What's the difference between Halloween and Dia de los Muertos?
The two are related somewhat, but Dia de los Muertos and Halloween differ greatly in traditions and tone.
Whereas Halloween is a dark night of horror and mischief, Dia de los muertos festivities unfold over two days in an explosion of color and life affirming joy.
The theme for the annual event is death that's true, but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for the deceased family members. And isn't that beautiful?
The festivities of Dia de los Muertos are full with symbolic meaning.
The more you know and understand about this feast for the senses,
the more you will love it too.
Here are 3 essential things about Mexico's most colorful annual event.
Several thousand years ago , Dia de los Muertos originated with the Aztec, Toltec and other Nahua people, who considered mourning the dead disrespectful. Death was a natural phase in life's long continuum, for theses pre-Hispanic cutures. I find this way of honoring the dead both reassuring and beautiful. The dead were still members of the community. They were kept alive in memory and spirit and during Dia de los Muertos ,they temporarily returned to Earth.
Today's Dia de los Muertos celebration is a fusion of pre-Hispanic religious rites and Christian feasts.
It takes place on November 1 and 2, which is also All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day on our Christian calendar.
Built in private homes and cemeteries the altar is the centerpiece of the celebration.
These aren't altars for worshipping the way we know altars, they're meant to welcome spirits back to the living. Therefore they're loaded with offerings, water and food for hunger and thirst after the long journey, family photos and a candle for each dead relative.
The sacred mexican heart is one of the most common motifs in religious folk art created in Mexico. The idea is that the physical heart of Jesus is a symbol of his devine love for humanity.
The Mexican sacred heart comes in various forms. It comes with flames around it, with a crown and sometimes with a crown of thorns. They and all represent the same thing, Jesus' compassion for humanity.
And of course, you know that almost everyone in Mexico is Catholic so these images are commonly seen throughout the country.
Again you can see the blend of pre-Hispanic tradition and Christian beliefs.
Calaveras/ Sugar Skulls
Skulls go all the way back to pre-historic times, where the skull was a predominant figure in Mesoamerican ( todays central America )societies and cultures.
These civilizations believed in a spiritual life after death so the skulls were offerings to the god of the underworld, Mictlantecuhtli -don't ask me how to pronounce this :-)-.
He would then assure a safe passage into the underworld whee he ruled.
With the arrival of the Spanish conquerors and Christianity, these traditions were lost in it's original form, and yet a part of them was kept alive by maintaining the figure of the skull in a sweet confection that can be placed on altars as part of the offerings to the deceased.
Calavera means 'skull'. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, calavera was used to describe short, humorous poems, which were often sarcastic tombstones epitaphs published in newspapers that made fun of the living. These were called literary calaveras.
In the early 20th century, Mexican political cartoonist and lithographer José G. Posada created an etching to go with his literary calavera.
Posada dressed his personification of death in fancy French clothes.
In 1947 artist Diego Rivera ( Fried Kahlos husband) featured Posada’s stylized skeleton in his masterpiece mural “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park.”
Posada’s skeletal bust was dressed in a large feminine hat, and Rivera made his female and named her Catrina, slang for “the rich.”
Today, the calavera Catrina, or elegant skull, is the Day of the Dead’s most prominent symbol.
Who do we all associate with Mexico?
Exactly, Frida Kahlo... the great mexican painter or better yet great Mexican artist.
She's known for her many portraits and self-portraits.
Her paintings often have strong autobiographical elements mixed with realism and fantasy.
She was born in 1907 to a German father and a Mestizia Mother and spent most of her childhood and adult life in her family home in Coyoacan 'La Casa Azul' the blue house.
Although the was disabled by polio as a young child Kahlo had been a great and promising student headed for medical school until she suffered a bus accident at the age of 18 which left her lifelong suffering and medical problems.
In 1927 she met Mexican artist Diego Rivera, whom she married in 1929 and spent the next 20 years painting and travelling in Mexico and the United States together.
Throughout the 1940s, Kahlo participated in many exhibitions in Mexico and the United States and worked as an art teacher.
Her always fragile health began to decline in the late 1940s.
