Giveaway Day: Green Zip Pouch

Sew Mama Sew is hosting that lovely May Giveaway Day, and I've got a zipper pouch for you all!  If you'd like to enter and win this hand-made, fully lined zipper pouch, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below!  Shipping internationally, too.

+1 for simply stopping by
+2 for commenting on this post
+2 for "liking" my facebook page (if you've already liked my facebook page then it's an easy +2)

Thanks for stopping by, and take a look around if you'd like.  I'm an illustrator who likes to design for hand and machine knitting, and I also love to sew and quilt.  If you think you'd like to read more about my work, feel free to follow me on Bloglovin' here...
Follow on Bloglovin

Colette Sorbetto: Maternity Hack

During Me-Made-May 2014 I'd like to share some of the me-mades I've made recently.  For week #1 of MMM14, I've been wearing this particular garment almost daily ((or rather, nightly))!  It's a maternity pajama based on Colette's free pattern, Sorbetto...

During this pregnancy, I've inherited so many things from friends.  One of my favorite items was a Sorbetto top I helped a friend make for her first pregnancy.  I took her measurements and devised a way to use the pattern to make her a top.  We learned that by leaving the bottom part of the pleat open, you get a lot of room for a belly.  We also added 5" of length at the waist for extra coverage.

One of the drawbacks of the first prototype, though, was that it was made out of plain cotton and so it did not allow for freedom of movement or stretch should you want to sleep in it.

So, when it was my turn, I thought about improvements that could be made to last year's prototype.  Firstly, I made the decision to try a single knit jersey.  I had a big chunk of single jersey fabric from my attempt at this "wrap dress pattern" from Burda... There was no way that dress was going to work for me, and so I was happy to chop it up for this Sorbetto Maternity PJ top.

Yes, that's my dressform with a bag of fabric scraps stuffed into a belly band
to simulate my enormous pregnant belly.  It's a little lumpy, but you get where I'm going.
I had to patch 2 pieces together for the front piece since I didn't have any pieces wide enough to trace the pleat at the front.  I once again added the 5" at the waist, and I only sewed the top 5" of the pleat down the front.

Secondly, all the edges were finished with self-fabric so they're stretchy.  This was done by cutting 1.5" strips and folding them in half, then using the serger to attach them to the edges before the shoulder and side seams were sewn.

So, if you're attempting this at home... 

Colette Patterns Sorbetto is your base pattern.
Drafting: Add 5" length to the waist of front and back piece (or more if desired).
Cut 4 strips of 1.25" self fabric or knit rib with max stretch going with the long edge: 1x strip @ 2" longer than the front neck circumference,  1x strip @ 2" longer than back neck, 2x @ 2" longer than the total armhole circumference.
  1. Make bust darts as written
  2. Sew only top 5" of pleat, stay stitch pleat at neck edge
  3. Attach edging to front and back neck edges (fold edging strip in half, 3 raw edges together, serge)
  4. Sew shoulders
  5. Attach edging to armholes
  6. Sew side seams
  7. Turn up hem, press
  8. Twin needle finish for neck edge and hem, single needle top stitch for armholes 

And that's pretty much it!  You can stabilize the shoulders if you want, but mine is a pajama so I don't really care, and it hasn't rippled even after washing.  The front neck edge could be tighter if I had used ribbed knit fabric.  And, that's it for now!

Tutorial: Zig-Zag Quilt

You can make your own Zig-Zag Quilt top from stash scraps, and it's not too difficult!

Main requirement for piecing this quilt top:
72 white pieces of fabric, 4.5" square
72 print pieces of fabric, 4.5" square

You'll also need:
- additional yardage for sashing, backing, and binding
- batting for the center of the quilt sandwich

Side Note: Someone asked me how I get the fabric for my stash and how I chose the colors for this quilt.  My stash was built up from fat-quarters and yardage for garment sewing.  I am a bit compulsive after sewing projects.  I can't remember where I got the idea to save scraps larger than 2" square after sewing projects.  But, that's what I do. After a project, I cut down the smaller bits of fabric into two categories: strips or squares.  I trim the squares to be 4.5" because that's the size of my plastic template.  And the smaller stuff gets turned into strips or dresden plates.  Then, I have little clear plastic bags where these scraps are organized by color.  Obsessive yes, but hey, it made this project a real snap!

