Spray baste for quilting.

Well, I'm still new to quilting and heard about spray baste that comes in a can. I dismissed it as another shortcut that I should avoid until I learn the basics. Hah! Spray baste. . . Where have you been all my life?

My friend, Janice and I ducked in between thunderstorms to get my Tribute to Saul Bass quilt laid out on an old comforter and we stretched and smoothed and sprayed the three layers together. I ironed it and continued sewing the spirals. Boy, I wish I had started the quilt that way. I know I would have fewer puckers in it if I had. (Also, fewer pin pricks!)

Do you use spray baste? Do you have any tips to share? Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you. 

Outdoor Fabric: New Cushions and a BBQ Cover

I found this bright outdoor fabric and decided to update our faded and worn cushions from the patio set we had brought with us from Ontario.

I bought 5 meters (about 4.5 yards) and made this! I had to try it out on the mound of snow that was not melting one bit, despite this being May!

This is just to prove that the snow did melt by June 15, 2014. Y0u can see how the BBQ cover and chairs pop against the house. My husband had done a great job building the boxes--now if the deer and groundhogs stay away from the new growth, we will be happy gardeners!

I sewed French Seams, after serging the edges, and then used indoor outdoor thread to ensure that the thread would not weather before the fabric does. (In fact, I bought 3 spools, when only one spool in the bobbins and the top lasted for all six cushions, a BBQ cover, and a yoga bag--I know, too much.)
Here I am showing you how I boxed in the corners. I sewed the seam, then pulled out the two sides so that the seam was in the middle. Then I measured horizontally 2 and 1/2 inches and drew a line. When you sew across that line, it forms a box corner. I trimmed the triangle off, leaving a seam, which I serged. Because the serged seam is inside the cushion, it should not weather. I have no idea how I would rethread my serger with the indoor/outdoor thread. It is new to me, and I am at the bottom of the learning curve.

So, I had some fabric left, and decided I needed a yoga bag. I found the pattern directions on Janome's Sew4Home. It was pretty simple. It has a pocket for my YMCA pass and locker key.  I made the little key pouch from directions from 

Our BBQ cover was in tatters after the long winter. I pulled away the green tattered plastic, and saved the poly batting that was mostly intact and used that as a pattern. Then, I had the right amount of fabric left, and seamed it altogether, using flat felled seams. Now, my husband thinks I should buy some more fabric and re-make the faded patio umbrella. So . . . 

And here is the BBQ cover and one of the chairs in more temperate times. I'll post a photo of us sitting outside when the mosquitos settle down.

Second Time Around: Vogue 1385 Sandra Betzina Design

I loved the way that Sandra Betzina designed this pattern. The options were to make it more open, or more fitted. So, with the first time that I made this, you might remember that I fitted the front darts, and used the back darts. I had to extend the back darts a little more, and felt that the bust was ok, but I could make it better if I added a French dart.

I also chose a cotton sateen in a gorgeous turquoise color. The funky buttons were something I had my eye one for a while and make the blouse a little more casual, as well as opening up the idea that these would match my beige pants that I made a while ago, and was now motivated to hem!

This is the result: I exchanged the center from fish eye dart, and replaced it with a longer french dart of about 1.5 inches. But buttons are quite large, so I only put 3 in strategic areas. They are wooden with thin black circles and splotches of turquoise, lime, red and blue paint dripped on them.
 I finally had enough courage to try the blind hem foot on my sewing machine, and was very pleased with the results. By serging the hem line first, it made it easier to fold back the hem fold and use the foot carefully sewing along the edge of the serging and letting the occasional zig catch the good side of the pants to hold the hem in place. I will use this again, even though I do find the hand stitching quite relaxing.

Update on the Tribute to Saul Bass Quilt

So I have decided to create a spiral for the quilting on Peter's Tribute to Saul Bass quilt. But, darn, that was really hard. Because most of the quilt is navy, I decided to use navy thread, but start the quilt in the chest area and keep going outward. The navy would be close together, and create a regularly textured feeling on the flannel back. Plus, it gives it that vortex look that old TV had as a special effect when I was a little kid. Well, when you have a tiny sewing machine. It is REALLY difficult to get the whole quilt spiraling through the tiny arm. And, I do so want to quilt this myself. It is for my son, you know?

This was the first attempt. So confident that I'd have no problem with the walking foot, that I used tiny stitches. BIG MISTAKE! It did get a little easier, but my hands were aching and it looked more like a spider web spun by a mad scientist's crack addicted spider.

So, I picked out all the stitches and started again. Stay tuned. I also switched to a free motion foot, and used orange thread.

Here is half the backing: Flannel in a small print tweed, with a border at the top of plain navy flannel with two little orange bars--because that's what I had that I liked.

Notice the T-Square, pins, quilting ruler and chalk marker on the floor. I Spy for quilters.

I'll post photos of the better quilting. But, I wanted to set your expectations lower before the next posting!

Thanks for reading! Come back in a couple of days.