{ Happy Sewing } … Fabric Trays

Coming up with original teachers’ gifts is far from easy. While some years I leave things too late and jump in with the class group gift certificate, I usually try my best to make something as a show of appreciation for all the hard work my kids’ teachers do on a daily basis. In years past, I have made hand warmers, zippered pouches and fabric buckets. For this Christmas, I found a great tutorial for fabric trays by Noodlehead and my search was done.

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This was the perfect project to try machine embroidering some letters from my Nature Walk alphabet that has recently been digitized by OESD. I am very new to machine embroidery, so am learning as I go. Janome Canada generously loaned me a Memory Craft 450E to try my hand at it and, while I will tell you I love hand embroidery, watching this being done by machine is quite magical and the result is far more refined, interesting and textured than I had imagined. I love it! And, for those of you who haven’t tried one of these machines before, let me tell you the best part: the only work you have to do is change the spool of thread and press the start button! So excellent!

Here are a few progress shots of one of the letters being stitched. I really like that the “P” presser foot directs your eye to exactly what is being stitched while not hiding any of the action:

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I could have just use the suggested colours that come with the embroidery files, but I had fun tailoring each letter to the recipient… trying to remember the colours she tends to use or wear most. Knowing the total number of colours needed to complete the design and where each colour would be used (the file gives you all this information), I created my own palette for each letter and thus ended up wth some truly personalized gifts.

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Wanting a neutral exterior to the trays that would wear well, I opted to use “Pollen Burst” and “Hop, Skip & Jump” and the binding is either “Stepping Stones” or “Little World”, all from my Nature Walk collection.

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I could see these being used to contain some jewellery on a dresser, keys and phone on a console in an entryway or if it were for me, some yarns and threads from my latest hand sewing project on a side table in the living room.

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If you would like to make a few yourself, the tray pattern can be found here and the alphabet files here.

A few technical notes:

– To properly fit a letter in the bottom of the basket without possibly cutting off some details with the corner darts, I adjusted the size of the cut fabric for both the interior and exterior to 9″ x 12″ (starting with a larger piece all around to create the embroidered letter first, and then trimmed to the correct size).

– I switched the thick interfacing to the exterior fabric and the thinner one to the embroidered fabric (opposite to what Anna suggests in the pattern). This avoids too much bubbling on the interior.

Happiest of Holidays to you all!
xo Tamara

Nature Walk ABC Sewing Challenge Winners

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 in Blog, Nature Walk | 2 Comments

So, we had a challenge… To sew something amazing with the Nature Walk ABC panel. The team at Michael Miller Fabrics & I were delighted with the creativity shown in the challenge and now we have our three winners!

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Third place went to Paola of Sweet Julia who created this adorable dress for her daughter. The ABC panel with the dress body & knots in the rich amber colour of Little World (coupled with the cowboy boots) is truly delightful.

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Second place was taken by Sherri Noel of Rebecca Mae Designs for this truly awesome sewing machine cover. Her creation of words with the individual letters is skillfully done and just perfect to house her beloved machine.

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And our winner is Candice Ayala who, with some incredible painting help from her daughter, Abigail won our hearts with this Mori dress.

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Not only did Abigail use silk paints and dimensional fabric paints, but she also went to every little girl’s happy place with glitter. Great job, Abigail & Candice!

Congrats to all the winners! I hope you enjoy your new fabrics coming your way and Abigail and Candice, I hope you have as much fun with my colouring book as you did with the dress.

Matching Solids with Nature Walk

Posted by on Feb 19, 2016 in Blog, Nature Walk | 6 Comments

A few of you have asked now, so I thought I’d do a proper post on co-ordinating Cotton Couture solids with NATURE WALK.

Firstly, in case I haven’t mentioned it before, or if I have and you missed it, Nature Walk is printed on Cotton Couture base cloth, which is a finer and lighter fabric than regular quilting cotton, so the CC solids are really the best option for incorporating solids into the mix for your projects so that there is a consistent weight and feel when finished.

So… What works with what?

Firstly, let’s look at the alphabet panel, ABC Nature Walk.
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Here are the colours used in the letters:

nature walk - cotton couture co-ordinates

Most of those will also co-ordinate with the other prints in the collection, but here are some more:

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photo #4 - mineral - nature walk - tamara kate

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I hope this is helpful in planning your projects!

Nature Walk Sewing Challenge

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 in Blog, Nature Walk | 4 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.

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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.