On May

May was catch-up month! I finished a quilt, did a little selfish sewing (see photos of my new dress and tank top at the end of this post), and then STOPPED starting new projects.

Sometimes I can get caught up with all the pretty new fabric available, and I can’t help starting lots of different projects. In June, I hope to keep my fabric buying to a minimum, and work on what I’ve already started. My goal is to finish John’s quilt. I love, love, love, this quilt and I get distracted too easily if I have other sewing projects calling my name.

Today I’ve spent a little time cleaning up my sewing area, getting my notions organized, and admiring my empty design wall.

On paper/On the design wall/On the machine:

Nothing. And it feels good.

On the hoop:

John’s quilt!

All finished:

Craft Takeover Geometric Green Baby Quilt
My tile-inspired quilt is all done.

photo by fundathos.org

photo by fundathos.org

This is the original inspiration photo, of a tile wall in Brazil.

Brazilian Tile Quilt Front
The front of the finished quilt. It’s 40 inches square, the perfect size for a lap quilt or baby quilt.

Brazilian Tile Quilting
I used my domestic machine to straight-line quilt this one. Some of the lines run perpendicular to each other, and some run across the quilt diagonally. The quilting mimics the simple triangle and rectangle shapes of the blocks.

Brazilian Tile Quilt Back
I love the bright, colorful, geometric fabric used for the back and the binding.

Craft Takeover Brazilian Tile Quilt
I think this quilt may end up on my Etsy shop soon!

I also dabbled in some garment making, and finished two new items to add to my wardrobe.

Gray Wiksten Tank
First up, the tank top. This is the Wiksten Tank pattern by Jenny Gordy. I purchased the downloadable PDF and printed it out at home. This was my first time making a shirt, so it took me a little while to figure everything out. I may have been a little slow, but the pattern is very well written, and the instructions were great. I definitely learned some new skills, like how to make French seams! The gray fabric is something I already had on hand, cheap stuff from Hobby Lobby. It’s a really good idea to use inexpensive fabric like this to practice on during your first attempts at garment sewing.

Cotton+Steel Double Gauze Wiksten Tank
Next up is the dress version of the Wiksten Tank. I used Cotton and Steel double gauze fabric for this one, and it is soooo soft and cuddly. It’s the most comfy dress I’ve worn in a while. And the best part? I freakin’ made it! I can see myself making many more dresses and tanks from this pattern.

Hope you enjoyed seeing what I’ve worked on this month! Here’s to a hand-sewing filled June.

On January

Attending two quilt shows in the latter part of 2014, going to Austin MQG meetings, and meeting with my Art Quilt Bee has been INSPIRATION OVERLOAD. I have never been more excited about sewing and quilting.

My goal this year is to get the ideas out of my head and onto paper, onto the design wall, onto the sewing machine (or onto my hand-quilting hoop!), and completed. Each month, I’m going to be sharing my projects throughout all their many stages. I think it will be fun to see the progression from start to finish!

January, you’re on first.

On paper:

photo by fundathos.org

Feeling super inspired by tile, especially this simple and modern pattern I saw on Pinterest. Follow my quilt inspiration board here!

Modern Tile Quilt Sketch
My take on the tile design. I think this could be an amazing quilt, with bold, contrasting solids.

photo by Modern Handcraft

I’m also playing with the idea of hexagons, inspired by this quilt by Modern Handcraft.

Stretched Hexagon Quilt Sketch
I like the idea of stretching the hexagons and elongating them a bit. I just bought a bundle of Carolyn Friedlander’s new fabric line, Doe, and I think it will be the perfect thing to try out the hexagons with!

On the design wall:

Colorful Shot Cottons on the Design Wall
Cutting into this shot cotton bundle to make a baby quilt. I came up with an easy arrow pattern, mixed with colorful half-square triangles.

On the hoop:

Hand quilting with black thread
John’s quilt. I love this soooo much and I can’t wait until it’s finished. I’m hand quilting with black thread. I’m just following the diamond shape of the blocks and seeing where that takes me. Slowly but surely making progress!

