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August 2016

Jewelry pouch tutorial!

Hey hey! 

I hope you guys are doing awesome! After sewing my dress I wanted to start sewing more often. I've been feeling very crafty these days and I guess it's because I did something I never imagine I would do! Honestly, I couldn't be happier with the fact that I learned how to sew! Oh, and before I forget to tell you guys, I'm even thinking about getting my own sewing machine. I would like to start sewing at home during the weekends.

Today, I bring to you an easy and fun tutorial on how to make a jewelry pouch! I saw it on Pinterest long time ago when I didn't know how to sew but, it was so pretty I would always think about how much I wanted to make it!I asked Amantha to guide me through the whole project just in case I needed help with everything. She told me lots of helpful tips and the most important thing she said was "be patient". Sometimes we make mistakes and we get stressed out of nothing, especially when we are sewing! Her advice was to always be patient and careful!

Well, now I will explain everything you need to know to make this cute jewelry pouch!

Supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Fabrics
  • 2 leather strips
  • Sewing machine
  • Yarn needle

Now, Let's start sewing!


 

10x10 fabricsFirst, Cut both fabrics 10x10 inches. Once you cut them make sure to iron them!


 

IMG_7684Once you have both fabrics ironed, place the right sides together and pin each corner to make sure they won't move.


 

 IMG_7693Then, sew both fabrics together with 1/2" S.A and make sure to leave a small space open to turn the piece.


 IMG_7701This is how it should look after you turn the piece! Iron it again to flatten the S.A.


 IMG_7702Fold the corners 3" inches to the inside and iron to hold in place


 

IMG_7709
Sew all around it with a 1/2" inch S.A
IMG_7780
Now, the final step! Cut two leather strips of 8 inches each. Then with a yarn needle you will help yourself to insert the strip into the 1/2 S.A. Make sure you insert 1 leather strip into two sides and the other strip in the other two sides!
  IMG_7745

So beautiful, right?! I want to make tons of them! They are easy to make and super cute. For this project, I used Lagom Fabrics by AGF Studio (This collection hasn't been release yet but it will be out very soon!) but let me tell you something... It's STUNNING! The colors and prints are simply gorgeous and elegant. 

 

I hope you guys enjoyed!

xoxo,

Caro

 

 


Picnic Blanket Carrier Tutorial

Hello Everyone,

What's your favorite thing to do on beautiful sunny days? For me there is nothing better then enjoying a picnic with my loved ones or just sitting under a tree and reading a good book. Which made me think up a great tutorial for you all! A picnic blanket carrier made with Tapestry fabric and The Denim Studio Linen mixed with BERNINA's beautiful decorative stitches! This was such a fun and easy make that I am thinking of making a few as stocking stuffers! (It’s never to early to start thinking about the holiday season!) 

IMG_5943

Enjoy making your picnic blanket carrier for yourself and for friends and family. It’s also nice to have a few spare blankets in your car when the weather gets cold and this carrier will keep your blankets nice and neatly organized. Find the full tutorial here

Happy Sewing,

Melissa 


Tips & Tricks for a Smooth Rotary Cutting Experience

How did people quilt before the rotary cutter and mat?  These much-loved products are the unsung heroes of the quilting room and yet, like so much else, sometimes we only take notice when they act up.  Dull blades leaving threads intact (grr), slipped rulers that ruin your perfect measurements (watch out!) and fuzzy, cut up old mats that look like lost a war with an ill-tempered sheep are common problems that come up when we neglect our tools for too long.  Below are some maintenance tips and tricks to keep your rotary cutting experience smooth.

Keep your Blades Sharp

The most common cause of accidents with rotary blades is a dull blade.  Dull blades will cause you to press harder into the mat, damaging your mat and making it more likely that your hand could slip and cause injury.  Besides, rotary blades are expensive, why throw them away when you could sharpen them and make them almost new again? 

Buy a Sharpener

You can buy hand held sharpeners at your local store or online, this is what I use at home.  There are also electric sharpeners available if you want to spare your wrists a bit.  Here is a video on how to use a hand held sharpener.    

