Category Archives: Tutorials

License Plate Zipper Pouch

We (the royal “we”) made this zipper pouch using a Row by Row license plate from Quilt Expressions. If you’re collecting plates and wonder what to do with them, here’s an idea for you.

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Materials

(2) fat eighths (9″ x ~20″) or (1) fat quarter

(2) 6″ x 10″ pieces of fusible fleece

(1) 10″ or longer zipper

(1) Row by Row fabric license plate

Cutting

From one fat eighth (fabric “A”), cut (1) 10″ x 6″ rectangle, (2) 1 ½” x 7 ¾” strips and (2) 1 ½” x 6″ strips.

From one fat eighth (fabric “B”), cut (2) 10″ x 6″ rectangles and (1) 1 ½” x 5″ rectangle (this is the tab ends for the zipper – you can use scraps from either fabric)

Trim the license plate to 4″ x 7 ¾”. You should have about ¼” around the frame of the license plate on all sides (showing some white fabric).

Instructions:zp3

With right sides together, sew a
1 ½” x 7 ¾” fabric “A” strip to the top and bottom of the license plate. We used the line around the license plate as a guide. Press seams toward the strip.

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Sew a 1 ½” x 6″ fabric “A” strip to both sides of the license plate. Press seams toward the strip.

Fuse the fleece according to the manufacturer’s instructions to the wrong side of one fabric A-10″ x 6″ rectangle and one fabric B-10″ x 6″ rectangle. Lay one rectangle with the fleece side up, then place the license plate rectangle right side up on top of the fleece.

Pin through all layers and stitch in the ditch around the license plate. Trim any excess fleece/fabric to make edges flush. Stitch close to the edge around all four sides with a narrow zigzag or straight stitch. This is the front of your pouch.

Place the remaining 10″ x 6″ rectangle on top of the other fleece/fabric rectangle in the same manner. Pin through all layers. You may choose to do some quilting in this rectangle, but it is not necessary. Trim this piece so that it is the same size as the front pouch rectangle. Stitch close to the edge with a narrow zigzag or straight stitch. This is the back of your pouch.

Take a scrap of fabric of approximately 1 ½” x 5″ and fold in half along the long edges with wrong sides together. Press. Unfold and bring the outside long edges to the middle crease on both sides and press.

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zp31zp32zp33Fold in half again and press. This will be the fabric tabs at both ends of your zipper. With the zipper closed, cut through the zipper at the staple end (cutting off the staple).

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Place the zipper inside of the folded tab (towards one end) and top stitch.

zp38zp39zp41Make sure you stitch through all layers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trim the fabric tab even with the zipper tape on both sides. We’re only showing you one side trimmed here.

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Measure the long side of your pouch; you will trim the zipper 1″ shorter than this measurement.  (See the chalk marks below? That’s where we trimmed our zipper.) Unzip the zipper so the pull is near the middle of the zipper; trim your zipper. zp45

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place the cut ends inside the folded tab.

Top stitch and trim as you did on the other end.zp50

 

 

 

 

 

 

zp52Center the zipper on the top edge of front of your pouch with the pouch front right side up. The zipper pull should be facing down. It’s hard to see–but trust us on this!

 

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Pin through all layers and stitch along the zipper tape.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fold the zipper back and top stitch close to the fabric edge stitching through all layers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place the unsewn side of the zipper along the back piece of the zp59pouch and pin in place. Make sure the two pouch pieces line up along the sides. Stitch the zipper along the zipper tape. Fold the zipper back and topstitch close to the fabric edge through all layers.

 

Open up the zipper. Place the pouch pieces with right sides together, matching side and bottom edges and stitch. Turn the pouch through the zipper opening and push out the corners. Enjoy your new pouch!

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I Need Color!

Hey it’s me–Karen–signing in from Michigan where we have LOTS of snow and ffffreeezing cold weather. I decided I can’t take any more grey!! So I gathered up as many bright colors as I could find, and all of my black and white. Since my stash here is limited, I know I’ll need the shop to send me MORE (hint, hint)!

color_fabricI’ll try not to make this too tedious, but in case you want to join me making a liberated quilt, I’ll do a little step by step to help get you started.

