Monday, 26 November 2012

Noel Mini Quilt/Mat Tutorial

Here is a super quick tutorial for those of you who have bought 'Sew Very Christmas' pattern set and wanted to make the mini quilt with the 'Noel' and 'Candy Tree' patterns.
1. Make 1 set of Noel letters and 4 candy trees following the pattern instructions.  Place a tree under each letter and join-the width of the letters and the trees are the same.  Join each pair of letters/trees together to make the centre of the mini.
2. Add sashing.  I added background solid sashing in grey starting at the sides- 2 strips each measuring 2" x 5 1/2", and then 2 strips across the top and bottom each measuring 2" x 11 1/2".
3. Add a further sashing border in a colour print.  Add the side strips first, 2" x 8 1/2" and then the top and bottom strips each measuring 2' x 14 1/2".

4. Make a quilt sandwich with batting and background fabric cut and inch larger than your mini quitl top.  Spray baste/ pin or sew baste layers together.  Quilt as desired.
5. Add a single layer binding- see my tutorial here for binding and here for mitred corners.
Your mini is complete!  We would love to see your Sew-Ichigo project makes, you can add them to our Flickr group.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Sew Very Christmas Drawstring Bags

 Jeni's lined drawstring pattern was ideal for our 'Sew Very Christmas' blocks.  Jeni gives dimensions to make 8 different bag sizes.  All we had to do was make the blocks the same size as the exterior main pieces and follow Jeni's instructions!  The "tiny" gift bag was perfect for two candy trees side by side on the front and back.  I used Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks voiles for the jewel like colours and motifs, they reminded me of decorated trees, and Essex linen in 'Bleached White'.
To make the exterior main pieces I made 4 candy tree blocks, finished size 2 "x 3" and added rectangles as below.  Note the directions of the trees. I used a single panel to make the lower sections of the exterior main pieces and put a horizontal fold along the centre as there will be no seam at the bottom to align the side gussets. 
For the 'Noel' bag, I increased the 'Noel' blocks by 150% on the print option to make each letter measure 3" x 3"finished size and joined them together in a square arrangement.
I used the "project bag" pattern and added sashing strips to the 'Noel' block to make the main exterior front (see diagram) and used a plain linen for the back-Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen in 'Steel' and assorted solids form my stash.  The floral accent fabric is a Denyse Schmidt DS print.
For the Christmas dress bag...

I made Jeni's "everything bag".  The only thing I changed was I didn't add the gusset as suggested in the pattern.  I used some spoonflower fabric for the dress and DS quilts for the background as well as some of Tasha's Simple Life for the accent fabric in the drawstring area.  Here's a diagram for how I pieced the front exterior of the bag to get it to the correct dimensions.
And then, my favorite of the bags I made, the 'Retro bulb' bag using the "CD bag" pattern.

I used solids for the bulb and the background is all gingham from Tasha's line "simple life".  The top fabric is shasta daisy by Suzuko Koseki.  
And here's diagram for piecing the front of the bag using the retro bulb pattern. 
We hope you enjoy using our 'Sew Very Christmas pattern' for your gift making.  We would love to see your projects, you can add your pictures to the Sew-Ichigo Flickr group.

Monday, 19 November 2012

'Sew Very Christmas' : Our new pattern set

We are happy to present our new pattern set, 'Sew Very Christmas', ready for the season of gift making and giving.
We have aimed to keep these patterns as simple as possible with minimal sections to join and no curves or Y seams.  Ideal for tags, bags and pouches and more so you can wrap your presents with style.  Our pattern format  has been revamped for a cleaner, leaner format with a smaller file size and less to print and download!    Penny and I have made a series of projects for you to see here. Many use Jeni's Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern which is excellent for creating bags of many sizes and we will be sharing our tips on adapting the blocks for the pattern.  I also made a mat (tutorial to follow) to showcase the first two patterns 'Candy Tree' and 'Noel'.  The blocks are the same width (2") and work beautifully together.  I don't use solids often and I think I need to review that as they glow in this mat!

