Friday, June 29, 2012

Design Challenge: Patchwork Boppy Cover Tutorial

Hi Friends!!  I'm so excited to be your June guest designer here on Sew Lux's blog!  Today I want to share an easy peasy tutorial for a cute patchwork Boppy pillow cover- a great project or gift for EVERY new mom.  I can tell you from experience- the Boppy pillow is quite possibly THE single most useful piece of baby gear I own...for nursing, bottle feeding (yay dads!), and also lounging/sitting babies.  I don't know how mom's survived without these fabulous pillows!  The girlie cover I used with my 2 daughters has seen better days, and with 2 bouncing boys on the way, I figured a new cover was a must for me!
Unfortunately, the covers they sell for these pillows cute.  At least in my opinion.  And they're pricey!!  $10-$30 and SO generic.  It's so easy to whip up a cute boutique-looking custom cover, for a fraction of the cost, that matches your nursery and home decor perfectly.

Here's what you need:

You'll also need an existing Boppy cover, or even just a plain Boppy pillow, to make a pattern from.  (if you have a cover, I recommend using that over the pillow itself for better accuracy).  If you're making this as a gift and don't have a pillow or a cover to use, you can download a free printable pattern, such as this one by Prudent Baby (love that blog!).  If you do print your pattern, you'll need to follow the instructions on the pattern to tape the pieces of paper together.

Start by cutting all 6 of your fat quarters along the longer side (22") into strips, ranging between 1.5"-3.5" in width.  Just cut yourself a nice variety- start with 25-30 strips (you can always cut more if needed).
Here's what I started with- 4-6 per FQ.  I ended up cutting a few more strips as I went.

Now, stitch your strips together along the 22" edge, right sides together, using a 1/4" seam.  I like to just put all of my strips next to my machine in piles by print, so that I can quickly grab the next one I want.  No need to stick to a certain order- keep it somewhat random.

 Continue adding strips until your piece measures at least 53" wide.

Press all your seams in one direction.  Though I don't make it a habit to press on the wrong side, I do find this particular piece easiest to press from the back first with heavy steam, then flip it over to make sure your seams are all pulled taught.

Now, fold your piece in half, wrong sides together, so that you have 2 equal layers of patchwork on your cutting mat.  Place your pattern (either existing cover, paper pattern, or pillow itself) on top, making sure you have at least 1/2" excess on all sides.

Now, cut around your pattern leaving a 1/2" of excess around the edge.  Best to air on the generous side of 1/2", as you can always take your seams in later to eliminate any loose or baggy areas once it's on the pillow, but you can't add fabric that's already been cut.

Now, remove one of your pieces.  I repeat, REMOVE ONE OF YOUR PIECES....we're only working on one in this step to add the zipper.
Line your zipper up so it's perpenticular to your strips, and so that the very ends of the zipper line up with the edges of your fabric.  No need to measure anything, as your pattern piece might vary slightly from another's- as long as the very ends of the zipper fabric (not the clasp or metal parts), are at the edge of your patchwork fabric.

Make a 1" mark on your fabric, at the center top edge of your zipper- I used a water soluable marker.
 Now fold your piece in half, and align your ruler with the fold, and cut at the marking.

Your piece should now look like this (the other piece is whole though, no cuts).

Now for the fun- zipper time!!!  Place your closed zipper on the larger piece along the cut edge, right sides together (so the tab of the zipper is facing down)- pin.

Now head over to your machine and stitch a 1/4" seam.  If you have a quarter inch foot, you should be able to do this easily, without putting a zipper foot on (but if you have one and are dying for an excuse to use it, by all means do).  I'd have to say I'm in the "never dying to use my zipper foot" category.

Now here's a little trick to help you get past the bulky tab part of the zipper (without having to change your foot!)...when you get an inch or so before the tab at the end, stop with your needle down...

...Now, raise your presser foot, and unzip the zipper. Voila!   The bulky part is behind your presser foot and you can continue sewing your seam without having to battle with it.

Next we just want to pin and stitch the remaining top piece to the other edge of the zipper.  Fold up your zipper, so the tab is now facing up, and pin your fabric piece to it...stitch just as you did the other side, and you can use the same trick with the moving the tab so it doesn't get in your way.

