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September 2012

Fat Quarter Gang - The Unquilted Ribbon-Embellished Placemats by Freshly Pieced

Hi there, it's Lee again from Freshly Pieced, back with another AGF's Fat Quarter Gang tutorial! But first, I have a confession to make. It might be kind of shocking, so prepare yourself.

I don't like quilted placemats.

I know, right? I'm a quilter. Am I even allowed to not like quilted placemats? But they just don't look all that modern to me, no matter what the design or fabric. I trace this dislike back to about 1982, when I was forced to eat dinner every night on my mother's blue and brown calico quilted placemats. Those things were '80s country kitsch at its finest. And they most certainly were not handmade—I'm guessing she bought them at J.C. Penney's. That kind of emotional scarring isn't easily overcome.

So today I'm here to show you how to make some elegant, unquilted Ribbon-Embellished Placemats, using one of my favorite Pat Bravo collections, Modernology.

Best of all, they're insanely easy to make. Ready?


To make four placemats, you will need:

• Eight fat-quarters of Pat Bravo's Modernology in the "Vogue Blue" color way
• 1.5 yards fusible interfacing (I used Pellon Craft Fuse)
• About 10 yards of grosgrain ribbon in coordinating color(s)
• Glue stick (I used Elmer's All-Purpose glue, since it's washable and non-toxic)
• Disappearing ink marker

1. From each fat-quarter, cut a rectangle 13.5" by 19.5". From the fusible interfacing, cut 4 pieces 13.5" by 19.5".


2. Select 4 pieces of fabric to be the backs of the placemats, and 4 pieces for the fronts. Fuse a piece of interfacing to each placemat back.


3. Pair up each placemat front piece with a back (interfaced) piece. With right sides together, sew around the edges of each placemat, 1/4" from the edges. Leave a 3" to 4" opening in one side for turning.

4. Clip the seam allowances in the corners of the placemats and turn right-side out. (I use a chopstick to poke out the corners and make them sharper.) Press well, making sure the seam allowances are folded in where you left the opening for turning.



5. Topstich around the entire placemat, 1/8" from the edge. This will finish the edges and close up the opening you left for turning.

Tip: I used Aurifil 28wt thread (the kind on the gray spool). I think the extra-thick thread turns the stitching into a great decorative touch, and my machine handled the extra thickness with no issues whatsoever!


6. Now that you've got your basic reversible placemats completed, it's time to embellish them with the grosgrain ribbon. Begin by marking the front of the placemat with the disappearing ink pen. Draw lines 2.5" and 4" from each short side, and 1.5" and 3" from each long side.


7. Go over the inside frame you just made with your glue stick, as well as the smaller squares at the corners of the frame (basically everywhere you'll want ribbon). Put down plenty of glue—the glue will keep your ribbon nice and flat—and exactly where you want it—until you sew it down.


8. Starting at one corner of the inside frame, start laying down your ribbon, onto the line of glue you just put down.



9. When you reach a corner, you'll need to miter the ribbon. This works almost like mitering corners on quilt binding. I tried a few different ways of doing this, and this was the method that worked best for me: Fold the ribbon on a 45-degree angle, away from the direction you want to go in. You also need to fold the ribbon inward, toward the placemat, instead of toward yourself.



10. Again folding inward toward the fabric, fold the ribbon back underneath the 45-degree angle, and toward in the direction you want to go in. And there you have it, a perfectly mitered corner. Pin into place.

11. Keep working your way around, in the design shown. If your glue loses its tackiness, re-apply before putting the ribbon down. When you come back around to the starting point, trim the ribbon ends and tuck the ends under the piece of ribbon running perpendicular to them (this is why it's important to start at the corner!).


12. Stitch over the ribbon, 1/8" from each edge, stopping at the places where the ribbon goes underneath another layer of ribbon and locking your stitches at these points. Again, I used the chunkier 28wt Aurifil.



That's it! Enjoy your nice flat placemats. : )


And hey, want to win a bundle of Modernology fat-quarters, so you can make these placemats for yourself? Jump over to my blog for a chance to win!


And don't forget to be eligible you must ...

Follow us on your fav social media platform (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter)

and Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on all thing AGF & the Fat Quarter Gang!


Enter to win today! Giveaway open until Friday, Sept 14th.

Happy Sewing,

<3 AGF Team & The Fat Quarter Gang

Project Challenge 2012 - Challenge # 9 - Laptop Case


We are rounding the corner on this challenge and you ladies are going strong! Thank you to our new participant and to all of my loyal sewers that have stuck through this challenge.

This month ... in honor of "back to school" the challenge is to make a laptop case. This will be a perfect gift for that studious child you know.

Since Rock-n-Romance is coming out in September we decided to use the Stardust Midnight print and pair it with our Pure Element Caviar for a very "rock chic" look.


The drop in pocket is perfect to fit your accessories while maintaining a sleek exterior look.



1. Must include a drop in pocket.

As always the rules are:

1. Join our Facebook group to enter into the challenge, and "like us" if you want...
2. Must use Art Gallery Fabrics ONLY to make the projects.
3. Must be completed and submitted in the allotted time.
4. Must let your imagination run wild!

