Archive for March, 2015

Play Date #14 Button Cuff Bracelet

March 24, 2015

Since I was a little girl I have loved buttons. I can remember hanging-out with my mom while she sewed in her bedroom in sunny California. I’d sit on her bed and go through her round tin button box time and time again. She had one large flat box and a smaller round taller box. I preferred the larger flat tin. It was black with small colorful designs on the top, as I recall. This was the beginning of my love for buttons.

I Love Buttons.

I Love Buttons.

Needless to say I have collected buttons since I was a young woman. I spend time sorting them, choosing the right one for a design, and gathering an assortment in a specific category for another project. I never stop buying buttons at Goodwill, flea markets, and antique shops. The price still has to be right. If you could see all the buttons I have, you would wonder why I need any more.

Button Jars

Button Jars

Button Boxes

Button Boxes

So when the founders of the Texas Quilt Museum asked me to make button cuff bracelets for the Museum gift shop, I was intrigued. They had each received such a bracelet from a quilt friend in Paris. I examined their bracelets and how they were made. I had to decide if I could part with some wonderful buttons, old and new, I had collected over the years.

Original Paris Bracelet

Original Paris Bracelet

It took many months before I decided to give it a try. The first one took me many more hours than was worth my time. I was happy with the results, but it was a tedious job.

My First Attempt

My First Attempt

The second bracelet went a little faster as I made some changes to streamline the foundation process. I also added batting to make the foundation sturdier for hand sewing.

Pastel Buttons on Second Attempt

Pastel Buttons on Second Attempt

The third bracelet took two nights of hand-sewing and watching the Season Two DVD of Downton Abbey. It had more buttons than either of the other two I had previously made. The original bracelet had a gold lame fabric for its base. I followed this same idea thinking it made it dressier. However, with the red buttons it was hard to hide the fabric peeking through.

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

So on my fourth attempt I chose fabric for the foundation the same color as the buttons I was going to use. Now that was much better. I’m very happy with the results and the amount of time I spent making the bracelet.

Black Button Bracelet

Black Button Bracelet

I feel comfortable enough about making these Button Cuff Bracelets that I can now share the instructions with you.

Materials Needed

  • Matching button color fabric for top, backing, and facing
  • Light weight batting such as Warm and Natural
  • Buttons small and large
  • Beads and trinkets
  • Strong thread such as carpet thread
  • 1″ piece of velcro

Instructions

1.  Make foundation template. Draw a rectangle 2 1/2″ X 7″. On one end mark in 5/8″ on both sides. From here draw a tab closure 1″ tall. This is the finished size for a 6″ wrist. Make template longer for a larger wrist.

Make Template

Make Template

2. Using template, cut a top and backing 1/4″ larger than template. Cut a lining same size of template without the tab. Cut batting same size as template.

Cut Matching Fabric

Cut Matching Fabric

3. Pin top fabric to facing fabric right sides together. Pin batting to one of these wrong sides. Stitch close to batting. Leave an opening for turning. Clip off corners. Clip to stitching where straight edge meets the tab.

Stitch Three Layers Together

Stitch Three Layers Together

4. Turn right side out making sure all edges are out and flat. Turn opening to inside and stitch. Cut Velcro round at one end. Pin one half to wrong side of the tab. The straight edge will extend into the foundation. Stitch.

Velcro to Tab

Velcro to Tab

5. Match the other half of the Velcro to the right side of the foundation. Straight edges of foundation should just meet. There is no overlap. Cut off excess on straight edge of Velcro.  Stitch with machine.

Add Velcro to Front of Foundation

Add Velcro to Front of Foundation

6. You are ready to stitch your buttons to the foundation. Depending on size of your buttons, you will need 30-40 buttons. Get them together with a few beads and trinkets in a flat box big enough that you can spread out your collection.

Collection of Black Buttons

Collection of Black Buttons

7. Thread your sturdy hand-sewing needle with double strand strong thread. Knot. Starting in center bring the needle from back side to front. The side without the Velcro on the tab is the front side. Start with largest buttons in the center. It’s OK for knots and threads to show on the wrong side. It will be covered with facing fabric when you are finished. Stitch through each button three times. Back tack before moving to the next button. Feature your most impressive buttons in the very center. Sew through buttons that have holes on top through each hole once. Then sew again with beads or smaller button to cover button holes. Add smaller buttons on both sides tucking them under the larger buttons you stitched down the middle.

