DIY Fabric Flag Holiday Decoration with Easy Gathering Technique – Step by Step Tutorial

DIY Fabric Flag Holiday Decoration with Easy Gathering Technique – Step by Step Tutorial

During a recent Facebook Live video, we taught a simple technique for gathering fabric. It’s great if you don’t have a lot of time (or patience). You also have the option to find a gathering foot for your machine, but this way is my favorite! We featured a cute project we came up with just in time for Independence Day, so here are the step by step instructions to make it!

Let’s start with the fun part! Pick your fabric! We used fabrics from Freedom by Sweetwater for Moda (Picnic Apple Red Yardage and Bandana Vanilla Yardage) and Lost and Found America by Jen Allyson for Riley Blake Designs (Americana Mini Stars Blue Yardage)

You will need 1/4 yard of Blue, 3/4 yard of white, and 3/4 yard of red.

Additional Supplies:

  • 1 Fat Quarter (I used a neutral color that blends with my fabric choices)
  • Thread (& Sewing Machine)
  • Pins/Wonder Clips
  • Heavy Weight Thread (12wt would work great) or String or Dental Floss or Fishing Line (whatever you prefer)
  • Ruler/Cutting Mat/Rotary Cutter
  • Hot Iron

First, you will start by cutting your fabrics into 3.5″ strips! You need 7 red, 6 white, and 2 blue.

Set aside your red and white strips, and grab the blue strips. Stack the 2 strips and cut them them into thirds, so you get 6 strips that are approximately 3.5″ x 14.3″ (this does not have to be exact).

Take 3 of the red strips and 2 of the white. Trim off 14 inches from each strip. These will be the first 5 strips at the top of the project to show the stars and first 5 stripes. Put them right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam to attach the 2 fabrics. Press the seams open (as pictured below).

Fold in about 1/4″ on each end and press (as shown).

At this point, you would fold the fabric in half lengthwise and press so the right side is facing out. At that point you will have 5 strips that look like this.

Repeat the previous step with the remaining red and white strips, so that they are all folded lengthwise with the raw edges folded in.

Once all of your strips are prepped like in the photo above, it’s time to add a top stitch to the ends! This will just give you a clean, finished look, so that your raw edges don’t show! Just like you would do a top stitch, get close to the edge and I like to backstitch for some extra security.

This is where the magic begins! It’s time to begin the gathering process! Set your machine to a loose zig zag (these are my settings).

For this next part, you need some kind of string. I used crochet cotton because I had it on hand, but a heavier thread would be great for this, like this Sulky 12 weight thread! You can also use dental floss, fishing line… anything strong that won’t get caught in your zig zag!

Line up the raw edges of your folded strips so that your zig zag won’t come off the edge, and line up the string with the small center marker on your foot. That will help you keep the string nice and centered, so it doesn’t get caught in your zig zag. You do not need to back stitch! Here’s how it should look.

Tip: Think about which side of your strip is the back and which is the front. If you put the zig zag on the back, it will make it harder for the string to accidentally show on your project!

Then, you just pull on one side of the string and gather your fabric together! It’ll twist and turn at first, but don’t let that worry you! That’s what pins and wonder clips are for! 🙂

Once all of your strips are prepped, you can work on the background fabric. I used a neutral colored fat quarter. Square it up to approximately 16×20. Use your iron to double fold each edge (except the top edge) toward the back. That means, fold 1/4″ inch in and press, then fold over and press a 2nd time. Top stitch over the left, right, and bottom edges (left and right sides first, then the bottom) and this will conceal your raw edges. On the top edge, you’re going to fold your edge toward the front side, press, and stitch down the edge. This will be important at the end, once you’ve stitched down all of your gathered strips.

To space your strips evenly, draw straight lines every 1.25″ starting from the bottom of your base fabric.. This is the line you will use to pin your gathered strips to the base fabric.

Tip: Use wonderclips to anchor the strips on each end, then pull your gather string to get even spacing in your gathering. Pin ever 2-4″. Notice that my gathering string is on the underside of the strip to make sure it’s nice and hidden.

To sew your gathered strips down, you will want to set your machine to a smaller/tighter zig zag than the one we used before. I set my stitch length at a 2 and my zig zag width at a 2.5.

