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Spring Bloom Blog Hop {+ giveaway}

2015 April 25

I’m super excited to be part of the Spring Bloom Blog Hop today! When Amanda from Bella Caronia sent me a photo of her fabrics early last month to see if I’d like to be one of the #springbloommakers it took me all of 30 seconds to reply back – “Yes, please!” Spring Bloom is Amanda’s first collection with Windham Fabrics and I am honored that she has let me play with it! (P.S. Scroll down for the giveaway so you can play with it too! Thanks Windham!)

This Bella Caronia collection seemed to me like I should create a project where several prints were mixed. A quilt would have been great, but since it’s not my strong suit I went with dresses. Dresses with lots of bright pretty colours and mix-matchy prints all in one place – just like a garden!

I decided to make the Ruffled Plaid Madness dress I drafted a few years back – only not in plaid this time. I’ve always wanted to make this dress again and I’m so pleased with how they show off Amanda’s collection! Thankfully our semi-rainy day photoshoot turned out ok too. Just like in spring, flowers bloom with the rainy weather – and apparently flowery fabric too!

Windham Fabrics kindly offered to send me whatever yardage I’d need for this project, but when I sat down to choose I got a bit stuck – so many options! So I let the girls choose their favorites (which happen to be in their favorite colours) and I think they did a great job. It also ensures that they extra-love the finished product. Though, thinking back, I don’t think I’d have a hard time selling layers of ruffles, puffed sleeves and a super-twirly skirt to these girls!

Making this dress turned out to be an exercise in “not forgetting something” that involved this crazy chart and lots of highlighting. With so many ruffles, each skirt front requires 4 or 5 tiers, each one with a ruffle and an under layer to hold it all together. That means lots of pieces, and LOTS of tiny 1/8″ rolled hems. I have never been more grateful that my Janome came with a rolled hem foot. And now I really, really know how to use it. Practice = Perfect – or at least very close!

Since I am a glutton for punishment I made my design based on looks, not “ease of creation“! These dresses curve down to the centre on the back bodice and up on the front bodice I remember going a bit cray-cray drafting the front ruffle the first time. Thankfully everything was already drafted so I could stitch the eight curves per dress so much faster this time around!

These dresses needed to be fully lined, so I also got to work with the new-to-me collection from Marsha Derse called Palette. I love her previous fabrics and the “not-so-solid” batik-like look of these fabrics really soften the colours.

Can I just say that I am super proud and a bit ecstatic over the invisible zipper fabric matching! When I cut matching fabric for the backs of the dresses I was super nervous I couldn’t match it properly – especially with the zipper right in the middle of the back seam! I felt a tad like MacGyver and with some “fabric, a glue stick and an iron” I managed to match it so amazingly well. It’s even a really simple process – really. I know you probably don’t believe me, so I’ll be writing a tutorial about it for sure! (Hint: It’s all in the glue stick!)

A huge shout-out and congratulations to Bella Caronia on their first collection! And thanks so much to Amanda and Windham for including me on this hop. I’m sew lucky! (pun intended!) There’s still a week of amazing projects in this blog hop! Check out the schedule below:

April 20 Windham Fabrics Snip-itsBella Caronia Blog ~ April 21 Leah and Bea Koch – Wintergreen and the Bee ~ April 22 Nell Timmer – Nell’s Notions ~ April 23 Jessica Darling ~ April 24 Kristy Daum – St. Louis Folk Victorian ~ April 25 Sherri Sylvester – Thread Riding Hood ~ April 26 Cindy Wiens – Live a Colorful Life ~ April 27 Krista Hennebury – Poppyprint ~ April 28 Felicity Ronaghan – Felicity Quilts ~ April 29 Casey York – The Studiolo ~ April 30 Janice Ryan – Better Off Thread ~ May 1 Deborah Moebes – Whipstitch ~ May 2 Bella Caronia Blog That’s a Wrap

Windham Fabrics is generously giving away the above amazing fat quarter bundle of Bella Caronia’s Spring Bloom Collection! This giveaway will run from April 25 – May 1, 2015. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter” no social media login entry too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Windham Fabrics sent me this fabric free of charge in exchange for this blog post. I always give you my own, uninfluenced opinion, and would not accept a project I didn’t love! Thanks for reading.

the Swansea bag {pattern review + giveaway}

2015 April 23

Today I get to be part of the “Time to Travel eBook Blog Tour” put together by Sewing with Boys. And yes – I know, I don’t have any boys! I was surprised to get an email from them last month asking if me (with my 2 girls) wanted to be part of this tour. Though their eBook is written with boys in mind, it’s totally appropriate for girls too. I can see them using each of the patterns included in this just-released book. (Scroll down for your chance to enter to win some great prizes!)

