Maker Mat Sew-a-long: Main Body Panel

Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long | lillyella stitchery

Good morning, friends! I’m so excited to officially kick off the Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long and have loved seeing some of your fabric pulls already! If you’re just tuning in, you can find all the details and the free pattern in my previous post (scroll down or click here). Please be sure to use #undercovermakermatSAL and #undercovermakermat on your photos so we can all inspire and motivate each other!

As mentioned, I’m going to follow the schedule that I shared, but you are welcome begin and end anytime, and sew at your own pace. I will try to share a few extra tips and suggestions at each step, but everything you need to complete the project is in the pattern.

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Today, I’m going to talk a little about some options for the main body of the mat, but first, I want to talk about PRIZES! Because who doesn’t love prizes?

prizes!

First up, I have some super awesome, generous donations to giveaway! I have FIVE 6-month subscriptions to Make Modern Magazine, a three month subscription to Stash Builder Box and a $25 gift certificate to Stash Fabrics!

I’ll also be giving away three bundles of all my lillyella stitchery patterns AND a bundle of fabric, notions and other fun stuff that I’m putting together, which I’ll share soon, and possibly a few more things that get added along the way!

I’m thinking that I will pick my three favorite finished mats and then draw the rest of the winners at random. What do you guys think?

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Alright, onto to business! I talked about the overall size of the mat and how to modify this to fit your machine on my original post, so be sure to check that out. Now I’m going to talk a little about fabrics and design options.

On the previous mats I’ve made, I have chosen a simple, low volume for the main body, so that the colors and prints used on the pocket panel would really pop. My very first one was a solid piece and on the next one I made for the Paperie Fabrics blog tour shown below, I pieced a thin strip of accent fabric in and really love the look.

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On the Tula one shown above, I added an applique moth peaking out from behind the pocket panel, and I think it’s so fun.

Because the main body is 20″x23″, you need yardage for this piece, but if you are working with scraps or a FQ bundle, you can simply piece it together any way you like.

Even if you choose to use a low volume background, another fun option is to add a print to the “back” of the cover, what would show on the back of your machine when being used a cover, such as on this one:

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Another way to approach this project is to make the main body bold and vibrant, and keep the pocket panel simpler. Below are a few examples I found on the #undercovermakermat hashtag on Instagram using fun prints or patchwork designs. I hope these, and all the examples I shared in the original post, will help inspire you!

undercover maker mat examples

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I am making two mats during this sew-a-long (at least that’s the plan), but after unexpectedly spending all night in the ER and heading back to the doctor shortly, I have nothing to show you yet! Hopefully I can make some progress later this evening and I’ll share my final fabric pulls and finished bodies on my instagram page. And as long as I’m not under the knife, I’ll be back here Thursday to talk about the paper pieced and selvedge pocket panels!

ADDITIONAL POSTS:

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

PART TWO: September 6 – Kickoff, prizes and main body panel variations

PART THREE: September 8 – Accent Pocket Panels

PART FOUR: September 12 –Full Pocket Panel & Assembly

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Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long

Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long | lillyella stitchery

Can we just call this a party? Because I’m so excited that it kind of feels like a party! And I want an excuse to eat party food. So… there’s that.

This sew-a-long will officially kick off on September 6 and I’ve included a schedule below that I will be personally following, but you are welcome to begin anytime and sew at your own pace. Everything you need to complete the project from start to finish is included in the free pattern, which you can download here.

September 6: Kick off! Make main body panel
September 8: Make paper pieced butterfly and selvedge pocket panels
September 12: Make full pocket panel, assemble to body
September 15: Make optional thread catcher
September 23: Draw prize winners!

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Below you will find some notes about the materials used and ways you can modify and customize this pattern to your sewing level and taste, including photos of different mats made to help inspire you! I will be sharing a few tips and tricks, and photos of my progress a long the way based on the schedule, and I hope that you share your progress as you go, too!

Use the hashtags #undercovermakermatSAL and #undercovermakermat on your posts so we can all enjoy each other’s work as we sew-a-long!

If you have any questions as you are preparing or sewing, please don’t hesitate to comment here, send me an email through my Contact page, or send me a direct message on Instagram. Once I decide on my fabrics (the struggle is real!), I’ll share my pulls, but here are a few notes on materials and plenty of inspiration photos to get you started!

Undercover Maker Mat | lillyella stitchery

I will be making my mat as the original is designed with the paper pieced butterfly and selvedge pockets, but these elements can be changed to just solid fabrics or any patchwork design you like. You will see various ways they are done in the photos at the end.

