‘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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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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Rip Strip Weaving: Using your Loom

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

Now that you’ve built your loom (you can find that post here), it’s time to use it! I touched on options and materials a bit in the first post, but will cover all of that again. I will start here with stringing, then move on to weaving, and will do a third and final post about finishing options.

I will also write additional posts in the future on different things you can do with your loom and make with your woven panels as I make them myself, so be sure to check back for those!

I started this project with the intention of using ripped strips of cotton fabric for the weaving, and that is how I created my rainbow runner below, but the possibilities of what you can weave into your piece really are endless. Consider various fabric substrates, yarns, ribbons, etc.

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

I need to begin by saying that not every aspect of weaving is science. There are some things that can’t be definitively explained. Some things come with a “feel” or by simply doing it once and figuring it out from there. So, please excuse some of the looseness of this post. I will provide all the information I can about this project and will post updates as I use my own loom more.

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STRINGING YOUR LOOM

The first step in using your loom is to run the warp threads. These will run with the length of the rails between the cross members and wrap around the nail posts. As with every aspect of this project, you have many options for stringing the warp threads of your loom, from the material you use to the way you run the threads. I will show you two options in this tutorial.

On my rainbow sample runner, I used one yarn in a continuous string. It was slightly off white with tiny metallic flecks in it. I wanted a strong contrast against the rainbow fabrics and love the way it looks. You can use any sort of yarn, thread, floss, cord, twine, or even fabric strips for your warp threads, and I will show you a few different options later in the post.

To string your loom with one continuous thread as I did in my rainbow runner, you will first begin by making a large loop with a secure knot on one end of your thread (I’m using yarn in this instance). You want to make sure you have enough to string the entire loom, so do not precut any lengths, just work from the skein or whatever amount your string comes as. If it is not long enough to make one continuous piece, you can simply knot an additional piece on and continue.

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Hook your loop over one nail post at either end of either cross member, it does not matter where you begin. You will now run your thread down to the other cross member, around the first nail post and back up to where you began. Loop around the next nail post and continue this until you’ve wrapped around all the nail posts. You will now end at the last nail post on the opposite cross member from where you began. Secure your thread by making another knotted loop and hooking it over the nail post.

If you’d like your warp threads to be farther apart, giving a “looser” look to your finished weave, you can loop your threads around two nail posts, vs. just one, as shown in the bottom right photo above. Just remember that you will only see half the warp threads on each side of your woven piece. So, when you are looping on each nail post, the fabric will be on top of one thread and underneath the other. You can compare how the threads look strung on each nail post in the diagram above to how my finished rainbow runner looks. I strung my threads around each nail post on that piece.

Now here’s the important (and slightly loosey goosey) part, you DO NOT want your strings to be tight. When I started this project and just blindly jumped in, I strung my threads as tight as I could pull them. About five rows into my weaving, I realized the error of my ways. You will be amazed at how much slack is taken up by weaving the fabric strips through the threads, so you need them to be LOOSE when you begin. I’m sure you are asking, “how loose?”. Well, that’s the part I can’t really answer. You do not want them sagging to the table through your center loom opening or falling off the nail posts, but you otherwise want as much slack as you can have without those two things happening. Once I finish stringing my loom again for my next project, I’ll see if I can take a video that may help a bit.

STRINGING VARIATIONS

If you would like to use a variety of different materials or colors for your warp threads, you can do this a couple different ways. First, you can use the same continuous string method that was described above and knot your various threads together at any point you would like to change. Alternatively, you can create separate thread loops, rather than one continuous thread.

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In the diagram above I have one green thread loop and one white thread loop. Each spans between one nail post on the cross members. You can also double the spacing on these as I described above, and even skip a nail post between loops for a more symmetric spacing.

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RIPPING STRIPS

Before I started this project, I had never torn fabric. I had received fabric with torn vs. cut edges, but had never done it myself. I wanted my woven piece to have a bit of a raw feel to it, so the frayed edges of ripped strips were the perfect option. Below I will show you how to tear fabric strips to achieve the look of my rainbow runner, but you can also use cut strips of fabric for your weaving.

