Sunday, December 16, 2012

More Christmas Streets

Did another Christmas Steets... just used a green border this time, as per DH's request:
I couldn't believe how different they look side-by-side until I did this one with green.
Happy Quilting!
Jean MaDan

Hidden Wells finish

Hidden Wells Patriotic
I had some strips of patriotic fabrics around, so I used them to make this a couple of months ago. Finally finished quilting and binding it, and I like it better than I thought I would.
Happy Quilting!
Jean MaDan

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Streets

Another Christmas flimsie done:
Christmas Streets
This was done using the "Seattle Streets" pattern by Laurie, of Caritas Quilts. And yes, I STILL have old Christmas fabrics left to use up. I think they clone themselves in the night!
Happy Quilting!
Jean MaDan

Monday, December 10, 2012

Arizona Trails

I finished up another throw quilt. This is my Arizona Trails pattern.

I also made another Christmas flimsie, since I found ANOTHER batch of strips I cut years ago!

Triple Christmas Chain:

Happy Quilting!
Jean MaDan

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In The Box

I finally got one of my waiting flimsies from last month quilted and the binding on!
"In The Box"

I have two more of those flimsies from that batch quilted, and the binding started on those, so I should be able to show them in a couple of days.

Happy Quilting!
Jean MaDan

Christmas Fabric Strips

Christmas is always a busy time for everyone, and sometimes we don't get everything finished that we wish we had. Another thing that happens at my house is that leftover Christmas fabrics tend to get shoved back into a "someday" box, and not get used after that first project. That's the story behind these flimsies. "Back in the day", I made a kajillion scrappy Christmas stockings. I also made the mistake of pre-cutting WAAAAAAAAAY too many strips of various widths for that, leaving me with a bulging bin of Christmas strips that weren't always a good size for new projects. Some of this fabric is over 20 years old, and hasn't been used for anything but stockings for years! Any-WHO, I decided that THIS YEAR would be the year that I finally got those strips used in one fashion or another.

So... organization time! First I sorted out all the accurate 2" wide strips that I had cut, and put them in a different bin. These are the flimsies I made from those:

Tesselating Christmas Trees:
Christmas In A Box:

And, finally,
Christmas Chain:

Then I took the remaining strips, which were of various widths, and made 20 scrappy stockings for my soldiers project, and used the remainder to make a Christmas String Quilt:

So, I'm happy to say my large bin of strips is now reduced to a very small box of 2" strips that I can easily encorporate into another quilt. Yea for MEEEEEEE!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

American Girl doll clothes

When it's the Silly Season, Grammas must do what Grammas have always done... Make Christmas Gifts! This year I've been told that Santa will bring one of my sweet granddaughters an American Girl doll for Christmas. So, I've been making doll clothes!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christmas Stocking Tutorial

Christmas Stocking Tutorial

'Tis the SEASON! I'm working on a bunch of stockings for the older vets in the VA hospital, and thought I'd share the tutorial I did for these several years ago. I figure there's always someone that this process is new to! Hope you'll find this helpful and a good way to use up your old Christmas fabric stash!
Remember, this is NOT rocket science! You can be as casual or as fussy as you choose on these.
These are great "quick and easy" gifts, or you can get really involved and make heirloom quality ones.
I won't have yardages posted, because it's done from scraps, and I just keep adding till they're finished.

If you plan to personalize your stocking with embroidery, counted cross stitch, or fussy cut fabric, you should do that first, as it will help you determine the width your stocking needs to be across the top when you make your pattern. For example, in order to use the emb cuff on the left, I need my stocking at LEAST 7" wide in the cuff area. Since that's the size I normally use, I try to plan my cuffs to fit in that sized area.

Step #1: Use some sort of paper to make yourself a pattern of the size and shape you want your stocking to be. (I used freezer paper for my pattern.) Remember to add about an inch all the way around, because you'll lose some size with quilting and construction. Besides, you can always trim them down smaller if they are too big, but too small is harder to fix!

Step #2: Cut two layers of cotton batting. I use Warm and White or Warm and Natural, because it's more stable than something like Quilter's Dream. You could also use felt. If you don't care about the soft "quilted" feel of them, you can use a heavy interfacing for your foundation.

 Step #3
Mark on the front of one batting where you think you'd like the toe and heel to be. Mark a straight line across the cuff (the top) as well, where the name piece will go.

Step #4
I cut a lot of 2" wide strips ahead of time to use, but you could used assorted widths if you wanted. I use scraps, but you could use coordinated fabrics.
Lay your first strip RIGHT SIDE UP, where it will extend slightly beyond your toe line and heel line, just a bit above the top of the heel. (Ignore my wrinkles.. they iron out. Wish the ones on my face could! LOL!)

Place a second strip on top of that, right sides together.
Sew along the BOTTOM of the strips. (We'll be working towards the bottom of the stocking to start with.) Press open.