SIZE
The finished mat, as it is designed, measures 20″ wide by 23″ long. This size is based off a couple machines I had on hand and what felt good to fit on a variety of tables. This size can be easily changed if you find that you need a larger or smaller mat to cover your machine or fit on your work surface. To change the length of the mat, you simple need to add more to your main body piece. If changing the width of the mat (the 20″ dimension), you will need to equally add or subtract measurements from the main body and the pocket panel pieces. The easiest way is to simple add on to one of the end pockets and keep the inner pocket dimensions the same, but you can, of course, adjust them any way you like. You can also choose to break up the pockets differently than I have hear to suit your needs.

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SELVEDGES
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.

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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.

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!

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I think that covers it for now! As I mentioned before, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll now leave you with a few inspiration photos of other versions I have made and those made by others. You can also see oodles more with the hashtag #undercovermakermat on Instagram and Facebook. (All images are from the fore mentioned hashtag, I will credit all makers later tonight – gotta get the fields mowed now!)

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 undercover maker mat | lillyella stitchery

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ADDITIONAL POSTS:

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

PART TWO: September 6 – Kickoff, prizes and main body panel variations

PART THREE: September 8 – Accent Pocket Panels

PART FOUR: September 12 –Full Pocket Panel & Assembly

PART FIVE: September 15 – Optional Thread Catcher

Flex Frame Pouch & Write On Patterns

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A couple weeks ago I shared my Flex Frame Pouch pattern on fabric.com during their Passport to Summer series for a back to school project. Some of you may recognize this from Make Modern Magazine and the Swapaholics Retreat, and now you can download the free pattern, too. Flex frames are an awesome alternative to zippers and are super easy to use! You can find the 3.5″ frames used in my pattern on fabric.com, and you can also order bulk frames (10 or 50) in 3.5″ and 4.5″ (which I love) from ahkwokbuckles.com.

>> Click here to download the Flex Frame Pouch & Write On PDF Patterns <<

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The pattern includes directions for making the tall pouch, which is perfect for glasses, pencils, or a rotary cutter, as well as the small coin pouch, both shown above.

Also included is the Write On pencils paper piecing pattern to create the options shown below. It can be used with the bottom accent or made into the full pouch. The pencils can also be used for a variety of other projects, too. It’s easy to resize the pattern or add more pencils or other elements to the pattern.

Pencils Hero 2

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In the pattern I talk a bit about how to customize the pouch to any size you wish, and wanted to share a few more variations here today, including how to make a perfect gift set for anyone of any age!

The set below shows the two sizes included in the pattern, plus a third size which is perfect for carrying cards and cash. To create this third size, cut the pieces for the top of the tall pouch as indicated in the pattern (6.5″), but do not include the bottom. Then just cut the lining pieces to the same height and assemble.

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Consider personalizing the pouches with fun notions, such as stamped leather tags or decorative accents. Hmmm, I wonder who these are for?! I found the metal plate accent in the paper crafting section of Hobby Lobby. It is Tim Holtz brand.

Also, adding a short chain and key ring makes any pouch the perfect grab and go wallet.

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I tried a few options and positions and decided that I preferred sewing the chain to the inside of the pouch right below the frame sleeves, as shown below. This way the chain and ring can be kept inside or pulled out through the top and the frame closing gives it some added security.

You can find a variety of chains and rings in the jewelry section of any craft store.

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This is a fun pattern that can be customized in so many ways, with any of your favorite materials or patterns. Try a quilt block design you like, another paper piecing pattern, or even some selvedges. If you would like to use the 4.5″ frames (or any other size you may find), simply add the additional width to the cut sizes of your pieces. For example, if using a 4.5″ frame, vs the 3.5″ used in my pattern, simple add 1″ width to all your pieces.

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I’ll be sharing more sizes, shapes, and ways to play with this pattern over the next months, too, so stay tuned! Please tag your pictures with #FlexFramePouch and #WriteOnPattern so I can see all your awesome creations!

Enjoy! ~ nicole

Paperie Blog Tour + New Love Story Pattern

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It’s funny how things work out. The way life’s puzzle pieces always end up fitting together. I first designed the Love Story Pattern for my class at the Swapaholics Retreat last September. Amy Sinibaldi was also teaching and her debut fabric line, Paperie, had not yet been announced when I was prepping for the retreat.

Flash forward a few months to 2016. I’m amping up my pattern in preparation for release and Amy invites me to join her Paperie Blog Tour. I think you’ll see that her fabric and this pattern go together like sprinkles and donuts. And not that pink hearts are ONLY for Valentine’s day, but what perfect timing, wouldn’t you say?

