Tutorials for Blog Journalists (209)

Are we Journalists are our own News? I think sew and for today I wanted to share a new site I found while on my friend Vivian’s blogs: Quilting Under the Midnight Sun she has a link to Shabby Blogs have you heard of this site before? Me neither and it’s AWESOME.

Sew many good things here like amazing tutorials on how to brighten up your blog and change things – they have great videos too:) Enjoy and tell them Valerie sent you;)

Tutorial on Miter Borders (180)

Today’s post is an excerpt from the Private Journey of a Quilter blog post showing how to do the mitered borders and I thought this would be excellent to share with all of you…

Now onto borders using my Journey of a Quilter project as the example (45″ square)…prep your border sections by cutting them into the correct width, in this case, 3″

You will need 4 strips for one side. 19″ x 4 strips = 76″ – 18″ (is what’s taken up when you connect the 4 strips together on the diagonal) = 58″

you will need 52″ (45.5″ + 6 (extra for mitering at the corners) but leave it at the 58 so you have some extra when doing the mitering).

When connecting strips, you should always connect on the 45 degree diagonal because with a straight up and down line your eye will see this, if you connect on the diagonal your eye won’t tend to look directly at it as it’s more subtle. I use a Clover Chalk pencil with the roller on the end for marking, just preference, you can use a pencil or whatever will show up the best for you. Mark your diagonal and then pin 🙂

I always connect strips in the same direction. Right side facing up, on my left hand side, add the extra strip on the right with the right side of the fabric facing down. 

I do this the same when when I connect any strips together regardless of the width of the strip, borders, bindings always the same way. If you don’t do it always in the same direction, you will notice it so much because one diagonal will go one way and another will go the opposite way. One thing with quilting is you need to find your rhythm. The way that makes sense to you so that way you will become an expert at the technique.

Sew across, make sure your needle position is in the center and not set to 1/4″ seam allowance or just be conscious if it is when connecting these on the diagonal.

with scissors or a rotary cutter, remove the excess leaving 1/4″ seam allowance, press really well to set the seam, them press open.

Cut away the seam allowance

Here’s what your border strips will look like. Remember when I mentioned the direction of the seam is very important how you connect your strips because if they aren’t connected in the same way, the seams from the front will go in opposite directions…here’s the correct way when all the strips are connected in the same direction.

I’m going to show you how to do mitered borders, so the corners of your borders meet at a 45 degree angle instead of square. This quilt needs an amazing frame whether you hang it on the wall of lay it on a chair, trust me the results are fabulous!


Finger press your quilt top in half, mark with a pin, this is your center.

Finger press your border fabric in half, mark with a pin, this is your center.

Start pinning from the center then towards both the outside edges. 

When you do mitered borders, you start sewing 1/4″ in from the end, be very exact here, then backstitch at that point, sew along full length, watching your seam allowances that they are nice and flat while sewing, stop 1/4″ in from the other end, back stitch. You can mark this 1/4″ with a pencil, pin or whatever works for you to remember to stop and backstitch 1/4″ in. 

Here’s what it will look like from the front.

repeat the same thing on all 4 sides.

With right sides together at 90 degrees (top and side) you will match the borders, perfectly, pin in place to hold while you mark your diagonal, line your ruler up, see how my 45 degree marking on my ruler is flush with the bottom of the quilt when it’s folded?

mark this way from both sides, this will ensure you have the correct angle, you can pin from both sides also, if you put a pin through your line on one side it should be in the line from the other side.

pin from both sides

sew, starting at the edge of your stitching line from the border, backstitch, sew to edge, backstitch, break thread. Trim so your seam allowance is 1/4″

Here’s the front…Did you try this, are you happy with how it turned out?

and from the back

Any Questions? 

Until next time, if you create a mitered border based on my tutorial, please let me know, I love to see your work, email me a pic if you feel so inclined 🙂

Until next time, stay happy, mitered and creative!

Review: Press Open or to One Side? (133)

Welcome back to Vals Quilting, today I want to talk about pressing seams open or to one side. 

I was taught to press seams to one side generally to the dark and to nest the seams when connecting blocks together, this seems to be the proper way or the way most quilters sew.

A year or so ago I was reading about quilters starting to press seams open, then I was struggling with a complicated block and my friend Beth said to press my seams open and boy did that ever make a difference. Less bulk, it lays so much flatter especially when you have multiple pieces.

I also had the privilege recently to take a lecture or two and a workshop by Fun Quilts, Bill Kerr and they press their seams open and always have. They do this to relieve bulk. If they have no concerns about pressing their seams open and commissioning their quilts in upwards of $5000K they must be onto something….

