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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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In Progress

Truthfully, not a whole lot of sewing happens around here over the summer. With the kids home, it is so easy just to kick back and hang out with them instead!  I did however, spend the better part of the last couple of weeks finishing up my swap items for SewSewModern 5. While I am eager to share, I am waiting for them to be received so as not to spoil the surprise!!

I have been working on this lovely quilt top using Fig Tree & Co.'s California Girl and the Floral Bouquet pattern from Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott.

Although a bit more subdued than my usual palette, I must confess that I am a huge admirer of Fig Tree fabrics. They just speak to the soft, vintage side of me, and I have begun secretly hoarding some of the older lines.

Whenever I start a new quilt, I make one test block to be sure that I am happy with it and then cut and sew the rest, assembly line-style. Chain piecing the next piece on to all the blocks at once makes quick work of the process.

The blue painter's tape means no marking the squares, just keep the point on the edge of the tape!

I have yet to decide if there will be sashing. The pattern does not, so I probably won't but you never know...

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for Work in Progress Wednesday.

Happy Sewing,
Tessa Marie

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Postage Stamps and Crosses

For the month of June, the Trust Circle of do.Good Stitches was given the task of making a block made from 100 2" squares. We were to use low volume fabrics and incorporate several blue crosses. If we wanted to, we could use the fusible interfacing method, and as I have been wanting to try it, I was in!! There are many tutorials on the method, but we used this one because it has the crosses and the 2" squares.

I used Pellon Sheerweight fusible interfacing and drew a 2" grid on the non-fusible side - the lines were dark enough that they showed through (I used a Sharpie which may have not been a good idea as it gave off some wicked fumes when I pressed it). I laid out the crosses first and then filled in with the low volume squares...

Like the ducky press cloth? That was to ensure the Sharpie didn't transfer to my pressing board! It didn't.

Once all the squares on the grid are covered, I gently pressed to fuse all the squares in place. Work in sections and be sure to lift and press the iron. This picture shows the pressing completed.

Then came the fun part! When I folded back each row to stitch, I was pleased at how crisply the fold was. There was no need to press or pin!! After the rows were stitched in one direction, I used a rotary cutter and trimmed about 1/16th of an inch to open up the seams.

So far, so good! To stitch the seams in the other direction, I folded right sides together and then did give the seam a light press before stitching (there is more bulk from the first seams), but still no pinning was needed.
The worst part of using this method was pressing all the seams open as it was more tedious that pressing to one side. The perfectly matched points more than made up for it though, and I actually prefer the nice, flat look of the open seams!

This block measures 15 1/2" square and is on its way to Liz who will make the blocks into a quilt! To learn more about do.Good Stiches, visit the Flickr page.

I will definitely be using this method again!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Christmas in July

That's right, I said Christmas!! I mean, what better way to spend the hot, lazy days of summer than getting a jump start on your holiday sewing. The quilt shops have been getting the holiday prints in and Chrissy at Sew Lux Fabric is ready to inspire you with a Christmas in July blog hop.

The list of participating bloggers is full of talent and this year's fabric bundles from designers Kate Spain, Basic Grey, Gina Martin and more are so fun and pretty.  To kick off the blog hop, Chrissy is offering the bundles at a 10% discount through July 13th, use the coupon code NICELIST.

I was invited to join in and chose this bundle from Basic Grey called 25th & Pine. Still the traditional red and green, but in soft, dreamy shades. I'll be making a table runner to dress up your holiday table or buffet and can't wait to cut into this yummy bundle.

Christmas in July - 25th & Pine

Here is the schedule for the hop:

And of course Chrissy is offering prizes!! Link up your creations on the Sew Lux blog between July 21st and August 4th and you could win one of the following prizes:

  • Grand Prize: $50 gift certificate to Sew Lux Fabric, a set of 6 You're Sew Nice cards, and an assortment of three patterns by May Chappell 
  • 1st Prize: $25 gift certificate to Sew Lux Fabric, a set of 6 You're Sew Nice cards, and a pattern by May Chappell

For all the details, see the Sew Lux Fabric blog
I am so excited to get my Christmas sewing groove on!! How about you?

Have a great week and Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Because One is Never Enough

I am getting together with a group of sewing girlfriends this weekend and it was decided that we would do a swap of mini items. There are ten of us, so that meant sewing up ten of these adorable little coin purses.

The pattern is called UR Priceless and is available on Craftsy from Mdm Samm by Sew Me and You. I chose the pattern because I like how the gusset gives it a nice rounded shape. The frames are just 1.5" x 3" and were purchased from WhileBabyNaps on Etsy. The pattern calls for sew in frames, but I have used the ones that you glue in. I use Gutermann HT2 glue, also from WhileBabyNaps.

