Tuesday, September 02, 2014

one way to make an ironing board cover

Over the weekend I recovered my ironing board. It seems like I always wait so long, and then when I finally get around to it, I kick myself for putting it off. (Same thing happens with my dull rotary cutter blades. I'm sure I'm not the only one, right?)
This is the before...just for a point of reference. It was actually worse in person. (Gross, I know.) Anyway....I know I could go out and just buy a new one, but they never fit quite right and the fabric selection is usually lame. I had plenty of supplies on hand (ahem) and it was a good Saturday morning project. I'm quite pleased with the results! I took photos along the way, so I could share the instructions with you, too.

Supplies needed:
-1 3/4 yards fabric** (I used quilting cotton, but a home dec or light canvas weight would also work)
-scrap batting (enough for 2-3 layers)
-4 1/2 yards of double fold binding*
-3 yards of 1/4" elastic
-basic sewing supplies

*double fold binding is basic quilt binding. I cut my strips 2.5" wide, joined them together end to end, then folded it in half lengthwise and pressed. If you need more extensive binding instructions, please see this tutorial.

**the fabric shown is Fly a Kite by October Afternoon for Riley Blake (2012)

Cut a layer (or two) of batting using your ironing board top as a template. I used two layers because while my batting is lofty, it's not super thick and I want my ironing board to be nicely padded.
This is a great way to use up batting scraps! If you have smaller batting pieces, simply zig zag a few together to make the pieces longer.
Cut another layer of batting, but this time let it drape off the sides a few inches. Set the batting aside.
Take the main fabric and cut it lengthwise, then trim off the selvage edge. It should measure about 20" x 63". You can save the other half for another ironing board cover some day, or you could share it with a friend.
Place the fabric on the floor, right side down and then place the ironing board on top of the fabric.
Measure and mark  2.75" from all of the edges of the ironing board. By the way, I love my Clover fine tip water soluble marker. It works perfectly for this!
Cut it out using a sharp scissors/and or a rotary cutter. (I did some of each.)
Now we will add the binding. Take the double fold binding strip and pin it to the bottom edge of the main fabric. In the photo the top pin is near the center mark. The bottom pin is where you will start sewing.
Use a 1/4" seam allowance and sew the binding to the main fabric. Take your time going around the curved edges. You will need to leave a tail at the beginning and the end of the piece. Once you sew around the final curve, back stitch and cut the threads.
You should have a loose tail at each end.
Trim the ends so they overlap by 1/2". Open up the strips, then sew the ends together using a 1/4" seam. Finger press the seams open.
Fold the strip in half once again. Take it back to the sewing machine and stitch the remaining section down using a 1/4" seam allowance. The binding strip should now be fully attached to the main fabric.
Finger press the edges, rolling the fabric back and forth to make a nice crisp edge.
Top stitch the entire piece.
Since your are sewing around curves, the binding will kind of stand up in certain places. It's ok. No worries!
Working on the bottom edge once again, place two pins about 2" apart. This will be the starting and stopping points of the second seam.
Sew on the inside edge of the binding. This will create a casing for the elastic. Back stitch at the beginning and the end of the seams.
When you are sewing, you will have to gather/pleat around the curves. It doesn't have to look pretty, since it will be hidden inside. Just make sure that you sew several small pleats as needed, not one big unruly one.
Use a safety pin to thread the elastic through the casing. This will take awhile.
 Gather the fabric as you work.
Once you get the elastic all the way though, distribute the gathers as evenly as possible. Make sure neither of the tail ends retract into the casing.
Place the layers of batting on top of the ironing board, then place the cover over all the layers. Tie the elastic and trim the excess tail ends, if necessary.
Tuck the ends inside. This is my favorite part about making my own. No awkward Velcro strips, no loose ends or strings dangling. Everything is neat and tidy and hidden. Hurray!
It looks pretty dandy on the back....and on the front!
I think it's time to break it in! The kids started school today, so it's perfect timing.

