Planning my Moonstone Quilt

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Howdy, friends! I’m here today with a short post about planning my Moonstone Quilt. There is a high likelihood that all of this may only make sense in my own head, but planning this was a HUGE struggle for me, so I wanted to share my thought process in case it does happen to help anyone!

First, if you haven’t seen the Moonstone pattern by Giucy Giuce and Karen The DIY Addict, you must check it out! (You can find it here.) Moonstone is an English Paper Piecing pattern (aka hand sewing!) and it comes in a fantastic kit complete with all the pieces you need to make a quilt, or several small projects, along with acrylic templates for cutting your pieces. The kit and pattern are really well done and I think the design is just so striking! It was just recently released, but there are already a handful of really inspiring photos on social media under #moonstonequilt.

AAANNDDDD… there just so happens to be an AMAZING giveaway going on right now where TWO lucky winners will be flown to San Fransisco to hang out with Giuseppe and Karen for the launch of the Moonstone Sew Along! You can find all the details here.

Ok… onto my quilt!

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For my Moonstone quilt, all I knew was that I wanted to use the new line, Neptune and the Mermaid by Margot Elena (Tokyo Milk) for Free Spirit Fabrics. It’s absolutely dreamy and seems like it was just made for fussy cutting. That’s as far as my plan went. I couldn’t even decide what configuration of the pattern I wanted to use.

So I stared, and stared, and stared some more. I only chose a few of my favorite prints from the line, but was really struggling because there is a lot of variation in color in what I chose. As a whole, the line ties together, but when you just pick and choose some prints, not quite as much.

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I started to pull some blenders in every color used in all the prints I had and decided that a Free Spirit Fabric designer mash up would be the way to go. I pulled what I could from my Tula Pink and Anna Maria Horner stash, and order a few more things by those two ladies, as well as Amy Butler and Heather Bailey.

I hadn’t really planned to use this many colors in the quilt, but once I saw them all together, how could I not? I had to figure out a plan. I organized all the blenders by color and took some photos. I spent a good amount of time looking at the photo of all my focals and then at the photo below of all the blenders. I stewed about it for awhile, as I usually do with projects. I kept hoping something would come to me.

And then I stewed some more. I mean, I stewed A LOT. I thought about while I walked the dogs, while I did dishes, I’m pretty sure I even dreamed about it.

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Something that many of you likely already know about me is that I am a planner. Hard core. I so desperately wanted to start cutting and sewing, but knew that I had to figure out where it was going first.

So I thought about the focals and how I would fussy cut them. I took photos of all the parts I planned to use and thought about the main colors in each of those parts, then I made a list. This helped me figure out how many variations I had to work with in my design and how I may be able to organize them.

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I kept going back to the idea of a color fade. Perhaps diagonally across the quilt or something, but I couldn’t make that work. I ended up order some of the dark blue color way of the Neptune line because I felt like I was going to need it to balance everything out.

It was time to make some decisions. First, I had to pick a pattern configuration and then I just had to start playing.

I use Adobe Illustrator for most of my drawing and layout. I understand many people do not have this program, so these next steps may not be helpful for everyone, but it is a great program that anyone can use with a little patience and a few YouTube tutorials!

I really loved the Gems configuration of Moonstone because I love the four pointed stars it makes, but I wanted my fussy cut focals to run horizontally and diagonally because they are primarily people and fish, so I rotated the gems configuration 45° to what you see below. I drew up the pattern in Illustrator so that I could begin placing my fabrics and colors.

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I input JPG swatches of the focal fabrics and turn them into pattern swatches so that I can place them into shapes. It’s not perfect, but it definitely does the job!

Once I had the pattern drawn up, I stared at the blank canvas for a bit until I decided which shapes I wanted to focus on. I settled on the large four-pointed stars that you can see around the outer edges and their center octagons. Everything would radiate from these. I started playing with those elements only and trying different repetitive color arrangements.

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I was going a little crazy with all the possibilities so finally just chose my favorite and started filling in the spaces between. I still really wanted to achieve some sort of color gradation and began trying to do that between the stars. It took some time, but I finally felt like it was moving in the right direction!

Once I reached the point shown above, I felt confident enough about the direction that I could start sewing.

