If you’ve been following along, you might know me as a hardcore quilter, and that’s not wrong, but over the past few months I’ve decided to dive in *head first* into the wonderful world of crochet! I started off a few months ago with dishcloths & scarves and have now officially completed my first SWEATER!
For a complete Beginner at crochet, you’ll want to check out this post: How to Learn the BASICS of Crochet. It explains tons about yarn, hooks, sizes, and lots of other commonly confusing things.
Are you a quilter looking for a good organization to help you put your quilts into the hands of people who will love and appreciate them? Or maybe you have a lot of fabric you need to get rid of since you have way too much? I am here to help point you in the direction of a few really wonderful non-profit organizations who devote time, energy, and resources to helping get beautiful homemade quilts into the hands of people who need the extra warmth and love!
I hope this post will inspire you towards using your special talents to help spread the warmth and love a quilt can bring to someone else. Please also comment on this post any other wonderful charitable organizations you are a part of as well that could use the help of the quilting community!
Who loves a great free quilt pattern? I know I sure do! Right now I am going to deliver to you all a FREE beginner-friendly, accuquilt-friendly, throw size quilt pattern!
This FREE quilt pattern uses 12 traditional Churn Dash blocks and adds a border around all the sides, and the large scale of the blocks makes it great for any large-scale prints you want to show off!
This pattern was designed specifically to showcase the Vintage Camping fabric collection by Crissy Rodda! I fell in love with the whimsical mountains, bears, campers, and deer in the prints, and truly wanted to feature them in a classic, traditional quilt design to match the vintage feel.
If you have made a simple garment or two and want to tackle some bigger challenges, then this post is for you! This post is also for you if you’ve been sewing other things (like quilts!) for a little while and want to put those sewing skills to the test! I’m going to walk you through some new skills to learn how to sew your own clothes!
I started getting a lot more into sewing garments earlier this year after being super inspired by #MeMadeMay. If you aren’t familiar with #MeMadeMay, it’s when people deliberately wear homemade clothing as much as possible during the month of May and get to share their creations with the world! I was very inspired by all the beautiful garments I saw and just HAD to get started!
The first garment I sewed for Me Made May was my Peplum Top which you can read about here, and then I kept the garment sewing going by making myself a Molly Dress, re-vamping my wardrobe by altering some of my own clothes, and then even made a little girl dress too! Eventually I decided that I really should compile some of my garment tips and tricks into one place for you so I posted Tips for Beginning Garment Sewing. This post is a follow-up to that one, so go ahead and read my initial tips to learn how to sew with Rayon and some of the tools I love to use.
The fabric I used for this top is called Flower Toss in pink. It is part of the Rollakan collection by Cathy Nordstrom for FIGO Fabrics.
Today I want to share with you about the process of making my pink Gelato Blouse. This super comfortable, transitional summer-to-fall blouse fits perfectly into my current wardrobe and is already one of my absolute favorites for wearing to work! The Gelato Blouse Pattern features a couple slightly trickier techniques that make it perfect for an intermediate project. You’ll see this top has lots of ruffles, lots of buttons, and has sleeves, which I was actually scared of until I made this top!
Before I dive into my tips to master these skills, be sure to read about my Tips for Sewing with Rayon if you are using rayon for your project!
Tips for Sewing Ruffles
Ruffles are actually pretty easy and I probably could have shared these tips earlier in my beginner blog post, but the top I made to show off on that one did not have any ruffles so I left it out. The key in sewing gathers is to sew slow and accurate!
Using a contrasting thread color, sew a large basting stitch (I use the largest stitch size my machine has) 3/8″ away from the edge of the fabric, then go back again and sew another line at the 5/8″ mark. Be sure to leave long tails of thread on both sides of the stitches so you can gather
Grab both TOP threads and start to pull gently, careful not to break the thread but firm enough to make the fabric gather together.
Play around with your gather placement for a little while. You’ll want to make it as even as possible, which is harder than it looks!
Before sewing your gathered piece to the garment itself, I like to stitch another line using normal stitch length at the 3/8″ mark (over the first line you stitched). I find doing this extra step helps the gathering stay where you want it)
Tips for Sewing Buttons
I never would have tackled buttons if it weren’t for my amazing sewing machine. My HUSQVARNA VIKING machine actually has an automatic buttonhole foot that makes it a total breeze! I’m here to say though that you do not need a super fancy machine in order to succeed at making a button hole or sewing on the buttons!
Regardless of what your machine is, be sure to look through the owner’s manual to find out what features your machine includes when it comes to button sewing.
Next, go to the good ole’ google machine and search for some videos of people using making buttonholes on your specific make or model of sewing machine.
Practice a few time on scraps of your fabric that you’re using on your garment. If the place on your garment where you’ll be putting the buttonhole is 2 layers of fabric and one layer of interfacing, then create a practice piece with the same layers to give you the most “real” practice experience.
Lastly, you’ve got this! I believe in you! You’ll be a button pro in no time!
When sewing on sleeves, you will want to go slow and be very careful not to gather too much or too little. Your pattern will likely allow for a tiny but of gathering, and will show you how to match them up to the bodice, so each sleeve is even.
When getting ready to sew on your sleeves, I recommend pinning very carefully, and then sewing it on with a large basting stitch just as if you were doing the real thing. Basting stitches are much easier to take out just in case you don’t love how it looks the first go around. Once your sleeves are basted on, try the shirt on and see how it looks. Are the sleeve ladies even? Are there any accidental holes or puckers? Once everything looks satisfactory, go ahead and sew right on top of your basting stitch with a smaller stitch length. Ta-da, your sleeves are now done!
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The day is finally here and I get to officially release my first quilt pattern to you all!
