Shall We Crack On?

One of my favorite students (and friend:), Sarah asked me if I’d teach a class while her Mum and sister-in-law were in town. I was delighted of course! Carol, her Mum is visiting from Yorkshire, England and Louise is down from Boston (by way of England and Australia). We met yesterday afternoon at The Little General! They’re both just as much fun as Sarah!! And just as talented! And most importantly, they taught me new British catch phrases; you know I love a good catch phrase!
Polka Dots= Spots
Oopsy Daisy= It means the same thing as in the US, but people over the age of eleven say it!
Zips= Zippers. Sounds so much cuter!
Ladybirds= Ladybugs. I’m adopting this; it seems so much more accurate!
And my all time favorite…Shall we crack on?! Apparently it means “Let’s get started!” I love it!! I only wish I had a lovely British accent to go with it… All my classes might start with it from now on. May Chappell is experiencing the British Invasion!
Meet Louise! She said (and I quote), “I can sew a little. I made my wedding dress.” Om…she can sew! Really well!!

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And Carol! She “occasionally sews!” I think I was duped; she’s also really good! She’s a perfectionist and her pouch is perfect:)

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And Sarah! She was great, as always! And not afraid to try anything!!

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Sarah’s been dying to try pebble quilting since I showed it to her. The moment that I mentioned quilting the pouches, she was ready to pebble quilt. It took great concentration!

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Success! I think she’s ready for the big time!!

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Louise is heading home with a new hobby (quilting!) and a project to get started:) My pattern! And some beautiful Tula prints!!

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Look at their AMAZING pouches!

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We really had a wonderful afternoon! Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!!
Cheerio! LC

Sewing for Sandy Hook 2

As I told ya’ll the other day, Gina of The Little General and I organized a local pillowcase drive
for the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary. Quilter’s Corner in New Milford is collecting them; they’ve had such an overwhelming response that they expect to have a pillowcase for each child in the district when they return from winter break. It’s a small thing, but handmade items always mean there’s a little love in there!
Last Thursday, we gathered at The Little General! Lots of people came and those that couldn’t, dropped off pillowcases! Thanks to everyone!!
Here’s what we made!

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This is me (on the right) with the uber talented Gina who dropped by some pillowcases!

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We sewed!

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We were visited by adorable children!

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Thanks to Gina for being so generous with donating fabric!!!

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We gathered 45+ pillowcases!

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They’re en route to Connecticut!! Thanks to Carolyn for donating the postage!

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Wishing you and your family a safe holiday season!
xo LC

Pretty Pillowcase TUTORIAL

A few people have asked me how I make pillowcases. This is how I do it- based on trying lots of different ways:) The guru and I figure our lifetime pillowcase making count to be around 150; we love to make them!

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1. Fabric: You will need three fabrics. Main piece: 24-27″. Accent: 2-3″. Cuff: 9-12″. If my cuff is on the larger side, I do the main fabric on the shorter side and vice versa. Ideally, I use main: 25″, accent: 2″ and cuff: 12″.

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2. Sewing on the Accent Piece: Press the accent piece in half lengthwise.

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Sew the raw edge side of the accent piece to the right side of the cuff. Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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3. Cutting the Main Fabric: Fold your main fabric from cut edge to cut edge. Trim off the selvage. **You can skip this step. But I save selvages:) And I find it easier to cut a clean edge before any seams are sewn.**

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4. Attaching the Main Fabric: Place the main fabric so that the main fabric and the cuff are right sides together as shown. Sew using a 1/4″ seam.

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**NOTE: You can sew these as one seam, but because pillowcases are washed frequently, I think it’s stronger with multiple seams. It is an option though:)
5. Sewing Up the Tube: Take the edge of your main fabric furthest from the cuff and fold it up as shown.

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Keep folding it up until it is as small as shown. The goal is to make sure that you don’t snag any of the main fabric when you sew the cuff.

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Place it on the cuff side.

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Wrap the cuff over. Make sure the main fabric is out of the way.

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Pin the cuff. I recommend pinning each end, then putting a pin in the middle. Because one side of the cuff has been sewn and the other has not, they are not exactly the same length anymore. You will be easing in the unsewn edge.

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You will want to ensure that the ends align as shown.

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Sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance. The larger seam allowance ensures that your previous seams won’t peak out.

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Turn the tube right side out.

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Press the back first.

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Press the front. It should look like this. All your seams are tucked away:)

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6. Trimming: Trim the selvage/excess off the accent and cuff. Use the edge of the main fabric as a guide.

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7. Finishing: Place your pillowcase right sides together. Pin the area where the accent and cuff meet carefully as shown.

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Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew from just below the cuff to the edge of the cuff.

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Back stitch at the edge to lock your stitches. I usually go back and forth a few times.

