Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Pinnie Pennant Tutorial

Pinnie Pennant Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

My dear friend Julie of The Intrepid Thread asked me to come up with another fun tutorial for this year's Quilt Non event (for all of us who can't make it to Quilt Con East), following in the footsteps of last year's Pixie Basket tutorial. So I wrote up a quick little patchwork pennant with a landing spot for pins and needles that I'm calling the Pinnie Pennant. This little project takes 30 minutes or less to sew, and it's tiny enough that you can even hang it on the hand wheel of your sewing machine. I think this would make a cute little extra for swaps too!

Pinnie Pennant Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

If you make one of these, please share it on Instagram and use the hashtag #pinniepennant (and #quiltnon2017 if you're making it for the weekend challenge!). Be sure to tag me too @fabricmutt!

Happy sewing, friends!

Pinnie Pennant Tutorial
by Heidi Staples
Finished size: 3 1/2 x 4 1/2”




Fabric
For
Cut
Charm square of linen
Main body
1 rectangle, 3 3/4 x 4”
7 print scraps, each at least 2” square
Patchwork border
1 rectangle, 1 x 2”, from each print
Mini charm square of gold stripe print
Needle landing spot backing
1 rectangle, 2 x 2 3/4”, edges cut with pinking shears
Mini charm square of cream felt
Needle landing spot
1 rectangle, 1 1/2 x 2 1/4”
Charm square of batting
Interfacing
1 square, 5 x 5”
String or baking twine
Hanging loop
1 piece, 7” long
Charm square of floral print
Pennant backing
1 square 5 x 5”



Additional Materials
Adhesive basting spray
Twill tape (optional) for decorative loop
Basting clips
Pins & needles


Notes
All seams 1/4” unless otherwise stated.
RST = right sides together
Press seams open wherever possible.



1. On the linen square, use a pencil to mark 1” up on the left and right edges (the 3 3/4” long sides) and mark the midpoint on the lower edge (a 4” side). Use your rotary cutter to trim a straight line from the midpoint to the left 1” marking. Do the same from the midpoint to the the right 1” marking. (See photo above.)



2. Sew the 1 x 2” patchwork border rectangles together in a row, sewing along the 2” edges.


3. Sew the patchwork row to the top straight 4” long edge of the linen piece. Use adhesive basting spray to fuse the wrong side of the pennant to the batting square. Quilt as desired and then trim off the excess batting. (I stitched on either side of each seam on the patchwork as well as on the seam joining the patchwork to the linen piece.)



4. Place the ends of your string on the top edge of the pennant, lined up with the first patchwork seam from each side with the loop pointing down. Stitch in place 1/8” from the top edge.

5. Use the front panel of the pennant as a guide to trace and cut out the pennant backing piece. Place the front and back pieces RST, secure them with pins or basting clips, and stitch all the way around the pennant, leaving a 2-3” gap on the right or left edge. Be sure to backstitch when you start and stop.




6. Trim the corners and then turn the pennant right side out through the gap, gently pushing out the corners with a chopstick or turning tool. Tuck the raw edges inside the gap, press the pennant, and then sew 1/8 - 1/16” from the edge all the way around the outside of the pennant.



7. Use adhesive basting spray to fuse the felt rectangle to the right side of the needle landing spot backing piece, making sure that it’s centered. If you like, tuck in a decorative twill tape loop centered at the bottom between the felt and the backing piece.Then use adhesive basting spray to fuse that piece to the center of the linen part of the pennant. Stitch around the felt piece, just inside the edge of the rectangle, to secure in place.

Pinnie Pennant Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

8. Tuck your pins and needles into the felt, hang up your pennant, and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Goldilocks Table Set

Goldilocks Table Set by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

The Goldilocks collection seems as if it belongs with my family's treasury of vintage children's picture books. I am such a fan of Jill Howarth's midcentury style of illustration, and she's created an adorable cast of characters for her designs. My daughters actually squealed when I showed them the prints.

Goldilocks Table Set by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I was sorting through all the possibilities of what to make with this fabric when my sister suggested the perfect idea while we were chatting by phone between Texas and California: a table set. "It's fitting, right?" she added, referring to the porridge incident in the Goldilocks storyline. I couldn't have agreed more.

Goldilocks Table Set by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I've been trying to add to our collection of place mats and table runners for the breakfast nook this year. It's fun to change things up with the seasons, and it's a sewing project that takes far less time than a quilt. I used simple rectangles for my daughters' place mats, and the small runner is a quilt-as-you-go herringbone pattern inspired by my friend Maureen's tutorial, which I've used before to make some of my favorite pillow covers

Goldilocks Table Set by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I tried to add some fun details like twill tape labels and crocheted lace to the set. There's also a "story" on each place mat for the girls to look at while eating their cereal in the morning. It's all very sweet and simple, but full of personality. I love having handmade items like this in our home, welcoming us as we come down to breakfast. It just seems like such a great way to start the day.