As part of the tour I was given a copy of the Swansea Bag pattern written by Stitch Blue Designs. It’s one of the 4 full patterns included in the eBook, along with lots of tips and printables you can use when traveling with kids. The design is modeled after a military-style round duffle bag. And let me tell you – you need this bag! (As usual, despite getting the pattern for free in exchange for this review, my opinion is my always honest and my own. Thanks for reading!)

The girls just started their pre-summer swimming lessons and use a great wet bag for my youngest every week. However, when I saw this pattern I thought it would be perfect to use as a wet bag for my oldest so they could both have their own. Never mind that beach/pool weather is coming soon (I hope!) and we’ll need a carry-all then as well.

The finished Swansea turned out even more perfect than I could have asked for, and it’s huge! We almost don’t need a second bag since the child sized version I made holds both kids’ pajamas, shampoo/soap/hairbrush, large water bottle, snack AND two beach-sized towels. Whew!

Here are a few things I love about it:

  • It’s really large – we’re going to use it SO much this summer.
  • French seams throughout (and the instructions for them are very well explained). This allows the bag to be made super-quickly because it is completely finished inside without the need for a lining!
  • The optional pocket is just the right size for so many things! And I love how it looks with the pocket flap.

Alterations to the original pattern:

  • Added a french-seamed clear plastic liner to make it semi-waterproof.
  • Used two lengths of natural clothesline instead of 1.
  • Buttonholes instead of grommets. Because it’s a wet-bag I didn’t know what the metal would do if continually exposed to water.
  • Dark-coloured contrasting bottom band – because my daughter fell in love with the white-background fabric and I could see it getting instantly dirty!

Thoughts on the pattern:

  • Clearly written, illustrated instructions.
  • Confident beginner friendly pattern.
  • Variations: Two sizes: Child and Youth/Adult. Two closure options. Optional outer pocket.
  • Printed pattern pieces for all pieces – even the large rectangle needed for the body of the bag. That means no measuring and squaring up!

Things I might change next time:

  • I would definitely use a lighter gauge plastic if I lined it again. Making french seams in plastic is not easy on my machine and a lighter gauge would be just as waterproof.
  • I’d love to try one with grommets. It would make a great Christmas gift for my nephews.
I’m so happy I got to be a part of this Sewing with Boys tour. Even if I don’t have any boys! I truly love the Swansea bag, and its quick construction makes it even better. I can see making a lot more of these!

The Time to Travel eBook is on sale until the end of this blog tour (May 1) for only $9.95 – The Swansea bag alone is well worth that cost! Check out the official Sewing with Boys Tour Page for more information, blog tour daily links and to see each of the other patterns in action.

Grand prize: $50 gift certificate to FabricWorm and a copy of Time to Travel* ~ 2nd Prize: 1 yard of fabric from Mabel Madison and a copy of Time to Travel* ~ 3rd Prize: a copy of Time to Travel* ~ But that’s not all! If you buy the eBook during the tour, you’ll be automatically entered to win a $30 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop!

Enter this giveaway through the Raffelcopter widget below. If you buy the eBook and win the giveaway, Sewing with Boys will either refund your money, or send the copy on to a friend of your choice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you coming to Creativ Festival?

2015 April 21

It’s that time of year again. Creativ Festival Spring 2015 is almost upon us! April 24 & 25, creative people of all kinds will descend on the International Centre in Mississauga. As usual, I’m headed over. My goal is to meet as many lovely Thread Riding Hood readers as possible.

With that in mind, I’m pretty sure I’ll be there Friday afternoon and I’m definitely going to be there all day on Saturday. I can’t wait! If you see me, pretty please, come over and say hi! You will honestly make my day. (Yes, Really!) If you want more reasons to go to Creativ, check out these posts: Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014.

This spring Country Clothesline and Fabric Spark, two of my sponsors, asked me to create two new tutorials – both will be kitted and available at the show! I’m really excited about the projects I’ve made with them. Deadlines seem to produce great projects around here, Go figure! I’ve also got quite a few sewn projects that will be featured at the Fabric Spark booth. Two new ones and two oldies-but-goodies – see sneak peeks of the new fabrics below.

Since three of my sponsors will be at the show,  I asked them each to write up a few words about what you can expect at each of their booths, and they kindly agreed. I can’t wait to talk to them in person again. (And see the fabric in person… lots of fabric!)

