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Showing posts with label Tutorial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tutorial. Show all posts

15 May 2020

Make your quilt blocks faster with Block Formula Calculators

After I had been quilting for a while, I discovered there were formulas for making certain quilt blocks faster. I thought this was amazing and proceeded to find all the formulas I could. This was great but they had to be calculated properly to work. Sometimes I would enter a number wrong or add a number when I was supposed to divide. Then there was the problem with cheat sheets. They could be cumbersome and didn’t include the block assembly instructions.
After a while, I tried finding a quilting app that would do the formulas for me but with no luck. I considered making my own app but that would be too expensive. Then, I discovered an online calculator builder where I could create my own calculators. I created calculators for ten quilt block formulas. The formulas could now be calculated instantly and each one included assembly diagrams. 

I'm now sharing my Quick Block Calculators with the quilting community free of charge. I hope they help those of you who may have been as frustrated as me with block formulas. Enjoy!

USING THE CALCULATORS

NOTES
•  All calculations have been tested for accuracy.
•  All measurements are in inches.
•  All instructions assume a basic knowledge of rotary cutting.
•  The formula for each block is included with each calculator.

DEFINITIONS
Finished Block
•  Block dimensions after it has been sewn into a quilt.

Unfinished Block
•  Block dimensions before it has been sewn into a quilt i.e. finished block dimensions plus seam allowance.

Parent Squares
•  The squares you make using the formula. These squares are used to build your block.

Square Up
•  Trimming a block to its correct size.

TIPS FOR MAKING PERFECT BLOCKS
•  Round up uneven results to the nearest even fraction or round number.
I use this handy decimal to a fraction conversion table.
•  Double-check your results before cutting your parent squares.
•  Make a test-run block before cutting your good fabric.
•  Cut the parent squares accurately.
•  Use a scant ¼ inch seam allowance to make the block slightly larger and easier to square up.

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Scroll down to find the block you want to make.
2. Depending on the formula, enter the finished or unfinished block size you need.
3. Find the parent square size(s) in the orange box. If required, round up the result.
4. Cut the number of parent squares required.
5. Follow the assembly diagrams provided to make the block.
6. Square up block if necessary.

Calculators . . .

13 Nov 2019

Make Your Own Best Press Citrus Spray Starch

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I love Mary Ellen's Best Press Spray. It helps my blocks press crisp and there's no starchy residue. The only downside is that it's way too expensive, especially here in Canada. Also, I don't like the smell of most of their scents; the lavender-scented spray smells like cheap men's cologne. I thought of using the scent-free Best Press, but it costs more than the scented. So, I decided to try making the homemade version of Best Press and I was pleased with the results.

I wanted my spray to have a nice scent but most of the recipes I found called for lavender essential oil and I didn't care for it. So, I tried the citrus essential oils (i.e. lemon, lemongrass, bergamot, orange, etc.) and loved the fresh citrusy scent. I use bergamot exclusively now. Bergamot is a fresh, uplifting Italian orange oil used for cosmetics and perfumes. Below is the recipe for the DIY Citrus Best Press that works just as well as the real deal. 

DIY CITRUS BEST PRESS 1 Liter (1 quart)

     

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups distilled water (it must be distilled because some tap waters can stain your fabric).
  • ½ cup vodka. Use only vodka because it has no real odour.
    (*
    vodka is made from fermented potatoes which are a natural starch).
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. bergamot essential oil or any citrus essential oil.
*UPDATE: After more research, I found that most vodkas are NOT made from potatoes. Most are made from cereal grains. I use Smirnoff which is made from corn. Conclusion, just use the cheapest unflavoured vodka you can find.

 Combine the essential oil and vodka then add all ingredients to a 1 L/1 qt. container with a lid. Replace the lid of the container and shake the solution well. Pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before each use.


FREE PRINTABLE LABELS: Pretty labels for your 1 Liter (1 quart) spray starch bottle.
Includes a recipe card (Download HERE)

    

     

11 Sept 2019

How to Square Up Hourglass & Pinwheel Blocks: No special ruler required!

This post is a supplementary tutorial for the Quick Block Calculator.

When using the shortcut methods to make Hourglass and Pinwheel blocks, you often have to "square up" the block to the correct size you need. If these blocks are not squared up properly, you will end up with very wonky looking squares that will only be good for the scrap pile.

In this post, I'll show you a simple method for squaring up Hourglass, Pinwheel, and Half Square Triangle blocks that doesn't require a special ruler.

MATERIALS

INSTRUCTIONS

Hour Glass
  1. Divide the desired block size in half, e.g. 4½"÷ 2 = 2¼"
  2. Find this number on the ruler.
  3. Place a piece of tape horizontally and vertically on the ruler to mark the center of the block.
  4. Line up intersecting point of the tape with the center of the block.
  5. Line up the 45º angle with angle of the block.

