Quick Quilting Tips: Pinning Alternatives

Welcome to readers of Amy Smart’s Fabulously Fast Quilts blog hop! I’m happy to visit today to share my favorite quick quilting tip, along with the other bloggers on the tour.…

Summer Skirts with Simplicity 2606

  Over a year ago, a friend proposed a trade. Jayne would take photos of our family and newborn son and I’d make her a couple skirts. Over a year…

Sew Easy Burp Cloth Tutorial

The other evening, I was trying to pull double duty. I held the baby on one hip while tossing some vegetables in the skillet. My husband walked in the kitchen…

Quick Quilting Tips: Pinning Alternatives

Welcome to readers of Amy Smart’s Fabulously Fast Quilts blog hop! I’m happy to visit today to share my favorite quick quilting tip, along with the other bloggers on the tour.…

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial from sewVery

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Do you have problems with your sewing machine or serger sliding around on the table while you work? I do! I even broke a water glass the other day because it fell off my sewing table while my work station was bumping all around.

I love this smart solution from my friend Veronica, who blogs at sewVery! It features some pretty Maisie by Maude Asbury fabric from Anna Griffin.

Head over to sewVery to see the non-slip machine mat tutorial!

Patchwork Potholder Tutorial with Sewing Mama RaeAnna

My friend RaeAnna, who I have the pleasure of seeing in real life as well as following her sewing blog, has whipped up a fun tutorial for Craft Buds readers today! It’s a pretty patchwork hot pad featuring the Clementine line of fabrics in the Anna Griffin shop. You can make this project with fat quarters or scraps, and it makes a great housewarming gift!

Head over to Sewing Mama RaeAnna for the tutorial!

Panasonic Cordless Iron Review

panasonic-title

A couple months ago I was ironing some pieces for a quilt. The best place for me to set up our iron has the plug on my left and I iron with my right hand. I’m constantly trying to get the cord out of the way so I don’t accidentally iron and burn up the cord. I needed a break from ironing so I checked my e-mail and had literally just received an e-mail asking if I’d like to try out a Panasonic Cordless Iron. My answer was YES!

panasonic iron and case

I’ve had the iron for awhile now and have been able to give it a good test run. I will definitely be using this iron now to replace my old one! It comes in a pretty carrying case with handle that has worked well just for carrying it around the house. It would be especially great for someone taking it to quilting or sewing groups. There’s also a charging base with a retractable cord. The iron has a lot of great features. One of my favorites is that the water tank is detachable so I can just take the tank over to the sink and fill it up. No more trying to pour water into a hot iron! The water tank also has a lid to seal it shut.

panasonic-water

There are 3 steam settings to choose from; off, low or high. The steam also works vertically so you can use it to steam a hanging garment. Just push the steam button! I tried to take a photo but it turns out it’s difficult to steam a shirt and take photos at the same time. You’ll have to take my word for it that lots of steam comes out! There’s also a spray mist button which works great on stubborn wrinkles. I found the steam to be nice and steady while ironing and I didn’t get any water spots on my fabric.

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The iron is just a few ounces heavier than my old Black and Decker. It heats up using the charging base so there are no batteries or anything to worry about in the iron. It heats up in less than 2 minutes and it’s ready to go. You do have to get used to putting the iron back in the charging base so it can stay hot. After using it once or twice I got used to putting it back in the base rather than setting it down on the side of the ironing board. Every couple minutes I’m moving my fabric or clothing around and putting the iron back in the base to re-charge so for me it works really well. It might be an issue for someone that doesn’t set their iron down for long periods of time.

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I’m used to a non-stick sole plate but I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly the stainless steel sole plate worked. There are 3 temperature settings for high, medium and low. There’s a chart to help you choose the correct setting for each type of fabric.

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So to sum it up, you get lots of great features along with no cord to deal with! Ironing is so much easier now that I don’t have a cord in the way. Because the only cord is the base that plugs into the wall, it keeps everything out of reach from my kids so I appreciate the extra safety too.

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If you want to get your own Panasonic NI-L70SRW (just in time for Mother’s Day!) you can order it directly from Panasonic for $59.95 with free shipping. You can also use that link to get more details on the iron and see more photos, or visit here to see a 1 minute demo video.

Disclaimer: I was provided with this iron free of charge in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.

Quick Quilting Tips: Pinning Alternatives

Welcome to readers of Amy Smart’s Fabulously Fast Quilts blog hop! I’m happy to visit today to share my favorite quick quilting tip, along with the other bloggers on the tour.