And everyone lived happily ever after.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sweetie Pie Sew Along: Pear Block

Lori Holt's Sweetie Pie Quilt: Pear Block Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

When I signed up to be on the Sweetie Pie Sew Along tour a few months back, I decided to go with the pear block because a) it looked simple and b) my husband (who loves to work on his vegetable garden and small fruit orchard in his spare time) has been informed that our part of Texas is pear country. It just seemed like the way to go...

Lori Holt's Sweetie Pie Quilt: Pear Block Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Lori has a such a genius for themes in her books and patterns. I love the way she took a traditional Dresden plate block and put her own spin on things: i.e. the Dresden circles are "pies" which we "fill" with the fruit applique...so clever. We were asked to use Riley Blake/Penny Rose fabrics for our block, and I had a ball picking out a rainbow of prints for mine. It was so hard to narrow it down to what you see here!

Lori Holt's Sweetie Pie Quilt: Pear Block Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I never would have guessed that a Dresden would turn out to be one of my favorite quilt blocks. It always looked too complicated to me in the past, but I've been surprised by how forgiving it is. There's really no stress over matching up seams, and since I do all my embroidery and applique by machine, it comes together pretty quickly. Using a cream colored thread works so well on light colored fabrics because it easily blends into the print and reflects the background color, looking as though you took the time to match the color of your thread to each fabric. I stitched everything down onto a linen square -- patchwork and linen are ALWAYS a match made in heaven -- and it makes another fun pillow to add to my growing stash.

Lori Holt's Sweetie Pie Quilt: Pear Block Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I couldn't resist adding a little apple tag to the right side of the pillow to keep the fruit theme going.

Lori Holt's Sweetie Pie Quilt: Pear Block Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

You can get the whole scoop on the Sweetie Pie Quilt at Lori's blog right here as well, along with a peek at the bazillion amazing projects she always seems to have in the works.

Happy sewing, friends!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Candygram Mini Quilt Tutorial

Candygram Mini Quilt Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt for Sew Can She

I'm doing a guest tutorial for my dear friend Caroline over at her amazing blog Sew Can She today! With Valentine's Day coming up, I've got candy on the brain -- mostly because my daughters have decided that Smarties are their new favorite treat. This fun block takes about fifteen minutes to sew and would be just as cute on a pouch or mug rug if you're needing a quick teacher gift for the holiday. Head over to her blog for the free tutorial!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Patchwork Doll Slippers

Patchwork doll slippers for American Girl doll by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

When I was a little girl, my grandmother collected dolls. She had them on stands all over her living room, and my sister and I were fascinated by them. She bought them from shops or by mail order from the catalogs that came to her home every month. Then one day she showed me a catalog from a new business called Pleasant Company, the forerunner of what's known today as American Girl. I remember poring over those pages for hours, studying the details and stories about each of the dolls they offered (only Kirsten, Samantha & Molly in those early days). I made lists of which items I wanted and how much each would cost, reworking those figures over and over again. Sadly back then, a doll just wasn't in our family budget. It was disappointing, but I managed to wring plenty of enjoyment out of the catalogs alone, so it wasn't the end of the world.

Patchwork doll slippers for American Girl doll by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Over the past few years, my girls were each able to get their own American Girl doll from grandparents on both sides of our family for their birthdays. It's given me so much pleasure to see them enjoying a treat that I only dreamed of when I was young. We were surprised when a temporary AG shop came to San Antonio for the holidays last fall, and my daughters visited it any chance they could get before it closed at the end of January. On our very last trip to the store last Thursday, my husband insisted that I get a doll for myself as part of my Valentine present, so that I could finally have one of my own. I felt like a child again as I picked out Rebecca Rubin to take home with me. My mom purchased some clothes and even Rebecca's little kittens to go along with her. So here I am, feeling spoiled to pieces by my lovely family and having so much fun playing pretend with my daughters as they hold their weekly sister sleepovers and tea parties.

Patchwork doll slippers for American Girl doll by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

When my mom presented me yesterday with a sweet pair of pajamas that she bought for Rebecca on eBay, I suddenly thought how fun it would be to make her a pair of patchwork slippers to complete the outfit. I traced her shoes for a pattern and used a few of my smallest Liberty scraps along with some pale blue Essex linen. It was tricky working with such tiny pieces -- I've never bound anything so small! -- but I'm so thrilled with how they turned out.

It's true -- I love my new doll. But mostly I adore my precious family who surrounds me with love in such thoughtful, sentimental ways.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Happy Flower Quilts: Pin Cushions & a Giveaway

Happy Flowers Quilts Tour post with pin cushions by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I love pincushions! Is there anything so quick and tiny and absolutely adorable as a sweet little pincushion? These versions from Happy Flower Quilts by the incredibly brilliant Atsuko Matsuyama just couldn't be more fun to sew.