You can easily enlarge all the blocks in the pattern set and we include instructions for this.  I enlarged the 'Noel' pattern by 150% to make 3" blocks in this project sized bag from Jeni's pattern.  
Penny designed the most adorable 'Christmas Dress' block and it looks perfect with the plaid in this drawstring bag. 
She captured our favourite 1950s vintage vibe in the 'Retro Bulb' block.  She used the CD bag from Jeni's pattern with this block to make a gift bag. 
A tutorial on making the mat is coming later today and we will do a further post on using Jeni's bag pattern with the blocks.  In the meantime, the shop is open!  You can buy the pattern here or at our Craftsy store. Happy shopping and happy sewing!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Freebie for ya...

totally free $0 £0 and for your delectation
General Paper Piecing Guidelines and Recommendations

Penny and I have been busy behind the scenes, a bit of this and bit of that, you know how it is.  We have a new Christmas/Holiday season pattern set about 10 days away from release and we have been tweaking and streamlining our format to bring you a more concise, easy to read pattern experience- less to download and print whilst still retaining all the vital 'how to' info.  We have put our piecing guidelines into a free download rather than including them in every pattern we produce and they are now available to everyone - just click here or here, scroll to the bottom!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Back to School basics

When Kerry and I agreed to do a Back to School set, we landed upon a couple of basics.  Pencils and hi-liters.  Kerry's pencils sew up like a dream and are quick, easy and so effective!  I really had a hard time deciding on the fabrics to use for the ones I made.

We both made a version of Lisa's pencil case, pattern here.  Thank you Lisa for allowing us to do that!  I love how Kerry's pencil case is so her; delicate, sweet, and girly.

For our Back to School set, Kerry has included patterns for the pencil wheel block and a single pencil.  She also will be putting up a tutorial here for how to trace and embroider your own message for the center of the pencil wheel.  Also included are my hi-liters, capped and uncapped, and the basic instructions to make this block

Happy back to school!

Tips- Tracing text for embroidery

When you want to embroider a little text- a name or  special word onto your block or project, you don't want to spend too much time worrying about how the letters will fit or if you can get them to flow in a line or look like handwriting.  For our new pattern set, 'Back to School', I wanted to sew the word Liberty in the centre circle of the Pencil Wheel quilt block.   This block is similar to a dresden and has a centre appliqu├ęd circle.
The finished circle size as 2.5" diameter so I drew a circle in Word and added a text box in the centre.  I chose a stitchy handwriting text which is widely available as a free font.  Adjust the font to the size you want, you could even make it darker using  bold so it will show through more.  I then printed the motif and placed it under the centre circle fabric.  You can see this is untrimmed and larger than the printed circle.  This allows you to have room to handle it whilst you embroider, you can trim down when your stitching is done.  Place the paper under the fabric and trace with a disappearing or washable fabric marker.  I used a Sewline fabric pencil and sketched very lightly.  Now you can embroider away!
You do need to be using a lighter background fabric for this to work, but it is a great way to get a particular style of letters on to your fabric ready to sew.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Curtains and Kitchens

Penny and I always like to make a project with our Sew-Ichgio blocks to give you a little creative kick start that you can either do yourself or use as a springboard for your own ideas.  With my latest pattern, Strawberry-Ichigo, I made a curtain for a skinny window in my kitchen.  The I chose six shades from the Oakshott Ruby Reds range  to show different stages of ripening.  