There was some debate recently at a quilt guild meeting regarding this. One lady mentioned that pressing the seams open may make the seam vulnerable, another person agreed but if you think about it, Seamstresses and Sewers press their seams open all of the time to relieve bulk. Some sewers will finish their seams in  “french” style or zigzag over the seam allowances to ensure they are secure or even use a serger so the seam allowance doesn’t become frayed. You likely wouldn’t use a serger when quilting because this will definitely add bulk to the seam and plus you will be quilting through all 3 layers to finish the quilt and secure the blocks in place at the end.

I was taught to sew pressing the seams open, thanks Susan.

I was taught to press my seams to one side when quilting, thanks to all of you quilting experts and teachers out there 🙂

I’ve decided to press seams open and or to press in the direction that will make my block sit flat and to reduce bulk, if that means to press to one side, I will do that, if that means to press the seam open, I will do that.

Since I’ve started teaching with Chinook Learning Services, I’ve decided to teach my students to press their seams open, so far 🙂

What do you do? Press Open or to one side and Why?

Until next time, have a happy and creative day!



Ironing Board Cover Tutorial Part A (entry 99)

First I want to report on my AWESOME first class. I have 7 students and I think this is my calling…for real, I love being able to pass on my knowledge of this wonderful textile art to anyone who wants to learn it. So Yes, I’m loving teaching!! More reports will come 🙂


For today I would like to inspire you to freshen up your ironing boards with a new cover or two…now that I’m in my new studio space my DH needs his own iron and board so I’ve ordered a new iron and bought a new board…here’s the iron it’s a Sapporo Gravity Feed. Has anyone used one of these before? I’ve heard wonderful comments on them, I’ll do a video when it comes in for you all…

Since my old ironing board looks like it should go into the garbage can, here’s the before picture but please don’t tell anyone!!

Onto the Ironing Board Cover Tutorial…

I’ve done two covers, here’s the first one, the second one I’ll show you all next week as it’s the one I did for myself and it’s adorable!!!

Here’s the colours I picked for DH’s board well he actually picked them as he didn’t want me to pick “cute” stuff, lol.

these colours are from the new Metro Goes Au Natural Line

Here’s his finished board cover

 get out your ironing boards ladies:

Measure length and width adding 3 inches.

For Jeff’s board I wanted the stripe going lengthwise I used 59″ of fabric (1/2 length of 1.5 yards) for the length x 14″ width which is the exact width of the top at the widest point and 3- 4″ WOF 3 for the polka dots border around the perimeter.

lay your iron board on top of the center main fabric in this case it’s my stripe!!

trace around the board to get the perfect shape.

As you can see I left the cover on I prefer my ironing boards to have good padding when I’m pressing and so does my DH – but I think it’s because of me 🙂

cut around with a nice sharp pair of scissors so your lines are excellent,

now add your border print – polka dots in this case, pieces all sections together so you get the entire perimeter around the board following the curve

start on the bottom square edge, follow all the way around the curve then down the other side stopping at the square edge, trim so it’s even. Then take the remaining fabric left over of the polka dots and sew directly across the bottom.

Because you are following the curve shape this will help hug the ironing board.

I like to test things as I go, so I’ve laid it out onto the board to see how it looks, cute eh?

Next cut out a layer (or two) of batting this helps absorb the steam and provides good cushioning

I wanted a good casing for the ribbon, so I thought about what would make a good casing, I decided to use binding…so cut 2.5″ sections out of main fabric enough to give you the entire perimeter around the board. I used double fold standard binding techniques…here’s a tutorial on binding to help you out.

Attach your binding to the perimeter starting at the center on the rounded end because this is where you want your tie to be, unless you want it on the other end, you decide, other way start in the middle.

sewing the binding to the top of your ironing board cover, start by folding the edge under so it’s finished, backstitch a few times to ensures it’s stable, sew all the way around until you meet up again, cut away access after you provide yourself with a bit of fabric to turn under.


here’s the view from the right side.

 Now what we need to do is turn this under again to provide the casing for the ribbon, make your seam allowance almost an 1/8″ because you want to have as much of an opening as possible

same thing as before, follow from the center all the way around to the center, backstitch

Find a nice long ribbon, shoe lace, fabric pieces, something with a small width as you only have about 1/4″ to pull whatever though, add a safety pin to the end, make sure you can get the safety pin through the opening

Feed it all the way through, your hands will start to fill it when your done as it’s a bit of a long process, so get comfortable.

Thanks for reading my blog and if you try my tutorial out please send me a picture of your finished board valerie@pastimesonline.ca as I would LOVE to see what you create.

Hopefully I’ve inspired you to freshen up your boards for Spring!!!

Have a happy and creative weekend everyone, 

PS Plans for this weekend for me will include, Flying Needles meeting and sew day on Saturday, and Sunday putting kits together and sewing, can’t wait!!! Send your inspirational thoughts my way.

