The Polaroid Sew-Along

Welcome to the 2017 Polaroid Sew-Along!

To find the other Polaroid Sew-Along posts and tutorials, please head over to the Polaroid Sew-Along Page!

Our Mission

Polaroids have a special place in my heart and sing to my soul. I am the proud owner of 4 polaroid instant cameras! You can imagine my delight when I realized that I could turn all of the little bits and bobs of hoarded prints into something fantastic. That the scrap that I created from cutting into treasured prints did not have to get tossed in the bin! I *know* you guys are with me on this! Somethings are just too precious to toss!

I am hosting this free Sew-Along with Megan and Meg of Urban Sewciety. Our goal is to provide you with all of the information, guidance, and support that you need to create fun and whimsical Polaroid Blocks that you will be able to use in a variety of projects! You will learn how to piece the Polaroid blocks themselves, different techniques for setting them into larger blocks, and be inspired to create a finished project with them that you will love. We are hoping that in the meantime, you are able to connect with a community of sewists on social media who have varying skills and a range of interests.

Timeline, Rules, and Eligibility

The Polaroid Sew-Along Page has all of the fine details that you need to better understand the Sew-Along. It is also the place where I will have links to all of the blog posts associated with the Sew-Along. Please head over there for all of the fine print and the Sew-Along Timeline!

Find us on the Web

Meg Fahrenbach of Tea & Brie can be found here on her website as well as on Instagram. She also has a Facebook Fan Page and a newly formed Facebook Group where she hopes members of the community will begin to interact, share photos of Tea & Brie patterns (in-progress and finished), as well as ask questions and troubleshoot. Her newly opened Pattern Shop is a great place to look for your next quilt pattern. Meg has a true passion for sewing and quilting and absolutely wants to share her enthusiasm with you! The positive energy is contagious!

Meg and Megan are the co-owners of Urban Sewciety in Westfield, NJ. Their space is one part shop and one part sewing studio. They have a wonderful selection of tools and fabric, as well as a wide range of classes that are constantly being added and updated. They have an online shop associated with their website, and can also be found on Instagram. Their Facebook Page is regularly updated.

There is also a New Jersey Sews Facebook Group that is a great place to connect to local sewists and stay on top of sewing and quilting events in the area!

Thanks so much for joining, I hope you have a wonderful time Sewing Along with us!

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Posing on Point Block Tutorial

I am so excited to be sharing this tutorial with you today! When I was approached by Stash Builder Box to be their February Ambassador, I was beyond excited. I knew that I wanted to come up with a quilt that would not only highlight the 3 yards of fabric that I would be receiving, but also showcase each fabric. I was limited in that I could only use the three fabrics that I was sent, but I was also allowed to use a solid. I typically use a minimum of 10 prints in a quilt, so you can imagine how this was a challenge for me! As I was spent time brainstorming designs, I grew more and more excited about the project. I just loved how the fabrics were playing off one another, and I felt that using three fabrics was not limiting, but rather forced my out of my comfort zone and helped me create something that I wouldn’t have otherwise!

Posing on Point Tutorial

As I began working on the first block to test, I realized how much potential it has. The Posing on Point block is just big enough to be used as a mini. It could be given boarders to be used as a placemat. It is the perfect size for a little pillow, and of course many blocks can be made to create an entire quilt.

Posing on Point Tutorial

I hope that you enjoy the tutorial below, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Posing on Point

Supplies

  1. Fabric Pencil and acrylic marking ruler
  2. Fabric Scissors
  3. Rotary cutter and mat
  4. Acrylic ruler for cutting strips and squaring up
  5. Sewing Machine
  6. Iron and board

Fabric Requirements/Cutting

  1. Approximately 20-25 strips of fabric. Please read through the entire tutorial before cutting your prints in order to make sure that your strips are long enough to cover your background fabric.
    • Strips should be cut in a variety of widths ranging from 3/4″ to 2.5″ wide.
    • At least (4) strips need to be 12″ in length. The remaining strips can be shorter, down to at least 3.5″ in length.
  2. (4) 2.5″ squares in a variety of prints. The example uses 3 different prints.
  3. (4) 6.5″ squares for background. The example uses Kona Snow.
  4. Please note:  In my example block, I have (3) prints that I am working with as strips and 2.5″ squares in the corners. I also added some strips of Kona Snow (my background fabric) to the (3) prints, giving me (4) fabrics to use for string piecing all together.

