Friday, May 22, 2015

Sew Together Bag Swap

Oh! I thought I posted this a while ago, but I guess I didn't. Ha! 

I finished a Sew Together Bag - and it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I honestly didn't think I could do it, but I did! 

The Quilt Barn tutorial was SUPER helpful!! 

It wasn't absolutely perfect - but fully functional and looked quite good, if I say so myself. I'm hoping to make another soon, it was super fun! 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Modern Dog Quilt Block Tutorial

This block is a touch more involved than the last - but not much. I know you can do it! 

These blocks will be 12.5" unfinished - perfect for pairing with the sixteen-patch block tutorial I posted here

For my Quilting Bee friends - here's the color inspiration again: 

We will be using the bottom row - low-volume fabrics - as background. The middle row - black and dark gray fabrics - for the dog body. And the top row - colors - for the bow. 

Let's get started! 

Here's a quick sketch of the block layout, so you can see which fabrics end up where: 

I know, kind of a bunch of scribbles. Sorry - I'm not one for drafting/computerized images. Maybe someday I'll enlist the help of my tech-y husband to teach me...

Cutting Directions

  • A - 1 - 3.5" square
  • C - 1 - 3.5" x 9.5" rectangle
  • D - 2 - 3.5" squares
  • I - 1 - 4.5" square
  • H - 2 - 3.5" x 6.5" rectangles
Dog Body: 
  • B - 2 - 3.5" squares
  • E - 1 - 3.5" x 6.5" rectangle (careful with directional fabrics, see tips below)
  • F - 1 - 4.5" square
  • K - 1 - 6.5" square
  • G - 1 - 3.5" square
  • J - 1 - 4" square

With careful cutting, I was able to get the background for one sixteen-patch block and one dog block from a single fat quarter. You are welcome to do the same, or use different fabrics for each block. 

Again - contrast is key! If using gray for the dog body, be sure it has enough contrast from your background to stand out well. If using a darker blue or navy for the bow, be sure it is bright enough to contrast with your black/gray fabrics for the dog. It should be a pop of color! 

WARNING - this tutorial is VERY picture heavy. You may or may not need to continue reading from here, depending on your experience level. I'm gearing this tutorial toward beginning quilters, just in case there is a newbie out there who wants to make some cute Modern Dog blocks. :) 

Lets get started. I chose to make a block using directional fabric, so I could show you some tips about how I check to make sure things are positioned correctly. 

Grab a 3.5" dog square, and your 3.5" x 9.5" background rectangle. 

Lay the square, right sides together, on top of your rectangle. Draw a sewing line from corner to corner and pin. 

For directional fabric: fold back the top corner before you pin, so you can see if the stripe will go the correct direction after it's pressed open. 

Sew on the drawn line. I begin sewing slowly with these - the triangle points can sometimes get chewed up in the machine if you sew too quickly. 

 Line up a ruler with the 1/4" mark along the sewn seam. Cut the end triangle off, leaving 1/4" seam allowance. 

Press open, and pair with a 3.5" background square. 

Sew with a 1/4" seam and press toward the background square. 

Set this top ear unit to the side. We will begin working on the face of the dog. 

Grab two 3.5" background squares and your 3.5" x 6.5" dog rectangle (the rectangle will be positioned this way in the finished block - so it was cut paying close attention to the direction of the stripes.) 

We are making one flying geese (goose?) unit. Place a square on the rectangle, right sides together, and draw a sewing line from corner to corner.   

Sew on the line, as before. Then cut off the outside triangle 1/4" away from the sewn seam. 

Press open. 

Hint:  Be very gentle when pressing flying geese. They are prone to stretching, and will end up wonky if you move your iron around too much. I have ended up with many a goose with a saggy middle because I was too aggressive when pressing. 

Repeat as above - placing the second square on the bottom of the rectangle and drawing a sewing line. 

Again, sew on the line, cut off the outside triangle 1/4" away from the seam, and press open. 

You have now finished a flying goose (geese??) unit. 

Now, start laying the pieces out as they will go in the block - this allows you to see how things should go and prevents mistakes. 

Add a 3.5" dog square, a 3.5" x 6.5" background rectangle, and a 3.5" bow square. 

Place the bow square on the inside end of the background rectangle, and draw a line from corner to corner.  

Sew on the line, cut off the outside triangle, and press open. 

Now we will begin making the bottom bow unit. We will first make a half-square triangle (HST), and then use that to make a quarter-square triangle (QST). 

Grab your 4.5" dog and background squares. Lay them right sides together, and flip the bottom corner of the dog square up so you can check the direction of the stripes. 

Draw a line from corner to corner in the direction of this diagonal fold. This time we will be sewing on either side of the line, NOT on it. 

