Fancy Tiger One Hour Top Pattern Hack

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A couple months ago I did a massive wardrobe purge after I had a mini-meltdown over what to wear to Quilt Market. I've finally outgrown Ms. Frizzle as a style icon. My new goal of dressing Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo mashed up with a forest witch may not be that much more grown up, but having a predominantly black and gray wardrobe makes putting an outfit together pretty painless. The problem was, after 10+ years trying to erase/avoid my cringey middle school emo phase from my memory, I had a total of 2 black tshirts in my closet.

This year I've been learning how to live happily with less, so building a capsule wardrobe of interchangable basics has become my current project. The problem is I hate clothes shopping. I was able to pick up a few staples at Goodwill and discount stores before caving in and trying Stitch Fix. It was a home run (I bought all 5 items my stylist picked), but I still needed some basic, everyday short sleeve tops. Time for DIY!



Last year, I sewed my first knit garment, the Fancy Tiger One Hour Top (free pattern here). I used this ultra simple dolman sleeve pattern as a base for my new go-to tee. A common theme in the Pinterest board I made for my Stitch Fix stylist is unusual, witchy hemlines, and I wanted to incorporate this element into my tops. Additionally, I wanted them to be tunic-length so they'd keep my bum covered when paired with leggings. These modifications took me less than five minutes to draft. Here's how you can make your own handkerchief hem / sidetail tunic:

  1. Shorten sleeves to desired length, mimicking the angle of the the original armhole hemline.
  2. Add desired length to top, 6" in my case. Add enough and you could even make a shift dress.
  3. Add a large rectangle to the bottom hemline and blend in to underarm seam. For my tops, I extended the new hemline 12" to either side, then drew perpendicular 12" lines straight up. From here, I started to draw another line parallel to the hem, and curved it upward to blend into that underarm seam. 


Repeat all your alterations on the back piece of the pattern (the only difference between the front and the back is the neckline) and you're ready to sew! The sewing process remains the same as the original One Hour Top. The only difference is your underarm seams are curved now (highlighted yellow in the image above). To finish my handkerchief hemline, I did a 3-thread overlock stitch with my serger. I did a traditional hem on my test top, but I prefer the decorative look of the serged hemline. 

As you can see, this weird rectangle becomes unrecognizable in your finished top unless you hold the hemline out. Isn't that cool?!

Including my test top, I've already made 5 of these tunics! This one is made with the most gorgeous knit fabric I've ever encountered, a tie die rayon jersey. Of all the knits I purchased, this 95% bamboo rayon / 5% spandex blend was the easiest to work with too. The raw edges don't curl much (a huge pet peeve of mine) which takes the headache out of the cutting process. It's also heavenly soft. The only downside is I think the 60" width is incorrect; it's really more like 48" wide. Good thing Fabric.com has excellent customer service though. When I contacted them about the error, they sent me another 1.5 yards free of charge. That's enough to make a few pairs of leggings! 

Satellite Medallion Fabric Key

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Earlier this month, issue 40 of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine went on sale in the UK with my Satellite Medallion on the cover! This is my first time being published in a magazine, so being on the cover of my favorite quilt mag is extra surreal. 

Someone on Instagram asked for a quick visual fabric key for the pattern (prints are listed as Fabrics A-N) and I'm happy to oblige for those who want to duplicate this quilt! I've added the corresponding letters to the swatch photo below. The only fabric not pictured is Fabric I, a coordinating Artisan Cotton (40171 Red-Royal) from Windham. I believe it's listed as "Blue Red" on Hawthrone Threads. It's a lovely cross-weave with an iridescent quality, so I highly suggest using it instead of substituting a traditional solid. 


Poison Apple Mini Quilt Tutorial

Saturday, October 15, 2016


I recently caved to my childish attraction to shiny Disney goodies and purchaed one of the Disney park exclusive poison apple mugs off eBay after seeing them in my Instagram feed. I realized that the classic Snow White icon would make a cool Halloween decoration in the form of a mini quilt, so I got to work. 

I traced a screenshot of the poison apple in Adobe Illustrator to make my templates, and picked a few Kona solids from my stash. I used Kona Lipstick, Meringue, and Chestnut for my applique, a black Artisan Cotton from Windham for the background, and a Cotton + Steel striped print for my binding.

To make this mini, download the templates and print them at 100%. Use the background template to cut out your background oval. Trace each of the applique templates onto the paper side of a paper-backed fusible web (I used Pellon Wonder Under), and fuse to the wrong side of your fabric. Cut out your templates, remove the paper, and fuse the pieces to your background. Stitch around the pieces to secure them (I do this in one step when quilting). Embroider along the dashed lines if desired. I used my FMQ foot and brown thread because I wasn't in the mood for hand embroidery. Make your quilt sandwich (I like to use two layers of batting for extra dimension), and quilt as desired. Make 42" of 2.5" wide bias binding and bind your mini. 

If you post your mini on Instagram, use the hashtag #PoisonAppleMiniQuilt so we can see your handiwork!

The Guild Duffle

Friday, September 30, 2016


You may have noticed this beast of a bag when I shared my Luna Sol booth recap post. Guess what? Today's the day I push this jumbo baby out of the nest! I'd like to introduce you all to my new bag pattern, the Guild Duffle.