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Check that your seams align properly.

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Go back to the place where you started the side seam. You will want to overlap a few stitches. Sew down the side of the main fabric.

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Sew across the bottom. You will want to sew across the side seam as shown.

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Finish by using a serger on the two seams. Or a finishing stitch on your machine. Even a zigzag will work; you are just preventing fraying. I use Fray Stoppa on the ends. (Sorry this is a different fabric; I didn’t take a picture of the red dotted one!)

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You’re done! (Why yes, I do have Amy Butler sheets… I also have Neptune pillowcases. They both make me happy:)

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Let me know if you have any questions!!

xo LC

Sewing for Sandy Hook

I’m certain that a lot of you are sharing the same feelings over the tragedy in Sandy Hook that I am. What is wrong with the world? And what can I do to help?
Well, one thing I can do is sew. Quilter’s Corner in Connecticut is collecting pillowcases. They’re working to collect enough pillowcases to give one to each Sandy Hook Elementary student after the holiday break.
So, let’s get sewing!! This Thursday from 12-6! Gina at The Little General is graciously offering her beautiful shop. She’s also donating ten pillowcase kits to the cause! If you don’t know how to make a pillowcase, I’ll show you:) Bring fabric (Gina’s kits will be just $6 on Thursday), thread, sewing supplies or just come!! I’m bringing a serger and Gina has a classroom full of awesome Berninas!
I heard about this project from one of my bee-mates, Katy. She’s already made this one!!

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If you cannot come on Thursday, but still want to send pillowcases, here is the mailing address:
Quilter’s Corner
312 Danbury Road
New Milford CT 06776
Please let me know if you have any questions!! Hope to see you Thursday:)
xo LC
PS Tart Sweets, makers of amazingness, will be dropping by delicious snacks to everyone on Thursday! They make marshmallows!! And snicker doodle cupcakes! Thanks Lynn & Chelsea:)

A Pretty Little Success

Yesterday wrapped up the Pretty Little Workshop series at The Little General. We’ve had great fun and made some beautiful things!
The first was was pouches! The tutorial is here. Patsy, Laurie, Gail & Judy each made a lovely pouch and each one is unique to their personalities!

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Here’s a close up!

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Laurie went into production and made all these on her own! From what I hear from my littles elves, all of them are in mass production mode for the holidays!!

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The next week we made potholders! Tutorial found here. Gail, Laurie & Suzie did a wonderful job!

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And yesterday we wrapped up with wool pincushions. The wool tutorial is coming soon! But here is a version with quilters’ cotton. Everyone did a great job! Doing blanket stitch on the machine is definitely an acquired skill that needs practice, but they’re well on their way. I forgot to take pictures (agh!!), but Gail sent me a pic of her cute little pinnie!

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I had a wonderful time with the Sunday workshops and I think everyone else did too! I’m already looking forward to next year!!
xo LC

Pouchapalooza

I’ve been a pouch making fool for the past two weeks! I decided I would make some pouches to put on Etsy! I love pouches and had tons of fun choosing the fabrics!
My sweet aunt bought a bunch before they even made it to etsy:) Check out her loot!

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And my friend Suzie ordered some for her nieces! She chose fabrics to go with their personalities:)

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And I finished all these cuties and posted them. I secretly want to keep the one lined in elephants:) I enjoyed coming up with a different straight line quilting pattern for each one.

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Now back to Christmas present sewing!
xo LC

A Family Full of Holiday Spirit

Last weekend, I went to Charleston to visit my Aunt Kitty. She’s a hostess with the mostess and her house always looks like a page from Southern Living. This year she had made these adorable holiday pillows!

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She used last year’s placemats and napkins. The placemats make the perfect lumbar pillows. And the napkins make great square pillows. Quick and easy! And a great way to use widowed napkins and placemats:)

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My cousin Miriam also creates a holiday wonderland at her home. She just made this adorable HO pillow. Two more HOs are in production! Very soon her porch will greet visitors with HO HO HO in Stewart plaid!!

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The guru is in production mode! She followed my tutorial for the O Christmas Tree Table Runner and made this for our dear friend Jane! I love the fussy cut trees mixed with the pieced trees. Plus this is the first appearance of Tula Pink Saltwater on my blog!! I was her assistant and did some FMQ for her. She’s often my assistant, so I owed her:) (She’s still working on the binding…)

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Now I need to wrap up MY holiday projects! How many days do we have??
xo LC

Ribbon Candy Ornament TUTORIAL

Today is the final tutorial for the TWELVE WEEKS OF CHRISTMAS!

I’ve planned a cute (and quick!) ribbon candy ornament!

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1. Fabric: You will need three colors of wool felt. I used magenta, bright green and white.

