Search Results for: tutorial


05

Apr 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee
Block #3 Tutorial

Virtual-b Welcome friends!

I’m happy you’re here at my blog! If you’re visiting for the Virtual Quilt Bee, hello! Let me introduce myself really quick: My name is April Rosenthal, I’m a quilt pattern designer and blogger, a mom to 5 year old twins, and a wife to my high school sweetheart (awwwww). I have a sweet little pattern company called Prairie Grass Patterns, which I absolutely adore. I also adore fabric, herbal tea, the color orange, helping my family be healthy, and above all, I’m an obsessive learner. I would love it if you’d stick around and introduce yourself so I can get to know you, too! I’m naturally pretty introverted, but I truly love my friends {<–that’s you}–and I love helping others learn.

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I’ve known Amy for a couple years now, and darnit, she’s one of the coolest people I know–and hey, when one of the coolest people you know asks you to be a part of their virtual quilting bee, well, the answer is quick and obvious. So here I am, with my block pattern!

Let’s get to it, shall we?

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First, cut the following, being careful not to stretch your triangles:

Orange polka dot: (4) 2½” squares

White and red floral: (4) 2 7/8″ squares, subcut once on the diagonal to make (8) small triangles.

Aqua check: (2) 4 7/8″ squares, subcut once on the diagonal to make (4) large triangles.

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Sew the short side of a small triangle to one side of each orange square. Press seam toward the square. Repeat with another triangle on adjacent side. Press toward square.

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Right sides together, sew one pieced unit to each large triangle, along the long edge. Press toward large triangle.

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Lay out the block. Sew top two blocks together, and bottom two blocks together. Press toward large triangle.

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Sew rows together. Press to one side.

There you have it! This one is quick and easy, you’ll have it put together in a flash. When I finished putting mine together, I was shocked at how different they look. There is so much less contrast in the solid orange block, but the darkest fabric stands out so much more. The Happy Go Lucky block is fun and balanced, and has a more traditional feel. They look like totally different blocks! Which do you like better?

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I seriously can’t wait for the rest of this quilt to come together, the finished quilt is going to be so fun!

Thanks again for stopping by, let’s talk really soon!

xoxo

April

PS Stay tuned this weekend for some pretty pictures of some works in progress…

PPS, If you missed the first two blocks, click on the “Virtual Quilting Bee” button in my sidebar. Amy is listing them all there, just for you.


08

Mar 2013

Tutorial: Basic Machine Applique Using Fuseable Webbing

PerfectMachineApplique Don’t go running and screaming away, I promise this will be quick and painless. And for those of you who haven’t done much with applique, or machine applique, you’ll see this isn’t anything to be afraid of.

Here’s the thing about machine applique: with the right tools and techniques, it can be really, really easy. And if you’re one of those people that just cringe at the word applique, well, you’re not alone. I have a couple friends and family members that are right there with you. But I promise–it doesn’t have to be traumatizing. Lets do it. Here are 10 steps to perfect machine applique.

1.  Start with a template

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Unless you’re really, really good at freehanding it, it’s easier to trace a shape. Also, with this technique, if you want to applique letters, you’ll want the letter to go backwards on the template.

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Trace the template on to the paper side of some fuseable webbing. Usually, I use Heat ‘n Bond lite, but I also really like featherweight–it doesn’t make the finished product stiff at all.

2. Cut around your shape, leaving some space around the line. Iron to fabric.

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Place the paper shape shiny side down on the wrong side of your fabric.

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Adhere the paper shape to the fabric according to manufacturer’s instructions. In my case, I used the “silk” setting on my iron for 2 seconds.

3.  Cut out the shape on the line.

 

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Peel the paper off the back of the fabric.

4. Iron the shape to background fabric, according to manufacturer’s instructions.

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In my case, I used the silk, no steam setting for 10 seconds. Be sure not to keep your iron there too long, you run the risk of scorching the fabric or making the webbing not adhere as well. The shape should be stuck to the background well enough that it doesn’t lift or shift if gently manipulated.

5. Choose your thread.

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You have lots of choices when it comes to thread. I have used metallic, iridescent, matching, contrasting, even invisible thread. If you’re just beginning, I suggest using a thread that matches your shape. As you gain skill and confidence, you can move on to other threads–which can add a LOT of fun and visual interest to your project.

6. Start with a tacking stitch.

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Using a clear presser foot, align your shape right in the middle of your presser foot, so that your needle will sink right at the edge. Take a few very small straight stitches along the edge of the shape. This will help your zig zag (or other decorative stitch) be secure and not unravel. On my machine, I set my stitch length to .5 and took about 5 stitches. I usually start on an inside corner or a straight part if there is one. On circles, you can start wherever you want.

7. Stitch around the shape, using a decorative stitch.

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I use a zig zag stitch, because my sewing machine doesn’t have other stitches that work well with applique. If you have a blanket stitch, that’s a fun one too. Align your stitch so that it is all on the shape, just barely coming off the edge of the shape and hitting the background.

8. Drop your needle and pivot at corners.

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When you reach a corner, manually place your needle right at the corner, in the background.

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Lift your presser foot, pivot the fabric until it is aligned, then begin stitching again.