The Guild Duffle gets its name from the running joke about how many projects I bring to show at my guild's Sew & Tell session. I need a pretty big bag to lug them all! I anticipate most people would use this as an overnight bag or a carry-on during flights (I designed it to meet size carry-on guidelines), I'm mostly going to be using mine to ferry lots of quilty goodness around. 

The Guild Duffle measures 14” H x 18” W x 8” D and features two jumbo gusseted pockets with press snaps, thick handles, piping, a double zipper, a removable bag base, and a detachable, adjustable strap. I like to think of this gal as the Collegiate Tote's big sister since they share several qualities.

My pattern testers made some big beauties that I hope will inspire you!

@leahrene made a bewitching out of Cotton + Steel prints, cuz who doesn't feel a little witchy when dealing with travel? :-p


@marci_girl's playful duffle in Koko Seki prints are giving me some serious color palette goals. And that red piping! This bag just kills me.


Stephanie put her own twist on the Guild Duffle by swapping out the corded handles for canvas webbing and press snaps with leather tabs.

A photo posted by Kate White (@ifitaintkate) on

Kate took a similar approach with leather pocket flap tabs an flat handles.

The Guild Duffle is available now in my Craftsy shop! Happy sewing!

Luna Sol Blog Hop

Friday, September 23, 2016

It's the final day of the Luna Sol blog hop, and I'm going to finish it off Oprah style. YOU GET A FREE PATTERN! AND YOU GET A FREE PATTERN! FREE PATTERNS FOR EVERYONE!

To keep everything neat, I've separated the projects into individual posts / links, so click the big bold links to get each freebie. If you'd like to read more about the inspiration behind Luna Sol and see more projects, check out this post.



With the moon motif playing such a big role in Luna Sol, a round bag was an easy design choice. I adapted my Owl Carry It Bag pattern with a simple appliqued silhouette of the bunny sitting on the crescent moon, the same image from my selvedge!

The Phased quilt uses the the Luna colorway and the Sizzix Drunkard's Path dies for a modern interpretation of moon phases. The whole and half circles may look randomly scattered, but this quilt is actually comprised of one block, repeated nine times.



Thank you so much for following the Luna Sol blog hop. As a special thanks, we have an extra special giveaway with three prizes!
  1. Fat quarter bundle of Luna Sol
  2. Large Luna Sol Aurifil thread set
  3. Small Luna Sol Aurifil thread set



To win, leave a comment with your email address! I'll pick three random winners on September 28th and contact the winners. 

In case you missed the previous posts in the blog hop, here's the schedule and participants:

Sept. 19 - Fabric Mutt
Sept. 20th - Bryan House Quilts
Sept. 21st - Stars & Sunshine
Sept. 22nd - Modern Sewciety
Sept. 23rd - Sew Scatterbrained

Celestial Bunnies Applique Pattern



I love machine applique for quick and cute representational projects. To make the moon bunny mini quilt you will need:
  • (1) 24" square for background
  • (4) 7.25" x 4.5" pieces for bunnies
  • (2) 6.5" squares for moon background and crescent
  • (8) 1.75" squares for sparkles
  • (12) 1" squares for circles
  • Paper-backed fusible web 
  • 26" square batting
  • 26" square backing
  • .25 yard for binding
  • Thread to match your appliques (I used my coordinating Aurifil collection)
  • Applique templates, printed at 100%
Trace the appropriate number of each template onto your paper-backed fusible web. You'll need (4) bunnies, (1) moon background, (1) moon crescent, (8) sparkles, and (4) of each size of circle. Fuse the web to the wrong side of your fabric and cut the pieces out.

Fold and press your 24" background square in half vertically, horizontally, and on both diagonals to create creases. Unfold. Position your applique pieces as shown in the photo, using the creases as a guide and fuse them to the background. Stitch around each piece with a blanket, applique, or zigzag stitch with matching thread. 

Now you can make your quilt sandwich and quilt your mini! Cut (3) 2.5" WOF strips from your binding fabric, sew end to end, and bind. 

Phased Quilt Tutorial


When I began designing the quilts for my fabric line, Luna Sol, I knew I had to have something reminiscent of moon phases. Cutting lots of curved templates can be slow though, and I anticipated a time crunch. What a perfect opportunity to put the Sizzix Fabi I won at Fall Quilt Market to work! I contacted the folks at Sizzix and they sent me the Drunkard's Path Quarter Circle and Arch dies.

This is my first project using the Sizzix Fabi and I wanted to kiss the thing afterwards for making it such a speedy process.

All seam allowances are ¼". Press seams open for best results.

Materials
  • ¼ yard 41880-2 Midnight
  • ¼ yard 41881-8 Eclipse
  • ¼ yard 41881-7 Twinkle
  • ¼ yard 41879-1 Interstellar
  • ¼ yard 41878-2 Midnight
  • ¼ yard 41878-1 Interstellar
  • ¼ yard 41882-2 Midnight
  • ¼ yard 40171-12 Blue-Orchid
  • 2⅞ yards 40171-20 Aqua-White
  • 3¾ yards backing
  • ½ yard binding

Cutting

  • From each of the ¼ yard cuts, cut (9) 8” x 4½”
    • Stack and cut using the quarter circle die. You will have (18) quarter circles per print for a total of (144).
  • From the Aqua, cut
    • (9) 6½” WOF strips and subcut (72) 6½” x 5”
      • Stack and cut using the arch die for a total of (144) pieces.
    • (1) 8½” WOF strip and subcut (36) 8½” x 1”
    • (3) 1½” WOF strips and subcut (6) 1½” x 17½”
    • (6) 5” WOF strips
      • From (1) strip, subcut (2) 5” x 10” and (3) 1½” x 17½”
  • Binding  - cut (6) 2½” WOF strips

Instructions

1. Finger press all quarter circle pieces in half to find the centers. Do the same for the arch pieces. Place (1) quarter circle and (1) arch right sides together (RST), matching up the centers and ends. Pin, sew, and press. Repeat until you have (144) drunkard's path blocks.

