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How to Fussy Cut Fabric

fussy cutting prints

Fussy cutting. What does that even mean? My mother literally asked me that question after I posted a picture of one of my Moroccan Tiles quilt blocks on Instagram the other day. My sweet mother doesn’t sew (except for general mending). This was the picture I posted:

Fabrics are from Leslie Tucker Jenison’s Urban Garden and Tula Pink’s All Stars. Quilt pattern is Moroccan Tiles by me.

So- back to the question. What is fussy cutting? Well, “fussy” generally means pain in the rear, right? And cutting…well–that’s pretty self explanatory. So there you go mom! Fussy cutting = pain in the rear cutting!

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Free motion quilting tutorial – pebbles and swirls

pebbles and swirls

Quilting pebbles and swirls

You’ve got a quilt that you’re just dying to add some texture to, right? Pebbles seem like the quilting motif of choice, but you’re a little leery of the repetitive, time consuming motif. You can add some swirls in with the pebbles to make the quilting go a little faster.

I know when I’m quilting pebbles, sometimes I get road weary. You know–that feeling you get when you’ve been driving on a highway for hours with no landmarks in sight? You can’t really remember how many hours you’ve been driving for, and everything in the road looks the same. Your eyes get tired and you start to doze off.

Okay, okay! Maybe it doesn’t happen exactly like that with quilting, but you know what I mean, right? I start to get that same feeling when I’m quilting pebbles. I’ve found that adding some easy swirls in with the pebbles really mixes it up and keeps me on my toes. Pebbles are pretty time consuming too, so the larger swirls take up a little of that space and help to solve that problem.

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Free motion quilting tutorial – Echoed teardrops

echoed teardrops

Learning new free motion quilting techniques is an ongoing process when you’re a quilter. In this video tutorial, you’ll learn a quick and easy fill that doesn’t take much practice to master. Unlike quilting circles or swirls, you don’t need as steady of a hand to be able to make beautiful tear drop shapes.

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How to quilt feathered swirls

how to quilt feathered swirls

Have you ever wanted to combine a couple of different quilting motifs, but didn’t know where to start? In this video tutorial, you’ll learn how to use feathers and swirls together to quilt feathered swirls! Learning how to quilt feathered swirls will give you another great tool for your quilting tool box and you’ll be able to tackle that negative space in your quilt in no time at all!

Video tutorial – how to quilt feathered swirls

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How to quilt stacked swirls

how to quilt stacked swirls

Good Monday morning! I’m so excited to share a new video tutorial with you this morning. I just LOVE to quilt stacked swirls in the background of quilt blocks and in negative space. They create amazing texture and fill up a space without a lot of thought and concentration. This video will show you how to quilt stacked swirls and how to navigate to the spaces you want to quilt.

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Learn how to quilt swirls – video tutorial

smoky swirls video tutorial

Want to learn how to quilt swirls? Sometimes it’s difficult to determine what should go in the negative space of a quilt. I really like using swirls to quilt empty space because it gives texture and movement. It can also double as smoky swirls or wind looking swirls to create a darker look, or mimic the weather.

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Typecast English Paper Piecing

Have you guys seen Sheri of Whole Circle Studio’s newest pattern? It’s called the Typecast of Characters, and it’s an amazingly fun English Paper Piecing pattern that lets you create the entire alphabet and customize it to your heart’s desire. You can snag your copy of the pattern guide and paper packs here.

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How to quilt feathers – video tutorial

Have you ever been at a loss for how to fill negative space in a quilt? I know I’ve sometimes struggled with what quilting motif is the right one, and I wanted to share some of the fills I use the most. I made a quick video tutorial on how to quilt feathers and I think you’ll really love some of the tips I give in it 🙂

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Binding on the Longarm

Do you follow me on instagram? If you do, you might have seen I’ve been having a LOT of fun with videos lately. I’ve been doing some time lapse videos of some basic straight line quilting AAAAAND decided I’d do a real time video of how I bind mini quilts on my longarm. It’s seriously so easy that if you haven’t tried this yet, you’ll really kick yourself!

If you’ve ever quilted a mini quilt on the longarm, there’s a fun shortcut you can use to quickly attach binding to the front of the quilt after you quilt it. I did a short video tutorial showing how to attach binding on the longarm, and I hope you’ll go check it out! Now just a quick note…I am obviously not a professional videographer…or whatever that’s called, and I even treat you to a view of my gorgeous locks of hair that were quickly and haphazardly thrown up into a very unglamorous mom bun. That’s right. ENJOOOOOY 😉

When I bind my quilting samples on the longarm, I usually stick to pretty small sizes. You could definitely do this with a large quilt, just keep in mind that you’ll be doing some scrolling and advancing of the quilt to finish the job. It’s also a good idea to mark the large quilt so you have a good idea of where the squared portion of the quilt will be so you attach the binding straight. I only do this for quilts that are for myself–because for me this is something to do quickly as a shortcut and not great for accuracy, as I don’t spend a lot of time making sure I’m putting the binding on squarely.

To make the binding, I cut strips 2.5″ wide x the width of the fabric and then sew them together, end to end to create the length I need (I usually do the perimeter of the quilt + 12″ to make sure I have enough). The tutorial shows how to attach the binding to the front of the quilt. After quilting, you’ll need to trim away and square up, then flip the folded edge of the binding to the back and finish. I finish all mine by hand because I’m a weirdo and love hand binding!

Freshly bound mini quilt!

