Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fabric Easter Baskets Tutorial

I made fabric easter baskets this weekend for my husband and I. I just couldn't buy one when I knew I could create something with fabric. I searched the internet looking for a pattern or tutorial already figured out for me, but I didn't see anything I liked. This is what I came up with. Please feel free to use this tutorial for personal use.

This will be my first tutorial, so you will need to let me if you can follow it!
Materials Needed:

30 coordinating 3" squares (I used 4 coordinating fabrics)
1pc 13"x9" denim or choice of fabric for basket bottom
1 pc 2" x 18" denim for strap lining
2pc lining fabric 10.5" x 13" for the inside of the basket
1 pc batting 13" x 24"
2 pc medium weight iron on interfacing 10.5" x 13"
1 pc medium weight iron on interfacing 1.5" x 18"

Step 1 Cut all Fabric Pieces to Size and arrange the 3" squares into 2 sets of 3 rows of 5 squares. The squares can be arranged in any manner you choose. Sew 2 sets of square patchwork together using a 1/4" seam. Press seams to one side.

Step 2 Sew the 2 square patchwork sets to the bottom piece of 9"x13" denim fabric.
Step 3 Put the batting under the set and "stitch in the ditch" along the seam that separates the patchwork squares and the denim.

Step 4 I added top stitching on all sides of the squares. This step is optional, but I liked the look and the way it kept the layers together.
Step 5 Fold the patchwork in half with right sides together and sew along both sides. (Fold so that the piece is folded to 13" wide x 12" tall. See step 6 picture) I use pins to make sure all the seams line up and match.

Step 6 Now for the fun part! Cut off 2" from the top of the basket. The remaining piece that you just sewed together should be 10" tall. The piece you cut off will be your basket handle. (If you aren't too precise with your 1/4" seam allowance make the piece you cut off a little smaller. The remaining piece needs to be 10".)

Note: The piece you cut off may be a little 'wobbly' just square it off. You will need to cut one of the side seams to make the piece into a strap. The side seam will also be missing the decorative stitching if you chose to do it, so add the two little stitches if you desire.

Step 7 Box the corners of the patchwork. Measuring 3" up from the corner, making the basket 6" deep. I do not trim the access corner pieces because these pieces help the basket stand. Set to the side.
This is a picture of boxing the lining. I forgot to take a picture of boxing the patchwork, but the process is the same.

Step 8 Lining: Iron the interfacing to the wrong sides of both lining pieces. Sew around three sides of the lining leaving a generous opening on the bottom of the lining. Leave the top (13" wide section) open. You could use 1 pc of lining and leave a hole on the side. I used 2 pieces because my fabric was directional and I wanted everything going in the same direction. I also prefer to turn items through a hole on the bottom rather than the side.
Step 9 Box the corners of the lining using the same measurements as the patchwork. Set to the side.

Step 10 Now let's make the handle. Taking the patchwork piece you cut off, iron a 1/4" seam allowance on one of the long sides of the strap.
Step 11 Iron on the 1.5" x 18" pc of interfacing to the center of the wrong side of the 2"x18" pc of denim. Iron 1/4" seam allowance on the denim handle as well.

Step 12 With right sides together sew down the side of the handle that does not have the seam pressed.

Step 13 Press the handle so that the right sides are out. Sew down the long open side of the handle with coordinating thread. I also top stitched multiple lines down the handle. These are optional.
Step 14 Pin right sides of the basket handle to the patchwork sides.
Step 15 Pin right sides of all the basket layers together. Sew around the top edge of the basket with 1/4" seam allowance.
Step 16 Pull the basket right side out.
Step 17 Push the lining into the basket. Iron and then top stitch around the entire basket. Hand stitch the hole in the bottom of the basket closed.
Step 18 All done!

I added personalization to these baskets. If you would like to do the is easiest if added after Step 4.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Getting it Together

I'm almost a freak about organization. I love everything to have its own spot and also be aesthetically pleasing. Living in an apartment with no attic to hide stuff has given me new organizational challenges. Thankfully our apartment has tons of closets, but there are some things that are better stored...under the bed!

Because I couldn't find them anywhere in Korea, I ordered adjustable bed risers from I got the adjustable ones so I could choose how high I wanted the bed. An extra 3", 5" or 8". I'm a woman after all and changing my mind about things is what I'm allowed to do! Either way, after ordering these things over a month ago they finally arrived!

