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Los Angeles, CA, United States
I'm Julia! I sew and design fabric and go on food adventures!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Setting a Circle into a Square: A Finishing Technique for the Hard Candy Block Pattern

For the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild's 2015 BOM, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to design the February block. I'm calling it "Hard Candy" since it's designed after these Japanese hard candies I found at the grocery store.

It was super fun coming up with inspiration and designing the block (more on that later maybe?) but the real challenge was putting my techniques into words for others to follow.

If you're getting the block pattern from the LAMQG newsleter then YAY! You may have read the instructions (or seen my presentation at the meeting) and wondered what the heck I was talking about when I mentioned piecing the circle portion of the block into the background using a facing. Well, that's what this post is about. It's a tutorial for that method of piecing circles into blocks.

If you're not a member of the LAMQG you can get the block from the link below:

And please, everyone, let me know how you like the pattern in the comments! Con Crit is very welcome! This is my first formal block pattern and I'd love feedback.

Using a facing to set a shape into a block:
This method works for most shapes! All you need is some scrap fabric. The facing won't show in the end so feel free to grab whatever you have lying around, matching or not. **Please note that the grey floral Flea Market Fancy print in these pictures is the fabric on my ironing board, and not part of the block**

Step 1: 
Cut your scrap fabric exactly to the shape/size of the piece that you want to set in. For the Block, you'll cut a circle about 8" in diameter.

Step 2: 
Pin this piece to the RIGHT side of your background. For the LAMQG block example I centered this piece by pressing my facing AND my 12.5" background in quarters and then matching the centers. 
Once pinned, sew around the circle (or other shape) 1/4"-1/5"  from the edge (Keep it even all the way around. Make sure to stitch in a nice clean shape)

Step 3: 
Cut out the center 1/5" inch inside your stitch line. Cut through both the facing and your background fabric. You are cutting your hole!

Clip curves of inside seam allowance making sure not to cut through your stitching. 
Flip all seam allowance and facing fabric to the wrong-side of the background piece and press. You should not be able to see any of the facing fabric or seam allowance from the right-side of the background. You should have a nice clean hole. (There is no better way to phrase that. Sorry)

Step 4:
Place background on TOP of finished "Candy piece so that the candy is centered in the circle in the background. Pin if necessary  and then sew the candy to the background by stitching just to the left of your previously stitched circle (where you stitched the facing to the background). 3 layers of seam allowance should be to the right of your stitching and should roughly match up with the edge of your "candy".

Once you have stitched all the way around the candy following your previous stitching press your completed block flat.

Here's the block in the official LAMQG BOM colors!
 Boom! You're done! Congrats, it looks great!

Please don't forget to post feedback: what you like and what can be improved and tag photos of your finished block with #hardcandyblock Cheers!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Loving that Linden

It's been chilly here in LA! Not "East Coast" chilly by any means, yet still chillier that I've become accustomed to (I must be getting soft in my old age! ha!).

I've been wearing a lot of sweaters lately, but swimming through the endless sea of options available at the mall to find the perfect ones has become a maddening endeavor.

I'm a HUGE (HUGE) fan of the Grainline Studio Scout Tee, so when I saw their Linden Sweatshirt I thought I'd give it a go for these "frigid" temperatures (it was literally 75 degrees yesterday; I am a big baby).

I had this amazing knit that I purchased for cheap from the FIDM Scholarship store downtown that I thought would be perfect. It's a crazy ribbed knit with metallic detail. It's obviously quite cozy...

Cutting took about 30 mins in my tiny space and piecing only took about 40 mins. Like the Scout Tee this pattern comes together perfectly and quickly!

Ta Da! I used the opposite side of the fabric for the sleeves which shows more metallic, and has a chain-mail-like appearance. Very Joan of Arc for the modern age. And as you can see that it was a terrible day outside with it being mildly overcast and all...

I'm a happy camper! Definitely can't wait to try it with some lace sleeve detail and a lighter weight knit as spring warms up this horrible LA frost

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Stars in your Eyes

Monday night I attended my first LAMQG meeting and loved it! Such a friendly and welcoming group of people, much like I'm finding all of LA to be. LA has this reputation to be fake, and guarded and inaccessible to many, and while I'm not exactly finding that to be entirely untrue, I'm also not finding that to be the case with the majority of my experiences here. I miss my SBAMQG ladies, but I have a happy home here in LA.