She had her first solo exhibition in Mexico in 1953 shortly before her death in 1954 at the age of only 47.
So what better way than to combine the two .... Dia de los Muertos and a Frida Kahlo inspired quilt block pattern .... in a stunning quilt, that features not only the bright colors of Mexico but also Frida and all the amazing Mexican symbols.....
I am still working on mine, it might take a little while until I'm all finished, so stay tuned on news of this fun project.....
Let me know what you would make with these patterns? I can't wait to see all of your
How to easily sew a simple, quilted drawstring bag with a paper pieced quilt block?
And there's a bonus: it's lined and with inside pockets.
I mean seriously is there such a thing as too many drawstring bags?
I am sure we all agree ............ ABSOLUTLY NOT :-)
You can use them for everything and everywhere. Use them for gifts or as storage,
as a cute little decor, you name it.
So let me show you how to sew a drawstring bag with any one of my quilt block patterns.
Finished bag size : 9.5" wide, 11" high and 4" deep at the bottom
(Size small if you’re using a 6"x 6" quilt block: 7" wide, 8" high and 3" deep at bottom)
Fabric/ Materials needed: (all measurements are width x height)
> 1 1 FPP quilt block 8.5" x 8.5" (beach ball) (6.5"x 6.5")
> 2 2 strips of fabric on each side of the FPP block 2.5"x 8.5" (2 1/4"x 6.5")
> 3 2 strips of fabric for bottom panel 12.5"x 3" (10"x 2.5")
> 4 2 strips of fabric for top panel 12.5"x 4"(10"x 4")
> 5. 1 piece of fabric for back 12.5"x 8.5" (10"x6.5")
> 6 2 pieces of fabric for lining 12.5"x 14.5" (10"x11.5")
> 7 Fusible interfacing 1 piece 12.5"x 22" (10"x 17")
> 8 2 pieces of rope, ½" twill, or ½" fabric tie (I used blue rope) 40" each. (30")
> Optional: Inside pocket 1 piece of fabric 12.5"x 10" (10"x 7.5")
Before you start:
Read through the instructions, thats always best so you get a feel of the sewing beforehand.
Seam allowance is always ¼" unless mentioned otherwise.
One more note:
The quilt block sizes are 8"x 8" ( 6"x 6") finished, they are 8.5"x 8.5" ( 6.5"x 6.5") unfinished.
1. Lay out your pieces of fabric as shown in the chart above,
and sew them together into one long piece.
Start with sewing the two side strips (2.5"x 8.5") to the quilt block,
then add the other pieces of fabric in the order above.
Order from left to right:
Lining, top panel, quilt block with 2 side panels, bottom panel, bottom panel,
back (exterior), top panel and finally lining again. Press seam allowances open.
Here you see the whole long piece sewn together.
(I folded the lining pieces under for the photo.)
Make sure you place directional prints with the 'top' of the print facing towards the top of the bag ,towards the drawsting- and lining pieces.
The bottom of the drawstring bag is at the center of the bottom panels.
Interfacing gives your bag more structure and stand.
Iron on the fusable interfacing.
Use interfacing only on the exterior main pieces. If you’re using it on the 4" drawstring
panel, your drawstring might get caught in the material and it will not let you tie your bag
as nicely. I measured the interfacing a little bit generous, so trim it down to where the drawstring panel starts.
Now you can quilt the front and/ or back outer fabric panel to your liking.
I would recommend to only quilt the paper pieced block and/ or the back
fabric block. Not the bottom part or the drawstring panels. The bottom will have boxed
And it’s best to leave the drawstring panel plain, as any stitching might interfere with the
I love hand quilting, so I decided to just stitch around the star. I will leave the back without
Quilting, since the fabric with the letters is pretty busy as it is.
But in general straight line machine quilting would look really nice on a less busy pattern.
Plain lines, squares or diamonds always enhance solid fabrics.
If you’re adding an inside pocket fold over the 12.5" ( 10") side of the inside pocket
fabric ¾" twice and clip or pin in place. And sew along the clipped edge.
