Thursday, July 21, 2016

Knit Throw blanket with color block accents using Acorn Valley Fabric

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Today I get to share a project made with the beautiful Acorn Valley knits designed by Patty Young for Riley Blake Designs.  These fabrics are absolutely adorable- from the foxes to the birds to the mushrooms and of course the colors.
  A while ago, I made some duvet covers for my girls using Cottage Garden knits by Amanda Herring.  They were so soft and cool to the touch, I often thought I would like to have a blanket for myself made out of Riley Blake's gorgeous knits.  So, when I was asked to participate in the blog tour, I immediately decided to make my very own dreams come true.
  Now, this blanket might not be the most complicated thing to make, but if you've ever sewn with knits, you know that they can be just a bit unruly, especially when working with pieces on this scale.  So, I'm going to share some tips with you today that will hopefully help you have success if you decide to make one for yourself.

What you will need:
1 1/2 yard cuts of two main fabrics
1/2 yard cuts of two accent fabrics
sewing machine needle for knit fabric
rotary cutter
clear ruler

*knits are 58/59" wide so you will end up with a nice throw size blanket.

Square up cut edges if necessary, sometimes it's easier to do when the fabric is fresh off the bolt.
Wash your fabric.  Knit will shrink up quite a bit so it's better to wash and dry your fabric first.
Decide which fabrics you want to pair up.  I used the forest in cream with the teal dot, and the main in cream with the red dot.
This is where things get a bit tricky.  Knit fabric tends to roll up, the cut side rolls one direction and the selvedges roll in the other direction.  Lining things up can be frustrating, especially if you're not sure your cut edge is straight.  Here are some tips to help you:
  • let go of perfection- this is not going to be a cotton quilt where the edges will be precise and lines perfect and it's ok.
  • use a ball needle for knits on your machine.  It will go through the fabric much better.  Make sure it's a new needle and set your stitch length to a long stitch.  I didn't use a stretch stitch on this blanket, but you totally could.
  • press your edges.  I read a few places that starching the fabric would help, and it does, but it will still not lie perfectly flat.  I did not starch the edges multiple times because I was worried that repeated pressing might distort the fabric doing more harm than good for my blanket.  So, I lightly starched the edges and let it go.
  • Pin, pin, pin.  Use lots of pins to hold your edges together.  This is especially helpful when sewing so your lines will end up as straight as possible.
  • Take  your time.  This will not be as quick a finish as you might first think, but don't let that frustrate you, the end result is totally worth it!

Let's get sewing!

1. Sew your accent pieces to the respective main piece for each side.  Press your seam flat.
2. Place your front and back pieces right sides together, pin and sew together the first selvedge side using a generous 1/2" seam allowance. (use whatever s.a. will encompass the entire selvedge)  You will have to unroll both pieces and line them up as best you can.3. Use the seam you just sewed to trim the next side.  My pieces weren't cut exactly even, so one side was longer than the other, but even if they are the same length, cutting off the rolled edges is a much easier way to get a clean edge than trying to unroll the seam and pin every side.
  •  Start by lining up the seam with the short edge of your clear ruler.  
  • Push the rolled edges out as much as you can using the ruler, but make sure you don't let the ruler go crooked, and also check to make sure you aren't distorting the fabric.  
  • Trim off the rolled edge as far as you can with your ruler.  
  • Slide the ruler up a bit and pin the edge you just cut.  
  • The fabric will be nice and straight.  Keeping your ruler lined up with the cut edge, slide it further along the rolled side and keep trimming away the rolled edge and pinning as you go until you get to the end.  
  • Sew along this edge.
4. Repeat for the last two sides, leaving an opening for turning on the last side.
5. Trim off the rolled edge of the first side if necessary.
6. Turn right side out and roll and press all the side seams.
7. Turn under the seam allowance on the opening you left for turning and stitch closed.  This will make the edge a bit wavy, but it's not really a big deal, just press it flat once you're done.
8. Now, take your new blanket out to the woods and take pictures of it. Just kidding- but it's really fun if you do!
9. Enjoy!

I hope you'll take some time to click over to the other stops on the Acorn Valley Blog Tour- there are some super cute outfits and projects made with this darling fabric, and now that you're not afraid of knits, you can sew some up!

