Category Archives: tutorial

klar quilt tutorial: part 2

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In the Part 1 of this tutorial we fussy cut all the squares – the larger 3.5×3.5 in and the smaller ones at 1.5×1.5 in. Then we boxed the smaller squares with the background fabric, in this case white, and we ended up with 49 squares that need to be assembled in the quilt top.

To speed up the process, and at the same time not loose track of which squares go where, I chain stitched 2 by 2 columns – all you do is pick up the squares of the columns you are working on in two piles – making sure you keep the order and then you stitch two and two together without breaking thread, like so…

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Order in which you sew these columns is up to you. The following two pictures show what I had done – in the first pass I stitched columns 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6; which left me with 4 “new” columns. So in the second pass I sewed together blocks in columns 1 and 2 and then 3 and 4, and so on.

Or if you prefer an illustration…

Almost done. Each row is separated with a 1 in strip, so you need to cut 6 strips 1.5 in wide and as long as the width of your rows + 1 in. Why + 1 in… I just prefer to have a little extra that I can cut off , than to have to cut another strip; also I am not a very accurate cutter so I like to have a bit of a buffer to work with. For this particular example – 7 blocks 3 in in width finished size, plus two raw edges at each side of a row, makes 21.5 in. I cut strips around 22.5 in.

Once you have your strips all you have to do is sew them in between the rows. The tricky part here (not that tricky but something to think about) is to align the squares vertically across the strips. That’s it. Once you have all the rows connected simply cut off the excess).

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The very last step is – the border. I cut the strips 4 in wide. That will give me about 3 in wide border once the binding is on. That’s it. All you have to do then is sandwich and quilt it. Done!

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If you are looking for the Part 1 of this tutorial you can find it here.

Klar quilt tutorial: Part 1

Pink Quilt - finishedOnce upon a time, there was a quilt simply called “Pink”. It was my first. OK, my second, but my very first based on my own pattern. It was a small quilt, that was gifted to a little baby girl, born not long after the quilt was made. I almost forgot about this quilt, until one day I got a message from a reader asking for a tutorial. I also realized that it has made it’s rounds on pinterest, and had a small following. My little, simple, pink and white quilt.

So I decided to make another one, using the same pattern (I have never yet repeated a pattern, because there are so many different patterns to try, right?), but quite different fabrics and write a little tutorial. Inspired by Yoshiko Jinzenji stunning quilts from Quilting Line and Color: Techniques and Designs for Abstract Quilts, I am making a red/black quilt that involves a lot of fussy cutting from a variety of fabrics, some quilting some ikea home decorating fabrics, going for bold lines and colors.

The tutorial will be in two parts, In the first part I will go over cutting and assembling the squares with the smaller color squares in the middle. And in the second one I will put them all together. I realize that the second part will be quite short, but I am writing this as I am making the quilt so there you go :).

STEP 1

Let me tell you first a little bit about how I work. I almost never preplan my quilts. I might make a sketch, like I did for this one (see below), but it’s just an idea. It is definitely not a full drawing, just a basic layout. Then I start cutting. I start with one or two blocks (depending on the pattern, it this case it would be two blocks because they are different) in the size I think I want, put them side by side on my design wall, imagine the approximate quilt size and see if I like the proportions. If not, I resize blocks. When I’m happy with that step, I start pulling out fabrics and cutting. But again, I don’t pull out all the fabrics and I don’t cut all at the same time. I might start with a color inspiration, pull out a few fabrics, cut a few blocks, arrange them on the wall, and then I repeat. By the time I’m done the color scheme might have change from the initial idea. I understand that this makes for a slower process, but the other way around does not work for me.

I think this might be why I never wrote many tutorials, because by the time I’m done, I would have to make a new quilt just to figure out what I did. I think I need to do it as I am working on a quilt, that way I have everything documented.

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OK, back to this quilt. This illustration below shows the layout for this quilt. Note that it is a bit different than the original Pink quilt because I wanted the bigger squares to be on all four corners of the design. The original idea was to make the smaller square 1/3 the size of the bigger square – the bigger square is 3×3 in and the smaller is 1×1 in **finished**.

klar quilt layout So let’s start; you will need to cut:

25 larger squares (3.5 x 3.5 in) and
24 smaller squares (1.5 x 1.5 in).

