Nature Walk Sewing Challenge

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 in Blog, Nature Walk | 2 Comments

OK, all you wonderfully talented sewers out there, Michael Miller Fabrics & I have a challenge for you!

abc nature walk sewing challenge

Yesterday, as a bit of inspiration, I guest blogged on the MMF site about the many ways I sewed with the “ABC Nature Walk” panel for Quilt Market a couple months ago. Now it’s your turn. We want to see how creative you can get with this panel!

Of course there are some cool prizes! Lots of NATURE WALK and COTTON COUTURE fabric up for grabs and something I’ve been keeping a secret… I have a couple of adult colouring books in the works. You could be one of the first to get your hands on a copy of one, based on ABC Nature Walk.

artist's alphabet colouring book - tamara kateThe Artist’s Alphabet, published by Eccolo

So, hop on over to the Michael Miller blog for all the details and get sewing! If you don’t yet have any of the fabric, it is easily available at most online stores (and hopefully at your local shop too… Just ask).

Can’t wait to see what you create!

Off the Beaten Track Quilt

Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 in Blog, Nature Walk, Quilts | 4 Comments

With NATURE WALK arriving in stores over the last and coming weeks, I want to start sharing a few sewing ideas to hopefully inspire some projects of your own.

off the beaten track quilt - tamara kate

First up, my “Off the Beaten Track” quilt. This was a fun and easy quilt to make. I love Flying Geese blocks for their simplicity. Like most good traditional blocks, they lead to a wide range of more modern possibilities where design is concerned, all based on playing with colour placement and block direction.

nature walk - cloud - tamara kate

I chose some of my favourite prints from the Cloud colour group as inspiration and for the most part I worked with white ground, but added a few spots of medium and dark grey (Fog & Clay Cotton Couture) for a bit more contrast and creativity.

off the beaten track quilt detail - tamara kate

I didn’t want to make things too visually chaotic so kept prints grouped together to give the eye places to rest, and chose to send some of the geese horizontally in just a few areas to keep things dynamic.

off the beaten track quilt binding

And the binding… well, let’s just say I have found my new favourite binding fabric. I have always loved stripes for binding a quilt as they add a bit of fun, but these little watercolour lines, Tall Grass, are soft, fade in and out and even offer occasional rows of spots for variety. And they come in four different colours to co-ordinate with a variety of projects. Fun! Fun! Fun!

tall grass - tamara kate

Nature Walk is Starting to Ship to Stores

Posted by on Jan 14, 2016 in Blog, Nature Walk | 9 Comments

Hi friends and Happy New Year to you!

Last year was a full and frenzied one for me with many hiccups along the way, but also many accomplishments, most of which I will finally have a chance to share with you as this year progresses. I am hoping this year is a bit smoother, but am looking forward to what it might bring, regardless. Hope you are too!

nature walk cover

One of my favourite projects I worked on last year was designing my latest fabric collection for Michael Miller Fabrics that just started shipping to stores.

NATURE WALK marks a return to working with watercolor and pen & ink for me, something I haven’t done since Flight Patterns. There is something so direct and natural about working by hand versus on the computer that I realized I was greatly missing. The designs flowed easily and I often felt like I was relaxing with a much-loved hobby instead of working, I was enjoying the process so much. I hope this comes across in the fabric.

nature walk abc

The first piece I worked on was an alphabet panel that runs the entire width of the fabric. There is so much detail to discover in this piece and its uses are really versatile. I will be doing a post just on that shortly.

nature walk abc detail - tamara kate

The collection on the whole was inspired by my family’s weekend outings. We always try to get out all together on the weekends, regardless of the weather, to wander nearby forests, paddle in a canoe, wander a beach or a garden and see what we encounter. I am constantly inspired by the creatures, colors and textures I see and the way my children delight in the treasures they discover along the way. So here I have tried in some cases, to replicate nature we observe and in others, to let my imagination wander and create fantastical versions of reality.

The end result is a collection for the little curious ones in our midst (with a few pieces for us grown naturalists too). And it is printed on the divinely-soft Cotton Couture, so you will love sewing with it!

nature walk mineral group
The MINERAL colour story.

nature walk cloud group
The CLOUD colour story.

I will have Nature Walk projects to share over the next few weeks, so I hope you pop back in here from time to time to find a bit of inspiration.
See you then.

Making Merry with Janome – Reversible Gift Tags

Things are starting to feel festive around here. Some holiday shopping has been done and we are just starting to pull out decorations to make our home more festive for the season.

tamara kate - gift tags stack

making-merry-red

I haven’t been sewing since the wild rush of preparing for Quilt Market back in October and started to feel the itch to get back to it last week. A quick project is always a good way to begin and so I was thrilled to be asked to participate in Making Merry with Janome, a fun daily sewing project inspiration blog hop to help get all of you wonderful sewers in the mood to create a little holiday magic of your own.

