Sewing updates, life updates

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

I have SO many ideas on my Evernote list of possible blog posts. So many ideas, so little time. To give you a short life update: my husband deployed, we have started our homeschool year, the extracurriculars have started back up after Summer break and I myself am in charge of the yard work and house fixes and other various things that usually the man of the house takes care of. We're doing well, but sheesh, I'm tired at the end of every day! It also took running out of clean kitchen towels to realize it's Casey who stays on top of the laundry situation better than I do, ha! 

ACS_0111.JPG

A few months ago, I had the foresight to know that teaching sewing this year was off the table and have decided that it's probably off the table until my homeschooling years are over. I will miss teaching and miss seeing my students regularly, but I am also very relieved, now that we're in the thick of things, that I made this decision! Luckily, I still have my blog and YouTube channel as outlets to create sewing tutorials and teach others. 

Despite the busyness, I still squeeze in time for sewing therapy! Right now I'm working on a quilt for Natalie. The one I made her when she was five (!!) is still beautiful, but she has outgrown the young style of it. Still, that quilt will always be special to her, and to me, as it's the only one I ever hand quilted! The pattern is from this book, one of my favorites ever. Here's a photo of it when it was still unfinished: 

quilt by Nikki Schreiner of Pin, Cut, Sew Studio from the book, Material Obsession

The pattern I'm using for her new one is the Warrior quilt pattern by Suzy Williams and it's free! We chose all the fabrics together. I've had this quilt on my Pinterest board for quite awhile, so I was thrilled she chose it. It seems like today's modern quilting consist of many solid colors and less prints. 

Warrior Quilt Pattern, free on fabricworm

I've also made a couple of baby quilts, they just need batting and backing. I made them without anyone in mind to gift them to, I just had a free weekend and the itch to quilt. I thought about selling them, but I actually think I know who to gift them to now that they've been made. I absolutely love the boy one! For the girl one, I used this free pattern

baby quilts by Nikki of Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

I've had adventures in dancewear sewing recently too. More on that in it's own separate post coming soon. Sewing dancewear was my sewing goal for this year and having two ballerinas in the house has made this more of a necessity for financial reasons (dance moms know, those leotards can be soooo expensive as they get older!) While I gather supplies, I started by altering and embellishing three plain solid leotards found in the $5 bin at the dance store, with stretch lace and mesh. They turned out amazing and Natalie is thrilled! 

Sewing Dancewear by Nikki at Pin, Cut, Sew studio

I almost forgot, I made a dress too! I'm not really sure I'm in love with it, though. I may shorten it an inch or two? I do love that neckline, but I feel like it's a bit dowdy. I kinda wish I'd made a lightweight cardigan with this fabric instead. It's from Hobby Lobby's Fall line and it's a beautiful rayon spandex, so I could get some more and make the cardigan happen. We'll see. 

McCall's 7591

Lastly, I do have a new YouTube tutorial in the works! I'm hoping to film that on Saturday, so stay tuned for that next week. Here's  a sneak peak! 

Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Oh, wait, I almost forgot! Since I'm not teaching sewing now, I turned half the sewing studio into a school space! I can't believe how much we love it. It's so nice to have a space where the dirty dishes are not staring me in the face while we do school, haha! I also really like it because it's a space for me to sit and write or take care of the administrative details of life and homeschool co op, etc ... But anyway, I needed some chairs for our school table. I didn't have a lot to spend and I wanted rolling chairs and chairs with cushions. I found a set of four of these 80's gems on a used site and recovered them with duck cloth from Hobby Lobby. They look completely different and we love them! 

80's chair makeover 

I took them apart, which was pretty straightforward, recovered the seats with a staple gun, then made a pattern to simply slipcover the backs. It worked great, and the whole thing cost me about $80, definitely cheaper than the cheapest chairs I could have afforded at Ikea! Now the problem is that the kids are lazy and just roll over to get a drink or a pencil instead of using their legs ;)

Comment

Whole Cloth Quilt from a Tapestry

A few months ago, I spotted a cool cactus textile at Target that was folded up in a package and labeled a "tapestry". Tapestries like these are kind of a hipster thing, in my most humble opinion, seeing as before this, I'd only ever seen them at Urban Outfitters. Other places just called them table cloths ... or curtains ... or bed spreads ... or fabric that's hemmed, ha! But, this said tapestry, so that's what I'll go with. 

I bought it, thinking I could make something cool with it. Succulents are so in right now, after all.

Meet my new cactus quilt! 

Basically, I knew I could make a simple whole cloth quilt and it would be quick and make a statement in my home. A whole cloth quilt is just what it sounds like: an entire piece of fabric, quilted. No piecing. I backed it with a piece of muslin backing I had on hand and just quilted it with straight vertical lines. So easy! 

I really like how it looks on my bed, but it would look cool on my couch too. I just love the huge succulents, it's awesome. And the colors are right up my alley. 

The reason a tapestry works well for a quilt like this is because it comes so large. While fabric yardage only comes in smaller widths, the tapestry is already big and can often be ordered in several sizes. 

I haven't seen this one at Target again, but they do have them online and they're on sale! They have some other cool ones too, it looks like. Like this awesome pineapple one! 

There are lots on Amazon too, it looks like! There are several Mandala ones, which are beautiful, but this map one has my swooning. I love maps like I love pineapples. 

Oh my, or this one! All the heart eyes for this one. 