This is what my design wall looks like when I finished cutting and arranging my squares. I also take some blurry pictures which help me see the arrangement of colors.

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STEP 2

In step 2 we will be assembling the block with the smaller square in the middle. To better illustrate what I am talking about here is another image of the layout, this time with a little bit more information, to show you exactly how this quilt is assembled.

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Here you can see that each row of the design has two alternating blocks: one big dark square you cut out in step 1, and a square with the smaller dark square sashed in white. Also, rows are separated by a white strip but that will be covered in Step 2.

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And this is the layout for the block we are assembling. The numbers indicate the order of sewing (this is basically log cabin square). For this step you will need to cut (all from white or background fabric):

24 squares 1.5 x 1.5 in (piece 1);
48 rectangles 1.5 x 2.5 in (pieces 2 and 3);
24 rectangles 1.5 x 3.5 in (piece 4).

Here you can see my cut squares for step 1. I chain pieced them in each of the four steps. That way I can also keep track of the order I took them off the design wall.

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Piece 2 cut and waiting to be sewn on. I forgot to take pictures before piece 3 and 4 were sewn, but you get the picture.

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Here are all the shares finished. I wanted to show you the back of one of them – if I can I always press my seam open. I like how they look from the front – much smoother then if you press them on one side. The seams are also harder to see when the quilt is finished.

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Here is the final layout for Part 1 of this tutorial. Next we will sew the rows together, add white strips between the rows and the border around this center design.

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And I leave you with a little closeup of the fabrics…

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square hearts block and quilt tutorial

I finished this quilt just before summer holidays and gifted it right away. I am not sure if I measured it… I’ll see later (see below). As I was taking the pictures I was thinking how simple block can have a wonderfully complex effect. So I thought I would write a little tutorial. It shows the exact dimensions and the number of blocks I used to make this quilt. I think this would be perfectly suitable even for a quilting novice. Here we go…

On Friday, I sat down to make a quick outline of the tutorial, thinking I would make up the illustrations in Illustrator or Inkscape (a free software similar to Illustrator that I like; the problem with it is that you cannot find quite so many tutorials for it online, and once you go pass the basic skills, you can get stuck; that said I did use it to create all of the drawings and patterns for my now forgotten project flekka-challenge). As I was sketching, I was fretting about how long it will take me to do it all over, and maybe I could just leave as a sketch (the problem with this approach is when you make a mistake and find it at the very end… oh well, live an learn). Similar to all those instructions in Japanese sewing books. They are perfectly clear. When they are written well, of course. So here you are – a handwritten tutorial. I would like to know what you think…

Note to self – use a marker next time, pencil does not scan (or photograph) well.

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This quilt top consists of two different square blocks. The first block is what I call the square hearts block. For each block you will need to cut two 3×3 in squares, one white in low volume print and one in a darker print or solid; and one rectangle 5.5 in long and 3 in wide. The second block is a simple four-patch: 2 white and 2 low volume squares 3×3 in. This will give you finished squares 5.5×5.5 in.

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This shows you how to assemble blocks. I hope it is clear enough we need no words…

For my quilt I made 63 square hearts blocks, and 48 four patch low volume blocks. I looked in my original post and I was right, I did not measure the quilt before it was gone, but I managed to calculate from the picture – it was about 50 x 64 in.

Before I forget, you will NEED ONE MORE THING that is not in these sketches… the white triangles that go around the edges of the quilt. You need 28 triangles, but all you have to do is cut 14 6×6 in squares. I cut them a bit larger (remember the finished size of the squares – before assembly into quilt top – 5.5×5.5 in) for the seam allowances around the edges. (alternately, you could cut 28 white squares, and then trim them down at the end, after you assemble the quilt top).

