Thursday, May 24, 2012

Big Apple & Batiks

My bags are packed ! I'm ready to go . . . Leavin' on a jet plane . . .

Oh yeah, I forgot. Many of you weren't even born when Peter, Paul and Mary were singing that song.

But tomorrow morning we're off to New Jersey on a jet plane . . .

Not just my hubby and me but all of our 5 grown up children and three of their spouses.
 ( We'll be seriously missing the other two spouses who can't be with us.)

What you might ask is the occasion?

My middle son got married recently (at last). Isn't she beautiful?

It was an amazing destination wedding. This weekend is the family celebration with Ana's mother & sisters.

So what does all of this have to do with SEWING??
There is a connection, you can be sure.

I have promised Ana a quilt. One that is reminiscent of their wedding in Bali.
What would that be? BATIKS, of course.

The quilt is in process and a few blocks are going with me to New Jersey for a preview.

Would you like a sneak peak???

Of course you would. Take a look at these -

Aren't those Batiks Yummy!!??
They look even better set together 'on point.' Here they are waiting on my design wall.

You may be interested to know that these 'fans' are not appliqued. They are pieced with a very COOL technique that is EASY PEASY! See the back of this one.

Stay tuned. I think I feel a pattern coming on!! Maybe one called Bali Batik Fans.
 How do you like it?? What do you think?? Got a name suggestion?

In the meantime, Big Apple Here We COME!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bloomin' Fun!

Need a great fabric flower to add some punch to your project?
This could be just the embellishment your were looking for.
Easy and lots of sass!

Don't you think she is the finishing touch to this Punch & Cookies Apron?

So let's get going . . .
You will need:

  •  About 5" of fabric - 5" X 44"
  • The scallop pattern from Punch & Cookies (or make your own)
  • A sheet of blank paper & pencil
  • A fabric marker or pencil
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Glue Gun

Start by trimming your fabric to 5" X 44"
(I know! This is not the fabric used for the flower on Punch & Cookies. This is leftover "DEMO" fabric.)
Remove the selvages.

Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and iron.

Trace the scallops from  the template provided in the Punch & Cookies pattern onto a blank sheet of paper and cut out the curved edge.
(If you are making your own the scallops are 2 1/2" wide.)

Position the scallops along the RAW edges of the fabric and trace the curves with a fabric pen or pencil. I like to use my 'heat sensitive' Pilot FRIXION pen. It makes a nice visible black line and it disappears when you touch it with an iron. Find them at your local quilt store or office supply store. They are inexpensive & come in black, red & blue.

Re-position the template to mark the whole strip.

WAIT! Before you cut out the scallops sew a row of gathering threads close to the folded edge of your strip. If you already cut out your scallops, NO BIGGIE. I just wait because it means I won't be handling and fraying the raw edges any more than necessary.

On one end measure back 6" and mark a line half the width of the strip -- That's at 1 1/14" if you don't want to calculate.

Like so --

Trim away the RAW edge NOT the FOLDED edge.

Pull out the gathering threads from this tail & tie a knot in this end to make the CENTER of your flower.

Now you can cut out the scallops.

Go to the sewing machine and sew along the scallops about 1/4" from the edge. Use a contrasting thread so it will show up! Take your time. The secret to sewing curves is to go slow and steady. Stop often with your needle down and raise the presser foot to re-position the fabric.

I can still see some of my black pen marks. Can't you?

Not to worry! Touch them with the warm iron . . . 

And they are GONE-ZO!!

Pull up the gathering threads.

Get the glue gun ready. Start by wrapping around the knot with the tail to the back.

You can trim the tail to keep it out of your way.

Working with just an inch or so of glue at a time, work the gathers around the knot from the back or the flower. When you are finished it will look something like this . . .

Not so pretty! Not to worry!
Cut a circle of fabric a little bigger than the messy stuff you want to cover.

Run a bead of glue around the edge of your 'cover up' and glue it in place.

