Do you ever buy a piece of fabric that you have no idea what to do with but you just know you have to have it? A couple years ago I was in a quilt shop in Bend, Oregon and spotted a succulent print in greens from the “Canyon” line designed by Kate Spain for Moda. I had to have some!
It sat on a shelf in my sewing room cabinet until a few weeks ago when I pulled it out to make this test block from a new pattern by Margot Languedoc called Pretty Little Baskets:
The pattern is definitely on my “to do” list but I only made one block with that fabric.
Then very recently Sew Kind of Wonderful released a new pattern called Curvy Bow Tieusing the new Wonder Curve Ruler and I used a bit more of the fabric to make this test block:
Such a cute block but I wondered if the fabric would look better as the background of the block rather than the focal point. I made another block to see:
Oh yes, I like that better. But I’m not ready to make an entire quilt out of it just yet. (I love the Curvy Bow Tie pattern, though, and do plan to make a quilt when I’ve decided on a color scheme.)
What I really wanted to do with that fabric was make a pair of pillowcases for the Portland White House (using my own tutorial). So I did:
And I used some scraps to try out a new mask tutorial:
Now I can’t stop thinking of ways to use this fabric. Wouldn’t it make a great camp shirt?
Now that Christmas is over, I can show you the pillowcases I made for my twin sister Diane and her husband Ed:
The cases are made for a king size bed so they measure a generous 20″ x 33″. I am so in love with that floral fabric; it’s from a 2010 line for Henry Glass Fabrics called “At Home for Christmas” designed by Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka’s Treasures. It’s been in my stash for years. Knowing I would be using most of it, I scoured the Internet looking for more and even contacted Heather to see if she still had some in her shop; alas, it is gone.
I confess it was really hard to cut into that fabric but I knew that pillowcases made from it would look wonderful in Diane and Ed’s master bedroom:
The colors are Christmas-y but the prints are not, making the pillowcases appropriate for use all year round.
I had one other thing in mind when I chose the fabric. In the picture below you can just get a glimpse of a quilt on the wall:
It’s Midnight in the Garden, one of my very favorite quilts, made from my pattern 4-Patch Wonder:
I gave the quilt to Diane for her 60th birthday a few years ago and I get to see it whenever I travel to Georgia to visit her. I figured the pillowcases would complement her quilt very nicely. And they do, don’t they?!
It’s been almost two weeks since the Dear Husband and I returned from our annual Thanksgiving trip to Georgia. I’m afraid I don’t have much to show for it in terms of sewing. Quite ironic, as the few things I have worked on fall squarely in the “simple sewing” camp.
I converted a one-pocket long-sleeved shirt for the DH into a two-pocket short-sleeved shirt. The pockets were made from the bottom part of the sleeves:
I hope you can see the pocket! I matched the plaid pretty carefully.
New napkins for the Portland White House (we don’t use paper napkins):
Pillowcases for the Portland White House featuring the same toile fabric I used in the pillowcases made when I was in Georgia (which I wrote about here):
These are ready to go in my linen closet. Judging by the look on Coco’s face, I may not get them away from her:
That simple paisley table topper I made for sister Diane over Thanksgiving is getting a re-do. It was just two pieces of fabric sewn right sides together, turned, and topstitched around the edges. Trouble was, the two layers of fabric didn’t lie completely flat. I convinced Diane I had to take the table topper home and remake it, this time stitching the layers together and adding a simple binding.
Here’s the paisley fabric with two choices for binding pulled from my stash:
We’re going with the one on the bottom left. Diane and I both like the way the linear squares play off the paisley, and it’s a better color match. I think the binding will look even better cut on the bias.
Once I’m done with that, I absolutely must make the DH a new bathrobe. The one I made him several years ago is practically in tatters. I picked up a cotton print a few months ago with his bathrobe in mind. I’ll trim it with a navy blue blender from Maywood:
It’s been a while since I made a garment. I’ll be pulling my serger out of the sewing room closet and refreshing my memory on how it works. Wish me luck!