Posing on Point TutorialInstructions

Block is comprised of (4) string pieced 6.5″ unfinished squares that will measure at approximately 12.5″ square unfinished when pieced. Use a 1/4″ seam throughout, and press string blocks as directed. Press seams open when piecing together Posing on Point.

Counter Clockwise from Top: Fig. 1, Fig. 2, Fig. 3, Fig. 4)

Counter Clockwise from Top: Fig. 1, Fig. 2, Fig. 3, Fig. 4)

  1. Using a fabric pencil, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of your a 2.5″ square (Figure 1). Be sure to note any directional prints that this time when choosing which diagonal to mark.
  2. Place (1) 2.5″ square, right sides together, onto (1) 6.5″ background square.
    • Sew the two pieces together, stitching directly on top of the diagonal line that you drew (Figure 2). If you are using a thicker thread, you may need to sew just to the right side of the marking in order to stay consistent with this seam throughout your remaining blocks.
  3. Using your acrylic ruler, use the 1/4″ marking on the seam you just sewed and cut away the corner of the fabric towards the outside of the square to reduce bulk (Figure 3).
  4. Use a hot iron and steam to set your seam. With your background square facing right side up, use high heat and no steam to gently open up and press the fabric. Be gentle here to avoid stretching on the bias. Once your corner is open, use steam to press the seam so that it is flat and crisp (Figure 4).Posing on Point Tutorial
  5. Prepare for String Piecing
    • Using your fabric pencil and marking ruler, mark 3/8″ in from the right on the bottom edge of your 6.5″ background square. Repeat this step marking 3/8″ down from the top on the left edge.
    • OPTIONAL: Draw a 1/4″ line on your first strip. This step is great if you do not have a 1/4″ foot on your machine or if you are unable to use the edge of the foot you are using to guide your 1/4″ seam.Top: Figure 1 Bottom: Figure 2Top: Figure 5
      Bottom: Figure 6
  6. Place your first strip, right sides together, on to your background square (Figure 5). You are going to be lining up the bottom edge of this strip with the two marks that you made earlier (Figure 6). Your 1/4″ line should lay right on top of the top left and bottom right corners of your background square. I like to think of this as your anchor strip because it is the first strip that is creating and maintaining that nice diagonal line that all of your other strips will be based off of!Posing on Point Tutorial
  7. Sew using the 1/4″ line that you marked, or by lining up your 1/4″ foot with the bottom edge of your strip.Posing on Point Tutorial
  8. Use a hot iron and steam to set your seam. With high heat and no steam, gently open up the fabric strip and press it towards the bottom corner of your background square. Once your strip is open, use steam to press the seam so that it is flat and crisp.

