29 August 2011

Delightful Dresdens! (A Wee Tutorial)

Thanks so much to all of you who commented or emailed me suggestions for my dresden dilemma. I thought about it, researched it & have managed to come up with an easy & cheap way to fix the dreaded curved dresden problem. 
Remember these?
They now look like this:

The dresden flower is completed, appliqued onto some linen & I'm in the process of hand quilting them now. 
I thought that some of you maybe would like to know how to do these, so here is a wee mini tutorial which I hope you will be of some use to you.... so here goes...

Step One: What you will need
As well as fabric & scissors - an iron, spray starch & two card templates: one for your fabric dresden petals (we will call this the petal template) and one approx 1/8" smaller than your dresden template (we will call this the finishing template)  
Step Two: Lets Cut
Cut your dresden petals using your petal template. Also, using the same petal template cut little top pieces (we will call them petal toppers) from any old material you have to hand (I used old curtain lining fabric)
For the petal toppers you will see that I just cut the curved part of the petal in my lining material so that when the curve stops, you just cut straight across to make a wee semi-circle (this is where this tutorial may differ from the method using interfacing).
Using your lovely spray starch, starch each piece so that they keep their shape.... it really will help you later on!
Step Three: Putting the Topper Onto the Petal 
Set your sewing machine to a small stitch, I used 1.5. This will help you do a neater curve

Place the wee petal topper on top of the right side of the fabric &, using a scant 1/4" seam (slightly less than 1/4"), slowly sew round the top of the curve. Start just before the petal topper & finish just after it. (If you do it this way you won't need to worry about your thread ends as they will be sewn in a seam a wee bit later on) 
Step Four: Admire Your Work!
OK you've just sewn as neatly as you can round a curve, so take it out of the machine & have a wee look at it to make sure you are happy with the curve. You can see here how I started sewing before the petal topper and finished after. 
Step Five: Trim Back 
Using a sharp pair of scissors, trim back both the dresden petal and the petal topper to help you get a smoother curve.
Step Six: Turn Through  
Do you remember the finishing template I mentioned at the beginning? This is where it comes in very handy! 

Turn your fabric right side out and use the finishing template to help you achieve a nice clean curve at the top. The point at the bottom of the template helps you centre the curve. If you are using cardboard you can iron this with the template in place, if you are using template plastic, take the template out & iron the curve carefully. 
Step Seven: Putting The Petals Together
OK you have the hard part done, its downhill all the way from here! Align carefully two petals right sides together and using a 1/4" seam sew straight down from the point where the curve of the top meets the straight of the sides. (This way you will sew over the tails of your curve sewing, so less finishing off work for you at the end). 
So we started off with three petals and three petal toppers & we have ended up with this:

This is how it should look at the back:

If you are making the whole circle flower thing, there should be 16 petals in your circle & it is good to sew them in sets of four, so that you keep things nice & neat ... but if you look closely at mine I have 17!!

So that's a wee tutorial for you... my very first one! I hope you will be able to follow it & it might be of some use you. If I can help clarify any of the steps do please get in touch & I'll do my best to help you out
I hope you all have a lovely "end of the summer weekend" & a great bank holiday Monday (to those of you in the UK)!

23 August 2011

Dresden Beginnings....

Dresden Beginnings by McGinty and Me

Oh dear! Do you ever see something lovely made by someone else & think "Wow! I would love to make that.." and so you set off cutting & arranging your pieces, only to discover that you have no idea how to sew it all together? Well that's what happened to me last night...
I love NanaCompany's recent dresden delights (http://nanacompany.typepad.com/nanacompany/2011/08/-playing-with-dresdens.html) & thought I could maybe have a go.... BIG MISTAKE!!

So I'm now asking you, on bended knee, does anyone know how to (easily) do the wee rounded bits at the top... I've done the pointy ones before.... and I really don't want to needle-turn them.... So if you could give me any advice I would be eternally grateful... really!
Thanks so much!

