Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Out to Sea Baby Quilt -- In Progress

Over the past couple of years, I have been growing my fabric stash. It is a common trait of quilters, old and new alike, to buy fabric because it is pretty with no regard for what I am going to make with it, if anything at all. But now I look at all those piles of fabric and think, gosh, there's a lot of money tied up in there, maybe I need to use it up...

So I have made it one of my goals for the year to use what I have and limit further purchasing of more fabric. Not a bad thing when I get to sew up such cute fabrics as these Sarah Jane Out to Sea prints. I have decided on a simple alternating 4-patch and square layout that allows me to fussy cut some of the larger feature fabrics.

The top went together really quickly and I have begun to quilt it on the Princess (my Babylock Tiara) with free motion wavy lines to mimic real waves!

This might even be finished by the weekend!! Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for Work in Progress Wednesday. How about you? What are you working on this week? I hope it's something good!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Friday, January 23, 2015

A Finished Quilt

colorful modern patchwork handmade quilt by the sewing chick

I have learned a valuable lesson from finishing this quilt. So often, I am all about the fabric. I love fabric. No, I loooooove!!!! fabric. My quilts tend to feature the colors and patterns of favorite fabrics, and I consider the quilting to be secondary, you know, just a way to keep the layers together. But this quilt has taught me that the quilting design can make a huge difference in how I feel about the finished piece.

I liked the Bonnie and Camille Happy Go Lucky fabric. I  liked the simple pattern of alternating 9 patch and snowball blocks. I liked the Moda Bella Aqua solid. I just didn't like them all together. But the quilting in the centers of the snowballs made them pop and now I love this quilt.

From now on, I will consider how I am going to do the quilting at the design phase of quilt making and not merely as an afterthought. I will, I swear!

The backing is a pretty aqua and white Ta Dot from Michael Miller and the binding is from the Marmalade collection, also by Bonnie and Camille.

I didn't use a pattern - I had a layer cake of the B&C fabric so that dictated the size of the blocks. I cut each 10" square into 2.5" strips and pieced the 9 patches from those. The remaining 2.5" strips were subcut into 2.5" squares for the corners of the snowball blocks. There are similar patterns on the market, including this one.

The finished quilt is 42" square, a nice baby or toddler size.

This quilt will be for sale in my Etsy shop as soon as I get that up and running, which is one of my goals for 2015. Well, okay, it was one of my goals for 2104, but didn't happen. The idea of selling my work scares me, but I can't keep piling up quilts in my house forever!!

Linking up today with Amanda over at Crazy Mom Quilts and Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Have a super weekend and Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One Less

That's one less quilt top waiting to be quilted because I spent yesterday doing this.

It is a goal of mine for 2015 to improve my free motion quilting skills and get to a point where I can do it without being terrified! This quilt top was made in the summer of 2013 and to be honest, I didn't really like it that much since I thought the aqua was the wrong color choice. Then, the other day, I saw those aqua snowballs as the perfect place to practice a free motion motif. Now, I like it!!

I worked back and forth across the rows and created this flower/tree thing by stitching the center first and then three rows of "petals". I stitched out at the bottom and then moved to the neighboring 9-patch with a meandering stitch or stipple. It went amazingly quickly and I am fairly pleased with the result. Yes, I photographed one of the better attempts - they didn't all turn out perfectly which I remind myself is okay!!

The back is an aqua and white polka dot and I have just enough of this red and cream stripe from Bonnie and Camille's Marmalade line to use for the binding. It is the same soft red as in the Happy Go Lucky fabric of the quilt. I love that the different collections play so well together!

So I am feeling a little more confident, but need to keep the momentum going or else I'll lose it again.

What are your quilting goals for this year? Are you wanting to learn something new or improve on an existing skill? Whatever it is, I say go for it, be easy on yourself and enjoy the journey!!

Check out these link ups:

Freshly Pieced, W.I.P. Wednesday
My Quilt Infatuation, Needle and Thread Thursday

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Pattern Winner

Happy Monday!! Thank you to all who entered the pattern giveaway! The winner of the Eye Candy Quilt pattern by May Chappell Design is Sarah! Congratulations! Lee will contact you via email with the pattern.

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Things I Know and a Pattern Giveaway

Creativity. If there is one thing I have learned since I began this quilting and blogging journey, it is that the more you use your creativity, the more you have. It grows and flourishes and you find inspiration everywhere. The converse is also true - the less you use your creativity, the less you have. It stagnates, and if left too long, begins to stink!

Like a muscle that has been sedentary, it is hard to use it again. You have to start slow and build it back up. I was so engulfed in the holiday goings-on and having my family around that I didn't sew for weeks, even after the decorations came down and the kids were back in school. The creative juices ran dry.