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“We have been waiting for Spring, and Country Clothesline has it! Kits for the “Pretty Floral Divided Tote“, “Cushy Quilted Cushion” and the “Charming Picnic Quilt” as well as a great selection of our Fresh & Pretty Fabrics!  See you at Booth #364.” ~ Country Clothesline

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“Hi all, Fabric Spark is excited to be back at Creativ Festival this spring with new fabric, pre-cuts, kits, and new bundles.  We loved the shot cotton pillow Sherri made with the Kaffe Fassett charms so we’ve planned another project with her that we’ll be showing off in the booth – and will have kits available. We’d love to hear what you’re working on, come find my sisters and I in booth number 264. Sewists Unite!” ~ Fabric Spark

And for your sneak peek… check out these fabrics! The Wee Gallery is SO CUTE, and of course, Tula Pink… how could you pass up that one. I can’t wait to show you what I am making with them. (If you can’t wait to get some, find Wee Gallery here and the Tula Pink here!)

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Sew Sisters is busy preparing for Creativ Festival and we’re looking forward to meeting all our friends and customers at the show! We’ve got lots of fat quarters, yardage, new kits, books, patterns, and are featuring the very popular Creative Grids Stripology Ruler by Gudrun Erla. So stop by Booth #103!” ~ Sew Sisters

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How’s that for a line-up?! My favorite thing about going to Creativ is meeting you (real, live and in person!). My second favorite? Touching the fabric. Something you really can’t do when you buy most of your stash online!

If you can’t come and want to see what I’m up to, I’ll try to post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as I go. Hopefully I’ll do a good job and not get too distracted by everything going on around me! Follow along here:

Reader Feedback: Are you going to be at Creativ Festival?

Pretty Floral Divided Tote {free pattern & tutorial}

2015 April 15

I’m happy to be able to give you another tutorial today! This is one of my many Creativ Festival projects. I’ve been working with my sponsor Sylvia from Country Clothesline to create this tutorial and she will be selling kits for it at her booth next week. She has provided the fabric for this tote – isn’t it amazing? It just screams warm spring and summer days! The perfect bag for adding a little floral accent to add to your daily life. It’s right on trend too!

The inspiration for this bag came from thoughts of trips to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. Trips to the cottage, or the beach! For that you need some way to divide your towels from your sunscreen, or cucumbers from your fresh strawberry jam!

With that in mind, I decided to make this a divided tote – and then I had to figure out how to do it! Thankfully a few mini-mockups sorted it out quickly enough and I’m so happy with the result. Anything you put into your tote will look 100 times better next to that lovely yellow lining. And your life is a little bit more organized too!

This tote is generously sized at 14″ wide, 5″ deep and is 13″ tall. It only uses 1 yard each of outer and lining fabric! And, despite my convincing speech about the divider, you can make this tote without it. I’ve included a section in the directions below to tell you how to do that.

The lovely pink bouquet fabric is Olivia in Pink. And the yellow (and fast becoming my favorite!) is Olivia Floral in Yellow. I’m loving the pop of the blue on yellow!

As usual, please feel free to use my patterns/tutorials for your personal projects and gifts and for charitable fundraising events. Please do not sell anything made with this pattern. If you are interested in making this item for sale, please contact me and I will set up a license for it in the shop. Thank you!

Seam allowance 3/8″ OR 1/4″ as noted throughout the tutorial.

Materials:

Printing the Pattern:

  • Download the Pattern Pieces using the link in the Materials listing. Print out all 4 pages of the pdf on letter size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 paper. Important: Do not select “fit to page” when printing, make sure you print at the original size. Once you have printed the pages, measure the 1″ test square to ensure the pattern is the correct size.
  • Cut the pages on the outer gray lines and tape/glue the pages together, matching the letters in the gray half-circles.
  • Cut out both pattern pieces – now you are ready to cut!
Make the Tote without the Divider:
  • Do not cut the divider as noted in the cutting layouts & measurements.
  • Follow Steps 4 and 5 for sewing the outer tote to stitch the lining.
  • You will need very marginally less interfacing, all other yardage stays the same.

Cutting:

  • Pre-wash your fabric if desired and press well.
  • See below & pattern pieces for fabric cutting layouts and measurements for cutting fabric that does not have a pattern piece.
  • Lining - Divider: CUT 2 – 15″ wide x 10 3/4″ high, Strap: CUT 1 – 2.5″ x 42″, Pocket: CUT 1 on fold, Body: CUT 2 on fold
  • Outer - Strap: CUT 1 – 2.5″ x 42″, Pocket: CUT 1 on fold, Body: CUT 2 on fold
  • Interfacing - Divider: Cut 1 – 15″ wide x 10 3/4″ high, Outer Pocket: CUT 1 on fold, Lining Body: CUT 2 on fold
  • Fusible Fleece - Strap: CUT 2 – 1″ x 21″, Divider: CUT 1 – 15″ wide x 10 3/4″ high, Outer Body: CUT 2 on fold

Prepare your Fabric:

  • Fuse Interfacing to: 1 Divider, 1 Outer Pocket, 2 Lining Body
  • Fuse Fusible Fleece to: 1 Divider, 2 Outer Body – NOTE: DO NOT fuse fleece to strap yet. We will do this later.

