EPP Preparation and Organization

Today we’re talking EPP organization! I don’t know about you, but preparing for a project is my favorite part. Selecting fabric, cutting, sorting, organizing. It is MY JAM. I always slow down a bit when it comes to the execution :P!

Whether you are participating in the Butterfly Effect Sew Along (kicking off May 3!) or simply working on your own, today I’m talking about how I organized and prepared to begin my project. Tips in this post will apply to both supplies ordered from Pink Door fabrics (preorders now shipping!) and for those printing and cutting their own papers.

This will be the only post I share here before the Sew Along kicks off on May 3. All other posts and tutorials will be shared through the Sew Along newsletter, so you’ll have to sign up if you’d like to follow along! You can do so here.

If you’re printing and cutting your own papers, you can skip down to the next section. If you ordered a laser cut paper piece set from Pink Door Fabrics you will receive 16 sheets as shown above. There are four each of four different sheets. This includes all the pieces needed to create the full Butterfly Effect Pattern plus some extras of each piece.

The pieces are perforated and pop out easily, though take care with extra pointy corners as to not tear them. The pieces are laser cut and etched, so there may be some light residue on the sheets. It is not harmful and can be lightly brushed off with a paper towel, if desired.

One of each different sheet has the paper piece letters etched into every piece as a guide for helping to familiarize you with the shapes and assist with direction and placement. The letters and placement on the paper pieces match all the diagrams in the pattern file. Each subsequent sheet has only one of each piece labeled to assist with sorting which we will discuss next.

As you sew, I recommend keeping at least one paper piece with a letter unused to use a reference for orientation as you go. You can also always reference the template pages in the pattern PDF if you get confused on the orientation of a shape. Some shapes are very similar to others, such as H and I, P, S & K. Also pieces A and R look symmetrical but are ever so slightly unsymmetrical, so you need to be sure you are using them in the proper orientation for all your pieces to fit together.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

ORGANIZING YOUR PIECES

The first step is to separate and organize your paper pieces and my favorite way to do this is with plastic bags and alphabet stickers! Who doesn’t love an excuse to play with stickers, right?!

I like to create two sets of labeled bags – one for holding all my paper pieces and a second for holding my templates, fabric cuts and basted pieces.

I used 3″x4″ bags and small stickers for holding my paper pieces. This pattern has 19 shapes labeled A thru S, so I first affixed the stickers to the bags and then punched out my paper pieces and bagged them accordingly.

For the second set of bags to hold my templates, fabrics and basted pieces, I used larger 4″x6″ bags because they will need to hold more, and big, fun stickers that are easy to see.

I purchased my bags and stickers at Hobby Lobby, though you can find them in many stores such as Walmart with a craft section, Joanns, Michaels or your local craft store. Small bags can be found in the jewelry supply section.

I’m working on a few different versions of this pattern at once, so I created multiple sets of bags and used different stickers for each version to help keep them sorted. My free Mini Maker Case pattern is perfect for storing all your baggies and parts, too! You could also punch a hole in each bag and put them on a binder ring or in a cute pouch. I have some oil slick vinyl that is calling my name and I may need to make some!

I hope you find this post fun and helpful! You can sign up for the Butterfly Effect Sew Along here and be sure to follow me on Instagram for a chance to win some awesome SAL prizes!

Butterfly Effect launch day!

Today is the day! Butterfly Effect is out in the world and I’m SO DARN EXCITED! This pattern has been a really long time in the making. I started and stopped and started and stopped and almost gave up on it a few times. I sketched dozens of options and fought with geometry for too many hours to count, but… TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Download the Butterfly Effect Pattern here

The pattern finishes at 24” square as written (shown above), making it a perfect mini quilt or pillow, but you can continue to grow your piece to any size or use small sections of the pattern for other applications.

The pattern includes printable templates and pattern papers so you have everything you need to jump right in or you can order laser cut paper packs and acrylic templates at PinkDoorFabrics.com.

The pattern also includes a coupon for $5 off at Pink Door Fabrics when you purchase  a set of papers and complete acrylic templates (see the last page of the pattern file)!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

SUPPLIES AND FABRIC KITS

Pink Door Fabrics now has Butterfly Effect supplies available for preorder! They have two fabric kits that match the pattern sample using Tula Pink True Colors with either a light or dark background. You can find them here.

They also have laser cut paper packs and two sets of acrylic templates. The first set (shown above) includes a complete set of templates and the second set (shown below) includes templates for the butterfly and moth wings.

YOU CAN PREORDER PAPERS AND TEMPLATES HERE

Don’t forget to also check out their notions section for all your EPP tools!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

I believe that any level sewist can create this pattern, even EPP beginners! Complete instructions on EPP are not included, but many tutorials can be found online. You can also check out my  Beginners Guide to EPP. Even if you are experience with EPP, you may find some helpful information in this post, plus links to all my favorite tools!

I will be hosting a Butterfly Effect Sew Along that will kick off May 3 where will we work step-by-step together, so if you’re a newbie but want to give this a try, I hope you’ll sew along! You can sign up by clicking here.

