On the Road Again – Long Beach Quilt Festival and Two Outstanding Fabric Shops!

Twenty years ago if someone had told me one of my favorite things to do would be get in the car with a friend and travel to a quilt show I would have asked them what they were smoking! Who knew? Last month we headed to the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, CA. It’s a six-hour drive from home in Northern California, and we took the most direct route (south on I-5) which isn’t exactly a scenic wonderland. About the time you think you can’t stand looking at another field, there’s a charming quilt shop in Bakersfield (well worth the 25 miles off the freeway). I’ve been to Strawberry Patches a number of times, and it’s always a treat. It boasts “not your grandmother’s quilt store,” and indeed it’s not. Their displays and samples are phenomenal, with emphasis on really cute kid’s stuff, gift items, buttons, ribbons, and oodles of really great fabrics and quilts.

Two hours after leaving Bakersfield we arrived in Los Angeles. My husband and I lived there for nearly twenty years, and despite the over-crowded everything – I still love to visit. The quilt show was held about 30 minutes south of LA at the Long Beach Convention Center, located adjacent to the harbor where the majestic Queen Mary is docked.

The Queen Mary in Long Beach

My favorite exhibit at the show was “Text on Textiles: Words as Design in Quilts,” which showcased quilts in which words and fabric come together to form a unique statement. There were some very interesting interpretations! There was also a fabulous photography exhibit and a glorious collection of Baltimore Album quilts. Of course, what would a quilt show be without the vendors? There’s always inspiration to be found down those aisles – texture and color were my favorites this year.

Colorful fibers with fabulous textures
Yet another splash of texture and color at the quilt show

The next day we headed off to find a new fabric shop that I’d discovered online called Sew Modern. It turned out to be a little jewel in the heart of West LA, loaded with the newest contemporary fabric lines – a great selection of fresh, fabulous fabrics!  If you find yourself in LA, this delightful shop is well worth a visit!

Among the bolts at Sew Modern
The famous Hollywood sign

We did a little sight-seeing – driving through Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and Hollywood to be reminded of how the rich and famous live.

And of course, every road trip needs a little “food talk.” We found an outstanding restaurant near our hotel in Manhattan Beach called LA Food Show – great food, great service, very trendy. Need I say more?

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to everyone who commented on the August 16th post and entered to win the five Mail Sack patterns from Pink Chalk Studio. Your response was overwhelming! And congratulations to the five winners – Cindy Herndon, Darlene Garrity, Janice Pierce, Lori Platt and Mar Johnson.

Until next time, happy travels!

School’s in for Stitchers: Planning Makes Perfect!

As hard as it may be to believe, it’s back-to-school time here in Northern California. Where in the world did the summer go? As I write this, my stepson and his Dad are off corralling the usual supplies. Being prepared is a big part of the success of any learning experience. As you can see, even that quilting icon, Sunbonnet Sue, knows it doesn’t hurt to bring an apple for the teacher!

"Back to School with Sunbonnet Sue," made by Chris Porter for our book, "A Year in the Life of..." More on Sue later in this post.

As the new year of learning begins for the young’uns so, typically, does a new season of quilting, sewing, and fabric-crafting classes. Moms, grandmoms, and other caregivers suddenly have a little time to spare and–dare I say it?–the holidays, and all the attendent gifting, costuming, and decorating, beckon.

Naturally, we want to be as prepared as we’ve helped our kids to be. If there is a class or workshop in your future, here are some tips (with a “little help from my friends”) to help ensure that you’re ready to make the most of every creative moment.

As soon as you’ve signed up and paid your fee, enter the date, time, and location of the workshop on your calendar, be it analog or virtual. We’re all busy, and it’s easy to forget that class starts at 9 AM…not 9:30(!).

Record the date, time, and place...before you forget!

Read over the supply list a few days ahead (not the night before) so that you have time to search or shop for what you need.

Whenever possible, pack up your supplies a day in advance, rather than waiting until the morning of class. (Essential if you’re a hopeless non-morning person like me.) Make sure your tools and notions are labeled, and check the items off the list as they go into your tote or carrier.

If you can, pack your supplies the night before. Labels help identify your tools and notions in a "creatively messy" classroom.

If your class requires one, take out your sewing machine and make sure that it’s ready to roll, cleaning and oiling it if necessary. If it’s been a while, reacquaint yourself with the basics: how to thread it, wind a bobbin, change a needle, adjust the tension. Make sure to pack all the essential accessories (e.g., foot pedal, knee lift)…and don’t forget the manual!

