Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Building Your Fabric Stash

Building your fabric stash can be a daunting and overwhelming task.  I know that we as sewers and quilters have quite the collection of fabrics already but do we have the right type of fabric in our stash that can be easily pulled and used for a particular project?  I wanted to share some simple ideas and questions to ask yourself the next time you are at the fabric shop and wanting to buy some fabric to build up your stash.

What color of fabric do I need or want? 
We all have a color we are drawn too, for example, I love anything in the aqua/blue/teal colorway and when I am shopping for fabric I have no problem picking out fabrics in those colors.

This is a current picture of my aqua/blue/teal stash overflowing in quite a messy way!
So think about colors you are not drawn to and force yourself to pick up a couple of pieces in those colors each time you are at the fabric shop.  For example, I'm not a big lover of purples and reds so I try to buy at least one piece in those colors each time.  My purple stash is slowly growing and I'm still working on my reds.

Do I have a good collection of all colors of fabric?

If you think about the color wheel, ask yourself if you have a good balance and mix of all colors in the color wheel.  You have your primary and secondary colors.

 These are the basic colors in the color wheel.  There is also the tertiary colors, colors produced by mixing two secondary colors together.

Shopping for all shades of colors can be overwhelming, so one idea is to start with your primary and secondary colors and once you've mastered that then move onto the tertiary colors or of course do it all at one time and little bits at a time.  It takes time building up your stash.  
Do I have a good collection of fabrics for background quilt fabric?

Background fabric can either be very simple or more complex.  Most quilt patterns call for yardage for background fabric but if you would like to explore the idea of having more scrappy backgrounds than you will want to build your low/medium volume stash.  

These fabrics can be a little boring and aren't as exciting as your colored fabrics but if you pick up just a couple each time you are fabric shopping then you will be very pleased when it comes time to make that all scrappy quilt including a fun scrappy background! 
Now that we have talked about building your fabric stash in color and background fabric lets talk about the print of the fabric. 
Do I have the right fabric prints for my stash?

This can be an overwhelming thing when we are at the fabric store or shopping for fabric online and have so many fabrics to choose from.  One thing to think about is this if the fabric has a defined color scheme, that can sometimes be more difficult to use in a quilt or project.  Those fabrics are usually good for a particular quilt or project in mind and not necessarily good for building your stash. 

Although these fabrics are beautiful they aren't my "go to" fabrics when I'm in the middle of a project. 
Try looking for fabrics that have 2-3 shades of color likeness within the print.  For example a red/pink print could be used as a red or pink within my project.  Here are some examples of these type of prints. 

These fabrics can be easily pulled for a project and blend in nicely.   Another thing to think about is the size of print and making sure you have a good mix of small/medium/large print.

How much should I buy of one print for my fabric stash?

I'm sure there are many different opinions and ideas on this but I like to buy 1/2 yard cuts.  I've been doing this for years and like that I can use the fabric a few times before running out and that I don't get tired of using it.  
We would love to hear from you and your thoughts and ideas on how you build up your fabric stash! Mine is a work in progress and I loved sharing my thoughts on this subject today!

Friday, April 14, 2017

9 Essential Quilting Supplies for Beginners

Whether you've been quilting for thirty years or just a few, you have to start somewhere! 

Don't over-think, over-complicate, or over-spend - keep it simple! Here is a list of basic, but essential, quilting supplies that a person usually needs when starting out in quilting.

1. Sewing Machine
Don't overthink your machine! You could simply purchase a straight stitch machine  to meet your basic quilting needs. Better yet, start by asking your friends, family, neighbors, etc. if they have a sewing machine that they would like to sell or giveaway - I'm sure you know someone with a machine stuffed in a closet not being used! 

There are a couple features that we do recommend to look for when looking to own a sewing machine; these are needle up/needle down and a walking foot and/or a hopping foot. 

Tip: when purchasing a machine, test the weight of the machine; you want it to be heavy! Some of the newer machines are made of all plastic and are too light, which causes the machine to move when sewing large projects.

2. Cutting Mat

Cutting mats run all price ranges. Make sure you purchase one that is at least 18 x 24 inches - this will give you more room to cut your fabric! 

3. Rotary Cutter

Rotary cutters run in all sizes. The standard size is a 45 mm cutter. Start with this size, it is more universal and will work for the projects a beginner usually tackles. 

