Friday, April 18, 2014

Layer Cake Sampler Week Eight

That means blocks 15 and 16 are done, and yes I am caught up after missing a week! The finish line is in sight and I can't wait to get them all done and sewn together with the sashing!

I have really been enjoying this quilt along hosted by Amanda at Material Girl Quilts. It is amazing how many options there are for half square triangles, two prints and a solid.  It can be challenging to work with only a layer cake as it limits me to only those fabrics and I don't always like all the fabrics in one collection. While I love the blues and greens in Sweetwater's Road 15, I am finding the blacks and grays to be a bit dreary.  The red in this week's blocks add some color and when I see them all together, I think it looks great.

layer cake sampler half square triangle blocks

There will also be cornerstones between the sashing strips so if I choose red or blue, I think that it will brighten up some more! And aren't these little houses just the cutest?

Amanda has blocks 17 and 18 on her blog today and the final two will be next Friday!!

Wishing you all a Happy Easter!

Tessa Marie

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Work In Progress Wednesday

It has been a while, but there is quilting happening here!!  This quilt top is getting the loopy treatment on the Tiara.

Thank you to everyone who gave me advice on better ways to baste a quilt. Many of you told me that you baste quite successfully on a table top so I had to give it a try.

I covered a 6 foot folding table with an old flannel fitted sheet to grip the fabric. Then I laid out the quilt back wrong side up and smoothed it out, letting half of it drape off the table. I laid the batting on top, ensuring that it was straight and smoothed it out. The flannel sheet really helped keep everything from sliding around.

Then, I rolled up the batting and sprayed 505 basting spray on the backing fabric. I carefully unrolled the batting, smoothing it out as I went.

I turned the two layers around and repeated with the other side, smooth, roll, spray, unroll, smooth. Then, I laid the quilt top down, right side up, on top of the batting.  Using a long tape measure as a guide made sure it was straight.

I spray basted the quilt top to the batting following the same steps. It worked like a charm and no crawling around on the floor!! This is a small baby quilt, but I don't see why it wouldn't work as well for a larger quilt.


I have been getting caught up with my Layer Cake Sampler blocks. These are the blocks from weeks five, six and seven, using Sweetwater Road 15 fabric and Bella solid in snow.

Fourteen blocks done, two underway for this week, and two more weeks to go! I am looking forward to adding the sashing and sewing them together. These blocks are going together well with Amanda's method. Trimming the HST's to size ensures perfect points, and there is very little waste. This is all the trimmings from all six blocks:


And finally, here is a little peek at a gift I have been making for a friend. I am using the "All Sewn Up" pattern from May Chappell to make a cute sewing kit for sewing on the go. 

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Monday, April 7, 2014


Today I would like to share a few things I have made and gifted recently. At Sew South, we have a fun swap where you are given the name of a fellow attendee and then make her feel special all weekend with little gifts and treats. She doesn't know who you are until the end of the weekend when you reveal yourself to her. This year, I was given Amy's name and was very excited because I met Amy last year and knew we had similar tastes - making her gifts was a joy!

patchwork box pouch the sewing chick

To begin the weekend, I gave this box pouch filled with some favorite notions. It is the Patchwork Triangle Box Pouch from Patchwork, Please! by Ayumi Takahashi. I used Moda Mochi dot in putty and various scraps from my ever-growing collection. I adore the contrast of the zipper and of course a sweet zipper pull was in order. There is quite an extension collection of charms at Michael's! It is lined with a DSQuilts print, available at JoAnn's.

patchwork box pouch the sewing chick

Then, to help keep her sewing area nice and tidy, a little thread catcher basket.

zakka patchwork and linen thread catcher the sewing chick

I used a quilt as you go technique to make it - the cotton duck underneath makes it wonderfully sturdy. It measures 4 1/2" square on the bottom and the sides are 5" high. Robert Kaufman Essex linen in natural is used for the main fabric and more scraps for the patchwork, including some Japanese prints from Lecien and Yuwa.

There will be a tutorial for this - coming your way soon!


I had so much fun making this mini/wine mat (not a mug rug!) for Amy - her husband drives and refurbishes VW vans so I thought the Tula Pink Coastal Cruiser pattern was perfect!

tula pink coastal cruiser VW mug rug the sewing chick

I shrank the pattern to 67% and traced it onto Pellon Wonder Under.  After fusing in place, I used the triple stitch on my machine and black thread to stitch around the edges. It took me a while to get the hang of when to pivot with the triple stitch - forward, back, forward, pivot!! The small circles on the headlights and the VW symbol had to be done by hand with two strands of cotton floss.

tula pink coastal cruiser mug rug raw edge applique the sewing chick

My favorite part is the A and E fussy cuts for the rear view mirrors! Those are Amy's initials and were cut from Just My Type fabric. I really enjoy doing raw edge applique and am certain to be using the technique on more projects!