If it's been a while, reacquaint yourself with your machine and give it a little TLC before (rather than during) class.

The morning of: Room (and for some of us, our body!) temperature can be fickle. Best advice? Dress in layers on class day.

Finally, here are a few items that might not appear on your supply list, but may prove useful…or invaluable. I divide them into two categories.

Beyond the Basics. These items are not critical, but can make the day run more smoothly. They include a few pre-wound bobbins, an extension cord/power strip; a camera (always ask before taking photos); a pocket calculator; an extra pair of “readers” (if you use them; I keep a spare pair with my basic sewing supplies); a bottle of water; and a comfortable chair cushion.

Emergency Supplies. Not every class or workshop is held in or near a quilt or fabric shop. Having or not having extra machine needles, spare rotary blade(s), and a replacement bulb for your sewing machine can make or break your day.

Beyond the Basics and Emergency Supplies: Looks like it's time to purchase a spare sewing-machine bulb!

I’m sure you’ve got lots of tips as well. Post a comment, offering your best suggestion for “optimum” class preparation or sharing your personal workshop must-have, by noon (PDT), September 7, and you’ll be included in a random drawing to win a copy of my book, A Year in the Life of Sunbonnet Sue, co-authored with Chris Porter. You might decide to make a “back-to-school Sue” for someone you know, get a jump on the holidays with Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas Sue…or encourage your local quilt shop to sponsor a class. In any case, you’ll be prepared!

I’ll announce the winner of the book in my Friday, September 9, post. ‘Til then, happy stitching…

What Does it Take to be a Maverick Quilter? An Interview with Alethea Ballard

Every so often you meet someone who just oozes talent and passion for her art. I knew the first time I saw the work of Alethea Ballard that she was going to go far. I admire her free-spirited approach to quiltmaking and her use of fabric, color, and design.

She's just as fun as she is cute!

I recently had a conversation with Alethea regarding her work and am delighted to share her responses with you today. When you finish reading this post, please take a minute to visit Alethea’s site and her blog as she has a special giveaway for our readers, as do we (details at the end of this post).

How long have you been sewing and quilting, Alethea?

While I made a quilt when I was ten, and a few more over the years, I got my first rotary cutter in 1992.  I was too frugal to get a cutting mat and quickly dulled my blade on a scrap of cardboard.  Over the years I have learned so much, but it was purchasing a long-arm machine in 2009 that really allowed me to explore my full creative potential.

Your dream chair designs are so unique. Where did you get your inspiration?

Blue Thistle Chair
Chica Chair

The inspiration for the arm-chair quilt series, and the subsequent pattern pack with all the different chairs, came first from my interest in making a quilt with a chair on it as a gift for my father.  He had been doing a series of paintings of chairs and I thought it would be a nice gift.  Alternating between chairs that I liked too much and chairs I wasn’t sure were Dad’s style, I made about a dozen pieces.  I continue to make chair quilts, as my students are continually inspiring me with their work.

Why do you consider yourself the Maverick Quilter?

For a long time I felt like an outsider to the quilting world.  Many visits to fabric stores made me feel that I was “different” than “most” quilters.  I was using strange and bright colors.  I didn’t create quilts that looked traditional. When I would bring works-in-progress to the store I got the strangest comments.  I heard things like, “You aren’t going to use THAT in your quilt, right?”  I was often asked what border I would add, when I had considered the quilt finished.  After a while, I kept my head down and just made up quilts in my own quirky way.

What would you like to share about yourself with our readers?

My working style and subsequently the Maverick Quilts book have come out of my love for fabrics.  When I find myself in a store hugging a bolt tightly to my body, I know I must buy a piece of it.  Once I have that fabric, I work to design a quilt that shows off the fabric in the size and shape that I want to see.  I let the fabric “speak,” and can often envision the whole quilt through to what it will look like finished, just by spending time studying the fabric. Other times, the design reveals itself as I work with the fabric.  One of the best parts of this process is the surprises that using the fabrics, cutting them up, pairing them with others, and sewing them back together can bring me.

I am especially excited about my newest work, which is taking the form of art quilts.  Layers of paints and stitching along with my cherished bright fabrics just make my heart sing!

