designer challenge

12 Days of Ruby Star | Wynn’s Handsewn Organizer Boxes

Hi! I’m Wynn from zakkaArt and it’s my pleasure to share a really easy Christmas gift idea here at 12 days of Ruby Star FQ challenge.


What you need (for 10cm x 10cm x 10cm box):

-        A fat quarter exterior fabric (or more if you are making bigger boxes)

-        A fat quarter interior/lining fabric (or more if you are making bigger boxes)

-        Batting/Fleece (light or medium weight)

-        Needle and coordinating thread (for handsewing)


(*Note: 1cm seam allowance is included in the all measurements given)

First of all, cut out 12cm x 12cm squares from both the exterior and interior fabrics as well as the fleece batting. Five pieces each.

Now we’ll make the first wall of the box.

Lay the batting down first followed by the exterior fabric (right side up) and then the interior fabric (wrong side up).

Pin the three layers in place.

Then sew the three layers together using backstitch throughout, leaving a small gap (about 4-5cm).  Trim the corners.

Turn inside out. Make sure to take care of the corners too. Press with hot dry iron.

Stitch close the gap using ladder stitch.

Repeat the same procedure for the other four walls of the box.

Now that you have all the five walls nicely done, the only thing you need to do is to sew connect them together using ladder stitch.


There you go! You have completed your very own organizer box! There are many sizes you can make and many ways you can jazz up your box such as adding embellishments (i.e. lace, beads, buttons).

Hope you will enjoy making these organizer boxes for your loved ones this Christmas. Thank you Fat Quarterly and Melody Miller for this awesome chance to share this tutorial with you!

Merry Christmas!

12 Days of Ruby Star | Michelle’s Body Pillow Cover

Hello Fat Quarterly readers from sunny, cold, and snowy York Region! :) My name is Michelle Southern and I’m the gal behind Kinetic Quilts. I’m so glad to be writing this tutorial for you today and hope you’ll be inspired to make a project of your own using Melody Miller’s awesome Ruby Star fabric.

Body Pillow - cross-stitch bee panel as sent

I adore my long, comfy body pillow. They are a blessing to moms, people with joint pain, and anyone who likes to lounge around with a novel. The only trouble with mine is that when I bought it the only available pillow case was a polyester fabric that got quite static-y in the wash and wasn’t as pleasant as the crisp, cotton fabrics I use when quilting. I’d planned on making a new one but body pillows are long, and I didn’t want to “waste” the fabric that could be used in a quilt! However, when the opportunity came to use Melody Miller’s Ruby Star fabric in a project – any project I wanted – I jumped at the chance to showcase the big, bold, colourful prints in a quick and easy pattern that is suitable for the holiday gift-giving season.

Body Pillow - sewing a batik to Ruby Star

Pillows have different standard sizes, but body pillows vary in length and fluffability. It’s best to measure your pillow to get correct measurements for yours, and decide on how tight or loose you want the fabric to be around it. Loose is better because the pillows do not slip into the cases as easy as regular pillows, but if it’s too loose (and I say this from experience) your legs will feel wrapped up in the excess. It’s up to you to decide; you’ll get a feel for it when measuring, depending on how loose the current pillowcase is. My pillow measured 53” x 16” but the old case was several inches more on all sides. To make the case I wanted, I would need to use the original pillow measurements, add in a 1/4″ (or more) seam allowance, plus a few extra inches on the sides – and factor in the “hang” of the pillowcase opening.

Body Pillow - slash and sew!

To re-create this pillowcase for yourself, piece together a rectangle that is 2” wider than your pillow and several inches longer with scraps and slices of your favourite fabrics. I used the fabrics graciously sent to me by Melody Miller plus a green cotton from Daisy Janie and a dark purple and black marbled batik. Lay out the stitched panels often to see how they look. Use a matching single panel of fabric for the back of the pillowcase to save time (or do a quick slice and add as I did). Use a single piece for the pillowcase opening if possible because you will be folding it back inside and top-stitching it in place. The best tip I can give you is this: add a long strip about 2″ wide to the bottom of the entire front panel, because when you set the pillow on its side this strip is hidden and your pieced fabrics are visible and centred as you meant them to be.

