Saturday, July 30, 2011

Patriotic Quilt Blocks Red White Blue Fabric Crafts You Can Make

 Patriotic Quilt Blocks Red White Blue Fabric Crafts

In 1976, a patriotic quilt pattern was published with a block for each of the 50 states, and many "state" quilts have been made based on those blocks. The original blocks came from "Hearth and Home" Magazine from 1907 to 1912. These patterns are interesting, but some are difficult -- for example, the Texas star is in a circle. This book is called "The United States Patchwork Pattern Book" and I believe it is still available. I have the 1976 version.

Even if you don't have this old pattern or the skill to make the squares as designed, you can make a patriotic quilt with blocks in designs you like. To make it easier, make certain that the blocks are all the same size or add stripping to the blocks to make them all the same size.

I decided to try my luck with red and blue on a white background for blocks to assemble for a wall hanging or maybe a lap quilt. These are 8 inch size blocks. I started with a flag pattern. The flags are about 5 1/2 inches square and the strips for the flag stripes were about 1 1/4 inches. The squares are a little smaller than the pinwheel, so I may have to put a strip around the edge. Here's what I came up with:

Flag Block for Patriotic Quilt

Then I made a pinwheel in red and blue on white. The pinwheel squares are 4 inches and the triangles are about 2 by 3 1/2 inches.

Pinwheel Design in Red and Blue

The final design uses 3 inch squares and came out to the 8 inch size that will be 7 1/2 inches square when an outer edge is added. I started with 5 strips in alternating red and white, one inch wide. I stitched these so they are 5/8 inch wide, so the seams are about 3/16 inch. That's the center square.

The pennant squares have red pieces that are half of the square, or 1 and 5/8 inch by 3. The other part that is 1 5/8 inches by 3 is made of one white triangle and two blue ones. You need four of these triangle squares and 4 plain white squares. Assemble the three dark squares across first, then assemble the two whites and the triangle square for each side. Before you put them together, press and pin at each seam edge to make certain they fit. Restitch if necessary. I got the hang of it by the second one, but this is more detailed than you have to make and it is a little tedious.

Pennant Square

If you are tired or don't like making these patriotic quilt blocks at this point, make a pillow -- don't just give up. If you have two or four blocks, you can make a 16 inch pillow front. Put a red or blue strip between the blocks and add a blue block and a red block with no design if you only made two blocks. Add batting and backing and quilt if you want. Use your imagination.

We are still in the heat of summer in Texas, and quilting blocks are small and crisp to work with. I'm not crocheting afghans again until winter.

See you soon!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Make a Pillow from a Shirt Recycle Fabric Crafts

 Easy Pillow from a Shirt, Recycle Fabric Crafts

Pillows add to the finished look in a living room or bedroom, and they are fun and easy to make. You can repurpose or recycle and make an easy pillow. You need no zipper when you use a shirt with buttons. You only need an old shirt, a pillow form or fabric and stuffing for an inner pillow, and a needle and thread to make this nifty recycled pillow.

Choose a shirt -- mens or womens. The larger shirts make larger pillows if you choose. Lay the shirt flat with the front side up and all buttons buttoned. Measure from underarm to underarm and see how large you can make a pillow. Pillows are usually square, and it takes a 17-inch square to make a 16-inch pillow. Use a 15-inch square for a 14-inch pillow and a 13-inch square for a 12-inch pillow. Pillow forms are available in 12 inch, 14 inch and 16 inch sizes, but you can make the pillow any size and fill it with loose filler, quilt batting or even old pantyhose if you choose.

If you use loose filler or pantyhose, make an interior liner of muslin or a solid-color fabric that is about the same size as the outer form. Sew around the liner, leaving about 10 inches open. Turn the liner right-side out and fill with stuffing. Close the opening with hand or sewing-machine stitches.

Back to the pillow: Mark the odd-size measurement (13, 15, 17 inch) on the fabric as high up under the arms as possible. Measure down the front to make a square in that size. Pin the front and back layers of the shirt together inside the square you have drawn on the front of the shirt.

Make Buttons Part of the Pillow

Cut through both layers to form the square. Use fabric or embellishments to decorate the right side or surface that was once the back of the shirt. Turn the right sides of both of the fabrics inside and sew around the outside edge, using a half-inch seam allowance. Unbutton the pillow top to turn the fabric. Fill your shirt pillow with a pillow form or the liner and stuffing of your choice. Button the buttons.

You can use the button-up side for the front or the back of the pillow. Use your own creative ideas for decorating one or both sides.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Zipper Flower Crafts Recycle Zippers

 Recycle Zippers into Flower Crafts

Sewing notions accumulate, and I have more zippers than I intend to use in this lifetime. Zippers are available at thrift stores or in the sewing box of anyone who sews. Zipper flowers have been floating around the crafts markets for a few years but I had not tried to craft them until this summer.

Zippers Are Flexible Enough to Make Circles

I sew all of these crafts, but gluing might work for you. I don't like the effect of the glue, or the permanence. I want to reuse the zipper pieces if I don't like the result.

You can use a zipper with plastic teeth or metal teeth. Use old or child's scissors to cut through a zipper. You don't need a sewing machine or any sewing ability to make these flowers. You need a needle and thread and an old zipper or two. Here are the stitches I used to make these examples:

Stitches for Zipper Flowers

A longer zipper makes a fuller flower. Cut the stop at the bottom if it bothers you. I left the stops on these samples. If you leave the stop on the zipper, unzip the zipper to the bottom before you start to sew. Thread a needle with quilting thread or something strong enough to gather. Start at one end and tack with a few stitches. Make a stitch like the zigzag about 3/4 of an inch apart. When you get to the zipper stop, you are in the middle of the zipper. Continue with the zigzag stitching to the end.

Pull gently on the thread to gather. Roll your flower from the end where you started sewing. Tack the end with a couple of stitches when you have the stitching pulled as tight as you want.

Zipper Flowers Can be Elegant

Experiment with other methods. The pink zipper flower is made by stitching the sides of a closed zipper with a straight stitch. The light gathering creates the circles for the three-petaled posy. The purple zipper is closed to start and the sides are whipstitched together at the back of the zipper teeth.

Stitch the Sides of the Zipper Closed

Use felt the same color as the zipper or white to cut a 50-cent size circle to sew the zipper flower in the shape you want. Add a safety pin to the back to make it removable or stitch it to a fabric purse, a sweatshirt or a wallhanging. Consider other uses for this recycled crafts project.

I've missed you guys! I've been working on a writing project that had to be completed by the end of June. So glad to get that done and back to fun!

Happy crafting!