Category Archives: sewing

Tuesday Tip! Scheduling Projects

It’s time for another Tuesday Tip!

It seems that we quilters/crafters/makers have a lot going on.  We’ve usually got several projects going at once & many times are working under deadlines, even if this isn’t our “work.”

I think I’ve used almost every kind of planning system out there & I’ve recently discovered one that works best for me (so far!)

The post-it note on a whiteboard system (like my super fancy name?) finally gave me everything I needed in one place.

To Do System by Ormond Beach Quilts

I simply write each individual project on a post it note & the note on the upper left hand corner has 1st priority.

On each note I quickly jot down the big bullets of the project & any pertinent notes I need to be aware of. For example, let’s say I was working on a quilt where I making the entire quilt- from choosing fabric to binding.  These would be my bullets:

  • Choose fabric/quilting pattern
  • Piece quilt
  • Longarm quilt- XXXX design
  • Bind quilt
  • Invoice quilt

Whenever I come down to the studio I can quickly assess what needs to be done that day & I can shuffle projects as needed.  I love how this gives me the flexibility to move projects around as deadlines change (which let’s face it, happens everyday).

It’s also very visual for me, a key piece I’ve learned in helping me stay organized.

I’ll add that I got inspiration for this from Pinterest but that I really simplified what I saw.  They made this very complex with different colored post-its, & categories & I have no idea what else b/c at that point my eyes glazed over.  I can see how it would be very easy to make this a “super duper organizing board,” but I noticed that when systems get involved like that, I can’t keep up.  And if my organizing system creates too much for me, well that’s not very helpful is it?  So simple & boring it is.  And it works for me.  Hopefully it might work for you too!

Piece of Cake Dress

Occasionally I get the urge to sew clothes.  It seems to come & go in waves, so I try to pounce on it when it comes around.  For me it’s about being a maker & aware of what you have & appreciating a few well made items instead of having 100 poorly made ones.

Anyways, I saw Anna Maria Horner’s “Piece of Cake” dress pattern back in the spring & fell in love with it!

Piece of Cake dress by Ormond Beach Quilts
(Confession, when I have to get some work done I’ve been known to give her a box of fabric to play in.  Fabric goes everyone.  It’s chaotic.  We both have a great time!)

I used some cotton fabric from a big box store (honestly, Teapot grows too quickly to justify using expensive fabric) & had a great time making the dress.  It’s a free downloadable pattern that came with excellent directions & required few skills/tools.

Piece of Cake dress by Ormond Beach Quilts
(I was trying to get a picture of the bias casing, but someone was having too much fun taking selfies!)

It was the first time for me to make a bias casing for the elastic around the neck & it came together well.  I did use my serger to finish the edges, which I’m glad I did since this dress has gotten a lot of use.

The only step I didn’t follow was to make a blind hem.  For some reason it wasn’t working so I just made a folded hem about 1″ from the edge.  Again, it’s a dress for a baby/toddler so who really cares about the hem- as long as it’s durable, it’s fine.

Piece of Cake dress by Ormond Beach Quilts
(Why yes, that’s an ice pack to the side & some advertisements above her head that she was playing with while eating a cheese straw on the kitchen floor. Some days are like that around here.)

The only downside was that the pattern only goes up to 12 months!  I love this dress & want to make this for Teapot again & again!  (I guess I could draft a larger size, but really, that’s not going to happen.  Anyone have a recommendation for a larger size pattern I can buy?)

Piece of Cake dress by Ormond Beach Quilts
Afternoon adventure in the sand box! 

An Afternoon of Sewing

This past week I had a large project for a customer & to ensure I got in done in time, I scheduled a babysitter for two afternoons.

To my surprise I finished the project in one afternoon!  (It’s amazing how productive I can be when I’m not working in the evenings exhausted from a full day of chasing after Teapot!)  So instead of cancelling the sitter the next day, I decided to use that time for myself (& make things for Teapot, but whatever, I was still making & I wasn’t working!)

First up were 3 wet bags:

Wet bags by Ormond Beach Quilts
I had bought a package of 3 large PUL squares from the big box store back when I had the great idea to make diapers.  Since I quickly realized that was not for me, this package had been sitting around unused.  I opted to make some wet bags for our swim suits, cloth diapers when we’re out & about, who know what I’ll use the third for, but it’s nice to have available.

