Hello, readers! We hope you’re having a great week (and enjoying Issue 6 of Fat Quarterly!) We’re back with Susan Beal today, author of Modern Log Cabin Quilting, for the final installment of our apron-along. Judging from the lack of photos of aprons-in-progress in our Flickr pool and the Modern Log Cabin Quilting pool, we can only assume that the busy-ness of this time of year has unfortunately prevented many of you from sewing along. That’s OK, because these posts aren’t going anywhere!! We hope you’ll come back and re-visit the apron-along when you have some more time to sew. As we mentioned from the start, these quick and easy-to-make aprons would make GREAT holiday gifts. Just sayin’.
In case you missed them, here are the links for Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 of the apron-along. And even if you’re not taking part, please read through to the end of this post for a fun announcement from Susan herself!
And now, for the final few steps in completing your apron, here’s Susan …
Today we finish the apron up with a few last steps. I’m making the Vintage version, which has a softly gathered waist, but if you prefer a Modern version with a flat front, you get to skip this next bit!
The downloadable pattern has more detail on evenly gathering the waist, but for this brightly patterned print, as I mentioned last time, I kind of let the pillowcase fabric tell me what to do. It seemed like a shame to cinch those vibrant diamonds and change their shape, so I did less gathering and pleating on this apron than my white-and-blue one from the book. I basted just one row of stitches (on the 6 setting on my sewing machine – remember, you do NOT need to backstitch at the beginning or end when you baste) and just brought the sides in smoothly, leaving most of the middle section pretty open. I felt like that let the pattern breathe a little more and didn’t hide it away or distort it in overly ruffled folds. Here’s what it looked like overall.
Now you’ll open up your package of 2” wide bias tape (mine was labeled quilt binding), and press the folds out. If you have the flat/hem facing version, you’ll need to fold it in half lengthwise and press it, too. I like an apron sash that’s about 2.5 yards long and this new package was 3 yards, so I cut 18 inches off and set it aside for a Charming Camera Case project-to-be.
Mark the center of your apron and the center of your tape with pins or a washable fabric marker and match them. Then tuck the top of the apron body right into the bias tape sash, pinning every few inches, until the apron is pinned side to side, with any gathers captured neatly inside the sash.
Fold and press the raw edges under at each end of the bias tape sash, and continue pinning the tape between the apron body and ends so it’s secured. You’ll topstitch the apron sash along both the top and bottom edges – I started at the left side, stitched the bottom (raw) edge of the tape together all the way across, stitched the right end, and then stitched back across the top (fold) edge and finished by backstitching at the left end again. Sew it however feels easiest, but I think it gives the overall apron strength and stability to sew the sash along both top and bottom.
You have an apron!! Hooray! Here’s mine out on the clothesline – I love how cheerful and summery it is. It’s such a contrast to the two I made for the book – the serene blue and white cross-stitched and scalloped version, and the crisp green and orange squared one. There are so many other embellishments or details you can add… the sky is the limit with this one since it’s so customizable!
Thanks again, Susan, for your time, your energy, and your inspiration! And now, before we wrap-up the apron-along, two quick items …
- The winner of Susan’s extra pillowcase (to make an apron of your own!), is Ellen Ban, who said: “Too busy at work to sew along right now, but plan to make one of these. Love the pillowcase – I had this very print when I was little! Wish I’d kept it!“ Congrats, Ellen! Please email us at email@example.com with your mailing information, and we’ll be sure your pillowcase gets sent out to you ASAP!
- Due to the popularity of the Modern Crosses quilt pattern, the cover girl of the Modern Log Cabin Quilting book, Susan has set up a special new Flickr group called the Modern Crosses Get-Together. If you love this quilt pattern as much as we do, be sure to jump over and join the group. Susan will be sharing submitted photos of Modern Crosses quilts, providing tips and tricks to people just starting to make their own … and who knows, you might even see some swaps and other surprises popping up over there, too. Don’t miss out on the fun! To whet your appetite, here are a few Modern Crosses quilts already submitted to the group:
Cover photo of Modern Log Cabin Quilting book
Photo courtesy of Little Bluebell
Photo courtesy of oregonsurfers
Photo courtesy of bettycrockerass
Photo courtesy of iknitandtell
Photo courtesy of staarlight
We took a week off from our apron-along last week, but we’re back today for the second half of the Modern Log Cabin Quilting Block Pocket Apron-a-long with Susan Beal! Is anyone out there sewing along with us? We haven’t yet seen any photos of aprons-in-progress in our Fat Quarterly Flickr group or the official Modern Log Cabin Quilting Flickr group, and we’d love to show off your stuff … so if you have any photos of your aprons, please add them to the groups and we’ll share them in a future post.
