Saturday 28 February 2015

Quilts in the Barn and Sewmiriam Bags

I feel very humbled and honoured this week. I have been asked if I would like to make some of my bags to sell at the boutique that will be at the Quilts in the Barn Exhibition this year featuring Margaret Sampson- George - a Life's Journey - the work of a quilt teacher and her students. The exhibition is proudly  sponsoring beyondblue.

Fabrics are flying around my house!  I have taken possession of our dining table and the family have agreed to eat balancing their plates on their knees for the next week or two. Thank you my wonderful family. 

I am not the only busy bee. The awesome ladies who attended my bag workshops last year at The Cottage Quiltworks in Warriewood have made even more bags. This blogpost is featuring the Whopper Shopper- the largest and roomiest of my bag patterns. Very comfortable on the shoulder too! 

Georgie has made herself a bag 

and one for her wonderful sister Phyl .

Elaine has made a gorgeous bag too

and so has Janice

These bags really lend themselves to featuring bold, graphic prints. Think big! Large-letter print really makes this bag, made beautifully by Pat. 

Take a bow ladies- you are a talented group of inspiring women!! 

If you would like to learn how to make the handy zip top bag, as shown in my last post, please contact The Cottage Quiltworks. It is a great way to learn bag basics . 

Back to making one of a kind bags for the exhibition boutique  and sewing on binding  for my quilt that will also be on show at the exhibition. 

Happy sewing, love Miriam x

Saturday 21 February 2015

Brilliant bags made by very clever ladies.

Welcome to Sewmiriam. Today's blogpost is such a treat for me. I get to share with you just some of the brilliant bags that the clever ladies who took my bag making workshops at The Cottage Quiltworks last year have made. Many of the ladies didn't stop at one ! There are so many lovely bags, that I will show just my Zip Top Pattern first. Next blog post will be the Whopper Shopper Bags, and they are well worth the wait in seeing.

Let's begin with the handy Zip Top Bag.

My dear friend Robyn has been busy making the bag in both small and upscaled sizes.

The pattern can even been adapted to use selvedges with stunning results.

Helen has also used selvedges to make this handy sized sewing bag.

Margaret has made a handbag , by adding shoulder straps.

There were some very lucky grand daughters last Christmas , receiving these lovely bags, filled with goodies no doubt! 

Sue has made a soft blue bag that is just beautiful. It's a shame my photography skills aren't better. Sorry Sue!

Robyn has made the pattern using one cherished fabric piece for the outside, and another for the lining.

Here are upscaled versions of the same pattern. Don't you love it when one pattern can be adapted in so many ways !

Here are some of mine.

If you like these bags , and would love to make your own, join me at The Cottage Quiltworks on Wednesday 22nd April for a bag making workshop. Please contact The Cottage Quiltworks for details.
The bag uses a 'quilt as you go ' technique that will have you addicted in no time.

Happy Sewing, Miriamx

Thursday 12 February 2015

Quilt Tutorial Part 3 - quilting and perfect binding.

Welcome back to Sewmiriam, It is always a real pleasure to have you drop by. Our lives are busy and we are always multi tasking to fit everything in. One lifetime is just not enough! I am glad you are taking a few moments to pause and read on. Maybe something here at Sewmiriam will inspire you, inform you or just please you! I hope so. Sewing is such a pleasurable pastime, and the  pleasure is best when shared.

This blogpost is Part 3 of the table topper tutorial. It is a long post, so grab a cup of tea and read on.

The last two posts should have you ready to quilt the table topper. The choice is yours as to whether you hand quilt or machine quilt. I need to have the table topper ready for my friend's 50th birthday party next week, so I have chosen to machine quilt. Yikes! I am really just feeling my way in the machine quilting skills department. Remember to use a walking foot to help the layers run smoothly top and bottom through  your machine as you stitch. Set your stitch length to a longer length than you would normally use to sew a seam. I chose to quilt my table topper using straight lines diagonally running through the blocks, and then made square shapes within the cream squares. and stitching these into the cream border to continue the pattern flow of the blocks into the border space. This is a simple trick that gives great visual impact.

I completed the quilting in the outer border by stitching three parallel rows of stitching a generous  quarter inch apart. I think that quilting does not have to be complicated to create a pleasing effect. Even timid steps in the machine quilting arena can work ! Trust me - I am the tippy toe princess! 

PERFECT BINDING - tips and tricks. 

All that is left to do is the binding. I have chosen a red spot fabric, a personal favourite! Take your 4 WOF strips and join short ends to make one continuous strip. Press binding with wrong sides together length ways so that you have a long strip ready to stitch onto your quilt top. 