Place the pocket fabric panel onto the backside lining panel. Wrong side of pocket fabric
against right side of lining panel, matching the raw outside edges . Clip or pin in place.
Draw two vertical lines 4"(3" for the small bag) from the outer edge with a water soluble
pen or fabric marker.
Then sew along those lines, backstitch at the beginning and at the end. These will be your
three inside pockets.
If you’d prefer two inside pockets, draw just one line in the middle and sew along
that line. This gives you two inside pockets.
Fold your sewn strip in half, right sides together, matching the lining ends.
Clip or pin along the raw edges in place, matching up each seam and clipping or
pinning the matched up seams.
Leave a 4" space at the center of the bottom end of the lining, this is your opening
for turning the bag later.
On both sides, of the drawstring panel mark a 1" opening in the center of the panel.
First mark the center of the panel and then mark ½" to both sides. This gives you small
1" opening sections on both sides, these will be left unsewn, creating the opening for the
Then sew along the three open sides. Do not sew between the 1" opening you marked
on both sides or the drawstring panel or the 4" opening at the end of the lining pieces.
For a flat bottom of your bag, you need to box all four corners of the drawstring bag.
Two corners of the lining and two corners of the exterior fabric.
Starting with flattening the corner, the seams, bottom seam and side seam should be on top of each other. Then measure 2" (1.5"for the small bag) from the top corner with an acrylic ruler and draw a line across with your fabric marker or a water soluble pen.
Stitch along that line and trim off the corner, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
(Repeat this for all four corners)
Turn your bag by turning the pieces right sides out, pulling through the opening in the
lining. Push out the corners nicely. Press the lining opening under 1/4"and
stitch closed with a small 1/8" seam allowance.
Fold the lining into the exterior of the bag. Press along the top edge.
Mark two thin lines onto the drawstring panel with a fabric marker or a water soluble pen.
One line at the top of the 1" opening for the drawstrings, and a second line at the bottom
of the 1" opening for the drawstings.
Mark those line all the way around the top of the bag. This will be your drawstring casing.
Sew along those two lines all the way around the bag.
Attach a safety pin to one end of your rope, ribbon or fabric tie.
Insert the safety pin into one of the side openings. Work it through, pulling it all the way
back around the whole bag and out the opening where you started.
Even out your the ends and tie them into knots seperatly or together.
Repeat with the other tie, starting at the opposite side opening.
Aaaaaand YAAAAAY..... all done.
And here are some more inspirations on this bag, with all sorts of blocks from my small collection of quilt blocks ....
Share your makes on social media ... use #quilteddrawstringbag so I can cheer your creations, and if you want I can share them here on my blog.
Sometimes connection happens in the most unexpected ways.
This happened when I first saw Natalie Santini's profile on Instagram @sewhungryhippie
you could even say it was love at first sight, literally.
'I believe we're all interconnected, to each other and to the Earth-more than we realize.'- this is Natalie's quote and she's 100% right.
I love her quirky, fun and colorful sewing projects, photos, patterns and general approach to life.
She has some fantastic items and projects in her shop, and the thing that really caught my attention are her fun and bright colored vinyls and patterns with them.
So immediately there was a pattern idea that popped into my head and Natalie was on the same page right away.
And we created the ' TWO PIECE POUCH' #twopiecepouch
a super practical and pretty wet bag for BIKINI/SWIMMSHORTS
This is a fab combination of foundation paper piecing and vinyl.
Natalie's fantastic way of sewing a beautiful pouch with vinyl
and two of my summer, beach quilt block patterns make some useful and fantastic pouches.
I am sure it happened to you as well, you spend all day at the beach, want to pack your things but all the swimsuits are still wet, so you wrap them in the towels.
When you get home, the towels are moist, the pages of your book or magazines are wet and roll themselves.
And to top it all off, one of you ( I'm not pointing fingers :-) forgot to close the lid of your sunscreen all the way, so it's spilled nicely all over your beach bag.
Needless to say these problems will all be solved, when you store your wet bikini or shorts perfectly in this pretty vinyl pouch.
Your beach bag and all the rest of your stuff stays nice and dry, clean and safe.
