English Paper Piecing vs. Paper Piecing

One of our comments from WEEK #4 of our SewAlong asked Pati about the difference between English Paper Piecing and Paper Piecing.

“There is always a little confusion with this:

In English Paper Piecing-is a hands on sewing method –no sewing machine required.   Working with paper templates that are die cut from card stock in specific shapes and measurements like hexagons, diamonds, triangles etc…   fabric is cut little larger than the template all around –(I usually cut a generous  ¼”)   then hand stitched around the shape thru the paper  (or new glue pen method is being used a lot).   Then the fabric shapes are whip-stitched together to create you block design like Grandmother’s Flower Garden, Stars etc…  The beauty in English Paper Piecing is always the accuracy of the finished design and the hand work which is I love.  Watch out – very addicting for some.

Paper Piecing is sometimes confused with Foundation Piecing.  In Paper Piecing a design is printed or drawn on paper.   Fabric is placed on top of the paper design and stitched thru paper and fabric to create the design (usually using a sewing machine) after the blocks are sewn together the paper is torn off.  With Foundation Piecing –usually a light weight fabric is used and similar to Paper Piecing a design it can be printed or drawn on to the fabric or Crazy Quilt method where you just piece as you go but in all cases the base fabric is left in place.

Of course there are many other references for “paper piecing” –freeze paper, parchment paper etc..  This is just my spin on it.”

Our Designer Sew-Along – Did You Catch WEEK #3?

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On Friday, Sarah Maxwell from Homestead Hearth unveiled the third fabulous block from Friends & Companions, our Designer Sew-Along!  Do you love it?  Get the complete instructions and learn more about Sarah and her business.

Want to join the fun?  It’s not too late!  Here’s the post with complete details, and links to the previous block posts so you can sew-along with us!

The Marcus SewAlong – WEEK #2!

We’re sewing right along, in the midst of Week #2 –

In case you missed it…Check out the second block of our Sew-Along, by Paula Barnes of Red Crinoline Quilts.   You’ll learn a bit about Paula as you follow her step-by-step instructions. The pop of cheddar really brings this block to life! It’s just as nice as the first block by Pam Buda, isn’t it?  If you’re the type of quilters who like a preview before joining a sew-along, we think this these first two blocks are enough to entice you to get caught up and sew-along with us now!

Another great reason to join in:  you could win one of three giveaways on each designer’s blog, simply by leaving a comment when the new blocks posts each Friday!

Pam’s Prairie Pocket Inspiration

Take a look at what Pam Buda’s been up to (aside from the Marcus SAL!)  Here she talks about one of her latest projects…

“I’m fascinated by creativity. It’s so unique to each person. For some it’s easy and others not so much. And…you never know when or where you might be inspired.  When it comes to fabric designing, it’s good to have a vivid imagination…to see possibilities in vintage fabrics and give them new life.Pam-Aug1

I found this antique “prairie pocket” while shopping an antique show last year. I think it’s a wonderful example of a functional, wearable relic of nineteenth century living. Back then, clothes didn’t have set- in pockets in the seams as they do now. Women would wear the prairie pocket(s) underneath their skirts. There would be a slit opening in the side seam of their skirts allowing access to the pocket underneath, where they would keep necessities of daily life, such as a flint and fuzz for making a fire, eyeglasses, and quite often needle, thread and patchwork Pam-Aug2scraps.

Closer inspection of the pocket patchwork reveals quite a few wonderful fabric prints. One print made its way into my newest fabric collection, PRAIRIE GATHERING. I changed a few elements from the original piece, which is really cute just the way it is. (It became Style # 5534-0111 in Pam-Aug3PamAug4red.)

Mosey over to my blog to read about two more prints I chose for the Prairie Gathering collection that came from a dirty, nasty piece of patchwork that I’m pretty sure was used to wipe a car engine!”

 Thanks, Pam… We love to explore the many places where inspiration can be found! 

Quilters, where do YOU find the best inspiration for your projects?

Yes, You Can Still Join the Sew-Along!

We thank you for the enthusiastic response to the first installment of our Marcus Fabrics Designer Sew-Along, featuring Pam Buda’s gorgeous block!  And just to be clear, though we launched the SAL on August 1, it’s definitely not too late to start!   We suggested that everyone visit each blog and subscribe to their blog posts via email before August 1, so you wouldn’t miss anything, because each designer’s blog post would then come to you via email. You should find a SUBSCRIBE blank on each designer’s blog page.

But you’re also welcome to visit each blog individually week-by-week (one designer per week). Either way, you can then choose to PRINT the instructions each week and stitch at your own pace. One last reminder: Be sure to COMMENT on each weekly blog post to be entered into that designer’s weekly giveaway. They’ve got some great prizes lined up ; ) Enjoy!

And We’re Off! The Sew-Along Begins…

Well, it looks like we’re off to a very enthusiastic start with our new “Friends & Companions” Designer Sew-Along, judging from our first installment by Pam Buda of Heartspun Quilts.  Her block is gorgeous, isn’t it?  Check out her opening blog post and join in the excitement!  You can even win prizes from your favorite Marcus designers, or a Grand Prize at the end of the sew-along.  For the next nine weeks, we’ll post one block with instructions on each designer’s blog, resulting in the Big Reveal on October 3…stay tuned!

Our Designer SEW-ALONG Starts Today!

