Tuesday, January 27, 2015

mini tutorial for paper pieced stars

Yesterday I was working on some four inch stars as a part of an extra to the pillow for my Pillow Swap Four Seasons (PS4S) Partner. In the original pillow, I used straight piecing, but learned I should have printed my kaleidoscopes on paper and sewn that way. But, as you can see, my motif wasn't really the kaleidoscope at all, but these cute little stars! I tried finding a name for them, but am not quite sure what they are called. Do you? What I love about them with PP is that they are PERFECT! Enlarge the pic to see what I mean. =)

I made my templates in EQ7 for a four inch star. It is great when they print out exactly centered four segments on a page! Because that is exactly what I wanted to do. (Here is just a snapshot of the template. Templates are discontinued, but you can also draw your own templates.)

I separated the first star from the second star and trimmed all the way around the seam allowance line. DO NOT SEPARATE THE FOUR SEGMENTS! Then I folded the star in half both horizontally and vertically in the center. The exact center is marked with a "cross" in the center by me.(None of my fabrics are allowed to go over this point.)

Then I made a plastic template of the colored star section. This helps with fussing cutting as well as ensuring that the fabric does not go over the seam allowance line. You will see what I mean later. Cut out the four colored stars (A-1) using the plastic template and cut (4) - 3.5" x 2.75" rectangles for the outer segments (A-2, A-3).

Now the the tricky part begins. Dab a little bit of glue on the backside of the paper template on each star segment (A-1). Glue those fabrics in place. Use a good light source to see the lines through the paper. Do you see how none of the fabrics touch the cross in the middle?


Now take one of your outer segments (A-2) and align to the colored fabric star face down on the backside of the paper template. I DID THIS WRONG IN MY FIRST DEMO!! PLEASE sew according to the second picture correctly. =) I just wanted to show you the first step, but it was on the wrong side.

 This is the right way on the backside of the paper template! =)

Flip over and pin at the beginning and ending of the sewing line. Sew 1/4" from the start and stop of those sewing lines using a small stitch - about 1.5 on a Pfaff. Be warned, if you don't pin, it could shift. I hate to pick out mini-stitches.

Flip fold over as you would in normal pp. Now, fold your paper template along the fold line where the fabric overlaps. Trim with your scissors making sure you don't cut the paper. Do you see that the paper template is now correct?? The printed lines should really be on the backside!!

Continue sewing the outer segments until all are finished. NOTE: There is no need to trim off the outer edges of the block until the entire block is finished.

Now the magic starts!! Fold the paper template in half and sew along the sewing line.

Cut along the seam allowance line or through the middle. Whichever is easiest for you.


 Unfold. Press seam open. Repeat for the other half of the template! Voila!!

Press seam open.

Trim along outer seam allowance. Press. Admire!


And if you want to get really creative, you can make a really cute mug rug! Just look at those perfect points! Everything lines up perfectly! Can life get any better than this? I don't think so! Take a break and sip a cup of coffee or tea. Look at your beautiful creation and enjoy the view outside. It is snowing here in Germany. I wish we had more snow, but you can't have everything, now can you?

And everyone who downloads a template, I would really like to see your creation!!! I want to see all of your beautiful designs! Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, January 16, 2015

folk art and kaleidoscopes

Okay the new year has started, and I am trying for find my sewing gusto or mojo. Today is definitely not a good day for me to sew, because I am just too tired. I think I have been pretty successful as far as sewing too, considering that I got two blocks for my advanced sampler finished last week. I started working on a new one this week - my folk art flower block.

I avoid hand sewing and applique like the pest...but...since I started making those owls in the fall, I realized it isn't that bad and you really can sew things together really fast by hand rather than using the sewing machine, changing thread, pulling the threads through at the start and stop as well as a lower-valued look to the quality. So, hand applique - at least buttonhole stitch is a new addition to my sewing repertoire. I thought it appropriate to add to my sampler as well. I first wondered if I should use the tread in a contrast color, but decided to stick tone in tone.

And in the new year, I would like to ask this question every week about to you: 
what did you learn?

Last week, I learned that when you sew kaleidoscope blocks together, always paper piece them! You will struggle with those points in the center of the block rather than on the outsides. Matching four points up is harder than matching two points. I sewed four connecting blocks together several times to get them straight! That was simply too much of a headache! After sewing all of my connecting squares with four points together at least four times, I decided that I was content. Paper piecing would have made this a little simpler - I should have taken advantage of it, if I had known up front which design I was going to make. You can see more pictures here from our pillow swap.