Once you get all your strips sewn on, you will want to take the top loop of your background fabric and loop it forward over the raw edge of your top gathered fabric strip. Pin it in place and stitch over it to finish the top edge and create a loop for hanging your finished project!

Quick, Easy and Reversible Placemats!

Quick, Easy and Reversible Placemats!

If you’re like me, every once in a while you need a break from those big projects to work on something that will give you instant gratification (and add a little pizazz to your house)! It’s even better when you can use that fat quarter bundle you’ve been wanting to cut in to. Check out the process below for these quick and easy reversible placemats I’ve been making lately!

First thing’s first, choose a fat quarter bundle from your stash (or shop for one at Missouri Star Quilt Co. HERE) that you know will look great on your dining room table. We chose to use the lovely Garden Splendor Fat Quarter Bundle by Wild Apple for Robert Kaufman.

You can choose to use the same fabric for each side, or mix and match fabric from the same collection. It’s also fun to pair an Autumn themed fabric with a Christmas or Winter themed fabric. Then all you have to do it flip the placemats over as the seasons change!

Cut your fabric to 14.5″ x 20.5″, place your two fabrics right sides together and pin them in place.

Next, take them over to the sewing machine and sew a quarter inch seam around the edges, leaving about a 3″-4″ opening so that it can be flipped inside out.

Trim off the excess fabric from the corners, remove your pins, and flip the placemat inside out. Make sure to poke the corners out so they are pointy. (Tip: “The Purple Thang” and the MSQC ModBlock Bamboo Creaser Tool work great for this!)

Work out the seams around the edge with your fingers so that they are not rolled inwards, and iron those wrinkles away.

Finally, finish your beautiful placemats up by sewing a quarter inch seam all the way around the edges.

Watch the full process in a past Facebook Live Video HERE.

Insider tip:You can do the same exact process to make a cloth napkin just by cutting your fabric differently! Simply cut your fabric to approximately 16.5″ x 16.5″ instead of 14.5″ x 20.5″.

 

 

DIY Easy Baby Gift Ideas!

DIY Easy Baby Gift Ideas!

I love welcoming new bundles of joy to the world with homemade gifts from the heart. I just found out recently that I’ll have a new niece or nephew by this fall, my cousin’s pregnant, and so is one of my best friends! They seem to come in threes, don’t they? As you can imagine, I’ve already started dreaming about all the fun gifts I can make. 

DIY Easy Baby Gift Ideas from Missouri Star Quilt Co.

A baby quilt is always a wonderful option (we even have baby quilting kits and tutorials to help), but if you’re looking for something extra to go with it, or something a little quicker, here are some projects you’re bound to adore.

Soft Book Multi Panels at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

Small children have surprisingly strong grips! Keep them turning pages without tears with soft, fabric books. Choose from Safari Expedition, McAnderson’s Farm, Sweet Dreams Little One, Travel Around the World, You’re My Little Chickadee, and many more! Check them out HERE

Elephant Cuddle Family Kit

Stuffed animals are always a big hit with little ones, but they’re even better when they’re made with love instead of store-bought and when they’re made with extra plush Shannon Cuddle like these in the Elephant Cuddle Family Kit!

Fam_Animals

Old MacDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-o. And on that farm there were the cutest Farm Fun animals you’ve ever seen! These stuffed animals are so easy to make. Simply cut out the pieces from the fabric panel, stitch them together, and stuff. You’ll have a gift they’ll love completed in no time! 

Dudley and Dolittle Kit

 

Dudley and Doolittle are two life-size sea turtles that can’t wait to be squeezed! Wouldn’t they be the perfect addition to an “Under the Sea” themed nursery? We think so!

 

 

 

 

(setup)MyBubba_v1_RE copy

Tummy time just got a lot more fun! Stitch up a soft, snuggly buddy for baby made with Cuddle fabrics by Shannon in tan or aqua.

3 swaddles

If you don’t have time to make something this time around, check out our Swaddle Blankets from Shannon Fabrics! They’re beautiful, great quality, and affordable!

Happy making!

Summer in the Park Tutorial Reboot Featuring Lee Ann Perry!

Summer in the Park Tutorial Reboot Featuring Lee Ann Perry!