Here we sew!

Handles:

  1. Pin & stitch the two strap pieces together lengthwise with a 1/4″ seam. Press seam allowance open.
  2. Fold each side lengthwise to the centre seam. Fold again at the centre seam to make a 1″ wide strap.
  3. Cut the strap into 2 pieces 21″ long. Now you have two straps.
  4. Open the folds on each strap, place fusible fleece on outer strap fabric within the folds next to the centre seam.
  5. Re-fold each strap, press well fuse the fleece.
  6. Top stitch about 1/8″ away from the edge of each strap and once in the centre.
Pocket:
  1. Place pocket outer and lining Right Sides Together (RST). Stitch pocket with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 3″ opening at the bottom.
  2. Trim the corners. Press the seam allowance up along the opening.
  3. Turn the pocket right side out through the opening. Press well. Top stitch the top curved edge of the pocket.
  4. Centre the pocket on the Outer Front, 3 1/2″ up from the bottom. Pin & stitch the sides and bottom close to the edge. This will also close the bottom opening.
Divider:
  1. Place divider pieces RST. Mark the left and right bottom corners 1″ from each corner. Draw a diagonal line to connect the marks.
  2. Pin and stitch along the marked lines and along the top edge with a 1/4″ seam.
  3. Trim corner seam allowances to 1/4″.
  4. Turn the divider right side out. Press all 3 seams well. Top stitch the top edge of the divider.

Lining: 

  1. Layer Lining/Divider/Lining, with the divider centred on the bottom edge of the lining pieces. Lining will be RST.
  2. Pin and stitch the bottom edge with a 3/8″ seam.
  3. Fold the lining back, away from the divider on both sides. Pin, this allows the sides to be sewn without accidentally sewing over the bottom edge.
  4. Match the bottom lining side with the side of the divider. The lining will extend 1″ below the divider on the bottom edge.
  5. Match the other lining side. Pin, stitch with a 3/8″ seam. Un-pin the bottom pulled back fabric from step 3.
  6. Press seam allowances away from the divider on the sides and bottom edges.
  7. Open and align the corner raw edges of each side so the side seams align with the bottom seam. This creates a boxed corner. Pin with seam allowances open.
  8. Stitch the two pinned edges with a  3/8″ seam.
Check out your awesome divided lining. Almost done now!
Outer:
  1. Align the outer edge of each strap with the outer edge of each front pocket. Place the outer side of the strap RST with the outer tote. Pin.
  2. The inside edge of the end of the strap will be at the top edge of the bag and the outer edge will be parallel to the outer edge of the bag.
  3. Use the outer front of the tote to find the placement for the outer back strap. Pin. Baste the ends of the front and back straps to the bag with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  4. Place outer front and back RST. Stitch the sides and bottom with a 3/8″ seam. Press seam allowances open as much as possible. Note: It helps to turn the bag right side out to press, then turn inside out again to continue.
  5. Open and align the bottom raw un-sewn corners so the side seams align with the bottom seam. This creates a boxed corner. Pin with seam allowances open. Stitch with a 3/8″ seam.
Finish the Tote:
  1. Turn outer right side out. Place outer inside  lining with RST. Align top edges and pin.
  2. Find the relatively straight area at the top edge of the tote – next to the side seam. Mark a 4″ opening.
  3. Stitch around the top of the bag with a 3/8″ seam, leave the opening un-sewn.
  4. Clip and notch the top curve. Press the seam allowance open along the opening.
  5. Turn your tote through the opening. Press and pin the top edge with the outer turned slightly toward the lining. This helps the lining not to show on the outside of the bag.
  6. Top stitch about 1/8″ away from the top edge of the bag. This will also close the opening.
  7. Note: If desired, use matching thread to hand stitch the lining to the outer bottom edge at each end of the side seam/divider. This will keep the lining in place. Feel through the fabric and stitch the lining to the outer side seam allowance – do not stitch through the bag to the outside.
Give it a good press and you’re done!
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I’d love to see your project! You can share your tote on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links below) using the  hashtags #alongforthreadride and/or #threadridinghood. Thank you!