I used the 10 minute pencil case tutorial, but increased the size to 15″x24″.  While the first didn’t take 10 minutes, the third definitely did & I highly recommend this tutorial.  I chose this one because it had french seams which I like for wet bags.

On two of the bags I used some black grosgrain ribbon, so we’ll see how I like using it.

Wet bags by Ormond Beach Quilts
Then I made a second wet bag for Teapot’s diapers:

Diaper Wet Bag by Ormond Beach Quilts
So we do cloth diaper part time (Kawaii diapers with liners & disposables at night) & I made this pattern before & loved it, we just needed a second to have available when the first is drying.

I used some of the fun Sake fabric I won when I participated in a contest sponsored by Kona Bay Fabrics.  Three cheers for using stash!

I also finished binding a quilt, but I can’t show that quite yet.  Well, ok.  Here’s the back:

Longarm quilting by Ormond Beach Quilts
I used a new pantograph Moxie by Leisha Farnsworth- I love her style & can’t wait to get more of her designs!

Moxie

Moxie

It was a wonderful afternoon- Teapot had a great time with the babysitter & I actually made stuff!  Luckily for all of us, our new favorite teenage babysitter is available for the rest of summer!

5 Reasons Kids Should Learn How to Sew

5 Reasons why kids should learn how to sew with Ormond Beach Quilts

I love to teach sewing to kids and truly believe it should be a part of every child’s curriculum.  But since they aren’t part of an elementary students course at school, these are some of the reasons why I think parents should take the time to seek out sewing classes.

1. It’s a life skill.  Sewing is one of those skills similar to cooking that if you know it- you’re better off.  Eventually they’ll have a situation where they’ll need to sew on a button or sew a seam.  Give them the gift of knowing how to do this themselves.

2. They improve their focus.  At first it may seem daunting for an eight-year-old to press a foot pedal at just the right speed while guiding fabric through the machine all while making sure they sew a straight line, but folks they can do it- I see it in every class.  At the beginning I’ve got chatty kids who can’t wait to get started and in the end I have a room full of quiet focused sewers.  Why is this important?  Because this huge study showed that kids who can focus are more likely to have a higher degree of self control which directly impacts their future success.

3. They become empowered through learning self control.  In my classes kids use full size sewing machines- not the kid sized machines.  I don’t like these small pieces of plastic junk machines (please don’t buy these- save your $25 & go buy everyone ice cream- you’ll all have a much better experience).  However before we begin, we have a thorough safety discussion.  Most kids are nervous when they begin, so I spend time talking about self control.  I remind them that they are in control of the foot pedal & thus how fast the machine sews.  I can’t stop the machine- that’s their job, so as soon as they feel nervous at the machine, they need to stop pressing the foot pedal.  In every class I’m continually amazed at how these words empower them to be aware while they are learning to become comfortable with the sewing machine.

4. They get to make something real that’s useful.  I have two different classes that I use to introduce kids to the sewing machine- a t-shirt bag & bookmarks.  At the end of each class I can’t begin to explain to you the joy on their faces that they made something!  And then I hear about how they’re going to use that item!  The really energetic students tell me how they’re going to make more of these for their friends & give them as gifts.  For several of my students this is the first time they’ve made something they could have bought in a store & they are overwhelmed with excitement about becoming a maker.

5. They use math in real life.  This is the “sneaky” part of my classes.  We discuss measurements and fractions and area and shapes- I try very hard to use the same language they hear in math class & apply it in sewing class.  With all the testing that’s required, many teachers don’t have the time to teach how math is used, but that’s something I can teach in these classes.  One day a student looked at me & said “I kinda remember learning about this in math- so we really need to use it?”  The math nerd in my was overjoyed to be able to show her how important fractions are in life!

Convinced your child should learn to sew?  There’s still room in my classes that begin next week at Art at the Center!

Sewing Classes for Kids

Teapot & I have been sick all week, so I don’t have any quilty stuff to show you (we’ve been napping & knitting…)

But I can tell you about the sewing classes I’ll be teaching this fall at Art at the Center in Alexandria, Virginia!

Intro to Sewing Class with Ormond Beach Quilts
In the Intro to Sewing Class we’ll be making bookmarks while learning about the sewing machine and the basics of operating the machine.