Body Pillow - layout wherever there's space

Put completed sections over pillow and check for drape, size:

 Put completed sections over pillow and check for drape, size

Add strip along bottom, where pillow will rest

Body Pillow - finishing (top-stitching opening)

This project took about 5 hours to make, and that includes the cutting, planning, and sewing (the scrappier your panels, the longer it will take). If you have a few hours to spare you can make a gorgeous, lounge-worthy body pillowcase that is easily whipped up for special occasions, as a gift, or an anytime treat for yourself. The Ruby Star fabrics, with their cross-stitch motifs and coffee pots and cheerful flowers, could also be used to make a wonderful bench pillow for your kitchen, or a cushion for a bay window reading nook. And you can also use it as a long super-sized gift bag if you need to! Just insert the item and tie a ribbon at the top. May you have a joyful holiday season and a safe, prosperous new year!

Body Pillow - Back panel (opening is on right side)

Body Pillow - Natural habitat

Thanks so much for the great project idea, Michelle!  Michelle Southern is a writer and composer, and the quilter behind Kinetic Quilts and its innovative online quilt label system. She likes most of the same stuff you do and has a dog named Quincy. Visit one or both of them at

12 Days of Ruby Star | Cindy’s All-Star Stockings

Hey there. My name is Cindy Wright. I’m the owner of Pattern Patti Sewing Patterns and I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the 12 days of Ruby Star FQ challenge. I’ve had such fun coming up with a great way to use Melody Miller’s fabulous fabric. This is what I’ve got for you.

All-Star Stockings in two sizes


The All-Star is a tube sock style stocking designed for the athlete or anyone who grew up in the 70’s or 80’s and wore tube socks with everything, like matching shorts or a bathing suit, perhaps. I have at least two acquaintances who match that description. I’m sure you do too. There’s no better fabric for such a project than Melody’s Ruby Star Rising. Very cool stuff!

Well, let’s get started. By the way, all seam allowances are ¼” and are included in the pattern pieces.

Materials needed:

Small amounts of fabric and fusible web, also called wonder under, for applying the applique.


Print your pattern pages (found here) and cut out the patterns that you choose to use.

pattern pages printed cut

Using the patterns, cut out the fabric and fusible web. Cut 2 pieces of fabric for the exterior and 2 pieces of fabric for the liner. Follow the instructions on the applique pattern pieces for cutting the fabric and fusible web. Make sure you cut the fusible web so that the glue side is the right side. You’ll also need to cut a loop piece: 2”x5” for the small pattern and 3”x5” for the larger pattern.


Press your applique pieces to the fusible web. Once they have cooled to the touch, peel the paper from the back and arrange your applique pieces on the stocking the way you like. Press the pieces to the stocking.

Note: For my example today, I’ve only cut enough applique pieces for one side of the stocking. The instructions printed on the applique pieces tell you to cut enough for both sides of the stocking.

applique pieces

Use your favorite stitch and sew the applique pieces to your stocking. A straight stitch would work. A zig-zag stitch would be nice. I like the blanket stitch. It makes the applique pop.

stitch applique

Next, we need to make the loop. Take your loop piece to your ironing board. We’re going to fold this like a bias binding. Fold the loop in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Open to show the center fold line. Fold the bottom of the loop toward the center, matching the raw edge to the center fold line. Fold the top of the loop toward the center, matching the raw edge to the center fold line. Fold both halves together. Your loop piece is ready for stitching.

steps of loop

Using a 1/8” seam allowance, stitch along both long edges of the loop. This will keep it closed and make it pretty.

stitch loop

Now we’re ready to construct the stocking. Place your stocking exterior pieces together and liner pieces together, right sides together. Stitch around the perimeter of the stocking exterior, using a ¼” seam allowance. Be sure to leave the top open. Repeat with the liner, only this time, you’re also going to leave an opening on the back side that is about 2” long. After stitching together, clip the inside curve of the foot close to the stitches a few times and trim the toe and heel seam allowance to about 1/8”. Do this for the exterior and the liner. This allows for nice, smooth curves.

stocking construction

Turn your liner right side out. Slide the liner into the exterior piece so that right sides are together.

liner turned and in

Make your loop piece into a loop by folding it. We’ll put it in place by sliding it between the exterior and the liner, folded end down, matching the raw edges of the loop and the liner/exterior. I placed mine on the back of the stocking, next to the back seam. Pin the loop in place.

loop placement

Sew your liner and exterior together by stitching around the opening.

stitch layers together

Pull your stocking liner out. Then, pull the exterior through the opening in the liner. Push out the toe and heel and make sure all of your curves are neat.

pulling stocking through

Fold the raw edges of the opening of the liner in and press them. Stitch the opening closed by hand for the neatest seam, or by machine for the lazy girl. That’s me.