Disclaimer: The fabric used in this post was given to me by my sponsor, Country Clothesline, for use in this post. I always share my honest opinion about sponsored products. Thanks for reading!

Finlayson Sweater {pattern review}

2015 April 14

I’m excited to be sewing SO MUCH these past few weeks. I can’t wait to show you all of the projects I’m working on towards Creativ Festival – but today, I get to show off the Finlayson Sweater from Thread Theory. Yesterday we went out into the finally-Spring weather and I got a few outdoor photo-shoots taken as well. It’s very nice to mix work and play on a sunny afternoon!

I’m so happy to have a go-to pattern for my husband. In fact, I have made two somethings – two of these sweaters! This is the first one, the other was in the wash, or we would have photographed it as well. Good sign, it being in the wash, since both of these have been worn at least once a week since I made them early this year. Hooray! I would definitely make more, and I don’t think my husband would protest. He really likes them both!

Here are a few things I love about it:

  • My husband loves to wear them! It’s comfortable and still looks nice.
  • The hems are all banded – easier than hemming.
  • It’s fast! Especially with a serger (though you don’t need one).
  • I love that it’s made from knits – the fit is simpler.
  • Lots of variations – shawl collar, decorative neck facing, overlapped lined hood, kangaroo pocket.

Thoughts on the pattern:

  • The instructions are well written.
  • The steps are drawn – not photographed. And well illustrated.
  • It includes Body measurements and Finished Garment measurements. Super helpful when choosing a size.
  • Includes tips for more professional finish, like using clear elastic on the shoulders.

Thoughts on the fit:

  • The pattern includes a good range of sizes, XS-XXL.
  • Based on the measurements, I made a large graded out to an XL at the waist for comfort.
  • I also shortened the length of the sleeves according to the measurements and it worked out great.
  • The finished size and fit was consistent with the measurements given.

Things I might change next time:

  • In my second sweater, I made the bottom of the arms a bit thinner. We liked how it turned out, but the knit was not as stretchy as this version so it’s a bit tight on the lower arms.
  • I’d like to try the shawl collar, but I haven’t found the right fabric yet. Plus it’s finally becoming spring – so maybe we’ll see more of them in the fall.
A note to Thread Theory… Please Morgan, could you design an awesome current-style dress shirt? I’d love to make one!

Reader Feedback: Do you have a favorite Men’s go-to pattern? 

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, and I did not receive this pattern or any compensation it, it’s just really great and I wanted to let you know.

Granny’s Sewing Basket – Tips & Tricks: Elastic Casing

2015 April 9

Have you ever fed elastic or ribbon through a casing, then run into trouble when you  tried to pass the seam allowance? I know it’s “easy” to baste the seam allowance down or adhere them with fusible tape – but it’s even easier with this little trick from Granny! (Find out how this series started.)

Within all Thread Riding Hood patterns and downloadable pdf’s, I’ve included “Notes and Tips from Granny’s Sewing Basket”. Granny capitalizes on the story of Little Red Riding Hood and takes creative license in proposing that Granny loves to sew! Throughout the patterns, these Notes and Tips are included to make your sewing go more smoothly. This series includes tips I’ve found helpful in my personal sewing. Find them pinned here: “Sewing Tips & Tricks” Pinterest board.

When sewing pajama shorts I am always looking for “faster and easier” ways to make them. They get used a lot and the quicker they are to make the more likely it is that I will make more in the future! My elastic generally gets stuck in the seam allowance while I feed it through because I’m too lazy speedy to bother basting or fusing them down. It’s irritating and then I get to fiddle with it until I find the correct place to feed it through.

This time I used my school glue stick to temporarily glue down the allowances before stitching the casing. It holds them down just long enough to get the elastic through. Once the shorts go through the wash the glue will come out – but that’s after I’m finished! Perfect!

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CONGRATULATIONS to the winner of the Kaffe Fassett Charm Pack from Fabric Spark! Jo from the UK was the lucky winner as chosen by the random Rafflecopter widget. She was so pleased because she had already pinned the Charm Pack tutorial for my Spring Charming Throw Pillow – Hooray! Maybe she’ll make one?!

Would you like your own charm pack? Get one from Fabric Spark – Kaffe Fassett Woven Cotton Charm Pack in Light

Hope you’re having a great week! I’m off to the library with my little monkeys – getting some reading for the weekend. See you again soon!

Easter Bunny Dolman Tee

2015 April 6

I hope you enjoyed your long Easter weekend! We had a lots of good cousin and family time. Today we are relaxing before heading into another short week.

