My New Go-To Baby Quilt-- Four Patch and Feature Fabric Baby Quilt


                                                                 

I entered  the world of quilting to make baby quilts for the multitude of babies that were coming into our lives from my daughter's, son's and our own friends.  By making these quilts, I was developing and advancing my quilting skills.

There is no shortage of cute fabric for baby quilts, and I've made several different types of quilts. Several of them much more elaborate than needed...but I was trying to figure things out...and learning by doing cannot be underestimated.

Most recently I was at an impasse on what do do with some cute elephant fabric.  I had one idea...did some cutting and laying out and ended up with a big fat NOPE!  

After that false start, I settled on this simple pattern.  It is alternating blocks of a 4 patch in two colors and a single, featured fabric.  In this rendition, the 4 patch is tan and white and the featured fabric is a cute elephant print. 

If you choose your featured fabric first, you simply have to decide on 2 coordinating fabrics to make your 4 patch.  So no tough decisions to make. I've made several other renditions with gray and white 4 patch and a green/blue gingham check and white 4 patch.  Both equally lovely.  I used a darker green..but though it coordinated, I felt it overpowered. Because the 4 patches are assembled using width of fabric strips paired together for each color, they are easy to sew, press and subcut.  A great project for your sewing happy hour...you can drink your favorite beverage, watch your favorite show and make something cute!

Do watch the orientation of the 4 patch...I reversed a couple in another quilt...but I just left it.  If you are accurate with your cutting and sewing, everything should line up nicely.  This is not a fiddly pattern.

This quilt measures 36"x36" square.  Quilt Recipe is below. 



 



Print Recipe

Quick Baby Quilts with 4 Patch and Featured Fabric.

Simple baby quilt with 6 rows and 6 columns of 6" finished blocks alternating between a 4 patch of coordinating fabrics with your chosen featured fabric.

Source: Leisa

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 3 6.5" WOF Featured Fabric Subcut to 6.5" (you will need 18 and may need to cut additional blocks)
  • 3 3.5" WOF Background A paired with B Strip
  • 3 3.5" Wof Background B Paired with A Strip

Directions

  1. To make 4 Patch:
  2. Choose fabrics that have sufficient contrast with each other and are harmonious with your featured fabric.
  3. For each pair of A/B strips: Sew lenghth-wise with scant 1/4"' seam. Press seam to darker fabric. You will have 3 sets.
  4. Subcut each paired set to 6.5" squares (for 6" finished block).
  5. Note the direction you want your 4 patch--darker block far left or lighter block far left. Make sure that you maintain this layout when sewing to Featured fabric.
  6. Line up one block with light/dark square on top and the second block with dark/light square on bottom. Sew 1/4" seam. Press blocks. (Direction does not matter as it will be sewn to non-seamed block.) You will end up with 18 blocks measuring 6.5" square (for 6" finished).
  7. Featured Fabric
  8. Cut 6.5" strips, WOF. Subcut to 6.5".
  9. Layout Quilt:
  10. Layout 6 rows of alternating blocks. Mind the orientation of your 4 patch blocks--they are easy to turnaround!
  11. 4P=4 patch FF=Featured Fabric
  12. R1 4P, FF, 4P, FF, 4P, FF
  13. R2 FF, 4P, FF, 4P, FF, 4P
  14. R3 4P, FF, 4P, FF, 4P, FF
  15. R4 FF, 4P, FF, 4P, FF, 4P
  16. R5 4P, FF, 4P, FF, 4P, FF
  17. R6 FF, 4P, FF, 4P, FF, 4P
  18. Sew complete rows. Then sew each row together matching seams. (Pin as needed).
  19. Make quilt sandwich using your favorite method. For quick quilting, simply stitch in the ditch. You can use a decorative thread and an "S" stitch.


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Juki MCS 1500 Coverstitich

I have an August birthday (a big round one!).  In July, I decided to give myself a "Christmas in July" AND early big bday birthday present by gifting myself a Juki MCS 1500 Coverstitch machine.