Greetings from Norcross, Georgia, the Atlanta suburb where my twin sister Diane and her husband Ed live. My husband and I are here for our annual Thanksgiving visit spanning two weeks. We’ve already been here a week. The time is going by way too fast!
Before we left Portland, Diane asked if I would bring fabric to make a pair of what she calls “Dawn pillowcases” as a thank you gift for a friend of hers. These are pillowcases made in such a way that all seams are enclosed. You may know them as burrito or roll-it-up pillowcases (see my tutorial here.) I love to have a sewing project to work on while I am here so of course I said yes.
Diane figured I would have something appropriate in my stash. (How well she knows me!) I texted her photos of possible fabrics and she quickly zeroed in on this lovely sage and cream toile from Timeless Treasures that I’ve had for a few years:
I brought several other fabrics as candidates for contrast strips, flanges, and bottom bands. Diane chose a narrow stripe for the flange and a small leaf print for the band, deciding against a third fabric for a contrast strip between the flange and the body of the pillowcase. This is the result:
The pillowcases are pictured on the bed in the main floor guest room, whose bedspread and quilt (the latter made by moi several years ago) match the cases perfectly.
As it happened, I didn’t have quite enough of the leaf fabric to make two bands without having to piece them. I used strips of the toile to do that. Take a peek inside a pillowcase:
Here’s a close-up of the inside:
I stitched the seam allowances down so they will stay flat when the pillowcases are washed.
Diane arranged the cases in a lovely gift box:
They’ll be in the mail tomorrow.
I had five yards of that toile; perhaps I was thinking of it as a potential quilt backing. There’s enough left to make two more sets of pillowcases — one for Diane’s guest room (since we know how well the pillowcases go with the furnishings) and one for the Portland White House. I’m thankful for that!
When I spotted this whimsical travel-themed fabric at a quilt shop in central Oregon last year, the first person I thought of was my friend Anna. Anna loves animals (especially dogs), France, and world travel — probably in that order.
Several years ago Anna sold her home in Portland and moved to Paris to live. Imagine that! It was a dream she had had for many years. I knew her through a mutual friend but had not seen her for some time when we ran into each other on the street just weeks before her departure. We stayed in touch after this chance meeting and a few years later, when Anna proposed a short-term house swap, my husband and I jumped at the chance.
In 2015 Charlie and I spent three weeks at Anna’s apartment in Paris taking care of her sweet cat Buddy . . .
. . . while Anna stayed at our home in Portland taking care of Empress Theodora:
The arrangement worked out splendidly. And I was lucky enough to go back to Paris in the fall of the same year with my twin sister, petsitting for Anna while she went to the United Kingdom to visit her beau, an American who had spent his professional life working in Europe.
Anna subsequently married her beau and they bought a house in France’s Loire Valley which they share with Buddy and two rescue dogs. So you can see how this fabric seems to have Anna’s name written all over it. (In fact, the travel documents on the fabric are in the name of Jane S. Doe but we can use our imaginations.)
I decided to make a pair of pillowcases with the fabric and send them to Anna in France. Months came and went while the fabric stayed in my stash. Then I learned Anna was coming to Oregon this summer for her 50th high school reunion. In no time at all I had made a pair of pillowcases, which were waiting for Anna when she arrived last week:
I tried to tone down the cuteness factor by choosing a rather masculine batik for the cuffs of the cases. After all, husband Joe has to sleep on them too!
(For those who might be interested, the fabric is from the line “Jetset Europe” by Anne Bollman for Clothworks Fabrics. I used my own tutorial to make the pillowcases.)
Thank you all so much for your kind comments on my last post about my father’s passing. I don’t often write about my personal life on this blog but in this case my connection with my dad intersected with my quilting life in such a meaningful way that I wanted to share it with my readers. I appreciate your words of comfort so very much.
My big project for 2018, the sampler quilt known as Hazel’s Diary Quilt, has been on hold the last couple months while I worked on small projects for friends and family. I think of these projects as Little Labors of Love.
