A shout-out to Fabric.com’s customer service

Can I just say, WOW?!

I placed a fairly large order with fabric.com on Sunday.  A few of the items were time sensitive since I need some special fabrics for a baby quilt (and the baby shower is in a week—I plan ahead like that). 

Anyway, their shipping is usually quite fast, and I even checked the order fulfillment time before I placed the order.  I waited all week watching my email for a shipping notice (I get excited for new fabric).  It never came.  Finally I called customer service on Thursday afternoon to find out when it would be shipped.  I thought I might have to come up with a backup plan for my project.

The CS representative said she had no idea why my order hadn’t shipped and told me they would overnight it to me and that she’d send it over to their warehouse right away.  At best I’d get it Friday, but if they couldn’t get it shipped in time (I called later in the day), then I’d get it Monday.  I got my order this morning (Friday).

Honestly, I’m just so impressed.  I didn’t ask for expedited shipping, and I wasn’t even all that upset about the situation.  I never would have expected them to do that.  They get most of my online business anyway, but I’m more inclined to shop there now than I ever was.  My husband was so impressed that he actually told me I should shop there more often—Uh, okay!!

To top it off, one of my half yard cuts had this on it:

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My half yard was almost a full yard.  Nothing much more exciting than that for a quilter!  Way to go fabric.com.  You made this lady very happy today.

Modern She Made Swap Package

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This swap was all about hexagons—WAY out of my comfort zone!  For whatever reason, I never jumped on the hexie trend.  I had seen a little English Paper Piecing with hexies at a quilt shop, but I didn’t see the process start to finish and didn’t think I’d have the patience, so I just never looked into it further.  To participate in this swap (which I love!), you had to use hexagons somewhere in the project—ugh.  I signed up anyway, procrastinated for a couple weeks, and finally dove in.

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I LOVE hexies.  After watching Ellison Lane’s video tutorial, I gave it a shot, and it was much easier than I expected.  I did not sew the individual hexies together since my partner prefers them with white space between, but I could definitely see myself making an entire quilt top out of hexies at some point.  I’m a big fan of hand stitching, and it’s nice to have portable sewing to bring when I’m going to have to sit in a waiting room, ride on a long car ride, or go on vacation where I can’t bring my sewing machine.  EPP is definitely a good fit for me, so I’m really glad I pushed myself by joining this swap.

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I used up the extra hexies on the back and made a larger flap out of them to hide the zipper.  The only thing I’m not happy with on this pillow is the crooked dot fabric on the back—ugh.  I could NOT get it to line up right but didn’t notice how wonky it made the back of the pillow look until I was taking this picture.  Hopefully my partner won’t notice or mind, and I’m glad, at least, that it’s on the back.  

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My partner also mentioned a Sew Together Bag—she mentioned it in her large item section, but I made it for her as her small item.  I’ve made several of these, so they come together pretty quickly for me anymore.  I have yet to make myself one, though!  Maybe I’ll get to that this week.

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For the outside I decided to do a quilt-as-you-go method in my partner’s favorite colors.  It was a good opportunity to pull from my scrap bins, and I like overall look.  I especially think it’s appropriate for a quilting/sewing bag to be all piecey and scrappy.  For the inside I used some text fabric.  My partner said she liked text, and this has quilting and sewing words, so I also thought that was appropriate.

I can’t wait for my partner to receive her package—I’ll add a few little sewing/quilting goodies and send it on its way soon.  I always love the sending/receiving time of the swap.  It’s so much fun to see what everyone gets and wait to get your own package in the mail.

Potholders—Handmade Teacher Gifts

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My son recently moved up to the next age group in his Bible class at church.  I always try to give a goodbye gift to my kids’ teachers when they leave their class.  It takes so much effort to plan and teach classes at church, and I’m so grateful for their efforts throughout the year!

In the toddler/twos class, there are four teachers (they need all the help they can get!), so I made four sets of potholders and added in some hand lotion as well.

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I used a partial charm pack of Moda’s Domestic Bliss.  I just loved this fabric line.  I used a few squares on a Sew Together Bag I made for a swap, but I had the rest of the charm pack, as well as some yardage I picked up on clearance, still sitting on my shelf.

I had just the right amount of charm squares left, so that combined with a little yardage, was all I needed.  I used a bit of a different method than I usually do for potholders.  Since I had so many to make in such a short time, I decided to try sewing them right sides together and turning and topstitching instead of binding as I normally would.  It was faster, but I’m not sure I like the look quite as well.

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I also skipped the insul-brite insulated layer and just added an extra layer of batting.  I’m not sure I like the crinkly sound it makes when you use the hot pads.  I’ve been using an extra set of these that I made, and they seem to work just fine without the insulated layer, and they’re not as stiff, so they’re easier to use.  I’ll probably skip the insul-brite from now on.