I hope you love creating this pattern as much as I have. Remember to share your projects and find inspiration with the hashtag #ButterflyEffectPattern on social media!

A Beginners Guide to EPP


My new Butterfly Effect Pattern comes out TOMORROW (March 3) and I wanted to share ALL THINGS EPP with you today to help you prepare! Whether you are new to English Paper Piecing (EPP) or have dabbled in it before, I hope you find some useful tips and techniques here today. Below I’m sharing all the basics about EPP, as well as my essential (and favorite) tools and a variety of tutorials on basting, stitching and more.



English Paper Piecing (EPP) is a hand sewing technique that uses heavy paper templates to create shapes and stabilize them for stitching. EPP allows you to create intricate designs that would be difficult or impossible to achieve through machine sewn seams. I, personally, find great satisfaction in creating a beautiful quilt with just my hands. Though the process can be slow and meticulous at times, it’s one that people often describe as therapeutic and rewarding. One of my favorite things about EPP is the portability. I like to be busy (you know what they say about idle hands…) and I can take EPP anywhere – on car rides, while waiting for appointments, to the park, on road trips – with minimal equipment. You can toss a few things in a little pouch and always have a project on hand.

Next I will be diving into tools and techniques for EPP. I will be sharing some detailed information and tutorial links, but this is still a surface level intro to help get you started. I will be doing a deep dive into all of this and more with my own photos and video tutorials during the Butterfly Effect Sew Along which will be scheduled later this Spring (probably early May), so stay tuned for that!

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 

GETTING STARTED

There are a few tools that are essential for EPP and several others that are simply beneficial and make the process easier, more efficient and more accurate. These tools include papers, templates, needles, thread, a thimble, a glue pen, small scissors, a small rotary cutter, Friction pen, SewTites, washi tape, Clover Clips, and more. You can see many of these items above and I will discuss them all in more detail.

The first thing you need for every EPP project is paper templates. Some patterns have the option of printing the papers yourself on your home printer (or at a copy shop) using card stock and many patterns have pre cut paper packs available. My Butterfly Effect Pattern includes printable paper files if you’d like to print and cut them yourself or you can order precut paper packs from Pink Door Fabrics (shown below). They will be available for preorder March 3.

You baste your fabric to these paper pieces and then stitch them together leaving the papers in place until your project is complete (more on basting later in the post!).

The next tool in the EPP process is templates. These help you cut your fabric pieces to the right size and shape before basting them to your paper pieces. Templates are not essential to the EPP process, but they are extremely handy and helpful. With EPP patterns, you will use either a 1/4″ or 3/8″ seam allowance on your fabric pieces. This is often determined by the size and shape of your pattern pieces. You can use your paper pieces as a guide/template, cutting your fabric 1/4″ – 3/8″ larger all around or you can use templates. EPP templates are  clear acrylic shapes that are the same size and shape as the paper pieces that you baste to, but include a seam allowance and allow you to easily fussy cut fabrics for your pattern, which is one of the great joys of EPP! Some EPP patterns will also include printable template files that you can print and cut from card stock just like the papers. You can use them whole or cut out the centers for easy fussy cutting.

My Butterfly Effect pattern includes printable templates and you can also order acrylic templates from Pink Door Fabrics. There are two options available. One includes a full set of templates for every piece of the pattern and the second is a mini set which includes acrylic templates for the butterfly and moth wings. You would then print and cut the other templates yourself.

Above you can see a set of acrylic templates from Pink Door fabrics. They ship with paper on the back that you peel off.  I *always* fussy cut so I love acrylic templates. They are also beneficial because you can easily use them to cut your fabrics with a small 28mm rotary cutter. If you did this with paper templates, you could cut into your templates, so you would need to trace your shapes and then cut them with scissors. If you choose to trace shapes on your fabric, I love using a Frixion pen that erases with heat.

If you use acrylic templates, you may find No Slip Grip Dots helpful, especially if you’re using a small rotary cutter. You affix these to the back of the acrylic templates to help keep them from slipping around on your fabric when tracing or cutting.

You can also consider an EPP starter kit like this one!

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 

BASTING

Basting is the process of attaching your fabric to the paper pieces in preparation for stitching them together. You can baste with thread or glue and this is a personal preference. I prefer glue basting. I find it to be quicker and to hold my fabric to the paper tighter which allows me to more accurately and easily stitch my pieces together. I like to use a Sewline Glue Pen because it’s small and accurate (don’t forget the refills!), but you can also use a glue stick.

Here are three great articles talking about basting that show various techniques. Check them out and experiment yourself to see what works best for YOU!

• The Bating Debate by Tales of Cloth

• 5 Ways To Baste English Paper Piecing – The Little Mushroom Cap

English Paper Piecing Basting – A Little Patchwork

There are also oodles of videos on YouTube at your disposal if you search EPP basting.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 

Stitching supplies & techniques

My preferred basic stitching supplies – needle and thread – are Tulip needles and Invisafil thread. I have used Aurifil thread, but for me it sometimes breaks because I’m a little rough when I pull it. The synthetic thread holds strong and is practically invisible. I love it! I also use a thimble and my favorite is the Clover natural fit leather thimble. I can’t sew without it!