Also, we’ve received lots of love for the pillowcase that Susan’s using in her tutorial. If you’re one of the vintage pillowcase lovers, read through to the end of the post for some exciting giveaway news!
And now, for the third week in our apron-along, heeeeeeere’s Susan!
Since this pillowcase has gotten so much nostalgic love from everyone (including me!), I wanted to post a photo of the tag, hopefully making it a bit easier to track down if you’re looking for one. It’s from a Sears-Roebuck percale sheet set, and I’ve even heard from two friends, one who had matching wallpaper on her closet door, and one who had a bedside lamp in the same pattern (oh, how I would love to find that at a thrift store or a yard sale). I’m hoping to find the Sears Wishbook page with this set in its full glory and am gladly accepting leads on a year or a scanned or clipped image!
This is also a good time to mention that while sewing with well-loved 50/50 vintage sheets is a lot of fun, it’s a little different than crisp, modern quilting cottons. You’ll see that my pocket corners are a bit softer, for one thing – the fabric has lovely drape and a soft, appealing texture, but doesn’t hold a perfect 90-degree corner-angle like the Lizzy House quilting cottons I made my Modern apron pocket with, for example. I also let the fabric and cheater-print pattern “talk” to me about a few of the other little placement and detail choices that went into the apron design, so you’ll see those variations coming up.
Okay, on to the sewing! Now we’ll take the pillowcase rectangle you cut last time, and turn it into the body of your apron. Just fold and press ½” to the wrong side of the fabric on both short sides of the pre-hemmed rectangle, then fold and press again, and pin the double-fold down.
Then stitch both seams securely and press again. The apron body is all set for adding a pocket!
Now you’ll make the little block you pieced last week into a simple lined pocket and stitch it on. This is a pretty quick step. Just pin your block to the facing fabric, right sides together, and then stitch around 3 sides (leaving the top open) as shown.
Now clip the corners and turn the pocket right sides out. For the Vintage version (shown here) you’ll fold and press the raw edges of the top inside and pin them securely. (For the Modern version, you’ll pin your handmade binding tape over the raw edge without folding, then stitch it down – see the downloadable pattern for more detailed instructions.)
Topstitch that pinned edge, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam. Then pin it to the right side of your apron body. I chose to place mine symmetrically over a big diamond in the apron body’s pattern, rather than
measuring in to place it in a certain spot. I liked how it worked with the print there. The downloadable pattern includes more precise directions for pocket placement, if you’re working with a solid or quieter print, but the beauty of a pillowcase apron is that you can really personalize it as much as you’d like to.
Stitch the pocket down, following the directions for making reinforced corners in the downloadable pattern.
Now your apron is ready for its bias-tape sash – we’ll add that next week and then you’re all set for cooking or cocktails!
Thanks again, Susan! Please join us next week for the wrap-up of our apron-along along with some exciting news from Susan herself.
Oh, and you probably want to know more about the giveaway that I mentioned! Like I said earlier, we’ve gotten lots of love for the vintage pillowcase that Susan’s been using throughout the apron-along. Here’s a fun fact: a flat sheet featuring the fun print seen on the pillowcase was also used as sashing in Susan’s Vintage Linens quilt, seen in the Modern Log Cabin Quilting book.
Guess what? It just so happens that Susan had a pair of the beloved pillowcases, and she’s willing to send her spare to a lucky FQ reader! For your chance to win, simply leave us a comment on this post letting us know if you’re sewing along with us or not. Here’s the kicker: if you add a photo of your apron (or apron-in-progress) from our apron-along to the Modern Log Cabin Quilting and Fat Quarterly Flickr groups, leave a link to your photo in your comment and you’ll receive 10 extra entries. Yee-haw! We’ll announce our winner in next week’s apron-along post.
Good luck, and happy sewing!
Hi everyone, and welcome to week 2 of our Modern Log Cabin Quilting apron-along with Susan Beal! Have you found your pillowcase and selected your fabrics yet? If so, we’d love to see them. Please add them to the Fat Quarterly Flickr group as well as the Modern Log Cabin Quilting Flickr group. Starting next week we’ll be showcasing your photos, so add ‘em if you’ve got ‘em!
