Tag Archives: sewing

My first quilt!

DSCN0856

For a bit of time now, all my creative efforts have been steered in two directions: 1. planning two parties that were happening within a week of each other, and three states away from my home; and 2. making my first quilt as a baby shower gift (this baby shower being one of the parties I planned).  Hence the reason why all has been quiet on the blogging front.

Now that the parties are over, the quilt has been given and I’m caught up with laundry (ha!), I can blab all about it!  If you follow me on twitter and instagram, you might have gotten a sneak peek or two, but now I am showing it off in all its glory!

I can’t say I’m a quilt enthusiast, but I have a few quilts on my sewing bucket list: sorority t-shirt, son’s baby clothes, and now daughter’s baby clothes. Really just ways to be able to see and use all these things I’m hanging on to. But I’m not a ‘tradaditional’ quilt kind of girl. So I started looking into more modern quilts where the designs are simple and clean and the fabric is shown off and I don’t have to slice and dice it into tiny squares. Who has time for that anyway?

And when I got the news that my brother and sister-in-law are having a baby, I thought it would be great to make them a quilt, because every baby needs something handmade, no?  When I found the Lucy’s Crab Shack collection by Sweetwater (for Moda fabrics), I knew I had to do it.  They love the whole beachy/kite thing.

This ‘pattern’ is about as easy as a quilt pattern gets.  I had this idea in my head, but found this tutorial that was exactly what I wanted, only I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Using precuts made it so easy.  It keeps me from doing too much cutting and too much math.  My quilt was six rows of five charm squares, instead of six rows of six squares like the tutorial because there were a bunch of pink squares in the pack, and that wasn’t going to fly.

DSCN0863

One cute thing I did was put the baby’s last name initial in one of the squares.  I used my Slice to do it.  I got it months ago and still hadn’t used it, so I was excited to give it a try.  I like it!  I’m thinking some initials on coffee cuffs might be coming up soon.  What do you think?

Also, by personalizing it, it made me unable to keep it.  If only I had kept my maiden name…

After I cut out the letter, I stitched it onto one of the charm pack squares, just inside the cut line.  As the quilt gets washed, it will fray and fluff a little and give it even more texture.  I’m excited to see how it ‘ages’ with time and a baby using it.

After my quilt top was sewn, it was time to contemplate the actual quilting of the thing.

Since it’s my first quilt, I thought quilting it with straight lines on the diagonal would be a safe bet, but I wanted that crinkly feeling that free-motion quilts have.  So I started looking at the fancy stitches on my machine to give it more ‘movement’ and lo and behold, my machine has a stitch that looks like a kite tail!  How perfect is that for this quilt?

DSCN0866

To keep track of my lines, I laid out my quilt and made diagonal lines on it with a water-soluble fabric marking pen.  It’s a bit unnerving to take a blue marker to white fabric, but I promise it comes out!

Then I took the whole thing to the machine and started stitching.  After a little bit, I thought I needed more rows, so I went back and sewed in between my original lines as well as on my lines.  I think I ended up with stitch lines about every inch or so.  It was tricky getting that much fabric around, but rolling it up on the sides helped.  I think a walking foot is in order, but I’ll chalk up any imperfections as ‘charm’.  This is definitely not factory-made.

Here it is half-quilted.  If you look very closely, you can see the blue lines on the left side.

half quilted

It looked so awesome when I was done, but now I had to bind it, which was the part that scared me the most.  Luckily, one of my son’s classmate’s mom is an amazing quilter and agreed to teach me this final step.  I was really excited to learn until she told me I had to hand-stitch this thing.  What?!?!  But I’m always up for learning something new, especially if it’s sewing-related, so I figured I’d hand-bind it this time and see if I liked it.  I can’t say that I did.  It’s really simple to do, but it just takes too long. Seriously.  I had a 12-hour car trip and still didn’t get it done (I didn’t stitch away the entire time, though).  I barely got it done in time for the baby shower.  A big part of me wanted to just glue it shut and be done with it, but the crafter in me wouldn’t go for it. However, I will admit that it is a nice, clean way to finish the quilt if you take your time.