There you go- zipper in!  Now wasn't that easy?

One last step and then you're done!!!  Layer your 2 pieces, right sides together, and making sure the zipper is a couple of inches open, and pin all the way around.  Be sure to put pins at the ends of your zipper so those be moving around when you stitch.

Now stitch around the entire piece using a 1/2" seam allowance.  No need to leave an opening- you'll just open up that zipper to turn it right side out. 

Clip the seam allowance a bit along the roundest parts, to help the seam to look smooth, and turn that puppy right side out!

Hope you enjoyed my tutorial, for this month's Design Challenge here at Sew Lux!  I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to pop on over to my blog and say hi!!! 

And if you like this particular fabric combo, don't forget to snag this limited-avail 6 FQ bundle over in Sew Lux's shop!  The bundle is on sale through Sunday!!!

Amy Gibson

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Get Excited ...

It's time to get excited ... the new precuts are here at Sew Lux Fabric!

Marmalade by Bonnie & Camille

Simply Color by V & Co

Cuzco by Kate Spain 

And more!  And did I tell you we even have some SUPER cute mini charm packs - 2.5" squares!  
Perfect for some granny square blocks, if you ask me!  :-) 

See y'all tomorrow for the Design Challenge tutorial with Amy!

Happy Sewing!  :-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Patriotic Pillow Tutorial

Hey y'all!  A little later today than I hoped, but as promised .... a tutorial for my "Patriotic Pillow."  Ready?

For this project, you'll need 1 half yard of a border and backing fabric and then three fat quarters - a red, a blue and a white.  I am using some prints from Reunion by Sweetwater.  I have a limited number of kits available here if you are interested.  (We'll include a star template with the kits.  :-) 

First, draw a star about 5 inches tall.  Doesn't have to be perfect.  Make a template by cutting out your paper shape and tracing four times onto your white fabric. I use a FriXion pen because it irons right off!

Next, you'll need to cut into your fat quarters.  You need the following:

Ok ... let's whip this together.  I had originally planned to paper-piece this, but the ease of raw edge applique won out.  And I kind of like how it makes it a little more casual.  And faster to make!  

Take two white strips and pin to a red square as shown.

Stitch down the edge of each white strip - I used about a 1/8" seam. Repeat this process on the remaining four red squares.

Next, start piecing your rows.  Press toward the blue squares.  First make rows of three.

Then make a big nine patch block. Again, press toward the blue squares.

Alright ... now its time to applique your stars.  Using about a 1/8" seam, stitch along the edge of each star.  I made sure to put each star in the same orientation in each block, but you can angle them if you want to.

Don't worry about the fraying ... we'll manage that a little bit later.  And if your stars aren't perfect - its no biggie since we're going for the casual look with the raw edge. :-)  (I also ended up clipping my points a little later since they hung over.)

For the next step, grab your half yard piece for the borders and backing.  Cut as shown below.

I forgot to take pictures of adding the borders (sorry!), but you'll add a 2.5" wide strip along the top and bottom and then along the sides.  Press toward the borders.  (Hope that makes sense!) This completes the piecing of the front.

Then you'll layer, baste, and quilt the pillow front.

I chose to quilt a straight line down the middle of each white strip and then an outline of each star.  Then around the edge of the border about 1/2 inch from the star and stripe blocks.

After quilting, press and then trim to 18.5 inches square.  This ended up making my borders 1.75 inches wide on all sides.

Set your pillow front aside and work on the backing.  Take one of your 10 x 18.5 inch rectangles and add a  4 x 18.5" strip of the red (or whatever print you'd like) to one side.  This will make one panel overlap the other a little bit more.

Then on the WRONG side, trace a line 1/2" away from the edge and fold up to meet the line.  Press.  And then top stitch down.  (You could choose to fold this under again so no raw edge was exposed.)

It should look like this.

Now, take the other 10 x 18.5 inch rectangle and repeat along one long edge.

Backing pieces are all set.... Let's finish it up.

