Tag Archives: choosing fabrics

It’s Tree Skirt Season!

It’s time to sew some Christmas tree skirts and get ’em up in my etsy shop. After Halloween, which is in just over two weeks, the focus changes to the winter holidays. For Christians, that means Christmas shopping. Want a cute tree skirt? There are three medium sized ones up in my shop. Check ’em out! Click the photos to get to their listings.

patrioticskirt1

redflowersskirt1

Tree skirt for sale 70

I have six more in-progress. Fabrics range from traditional Christmas to animals and patriotic motifs. They’re medium and large sizes for now. I’ll be adding small ones for tabletop trees too.

moreskirtsinprogress

The horses are getting basted to the backing and ready for quilting. This one already has batting. I re-purposed the panels from a bag I meant to make several years ago. There’s one unfinished project fewer and a cute winter horses skirt on its way.

horsesskirtbacking I’m pinning the binding on this one as I watch TV tonight. It’ll be listed in the shop soon. Binding’s the last step! Well, technically I need to photograph it once it’s finished too.
skirtbindingAs always, I love custom orders. Sheri L. ordered a skirt last year with her choice of fabrics and was thrilled with the result. These treasures are machine washable and super-durable for years of enjoyment.

I will also have Hannukah items in my shop this year. Perhaps winter solstice, new years’ and other holidays’ too.

Sneaky Peeks

Here are a few of the treasures I’ve been working on. The first is a wedding quilt for a dear friend. Spoiler alert! It’s green.

Green Bag

I wasn’t able to go out and get this tracing for a portrait quilt of a dog enlarged today. So I pulled some fabrics for it instead! Here’s my method of keeping everything straight once I’ve made the decisions. FYI: I’ve put 90 minutes into this quilt already and haven’t yet started putting it together. That’s why I charge $25 per subject as a design fee!

prep for dog quilt I finished this quilt. Woo! It feel so good to have a project done done done. This is a signature quilt and is for sale in my etsy shop. You can sign this quilt in the beige fabric spots… which, as you can see, make up most of the quilt. It’s great for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and other celebrations. Super-durable, it’ll hold up to washings. Just make sure to follow the directions on whatever fabric marker you buy. Some of them need to be set with a hot iron.

signature quilt 1I’ve also been working on this week’s Project Quilting Challenge, which is up-cycling.

I pulled some fabric for my new guild’s round robin. I’ll be adding a border and some embroidery. Unfortunately, this is all supposed to be secret until the big reveal in a few months so I cannot share photos of it until then.

What are you working on?

Where’d You Get That Skirt?

In January my Aunt Laurie asked me to make her a custom tree skirt for this Christmas. You can read about that process here. This year another dear customer wanted one for next Christmas. Here’s the story on her tree skirt. But first, my aunt’s skirt under her tree in all its glory.

treeskirt in use

This next customer wanted a tree skirt to fit her artificial tree. So, while I was in St. Louis on vacation, we measured the base of her tree (about 1″) and calculated how large the skirt should be so it looks proportional. She was using a tablecloth wrapped around the base, but would much rather return it to the table and I was certainly the gal to help her out with that.

The second step in the process (the first being measurements) was choosing the fabric. I recommended fabric.com because I’d used them before and was impressed with their selection and customer service. She browsed through fabrics while my brother and I watched a scary movie and put her favorite Christmas prints in the shopping cart before calling me over for advice. I recommended that she choose her very favorite print and then we’ll find a coordinating one. So that’s exactly what she did! She loved the flowery fabric and the red with white polka-dots goes so nicely with it. See?

Sheri's tree skirt

Turns out, she ordered enough fabric (on my request, I usually get more than needed in case of slip-ups) that I didn’t charge her for shipping the tree skirt back to her. I made a second tree skirt out of the extra fabric. It’s up for sale in my etsy shop for $70. Here’s a photo of that one. It’s similar, just the fabrics are reversed. The red pizza slices are larger than the flowered ones.

Tree skirt for sale 70

I’d love to do a custom order for you! It can be a tree skirt, bag, quit, or whatever you can think of.

Also, I’m completely honest about my skill set. If I’ve never done something before but am confident that I can figure it out, or it’s a new patter that I haven’t tested yet, I’ll make a sample before using your chosen fabrics to make sure there are no kinks that need to be adjusted out. If I’m not confident that I can figure it out, I’ll tell you exactly that. Usually I’ll have someone in mind to refer you to as well who can probably do it. I can do almost anything. I rarely say no, but I feel it’s important to be honest.

P.S. To whichever of my quilting friends who suggested I buy a bias tape maker tool, thank you! It has saved me soooo much time when making the binding for these tree skirts. Customers, time saved means less cost since I do charge for my time. We are sew worth it!

Who’s Had an “Intentional Design Element” Recently?

I made a super-cute purse for a teammate from high school recently. (We were in the color guard together… you know, the twirly flag thing with the marching band.) Man my arms were in good shape then. Anyway…. oh yeah. She asked if I could make a purse with owl fabric so I sent her some links to several styles of owls. After she picked one, I just had to wait ’till it arrived and then I could begin.