stitching the bindingWhen I was finally done, I rolled it up so that the “R” showed, and tied it with a torn strip of the backing fabric so it would be all frayed and cool-looking.

tied quilt

I am so glad I took the plunge and made this quilt, and I’m glad that my first quilt will be for my soon-to-be nephew.   It was fun to make, I got up close and personal with my machine, made a new friend and made my sister-in-law cry.  I think that’s a win on all fronts!

Glider Makeover

A few years ago when we were shopping for nursery furniture for my son, we found a glider in what we thought was a great neutral color that will work in any future baby’s room, whether it’s a boy or girl.  The taupe-y cushions looked great in our son’s woodland-themed nursery and the microfiber was soft and easy to keep clean:

But flash forward to a few weeks ago, when we put it in our light, bright aqua girl’s nursery and it looked like baby poop:

So what’s a hormone-raging mama-to-be supposed to do? Have a panic attack about how I can’t possibly have that glider in this room, or else some awful catastrophe will happen. Totally normal, right?

Well, I wasn’t that melodramatic, but close.  Still, I was really intimidated at the thought of recovering the cushions.  I mean, I’m used to coffee cuffs, notebook covers and bags.  Cushions are big.  But when a 60% off coupon for Joann’s arrived on my smartphone, the project didn’t seem so bad.  At least I wouldn’t be out too much money if the project was a bust.  So armed with 4.25 yards of fluffy pink fabric (which is enough for the glider, a blanket and more), I set to work.

I began by laying out the cushions on freezer paper, my pattern-making material of choice.  I had to tape two pieces together for the back and seat cushions to get it wide enough.

Then, I traced around each cushion.  After that, I used a compass (yes, the ones that gave you headaches back in ninth-grade geometry) to give myself room for the cushion depth. There’s probably a good way to measure this, but my pregnant brain wouldn’t process it correctly anyway, so I guesstimated how much to add. I ended up with an extra two inches except for the front of the seat cushion that’s a little thicker.  I went with three inches for that.

After cutting out the paper templates, I pinned them to the fabric and cut out the pieces. Next, I pinned the fabric pieces right sides together and stitched them together, leaving one side open to stuff the cushions.  I added two 20-inch lengths of grosgrain ribbon where the straps that snap to the chair on the back cushion so I could tie it on instead of trying to make little covers for the straps.

And this is where I began to cheat and get lazy.  I decided to just safety-pin the back cushion closed, since it rests on the seat cushion and I wasn’t going to see the closing anyway. I didn’t want to sew more ties or deal with a zipper/velcro closure, and I hate it when cushions are sewn shut because then it’s so much harder to pull the covers off to wash them.  I pinned the seat cushion closed as well, which allowed me to use the ties from the original cushion.

Here is a view of how the cushions tie.  The back cushion ties with the ribbon and the seat cushion ties with the original ties.

For the arm rests, I made the pattern pieces and cut the fabric the same way as the cushions, but I sewed just the sides, so I ended up with tubes.  My glider arm cushions snap onto the chair at the top and bottom.  At first, I was going to sew them completely in and then slit some holes where the snaps are until I realized that the snaps are completely hidden.  So I slipped the tube/covers on the cushions, pinned one side to the cushion to keep them from sliding off and snapped them onto the chair.  I didn’t even need to pin the bottom side.  It’s snugly snapped in and well hidden.

The foot rest was next.  I cut out fabric the size of the top plus a half-inch seam allowance, and added 4-inch bands around the side.  When those were all sewn together, I hemmed the bottom to make it nice and straight and an even depth.

So there it is.  A glider makeover for a little girl’s room, all pink and fluffy and soft.  And it was so much easier than I thought it would be.  I think it will make those 4 a.m. feedings much more pleasant, don’t you?