Archive for ‘Anatomy of a Project’

July 21, 2011

Anatomy of a Project: Binding the Strip Quilt

The strip quilt….it is done.  After machine quilting for what seemed like an eternity (In actuality it probably didn’t take that long. It just felt like an eternity because I don’t have a walking foot and was forced, several times, to rip out rows of stitches due to bunchiness.  Note to self, get a walking foot.) the strip quilt is finally done! 

I put it all together with a medium gray French binding and called it a day.  Calling all babies, it is now ready for play time.

June 16, 2011

Anatomy of a Project: Strip Quilt Back

In searching for some fabric with which to back this quilt, I found this. 

At first I was concerned with using a fabric that I hadn’t used in the front but then I thought that the stripes would go perfectly and it would add a little interested.  I bought two yards with the intention of using one solid piece as the back.  No fancy stuff here.  Then, to my horror, I realized that using this fabric in the direction it came off the bolt would mean the stripes on the back would be running perpendicular to the stripes on the front and also to the quilting that I had planed.  No bueno.  And so I knew I had to railroad the fabric.
Railroading the fabric also meant that there would be at least one seam in the back which I’m sure would have looked fine but which I found unacceptable.  So I thought about it and stared at the front a while contemplating various approaches to backs of quilts. (links here) 
When I purchased the Soleil for the back, I also purchased some gray for the binding.  I was thinking about this when inspiration struck.  There are three small gray stripes on the front.  If I also put three small gray stripes on the back, all will be well and I’ll have the Soleil back with gray stripes running from front to back.  And it would have been perfect had I measured twice and cut once.  Alas, I measured once and cut once which meant that I cut one strip of Soleil 1” too long and didn’t have enough to finish the whole back.  (While 2 yards sounds like a lot of fabric, my quilt is roughly 42” wide which means I only had the width of the Soleil to work with.)  So I looked back in my scraps and saw I had some bunnies left over.  The bunnies will save me! And they did as I added a strip to the back leaving me with a 2” overlap with the top on the bottom of the quilt and about an 1/8” overlap on the top.  And after writing this out it I’m not really quite sure how that happened but it did.  And it’s done.  And the stripes almost lined up perfectly and so I’m happy.


June 1, 2011

Anatomy of a Project | The Strip Quilt Top

I started with this…

…then I cut my strips, 1-3 of each ranging in widths from 6″ (for the bunnies) to 1-1/4″ (for the solids).  That led me to this.


I rearranged the strips on the floor until I had something I liked.  Then I had this.



Then I just sewed them together, usually in groups of 4.  Now I have this.



(I apologize for the horrid cell phone photos.)

Now all I need is a back and a binding.  Good thing I went to the fabric store…


May 25, 2011

Anatomy of a Project: A Baby Quilt and Fabric Choosing


So, I’ve decided to make this cute, little, yet-to-be-born baby a strip quilt and now I must decided what to use for fabric.  This process is complicated by the fact that I don’t know if the cute, little, yet-to-be-born baby is a boy or girl.  The parents want to be surprised.  I know the mom carries around an envelope in her purse that would give me all my answers; but no one is allowed to look.  Alas, I went to the fabric store with the task of putting together a gender neutral quilt scheme.  For this particular quilt I knew I needed a wide variety of patterns and solids.  I also don’t want this quilt to scream “BABY!” so, as hard as it was, I stayed away from the elephants holding the flags.  I could not, however, stay away from these bunnies.  I figure I’m pretty safe with the yellow, turquoise, and gray theme.  After I picked up the bunny fabric, I started to build a scheme featuring various shades of yellow and turquoise.  I added the gray to make it less “BABY!” and also pulled in a beautiful plumby red-color.  It might be a little bit more ‘boy’ than ‘girl’ but I think it’s just cute.  Plus I wouldn’t mind having a quilt with these fabrics sitting on my sofa so I think I’m safe on the “BABY!” front. I AM EXCITED FOR THIS QUILT! 

May 18, 2011

Anatomy of a Project: A Baby Quilt and Pattern Choosing


The thing about my baby quilts is that I always start them very shortly before I need to finish them.  I don’t give myself much time; it’s more exciting that way.  It’s also the reason why the most complicated thing you have seen me put on a quilt is the Cincinnati C-Paw.  Ironically enough this next quilt doesn’t need to be done until July and I’ve chosen an extremely simple pattern: the strip quilt.  You may recall from here that I fell in love with this quilt style after seeing it over at Film in the Fridge and immediately put it on my ‘List for Doing.’ 

What makes this style perfect for a baby quilt, besides the ease at which it goes together, is the amount of fabric you can showcase.  Baby quilts are the perfect arena for lots of cute prints and colors.  The strip quilt shows them off perfectly.  It’ also extremely flexible so if I have one print or color I like more than the others, I can cut a bigger strip of it or repeat the strip as many times as I want.

I like my baby quilts to be anywhere from 45” x 45”, the perfect lay on the floor to play quilt, to 45” x 65”, the perfect cover up while sitting on mom’s lap and reading a story book quilt.  Since, with this particular style, I’m limited by the width of the fabric, I’m aiming for around 40″ x 40″.  Lets begin, shall we?  

April 12, 2011

Anatomy of a Project:The ScottBot is Done!

