Monday, July 30, 2012

Lightweight Baby Blanket Tutorial

This lightweight, yet cozy blanket will make any little one feel comfortable, especially during warmer seasons when a heavier weight blanket is just too much.

This blanket measures approximately 34" x 40" and is great for a play mat, for rides in the stroller or for nap time.

Materials Needed:

  • 1 yard each of two different coordinating fabrics, 42" wide. I chose lightweight flannel for both of my fabrics to give it extra softness on both sides, but you can also pair a quilter's cotton with a flannel as well.
  • matching thread
  • sewing machine
  • clear cutting ruler or tape measure
  • rotary cutter
  • scissors
  • straight pins
  • fabric marking pen
  • medium bowl
  • iron

Here are the two fabrics that I used.


1.  Iron both pieces of fabric and lay them flat with right sides together.

2.  Trim the fabric even on all sides using a clear cutting ruler and rotary cutter.

3.  Pin both pieces of fabric together at the edge on all four sides. Leave the about 6" or so at each corner unpinned.

4.  Using a medium-sized bowl, mark for a rounded edge on all four corners. If you prefer squared off corners, skip this step and pin the rest of the way around the edge.

5.  Using a scissors, cut along the curved line and pin the fabric together at the corner.

6.  Straight stitch a 1/4" seam around the outer edge of the fabric, leaving a 6" opening. Backstitch at both the beginning and end to secure the stitches.

7.  Using a scissors, clip the rounded corners with V-shaped snips, as shown below, to prevent the fabric from bunching when you turn it right side out. Make sure not to get too close to the stitches.

If you want the corners to be squared off, simply make a diagonal cut at the corner.

8.  Turn your blanket right side out through the opening.

9.  Iron the seams flat.

10.  For the opening, fold the raw edges into the blanket and iron flat. You may want to pin the opening  as well.

11. Using a zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine, sew at the edge around the entire blanket. Backstitch at the beginning and end to secure the stitches.

You're done!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Girls Plaid & Floral Quilt

It's been a while since I had time to just sit down and quilt. Summer has had us traveling to see family which has been nice. When I came home and got settled, I was looking for a quick project to accomplish. As I was looking through my fabric stash, I found some fabric that I had purchased months ago at a local quilt shop. I fell in love with the sweet patterns, the color combinations and the antique feel. The fabric was already pieced together, so I knew that would cut my time in half.

I rummaged a bit further through my fabric stash and was able to find enough coordinating fabric to put together a girl's baby or toddler size quilt in just a couple days.

Here is the front. The full size shots look a little kittywampus due to how I had to hang it for photographing. I cut the pre-pieced fabric and then added a solid tan cotton as a border to create a 38" x 44" quilt.

For the back, I used two different coordinating patterned fabrics and incorporated a stripe using the fabrics from the pre-pieced fabric.

Below is a close-up of the back.

And here is a close-up of the front. I just love the prairie-style window pane stitching.

I am smitten over how sweet this quilt turned out.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Roman Shade Tutorial

I'm pleased to have checked another item off my project list. I've gone without any type of window covering in my project room for several years, but I've had the materials to make a roman shade for a while now. Finally, I can work during the wee hours of the morning without the feeling that someone could be peeking in at me in my pajamas.

I love roman shades for their simple style and versatility. They look good on there own or can be paired with long curtains. I made a lot of these shades for my previous home and a couple for the one that I live in now. You can pretty much use any fabric, but I've found using a heavy weight cotton decorator fabric or cotton duck works best. Plus, you don't need to line the shade with these types of fabrics.

Custom-made shades like this can cost you big bucks, but I was able to make mine for around $15.


The materials listed below were required for the size shade I made to fit my window. The quantity of materials that you will need may be different based on the size of your window.

1-1/2 yards cotton decorator fabric or cotton duck

(3) Screw eyes

(5) 3/16" wooden dowels, cut 1/2" shorter than the width of the finished shade
Drapery cord - about 24 yards

(1) Cord pull

(15) Plastic rings

(2) 1" L-brackets and screws

Window cord cleat and screws

Tape measure and/or clear cutting ruler

Straight pins

Blue water-soluble marking pen

  • Wood - 3/4" x 1-1/2" x  width of window
  • Heavy duty stapler
  • 1/4" staples
  • Iron
  • Water bottle
  • Sewing machine
  • Cotton thread
  • Electric drill with drill bits and screw driver bits.
  • Pencil or pen
  • Super glue
Determine Finished Shade Size
Measure the width and height of the inside of the window where the shade is going to sit. I recommend doing so in a few locations in case your window is not square. Document the smallest dimension for both width and height. Subtract 1/2" from the width so that the shade will operate without touching the inside of the window. The finished shade size for my window was 28-1/2" wide x 45" high.

Determine Fabric Cutting Size

Add 3" to the finished shade size width.

Add 6-1/2" to the finished shade size height.

The fabric cutting size for my window was 31-1/2" wide x 51-1/2" high.

Below shows you how the material will be used.

