We hope you've enjoyed our week of superb softness with three different blanket projects and a helpful Sewing with Cuddle how-to article. Our thanks to Fabric Depot and Shannon Fabrics for providing all the fabric as well as their expertise in working with this luxury plush fabric. To cap things off, we have a Great Giveaway designed to get you started on some soft sewing of your own. We have three Cuddle Cake bundles for three lucky Sew4home visitors. Each contains twenty 10" x 10" squares in a coordinated colorway.
The ultimate softness of luxury plush fabric originally hit the scene as the ideal choice for bundling up babies. Which means no Cuddle blanket series would be complete without a baby blanket! We doubled the cozy quotient of ours by mixing the Cuddle with an extra soft flannel. You'll love this blanket's easy binding. It's formed by wrapping the larger flannel backing square around to the front and over the Cuddle square to create a wide, continuous border. We also show you a clever way to stitch the rick rack in place for a perfect reveal along each edge and into the corners. Our thanks to Fabric Depot and Shannon Fabrics for helping us bring this week's Cuddle series to you with three blankets, a full tutorial that contains all the best tips for working with plush fabric, and a Great Giveaway.
The bigger they are, the colder they get. That may not be exactly how the saying goes, but it explains how we feel about skimpy blankets. When you're feeling a chill, you want soft, snuggly warmth from your shoulders right down to your toes. Our Soft Elegance blanket is two thick layers of Cuddle: a rich Embossed Ribbon Cuddle on top with a thick Sherpa Cuddle on the back. We took full advantage of the wide width of the Cuddle plush fabric, making our blanket a tall and toasty 59" x 68". A huge thanks to our friends at Fabric Depot and Shannon Fabrics for providing the fabric for this project and our entire week of super softness: three blankets, a full tutorial with all the best tips for working with plush fabric, and a Great Giveaway.
If you've ever touched quality plush fabric, you've probably made this sound: "Ohhhhhh, ahhhhhh." You're also likely to have immediately stroked your cheek with this wonderfully soft fabric. Luxury plush goes by several names. Many people refer to it generically as Minky, but that is actually a brand name, much like Kleenex® is a brand name for facial tissue. For this article, we're referring to it as "Cuddle," which is the name given to the category by industry leader, Shannon Fabrics. The fabric gives a fabulous softness to a wide variety of projects, from toys to pillows to blankets and more (we loved using it for a soft fitted crib sheet). It's not a difficult fabric to sew with, but to create the very best results, it helps to have a few tips and tricks under your belt prior to jumping in. And doesn't jumping into a huge pile of Cuddle sound like a wonderful thing? "Ohhhhhh, ahhhhhhh!"
Design inspiration credit for this lovely blanket goes to Fabric Depot company president, Trudy Parry Shurts who made a similar blanket for one her grandchildren. It was such a hit (in Paris no less where this daughter lives) that she shared the technique with us and we developed it into an easy, step-by-step tutorial you can size up or down. The slightly puffy border is created with a cleverly seamed faux flange, which sandwiches an extra-wide seam allowance. The secret ingredient is the super soft Crushed Cuddle plush fabric that gives the edge of the blanket added loft.
Structured on the bottom, soft on the top. Sounds like the making of a comfy mattress, but it's also the clever construction that creates our adorable Bonnet Baskets. The walls and base of the basket use a combination of fusible foam and rigid interfacing to form a perfect round shape that stands up on its own - even when filled to the brim. The drawstring top is soft and flexible, creating a billowy cap to cover and secure the basket's contents.
Seam grading is like stair-stepping. Don't worry, it's not the aerobic kind from the gym. It's the process of turning a standard seam allowance into layered tiers of fabric. The result is less bulk, which means a smoother finish from the right side. It's another one those very basic techniques that can make all the difference in the professional look of your project. It is done by hand, so it can be a bit time consuming based on the length of the seam being trimmed, but it makes a tremendous difference. Bulky, lumpy seams simply are not very pretty.
We started working with the Janome MC500E when it debuted just last fall, and it's been a delight. This project is designed to show you an example of a popular trend: embroidery in-the-hoop. The technique is just as the name implies, the vast majority of the project, both sewing and embroidery, is done within the hoop. In this case it means that although the MC500E is an embroidery-only model, it can complete the entire project. We've given detailed steps below for completing these beautiful coasters on the MC500E, but even if you don't have this model (yet...), you'll find the in-the-hoop process intriguing. We used one of the MC500E built-in designs, using its flexible on-screen editing features to create the border.
Zippers are one of the trusty workhorses of the sewing world. They normally go about their jobs, opening and closing without much fanfare. But recently, it's become quite trendy to let them out from between the seams to shine on their own. Today's fashionable pillow does just that, featuring zippers on both the front and back. The back zipper is the official opening to insert the pillow form. The front zipper is fully functioning, but is there as embellishment only; it opens onto an inset placket. You can show off the pillow from either side. Both zippers are highlighted with parallel strips of decorative stitching, and that eye-candy front zipper also has a long tassel for extra appeal. The pillow can even be displayed with the front zipper partially open to adjust the placement of the tassel.
Here at Sew4home, we're all about helping you learn techniques to make your sewing faster, easier, and more fun. But we certainly can't cover all the tools and tricks. So we're always on the lookout for additional resources to send your way. The recently updated Video Tutorial Library from our friends at Dritz® has over 30 short videos that teach you how to use a variety of their products. We've watched them all, and have a review of some of our favorites. You'll want to bookmark this handy YouTube channel to increase your notions know-how!