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

As usual, I had trouble wrangling in all my ideas. I did know for certain that first I wanted to make my Undercover Maker Mat (download the free pattern here) using the 5″ Love Story block in place of the butterfly charm block used on the original. This mat is such a fun and useful project that sews up quick and lets you showcase your favorite fabrics.

I decided to make the secondary pockets on this one in solid prints, rather than the selvedges, so I could really show off the line.

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

I was torn between using the texty print or the hearts for the main body of the mat, but now that it’s all finished, I don’t know how it was even a question. The text is just perfect and the strip of hearts pieced in just plain makes me happy!

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

I then carried the heart print over to the removable thread catcher by piecing a strip into the front and using it on the lining. I think it really just balances it all out perfectly.

I used a delicate pink chevron trim on the pocket panel and added a bit of crochet lace on the secondary pocket – in true Amy style!

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

Thanks to the expert advice my official quilter, Sari, I went with a large chevron pattern for the quilting on the mat body. It echos the seams of the heart block perfectly (thank you very much) and also ties in the trim. I used a pale pink Aurifil thread that gives it just the tiniest hint of color and I couldn’t love it more!

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

I kept trying to find a way to use this pretty aqua trim on the pocket panel, but it just felt overpowering. It did, however, work out perfectly for the side ties!

So, what do you think? Is this mat your style? I’ll be giving it away on Instagram next week (and a bundle of fabric!), so stay tuned for that!

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Love Story + Cross my Heart Pattern | lillyella stitchery

Another idea that I just knew I had to run with was designing an X block that coordinated with Love Story. Like Xs and Os, but with a cute heart instead! I’m calling it Cross my Heart and you can download it for free here.

I thought it would be an adorable mini quilt with 4 blocks in a large square, or as a set of pillows (or a two sided pillow!) or a table runner, which is what I decided to make for my sample project.

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

My Love Story pattern includes two block designs – Poetry (the pink block) and Prose (the navy and white block). I wanted to showcase them both, along with the X, so I thought a little asymmetry would be fun! I used the 10″ blocks here, and the X pattern also includes a 5″ block (how about a set of heart and X coasters?!).

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

I love how striking the bold pops of pink and navy in this line are mixed with all the beautiful, soft low volumes. By random chance, I had a piece of my favorite chambray denim on my cutting table when I was feverishly trying to decide what to bind my runner with. It was a match made in heaven! The denim pairs so amazingly with this line, it started my mind racing with quilt ideas using Paperie and the new Art Gallery denim line that is coming out soon. SO EXCITED!

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

I’ll be sharing some design ideas and other fun Love Story projects (including a lap quilt pattern) here and on my Instagram feed over the next couple weeks. You can also check the hashtags #lovestorypattern and #crossmyheartpattern for more inspiration. As always, I can’t wait to see what you all create!

Love Story + Cross My Heart Patterns | lillyella stitchery

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the Paperie Blog Tour for all sorts of swoon worthy projects! You can find links and photos in Amy’s instagram feed and on her blog.

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Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

Now I am in desperate need of a nap! So I will leave you with some more eye candy inspiration! Above is the original Love Story block as it was designed to fit my flex frame pouch project for the retreat.

For the pattern release, I squared off the block and made a coordinating reverse design where the heart is solid and the background is faceted instead. I love the possibilities this opens up for color play and layout ideas!

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

Here are just a few blocks that my amazing testers sewed up. I’ll be sharing their finished projects soon! You can pick up a copy of the pattern on sale for $6.50 now thru Valentine’s Day in my Payhip, Etsy or Craftsy shops.

happy stitching! ~nicole

Undercover Maker Mat Pattern

Undercover Maker Mat free pattern | lillyella stitchery

This dual purpose sewing space organizer has double pockets and a removable thread catcher to keep all your notions at hand and your workspace tidy. It goes from under to {machine} cover when not in use with side ties to keep it in place.

Click here  to download the PDF pattern.

If you have any questions about the pattern, feel free to contact me anytime. Tag your photos with #undercovermakermat so everyone can be inspired!

Undercover Maker Mat free pattern | lillyella stitchery

Festive Flutter Tree Mini Quilt Pattern

This festive mini quilt measures 22” x 26” and features my Butterfly Charm Block patterns with a little Gidget tree topper. It’s perfect for hanging on a door or anywhere you don’t have room for a real tree!

Click here or the image below to download the PDF pattern.