I managed to finish a new quilt to share by the meeting. It began as a fusion between the Sparkle Punch and the Single girl quilts, and became "Stars in Your Eyes". I'm in love with the palette and the concept, and my piecing, but I'm kind of in hate with my quilting. It began as a sophisticated concept, but I think I accidentally ruined it with children's scribbles. It was intended to be more starry night than birthday party, but by the time I recognized my mistake I was too far along to tear my stitches out. My City Scape late night photo-shoot also didn't work out very well, so better, daytime or dusk pictures are to hopefully come.

I also wanted to preview the next quilt I'm working on while wishing for Fall:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

More pieces from LA

The best part about living in this city is that I see things that inspire me every day.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Roxanne Obsession

I am a little obsessed with the Roxanne top by Victory Patterns.

It's perfect for hot LA weather, so after wearing my original out of a lovely cotton chambray...

I wear it a LOT, so much that I decided that I had to make a second!

For the redux, I used a print from Tula Pink's Salt Water collection, lace for the back yolk, and a Dear Stella cotton solid for the collar.

I also shortened the back a little bit, but it's still plenty long.

I have a hard time with a summer wardrobe because I love layering, and I hate being hot. Los Angeles has been an exercise in perseverance over perspiration (how do Angelinos keep makeup on???)

I think that sleeveless cotton tops are going to be a major part of my wardrobe from here-on out.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Today in Los Angeles

I'm still a little bit in tourist mode, snapping pics of everything I see...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Emo Emo Scrap Sack Tutorial

In my (hopefully very temporary) unemployment here in LA I've been able to catch up on a lot of sewing projects that I've been meaning to work on, and make a few domestic items that my adorable new apartment needs.

After seeing so many cute scrap sacks and thread catchers at sew days and workshops I knew I had to make my own and properly inaugurate my new sewing space!

- 1/4yd cuts of interior and exterior fabrics (at least one should be of a heavier weight for structure)
          I used Kamiya Kanako's beetle print from Emo Emo for the exterior, and a Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton in Grape for the interior.
- 1.5" strip for binding (I used Kona Lipstick)
- Ruler
- Rotary Cutter
- Something round, like a cup, that has about the same size circle as you want your sack to be

Using your round object cut out one circle each of your interior and exterior fabrics, then get ready to do some easy math.
In order to achieve the correct length of the side pieces that you cut you need to determine the circumference of your base circles, and add seam allowance.
Circumference=2*raduis of circle*3.14
The radius of my circle was 2.25" so:
I then added .5" for seam allowance which gave me 14.63" for the length of my sides. Luckily this is is about 14 and 5/8", but you can round to the nearest number that you're comfortable with; it won't matter too much.
 Using this measurement cut one piece of your exterior and lining measuring 9" (for height) by the number you calculated (to fit around the base).
Also make sure that you have your 1.5" strip ready.

Right sides together, sew the side seam (9" seam) on your side pieces, and then finger-press your seams open.

Pin and sew base right sides together on both interior and lining pieces. If the sides and the base don't quite match up, make small pleats around the edges, or take in the side seam.

Turn your exterior right-side-out, and place the inside-out lining into the right-side out exterior. No seams should be visible when they're nested.

Pin your strip for binding along the top of your sack. When you first begin pinning, fold over your binding by about 1/4", and make sure that your last cut-edge overlaps this fold (to hide the seams). Then stitch down the binding using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Finger press a 1/4" fold all the way around the unsewn edge of the binding. Then fold te binging over the raw edge of the sides so that the fold is on the interior of the sack and no raw edges are visible. Pin.

Stitch in the ditch (or if you're like me, you'll sew kind of in the general vicinity of the ditch) on the exterior of your sack, making sure to catch the binding on the interior as you sew.

TA-DAH! You're done! Just fold down the top for extra color-cuteness and added stability.

Now you can keep your sewing area free of messy scraps and cuts without making a million trips to the waste-basket. It's perfect for traveling with too.