Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sew your own Hot Pad Tutorial

My beautiful Mother's birthday was June 2nd so this meant another sewing project of course. As some of you know I made her an apron for Mothers Day so I wanted to make her something that would match. I ended up deciding to go with a hot pad. I was looking at the hot pad that I had in my kitchen and realized that it really was just a mini quilt. One of the beautiful things about knowing how to sew is that you can look at pieces, realize how they made it, and then make it your self. If you are new to quilting or just interested in trying quilting a hot pad is a great place to start because all the fabric on a quilt can be very overwhelming.

Hot Pad Tutorial
What you Need

If you made the apron you can just use the scraps and supplies you have left over!
Make sure and get 100% cotton or heat resistant fabrics no synthetics that burn.

  • Large enough scrap for main portion of the hot pad
  • Scrap for applique bird
  • Heat N Bond fusible paper
  • Long strips for cream bird binding 
  • A small piece of quality batting
  • Matching Thread for each type of fabric
  • Paper and ruler to create the pattern
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Pins
  • Safety Pins
  • Bobbins
  • Seam gage
  • Sewing Machine and Iron

The Planning

To begin you need to decide how big you want your hot pad to be. This could depend on what you want to use your hot pad for or what you want to applique onto the hot pad. For me I was trying to find a size that would look good with my bird. So I decided to test out different sizes by measuring and cutting them out on printer paper.

Another thing you have to consider is that you with have a binding around this piece as well. So you need to decide how thick you want your binding and take that into account. I used a 1/2 inch binding around my hot pad. That is all you need to do for planning it is pretty basic.

Cutting Out
The cutting out for this project is pretty basic just straight lines besides the applique piece. For the green portion I just used the piece of paper that I had planned with as my pattern piece. You need two pieces so make sure to either cut the piece out on folded fabric or cut two pieces. I first made sure that it was on grain. Grainline is important as fabric is created with two different threads (warp and weft) and it is important the pattern piece is aligned with one of these threads so the fabric will lay correctly.To ensure that a pattern piece is cut out "on grain" you simply measure from a grian line on the pattern or a straight line on the pattern to the edge of the fabric and ensure the entire pattern piece is equal distance from the line to the edge of the fabric. If you are measuring to the salvage edge you are measuring lengthwise grain line which is the most commonly used grainline.

Once the piece is on grain you can carefully pin and cut put your pieces.

Next you cut out the batting piece. You only need one piece of batting. When making a quilt you want the batting and the back piece to be a little larger than the front so you do not have to trim off your beautiful front portion. I did not make the back bigger for this project but I did make the batting bigger by placing the same pattern piece on the batting and then cutting with extra space around the piece.

The next step is to cut out your binding pieces. I used the french fold binding method. It is best to cut binding strips on the bias when possible though I cut these lengthwise.When using the french fold method you times the desired finished thickness of your binding by 6. So I wanted 1/2" binding so I needed to cut 3" strips. So I made a pattern and cut strips out with my Ginghers. If you have a cutting board and rotary cutter just cut three inch strips with your rotary cutter. To determine how long your strips need to be just measure around your hot pot and add 4" for the mitered corners and finishing purposes. You do not need to cut one continuous strip I show you how to combine strips below.

For the applique birds I used Heat N Bond that I bought at Walmart for a few dollars. The package has pretty great instructions but I will explain what I did. First iron one side of the Heat N Bond to your fabric and then you trace and cut out your design. 

Now everything is cut out!

The Sewing

The Sewing is divided into two parts, First the applique and Second the Binding.

The Applique

Take the cut out applique design and peel away the paper revealing a shinny glue.

Carefully center this onto your top hot pad piece and then press using minimal stem.

Now you need to make your "quilt sandwich" (as my professor would say). Place your now appliqued piece (the bottom piece) right side down. Then place your batting piece and finally the appliqued piece with the right side up. Making sure that there is batting sticking out on all sides.

