6/20/2014

Star and Stripes Table Runner Pattern

I have a free pattern for you today!  I thought a small and fast summer project was in order and I have had this idea drawn up for a couple of months now.  Perfect for 4th of July, but also Memorial Day and Flag Day!

Despite being born in Texas and having lived there the majority of my life, I don't ever feel that I am a Texas gal.  My parents hail from the Northeast, my mom from the Philadelphia area, and we lived several of my childhood years in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  That is where I feel most at home.  So, it is no surprise that every 4th of July I feel nostalgic for places like Independence Hall and Washington's Crossing.
It was an easy decision for me to use "Martha Washington's Star" as the feature block in my table runner.  She doesn't seem to have anything to actually do with the block itself, but the name is enough for me.  ;)  I think making it scrappy gives it a charming "vintage" feel.  For the quilting I used my walking foot exclusively.  Yep, all of the curves are done with my walking foot!  It was much easier than I thought it would be, but I only went that route because I was too lazy to be switching presser feet and threads back and forth constantly.

Below you'll find the directions to make your own.  I hope you find this helpful!  And if I don't "see" you before then...Happy 4th of July everyone!



Finished Dimensions - 16" x 48"
Sew with a scant 1/4" throughout.
Abbr:  W = White/Low Volume, B = Blue, LB = Light Blue, R = Red, RST = Right Sides Together

Cut the following:
Stripes - 
R1 - (16) 4.5"x 4.5"
W3 - (16) 4.5"x 4.5"

Martha Washington Star -
Corner Squares:  B1 - (4) 4.5" x 4.5"
Windmill:  LB1* - (2) 4 7/8"x 4 7/8"; LB2* - (1) 5 1/4"x 5 1/4"; W2 - (1) 5 1/4"x 5 1/4"
Flying Geese:  B2 - (1) 9.75"x 9.75"; W1 - (4) 5 3/8" x 5 3/8"

* Due to my available scraps I ended up using a mix of light and dark for the windmill after I designed the pattern, so feel free to mix it up in a way that works for you.

To make the stripes:
1. Sew R1 pieces together into 8 sets of 2, RST.  Press seams to one side.
2.  Sew W3 pieces together into 8 sets of 2, RST.  Press seams in opposite direction of the R1 sets.


3.  Aligning seams sew sets of R1 with W3 pairs to create eight 4-patches, RST.  Press seams open.
4.  Sew the 4 patches together into 2 rows each containing four 4-patches, RST.  Press seams open.
5.  With RST sew the two rows of red and white striped patches together.  Press seam open.
To make Martha Washington's Star:
Measures 16.5" square

Windmill Unit -
You will need the following pieces - LB1* (2) 4 7/8"x 4 7/8"; LB2* - (1)5 1/4"x 5 1/4"; W2 - (1) 5 1/4"x 5 1/4"

1.  Cut LB2 and W2 squares on the diagonals to make 4 triangles.
2.  Cut LB1 squares on one diagonal.  Each square will yield 2 triangles, giving you a total of 4 when done.

3.  Pair each LB2 piece with a W2 piece and sew right short edge of the LB2 pieces to the left short edge of the W2 pieces, RST, creating 4 units.  Press open.
4.  Next, with RST, sew an LB1 triangle to each of the units you made in Step 3 along the long diagonal edge.  Press open.  Square up each unit to measure 4.5"x4.5".
5.  Sew together the four units you just created, RST, to make the windmill portion of the star:

Your completed windmill unit should measure 8.5"x8.5" when finished.

Flying Geese -  (We're going to make all 4 at once!)
You will need the following pieces - B2 - (1) 9.75"x 9.75"; W1 - (4) 5 3/8" x 5 3/8"

1.  With RST, place white squares (W1) on the large blue (B2) square.  Draw a center "cut" line from corner to corner on the white squares (W1) and pin.  Stitch with a scant 1/4" on each side of the center "cut" line.  

