Maker Mat SAL: Pocket Panel Tips & Tutorials

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

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

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

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

pockets

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

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

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

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PAPER PIECING TIPS

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

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

paper piecing tips | lillyella stitchery

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

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

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

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

paper piecing tips | lillyella stitchery

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

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

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

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SELVEDGE POCKETS

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

selvedges

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VARIATIONS

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

examples5

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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.

ribbons

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

trims

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Undercover Maker Mat | lillyella stitchery

POCKET BINDING

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

pocket-binding

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

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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!

tie double

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

cover

cover1

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

ADDITIONAL POSTS:

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

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

Sponsors and Prizes!

PART TWO: Adding a machine handle opening

Maker Mat SAL – Adding a Machine Handle Opening

Honestly, I’ve been wanting to do this tutorial for adding a handle opening to the Undercover Maker Mat for YEARS… but I feel like that’s basically the story of my life! For all who have been waiting, I appreciate your patience! Once great thing about this is that you can add it at any time to any mat – finished, or not. It’s sort of an afterthought, per say, and doesn’t affect anything in the pattern.

Most of my machines do not have handles, so this new little travel machine came into my life at just the right time! This process hurt my brain just a teeny bit, but in the end it’s really pretty easy! I’ve done my best to capture it in photos and I hope it will all be easy to follow (and I think it will once you’re actually doing the steps), but if you have any questions, never hesitate to contact me here or through social media.

This tutorial is for binding the handle opening, however, if you are familiar with facing, that technique will most certainly work for this!

Just one note, I cannot guarantee that this tutorial is detailed enough for complete beginner sewists who are working on this project. There are no complicated techniques, but you may need to familiarize yourself with basic binding techniques to understand some of the terminology and techniques used.

The first step in planning for your opening is to measure, then measure again, then measure about 17 more times. I’ll tell you it is PAINFUL to cut into your precious quilted body, so be sure to check yourself! I took so long doing it that my husband started to make fun of me, but it was worth it. Keep in mind how wide your mat is in relation to your machine and be sure to place your measuring device accordingly. You can see how mine is hanging off the edge a bit. You will need your opening to be just large enough for your handle to slide through. Mine ended up being a little less than 6″ by  3/4″. Your binding will only shrink the opening a very small amount, so you don’t need to take that into account. Also remember, you can always cut the opening larger, but you can’t make it smaller!

When you measure the placement of the opening around the height of the machine, be sure to leave some slack in your tape to account for the bulk of your quilted body. I used the bobbin winder pin on the top of my machine as a gauge. To double check my measurements,  I placed my mat body over my machine and placed the tape measure on my mat. I felt the bobbin winder pin through the mat and noted where the tape measurer hit it. I then removed the mat and placed the tape measure in the same spot on the bobbin winder pin and checked my measurements against the handle. Every machine will be different, so figure out what method works best for you in determining your measurements.

Once you have your measurements, mark them on the body of your mat with an erasable pen or your preferred method and then check your placement again by placing the mat over your machine and feeling through it as best you can to see if the handle is lining up. Then its time to cut! Terrifying, I know. You can do it!

Now will you bind the hole. It’s much like binding the outside a quilt, but you handle the corners differently since they are inside. We will be using a single fold binding method. Cut a piece of binding fabric 1.5″ wide with the length being the diameter of your rectangle plus about 4″.

First, you will mark 1/4″ all the way around the outside of your rectangle on the top/outside of your mat. You will see in my photo above that I have stitch lines 1/4″ around my rectangle. This is from my initial failed attempt at binding that I tore out :D! Since I could see the lines, I did not need to use another form of marking, but you can use an erasable pen or you use a basting stitch.

Next you will clip diagonally into all four corners just shy of your 1/4″ marks as show above. You will now sew the binding down.

You will begin sewing the binding down along one long edge of your rectangle. I did not get a photo before I started sewing, so we’ll use this photo above as a reference for placement. Leave a small tail of unsewn binding for finishing later.