2. Divide the blocks into (18) groups of (8) blocks, made up of one block in each of the (8) quarter circle fabrics. 

3. Sew blocks together to make (4) semi-circle units per group and press. 

4. Sew (2) semi-circle units together to make a full circle block. Make (1) full circle block per group.
Sew a 8½” x 1” Aqua strip to the straight edge of each remaining semi-circle unit and press.

5. Sew the full circle block and the (2) semi-circle units together as illustrated and press. Repeat for all groups until you have (18) of these rectangular blocks.


6. The quilt is made up of (5) A and (4) B blocks. To make an A block, lay a rectangular block so that the full circle is on the left side. Position a 1½” x 17½” Aqua strip below. Place another rectangular block below the strip with the full circle on the right side. Sew these pieces together and press.


7. To make a B block, repeat the previous step, but rotate the rectangular blocks 180 degrees so that the full circle is on the right side for the top block and on the left for the bottom block.

8. Arrange the blocks as illustrated in the diagram. Rotate some blocks as indicated by the rotated letters on the diagram. Sew the blocks together to make (3) rows of (3) blocks each and press. Sew the rows together and press.


9. Sew the (5) 5" WOF strips together end-to-end and press. Subcut (2) 51½” border strips and sew them to the left and right sides of the quilt top. Press.

10. Cut (2) 60½” border strips and sew them to the top and bottom of the quilt top. Press.

Observations from FMQ Purgatory

Friday, August 19, 2016


For the past few weeks I've been in FMQ Purgatory, which is just a dramatic way to say that I'm trying to quilt my way through an out of control pile of quilt tops. Quilting 9 tops in 6 weeks (plus a few minis) has given me plenty of opportunities to make some helpful observations. Here are some of my findings:

1. Snipping some fingers off a pair of quilting gloves makes my life easier. I used to take my gloves off every time I had to change a bobbin, scratch my itchy eyes, or look up something on my iPad. I was watching the preview for Christina Cameli's "Wild Quilting" class on Craftsy when I noticed how she had modified her gloves. I decided to give it a try by cutting off the thumbs and index fingers on my gloves and I have no regrets! No more taking my gloves off and on.

2. Monofilament/invisible thread is super convenient. I purchased a cone of Aurifil's monofilament thread after successfully using the Coats and Clark invisible thread on my Heather Ross Scatterbrain Quilt. I highly recommend the Aurifil! I've used it on 4 quilts so far with awesome results. I still try to use a bobbin thread that matches the section of quilt top I'm working on, but I have less pressure to find the perfect matching thread this way. Normally I have no qualms about ordering matching thread, but when you have a stack of quilts to get through, it's nice to have one less thing to worry about. For tips on quilting with invisible thread, I suggest reading this article.

3. The Supreme Slider isn't a game changer for me. The Supreme Slider is supposed to reduce drag and help you move your quilt more easily as you quilt. I guess the extension table for my Juki is already pretty slick because I have not felt much difference while using it to merit the $34 retail price. In fact, the other day, I lifted up my quilt to change a bobbin only to realize I had forgotten to put the back Slider on my machine. I had been FMQing for 30 minutes and hadn't even noticed! I think the reason is simple: the drag isn't because of the machine surface only...it's because you're trying to move several pounds of giant quilt with your fingertips. Obviously there will be some drag no matter what.

4. Testing quilt designs using clear template plastic and dry erase marker is brilliant. I used to audition quilt designs by doodling on a sketch of my quilt, but placing the template plastic on your quilt allows you to get a feel for the true scale and execution.

5. Worry about how to quilt one section at a time. Trying to map out every detail gets overwhelming and makes me more likely to procrastinate. Instead, I just focus on the task at hand, be it one block, a border, or the center of a medallion. When that part is done, I can choose how to proceed based on what designs compliment the work I just finished. It helps reduce the pressure to find the absolute perfect combination of designs.

Kawaii Polaroid Swap

Friday, July 29, 2016


I'm hosting a Polaroid block swap with a focus on kawaii Japanese fabrics! Keep reading for details and sign ups! Check out the hashtag #KawaiiPolaroidSwap to see what people are making.

Rules

1. Make your Polaroids according to the instructions from Occasional Piece but do not trim your finished polaroid as stated in step 5. We will be mailing our Polaroids untrimmed.

Image from Occasional Piece

2. Use quilt shop quality white (not off white, cream, or beige) solid fabric for your Polaroids. Kona White is the preferred brand/color, but other quilt shop brands like Michael Miller, Art Gallery, and Moda are fine.

3. "Photo" fabric must be kawaii. We're looking for cuteness, not traditional kimono prints or boring florals. Look for themes of fairy tale characters, cute food, animals, ordinary items with faces, and lovable characters. 

