Posts Tagged ‘tutorials’

So many projects… so little time!  Today I’ve several projects swimming around my brain, and scattered across my dining room.  I chose to focus on revamping my ironing board, just because it’s one I could finish today.

new ironing board cover

My black and white striped cover is about 10 years old and stained.  That plus the fact that it’s cushioned with polyurethane foam (which is quite unhealthy, but rather common in upholstery, mattresses, etc.) has had a cover remake on my mind for some time.  I’ve seen tutorials with a nice drawstring casing, but my old cover was just stapled to the board.  Sounds good to me! Here’s what to do, if you want to remake your ironing board cover the easy way.


Materials:  Old ironing board with wooden board center.  1/2 yard new cover fabric (for a tabletop sized board).  1 bath towel.  Tightly woven selvedge or twill tape.   Scissors.  Staple gun.  Assistant.  Hammer (optional).

1.  Cut off the old cover and trash it along with the nasty foam.  For new padding, use one large bath towel, folded in half.

New Padding

2.  Lay the doubled towel out on a table and upend the now-naked ironing board on top.  Next, cut around your board, leaving just enough towel to bend over the side of the board, completely covering the edge.  For me, that was about 3/4″ from the side of the ironing board (I had to trim it down a bit more after the picture below).  You want your sides cushioned so that the edge of the board doesn’t eventually cut into your cover fabric.  Set aside.

Cut to fit

3.  Lay out your new cover fabric face down.  Again, upend your board and cut around it.   But, this time leave a good 2 1/2″ of extra fabric around the board, so you have plenty to wrap over the towel and in towards the center of the board.  Now remove the board.  Lay the doubled towel in the center of your cover fabric and return the upended board.

4.  Call that assistant!  One person should pull the new cover fabric tightly over the side and in on the back of the board.  While holding that still, place your tightly woven selvedge or twill tape over the edge of your fabric.  Your assistant (in my case, hubby) should use the staple gun to staple through the twill tape and the new cover fabric at the same time.  The selvedge/twill tape will help prevent the staples from ripping your cover.  And, yes, it looks a little nicer too, for all those times that you’re showing off the underside of your ironing board.

Stapled on

5.  Continue pulling and stapling around the board.  If your staples stick up a bit from the board, you can use a hammer to bang them flush, if desired. Trim off any extra fabric, which may extend beyond your twill tape line near the curves.  Flip and enjoy!

in Good Folks

I used Anna Maria Horner’s “Fortune” fabric from the Good Folks Collection.  It’s a nice match to our dining/sewing room decor.

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Weeks ago I made this little apron tutorial for a friend’s virtual baby shower.  She’s due real soon, so my tutorial is posting today at Progressive Pioneer to give Amy some time to nest.  Woohoo!  I am so glad to get to share it with you at last!

By the barn

Do you like it?  I had sooooo much fun with this!  It was not long after I completed the square in square charity block for Rainbow Around the Block.  I just adore the multiple square in square style.  The way the squares form diamonds when set on point made them ideal for…. apron pockets.  Yes, of course!  This apron is designed with one large front pocket.  If you line dry your laundry, you’ll LOVE this for clothespins.  So much nicer to have them on the body than anywhere else.  Bending, moving, everything – it’s way more convenient!  And, hey, you’ll look good too ;).

Apron in fig tree

You can find the tutorial at Progressive Pioneer, or download a pdf version from my Tutorials page.  This project is simple enough for a beginner, though things will go a lot quicker with a rotary cutter and mat.

Clothespin Apron Cutting

To enter the giveaway, just comment here.  New and current subscribers make a second comment for an extra chance to win.   You can subscribe by email or in a reader.  I’ll pick a winner on Friday, July 16th!

P.S.  Fabrics used:  a stripe from Red Letter Day by Lizzie House, Cathedral and Fortune from Good Folks by Anna Maria Horner and Frog Prince from Far Far Away by Heather Ross.


And the winner is Rachel of LuSa Organics.  She said,  “So lovely! I would enjoy hanging out our clothes so much with this treasure.”  I’m so glad.  Enjoy!

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Mitered Frame Tutorial

Newbie Disclosure: I am self-taught seamstress who’s owned a sewing machine for less than one year and learned most of my skills via books and web tutorials. I don’t claim that this is the best or only way to accomplished a mitered border frame. The thing is I really appreciate online tutorials and this method worked very well, so I thought I’d share it. Without further ado…

Work in progress

For my Living Color Pillow, I desired to create a natural linen frame around the finished square block above. The corners of that frame needed to be mitered to support my quilting design. I chose to make the frame all in one color, but this method would allow you to use different fabrics for different sides of the frame. Here’s how:

1. Cut Border Strips:  Determine the desired width or thickness of your frame. I wanted a frame 3.5″ thick. Next measure the length of one side of the block. Cut strips as wide as desired, but with an extra 1/2″ for seam allowances (4″ in my case) and with a length to equal Block Length + Desired Width (x 2) + 1″.

