Thursday, December 29, 2011

Matching Patterns

Tailoring Thursdays™, Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Sewers

Matching Patterns

So you have a fabric with a print that you LOVE!  Then you find a pattern and the print looks wrong at the seams.  I often get the question, "how do I match the print at the seams?"  

It's not an easy task, but it is not as difficult as you may think - here's how!

1.  Find the repeat in the pattern.  Cut out large square/rectangular pieces, a bit bigger than the sizes you need for the pattern pieces, on the same repeats.  Basically, you want to be able to lay the pieces on top of one another and have the patterns line up just like tracing paper.
See how they line up when stacked? 
2.  Using a fabric safe marking tool, trace the pattern pieces onto one of the fabric squares.  
3.  THEN using a ruler, draw a parallel line the distance of the seam allowance (1/4" - 5/8" or whatever the pattern calls for) to the Left of that first line. 
4.  Trace the line from step 2 on the next piece of fabric.  Using the pattern piece with the seam that is supposed to be sewn to the seam line drawn in step two, draw the line as close as possible to this line.

THEN, using a ruler, draw a parallel line the distance of the seam allowance (1/4" - 5/8" or whatever the pattern calls for) to the Right of that line.
5.  Cut on the seam allowance lines on each piece. 
6.  Line up the seams and sew the seam allowance.
7.  Open seam and press!  Voila!  Beautiful matching patterns! 
You can practice this with strips of fabric before trying it with garment pieces to make the matching easier!

Easy Even Hems

Tailoring Thursdays™, Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Sewers

Easy Even Hems

After hemming hundreds of pants, dresses, and even shirts I have found that the easiest way to get a beautiful straight hem is to draw lines.  No, really.

Some materials like acetate are very slippery and difficult to get a very even hem all the way around. 

When it comes time to mark the hem, I usually place a pin in the front and back of where the hem needs to be.   1.  Measure the Hem:  the distance from the edge of the fabric to the fold line. 

2.  Take the measurement from step 1.  Using a clear ruler and a fabric safe marking tool, draw a line the distance of that measurement, parallel to the edge of the fabric all around the hem. 
This next step depends on what type of hem you are going to sew.  
I like to do either a double fold hem or what I call, a quick enclosed hem.  In the following steps I did a quick enclosed hem. 

 For a quick enclosed hem, I usually fold the top of the fabric down 1/4" or so, fold the hem and finish by edge stitching the hem to the garment.  


3.  Then draw a second parallel line below the first line.  For the 1/4" enclosed hem, draw a line 1/4" up from the edge of the fabric.  (For a 2" double fold hem, draw a line 1" up from the fabric edge and 1" below the line drawn in step 2.)
4.  Now, fold the edge of the fabric up to meet the first line.  Press.  Continue this all the way around the hem.
 
5.  Then fold the now folded edge up to meet the the top line you drew in step 2.  Press and pin.  Continue this all the way around the hem. 
6.  To finish, stitch hem in place.

Now you have even hems, pretty easy, right? 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pretty Points

Tailoring Thursdays™, Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Sewers

Pretty Points

A lot of beginner quilters want to know how to get great points when they piece their quilts.  It can be difficult to know how to keep those points from getting cut off.

The secret to pretty points is to let the points hang over the edge just a smidge (about a 1/4" smidge).

See when you sew that 1/4" seam allowance you will lose that smidge and have an amazing point!
See how when you press that seam out the extra smidge can be cut off and the point lines up with the edge. 
When you have multiple points the back of your piecing will have these W looking corners.  
Hope that helps some people get those pretty points they are looking for!  
When you are piecing a quilt getting those first points just right are what will allow the rest of the points while piecing fall into place!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Candy Pieced: Tree Skirt Tutorial - 2

My little guy saw the Christmas Candy line by Riley Blake Designs and HAD To have it.  It's true, I am raising a mini fabric-aholic.  So, I decided this was the perfect fabric to us to make his tree skirt!
I used his favorite prints to create a tree skirt with candy canes and trees!  
Here's how to make one of your very own! 

