Tips and Techniques

Another Zippered Triumph

I love and hate zippers. I love zipper projects such as zippered pouches and zippered purses and long to make them. So I collect zippers and avoid doing anything with them. I did, that is, until I decided in March to challenge myself to make something with a zipper. The result was this Open Wide Zippered Pouch designed by Anna Graham of Noodlehead.

So I wouldn’t lose any momentum in my battle with zippers, I vowed to make something else with a zipper this month. This time I used the 15 Minute Zipper Pouch tutorial by Melissa of Melly Sews as a jumping off point for my own pieced version.

I started by designing and sewing a pieced front, then sewing the outer panels to the zipper.

Then I sewed the lining panels to the zipper.

I topstitched near the zipper, then sewed around the perimeter of the pouch, leaving an opening for turning.

After turning the pouch right-side out and poking out the corners, I closed the opening. Following a tip I saw online, I sewed the opening closed by fitting the pouch under my sewing machine’s foot and sewing the opening closed and sewing the lining down at the same time.

Although I still can’t get my zippers to look as nice and neat as the photos I see online, they at least look okay. I’ve got more to learn obviously! <grin> I don’t know if I can say I’m enamored of zippers, but at least I’m no longer intimidated by them.

One thing I have found out during my Zipper Adventure is just how handy my Clover Wonder Clips are. I’ve already found about 1,000 different uses for these things and holding a zipper in place while you sew it down makes it 1,001.

This project was on my Quarter 2 Finish Along List, so I get to check off my first completed project for this quarter. Woot!

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Making My Way through Applique

My Valentine’s table runner is almost done! I got the quilting finished the other day and I’ve trimmed it up, sewn the binding together, and now I’m ready to sew the binding on.

I’ve never ventured into machine-finishing my binding before, but I may get brave and try it. I think I simply prefer the look of hand-sewn binding, but I’m intrigued by the idea of finishing a binding fast, so we’ll see.

My Valentine’s table runner has applique hearts and letters and I used two different methods to finish them. For the letters, I chose the tried and true raw-edge fusible applique method. For that method, you trace your shapes in reverse onto the backing of some fusible web, fuse the webbing to the back of your fabric, then cut the shapes out right on the line. Finally, you fuse the cutout shapes to the background fabric following manufacturer’s directions and then finish the raw edge.

Because the letters were full of curves, I choose to finish the edges using a straight stitch stitched close to the raw edge of the applique.

For the valentine hearts, I used the turned-edge fusible machine applique method. With that method, the edges are finished (turned under) and not raw. I also finished these edges with a straight stitch. If you want to learn more about this method of applique, I’ve added a tutorial for you on my Answers tab.

What about you? Do you like to do applique, and if so, what methods have you used? I'd love to know!

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Organizing My Scraps, Part 2

A few months ago I talked about organizing my scraps, and the first step in that plan was to sort the scraps into three big piles based on size. I blogged about that here. At the time, my scraps were stored in small bags and after sorting, they went right back in until I could find a more permanent storage solution.

In January, I visited Ikea and made some strategic purchases. One of them was the Antonius wire basket set. The Antonius holds four wire baskets that slide out.

I bought two of them and slipped them under my cutting table. My scrap piles were so big after sorting back in January that I needed to use two wire baskets for each size, filling six of the eight baskets right away.

There my scraps sat until today when I figured “Gotta start sometime,” and spent a few hours cutting the scraps into useable sizes such as 1-1/2”, 2”, 2-1/2” and so on. I purchased these inserts at Ikea, and I think they’ll help me keep the cut scraps organized by size easily.

I’m gonna participate in the I Think I Have a Scrap Problem linky with Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict because there I’ll find inspiration and support as I work slowly on this big ol’ pile of scraps. Today I learned that it helps to have a scrappy project in mind while I’m cutting and sorting...a big ol’ carrot to dangle in front of me when I find the whole idea of organizing scraps overwhelming.

Luckily, I’ve got just the thing! Next week my Stepping Stones Quilt Along starts, and it’s a fast scrappy quilt pattern that would make the perfect project for reducing a scrappy stash! Check out the details over here. Hope to see you back here next week. In the meantime, I’m back to cutting!

Because of my quilt along, I'm keeping my scrap busting goals modest this month and setting a goal of cutting at least half the scraps in one of my baskets. At the end of the month, I'll update you on my progress. In the meantime, wish me luck!

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Getting Ready for a Birthday Party

I love throwing parties and playing hostess, so I'm ecstatic that me and my fellow bee mates are playing a small role in the planning of our Guild's upcoming birthday celebration. Specifically, my bee is in charge of the decorations.

Pam, a fellow bee mate, and I took charge of the project and starting scouring the Internet for ideas for centerpieces. My focus was on the centerpieces themselves while Pam’s focus was on the table runner we also wanted to create for the party. I decided that I wanted to make fabric flowers for the centerpieces and that we could use scrap fabric to make them. That decision prompted me to finally organize my scraps, at least to the point where I could lay my hands on the ones that were the right size for flower making.

There are tons of ideas on Pinterest on how to make fabric flowers. But in the end, I decided to ignore most of them and go for something I thought would be pretty simple—fusing two fabrics together and then cutting the resulting fabric sandwich out in some kind of free-form flower shape. Pretty simple idea, so to dress up the flowers, I decided to add buttons.

After making a few of these fused flowers, I got a bit bored and started utilizing some of the ideas I’d found on Pinterest to make a few different ones. What do you think?

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