Cover Foundation with Buttons

Cover Foundation with Buttons

8. When you are satisfied with the look, turn bracelet to wrong side. Turn under raw edges of facing fabric and pin to cover all the button stitching. Hand-stitch to edge of cuff using matching thread.

Facing Stitched to Back

Facing Stitched to Back

9. Cuff bracelet is complete and ready for you to wear. The closure will not show so you can choose to wear the bracelet turned the direction which is your favorite. Or, you can alternate the sides with each wearing.

Black Button Bracelet

Black Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

I have an order from the Texas Quilt Museum for more button cuff bracelets. My next one is going to be made with mostly gold buttons. I’ve collected them and can hardly wait to get started.

Gold Buttons

Gold Buttons for Next Cuff Bracelet

Tomorrow I leave for Chicago for the Spring International Quilt Festival. I would love to start stitching on this fifth bracelet, but I need to bid you good-bye and pack. I’ll be teaching in Open Studios and Make It U on the show floor and have a few more things to gather and prepare for that. So it’s time to put this away and get my head focused on a really great show. I hope to see you there. Bye-bye.

Chicago Quilt Festival or Bust

Chicago Quilt Festival or Bust

Play Date #13 Triangle Pin Cushion

March 13, 2015

This silk pin cushion has been on a library shelf in our Quilts, Inc. office for many years. I did not pay much attention to it until I attended a Quilt Camp led by Heather Thomas in La Grange, Texas. I sat next to a woman who had a version of this same octopus-like pin cushion. However, hers was made with eight smaller cotton fabric triangles rather than six like the one pictured here.

Vintage Pin Cushion

Vintage Pin Cushion

So, like we all do when we admire something, I asked if I could take a picture of her pin cushion and make a few measurements. She was gracious and told me how she made it.

Original Pin Cushion

Original Pin Cushion

I scribbled down a few notes about the pin cushion.  They’ve been tacked to my design wall for over a year now.

Instructions

Instructions

When I was asked to do a short, small project for Open Studios at the 2015 Chicago Quilt Festival in March, I thought about the Triangle Pin Cushion.

My First One

My First One

As I made this first one I realized students wouldn’t be able to make it in an hour, even with the triangles stitched for them. I knew they would need to go home with pictures and good instructions. I thought you might like the same things, so here we go.

Materials Needed

  • 8 different fabrics. They should coordinate, but have contrast.
  • 1 yard of silk ribbon 1/4″ – 1/2″ wide
  • 1″ button
  • stuffing

Instructions

  1. Cut a 4 1/2″ square from each of the eight fabrics.
    Eight Fabric Squares

    Eight Fabric Squares

    2. Fold each square right sides together on the diagonal. Stitch two short sides together leaving a 2″ opening in the middle of one short side. Clip off three points.

    Sew Triangle

    Sew Triangle

    3. Turn right side out making sure points are pulled out.  Use a chop stick or dowel to push stuffing firmly into points. Then stuff the remaining triangle lightly. Stitch opening closed. You’ll have 8 little triangle cushions.

    Stuffed Triangles

    Stuffed Triangles

    4. Arrange in contrasting order. Thread hand needle with double strand thread. Knot. Hold 2 triangles together with long, unseamed side facing out.

    Long Unseamed Side

    Long Unseamed Side

    Hand-stitched side should be facing in. When triangles are together, you will not see hand-stitched side.

    Hand-stitched side

    Hand-stitched Side

    5. Stitch 8 stuffed triangles together at top. Go through each triangle a couple of times. Turn over and stitch triangles together on bottom.

    Stitch Together Bottom

    Stitch Together Bottom

    6. Thread needle with double strand thread. Knot. Loop one yard ribbon back and forth in approximately 2″ loops. Tack each time to hold. I use my fingers to loop the ribbon.

    Loop & Tack Ribbon

    Loop & Tack Ribbon

    7. Stitch to the top of Triangle Pin Cushion. Add button on top of ribbon.

    Finished Pin Cushion

    Finished Pin Cushion

    8. Have fun stitching.  Get some friends together and stitch, chat, and eat. How much fun is that! Thanks for stopping by. Until next time I wish you fun, friends, love and stitches, Judy

    Make Your Life Fun!

    Make Your Life Fun!

     

 

 

Where Have You Been?

March 9, 2015

I’ve thought of you often and wondered about sending you a post on different things I’ve done since Christmas, but nothing seemed interesting enough to write more than a Facebook hello. So here I am with just a newsy letter as a catch-up from the last two months. I’ve missed you.

