Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cutting Squares Fast!

I teach quilting at Just Sew in Highland, Utah.
The quilt one of my classes is making needs 160 - 2 1/2" white squares. The squares sewn on as half square triangles shape the petals in this Pretty Posies quilt.

That's a lot of squares.
So let's cut them as fast as we can.
Start by cutting 2 1/2" strips across the width of the fabric. You can cut 16 -  2 1/2" squares from 42" of fabric. If you need 160 squares it will require 10 strips.

Please note: For this tutorial I will only be cutting 24 squares for a smaller quilt.

After straightening the edge of the fabric I begin cutting the 2 1/2" strips.

Here I have cut two strips which is all I need for my small quilt. Continue cutting as many as you need for your pattern.


Without unfolding them, layer the strips with the selvage edges together.
You may layer as many as three strips on top of each other for 6 layers of fabric. If your rotary cutter is not sharp you may find 2 strips for 4 layers is better but not as fast. :(

Make sure your cut edges are exactly even. Don't fuss if the selvage edges on your folded fabric are not even. Keep the fabric folded as it came off the bolt. You have some 'wiggle' room on this one.

Holding your ruler down tight to keep the layers from being 'pushed' by the rotary cutter trim off the selvage edges.

 Now flip your stack of strips over so that your cut end in on the left and begin cutting your squares.

Here I have two strips in my stack so I am cutting 4 squares at a time.

Continue cutting toward the fold. Six cuts gives me the 24 squares I need.
If you are cutting more, when you cut the final stack of 4 squares from the layered strips, open up the folded ends and see if they are big enough for one more cut. If so, stack up these unfolded ends from the layered strips and cut them all at once

Squares cut fast!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sister Dresses!

I finished these sister dresses about 3 weeks ago
so it's time to show them off.
Both the dresses and the sisters!

These are my two youngest granddaughters, Allison and Hannah, in matching dresses and corduroy jackets.

The dress pattern is Annika and the jacket pattern is Blair, both by Maja's Heirlooms.

I had so much fun with these that I found an 18" doll that reminded me of Hannah. . . .

Well, you can see what I did . . . 

Stay tuned for the jacket. . .

Monday, February 24, 2014

As promised the pattern for O'Halloran's Heels, a whimsical, two-sided Irish table runner is ready. You can click on over to the Sew Much Good Etsy Shop and down load a .pdf file for printing.

The .pdf is for sale at an introductory price of $7.  So don't miss out. March is upon us!

While you are at the Sew Much Good Etsy Shop check out all the other patterns for sale. You may want to make an Easter Apron or two.

As soon as it comes back from the printer it will also be available in a paper pattern for shipping.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Wearin' O' the Green

Valentine's Day is over and St. Patrick's Day is fast approaching!
GOING GREEN is so PC these days, how about a couple of fun GREEN projects.

O'Halloran's Heels is my most recent whimsical table runner pattern.
It will be ready to ship the last week of February.
Here's a sneak preview.

Whether or not you are Irish, who doesn't love to wear GREEN on St. Patrick's Day?!
After all, Spring is just around the corner and everything will be turning green soon.
Today I am bringing you a whimsical apron that is as easy to make as it is fun to wear!
The pattern I am using Strawberry Licorice featuring GIANT RIC RAC trim.
The pattern is available right on my blog or you can pick one up from my Etsy Shop.

PLEASE NOTE: This picture tutorial is meant to be used with the pattern instructions. Not all steps are shown here.

I am using three fabrics from Timeless Treasures:
Sharocks & Clovers by Gail Cadden
Sketch Basic in Grass green
Mini Series Shamrocks

The fun part of this apron is the GIANT RIC RAC made easy with iron-on fusible. If you have not used iron-on fusible before you are in for a treat. It is simple, quick and fun.

For this pattern you would use a light weight fusible such as Heat-N-Bond Lite.
I have followed the pattern instructions for preparing the apron for the RIC RAC. I have sewn the upper and lower pocket pieces together, attached the lower skirt band and basted the upper bib accent in place. Now the apron is ready for the RIC RAC.

I start by tracing the three RIC RAC patterns onto the paper side of the iron-on fusible.

Next I cut out the three pieces leaving about 1/2" on all sides.


Following the manufacturer's recommendations I arrange and fuse the pieces to the WRONG SIDE of the Sketch Basic Green fabric. The iron is typically set to a 'wool' setting and pressed down for just a few seconds. NOTE: Using too much heat and pressing too long at this stage will melt the adhesive into the fabric so that it will not fuse successfully to another piece of fabric.  

When I begin to see the fabric through the paper as in the picture below I know that it is pressed enough.

With the paper side of my fusible up, I quickly cut the pieces apart..

Now I carefully cut right on the traced lines removing all the excess fabric and paper.