This formula gives you 5 panels of equal heights. Mine were 9" high, but your panel height will be determined by dividing 5 into your finished size height.

Assemble Shade

1.  Cut the fabric to the cutting size. Lay the fabric flat with the wrong size facing up.

2.  With the water-soluble pen, mark 1" in along the entire length of the long side.

3.  Fold edge up to markings, pin and press with an iron. Make sure not to iron over the pen markings, as the heat could make them permanent.

4.  Remove pins. From the folded edge, mark 2" in along the same long side.

5.  Fold edge up to markings and pin.

6.  Sew along inner edge about 3/16" to create side seam. Remove pins and press seam flat.

7.  Repeat steps 2-6 on the other side.

8.  According to your pattern design, determine the bottom of the shade. Repeat steps 2-6 for the bottom seam, which will also become a dowel pocket. Back stitch at both ends. You should now have 3 finished sides.

9. Lay the shade flat with the wrong side up. Next you will make marks for the dowel pockets. Starting at the bottom edge, mark the fabric along both side edges at the panel height measurement. My panels were 9" tall so I made my mark at 9". Make a second mark 1" further. My first set of marks were at 9" and 10" from the bottom edge. Move the ruler to the second mark and mark again at your panel height dimension, as well as 1" further. For me, I moved the ruler to the 10" mark and marked again 9" and 10". Repeat this on both sides until you have markings for 4 dowel pockets.

10.  Flip the shade over so that the right side is facing up.

11.  Fold the bottom edge up and match the first set of markings.

12.  Pin on both sides. I like to also pin the bottom edge of the shade to the sides so that the horizontal lines stay aligned.

13.  Sew 1/2" in from the fold to create the dowel pocket. Backstitch at  both ends.

14.  Remove pins and iron open seam on right side.

15.  Lay the shade flat, right side facing up. Fold the bottom edge up until the next set of marks meet. Pin along both sides and repeat steps 13 and 14.

16.  Continue to match the marks and sew the dowel pockets until you have 5 panels. You will have an extra inch of fabric at the top that will fold over the top of the wood, which won't be seen when the shade is installed.

17.  Remove any pen marks by spraying them with a water bottle.

18.  With a pencil or pen, mark 1" on both ends of the piece of wood. Draw a straight line across.

19. Line up the top raw edge of the shade to the horizontal line on the wood. The side edge of the shade should align with the side edge of the wood. Staple the shade to the wood.

20.  Flip shade over so that the wrong side is facing up.

21.  Insert the dowels in the pockets.

22.  On the underside of the wood (opposite of the stapled side), mark the middle of the wood and draw a horizontal line across the width of the wood. Along the line, mark the center and in 1-1/2" from each edge with a vertical line. Drill pilot holes in the 3 different positions and install the screw eyes so that the hole is perpendicular to the horizontal line.

23.  With the wrong side still facing up, fold all the panels up  so the dowel pockets are next to each other.

24.  With the water-soluble pen, make a mark on each dowel pocket that aligns vertically with each of the screw eyes.

25.  Hand stitch a plastic ring at each of the marks. Stitch several times through, tie off and trim the threads. Make sure that you sew the ring so that it is parallel with the pocket dowel.

26.  Unfold the shade, still laying flat with the wrong side up.

27. Starting with the set of rings on the right side, tie a knot with the drapery cord to the ring on the bottom edge. Thread the cord up through all the plastic rings, then thread through the screw eye from right to left. Thread the same cord through the screw eye in the center and on the left side. Allow about 24" loose cord to hang from the last screw eye.

28.  Move to the center set of rings. Repeat the process with a separate piece of cord by tying a knot to the bottom ring and threading up through all the rings. Thread through the center screw eye and then through the left side screw eye. Again, leave about 24" loose cord.

29.  Repeat for the left side set of rings. Thread only through the left side screw eye from right to left. Again, leave about 24" loose cord.

If you are left-handed, you may want to thread the cord to the reverse side so that it is easier for you to operate the shade.

Install Shade
I highly recommend having someone to help you with this process to prevent profanity from escaping your mouth. I actually installed mine by myself, but endured much frustration and minor injury.

1.  Mark the holes for the L-brackets on both the piece of wood and on the inside of the window. The bracket is going to be installed on the same side of the wood as the screw eyes. The stapled side of the wood will touch the top of the inside of the window.

2.  Drill a pilot hole in the middle of each circle. Screw the bracket to the side of the inside of the window first, then screw the bracket to the wood. Photo below shows the view looking up.

3.  Take the 3 loose hanging cords and feed them through the cord pull, small hole up.

4.  With the shade completely down, straighten all loose cords and tie the bottom in a knot. The cord pull will hide the knot when it slips over the top. Trim the ends of the cord.

5.  Install the window cleat on the same side of the window as the cord pull.

6.  To finish up, trim any loose ends of thread and cord. Apply a dab of super glue to the cord knots on the bottom dowel pocket to prevent them from coming loose.

Enjoy the stylish privacy it brings to your room.