What did I learn this week?
I learned that when you sew a sample block, always (and I mean always) use scrap fabric! I worked on a new block for the Quiltmakers 100 Blocks Vol. 12 - Fall 2015 Edition. Everything was mapped out on paper and paper templates were printed out. I thought (once again) I could make it simpler without PP and go for a quick strip method. It would have worked out, if I had thought straight and turned my fabric at the correct time, but, I didn't. I sliced the fabric IN THE WRONG DIRECTION and didn't have any left over. I ended up sewing the piece I just cut off back on to use it. It wouldn't be used for the the original block that would be published in the magazine, but it would still work out as a trial block.

Would you like to see a sneek peak? I can't give away too much info, otherwise it won't be a surprise anymore! And I also received wonderful news that one of my blocks is being published in the next edition of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks coming out in May 2015! I am so excited and can't wait to share it with you!

And now I would like to ask you that very important question - what did you learn this week (according to sewing and patchwork that is)? Please leave your answer in the comments section below, so we can all PROFIT from your experience. =)


Saturday, January 10, 2015

hello twenty-15

Happy New Year to everyone! I have taken some time off to think about a few things and get my sewing gusto back on track. The holidays were wonderful, and I really enjoyed the down-time. I hope you enjoyed them as well?

With every new year, there are changes in store...at least for me that is. I need change!! My husband didn't know what he signed up for when he married me. At least he is one of the constants in my life! =)

I started thinking about what type of change I need as far as my blog and communication with others. Why do I blog? Why do you blog? Why do we read each others sites? What would we do without the social networks of today? I have decided that I am going to spend less time blogging and more time sewing. My commitment to myself is to blog three or four times a month usually showing a finish off or what I have learned. A big step for me is joining INSTAGRAM as well. I still want to share with you what I am working on. Maybe you like it and comment on it. Maybe it becomes an inspiration piece. Maybe you skip on over it. But I want to keep going...keep creating...keep sharing....but giving myself more time to do just that - what I love to do.


Our Pillow Swap Four Seasons is in full swing! I am really enjoying checking in every day and seeing what the spectacular ladies are creating for each other. In the beginning, I admit, I was really nervous and intimidated, because these women are so FABULOUS! I was confused with the swap too...should I make directly from an inspiration photo or make something of my own? I have since found my own method of creating for others in the group...at least a starting point. :) If you are curious to see what I am working on, please check it out here. These are the fabrics I am going with. Since I have already started, there is no turning back now. =)

What have I been working on? I decided to get back to my old advanced sampler I started SEVERAL years ago. I totally love the fabric from Kate Spain called Fandago. All I have to do is finish a few 12" blocks, because the sashing and binding are already finished!

I worked on this wedding ring block which went together much easier than I thought it would. I printed the templates from EQ7 which were a little tight on the outer sides. I cut bigger pieces for fabrics for the fourth block and got myself into a pickle (or trouble). That's why there is a slight fold in the center. ;-) I thought it was more important for my seams to match up rather than a little fold....it won't be noticeable after it is quilted anyway? Right?

Then I worked on a Burnham block. Does anyone know this block? I found it a long time ago and bookmarked it to make the Y-Seam in the middle. I started by sewing strips together instead of making templates for each section. I wanted to save some time and be accurate. The fun thing about it - you get two blocks for one. Do you see the scraps to the right that make an additional block? I might put it on the back for a signature block.

I debated back and forth whether I wanted to sew this with a Y-Seam or skip it. Since this is a sampler for me - of my own skills - I have to challenge myself. I thought about it - how to get this little square into the center of the block. I knew where it connected on a straight line, but thought there could be an even simpler way of getting it in there without a Y-seam. I could applique it in the center. I even did it, but wasn't happy with the result.

Then I after a morning of struggling and be unhappy, I ripped it apart between the yellow and orange strips - where it is really supposed to be connected. I marked my 1/4 dots and it went together perfectly.

The center looks a little funky with the seam pressed forward, but I think I will work that out later.

This was really a fun block to make and could see making it more often. Next up on my sampler list is a folkart applique to test out my hand button-hole sewing. Please join me on Instagram - easypatchwork.

Thank you for stopping by!