22 August 2011

More Swap Lovelies

Hope you all have had a great weekend!
Mine started with this wonderful parcel which the postman delivered on Saturday....
This lot of loveliness came from my Doll Quilt Swap 11 partner Lynda... everything was perfect, my favourite colour combo (aqua & red), beautifully pieced quilt & some very thoughtful extras, thanks so much again Lynda!
I finished another couple of projects, the first is on its way to Denmark:

This was my first time at hexies - I used quilt patis & really enjoyed all the hand stitching... I was a bit nervous about how they would all keep together, so I machine quilted them with variegated thread & I really love the quilty pattern on the back....Fingers crossed my partner will like this
On a technical note, for this mug rug I did a fake binding sort of thing & used the backing... if you would like a wee tute on how to do this, let me know
Another project I managed to complete was this which will be posted off to a lovely new quilty friend in the States, but I can't say anymore as I want it to be a surprise!
So what have you been up to this weekend? Hope whatever it was you had a great time!

17 August 2011

Parcels & Pouches

I've been very busy this past week completing a few projects (& I still have some left to finish!)
The first is already on its way to my Doll Quilt Swap partner, but I don't think she will check out this blog post, so here it is:
I really enjoyed making this &, thanks to Susan (http://canadianabroad-susan.blogspot.com/) for her helpful advice on the hand quilting! This was parceled up & posted off to its new owner on Monday, fingers crossed she likes it....
Another project I managed to finish is this:
Rebecca is a very special little girl who has Down's Syndrome who seems to just sparkle wherever she goes! She will be starting school in a couple of weeks time & I wanted to make something really special for her... I can't wait to see her face when she opens the wrapping paper! On a technical note, I didn't use a pattern, but to try to make it as robust as possible, I finished it with french seams:
For more details on French Seams check out Sew, Mama, Sew's blog with a guest interview with Nancy Zieman: http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/2011/08/how-to-sew-a-french-seam-expert-tips-from-nancy-zieman/
Off now to finish another couple of projects... hope you all are having a lovely, creative day

11 August 2011

Thank You!

To-day I received not one, but two amazing parcels in the post & this is what was inside:
The first parcel came all the way from America from my Pretty {little} Pouch Swap partner Christine (http://christinescreations.4rivals.com/):
Her pouch is totally gorgeous:

Christine also sent me some fantastic fabric which isn't available over here yet, the latest Stitch magazine & (amazingly) another pouch! I am totally overwhelmed at her thoughtfulness! THANKS SO MUCH CHRISTINE!

My second wonderful parcel came from my Mug Rug Swap partner Gitte in Denmark (http://moeldrupquilt.blogspot.com/)

I love the embroidery detail in those flowers:
I would also just like to say a wee thank you to all you folks who have emailed me or commented on this blog or on my flickr photos. I really appreciate all the comments & have enjoyed linking up with you all!
I hope you all have a lovely, creative & relaxing day!

9 August 2011

Lovely Labels

I am continually inspired by the awesome creativity out there & most recently I have been bowled over by the amazing quilt labels some of you have made:
1. Label, 2. BQS quilt label, 3. Close up of Label, 4. fabric + paper nanaCompany tags, 5. Brit Quilt Label, 6. DQS10 Sent - A Cacophony of Color, 7. DQS4 owl label, 8. Cutest label, 9. Close Up of Label, Name Blocked Out, Bitty Block, 10. DQS10 label, 11. Doll Quilt Label, 12. DQS10 Quilt label, 13. Cool Photo Label
So I tried to make one for my Doll Quilt Swap partner:
The only thing is - how do I quilt this without quilting over the stitching? I guess I should have thought of that before I sewed the back together!

I'm off now to try to figure out how to quilt this, hope you all have a great evening!

8 August 2011

Playing with pouches stage 3

To-day I sent off a parcel to my Pretty Little Pouch Swap partner & am nervously awaiting her reaction!
She said she would love a coin purse with a metal frame & her likes were Japanese fabrics & designers, so I came up with this wee pouch:
I used Kyoko's tutorial (http://cottonandcloud.com/blog/free-patterns/mini_purse_pattern.pdf) Although I have made metal frame purses before, I found this one quite tricky because it's so small & when I looked at all the other wonderful pouch swap creations on flickr (http://www.flickr.com/groups/1633419@N20/), I thought my tincy wincy purse looked a bit insignificant... so I made a partner for it:
For the sunglasses case I lined it with some soft fleece, so my partners sunglasses won't get scratched

These are now on their long journey across the Atlantic to the other side of America, hopefully to a happy new owner, while I get back to finishing my next swap project - the doll quilt swap. If you get a chance, check out some of the loveliness on the flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/dollquiltswap/