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Are you ready?  Today we launch “Friends & Companions” our first designer Sew-Along, featuring quilt blocks created by MB Friends & Companions Kit Fabrics 2some of your favorite Marcus designers, using Paula Barnes Companions prints!  Get the details here.   Not quite ready yet?  Just follow the blog posts and catch up as soon as you can.  By visiting each designer’s blog on her designated week, you’ll get the instructions for that designer’s block.  Leave a comment, and you’ll also be entered into weekly prize drawings during the 10-week sew-along!  We begin today with Pam Buda…here’s the full schedule:

8/1 Pam Buda ~ Heartspun Quilts
8/8 Paula Barnes ~ Red Crinoline Quilts
8/15 Sarah Maxwell ~ Homestead Hearth
8/22 Pati Violick ~ Marcus Fabrics
8/29 Gloria Parsons ~ Olde Green Cupboard
9/5 Nancy Rink ~ Nancy Rink Designs
9/12 Mary Ellen Robison~Red Crinoline Quilts
9/19 Dolores Smith ~ Homestead Hearth
9/26 Lisa Shepard Stewart~ Marcus Fabrics
10/3 Red Crinoline Quilts ~ Quilt Revealed! SAL-Prizes

At the end, we reveal the gorgeous quilt (trust us, you’ll love it!) and we’ll also choose one winner will receive our Grand Prize goodie basket.  Here’s a sneak pic of just a few of the basket contents…thanks to our friends at MistyFuse and Martingale, and to all of our designers.  Sew along with us each week!

Review of “Charles James: Beyond Fashion”

Met2Brandy, our office & merchandising assistant and Christine, our summer intern (shown here) recently visited the Charles James exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Check out their review of the exhibit:

“It’s not too late to catch the Charles James exhibit (http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2014/charles-james-beyond-fashion) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (http://www.metmuseum.org/). The show closes on August 10, 2014.Mey6

Charles James created sculptural gowns and daytime pieces. The exhibit is broken into 2 sections – the special exhibition galleries (walk through the Greek and Roman galleries) on the Museum’s first floor and The Costume Institute’s Anna Wintour Costume Center (walk through the Egyptian galleries).
Met4Met7Visit the special exhibition galleries first because this is where the couture pieces are. There are videos that break down the construction of the gowns from 3 dimensional to flat patterns. James created this cream & gold dress following a huge Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit here in the US.  Can you see the O’Keeffe influence?
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The Costume Institute has less formal gowns and daytime pieces. You will also see more of Charles James’ process here. The satin jacket above  is Brandy’s favorite – maybe because of its quilted effect? It was made in response to the all the fur jackets being sported at the time.
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Fun Fact. Gypsy Rose Lee (inset) wore Charles James. The red dress shown is believed to be one she wore in a magazine editorial.

Gadget Show & Tell

Ruler insert - Final_Outlines - use this fileThis tip comes from Carrie, one of our sales reps and an avid quilter.  Here’s her review of the Hex’n More Ruler by Jaybird Quilts

“Let me be the first to tell you something that has been super in my area.  It was “new” a couple of markets ago, but has become quite popular for kitting, BOMs and a Nifty Notion: The Hex n’ More ruler!  It’s a 60 degree triangle and hexi in one ruler.  I have blog-carrieQuiltused it in three quilts, personally! Easy and fun.”

Check out one of Carrie’s Hex n More projects.  She  made with the 60 degree part of the ruler.  Small triangles with fat strips, and fat triangles with small strips.  “I called it Tumbling Rubies.  It wasn’t difficult but it took a lot of time and fabric to put the strips on.  I gave it to my cousin actually for Christmas.”  Thanks for the review, Carrie!

What’s Your Favorite Rotary Tool?

gloria and Vicky at Olde Green Cupboard thought it would be fun to share some of their favorite quilting tools with you! These make your quilting, cutting, and sewing so much easier and faster!!! Here… take a peak!

“Our first favorite is the Shape Cut Pro by June Tailor – If you are cutting out hundreds of strips, squares or rectangles… this is what you need. It makes the ShapeCutProcutting so fast! You know sometimes when you are cutting many strips from a folded piece of yardage… how the strip can get a little peak at the fold after many cuts…then you have to give a new clean cut to get them even again? Well…with the Shape Cut Pro – that never happens. There are small slits in the plastic ruler/mat where your rotary blade fits.
What is especially wonderful is to use a smaller cutting mat. Make all of your cuts in one direction… then slowly remove the Shape Cut Pro – turn your mat – line up your ruler and cut again – the opposite direction of your first cuts! Boom! You have just cut tons of shapes at one time. Be sure to keep the wrapping on the Shape Cut Pro – look on the back for the great directions!”

Picture1“Our second tool that is great to use (and I don’t think many quilters use them) is the Pinking rotary blade! We like the Olfa blades. If you are cutting fabric which frays easily, wool, or just love the zig-zag look… this is for you. I recently taught a wool class and we used this blade to make these flower pins! OlfaFLOWERThey are also great to use if you are making an applique raw edge quilt and you do NOT want the cotton fabric to fray! Check with your local quilt shop today and see if you can locate our favorites… and soon they will be yours!”  Thanks to Vicky, Gloria & Heather of Olde Green Cupboard Designs! 

Editor’s Note:  Watch for a gorgeous new line of wools to come from Marcus in the coming months – the perfect opportunity to try your new Pinking blade!