You will place your binding right side down onto your mat body and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance. When you get to a corner, continue sewing 1/4″ past the opening of your rectangle, which will be indicated by your 1/4″ marks around.

Here’s where it gets just a bit fussy. It’s not difficult, it just takes a bit of finagling under your machine. With your needle down, lift your presser foot and pull the short side of your rectangle opening toward your presser foot so it is in line with the seam you just sewed. The little snips you made in the corners will allow you to do this.

You will then continue sewing your binding strip in a straight line onto this side. If this seems confusing when reading it, I promise it will make sense once you’re sewing. You will continue sewing all the way around your opening, repeating this process on all four corners.

When you get back to where you started, press one end of your binding strip back about 1/4″ and then lay the other end on top of it, trimming it about 1/2″ to 3/4″ past the overlap. Pin in place and finish stitching the seam securely.

Now it’s time to press and turn the binding to the backside. Once complete, you can hand or machine stitch it in place, just as with an outer quilt binding.

Press your binding along the seam toward the hole opening to help it lay flat. You will now miter the corners working on one side at a time. First press one long edge inward and then miter one corner of a short edge as shown above, folding the outer point in to form a 45° angle and press.

Next, fold the other long edge in mitering the corner in the same way and press. Repeat with the other side of the opening.

You will then turn the binding through the opening to the underside of your mat and you will work on pressing and mitering that side. Don’t worry about your miters staying perfectly in place. Just make sure you gave them a good press before turning and they will fall back into place.

If you’re opening is small (and even if not), you may find the next steps a bit fussy, but just take it one step at at time, and you’ll get it done!

Working along one edge at a time, fold the binding strip onto itself, wrong sides together, up to the edge of your opening and press. Repeat for all four sides and feel free to use some glue to help keep it down!

Your piece will now look something like mine above once all sides are pressed. The Mariner cloth I am using was getting a bit frayed because of it’s loose weave, so I had a little trouble keeping things “crisp” for the photos.

To miter the corners on this side, first press one folded short edge down onto the mat down body. You will see above how the miters start to form with the one sides. Next press the long side down onto the mat, mitering the corner into itself as you can see above.

Repeat this step for all four corners, using pins or glue to help keep everything in place. It likely will not be perfect, your corners may be a little sloppy or your wrap around may be a bit uneven, but no one will see it, so don’t stress!

Finally, check that your miters are in place on the front of your mat and hand or machine stitch the binding in place. Now step back and admire your work as you look around for anything else you can cut a hole in!

I hope you have found this down & dirty tutorial helpful and useful! I’m so pleased with how it worked out on my mat and I hope you are, too.

I’m a bit behind schedule on the SAL, but I’ll be sharing some tips on the pocket panels in a couple days so stay tuned! Also, if you’re just joining in, you can find the free pattern and all the details here.

 

 

 

 

Undercover Maker Mat SAL 2019

SALgraphic2019

It’s almost time! The 2019 Undercover Maker Mat Sew Along will kick off on October 7 and run thru October 23! Anyone is welcome to join in and sew along. There is no sign up or obligation and the sew along will be casual! You can download the free pattern here. I will be following the schedule below but you are welcome to sew at your own pace and join in any time!

There are many ways to customize this project and adjust it to your skill level, so please note that many specifics indicated in the schedule are optional. Before the SAL begins, I will share a blog post discussing some of these options, variations and customizations to help you plan. I will talk about sizing the mat to your specific machine and this year I will also be sharing a little tutorial on how to add a hole in the mat for a handle, if your machine has one.

UNDERCOVER MAKER MAT SAL SCHEDULE

October 7: Kick off! Make main body panel

October 15: Adding a machine handle opening

October 17: Pocket panels

October 18: Make optional thread catcher

October 28: Share your finished projects!

In the meantime, you can download the pattern and start thinking about your fabric pull. You can also check out the hashtag #undercovermakermat on social media to see oodles of inspiration! If you’ll be joining in, I’d love for you to share the top graphic from the post and tag me @lillyellastitchery and use the hashtag #UndercoverMakerMatSAL2019!