When it comes to stitching your pieces together, there are a variety of methods. None are right,  wrong or better than another, it all comes down to personal preference. I recommend, once again, experimenting and finding what works best for you. Keep in mind, this may change with practice and over time or even with the specific project you are working on, so always be open to trying new things.

My preferred method of stitching is the flat back stitch. This is when you keep your pieces flat, butted up next to each other, and stitch across the seam. This is opposed to other methods where you place your pieces face to face and whip stitch or ladder stitch along an edge.

I like using a flat back stitch because I find it the easiest way to keep everything perfectly lined up and because your stitches are invisible! Above you can see that all my seams are neat, even and have no stitches showing. Below is a shot of the back where you can see my stitches. One thing to note is that invisible stitches is a preference. Sometimes different methods are used to intentionally see stitches.

I learned the flat back stitch from Karen the DIY Addict. She has a short video that I first watched here and she also just released a fantastic master class on the flat back stitch which you can find below. This video also includes ample information about basting.

I will share more videos and details during the sew along, but when I flat back stitch, I use a generous amount of washi tape/painters tape and Clover Clips, but also totally rely on SewTites, specifically when my project gets bigger. They are a game changer!! (You can use code lillyella for 15% off on their site, too!). When I start joining multiple pieces together and have a lot of seams and folded fabric, I use tape, pins and SewTites to move things out of the way as needed.

If you’d like to try a traditional whip stitch method of joining your pieces, here is another great tutorial from Jodi Tales of Cloth.

Another method is the invisible feather stitch demonstrated by Pat Bravo of Art Gallery Fabrics in the video below.

Finally, here is an article by Amira The Little Mushroom Cap talking about five different stitching methods. Once again, you can find endless articles and tutorials with an internet search.

Play around with some basic hexagons or triangles and see what feels right for you!

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 

additional tools

There are a few more tools that I use on the reg that really help me with my EPP (and all my sewing projects!). I will talk about them more in depth during the upcoming Sew Along, but here is a quick list with links:

Mini Oliso Iron and wool pressing matsmall and easy to setup next to you on a side table or to take on the road!.

Lap Deskdid you have one of these as a kid for car rides? I use mine ALL THE  TIME! For sketching, cutting, hand sewing on the couch!

Stella two task lampI’m typically stitching in the evenings on the couch and let’s face it, my eyes aren’t what they used to be.

Daylight Wafer Lightboxespecially helpful for fussy cutting without acrylic templates.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 

Last, but not least, I recommend making yourself a Mini Maker Station! This is one of my free patterns and it’s perfect for EPP! You can download the pattern here.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 

I also REALLY love the Sewing Date Traveler pattern  for storing and toting around all my project supplies. You can download the free pattern here. I made this one a few years back and it’s constantly in use!

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 

I hope you have found this post helpful and try your hand at some EPP!

I want to add, if you don’t love it at first try or get frustrated with perfection or techniques, don’t give up! Like everything, it can require some practice and finessing.

Stay tuned for my pattern release TOMORROW and I hope you’ll join in the upcoming Sew Along! I will post details here on the blog and you can also stay up to date with everything on my Instagram page and by joining my email newsletter here.

Happy stitching!
~ Nicole

Midnight Bite Sew Along Sign-Up & Schedule

It’s time for the Midnight Bite Sew Along 2020! The sew along (SAL) will begin on October 9 and run through Halloween. Please read through this entire post carefully as everything you need to know is included – how to participate, what to expect, where to direct questions and more.

You can find the Midnight Bite bat pattern and Wicked Weaver spider pattern in my Etsy shop here. Both patterns include three blocks sizes from 8” to 24” so there are endless possibilities with what you can create using them! Throughout this post you will see a few variations of the blocks, as well as some finished projects made with them including the Midnight Bite Treat Bag and an improv wonky log cabin pillow.

Whether you’re a sew along fanatic or have never participated in one before, I hope you’ll join in! A sew along is essentially just what the name implies, a group of people sewing through a specific pattern “together” virtually over a set time period. Sometimes a SAL is very structured with a set schedule and specific prompts for sharing your work on social media etc, and sometimes a SAL is very loose with nothing shared along the way but what others choose to share as they work their own project. Sew alongs are typically most active on social media, such as Instagram and Facebook, where people share photos of their progress using specified hashtags so everyone participating can view each other’s work, answer questions, share tips & inspiration and more. The best part about a sew along is that it often gives someone the motivation to start or stick with a project and it’s also a fabulous opportunity to learn new skills and make new friends!

This is not a live event or class, all information will be sent via the email newsletter list (sign up below!) on scheduled days with links to blog posts found here. The posts will include pattern tips, tutorial links and videos to help you through your project. You are welcome to work ahead at any time or you can follow the schedule. Between posts, everyone works at their own pace and shares their progress on Instagram and in the Sew Along Facebook Group. If you’re not on social media, that’s ok! You can still view others posts and email me photos of your work.