4. "Photo" fabric must be of Japanese origin. We want Polaroids featuring fabrics that are less commonly found in the US, so no Cotton + Steel, Lizzy House, Heather Ross, etc. Even if the print fits the kawaii aesthetic, it still needs to be Japanese. Western designers who designed for Japanese companies (like Heather Ross for Kokka) should not be used either. Good shops for kawaii fabric include Bunny's Designs, Pink Castle Fabrics, Super Buzzy, and various etsy sellers.

5. Send no more than 3 blocks from the same fabric. We want variety so that everyone gets something new.

6. Blocks that do not follow these rules will be returned to their owner.

Shipping


You will ship your finished Polaroids to me in increments of 5 with a maximum of 20 Polaroids. I will sort through all the Polaroids and send you new ones made by other participants. You will receive the the same amount that you sent, so send 10, receive 10, etc. 

This swap is open to US residents only. Include an unsealed self-addressed envelope, including postage with your Polaroids. I will use this to send new Polaroids back to you. 

Shipping deadline is September 30th.

To sign up, fill out the sign up form by clicking this link. Once you submit, the form will show you my mailing address.

Pokemon Starter Mini Quilt Tutorial

Thursday, July 28, 2016


I post my impromptu Pokemon starter mini quilt yesterday on Instagram and today I'm sharing a tutorial so you can make your own!

You will need:

  • (33) 2.75" low volume squares
  • Scraps of fabric for your applique pieces 
  • Paper backed fusible web (I use Pellon Wonder Under)
  • Invisible thread or thread to match your applique
  • 28" x 9" backing and batting
  • Binding, about 50"
  • Pokemon Applique Templates PDF (download here)

Start by piecing your low volume squares into (3) rows of (11) squares each, then sew those rows together to make a 25.25" x 7.25" background.

Trace the template components onto the fusible web, fuse to the wrong side of your fabric, and cut out with scissors. Now start fusing your pieces to the background, starting with the bottom layers, working up to the top. Normally you'd stitch around each piece using a blanket or applique stitch to secure it, but since I'm just hanging mine on the wall where it won't be handled, I skipped this step.



Once all your pieces are fused, baste your quilt sandwich and quilt away! I did straight lines in my background with white thread, then switch to transparent thread to quilt around some of the details in my Pokemon to give them more dimension (like around Pikachu's cheeks, Bulbasaur's mouth, etc). After that, all that's left is to bind it off and hang it up!

4 Things Quilters Need to Do More Often

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Clean the lint out of your machine

People don't realize how much the build up of lint can affect their stitch quality. Hint: it's a lot. My bobbin will actually start to make a distinct rattling noise once it's passed a lint threshold, so I'm always mindful. If you have a drop in bobbin, it's important to lift out the entire bobbin case and dust under there as well. Just remember not to use a can of air unless you have an open path for that dust to exit the machine. Otherwise you're just blowing the mess further inside.

Give your cutting mat a spa day

Cutting mats take a lot of abuse and don't get nearly enough love. You can extend the life of your cutting mat by keeping it hydrated. Yes, hydrated. Once a week (or sooner if it seems dusty), I spray my mat with a water from a squirt bottle and wipe it down. Every couple months or so, I'll put it in my bathtub and fill it with enough warm water to cover it. I soak it for 10 minutes before rubbing it down with a washcloth to work out any fiber bits that have gotten stuck in the cuts on the mat.


Stretch those muscles

I always feel silly when I tell people how I'm experiencing muscle pain in my upper back and shoulders from binding a quilt or doing EPP. At a recent checkup, my doctor made me feel a little better about it. She told me that any kind of repetitive movement, even small movements like hand stitching, are likely to cause pain over time. She showed me some upper back stretches to do every half hour or so when doing handwork and it's helped immensely! Doing stretches for quilting may sound dorky, but it's better than an aching body.

Wear sunscreen

Just because you're sitting inside doesn't mean you're immune to sun damage. Chances are you have some kind of natural light in your sewing area, and that means you're being exposed to UV rays. Even compact fluorescent light bulbs can emit UV radiation (which is one of the reasons I use LED bulbs). Sun damage is the number one cause of skin aging. If you don't believe me, just look at this photo of a professional truck driver. I wear sunscreen on my face every single day. And no, the SPF in your makeup is not enough. You should be applying 1/4 teaspoon of sunscreen to your face. As a personal note, I've found that Korean and Japanese sunscreens both feel and perform better than heavy, greasy American brands that leave you looking like Casper. I personally love Tonymoly's Mango SPF50+ PA+++.


Tips for Aspiring Fabric Designers: Pitching to Manufacturers

Wednesday, July 13, 2016



There are tons of great resources out there for aspiring fabric designers when it comes to the actual design process. Creativebug's video course series and Kim Kight's book, A Field Guide to Fabric Design, are two of my favorite resources I suggest to newbies. But over the past several months, as I was helping a friend on her fabric design journey (she just signed to her top choice! Yay!), I realized there aren't as many resources out there for the process of pitching your collections to a manufacturer. Let's try to change that. I'm going to share some tips with you based on my experiences when hunting for a licensing deal.

1. Look for manufacturers where you stand out, not "fit in"

For starters, don't put your eggs in one basket. Unlike with magazines and book publishers, it's acceptable to submit your work to multiple manufacturers for consideration simultaneously. So which ones are you going to try first? Well, almost every aspiring designer (myself included) seems concerned finding a company where their style "fits in well" with the other designers in that company's catalog...wrong move!

