Day 1

Allyson, Becky and I had a great time sewing together!

The first day of Pillowcase Palooza was a BLAST.

For the first session there were only three of us, but it gave me a chance to get in the groove of how to explain things and how to have things set up. We made 7 pillowcases in about 50 minutes.

At the afternoon session there were five of us sewing for about an hour. Becky came back because she had sew much fun and we added Nicole, Wendy, and Kami (who is here visiting from New York). We knocked out 18 pillowcases and further refined the process by starting to do some assembly line work. Wendy spent most of her time trying to make one of my sergers (the poor thing is at least 17 years old) work, but we never did have success-despite the fact that it had been sewing like a champ for the three weeks previous. Oh well.

Becky, Wendy, Nicole, and Kami working on pillowcases during the afternoon session.

Kami and her mom Teressa helped out between session cutting more fabric because choices were running short. Can’t have THAT! I was so grateful to the ladies who brought fabric with them. Your choices were adorable.

Things really ramped up during the evening session as Carey, Melia, Moriah, Lisa, Janene, Teressa, Julie and I got down to business. Although we were down a serger, we persevered. Several of the ladies became professionsal Burrito Pillowcase makers. That made the seam at the cuff have no raw edges and then we used the serger to go down the side and bottom of the cases. Except Julie. . . who is a dynamite seamstress and managed to do beautiful French seams on my little 1939 Singer Featherweight.

The funniest part of the night was that ladies who are usually calm and laid back were all of a sudden competitive and wanted to make sure we had beat the afternoon session before they could pack up and leave. My heart was warmed by the two teenagers who came and did a beautiful job sewing and adding to the joviality of the evening.

I am so grateful for each of these ladies who cam and gave of themselves to add a little sunshine in a child’s life. You immensely brightened my day, as well. At the end of the evening the tally was 49!

Pillowcase Palooza

This is an example of a pillowcase made with the “burrito method”.

Can you imagine having to leave your home in a hurry and having to stuff all the belongings you can carry into a garbage bag? This is a reality for children every day who need to leave their homes and enter the Foster Care system. Right here in Utah County.

In 2009 AllPeopleQuilt.com launched the “One Million Pillowcase Challenge” to donate pillowcases to Foster Care organizations, hospitals, and other groups that support children. As of December 19, 2019 907,763 pillowcases have been made and donated. They are hoping to reach 1,000,000 during 2020.

In January of 2020 pillowcases will be my focus. January is my birthday month and I like to choose a charity to bless during this month. I will be sewing them and teaching others to sew them. I will be collecting donations of fabric and money to make pillowcases. We will gather at my home (and maybe at yours?) to cut and sew fabric into little bags of love that will be donated to the Utah County office of Utah Foster Care.

I’ve started!

I know what you are thinking. . .

“How can I get involved?”

  • Donate fun bright 100% cotton fabric. (NOT FLANNEL) It takes ¾ yard of the main fabric for a pillowcase. 1 yard can make the body of a pillowcase and the folded cuff of another.
  • Make pillowcases (tutorial and patterns below) at home and drop them off at one of our collection locations during regular business hours.

Civil Science Engineering-  3160 Clubhouse Drive, Lehi, UT

Lehi Free Press- 29 North 100 West, Lehi, UT

Curves- 127 E Main Street, Suite B, Lehi, UT

  • Join me to cut and sew pillowcases on one of the following dates: (You will need to sign up for a time slot HERE. You will receive an e-mail with information.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

  • Gather your friends and sewing buddies and make pillowcases. You can drop them off at one of our donation sites or you can donate them on your own. (Make sure you enter your count in the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge)

Here are some patterns that you can use to make pillowcases.

Roll It Up Pillowcase

Burrito Method Pillowcase

Half Square Triangles

These are the basic tools needed to make half square triangles. (You don’t need a gripper handle on your ruler, but it makes me feel a lot more secure cutting.

Half Square Triangle. It’s a simple block, only. . . not. Even though there are only two pieces of fabric sewn together to make the block, they can be a little tricky because of one thing. Bias.

“What is bias?” you ask. It is anytime that fabric is cut in a diagonal direction. There is MUCH more stretch to the fabric on the bias and quilters must take care to avoid stretching the fabric- especially when sewing.  This is what makes things wonky (which is a universally recognized and used quilting term!).

Why do we care? Well, every HST has at least one side that is cut on the bias, so they can be a little squirrelly to work with.

There are several ways to make HSTs and there are many posts explaining these methods in detail so I will just give you an overview of my favorites. I encourage you to go watch a few YouTube tutorials if you need more help.

The Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer by Kari Carr is the best HST tool I have found.

Basic HSTs (Fig. 1)

Start with two squares, right sides together. Lightly draw a line across the square diagonally using a marking pen or pencil.  Sew a ¼” seam on each side of the line. Cut on the line. Trim and press. Or press and trim. I use this mostly when I want to use a charm pack or when I am using directional fabric. If you have an Accuquilt you will be making this type of HST but if you sew carefully, you may not have to trim at all.

Four-At-A-Time HSTs (Fig. 2)

This technique uses no marking, so it is a fast method. You put two squares together with right sides facing and then sew ¼” from each edge. Cut diagonally both ways from the corners and *poof* you have four lovely HSTs.

A pile of HSTs ready to be trimmed.

Magic 8 HSTs (Fig. 3)

This technique starts with larger squares of fabrics because you will end up with 8 HSTs. You will draw diagonals both ways across the square sandwich (right sides together) and then sew ¼” seams on both sides of each diagonal. The cutting is where the magic happens. You will cut on the drawn diagonal lines, but also perpendicularly on the square going both ways.

This is what the Magic 8 looks like when it is cut into 8 pieces.

The hardest part of making Magic 8 HSTs is the math. Quilting math is better than regular math, but still not my favoirite. I really like the chart that Rachel Rossi made on her blog about this method because she pads the numbers just a bit so that you actually have a bit of fabric to trim. No need for me to re-create the wheel- check it out!

If you are anything like me, you will be drawn to quilts with HSTs. I just love their simplicity and the complexity of the patterns they can make.

Awesome Advent Calendars

Silent Night panels by Andover Fabrics.

I don’t know how 2019 has slipped away so quickly, but I’m happy to say that my Advent calendars were finished on time, shipped, and received before December 1!

I made one for each of my boy’s families. I made a set of cards with simple ideas to do each day and for the days that had something more unusual (like “feed the birds”) I included some bird seed.

I hope these will start new traditions with their families. 😍

The panels are not difficult to make. They have the instructions printed at the top and feature clearly marked cutting and ironing lines. Ironing the tiny pleats was probably the hardest part of the whole project.

Here’s the order that I did things. . .

  • I cut and ironed the strips of houses and topstitched the upper hem so that they wouldn’t unfold.
  • I ironed the teeny-tiny pleats and stitched the strips onto the background.
  • I sandwiched the top with a layer of 80/20 batting and the backing fabric and did some free-motion quilting in the areas not affected by the pockets. 
  • NOTE- some people have reversed the two previous steps and quilted the whole project before adding the pleated strips. That might work better. . . I’ll try it if I ever make them again!
  • I bound the edges and added button holes in the top corners so they could be hung with Command hooks.