29 May 2020

Coated Prints 101: Sewing with Laminates

The Bloomington collection has hit shops... and with it, Moda added something a little extra--coated prints! In case you're wondering, coated prints = cotton prints coated with a laminate layer. (I'll use the terms "coated prints" and "laminates" interchangeably.) As you might guess, laminates come with their own set of rules, so today I'm sharing a few tips and tricks about working with laminates in general.
One of the perks of working with laminates is they are extra durable and easier to clean than traditional quilting cotton. This makes them ideal for bag making, which is why I came up with my first ever bag pattern, Kiss & Makeup, the hanging travel bag you see here.
Sewing with laminates comes with a different set of rules than working with regular cotton prints. Let's talk about some of those special tools you should invest in to sew with them. As it turns out, they make a HUGE difference in the quality of how your projects turn out. Most (but not all) of the tools I'm about to mention are pictured below.
coated prints
Polyester thread.  I didn't think it would make much of a difference what type of thread I used, but it did. I initially used a high quality Aurifil cotton thread I had on hand. I was surprised to find the stitching looked uneven and messy. I switched to the Mettler brand polyester and had a visibly nicer result. Because the Kiss & Makeup bag has a lot of top-stitching (an example below), it was important to me that the stitching look as nice as possible.
Teflon/Non-stick Sewing Foot. Laminates have a tendency to stick to your sewing machine. One source of resistance is the machine's standard metal feet; look for a non-stick Teflon foot to invest in. Mine is Bernina's "Zigzag foot #52." You will want to research what Teflon non-stick foot is available/compatible with your specific sewing machine. 
Tissue paper.  Another source of resistance is the bottom of the project--it will stick to the sewing machine bed and feed dogs. To remedy this, place a scrap of tissue paper underneath the project. This will help it glide through smoothly. Yes, I'm suggesting you sew the tissue paper to the bottom of the project. It sounds like a strange thing to do, but it's really not a big deal. Just tear the tissue paper away afterwards and discard.
Wonder Clips. Because laminates/vinyl retain holes from pinning, one great way to avoid this is to use binding clips to hold the layers in place. I used them almost exclusively for all my pinning needs in my bag project.
1/4" Wonder Tape.  There were a couple exceptions where I couldn't use Wonder Clips to 'pin' things in place for the project... One example came in positioning the zippered pockets in place on the bag lining as seen above. The Wonder Clips held everything in place at the sides, but I needed something to "glue" the bound areas of each pocket down. This is where Wonder Tape came in handy. Since Wonder Tape is a double-sided adhesive, I added a skinny strip underneath the bound edges in place so I could stitch them down. And Wonder Tape dissolves after being washed (in case that matters to you, I felt it was a moot point here since the skinny 1/4" width remains out-of-sight).
Microtex Needle.  This sewing machine needle is extra thin and sharp. It's a game changer for working with laminates. It penetrates the layers easily and was another factor in making the stitching look clean and clear... which I learned the hard way through testing, of course.
Hera Marker. Some laminate projects require markings to be made. If yours does, consider using a hera marker to make your markings. (It marks creases instead of ink.) Ordinarily, I love using a Frixion (heat removable) pen for markings, but ironing laminates is a no-no...
Which bring me to the last topic I want to discuss: PRESSING.
First things first, DON'T directly iron a laminate, it will melt. IF you need to remove wrinkles, use a low heat setting over the BACK (cotton side) of the laminate. All laminates are going to be slightly different in the level of heat they can handle. The Moda brand gave me no problems when it came to removing wrinkles, but every manufacturer is different. I was actually able to add a light shot of steam to help remove the wrinkles and spent probably 4-5 seconds over each wrinkled area at the most. (I didn't need longer than that.) It would be best to test a scrap of your laminate to see what level of heat it can handle. 
When it comes to pressing seams or creating folds, you can use weight or a seam roller. Wonder Clips can also be helpful, especially when it comes to bindings. The Kiss & Makeup bag involves binding the edges of zippers, vinyl pockets, and eventually the perimeter of the bag It would have been ideal to use an iron in creating the binding creases, but obviously wasn't an option. Instead, I used a combination of weight + Wonder Clips to create and hold the binding shut.
And that's it. I can't emphasize enough the importance of each of these tools. I made at least 6 tester bags to test all of these tools and can personally attest to the effectiveness of having the right tools for the best looking end-product. 