If  you look inside any hem of your knit garments/tshirts, you will see the benefit of a coverstitch machine.  It creates a 1, 2, or 3 needle stretch stitch that will give your garment a professional look.  In this blog post I wrote about the knit tank dress that I made...out of children's fabric no less.  I was dissatisfied with the finish of the hems.  I don't care for zig zagged top stitching, and twin needle has it's own issues.  No, I decided then that I needed a coverstitch.

I made dress # 2 out of knit, but I measured my arm/and neck bands incorrectly.  Too snug, but still comfortable...and the finish was fine.  

Dress #3 was the winner.  I learned from my mistakes in dress #2, and I ended up with a beautiful red with cream polka dot dress that is beautifully made (looks store bot), pretty on and comfortable.  I am glad to have all three.  What is not to love about a dress that you throw over your head and is soft against your skin and doesn't bind anywhere.  

It has been nice to make things for myself again.  I even tried my hand at making....underwear.  Would have never thought to have done so.  I've made two pairs, and I have a little technique development underwear.  But I have two pairs of panties that fit well and are comfortable.  The finishing, though, needs a little better work. The modal fabric was not easy to work with...so I have to practice my material handling methods.

I have a nice trifecta of machines with my sewing (2) , serger and coverstitch.  I'm glad I have a second regular sewing machine.  My newer machine is in for service and it looks like the total time will be a month.  I'm back sewing on my trusty Bernina 910--.




Sewing for Self

I started sewing when I was 27...forced into it really because I was pregnant and a professional. There were not very many maternity fashions suitable for women professionals. I decided that I would teach myself how to sew to make attractive maternity jumpers to go with my bow blouses! I didn't have a sewing machine.  I bought a Bernina 910 Electronic.  It was a large purchase, but one that I justified with the money that I saved sewing for myself.  There is no question that was achieved.

I bought beautiful wool gabardines that you can wear 3 seasons, really, in black and navy.  I didn't know much about fit or anything else. Worse, I was under the impression that pattern sizes (although they had the measurements) followed traditional garment sizes).  Wrong! I still remember how tight the armholes were! But I was intrepid, and I forged ahead tackling reasonable projects around the home such as simple curtains, etc.

When my daughter was older, I redeployed to making her attractive, high quality knit tank dresses and lovely corduroy jumpers and even a collared dress.  I don't recall when I added my serger (maternity or post maternity).  My Bernette 334DS (made by Juki I only recently came to learn), helped me sew through knits and professionally finish seams.  I only recently resurrected it from a closet where it has lived for about 2 decades!  It has been serviced and is ready to go.

Thinking about those tank dresses led me to desire one for myself.  I found some red with white polka dots and white with blue polka dots, but I elected to use this children's fabric to make my first tank dress.  I made a V neck Tank Dress, and I have to say that I was out of practice.  The pattern called for arm and neck bands, neither of which I made before.  Luckily the internet is repleted with how-to's something I did not have the benefit of way back when. 

My tank dress fit comfortably.  The material is thin, so it is not something I would wear out and about.  But as a dress to wear at home or as a bathing suit cover up, or even to sleep in, it is just perfect.  It was fun to make, and it is ENORMOUSLY comfortable to wear.  Soft, non-binding and cool--and a cheerful fabric that makes me smile.


121 Masks Gifted

I have gifted 121 masks--half of them to a not for profit.  Below is an example of  front and interior of the masks that I have been making.  This modified Olson Mask has 2 layers of fabric, 2 layers of nonwoven interfacing, nose wire and fabric ties.  There is no need for a separate filter.



Olson Mask Front
Olson Mask Interior
Olson Mask Interior.

Bernette 334D Serger

 I've had my Bernette 334D serger for more than 30 years.  I bought it when I was making my daughter's clothes (as most clothes for little girls seemed to be hooker clothes downsized.  Now, I'm no prude, so when I say that, it means something.  I crafted T-shirt dresses and lovely courdoroy jumpers...and a serger works beautifully on these. When I pulled my sewing machine out I had it serviced and then later thought it would be a good idea to have my serger serviced (which had never been done).  And then later, I bought a new Bernina 530B (on close out).  So now if have my Bernina 910 (mechanical), my Bernette 334D serger, and my new Bernina.