If you are like me, you appreciate shortcuts in quilting, like using pre-cut fabrics and chain piecing blocks. If you are familiar with her blog Diary of a Quilter, you already know that Amy Smart is a talented quilter who loves to teach fast and efficient quilting techniques.

I’m here to share with you my favorite quick quilting technique, which has to do with pinning. Actually, it has to do with not pinning! While I do frequently use sewing pins to piece curves, I tend to ignore them when it comes to many other patchwork shapes.

Quick Quilting Tips Pinning Alternatives

 

Tiny Stitches Method

Okay, hear me out. This is my favorite pinning alternative, and I like to call it the “tiny stitches” method.

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First off, I press all of my seams open. This is a great way to ensure accuracy when joining patchwork blocks.

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Next, sew a few stitches back and forth (think of them as small “tacks”) over just the intersecting seams.

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Open up the block, and check your work for accuracy.

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See how accurate this is? Once you’re satisfied with your tiny stitches, you can fold the right sides of the fabric back together and sew along the entire length of the seam. And no pins are required!

I like this method for two main reasons:

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1. Pinned fabric still shifts. See how the seam is off? I prefer to hold the fabric in place with my fingers when it is directly under the presser foot.

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2. I find that these tiny stitches are more accurate than pins, and they save me time in the long run. If I find that the seam doesn’t quite line up just right, it’s easier to pull out just these tiny stitches than to pick apart an entire seam.

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Fewer Pins

If you simply must use sewing pins, an alternative to heavy pinning is to use just a few pins at the seams where patchwork pieces meet. I often use this method if I’m piecing squares, where accuracy is important, but not as critical as when I am trying to achieve precise, triangular points.

Use two, four or six pins. Pin as much as you’d like, and if you are still not getting the accuracy that you desire, you may wish to try this next method.

Basting Glue

Another pinning alternative is to use basting glue instead of pins. My friend Alyssa of Pile O’ Fabric has a great video tutorial sharing her glue basting technique, which will save you from having to stick yourself with pins ever again!

For more time-saving quilting tips, make sure to check out the rest of the posts on the Fabulously Fast Quilts and Quilting Tips blog hop!


Monday, April 28
Sachiko Aldous of Tea Rose Home
April Rosenthal of April Rosenthal Designs
Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane
Tuesday, April 29
Jen Wilding Cardon of Stitch This! Martingale Blog
Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side
Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet
Wednesday, April 30
Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts
Melissa Mortenson of PolkaDot Chair
Amy Gibson of Stitchery Dickory Dock
Thursday, May 1
Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced
Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily’s Quilts
Jeni Baker of In Color Order
Friday, May 2
Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt
Lindsay Conner of Craft Buds
Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life

Sew Easy Burp Cloth Tutorial

Burp Cloth Sewing Pattern

The other evening, I was trying to pull double duty. I held the baby on one hip while tossing some vegetables in the skillet. My husband walked in the kitchen to see if I needed some help, and then it happened. The biggest, grossest projectile spit shot from the baby’s mouth to the wooden floor … in the next room!

If you’re a new mom, you may have experienced this scenario. You’ve probably even discovered your favorite kind of burp cloth for cleaning up the worst messes. A pre-fold diaper works great as a burp cloth, because it is super absorbent. Felt and minky fabrics look cute, and they can absorb pretty well, but they can also get kind of smeary.

burp cloths diy

Another great fabric (and my favorite) for absorbing baby messes is terry cloth. Feel free to cut up an old towel, like this smallish green one I’m pretty sure went with me to college. If you don’t already have a favorite burp cloth, maybe this will become your go-to burp cloth sewing tutorial!

Sew up a set of three burp cloths, or a diaper pouch and changing pad for a sweet gift idea.

Sew Easy DIY Burp Cloths

Materials:
For each towel you’ll need a 10″ x 14.5″ piece of each the following:

- Terry cloth or old towel to cut up
- Fabric
- Quilt batting (perfect for scraps!) for extra absorbency

Burp Cloth DIY 1

1. To make the patchwork version, cut the following fabric cuts:

Green
- 7.75″ x 11.75″Black
-3.25″ x 11.75″ for side strip
-3.25″ x 10.5″ for bottom strip
- 5″ x “3 for monogram

2. Stitch together the green to the black fabric along the long sides. Press seam open. Stitch the other black strip to the bottom. Press seam open. Trim to 10″ x 14.5″.

Burp Cloth DIY 2

3. Want to add a letter or picture? Here’s how to make an applique. I used Pellon Steam-a-Seam II Lite fusible and also stitched around the edge to secure.