For week 2 we’ll be focusing on cutting all of our fabrics and assembling our log cabin pockets. But enough from me … take it away, Susan!
Here we go, it’s time to cut everything for the Block Pocket Apron project! You’ll also decide if you want to make your apron a Vintage version (a slightly wider apron body with a softly gathered waistband at the sash and a top-stitched pocket, shown on the right below) or a Modern version (a flat waistband and an binding-tape-edged pocket, shown on the left). Since I’m using a vintage pillowcase, I decided to make this one a Vintage apron!
First, you’ll do your cutting for the log cabin block – which is exactly the same for either version.
To begin, you’ll cut a 3.5” x 4.5” center for your pocket block. I use the spotlighting centers method (which is explained in more detail in the downloadable pattern). Here I’ve pinned my 3.5” x 4.5” piece of pattern paper to my Fabric A (a piece of the same vintage sheet as my pillowcase) and used it to highlight part of the print I really liked. Cut this out with scissors, or use a rotary cutter and transparent quilting ruler.
Next you’ll use a rotary cutter and quilting ruler to cut a 1.5” x 21” strip of Fabric B and a 1.5” x 30” strip of Fabric A (the same one you used for the center). Press all three pieces of fabric.
Now you’ll join the first tier of logs (1, 2, 3, and 4, all in Fabric B) to the center in a clockwise direction, trimming them as you go. I made a simple video that shows my method for building a log cabin block, in the “picture frames” style – so that the center square is framed by concentric tiers of logs in the same fabrics. I think this is the easiest way to do it, but if you have a favorite method, use that one instead!
When you finish joining the fourth log, press your block back and front.
Now join the second tier of logs (5, 6, 7, and 8, all in Fabric A to match the center) the same way as the first. You’ll start on the side with your shortest log (1) to add log 5, and work clockwise again to add 6, 7, and 8. Press your block, front and back, again.
Now you’ll cut your pillowcase (as shown in more detail in the downloadable pattern). Cut along the short seam at the top and then the long seam down the back (or exactly opposite any design you want to use for your apron’s front, like my Vintage apron’s cross-stitched flowers) so you have a large piece of fabric with a hem or edging all along one edge – this will be the already finished bottom of your apron. Handy!
Now decide how long you want your apron to be (measuring up from the hemmed edge). Aprons I’ve made have measured between 17” and 24” long – it’s really up to you! You might want to measure an apron you already have and like to choose your length. Mark and cut the case to that length (no seam allowance necessary). Set the extra pillowcase fabric aside.
Now trim your case on either side, this time deciding how wide you’d like your apron to be. Remember, you will do some soft gathering at the waist for the Vintage version, so you may want to cut it slightly wider than a flat-front Modern version. (The ones I made for the book measured 30” across for Modern and 32” for Vintage when I cut them.) For this step, be sure to add 2” of seam allowance total to the width (for this apron, I wanted it to measure 30” across finished, so I trimmed it to 32” across at this point). Set the extra fabric aside for the moment and press your apron body. Here’s mine, with the pre-hemmed edge at the bottom – it measures 20” long and 32” across.
For a final step, square up your log cabin block (trim the sides so they’re straight and symmetrical) and pin it to the extra pillowcase fabric you set aside. Cut out a rectangle the same size as your block. This will be the lining for your pocket.
Optional step, for the Modern version only: cut one more 1.5” x 9” strip of Fabric B and make it into binding tape using a ¾” binding tape maker. The full instructions are in included in the downloadable pattern. Press it and set it aside for now.
See you next week to finish up the pocket and make the apron body!
We’re thrilled to be kicking off a brand new sew-along here on the Fat Quarterly blog today, not only because these activities are always a fun way for our community to work together on a common project, but also because it gave us the opportunity to collaborate with the lovely and supremely talented Susan Beal. Susan is the author of one of our favorite quilting books of the year, Modern Log Cabin Quilting. We’re such big fans of Susan’s and of the book that we asked her if she would be interested in co-hosting a summer sew-along activity together with us … and imagine our delight when she agreed!
For those unfamiliar with the book, Modern Log Cabin Quilting is a wonderful book showcasing the versatility of the classic log cabin block via 24 original sewing patterns, including 10 quilt patterns. Susan and her team at Potter Craft graciously offered to make one of the book’s patterns available for the Fat Quarterly sew-along. We agreed that the Block Pocket Apron pattern would be a great choice — it’s a relatively quick and easy-to-sew project, it’s fun and original with its use of a pillowcase alongside traditional quilting fabrics, and — let’s face it — we’ve never heard of anyone hosting an apron-along before!