Because I was making so many, I experimented with different stabilizers. Thinking that Pellon's Thermolam might be too stiff and bulky, I used a lighter weight fusible fleece that I got in a gift bag at Sew South 2014. It came in a package that I had already tossed so I don't know the brand (any Sew Souther's reading this that can help me out?) but it has a softer hand than the Thermolam. The above left used that one. Then I tried fusible quilt batting on the above right purse. It was almost too soft resulting in a smaller, squishier purse. I wish you could feel them to see the difference! I then switched to the Thermolam and decided that it probably was the best choice after all. Although, now that they are all finished, I like the look of the one with the unknown fleece the most and it fit the frame the best.

They went together fairly easily. Because they are small, they are a bit fiddly and turning them right side out through a small opening was just more than I could take. One, fine, but ten, ughh!! So instead of sewing the lining and outside right sides together and turning, I sewed them wrong sides together with a 1/4 seam and then trimmed close to the stitching line. It is going in a frame anyway, right? There is a little bit that shows at the hinge so I stitched a close zig zag over that area. You can sort of see that in these open views.

I don't think any two of these turned out exactly alike. Each time, I fiddled with it differently and tried to make it go together better. Some of them fit into the frame better than others, but that is fine, I think my friends will like them and that is what matters!

I am so looking forward to seeing my girls this weekend - sewing with friends is the best!!

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.

Fresh Poppy Design

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Friday, June 6, 2014

A Finished Quilt - Happy Baby II

Looking back over my most recent blog posts, I was dismayed to see it has been a while since I have had a finished quilt to share!! I am glad to have this one to show you today! I am calling it Happy Baby II since it is basically the same pattern as Happy Baby. The blocks are smaller and I added an extra row to be a good crib size or for playing on the floor.

colorful modern baby quilt the sewing chick

I had considered writing a pattern for this, but as I have already done a tutorial for the star blocks, it didn't really seem necessary. The 9 patch blocks are about as simple as you can get - each square is cut 4 1/2" for a 12" finished block. Sew together in rows of three. Pressing the seams in opposite directions for each row allows them to lock together when joining the rows. The quilt is 36" x 48".

The fabric is called "Sidewalks" from October Afternoon (Riley Blake) with white Kona and this beautiful Heather Bailey "Nicey Jane" on the back. I have been saving this one for a while and am happy to see it put to good use! 

quilt back nicey jane church flowers the sewing chick

The quilting is an allover loopy pattern - a favorite of mine for it's simplicity and texture.

I thought a solid for the binding would be a calming contrast to all the busy prints - machine stitched as usual.

machine stitched binding the sewing chick

The fabrics in this quilt definitely satisfy my need for pretty!! They are soft and vintage but have an up-to-date feel about them at the same time!! {Happy sigh}.

Linking up with:


Have a great weekend everyone - summer is here!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WIP of the non-sewing kind

My work in progress this week involves the relocation of my sewing room. For a long time, I have been feeling cramped and uninspired in my little sewing space. Don't get me wrong, I love it and am grateful to have a space to call my own, but I have acquired too much stuff (code word for fabric) and spend more time looking for things than actually sewing. I NEED to be organized to feel calm and creative and organized I was not!

Ever since my oldest daughter graduated from college in December and we were sure she wouldn't be coming back home, I have been eyeing the room upstairs that she had been using for her bedroom. It is much larger than the small bedroom I have been using and would give me ample space to store all my gear and still have room to spread out when I sew (I am a very messy quilter).

This is what it looked like before.

 It has it's drawbacks - the slanted ceiling will make a design wall difficult, what am I going to do with all the junk we have been storing up there, and I will be further away from the family, but I recently heard some good advice (thank you House Hunters on HGTV). A clever realtor called it the 80/20 rule - you can have 80% of what you really want and the other 20% requires some "making do". Brilliant! It doesn't have to be perfect and the larger space will definitely make up for the smaller design wall. I actually think that being away from the rest of the house is a good thing - less distractions (you know, dishes, cleaning, laundry...). I can go up there when the kids are at school and feel like I am at "work"!

This is my (very unprofessional) sketch of how I would like it to look. It may or may not end up looking anything like this, but at least it gives me a starting point.

I moved my quilting machine upstairs and was going to wait to finish the move until the fall. My son goes to college and a good project will take my mind off feeling sad that he is gone. But this week, I got to the breaking point - my sewing room was smothering me and I needed to make a change fast! So I took down the bed and started moving things around. The sewing machine went up, the old pine table went up, the junk started coming down (still don't know where I am going to put it all). As for storage,  I can make do with what I have for now. I put bed risers under the pine table to make it the right height for cutting and I am using my daughter's old dresser to store notions and tools. A trip to IKEA is definitely in order - wouldn't this make a great cutting table? Or even two, back to back?!!
VĂ„RDE Base cabinet IKEA Free-standing; easy to place and move. Stands steady on uneven floors because it has adjustable feet.
It is still very much a work in progress, but here's a look at what it looks like now.  I already feel like I can breathe again, though, which has lifted my spirits and restored my creative mojo.
I can't wait to get sewing again! 
Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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