5. Quick Curve Ruler ;) 

A ruler gives your rotary cutter a guide for a straight (or curvy :)) cut. The Quick Curve Ruler gives you options of serving as a straight edge ruler and a curved ruler. Our ruler will give you the functionality of two rulers, for the price of one! 

You can find our Quick Curve Ruler and Mini Quick Curve Ruler by clicking HERE

6. Scissors 

Scissors are worth the investment! Buy the highest quality scissors that you can afford, nice scissors make a big difference! 

Tip: Do NOT cut (or let any one else cut) anything but fabric with your quilting scissors. Cutting anything other than fabric will dull your scissors and make them less effective. 

7. Needle & Thread

Keep it basic here - nothing fancy! Start with one medium/dark (we recommend a gray) spool of thread and one light spool.

Purchase basic and economical needles.

8. Seam Ripper

Don't overthink this one, keep it simple and affordable! Chances are you will purchase more of these in the future, as these seem to get lost easily ;) 

9. Iron & Ironing Board

If you already have an iron and ironing board, just use those! They will most likely work just fine for beginner projects. Helen, one of Sew Kind of Wonderful's designers used a basic $6 iron from Walmart for 5 years! 

Once you get more advanced in your quilting you'll probably want to invest in a nicer iron and pressing mat, but start with what you currently have! 

Here is Sew Kind of Wonderful's Director of Business Operations, Kimbra Lovgren's, quilting zone! Her mom gave her an old sewing machine she had lying around! Kimbra began quilting in January. 

What would you add to this list? What are some of your favorite sewing products and brands you would reccomend to a beginner quilter? Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

How to Sew Curves!

Are you hesitant to sew curves?  Do they seem a little like green eggs and ham?  You’re just not quite ready to try them…. But then you do!  And you like them Sam I Am!!!

Well its time to give it a try!

Watch this video to see an easy step-by-step method to sewing curves.  Give it a try! You can also view this video on Youtube by clicking HERE


Eight steps to an easy curved sewing technique Sew Kind of Wonderful uses for sewing curves in our patterns!  

1.  Cut the curves….

2.  Position the curves with concave on the bottom and convex on top…

3.  Sew a couple anchor stitches…

4.  Manage the fabric one piece in each hand. (Switch hands and use the most comfortable.)

5.  Bring the two curved edges together as they feed under the pressure foot…

6.  Take care not to stretch the bottom or top piece. (move the bottom piece from the far edge instead of pulling on the bias cut….)

7.  Press

8.  Square-up

Practice by making the free runner pattern which comes with either the Quick Curve Ruler or the QCR Mini Ruler.

It only takes 4-8 curves to get comfortable sewing them.  Chain piece projects so you get some curved muscle memory going!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tuesday Tips, Chic Country Square Up

Our Chic Country pattern continues to be one of our most popular patterns, for good reason! It's amazing!! :) We've taken a wonderful traditional design and simplified it using the Quick Curve Ruler!! 

Many quilters have had a lot of success and satisfaction with our Chic Country pattern and the quilts they've been able to make using our pattern are breathtaking! 

Some of our customers have had questions about a few steps in the pattern and in particular the "square up" step. 

Here is a picture tutorial of a few steps in this pattern, including the square up. 

These first few pictures show the process of sewing on the background pieces and directional pressing for one block.

 Right sides together, sew on first background piece. Begin with the ends meeting, as shown...

Press towards focus fabric

Right sides together, sew on second background piece, begin with top piece down about an inch.

 Press towards the background piece that was just sewn on.

 Right sides together, sew on third background piece, beginning down about a 1/4 inch.

Press towards third background piece that was just sew on.

Your block should resemble this.

Place 3 small dots on your Quick Curve ruler with a sharpie marker (these marks can be easily removed with rubbing alcohol). These dots will help when squaring up blocks. Be sure your ruler is face up with the "1's" in the upper right hand corner. Place the first dot down and in a 1/4 inch.

 From the upper right hand corner count over 4 3/4 inches and down 1 3/4 inch and mark your ruler with another small sharpie marker dot.

 From the upper right hand corner count down 4 3/4 inches and in 1 3/4 inch, make another sharpie marker dot.

Place your block under your ruler (as shown in the picture below) with the three points of your "petal" shape sitting under the sharpie marker dots that were previously placed on ruler. Line "petal" points up under the dots as close as possible. 

Some of your blocks will sit under the dots almost perfectly.

However, some if not most of your blocks, the points will be off just a smidgen or more. Don't let this concern you. Just get the points as close as possible under those dots then square your blocks to 5" x 5".