4. In this order, stack: 1) the terry cloth, 2) cotton fabric (right side up) and 3) batting. Pin together stack at the corners.

Burp Cloth DIY 3

5. Stitch 1/2″ seam allowance around the perimeter, leaving a 4″ gap on one short side for turning.

6. Trim seam allowance to 1/4″ around the perimeter. Cut off the points on each of the four corners (being careful not to cut too close to your stitches).

7. Turn the cloth right side out.

Burp Cloth DIY 4

8. Press cloth flat, making sure to close the gap. Fold cloth into thirds and mark your folds with a pin.

9. With the quilting cotton side up, top-stitch the burp cloth around the perimeter 1/4″ from the edge. Make sure to catch the gap with your stitches, adding another row of stitches if needed for reinforcement.

10. Stitch along the marked fold lines (from step 8). This is a simple way to quilt all of your layers together while making it easier to fold the cloth into a cute, giftable stack.

Easy DIY Burp Cloth Tutorial

That’s it! These are so easy and inexpensive to make, and they are a great way to use up scraps!

Modern Eclectic

The fabric I used is Modern Eclectic by Khristian Howell for Blend Fabrics. These are a few of my favorite prints!

Knit Bess Top by Imagine Gnats

I was so excited when Rachael of Imagine Gnats e-mailed us this pattern as a “thank you” for Craft Book Month back in September. It looked really cute and flattering on any size, and it comes in sizes 2-20! And this week, Rachael is hosting Selfish Sewing Week so it’s a great time to make something for yourself!

I decided that my knit tops are the ones I wear the most, so even though this pattern isn’t technically meant for knits I went for it and I’m so glad I did! Here’s the final product and I’m so happy with how it turned out. Now I’ve got a flattering, comfortable, and stretchy shirt.

Because I was using a stretch fabric, I went down a size from what the size chart recommended. If you’re not sure on size, line up a favorite knit shirt on the pattern and mentally add a 1/2″ seam allowance to determine size.  If I were making a non-knit shirt I would have gone with the size recommended. The pattern was awesome and the way the sleeves are incorporated is genius, the pattern is just two pieces! There’s a front piece and back piece that has the sleeves incorporated that wrap around to the front. I made mine a colorblock version so it was 3 pieces, plus some strips of knit to finish off the neck, arms, and hem. The instructions and accompanying photos were easy to follow and this was a relatively fast project to sew.

 

As for sewing with knits, there’s definitely some things you can do to make it easier when using  a sewing machine rather than a serger. First of all, make sure to pre-wash your fabric! When sewing, I used a ballpoint needle and my Janome even feed foot to ensure that the top and bottom fabrics didn’t get stretched at different rates.You can check out this YouTube video to see the even feed foot in action (video is by Ken’s Sewing Center). When feeding in the knit fabric, I let it have just a little slack so the machine was pulling the fabric through all on it’s own without me pushing or pulling at all.

I also set my machine to use a special stretch stitch (button #6). The icon looks like a lightening bolt on my Janome QDC4120. For each seam, I started and ended with a regular straight stitch so I could reverse and lock the stitch in place. Then I switched to the stretch stitch for the length of the seam. I wanted this shirt to be durable so I did each seam at least twice (first the recommended 1/2″ seam allowance, then again at 3/8″) and then topstitched most seams. If you don’t have the lightening bolt stitch, a narrow zigzag will give you similar results.

The only thing I did that wasn’t in the pattern was to topstitch the neckline a second time closer to the neck opening after doing the intial 1/2″ seam. It helped the neck look smoother with the knit fabric, but I think it would have been fine with a single seam on a non-knit version. The method for finishing the shirt was new to me (basically sew a strip of knit fabric to the outside of the shirt with a 1/2″ seam allowance, then fold it to the inside and topstitch down) and turned out great.

And as for the fabric, I used this reversible knit from JoAnn’s in black (what I used in this post) and stocked up on orange (also shown below). One side is a tiny stripe and the other side is solid with a very subtle (almost nonexistent) sparkle effect. It looks a lot different on the JoAnn’s website so I can’t guarantee it’s a match but the item numbers match up to what’s on my receipt. After this top turned out so well I’m excited to make a few more!

If you have a serger (hopefully I’ll get one someday), this knit shirt could be made in no time! But even without the serger, it was a fast sew with the right techniques and I’d definitely recommend this pattern in a knit fabric, or woven fabric as recommended in the pattern. Happy sewing!

 

 

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