Cut the triangles apart from corner to corner, along the drawn line

Be careful NOT to slip and cut through your sewn seams (ahem, not that that's happened to me...) 

You will only need ONE of these HST units (at this point, it doesn't matter which you choose, either should work for the next step). Press the seam open. 

Trim the HST to 4" square, lining up the 45-degree angle on your ruler with your sewn seam. Trim the first two sides. 

Flip it around, line everything up, and trim the last two sides. 

Grab your 4" bow square. 

Place right sides together with your HST unit and draw a line from corner to corner going in the opposite direction of the seam on the HST. 

As before, sew on either side of the drawn line, and cut the units apart along that line.

This time, only one of the units will be correct for the block. It should be the one that looks kinda like this: 

Press the seam open. Now trim the QST to 3.5" square. Be careful, when making the first cut, to line up the 45-degree along the sewn seam AND keep an eye on the seam in the bottom right corner. It should come to a point. 

Okay - now lay everything out for the block - adding in the 3.5" x 6.5" background rectangle for the bottom and the 6.5" square for the dog body. 

You are almost done!! 

Sew the 3.5" square to your QST unit, and press toward the square. 

Match this with the flying geese/goose/geeses...??? unit.

(I'm sorry, but I have NO idea what the proper term is for a single I even close??!) 

Pin at the two edges and in the middle. To preserve your pretty points, look for the spot where the seam line and the yellow bow fabric come to a point. Sew just above that point. 

Also match the points at the final corner. I line them up, hold the seam with my fingers, and take a peek inside the seam allowance to see if the background fabrics line up. This last point is one where I definitely sew over the pin. (This will be the bottom point of the chin. If it doesn't line up, it will end up looking pretty wonky). 

Press the seam open. 

This finished piece should be measuring 6.5" square. Mine was just a touch small (maybe 1/8"), but workable. If it is significantly small, it is probably in your seam allowance. 

Pair with the bottom background rectangle and pin your seams. Sew just above the point of the V to preserve your point. 

Press this seam toward the bottom rectangle. 

Now sew the top bow-rectangle to the dog body. Press toward the large square (dog body). 

 Match up your seams between the head and body units. 

Pin and sew carefully, watching your points and nesting seams at the bow. Press open. 

Now for the final seam!! It's looking so good! 

Match the top ear unit up with the rest of the block - pinning carefully and looking for those points. 

Press seam up toward the ear unit - or open is fine too. Which ever. 

You have finished your Modern Dog block!!! Isn't he cute?! 

He should now be 12.5" square (or mostly my case).   

I love the sort of simple, retro-modern, 50's look these blocks have. 

Thanks for following along and let me know if you have any questions!!

Bee girls - thanks SO much! I am super excited to see this quilt come together. Feel free tag me on Instagram @whitney.leonard86 and/or use #moderndogquilt.

Sixteen Patch Block Tutorial

Welcome to my first quilty tutorial! :) 

These directions will create a 12.5" unfinished sixteen patch block. This is classic, simple patchwork that would be great for beginners. 

For my Quilting Bee girls - you will be making one of these blocks and one of my Modern Dog blocks (tutorial here). 

Fabric choices should be based on this fabric pull (some of my favorite colors!) - aqua, turquoise, mustard, bright blue, and navy. Use one colored fabric (top row) and one low-volume gray/white or black/white background fabric (bottom row).  

Make sure your fabric choices have good contrast - that's what makes this block look awesome. 

2 strips color - 3.5" x 15"
2 strips background - 3.5" x 15" 

Sew the two sets of color + background strips, right sides together, and press toward the dark. Seams are always the standard 1/4" for quilting. (I don't use pins here - they don't have to be perfect.)  

(Don't be thrown off by the color change - I was making two blocks at once and forgot to take a photo of the yellow). 

Sew the strips, right sides together, and press toward the light this time (this keeps seams all pressed in same direction). 

Trim a little off the left side to square up the block - lining up the center seam as your guide. 

Cut four 3.5" strips from the strip set. 

You may need to square up again (using that center seam) after cutting a couple of strips. 

Now flip two of the strips upside down. 

Sew together - pinning at the beginning, end, nesting seams and pinning at those points. 

Here's my tip for matching seams:  I know it's against the rules, but...I sew over my pins. 

I know you are NOT supposed to do this, but I never could get good results when I pulled them out. I have found that using very fine pins, and sewing over them very slowly has made all the difference in the precision of my patchwork. I have hit a pin once or twice when I wasn't watching carefully. But...because I was sewing slowly, I have yet to break a needle (or end up with a pin jammed into the machine). 

Press all seams the same direction - I have pressed mine to the left of the block (from the front). 

You now have a lovely, finished sixteen-patch! If your seam allowance was accurate - it should measure 12.5" square.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions - or if you wish to ridicule and scold me for my bad pin habits. That's fine too.