Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Free sewing kit pattern

Happy Wednesday, friends!  One of my favorite sites for free patterns and really neat ideas is sewing it up from all free sewing.  This little sewing kit is just an example of the great projects that are available.


For the free pattern, click here.  Wouldn't these be great gifts for your sewing friends?  While you are there, check out Amy's awesome site, Nana Company.  I am loving her projects!  Till next time....

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Felting your own wool-so easy!

Hello friends! Last time, we talked about wool and using it for applique.  Felted wool works best for applique because it doesn't ravel while you are applying it to the background fabric.  Unfortunately, felted wool can be a bit pricey.  In an effort to keep my wool obsession from breaking the bank, I started to felt it myself.  My favorite source for wool to felt is my local thrift store.  I look for 100% wool sweaters.  Wool blends will not felt so look at the label for fabric content.


   Felting makes the fabric shrink considerably so I usually look for men's sweaters.

The felting process is so easy.  Because there is quite a bit of lint generated in the felting process, I start by putting my sweater in a zipper pillow cover....it saves cleaning out the washing machine later!

Fill your washing machine with hot water and add about 1-2 tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent.  Adding something heavy like an old pair of jeans of a throw rug will help the felting process.  Add the sweater and let the machine agitate on the longest cycle available.  Before it spins out for the rinse cycle, turn the dial on the machine back to the beginning of the wash cycle so that it repeats the agitation.  I find it works best to let the wool "wash" for about 30-40 minutes before it goes through the rinse cycle.

Remove the sweater from the washer and place it in the dryer on a high setting. Again there is lint, so I check my lint trap several times during the drying.  When it is dry, the wool is ready for use.  Your sweater will be a lot smaller than the one with which you started!

Felted wool is water and heat resistant so it makes great coasters like this one.


 Mittens like this one are going to be used for gift card wrappings.  You can see that the cuff of the sweater makes a great top for the mitten.  The mittens were so easy to make.  Just cut two pieces of felted wool in the shape of a mitten.  (I used a large cookie cutter for my pattern.)  Applique a design on one of the pieces if desired.
Then sew the two sides together.  I used a button hole stitch with three strands of embroidery floss.

This white wool star ornament is embellished with silver stitches,a vintage glass button and tiny pearl beads.


This felting process is easy, fun and can provide you with a neat variety of wool felt.  Give it a try!



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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wool Applique- Just in time for Fall!


Here in Western New York, we are known for our winter weather and while we do get our share of snow, wind and sleet, I think we should be known for our Autumns.  Fall usually begins here in mid September and lingers into November.  I love everything about fall...local apples, pumpkins, beautiful foliage, sweaters, boots and of course.....wool!  I am a lover of anything wool.  I know,  it can be a little scratchy but I think it is a small price to pay for the beauty of this toasty warm fabric.  I am not much of a garment maker so I put my wool into applique pieces and felting.  Let's talk about wool applique.  I think I like it so much because it is easier than traditional applique (no edges to turn under) and it just makes me think about being all cozy inside when the winter winds are howling.

The purists in wool applique use specialty threads for their work but because I already have a small fortune invested in threads for my sewing machine, I usually just use embroidery floss.  It is so inexpensive and you can literally match any color.  I use one strand and take tiny stitches.

This little piece above is from a favorite publisher of mine.  Renee Nanneman"s Need"l Love offers full size patterns with amazing designs.  

I also like to add wool applique to quilting projects.   This pumpkin was added to a small piece.  The original pattern is from Primitive Gatherings.  I just added a larger border and then appliqued.

Another favorite designer for me is Kim Diehl.  She offers a beautiful selection of patterns and books. I like that she often combines traditional quilting and applique.  

My tips for easy applique include: 
1.  Cut your background fabric about 4-5 inches larger than you think you will need it. Press well.
2.  If you are using cotton or linen as your background, you might want to use masking tape along the edges
     to prevent fraying while you work.
3.  Lay out all of your pieces on the background before you stitch so that you can be sure everything is
     centered.
4.  When you have a layout that you like, use a glue stick to "tack" the center of each piece. Just a small 
     amount of glue will do the trick.  This will help to keep everything in place while you stitch.
      
