Wednesday, May 31, 2017

And the winner is…

Thank you very much for your comments and your interest in our little design challenge. I really enjoyed reading about your approach to quilt design vs. using a pattern. I think it is funny that most of us use a pattern but give it a personal touch by altering it on the go. Somehow we all like to put our heart and our personality into our quilts.


Now without further ado, here is the random winner of Brigitte’s book and of my mini quilt/ pillow cover;


Congratulations, Helen! I hope you’ll enjoy her book as much as I do.
I’ll be in touch via E-Mail soon (o:

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Zen Chic Inspired – a design challenge and a giveaway

As you might have seen, Brigitte Heitland, the person behind “Zen Chic”, published her first book with Martingale.

the book
In “Zen Chic Inspired” she describes her approach to designing quilts that really match one’s peronal style. She begins by questioning if you ever bought fabric that you loved when it was on display at your LQS but at home you realise that it looks less appealing and strangely out of place?! Yes. Me. Guilty.

She then shows how to design quilts that match your living space: your flat, your house, your mobile home. She starts from a photograph of a room and deducts shapes and colours from it.

the challenge
When she wrote the book, several members of our Modern Quilt Guild Bielefeld, helped her sewing the quilt tops (yes, me too). Brigitte threw a party when she received the first copies of the book and we had a blast sketching quilt designs based on random photographs that evening. We decided to carry it a bit further and to make a little MQGB challenge – just for fun. Brigitte chose a picture and we were to make a matching quilt, mini quilt, table runner, wall hanging, etc. based on it.

Houseology Interiors, flickr
photo by Houseology Interiors, flickr

fabrics and colours
In her book Brigitte shows different ways to deduct colours from a photo. I tried Moda’s Palette Builder: but seeing that I was on a short timeline (no time for ordering and waiting for shipping of chosen fabrics) I pulled solid fabrics from my stash instead:


Next up was shapes and design. I liked the shapes of the lampshades but as there is similar quilt in Brigitte’s book I thought it might be too simple to just copy her quilt. I still wonder how it happend that I chose the wall clock instead.

Here’s a close up of the clock:

wall clock

And these were my first thougts for a possible design:


I never made a dresden plate before so this was entirely new to me. I thought of differnt sizes for the wedges and of using negative space between them.

work in progress
I found a tutorial “how to make your own dresden plate template” here and just followed the instructions. Easy peasy. I can recommend this tutorial, if you ever want to make dresden plate templates in your exact size.

Once done with sewing the wedges together (I skipped the wonky idea and made a “traditional” dresden plate), I wondered how to achieve that translucent look of the wall clock. I opted for a second layer, more fragile and quite thin. I made another template and drew the design directy onto the paper side of a fusible web.


The next step was tedious. I ironed the fusible web onto a light grey fabric and had to cut out all the shapes with an exacto-knife.


The dresden plate was ironed onto the background fabric and the second layer was ironed onto the dresden plate:


I appliquéd the second layer with my sewing machine, using a wide and dense zig zag stitch in a similar light grey aurifil thread. Thereby I attached two layers in one step. Here is close up shot:

Detail of applique

I kept the quilting fairly simple and just stitched some straigt lines “radiating” from the tips of the wedges, using a white aurifil thread.

the result

Mini Quilt Zen Chic Inspired Challenge

The binding is made of the same newspaper print (from Brigitte’s Modern Background fabric line) that I used to break up the solids-only-look of the dresden plate.

I added a zipper and an extra backing at the back so this mini quilt can double up as a pillow cover.


Here’s a photoshop image, showing how the mini quilt might look as a wall hanging in the original room:

Graphic mit Mini Quilt

This challenge was a greate experience for me. If you look at the quilts I made during the last years you will discover that I rarely follow quilt patterns. I love to make up my own designs. This book helps me to get better at choosing fabrics and designs matching the surroundings/ person the quilt is intended for. When I plan to sew a quilt for my sister next, I’ll snap a photo of her home first. Of course I know her living room, but do I really remember the hues of green she used for decorations? No. And I might not have noticed the unique shape of that armchair leg that I could use as a shape in my quilt design.

So if YOU like to design your own quilts, this book is for you. And if YOU have always be terrified by the thought of designing your own quilt, this book is for you, too! I takes you step by step through the design process and includes 12 patterns, deducted from 12 different photos of 12 living spaces.

If you’d like your own book, Brigitte offers signed copies here.

As a bonus for those who read through this lengthy post, I will give away one copy of “Zen Chic Inspired” AND the mini quilt I made. Just leave me a comment below, telling me if you prefer to design your own quilts or if you rather follow quilt patterns (there are so many lovely ones out there!).

This giveaway is open until midnight, May 29th, CEST. I will draw a random winner on May 30th.

