Monday, February 6, 2023

3 Steps to Ease Your Saggy Bottom


ease, sewing, quilting,#write28days

Are you struggling with a saggy bottom?  Today, I have 3 easy steps to help you with that.

Quilting presents a few challenges that we quilters have to overcome.  One of these happens when one side of a block or row is longer than the other.  This can happen for a number of reasons.  Since no two fabrics are the same, they stretch or shrink differently as you handle them.  No matter how precise we think we have cut, some pieces just won't line up perfectly.  Also, your quarter-inch seam allowance may be off by just a smidge.  These situations mean sewing a longer piece to a shorter fabric without gathering or tucking.

When this happens to you (and I promise it will), don't fret or panic. Your quilt is not ruined.  In fact, it is so common there is a term for it - Saggy Bottom.  Even better, there is a way to fix it.

The term for this is ease.  ease is the process of distributing fabric evenly so it lies flat.

Getting rid of a baggy bottom.

If you are sewing together blocks or rows and you discover one side is a bit longer than the other, place the longer piece on the bottom and the feed dogs will ease the extra in.  Be sure to pin securely where you don't want the fabric to move, such at where points or squares meet.

Easing in larger areas.

When there is a fair amount of difference between your pieces or a long seam, such as sashing or borders, you want to distribute the excess fabric along the entire length of the seam.  To do this, determine the halfway point for each side.  Place a pin in the middle, and one at each end.  Next, find the halfway point between the middle and one end then pin it there.  Do the same for the other end of the seam.  Repeat this process as necessary, using the middle pin as an end one, until the fullness is evenly distributed.  Sew with the longer side next to the feed dogs.

Press carefully.

After you have eased your pieces together, you press in the fullness to the seams lay flat.  Do this carefully so you don't get tucks, wrinkles, or stretch the fabric.

Now you know how to ease away your saggy bottom, at least on your quilt.  Easing away the other saggy bottom is not my area of expertise, sorry.  But sitting to sew, then standing up to cut and press can be a workout and may help.

"I don't care what the groundhog says: I want six more weeks of quilting!"

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Socks or Shoes? How do you sew?


After a very busy holiday season, I am grateful to get back into my studio!  As I replaced the Christmas curtains with our everyday ones, I decided to make a table topper to match.  Searching my stash, I found matching fabric and settled on a pattern I could use.  I adjusted the design based on the fabric I had left, carefully cut the pieces, and began to sew.

The topper came together easily, but something felt off. When I came upstairs for a coffee refill, I realized what was wrong.  

I was sewing with my shoes on!

When I sew, I like to do it barefoot or with socks on.  I feel I have much better control over the foot pedal.  I use my toes and the ball of my foot to gauge how much pressure I need on the foot pedal.  With shoes on, that precision is gone and all I get is a flat pressure and much less control.  And with some shoes, my foot tends to slip around on the pedal.

There are a few hazards to not wearing shoes in the sewing studio. Dropping scissors or rotary cutters on your toes and stepping on pins or needles can be painful.  Socks also pick up threads and track them all over the house.

For me, I'll risk the hazards for more control over my machine.

How about you?  Sock or shoe?

Oh, and in case you were interested, here is the table topper I was working on.  Just needs to be quilted and bound.

"Put your foot down and QUILT!"

Thursday, November 3, 2022

What Happens in a Christian Studio

I recently received an e-mail from Matt Tommey, a Christian artist and coach. In it, he talked about what happens in our studio when we create with God.   It got me thinking, is this what is happening in my studio?

I want my studio to be a place like that.  A sacred space where I meet with the creative nature of God to fulfill a Kingdom assignment. 

I have been blessed with a great studio in my basement.  But somehow, going in it and creating has become a chore and not the blessing God intends it to be.  It is time for me to rekindle my enthusiasm and joy to allow my studio to be what God designed it to be again.

  • I will embrace my position as a child of God and do what He has put on my heart.
  • I will embrace my unique design as a creative and create with the Holy Spirit.
  • I will embrace my Kingdom assignment to create so God will be glorified.
What is your studio like?  Are you embracing it as a place to meet and create with God?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

In the studio, we are most alive and God is glorified because creating was His idea in the first place. It’s who He is: Creator.   Matt Tommey

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Barn Quilt Pumpkins

Barn Quilt Pumpkin

Hello, Quilters!  I'm so excited that fall is here!  That means warm drinks, cozy sweaters, and more time quilting.  But for now, the garden still has most of my attention.

Last year we threw little decorative pumpkins in the garden after we were done with them.  To our surprise, a few of the seeds grew.  Now we have plenty to decorate with this year and some to share.

As I was looking for ideas to use them, I came across a painted and stenciled Barn Quilt Pumpkin. A Barn Quilt is a quilt block painted on a board and hung on a barn. Making a barn quilt has been on my to-do list for years but I've never gotten around to it.  A tiny version painted on a small pumpkin seemed doable.

I quickly learned stenciling on a curved surface is very difficult.  I painted over it and looked for another way to get the same look.

Mod Podge transfer was my answer.  It was much easier for my shakey hands to handle.  You just coat the design with Mod Podge, place it on your pumpkin, and let it dry.  Then carefully rub off the paper and your design stays on the pumpkin!

There are times in life when something looks impossible, like me stenciling on a pumpkin.  But God is our helper and he always has a way.  Ask Him because He cares about every little (and big) thing in your life. 