    Top: Figure 7 Bottom: Figure 8

    Top: Figure 7
    Bottom: Figure 8

  9. Begin piecing off of your anchor.
    • With your background square right side up, lay your next strip right side down. Make sure that the edge of this strip is lined up exactly with the raw edge of your anchor strip, and that the edge of the strip extends beyond the edge of the background square. Figure 7 shows the direction in which the fabrics should be facing (background with anchor: right side up, new strip, right side down), but the strip is not lined up and is not extending beyond the edge. Figure 8 shows everything properly lined up and ready to sew.Posing on Point
    • Sew 1/4″ in from the raw edges of the anchor and new strip, completely securing the anchor to the background square and sewing down one side of your second strip.Posing on Point
    • Use a hot iron and steam to set your seam. With high heat and no steam, gently open up the fabric strip and press it towards the bottom corner of your background square. Once your strip is open, use steam to press the seam so that it is flat and crisp.
  10. Continue adding strips in this manner, matching up raw edges and then pressing the fabric open, until the entire side of the background square is covered.Posing on Point
    • When you are using strips that are the width of fabric off of the bolt (40″-44″ long), you can trim them down before you begin sewing to make them easier to manage and maneuver. If you are doing this, you need to make sure that you are not trimming the strips t0o short. I like to make sure that there is about 1/2″ – 1″ of overlap beyond the background square. When in doubt, sew first and trim second!
  11. Trim to square
    • Now that the bottom corner of your background square is completely covered in strips, you need to trim your block and remove all of those unsightly strip ends hanging over the edge! After giving your block one final press, bring it to your cutting mat and flip it over so that the wrong side is facing up.Posing on Point
    • Using the edges of your background square as a guide, take your rotary cutter and acrylic ruler and cut away the ends of the strips hanging beyond the edge of the background square.Posing on Point
  12. You have now completed (1) out of the (4) blocks that are needed to complete the Posing on Point block. Repeat Steps 1-11 (3) more times, yielding 4 blocks all together.Posing on Point
  13. Lay out all 4 blocks, arranging them in a way that looks aesthetically pleasing, trying to balance some of the colors and width of strips. The secondary square-on-point pattern will begin to develop if you choose to sew four or more Posing on Point blocks together, so don’t worry too much about that at this stage, or if you are only making one block. Right now we just want to make sure that our square-on-point that is floating in our background fabric is lined up nicely, and we have matching points!

Piecing Your Block

You are now going to sew your top right block to your top left block and your bottom right block to your bottom left block. When you are finished, you will sew the new top unit to the new bottom unit, completing your Posing on Point Block!

  1. Take your top right block and fold it over on top of your top left block, right sides together.
  2. Pin in place
    • In order to pin, focus your attention on where the top two edges of the center on-point square creates a point. In my example layout above, you can see that these edges would be the red/pink grid fabric and the gold strawberry fabric in the top two blocks. Fold back your top fabric to make sure that the bias lines are laying exactly on top of one another. I have seen some just look at the edge of the fabrics while they are pinched together to make sure they meet up, but I really don’t like this method. I think it is important to fold back your top fabric at least 3/8″ and look there, because that way you are checking that the fabrics are toughing closer to where you are going to be creating the seam! You aren’t sewing on the edge, you are sewing 1/4″ away from the edge, so that is where you need to check your points (see image below).IMG_2144
    • Place one more pin towards the opposite end of the edge to make sure that it doesn’t shift while you are sewing. Since you have some additional layers of fabric to sew through, it isn’t as easy to ease the fabrics straight as you sew. By placing another pin, you can make sure that your edges line up and don’t shift out of place. Posing on PointYou will be able to see your marks from Step 5 in the Instructions, and can use those as a guide for your second pin.
  3. Sew 1/4″ away from the edge, removing pins as you sew, backstitching at each end. I really really don’t recommend sewing over pins here, especially since you have some thicker layers to sew through.
    • Use a hot iron and steam to set your seam. Press your seams open to reduce bulk. Flip your unit over so that it is facing right side up, and give it a good press with steam to make sure that it is going to lay nice and flat. Allow your unit to cool on the ironing board, right side up, so that your seams won’t creep up as the steam dissipates and the fabric comes back to room temperature.
  4. Repeat Steps 1-3 with the bottom left and right blocks.
  5. Sew top unit to bottom unit
    • I once again recommend pinning here. Because there are a number of layers, diagonals, and points, if you take the time to pin, you will increase your chances of having gorgeous crisp lines on your finished block! Begin pinning in the center, and work your way out.

      Top: Fig 9 Bottom: Fig 10

      Top: Fig 9
      Bottom: Fig 10

    • Again, fold back your top fabric at least 3/8″ and line up your seams at that point (Figure 9). When you pin, put the tip of your pin in about 1/4″ down (Figure 10). This will help you secure the fabric right in the area where the seam will run. Whenever I pin seams together like this, I always pin to the right of the seam. This way, when I start sewing, once my needle hits the beginning of the open seam, I can stop with my needle down, remove the pin, and continue sewing. My needle down in the seam (or right before it) will hold the fabrics in place and keep them from shifting when I remove my pin.
    • Sew with 1/4″ seam, making sure to backstitch at each end.
  6. Use a hot iron and steam to set your seam. Press your seams open to reduce bulk. Flip your block over so that it is facing right side up, and give it a good press with steam to make sure that it is going to lay nice and flat. Allow your block to cool on the ironing board, right side up, so that your seams won’t creep up as the steam dissipates and the fabric comes back to room temperature.

Finishing

Ta-da! You have finished your Posing on Point Block! If you are interested in fabric requirements to make this block into a full quilt, stay tuned. I am going to be releasing a mini-pattern with all of the fabric requirements listed out for 5 sizes of quilt! YEA!

Posing on Point

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments here, on Facebook, or on Instagram!

Happy Sewing!

Meg

fabric pocket guide

I remember when I was first starting out, I couldn’t keep the different fabric cuts straight. I quickly became accustomed to reading “Fat Quarter” and “Half Yard,” but I never really stopped to think about what that meant.

Even now, when I am designing quilts, the first thing I do at the top of the page is write out the measurements of the fabric cuts needed for the quilt. For example, if the quilt is going to use “yardage,” I’ll write out the dimensions of a yard and half yard on the top of every page in my quilt sketchbook. If the quilt is a “Fat Quarter” quilt, I’ll write down the dimensions of a Fat Quarter.

I’m pretty much confessing that despite my years of sewing, the measurements still haven’t sunk in, and I have to refer to the numbers while I’m working. I’d really love to save you all the trouble of having to do this yourself, so I’m going to write all of the measurements out here for you.

One more thing before you read on. I’m also going to include a FREE printable that has all of the measurements listed out for you, including diagrams for all of you visual learners. If you don’t want to print it out, you can just save it to your phone or tablet for quick and easy referencing while you work. Easy Peasy!

Terms:

  • Bolt of Fabric – Once the fabric is printed, it is wound onto a bolt to prepare for distribution. Bolts are half of a yard long, so before the fabric is wound onto the bolt, it is folded in half selvage to selvage.
    • Each bolt typically contains 10-15 yards of fabric, but this varies by manufacturer, and when the winding stops. So if you buy a bolt of fabric and you are supposed to be getting 15 yards of fabric, you may end up with 14, you may get lucky and receive 16.
    • When a fabric company receives fabric, they usually store them on the bolt, and then will cut the fabric to order. If you order a yard, they will simply unwind the bolt and cut off a bit more than 36″ to send to you. If you order a 1/2 yard, they will do the same and cut accordingly.
    • Most fabric stores sell their fabric in 1/2 yard cuts or larger.
  • “WOF” WOF is a quilting term that you need to remember. It stands for “width of fabric.” This term is important because all fabrics are not created equal.
    • The measurement from selvage to selvage can vary from fabric to fabric as much as 2 inches!
    • Typically, fabrics within the same fabric line, or those coming from the same fabric company, are usually the same width.
    • There are instances, however, where this is not the case! Whenever you are purchasing fabric for a specific pattern, be sure to check the width to make sure that you have enough to make the cuts specified!

Fabric Selvage

  • Selvage – This is the edge of the fabric. It is a denser, finished edge that keeps the weave of the fabric from unraveling.
    • When you buy are yard or a half yard of fabric, you will have a selvage on each edge of the fabric because the cut is made from selvage to selvage.
    • Whenever you have a “fat” cut, you will have only one selvage. This is because the fabric started as a yard, was cut in half lengthwise to create a half a yard, and then cut widthwise one or more times.