2. Sew Strips on Block:  Take one strip and center it on one side of your block with right sides together. Align edges and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Sew just to the edge of each block, leaving the extra length flapping off each side. Press seam open. Repeat for each side. Your corners should look like this:

A:  Sew overlaping borders

3. Press Miter: Now fold one of your flapping sides under in such a way that it aligns exactly with the other border strips.  This will create a perfect diagonal fold.  Press this fold to create a guideline for your stitches.

B:  Fold under, align & press

4.  Fold & Pin:  Ok, now this part is a little tricky.  You want to maintain the alignment of your border strips on that corner while folding the block in half.  Fold the block corner to corner with right sides together.  When you fold it the right way, the border strips you are working with will lay flush on top of each other and your pressed seam will be exposed.  Pin along pressed seam and darken with a pencil or other marking tool if desired.

C:  Pin along crease & sew

5.  Stitch Corner:   Stitch along line all the way to the block corner.  Trim seam and press open.  Voila!

D:  Press open Mitored corner

If you have any questions, please ask them right here in the comments so that everyone can benefit.  Thanks!

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Oh, Fransson!

Last night I poured over Elizabeth Hartman’s  blog Oh, Fransson!.  I had seen her blog’s name come up before.   Who could forget it?  But I hadn’t really visited her blog until this week.  Wow!  Not only does Elizabeth do beautiful work, she blogs with such excellent clarity that learning from her is really a joy.  I learned more from reading through her 2009 Quilt-along, designed for beginners, than I’ve learned from many a dry (and outdated) quilting book checkout out from the library.

Elizabeth’s post Color Basics for Quilting discusses color schemes with full-sized quilt examples to give you a real-world idea of how fabric swatches play out.  Her post on Choosing Fabric for the Mod Sampler quilt along, makes me want to run out and start projects in a whole slew of her fabric group examples.  And then there’s the regular stuff, like Making a Quilt Sandwich and Making & Sewing Binding.  Elizabeth does some things different than most bloggers (like pressing seams open), so her tutorials provide a new way of looking at things.  I’ve struggled with understanding the binding process, and after seeing her pictures I know that I finally get it.

My very favorite piece of work is Elizabeth’s current quilt-along, the Paintbox Quilt.  If my husband would let me, I’d make something like that for our bed.  Since that’s not likely, I’ll just have to dream about it…

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When I started sewing last summer, I said I wouldn’t be making quilts. I didn’t like quilts, and my husband hated the look. That was before I came across the modern quilt aesthetic exemplified by bloggers such as Film in the Fridge. Oh, I’m hooked. Waaaaaaay hooked. My husband still hates the look.

Yesterday I finished sewing the quilt top of my very first quilt. It is a brick-like design, inspired by this quilt by Film in the Fridge. I used my adored Good Folks fabrics by Anna Maria Horner, which I’ve already used to make a chair pad, make-up roll and my patchwork rugs. To create the brick design, each block has natural linen trim on 2 sides. Here are my finished bricks.

Pretty Pieces

They were easy enough to make, since I used the paper piecing method which I’ll explain a bit below. But, when laid out they look like this, with the linen becoming the “mortar” of the colorbricks:

Closeup Layout

Last night I sewed the backing, chose a yellow binding and some variegated yellow/golden orange thread for quilting. I can’t wait to make my quilt sandwich and start the finishing process this weekend!

For those of you who sew, you may be interested in a little paper piecing tutorial. Film in the Fridge has a great tutorial for strip-quilting with the paper piecing method. I adapted it to make these brick blocks.

First choose a lightweight paper and cut it to the desired shape of your finished blocks. I used old phonebook paper that was already about the right size. I only had to trim one side of the pages to match my quilting concept and used a rotary mat and cutter to assure 90 degree corners. Now cut your fabrics for the blocks. Next glue the first fabric with a touch of a glue stick to a paper piece to stabilize it.

Paper Piecing #1

Pin your next fabric to the first fabric with right sides together. Pin through both the fabric and the paper being careful to align the edges. In this case, I pinned the natural linen to the Good Folks cut. There was no reason for me to trim the linen to size in advance, as you’ll see later.

Paper Piecing #2

Now, sew those two fabrics together right through the paper, using a smaller stitch length than normal. I used 1.5 length stitches. Close stitches will make removing the paper easy when it’s time. Press seam open. Next pin on your next fabric piece. Here I added the second section of linen trim.

Paper Piecing #4

Sew, press seam open. Now your block just needs trimming. This is when paper piecing pays off. Flip it over to trim all edges from the back, using the absolutely square paper piece to get it easily square. Quick and very satisfying!

Paper Piecing #5

Make all of your blocks like so and leave the paper piecing on until you’re ready to sew the quilt top together. When it’s time, the paper rips right off because it is perforated from the small stitch length. Some people use muslin fabric instead of paper as the foundation so that they don’t have to remove anything. I found removing the paper quite easy and fast. My 5 year old enjoyed helping! Plus, this paper was free and already mostly cut to size.

The main benefit of paper piecing is the ease and accuracy of getting each quilt block square. When I sewed together my quilt top, it went together just right. Paper piecing also makes it easy to see if your fabrics will cover the remaining space without measuring or precutting. In my case, it made it easy to use up every little linen strip on hand.

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