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Sewing

Listen While You Sew

Hi There, Makers!

Hope you're having a fabulous week, creating lots of new projects!

I’m always curious in hearing how others go about their creative process, especially when it comes to what they listen to while they’re working on a sewing project. Is it the sound of crickets outside, classic rock music, a favorite movie playing in the background or perhaps it’s a podcast? In recent years, I have found myself listening to podcasts while working on projects. I really enjoy the unexpected topics they cover, and that magical human connection that they create.

I always enjoy learning about the sewing industry and these podcasts are perfect for that! You just never know when inspiration or insight will come knocking at your door. Without further ado, here’s my Top 5 Favorite Sewing Podcasts:

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  1. Modern Sewciety

ModernSewciety

Fellow, Florida native “Stephanie” began sewing when she had her first child in 2007. With a genuine, sweet Southern charm, she chats it up with creatives in the sewing industry, shares latest tips and trends, and also focuses on quilting, business and marketing. One of our designers, "Dana Willard" recently did an episode with her! 

  1. While She Naps:

WhileSheNapsEdit

Harvard graduate “Abby Glassenberg” is an incredible author and interviewer. Her podcast covers topics from the home sewing industry and creative entrepreneurship with a focus on craft publishing, the creative process, fabric manufacturing, feminism and social justice. Oh and you guessed it, another one of our designers, "Mister Domestic" was recently interviewed by Abby!

3. Love to Sew Podcast

LoveToSew

Hosted by the fun, genuine and empowering duo, “Helen Wilkinson” and “Caroline Somos,” their podcast covers a great deal of sewing handmade wardrobe, the uses of different fabrics and their advantages, small business, interviews with inspiring sewists, and sharing their daily revelations, as two creative entrepreneurs.

  1. Sit & Sew:

SitSewRadio

"Stephanie Soebbing" started quilting one day because “she was bored.” Since then she’s built a very strong quilting community by creating “Quilt Addicts Anonymous.” On her podcast, Stephanie often picks the brains of renowned designers and it’s extremely fascinating to listen to some of most inventive creators in the business.  

  1. Crafty Planner

CraftPlanner

Wonderful interviews by host “Sandi Hazlewood” who was trained as a city planner and then transitioned to eventually become the first president of the "San Diego Modern Quilt Guild." She has a knack for asking the right question while remaining quiet during those “magical interview moments” where the storytelling just organically unravels.  

Bonus! American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast

AmericanPatchworkQuilting

For all the quilt lovers out there, host "Pat Sloan" is extremely passionate about quilt making. As a quilt designer, author, fabric designer and teacher, her passion carries into her interviews that revolve around quilt inspiration, fabric selection, design, patterns, and machine quilting tips.  From beginner to advanced levels in quilting, Pat has something to share with everyone. Last but not least, one of our designers "Sharon Holland" also did a very recent interview with her this week!

Do you listen to (sewing) podcasts? What are YOUR favorites? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Until next time, keep creating!

- Sophia


Sewing with Rayon- How to get the most out of a Panel Fabric

Hi Everyone, 

Spring is near and we are ready for easy breezy outfits! AGF Rayon is our go to fabric to create flowy, easy to wear silhouettes. Which is why we are super excited about our New Campsite Rayon Panel Print called  “Feather Trail” !

Making panel prints on apparel fabrics is quite new for us and we are excited about all the ways  it can be used to create fun, interesting garments. I wanted to share all the fantastic ways we utilized  the “Feather Trail” panel to create so many fresh, new looks.

Pinterest-Fabric-Panels-Sewing-with--Rayon


Click here to view the Lookbook to find all patterns featured in this blog post!

 

Continue reading "Sewing with Rayon- How to get the most out of a Panel Fabric" »


6 Sewing Projects to Organize Your Home

Hey there, makers!