Remember, this doesn't have to look perfect, so long as the ends of your strips are a ways past your heel and toe lines. The ends will get covered up later.

Place another strip on top of the bottom strip, right sides together.
Sew along the bottom and press open.

Keep going until the bottom strip COVERS the bottom of the stocking, no matter what width strips you choose to use.

Step #5
IF you plan to add lace and trims, you should do this little section now, so that the ends will be caught in the heel and toe seams.

Step #6
Cut a square of fabric large enough to cover the heel area, and place right sides together over your strips, and sew along the side.

Press open.

NOTE: If your strips and trim, etc., show through the heel and toe pieces, you may need to line them with a solid color piece of fabric before you sew, or choose a heavier or darker fabric for those areas.

Step #7
Add a strip across the top, from the toe line to the outter edge of the stocking.
Stitch along the TOP of the strip. (We'll now be working towards the top on the rest of the strips.) Press open.

Add another strip and press open. Keep going until the toe area is covered across the seam area.
Add your trim to those rows now.

Please Note... the area where the heel comes to a corner is the only place your trim won't be enclosed, so use some sort that does not ravel. Fold under one end and stitch from the heel corner across to the toe. Don't go across the top of the heel, because you'll be adding a different trim there later.

Now sew your piece across the toe, and press open.

Continue adding strips and trim until you reach the cuff area.

After you've gone as high as the cuff mark, turn the stocking over so you can see your batting, and trim off all the excess fabric from your strips and trims, and add the trim to the heel and toe area of the stocking.

Now it's time to add the cuffs. Depending on if it's for a guy or a gal, you MAY want to add a ruffle along the bottom of the cuff, or you might NOT!

Your frilly front half is now finished. In my opinion, most men and boys do NOT want lace and ruffles on their stockings. (Some of us women like plainer stuff as well.) So you might want to do a more conservative one for a man. For trims I recommend plain ribbon, bias binding, metallic braid, or other trims that don't look too "girly", and even with those use sparingly. Another option, if you want to do something on each seam, is to use some of the decorative stitches on your machine instead of actual trim.

NOW... time to do the back side. You COULD repeat the fussy side in reverse, but I never bother... it's usually against a wall or mantle, so it would be wasted energy for me. So I'll so you how I do it...

A few tips to help save your sanity on this part:
1) If you can, use fabric for the back that has a stripe on it.. preferably a DIAGONAL stripe. That way you have a built in guide for your quilting lines! 2) Cut your back fabric bigger than your batting piece, because you may lose some size in the quilting. 3) Be sure you have your batting piece facing the correct direction before you cut your backing. Otherwise you'll end up with a piece identical to the front, and that won't work unless you make an extra stocking to face the other direction. (Ask me how I know! LOL!) 4) Don't try to cut two backs out at the same time by folding the fabric. (See tip number 3 above.) If you want to cut two at once, you need to stack two individual pieces of fabric so that both are facing wrong side up.

I have placed my fabric WRONG SIDE UP so that when I turn it over to stitch it, the right side of the fabric will be showing. Note that in doing it this way, the stocking is facing toe to the left, just as the RIGHT side of the front is. After you cut it out and turn it to sew, it will face toe to the right, so that your front and back will go together correctly.

Cut out your backing fabric, allowing some extra around the edges to compensate for the quilting. Pin and turn over to stitch on the front, following your choice of quilting pattern. Then trim to size of batting.

Place front and back RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER and stitch around the outside. (Do not stitch across the top.) Don't worry if the front and back are not sized identically, so long as when you sew your seam you don't sew off any of your name area on your cuff. I like to use a serger after I've sewn it, because it gives a close finished seam.

BEFORE you turn your stocking right side out, use it as a pattern to cut your lining. (This time you WILL want to stack the fabric right sides together.)
Try to cut fairly close to the same size, and use the same size seam allowance. It will make fitting the lining much easier.

With right sides together, stitch the lining as shown by the blue markings, leaving an opening for turning the stocking later. Again, do NOT stitch across the top, but you still need to leave that opening on the side.. you'll see why later.

Leave the lining wrong side out, but turn the stocking RIGHT side out. Pull the lining over the stocking, as shown above, lining up the top edge. Cut a piece of ribbon about 8" long, fold in half, and pin with the loop down inside the stocking out of the way of the top seam.

Pin the lining to the stocking around the top, and sew all the way around.

Yep.... you see the WHOLE TOP SEAM. You have an opening on the side of the lining for the next step!

Pull the OUTSIDE of the stocking through the hole in the lining and smooth open.
Open up so that you can sew the opening closed without catching any of the stocking in it.
You can neatly handstitch the opening, but I figure no one is ever going to see it down inside the sock like that, so I just machine stitch it.

Now just push the lining down into the stocking and press the top seam, and you're all done.
Whew! This took longer to post up than it did to sew it!
Happy Quilting!
Jean MaDan