Here are some fun reversible gift tags I whipped up for kids’ gifts. After gift-opening, they can be reused as personalized Christmas ornaments (oh, how they love personalized ornaments) for years to come.

tamara kate - gift tags 3

Should you wish to create some yourself, here is a quick guide:

What I used

– solid coloured fabric (I used Cotton Couture)
– co-ordinating patterned fabrics (I used scraps of Festive Forest)
– iron-on interfacing (something mid-weight will work well)
– cookie cutters for shapes
– scraps of quilt batting
– co-ordinating ribbon
– fabric pen; thread (the colour of which will contrast well with your solid fabric), scissors
– a sewing machine that has embroidered letter options or embroidery thread and needle to do it by hand

tamara kate - cookie cutters

What I did

Iron interfacing to one side of the solid fabric. This will make the embroidery much smoother and help avoid fabric puckering.

Embroider the desired name approx. 3″ from sides of fabric (I found it easier to work with a larger piece of fabric and then cut it down after embroidering to ensure the name would be centred). Below are a bit of the embroidery options I am lucky enough to have at my disposal on the Janome MC8200.

janome machine embroidery

Place the cookie cutter on the fabric, centre name and trace around the outside of the shape with a fabric pen. Cut a basic square or rectangle around the traced shape, with about an extra inch of fabric all around. Cut a piece of batting and of patterned fabric, all roughly the same size. Sandwich the batting between the 2 fabric layers with right sides of both fabrics facing out.

Cut a 10″ length of ribbon. Place the two ribbon ends inside the sandwich at the top of the shape, inserting the ends about a half inch. Pin or hold in place.

With a small straight stitch, sew all the way around the shape about 1/8″ inside the drawn line, anchoring the ribbon in the process.

Cut through the 3 layers all the way around on the drawn line, being careful to not cut the ribbon.

tamara kate - gift tag sewings

And that’s it!

tamara kate - gift tags row

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Sewing!

tamara kate - gift tags tins

Back to School Quilt for Janome

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in Blog, Janome, Quilts, Tutorials | 2 Comments

Earlier this sumer I was asked to contribute a project to the 2015 Janome Institute gathering. The theme was Fall. I could’t get my mind beyond the obvious coloured leaves and pumpkins, which I wasn’t terribly inspired by. I pondered what Fall brings and landed on “back to school”. As last year I had created the Big & Juicy Quilt, I thought a companion piece would work well, and thus I had my colour pallet all worked out for me.

big & juicy quilt - tamara kate
Big & Juicy Quilt

My version of a graphic, modern alphabet quilt seemed like a good balance to the big, bold apple (with a little something extra to keep it young and fun). Michael Miller Fabrics kindly provided me with a generous mountain of black & white and grey fabrics, with the odd hit of metallic thrown in for good measure (and there’s the occasional piece of fabric from my own stash in there too).

back to school quilt - tamara kate
Back to School Quilt

back tosSchool quilt detail - tamara kate

back to school quilt detail2 - tamara kate

I mentioned bits of metallic… Isn’t this fabric great? It’s called Bow Ties and is soon-to-be-available from Michael Miller.

back to school quilt detail3 - tamara kate

The letters are all paper pieced… yes, I finally focused on a good tutorial and got my head around the technique. Really pretty easy.

I have provided Janome with instructions for the quilt that were given out at Institute and once I get the ok from them, I will post them here as well.
For all you Institute attendees, the alphabet templates are available for download below. Enjoy! And if you have any questions, feel free to ask below.

Back to School Templates

Flight Formation Quilt

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Birds & The Bees, Blog, Quilts, Tutorials | 2 Comments

Quilt Number 2!
When I first received yardage of BIRDS & THE BEES, the Bluejay colour story quickly inspired this quilt.

flight formation quilt - tamara kate

While I almost always have ideas of what I would like to sew while I am designing fabric, it usually takes having the finished yardage in hand for me to really be able to envision how I would like to use it. For this quilt, it was the intensity of the indigo alongside the jewel tones and soft white grounds that dictated direction. I simply wanted to play with colour in a dramatic way. I incorporated squares of Cotton Couture solids, some complementary, some contrasting, to break up all the pattern a bit and arranged everything in a strong “V” down the centre for impact. Even the simple quilting lines follow the “V” throughout, as does one’s eye, that then darts around catching little glimpses of a butterfly or flower here, a bird’s head or feather there…

flight formation quilt detail - tamara kate

For the binding I chose Baby the Stars Shine Bright in Navy which frames the quilt well, with little bright stars adding a happy, confetti-like feel.

flight formation quilt detail3 - tamara kate

There is a free downloadable tutorial on the Michael Miller website for this quilt, should you desire to whip one up yourself. Enjoy!