Plus you will be the hit at the pool or beach with this adorable #twopiecepouch.
This pattern shows you step by step how to sew a vinyl pouch, as well as two
unusual quilt blocks . The instructions are for two different quilt block sizes each,
as well as two diffferent pouch sizes.
The pouches don't have open vinyl seams, but awesome binding covered seams inside.
Get your sewing machine ready and make yourself some stunning
beach-bikini-swimmshorts wet bags.
Shop the pattern here.
And if you share them on social media why not use #twopiecepouch
so we can cheer your makes :-)
Natalie and Ingrid xx
A quilted fabric book cover is not only extremly pretty on your coffe table,
it also comes in very handy if your reading is as 'deep' as mine.
Life is serious enough, so I sometimes enjoy 'easy' literature also called romance novels.
Especially on holidays, or to wind down after a long day.
But obviously not everyone needs to know what I'm reading, right?
Literally no one needs to judge my book by it's cover :-)
So why not sew yourself a fun and easy, adjustable, quilted fabric book cover
with the sunglasses quilt block pattern of mine?
Materials/ fabrics needed:
> the finished sunglasses quilt block ( or any other )
> fabric for the outer book cover (approx. 10"x 20" including quilt block depending on book size)
> fabric for the lining ( approx. 10"x 20" depending on book size)
> fusable light weight batting ( 10"x 20" depending on book size)
> 10" elastic band
> ruler, clips, scissors, thread and sewing machine
I use a 1/4" seam allowance unless noted otherwise.
The size of your fabric depends on the size of your book.
I made my book cover to fit most average size hard cover novels,
which is roughly 5 1/2 "x 8" with a 1" spine. The book cover is adjustable in length.
This is how you calculate the total size of your fabrics and batting needed:
> total length will be:
book front + spine + book back + 2 x 3 1/2" fold + 1/2" seam allowance
> total width (hight or top to bottom) will be:
hight of book + 1" .
The sunglasses quilt block I used is 8"x 8" finished, I added a strip of fabric 2 1/2"
to the right and a piece of fabric 9 1/2" to the left.
I also added a 1" strip of some very cute selvage to the bottom.
The finished piece of outer fabric is 9" x 19 1/2" , same size for lining and batting.
Iron on the fusable batting to the outer book cover fabric then clip the elastic band at about 2" from the back edge of the book (if your size is different then this one) or 6" from the outer edge ( the short side of the fabric).
I did some hand stitching around my glasses, you could also quilt the outer fabric with simple straight line quilting, or what ever quilting you prefer.
Now place outer fabric and lining, right sides together and clip or pin
( I prefer clips) in place.
Stitch all the way around and leave a 4" opening at the side (the one that will be folded into the book's back) for turning.
Cut off the edges for nicer corners.
Turn the book cover through the opening on the side, and close the opening,
by folding the seam allowance inside and stitching the opening close with a 1/8" seam from edge.
Fold in the front pocket 3" - 3 1/2" and stitch top and bottom with 1/8" seam.
Fold the back pocket under the elastic.
And well done your adjustable, quilted book cover is finished.
This quilted book cover will be a wonderful addition if you're gifting a book
or will work just as well for a diary or note book.
Any other ideas? Let me know.
I cant wait to see what you guys come up with. Share your creations on social media and use #joejuneandmae so I can cheer your makes.
What is fussy cutting patchwork and how to use it in Foundation Paper Piecing, English Paper Picing or quilting in general?
I have been quilting for a long time, and I remeber the days when I was cutting fabric for a quilt and was giddy with joy when the pattern of the fabric ended up centered in the shape I was cutting.
Little did I know back then, that this was actually 'a thing'.
It's not only a thing, it also has a name........
It's called FUSSY CUTTING.
As I went on, on my quilting journey I noticed that some people were really 'lucky' and got their print centered all the time.... really lucky indeed.
I have to confess till then, I was still trying to use up as little fabric as possible and it didn't even occur to me, that someone would deliberatly just cut an image out of a piece of fabric.
So there is was, FUSSY CUTTING .
