton Patch in Lafayette, CA. Can't wait. See my sidebar for details. Psssst. It's the same as the pillow I made for my mom (two posts down).
My mommy is in town for a visit. And she found the unfinished version of this pillow which I made in July for a class sample. It's a project in Inspired to Sew and this one is an UFO I'd entirely forgotten about. Mom wanted it and that was just the excuse I needed to divert my attention from what I was doing and make it into a pillow for her. Glad it's finished and has a new owner.
I did manage to finished up two of the Slice Fabrique projects and sent them off to Utah for photographs before I got distracted. Of course I took a few of my own before they left.
And in other news, my studio appears in the newest edition of Studios magazine with the one an only Ty Pennington on the cover!
And look! We're BFF's in the table of contents... Yup. That's my studio pictured right beneath his.
Ty Pennington. Bari J. Ackerman. BFFs.
I'll be getting a few copies in stock soon if anyone wants one.
A ways back I posted about a project I was working on for Making Memories Slice Fabrique Digital Cutting Machine... custom applique designs that can be cut out automatically. I don't know if maybe you remember?
Well, I'm so excited about it now, I could pee! Yesterday I received a sample digital card with my very own designs on it. You guys, it is SO flipping cool. I love this thing. It is so easy. You just iron fusible web on your fabric back, set it on the Slice cutting board and press a button. So totally addicting.
I've been dying to show you. My card, like my upcoming fabric line is called, Paris Apartment, and the designs will coordinate. I'll be designing quilts and projects to go with both that will debut at Quilt Market. This is a small sneak peek a just a few of the projects. There are 18 layered designs on the card altogether.
Above is the chandelier design (yes, there's a chair too!). It can be cut to assemble to an amazing finished size of 17 1/2". This one will go on a 24" pillow. It took me less than an hour to cut all the pieces (there are 22 in all). I machine appliqued them on and did little French knots for the drippy crystals. It's made from the Lecien Flower Sugar line.
This cake stand design is 5.2" wide. I'm making this piece into a tea towel. I used my light box to trace the words "let them eat cake" on it and then I used a backstitch with Cosmo Multi-work Embroidery Floss to embroider it. The fabric is Paris Apartment and a touch of Flower Sugar.
Below is the cameo design. I'll be doing a bit of embroidery around it then leaving it in the hoop to display. I've again mixed Paris Apartment and Flower Sugar. The cameo itself is a dark grey shot cotton.
Fun, right? Well, back to work... and making dinner and cleaning up this joint. I'm teaching tomorrow (see sidebar) and my mom is coming to visit for a week! I'm so looking forward to all our misbehavin! I'm taking her to my favorite tea room, Crown and Crumpet! I'll take pictures to share, no worries.
In my real life, I've never been to Paris, let alone lived there. But like many Americans, it's something I dream of.
My upcoming fabric line from Lecien, Paris Apartment, is how I imagine I'd live my life there.
The names of the prints (all translated to French) express rooms that would be in my apartment, designs you'd see in it and the people who would be with me. There's a sewing room for Anna (le salle du couture d'Anna), my 15 year old daughter...
I imagine Super Husband and I would enjoy relaxing in our lovely sun room (le salle du soleil) and I'd fill the place with chintz prints (le chintz moderne) and vintage linen (le linge d'epoque). And of course, it would be overflowing with flowers from our little garden (le jardin).
Of course, I'd love for you to visit me in Paris. I'll save a guest room just for you.
PS. These are fabric "strike-offs". They are the first prints that the mill in Japan does to show the fabric company and designer what it will look like and so color etc can be approved. What you are seeing here is the first I'm seeing on fabric. Some of these colors may not end up in the finished line.
This line begins to show to distributors and stores in March and it sounds like they will end up in US stores in June.
Did you sew today? After the gym, errands and a large round of procrastination via Twitter, I ended up with an ounce of afternoon sewing time. I've been wanting to make a spider web quilt even though probably everyone else is totally done with them, so I started that quest. Now, however, I'm thinking of making just this little star portion into a zippy pouch because I don't really have time to finish it and I loathe UFOs sitting around. The Ladies in Waiting (projects I have fabric and ideas for already) own a large enough portion of this studio. So this may be as far as I ever get on a spiderweb quilt. I guess I just wanted to know how to do it, then once I knew, I didn't care anymore. I'm like that sometimes.
Were you inspired to sew today? What'd you make?
In other news...
My good friend Monica asked me to pick the winner for her Inspired to Sew Giveaway...
So here goes...
Out of 193 (wow!) entries the winner is #19! Nancy, claim your copy of Inspired to Sew!
This was going to be another zippy pouch. But then I spent an inordinate amount of time on the embroidery.
Cause I love hand stitchery.
The purple and red are all hand done and the stitching on the seams is by machine. Maybe now it wants to be a pillow?