You’ll need lots and lots of bright fabrics–even small scraps can be used–and some black and whites. Try to choose fabrics that are pure color. In other words, they don’t have any grey in them!

I like lots of pieces and lots of colors. Freddie Moran once said, “Ten colors don’t go together, but 100 do,” and I take that quote seriously. Since I know that I’m going to improvise as I go, and I won’t have a definite plan, it helps to cut lots of 1-1/2″ squares to use as starts and stops. I’ll use them later for checkerboard spacers.

squaresI like house blocks, so I decided to make my first block a little house.

First I chose a fabric for the house and the door. I purposely cut two “wonky” rectangles for the sides, and made a strip with the yellow door. Then I auditioned some fabrics for the roof and sky. I liked the bright orange so I decided to add that for a chimney. house_step1

Warning: I “waste” a lot of fabric in this process. It’s easier to cut big, and trim back to square things up. So I cut a large triangle for the roof, and generously cut a larger shape for the left sky. Then I cut the left sky apart so I could insert a strip of orange for the roof. Next, I needed a piece for the right sky.

roof_stepI used the same print for the sides of the house, and I sewed a strip to each side. If you don’t have enough of a white print, just use another fabric that has a white background. Next I had to trim the bottom of the house and the roof piece to give them both a straight edge. I adjusted where I wanted the roof to sit on the house, then sewed the pieces together. Lastly (at least for today), I trimmed the block sides–but not too tight. I may trim off more later, and I think I’ll add a “hill” later, so I didn’t trim the bottom. I’ll make more house blocks later.

house_blockWant to join me? Go gather your fabrics and come back soon! I’ll post my progress as I go.

Karen

How Do I Make a Hexie?

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 I often find that I am working on several projects at once…usually projects that require the sewing machine.  However, there are times when I need a portable project.  At this time of the year, we spend a lot of time waiting…at the airport, in the car, while the holiday ham bakes, for holiday programs to start.  Why not put all of that time spent waiting to good use?

Hexies are the perfect portable project.  They take very few supplies to complete.  Everything needed can be easily stored in a small container, ready to grab and go.  Once you’ve learned the technique, each hexie can be completed in less than a minute.  If you have a five-minute wait in the car, you can complete five hexies…more than half of the hexies needed for one of the projects I’ll show you later!

They are also the perfect starter project for someone who’s never sewn before.  If you’re looking for a fun holiday gift for either a new or experienced quilter, create a hexie project box.  My sister-in-law, who has no sewing experience, has found herself forced to take it easy for a while.  She’s going a bit stir-crazy and contacted me, asking for a craft project that is easy and doesn’t require expensive tools.  I immediately thought of hexies; the items shown above are for her new hexie project box.

Now, how exactly do you make a hexie?  Gather the following items and you’re ready to start!

Hexie Tutorial

Fabric pieces, either scraps or small yardage cuts

A package of hexagon paper shapes (I use 1″ hexies)

One Wonderclip

Small scissors

Needle and Thread

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A few notes about hexies:

Photo 1:  Hexies come in many sizes.  The paper pieces used in this tutorial are 1″.   Hexies are measured along the side, not across the width of the entire piece.

Photos 2-3:

Most precut hexie pieces come as shown in the second photo.  I have found it very helpful to punch a hole in the center of each one with a paper punch.  This will make them must easier to remove when you’ve completed the hexie.

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The first step is to prepare your fabric.  If you’re planning on using the hexies as a grab and go project, it’s important to have your fabric precut and ready to be used.  If you’re using 1″ precut paper pieces, 2.75″ squares of fabric work best.  As mentioned before, you can either use scraps left over from other projects or use yardage.  If using yardage, cut a strip that is 2.75″ x width of fabric (WOF).  Cut the strip into 2.75″ squares.  If you have one of Quilt Expressions’ 2.5″ x 6.5″ rulers, this is a very simple process.  Lay your fabric strip straight on your cutting mat.  Place the ruler along the short end, as shown in photo 1.  Because the ruler is 2.5″ wide, simply move the ruler over an additional 1/4,” creating a 2.75″ square.