In the past I’ve shown photos of pillowcases made for my sisters Reigh and Diane. Recently I made pillowcases for another set of very special sisters in my family, Jenny and Tracy. I asked them to let me know their color preferences and then selected fabrics from my stash I thought they would love.
Another labor of love is this mysterious item made from quilted fabric:
It measures about 18″ square (not counting the straps) and is doubled in order to create four channels, each about 4″ wide and open at one end. On the inside it has Velcro strips along the sides:
When folded in half the Velcro strips close and it becomes a carrying case:
Can you guess what this is for? Only if you are a Mah Jongg player! In addition to being a champion bridge player, my stepmother Shirley is an avid Mah Jongg fan and plays regularly. She asked me to make a carrying case for the tile racks in one of her sets.
My guide for this rack carrier came from another Mah Jongg player named Dorothy Huotari who posted a photo on Facebook in June of one she had made and graciously gave permission to other crafters to replicate it:
I have enough left of the quilted fabric to make Shirley a matching bag for the tiles similar to the one shown in the photo of Dorothy’s carrying case.
Last month I put the binding on a beautiful quilt made by my friend Virginia Hammon:
The quilt was one of many made by Virginia that were featured in a special exhibit at Northwest Quilting Expo last month. The quilts illustrate a book she has researched and written about the U.S. monetary system. With the text finished, Virginia can now concentrate on finishing the quilts. Since I truly enjoy the binding process, I was happy to add the binding to this beauty.
I get so much pleasure working on these Little Labors of Love, sandwiched as they are between longer term projects.
Seriously, who could resist the lure of this beautiful lemon print from Art Gallery Fabrics? I spotted it at cool cottons, a delightful quilt shop in my own neighborhood, and quickly transformed it into a pair of pillowcases for the Portland White House.
Turns out one of the fabrics I bought recently from Jill Finley’s new line “This and That” for Penny Rose Fabrics is the perfect shade of yellow for the band. I auditioned all of the yellows in my stash and this one was by far the best fit.
I have a thing about lemons. Not just fresh lemons, which are always on hand at our house. I also like lemons as a decorating theme, and so do my sisters Diane and Reigh. When I bought the fabric for these pillowcases, I bought enough to make each of them a pair as well. Their pillowcases are in transit right now. I’m not sure which they will see first — their package in the mail or this post. Either way it should be a fun little surprise.
Just call us the Lemon Sisters.
P.S. These cases were made using the roll-it-up or burrito method, with all seams enclosed. If you’d like to see how I make them, check out my tutorial here.
I happened across one of my posts the other day written in October 2012, a little over five years ago when my blog was in its first year. I was writing about three fabric groupings in my stash that I was wild about even though I hadn’t yet decided yet what to make with them. What a pleasant surprise to discover that I have, in fact, used all three groupings!
The first was this one, a mix from several lines anchored by the red and aqua floral print in the center from Denyse Schmidt’s line, “Flea Market Fancy,” reissued earlier in 2012:
Several of the fabrics wound up in this sewing machine dust cover . . .
. . . and this set of king-size pillowcases, both made in 2013:
The second group was this one, primarily from the “Ainsley” line by Northcott Fabrics:
From this group came a small project, a kaleidoscopic table topper made in 2014 . . .
. . . and a large project, my queen-size sampler quilt Catch a Falling Star, completed in 2015:
The third group was from the “Scarlet” line by Pamela Mostek for Clothworks:
These fabrics remained in my stash until 2017, when I used them to make my current Junior Billie Bag . . .
. . . and matching accessories:
Now when I see a new group of fabrics I just can’t live without, I’ll remind myself that the fabric in my stash is indeed getting used. I’ll just need three additional lifetimes to sew my way through all of it. Can you relate?
When my husband and I fly from Oregon to Georgia for our annual two-week Thanksgiving visit with my twin sister and her husband, I almost always make something for their home. It’s a small way to thank Diane and Ed for the generous hospitality they show Charlie and me on these visits, and it satisfies my urge to make something when I’m away from my sewing room for an extended time. You know how it is: a maker’s gotta make.
