Sunday, September 29, 2013

Baby Plaid Quilt Pattern

I've been kicking around the idea of a plaid quilt for a while. This summer I did a lot of sketches, some math, bought some fabric and stitched a baby quilt. And then I wrote up the pattern.


I wanted a simple, bold, macro-view of a plaid pattern. I wanted the crossing of stripes to mimic a woven plaid, where two stripes combine to create a new color. I also wanted it to be efficient - quick and easy to piece, with minimal leftover fabric. Although the top of the quilt uses 10 different fabrics, there is not a lot leftover. For 5 of the fabrics only a fat eighth or 1/8 yard is required.

The finished dimensions are 36" x 50", which is big enough to cover a standard toddler bed. I made this quilt for a baby boy, but I know it would look equally cute in girly colors. I already have plans for a few more.

I quilted the background pretty densely and quilted into the plaid stripes by about 1/8". I think straight lines at a 45 degree angle across the whole quilt or meandering in the background would also look great.

I've written up the pattern and it's available in my etsy shop. The pattern includes tips for selecting fabric, detailed instructions and diagrams for cutting and piecing the top.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pen pal kit

I've been working on a couple pen pal kits, to be Christmas gifts for two special kiddos. I've been gradually collecting ideas and supplies for a couple months but hadn't found a suitable package for the kits. Until now.

This week I was inspired by a Michelle Patterns post, where she scaled down her Idea Pouch pattern to 75% for use as a sewing kit. Clever! I scaled it down a bit further, to 55%, so it would be just big enough to hold large post cards.


I used an Alexander Henry fabric I picked up at Joann's years ago, and a coordinating piece of Kona PFD that I dyed for the lining. This size pouch requires only a fat quarter each of lining and outer fabric.

In addition to scaling to 55%, I made a few changes to the original pattern:

  1. Since I used directional fabric I pieced the outer back + flap (pattern piece D)  from two pieces so the mushrooms are right-side up on the back, and right-side up on the front flap (when closed).

  2. I changed the placement of lines on the pencil pocket, dividing it into 3 sections: 1/2, 1/4 and 1/4

  3. I omitted the top-stitching on the pleats - I felt at this size there just wasn't room.

Next time, I will trim the interfacing down by 1/4" on all sides to avoid bulky seam allowances. I might also add a pocket to the flap, like Michelle did in her post.

I need to gather a few more goodies. I think the finished kits will include:

    • washable gluesticks

    • washi tape

    • crayons, small pens or washable markers

    • stickers

    • a small envelope, full of vintage stamps

    • 4-bar and A2 envelopes and note cards

    • postcards

    • cheatsheet for postage, stationary and postcard sizes

If you're thinking of making your own pen pal kit, you might find these links useful:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Take it with you challenge

This summer the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild hosted a  "take it with you" challenge. Projects had to include some hand-work and be portable, ideally so we could work on them at the beach. I didn't make it to the beach, but I did take several road trips this summer. The big reveal was at the guild meeting last Thursday.

My project was a set of place mats. I hand-basted the hexagons, machine appliqued and quilted the place mats, then hand-stitched the binding.

I had originally intended to do six place mats, but four is still a set, right?

For the front and back of the place mats, I cut 13" x 16" rectangles. After quilting I trimmed them down to 12.5" x 15.25". They hold a Fiesta-ware dinner plate, silverware and glass but it's a tight fit. The next set I make will be a little larger, probably 13" x 16".