Friday, March 14, 2014

English Rose Quilt Tutorial

This tutorial was originally published on the Benartex - Sew in Love with Fabric blog on Wednesday, February 26th as part of a blog hop to create quilts for childrens' charities. Please feel free to use this tutorial for your donation and gift quilts!

Hi! I'm Nikki, and I blog over at The Girl Who Quilts. I'm so excited to share a quilt tutorial today. I love to make charity quilts, so that makes this project especially fun for me!

Here are the great fabrics which Benartex provided me for this event. The collection is called English Rose, and it's a great combination of different prints.

These are the prints that I chose to use in my quilt:

Here's what you will need to create this quilt:
4 - 5/8 yard cuts of coordinating fabric
1/2 to 1 yard of large scale print (I used a floral)
1/2 yard binding fabric
3 yards backing fabric
55" x 65" batting
Large batting scraps
Marking pen or pencil suitable to use on batting

Optional: Basting spray or glue stick to temporary hold the applique pieces

To begin, I cut 8 squares measuring 10" x 10" from each of the 4 coordinating prints.

Next I cut out 8 large floral motifs from my large scale prints. I left about a 1/4" edge around the floral motifs because I wanted the background fabric color in the floral print to frame the prints.

I am going to raw edge applique the floral pieces to one of my coordinating prints. To give them some dimension, I want to back them with batting. To cut the batting, lay each of the 8 floral motifs on the batting scraps and trace around the motifs one at a time.

I like to use a marker to trace on batting. This marker erases with ironing, but if you're using a marking pen that doesn't erase just be careful not to draw on the edges of the applique pieces.

Here you can see how I drew around my floral motifs:

All traced!

Now cut the batting *inside* the drawn line by 1/4" all the way around.

If you lay the batting over the wrong side of the applique piece, the applique piece should show around the edges by about 1/4", as shown here.

At this point, you can applique your floral pieces, or wait to do that during the quilting. To applique the floral pieces now:

Lay the floral motif on one of the 10" x 10" squares, layering the cut batting between the block and the floral motif, and stitch around about a 1/4" inside the cut edge. Feel free to use a walking foot or a free motion foot to do this step. (There are pictures of this below.)

Once the piece is sewn down, you can stitch around the different elements of the motif. If you'd prefer, you can save this step for when you quilt the quilt. (See photos below.)

You can now stitch your blocks together into a 5 block x 6 block layout. You will have 2 - 10" x 10" squares left.

If you'd rather applique the pieces during the quilting process, follow the instructions below:

I chose to wait to applique my floral pieces.

First, I stitched together my blocks in a 5 block x 6 block layout.

Next I pieced my backing and basted my top, backing, and batting.

Beginning in one corner of the quilt, I started to quilt an all-over loop design.

When I approached a square where I wanted to applique a floral piece, I placed the batting and fabric in place* and quilted my way to the edge of the applique. Rather than cut my threads, I sewed from the edge of the applique up to the edge of the floral design. Can you see the stitch line to the right of my quilting foot in this photo? That is how I transitioned from the background loop quilting to stitching down the applique!

*If you're worried about the applique shifting, try basting spray or a bit of glue stick to hold the piece in place.

Next I quilted around the entire piece, approximately 1/4" from the cut edge, holding it in place as I sewed around. No need to stitch perfectly along the print!

After quilting around the piece I outlined the individual flowers and leaves, plus added some quilting details. The double layer of batting really makes the quilting pop!

Continue to applique the pieces and quilt the rest of the quilt.

If you appliqued the pieces onto the individual blocks above, you can now baste and quilt your quilt as desired. Adding quilting details to the appliqued pieces really makes them pop!

Now bind your quilt with your favorite method!

Before washing the quilt check the applique pieces for excess batting, as shown here:

If there are large pieces of batting like this, trim a bit of it away. Be careful not to cut through the applique or quilt, though! It's better to leave the excess batting than risk cutting too close. This is as close as I would try to trim:

Now wash and dry your quilt!

 The applique edges should be soft and fluffy! Feel free to trim away any long threads. I also ironed the applique pieces to flatten the edges for this photo:

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! I'm excited to send this quilt off to Benartex for donation to Quilts for Kids!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Craftsy Class Review!

Have you tried out any of the great classes offered by Craftsy yet? One of my local quilty friends, Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts, recently filmed two great classes for Craftsy! Her first class, A New Look at Long Arm Quilting, is totally free, and it's a great intro into playing around with a long arm. A lot of the tips will work for free motion on a domestic machine as well! I definitely recommend viewing it - and hey, it's free!

Mandy recently had a second class pop up on Craftsy, this one is called Creative Long Arm Quilting. I had the chance to view the class, and I wanted to share a little bit with you! First I'd like to point out that all of the ideas in the class can be achieved without a long arm. If you have a basic understanding of free motion quilting on a domestic machine, you can tackle all of these projects!

The class is split into 5 techniques, with 20-30 minutes of video for each of the techniques. Mandy provides great tips that she's learned in her quilting experiences, including how to avoid pitfalls and "fix" issues such as cutting fabric a bit too small. These little things can bring a project to a grinding halt if you're not prepared to deal with them, and Mandy's suggestions are always a unique and easy solution to keep your project moving forward!

My favorite project is the first technique, which uses freezer paper templates to create an abstract, raw edge quilt. Mandy shows how to create an entire throw quilt with the technique! There is a great combination of free-form piecing and quilting to give this project a lot of depth and texture. I can imagine really spectacular wall hangings made this way!
This project is absolutely doable with a domestic machine, and I think it's also a great project for many skill levels. It is very free form and forgiving for beginners, yet it is a new and different technique that many advanced quilters will enjoy. The project also gives many opportunities to practice new free motion styles!

If you'd like to hear a bit more about Mandy and the projects in her class, hop over to Quilting Is My Therapy where Angela interviewed Mandy a few weeks ago! I hope you decide to give Mandy's classe a try, and if you do please share your finished projects with her. It's always so much fun to see!