I knew that Amy was a fan of Leah Duncan and especially likes her most recent collection, Meadow. Her final handmade gift, which I handed to her personally, was this Noodlehead 241 Tote, using three fabrics from the collection and black yarn-dyed Essex linen.

241 tote leah duncan meadow essex linen the sewing chick

The "Handmade with Love" ribbon on the inside pocket was one of Mollie Makes freebies! There are sources for similar cotton tapes on Etsy - just search printed cotton tape in supplies.

It is so rewarding to make handmade gifts and see the recipient's joy when they open them!! Truly one of life's pleasures for me!!

the sewing chick and Amy Edwards Sew South 2014 Secret Sister Swap
Me and Amy, Sew South 2014

Thanks so much for letting me share!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Still Playing Catch Up

Happy Friday friends!!

I am still behind with my Layer Cake Sampler Quilt Along blocks, but have come to realize that being behind is just part of the quilt along process. I start off with the best intentions, but things come up, life happens and inevitably I get behind! But for today, I give you the illusion of being up to date by skipping over week 5 and sharing my week 6 blocks!

Block #11 has a really cool zig zag effect. As she does each week, Amanda gives options for the color placement and I chose this one that blocks the colors into four patches. I also chose to sew the squares together in to four patches rather than rows. I don't think it made the assembly any easier or faster, it is just fun to change things up once in a while. These prints are both one-way designs, but I was able to have them all going in the same direction due to the layout of the squares. Yay - all the trees are right side up! The fabric is the Sweetwater collection called Road 15, from Moda.

I really like Block #12 because the design radiates outward from the center and that appeals to me aesthetically. The little houses prints are my favorite from this collection and again, I was able to have them all right side up. Note that when half the HST's are facing left and half are facing right, it is possible to achieve this. If all the HST's are facing in the same direction, half of them will be upside down. When this happens, I prefer to mix them up and have them going every which way. See my blocks #6 and #7 to see examples of this.

Block #12 gets us half way and Amanda has posted the blocks for week 7 here.  I am seeing some great fabrics being used in the Flickr group pictures, check them out here.

Have a wonderful, restful weekend and get a little sewing time in!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Work in Progress - Baby quilt

It would seem that I have misplaced my free motion quilting mojo. So instead of finishing a quilt from the ever-growing pile of quilt tops, I am working on a new one. I made a star block a few weeks back for the Patchwork Posse Round Robin Blog Hop and felt that it needed some friends. Using more of the oh-so-pretty Sidewalks fabric (Riley Blake) and the same design as my Navy & Lime quilt,  I have made another baby quilt top. I think I want it to be bigger, like a lap size, which means a lot more blocks and I really should be finishing some quilts...

patchwork and stars baby quilt sidewalks riley blake

Maybe it isn't lost mojo at all. Maybe it is a dislike for the basting process!! I really don't enjoy crawling around on the floor, taping it down, crawling around some more, leaning, bending...Ugh! It makes my knees hurt just thinking about it. I do spray baste, which makes it a little easier, but that doesn't erase the need to spread out on the floor! How about you? Do you hate basting as much as I do? Any tips to share? Tell me in the comments!

Ah well, let's hope this one gets finished soon!! Stay tuned...

Linking up at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sew South Was Amazing

It  has taken me a whole week to recover from the excitement and sleep deprivation that was Sew South 2014.  The lovely Jennifer Mathis once again treated the 50 eager attendees to a wonderful weekend filled with talented teachers, good friends and sweet swag!

We took an embroidery class taught by fabric designer Alison Glass. It has been a while since I have done embroidery and it was a bit like revisiting an old friend! The perle cotton sampler cards were provided by Chrissy at SewLux Fabrics and are gorgeous colors of #8 Finca perle cotton. I definitely recommend this thread for all kinds of embroidery stitches. And thank you to Dritz for supplying the needles. As you can see, my project is nowhere near completion, but I am eager to get it done and turn it into the needlebook that Alison provided a kit for. Check out the Sew South Flickr group to see some finished embroideries (or #sewsouth on instagram).

We then took a very informative class about blogging and social media taught by Christen Barber (she blogs at Christen is a social media strategist in her real job and really knows her stuff! I hope to put some of the things she taught us into effect on my blog and be more efficient using social media. Keep your eyes out for Christen, she may be planning more ways to share her knowledge with the creative segment of the business world, and she will be awesome!