I started this as a tutorial, but along the way my careful embroidery got derailed by some water, causing fangs and crazy eyelashes… not so good for a white shirt. Of course, a shirt with a mind of it’s own has to be dealt with harshly, so it sat by itself in the corner of my sewing room for the better part of a week! The day before it was needed I gave up and covered the mess with a circle. Thankfully, my youngest still likes it!

The main idea for this shirt was to make a dolman tee with lengthened arms. Similar to the one I made myself, so I could post the sleeve tutorial I’ve promised – or so I thought. I guess I’ll have to make another shirt for myself instead, I’m not complaining about that. *insert cheering here!*

Oh, and did you sort out the arms yet? They’re the bunny ears! It’s a bit of a stretch, but it works in theory – and it’s good enough for my almost-5 year old. Though she did very dramatically proclaim after school that her arms got tired from being held up for “sooooo long”. She’s got a lot of visible personality, this little one!

As far as fabrics, I am happy to have de-stashed my way through this one. Some natural coloured sweatshirt fleece for the body, and cream terry for the sleeves, collar and bunny face. They both have a slight stretch and it fits perfectly! The pattern is the Skipper Top – the kids’ version of the Seafarer dolman tee from Sew Much Ado. I LOVE her patterns. They are so simple to make, and very clear. I’d really recommend them. I’ve reviewed the Skipper top for the pattern tour as well, and wrote up a tutorial on gathered shoulders as well.

I’d better go, we’ve got plans to head over to the grocery store for some sale Easter candy. I’m hoping to throw in a little trip to the fabric store as well – supplies for the many projects I’m working on for Creativ Festival. (Maybe a little bit of bribery for them on their day off!)

Reader Feedback: Did you sew anything for Easter?

Spring Charming Throw Pillow {tutorial & giveaway}

2015 March 30

Winter is slowly leaving outside, but at least some Spring colour has come to my couch, disguised as a new throw pillow! This modern scrappy pillow tutorial can make a bright spot in your home too. And it’s made with a charm pack, so most of the cutting is done for you – just grab your favorite print for the back! (Scroll down for your chance to win this charm pack!)

If you’ve been reading here lately you’ll know about my recent obsession with shot cotton and yarn-dyed fabrics. So when my sponsor Fabric Spark suggested making a tutorial with one I didn’t hesitate to say yes! This charm pack contains 15 different light Kaffe Fassett solids, 30 charms in total – just enough for an 18″ throw pillow with a few left over! The different warp and weft colours add an extra layer of amazing colour when woven together.

If you live in the Toronto area, Fabric Spark will have the fabrics needed to make this pillow at the Spring Creativ Festival. I’m already planning for it and I’ve got a few more surprises up my sleeve! (By the way… Get the name of the pillow? Spring Charming, like Prince Charming? Ha, *groan* I know!)

This pillow really is simple to make, it doesn’t even have any matching seams. And it matches every colour scheme! This random-look layout lends personality and warmth, its colours are surprisingly structured and I’ll explain that in the tutorial! When working with any layout, though, it’s hard to know how things will turn out. I originally made this in rows and then loved it more in columns – so I turned it sideways before adding the envelope back.

Fabric Spark is giving away a Kaffe Fassett Woven Cotton Charm Pack in Light! This giveaway is open internationally and will run from March 30 – April 6, 2015. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter” no social media login entry too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As usual, please feel free to use my patterns/tutorials for your personal projects and gifts and for charitable fundraising events. Please do not sell anything made with this pattern. If you are interested in making them for sale, please contact me and I will set up a license for it in the shop. Thank you!

Seam allowance 1/4″ unless otherwise noted. 

You will need:

  • 1 Kaffe Fassett Woven Cotton Charm Pack in Light
  • 1/2 yard quilting cotton for envelope back ( I used Starcomb Silver from Parson Gray’s Curious Nature collection)
  • 19″x19″ low loft batting
  • 19″x19″ backing/muslin for quilted front (this will not be seen)
  • matching thread for piecing
  • matching thread for quilting
  • 18″ pillow form
  • square ruler, rotary cutter/scissors, pins/basting spray, removable fabric marker
  • Optional: Walking Foot to use when quilting (if desired)

Sewing with a Charm Pack:

When I first approached a charm pack I was not sure how to properly sew with it because of the pinked (zig-zag cut) edges. Here are a few tips I’ve found along the way.

  • This charm pack is cut to 5″ square. It has been cut so the outer point of each triangular cut marks the edge of the square. Measured from side to side between outer triangular points it will measure 5″. Cut and sew with that in mind.
  • I also found that, for this pattern, it is easier to match and stitch edges that have been cut similarly. Match rotary cut edges and sew OR match pinked edges and sew. This may not be possible with all charm packs due to directional or one-sided fabric.