A whole new world opened up to me.
Fussy cutting is when you cut your fabric to showcase a specific area of a print rather then cutting random pieces.
There are different reasons for fussy cutting depending on your project or quilting technique.
You use fussy cutting to:
1. Feature a particular part of a print
2. Use a specific part of a print in your quilt pattern to enhance the pattern.
These reasons also determine the techniques and tools you use.
So lets start with featuring a particular part of a print:
1. This method is usually used with English paper piecing, but also with squares, triangles or other geometrical shapes.
You can use acrylic templates to cut your shapes or make your own templates out of cardboard.
The advantage of acrylic templates is, they're easy, reusable, see through and include a 1/4" seam allowance.
If you make your own template, which is absolutly fine, draw your shape on cardbord and add 1/4" seam allowance, cut out the desired shape and you're left with the seam allowance 'frame' , which you then use to cut your fabric along the outside line.
Either way, place your template on your particular part of your print and cut along the outside lines with your rotary cutter or fabric scissors. I prefer a rotary cutter, so the fabric can stay put on my cutting mat and I don't move the template by accident.
For geometrical shapes its best to use an acrylic ruler, these can be easily placed on top of your print and your design can be centered accordingly.
Make sure you don't forget the seam allowance, trust me it happened to me more than once, that I cut a cute image only to notice afterwards that I had fogotten the seam allowance.
Fussy cutting to enhance your foundation paper piecing pattern:
2. This is a bit more tricky , as you're not only working with a mirrored image, but also with weird angles in the pattern sometimes.
Let's start with the easier part placing a particular part of a print on your foundation paper piecing segment.
This can be done to give an eye more life by using a dotted fabric, or by adding some print detail to an otherwise simpler background, as I did with the seals in the orca pattern.
This is fairly simple if the part of the segment that you wish to place the print on is part 1,
as shown in the photos below.
I always use a fabric glue pen, it just makes your life so much easier.
The dolphin and the orca pattern are featured in my new book. Which can be pre ordered here.
It becomes more challenging if it is any other number of a particular segment and has weird and pointed angles on top of it. But there are a few tricks.
1. First you place your segment wrong side (unprinted ) on wrong side of fabric.
Here I chose the pirates for part B1. I use a fabric glue pen, and glue the segment onto the fabric (glue only B1).
If you're planning on doing this a lot, a light box comes in very handy, but for starters just hold your segment and fabric against a light or your window.
2. Cut out, with aprox 1/4" seam allowance, around the perimeter of B1. You can use a ruler to do this and a rotary cutter, I usually just use fabric scissors and eye ball it.
(I trim the seam allowance after sewing part 2 and 3.)
Then sew part 2 and 3 with your chosen fabric for those parts.
3. Trim the seam allowance. I am using here the add-a-quarter-ruler, since I want this particular seam allowance to be super accurate.
4. Now place the segment part B4 (wrong side of paper on wrong side of fabric) over your fabric folding back the seam allowance of B3 and glue in place. ( just glue B4, with just a little bit of glue, you'll remove it later)
5. Cut out roughly and mark with water soluble pen, where fabrics should align.
6. Then trim along the raw edge of B3. Use a ruler and rotary cutter you want this to be accurate.
7. Place your pattern segment printed side down and flip the clued(yes un-glue!) fabric backwards. Right sides together with the previous fabric. Align raw edges and he marked lines. Then sew along the line between B3 and B4.
8. Fold the fabric over, an its exactly where you want it to be .
Finish this segment and then all the other segments, assemble your quilt block and
voila your little happy boat isn't just a happy boat, it actually tells a story.
Fussy cutting in foundation paper piecing takes for some practice but it is extremly rewarding and turns a simple quilt block into a stunning make.
You find all the boat patterns including the little happy boat here.
Is this something you guys would want to try?
Or do you have other techniques for fussy cutting?
I'm really curious so cant wait to hear from you all.
Foundation Paper Piecing
is my favorite quilting technique.
And as the name says, paper is one of the main foundation piecing supplies.
Foundation paper piecing is used to create very accurate stitches and lines on a design, and I loooove accuracy, I’m a Virgo after all.