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A good part of what I’ve already laid out will repeat around, but I do still have a bit more to work out. All in good time…

In the meantime, I can sew! I finished my first piece yesterday and have my second prepped. My plan is to work out from the middle of the quilt so that I can stop or keep going at any point. My current design plan is about 65″ square.

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There’s no question that this quilt will take me quite awhile to finish, but I know I’ll enjoy the process, and that’s what matters!

I may be underdressed, but at least I’m not late.

Earlier this year, Art Gallery Fabrics asked if I wanted to play with any of their new collections, and when I first saw Lower the Volume, I immediately knew I had to make a quilt. I have been wanting to make a low volume quilt for some time and this was the perfect opportunity to finally do it. Shortly there after, Mister Domestic asked me to be a part of his sewing party showcasing the new AGF Capsules and Fusions lines, to which I replied, “of course!”, seeing as I already had this plan in the works, and who doesn’t want to party?! But then I went into panic mode…

I knew there was no way I could finish this quilt “on time”. My thought was that I should make something else so I would have a beautiful finished product to show off when it was my day on the tour. This is what I typically do and how I always think. The problem with this is that I never let myself do the “big projects” that I really WANT to do, because I never have enough time to complete them.

I am a slow sewer, and I mean SLOW. This is partly because I just physically move slow and meticulously when I create, partly because I’m always working on about 13 things at once, and partly because I just don’t have a lot of time to sew, especially when spring hits and it’s time to tend to the land, or when my husband gets extra busy at work because sh*t is hitting the fan somewhere in the world.

So, there you have my little chunk of a quilt top in progress. I have no idea when I will finish it (though I’m super excited to because I am LOVING it!), because I’m not even done typing this blog post and already stressing about the new deadlines I have ahead of me next week.

Showing off this unfinished top for my day on the blog tour is painful and embarrassing for me. I’ve been feeling disappointed in myself all week and I know that’s just ridiculous, right?! We are always striving for a picture of perfection, even though every one of us knows that is never what life is actually like behind the scenes of social media. But, despite these feelings, I’m really glad that I chose to continue with this selfish sewing project, to let myself make something that I really wanted to, and to try and be more comfortable with being “less than perfect”. I do hope you like what you see thus far, though, and help cheer me onto the finish line!

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ABOUT THE FABRIC & PATTERN

Lower the Volume is one of four new Art Gallery Fabrics Capsules collections, and I think its awesomeness speaks for itself! We all use low volumes in nearly every project we make, but what I love about this line is how it’s interesting and lively enough to stand all on its own. I originally planned to use the line exclusively in the quilt, but decided that a small pop of color would be a really nice accent.

I chose the fantastic plaid shown above from the new Mad Plaid capsule collection for the backing (because it matches my living room perfectly!) and pulled the accent colors from there, which are Art Gallery Pure Elements and Solid Smooth denims (my favorites!). Aside from a single row of blue and yellow hexies, the rest of the quilt will be all low volume.

The pattern I’m using is Sari’s and my Sariella Deco Hex pattern that we created for the April Stash Builder Anniversary box. If you saw the mini we originally made, you’ll see I’ve rotated the pattern 90° counter-clockwise here for use in the quilt. I also enlarged the pattern a bit. If you missed the pattern in the Stash Builder box, it will be available from Sariella later this year, so stay tuned! I will also share more about my process in making this quilt when I finish it.

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STOP by the party!

Today wraps up week one of Mister Domestic’s Sewing Party, but be sure to check out the other posts from this week (shown above, links below), and also the Fusions portions of the tour beginning next week. I’ve already seen a few of the projects and they are legen… wait for it… DARY!

Capsules (April 17 – 21):
Monday: Cristy Stuhldreher (@loveyousew_) http://www.iloveyousew.com/
Tuesday: Kitty Wilkin (@nightquilter) https://nightquilter.com/
Wednesday: Sharon McConnell (@colorgirlquilts) http://colorgirlquilts.com/
Thursday: Stephanie Palmer (@latenightquilter) http://latenightquilter.com/
Friday: Nicole Young (@lillyellasworld) That’s me!

Fusions (April 24th – 28th)
Monday: Nicole Daksiewicz (@modernhandcraft) http://modernhandcraft.com/
Tuesday: Tara Curtis (@t_jaye, @WEFTYneedle) http://www.tjaye.com/
Wednesday: Melissa LeRay (@ohhowsweetco) http://www.ohhowsweet.com/
Thursday: Sarah Thomas (@sariditty) http://www.sariditty.com/
Friday: Jennifer Rossotti (@jennrossotti) http://gingerpeachstudio.com/

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!
~nicole

p.s. bonus points if you can guess what show I’ve been binge watching this week!

