Tie On Emergency Face Mask

March 21st, 2020
Tie on Mask
Emergency Tie On Face Mask
You will need 1 Fat Quarter close-weave, all cotton fabric (18 x 22 inches) and a spool of sewing thread, scissors, and rotary cutting equipment is very helpful
Fat Quarter
Cut Fat Quarter
From the Fat Quarter, cut 2 strips, 6 inches by 22 inches
and 4 strips, 1 1/4 inches by 22 inches
Or, if you happen to have some pre-made folded binding on hand, you can skip the strips and cut a third 6 x 22 inch strip.
Sub-cut Fat Quarter
Then cut the two, 6 inch by 22 inch strips into four, 6 inch by 9 inch rectangles. Pin two together with right sides facing.
Sewing seams
Sew along each 9 inch edge use a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Turn and Press
Turn the tube you have made right side out and press sewn edge even and smooth. I know…..where is that iron anyway?!?
Seriously, pressing will make your life easier in this project.
Top Stitching
Top stitch along each 9 inch edge (example on right) Thread that matches camouflages sewing imperfections, but hey! This is an emergency so any color will do.
Place Three Pinch Pleats and pin to hold.
Pleats completed
Do the same at both ends, making sure the pleats go the same way on both ends. We don’t want any smirky looking masks scaring patients.
Now for the fussy part. Take the 1 1/4 x 22 inch strips to the ironing surface and press each in half lengthwise like the top example. Then fold in 1/4 inch on each side and press toward the center crease, bottom example
finished binding
Now, press the strip so raw edges are tucked inside and the piece is a little over 1/4 inch wide. Then fold it in half to mark the center of the strip, like the top example.
Binding Pinned in Place
We are getting there.
Place the center fold at the center of a pleated edge and pin in place through all layers. then use two more pins to secure at the edges of the mask.
Sewing Tie
Make life easier, don’t mess with trying to hem the end of the tie.
This is not a wedding dress!
Just stitch across the tiny end, turn and sew down the open side of the tie, close to the edge. Your machine may be finicky about this step, but go slow and talk sweetly to it, and it should cooperate.
Sewing on the ends
When you get up to the mask piece, take a moment to check and adjust pieces so all is going under the presser foot as you want. Sew as close to the mask piece as you can, then finish up by sewing the edge and end closed on the other part of the tie.
Safety rectangle
To make sure the tie stays securely sewn to the mask, top stitch this “safety rectangle” as shown. We don’t want any masks flying apart in a healthcare professionals haste to “gown up” to attend to the ill.
Tie on Mask
Repeat for the other side of the mask and there you have it.

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Basted Freezer Paper Applique Tips

February 20th, 2020
Basting the Seam Allowance to the Freezer Paper.
Applique shapes are cut from freezer paper and pressed to the wrong side of desired fabric with a dry iron (no steam). Then using needle and thread and a long running stitch, fold the seam allowance around the papers cut edge, creating a smooth fold and sew in place.
Basted Pieces
Using a contrasting color of thread for basting, makes removal after applique easier. These leaves are ready to be appliqued.
Basting Curved Edges
Most applique shapes have curved edges. Convex curves like the piece to the left, gather in easily. Concave curves on the piece to the right, require some clipping to lay flat. Note the clip at the point of the scissors. This clip was made after sewing the basting stitch. Clips should go only half way to the edge in the seam allowance.
Clipped and Basted
Leaves Ready to Applique
Use fine pins or a basting glue to secure to background of applique piece. Applique with matching thread. When done, remove basting then on the back of piece cut a small slit in the background fabric and pull out freezer paper.

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Pressing Matters

January 14th, 2020

Accurate pressing is just as important as accurate seams in producing well pieced quilt blocks.

Scraps to Small to Save
Even scrap blocks need accurate pressing or they will pucker along the edges, making them hard to join together.

Inaccurate Piecing
pleated seam
Note under the tip of the iron how the seam is pleated and needs pressing flat.
Setting the seam
To avoid those pleated seams, first press from the wrong side, as shown, to set the seam. Doing this will aid in producing a crisp, flat seam on the top side.
Right Side pressed seams
When you turn the piece over and press from the top side, you can use the tip of the iron to “dig” into the seam-line and spread the seam flat.
Pressing aids
There are many tools, aids and irons available to improve and make accurate pressing easier. Mary Ellen’s Best press is great for getting out stubborn creases. And I stick with Black and Decker, because they steam good, and the two Managers of Operation have animated discussion on the ironing board, and irons have been the casualties.

Angels, arent they.

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Organizing Your Sewing Space for the New Year

January 6th, 2020

I work in a very small studio. 10 feet by 10 feet. Things are packed in pretty tight.

everyday studio
What my studio looks like most mornings

Projects are here and there, but they all have their space.

messy studio
What my studio may look like at the end of the day

So how do I keep this small space so I can work in it? My first line of defense is doing a 15 minute pick up at the end of each day. I use a kitchen timer to keep me focused.

kitchen timer
A Kitchen Timer keeps me on track.

Most of the time I have several projects going at once and I like to keep things portable so I can take with me to work on. Wrap-n-Totes from my pattern #1501 work well to corral a messy project or to transport a hand sewing project.

Wrap-n-Tote #1501
Wrap-n-Totes make great project totes.

I have many projects in ArtBins and 2 Gallon Zip Closure Bags, labeled and including a Project Action Sheet where I have listed next steps, supplies needed and a proposed finish date.

