Elfin Sleeping Bag and Pillow

Hi everyone, it’s Chris Warnick from www.frecklemama.com again with a simple project that is perfect for the holiday season, gifts for the grandkids, or a even a beginner project for teaching the kids to sew.

Do you have a small elfin creature who comes to visit you in the night?  Maybe just during the winter months?  Well then he or she is probably getting chilly right about now.  Have a heart and make the poor fella a sleeping bag with a comfy pillow.  It is a quick and easy project that can also be used to make placemats!  Let’s get started.

52 Moda Candy Mini-Charm Squares for the sleeping bag and pillow exterior – I used In From The Cold by Kate Spain (Note: I actually used scraps so I have more repetition than a Candy pack will provide.)

1 piece of backing fabric for the sleeping bag interior 12 1/2″ x 16 1/2″  (Note: my interior piece is pieced from two fabrics.)
1 piece of batting 12 1/2″ x 16 1/2″
Small handful of polyfil or some cotton balls for stuffing the pillow

Ric-rac, piping, ruffles, ribbon, buttons or any other trims desired to make your sleep sack “fancy”

To make the sleeping bag exterior, select 48 mini-charm squares and sew together into pairs.
Once in pairs, layout the mini-charms to create two panels, each 4 squares across and 6 squares down.  (Set aside the remaining two pairs for the pillow.)  These panels will be the front and back of your sleeping bag.

Sew the pairs together to form the two panels.

Sew the two panels together to make one big panel.  This is the sleeping bag exterior.

Next grab your batting and backing/interior piece.  Each should have the same measurements of your exterior panel (12.5″ x 16.5″ in my case).  Below is my exterior panel on top of my backing to check that they are the same size.

Place batting down first, then the exterior piece right-side up next, followed by the backing right-side down.  See photo below for clarification.  Basically, you are placing exterior and interior pieces right-sides together (RST) and then placing that pair on top of your batting.

Now sew around the entire rectangle leaving a 3″ gap for turning. I like using a “green for go” and “red for stop” pin to remind me to leave the gap:

Clip the corners to reduce bulk.  Flip the whole thing through the gap and poke out the corners with a chopstick or knitting needle.

Press into a pretty rectangle, paying special attention to making your gap nicely pressed.

Top stitch close to the edge around the entire rectangle.  This will automatically close the gap.

If you just want a great table mat, placemat, or very large mug rug, stop here!  Enjoy your finished item!  If you are making the sleeping bag, you’re almost done.

Quilt a stich line straight down the middle.  If this panel is an open book, you are quilting down the spine.  This helps stabilize the batting to keep it from bunching.  You can also quilt the entire panel if desired.

Now, close your “book” by folding the piece in half.  Begin sewing the two sides together about two squares down from the top.  Sew carefully since there are many layers.  Sew down to the corner and around to close the bottom.  Notice that I pinned the corner to keep it from shifting:
To tack the flap open, use a hand sewing stitch in the corner.  Be sure to sew just through one layer rather than sewing the bag closed in that spot.

Someone has his eye on this already.  It’s a little wide for him, but his plush friends might enjoy the extra elbow room. 

If your elfin friend wants a snugger bag, adapt the pattern to result in an exterior that is 3 squares across rather than 4.  That would look like this:

But wait, no one wants to rest their weary head on a cutting mat, do they?  Let’s make a pillow to go with the sleeping bag.  Grab the two pairs of squares left over from your original panel layout. 

Place these pairs right sides together and sew around the entire rectangle leaving a 1″ gap for turning.  Clip the corners and turn right-side out.  Stuff the pillow with polyfil by using very small bits to prevent lumps.

Pinch the gap closed and fit under the presserfoot.  Topstitch around pillow edges, naturally closing the gap.  You may need to shift the stuffing around to help get the edges of the pillow under the foot.

AHHHH, much better!  Sleep tight little elfin friend.
One doll-sized sleeping bag and pillow.  Hopefully your elfin friends won’t be caught sleeping on the job!
Have a wonderful holiday season, and be sure to share your Moda Bake Shop projects on the Flickr page!  If you have any questions or are looking for a quilt pattern for your human-sized friends, please come visit me at www.frecklemama.com.
Happy sewing!
Chris Warnick

Moda Candy Alphabet

Hi everyone, it’s Chris “frecklemama” Warnick, and I am delighted to bring you this easy and fun alphabet project using Moda’s adorable mini-charm packs.

