10 Year Anniversary Quilt

My sister and her husband recently celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary.  I have been wanting to make them a quilt for awhile now and this was a great occasion to commemorate.  They have three little ones, so I decided to make an oversized throw for one-to-five people to share on cold winter evenings (assuming three of those people are kiddles).

Front of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

Front of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

My sister is not a fan of traditional quilt blocks with uniform sizes, sashing, borders, etc., so I knew I wanted to do a quilt with an allover pattern.  I decided to use the Giggles pattern from Jaybird Quilts using the Super Sidekick Ruler I picked up at last year’s International Quilt Festival and Market.

I dove into my stash and pulled out fabrics with blue, navy, turquoise, and teal.  Here are the fabrics I picked:

Penny in Navy (Handcrafted, Alison Glass)
Grove in Blue (Sun Print Grove, Alison Glass)
Arrows in Indigo (Moonlit, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Cotton + Steel)
Netorius in Teal (Netorius, Cotton + Steel)
Static Dot in Indigo (Moonshine, Tula Pink)
Little Town in Blues (Emmy Grace, Bari J)
Tomahawk Stripe in Night (Arizona, April Rhodes)
Visionary in Winter (Shaman, Parson Gray)
Optical Origami in Shine (Urban Mod, AGF)
Nap Sak in Lake
(Modern Meadow, Joel Dewberry)
Aztec Ikat in Deepwater (Botanique, Joel Dewberry)
Squared Elements in Teal (Squared Elements, AGF)

I did a scrappy version of the Giggles pattern without a solid break.  A few great uses of the Giggles pattern can be found at Hawthorne Threads and Sara Lawson’s Sew Sweetness blog.  I used the 6″ diamond shape from the Super Sidekick Ruler and did five pairs of diamonds on the width and 12 diamonds down the height of the quilt.  I put together a scrappy back using some of the isosceles trapezoids that I had left over from cutting my diamonds.  .

Back of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

Back of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

I also used a new quilt label I designed and purchased from Spoonflower, simple, but just what I needed.  I really like how it turned out and it was a great stash buster, except I love all those fabrics and will need to get more!

10-Year Anniversary Quilt featuring my new quilt label

10-Year Anniversary Quilt featuring my new quilt label

Dimensions: approximately 60″ x 80″
Batting: 100% Cotton
Binding: Navy Kona

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

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Pattern Review: Boxy Pouches FTW

I have a well documented (on Instagram) love of all things with zippers – pouches, cases, zippy bags, purses, etc.  One of the first pouches I made after I got back into sewing was the Boxy Pouch by Pink Stitches.  I first tried this pattern/tutorial for Christmas presents for family in late 2014.  I found it on Pinterest and it had been on my to-do list for a while.

I love this pattern and tutorial.  It is really easy to follow and has repeatable, lovely results. I would say it is best for an advanced beginner or intermediate sewist since some techniques will be easier if you have some experience with zipper insertion and other construction techniques.  I’ve used fusible fleece or ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable for the structure of the bag with great results.  The pattern is also easily scale-able if you have a particular size in mind.

I first made two medium and two large pouches for my aunts using Garden Bouquet by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller.  I used long-handled purse zippers from Zipit on Etsy.

Boxy Pouches in Garden Bouquet (Patty Sloniger)

Medium and large boxy pouch made in Garden Bouquet in Violet (Patty Sloniger, Michael Miller)

Boxy Pouches in Garden Bouquet (Patty Sloniger)

Medium and Large boxy pouches in Garden Bouquet in Burgandy (Patty Sloniger, Michael Miller)

These pouches were well-received by their recipients, so I continued to make a few more for myself and other friends.  I made two for my gym bag using the two colorways of Rashida Coleman-Hale’s Gamaguchi print from Mochi (Cotton + Steel).  The fabric was perfect for my make-up, hair products, and other accouterments for early morning workouts.

Boxy Pouches in Gamaguchi (Rashida Coleman-Hale)

Medium and large boxy pouch for my gym bag

Definitely give this pattern and tutorial a try if you haven’t yet.  It’s easy to follow and an excellent project for an advanced beginner sewist.