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For my sister-in-law’s hexie box, I chose five prints from one of our new collections, Walkabout by Beth Studley for Makower, UK.  To get her started, I cut one 2.75″ x WOF strip from each of the five prints.  I was able to cut 15 squares from each strip, resulting in 75 squares.

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Click on photo to enlarge

Step 1:  Gather one fabric square, one hexie paper piece, and a threaded needle.  Place the paper piece in the center of the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 2:  Holding the paper in place, fold one side of the fabric over onto the paper piece.

Step 3:  Fold over the adjoining side, creating your first corner.

Step 4:  Secure the two folds with a Wonderclip.

Step 5:  Tack the fold together with two slip stitches.

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Click on photo to enlarge

Step 6:  Fold over the third side of the hexie, secure with the Wonderclip.  Stitch.  Repeat along sides four and five.

Step 6:  When you get to the last side of the hexie (photo three above), carefully fold fabric toward the center as before.  Be sure that both resulting corners are still tight against the edge of the paper piece. Hold in place with the Wonderclip.

Step 7:  Stitch the last two folds in place.

Step 8:  To secure the thread once all of the folds are complete, I find it easiest to wrap the thread around the end of my needle twice (photo 5) and pull the thread tight, resulting in a small knot.

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Click on photo to enlarge

Step 9: When the hexie is complete, it will look like the first photo above. To remove the paper piece, insert a pencil (or any pointy object) into the hole in the center of the paper piece.  Very gently, pull the paper piece out of the fabric hexie.  I find it easiest to pinch a corner of the fabric hexie and pull the paper piece out corner by corner.

Step 10:  Once the paper is out, reshape the hexie if needed and then press.  (The paper hexie can be reused over and over.  When pressing the fabric hexie, I also press the folds out of the paper hexie and add it back to my bag of hexies paper pieces.)

Step 11:  Repeat…repeat…repeat…

hexieprojects

Once you’ve completed the hexies, what do you do with them?  What I love about hexies is you can make 1000’s and make them into a quilt, or you can make 10-30 and add them to a small project as embellishment.

Della added just nine hexies to a pouch made using the “Perfect Pouches” pattern by Lazy Girl.  They sure add a bit of personality to an otherwise plain pouch.  The pattern is available at Quilt Expressions and also happens to be the perfect size to hold all of your hexie supplies!

I had a scrap of grey Dottie fabric left over from a project and added 24 hexies to create a small table topper.  The tutorial for the topper can be found here.

If you’re looking for additional projects using hexies, simply search for “hexies” on Pinterest.  There are many, many ideas using either a few hexies or 1000’s.

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If you’re creating a hexie project box to be given as a gift, gather all of the supplies needed and put them in a container.  If the recipient doesn’t have a rotary cutter or cutting mat, precut the fabric squares for them.  Add the link to this blog post, and the recipient will have all they need to get started.  Be sure that the container is large enough to hold the completed hexies.  Snack size disposable bags are perfect for storing the completed hexies inside the container.

“Whatcha Doing?”

It’s November 30th….can you believe it?! 

For those of us who enjoy making handcrafted items for holiday gifts, it’s crunch time!  November 30th is our signal that we might need to sleep a little less, let the housework go just a bit, and put someone else in charge of meals because there are just 25 more days until Christmas!