Take your quilt right side up, and place a pin half way down one side. Leave this pin in place, as it will be your end sewing point for your binding. Now, measure 6 inches down your quilt side from the pin. This is your starting point for sewing. Also measure down 6 inches from the start of your binding. This the starting point for your binding to be sewn down to your quilt top. In other words, you should have a tail of 6 inches on your binding that is not sewn down at the  start. 

Place your binding onto your top, matching the 6 inch points for both binding and quilt top. The binding raw edges should match the raw edges of your quilt top. The red topped pin ( NOT the white one) is your sewing start point.

Stitch using a quarter inch seam in from the edge down the side , stopping a 1/4 inch from the corner.

Turn the binding at a right angle across the bottom from left to right as shown below.

Then fold the binding back across the quilt , leaving the triangle shape underneath the binding in the corner , and the binding parallel to the next side to be stitched. ( later , when you turn your binding over , you will have created perfect mitred corners.)  Commence stitching a quarter inch in from the edge, taking care not to catch the triangle fold into your seam. Continue along each side and corner and stop stitching at the pin mark of the last side.

You now have 2 tails of binding and 6 inches of space unstitched on the quilt top/binding seam
All  that is left to do is to join your binding together and  complete the seam. There are many ways to do this, but the method I show you works for me every time, giving a perfectly flat sitting binding. Fingers crossed it works for you too. Measure 3 1/4 inches from end of stitching and mark using an erasable pen/ marker . 

Place your binding over this marked spot and mark 1/4 inch beyond it as shown on the binding. Cut your binding at this mark. 

Repeat with the beginning  end of your binding, but this time measuring along 1/4 the OTHER way beyond the first mark as shown and cut binding as shown. Check that your binding ends overlap each other 1/4 inch on either side of the first 3 1/4 inch mark on quilt top. Remember- measure twice- cut once! 

Nearly there! Open up binding and join using a 1/4 inch seam right sides together.  It is a bit awkward to lift and put binding edges together but it does work.

When stitched , turn binding back to sit flat against quilt. If it doesn't sit flat , you may need to adjust and redo binding seam size. The seam should match the original 3 1/4 inch mark, as shown . When happy with how it sits, stitch the last 6 inches of " binding to quilt " seam. 

The last thing to do is to turn the binding over to the back and stitch in place.

Take care with the  corners ,so that your mitred corners sit nicely front and back.

Congratulations! Your quilt is complete. 

Happy sewing! Miriamx

Thursday 5 February 2015

Free Quilt Tutorial Part 2

This  is part 2 of the Free Quilt Tutorial to make this table topper. Please refer to my last post for requirements, cutting instructions and how to construct the central block units. All seams are 1/4 inch.

If you have followed all of Tutorial One you should now have 36 of these 5 inch square units ready to piece together

Arrange these 36 blocks into 6 rows of 6 , so that they look like this.

When you are happy with the arrangement of your blocks, take a digital photo. Refer to the photo to make sure you keep the order correct when you join the blocks together. I do this for all my quilts - just in case of a mix up ! 

Now join the blocks together in horizontal rows, ( sets of 6 blocks each) working from left to right.
When joining the blocks together,  nest the seams together carefully and pin to secure before stitching. 

When all sets of 6 blocks have been stitched together to make 6 rows, press seams for rows 1, 3, and 5 towards the right, and press seams for row 2, 4 and 6 towards the left. 

Now join the rows together one by one. The seams should nest neatly. Pin carefully before stitching. Well done! That is the hard part done. 

The First Border.

Take 1 of the cream 2 1/2 inch width of fabric ( WOF) strips and sew to the side of your quilt , extending  just a bit past the corners at the beginning and end. When done, trim to square up the border corners. Repeat on the other side with another cream 2 1/2 inch WOF strip. 
Take the remaining cream strips (2 1/2 inch WOF) and stitch to the top and bottom of the quilt. Trim to square up. 

The Second Border.

Repeat as for the first border, but using the coloured WOF strips. It is always so interesting to see how effective a bright, bold border can be . It can lift a lovely centre to sensational ! Borders are really the frame for your quilt - choose fabrics with care, just as you would choose a frame for a much loved picture/ print. 

Your table topper top is now complete.

The next step is to prepare the top, batting and backing for quilting. 

Find a flat space to work on. Tape down backing right side down onto a clean, flat surface. I use a table tennis table and painter's tape, (  masking tape works just as well.) 
Next, smooth down the batting on top of the backing . There should be no bumps or wrinkles. 
Carefully place the top onto the batting , right side up, and smooth out from the centre. Using safety pins, secure the pins through all three layers , starting in the centre and spacing about an open hand width between each pin. 

You are now ready to quilt! The choice is yours as to whether you hand quilt or machine quilt. The design possibilities are endless. My next blogpost will show how I have quilted the table topper. 

Thank you for joining me in this tutorial. I hope you have enjoyed it. You are always welcome at Sewmiriam! 

Happy Sewing, Miriamx