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Abstract Cityscape Quilt for my Brother

My mother, sister, nieces, and female friends are the main recipients of my sewn goods – bags, zippy pouches, clothes, etc.  My brother has been sadly left out until last Christmas.

For Christmas this past year (I know this post is dreadfully outdated), I wanted to make him something for his new house.  He likes black, gray, and red and I wanted to make a medium sized wall quilt for him.

I can’t pinpoint the exact inspiration, but I had talked with my brother earlier about abstract cityscapes in quits or wall art and landed on this idea.  I started with a fabric pull of solid black, grays, black prints, and reds.  I knew right away that a dark gray-to-black Ombre blender (Springs Creative) I had picked up at a previous Quilt Festival would be perfect to create some interest in the foreground of the quilt.

I created a cityscape with various fabric strips from 1″ to 6″ (finished) with varying heights, offset with a solid black sky/background.  I tried to place the “buildings” randomly to create an even look.  I used the gradient solid on the foreground / ground to add some interest.

Abstract Cityscape Quilt

Abstract Cityscape Quilt – Front

I used straight line walking foot quilting with a variety of thread colors (black, red, gray, metallic silver) and geometric designs on each of the larger buildings. The backing is scrappy pieced to used some of the left over pieces from the buildings.

Abstract Cityscape Quilt

Abstract Cityscape Quilt – Back with quilting detail visible

I think he liked it and hopefully it found a cozy spot in his new home!

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Gray and Purple Circle of Geese Mini

For a swap at the Houston Modern Quilt Guild last year, I made a purple and gray mini quilt using a circle of geese foundation paper piecing pattern. The FPP templates I used were from Piece by Number’s website (Colorwheel Geese).  This is a pretty straightforward, four-piece, 12.5″ unfinished block.

I made this a bit ago when my stash wasn’t as extensive.  I stuck with my mainstay colors of gray and a gradient of purple.  I made the block and added some quick borders.  I’m usually not a huge fan of borders, but in this case I wanted the mini to be a bit more substantial.

I added some quilting to accentuate the circular layout of the geese and a purple border.

Gray and Purple Circle of Geese Mini

Gray and Purple Circle of Geese Mini

The swap was fun and I received a lovely mini from Amy at House of Bad Cats.

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Where Elsa and Anna can lay their heads…

… On Frozen pillowcases!

Were all aware of the phenomena that is Disney’s Frozen. My wonderful little nieces introduced me to the film awhile ago and sang so loud I couldn’t hear the clever songs.

I was lucky enough to happen upon some Frozen cotton fabric at Jo-Ann and knew my nieces needed something made from it.  I decided on pillowcases for each of them and my mom introduced me to the easy one-seam pillowcase tutorials. There are many out there, but I used this tutorial that included an accent stripe.

I used my stash to supply the accent fabrics. I made one in the colors of Anna (purple with gray) and Elsa (ice blue).

Frozen Pillow Cases

Frozen Pillow Cases

My nieces liked them and the construction was really quick and easy once I chose my fabrics. The Frozen fabric is frequently sold out at local fabric stores, but I know more will be coming out with Frozen 2 in a few years.

This is an exceptionally easy way to make quick pillowcases that you can donate to American Patchwork and Quilting’s (APQ) Million Pillowcase Challenge in your local community.

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Pink baby quilt for Winslow

Front of Quilt

Front of quilt with pink checkerboard

A colleague had a lovely baby girl named Winslow recently and I made her a baby quilt to celebrate.  I pulled out pink and purple fabrics from my stash and set to work.  I chose a purple flannel for the backing that would be soft and cozy for the new little bundle of joy.  For the front, I combined a pink, plaid flannel with eight pink cotton prints.  I chose a simple checkerboard design with the plaid flannel dispersed throughout.

As with all my baby quilts, I machine bound the edges.  I always feel this is more secure and up to the task of many washes and tougher use.  I used a decorative leaf stitch with variegated pink thread.