If you have any questions about the pattern, feel free to contact me anytime. Tag your photos with #festivefluttertree and #butterflycharmblocks so everyone can be inspired!

Festive Flutter Tree Pattern | lillyella stitchery

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

After falling in love with that hexie print, I found the matching purple fabric and there began my plan! When I pieced the 10″ Midnight Bite block, I just knew it had to become a treat bag. This project slowly came together as I found each new piece and it couldn’t have worked out better!

The handles are webbing I found in the trim section of Joanns, the silver is reflective so it’s perfect for night time candy hunting! Then there is the bat trim… I mean, come on! It’s even purple. No brainer. I also found this at Joanns. It’s made by Simplicity and was on an endcap of an aisle. There were spider pom poms too, which I also have big plans for.

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

This bag was quick and easy to make and can be customized in a variety of ways. You can use any fabrics, a variety of trims or fabric for the handles, and you can even adjust the measurements to modify the size for your preferences. It doesn’t even have to be just for halloween, it would make a perfect holiday gift bag!

This tutorial is really basic (because I have more bats to make!), but if you have any questions, just leave a comment below or shoot me an email. Please read thru the entire tutorial before beginning.

PREPARING YOUR BAG PANELS:

The finished size of this bag is 10″ wide x 12″ high x 2.5″ deep at the bottom with a 4.5″ drop. Below are the trim sizes for the outer pieced panels, the bag lining and the handles. You will need two of each piece. My handles are about 1.25″ thick but you can make them any size you wish.

My bag has a small boxy bottom. Simply eliminate the corner cuts if you don’t want a boxy bottom. You may also want to shorten your bag if you do this. I wanted my bag handles to be just long enough to slide over my hand easily and hang from my forearm, but not so long that the bag would drag on the ground if a little one was carrying it. You can adjust this measurement to be comfortable for you.

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

Begin by piecing the three bottom outer panel pieces with a 1/4″ seam. In my bag, this is the bottom spiderweb print, the strip of dots and the focal bat (*see ‘Adding Decorative Trim’ section below for options on how to add trim accents).

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

The focal bat panel is the 10″ block from my Midnight Bite pattern, the finished width is 10.5″ and I trimmed the height of the block to 4.375″. This odd measurement was simply based on how I visually liked the bat to be framed, you can make this focal panel any size, just be sure to adjust the lining measurement equally. The same applies to the top band of my bag (the hexie print), the measurement was based on the size of the hexies.

Next you will add the handle before piecing on the top band of fabric.

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

Lay your top fabric right side up, right reading. Lay your handle on top spacing the two ends equally from the center. You can line up your handles with the bottom edge of your fabric or drop the ends down about 1/4″ below your fabric to give a little extra grip in there. My finished bag has about 2.5″ between the handles (it’s shown a little wider in this photo which I took after the fact). Pin in place.

Next you will lay the pieced section of your outer panel right side down, upside down, on top of your handle piece, lining up the bottom edges. Sew along the bottom edge with a 1/4″ seam. I recommend going back over the handle areas a couple times and backstitching well on either side of them.

Press the larger piece down. NOTE: My handles could not be ironed, so be sure to test your material if you aren’t sure.

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

Repeat these steps for the other side of your bag. After my two outer panels were assembled, I used fusible fleece  on them to stabilize my bag and I love the feel of it. You can also use batting and then quilt your panels or do some edge topstitching to hold it in place. If you’d like a lighter bag, you can use a medium weight interfacing, but I do recommend using some type of interfacing on the back of your outer panels. I did not use any interfacing on my lining.

CONSTRUCTING THE BAG:

Next you will take your two outer panels and place them right sides together. Sew with a 1/4″ seam down the left and right sides and across the bottom. You corner cut outs will be open. Repeat these steps for the two lining pieces, but leave a large gap in the bottom seam for turning. Just sew about 1/2″ in from either end.

To sew the boxed corners, keep your pieces wrong sides out. Open up the piece a bit and fold one inner side seam down to the inner bottom seam, lining them up and lining up both cut edges of your corner cut out. Sew along the edge with a 1/4″ seam. Repeat for the other side of your bag outside and your lining.

To sew in your lining, turn the outside of your bag right side out. Keep your lining wrong side out. Slide the outside of your bag into the lining, the two pieces will be right sides together. Line up the top edges making sure to match the side seams and sew around using a 1/2″ seam.

Turn your bag right side out through the gap in the bottom of your lining. Stitch the gap closed and turn your lining inside your bag. Press around the top and top stitch if desired.

