Quilty Top – Sleeveless shortcut

Quilty Top – Sleeveless shortcut

I learned this shorcut many years ago when making dresses to send to Guatamala. It was a way for us to make many dresses quickly, and without having to add binding/trim/edging ect. to the armholes. I made 30 of them in a week, so I know it works!
These dresses did not have a gathered front, like the top I made here, but the concept is the same.

I found this    Sleeveless Top Pattern    in a “free” box at an all day sew, and thought I’d make a quick summer top long enough to cover my hiney while sitting in those stacking chairs with the holes in the back that churches and banquets often use. When I got home, I scanned my pile of not-in-use quilt fabrics, and saw the fabric I wanted to use. A floral piece that was 50% rayon – sitting out because I didn’t know where to put it, and a left over batik from my office curtains. I am calling it my quilty top.

When I read the instructions, I imediately thought, oh no! I have to fuss with those armholes? I’m not ready for this! and then I remembered all those dresses I had made way back when.
The only difference is that, the top part that includes the armholes is in two pieces, so I would have to sew it first, then make a pattern piece for the lining from that. If using a pattern that includes the entire arm hole in a single piece, most of the work is already done for you. You can make your lining pieces from that.
After gathering the bottom piece of the front, and sewing it to the top piece, I added a cute top stitch. Gotta get my money’s worth outa that fancy machine!

 

I ironed it well, and laid it out on a piece of paper that often comes wadded up and stuffed in shipping boxes. Yes, I did iron the paper, too.
Then I traced around it, and cut it out.
I measured 3 1/4 of an inch down from the arm pit, and cut it off there.

I then matched it to the top of the pattern to make sure I got it right.

 

Pin to fabric, and cut.

Quilting_Top_Cut_Lining_Pieces
Hem each of these lining pieces at the bottom. I used my tiniest hemming foot. More gettin my money’s worth – this time with fancy feet.

Quilting_Top_Hem_Lining_Pieces

Now for the fun part.
I lay out the lining piece I made on top of the shirt piece right sides together, and sew the arms and the neck holes – but NOTHING else!
Repeat for the back.

Quilting_Top_Front_Sew_Lining_OnxQuilting_Top_Front_Sew_Lining_On_02

Clip the seam allowances on the curves, being careful not to clip into the seam.

Quilting_Top_Clip_Curves_To_Seam

Leave the back in the right sides together position. [inside out]
Turn the front right sides out.

Quilting_Top_Back_WSO_Front_RSO

Now insert the front “strap” part into the “strap” part of the back. Do this for both sets of straps.

To do that, pull it  through . . .

Quilting_Top_Back_Straps_Inserted_01

You want to make sure the seams line up nicely. Get your fingers in there and wiggle the fabric round, or whatever it takes, and pin it closed.

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Pin and then sew across the top. It should look like this.

Quilting_Top_Back_Straps_Inserted_04

Remove some bulk, and turn inside out.

 

 

If it’s still bulky, turn it back, and trim more of the seam allowance.
If it looks a bit square in one spot, you can turn it back, and stitch a little closer on the sides.
I usually get it on the first try, but in case that doesn’t happen, just know that it ain’t over until it looks nice.

Quilting_Top_Back_Straps_Inserted_07Quilting_Top_Back_Straps_Inserted_08

Once that is done turn the shirt inside out, but not the shoulder seams [those are done], and sew the lining and the sides of the shirt together in one swoop! OK, make that two swoops!

Quilting_Top_Sew_Sides

Either fold seam over and top stitch the sides, or zigzag to prevent fraying. I was lazy.

Quilting_Top_Overkill_Or_Lazy

Turn right side out, and stitch around each arm hole, plus in the ditch right under the arm pit to hold the lining in place, and you’re ready to hem!

 

Quilting_Top_Finish_Arm_Holes
I fold my hem a 1/4, and machine baste, then turn a half inch and sew with matching thread. Nothing fancy there.

Finally, you  must wear it to your favorite fabric shop to see if anyone notices the bolt of fabric that matches your new quilty top!

 

Quilting_Top_Finished01

I like it, and it was  free because I didn’t buy anything for it. I saved the lining pattern pieces, so I can churn these puppies out whenever I’m in a new quilty top mood now.

#NewQuiltyTop #SleevelessTopHack #FinishedArmHoleHack #SurpriseYourLocalQuiltShop

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Ugly Jelly Part deux Gets Prettier – Baby Quilt

Ugly Jelly Part deux Gets Prettier – Baby Quilt

Sew, when I last posted, I had a pile of scrap strips sets left over, from the Ugly Jelly Part deux – Baby Quilt, waiting to be made into a quilt for the other Twin baby. At first, it didn’t look promising.

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_Leftovers

I really liked the Arkansas Traveler block and had it on my todo list. There are several versions, of this 4 patch diamond in a square block, but they are all put together with the diamonds touching in the middle, making a striking pattern.

Arkansas Traveler Block that inspired me is located here.