Baby quilt

Baby quilt for Winslow with solid purple back ground and pink checkerboard front

Binding detail

Binding detail with leaf stitch

Dimensions: 42″ (l) x 42″ (w), approximately
Fabrics/Notions
: Pink plaid and purple marbled flannel from Jo-ann’s, assorted pink quilting cottons, Aurifil pink variegated thread for binding.
Assembly: Pieced, quilted, and bound on home machine

– Stephanie , HoustonDIY

 

Gathered Teal and Coral Baby Quilt

Front of quilt

Front of gathered teal and coral baby quilt

A very good friend was expecting her second child – first daughter – and I wanted to make a special quilt for this little one.  The mother-to-be told be early on she was thinking of a white and gold themed nursery with some other color accents to be determined.

At the Houston Quilt show last November I was immediately drawn to a half-quarter bundle of Violet Craft’s (@violetcraft) newer color ways of Brambleberry Ridge.  My friend had made an awesome dress from the Shimmer Reflection in Teal print so I had my eye out for something like this.  The bundle I bought from Modern Quilter at the quilt show included the Coral Palette and some selections from the Lilac Palette.  I was drawn to the coral and teal fabrics with white and gold accents.

Awhile ago I saw a Crinkle Quilt pattern from the Moda Bake Shop by Palak of Make it Handmade that I’ve had in the back of my mind for awhile.  I thought this would be a fun way to showcase Violet’s beautiful fabric while give the quilt some texture for the new bundle of joy.  I adapted the pattern to make a larger quilt with more rows of gathered fabric.

Detail of quilt

Detail of gathering and quilting

Back of Quilt

Front of gathered teal and coral baby quilt

A tip if you’re interested in gathering strips like this: use a serger with differential feed capabilities.  This allowed me to simply feed the assembled strip of fabric to be gathered and the serger took care of the gathering for me.  My inexpensive serger had this feature, so it should be fairly easy to find.

Dimensions: 64″ (l) x  40″ (w), approximately
Fabrics on Front: Violet Craft’s Brambleberry Ridge Coral Palette (12 fabrics), Art Gallery Solid Elements in Snow.
Fabrics on Back: Violet Craft’s Brambleberry Ridge Coral Palette (12 fabrics), an older Riley Blake print.
Assembly: pieced, quilted, and bound on home sewing machine and serger

– Stephanie, Houston DIY

Zig zagging Trilobites – a Bryan House Quilts pattern

I was lucky enough to get my crafty hands on an early copy of Bryan House Quilts’ newest patterns, Trilobite, as a pattern tester!

Bryan House Quilts

This is an amazing pattern that is full of versatility. You can make a variety of quilts using the same two building block squares. There are 5 sizes, Youth, Throw, Twin, Queen, and King, and 5 different layouts, Trilobite, Bristled Geese, Sawtooth, Banner Geese, and Zig zag. I chose a throw version of the zig zag layout and I’m thrilled with the result.

Trilobite Quilt

Front of Trilobite Quilt based on the new Bryan House Quilts Pattern

The pattern consists of basic half-square triangles, HSTs to the experienced quilters out there, and larger right triangles. Even though the pieces are straightforward, the layouts and arrangements by Bryan house Quilts are what make the quilts so unique. The pattern was easy to follow and I had fun mixing patterned fabric with my background of navy blue. Bryan House Quilt’s two-color version is striking and modern – an instant classic.

Trilobite Quilt

Pieced back of my Trilobite Quilt based on the new Bryan House Quilts pattern

Warning, I tried my inexperienced hand at some FMQ. This was definitely the largest quilt I’ve tried to do FMQ on. I had a lot of fun and it was great practice with my free-motion and walking feet . I highlighted the parallelograms made by the zig zag pattern to practice a feather, scallop, and straight line fill pattern. I also used the color thread I was matching on the top as the bobbin thread, so the zig zag stripes stand out on the back of the quilt.

Trilobite Quilt

I was super happy with my finished Trilobite throw!

This was my first time piecing a large number of HSTs for a single project. I was a bit daunted by the 216 HSTs I would need for a throw sized Trilobite quilt, but then Becca pointed me to a tutorial on a her blog on how to make a lot of HSTs quickly. I followed this method and my HSTs went quickly and easily.