We have spent time with our children and their families here in Houston, in Dallas and in Long Beach, California. Our daughter’s daughter, Lindsey Huebner, played basketball on Saturdays, and we made many of her games. Often Holly was off with Sydney at competitive cheer venues, and Scott was with Ashton at his very early basketball games.

Lindsey Huebner after Basketball Game

Lindsey Huebner After Basketball Game

Lindsey is playing softball now. I love watching her play softball, but the weather has been so cold, my husband has gone to the games without me. I’m having trouble with Sciatica right now and hoping for relief when I see my internist this Wednesday.

In January, we made a trip to Long Beach in California to see our son Troy, and his wife, Michelle. He has recently renovated their duplex in a charming historical neighborhood, California Heights. We loved seeing what he has done and also seeing Michelle pregnant with our sixth grandbaby. When the baby comes in late May, we will have three granddaughters and three grandsons. We are so excited and so blessed. Troy and Michelle celebrate their first wedding anniversary today. You can look back to my March 2014 blog post to see their wedding on the Queen Mary.

Troy and Michelle in their in process Renovated Kitchen

Troy and Michelle in their “in progress” Renovated Kitchen

We have had unusually cold weather in Texas this winter. We weathered ice and freezing temperatures to make it to Dallas last week-end for our son’s daughter’s Senior Presentation in the National Charity League. It was a lovely Dinner Dance and a special time with Todd, Julie, Madison and Tyler. I loved seeing Todd and Madison dance the Foxtrot around the dance floor with the other four senior girls and their daddies.

Madison Murrah at Senior Presentation

Madison Murrah at Senior Presentation

During the week we have continued our usual schedules with Bible Study on Tuesday nights, church on Sunday, me at the office twice a week or in La Grange at Texas Quilt Museum board meetings or for Quilts, Inc. Executive Committee Meetings or Staff Retreat last week. (Note to self: Need to photo-shop Bob, Rhianna, Vicki, and Marcia.)

Quilts, Inc. Staff Retreat

Quilts, Inc. Staff Retreat

There is still time at home for entertaining and creating. The house was adorned for Valentine’s Day and a sweetheart dinner for our pastor and his wife and two other Sunday school couples. It’s time to decorate for Easter now.

Decorated for Valentine's Day

Decorated for Valentine’s Day

Tommy and I get together most evenings for dinner and a movie or documentary on Netflix. Every Sunday night we have been glued to the TV for the latest Downton Abbey episode. He loves it as much as I do. Since the season is over, we have started watching the DVD series for Season 1. We are surprised at some of the things we have forgotten. It’s good to see Sybil again.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

During this cold winter (Yes, I know I don’t know real cold living in Houston, Texas.) I have had some delicious studio time. The Texas Quilt Museum orders my collage greeting cards on a regular basis. I love making these mixed-media small pieces. I recently completed another order of 24.

Anniversary Collage Card

Anniversary Collage Card

Embellished Lady

Embellished Lady

Sweet Anniversary

Sweet Anniversary

Recently I also completed an order of 18 embellishment packages for the Museum. I enjoy making these packets of the same types of things I use for making the collage cards. I understand people buy them for crazy quilting also.

Embellishment Packets

Embellishment Packets

Something new I have started making for the Texas Quilt Museum gift shop are button cuff bracelets. Scads of vintage and “not-so-vintage” buttons are sewn to a fabric cuff which closes with Velcro. It’s fun to use buttons from my endless button collection. This means I have to sort and examine my collection which makes me quite satisfied.

Bracelet in Brown and Black

Bracelet in Brown and Black

Bracelet in Pastels

Bracelet in Pastels

Yesterday I made the first set of six strip pieced blocks for a block exchange with some of our support Education staff. Barbara Black has organized us and will demonstrate how to make these blocks in Open Studios at Quilt Festival in Chicago at the end of this month. You can go to her blog at bbquiltmaker.blogspot.com to see a tutorial on how to create these blocks. We each will hang our completed blocks made into something in the Education Office at Fall Quilt Festival in October/November.

Tanya's Blocks

Tanya’s Blocks

I am making kits to teach also at the Chicago Quilt Festival in Make It U on the show floor. If you are attending, please join me. I will teach it two different times. Check out the Make It U schedule. If you won’t be there, stay tuned for Play Date #13 where I will post a tutorial on how to make these darling pin cushions.

Triangle Pin Cushion

Triangle Pin Cushion

So that’s the update for now. I’ll see you again much sooner with a little class time. Until then, have a great time creating, enjoying family, and staying healthy. Love and stitches, Judy

 


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