I made some leather pouches for the kids and shared how easy they are to customize on A Beautiful Mess. Head over for the details!
I made some leather pouches for the kids and shared how easy they are to customize on A Beautiful Mess. Head over for the details!
I'm sharing an easy DIY on A Beautiful Mess this week. Head over to get the details on how to make your own color blocked mood board. Can we say renter friendly?
It's already helping me forget that my studio space is now in the basement!
I shared how to make your own sandwich binding in this tutorial and here's how I attach it. This is my favorite method for binding only because it's the quickest. It doesn't matter how patient I am stitching my blocks together and then quilting it all, once I get to the binding I want to be done so I can throw it in the washing maching to get that broken in look.
1. Fold open your binding and place the wider side under your quilt edge anywhere except near a corner. 2. Fold the narrower top half on top and pin through the bottom half, making sure the edges are aligned by feeling with your fingers. 3. Stitch all the way to the corner and backstitch making sure you go slowly and check that you're still stitching through both the top and bottom. Trim threads and take quilt out from under your needle. 4. Fold open your binding and turn it so that the back corner is tucked in the wider back side.
5. This is how your back corner should look. Fold the front over like a sandwich and pin things in place. Start stitching in that corner and make your way down to the next one, checking regularly to see that you're stitching through the back side. Stitch until you get about 5" from where you started. 6. Once you get to where you started, trim your binding so that it overlaps about 3" in a V-shape pointing down. Then trim off the inside flaps about 1/4" from the end of the V-shape. Fold the back side of the V-shape in about 1/4" and then the front side in about 1/4" as shown. Iron to make it easier. Carefully fold it over the beginning of your binding and pin. Place it back under your needle and resume stitching. Backstitch where the two ends meet. 7. Use a needle and thread and do an invisible stitch to secure the V-shape. You're done!
I'm pretty sure this won't be the last quilt I make before this baby gets here. I need to take advantage of this nesting instinct! Full log cabin quilt tutorial details coming soon.
When you're designing a quilt for yourself or a loved one you want each element to be thoughtfully added to the design to make it the most special it can be. You can always use premade binding from any craft store but it's much more exciting to be able to add the perfect pattern and color mix to your other fabric choices. There are specific tools designed to make this job even easier but if you don't have those tools on hand, you can follow these directions.
Let me also mention that this type of binding is not the traditional, time-consuming but also quite lovely, method of stitching the edges down on one side of the quilt, folding back on itself and over to the other side, pinning, and hand-stitching. I've done that method on only one of the many quilts I've sewn in the last eight years because I wanted to try it. I love the look of it but I don't have the patience for using that method each time. This is my go-to binding method. Sandwich binding? I think that's a good term for it.
To determine how much you'll need for a specific quilt, measure the perimeter and then add about six inches to be safe. You don't need ten yards of fabric, just between 3/4 and 2 yards of fabric depending on your quilt size. My most recent crib-sized quilt only needed about 3/4 yard but a king might need about 2 yards. You'll be sewing strips together end to end to create one continuous strip. I always like to prepare my yardage by ironing it on a steam setting and then cutting off any selvage edge to create a clean line.
1. After you've cut 3" strips of fabric as long as your yardage, place two ends in a right angle with the top strip facing down and the bottom strip facing up. Pin. 2. Stitch from the top corner where the two strips meet to the bottom corner as shown. Trim excess leaving about 1/4" seam allowance. 3. Unfold to create a uniform strip and press your seams either to the same or opposite sides. 4. Fold each side in about 1/3" and iron flat. I usually fold over and iron as I go all the way down one side before doing the other side.
5. Then fold almost in half and iron flat all the way down. The top half should be a smidge narrower than the bottom half. 6. You can see the bottom half peeking out a bit. Once you start you'll put the bottom half under your quilt and stitch through from the top. If it is a little bit wider than the top, you'll be sure not to miss it as you stitch it on. 7. I made much more binding than I needed for this quilt because I know I'll use this print again in the future. To keep things organized I cut some chipboard, folded it in half, and taped one end of my binding to it. 8. I wrapped and wrapped until the end and tucked it in. I later secured it with a straight pin to keep it in place until I was ready to use it.
It may not be realistic to have rolls of binding stacked in your sewing area but if you know you're going to use a specific fabric as the binding on your next project and maybe only have 30 minutes to work on something this is a great way to work ahead so that when you're ready to bind, you can get right to it.
