Children’s Quilts

For those of you who enjoy appliqué work for small children and are creative in this area, you will get a great kick out of making quilts for them.

You can let your imagination run wild in this field. Pick any theme and you will be able to make a beautiful creative quilt. It is so easy to make a quilt that will suit the décor of the child’s bedroom.

Once you have tried making a kiddie’s quilt you will be “hooked” on the craft and you will want to try out more designs and techniques.

If you are not particularly good at drawing the pictures yourself you can always make a visit to your local library and get ideas from posters and books.

It is a good idea to collect any pictures you might find in magazines or brochures that you think would lend themselves to appliqué work. Get yourself a file to keep your pictures flat and you will be amazed how often you will find just the right picture in your file that you can copy and adjust to suit your requirements.

Always first decide on the theme of the quilt and then on the colours you will be using. Remember that the colours of the appliquéd pictures should match the background colour of the quilt.

If you are a crafter who collects off cuts of fabric, and has a “rag bag” you will probably be able to find most of the colours you require for your pictures amongst your collection. It does not matter how small the remnant is that you collect you will find a use for it! You might just need a small piece of fabric to make a flower or leaf and you will probably have it in your “rag bag”.

Once this craft has become a passion of yours, you will find yourself looking at fabrics in the stores with new eyes. You will see designs on fabrics that will lend themselves perfectly to the design you have in mind. For example you might see a fabric with a print that would be perfect for a teddy bear or for trees or whatever you need to complete your “picture”. It is a good idea to buy small quantities of these prints and put them away for when you will require them.

It is amazing how many off cuts of fabric your friends will be giving you once they know that you are becoming an avid quilt maker!

You could either cut the front of the quilt the size of the bed or cot or you could divide your quilt into blocks. The motives can be arranged on each block to form the “picture” or if you are depicting different characters, place one on each square. Later on the blocks can be joined together.

Always make sure that you cut your blocks very straight. It is difficult to join them in a straight line if they have not been cut correctly. Also remember to add a seam allowance otherwise your finished quilt will be smaller than you anticipated.

If you do not wish to work with squares then you can arrange your motives on the front of the quilt which has been the cut the size of the bed or cot. It is just a matter of personal choice. Personally I prefer to work with blocks as it is easier to handle one at a time.

This is an example of how you can arrange your blocks. Remember you are creating a unique quilt so let your imagination guide you.

Heirloom Quilts

Beautiful handmade quilts inevitably become family heirlooms. They can be passed on from one generation to the other and will always be valued and treasured by the owners. A beautiful object is a joy forever. Some people may think it is easier to make quilts with a sewing machine for quilting, but the fact is a handmade quilt is very different from the one made with a machine.

It is always a good idea to use quality fabrics that will stand the test of time. It is a waste of time to use cheap inferior fabrics when it takes the same effort to work on good fabric as it is to work on inferior quality textiles.

When you have made the decision to work on a large quilt you have to be committed to the project as this could take quite a long time. This will of course depend on how much time you will be putting into the project on a daily or weekly basis.

Design your quilt to suit the décor of the room in which it will be used and choose the colours so that if you should change your colour scheme in the future it will still be able to tone in with the new colour scheme.

Decide on a design that you like and then start collecting the fabrics that you will require to complete it.

The total measurement of the size of the quilt can be obtained by measuring the surface of the bed plus the length of the drop you would like on the sides. It always looks attractive if the quilt hangs over the bed to almost touch the floor. Anyway this is a matter of personal choice.

Heirloom Quilts

Now you can calculate the measurements into yards or metres so that you will know how much fabric you will require. You will need a plain or patterned fabric for the backing and then the front you will either choose one fabric or you will decide to use a number of different colours to make it look more interesting.

You could divide the front of your quilt into identical blocks and then “frame” them with contrasting colours or you could play around with the blocks and make them different sizes so that when they are eventually sewn together they will form the size you require for the quilt.

Here the mathematicians can have fun working out the structure of the blocks! This principle is applied to any size quilt you might want to make. Remember always to add a seam allowance to each block.

It is always easier to work with blocks when you make a large quilt. You can complete one at a time. This way makes it easier to work as the piece you are working on is much lighter in weight and easier to manage. This is especially true if you appliqué motifs on the quilt. You get a better finish when you are working on a small piece of fabric rather than a larger one.