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

ADDING DECORATIVE TRIM:

Once all the elements of this bag came together and I was planning the design (see a couple options I was tossing around below), I was going to stitch the bat trim onto the bag panels after they were pieced and then use a piece of woven striped ribbon on top. I liked the added design element but I also wanted to cover the satin ribbon the bats were on because it looked a little generic to me.

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

After texting about seven people for their opinions (ya, Im a high maintenance friend), I decided to keep it a little cleaner and just use the bat trim, but I did not want to throw off the balance of the black dotted fabric strip by having the black ribbon of the bats showing. Typically I would sew the trim into the seam, much like piping, but I was concerned about keeping it in place and hitting the beads with my machine foot. I also wanted the bats to fall evenly in line with my dots (OCD, I know). So I clipped the bats off the ribbon and restrung each one then sewed it in place on my bag panels. I did this after adding my fusible fleece to my pieced panels. Since there’s only five bats on each side, it went really quick.

FEATURED FABRICS:

The top hexie print is from the line Happy Haunting by Deena Rutter for Riley Blake (it also comes in orange and black!). I unfortunately have no idea what the purple background of my bat is. I grabbed it last minute at my LQS, but I’ll see if I can find it next time I’m up there. The Happy Haunting line has a purple print with tiny black spiders on it that would match and make a cute background, too. The black strip with the dots is Spellbound from Cotton + Steel and the bottom web print is from Spooktacular, Too (also in the newer Spooktacular Eve) by Maude Ashbury for Blend.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial, happy haunting, friends!

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

Take Wing Summer Giveaway!

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I am over the moon excited to have sold over 300 copies of my Take Wing and Take Wing Mini Patterns (THANK YOU!!), so to celebrate I’m having a big ‘ol giveaway!

It’s open to everyone who has made or makes my Take Wing Pattern (either the original or the new Mini pattern) and shares photos on Instagram (you can email me photos if you’re not on IG!). All you have to do is post progress photos and/or finished pieces with the hashtag #takewingpattern anytime thru September 1.

Each progress photo you post (limit 3 per piece) gets you one entry and a shot of your finished piece gets you 3 more entries! You don’t have to finish a piece to get entries and you can make as many pieces as you wish. (All photos posted since the pattern release will be entered!)

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One grand prize winner will be drawn at random to receive the gimungo prize pack of goodies shown above and there will be runner-up prizes as well.

I will also post all the finished pieces on my blog in September for a viewer’s favorite vote to win a gift certificate to the fabric shop of your choice!

The grand prize pack includes:
• 100 sheet pack of Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper
• 6″ Add-A-Quarter Ruler
• 6″x12″ Omni Grid Quilter’s Ruler
• Set of 8.5″ squares of the full Cotton & Steel Basics Line
• Clover Rainbow Wonder Clips
• Graph Composition Notebook
• 72 count Colored Pencil Set
• Handmade Curvy Clutch Pencil Pouch
• 24 count Colored Pencil Set
• Handmade patchwork fabric basket
• Handmade pin cushion and 150 extra fine glass head pins
• Dual Purpose Twin Marking Pen
• Seam Ripper
• Glue Sticks
• Four issues of Quilty Magazine
• and more fun goodies!

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If you have any questions, please leave a comment on this post or send me an email – nicole@lillyella.com. As mentioned, if you aren’t on Instagram, just email me your entries!  Check back here or under the hashtag #takewingsummergiveaway on Instagram for updates and more prize photos!

You can download the original Take Wing pattern and the new, beginner-friendly Take Wing Mini pattern in my Payhip shop, on Etsy or on Craftsy.

Have fun! I can’t wait to see all your beautiful butterflies!!

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Take Wing Tips: Fabric, Fussy Cutting & More

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Yesterday I covered a few tips and tricks for preparing your pattern pieces and today we’re going to get into the hardest part of this pattern — designing your layout and selecting your fabrics. There are a lot of pieces and so many possibilities!

I’ll be covering a few ways to go about choosing and auditioning your fabrics, how to get good symmetry between wings and then I’ll close with tons of examples and inspiration from others who have sewn up the pattern.

I have thus far approached my planning in four different ways – by color scheme, by fabric line, by fabric designer and by using a focal fabric as inspiration.

I always find myself gravitating towards color gradients when creating a new butterfly, probably because that is how I originally envisioned and designed the pattern, but I’ve been working on breaking out of that box and experimenting with different layouts. I usually do this on the computer (because I can!) but I also love to sit with a box of colored pencils, especially when I’m on the road or killing time waiting for appointments and such.