6.  With a rotary cutter, cut off the exposed ends of the block.


7.  Turn the ruler and block 180º and, once again, line up the halfway point with the center of the block.


8.  With a rotary cutter, cut off the exposed ends of the block.


Pinwheel


Half Square Triangle

17 Jul 2019

How to make bag straps with quilt batting

Apple Cider Market Tote aka Winslow Market Tote

I first saw this tote pattern in the 2018 issue of Make It! Patchwork. It was designed by Kathy Mack and was showcased on the Quilting Arts TV Episode #601. It was originally featured as the Winslow Market Tote and has since been renamed the Apple Cider Market Tote

Apple Cider Market Tote made by Monica Curry | Pattern Design by Kathy Mack

I haven't made many bags, but I fell in love with this one as soon as I saw it. I wasn't sure, however, what fat quarters to use for it. When I finally dug through my stash, I found the perfect fabric for this tote ─ Into the Garden by Amanda Herring for Riley Blake. I bought this fat quarter bundle several years ago and loved it so much I didn't want to cut it! I also wanted to make pretty matching straps for this bag, but I wasn't sure how to make bag straps. I heard you could use quilt batting for straps and thought that this would be a great way to use up my batting scraps. After a YouTube search, I found a great tutorial for making bag straps with batting by sewing and crafting vlogger Alanda Craft. She uses fusible batting but says non-fusible works just as well. I think my straps turned out great.



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INSTRUCTIONS

(Also check out Bag Strap Making Video Tutorial by Alanda Craft

1. Cut [2] fabric strips 5" x length of the strap and [2] quilt batting strips 2½" x length of the strap.


2. Fold the fabric strip in half lengthwise and press.


3. Make a lengthwise fold to the center of the strip on both sides and press.


4. Place batting in the center of the strip.


5. Fold each side of the fabric over onto the batting and press.


6. Fold the fabric and batting in half lengthwise and press.


7. To finish off your strap, stitch along both edges using a 1/8" or 1/4" allowance (Version 1). I find the strap is a little stronger if you add three more rows of stitching equally down the center. (Version 2).


5 Jul 2019

How to Make French Fold Binding


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French Fold binding is one of the most popular quilt bindings and for good reason. Because the fabric is doubled, French Fold binding creates a durable edge for your quilt. It's particularly good for quilts and quilted items that are going to get a lot of laundering. It's a very simple binding to make. I use it on all my quilt projects. If you want to add a little flair to your French Fold binding, see my tutorial on French Fold with Flange binding.

HOW TO MAKE FRENCH FOLD BINDING

1) DETERMINE THE BINDING LENGTH YOU NEED
 
EXAMPLE: Finished quilt size = 54" × 60"
(54" × 2) + (60" × 2) + 10" = 238" (10" extra is added for finishing the binding).
(238" ÷ 36") = 6.6 yards
You will need 6.6 ≈ 7 yards of binding for a 54" × 60" finished quilt.
If making bias binding, cut your fabric strips on the diagonal before making your binding.

2) DETERMINE THE BINDING WIDTH YOU NEED

Decide on the binding width you need, then refer to the chart below to get the correct overall strip width for that binding. Important Note: When choosing a binding width, keep in mind your batting loft thickness.



3) CALCULATE HOW MANY STRIPS YOU NEED

EXAMPLE: 238" (length of binding needed in inches) ÷ 42" (fabric cross grain width) = 5.6 ≈ 6 strips

4) CALCULATE THE YARDAGE YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE FOR YOUR STRIPS

EXAMPLE: 2.5" (strip width) x 6 (number of strips needed) = 15" + 2" = 17" (2 inches is added to allow for possible uneven edges). Yardage Needed: 17" x 42"

5) MAKE THE BINDING



6) HOW TO ATTACH THE BINDING TO THE QUILT

18 Jun 2019

How to Make Flange Quilt Binding


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I love flange quilt binding. It gives quilts an elegant and finished look. I don't use it on all my projects, but sometimes a quilt needs that extra pop. Flange binding takes a little extra work, but it's well worth the effort when you see the finished result. I made the following tutorial as comprehensive as possible and hope it will help you give flange binding a try.


INSTRUCTIONS

1) CALCULATE THE LENGTH OF BINDING YOU WILL NEED FOR YOUR QUILT

EXAMPLE:
Finished quilt size = 54" × 60"

  • (54" × 2) + (60" × 2) + 10" = 238" (10" extra is added for finishing the binding). 
  • (238" ÷ 36") = 6.6 yards
  • You will need 6.6 ≈ 7 yards of binding for a 54" × 60" finished quilt. 

2) WIDTHS TO CUT FOR FLANGE AND MAIN COLOUR STRIPS

Decide on a binding width and refer to the chart below to get the correct overall strip width for that binding. Important Note: When choosing a binding width, keep in mind your batting loft thickness.
Using the overall strip width, use the chart below to get widths to cut for the main colour strips and the flange strips.
  • Calculations for main and flange strip widths
  • Main: Half the overall strip width.
  • Flange: Half the overall strip width plus 1/4" (This gives you a 1/8" flange).