For this SAL, I will not be sharing a complete step-by-step how-to on foundation paper piecing (we’ll do that in the Spring!), but I will share a variety of tutorials for those who are new to FPP. I will, however, be sharing tips and videos on how I prepare my pattern, cut my fabric (including fussy cuts and directional fabric), join sections with accuracy, and more, and I think many of these tips and tricks will be new and helpful to even experienced paper piecers! Below you will find more information on option tools and materials for this project.

Throughout the sew along, I ask that you direct any questions you may have to the Sew Along Facebook group rather than emailing or contacting me through social media. I will be checking these things, but chances are someone has already asked the same question and you will get a much faster response than I can provide! The FB group also has a search feature, so it’s easy to look for answers. I will be taking a cross country road trip during this sew long (crazy, I know!), so I will have limited internet access.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

SEW ALONG SIGN UP

I have created an email newsletter sign-up as an easy to communicate with everyone participating in the sew along. Emails will only be sent during the sew along and the list will be deleted after it’s over. Please click here to join in! Be sure that you see the confirmation after joining and then look for a welcome email. If you do not see it, please check your junk/spam folders and if you still don’t receive it, please try signing up again.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

SEW ALONG SCHEDULE

There aren’t too many steps in the process of foundation paper piecing, but I will cover pattern and fabric prep, general piecing and finally joining on sections. I will move quickly through the schedule for those who work fast, but there’s plenty of time during the sew along to work on your block, so don’t worry!

October 9: Pattern prep and cutting fabric. I will share helpful tips, my favorite tools, and a few videos on how I do this. There may be some surprises and helpful information for even experienced paper piecers, so I suggest you wait for this post to begin!

October 12: Begin piecing sections. I will share a variety of foundation paper piecing tutorials showing different methods and talk about what I prefer. I will also discuss trimming sections in preparation for the next step of joining them.

October 19: Joining sections. I will share videos and tips on how I join my sections with perfect accuracy and talk about ways to use your block in projects.

October 26: Final post and time to begin sharing finished blocks!

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

tools and materials

Though it’s not necessary, I use an Add-A-Quarter 12″ ruler for foundation paper piecing and will be using that in my demonstrations and tutorials. I also print my pattern on newsprint or foundation paper and this is what I recommend using if you’d like to pick some up. I will talk more about the benefits in the first blog post.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Until we kick things off on October 9, you can check out the #midnightbitepattern and #wickedweaverpattern hashtags on Instagram to get your creative juices flowing! You can start pulling fabric and share a snapshot on social media with the hashtags #MidnightBiteSAL and #MidnightBitePattern (for the bat) or #WickedWeaverpattern for the spider and in the Sew Along Facebook group!

See you on October 9!

Mini Maker Case Sew Along Schedule and Details

It’s T-minus two days ’til we kick of the Mini Maker Case Sew Along and today I want to share a few more details, as well as the sew along schedule.

There are at least 2200 friends sewing along over the next couple weeks and many of them have never participated in a sew along, so I first want to cover all the specifics of how this sew along will work.

A sew along is essentially just what the name implies, a group of people sewing through a specific pattern “together” virtually over a set time period. Sometimes a SAL is very structured with a set schedule and specific prompts for sharing your work on social media etc, and sometimes a SAL is very loose with nothing shared along the way but what others choose to share as they work their own project. Sew alongs are typically most active on social media, such as Instagram, where people share photos of their progress using specified hashtags so everyone participating can view each other’s work, answer questions, share tips & inspiration and more. The best part about a sew along is that it often gives someone the motivation to start or stick with a project and it’s also a fabulous opportunity to learn new skills and make new friends!

If you haven’t yet joined the email list for this sew along, please do so by clicking here. I will be sharing information through this email list and will also have posts here on my blog and on my Instagram account here.

For this SAL, I will be following a casual schedule which you can see posted above. On each day specified on the schedule, I will share information about the parts of the pattern we will be working on via the sew along email list and through social media. This will include some basics from the pattern as well as additional tips, photos, video tutorials and more. Everyone then sews at their own pace through these steps, sharing progress photos as they go. I will also share some prizes that will be up for grabs and how to be eligible for a chance to win them!

This is not a live event or class, all information if sent via email on the mornings of the dates posted above and everyone works at their own pace until the next steps.

SCHEDULE

Sept 14: We will cut all our pieces and begin preparing the handle and top & bottom of the case. I will be sharing some tips on fussy cutting!

Sept 17: We will begin piecing the main body panel with the zipper and the back panel. Don’t fear the zipper, we’ll help you through!

Sept 21: We will begin assembling the case. I will share some video tutorials on these steps.

Sept 24: Sew inside binding

Sept 28: Share your finished case and be eligible to win a Mini Oliso Iron!

If you haven’t yet downloaded the pattern, you can find it here and start pulling your supplies, then stay tuned for our kick off email on Monday, September 14!