All Finished:

I technically haven’t completed a project yet in 2015….boo! So instead I’ll show you these penguins I made as gifts in December. So cute I can’t even stand it. One for my nephew, and one for a friend’s baby shower.

Handmade Stuffed Penguin with Modern Fabrics Handmade Stuffed Penguin
Make your own with this great tutorial by Purl Bee!

What are you working on? Any inspiring fabric or images you’ve seen lately?

Recent Projects

Just popping in today to share a few things I’ve been working on lately.

First things first. I made my first sale on Etsy! I quietly opened up shop a couple months ago, and am hoping to sell some cute coasters, pillow cases, and all sorts of other fun fabric goods I dream up.

Here is the custom set of quilted Christmas coasters I sent out earlier this month. They turned out super cute, and it was so fun making something custom for someone! (hint, hint, I want to make YOU something! Find me on Etsy here)

Custom Christmas Coasters

We recently got a new dining table and chairs, and I thought my new Japanese fabric I purchased in Houston would make a great table runner.

Dining table

These indigo crosses make me happy every time I look at them!

Fabric table runner

And another fun table/dining room project – these Thanksgiving napkins I whipped up! I like the subtle fall colors and fun leaf print. Next on the agenda: Christmas napkins. Soon I’ll have napkins for every season.

Thanksgiving napkins

Stepping up my hair game with a homemade reversible headband. I LOVE how these are turning out. (I’ve already made three in the last two days.) I think I may list some on my Etsy shop, too. They are too good not to share!

Craft Takeover Headband

Reversible Headband

Homemade headband

And finally, the project I’m most excited to share with you…
I finished a quilt top for John! This simple half-square triangle design came together really quickly, and I can’t wait to get started hand-quilting it.

Half square triangle quilt for John

What are you working on lately? I’d love to hear!

Quilted Fall Table Runner

Don’t you just love when autumn rolls around and you get to start buying pumpkins and candles and Halloween decorations? This year I thought I’d spruce up my kitchen table a bit with some fall colors. The remnants of Cherrywood fabric I had leftover from my chevron pillows was the perfect fit for an easy table runner!

The quilted table runner is made up of two inch squares from 6 different variations of red, orange, and yellow. I made up an easy-to-piece cross pattern that reminded me of my very first quilt, and it came together really quickly! I loved making it because I got to work on my piecing and quilting skills, without having to make a huge project.

quilted fall table runner - front

The fabric on the back is also from my stash – you may remember the yellow polka dot pillows I made with this fabric a couple years ago.

quilted fall table runner - back

Once I basted the layers together, I did some easy straight-line quilting with my little sewing machine, alternating between quilting two lines and four lines of simple orange thread.

straight line quilting

The binding is also pretty scrappy, using up more Cherrywood reds and oranges, and a little more polka dot fabric thrown in for good measure.

scrappy binding

I love these intense colors! What an easy way to brighten up a table for the fall season.

Halloween table runner


Hope you have a fun and spooky Halloween next week!


How to: Make a Design Wall

Did you know that fabric sticks to flannel? This never really occurred to me until I saw some awesome sewing and quilting studios that incorporated a design wall into their space. A design wall allows you to to lay out fabric and play with quilt blocks until you find the perfect arrangement! It’s a super helpful tool when laying out a design for your next project.

fabric design wall

Here’s a couple of shots of my sewing space before. I knew I needed something in the far corner, but I didn’t know what to put there. Once I started thinking about a design wall, I knew it was the perfect place!
Craft Takeover sewing studioCraft Takeover studio

Here’s how you can make your own. It’s easy and cheap! Two of the best things when making crafty projects 🙂

Materials needed:

  • foam core board – found at craft or office supply stores.
  • flannel
  • staple gun with 1/4 inch staples
  • packing tape or duct tape


1. First, measure your space to see what size design wall you can make. I had a long narrow corner of the wall that I wanted to utilize, so I used two foam core boards stacked on top of each other. I found mine at Hobby Lobby, and they were 32 x 40 inches each.
Craft Takeover studio wall

2. Next, determine how much flannel you need to cover your board. My design wall is about 7 feet tall, so I bought 2 and half yards of flannel. If you are making a wall that is wider than the flannel, simply sew a couple of pieces together to fit.

