Monday, January 28, 2013

'Be MINE Valentine' 3d Letter Box Project

Next up in the fun 3d letter box seasonal decor projects is Valentine's Day.
Four letter boxes -- tall and short -- plus two text word cuts
spell out my wish for the winter's most romantic holiday.
Besides the letter box cut files from Snapdragon Snippets of Silhouette America, other fun embellishments make this project both interesting to make and delightful to view.
A short list of the designs follow at the end of this post.
Email Jodi for a more detailed and complete listing of sizes and how they were used
at hearthsewnpatterns(at)yahoo(dot)com.

 Here is a closeup of the dimensional M. The simple bee has velum mini wings and black glitter stripes. Mini hearts with tiny scallop circles and itsy pink brads are strung as a silk ribbon garland. The 'be' was styled in Design with text, positioned with a slight center overlap, then welded so it could be cut as one unit.
Next comes the tall 'i', with its dimensional heart 'jot' suspended above, and a triple thick key with metal angel charm tied on with narrow sheer ribbon. 

Following is the glitter-decorated 'n'. I used a hearts overlay cut from Silh's double-stick adhesive, liberally sprinkled with red glitter from my coupon-sharing fabric store.

As the caboose, the 'e'  is cupid-pierced by a dimensional-ized arrow with red glitter tail plume. The 'valentine' word cut-out is mounted on a two-layer tag that is tied onto the arrow shaft (and glued in place on the 'e' edge). 

All three of the lower case letter boxes are soon-to-be-released limited edition 3d cut files from Snapdragon Snippets. Appearing here in their original sizes, the 'n' and the 'e' get needed elevation from a customized base box created by me in "Design". Details can be obtained as part of the Fact Sheet available by email.

Finally is the colorful mail box holding a small treasury of miniature valentine envelopes. Using a premium two-sided print paper makes this box an instant delight. 

Watch for the next project as we move through the familiar holidays this year by visiting this blog often. Or find images of projects on flickr or facebook (hearthsewn patterns).

I would love to hear what you think of these projects, 
and if there are holidays or themes you wish you could see as ensembles 
presented here in the future.

Cut files used:
by Snapdragon Snippets - 3d M, (i, n, e can be purchased directly from Snapdragon Snippets website); bumbling bee; flourished hearts background; heart (lacy edge with highlight); cupid's arrow; 3d heart cupcake topper ('i' jot)
by others - antique key, 1-bag topper kit valentine, 3D mailbox, envelope

Embellished Valentine Candy Tin

 The thrill of decorative embellishments - and chocolate, too! Digital cut file designs by Snapdragon Snippets (and others) are the core of this display candy tin, beginning with the two-layer heart with lacy edge. Flowers, swirl heart, flourishes, "love" tag and scalloped circles enrich the mix. Ribbon, netting, commercial flower petal circles, covered buttons, stickers, and more provide the interest.

This treasure began life (or entered MY life) as a cast-off thrift store bargain. No notion then that it would become the foundation  of something grand!

My designing start was to see if I could find a heart the correct basic shape to enlarge to fit. What a blessing that it was waiting there in the repertoire of my favorite Silhouette designer Kenzie Daley.
 Upright and providing a focal point in a metal easel, it shows off its goodies a bit better. Paper edges are antiqued, holes were designed into the inner heart edge to lace burgundy silk ribbon, pre-designed satin rhinestone swirl (from Hobby Lobby) got me going. And then t was hard to stop.

Inspiration came from a decorative "book" project on display at my favorite scrapbooking supply outlet Heartfelt Creations in Sandy, Utah.

Hope you like it, too.

Three Valentine Decor Projects

The first project I would like to share is the simplest. a medium diameter glass cylinder is wrapped in a cuff made from a Silhouette card stock cutout of Snapdragon Snippets "flourished hearts background".

 A dilemma about the sizing: my jar circumference is about 16 inches around. I can enlarge the design to be about 11.5". I can't reduce the height of the design to fit my jar height. My solution: complete the cutout, then lay the scrap margin strip (after removing design from cutting mat) across in the area I designate as the top of the featured front piece and glue it to all the under-crossing pieces. When dry, I rotary cut away unneeded section, then repeated the process with the leftover section to provide a piece for the back gap. 

I love the very open sections so you can see all the lovely candy inside. Any floating parts of the design were stuck into place with zots clear adhesive dots.

Here is the second project in this Valentine set.

Three dimensional hearts "sprout" from pink ceramic mini pots to bring whimsy to my February decor. Such a cheery and easy-to-complete decoration is assembled from Silhouette cut files by the talented folks at Snapdragon Snippets, and other designers. Find the heart as "3d heart cupcake topper" in the online store.

Each lolli heart is anchored in its own pot, decorated with be-studded cupcake wrappers. 

The box platform features vinyl flourished heart border (with a pink paper cutout glued in place).

For each lolli flower, there are ten slice-form shapes that fold along the centers, with each half glued to the half next to it all the way around. A painted (or, this time wrapped in brown floral tape) wooden kabbob skewer is inserted in the small center space and glued in place there, with folded leaf shapes attached at mid stem.

Cut files used: 3d heart cupcake topper, flourished heart border, valentine cupcake wrapper, 3 flower leaves (simplest has "hole" eliminated then folded and trimmed a bit).

Valerie Foster's cut file 'valentine and title' cut file with its layered components is assembled here, with pair of holes punched to let it tie on to my wrought iron oversized key that fits in a specific wall space in my home. Updated each holiday season, this is a fun and easy accent to 'play' with on a regular basis.

February On The Docket Tutorial Part 1: Scrappy Heart MPF

This tutorial begins with machine paper foundation piecing of the Section 1: Scrappy Heart Block. 
Prep step: Cut out one foundation of this block from your photocopy, leaving a scant margin BEYOND the outer solid line (which is the final trim line). Use a bookmark, thin plastic ruler, or equivalent as a folding tool. Lay tool on the face side of the paper section, along each interior line and crease. See how the paper is being folded print side to print side

The paper foundation section includes:
solid stitching lines, stitching order numerals, fabric or color designations, & dashed seam allowance indicator line near outer solid line.

Step 1. Identify patch #1, and its color.

Step 2. Look at the shape of patch #1 from the backside (defined by creases in prep step). Free-hand cut a patch from indicated color, adding a generous 1/4" seam allowance to the creased shape size.

Step 3. On the backside of the section foundation paper, use a little dab of fabric glue stitch to position and attach the backside of the cut patch in place. I have traced a dashed line on my crease lines to show #1 shape. Make sure the shape is centered within the fabric patch boundary edges. 
Step 4. From the front, locate patch #2 and identify fabric to be used.

Locate the stitching (solid) line BETWEEN #1 and #2. This is the TARGET stitching line.

Fold the paper along that crease. Keep the shape to be added - patch #2 here - as the top layer, so it will remain MOST VISIBLE.

Step 5. Place the identified fabric FACE UP on the work surface. ("Fabric" can be either an oversize cut patch as in Step 2, or simply the edge of your yardage piece.)

Position section (with patch #1 in place) over the fabric with crease a generous 1/4" in from cut edge. Make sure the target PATCH SHAPE will be contained within the fabric cut edges.

Positioning checker: Note how the patch being added AND the patch already in place are RIGHT sides together, as in conventional piecing.

Once this positioning is achieved, carefully UNFOLD the paper diagram without letting anything shift.

 Step 6. Adjust machine straight stitch length to 14-16 stitches per inch (about half conventional piecing stitch length). 

Load machine with neutral beige or gray thread. 

Insert needle 2 stitches before the actual beginning of the target line. Stitch EXACTLY on the line . . . . .