2.  Cut unit in half along center "cut" line.
3.  Press open.
4.  With one of your assembled units, place another white square (W1) on the opposite corner of the blue triangle, RST.  Mark a center "cut" line from corner to corner on the white square.  Stitch a scant 1/4" on each side of the center "cut" line.
5.  Cut unit in half along the center "cut" line and press open.  Repeat Step 4 for the remaining unit.






6.  Trim the four flying geese units to 4.5" x 8.5".

Now assemble the Martha Washington Star... (Sew with RST and press seams open.)
Square up to 16.5" x 16.5"

Sew your completed "Martha Washington Star" to the stripes with right sides together.  Press seam open.

All that's left is to baste, quilt, bind, and admire!  :)  I hope you enjoy your lovely table runner as much as I am enjoying mine!






6/08/2014

Classic Oxford Button-up Shirt

Continuing my foray into the world of garment making I completed this sweet Classic Oxford Button-up Shirt for my son right before we left on a short vacation to Colorado.

The pattern was well written by peek-a-boo pattern shop. And despite a well written pattern I was struggling with setting the sleeves and attaching the collar stand.  There was definitely some seam ripping.  Although I count those steps a success because when I serged it I didn't accidentally serge through the back of the shirt like I did the last time I made a shirt for my son.

The pocket on this shirt is very sweet, but maybe a bit large as it uses one size pocket for several shirt sizes.  I would also shift it over about .5" - 1" towards the button placket as it sort of folds under his arm a bit.  I had to pull it forward for this shot.  For the closure I skipped buttons and opted for "rodeo" inspired pearl snaps.  My daughter isn't the only one taking horseback riding lessons now.  ;) The snaps also make for a happier kid because little is more frustrating than trying to do a bunch of tiny buttons down the front of your shirt.
For the main parts of the shirt I used the fabric "Night Sky Raindrop Pinstripe" from Moda's "Little Things" line.  For the pocket, yolk, and collar I used RJR's Cotton Supreme in "Soft Blue."  All of my topstitching was done in a dark blue to match the main fabric which pops very nicely.  I think the use of two fabrics keeps this oxford shirt from feeling overly formal for everyday wear and pairs with his knit shorts very well.  But, if you wanted to dress it up a bit with some nicer slacks that would work too.
You can see my son is all about comfort...yep, he's wearing socks with sandals.  Trust me ladies...I'm working on it.  HA!  But, I'm glad that he feels good in his shirt as he's VERY picky about what touches his skin.  He didn't want to be outdone by his sister on the goofy poses so he worked his silly side for the camera.  But, also likes to share his love of nature which you can see by the leaves in his pocket and that we wore the shirt to the aquarium....
He has made me promise to make him some knit shirts with pockets "down low".  So...I guess I have that in my future.  ;)  I'm happy to accommodate, and hopefully it will help me over my fear of knits.

Linking up with Show and Tell Tuesday.

6/02/2014

Maggie Mae Dress

We have family pictures coming up this month, and you sewing moms know what that means...time to make some clothes!  Actually, a pal in the local MQG has been making a good bit of clothes lately and after seeing her make awesome garment after awesome garment I decided I really wanted to make some too.  The family pictures are just an added bonus and necessary kick in the pants.  I have been know to buy fabric for clothes and then not getting around to making them for ages (Or not at all.  OOPS!).
Doesn't she look like she's just belting a song out at the top of her lungs???  My little Broadway star.
Up first we have the "Maggie Mae Tunic/Dress" (in dress form) by ShwinDesigns.  Overall the directions and corresponding images were clear and concise.  I have a few more of their patterns that I want to try out so hopefully they're all as well done.  

I made the dress in a 3T using Lecien Flower Sugar and Robert Kaufmann Yarn Dyed Essex Linen in black.  The 3T may be a tad big, and the dress pattern is naturally for a lose fitting garment, but it gives her a little room for her summer growth spurt.  I LOVE the pleats, rather than gathers.  It was a nice change (even if I accidentally did mine backwards because I began to rush).  I think they look so lovely.

