Tag Archives: tutorial

Welcome to my stop on Tutorial Week with Finish-a-Long. I'm sharing my process for using scraps to create pumpkin blocks.

 

Grab your orange (or yellow or white or whatever color you want your pumpkins to be) scraps. Depending on the size of your scraps and the size of your desired pumpkins you can use your scraps as is (which I've done with my single fabric pumpkins) or you can piece together your smaller scraps to form a scrappy slab (as shown in the large pumpkin) before constructing your pumpkin. You'll also want fabric for a stem and a contrasting background fabric.

Pumpkins come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Cut the largest rectangle (can be square or not) from your orange fabric.

Background is attached to the pumpkin by adding snowball corners to each corner. To determine the size of these background triangles I recommend cutting squares that are 1/5 to 1/3 the length of your pumpkin's shortest side. Make these calculations using finished dimensions. For example, for my 5" x 6" orange rectangle, subtract 1/2" in each dimension for finished size: 4 1/2" x 5 1/2". Next, calculate 1/3, 1/4, or 1/5 of the shortest length, in this case 4 1/2".

1/3 of 4 1/2" (4.5 divided by 3) is 1.5" or 1 1/2"

1/4 of 4 1/2" (4.5 divided by 4) is 1.125" or 1 1/8"

1/5 of 4 1/2" (4.5 divided by 5) is 0.9"

There isn't anything super precise about the choice you make here. The range of these calculations in this example is roughly 1" to 1 1/2". You can round to the nearest 1/4" for friendlier measurements. Then add 1/2" to your choice to get the dimensions of the unfinished square. Cut 4 squares in these dimensions. I used 1" finished (since it is between 0.9 and 1.125), so I cut four 1 1/2" squares for my corners on this pumpkin.

Use your preferred marking tool to mark the diagonal on the back of each of your four background squares, align pumpkin and background fabrics right sides together and sew on the marked diagonal line.

Trim 1/4" from stitching line and press open. (Tip: if you are working with larger pieces, you can sew a second line of stitching 1/2" from the first so that the remnant you trim off is a finished HST as shown in this previous tutorial.)

The simplest stem option is to include a rectangle of brown fabric on the top edge of the pumpkin. (You can experiment with different shaped stems and even add leaves!) For my stems I cut a brown rectangle the same width as the background square above and 1/2" taller. In this case I cut a 1 1/2" x 2" brown rectangle and two 2" strips of background each approximately half the width of the pumpkin. Piece the strip with two background pieces and one stem piece, trim to same width as pumpkin, and attach. You can center the stem on the pumpkin by folding each part to find the centers and align to attach the stem. I just eyeballed it since in nature the stems aren't necessarily perfectly centered.

Add background fabric to bring up to your desired block or mini quilt size.

Here's a glimpse of all the pieces (except for background strips).

 

Bet ya can't make just one!

This mini pumpkin is made from a 2" x 2 1/2" scrap of orange fabric, with 1 3/8" corner squares. The stem is 1 3/8" x 1 7/8".

 

This scrappy version is made from a 6 3/4" x 7 3/4" scrap of orange fabric, with 1 3/4" corner squares. The stem is 1 3/4" x 2 1/4".

Happy Sewing!

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This tutorial features fabric given to me by Island Batik.

My two favorite ways to make HSTs (half square triangles) are to make them 2-at-a-time or 8-at-a-time. For my September Island Batik project I chose to make sawtooth stars. 8-at-a-time HSTs are perfect for these blocks, so I thought I'd put together a tutorial for you!

For this project I used precut 10" squares, but they work with any size squares. See the table below for size of squares and size of HSTs you can create. Two starting squares will create eight HSTs.

Step 1: With right sides together, mark the two diagonals on the wrong side of one square with your favorite marking tool. When marking the second diagonal it helps to make sure that one of the lines of your ruler lies on the previous line. This will ensure that your marked lines are perpendicular. My preferred marking tools are Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen (for light fabrics), Fons and Porter White Mechanical Fabric Pencil (for dark fabrics -- that's the one I used here), and a Hera marker (which I generally use for solids). 

Step 2: Stitch 1/4" on either side of each line. I use my 1/4" foot. If you don't have a 1/4" foot, you may want to mark your lines before sewing.

Step 3: Cut the square in half in both the horizontal and vertical directions to make four squares.

Step 4: Cut on your original marked diagonal lines.