I hope everything is going well! It’s no surprise that January is a hectic month. It’s that time of the year where you’re trying to set the right goals for the year and get as much done is possible. Sometimes it can even be overwhelming! But remember to  take things one step at a time. One of the best ways of avoiding stress during the new year is by keeping your home organized.

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It may sound silly, but the less clutter you have around you the more your ideas will flow. Hence, you can spend less time cleaning and doing more sewing! Since a little sewing never hurt anyone, I’ve prepared a list of 6 projects you can make to organize your home. Click the name of each project to find the tutorial. Let’s begin!

 

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Holidays are the Perfect time to Sew for Charity

This past weekend on one of my sewing facebook groups a woman posted the question: “Wondering what to make for the holidays this year. Previously I’ve made [XYZ] and it was greeted with a lackluster reception, I don’t think my family appreciates my handmade gifts. What should I make them this year?” I’ve read post after post along the same lines and personally experienced the same disheartening reaction when gifting handmade. It’s for this reason that I now only make handmade items for a very small, select group of individuals that I know really appreciate and love the things I’ve sewn for them, about five lucky ducks. The rest, I just save time and buy them something I think they will love. No hard feelings, everyone is happy and I didn’t waste creative energy, supplies and time. An added bonus is that by limiting the amount of people I make gifts for I’m able to really devote my time to each gift and embellish with special little details.

Color weave

Sticking to my hardline, slightly Grinch-y, “no handmade gifts for most” policy can be hard though. Sometimes, I just want the pleasure of making tons of beautiful gifts! I remembered that in the past AGF hosted a charity sewing booth at Quilt Market and a quilt drive for the hurricane victims in Texas.  Then, I had an epiphany- now is the perfect time to sew for charity. This is the time of year when those in need most appreciate the gesture of a handmade gift made with love. Despite how busy I am I’ve been working on projects to donate. What better way to use up the quilt scraps and finally tackle those half finished abandoned projects? Knit remnants too big to throw away, but too small for most projects are the perfect size for preemie sleep gowns and hats! Scraps that would have been tossed in the garbage can become stuffing for a pet bed! Since I’m starting a little late, I know I may not finish my ambitious goals in time for the official gift giving holidays, however my donations will still be appreciated in January or February.  In fact, I plan to continue my charitable scrap & stash busting throughout the year.

SCRAPS

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life and holiday preparations we can be so busy preparing for the holiday that we don’t feel the holiday spirit. Slowing down and making gifts for charity (and lucky family and friends) allows us to really relish the spirit of the season. So, AGF Sewists, turn on the holiday music, grab a mug of hot cocoa and sew! Who’s with me?

 

Here’s a list to check out:

Donate quilts and blankets to:

www.quiltsofcompassion.com

www.projectlinus.org

ww.quiltsforkids.org

ww.americanheroquilts.com

www.blankets4canada.ca

Baby Items for Hospital:

www.carewear.org

Hospital Pillow Cases for Children:

https://www.cookchildrens.org/giving/volunteers/Pages/stitch-a-wish-volunteers.aspx

Pet Beds for Shelter Animals:

www.buddysblankets.com

www.snuggleproject.org

General Humanitarian Sewing

ww.hats4thehomeless.org

ww.pinkslipperproject.org

ww.daysforgirls.org

Check with local churches and sewing or quilting guilds for any local charities you may be able to sew for, contact local women's, homeless and pet shelters and see if they have need of anything.  Another important note, make sure to read up on the organization’s guidelines and requirements before starting a project, some have very specific sizes and material guidelines. 

Any experienced charity sewists out there?  Let us know which is your favorite charity to give to and any tips or advice you may have!

Happy Sewing!

Christine


Woodlands Fusions "Fawn Sprite" Pillow Tutorial

Hello AGF Fans,

Today I’d like to share a step-by-step tutorial on how I made the Woodlands Fawn Pillow! Perhaps you saw her gazing up at you in the new Fusions look book? I was so happy to be able to design for the Woodlands Fusion collection and I found myself inspired by the color palette- rich, deep, dark and yet bold and vibrant. I knew right away I wanted to make a sister pillow to my Boho Flower girl and started sketching my version of a Woodlands Fawn Sprite.


