Bridal Shower Gift/Activity

April Showers…. generally that means rain to get the ground ready for Spring.  But around my house, it recently meant baby showers.  My daughter was hosting a shower for a friend who was having twins – these were her first children, so of course there were not any ‘leftovers’ in the essentials department (namely onesies and burp cloths).  The expectant mother had asked for those types of items as part of the gifts being brought to greet her little darlings.

So, being inventive, that’s what my daughter and the girls decided to do for the baby shower.  They purchased a bunch of plain onesies, and cloth  diapers to use as burp cloths.  Then (with permission) they raided my stash of small fabric pieces.  Each particpant at the shower was given a blank canvas (onesie or diaper) to work with – and they created appliques to go on their ‘canvas’.  The applique was made using fusible webbing (Wonder Under in this case).

Everyone had lots of fun exploring their creativity, even though many of them had never touched a sewing machine.  Here are some pictures of what they came up with (click the picture to see the larger image).

After the shower, I got to do my part – doing the actual applique stitching on the projects.  So as you can see, this is a shower idea that even a group of non-sewers can do!  (Just make sure you have at least one person willing and able to do the final stitching!)

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila

FREE Pattern: Tree Quilt (Baby Quilt)

Recently, I was asked to assist with projects created at a young friend’s baby shower (more on that in another post) – and that got me to thinking about baby quilts and projects.  So when I was asked to create a project for Olfa’s website, I decided to make it a baby quilt.  I didn’t want to make a quilt that was just for a girl, or just for a boy – so I decided on a simple color scheme of soft blue and green, with some brown for the tree.  The tree is made with large rounded leafy sections, rather than individual leaves – which makes it simpler for baby’s eyes.

Olfa Circle Cutter

Olfa Circle Cutter

This project is made easy when you use the Olfa Circle Cutter – which makes perfect circles of whatever diameter you want (within the limits of the cutter of course).  The current model of the cutter will make circles ranging from 1 7/8″ to 8 1/2″, quite versatile.  The circles I used for this project ranged from 1 7/8″ to 5 1/2″.

Finished quilt size: Approximately 45″ x 60″
Difficulty level: Intermediate

Materials

  • 2 yards fusible web for appliqués
  • 3/4 yard blue background fabric (Cut 25 1/2″ X 41 1/2″)
  • 1/4 yard each of 4 different green fabrics for round leaves
  • 1 yd brown (tree, 1st border, and binding)
  • 1⅓ yard of 2nd border fabric (blue fabric with dot pattern used in my example)
  • Scraps of gold and black fabric for birds
  • Batting
  • Backing

Construction –

  1. Enlarge the following pattern 300%. Tree Pattern
  2. Iron 9″ strips of fusible web onto each of the green fabrics for leaves. This is done before you cut the circles for the leaves.
  3. Using the pattern as a guide, use your Olfa Circle Cutter to cut circles in different sizes. (Find out how easily and accurately you can cut circles with this tool!) My circles ranged in sizes from 1 7/8″ to 5 1/2″ in diameter.
  4. Cut binding from brown fabric: 5 strips 2.5” x the WOF (width of fabric), or if you are not comfortable with this method, purchase a binding that will complement the fabrics in the pattern.
  5. Cut 2nd border fabric: 2 strips 43.5” x 9”, 2 strips 44.5” x 9”
  6. Cut blue background fabric 25.5” x 41.5”
  7. Cut brown border fabric: 2 strips 41.5” x 1.5”, 2 strips 27.5” x 1.5”
  8. Draw tree and bird appliqué designs onto the fusible web. Iron web on to back of the appropriate fabrics (brown for tree, gold for birds). Cut on drawn line. Peel paper off of web and fuse to quilt top.
  9. Applique the design using your favorite method.

You can see from this closeup, I used a zig-zag stitch to stitch down the appliques, with threads that matched the fabrics.  If you want your applique to stand out more, you could use a blanket stitch as we did in the recent Easter Placemat project.

Baby 2Just remember, any time you are making a project to give to someone else – like a baby’s quilt, you don’t know how they will use it.  This quilt may become a wall-hanging, or it may be used in the crib.  So make sure that you construct it in a safe manner.