Now pin the layers together using safety pins. Why safety pins? Well when you are making a large quilt you will need to pin all over the quilt and move it and work with it and you don't want to get pricked by those sharp pins.

Now you are ready to edge stitch around the bird. To edge stitch you try to stitch as close to the edge as possible. It sounds easier than it is, try to find a spot to train your eye like a line on the presser foot or machine and sew slow especially on curves. If you are nervous practice on a sample.

The bird with the edge stitching.

Now that the edge stitching has glued the layers together you can trim the excess batting to prepare the piece for binding.

The Binding

The first thing you need to do is combine the binding strips if you have multiple strips. To do this you overlap the the ends of your strips right sides together forming an L making sure to match edges as below.

Now you place a diagonal line across one of the strips using a ruler and tailor's chalk.

You then pin the two pieces together making sure the edges are still lined up. And then use the chalk line as your stitching line.

Creating a diagonal seam instead of a straight one. Press the seam open.

And trim down the seam allowances.

Repeat until you have combined all of your pieces. I only had to do this once since the hot pad is so small but for a real quilt you do it over and over again. When all pieces are combined fold and press your strip in half.

Now you are ready to figure out your seam allowance for your binding. To do this carefully pin the binding strip to the back of the hot pad part placing the pin where you think the seam allowance should be matching edges.

Now fold the strip over to the right side and see if the strip covers the pin. In the picture below the strip does not cover the pin. This means your seam allowance is too wide because we want the strip to cover the pin as this will mean your future stitching will be covered.

Once you have figured out your correct seam allowance (usually a little less than the desired binding width to account for the turn of cloth) use page two of this french binding tutorial (also great if you get confused in my binding section) by lily street quilts to start your binding until you reach a corner. At the corner measure in from the edge the amount of your seam allowance and place a pin there. 

And then stitch from the start to the pin stopping at the pin not sewing to the edge.

Now fold the binding back on top of the already sewn binding.

Then fold the binding up vertically creating a diagonal fold.

Then fold the binding back to match up with the edge of the hot pad that it has not been sewn to.

Now pin the other side placing a pin marking where you need to stop on the next corner and stitch and repeat the folding method on each corner. Once you get back to the beginning.

Trim the binding so it is about a 1/2" overlapping the folded pocket that you created at the beginning.

And then tuck the end into the pocket and finish the stitching of the binding.

Now the binding has been successfully sew to the back of the hot pad you can fold the binding over to the front and start pinning it to the front making sure to measure as you pin so that you have even binding.

Then edge stitch around the binding...

And you have a completed hot pad!

As always if you have any questions or found this useful please comment! And follow if you would like to see more of my tutorials!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Best Bites Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

For meals I usually get my inspiration and instructions from blogs, pinterest, or my favorite cookbook "Our Best Bites"*. This cookbook was given to me at my bridal shower and has been so amazing! Absolutely everything I have made has been simply amazing even at the beginning of our marriage when my cooking skills were a little lacking. And tonights Thai Peanut Noodle Salad was pretty much the best of the best! They Best Bites bloggers just came out with a second cookbook and I cannot wait to get it! All of their recipes are on their blog but there is just something nice about cooking from a cookbook and there are awesome tips in the cookbook. Like peeling ginger with a spoon (crazy right?) I would have never thought of it on my own.

Thai Peanut Noodle Salad
Another awesome part about this salad is that it was way simple. Just mix up the dressing, boil the noodles, cut the veggies (I made it even simpler by buying bagged salad with cabbage and carrots already in it), and prepare the chicken (I used pre-grilled frozen chicken). The tutorial is awesome on the Best Bites Blog.

So so so Good!!!

*I am not being paid or asked to advertise this cookbook or blog*

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Custom Curtains Tutorial

A few weeks ago my sister asked if I could make her some curtains. I was excited to do it as it means another project and making something for others is always fun. And second it meant a trip to Home Fabrics! It a store full of home decor fabric with amazing deals we got the fabric for these curtains for a dollar a yard! I will definitely sorely miss this store when we move to Seattle.

