Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Crafty Little Things Blog Hop & Giveaway

Way back near the beginning of 2014, my friend Caroline asked me if I'd be willing to contribute a project to her next book.  Crafty Little Things to Sew is finally hitting stores this month, and I couldn't be happier to see it in print at last!

When I came up with the idea for my Patchwork Calculator Tablet Case, I was actually thinking that it would be a fun place to stash my daughters' math flashcards. The pattern was loosely based on the look of a calculator, mostly because I thought it would be a great way to include lots of colorful patchwork for the "buttons." My first version used a rainbow of geometric prints and a number scrap for the "screen" set against a solid black background. I quilted all of the colored pieces just inside each shape. I love to use a pouch this size for a sketchbook and drawing materials -- so perfect for inspiration on-the-go!

For my second attempt, I wanted something more whimsical. I switched out the black background for a more organic looking brown print, used a text print for the "screen," and carefully fussy cut 16 squares from Heather Ross fabrics in shades of white, pink, yellow, and orange. This time I quilted around the squares and rectangle instead of inside them. As you can see, it really makes a wonderful case for a Kindle or tablet with room to spare for a few more items if you want to carry the pouch instead of a purse.

This project makes a great gift, and it's a quick finish too. You can easily put one together in an afternoon. Caroline's book is full of these sorts of projects, which are from a wonderful array of talented designers, and it's why I love the book so much. There's nothing I enjoy more than fast, fun, useful sewing!

I'm giving away a copy of Crafty Little Things to Sew to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing. You can get extra entries by tagging friends on my Instagram post (@fabricmutt) too! Just be sure to leave an email address in your comment if you're a no-reply blogger so that I can get in touch with you if you win. I'll be picking a winner on Thursday.

Be sure to follow the other bloggers on the tour. There are so many fabulous projects coming up!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Neverland Medallion Quilt

It seems impossible to believe that I'll be turning 40 this December, but there it is in black and white. Most of the birthdays over the years are a blur, but a few stand out in my memory. There was the year that my coworkers at the little grocery store where I worked threw me an impromptu surprise party. There was the year that my hair caught on fire from the candles on my cake (thankfully I only walked away with singed ends and a great story). And then there was the year that I fell in love with Peter Pan. I had asked for the brand new VHS tape of the Disney version for my 12th birthday, which ended up being one of the few years where I was gifted with a nasty cold bug on my big day. I was crushed, but we made the most of it. I wound up spending the whole day in my pajamas on the living room couch watching the movie over and over. It wasn't what I had planned, but somehow Peter Pan has held a special place in my heart ever since. So when I heard that the incredible Jill Howarth was designing a fabric collection called Neverland based on the original book, I immediately emailed Riley Blake and asked if I could be a part of her tour.

This collection couldn't be more charming. I'm an enormous fan of Jill's illustrative work. Her style has so many elements of the mid-century illustrations that I adore, yet she gives it all her own special touch. She brings the Peter Pan story to life with a beautiful mix of designs. My favorites include the iconic flight over London, a sweet floral, and a wonderful map print featuring ships, mermaids, and Neverland island.

I decided right away that I wanted to make a medallion quilt using all the Neverland prints mixed with a rainbow of Riley Blake basics -- mostly Swiss dots with a few stripes and solids. The center of my quilt is the paper pieced Swedish Bloom flower and leaf blocks from my friend Ayumi's book Patchwork, Please! which is still one of my favorite quilting books of all time. I surrounded them with a ring of traditional friendship star blocks and then with a ring of flying geese all pointing outward. For the background fabrics, I used a scrappy mix of low volume prints from the Neverland collection, Swiss dots, and white solids. It all came together to make such a fun quilt top!

After much deliberation, I've decided to quilt this piece by hand. It will take some time, but I'm looking forward to spending my evenings with a needle and thread and a quilt in my hands again. Somehow it seems appropriate that this fabric about a classic journey be quilted the old fashioned way, which is always such a journey in itself for me.

Be sure to visit all the stops on the tour:

October 11 -- Heidi at Fabric Mutt
October 18 -- Melissa at Happy Quilting
November 1 -- Katie at Maytime Moms
November 8 -- Karly at Paisley Roots

Happy sewing, dear friends!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Mini Quilted Tree Skirt

Craftsy Quilted Tree Skirt sewn by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

My amazing friend Caroline has a new Craftsy class out called the Quilted Tree Skirt, a beautiful patchwork project featuring jelly roll strips, foundation piecing, and handmade tassels. I love taking Caroline's classes because she's so easy to follow, and I always pick up a few new sewing tips from her that I can carry over to other projects. Since our family already has a special tree skirt that we put on our large tree each year, I decided to make a miniature version of Caroline's project. Whether it's the children's tree that my daughters decorate every year by themselves, the tiny tree I bought for their dollhouse, or the dyed bottle brush trees that I love to display on my sewing cabinet, we have lots of little Christmas trees around our house every December.

