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Bias Binding: Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making, Attaching

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 3:00

We were going to call this tutorial: Bias Binding: Basics & Beyond, however, we decided to forgo the clever alliteration and instead focus on the key words we hear whenever we receive questions about this very hot topic: "How do you figure out how much fabric you need?" "How do you cut all the strips?" "How do you sew all the strips together?" "How do you put it on your project so it looks smooth and pretty?" "Why is the sky blue?" We've posted about bias binding before, and even have an older tutorial on the subject. But, it was time to take a fresh look and collect all the scattered tips and information into one updated article. We'll address all four of the most common questions: yardage, cutting, making and attaching. You're on your own for the blue skies!

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Jelly Roll and Honey Bun Strip Pillow

Tuesday, 18 September 2012 3:00

Working with Moda pre-cuts often makes me hungry... the names are so tantalizing: Jelly Rolls, Honey Buns, Layer Cakes. Thankfully, pre-cuts have zero calories and it's fun to come up with creative ways to turn them into what we like to call "new fabric." For today's project, we used Jelly Roll strips from one collection and Honey Bun strips from another collection, proving once again, you can combine beautiful prints from different designers to create a your own unique look. Our pillow uses Jelly Roll strips from Christmas Spirit by Holly Taylor for Moda and Honey Bun strips from Sentiments by 3 Sisters for Moda. We created a fast, strip-pieced pillow with lovely seasonal colors and decorative stitch accents. 

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Halloween Tote with Adjustable Strap & Safety Lights

Monday, 17 September 2012 3:00

I am a major fan of B-Movies: the over-acting, the cheesy special effects, the see-through plot lines... I love it all. And, I am especially fond of B-Horror-Movies! I think this is because I could picture myself getting paid to scream like a maniac at a rubbery monster with googly eyes. All that to say, as soon as we saw it, we knew we had to use Eerie Alley Blocks in Black and Purple by Karen Foster for Robert Kaufman Fabrics from Fabric.com for some sort of Halloween project. The movie poster knock-offs are hysterical and the panels are so colorful. We designed a soft, unstructured trick-or-treat bag with a long, adjustable cross-body strap. The fabric is so great, we used it for both the exterior and the lining, then added two safety lights, one around each strap, to help make sure your lil' spooks can be seen when they're strolling in the... Twilight Zone. 

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Simply Color by Vanessa Christenson for Moda: Foldaway Shopping Bag with Carrying Case

Thursday, 13 September 2012 3:00

Reusable shopping bags are everywhere these days. In fact, in many towns and cities, plastic and even paper bags are simply no longer available in the check-out line. I love the sturdy fabric grocery totes you normally come across, and we've made a number of them here at Sew4Home (I've included links below). The only problem with the larger, heavier bags is remembering to bring them with you to the store! Today's final project in our Simply Color series with Vanessa Christenson and Moda Fabrics is a set of foldaway bags in their own carrying case. It's compact enough (just 5" x 7" x 2") to throw in your purse or keep in the car's glove box. But it still holds two generously-sized shopping duffles that will carry an amazing amount of stuff! The carrying case even has a handy front pocket to hold a shopping list, cards, keys and more.

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Simply Color by Vanessa Christenson for Moda: Pretty Pinboard

Wednesday, 12 September 2012 3:00

People in general, and kids in particular, generate lots of bits and pieces of stuff: important forms, special coupons, lucky tickets, keys to long forgotten locks... there really isn't another word for it. If you look up "stuff" in the dictionary, there's probably a picture of the top of your desk! Keep your counters and other work surfaces tidier and your stuff more organized with a pretty framed pinboard. We found our simple white frame at a local craft store, however, you could also look at second hand shops or garage sales for old framed art; remove the art and replace it with your cool pinboard. The project uses just four Fat Quarters to create the front panels and pockets, and thanks to the variety within the Simply Color Collection by Vanessa Christenson for Moda, we had plenty of colors and patterns to choose from to perfectly match our décor. 

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Simply Color by Vanessa Christenson for Moda: How to Fussy Cut Fabric Motifs & More

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 3:00

There’s something about the word fussy that sounds negative. We assume it means someone or something is being difficult, like a toddler turning up her nose at broccoli or the lawnmower that won't start unless you first pull the cord halfway and stand on one foot. But, words mean different things depending on the occasion, and in the world of sewing, fussy can be a compliment and a fussy cut is a beautiful thing. 

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Simply Color by Vanessa Christenson for Moda: Coin Purse

Monday, 10 September 2012 3:00

If we must say so ourselves (and sometimes we must), these little coin purses are about as adorable as they come! Not only do they get five stars on the cuteness chart, they are super easy to make. Make one for yourself (because you deserve it!), then make a bundle for your friends. They are the perfect fast and fun gift. Fill them with coins and gift cards, tasty treats or other little goodies. The happy colors and patterns of Simply Color by Vanessa Christenson for Moda Fabrics are mix-and-match heaven. We selected motifs in Sweet Tangerine, Eggplant and Lime green for our coin purse trio. We have eye-poppin' colors and patterns for the exteriors and an awesome matching chevron stripe on the inside of all three to tie them together as a set. Spare change just got a whole lot more fun!

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Simply Color by Vanessa Christenson for Moda: Vanessa's Pretty Petals Guest Tutorial

Thursday, 06 September 2012 3:00
Vanessa does beautiful appliqué work (take a look at that gorgeous bag above!), and knowing how busy she is... I figured she'd have a few tips and tricks up her sleeve that allow her to speed up the process. "You betcha!" she said! Well.... she might not have said, "you betcha," she might have just said, "okay," but, she was hap-hap-happy to help. So, today, we are very pleased to bring you a wonderful appliqué guest tutorial from Vanessa herself. She gives you step-by-step instructions to create fast-and-easy, finished-edge appliqué elements you can use to build into your own wonderful designs, like the dramatic dahlia above or whatever else your creativity imagines. 

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Simply Color by Vanessa Christenson for Moda: Kid's Laundry Duffle

Wednesday, 05 September 2012 3:00

Just like that crafty Mary Poppins, sometimes you need to sweeten the pot to get chores done. We scaled down our laundry duffle to kid size, making it easy to fill and carry into the laundry room. Plus, the super-cute appliqué on the front leaves no doubt about what needs to be done with the bag's contents! Inside is an easy-care mesh lining, so odors and dampness stay at a minimum. And the bright green baby pom pom trim is the perfect finishing touch. But wait... there's more: we've included both a free downloadable appliqué template as well as a special bonus design download for our S4H friends with embroidery machines. Whip one up in the favorite colors of each little mess-maker in your life. The Simply Color collection by Vanessa Christenson for Moda is filled with bright and beautiful choices, from Spicy Hot Pink to Eggplant - Sweet Tangerine to Lime Green.

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Simply Color by Vanessa Christenson: Preshrinking 101

Tuesday, 04 September 2012 3:00

Here's a common scenario: you buy a new garment, wear it once, wash it once, and... it is now two sizes too small! Some of us also use this phenomenon to explain why our once-favorite pants no longer fit. Although extra bowls of ice cream are likely the culprit in scenario #2, the guilty party behind scenario #1 is: improper preshrinking! Garment manufacturers often cut corners by skipping the preshrinking step in their construction process. You shouldn't make the same mistake. In the world of sewing and quilting, the ongoing great debate is: "Do you preshrink (or prewash) fabric before sewing with it or not?!" We’ve done our famous S4H research on the subject, and the resounding advice from professionals, and those who have learned the hard way (yes... we're in that bunch) is YES! Read on for the details, methods and best products to try. 

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