While pitching to one manufacturer, the art director commented that my work would likely end up competing against a designer they represented because we're both into colorful, playful, modern prints featuring animals. She explained that shop owners would probably choose to buy my collection or the other designer's due to the similar themes and colors. They generally look for things they don't already have because manufacturers are looking to reach new audiences rather than have their designers compete for existing ones. Of course their are exceptions. Companies like Cloud 9, Art Gallery, and Blend have a more narrow brand image and may be less likely to consider collections that don't assimilate with their style.

Visit the websites of manufacturers look through their roster of designers. Ask yourself, "Does this company represent a broad range of designers?" If so, ask yourself if you can fill a gap in their portfolio.

2. Pitch in person

Manufacturers get dozens, sometimes hundreds, of emails every week with submissions from artists. Some review them as they get them. Others have regularly scheduled meetings where they flip through submissions as a team. Either way, your work can easily get passed over. I believe pitching in person has a stronger impact and creates a more memorable impression. Furthermore, modern quilters tend to be interested interested in the designers themselves, which means personality and presence sometimes plays a role in marketing. As the designer, you're part of the "product," so showing up in person will help convey how serious you are about your aspirations.

3. Don't fuss over a pretty package

When I was in the pitch phase, another aspiring designer I met eagerly looked through each other's portfolios. Mine was just an album of designs on my iPad while she had a beautifully crafted scrapbook. Each page featured a print along with photos of her inspiration for that print (plants, architectural elements, etc) and a paragraph about the design. It was kinda like one of those "nailed it" Pinterest fail memes where my iPad portfolio seemed like the fail in comparison. I tried to regain my confidence by telling myself my work didn't need a fancy book to earn a licensing deal; the quality of my designs would speak for themselves. And they did! In talking to various art directors, they confirmed that they don't pay much attention to the "fluff". It's the fabric they're concerned with. Instead of slaving over the perfect presentation, focus on creating more content.

4. Make some digital project mock ups

Have you ever been "meh" about a certain fabric collection that later won your heart when presented as a finished quilt? Why not do the same thing with your fabric designs? Make a digital mock up of quilt patterns using your fabrics to show how great it performs as a collection. This tip has the added bonus of helping me work through issues I might not have noticed with my designs, like a lack of color contrast or scale. Manufacturers like to see that you have an eye for quilt design as well as fabric design because it'll make the collection easier to market. Make your talents easy to see.

5. Be bloody persistent

Early on, if I didn't get a timely response to an email, I took it as a flat out rejection. We women are conditioned not be "nags" so we sometimes feel bad about being persistent. Well, in this industry you need to be persistent as hell. It's nothing personal, these are just busy people and it seems very common to have to pester people for a response. As a general rule, I follow up on emails 1-2 times a week until I get a response. I've only ever gotten a snarky reply once, and it was pretty tame, so don't worry about being annoying. As long as you are polite and professional, no one will hold it against you.

Why I Switched Back to Thread Basting for EPP

Monday, June 20, 2016



In the past, I've been a big proponent of glue basting for English Paper Piecing (EPP). But, surprise! I've switched to team thread basting. Scandalous, I know.

At Quilt Market, I had the pleasure of meeting Jill Shaulis and Vicki Olsen of Yellow Creek Quilt Designs, my neighbors in the Windham Fabrics booth. They were stitching up their own pattern, Stars in the Garden, I was drawn in by the tiny 1/2" hexies. After some chatting, she converted me. I'm happily thread basting my current EPP project and here's why I now prefer it to glue basting:

1. Glue basting doesn't really save time. 
The main I and most people who were/are glue basters ditched the thread is because glue basting is supposedly faster. Just a few swipes with a glue stick will do the job faster than threading a needle, knotting your thread and basting, right? If you're slow on the draw with your needle, maybe so. However, even if glue basting saves you time on the prep work, you will end up paying it back when it comes time to remove your papers. Having done a number of glue basted EPP projects, I can attest that peeling the paper away from the fabric takes some time. With thread basting, a seam ripper or pair of thread snips will make quick work of your basting and release your papers without a struggle.

2. Glue basting gets sticky.
The Elmer's glue sticks I formerly used for basting have a fairly wide diameter (about 3/4"), meaning a flat swipe covers applies more glue than I need for a 1/4" - 3/8" seam allowance. The result is exposed, sticky paper. I would sometimes compensate by applying the glue at an angle, similar to a lipstick bullet, but this would cause my glue stick to start getting deformed. Either way, I had sticky fingers within a few minutes. I imagine this is what a child's hands feel like. I swear, tiny children are always sticky. I think they secrete grape jelly from their skin like amphibians. Anyway, I hate being sticky. Thread is not sticky. Problem solved.

3. Glue basting shortens the life of your EPP papers.
Even with the baby-strength purple Elmer's glue sticks, a glue stick is still a glue stick. When the time comes to remove my papers, I count myself lucky if I can remove my glue basted papers without outright ripping them. At best I can reuse them 2 or 3 times before they become a sticky mess or fall apart. With thread basting, I can get many more uses out of the papers as the needle holes take a lot longer to accumulate to a point where the papers stop being useful. Less paper waste is better in my book.

4. Thread trash is better than plastic trash.
I like to do what I can to be environmentally friendly when possible, and I've started feeling really guilty about generating unnecessary plastic trash. While the Elmer's glue sticks are cheap and last longer than the F&P refillable glue "pen", they get used up surprisingly fast. I was going through 6 packs of glue sticks on a regular basis, and each empty plastic tube made me feel bad. Tossing a small handful of cotton thread snippets in the trash is obviously a greener option.