Next time, we"ll talk about felting your own wool and felted wool projects.  I told you that I love wool....




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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Strips per yard chart- A very handy tool!

As a quilter, I am often befuddled with the mathematics when working on a new project.  This little chart has been a big help to me when I am trying to figure how much fabric I will need for border strips.  I just measure the 4 sides of the quilt for the total, decide how wide I want to make my strips and then use the chart to help me figure out how much fabric I will need.  To download and print the chart, click here.

Strips per yard

Strip Width
⅛ yard
¼ yard
½ yard
¾ yard
1 yard
1”
3
8
17
26
35
1 ½”
2
5
11
17
23
2”
1
4
8
13
17
2 ½”
1
3
6
10
14
3”
1
2
5
9
11
3 ½”
1
2
4
7
10
4”
-
2
4
6
8
4 ½”
-
1
3
6
7
5”
-
1
3
5
7
5 ½”
-
1
3
4
6
6”
-
1
2
4
5
6 ½”
-
1
2
4
5
7”
-
1
2
4
5
7 ½”
-
1
2
3
4
8”
-
1
2
3
4
8 ½”
-
-
2
3
4
9”
-
-
1
2
3
9 ½”
-
-
1
2
3
10”
-
-
1
2
3
10 ½”
-
-
1
2
3
11”
-
-
1
2
3
11 ½”
-
-
1
2
3
12”
-
-
1
2
2
Anything that makes the process easier gets a big "thumbs up" from me!  Don't you agree?

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Renaissance Ribbons- Oh Yes!

Are you a fan of Amy Butler, Tula Pink, or Kaffe Fassett?  If you are, you are going to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE  Renaissance Ribbons.  They offer thousands of designer woven jacquard ribbons and imported French ribbons and trims.  Check out this beauty from Parson Gray.


I'm thinking this Yarrow Flower by Anna Maria Horner would make an awesome trim for journals, purses, electronic reader or tablet covers, etc.


Wouldn't kids love these Meadow Bunnies by Sue Spargo and Dachshunds by Jessica Jones?

 

I am planning to use this Cream Flower on Green to spruce up my plain linen napkins for the holidays.
So pretty and soooo easy!

The site also includes a blog that features new ribbons, projects and tutorials.  One of my favorites is this fold over ribbon wallet.
To say that I am enthusiastic is an understatement!  Stay tuned...I think there may be some new projects using these lovely ribbons in the future! 



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Thursday, October 10, 2013

DIY Boo! Pillows
I am not a huge Halloween fan but I do like to put out a few decorations for my piano students who come to my house for lessons.  These little Boo! pillows make up in no time and make use of some of those itty bitty scraps that I just can't throw away.

You will need 2 small pieces of fabric for the front and back, two buttons (I have a serious button hoarding problem) and some embroidery floss or heavy thread.  Cut a 5" square from each of the two fabrics.
I chose muslin for the front and a print cotton for the back.  Next, you will want to draw the B and ! so you will know where to stitch.  I use my favorite, The Frixion ball pen by Pilot, because I can erase any marks that are left behind if my stitching isn't perfect.

I use 4 strands of embroidery floss to stitch over the lines and sew on the buttons.  Then I put the front and back pieces right sides together and stitch a 1/4" seam around the outside edges, leaving a 2" opening at the bottom for stuffing.  Pop in a little batting, stitch up the opening and you are done. So easy!


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Welcome to Barbara Huber Designs!
It has been said that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks."  I don't agree!  I think learning is and should be on-going from the day we are born until, well...you know. After years of looking at pricey items in fancy stores and saying, "I could make that!", I decided to try my hand at pattern design. What a fun learning experience!
And now, a new trick for this not so old dog...blogging!  With this new endeavor, I am planning to share sewing tips that I have learned, mistakes that I have made (lots of those!), and neat things that I have discovered.  
So hop aboard!  Whether you are new to sewing or a seasoned veteran, I hope you will find something that will inspire you and get your creative juices flowing.

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