Cut your Fabric:

  1. Envelope Back: Cut 2 pieces 14″ high by 18″ wide.
  2. Charm Pack: 
    • Stack at least 24 of your charm squares in sets of 4. Use at least 1 of each colour. The colour placement will be “random”, so don’t worry about that for now.
    • Cut a straight 90 degree line through each stack of 4 wherever you’d like. Use a ruler to make sure the cuts are square. Make sure to cut at least 1″ away from the left and right sides of the square. If you’d like similarly sized pieces, cut the squares closer to the centre. If you’d like a more scrappy varied layout, cut the blocks closer to the sides to get a variety of skinny and wide pieces in each colour.
Design on your Layout:
At first this part scared me because I wanted it to look a bit random, which I’m not good at! I found that arranging them by colour grouping helped me to have a bit of structure. If you look at my rows, you will see small groupings of green, blue, lavender/pink and orange pieces together. There is one grouping of each of these colours on each row, but the placement is varied from left to right.
  1. More Structured Option: Lay out 12 pieces side-by-side (matching edges) in a row that is about 24″ long. Lay out 3 more rows below it in the same way. Once you sew them together each should equal 18 1/2″ or more. (My rows were about 28″ long each before stitching & came to 24″ wide after stitching.)
  2. Random Option: As a quicker alternate option, stitch rows together at random (see sewing instructions below). You will need 4 rows aprox. 19″ long each.
Stitch your rows:
  1. Match the sides of each piece Right Sides Together (RST) and stitch with a 1/4″ seam until each row is finished. TIP: I like to place a pin on the left-most side of each row to help me remember which piece I’m working on.
  2. Press seam allowances open or to one side.
  3. Trim the top and bottom edges of each row if necessary to square them up. (I skipped this step, since my rows were fairly even.) TRIM SPARINGLY! If you cut more than 1/8″ from each long edge your rows will not be tall enough to create an 18″ pillow.
  4. Pin the rows together RST along each long edge and stitch one at a time.
  5. Press your seam allowances open or to one edge as you go.
Quilt:
  1. Press the pieced fabric well, making sure all seam allowances are properly pressed so it is as flat as possible.
  2. Trim the front to 19″ wide. Do not trim the height, it should be about 18 1/2″.
  3. Create a quilt sandwich. Place your muslin/19″ square backing Right Side Down. Centre the batting on top of it. Centre the pieced fabric Right Side Up on top of the batting.
  4. Baste the quilt sandwich layers together. Since this is a small project, I used long pins. You could also use curved safety pins or basting spray.
  5. Mark quilting lines, if desired. I made a centre line with my hera marker and then used the edge of my walking foot as a guide to stitch every 1/2″ from there.
  6. Quilt! It took me about 20 minutes to stitch straight lines 1/2″ apart with a slightly-longer-than-usual straight stitch.
Envelope Backing:
This is where I took a look at my quilted front and decided I liked the “rows” as columns, so I turned it before adding the backing. Decide which side is the “top” of your throw pillow before adding the backing so it is the correct way up! 
  1. Trim your quilted front to 18″ square. If your quilting is not near the edges, baste them together with a 1/4″ seam.
  2. Find your envelope back pieces. Decide which piece will be the top & bottom of the envelope back.
  3. Hem the top of the envelope back: press the 18″ wide BOTTOM edge up 1/2″, then again by 1″. Stitch close to the first fold to hold the hem in place. Hem the bottom of the envelope back: press and stitch the 18″ wide TOP edge in the same way.
  4. Lay the 18″ quilted pillow front Right Side Up. Align the TOP envelope back to the top edge of the front, RST.
  5. Align the BOTTOM envelope back to the bottom edges of the pillow front, RST with the quilted front.
  6. Pin all edges securely. Stitch with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Trim the corners and finish the edges with a serger or zig-zag stitch.
  7. Turn your throw pillow right side out. Push out the corners and press the edges flat.
  8. Insert your pillow form and you are done. Check out your amazing pillow!

I’d love to see your project! You can share your pillow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links below) using the  hashtags #alongforthreadride or #threadridinghood. Thank you!

Disclaimer: The fabric used in this post was given to me by my sponsor, Fabric Spark. I always share my honest opinion about sponsored products. Thanks for reading!

Time Warp Tote {free pattern for Cloud9 Fabrics}

2015 March 24

I am thrilled to let you know that I’ve been able to make a free tutorial for Cloud9 Fabrics! The Time Warp Tote is created using Jessica Jones’ Time Warp fabric line and Cloud9 Cirrus Solids. I love the amazing retro-look fabric.