Sharpening tools

DIY Sharpening

Even if you don’t get a sharpener, go ahead and sharpen your blade by folding up some sheets of aluminum foil and cutting it with the blade you wish to sharpen.  Do this between projects to maintain a nice sharp blade!  Great technique for wavy rotary blades.  Cutting aluminum foil with scissors is said to sharpen them as well.

Disclaimer:  Sharpening only works on undamaged blades.  If you have chipped your blade by cutting over a pin or ruler they will continue to leave threads intact where they’ve been chipped. 

Non-Slip Rulers Reign Supreme

Recently we in the sewing room upgraded our rulers to non-slip versions and we’ve never looked back- seriously cutting is such a pleasure with these

Buy a Non-Slip Ruler

If you’re in the market for a new ruler, spend the extra and get a non-slip version.  It’s worth it!

Upgrade your Current Rulers

Already have a drawer full of expensive slippery rulers?  Don’t worry, all it takes is a couple special clear non-slip stickers and you have your own arsenal of non-stick measuring tools!  You can buy a special product from your local store or online like TrueGrips Non-Slip Adhesive Rings or Omnigrid InvisiGrip.  Or if you have a transparent first aid tape at home already, like Nexcare Flexible Clear Tape, go ahead and tape strips to the back of your rulers to make your own DIY non-slip rulers!

Non slip options

Show Your Mat Some Love

There’s nothing sadder than a cut-up, fuzzy mat.  Although they’re “self-healing” sometimes they need a little help from us.  In addition to protecting your mat by keeping your blade sharp you'll also want to clean & moisturize.  

Clean Regularly

Clean your mat with a soft bristle brush and a solution of room temperature water with a couple drops of a mild dish soap, rinse with cool water (never hot, it will warp) and wipe dry.  Make sure to clean your mat regularly, preferably after each project.  In the picture below you can see my before and after pictures for the mat I use everyday (A) and two other mats I dug out of storage (B & C) after cleaning each for a max of 15 minutes.  My everyday mat looks like new, YAY!  Mat B needs a little more scrubbing, but it's almost there.  Mat C is a cautionary tale... when it come to mat cleaning maintenance is best! 

Quick fixes to upkeep between thorough cleanings are:

  • Using an eraser to remove fuzz
  • Spray bottle with water and toothbrush
  • Baby Wipes
  • Lint Roller/ Sticky tape
MATS
A case study of 3 mats after approximately 15 minutes scrub time each

Moisturize Your Mat

Just like our dewy skin, mats also love moisture!  Who knew?  Skip the creams though, and give your mat a bath in the tub.  Soak your mat in a solution of approximately ¼ cup vinegar for each gallon of cool, room temperature water to rejuvenate it.  Let the math soak for 15-20 minutes and then clean again with a soft brush and a couple squirts of mild dish-washing soap to remove any stubborn fibers or marks on the mat.  Rinse the mat clean in cool water, and pat dry or air dry FLAT so it doesn’t warp.  It turns out a moisturized mat is a softer mat, which results in less dulling of your rotary blades.

I hope this round-up of tips helps you out in the sewing room!  Please feel free to share your own tips in the comments section!

~Christine :) 


Nocturnal Beauty Comes to Life with Nightfall Fabrics

Hey Everyone!

No matter what part of the world you live in, we can all agree that there is something peaceful about gazing at the night sky while the stars twinkle at us. But most people don’t realize that there’s much more to the night than stars.  As the sun goes down to make way for the moon’s smile, nocturnal critters appear to start their day.  

The hoot of owls fill the air as the hymn from crickets crescendo in the distance. Fire flies dance in the darkness and small creatures jump from the trees and rejoice in the delicate moonlight, until another day comes by. This nocturnal beauty is brought to life in Maureen Cracknell’s newest collection, Nightfall.

Nightfall_banner_600px

Maureen plays homage to the creatures and wonders of the late hours in this striking collection! She shows off prints filled with moons, owls, and cute night critters while showing off her bohemian style.