Or add blocks and make a big quilt? Maybe a bigger handbag. What do you think?
BTW, it occurs to me... if you are interested in these stitches, I'll be teaching them in a free online class... You can check my sidebar for details. I promise it to be lots of fun.
For those of you who are curious, the roses on the roofline are bullion stitch mixed with some french knots and lazy daisy stitches.
On the side of the house lavender is growing. Also made with bullion stitches. And on the ballerina's dress I added a little yellow rose made from bullion stitches.
And this is the piece prior to hand embroidery.
Any ideas? What should this be?
My mom was always big on Valentines day with her kids. There are four of us. And for each of us she always put something special in our rooms on Valentines Day morning. It made me feel really important to her, and it's something I always remember. I've made a point of doing the same for my kids. I little piece of jewelry, candy and other goodies has been our tradition. This year I'm also going to hang treats on their door knobs for an extra surprise. These are so simple to make and can be used throughout the year for all sorts of gifting purposes. This free pattern includes instructions for a rolled felt rose and for the the blanket stitch. Enjoy!
1. I'm clearing scraps out of my studio to make room for more creative thought.
2. During the process of creating these bags I might just come up with that one incredible idea that I wouldn't have thought of otherwise.
3. My mom has requested a bag like this but with pockets for her knitting needles. So now I have to make at least one more.
4. It relaxes me. If I'm relaxed I'm more likely to come up with some fab sewing pattern designs.
5. I need more bags. No. Really. I need more bags.
6. I'm using up my supply of leather handles which is taking space in this studio.
7. They are starting to fill the website. Sort of.
8. Creativity breeds more creativity?
9. I can't help myself.
10. I can't help myself.
Have you ever wondered why one of your favorite bloggers was Inspired to Sew in the first place? What got them started? Who taught them to sew? Why do they love it so much? The Inspired to Sew blog tour will include answers to these questions and ...
each will Give Away a copy of Inspired to Sew as well!
Mark your calendars and remember to stop by for a chance to win. And be sure to tell us why YOU are inspired to sew!
January 31 Mary Abrue: Confessions of a Craft Addict
February 1, Jennifer Paganelli: Sis Boom!
February 2, Jona Giammalava: Stop Staring and Start Sewing
Feb 3, Rashida Coleman Hale: I Heart Linen
Feb 4, Sarah Fielke: The Last Piece
Feb 5, Jenny Doh: Crescendoh
Feb 6, Cara Wilson: Cara Quilts
Feb 7, Deborah Moebes: Whipstitch Fabrics
Feb 8, Monica Solorio-Snow: Happy Zombie
And... (edit) Susanne Woods will be giving away a stack of my Full Bloom fabric (which is no longer in print) at the end of the tour on the Stash Books Blog on February 9!
My lovely twitter friend, Cara Wilson, from Cara Quilts came up with this fun idea: Get people from all over the world together all at one time to talk sewing/quilting. We do this on Twitter. Live on Tuesday evenings 9PM EST! And people really do show up and chat with us from all over the globe.
It's Called Talkin' Tuesdays. All you have to do is search #talknt and then follow along in the conversation. Chime in if you'd like.
And, to win prizes, Re-tweet the prize tweets.
a 4-pack of sewing patterns and 10 fat quarters of Country Lane. I'd love to see you there!
Long ago in a land far far away I started sewing handbags. My initial idea was to create one of a kind pieces. But before I knew it the business expanded into offering design your own handbags, and really what were production handbags. I was using a local seamstress and then a sewing contractor. What I loved, sewing, had gone off to someone else to do.
Over the years I came to realize that what I really connected with was sharing my love of sewing. By creating sewing patterns, focusing on writing a sewing book and doing surface/textile design I was back to my true passion. I couldn't be happier.
I made the decision to make this the focus of my business a year ago, but I missed my little one-off projects that were so special you can't really make them into a pattern. And I hadn't really changed my website to reflect my change in focus either. So this past week I finally made the switch.
I changed my "about" page to reflect the change, I fluffed up my home page, and I took down all the "old" finished products and replaced them with new one of kind pieces. I'll be offering my sewing patterns, my book, some fabric, and one of a kind handmade goodies made just by me. I simply listed three items yesterday. One sold within 20 minutes which made me realize that my instinct is probably the right one.
Today I've started making simple fun little items to continue to list on the website. The unfinished piece at the top of this post will be listed soon. It features my some of my favorite techniques: collage, patchwork and a little bit of embroidery.
I hope you'll keep watching for more of these little bits of happiness. And of course new sewing patterns, fabric and more are on the way as well.
From the first stitch I ever took, I was hooked. I was hooked on fabric, on thread, on color, on pattern and especially on the act of creating something out of nothing. It truly brings me happiness unlike anything else. That's why the name of my book is Inspired to Sew. Every project came about from this unending love of creating something sewn. I hope that the projects in it will inspire you to sew as well.
