Monday, September 1, 2014

Sewing Tutorial - Patchwork Serger Case

This post originally appeared on Ellison Lane, where I was a guest poster for the Patchwork Summer Series.

Patchwork Serger Cover

*this can be made to be a cozy for most anything, from sewing machine to mixer

2/3 yards each of outer and lining fabric
1.5" fussy cut squares from scraps
coordinating thread/sewing notions

We will be making a cubish shape with an open bottom. First, we need to do the math to figure out how big to cut the pieces.  My serger is 10" wide, 12" deep and 12" tall.  We will make the box shape in three pieces, so the front, top and back are all one piece with two side pieces.  My front/top/back piece will be 10" wide and 36" long.  We'll need to add a seam allowance to the sides, making the largest piece "10.5 x 36."  The side pieces will be 12" squares, with seam allowances added to the top and sides, so 12.5" wide by 12.25" tall.  We will call the large piece Panel A and the smaller pieces Panel B.

You can go ahead and cut your fabrics and batting.  You'll need exterior, batting in lining in 1 10.5" x 36" and 2 each in 12.5" x 12.25."  Because these pieces will be quilted, you may wish to add an extra inch or so around the edges and trim them to the correct size once you quilt.
You also need about 50" of 2.5"width binding or bias tape.

Whew, now that the math is over we can get to the fun part - the patchwork!

Since my case is going to be 10.5" wide, I am going to do three rows of 10 1.5" squares, you can add more or less to fit your panel, or just add extra exterior fabric to the sides.  Lay the squares out in an order pleasing to you and begin chain piecing them into rows.
*handy tip - I like to start my chain piecing with a scrap (picture above) to make sure the entire seam is stitched.
** handy tip 2 - starch is your friend when fussy cutting teeny pieces, use plenty before you cut!

I am normally a fan of pressing seams open, but that can get fiddly with teeny pieces, so I press these to the sides, alternating direction on each row.  That way when you join the rows they lock together nicely and you don't need to pin!

Now let's join our patchwork panel to Panel A, the large exterior piece.  Take the 36" long piece and cut 3" off.  Sew the patchwork strip to the bottom of the 33" piece and then sew the 3" piece to the bottom of the patchwork strip.  (This will be longer than necessary now, but we will trim it down to size after we quilt).

Next, make your quilt sandwiches.  Each of your three sandwiches will start with the lining fabric right side down, batting and then exterior, right side up.  You will have one long panel and two squarish ones. You can spray baste or safety pin the layers together.  If you wish, mark them for quilting.  I used a hera marker which creases the fabric but doesn't use any type of ink to worry about.

Quilt your three sandwiches any way you like.  I used a diamond pattern and machine quilted it using a 3.0 stitch length.

Once you have quilted your pieces, trim them to size.

Mark the top two corners of each your Panel B's at 1/4" on the lining side.

Now line up one of the Panel B's (yellow) with Panel A (orange).  Sew a 1/4" seam until you reach the 1/4" mark at the corner, securing seam by backstitching at start and finish.

Wrap Panel A around the corner and continue sewing until the next quarter inch mark in the corner.  Repeat the process for the third side.  Repeat again, joining the other Panel B with Panel A.

You can finish the raw edge seams by sewing a wide zig zag stitch over them, serging them or wrapping them in bias or seam binding tape, if you wish.

Turn your cover right side out and press the seams toward the B panels.

The last step is to apply binding or bias tape to the bottom/open edge.  You can do this exactly how you bind a quilt.  If you have never bound a quilt, I suggest a look at this tutorial.  The one difference that makes it easier for this project is to attach it to the backside first.  I think this helps to keep everything lined up, making sure the seams go toward the side B panels.

Then I just turned the binding up to the outsides and sewed it down at a scant 1/8."

Now you have a beautiful new cover to brighten up your sewing space and keep your machine clean and lint free!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Celestial Star QAL

Come on over to From Blank Pages today to see my Celestial Star block made with cotton + steel fabrics.  I'm sharing some tips on paper piecing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Heather Ross Mini for Handmade Birthday Club

Goodness, I am so behind on posting it is hard to know where to start.  So, I am in this group on flickr where we make a birthday gift for each other throughout the year.  My birthday is in April and I got an amazing haul of gifts.  I will share those soon, promise!  But today I am sharing a mini quilt I made for Sarah's birthday earlier this month.

It's not always easy to make something for someone you don't know without the direction of a swap that might have specific guidelines about what to make, but in this case Sarah happened to comment that linen and Heather Ross was her favorite combination.  I just happened to see that comment the day I was trying to find some inspiration for her present.

I had seen similarly constructed quilty items and I just decided to start with a hexagon and build it out, in rainbow order, log cabin style.

You can see that the yarn dyed essex linen gave me a little trouble with some stretching, but overall I love the design and all the fun Heather Ross fabrics.  In fact, I actually cut out two of all the pieces in an effort to make it easier to make one for myself some day!

I added some hand stitching around the princess :)

Well, I hope you are all having a lovely summer (or winter, depending which hemisphere you're in), and I promise not to be gone so long.  Almost back to school and routines, and more me time. sigh, mixed emotions!
xo, Courtney

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Long time, no post

Wow, I didn't mean to take a blogging break!  I think realizing how much I missed sharing here made the task too daunting.  So, we'll start small.  I made my mother-in-law a 241 Tote for Mother's Day.  I bought the orange floral linen from a friend on the IG #greatfabricdestash sale and the metallic linen was from a random listing on etsy.  This was not my first 241, and I love this Noodlehead pattern so much.