Mini Maker Case Sew Along!

It’s time for the Mini Maker Case Sew Along! We’ll kick things off on September 14 and it will run through September 28. You can download the free Mini Maker Case pattern here.

Whether you’re a Sew Along fanatic or have never participated in one before, I hope you’ll join in! It’s great motivation to complete a project or try something new and there’s always oodles of help and inspiration along the way – not to mention new friends and fun prizes!

This little case is designed specifically to store and transport the Oliso Mini Project Iron with padded sides and a reinforced top and bottom, but it’s perfect for so many other things too, from notions or a small project to cosmetics, toys, and most importantly, snacks!

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

SEW ALONG SIGN UP

I’m going to try something new with this SAL and have an email sign-up so it’s easier to communicate with everyone. Emails will only be sent during the sew along and the list will be deleted after it’s over. Please click here to join in! I will select three winners at random from the email list on Monday to receive an interfacing kit for making their case.

I will be following a schedule, but you are welcome to join in at anytime and sew at your own pace. During the first week of the sew along, we will work on preparing all the pieces of the case and the second week we will work on assembly. The pattern contains all the information you need to complete the project, but throughout the SAL I will be sharing additional tips, tutorials and videos to help.

If you’re new to sewing and wondering if you can complete this project, the answer is yes! I am always happy to give additional help where needed and you’ll find a great community amongst the participants who also love to help through blog post comments and on social media. We will have a SAL hashtag and share our progress photos along the way, as well as our finished pieces at the end.

Everyone who completes their case by the end of the Sew Along will be eligible to win a pink Mini Oliso Iron! I will select one winner at random from all finished project photos posted on social media or sent to me via email. I’ll share more specifics on that later and I’ll also have a few more surprises along the way, too!

Alright, gang… sign up on the email list above, download the pattern, start your fabric pull and stay tuned for more information!

Say Hello to Jett!

Say hello to Jett! She’s the long lost sister of Lita, Siouxsie, & Viv, the Moth Charm Blocks. Everyone knows a Jett – always last to show up and last to leave, but no party is complete without her!

Whenever I design a new pattern, or especially a set of patterns, I have a lot of ideas that don’t always come to fruition. I originally decided to stick with three moth charm blocks since I had three butterfly charm blocks, but I stumbled upon Jett last week and realized she was just too cute not to share.

Though she’s technically a moth, she can also be a butterfly. There are tons of ways to customize this pattern and I’ll have more samples – along with the specifics on how I modified the pattern – soon. Below are a few examples I’ve been playing with. Can you recognize what real life counterpart their mimicking?

In the meantime, you can download Jett and her sisters here, and find all my free patterns here. I hope you enjoy! Please remember to tag me on social media @lillyellastitchery and use the hashtags on the patterns so I can see all of your creations. I love getting emails, too!

Happy Stitching!
~ nicole

Bad business, a cautionary tale or a sad reality? You decide.

Today I have an unfortunate story to share with you. It’s one that happens too often and many times without fair resolve. And frankly, it’s bullshit. I’m sharing this story now because I was not able to come to a fair agreement with the party involved and have exhausted the options I’m willing to pursue. My hope in sharing this is that you can be a more educated consumer and also to help prevent this same thing from happening to you or someone you know.

Here are the facts and nothing but the facts. I’ll let you make up your own mind on what’s “right”, “wrong” or “fair”, but I’d love to hear your thoughts here and on social media.

A couple months back, a friend sent me a link to the book above, 101 Quilting Tips and Tricks by Penny Haren published by Laundauer/Fox Chapel Publishing. Yes, that’s MY photo of MY Undercover Maker Mat pattern on the COVER, and no, they did not ask for my permission to use it.

I tried to contact the author via several platforms with no response and also promptly called the publisher, Laundauer, who is now under Fox Chapel Publishing. No one could help me aside from giving me an email address, so I wrote and waited, and waited. I finally received a response from the COO of Fox Chapel. He explained that my image was pulled from Pinterest to use on an internal mockup and was never changed out. He offered to replace the image on a potential second printing in approximately one year and offered me an insulting amount of money, $200. At the time of writing this, I have not heard from the author, though I do know she is aware of the situation. Perhaps she was advised not to contact me, but I will say if this was my book, I would be sending a hefty apology regardless of what actually happened internally.

Now, I have to interject a few things before we continue. First, I have worked as a graphic designer for over 20 years. I have worked on extremely large projects with large clients (The Cleveland Indians, for example), I have worked on books, I have been IN books, I know how every step of the process works. I cannot say that the scenario Fox Chapel explained isn’t true, but it’s just hard for me to believe (and really, what “nationally know speaker, columnist, consultant and author” uses someone else’s image on the cover of their book without even know where it came from?). Second, I have been paid more to use my image with full credit inside of a book, so you can see how ridiculous the offer from Fox Chapel was.