To pin your flower to your darling apron you can use a big safety pin or a jewelry pin from your favorite craft store.

When you glue it to the back of your flower position it above the center of your flower. Look at the front of the flower and decide which way is up. Put the pin on the up side so the weight of the flower won't make it sag when you pin it on.

Voila!! The finishing touch for your project!!!!

They are so cute you may want to make a bouquet by tying the knot at the beginning around a long-stemmed stick. Put them on a wreath or in a child's hair. Hmmmm. . . . just let your imagination run wild.

Here's the inspiration for this great flower. Check out this clever crafter and her Long-Stemmed Bouquet.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Punch & Cookies Tutorial

This tutorial is a supplement to the 
Not every step included in the pattern is shown.

Cutting Directions:
Step 2
With the fabric folded cut the center skirt WOF X by the measurement in the pattern. The width of the fabric - 44" is not wide enough to make a nice full skirt on our apron. A center seam is not pretty so we will trim this piece to 30" wide and then add two side skirt pieces.

Now open the fabric and refold the selvage over as shown to fit the bib pattern.

Pin the pattern in place and measure down from the bottom as indicated on the pattern.

Draw a line across the fabric.

Cut out the bib.

From the fabric you have left you will need to cut two side skirt pieces the length indicated in the pattern. Depending on how wide your fabric is your pieces will be 14"-16" wide. The inch or two won't make a significant difference in the fullness of your skirt.

Cut off the selvage edges.

Now you have three skirt pieces, like these:

Step 2
From the accent fabric cut the pieces listed in the pattern.

If your fabric has a large design that repeats you will want to center it on the color band. You can see in the next picture that the color band was folded on the center of the design. The ends were then trimmed to measure even with the apron bib.

The front facing should also be centered on the design if your fabric requires it.

Construction Directions:

Step 1
When sewing ties a few simple steps will make the square corners turn better and look better.
Sew toward the corners with a normal stitch length - 2.5. Stop within ½" of the corner and shorten the stitch length to 1.5. 

Sew almost to the corner stop pivot 45⁰ and sew 2-3 small stitches across the corner.

 Stop with the needle down, complete the pivot and continue sewing another ½". 

Return the stitch length to a normal 2.5. Repeat for each corner. 

Trim close to the stitching as shown. The tight short stitches allow you to trim closer than you might with longer stitches.

Sewing across the corner and trim closely will allow more room for turning the fabric and will actually result in a sharper, flatter corner. 

Perfect Corners!

Step 2

Pin the skirt sides to the center skirt and sew together as shown.

Step 4

After the color band is added to the bib and skirt seam, press up toward the bib and pin in place like this:

Step 5

Don't skip the stay stitching when hemming the sides of the apron. The stitching helps stabilize the curved edges so then will press flat and not wavy like cheap ready-mades.  Stitch 3/8" from the raw edge. Press under using the stitching as a guide. Then press under another 3/8".

Step 6

Pin the raw edges of the neck straps in place on the wrong side of bib with the ties hanging down the apron.

Pin the neck facing over the straps with the fabric RIGHT SIDE DOWN. This will mean the bib and facing are WRONG SIDE to RIGHT SIDE. Stitch through all layers along the top of the bib.

Turn the facing to the front of the bib and press the seam. Trim the sides of the facing at the same angle as the bib leaving ⅜" to turn under. Pin the facing in place turning under the sides and tucking in the seam allowance as needed. Topstitch in place around all sides of the facing.

Use a slight longer stitch (3.0) when topstitching for a better look.

Step 7

Pin the raw edges of the tie ends even with the side of the apron on the WRONG SIDE. Stitch across the end of the tie ⅜" from the apron side. Try to stitch over the hem stitching.

Press the tie forward to cover the raw end. 

From the front side go across the tie again stitching close to the apron edge through all layers. 

This makes a very strong tie that will not pull out with everyday use.

And it looks great from the back as well.