Do you remember my post about getting started on this bright bunny English Paper pieced (EPP) mug rug, my Sizzix Design Team debut? I’m sure you have your stack of basted pieces all ready to go, sitting at the edge of your seat patiently awaiting my finishing directions, right? Great! Either way, I’m excited to finally share the finishing directions today on the Sizzix blog.
This is a great project for those of you who want to do more hand stitching in the uber portable form of EPP, but who are not quite ready to hand baste and piece an entire quilt.
In this tutorial, I take you through:
stitching the basted pieces together;
savvily removing the template papers;
attaching the completed EPP to the background fabric;
removing excess fabric to help reduce bulk; and,
using the backing to bind the mug rug.
These are all great techniques for any EPP project.
One little forewarning: making a bright and bold mug rug like this one may draw extra attention to the plate of treats you rest on it. This most likely will result in extra sneaky small hands swiping your snacks.
Halloween is a fun time of year around our house, since my kiddos love to dress up in costumes from years past all year ’round, and the end of October means NEW costumes and candy! While I’m not really big into decorating the house for holidays (with the exception of Christmas and Easter–how can you resist those?), I do like making holiday crafts with the kids to help build excitement.
Today I’m going to share a quick tutorial for some spooktacularly sturdy beanbags, a perfect addition to a Halloween party but also a great addition to any child’s toybox. I should note, too, that beanbags are my go-to gift for two year old birthday parties. When a child turns two, I’ve found it’s really fabulous to have something you’re SUPPOSED to throw. Beanbags are such a versatile gift since they can be personalized in any way; you can change the shape, change the fabric, or personalize with applique letters or pictures. I’ve included affiliate links in this post so that if you decide to buy any of the tools I’m using, I will receive a small commission, too. I only share tools and products I love, so you can be sure they are tried, tested, and loved!
I figured since it’s nearly Halloween, it was the perfect time to use my Cotton + Steel Spellbound Collaboration charm pack that I bought from Fat Quarter Shop. The 5″ circle die worked perfectly with the charm squares, which made my job even easier! I used my go-to thread, 50wt Aurifil 2600-Dove for all sewing.
Choosing four pairs of coordinating charm squares, cut eight (8) 5″ circles, layering your Sizzix sandwich: bottom cutting pad, die with the blades facing up, fabric centered over the circle blade, and top cutting pad. All necessary circles for this project can be cut with one pass through the fabi, which made this a really quick project to make with my kids.
Next, pin your pairs of fabric right sides facing. I used only four pins, two of which marked a 2″ opening. With a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the circles together, leaving 2″ open for turning and filling. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.
Turn beanbags right side out through the 2″ opening. Gently slide your finger along the seam from the inside to make sure the circle is fully turned. Press with a hot iron. Turn in the seam allowance around the opening and press, too, since that will make sewing the beanbags together much smoother once they are filled with dried beans. Since it’s a curve, this step is a little tricky (or at least it was a little tricky for me). Just remember what you’re making: these are going to be tossed and thrown and loved, and perfection is overrated!
Now comes the fun part! Grab some small dried beans (I used dried black beans), a funnel and/or spoon, and a couple of eager helpers.
Fill the beanbags with dried beans, leaving at least an inch of empty space at the top. Trust me here; the beanbags will seem too empty, but while you are sewing them shut and top-stitching, you will want that extra wiggle room.
We found that a combination of funnel, spoon, and simple “use your hands to put the beans in” worked well for us.
Either pin or clip the tops once the beanbags are filled (remember to leave that good inch or inch and a half of empty space in the top). This will both remind you that the beanbag is “finished filling”, and remind your kiddos not to cram any more beans into it. (We definitely took as many beans out of the beanbags as we put it. All part of the fun, right!?)
Depending on the size of your helpers, this may be a messy activity. Plan accordingly, or embrace the chaos.
Once all of your beanbags are sufficiently filled, head back to the sewing machine and topstitch about 1/8″ inch from the edge of the beanbag, beginning by sewing the opening closed. This extra round of sewing will securely close the opening, and will also provide extra durability for the entire beanbag. I made some beanbags for my nearly-six year old when she turned two, and they are still going strong in our playroom.
I used my zipper foot to sew these beanbags closed, and sewed most of them with the needle between the foot and the beanbag (shown in the top photo above). It proved more finicky than I remembered, so with the final beanbag, I moved the needle so that the foot was between the needle and the beanbag (shown in the photo above). This worked much more smoothly for me. As you sew around the edges of the beanbag, stop every couple inches with the needle down to reposition the beans, pushing them away from the part of the beanbag you are about to sew. Sew all the way around each beanbag.
Now you have a handful of spooktacular sturdy beanbags and you’re ready for fun! Toss them at pumpkins, into trick-or-treat buckets, or at each other (avoid faces!). Have fun!
I’m excited to share that today is my Sizzix Design Team debut! Over on the Sizzix blog, I share a tutorial on how to get started on making an awesome English Paper Pieced (EPP) mug rug using the Rose Star die.
Did you know that there are Sizzix dies created specifically for paper piecing!? I cut all of the templates and fabric needed to piece this EPP star all from a single die! Pretty awesome.
In the tutorial, I take you step by step through the process of making and basting EPP pieces, including some helpful tips, so if you’ve been wanting to learn or brush up on your piecing, go check it out!
A few weeks ago, I received an email inviting me to join the Sizzix Design Team as their English Paper Piecing (EPP) blogger. I was excited at the offer since I love EPP, but I had never used a Sizzix die cutting machine before (affiliate link), though I’ve heard many good things about them. For those of you who don’t know, the Sizzix is a die cutting machine that has the ability to cut fabric (or paper and other materials) quickly, easily, and accurately with the use of stainless steel dies (basically like cookie cutters in a foam protective layer) rolled through a pressing machine. Sizzix sent me a Sizzix Fabi Starter Kit (affiliate link) and a few dies to try out, and I figured if it was as helpful, safe, and time saving as I’d heard, I would happily sign on as a Design Team member.
It didn’t take me long to be convinced at how big of a time saving tool the Sizzix machine was. It cuts eight (8!) perfectly even pieces of fabric at a time, including “fussy cut” shapes–of course I had to try to meticulously cut with the Fabi before agreeing to join as an EPP-focused Design Team member! While the meticulous cutting takes a bit more preparation to get lined up, it surely is faster than hand tracing and scissor-cutting, not to mention perfectly accurate in size and shape.
The biggest selling point for me was the safety of using the Fabi die cutting machine (affiliate link). As a mom of little ones, I can do all of the necessary cutting for a quilt with my kids around, even my very busy three year old son. In fact, my kids can even (eagerly) help turn the crank to cut the dies (with my direct supervision of course). There’s no way I would rotary cut fabric around my son and even scissors disappear off the table if my hawk watch falters, but the Fabi is definitely doable. Not only will I get more accomplished, but perhaps this will inspire my kiddos to try more fabric crafts as well.
So, it’s official: I’m a member of the 2015 Sizzix Design team! I’m excited to be joining the team, and will be sharing posts and projects soon. (Who doesn’t love an excuse to start new projects!?) In the meantime, I’m playing around with my Fabi, starting a few projects, learning the ropes of die cutting, and experimenting with ways to use the Sizzix with EPP. I can’t wait to show you what I’m making! Here’s a tiny little peek to hold you over:
Do you use a Sizzix or other die cutting machine to help speed up your quilting process? What’s your favorite aspect?