Cooking is fun, messy, and can be very delicious. Gardening is quite rewarding because its fun to watch things grow. Sewing, however, is my main jam! I love making bags, gifts for others, clothes, and so much more. Sewing is definitely my most beloved hobby. However, I was never a fan of quilting. To me, quilting and sewing are two different hobbies. Are you team sewing or quilting?
I never loved making those strip pieced table runners, or small quilts. Too many rules to follow. Too many tiny pieces of fabric to cut. Cutting all of those small pieces to then sew them together again, is my absolute nightmare. But, something wild and crazy happened during this past Fall. A Halloween quilt came to life! I don't remember what planet I was visiting, but I decided to make a quilt. Spoiler alert, I made a Christmas one too. And, I loved every minute of it. It was so fun! Why did I change my mind? Well, I didn't follow a pattern. I did my own thing entirely and loved the process and final result.
If you're not a quilty fan, I beg you to try making a quilt following your own rules. Read along for some easy tips to create your first (or next) quilt. Am I a quilter now? I don't think so. But, I did enjoy making both of the holiday lap throws. As you read, you'll notice more of the Halloween quilt. I took more process photos of that one but, there are some Christmas ones too.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional quilter. I probably do some cringe-worthy things here but, this is how I made my two quilts. The best part? I didn't want to set them on fire in the process. Sewing is supposed to be fun and not stressful. And, after all, it's just fabric and we all own a seam ripper or two. Let's get quilting!
All The Fabric Pieces
A quilt is a fabric sandwich, more or less. You have a top, which is all the pretty pieces. The middle is the batting layer. The bottom or backing is the fabric on the back. It is usually a solid or printed piece. If you make a larger quilt, you'll need to have a seam or two running along the back.
*For reference, I'm going to use my lap sized quilts I made, which were roughly 4'x6'.
The Magical Layout
This, in my opinion, is the most important part. Yes, crooked seams want to be avoided along with wonky stitching but, the fabrics need to look pretty. So, this step is very important.
Most machines come with a quarter-inch sewing foot, have marks on the machine plate, and some might even have a quilting guide bar. Make use of one or all of these.
After the middle portion is completed and you're standing in shock and awe at the small sized quilt, you might want to make it bigger. I know I did! Ha! I still can't believe how much it shrinks after sewing all the pieces together.
If you'd like to make it bigger, you can sew a few extra strips to add to the sides, top, and bottom. In that order. My Halloween quilt shrank after I sewed the middle area together. I didn't realize how much a tiny 1/4" seam allowance would eat the fabric.
Sewing the Pieces Together
Love is in the air. I can feel it, and I can smell the chocolate. Now, I know Valentine's Day isn't for everyone. But it's for me! Is it for you, too? Pulling out the pink and red decorations is the highlight of my February. Or, sometimes late January. I love DIYing the next few holidays that are coming up too. I'm excited for Easter, St. Paddy's Day, and even 4th of July.
Valentine's Day is all about hearts, hearts, hearts. But, you don't necessarily need heart themed fabric to sew Valentine's projects. You'll see some heart fabrics were used in these projects, but anything red or pink will do just fine. Sift through your stash and scrap bin to give those red and pink fabrics some new life.
If you have little ones, they can help with decorating the house and making their Valentine's gifts too. I wanted to share some quick and easy things that you can sew for Valentine's Day, that shouldn't take a whole day. A few of these were made in previous years, and some were made this year.
Let's get our love on!
Gift Card Holder
Sew up some cute gift card holders for teachers, neighbors, or friends. We know everyone could use a little extra love these days. Grab a $10 coffee, fast food, or bookstore gift card and slip one inside.
If you have kids, stick a fro-yo, makeup store, online gaming, or other gift card inside.
The gift card holder isn't my pattern. It's by Anne at OrangeBettie.com, and I found it here. Print the free sewing pattern and follow her directions on how to make your own. I skipped the snaps because I was lazy. But, add the snaps or a button or not. Make it your own.
Make a simple fabric basket as part of the gift. Fill it with candy, bath salts and a candle, toy cars, a small lego set, some tiny dolls, a plant, or something else. These really make your gift extra special when paired with something.
This fabric basket is super simple. It doesn't require interfacing, only two layers of fabric. If you'd like something a little more stable, grab my tutorial here. But, if you just want a quick basket, keep reading.
Easy Fabric Basket
The basket takes about 30 min from start to finish. Less if you're a speedy sewer. Gather your pink and red fabrics.