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And finally this is how you assemble all the squares and the edge triangles together. The squares are on point, so instead of sewing together rows or columns, you start on a diagonal, as shown above. One trick I do, especially with larger quilts, is that I do one half of the quilt starting from one corner, then the other half starting from the opposite corner, and then I join the two halves together at the end. That was you never have more than one half of the top sitting in your lap.

Hexagon Star Quilt – Tutorial

This is the quilt you can read all about in the previous post. Here is a quick tutorial on how to cut, sew a block and assemble this design…

This is the basic layout – it is exactly what I used but you can change the number of columns, or the number of blocks in each column to change the size to what you like to be… but I am jumping ahead of myself.

I have made only one quilt, the very first one many years ago, following a pattern. It is not that I don’t want to buy a pattern, or a book (I actually own several quilting books)… it is that I find it challenging to figure out how to cut fabrics and assemble pieces into a design… either something I saw somewhere, or a design I thought of myself. When I saw this design I was intrigued. Would I have to use paper piecing (probably wouldn’t do it then)? Would I have to do some crazy sewing? Is there a shortcut for cutting?

To answer the first and second one – no paper piecing, no hand sewing… Actually the basic block – made up from a hexagon and two triangles is a diamond. So all you have is straight stitching… Here is a diagram of how you assemble blocks into columns and finally columns into a quilt. The basic block is A, blocks B and C are just versions of A, for the edges of the quilt. There are two columns – I and II, that alternate to get the final design (actually there is only one column – I, column II is the same as I, just rotated by 180 degrees).

So what about cutting… You will need to cut hexagons and diamonds. No triangles. Since I don’t like cutting so much – except for squares and strips, I like to minimize this step. I particularly dislike cutting using templates. So nothing like that here. So… for this particular layout, you will need 130 hexagons and 130 diamond. Dimensions are shown below.

Both of these shapes are cut from strips. Hexagons are cut from 4.5 in wide strips, and diamonds are cut from from 2.5 in wide strips – these will be the triangles in the finished block. This is a very rough sketch of the cutting…

I cut my hexagons with the hexagon “ruler”, but there are ways to cut hexies even if you don;t have a template.  Many tutorials have been written about this: this one from the modern quilt guild, then this one from the blue chair, and there is a tutorial on how to cut hexagons from a strip if you do have a template from jaybirdquilts.

So, once you have the pieces cut, this is how you assemble block A:

Step 1: align a hexagon and a diamond as shown, and sew along the dashed line. Step 2: Press (fold towards hexagon) and trim as shown. Now you have another triangle – this you use in Step 3: Align with the opposite edge of the hexagon and sew together. Press and trim if needed. The diamonds as cut are 3.5 in “long” (see diagram above). That is a little bigger, for two reasons – it is much easier to cut a diamond at 3.5 in long, as opposed to 3.3 in long. And this way you have a little bit of room to work with. I found that I had to trim only a few blocks… This was quite fast, and I think faster than if you had to cut all your triangles in the beginning (unless you are exceptionally fast at cutting, or have one of those gizmos with the right template)

Blocks B and C are assembled in exactly the same way – except you do only one triangle and then cut the hexagon as shown (for block C, cut about 1/4 in below the corner).

That’s it. I have to say that it was pretty fast going, considering you are working with hexagons and triangles. I hope this helps and some of you out there are inspired to make one of these. I would love to see what different combination of prints and/or solids would make…

dash-dot quilt block tutorial

Do you remember this quilt I finished recently?

I just learned from a commenter to my post that the striped block is called the Bright Hopes block. Well, if I had know that, it would have been much easier. I saw a vintage Vera shawl with this design, and then tried to figure out how to make it. Well, if you didn’t know about this block and are interested how to make it see this tutorial by A Girl in Paradise.

From sloper to sleeveless top

After I created the slopers (see previous project) the next step was to try and make something out of it. I decided to make a pattern for a simple A-line sleeveless top. Should not be that difficult, right?
So, here I will describe all the steps I took to create this top. From drafting the pattern, to basting, to making modifications. I will not go into sewing details, as the point of this project is patternmaking, but in terms of sewing this should be a simple project.

