Today we’re talking EPP organization! I don’t know about you, but preparing for a project is my favorite part. Selecting fabric, cutting, sorting, organizing. It is MY JAM. I always slow down a bit when it comes to the execution :P!
UPDATE: Butterfly Effect Supplies (templates, papers and printed patterns) are now available from Paper Pieces HERE. Thank you!
Whether you are participating in the Butterfly Effect Sew Along (kicking off May 3!) or simply working on your own, today I’m talking about how I organized and prepared to begin my project. Tips in this post will apply to both supplies ordered from Pink Door fabrics (preorders now shipping!) and for those printing and cutting their own papers.
This will be the only post I share here before the Sew Along kicks off on May 3. All other posts and tutorials will be shared through the Sew Along newsletter, so you’ll have to sign up if you’d like to follow along! You can do so here.
If you’re printing and cutting your own papers, you can skip down to the next section. If you ordered a laser cut paper piece set from Pink Door Fabrics you will receive 16 sheets as shown above. There are four each of four different sheets. This includes all the pieces needed to create the full Butterfly Effect Pattern plus some extras of each piece.
The pieces are perforated and pop out easily, though take care with extra pointy corners as to not tear them. The pieces are laser cut and etched, so there may be some light residue on the sheets. It is not harmful and can be lightly brushed off with a paper towel, if desired.
One of each different sheet has the paper piece letters etched into every piece as a guide for helping to familiarize you with the shapes and assist with direction and placement. The letters and placement on the paper pieces match all the diagrams in the pattern file. Each subsequent sheet has only one of each piece labeled to assist with sorting which we will discuss next.
As you sew, I recommend keeping at least one paper piece with a letter unused to use a reference for orientation as you go.You can also always reference the template pages in the pattern PDF if you get confused on the orientation of a shape. Some shapes are very similar to others, such as H and I, P, S & K. Also pieces A and R look symmetrical but are ever so slightly unsymmetrical, so you need to be sure you are using them in the proper orientation for all your pieces to fit together.
The first step is to separate and organize your paper pieces and my favorite way to do this is with plastic bags and alphabet stickers! Who doesn’t love an excuse to play with stickers, right?!
I like to create two sets of labeled bags – one for holding all my paper pieces and a second for holding my templates, fabric cuts and basted pieces.
I used 3″x4″ bags and small stickers for holding my paper pieces. This pattern has 19 shapes labeled A thru S, so I first affixed the stickers to the bags and then punched out my paper pieces and bagged them accordingly.
For the second set of bags to hold my templates, fabrics and basted pieces, I used larger 4″x6″ bags because they will need to hold more, and big, fun stickers that are easy to see.
I purchased my bags and stickers at Hobby Lobby, though you can find them in many stores such as Walmart with a craft section, Joanns, Michaels or your local craft store. Small bags can be found in the jewelry supply section.
I’m working on a few different versions of this pattern at once, so I created multiple sets of bags and used different stickers for each version to help keep them sorted. My free Mini Maker Case pattern is perfect for storing all your baggies and parts, too! You could also punch a hole in each bag and put them on a binder ring or in a cute pouch. I have some oil slick vinyl that is calling my name and I may need to make some!
I hope you find this post fun and helpful! You can sign up for the Butterfly Effect Sew Along here and be sure to follow me on Instagram for a chance to win some awesome SAL prizes!
English Paper Piecing (EPP) is a hand sewing technique that uses heavy paper templates to create shapes and stabilize them for stitching. EPP allows you to create intricate designs that would be difficult or impossible to achieve through machine sewn seams. I, personally, find great satisfaction in creating a beautiful quilt with just my hands. Though the process can be slow and meticulous at times, it’s one that people often describe as therapeutic and rewarding. One of my favorite things about EPP is the portability. I like to be busy (you know what they say about idle hands…) and I can take EPP anywhere – on car rides, while waiting for appointments, to the park, on road trips – with minimal equipment. You can toss a few things in a little pouch and always have a project on hand.