Trilobite Quilt

I followed this easy method of quickly making a large number of HSTs

In addition to this great new pattern, check our Rebecca’s new patterns in her store and her upcoming debut book, Modern Rainbows, from Stash books available for pre-order now on Amazon and in stores in February 2015. -Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Michael Miller Fabrics Miniquilt

The Modern Quilt Guild recently had a Michael Miller Challenge in which all members who wanted to participate were given fabric samples (fat eights) of Michael Miller’s new Petal Pinwheels fabric line.  I decided to make a mini quilt for a friend who I thought would like the colors in this cheerful fabric.

I also wanted to practice foundation paper piecing (FPP) so I chose PennyLane by 627Handworks that I linked from Wombat Quilts.  It was a cute design with enough pieces that I could represent most of the fabrics.

Front of Michael Miller Challenge Mini Quilt

Front of Michael Miller Challenge Mini Quilt

Back of Michael Miller Challenge Mini Quilt

Back of Michael Miller Challenge Mini Quilt

Overall,  I think it turned out pretty good, but I would change a few things next time:

– The fabric designs were too large a scale for these small pattern pieces.  This pattern is lovely and may look better with solids, low volume, and blenders with larger scale pattern fabrics.
– I don’t love the pebble quilting I did in two of the quadrants of the main medallion.  I like to practice my pebbling, but it turned out too busy on top of the main elements. The pebbling on the solid coral looks much better and is a better example of how pebbling can highlight low volume or solid fabrics.
– I tried my hand at 1/4″ binding for the first time.  I hand sewed the back, but ended up with dog ears on most of my corners.  I need a bit more practice.

I want to give a big thank you to Michael Miller Fabrics and the MQG for this challenge!

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Tips on Sewing a Custom Roman Shade

Close-up of Ribbon Detail on Shade

Close-up of Ribbon Detail on Shade

I was recently commissioned (i.e. asked very nicely) to make a custom roman shade for my friends’ new nursery. The job was first planned in the months leading up to the birth and the shade was installed when cute little Ellis was a few weeks old.

The couple wanted a shade in solid navy to complement the room. They looked into ordering one and got quotes of upwards of $800. I knew I could make it with a little Pinterest-ing and sewing time. After some research and fabric shopping, they decided on a navy thick weave upholstery fabric with a 3″ green grosgrain ribbon edge detail. We purchase the navy upholstery fabric and blackout fabric at High Fashion Fabrics, an excellent local Houston decorating fabric emporium and the 3″ grosgrain ribbon from TeaPartyRibbons on Etsy. The remaining supplies were from Home Depot and Joann’s (supply list in reference tutorial post).

Tha main challenge with this project is the size of the window – about 70″ wide x 58″ tall. They wanted it to be all one shade rather than two, which meant that wide width would add some complexity since there would have to be a seam to cover the whole window. After searching for tutorials, I found one that was very helpful. I won’t rephrase those instructions, but comment on modifications I made.

How to Make Custom Roman Shades by Brown Paper Packages
This was the main tutorial I followed. It is a great tutorial and carefully explains what materials you need (tube tape is one of the best crafting inventions ever! Never roman shade without it! I’m not kidding, ring tape is sooooo 1990s). She has very clear instructions on how to space your tube tape and drapery cord lines to make sure everything is well supported and a great materials list with formulas for calculating what you need to purchase – drapery cord, tube tape, lining, wood for mounting, etc.

I followed Brown Paper Packages’ instructions for the most part. I had to make some changes due to my width and I changed the side edges. Since we were adding the edge detail with the green ribbon, I created the front navy piece from three panels and hid the seams under the ribbon. For the blackout fabric, I made a vertical seam in the center. Offsetting the seams in the front and blackout panels also helped reduce fabric bulk when it was hung.

I followed the advice from another blog post (I’m bummed I can’t find the reference!) for the edges. I wanted the navy to wrap around the edge for a more finished look. I measured my panels so the navy wrapped 2″ onto the back.  The technique is to create the front panel 4 inches wider and the lining 4 inches thinner than the finished width. Then, stitch them together along each side at the appropriate point in the process.  This creates a 2 inch wrap around of the front fabric.

