Like me, do you need a place to put all those punch cards, restaurant discount cards, gift cards, etc.? So you can take them out of your wallet, but still have them in your purse when you need them?
Or maybe you’d like to give your next gift card in style!
I’ve got a simple tutorial for sewing up a quick and easy fabric card holder for yourself, or to give as a gift, that takes only minutes. And it’s a great scrap-buster.
To make a this simple holder you’ll need to CUT:
One 4-1/2” x 5-1/2” rectangle of outer fabric
One 4-1/2” square of lining fabric
Two 4-1/2” x 3-3/4” rectangles of pocket fabrics
It’s nice to have contrasting fabrics, especially for the pockets & lining, but you can use all the same fabric if you want. I like using scraps or leftover layer cakes.
Fold pocket fabrics in half so they’re 1-1/2” x 4-1/2”
Place outer fabric right side up on your surface and place the pockets on either 4-1/2” end, lining up the raw edges. Sew each side seam ¼” from the raw edges.
Next place the lining fabric (centered) right side down over the top of the pockets & outer fabric. (Note: you’ll notice that the lining fabric doesn’t reach all the way to the ends of the pockets—so just center it.)
And sew just the top and bottom seams ¼” from the raw edges. Then clip each corner to reduce bulk
First turn just the lining fabric right side out & press.
Then turn each pocket right side out (over the lining) and use a blunt instrument to poke out the corners. Press.
To finish it off, topstitch about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around the parameter.
And you’re done! Just press in half and add your gift card or cards.
Optional: Add an elastic & button closure. Simply sew an elastic hair band between the layers before sewing up the side seams/pockets, and sew a button on the front. Take care to sew the button only on the outer fabric and not through all the layers or the cards won’t fit in the pocket.
Have fun. I’d love to see what you create. Wouldn’t it be fun to send your graduate a gift card in a holder made out of their school or university colors? Or a baby shower gift card in baby fabric? So many ideas!
Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING! …and gift giving!
You’ll see in my recent posts that I’m obsessed with learning how much mileage I can get with my Accuquilt GO!Cutter and the dies I already own.
I love the simplicity of the Sawtooth Star block and so I decided to see if I could design some pieced items with it using the dies I have.
Although I don’t own the 8” Go!Cube, I have almost all the shapes (see those in bold print on the list below). The only one shape I was missing was for the “flying geese” part of the star: the #4 GO! Quarter Square Triangle — so I ordered it. Yay!
To make the SAWTOOTH STAR BLOCK, you need four die shapes: GO! Shapes 1, 2, 4, & 5 (I’ve listed all the shapes that come in the GO! Cube below, and highlighted in bold the four you need),
GO! Quarter Square Triangle-4″ Finished Square (55711) —ORDERED IT
GO! Half Square Triangle-2″ Finished Square (55712) —GOT IT
GO! Square on Point-3 1/4″ (2 3/4″ Finished) (55713)
GO! Parallelogram 45°-2 3/4″ x 3 1/2″ Sides (2 1/16” x 2 13/16″ Finished) (55714)
Next I fired up EQ8 on my laptop and started designing. Here are just a few of the ideas.
I decided start with the table runner using some beautiful spring fabrics I had in my stash by Robin Pickens for Moda. I seem to love every fabric line she designs!
After making two more stars, I changed the original design a bit by surrounding each star with a black inner border and the whole runner with red outer border.
I think it looks good as a wall hanging too.
It was so much fun to make, I couldn’t stop there…so next I tried piecing a simple table topper with only one star surrounded with an inner and outer border for myself.
That’s how easy it is to figure out how to get the most “mileage” out of dies you already own (or like me buy one more die) to create dozens of new blocks. I hope you’ll fire up your EQ8 software or get out your graph paper and give it a try!
If you like the table-runner, it’s now on sale in my Etsy shop. The table topper has a found a new home in my diningroom 😉.
I hope you’ll give the Sawtooth Star a try! Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!
