BB8 Pouf

Is your family Star Wars Crazy? With a house full of boys, you can bet mine is! My 3 and 7 year old boys love Star Wars. And the adorable Droids in it. R2D2, Chopper, and BB8 are their favorite! So, when Fairfield offered to send me a foam Pouf to design with, I knew what I would make with it! It HAD to become a BB8 Pouf!!

DIY BB8 Pouf

Adorable, right? And really simple to make – I whipped this out in an evening – from sewing the cover to painting it. When my kiddos woke up in the morning, this BB8 was waiting for them!

You’ll need:
Fairfield 6″ tall foam Pouf (leave the plastic packaging on)
Pencil
Fabric – I used 1.5 yards of Robert Kaufman Outback Canvas
24″ white zipper
DecoArt Multisurface paint in Dolphin and Orange Sherbet
Paintbrush
Sewing Machine and thread

If you read that supply list and the word “zipper” scared you, don’t be afraid! Zippers are not hard, and I’m going to show you a very basic way to insert the zipper that doesn’t take crazy sewing skills. Also, you’ll be glad you have the zipper because white fabric in a boys’ room is going to need to be washed fairly often!

Start by cutting your fabric. Trace the pouf onto a double layer of the fabric with a pencil.

Then cut two strips of fabric – one 4″ and one 6.5″, both the entire Width of the Fabric.

cut strips

Cut the 4″ strip in half. Lay one on top of the zipper, and with your zipper foot on, stitch all the way down the zipper. If the zipper pull gets in the way, stop with your needle down, move the zipper pull, then keep stitching.

stitch on zipper

Flip the fabric over to expose the zipper, then top-stitch down to secure.

top stitch zipper

Repeat with the other side, then trim the fabric to the length of the usable portion of the zipper, plus 1/4″ on each side for seam allowance.

Trim the width to 6.5″

trim up

Stitch the two strips together on the short ends, to make one long strip.

attach side to zipper

Pin the side to one of the circles, then stitch on using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

attach sides to bottom

Stop stitching about 2″ from the end. Match up the two ends, trim, and stitch closed.

stitch closed side

Lay the top circle on the bottom, and draw registration points to line up.

draw points for matching

Use these registration points as guides to pin the circle to the edge of the side. This will prevent puckers.

pin top to sides

OPEN THE ZIPPER. Don’t forget to do this!! You’ll want to open the zipper partway before you continue, so you can turn it right side out in the next step. Then, stitch all the way around the circle.

Turn the cover right-side-out, and insert the Pouf with the plastic packaging still on.

insert foam pouf

Using a dinner plate, draw circles onto your pouf lightly, with a pencil.

draw circles

Paint them in. I looked up images of BB8, then free-handed the design based on what I saw, but you can use a ruler and pencil to sketch in your designs before painting.

paint circles

Allow the paint to dry. After it is completely dry, you can pull out the pouf, remove the plastic, and re-insert it. You’ll see that the plastic protected the foam from any paint that seeped through the fabric.

colors of paint

Your kids (of any age) will be so excited!

stitched-pouf-cover-painted

finished-pouf

That one time I got to Mingle with Midge and Madge!

I spent the weekend with friends, both new and seasoned, up in Denver, Colorado at the Create – Make – Celebrate Retreat hosted by the fabulous and talented Laura Kelly Walters. I got to learn some new crafting techniques, brush up on some that I’ve played with in the past, and even teach one of my favorites… English Paper Piecing!

The wonderful folks at Prym-Dritz sent kits for me to share so that I could teach the class. I was so excited to be able to share my passion with all these awesome creative gals!

Learning to English Paper Piece

Some of the gals tried it, and it wasn’t for them. But others… others really took to it! I saw ladies doing EPP in our group pow-wows throughout the weekend, and it warmed my EPP-loving heart!

epp-in-the-laura-kelly-stud

epp-at-retreat

playing-with-hexies

Two of the amazing ladies at the retreat – Midge and Madge – have a crafty YouTube series, and invited me to be a guest (WHAT!?). I had a blast chatting with them… please watch the video below!

In case you’re wondering, the quilt shown in the video is “25 Hexies” and the pattern is available for purchase on Craftsy.

