Friday, December 19, 2014

modern machine quilting {blog hop}

Hello, happy Friday to you all! Welcome to my stop on Modern Machine Quilting DVD blog hop.

I've long been admiring my friend Catherine Redford's quilting skills (we both belong to Naperville Modern Quilters Guild), especially her flawless spirals, and I was super excited when Catherine told me she was working on a DVD teaching walking foot quilting.

Walking foot is my best friend when it comes to quilting but I knew there was tons I could learn from Catherine. So, as soon as my instant download showed up in my Interweave account I watched the whole DVD and I was impressed. Even better, I was instantly inspired to give some of Catherine's techniques a try. Want to see?

I made myself a set of placemats and I went to work.

I could not believe my eyes how perfectly perfect my spiral turned out when I followed Catherine's directions. Seriously!!! I tried spirals before but my center stitches were never so beautifully smooth and perfectly spaced out.

I also did some simple straight line quilting. This, however, was the first time I dared to make stitches go in different directions. I was always afraid of all those stops and turns and how to bury the thread so it does not show and such, but Catherine explained it so well that I had no problems at all. 

In fact, I enjoyed this kind of quilting so much I did even more "stops and turns" on this placemat. 

I can honestly say that thanks to Catherine's wonderful teaching and expert advise I have been able to expand my quilting skills beyond simply stitching from one side of quilt to another :).

But the DVD is not only about straight line quilting. There are also tons of useful tricks and tips on square spirals, serpentine stitching, as well as advice on thread, needles, and basting the quilt.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to check out the DVD (or instant download) for yourself? You can purchase your copy here.

Also, Catherine is giving away two free copies of this fantastic DVD. Just hop on over to her blog and leave a comment.

Hope you'll follow along with other hoppers to hear what they have to say about Catherine's Modern Machine Quilting: Straight Lines, Spirals, Serpentines, and More! DVD (video class).

Monday, December 15th: Faith Jones at Fresh Lemons Quilts
Tuesday, December 16th: Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville
Wednesday, December 17th: Cheryl Sleboda at Muppin
Thursday, December 18th: Maddie Kertay at Bad Ass Quilters Society
Friday, December 19th: Svetlana Sotak at s.o.t.a.k. handmade
Saturday, December 20th: Julia Wood at The Hexie Blog
Sunday, December 21st: Laura Wasilowski at Art Fabrik
Monday, December 22nd: Pokey Bolton at Pokey’s Ponderings
Tuesday, December 23rd: Susan Brubaker Knapp at Blue Moon River
Wednesday, December 24th: Catherine Redford

Wishing you all a very lovely weekend. Svetlana

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Apparently my middle daughter did not get the memo in which I decided not to make Christmas presents and she was disappointed that her friends (and teachers) will have to get store bought presents only this year :( .

Turns out, as much as she complains about my sewing, she actually is really proud when she can gift something made by me :). So, I decided to whip up these simple pencil pouches for her friends. I must say, I really enjoyed making the pouches - they came together super fast and the pretty fabric was such a joy to work with.

They were inspired by Krista's lovely pouches I spotted on Instagram the other day. I didn't use any specific pattern, I just made sure my fabric was the right size for these metal zippers. I used fusible fleece to make them a little bit more sturdy (and slightly squishy) and added a ribbon tab to the side.

I love this combo of metal zippers and happy fabric both on the outside of the pouches as well as the lining.

I'm glad to say my daughter was quite happy this morning as she packed the pouches in her backpack deciding which one goes to which friend :)

How about you? Are you making any last minute Christmas gifts?


Monday, December 15, 2014

christmas-y this and that

Hello friends, how have you been? 

Thanks to my earlier decision not to make many Christmas presents I've been quite enjoying this festive season. Yay for online shopping and free two - day delivery :)

Our super eclectic, sort of homespun-y Christmas decorations make me so happy. By the way, you can find my tutorial for this sweet little tree bunting here.

I've also been enjoying a little bit of sewing. New place mats with tons of straight line quilting were on my mind for days now. I'm so glad to see they are turning out just the way I imagined :).

I'll have a lot more on these place mats and quilting on Friday when it's my stop on Modern Machine Quilting blog hop.

And, the other day I simply had to make this tree block. I love how super minimalistic and modern it looks. I'm thinking of turning it into a mug rug or something like that. Normally I'd think of making it into a pillow cover but lately I've been feeling like we just might have enough pillows for right now. Let's see how long this feeling lasts :)

Hope your Christmas season is merry and bright as well. Svetlana

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

drawstring bags

My Christmas sewing list is quite short this year since I finally realized that I am not required to give handmade gifts to everyone all the time simply because I can sew.  Now, I did not discover anything new here but it felt good to let myself off the hook :)

I did, however, make these drawstring bags for my nieces and nephews. 

I so enjoyed choosing fun novelty prints and pairing them up with colored hemp string (bought here). Now just to stuff them with fun little goodies and they'll be making their way across the ocean :)

I followed my own tutorial, which you can find here, in case you'd like to make a bag (or twenty) for yourself. They are super simple and easy to make, I promise :)


Monday, December 8, 2014

sew, mama, sew! giveaway

Hello, happy Monday to you all!

Welcome to my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway. I'm so glad you came by.