You can see my pocket has been prepared by sewing the upper pocket and lower pocket together.

When I peel the paper from the back of the pocket RIC RAC the iron-on adhesive stays on the wrong side of the fabric. See how shiny it looks.

 With the paper off I center the RIC RAC on the pocket covering up the seam. The ends of the RIC RAC might extend slightly passed the pocket edge.

 I always place a pressing cloth on the ironing board to protect the cover from any of the fusible adhesive. Again I follow the manufacturer's recommendations for heat and pressing time. A typical pressing for this step is 10-15 seconds. I avoid scrubbing the iron around but rather place the iron down for the 10-15 seconds, raise, re-position and press again.

Next you can see the bottom of the apron with the band sewn on. Notice that the seam is on the right side of the fabric. The RIC RAC will cover this seam completely.

I remove the paper as before.

I use the 1/2" seam allowance as the guide for positioning the RIC RAC straight across the apron. The 'valley' on the top of the RIC RAC will just cover the top of the seam allowance and the reverse 'valley' on the bottom of the RIC RAC will just cover the bottom of the seam allowance as shown in the two pictures below.

The skirt RIC RAC is ironed and fused down as with the pocket.

Here is the bib accent band sewn to the apron with basting stitches across the top and bottom.

I position the bib RIC RAC using the side shape for reference and making sure to cover the bottom of the bib accent band.

 The shape of the RIC RAC ends serve as a guide for correct placement.

The bib RIC RAC is ironed and fused down the same way I did the pocket and skirt RIC RAC.

The last step in applying the RIC RAC is sewing it down. For a casual look a straight stitch 1/4" from the edge will do. In this case I choose a blanket stitch in white to give more definition to the edge of the RIC RAC. (The stitch width is 3.5 and the stitch length is 3.0.) Using the center line on my presser foot as the guide, I sew along the edge of the RIC RAC on both sides.

To sew the curves successfully, stop with the needle in the fabric and raise the presser foot to re-position every stitch or two. Sew slowly on the curves. This is not a race! Sew up to speed on the straight parts.

From this point the apron quickly goes together and here she is!
Do I hear, "Top 'o the mornin'!" ?

Happy Sewing and Happy St. Patrick's Day from Sew Much Good!

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year . . . Time to learn New Skills!

Announcing the Quilting Skill Builder Series at Just Sew in Highland, Utah.
Each time I teach this series it is so gratifying to see quilters grow in confidence as they learn and learn it RIGHT!

The 6 class series will begin on Wednesday, January 22. One class will go from 10 am to Noon and the second class from 7-9 pm. 

Hopefully offering a morning and evening class will accommodate most schedules.

In the 6 classes you will complete this table runner with the solid color of your choosing.

  The sign up is available in the store at Just Sew today. Below is the class description:

Skill Builder Series
All morning classes meet 10am – Noon
All Evening Classes meet 7-9 pm

#1 Precision Piecing                                       Wednesday    Jan 22
#2 Make Friends with Triangles                  Wednesday    Jan 29
#3 Happy to Applique by Machine             Wednesday    Feb 5
#4 Paper Piecing Primer                               Wednesday    Feb 12
#5 Curved Piecing                                          Wednesday    Feb 19
#6 Great Ending: Bindings                           Wednesday    March 12*

  Class fee: All 6 classes $75 +required kit

#1 Precision Piecing                                           1/22
Learn to cut and sew accurately with confidence.  Find your perfect ¼” and make those points match. Learn about how thread and needle choices make a difference. Among other things learn the finer points of pressing.

#2 Make Friends with Triangles                    1/29
Triangles are everywhere from flying geese, to stars and pinwheels. You can’t get away from them so make friends with them. Explore methods of cutting and sewing triangles accurately!!
#3 Happy to Applique by Machine                2/5
Raw edge or turned under- machine applique is here to stay! Never avoid applique again.  Learn to make your machine applique smooth and your stitches invisible!
#4 Paper Piecing Primer                                   2/12
Who was the crazy person that thought you could sew a block from the back side on paper??!! Have you had trouble seeing it in the past? Just can’t wrap your head around it? This class will clear it all up once and for all! With a few tips and tricks and a little practice you can do this and even learn to like it!
#5 Curved piecing                                               2/19
You have the basics down now – your ¼” is perfect, your points match and your triangles are ‘square.’ With a few tips and a little practice you can move to a new level.  Think piecing a curve is next to impossible? Think again. It’s really fool proof and easy with this innovative technique.
#6 Great Ending: Binding                                 3/12
Binding is the finishing touch for your work of art. Learn a great looking machine applied technique.

*The two week break between classes 5 & 6 will allow time to finish and quilt the table runner and prepare it for binding.