I used 2″ strips throughout my piece for a consistent look, but plan to use a variety of different widths on my next project to achieve a scrappier look. The length of my most of my strips was the width of the fabric, but I also used some fat quarters and smaller pieces. You can use ANY size scraps you like for this project. Later in the post I will show you how to knot your strips together as you weave, but you can also seam your strips together with your sewing machine or hand stitches as you go.

The beauty of ripping fabric, and why some shops choose to do it, is that you will always have a perfectly straight and square edge. If you are beginning with a cut of fabric that already has a torn edge, you can skip the first step, but if you are beginning with a cut of fabric with a cut edge, you will first need to create a torn square edge.

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Depending on how straight or crooked your fabric is cut (you may be amazed at how off some cuts are!), the placement of your first snip will vary. You will start by snipping a small slit on a slevedge edge of your fabric about 1/2″ to 1″ in from the cut edge of your fabric and then simply hold the fabric on both sides of you cut and tear the strip off. If your tear does not run all the way to the other end of your fabric, you are still not square and need to move in farther with your initial snip.

Once you have your first fully torn edge, you can now measure to the width you’d like your strips, snip and tear. The result will be perfectly equal torn strips. It’s like magic! Ok, not really, but it sort of feels like it.

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WEAVING

Now it’s time to weave – hooray! Though it’s not necessary, I found using a Dritz Elastic threader as a “needle” made the weaving process much easier. They come in a three pack for about $2 – $4 online. I ordered mine from Amazon, but you can also find them on Craftsy and a variety of other websites. The Wefty needle also serves the same purpose.

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When weaving your panel, you will begin at one cross member and weave to the middle of the loom along your rail length. You will then stop and start again at the other cross member and work to where you left off previously in the middle. You do this because it is much easier to squeeze the last rows into the middle of the loom than it would be to fight with the last rows along your cross member.

You will want to begin your weaving a few inches in from one of your rails. It doesn’t matter which side you start on or which direction you weave. Weave your fabric strip above every other warp thread and be sure to watch this carefully, as it’s easy to miss one or make a mistake and not notice it until later. Pull your fabric strip through the warp threads until the end of your strip is where you began weaving and work toward the anchor rod. When you get to your anchor rod, you will treat it just as another warp thread, going the opposite of your last thread. You will see below that my fabric was on top of my last warp thread, so I wove it under the anchor bar.

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Wrap your fabric around the anchor bar and continue weaving to create the first full row. Once you cross over where you began, you can pull a bit from the end of your strip and tuck it under your first full row. Alternatively, you can just leave it as it, it will hold tight once your weave is complete and I will also talk about stitching the ends in place once you are done weaving.

You will now continue in the same manner of weaving, making sure to check your work as you go. Your fabric should always wrap around the anchor rod in the same way as your previous row, so that is one way to double check that you are still on track. When you get to a screw eye, be sure to not wrap your fabric around the post of the screw eye or you will not be able to remove the piece from the loom. Just weave the fabric on either side of the screw eye. It’s alright if you have to squish or stretch a bit to make it work, it will all even out when you remove the piece from the loom.

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

As you’re weaving your strips, you will find they twist and fold and bunch in different ways as they’re pulled through the warp threads. You can try to control this as you feed the strips, such folding the fabric on itself a certain way, or you can simply let it do its own thing!

You will also need to push your rows together toward the cross bar as you work. You can do this every row or every few rows, it’s just something you’ll get a feel for as you go. You can push your rows together as tight or as loose as you wish, depending on the look you are going for.

Also, you do want to pull your strips too tight as you weave. The anchor rod will keep your piece stable and square, but if you pull too tight, you can start to bow the anchor rod. This will make it hard to remove your piece from the loom and possibly cause irregular edges.