A Straight Line Quilting Disaster

 

I posted recently about the baby quilt I made for my nephew and how I ended up having to rip out the entire baby quilt’s worth of organic straight line quilting—not fun, in case you were wondering.

I had a really hard time deciding how to quilt this because it’s all straight lines and right angles, but the seams are all over the place, so there’s no real pattern to follow.  I thought straight lines would look best, but I was worried I couldn’t keep it straight enough, so I decided to go the wavy route to save myself some headache (at least, that was my plan).

I googled a bit and read of other quilters’ woes with straight line quilting and thought I figured out how to avoid it—I spray basted heavily, used a walking foot, gave myself plenty of extra fabric on the edges—you know, set myself up for success.  Here was the result:

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As you can see, things didn’t go exactly to plan.  Here’s where I went wrong and what I would change (if I’m ever brave enough to attempt something like this again:

1.  Press the top well and baste that quilt to within an inch of its life.  I did spray baste heavily, but i would spray even more heavily if I were to do this again.

2.  Reduce pressure on your presser foot.  I believe my machine is adjustable, but since I’ve only had it a couple months, I don’t know it very well, and I couldn’t figure it out.  In retrospect, it might have helped to consult the manual (ha!).  However, it was late at night, I was rushing to finish (always a mistake), and I was already halfway through anyway.

I think the pressure here was the biggest key to my problems.  My walking foot has so much pressure that it even leaves little teeth marks on the bottom of the fabric.  If I could reduce it significantly, I think it would reduce puckering by at least 50%.  If I could significantly reduce it, some slight puckering might be disguised after a good washing and drying.

3.  Use the free motion foot to straight line quilt.  This is a rather novel idea I read about on Crazy Mom Quilts when looking for her other post.  I haven’t tried it, but I think I will if I ever decide I just have to have “straight” lines on a quilt.

Interestingly enough, I have another quilt just like this made from different colors, and i have yet to quilt it.  I’m still pondering whether I want to give this a try again or just chicken out and hand quilt it like I did this one.  I’ll let you know how that turns out.

ONe Way to Mend Kids’ Pants

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I have two little boys, and fortunately, I got lots of hand-me-downs from a friend.  I’ve noticed, however, that pants seem to be somewhat elusive.  I always end up with plenty of shirts from other people or from shopping sales, but pants are always in short supply.  I’m not sure if it’s because they’re less exciting to buy or if kids just wear them out faster.  Either way, I always try to stock up on pants, especially jeans, at yard sales.

I happened to luck into a bunch of ripped jeans at a yard sale last summer.  They were priced at 25 or 50 cents each, and I chose a couple of good brands, planning to patch them with monster faces or something cute that I had seen on pinterest.  When I went up to pay, the lady told me I could have any of the other ripped pants I wanted for FREE—um, hello—free kids’ pants?  YES, please.  I grabbed three or four pairs in each size she had (and I left over half of what she had—she has a house full of boys, too).  I’ve had them stashed in my mending pile since the summer since my son wasn’t into those sizes yet.  Thanks to a growth spurt, I had to tackle some mending this month.

I looked at the cute monster faces and decided it would take too long, so I gathered some cute boy fabrics I had and chose to mend it the faster way.   However, I think they turned out just as cute.  Here’s how I did it:

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First, gather supplies:

  • some cute prints—my favorite here are the little wiener dogs, but any cute prints you like will work
  • some iron-on mending fabric
  • equipment: pins, iron, sewing machine, etc.

I chose to mend these pants in an assembly line fashion, so I first ironed the patches on everything, then ironed the edges of my fabric patches, and then sewed them all on.   In the interests of you learning from my mistakes, I first tried to zig zag stitch the rips, but it didn’t work out well, and I really think the iron-on patches make everything so much more stable.  The fabric overlay is really just for looks.  The iron-on patches do all the heavy lifting of holding the rip together.

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Cut a piece of iron-on patch fabric big enough to cover the rip.  I try to go past the edges by at least 1/4”.

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Next iron the edges of your fabric so there’s a nice clean edge once it’s stitched down.  After that, I pinned very well to prevent shifting.  Children’s pants are very small, so it’s difficult to maneuver it around the sewing machine.  For this project, I had to use my old machine because my new quilting machine doesn’t have a free arm.  Space was so tight that I had to sew in reverse on a couple sides of the patch—just do the best you can to get all the way around the patch.

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Clip your threads on the back when you’re finished (I noticed a tension problem on my machine AFTER I had sewn the patches—they’re still secure, though, so I’m not going to worry about it).  Other than maneuvering such a small pant leg around your machine, this is a pretty straightforward project.

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At first I had planned for these to be for play only.  However, my son likes them so much that I’ve been letting him wear them wherever he wants.  Besides, I honestly think they’re cuter than plain jeans anyway!