Next I will be diving into tools and techniques for EPP. I will be sharing some detailed information and tutorial links, but this is still a surface level intro to help get you started. I will be doing a deep dive into all of this and more with my own photos and video tutorials during the Butterfly Effect Sew Along which will be scheduled later this Spring (probably early May), so stay tuned for that!
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There are a few tools that are essential for EPP and several others that are simply beneficial and make the process easier, more efficient and more accurate. These tools include papers, templates, needles, thread, a thimble, a glue pen, small scissors, a small rotary cutter, Friction pen, SewTites, washi tape, Clover Clips, and more. You can see many of these items above and I will discuss them all in more detail.
The first thing you need for every EPP project is paper templates. Some patterns have the option of printing the papers yourself on your home printer (or at a copy shop) using card stock and many patterns have pre cut paper packs available. My Butterfly Effect Pattern includes printable paper files if you’d like to print and cut them yourself or you can order precut paper packs from Pink Door Fabrics (shown below). They will be available for preorder March 3.
You baste your fabric to these paper pieces and then stitch them together leaving the papers in place until your project is complete (more on basting later in the post!).
The next tool in the EPP process is templates. These help you cut your fabric pieces to the right size and shape before basting them to your paper pieces. Templates are not essential to the EPP process, but they are extremely handy and helpful. With EPP patterns, you will use either a 1/4″ or 3/8″ seam allowance on your fabric pieces. This is often determined by the size and shape of your pattern pieces. You can use your paper pieces as a guide/template, cutting your fabric 1/4″ – 3/8″ larger all around or you can use templates. EPP templates are clear acrylic shapes that are the same size and shape as the paper pieces that you baste to, but include a seam allowance and allow you to easily fussy cut fabrics for your pattern, which is one of the great joys of EPP! Some EPP patterns will also include printable template files that you can print and cut from card stock just like the papers. You can use them whole or cut out the centers for easy fussy cutting.
My Butterfly Effect pattern includes printable templates and you can also order acrylic templates from Pink Door Fabrics. There are two options available. One includes a full set of templates for every piece of the pattern and the second is a mini set which includes acrylic templates for the butterfly and moth wings. You would then print and cut the other templates yourself.
Above you can see a set of acrylic templates from Pink Door fabrics. They ship with paper on the back that you peel off. I *always* fussy cut so I love acrylic templates. They are also beneficial because you can easily use them to cut your fabrics with a small 28mm rotary cutter. If you did this with paper templates, you could cut into your templates, so you would need to trace your shapes and then cut them with scissors. If you choose to trace shapes on your fabric, I love using a Frixion pen that erases with heat.
If you use acrylic templates, you may find No Slip Grip Dots helpful, especially if you’re using a small rotary cutter. You affix these to the back of the acrylic templates to help keep them from slipping around on your fabric when tracing or cutting.
You can also consider an EPP starter kit like this one!
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Basting is the process of attaching your fabric to the paper pieces in preparation for stitching them together. You can baste with thread or glue and this is a personal preference. I prefer glue basting. I find it to be quicker and to hold my fabric to the paper tighter which allows me to more accurately and easily stitch my pieces together. I like to use a Sewline Glue Pen because it’s small and accurate (don’t forget the refills!), but you can also use a glue stick.
Here are three great articles talking about basting that show various techniques. Check them out and experiment yourself to see what works best for YOU!
There are also oodles of videos on YouTube at your disposal if you search EPP basting.
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Stitching supplies & techniques
My preferred basic stitching supplies – needle and thread – are Tulip needles and Invisafil thread. I have used Aurifil thread, but for me it sometimes breaks because I’m a little rough when I pull it. The synthetic thread holds strong and is practically invisible. I love it! I also use a thimble and my favorite is the Clover natural fit leather thimble. I can’t sew without it!