I even added one of my personalized buttons (flash sale on  to the back.  I always use an elastic ponytail holder for buttons like this.  Easy and they come in every color you'd ever need.

Okay, that post didn't take so long!  I'll be back soon(ish) to share some more!  I have three (THREE!) quilts basted sitting on the floor next to my sewing machine (and a few more tops that need backs and batting).  I usually don't baste until I am ready to quilt; preferring instead to have a collection of quilt tops, not sandwiches. Someday when I finish with bee blocks, swaps, clubs, etc.  I will quilt and bind them!  

Oh, and she seemed to really like the tote!

xo, Courtney

Monday, March 3, 2014

Circle 7 {Lindsey's Quilt}

Our Circle 7 traveling bee is coming to a close.  I received two quilts from Amy last week and quickly got to work on Lindsey's.  Lindsey chose to do a kitchen theme for her quilt and it is looking amazing!

I added that top row of four squares and espresso cups, but other than that, this is how the quilt looked when it arrived in my mailbox.

I recently bought the book Playful Little Paper-Pieced Patterns and knew as soon as I read through it that I would be making this for Lindsey's quilt!  By the way, this book is amazing.  The first portion of the book features a calendar quilt with a pattern for each month of the year (and a bonus project to make for each month's pattern).  I think the fruit plate is September. 

Before I got that book, I purchased the kitchen and pantry pattern sets from Sew Ichigo during a black friday sale.  I figured I should put that to use as well and made a row of cups and four patch blocks.  The only problem with an organic creation like this is that it can be hard to get things to line up.  Do I center my row on the real center?  Try to line it up with some other patchwork?  I really wasn't sure what to do.  I did add a border of white above and below it.  I was really trying to help this quilt grow vertically a little!

I didn't sew my fruit stand to the quilt before I passed it along, I figured Jennifer could finish that row before it goes home to Lindsey.  So now I have Jennifer's quilt to work on and it will be a full circle!

I have a busy week of sewing ahead of me, and it seems like everyone does!  Are you overcommited for March too?
Hope your week is off to a good start! xo, Courtney 


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crafty Traveler Blog Hop :: makeup roll

I am thrilled to be headed back to Sew South this year and so excited to be joining Jennifer in the Crafty Traveler Blog Hop.  I love to travel handmade and it is so much fun to see all the great ideas and words of advice from the stops on this blog hop.

After much hemming and hawing I decided to make the Makeup Roll from Stitched in Color.  I purchased this pattern an embarrassingly long time ago (like, um 2011!).  I love the finished product, but sometimes it is hard to get around to making things for yourself.  I also had it in my mind that all those pockets would take forever to sew.  I think I thought they had elastic in them to keep the contents from spilling out, but the good news is that they don't (so no elastic casings or pulling elastic through).  All in all, it took me about 2-3 hours to make and I love it so I am just slapping myself for not making it 3 years ago!

I used a print from Anna Maria Horner's new Dowry line for the outside and had fun picking different prints for the inside and pockets.  Although it would be faster to make all the pockets from one fabric, but not as fun!

As I've come to expect from her, Rachel's directions were very clear and included lots of photographs in the PDF file.  I was a little confused during the final assembly process, but I just did what the directions and pictures showed and it all worked out beautifully!

 I ended up using the standard layout, although the pattern comes with several variations on pockets to help you fit your products in perfectly.  My only adjustment was to make that bottom right pocket an inch wider to accommodate a large bare escentuals compact.  I just made bigger pleats to fit it in the same "footprint" on the case.  
Another thing I did different was to use fusible fleece instead of batting.  And I fused it to my background (green hugs and kisses print), before sewing the pockets on.  I felt like this made everything a little more stable, but probably wasn't necessary. 

 Here it is all filled up with my essentials.  I'm actually not just traveling with them like this, the case is their new home in my bathroom drawer.

The final change to the pattern I made was the button and loop closure.  Rachel suggested a lovely crocheted chain loop, but I am horrible with the needles, so I did my old standby, a hair elastic!

 This is the nice flap that helps to keep everything in place.

You can see I am pretty pleased with my little pouch and I probably will make a few more.  I was also thinking it would be pretty easy to customize this pouch to hold lots more than makeup.  This won't be my last makeup roll!

Now, for some more information on the blog hop and how you can win all the fun stuff below:

Crafty Traveler Blog Hop: Feb 3- March 12

Link-up your travel handmade project March 6-12 for a chance to win one of three great prizes! (US only) 

#1: Free Spirit Fabric, Crafty Traveler Tote supplies and Dritz rotary cutter. 

#2: Box of 50 Coats Threads

#3: Pellon Prize Pack (Interfacing & Batting) 

To enter to win simply link up your project at on March 6. Please link from a new blog post but your project can be anything you've made to travel handmade within the last 6 months. 
You may also link from Flickr or Threadbias. 

Blog Hop Schedule
3/6: Link-up opens at 
3/13: Winner's announced!

So get ready to link up your project!  Good luck! -Courtney