I'm giving away 9 FQs of medium weight designer cotton fabric (I've included two of my long hoarded, tricky to find these days Aneela Hoey's swing girls as well as Little Apples plus seven coordinating FQs).

The winner will also receive a pdf copy of my brand new sewing pattern for Two in One pouch.

 This giveaway is open worldwide (U.S. as well as international entries welcome) and will close on Friday Dec. 12th at 5 p.m. PST. I will announce who the random winner is by Sunday, Dec. 14th.

So, what do you say? Would you like to play?

Thank you so much everyone for entering. The giveaway is now closed!!!

 Congratulations to June D who is the winner!

Here's how to enter this giveaway:
* leave a comment on this post
* to get a second bonus entry let me know that you are my follower, or become one and then let me know

Good luck everyone. Svetlana

Sunday, December 7, 2014

patchwork duvet {a tutorial}

 Hello friends, thank you so very much for all the lovely comments on my Christmas duvet.

As promised, I'm back with a tutorial so you can make a duvet of your own.

Let's start, shall we?


Finished size: 66" x 77"  (you can, of course, make your duvet smaller or bigger by simply using less or more 6" patchwork squares)

Materials needed: 168 - 6" squares of medium weight quilting fabric
                              high loft polyester batting (I used Soft and Craft up to 3/4" loft polyester batting)
                              flat/queen sized cotton flat sheet (or 5 yards of fabric if you prefer) for the backing
                              #8 pearl cotton for hand quilting
                              matching thread
                              505 basting spray
                              walking foot for your sewing machine (optional)
                              wonder clips (optional)
                              hand sewing needle and thread

Step 1: Arrange your patchwork squares in a pleasing design and assemble the duvet top. Press it to get rid of all the wrinkles.

Step 2: Place batting on a flat surface (my carpeted floor worked beautifully as the batting stuck to the carpet which prevented it from shifting), smooth it out making sure there are no creases or puckers. Put duvet patchwork top on top of batting (duvet top is right side up) and baste.

I used basting spray for this step. I'm sure basting pins would work too if you prefer, but they might make the whole process a bit more tricky.

**Polyester batting does not seem to want to stick to fabric as easily as cotton batting. That's why I sprayed both batting and back of duvet top with 505 spray to help with adhesion. Worked like a charm :)

Step 3: Use scissors to trim batting to the exact same size as the duvet top. Set the batting + duvet top aside for a little bit.

Step 4: Press the sheet/ backing to remove all the wrinkles and place it on a flat surface right side up. Smooth it making sure there are no creases or puckers. Place duvet top+ batting on top of the sheet/ backing (right sides of the top and sheet/ backing are touching). Make sure both parts of duvet are nice and flat, but don't stretch it too much so you don't distort the shape.

Step 5: Pin all the way around duvet holding together all three layers.

Step 6: Take this "duvet sandwich" to your sewing machine and stitch all the way around using 1/2" seam allowance, taking the pins out as you go. Make sure to leave about 10" opening in one of the sides (this opening is for turning duvet right side out).

I prefer to use my walking foot and sew over the batting as this seems to be the best way to avoid bunching and shifting of layers.

Step 7: Trim the backing to match the size of duvet top and batting. Turn the duvet right side out through the opening from the previous step. Push the corners out to make them nice and pointy. Roll the side seams with your fingers to have nicely straight sides. (you could give your duvet a little press here to help with setting the seams, but be very careful not to use iron that's too hot as it can melt the batting)

Step 8: Use pins or wonder clips to hold the opening closed and stitch it using blind stitch. (you can find lots of good tutorials on blind stitch online)

Step 9: At this point my backing was sticking to the batting quite nicely all on its own and I saw no need to do any more basting the layers together. If, however, you feel like your layers are shifting you can very loosely pin baste your duvet to help with keeping things even and straight.

Step 10: Quilt your duvet any way you like. I did hand quilting along the middle of each row and column as well as used my machine to do a few short back and forth stitches where my patches meet.

 Step 11: Give your duvet a nice bath in the washing machine, tumble dry on low and Enjoy!!!

Easy peasy, wasn't it? Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. 

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. And, as always, I'd love to see your creations. Please add pictures of your finished duvets to my Flickr group (sotak handmade inspired).


Thursday, December 4, 2014

christmas duvet {all finished}

I'm so very happy with the way my Christmas duvet (yes, I'm no longer calling it a quilt :)) turned out. 

It's simple (made of 168 - 6" squares) and reminds me of some lovely vintage quilts I spotted online. My duvet, however, was mostly inspired by this adorable baby bunting.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I used 3/4" loft polyester batting and I did minimal hand quilting through the middle of each row and column to keep the duvet as squishy as possible. Oh, and I also did a few short back and forth stitches in each block corner (not pictured here) because my batting needed to be quilted every 2-4".

I used two twin flat sheets for the backing which worked out really great as I only needed to do one long seam and my backing was ready. And yes, a queen sized sheet would have been even better, but I had none on hand.

I also decided not to go with a binding and finish the duvet with turning method (tutorial coming soon). I'm loving these "binding-less" quilts lately, I think it really adds to the homespun look to this duvet.

And here it is, all washed and dried, perfectly soft and snuggly, already claimed by my son as his own :) ♥♥♥

Thanks for reading friends, Svetlana.

Linking up to Finish it up Friday.
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