Seams Sew Easy

Seams Sew Easy

. . . . not to staple the packaging to the product!

I mostly use my Featherweight to sew 1/4″ seams, but last month I decided to use her for flip and sews. You know where you place a small square piece on a larger piece and sew corner to corner, commonly called “sno-balls” I thought a darling daisy shaped seam guide  might be worthy of such a splendid machine.

Seams_Sew_Easy_01

My thoughts were not shared with the packaging department, where the wicked stapler vicously weilded his weaponry through the bag and the seam guide, tearing it in several directions.

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I’m a fixer. I fix things. I tried to snap the pieces together flat to no avail.

When I spend slave-like-a-dog-cash on an 80 year old machine, countless hours polishing her to a fine sheen, more time selecting and assembling fabric to make a  tote with matching scratch free bed cover to protect her from the elements, I will not unceremoniously place a jagged thingy of any sort on her bed!

 

Seams_Sew_Easy_02

Hopefully Connecting Threads will replace this item, so I can get on with my life. I have a lot of snoballs to make!

  • Before I recieve suggestions on how to live without this seam guide, just know that:

1 I will not

2 I have other machines, and did in fact already use my Rocketeer to do some snoballing.

Q: what is it?

A: This picture of my Rocketeer with “The Angler” seam guide was a test after I refurbished it.  Normally, I would have made tiny holes to screw it into the bed instead of the tape. Anyway there are 1/4 inch lines on BOTH sides of the needle, plus diagonal lines to sew corner to corner without having to mark the fabric. The daisy shaped one has different lines, but works much the same way.

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#SeamsSewEasy #BeeinMyBonnet #BadStapler #Rocketeer

 

Traditionally Modern Baby Quilt

Traditionally Modern Baby Quilt

This was one of my first quilts.

I had sewn before, but I was new to quilting. Quilting has fascinated me for years, as did Tae Kwon do, which I finanlly got to do, and it was as fun as I thought. So why not quilting?
So far I had made a patriotic quilt top, and a giant dahilia which I only quilted the middle circle, and made a duvet cover out of, because I ran out of time, and I really didn’t know how to quilt. I still really don’t know, but I know what works. I am able to look at things people do traditionally, and figure out how to do it differently. That’s probably how I managed to become trainer/line leader at any production job I’ve held. I follow instructions and then a light turns on. Why don’t I try this method? – and it works! Not only that, it works for other people too.
My daughter, whom I lovingly call “Brat” because she is so dramatic – unlike myself – enlisted in the Navy. She draws people in with her energy, and will have you doing stuff, you never would have done by yourself . . . OMG she IS like me! I mean I have succesfully trained people at work that others had no hope for.

If there is a desire, there is a way! It doesn’t have to be the the traditional way.

Which is how I did this quilt for Brat’s friend whom she met and became close friends with in the Navy. Brat and her friend enlisted at different times, and thusly got separated when her friends 3 years deployment was up. I wanted her friend to have a hug whenever she needed it, so I decided to make a cuddly quilt.
I found a free pattern included in one of those magazine solicitation envelopes that begs you to open it. It was called Modern Baby. What I did differently was, I used fleece for the backing! No one told me I couldn’t – well they would have if I had told a ‘real’ quilter what I was planning. So I didn’t tell anyone. At the very least I would fail without an audience.
My quote for the day:  You only fail when you quit trying!
The pattern calls for 12 fat quarters [well 13 if you count the one they want you to cut up for binding] , and I didn’t have any, but I wanted 16 blocks instead of 12 anyway, so I would need 16 pieces 17″ x 17″.

In my ‘dreaming about quilting’ phase, I had amassed over 6 totes of fabrics from garage and rummage sales. I washed, ironed, measured and pinned the measurements to each piece, then sorted by color until I had so much, I had to quit washing, and just sort. I now have, oh never mind, it’s at least 10 times that.

I looked on the friends Facebook page, and discovered she loves Sunflowers! Me too. Her hometown college is LSU, whose colors are purple and orange. How can I do sunflowers and purple and orange? I chose some green and blue, and of course yellow. I could hear the traditional quilters gasping and choking now, but they weren’t with me, so I soldiered on.
I followed the cutting directions, stacking one light, then one dark.

quilt_pattern_modernbaby_cutting
When I get a new toy [sewing machine] I like to use it for at least one project to get to know it better. For this one I enlisted Mr Wizard. His needle sits slightly to the left, and I made a fix for that, which everyone told me I couldn’t do. That will be an another post.

machine_mr-wizard
When the fabric pieces are all cut and stacked , I took the first 4 stacks of strips next to the square, one at a time, and picked up the first layer piece and placed it under the stack, exposing the second layer piece [pink pieces in pictures] and put the stack back in place.

quilt_pattern_arrange_stacks1

Then I took the last 4 stacks and picked up two layers of each stack, exposing the 3rd layer piece, and placed them under the stack they belonged to, and placed that stack back in place. The 3rd layer is shown in red.

quilt_pattern_arrange_stacks2

To keep these in order, I cut a piece of cardboard to lay the arrangement on, because I cut in one room and sew in another, so I needed to be able to carry this whole arrangement to my sewing machine.
Then I sewed the top layer together, making one block at a time. Then the next layer. What you see is what you sew!

quilt_pattern_modernbaby_sewing_pattern
Money was a bit tight, and I only bought what was needed, unless I find it darn near free, and it looks useful. I couldn’t find a way to square up the resulting 14.5″ block before sewing them all together, so I bought a giant square ruler online. It was a good investment.
Then I took a big breath, and sliced each block in half diagonally . . .

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and arranged them.

I didn’t have a design wall, so this is only the first two rows. The second two would be identical. Like miss-matched socks .

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Now it gets tricky. I didn’t want the traditional cotton backing, and I sure didn’t want to fight that fleece.  I figured I would have to top stitch the design  before adding the backing.  Thinking that stitching a top directly to batting will likely create a ton of lint which would end up in my machine, I skipped the batting entirely. Besides, with fleece, I hardly think batting is needed.  I stitched the top to some heavy interfacing instead. This will prevent the quilt top from shifting around and losing it’s shape, and give me a better foundation to sew the fleece to.

Here it is laid out on the interfacing on the floor before I cut around it to sew.

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After top stitching it to the interfacing, I simply placed the top on the fleece, pinned  everywhere, and sewed straight lines down between each block, starting in the center and working out because fleece stretches. Then I got brave, and stitched a square pattern in the center of each block. I was so glad I only did 16 blocks! That’s a lot of  ‘needle down’, then turning. I used My Viking for the quilting because it has a low gear setting,  which will slowly power through thick layers. Mr Wizard would have done it, but faster, and I wanted to go slow.

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I did an outer stitch to stablise it all, then trimmed the backing to match the top.

Then I You-tubed how to bind quilts!

After hours of videos, and many pots of coffee, I steeled my nerves, and did it! I used my new edge stitching foot, and top stitched on the binding. It worked, but I don’t do that anymore. Now, I stitch outside the binding.

How I do Binding is located in Dish mat – Because You Just Can’t Buy Awesome

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Oh yeah, this was my very first traditionally bound quilt, and it wasn’t awful.

 

Sometimes tradition works!

#ModernBabyQuilt #BabyQuiltTutorial

Steps to Perfection #1 Procrastination works

Steps to Perfection #1 Procrastination works

We bought this place 3 years ago in the late fall, and I planned on making curtains for every window. As it turned out, other things demanded our imediate attention. Like heat. but that’s another story, so I hung blankets in the windows, and took care of other things. I always had the design in my head, which I altered, and re altered many times. Last summer, while trying to sleep with the windows open and one fan blowing in and the other fan sucking out, it hit me that it was too darn light in here.  If I had made those pairs of curtains half and half to match the glass, I would still have too much light in the room! Thank God I had procrastinated!

In actuality, I had sewing issues soon after moving in. The best area to cut or sew in had either no light or too much light during the time I was home to do it. So first I had to make curtains to block the light out of my eyes where I’d be sewing in the evening, and then, find a way to light up where I’d be cutting. and that’s why it took so long to get to these bedroom curtains. Life is like a puzzle sometimes. You have to put one piece in place before the others will fall in.

