How To: June Picnic Throw

In keeping with our series of project ideas for beginners, I give you the June Picnic Throw. It’s a handy blanket measuring approximately 52″ by 72″, which is big enough to cover a small to medium picnic table or wrap up in at an outdoor concert. I love traditional gingham check for picnics– especially red and white. This is a variation on that theme that is yelling for summer to come on over.

 

We’re going to use:

 

 

    • 6 piece fat quarter pack. These prints all come from Henry Glass and Kaufman.

 

    • 2 yards of coordinating solids (the extra will be for binding)

 

    • 2 1/8 yard 54″ or wider fabric. You can also piece the back from two 1 1/2 yard 44″ inch or wider pieces of fabric.

 

    • You can choose whether or not you’d like to interline the throw with quilt batting (I did) or leave it on the thin side, which is just as nice for summer.

 

    • a skein of pearl cotton and a sharp needle with a large head. A curved upholstery need is handy but not necessary.

 

 

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First off, cut your fat quarters into 18″ square and then in half again. You’ll now have 12 rectangles measure 9″ by 18″. Keep the scraps. We’ll use them to piece the binding. Now cut 12 rectangles 9″ by 18″ out of the coordinating solid.

 

Placing right sides together, sew one print and one solid down the longest side. Repeat until they are all done. Press open all seams.

 

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Lay out your blocks. These blocks will now by 17 1/2″ by 18″ long and you can leave them this way, or you can trim them into 17 1/2″ square blocks. If you trim them, you can lay them out by alternating their direction to create a more interesting pattern. Or! Keep them as rectangles (I did) and put them together how you would like them. At this point, I stand back and squint at the finished top from all angles. By squinting, you’ll be able to see color and value distribution.

 

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Stack them in order and move them to your sewing machine. For this design, we want our points to match, and so, we’re going to sew them together “end to end”. Place a straight pin through both seam allowances, matching the points exactly. Remove the pin just as you come to sew over it.
When the three rows are finished, piece them one to the other using the same method. Press all of your seams together.

 

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Make a quilt sandwich! We went over this in our baby quilt and even though this throw is bigger, this sandwich is going to be even easier because we’re going to tie our blanket instead of sewing it together. Still, make sure all your layers have been pressed and smoothed and pinned together with safety pins ever 6″ or so.

 

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Why tie? Well, for a quilt this size, I sometimes have a hard time wrestling it through my machine. I can always hand quilt it, but I don’t want to worry about my stitches getting walked on or rolled in the dirt at the park. Tying is fast and keeps things where they should be. To tie your quilt, cut a yard of thread and put it through your needle. Start in the middle of your blanket and thread it through where the points come together. Take care to make sure that you’re going through all the layers. Leave a 2″ tail on either end and snip. Move on to the next point. Once you have our points tacked, knot your tails together. Keep tacking until you have knots every 4″ or so (full disclosure– mine are too far apart! I knowingly did this to get the quilt finished. Now I’m going back and continue sewing ties in between the ones that are already there which should space them out nearly perfectly).

 

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We are almost done. All that’s left is to bind it up– use your scraps and any leftover backing fabric after you’ve trimmed your blanket and sew a continuous strip of fabric at least 260″ long (it sounds daunting, but once you get going you’ll have a strip in no time).

 

This is such a fantastic gift for a Spring or Summer wedding. It’s quick, handmade and filled with promise about all the fun the lucky couple is about to have.

How to:

Here’s what you’ll need to make your very own Blazin’ Bag:
A (coffee stained) blazer
A (moth eaten) sweater about the same width as your blazer
Thread to match
Seam ripper
Tape Measure
Straight Pins
Scissors
Iron & Ironing board
Sewing Machine with heavy duty needle


First, cut the sleeves and the collar from your blazer.


Next, cut open your sleeves.


Sew the opening of your blazer closed (down the front of the original blazer). Take a moment to sip a cup of coffee…but be careful. No spilling allowed.


Cut the top of the blazer off, right where the sleeves would have been sewn onto the rest of the jacket.


Measure the width of the bottom of the blazer. My blazer was 17” wide at the bottom. Measure the same amount from the cut opened sleeve, plus one more inch for seam allowance on either side. The sleeve will add additional inches to the length of your bag. You don’t have to add the sleeve if you feel the body of your bag is large enough, as is.