~ Nicole

DSC_0428 edit B

Mini Maker Station SAL 2019 Kick Off!

DSC_1933

Good morning, friends! It’s time to kick off the 2019 Mini Maker Station Sew Along! I’m thrilled that so many of you have said you’re finally making the time to sew this up for yourself or for holiday gift. Sew Alongs always give me the motivation to create something that I’ve been wanting to.

If you haven’t downloaded the FREE pattern yet, you can find it here. This pattern requires some basic knowledge of sewing and quilting, but any beginner can tackle it! I’ll be including helpful tips, tutorial links, videos and more along the way for every step and I’m always happy to give personal assistance when I can. You can reach out to me anytime through social media or email.

This SAL will run three weeks, ending on October 4, but you are welcome to join in at any time and sew at your own pace. In today’s post I’m going to talk just a bit about selecting fabrics and go over some of the other materials you need. I’m also going to share some tutorial links on basic quilting and binding for those who may be new to quilting, and a couple tips about thread catcher placement. This week we’ll be working on the main body of the Maker Station and the thread catcher. Next Monday I’ll have a new blog post with some tips about creating the fabric basket and working with the magnets.

Share your progress photos on social media with the hashtags #minimakerstationSAL2019 and #minimakerstation to inspire and encourage others, and have a chance to win some fun prizes!

If you haven’t picked up a hardware or are waiting for yours to arrive, don’t worry! You can still begin your project as there is plenty you can do without it, especially during the first week. You can create the entire body and just wait to sew the last bit of binding down until you have the metal, and you can create the thread catcher. There is also quite a bit you can do on the pin cushion and basket next week before you need to add the magnets. You can find hardware kits in my Etsy shop here.

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FABRIC & MATERIALS

I want to quickly touch on why I don’t often include “fabric requirement” sections in my patterns, including this one. There are endless ways to layout and customize this project. I never want to lock someone into fabric placements by specifying what you should use where. One person may use three fabrics for the whole project, while another may use thirteen! Also, the cuts on a project like this are all small, so a fabric requirement list would simply be the same as the cutting instructions. The specific sizes of all the pieces you need for each part of the pattern are included at the beginning of each labeled section.

DSC_0845 edit

Now, onto materials! If you have not already purchased a hardware kit or sourced your own materials, you can find more information about those materials needed here, including my sources.

IMG_9046 edit

All fabrics used are standard quilting cotton. You could use some lightweight linens or blends, but thicker materials, such as canvas, may be too bulky for the pin cushion, basket and thread catcher, as they’re all pretty small. In addition to your fabrics, you also need a couple different interfacings. Sometimes these can be optional, as they are often used for added durability, but in this project they are required as they hold the magnets in place and create the basket.

The first is Pellon brand SF101, also known as ShapeFlex. You can find this at any fabric store or Walmart with a craft section. You can also order it online. This can be substituted with another featherweight or lightweight fusible interfacing if you wish, but the SF101 is my preference.

interfacing

The second interfacing you need is Pellon brand Peltex 71F, ultra firm single sided fusible interfacing. I do not recommend substituting this with anything else as it creates the main structure of your fabric basket. Be sure that you get the 71F and not the 70 (sew in) or 72 (double sided fusible). This interfacing is very thick, it should look and feel similar to a piece of cardboard. It should not fold without “creasing” itself. You can also find this interfacing at fabric stores, Walmart (or the like), or online. Next week I’ll share some helpful tips for keeping the basket edges nice and crisp!

walnut

For filling the pincushion, I like to use ground walnut shells because I love the weight and feel, especially with the square shape. It’s like an adorable little bean bag! I purchase mine at a local quit shop, but Plum Easy (the brand I get) also sells online here. If you’re making this for a gift, just avoid the shells if someone has a nut allergy! I have also used polyester stuffing in the cushion, which works perfectly fine!

The last little “extras” you need are some thin ribbon or trim and buttons to hang your thread catcher (which is optional!).