19 May 2020

A Fresh Batch {Folktale Quilts}

"Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder." - e. b. white
Five brand new quilts--crisp quilting, freshly bound, and ready for their day in the sun. These projects are made with Folktale fabric, arriving to shops October 2020. I'm already dreaming of more happy things to make in this collection. The new patterns you are about to see are available NOW in the shop. Through Monday 5/25/20, enjoy an automatic 25% off in the shop.
Here's a geometric flower quilt sure to brighten your day. Like most of my patterns, Spring Fling uses a combination of beginner techniques like half-square triangles and easy-corner triangles. 
LB194 Spring Fling COVER 
I usually have a favorite quilt in every batch, and this one is it. Spring Fling finishes at 78" x 78" and is made with (9) assorted fat quarters for the flower petals + (9) assorted fat eighths for the flower centers + (6) assorted half-yard cuts for the leaf-and-stem units. Don't forget to choose a background print to make your fabric garden pop! Quilting by Kaitlyn Howell.
Quilt: Spring Fling
Fabric: Folktale by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics
Pieced by: Vanessa Goertzen
Quilted by: Kaitlyn Howell
For some reason, this one makes me think of an old nursery rhyme book I liked to look at as a child. You've heard the old poem about the whimsical garden full of silver bells, cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row. I remember it seemed too magical to belong to such an ornery caretaker. 
It's worth nothing that the Folktale collection includes a couple charming basics perfect for backgrounds, borders, accents, etc. If you look closely at the blues below, you will see the sweet dainty multicolor "Magic Dot" print used for the background in Spring Fling, as well as the Sparkler quilt you'll meet momentarily. The skinny stripe was also used for the border here. 
Folktale fabric by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics
Next up is Sun Shower, a pattern inspired by one of my favorite muses--a tile floor. Make this one with (24) fat eighths or (12) fat quarters, depending on how scrappy and colorful you'd like to make it. Finished quilt size is 66.5" x 66.5".
LB193 Sun Shower cover
I've used the white "Magic Dot" for the white background in this one, but really all the quilts in this collection. The blue skinny stripe makes an appearance again for the sashing.
Sun Shower2
Quilt: Sun Shower
Fabric: Folktale by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics
Pieced by: Vanessa Goertzen
Quilted by: Marion Bott
The quilting by Marion Bott really makes this one sing.
Sun Shower3
Quilt: Sun Shower
Fabric: Folktale by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics
Pieced by: Vanessa Goertzen
Quilted by: Marion Bott
This little charmer finishes at 82" x 82" and is made with (1) Layer Cake (32 assorted precut squares 10" x 10"). The blue "Magic Dot" shows up again for the background.
LB192 Sparkler cover
This is a quick and easy one to piece, really great for a newer quilter. Quilting by Marion Bott.
Here's a sequel to my ever popular Starstruck quilt. The main difference is a smaller finished block (6" square) and a whole lot more of them. Make it with (2) Layer Cakes (60 assorted precut squares 10" x 10") or (24) fat quarters. Finished quilt size if 68" x 80".
LB191 Starstruck 2 cover
This one does also technically have added corners to each sawtooth star unit. The golden skinny stripe is used as that corner accent print, as well as the border. It gives this quilt such a warm and bright disposition, don't you think? Quilting by Kaitlyn Howell.
Quilt: Starstruck 2
Fabric: Folktale by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics
Pieced by: Vanessa Goertzen
Quilted by: Kaitlyn Howell
I have wanted to resize the block of the original ever since I made a Starstruck Mini wall hanging (exclusive to the Quilter's Candy Box years ago). I will be making another Starstruck 2 to mimic the Farmhouse-y charcoal colors of that wall hanging.
This is an reprint of an oldie. I've updated it to make it bigger--finishing at 72" x 80" with more blocks. Make it with (2) Layer Cakes (72 assorted precut squares 10" x 10") OR (2) Jelly Rolls (72 assorted precut strips 2.5" x WOF) OR (24) fat quarters.
LB138 Chatterbox cover
This one was quilted by Marion Bott. I ran out of the white "Magic Dot" at the last minute and substituted this low volume geometric instead.
Quilt: Chatterbox
Fabric: Folktale by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics
Pieced by: Vanessa Goertzen
Quilted by: Marion Bott
Quilt: Chatterbox
Fabric: Folktale by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics
Pieced by: Vanessa Goertzen
Quilted by: Marion Bott
Fabric is so magical, isn't it? I am amazed what it can make me feel just looking at it. These days, it's definitely a welcome bit of eye candy. Hope you enjoyed this preview, mark your calendars for October when the fabric arrives.


