Once a month, we highlight blogs our staff is reading right now!
Maureen Cracknell Handmade
Fresh and fun are two words to describe Maureen’s blog and her quilts! Using bright colors, modern designs, and super cute photography, her quilts are not only eye candy, but total inspiration for anyone looking for permission to draw outside the lines with their creations. Her step-by-step instructions make sewing look effortless! Or visit her Etsy shop and buy a handmade item to own her style without the work.
If you’re looking to kick your butt in gear, Pat’s blog is your go-to. She’s one busy lady–she hosts our American Patchwork & Quilting podcast, designs fabrics for Moda, is an author, and still has time to blog every day! Her blog is full of sew alongs, sewing challenges, and great tips and patterns for using your stash and finishing quick! Visit her blog for the inspiration you need to sew every day!
The Happy Zombie
Monica Solorio-Snow is one unique lady–both her fabric lines and her patterns! (If you haven’t seen her Ron Swanson quilt, you’re missing out!) She never does anything without giving 100% and she makes sure each creation reflects her style. Her blog is full of patterns, musings, pictures, inspiration, and of course, that wit we all know and love her for!
Each month, we highlight the books we’re reading in the office. This month, we’re all about spring style! Whether it’s flower applique, fresh colors, or trendy bags, these books will make this season full of sewing!
Playful Petals: Learn Simple, Fusible Applique
Whether you’re new to applique or want some fast and fun projects, this book is perfect for all skill levels! Using one simple petal shape, you’ll be able to make 18 super cute appliqué projects in no time! The nine pillows and nine quilts were designed for precuts, so you can pull from your stash or use your fave fat-quarter bundle. And don’t worry about reverse templates, seam allowances, or complicated construction methods; all these projects use basic piecing techniques.
The Best-Ever Applique Sampler from Piece O’ Cake Designs
By Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins for C&T Publishing
Learn everything you need to know about hand appliqué with this comprehensive guide from the applique masters of Piece O’ Cake Designs! Use the nine applique blocks to make mini quilts, mix-and-match samplers–and practice your skills! And five quilt patterns include full-size applique patterns and color instructions. As an extra bonus, the basic stitch instructions are shown for both left and right handers.
Ready to move beyond basic bags and totes? Create sophisticated handbags and totes with a stylish look. Learn a variety of techniques–from installing zippers and magnetic snaps to creating adjustable straps–and find detailed info on selecting the right interfacing, stabilizer, or batting for any project. Choose from 12 bags with color options for extra inspiration. Or make them all so you have a new bag for every outfit!
Once a month, we highlight our favorite free quilt and sewing patterns around the web!
This quilt is super easy to stitch up! Plus, babies and kids will love the texture, softness, and colors of this quilt that is perfect for all activities–from snuggling up for a movie night to playing with toys on the floor.
Mini Raincheck by Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms
Celebrate the rainy season with a mini umbrella quilt that’s perfect for hanging on a door or a wall. The umbrellas are so cute–and less than 4″ square!
We know it’s almost Easter, but have each guest at your table design a fabric egg. When they leave, you can stitch it together and have a heartfelt wall hanging for next year.
Black and White in Color by Film in the Fridge
Black-and-white prints pop against a rainbow background for a quilt that makes us smile! It’s perfect for chasing rainy spring weather away and using some scraps up!
Design: Monica Rodriguez for Dear Stella
Fabric: Confetti Dot by Dear Stella
Only 1/4 yard of fabric will get you three of these cute spring baskets! Use them for Easter baskets, sewing room decorations, or gifts for your friends and family. This project is courtesy of our sewing blog, howtosew.com. Visit daily for new sewing projects and easy home decor.
Materials for One Basket:
- 2—6-1/2×9″ rectangles polka dot fabric (matching or contrasting)
- 1—6-1/2×9″ rectangle thin batting (cotton or polyester)
- Water-soluble marking pen
Finished basket: about 3×2-1/2×3″
Sew this project with 1/4″ seams. (Note: For easy viewing in this tutorial we used lavender polka dot for outer basket, pink polka dot for basket lining, and dark thread for stitching.)
1. Stitching about 1/8″ from edges, machine-baste 6-1/2×9″ batting rectangle to wrong side of 6-1/2×9″ lavender rectangle.
2. With right side inside, fold Step 1 rectangle in half matching short edges; pin.
3. Sew sides of folded rectangle; press.
4. Clip seam allowance at fold.
5. Press seam open.
6. Shape a flat bottom. At one corner, match seam line with pressed fold, creating a flattened triangle. Measuring 1-1/2″ from point of triangle, draw a line across triangle.
7. Sew on drawn line. Trim 1/4″ from stitching. Repeat with remaining bottom corner.
8. Turn right side out to make basket body.
9. Repeat steps 2–8 with matching or contrasting polka dot rectangle, leaving a 1-1/2–2″ opening along one side to make basket lining. Do not turn basket lining right side out.
10. Insert basket body inside basket lining with right sides together.
11. Align top edges and side seams; pin together top edges of basket body and basket lining.
12. Using a 1/4″ seam, sew together top edges of basket body and lining.
13. Turn right side out through opening in lining.
14. Hand-stitch opening closed.
15. Insert lining back into basket body and press top edge.
16. Topstitch 1/4″ from top edge through all layers to complete basket.
17. Turn top edge over at basket top to make narrow cuff to complete basket.
Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn how to prep your quilt layers for taking them to the long-armer (or quilting them yourself!).
1. Both the batting and the backing should be 6″–8″ wider and longer than the quilt top. Confirm this measurement with your quilter if you’re sending a quilt out for finishing.
2. Make sure the quilt top lays flat by using consistent ¼” seams, pressing seams to one side, and watching for seams that twist and cause a bump. Give a finished quilt top a final press to ensure it is ready to be quilted.
3. Clip all loose threads and fabric, and trim dog-ears. Any of these can cause a shadow behind lighter fabrics if not removed. Loose fabric can bulk up in a quilt sandwich and make it look bumpy.
4. Repair raveling seams and stay-stitch quilt top edges. Especially if you have a pieced border, it’s a good idea to stay-stitch a scant ¼” from quilt top edges to secure unintersected seams. It prevents them from popping open when the quilt layers are loaded onto the machine.