Just in case you’re still looking for some ideas that are fast and easy but will be well appreciated, I thought I’d catch you up on what I’ve been working on.

super6one

Do you remember way back here in August, I last posted on the progress of my Super Six?   I started this quilt just after I was hired at Quilt Expressions, in the summer of 2013.  It quickly became a project that I’d work on here and there, in between other projects. I am happy to report that it is finally finished and in use!Doesn’t seem like a fast project, right?  If you’re able to commit a day or two to just this project, you’ll have it finished in plenty of time for the holidays.    The finished size is 76″ x 88,” with a maker it bigger option that will result in a finished size of 90″ x 102.”

supersixtwo

The center is made up of three different blocks, followed by two borders.  My {very} bright Super Six is for my daughter’s daybed.  Because the bed has just one mattress, I left off the second pieced border.   That left me with a nice-sized pile of squares to play with…they will likely become pillow covers for her bed.

waffletime

Table runners made a fantastic gift.  They can either be holiday-themed or made to match the recipients color scheme.  This table runner goes together quickly and is perfect for highlighting a favorite focus fabric.  You might recognize the pattern from this post.  The table runner looks great in so many styles of fabric.  The pattern is “Waffletime” by Atkinson Designs.  We have both the pattern and the Batik kit at Quilt Expressions.

apron

I’m a firm believer that one can never have too many aprons…especially aprons with plenty of pockets!  Our Utility apron goes together quickly and is handy for anyone on your list who enjoys crafts.  There are three pockets, along with a pen slot.  To view the tutorial, click here.

quickbabystripe

If there’s a little one on your gift-giving list, consider our Quick Baby Stripe pattern.  This pattern goes together quickly and is small enough to quilt on your home machine, if needed.  Add soft cuddle to the back, and it’s the perfect baby gift.  The pattern is available at Quilt Expressions, along with the dinosaur kit and the pastel floral kit.

buildingblocks

On my design wall right now is quite possibly the fastest quilt you’ll ever make.  This one is for a gift, so I can’t show all of It.  The photo on the left shows my finished blocks.  With just two more seams, this quilt top is complete!  It’s the perfect size for children.  However, I’ve discovered that it’s also the perfect lap-size for an adult.  This pattern is called Building Blocks.

So that’s a little of what I’ve been working on over the past several months.  Please feel free to leave a comment with your favorite finished project or work in progress.

If you’re looking for a few more fast ideas, please click here to view last year’s blog series “30 Days of Gift Giving Ideas.”  Click on the photo to go to the post for that item.

Happy crafting!  -Katie

Utility Apron Tutorial

utilityapron

My Handy Quilt Expressions’ Utility Apron

When I started working at Quilt Expressions, I soon discovered that I didn’t have enough pockets to hold everything I needed to keep close at hand.  Note pad, pen, pins, cell phone, measuring tape…I just couldn’t get it all to fit.  After seeing multiple styles of utility aprons on Pinterest, I made one that combined all of the details I wanted and my problem was solved!  These are very versatile and make great gifts for those with any hobby.

Utility Apron Tutorial

(Please read entire pattern before beginning.)

1/2″ seam, unless otherwise noted

Supplies:

Fabric A – Apron Body and Back Lining – 3/8 yard

Cut (2) 12.5″ (height)  x 21″ (width)

Fabric B – Pocket and Pocket Lining – 1/4 yard

Cut (2) 7″ x 21″

Fabric C – Tie,  Pocket Trim, and Hanging Tab – 1/3 yard

Trim:  cut (1) 2.5″ x 21″   Tie:  Cut (2) 4″ x Width of Fabric  Hanging Tab:  Cut (1) 2″ x 5″

*Notes:  This pattern is written using fabric that is at least 42″ wide.  If your fabric is less than 42″ wide after removing the selvage, simple adjust the width of your apron body, apron body lining, pocket, pocket lining and trim to 20″ or 19″.

If you’d like a sturdier apron, apply light fusible interfacing to the apron body, apron body lining, both tie pieces, and the hanging tab.  Apply interfacing before you begin sewing.  Use the same cutting measurements as noted above. 

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Pocket Assembly: Steps One-Three

Pocket Assembly

Step One:  Lay pocket piece, pocket trim, and pocket lining on your work surface as shown above.  If your fabric is directional, make sure the fabric design on the pocket piece is top side up as you look down at it.