Fabric swatches

I personally think, that the concept of this collection is beautiful because many times we overlook all the natural wonders that occur at night. Plus, it simply feels mystical! When I look at some of these prints I can imagine myself as a gypsy roaming through the forest…but I digress XD

ArtGalleryFabrics_Nightfall_Dres-MoonStories_3

I encourage you to take a look at the lovely look book we’ve prepared for you! It’s filled with beautiful garments, stylish home décor ideas, and of course tons of quilts!

Speaking of quilts…Don’t forget to download the “Foxfire” FREE QUILT PATTERN that’s available in the look book. 

ArtGalleryFabrics_Nightfall_QuiltFree

Are you wondering what blenders match with this collection? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a curated selection of some AGF Elements that match Nightfall.

Nightfall blenders

Now to the best part…A GIVEAWAY! Enter for a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of the full collection!

Giveaway nightfall

To Enter:

Simply fill the form below. /By entering the giveaway you are automatically signed up to our newsletter. Once you click "Enter Giveaway" button you'll receive subscription confirmation on your email/

Winner will be chosen using random.org. Giveaway ends Tuesday, September 6th at 3:00pm EST. Good luck!


Hope you sew tons of pretty things with Nightfall by Maureen Cracknell.

 

Till Next Time,

Stephanie

 

 

P.S. We just had to make a video to go with this lovely collection. Check it out and tell us what you think.

*****GIVEAWAY CLOSED*****

CONGRATULATIONS Debbie Gill, you've won the Night Fall fabric bundle! Check your email.


Sewing DO's and DON'Ts - Ola makes a clutch...Part 2

Sewing-dos-and-dontsHello AGF friends!

As you remember in the first part of my sewing DO's and DON'Ts I prepared everything that I needed to sew my perfect clutch. I cut the fabrics, chose the clutch pattern  and prepared all the supplies. I am all excited and ready to continue my sewing journey and learn all about what to DO and NOT TO DO to finish the project successfully. :)

So, today Meli (our product designer and my patient teacher) taught me the 3 steps below:

1.Sewing the strips

Do you remember those two feet I showed you on the picture of necessary supplies? Let me start with an important tip from the very beginning: DON'T be afraid to use them! The blind stitch foot made my life much easier when I was sewing the strip and loop for my clutch. In order for the strips to look nice you have to top stitch them very close to the edge. Without the blind stitch foot, it would've been really difficult or (for me) almost impossible. ;)

Sewing strips

2.Sewing a zipper 

I ironed the fusible fleece to my "birds fabric" and it was time to sew a zipper! Wow, that skill definitely opened the door to many sewing projects! Now, I am a zipper PRO! ;) It's not that difficult as it may seem at the beginning. It's just a matter of following the steps and...being precise. So here is what I have learned from sewing the zipper:

  • DO use a zipper foot :)
  • DO make time to cut and sew zipper tabs - sometimes it may be tempting to skip that step but Meli taught me that the bag will look so much nicer with them! 
  • DO pin you zipper sandwich very precisely to make sure the stitches will be even on both sides 
  • DON'T hesitate to use a ripper tool if something goes wrong (wink, wink).
  • Are you a beginner and want to learn how to make a zipper sandwich? DO watch this video explaining how to sew a zipper.

Sewing-zipper

 3. Sewing the pockets and attaching snaps

Sewing the pockets was fun because I was using my blind stitch foot. I love this foot - it makes my top stitches look so nice! After that, I had to attach the snaps to the pocket. Here is a video explaining how to attach the snaps. The important tip I want to share with you is: DO watch your fingers when using the hammer!:) Don't worry, nothing happened to me, but if you are not an everyday hammer user - you may want to be extra careful. :)

Sewing-pockets

I can't believe what Meli just told me! I did all the hard parts and now its time to stitch the bag around and my clutch will be ready!! Wow! I can't wait to show you how the final result is going to look. Stay tuned for next part of my sewing DO's and DON'Ts to see the complete clutch!!!

Also let me know in the comments what are some sewing DO's and DON'Ts that you've learned along the way.

Wishing you happy sewing!

-Ola

 

 


DIY Pregnancy Pillow Tutorial

Hello, AGF Aficionados!