But for me, it is also a great method to sew a stunning quilt block in a fairly short amount of time.
You get amazing results without having to sew up an entire quilt.
Whether you want to make some last minute gifts, some remarkable
pillowcase or table runner for your home, this quilting technique is fun and easy.
If you're new to this technique it can feel daunting, but don't despair, I wrote a great tutorial on how to master paper piecing in no time.
When I first tried foundation paper piecing, I did not know a thing,
and I mean really NOT a thing.
I had an older quilting book, and decided to make one of the quilt blocks.
I hadn't heard about foundation paper piecing before nor what it was about,
or what supplies are needed.
The pattern asked for paper, but did not specify what kind of paper, so I just used whatever paper I had at hand.
As I worked my way through the FPP world I have worked with all sorts of papers and here’s what I think:
Your choice of paper for foundation paper piecing depends on:
b) scale of your project
c) ease of use
d) whether you like to work with a fabric glue pen or not.
I also talk about paper for foundation piecing in my new book 'Adorable Animal Quilting'.
Regular printer paper:
At the moment, this is my choice of paper. It’s easy to use and cost effective;
This is especially important since I am doing A LOT OF paper piecing.
I can print any pattern right from my computer.
And it is still thin enough to not be a headache when removing.
Personal tips for the use of regular printer paper:
> use regular printing paper in combination with a fabric glue pen. A fabric glue pen will be your life saver and you will never want to work without one again.
> after you have joined two segments, remove the paper only from the seam allowance before pressing, that way you get nice flat seams (use a Tailor's clapper for extra flat seams)
Freezer paper works great with foundation piecing. It is easy, because you can just iron the fabric onto the paper and nothing slides off or moves, and obviously you don’t need a fabric glue pen.
It can become costly when you paper piece a lot.
However, it’s a little bit thicker than regular printing paper and can get pretty bulky, especially when small pieces are involved. Because of its thickness, it’s not as easy to remove afterward.
Personal tips for the use of freezer paper:
> use freezer paper for blocks with large fabric areas, the possiblility of ironing on the fabric is absolutly wonderful for bigger fabric pieces.
> again, definitely remove the paper from the seam allowance after joining two segments
before pressing the segments. This assures that you get flat seams.
(use a Tailor's clapper for extra flat seams)
It’s wonderfully thin and perfect for tracing. It can also be used in your printer.
Another advantage is, that it’s very easy to remove when finished.
However, it can become quite costly if you do a lot of paper piecing.
And it tends to curl if ironed on.
Personal tip for the use of foundation paper:
> use it for blocks with tiny pieces in combination with a fabric glue pen.
I personally like a little more structure and firmness in my blocks when sewing them,
but if you prefer softness, this is the paper for you.
> do not iron too much as it tends to curl up with heat, just very quickly and then
use a Tailor's clapper or another heavy object to flatten the seams.
It’s probably best to experiment with different papers, to find out which ones you like best, so what better way to do this, than with a free foundation paper piecing pattern.
Happy testing ! Let me know what you think.
Did this happen to you before?
A stunning and cute quilt block catches your attention, you read the description,
and it says it's paper pieced, so you're like......
OH NO, I cant do that!
But I can assure you ( Obama style ) YES YOU CAN!
I've been there, and trust me confusion took over me and I thought to myself :
What do they mean, it's done on the reverse side? And how do I place the paper?
And why this and what that?
BUT first things first:
You want to master paper piecing once and for all?
You dont want to miss out on all those stunning quilt blocks that are paper pieced?
Then read this blog post slowly, with you pattern at hand.
You can also download this free pattern here to start practicing.
Or if you like this star pattern , then grab it here.
First and foremost, take your time to practice now and you'll be good to go for ever.
1. The pattern
the pattern usually consists of
a numbered overview, with letters and numbers on it.
a colored overview ( so you have some inspiration)
a blank overview ( this is for you to color yourself)
and your pattern segments, again lettered and numbered,
Each segment features only one letter, but has several numbers, this is the sequence of your sewing.