9. On circular shapes, pivot continually or use the “clock method”.

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When I am stitching around a circular shape, I use one of two methods. On larger, more gradual curves, I put one finger parallel to the presser foot on the shape and allow that finger to serve as a pivot point. This allows the fabric to move freely and easily around the curve. The keys to this method are practice and allowing the fabric to move freely.

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If I am stitching around a smaller or tighter curve, I sink the needle and pivot just like with corners, only moving less with each pivot. The “clock” means to pivot at each place where an hour would be located on the clock. This helps so that your stitching still looks circular like your shape.

10. Finish with a tacking stitch.

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Just like when you started, finish by switching to a very small straight stitch and taking 5-6 stitches. This will secure your applique so it doesn’t unravel.

There you have it! 10 steps to perfect machine applique. I hope you’ll try it and see it’s not so scary after all. I’ve included a template you can download and practice with, including marked pivot points on both the star and the circle. Click the link below to open the PDF in a new window.

Machine Applique Template

As I am typing this, I’m wondering if it would be helpful for me to post a video of the circular stitching. What do you think? Do you have other questions? Machine applique tips or suggestions?

xoxo

April

PS Have you made January’s block? Or February’s? (You’re speedy!) I’m going to post a giveaway this month, and one way to get an entry will be to add your block to the flickr group. So far, my block is all alone. :( I’d love to see yours!


11

Feb 2013

Simply Snuggly Quilt Tutorial
{free pattern} and quilt kit

SimplySnuggly Hello friends!

Here’s the pattern for the Simply Snuggly quilt. I’m so glad you guys like it! I wrote the pattern up quick after the quilt was already at its’ new home, so if you’ve got questions on anything let me know and I’ll double check it. I made it in downloadable printable form, I figure that’s easier than having to go back to the computer every 10 seconds to check the next instruction.

Quilt measures 52″ x 61″

Also, I now have just a few kits available in my shop with the EXACT fabric I used in my original. Backing isn’t included. Snag the kits fast if you want one, I don’t expect they will last long.

Thanks for all your sweet words, I just *heart* you guys!

xoxo

April

PS Click the picture above or HERE for the downloadable pattern.


06

Aug 2011

Tutorial: How to make a perfect four-patch quilt block.


Piecing a perfect four-patch block is just one of those things a quilter should have under their belt, if you know what I mean. Luckily, it’s a quick and easy process (nevermind that it took me about a billion pictures to show how easy it is…). Once you get the hang of it, you can crank these babies out in no time flat, and you’ll want to, they’re in a TON of patterns. I apologize in advance for these colors. They’re pretty much clashing with everything else here…

Start with 4 squares of fabric, all the same size.

Take the squares on the left and flip them over so they are face down on top of the fabrics on the right. The “right sides” of the squares should be facing each other. In quilting terms, this is called “right sides together”. I know, we’re a creative bunch. Pin, if necessary. My squares are only 2½” square, so it’s not needed in my case, but if you’re working with squares bigger than about 3″, I suggest pins.

Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew both sets of two squares together using a straight stitch. To make things easier later, do NOT take a double stitch or backstitch on the first and last stitches.

They’ll look like this. Only with your fabrics, of course.

Put your sewn squares on your ironing board without opening them.

Press the seam allowance with a hot iron. I know this seems weird, but it’s called “setting” the seams. It makes the thread lay more flat so that when you open up the block and press it, it lays, well, more flat.

See? Looking flatter already.

Now, open up your pieces and lay them face down.

Decide which way you will press your seam allowance. Ideally, you will press in opposite directions, toward the darker fabric. So, see how the block on top is being pressed to the left, while the block on the bottom is being pressed to the right? This makes it really easy, later on, to make a perfectly aligned intersection. To make sure you don’t “lose” any fabric in the seam, gently pull both sides of the block away from the seam while using your fingers to press and hold the seam allowance the direction you will press it with the iron. Work slowly and carefully so you don’t skew or stretch your blocks.

Press with hot iron.

Now, place the right sides together again. You will notice that your seam allowances are facing different directions, directly opposite each other. You will also notice, that if you use your fingers to gently slide the blocks against each other, you can feel when the block “clicks” into place. This is usually called “butting” or “nesting” your seams, and is a great way to not only get precise intersections, but also to distribute bulk.

Pin. Usually, I will pin at the top, at each intersection, and at the bottom. If there is more than 3 inches or so between, I will pin there, too.

Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew. Be sure to remove your pins before they go under your presser foot.

Lay flat on your ironing board, and set the seam.

Open up the block, face down on your ironing board. Push the seam allowance in opposite directions on the top and bottom.

Since you didn’t take any backstitches before, pushing the seam allowances will loosen those middle stitches, allowing them to come out and open up, like this. Isn’t it cute? Besides being cute, it is also much flatter than pressing your seam allowance all to one side. (There ARE situations where that is a better option, though, so follow your pattern’s instructions.)

Press it. (And when I say press it, I mean pick up your iron, and place it on the block. Straight down. Don’t move it around. That will just stretch and warp your block.)

Now, flip it over, and give it one more press. Voila! A perfect four-patch block!

I knew you could do it.

Any questions? Tips or tricks? Share!



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