Blithe Fabrics Blog Tour

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I first got to play with Katarina Roccella’s newest line, Blithe,  when I made my Bias Weave pillow for the Lookbook last fall. It was love at first sight before I even had the fabric, but you just cannot help but fall head over heels in love once you start piecing it together. Something about the palette and the way it plays with the Art Gallery Fabrics denims just melts your soul. I had a few bits and pieces left from my first project and knew exactly what to make for my stop on the Blog Tour.

I see cathedral windows as a quilty bucket list item, you know? I’ve always loved them (even before I was quilting), and recently watched a friend make a Christmas pillow and it really sparked my fire. It was time. I spent hours looking at and trying various methods and tutorials and decided that the Faux Cathedral Window tutorial by Diary of a Quilt Maven was the way to go for me. The method is pretty much the same as the Missouri Star easy cathedral windows tutorial as well, in case you prefer it in video form.

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What I liked most about this method was two things – first, it used small pieces of fabric, and that was all I had, and second, it felt very precise to me. Being a perfectionist, this is key. It’s also super easy to adjust the size of your windows to anything you wish and to create any shape piece you wish. I won’t walk you through the steps, because that is what the tutorial is for, but below are a few progress photos that may help demonstrate how I translated the tutorial into my finished pillow. Please excuse the bad lighting, it’s been a “work all night” kind of month! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below or send me an email anytime.

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The solid fabric I used along with Blithe on my pillow is solid smooth Art Gallery Fabrics denim in Cool Foliage. It is absolutely perfect with this line and always a dream to work with. I made my window foundation pieces 3″ to start, versus 2.5″ as in the original tutorial, and I pieced 8 units across and four units down to create the window panel. I chose to use the text print inside the petals and the denim for the petal edges, but I also really love the look when these two elements are the same fabric.

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After the full window panel was complete, I pieced on the top and bottom strips that included a 1″ strip of the text print to help carry the design over, and then a 3″ strip of denim. I kept the back simple to showcase the beautiful owl print, but I think it would be really lovely to make a second window panel so the effect wraps all the way around the pillow. The finished pillow measures 20″ wide by about 18″ tall.

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The end result was exactly as I envisioned and there was nothing I did not like about the method I used to make it. l definitely be using it again and may actually have a cathedral window obsession after this experience. I already have two more projects planned!

Now that I have these two gorgeous pillows, I guess it’s time to make a bed quilt! It won’t be cathedral windows. I love them, but not that much 🙂

Be sure to check out all the other *amazing* projects in the blog tour by visiting Katarina’s Instagram feed and through the hashtag #blithefabricsblogtour!

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Beautiful Blithe (and a new pattern)

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Happy December, friends! Gosh, has this year flown by. I always have such big plans at the start of each year and then beat myself up at the end when I’ve barely touch my grand to-do list. But, life happens and I’m trying to teach myself to not stress about the things I don’t accomplish, but rather enjoy the time I spend on the things I do!

Easier said than done though, right?

I drew up my Bias Weave quilt pattern at least six months ago, probably longer. I designed it specifically for my Stash Fabrics Design Star Bundle and got as far as cutting everything and piecing a few rows, when things got really out of control around here, so on the back burner it went. But, when Katarina Roccella asked if I’d like to create a piece for her Blithe fabrics lookbook, I just could not say no because I love her and her fabrics!

I decided that an oversized pillow version of the pattern would be a great way to showcase the fabrics and get me motivated to keep working on the full quilt.

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I created this a couple months ago and the Blithe Lookbook is now out so I’m excited to share it with you! The pillow measures about 26″ x 23″ and is living on my bed right now. It’s a really nice sham size and it’s perfect for propping myself up to read. I’ve also used it on the floor when I’m crafting.