Step Two:  Lay pocket trim along the top edge of the pocket piece with right sides together.  Sew together.

Step Three:  Press seam open.

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Pocket Assembly: Steps Four-Six

Step Four:  Lay pocket lining along the raw long edge of the pocket trim, right sides together.  Pin and sew.

Step Five:  Press seam open again.

Step Six:  Fold your finished pocket and pocket lining in half lengthwise with wrong sides together, matching the long unfinished edges of the pocket and lining.  Press.

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Finishing the Pocket:  Edge stitch 1/8″ from the top of the pocket trim and along the top of the pocket piece.

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Attaching the Pocket: Steps One-Three

Attaching the Pocket

Step One:  Lay the finished pocket piece on top of the right side of the apron body piece.  Match the bottom raw edge of the pocket piece with the bottom raw edge of the body piece.  Pin in place.

Step Two:  It’s time to divide the large pocket into smaller pockets.  Determine your pocket sizes based on your needs.  I like to have a small pen pocket, plus three additional pockets.  Starting from the edge of the apron, I measured in 1.5″, 6.75″, and 5″.  This creates four pockets, perfect for my needs at the store.  Mark your sewing lines with masking tape; a removable fabric pen or pencil also works well.   Sew along the lines you’ve created, backstitching at the beginning and the end each seam to set the seam.

Step Three:  Using a basting stitch and a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around the three raw edges of the pocket.

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Finishing the Apron Body: Steps One, Two and Three

Finishing the Apron Body

Step One:  Lay the apron body piece with attached pocket right side up on your working surface.  Next, lay the apron lining piece with right side down on top of the apron body, matching all raw edges.  Using a 1/2″ seam, sew around both sides and the bottom, leaving the top open.

Step Two:  Clip the corners on the diagonal.

Step Three: Trim down each side at an angle as shown above.  This helps create a nice finished corner.   Turn apron body right side out, press.

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Hanging Tab: Steps One-Four

Hanging Tab

(The hanging tab is optional. It is a handy addition to half aprons.)

Step One:  Apply interfacing, if desired, to the back of the 2″ x 5″ hanging tab piece.

Step Two:  Fold tab piece in half with right sides together, creating a fold along the long edge.  Press.

Step Three:  Open fold, fold one long raw edge in to meet the fold line you just created.  Press.

Step Four:  Fold second long raw edge in to meet the fold.  Press.

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Apron Utility Tab: Steps Five-Nine

Step Five:  Refold the apron tab piece on the original fold made in step two.  It will resemble double fold bias tape.  Press.

Step Six:  Edge stitch along the long open edge.

Step Seven:  Fold as shown in the third photo above.  Pin.

Step Eight:  Press the triangle-shaped end.

Step Nine:  Edge stitch along the bottom of the triangle and along the bottom of the “legs.”  Set aside.

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Apron Tie: Creating the Rounded Ends

Apron Ties

Step One (Not Shown Above):  Remove the selvages from the (2) 4″ x width of fabric apron tie pieces.  Place them right sides together and stitch along one short end.  You should now have a piece 4″ by approximately 80″-82.”  Press seam open.

Step Two (Not Shown Above):  Fold apron tie piece in half lengthwise, right sides together, matching the two long raw edges.  Press.  (Be sure to use a pressing cloth if you’ve applied interfacing).  Pin.

Step Three (Shown Above):  If you’d like to round the ends of the apron ties, create a curve along the ends.  I find a handy round objects (a container lid, in this example) and draw along the edge.  Cut along your line.

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Step Four:  You should have a seam in the middle of your apron tie where you sewed the two pieces together.  This is the center of your tie.  Measure the width of the apron body…it should be approximately 20″ wide.  Divide the apron piece width by two (10″).  Measuring from the center seam on the apron tie, place a pin 10″ to the left of the seam and another 10″ to the right of the seam.  (To be safe, I put the pin an extra 1/4″ from the center, at about 10 1/4″).  This will be the opening where we’ll eventually place the apron body.  Sew along the raw edges of the apron tie from one curved end to the first pin, and then sew from the other curved end to the second pin.  You should now have an opening approximately 20″ wide in the middle of your apron tie.  Turn both ends so the apron tie is now right side out and press.