When it comes to stitching your pieces together, there are a variety of methods. None are right, wrong or better than another, it all comes down to personal preference. I recommend, once again, experimenting and finding what works best for you. Keep in mind, this may change with practice and over time or even with the specific project you are working on, so always be open to trying new things.
My preferred method of stitching is the flat back stitch. This is when you keep your pieces flat, butted up next to each other, and stitch across the seam. This is opposed to other methods where you place your pieces face to face and whip stitch or ladder stitch along an edge.
I like using a flat back stitch because I find it the easiest way to keep everything perfectly lined up and because your stitches are invisible! Above you can see that all my seams are neat, even and have no stitches showing. Below is a shot of the back where you can see my stitches. One thing to note is that invisible stitches is a preference. Sometimes different methods are used to intentionally see stitches.
I learned the flat back stitch from Karen the DIY Addict. She has a short video that I first watched hereand she also just released a fantastic master class on the flat back stitch which you can find below. This video also includes ample information about basting.
I will share more videos and details during the sew along, but when I flat back stitch, I use a generous amount of washi tape/painters tape and Clover Clips, but also totally rely on SewTites, specifically when my project gets bigger. They are a game changer!! (You can use code lillyella for 15% off on their site, too!). When I start joining multiple pieces together and have a lot of seams and folded fabric, I use tape, pins and SewTites to move things out of the way as needed.
If you’d like to try a traditional whip stitch method of joining your pieces, here is another great tutorial from Jodi Tales of Cloth.
Another method is the invisible feather stitch demonstrated by Pat Bravo of Art Gallery Fabrics in the video below.
Finally,here is an article by Amira The Little Mushroom Cap talking about five different stitching methods. Once again, you can find endless articles and tutorials with an internet search.
Play around with some basic hexagons or triangles and see what feels right for you!
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There are a few more tools that I use on the reg that really help me with my EPP (and all my sewing projects!). I will talk about them more in depth during the upcoming Sew Along, but here is a quick list with links:
Last, but not least, I recommend making yourself a Mini Maker Station! This is one of my free patterns and it’s perfect for EPP! You can download the pattern here.
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I also REALLY love the Sewing Date Traveler pattern for storing and toting around all my project supplies. You can download the free pattern here. I made this one a few years back and it’s constantly in use!
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I hope you have found this post helpful and try your hand at some EPP!
I want to add, if you don’t love it at first try or get frustrated with perfection or techniques, don’t give up! Like everything, it can require some practice and finessing.
Stay tuned for my pattern release TOMORROW and I hope you’ll join in the upcoming Sew Along! I will post details here on the blog and you can also stay up to date with everything on my Instagram page and by joining my email newsletter here.
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!
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.
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!
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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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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Below are more variations from makes on Instagram to help inspire you!
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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 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.
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!
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.
Stay tuned next week for one more post talking about the thread catcher before we wrap things up on October 28!
Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in a really fun Blog Hop for an awesome “block of the month” type quilt from Cotton Cuts called the Puzzle Mystery Quilt. This is seriously such a cool concept! if you haven’t heard of it before, this is how it works…
The club begins in February or July and runs for one year, with a new quilt theme each year. (And before I forget to mention it, sign ups for next years Mystery Quilt beginning in February start TODAY! Click here for all the details.)
The current Mystery Quilt theme that I was part of is Through the Garden Gate. When you sign up for the club, you choose a colorway and finished quilt size. The colorways/fabrics for the Spring Puzzle Mystery Quilt (PMQ) are so fun! There is always a variety of styles to choose from. Some of the upcoming spring choices include Panache by Rebecca Bryan, Fable by Rae Ritchie, Diving Board by Alison Glass and many more.
Each month you receive a packet of PRECUT fabric (the best part!) and directions on piecing that month’s blocks or block parts. The mystery aspect is that you have no idea how it will come together until the last month when you receive directions on how to piece all your parts together.