25 hexies image small
And I did take a quick photo of Madge’s flappy EPP before she fixed it. This is too cute!
the-epp-faux-pas

Pin Cushion Dish

I grew up reading the Little House on the Prairie books. I’m so excited that Andover has come out with a line of fabric celebrating this fun series of books. They sent me some of their fabric to play with, so I made this fun Pin Cushion Dish. The dish is nice and deep so that not only can you hold pins and needles in the pin cushion, but the dish will also keep scissors, thimbles, and more corralled.

make this simple English Paper Pieced pincushion dish to hold your sewing notions

You’ll need:
Ramekin (these were 2 for $3 at Target)
LHOTP Fabric (at least 4 designs)
1.5″ Dritz English Paper Piecing Shapes
Fabric glue stick
Needle & Thread
Sewing Machine
Crushed Walnut Shells
Polyfil

supplies for pin cushion

Cut your fabrics with a 3/8″ seam allowance.

cut fabric

Baste the fabric onto the hexagons. I like to glue baste.

glue baste edges

Stitch the hexagons together.

stitch hexagons together

You’ll want to make a flower shape with 7 hexagons.

finished flower

Press well, front and back.

press-back

press-the-hexies

Remove the papers.

peel out papers

Press again, so seams are flat. Place onto a background fabric, and topstitch the two layers together. This is like quilting, but with no batting between the layers.

place-on-backing-fabricstitch-to-quilt

Draw a circle, and trim.

draw-circle

cut-into-circle

Trace the ramekin on spare fabric, and cut.

trace-ramekin

Pin the two together. ease the excess seam evenly all around.

pin-in-sections

pinned-pieces

Stitch down, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

cut-hole-in-bottom

Fill with crushed walnut shells. Then add a little bit of Polyfil to vover the hole.This helps to have less walnut shells fall out.

stuff-with-polyfil

Stitch the hole closed, then tuck into the ramekin.

LHOTP-pin-cushion

Your pin cushion is complete!

finished-pin-cushion-dish

Stardust Quilt (Free Pattern)

This stardust quilt was made using Fat Quarters of Art Gallery Fabrics’ line “Playing Pop”, which can be found in stores now. I used the lighter prints as low(er) volume background prints, and the darker prints in to make the stars.

Free Quilt Pattern - "Stardust"Stardust Quilt: finishes 48″x48″

It makes for a fun, scrappy background quilt that looks a little more fun and planned!

For this quilt, you’ll need:

4 FQs dark or med/dark prints (stars)
5-7 FQs med/light prints
8-10 FQs light prints
Backing, Batting & Binding

Cut:
From *each* of the dark or med/dark prints:
8 – 4 7/8″ squares (cut in half diagonally)
1 – 4 1/2″ square

From the med/light prints (total from all):
45 – 4 7/8″ squares (cut in half diagonally)
14 – 4 1/2″ squares

From the light prints:
18 – 6 3/16″ squares
36 – 2.5″ x 8.5″ rectangles
36 – 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles

You can lay out the fabrics to make your design:

stardust quilt layout

There are 2 alternating blocks that make up the design. A diamond-in-a-square and a square-in-a-square. Stitch these units together, then stitch them all together to make the quilt.

If you want your quilt to look very intentionally scrappy, you can make the four square-in-square blocks using the dark fabrics for the center, then the 14 diamond-in-a-square blocks using 2 of the dark triangles on each, then make the remaining blocks using the remaining fabrics, and then stitch it together. Depending on what kind of quilter you are (and how much design wall space you have available), you can make this quilt using whichever method you like!

unquilted stardust quilt

Quilt as desired.

stardust quilt front

I pieced my back from the scraps and leftover Fat Quarters in the bundle. You can also see my quilting here. I used my walking foot to stitch-in-the-ditch around the stars, then did dense swirls in the space around them.

back of stardust quilt

Such a fun quilt to whip together!

photo of Stardust quilt

Polka Dot Double Cuddle Quilt

I was sent some of Shannon’s awesome cuddle fabrics to stitch up something snuggly. Included in the fabrics were cuddle cakes – 10″ squares of assorted colored fabrics – all deliciously furry! I used some of the cuddle cake pieces in making the Fairfield Block of the Month, but that left me with some unused squares. These were easily whipped up into this Polka Dot Double Cuddle Quilt!

Polka Dot Double Cuddle Quilt

It is double cuddle – both the front and the back are made with snuggly Shannon Cuddle fabric. Perfect baby quilt, or snuggle quilt for a child!

To make the quilt, you’ll need:
6-10 Cuddle Cake squares
Paper-backed Fusible Applique
Round objects – bowls, cups, lids, etc.
1 yard solid color cuddle
1 yard printed cuddle
Crib-sized batting of your choice
1/4 yard cotton fabric (for binding)

supplies for cuddle quilt

Start by fusing the paper-backed fusible onto the back of the cuddle cake squares. Trace circles onto the back in various sizes and cut out.

Fuse the circles onto the front of the solid cuddle. Don’t leave the iron in one place for more than 2 seconds to avoid damaging the cuddle fabric.

Don’t applique them down yet!

Baste the layers of the quilt – the top, batting and bottom. Use whatever basting method you prefer – I like spray basting.

Using your walking foot, stitch around the edges of the circles – this secures the appliques and quilts the quilt all at the same time!