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2. Cutting the Strips: Cut a 12″ x 3/4″ strip from each color. Put the lightest color in the middle.

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3. Sewing the Candy: Use a strong thicker thread; I used Sulky 12 wt. Use a long sharp needle.

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Sew through all three layers. Space your stitches 3/4″ apart. I marked 3/4″ on the exterior pieces using an erasable fabric pen prior to sewing. Do NOT knot the end.

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Pull the threads to make the ribbon gather.

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It should look like this.

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Sew back through all the layers. Take care not to sew through the initial thread, but next to it.

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4. Finishing: Knot the threads tightly.

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Trim the excess off the ends.

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Cut a 12″ piece of ribbon for your hanger. Make a loop by folding it in half and knot.

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Hand sew to the top of the candy ribbon.

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You’re done! They look festive adorning your tree or adorning your holiday gifts!!

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Let me know if you have any questions!!
xo LC

Pretty Little Potholder TUTORIAL

Need a quick hostess gift? Or stocking stuffer? You’ll love this! We are making a potholder!!

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1. Fabric: You’ll need a 4″ square for the center (fussy cutting recommended!), a 7″ solid square for the first frame, a 9″ print for the second frame, an 8 1/2″ square for the backing and a 2 1/2″ x width of fabric strip for the binding.

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You will also need batting. I used this.

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2. Cutting the Frames: Cut the 7″ and 9″ squares into fourths diagonally. Align the square with the 45° line on your cutting board and cut from corner to corner.

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It should look like this.

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3. Sewing the First Frame: Fold your center square in half to find the center. Finger press.

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Fold a solid triangle in half to find the center. Finger press.

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Align the folded marks.

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Sew along the edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat for the opposite side.

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Press away from the center. Marry the seams first:) You *can* trim the excess off the sides; I don’t bother because we are going to square up.

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Repeat this process for the two remaining sides.

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4. Squaring the First Frame: You will need a well marked ruler. The edges are not square/straight. We will use the center square as the basis for squaring up.

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Align the ruler 1/4″ beyond the right intersection.

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Make sure that the same line is going through both the top intersection…

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And the bottom intersection. Cut.

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Now use the side you just cut as the straight line to trim the other three sides. Always cut 1/4″ from the intersection if the center square and first frame.

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5. Sewing the Second Frame: You will sew the second frame in the same manner as the first. HOWEVER, you will trim 1/2″ from the intersection. You want to sew with the center square/first frame on top. If you sew directly through the intersection, your point will be perfect.

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It should look like this.

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Trim 1/2″ from the intersection.

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It will look like this.

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6. Quilting: Make a sandwich with your backing, the batting and your pieced front.

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I quilted with three simple lines around the center square, but the pattern is up to you!

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Trim off any excess. Use your pieced front as the guide. It should look like this.

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7. Binding: Press your binding in half lengthwise. Cut off a 6″ piece.

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Fold in the raw edge to the pressed line.

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Repeat for the other raw edge and press.

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Top stitch along the edge to close the piece.

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Fold the piece as shown.

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Place it in the corner of the back. If your center square is directional, make sure it is right side up. Sew a short seam in the corner to hold it in place.

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Bind. I sewed mine on the machine (even though machine binding offends me:) because this is a utilitarian project for me. But I made a bunch as gifts and I sewed that binding by hand. It’s up to you!

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Let me know if you have any questions and as always, upload your completed amazingness to the Made with May Chappell Flickr group.
xo LC

TOTE-ally Mine!

I’ve been wanting a new tote! (Because I need another bag like I need a hole in my head:) I bought the Noodlehead 241 Tote pattern a few months ago, but I just could not find the time to make it. Soooo, as a birthday present to me, I took the whole day and made it with the guru on Friday!!
It is a great pattern! Very well written and full of detailed pictures. I’d heard nothing but excellent things about Noodlehead patterns and they proved to all be true!
Naturally, the guru did have a helpful hint for me. I still learn something new from her every time we sew together. There is a lot of top stitching on this pattern. My Bernina #10 foot was my best friend.
You know when you’re trying to press the fabric so that the lining doesn’t show and you can top stitch? This is a trick to make that easier! I used it for the pockets.
First sew the pieces together per the pattern instructions. Press open.

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Finger press both seam allowances to the lining side. (My fabrics are the same, but the exterior has interfacing, while the lining does not.)

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Lay the piece flat and sew just inside the lining. I used the #10 foot and moved my needle over two spots.

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You are stitching on the lining side. This makes the lining naturally go to the back.

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Look how flat and perfect it is! This picture is before I pressed it!!

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I pressed it and top stitched. Voila! No burnt fingers and a perfect edge:)

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And here’s my fun bag! I’m going to be making this again!!

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xo LC