Press all seams open.

Four 5x5 blocks sewn together should resemble this flower shaped block.

Do not let points that do not match up perfectly, concern you! In the end, all the blocks will come together beautifully and the inconsistent points will not matter or take away from the finished quilt. 

As you can see in one of our Chic Country quilts, some of the points match up perfectly and others do not. However, the overall finished quilt is gorgeous and the inconsistencies are not noticed! 

The mesmerizing and beautiful interconnecting circles are definitely the signature look of this traditional design!! Everyone, including us, loves it! Each Chic Country Quilt is breathtaking!

We have taken a relatively difficult and time consuming traditional pattern and simplified it using the Quick Curve Ruler! What used to take quilters months if not years to complete, quilters are putting our Chic Country quilts together in days! :)

We hope these Chic Country tips have helped! We know many have enjoyed and been very satisfied making our pattern and we know many more of you will as well! :)

Here are some more recent Chic Country eye candy that we've seen popping up on InstaGram recently! (Credit is under each quilt)








We are excited to see all of our customer's Chic Country Quilts! Please hashtag #chiccountry or #chiccountryquilt or #sewkindofwonderful on Instagram or Facebook. 

Happy Quilting Everyone!

~Sew Kind of Wonderful~
Jenny, Helen and Sherilyn

Monday, February 20, 2017


A few weeks ago Kathy Doughty sent me this lovely bunch of fabric - a bundle of her new line Celebrate with FreeSpirit.  She asked me to be inspired with it and to blog about the design process and some of the elements we use to give a project the "Sew Kind of Wonderful" look.

 We have been playing with quilt designs that use a curved half square triangle, so I cut a bunch and began laying them out to feel inspired.  Here are a couple fun ideas..... 

Some of the elements we always try to incorporate in our designs include: high contrast between fabric texture and color, use of solids to show off the curved piecing, and to take a less than traditional approach to the overall design....

I then got it in my head I wanted to play around with the traditional quilt block 'card trick'..... here is one version of this traditional block.

I decided to try using our Chic Picnic pattern and the 
'card trick' block to create a slightly different look...... and these are a few of the blocks as I was working up different layouts.

Not only was I playing with the block layout, but also the setting triangles..... One of the fun elements about Celebrate is the great use of color, and to make the colors look more dynamic I used shades of gray as background and the mustard and plum setting triangles.  Kathy's colors are in the secondary and tertiary zones of the color wheel so the mustard and plum colors also worked.

After a few more tweaks here is the fun Picnic Celebration mini quilt......The quilting helped the 
'card trick' design pop and the plain corner pieces also helped to set it off.

Celebrate was loads of fun to work with!  The colors are vibrant, the scale has variety to offer different looks as the prints are cut into different sizes and the fabric has a joyful feel to it!


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2017 - Off To A Great Start!

2017 has already kept us very busy! Just the way we like it! :)

We had a wonderful time in California at the Road to California Quilt Show...even though it was a little too cold for our liking!

We had a lot of extra help this time around! Jenny's daughter, Brittany, was a lot of fun and even learned to sew curves and demo like a pro in no time at all!

While at Road to California, Gammill made their announcement that we will be 3 of their newest Gammill Quilt Artists! We are thrilled for this opportunity and to team up with Gammill! :)

After California Helen and Sherilyn rushed off to Logan Utah to participate in the Winter Quilt Fest.  They had so much fun teaching, sharing quilts, and most of all getting to know many more awesome quilters!

Jenny has been doing a little sprucing up around her home after getting Christmas all packed away. 
How about these awesome runners for a little inspiration!

And, Helen has been making some huge changes around her home. She decided a bigger creative space is what was needed. Here is a little sample of what she's been up to. 
Even her new pressing station got a significant makeover!

We have many new and exciting projects in the works. We are working on a new book and new patterns for this year!

How about a Mini Country to go along with our very popular Chic Country!?!

Here is a side by side for a little comparison! So itty bitty and adorable!! :)

And we're not quite sure what these will be but they will definitely be something!! Mannequins, dress forms, bathing suits?? Guess we'll have to wait and see! :)

We just recently surprised our mother for her 80th birthday! We agree, she does NOT look 80!! All six of her children and a daughter-in-law made it to Mesa, Arizona to surprise her! And it sure was an awesome surprise! It was so fun to be all together, even if it was just for a day! 

Happy Quilting!

Sew Kind of Wonderful
Jenny, Helen and Sherilyn