Push the liner into the exterior. Press the stocking very neatly, especially the opening. Topstitch around the opening to finish it up.


Yay! You’re finished. These stockings will be great for small gifts like gift cards, iPods, candy and other yummy goodies.


Have fun and thanks so much to Fat Quarterly and Melody Miller for including me in the project. Be sure to pop by for more patterns perfect for gifts. Merry Christmas all!

12 Days of Ruby Star | Lu’s No-Sew Ker-istmas Ker-ackers

No English Christmas dinner table is complete without the Christmas Cracker – it’s a delightful combination of the tacky and ridiculous – complete with terrible joke, nasty plastic gift and tissue paper paper hat. Using this festive item as inspiration, I wanted to come up with a simple fabric version that could be used in the traditional way, or as an fun way of wrapping a special Christmas or birthday gift…and Melody’s fabulous fabrics are the cherries on the top for this quick and easy make. And the other bonus? They can be used over and over again, so they’re eco friendly as well as cute!

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of fabric 8.5 inches wide by 11.75 inches
  • 2 pieces of cardboard tube (i used the inside of a kitchen towel) 4 inches long
  • Several pieces of ribbon for ties in pretty colours – around 16 inches long
  • Spray starch
  • Iron
  • Rotary cutter and ruler
  • Scissors for cutting cardboard
  • Tape
  • Small amount of fusible web cut into strips
  • Pencil
  • Strong double sided tape
  • Pinking shears or decorative scissors (optional)


1. Take one of the cardboard tubes and cut through it lengthways. Cut around half an inch off then tape back together to make a smaller tube. (See figure 1) Put aside for later.










2. Spray starch the fabric.

3. Put one of the pieces of fabric in front of you with the wrong side facing upwards and with the short sides top and bottom. Fold the top over by 3 inches and press. Use the fusible web to secure into place. Do the same to the other piece of fabric.

4. With the pencil, draw a line 1/2 an inch underneath the raw edge.

5. Draw another line on the opposite edge, 1 inch from the bottom.

6. Use this as a guide to fold the bottom edge up by 1/2 an inch. Press and secure with fusible web. Repeat on other piece of fabric. (See figure 2)

7. Trim the left hand side of the long edge using pinking shears or decorative scissors if required.

8. Place strips of doubled sided tape all over the fabric, making sure 1 piece is close to the ‘hem’ of the bottom edge, and 1 piece is close to the ‘decorative’ raw edge. (See figure 3)

9. Place one of the cardboard tubes on the edge of the fabric, lining it up exactly with the ‘hemmed’ edge and roll to wrap the tube completely in the fabric, ensuring a smooth finish. (See figure 4) Repeat with the other tube. (See figure 5)

10. Slot the thinner tube into the fatter one to ensure the fit. It should be snug but not tight.

11. Use the ribbons to tie one end fairly tightly. (See figure 6)

12. Tie the other end and admire your handiwork! (See figure 7)

13. Now fill your cracker with treats – and add a paper hat, terrible joke and a cracker snap if desired ;)


You can decorate the top of the cracker any way you please – use fabric flowers, or wide ribbons to add extra embellishments!

Depending on the thickness of the fabric, you may find your cracker ends are a bit floppy – you can either add extra interfacing, or place a screwed up piece of tissue paper in the ends to help keep the shape on the festive table setting.

Thanks, Lu!  You can find Lucie Summers, one of Moda Fabrics’ exciting new designers, at her blog, Summersville, and browse her adorable handmade wares at her Etsy shop of the same name.

12 Days of Ruby Star | Caitlin’s Log Cabin Napkins

Greetings, Fat Quarterly readers! I’m Caitlin, a quilter and crafter, who blogs over at Salty Oat. I’m so excited to be here today to share a project with you as part of The Twelve Days of Ruby Star!