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I’ve been working on mimicking some real life butterflies such as the monarch and swallowtail (shown left above) and I totally love them! These examples can give you some ideas for colors and different ways you can accent areas of the pattern. Once you have a rough idea in mind, you can start selecting fabrics.

I tend to lean most towards planning with a color scheme because it gives you infinite flexibility, but it also requires a lot of fabric. I don’t have a very large stash of fabric that isn’t reserved for a specific project. I also don’t have a lot of basics, blenders or solids, because what I love about fabrics are the patterns! This makes creating a gradient with 13 different fabrics pretty tough, but still totally doable!

Most of the butterfly requires small pieces of fabric, so it’s easy to pull from scraps or charm pack leftovers. You can also look at fat eighth bundles or layer cakes for a project like this. The cotton + steel basics line is fantastic and I also love the moda grunge basics to add some good blenders into your project.

That being said, I decided to try creating some butterflies using a single fabric line and see how it worked. I’ve started this with two lines so far – Doe by Carolyn Friedlander and Fresh Cut by Basic Gray.

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The Doe line is smaller and I actually only used about half of it, but I love the way it’s coming out. You can see my initial computerized color mock ups on the right in the previous photo and how I implemented it (minus the orange accents) in the photo directly above. I decided to use the mockup shown in the upper left corner.

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For this layout, I still tried to achieve some gradation in color, but I didn’t have as many fabrics to work with so I decided to carry some fabrics across two or three sections in the bottom wing. Looking at the photo above, you will see the Doe wing on the left has less pieces than the wing on the right. This method is great to keep in mind if you’re working with less fabrics (or want the sewing to go quicker!)

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The Fresh Cut line (shown above) is much larger so I have plenty of fabrics to work with. For this layout, I used a mini charm pack to play around with options (seriously, I LOVE mini charm packs!), taking photos of each and comparing them later. In my photos above I’m laying out the top wing and bottom wing, with the background in the middle.

So, while you will have less flexibility when working within one single fabric line, it’s entirely possible! A FE bundle or layer cake would be more than enough fabric to complete the butterfly, with the exception of the background where you need about a half yard.

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The image above shows a couple mockups I was working on based on color scheme. The one on the left is a great example of all the ways you can change the look of the butterfly with your fabric placement. The ones on the right are similar to my original just using a different color palette. You will see this one implemented further down in the post.

When Im pulling fabric for a layout based on color scheme,  I start by grabbing all the fabrics I have in those color families. I then begin organize them in a row, taking out ones I don’t like, seeing if I have enough pieces and where I need to fill in or rearrange.

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I personally try to avoid using a lot of fabrics with bold prints or strong contrast, which is just a personal preference. However, when I see all the butterflies other people are creating (check the #takewingpattern hastag on IG or the images at the end of this post), I always love them when they are complete, even if I would have never chosen the fabrics myself.

I like to find a few multicolored, patterned fabrics to use as transitions between colors and use more solids, low volume or blenders in between.

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I lay pieces out in an overlapping row and find it helpful to cover the edges with my background fabric in the approximate shape of the wing and take photos to look back at later with fresh eyes.

Snapping pics of your options is also a helpful tool in looking at your overall final layout. Seeing the whole thing in a mock up really makes a big difference versus looking at half. A really helpful tool for doing this easily is a photo app for your phone. I use pic jointer, because it was free and it’s on my phone! There are several out there, and I’m sure there are more sophisticated ones, but that one works great for me. I lay out one wing or half my butterfly and then use a two-up or four-up frame to drop in the pics, mirroring half, and seeing my entire layout (shown a few photos down).

You can also use this method to easily compare multiple options as shown below. Here I’m deciding which focal fabric to use in my top wing and which direction to run the maroon to pink color gradient. Which is your favorite?

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The large triangle of the top wing lends itself perfectly to a great fussy cut focal image (and I’ll talk about cutting these next). As you can see above, I have trouble deciding! This is often where my inspiration comes from. Look at fabrics you love with great focals as a starting point for your color scheme or fabric layout.

I’m currently planning a bed size Take Wing quilt using all of Tula Pink’s lines and I plan to use her fantastic focals inside this large area — the parisville cameos, birds & bees squirrels, etc. I can’t wait!

When I’m laying out fabrics, I keep them uncut until I’m fairly certain I like them, and then I cut my pieces roughly to the approximate shape of the pattern areas using the lines I traced onto the back of my pattern pieces (because remember if you use the front, your pieces will be backwards!). Some people prefer to use large pieces of fabric and cut off after they sew, but that’s another personal preference. I find layout and sewing easier and faster when I precut. It may be a tad more wasteful, though not much.