My husband put it best though, I have to say, “This is like a fancy person pillow. Like someone buys it out of a fancy magazine to put on a fancy couch that no one sits on. It’s all high class and sh*t.”. I’ll take that as a compliment, I think. (Disclaimer: My husband doesn’t always speak like a redneck. The first part was serious, then he started being a smart ass 🙂

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ABOUT THE FABRICS

Katarina has done it yet again, she is a true artist! Blithe is so dreamy and gorgeous. Deer, owls, birds, butterflies, tall trees, soft blenders, it feels like your taking a trip into a majestic winter wonderland. In addition to quilting cottons, the line includes canvas, knits, voile, ANNNNDDDDD Art Gallery Fabrics first printed linen – it is amazing! (It’s the antler print on the right below.)

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The line also pairs beautifully with the Art Gallery Denim Studio collection. I used the vanilla mist yarn dye and wicked sky smooth solid denims for the border strips on the front and incorporated the nectarine sunrise smooth solid into the back. The cool foliage is a perfect match, as well.

Click here or the pic below to check out the entire fabric line and all the amazing projects in the Blithe Lookbook >

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ABOUT THE PATTERN

My Bias Weave pattern will be for a full quilt and include a few sizes, but like the pillow I created, you can make a variety of pieces using the “block”. I wanted to create the full quilt sample before releasing the pattern, but I’m considering releasing it with just a diagram and the directions before I finish the quilt. I will (unfortunately!) be having surgery soon and I will have a lot of down time where I can work on the computer, but won’t be able to cut and sew for a bit. What do you think? I know this isn’t uncommon, but it’s just not something I’ve done myself. Give me your feedback, please!

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The pattern isn’t technically difficult to sew, but does require precision in cutting and piecing, so I’ll call it a skill builder! I did, however, build a little overage into the blocks to allow for trimming, which makes that precision pretty easy to accomplish.

There’s so many fun ways to play with color and fabric placement, I’m really excited to get this pattern out to testers and see what everyone comes up with!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek at this amazing new line, Blithe, and please take a second to leave me some feedback on the pattern release!

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Oh, What Fun Blog Hop (and the reality of life)

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Hello and happy Friday, friends! If you have popped over from the Hawthorne Threads blog, you will have seen that today is my day on the Oh, What Fun Blog Hop, and I have to start by saying oh, what fun it has been to work with these stinkin’ adorable fabrics! #icouldntresist

This line is new to the amazing in-house collections that Hawthorne Threads designs and prints digitally. If you are not familiar with their in-house lines, for the love of fabric go check them out now! I guarantee you will be awestruck and overwhelmed. When I browse their site I go into MAKE ALL THE THINGS overload.

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Upon first seeing Oh, What Fun, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. When it comes to gift giving, I often keep things simple and utilitarian. I’m a big fan of food gifts and useful things such as bath and body products, and my favorite thing about giving them is making the presentation adorable. Christmas is such a visual holiday. We can’t help but feel warm, peaceful and excited all at the same time when we see lights, Christmas trees and beautifully wrapped gifts, so I find the extra time and effort that goes into presentation is totally worth it for me.

So, I decided my post would be all about easy-to-sew gift giving vessels and adorable extras to decorate them with. Alright, so where are the projects, you ask?! Well, that’s where reality comes in.

I think we all realize, though sometimes forget, that blogs and social media are merely a glimpse at the highlights of life. I, for the most part, keep my everyday life and reality separate from my sewing adventures, and am often able to do this without interruption. But, the truth is that sometimes I fail. Sometimes it is too much to balance and we have to admit defeat. I am totally beating myself up that today is my day to share and that I am not ready, but the reality is that while I am here making pretty things, my husband is away in a dangerous country fighting for our freedom. There are fire fights, there are daily attacks, there are friendly workers who one day just decide to strap on a suicide vest and blow themselves up in the middle of the base. There are injuries and there are deaths. Too many lately. And this is my everyday reality.

The last six months have been rough, the last few weeks have been especially rough, and the last seven days have been excruciating, but all that matters at this moment as I write this, is that my husband is now home. Reality shifts again, for a little while, with different struggles and different challenges for now, and then eventually we do it all over again.

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So, on that note, I ask you to please stay tuned and pop back next week to see my finished Oh, What Fun projects, because I promise you will love them! I will be sharing some variations of my Sturdy Fabric Basket pattern AND doing a tutorial on how you can modify the pattern to create ANY size and shape basket you like! This is something I get emails about ALL the time, so I’m excited to finally get that together for you. I’ll also be showing you a few other cute patterns and embellishment ideas AND will have an awesome giveaway where you can win three yards of Oh, What Fun for yourself!