The blocks can either be cut from various colours or from one colour. By “framing” each block with different coloured strips you accent the motif in the middle. It is like framing a painting.

If you have decided to make an old world patchwork quilt without any theme you could sew your blocks to form a pattern or you could use the crazy patchwork method.

This means that the small blocks of fabric do not all have to be the same shape and size. The available material gets cut into different shapes and sizes. These are joined together at random to form a very beautiful colourful strip of material. Just remember to keep the edges of these strips even so that when they are joined together they will always form a straight line.

This method is an excellent way of making use of all those bits and pieces in the “rag bag” as you will be making use of many colours. You will have a beautiful finished product – something to be proud of for many years to come.

If however, you decide on a theme and wish to appliqué motifs on the blocks you have cut out this can also be great fun. If you cannot draw you own pictures make use of illustrations you will find in magazines and books.

It is great fun creating a “picture” for each block. These “pictures” can be appliquéd one at a time and then when they are all completed they can be tacked together to form a strip or they can be framed in a contrasting colour fabric.

When this has been done they can be pinned together to form the strips which will be joined together. Once this is done the strips will be joined together to form the front of the quilt.

Be careful to keep the seams together. The seams of the “frames” must correspond together otherwise it will not give you a pleasing effect.

Once you have completed the front of the quilt you can proceed to quilt it by hand or machine which ever way is easier for you.

Lay the backing wrong side up and then lay the batting on top of this and then lastly the front of the quilt with the right side up. These three layers can be pinned together starting from the middle and working outwards. Never start quilting from the edge as the fabrics will stretch and you will find that by the time you get to the other side of the quilt your three layers will no longer be neatly on top of each other.

Here is an example of a quilt made in an African design. It has been made with blocks and decorated with appliqué work. The little characters have been decorated with bead work to give the quilt an extra dimension.

A pattern of different colours was made to form the border instead of using plain fabric. This adds to the beauty of the quilt and enhances the theme of the quilt.

By just making use of different coloured fabrics and arranging your blocks in different ways every quilt you create will be totally unique.

Easy Sewing Tip – Making Doll Arms, Legs

If you sew, at one time or another you must have come across a pattern for something like a doll arm with or leg or some other small object that you are supposed to cut out, sew, then turn for stuffing. At one point I made dolls using my own patterns. I designed a doll with fingers. After cutting out my fabric and going to the sewing machine, I found it virtually impossible to keep the fabric together to sew around those fingers. And pins didn’t work because the fingers were too small. I had to come up with a better solution and not lose the finger details that I wanted!

This is what I did. I put two pieces of fabric together with wrong sides together. Then I put my pattern piece (it was an bent arm with a hand and fingers all in one piece) on on the top piece of fabric and just drew around it lightly with a pencil (you can also use a disappearing ink pen but be careful if using it on white fabric). Then instead of cutting out the arm, I simply left the big pieces of fabric together uncut and took that to the sewing machine. Then I just stitched all along the pencil line leaving a space for turning and stuffing (back stitch on each side of the opening so it won’t rip when you turn it.

After stitching, I cut all around my arm leaving a 1/4 inch of fabric around the line of stitching. Then I turned the fabric and I had a perfectly stitched arm with nice finger details! It was so easy to sew and no pins necessary! Once you try this approach, you will use it all the time! It’s not just handy for small details but for big pieces too. It’s much easier to sew a round circle for a pillow or teddy bear head if you just draw the circle, stitch along the line you drew and cut it out after sewing!

And if you want your doll arms and legs to have some stretch even if you use woven fabric like cotton, just draw your patterns on the bias. Then after you turn it you will have some stretch. And to turn small details like fingers, use a small blunt object like the tip of a bobby pin (one that is coated) or take a toothpick and clip one end and file it smooth. You can also use these blunt objects to stuff small spaces like fingers too.

Sewing Machine Review: Singer Futura CE-100

Singer, the company which made itself a household name by creating durable and very efficient sewing machines created the Singer Futura CE-100. As the name suggests, the Singer Futura CE-100 sewing machine is the machine of the future. It is both a sewing machine and embroidery machine at the same time. It is combined with sewing and embroidery functions along with a state-of-the-art technology. The Singer Futura comes with one-step button holes in two styles; one is a drop-in bobbin with transparent slide plate while the other is a one-stitch selection. The drop feed may also be modified depending on the sewing or embroidery project you are working on.

