Friday, September 23, 2016

Sew Home - Corded Throw Pillow & a Giveaway!

Hello! Welcome to my stop on the Sew Home Blog Hop. My dear friend, Erin Schlosser has just released her first book, Sew Home, with C&T Publishing. It's packed full of fantastic, versatile, and skill building projects for every room of your home, including:
  • Window Treatments
  • Bathrooms (bathmat, shower curtain, hand towels)
  • Kitchen (tablecloth, table runner, napkins)
  • Storage and Organization
  • Indoor Decor
  • Outdoor Sewing

When Erin asked me to be a part of her blog hop and book release, I was thrilled (be sure to read to the end, for a chance to win a copy of Erin's new book!). The majority of my sewing time is spent making clothes for my daughters and quilts. I've only dipped my toes in the waters of home dec. Erin's book inspired me to dive right in, and I found myself wanting to make many of her projects. I settled on the Corded Throw Pillow (upper left in the image above) because I wanted to give cording a try, and install a zipper in a new way.

Cording is not something that I have much experience with, but Erin's simple instructions made it virtually pain-free. She shares a great trick for cutting the fabric at just the right measurement to wrap around the cording, no matter what size cording you use. I must say, it worked like a charm! 

 For my pillow, I used linen with a large scale print. Linen can been thin, and fray a bit when cutting and sewing. In the book, Erin suggests using a fusible interfacing for thinner fabrics. I used her suggestion, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. I really appreciate that Erin recognized that not everyone will want to use or have access to home dec fabrics. Being able to use what I had in my stash made me love Erin's book even more. You're going to love it too!

I've known Erin for a few years, and got her hooked on glue basting long ago. When Erin was writing her book, she reached out to me and asked it would be okay with me to use our Micro Fine Glue Tips as a resource in her book. I said, "Absolutely!" Erin references glue basting as a tool for helping to make many of her projects, including the Corded Throw Pillow. The Corded Throw Pillow is made with a standard zipper. There are many, many ways to install a zipper. Erin shares a simple method and it's made even easier by glue basting the zipper to the pillow backing before you sew. I use Liquid Stitch (a permanent fabric glue - it's thick and will adhere the zipper to the backing easily) and the Micro Fine Glue Tips for glue basting zippers. I simply apply the glue, and heat set with a hot, dry iron, then sew. There's no shifting or puckering, and the zipper lays nice and flat.

My own couch may need a few pillow friends to go with my lovely new pillow, and maybe some new placemats or a table runner. 

Erin and C&T Publishing are generously giving away a copy of her book to one of my readers! To enter, leave a comment letting me know one thing that you'd like to make for your home - napkins, a shower curtain, storage containers, pillows, cushions for a patio set, a personalized clock, or something else altogether? The giveaway will run until the end of the blog hop, on Sept. 29th.

For more project inspiration, be sure to stop by the the other blogs on the blog hop tour:
Wednesday, September 21 - Sew 4 Home & Jen Carlton Bailly
Monday, September 26 - Windham Fabrics & Rebecca at Bryan House Quilts
Wednesday, September 28 - Dear Stella Fabrics & Mandy at Mandalei Quilts
ThursdaySeptember 29 - Erin at Schlosser Designs

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Land of Magic Quilt Sew Along: The Castle

Welcome! I'm so happy that you've come to visit my stop on Kerry Goulder's (Kid Giddy) sew-along for her new Land of Magic Quilt. I was given the privilege of making the Castle portion of the full quilt and I absolutely loved making the pattern. The Castle is very versatile and can be made in many inspired ways. Take a look at Kerry's blog to see how several versions of the Castle block, including a sand castle version. Plus there's an amazing giveaway featuring Aurifil thread.

I am a huge Disney fan and Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney movie, which was the inspiration for my own Castle block. My block represents a bit of Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland, with it's stone blocks that rise into pink tinted towers with blue tiled roofs and a golden flag, as the cherry on top. I had the most fun fussy cutting sweet little children for the windows of the Castle. Kerry has some wonderful tips and suggestions for fussy cutting in her Land of Magic Sew Along post for the Crown block.

Kerry suggested that I embellish or do something to make the Castle "my own". As I was looking at pictures from my past visits to The Happiest Place on Earth, I paid special attention to Sleeping Beauty's Castle.
Image by Cristy Fincher
The arches gilded in gold inspired me to alter the top of one tower. So, I sketched out my idea on a printed copy of Kerry's pattern then made copies of that sketch so I could work out how to paper piece it.

Once I figured out how to paper piece it, I did a "test" to see if it would work (hence, making copies of the sketch ;) ). I was over the moon happy with how my gilded arches came to life!

Paper piecing was one of the first things I learned, after hand piecing, when I began to quilt. I fell in love with it and it's versatility. Like most paper piecers, I have a love/hate relationship with tearing out the papers. That's one reason I love Paperless Paper Piecing, which is an alternative to traditional paper piecing. I find myself using both techniques, depending on the pattern. It's really fantastic to have more techniques in your quilting tool box!

I prepare my paper piecing a little differently than most, and I'd love to share my method with you. I hope that you find it helpful and give it a try.

1. Collect all of your supplies. I glue baste most of my piecing, including paper piecing. Find out more about glue basting {here}.

2. Dab a bit of a glue stick to the back side of your template. The glue stick will keep the fabric in place. Use a light table, if needed, to place your fabric. 

3. Then fold back the template and fabric to the line between piece #1 and #2. Make a nice crease with your finger nail, or other tool (a hera marker works great, too).