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Sometimes I end up changing my mind after cutting up my fabrics and laying them out (or even sewing them!), but I just cut a new piece and save the other for another time. You will see my initial fabric pieces for the wing shown above and then the final wing. After piecing it, I decided to change a few pieces out. This pattern is designed so that you are adding all of the background pieces last, which I find helpful for the indecisive! It’s not impossible to change out pieces of your wings and I also often wait until my wing pieces are sewn before deciding on a background.

When it comes to the butterfly body, I do sketch out the colors during my initial planning, but I often piece that section last and audition some options after I have the wings pieced. I find it amazing how different the overall design can look by changing this little section. Here you can see the same Doe wings with four different lower wing accents and body options (I went with the bottom right, what do you think?). I used the pic jointer app again to create these mock ups.

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If you’re not using a piece of fabric or a fabric line as inspiration, another great way to find ideas is from social media, especially fabric designers and fabric shops selling bundles. Browse their IG feeds and email newsletters. The pic on the left below was from a fabric shop email newsletter I received (I really meant to remember who it was from and credit them, but I totally failed, so I apologize!) and the pic on the right is from Carolyn Friedlander’s IG feed.

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These are helpful in getting ideas for both color schemes AND fabric selections. The fat quarter fun bundles from Stitch Supply Co always give me great ideas, too (shown below)! Mixed bundles like these are perfect for projects like this. You can buy just a few fat quarters, rather than entire bundles, and add in some extras from your own stash. The fabric destash on Instagram (#thegreatfabricdestash) is another great place to find mixed bundles and scrap packs. Fresh Squeezed Fabrics also sells some beautiful mixed bundles that would make fabulous butterfly starters!

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I’m not a big fan of using solids typically (no idea why, I just need at least a little texture!), but they do lend themselves beautifully to this project. Kona, RJR and Robert Kaufman all put together some pretty awesome solids bundles with really interesting color combinations. You can pick up charm packs, layer cakes, jelly rolls or FQ bundles at places like Fat Quarter Shop, Craftsy, Missouri Quilt Co and on Etsy. This Patchwork City Winter bundle is especially gorgeous!

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Now let’s talk about fussy cutting and wing symmetry!

If you are using any fabrics with strong pattern, contrast, or focal images, it’s challenging (but important!) to get good balance between the left and right wings. Here are two ways to make it easier!

First is to use template plastic. You can find this at many local quilt shops and large fabric stores and it usually comes in 18 x 12 sheets.

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Simply lay the plastic on top of your pattern piece, trace around an area and cut the plastic to size. You can then lay this template on top of your fabrics to audition options and you can also use it to trace the shape and cut out your pieces, just be sure to include an extra 1/4″ around your shape for your seam allowances.

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Also remember that the two wings are mirror images of each other, so flip the template piece over when cutting the second wing! You may find it helpful to mark L and R or something similar on the two sides of the plastic so you don’t end up cutting two of the same.

A second option is to use paper. Print an extra copy of the pattern piece you’d like to use and cut out the specified area, leaving everything around in tact. You can then use this in the same manner as the template plastic. Lay it over your fabric, trace inside your lines, then cut your fabric piece 1/4″ larger than the shape.  Again, remember to flip it for the second wing!

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These examples are shown using the large triangle area of the top wing, but this method can be applied to any section in the pattern.

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I could talk about fabric for days, but ultimately, seeing examples helps more than anything, right? Here are photos that have been sent to me or that I found under the #takewingpattern hashtag on Instagram. I am just blown away by the creativity and variations! Which is your favorite?

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This version, made by chickenjulie, was finished the morning after I released the pattern! I was totally blown away. She made it at 85% and used a FQ bundle of Hope Valley. I would have NEVER ever chosen so many bold patterns, but I fell head over heels in love with it from the moment I saw just the little body pieced.

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blog - jeepdog1

This version was made by jeepdog1 for her partner in a rainbow mini swap. Her partner loved batiks and wasn’t a fan of a traditional rainbow. She totally nailed it! The colors are so gorgeous. I saw a photo of this on the recipients wall and it was perfection.

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This version made by susansanstistevan was also for a rainbow swap. A more traditional rainbow, I love how bold the colors are with the subtle low volume prints. And do I even need to point out that quilting?!