Since I last talked about my new obsession with my AccuquiltGo cutter (see last post) I’ve been busy trying out the dies I already own to make as many different blocks as I can. It’s fun to take apart a block and find the die shapes to make them. While playing, I discovered a new use for my Chisel Die.
Well, I didn’t really discover it—lots of other quilters discovered this… But I discovered their discovery (thank you Pinterest). So of course I couldn’t wait to give it a try!
Did you know you can use the Accuquilt Chisel Die to sew a braided strip? I didn’t.
It’s so easy! And a great “scrapbuster”. Just cut out a bunch of chisels (remember you can cut 6 at a time). It’s a one way (directional) die, so be sure to cut half with you fabric right side up, and half with your fabric right side down. Then place them using the photo above as a guide.
Sew them together, starting at the top, lining up the 90 degree ends. Keep sewing on chisels in that same manner until they’re a little bit longer than what you need and cut straight across the bottom and top with your ruler & rotary cutter to trim off the ends.
Voila! The braided strips are ready to use in your quilt. I made mine into a mug rug (snack mat). But wouldn’t they also make great borders? Or maybe a strip quilt? Or the side of a bag?
I purchased an Accuquilt Go die cutter awhile ago and have made so many great projects with it, including tumbler block baby quilts and Dresden Plate table toppers. But I wanted to use a combination of dies to create some other basic, well-known quilting blocks.
My original purchase of my AccuquiltGo! included a combination die (above). It has on it a 2” finished square, a couple 2” finished half square triangles (HST), and a 4” finished square.
Hey, that’s all I need to make the basic Bear’s Claw block! Perfect.
I haven’t yet purchased any of the the Accuquilt GoCubes. Mostly because I can’t decide which one to get! They have 6”, 8”, 9”, 12”, and have recently added a 4” GoCube. After doing a little research on the Accuquilt website I realized that each of these GoCube Sets cuts the exact same 8 basic shapes. The only difference is their finished size. The shapes are:
GO! Half Square Triangle-large
GO! Quarter Square Triangle
GO! Half Square Triangle-small
GO! Square on Point
GO! Parallelogram 45°
That means if you figure out the shapes you need for a block, the shape numbers are always the same, no matter which CubeGo you have—only the finished size changes.
The light went on in my brain! Ah-hah! I get it. I discovered I already owned shapes 1, 2, & 5. So all I need are a few more (shapes 3, 4, 6, 7, 8) and I’ll have all the dies in the 8” GoCube.
We’ve got mounds of snow outside, temps below zero, and covid all keeping us at home. So when Project Quilting announced it’s challenge theme of Virtual Vacation, I was on board! It was so nice to dream of a vacation while thinking about a quilt to make for the contest.
You’d think I’d be dreaming up a vacation to Florida, sunny Hawaii, or some other place warm. But I happened to see a photo on Pinterest of the Bayfield Wisconsin area in our beautiful northern Wisconsin winter, and it reminded me how much I miss our trips up to Lake Superior, and I wished we were there again. Of course I’d want to be warm and toasty inside a beautiful cozy log cabin with a roaring fire in the fireplace, a hot cup of coffee or cocoa, relaxing and looking at a gorgeous view (like this of Lake Superior) through a picture window (may as well dream big).
So I started digging into my stash to find just the right fabric for the snowy background, water, the islands, and trees…
I started with a rough sketch on paper the size I wanted. Then using my light box, I traced the basic shapes of the lake, hill, trees, and skyline in pencil. I got out my soft pastels and some fabric markers and my fusible web and powder.
I thought I might try my “Bo-Nash Fuse It” powder to help keep the fabrics in place. I sprinkled some powder between the fabrics and pressed to fuse them down. It’s the first time I’ve tried it, and I like it. It gives the fabric a lighter hand than the iron-on double sided fusible web and it keeps everything in place until I can stitch it down.