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Attaching the Apron Tie to the Apron Body: Steps One-Three

Attaching the Apron Tie and Tab to the Apron Body

Step One:  Press one raw edge of the approximately 20″ opening in the apron tie under 1/2″.

Step Two:  Repeat with the second raw edge.  Set aside.

Step Three:  Find the center of the top of your apron piece and mark with a pin.

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Attaching the Apron Ties and Hanging Tab to the Apron Body: Steps Four-Six

Step Four:  Lay the apron tie on your work surface.  Slip the apron body up inside the approximately 20″ opening in the apron tie.  Push it up until the unfinished edge of the apron body is against the fold of the tie.  Position the hanging tab in the middle of the back of your apron as shown in the first photo above.  Be sure that’s it about an inch inside the apron tie.  Pin.

Step Five:  Carefully top stitch about 1/8″ around the entire apron tie, securing the apron body and hanging tab within the tie.

Step Six:  Enjoy!

Mary Jane’s “Bee My Honey”

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There’s a 50-acre piece of country paradise in northern Idaho…it’s where you go to get away from technology; see how a working farm, well, works; spend time in a 100+ year old one-room school house; visit the only remaining flour mill on the Palouse, and sleep in a cozy, furnished wall tent in the middle of an orchard {nearby outhouse included!}.  It’s a place to truly go back in time, and it’s all ran by one person….Mary Jane Butters.

Mary Jane has been an organic farmer near Moscow, Idaho for the past 28 years.  She’s been featured in “National Geographic,” on the CBS Evening Show  and in many other publications.  In addition to running the farm, she also publishes a magazine and writes cookbooks.   If all of that isn’t enough, she’s managed to design a collection of fabric for Moda in her spare time.

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Bee My Honey” is a bright collection of red, blue, turquoise, yellow and green bees, florals, honey combs, watering cans, and letter “B’s.”  We’ve had a lot of fun using the collection in a few fast and easy projects.

beehexie

 This little hexie mat is a great way to draw attention to my favorite print in the collection…the multi-colored bees on the turquoise background.

I chose a subtle grey-on-grey dot print for the background.  I used the same fabric on the front and the back, measuring 16.75″ W x 17.5″ H.  You’ll also need a piece of batting with the same measurements.  (If you prefer your backing and batting to be larger than your top, adjust accordingly.)

Using a variety of prints from the collection, I made 24 hexies with 1″ hexie paper piecing forms.  (Hexies are measured along the straight edge, from point to point).  If you haven’t used the paper piecing method for hexies, there are many helpful step-by-step videos on You-Tube.  I made sure to fussy cut the turquoise bee fabric so I’d end up with several whole bees.  Once you’ve made the hexies and removed the papers, press lightly with your iron around the outer edge of the hexie.  Lay them out on your background fabric…I chose to position them just off center and in three rows of 8.  I left about a 1.25″ space at both the top and the bottom of the group of hexies…I didn’t want my binding to overlap the hexies.   I placed the hexies approximately 1/8″ apart.  I applied a small circle of Heat N Bond Lite to the back of each hexie to keep them in place as I worked.  Create a sandwich with your top, batting and backing.  Pin well.

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Using my walking foot, I sewed around each hexie, 1/8″ from the edge.

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Once the hexies are sewn on, it’s time to quilt it.  I wanted to emphasize the hexagon pattern, so I moved my needle until it was 3/8″ away from the left edge of my walking foot.  I placed the left edge of the walking foot on the outer edge of one of the hexies and quilted around the entire group.   If you have the option on your machine to stop with your needle down when you reach the point of the hexies, this process is much simpler.  Once you’ve gone around the hexies once, start again with the left edge of your foot on the quilting line you just finished and outline it again.  Continue until your background fabric is completely quilted.  I bound my completed mat with 2.5″ binding.