Speaking of my kids...they didn't want me to take first day of school photos at all, but were ok with it once I said I wouldn't post them here or on Instagram. It kind of makes me sad, but I can also understand where they are coming from. They started grades 8, 6 and 3. I can't believe it! On the other hand, helloooooo sewing time! :)

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, August 29, 2014

goodbye summer

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This was the last week of summer vacation for us, so I took most of the week off and spent it with my kiddos. We spent some time with their cousins and then we spent some time preparing for school. It included a 24 hour cleaning stint (their room was a disaster area!!) so cleaning that was a HUGE accomplishment. I'm counting it not only as my main finish for the week, but also a personal victory that all 4 of us lived through it and still love each other. Ha!
I did just a little bit of piecing this week, here and there. I pulled out my solids scrap bin and just started sewing.
I love working with solids. I love working improvisationally. I LOVE playing with color.
This was/is all about enjoying the process. I truly have no idea how it is going to end up, but I'm fine with that.
I DO know that I am not going to run out of scraps any time soon!

It seems like it was just last week when I was asking if we should continue finish it up Friday throughout the summer, and here it is, the end already! I'm so glad that we continued on....it was very helpful and productive! Thanks for the accountability!

Now it's YOUR turn. Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Oh! And thank you for all your sweet comments on my EPP star quilt from last week. Each and every one is much appreciated! xoxo

Friday, August 22, 2014

EPP did not get the best of me

Hello and welcome to finish it up Friday!
I'm sooo very excited...I finally finished my "Oh My Stars" quilt top!! Isn't that an appropriate name for it? It is English paper pieced (EPP for short), which means that it is completely stitched by hand. I never ever thought I would completely hand stitch a quilt top, but hey, I've done a lot of things that I seem to have fallen into! Ha! Looking back, I'm quite pleased with my choice of fabrics (30's and polka dots) for this quilt, because it should continue to get better with age. I am so thrilled that I saw this to completion!


2" 60 degree diamonds (2" is the measurement of each side of the diamond)
Cardboard templates (I cut my own)
Video tutorial here
Quilting On the Go by Jessica Alexandrakis is also a great resource
Started: April 2011
Top Finished: August 21, 2014
Fabrics: 30's prints and polka dots, various white backgrounds, but mostly Kona cotton
Finished size: 63" x 83"

Now I get to baste and hand quilt it. That will probably take me another 2 years and 4 months! But for now, I will celebrate the fact that the top is DONE!

It's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

in memory of Aunt Janet

First off, thank you for all of your sweet comments in my last post regarding my 250th quilt finish! When I started my blog I had NO idea where it would lead, but I'm happy to be on this journey. I appreciate YOU, my readers, being on this journey right along with me more than I can say. THANK YOU for reading, for commenting and for cheering me on. It means so much!!!
I have another quilt finish to share with you today! This is a commission quilt made for my cousin from my late Aunt Janet's clothing. It is not necessarily FUN to make a quilt out of clothing and I did not have the best attitude during parts of the process, I must confess. But....now that it's done, I am so glad that I took on the challenge and saw it through to completion. I'm very pleased with the results!
For the backing I used a flat sheet from Target. It ended up being more cost effective than buying yardage and the print is fantastic. Not having to piece the backing was a nice bonus!
I tied the quilt with some black string (probably crochet thread?) in each corner. I rolled up the quilt from top to bottom as I tied, which kept me on track. Otherwise, it's very easy to miss a square here and there. It also kept the bulk of the quilt neatly contained while I worked. I pinned the backing right down to the carpet to keep it in place while I tied it, which ended up working well!
For the binding I used solid black jelly roll strips. It was so nice to skip the cutting and just join the strips together. Since I needed 9 binding strips, I was interested in any time saving options available!
I took the photos (with my husband and son's help) in front of the elementary school that my husband went to in Donnellson, Iowa. It was one of our last stops before returning home last weekend. By the way, have I mentioned how much I LOVE old buildings?
I was happy to test it out on a queen size bed at the hotel, since I don't have one in my home. It fit perfectly! (Phew!) My cousins gave the quilt to my uncle yesterday for his birthday. From all reports, it was very much appreciated. Hurray! Makes all the time and effort worthwhile!