So what some call procrastination, I call “planning”

Problems to solve in this room: Too hot and too light  in summer at 8pm when I go to bed, and  too cold in winter due to having only one heat vent.
So that means I want room darkening, plus very thick. Yet another Job for my Viking Husqarna with low gear to punch through all the layers. Now, I already have window treatments, so these will fit inside the window frames, under the other treatments. Both windows are the same size, but one has blinds, and one has oversized drapes to effectively “move” the window to center it behind the bed. Each window will have a 20″ fan in it during the summer.

Now that you know how I got there, here are the curtains I ended up with. Notice the 60/40 split for the window fan.

Bedroom_Closed

I wanted a clean look on this wall, hence the neutral upholstery fabric. Above is with blinds open, below is with them closed.  I can still add a valence after I reupholster the one armed couch – yet another project – which will go below this window.

Bedroom_UnderBlinds

Here is the window with fan installed, and one side rolled up.

Bedroom_Open

How they are hanging. I used 1 1/4″ wood closet rods, because the curtains are heavy, and those handy “Cup Style” rod holders, which is 2 plastic end caps, one of which has a cut out to slide the rod in. This open cup also spins, so you can simply turn it to be open at the top once the rod is in place, to lock it in.

 

 

The layers: Upolstery fabric [faces inside room], cheap dark grey blanket, thick [1/2″ to 3/4″] quilt batting, and med to heavy high thread count cotton for the back.

To make the rod pocket and maintain the desired overlap without bunching, I added a strip of fabric with a cutout on each side.

 

 

I made the finished size 1″ bigger on all 4 sides so they will overlap against each other and the frame. The seams are 3/4″ to create fullness, and they are sewn pillowcase style, and turned right sides out through as small an opening as I can stand to hand sew afterwards. Painters tape works well for the quilting when you don’t want to mark the fabric. Just stick it down, pin it in a couple of places, sew next to it, and then pull it off.

 

 

The first step to perfection is procrastination! Brought to you by Viking 21a and me.

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#InsulatedCurtains #WindowTreatments #DontCallMeAHotHead #SunIsNotKickingMyButt #Ahhhhhh

Ugly Jelly Quilt

Ugly Jelly Quilt

This project was really a test run of my newly aquired 1937 Featherweight, that was in mediocre condition upon arrival. I cleaned, oiled, greased, and polished to a fairly nice condition, made a case tote and bed cover for it, and wanted to perfect the tension settings [1937 models do not have numbers on the tension] and get that coveted 1/4″ stitch.
I while picking up some fabric for the interior of my FW case tote, I also had picked up a couple of strip [commonly called “Jelly”] rolls on sale, and thought they’d make a nice napping quilt, since nothing I currently had matched my bedroom, or would cover my feet.
FW_Case_Tote02

The rolls were mixed browns and looked like a bunch of fun all rolled up and ready to rock my world. They practically begged me to make something of them!
I did the research on jelly roll quilts and they typically turn out to be 50″ by 64″. I knew that wouldn’t warm my toes, so I did some math and added a yard of brown swirly fabric, and a yard of an accent color so it the quilt wouldn’t be quite so brownish.
So, I had my plan, and my stitch width guide from Nova’s Featherweight store, and was ready to go!
When I unrolled the strips, I was taken back by all the loud gold splattered all over them! One strip was camo, one looked like an ugly brick, some were pleasing, but all with this shiny gold haphazardly spilled across it. It looked like a disaster. I put on my sunglasses, and proceded to sew them together anyway.
When my boss asked me to work Sat and Sunday, I thought of my FW that I couldn’t wait to try out, and then remembered the fabric so ugly I had to sneak up on it to sew it, and I said I would. So the “Jelly roll race quilt” that’s suposed to take about an hour would have to be done in bits and pieces, and that was ok.

