Saturday, March 30, 2013

Joan's Vintage Butterfly Tutorial

Hello!  I'm glad you came over to see how to make my Joan's Vintage Butterfly block!  My name is Pamela and I found this unique block in a quilt that was brought to me for repair.  I shared it on my Facebook Page and the quilters there requested a pattern.  I shared it in my pattern store on Craftsy and that is most likely why you are here!  Before we get to the tutorial, I'll just share a bit more about myself (since you are a captive audience....)  I have been sewing since I can remember, and caught the quilting bug in 1986 before I had my fourth daughter.  Being a mom of 4 children under the age of 5, quilting really became a sanity saver for me - it really seemed like the only thing I did that would stay done!  I am pretty much a self-taught quilter, so if you don't have access to local teachers and classes, just go to your local library!  (Or the internet - lots of great info there!)

I started working at a local quilt shop about 10 years ago and my wonderful boss encouraged me to start writing patterns.  I love it!  I am a bit on the shy side, so this really works well for me.

I would love it if you would take a minute and follow my blog.  You can follow through google, or on bloglovin, or feedspot.  I also have a newsletter, and most months you will find a free block pattern through there.

I've been thinking of adding a step by step tutorial for this butterfly pattern I have on Craftsy for a while, and since they promoted it on the Free Friday feature this week, I think the time is right!
 There were a few comments about my color choices, so this time I'm going with batiks!  I always say that you can't do an ugly quilt with batiks, so I think I'm pretty safe in saying that this version should be more appreciated than the original.  (Though I like it as well - Amy Butler is a good choice, IMHO!)

The first thing I did was to choose my fabrics.

 I picked a soft blue for the background, a dark purple for the body and a gorgeous purple with a fun design for the wings.  I thought about choosing a third purple for the accent, but ended up going with a bright orange!  I think it will really pop those purples and make them glow.

Next I cut out my printed pattern pieces.  Sorry, but templates is the only way to get this block made.  I like to add an arrow to indicate the grain line so my block will be nice and straight without bias edges.

G and K are the wing sections.   Fold your fabric right sides together and you can cut two of each at the same time.  The wing accent is I, cut it the same way.  For the body, cut 1 of piece H.  For the background, fold your fabric right sides together and cut BCDJ and E.  Then from one layer of fabric cut one more E and F.

There are a few ways you can cut out the pattern pieces.

  You will definitely want to use scissors for the curved pieces, but for the straight edge pieces you can use a rotary cutter.  You will need a small ruler, and pins generally don't help because they get in the way of letting your ruler sit flat on the fabric.  The biggest problem with this method is that your pattern piece will try to slide around.  A little piece of double stick tape will solve this issue.  Just line your quarter inch mark on the seam line and cut all around each piece.

You can also just pin your pieces on and use scissors to cut around the templates.  You do have to be careful, but the pieces are small so it isn't too hard to get nice straight lines.

The third way is to trace around your templates, then cut the fabric using the lines as your guide.  If you follow this method, be sure to cut to the inside of the drawn line so you don't make your seam allowance too fat.

 If you plan to use this method, print your templates on card stock to make nice sturdy pieces that are easier to draw around. If you want to make enough blocks for a whole quilt, you will want to trace your pieces onto template plastic for the most durable pieces.

Now we are ready for sewing the block!  When I'm piecing I like to use Aurifil thread and a number 12 needle.  Time to tackle the trickiest part - that curved seam.We will get that out of the way first.

 (You may want to cut a couple practice pieces to try this out on before you work on your "real" block!)  

 I like to start with a pin in both corners 1/4 inch from the edge.

 I prefer to sew with the the wing section on the top.  Because it is an s curve there is really no better way of doing it.  Select a small stitch length and take your time.  Use one hand to bring the bottom layer where you need it and one hand to guide the top layer.  Try not to pull too hard or you will end up stretching your fabric.

 If you get to the end and one part doesn't look right, just take out your stitches and resew it with the other side on the top, it can really help. I had to resew one side, and in the end it was still a bit off, but I don't think it's going to be too bad, so am just going to keep it.

You can try clipping your seam allowances by about 1/8 inch every 1/2 inch and that can help too.  Press the seam as you please, it doesn't seem to matter in the finished block so whatever you like best on this one.

Next, add piece B to the top of the wings.  Press this seam away from the wing.

Next add peice C to the top and D to the bottom of the wing. Press both seams away from the wing.

 Add one of the E pieces to the top of one wing section (make sure you have it the right way, the three sides are not perfectly equal!)

Right way to sew the lower wing unit!
This is the wrong way:

Wrong way to sew lower wing unit!  The top should be a straight line!

Sew an I piece to the top of each G piece, making sure you sew the correct ones together!

 Then add an E piece to the bottom outside edge of each one.  Press seams away from G.  Sew one of these to each side of piece H, stopping 1/4 from the bottom end and backstitching (this is a variation of  a Y seam with 4 seams intersecting).

See the gap?  This needs to be restitched!

Your two seams should meet (or pretty close to!)
Here is how it should look on the outside.

Now add piece F to fill in that empty spot.  Stitch from the outside edge right to the end of the seam - it's easier to do if you keep the wing section on the top.
Then flip it over and stitch to the other wing section with F on the top.
Make sure the other layers are lining up like they should so you don't catch a pleat of fabric in the seam.
Stitch from the outside edge and stop at the end of the stitched seam at the corner.
It lines up nicely on the back...
And look at that nice point on the front!
Press seams toward background and wings.

 Now to sew the three pieces together!  Just add the wing section without the extra E piece first, there are two seams to match.

Peek at your seams to see if they match!
 You can pin them, or do as I do and just fold back the top and go for it!