Fabric Cuts Guide FQ

 

  • “Fat” Cuts – These cuts are more “specialty” cuts and you will typically find them bundled together.
    • In order to make this cut, first a yard cut is made selvage to selvage to remove the yard from the bolt. Then the yard is cut 2 more times, once selvage to selvage and then those two pieces are cut width wise. When these pieces are all laid out together, they look like a 4-Square Court.
    • When a regular 1/4 yard cut is made, it is 3 cuts selvage to selvage creating 4 skinny pieces. This can be see in the top image in the diagram above.
    • The same cutting technique used to cut Fat Quarters and 1/4 yard cuts also applies to Fat Eighths and 1/8 yard cuts.

Below I have listed the standard fabric cut measurements. Remember when you are ordering fabric, that *sometimes* fabric shops will give you a little bit of extra fabric, but this is not always guaranteed. If you are making a pattern that specifically states that the listed requirements are cutting it close and you won’t have extra fabric, then I recommend that you order extra. Don’t even think twice about this. Just do it, especially if the store allows you to add on an extra 1/8th or 1/4 yard. Think about it this way:

  • Meg has been thinking about making her first quilt. Ok, “thinking about it” is an understatement. Meg just had her first baby, and ever since she was 6 months pregnant and planning the nursery, she has been pinning images of beautiful quilts. She thought, “I could totally do that!” and started to compare sewing machines. She even went as far as putting a machine into her Amazon cart! The day she brought her beautiful baby home from the hospital, she was delighted to see that the sewing machine had been purchased for her as a gift from her family. Her husband had even set it up for her! It was just sitting there, ready for its first project. Meg found a pattern, ordered her materials, and while she waiting for her fabric arrive, she contemplated when she would find the time to work on the project. She thought, “I can do this! I don’t have to do it all at once. It is going to be a process, and even if I just get a little bit done here and there, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something.” So a week or so later, her sweet little babe was down for a nap and she decided to make her first cut into her fabric. Which she completely botched because the ruler slipped and she almost cut off her finger. She stopped the bleeding and decided a little flesh wound wasn’t going to stop her from her big and beautiful dream of quilt making. She picked up her rotary cutter and was ready to make her “real” first cut only to realize that her “fake” first cut trimmed off 1 3/4″ of extra fabric at a crazy wonky angle and she no longer had enough material to move forward with the pattern. Her sweet baby then started crying, and Meg put down her rotary cutter wondering if she’d ever pick it up again.

This is a sad sad story that I completely made up to prove a point. To Meg, time is precious. Even though she is willing to put in the time and effort to making a beautiful quilt, and is looking forward to the process of its creation, her fabric mishap threw a serious wrench in her plans. Now imagine the above story, but with a little bit of a different ending…

  • Meg has been thinking about making her first quilt…
  • … a week or so later, her sweet little babe was down for a nap and she decided to make her first cut into her fabric. Which she completely botched because the ruler slipped and she almost cut off her finger. She stopped the bleeding and decided a little flesh wound wasn’t going to stop her from her big and beautiful dream of quilt making. She picked up her rotary cutter and was ready to make her “real” first cut only to realize that her “fake” first cut trimmed off 1 3/4″ of extra fabric at a crazy wonky angle. After reading through the pattern and measuring her fabric, she realized that in a moment of brilliance she had ordered a little bit of extra fabric and would still be able to move forward despite the mistake!! Her sweet baby started to cry, and Meg put down her rotary cutter, ready to try again as soon as she had the chance.

