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Transforming Black-and-White Prints by Over-Dyeing

Over-dyeing black-and-white prints is a concept that has intrigued me for years. I was inspire by an article on the Marcus Fabrics website by Lisa Shepard Stewart and then discovered another article by Lisa on the RIT dye site where she overdyed zebra prints. I’ve wanted to experiment with this technique, so I finally did, making the Log Cabin block in Valerie Krueger’s Get Comfy quilt (American Patchwork & Quilting, April 2015, page 98). While Valerie’s quilt is very traditional in fabric colors, I made a version of the Log Cabin block using black-and-white prints for the “lights” of the block and the same prints overdyed for the strips for the “darks”.


Since I was only dyeing enough fabric for a few blocks, I used a disposable plastic container and the microwave technique outlined on the RIT studio website. I used powder dye, but only used a portion of the pouch as I wanted this light shade.


While I was thrilled with the results, I did learn several things, so here are some tips to ensure your success:


1. You may find that different fabrics, even if they’re 100% cotton, may take dye differently, resulting in a different hue of your color. As you can see below,  all of the fabrics dyed beautifully, but one came out a slightly different shade than the others.


2. Match the amount of fabric you’re dyeing to the technique you’re using, because if you want the same intensity of color for each piece, they should be put into the same bath for the same length of time. So if you’re doing yardage or multiple larger pieces, use the stovetop method, pail method, or washing machine method and follow the instructions on the packaging or website for those techniques.


3. If you’re using a partial pouch of powder dye, measure your powder dye, don’t just eyeball it. The chances that you’ll make the next dye bath the same exact color is slim if you’re guessing. When the one fabric came out a different color, I thought maybe I needed to make a new dye bath. The result was some beautiful more-darkly-dyed fabric, as I was guessing at how much powder to add. Unfortunately, neither piece came out the same color as the other cut strips shown.


4. If you’re dyeing fabric for piecing, dye the fabric before cutting, as you’re putting fabric into a hot-water bath which might cause shrinkage plus you can expect your fabric to ravel a bit as you handle it during the process.


5. Do as they say: wear gloves!! Teal fingers aren’t attractive (at least not on me!), though mine only lasted a day. There’s a phrase that says, “If you can’t be a good example, be a horrible reminder.” Let me be your horrible reminder.


Next up, I might have to try to dye white-on-white prints! I’ll keep you posted…


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Perfect Your Skills: Bias Binding


Quick-Cut Bias Binding

To quickly cut binding strips on the bias, start with a fabric square or rectangle. We used a stripe fabric, resulting in a barber pole effect.

Diagrams below show a 5/8-yard length of fabric. If your fabric piece is a different size, the folded fabric may look different, although the instructions will be the same.


1. Lay out the fabric so the selvage edges are in the upper right and lower left. Fold the lower selvage edge to the cut edge, creating a 45º angle.


2. Fold the bottom corner up on top of first fold.


3. Fold top corner down on top of first and second folds.

4. Using a rotary cutter and acrylic ruler, trim off left-hand folded edge.


5. Cutting from trimmed edge, cut the desired-width bias strips.


6. Strips will be a variety of lengths; piece strips to equal the desired length of binding strip.



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Make It Tonight: Square Pincushion

Fabric: Winter’s Kiss collection by Lonni Rossi for Andover Fabrics

Choose a favorite fabric and make this quick-to-sew pincushion. Stack two buttons to top of your cute creation for bright accents. Make a bunch for your sewing friends or keep one handy for on-the-go sewing. This project is courtesy of our sewing blog, howtosew.com. Visit daily for new sewing projects and easy home decor.



  • 2–4-1/2″ squares red print
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • 1–1-3/8″ diameter white button
  • 1–5/8″ diameter yellow button



Assemble the Pincushion:




1. Layer two red print 4-1/2″ squares with right sides together. Pin pieces together.





2. Beginning in the middle of one edge, sew together pieces using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Leave a 1-1/2″ opening along one edge for turning.



3. Turn right side out. Use a chopstick or knitting needle to push out corners; press.



4. Use a chopstick or knitting needle to gently push small tufts of fiberfill through the 1-1/2″ opening.



5. Using a needle and matching thread, sew the opening closed.

6. Stack and sew buttons through all layers to complete pincushion.

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Make It Tonight: Quick-Sew Santa Sacks

Fabrics: Retro Christmas collection by Cynthia Frenette and Remix Metallic collection by Ann Kelle both forRobert Kaufman Fabrics


Fill this make-it-in-minutes Santa Sack with real gifts for under the tree. Not only is this great as a toy/gift bag, it’s the right size to use as a pillowcase or a laundry bag. The Elf Sack is for a smaller stash of treasures (all elves know great things come in small packages). This project is courtesy of our sewing blog, howtosew.com. Visit daily for new sewing projects and easy home decor.