I used a sloper made using instructions from the Bunka Fashion Series, Garment Design Textbook 1: Fundamentals of Garment Design. But the same techniques can be used to modify any sloper.
This is the first step in modifying the front of the sloper. In this picture, it is shown in thicker line. I have removed all waist darts – they will not be used for this design. The majority of the work here will be to move the bust dart and add some fullness to create an A-line design.
1. Add length to the bodice: extend the length from the waist to the hem line by amount you wish p- depends on what the you want the total length to be (remember, you can always lengthen/shorten at the end).
2. Draw a line from the bust point “BP” perpendicular to the hem line. Mark point “A”. This line will help us move some of the bust dart to add fullness.
3. Decide the amount of fullness you want to add to the hemline and mark it as A1. In this case I chose 7cm – so distance A to A1 is 7 cm, which means I will add a total of 14 am to the width at the hem line in the front (as compared to the width around the waist). This is a completely arbitrary number, however, it is limited by the size of the dart: if you were to cut from A to BP and rotate the lower left part of the pattern clockwise around BP, to close the bust dart, and then measure A to A1 – that would be the max A to A1 length.
4. I will also add some fullness on the side – 2 on each side. So draw line from B (the original corner) to B1 2 cm long. Connect B1 up to the underarm point – this line will be the new side seam line. Again, choosing 2 cm is arbitrary, however, for an a-line design you want to add fullness all around not only on the sides.
Now we are ready for some cutting and rotating…

Note – thick black line – original sloper front, red lines – outline for the new pattern, the sleeveless top.
1. Moving the bust dart to add fullness: cut along the A-BP line and rotate the bottom left part of the pattern clockwise around BP until line A-BP aligns with the line A1-BP drawn in the previous step. Depending on the length of A-A1 you chose in the previous step, you will have some of the bust dart still left . You can close it al the way, which would add a lot more flare to the design, and you would not need to make the underarm dart.
2. Draw the shoulder seam. I wanted the shoulder seam 5 cm long, 4.5 cm away from the neck. Find D1 4.5 cm away from D on the original shoulder seam, and then draw a new shoulder seam by measuring 5 cm from D1 (line D1-E1).
3. Draw the neckline – I chose the depth to be 10 cm from the original (line F-F1). To help me draw the neckline – I drew a horizontal line from F1 and a vertical line from D (intersection at 0) and also one from D1 to 0. D1-0 and F1-0 are guidelines for the neckline.
4. Deep necklines might night lie flat across your chest and need to be tightened. To do that fine a point G on the neckline (about 1/3 lenght from F1, or what I did – drew a line from BP through 0 to neckline). Then find G1 – which should be about 0.3 – 0.5 cm from G, also on the neckline. The deeper the neckline, the more you need to tighten…
5. Mark the position of the underarm dart: measure 3cm from point C to C1 and then connect C1 to BP.

1. Tighten the neckline – cut along G-BP line and then rotate the top left part of the pattern clockwise around BP, until line BP-G aligns with BP-G1 line. Note that the neckline is not smooth – we will fix than in the final step.
2. Move the bust dart to the underarm position – cut along the C1-BP line and rotate clockwise around BP until the original bust dart is completely closed.
3. Finished dart should be a little shorter that the original sloper dart – this is to make the final design less “pointy” and thus smoother around the bust. Draw a line through the middle of the dart, through BP and then measure 2 cm along this line from BP to BP1. BP1 is the tip of the final dart in your pattern.
4. Finish all the lines – arm opening, dart lines, side seam and front fold lines, and then smooth the hemline…
And this is your front pattern! Remember – this does NOT include seam allowances. You can add them here if you wish, but I prefer my patterns without seam allowances so I leave it like this…

Now we are ready to move to the back…
Again, I used the back of the Bunka sloper, and I removed all the waist darts as we don’t need them for this design.
1. Lengthen – add the same length from the waist to the hem line as you did in the front.
2. To add fullness, we will move the shoulder dart – draw a line from the tip of the shoulder dart to the hemline (point A) and measure 7 cm to find point A1 (sam amount as in the front). Also add 2 cm to the side (draw a line 2 cm from B to B1) and draw a new side seam from B1.