Does your studio get as messy as mine when you’re “in the zone” creating? I see some cleaning up in my future.
In the photo below, I’m adding the islands to the horizon, the water, and some birch trees. I used double sided fusible web on the trees, fusing it to the back of the tree fabric before cutting.
Now it’s time to use my soft pastels to shade and highlight to add some depth. Shading the trees, and under the trunks.
Oops, that pine tree needs redoing. And I think I’ll use a finer point marker for the additional twigs and branches. It’s a process…trial and error…to get it to where I like it.
Now the branches look better, and I like this pine tree better too. I think highlighting the upper water with a touch of white & pink helped and using a darker turquoise pastel helped to blend the two portions of water together.
I couldn’t resist making a mini art quilt using similar colors and scene. For the mini, I created the background on the batting/backing, and quilt that first.
And then I added the foreground and quilted that. Here I’m choosing different color thread for quilting the lake & snow.
Quilting (free motion & walking foot) is done. Here are a few closeups…
And here’s how the little mini turned out (only 5 x 7 inches)…
And here’s couple more photos (below) of the larger version again…
Since they were both done start to finish within the challenge dates, either one qualifies for the Project Quilting challenge. I think I’ll enter the larger one. Wish me luck!
And they’ll both be listed for sale in my Etsy shop soon.
Normally I bind my quilts (baby quilts, lap quilts, bed quilts) using double folded straight-of-grain binding cut between 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 inches wide, folded in half (wrong sides together) and sewn on the quilt. For more info on that process, go to my blog post: How to Bind a Quilt—The Secret to Perfect Corners. Double fold is great for projects that will take need to stand up to a lot of wear and tear.
But I’ve found that single fold binding is perfect for most of my smaller projects, like wall hangings, table toppers, etc. I think it has a better look…not as thick and bulky, but nice and crisp. Plus you save on fabric. Here’s how to do it.
Whether I’m making double fold or single fold binding, I always cut on the straight of grain (from selvedge to selvedge). The only exception to this rule are projects that have curved edges…something with rounded corners, scallops, or completely round. That’s the only time I bother to cut on the bias. For most of my art quilts, wall hangings, or runners (which all have straight edges) cutting 1-1/2 inch strips on the straight-of-grain is fine.
First, figure out how many strips to cut. Take the measurement of the parameter of your project by adding up the length of the sides, top, and bottom and cut the number of 1-1/2 inch wide strips you need to equal that number plus a few extra inches. It never hurts to have too much.
Sew the strips ends right sides together at a 90 degree angle and sew from one corner (where they meet) to the other corner (I’m pointing to it with my tweezers).
Trim the seams to about 1/4 inch and press each open.
Starting in the center of one side of the project and leaving a long tail (about 6 inches or more) start sewing one side of the binding to the right side of the project. When you’re 1/4 inch from the corner, stop with the needle down, pivot, and sew off the corner edge at a 45 degree angle.
Take it out from under the presser foot and turn to the next unsewn edge. Flip the binding up so it’s parallel to this next edge.
When I get junk mail, I save those laminated cards they often send. They’re perfect for this technique. Any thin plastic card or index card will work. This technique will help you get the feel for how to get perfect mitered corners on your binding. Just place the card across top raw edge of the quilt/binding (top) and bring the binding down across the top of the card and flush with the raw edge of the next edge to sew.
I put a pin just below the card to keep it in place and then slip the card out.
Then continue sewing from the edge to the next corner and repeat the process until you come to where you started. Stop sewing several inches from the beginning and take it to your cutting table.
You’ll have a “tail” on each end and several inches (about 8-10”) between where you started & stopped sewing in the middle of one side.
To join these two tail ends, trim the right side tail of your binding so it ends half way between the beginning & the end of your sewing.
Lay that trimmed binding piece over the end you just trimmed.