Lee Ann Perry Tutorial Reboot
Hi! My name is Lee Ann. I’m a wife and mother of four. When I was expecting my third child, I saw some rag quilts on Etsy and thought they were adorable—but expensive. I mean, $65 for a little baby blanket?  
So I bought my first sewing machine and a set of fat quarters by Kaffe Fassett. I learned how to make my first rag quilt by watching a tutorial by Vanessa Vargas Wilson on YouTube. I was pretty happy with the result but my husband teased me a bit. ”Why spend $65 on a blanket when you can make it yourself for $300?”
But, I fell in love with sewing!  Putting colors together.  Feeling the fabric run through my fingers. And the finished project was an item that was both USEFUL and beautiful. I made several rag quilts before getting bored and wanting to learn more. That’s when I found the free video tutorials online by MSQC.
One of the first “real” quilts I made was from a pattern called Summer in the Park using a jelly roll, a line by Tula Pink, the Birds and the Bees.
Watching the videos made it easy for me to follow along—or watch a half dozen times if necessary, and sometimes it was! The finished quilt was so worth it.
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But, like many quilters, I don’t ever make the same thing twice! You’ve got to change it up a bit.
Recently I came back to this pattern and changed only two things.
In the tutorial, Natalie uses a brightly colored jelly roll and combines it with a jelly roll of white strips. When sewing them together, she sews two strip sets, 1) white, print, white, and 2) print, white, print.
So to change it up, I chose a jelly roll of Carolyn Friedlander’s Carkai. Instead of white, I used a darker CHAMBRAY fabric.  I also changed how I sewed my strips together. ALL of my 3 strip sets were sewed as: print, chambray, print.
 
The 3-strip-sets are then sewed to each other, right sides facing, into a “tube.”
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Now comes the really fun part—cutting the tubes into squares. You lay your tube down and cut triangles—when you open it up, they will be perfect squares!
The best ruler for this is the Triangle Square Up Ruler, 9 1/2” by Quilt in a Day. I don’t happen to have that ruler (mine only goes up to 6 1/2”), so I had to make do with my big square up ruler for squares. I put the point of my ruler right up to the seam but did not cross it. Then, I made sure both of the 8” marks touched the bottom seam before making a cut.
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Continue cutting the tube, swiveling the ruler around the opposite way to maximize the number of cuts you can make.  I was able to get five finished 8” squares from each “tube.”
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When sewing the squares together, I made sure to nest the seams to make perfect points.
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I sent this quilt off to MSQC for machine quilting.  My local lady is great but she will not back anything with fleece.  MSQC does — Cuddle/minky too!  This is my first quilt backed with fleece and it’s pretty much the best thing EVER.
After it came back, I had to choose binding fabric.  I always “audition” a few colors first.
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After letting this quilt and the different options sit on my table for a few days, I ended up going with the same chambray I used in the quilt blocks.
My favorite binding tutorial is The Ultimate Quilt Binding Tutorial by MSQC.  No binding tool required!  I used to have one but I don’t use it anymore.  This method is the easiest!  But, I must confess, I had to watch this video EVERY SINGLE TIME a quilt needed finishing for at least the first ten quilts I made.
Here’s the finished result of my “reboot”.
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And now that I’ve spent a few years piecing quilts…I’ve decided a $65 rag quilt is more than fair!  A bargain, really! But, I wouldn’t trade learning a new hobby for ANYTHING.  Quilting has become my quiet place and saving grace in my busy life.
lee ann perry pinnable
Thank you, MSQC for asking me to write this blog post and for teaching me how to quilt in the first place!
You can follow my quilty adventures on Instagram at leeannjperry.
New Bonus Tutorial: Intro to English Paper Piecing with Sue Daley

New Bonus Tutorial: Intro to English Paper Piecing with Sue Daley

Video Tutorial: Intro to English Paper Piecing with Sue Daley!

Happy English Paper Piecing Week! Jenny has teamed up with English Paper Piecing guru, Sue Daley, to bring you an entire series of helpful tutorials and tips. Tune in all week for great projects and instruction to show you how fun and easy English Paper Piecing can be!

Video Tutorial: Intro to English Paper Piecing with Sue Daley!

First on the docket? An Intro to English Paper Piecing tutorial! Click on the button below to watch!

Watch the Latest Tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Co!