Thursday, September 11, 2014

What I am Working On...

Fueled with an overwhelming desire to use my stash I pulled a bunch of aquas, greens and golds and got to work on the above block. The pattern is Sarah Fielke's Ups and Downs - I love that it is easy squares and half square triangles, but the arrangement makes for an interesting and more complex looking design.

The Heather Bailey Nicey Jane roses at left is my inspiration fabric. It has been hanging out on my shelf for way too long and I like it too much to let it to continue to languish.  Large scale prints don't have to be used in large pieces. By cutting 3 1/2" squares, I get a lot of different looks from the same fabric, depending on which area of the design is in each square.

Twelve squares from 16 fabrics plus 48 slightly larger squares to make the half square triangles.

For a soft, natural look, I have paired the prints with Robert Kaufman Essex linen in natural. I haven't used the linen in a quilt before - I hope it washes well!

When I start a new project, I make a test block first to be sure that I like it and to figure out any details the pattern may have left out, like which way to press the seams. I am usually a press to the side girl, but with this pattern, it makes more sense to press all the seams open. I like pressing open with half square triangles because it enables me to see the diagonal seams to get nice points.

Now that the test block is done, I can do the rest in an assembly line process and they should go together much more quickly. Off I go!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Finally, a Finished Quilt

Just in time for her birthday, I finished the quilt I made for my oldest daughter!! It is the Color Dive pattern from Anna Maria Horner and I used mostly her fabrics from the Dowry collection and True Colors.

It measures 70" x 75", sort of an odd size, but it originally had another row of squares on the top that had to be cut off.  Maybe I messed up or maybe the longarm quilter put the backing on sideways, leaving it too short. Whatever. It is meant to be a couch, cuddle quilt so the size isn't super important.

It is the first time I have had a quilt quilted professionally and I am really pleased with how it turned out! It was hard to choose a thread with all the different colors in the quilt, but I went with a varigated Aurifil polyester longarm thread #5512 (I think it is called Mango Mist). I like the variation of colors and that the stitching really shows.

The backing had to be a cuddly flannel, so I chose this one from Anna Maria's Little Folks line. I liked it and it was on sale at a local shop - win, win! The binding is a Quilting Treasures print that has been in my stash forever - free!! It is machine stitched as usual. The batting is a little thicker than what I use (Quilters Dream 70/30 blend), so I glue basted to be sure I would catch the binding on the back as I stitched.

It almost fits on a bed...

Or looks pretty folded up at the end of the bed...

However she uses it, I hope she loves it and knows how much love I put into it!

I was going to send it to her, but I think instead I will deliver it in person so I can see her reaction when she opens it!

I love sewing for family and friends!!

Have a super weekend everyone and...

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Linking up with these linky parties!



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Partying at my Local Shop

Last Friday night, I joined the gang at my favorite local quilt shop to celebrate their appearance in the latest issue of Quilt Sampler magazine. The Cotton Patch is owned by Laura and Tim Flynn, who, along with their staff always make their customers feel welcome and appreciated.

All the invited guests received a free, autographed copy of the magazine and a gift certificate to the shop. So generous and so cool!

Not only is the shop in the magazine, but Laura has the additional honor of her quilt gracing the cover!!
The sea colored quilt, aptly named Sea Swept, is inspired by ocean waves, perfect for a Florida shop!

They are selling kits to make this beauty yourself, available here.

After partnering with a local machine dealer, Tim has become quite adept at quilting with the longarm and offers quilting services in a huge choice of patterns. Here he is taking my Color Dive quilt off the machine. I wish you could see the stitching in this picture - it is beautifully done in an allover pattern of leaves and flowers.

The shop carries an array of quilting cottons, from traditional to moderns, solids, prints and blenders and even have a section of "Florida" fabrics. My favorite new line is"Cherie" by Frances Newcombe for Art Gallery. Quite a nice bundle of fat quarters came home with me! These are going to make a beautiful quilt!!