You can add additional quilting if you like, or if your quilting is too far apart.

Trim and square up, and use the woven cotton fabric to bind the quilt.

 

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How to Machine Bind a Quilt

Adding binding is the final step in making a quilt. I love the look of binding that has been hand-stitched down. But that takes a lot of time – four hours or more to hand-bind a quilt. And, although that isn’t a lot of time when you consider the overall time it takes to make a quilt, if I’m up against a deadline, or making a quick and easy quilt, I turn to machine binding. It takes a quarter of the time (or less), and although it doesn’t look quite as nice as hand binding, it is possible to make it look very professional.

You can use whatever size binding you like. I like to cut mine into 2″ strips.

Stitch the strips together, on the bias, to make one long strip. Press open these seams, then press the entire length of the binding in half, making it 1″ wide. Stitch the raw edge of the pressed strip against the raw edge of the trimmed quilt top, with a 1/4″ seam. The binding goes on top of the quilt, it will get stitched to the back later.

stitch down binding

When you get to a corner, fold the binding away from the quilt to make a 45 degree angle.

fold away corner of binding

Then fold the binding back to the quilt, so it lines up with the next side of the quilt.

fold corner of binding

When you get to the corner, fold down the triangle so it is out of the way. You do NOT want to stitch this triangle down.

tuck corner as you stitch

Stitch up to the fold. I like to go backward and forward a couple stitches right at the corner, just to make it extra secure.

stitch to corner

Lift up your needle and presser foot, fold the triangle flap back, and start stitching again at the fold. I like to go back and forth a couple stitches here, as well.

move fold

Continue all the way around the quilt. When you all the way around, back to the beginning, secure the two ends together. Then it is time to stitch it over the edge, to the back. Flip the quilt over, and pull the binding around to the back. Stitch right at the edge of the binding, and just to the left of your stitching line. This keeps your stitching off the binding on the front. The closer you get to that stitching line, the neater the front of your quilt will look. If you use a thread that matches your quilting, and it will blend right in to the front.

fold over binding and stitch

When you get to a corner, fold the binding into a point.

fold corner

Before you stitch the corner, flip the point up. I find that pinning moves the fabric too much, so I hold the edge down by pressing a pin down on top of the binding. This slips under the presser foot, and I can move it out of the way before the needle comes down.

stitch corner in place

Stitch to the corner, and with the needle down, pivot.

pivot at corner

Keep stitching this way, all the way around the quilt.

stitch down length of binding

 

 

 

You can see what it looks like from the front – nice and neat!

Stitched on binding from the front

 

 

How to fix a quilt mistake (after it has been quilted!)

Last spring, I made a quilt for Art Gallery Fabrics to hang in their booth at market. They sent me the fabric, and a computer-generated image of what the quilt should look like. And I went to work cutting, and piecing, and laying out, and more piecing, and quilting… until it was all done. After I had the quilt all put together and quilted, I laid it out on my living room floor only to discover… I’d made a mistake. I had placed the wrong block in one of the spots. And, it wasn’t out on an edge of the quilt where I might be able to pick everything out, replace the block, and then stitch everything back together. It was in the middle.

wrong fabric in place

After painstakingly laying out all the blocks, making sure everything was EXACTLY right, checking, re-checking, and double-checking at every point, I was so frustrated to have a mistake slip through! If the quilt was for my own bed, I might have left it. Things that are handmade are not perfect. That is part of the joy of handmade. The imperfections that show that real human hands put it together.

But this quilt was for the fabric manufacturer, and to hang in their booth at a Fabric Tradeshow. I wasn’t willing to let this big of an imperfection slide. So, I decided to fix the mistake.

All I needed was freezer paper, the correct fabric, a needle and thread, and my iron.

I started by tracing the triangle that was the wrong fabric onto the freezer paper.

trace incorrect piece

I cut it out, then fused it to the back of the correct fabric. I then cut about 1/4″ around the freezer paper, and ironed this in towards the freezer paper to make an applique.

remove freezer paper

I pinned the patch into place, lining up the edges of the patch with the edges of the fabric underneath.

pin down the patch

Three quick stitches in place underneath to anchor my thread before beginning…

anchor the thread

Using an invisible stitch (also called a ladder stitch), I stitched the applique piece over the incorrect fabric.

stitch down the patch

keep stitching around the patch

Once the patch was in place, I needed to quilt it. Luckily, I used a very simple straight-line quilting on this quilt, so I just needed to continue the lines across the patch.

quilt on top of patch

Yay! Quilted in place… you’d never know that there is a different fabric hiding under there…

quilted over patch

The last step was to bury my quilting threads. With both threads pulled to the top, I tied a double knot, and buried the thread and knot into the batting.