I’ve had log cabin blocks on my mind lately (I’m currently working on a queen-size log cabin quilt!), so when Melody’s gorgeous fabric arrived, I immediately began thinking about ways to use it in a log cabin block. To highlight Melody’s prints, I decided to use coordinating solids for all of my logs, with strips of white to frame everything.


Rather than making an entire quilt, I decided to make napkins, since they’re great for either gift giving or dressing up your own holiday table. I plan on using mine this Christmas.


Here’s how to make your own log cabin napkins:


1. Select a focus fabric (in this case, one of Melody’s awesome prints) and two coordinating solids. For the Ruby Star Shining floral print, I chose Kona Berry and Kona Curry, and for the Ruby Star Spring Flower Dots, I used Kona Coral and Kona Candy Green.


2. Cut the following:
-one 5 ½” x 5 ½” square of your focus fabric
-two 1 ½” x Width of Fabric (WOF) strip of white
-one 2 ½” x WOF strip of color 1 (the middle log)
-two 2 ½” x WOF strip of color 2 (the outer log)
-one 17” x 17” square of a print or solid for napkin back (not pictured here)




3. After you trim your selvages, you’re ready to start building your block. First, pin one of the white strips to your center block. Sew the white strip to the block, using a ¼” seam (the same seam you’ll use throughout the project), trim the excess strip of white, and press toward the print (I always pressed away from the white strip, to avoid having it show through to the front of the napkin).






4. Continue building your block by adding the white strip all around the center print. You can add the strips in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction—just make sure you add them in the same order each time, for each row. In my case, the strip that I had just added was always furthest away from me as I sewed on the next strip.




5. Once your center block is completely framed in white, you’re ready to add the rest of your logs, using the same technique. Add each row in the following order: color 1, white, and color 2. Be sure to always press away from the white strips.



6. Once your napkin top is complete, give it a good press and then pin it to the napkin back, with the right sides together. For these napkins, I pulled a plain, natural linen from my stash to use as a backing, since it coordinated beautifully with Melody’s linen-cotton fabric.


7. Sew all around the edge of the block, leaving a 3”-4” opening in the middle of one side.



8. Clip your corners and turn your napkin inside out, using a pointy tool (like a knitting needle) to poke out each corner.




9. Iron the edges flat, pin (to help avoid puckering and folds while you top stitch), and top stitch around the edge of the napkin with matching thread, being sure to catch both sides of the fabric, especially at the opening where you turned the napkin inside out.



And that’s it! Make a set with all of the same fabrics or mix it up. I alternated the order of my colors, so each of my napkins are unique. If you make a napkin, or eight, please share photos in the Fat Quarterly Flickr pool—I’d love to see them!


12 Days of Ruby Star | Heather’s Patchwork Scarf

Hi everyone! I’m Heather Jones and I blog over at olive and ollie. I’m thrilled to be a part of the 12 Days of Ruby here at Fat Quarterly! Today, I’m sharing with you a tutorial for an easy patchwork scarf. My little girl is modeling the scarf for me in this photo, but this pattern is for an adult sized scarf; to make a child’s size, you can easily modify the pattern by shortening the finished length. These goodies whip up very quickly and they make a great gift for everyone on your holiday list, or as a special treat for yourself. Let’s get started!

finished scarf

yummy fabrics + velveteen

{ materials }

  • a variety of assorted cotton fabrics, all at least 6” wide { I used three gorgeous prints from Melody Miller’s Ruby Star Spring and Ruby Star Shining }
  • 6” x 72” piece of velveteen
  • thread
  • sewing supplies and notions of your choice

{ directions –please use a ¼” seam allowance throughout }

fussy cut, leave room for seam allowance

1. Cut fabrics for the patchwork front of the scarf. Make sure all of the pieces measure 6” wide; they can be any length you’d like. You can make it as scrappy as you’d like by making lots of different cuts of fabrics in a variety of lengths. Feel free to incorporate areas that are fussy cut and even the selvedge of your fabric. If you fussy cut the fabric, be sure to leave room for the seam allowances so that your image remains how you’d like it.