Around the Net: Free Applique Tutorial (entry 64)

Today for my “Around the Net” posting I’m highlighting: Sentimental Stitches as they have an excellent tutorial on hand-applique, we all talk about different methods and this one I’m adding to my website. It’s excellent and the pictures are great! Very similar to the Gina Kimball method.

(Kim E you should try this one instead of your paper one…)

(photos courtesy of Sentimental Stitches website)

When you spend some time on her site there are so many other things available like free patterns and 

since I’m so into embroidery, here’s a sneak peak at one of her free embroidery patterns…Dianne P you will love this 🙂

Until next time, have a happy and creative day…

Chenille Block Tutorial (entry 63)

Hi Ladies, thought I would share a quilting tutorial of one of my favourite techniques: Chenille. For those of you who have never tried this or who don’t know of it…enjoy.

1) Use contrasting fabrics to get a good effect. Mine are blue, beige, blue reversed, orange marble, beige b, stiff interfacing, dupioni silk with fuse right side face down as this is my lining. You don’t need the interfacing if you are using the chenille blocks in a quilt. I based this tutorial on my new Scissor Keeper pattern and kit (to come)

Line the edges of your fabrics up in a nice pile, mark “X” with choco-liner

Sew the cross lines then begin to sew the chenille lines using your foot as your width guide

finish each quadrant the same way

Once you are done sewing, cut in between each sewn line, in all sections in all quadrants. You will need the sharpest scissors you own as you will be cutting through the top 4 layers. Again, if you are doing these chenille blocks for a quilt you not use interfacing and you will cut through all top layers.

Rinse really well in cool water (if using silks) or warm water if using cottons, you want this to be completely soaked make sure you get every layer. Dry, you may want to add this to a load of clothes so there is some substance in the dryer to help the chenille process.

Here’s what it looks like once washed and dried – don’t you just love it!! It’s so warm and cozy 🙂

Have I got you inspired?

Here’s projects I’ve completed using this technique, some of you might have seen: 

for my niece who loves cats.

monthly embroidery project that I added the chenille too.

My newest pattern, Chenille Scissor Keeper with matching needle keeper

This set is for my Mum, which she loved!

for my SIL, and she loved this also…

Any questions, just email.

Around the Net (entry 48)

Hi everyone, 

Quilter Going Bananas has a few tutorials on her blog and once I started digging a bit further there’s one on Half Square Triangles and Quarter Square Triangles. If you haven’t taken a class on perfecting these I suggest you do as there are so many blocks that incorporate these in the patterns we choose and it can be very frustrating when they don’t come out precise.

{from Quilter Going Bananas}

{from my pizza box challenge}

Several years ago, I took a class on Half Square Triangles and Quarter Square Triangles – well two classes actually part one and two. Joanne Middleton from Patchwork School House is an Alberta teacher and lecturer. She has a barrage of courses available to take and she travels all over Alberta, it just depends on how busy her schedule is to book with her.

This class I took was so great it taught me something like a dozen methods to do half square triangles and most of them proved to be easy and accurate – some I just tried the technique and then I chose the one I liked the best!

She sells DVD’s and has been featured on QNN – check out her site when you have a chance, she is an amazing teacher and person.

Joanne also has quite a few very cute patterns.

Until next time, join our block of the month club: Journey of a Quilter

Have a great creatively inspired day…

Around the Net: Christmas Idea (entry 43)

Hi Everyone, I took the day off on Monday from all things digital, well except my sewing machine lol. 

I found this awesome blog, Park City Girl check out her Christmas Stocking Tutorial which is so timely. Thanks Amy as I love these little cuties.

If you already have stockings, why note make some to hang on your front step or porch for decoration 🙂

Spend some time flipping through her blog as it’s adorable and she has lots of really great ideas.

Have a great day, Valerie

Around the Net: Bags (entry 37)

Happy Remembrance Day to all of us Canadians

Thank you to those who have fought for us, those who are fighting and those who continue to fight for our freedoms as we are forever grateful.


Around the Net I go… and as I browse all the wonderful blogs out there in blog land, I try to keep a list of all the cool things I stumble upon with the intentions of sharing with you : )

Today is no exception. DIY Bags is a cool blog all about bags, of course and as you browse through the site you will find a collection of all types of interesting bags.  Some to take grocery shopping, others to our sewing meet-ups or for guild giveaways, or even to stuff full of little trinkets and give away as gifts.

As a quilter/blogger I really felt a connection to DIY Bags.  It has such a great collection of free tutorials with clear descriptive pictures and links to originating articles… “what a good idea”.

To help get your creative juices flowing, here’s a sneak peak at 4 very different styles and colours.

Until next time, have a great day! Valerie