Aug 272016
 
sunray-quilt-square_150726

I admit it – I’m a scrapaholic – I have a hard time tossing out even the smallest fabric scraps just in case

In an effort to make use of some of my quilting scraps, I started making these little mouse-sized quilts, just for fun and as a sort of “palette cleanser” (thank you Athena, perfect turn of pharse) to clear my quilting cobwebs. After making way too many quiltlets, the time seemed ripe to post a tutorial – I hope you find it fun and useful.

Note: This tutorial assumes basic sewing knowledge, but quilting knowledge is optional because it’s so darn simple.

Choose a pile of scraps (I chose shades of blue).

Choose a pile of scraps (I chose shades of blue).

Layer batting and interfacing (interfacing can be replaced with muslin or anything plain).

Layer batting and interfacing (interfacing can be replaced with muslin or anything plain and not stretchy, but not too heavy).

Cut to 10x10 inches.

Cut layered pieces to 10×10 inches.

Stitch the two layers together - an "x" or plus works well.

Stitch the two layers together – an “x” or plus works well.

Corner to corner measurement is about 14 inches, so...

Corner to corner measurement is about 14 inches, so…

Cut the first strip about 3 inches wide by 14 inches long and sew it to the batting side along both long edges.

Cut the first strip about 3 inches wide by 14 inches long and sew it to the batting side along both long edges.

sunray-quilt-square_105830

sunray-quilt-square_110112

Cut 6 more 3-inch wide strips, but they don't need to be the full 14-inch length. They will fan out to the corners, as shown here, and can be gradually a bit shorter (all will be trimmed later).

Cut 6 more 3-inch wide strips, but they don’t need to be the full 14-inch length. They will fan out to the corners, as shown here, and can gradually be a bit shorter (to be trimmed later).

For the next strip, lay it at an angle to the first, not parallel.

For the next strip, lay it at an angle to the first, not parallel.

Flip it over so right sides are together, and stitch.

Flip it over so right sides are together, and stitch.

Flip it back and finger press into place. You can pin it down as well, if you like.

Flip it back and finger press into place. You can pin it down as well, if you like.

Next strip, same procedure, then just build out from there...

Next strip, same procedure, then just build out from there…

sunray-quilt-square_112938

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Final 2 strips...

Final 2 strips pinned in place…

Press it all down... Looks a little funny at this stage, but you can see the sun rays...

Press it all down… Looks a little funny at this stage, but you can see the sun rays…

Flip it over...

Flip it over…

And baste-stitch around the square, close to the edge.

And baste-stitch around the square, close to the edge.

Trim off the excess from the back. I suggest using a rotary cutter and a good straight-edge. Easy does it, don't slip...

Trim off the excess from the back. I suggest using a rotary cutter and a good straight-edge. Easy does it, don’t slip…

Flip it back over - almost done.

Flip it back over – almost done.

Using a dessert bowl as a template, cut a circle of fabric. This came out sorta earthy!

Using a dessert bowl as a template, cut a circle of fabric. This came out sorta earthy!

Pin it to the corner where the strips converge. Vary the placement as you like.

Pin it to the corner where the strips converge. Vary the placement as you like.

Set your machine to a tight zigzag stitch...

Set your machine to a tight zigzag stitch…

And stitch along the circumference...

And stitch along the circumference…

to encase the raw edge.

to encase the raw edge of the circle.

Baste down the corner (from behind, easier to follow the line of the square)...

Baste down the corner (from behind, easier to follow the line of the square)…

and trim off the excess.

and trim off the excess.

The last step is to bind the edge of your quiltlet. Have a look at this tutorial – it’s awesome. No point in reinventing the wheel – just follow these binding instructions and you are golden (except that I don’t recommend using “steam a seam” – just sew it… you’ll see).

Here it is, all bound and pretty.

Here it is, all bound and pretty.

With its friends.

With its friends.

Another option is to skip the batting layer, skip the binding, and simply make a pile of quilt squares to eventually assemble into a big, colorful quilt. Hmm… that may well be my next project.

So there it is! I hope you found this tutorial useful and simple to follow. I’d love your comments and critiques.

— LindaEve in NJ

 Posted by on 2016/08/27 sewing No Responses »
Jul 212013
 

Myra, of HerbanLuxe, has organized yet another team project for the members of Team EcoEtsy – a mass donation of handmade baby blankets for a non-profit organization called Enchanted Makeovers.

According to Myra: “Enchanted Makeovers goes around several states making over family shelters. They have several on-going projects and are always in need of supplies – right now they are in need of handmade baby quilts.”