So to ease back into the sewing mode, I started by working on something that was already in progress. I visited with my friend Lee of May Chappell Design and she showed me her new pattern, Eye Candy. It was just what I was looking for to use with a bundle of fabric I had from Art Gallery - Frances Newcombe's Cherie.

eye candy pattern and art gallery fabric by the sewing chick

Most of the fabrics are large in scale and I didn't want to cut them up into small pieces. These 8" squares allow you to see just how pretty these fabrics are! There are a couple of Oval Elements in there too and also a Priory Square print. The background is a Cotton and Steel basic.

I love French inspired fabrics, the aqua with the roses is of course my favorite.  Joie de Vivre literally means the joy of living. I am guessing it is the French equivalent of YOLO.

I can feel the creative urge beginning to strengthen and it feels good! I hope not to stay away so long this time - making something pretty soothes my soul!! And speaking of soothing the soul, I would like to recommend a blog post. I don't usually get too personal or preachy here as this is a sewing blog and I don't really have the voice for it anyway. But if you are like me and are desperate to slow down time as life seems to rush past, read this. Ann is a gifted writer and is a friend of Kara Tippetts, another beautiful soul whose story I have been following on her blog, Mundane Faithfulness. Both are good for the soul.

Lee has just added this pattern to her website, you can find it here. All her patterns are currently on sale for just $6!! But even better, she has kindly offered a PDF version of this pattern to one of my readers. Just leave me a comment saying you would like the pattern and I will choose one on Saturday evening (I know some of you catch up on blog reading on the weekends - or is that just me?). Please be sure that I have your email address to send the pattern to.

And hey, it's Wednesday, so I am linking up to Freshly Pieced. I just know I can get some inspiration over there!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Merry Mug Rug Blog Hop

christmas mug rug free motion embroidery the sewing chick

A small project like a mug rug is a great opportunity to try a new technique. When Jennifer at Ellison Lane asked me to participate in her holiday mug rug hop, I knew it would be the perfect time to try free motion embroidery with applique.

I was inspired by Poppy Treffrey's book, Freehand Machine Embroidery, and the beautiful creations from my Flickr friend, Jackie {chloeandme}. It would probably have been a good idea to practice a little before making the mug rug, but instead I just jumped right in and started.

I began with some Essex yarn-dyed linen in flax and some sweet Liberty of London fabrics. I bought the prints in a sixteenth-yard piece bundle from this shop. These bundles are a great way to get an affordable assortment of these pricey prints.

To make the pattern pieces, I doodled the trees which was easy, but for the car, I found an image online and then traced over it on my iPad.  Because Liberty is lightweight, I used fusible web, traced the pieces on the paper backing (in reverse!) and cut them out. I drew in the hills and laid out the paper pattern pieces for placement.

Ignore the words, I had the crazy notion that I could free motion them, but they are so small that I decided against it. If I had more time, I would have stitched them by hand.

This kind of embroidery is done in layers, with the background areas done first and then adding each piece toward the foreground. I spray basted my quilt batting to the linen and stitched the hills first. I chose to go back and forth three times for the look I wanted.

Then I added the trees, one layer at a time starting with the bottom. The best tip I think I can give you is to not get stressed over every stitch. As I started this, I thought to myself, "oh my, this is terrible!" But as I added each layer and the piece began to take shape, each stitch becomes less important and the overall feel of my work began to come forward. This is supposed to be free-form and imperfect, that adds to the charm! Mine certainly could be better, and with practice, I will do a better job of the stitches being more on top of each other.

The car was added next, stitching around the outer edge. Then I drew in the details with a Frixion pen and stitched over the lines.

Then the presents were added and finally the free motion bow on the top!

A couple of fun button wheels finish the car!

The mug rug is finished by trimming the embroidered piece to size and layering it with a backing fabric - I used red and white ticking, an absolute favorite of mine. Baste around the edge and add a pretty binding.

There is no official mug rug standard size, make it whatever size you want. This is a generous 8" x 11 1/2", big enough for a big mug of cocoa and a cookie. Or two.

I hope this inspires you to try free motion embroidery and applique, it takes a bit of practice, but if you can free motion quilt, you can do this.

Thank you to Jennifer for inviting me to be a part of her Merry Mug Rug series. Be sure to visit her blog for a great giveaway for a $30 gift certificate to Southern Fabric and to see a list of the other participating bloggers.