Sewn Fabric Collage Class with Ormond Beach Quilts
In the Sewn Fabric Collage Class kids will use a piece of fabric as the “canvas” & use fabric pieces to create a design of their choosing.  Then they will sew the pieces & embellish as desired.  By the end of class they will have several of these pieces they can put on a ring & build upon later at home.

3-D Creation Sewing Class with Ormond Beach Quilts
In the 3-D Creations Class kids will learn how to take an idea from a sketch & turn it into a reality.  There are no limits on what they can make in this class! 

This is my third semester to be teaching at Art at the Center & I’ve never been so excited about these classes!  I’ve changed the format greatly to incorporate more play & more room for individual creativity.  I want to write on this is more depth, (once my head clears from this sick fogginess), but know that I think play learning benefits more than just toddlers- that elementary kids *need* to play with sewing machines!

I can’t wait to see your kids in my classes!

 

Improv Tea Cozy

Around week 39 of pregnancy I suddenly couldn’t stand coffee.  I tried for about two days to choke down the stuff, but I finally gave up & made some tea- I’ve been drinking tea ever since.

I’ll give everyone a moment to process that- I’m not drinking coffee anymore!  (And I haven’t completely lost my marbles!)

I realized a tea cozy would be helpful to keep my tea from going cold in the mornings & a few weeks ago I had the sudden need to do some improv piecing, so I decided to finally make the cozy.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
I used the template and basic directions from Lily’s Quilts.   Which was an excellent tutorial!  (Although it I were to make this again I’d tweak the template to fit my teapot better.)  For the piecing I used a foundation piecing technique with my scrap batiks.  (I keep all my batik scraps, no matter how small- batiks are far too expensive to be throwing away the remnants.)

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
There was little planning involved with the piecing, I just pulled fabric out of the scrap bin & looked to see how I could incorporate it into the design.  It came together quickly & was just the freeing type of creativity I needed that day.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
I knew I wanted tight quilting & I threw the pieces onto the longarm with some Warm & Natural batting scraps & did some straight line quilting approx. 1/4″ apart using Bottom Line thread in silver/gray.  Some lines are closer than others, basically I just winged it, wanting the same freeing quilting experience.

For the lining I used some old teapot fabric from my mom’s stash that was a Mary Engelbreit or Debbie Mumm design from the 90s.  Not my favorite & doesn’t match in the least, but hey, it’s a tea cozy lining- let’s not get too uptight about things.

For the binding I used some leftovers from some project I can’t remember but I made waaaaay too much for!  I used a machine binding technique since my hand sewing time is precious.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
Overall I’m incredibly pleased with how this turned out- I love coming into the kitchen in the mornings & looking at my beautiful tea cozy!  And it’s been very effective in keeping my tea warm so three cheers for my idea working out in reality!

 

Camera Case & A Little Story About Me

J recently got me a new camera.  Nothing big & fancy, just a small point & shoot, perfect for tossing in the diaper bag or my back pocket.

Camera Case by Ormond Beach Quilts

Obviously it needed a case with my tendency to toss things in the bag of the day, & I’m never quite happy with the selection of cases, & there’s my “be a maker not a consumer” philosophy, so last weekend I dug through my stash & drafted a nifty pattern.

Camera Case by Ormond Beach Quilts

I’m pretty pleased with how it came out.  I’ve never made a zipper pull like that before & while it was a bugger to make (note to self, leave 2″ of zipper at end, not 1″), it adds the professional touch I wanted.
Camera Case by Ormond Beach Quilts

I pre-quilted the pieces with straight line quilting on my domestic machine.  Normally I would have done the quilting on my longarm, but the pieces were so small it wasn’t worth the time.

Speaking of my domestic machine, here’s a story you might find humorous.  Do you know I have a degree in Economics?  Even studied it in grad school.  At one time I wanted to research Labor Economics, but I decided to move to Alaska (yeah, that’s another story.)  Anyways, the point is that I’m from the business/finance world & I never even took Home Ec in high school.  So when I decided to leave that & become a longarmer, let’s just say there were some transitions to be made.  I remember coming home from my first longarming convention & telling J “these people kept talking about their domestic machine & I don’t get it.”  He gave me an appropriate stare.  I went on to say “I can’t think of any sewing machines that’s made in America anymore- they’re manufactured overseas.  Any anyways, I have a Pfaff, it’s German.” (Well *mine* was made in Germany, but let’s not get into that discussion right now).  He then burst out laughing.  I still didn’t get it.  (You do of course, right?)  Yes, he had to explain to me that it’s not an issue of foreign/domestic, it’s an issue of a machine made for commercial versus domestic use.