What I love most about this is how quick and easy it was. Because the fabrics come precut, you just sit down for about an hour of sewing and that month’s blocks are done. This is something I COULD ACTUALLY KEEP UP WITH! Right?!
So, when you join the club, you make the entire quilt yourself, but to help spread the word and make an awesome quilt for Charity (which you can enter to win, read on!), Cotton Cuts asked a group of us to each make one month’s blocks. The colorway we worked on is the Aster colorway which is a mix of Carolyn Friedlander fabrics. Below you can also see the other colorways from the 2017 PMQ.
Here is an example of what you receive each month, your precut fabrics and direction sheet. It was really easy to follow and took me about 45 minutes, if even, to sew all my parts.
In the end, below are the November “blocks” I sewed up. I am so anxious to see how these all come together! Everyone who has participated has sent their parts back to Cotton Cuts for them to assemble the final quilt which will be raffled off to benefit Valley Industries.
You can check out the previous and upcoming clues through the Blog Hop here:
July – Sheila Christensen (www.mysteryquilter.com) with guest blogger Kim Moos
August – Yvonne Fuchs (www.quiltingjetgirl.com)
September – Teri Lucas (www.terificreations.com)
October – Wendy Welsh (www.wendysquiltsandmore.blogspot.com)
November – Nicole Young (www.lillyella.com)
December – Chris Dodsley (www.madebychrissied.blogspot.com)
January – Amy Smart (www.diaryofaquilter.com)
February – Sam Hunter (www.huntersdesignstudio.com)
March – Cheryl Sleboda (www.muppin.com)
Howdy, friends! I’m here today with a short post about planning my Moonstone Quilt. There is a high likelihood that all of this may only make sense in my own head, but planning this was a HUGE struggle for me, so I wanted to share my thought process in case it does happen to help anyone!
First, if you haven’t seen the Moonstone pattern by Giucy Giuce and Karen The DIY Addict, you must check it out! (You can find it here.) Moonstone is an English Paper Piecing pattern (aka hand sewing!) and it comes in a fantastic kit complete with all the pieces you need to make a quilt, or several small projects, along with acrylic templates for cutting your pieces. The kit and pattern are really well done and I think the design is just so striking! It was just recently released, but there are already a handful of really inspiring photos on social media under #moonstonequilt.
AAANNDDDD… there just so happens to be an AMAZING giveaway going on right now where TWO lucky winners will be flown to San Fransisco to hang out with Giuseppe and Karen for the launch of the Moonstone Sew Along! You can find all the details here.
Ok… onto my quilt!
For my Moonstone quilt, all I knew was that I wanted to use the new line, Neptune and the Mermaid by Margot Elena (Tokyo Milk) for Free Spirit Fabrics. It’s absolutely dreamy and seems like it was just made for fussy cutting. That’s as far as my plan went. I couldn’t even decide what configuration of the pattern I wanted to use.
So I stared, and stared, and stared some more. I only chose a few of my favorite prints from the line, but was really struggling because there is a lot of variation in color in what I chose. As a whole, the line ties together, but when you just pick and choose some prints, not quite as much.
I started to pull some blenders in every color used in all the prints I had and decided that a Free Spirit Fabric designer mash up would be the way to go. I pulled what I could from my Tula Pink and Anna Maria Horner stash, and order a few more things by those two ladies, as well as Amy Butler and Heather Bailey.
I hadn’t really planned to use this many colors in the quilt, but once I saw them all together, how could I not? I had to figure out a plan. I organized all the blenders by color and took some photos. I spent a good amount of time looking at the photo of all my focals and then at the photo below of all the blenders. I stewed about it for awhile, as I usually do with projects. I kept hoping something would come to me.
And then I stewed some more. I mean, I stewed A LOT. I thought about while I walked the dogs, while I did dishes, I’m pretty sure I even dreamed about it.