Happy Sewing and Happy Holidays,

Tessa Marie

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Friday, November 28, 2014

A Finished Quilt - Low Volume and Vintage Roses

modern handmade quilt plus block the sewing chick

Happy Friday friends!! This quilt top didn't have to sit around too long waiting to be quilted - a testament to how much I love it.  The soft, vintage roses against the low volume background and a simple design that features the fabrics are the definition of pretty in my book!

modern handmade quilt plus blocks the sewing chick

Each block measures 11 1/2", you can see the dimensions of the cut pieces in this post, {EDIT - SOME PEOPLE WERE HAVING TROUBLE VIEWING THE DIAGRAM SO I HAVE ADDED IT TO THE END OF THIS POST} (resulting in an overall finish of 58" square, big enough for snuggling under on the couch (or standing on a deck staring out at the water, whatever).

A coordinating rose backing and an allover medium stipple quilting design complete the soft look and add texture.

I used a text print for the binding, and machine stitched it in place.

 I tried a slightly different method this time, a big deal for me since I am a card carrying member of the binding police (not really, but I am a little fussy about binding). Tina at OneLittlePooh (also know as Emily Ann's Kloset on Etsy and Instagram) has a great tutorial, here. Where I usually stitch my binding in the ditch on the front, Tina stitches hers along the edge of the binding on the back. Using the previous stitching line as a guide, I was able to still get the stitches "in the ditch" or pretty darn close on the front. It went much faster and I am satisfied with the result. I was careful not to get any stitches too close where they would end up on the front binding. This picture shows a close up of the back binding on the left and the front on the right.

I really enjoyed making this quilt! A lesson learned in sew what you love - not what is "in" or what other people are doing or what you think you should be doing, but what really makes you happy!!

Quilt Summary:

finished size - 58" square

fabrics - October Sky by Verna Mosquera, Hand Drawn Garden by Anna Maria Horner for crosses, an assortment of low volume and text prints, too many to list for background; Annette Tatum's Bouquet for the backing; Frances Newcombe's Cherie text print for the binding.

batting - Warm & White 100% cotton

thread -  Aurifil cotton 50wt.

My girl has become quite the assistant to me - holding up quilts and modeling them, so I leave you with this...

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

EDIT - HERE'S THE DIAGRAM: Thank you to Kristy Daum for providing it.

Low Volume Oakshott Plus Block by AdrianneNZ

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Alison Glass Celestial Gift Along Project

holiday apron alison glass fabric and celestial the sewing chick blog

Pattern and fabric designer, Alison Glass invited me to participate in her new Celestial quilt pattern Gift Along. Her task for us is to demonstrate how versatile the pattern can be by using the paper pieced blocks in smaller, gift items. So, if you thought that quilt blocks are just for quilts, think again!

Celestial includes six different star blocks that can be used in a myriad of different ways. I have chosen to use two of them to turn an ordinary apron into a festive holiday hostess gift.

I used an assortment of Alison Glass fabrics in deep raspberry and lime green, a modern alternative to traditional Christmas red and green, and added a white on gray dot for the base fabric.

holiday apron celestial pattern alison glass fabric the sewing chick blog

 The 8-inch star "C" block brightens up the square bib...

And dancing across the bottom, a band of seven of the 4" star "A" blocks...

Any apron pattern with a square bib will work for this project. I didn't use a pattern, just took some measurements and started cutting! These are the sizes for the pieces I cut if you need a starting point, but I strongly suggest you cut them according to your own body measurements. You can see the apron is a little loose on my smaller, slimmer daughter in the first picture.

The bib is lined with a piece cut 12 1/2" x 14"
The star band at the bottom is lined with a piece cut 32 1/2" x 4 1/2"
Waistband, cut two pieces that are 3 1/2" x 17"
Side ties, cut four pieces that are 4 1/2" x 21"
Neck loop, 3" x 20" (mine came out a little long, adjust as needed)
Skirt 32 1/2" x 13"

Seam allowances around the blocks are 1/4", all other seam allowances are 1/2"

This inside photo shows the lined areas. Serge or use an overlock stitch on the skirt band seams.

Side tie, detail of center pleat:

I hope you like this project and are inspired to make one of your own using the Celestial pattern. Alison is generously hosting a link up on her blog where one lucky winner will get a signed copy of her new book, Alison Glass Applique and a $25 gift certificate to her shop. You can make a featured project or come up with one of your own. If you need some additional inspiration, see what these clever bloggers will be making over the next two weeks:

Alyssa from Pile O’ Fabric
Megan from Quilt Story
Nicole from Snips Snippets
Nicole from Modern Handcraft 
Brooke from Silly Mama Quilts

If you are on Instagram, post what you are making (in progress) and tag #celestialgiftalong for the chance to win a weekly pattern draw.

You have until December 10th to link up your project, good luck and let's get sewing!!

Happy Holidays,

Tessa Marie

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