Ruby's been the kid that colored on walls since she could first hold a crayon. I'm not sure why it took me this long to get her an easel but she wasted no time breaking it in. I made it out of scrap wood and a vintage chalkboard that happened to be the same length as my scrap wood. I wanted two sides so that she could share with Sebastian or a friend and use chalk on one and paint and color on the other. She loves it and I love that she has another opportunity to express her creativity without involving our walls.
1.Supplies: 2 cuts of wood measuring 1" x 18" x 24" ( I used one cut of wood and one vintage chalkboard but you could easily just paint the second cut of wood with chalkboard paint), 2 lengths of 1" x 3" x 8', 1 cut of scrap wood measuring 1" x 3" x 16" for the paint side to hold your cup, 2 hinges measuring 3.5" wide (mine came packaged with the appropriate short screws), 48 or so finish nails, 2 L-shaped metal corner brackets similar to this one measuring about 3", 10-3/4" wood screws, 2-3/4" flat washers, 2 large clips (found mine at Wal-Mart), 2 eye hooks, rope or chain to keep the easel from falling flat, hand saw, drill and drill bit, hammer, yardstick, pen, sand block and chalkboard paint (optional).
2. Have your larger wood pieces cut down to size at a major hardware store. Also have your 1" x 3" x 8' pieces cut into two 3' pieces and keep the extra 2' pieces. Place two 2' cuts parallel to each other about 18 apart. Then place two cuts of 3' wood on top of them as shown making sure the corners are flush. Nail together with three or four finish nails in each corner checking for right angles as you go. 3. Sand and paint your chalkboard side and nail it to your frame. Build your frame for the other side but leave off the bottom 2' plank. Sand your second cut of 1" x 18" x 24" and nail it to your frame. 4. Turn your frames over and align them. Measure in about 4" from each edge and place your hinges so that they are open like a book. Don't place them on upside down or it won't close properly. Trace the screw holes and set aside.
5. Screw pilot holes and attach your hinges making sure things are even and aligned. 6. Measure in about 6" from each side of the back of your non-chalkboard side and place your L-shaped metal corner brackets so that they're slightly lower than the bottom of that side. Trace your screw holes, drill pilot holes, flip them so that they're facing out, and screw in place. 7. Fold your easel in half so that the L-shaped bracket side is facing up. Center your piece of scrap wood over those L-shaped brackets and trace any screw holes that will fit. There may only be one. Drill pilot holes and add screws. 8. Add your eye hooks to right or left sides of your easel and attach a braided strand of rope or twine or chain. 9. Measure in about 6" from each side of the top of your painting side and drill a hole about 1" down. Place your clip over the hole, place your washer down, and then place your screw in. This will keep it from sliding off. Repeat for the other side. Tada!
There are obviously affordable easles out there but I know this one will be well-loved and hold up through the next few moves. As long as you have even cuts of wood this will be a pretty easy project - I finished mine in an hour.
I guess it's time to make some space for a gallery wall to showcase all of her masterpieces next!
I made this hexagon crib quilt for a sweet friend's baby girl earlier this year. It was one of those projects that got started and then put aside and then finished and then put aside before making it's way to this space. It's similar to the one I made Elsie and Jeremy for their wedding but on a smaller scale and made from vintage sheets I had in my stash. I think it's also one of my favorites!
I knew the basic colors she was looking for and mixed in stripes to help balance out all the florals. I stayed within the pink, peach, yellow colorway and used an organic cotton batting and another vintage sheet for the back. Since machine-quilting a hexagon design would be really tricky to manage on my machine I just hand-tied it together in the center of each flower with embroidery thread. I don't remember the specific measurements but I was going for crib-sized which is about 45" x 60".
I'd suggest this project to anyone who feels mildly comfortable with sewing but it may be a bit much for a beginner. The key to any sewing project with lots of pieces you need to align is to stay consistent in everything - your measuring, your cutting, and your seam allowance. The more consistent everything is, the better it's going to look. However, I'm of the opinion that imperfections in quilts only add to their charm!
1. Supplies: Gather cotton fabrics in 5-8 coordinating prints or colors. Vintage sheets are great because they usually don't cost much but you can always use solids or prints from your local fabric store. The amount of fabric you'll need depends on the size of your quilt. I used about 1/2 yard of seven different fabrics plus half a full-sized sheet for my backing. This turned out to make a 45" x 60" crib quilt. You'll also need low loft batting, straight pins, painter's tape, rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, cutting mat, iron, ironing board, sheers, three skeins of embroidery thread (or more), cereal box. 2. Print out the hexagon shape or source your own. You can enlarge or shrink it according to your taste. I traced mine onto chipboard (cereal box) to use as a template. Then I placed that template directly onto fabric I'd folded four times, and using my acrylic ruler to mimic the edges, cut around it with my rotary knife. 3. Each flower will have six of the same fabric for the petals and a different fabric for the center. 4. Place one of the petals face down on top of the center petal and align the edges you're going to stitch together on the left side. Pin in place.