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I loved seeing this version made by hidehi000 – I had not seen any Bonnie & Camille or similar style fabrics used on the pattern yet and it was really exciting to see how amazing they worked! It gives the piece an entirely different feel. It’s so soft and gorgeous, I could imagine an entire room being designed around it!

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blog - vrrigney

This version was made by vrrigney for an animal themed swap. She had a partner who loves butterflies, and I’m guessing blue and green! I absolutely love the duotone palette and the pops of navy and bright green in her fabrics.

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blog - rxquilter

This version is being made by rxquilter and I’m having so much fun watching it come together! Her focal fabric in the top wing is just fabulous and I love how it ties in the hot pink and touch of purple. She is making it for a garden quilt exhibit and I’m dying to see the final photos!

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blog - sidneysews

This version is being made by sidneysews using Alison Glass fabrics, which I love for this! her mixed background fabrics are awesome and I LOVE the pop of silver metallic. I’m stalking her feed to see the finished product!

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blog-monpetitebiscuit

This version was made by monpetitebiscuit for an Anna Maria Horner swap. These little peeks are killing me! I personally am really drawn to AMH fabrics for this project (probably because she uses a lot of butterflies!) and her colors are so rich and gorgeous. I can’t wait for the full reveal!

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blog - mumzy27

And last, but certainly not least, this version is being made by mumzy27 for a cotton + steel themed swap. I love the rich jewel tone colors and her use of the rich mustards in the bottom wing. The balance is just perfect!

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So there you have it! Was this post helpful? Are you feeling inspired? I sure hope so!

Now get busy creating your Take Wing butterflies and be sure to share your photos with #takewingpattern because I have an awesome giveaway coming up for everyone posting progress or finished photos of their pieces. Up for grabs is a handmade fabric stuffed with over $200 of sewing tools, notions and fabric!

Stay tuned for more details coming soon!

(Take Wing Pattern available for direct download here)

Take Wing Tips: Preparing your Pattern Pieces

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This week I’m going to be talking about tips and tricks for planning, starting, and assembling your Take Wing butterfly! Today I’ll be covering the preparation of your pattern pieces including a couple paper piecing tips that I use and love. Tomorrow I will cover planning, layout and fabric selection (which will probably be a really long post!) and then a few assembly tips and finishing options.

Many people use basic printer paper for paper piecing, and it works totally fine! I prefer to use Carol Doaks Foundation Paper. It is inkjet and laser printer friendly and really thin, so it’s easy to sew through and easy to remove. The biggest benefit in using it in a project like this is when it comes to piecing together the sections. Some areas have a lot of bulk along the seam, and thinner paper makes sewing them together much smoother! Alternatively, you can remove the paper from the seam areas before sewing the sections together.

Many paper piecing patterns are small and do not require the piecing together of pattern pieces. I touch on this in the pattern directions a bit, but still get a lot of questions about it, so here’s a little bit more detail on the subject.

You can use a glue stick or tape to connect your pieces, and it’s really a matter of personal preference. Regardless of which method you choose to use, after printing out your pattern pieces, be sure to leave one from each section uncut. We’ll refer to Wing A for example here.

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Wing A has three sections. I leave the largest section uncut and then I cut along the dotted line of the two smaller sections. Then you will lay them on top of the uncut piece, lining up the cut edge with the uncut dotted lines, and glue or tape.

The advantage to using glue is that you are not sewing through tape! The disadvantage to glue is that sometimes it comes loose and it can also cause a little bit of rippling in your paper.

The advantage of tape is that it is easy and sticks together well. The disadvantage is sewing through tape OR possibly ironing over tape, which is a mess, trust me. That being said, I often use tape. I just try to tape inside large areas and not cross over any sewing lines. I also tape on the back side along the loose edge from the overlap of the uncut piece, but you have to be extra careful to not iron over the tape.

Once your pieces are together, you can then roughly trim the entire piece down outside of the outer seam line. Do not cut the paper pattern to the outer seam line, as you’ll want that for trimming your sections later.

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The next step I recommend is tracing the pattern lines onto the back side of the pattern pieces. This step is not necessary, but even as an experienced paper piecer, I find it extremely helpful and worth the little bit of time it takes. You can use a window, your computer screen or a lightbox, if you have one. The tracing doesn’t have to be perfect, as it’s just a reference.

Doing this allows you to easily cut your fabric, double check your work, adjust placement on fussy cuts and check the size of your pieces as you sew. All these things mean less time with your seam ripper!

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Stop back in tomorrow when I’ll be talking way too much about inspiration, layout, fabric selection, fussy cutting and more – see ya then!

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