To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
My latest project is a quilt composed of plus blocks that are a bit different from the typical standard-grid plusses. It looks tricky, but once it’s broken down into components it’s not a difficult block to make. Here are the measurements and a diagram to make one like mine, which finishes at 17.5″ (yes, a very large block!).
Fabric 1 ( Corners)
Four 4.75″ squares
Fabric 2 (Background)
Four 4″ squares
Four 3.25″ x 4.75″ rectangles
Four 3.25″ x 7.5″ rectangles
Note: the more obviously patterned the background fabric is, the more obvious your seams will be without fussy pattern matching, so keep that in mind when selecting fabric.
Fabric 3 (Plus)
Two 4″ squares
One 4″ x 11″ rectangle
By considering it an irregular nine-patch, you can see how the sections all fit together without requiring any Y-seams. You can easily string piece the sections, but pay attention to the mirrored placement for the corner components.
If you’re looking for a similar pattern that provides all the details for a full quilt, I recommend this Double Plus pattern. While the proportions of the block may not be exact, I drew my inspiration from it when figuring out my own design.
This post is part of a series on making small cuddle quilts for charity. My finished quilts will be donations to the 2012/13 service project being sponsored by the Quilter’s Consortium of New York State. If you’re in a NY quilt guild that is a member of QCNYS, contact your consortium rep to learn how to donate (and tell your guild or club about this series!). If you are not a member of a participating guild, but would still like to donate send me an email and we can figure out how to get the quilts to the right place.
Our friend just moved apartments and bought a new couch set (which I’m rather jealous of, although it wouldn’t fit properly in our house). When we were shopping with him, he really seemed to like this one set of pillows that unfortunately didn’t really match the new set very well.
So, Carl and I decided that I should make simliar ones in colors that will match. It’s a very simple design of upholstery fabric and fuzzy stuff on the back (for cuddle-ability):
The brown floral (which reads more like scales in some of the rectangles) is the same fabric as two of the pillows that came with the set—a happy find in the fabric store that will also help these blend in with the other pillows.
Here’s a super quick tutorial for how to make your own matching pair.
1⁄6 yard each of four different fabrics for the front (these were upholstery-weight)
½ yard of backing fabric (these were a cuddle fabric, but upholstery works too)
2 16″ pillow forms (or make your own. It’s better to have that extra layer of fabric than to just stuff the case you make)
If you use quilt-weight fabrics, you probably want a yard of muslin to use as an interlining for the front and back, just to give it more body. Unless your 42″-wide quilt-weight fabric is also super square, you will need a bit more than 1⁄6 yard (you need a strip that is 6″×40″ for standard width, or 5″×48″ for wider fabric).
Cut 16 3″×5″ rectangles from each of the four front fabrics.
Cut two 17″ squares from the backing fabric.
If you’re using lightweight fabric, cut 4 17″ squares from the muslin.
Because I recommend using heavy fabric, I’ve given all measurements assuming a seam allowance of ½″. Sewing a true ¼″ seam with upholstery fabric is annoying, fiddly, and begging for problems (not to mention it gives room to deal with the horrid fraying).
Pair up the two darker fabrics and the two lighter fabrics for the front (A and B, C and D).
Create blocks by sewing all of the A pieces to the B pieces along the long side. Do the same for the C and D pieces.
Construct the rows by alternating two AB blocks and two CD blocks. You’ll need four rows that start with AB and four that start with CD, with A and C always being at the top of the row.
Sew four rows together for each pillow, alternating the AB-starting rows and the CD-starting rows.
Making the pillow
One you’ve completed the fronts, place a front and back piece right-sides together. If you used light-weight fabric, baste a piece of muslin to the wrong side of each piece first.
Pin, then sew all the way around, leaving a 10″ opening on one side (or smaller, if you feel comfortable stuffing your pillow form in).
Turn out, clipping corners as needed.
Insert the pillow form through the opening, then sew the opening closed with a whipstitch or your preferred closing method.
The disappearing nine-patch is my new favorite block. It’s so simple to make, but looks like you pieced together a ton of small squares and rectangles. Great effect with minimal effort—my kind of thing.
Take these, for example. Just some basic nine-patches—all the same.
Then, they are cut into quarters.
And sewn back together into a four-patch.
To become all of these!