There are optional pockets which I included in the dress.  I wish the pattern included directions for stitching them down on the front of the opening so they always sit in one direction.  I find that they flop to the back so they are difficult to use at times.  

I also wish the pattern had recommended a weight of interfacing for the button placket.  As someone who doesn't normally sew garments I wasn't sure what weight to use and just grabbed some that I had on hand.  Unfortunately I think I used a mid weight which caused excessive bulk and made the creation of button holes difficult, especially through the linen.  I recommend using a lightweight interfacing, and if you use the linen to lengthen your stitch length a bit on your button holes for easier sewing.

I felt the dress looked a little bland without any further decoration, so using some lace trim, and the third button I wasn't able to use on the back, I made a sweet flower pin.  I wanted it to be removable for washing and flexible enough to be used on other garments or maybe on a fabric belt at some point.  The dress is a great length when she's standing up, but when she bends over...not so ladylike.  lol  So for pictures I may make some little bloomers just to cover her fanny.

Next up...I am <this close> to finishing a sweet collared shirt for my son.  All I have left to do is hem the bottom.  He's begging me to finish it up so I can take his picture.  :)  So, I'll be back soon with that one!


Linking up with Show and Tell Tuesday.

5/13/2014

Color Me This

Last night we had a very fruitful guild meeting.  Some of us walked away with solid fabrics from a swap...

and all of us walked away with a better idea of our own Color Story thanks to a ticker tape activity done by Queen Elizabeth.  ;)

If you've been following along with me so far this year, you know I'm on a bit of a journey to figure out my quilting "voice."  Colors, patterns...style.  We each had to bring some of our favorite scraps to the meeting to compose our own color story.  I'll be honest, it's hard to choose your favorite fabrics when you're choosing from your own stash.  Because you probably like most of them, right?

As we were doing the activity a couple of my lovely and supportive friends said that they don't know how I don't understand that I have a "look."  (I'm always saying that when I see a quilt they made I instantly know it's theirs.)  Well, apparently...these are my colors.  These are the colors that speak to me.  So what do I notice?

I like to balance deep rich colors with soft fabrics.  The soft colors may be "low volume" or they may just have a softer vintage vibe to them.  Solids definitely speak to me right now as well as prints with a sweetness to them.

Speaking of vintage vibes...

I'm the proud new mama to this Singer 301.  :)  She's a beauty and sews like a dream.


I'm sewing my daughter's bed quilt together on the 301 and am enjoying the mechanical hum of the machine while oohing and ahhing over her.  I feel like she needs a name...her serial number says she was made in 1951...so something from the 50s.  I'll be thinking, but in the meantime...do you have any suggestions???


5/12/2014

Looking Forward

I've been doing some personal reflection on where I want to be with this blog.  I feel like I want to post more regularly but struggle with what content to put here at times.  Of course sewing/quilting related items, but is it simply a place to post finishes?  It sort of bugs me that that is all I share...the finish.  Things don't just magically happen.  And so I'm taking some notes and looking into what I want to share and when.  Planning ahead a bit to try and avoid blogger burnout.  :)

So...with that in mind I have an in progress (sorry...iPhone pic alert!) picture for you...

I am continuing strongly on my "Project: Happy Quilting" journey.  I'm really thrilled with this experiment and am learning a lot about who I am as a quilter.  I promise to share a bit soon.  This is a quilt I'm making for my daughter's bed.  She helped to pick out some of the fabrics from my stash to round out an already existing bundle I had created about two years ago for her bed quilt.  She has such an amazing eye for color, and really the joy of this quilt, the happiness factor, comes from witnessing how excited she is to see the progress as it moves along.

These tumblers are nice and big, so it moves the project along fast, but allows me the chance to nicely combine fabrics of many scales.  Those Tula Pink squirrels...LOVE THEM!!!  The quilt's feel is nice and scrappy and I think I know just how I want to quilt it.

In the meantime I've had a house full of sickies for the last week and so I'm trying to clean up the wreck my house became during that time.  :/  Everyone is pretty much back to 100% despite some lingering sniffles so it feels good to be up and at 'em again.

And it's been great to be able to go outside and enjoy all of the gardening/planting we did last month.

I hope you moms out there had a wonderful and beautiful Mother's Day!  I'll be seeing you here again soon with some fun summer ideas and some progress on my daughter's quilt.  :)


4/30/2014

My Happy Place



Do you remember in "What About Bob?" when Richard Dreyfuss' character tells Bill Murray (Bob) to take a vacation from his problems?  That's not always easy to do, and I think we all have a little "Bob" in us.  We're all searching for what makes us happy...for me...that's sewing.

I'm a Sewer!  I SEW!!!

And because I sew, and it's a big part of my life, I spoke with my husband and we agreed to create a real space for me to "work" in.  The first purchase was actually the antique hutch which started to form what space I had left, as I already had the Ikea desk.  (I am going to be giving my son the green Ikea chair for his room.  Being on wheels while free motion quilting has been less than ideal.  lol)  Next I looked at flooring.  I wanted a rustic look with mismatched planks.  I LOVE the way it turned out.  The walls are painted in a warm pale gray by Behr called "Irish Mist."


Figuring out the layout was a bit of a jigsaw.  I had two pieces already and I knew what I still needed in the room.  I wanted a place to cut that was a proper height, I wanted a deep ironing board that could fold away if needed, a nice bookshelf that didn't close off the space too much, and a sleeper chair for when company comes over, and good lighting for my workspaces.  I also wanted to move in my design wall, but that wasn't a "must have" for me.  So picture me pinning a zillion different furniture options, pacing this room with a measuring tape day after day, sketching...re-sketching...and eventually having everything fit perfectly with about 1 inch of wall space left on each of the main walls.  I'm not even kidding around with ya on that one.


My only real frustration is that the ironing board ultimately has to go in front of the window.  It doesn't fit anywhere else in the room and it was the piece that least obstructed the light.  The sleeper chair mattress is really only fit for a small child.  It's so narrow that there is no way an adult could sleep comfortably, but that's fine.  The design wall ended up working well on the wall beside the door as I didn't want to block the view from the hall.

I ordered the Studio Wall Shelf from Pottery Barn because it was nice and open allowing light to fill the space and the walls to reflect as much light as possible.  The sleeper chair is from JCPenney and is surprisingly comfy.  (I also scored it during a major sale.)  The throw is from Target and is on there because it's a common place for the dogs to hang out while I'm working.

Storage was a big must have for me.  This little Ikea cart helps me to keep upcoming projects organized...
The inside of my antique hutch is really deep and is great for storing fabrics I don't use frequently, as well as scraps...


My cutting table is from Martha Stewart.  And while it's a good height and the drawer storage is fantastic, the assembly was ridiculous and I encountered manufacturing problems with a couple of parts.  As well as very poorly written instructions.  It's pretty though and fit the space.

I do love the spool holder from her collection though.

The rest of my room is not only about storage/function but about display, inspiration, and mementos...


 Things made by myself, or dear friends...
Fabric and yarn eye candy...
I can't tell you how important having effective storage is, and then being able to make it pretty as well?  That's been great.

Cutting, pinning, marking...it's all right at my fingertips as I work.
All while being surrounded by the lovely fabrics...


But, maybe the most important thing...I have a rule that everyone who enters must abide by.  This is my happy room, and negativity is not allowed.  That's not to say people can't come in and have "real" talks with me but whining and complaining have to stay out in the hall.

It's so nice to have this space to create, to sing and dance, to laugh, to chat...to have FUN!!!  Thanks for taking a walk around my "happy place" with me!