Something that many of you likely already know about me is that I am a planner. Hard core. I so desperately wanted to start cutting and sewing, but knew that I had to figure out where it was going first.
So I thought about the focals and how I would fussy cut them. I took photos of all the parts I planned to use and thought about the main colors in each of those parts, then I made a list. This helped me figure out how many variations I had to work with in my design and how I may be able to organize them.
I kept going back to the idea of a color fade. Perhaps diagonally across the quilt or something, but I couldn’t make that work. I ended up order some of the dark blue color way of the Neptune line because I felt like I was going to need it to balance everything out.
It was time to make some decisions. First, I had to pick a pattern configuration and then I just had to start playing.
I use Adobe Illustrator for most of my drawing and layout. I understand many people do not have this program, so these next steps may not be helpful for everyone, but it is a great program that anyone can use with a little patience and a few YouTube tutorials!
I really loved the Gems configuration of Moonstone because I love the four pointed stars it makes, but I wanted my fussy cut focals to run horizontally and diagonally because they are primarily people and fish, so I rotated the gems configuration 45° to what you see below. I drew up the pattern in Illustrator so that I could begin placing my fabrics and colors.
I input JPG swatches of the focal fabrics and turn them into pattern swatches so that I can place them into shapes. It’s not perfect, but it definitely does the job!
Once I had the pattern drawn up, I stared at the blank canvas for a bit until I decided which shapes I wanted to focus on. I settled on the large four-pointed stars that you can see around the outer edges and their center octagons. Everything would radiate from these. I started playing with those elements only and trying different repetitive color arrangements.
I was going a little crazy with all the possibilities so finally just chose my favorite and started filling in the spaces between. I still really wanted to achieve some sort of color gradation and began trying to do that between the stars. It took some time, but I finally felt like it was moving in the right direction!
Once I reached the point shown above, I felt confident enough about the direction that I could start sewing.
A good part of what I’ve already laid out will repeat around, but I do still have a bit more to work out. All in good time…
In the meantime, I can sew! I finished my first piece yesterday and have my second prepped. My plan is to work out from the middle of the quilt so that I can stop or keep going at any point. My current design plan is about 65″ square.
There’s no question that this quilt will take me quite awhile to finish, but I know I’ll enjoy the process, and that’s what matters!
Calling all my Southwest friends in or around New Mexico! (Or anywhere in the world who may want to get away for a couple days!)
My other half, Sariditty, and I are so excited to announce that we’ll be teaching our SARIELLA Saki Butterfly Quilt Workshop will be at Hip Stitch in Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 12 & 13. During this two-day class, you will learn all the basics of Foundation Paper Piecing and Appliqué, as well as how to tackle these techniques on a large scale, while you make a Saki butterfly quilt of your own. Basic knowledge of quilt piecing is required, all skill levels welcome. The class runs from 9am – 5pm both days. The finished quilt measures 75″ x 58″.
In addition to the workshop, we will also be doing a Trunk Show at Hip Stitch on Friday, August 11 at 6pm. All are welcome! Admission is $10. We will be sharing some of our work, as well as talking about our favorite modern quilting tips, tricks and techniques. There will also be some amazing door prizes!
The cost of the Saki Quilt Workshop is $200 and space is limited to 20 participants. Cost includes paper pattern, pattern templates, and admission to the trunk show. A materials list will be supplied upon registration. Sign ups are now open and you can register by calling the shop, visiting their website, emailing them, or just stopping in!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
I just love making these covers and find them handy for some many things. I always use old Pyrex and Fire King bowls that did not have lids, so using these makes me much happier than using plastic wrap! They also make great gifts. Pick up a cute bowl (or set) at a thrift shop, make a matching cover and give it as a housewarming or shower gift.
I hope you enjoy this tutorial! Share your project photos on Instagram & Facebook with #reusablebowlcap!
When Sari and I were invited to join Katarina Rocella’s Avantgarde Blog Tour, we had just wrapped our Sariella Retreat, Western Edition, where we started working on our first collaborative patterns, so we knew this was a perfect opportunity to work on some more!