In the meantime, go check out the other stops on the Blog Hop and see all the fabulous makes!

Monday 11/14 – Sew Sophie Lynn
Tuesday 11/15 – Hawthorne Threads
Wednesday 11/16 – Olivia Jane Handcrafted
Thursday 11/17 – Holly Gets Quilty
Friday 11/18 – Lillyella (that’s me!)
Monday 11/21 – Violette Field Threads

I hope you all have an awesome weekend, I’ll be back in a few days!
~ nicole

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{Photos by Hawthorne Threads}

Maker Mat Sew-a-long Prizes!

I think we’ll all agree that the real fun is in creating our mats, but… prizes are really fun, too, right?!I have had some awesome and generous prize donations to share with you and have also put together a few things myself  🙂

I have now posted about all the steps in the pattern and you can find links to all the previous posts at the end of this post if you’re just joining in. I’m going to wait another week before drawing winners for the prizes to give everyone (including myself!) some more time to work on their projects. You do not need to complete your mat to be eligible to win, you just need to post at least one progress photo on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtags #undercovermakermatSAL and #undercovermakermat. If you do not use social media, you can email me your photos.

I will pick my three favorite completed mats to win a prize of their choosing, and then I will randomly draw the remaining prize winners from all the posts in the sew-a-long hashtag. How does that sound? Alright… onto the prizes!

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First up, from Make Modern Magazine, I have five 6-month subscriptions! I love this mag, there’s always a great variety of projects and well-written, informative articles. Plus, it’s run by an awesome group of ladies!

Next, I have a three month subscription to Stash Builder Box! If you’re not familiar with Stash Builder Box, it’s a monthly subscription club where you receive fabrics, patterns, notions and other fun items and they donate a portion of the profits to help children in need. They also work to create quilts to send to different organizations. You can read more of their website. It’s a total win-win for everyone when you support them!

Last, but certainly not least, from our sponsors, I have a $25 gift certificate to Stash Fabrics! It’s no secret that Stash is my favorite fabric shop, they have such a a wide variety and they usually ship the same day. Can’t beat that! Beth and her team are also the sweetest. Friendly service means everything to me these days.

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In addition to those awesome prize donations, I’m also giving away three bundles of all my patterns (shown above) and the little prize pack shown below with 12 fat quarters, rainbow wonder clips, colored pencils, graph pad, omnigrid ruler and more!

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Now get back to work, because I have to as well! ; ) And keep posting your photos!

Have a fabulous weekend!
~ nicole

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ADDITIONAL SEW-A-LONG 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

Maker Mat Sew-a-long: Optional Thread Catcher

You guys. This sew-a-long has just been so awesome! I keep saying it, but it’s true. As always, I am blown away by your creativity! The best thing about designing patterns, for me, is watching other people bring them to life, and this one just has so much personality to it.

I was thinking about this while working on mine yesterday. I chose two sets of fabrics for two mats, with no thought but what do I want to look at everyday, and then I laughed when I realized how similar the two pulls were. I realized that my mats 100% represented me, my style and my personality, and that the same was true for every one being made. Of course this holds true for many quilts and other sewing projects, but there are so many ways to customize and personalize this project, that I just feel every one gives so much insight into the person who made it.

I’m still working on mine, but will share some pics tomorrow! Below is the mat I made for the Paperie blog tour earlier this year. Aren’t those fabrics gorgeous?

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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! Tomorrow I will be sharing some additional prizes, but will be waiting until next Friday (September 23) to draw winners. I will choose my two favorite finished mats to win prizes, but will draw the remaining prize winners from all the photos in the hashtag, so even if you’re just beginning, you’re still eligible to win! You just have to post your progress photos with the hashtag #undercovermakermatSAL on Instagram or Facebook. 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)!

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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:

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OTHER USES

Outside of this project, the thread catcher alone is handy for a variety of other uses! I’m working on a set that will hang from hooks on the wall behind my sewing machine to hold tools and notions (I’ll share pics when I’m done!), or 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.

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Just a handful of you have finished the thread catcher so far, but here are some pics from the sew-a-long hashtag!

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Remember to keep sharing your photos with the hashtags #undercovermakermatSAL and #undercovermakermat! Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some additional prizes up for grabs and I will also share more photos from everyone sewing along throughout next week!