Monday 7/11: Riley Blake & Modkid
Friday 7/22: Ameroonie Designs

And if you're still reading- here's a picture of me in all my cabin/woodsy glory, including bad hair because I sacrificed my elastic for my daughter's bun in the earlier picture. :) xoxo, Amy

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Greatest Adventure Summer sling bag

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
The first time I saw this line of fabric, I knew just what I wanted to make with it.  A fun, simple, portable bag that would be loved and used often, but so easy to make I wouldn't feel bad when it got dirty, worn and loved.
This Greatest Adventure fabric just screams summer adventures to me and is available now in retail stores.  And if you want to make a Summer Sling Bag of your own, read on.  This would make a great project for a summer sewing camp or just a fun quick project to whip up.
I'm posting this tutorial as part of The Summer Sewing Series at The Polkadot Chair, you can find all the different projects in the series here.

  • 1/4 yard accent fabric
  • 2 fat quarters, 1 for exterior, 1 for lining
  • Large button (optional)
  • Sewing supplies
Cutting Instructions:

  • from the 1/4 yard cut:
    • 1- 3" strip by Width of Fabric, trim down to 36" long
    • 2- 3 1/2" X 8" pieces 
  • from each fat quarter cut:
    • 2- 8" X 13"

Strap preparation:
 Take the strip of fabric, press in half along the length.  Open up the halves and fold the long edges into the crease.  Fold along the crease again to enclose the raw edges.  Edge stitch along both sides of the strap.

 Sewing Instructions:
*use 1/2" seam allowance unless noted otherwise
  •  Take the first exterior piece, place right side up.
  •  Place one accent piece 3" from the bottom of the exterior piece, right side down.  Make sure the accent piece is upside down (if prints are directional) 
  • Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew the accent piece to the exterior piece

  • Fold down the accent piece and press.
  • Top stitch along the top edge of the accent piece.
  • Repeat for the second exterior piece.
  •  On one exterior piece, line up the two raw edges of the strap 4" down from top.  Baste or pin into place.
  • Place the two exterior pieces right sides together.  Sew around the two sides and bottom. 
  • Place the two lining pieces right sides together.  Sew around the two sides and bottom, leaving an opening in the bottom 3"- 4" wide.
  • Clip the bottom corners of both the exterior and the lining.
  • Turn the exterior of the bag right side out.
  • Slide the exterior of the bag into the lining of the bag.  Line up the side seams and the top edge, make sure the strap is out of the way.
  • Sew around the top of the bag.
  • Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.
  • Sew the opening in the bottom of the lining closed.
  • Push the lining into the exterior of the bag.  Fold along the sewn line and press.  Top stitch the bag opening.
  • If you want to, sew a large button onto one side of the opening, this will help it to stay closed a bit better, but isn't really necessary if you prefer to leave it off.

I couldn't resist making a little change pouch to match and a notebook cover as well.  I'm hoping my daughter will use the notebook to record all our adventures we are trying to do this summer.  So far she's loving taking the bag with us on hikes to hold her water and snacks, and the change pouch in the bag as she walks to the neighborhood convenience store to get a treat with her brother and friends.
If you make one, I'd love to see!  What are you sewing this summer?


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Desert Bloom Blog Tour

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
I have always loved Amanda Herring's fabric.  She always seems to choose bright happy colors and such fun delightful prints- it would be hard not to.  But I am lucky to say that she is also a dear friend and she is just as bright, happy and delightful as her fabrics.  When she asked me to participate in her blog tour for Desert Bloom, I was thrilled and of course said YES immediately!
With colors and prints like these, how could you not be thrilled?

I have been working on some new bag patterns and decided to make one up in these gorgeous fabrics.  This bag features Pellon's new (at least to me) fusible foam interfacing which I loved.  I also decided to overcome my unreasonable fear of installing snaps and use them to add some details and function to this bag. 
There are definitely some things to work out with this bag, but overall I am really happy with the shape, size and especially the overall body the interfacing gives this over-the shoulder tote.  I just have one question (well actually, two) How many pockets do you like in your bags?  I tend to add tons of pockets, but this one only has four and I kind of like the simplicity of it.
My last question is, do you already have some Desert Bloom in your stash?  If not, what are you waiting for? ;)

If you want to see more gorgeous projects using this beautiful line, check out the other blogs on the tour through Amanda's blog post.

Thanks for having me Amanda!
Hope you all have a great day!
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