18 May 2020

Folktale (a new fabric collection)

Come along for a walk on an old forest path. The sun is heading to bed, scattering the last bits of light in and around the trees. It is a wild wonderland; a thick woodland brimming with enchanted blooms of pink, white, and gold. Look for the dainty little posies, scattered at random, beckoning to be collected. This collection is a romantic backdrop for an older time, one of fanciful tales and lore.
Folktale collection by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics. Shipping October 2020. 
I get a lot of inquiries re: the Moda Bella Solids/Grunge coordinates, so I've included a list below... Keep in mind there are already a couple great basics built into the Folktale collection! Add a little extra sparkle to your backgrounds with the sweet multicolor "Magic Dot" print, or consider using the "Skinny Stripes" for sashing, accent blocks, borders, and bindings. They are a pretty sweet near-solid option that already matches the group perfectly.
  • Bella Solid #9900 178 "Etchings Stone"
  • Bella Solid #9900 97 "Bleached White"
  • Grunge #30150 91 "Vanilla"
  • Bella Solid #9900 103 "Golden Wheat"
  • Grunge #30150 115 "Elafin"
  • Bella Solid #9900 88 "Bubble Gum"
  • Bella Solid #9900 172 "Circa Celadon"
  • Grunge #30150 274 "Vert"
  • Bella Solid #9900 207 "Glacier"
  • Bella Solid #9900 41 "Chocolate"
Do you have a favorite print? I'm always a sucker for a dainty floral.

01 May 2020

Kiss & Makeup (May's $5 Pattern)

Here's to dreaming about future travel plans! Meet Kiss & Makeup--May's $5 pattern. It's a hanging travel bag perfect for toting your favorite knick knacks near and far.
This is my first bag pattern. The idea came about when Moda added a few coated prints to the Bloomington collection. At the time, I also found myself in need of a new travel bag. Kismet. 
LB189 Kiss & Makeup Hanging Travel Bag COVER
When I started designing the bag, I had a hard time tracking down the right hook hanger hardware I had envisioned. Long story short, I ended up having my own manufactured and have them available in my shop now.
LB-CSHH1 image
This was my first time using coated prints (aka laminated cottons). Coated prints are wonderful for bag-making since they're durable and easy to clean. These Bloomington coated prints have a matte finish and are excellent quality. I'll admit, I was intimidated using them at first since I'd never worked with laminates of any kind. I did a lot of experimenting and ended up loving the quality. If you'd like to use coated prints for your bag--I've shared all the good information right in the pattern. I'll also be sharing tips + tricks on the blog this month. Of course, you can use anything you'd like to make this bag--cotton, canvas, coated prints--or a mix!
The pattern is 10 pages, full color, with lots of photographs and diagrams. I'm excited to have a pretty new travel bag, and this makes a great gift as well. And good news--Bloomington fabric is arriving in shops now! Check in with your favorite local or online shop for the coated prints or regular yardage.