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

CREATING THE BODY & THREAD CATCHER

If you’re a sewist, but new to quilting, don’t fear! The body of the Maker Station is a great first project to dip your toes into the world of quilting!

To create the main body of the Maker Station, you will need basic knowledge of how to layer your top, batting and backing 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. You can see how this looks on my sample below. 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.

mmshome

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

The body and thread catcher are fairly straight forward and the pattern includes detailed instructions and diagrams on creating these pieces, but if you have questions at any point, feel free to contact me.

DSC_1933 edit crop

When it’s time to sew the buttons for hanging your thread catcher, think about where you will be using your Maker Station. I prefer to hang my thread catcher on the side farthest away from me so my leg doesn’t hit it and it’s not in the way of my pockets, so this placement will vary if you place the station to your right or your left. Also keep in mind it’s “reversible” in a sense, you can place either set of pockets on the inside of your seat or the outside. I sew at least two buttons on my body, but you can sew four buttons (one on every outer edge) so you’re fully versatile!

As I mentioned, this little thread catcher is an optional piece, but I love it. If you don’t use it for scraps, you can use it for extra storage. It’s also a handy design to use elsewhere, like on your sewing machine!

DSC_2046 blog

So those are all the basics for this week as we create our main body and thread catcher. I will be posting some photos of your projects on Instagram through the week, as well as sharing some of the SAL prizes, so I hope you follow along! Remember to use the tags #minimakerstationSAL2019 and #minimakerstation, and share with a friend!

Mini Maker Station SAL Kick Off!

DSC_1933

Good gravy, how is it February?! I still have a Christmas tree in my studio, but hopefully I can get it down this week :)! I’m SO SO excited to kick off the Mini Maker Station Sew Along (SAL) today! This pattern was in the works for SO long, because A) I’m slow, B) I’m busy, and C) it was a ton of computer work, which I loathe! However, it’s a pretty easy sew, even for beginners. If you haven’t downloaded the pattern, you can find it here.

This SAL will run for a bit over two weeks, ending on February 18. In today’s post I’m going to talk just a bit about selecting fabrics and go over some of the other materials you need. I’m also going to share some tutorial links on basic quilting and binding for those who may be new to quilting, and a couple tips about thread catcher placement. This week we’ll be working on the main body of the Maker Station and the thread catcher. Next Monday I’ll have a new blog post with some tips about creating the fabric basket and working with the magnets.

You are free to work at your own pace and in any order you’d like! Share your progress photos on social media with the hashtags #minimakerstationSAL and #minimakerstation to inspire and encourage others, and have a chance to win a couple fun prizes!

If you haven’t picked up a hardware or are waiting for yours to arrive, don’t worry! You can still begin your project as there is plenty you can do without it, especially during the first week. You can create the entire body and just wait to sew the last bit of binding down until you have the metal, and you can create the thread catcher. There is also quite a bit you can do on the pin cushion and basket next week before you need to add the magnets.

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

FABRIC & MATERIALS

I want to quickly touch on why I don’t often include “fabric requirement” sections in my patterns, including this one. There are endless ways to layout and customize this project. I never want to lock someone into fabric placements by specifying what you should use where. One person may use three fabrics for the whole project, while another may use thirteen! Also, the cuts on a project like this are all small, so a fabric requirement list would simply be the same as the cutting instructions. The specific sizes of all the pieces you need for each part of the pattern are included at the beginning of each labeled section.

Now, onto materials! If you have not already purchased a hardware kit or sourced your own materials, you can find more information about those materials needed here, including my sources.

IMG_9046 edit

All fabrics used are standard quilting cotton. You could use some lightweight linens or blends, but thicker materials, such as canvas, may be too bulky for the pin cushion, basket and thread catcher, as they’re all pretty small. In addition to your fabrics, you also need a couple different interfacings. Sometimes these can be optional, as they are often used for added durability, but in this project they are required as they hold the magnets in place and create the basket.