fold 2 yards of velveteen and cut along lenght

2. From a two-yard length of cotton velveteen, cut a piece that is 6” wide. You can make this cut easily by folding the fabric in half, and in half again, being sure to keep the selvege lined up as neatly as possible. Use a rotary cutter and straight edge to cut through all four layers. This will become the back of the scarf.

layout patchwork pieces to come up with a good layout

3. Lay out the patchwork pieces for the front of the scarf, in any design that you like. As you’re laying out the fabric, keep in mind that the finished length of the scarf is approximately 72” so you’ll need to line up enough pieces to create a strip that is that long out of the fabric.

sew the pieces together, right sides together

4. Sew the patchwork pieces, right sides together, to create the front of the scarf.

press seams open

Press seams open with an iron.

Note: depending on the orientation of the print on your fabrics, you may want to align half of them in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction, so they’ll face the correct way when the scarf is worn.

Voila! The front of your patchwork scarf is done!

add label if you'd like

5. If you’d like to add a tag to the back of the scarf, sew it to the velveteen now. You can find the center of the fabric by folding it in half and pressing it with your finger. Center the tag on the velveteen and sew it on, making sure to backstitch to lock the seam.

sew right sides together

6. Sew the front of the scarf and velveteen, right sides together.

use lots of pins and keep 3-4 inches open for tunring

Be sure to use a lot of pins! The plush texture of the velveteen can be a little tricky to work with, so it’s a good idea to use plenty of pins in this step to keep your fabrics from sliding apart while sewing.

sew together

Backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam to lock the threads together. Leave 3-4 inches on one side open for turning the scarf right side out.

clip corners near seam allowances

7. Remove pins. Trim the four corners of the scarf very close to the seam line, being careful to not cut your stitches. This will give the ends of your scarf nice, square edges.

opening to turn

8. Use the opening to pull the scarf through and turn it right side out.

chop sticks make great turning tools

You can use a turning stick (a chopstick works really well too) to help get the corners nice and even.


9. Tuck in the seam allowances of the opening, being careful to line them up along the edge of the scarf.

press with hot iron

Press scarf with an iron.

top stitch

9. Top stitch along the entire perimeter of the scarf, about 1/8″ from the edge. Backstitch at the end of your sewing to lock the stitches.

finished scarf

You’re done! Now you have a super cute and warm patchwork scarf to keep for yourself, or to give as a handmade gift. If you make one, I’d love to see photos of your finished scarf!


Wow, we love that scarf — and we know several people who would love receiving one this Christmas!  Thanks for the great idea, Heather.

Heather Jones is a designer, seamstress, and modern quilter from Ohio who, quite impressively, has won 3 of the first 4 Modern Quilt Guild Project Modern challenges.  Learn more about Heather, her family, and her creative pursuits on her blog, olive & ollie.

12 Days of Ruby Star | Katy’s Piped Pillows

Happy Holidays everyone! It’s starting to look and feel a lot like Christmas here in our house, lots of last minute panic shopping and making for emergency hostess and teacher gifts. These piped pillows make a lovely hostess gift simply tied with a ribbon and you can whip one up in no time at all. Adding piping adds a professional look to a pillow and is so much faster than binding.

piped pillows!

The beauty of Melody’s fabrics is that you really don’t need to do anything extra to the prints to make them beautiful. I added a simple felt snowflake and a few buttons to jazz up this panel from Melody’s new collection, Ruby Star Shining….

Ruby Star Shining Pillow

For this pillow I let the fabric (Bloom Springtime from Ruby Star Spring) sing and do it’s own thing…

Ruby Star Shining Pillow

I just wish I was faster at cross stitching, because once this bee is all stitched up it’s going to look pretty cool as a pillow, I think!

Ruby Star Spring - stitching up a bee

Want to make a piped pillow? Here’s how you do it:

Decide how big you want your pillow to be and cut a square of Ruby Star fabric to that size, plus ½ inch (I wanted 18” pillows so I cut 18 ½” squares for my pillow fronts)

You will also need:

  • A pillow form
  • A fat quarter of fabric for the piping (I used Lizzy House Outfoxed in jewel and coral – they match perfectly!)
  • Piping cord (this is easily available at most craft stores or haberdashery departments and is really cheap)
  • A zipper foot
  • Your sewing machine

First up, cut your fat quarter into bias strips and sew into one long length – do this by cutting diagonally across the FQ – not straight. You can find a great tip for cutting continuous bias strips by following this link to SewMamaSew.

To make the piping cord fold the bias strip wrong sides together and pop the cord as tightly as you can get it into the fold. Pinning helps keep it in place. Leave a little tail of bias strip at the start of around 2 or 3 inches. Start sewing with your zipper foot on and your needle position as far to the left as possible. Keep your foot cozied up right next to the cord.

step 1

Once you have your piping all stitched, pin it to the right side of your pillow front, raw edges together. Ease it around the corners, and pin pin pin all the way round.
Using the zipper foot in the same far left needle position stitch the piping onto the pillow front and try to hit the same line of stitches again. If you can get on those same stitches your piping will look much neater at the end.

step 2

Finish a couple of inches from where you started and fold the end of the tail under and tuck the other end of the piping into it. Trim down if necessary. Pin and finish stitching round, until you get to where you started.

step 4

Layer your choice of pillow back (I used an envelope back) and pillow front right sides together and stitch all the way round, still using your zipper foot with the needle in the same far left position and sewing right on the same line of stitching as before.

step 3

Flip right sides out and stuff with a pillow form and admire your handiwork!

a sneaky peek

Many thanks to Melody for designing these wonderful fabrics and also to Kate from M is for Make for providing Ruby Star Spring Bee fabric (which is available for sale in her shop along with a selection of other Ruby Star fabrics!)

12 Days of Ruby Star | Melissa’s iPhone Case


Today we’re excited to welcome Melissa of Your Handmade Home to the FQ blog with a wonderful tutorial in celebration of the 12 Days of Ruby Star.  Melissa is sharing her pattern for a unique iPhone case — one that is sure to be the envy of all of your friends. It’s also a great gift idea for the iPhone owners in your life.  We think it’s a particularly good item for those hard-to-shop-for teens on your list.

If you make one of Melissa’s iPhone cases, we’d love to see it!  Be sure to share it via the Fat Quarterly Flickr group.  And go visit Melissa on her blog and say a quick “hello”.  We’re sure she’d love to hear from you!

Fabric used: Ruby Star Spring & Ruby Star Shining by Melody Miller for Kokka

Materials needed:

  • Ruby Star Shining (Interior)- Two pieces at 9.5 cm (3 3/4”) x 14 cm (5 1/2”)
  • Ruby Star Shining (A) – Two pieces at 9.5 cm (3 3/4”) x 9 cm (3 1/2”)
  • Ruby Star Spring (B) – Two Pieces at 9.5 cm (3 3/4”) x 9 cm (3 1/2”)
  • Ruby Star Spring (Headphones pocket) – One 9 cm (3 1/2”) circle (I used the insect)
  • Fusible fleece – Medium loft – 2 pieces 9.5 cm (3 3/4”) x 14 cm (5 1/2”)
  • 5mm (1/4”) wide elastic 5 cm (2”)
  • One button to match fabric

Note: seam allowance used throughout is 1/4”

1) Place A and B right sides together and stitch – repeat with the other A and B pieces - then press seams.

2) Cut 2 cm (3/4”) from the top of the circle and stitch to one of the A pieces.
This will be the headphones pocket – so ensure you only stitch from A to B.


3) Iron on the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the pieces above.


4) Loop the elastic and pin in place at the top of the piece without the headphones pocket.


5) Place the fabric piece and one of the interior pieces right sides together and stitch at the top. Remove pin and press seams.

6) Repeat for the headphones piece and remaining interior piece. Press seams – be careful not to iron the elastic loop. You should now have two pieces as below.


7) Place these two pieces right sides together, matching up the seams and pin all the way around. Marking a 5 cm (2”) line on the back of the interior piece. This will be your opening for turning right side out.


8) Stitch all the way around the edge of the fabric – expect for the opening.

9) Clip excess and corners and over lock edges (I use a zig zag stitch)


10) Turn right side out and use a blunt object to push out the corners. I use a crochet hook. Then press – again making sure not to iron the elastic loop.


11) Tuck the interior into the case using the blunt object to push into the corners.

12) Mark the position of the button by folding over the elastic loop and marking the centre of the loop. Sew on the button.


13) Insert your phone and headphones and enjoy!!



12 Days of Ruby Star | Sarah’s Lapkin Tutorial

Fat Quarterly threw down the gauntlet for their 12 days of Ruby Star FQ Designer Challenge and I eagerly picked it up!

I’m Sarah and I blog over at Pings And Needles, and if you know me, you’ll know that I’m a big big Melody Miller fan.

So, the task was to make something easy and quick and possibly festive using Melody Miller‘s two latest lines, ruby star spring and ruby star shining.  I also added some linen and Melody’s first fabric line ruby star rising to the mix.

So, without further ado, I present to you:

… my “Load of Balls Lapkin” tutorial …

The red lightweight linen lapkin above measures 22″ x 17″ finished (there’s no hemming – yay!) Obviously you could just use a FQ of solid per lapkin (22″ x 18″)! but I lost an inch because this linen had a really thick selvedge on one end that I had to rip off to be able to fray …

I don’t think we love our napkins enough. I’m sorry, I can’t call them serviettes because (a) my mum said it was common – she was a terrible snob! and (b) these babies are too big to be anything-ette. They just sit on our laps or tucked into our chins taking everything we drop at em.  Not anymore …

These baubles are padded for extra lap stroky entertainment!

You will need:

fabricApplique: 2″, 3″ & 5″ circles – This is a great scrapbuster project because you could just as easily cut the smaller circles if your pieces are small. Lapkins: 1 FQ per lapkin of solid cotton or linen.

But, if you do use the 5″ circles you get to show off some of Melody’s lovely prints at their best – Don’t you just love the typewriter and clock from the new ruby star shining line?

batting/wadding offcuts - if you just want plain applique without the padding then just leave the batting out of the equation.  You will also need some solid in a grey or gold for the bauble tops.

thread – This was a great opportunity to use some of my old wooden spool cottons which I forage for like they’re truffles, in flea markets … I also used Gutermann topstitch thread, and Aurifil 12wt cotton (dreamy!) – Remember that you’ll need a topstitch needle!

applique fusible bonding – I used Heat’n'Bond lite … I find it stays in one piece better than others.

I really wanted to give my Go! Baby a bit of a workout with this project. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would never have thought this up if I hadn’t had something else doing the circle cutting for me. However, I know that there are enough of you out there who are perfectly capable (unlike me) of cutting things out with scissors, so I hope it appeals to both …

I used the machine to cut some old polyester wadding and my Heat n Bond into circles too … I can use the little strips that are left and I think you get a more lasting bond if you bond onto the circles and then onto your lapkin. But that’s just me.

If I were cutting out with scissors I’d probably just bond the fabric and then cut the circles…

I also like that you can still fussy cut with a machine!  It was one of the things I really worried about …

So, first of all you need to sew with your fancy topstitchy thread at least two and a half inches inside the edge all the way round … (see top picture)

Then you can start to fray your fabric!  This is such a great thing to do while watching a movie.  All you need is a pin and some patience!  Don’t get too carried away … stop at least 1″ before the stitching …

Then you are ready to start laying out your festive balls (you could turn these into hot air balloons or just leave them as circles if you want, this doesn’t have to be Christmassy …)

Now is the time to put your batting in under the 3″ and 5″ circles. I really wanted to use up my polyester wadding offcuts, (horrid stuff, you have to watch the iron heat when you applique or they it just turns into interfacing!)

I put a little bit of fusible onto the wadding and stuck that down onto the lapkin first … then I placed the circle on top and bonded the whole thing …

I also experimented by cutting concentric rough circles out of soft bamboo batting and building up more dimension.  This has a much more strokable curve to it.  But takes a little more time.

padded batting_800x457

You will need to cut some little bauble tops out of some pre-bonded fabric and iron them on too:

Then just stitch down, using any thread you like … I used a blanket stitch on my machine, but if this were a slow project I would have hand appliqued with perle cotton.

Next, setting my stitch length to 5.0,
I stitched up from the centre of the bauble top to just within the stitched top border for the hanging thread…

When you have appliqued all your baubles, take the time to pull all the ends through to the back, tie off and trim.

If you use a contrasting colour in your bobbin then you’ll have a double sided napkin!