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ATTACHING STRIPS

When you are ready to attach your next strip of fabric (or other material), there are a couple ways you can do it. I used a knotting method, which I will show you below, or, as I mentioned above, you can machine or hand stitch materials together. You do not want to weave with too long of a strip at once, because it is just more to pull through the warp threads as you weave. It is best to attach the strips as you work.

When you are close to the end of the strip you are weaving with, leave about 5″ – 7″ loose. Lay a new strip on top of the end of this strip, lining up the ends as shown below. Fold both ends over about an inch and cut a small slit through both pieces.

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

You now want to place your new strip, right sides together, on top of the strip in the loom, lining up the cut slits as shown in the photo below. The scissors are just to show the slit in both pieces. Next, take the loose end of the new strip and run it through the cut slits from the bottom. This new strip should be going first through the slit in the strip that is woven into the loom. Pull the piece through until it tightens into a knot. You can now continue weaving.

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FINISHING THE WEAVE

As mentioned previously, you will start weaving from one cross member of your loom into the middle. You will then start again at the other cross member and work to the middle where you left off.

The photo below shows what your panel will look like when you meet in the middle. Continue weaving until you close the gap and overlap your ends a few inches as shown on the right.

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

Once you are finished weaving, you can hand stitch these loose ends to surrounding fabric or you can do this after you remove the piece from the loom.

You’re now ready to remove your panel from the loom! You will first remove two screws at the end of the anchor rods on one cross member using a screwdriver and then slide the anchor rods out. They may feel tight and you can use pliers or vice grips to start pulling the anchor rods loose. Twisting them a bit can also help. Once the rods begin to move, they will slide out easier. Next, you will lift the woven panel carefully off one set of nail posts, and then the other. Be gentle as you do this to not tear your warp threads.

Now that your panel is off the loom, admire your work and give yourself a hand!A couple more little things and you’re done.

If you wove your warp threads as one continuous piece, your initial looped ends at the beginning and end of your thread will need to be secured. When you first remove the piece from the loom, use a safety pin to hold the ends in place, otherwise the warp thread end can get sucked down into your weave. To secure them permanently, use a needle and thread to secure the loop onto a lower portion of the thread. Start by knotting your thread onto the loop then run your needle through the warp thread one row below and knot to secure.

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

Also, If you did not stitch your final loose fabric tails down before removing the panel, you can do so now. You can also do this with the fabric ends where you began weaving at either cross member, if you wish.

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Now that your piece is woven and off the loom, you can call it complete as is or you can add various finishing touches, such as cuffs or tassles, or use the woven panel on something else, such as a bag or pillow. Since this post is already quite lengthy, I will address that in a separate one.

If you have any questions about this tutorial, please contact me anytime, just be as specific as possible so I can best assist you.

I so hope you enjoy this process as much as I have! Please use the hashtag #ripstripweaving so I can see what you are making!

Here’s a shot of the materials I’ll be using for my next project. I plan to use a variety of threads for the warp threads and add a mix of yarns and other materials into the weave along with the fabric strips. I’m pretty excited about it and I’ll share more soon here and on Instagram!

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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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long

Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long | lillyella stitchery

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

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

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

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

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

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

Undercover Maker Mat | lillyella stitchery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 undercover maker mat | lillyella stitchery

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ADDITIONAL POSTS:

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

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

PART THREE: September 8 – Accent Pocket Panels

PART FOUR: September 12 –Full Pocket Panel & Assembly

PART FIVE: September 15 – Optional Thread Catcher

Flex Frame Pouch & Write On Patterns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy! ~ nicole

Paperie Blog Tour + New Love Story Pattern

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

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

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

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

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

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

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

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

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

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

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

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

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

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

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

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Love Story + Cross my Heart Pattern | lillyella stitchery

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

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

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

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

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

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

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

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

Love Story + Cross My Heart Patterns | lillyella stitchery

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

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Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

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

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

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

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

happy stitching! ~nicole