Exquisite Sewing Supplies

I have an infatuation with small, cute storage containers and retro graphics so I could not resist this sewing tin:

Exquisite Sewing Supplies

(order one for yourself {here})

But in a studio space filled with jars, baskets, tins, and bins…I’m not sure what to use it for.

Exquisite Sewing Supplies

The instructions inside indicate that I should use it to store small treasures, keepsakes, and curiosities.

Exquisite Sewing Supplies

What would you put in it? It measures 7.25″ x 5.5″ x 3.5″ – not too big and not too small.

Pattern Links

The site I use for my online shop (Big Cartel) is not allowing people to checkout. I’ve received a few inquiries about purchasing patterns and I’ve found a way to bypass Big Cartel. If you’ve tried to purchase a pattern and can’t, just click on the links below to go directly to PayPal checkout.

1301-Turkish-Delight-main 1302-Midcentury-main 1303-Lucky-Strike-cover.indd
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now


Tutorial: Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

I have a fun tutorial today as part of the Pillow Collective hosted by Amy Ellis over at Amy’s Creative Side. There are lots of creative and super talented ladies participating so be sure to check out all of the links below.

My pillow design was inspired by an obsession with a set of mini templates I purchased earlier this month. They are made by EZ Quilting and are designed to be used with 2½” strips (jelly rolls) and they also work really nicely with Moda Candy (2½” squares). The specific template I used for this tutorial is the 60° diamond – you can purchase one here. You can also download a template here.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

You will also need:

  • 24 – 2″ squares (scrappy or choose a palette and focus fabric)
  • Background fabric:
    1 strip measuring 2½” x WOF, subcut into 6 diamonds using the template
    2 strips measuring 4″ x WOF
  • 1 fat quarter for pillow backing
  • Needle and thread
  • Polyfil for stuffing

Fabric placement and color is important to this pillow design. My test block used a traditional 4-patch with repeated prints set diagonally to each other. I decided that this block would look better with a scrappier feel, but kept the mini diamonds in the same fabric.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

Let’s start sewing!

1. Create 4-patch units from your 2″ squares – you will need a total of six 4-patches. Press and starch the 4-patches.
2. On the wrong side of each 4-patch. draw a line from corner to corner with a pencil or washable marking pen.

3. Line up the diamond template along the line and use a rotary cutter to trim off excess fabric.

4. Piece together the 4-patch diamonds to create a six-pointed star. Starch and press.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

5. Piece the background diamonds the the star. Yes, these are y seams but don’t be intimidated. The key is the start at the outer point of the star and stop sewing a scant ¼” from the edge of the background diamond. If your patchwork foot has ¼” markings that makes it super easy to know when to stop, but you can also mark the stopping points. Then flip the diamond and start sewing up the edge of the adjacent star point. Starch and press once you’ve sewn all six background diamonds.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

6. Now we are going to use our 4″ strips to make this hexagon shape a bit bigger. My finished pillow measures 17″ across at the widest point. If you want a larger pillow, cut these strips wider than 4″ (but this will affect the size of the backing fabric you’ll need). Line the raw edge of a strip along the edge of the pieced hexagon and sew together. Press and starch. Use a ruler to trim up the overage to match the adjacent edge.

Scrappy Stars Hexie Pillow

The above photo shows my hexie after I’ve added 4″ strips to two sides and “squared up” (really hexied up makes more sense!). Repeat this process until you’ve outlined the pieced hexie with background fabric.

7. Trim the fat quarter backing to match the front hexagon shape. Place right sides together. I like to put two pins in to remind me to leave an opening – one marks the start point and the second pin tells me to stop sewing. Turn pillow right sides out and press.

8. Stuff with polyfill and blind stitch closed. All done!

Eventually the filling will become lumpy and you can either open it up and re-stuff or turn it into a mini quilt (that’s probably what I’ll do).

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you enjoyed my project. Here are the other stops on the Pillow Collective:

Don’t Let This Happen to You

Oh my gosh, you guys. I follow a local thrift/vintage shop on Facebook and yesterday they posted some photos of someone’s fabric stash that is now sitting in their shop.

This is what they said about the fabric stash:

We have a MASSIVE lot of fabric for sale! It’s 68 boxes & tubs full! It’s about 1,280lbs!! (I actually weighed them!)   It ranges from vintage to modern, and there’s every type of material imaginable! We’d really like to sell this as one big lot, so we can move it on outta here! We’re asking $1,200 for the whole thing. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! It’s insane.

And it is. Insane. The idea of all of the once-loved fabric in sad busted boxes just seems so depressing to me. I don’t ever want to amass so much fabric (or anything!) that it ends up like that.

Destash. Destash, Destash.


Gypsy Wife BOM

This is the first block of the month (BOM) that I’ve actually (mostly not really) kept up with and I’m really enjoying it. BOMs tend to cost you more than just buying the materials and pattern outright but part of the fun is getting a new mini project in the mail each month. Plus just working one or two blocks a month makes it easier to keep up with. Supposedly.

(P.S. The colors are way over-saturated in that photo. The fabrics in the BOM aren’t really that bright or even quite those hues.)

Gypsy Wife is another wonderful pattern from Jen Kingwell. Like many of her patterns it started as a unique BOM at Amitie Textiles in Australia. It’s now available stateside as a pattern booklet (a far cheaper alternative than a BOM from Australia!!!)