This flag one is pretty fun and would make a bold statement in a bland room! 

Or how about this one. Every room needs a bit of whimsy right?? Haha. 

There are some beautiful nature ones too that I can see making pretty quilts. And even if you don't want to quilt a tapestry, they're such a great way to decorate walls. Especially if you live in a rental, or military housing like me, where you can't paint your white walls. 

Do you use tapestries?? I've backed a picnic quilt with one. It was a sturdy one, so it worked so well. I'd love to hear what you've done with them! 

Cheers and happy sewing! 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and purchase, I earn a small amount to help keep my local sewing class business going :) 

1 Comment

Three Essential Tools for Quilting

I have a mini quilt class coming up this weekend, so I have quilting on the brain! Plus, whenever I go awhile without doing any quilting at all, I start to get the itch to sit down and make some blocks, do some paper piecing, or plan a big quilt project. There's just something about it that pulls me in when I've been away too long ... like the ocean, ha!  

There are lots women who want to quilt, but feel super intimidated, this I have certainly learned as I've chatted with new sewists at my classes these past few months. But I say, if you can sew a straight line, you can make a quilt! It's easy and it's actually a great way to learn to sew because it's pretty straightforward (obviously it can be very intricate and complicated too, but a beginner wouldn't chose those kinds of patterns, right?)

To get started, you really only need a few extra tools above and beyond your sewing machine and regular sewing tools and fabrics. And, while there are plenty of quilting toys that are fun or nice to have, these are the ones you really need

#1. A Rotary cutting set: mat, ruler and rotary cutter.

Ok, this may sound like three things and I guess it is, but you can buy them in a set and you definitely save money that way. I'm not sure how anyone had the patience to quilt before rotary cutters were invented. The cutting alone must have taken an absolute eternity. A rotary cutter is essential. Trust me. For my class attendees, I ordered these sets. They've arrived and I've played with them and they're great! A really good deal on Amazon too, this is the best price I've seen for all three things together. 

In case you're unsure what this handy tool set is for, I found this video for you. 

#2. A walking foot. 

This is a special attachment for your machine foot that is necessary for the final steps, the actual quilting part. Since by this point you'll have a few layers pinned together (your quilt top, batting and backing, what we call the "quilt sandwich"), this foot helps keep the top layer moving at the same speed as the bottom layer so you don't have ugly tucks and puckers. 

If you have a really fancy machine, or a Pfaff, you may have a built in walking foot, but for most machines you'll need to purchase it separately. I use basic Brother machines for my sewing students and ordered this walking foot for all four of them. 

It looks like this: 

If you have a Singer machine, try this one. If you have a different brand, just search Amazon for the right walking foot for you, or order through the manufacturer. 

Here's a little video on how to use your new walking foot: 

A walking foot is also very handy for sewing knit (stretchy) fabrics or to get over bulky seams or when you're sewing lots of layers. Just a good thing to have if you'll be sewing a lot. 

#3. Quilting Pins

I almost did a post with only two quilting essentials, but as I thought through the process, I decided quilting pins needed a mention as a number three. These aren't your average straight pins, they're actually safety pins. Remember my mention of the "quilt sandwich?" These pins keep your quilt layers together while you quilt and you remove them as you go. I use the large size like these. Don't be tempted to just buy cheap safety pins from the office store, those aren't nickel-plaited steel like these are and you'll risk them leaving gray marks or rusting onto your quilt, eek!

You'll need more than comes in that package for large quilts, I'd have about 100 on hand to be safe. Using pins like this keeps you from poking yourself while you top stitch your quilt, obviously. I would post a video on how to make the quilt sandwich, but that's one of the last steps and I feel like watching a video on that before ever starting a quilt would make a beginner want to give up the idea totally, hahaha. But don't worry, there is plenty of help on YouTube when you're ready to make your quilt sandwich! 

That's all! My three must-have, don't-attempt-without-them tools for quilting. 

Seasoned quilters, what do you find essential for quilting? 

Cheers and happy sewing! :)

P.S. This post contains affiliate links. This means that while I was not contacted, asked or paid to promote the products linked to here, I do personally use and like them and your clicking through and purchasing them would earn me a small commission to help me keep this side gig of teaching sewing to kiddos going :)

Comment

Fussy Cutting and a Quilted Pillow

I gave a sewing lesson today and used the term "fussy-cut" to describe cutting each piece out according to the cute woodland animals she wanted on each part of the baby shoes she was making. What a funny word, "fussy-cut", ha! I wonder who came up with that. 

Anyway. 

I recently fussy-cut a quilted pillow. I have had a fat quarter of this awesome VW van fabric in my stash for several years now, not knowing how to best use it and show off it's awesomeness and loving it too much to risk cutting it. Finally I decided it was doing me no good sitting in my stash and made a simple quilted pillow out of it for the guest bed in my sewing room, AKA my happy place, where I can see it and admire it often, but also where it won't get wallered to death like it would if it were on the couch. (Wallered is for sure a word, right?? My spell-check doesn't seem to think so!)

Again, anyway ... 

The pillow turned out cute and was super fun and relaxing to make. 

To fussy-cut the VW fabric, I made a cardboard template from a cereal box, 3" square. I pencil drew around it to cut out the scenes and then found the coordinating fabrics in my stash. I framed it in white and quilted it pretty simply. 

I just love every little scene! Makes me smile whenever I see it :) 

Cheers! 

1 Comment