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

Maker Mat Sew-a-long: Full Pocket Panel & Assembly

Happy Monday, friends! The sew-a-long hashtag is showing me that many of you made great progress on your projects over the weekend and I hope you’re having fun! Some of you have already finished your mats and some are just beginning, and that’s ok!

As I mentioned before, there’s no rush. I will talk about the last step (the optional thread catcher) later this week, but I will wait until the end of next week to draw winners for the prizes. This will give everyone some extra time to keep working (including myself!).

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Last Thursday I talked about creating the accent pocket pieces and this week we are onto piecing the full pocket panel and attaching it to the mat body. After this, your mat will be complete (woohoo!) and all that’s left is the optional thread catcher, which I will post about on Wednesday.

I have already covered some options and variations for the trim used when attaching the secondary pockets to the main pocket panel (you can read about them in my initial and third posts), but if you have any questions about this or need any help, just send me a message! I will, once again, include some example photos at the end of this post so you can see some of these variations in action.

I do have one additional design variation for the pocket panel that I want to cover today, and that is the binding across the top of the pocket panel.

Undercover Maker Mat | lillyella stitchery

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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I’m going to wrap up today’s post with a few more photos from the sew-a-long hashtag, you guys are KICKING BUTT!!

undercover maker mat sew-a-long | lillyella stitchery

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

Maker Mat Sew-a-long: Accent Pocket Panels

Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long | lillyella stitchery

Howdy, friends! If you are new to this sew-a-long, you can find the original post here.

Tuesday we covered the main body of the mat and today I’m going to talk a bit about the accent pockets. These are the paper pieced butterfly and selvedge panels you see in the original mat. if you’re just joining in, still pulling fabric, or working on your body panel, don’t worry! There’s plenty of time to finish, and you don’t even have to finish when I do. I won’t be talking about the next step until Monday, as well, so just work at your own pace and enjoy the process!

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.

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PAPER PIECING TIPS

You can find the pattern for my Butterfly Charm Blocks here. I used Gidget on the mat above, but all three designs are the same size and any can be used. I am using Cricket on the mat I am making now. 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.

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SELVEDGE POCKETS

All the steps for creating the selvedge pockets are included in the pattern PDF. I don’t have any additional tips for this step, but if you have any specific questions that I did not cover, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment here or contact me through my website.

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pockets

VARIATIONS

I discussed a few variations for creating these pocket panels in my original post, but will show a few more examples here. You can substitute any paper pieced block or patchwork design, or use solid pieces, for all the pockets. On the above left you can see a pocket panel created as the pattern outlines on top, and the one below shows a pocket panel made using only whole cuts of patterned fabric. It’s an equally adorable outcome and a perfect way to use a fun fussy cut, like the horse!

On the above right you will my Love Story pattern used in place of the butterfly block and solid pieces used in place of the selvedge panels. You can also embellish any of these panels with some additional trim as I did on the small one to the right of the heart.

undercover maker mat pocket panels

The above left pocket panel was made by my pal Mathew (Mister Domestic). He also used my Love Story block, but check out how he replaced the selvedge pockets with solid strip piecing. Love this look! It’s an excellent option if you don’t have selvedges to work with or simply want a different look for your piece.

Also, I will talk about the rest of the pocket panel and trim next week, but one thing I mentioned initially was that you can use fabric folded like bias tape in place of trim, and that is also what Mathew did here. The fussy cutting makes it look like ribbon, doesn’t it?! Love.

The above right picture is from Holly Hughes (Holly Hughes), she made a mini squash blossom block in place of the butterfly, and check out these geese in place of the selvedges! Also, that is faux leather bias tape that she’ll be using for trim. Say what?!

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I’ll wrap this up now with a few more examples of accent pocket variations and I’ll be back on Monday to talk about constructing the full pocket panel.

Please keep posting your progress photos and using the tags #undercovermaketmatSAL and #undercovermakermat, I am SO enjoying seeing all your work! And remember, no pressure her! Sew at your own pace and have fun. Have an awesome weekend, friends!

(p.s. Thank you for all the well wishes! I’m in the middle of some tests to figure out what’s going on inside my crazy body, but I so appreciate all the love!)

examples5

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.

two-mats2

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:

purebredback

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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