For those of you that may have never used a circle cutter, don’t let it scare you off.  The cutter itself is easy to use – with a guide to set the size of the circles, a rotary head to do the cutting, and a handle to use when spining the tool to make the circle.  If you ever used a compass in math class – you can use a circle cutter.

And if you want to personalize this quilt even further, considering turning the tree into a family tree – embroider the names of the baby’s family onto the leaves of the tree!

Just a quick reminder on the pictures in this post – all pictures are clickable, and in most cases have been sized down for inserting into the blog.  If you want to see a larger view of any of the pictures, just click!

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila

FREE Pattern – Easter Placemat #2

Well it’s March, spring is coming (or so we are told, but I know that’s hard to believe in some parts of the country), and Easter is just around the corner. You all seemed to enjoy my Easter placemats with the fabric yo-yos so much, that I thought you might like a different idea to use this Easter.

Easter often means family, and plenty of young children. And what do young children mean? Messes!
Here are some placemats that the kids will love to use, and that will help you contain the mess. The silverware pocket will be a fun added element for the small ones, who can help to set their own place at the table. You may even continue to use these throughout the spring!

Easter Placemats

Materials (will yield set of four placemats):

  • 2/3 yds – center fabric (bunny print)
  • 1 fat quarter – accent fabric one (green polka dot)
  • 1 fat quarter – accent fabric two (yellow stripe)
  • 1/8 yd – muslin (to make bunny faces)
  • 1/8 yd – green fabric (carrot stems)
  • ¼ yd – orange fabric (carrots)
  • 1 yd – fusible web
  • 1 yd – fabric backing
  • 1 yd – batting
  • Optional: Scrap pink fabric (inside ears), Scrap black fabric (eyes and nose)

As usual with any project where you are uncertain of the fabric contents, wash and dry all of your fabrics before you get started – this will help prevent shrinkage later on.

Construction:

For each of the four placemats you will need, 11”x 13” piece of center fabric (bunny print), 4½” x 13” piece of each of the two accent fabrics (green polka dot and yellow stripe).
These three pieces are sewn together using a ¼” seam allowance, the accent fabrics are on either side of the center fabric.  Note: If you want, you could use a single accent fabric – and sew it on either side of the center fabric.

You will also need to cut two bunny faces, one carrot top, and two carrots for each placemat. Please see the attached pattern for the bunny faces and carrots.  Pattern Link & Placemat Line Drawing

Draw the carrot top and bunny faces onto the paper backing of your fusible webbing, then attach to the appropriate fabric (muslin for bunnies and green for carrot top), before cutting the fabric to size.

For carrots, draw the shape directly onto your orange fabric, and stack two pieces of fabric with right sides together. You will sew the two carrot pieces together all the way around the shape, then cut a slit in the center of one carrot, trim the excess fabric away (leaving 1/8” all the way around), and turn the piece right side out. This will finish the edges of the carrot and make it very slightly 3-D in appearance.

Fuse bunny faces and carrot tops to the placemats, using the instructions for your fusible webbing. Then stitch around each element with black embroidery thread in a decorative blanket stitch. Stitch the carrots onto the placemat backing in the same manner – except for the TOP of the carrot. Leave the top of the carrot open to make this into a pocket for silverware. Note: to complete the look of this, I blanket-stitched that area too, but did not sew through to the back of the placemat – just through the carrot.
You might be tempted to skip the blanket stitch and just sew down the appliqué pieces with your sewing machine – but looking at this picture, you can see how much the blanket stitch really finishes this project off.


Complete the accents for the bunnies with fabric (pink for inside ears and a small bit of black fabric for eyes and nose) or you can embroider these elements on. I used a small bit of fabric paint to add blush to the bunnies’ cheeks. You could use buttons for the eyes and nose if you wanted (and don’t mind a slightly lumpy placemat). Another fun idea would be to add a bow-tie to one bunny, and a bow on the ear of the other (Mr. & Mrs. Bunny). After finishing this project, it occurred to me that a green napkin would make a great carrot top! What other personal touches come to your mind?

spacespace

After you have finished all your appliqué and embellishments, it’s time to finish off the project – with batting, backing and binding. I used the same fabric as the center of my placemat as the binding, but if you wanted to use a coordinating purchased binding that would be fine as well.

How Fun!

How Fun!

Have fun with this, and if you make one, send me a picture – I love showing different ideas for the same project!
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila