Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Mustache You A Question

Is this a quilt or a blanket? It's kinda both, a hybrid of sorts. Either, or, in any case in my house we all concur that either or way it is a cover. The top is pieced in a log cabin fashion using a feature fabric for the center, there's cotton batting in the middle, flannel for the back and pompom trim fringe, all stitched together through the layers with a machine satin stitch in select places. It's a fairly easy project to make and I thought I'd share, or at least attempt to explain, how I made this here quilt/blanket hybrid cover thingy. 

First, start with a feature fabric to which you'll add border strips to, log cabin fashion, in a measurement of your choice. If I remember correctly, the strips used for this first border were 2.5 inches wide. You could definitely vary the strip widths or keep them consistent on all four sides of each border as I did, although each border varied in strip width size. Or, you could even skip the whole piecing aspect all together and make this as a whole cloth piece. The possibilities are totally up to you, there are no rules here! Just go with your creative flow! Pull out all your scraps, make a mess and just have fun! Be spontaneous or follow a plan, maybe a design with solids, whatever suits your fabric fancy!

See? Play around with what you have. I pulled out fabrics that I didn't even use and that's okay, some just didn't make it through the auditioning phase.

Okay, once you have your top the size you want it to be you'll need to prep for the sandwich. If you don't want a middle layer of batting that's fine too. Maybe you're using heavier weight fabrics on top and back, either way it's up to you. I used a cotton batting in the middle so I'll explain what I did. I apologize but I didn't take a picture of what I'm about to describe but if you look at the next picture I think you'll probably be able to figure it out. 

Once my top was finished I actually basted it the way I would if I was going to finish it as a quilt but--in typical Kim fashion I changed my mind and then had to remove all the stinking safety pins! Oh well. Anyway, I changed my mind because I wrestled with making a decision on how to quilt the thing. After consulting one of my quilty friends, she actually suggested doing the same thing I had originally thought of but I thought it wouldn't balance, yada yada, then I thought of a balancing act and then, I remembered this sweet little quilt/blanket thingy I saw in a book that I checked out from the library several times when I lived in North Dakota and then again in Virginia, but can't seem, for the life of me, to be able to remember the title. It was some French sewing book. 

Okay, well, it was similar to how I finished this but it used a whole cloth piece without any fringe. Soooo, after I took all the safety pins out I kept the batting and top pieces together and stitched in the ditch around several of the borders starting with the feature fabric and working out to the outer border. I did this to keep the top and batting connected to keep the fabrics from shifting since it wasn't going to have allover quilting. This would also make it easier to attach the pompom trim. 

As you can see in the photo below I didn't trim off the batting until after I attached the pompom trim. This allowed me to have something to hold onto as I passed the pompom trim under the presser foot. I do the same thing when I make pillow covers with trim.  

When using pompom trim there's a right and wrong side to the trim so make sure when you lay your trim against the fabric it's right sides are together. Also, I usually start somewhere along the bottom left side of my project, also no picture of my starting point but you're smart and you can figure that out! Or start wherever you want! Remember no rules! I like to do rounded corners when I use pompom trim because it means less cuts, starts and stops but again, whatever your fancy. I don't usually use pins either because they can be a hassle but if you need to use them, by all means do what you gotta do, no judgements here either. I like a little of the loopy do-das to stick out so I start by stitching the trim to the fabric with a basting stitch. I start in the middle between the edge of my fabric and the other edge of the trim, just take a look. Once I get to the corners I just curve the trim inward and pivot my needle by lifting the presser foot and slightly turning several times until I get to the other side keeping it in the same track of the trim. It's also easier to see what your needle is doing if you have an open foot.

Okay, once you've made it back to your starting point just overlap the trim by a couple or three pompoms, and then cut your trim. Again, no picture. I do this just in case something catastrophic happens and adjustments need to be made but once the whole thing is finished then you can snip off the extra pompoms and it'll look just fine. Once this task is complete then you can go ahead and trim off the excess batting around the edges. 