Koi Pond Chairs

Laura here: Guess what readers? It’s another giveaway day–actually it’s a double-giveaway day–one from us and one from Alethea! C&T Publishing has generously donated Alethea’s book and pattern pack. Just leave your comments telling us why you would like to be a Maverick Quilter and we’ll pick a winner by the end of the day September 3rd and announce the winner on September 6th. You can read about Alethea’s books on  C&T Publishing’s blog. Be sure to scroll all the way to the end as there are several posts. For a special treat, watch Alethea on Wednesday Night Live as she shares tips for using paint to enhance her quilting images.

If you live near the San Francisco Bay Area be sure to visit Quirkology of Quilts: Warmth to Whimsy featuring Alethea’s quilts as well as that of other local quilters at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley,  205 Railroad Avenue, Danville. The show runs from August 25 through September 25, Tuesdays through Fridays, from 1 to 4 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with demonstrations.

Thanks to Alethea and all our wonderful readers.  Here’s to another week of creative sewing/quilting.

You Say To-may-TOE, I Say Tom-AH-to: An Ode to Summer’s Bounty Plus a FREE Classic Tomato Pincushion Pattern

Kim Butterworth takes a stroll through her local farmer's market

Yum, it’s tomato season! Ever since my friend Tricia O’Brien published a tomato jam recipe on her blog Café Trix, I’ve been dreaming about pairing a perfect BBQ’d burger with caramelized onions, her super-juicy, savory-sweet jam, and a local cheese like Cowgirl Creamery ‘s Mt. Tam.  My hips probably wouldn’t appreciate the calories, but I’d enjoy every bite! Tricia is a cooking woman with mad skills and a growing reputation as a food writer—her blog is worth the visit for delicious seasonal cooking inspiration.

So what is it about those beautiful piles of ripening fruit makes us go just a little crazy? Apparently, Christie’s husband eats no less than 10 pounds of the juicy fruit weekly during tomato season. Isn’t that amazing? Then, there’s my friend Kim Butterworth (featured in my recent Quilter Profile) who travels many miles of our NorCal rural roads with her partner Rob to find perfect San Marzano tomatoes for their homemade marinara sauce. It’s very yummy and worth the hunt, I can attest! (Thanks to Kim for the lovely photos at her local farmer’s market, BTW.)

Then Kim had a close encounter with heirloom tomatoes

Lest you think foodies have hijacked SHWS, I’ve figured out a way to travel back to our bailiwick—after all, we are a sewing blog. Click here for a FREE heirloom tomato pincushion downloadable pattern! Again, my caveat:  I drafted the pattern in broad strokes. Use the steps simply  as guidelines to design your own tomato variety.

How mouth-watering are these neon yellow-red tomatoes?

In pursuit of a perfect tomato pincushion I started with a Google search and then conferred with a local pincushion maven, Kathy August, who sells her wares at Wooden Gate Quilts in Danville, CA. We agreed that seamed tomatoes made for prettier pincushions, but after plying many websites and blogs, Martha Stewart’s instructions for a gathered version seems like a reasonable approach as well.

Ah, a delicious heirloom tomato pincushion!

Once I made my prototype tomato pincushion, I realized that indeed the seamed variation was much more to my taste. However, I suggest using the gathered approach to make a much-cuter cherry tomato to replace the emery-sand-filled strawberry that’s been such fixture with mass-produced tomato pincushions. That leads to the question: Why a strawberry over a cherry tomato?

A confession to close: I’m sorry to say I did grievous harm to a beautiful Black Crimson heirloom tomato while developing the pincushion pattern and it was delicious!

Incomparable summertime fare: fresh tomatoes and mozzarella seasoned with a chiffonade of basil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

Great Bag, Great Pattern, Great Giveaway!

finalheader940-31.jpg
The Mail Sack pattern cover

The first time I spotted a sample of this bag hanging in a shop I knew I had to make it. I’m very particular about bags (both shape and functionality) and I loved the look of this one! It’s absolutely my favorite bag pattern – the Mail Sack from Pink Chalk Studio.

The design of this artful, hands-free bag is perfect for combining fabrics in creative ways (one of my favorite activities). It’s amazing how different it looks depending on fabric selection. The bag has two interior pockets (one zippered and the other divided) and has instructions for two sizes: large (16″ x 16″), and mini (12″ x 12″). Following are a few photos of different versions of the Mail Sack.

The pink one is the first one I made using home-dec-weight fabric on the bottom, and quilting-weight cottons for the yoke, strap, and lining.

Mail Sack made with home-dec and quilting-weight cotton

  

Donna Cummings made the next one using one vinyl-covered cotton fabric for the outside and quilting-weight cottons for the lining. She embellished the bag with two lines of decorative cording couched along the seam dividing the bottom and the yoke – how cute is that? It was a simple way to add her own touch.