UJ_Fabrics

One thing these Jelly Roll strip quilt instructions don’t tell you is that there is a reason all these quilts turn out to be 50″by 60″. Because after sewing all the strips end to end, each time you fold the strip in half and sew up the side seam you loose half the width. Once you get to a strip set about 100″ long, you have 2 pieces 32″ wide, resulting in the 50″ by 64″ not-wide-enough-or-long-enough-quilt. I mean who uses these 50″by 60″ quilts anyway? Well, probably kids, but I’m not a kid anymore. I just act like it sometimes.

Here’s the detailed mathimagical reason why:

Using the standard Jelly Roll Race Quilt Recipe, your first strip will be  1600″ long and 2.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 800″ long, making it a 2 piece strip set 4.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 400″ long, making it a 4 piece strip set 8.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 200″ long, making it an 8 piece strip set 16.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 100″ long, making it a 16 piece strip set 32.5 wide
and finally,  you grab the last two ends and sew them right sides together for about 50″ long resulting in one piece consisting of a 32 piece strip set 64.5″ wide. If you continue, you’d have a 25″ by 128″ quilt which nobody is shaped like.

You didn’t think I was going to tell you why I act like a kid sometimes, did you?

I came up with this “Random Organised Jelly Roll Quilt” recipe for those over thinkers who do not like complete, caution to the wind style randomness [like me] and want a bigger jelly roll quilt. This will result in an aprox 70″ wide by 80″ long quilt perfect for twin size bed or a nice couch nap.

Ingredients:

2 rolls of 20 strips = 40 mixed browns
14 strips of brown swirl [cut from one yard of fabric] to dilute the ugly and make it bigger
= 54 total brown strips
14 green/blue/brown floral accent strips cut from one yard of fabric, and then cut in 2 pieces = 28 half length strips

Random Organised pattern to avoid simular colors grouping and forming cliques, because nobody likes cliques in real life :

divide by number of accent half strips /28 = 1.9 or round up to 2
So we place one half length accent strip [AC] for every 2 brown strips
but to mix the assorted [ugly] browns with the brown swirl, we have to divide the 40 mixed brown pieces by the 14 brown swirl pcs
40/14=2.8 so 3 Brown Mixed [BM] strips from roll, then 1 Brown Swirl [BS] strips cut from one yard
Pattern = 4 browns and 2 accents would be a 6 pc repeat like this
AC/BM/BM/AC/BM/BS/ . . . AC/BM/BM/AC/BM/BS/ . . . AC/BM/BM/AC/BM/BS/
I sewed the strip ends together in the diagonal pattern instead of straight across. The first strip was about 2800″ long. Then I sewed the two ends together and got a 2 piece strip set aprox 1400″ long. I was planning on doubling it one more time and cutting 10 strips 70″ long, but I like the pattern I saw emerging with the half accent strips at that point, so I cut that 1400″ strip in to 20 pieces 70″ long, and carried them to the bedroom to lay out in my desired pattern.

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I then numbered a bunch of clothes pins, and placed them on the ends so that all I had to do is play  “match and sew” See how ugly these are up close? Thank God for that brown swirl!

UJ_Quilting

My mega sewing table with all the incerts installed. Ok, well some call it an extending dining table, but we’ll never eat on it. There’s a mighty Viking Husqarna sewing machine in there somewhere, and you can see how those half strip accents came together in an intresting way.

Other details: I used 80/20 Nature’s Touch by Pellon quilt batting, and 505 spray basting. That’s why you don’t see a lot of safety pins. The spray basting is TEMPORARY, so you want to start quilting it imediately, which I did.

After adding a 4.5″ border on only the sides, the final result was 77″ wide by 86″ long. I did the quilting via “Stitch in the Ditch” straight across using my walking foot, every 2 strips or 4″. After washing, it shrank nicely for an all over scrunchiness of 74″ wide by 82″ long. and it’s not so ugly anymore!

Ugly_Jelly

And there you have it! The perfect napping quilt that only a color blind husband [who’s only apperant short comming is failing to close his drawers completely] and a “just can’t do random” person could love!

#UglyJellyQuilt #WhereAreMySunglasses #IfItsStillUglyYouDidntCutItSmallEnough #JustcantDoRandom