The first is Pellon brand SF101, also known as ShapeFlex. You can find this at any fabric store or Walmart with a craft section. You can also order it online. This can be substituted with another featherweight or lightweight fusible interfacing if you wish, but the SF101 is my preference.

interfacing

The second interfacing you need is Pellon brand Peltex 71F, ultra firm single sided fusible interfacing. I do not recommend substituting this with anything else as it creates the main structure of your fabric basket. Be sure that you get the 71F and not the 70 (sew in) or 72 (double sided fusible). This interfacing is very thick, it should look and feel similar to a piece of cardboard. It should not fold without “creasing” itself. You can also find this interfacing at fabric stores, Walmart (or the like), or online. Next week I’ll share some helpful tips for keeping the basket edges nice and crisp!

walnut

For filling the pincushion, I like to use ground walnut shells because I love the weight and feel, especially with the square shape. It’s like an adorable little bean bag! I purchase mine at a local quit shop, but Plum Easy (the brand I get) also sells online here. If you’re making this for a gift, just avoid the shells if someone has a nut allergy! I have also used polyester stuffing in the cushion, which works perfectly fine!

The last little “extras” you need are some thin ribbon or trim and buttons to hang your thread catcher (which is optional!).

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

CREATING THE BODY & THREAD CATCHER

If you’re a sewist, but new to quilting, don’t fear! The body of the Maker Station is a great first project to dip your toes into the world of quilting!

To create the main body of the Maker Station, you will need basic knowledge of how to layer your top, batting and backing 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 end of the body and thatt 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.

The body and thread catcher are fairly straight forward and the pattern includes detailed instructions and diagrams on creating these pieces, but if you have questions at any point, feel free to email me through my website or contact me on social media. I’m always happy to help!

When it’s time to sew the buttons for hanging your thread catcher, think about where you will be using your Maker Station. I prefer to hang my thread catcher on the side farthest away from me so my leg doesn’t hit it and it’s not in the way of my pockets, so this placement will vary if you place the station to your right or your left. Also keep in mind it’s “reversible” in a sense, you can place either set of pockets on the inside of your seat or the outside. I sew at least two buttons on my body, but you can sew four buttons (one on every outer edge) so you’re fully versatile!

As I mentioned, this little thread catcher is an optional piece, but I love it. If you don’t use it for scraps, you can use it for extra storage. It’s also a handy design to use elsewhere, like on your sewing machine!

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So those are all the basics for this week as we create our main body and thread catcher. I will be posting photos of my progress on Instagram through the week, so I hope you follow along! I’ll also be sharing the prizes.

Remember to use the tags #minimakerstationSAL and #minimakerstation, and share with a friend!

Mini Maker Station Hardware List

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I’m so excited to be releasing my long overdue Mini Maker Station pattern on January 9! Did I mention it’ll be FREE because I love you? I will also be hosting a little sew-a-long starting later in January with the date still to be determined.

If you’ve missed my previous blog or social media posts about this pattern, it does require a few bits of “hardware”. The main concept of the design is that there is a thin piece of sheet metal centered in the body of the piece and magnets sewn into the interchangeable accessories (mini basket & pin cushion). You can also then use any other accessories with magnets, such as magnetic pin bowls, on the piece as well.

I have a limited number of hardware kits available for $11.00 each in my Etsy shop here and I’ll try to keep them stocked as best I can, but below I’m also sharing the hardware specifics if you’d like to source them yourself.

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The Mini Maker Station pattern includes two station sizes depending on how much you’d like to store in it and, more importantly, what size your arm rest is! The larger of the two finishes at 9″ wide (shown above), while the smaller of the two finishes at 7″ wide (shown below). The pincushion and pin bowl in the photos are the same size for reference.

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Each Mini Maker Station requires one piece of sheet metal and four magnets to make it as shown with the pincushion and basket.

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Hardware list:

• One piece 26 gauge Zinc Plated Sheet Metal: cut 2″x8.25″ for the larger 9″ station, cut 2″x6.25″ for the smaller 7″ station

• Three round disc magnets for the basket: N45 Neodymium 1″ x 1/32″

• One round disc magnet for the pincushion: N45 Neodymium 1″ x 1/16″

I purchase the magnets from CMS Magnetics and the sheet metal from Home Depot. I cut it to size with tin snips and file the edges smooth.

A FEW NOTES:

I tried various other sizes, shapes, and strengths of magnets for this project and found the ones specified above work best, so I highly recommend you use exactly what is specified. If you choose to use other types of magnets in your project, I’m not well versed enough in magnets to answer questions about them and can’t specify if your station will “function” properly.

I purchase my “pin bowls” from Harbor Freight. They are actually magnetic parts holders and are available in 4″ or 6″. I prefer the 4″ bowls and I spray paint them to match my fabrics.

I don’t have fabric requirements together yet, but it is a small project requiring small cuts and is fat quarter friendly. The largest piece needed for the main body is 9″x17″.

Stay tuned here and on social media for the pattern release on January 9! Who’s excited? 😀

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Maker Pin Co. Collaboration

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I was so excited when Amanda at Maker Pin Co. asked me to be her next collaborative artist! It was really hard to decide which of my paper piecing patterns to turn into a pin and I knew that two patterns I had in the works, a honey bee and a luna moth, would be super cute options, so I quickly finished them and we put four designs up for a vote. But, in the end, no one else could decide either so we produced all four and I just received the first batch. Aren’t they the cutest?!

We just opened up a second round of preorders through August 30, so if you’d like to snag one of these pins for yourself or as a gift or swap extra, pop over to Maker Pin Co. here!

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If you haven’t heard of Maker Pin Co. yet, let me introduce you! Amanda, formerly of Stash Builder Box, recently began this new adventure. She works with different artists to create enamel pins using their designs and, just like with Stash Builder Box, maker Pin Co. is all about helping those in need with $1 from each pin sale being donated to a charity of the artist’s choice.

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The charity I chose is the Pollinator Partnership. Founded in 1997, the Pollinator Partnership is the largest nonprofit in the world committed to protecting pollinators and their ecosystems and promoting conservation efforts. The charity works throughout North America and globally to safeguard birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles and other pollinators.

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We donated $280 so far from the first round of preorders and I’m hoping we can more than double that! What do you think?

The Bee pin measures 1.5″ wide and the rest measure 1.25″, making them perfect for jacket lapels, hats, bags, pouches or as push pins on bulletin boards!

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If you don’t follow me on social media, I’ve been a little behind on blogging lately (summer is so busy!) and you may be wondering about the Bee and Luna Moth patterns. They are new and coming soon! I typically don’t share my new designs until I’ve sewn them up myself, but I really wanted to include them in the pin designs, and am so glad I did!

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My goal is to have the Bee pattern, named Honey Maker, out in October or November, with the Luna Moth (Moon Dancer) released shortly after, but likely early in the new year. I hope you’re as excited about them as I am!

Thanks for stopping by today! Remember, pin preorders are only open through August 30, so head over there now and support our pollinators! Be sure to check out all the other awesome collaborative designs while you’re there, too!

~ nicole

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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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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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Life, love and the pursuit of denim.

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I’m pretty sure I can attribute my love of denim to the Levi’s jacket that my father wore for as much of my childhood as I can remember, and that I still wear today. The fact that there are amazing new, modern denims being made now is a sewer’s dream come true!

Art Gallery Fabrics is definitely blazing this modern denim trail and I could not pass up the opportunity to contribute to their Denim 2.0 Blog Tour and show you some of the newest additions to their already amazing collection of denims.

When I saw the new Crosshatch Textured Denim, I knew I had to do a home decor project. I have been wanting to make Amy Butler’s Gumdrop Floor Pillows for YEARS, since long before I was sewing regularly, but now was finally the time.