Mail Sack made with vinyl-covered cotton fabric

The Mail Sack in the neutral and black geometric print (with different fabrics for bottom, yoke, and straps) was made by my friend Sally, who found the bag very useful on her recent trip to Europe – it was easy to carry and perfect for storing everything needed on a long flight. When she switched to a smaller purse for sight-seeing, the Mail Sack folded up and tucked easily into her luggage. It’s hard to see in the photo, but she added a tab and decorative button across the top to keep it closed.

Mail Sack with tab-and-button closure
 
 
Miranda with her "mini" size Mail Sack

The photo on the right is the adorable Miranda, who has the “mini” version of the bag made by her Aunt Linda, featuring Miranda’s favorite skull fabrics. I’m told she’s never without it!

I admit that I’m skeptical of bag patterns – often times either the directions are hard to follow or the diagrams are insufficient. As I follow the steps I wonder when the “gotcha” step is coming – you know the one that stops you cold and the project goes into the “never to be touched again” bin. The Mail Sack isn’t one of those – it goes together beautifully. The instructions are well-written, concise, and easy to follow, with excellent diagrams in every step. I’ve taught it in class a number of times, and every student has been successful in completing the bag in one 6-hour session.

 If you’ve made one of these I’d love to hear about it. And if you haven’t made one, you’re in luck – designer Kathy Mack has generously donated a pattern for each of the five winners of this giveaway! Even if you already have the pattern, you can choose another design from Kathy’s “Everyday Art Pattern Collection.”  Post your comment by 9:00pm (PDT) Sunday,  August 28th, and you’ll be entered in the drawing. I’ll announce the five winners on Tuesday, August 30th. I know you’ll enjoy making this bag – give it a try. After all, the holidays are just around the corner – and it makes a wonderful gift for those on your “handmade-worthy” list.

“Embellish” Your Memories with a Quilted Souvenir

 
"Mediterranean Memories," made by my good friend, co-author, and occasional quilt-cruise colleague, Chris Porter, who just returned from the Mediterranean

Summer is winding down in the Northern Hemisphere, but there’s still plenty of time to toss a couple of things in your bag and head off for a bit of R and R. Kitschy mementos abound, but what better way for a stitcher to stir recollections of a special time away than with a souvenir quilt?

I made my first souvenir quilt after teaching on a quilting cruise to the Caribbean sponsored by Quilt Seminars at Sea. (I know, tough gig, but somebody’s gotta do it!) After making Wish You Were Here: Caribbean Dream, I quickly realized that more trip-related souvenir quilts were in my future. 

My quilt, "Wish You Were Here: Caribbean Dream"

I loved everything about my trip to Alaska–the majestic scenery, the little villages, the wildlife–and I wanted to capture it all. I used many of the same techniques, and called my quilt Wish You Were Here II: Ketchikan, Alaska.

"Wish You Were Here II: Ketchikan, Alaska (center detail). I love the look of a random, strip-pieced background, and find it makes the perfect choice for a landscape-based quilt.

Ideas for your souvenir quilt can come from anything you see, hear, taste, or otherwise experience along your way. Your personal photographs are an obvious source for design ideas, but don’t overlook the motifs on the tee-shirts, coffee mugs, postcards, and other typical “take-homes” that pop up in the local tourist shops. Carry a tiny note pad to jot down ideas or thumbnail sketches to carry home to your sewing room.

Your fabric souvenir doesn’t need to be large or complex. Just have FUN! In fact, over time, I’ve discovered that simpler (and smaller) is better, enabling me to capture the moment quickly, while it’s still fresh in my memory. Consider this little (18″ x 22″) quilt I made to commemorate my first visit to Hawaii.

"Aloha, Baby!"

Here are some quick, easy techniques that I used in making Aloha, Baby! and that you might like to try.

1. Build your “canvas” first: background, borders, layering, background quilting…even binding. (More on this in a minute!) It’s fun to use fabrics you’ve collected on your journey.

2. Keep the background simple. Sometimes, a single piece of “just-right fabric” (e.g., a special hand-dyed or painted piece) is all you need. I like the visual interest created by an unevenly divided surface, so I used two fabrics for Aloha, Baby!–sand and sky.

Sometimes a single fabulous fabric is all you need for background. Incorporate fabrics and embellishments from your journey as well.