I kept the block to the standard 6" finished size and added sashing (3 1/2" x 6 1/2") between the blocks before adding a strip below and the main block of linen above.  From then on, I  made it as a standard curtain.  I am no expert, in fact I loathe making large curtains,  so I pull it together in a fairly random way.  It is a small curtain so I can get away with some slip shod ways!  If you want to do a more professional job there is a great list of tutorials here.
I tread a fine line in my little house between covering every surface in patchwork/quilty items and restraint, so I thought you might like a quick tour around the craftiness in my kitchen- who doesn't like a poke around other people's houses?   My blind was a standard roller to which I added a little Alexander Henry fabric trim.  It was harder to do than I imagined , that long seam n fabric that cant be squished or folded meant I had to sit the sewing machine in the middle of a room to make it work.
My Teapot Fancy cosy gets used twice a day when I make a proper loose leaf pot.  I like a strong Earl Grey, especially first thing in the morning- although a little delicate green jasmine tea is in the vintage cup and saucer below.  I love my turquoise work top!
 Here is a morning brew in a giant mug and sitting on top of a runner made from a little bee group where we made blocks from Kumiko Fujita's 318 Patchwork book.   The little boxes next to the mug store the many phone/ipad chargers!
 I have more goodies from friends.  Under the tongs and whisk you can see a beautiful potholder made by Megan when we did a little swap last year- perfect colours and foodie fabrics.
And hiding on a vintage cup rack- an oven hand mit from Penny which sees regular usage- love that peep of binding. 
Hope you enjoyed your tour!  We are just working on a little back to school set, ready very soon- sneak peek of Penny's design here!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Latte to Go mug rug and gift card sleeve tutorial

One of the things I love about sewing is making something functional and aesthetic from fabric.  The Latte to Go pattern seemed to beg me to become a mug rug and since coffee house gift cards are always a welcome treat when I receive them (go figure!), I thought a nice gift card sleeve was in order as well.  Together, they create a perfect little thoughtful gift! 
Another idea.  If the person you are making the mug rug/gift card sleeve for doesn't drink coffee, put a Strawberry Ichigo on it instead!  (both the Latte to Go and Strawberry Ichigo finish at 6" square, 6.5" unfinished).  Wouldn't that be cute?  Along with a gift card to the local kitchen shop and you have the perfect gift for the cooking connoisseur in your life. 

Note:  all seams are 1/4" for each project.

Mug rug.  What you will need and the steps to make it:

What you need: a completed Latte to go block, 8" square of batting, 8" square of backing fabric, binding fabric, grommet.
  • layer the backing right side down, then the batting, then the Latte to Go block right side up and pin and quilt.
  • Trim the excess batting and backing.
  • Bind.
  • Using manufacturers directions, apply the grommet to the upper left hand corner of the mug rug.

Gift card sleeve.  What you will need and the steps to make it:
What you need:  a completed Latte to Go block (reduce the pattern copy by 50% before making it), 2 pieces of lining fabric and one backing fabric cut to 2 3/4" X 3 1/2", 3" ribbon.

1.   Trim 3/8" off each side of the small Latte to Go block.

2.  Fold the ribbon in half and stitch it down 1/8" from the edge to the block on the upper left corner, about 1/2"-3/4" from the edge.

3.  With right sides together, sew the top edge of the block to the top edge of one of the lining pieces.  Repeat with the backing fabric and the remaining lining piece.

4.  With right sides together, pin the block and lining and the back and lining pieces together.  Sew around the edge, making sure to leave a hole for turning at the end of the backing edge.  (I used the two pins on the left edge of the photo to indicate where to stop and start sewing.)

5.  Turn the piece through the opening.  Press, then stitch the opening closed.

6.  Push the lining down inside the gift card sleeve and press again.

You are done! 

Use a matching ribbon to tie the sleeve to the mug rug, purchase your gift card, and you are ready to give!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Would you like strawberries with your coffee?

Penny and I have sneaked out a couple of new patterns, both aimed at paper piecers with little or no experience.  Penny was inspired by the simplicity of take- out coffee cup shapes so we present, 'Latte to go'.
This is a great beginner pattern, there are no seams that need to match up exactly and the pattern sections are straightforward.  She has made a cute mug rug with an ingenious gift card holder using a scaled down version of her pattern.  A tutorial will come soon giving guidelines on how to make these. 
And I was inspired by a beautiful stack of ruby shot cottons sent to me by the kind folks at Oakshott Fabrics.  The variying reds screamed 'Strawberry' at me so we present, 'Strawberry Ichigo'.

This is aimed at a beginner with a little paper piecing experience.  Only one seam needs precise matching so there is room to learn on this pattern.  Using solid colours and shot cottons makes paper piecing easier as you don't need to worry about which side of the fabric you are working on, both sides are the same!   I made a kitchen curtain for narrow window with six Strawberry Ichigo blocks, each in a different Oakshott ruby red.   I'll post a few details on that too.