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ABOUT THE FABRICS

The crosshatch textured denim is 100% cotton and a heavier weight, 10 oz vs. the 4 to 4.5 oz of     the solid smooth denims that would be considered quilting or light apparel weight, making it perfect for this project. I would equate it to a soft, denim canvas. It comes in gray (Clouded Horizon), which I used here, dark blue (Rainy Night) and a medium blue (Babbling Brook) and in addition to decor projects, it could also be used for bags, upholstery, and even as a durable quilt back.

The crosshatch denim is definitely interesting enough to stand on its own (I would love to upholster an armchair!), but I wanted to have some fun and incorporate a print from Bari J’s newest line, Joie de Vivre, because, pretty flowers! I decided to do a little appliqué and add a three dimensional element using a fabric rose technique that is a favorite of mine for making brooches and hair clips.

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The beautiful white, red, and pink denims I used to create the roses are part of another new addition to The Denim Studio, a collection of light weight yarn dyes in the most amazing colors. They are just a tad lighter than the solid smooth denims and have a little bit of a different feel, very soft and almost linen like, but 100% cotton.

I have an old tutorial that you can find here on how to create the fabric roses. For the multicolored ones, I simply pieced thin strips of different colors together before pressing in half and rolling into shape.

After fussy cutting the roses from the Joie de Vivre print, I secured them with a raw edge appliqué style stitch using my machine and then I hand stitched the three dimensional roses in place afterwards.

The lace butterflies are cut from a trim that I purchased on eBay for a different project. As so often happens, they were sitting on my cutting table while I was working on my pillow and it all just clicked. They are the perfect accent and I think I would feel that something was missing without them.

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Because I loved the floral print so much, I decided to use it on two full panels of the pillow along with the gray denim, and I absolutely love it! I used a fusible featherweight interfacing on these before cutting them.

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All of the fabrics I used on this project were a dream to work with. It came together flawlessly and has an amazing look and feel to it, I could not be any happier with how this came out.

The AGF denims are seriously my go-to for everything – quilts, bags, decor, garments. Since they debuted The Denim Studio collection, I have included them in about 95% of my projects. For someone who does not like to use solids (me, me, me!), denims are a perfect alternative. They are technically a “basic”, but there is nothing basic about them. They are classic and timeless and we all know they go with everything!

Denims are the new denim! Wait? Denims are the new black? For the quilting world, maybe I should say denims are the new white! Regardless, I encourage you to give them a try. I guarantee you’ll fall in love.

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ABOUT THE PATTERN

Even though I consider myself a fairly well-versed, experienced sewist at this point, I’ll admit I was a tad intimidated by this pattern. It’s big, it’s three dimensional, it has an invisible zipper, BUT it was quick, easy, and immensely satisfying! If it wasn’t so awkward to ship, I would be making these for everyone on my holiday gift list. Think anyone would care if I sent it flat and told them they had to stuff it themselves?! Seriously, Im going to be overrun by these things.

The pattern includes two sizes, 18″, which is what I’ve shown here, and a larger 24″ version. That size is the width across the piece. The 18″ one measures about a foot high.

I am currently working on a 24″ one now using another of my favorite prints from Joie de Vivre and more of the new yarn dye denim in a gorgeous tealy blue. I will be blogging about the process, the embellishment technique I’ll be using, and a few tips and tricks about putting it all together, if anyone is interested in making one themselves. I’ll be sharing that next week, so stay tuned!

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THAT’S A WRAP!

I truly hope this project has inspired you to work with new materials or try new techniques, and that you take a moment to check out the other inspiring projects on the Art Gallery Fabrics Denim 2.0 Blog Tour. I have seen them all, and trust me when I say they are unique and amazing!

Here is the full lineup:

Monday- Christopher http://www.thetattooedquilter.com

Tuesday – Nicole, that’s me!

Wednesday – Sari http://www.sariditty.com/

Thursday – Jenn http://gingerpeachstudio.com/

Friday – Mathew https://misterdomestic.net/

You can also follow along on instagram with the hashtags #AGFdenimtour2point0 and #thedenimstudiobyAGF.

happy stitching!
~nicole

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