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These will work for boys or girls, I think, depending on the fabrics chosen.  I could even see myself doing some cute flower embroidery on girls’ patches….if I’m blessed enough to have a little girl in my future sometime.    I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled at yard sales from now on for cheap jeans!

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WIP: Twin Chevron Quilts

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This past week I’ve started working on two twin size quilts.  They’re for a custom order, and I just love the fabrics that were chosen.  The fronts are a basic chevron, and the backing fabric is the cute tree print with a strip of the pink down the back.  They’re for two sisters.

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I’ve finally finished the cutting and pressing—there are 360 of these babies ready to go.  Now, I just have to sew them all together to finish out the tops.  That should go more quickly than the half-square triangles…I’d forgotten how long these take to cut and press.

I’m hoping to get the tops sewn together by the end of the week and then baste the quilts together over the weekend.  The basting is always easier when I have my husband around to help me move the dining room table so I have a large floor space.  I’m happy with my progress so far—can’t wait to see how they look once they’re finished!

 

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I’ve been working on a few things for Valentine’s Day.  The first project is one I made for my Secret Sister at the church I attend.  Last year I tried not to do too much sewing for my secret sister because I knew she could easily figure it out.  However, other ladies ended up buying some handmade things, so I think I might be safe in making up a few items over the course of the year.

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When I saw the patchwork heart tutorial on Sew Mama Sew, it was so cute I decided to make it into a little zipper pouch.  I didn’t read the tutorial instructions, and I do believe they’re different than how I put this together.  For mine, I improv-pieced a slab of red and pink scraps, cut out a heart, and then used fusible web to fuse it to the gray linen.  I stitched around the edge to prevent fraying and added some hand stitching and a button, just as in the tutorial picture.  I was really happy with how mine turned out.  I filled it with similarly colored goodies, and I think it turned into a really cute package, if I say so myself!

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In other Valentine projects, I made my son’s valentines for school again this year.  He chose minions.  I think I’ve seen Despicable Me 2 at least a hundred times by now…but honestly, it’s such a cute movie that I’m not really all that tired of it yet.

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I also made a plate of cookies for my husband to take to work for his team.  I often send in cookies on holidays, and if I wait too long between times, my husband gets requests.  These aren’t the prettiest cookies ever, but they (the factory guys) tend to go for taste over looks, so I used buttercream frosting instead of royal because they all like it better.  They’re still cute, just nothing fancy.

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WIP: Baby Quilt

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I’ve just recently finished (maybe) the quilting on this baby quilt.  I can’t decide if it needs another line of quilting down the middle of each chevron or if it looks good as is.  So, I’m going to ask my customer which she prefers and let her decide.  The backing fabric will also be the binding, and I don’t want the quilting to get too busy and overwhelm the eye.  I think the beauty of this design is in its simplicity.

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This last picture is a better representation of the true colors.  I was having lighting issues this afternoon, but I’m hoping to get some feedback from my customer and be able to finish and ship out this week or next, so I wanted to go ahead and get the pictures up.

I’ve had so much fun with the hand quilting on this project.  The colors are great together, and it always makes a project more enjoyable when I’m really in love with it.

WIP: Custom Baby Quilt

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I recently had another order for a chevron baby quilt, and I’ve just finished piecing the top.  The coral fabric pictured is for the back and binding, and it will be hand quilted with a matching coral thread.  The colors are just beautiful together.  The colors here are a little paler than in real life.

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It measures about 36”x54”.  Contrary to my normal practice, I did prewash the coral fabric (hence the reason for the wrinkles—I haven’t ironed it yet).  I was worried there might be bleeding issues since it’s such a bright color, and the gray and aqua on the front are so pale.  However, I didn’t notice any color bleeding in the wash, so it might have been just fine anyway—better safe than sorry, though!

I plan to baste it tonight and then get started on the quilting.  I really love hand quilting—it’s the perfect excuse to sit down and catch up on TV!

Super Tote

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I’ve had this tote finished for a while, but it was on my wayward SD card, so I haven’t been able to post about it until now.  These are the only two pictures that survived, and this one is a little yellow looking, but you get the idea.

The nice thing about writing about it after so long is that I’ve had a chance to really use it and give a good opinion on it.  I’ve been using it as my diaper bag, and it’s really the perfect size.  The pattern was also easy to follow.

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I used quilting cotton, so it required a TON of interfacing, and if I ever make this bag again, I plan to use home decor weight instead.  The biggest problem I’m having with it is that the top wants to roll down when it has stuff in it.  You can kind of see that in the picture.  The fabric also isn’t holding up that well since it’s so lightweight.  However, I’ll know to use heavier fabrics from now on.

I love all the pockets—the interior is great, as is the exterior pocket for tossing in keys.  I haven’t been carrying it recently since the rolling top bothers me, but I’ll definitely keep it around for a spring bag or beach bag next year.