The machine has more than 50 stitching functions and 22 built-in stitches with heirloom, decorative and utility included. It is also equipped with a one-step needle threading mechanism and a programmable needle positioning. The machine allows you to pivot easily on corners during creative curved patterns. It is also easy to control stitching when working with thick fabrics such as denims and leather. The wide variety of sewing and embroidery designs allows the user to expand their creativity and combine the different designs to create a new one. This way, you will not get bored using the same designs over and over again.

The Singer Futura helps you increase your creative side to produce unique and impressive designs. The machine is made compatible with your PC which allows you to download new patterns from the internet and apply these to your projects. This way, the user is not limited to just the design provided in the machine but can use and incorporate new and better designs to their work You may want to ask for help from someone knowledgeable about PCs before installing any software applications to avoid any problems.

It may be a bit difficult for a beginner to use the Singer Futura CE-100 especially if you are not comfortable in dealing with a lot of different controls but what is great about this beginner sewing machine is that you can get help easily by going online on the Internet anytime. This is one of the great technical supports Singer offered to its avid sewing machine users. The Singer Futura may seem to be an expensive machine, with Amazon selling it at $499.99 a piece but considering its functionality as a sewing machine and an embroidery machine as well, it is like getting two machines for the price of one.

Quilt Headboard

No one absolutely has to have a headboard. Unless it’s a bookcase headboard it doesn’t really serve any purpose except to look nice. A bed without a headboard is functional but not too impressive. There’s something about a bed without a headboard that just looks pitiful. No matter the quality of the mattress and box springs, or how nice the sheets and cover, the whole bed looks incomplete without the decorative headboard.

Try to go buy just a headboard and you’ll run into all sorts of issues. For one, a headboard can be quite expensive. Secondly, you rarely see a headboard for sale without the frame, and if you already have a frame, you’ll then be stuck with another one. Good luck getting rid of that! If you don’t have a headboard, but you’d love to have one, use your quilt!

Many people purchase country-style quilts because they’re simply stunning. Women – and some men – spend hours measuring, cutting and sewing the homemade quilts to make each one unique in its own way. Some people hang a quilt such as that on a display rack, and set it out for all to see, but you can do something a little different. Use that beautiful quilt as your new headboard; it’s unusual but perfectly divine!

It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to make a quilt into a headboard. All you really have to do is hang it. As soon as the quilt is in place your ordinary, headboard-less bed will take on a whole new look. Purchase the hardware necessary to hang a curtain rod and you’ll be nearly done!

Make sure you buy a curtain rod that can stretch to at least the width of your bed. The perfect rod is a round, decorative one. A white, metal curtain rod, the type with the ends bent, is not appropriate for hanging the heavy quilt.

After the hardware and the rod are in place simply hang the quilt on the rod. Make sure the front of the quilt hangs lower than the top of the mattress. Also, if the quilt is too wide for the rod, fold both sides under a bit, and that will help you fit it perfectly to the rod.

There are other things you can hang on a rod to make a headboard besides a quilt. A piece of canvas, a lace tablecloth, a striped sheet, patterned fabric – even colored vinyl makes for a nice headboard that gives your bed that finishing touch it was needing.

How to Make a Prayer Quilt

To make a prayer quilt, you must first determine the size of the quilt that you wish to make. Typical sizes are listed below:

  • 1) a throw quilt – 56″ x 72″
  • 2) a twin size – 63″ x 87″
  • 3) a double size – 78″ x 87″
  • 4) a king size – 100″ x 92″
  • 5) a baby quilt – 42″ x 52″

Typical squares are 9″ each. You are going to need to leave a seam allowance of ½” on each side so in calculating how many squares you need, you would divide by 8″ rather than 9″. For instance, if you desire to make a throw quilt that is 56″ across, you would divide the 56″ by 8″ and come up with 7 squares across each row. To calculate the length of 72″, you would need 9 rows (72″ divided by 8″ = 9 squares). So all together you would need 63 squares (7 squares across times 9 squares down = 63 squares) cut to 9″ x 9″.

Prayer Quilt

A baby quilt would use smaller squares. I cut 6″ squares, making them 5″ when sewn together. Baby quilts are great using flannel.