This purse pattern by Sam Hunter includes a flap with a Velcro closure. I messed up the first one that I made. It’s supposed to be 10″ x 10″. I didn’t measure, just thought the strip size was aesthetically pleasing. It was. But it was too short, so I tried to fix that with another strip.

melissafirstflap

Now, had this purse been for me, I would have just run with it. Tell anybody who asked that it was an “Intentional design element!” Also known as, I figured it out in a creative way but you don’t have to know that! Other intentional design elements I’ve done have been caused by running out of fabric or piecing something wrong (sideways, upside down, wrong placement) and just running with it. When I run out of fabric on most projects I just add in something similar. Since this purse is a custom order for an actual paying customer (and I did have enough fabric) I made another flap. Here’s the completed purse.

melissafront

There are even little owls as the pockets and stiff bottom of the bag. (Stiff bottomed, not because it’s been at boot camp, but to help the bag keep its shape.)melissainside

 

P.S. This bag is only $85 + shipping. Let me know if you’d like to order one.

Four Faces: A Custom Portrait Quilt

When I started this blog way back in August of 2012 I gave you a sneak peak of a quilt-to-be. It was in the planning stages then and has long ago been completed. Somehow I neglected to show you guys the big finish! So here it is. I started with this photograph: 4 subjects photo

Then, taking several artistic licenses, I rendered it into fabric. I like to call it inspired by the photograph instead of actually copying the photograph exactly. Shading is important here as is texture. Plus the gravel backdrop was too boring and I’d rather not have that boot in the quilt. Two of the women in this photo are sisters, the ones wearing green and grey. You’ll notice they have the same eye color. I tried to use some of the same fabrics for these two faces to give you the sense that they’re closer related. The other two people are cousins of the sisters. Recognize anybody? Yup, that’s me on the lower left. I call this masterpiece, “Four Faces.”

FourFaces Completed

 

I’m working on a custom order now for a quilt of this sort. Instead of a portrait I’m working from a landscape photograph with an airplane in it. I can really do this with any photograph, people. The holiday gift-giving season’s coming up quickly but there’s still time to order one of these for someone you love. Check out my etsy shop for more cool stuffs.

Even Tree Skirts are Creative Opportunities

Every project has its own unique story. For example, I just finished this custom ordered tree skirt for my Aunt. I chose some modern fabrics and ran them by her to make sure she didn’t want something more traditional…. and then, as I sometimes do… I stole them. More accurately, I used a LOT of the rusty red fabric in another project. I had it right there in my stash just waiting to be used… but it was waiting to be used for this project. Oops.

Well, that’s where creativity comes in. I had planned to make this tree skirt out of alternating print and red in 8 equal sections. Instead, I cut up the red that remained into four 1/16th wedges. I still wanted the main print to have 4 large sections. So that left room for two more 8ths which I pulled from another beautiful print. Putting them together, I inserted the red where I thought the patterns needed some rest. Guess what? That means it’s not symmetrical. And, I think it’s more modern and beautiful in its imperfection that it would have been if everything went according to plan.

I constructed and quilted this tree skirt and then put binding around the raw edges. Of course, the plan was to use the red print as the binding too… which would bring it all together nicely. Yeah, I don’t have nearly enough red print left to make binding. Another design opportunity. I’m creative; I can figure this out! Time to audition fabrics.

skirtauditions

I saw that the yellow would work nicely… and decided to go bold with the blue circles. Bold is good. It’s scary and could make the whole project wonderful. Once it was sewn on, I decided it was waaaay cooler than the yellow ever could have been. Adds some sass and whimsy.

skirtbinding

 

The backing? Yeah. That was going to be the red, too. (But that other project really needed it, honest! When I can I’ll show you the quilt I’m talking about. No other fabric would have done the job as well.) I often piece backings for my quilts, but I wanted this tree skirt to have the option of being double-sided… which called for a one-fabric back. So I pawed through my stash, hoping to find something large enough that would compliment the front. Turns out that the Asian fabric that I bought over a year ago because it was just so beautiful that I had to have it was just waiting to be used in this particular project. It’s the deep blue print in the photo below.
skirtbackopening

So here she is in all of her glory. It’s been a great ride. I’ve stretched myself and made something I’m proud of. I hope my aunt loves this skirt as much as I do. Now to throw her in the wash and send her off to New England. Safe travels, my friend. I really do love you.skirtfull

 

 

* It’s not too late to get your custom tree skirt order in for this year.

Binding Doesn’t Have to be Boring

Creativity is allowed when you bind your quilt, too. Baby Mary’s quilt is getting a pretty pink binding around the light green border… but it isn’t a solid pink. There are monkeys involved here. And yes, lots of them will have their heads or butts cut off once it’s double-folded and sewn down to the edges of the quilt. But that’s okay. I think it’ll still be cute, and add some interest.

Monkey Binding

In the past I’ve also pillowcase-turned quilts instead of binding them and even fringe-cut one. So really, it’s up to you to decide on the look you’re going for. Don’t be afraid to audition new fabrics and techniques. If you don’t like it, there’s always your handy-dandy seam ripper.

 

 

Did you know I do custom orders? This baby quilt is an example of a custom quilt that will be given as a gift. Actually, most of my work is custom…. whether it’s for myself, as a gift, or for paying customers. Interested? Contact me and we’ll talk about it.