We hope you’ll join us and whip up a few aprons — one for yourself, and maybe some others for your friends and loved ones. Hey, it’s never too early to start stockpiling holiday gifts! Interested? Just download your pattern here and read on to take part in Susan’s apron-along. Be sure to add photos of your aprons — both in-process and completed — to both the Fat Quarterly Flickr group and Susan’s Modern Log Cabin Quilting Flickr group.
Without further ado, let’s turn it over to Susan …
Hi, I’m so excited to share my Block Pocket Apron pattern from Modern Log Cabin Quilting for the Fat Quarterly summer sew-along this summer! Thank you so much to Potter Craft for sharing the pattern, and to FQ for graciously hosting the crafty party over here. Every week we’ll focus on a different part of the project, from picking out the perfect pillowcase to stitching on the sash.
The “Modern” version of the apron
You can see lots of projects from the book people have made, including the apron, over here at my MLCQ Flickr pool. Please add yours if you’d like to, too – I’d really love to see your aprons! This is a very simple project that uses just a pillowcase, two small bits of coordinating fabrics, and wide bias tape (sometimes labeled “hem facing” or quilt binding”) to create a fun apron with a pretty log cabin block pocket in the “picture frames” style, so you spotlight a favorite part of your fabric as the center of the block. You can make a Vintage version of the apron with a delicately gathered waistband, or a streamlined Modern version with a flat waistband and a neatly edged pocket – it’s up to you (and your pillowcase!).
The “Vintage” version of the apron
One important note: there were two typos in this project in the first edition of the book, which are corrected in this downloadable version of the pattern! You’ll use a 3.5” x 4.5” (not 3” x 4” as it’s mentioned once) piece of pattern paper for spotlighting centers, and for the first tier of logs (fabric B) you’ll cut a 1.5” x 21” (not 1.5” x 18” as it’s mentioned in the Cutting Key) strip of Fabric B. I apologize for the confusion, and I’m so glad to have the chance to share the corrections here and on my book website.
For this project you’ll need:
- 1 standard pillowcase
- Scraps of 2 coordinating fabrics for the block pocket
- 2½ yards purchased 2”-wide binding tape
- 4½” x 3½” piece of pattern paper
- Thread that matches your pillowcase, binding, and fabric
And for the Modern version only:
- 9” x 1½” strip of fabric for binding and ¾” finished binding-tape maker, if making your own
Choose a standard pillowcase in a solid or pattern you like (remember, the case will be cut down the side seam, so any pattern should look good vertically as well as horizontally) for the apron’s body. Then pick out two fabrics, A and B, you like that harmonize with it to piece your pocket. For my new apron, I chose a bright, colorful cheater print pillowcase and decided to also use the remnants of that for my A fabric – the pocket’s center and second tier of logs – instead of a contrast print or solid. For my B fabric, I went with a solid pink. Then you’ll just need coordinating thread for the sash and your B fabric, if you make a Modern version.
For cutting your center, you may want to use a 3.5” x 4.5” piece of pattern paper for spotlighting any design you like best. I like the semi-opaque kind with inches marked with a grid or dots, so I can move it around and then choose the section of the print I want to highlight in the pocket.
For the waistband sash, choose a package of wide hem facing or quilt binding bias tape that measures approximately 2” across flat. You can also make your own sash with a 2” bias tape maker (not pictured, but Clover sells a great one)… if you go the handmade route, you can match your sash to your pocket, apron, or anything else you like! If you do make your own, you can cut straight strips of fabric instead of diagonal, since this won’t need to curve or stretch – a much more efficient way to cut.
Optional, if you make the Modern version, is a ¾” bias tape maker (again, mine is Clover) for edging the top of the pocket with your first-tier log fabric (B). Next week we’ll do all the cutting, and build the log cabin block for the pocket – it pieces up quickly and I love the “picture frames” effect. See you next Wednesday right here on the lovely Fat Quarterly blog!
Thanks a bunch, Susan! To give you a sense of the schedule for the apron-along, we’ve written a rough outline of what we’ll cover over the coming weeks:
Week 2 (July 13):
- All cutting
- Building the block
- Tips & tricks from Susan
Week 3 (July 20):
- Making the apron
- Assembling the block pocket
- Tips & tricks from Susan
Week 4 (July 27):
- Finishing the apron
- Gallery of aprons from participants
- Introduction of the Modern Crosses Get-Together … coming soon!