Happy sewing everyone!

P.S. If you’d like to see who else participated in the challenge and what they designed for the same room, click here and here.

P.P.S. Yes, Brigitte is my friend but yes, these thoughts are my thoughts and I really like the book. And no, I don’t get paid for writing a review and yes, I really bought this book to give it away to you.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sewing for boys – a picture post

I am still here! I was MIA here lately (again) but have been sewing lots of clothes during this last winter.

This is a picture post about some of the apparel I made for my sons, nephews, and godsons. Some pieces were gifted before I took time to take a photo…

Many pairs of trousers, this is about half of the lot I made.

IMG_9802  IMG_9797

IMG_9759  IMG_9741

IMG_9784  IMG_9460 

And then T-Shirts, short and longsleved. Here are two of them. I love sewing according to the boys interests.

IMG_9752 IMG_9794

And then I made two jackets for my youngest.

One outdoor version that is made from a softshell fabric he chose at our local fabric store. I doubted his choice at first but am now in love with his new jacket. He wears it every day and is very proud that he helped making it.


Rupi zeichnet das Schnittmuster ab

Rupi näht

This is the indoor version, made from a blue and white/grey knit fabric. I made visible seams with my new Bernina Coverlock machine.

Rupi knit sweater

And then little boy chose this sheep-fabric for another sweater. It turned out too large for him so now big boy gets to wear it first…

Rupis Schafe

This was the boys’ lot. See you soon with the clothes I made for the girls in our family!

Do you have a great pattern for boys’ apparel that you can recommend?

Keep Sewing and Happy Mother’s Day!!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

An old friend revisited

Remember this sweet baby quilt? I made it years ago and was never able to let it go (aka give it away). But I finally found a home for it – my sister’s third baby received it for his christening.

I had to go back to fix it before wrapping and gifting, though. Back then I chose a zigzag stitch that was too narrow for the raw-edge appliqué. So the fabric began to fray after the first wash. Duh.


So I added another MUCH wider zigzag stitch to stop the fraying…

Detail of quilting_thumb[2]

… and I added the little boys name, too. Thankfully my sister and my BIL chose another short name – very sewist-friendly (o;


Here’s a full view of the fixed version. One hardly recognizes the added stitches from a distance, does one?

Theos Quilt_thumb[9]

I am happy I was finally able to let it go. Because that’s what quilts are meant for, aren’t they? To bring joy and comfort to someone we love.

Happy quilting!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Upcycling: denim meets neon and SnapPap

I recently finished two upcycling projects, both made from worn out denim jeans.

I turned my husbands favourite pair of jeans into a little boxy bag, lined with travel themed fabric.

One of the back pockets found it's new function as side panel. 

I used neon green thread to add some fresh accents and as I forgot the handles initially (duh...), I used some neon green zippers as a last minute fix. I covered the multiple-stitched ends under some scraps of SnapPap (aka "Vegan Leather", washable and sew-able thick paper).

The second project was way quicker... I found the instruction for a flatcap in a book I recently bought (I might have bought it just for the cap...) and used one of big boy's holey pair of jeans to make a flatcap for little boy.

I couldn't resist adding a bit of SnapPap and some neon green thread, too.

My favourite bit is the little punched star I attached to the screen.

Here's a close-up shot.

Miriam, thanks for the inspiration!!!

Do you have favourite upcycling projects? Or worn out clothes you want to re-use and upcycle? Please share so I can turn more of our old denim wear into new things.

Happy sewing

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hexies and hidden stars - a baby girl quilt

Some weeks ago, the topic of our monthly sew-in at Modern Quilt Guild Bielefeld was Modern Hexies.

I had a treasured Cotton & Steel charm pack and I wanted to make a baby girl quilt for my sister’s second child – due in April.

I auditioned different layouts and decided on the one that formes little stars on the negative space – which instantly prompted the quilting design.

I applied some marks with chalk to keep those quilting lines straight.

I defined three big and some small stars that I omitted while straight line quilting and quilted them free-hand afterwards. Each with a unique quilting design. I used a variegated Aurifil thread in shades of white, light grey and dark grey.

To show you the free motion quilting, I used directional and natural lighting instead of artificial light. The fabric I used for the Background is "Notes in silver on white" from Zen Chic's Modern Backgrounds.

Once the baby was born, I added her name in light pink thread.
And this is the back: I used a dotted flannel and some leftover Cotton & Steel scraps.
And this is the entire quilt, already puckered and crinkly as I had to wash it 5 times to get rid of ALL quilting marks... BTW: what is your favourite method or tool to mark grids and designs?

I had a hard time giving it away as I really enjoyed the free-motion quilting a lot but I am sure it will be put to good use at my sister's home.

Happy Quilting!

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