I’m here to share with you how I made my new favorite thing ever: this super comfy DIY Pregnancy Pillow!  Now that I’m clocking in at 7 months pregnant it’s become tougher to get a comfortable night’s sleep and even the simple act of actually tossing and turning is a bit of a challenge.  I decided to trade up my shifting multitude of pillows for an actual pregnancy pillow, but the price… yikes!  Thank goodness for our sewing machines!  This is a great DIY project for expectant mamas & for the crafty people in their lives that want to gift them something to make them feel pampered. 

I researched existing styles of pregnancy pillows and decided on this giant version that envelops you from both sides because I used to be a back sleeper and the middle curve in the back supports your back and helps keep you in the position that you should be in even if you have a tendency to turn to your back while sleeping.  The middle curve in the front supports your belly and the bottom part gives your legs and hips support.  I found a great tutorial at Homemade Toast, and used their instructions as a starting point but made a couple modifications for my version which I will outline below.  The biggest change I made is converting the top part into an attached pillow case so I could slip my favorite pillow in there and continue to use it.  My fiber fill stuffing skills just don't compare to my favorite down pillow.  I also made a knit pillow case for the pillow and to account for the stretch in knit I simplified the pattern a bit. 

Pregnancy Pillow

Making the Pregnancy Pillow

Materials:

  • 3 ½ yards Pure Elements Cotton Fabric (PE-464)
  • Fiber Fill (two 32-ounce packages & One 12 oz. package)
  • Queen sized pillow (Standard sized pillows will also fit, with a little extra room on the sides. King sized pillows are wider than 30” so you would need to cut the pillow “legs” and pillow case cover separately and sew together at the end.) 
  • Two zippers 22” long (shorter is fine, just remember to change the length of strips)

Preparing the Pattern:

  1. Print the PDF Pattern for the center cut-out and tape together. Choose the size appropriate to your height.  For our version go ahead and re-draw the top corner square before cutting out your size.  Square off by drawing a line perpendicular to the fold, from the top point of the pattern, then draw a line that lines up to the outermost edge of the corner curve.  Your lines should meet at a right angle and add a little to the corner.  

Fabric Cutting Directions:

  1. Front piece: 62” x 30” (tall: 66” x 30”)
  2. Back piece: 56” x 30”  (tall: 60” x 30”)
  3. Two 3” x 5” strips
  4. Cut 3” strips until you have approximately 134” in total length of strips (more if using shorter zippers)
  5. Four 2” x 25” strips (or the length of your zippers)
  6. Round edges and cut the center piece out on the front and back pieces according to the diagram (steps A, B & C).

Diagram-01

Construction (seam allowances are ½”):

  1. Finish the top edges of the front and back pillow pieces, by folding over ½” twice and top-stitching. Mark the sewing line with a fabric marker ½” above the top of the center cut-out. (Diagram step D)
  2. Take the two 22” zippers & the four 2” wide strips and encase your zippers with a strip on either side of the zippers. Press the fabric and top-stitch (optional). 
  3. Take a 5” strip and pin to the top end of the zipper, right sides together. Sew across the fabric and the top edge of the zipper so that the metal stopper is in the seam allowance (making sure that the zipper pull is not in the seam allowance).  Repeat for other zipper.  Trim away excess to ½”. 
  4. Sew together 3” strips so that you have two pieces approximately 67” long. Pin a strip to the end of the zipper, right sides together, with zipper zipped.  Sew across the fabric and zipper so that the metal stopper is in the seam allowance.  Trim away any excess to ½”.  Repeat for other zipper. 
  5. Trim zipper portion so that it is 3” wide, matching the rest of the strips.
  6. Pin the strips to the sides of the pillow front, right sides together, zipper sides first, starting ½” inside of the marked sewing line and continuing until the inner corner, ending at the sewing line. Sew together.  (Diagram step E)  When sewing the strip to the inner corners of the pillow, 6 inches from the end start tapering to the center of strip, matching the center point to the stopping point.  (see picture)
  7. Repeat step 9 with the pillow back, tapering at inner corners and pivoting at the corner and sewing pillow front and back together across the top of the center cut-out, and continuing to sew the strip on the other side. (Leave zippers open.)
  8. Fold the top front over the back top and pin. Measure to make sure there is 20” between the fold and the marked sewing line. Pull out the strip ends to the side to not catch them in your sewing, sew the sides together, matching seam lines and overlapping the stitching by ½”.  (Diagram step F)
  9. Turn the pillow right-side out. Make sure the strip ends are pushed inside and sew across the marked sewing line, making sure to catch the ends of the strips in the stitch so there’s nowhere for stuffing to escape. Sew across the line again to reinforce the seam.  (Diagram step G)
  10. Stuff each pillow leg with fiber fill to your desired firmness. I used one 32-oz package plus a little extra to fill each leg.
  11. Insert your pillow into the pillowcase top of the pregnancy pillow. Now you’re ready to make the pillow cover, this is the easy part!

