Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Sewing - Fat Quarters Part II

This week I have three more projects that can be made from fat quarters or scraps, quilted, and used as small gifts or stocking stuffers - a coffee cozy, a padded case for a Flip video camera, and a lunch bag.  Actually, the lunch bag is kind of cheating - if you want it lined you need two fat quarters!

I used free motion quilting on all of these projects.  It's very easy to do (once you get over the mind set that sewing is back and forth) and really adds to your work.  You need two things:  a free motion or darning foot and the ability to put your feed dogs down.  There might be a way to do this without those, but you'll have to do some internet searching to find out how!

The feed dogs are those sawtooth-like things that stick up from the machine underneath the foot.  I have them circled to the right.  Different machines have different ways of lowering them - with the Brother 6000, there is a switch in the back.  If you use your attachable table, take it off and look down near the bottom of the machine.  There's a switch that has teeth up on one side (feed dogs up) and teeth down on the other side (feed dogs down).

A free motion foot is very small so you can see the fabric and it goes up and down with the needle so you can easily move the fabric around.

To put the free motion foot on, you have to remove the presser foot holder and replace it with the free motion foot.

When you're free motion sewing, you control where the stitching goes by moving the fabric.  You also control the length of the stitches by how fast you move the fabric.  Work towards an even speed - it'll take some practice, though.  One thing that will help keep your stitches from jumping around is if you set your machine so that every time you stop, the needle automatically stops in the down position.  Here are the instructions for the Brother:

I have a short video showing how you how to get started.  It really is easy once you see it!

In the video, I'm not wearing quilting gloves because I'm working on a small piece that's easy to move around.  When you work on bigger pieces (like the lunch sack), it easier to move if you have gloves that help grab the fabric.  You can buy gloves that do this or make them from Dollar Store gloves and puffy paint.

Coffee Cozy

1.  Download the pattern here or you can take the cardboard cozy off the cup from your favorite coffee shop.
Cut two of the pattern from fabric (add 1/4 inch to each side) and one from fusible felt (don't add anything).  Fuse the felt to the wrong side of one fabric piece.

2.  Pin the two pieces of fabric right side together and sew in a 1/4 inch seam, leaving a short side open.  Turn right side out, turn the edges of the open end under 1/4 inch, and iron.

3.  Quilt.

4.  Overlap short ends, sew them together and continue sewing around the cozy close to the edge.

Flip Video Camera Case

1.  Cut one piece of fabric 5 3/4 " x 4", one piece of fabric 8" x 4", one piece of fusible felt 5 1/4" x 3 1/2" (the front), and one piece of fusible felt 7 1/2" x 3 1/2" (the back).  Fuse the felt to the wrong sides of the fabric pieces.

2.  Quilt each piece.  I followed the designs on the fabric.

3.  Turn one short end of the back piece under 1/4 inch and iron.

4.  Fold down 1 1/2 inch and pin on edges.  Sew each edge only down to where the fold meets the fabric.

5. Turn the pocket you just made to the outside and iron.

6.  Pin front piece onto back piece, right sides together and bottom edges lined up.

7.  Sew pinned edges together in a 1/4 inch seam, continuing up onto the back and sewing near to the edge.

8.  Turn right side out and press.

9.  Attach 2 inches of velcro - I use iron-on.

Lunch Bag

1.  Cut two 12" x 7" and two 12" x 3 3/4" pieces from outside fabric and two more of each size from lining fabric.  Cut two 11 1/2" x 6 1/2" (front and back) and two 11 1/2" x 3 1/4 (sides) pieces from fusible felt.  Fuse the felt to the wrong sides of the outside fabric pieces.

2.  Sew sides to the front and back pieces in a 1/4 inch seam.

3.  Sew lining sides to the front and back lining pieces.  Pin wrong side to wrong side of outside fabric.  Pin down each seam to keep everything in place.

4.  Quilt, starting in the middle and working outward.  I made stars and then filled in with a squiggle design.

5.  Pin bias tape over the top edge and sew in place.  If you haven't used bias tape before, see this past post.

6.  Pin the last remaining sides, right sides together, and sew in a 1/4 inch seam.  Zigzag stitch over the edge of the seam.

7. On the bottom of the bag, take the two edges of one side piece, bring together, and pin.  Repeat on the other side.

8.  Pin the bottom together and sew in a 1/4 inch seam.  Sew a zigzag seam over the edge of the seam.

9.  Turn right side out and press.

10.  You can leave it like this, add velcro so it will close ...

11.  ... or add a button and short piece of thin elastic.

Happy Creating!  Deborah


  1. I'm loving this series. Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

  2. Thanks so much for the VERY detailed tut on free motion quilting (esp on the same Brother machine I have!)
    I'm working on a very special art quilt designed esp for my Aunt's 80th bday and want to do the free motion quilting and then use some oil paint stiks to color in.
    I have 3/4 ths of it done but have been concerned about the free motion; what if I messed up all the hard work I have already done? :-O
    Thanks to your great detail, I feel confident I will be very successful and my aging Aunt will be so happy with a quilt with the faces of her 5 grown children, 2 neices, and 2 sisters. I've titled it "Faces of love."
    I'll be checking your site often for some more great tutorials!

  3. Thank you SO MUCH for the free motion video! For years, I'd look at a friend's quilt and have nothing but question marks in my head...but now I have your directions to follow! Excellent!

  4. Love these fat quarter ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Measurements for the lunch bag are funny: height of the bag is 12 or 7 inches?

    If it is 12 inch then it should be 7x12" and 3.75x12".
    If it is 7 inches then it should be 12x7" and 3.75x7".
    Please which one is correct?

    From the pictures I assume it is 12" height (30.5cm), 7" (17.8cm) wide and 3.75" deep (9.5cm).

  6. Hmmm - yep, there was definitely a typo! You're right. The correct height for the sides should be 3.75" x 12" and for the fusible felt, 3.25" x 11.5". It's corrected now - thanks!

  7. Cool thanks for the clarification, I just did one and it was my first time free quilting (hum my way anyway!) Goal was to have a thick layer and it worked. Thanks for your blig and for this tuto (I did an article on my realisation).

  8. I am having the darndest time with my free motion! I free motion quilted a patchwork denim piece I am going to use as a wall hanging without any problems. NOW, I try to do another piece and the top thread does not loop with the bottom thread and just lays on top of the fabric. It does not do this when I am sewing with the feed dogs up and regular sewing. I have tried adjusting the tension, changing the needle, changing the thread, everything and nothing seems to work! Any ideas??? I really want to try and make some of the beautiful leaf coasters you made.

    1. If you've already tried adjusting the tension, then it sounds to me like a problem with your machine. I'd take it in and have someone look at it!