Materials for Santa Sack:

  • 1 yard cotton print
  • 1-1/3 yards 7/8″-wide polyester ribbon
  • Water-soluble marking pen


Santa Sack finished size: 30×20″ (fits a standard-size bed pillow)


Materials for Elf Sack:

  • 1 yard cotton print
  • 1-1/3 yards 7/8″-wide polyester ribbon
  • Water-soluble marking pen

Elf Sack finished size: 15×22-1/2″

*Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42″ of usable fabric width. Measurements include 1/2″ seam allowances. Sew with wrong (unprinted) sides together.



Cut Fabric for Santa Sack:

From cotton print, cut:

  • 1—35-1/2×41″ rectangle


Cut Fabric for Elf Sack:

From cotton print, cut:

  • 1—28×31″ rectangle




Assemble the Sack:


1. Using water-soluble pen, make marks on one long edge of rectangle 7-1/2″ from top edge, 8-1/2″ from top edge, and 1/2″ above bottom edge.


2. With the wrong sides together, fold the Santa Sack rectangle in half to make a 35-1/2×20-1/2″ rectangle. (Fold the Elf Sack rectangle in half to make a 28×15-1/2″ rectangle.) With markings facing up, pin long edges together and across short end at bottom of rectangle.


3. Sew along pinned edges using a 1/2” seam allowance. When you reach the dot marked 7-1/2″ from top edge, stop stitching and backstitch. Cut threads. Resume stitching (beginning with a backstitch) at marked 8-1/2″ dot, leaving a 1″ gap in stitching. The gap in the seam will form the opening for the ribbon casing.

4. Continue sewing along long edge. At bottom corner stop with needle down in the fabric when you reach the dot 1/2″ from bottom. Lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric and continue sewing across the bottom of the bag.


5. Press side seam allowance open.


6. Turn under top 5″ of bag to inside; press.

7. Open up pressed edge. Press under cut edge 1/2″ for hem


8. Refold to inside at 5″ mark with 1/2″ edges still turned under; pin.


9. Sew bag top 4-1/4″ from top edge to secure folded hem. Make sure you’re not sewing the bag shut. TIP: Use a masking tape strip to mark 4-1/4″ line as a guide for even stitching.


10.  Turn bag right side out; press flat.


11.  Stitch two more rows 2-1/2″ and 3-1/2″ from top edge. The opening in the seam should fall between these two rows to make the ribbon casing.


12.  Using a large safety pin at one end of the ribbon length, thread ribbon through the casing opening. Keep ribbon as flat as possible as you pull it through stitched casing and bring it back out through opening to make drawstring.


13.  To prevent drawstring from being pulled out accidentally, pull ends through casing so both ribbon ends are sticking out evenly; use the large safety pin to pin ends together. Machine-stitch through the middle of the casing (opposite the opening) to secure the drawstring in place.


Fabric: Spot On collection by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

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We Heart It, It’s Free

Once a month, we highlight our favorite free quilt and sewing patterns around the web!


Festive Fabric Folding by Sewn Into the Fabric

Give the gift of jelly rolls this year! See these easy tutorials for folding 2-1/2″-wide fabrics strips into fun and festive shapes that are perfect for giving!

Click here to get the free pattern.


Handmade Felt Gift Tags and Ornaments by Diary of a Quilter for Skip To My Lou

Work with cheap crafts felt to create beautiful and fun gift tags and ornaments! Embellish with a little stitching for an easy way to add a handmade touch to your presents!

Click here to get the free pattern.



Trim-Tied Gift Bag from A Quilter’s Table

Choose a fat quarter of your fave holiday fabric and some cute trim. That’s seriously all you need to make this cute gift bag!

Click here to get the free pattern.



Ruffly Trees from Bonnie at Riley Blake Designs

These simple trees are adorable for a centerpiece and so fun to make! It’s perfect for using leftover strips of Christmas fabric.

Click here to get the free pattern.


Toasty Rice Hand Warmers with Lavender by V and Co.

They’re cute, they’re quick, and they’re perfect for cold winters! Make them as gifts for everyone on your list — or yourself!

Click here to get the free pattern.


Christmas Tree Table Napkins by Candice Ayala of Regal Appeal for Michael Miller Fabrics

They’re DIY fabric napkins that are folded to look like Christmas trees (which is pretty much the cutest thing ever!). They’re perfect for hostess gifts or to set a festive table!

Click here to get the free pattern.

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