We have been learning how to sew and quilt around the shop of late and we thought what better way to get getting than to share the 'The Journey of a Quilt' with you. Laura and her special little guy, Huck, are working together on this beautiful Family Tree quilt. We began by giving Huck (age 3 1/2) some fabric options and then worked from those choices to come up with the current fun combination. The pattern is from Mollie Makes magazine, Issue #18 and we are all having a lot of fun watching the progress of the project here at the shop. Huck can't wait for it to be done so he can snuggle with his new quilt. So far he has helped with all aspects of the project, including the piecing and quilting process! I know what you're thinking: "he's too young for that!" If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting Huck you'd know he's well above his time, plus pushing on the pedal at the machine to make it go really fast is one of his many talents! How Laura keeps up with him is beyond me, but I have to say the quilt is coming out beautifully.
Of course, Laura and Huck had to have Buddy's opinion before getting started. Luckily, Buddy confirmed that their fabric choices were right on!
We met a great gal, Vanessa, who has sewn for a long time, but never done any quilting and she is joining us for this hands-on learning experience. Her quilt will be for her oldest daughter and she chose some fantastic fabric options as well. I am sure once she is done with this quilt she will sew another for her youngest daughter too!
We are hoping that this simple quilt project will inspire you to jump on board and stretch your abilities. If you are already a quilter we know you will appreciate the elegant simplicity of the project and if you've had the itch to learn to quilt we think this is the perfect project for you! Now, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are quilts. It is certainly a lesson in patience, but the end result is well worth the effort. Let's get this quilt started with a bit of fabric choosing, pre-washing, cutting, piecing, and quilting the top!
Step 1: Choosing your fabric. Take time on this step, as you want to enjoy working on your quilt, and the finished product. Laura's quilt uses primarily one line of fabric, but has some fun bits mixed in for added pop. Experiment with fabrics by laying them out in different ways to see what you like. Huck loved one fabric in particular, so that one is also mirrored in the quilt back. A good piece of advice: choose your fabrics and look at them for three to five days. Over those days you might find yourself swapping one print for another until you've found the golden ticket!
Step 2: Pre-wash and iron your fabric. We highly recommend pre-washing your fabric to help set the colors and take care of any possible shrinkage ahead of time. There's nothing worse than to finish a work of art only to watch it shrink up in the wash after! If you have chosen fabric that might run you can use a tablespoon of white vinegar in your wash cycle to help set the colors. You will also want to wash any darker colors alone. Remember to wash your fabric according to the manufacturer's recommendations, as that will be how you will wash your finished quilt. After drying your fabrics, trim all the threads and iron your fabric to make cutting go smoothly.
cutting mat, rotary cutter and a quilting ruler for this step. If you choose to cut with only your fabric scissors a quilting ruler is a must-have tool. You will want to square up each piece of your fabric before you begin to cut for your project (have no fear! I can show you how to square up in my instructional video below!). Do this by carefully folding over the selvedge edges and lining the folded edge up with a straight line on your mat, or straight edge of your cutting surface. Laura has learned to fold her fabric over twice. This makes it really easy to cut and takes up less space, while helping to reduce the possibility of mis-cuts.
Once you have your fabric straight in a 90 degree angle with the folded edge as your guide, you will use your quilting ruler to cut the very end of the fabric in a straight cut. Follow the pattern measurements, then cut and label your pieces for easy reference later (sticky notes are your friend).
Step 4: Piece your quilt top. At this point follow the pattern exactly so that your quilt is the correct measurements, however, remember there is always room for adjusting as you move forward. Don't skip any steps mentioned in your pattern.
Once you have your quilt top ready to go, take a breath! You've gotten some of the hardest bits out of the way. Stay tuned for a walk through the quilting process. Happy Sewing!
P.S. We are just learning and welcome any helpful tips or tricks you might have to share with us and other beginners. Feel free to send us an email at fabric@JimmyBeansWool.com or give us a call, toll free (877)529-5648 and let's talk sewing!
Jeanne's jumped into the magical world of sewing with both feet and has become our poster gal for how-to sew and quilt. She's still learning, and won't hesitate to point out her mistakes, but boy do her projects look flawless to us! She's recently embarked on her Journey of a Quilt, and in keeping with the spirit of quilting she created a super helpful video on how to square up a quilt. Or, as us beginners know it: "How to make the quilt straight."
To square up your quilt, make sure you have these handy tools:
Now is the time to pre-order your very own copy of the 2nd Stitch Red book, Sew Red! Each copy will be autographed by the author, our very own Laura Zander (aka, Jimmy). The book is being released in February and will ship as soon as our first shipment arrives at the shop. Sew Red is a spectacular collection of gorgeous designs from more than 25 of the top sewing and quilting celebrities, along with two 28 x 40 black-and-white pattern sheets. Featured designers include Amy Butler, Denyse Schmidt, Anna Maria Horner, Ty Pennington, and Kaffe Fassett among others. In addition to their amazing designs, each artist shares his or her personal experience with heart disease as well as heart smart tips they use to stay healthy every day.
We will be contributing 5% of the gross profits from Sew Red (a Stitch Red product) to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in support of The Heart Truth® and women's heart health education and research.
All purpose and any size, Kristen's Any Purpose Project Bag Pattern (it's a free pattern!) is a great starter project! Use it to house your knitting projects, to separate your dirty clothes from the clean while traveling, or to wrap gifts. Who doesn't like a gift inside of a re-usable bag?! Kristen has been making these project bags for a long while - from fabric scraps and vintage pillow cases in all sizes to fit whatever her needs may be.