Picture Montage

Making the Pillow Cover

Materials:

  • 1 ⅞ yards Art Gallery Fabrics Knit (60” wide knit). I used K-7040 from April Rhodes’ Bound collection for my pillow cover. 

Cutting & Preparing the Pattern:

  • Cut out the front and back pieces in the same manner as for the pillow. Cut very carefully, up to the selvedge- we are using every bit of fabric width.  
  • No strips are necessary due to the stretch in our knit fabric! Yay! 

Construction (seam allowances are ¼”):

  1. Finish the top edges of the front and back pillow pieces, by serging the ends, then folding over ½” and top-stitching with a stretch stitch. Fold the top front over the top of the back piece to make the envelope opening.
  2. Match the sides of the front and back pieces and serge all around the entire pillow. Starting at the top left corner and ending at the top right corner.  Be careful not to let any of the selvedge show. 
  3. Flip right side out and slip over your pillow! Voila!  These pillow covers are so easy to make I’m sure you’ll want to make a couple more just for fun!  

Disclaimer:  AGF cannot be held accountable for any sleepy husbands that are pushed off the bed while pillow is in use. 

Tip for Use:  When it’s time to get up I find it’s easiest to slide under the pillow and out of the bed rather than trying to wrestle my huggable pillow giant. 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Until next time,

Christine  :)


History of the sewing needle!

Hey there, fabric lovers!

I've always been curious about history. In fact, I LOVE history! As I told you before in one of my posts, what I love about history is that it keeps people thinking and it's a great subject to discuss with your friends. Today, I decided to research about where the sewing needles come from. Well, let me tell you that the history behind it is just incredible! Sewing needles, were one of humankind's first tools. They were used in the upper paleolithic period which began about 40,000 years ago.

Sewing needles were made of animal bones, antlers and tusks which made possible the extension of human settlement into cooler regions after the Ice age! This is so impressing! Imagine how smart humans were at that time that they figured out how to stitch pieces of animal fur together to protect themselves of the cold. It's very interesting how we keep changing and improving over the years! Sometimes, I ask myself what people will think about us in 200 years! 

Also, did you know that the nineteenth century was the golden age of needle production? At this time needles were cheap enough to be lost in great numbers! Before, people took care of the needles like if they were precious stones or even gold. Women used to protect the needles in special cases attached to their belts. Can you believe that? Oh! And something more incredible is that in 1906, 300 million needles were purchased in the United States alone! Can you believe how many needles are sold now?

Well, I made this info graphic to make this history more exciting and more easy to understand. Enjoy!

Infographic

Also, I got very curious about knowing on how sewing needles are made nowadays and I found this cool video that explains everything!

 

Now that you know more in depth about sewing needles. What are other things you would like to learn about the sewing world?

I hope you all enjoyed this post!

xoxo,

Caro


 

Just in case you want to know more about the history of needles, here are the pages I visited!

"A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SEWING NEEDLE." A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SEWING NEEDLE. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2016.
Dennell, Robin. "Needles and Spear-Throwers." Natural History 90, no. 10 (October 1986): 70-78.
"Antique Sewing Needle Cases". Collectors Weekly. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
How sewing needles are made. The history of sewing needles. (n.d.). Retrieved August 24, 2016.
 