I think these would be really nice as a quick embroidery project too, leaving out the fabric!

But in this case … using Melody’s fabrics just makes the experience all the lovelier ….

I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did … It’s always a joy to play with Melody’s fabrics … thank you FQ!

Thanks, Sarah!  We absolutely love your Load of Balls … errr, that didn’t sound right.  In any case, this is a great gift idea to whip up in no time!  (In fact, Sarah shared that it took her longer to type out the instructions than it did to make the items.)

You can learn more about Sarah and see her beautiful work on her blog, Pings & Needles.  Be sure to click over and say “hello”!

12 Days of Ruby Star | Kristy’s Round Pincushion

Hi Everyone!  My name’s Kristy Daum and I blog over at St. Louis Folk Victorian.  I’ll be showing you today how to make a Round Pincushion.  Don’t worry, if you don’t have a use for another pincushion, these also make great children’s toys or can even add a small pop of color throughout your home.

I was inspired by this pincushion over at Lily’s Quilts, and when I made one as part of my St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild’s pincushion swap, it was a big hit.

This ball is much like a soccer ball in that it is made from both hexagons (6-sides) and pentagons (5-sides).  When you mix both of these, they come together in a round shape.  If you are not familiar with paper piecing, I would encourage you to Google it as there are several techniques and you’ll find one that works best for you.  I’m not going to show you that process here; but rather what to do with the shapes themselves.

I’ve created a handy template of all the pieces you’ll need to create a ball that measures a little under 4” in diameter.  I do encourage you to print this template off on cardstock.  You can of course pick up these shapes at several online shops as well.  You will need 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons to make one Round Pincushion.

Photo 1: Hexagons & Pentagons


Once you have cut out your shapes, find some fabric scraps that are about a ½” wider on all sides.  I have found that this will make your job a lot easier in the long run and don’t worry about cutting them to match the shape you are covering…squares work wonderfully.

Photo 2: Template & Fabric


Once you have selected all your fabrics, go ahead and start covering those paper shapes using whichever method of Paper Piecing you desire.  Remember, if you are new to Paper Piecing, just put that keyword into Google and you’ll soon have hundreds of tutorials/videos showing you how.

Photo 3: Hexagons Done


I really enjoyed fussy-cutting into Melody Miller’s fabrics.  Don’t you just love that clock face above?

Photo 4: Pentagons Done


I decided to go with plain natural linen for my pentagons to complement; but not distract from the fussy-cutting that I had done with the hexagons.  Before you start hand-sewing the shapes together, it’s a good idea to “set” the shapes gently with an iron.  This will help keep your folds crisp and makes sewing them together a little easier.

Photo 5: Always make a flower


The key to this shape is always remembering that you are trying to make a flower.  1 pentagon surrounded by 5 hexagons.  Now go ahead and start hand-sewing the flower together.  When you are done, it should look like the photo below.

Photo 6: First Flower


You’ll quickly notice that your ball is beginning to take shape, and looks somewhat bowl-like now.  Let’s add some more pentagons and hexagons; paying special attention that your pentagons are always surrounded by 5 hexagons…and yes, your “flowers” will share sides as seen in the photo below.

Photo 7: Taking Shape


When you have all but the last few shapes sewn, you can start removing some of your basting stitches, in order to take out the paper piecing templates.  Before you remove them, just make sure that all 5 or 6 sides (depending on the shape) have been stitched to other shapes.

Being careful not to stretch your ball out of shape, gently turn it right side out and stuff it full of your favorite stuffing.

Photo 8: Nearly Done


I choose to leave the paper inside my last 3 shapes, as it was easier for me to sew the ball closed; but it is entirely up to you.  If you decide to remove the last of the paper pieces, just make sure that the fabric doesn’t lose its shape.  As you can see, these last few seams can be a little tricky; but with practice it will become easier and you’ll learn how to hide your stitches.

Photo 9: Celebrate


The time has now come to clip that last thread and admire your Pincushion/Toy/Home Décor wha-cha-ma-call-it.  I hope you had fun!

Thanks to the team at Fat Quarterly for letting me be a part of this event.

Thanks for kicking us off with such a great tutorial, Kristy!  You can find Kristy at her blog, St. Louis Folk Victorian, where she shares her love of both quilting and old homes.