I’m updating this post here by adding in that word ridiculous is simply MY OPINION and the opinion of those I consulted with. Everyone’s idea of FAIR compensation is different, and we’re all entitled to our opinions. If Fox Chapel believes that what they are offering is fair, then that is their opinion and we are all free to decide how we feel about it I clearly disagree and am sharing the facts here for you to decide if you agree.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Honestly, I felt like I was being treated like some naive girl with a sewing machine and and a smart phone rather than a mature woman and artist who was worked her ass off to build a business for herself.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Not only was the book being sold numerous places online and distributed through major distributors to shops across the world, but the book cover was (and still is at the time of writing this) being used as a marketing tool for the company on two Facebook banners, on their catalog, etc – despite requests to remove it. I guess I should take this as flattery?

I consulted with an invaluable colleague in the industry and worked out a VERY fair contract I know there is not much money in publishing)  to which Fox Chapel declined and offered me slightly more than the first offer (a little more than double), continually pointing out that they admitted their mistake, that sales for the book were slow and limited (I really don’t call all those sales venues shown above LIMITED, and that’s not all of them), and that they’ve made internal changes to prevent this. All fine and dandy, but also irrelevant to the situation at hand.

This is not simply an issue of an image being used without permission. I want to explain the many ways a situation like this can negatively and financially affect a small business owner and artist like myself, and maybe like you. Having this book in the marketplace hinders my ability to contract this image for other uses or even use it on a cover of MY OWN BOOK someday. It has the potential to cause confusion in the marketplace in many ways. People could come to associate the image with the author rather than myself. The book cover or image could begin to link to the book rather than myself on social media sites such as Pinterest, directly taking traffic and pattern sales away from me. Fox Chapel disagreed that either of these points were possible or relevant which BLOWS MY MIND. There are many other factors also, such as people who buy the book assuming the cover pattern is included, only to be disappointed that it’s not. I could go on and on.

I have received many messages from friends, colleagues and  shop owners across the country who have seen or stock the book, recognizing my image and seeing I was not credited. Regardless, what I was asking for in compensation was very fair for the image use on a book cover, the points mentioned above, and my time in dealing with the matter, but their second offer was the best they could do. I declined this compensation and am instead sharing this story with you.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

As a friend so perfectly put it, it feels like they’re leaving the money on the nightstand as they walk out.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Now, I don’t know how large Fox Chapel is. I’m all for capitalism, I don’t despise big business or corporations, and I don’t believe that the size of a company always relates to their actions, so I’m not going to say that this is what you get from big business or anything like that. This situation is simply a reflection of the morals and ethics of those in charge at Fox Chapel and they’re clearly not in line with what I believe. As an author, I would be embarrassed to be associated with this company. As a consumer, I would not choose to give them my money. Does sharing this story and the book image ultimately give them exposure and marketing? Perhaps. I considered blurring out the title, but I think that seeing it all is more helpful in sharing this story. If someone sees this and decides they want the book, that’s on them.

So the big question… how can we, as artists, prevent this?

One simple, yet not foolproof, way to help prevent image theft is to watermark all of your images. Will I do that moving forward? Probably not. I don’t like the way it looks or the time it takes. I don’t think that should mean I’m left vulnerable to this happening again, but sadly it does. Also, a watermark is not a guarantee with how easy it can be to photoshopped out sometimes.

The only legal way to protect your work is to register it with the US Copyright Office which is expensive ($55 per work) and time consuming. Many of you may be thinking “but don’t we automatically have ownership of all our images?”, short answer, yes, but not what it comes to fighting a situation like this in a legal manner.

I consulted with an intellectual property lawyer who was very helpful. Technically you COULD get a lawyer involved in a situation like this without having a registered copyright, but the costs to do so would far outweigh any monetary reward, and sadly, I am not independently wealthy. In the US, all parties pay their own court costs UNLESS it is a statutory situation, such as an official copyright, that has a different legal standing in court, comes with a minimum reward amount and requires the offending party to pay your court costs. I have already started the copyright process with my most popular images and all of my pattern content to help protect myself moving forward. It’s unrealistic to be able to do this for every photo I post on Instagram or share on Pinterest, but I’ll just have to pick and choose as I move forward.

I wish I could continue to fight this, even at a loss to myself, simply out of principal, but I believe Fox Chapel is well aware of all this and taking advantage of that situation. Perhaps that’s the saddest part of this story. It shows me they simply do not care despite all the claims by the COO of respecting me as a talented artist.

In closing, I think we see that this story is all the things I questioned in the title – bad business, a cautionary tale and a sad reality. While this situation is so incredibly frustrating and angering, I do have some satisfaction in sharing with you. I know I can’t RUIN Fox Chapel, but I hope they feel some impact from all of this. Even if it is simply fielding a hundred emails about their poor business practices and maybe losing some book sales.

I would really love to hear what you think in the comments below and especially on social media. I want Fox Chapel to know how their customer base and distributors feel about this type of behavior. You can find me on Instagram here and on Facebook here, and you can find Fox Chapel on Instagram here, on Facebook here, and via email here.