Project Action Sheet
Project in a 2 Gallon Bag with Project Action Sheet.
ArtBins make great storage and take along containers.

Of course no work space is complete without a good paperweight. Punkin, our Manager of Operations, likes filling that duty.

Punkin the paper weight
Punkin’s favorite quilting job.

I am offering an Organized Sewing Space Workshop at Experience Quilts!, Odessa, Washington, beginning Saturday, January 18th, 2020. 509-982-2012

Looking for a Guild or Shop Workshop, contact us at our info@laurassagecountryquilts link.

What organizing tips can you share with your fellow readers?

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Color Play

October 12th, 2019


Playing With Color

Try this fun color game.

It will help train your eye to see all the color variations, and the endless combinations you can use in a quilt.

Pick any photo that catches your eye.

Then, working with your stash or scrap bin, cut 2 inch squares from all the fabrics you find that match bits in your photo.

Look for dark, medium and light shades, tints, hues, tones and multi color fabrics.

Then arrange in gradations as shown in this photo, and glue in place. Now you have a tool to help you select fabrics for your next project.

Make more than one. Try a pastel photo, or a photo you don’t like, stretch your color palette a bit.

This is fun to do with groups at guild meetings and retreats.

Yes, I do workshops on the fun color game.

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Heart Full of Coin Ruched Flowers

March 20th, 2019

Heart with flowers

Heart Full of Coin Ruched Flowers

I have been enjoying the gift of this wood heart shaped tray since Valentine’s Day. To celebrate spring I have filled it with lavender and yellow Coin Ruched flowers.

Most are made with the TR700 Jumbo Coin Ruching Guide produced by Quilting Creations International, TR500 was used for the smaller ones.

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Cranberry-Apple Pie

February 6th, 2018

Cranberry-Apple Pie

Cranberry-Apple Pie

Sometimes I do something besides quilt. Here is the recipe.

Pastry for a 10 inch 2 crust pie

6 cups peeled, cored and slices golden delicious apples

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Place apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon in a large kettle and stir to combine. Let stand 15 minutes. Place over medium heat and cook stirring occasionally until liquid begins to bubbly. Add cranberries, and cook about 30 seconds as skins pop. Pour into pastry lined 10 inch pie dish. Top with second crust. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes more. Serve warm or cold. Yield: 8-10 slices.

Note: I like to brush the top crust generously with buttermilk and sprinkle liberally with granulated sugar.


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“Hot Spot” Table Mat

January 22nd, 2018

Hot Spot Table Mat

Put a stop to the endless rearranging of hot pads and trivets on a buffet table with this Jumbo “Hot Spot” Table Mat. Cover the entire buffet with this “Hot Spot” and it is easy to adjust dishes and keep the buffet surface protected.

Simple to make with the following materials.

1 1/2 yards each 100% cotton top and back fabrics

1/4 yard 100% cotton binding fabric

1 1/2 yards Insul-brite

Thread to match fabrics

Backing, Insul-brite and Top

Prewash fabrics and press. Cut one piece from each fabric the width of the Insul-brite (about 23 inches). You may adjust the size to fit your table space.

Trim Ends

Layer back, Insul-brite and top. Trim ends square and even. Back and top fabrics will probably shrink and shift some, and you want it to do this before you sew and bind.

Mark Quilting Lines

Mark some lines to quilt, or stencil a design to quilt. You don’t have to quilt closely as Insul-brite is well bonded.

Machine or Hand Quilt

Secure the layers with quilters safety pins. Use a walking or even-feed foot on your sewing machine to quilt along lines you have marked. Or machine quilt freestyle.

Add Binding

Use a binding fabric that goes with both sides for a reversible “Hot Spot”. I chose sunflowers for late summer and fall, and poinsettias for Christmas for this one. The first one I made is Christmas on one side and Valentines on the other. I am planning Easter and summer flowers for the next one.

“Hot Spots” are machine washable and dryable.

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Scrap Folding and Storage

December 2nd, 2017

Scrap Fabric Storage

Some scraps are too big to toss in a scrap bag, and they are too small to fit in with folded yardage without getting lost.

Vintage Scraps Overflowing


Mr. Irby tried to Help

Folding the fabric to fit into a tissue box was more successful. Here is how we did it.

You will need a large tissue box, some wide packing tape and a 4″ wide gridded ruler. Cut the top of the box from the opening to the corners, fold the flaps down and tape inside the box.

Group same print fabrics together


Stack the pieces in a fairly neat pile.


Roll/Fold pile around ruler and tuck in any stray ends to fit box.


Stack in box.


All the fabric folded and stacked in the box.

Now you can easily stack on a shelf or store in a drawer, yet easily move the pieces to your work station.

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Knife Edge Finish

September 14th, 2017

Knife Edge Finish

Knife Edge Finish

Knife Edge Finish is the method of finishing a hexagon edge when binding is not used.

First, press under the 1/4 inch seam allowance on hexagon edge before removing the foundation paper. Then after the quilting is completed,  hand baste about 1/2 inch from pressed edge.

Second, working in about 2 foot sections,  trim backing and batting 3/8 inch (a little more than 1/4 inch) from the pressed edge of the top. Then  trim the batting very close to the pressed edge of the top.

Third, clip the backing to the batting edge at the inside “corners”. Tuck backing over batting under the pressed edge of the top. Pin or Wonder-clip in place. I use an applique stitch to secure edges.   Wonder-clips are worth the investment for a project like this, as they keep your work flat and you can nudge them along as you stitch and keep the fabric secure.


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