Here are my completed blocks so far:

Gypsy Wife BOM

There are lots of fabrics and fabric combinations I wouldn’t have picked but I know the end result will be fantastic (Jen Kingwell can pretty much do no wrong fabric-wise). There’s only been one print so far that I hate too much to use:

Gypsy Wife BOM

Would you have used it? I know that every time I looked at the quilt I’d see that one fabric and it would make me crazy. It’s just too weird and sorta 70s in a bad way. Most of the fabrics are Japanese and/or very difficult to come by in the US (I tell myself that every month to justify what the BOM costs…it doesn’t seem like all that much each month but when you add up the total for the quilt it’s pretty shocking. But maybe all quilts are that high and I’ve just been in denial because I never see the materials broken down quite like that?)

Month 7 just arrived in the mail late last week as I was in the throes of a hideous cold but now I’m feeling up to finishing it (and months 5 and 6, as well!). It’s good to be back doing some normal things after spending way too much time with my TV and sofa last week.

Economy Blocks…Hello, There

Economy Block Quilt-Along

The Economy Block Quilt-Along (perhaps better known stateside as the square in square block) is in full swing. It’s 2014’s version of the crazy popular Scrappy Trip-Along that started about this time last year. (Raise your hand if you’re still working on the quilt!).

Economy Block Quilt-Along

I usually let these quilting trends just pass me by because they distract me from other projects, but given my need for fun sewing this year, I jumped in with both feet.

Ages ago I went through my Munki Munki stash and pulled out bits that were fussy cut or duplicates. I set them aside with some coordinating scraps thinking someday I’d make an I Spy quilt…one day. The economy block is absolutely perfect for this!

Economy Block Quilt-Along

I’m doing the 5″ block pattern from Red Pepper Quilts, but if that’s too small for you, there’s a handy calculator for making the block at your preferred size. I pre-cut dozens of blocks and have them in a basket next to my sewing machine for easy access (see this post for more info).

Table Top Sewing

Are you making these blocks, too? Link up in the comments so I can see yours!

More inspiration from the quilt along in the {Flickr group}.


Pale Celery

Meet my new sewing machine. It’s a 1964-ish Singer Featherweight.

Pale Celery

I never wanted a Singer Featherweight until I saw the “white” ones. It’s hard to tell in photos but they actually have a greenish hue and Singer called the color “pale celery” which is pretty dang accurate. There is just something sort of mod and cool about these. I can imagine the woman who used to live in my 1954 house sewing on one of these.

I almost bought one on Ebay right before Christmas for around $500. I’m glad I didn’t because I found this one locally for $275. It has fewer presser feet and the case is not as pristine but it sews beautifully.

Pale Celery

The name Featherweight is a bit of a misnomer because for such a tiny thing it is pretty heavy. The threading took me some getting used to and this is probably one of the only machines ever made that needles have to be inserted sideways. I read it in the manual but my brain thought it couldn’t be right. I can’t tell you how many times I re-threaded it thinking that was the problem before I finally turned the needle.

I joined a Facebook group for vintage machine owners and it seems to be a bit of an obsession. I’m not sure that I want a whole collection of them.  Do you have a vintage machine? And are you now addicted to buying them?

My Stars Blog: Photos, Minis, and Resolutions

If you’re new to this blog, you may not know that I also blog for My Stars – the modern imprint from Kansas City Star publishers. I write about quilty stuff, but it’s usually a little different than what I share here. So here’s what I’ve been up to over there:

Sharing some quilt photography basics and mistakes I’ve made. Screenshot-2014-01-15-11

Talking about my current obsession with mini quilts.

Screenshot-2014-01-15-11.33Making resolutions and goals for 2014.

Screenshot-2014-01-13-01.18Stop by and say hi!

Color Palette: Modern Prep

Color Palette: Modern Prep

Sometimes I pull fabrics together based on a graphic I love or even a piece of clothing, but these fabrics practically threw themselves into the basket at my local quilt shop.

The Botanics + Honeysweet prints are really, really, REALLY  pretty together,  I added in some Shelburne Falls, Acacia, Hand Drawn Garden, and few repros to round things out.

Color Palette: Modern Prep

I’m not sure if this stack of fabrics will ever become a quilt, but I do so love the combination. It is preppy and classic with the jade, navy, and mustard, and the minty and peachy shades add some fresh zing to a palette that might otherwise be quite simple.

What colors do you think of as “modern prep”?


It’s Been a Slow Journey

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

My scrappy trip around the world journey, that is. I pulled all of the 2½” strips from my basket of fabric strings…probably about a year ago to start this project. I made six blocks at one of my small group retreats last year.

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

And then I packed up my pile of a bajillion strips and that’s how it stayed until last week when I had the {table top sewing} epiphany. Wroking on this project in small snippets is  no-brainer – once you’ve made one, you literally never need to look at the instructions again. And these blocks are really fast to make. If you’re working with pre-cut strips like me, you could easily make the quilt top in a weekend.

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

I re-sorted my pile of strips into some more manageable sets, ending up with enough for three different quilts. The pink-ish version is the one I’m working on first. I sewed 18 srips sets while watching Clue on Amazon Prime video last week (that movie is still as awesome today is it was in the 80s Maybe more because I’m sure there were joke that totally went over my head when I was a kid.).

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

Two helpful things to have on hand while you’re making these blocks – a pair of spring loaded scissors to quickly snip off excess length from strips and Clover Wonder Clips for keeping the strip sets together after you cut them.

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

(If you aren’t making this quilt, you have to seam rip the strip sets at one point – a good activity to do while catching up on your DVR shows).

My other piles of piles of strip sets are very different color-wise; one is more boyish with lots of green and orange:

Scrappy Trip-along Progress

And the other is a very limited palette for me (only 5 or 6 colors!).. I didn’t photograph it but I’ll do that next time I update on this quilt project.

Funny how one “easy” scrap quilt project has now turned into three different quilts…