I started with our master bedroom.

Ahhh...all that extra under bed storage bliss. But, eww! The sheet is hanging out and you can see all the *crap* underneath. Time to make a bedskirt! Rather a faux bedskirt because there is no way I'm lifting the tempurpedic mattress myself. I love the bed, but it's a pain to lift.

I wanted to make the bedskirt tailored to the bed with straight lines. No ruffles. No pleats. Here is the end piece.
Now for the rest of the bedskirt.

Much better! I haven't decided it I want to put some trim on the skirt to add some visual interest. I also need to make some more decorative pillows to tie all the colors of the bed together. Right now it's a bit too neutral. I am also on the hunt for a night stand for the far side of the bed. Right now it's just some simple shelves that were shipped to Korea by mistake. I had seen a beautiful blue cabinet that I hope to find again.

At least for now I can hide the under bed storage!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

No Teaching Today

I've been busy for the first three days of this work week subbing for first grade. The teacher was feeling a bit better, so I get to sew today because I didn't get called in to work. I've been working on a Bags From The Heart order and I finished it this morning.
I love the fabric that was used for the lining, side panels and accents. It is Vera Bradley Bali Blue. One advantage to living in Korea is that I can actually buy these fabrics by the yard! In the US, I would have to scavenger hunt the web to see who would send it to me - at a much higher cost too! Here are two pictures of the inside. The inside has three slide pockets on both sides and one of the ends has three pen pockets. Isn't this fabric wonderful?
Three Slide Pockets (above) Pen Pockets (below)
I truly believe a bag needs to have pockets on the inside to keep all your stuff organized. I always find it a pain when you can't find your cell phone in your purse when it is ringing. When I design my bags I try to maintain functionality.

Finally, here is a picture of the back. I stippled all over the exterior. I love the look it gives a somewhat plain uniform. I used beautiful blue thread for the stitching.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Working Again

I've been a little absent this past week because we had our first visitor in Korea and I've started working again. There is a huge military training exercise that takes place every March in Korea, so my DH has been gone from about 6am to 10pm everyday since Feb 22. Luckily, there have been some "pauses" on the weekends, so he has only had to work 6-8 hours on the weekends.

This past weekend (March 6-7) our friend from the states was here because of the exercise. He was in the same unit as my husband when they were in Iraq, so it was good to see a familiar face again. We went with him to Itaewon for some shopping and dinner. It was kind of weird because our friend had to stay with other members of the group here. Almost like babysitting. The commander didn't want the guys to separate into groups less than 4. It was weird since all
the guys were officers. But, we dealt with it. Our friend was able to come to our apartment for some cookies though, so it was nice to show him where we live.
On Tuesday, March 9 I got a phone call from the school to say my substitute paperwork was all complete and I could start working. I wasn't sure how often I would be working...but Wednesday morning I got a call to come in for 1/2 the day. I worked in the nurses office. It was a good first assignment. I had never been in the building before and there isn't an orientation or anything, so I asked the nurse I worked with a lot of things about the school to try to get some bearings. On Thursday morning, I got another call to work in 1st grade. I was excited to be in a classroom. The kids were pretty good, and my teacher attitude/voice came back pretty easily. Today (Friday) is a teacher work day with no students, so I'm off. Getting back to work is kind of nice. I like having my day planned out more. Hopefully I will find out if I'm subbing early than the morning of my assignment, but for now...I'll just keep my phone at the bedside.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My 26th Birthday

I celebrated a wonderful birthday yesterday. The day started out with breakfast in bed and finished with sushi for dinner and a glass of wine. After all it was Wednesday, and on Wednesdays my husband and I like to try a different wine each week. "Wine Wednesday"

After enjoying my breakfast I met up with three wonderful ladies from the quilting group to go fabric shopping in Dongdaemun. It was the perfect way to spend the day. The weather was sunny and fairly warm, so it was pleasant inside the market buildings. I bought an assortment of fabrics, notions and thread that will probably last me for a couple years. You can buy spools of thread as large as soccer balls! It is crazy the assortment of things you can find at the market. I picked up several business cards of places so I find them again. I went to lunch at a traditional Korean restaurant with the ladies. We had an assortment on things. It was all delicious.