I knew ages ago what this year’s project would be. That’s because Frugal Fabrics, a home dec fabric store in the Atlanta suburb where my sister lives, announced at the beginning of the year that it was closing. Diane and I have found beautiful fabrics there in past years that have made their way into home dec projects in her house.
Before the shop closed its doors for the last time, Diane bought a gorgeous piece of fabric called “Brandywine Paisley” by Duralee Fabrics. She bought what was left on the bolt – about 6½ yards – without any idea what she would do with it. (At $2 a yard, I would have done the same thing. I have a thing for paisley prints.) We consulted via text messaging and concluded the fabric would be perfect as new pillow shams in her master bedroom.
Fast forward to my arrival in November. After Thanksgiving was over, Diane and I designed the shams, starting with the notion of a simple envelope with braided trim on the “flap” of the envelope on the front. She likes her shams up against the headboard with sleeping pillows arranged in front so it was important that the flaps be short enough for the braided trim to show.
If Diane were a quilter, she would have freezer paper in her house. She’s not and she doesn’t, so I made a pattern for the flap out of two sheets of parchment paper:
I had to pin the two sheets together because scotch tape doesn’t stick to parchment paper!
Being somewhat obsessive-compulsive, I wanted the design on the fabric to match where the flap meets the sham. That meant the flap needed to be a separate piece that could be attached to the back of the sham in just the right place for the design to match up on front after the pillow form was inserted. All of this called for some careful fussy cutting – in triplicate, because there are three shams. It took me the better part of one afternoon just to cut the fabric.
What you see below is one sham in two pieces. The body of the sham is essentially a square with rounded edges and a lapped opening on the back where the pillow form is inserted:
This is what the sham looks like flat:
While I was working on the shams, Diane was auditioning pillowcases I’ve made for her over the years (all made from this tutorial). She found three pair that looked especially good against the shams:
She decided to use the pair in the middle first because the reds and greens in the fabrics are right in keeping with the Christmas decorations that started coming out that week.
Here’s a look at the shams in place in the master bedroom:
Don’t they look nice? I love the addition of the Christmas pillow. Here’s a view from across the room:
I’m back home in Portland now, ready to get back to work on a couple of projects I want to finish before the end of the year. And the end of the year is only 27 days away!
It’s been a very busy winter and spring for me. Between preparing for and teaching two new classes at the Pine Needle (one at the shop and the other at the quilt retreat I wrote about in my last two posts) and serving as an officer on a local board, something has been neglected. No, not my husband! My house. Despite my best efforts to keep up, the Portland White House has not undergone really deep cleaning since . . . well, let’s just say it’s been a while. More than a winter and a spring, to be sure.
To the rescue: my twin sister Diane. At the end of June she flew out from her home in Georgia to spend a week helping me with my long deferred spring cleaning. What a gal! We spent four days on the kitchen alone, emptying out every cupboard and drawer, recycling duplicate tools and items I haven’t used in years, tossing rusty implements, and basically reorganizing the kitchen for efficiency. Every single surface in the kitchen has been wiped down and everything sparkles. Including the floor behind the refrigerator.
How to thank her? Besides wining and dining her, I made her a gift she always loves to receive: pillowcases.
This pair of of king-size pillowcases was made using my favorite roll-it-up method with no exposed seams (see my tutorial here.) Diane put them in her large guest room, the one we call the Swankienda. She loves how well the fabrics in the cases go with the coverlet:
The fabrics are the same as the ones I made for the Portland White House in May except in those I didn’t add the band of gold scrolled fabric in mine — only because I had overlooked it in my stash:
I sure love that Paris print in the band!
Here’s a look from the foot of the bed at Diane’s new pillowcases:
The pillowcases will actually go behind the shams I made for her several years ago when she was first decorating the Swankienda. I made the pleated bedskirt, too:
My house will never be as spotless as hers but it’s looking pretty darn good right now. (Thanks, Nubs — you are the best!!)
Here’s hoping you have a wonderful weekend doing what you love best. What should I be doing? Sewing or cleaning? Hmmm . . . .