Yeah.  I know.  I love quilting & longarming life, but there’s still a part of me that thinks like an economist!

 

Weekend Roundup- Free Quilting & Sewing Patterns 3/16/14

Happy belated National Quilting Day!  Did you get any quilting done?  I sewed some bibs then decided to enjoy the beautiful weather- maybe I’ll get some quilting done tomorrow during the expected snow!  Onto the weekly roundup!

Here’s this week’s collection of free quilting & sewing patterns that I found during the week.  Some will be new, some will be older, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them!

 

Happy Garden by Kona Bay Fabrics

copyright Kona Bay Fabrics

Happy Garden Sunshine Quilt by Kona Bay Fabrics (Part Trip Around the World, part Irish Chain, it doesnt matter- I love this layout!  I think it would also be a great way to showcase a beautiful border print!)

 

Layer Cake QAL

copyright Material Girl Quilts

Layer Cake Sampler QAL by Material Girl Quilts (This is currently going on now- she’s up to block 8.  While she’s using 2 layer cakes, I could see this being a great scrap quilting project!)

 

Patchwork Bunny

copyright Lilac Lane Patterns

Lilac Lane Patchwork Bunny by Melissa Stramel (Another cute Easter pattern & I love the idea of making it scrappy!)

 

Seashell Bag

copyright Come Together Kids

Seashell Collecting Bag from Come Together Kids (I know it’s hard to believe, but summer will be here quickly & if you’re planning a trip to the beach, this might come in handy!)

I hope you enjoy!  And if you make any of these projects, I’d love to see them!

Weekend Roundup- Free Quilting & Sewing Patterns 3/9/14

Here’s this week’s collection of free quilting & sewing patterns that I found during the week.  Some will be new, some will be older, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them all!

Hexagon Tutorial by Art Quilt Maker (this is an excellent tutorial on how to easily cut large hexagons & how to piece them.)

DIY Dino Toy by Imagine Gnats (this is an adorable soft toy for children!  She uses fleece, but cotton would work fine as well.)

Easter Rabbit Basket by Oliver + S (Lent just started this week, but it’s not too early to start planning as Easter will be here before we realize!  You do have to buy the book, Zakka Sewing, for the fabric basket pattern, but Liesl provides the free template for the ears )

Poltam Skirt with lining from Widi Creations (If you’re interested in learning garment sewing, but don’t want to make the dowdy gathered skirt, check out this tutorial.  You have to click through a lot of links for the complete tutorial, but it’s worth the effort!)

Also, are you participating in Scientific Quilter’s March A Long?  I’m trying but there’s lots of baby stuff still to do & I’m finding my energy decreasing……

However it’s a great way to make progress on some UFOs & maybe you’ll be able to enter them in Very Lazy Daisy’s 2014 UFO Challenge!

I hope you enjoy!  And if you make any of these projects, I’d love to see them!

Weekend Roundup- Free Quilting & Sewing Patterns 3/2/14

Here’s this week’s collection of free quilting & sewing patterns that I found during the week.  Some will be new, some will be older, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them all!

Star Quilt Block of the Month by Piece N Quilt (this BOM is from 2011, but somehow I missed it then, or forgot about it, or something.  Either way the tutorials are excellent & still available.)

Spectrum Candy by Robert Kaufman (this is a great use for 1 1/2″ precut fabrics or scraps from your stash or even a large piece of striped fabric can give the same effect.)

Fabric Storage Boxes by Make it & Love It (I’ve seen lots of patterns & tutorials for fabric boxes & they were all far more involved than what I was willing to put forth- but their method is ingenious!  I can’t wait to make one or two of these!)

Frozen Fox Ice Packs from It’s Taylor Made (Cute, adorable & practical.  Even if you don’t have a child to make one of these for, you might be tempted to make one for yourself…)

I hope you enjoy!  And if you make any of these projects, I’d love to see them!