The Tutorial

The actually sewing of curtains is super simple, it is just four long straight stitches. The only tricky part is figuring out the measurement and dealing with so much fabric. These curtains are about as basic as you can get with curtains, so another great place to start. Though don't be intimidated by more complex curtains, it really is easier than you think. Hopefully I will be able to show you when I make curtains for our Seattle apartment.

The Measuring and Planning

So first off you will need to figure out how much fabric you need to get. The first step is to measure the height and width of your widow. I just bought the rest of the bolt as that is what got me the deal and the extra fabric will be used for my sisters birthday present.

The next step is you need to figure out what fullness ratio you want. As my sister would say the fullness ratio creates lots of pretty folds in the fabric. I used a 1 1/2 fullness ratio. 

(Window width x Fullness ratio)/Number of desired panels = Width of Finished Panels.

(54" x 1.5")/2" = 40.5"

Window Height + any additional desired length = Height of Finished Panels.

50" + 2" = 52"

Then you need to factor in the hem allowance for all four sides. I added four inches to the top for a standard heading or rod pocket, six inches to the bottom for a thick hem that helps add weight to the bottom, and then two inches to each side. The picture below shows the hem allowances. When you add the hem allowances it gives you an unfinished dimension of 44.5" x 62".

Cutting the Panels Out
This can be kinda difficult when you live in a one bedroom apartment, but it is possible. I ended up putting my kitchen and desk tables together to create a larger work surface. 

The first step is to figure out the width of your fabric and if you are going to need to piece your panels or not. My fabric was 54" wide so I did not need to piece my panels as the unfinished width was only 44.5". It is nice to not have to piece as this means less sewing and especially nice if you have a pattern that you have to match. So try to buy home decor fabric which is wider.

Now on to the cutting! The first step is to cut the salvage off giving you a nice clean cut. I usually just trim an inch off since it is easy to line up and see on the cutting board.

Now you are ready to measure, mark, and cut the length of your panel. I my case this was measuring out 62" of fabric which was too wide for my two tables so I laid the fabric out on my living room floor. I used my clear cutting ruler to measure 62" on both sides as it gave a nice straight edge and then marked a line with tailor's chalk across the fabric to follow when cutting.

I then followed the chalk line while cutting with my rotary cutter. 

I now have a 54" by 62" piece of fabric and need a 44.5" by 62" piece of fabric, so I cut off 9.5" of the width of the fabric. Thus creating my first unfinished panel. Repeat this process for a second panel or use the first panel as a template for the second.

Finishing the Panels

The finishing these curtains is way simple, it only took me about 45 minutes for each panel.

The first step is to create your double fold hems around each panel. This is the most time consuming part as the folds really need to be precise to create straight hems. Luckily I was taught an amazing time saver by my home decor professor. The trick is to create templates out of poster board or paper for your different hem sizes. This way you can simply place your template on your fabric and fold the fabric to line up with the template instead of measuring with a seam gage every few inches. 

To create the templates I just used printer paper as that is what I had though next time I think I will invest in poster board because the paper curls with the heat and the steam. To make the templates you just simply use a ruler and measure out how many inches you need and cut them out. I taped two pieces of printer paper together to make them longer.

Once you have the templates made you can start ironing the hem allowances. I started with the 1" double fold on the sides. Simply line up the fabric with the template and press.

Then repeat for a second fold to create the double fold.

I would pin the double fold every four or five inches to make sure it stays while I pressed the other hems.

Then do the same thing for the top (2" double fold) and the bottom (3" double fold).




This sewing is where it gets really simple just four straight edge stitches along the double fold hems you just created. So a stitch three inches from the bottom, two inches from the top, and one inch from each side while stopping two inches from the top to create an opening for the rod to go into. 

And just like that you have your own custom curtains!!

If you have any questions please comment, and I will get back to you! I would love to hear if you found this useful! A hotpad tutorial is in the works next!!