Binding on the longarm details

I’m using an Innova 22″ longarm (hand guided) with a lightning stitch stitch regulator. The fabric panel I quilted was a custom panel I ordered from My Fabric Design, and the thread I used for the quilting was Glide by Hab+Dash (previously Fil-Tec). If you’d like to see a time lapse video of the quilting of this panel, you can check it out on instagram HERE.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful–and I’d love to hear your feedback! Are you up for trying this out soon? Let me know if you do and how it goes! Happy sewing 🙂

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Easy Zip Pouch Tutorial

OLFA is celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year and has teamed up with Aurifil to create the Slice and Stitch Challenge! I was asked to be part of the challenge, and I’m so excited to included in this talented group of makers, showing you how to use handy tools to create things you’ll love :). I don’t know about you, but if you sneak into my sewing room, you’re sure to find several OLFA tools (and cutting mats) and LOTS of yummy Aurifil thread. Some of my favorite (and quite possibly underappreciated) tools are specialty rotary cutter blades. You can (carefully) pop one of these blades into your regular rotary cutter and quickly achieve a decorative finish that will look like it took you forever to cut…but that can be our little secret! I also just LOVE the new OLFA RUBY rotary cutter…I use it daily (photos below are from OLFA’s website). For the Slice and Stitch challenge, I saw those decorative blades paired with Aurifloss and knew immediately I just had to make a zip pouch!

You can see the dreamy Aurifloss colors I chose for the hand quilting on my zip pouch. Love those blues with a punch of bright colors! Let’s get moving and start sewing up your own zip pouch!

Exact Aurifloss colors are listed below

Supplies needed:

  • Zip pouch template, printed at 100%
  • 10″ zipper
  • Aurifloss in your favorite colors (I used #1320 Bright teal, 2225 Salmon, 2220 Light salmon, 4020 Fucshia, 5005 Bright turquoise, 2735 Medium blue, 1147 Leaf green, and 4644 Smoke blue)
  • OLFA 45 mm Wave rotary blade and OLFA 45 mm Deluxe Handle Rotary Cutter
  • (2) 2.5″ x 9.5″ pieces of cork leather
  • Hand quilting needle
  • 1 FQ lining fabric, sub cut into
    • (2) 6.5″ x 9.5″
  • 1 FQ Solid fabric for the exterior, sub cut into
    • (2) 6.5″ x 9.5″
  • (2) 8″ x 11″ pieces of batting
  • Binding Clips
  • Turning tool (optional)
  • Basting spray/safety pins
  • Chalk marker or Hera marker
  • Zipper foot, sewing machine
  • Thread for piecing and basic sewing supplies
  • Iron and pressing mat

Hand Quilt it!

To begin, you’ll need to take the two exterior pieces of fabric cut at 6.5″ x 9.5″ and center each one on top of a piece of batting. Use a Hera marker or chalk pencil to mark your hand quilting lines, then hand quilt a pattern or random stitches onto each exterior piece. I like to make my stitches about 1/4″ in length, and spaced the same distance apart.

Grab your template:

Now you’ll take the cork pieces, and the bottom portion of the template printed from your supply list and line the template up along the bottom 9.5″ of the cork. Use a standard OLFA 45 mm Rotary blade to trim along the curved edge. I used my OLFA Ruby Rotary Cutter for this part. Once you’ve trimmed the curved portion, take the Wave Rotary blade and trim just along the curved edge to leave a cute wavy edge.

Take one of the quilted exterior pieces and place the decorative cork on the bottom 9.5″ edge. Use clips to hold in place, or use some wash away hem tape to secure. At this point, I like to take an air erasable marker and echo the line of the wave just below the wavy edge of the cork – about 1/8″ from the curvy edge – as a stitching guide. Take this piece to the sewing machine and topstitch along the guideline you drew with a coordinating thread. Then stitch around the remaining edges of the cork, about 1/8″ away from the raw edge to secure it in place. Don’t worry — the cork won’t fray, so it’s great for special decorative finishes with the OLFA rotary cutter!

Take your zipper and place it lined up with the top edge of one exterior, as shown in the picture below. Mark the end of the zipper (the end with the metal stopper) where it meets the end of the right side of the fabric, then mark about 1/4″ in from that mark as well. Take the zipper to the sewing machine and use a zig zag stitch to sew a new zipper stop on the mark furthest in. Trim away the rest of the zipper on the outermost mark.

Install the zipper

Take the newly trimmed down zipper and place it RSD on top of one side of the hand quilted exterior. Use binding clips to clip the zipper in place. Take one of the lining pieces and place it RSD on top of the zipper, the replace the clips to include all three layers. Use a zipper foot to sew through the three layers with a 1/4″ seam allowance, beginning at one end of the fabric and sewing to the opposite end, all the way to the edge of the fabric.

Press the lining and exterior away from the zipper with your iron, and topstitch 1/8″ away from the folded edge of the fabric.

Repeat the steps above with the remaining exterior and lining pieces.

Assembling the zip pouch

Open the zipper part way, then match the exteriors, placing them right sides together. Pull the linings together and match them, right sides together. Pin or clip in place, and mark about a 5″ opening along the bottom center of the lining to leave open in the next step. Pull the zipper pieces towards the lining, as shown below.

Sew all the way around the perimeter of the zipper pouch, leaving the 5″ opening unsewn. Clip the corners for crisp turning. Turn the zipper pouch right side out through the opening in the lining. You can use a turning tool for crisper turning, if needed. Fold the opening of the lining in 1/4″ and press. Clip in place. Topstitch the opening closed, then push the lining down inside the pouch.

And you’re done! Fill this pretty pouch up with all the sewing things you need on the go 🙂