Category Archives: Quilting and Sewing

Aqua Dots Strip Quilt

red and white binding on quilt

I just finished a quilt that I made just to try machine binding.  It’s a quilt-as-you-go strip quilt, which means it’s quick and simple.

red, aqua, polka dot quilt

I’m loving the aqua, red and white color scheme with tons of polka dots.  Those three colors (and the dots) are among my favorite things right now.  I’m calling it my Aqua Dots Strip quilt.

I found the binding tutorial on a great quilting blog, Red Pepper Quilts.  The tutorial is here.  Four years ago when I started quilting, I took a class on binding and I’ve been finishing my bindings by hand ever since.  I usually cut my binding only 2 inches wide because I like a really tight, neat binding with no gaps inside it.  I enjoy this process, but it takes many hours and thousands of stitches (think 8-10 stitches per inch around a 400 inch perimeter).  I strained my elbow a little carrying my baby’s car seat, so stitching by hand has been irritating it some lately.  I’ve also found that sitting down to do some hand sewing is much harder when you have 3 or 4 children dive into your lap every time you sit down (not to mention the fact that there’s so much cleaning to do that you don’t feel like you CAN sit down). So this tutorial got me excited, because I’m at a point right now when I’d LOVE to be able to fully finish a quilt on my machine.

Here’s a peek at one of the nicer spots on my binding after reading the tutorial.

quilt binding

Don’t worry, there were other spots (several of them) when I completely missed the binding and had to go back and fix it.  All in all, I’m pleased.  This is definitely harder than it seems, because you stitch from the top but the binding you’re stitching is on the bottom so you can’t see it at all.  I pinned pretty well and had my machine on the slowest setting.  This method will take some practice, but I think it’s worth getting good at.

red & aqua strip quilt

The fabrics I used in this quilt actually came from a little quilt kit I purchased a long time ago when I thought that our last baby would be a boy.  For some reason, for years I really felt like we’d end up even.  Well, that didn’t happen, and these fun fabrics were still in their bag.  The binding was a great excuse to whip it up, especially since it’s a pretty small quilt (baby size).

I taught myself a great lesson in this quilt, which is that haste does NOT produce quality.  The strips weren’t cut perfectly when someone assembled the kit, and I didn’t bother to fix them.  I also was so intent on finishing it quickly that I didn’t stop and rip out a couple of mistakes… which means that the stripes in the quilt aren’t completely straight and that there’s some curve to one end of the quilt.  Oh well.  I think the quilt is still cute, and it’s certainly going to be used, but I won’t be giving it away as a gift or anything like that.  I really don’t feel like it’s a reflection of the work I’m capable of, or of the attention to detail that I usually have when I’m sewing.  Good reminder, since I’ve got like 10 quilts I’m really anxious to start!

That said, the purpose of this quilt really was the binding.  I’m definitely going to work at mastering this one!  Here’s one last look at the quilt after it had been through a rinse cycle and then the dryer.  I do like it!   I love the happy colors and the dots.

aqua dot strip quilt

What do you think?

Rouenneries Quilt… finished!

At last, my quilt is done!

Rouenneries quilt

I’ve pieced many quilt tops, but rarely quilt them myself.  This one was a learning experience for me because I opted to quilt it myself.  It seemed to take forever, but it is finished at last.  It is fairly large, about 65 by 90 inches.

The top looks like this:

Rouenneries quilt top

This quilt is incredibly simple in design, but for some reason I preferred this for the Rouenneries line over a busier pattern.  I pieced the back to look like this:

Rouenneries quilt back

I quilted this in a diamond pattern, and as I expected, ended up with some puckers on the back.  After washing it, however, the fabric looks nice and soft and broken in.  Broken in seems perfect for fabrics that were inspired by vintage french pieces.  I love it.

rouenneries quilting

Placemat to Pillow: DIY

I was on the hunt for pillows with some turquoise in them when I found these placemats on clearance at TJ Maxx.

blue placemats

I liked the colors and the pattern but I didn’t need more table linens.  And then I thought:  wait, there are four of them.  Why not make pillows with them?!  So they came home with me.

I already had some 11 by 14 inch pillow forms in my basement.  They were the perfect size.  I didn’t want to cut up the placemats because the seams would be so thick.  I also liked the back and the gentle scallop around the edges.

blue stripes on placemats scalloped edge placemat

So I decided to just sew the pillow inside the two placemats.  If I ever get tired of them, I’ll just unpick the seams and have placemats again.  It was the easiest pillow I ever made (as in, 5 minutes per pillow.)

I figured out where on the placemats I needed my seams to be so the opening would be the right size.  Then I simply sewed the placemats together on three sides, leaving one of the narrow ends open.

opening in pillow

Then I simply stuffed the pillow form inside.

I carefully sewed the opening shut, making sure I didn’t sew the pillow form into the seam at all.

That’s it!  Done.

blue placemat pillow

Nobody would ever guess that these were clearanced placemats.  They’re perfect for my space, and they have a nice shape to them BECAUSE of the floppy scalloped edges all around.

placemat pillow

The fact that you can see the striped back if you peek only adds to the charm.

You can’t beat $4.00 per pillow, either!  As far as I’m concerned, it’s a success all around.  It was inexpensive, I used materials on hand (pillow inserts), it was quick (10 minutes) and I was able to be creative.   My new pillows are now at home in this room.

white couch with pillows

Try it sometime!  They’re fun and easy to make.
This post is linked to Kimba’s DIY Day.

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