5. No more hunting for hiding papers.
Once your project is all stitched up, a glue basted piece looks the same a piece that's had the paper removed when viewed from the right side. I used to find myself hunting for (and finding) hiding papers after I thought I had removed them all. With thread basting, there is no doubt where those papers are still hanging out.

6. Thread basting is easier for travel.
I like taking EPP to guild meetings or appointments that require me to sit in a waiting room. The problem is that glue basting requires a work surface unless you want some extra sticky fingers. Meanwhile, I can thread baste easily without a table, so I don't have to worry about prepping pieces in advance.


Spring 2016 Quilt Market Recap: The Luna Sol Booth

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Now that I've had a week to refresh after Quilt Market, it's time to talk about my fabric collection, Luna Sol, and all the awesome samples that I had on display!


Luna Sol draws its inspiration from many aspects of my life and personality, but the tl;dr version is the moon bunny. The moon bunny originates from Eastern folklore, and that is how I first heard about the concept as a child. During college, the idea of the moon bunny just stuck with me for some reason, but I wasn't thinking of it in the original context anymore. The character started morphing into something I used as a personal identifier. I refer to it as my "spirit animal" sometimes for simplicity because it's a confluence of so many ideas. It embodies themes of cycles, introversion, introspection, the nature of creativity. I think watching Watership Down for the first time helped cement all of those things together in my mind. The image of the ghostly Black Rabbit of InlĂ© and the song "Bright Eyes" by Art Garfunkel had an inexplicable impact on me. 

I'm sure most of you have heard the idea about how highly creative people tend to have turbulent emotional lives. I for one, totally relate to this short comic. Back at 2015 Quilt Con, even Heather Ross admitted she can't get through the process of designing a collection without crying at least once. I've dealt with depression since I was was eleven, and I honestly think it's the reason I became such an aggressive maker and illustrator. Somewhere along the way, I stopped thinking of the episodes as an affliction. Now, instead of being knocked on my ass when a wave hits, I've learned to ride it and let it fuel my internal exploration. When I feel empty and aimless, it drives me to find what is important to me. At the very least, making a stack of quilts and filling a sketchbook gives me a feeling of accomplishment to offset the lows. I guess you could say the moon bunny is the cuddly face of this cyclical life. He does his thing on the moon in low times and then blasts off like a comet when the tide comes in. 

The name Luna Sol, embodies this cycle as well. Night to day, totally natural. It's just the way I live, and the result is bright and colorful! With all that said, let's talk about the samples! Many of my samples can be seen in my look book with relevant details (dimensions, pattern availability, etc.), so if I don't mention the nitty gritty, check there. Samples marked with a * will be free patterns. Releases will be closer to September when Luna Sol ships to stores! All samples were made by yours truly unless stated otherwise. Yay for HMQG buddies!

 Let's start with the left wall! We'll go clockwise from the top. The blue Mia & Moi dress was made by my friend and fellow designer, Patty Sloniger, who started me on this fabric design adventure. Next is the Northern Lights* quilt which was pieced by Cheryl Watson and designed/quilted by me. Then we have a sunny Collegiate Tote. The bunny dress pattern was a surprise find during a Hobby Lobby run, so even though I schemed to outsource all the children's garment sewing to friends with kids, I found myself making a 4T dress. Go figure. We also have my billionth cathedral window pillow cover, sans pillow. At the center is a mini quilt that was actually one of the first quilt patterns I came up with for Luna Sol.






On the floor below sat a pillow version of Northern Lights*, one of three Easter Bunny Buddies made by Liz Pawlik, the Guild Duffel (a new pattern of mine coming later this summer), and the Matsuri Bag.


Here you can see a better view of the Northern Lights quilt*, a kaleidoscope mini by Stephanie Freeman, and the centerpiece, the Satellite Medallion! This quilt pattern is featured on the cover of the look book and will be featured in an upcoming issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. I made my first Alder Shirtdress too, but it stayed on the mannequin because it ended up not being very flattering on me. Giuseppe Ribaudo (AKA @giucy_giuce) made an awesome EPP pillow complete with pom poms (tutorial here)! Julia Eigenbrodt also made a pillow featuring a leaping bunny with her FPP wizardry. She also supplied several of her adorable 3D printed embroidery hoop necklaces that we sprinkled around the booth. 

On the right wall we hung up my Phased quilt* which I made using the Drunkard's Path dies from Sizzix. The round Moon Bunny bag* hanging beside it features an applique version of the logo from my selvedge. Below that, you can see the Sweet and Sassy dress made by Katie Christman that her daughter preciously modeled in the look book. Heidi Staples made the Planetary Mini Medallion* which will be part of my blog hop closer to the release date. Hilary Jordan made the Sketchbook Shirt for her son William, who dubbed it his "fireball bunny shirt." Karri Garza also got in on the kid's sewing with a Geranium Dress!

I made a patchwork lined drawstring bag at the last minute, which hung out next to the Crimson & Clover Train Case also made by Stephanie Freeman. There were four more large quilts that we didn't have room for on the walls. From top to bottom: Feathered Stars by Rebecca Bryan, The New Wave Quilt, Sunset Star* which was pieced by Debbie Grosskopf, and Night Bunnies* by Stephanie Kendron. You can see all of those (minus the New Wave) in the look book. Lastly we have the Sprocket Pillow that you can see better in the panorama towards the top of the post.