The ribbon embellishment created additional complexity. I wanted to sew over the grosgrain ribbon as little as possible while achieving a finished look – that is, as little visible sewing as possible. It required additional hand sewing, but I think it was worth it. Here is a summary of the steps I took for assembly that differed slightly from the referenced tutorial to eliminate the need to sew over the ribbon.

Assembly Steps:
1. Assemble blackout fabric lining panel (vertical seam in middle of panel) and hem bottom edge. I used a 1″ seam.

2. Assemble front panel from three pieces of fabric with two vertical seams where you want the ribbon to be. The outer edge of my ribbons are about 8″ from the finished edge. For a thinner window, you would likely have them closer to the edge.

3. Sew on the two vertical pieces of ribbon over the seams. I sewed an 1/8″ seam on each edge of the ribbon.

4. Hem the bottom edge of the front panel, switching thread colors when sewing over the ribbon. I sewed with navy thread in the three sections of fabric and then switched to green thread to sew over the ribbons. I sewed a 2″ hem to correspond with the 2″ overlap the navy will have in the sides. (Note: this is the only visible time I sew over the ribbon in this project.  I sew over it in step 7 with the horizontal ribbon)

5. Sew front and lining/blackout panels together on both sides with right sides together. I positioned the blackout panel about 2″ about above the front section to match the 2″ overlap in the sides. Flip right sides out. (Because of the size of this shade, I double checked all my measurements at this point)

6. Flatten the shade so the navy overlap on each side is equal at 2″ wide. I sewed down the length of each side about 1″ from the edge to keep everything together. I only did this step because the thick weave upholstery fabric completely hid my stitches. I wouldn’t recommend this on other fabrics that will show stitching unless you want that seam visible. You could also hand or machine baste the sides at this point. I felt it was helpful to steady the piece for the next steps.

7. Based on where I knew my lowest tube tape would be positioned, about 6 inches above the bottom hem, I was able to attach the horizontal ribbon to the shade, sewing through both layers. Depending in your spacing and shade dimensions, you may need to sew on the tube tape first or slightly adjust the position of the tube tape near where you want to sew on any ribbon embellishment.

8. Next, I followed Brown Paper Packages’ instructions in sewing on the tube tape. I sewed from the back (top thread white, bobbin in navy), but the big difference for me was that I did not sew over the ribbon embellishment. While pinning each length of tube tape, I also pinned to indicate the edges of the ribbon and did not sew over them.

9. Another difference was the edges since I wanted the navy overlap. I left about 1 inch of tube tape at each end. My shade had 6 rows of tube tape to cover the 58″ height.

9. Because of my desire to not to sew over the ribbon, I now had some hand sewing to do. I hand tacked the end of each tube tape row by tuning under about 0.5 inches and sewing it down with a hidden stitch. The tape ended about 0.25 to 0.5 inches from the edge of the shade. I also hand tacked the two edges of the horizontal ribbon. I folded a bit under to match the edge where eye navy stopped, 2″ in from the edge.

10. At this point I went back to following Brown Paper Packages’ tutorial for adding the drapery cord (I had 8 cords for my width!), covering the top wood piece with navy fabric, adding eyelet screws, and mounting it in the window. Instead of the Velcro that Brown Paper Packages’ used, installed the shade to the top wood piece and mounted it directly to the window frame. After hanging we inserted 3/8″ diameter wooden dowels in the tube tape to get crisp pleats. This is a must unless you have a very thin shade and so easy with the tube tape.

Overall, the project turned out pretty well. The navy fabric stretched a bit at the top because of the thick open weave, but it was able to be installed pretty well.

Roman shade installed in the nursery

Roman shade installed in the nursery

One word of warning when working with blackout fabric – it is not self healing. Because of the plastic layers used to create an opaque fabric, the fabric does not heal after being punctured with a needle. Therefore, take your time when sewing it since ripping out stitches will leave small holes through which light can pass. This was an issue in this project because the navy fabric had such an open weave. When the shade was hung and the bright sun was outside the window, I could see each seam of the tube tape across the shade. It’s probably something only a DIYer would notice, but worth mentioning.

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY