Tuesday, March 31, 2020

LIttle Fabric Trays

charm square trays

I made a bunch of these little fabric trays to give to friends at a quilt retreat a few weeks ago, and everyone loved them.  They're fun little gifts to make that just take a few minutes, and they look so cute holding pins, clips or whatever.  I use mine for holding a small pin magnet (which got a cute slipcover to match).

singer 301a sewing machine with charm square tray

I used A Spoonful of Sugar's easy tutorial, only making two small changes - I used two regular charm squares instead of linen and lawn fabrics, and closed the corners by machine instead of hand-stitching with embroidery floss.  Embroidery floss does add a nice touch, I just needed them done in a hurry.

charm square fabric tray

These would also be fun to give out with a few treats like wrapped chocolates or cookies.  Let me know in the comments what other ideas you have for them.   

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Best Sewing Pins for Quilting

Are you a pinner like me? I find that when I pin, I get better results and have fewer
seams to rip out. And I like really good quality pins, since cheaper ones are often dull 
and not as smooth. Since many of you are pinners like me, I thought you might like
a comparison of some of the most popular pins for quilt-piecing.

Below are four different pins - three Clover brand, and one Tulip.  Here are the pros
and cons of each:  


These pins are thin and strong; great for quilt-piecing
Stats: .5mm thick (fine)  X 48mm (1⅞”) long  
Pros: Long, thin and sharp; can be ironed over
Cons: Hard to spot when dropped on the floor


These pins are super thin and strong; great for quilt-piecing
Stats: .4mm thick (extra fine) x 36mm (1⅜”) long
Pros: Very thin and sharp; can be ironed over
Cons: Hard to spot when dropped on the floor  


These pins are long, and strong enough to hold thicker fabrics 
Stats: .7mm thick x 54mm (2⅛”) long
Pros: Strong, long and sharp; easy to find when dropped
Cons: Not as thin as others; can't be ironed over

My personal favorite; strong and thin, and glide through fabric
Stats: .45mm thick x 48mm (1⅞”) long 
Pros: Thin, long and sharp; easy to see when dropped
Cons: Pricey; can’t be ironed over

There you have it. What are your favorite pins for quilt-piecing?

Each of these pins is available in my shop, just click on any of the photos. 
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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!


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