Everyone there had such a great time. I do my share of purchasing on line, but I shop locally whenever I can. You just can't beat the friendly and knowledgeable service and always being greeted by name upon entering. Plus, most shops are able to order anything you may need, just ask. So Congratulations to Tim and Laura, and thank you!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome September

Hello my dears!! I have been away too long and have missed you! I took a little break for what I thought would be a week, which turned into two and then a whole month.  Some of you inquired as to my whereabouts which I appreciated.

So, what has happened in the last month?

I turned 48. When I first entered my 40's, I would say things like, "I am not having any more birthdays...", I hated the idea of getting older. But now,  every birthday is a celebration - another year to love life and do more of what I love. Actually each day is a celebration - another opportunity to be joyful and have fun.

I took this baby to college 850 miles away.

How did he grow up so fast? I blinked and he turned into a man. My heart misses him, but he is a great kid and I am excited for his opportunity and so proud of all he has done and is yet to do.

I revamped my sewing room, adding better storage for fabric and all the other do-dads we quilters seem to acquire. These are Billy bookcases from Ikea - open shelves for the pretties and doors to hide the boring stuff. The room is still a work in progress, but I am so close! When it is completely finished, I promise a post with all the details.

And because I know you love the quilty eye candy, look at this gorgeous sewing machine cover I got in the SewSewModern5 swap. So many of my favorite fabrics and beautifully designed and quilted! I almost don't want to take it off my machine to sew!  It came from super awesome Karen Peachey, aka @sewpeachey - she's the best!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Patchwork Rainbow Duffle Bag

I can finally share this patchwork duffle bag that I recently made for the Sew Sew Modern 5 swap on Flickr. My partner asked for a duffle bag in a rainbow of colors so I didn't want to share pictures before she received it so as not to spoil the surprise!!

It began with Simplicity pattern #2600 because I really liked the shape of the rounded ends. Of course I had to make some amendments to the pattern to accommodate the patchwork and because I have a habit of thinking patterns can always use a little tweaking! All the fabrics came from my stash and I pre-quilted the pieces with a 1" grid.

I put outside pockets on both sides of the bag because a pocket is the perfect place to showcase something special like these stars.

The end pockets got the star treatment, too!

I shortened the side panels and added a bottom panel of dark canvas. This eliminated the annoying center bottom seam and the canvas will hopefully be more durable as well as hide any dirt.

For the straps, I used the same dark canvas as the bottom and added a carefully cut strip of Riley Blake lime green stripe, top-stitched in place. The straps are sewn into the bottom panel seam instead of going all the way around the bag as in the pattern.

The inside is this fun large scale text print from Windham Fabrics. The seams are encased with bias tape for a neat finish.

The inside pocket is out of the same lime stripe used in the straps. My labels are made by me on my printer. Amateur! I really would like to get some nice, professionally done labels.

I used a zipper from my favorite bag zipper maker - This one is 24" and was just barely long enough!

This is a big bag - about 24" wide and 12" high. To puff it up for these photos, I put a standard bed pillow inside and there was extra room!!

My swap partner has a sweet little girl and I thought it would be fun to send her a little tote bag to match her mama's. (photo bomb by Lucy!)

She posted a picture of her little girl toting her favorite stuffed bunny in the bag which just made me so happy!

It is so rewarding to make a gift for someone with love and care in every fabric selected, every stitch and then see how much they appreciate it!!

And finally, this cute little luggage tag completes the set. It is also in Simplicity pattern #2600, but I just used the pieces and made it differently. I wanted the contrast window to be on the front instead of the back (you can't see it on the back!!)

The Sew Sew Modern swap is fantastic, teeming with talented sewists and quilters. I imagine there will be a #6 - if you are interested then follow @crandons and @quiltingfairy on Flickr to get an invitation to join.

Are you curious as to what I received in the swap? It is so wonderful that it deserves a post of its own...stay tuned!