 

 

 


AGF Quilt Block Collection: Dutchman's Puzzle Block featuring Observer

Hello Everyone,

Ready for another quilt block tutorial? This time we will be featuring fabric from Observer by April Rhodes. This collection is full of blues and earth tone shades mixed with the feel of hand dyed prints and rich textured graphics. The quilt block we will be sewing today is called the Dutchman’s Puzzle, which is made completely out of flying geese placed in different directions.

Logo13

View the video below and have fun making the second block of the AGF Quilt Block Collection.

 

 

If you missed the first quilt block featuring Hello Ollie, click here to watch the video! You are welcome to share your creations on Social Media using hashtag #AGFquiltblockcollection


Enjoy,

Melissa

 


Observer Fabrics: The Beauty of Textures & Surroundings

Hey, Everyone!

Lately, I’ve been thinking how in today’s society it’s so easy to live life on auto-pilot. We wake up, drink our coffee, get the ready for work, come back home, try to take five minutes to sew something (if possible), go to sleep, and then start all over again. Sometimes we get stuck in our routines and we don’t realize how beautiful our surroundings can be. We forget to admire the glistening morning dew on our gardens or how cute the buttons on our favorite shirts are.

I know it sounds silly, but we have to stop and “smell the flowers” because life is short and we should enjoy every bit of it. One of our designers, April Rhodes really put this into perspective with her new collection Observer. This fabric collection, is inspired by the many man-made and naturally occurring patterns that surround us. Whether it’s the chipped paint on a dingy wall or a birds eye view of the city at night, they are little details that make our world beautiful.

Observer_banner

What’s great is that you can incorporate this amazing world or textures and patterns into your sewing. Observer is filled with minimal prints combined with artistic motifs such as, subtle paint splatters and edgy tie-dyes. Some of my favorite projects that were made with this collection were trendy totes and bags because they reminded me of products you can find in stores like Anthropologie and Free People.

ArtGalleryFabrics_Observer_Handbags_1

The colors of this collection are also great for home décor! The warm mustard yellows combined with the dusty blues and navy are nice accents without being overpowering.

ArtGalleryFabrics_Observer_Mini&Pillows_1

If you’re loving these projects already, feel free to check out the look book. It’s filled with tons of garments, quilts, and home décor ideas. Plus, some of the projects have links to the patterns!

 

One project you have to download is this “Inward” FREE QUILT PATTERN! Its unique design combined with the muted color will look great in your home.

ArtGalleryFabrics_Observer_FreeQuilt_1

If you’re looking to mix and match a few blenders into your projects, we’ve prepared a curated selection of AGF elements that coordinate with this collection.

Observer blenders

Last but not least, don’t forget to enter our GIVEAWAY! Your stash is yearning for a bundle of this stylish collection!

GIVEAWAY GRAPHIC OBSERVER

To enter:

 Simply fill out the form below. 

Giveaway ends Monday August 29th at 3:00pm EST. Good luck!

We can’t wait to see all the beautiful projects you’ll make with Observer fabrics!

Till next time,

Stephanie

 

*****GIVEAWAY CLOSED*****

CONGRATULATIONS Linda Williamson , you've won the Observer fabric bundle! Check your email.

 
 

P.S. Here's a cute video that sums up the beauty of this collection. ;)


AGF Sewcialite Spotlight: The Stella Weekender Bag

Hello fabulous fabric friends!

I hope you all had a great week! Earlier this week I showed you two adorable outfits that our AGF Sewcialite, Mister Domestic made for his little girl Helena. Now just a few days later he’s back with another stunning project! Let me tell you, I think Mister Domestic has few clones of himself in his sewing room!

His newest creation is the Stella Weekender Bag by Swoon Patterns featuring Pandalicious by Katarina Roccella. What’s even more amazing about this project was that this was the first time he ever made a bag! I encourage everyone to check out his blog post and see his process.

Mister Domestic weekender bag

Visit his blog, misterdomestic.net to see close-ups and details.

As always, stay creative and thanks for inspiring!

Xoxo,

Stephanie