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Fabrics & Materials Used:

Recommended Fabric Choices

  • Face template (download here)

  • Double-sided fusible web

  • Fusible fleece

  • Batting

  • Fabric glue

  • Frixion Pen 

Continue reading "Woodlands Fusions "Fawn Sprite" Pillow Tutorial" »


Baby Play Mat Tutorial

DIY Baby Play Mat

Baby quilts are the best of all worlds, aren’t they? You can choose to make yours a simple basic design that will show off a gorgeous print, or you can showcase intricate piecing that you might not have the time to do with a full size quilt. Why not make a spin on the usual baby and make a quilty baby play mat instead? It’s important for babies to do tummy time everyday and a textured quilt is the perfect place to do it! 

Baby play mats are the perfect place to get creative and incorporate embellishments and techniques that will provide fascinating sensory input for baby while they try to perfect their roll. I pack up my baby’s quilty play mat with us when we visit family so that my baby has a familiar safe zone to roll around on. Read below to see how I sewed my own DIY Play Mat!

Baby play mat pinterest graphic

Sketching Out your Design

You don’t have to be an artist to sketch out your ideas, take out your sketchbook and get creative! Here you can see my (very rough!) sketch where I outline the day/night theme. I decided I would have the sun and moon in the center, with the sun’s rays shining through the trees on one side and mountains on the other. I ended up changing my design quite a bit, but it was still very helpful to have a sketch to refer to during the process. It’s at this point that I curated my little stack of fabrics to use for the play mat and defined a color story. I also pre-washed all my fabrics first so I wouldn’t have to wash the whole mat later and it would be baby-safe as soon as I finished.

Idea Inception

Drafting the Pattern

I went the more common round play mat shape for mine and drafted a pattern to have a main circle with a 20.25” radius and a trim that was 4” so that the finished mat measured 47” across. I was able to draft both pattern pieces from one piece of poster board. (I prefer to make my patterns on poster board I buy at the dollar store so that they don’t flop around, but brown craft paper rolls work great too.) My main pattern piece is a quarter circle. Measure out 20.25” from the lower left corner along both sides. Now, making sure that the ruler is aligned with the corner point make marks along the curve every couple inches and blend the marks together.

Another method to drawing the curve would be to make your own DIY compass by measuring out some twine (I find yarn stretches too much), tying one end to a pencil and the other to a pin at the corner so that the twine measures 20.25” and drawing the curve. For the trim pattern piece draw a curve at 24.25.” Don’t worry that the bottom end is cut off if you’re using poster board, we only need part of this curve. Take your quilt ruler and measure out a 30 degree angle line from the left side and mark the line on the trim piece only. Cut the main pattern piece out. Add 1/4” seam allowance to the drawn line and cut out (seam allowance is already included elsewhere). Mark pattern pieces as shown, making sure to mark which edges should be placed on the fold.

Playmat Illustrations-01

Cutting the Back

You can cut your center piece from one piece of fabric by taking 1 ¼ yards and folding it into quarters. Align your pattern piece on the folded corner and cut out your circle.

I chose to improvisationally piece together scrap fabrics for the back so that half of the circle looked like a night sky and the other half looked like a daytime sky. After I pieced a big enough piece I folded it into quarters and used the pattern piece to cut out my circle.

When piecing using scrap fabrics it is helpful to cut the edges straight with a ruler first and then sew at ¼” seam allowance. If you’re a free spirit and would prefer to sew the fabrics first randomly and then trim, that is fine, but mark your sewing line with a ruler so that your seams will be straight. You may feel like you’re sewing straight, but if there is even a slight curve it will make the fabric pucker and it won’t lay flat (don’t ask me how I know, I’m not admitting anything!)