Craftsy Quilted Tree Skirt sewn by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I took the paper pattern that comes with the class, taped it together at full size and then photocopied it at half size. Then I decided that I wanted to go even smaller and photocopied that smaller version at half size again. For my fabric panels, I sewed together 3 strips that were 2" wide. The print at the top ends up being smaller in the final version, but I didn't mind. I just made sure that my wedge piece was always aligned with the bottom strip whenever I was cutting.

Craftsy Quilted Tree Skirt sewn by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Making things miniature is always fun, but it can definitely be tricky, especially in projects like this. Because everything was smaller scale, the gap in the center for the tree is non-existent -- the pieces just sewed over each other with no open space. I also needed to use 7 pairs of blades instead of 8 or there would be no gap on the side for the skirt to open. Once I finished sewing the blades together, I carefully went in with my scissors to cut out a hole in the center which came out as a slightly wonky star shape. It's not as pretty as Caroline's full size version, but good enough for what I needed.

I alternated colors on each of the blades -- red/pink vs. blue/green -- with lots of low volume fabrics in between to keep things light and bright. Since the skirt is so small, I decided against the button fasteners and tassels that are on the original pattern. Simple works best on something this tiny.

Craftsy Quilted Tree Skirt sewn by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

The skirt is backed in a pink and white print, and I quilted along all the horizontal seams in off-white thread.

Craftsy Quilted Tree Skirt sewn by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

This was such a fun project, and I enjoyed doing something a little different from the things I normally sew. You can sign up for the Quilted Tree Skirt on Craftsy right here if you'd like to make one of your own. Caroline has put together a wonderful class, and you definitely need to take a look at all her different versions of the skirt. They're absolutely beautiful! I'm not sure if I'm ready for Christmas yet, but this all definitely has me ready for the pre-season excitement of fall...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Quilt' N' Things Scrappy Projects

I've been chatting with Lana Norton, owner of Quilt' N' Things in Montrose, California, this summer, talking about the joys and challenges of running a quilt shop. She's been wanting to work more closely with designers to help promote our work and draw people to her shop. As a part of that process, she sent me three of her wonderful scrappy sixteenth bags to make a handful of projects that she can display in her shop. I added some scraps of my own and had a wonderful time relaxing with patchwork this week!

The first project I made was a toy wallet, altering the Manicure Set pattern from my book, Sew Organized for the Busy Girl.

My girls are always bringing little miniature toys with them or collecting small items like bottlecaps wherever they go. This wallet is the perfect place to keep them!

I absolutely had to make a Deluxe Pincushion from my book. I've never made one of these that I didn't love. They're so quick and fun and perfect for showcasing tiny scraps!

The last thing I made was a Road Trip Pillow from the Fast Fabric Gifts booklet I wrote for Love Patchwork & Quilting last year. This is such a simple project, but I love how it lets the fabrics shine. I wound up with a light, happy rainbow of prints, and it all feels so summery to me.

For the envelope closure on the back, I used a canvas print with gold metallic accents that I've been saving for a while.

These projects are on their way to California right now, and as hard as it was to let them go, I'm so happy that they'll be enjoying a special spot in Lana's shop. Be sure to drop by Quilt' N' Things if you're in the area!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Diamond Block Tutorial & Project Ideas

Tilda Clutch from Diamond Block Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I've had so many requests for a tutorial ever since I posted the Diamonds Pillow that I made for my Five & Dime Quilt Market display. Rather than give you a tutorial for a single project, I decided to just show you how to make the block and then give you some ideas for a few different items you can make with it. I also changed the dimensions of the original block so that it's now jelly roll or charm pack friendly too -- so handy! This block is super easy to sew, perfect for beginners or just for a quick finish.

To make one Diamond Block, you need...

1 rectangle 2 1/2 x 5" of your feature print
2 squares 2 1/2 x 2 1/2" of your background print

Place the 2 squares next to each other on top of the rectangle (right sides together) -- be sure the rectangle is positioned vertically. Draw a line from the lower left corner to the upper right corner on both the squares (or fold the squares in half and press with your iron to create a line with no ink like I usually do) and stitch along that line.

Trim a 1/4" seam allowance from the outer corners away from the center of the rectangle.

Press the seams open or toward the background fabric -- and you're done!