Happy New Year! Happy Quilting, Sewing and Smocking!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jingle Boots

This tutorial was originally posted on the Timeless Treasures Blog. You can check it out here.
I am adding it here to give some added tips and tricks for completion of your Christmas table runner. If you don't have a pattern you can purchase one on the side bar of my blog home page under the heading PATTERNS FOR YOU.

Jingle Boots is a two-sided table runner that will add a little tinkling sparkle and kick to your holiday decorating. It is easy and fun to make with the step-by-step instructions included in the pattern.

PLEASE NOTEThis picture tutorial is meant to be used with the pattern instructions. Not all the steps are shown here. I have given the tips in the same order as the steps in the pattern.

Follow along as I give you some hints and tips to make this adorable runner. For this tutorial I used the following Timeless Treasures Fabrics:

Main Runner - C1820-Red
Pleated Ruffle & Boots - CM8787-GREEN
Bottom Color Band - CM1285-Holiday
Prairie Points - SOHO Solid White
Stockings - C9186-RED

Let's get started. The first step is preparing the main runner.


Following the pattern instructions you will cut one or two pieces of the main runner fabric, across the width of your yardage. Whether you have one or two pieces will depend on the size of your table. (Since most tables will require two pieces that is what is shown in the following steps.)
Cut off the selvage edges to insure flat seams.

With the folded fabrics open, place them right sides together matching one of the short sides and sew together as per the pattern instructions. You will have one long piece.

Press the seam open and refold the whole piece in half lengthwise, matching the center seam. Pin and stitch along the length to form a long tube with open ends.

You will next be pressing this long seam open and positioning it in the center of the runner.
To find the center quickly, with your tube flat and the seam to one side, finger press the fold for an inch or two.

This will give you a center mark which you can then match up with the seam on the opposite side.

Center the seam and press it open. At this point your runner will look like the picture on the left.

The next step will be to trim the center runner to the desired length. Following the calculations in your pattern, you will be trimming some from each end. This keeps the seam centered in the middle of your table.
Rather than trim each end separately, fold the runner in half at the seam with the open ends together.
If you are using a rotary cutter and ruler, note the amount to trim and cut through both ends at once.
Now sew across the open ends marking and leaving a 6" opening in one end to turn it.

Before turning take the time to press the seams open on the ends. This makes things much easier once it is turned . . . ESPECIALLY for the seam allowance in the opening. To press the seams open on the end of your tube you will need to clip each corner as shown below. Put the scissor tip into the fold and clip down close to the stitching but not TOO close. This will release the seam to fold open.

Start with the seam allowance on one side and press it back. Then turn the whole piece over and press the other seam allowance back towards the runner. Repeat for the opposite end of the runner.

Use the 6" opening to turn the entire tube right side out. Work the corners out flat and press all around.

To temporarily close the opening I use a WASHABLE WHITE GEL glue stick and run it along the inside edge of the opening. Pressing it lightly with the iron will dry it quickly and keep it in place until it is top stitched down in later steps.


The pattern includes one boot pattern. Rather than copying it once or even four times I take it to my printer and make four copies.  This preserves the original. Just be sure the printer is not re-sizing the copy. Laying out all four copies at once lets you see that you are allowing enough space between them and they will fit across the width of your folded fabric.

With the patterns pinned in place use a pen to trace around each boot. You may use a thermal erasable pen such as  a Pilot Frixon or just an ordinary pen. The thermal erasable pen mark disappears when it is heated by an iron.

This line will be on the inside seam of the boot and so will not show. Pens tend to drag less than a pencil when drawing on fabric and they create a defined dark line that is easy to follow for stitching. If you are concerned that the pen will bleed through and mark the table or mat beneath, just slip a piece of plain paper under the fabric in the area you are working on. If your fabric is too dark for a pen to be clearlyvisible, use a soap sliver recycled from the shower.

When you are done tracing remove the patterns, pin the two layers together in several places and rough cut the boots out. This means just quickly cut them apart without cutting too close. Notice that the top ONLY is cut along the pattern line.

Sew around the boots using a very short stitch length (1.0-1.5) as instructed in your pattern. Start at the right top and sewing around to the left side leaving the boot open across the top. Repeat for all four boots. When sewing around the toe it is better to round out the point a bit. This will make it easier to turn and still be pointed enough.
Next trim and clip around all sides.
Outside curves are clipped with a wedge and inside curves are clipped with a straight clip -  close to the stitching but not too close. Notice how the seam allowance is trimmed to about 1/8" in the toe area.

Before turning right side out, press down 1/2" along the top. This is much easier to do before turning than after.

Stuff the stockings lightly starting with a small piece of polyfil worked into the toe area.

A small stick or dowel with a rounded or flat end can be a useful tool. Be careful with sharp ends that can poke through the seams.

