Baby Quilt with a Super Soft Back

A sweet little girl has just been born into my husband’s family. The perfect occasion for a baby quilt, handmade with love, ready to keep this wee one all cuddled up.

tamara kate - heart baby quilt

I was told her room is fuchsia, lavender and pink with butterflies and hearts, so I designed this accordingly. The heart is made of a selection of my fabrics from Flight Patterns, Helen’s Garden and Quiet Time and the background is random lower volume fabrics with the odd bit of mine thrown in for little mini-bursts of colour. I like how the grey softens the very vibrant heart.

tamara kate - heart baby quilt detail

Once the top was complete I searched for a soft option for the back. I didn’t want the quilt to go unused because it wasn’t cuddly enough for a baby. And I also didn’t want to use anything with man-made fibres, so minky was out (not to mention the stories I’ve heard of it shedding all over one’s sewing machine while stitching it). The search for a natural and soft substrate was on. So I contacted Michael Miller Fabrics to see what options they had and I hit the jackpot. Organic cotton fleece or sherpa.

michael miller organic fleece & sherpa

They are both ultra soft and cuddly, so I played eenie-meenie-minie-mo & went with the fleece. The picture above shows a piece of each, sherpa on the left, fleece in the centre, with a piece of the fleece once washed (far right). It shrinks, so pre-wash is necessary, and it also fluffs it up, adding extra body, which is lovely.

tamara kate - heart baby quilt fleece back

I hand quilted diagonal lines throughout. I am determined… my next quilt will be my first machine quilted attempt, but for this one I opted for patient, caring stitches.

tamara kate - heart baby quilt fleece back2

A last finishing touch. All done, ready to fly across the ocean to France to welcome this little one into the family.

tamara kate - heart baby quilt embroidery

{ Happy Sewing } … Thread Catchers

thread catcher

One of the challenges given at our last Quilt Guild meeting was to make a thread catcher. What’s a thread catcher, you ask? (I asked the same thing). It’s a small bowl for holding all those gazillions of cut threads we accumulate on our table (or floor) while sewing. It took me a moment to warm up to the idea, but once I got going … well, I have found my new favourite thing to make.

helen's garden fabric buckets x3

I designed these little fabric bowls or buckets with a folded top edge to be able to show off two co-ordinating fabrics, in one sweet little functional item. These three all use fabrics from my Helen’s Garden collection. If one adjusted the size, just imagine all the treasures one could keep or display in these lovely bowls.

knitting supplies

favourite plant

little friends

They can, of course, be used as a taller container without folding down the top edge. This really nicely shows off a favourite pattern, like Enchanted below.

helen's garden fabric bucket enchanted

In hopes that you are as excited about making these as I am, I have been working on a pattern for a myriad of sizes that will shortly be available here. Stay tuned …

A Little Quilted Love

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Blog, Flight Patterns, Holidays | 6 Comments

flight patterns pillow crop

Sending love & thoughts of Spring (it’s right around the corner, dear friends … I know it is) to you all.

{ Happy Sewing } … Hand Warmers

Searching for an idea for last minute teachers’ gifts, hostess gifts or stocking stuffers for a loved one?

tamara kate ... hand warmers

I was doing just that yesterday when I came upon this lovely post for scented sachets. Alas, I had no easy access to a bushel of lavender on a cold snowy day, but I had the idea of making them into hand warmers … exactly what one wants on such a day. In place of lavender buds, I filled mine with rice (I started with sushi rice, and am now onto basmati, as I have gone overboard with stacks of these pretty little packets.

A simple, quick, pretty gift idea that uses fabric scraps you have lying around your studio. A wonderful plus is that they can also be stuck in the freezer to be used as eye packs to refresh tired peepers. Should you feel the urge to whip up a few of your own, read on:

What I used:

– For each warmer you will need 2 pieces of 4″ x 4″ fabric. I chose a number of co-ordinating patterned fabrics from Flight Patterns and Helen’s Garden for the tops and more simple, yet colourful, fabrics for the backs (Parterre in all its colour options worked wonderfully)!

– ¼ cup rice.

– co-ordinazting thread for stitching together & for the little tuck in the centre of each warmer.

What I did:

As I made a gazillion of them, I did it production-style. A Match your fronts to backs, right sides together. With a ¼” seam allowance, sew along one edge and, without raising your machine’s presser foot, continue onto the next warmer, and the next until they all have one edge sewn. Clip all those extra chains of sewing between each & start again with another side, then another. You should now have 3 edges sewn shut on each warmer. B For the final edge, start sewing about 1″, then backstitch to secure your sewing. Raise the presser foot, skip about 1½”, lower foot and sew to the end (remember to backstitch both ends so your stitches don’t get pulled out when turning your warmer right side out).

hand warmers instructions

C Clip all your corners diagonally, being careful not to clip any stitching. Turn warmers right side out, using a pin to get the corners as sharp as possible.