This prayer quilt is like the old “rag” quilts so you must use 100% cotton fabrics or you can use flannel. The squares for the top of the quilts can be as many patterns as you desire. Usually, you would make the squares for the back of your quilt all the same color. After cutting all of the squares for the top and back of your quilt, you will need to cut squares of batting for inside each square. These will be 8″ each since that is the size of the finished square. You will also need to buy enough muslin to cut 63 squares of 8″ pieces of muslin for the prayers.

After getting all fabric, batting and muslin cut, you need to get a permanent sharpie and write a prayer on each piece of muslin. You do not have to write a prayer for every square if you do not want to. If you are going to make your quilt on the sewing machine you will need “machine quilting” thread. Buy one neutral color thread that works with all the colors in your quilt.

You are now ready to assemble your quilt. Take one piece of the back material, right side down. Place a piece of batting on top of that followed by one of the prayers. You place the top piece on top of the muslin the prayer is written on – right side up and put a few pins in it. Assemble all squares the same way.

When that is finished, take the first square and sew from corner to corner to make an “/” across the square. You may leave the thread attached if you like and sew from corner to corner of the next square, and on and on until they all have one seam across from corner to corner. If you left them all attached, cut them apart now. Next you are going to do the same thing from the other corner to corner making a “X” across each square. This anchors your batting and prayer inside each square. After this is finished, you are ready to assemble your prayer quilt.

Lay all the pieces out on the floor or some other surface and mix your patterns around until you have it the way you like it. Then pick them up in order. I pin a piece of paper with the No. 1 on the first square of the first row. Then stack the second row in the order you had it laid out. You can pin a piece of paper with the No.2 on the first square of the second row if you like. Continue in that manner until you have all the rows carefully stacked. Put them somewhere where they will not get mixed up.

Take the first and second square of row one and sew them together back sides together. Yes, your seam allowances will be on the right side of your quilt. Then sew square three onto the second square and then square four onto square 3 and etc until the row is completed. You are then going to take a sharp pair of scissors and cut the seam allowance every ¼ inch or so all the way across each seam. You are cutting from the outside edge of the seam with the scissors pointing towards your seam. The closer the clips, the more your quilt will “rag”. Sew each of your rows together and clip all the seams. It is recommended to clip seams as you go. If you leave all of the clipping until the end, your hand may get very sore.

After the first row is clipped, pin the second row to the first row. Again you are putting the backs together so that the seam allowance will be on the front of your quilt. All seams should always be on the front of your quilt. Clip all the way across that seam. Then sew row three onto row two and clip all the way across that seam. Continue this until all rows are attached to the quilt. Remember, all seams should be on the front of your quilt.

You are almost finished. You then need to sew a ½” seam around the entire outside of the quilt and once again clip all the way around the quilt. You then want to wash your quilt two, three or maybe even four times. Each time you wash it, the clippings will unravel and make your quilt “rag” Another variation is to use a 1″ seam allowance for more “ragging”. Just remember that your 9″ squares would then become 7″ finished squares so you would need to divide the finished size by 7″ rather than the 8″ we were using above. Then your muslin squares and batting squares would also only be 7″. Your prayer quilt is finished and a precious gift for any occasion or for yourself on a cold, wintery night.

Some Sewing Machine Buying Tips For Beginners

If you are shopping for a new sewing machine, it is important that you will know exactly what to look for. The market will have plenty of brands for you to select from, but not all of these options will be appropriate for you and your needs. It is essential though that you take note of some tips that will help you select the most appropriate choice for you.

Do your homework. Due diligence is necessary if you want to be sure that the unit you end up with is the most appropriate for your needs. It is always going to help that you have an idea what it is that you are looking for. Your choices will be plenty and will help you make the right choices when you know what to look for.

Your budget should be considered. Remember that these units are going to be available in different price ranges. It is always important that you know how much you are willing to spend. This is important so you know that you will only spend within your means without having to resort to buying the cheapest unit that you can find.

There are disposable units and cheaper ones that are appropriate for occasional use. But if you are hoping to get something that is meant to last for a very long time, then you will likely have to spend a higher amount. Most of the time, figures that are $2000 and higher can get you a sturdy and heavy-duty unit that will be appropriate for heavy-duty usage as well.

Quality is very important. Check the quality report of these units and find out what their warranty certificates reveal. This is important since you need to be sure that you have the right sewing machine for your sewing needs. Reviews and feedback from other buyers will be very helpful too. So, do consider them.