3)   CALCULATE HOW MANY STRIPS TO CUT BASED ON YOUR FABRIC WIDTH

EXAMPLE:  238" (length of binding in inches) ÷ 42" (fabric cross grain width) = 5.6 ≈ 6 strips

4)   CALCULATE THE YARDAGE NEEDED FOR YOUR STRIPS

MAIN STRIPS

EXAMPLE 
  • 1.25" x 6 (number of strips needed) = 7.5" + 2" = 9.5" (Add 2" for uneven edges).
  • Yardage needed for main colour strips: 9.5" x 42"
FLANGE STRIPS

EXAMPLE  
  • 1.5" x 6 (number of strips needed) = 9" + 2" = 11" (Add 2" for uneven edges).
  • Yardage needed for flange strips: 11" x 42"

5)   HOW TO MAKE THE BINDING




6)   HOW TO ATTACH THE BINDING




29 Jan 2019

Tips for Sorting Fabric Scraps - Part 2

HOW TO CUT SCRAPS FOR NINE-PATCH BLOCKS


CUTTING SCRAPS FOR NINE-PATCH BLOCKS

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A year ago, I posted a tutorial for sorting fabric scraps. I decided to supplement that post with a quick tutorial for cutting fabric scrap squares for 9-patch blocks. Because of their versatility, 9-patch blocks are great for making scrap quilts. The easiest square size to start with is 5 inches should you have a lot of Charm Pack and Layer Cake scraps.

SQUARE SIZES


The easiest square size to start with is 5" should you have a lot of Charm Pack and Layer Cake scraps.
  • 5 inch - Finished Size: 4½ inch   (12.5 cm - Finished Size: 6.25 cm )
  • 2¾ inch - Finished Size: 2¼ inch   (7 cm - Finished Size: 3.5 cm)
  • 2 inch - Finished Size: 1½ inch   (5 cm - Finished Size: 2.5 cm)

YOU WILL NEED

  • A good assortment of quilt cotton fabric scraps
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Rotary cutter (have fresh blades available)
  • 6" x 12" and/or 8" x 8" quilt ruler

INSTRUCTIONS


1. Separate your scraps into individual colours: yellow, orange, purple, red, etc. This is a very important step. You don't want to have to sort little 2-inch squares by colour, trust me!

2. Sort scraps by size. 



3. Press all the scraps before cutting. A quick way to do this is to layer about 4 to 6 pieces and steam press.



4. Before cutting squares, stack several pieces and line up the top right corner.



5. Line up your ruler about 1/4" away from the top right corner of the fabrics and trim.





6. Rotate the fresh-cut corner to the lower left. Line up your square size at the corner and trim. If some of the offcuts are large enough, cut squares from these as well.





STORING YOUR SQUARES

Store your squares neatly according to colour. Over time you'll accumulate a lot of squares, so finding the right box for them is a good idea. I normally use plastic bins from the dollar store. The container below is a cookie tray from Costco. Use whatever works.




16 Jul 2018

Great tips for finishing your UFOs: Includes FREE Block Pattern


For the past few weeks, I've been working on my unfinished quilt projects aka UFOs. I gave myself an official UFO challenge. I decided to share some of my tips for starting your own UFO challenge and finally getting your unfinished projects done.
 

1. Get everything out in the open.


Pull out all of your UFOs, and I mean all of them! Lay them out and review exactly what you're dealing with.

2. Weed out the rejects.


Look at each UFO and decide which ones you'll keep and which ones you can part with. Some UFOs are UFOs for a reason. Maybe the colours are wrong, the pattern is boring, or the workmanship is poor. Don't spend precious sewing time on projects that don't thrill you. If a project doesn't make the grade, let it go. Use it for a scrap quilt or give it away.

3. Store each UFO where you can see it.


After you've sorted out your projects, store them where you can see them. I use clear plastic 12" x 12" scrapbook bins that I buy at Michael's. I prefer to use see-through bins so I can see my project at a glance. You could also use those clear bags that you get with new sheets. Also, Ziploc makes a really nice storage bag that would be perfect for storing projects.

Project bins for my UFOs
(12" x 12" scrapbooking bins from Michaels)


4. Buy what you need to finish each project.


Write down a list of items that you'll need to complete each UFO. Check if you need thread, fabric, quilt backing, etc. and take a shopping trip to pick these things up. After you get your supplies put them in the project bins. If you get your supplies ahead of time everything will be ready for you when you start. You also won't be tempted to put the project aside again until you get to the fabric store.

5. Start with easiest first.


Start with the easy projects first and work your way up to the ones that need more attention. I find starting with the less demanding UFOs keeps me motivated.

Spools mini quilt for my studio | 14" x 14"

6. Do a little each day 


Even if it's only 15 or 30 minutes, work on your project every day. You'll be amazed at how much you can get done in a short time. Try setting goals for yourself to finish something each day.

Binding made and ready to quilt.

Download FREE Little UFO quilt block HERE