Continue working with small pieces until the stocking is lightly stuffed to within about an half inch of the top. Repeat for all four boots.

Prepare the stocking strip as directed in your pattern but sew across ONE END of the tube to close it.

Press the seam open along the side and use a dowel, chop stick or eraser end of a pencil to push the closed end up and through to the other side. 

No more safety pins to turn the tube!
Now just trim off the end that was sewn shut.

Press the sock tube with the seam running up the center back. Cut into four equal lengths. Insert one sock into each boot top about 1/2" and pin in place.  Pin carefully matching the tops on the back and front through the fabric so that when you sew from the front you will be catching the top of the boot on the back. Make sure that you have two RIGHT facing boots and two LEFT facing boots. Top stitch through all layers.


The white triangles on the color band are 4 1/2" squares folded diagonally twice forming Prairie Points. The 10 needed squares are cut from a fat quarter. Rather than cutting out squares one at a time here is an efficient way to cut them with a minimum of motions.

Note: The following instructions are written for a right-handed person. Reverse the directions for cutting if you are left handed.

Start by folding the fat quarter into thirds. First fold the selvage edge into the middle. 
Next fold the single layer side over forming three equal layers. Check to see that the selvage edge is snugged up against the fold on the inside.

Trim a small amount off the right side to create a straight edge as in show on the left below.
Carefully flip this over to the left side keeping the cut edges together. Lining the 4 1/2" mark along this straight edge cut a strip 4 1/2" wide through all three layers as in the picture on the right.

Square up one end by cutting off a small amount.
Again taking care not to shift the layers turn this end so it is at your left. Using a 4 1/2" square up ruler or your larger ruler, sub-cut the strip into 4 - 4 1/2" squares through all three layers. (You will have two extra squares.) OR you may cut three times through all three layers for 9 squares and cut the last square from a single layer as shown below.

When pressing Prairie Points remember that the diagonal fold is a bias edge and will stretch. Handling it with care will help keep things sharp and square. Bring the opposite corners together and hold securely. Using a hot DRY iron press firmly for several seconds. Do not scrub! There is a difference betweem ironing and PRESSING. Just PRESS.

The triangle should be flat and crisp with the corners meeting exactly. Fold in half again bringing the raw edges together.

Hold the corner points together securely and press as before. There you have a perfect Prairie Point! Flat and crisp!


Cut one WIDTH of FABRIC (WOF) to the required size. Cut off the selvage edges.
Measure the required length and cut through both layers for two bands.

Fold each band in half lengthwise, right sides together and sew across the ends. Before turning right side out fold the seam allowance toward the band and press. Then turn to the right side. This will allow the corner to turn easily and press out flat and crisp.

Mark each color band 1/2" from the raw edge and put a mark in the center of the band. In this case the dark fabric is best marked with a white soap sliver. Use this guide line and the center mark to position the Prairie Points across each color band as shown in the pattern. Pin in place. 

Set your stitch to a longer length (3.0) and baste the Prairie Points down. As you sew, the presser foot tends to push the narrow point out of place. Use a stiletto or other pointed tool to guide the points under the presser foot where your fingers can't fit.


Position the runner over the color band as instructed in the pattern. Top stitch the main runner over the Prairie Points and color band stitching close to the edge of the runner. Draw a line 3/4" above the edge of the main runner with an erasable pen or marker.

Before stitching on this line turn to the runner to the back and tuck the corners under to be caught in the stitching. This will keep them from 'peeking' out to the front.


This is a fun easy ruffle! NO GATHERS!
Mark the center of each ruffle strip. Pin it to the middle of the runner using the your last row of top stitching as the guide for the bottom of the ruffle. Pin each end even with the sides of  the runner. The ruffle will be laying floppy between the pins as in the image below.

Starting on the left side as you are looking at it in the picture, fold and pin 6 approximately 1" pleats on each side of the center. The pleats should lay over toward the left side. This will allow you to sew with the direction of the pleats when they are placed on the machine.

Again, using a long stitch, baste the pleats down by sewing 1/4" from the raw edge through all layers.


Place the ric rac over the top of the pleated ruffle. Center it by positioning it so that the each side of the runner falls in the same part of the ric rac 'wave' as shown below. Yours may be in a different part of the 'wave' but they should be the same on each side.
The lowest part of the wave on the top of the ric rac should just cover the raw edge of the ruffle and the upper most part of the wave on the bottom should cover the basting stitches. See the arrow in the picture below.

Tuck the ric rac ends to the back and pin in place. To stitch straight down the middle of the ric rac, sew 1/4" away from the inside waves as shown below.


Attach the elf legs and embellish with bow and bells. You are ready to JINGLE your BOOTS!! HO HO HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!