First, the basis of this quilt is the half-square triangle.  It's known in the quilting world as the HST.  After you've mastered that, you're pretty much set to go.  Here's how I did the HSTs for this quilt...

As described above, I started with two fabric squares in contrasting colors of identical size.  In the case of the Zig-Zag Quilt, I started with squares that measured 4.5".  As long as all your squares are consistently cut and pieced, it's all good.  Each pairing makes 2 HSTs.  You lay one white, one color square with right sides together.  Mark the diagonal, and stitch 1/4" above and below the mark.  Then, cut across the diagonal mark, open, and press the two squares you just made.  I do loads of squares at a time by chain piecing and then press them all at once... I learned this from Craftsy's 2012 Block of the Month with Amy Gibson - the February video here is all about the HST.

Once you've made a bunch of these HSTs, they can be combined in so many different ways!

In the case of the Zig-Zag Quilt, here's how I pieced the top:

Each row of zig-zags used 24 HSTs.
The final quilt had 6 lines of zig-zags, which equals 144 HSTs.
This also means that I started with a total of 144 squares of fabric: 72 color and 72 white squares.

In any case, once I had the long pieced rows of zig-zags, I carefully joined them across these rows, making sure to use pins to line up all the seams.  I tend to press my seams open, and this was no exception.

Next, I added sashing to the outer edge of the top (that white outer frame).  My sashing had extra width to it.  If I remember correctly, the sashing was 6" wide so I could trim it down if I had to square up the quilt after free-motion quilting.  I didn't end up FMQing, but it's always good to have a bit of wiggle room for squaring up.

You cut your batting (the fluffy middle) about 4" longer and wider than your top so you have 2" of adjustment... just in case!

For me, the trickiest part of this quilt was the backing.  If you have a really vertical/horizontal element on the back like in my version of the quilt, you want to be sure to hand-baste a few cross-hairs across the quilt so it's accurately aligned to the front.  I ran a line of basting down the center of the big vertical element, and across both the horizontal elements.  This help me to be sure it was oriented correctly to the quilt top. If you want to avoid this extra step, just use a non-directional print, and a whole cloth style for the back.

My first quilts lacked this kind of precision (and were really wonky) because I didn't understand how important basting was.  Once you learn to hand-baste quickly, there's no excuse! It takes a few minutes for a quilt of this size.  I did both pin and hand-basting for this quilt.

Lastly, is the actual quilting.  First, I stitched in the ditch (along the main zig-zags).  Then, I echo-quilted which means I ran a line of stitching about 3/8" away from the zig-zags.  I just used my presser foot's width as a guide.  Then, I quilted the sashing, added the binding (that final outer edge) using this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew and Mary on Lake Pulaski.

And, that was it!

The final quilt including the sashing and binding is 51" x 51".
The main print for the backing is Tula Pink's "Turtle Bay" print from her 2011 collection "Prince Charming" in Indigo.  Everything else was scraps and leftovers from my stash.

I hope this tutorial helps clarify the process of quilting something like this improvised quilt.  Have you ever quilted before?  What were your first quilts like?

Zig Zag Quilt Finished!

Happy Easter!  And, happy finished Zig-Zag Quilt!

The FMQ foot for my new machine is still on back-order so I decided I should just stop waiting and finish the quilt.  So... I did!

 I used a couple of tools to help me finish the quilt which I can recommend...

Firstly, I used the Robert Kaufmann Android phone app to help me calculate how much fabric I needed for binding and sashing.  You can find that here.  For i-phones you can find it on i-tunes.

Secondly, I used this tutorial to get a kind of hand cross-stitch look with a plain old zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine using this tutorial here.

It looks like this when finished...

On the front, the finish is invisible, but the back has a pseudo-cross-stitch look which I really like!

And, that's about it.  I cut the striped binding fabric across the stripes so it would make a checkered border, and echo quilted the zig-zags to add some interest and structure.  I'm really pleased with how it came out, and hopefully the baby will enjoy crawling on it and being cozy in it!  I'll post a tutorial in case you all want to make your own zig-zag quilt.  It's fairly straightforward.

Giveaway: Fabric Pouch

This week, I've got a giveaway for you all!

Already three months of this year have gone by, and I'd like to thank you for sticking around and reading my blog!  If you'd like to win this fabric pouch which makes a lovely eyeglass case or hard-drive cover, it's quilted in pinks and ready to go!

I was working on this little pouch a few weeks ago when I was doing the boxed corners projects...

To win it... just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway