TGIFF: Jake’s Darth Vader Quilt

Months ago, my son had a little money burning a hole in his pocket. It went everywhere with him and he was always looking for something to spend it on.

Then we went to a craft show to check out all the tools and goodies displayed. While there Jake found a Darth Vader quilt kit for about $20. He bought it and took it home with the big idea to work on it with me.

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We started together in March. I did the cutting and pressing. He did the sewing. I was really impressed with his ability to sew straight although he did get a little bored at one point. I asked him to just sit through it and get the top done. Then I’d take over.

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And he did! He stuck it out and completed his first top. And look at those points!!!

Then the quilt sat for some time. More my fault than his. I had little free time to do it and I, too, get bored easily. I’ve never been good at sticking it through a whole project from beginning to end in a decent amount of time but I do try.

This past Thanksgiving I got the bug to really spruce up my craft room and get a few projects done And the first to get marked off that list: Darth Vader!

The quilting is simply straight lines on the diagonal. I also switched between red in one direction and white in the other. Sort of like the Dark Side versus the Light.

Of course, even though I did the finishing, I consider it Jake’s quilt. He did the piecing, he bought the package, and he will be the one to use it. And check out how proud he is!

Now I quilted to the very edge of the borders so it gives the back a nice clean, finished look. The stitching goes all the way to the end of the binding from the back. There is something I really like about this, and I can’t quite out my finger on it. But it’s pretty awesome looking.

I did the binding different this time. I rolled the backing fabric over to the front, glued it down, and hot pressed it together. Then did a simple straight line around the edge. And I have to say, it was a fairly easy process and gave it a very smooth look.

Even the mitered corners look crisp! I used a simple Elmer’s glue stick to first fold over the back to covered that raw edge. Then I smeared a little glue on the folded binding and pressed it with the iron onto the front of the quilt. I did use my Wonder Clips to hold it into place but I didn’t need it, honestly. The heat from the iron and the glue held really well.

Another shot, this time from the back. See how neat that is? A simple binding line and I don’t have that spot where I had to tuck the binding into itself. Instead it’s just a clean straight fold.

And with the quilting coming to the edge and folding over to the front, some of the ends dot the binding and the effect is kinda cool. Almost like stars in the galaxy peaking out of the dark skies.

The little man is pleased to have a quilt and I’m so proud that we did it together. There is another quilt in the books!

Check out our side bar for some great quilting link ups! This post will be linked over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

And if you want to hear our most recent podcast, definitely check out Episode #56 where we discuss Birds in the Air by Frances O’Roark Dowell!

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WIP: Sewing Together Wonky Blocks

My son has always been interested in my sewing hobby. He’ll stand next to me and watch the machine whirl away, laying down neat little stitches. When he was younger he liked to push the pedal down and “help”. As he got older, the mechanics of the machine interested him more and he would ask questions and open up my old machine, Shelby, just to see how she ticked.

Then he took an interest in fabric and colors and patterns. He’s very creative and loves to put things together, Legos being his favorite medium. Using the colorful blocks to build ships and rockets and towns helped him see how fabrics could be used in a similar fashion to build using color and texture. So he’d help me arrange blocks and pick out fabrics to finish off my projects.

One day I bought a cheap fat quarter set of some bright chevron patterns and gave it to him to do with it however he wanted. It was his project and I would only sit by to help.

Jake calls these

Jake calls these “zebra stripes!

I gave him some tips on how to cut with a rotary cutter (a little tough for my southpaw) and then let him sit at the machine himself to sew.

Let's sew!

Let’s sew!

He enjoyed the time together and really got a kick out of creating something himself.

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Ahhh, look at how little he was! This was back in May of 2014. He’s now grown so much, cut his hair, and he doesn’t look like a little boy any more. He’s more grown and looking more… adult. Sigh…

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So grown! He started 4th grade this past week and it’s amazing how time has flown. He’s still super creative and loves to build. This past weekend, while we had some downtime, we brought out his project again and this time he got to sew on the big Elna!

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This time he was fascinated not only with the mechanics of the new machine but also the technology on Elna. His favorite: the button that allows him to cut the thread with one push! He even had a few suggestions for improvements!

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Taking off from his starting point over a year ago, he sewed together strips and then paired them together to make groupings of four. With some help from me, we cut the strips on an angle and made Wonky Blocks. After, we put our heads together to create a block using what we had cut.

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TADA! A diamond Wonky Block made from four smaller blocks. He was very proud of all his work, including his ironing. The end result is a bit crazy and colorful but he loves it!

We don’t quite know what the end game is yet for his first project but there are a lot of options: placemat, table runner, mug rug even.

Check out our vlog as we put our heads together and work on his Wonky Blocks.

Check out our side bar for some great link ups around the internet! This is linked up with Sew Cute TuesdayWIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social!

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WIP: The Zig Zag Whatever It Shall Become

Have you ever started a project without a plan in mind and just let it go where it wanted to go?

Not long ago, my son and I picked up some half priced bundles of brightly colored zig zag fabric. My son has a real eye for color and he’s draw to the primaries. Originally this stuff was meant for a mug rug for a teacher but we ended up making her a baggie for all her teacher goodies. As we wrapped up that project, I was left with a pile of this vibrant fabric just waiting to be used. So, I began teaching my son how to sew using the colors he picked himself!

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His first attempt came out great! Then I moved onto to other projects and this team effort got put aside.

After finishing a quilt I had been working on for years, I sat down to take a look at all the projects I wanted to start, continue with, or finish. I’m very ADD when it comes to sewing. I always have a project or two in mind along with a few I’m in the progress with. That’s when all those bright colors caught my eye and I thought it would be great for the two of us to get working on whatever this project turned out to be. My kidlet got into a spot of trouble this past week so all video games were off limits and he had a lot of free time on his hands. He saw me working in the sewing room and asked if he could sew too.

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And we did! He sat down with me and helped sew together a few strips. I guided the fabric through the machine as he was my “peddle pusher”. He worked on his pressure and watched how he could manage a slower stitch or a faster one just with a simple press of the peddle. There was no method to our madness but we had a good time picking up and stitching them together in any combination we grabbed.

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Then we got down on the cutting board and worked on cutting more strips of his zig zag fabric. Unfortunately, my little lefty really struggles with the rotary cutter. He was really having a hard time putting enough pressure down to cut through the fabric while rolling it forward in a straight line. He got so frustrated that one of his attempts skipped over the clear ruler and nicked my thumb. Nothing bad but enough for me to call a time out and to take over the cutting.

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After that we pressed the seams and I showed him how to iron it flat. We played with pressing the seams to one side versus pressing the seams open. It takes a bit more time but I found that my pieces laid flatter when I pressed the seams open. He got a kick out of using the iron but wasn’t too careful with it. I could tell he was nervous about getting burned even though I was there with him, guiding him. So I took over the ironing, too. We decided his job would be to sew the straight lines.

So, I have NO idea what this will be. I’m figuring it will be a blanket of some sort but it’s going to come about organically and based on both my ideas and my son’s. We have enough material to make a good sized blanket if we wish but with my son being only 8 and with a kid’s attention span and with me being all over the place with projects, it could turn out to be a pillow or two, some mug rugs, or maybe a table runner. Who knows!? The ideas are endless and I’m kind of excited to see where it goes!

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Teaching My Son To Sew!

My son is 8 years old. He’s growing like a weed and venturing out into new and unexplored territory. This Spring he played baseball for the first time and he’s reading more and more.

It’s hard to believe that this baby…

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Is now this boy…

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And after all the years of watching me sew, he’s now interested in it himself. After I brought my sewing machine home from the repair shop, he’s been very curious about the story behind it and what I use it for. He’s watched me repair his costumes and create mug rugs and now he’s ready to learn how to sew!

My favorite part of being crafty with him is watching how his mind works. Seeing how he picks his patterns and colors amazes me. Even without knowing much, he’s got a great eye for color. The end of the school year is upon us and as a gift to his teacher, we plan to make her a bag and a matching mug rug. So together we walked to the craft store and bought some fabric to make her an adorable reservable bag.

He’s a little antsy to get the whole thing started but I had to explain how we had to clean the fabric first and get all the prep work done. He wasn’t thrilled. When everything was ready and it was time to cut, he was STILL frustrated that he couldn’t sew yet. So we sat down to cut our strips for the mug rug.

I’m keeping that pattern simple. Just 2 inch strips sewn together with a simple border and binding and solid backing. I taught Jake how to hold the rotary cutter and how to measure out the strips using the clear ruler and our green rotary pad beneath. Math is a WONDERFUL thing to learn when doing a hands on project. Makes it much more easily understood plus it makes fractions fun.

My lefty

My lefty

At first I couldn’t figure out why the rotary cutter wasn’t working for him then I realized my lefty was angled wrong. He was cutting from the wrong side of the blade so I had him switch his position. Much better!

He did get frustrated more than once with the cutting. He would roll it along the ruler and it would skip across the fabric, only cutting here or there. I explained to him it takes pressure against both the ruler and the cutting pad to cut through the fabric from one end to the other. And then I explained that the time it will take to become good at all this won’t be in a matter of minutes but over a longer period of time. That for some it takes years. This seemed to ease his frustrations and he continued to work on it.

After cutting enough strips we pinned two together and set to work on the machine. He threaded the needle (!!) and took his time to sew a straight simple line. I was soooo proud!!!

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And here he is with his first piece! It came together great and he did a fantastic job sewing and cutting. I plan to work a bit with him each day and to remind him that sewing isn’t an overnight project. It takes time and patience, something I hope he will learn to have more of. The side benefit, this project will hopefully strengthen his hand and eye coordination AND build his fine motor skills, an area in which he’s always struggled.

He may not be interested in sewing for long as all 8 year olds tend to jump from interest to interest but I’m thrilled to have someone to share my love of sewing with, even if it is only for the time being.

This mama is super proud!