My latest beginner sewing project is the fantastic and easy Custom Table Runner Quilt by Craftsy. This simple quilting project uses half square triangles in a compact quilt. I got practice making pinwheel quilt blocks and machine quilting the top of the quilt, but because this is a small scale projct I did not feel overwhelmed or frustrated. In fact, this class would help a beginner quilter learn new skills and increase their sewing confidence!
Since I don’t often use a table runner, I opted for a holiday quilted table runner. I decided to use Christmas fabric and challenge myself to make a pinwheel quilt design. I am thrilled with my Christmas table runner quilt. Its not perfect, but I never thought I would be able to make a half-square triangle or a pinwheel design. The Craftsy sewing class instructor, Amy Gibson, made the quilt chain piecing process clear and straightforward. I know can now easily apply the skills taught in this class to another table runner or even a bigger quilting project.
One thing I need to do differently next time is be more exact with my binding. I have to make sure my quarter inch seam is accurate when machine binding the quilt. I had to pull the binding quite tight on the other side of my quilt to try to cover my stitching seam,so there is some rippling on the edge of the quilt binding. I decided to finish the quilt by machine binding it, because the hand stitched binding was too painful and frustrating for me.
Now that my baby is a year old, he is starting to sleep through the night. Sometimes when he doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night, I have been able to wake up early. This change has given me the opportunity to start sewing again.
For my return to sewing, I wanted a simple but useful project. I felt like I barely remembered how to thread my machine! The first class in the Craftsy Learn to Quilt series was a perfect fit for me. This “charming baby quilt” online sewing class featured a simple baby receiving blanket quilt using square charm packs of fabric. No risky measuring and cutting for those unsure of their sewing skills! The quilt is even self bound, so there is no need to worry about binding the quilt.
I loved this quick and easy quilting project. The instructor, Amy Gibson, did a great job of answering all the basic and common sense questions I had while sewing. The instructions were clear and perfectly detailed. This class was a great foundation for moving on to any other sewing projects.
I used Cool L’s Modern Basics by Lecien for my fabrics. I wish I would have realized that Craftsy has a super cute baby quilt kit that coordinates with this class. It would have taken all the guess work and waste out of buying my own fabric.
Since I am going to have another baby in a month and a half, I have to get some baby supplies together. Most of my old stuff is still perfectly good, but I need more burp cloths! I decided to sew myself a little stash of soft, absorbent burp cloths for the new baby. This turned out to be a quick and easy sewing project for a baby! Plus it is very cost effective considering the cost of burp cloths from a store.
I used flannel fabric for the backing and chenille fabric for the absorbent layer of fabric. Of course the minor problems I ran into were related to the burp cloth fabrics. The flannel shrunk and the edges shredded when I pre-washed it more than I expected. The soft chenille stretched a lot when I was sewing it AND it made an unholy fluffly mess all over when I cut into it.
As a result the sizes of my burp cloths are a little inconsistent. In the end I decided that the burp cloths might not be perfect, but they are good enough to be puked on.
Let’s face it, one of the negative aspects of sewing as a hobby is the ironing. I hate ironing. Especially ironing entire yards of fabric on a tiny postage stamp-like ironing board. Its hard to get started on a project knowing that I will have to spend an hour moving and repositioning fabric on the ironing board before I can start to actually sew anything.
Recently my ironing board broke and I had to throw it out. Instead of just buying a new one I decided to make a large ironing mat. I also decided to fully commit and make a huge one. I followed the ironing mat tutorial on Little Birdie Secrets.
The ironing mat has four layers:
Therma-Flec Fabric: The silver (sometimes tan) surface that you actually iron on. AKA ironing board fabric.
100% Cotton Batting:Cotton to protect what ever you choose to lay your ironing mat on top of (i.e., the table, floor, or bed).
Backing fabric: Hopefully cute fabric to hold it all together. Sometimes 100% cotton home decorating fabric is recommended for extra heat protection.
The four layers are quilted together and bound at the edges (I used double fold bias tape). I also added ribbon at the edges so the ironing mat can be rolled up and tied to stay shut for storage.
You are not supposed to pin the Therma-Flec to the Insul-Bright or or other layers because the pins will damage the ironing material. Use basting spray to hold it in place for the quilting. I used Basting Spray for the first time, and I have been converted to a believer. Basting spray is the way to go for any quilting project.
The #1 thing I would do differently is sew on the Therma-Flec/ silver Ironing Board fabric last. Each time I attached a fabric layer to the therma-flec, it bubbled up and is no longer flat. Of course you want a flat surface for ironing on, so ugh. I think it will still work just fine but this is kind of disappointing.
I will say that sewing on the binding through so many layers of thick fabric was very difficult! There were a lot of broken needles and broken thread! Is this what quilting machines are for?
Now there is nothing stopping me from starting a new sewing or quilting project, except the tedious process of ironing itself.
My poor dog has very sparse, short hair and next to no body fat. We don’t live in a very cold climate, but she definitely needs something to keep her warm on cold morning walks. But, in my area, stores only stock clothes for toy breeds. Time to break out the sewing machine and make my dog a coat!
Sew Everything Workshop has instructions for a self-drafted “Canine Couture Coat”. The pattern is very simple and is based on your dog’s measurements, plus added ease. The most difficult part was deciding on the dimensions for the chest and neck area- I went with wide and shallow, since this seemed to fit her best based on her muslins. My dog is very deep-chested, so I placed the belt a bit higher than the middle so that it would go around the thickest part of her body, not her skinny belly.
The pattern features decorative buttons at the chest and side. Cute! I used silver metal ones. I used my French curve to round the ends of the jacket instead of making them rectangular.
The coat I made is fastened with hooks and eyes because I was worried about my dog undoing the fastenings; you could also use snaps or Velcro. I plan to use Velcro next time.
I made one major change to the pattern; Diane Rupp drafted the pattern with a two-piece belt that meets underneath the dog’s body in the middle of her belly. This seemed like too much trouble to me, so I just made a one-piece belt that attaches to the side of the coat instead. Much easier to get on and off the dog!
This pattern is great- simple and easy. I like my single-piece belt idea, but don’t have any other complaints, As long as you make a muslin or two to tweak the pattern so that it fits your dog properly, it shouldn’t be too hard to make a good dog coat.