See? Simple-looks-complicated. Lovely.
If you don’t want to do the calculations, here’s a table of sizes:
Starting square sizes and corresponding disappearing nine-patch block sizes
Common precut sizes are bolded
Unfortunately, some common block sizes, like 6″, 8″, and 12″, end up requiring the starting squares be cut to third-inches, so I didn’t include them above. You could try rounding up to the nearest eighth, and use a generous ¼″ seam for the nine-patch piecing (and back to an exact seam for the four patch)—if you’re adventurous and aren’t concerned about absolutely perfect points.
Otherwise, the math isn’t that hard for these once you know how to do it.
To calculate final size from your starting squares
Example using 3″ squares.
Short answer: (Square Size × 3) − 2″ Example: 3″ times 3 equals 9″; 9″ minus 2″ equals 7″. 3″ squares make a 7″ disappearing nine-patch block.
Add together a row of squares. Example: 3″ times 3 pieces (a row) equals 9″
Subtract the row seams (½″ per seam, two seams). Example: 9″ minus 1″ equals 8″
Subtract the four-patch disappearing seams (½″ per seam, one seam). Example: 8″ minus .5″ equals 7.5″
Subtract your final piecing seams for the finished size. Example: 7.5″ minus .5″ equals 7″ finished block
To calculate starting squares from finished block size
Example needing 5.5″ finished block.
Short answer: (Finished Size + 2″) ÷ 3 Example: 5.5″ plus 2″ equals 7.5″; 7.5″ divided by 3 equals 2.5″. 2.5″ squares make a 5.5″ disappearing nine-patch block.
Add your piecing seams to the finished size. Example: 5.5″ plus .5″ equals 6″ unfinished block
Add your four-patch seams (½″ per seam, one seam). Example: 6″ plus .5″ equals 6.5″
Add your nine-patch seams (½″ per seam, two seams). Example: 6.5″ plus 1″ equals 7.5″
Divide by 3 to get your individual square size. Example: 7.5″ divided by 3 equals 2.5″ starting squares
Have fun with your own disappearing nine-patches! Let me know what you make, I’d love to see it.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve posted about trying twodifferent Cathedral Window techniques. The first was a technique that actually constructs a four-patch with the window sewn in to the seams—you can see a video demonstration here. The other was the traditional quilt-as-you-go technique (one of many online tutorials can be found here).
The final project I’ve dreamed up can’t use the traditional method, and will require an absolute ton of calculations for the other method, as I’ll be making different sized windows placed in a somewhat arbitrary manner, so I needed to come up with a way to make a faux cathedral window that can be appliqued on wherever I want it. Here’s how.
I found myself in need of a pair of small storage bags this evening. With a few charms of Etchings (that I don’t actually remember buying… hmmm.) and a couple of inches of Velcro, I managed to fulfill that need very quickly (in under 20 minutes, I think). Here’s how…
I’ve mentioned before that when I do digital mockups of my quilts or play with designs before quilting, I do so in Adobe Illustrator. I have nothing against EQ or any other quilt software, it’s just that I don’t actually have that software; I do have Illustrator (albeit an older version from when I was in college).
I’ve been using Illustrator for just shy of a decade, so it is absolutely shameful that I didn’t know how to draw a quarter-circle until a few months ago. So, for anyone else in that boat (I know some of you use Illustrator too), I posted a quick tutorial on it over at my Web dev blog on rachaelarnold.com. (Once upon a time I had a grand ideas of having a few different blogs. I even updated them all. These days, I pretty much stick to this one here, but on rare occasions I update the one on Web development, too.)
Most of my gifts are going into basic paper gift bags (yes, I’m too lazy to gift wrap soft stuff or box, then wrap, it all), especially since I already made the gifts themselves, but there is one present I’m excited about that I decided to whip up a quick gift bag for.
A young friend is getting her first sewing machine for Christmas, so in addition to advising the giver on basic sewing tool kit stuff, I thought it would be great to give a quick first project for her to work on (she does have a bit of experience from whatever they call home ec class these days).
So, I bought a pajama pants pattern (which also comes with the pattern to make a dog sweatshirt—how cute!), two spools of thread (hey, it was bogo, why not?), the elastic for the waistband, and the fabric for the pants. In other words, everything she needs to make the pattern, that isn’t in her sewing kit.