Sew-A-Long Tutorials for Beginners

Hello, my Sew-A-Long friends! Today I’ll be sharing a few tutorial links for those who are joining in the Undercover Maker Mat SAL, but may not be familiar with basic quilting or paper piecing (which is an optional element!). There are a lot of step-by-step photos in the pattern and many basic techniques, but it does require basic knowledge of making a “quilt sandwich”, binding a quilt, and paper piecing , if you choose. If you haven’t viewed my Instagram stories, please pop over and take a look. I’m saving all the SAL stories in a highlight which you can access anytime from my main profile. You can also turn on notifications for my posts and/or my stories so you don’t miss anything. I shared a few tips and examples yesterday on how to simplify or customize your mat, so this can help you with the planning stage.

Onto the tutorials! If you’re new to quilting, you will need basic knowledge of how to layer your top, batting and backing for the main mat body (aka the “quilt sandwich”), and how to do the quilting stitches. This tutorial from Suzy Quilts covers all the basics. It applies to a large quilt, so working with your main mat body will simply be a smaller and simpler version! Straight line quilting is a great design for beginners, or a crosshatch is a always a nice option, too. I’m not sure its mentioned in the tutorial, but I love using a Herra Marker (a bone folder or scoring tool also works similarly) to mark my quilting lines, especially for something like a crosshatch. Here is a video on using a Herra Marker.

Another quilting technique you will need to know comes at the very end of the project, but it is binding. This is the little edge “wrap” that goes around the entire piece and seals everything up. Here is a helpful tutorial from Craftsy.

Lastly, we have paper piecing. If you’d like to create the butterfly pocket panel as shown in the pattern, but have never paper pieced before, don’t be intimidated! This is a great time to learn! Cassandra Madge did a wonderful two-part tutorial for beginners using my Butterfly Charm Blocks pattern and you can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions along the way, and stay tuned for more helpful tips here and on Instagram!

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Santa’s Chimney Basket

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I can’t remember what spurred this last minute idea, but OHEMMGEEE is this adorable or what?! I used my free Sturdy Basket Pattern to make a snow covered chimney to hold my Christmas cards. Now I need to make another to hold Santa!

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I used the brick print from Grafic fabric for the basket outer and lining and some faux sherpa for the “snow”. The sturdy fabric basket pattern (find it here) includes directions on making any size basket you wish, so you can customize your chimney, but I made mine 6.5″ wide x 6″ high x 3.5″ deep. In the photo below, I did put a little padding inside the bottom of the basket to make the cards sit a little higher. I didn’t want to make the basket shorter because I wanted to see enough brick.

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I made the basket as specified in the pattern, but I did not press the exposed top of the lining in half before folding it over the top of the basket , I just folded it over so the raw edge was exposed. It gets covered by the sherpa so it doesn’t matter. You really don’t even need to make the lining larger than the outer piece since it is covered. I did it because I wasn’t sure if I would fold the sherpa inside or wrap it on the outside just around the top.

To make the snow top, I cut a piece of the sherpa 20.5″ wide by 5″ high then simply wrapped it around the top of the basket and folded half to the inside. The backing of the sherpa clung to the brick fabric really nicely so I didn’t even need to secure it in place, but you could use some glue if desired. If you make your basket a different size, you’ll need to adjust the size of your sherpa cut. Simply add width x 2 + depth x 2. I added a half inch on top of this just to be safe.

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This project was so quick and fun. I definitely want to make some for gift giving next year! I’d love to see what you make! Please tag me on social media or use the hashtag #sturdyfabricbasket.

Happy Holidays, friends!
~ nikki

Fabric.com Fall Block Party

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Fall is officially in the air and I’m closing out the Fabric.com Fall Block Party with my contribution, Flutter By! If you’re just joining the party, you can find all the free blocks shown above on the Fabric.com blog here. This collection of quilt blocks is an excellent skill builder with traditional piecing, foundation paper piecing, english paper piecing, and appliqué.

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Though many people typically associate Butterflies with Spring, some of my favorites appear as Fall blows in when the monarchs emerge and the Painted Ladies make their migration. Plus, we all know I love them, so I’m always game to share a new pattern 🙂

My Flutter By block is foundation paper pieced and sews up quickly with just three simple sections. The pattern includes the butterfly as shown and reversed so your butterfly can head East or West!

You can download the free pattern from Fabric.com here!

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I wanted to use an unexpected mix of fabrics on my block, with a variety of prints and textures, and am so in love with the result! I started with the focal floral print, which is Liberty of London Lawn. Many people do not think about using Lawn when quilting, but it’s quite dreamy, especially when paper piecing because it is lightweight.

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The pink stripe fabric is a woven from Loominous by Anna Maria Horner, dotted line coral. The stripes are raised and add such a lovely textural element. The remaining prints are quilting cotton from different designers – Indah Batiks Herringbone Coffee, Dear Stella Trail Mix Feathers Mustard, Dear Stella Honey Bee Scallop Dot Corn, and Cotton + Steel Ombre Pigment Aqua for the background. I love how the gradient of the ombre prints plays subtly in the background. It’s so perfect for sky!

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I have a few fun quilt layout and other project ideas in mind for this block, so keep an eye here and on my instagram page for those! I hope you enjoy my contribution to the Fabric.com Fall Block Party! Please share your projects with the hashtags #flutterbypattern and #fabricdotcomblockparty!

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‘lil monsters treat bags

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Fall is in the air and Halloween is right around the corner! I usually don’t have any ‘lil monsters in my life, but since one of my besties happened to be in town for an extended visit, I couldn’t resist whipping up some new treat bags for her littles.

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I used the midnight bite treat bag tutorial that I shared last year (find the free pattern here) and some ‘lil monsters fabric from cotton + steel, which was absolutely perfect. This line has a little more of a playful feel to it and I was able to pull prints and colors to make both an older boy and a little girl equally happy! Also, our Aurifil Sariella Thread Collection had just the right colors I needed for yet another project! #win

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I used solid pieces for the top panel, instead of the pieced bat as in the original, making this project really quick. I used a spider pom pom trim on one and metallic skulls on the other, both of which I found at Joann’s.

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I hope this inspires you to whip up some treat bags for the ‘lil monsters in your life! I’d love to see what you make. Tag your pics on social media with #midnightbitetreatbag or email me! Happy Haunting!

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Oh, What Fun Blog Hop: Gift Giving Vessels

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Howdy, friends, I’m back! And I hope you’re ready to get crafty…

As I mentioned in my previous post, my (belated) stop on the Hawthorne Threads Oh, What Fun Blog Hop is all about easy-to-sew (and easy to customize!) projects that are perfect for holding holiday gifts. Ditch that wrapping paper! I’ll be talking about how modify my free Sturdy Fabric Basket pattern to create ANY SIZE finished piece and sharing an adorable fabric sack pattern that I think you’ll love.

This new in-house fabric line by Hawthorne Threads could not possibly be any cuter. I’m pretty sure I squealed a little when I first saw it. Some of the prints are perfectly holiday, but what I really love is that some of them are more neutral – winter themed, or just geometric – and can be used for a a variety of occasions, which I’ll talk about more later. So, let’s get to it!

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These Sturdy Fabric Baskets are one of my favorite things to make. They’re quick and easy, and useful for so many things (plus, totally adorable!). I initially created the pattern a couple years ago to make baskets for holding fat quarters, scraps, trims, and notions in my sewing room, and then made one for holding remotes in the living room, another for hair accessories in the bathroom, and one for next to the door to catch my husbands wallet, sunglasses and all the miscellaneous junk that lives in his pockets!

You can showcase a fun focal print or create any patchwork design you like (there are patchwork directions in the pattern). The original pattern size (shown above and below) finishes at 8″ wide by 5″ high and 5″ deep, and is perfect for mixed gift baskets of items such as bath & body products or edible treats, just to name a couple ideas. I love these baskets so much, I want to gift them to myself! I can do that, right? I mean, I DID make them.

Another great feature of this basket size is that it’s perfect for holding Christmas cards, so your recipient can repurpose it after it’s emptied. You can also give a bag of potpourri along with it and it can be used a cute holiday decoration!

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I used my favorite prints from Oh, What Fun on these two. The row of faces is cut from the border panel print and was the perfect size, and then I used the center of that panel (the cute confetti) to make the lining of the other basket. The ornament print is called Baubles and I also used it to make some cute gift tags which you’ll see later in the post. I added tiny pom pom trim to the basket shown above and I love the look! I tucked it under the lining foldover and glued it in place – super easy!

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In the pattern file, I talk about using old belts or scraps of leather for the basket handles (which are optional.) I used scraps on both of these baskets. The gold was cut from a pouch I found at the thrift shop and the black is from a leather scrap pack I found at Hobby Lobby. I used embroidery floss to stitch them in place.

Thinner, lighter weight materials work best for the handles so they can bend easily. If your leather is too thick or sturdy, it can bow the sides of the basket out. You can also use ribbon, bias tape, or fabric in place of the leather.

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CUSTOMIZING YOUR BASKET

I receive emails quite often asking if I can resize the basket pattern cutting directions to create a specific sized piece that someone wants to make, so updating the pattern on how you can do this yourself has been on my to-do list for awhile, and this seemed like the perfect time! With a little math (don’t worry, it wont hurt too bad!), you can create any size basket you wish.

I’ve updated the original Study Fabric Basket PDF pattern file to include these directions and you can download it here.

Now I’ll show you a couple different sized baskets I created to get your creative juices flowing!

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I wanted to make a piece that was sized for kitchen utensils and accessories, because that is another favorite set of mine to gift (perfect for housewarmings and showers, too!). This basket measures 4″ wide by 4″ deep and 6″ tall and I filled it with a dish towel, pot holder, whisk, spoon, spatula, measuring spoons and cookie cutters.

I used my favorite Baubles print in the Glacier Blue colorway and the lining is from Hawthorne’s Stardust basics line, which comes in 54 colors and coordinates so nicely with Oh, What Fun because it looks like snow!

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And let’s not forget the guys or hard-to-shop-for friends and family on our lists! This basket measures 4″ wide by 4″ deep and 3″ high and holds four shot glasses with stir sticks and two mini bottles of liquor. It would also make a fun and inexpensive secret santa gift. Plus, this small basket is a nice size for later holding keys, jewelry, sewing notions or many other things. It also fits a pillar candle or mug.

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The handles on both of these baskets were also cut from old thrift shop pouches. Both are vinyl, so they had white backings. I left the white showing on the yellow handles and for the blue handles on the short basket, I glued a piece of the dark blue stardust to the backside before trimming them down. It worked out so well! I also did this to the gold handles on the treats basket shown at the beginning of the post.

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BUTTON LUNCH BAGS & GIFT TAGS

I have one more fun pattern to share, because it’s just perfect for gifting homemade treats (or a million other things) and then your recipient also has an adorable and useful little sack! I’ve had this Button Lunch Bag pattern from Purl Soho bookmarked forever and made a few modifications to dress them up and make them quilting cotton friendly.

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The pattern calls for a sturdy cotton (such as a canvas), uses one solid fabric, and has a rolled hem, so I made a few easy changes to make them work with my materials and the look I was going for.

I wanted my bags to have a bottom accent fabric, so I pieced together the full panel before assembling the bag and then added some cute trim along the seam line. Also, since a rolled top hem wouldn’t look as nice with a printed quilting cotton, I instead used binding around the top of the bag. I added it last after assembling the bags. I used Pellon Shapeflex (SF101) to give the bags some extra bulk and I love the feel of them. I added the interfacing after piecing my full panel, before assembling the bag.

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The original pattern uses binding to hide the inner seams, but I just used a wide, tight zig zag stitch which was quick and easy, but gives the seams a clean look and prevents fraying. Alternatively, if using binding around the top, you could make a full lining for the bag. Simply make a second bag, but with right sides in instead of out, slide it inside your assembled outer bag, and then stitch the top binding down through both, holding them together.

For these bags, I used two of the prints from Oh, What Fun that are not holiday specific. They are definitely festive enough for holiday gifting (especially with some metallic trim!), but keep the bags neutral enough to be reused all year long.

I used the Baubles print that I love so much to make the little tag on the cookies. I fussy cut the ornament circles from the print and used embroidery floss to hand stitch them onto felt cut with pinking shears. I then stitched down a small, folded piece of felt onto the top to make the hanger. You can use a light print or solid cotton on the reverse side to write or stamp a name.

I had so much fun with these, I couldn’t stop! They’re going on all my gifts this year, and I think I’ll hang a few from my tree, too!

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I truly hope you have found this post useful and inspiring! All of these projects are easy and satisfying because they sew up quick and look totally adorable when done. This year I challenge you to ditch the wrapping paper and make some “gift wrap” instead!

As always, if you have any questions about the pattern along the way, you can contact me here anytime. Please be specific, so I can best assist you.

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TIME FOR GIVEAWAY! (GIVEAWAY CLOSED – THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED!)

Who loves this Oh, What Fun fabric as much as I do? Would you like to win THREE YARDS for yourself?! To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling me what you would make with it and I will pick a winner at random on Friday! (Giveaway closed – congrats to @kgmcfall and thank you to all who entered!)

Now before you go, be sure to 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
Monday 11/21 – Violette Field Threads

Happy Stitching!
~ nicole

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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.

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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

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