3. Tape the foam core boards together.
tape foam core to make a design wall

4. Attach the flannel to the board by pulling it taught, and stapling around the edge with a staple gun. 1/4 inch staples worked well for me – do not use long staples or you’ll go all the way through the board! If you have a wider board, some spray adhesive may be helpful during this step. Cut off the excess fabric on the back.

5. The foam core board and flannel are so lightweight, I simply nailed through all four corners and in the middle of both sides to hold it in place on the wall.
Design Wall detail

And you’re done!

Craft Takeover sewing studio with design wall

It is so, so helpful as a quilter and sewer to be able to simply stick some fabric or block on the wall, and then be able to rearrange and move them around. It really helps you perfect your design!

Easy Quilted Coaster

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you are enjoying this lovely Sunday. Today we packed up most of our kitchen to move to the new house. This means I won’t be cooking any fancy Easter meals. Guess I’ll just enjoy an easy sandwich with coffee on my new quilted coaster. Look how cute!

quilted coaster 01

Recently I shared a tutorial for flying geese quilt blocks, so afterwards I had several of these blocks floating around just begging to be used for a project. I thought a teeny tiny quilt would make a great coaster for drinks, hot or cold.

I made a square with 2 of the flying geese blocks, then grabbed a scrap of batting and a piece of plain fabric for the backing. I used a couple of pins around the edge to hold the layers together, then took it over to my sewing machine for some simple straight line quilting (start with a line right down the middle to keep things in place!). This couldn’t be easier, the coaster is a great size to work with. Just take a second every now and then to check out the back of the coaster and make sure your quilting is looking ok. I quilted each line about a quarter of an inch apart, and didn’t mind if my lines were a little imperfect. It has some character that way!

quilted coaster 03

Instead of doing something more time consuming like a traditional binding, I used my serger to stitch and seal around the outside of the coaster to finish.

quilted coaster 02

Making a coaster is a great way to use up extra quilt blocks you might have. Bonus points if you have enough for a matching set! Of course you could also quickly sew up some blocks in order to make as many as needed. This is a project without strict guidelines – just use scraps you have on hand, make however many you like, and in whatever size you want!

quilted coaster 04

I’m looking forward to making a whole set of these for our coffee table at home, and I think this would also be a really great handmade gift to give!

Free-Motion Quilting Inspiration

Recently I was given the chance to work on a cute baby quilt project for one of my co-workers. A friend had already made the quilt top and binding, and provided me with all the materials I needed! I happily volunteered to quilt it all together.

pinwheel quilt block
Here is a close-up of the pinwheel blocks I’ll be working with.

pinwheel quilt top
More of the front of the quilt.

cute animal fabric
Cute animal fabric for the back.

butterfly quilt binding
She even made all the binding!

For this fun quilt, I want to do something besides quilting in a straight line. I’m going to try my hand at free-motion quilting for the first time! Now I just need some inspiration, and idea of how to get started.

Here are some photos I found around the web of some pretty designs on pinwheel quilts.

rounded quilt
Circle quilting. From here.

pinwheel for linda
See how the quilting adds movement on this one? From here.

sisters and quilters
Love this simple and large design. From here.

pinwheelquilt by honey bear lane
This pebbled texture also looks great. From here.

Next step for me? I need to purchase a darning foot, or free-motion foot for my machine since I don’t have one. Then I need to read up on free-motion quilting techniques and learn a little bit.

I will share some progress pictures once I get the hang of things and decide on a pattern to quilt on these fun pinwheel blocks. I hope this will be a quilt that my friend’s new baby girl enjoys for a long time!

Are there any quilters out there with free-motion tips for beginners?

How To: Make a Modern Heart Pillow

I wouldn’t really consider myself a Valentine’s Day decorator. Usually things are pretty low key around our house on February 14th. That being said – I couldn’t resist making a couple modern heart pillows to display in February (and I may just keep them out all year long!)

modern heart pillow

Mostly I was inspired by this beautiful Liberty of London fabric! I’d been wanting some for so long, so I finally went for it and ordered a quarter of a yard from Purl Soho (at the time of this post it looks like their website is under maintenance). Also pictured is Robert Kaufman’s Essex Linen line in Ruby and Sand.