This alphabet is based on using squares and half-square triangles (HSTs) so you can adapt it easily to use any size square.  The project would work using jelly roll strips cut into squares or scaled up to use charm squares or even layer cake squares.  Want to add a message to a table runner or a monogram to a quilt backing?  This project provides a quick road map for making each letter without needing any fancy supplies or advanced skills.

For this tutorial I made a banner for an upcoming sewing retreat.  Other ideas for this project might include your business name as a banner for a craft fair table, your blog name for a photography background or header photograph, or a funny saying for your BFF’s craft room.

Because your use of the alphabet will differ from mine, you will need to sketch out your own project to get an idea of proportion and fabric requirements.  I use graph paper and have each square on the grid equal one 2.5″ mini-charm square.

Moda Candy Alphabet

– Mini-charm packs, jelly roll strips, regular charm packs cut into four squares or yardage cut into 2.5″ squares*. 

– Background fabric.  In this project I used white jelly roll strips to create background squares and skinny sashing strips.

* IMPORTANT:  In order for your letters to be legible, you really need to choose fabric that contrasts strongly with your background fabric.  I needed several mini-charm packs in order to pick out the charms that had the highest contrast to my white background.

– In this tutorial I used 7 mini-charm packs of Snap Pop by Sandy Gervais.  I also used some strips of a Bella white jelly roll as the background fabric and sashing.

– Backing

– Batting

– Binding


First determine what words you will be making.  Use the alphabet sketch to map out which blocks you are making and which squares are needed for each block. 

Moda Candy Alphabet

For example, if you are going to make an “A” you will lay out your squares like this:

Moda Candy Alphabet

Sew them together like this:

Moda Candy Alphabet

Once you have your letters made, you will separate them with skinny strips of your background fabric.  In the case of my project, I used skinny sashing strips cut into 1 1/4″ strips.  That is equivalent to a jelly roll strip sliced in half, long ways.  Once each word was completed, I finished it by framing it with additional skinny strips. 

Determine the layout of your words by auditioning them in different ways.  In the case of my sample, I stacked my words in a vertical stack and determined that I wanted about 2″ additional framing of background fabric along the sides. 

Once I was happy with my layout, I sewed the top together, quilted it with backing and batting, and machine bound it (Note: the binding is a yellow print from Kate Spain’s upcoming line Daydream).

Because my banner’s shape is irregular, I chose to use bias binding.  For such a small project, I determined that I could cut my binding at only 2″ to maximize my fabric.  I was able to bind this banner with only a Fat Quarter of fabric!  The banner measures approximately 38″ x 35″ at its largest width and height.

Curious what “The Stash Bash” is all about?  Visit www.TheStashBash.com to learn about a weekend of pajamas, friends, sewing machines, laughter, great food, and plenty of our two favorites: chocolate and fabric!

We hope you enjoy using the Moda Candy Alphabet to create a project of your own imagination:  Sew the word JOY along a holiday stocking, create a quilt with your family’s favorite inspirational message, or make a pillow that says YES! on one side and NO! on the other.  Whatever you make with your Moda Bakeshop tutorials, please don’t forget to share it with us on the Flickr page.

Happy sewing!
Chris Warnick

Portrait Gallery Quilt

Sherbet Pips!

My absolute, most highly-anticipated fabric this season has been Aneela Hoey’s Sherbet Pips.  They are ADORABLE.  Full of personality, clear soft pinks and grays, and having what I can only describe as a dreamy quality, the Pips (as they are called in my house) are excellent at providing creative inspiration!  They beg to be fussy cut, and the scarf prints would love to be made into bias binding, frame log cabin blocks, or serve as interesting mitered borders.  I could go on and on about these Sherbet Pips but let’s get to the recipe!

This recipe is for one 80×80 quilt which is about the right size for a double bed. 

9 Fat Quarters of your favorite feature fabrics for inside the frames

2 1/4 yd background fabric – I used Moda Bella White 9900-98

2 1/2 yd “frame” fabric – I used Moda Washed Black 9900-118 but it would look great with Gray also!

4 2/3 yd backing fabric – I used the gray Pip puppies 18502-16

2/3 yd binding fabric – I used scraps of some of the other prints

Batting at least 82×82 which is a Full Size if you’re buying it packaged

Before we start cutting, you may want to change your rotary cutter blade!  There is quite a bit of cutting involved.  Most of it starts with 2.5″ strips so if you have an Accuquilt Go! cutter, dust that baby off 😉  I went ahead and did it with my rotary cutting tools. 

Cutting Instructions:
Be sure to pay attention to squaring your fabric as you’re cutting strips.  After cutting several strips, check to be sure your edge is still square. 