3. Use basting spray to secure the three layers for quilting. These small quilts are perfect for it. Another option, if the piece is small enough, is to fuse the three layers together.

4. Keep the background quilting simple, too: clouds, wavy lines for water or wind, radiating lines for sunlight. Outline the motifs in the border fabric when appropriate. You can always add more quilting after the foreground elements are in place. 

Keep the background and background quilting simple.

5. Finish the edges with a fold-over, raw-edge binding. Rotary cut the strips, or tear them for an even more free-form feeling. Fold the strips over the raw edges of the quilt sandwich, press, and finish with a straight or decorative stitch.

6. Now it’s time to “paint the picture.” Use whatever creative shortcuts give you the desired results. I cut the blossom shapes for the lei free-form to save time and effort. Fussy cutting is another great timesaver. Chris used it for the grapes in her Mediterranean quilt.

Chris saved lots of time by fussy cutting the grape clusters for her quilt "Mediterranean Memories."

7. With the exception of the palm tree, the elements in Aloha, Baby! are all fused, and the edges “finished” with a straight stitch. The overhanging palm is double-sided: I fused two pieces of fabric together, outlined the shape in thread, and then cut and attached the piece to the quilt with stitching that echos the fronds.

Check out the raw-edge binding, overhanging palm, and button coconuts.

8. Now comes my favorite part: embellishment! For Aloha, Baby!, I added a narrow, satin-ribbon bow ribbon tie on the lei; used decorative trims and buttons on the flip flops; and stitched on a few tortoise-shell buttons for coconuts. As with fabric, it’s fun to incorporate trinkets found on your trip. 

So, no matter where your travels take you, whether across the state or across the sea, I hope you’ll consider commemorating your journey in fabric, thread, and trinkets. If you’ve already made a quilt to celebrate a travel memory, I hope you’ll post a comment to tell us about it ;-)

Another vacation quilt by my friend, Chris Porter. This one is called "Sailing 'Round the Lighthouse." Notice the tiny seashells, the fussy-cut fish, and the cool cording around the border.

Til next time, happy stitching!

Serendipity Strikes: “Repurpose” a Dress with Fabric Flowers

In the midst of another busy week, I was able to find a few minutes to meet another “on-call project Mom” request…this time from my older daughter.  An upcoming wedding invitation provided the inspiration for this fun project, which grew out of her request to “repurpose” a bridesmaid’s gown that she wore last year.

Just a few simple supplies needed to make these adorable fabric flowers.

The dress is a stunning shade of blue that is perfect with her crystal-clear blue eyes, but its strapless, floor-length features needed some work. I started by shortening the dress to tea length and then used the leftover pieces to make fabric flowers. I must admit I was a bit nervous at first, thinking that the altered dress would never be as elegant as she had pictured it in her dreams. Honestly, making the flowers was the easy part…and the finished dress looks fabulous on her!

Here’s what I did:

For each flower, I cut four fabric circles from the dress’s lining fabric. (I used the lining rather than the outer fabric, as the lining had more body.) I cut the circles 4-1/2″ in diameter, but they can be any size you like. I used a small bowl as a template to get a perfectly round shape. No need to hem the edges; it’s okay if they fray a bit. In fact, they look good that way.

I folded each circle in half, and then half again. With a needle and thread, I took a few stitches through the folds in the corner to hold it secure.

Take a few small stitches to hold the folds in place.

Then I stitched the four units together at the corners to complete the flower.

How cute is this!

I made enough flowers to go all the way across a shoulder strap (which I also made from the extra lining fabric), and then I stitched the flowers to the strap. It was so easy and so beautiful. My daughter couldn’t be happier! Now, isn’t that all that really matters?

Love my flower girl!

I can see fabric flowers added to many different projects: totebags, headbands, sweaters. I can even envision sewing several of them together to make a necklace. Oh yes, how could I forget? I may even try adding them to my next quilting project.

Before I forget, all of us here at SHWS want to congratulate Patti Owen, winner of the giveaway basket filled with some of our favorite piecing notions (and more) from our first group post (July 26). Be sure to check back often and watch for future giveaways.

Happy sewing everyone, and enjoy another week of creativity.

Radically Ruched Roses, a FREE Quilt Pattern!

Original inspiration for Radically Ruched Roses plus a feature in Elle Decor with similar blossoms by Sonia Delaunay

Remember my mathematically themed post from June 24th—The Algebra of Quilting? As promised, I’m offering an “official” pattern for my Radically Ruched Roses quilt today! Just click this FREE Pattern link to find the downloadable PDF.