. . . .then stitch 2 stitches beyond the actual end of the line. Do not backstitch at beginning or end of "seam".

 Here you can see the stitching just completed from the backside of the diagram where the fabric patches are being added.

NOTE that the fabric for patch #2 is laying OPPOSITE of the dashed lines defining the actual area #2 as it was being stitched to join. THIS IS CORRECT even though it may seem backwards. (See the next image.)
 Step 7. Press the fabric patch #2 back along seam.
It will now be in position to cover the crease-defined shape #2. To check that this is the case, pick up the foundation and with the print side toward you, hold it up to a light source. You will be able to see "through" the paper enough to see the fabric outlines. Just make sure that the creased shape falls within the fabric edges with enough allowance to trim back to 1/4" all around.
 Step 8. Fold back the diagram along the most recent stitching line/crease. Use rotary equipment to trim excess to 1/4" beyond crease.

The ruler being used here is "Add-A-Quarter" which has a 1/4" ridge on the bottom that will "catch" against the thickness of the paper fold to assist in quickly making this cut.

Continue folding along each crease that defines patch #2 and trimming 1/4" beyond paper fold. (For patch #2, there are 6 sides to the shape.) Many of these trims will involve ONLY patch #2 fabrics.

 Step 9. Identify patch #3 and its stitching line (between #3 being ADDED and numbers 1 & 2 which are already IN PLACE. Fold paper diagram along that line. Note that as you fold, the stitches at that end of the previous seam will need to pull free (or un-do themselves) to allow this process. This is the correct result.
 Step 10. Repeat Step 5 to position the #3 shape as seen from paper backside (pen-dash outlined for this image) over the FACE-side-up fabric.

Repeat the unfolding, stitching, pressing and trimming processes in Steps 6-8, this time for patch #3.

This image shows patch #3 being pressed back into final position. 

Next comes: repeating the visual check, turning diagram over on cutting surface to sequentially crease on stitching line to trim 1/4", and all of the other lines that define the shape for patch #3.

This is the process to join the remaining patches through #7 that create the Scrappy Heart Block.

Here you can see the completed heart patchwork (along with background patch #1). 

Now we will add the background shapes which involve "half-square" triangles and strips.

Grain line selection has been more or less left to chance up to this point. Now we will add more information about using better grain line choices.

Step 11. Identify the next patch, #8, and the target seamline between it and previously-attached fabric patches. Since it is a triangle that is the shape attained when dividing a square on the diagonal, a patch can be easily pre-cut then easily joined. If the fabric is NON-DIRECTIONAL, the process produces 2 triangles, so one can be used for #8 and the other for #9.

Step 12. Envision the size patch that will be required. Easy geometrics like these triangles work well with this shortcut. I have traced a RED line around my shape that includes the 1/4" seam allowance. If I use a ruler to measure the hypotenuse legs of the triangle (top and right side lines that connect at the right angle corner), I can figure the square that would be required. My calculation is a 1 1/4" square, but I need to bump it larger to allow for some trim and some safety. So I cut my single background (pink) square 1 3/4" x 1 3/4", then cut it on the diagonal, too.
 Step 13. Now position the triangle as for the other patches, that is FACE up on the work surface. The paper foundation is folded on the target seam line crease. Position the #8 area (shown outlined in red pencil here) over and within the shape of the triangle. Once adjusted, paper is unfolded carefully, then the seam stitched as before.
Here you can see the #9 shape which has been stitched-to-join, then pressed back into position. Follow the same steps for #8 and #9. 

Step 14. Follow a similar procedure to supply  triangles for patches 11 & 12, then complete the joining, pressing and trimming process. A suggested square cut size would be 
2 5/8" x 2 5/8" (increasing this from the measured required triangle edge at 2 1/8").

 Step 15. Add remaining patches to complete the block - #13-15. Cut strips that are adequately wide (such as 1 1/4") and appropriate lengths, cut one strip that is long enough to complete all four block sides, or work from the edge of the yardage.