We are on the home stretch!
- Seam allowances are 1/4″ unless stated otherwise
- Press all seams as you go along
- Have fun!
You should have 80 blocks ready for assembly but before we head to the machine, we need to decide on block placement.
Using your design wall or floor, lay your blocks out in a 10 by 8 setting.
Step 1: Once you are happy with your layout, begin by piecing your first 8 blocks together – this is row 1.
Step 2: Repeat step 1 until all blocks are pieced. You will have 10 rows with 8 blocks in each row.
Step 3: Press the rows in alternating directions. For example: row 1 will be pressed to the right, row 2 to the left, row 3 to the right and so on.
Step 4: The rows can now be pieced in sequential order. Attach row 1 to 2, 2 to 3 etc
Step 5: Press these seams to one side or open – whichever you prefer.
My quilt top is pictured below, we would love to see your version. Make sure you upload your photos to the Fat Quarterly flickr group.
Come join us on Twitter again tonight Monday, 20th September. Same deal as last time – use the hashtag #fatq, make sure your account is set to public, and we will hopefully chat with you.
European Berlin ? 23:00
UK time 22:00
Australia / Melbourne ? 07:00 (next day)
US Eastern ? 17:00
US Central -16:00
US Pacific ? 14:00
See you next week for tips on backing, binding and quilting!
If you are pushed for time, you can see our updates via our widget…just there on our sidebar. For really up to the minute information though, it is probably best to add us as a friend or follow us.
Edited – we will use #fatq as the hash tag as #fq is already being used and it might be too confusing!
Thats Sew Shawna has we use www.tweetchat.com
If you have a twitter account you can sign into the tweet chat room and it makes it much easier to follow the conversation. Just enter #fatq and you can automatically see all tweets with that tag. It will also put the tag in your tweet for you.
Do you have your fabric ready? Are you eager to get going? We hope so but if not head back to our first post to find out how much fabric you will need.
To recap, we need 80 blocks for the 44″ x 55″ quilt.
If you are making your quilt with 20 fat quarters, each fat quarter will yield 4 blocks. It is important to note that you will use roughly 10″-11″ of each fat, this will leave you with some fabric left over.
And if you are using a jelly roll, one will do the job.
Each block is comprised of 1 x 2.5″ center square (pictured in grey), 2 x 2.5″ outside squares (pictured in green) and 2 x 2.5 by 6.5″ rectangles (pictured in green) which make up the top and bottom of the block.
These measurements INCLUDE seam allowances.
Let’s get started!
- Ensure all your fabric has been pressed, get your mat and ruler out and have your rotary blade at the ready.
Cutting instructions if you are using fat quarters are:
- From the 55cm or 3/4 yard piece of fabric (which will be the center square of every block) cut as many 2.5″ strips as the fabric will allow and then cut these strips into 2.5″ squares. You will need a total of 80 center squares.
- Each fat quarter will give you the borders for 4 blocks.
- Lay one (feel free to cut more than one at a time, by placing them evenly on top of each other) fat quarter on your cutting mat, with the longest side of the fat quarter running vertically. Smooth fabric so that it is nice and flat.
- With your ruler, cut 4 x 2.5″ strips. Remove the excess fabric being careful not to disturb your strips.
- Turn your cutting mat so the vertical strips are now horizontal.
- With your ruler, cut 2 x 6.5″ strips and then cut 2 x 2.5″ strips.
- You should now have 8 x 2.5″ squares and 8 x 2.5″ by 6.5″ rectangles.
Cutting instructions if you are using a jelly roll are:
- 6 x 2.5 inch squares
- 4 x 6.5 inch strips
And that’s it.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. See you in a week for piecing.
20 different FQs (you won’t use all the fabric in the FQs, but 20 gives you a nice variety of colour/pattern) plus a 55cm cut or 3/4 of a yard cut.
Just in case you don’t have a jelly roll or 20 fat quarters lying around (or just need a good reason to buy new fabric), the wonderful Anna Luna at Crafty Girls Workshop is offering you, our readers, 10% your entire order at her shop.
Use the discount code FQ10 when you place an order.
Crafty Girls Workshop happily accepts international orders and if you order now you should receive in time for the September 6th kick off.