Because I'm hoping you are, I've put an "I'm Inspired to Sew" blog button in my sidebar... feel free to "steal" the code for your blog! And if you are interested in a signed copy, they are now available to pre-order on my website. I expect them to ship next week. Use code, iminspiredtosew, for 10% off, and be sure to choose USPS for the least expensive shipping cost.
If you are local, there will also be a book signing at Wooden Gate Quilts in Danville, CA on January 22. I'd love to meet you there! Please check their class schedule as well, I will be teaching the Tea Party Accessories from the book on January 20 from 6 to 9 PM.
Additionally, be on the look out for an upcoming blog tour!
My last project of 2010. I made two of these iPad covers. The first one was a massive fail that ended with me pitching shards of fabric in the trash. And several curse words. After I work out some kinks, I think maybe I'll put together a pattern with several gadget cover patterns included.
Happy New Year to you all!
Everyone in my family is under the impression, that if you want to learn to do something you go to YouTube and search for your subject. Super Husband learned how to fix our television, how to catch squirrels in the attic and how to fix the window that refused to go back up in our car. My girls have learned to make soap, found recipes for body scrubs, and how to put on make-up. There was the infamous hair cutting incident that started with a YouTube video and ended up with an unwanted mullet on the part of a certain 14yo girl, but never the less, YouTube is our Go-To. I have learned knitting and crochet, fashion drawing, and I recently learned a great method for cutting hexagons and a method for machine piecing hexagons.
Of course, I didn't want to hand piece hexagons. But lucky me, this video was listed in the sidebar of related videos.
This quilt has been relatively easy so far using both of these methods, and I feel like a super-accomplished quilter having tried something new.
You do get left with a bunch of these little triangles when cutting with this method, but luckily, they are perfectly usable. Of course, I can see making anything with these taking a lifetime, but then, maybe I'll just spend the next 60 years making little hexies out of tiny triangles.
On another note, this post would be incomplete without introducing you to my latest tool obsessions as I gained a few in the process of making this quilt. Are you a sewing tool junkie too? I may buy more tools than I buy fabric. I could be exaggerating, but maybe.
This quilt-go-round, I found these erasable pens. They erase when you iron them and mark very nicely on fabric. Even when you mark on the bias, the fabric doesn't stretch. Love that! My hot pink Frixion pen has been invaluable for marking the 1/4" starting and stopping points on my hexagons. I can't wait to use them for embroidery and applique.
And speaking of marking the 1/4" starting and stopping points, I really like this Jinny Beyer Perfect Piecer tool. It has all sorts of angles marked and little holes where you put the pen through to mark your points. And I imagine there's tons of other uses for it too that I've yet to figure out.
On that note, I'll leave you with a bit of advice... make sure your teenage/pre-teen female children understand that not all YouTube videos are useful. Especially ones that advise using your leg shaving razor to cut your hair. I'm just saying.
PS Since I know someone will ask, the fabric I'm using for the hexagon quilt is Flower Sugar by Lecien. Available here.
[Edit: I'm so honored! Kaye Wood commented on this post! For another way to piece hexagons watch Kaye Wood's Hexagon Cut and Sew video. This method allows you to avoid having to mark your 1/4" points!]
I had the honor of being in on the secret of Mary's book writing early on as we are both C&T Stash authors. She's been a friend to me throughout both of our journeys for which I can't thank her enough. And needless to say, with the inside scoop of how awesome this book was shaping up as she went along, I could not wait to see it in all it's glory.
I most certainly was not disappointed. When you take a look at the cover of this book, it's not difficult to fall in love, but open it up and you'll have an all out romance with sewing.
The photography is gorgeous, the instructions are impeccable and you get a ton of bang for your buck with four patterns that create an entire wardrobe of clothing.
This is Mary's debut sewing book and it clearly shows she is no newcomer to sewing. She's an expert, and today, we are lucky to have a bonus guest post from her with her favorite sewing tips, below.
Oh, and did I mention a give-away? Why yes, I believe I did. Leave a comment at the end of this post, and I'll pick a winner on Monday.
Without further adieu, here's my friend, Mary Abreu:
I’m so fortunate that I get to do what I love on a daily basis. Sewing truly makes me happy and I love that I get to share that by teaching others how to sew. Seeing my students complete their first project lets me relive the excitement of sewing my first pillow and I get this warm, fuzzy feeling about sparking a love of sewing in someone else. Bari asked if I’d share some of my favorite sewing tips and I’m delighted to oblige with the list I give my Sewing 101 students. Some of these were passed on to me from my mom, while others are gleaned from my sewing experiences. I hope you find them useful tools for your sewing arsenal.
• Invest in the best tools you can. Many times there really is a difference between the cheapest and the not cheapest. It’s worth it to spend a little more if it means it’s more durable and reliable.