Step 5: Press seams. Note: If you are pressing seams open (which is my preference), you'll have to trim off the stitches in your seam allowance as shown in the first picture below. This can be done with scissors or your rotary cutter.

Step 6: Trim down each HST to the desired size. Use the chart below to determine the largest HST you can make from each starting square size.

Happy quilting!

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When I began quilting, I learned to make bias binding and to finish by hand. Now, my preferred method is to attach the binding completely by machine. Most often, by the time I'm at the binding stage I'm just ready to be done and I really appreciate the speed of this method.

Start by creating your double-fold binding strips, in your desired width. Your binding should be about 10" longer than the perimeter of your quilt. I originally used a 2 1/2" wide binding, then 2 1/4" wide before I settled on 2" as my default. I prefer to  cut my  binding strips on the bias for a couple reasons. I think it's easier to work with. The bias cut produces binding that has a little give to it. I also think it wears better in the long run for quilts that are going to be used and washed regularly. The give in the bias allows the fibers of the binding to move instead of wear and fray. If your quilt has curved edges, the bias binding will allow you to more easily follow the curve as well. (Note: If you prefer straight grain binding made from width of fabric strips, you can still machine bind!) I recommend that binding strips be connected using diagonal seams to avoid bulk created by straight seams.

 

After quilting and trimming your quilt (the white stippled section of diagram is the quilt, the grey is the table), begin by stitching your binding to the edge of the back of your quilt. Use your 1/4" foot and normal stitch length and start in the middle of an edge of your quilt. Leave about 10" of binding loose before you start sewing. I use Aurifil 50 wt. for attaching my binding. Align the raw edge of your binding strip to the edge of the trimmed quilt. Attach binding to the first side of your quilt. Stop 1/4" from the corner of the quilt and backstitch. (The arrow in the diagram shows where the corner of the quilt is.)

 

Fold the binding at a 45 degree angle. The fold should line up with the edge of your stitching and the corner of the quilt. (The first diagram shows fold line in red. The second diagram shows binding folded on this line.)

 

Then fold the binding back along the first edge of the quilt so the raw edge of the binding is along the second side of the quilt. Be sure that this second fold goes just past the edge of the quilt. I like to use a wonder clip (see in photo below) to hold that folded edge while I begin sewing the next edge.

 

Starting at the edge of side two, stitch using your 1/4" foot and normal stitch length. Continue with this method until you have turned all four corners.

 

When you are about 12-18" from your starting point, backstitch and trim threads. Lay your quilt flat with the loose ends of the binding strips overlapping along the edge of the quilt. Cut your ends of your binding strips so that they overlap by the width of a strip (shown in green above). My ends overlap 2". (Note: Remember that if your binding strips are 2 1/2" wide you should have a 2 1/2" overlap.) I find it helpful to cut off a small chunk of binding from the end of the strip and use it as a guide to measure this width to trim the ends of the binding.

 

Unfold the binding and pin the ends right sides together at a right angle and mark a 45" line on the unfolded, wrong side of one end of the binding (shown in red on the diagram). Check to be sure that binding will lay flat without any twists when this seam is sewn. Sew on the line with a reduced stitch length. Trim off excess fabric, 1/4" from stitching line. Finger press seam open, then fold binding to lay flat and press with an iron. Stitch remaining edge of binding to quilt.

 

Press binding away from quilt. Press each edge close to corners, but do not press the corners.

 

This is what the self-mitered corner looks like on the bottom of the quilt.

 

For the second pass around the quilt I switch to my standard clear-view foot and I like to position my needle to the far left so the foot is level on the binding. Increase stitch length to 3.0 - 3.5. I start by using just a few wonder clips (you could also use pins) to hold the binding in place on the top of the quilt. I  don't clip/pin the entire perimeter as I prefer to adjust the binding as I stitch and use a stiletto to move and guide the binding layer as it feeds into the machine. If you don't have a stiletto, a long, heavy duty straight pin, like the Clover Flower Head Pins, works well for me.

 

With the binding pulled taut over the edge of the quilt, stitch 1/16" to 1/8" from the folded edge of the binding. Your stitching will be visible on the back of the quilt. The width of your binding strips and where your stitching falls in this step will determine how far away from your binding edge the stitching will be on the back. This part is a bit of an art. Use a little trial and error to find a look that you're happy with on front and back. See my finished example in the last photo below.

 

As you approach the corner, you'll have to prepare the binding. I usually do this when the corner makes it onto my sewing table, about 6" from the needle.