Flight Medallion Quilt

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 in Birds & The Bees, Blog, Quilts, Tutorials | No Comments

Something I’ve been meaning to share here are two quilts I recently made with Birds & the Bees fabric. Today, number one… FLIGHT MEDALLION

Playing with the Ladybug colour story of BIRDS & THE BEES, I created a simple medallion quilt made of squares and half-square triangles that lets the birds of Feathered Flock take centre stage.

flight medallion quilt - tamara kate

I didn’t want fabric choices to be perfectly symmetrically placed around the quilt, so it was fun playing with the different values of the coral and teal fabrics to create an effective arrangement. Likewise, the pops of charcoal, green and apricot help keep the quilt dynamic.

flight medallion quilt detail - tamara kate

A big step for me in my quilting efforts was to finally try a bit of free-motion quilting (most apparent on the dark teal fabric with the stars, Baby The Stars Shine Bright). It went surprisingly well, though of course, most of the praise must go to the fabulous Janome machine I sew on for making it go as smoothly as it did.

flight medallion quilt detail2 - tamara kate

At 48″ square, this is a fun wall quilt that will brighten a spot in our home, keeping things light, young and happy.
If you are interested in making one for yourself, I have created a free downloadable tutorial for this project on the Michael Miller website. It’s a fast and fun sew, as all the pieces are quite large. Enjoy!

EmmyLouBeeDoo Creates with Birds & the Bees

Posted by on Jul 8, 2015 in Birds & The Bees, Blog | One Comment

As a final stop on the BIRDS & THE BEES blog-hop, today is all about pretty and feminine.

emmyloubeedoo dress

Sarah of EmmyLouBeeDoo is a talented sewing pattern designer (remember when I used one of her sweet patterns to make this Origami Oasis tunic?). Today, though she is highlighting her creative sewing skills over on her blog, where she has created a Blue ridge dress for her daughter, using fabrics from Birds & the Bees (her daughter, by the way, picked these fabrics from the collection & I think she did a great job!).

emmyloubeedoo dress2

I really love the gentle sloping line to the empire waist on this dress, and the bias tape finishes it off beautifully.

emmyloubeedoo dress detail

Pop on over to Sarah’s blog to see more details and pictures of this little cutie in her new dress.

Thanks for rounding out the Birds & the Bees blog-hop in such a pretty fashion, Sarah!

The Great Pattern Hack: Burda Jumpsuit

Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in Blog | 11 Comments

jumpsuit hack3

Bloghop_TimelineImage-01

The Great Pattern Hack (A truly fun idea dreamed up by Michael Miller Fabrics & A Happy Stitch): A group of bloggers are offered their choice of sewing patterns and Michael Miller Fabrics from a pre-selected assortment. They then get creative with the pattern, adjusting as little or as much as they like to make it uniquely their own, then sew it up and share. Today is my turn.

As I sew mostly for my kids, I decided it was time for a little selfish sewing, and what better item to make than something that doesn’t already exist in my wardrobe… a jumpsuit!

The basis for my project was the Burda Short Sleeve Jumpsuit #115B. Really cute, I thought, but the legs aren’t really my style. I wanted to make it into more of an evening, true relaxation, social, drinks-on-the-terrace kind of jumpsuit. A wider leg was all that was needed, and it was an easy hack too! I simply cut straight down from the pocket area on the outside leg and the same, just below the crotch on the inside leg.

jumpsuit hack

Other than that, the pattern was just right with some cute details:

jumpsuit hack back2
The pretty, fine tie across the deep plunging back.

jumpsuit hack waist
The shirred waist (which makes it even more comfortable) was really easy to create.

jumpsuit hack2

My fabric of choice is Kuniko from Michael Miller’s new Indigo line, which is soft and cool in feel, with a lovely intense colour.

jumpsuit hack back

I really debated between leaving it open or adding some sort of closure on the front and back so that I wouldn’t need to wear a tank top underneath, but in the end opted to keep it open to continue the theme of “not already in my wardrobe” and am thrilled with my choice. I think it adds just another layer of interest.

jumpsuit hack4

Want to see more great sewing hacks?
Follow along on the Michael Miller blog daily over the next week and a half for lots more talented bloggers and their inspired hacks.

Do YOU want to get involved?
If you’d like to join the Great Pattern Hack, grab some Michael Miller fabric and show us your skills! Hack a pattern (any pattern) and share your pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Make sure to tag your photos so we can find you- @michaelmillerfabrics and @ahappystitch and use the hashtags- #GreatPatternHack #MichaelMillerFabrics #AHappyStitch

Thread Riding Hood Sews Birds & the Bees Skirts

Posted by on Jul 2, 2015 in Birds & The Bees, Blog | 4 Comments

Thread riding hood Add-Shorts-2

Sherri of Thread Riding Hood has made not one, not two or three, but FOUR cute fat-quarter-friendly skirts with Birds & the Bees. And what’s more, she has written a tutorial for how to attach shorts to the inside (for all our cartwheeling hand-stand performing girls).

Thread riding hood Add-Shorts-3

Mix & match your favourite prints & enjoy the Summer! Hop on over here for all the details.

Thread riding hood Add-Shorts-Tutorial

Really adorable, Sherri! Thanks so much for your fun & generous contribution to the Birds & the Bees blog-hop!