My husband and pretty much all he military in Korea is in the middle of a large training exercise. He has been working late each night. The thought of eating dinner at 10pm wasn't too appealing, but luckily someone at work was willing to take on my husband's duties, so he was able to come home at 5pm. When he walked in the door he had a beautiful bouquet of spring colored roses in hand. They smell great and are really pretty on the dining table.
I also got a new camera as my birthday gift. It is a Canon Digital SLR XSi. I love the quality of the pictures it can take. I now need to read the manual to learn about all the functions it has. I'm excited to try new things with the camera.

We went to dinner at Fuji Sushi on post. I really like the double shrimp rolls there, so that is what I ordered. It was nice being able to eat dinner with my husband because that probably won't happen again for another couple of weeks.

When we got home we tried a different Pinot Grigio that we haven't had before. It was a nice way to end a great birthday.

I'm excited to create with my new fabrics. I need to still put borders on my Krazy Quilt and then sign up to get it quilted on the long arm machine.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Introducing the Yongsan Long Arm

It's only Tuesday and I feel like is should be Friday! Phew! On the first Mondays of each month the quilt group meets at a member's home rather than at the Quilting room at the on post Chapel. The monthly meeting allows us to show and tell, discuss projects and just have some girl time. This month was my first time visiting another member's home. It was nice to just sit and chat. All of the ladies are very informative and helpful. I brought my finished Krazy Quilt blocks to share as well as my Hanbok example block to show for the exchange. Both items were well received and boosted my sewing/ quilting confidence. Some of the other ladies brought their blocks to share as well. I think they are all really cute.We were all talking so much that before we knew it, it was past 3pm. We had arrived at 9:30am!

Tuesdays at the Yongsan Quilt Shop are designated for long arm quilting Quilts of Valor. I decided to go to the shop and start training on the machine. Once/ if I get trained then I will be able to use the long arm to quilt my own quilts as well as quilts for other people. The process isn't too confusing, but is just takes practice. The machine that we have is AMAZING! The entire machine is computerized. Below is a picture of the computer screen for the quilt we quilted today. Here is the machine in action. We quilted a patriotic pattern on the quilt.
The long arm has a 14 foot bed and measures pretty much everything for you. You click the buttons on the sewing machine to designate your parameters and then you decide on pattern placement. Owning a machine like this would be crazy. Anyone have an extra $35,000 laying around?

I checked the mail center today and there was a lovely surprise there for me. My new sewing chair arrived! I've been sitting in it for only about 20 min and I'm already in love. The chair sits a little higher than a normal dining chair and the low back is great for supporting my lumbar. When I saw this chair I was in love with the funky retro looking fabric. The fabric is an Alexander Henry print, so I will check to see if Dongdaemun will carry the fabric. I was able to purchase the chair from JoAnn's for 50% off the original price, no tax and free shipping! I thought that was a great deal. The shipping was a lot faster than most of the orders I have placed too. Below is a photo of the chair from a website advertising it.
One thing I like is that there is storage under the seat too. I love things that are dual purpose. This picture is also from the advertising website.
Now that I can roll around my sewing room, I will get to work on some of the exchange blocks. I'm excited for tomorrow because I am heading to Dongdaemun with some of the ladies from the quilt group. Also tomorrow is my Birthday! I think shopping for fabric will be a great way to celebrate!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hanbok Block

I have decided on my block for the Yongsan Quilters Spring Block Exchange. From the beginning I thought about making a Hanbok block, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to paper piece 20 blocks. After testing out the block this weekend, I decided 20 blocks wouldn't be too difficult to handle.
I used a Kimono paper pieced pattern altered into a hanbok. I think it looks very similar to the Traditional Korean Hanbok.

The unfinished block is 9 1/2 inches.

I'm finding it kind of amusing that I'm doing so much quilting right now. Less than a year ago I wouldn't have considered myself a quilter and I really had no intentions of making quilts. I think it might be because my grandmother is a magnificent quilter and I never thought I could create the things that she does. My grandmother is an expert quilter... I put myself on the novice level. With each quilt I make, my precision and techniques are improving. I have found that just being able to see doesn't make quilting any easier. I find myself concentrating more while I'm making quilt blocks because I want to make sure they are made to the correct size.

I love to see and create things will fabric, so I guess quilting is just another addition to my creative outlet. For now, I would love to know the creative outlets of other people.