When cutting the fat quarters, you need to be really careful about which direction your pattern is going.  You want a total of 25 squares – 13 cut with the pattern running vertically and 12 cut horizontally.  You will see what I mean in the pictures.

From each fat quarter you will cut two “horizontal” pieces and two “vertical pieces” each measuring 10.5″x6.5″.  Here are some detailed cutting instructions based on how I did it. 
Start by folding the FQ in half “selvage to selvage”.  Obviously, it is missing one selvage so you’re actually folding it selvage to middle.  Lay it out with the fold close to you and cut into a width of  10.5″ and then a width of 6.5″.  The sliver all the way to the left is scrap.

Next turn the cutting mat 90 degrees.  Cut off the fold in a small sliver and continue to trim each piece into 10.5″x6.5″ rectangles.  When you’re finished you’ll have four.
I thought it would be super-confusing rather helpful if my pictures showed random fabrics in each picture.
The left-most pieces are scrap:

Okey-doke.  Now comes the fun part.  Take your ginormous piece of Moda Bella White (or whatever background fabric you’re using) and fold selvage to selvage so you’re cutting strips the WOF (width of fabric).
Cut 5 strips 4.5″ wide.
Then subcut each strip into 9 squares 4.5″x4.5″ for a total of 45 squares.  You’ll use 40.
Go back to your huge piece of background (white) and cut 26 strips 2.5″ wide.

Subcut 3 of those strips into 3 lengths of 14.5″ each.
Subcut 1 of those strips into 1 length of 14.5″ and (8) 2.5″ squares.
Subcut 4 of those strips into 4 lengths of 10.5″ each.
Subcut 8 of those strips into 9 lengths of 4.5″ each.
Subcut 2 of those strips into (16) 2.5″ squares each.
Leave the remaining 8 strips untouched.  They will be used in the border.
Next take your Moda Bella Washed Black (or whatever Frame fabric you’ve chosen) and cut (35) 2.5″ strips.  Set 25 of them aside for the frames. 
Subcut 5 strips into (16) 2.5″ squares each.
Subcut 5 strips into (9) 4.5″ lengths each.
Backing: cut in half so you have two pieces 2 1/3 yds x WOF.
Binding: cut (8) 2.5″ strips x WOF.
Piecing Directions:
The key to getting this going at a decent pace is Chain Piecing.  For those of you unfamiliar with chain piecing, it is a bit like an assembly line.  Piece all of your pieces back-to-back without cutting your machine thread and starting over.  Here is an example of chain piecing:
Let’s start by taking the long frame strips (I used black) and framing the feature fabric rectangles.  I didn’t measure this out.  I pinned, sewed, pressed, and trimmed one side then started the next until the entire frame was completed.  Here is the process:

Once you’ve completed framing your feature fabrics, set them aside.  We will work on the sashing bars next.
First let’s make (20) Block A, (20) of Block B, and we already have (10) Block C cut and ready:
To make Block A take (2) 4.5″ white squares, (1) 2.5″x4.5″ white piece, and (2) 2.5″x4.5″ black pieces.  Sew them together in the order you see above and repeat until you have (20) Block A’s.
To make Block B take (2) 2.5″x4.5″ white pieces, (1) 2.5″ white square, and (2) 2.5″x4.5″ black squares.  Using the photo above, piece them together to complete (20) Block B units.
The final sashing unit is a very long skinny strip called Block D:
Make (4) Block D units:  Each uses (2) 2.5″x4.5″ white pieces, (10) 2.5″ black squares, (5) 2.5″ white squares, and (4) 10.5″ white pieces.
The next step is to create your layout.  Use your feature framed pieces to find a pleasing layout of 5 rows of 5.  You will be alternating horizontal and vertical blocks like this:
The upper-right-hand corner should be a vertical block.  My black & white border collie thought she really needed to be a part of this black & white quilt!
Next it’s time to insert the sashing to create rows.  Here is the top left block:
Moving across, here is the next block:
And the next:
Ultimately, creating this top row:

Ok, from here on out, the layout is easier to see than to explain.  Basically, you’re using Block B and sometimes Block C (on outer edges) to sash horizontal blocks.  Use Block A and sometimes Block C (on outer edge) to sash vertical frame blocks.  Once you begin attaching blocks to form rows, you will include the long Block D sashing strip between rows.  Here is layout:
Now sew your 8 background border strips (I used white) into pairs and attach to each side and top and bottom to complete the quilt top:
Whew!  Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  Then grab your backing fabric 😉  Once it’s cut into two pieces, right sides together and sew down one selvege edge using enough seam allowance to trim off your selvage.  Press that seam.
Find your favorite helper (ie, tape dispenser) and baste:
Now, I’m going to be honest here and say that basting is a, ahem, challenge.  If you use black and white fabric like I did, there might be a smidgy-poo of black threads showing through your white fabric, clinging to your batting, etc.  Trim as much as you can and then just get over it and move on LOL.  Remember about the Amish leaving mistakes in their quilts to remember to stay humble.  I dedicate many of my “special touches” to the Amish.
Quilt.  Bind.  I used my remaining Fat Quarters to create scrappy binding.