Here’s your caveat emptor:  As Radically Ruched Roses is not a pattern for sale, I didn’t go all crazy with details like bias-strip and ruching how-tos; just wing it, you’ll do fine.

Google is a terrific resource for instructional videos, but you should know our own Laura Nownes has a bias tape how-to in the works. So check back to see if Laura’s added her video to our library.

Radically Ruched Roses visits the ever-inspiring Florali, a stellar local florist.

Even though I try to be forward-thinking when trolling for quilting inspiration, I do re-explore well-trodden paths as I did with this new rosy quilt. I can’t seem to shed a design aesthetic that a clever Scotsman named Rennie Mackintosh expounded in the latter days of the nineteenth century. There’s so much about the Glasgow Style that I like (clearly the roses!) that I find myself constantly noticing Mackintosh riffs in textile arts and home décor. Plus I keep making iterations of squiggle roses. Why not?  They’re pretty!

If you want to take a look at his aesthetic, leaf through Rennie Mackintosh Inspirations in Embroidery by Scottish writer and needle artist (and jewelry maker, BTW), Dorothy Wood for a terrific look at Mackintosh’s roses, among some of his other well-known design motifs. Not only does Dorothy explore his style, she also offers contemporary interpretations in project form.

Seems like I’m not alone in my Scottish fascination because this week, The Quilt Life blog is taking a trip to Scotland and features an image of Radically Ruched Roses. My original Scottish Rose quilt pattern, which was my first take on a Rennie Mackintosh rose, is available as a pattern in the August issue currently on the newsstands.

Predictably, I close with yet another floral still life. Hey, if someone gives me flowers, as did my friend Laurelle with roses from her bountiful garden, I feel obliged to share the beauty via a photo. Not only heavenly in form, but in aroma as well! Also, take a gander at the Florali website for truly wondrous floral stylings by a talented mother and son duo.

Amy Butler Visits See How We Sew!

We were thrilled when artist and designer, Amy Butler, scheduled See How We Sew for an appearance on her summer “blog tour.” (Wonderful concept, isn’t it? Like a book tour, but without leaving home!) We here at See How We Sew love, love, love the beautiful fabrics Amy designs for quilters, and are always interested to see what new things she has in store. As usual, she doesn’t disappoint! Today, Amy shows us some of the exquisite new voile fabrics she has coming soon, and shares some helpful tips on how to sew with them. Take it away, Amy!

Thank you to Darra, Christie, Laura, and Jennifer for letting me stop by today. My voile fabrics are getting ready to ship out to retailers, and I wanted to chat about a few of my favorite sewing tips with you. If you’ve never sewn with voile before, you are in for a real treat. It is super soft and has an amazing drape that makes it perfect for so many different projects.

Voile is great for quilting! Many people think voile is just for flowing skirts and blouses, but I have seen some amazing results when voile is used for quilts. Voile fabrics paired up with silk batting create a soft, light quilt that you will love. I am working on a new free quilt pattern with my voile fabrics now; keep an eye on my website to see the final project and give it a try yourself! (Note from See How We Sew: We’ll also let you know as soon as the pattern is available.) Meantime, here are a few tips for working with voile.

1) It is best to use a smaller, sharp needle with voile; a size 9 or 11 sharp would be your best option. Cotton embroidery thread works great, but you can also use cotton or cotton-covered polyester thread to get a nice finish.

2) It is always best to pre-wash your fabrics and press them before you start cutting. The general rule for washing voile is machine wash warm, normal cycle with like colors. Use only non-chlorine bleach, and then line dry. Use a warm iron for pressing when necessary. Since everyone’s washers, dryers, and irons are different, I highly recommend that you use a small test piece of fabric before washing your full yardage.

3) When washing your fabrics, make a small diagonal clip in the corners to help prevent fraying and tangling.

4) You can interface voile, but you will want to use a lightweight fusible interfacing. When making a  garment, it is usually best to line your project with a lightweight fabric (such as another voile) rather than interfacing.

Thanks again to See How We Sew for having me over for a chat today. Be sure to stop by Re-Nest tomorrow, August 3rd, to get a look at my “Living Green” interview and some more fun photos of my Organic fabrics!

Reminder: Noon (PDT) Friday, August 5, is the deadline for leaving a comment on our July 26 group post, telling us about your favorite tool or notion for piecing. Don’t miss the chance to be included in the drawing for a terrific goodie basket of some of our favorites…and more!