Turn both the sleeve and the blazer inside out. Pin one side of the sleeve to the front of the blazer and the other side of the sleeve to the back of the blazer. Sew the sleeve to the bottom of the blazer. Sew the ends of the sleeve closed and attach them to the side of your blazer.


This is what the bag looks like at this point, right side out, if you didn’t accidentally sew the bottom of your bag closed.


Cut the sleeves and any ribbing along the bottom of the sweater and then turn it inside out. Also, turn your blazer bag inside out. My sweater was about the same width as my blazer bag. If your sweater is much larger, sew a seam and remove any excess. The sweater will be the lining to your bag.


With wrong sides together, pin the sweater to the top of the blazer bag, and sew together the two about a 1/4” down from the top.


Turn your bag right side out and fold the blazer inside the bag one inch from the top-iron flat.


Sew a seam 1/4” down from the top of the bag around the entire opening of the bag.


Turn the bag inside out, and sew the bottom of your sweater closed, leaving a 4” wide opening. Pull the bag back through the 4″ opening. Fold the opening under and sew closed once the bag is right side out.


With the leftover parts from the blazer and the sweater, piece together two 2 1/2” wide strips that are 2’ long. Iron a 1/4” seam allowance on each side. These will be the straps to your bag.


Pin the sweater to the blazer, wrong sides together. Sew the two together from the right side.


Decide where you would like the straps to be on your bag. Fold under the unfinished ends of the straps and sew them to the inside of your bag, using the ‘x’ formation for added strength.


Now, take your blazer bag out on the town-show it a good time and fill it with paraphernalia from your local pumpkin farm.
Or not. Your choice.

 

 

 

Here is a fantastic summer sewing project that you can do from the comfort of your own home!

Looking to learn more about how you can sew, and make more projects for yourself?

 

Check out www.LearnToSew.ca

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Fall Sewing Lessons

Hey everyone,

Fall is soon approaching and for many people, that means back to school, back to work, and back to “regular life.” Although your children may be going back to school, and you’re going back to work, why not take it as an opportunity to learn something new, take a new skill on, and help better your skill set?

We offer a series of sewing classes that range from beginner, to intermediate, to advanced. You can make everything from a skirt, to something much more advanced.

What better opportunity to help better yourself, and give you something fun to do!

 

If you want to sign up for courses, check us out at www.LearntoSew.ca

Five Fashion Sewing Musts

Everyone loves to recreate and repurpose pieces they already have in their wardrobe, and what better way than altering them yourself! In this article we’ll tell you all about the five fashion sewing musts you need to know to bring new life to your wardrobe. What about creating your own garments? It’s all possible and it’s all in your own hands!

1. Adjusting patterns is mandatoryFirstly, you need to get used to working with patterns and figuring out what looks best on your body type. Did you know that commercial patterns are actually sized to fit a woman who is 5’5” with a B-cup bust? Not so typical. Adjust your patterns to your measurements and you can go about tailoring any piece you already own to fit you better or in a brand new way.
2. Sew yourself some collarsCollars may seem like a common element of design for shirts but you can add them to dresses to ramp up any look. Mastering the collar will also make you a master of disguise, because no one will recognize your outfit after you add one! 
3. Sergers are your friendsWe all want to make the process of making and creating clothes to be fast and painless. One way to make this happen is by getting in the habit of using a serger. Of course you can sew knits on your standard machine, but a serger just makes it more fun. 
4. Get familiar with some feet
 
No, not those feet. Get familiar with all the specialty feet that are available for your sewing machine. More feet mean more techniques and thus, more possibilities for style. Using specialized feet make whatever look your trying to achieve happen faster and cleaner. Hemmer foot and pintuck foot are usually a good place to start! 
 
5. Don’t waste your waist 
 
Just like collars, waist details can really make an outfit pop! Working on your waist is east since again, it’s a common design element that just needs a little more attention than usual. Elastic waist bands are also a good option to create the desired fit on a garment. 
With these sewing fashion musts you can take any piece and any budget and make it fabulous. So, get to sewing!