So, if you have been a little nervous about trying paper piecing, these patterns are for you.  They both make 6 inch finished  blocks and are easy to enlarge as all the pattern pieces come on one page.  With have included some extra instructions about which seams to press open and the order of piecing.  You can find both patterns in our shop and at our Craftsy store.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Tutorial Tips: Spools and Buttons basket

For Kerry and I's latest pattern sets, we decided to use existing tutorials to incorporate the spools and buttons into.  Kerry had the brilliant idea of doing a button card with the buttons and then used it to modify and make one of Ayumi's organizer baskets.  You can read about the details and the how to that Kerry posted here
For the spools and button blocks I made, I decided to use them to make one of Ayumi's baskets.


The spools and buttons basket ends up slightly larger than the orginal basket of Ayumi's and seems to be a nice size.  I thought it was quite funny that as Kerry and I were emailing back and forth about the project each of us would make with our blocks from the Spools and buttons, that we each had decided we would mail our finished baskets to Ayumi before we knew the other was doing the same thing!
To make your spools and button basket, you will follow Ayumi's instructions for the basket, making these changes:

  • Choose 4 buttons and 4 spools and make those blocks.
  • Sew 2 buttons and 2 spools together, alternating them so you have a section for the back and a section for the front of the basket. (you will have to trim 1/4" from the top and bottom of each spool so they end up the same height as the button blocks).  The front and back section will each be 3 1/2" X 12".

  • cut your linen fabric 6"X12" 
  • cut your batting fabric 12"X12"
  • cut your lining fabric 12"X12"
  • when you get to the step where you box your corners, box them 1 3/4" from the point

If you end up making a spools and button basket or anything at all with our patterns, we'd love it if you added it to our Sew-Ichigo flickr group!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Tutorial Tips: Button It Tray

When Penny and I design patterns for Sew-Ichigo we always want to think of some practical uses for them.   We always put our creations in the Sew-Ichigo Flickr group and we hope you will do the same!  For Penny's The Button It pattern I wanted to use them to make a button card to feature in a generously sized tray to store mini projects. 
 I used Ayumi's tray pattern scaled up so I though I would share my measurements in case you wanted to do the same.  Firstly I printed the Button It pattern a little  smaller so the buttons would be 2 1/2" finished size rather than 3"- set your photocopier at 83%  for this.
Once I had made 5 buttons using the new Liberty Lifestyle prints and a blank square  3 x 3" of Kona snow, I stamped some fabric with Made in England  and Buttons  and then sashed them together.   There are tips on using stamps here.   I did a little extra piecing at the top to get fit the selvedge in but the measurements are the same as below.
I used a single strand of embroidery floss to turn the selvedge circles into tiny buttons and 6 strands of floss to make the buttons look as if they were stitched on to the card.
My final touch at this stage was to use the 6 strand floss to make a single stitch as if a button was missing from the card.  The block was sashed all around with 6" wide strips of  Essex yarn dyed linen in flax and I trimmed it down so the button card was at an angle, this measured 16" x 20".  
I then followed Ayumi's tutorial!  I used fusible fleece, Vilene H640 which is the only interfacing I can truly trust not to go wrong!   It adds structure and softness and is great for pillows and bags too. I quilted lightly, just following the sashing seam lines on the button cards and a diamond criss cross on the linen.   The gusset measured 8 1/2" but you could change this to have lower sides and a wider base.
I top stitched the sides to make it stand up.  And then I popped it in the post for Ayumi!  It was her birthday present.   We can all never have enough storage and Ayumi's tray pattern is so easy to adapt and make a series of trays Russian doll style!
Penny will be sharing another of Ayumi's tutorials; the fabric basket to show you further uses for the patterns and you can buy for 'Button It' and 'Rainbow Rack of Spools' here and here.  I am seeing some great ideas coming up in the Flickr group so I fancy sharing a gallery of those soon too!


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