Wouldn't this block make a wonderful scrappy quilt? I really need to give that a try...

Five & Dime Diamonds Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Sew together 3 rows of diamond blocks, with 7 blocks in each row), to make a pillow cover like my Five & Dime strike-off version. If you want the pillow top to be a perfect square, just add a 1" strip of background fabric to the right and left sides before adding your pillow backing. The pillow should finish at 14" square.

Tilda Clutch from Diamond Block Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Sew together 5 blocks in a row (or fewer if you want a smaller version) to make a simple pouch or clutch, like the one I made here with gorgeous Tilda fabric from my dear friend Julie.

Tilda Clutch from Diamond Block Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I used sparkly metallic Essex linen for the background fabric and lined the pouch with my favorite green Autumn Rose print from the Harvest collection.

Tilda Clutch from Diamond Block Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

A pale pink zipper and "Hello Sunshine" charm top it all off. I love how sweet and girly this is!

By the way, if you're looking for Tilda in the U.S., you definitely need to visit Julie's shop, The Intrepid Thread, which is one of the very few places you can purchase it here. And right now she has these Harvest prints on sale -- definitely a win!

By the way, I've loved seeing all the Five & Dime photos popping up on Instagram lately. It makes me so happy to see you all enjoying this fabric at last! If you're still looking to buy some, I've added a few more shops to the "my fabric" page, and I've also marked the online shops so that they're easy to find. Keep tagging me with those photos. It's so much fun to see what you're making!

Happy sewing, friends!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Big Bear Cabin Pillow

Scrappy Big Bear Cabin Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

My friend Susi & I have been known to swap once in a while -- fabric, little sewing projects, gummy bears...all the good stuff. This time we took requests. She made me an incredibly adorable mini featuring a felt bunny, bear & mouse (in honor of my daughters' nicknames), and I made her a scrappy pillow version of my Big Bear Cabin Quilt. I played with dimensions a bit to give this a different spin, and I really like the way it turned out. It's definitely going to be hard to let go of this one...

Scrappy Big Bear Cabin Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I always enjoy pairing random rainbow fabrics and low volume prints. It was also nice to work in a bit of brown, which can often be a neglected color in my stash. These warm brown tones for the bear paw corners feel like autumn, and I love the contrast with the other colors. 

Scrappy Big Bear Cabin Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I chose a flowered teapot for the center of the pillow. It came from a darling vintage greeting card print that I bought from Sunny Day Supply -- so much cuteness!

Scrappy Big Bear Cabin Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I quilted 1/8" from either side of the low volume strips in the blocks and in the center. The back of the pillow is a canvas print from Cotton + Steel that falls somewhere between gray and brown.

Scrappy Big Bear Cabin Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

It's hard to let go of a project that you love, but it's a whole lot easier when you know it's going to live with a dear friend.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fussy Cut Sampler Block

I was so excited when I saw that Nichole Ramirez and Elisabeth Woo had written a book called The Fussy Cut Sampler for Lucky Spool Media. Fussy cutting is something near and dear to my heart, and I've long hoped that someone would write a book about it. Nichole and Elisabeth have done a phenomenal job putting together a collection of unique blocks with detailed tips for cutting and placing fabric within each design. So much thought and care went into every page of this book, and I can't recommend it highly enough!

For today's tour post, I was assigned a block from chapter 11, which is all about creating a narrative in your blocks. Block 44 is called "you in a block," encouraging the maker to pull together prints that show different facets of her personality and life that reflect who she is.

For my feature print in the center, I used some of the last scraps of a Japanese fabric that I've been saving for over five years. So much of my time seems to be spent shopping or cooking, so it was fun to pair these two pieces together. I especially liked the balance of the two girls facing each other. I sprinkled both a large and small floral in the block since I love flowers in any form. Blue and green are two of my favorite colors, so I needed to include them. I also added in two prints from my new Five & Dime collection. My favorite pink price tag fabric shares some of the optimism I try to bring to my dealings with the people in my life every day, and the green checklist print reminds me of the many lists I use to keep myself organized. The vintage newspaper print at the corners is a nod to my love of retro style.

Rather than keep this as an orphan block, I decided to turn it into a table mat for my nightstand. I backed it in more of the blue Denyse Schmidt floral (one of my all time favorite prints) and quilted 1/8" from either side of every seam in the block. The binding is a black and white diamond print from Uppercase 2.

I love this mat. It feels simple and sweet and almost like a more grown-up version of myself. It also goes beautifully with the blue and white toile duvet cover on our bed. I couldn't be happier with it.

If you get the chance, check out the #fussycutsampler hashtag on Instagram. There are beautiful things happening there, I promise you...
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