We displayed the look books, fabric, another Easter Bunny Buddy, and my Aurifil thread collection on the cardboard table. If you haven't seen the gorgeous thread colors to coordinate with Luna Sol, you can check out the post and interview on Aurifil's blog. All of the large quilts (minus Night Bunnies and Feathered Stars) were quilted using these threads, and they were heavenly to have. It's such a relief to have the perfect colors already at your disposal.



I hope you enjoyed all the pretty Luna Sol projects! You can check out the #LunaSolFabric hashtag on Instagram to see more and keep up with what we're making with it.

Spring 2016 Quilt Market Recap: An Overview

Sunday, May 29, 2016




As usual, I'm going to break up my Market recap into a few posts. This is just going to be a basic overview. I'll talk more about my booth and other booths in separate posts.

When Seth and I were at the airport this past Wednesday, "It Feels Like the First Time" by Foreigner came on the radio. I didn't think about it at the time, but it was some serious foreshadowing! We've wrapped up my fourth Quilt Market, but this time was a whole new experience. I officially debuted by first fabric collection for Windham Fabrics, Luna Sol!

Normally, I wouldn't bother starting at the airport, but the story is just too good. After we took our seats on our plane in Phoenix (connecting flight), I noticed a woman with a distinct haircut coming down the aisle. I whispered to Seth, "I think I know who she is. I think she's a fabric designer." She either noticed my intense staring or my "World's Okayest Quilter" shirt, because she sat down next to us. She was finishing up a phone call, and when she hung up, I spotted the contact's last name on her screen. Confirmed! So I leaned over and said, "Are you Heather Bailey?" She said yes. Cue my completely non-subtle OMG face. We had a great chat, and I even spied some of her sketchbook contents when she somehow managed to draw on the bumpy plane ride.

We arrived in Salt Lake on Wednesday night so I wouldn't feel rushed for my schoolhouse on the following day. My quilty BFF Julia joined us in the wee hours of the morning. I hadn't seen her since she moved to Ohio late last year, so I'm really glad she was able to come help/hang out! I tend to have trouble making decisions when I'm anxious, so Julia took over as my personal art director when setting up my booth. It turned out way better than I imagined!






After we set up, we immediately had to take down a large chunk of my samples to head off to my schoolhouse...which shared the same time slot as Tula Pink and Alison Glass. I only had about eight people come to mine, but it sure helped ease the pressure! Plus, it seems that a lot of my favorite designers had similar experiences with their first schoolhouses, so I didn't worry about it too much.

After re-staging the booth, we helped the Windham team set up for Sample Spree, which means we were able to scope out our prey and be perfectly staged when the madness began. I managed to be pretty good this time. I picked up Printshop, Porto, and Raindrop from Cotton + Steel, Hemma from Windham, and Shibori from Moda. 

The show went on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, during which I met many lovely shop owners and fabric lovers. I was able to take occasional breaks as well as come in early to see all the booths I wanted to see. Honestly, it was still a blur, but that comes with the territory. It was an amazing week, and I can't wait to do it again next year. ;)



Free Pattern: Sailor Moon Compact Mini Quilt

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I didn't grow up watching Sailor Moon, but I've recently started watching the reboot. I made this little appliqued mini quilt for someone who's a huge Sailor Moon fan. I've been getting sparkly anime eyes over the Sailor Moon makeup products they've got in Japan, so I picked Crystal Star compact as my design.


The finished mini is 8.5" in diameter and uses applique to create the details. I used needle turn applique by hand, but you could do machine applique if you prefer. You'll need:

  • The PDF templates
  • (1) yellow fat quarter
  • (1) 9" square of pink fabric
  • (4) 1.25" square scraps for the jewels (red, green, blue, and yellow)
  • (1) 2" pink square for the large gem
  • (1) 10" square of fabric for backing
  • (1) 10" piece of batting (I used 2 layers)
  • Matching Thread
  • Freezer Paper 
  • Water soluble pen or Frixion pen
  • A little bit of stuffing (optional)
  • Paper-backed fusible web (if you're doing machine applique)

Cutting

From your yellow fabric, cut 2.5" bias strips and sew together until you have a 30" long piece of bias binding. Then cut Templates A, B, C, and D out of your yellow fabric following the cutting instructions below.

Cut (4) Template E pieces from each of your 1.25" squares. Cut Template F from your 2" pink square.

Here's what you'll be cutting from your yellow fabric. 
For hand applique: Print out your templates, trace them onto your freezer paper, then cut them out (an x-acto knife helps!). Iron your freezer paper templates onto the right side of your fabric. Trace the shape of the templates onto your fabric with your pen. Add .25" seam allowance to all of your pieces before cutting them out.

For machine applique: Trace your templates onto the paper side of your fusible web instead of freezer paper. Stick the web to the wrong side of your fabric according to manufacturer's instructions and cut out your pieces without any extra seam allowance.

Instructions




1. Applique Template A onto your 9" pink square. Only stitch around the inside circle. Simply baste the outside edge, leaving the raw edge exposed. This is your compact base!

2. Center Template C on top of Template B and applique it. Applique Template F in the space of Template C. I stuffed a tiny bit of cotton stuffing into Template F to make it more 3D.

