Monday, 23 February 2015

Jewel Burst Quilt

Here's a new quilt design!

Determined to use some fabrics from my stash (and stop buying fabric), I pulled out a couple jewel tones. I was doodling on graph paper and started playing around with the jewel shape on the Hex n' More ruler, adding fabrics as I went. I ended up with the jewels pointing out from the centre hexagon in a sort of star burst and decided on five colours. The not buying fabric part didn't work out so well, as I decided I might as well just buy a whole bolt of Kona white for the background.

To make the jewel blocks, I used the Hex n' More ruler to cut the three triangles, sewing them together. Then I added two longer, right-angle triangles to the bottom, using the Hex n' More ruler to trim the block to the jewel shape.

I sewed 1" white sashing around all sides of the jewel, attaching one piece at a time, then pressing and trimming it before adding the next. I was going to do a multi-coloured hexagon at the centre, but when I noticed how the gold lines in the navy fabric would point to the centre when sewn together, I opted for that instead. Plus, when combined with the top of the jewels, it made a nice star shape. 

I sewed another piece of white sashing to each of the navy triangles, then sewed them to the top of the jewel.

To cut the white triangles, I needed to cut them the same size as the bottom part if the jewel with the 1" sashing added. So, I measured the height of the triangle and cut a strip of fabric that height.  I used the triangle of the Hex n' More ruler, placed on the fabric so that the top of the triangle lined up with the top edge of the fabric. Then I placed a regular ruler against the side of the Hex n' More and took the Hex n' More ruler away to make the cut. (Confusing? ;)

Each of the jewel units got a white triangle on either side to make a giant triangle. The units were sewn together in two sets of three, then the two new units sewn together. Et voila! The centre Jewel Burst.

Next up I made border of triangle shards, with 1" sashing between the pieces. I added more white pieces around the centre block to make it square and then make it big enough to fit the borders. I added half square triangle blocks in the corners to finish the border off.

I always think that borders will go on fast and before you know it, it's 2 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon and I'm still in my pyjamas finishing a border that I thought would be done before breakfast. It's all those seams that need careful pinning! My points turned out pretty well though, so I suppose the pinning was worth it.

This ended up being one of those times when my iPhone photos tuned out better than my Nikon photos. My hockey bag in the background and all! My dad kindly stood out in the cold holding the quilt up while the wind blew it around, but dusk was falling and the sky was thick with clouds, so the photos were dark.

I tried again today, but it was rather cold and windy (-25*C) and the evening sun was casting long shadows on the snow. Once I thawed my frozen fingers out I decided these were good enough!

For the backing, I picked out some Kona Bay Hibiscus - a deep purple that matched nicely. I'm going to quilt it myself, so I've been scribbling and sketching away, trying to find a combination of straight-line and free-motion designs for the centre block and negative space. I don't want the quilting to be too dense. I haven't quite figured out what I'll do with the triangle border yet. I hope to keep it simple, but this is still the most ambitious quilting I've tried, so it should be interesting!

I already have plans for another Jewel Burst Quilt and plan to write a pattern in the process :)

I'm linking up with Show and Tell Tuesday

To see the finished quilt, go to this post.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Infinity Scarf: The Commuter Cowl

I made a Commuter Cowl, an infinity scarf designed by Shannon Cook of the blog Very Shannon. I bought the pattern a couple years ago and made one as a mother's day gift for my mom. I started off our lovely Family Day long weekend with some sewing time with my aunt and as we were browsing through patterns we found this one. We picked out some fun fabric and sewed a few up. They come together fairly quickly and only take 1/2 yard of fabric, so they were nice to sew. Instant gratification and a nice way to brighten your wardrobe.

It's been a busy sewing week. I finished my paper piecing project- a compass rose for my map quilt and my Jewel Burst quilt top. I'm very excited about Jewel Burst and eager to get started quilting it myself. I've been scribbling and sketching and plotting. I also spotted another quilt of mine on the longarm when I was in at Thimbles & Things. So stay tuned for future posts on those! For sneakpeaks, you can follow me on Instagram, just click the icon on the sidebar to go to my feed.

Happy creating!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Easy Kobo Case Tutorial

We got my Grandpa a new Kobo for Christmas, as his other one had been well used for a few years and didn't work anymore. His new one didn't fit in his other case, so this week when I saw him pull it out of a plastic bag, I decided I better make him a new one.

Since it was a quick and easy project, using materials I already had on hand, I thought I'd do a step-by-step tutorial for anyone who may be new to sewing and might want to make their own case!

2 coordinating fat quarters (or scraps)
coordinating thread
small hair elastic

cutting mat
rotary cutter
chalk pen
ironing board
sewing machine

To calculate the size:
He told me his Kobo was about 5 1/8” x 7” and 3/8” deep. For the width, I rounded the 5 1/8” up to 5 1/4”, plus 1/4” to account for the depth, 1/2” to account for the seam allowance and 1/4” to add a little wiggle room. For the height, I took the 7”, added 1/4” to account for the depth, 1/2” to account for the seam allowance and 1/2” so that the Kobo wouldn’t be poking out of the top of the case. In simpler terms:

width of device + depth of device + seam allowance + 1/4” = width of rectangle

height of device + depth of device + seam allowance + 1/2” = length of rectangle

We also bought him a stylus to make it easier to use the new touch screen, so I added a pocket to the case. It is the same width as the other rectangles, and about half the height. 

If you plan on being able to wash the case, pre-wash your fabric so that it won't shrink on you later. Press your fabric before you start. 

Using a cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler, cut (x 2) rectangles of your lining fabric, (x 2) rectangles of your outside fabric and (x 2) rectangles of your batting. Mine were 6 1/2” x 8 1/4”. For the pocket, cut (x 1) rectangle from your lining fabric and (x 1) rectangle from your outside fabric. Mine were 6 1/2” x 4 1/4”. 