1. Move the shoulder dart – cut along A-O line (A to tip of shoulder dart) and rotate the right part of the pattern counterclockwise around O until line A-O aligns with A1-O. This will close the shoulder dart partially, again how much depends on the length of A-A1.
2. The shoulder dart is small enough that it can be blended into the design – just a little bit of ease at the shoulder seam (in this case the back shoulder seam is only 1 cm longer than the front shoulder seam). Draw a line from C to D to make the shoulder seam straight and then measure 4.5 cm (to match the front) from C to C1. C1 to D1 will NOT be 5 cm as the front because we need to blend the dart. So to find D1 measure D to D1 to match the same distance in the front (this corresponds to line E to E1 in the front). In this case D to D1 is 3.2 cm long.
3. And that’s basically it – just draw a new arm opening, new neckline and smooth the hemline.
This is your back pattern, again, without seam allowances.

Here we will just check if the curves of the arm opening and necklines are smooth between front and back patterns.
Align your patterns along the shoulder seam. The back is a little wider, but that is not a problem.
1. Match the arm openings (as in this picture) and check that the curve of the is smooth. If not, redraw.
2. Move your pattern a bit to match the necklines and check the curve. Redraw, if necessary, to smooth across shoulder seam and fix that little nick created by tightening the front neckline (points G and G1).
That’s it. You are ready to cut…

So as I said, I created a pattern without seam allowances – I like it that way for at least one reason. In a pattern like this – you can change some things. For example, you might want to finish your neckline with a decorative bias tape (as I did) in which case you don’t need any seam allowances around the neckline. But if you wanted to use facing you would need seam allowances. So if I have a pattern without seam allowances I can make this adjustments easily. But, that’s just me.

I used a thrifted cotton sheet to make this… After basting and draping it on the form I saw I had a problem: it was too wide around the bust line, primarily under arms. As you can see in the first picture, it is supposed to lie flat just under arm and then flare out. But it does not. It kind of bulges out… Not a good drape. However, the neckline lies nice and flat.

So why is it so wide? We did not add any ease at the bust line? Why is it so different than the sloper?
That got me thinking… And I think I figured it out…
If you look at the original Bunka sloper, you can see that the bust line crosses almost all waist darts – the exception being the front dart that starts at the BP. By ignoring the waist darts we have added some fullness – in the front it comes to 0.7 cm (not much) but in the back it comes to almost 3 cm. Also, by moving the shoulder dart in the back (since it starts above the bust line) we added an extra 2.6 cm around the bust! So… we need to take some back!

So, with some trial and error, and basting a few time, I took 1cm in the front (at the underarm) and 1.5 cm in the back on both sides (so 2 cm from front and 3 cm from the back altogether). I did not take away from the hemline, just from the top of the side seam, and then redrew the line down hemline.

And….

… this is what the top looks like.
I am very happy with the end result. For all of you trying this for the first time, it might seem terribly complicated, but I think, once you get a hold of moving darts, adding fullness, and other little tricks, you could do this easily. By the time you trace a pattern, figure out what’s wrong with it and what modifications you need to make, than figure out how to make those modifications… you could have drafted your own pattern, from your sloper, that you know will fit you.

I like this process so much (yes I am a geek, I have admitted it before) that I am going to make more of these projects. And I plan to share with you! Unfortunately, it will have to wait a few months… it’s vacation time and I cannot commit to a big project like this. But when school starts I will be starting too. I hope to learn how to draw patterns and I hope you will join me.

Would you like this pattern? You can get it here.

Size: Burda 38 (see size chart).

This file contains a pattern for the A-line sleeveless top in this project (front and back). It has 15 pages in total and does not include any instructions. In addition to parts included in the file, you will need bias tape to finish neckline and arm openings. Seam allowances are NOT included! Before printing the whole file, print only page 1 and measure the square – it should be 5 x 5 cm. Make sure you are printing at 100% scale, and that “borderless” is not checked. If you are using a Mac, use Adobe, Preview did not work for me (consistently scaled the printout, I could never get 100% scaling).

Ask away!