Maker Mat SAL: Pocket Panel Tips & Tutorials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PAPER PIECING TIPS

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

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

paper piecing tips | lillyella stitchery

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

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

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

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

paper piecing tips | lillyella stitchery

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

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

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

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SELVEDGE POCKETS

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

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VARIATIONS

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

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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.

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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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Undercover Maker Mat | lillyella stitchery

POCKET BINDING

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

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

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Once your full pocket panel is complete, you will baste it to your mat body and bind the entire piece as covered in the pattern. BE SURE TO ADD YOUR SIDE TIES BEFORE BINDING! If you do not plan to use your mat as a cover, you can leave them off. I did forget to add them once and just had to unpick a little bit of my binding and tuck them in, which was not hard to do, so it’s not the end of the world if you forget, or even decide to add them later!

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

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

ADDITIONAL POSTS:

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

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

Sponsors and Prizes!

PART TWO: Adding a machine handle opening

Upcoming Sew Along Schedules

Welp, it’s September already, so let’s get this party going! It’s time for the 2019 Mini Maker Station and Undercover Maker Mat Sew Alongs! More specifics on each will follow soon, but I wanted to get the initial schedule out there so you can start planning. Both of the FREE patterns are available here.

You don’t have to do anything to join in either or both Sew Alongs. There’s no sign up or obligations, you simply sew along with others and have fun! This is a perfect opportunity to make something for yourself that you’ve been putting off or to whip up some holiday gifts! Sew Alongs always give me the motivation I need to get something done and I love being inspired by everyone else along the way.

The SALs will be casual and while I will loosely follow a schedule to share tips and help those who need structure,  you are free to join in at any time and work at your own pace. We will share photos on social media with SAL hashtags as we go and there will be fun prizes and giveaways, too.

First up will be the Mini Maker Station and we will kick things off September 16. Since this project requires hardware, please read through the pattern and source your materials or purchase a hardware kit from my shop here. You will not need the hardware in hand to start the project and can actually get very far on most of it without the hardware, so don’t worry if you don’t have yours by the kickoff.

MINI MAKER STATION SAL SCHEDULE

September 16 – 24: Sew Along Kick Off! Start pulling and share your fabrics. Work on the Maker Station Main Body and Thread Catcher.

September 25 – October 3: Blog post with tips about making the fabric basket and pin cushion. Work on basket and pin cushion.

October 4: Share your finished Maker Stations!

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Next, the Undercover Maker Mat Sew Along will kick off on October 7 and run thru October 23. You can find the free pattern here. I will be following the schedule below but again you are welcome to sew at your own pace and join in any time! There are many ways to customize this project and adjust it to your skill level, so please note that many specifics indicated in the schedule are optional. Before the SAL begins, I will share a blog post discussing some of these options, variations and customizations to help  you plan! You can also check out the hashtag #undercovermakermat on social media to oodles of inspiration!

UNDERCOVER MAKER MAT SAL SCHEDULE

October 7: Kick off! Make main body panel

October 11: Make paper pieced butterfly and selvedge pocket panels

October 14: Make full pocket panel, assemble to body

October 18: Make optional thread catcher

October 23: Share your finished projects!

Stay tuned here and on social media for more information to come, but in the meantime, download the patterns and get ready! See you soon!

~ Nicole

Mini Maker Station Sew Along Schedule

I’m really excited to get the Mini Maker Station SAL going and can’t wait to see all your projects! I will officially kick things off on Monday, February 4 and it will run for two weeks (plus a weekend) through February 18. I’m going to keep it very casual, like the Maker Mat SAL, but I will be following a loose schedule and will be sharing some tips along the way about materials and working with the magnets. I encourage you to share your progress photos along the way with the hashtags #minimakerstationSAL and #minimakerstation!

If you’re just joining in, you can find the required hardware list in the pattern (download it here!) or in more detail two blog posts back, and I also have kits available in my Etsy shop here. Don’t worry if you’re still waiting on a kit or sourcing your materials when the SAL begins, as there is quite a bit you can do on the project without it.

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SCHEDULE

February 4: Sew Along Kick Off! Blog post about selecting fabrics and the proper interfacing materials needed, as well as notes about measuring and customizing your station.

February 4 – 10: Start pulling and share your fabrics. Work on the Maker Station Main Body and Thread Catcher.

February 11: Blog post with tips about making the fabric basket and pin cushion.

February 11 – 17: Work on basket and pin cushion.

February 18: Share your finished Maker Stations!

I will have a couple prize bundles up for grabs at the end of the Sew Along that I will share next week. One will be awarded to one winner chosen at random from all the posts in the #minimakerstationSAL hashtag and the other will be awarded to one winner drawn at random from all the completed maker stations posted by February 18.