MATERIALS
            • 1/2 Yard Print for Candy Canes
            • 1/2 Yard Print for Trees
            • 1 1/2 Yard Print for Background
            • 2 Yards Print for Backing
            • 2 Yards Fusible Fleece
            • 5 Buttons
            • 5 Pieces of Ribbon 

CUTTING
          • Tree Print:
            • Cut 16, 4" squares
            • Cut 10, 4 3/8" squares (then cut in 1/2 diagonally)
          • Candy Cane Print:
            • Cut 8, 4 3/8" squares (then cut in 1/2 diagonally)
            • Cut 1, 4 7/8" square (then cut in 1/2 diagonally)
            • Cut 20, 4" squares
            • Cut 2, 5" x 11" strips
            • Cut 2, 2" x 5" strips
          • From the Background:
            • Cut 2, 4" x 11" strips
            • Cut 2, 4" squares
            • Cut 12, 4 3/8" squares (then cut in 1/2 diagonally)
            • Cut 1, 4 7/8" square (then cut in 1/2 diagonally)
            • Cut 4, 11" squares
            • Cut 4, 7 1/2" squares
            • Cut 12, 4" x 7 1/2" strips

DIRECTIONS
Sew all seams with a 1/4" seam allowance unless stated otherwise.

PART I: Create the Candy Cane Squares
1.  Take the 4" squares for the candy canes and sew together 4 of them creating a 1 x 4 strip.
Repeat so that you have 4 sets.

2.  Take one of the candy cane triangle prints and one of the background triangle prints and sew them to one another along the diagonal.   Repeat until you have 8 of these half square triangles (HST).

3.  Sew one of the HST's from previous step to the top of the strip you created in step one, so that the background triangle is on the top right and the candy cane triangle is on the bottom left. 

Repeat until you have 4 strips total.  Turn strips so that they go 4 high by 1 wide and the background triangle is on the top left.

4.  Take the 4 7/8" triangles and sew the candy cane ones to the background one along the diagonal.  Open the seam and press.  Cut in half along the diagonal that is opposite of the diagonal seam you just sewed.  Repeat with remaining 4 7/8" triangles.

5.  Take 4 of the candy cane 4 3/8" triangles and sew to the triangles just cut in the previous step along the diagonal. Repeat until you have 4 total.
6.  Turn the square from the previous step so that the background triangle in the square is the bottom and the top and sides are the candy cane material.  Sew a 4" candy cane square to the top of these squares.
Repeat until you have 4.
7.  Take a HST from step 2 and sew it to the right side of a 4" candy cane square, keeping the background triangle to the top right and the candy cane triangle to the bottom left.  Repeat until you have 4 total.  

After you are done, turn the strip so that it is 2 high and 1 wide.  Then keep the background triangle at the top left.
8.  Take a 4" x 7 1/2" strip to the left side of the strip from step 7.  Then sew the strip from step 6 to the right side of the strip from step 7.
9.  Take the set from the previous step and sew it to the top of the 11" background square.
10.  Take the strip from step 3 and sew it to the right side of the set from step 9, creating a candy cane.  Repeat until you have 4 candy cane squares.  Set aside.

Part II: Create the Tree Squares
11.  First, take 4" tree squares and sew two together creating 4 sets of 1 by 2.  
12.  Take 16 of the 4 3/8" tree triangles and 16 the 4 3/8" background triangles and sew together along the diagonal line.  Now you will have 16 tree and background HST's .
13.  Sew one 4" tree square to the left of a tree and background HST, keeping the tree triangle to the top left and the background triangle to the bottom right.  Sew a 4" x 7 1/2" strip to the right of the HST. 
14.  Sew a tree and background HST, keeping the tree triangle to the top left and the background triangle to the bottom right, to the left side of the 2 by 1 tree strips from step 11.  Then sew a tree and background HST, keeping the tree triangle to the top left and the background triangle to the bottom right, to the right side of the 2 by 1 tree strip.  
15.  Sew the strip from step 14 to the left side of the strip from step 13.
16.  Sew a 4" x 7 1/2" strip to the top of the set from step 15.  Set aside.
17.  Take one background 4 3/8" triangle and sew it to the right side of one tree and background HST, keeping the tree triangle to the top left and the background triangle to the bottom right.  