bury the threads

Although I had to hand sew on the patch, it was so much faster than tearing out all my quilting and piecing to reach the patch, replace the fabric, then re-piece and quilt everything. The extra layer of fabric doesn’t add much bulk, and isn’t at all noticeable in the finished quilt. And aren’t these Art Gallery Fabrics stunning? I just love this quilt!

fixed quilt

How to Square up Quilt Blocks

When quilting, squaring up quilt blocks is important. Squaring up blocks helps to keep the entire quilt square. The finished quilt top will lie more flat. The entire quilt will be more even. But squaring up blocks is a pain. It takes time, and sometimes it seems like maybe shaving off all those slivers can’t be as important as getting the project done NOW. But it is. Squaring up is such an essential part of having your points line up.

Here, I’m going to show you how to square up Half Square Triangle, or HST block. Because HSTs are stitched on the bias (an angle across the fibers, instead of parallel with the fibers), it can make the blocks stretch out of whack when you press the block open. I’m trimming these HSTs to 3″. I could use a 3″ ruler, but instead I use a square ruler that is larger than 3″, and just keep an eye on my 3″ mark.

trim block

I also line up the angle of the block with the 45 degree line at an angle across the ruler. This will help all the points line up. I make sure that the block is inside the 3″ mark, then trim off the excess on the two sides, where the block hangs out past the ruler.

The block gets rotated 18o degrees, and then I line up the 45 degree line, as well as the 3″ line both horizontal and vertical. Trim off the excess on two sides, and the block has been squared up!

trim other side

Repeat – over and over and over again… until all your blocks are squared up!

trim half square triangle blocks

That scrappy pile on the right… that’s a whole scrappy pile towards accuracy.

Quilted Christmas Stocking

Looking to make new Christmas Stockings this year? Or just want a fun way to practice your free-motion quilting? These quilted Christmas Stockings are easy to make and fun to quilt!

Fairfield Quilted Holiday Stocking

Start by grabbing your fabric, stocking pattern, chalk pencil, basting spray, backing fabric (one for the back of the quilting, one for the lining of the stocking), ribbon for hanging, and of course your Fairfield Batting.

supplies for quilted stocking

Baste your layers – the batting between a layer of red fabric and a layer of backing fabric (I used muslin).

Trace the stocking on the fabric. Flip the template and trace again, a mirror image.

trace stocking

Quilt both sides of the stocking – but make sure to go beyond the lines.

quilted layers

Cut out the stockings, and cut two lining pieces.

cut lining pieces

Stitch the top of a lining piece to the top of a quilted piece. Repeat with the other set.

stitch tops

Lay the layers on top of each other, right sides together as shown in the above image, then stitch all the way around, leaving a 4″ hole for turning.

Turn right side out through the hole, stitch the hole closed, and tuck the lining into the socking.

tuck in lining

Stitch on a loop of ribbon to hang.

attach ribbon loop

Now make more for the whole family!

tie up holiday stocking

Mini Hexie Bracelet

Last year, I made some hexagon bracelets using scrap fabric and English Paper Pieced Hexagons. I’ve gotten tons of compliments on it, and I love my hexie bracelets… but the hexies are a little big. And the bracelet itself is a little too big in circumference for my tiny wrists, and there isn’t really a way to make it just a little bit smaller… so I decided to make a similar bracelet with smaller hexagons… and I love it!

I made this project as part of the 99+ Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas series that Niki from 365 Days of Crafts and I are putting on. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for more fun Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas.

Mini Hexie Bracelet

To make the bracelet you’ll need:
Hexagons cut from heavy-weight interfacing
Scrap fabric
Needle and thread
Glue Stick
Scissors

I cut out my hexies using the Silhouette machine – you can use this mini hexie cut file to cut them out. If you’re cutting them out by hand, cut out hexagons with a 3/4″ side. Glue the hexagons to your scraps of fabric using the glue stick.

glue hexies

Cut out the hexagons, leaving about 1/4″ around all sides.

trim hexies

Using the glue stick to secure, fold in the sides.

glue edges

glued hexies

Pair two mini hexies, right sides together, and whip stitch along the edge to secure.

stitch two together

Add another hexagon to one side.

add third hexie

Then give the new hexie a partner.

stitch sets

Keep adding hexagons so you have one long strip of them, and each one has a partner hanging off to one side (or the other). Ten hexies in a row is the perfect size for me. For big-wristed folks, add another hexagon.

create strip

Curl the strip into a circle, then stitch the ends together.

stitch into circle

Then flip each of the hexagons in, and stitch the edges down. Hide the stitches by using a ladder stitch.

fold down hexagons

That’s it! Your bracelet is all done. Keep this one, and make another one as a gift…

finished mini hexie bracelet

make mini hexie bracelet