If you have any questions now or along the way, feel free to email me anytime through the contact button here on my website or through social media.

I’ll see you back here next Monday!

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

Dressed Up Hot Pad Tutorial

Dressed Up Hot Pad Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

This Dressed Up Hot Pad features my Forest Floor Paper Piecing pattern but you can use your favorite patchwork block or even a single piece of a fun fabric. It sews up quick and the accents make it extra special.

I purchased my grommet kit from Walmart in the craft section, but you can also find them at any craft store or online. If you don’t have any scrap leather on hand, try looking at a second hand store for an old bag or jacket which you can cut and repurpose.

Click here or the image below to download the PDF tutorial. I hope you enjoy it!

Dressed Up Hot Pad Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

Take Wing Pattern now available!

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Happy Monday, all! I’m so excited to say that my Take Wing pattern is now available for instant download. Are you excited? Or am I just a nerd? I’ve put many hours and lots of love into creating this pattern and I hope you enjoy sewing it as much as I did! (or I should probably say do, because I’ve currently got three more in the works.)

Click here to purchase an instant download PDF from my Payhip shop
(it is international and VAT tax friendly, wahoo!)

You can also purchase the pattern from my Etsy shop here, but because of the VAT tax laws, the PDF will not be an instant download, but will be emailed to you after purchase.

This pattern is for the intermediate sewist with paper piecing experience and the finished size is 24″ x 15″. Ultimately, there isn’t anything too complicated about the piecing or the assembly, but there is a lot of pieces to manage and some angled seams to sew together. That being said, an advanced beginner could probably take on this project as well.

For those who are new to paper piecing, I’m working on a mini Take Wing that will be smaller, simpler, and include full foundation paper piecing directions. It can stand alone but will also include directions on how to combine it with the original for even more fabulous quilt, so stay tuned for that!

I’ll also be posting lots of photos and helpful tips here and on my instagram and facebook pages, so be sure to follow me or check the hashtag #takewingpattern for these and more inspiration from others creating the pattern.

Speaking of inspiration, I’ll wrap this up with a little to get your creative juices flowing! Here are three versions created by my testers, aren’t they amazing?

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They really showcase the wide fabric and color possibilities you have with this pattern. The above was created by Becca Cleaver (@cleaverr). The constellations in the background are just amazing!

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This one was created by Charlie Dunn (@travelingcharlie79). She added a border to the pattern and I love the way it really makes the colors pop.

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This one was created by Alissa Lapinsky (@alissalapinsky). The splashes of red and chartreuse are so beautiful and the texty background is one of my favorite prints.

And here are some of my colorings for versions I’m working on. As soon as I get a couple more minis made up, I plan to make a quilt with nine butterflies. Honestly though, planning the colors and fabrics for that is kind of making my head spin!

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The above shows one color palette, six ways. Which is your favorite? Below you’ll see my version of a monarch, a swallowtail and two monochrome options.

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If you have any questions about the pattern or need any help along the way, please don’t hesitate to contact me through my site here or DM me on instagram or facebook. I can’t wait to see all your creations!

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Call for Pattern Testers: Vintage Pyrex Cozy

Hello, friends! I’m so excited to finally have some time to get a few sewing patterns finalized and ready for release, which means I then get to work on more new patterns 🙂

I’m just wrapping up my Take Wing paper piecing pattern and next up is the first in my series of insulated carries specifically designed for vintage Pyrex dishes. This first pattern will come with two sizes designed for the 475 (2.5 qt) and 474 (1.5 qt) casserole dishes.

There will be two variations included in the pattern design, one for a charm square friendly patchwork design and the other with solid panels. The optional handles will also include two variations which you can see in the photo at the end of this post.

I’m looking for three to five people who are interested in testing this pattern!

Overall it is a fairly simple project and I would rate it is advanced or adventurous beginner. It requires quilting, the use of bias binding sewn onto curves, and the installation of snaps. You will also need insul-brite insulated lining.

Only requirements are you must own a 475 or 474 dish with a lid and be able to complete the project within 3 weeks of receiving the pattern (which I expect to have ready by mid March).

If you are interested in testing this pattern, send me a message here!

Please include your sewing experience level, as well as which size and version (patchwork or solid) you would be interested in making. I will be in touch within a couple weeks.

And if you don’t have either of these sizes, don’t fret, I have more to come! I’ll be working on patterns for the 043 & 045 oval casseroles, 963 oval divided dish, 023 & 024 covered bowls, 503 fridge dish and the 575 space saver.

Thanks so much!
~ nicole