With mask making, I quickly determined (after folding, pressing and folding and stitching edges of the cheek and mouthpiece) that using my serger would make short work of finishing those edges of the Olson mask.

The journey of a thousand curse words starts with the first step of buying new thread.  Yes, I have some cones of thread, but they are old.  With new thread having arrived, I began the journey of threading the serger.  I had no memory on how to do so, but the thread guide is clear...except I still couldn't get a chain stitch to work.  And I broke a needle (still don't know how that happened).  And I had the needle fall out (the needle seating is very difficult as there is not much space and the screws are very small.)  Also in all of this, my eyes are all the more older.  Even with reading glasses, I was having a hard time seeing things.  I gave up.  Let it rest. 

The next day, I had a renewed sense of hope.  This is a machine that I had successfully used (my voice in my head said)...and it never bit me.  On to the internet.....the videos on the Bernette were just horrible.  But I did learn from a blog that Juki made the serger for Bernina.  I found a beautiful HD video that clued me into what I was doing incorrectly (and reminded me of what all my buttons and knobs were for).  

Success.  I forgot what a monster machine that serger is.  I feel like my productivity will be much higher.

The Great Maskapade: Part 2

Materials are in short supply.  I did get some surgical wrap today.  I bought it on ebay at a very good price.  It is light weight, breathable.  I had planned to use it as lining for mask, but may need to test that for fitness for purpose.


Instead, it occurred to me that I could make a lightweight mask cover.  Given that one of my daughter's nurse friends has to use her mask for a week, I was inspired to try to make a mask cover.  Because there are so many different masks, this one is contoured (based on the Olson face mask cover) and should be somewhat universal.  I put a tie on it so it could be fastened.  But a healthcare worker may want to cut the wings and fit it to their mask.

Anyway...it is a start.

Tips on Mask Masking

With so many makers working full tilt on making masks (of all variations), I wanted to offer a few tips that I have been using for fitted masks or filtered masks.

  • Printing the pattern.  If you trim a manila file folder and run it through themanual feed, you will end up with a durable pattern.  Trim to the pattern with paper scissors.  
  • Preparing material:
    • Fabric should be prewashed.  I use a mesh laundry bag which keep ragging on the edges more controlled.
    • Observe directionals and striping. Some striped fabric may look better vertically oriented rather than horizontal.
    • For the widest pattern piece,  (and oriented appropriately for your fabric), cut a width of fabric that fits the widest pattern piece.
      • I can easily cut 4 layers (e.g. 2 masks at a time).  So you can stack your doubled up fabric and cut efficiently.
    • Lay the strip of fabric horizontally in front of you.  Place the pattern pieces out on your strip...being mindful of top of your masks and orient all pieces accordingly.  To conserve fabric, you can place your pieces very close together. 
    • TRACE each pattern onto your fabric.  I use a fine line Sharpie. It is quick and easy and it saves your pattern.
    • Cut your pattern pieces with the aid of a smaller, clear ruler and your rotary cutter. A specialy quilting ruler (e.g. flying geese ruler) has fewer markings and will make it easier to see your tracing lines. I have a Sew Kind of Wonderful curve ruler.  It has the advantage of having fewer markings and the curve can be used (and pivoted). But you don't need a curve...keep reading...
      • Cut the straight pieces between the patterns.  If you have 3 pattern pieces, cut the straight lines between them so that you now are working with each pattern piece to more fully cut out.
      • Curved lines.  Yes you can cut them easily with a straight ruler!  Remember that a point on a curve is static.  By using your rotary cutter and placing the blade against an acrylic ruler that you are turning to follow the curve of your traced pattern. If your line is curving to your left, then you will pivot your ruler left as you cut moving your blade forward with the pivot. . . curving to the right, you pivot your ruler to the right moving your blade with it.  It may take a little practice, but I promise you that it is worth building some muscle memory.  You will end up with a lovely, smooth line. And it makes very quick work (and saves your templates).
If you incorporate these tips into your mask making, you will find that you will be productive and your time will be more enjoyable.