 

Start by folding up the bottom edge, then fold the right edge of the binding over the top. I use a straight pin to hold the first fold in place along the right edge of the binding so that when I fold over the right side the seam meets at a 45 degree angle.

 

Once you're happy with where the corner seam falls, pin the binding in place. (I prefer pins to clips here because I can sew really close to the pin before needing to remove it.)

 

As I approach the corner, I stitch right up to the pin before removing it.

 

Once I remove the pin, I use a stiletto or flower head pin to guide the fabric. Stop in the needle down position one stitch past the corner of the seam.

 

Rotate the quilt and continue on the second side, removing the last pin after a stitch or two (and without sewing over it). You should be able to continue around the entire perimeter of the quilt without breaking thread. I backstitch once I get to where I started.

 

Tada! Here's the top view of the finished binding. (Adorable Ninja fabric by Elishka Jepson.)

 

Here's a view of both sides of the finished binding. The rainbow striped fabric is the backing. You can see the line of stitching visible on the backing fabric from attaching the binding.

Please don't hesitate to ask any questions or let me know where you wish there was another photo or diagram.

 

If you want to see the full view of the quilts used in this tutorial, check out my Purple Ninja Quilt, Wizard of Oz Baby Quilt, Caterpillar Fizz, and Racoon Envelope Mini.

 

In case you're new here, I send out a newsletter every 2-3 weeks. Sign up here to receive color and design inspiration straight to your inbox and don't miss a beat about what's going on at Sarah Goer Quilts.

 

This tutorial was shared as part of the 2017 Back to School Blog Hop for Sewists with Sam Hunter. Below are links to the tutorials by the other participants.

Day 1 – August 15 – Sam Hunter: How to spray baste a BIG quilt

Day 2 – August 16 – Mandy Leins: Thread Dread: removing stray bits after quilting

Day 3 – August 17 – Nancy Stovall: Batting Choices - The Sweet Creamy Filling

Day 4 – August 18 – Ebony Love: 7 Indispensable feet for your sewing machine

Day 5 – August 19 – Michelle Freedman: Machine throat plates

Day 6 – August 20 – Teresa Coates: What's What: Top-stitching, Edge-stitching, Under-stitching

Day 7 – August 21 – Kelly Cole: Getting your Sew-Jo Back

Day 8 – August 22 – Megan Dougherty: Choose to Fuse: tips for working with fusibles for applique

Day 9 – August 23 – Kim Lapacek: Tricks to being productive while hauling your kids around

Day 10 – August 24 – Yvonne Fuchs: Circuitboard quilting on Domestic and Longarm Machines

Day 11 – August 25 – Sandi Hazlewood: Chain Piecing Quilt Blocks Tips

Day 12 – August 26 – Juliet van der Heijden: Teaching a Child to Paper Piece

Day 13 – August 27 – Maddie Kertay: How to Fold Fabric for Versatile Storage

Day 14 – August 28 – Cath Hall: Working with Lawn Fabric

Day 15 – August 29 – Tracy Mooney: Tips for the Perfect Seam

Day 16 – August 30 – Teri Lucas: How to Bury Thread

Day 17 – August 31 – Debby Brown: Securing Machine Quilting Knots

Day 18 – September 1 – Flaun Cline: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 1)

Day 19 – September 2 – Jessica Darling: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 2)

Day 20 – September 3 – Trish Frankland: A bigger blade really IS better?!

Day 21 – September 4 – Robin Koehler: Tips on how to travel with handwork

Day 22 – September 5 – Jane Davidson: How to make scrappy HSTs

Day 23 – September 6 – Linda Pearl: Low cost tips for organizing your sewing room

Day 24 – September 7 – Christa Watson – Top 10 tips for quilting on a domestic machine

Day 25 – September 8 – Sarah Nunes: To Starch or Not to Starch

Day 26 – September 9 – Suzy Webster: Testing fabric for bleeding

Day 27 – September 10 – Sarah Goer: Machine bind your quilts like a pro – You are here!

Day 28 – September 11 – Vanda Chittenden: Beginner paper-piecing tips

Day 29 – September 12 – Cheryl Sleboda: Needle threading tips

Day 30 – September 13 – Kim Niedzwiecki – Different thread weights and when to use them

Day 31 – September 14 – Sandra Healy: Conquer Your Fear of Machine Appliqué

Day 32 – September 15 – Sandra Starley: Tips for Collecting Antique Quilts

 

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