Cut your fabric into one long rectangle, the length, and width you want. I folded a piece of fabric I had in half and trued up the sides. Don't overthink this, it's supposed to be quick and easy. Read: last minute gift ;)
For example, I cut mine about 16" long by 9" wide.
The holidays call for fancy fabrics and sequins. Don't you agree? There's just something fun about wearing sparkle during the festive month of December, isn't there? Add soft velvet and, I'm in! If sewing velvet scares you, read this post. I share my sewing machine and tips for tackling tricky fabric.
These Gardner tops fulfilled my fancy holiday fabric needs. The fabric was originally for vintage-style turbans. I've wanted to make velvet ones for quite some time. I only had 1 yard of each and was lucky that the one yard worked out. Whew! I changed direction at some point and decided to make Gardner tops instead. The matching sequin fabric went with the red one, and the sheer floral went with the green one.
As usual, I don't go into depth with Gertie's Patreon patterns because I value her as a creator. However, I like to share tips and photos that show you my process along the way. If you're interested in this pattern, join her Patreon membership. She shares new patterns each month and so much more!
I made one Gardner top following the exact directions and another collar hacked version. This post is full of photos. Let's go!
Red Gardner Top (Original Version)
Start your top by tracing the darts onto the front. I prefer old-school wax paper and a tracing wheel system for this part.
Staystitch the front and back necklines. Sewing from the shoulder towards the center prevents the neckline from stretching out. Never skip this step.
After you sew up the darts, cut them open. If sewing your top with velvet, don't press the seam open.
The sheer fabric is full of glitter, sequins, and all the sparkles. Perfect for holiday festivities.
If you go slow while sewing and make sure your seams are clipped, you shouldn't get any puckers in the V-shaped front. If you do get puckers, unpick that section and re-sew.
The holidays are here and it's time to whip up those handmade gifts. Eeep! Hopefully you started sewing for the holidays back in the summer but, if you're on team procrastinator, I got you. These are all quick sewing ideas and range from baby to grandpa.
Below you will find some tutorial links and free patterns. Although, I've created this list to get you brainstorming and ideas flowing. Less talking and more making.
Get ready, get set, sew!
There's always someone who's having a baby. You can whip up a bib, burp cloth, and blanket in about 30 minutes. All you need is some fabric and a snap or velcro for the bib fastener. Read my baby items post here.
Do you have a zipper and some scrap fabric? Sew a zipper pouch in less than 30 minutes. Follow this tutorial for an easy refresher on zipper installation for a makeup bag. Make them as big or little as you want.
Teens love these. Little kids love these. Everyone needs a zip bag for something. In the era of mask-wearing, sew one for everyone on your list. They would love to keep their mask inside a clean bag.
Sew a quick keychain following Melly Sews tutorial. Grab some lip balms, lotions, and hand creams to complete a gift set. This is perfect for the babysitter, pre-teen, teacher, or neighbor. Heck, even dad uses lip balm.
All you need is a scrap of fabric and a metal keyring. If you have a pack of key rings, batch sew a few of these for gifts. Lip balm holders for everyone!!
Halloween is almost here! Do you know what that means? Halloween project time. Whether you plan on sewing costumes, home decor, spooky gifts, or something else, it's time to dust off the sewing machine.
It's finally October, which is Halloween month. We start decorating around mid-September and my whole house is transformed into a "haunted mansion". Halloween is my most favorite holiday ever!! After Thanksgiving of course, because... mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Yum!
This is a fun top that you can make in a jiffy. You can wear it at home or around town, to the office, or trick or treating with your little ones. I recently made it and had to share it! It's too dang cute to keep it a secret.
Quick, grab the FREE Gone Batty top from Patterns for Pirates here. Then, click here for the sewingtutorial. It's the cutest!! Talk about a last-minute costume that's appropriate for work and/or school. You can wear it as an everyday top as well. It comes in one size fits most, so no fussy fitting issues to worry about. All the wins with this one! Yes, please!!
I've had a long history of bats through caving experiences and I've grown to love them most of all. Bats are my favorite Halloween creature. When I saw this pattern last year (why did I wait so long??) I had to have it. Umm... a shirt with bat wings, yes please! Bonus, you could even sew white topstitching thread to make it a spiderweb instead, if you wanted. Oooohhh maybe that'll be next year's project.
Hi there, I'm Annette and I love eating and sewing. I usually have a cup of coffee or tea with me, but not next to my machine because I'd probably spill it. I am the reason we can't have nice things.
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