Place your left tail over the right & fold it back until it’s in line with the right edge of that extra piece of binding and cut it at that fold. Perfect! (The ends of the binding tails will overlap by the width of that extra binding, which in this case is 1-1/2 inches, but this trick works with any size binding and NO MATH or special tools needed! So I always do it. Yay.
To make it really nice, use your ruler & a fabric marker to draw a 45 degree line as a guide to sew on.
Then overlap the binding ends as shown above & sew right sides together on that drawn line.
Double-check to be sure it’s sewn the right way (ask me how I know), and then trim the seam to 1/4 inch and press open. Line up the raw edges and finish sewing the binding to the quilt.
Tada! All sewn. All that’s left it to fold it to the back & hand sew.
First iron the binding out from the right side, all the way around.
Turn the quilt over and from the back turn the raw edge of the binding in half so it meets the raw edge of the quilt (at the corners too)…
Then fold in again, bringing the folded edge over so it covers the stitching and pin. Stop at the corner, pinning as close as you can to a 1/4” from the edge.
To make a crisp mitered corner lay a pin or stiletto across the corner edge of the binding just to hold it in place (see photo) …
…while folding the next edge & pin. See how nicely the corner miters? Continue folding/pinning around the quilt.
Then sew the folded/pinned edge to the back by hand.
Don’t the corners look great? …From the back…
…as well as the front!
All Done! I’m in the process of creating a pdf pattern for my newest quilted wall hanging/table topper called “Double Star Barn”. I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you in my Etsy Shop and it should be available in just a day or two, so be sure to check Mulberry Patch Quilts if you’re interested.
It’s easy to make a triangle on the corner of a block, no math involved. I first heard of this technique from an amazing quilt teacher, Mary Ellen Hopkins, who wrote groundbreaking quilting books like “It’s OK if You Sit on My Quilt”, and “Connecting Triangles” among others. Mary Ellen was probably best known for creating the connector and perfect piecing triangles concepts. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to see her at her lecture in Milwaukee just a few years before she passed away (in 2013). Not only did she make quilting fun, her sense of humor and showmanship shined during what I would call her “performance” instead of her lecture.
Here’s how to do this technique. In this example, I’ll add a triangle to the top of a rectangle. I cut a square the same width as the rectangle. On the wrong side of the square, I drew a line from one corner to the opposite corner. Since I’ll be sewing on this line, I like to use a very fine point sharpie or a mechanical pencil with a light hand—just dark enough to see.
Place the rectangle right side up and the marked square right side down on top of it (right sides together) paying attention to the orientation of the angle.
Then sew on the drawn line.
If I’m making more than one I like to sew one after the other (chain piecing) without having to cut the threads in-between until I’m finished.
Then I take it to the ironing board (love my wool pressing surface by the way) and I give it a good press as is to set the seam.
Then I gently open the seam by folding the edge of the square to meet the opposite corner.
This video might make it easier to understand…just hit the play button below.
These corner triangles (made with marked squares) are sometimes referred to as “snowball” corners, or “snowballed”. You can use them to make all sorts of blocks: snowball, flying geese, or star points. Let me show you a few examples.
By adding a second triangle (same angle orientation) to the bottom, I’ve made a simple parallelogram.
Or by adding them to four corners of a square, I can make a snowball block. Here’s one of my baby quilts featuring the snowball. I’ve added color triangles to the white squares & white triangles to the color blocks.
But look what happens when
So give this technique a try. And play with different sizes and shapes. The sky’s the limit! Have fun.
I have found an easy way to hang smaller quilted wall hangings or art quilts on your wall…hanging corner triangles. They’re so easy to incorporate into your binding. Here’s how.
After you’ve finished quilting your wall hanging and have trimmed the edges to prepare it for binding, you can add these corner hanging triangles to the back.
Cut two 5” squares. I like to use the same fabric as the backing, but if you don’t have enough, any fabric scraps will work. I like to try to match the background so they will blend in and you don’t notice them when you look at the back. This is especially nice if you’ve made a wall hanging that you might want to use as a table topper too. It looks nice and won’t interfere. But if your item will only be hung on a wall, matching the fabric really doesn’t matter. You can even use leftover charm squares, or muslin.