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When I travel, I always try to visit the local quilt stores in the area.  Since I have access to so much fabric at Quilt Expressions, most of my out-of-town purchases are charm packs.  Our second project is a fast and easy way to put those charm packs to use.  You need one charm pack, one yard of background fabric, 1/2 yard binding, and a Triangle Square-up ruler  (Click here for ruler tutorial).  For our sample, we squared each half square triangle up to 4.5″.   If you have any questions on how to use the ruler, either view the tutorial link above or stop in and ask us to demonstrate it for you.  This is a great project because you can use your design wall to arrange them in so many different layouts.  Backing requirements will vary based on the layout you choose.

Our finished project measures 32″ x 40.”

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Our final project is a lovely table runner using the “Waffletime” pattern by Atkinson Designs.  This pattern is perfect if you have a fabric that you’d like to showcase.  The finished size is 18″ x 42.”  “Waffletime” kits are available in-store and will be available online at quiltexpressions.com soonNote:  The “Waffletime” tablerunner kit is selling so quickly, we haven’t had a chance to add it to our on-line store.  If you’d like to purchase one, call or stop in today before they are gone!  (local:  208.338.8933; toll-free: 1.800.544.5839)

Some day, I hope to take a trip to Mary Jane’s Farm and spend a few days there enjoying nature and learning a bit more about the history of the area.  However, I’m so happy that, for now, I can at least spend some of my free time with the “Bee My Honey” collection.  It makes me think of Spring and the beauty that is just around the corner.

***Source of information gathered about Mary Jane and her farm:  maryjanesfarm.org ***

Gift Inspiration Day Twenty Eight: Scrappy Pillows

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There’s one project that satisfies my creative style….I love to create something from scratch, without a pattern, and I don’t always have time to create something big.  Throw pillows are the perfect solution ~ pick a size, be as creative as you want, and then add the back.  Fast…easy….fun…and useful!  They are also a perfect gift for so many people on your list.

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I have two pillow tutorials for you today.  First, we’ll make the front of the “Two Squared” pillow in the top photo.  Then, we’ll make the front of the “Playground” pillow in the second photo.  Last, I’ll show you how to make an envelope pillow back.

Fabric:  “Two Squared” is made with PB & J by Basic Grey for Moda and “Playground” is made with Vintage Play by Suzn Quilts for Red Rooster.

{Please read all instructions before beginning.}

“Two Squared” Pillow

(144) 2″ squares for pillow front

(2) 18- 1/2″ x 13″  cuts of fabric for pillow back

Fusible Fleece:  (1) 18- 1/2″ x 18- 1/2,”  (2)  18- 1/2″ x 12- 1/2″

18″ square pillow insert

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On a work surface or design wall, arrange the 2″ squares in 12 rows of 12 squares.  Sew the squares into rows.  Press each row in opposite directions.  Sew the rows together.  With a warm, dry iron, fuse the fusible fleece to the back of the pillow front.

That’s it!  The Two Squared pillow front is complete.  We’ll work on the pillow back in a moment….first, let’s put together the Playground pillow front.

“Playground” Pillow

Supplies:

Fabric 1 (scene print):  cut (2) 4- 1/2″ x 18- 1/2″; cut (2) 1″ x 18- 1/2″ (in sample, we fussy cut the vehicle portion of the print)

Fabric 2 (Black Stripe):  cut (2) 1- 1/4″ x 18- 1/2″; (1) 1″ x 18- 1/2″; (12) 2″ squares

Fabric 3 (Red Diamond):  cut (2) 1″ x 18- 1/2″; (12) 2″ squares

Fabric 4 (Blue Puppies):  cut (12) 2″ squares

Fabric 5 (Green Flowers):   (12) 2″ squares

Fabric 6 (Red Puppies):  cut (2) 13″ x 18 1/2″

Fusible Fleece:  cut (1) 18 1/2″ x 18 1/2″; (2) 12 1/2″ x 18 1/2″

(1) 18″ square pillow form

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For the construction of the Playground pillow front, please refer to the photo above.   Lay the pieces out as described on your work surface.  Sew together each row of 2″ squares and then sew each row together, starting at the top.  Use a 1/4″ seam.  Below, I’m also including a row-by-row description.