Things ended well for “Presence-of-Mind-Meg-Who-Just-Had-a-Baby.” Even though that sewing session ended early, she was not completely discouraged and was looking forward to trying again. Moral of the story is:

  • Only ordering just as much as you need can be disastrous. There are a whole bunch of things that could go wrong (reading the pattern incorrectly, slipping ruler, dropping your rotary blade and splitting your fabric, pre-washing and having your fabric shrink more than expected), leaving you with too little fabric to carry on.
  • Ordering a bit more will slightly increase the cost of the project, but will give you enough fabric to persevere through unexpected challenges, and will ideally leave you with some scraps that you can save for your next quilt!

When you are ready to order your fabric for your project, be sure to read your pattern closely to see if the designer has recommended buying a specific type of cut. The handy chart below lists the standard cuts of fabric that are typically used in sewing and quilting patterns.

Fabric Cuts Guide (Click the Image to Download this Guide, or follow the link below!)

  • One Yard – 36″ x WOF
  • 1/2 Yard 18″ x WOF
  • 1/4 Yard 9″ x WOF
  • 1/8 Yard – 4 1/2″ x WOF
  • Fat Quarter – 18″ x 22″
  • Fat Eighth – 11″ x 18″

Let me know if you have any questions, or if there are any other terms that you have been wondering about!

Free Download

Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Please feel free to download a copy of the Standard Fabric Cuts Guide by clicking the image above or using the link RIGHT HERE!

 

It is time, once again, for the weekly edition of Background Noise. Enjoy!

Watching: Elementary & Sherlock

I absolutely love a good mystery, and both Elementary and Sherlock give me just what I need when I’m crafting in the evening. Elementary follows the recipe set forth by most mystery crime shows, but with a little more depth. The stories are usually pretty complex and there is a fair amount of back story woven in. Sherlock and Joan have a great relationship, and I really enjoy how all of the other characters on the show deal with Mr. Holmes. Sherlock, on the other hand, is presented in a series of 3, 90 minutes shows. Each episode is more like a mini movie. There is a lot of mystery, it is a little more artsy and showy, and definitely more creepy. I find myself thinking (ok, yelling), “OH GEEZ!” at least 2-3 times per episode. This series is also set in the present day, and has an undeniable BBC feel to it. LOVE IT.

Listening (on Audible) and Reading: Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

Well I was finally able to slug my way through The Perri Reed Chronicles and I’m glad that’s over. 2 stars, mostly because I was able to finish it. Otherwise I would have given it one. I am now reading and listening to Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. This is the first book in the Sword of Truth series, and I’m hooked. It has all of the ingredients for an epic fantasy, magic, a big important sword, a crazy old wizard, a quest to save the world, and a protagonist who you just know has some hidden potential just waiting to explode out of him.

I’m not far into the book yet, so no major spoilers or reviews just yet. I usually read and listen to two different books though, so it is saying something that I’m reading and listening to this as my only book at the moment.

Rocking (on Apple Music): Sunshine Playlist

I’ve received quit a few comments on Instagram involving the music that I have playing in the background of my stories. When I listen to music, I primarily listen to upbeat playlists that I compile, or Radio Stations that keep me moving. The current playlist that I’ve been putting together is Sunshine Mix. It is perfect for the gray days of February, and is a great mix to lead you into Valentine’s Day!

I am constantly updating it and rearranging it, so if you are on Apple Music, enjoy! If you are not, you should be able to hear samples of the songs below, and download using whatever service you prefer.

As always, if you are listening or watching something amazing right now (or not so amazing), PLEASE share it with us in the comments here, on Instagram, or on Facebook! I’m sure we’d all love to discover something new!

Design Wall

The Pixelated Paper Hearts quilt pattern is scheduled to be released on Saturday. I was lucky enough to snag some sewing time today, so I started laying out Block A on my design wall.

Pixelated Progress

The best way to work this quilt is going to be by chain piecing. I spoke a little bit about how to be successful at chain piecing on Monday.

Chain Piecing

When Saturday morning comes around, order a copy of the pattern for yourself, grab a cup of tea, make sure you have all the right tools at your disposal, put on some good background noise, and get to piecing!

 

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