Easy to understand, simple to adapt, and great to have around, this project should help you learn the basics! If you're a visual person (like Casey), this free pattern has a picture tutorial on our blog to help you make your very own.
You may have some fabric scraps laying around the house that would be perfect for this, even vintage bed sheets or pillow cases will work! If we could choose, we'd use BasicGrey's Hello Luscious Jalapeno print for our first project bag.
Just in case that's not your cup of tea, we also like these smaller scale prints...
We have lots of new fabrics coming through our doors, which makes it difficult for our crafty muse to choose just one...
Joel Dewberry won us over with his Aviary 2 collection. Jimmy's first quilt showcased these prints beautifully with a pattern from Sewn Spaces and received many, many "ooohs" and "aahs" from our local customers. Casey couldn't resist the Sparrows in Plum so she paired that with Bloom in Lilac to make Amy Butler's Birdie Sling (we're sure you've heard both Rachel and Casey rave about this pattern!).
Months later, Joel won our hearts again with his new Notting Hill collection. Much like its London namesake, Notting Hill is a pattern collection full of bright prints inspired by the ever fashionable European design and stunning floral motifs. The vibrant plaids are perfect for a Junior Meadow Spirit Skirt for your young fashionista.
Jenean Morrison is a creative visionary whose blog provides a great sense of brilliant inspiration. Not only is she a creative textile genius and color connoisseur, Jenean is one of the featured designers in Sew Red - our second Stitch Red book due out in February (now available for pre-order)! Typically pulling from her passion for travel, In My Room taps into a different inspiration - the creative energy Jenean finds in her very own home. Whether it be in her home studio, kitchen, or comfy bedroom, she knows most of us have a favorite space where we can get away from the real world - and allow our creative juices to flow and inspiration to strike. The smaller prints, like Retreat, Sunday PamyBeansWool.com/sewing/fabric/JeneanMorrison/InMyRoom.asp?showLarge=true&specPCVID=42166" >Hope Chest are wonderful options for Kristen's Any Purpose Project bag!
Sharon's Berenstain Bears Quilt is a simple log cabin pattern that pieces together strips and squares to create the pattern you see here. Sharon used one Jelly Roll and one Charm Pack of the Berenstain Bears fabric collection to create this adorable blanket. You might think the log cabin construction is difficult since it looks so cool, but it is actually quite simple. Sharon brought this quilt to the shop a couple times while she was working on it so we got to see first how she progressed. All in all, it didn't take her very long, and the resulting blanket was cute and cuddly!
Ms Sandy was the Bean that started it all! Her expert knowledge in sewing and quilting helped get us off the ground. She's often seen pushing her cart in the warehouse contemplating which fabric will go home with her. Her finished Schoolhouse Tunic started the garment sewing craze at Jimmy Beans. Sandy used Abbey and Revelation prints from Ty Pennington's Impressions collection to create this beautiful tunic. It turned out so beautifully, we even sent a picture to Ty himself!
It was love at first sight when Jimmy first laid eyes on Joel's Aviary 2 collection. By combining 3 prints from this whimsical collection -Bloom, Scrollwork, and Sparrows- Jimmy's first foray into serious sewing resulted in this dashing quilt that we hope now adorns her couch! From Joel Dewberry's Sewn Spaces, this quilt served as a wonderful beginner project for many of the Beans.
Berenstain Bears fabric brought the Beans back to their childhood years when they'd curl up with the paperback stories of these adventurous bears. Needless to say, this collection provided a great framework for baby quilts and pajama pants for the kiddos. Jimmy made these PJs for Huck who said he'd much rather have pirate pants.
We have so many wonderful fabrics on sale, but here are a few of our favorites...
Valori Wells Flannel and Fleece: Starting at 48% Off! 'Tis the season for warm, cuddly projects and we're thrilled to have flannel and fleece for those winter time PJ projects. Valori Wells' Della flannel is a vibrant collection of whimsical prints for the adults and little ones in your life. Quite frankly, we know some twenty-something's who would certainly love a pair of snuggly PJ's with Little Owls up and down the pant legs. What's even warmer than Flannel? Fleece! Whether you're lounging on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate or cuddling underneath a toasty fleece blanket, you're sure to stay warm with these fleecy prints from Valori Wells' Della and Bliss collections.
Brandon Mably Fabric Prints: Starting at 24% Off! Brandon Mably's Dancing Paisley collection is wonderfully reminiscent of the vintage style fabrics we love so much. The retro color palette makes it stand out among all the others. With a sophisticated tone and pop of color these contemporary cottons would make for great home decoration accessories. Of course, if you're still looking for that perfect holiday warmer, these same paisley's are also available in flannel! With a taste of sophistication these prints are well suited to bed sheets or pillow covers.
Flannel is only second warmest to fleece, so for that extra bit of toasty warmth, check out the cozy soft micro fleece in some of Brandon's colorful prints! We see the Ring prints turning into adorable zip-up onesies for the tiny kiddos in our lives - even the big kids, too!
The Mod Fabric Collection by Annette Tatum: Starting at 57% Off! Serving up vibrant, exciting hues and patterns, this collection takes classic ideas and blends them with a modern, popular feel that will surely make a dramatic statement. The soft curves of Ripple and Mod Stripe take a traditional idea and add a splash of modern flair for a unique print. There's even a free quilt pattern to accompany these prints!