UPDATES:
You can find an update after hearing from the author here, and the “resolution” to this case here.

Thanks, friends!
~ nicole

Maker Mat SAL: Optional Thread Catcher

DSC_0490 edi

Hello, Hello! If you are just joining the sew-a-long, please scroll down a few posts to find the kickoff and all the tips shared in previous posts or scroll to the bottom of this post for direct links.

Some of you are just joining in and some are already finished with their projects. Today is my last post about the steps of the pattern, but there is still plenty of time to sew! I will officially be wrapping up the SAL at the end of this month and choosing winners for the awesome prizes up for grabs, but you don’t have to finish your mat to be eligible to win. You just have to post your progress photos with the hashtags #undercovermakermatSAL2019 and #undercovermakermat on Instagram or Facebook. Every post is an entry. If you’re joining in and don’t have any social media accounts, feel free to email me some pics (nicole at lillyella dot com)!

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

THREAD CATCHER

Onto today’s business. You’re either a thread catcher kind of person, or you’re a throw-it-on-the-floor-and-sweep-it-up-later kind of person! So, this step is optional. The thread catcher is designed to hang from a button on the far right pocket, but it will also stand on it’s own and can sit on your work table. If you choose to have it stand alone, you may want to shorten the height of it a bit to make it easier to use.

As with all the elements of this pattern, there are endless ways to customize the thread catcher. You can use a single fabric embellished with trim and selvedges or you can create any sort of patchwork design you like. Piece in a single accent strip, make the bottom half a contrasting fabric or use another paper pieced block. Here are a few examples:

catcher-close

originalcatcher

IMG_2643 edit2

tulacatcher

purebredcatcher

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

OTHER USES

Outside of this project, the thread catcher alone is handy for a variety of other uses! I often hang one somewhere on my machine while I’m sewing and I’m also working on a set that will hang from hooks on the wall behind my sewing machine to hold tools and notions. You could hang some in a bedroom or bathroom for jewelry, toiletries, hair accessories, etc! You can easily adjust the size by adding or subtracting equal amounts to all pieces.

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

Remember to keep sharing your photos with the hashtags #undercovermakermatSAL2019 and #undercovermakermat!

ADDITIONAL POSTS:

Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long: All the details

PART ONE: Kickoff! Sizing your mat and tutorials for beginners

Sponsors and Prizes!

PART TWO: Adding a machine handle opening

PART THREE: Pocket Panel Tips & Tutorials

Maker Mat SAL: Pocket Panel Tips & Tutorials

Hello, Hello! If you are just joining the sew-a-long, please scroll down a few posts to find the kickoff and all the tips shared in previous posts or scroll to the bottom of this post for direct links.

So far we’ve worked on the main body of the mat and how to add a machine handle opening, and today I’m going to talk about the pocket panels. If you’re just getting started on your mat, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time!

Before you begin your pocket panels remember that if you changed the size of your main body, you will need to also adjust the size of the pocket panels! You can do this by changing the size of one pocket or adjusting all the pockets equally. Don’t forget to think about seam allowances when calculating cutting sizes.

One thing to note about the pocket panels is that there are SO many ways you can customize this entire project, but especially this part. You can adjust the sizes, add more or less pockets, you can piece them all with any block you love or you can eve use one solid cut of fabric to make it really quick and easy. Be sure to check out the #undercovermakermat hashtag on social media to see tons of creative inspiration!

pockets

Above you can see just a few variations from mats that I’ve made in the past. The top left follows the pattern as written, which the bottom left follows the same sizing and layout, but uses full cuts of fabric (rather than piecing) with cute fussy cuts! On the right, there is a little mix of both. I substituted my Love Story pattern block for the butterfly and then used solid fabric cuts for the other pockets with some added lace trim details.

First I’m going to share some tutorials and tips on creating the accent pocket panels which are the paper pieced butterfly and the selvedge pockets, then I’ll cover a bit more details on piecing the panels and trim options.

All the information you need to create the accent pocket pieces is included in the pattern (including a link to a tutorial on making the butterfly for beginner paper piecers), but I will go into a bit more detail here and include some additional tips and photos, as well as design variation ideas.

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

PAPER PIECING TIPS

You can find the pattern for my Butterfly Charm Blocks here. All three butterfly designs are the same size and any can be used. The foundation paper piecing tutorial link included in the pattern is from Cassandra Madge and you can find it here. It was so sweet of her to use my pattern as the example for her tutorial!

Our methods of paper piecing are very similar, with just a few differences. I like to use the Add-A-Quarter Ruler, rather than a standard quilting ruler. It does the same job, but is just one of those tools that takes away some room for error. Another paper piecing tutorial I often direct people to is this video from Connecting Threads. You can see the Add-A-Quarter ruler being used.

paper piecing tips | lillyella stitchery

When I paper piece, especially small blocks, I like to use Foundation Paper. You can buy one from Carol Doaks or you can use any thin newsprint. Someone recently mentioned they found this pack from Dick Blick, and you can’t beat the price! I also apologize that I don’t remember who tagged me on that, please let me know if it was you! It is essentially just a thinner paper that creates less bulk and allows for easier removal. You can use any paper for paper piecing, but the thinner you can find, the easier it will make the process.