Use a funnel to fill with rice. Using a slip stitch, close your opening, then make a knot right at the fabric surface, insert needle just beside the knot & exit about ½” further along. Gently pull your thread until the knot pops through to the inside of your warmer, thus nicely hiding it. Cut your thread where it exits from the fabric.

Last step is the stitched tuck in the centre. Measure or eyeball the centre of the square. Starting on the back side, insert needle with unknotted thread through to the front, leaving an end 3″ or 4″ long at the back. Make a stitch about 1/8″ long, and bring your thread through to the back. Repeat this stitch 3 or 4 times. Pull both ends of the thread taut, then make a double knot. Insert both loose ends into the warmer with a needle, coming out ½” away. Clip ends at fabric surface.

I even made a little instruction card to go with them that you can download to print here:

Hand Warmers Instruction Card

I chose to go with sets of 6 that co-ordinate well together. Place your instruction card at the bottom, stack 6 lovely warmers atop each other, tie with a pretty ribbon, and voila! Pretty present to go!

tamara kate ... hand warmers with ribbon

hand warmers happy holidays

{ Happy Sewing } … Little Backpacks Tutorial

Should be organizing, making lists, trying to switch gears to be ready for a new school year. My disorganized self still has oodles of books, pencils, crayons … you name it, to buy. So, why not procrastinate with the necessities just a bit longer and instead make a few easy, cute, soft backpacks for gym clothes instead? I’m in!

What I Used:
One 13″ wide x 30″ long piece of fabric for exterior. Note, if your print is a directional one, like the Monsieur Blocks green bag, you will want instead two pieces 13″ wide x 15½” long so that one side of your bag doesn’t have upside down little men or castles on it.

One 13″ x 30″ piece of fabric for lining. This could be a basic solid colour fabric, but I prefer the added little surprise for the recipient of having a contrasting lining.

Three meters of cording or soft (but strong) ribbon. A not-too-wide gros grain would work well.

What I Did:
Unless otherwise indicated, all seam allowances are ¼”.

If you have two pieces of exterior fabric, place them right sides together with both prints facing the top, and stitch across the bottom 13″ with a ½” seam.

If you are going to add any decorative patches or stitching to the front, now is the time to do it. I centred the patches I used horizontally and placed them about 6″ from the top. On the Scribble Cars orange bag I used a small narrow zigzag machine stitch to attach the patch. On the Faceted Flight triangle print, I embroidered the patch on with small buttonhole stitching.

Here are the visuals for the following instructions:

Right sides together, place lining fabric on exterior fabric and sew two short ends (see A). You should have a tube.

Keeping right sides together, arrange the tube so that those 2 seams you just made are lined up in the centre. Mark 1″ from each end on each side, except on one lining end, mark about 5″ from the end (to turn fabric right side out). Also mark centre seam and ¾” from centre seam on each side of exterior fabric (to pass the cord). Sew from each mark to the next along the long sides (4 lines of stitching in total) (see B).

Turn fabric right side out. Top stitch 5″ opening to 1″ from folded edge (see C).

Insert lining into exterior fabric. Sew all the way around top, ¾” from folded edge to form casing (see D).

Cut cording or ribbon in half. If using cording, lightly scorch ends with a flame to stop them from unravelling. Using a safety pin or bodkin, insert one end into one side of casing and pass it all the way through to exit at the same edge (see E). Repeat with other side.

Insert ½” of 2 cord or ribbon ends into the 1″ opening left at the bottom edge of the bag, passing through opening in lining as well. Top stitch the opening a few times. Repeat with other side.

All done!


{ Happy Sewing } … Ruffled Neckline Dress

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in { Happy Sewing }, Blog, Flight Patterns | 4 Comments

I learned to sew at a very young age. My Mom made most of our clothes when we were little (and also when we were no longer quite so little). She had learned from her Mom, and so it goes. Emma is impressing me with her abilities when she can sit still long enough to focus on a stitching project and just yesterday Max started sewing a pyjama top for his favourite doudou (stuffed creature). I love the sense of nostalgia that sewing awakens in me. I love creating for my family. I love when my son wants to wear some dressy item I made him on any old day, just because it’s special.

And so, I am determined to try to sit at the machine more regularly to create.

This is a dress I made for Em recently. It is completely lined with a fine batiste cotton (so light, you don’t even notice it). I based the body of it on a few of her existing dresses, but made it a wrap version with ruffled neckline. I love the way my Bargello print works here. And I love that she loves putting it on.

See all the love that comes from sewing?

Guest Blogging Over at Michael Miller

Posted by on Aug 9, 2013 in Blog, Flight Patterns, Tutorials | 5 Comments

Today I am excited to be guest blogging on the Michael Miller Fabrics blog, Making it Fun.

Head on over for a little Flight Patterns inspiration … a bit about how the collection came to be, some pretty project pictures and a GIVEAWAY!

Also, a tutorial for this quilt

Did I mention a giveaway?