5. Place those two hexagons under your machine and stitch from about 1/4" in from the edge starting about 1/4 from the top of the left side all the way to about 1/4" from the bottom of the left side. I started and ended my stitching with just enough room to bend my hexagons to stitch the next petal to the center. Fold it back and iron flat. 6. Instead of placing the next petal below it on the center petal, I'm placing it face down on the petal I just stitched. Stitch those two together at the edge where they'll meet being sure to mimic the 1/4" starting and stopping points and stitching 1/4 from the edge (seam allowance). 7. Then fold that same petal so that it's facing down on top of the center petal and align the edges where they meet. Pin. 8. This is a close up to see how to make sure your corners are meeting up as best they can. This will give you the crispest folds when you iron it flat.
9. Go ahead and stitch that edge. You can see I'm leaving a tiny bit of space between the stitching from the last hexagon and the stitching on this one. This helps the fabric have some folding room. 10. Lay those three pieces flat and iron your seams. I tend to iron all of the connecting petal edges in the same direction but then iron the center petal seams flat. 11. Repeat with the next petal by folding it on top of the last petal you just added. 12. Repeat until you have added all of the petals to form a complete flower. 13. Iron the front and back flat. 14. This is a close up of my corners. Some are great and some are a bit wrinkled but don't fret. 15. This is how the back seams should look. 16. Continue making flowers until you're happy with your amount.
17. Once you've laid out all of your flowers, pin two together by folding one flower carefully over where you want your petals to meet. Starting on that petal, stitch your edges together where they should meet. You'll have to do some flower wrestling as you go to keep lining the right edges up. Unfold after a few petals to see where you're going and to make sure you're not sewing the wrong edges together. After you do it once you'll figure it out. 18. Iron everything flat. You'll have some blank spots along your edges that you'll need to add filler hexagons to. Continue with your color pattern to give it a seamless look. This part might feel tedious but it's necessary. Once you're done, trim your edges so they're straight.
19. Next is the quilting. I stitched mine together and folded it right side out and stitched up the hole by hand so I layered my batting and then my sheet backing face up before placing my quilt top face down. If you're going to be doing a sandwich quilt and adding binding you'll want to put the backing down face down and then the batting and the quilt top face up. For a smooth fit I taped my cotton batting to the floor so that it was stretched flat but not taut. It'll shrink in the wash anyway. Then I put my large vintage sheet over it face up and then finally put my quilt top face down. I aligned my edges with about 2"-3" of extra backing fabric and batting around the perimeter of the quilt top. 20. Next I pinned my three pieces together with straight pins. I added them in all of the full corners, in the center of each flower, along the edges, etc. I over did it because I didn't want any bunching. I suggest starting from the center and smoothing your way out to opposing sides.
21. Then I stitched all around the perimeter of the quilt top edge with about 1/2" seam allowance starting from almost the center of one side. I stopped stitching when I got to about 8" from where I started. This is necessary for turning the whole thing right side out. 22. I trimmed the excess from my edges and turned it right side out and then ironed the edges flat all the way around. 23. I got busy hand-tying next making sure to stitch through from the top twice before double-knotting my embroidery thread and trimming to about 1" of thread. 24. Lastly I hand-stitched my opening shut with an invisible stitch and trimmed all the excess loose threads. Your final step would be to wash and hang dry for a cozy look. I recommend washing in cold water and hanging to dry to keep your quilt in good shape much longer.
I was thrilled with how it turned out! Finishing a quilt always feels like such an accomplishment because there is a lot of work that goes into each one but it's such a therapeutic experience for me, too. It usually means a few movies on Netflix, enjoying Ruby working along side me with her own project, and chats with Sebastian about whether lightning can strike you while you're taking a bath, etc. Those peripheral experiences while making a quilt always stay with me longer because I'm so focused while I'm sewing. They seem to embed themselves in a shared memory.
I know this quilt is being appreciated by it's family and I'm happy to share my process with machine sewing hexagons. I tried the traditional paper piecing long ago and realized I just didn't have the patience for it yet and knew it could surely be done with the right amount of give and take on a machine.