Applique

I chose to applique my mountains, trees and sun/moon instead of piecing them because it gave me more leeway to change my design while in the process. First, I cut out pattern pieces for the sun/moon center from more poster board and cut them out. Then, I gathered all my mountain fabrics and started cutting out triangles free hand, and arranging them on the blanket until I got a configuration I liked. I pressed the edges under on the sides and sewed them to the quilt top using an edge stitch. I just made sure the bottom edges were low enough to be covered by the sun/moon. I cut out my sun’s rays without measuring as well and arranged them on the quilt top, marked their places with a disappearing Frixion pen and pressed, folded and stitched them down.

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Trapunto Trees!

The trunks of my trees were made using a 1” bias tape maker (Cut 2” strips of fabric, and the sides fold in ½”). I highly recommend a bias tape maker if you don’t already have one! To make my treetops I cut out circles and ovals free hand from my selected tree fabrics and stitched them right side down to the bumpy side of some lightweight fusible interfacing leaving a 1” section on the treetops unstitched.

Then I cut out the treetops about 1/8” from the stitching and flipped them right side out. I used a chopstick to help turn the edges. Next was the fun part-- designing my forest! I had fun arranging the treetops and bias tape trunks until I was happy with the arrangement, then I pinned down the treetops and cut the bias tape trunks to size, tucking the ends into the 1” opening on the treetops and folding in the fabric in 1/4” and pinning down the trunks. Then I pressed the treetops, fusing them to the quilt top. I blanket-stitched around the trees.

Finally, I had some fun with using a trapunto technique on the treetops. I ~carefully~ pinched apart the fabrics so that I could cut a little slit in the back fabric of the treetops. Then I stuffed batting and some DIY crinkle material (washed chips bags, cereal bags, candy wrappers, etc.) into the trees. Since I was still going to add batting and quilt around the trees it wasn’t necessary to hand stitch the opening closed. The dimensional trees are one of my favorite parts of the play mat and a great opportunity for sensory play for baby!

Treetops

Finishing the Top

I cut down my poster board pattern pieces by 1/8” and used them as pressing guides for the sun/moon pieces. First I pressed under the inner side of the moon and blanket stitched it to the sun. Then I pressed under the outer edges of the sun/moon around the pressing guide. Finally, I pinned on the sun/moon to the center and blanket stitched it down.

For the outer band pieces I went ahead and gathered all my little leftover scraps and made wonky pieced fabrics to cut the pattern pieces from. I cut and sewed together the six pieces into one long piece and pinned it to the edge of mat top. I started sewing about 3 inches from the start of the edge and stopped sewing about 3 inches from the end of the strip, then joined the ends and finished sewing the band onto the top.

  Border

Quilt Sandwich Time!

I pressed, stretched out the fabric over a backing and batting the same as for any quilt and pinned together with safety pins. I chose to do a cloud free motion quilting motif all over the quilt top, I also made sure to stitch around the treetops to emphasize the dimensional effect. When finished cut and trim around the circle to prepare for binding.

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Applying the Binding & Ribbon Loops

Binding is applied the same as for any quilt- it’s one step where a circle is actually easier since there is no mitered corner to worry about. You’ll need about 160” but before applying binding you will want to add some ribbon loops to the edges of the play mat. Choose some nice coordinating ribbon, or add some shiny satin “tags” at this point as well. You can hook toys to the mat on there later and babies just love tags for some reason. Baste the raw edges of the ribbon loops to the edge of the mat. If you place them on the front of the mat, they will point in, if you place them on the back of the mat they will flip out after binding. I placed the loops both ways. After tacking down loops, bind as usual for a quilt and you’re done!

PlayMat loops

I hope you enjoyed the walk-through of how I made my play mat and that it inspires you to go ahead and design your own play mat! I think puffy colorful shapes or letters instead of trees would be adorable, really there’s so much you could do and in completely customized fabrics that match your nursery décor! What’s not to love?

Here are the fabrics I used:

  Fabric used

Have a great, fabric-filled day!

~Christine