Fold each of the squares wrong sides together corner to corner and give them a good press with a hot iron.
Pin each triangle to the top corners of the back of your wall hanging, with the raw edges of the triangle matching the raw edges of your quilt.
With your sewing machine baste the triangle edges to the quilt using a walking foot and a scant quarter inch seam.
Bind your wall hanging in the usual manner, incorporating the basted triangle edges with the edges of the quilt. Once bound, all you need is a thin wooden dowel cut slightly shorter than the quilt. The thickness depends on how heavy the wall hanging is. This particular wall hanging is 20 x 20 inches square. I used a quarter-inch dowel, but even a thinner one would have been substantial enough to carry the weight.
Just slip both ends of the wooden dowel inside both triangle corners and you’re ready to hang it on your wall with a nail, or hook.
For smaller art quilts or wall hangings I start with smaller squares (4”) and use thinner wooden dowels. I’ve even found wooden skewers to be long and thick enough for small projects. Experiment to see what size works best for your quilt.
Keep in mind, this technique won’t work for large or heavy quilts/wall hangings. They might need more support in the center. It will all depend on the width and weight of the wall hanging.
For larger items, I use sew in a “hanging sleeve” that goes all the way across the top of the quilt back, so the quilt’s weight is more evenly distributed.
So after making so many, many face masks to donate to clinics, friends, and family, you quickly realize that one size does NOT fit all. Not only are there different size heads, but even the distance from the mask to the ears is different from one person to another.
After doing some experimenting, I’ve come up with a way to make a face mask adjustable by adding 3 easy steps.
START WITH MY INSTRUCTIONS for making a rectangular, pleated style mask HERE, from my previous blog post.
To make this pattern adjustable, you’ll need two lengths of 1/4 inch elastic cut 12 inches long each, and two 6x9mm pony beads.
Step 1: Using the instructions at the above link, use the two 12 inch elastic ear loops and finish the mask the same way.
Step 2: After the mask is finished, fold the end of each elastic ear loop and thread each of them through a pony bead*.
Step 3: Tie a slip knot at the very end of the elastic loop.
DONE. To adjust the mask, simply pull the bead closer to the mask, or further away from the mask, toward the slip knot. Ta-da!
*HINT: if you have trouble inserting the folded 1/4 inch elastic through your bead, cut a length of thin wire or strong thread and thread one end through the bead, then through the elastic loop, and back through the bead and (grasping both ends of the wire/thread) pull the elastic through the bead. Easy-peasy!
Hope this is helpful. It’s great to be able to adjust the mask, and this makes the mask so much more comfortable.
Now that masks are readily available for everyone, I’ve cut back on making them. But I will sew just a few more for my family. Since it’s nice to keep a few extras in the car, or by our back door. And wouldn’t you love to have a few that actually coordinate with outfits as we venture out more and more, and actually begin to wear “real” clothes again.
Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING (and mask making),
Wow! 2020. This has been one crazy year so far, hasn’t it? And I just realized I haven’t posted a thing since it all started.
One reason I haven’t posted is that I‘ve been busy making face masks. I started making them back in March when there was a shortage masks. I got a few requests from family…and then the requests rolled in from all over—our local EMTs, my family doctor’s clinic, friends who are medical techs, nurses, and of course family and friends. It was my pleasure and a labor of love…a way (however small) of helping.
After fulfilling requests for 250 plus masks, I finally think I’ve perfected a pattern that I really like. It’s an accordion pleat style mask that includes a pocket in the lining (for those who want to add an additional filter), a nose wire (to help conform it to the bridge of your nose), different fabric on the front & back (so you can remember at a glance which side goes towards your face) and ear loops.