Think of your pattern as a puzzle, each segment is one piece of your puzzle.
2. A few simple tips:
Place the numbered overview in front of you.
Cut out the pattern segments, along the dotted lines ( this is the seam allowance).
Place the segments beside your pattern acording to the numbered overview.
This is pretty obvious with the star pattern,
but it becomes really important and comes in super handy with more complex patterns.
3. Reverse side or mirrored image:
As I mentioned before, foundation paper piecing is done on the reverse side of your paper.
This means your pattern is your sewing aid only.
Not as with 'normal' patterns, where you cut the fabric according to the pattern.
I think this is the most important part about paper piecing, and can't be emphasised enough.
NOTE: The paper is just your sewing aid .
The paper is your base where you sew on, the lines of the pattern are your sewing lines. The block will emerge on the unprinted side of the pattern. And will therefore be a mirrored image of the numbered overview.
> numbered overview > finished block
4. Sart sewing
It doesn't matter which segment you sew first, you want to sew them all anyways,
so start wherever you want.
I will start with segment A here, just because I like starting from the right today :-)
> set your sewing machine to 1.5 stitches /cm or 16-18 stitches/inch this will make sure
the stitces perforate the paper nicely, but are not too close, so they don’t rip the paper.
This will also make it easyer to remove the paper after you finish sewing your block.
> Turn the first segment over so the wrong side (unprinted side) is facing you. Place the
piece of fabric for section 1 right side up, onto the paper, making sure there’s
¼ to ½ inch of fabric around the perimeter of section 1.
Be generous in the beginning; once you are familiar with foundation paper piecing,
you can cut your fabrics a bit smaller.
> Pin or glue this fabric in place. I prefer fabric glue. Everything stays nicely in place.
> Turn the pattern segment over so the printed side is facing you. Fold the pattern on
the line between section 1 and 2. ( I do this using a postcard, this gives you a
nice straight and crisp fold)
> Trim fabric 1 to a ¼” seam allowance using an acrylic ruler and rotary cutter.
There is a specilty ruler for this, it's called ADD-A-Quarter-Ruler , which has a 1/4" lip and
gives you a perfect 1/4" seam allowance. But any other ruler will work just as fine.
> Choose the fabric for section 2 the same way you did for section 1, making sure the
fabric covers the whole of section 2 and aprox ¼ - ½ ” around the perimeter of
> Place fabric for section 2, right sides together with fabric 1.
Aligning the raw edges of the two fabrics along the fold between section1 and 2.
> Now, stitch along the fold between sections 1 and 2, right on the line. The more precisely
you sew, the easier it will be to align your segments! If the line that’s being sewn starts
or finishes at the ¼-inch seam allowance, extend that line right through the
seam allowance by sewing all the way through it!
> Flip open fabric 2 so the right sides of the fabrics are showing and press with a hot iron
(no steam, as this can distort your fabric and paper ).
Now you choose the fabric for section 3 the same way you did for the other two.
Folding now the pattern at the line between section 2 and 3 and so on.
You then sew each section the same way. Adding the fabrics in numerical order, as they appear on each segment.
> When you're done sewing the segments, cut excess fabric along the dotted line.
> Place the trimmed segments as they are on the numbered overview. This just
makes your life so much easier when sewing the segments together.
> Now sew the segments together according to the assembly instructions in the pattern.
> After sewing two segments together, remove the paper only from the seam allowance
and press the seams open with hot iron (no steam) as flat as possible. (This is where
the tailors clapper comes in very handy , see blog post about clapper here. ) This helps
reduce bulk, especially when there are several layers of fabric. It also helps keep
your overall size accurate.
before tailors clapper after tailors clapper
> After piecing all the segments, remove the remaining paper and use the iron to press
your finished block.
And that's it .................. ALL DONE.
You can also watch a tutorial video here.
What do you think? Doable, right?
You will be a paper piecing STAR in no time.
1. What is the Tailor’s Clapper?
It’s a piece of wood, used by tailors (duhhh) to get flat, crisp seams or creases.
It originated in the dressmaking world, so the seams got nice and flat without getting shiny from ironing.