All entries must be submitted by 12 am on September 30, 2012.

They must be original works and use only AGF fabrics.

Judging:  We will have 7 more people voting this month ...  AGF team (5 votes), our great designer & creative director Pat Bravo (1 vote)  and awesome designer Bari J. (1 vote.)

Participating in the AGF Project Challenge 2012 and you have blog? Want to add this badge to your Facebook pictures... Well go ahead and download it here and show your support!

Now for August's Project Challenge 2012 winner...


We have a tie.... for the second time.

All the ladies that are participating are really doing a great job. You all have made it difficult to pick (especially since all the style are so different.. they appeal to each of us)

So we congratulate Linda Carlson and Lyne Joyner Kline for both winning August's Project Challenge.

Star Store of the Month

This months Star Store is Snappy Quilts. We got a chance to chat with Nancy, owner and fabric lover, for a bit and she gave us a little background about herself and Snappy Quilts.


So Nancy tell us a bit about yourself....

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area of California, back in the days when all the girls took Home Ec, and all the boys took woodworking and metal shop. I sewed many of my clothes on  my Mom’s brand new Singer (now an antique!)  I studied Art, Music and Literature in college, then married a great guy.  We have 5 children and 8 fabulous grandchildren.  “Snappy” has been my nickname for about 15 years – ever since my friend Becky’s little twins were learning to talk.  When she tried to teach them to say Nancy, they knit their little eyebrows in concentration, and very clearly said “SNAPPY”. It stuck and now my grandchildren (and various other people) call me Snappy. It seemed like a great name for the Shop, too, as it sort of describes our style.

I believe the process of creating something beautiful and meaningful is critical to a happy life.  Whether it’s art, cooking, writing, business, raising kids, teaching, quilting, or whatever your passion may be, it’s important to see the accomplishment of something good.  It is a thrill to see our customers’ completed projects, and share the joy of what they have done, and who it will bless.  Quilts are stitched with emotion and love. It’s a great business to be in. SnappyQuilts has been open for a year and half.  We are just beginning this wonderful journey!



1.  Tell us how Snappy Quilts got started. Why? When? Where?Who?

Like many quilt shops, SnappyQuilts was born of a dream and a prayer. Though I learned to sew back in the days it was standard curriculum in middle school, it wasn’t until my life-long friend Julie introduced me to quilt-making that I became seriously addicted. Julie and I spent many vacation hours searching for great fabric in her hometown of Mesa, AZ and mine in Denver, and anywhere we happened to travel together. We began to consider these shopping expeditions to be research time –what would we do if we had a quilt shop?

But in reality, we didn’t live near each other, and I was dealing with a significant health challenge, and our dream of a quilt shop was only that. But life can be so good to us – my health improved and Julie’s husband took a new job in Denver.

Now’s the time, we thought! Julie has a real job, so I pushed ahead with opening the Shop with her encouragement and as many hours of support as she could come up with. She’s still critical to our success, finding time to be Bookkeeper and Buyer with me. We go to Market together and she not only keeps me organized, but she has a great eye for fabric selection. She’s the one who first discovered Walter and the Art Gallery booth. We didn’t even know about them until our first trip to Houston. Wow! What a great find. We dedicate the front-door section of the Shop to Art Gallery Fabrics.

2. Some shops have theme… what would you say is your shops theme?

We considered our style to be Modern before we knew it was an actual quilting movement! We like bright, happy colors in bold patterns; and beautiful, rich colors in artistic patterns; and collections that work wonderfully together. We love to hear customers comment that our Shop is a cheery place full of inspiration and irresistible fabric.  


3. Boast your bolts… what is your current bolt count?

We have more than 3000 bolts of fabric, and I honestly don’t know how we fit them into our little 1400 square feet of floor-space!


4. What goes into fabric selection? What do you consider and how much of a role does personal taste play?

Fabric selection is such a fun aspect of having a quilt shop.  Many great designers are doing very exciting work.  We can’t carry even a little bit of everything that’s available,so we select what  we feel we cannot live without!  We go to Art Gallery and Westminster/FreeSpirit first, and try to budget our resources to allow for other lines we want to carry.  Pat and the AGF team make it hard for us – we could easily take home everything they offer!

Inside shop 3(Art Gallery Fabrics display at Snappy Quilts)

5. Social media is one of the biggest tools out there right now… How do you incorporate it on a daily basis and how have you seen that impact your business? 

We have just adjusted all our “work hats” to better address social media opportunities. Our blog and facebook page are coming along nicely.  We really enjoy the conversational aspect that online quilting is offering.  We girls like to chat and share!  Customers often call and come in with questions, ideas, and fabrics they have found online.

6. So let’s say I just bought some fabric online… describe the process and time frame from order to doorstep (without letting out any secrets)

Our online store will open in October, offering kits and coordinating fabrics. Annie is our Shipping Dept. Queen, and Lorrie is the Kit Wrangler.  So Annie will collect orders in the morning and process them the same day.  We are impressed with USPS shipping services, and expect that US customers will receive their orders in 3 days or less. (Of course, there will be other shipping options at checkout.)