Isaiah 41:10, ESV Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


These cute pumpkins make a great addition to a quilter's fall decorations. They would be adorable in your sewing room, on a mantle, or on a side table next to a chair with a quilt tossed over. They also would make a great gift for a fellow quilter.

 Are you ready to make your own Barn Quilt Pumpkin? Here's how I did it.

Supplies needed:
  • pumpkins or gourds, cleaned and dried
  • fine sandpaper
  • white paint (I used some chalk paint I had left from another project)
  • paintbrush
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam brush
  • printed design (use a dry toner printer)  You'll find the one I used at the end of this blog.  You may print it for your own use, or use another design.
  • scissors
  • sponge
  • sealer (again, I used what I had)

Clean and dry your pumpkin,  Using fine sandpaper, remove the waxy productive coating the pumpkin naturally has.  This will allow the paint to adhere better.

Paint the bottom and about a third of the way up your pumpkin and turn it upside down and let it dry.  Then paint the rest, overlapping and blending with the previously painted part.  

Let dry completely.  If any of the original colors of the pumpkin show thru, add a second coat of paint.

Cut out design.  I used one on each segment.

Place the image face up and coat with Mod Podge.
this should be thick enough that the image is obscured.

Place coated side of the image onto the pumpkin and press firmly,  Carefully wipe away any excess that oozes out.  Repeat around the pumpkin.

Dry for 24 hours.

Wet the image with a damp sponge.  Lightly rub to remove the paper backing.  Don't rub too hard, you'll remove the image as well.

Let dry and repeat for any area that has paper remaining.

Use a clear coat sealer over the entire pumpkin and let it dry.

Your very own Barn Quilt Pumpkin is ready to use!

"There are no rules in quilting, and if you think there are, then it is time you try breaking a few."
-Dana Bolyard

-To use stencil, right-click, save image as, to download.  Then print on plain paper.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Staying on Track

 I don't know what your workshop looks like, but mine is a mess of started projects.  I get inspired and start something new, but before it gets finished, inspiration hits again!  And a new project gets added.

I realized I needed a way to keep myself on track.  Also, I wanted to have a place to remind myself of new projects I wanted to do, without another pile of papers and fabric cluttering up my workspace.

After some research and prayer, I decided on a corkboard. Because of the shape I wanted, I made my own. I found some cork tiles at a good price, but I didn't want to attach them directly to the wallpaper. I also had a box of promotional yardsticks I could use as a frame.

So Steve got to work bringing my vision into reality.  We cut and spray painted the yardsticks.  He found some heavy cardboard that he cut to the shape we wanted.  Then he glued the cork and frame to the cardboard.  With a couple of screws, he attached it to the wall at the entrance to my studio, under my new banner.  I finished it with a declaration.

The Lord blesses the work of my hands, so everything I set my hands to prospers.

Now, every day when I go into my studio, I see what projects I have going.  Those are the ones I need to finish before I start on another one. I am reminded that there is a purpose for each of these projects and I have the grace I need to finish them.  I also have room to post new and upcoming projects. 

 I have to admit that this little board has helped keep me focused and on track.  I've even finished a few projects just so I could remove them from the board!

The Father has given us creative talents that are meant to be shared with the world.  That means projects have to be completed, so they can be placed in the hands they were intended for.  An incomplete quilt or table runner is not blessing anyone shoved aside in a corner of my studio.

And that is the ultimate goal of any quilter: to bless someone with the work of our hands.  

For me, my new corkboard is a tool to achieve that goal.  What do you use to keep your projects organized?

"You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake." Deuteronomy 15:10

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Nesting for a Perfect Fit

**This post is part of the #write28days challenge to write and post every day in February.  
Todays prompt: Nesting

Nesting, when used as a quilting term, refers to placing your seams together to achieve a smooth flat quilt top.  When assembling the blocks, the seams are pressed together(not pressed open), so they sort of notch together.  You do this by pressing a row of seams one way and the adjoining row in the opposite direction.  This takes a little planning, but the end result is worth the effort.

As I was working on this, the Holy Spirit reminded me that the body of Christ should fit together smoothly also.  At times there is so much division among us, I wonder how He will ever make it fit.  But we only see one block...

        ...while He can see what the whole quilt looks like and how it is to be pieced together.

I'll tell you a secret.  Sometimes I get frustrated by those who don't have the same revelation I have been given.  It's as if I'm being pressed to one side, while others are being pressed in the opposite direction.  Wouldn't it be better if we were all pressed the same way?  It is much easier to walk in love with someone who agrees with me and doesn't challenge my beliefs.  Especially when I know I'm right!
But then I considered God might know what He is doing.  I Corinthians 13:12 says all I know now is partial and incomplete.  We have each been given a part, and our parts are to hook together to form a complete quilted body, without spot or wrinkle or bulky seams.

So while we meditate on that, let me show you how to nest your seams!

After you have sewn and cut your strips it is time to press your seams.
   Press the first and last row down, and the middle row up.

Place your fabric right side together and gently move the seams until they nest.  
You will be able to feel them notch together.

Pin into place, check your notches haven't moved, then sew.

Open and press flat.

You should have a perfectly aligned and flat quilt block. 

 Nesting seams is an important skill for your quilting toolbox of knowledge.  Give it a try on your next quilt if you haven't done so before.

What other skills do you have in your toolbox of knowledge?  What would you like to learn?

The love of quilting is our common thread.