Linking up to these blogs:

Fort Worth Fabric Studio Blog              


Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christmas in July - Table Runner Tutorial

Today is my turn on the Christmas in July blog hop hosted by Chrissy at Sew Lux Fabric. I am delighted to be sharing a tutorial for a scrappy patchwork table runner featuring flying geese and stars -- my two favorites!!

tutorial for christmas table runner flying geese stars the sewing chick

I am using this fat quarter bundle of fabric by Basic Grey for Moda called 25th & Pine and Moda Bella solid in bleached white. The binding is Moda Bella in cherry.

Christmas in July - 25th & Pine

Basic sewing skills and a knowledge of quilting are required for this project.
Finished size is 16 1/2" x 52 1/2", but the size can easily be adjusted by adding or taking away stars.


eight fat quarters of red and green print
1/4 yard  for star background - I recommend a solid or low volume fabric
1/2 to 1 yard for back (see section on Finishing)
1/3 yard for binding

1/2 yard quilt batting (18" x 54")

flying geese square up ruler (optional but helpful)

sewing machine, thread and basic sewing supplies

This tutorial uses the no-waste, makes four at a time method for the flying geese


Before cutting, consider how you want to place the prints. I wanted the geese in the sashing to have a red and a green print so cut an equal number of each.  I also wanted the stars to be all red or all green and cut accordingly.

from the red and green prints:
    13 - 5 1/4" squares for sashing geese centers
    68 - 2 7/8" squares for geese corners (ensuring there are 17 sets of four)
    14 - 4 1/2" squares (10 for corners and 4 for star centers)
from solid
    16 - 2 1/2" squares
      4 - 5 1/4" squares for star geese background

    cut four 2 1/2" strips x width of fabric


Each 5 1/4" square plus four 2 7/8" squares will create four flying geese that are all the same.

Place two of the 2 7/8" squares on opposite corners of the 5 1/4" square, right sides together. Draw a line from corner to corner.

Sew a scant 1/4" seam on both sides of the line.

Cut on the line and press seams to the small triangles.

Place another 2 7/8" square on the remaining corner. Draw a diagonal line and sew a scant 1/4" on both sides of the line.

Cut on the line and press seams towards the print.

Trim off the "dog ears" or use a flying geese ruler to square up the unit to 2 1/2" x 4 1/2". There will be very little to trim off, if anything at all. I love my Bloc-loc ruler for this purpose - it has a groove on the underside that grips the seam allowance for no slip trimming.

Photo courtesy of Sew Lux Fabric

Repeat the process until you have 13 sets of flying geese (four per set) for the sashing and four sets for the star points.


Lay out four flying geese units, one 4 1/2" square and four 2 1/2" squares. With a 1/4" seam allowance, sew the pieces into rows, press seams to the squares.

Sew the rows together, seam allowances will nest at the corners. Press seams to the side.


To make the sashing, sew the four flying geese in each set together along the long edge, press seams away from the points.

Lay out the stars and surround them with the sashing units, following the picture (scroll down a bit) for placement.  In each corner, place a 4 1/2" square.

Sew the units together by first sewing a 4 1/2" square to each side of a flying geese row. Sew a flying geese unit to each side of a star block. You may want to re-press some of the flying geese seams in the other direction to ensure nesting seams with the star block. Then sew these rows together, matching the seams where necessary.  Press well.


The half yard of fabric for the back is not quite long enough. To remedy this, cut a 6" x  18" strip from two of the leftover fat quarters and sew to each short end of the backing fabric. Alternatively, cut a one yard piece into two half yard pieces and seam along the short ends. Cut the length to 56".

Layer the back with the top and batting. Quilt as you please - I chose to quilt in an all-over small stipple. The binding requires four strips x width of fabric, I like to use 2 1/2" strips.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! Check out the other stop on the blog hop today at traceyjay quilts, and see the rest of the schedule here. And remember, you can link up your Christmas in July creation on Chrissy's blog here, now through August 4th, for the chance to win prizes!

christmas table runner patchwork stars flying geese

tutorial christmas table runner patchwork stars flying geese

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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