7. Tell us about your staff. 

I am so lucky to have a strong and charming staff at SnappyQuilts.  In addition to
Julie, Lorrie, and Annie, we have Twice, Janice, Jane, Jan, Kay, Lisa, Stacy, and Nettie who all work part-time in the Shop. (We have 3 Janices, so Twice volunteered to go by her old college nickname!)  I could go on and on about all their respective talents –but in the interest of space, I’ll just say they are wonderful and I love and appreciate them!


Inside shop 2(Quilts galore!)

8. If you didn’t run a successful fabric shop what would be your dream job?

I have been very fortunate to realize 2 of my dream jobs – SnappyQuilts and being a Mom to 5 great kids.  I studied Humanities and love art, music and literature.  I wouldn’t mind being a concert pianist in my next career (HA!), but in the meantime, I enjoy accompanying my Church choir. 


9. You carry a variety of Art Gallery Fabrics products. Can you tell our readers what do you like about our products? What are your hot sellers from AGF right now?

We are crazy about Art Gallery Fabrics for several reasons.  One, of course is the fabulous hand and drape.  We also find the patterns and designs are always artistic and sophisticated.  Then there’s the gorgeous color – Pure Elements solids are just yummy. LillyBelle is a big hit right now, and we almost had fights over Poetica (just amongst ourselves – we never fight with our customers).

10. What kind of feedback do you get from consumers that buy AGF?

Customers always notice and appreciate the soft and smooth feel.  They use AGF for quilts, bags, skirts, tops and even boxer shorts! The only complaint we get is that it’s too hard to choose from so many beautiful options. 


11. What is your favorite AGF collection so far?

I am currently dreaming up a project to use only Pure Elements – the colors are so lovely. I’ve had many favorites, and couldn’t possibly limit myself to only one.

AGF has a new fabric designer!

There are moments like these when I remember why I founded Art Gallery Fabrics in 2004... I wanted to offer a different design and color approach in quilting fabrics, and I had beautiful dreams on how my company would evolve! I was designing all our collections myself with so much love, and with the hope that you would like them and use them for your quilting and sewing projects. And you did! I am so thankful and humble for that :)

In all these years, your response to our brand has been overwhelming! Two seasons ago I thought that the incorporation of new designers that share my same goal was the right path to follow... Bari J, Sarah Watson and lately Jeni Baker became part of our family! Your love for their collections throughout your comments and emails make me sooo happy!!

But I have news for you! I'm so proud to introduce to you the newest member that will join the AGF family of designers, an awesome gal that is called "the Rolls Royce of modern machine quilting"!!


Her exquisite stitching designs started speaking on their own, and became the natural path to her first collection with us. You will be delighted!

Do you want to know who she is? I encourage you to click "play" to find out!!


And here is the sneek peek into what the collection will look like ...

Included in this collection is the Right Angles panel that will have various uses as well as a guide into modern quilting.


I am pleased to present all these wonderful talents to you all. I hope that all these new collections will inspire you to create and share all the beautiful things you make. 


Pat Bravo

Fat Quarter Gang - Fabric Envelopes by In Color Order


Hi! It’s Jeni, from In Color Order, here to share my latest tutorial for the Fat Quarter Gang, Fabric Envelopes!

Fabric Envelopes

These are so easy to make, and I’ve included two sizes for you to choose from! The smaller size is perfect for holding business cards, loyalty cards, or any other small things! The larger size is great for keeping coupons, reciepts or your grocery list!

I choose a bright, fresh mix of prints from a variety of Art Gallery collections! Ready to sew? Let’s get started!


- 8 Fat Quarters: Squared Fashion (Paradise), Innocent Charm Rose (Coquette), Floralism Fresh Grass (Modernology), Passionate Spirit Teal (Summerlove), Pink Orchid Sparkles (Paradise), Imperial Fuchsia (Bazaar Style), Millefiori Dark (Bespoken), and Fashion Mood Intense (Bespoken).

- 1/4 yard Medium-weight fusible interfacing

- Coordinating Thread

- Snaps (optional)

IMG_2978Notes: 1/4” seam allowance unless otherwise noted.

Finished Sizes:

Coupon Envelope (large) -  8” x 4.75”
Card Envelope (small) - 4.5” x 3”

This is enough fabric to make both sizes! You can also choose from two different closures, stitching the envelope partially closed, or using snaps!

Patchwork is also optional! You could create envelopes with only a two fabrics, or with strips, squares, or even a tiny quilt block on the back! Mix it up and have fun! :)

To get the full tutorial Download Jeni Baker - Fabric Envelopes.

Want to get your hands on this lovely set of Fat Quarters? Enter to win over on Jeni's Blog In Color Order. She has all the "How to's" on her site.

And don't forget to be eligible you must ...

Follow us on your fav social media platform (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter)

and Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on all thing AGF & the Fat Quarter Gang!


Enter to win today! Giveaway open until Friday, Sept 7th.

Happy Sewing,

<3 AGF Team & The Fat Quarter Gang