Looking at it for the first time, I already knew there had to be a way to make it with strips sets, and skip the paper piecing. I filed it away in my brain to make it one day.
After about 48 hours of contemplating how to make a quilt out of the scraps from yet another ugly jelly quilt, The part of my brain that had stored this pattern, and the part that was looking for a pattern finally lined up. This could be the perfect block. They were in strip sets already, and I wanted to make this block in strip sets, so why not?

As it turned out, some ladies I met at my first all day sew, spied my featherweight, and told me about a new FW [Do I have to keep spelling out Featherweight?] group that was to meet the first Fri of the month, and even though I had to work that Fri, I went after work. For an hour. I usuallly don’t work on Friday’s but sometimes I do. [Can you say “more pretty fabric?”] Why not check out this group for an hour instead of being stuck there all day possibly feeling uncomfortable, right? I mean, I have never been in any sort of sewing group before. I hoped it wouldn’t be like school where people form groups simply to exclude other people. I really like my FW, but it’s just a sewing machine. It doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It turned out that they were all very nice ladies, and no one gave me that first day at high school impression. Yay!
Being ya’ll don’t know me that well yet, I’ll just tell you I am very curious. I like to know how stuff works, and won’t stop until I find out, and I poke around in stores, just to see if they have anything that looks either pretty or handy. Seeing I didn’t have any time to sew, I did just that. Low and behold, I found June Tailor’s “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” 60 degree slotted ruler! Oh yeah, I’m a ruler junky, too. “I need this” I announced. I probably startled somebody, but was too excited to care.
I had already made a few cuts in my strip sets, but it had been slow going. Too much time aligning the ruler for one cut. Ugh! I rushed home with my new toy, and unwrapped this baby quickly. Easy to line up,  make 3  cuts, and get 2 at a time.

Then I paired up my 2 piece diamond strips, and began sewing them together.

That was the easy part. Oh, it wouldn’t have been, if I had to cut each diamond and make 4 patches out of them. Thank you June Tailor!

Now to take that paper piece template, cut the 2 pieces a little bigger than neccessary, and cut those from strips instead of using larger cuts to paper piece. I used 2.5 by 9 inch long strips for the small pieces, and 2.5 by 11 inches long for the large ones. Any left overs were cut into 2.5 by 2.5 squares for other quilts.

I taped the template piece to my ruler, and lined it up at and angle to cut.

Then I chain pieced one semi-triangular piece to my 4 patch diamonds at a time. These don’t have to be perfect because like the paper piece pattern, I will be trimming each finished block.

The other Arkansas Traveler quilts I have seen, all have the 4 blocks sewn together points tounching, to make the larger blocks.  One quilt I saw has these large blocks alternate with the same size block in the background fabric, which I liked the look of, but a baby quilt is too small for the alternate pattern to show up, so I had an idea.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Blocks_SquaringUp

Instead of sewing all 4 of the diamond blocks together to make one block, I would sash them and use cornerstones that alternate the color and background fabrics.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Block_Assembled

No matter where your eyes fall on it, the blocks join their neighbor to make the bigger block. It also looks a bit like butterflys.

Arkansas_Traveler_Top_50x57

I hadn’t put a border on the matching pinwheel quilt yet, because I want to make these quilts the same size. Which turned out to be a good thing, because this quilt was too long. Ugh! First I removed a row. Then it was too short. So I unsewed the row in half, then turned it to match the pattern, and sewed the half row back on.

The pinwheel was quilted with straight lines in the ditch outlining the pinwheels. Then I read the quilt spacing specs for the batting I was using [2 to 4 inches – who DOES that?], and after kicking myself for buying this batting, I had Emmy Lou do her serpentine stitch through the middle of each one.
This Arkansas Traveler was quilted in the ditch down the sides of the long sashing pieces first. Then I came in on the sides following the sashing, and stopping at every 4 patch diamond, and did a sort of figure eight encasing two of the diamond patches.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Quilting

That was a lot of turning, but I like how it looks, and I think I made my 2 to 4 inches.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Quilting01

After borders, I had 50×55 [with a 4 inch border] for the pinwheel and 50×57 [with 2 inch border] for the Arkansas Traveler and I’m calling it close enough!

Arkanasa_Traveler_Quilt_Complete03

They both got the same binding, washed up nice, and are boxed and ready to ship.
I really like these twin quilts. It almost looks like I know what I’m doing.
I am really done with pink now.

#ArkansasTraveler #TwinQuilts #DoneWithPink #UglyJellyQuilt #UglyHasATwinSister #IfItsStillUglyYouDidntCutItSmallEnough

Ugly Jelly Part deux – Baby Quilt

Ugly Jelly Part deux – Baby Quilt

Ugly Jelly makes a baby!
This was an easy quilt, and fun to make.
I was asked by Brat to make, and I quote “a quilt” for another Navy friend. The thing is, this friend had twins! Great! So, I had to figure on making two quilts, both alike, yet different. My first thought was to make same quilt, but add a different element of color. Of course that is the easiest, so I chose a design I had recently made to use precuts. I bought the fabric:  one layer cake, and Kona’s color of the year for sashing, and thought “easy peasy” while waiting for my squishy to arrive. When I got ready to make it, I noticed Kona’s Flamingo Pink didn’t quite match the large floral prints of the layer cake that I wanted to use. Back burner!
So it sat a bit until I got this idea from a book to make pinwheels out of a strip set. I have over 50 jelly rolls, and still have some of those ugly ones that I made my first Ugly Jelly Quilt from in other colorways. Time to use them up! Thank goodness they only came in sets of 20 strips. I grabbed 3 rolls knowing I would pull out some of the more hideous ones.

Warning: The following image may not be suitable for sewists of fine taste.

WHAT were they thinking?

I had some templates cut for me at the local hardware store years ago to use for fussy cutting, so I found my 3.5″ one, and drew a line 1 1/8th inch from the top across to 1 1/8th from the bottom on the other side, and made a test strip. I cut it, assembled it, and liked it. I later added little feet to the template so it would float over the seam, and not move while I cut them.

Each strip set will cut into 11 pieces, but you only need  8 pieces to make 2 blocks. 3 more pieces is not enough for another block. I will worry about those left overs later.

The drawn line shows up better if it is on the ‘down’ side. Simply line up with the seam, and cut.

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_01

Turn and cut again

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_02

Turn again, and cut again.

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_03

Once more.

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_04

2 stacks of 4 pieces, and here’s the leftovers. If I was doing a 2 color quilt, I could use these better, but I’m not.

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_05

These blocks can be arranged either way.

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Makes2

I would need 56 blocks to do a 7×8 layout bringing it to 42×48. That’s 56 strips sewn into 28 pairs.

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_UglyJellysAgain

Once I removed the more hideous ones, I replaced them with some pink strips cut from Timeless Treasures.

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_TimelessTreasures

I will never buy a roll of strips from this company again. I still have 6 more reminders of this mistake.

After all the strip sets were sewn, I set up an assembly line in front of the TV, and cut the whole thing while watching one single movie! The 3.5 template set on my small rotating cutting board enabled me to spin and cut on all 4 sides without moving the template.

Yes, that’s a sandwich baggie taped to the side of the table.

Stripped_PinWheel_Sit_N_Spin

Meanwhile my Sew Sampler box [by Fat Quarter Shop] had arrived on the same day as my new wooden wall paper roller. The SS box contained a seam roller tool by clover, so I tried both. I wanted to like the wood one that was only $8, and I might have, if not for how nice the clover one fits in my hand, plus is exactly as wide as the seam. It retails for about $14. Again, I never would have bought this, but since it came in my box, I am really diggin it! In fact I went to a newly formed Featherweight group a couple of towns away, and showed them what I was working on, and a lady there was so impressed with the tool, that she bought one on her phone while I was there. The other ladies were fascinated [after I explained what a Sew Sampler box was] that I get Christmas  delivered to me once a month!

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_No_Iron

Then I made an assembly line sewing station. I lined them up, and ran through 4 sets of 2 at first, then took the first two off the chain, pressed them with the seam roller, placed them together, and ran them through, completing one block.

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_Chain_Piecing_02

Then 2 more sets of two, cut two more off the chain, put completed block asside, rolled the seams, place together, and run them under the needle.

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_Chain_Piecing

Every 3rd piece in the chain was a completed block until they were all done.

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_Chain_Piecing_01

It took longer to arrange them on my “quilt wall” than it did to sew them.
The whole thing was done in a weekend.

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Arrangement

Tips:

1. When making the blocks, because the colors all meet in the center, you don’t have to focus on matching the seems so much. Instead, focus on  matching the edges of the fabric, and you won’t have to trim or square up these blocks before sewing them together.

2. When sewing the blocks into rows, I did not press the seams until they were all sewn. That way, I could press one row’s seams to the east, and the next row’s seams to the west, so they all nested. Yes, I press to one side so I can [say it with me] stitch in the ditch.

3. I have a set of numbered pins, that I used on the first block in each row, because order is sew important on a scrappy quilt like this! It takes a lot of work to make stuff look random. [the tiny white circles in quilt below are the numbered pins]

Stripped_PinWheel_Assembled_Top

Now I must mull over how to make another quilt out of the scraps! Ugly scraps. Ugh!

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_Leftovers

Stay tuned. It gets prettier! I promise.

The other Twin quilt is done, so here is the rest of the pictures.

I didn’t add the border until I got the second one done, so they’d be the same size.

Stripped_PinWheel_Top_50x55

The pinwheel was quilted with straight lines in the ditch outlining the pinwheels. Then I read the quilt spacing specs for the batting I was using [2 to 4 inches – who DOES that?].

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilting_01

After kicking myself, I had Emmy Lou do her serpentine stitch through the middle of each one.

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilting

Ooops! I forgot I had light blue thread in Emmy’s bobbin.

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilting_03

After borders, I had 50×55 [with a 4 inch border] for the pinwheel and 50×57 [with 2 inch border] for the other Twins Quilt and I’m calling it close enough!

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilted

#UglyJellyQuilt #UglyHasABaby #IfItsStillUglyYouDidntCutItSmallEnough #QuiltInAWeekend