Imagine some pants in a delicate material, let’s say silk. If you just iron the side seams,
the seam allowance will shine through and the seam will be shiny on top as well,
any dressmakers nightmare. Not so with the clapper.
2. How is the Tailor’s Clapper used?
You iron your seam briefly and then place the clapper onto your seam.
The heat of the iron will be absorbed slowly by the wood so it stays in the fabric long enough to flatten the seams nicely.
3. What kind of wood is used for a Tailor's clapper?
Tailor’s clappers are made out of hardwood. The wood has to be heavy and close-grained in order to do the job perfectly. The weight matters as well as the close-grain wood. If the clapper is to light or not dense enough the heat will be absorbed to quickly and ultimately your seams would not be as flat as you wish.
Incredibly nice , crisp and ultra flat seams.
4.Why use the Tailor’s clapper for quilting?
Especially with Foundation Paper Piecing flat seams are key to precision and accuracy.
You might say, why not just iron those seams? And yes you are right, but first of all you cannot iron with steam, as this may distort your paper, or dissolve the ink on your pattern and stain the fabric. And second, you can’t iron for too long, because it might discolor your fabric.
But you need nice and flat seams, in order for your blocks to fit together perfectly.
This is where the tailor’s clapper comes in super handy.
As I mentioned before, you iron your seams quickly and the place the clapper on top.
That way the heat of the iron is ‘trapped’ under the clapper long enough to nicely flatten your perfect seams.
Tipp for joining segments:
Sew two segments together acording to the pattern.
Remove the paper ONLY from the seam allowance and press with a hot dry iron quickly,
then leave your clapper on the seam for a few minutes till the fabric cools off.
I actually use that time to sew the next segment :-)
You will get the nicest and flattest seams ever.
Happy clapping....ahhh sewing :-)
5. Can I make my own Tailor's clapper?
You absolutely could make your own, if you wanted to.
Here are some good instructions to do so.
But these Tailor’s clappers are also available online from many stores, form
Amazon, Nancy's Notions to Etsy.
Shop palm tree pattern here.
Spring is in the air and Easter around the corner,
I want to introduce you to my new Easter Egg quilt block patterns.
These are really easy and fun to make and will be perfect for using up all those leftover fabric scraps you've probably been keeping somewhere in a box or bag for a later use.
Let's get to using some of your cutest scraps.
I like to color coordinate my eggs, but its entirely up to you, you can also make some really colorful eggs as well, or mix and match just two colors in one egg, or use solids,
or just stripes or flowers, the possibilities are endless.
Let your creativity run wild.
This Easter Egg pattern consists of three different egg styles.
Fabric requirements per 6"x 6" finished quilt block:
- for the background fabric: aprox. 10" x 10" piece of fabric
- for the eggs any fabric scraps you have left over ( 12 pieces abt 2"x 3" )
These three different egg versions are so versatile and make it super fun to use those small fabric scraps. If you want, you can use some cute novelty prints and fussy cut them into the eggs for a little more excitement. You could make some 'I spy' Easter egg place mats for your Easter meals. Wouldn't that be super adorable? Of course a table runner would be equally fantastic.
Let's make one egg together....
I'm going to show you how to make one of the eggs.
I'm choosing orange, since I have quite some orange scraps leftover and also because
I haven't made an orange egg yet.
The egg block size is going to be 6"x 6" (plus 1/4" seam allowance so it will be a 6"x 6" finished block) and it's really quick and easy to make.
A whole bunch of orange fabric scraps and the cut out pattern segments,
that's all I need for the kaleidoscope egg version.
Fabric requirements are :
- 10"x 10" fabric for the background
- and 12 little scraps of 2"x 3"
There are 4 segments in this pattern. Sew up each segment as you would in any foundation paper piecing pattern. If you're new to foundation paper piecing, there's a tutorial with step by step pictures here on my website, or a detailed video tutorial here.
I think I will be making a rainbow Easter egg table runner and will keep you all posted on the details. For now you can enjoy these colorful eggs and decide for yourselves what to make out of them.
Happy Easter to all of you. xo