There is only one small difference to NOTE: for #14 & #15, the ends of these seams will NOT be crossed by any additional seams. Therefore, stitch on the lines, but BEGIN at the paper edge, stitch across, then END by stitching off the paper edge. 

This image shows the untrimmed block with ALL the fabric patches in place.
 Step 16. Turn the foundation to printed side up. Use rotary equipment to trim away excess EXACTLY on the outer solid "trim" line. Trim all four edges.

 Now turn over your Scrappy Heart block and do some admiring. You have earned it!

 Step 17. Remove the paper foundation from the fabric patchwork. To do this, work from highest number to lowest. We begin here with #15. Refold along the line/crease, then begin at one end to tear the paper away along the perforations created by the stitching.

(The shortened stitches pay off here!)

Continue working to next lowest number patch, flexing the paper slightly to help the paper pull away from the stitching.

View other tutorials for other parts of this pattern project, including a comparison of the smaller machine paper foundation blocks, checker & fusible hearts panels, layering and machine quilting, and ribbon insertion at the upper binding seam.

February On the Docket Part 2: Other MPF Blocks

 The key block has two foundation sections to complete. Please update your foundation to note that patch #1 is background (not violet).

When both sections are done, remove paper, then join with a conventional seam, with stitching length adjusted to normal setting. Take care that key shank and bottom of "heart" top align attractively.
 Complete one Tall Heart Block. Please update your foundation to note that patch #1 is background. 

Use the folding and positioning techniques described and demonstrated in February On the Docket tutorial part 1.

This image shows that positioning again. Section is folded on crease for patch #5. At right the shape's edges converge into right angle corner. That corner can be "tucked" into the corner of the background fabric shown on work surface, shown below the folded section in the image. This assures better grain line at block edges.
Complete 2 small heart blocks using different light backgrounds for each. 

Follow the same folding and positioning steps as for other heart blocks. Please update your foundation to note that patch #1 is background.

Again you can see the corner patch #9 includes the right angle corner which can be easily placed in the correspondingly-shaped area at the corner of the fabric being added (shown benearth the section's corner).

Continue the project in Tutorial #3.

February On the Docket Part 3: Checker & Applique

 Prepare strip sets with background (orchid) and main color (red) as shown, stitching with conventional stitch length. Press seams toward red.

Trim strip sets into 3 segments following pattern instructions. 
 Arrange 3 segments into the 9-patch checker block as shown on left of photo.

Also arrange 2 segments into the 6-patch.

Join segments; press toward red-majority side.
For machine overedge applique panel, cut panel background rectangle. Mark 1/4" seamline with temp marker to assist with positioning. 

Trace heart shape (x4) on paper side of fusible web. Separate if necessary, then fuse to backside of two heart fabrics. Cut out.

Remove paper backing. Position evenly within marked seamline, then fuse. 

You can complete machine applique blanket stitching at this step, or join panel into quilt and complete at that time when it may be easier to manipulate the fabric at the machine.

Adjust machine settings for a short, narrow blanket stitch. Set up machine with matching thread. Carefully overedge the heart raw edge, with the "straight" part of the stitch falling along the applique edge as shown here, and the "swing" part of the stitch piercing slightly into the heart. Stitch all around.

Leave long thread tails at beginning and end of applique run for tying off.

 Pull bobbin thread on backside to show loop from front thread, then use a straight pin to pull the front tail through to back. Do this for both tails from front.
Gather the tails into two bundles, then tie a square knot. Clip threads to 1/4".

Arrange blocks and panels for quilt top. Join smaller sections with conventional seams as shown, then continue joining into larger panels at corresponding seams until top is completed. 

Continue the February On the Docket project in Tutorial 4.

February On the Docket Part 4: Machine Quilting & Finishing

With center panel piecing completed, use rotary tools to "straighten" edges  by trimming ONLY scant irregularities along all sides.