Lay the pillow front RIGHT SIDE UP.  Lay the wider backing (with the strip) piece RIGHT SIDE DOWN on top of the pillow front, aligning the edges.

(Please ignore my mess!!!)

Then lay the other backing piece on top.  Pin around all edges.

Then stitch around all sides using a walking foot if you have one.  (Tip: I like to lengthen my stitches when I am working through lots of layers with my walking foot.)  Once you have stitched around all sides, clip the corners.

Now turn it right side out. Gently push the corners out.

(Again with my mess!  Goodness gracious!)

And press. I also pulled those fraying threads a little and clipped them to rough it and clean it up a little.

Put a pillow in it and enjoy!  :-)

What do you think?  Hope you like this fast and fun patriotic pillow tutorial.  If you have any questions or something just doesn't make any sense, just ask!  And if you make one, I'd love to see it - please link it up!

Thanks for stopping through!

Happy sewing!  :-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Design Challenge: June's Featured Blogger

It's time for the next installment of our Design Challenge!  This is the second month of our Design Challenge Series, in which we ask a blogger to come up with a tutorial using 6 FQs.  Check out the previous posts here

For June, we invited Amy of Stitchery Dickory Dock to play along ... here's her interview. :-)

Amy, tell us a little about yourself.

Hello friends!  My name is Amy Gibson, I'm from Denver, Colorado, and I blog over at Stitchery Dickory Dock.  I'm so excited to be featured on Sew Lux this week, and can't wait to share my tutorial with you!  I've been quilting and sewing for about 25 years- since early childhood really.  When I look back on those moderately frustrating sewing lessons from my mother and grandmother...("another rat's nest and I'm throwing this thing out the window!"), I can hardly believe the path I've taken since then, and how deeply those skills and memories were embedded in me.  So so grateful to have learned at such a young age, and thrilled that I've found such an amazing modern sewing community online, and in my local area, who love sewing just as much as I do!  

Right now, in addition to surviving a sweltering hot summer with 2 little girls in tow, and preparing for the arrival of our twin boys this Fall, I'm teaching quilting classes at Fancy Tiger Crafts here in Denver, as well as teaching and hosting the Block of the Month year-long sampler series over at  Never a dull moment, that's for sure!

What is your most favorite quilt block of all time?  

SUCH a hard question!  Tough to even narrow it down.  I adore stars.  Adore a classic dresden.  I'm a sucker for traditional blocks (or blocks with traditional roots) made fresh and modern.

Dresden Pillow.  Project & photo by Amy Gibson. Blogged here.
Amy also has a great "Dresden Decoded" tutorial here.

What is on your "quilt bucket list?"  

Some version of double wedding ring, for sure.  Perhaps Denise Schmidt's Single Girl quilt- love her take on it.

What is your favorite sewing tool or notion? 

A super sharp, brand new rotary blade, and square rulers- in every size.  I can't tell you how much easier it makes life to have just the right size on hand for every project!

What is your favorite sewing supply/room organizational tip?  

IKEA.  Seriously, ha.  No, I love being organized.  My favorite element of my sewing room is my counter-height cutting & ironing table.  Moving up from a plain old ironing board to that- changed my life :)  I blogged about making mine here.

Amy recently changed up her sewing space.  Read more about it here.  Photo by Amy Gibson.

What kind of machine do you use? 

Husquvarna Viking Mega Quilter

What was your first quilting project?  

Hmmm...first?  I'm thinking my first ever my first quilt was probably a log cabin in sky blue & florals.  

Where do you find inspiration for your sewing/quilting projects?  

Everywhere...blogs, Pinterest, advertisements, shops...there's color and geometry everywhere you look so I'm in a constant state of keeping my eyes peeled.

One of Amy's recent quilts and patterns!  Photo by Amy Gibson. 

What is your favorite color combination?  

Again, that's tough, since one of my loves is trying out new color combos.  I've always loved red with robin's egg blue, and grey with orange or yellow.  I also love rainbow quilts.

Thanks so much for joining us this month, Amy!  Amy chose six great prints for her Design Challenge bundle and we can't wait to see what she's made!

Stop by on Friday for her Design Challenge tutorial.

Happy Sewing! :-)