Another thing I ALWAYS do is to trace the pattern onto the back of the sheet. It does not have to be perfect because you will only be using it for reference, but it helps in a multitude of ways. I use a lightbox, but you can also use a window. Since this is the side where you will place your fabric, you can use these lines as a guide for cutting your fabric pieces. You can still use the printed side, but you have to work with your fabric upside down at that point, and I like to see the prints and placement.

After tracing and selecting fabrics, I also note my fabric selections or color accordingly on this side. Then I always know I’m placing the correct piece. These lines also help you as you sew to make sure a fabric cut will cover a segment. Place the fabric where you would for your next seam, but before sewing, hold the fabric approximately where your seam will be and fold the fabric over as you would when pressing it after sewing. You can then see if your piece is large enough to cover everything it needs to. You can then sew your seam with confidence, because unpicking a paper pieced seam is NO FUN!

Lastly, I find having these lines helps prevent you from missing a segment, which is something I see a lot in paper piecing. When you have the pattern lines on the side where you are placing fabric, you will notice if you’ve missed a piece. You still have to pay attention, but it’s definitely better than flying blind!

paper piecing tips | lillyella stitchery

In Cassandra’s tutorial, you will see her talking about adding some basting stitches to you sections to help when piecing them together. This is important and something I always do as well, however, I put my stitches in the seam allowance as you can see above in the left photo.

Another tip is that when trimming sections to the seam allowance after piecing, do not trim any sides that are on an outer edge (above right). This way you can trim your final block to size after it is completely pieced. It is not uncommon to lose a little bit in each seam, so this ensures you can have the correct sized block in the end, and also lets you trim the block to a slighty larger size, if desired.

After piecing sections, I always remove the paper from the seam allowance only before sewing sections together. This just helps with bulk and allows you to press a flatter seam before adding the next section. You can also see this in the above right photo.

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

SELVEDGE POCKETS

For those who are new to sewing or do not know what a selvedge is, it is the finished edge on a bolt of fabric. There are finished edges on both sides along the width of the fabric, but only one will contain printing and this is the side I use on this project. I cut my selvedges off with about one half inch to one inch or so of the fabric print included, just to make sure I always have enough extra to work with them. The directions on how to work with the selvedges to create the pockets are included in the pattern.

selvedges

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

VARIATIONS

Below are more variations from makes on Instagram to help inspire you!

examples5

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

TRIM

This pattern uses trims or ribbons for securing the secondary pockets and hiding the raw edges, and also for creating the side ties when using it as a machine cover. Below are some trims from my collection that I’ve found at Joanns, Hobby Lobby and even Walmart. Anything between 1/4″ to 3/8″ width is best. If it is too small then you will have trouble enclosing the raw edge of the pocket, any thicker and you cut into your pocket space. Trims that are more solid are best to hide the raw edges, but some lacier style trims can work ok, too.

ribbons

If you don’t have any trims on hand, you can also use a thin bias binding strip instead. Start with a 1″ or 1.25″ cut strip, fold the raw edges into the center, then fold in half and press and use this as you would a piece of ribbon. You can also you another selvedge with the cut side pressed under. Lots of possibilities!

trims

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

Undercover Maker Mat | lillyella stitchery

POCKET BINDING

I like the look of the binding on the pocket because I think it balances the piece nicely, but if you prefer, you can eliminate this step and instead attach the lining to the pocket panel just as you did on the small secondary pockets. Just lay your lining piece, RST, on top of your finished main pocket panel and sew across the top with a 1/4″ seam. Flip the lining to the back, press, and top stitch along the top edge. You can include the fusible fleece when you do this, add it after tucked up to the seam, or skip it all together and use some lightweight interfacing on one or both pieces instead.

pocket-binding

Above are a couple examples I saw on the #undercovermakermat hashtag on instagram that demonstrate this variation. If you have any questions about doing this instead of the binding, just let me know and I’m happy to help!

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

Once your full pocket panel is complete, you will baste it to your mat body and bind the entire piece as covered in the pattern. BE SURE TO ADD YOUR SIDE TIES BEFORE BINDING! If you do not plan to use your mat as a cover, you can leave them off. I did forget to add them once and just had to unpick a little bit of my binding and tuck them in, which was not hard to do, so it’s not the end of the world if you forget, or even decide to add them later!

tie double

Just as with trim used to secure the secondary pockets, you can instead use a binding strip for your side ties, or even additional selvedges. If using a binding strip, simply top stitch along the folded edge to close it up. You can tie knots on the ends or stitch them closed.

cover

cover1

Stay tuned next week for one more post talking about the thread catcher before we wrap things up on October 28!

ADDITIONAL POSTS:

Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long: All the details

PART ONE: Kickoff! Sizing your mat and tutorials for beginners

Sponsors and Prizes!

PART TWO: Adding a machine handle opening