We were both in love with the bold, bright colors and textural patterns in the line and the Bauhaus Dissection print was our favorite, so we decided to use it as inspiration for designing the patterns.
The next question was what to make… lap quilt, minis, pillows? In the end, we decided on all, of course! I have come to adopt my husband’s motto, anything worth doing is worth overdoing. I mean, he has a point…
After days (literally) of sketching, texting, facetime and phone calls, we had our plan. We both love versatility, so that’s what won in the end. We created a collection of panels, or blocks, that would go together into a beautiful (and customizable) lap quilt, but could each also be used independently to create mini quilts and pillows. Think of it as a create your own adventure pattern! And because we are mild overachievers and can’t contain all our ideas, we created an additional separate mini quilt pattern, too. Together, we’re calling it the Neo Quilt Series (#NeoQuiltSeries).
I’m so excited to finally share these patterns that we’ve been feverishly working on for weeks! Sari will be sharing the full quilt design on her blog tomorrow, but today I’m showing you some of the mini quilt and pillow patterns. They will all be headed to testers shortly and will be available in March, but we also have a free one for you today! And it is where I will begin…
This is NeoVol. Simple appliqué lends itself to a beautiful 18×20 mini quilt that is quick to sew and allows you to showcase a fun print. It also makes a darling pillow (shown a couple photos down) and can be resized to create a variety of different designs (another of which you’ll see used in the quilt reveal tomorrow).
I kept the quilting simple (but awesome!) on this mini with a little rainbow explosion coming from the top corner. I continued the lines through the butterfly, but switched to a dark purple, and then picked the rainbow color up again on the other side of the butterfly.
I also did some random angled lines horizontally across the bottom and the dots to help hold them in place. My favorite part, by far, is the striped binding!
Another panel from the quilt design is NeoBurst, which will be part of the quilt pattern and also available separately as an 18×20 mini quilt pattern. It will include an 18″ square variation, which is shown here made into a pillow.
NeoBurst is another quick-sew block with simple paper piecing and the opportunity to really have fun with fabric placement. Together with the NeoVol pattern, shown above as a pillow, you have a perfect set.
Last, but certainly not least, from me for today is NeoSphere. My favorite piece from the Neo Series changes every few minutes, but this circle has a special place in my heart! How can you not love it?!
The pattern will include directions to make this 18″ circular mini, as well as a box edge pillow. It will also include an option to finish the block as a square to use in a quilt or simply as a square mini or pillow.
My favorite thing about this pattern is that it looks complex, but goes together quick and easy. Don’t fear the curves! The center is created using simple paper piecing and the curved border is cut with templates. the final piece goes together in six wedges.
You can also change the design of the center by placing the templates in a different order, or how about an appliqué NeoVol butterfly in the center of the triangle? So many possibilities!
Sari has informed me that she has an open spot on her wall reserved for this one, so it will be headed off to hang out with Hazel, Luminaria and the rest of the gang out in WV! But I’ll be there to visit it soon, for the Sariella Retreat, Appalachian Edition!
Sari and I have had so much fun creating these patterns and working with this amazing line. You can see how these fabrics really add such a fun pop of color and life to a space. It’s impossible to not be drawn to them.
I really need a whole cloth quilt with those stripes!
I can’t wait to hear what you think of the designs and show you all the fun variations our testers create over the next few weeks.
Be sure to stop by Sari’s blog tomorrow for more about the Neo Series and the Neoteric Quilt reveal! And stay tuned to our personal Instagram feeds (@lillyellasworld and @sariditty), as well as our Sariella feed (@sariellastudios) for updates and giveaways, including the NeoVol mini and a few bundles of Avantgarde fabric!
You can also check out all the other projects from the tour on @KatarinaRoccella or under the hashtag #avantgardefabricsblogtour.