This tote bag is a great size for carrying just about anything. Plus it’s got a great little pleat in the centre so you can add a little pop of colour if you want. It’s fully lined in a fun way, though it took me two tries and much seam ripping to sort it out!

Ready to make one? You can access the downloadable pdf on the Cloud9 Fabrics “Make it Sew” Project section. (Love the geeky reference there!)

Bark cloth is so soft and lovely to work with. It’s thicker than quilting cotton, but has a nicer drape than canvas or home decor fabric. Just make sure you finish your edges. It does tend to fray because of the loose weave. I can see an amazing retro set of curtains made with them too – the floor length ones, with the pleats at the top. *swoon*! Too bad Jessica did’t pick the colours to match my living room!

I’d also really recommend the Cirrus solids. Super soft as well and yarn dyed. So they look amazing too. I am loving the yarn dyed options lately. They really add an extra layer to the colour in the fabric. (P.S. The entire Cirrus Solid collection is currently available from my sponsor Fabric Spot.)

I’ve got another Time Warp Tote I am excited to show you, and it comes with a little tutorial! I’m 100% certain you’ll see another one after that. It is the perfect size for a gift and my kids’ teachers might be the lucky recipients of some canvas de-stashing by me!

I love working with Cloud9 Fabrics, they were amazing through the whole process. I was fortunate to be introduced to them through Esmari from Warp and Weft and Elizabeth Olwen, who’s Wildwood line inspired the Forest Glen Satchel pattern. (And I just saw on Instagram that she’s got a new line in corduroy coming out this fall!) I have to say once again that the collaborations and connections I’ve been able to make through sewing/blogging have been so much fun. The DIY community is so generous and kind. I am truly grateful to be a part of it.

10 Things I Learned from My New Fabric Collection.

2015 March 17

I have inadvertently ended up starting a Little Red Riding Hood fabric collection. I had a couple of these already and recently acquired a couple more. It’s interesting to me how many fabric designers have chosen to dedicate their lines to the little red hooded girl, and of course her wolf “friend”. I am (legitimatly, I think) obligated to like and buy these fabrics. Best stashing excuse reason ever!

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them, but I would love to know if you have seen any other Red Riding Hood collections I should get! 

Just for fun, I decided to see how much I could find out about my favorite fairy tale character from her fabrics…

  1. Red loves trees. I gather she is a nature-lover and enjoys spending time outdoors. Though, thinking more about it, the choice of background may be due to her living in close proximity to a forest…
  2. The red hood is a must. This, of course, is not rocket science. However, I did not know that she allowed patterned prints as well. Seemingly, dots are a thing.
  3. She likes dressing up. True to form (at least the form of the little girls I know) Red seems to prefer dressing in skirts or dresses. Colour does not seem to be as consistent in this case, however.
  4. Side Parted Hair. She seems to be liking the long hair with a side part. Though I am not sure about the exact cut, since it’s under the hood!
  5. Health matters. While most stories talk about Red’s basket containing cookies or baked goods, I also see that in one portrait she is carrying apples, and she’s standing next to an apple tree in another. Good for a varied, healthy diet!
  6. Red is not scared of the wolf. She is either oblivious to her peril, or knows the wolf personally and feels no need to flee. I am not sure I would be so brave, especially when surrounded by multiple wolves!
  7. The wolf is obsessed with Red. In all cases, the wolf is either following her (how creepy!) or walking/looking in her direction. In one case, with salt and pepper at hand!
  8. The wolf is a scientific anomaly. In three cases he is able to walk on two legs. In one case he has the ability to hold a fork and knife, without opposable thumbs. Yikes!
  9. Mushrooms are a key part of Red’s natural habitat. I am not certain if her grandma makes a mean Mushroom Risotto, or if they are even edible. I do know, that if you ever see a red mushroom with white polka dots Red’s home must be nearby!
  10. Might seem crazy what I’m about to say… Because, She’s happy!  Red seems to be a generally happy person, since she’s always smiling.

Reader Feedback: Do you have a collection? What made you start it? (P.S. It doesn’t have to be fabric!)

Fabric Information (Top to Bottom): Into the Forest, Michael Miller fabric. Bought from Double Decker Fabric, unfortunately sold out. Riding Hood: Story White, Blend Fabrics. Bought from Canadian National Fabric. Little Red Riding Hood Aqua Main, Tasha Noel for Riley Blake. Bought from Canadian National Fabric. A Walk in the Woods, Aneela Hoey for Moda. Bought at Creativ Festival.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. I just happened to get a couple of these fabrics from two of my awesome sponsors!

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