I designed this quilt to be easy enough for anyone at any level, so if you’ve never made a quilt before, this is a great place to start! If you’ve been quilting for years, I am sure you’ll have fun making the Explore Quilt too! You can choose from 3 sizes: Pillow, Baby, and Throw! I’m toying around with the idea of scaling down even further to make a mug-rug size. Would you be into an extension pattern for some tiny piecing?
Oh and by the way, this is also the launch of my very first newsletter! Yay! Sign up today so you can be in on the very beginning! When I start sending them out, please do share feedback with me about what you like/don’t like/want to see more of!
Have you heard that I will be hosting a QUILT-A-LONG for the new Explore quilt pattern? (I’ve been talking all about it on my Instagram!)
I have planned for the Explore Quilt-A-Long to be super laid back in terms of time commitment, so anyone can do it. I want to let you know we are going to make this thing in its entirety from START to FINISH during this QAL! I am not about unfinished projects! But do not worry, the Quilt-a-Long will be spread out through 7 weeks to make sure we all have plenty of time to finish!
What you need to know about this QAL timeline:
Like I said, we are taking things SLOW. I have things set out in a neat weekly timeline, but some things may actually take more or less time for you. For instance, if you plan on doing tons of intricate hand quilting, you might want to get started on the hand quilting a little early. I am 100% all for working at your own pace, but if you want to be entered to win prizes, you’ve just gotta be careful to post your photos during the correct week!
Oh that’s right, there will be PRIZES!
Each week we will have a prize or two, courtesy of some amazing sponsors! To be entered to win the prize, simply post the corresponding picture for that week’s prompt on Instagram using #ExploreQAL and make sure you register for the QAL at this link here. I will draw each winner at the end of each week, the morning that the next prompt begins. All the prize info will be sent out in the weekly Quilt-A-Long emails you’ll get when you register.
Here’s a shoutout for some of our sponsors! Go check them out!!
This sewing machine is an amazing work horse and lightweight enough for you to take it with to sewing groups and classes; I actually learned to sew on an EMERALD and still have the one my parents gave me for my 16th birthday! I would recommend this machine to anyone, which is why I’m so thrilled that I get to give one away!
But Emily, does it really take 8 weeks to make this quilt?
It actually can come together really fast! One of my pattern testers actually made the baby size quilt with HAND QUILTING in less than 3 days, so if you want to go ahead and sew faster than this QAL timeline, go for it! Just remember that to be eligible for the grand prize, you MUST post pictures for the weekly prompt DURING that week!
Without further ado, I want to show off to you the beautiful & creative ways my pattern testers made their own Explore pillows and quilts! I hope these inspire you and give you ideas for what your own will look like!
My garment sewing saga continues! If you haven’t seen my “Me Made May” blog post check out the peplum top I made to try out sewing with Rayon! Making the Peplum top has re-acquainted me with the wonderful world of garment sewing and got me a lot more comfortable with sewing with rayon (as opposed to the 100% cotton that I use in quilting!) That blog post also shares some of the tips and tricks I learned along the way – If you want to try some garment sewing, that is a great place to get started!
Now that I’ve been bit by the garment sewing bug, I decided to make myself a dress: a dress that I actually bought the pattern for 2 years ago! It’s definitely been a long time coming. Continue reading →
Last week I shared a blog post showcasing my “Wiggling Quilt” from the book “Modern One-Block Quilts” and it kicked off a quilt pattern book review blog post series! Who doesn’t love a good blog series?! If you want to read about the fun and quirky book “Modern One-Block Quilts” and see cute pictures of an adorable baby girl floral quilt, click here!
Today’s stop on the Quilt Book Review Series is a book that has been around for a little while but will always be a winner in my eyes! My mom got Simply Retro by Camille Roskelley a few years ago and I have been looking through these beautiful patterns ever since! I’ve actually made FOUR baby quilts already from patterns in this amazing book, so you can definitely say I got my money’s worth! (That is a joke since I stole my mom’s book… thanks mom, you’re the best!)
If you are a quilter, I am sure you know that there are myriad ways to obtain an awesome quilt pattern, but not all are the same quality!
I have been through phases where I was too thrifty to purchase patterns and chose to only make quilts if I could find a FREE pattern for it. This method actually introduced me to some of my favorite quilt patterns, but it also resulted in a handful of headaches. The thing about free patterns is that there is often far less thought, effort, and testing that goes into those patterns. This is not always the case, but I ran into a couple doozies that required me to waste fabric and do my own quilt math, which did not thrill me.
I want to tell you about a great, thrifty, way to get really awesome quilt patterns: Quilting Books!
This blog post will outline a review of the book “Modern One-Block Quilts” by Natalia Bonner and Kathleen Whiting (published by C&T Publishing). The book comes complete with 22 different patterns in 3 different sizes (baby, twin, and queen) — that’s 66 variations for one low price, costing less than a couple yards of fabric! Continue reading →
Are you a quilter graduating this year? Do you know any students struggling to know how to decorate their graduation cap? Are you wondering exactly how to decorate your graduation cap with a quilt? I would love to help teach some things I learned while decorating my graduation cap by making a mini quilt! Read below to learn how I made my very own quilted grad cap for both my Undergraduate degree and then also for my MBA!
My experience making my first Quilted Grad Cap:
In December of 2015 I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and knew that I had to incorporate quilting into how I decorated my graduation cap, but couldn’t really find any examples of how it had been done before. So, naturally, I decided to wing it. I learned a lot through that process and really perfected it my second go around when I completed my MBA in 2017.
I’ll walk you through the steps I took while making mine, so you can be confident when you make your very own quilted graduation cap!