Keep the set with the HST to the left and the triangle to the right.
18.  Sew one of the 4 3/8" tree triangles to one of the 4 3/8" candy cane triangles together along the diagonal.  Repeat until you have 4 tree and candy cane HST's total.

19.  Sew one of the 4" tree squares to the left of one tree and candy cane HST, keeping the tree triangle to the top left and the candy cane triangle to the bottom right.  Sew a 4 3/8" background triangle to the right of the HST.

Keep the set with the tree square to the left and the background triangle to the right.
20.  Sew the set from step 17 to the bottom of the set from step 19.
21.  Sew a 7 1/2" square to the left side of the set from the previous step. 
22.  Sew the set from the previous step to the bottom of the set from step 16.
Repeat steps 11 - 22, so that you have 4 Tree Squares.

Part III: Piecing the Skirt 
23.  Lay out the candy cane and tree squares as follows:

Bottom row: Tree Square with the bottom angle toward the left, then a Candy Cane square then a tree square turned so that the bottom angle is to the right (there will be a 4" gap between the top of the candy cane square and the top of the second tree square).

Right row: Lay a candy cane square so that the left side of it is next to the top of the second tree square in the first row (it will close off that gap in the bottom row).

Top row:  Place the top row so that it reflects the bottom row.

Left row: In the remaining open space, place the final candy cane square.
24.  Sew each tree square to each candy cane square that lies to it's right side.
Then lay the squares out again like in step 23. 
25.  Take the 5" by 11" background strips and the 2" x 5" background strips.  Sew one 2" x 5" strip to the 11" edge, lining up the 2" edge with the 5" edge.  Repeat on the same 11" edge with the remaining 2" x 5" strip starting on the opposite 5" edge, leaving a 1" gap between the 2" x 5" strips.
26.  Sew the open 11" edge of this piece to the top of one candy cane square, starting at the edge of the candy cane square.
27.  Sew the remaining 5" x 11" strip to the other 5" sides of the 2" x 5" strips. 
28.  Sew the now very long edge of the center & candy cane square to the top of the edge that lines up the candy cane and tree square.
29.  Now sew the top of the aligning candy cane and tree square to the side of the piece just created. 
30.  Now you have 3 edges all connected and just one candy cane and tree square remain.
It's time to finish the piecing of the skirt by sewing this "Y" seam.  Oh, I didn't tell you would be sewing a Y seam?  Well, you've come this far, guess you'll just have to do it! :) But don't worry it is not that tricky! 
31.  Start by lining up the shorter side, the trees square and the candy cane square.  Sew the seam starting at the edge of the tree skirt and moving toward the center.  STOP sewing the seam 1/4" from the end.
32.  Turn the longer edge of the remaining un-sewn piece so that the seams now line up.
33.  Sew the seam closed, slightly overlapping that 1/4" extra you left at the end of the previous seam with your final seam.
See, "Y" seams aren't so difficult! ;) 

Part IV: Backing, Quilting & Finishing 
34.  Back the top with fusible fleece or batting.
35.  Now you need to cut the opening so that the skirt can go around the bottom of your tree stand.  I think it looks best down the center of a candy cane.
36.  Carefully (and straight) cut from the outside edge in to the center hole.
37.  Cut the same slit and hole in the backing.
38. Grab your buttons!  Aren't these cute?  I've been saving them for years and they just went so well with this skirt that I had to use them!
39.  Arrange the buttons along one of the open slits on the top of the skirt.  Evenly space them, starting from about 1 1/2" down from the center and then ending 1 1/2" from the outside edge. 
40.  On the opposite opening slit of the top, loop the pieces of ribbon and pin the open edges to the edge of the slit.  Make sure each piece of ribbon, once looped, is large enough to go around your buttons, but not too large that they will just slip off.  Then, stitch ribbons in place. 
41.  Place the top and bottom of the skirt on top of one another with right sides together.  Pin.  Sew along the edges of the center hole, one of the slits, all of the outer edge and then along the remaining slit, BUT leave a nice 10" opening along the final slit for turning the skirt right side out. 
42.  Turn the skirt right side out and press.  Edge stitch around the entire skirt, closing off that turning gap. 
43.  Quilt as desired.  Sew on the buttons so that they line up with the ribbons. 

And that's it! :)  One fun tree skirt all done!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...