4. Unfold to expose the crease. This crease is your sewing line. This little trick will also help you be sure that your fabric is in the right place, if you don't have a light table.

5. Then draw a line of glue with the Micro Fine Glue Tips and Elmer's Washable School glue just above the crease, toward the seam allowance.

6. Next, place the fabric for piece #2 in it's place and heat set the glue with a hot, dry iron. Now, your fabric won't shift at the sewing machine, and there's no pins to pull out! If you're new to glue basting, don't worry, the glue washes out. And the heat setting dries the glue completely, so your needle never gets gummed up.

7. Sew, trim and press as usual.

Another wonderful way to use glue basting with paper piecing is prepping multiple pieces on one template at a time - YES! It's true!!

In this image, you can see that pieces #4 and #5 are sewn on each end of the template. The key here is that they DON'T intersect each other. Make a crease along the sewing line for both pieces.

Then, draw a fine line of glue on the seam allowance, near the crease.

Place fabric #4, and heat set.
 Repeat for piece #5.

And sew! My biggest tip here is to be sure that you pull fabric piece #5 out of the way as you sew piece #4, just to be sure that you don't sew through it as well.

Then press and trim as usual. This method can really help speed up your paper piecing, and reduce those silly mistakes that we all make.

When it came time to sewing the units together, glue basting was the only way to go. It helps me line up intersecting seams, and prevents that pesky shifting that paper piecing is known for - and all without a single pin. These 8 points came together beautifully with glue basting:

Thank you SEW much for joining me on my stop for Kerry's Land of Magic Sew-Along. Be sure to head back over to Kerry's blog for a chance to enter her big giveaway. You can find the Land of Magic Quilt pattern in Kerry's Etsy store as well as at Fat Quarter Shop, who also has quilt kits available with the new Magic fabric by Sarah Jane Studios.

Thank you for joining me!! I love reading and responding to your comments, so feel free to share some love.

Happy Quilting,

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Power of Glue Basting - Back to School Blog Hop

Welcome! Today is my stop on the Back to School Blog Hop, organized by the wonderful Sam Hunter.

Today I'm going to give you a little "crash course" on glue basting - one of my favorite techniques for getting great results for many quilting and sewing projects.

What is glue basting, you ask? It's probably much like you imagine, but a lot less messy than you fear. Glue basting is a simple techinique that can be used in many many ways:

The tools are very simpe. All you need is a bottle of Washable Elmer's School Glue and a Micro Fine glue tip - easy peasy:

You can trim the tippy top of the tip in small increments until the glue flows at your preferred speed. I prefer a thin line of glue - a little bit really does go a long way.

Let's take a look at how to use glue basting to make scrappy Half Square Triangles:

1. Precut your HST squares. (Blossom Hearts Quilts has a great tutorial that includes formulas for you.) Mark your diagonal line with a fabric safe pencil:
2. Draw a fine line of glue along the diagonal of the second square:
 3. Place your squares with right sides together:
 4. Heat set the glue with a hot dry iron. Glue basting the squares together will prevent shifting when you sew, and you won't need a single pin! Plus, it helps stabilize the bias grain, which will prevent the stretching that can happen when you sew along the bias. It's a win-win!! When you prepare multiple HSTs block like this, you can chain piece quickly and easily, which I love.
 5. Sew a 1/4" from each side of the line.
 6. Cut along the diagonal line:
 7. Press to the side. I prefer to press the great majority of my seams to the side. (If you prefer to press your seam open, you can easily release the glue with a stiletto type tool.)
 8. Trim your HST to size.
This is a great way to give glue basting a try. Once you glue baste, you'll start to find more and more ways to use it in your sewing and quilting to help make creating what you love even easier, and with wonderful results!

Now, you might be wondering to yourself:

  • "But Cristy, doesn't the glue gum up my needle?" or 
  • "But Cristy, how will it ever wash out?" or 
  • "But Cristy, isn't this cheating?" 

I've been asked these questions many times over the years, and I understand the caution. Let me ease your worry:

  • No, the glue won't gum up your needle, as long as you do heat set with a hot dry iron. 
  • Washable Elmer's School Glue does wash out. I highly recommend washing your quilt with Synthrapol (a textile detergent) for best results. *Note: there are other glue basting products on the market. I only use and recommend Washable Elmer's School Glue. 
  • No, this isn't cheating!! Glue basting is a tool, just like using a rotary cutter and ruler instead of scissors. Using the right tools for the right jobs will give you better results that you'll be thrilled with.
Glue basting is a wonderful tool that can give you amazing results, and you won't accidentally sew over nearly as many pins. Here are more ways that you can use glue basting:

Piecing Rows:
Glue baste your rows of blocks together, then easily chain piece the rows.

Make joining and matching various types of blocks and intersections easy and accurate.

Binding and glue basting go hand-in-hand. After glue basting your binding to your quilt, it's prepared to be finished either by hand or by machine, with no pins or clips to get in the way. Check out this video by Sharon Schamber for more.

It's also wonderful for appliqué. After glue basting your applique pieces, their prepared for either machine or hand stitching. Take a peek at my applique videos here.

Glue basting is perfect for curves of all kinds. It also makes paper piecing and easier and more accurate.

We are craftswomen and men, and using tools that will help us each achieve the type of results we long for will empower us to continue making. Glue basting is one of those tools. I hope you give it a try and discover how it can work for you.

Happy Quilting!!