Look what’s finally finished.


He didn’t turn out exactly like my drawing, but I think he’s pretty darn cute.  Look at those spindly little legs!  Had I a chance to do it all over again, I would probably reduce the proportion of the ScottBot body to the ScottBot head.  He ended up a little larger and more square than I was expecting but I am happy.

When I first went to piece the ScottBot together I realized he didn’t have a face!  So I cut some gray felt circles and stitched him some eyes and a mouth.  Much better.


Putting him together in three dimensions was actually easier than I thought.  I remembered seeing this tutorial by Brett Bara over at Design*Sponge on how to cover an ottoman and thought it was appropriate.  I followed those directions to get effortless square corners.  It actually worked.  But first I sewed and stuffed the limbs and attached them to the appropriate felt squares. 


Then I sewed all of the side pieces together for the head.  Next came the bottom and top. 


I left two sides open at the top of the head in order to stuff him and attach it to his body.  I used the same process to put together the body.


When it came time to attach the head to the body, I marked the center of the bottom of the head and the center of the top of the body.  Then, I very awkwardly hand stitched around the perimeter of the head.  It didn’t look very pretty but it seemed to work.  On to the stuffing.  I stuffed him with normal polyfil and then hand stitched up his open seems.  He looked a bit bulbous for my liking, not quite robot enough.  Here I took a cue from LittleBrownByrd (and her seriously cute robots) on Etsy and used a simple running stitch to square up his seams. 


And here he is.  Ready to love you. Beep boop boop beep.

April 8, 2011

Anatomy of a Project: ScottBot Part 4

More robot parts.

As you recall, we left out robot in a pile on the dining table.


Before I sew him together I want to attach all of his little pieces. Since this robot is for a baby and babies like to chew on things and we don’t like it when babies chew on things that get in their mouth, I first machine stitched all of my felt “buttons” onto the robot’s front.


This bamboo felt is so soft and sews like a dream. I highly recommend you get some and rub it on your face. Trust me.

All along I was planning to hand sew the words ScottBot onto the robot’s little name tag 


and after seeing how great it looked, I hand stitched a little more to give him some color and a little life. Now our ScottBot has a name tag, lifeline, heart, and four buttons.


Next, I will try to assemble him in three dimensions. It will probably be interesting. You should come back and find out.

March 28, 2011

Anatomy of a Project: ScottBot Part 3

Robot parts.


The cutting template made it super easy to cut out all the robot parts that I need.  This pile took about 10 minutes and I know everything is the right size.  The only think I haven’t cut yet is all the arms and legs.  I’m not sure how big I want those to be so I’m going to wait until I have a few things put together to figure that out.

I really like how it’s all going to look with the embroidery floss.

March 23, 2011

Anatomy of a Project: ScottBot Part 2

Guess what?  Math IS awesome.  Have I lost my mind, you ask?  No.  I think math is awesome because I don’t have to do any!  I happen to spend my real life working everyday in AutoCAD.  Aside from drawing construction details, it’s also a fantastic program for planning out sewing projects. 
Once I have my little sketch


 I just re-draw that image in AutoCAD.  This sounds complicated but for something like this robot it took all of about 6 minutes until I had this simple drawing.


 The best part is the handy little dimension tool that figures out exactly how big everything is. I can measure down the 32nd if I wanted to (but I don’t). 


This is also great for figuring out complicated quilt blocks or exactly how much fabric I’ll need for a project. 
If I’m working on something really complicated or with a limited amount of material (like one square of bamboo felt) I’ll make a cutting template.  I measure the size of my material, in this case 20” x 22” and then lay out the size of each piece already dimensioned with my dimension tool.  And another awesome feature that makes AutoCAD ideal for sewing projects?  It’s the offset tool.  I can decide my seam allowance, here it’s ¼” and offset all my pieces to include the finished cutting size.  I’ll end up with something like this.


If I’m feeling especially fancy (always) or I just want to get a better idea of how something will turn out I’ll make a PDF of the line drawing for a little Photoshop magic.  For example, this is how I plan my ScottBot to turn out.


We’ll see what happens.

March 21, 2011

Anatomy of a Project: ScottBot

This beautiful bamboo felt I bought last weekend…

…is on it’s way to becoming a robot. 

Remember last year around this time when I made a panda


Well, it’s that time again and that special little boy is turning two this year.  I’ve been seeing a lot of robots around the internet lately and thought a plush robot would be a perfect gift.  (We all know I am partial to robots.) 

I also thought this would be a good time to share exactly how I go about making things.  My Weekender bag is one of the few things I’ve made from an actual pattern.  The quilts I make usually start as an idea in my head and go from there.  Even that panda from last year was based on a bear pattern that I modified and then added to. This robot is the same way.  I don’t have a pattern just an idea.     

So where did that idea come from?  Well, after I decided that I wanted to make a robot, I looked around for some good robot inspiration.  Go to flickr and search for plush robot and you will find images abound.  The same with Google image search.  So Googled and searched and Flickred and then came this.

Lots of drawings of lots of little robots.  After contemplating how I was actually going to construct and if I wanted to add additional thickness to the robot I’ve chosen this little guy to become my ScottBot.

The next step?  Lots of math. Awesome.