Happy Flowers Quilts Tour post with pin cushions by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I had originally planned to make all three of the pin cushion patterns in this book but had to limit myself to two so that I could stay up with all my other deadlines. The Log Cabin and Shoofly versions are simple and sweet, small enough that you can use your smallest treasured scraps. For the Shoofly version, I used quilting cotton fabrics paired with a favorite dotty print. The original pattern called for two pom-poms sewed to each corner, but I used only one. My daughters think it's the cutest thing ever.

If I had to pick a favorite, though, it would be the Log Cabin version which I made using all Liberty lawn scraps (except for the retro lady in the center) and backed in linen. It's everything that I love in one tiny package.

Happy Flowers Quilts Tour post with pin cushions by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I never cease to be fascinated by Japanese quilting books, and Happy Flower Quilts is no exception. This book is full of beautiful patchwork projects that I hope to make in the future. If you'd like a copy of your own from World Book Media, just leave a comment below. The giveaway is open worldwide, just be sure that your email address is in your comment or visible to me so that I can contact you! I'll choose a winner on Saturday.

If you'd like to see more, be sure to check out the other stops on the book tour listed below.


Happy sewing, friends!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

This is Life

Fabric Mutt pillows

My home is Crazytown, U.S.A. this week, as we are having about half of our downstairs flooring replaced. It's going to be gorgeous when it's done, but right now it's a disaster area. My living room is piled high with furniture, my entryway is taped off with sheets of plastic, and my daughters keep trying to sneak downstairs so they can tap dance on the cement before it's all covered up again. The logistics of keeping our dachshund away from our big dogs and our big dogs away from the workers, all while trying to home school the girls in the midst of ear piercing machinery noise, are becoming a full blown comedy of errors. Really, sometimes there's nothing you can do except throw up your hands and laugh.

It all feels like the antithesis of the Instagram life, which I've been trying so hard to keep up with over the past year. I've had little to show in the way of sewing for the past few weeks because I've had my fabric designer hat on, which means hours of researching ideas, poring over color samples, and sketching on paper and computer. I absolutely love it, but it leaves me with pretty much nothing that I can tell you about. Some days I've found myself scrambling desperately to find something new that I can take a picture of to share so that I don't drift out of the good graces of the algorithm.

In the waning days of 2016, though, I came to a sudden conclusion. Sometimes my life doesn't belong on Instagram. Sometimes the things I'm doing are boring or messy or (as hard as it can be to imagine in this day and age) just personal. I can't imagine that I'm the only one who sometimes finds myself living at the mercy of the taskmaster that social media can be. So much has been said about how we all need to keep it real, yet the pressure never goes away to keep it glossy. But really, it's okay to keep some things private. It's okay to not post every day if you don't have anything to share. It's okay to not feel like you have to have two lives -- the online one and the real one. And there is nothing so creatively inauthentic as feeling that we must drum up more creativity for the sake of posting another picture on our account.

Back when I was an elementary teacher, I had the task one year of being a chaperone for our school's annual 5th grade trip to Washington, D.C. I won't go into the many perils of trying to escort eighty 10-year-olds across the country by plane, supervise them in a hotel, and keep them out of trouble while you visit dozens of national monuments, but I think we can safely say that this was a high stress environment. Remember, this was 9 years ago, back before the social media explosion and when iPhones were still new. As a good teacher, I brought my digital camera along on that trip and used it constantly, but something strange happened when I came home. I realized that I had spent my entire trip looking through the lens of a camera, trying to frame shots and get the right photos instead of really experiencing the adventure. How sad, I thought as I looked back through all those pictures. I missed so much.

I don't want my life to be like that trip to D.C. It reminds me of the chorus from a song by Francesca Battistelli called "Don't Miss It" (you can hear the whole thing here):

Don't try so hard to move past the moment
These days go by and they're gone before you know it
So come on, open your window
Let the light shine in
This is life, don't miss it

When I started blogging, my oldest daughter was just four years old. Next month she turns ten. Everyone keeps telling me to enjoy my girls now, because once I blink, they'll be grown up. I can see the reality of that more every day. I want you to know that I love blogging. I love sharing photos with you of what I'm creating on Instagram or here at Fabric Mutt. That's part of the joy in creating, I think, to not just enjoy it yourself but to share it with others. But my soul needs, just as desperately, the pleasure of taking my girls to lunch or snuggling with my husband while we watch an old movie or baking cookies or roughhousing with the dogs or playing in the garden. Taking time off for those things sometimes means that I may go a bit longer between posts on the blog or social media, but I've made my peace with that. Some things are more important.

They brought in the jackhammers today, and it's loud enough that the schoolbooks are going to have to wait a while. So I'm off to the loft with my daughters to try sewing a doll while they play Strawberry Shortcake and practice the keyboard and see who can make their snack last the longest.

This is life...all of this. And I don't want to miss it.
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