You can read more about details of the making of the quilt top here if you are so inclined.

Monday, August 18, 2014

dreamin' quilt

My family and I spent the past few days in Iowa for a little vacation. We visited the area where my husband spent most of his childhood and we enjoyed some quality family time. I had a lot of time to hand bind in the car, so on Saturday I was able to finish not one, but two quilts! Hurray!
I am thankful my husband was willing to help me photograph my quilts there. I LOVE old buildings. There is a LOT of patina in Iowa and I have the photos to prove it! Hahahaha! I need to take my quilts out on location more often. It's worth the extra effort!
For the fabric, I started with a fat quarter stack of dreamin' vintage, then added some stash fabric. I purchased a few blenders and solids to round things out. I used my little connections pattern, but in a lap size. I made binding for this quilt twice. The first time I made yellow binding, but the tone wasn't quite right. I made more binding, this time with some green Kaffe Fassett dots. Much better! It really pulls all of the elements together. As it should!
I pieced the backing from my stash. I feel like I stretched myself a little bit, and I'm pleased with how it came together. I like the combination an awful lot!
The quilt measures about 66" x 78".
This summer marks my 14th year of quilting! AND.....this is my 250th quilt finish to date!!!! (I count baby size and larger.) I have yet to come up with a way to celebrate this milestone, but I'm going to come up with SOMEthing. Until then, here's to the next 250!!!
Happy Monday to you!

Friday, August 15, 2014

scrap happy again

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I have two quilts that I'm working on hand binding at the moment, so hopefully next week is a BIG finish week. In the meantime....

I managed to finish yet another scrap happy purse! I believe that this is my 4th one. My son said that they all look the same. Now, I don't think he necessarily meant it as a compliment, but I took it as one! :)  I forgot to add the magnetic snap to this one (doh!) but I think it will work anyway.
This is scrap project # 83/101. It's been almost a month since I finished a scrap project. Boy, I'm slipping! Thank goodness for finish it up Friday once again.

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. THANKS, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday! It wouldn't be the same without you!

Monday, August 11, 2014

more mini nines

Over the weekend I sewed up some more mini nine patch blocks. This project has been on the back burner for awhile!
Here are the 36 newest blocks. Man, they are fiddly! I'm using any color combination that strikes my fancy at the time. I'm trusting in the theory that "more is more" when it comes to scrap quilts. Hopefully it holds true once again!
Now I have 85/396 done. Progress is slow, but it's progress nonetheless! I'll take it. :)

If you want to make a few of your own, the block measurements can be found in this tutorial.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, August 08, 2014

a memory quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I'm always amazed what a little FOCUS-and a deadline-will do. I started this quilt on Monday!!! As I posted earlier, I'm making a memory quilt from my late Aunt Janet's clothing. It is a custom order from my cousin, and she will be giving the quilt to her dad for his birthday in a few weeks. I've done a marathon of cutting, fusing, trimming, and sewing this week!
Deconstructing clothing is messy! I used woven interfacing (Pellon SF 101) for backing the knit fabrics. 272 squares of denim, knits and other materials. That's quite the pile of squares, no???
I turned those squares into a queen size quilt top. 16 rows across by 17 rows down. This thing is heavy!
I ended up editing the fabrics quite a bit since my first layout, and I'm pleased with my final selections. Aunt Janet sure loved her striped shirts! My sister and I discussed how cool it is that the quilt has a very masculine appeal. It should suit my uncle quite well.
I've decided against machine quilting because I think that would be nearly impossible, so I'm going to tie it with either light weight yarn or hand quilt a large X in each corner to hold the layers together.
I can not tell you just how pleased I am to have this quilt top DONE!!!!

I'm so grateful to Duluth Girl for the suggestion of using a walking foot. It made the construction of the squares so much easier. (Thanks a million, Ruthann!!!!)

I think I'm going to sew with the lightest weight cotton I can find for the rest of the day! :)

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me!