• Designate a sewing space and own it. When my husband was in law school, we turned the walk-in closet of our master bedroom into an office for him. Space was at a premium (two-bedroom apartment for four people) and sacrificing closet space was worth it for him to have a designated study area. It’s a lot easier to enjoy your sewing if you have some space you can call your own, whether it’s a spare room, corner of the dining room or even a closet.
• Wind an extra bobbin at the start. I rarely get through a project without needing to replace the bobbin. It’s a lot easier to just drop in a second one instead of unthreading my machine mid-stream and loading a new bobbin.
• Trim threads as you go. I am horrible about doing this but it’s really the easiest way to make sure you snip all those dangling threads.
• Use a different color bobbin thread when you gather. If you use the thread-gathered method, it’s a lot easier to separate your bobbin thread if it’s a different color than your spool.
• Remove pins ahead of the presser foot. My mom taught me to just sew over pins and it’s really been a hard habit to break. If you’re lucky, you’ll just break a machine needle or bend a pin. On the other hand, you can end up with a pointy projectile or mess up the timing of your sewing machine.
• Round the edges of elastic before pulling it through a casing. It feeds through more smoothly with no corners to catch inside the casing.
• An ergonomic seam ripper is worth it. Everybody unsews. It’s just part of the process. You may as well have one that fits in your hand for those times when you sew and serge the bottom tier of a twirly dress right side to wrong side.
• Start a sewing notebook. I use mine for keeping track of the kids’ measurements (note the date you measured), settings on my serger and a shopping list when I’m running low on an item.
• Sew for the ones you love -- but only if they can appreciate it. People who don’t “get” handmade gifts, people who point out flaws — get them gift cards. Your favorite aunt who taught you how to crochet when you were 10 and praised the 8-foot-long bookmark you made? Sew for her.
It's made from my first line of fabric, Full Bloom. Who knew it made it all the way to France?
At any rate, this was the inspiration for my market chair.
But if the powers that be would please send me this one, I'd be forever grateful.
Knowing how much my girls love the softness of Minkee or Cuddle (they are brand names for those fluffy, soft wonderous fabrics), I grabbed a couple kits full of fat quarters several months ago to make some blankets for them for Hannukah. Of course, I procrastinated so long that they got them the day after Hannukah ended, but you're not counting, right? Day nine works for me. I don't *love* the colors and prints of these, but they are workable, I think. Next time I plan on finding some of the Moda brand as I hear they have great colors to work with.
I had it in my head that this was going to be relatively easy, that I'd just whip them up and be on to the next thing. And I would have been if I knew then what I know now about working with these fabrics. So I thought I'd let you in on what I learned along the way. Some of these hints came from friends on Twitter where I vented my frustration.
1. Apparently a serger would do a fantastic job with Cuddle/Minkee. But I don't own one, so I was stuck with the sewing machine. But if you have one, Mary from Confessions of a Craft Addict says use it.
2. Next I heard it would have helped a lot if I fused a woven cotton interfacing such as form flex to the back of it according to Debra Lynn from Fat Quarter Shop. I use that on everything, so I have no idea why I didn't think of that myself. But it was too late for the first blanket, and I was too lazy on the second one. But my bet is that this works like a charm.
3. I was smart enough to use a ton of pins, which really helped. In fact, I used 5 for every 8" square. I highly recommend taking the time to do this.
4. A walking foot is a great help if you have one.
5. For long stretches of rows, I started in the middle and sewed to one end, then the middle to the other end. This helped avoid much of the stretching along the way.
6. As I sewed blocks together I did end up cutting any corners that stretched a bit to square them up.
7. I pinned seams before I started a row, but if, as I approached, a seam wasn't matching, I did do a little stretching and tugging in the appropriate direction to "make" it match.
8. You can see I did the two quilts differently. I started with the fun Log Cabin block on the quilt below and used a ton of little squares around it. However, I quickly found this was going to cause me lots of pain with seams not matching etc, so the next one, I cut all 8 1/2" squares. Much better.
9. I did not bind these as if they were quilts, I simply placed the back and front of the blanket right sides together and then sewed them together leaving an opening to turn as if it was a pillow.
10. I also did not quilt these. I put in over 100 pins in one and tried to quilt by stitching in the ditch and made an immediate mess of the thing and ended up pulling out stitches (not an easy feat with this fabric). So my plan is that if the girls are finding the edges are turning funny as they use them, I'll go back and yarn tie them.
That's all folks... I think in the end these turned out really great. And I would totally work with this fabric again even though half way through I swore I'd never ever ever do so. I guess it's like having a baby. You forget all about the pain once you have the fruits of your labor in your arms. Well, sort of.
View my line of licensed fabric designs at
Art Gallery Fabrics
In stores now...
In stores now...
In stores now...
In stores now...