After that you'll connect the top and back right sides together. I like to start somewhere along the top left of my project, or somewhere away from where I started with the trim. You're going to leave an opening so start at least 4-6 inches away from a corner and allow about 8-10 inches for your opening so you'll be able to turn your blanket, because technically speaking it's a blanket at this point. At least that's what the rule book says, but who really cares about the rules, right? There's really not a rule book, or is there? 

Anyway, onward we're making progress. Here, you may want to use a few pins to hold your junk together and you definitely want to know where to stop sewing so at least put a pin in that spot, you know for your opening. And, don't forget to change your stitch length back to normal because you used a basting stitch before when you were attaching the trim! I'm not yelling at you, just reminding you because I know it's easy to forget!! Yes, I have forgotten many times. I am human after all and can get anxious about reaching the finish line. 

Now, look at the picture below. You can see that my backing fabric sticks out. Yes, I do the same thing as I did before with the excess batting. You'll trim this up later. Now, if you look you'll see you have two lines of stitching, you're about to stitch a third line. As I said before, I like a bit of the loopy do-das to hang out so what I do is stitch right next to my basting trim line which will become the center line. Follow? Goodie good!! 

As you round your corners don't forget to pivot. See, I used a pin here to keep it from shifting as I pivoted. 

Once you've made it around your four corners you should end up at a place where you have a pin to remind you to stop sewing. Go ahead and stop sewing with a back stitch to secure if you'd like. Again, no picture. I will try to explain how I did this next step as best as I can. It's time to trim your back fabric. Seems easy enough, right? And it is, you're just not going to trim all of it evenly. At the place where you started your stitching you're going to place your thumb at that point and cut down to the edge and then trim around close to the edge until you get to a thumb width away from where you stopped and do the same as you did to begin. I do this so when I tuck it under to close the opening I can hide the top stitches in the pompom trim. See the picture below to get an idea of what I mean. 

But first, you'll need to turn your blankey inside out! Once you turn it make sure everything is secure and push out the corners. Now you're going to press it along the edge to make a nice crisp edge because once you close your opening you're going to top stitch around it to give it a nice finished look that also secures it from shifting around the trim. Okay, now you're going to turn down the excess backing edge inside the opening. Now set your stitch length to baste. Looking at the picture below you'll see a line of stitching on the green fabric. Those are basting stitches. You're going to baste stitch the opening closed and then remove the stitches after securing the trim to the back of the folded edge that's tucked inside the opening. Play with it until you figure out what I mean. This is how to hide the stitch line in the trim on the front. You'll see the stitch line on the back but it won't be that noticeable and the front will have a nice clean look when it's finished. Trust me on this. 

Ready? Okay, baste like I said and then change your top thread to match your trim. Adjust your stitch length because now you're going to securely close the opening and your top stitches will be hidden in the ditch of the trim. Once you've done this, change your top thread to match the fabric, or not if you want some contrast for design purposes. Remove the basting stitches and top stitch all around.

The picture below shows the two lines of stitching on the back.

The picture below here shows the single line of top stitching on the front. 

I think you get what I mean here...

Do you remember what I said about the excess pompoms? Can you spot where my trim started? Slightly. At this point I snipped off the extra pompoms at the loopy do-das from the back side and you really can't notice. Now. Just. One. More. Step. To. The. Finish. Line. 

Unless of course you opt out of this step which is totally fine if you wish. It's your project and you are in control. You can choose to secure with satin stitches through the layers which will then make this blanket into a quilt hybrid, or call it good and let it be a finished blanket, which is a cover too. You could even tie it with yarn or embroidery floss and it'd still be a quilt hybrid, whatever your fancy. I chose to stitch some satin stitches with my machine.

And then, the final step...take a thousand pictures and you're done!

Thanks for stopping by and suffering through this little DIY.
The finished quilt/blanket hybrid cover thingy is available for purchase in my Etsy Shop,

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