From the Enchanted Makeovers website: “Since 2007, Enchanted Makeovers’ mission has been to transform homeless shelters for women and children into places that inspire behavioral and psychological change. Through our various projects, mentoring programs and makeovers of the physical space, women and children are introduced to a way of thinking that helps to shift their outlook about their lives and possibilities for the future.” [Learn more…]

fleece and cotton baby blanket by LindaEve

This is my contribution to the team project – a simple design, nice for a boy or a girl, and very cuddle-worthy. I pieced together 36 squares of green and lavender polar fleece, then backed it with a nice grey cotton sheet. It looks quilted, but there is no batting between the two layers. Even with no batting, this blanket provides lots of warmth (perhaps the current heat wave kept me from wanting to make it too warm).

I would love to see what my EcoEtsy teammates have come up with. Pictures please??

Stay cool…

Linda in NJ

 Posted by on 2013/07/21 sewing No Responses »
Mar 182013
 
finished I have an awful lot of salvaged denim jeans that have been languishing for a long while and thought that might make for a fun project. Inspired by these  cute soft storage containers from my friend Melana’s Etsy shop , I came up with an easy plan – here’s what I gathered for the project:

  • A cut-off jeans leg
  • A scrap of colorful tie-dyed cotton (from an earlier, unfinished project)
  • A plastic cylindrical container (which is actually the inverted cover from a spindle of blank DVDs)
  • Pins, chalk, scissors, sewing machine, etc. – all my sewing stuff

01

I had a good few jeans legs to choose from, because I never throw away useful fabric, do I? I was lucky enough to have one that just fit nicely over the plastic container. If you don’t have a piece that “just fits” you can just narrow it a bit at one seam, or let it out with more fabric – no problem.The next step was to cut the jeans leg down to a few inches longer than the height of the container (see below). I made it a little too big, just for wiggle room. 02

03

Next I cut a piece of the tie-dye cotton to match the size of the denim. While the denim was already seamed on both sides, the tie-dye needed to be seamed on one side, so I actually cut it about 1/2 inch wider…

04

… and ran a seam, to produce 2 fabric “cylinders,” both a bit taller than the plastic container.

05-06

Next, using the bottom of the container as a template, I chalk-traced a circle and cut two matching “discs” from leftover pieces of both the denim and the tie-dye, adding a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Hint – sewing a round disc to the end of a cylinder is much easier with as small a seam as possible. 1/2 inch worked okay, but I think 1/4-3/8 inch would have been better. Lesson learned.

07

Below you see the pinned up tie-dye construction at left and the denim construction as it’s being seamed at right. Another hint – for a cleaner seam, keep the disc piece facing down and the cylinder piece up. This makes it easier to control little creases getting caught up in the seam.

08

I trimmed the seams and over-edge stitched them to limit fraying (this is a washable item, so you want to do that if you can).

09

10 Next I fitted the container into the finished denim cylinder and folded in the top edge of the fabric. You can see I made it a bit too tall, but not to worry.

Then I took the tie-dye cylinder, turned it inside out, and fitted it inside the container. Looking at it I decided it really was a bit too tall, so I hemmed it down about an inch…

11-12

14 … and then ran a line of decorative stitching around the top edge.

I have all these cool stitches on my Janome that I never get to use – this seemed like a good opportunity to try one. This one looks a bit like a heart monitor readout!

I fitted the tie-dye cylinder back inside the container. cuffed the top down and …

 

 

 

here’s the finished piece…

finished

This took about an hour to make (and a lot longer to write about).

15

You can use any sort of cylindrical container to make this little basket. It’s a good way to upcycle, rather than recycle, a plastic yogurt container, paper oatmeal container, coffee can, or whatever you have on hand. The yogurt container is a little trickier because of the tapered shape, but it’s totally doable.

As I said earlier, this is washable – when it gets a bit dingy, just pull it apart and wash the two pieces with your regular laundry. Simple enough.

Melana’s denim containers are more finely made and worth the $23 – her prices are so reasonable! She used soft batting between the layers, rather than hard plastic, because hers are meant for little kiddies.  A shout-out to Melana’s fine craftsmanship – I have some cat toys she made for us (little embroidered fishies stuffed with organic catnip and crinkly cellophane) and I bought one of her soft tool kits as a baby gift for a friend’s new grandchild. DO visit her shop when you need a baby gift – her soft toys are outstanding!

I hope you’ll give this project a try and let me know how yours turns out!

Linda, in NJ

finished-anotherUpdate – 23 March 2013: I made a few more of these cute baskets – thought I’d post this one for the spring holidays. I wanted to fill it with the vegan matzoh balls I made today (which were delicious), but that just seemed wrong. It did, however, look like a good place to hide a few jelly beans.

 

 

 Posted by on 2013/03/18 crafts, DIY, sewing Tagged with: , , , , ,  3 Responses »