After this, add narrow borders (sides then top & bottom) and outer borders (same order). Take special care to make straight seams to avoid "wobbles". Press seams outward after each is stitched.
Mark quilting guidelines as desired. All Docket mini quilts have a 1/4" "echo" line traced beyond narrow border outer seam (tracing onto outer border). Use temporary marking tool, either tailor's style chalk pencil or wash-out fine-tip as is shown here.

This image shows the 1/4" echo line being added around the Scrappy Heart Block. For February, all other quilting follows seams or applique edges, so the two echo outlines are the only ones to be traced.

Cut a backing panel of your own choosing, and a thin batt panel, each about 1/2" larger than quilt top on each edge. Center the layers in the order shown: backing face down, batting, quilt top face up. Smooth and pin with straight pins or safety pins, or quickly add hand baste stitches to secure the layers from shifting.

 Machine stitch will be just slightly larger than a regular piecing stitch for the quilting. Engage machine's walking foot if you have one.

Since tying off the quilting runs is tedious, I suggest beginning near the lower right edge of the quilt at the outer border seam to eliminate one tie off. Stitch from the top's raw edge in the seam - referred to as "in-the-ditch" or "ditch" quilting. Take care that the needle is piercing NEXT to the fold of the seam and not ON the fold. Take care for this throughout.

 Quilt in the ditch along this narrow border OUTER seam all around, pivoting carefully exactly at the corners. When you return to the previous quilting stitches, pause for the next stage without stopping and tying off.

At the corner that ends the first circuit of the mini quilt, carefully pivot to stitch following the seams (and thereby "hide" the transit stitches) to get to the marked echo line. 

Quilt on the echo line all around until quilting connects to the beginning of the run. Then stitch following the seams to work back toward the inner seam of the narrow border.

Quilt in the ditch all around along this seam. When the circuit is completed, you will need to "tie off" to secure the stitching.

A. Begin the tie-off process about 1" before you reach the end of the quilting for that section. 
B. Adjust stitching length to about half of what you have been using. Quilt for 1/2 to 3/4". 
C. Adjust stitching to very short length, but not to stitch in place. Complete quilting to end of run. 
D. Adjust stitch length to 0. Make 2-3 stitches in place.
E. Clip top thread next to fabric surface. Tug bobbin thread on backside of quilt to pull top tail end toward backside, then clip bottom thread next to fabric surface.
Complete the quilting along the panels, "tying on" in reverse order as listed in previous paragraph. That is, begin with 2-3 stitches in place (machine set at 0 length), then adjust to very short stitch and stitch 1/4" (5-6 short stitches). Adjust to half of final length and stitch 1/2" to 3/4" further, and finally adjust to preferred quilting stitch length and continue quilting.

Here I am "ditch" quilting the Scrappy Heart block. Stitch on top of previous stitches for short, selected lengths, or follow connecting seams to reduce tying off whenever possible.

After completing quilting, trim excess batt and backing even with quilt top. Square up quilt top by trimming away "wobbles" or irregularities at the same time.

Baste layers together with long hand stitches, if desired (this can be done prior to beginning quilting).

Before binding, cut the ribbon ties (or fabric tabs for tubes, as referenced in next image) and position in place at top raw edges of quilt layers; refer to pattern for placement notes.

Here you can see - near center left edge of photo - that a ribbon end is positioned BOTH on the backside and exactly corresponding on the front side.

Pin in place, machine baste. Also complete cross-stitched tag with twill tape and position ends at upper raw edge as directed and shown below, then apply binding. Refer to the binding tutorial on this blog for further details.

This image shows the alternate fabric tab tube for hanging detail from the quilt's front, along with the embroidered month tag twill tape secured in the binding seam.

Tab end not caught in binding seam on front is folded to the backside, positioned, then included in the hand stitching of the binding on the backside.