Tuesday, July 30, 2019

How I Make Time to Sew






When my kids were young, it seemed like I had more time to sew.  When they took naps, I would hurry to the sewing machine; while I waited in school parking lots, I'd do some hand sewing.  I basically squeezed in sewing whenever I could.

Life seems busier now, and even though most of my kids have grown up and moved out, I have trouble finding time to sew.  Maybe it's because I'm more in charge of my time now, I just keep putting other things ahead of my sewing projects.  

I needed to try something different.  I decided to try sewing 15 minutes a day - consistently.  And you know - it has really helped!  I'm kind of amazed at what I can get done in that short amount of time.  For example, while working on a sample for the shop recently, I found that in 15 minutes I could do one of the following:

  • Clear off my work area and thread my machine
  • Cut thirty 5" squares
  • Slice 36 sewn half-square triangle units and press open
  • Trim 36 half-square triangle units
  • Rip out a wonky seam, then pin and sew back together
  • Pin and sew 2 rows together
You get the idea.  And the time really adds up - 15 minutes per day x 6 per week = 1 1/2 hours!  Even if you just sew 4 times a week, that add up to an hour. 

Some tips to make this method successful:
  • Leave your sewing machine set up.  If you can't do this, then make it as easy as possible to get to (like keeping it in the room you'll be using it)
  • Keep your project and supplies out and together, preferably near your sewing machine.  If you have to put them away, clear storage boxes or those clear bedding bags work great
  • Think ahead.  When your 15 minutes is done, think about what you'll need for the next step and try to have the supplies ready to go (ironing board, seam ripper, full bobbin, etc)
  • Leave yourself a note as to what the next step is
  • Consistency is key; put a reminder on your phone is you need to 
If you're having a hard time getting to your projects, try sewing for 15 minutes a day.  I think you'll be surprised at how much you get done.

xoxo Stacy 



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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Hello friends!

You haven’t heard from me in a while (on this blog anyway), but I’m going to be changing that.  Some much I want to share with you, and a blog is still a great way to do that.  I plan on writing about 1-2 times a month, so I hope you’ll stay with me and even share a comment or two.  


For today, I just wanted to give you a quick peek at what I've been working on.  I finally gave in and made a Stars and Stripes quilt, and I'm so glad I did!
 


The flags go together so quick and easy. If you're looking for a fun summer project, this is a great one.  Going to get the backing sewn together tomorrow, and then get it basted.

Talk to you soon!

Stacy 

Pattern: Stars and Stripes by Thimble Blossoms
Fabric: Sweet Harmony by American Jane for Moda

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Quick & Easy Christmas Table Runner Tutorial





Now that the leftovers have been eaten and the dishes put away, it's time to get sewing for Christmas. 🎄  And since some of that sewing will be for gifts, I've come up with a quick and easy table runner that would make a great gift (think neighbor, teacher, gift exchange, hostess gift).  It uses 16-patch blocks and can be made in just about any color scheme (I made this one using Little Joys).  I quilted mine with a simple serpentine stitch using my walking foot, but you could quilt it even faster using a free-motion foot.  Great for scraps or leftover 10" squares.  Let's get started: 

Materials needed:
  • Total of (32) 5" squares (2 each of 16 different prints - you can repeat if necessary)
  • 1/4 yard fabric for binding
  • 1/2 yard fabric for backing
  • 18" x 34" piece of thin batting 
Block size: 8" finished
Finished size: 16.5" x 32"

For each of the eight blocks - take a set of two matching squares and team up with a different set of two matching squares.  You will now have 8 sets of 4 squares.  Keep sets together.

Take each set and cut squares in half: 


Each set will now have eight 2.5" x 5" strips (4 of each color).  For each set, take a strip, and lay an opposite color strip on top (right sides together) and sew on the long side to make a strip unit: 


Repeat for remaining strips in each set (you should have 4 strip units for each set). Press the seams to the darker side, or open.  Now take each strip unit and cut in half:



Make a 4-patch by taking one cut half, flipping it around, pinning and sewing to other half.  Repeat for all strip units.



Lay out each set of 4-patches, and sew together to make eight 16-patch blocks.  Wait to press.



Arrange your blocks 2 down and 4 across.  To make sewing easier, press each block the opposite way of its neighbor.   Sew blocks together.  Do a final press.





Layer your top (right side up), batting, and backing (right side down).  Quilt as desired.  (I quilted mine going diagonally in one direction with a large serpentine stitch.)  Trim sides even, making sure corners are nice and square.



Prepare binding and attach using your favorite method.  I like to finish my binding by machine - here is a good tutorial if you need one. 




This table runner can be made larger, or quilt-size just by making more blocks.  Forty-eight (arranged 6x8) would make a nice throw size quilt - 48"x64"). 

Fabrics used:  Little Joys by Elea Lutz/Riley Blake






Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fabric Pumpkin Finish

Happy October!  In the desert southwest, we pretty much live for this time of year. 

The other day, I was putting out some fall decorations, and realized I didn't have any actual "pumpkin" decorations.  So I searched and found this tutorial and made one up.




 It was so easy and probably took less than an hour.   Here's what I used:
  • A 9" x 21" piece of orange floral fabric (half of a fat quarter works great)
  • Scraps of green dot fused together with Heat-n-Bond 
  • Craft stuffing, cream-colored crochet thread, piece of jute, 1/2" x 2" stick, cookie cutter for leaf shape, glue  
I just love it and plan on making more in other sizes.  A display with several would be fun.  

Finished size:  Approx. 6"W x 3 1/2"H (not inc. stem)  

Fabrics used in project are from the Fig Tree Farmhouse collection by Moda
 

Friday, June 24, 2016

My 3 Favorite Tips from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Is is hot where you are?  We've had temps around 110 for days.  Ugh.  The heat does provide a great excuse for staying inside and sewing though - and maybe doing some machine quilting (and a little book-reading).  Today I'm going to give my favorite tips from Angela Walters' and Christa Watson's awesome book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.   


Favorite Tip #1:  When you're quilting across a border and get to the corner, it's perfectly OK to fill in with a different design.  Your border design may not work rounding the corner, so why not switch to a complimentary design and then continue the first design in the next border.  Genius. 


Favorite Tip #2:  Use a highly patterned fabric to practice your machine quilting.  Why go to the trouble of drawing a design onto a practice quilt sandwich (fabric/batting/fabric) if you don't have to?  You can use up those "What was I thinking" fabrics for this one.  Perfect.



Favorite Tip #3:  Close is good enough.  When you first look at Angela's and Christa's quilts, they look perfect.  But if you look closely, you'll see they're not; each design element isn't exactly like the one next to it, and it doesn't need to be. With enough practice, which both Angela and Christa strongly suggest, you'll get your quilting to a place where it's pleasing to you. 

This book is packed with tips and techniques to take your machine quilting up a notch, no matter whether you're a beginner or advanced quilter.  It's available here.