And speaking of Christen...she was also my roommate and made me this amazing Sew Together Bag out of the most fabulous fabrics!! There was a lot of drooling over this during the weekend and I had to keep a close eye on my neighbors to be sure they didn't take it (I am talking about you Karen!!)

sew together bag patchwork black essex

Check out the inside - pink and white polka dots!! This is such a cool pattern and the way it goes together is so clever, I just love it!

Back to the classes - I made this Boxy Pouch in a class taught by Kelly Bowser from KelbySews. The fabric is an Echino linen/cotton with a lime green zipper provided by Zipit on Etsy. Kelly has made the tutorial available on her blog - awesome! It is a great bag that goes together easily and quickly - you could make a whole bunch - and Kelly offers some really helpful tips if you have never sewn anything like this before!

boxy pouch tutorial kelby sews the sewing chick

Heather Valentine of The Sewing Loft taught a class on making a scrap bucket out of scrap fabric! She spent many years working in the design and clothing manufacturing industry in New York and is so knowledgeable about pattern design. I love using up scraps of favorite fabrics to make something that I will use every day! This was my first time using grommets and I love them! They weren't difficult at all and now I want to put them on everything!! And don't you just adore the rope handles! This pattern is available as a FREE download with great instructions on Heather's blog! Whee!!

scrappy patchwork bucket the sewing loft the sewing chick

Kati Spencer of From the Blue Chair led our class about Improv Quilting. I was happy to meet Kati, her blog was one of the first that I started following several years ago and she is every bit as nice as she is talented. The class was very inspirational and informative, but I have to confess that improv quilting is hard for me and my class sample turned out to be a bit of a mess! I bit off more than I could chew and tried randomly pieced prints and curves when I should have tread more lightly and stuck with straight lines and solid fabrics. So I won't be sharing that picture, but you can check out an amazing quilt that Kati shared with us here!!

And finally, I have to share these awesome goodies that my "secret sewing sister" made for me! It was Carlie D. and she clearly took the time to stalk me on line - these are just perfect and totally my colors! You might think that people that sew don't like to receive sewn gifts, but I absolutely love, love, love to get something that someone else has made for ME!!!

This post wouldn't be complete without thanking all the wonderful sponsors that gave us class supplies and goodies to take home. This isn't even everything, as some of it has already been put into use!! Seriously, free stuff is awesome!!

Ummm, and yeah, you can win the contents of a Sew South swag bag!! Go to Jennifer's blog HERE for the details and to enter. Good luck!! Thank you so very much to the generosity of...

sew south sponsors 2014
Coats and Clark       Jo-Ann Fabric      Free Spirit & Rowan       Pellon

Now I seriously need to get back to sewing, there is a huge pile of WIP's calling my name!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Layer Cake Sampler QAL

A glorious time last week at Sew South coupled with the kids on Spring break this week has resulted in being woefully behind in my sewing and blogging.

So while Amanda is now up to blocks 11 and 12 today, these are my blocks (ahem) 7 and 8.

Hmmmm...must have been feeling black and blue when I did these. I did not go through the layer cake and pair up the fabrics at the beginning, I just pulled out ones that I liked together for each block. Now that we are half way through, I think it best to make pairs just so I don't end up with four blacks or grays, etc.

At the risk of being redundant, I am showing the way to press pinwheels again. Open the seam and unpick the threads just in the seam allowance. Then press in opposite directions. You will end up with a tiny pinwheel on the back.

It is fun to see the quilt come together as the blocks are completed.

You can see the new blocks for today on Amanda's blog, Material Girl Quilts. And good news everyone, there is a giveaway!! There are three great prizes up for grabs by linking up your progress - you don't even have to be up to date with your blocks!! Good luck!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Layer Cake Sampler Quilt Along

I am sewing the Layer Cake Sampler quilt along with Amanda at Material Girl Quilts. I am a wee bit behind this week, but blocks five and six are finished. Block five is a star block so naturally, I love it!

I like that Amanda is giving us different color layout options for each block. Hers has the solid in the center, but since my solid is light, I wanted the dark color to draw your eye into the center. I was able to make sure all the little houses are the right way up.

Block six again had options for color placement. I chose this design just cause I like it best.

Since all the HSTs are going in the same direction, I couldn't make all the houses and text going the same way. This gives the block a more eclectic feel and I like that.

I don't think I have mentioned it before, but these blocks finish out at 16" square, quite a bit larger than what I usually make. 

You can join in the quilt along at any time. There are two new blocks posted each Friday. Amanda has blocks seven and eight up on today's blog post. One of them is pinwheels - fun!!!

Check out the Flickr group here.

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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