Now that face masks are more plentiful and easy to find and buy everywhere, I’m not making many masks anymore. But because many cities, counties, and even states in the US are requiring people wear masks inside public buildings—and with this pandemic staying around much longer than we had hoped—I thought I’d share my pattern step-by-step with you in case you’d like to try making some for your family.
There are a lot of face mask patterns & how-to’s out there to choose from. What I like about this pattern is that it includes all the features I want and it’s comfortable to wear. I can use scrap cotton fabrics I have on hand from my quilting stash, and it only takes about 15 minutes to make. Here’s how…
Materials: You’ll need a rectangle of cotton lining fabric cut 9×6”, and some pretty cotton fabric for the front cut 9×7-1/4”. You’ll also need either 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch elastic (white or black), each cut approximately 7”, and a 4-5” length of nose wire.*
Place the lining & front fabrics right sides together & make a mark 1/2” down & 2” from each edge the top (see photo below).
This is the only time you’ll use a 1/2” seam, …sew from one edge to the 2 inch mark & stop/backstitch. sew the other edge to the 2 inch mark & stop/backstitch. (This will leave a 5 inch opening in the middle. Take it to your ironing board & press the seam open.
Open it up & topstitch across the lining seam allowance only, about 1/4” from the seam/hole, which will finish that seam allowance. (Do NOT topstitch the fashion fabric front seam allowance.)
Next place the opposite ends right sides together & sew 1/4 inch seam across the bottom. Then press from that stitched edge (bottom) to the top. As you do this, you’ll notice the seam you just topstitched will automatically “roll” to the back/lining.— see photo below.
Elastic Ear Loops. Take the one of the pieces elastic and place one end inside the top edge of the side seam and begin sewing 1/4” seam, backstitching over the elastic, and continue sewing about half way down the side…
Then reach inside and (being sure the elastic doesn’t twist & that it lays flat) grab the other end of the elastic and place it in the bottom of the seam. And finish sewing the edge backstitching over the elastic. It’s ok to let a bit of end of the elastic hang out.)
This diagram (below) might make that step clearer…note the elastic is inside (between) the two fabrics.
Do the same with the second piece of elastic on the opposite side.
Turn the mask right side out through the hole (pocket) at the top and use your favorite tool to “poke” the edges out and give it a nice press with your iron.
*The nose wire. I’m using coated speaker wire a friend gave me. It keeps it’s shape and the plastic coating keeps it from rusting in the wash. But you can use floral wire, twisty ties, or pipecleaners.
I like to create the casement for the wire first, leave one end open to insert the wire & then sew it shut. Start sewing from the top edge about 2” in from one side, going down about 1/2”, pivot & continue topstitching parallel to the top edge. This will create a casing. Stop & backstitch when you’re a few threads from the end of the pocket so you have enough room to insert the wire.
Insert the wire into the casing and finish by topstitching starting at the top edge, pivot and topstitch until you’ve closed the opening of the casing.
Pleating. Now it’s time to make the pleats. I like to put three pleats on each side of the mask. Be sure your pleats face down when folded. If you’re making just a few masks it’s easy to make equal folds (pinches about 1/4” each) and either pin or clamp them downward and topstitch about a quarter inch from each side.
However, if you’re making a bunch of masks, I have a much better way of making consistent pleats that I learned from a YouTube video, and no pinning required! You can create a pleater to do the hard work for you. Here’s the link on YouTube created by Hilary Mark Nelson…genius! https://youtu.be/iUgZWfko_d8https://youtu.be/iUgZWfko_d8
His gadget is made from lightweight cardboard (like cereal boxes) and then is taped together with packaging tape. I was lucky enough to have a friend‘s husband make one for me…thanks Rodger!
Topstitch about 1/4” from each edge.
At this point I also topstitch across the bottom of the mask. It’s not necessary but I think it helps the mask keep it’s shape after washing.
A little press with a hot iron and you’re done!
I hope this tutorial encourages you to try making a mask or two for your family and friends.
Until next time,
PS: Please note that these are not medical grade masks.