Enjoy the Pips!
1 Portrait Gallery Quilt about 80″x80″
Please be sure to stop by my blog http://www.frecklemama.com/ to check out how great Sherbet Pips look on a gray background as well as joining a Spring Quilt Along using your favorite Moda Charm Packs and one of my favorite Moda free patterns!  Happy Sewing 🙂
Chris Warnick

Personalized Placemats

What an honor to be chosen to contribute to one of my favorite websites! My name is Chris Warnick from Frecklemama.com. I am here today to share a tutorial for a set of six personalized placemats. My set is specifically a set of Christmas placemats for my sister’s family including one for Santa. You can use this tutorial to make any kind of placemat with personalization in the center or even replace the personalization block with two additional charm squares. I tried to include lots of pictures so that even a beginner could tackle this project. This is an easy and quick project perfect for a holiday gift!

2 Charm Packs (I used Kate Spain’s 12 Days of Christmas)
1/3 yard Moda Bella White for background of personalization blocks
1 1/4 backing fabric (I used SKU 27029 the Ornaments fabric)
6 pieces of batting 15″x22″
420″ length of binding (if using 2.5″ binding you will need 10 strips x WOF so you will need 3/4 yard of fabric – I used Moda Christmas Red)
Heat’n Bond or other fusible of your choice

You can add embellishments to the background of the personalization blocks by sewing on beads, snowflake buttons, embroidering details, etc.

First select 10 charm squares to use for each placemat. Set aside.

Cut your white background fabric into 6 rectangles measuring 9.5″x5″ each.
Cut your backing fabric into 6 rectangles measuring 22″x15″ each.
Cut 10 binding strips your desired binding width (2.5″) times the WOF.

Print out your names on computer paper. I think I used the font Tempus put into bold and printed in size 200. You can place your 9.5″x5″ white rectangles over your printed names to see how it will look.

Next flip your printed name page over to the backside. You will use this method for each letter separately:

Use a sharpie to trace your letter so that it becomes the mirror image of the original letter. THIS is what you will use for your Heat’n Bond.

Place your Heat’n Bond over your letter and use your marker to trace the backwards letter onto the paper side of the Heat’n Bond.

Select a charm square for your letter fabric. Iron the Heat’n Bond letter to the wrong side of the charm square:

Cut out your letter. Notice that I chose to leave a little extra room around my letter to make it bigger. You do NOT need a seam allowance on these letters.

Peel away the Heat’n Bond paper from the letter:

Note: Layout all of your letters before ironing them onto your background rectangle. Iron the letter, fusible/wrong side down, onto the right side of your white background rectangle.

Using a blanket stitch, sew down the edges of the letters. I suggest using thread to match the colors of your applique letters but in this photo I used a contrasting green so that you could see my blanket stitch.

Once all of your 9.5″x5″ name rectangles are finished, determine your placemat layout using your original placemat charm square selections.

Piece together the top row and bottom row, pressing seams according to your preference. Piece together the middle row by adding a charm square to each end of your name block.

Piece together the three rows to complete your placemat top.

Assemble your quilt sandwich using your backing rectangle, batting rectangle, and placemat top. Baste and quilt. For the Santa placemat I used blue painter’s tape to quilt a diagonal grid. For all the others I used a meandering free-motion stipple. I used a light green thread for quilting and it turned out nicely.

Bind, wash and dry. You may need to iron them flat again.

Six festive, personalized placemats about 13″x18″ each after washing.

Keep in mind that Moda comes out with so many wonderful Charm Packs throughout the year that you could have a set of placemats with seasonal themes, kid themes, charity sets, etc. Your personalization blocks could read “His” and “Hers”, “Peace”, “Joy”, etc. The possibilities are endless! If you use this tutorial to make placemats, please share them over on the Moda Bake Shop Flickr page or drop me a note at Frecklemama.com. Enjoy 🙂

Chris Warnick