Put the batting on the wrong side of your outside fabric. Using your ruler, mark a line 1 1/4" from the long edge of your fabric with a chalk pen. Sew along the line. Using a 1/4" foot on your sewing machine, sew three lines parallel to your first line. Repeat with your other outside piece and the outside pocket piece. Note that for the pocket piece, you are just sewing the lines on the one piece of fabric, without batting. Trim your batting when finished if needed. 

Pin the two lining pieces, right sides together and sew along the sides and bottom, using a bit more than a 1/4" seam allowance. Because the lining piece will be inside batting, which is bulky, a generous seam allowance will make the lining slightly smaller than the outside, which will help it fit a bit better and will help when you attach the top later. Leave about a 2" gap along one side. This will allow you to turn your case right-side out later. Clip your bottom corners, being careful not to cut into the sewing. This makes your corners less bulky when you put the case together. 

Pin your lining pocket piece and your outside pocket piece, right sides together and sew along the top with 1/4" seam. Press the seam, turn it right-side out and press again. 

Starting 1/4" from the edge, sew a line along the top edge of the pocket. Sew 3 more parallel lines. Place your pocket piece on top of one outside piece, lining up your sewn quilting lines. Pin it in place. 

* If you're afraid it will move, you could baste the pocket onto the outside, by using a longer stitch and sewing about 1/8" from the edge along the sides. I chose to just pin it. 

Place your other outside piece on top, right sides together. Match up your quilting lines. Pin it in place. I left the pins in from my pocket and just left them sticking out, that's why the sides on the bottom half seem to have lots of pins. 

Sew along the sides and bottom, using 1/4"seam allowance. Clip the bottom corners to reduce the bulk and help them turn better.

*Here, I also trimmed the batting and the fabric in the seam to reduce the bulk. If you choose to, just be careful not to trim it too close your sewing line. 

Turn it right-side out. If you pinned it well and sewed your lines evenly, they should match up. If not, who cares, don't worry about it. 

The sun came out for this picture and it's time to attach the button! I hand sewed this part because I decided it was faster than remembering how to use my button foot. Sew your button to the front (pocket side) of your case, in the middle about 3/4" from the top edge. 

On the back, pin a small hair elastic in the centre, about 1/4" from the top, with about 1/4" sticking out. I pinned from the inside and then slid the elastic through it. Sew the elastic to the case, about 1/8" from the edge. I used the finishing stitch function on my machine a couple times so that it sewed back and forth over the elastic. You could sew a few stitches forward, then a few stitches backward and repeat a few times as well. 

*You could use other elastic, but I had a new pack of hair elastics and they were the perfect size and shape. 
*You could also hand sew this part if you aren't as comfortable with your machine.

These stitches will help secure the elastic, but they'll be hidden in the seam, so it doesn't matter if they're pretty. 

Place the lining piece around the outside piece, so that the right sides are together and the outside piece is on the inside. Pin around the top edge, lining the side seams up. Sew 1/4" around the top. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching. 

*You may have to take a piece off of your machine so that you can fit the case over your machine, making it easier to sew through one layer, without catching the other side. 

Turn your case right-side out, pulling the outside fabric through the hole you left in the lining. 

It should look like this when you're done turning it right-side out. Hand stitch the opening in the side of the lining closed to finish it off. 

Push the lining in and you're finished! Normally I would press and topstitch around the top edge, but it would have ruined the effect of my quilting lines, so I left it. 

Upon delivery, I was happy to see that the Kobo fit in the case and the elastic fit nicely around the button too. Grandpa's stylus fit either horizontally or vertically in the pocket too. I think if I was making another one I might make the pocket 1" taller for the stylus. 

Overall, the Kobo case was simple to put together and only took a couple hours to sew - and that was with switching rooms to take pictures. I think this case would work for any tablet, e-reader or smartphone, all you would have to do is change the dimensions. I used a quilting cotton for the inside and some sort of stretch chambray for the outside, but you could use other types of fabrics as well. If I was making one for myself, I would definitely use a bright lining! You could also change the quilting lines or pocket to further personalize it. 

I hope this tutorial was helpful. If you have any questions, you can leave a comment or send me an email. If you make your own, send a picture!

Happy sewing!

I'm linking up at Show and Tell Tuesday

Sunday, 1 February 2015

January Sewing Space

Over the past few weeks I've been working on three different projects, sneaking in time to work on them in between marking school work. Everything is still in progress but I have a few photos of my sewing space.

I got a new Ikea cart for Christmas for my sewing space, which is currently a folding table in the family room. So it was fun to organize my tools and nice to have everything for my current projects within reach. 

One project is a paper pieced compass rose for my map quilt. I'm following a pattern and taking a class for this one so I have all my pieces cut, ready to learn the next step. 

I also pulled this bright bundle of jewel tones from my stash and started playing around with the jewel shape on my Hex ‘n More ruler.

I have a few designs in mind but I’m not sure whether to opt for a simpler or more complex layout. I was waiting for a bolt of Kona white to come in to my local shop, so now that it’s arrived I can figure it out and start putting it together.

I bought some new fabric- two Doe prints that I liked for backing for my map quilt and the Widescreen Crosshatch in grey to back my Tornado quilt. I picked up some Essex Yarn Dyed in indigo to use as background fabric and some cheerful Handcrafted and Cotton and Steel prints as well.

I also pieced a solid backing and sent it off with my Honey quilt top to be quilted by the long-arm quilter and I’ve got a baby quilt ready for me to quilt. Hopefully February brings some sewing time to work on these projects!