3. Applique your Template E pieces onto the "nodes" of Template D. Make sure your color positioning is correct! Red is in the north socket, yellow in east, blue in south, and green in west. I put a little bit of stuffing in each of these jewels.

4. Applique template D onto your compact base.

5. Applique Template B onto your compact base, making sure it's centered. I filled mine with stuffing.

6. Trim your background pink square to the outer raw edge of Template A. Remove your pen markings.

7. Make a quilt sandwich and baste it. I used a double layer of batting for extra volume.

8. Quilt as desired. I used invisible thread on top and pink in the bobbin and stitched closely around the edges of Template D and A with my free motion foot.

9. Trim your quilt sandwich and bind with your bias binding!

Freebie: FPP Lipstick Pattern

Monday, April 18, 2016


I recently found myself in need of a cute travel-sized makeup bag with emphasis on "cute." Since I don't have any makeup print fabrics in my stash, I opted to make a little lipstick foundation paper piecing pattern to spice up the Open Wide Pouch (medium size).

This pattern is too cute to keep myself, so I'm sharing it with you all for free!

Each little lipstick measures 1" x 3" finished, but the free PDF pattern also includes a larger 2" x 6" size. Alternatively, you can scale the templates to your desired size, and redraw the seam allowances to .25".

Download the PDF pattern HERE.

Why I Don't Like Hearing "You Should Start an Etsy Shop"

Saturday, April 2, 2016


Every so often, I end up in a frustrating mental merry-go-round ride over a single sentence. It will start when I hear the third or fourth person express the same sentiment. I start seeing the sentence as a societal script that comes out almost like a verbal tic. I dissect it and analyze it in my head at length. I start parsing the literal words from the intended meaning. “Overthinking” is an understatement; I’m aware that the level I read into these statements would seem crazy to most people, but I can't help it.

All that to introduce the particular sentence that has been driving me up the walls: “You should start an Etsy shop!”

I know, I know. Of all the statements that have potential to offend and disgust, I picked the well-intentioned compliment people pay to those who make things. Even tumblr activists would have to huddle for a few minutes to find the ills of this comment. And yet, it makes my jaw clench as I force a smile and silently calculate if it's worth my breath to explain why I'm not going to do that.

This cues my disclaimers. I'm aware that this sentence is meant as a compliment. I'm aware that people who say it may not be aware of the maker’s specific industry or craft. I'm aware there is no intended malice in these words. I'm aware that the underlying message being conveyed is, “I think your creation is lovely and has value that others will easily recognize.” I get it. My goal is not to take a steaming dump on this verbal token of appreciation. I simply want to explain why I, and I alone, twitch when I hear or read this sentence.

For the record, I have had an Etsy shop since July 2011, but it's been effectively closed since January 2013. I stopped generating inventory because working as a one-woman sweatshop, cranking out the same products repeatedly, didn't feel creative for me.

For starters, this statement makes simplistic assumptions about the maker and their industry, the first being that the primary goal of the maker should be to profit financially. Guess what? Not everyone who makes things wants it to be their job! A lot of creatives pursue their craft as a hobby, purely for their own enjoyment. Additionally, some makers can't bear to part with their creations. When you labor so long on an object, it can be impossible to consider selling it. When I painstakingly make a quilt for myself with my favorite fabrics, it can be irksome for people to tell me I should sell it instead. Am I not a worthy owner of my own creation?

But what about professional makers? What's wrong with telling them to open an Etsy shop if their goal is to earn a living? The short answer: it's condescending. Paying the “Etsy compliment” to makers with professional aspirations has only two possible implications.

The first possible implication is that you're stating the obvious. The compliment assumes that business plan is to make a thing, sell that thing, rinse, and repeat. If that is the case, it seems pretty patronizing to tell the maker to do the obvious. People don't tell doctors, "You should practice medicine!" If you're in a STEM field, I'd wager there aren't a ton of people outside of your industry trying to give you career advice. But if you are a student of the humanities, the visual, or performing arts, you're obviously a dumb-dumb who needs someone with no working knowledge of your field to tell you how to earn a living. While creativity is easily praised, it's also easily dismissed as something innate to the maker. Yes, some people have natural talent, but that doesn't mean we makers pull this stuff out of our asses. We study, we practice, we research, we work hard, and we work many hours to get to the point when we can make badass things. Our creations don't happen by accident. Simply stated, we are not dummies. Realistically, I know that people who pay this compliment are not trying to call me stupid, but that's how it can feel when you hear it over and over.

The second possible implication of the Etsy compliment is that you're making incorrect assumptions about how the maker plans to monetize their creativity. Selling handmade items is not the only way for makers to generate revenue. There are tons of makers who earn a living through their work as designers, authors, educators, and bloggers, not as purveyors of handmade quilts or knitted scarves. It would be like telling a Julia Child to get a job as cook, when she's dreaming of writing cookbooks and hosting televised cooking shows that would teach consumers how cook for themselves. I'm no Julia Child, but when people keep telling me to start selling on Etsy, I wonder, "Is that all you think I'm capable of?"

So with all the ranting aired out, what would I prefer people to say instead? This is actually something I'm working on improving on a personal level: stop making assumptions and try asking questions. There are tons of things you ask that can spark meaningful conversations: Is this something you do for fun or would you like to pursue this as a profession? What would your ideal creative business look like? What is your favorite aspect of what you do? Who are your entrepreneurial inspirations?

So what do you guys think? Do you hear/read the Etsy compliment often? Does it bother you?
 
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