There are so many ways color patterns could be manipulated using hexagons to make something completely different. This turned out to look more traditionally like a Grandma's Garden pattern but using a random mix of solids or stripes could look much more modern and geometric.
As with any quilting project my best advice is to just get started. You may not finish it in a weekend but each time you try you learn something new and gain confidence in your sewing skills.
If you're not feeling up to hexagons I have a much more simple quilt tutorial for beginners using large squares. You can pair it down to a smaller size and it can easily be finished in one sitting.
Feel free to link up to this tutorial if you make your own and be sure to send photos!
Ever since seeing the woven stools at Target earlier this year I've wanted to try my hand at making something with the pretty rope selection from Lowe's. A few months ago I came across this wooden stool with a cracked and brittle seat and knew it was the perfect base for my project. I've turned this into a stool for my new studio space in the basement and have promised it to Sebastian whenever he gets his own room.
One thing I've learned when replacing something on a piece is to study things in their original form before taking them apart. This woven seat had a particular weave on top and I decided to go ahead and mimic it after trying a few other patterns. It's woven on the top side as wel as the bottom to create quite a sturdy seat.
1. Supplies: A sturdy wooden stool or chair with a woven seat that needs replacing. One bundle of para cord (found at Lowe's), scissors, hammer, nail. I preferred the natural wood finish but it would also look nice spray painted in a coordinating color. 3. Tuck the end of the rope under so that it's on the inside of the stool sticking up but not sticking high enough to poke through the seat. Nail two small nails in about half way and then bend them over to opposite sides to secure the rope to the stool. 4. Wrap your rope over an even number of times to fill in the stool space.
5. When you get to the corner at the top, wrap it under and to the right so that it wraps up onto the empty dowel of your seat or stool. 6. Weave over two and under two until you get to the other side and then repeat weaving over two and under two on the bottom side. 7. When you get to the next row, go under the first rope and then start your pattern again going over two and under two. With the third row go under two and then over two until you finish the top and bottom. With the fourth row go over the first cord and under two and continue as shown. Your fifth row you'll go over the first two cords and then under two, etc. Start over again. This will give you a nice pattern in the end. 8. When you get to the end, cut your rope so that it's about 1 inch from the end and burn it so it doesn't fray. Then weave it so that it's inside the seat where it can't be seen.
I've got about half a bundle of this rope left over so there are surely more rope projects on the horizon! Have you ever recovered a seat? What material did you use?
You can find a few of my other weaving projects below. If you're feeling really brave you can even make your own rug!
I have been missing having a designated studio pretty bad since we've been in our current house. I've been housing my fabric stash and sewing machine in the laundry room add-on at the back of the house and keeping random craft supplies on the dark, scary side of the basement but I'm always pulling things to the dining room table to work-so much so that we've been eating dinner in the living room around the coffee table!
I've had this vintage kitchenette since our last house but originally took the legs off to make our dining room table. Then last summer I stopped in at a garage sale while my family was in town and happened to find a desk with hair pin legs for $3. They were moving and I was thrilled! Anyway, I put the new legs on it, added my rug, and brought my wall map back in to create my very own studio space. Well, it's at least a new surface for all the piles.
I love wire baskets and was thinking about doing a pendant light but the opening wasn't going to work with my plug size so I got the idea to wrap twinkle lights around it and just hang it from the wall. I made a similar one in our old house but it was too big for the space. This vintage egg basket was just right but the color wasn't so I spray painted it yellow, then white, and then cut up a bunch of white floral wire and wrapped the twinkle lights around the basket making sure to end them near the back so they could stay flush with the wall on the way down to the outlet.
I need to trade out my bottom row of twinkle lights with a regular white extension cord and just tuck it under the rug but I love having some extra light in this space when I work after everyone is tucked in.
Also, I love when solutions present themselves so easily! Don't you?
Necessity is the mother of invention, right? I had originally thrifted a few lamp shades in similar shapes trying to get the right proportion but ended up deciding to ditch the lamp base altogether. I purchased a cord kit from ikea and used some white floral ties to connect the shades and then added a hook to the ceiling and I had myself a new light fixture.
I love the extra layer it adds to this side of the room and how it works with the lamp on the other side of the piano. If I was going for more pattern and color I think this kind of tiered lamp shade would look fun in three coordinating patterns (gold stripes in different widths) or some sort of ombre.
Tip: If you're on the hunt for shades at a store and aren't getting them from the same place just note the shape and sizes to make sure they're going to look good together.