Row A:  1- 1/4″ x 18- 1/2″ strip from Fabric 2 (black stripe)

Row B:  (12) 2″ squares from combination of Fabrics 2 (black stripe), 3 (red diamond), 4 (blue puppies), and 5 (green flowers)

Row C:  1″ x 18- 1/2″ fussy cut strip from Fabric 1 (scene print)

Row D:  (12) 2″ squares from combination of Fabrics 2 (black stripe), 3 (red diamond), 4 (blue puppies), and 5 (green flowers)

Row E:  1″ x 18- 1/2″ strip from Fabric 3 (red diamond)

Row F:  4- 1/2″ x 18- 1/2″ strip from scene print

Row G:  1″ x 18- 1/2″ strip from Fabric 2 (black stripe)

Row H:   4- 1/2″ x 18- 1/2″ strip from scene print

Row I:  1″ x 18 1/2″ strip from Fabric 3 (red diamond)

Row J:  (12) 2″ squares from combination of Fabrics 2 (black stripe), 3 (red diamond), 4 (blue puppies), and 5 (green flowers)

Row K:  1″ x 18- 1/2″ fussy cut strip from Fabric 1 (scene print)

Row L:  (12) 2″ squares from combination of Fabrics 2 (black stripe), 3 (red diamond), 4 (blue puppies), and 5 (green flowers)

Row M:  1- 1/4″ x 18 -1/2″ strip from Fabric 2 (black stripe)

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One note on pressing…I didn’t want the 1/2″ finished strips to be lost among the squares and larger strips, so I pressed both seams toward the skinny strip.  This causes that strip to appear to lay on top of the adjoining rows.  If you prefer to have them appear behind the adjoining rows, press the seams toward the pieced rows.

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In the photo above, both seams have been pressed toward the 1″ strip (1/2″ finished), completely hiding it on the back.

Once the 13 rows are joined together, the “Playground” pillow front is complete.

Pillow Envelope Back

Both pillow patterns call for (2) cuts of fabric 13″ x 18- 1/2″ and (2) cuts of fusible fleece 12- 1/2″ x 18- 1/2.”

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Using a hot, dry iron, fuse the fusible fleece to the wrong side of both pillow back pieces, matching one long side and both short sides.  The fusible fleece should be 1/2″ short on one long side.

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Fold over the 1/2″ of fabric and press.  Top stitch 3/8″ from the fold.  Repeat with second pillow back piece.

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Lay the pillow front right side up on your work surface.  Lay one of the back pieces right side down on top, lining up the 18- 1/2″ raw edge with the left side of the pillow front.

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Lay the second pillow back piece right side down on top of the pillow front, matching the 18- 1/2″ raw edge with the right side of the pillow front.  Pin well.

Using a 1/4″ seam, sew around entire piece.  Backstitch over the finished ends of the pillow back pieces to reinforce them.  Clip the corners and turn right side out.  Reach your hand inside and poke corners out to get a nice point.

Insert pillow form into pillow.

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Note on pillow back:  Envelope back pillows can often spread apart once the pillow is inserted, causing a gap.  I’ve added a couple of inches to the standard formula; this results in a perfect fit on the back of the pillow.

Formula for determining pillow back fabric based on size of pillow form:

Pillow Size + 8″ = x   and then   x/2= width of pillow back pieces

For our 18″ samples:  18″ + 8 = 26 / 2 = 13″

For the height of the pillow back pieces, add just 1/2″ to the size of the pillow form.  For our sample:  18″ + 1/2″ = 18- 1/2″