Then the final wing section to complete the block - three seams to match on this one, but it's not hard to line them up.  Press seams, admire!

  Repeat if desired or save it for a butterfly sampler - I'll be adding some new patterns soon.  I hope this helps you sew your Joan's Vintage Butterfly Block.  If you sew one up, add it to your projects on Craftsy and link it to my pattern - I'd love to see how yours comes out!

Here are some instructions for those that are having difficulty with downloading the templates from Craftsy - From the pattern page, click the link to add to your cart. (Don't worry - this is a free pattern and you won't have to pay anything, but you do have to add it to your cart to go through the process of getting it into your library!) Once it is in your cart you have to click the link to add it to your library - you'll see this button under your total, which should be 0.00. Once you have done that you click the link to go to your pattern library -it is a small link in a sentence that says: You can download all of your purchased Patterns immediately from your My Patterns page. Click on the red words (on your craftsy page, not here!) When you get there you will see the pictures of the patterns you have and if you hover over the picture of the pattern you will see that you can click to download the pattern. I think a lot of people are getting confused with the process because you don't see the download button until your cursor hovers over the picture! Hope this helps! Also, some people seem to get a message that it is a malicious website. This may be a browser or virus protection issue. I know that I spend a lot of time all over craftsy and have never encountered any problems.

If you make a block using this pattern, please send me a picture of your project! I would love to share some of these on my blog. You can e-mail them to me at:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Anniversary to us!

 I can hardly believe it has been 33 years since these pictures were taken!  What a wonderful day - we look so young and happy, don't we?  The one thing we didn't get a good picture of was The Kiss - oh well.  I also  didn't find the picture of the groom singing - wonder where that went?  It was such a nice wedding - can you believe we got married in the morning?  I don't think anyone does that anymore.  I sewed my dress myself.  Quite a few of my friends also had made their dresses.  I don't think many brides do that anymore either!

During the ceremony we had a song playing and were both getting very teary, this one was a posed one after, we look a lot happier!

Reception was in the church  basement - pretty crepe paper streamers for decoration, plus the gorgeous cake.  Definitely different from how most wedding receptions are done now.   We had punch, nuts and mints with the cake.  We opened our presents right there, and had fun with our guests!  I love this picture!

This is the wedding party, including parents, pastor and ushers!
Ready to leave - we drove to California for our honeymoon.  Sweet memories of starting our married life!  I wouldn't change a thing, it was a wonderful wedding and a great beginning.  Life is always full of surprises, but together we have made it through a lot of adventures.  I'm sure we have a lot more to come!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

And the Winners are....

What fun!  Thanks to everyone who participated, I really enjoyed your kind comments.  I was glad that my random numbers ended up being for 3 different people because I really hadn't thought of that it's good that it worked out!

The first winner will receive the tote bag....Char!  Congratulations!

The second winner is Pam Geisel - a selvage bin - you'll have to let me know what color you would like!

The third winner is Teachpany - your choice of luggage tag, let me know which one you would like as well!

Tomorrow is another big day - my husband and I are celebrating our 33rd anniversary!  How time flies, it certainly does not seem like we could be married for that long, but it is true.  We don't have any big plans, but will enjoy our day with each other - it doesn't take much to please us!  Maybe I'll get out the wedding album and scan a picture or two to share - I was a pretty cute bride :)

Thanks again, and congratulations to the winners (who I will e-mail shortly!)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy Spring Giveaway!

I can't believe that my Etsy shop turned 7 this year!  I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed selling all my creations on Etsy, it's really been a blessing to me in many ways - I have met a lot of wonderful people, and it's such a thrill to say that people own my quilts all over the world!  Plus that, I haven't been buried alive under an avalanche of my own creations :)

I wanted to celebrate with a fun giveaway, but have had so much going on  that I'm late to my own party - but, as we say, better late than never!

I am going to be giving away 3 different items, so there will be three lucky winners!  The first item I am going to give away is this gorgeous tote bag:    This is a fully reversible tote bag made out of dark blue denim and a lovely blue and cream toile.  One side of the bag is made of alternating strips of the two fabrics.  The other side is solid denim with a toile pocket.  The handles are short, but wide, making it comfortable to carry even when fully loaded!

Tote measures 16 inches wide and 14 1/2 inches tall.  The handles are 18 inches long and 2 3/4 inches wide.

The second prize will be your choice of one of the mini selvage bins from my Etsy shop!  Just tell me which color you would like - I think there are plenty of choices there, so everyone is sure to find one they would like to have.

The base is 3 inches by 5 1/2 inches, and it stands 5 inches tall. I love to keep one on my cutting table to hold the selvage strips I trim off as I cut fabric. They would look really cute grouped on a wall to organize your bits and pieces! Would also make a great thread catcher, and I just discovered they are perfect for holding CDs!

Third Prize will be a luggage tag - also your choice from my Etsy shop.  This is one of my favorites -

Since international shipping is so high these days, I have a special Giveaway item for my international guests - I will send your choice of 2 PDF patterns from my Etsy shop!

Now that you all know what the prizes are, let's get to the how-to.  I want to have LOTS of entries so, each person may enter multiple times!  For one entry, just leave a comment here.  For additional entries you can follow my facebook page and leave a comment telling me you've done that.  Follow me on Twitter, and you can have an entry for that.  Follow my Pinterest boards and you have the opportunity for a fourth entry!  Follow my blog, and that will give you another entry.   Last but not least, if you share this Giveaway on any of your social networks, leave a comment for a total of 6 opportunities to win. This Giveaway will run until 9:00 pm pacific time on Friday, March 22. Let's make it Monday, March 25 to give more people a chance to enter!  

Thanks for joining me, make sure you enter as many times as you can :)  Good Luck!