New project fabric

My finished pillows are 18×18 inches, so I cut out an 18 1/2 inch square in the lighter fabric for the front of the pillow. The extra half inch is to allow for a quarter inch seam allowance all the way around. For the back, I chose to do an envelope closure, and cut out 2 pieces to overlap and still equal 18 1/2 inches squared. Read more about how to make an envelope closure here.

I learned two new sewing skills for this project – the instructions and supplies are included below in two separate tutorials. Continue reading

Cherrywood Chevron Pillows: Quilted Top and Envelope Back

Happy holidays! It’s been a wonderful week. We visited family last weekend, and then John and I had a quiet Christmas day at home.

Now I’ve just been catching up on cleaning and doing things around the house. I know that sounds boring, but it’s been nice! I love not having to rush around, so these last couple days off of work have been fantastic to get things done. I also got to take some photos of my finished Cherrywood chevron pillows!

cherrywood chevron pillows

I talked about the beginning of this project here.

After prepping the fabric, I used my rotary cutter to cut triangle and parallelogram shapes based on my pattern, and sewed them together to make the top. Then, I made a mini quilt sandwich with flannel and a plain white scrap of fabric. Quilting with the flannel instead of batting turned out nicely, but I would definitely recommend using your sewing machine! I started out by hand-quilting, and while it looks nice, it was very difficult to do  because the needle doesn’t slide through the flannel easily.

Here’s what the two methods look like next to each other. I do love the hand stitched look, so this finished pillow will be extra special.

hand vs machine quilted

Once the tops were quilted, I needed to make the backs. I sewed little triangles of the Cherrywood fabric onto paper so I could bring it into the Quilt Store and browse for the perfect complementary fabric.

Fabric samples

This pretty Robert Kaufman fabric matched perfectly.

I used this tutorial as a guideline to make an envelope closure back. It was so easy!

chevron pillow envelope back

All that was left was purchasing a few 16×16 pillow forms to insert in the covers. I enjoyed making these pillow covers because I can switch them out for different ones whenever I want! And making the pillows was similar to making a quilt, but on a much smaller scale. It was fun to be able to have a finished product in such a short amount of time.

stacked chevron pillows

I’m calling my first quilted pillows a success!

Cherrywood Chevron Pillows: Fabric and Using Synthrapol

Since I finished my Broken Dishes Quilt, I was finally able to move on to another project! This time I tried my hand at some pillow covers. I guess I just love pillows – remember when I made polka dot pillows last year? Instead of stuffing them with poly-fil, this time I made quilted covers for a 16×16 pillow insert, with a simple envelope closure on the back.

This is the sketch I came up with. I love chevron, but wanted to do something a bit different. I’m taking this idea and making square pillows. It may end up as a full-sized quilt someday, too!

chevron design

I fell in love with Cherrywood fabric when I came across it at QuiltCon last year, and I’m so excited to use the 8-step fat quarter bundle I purchased!

dutch tulip cherrywood fabric

This bundle is called “Dutch Tulip”

Aren’t they beautiful? I love these as well:

Cherrywood bundles

Images from Cherrywood Fabric website

1. Melon Patch
2. Madagascar
3. Onyx to Light
4. Potters Wheel

When I purchased the bundle, they included a pamphlet on caring for and washing the hand-dyed fabric. I’m glad I kept it and followed their directions!

It is recommended to use Synthrapol when washing, which you can buy from craft stores, Cherrywood’s website, or on Amazon.

Check out the water when I washed the reds. Followed by a second wash.
washing hand dyed fabrics

See how much dye was released? The Synthrapol prevents it from reattaching onto the other fabrics.

Once washed, the fabric was dried and ironed, measured and cut, and sewn up! I have a few final steps to complete, and next week I’ll share photos of the finished pillows!

>>special thanks to Ken for loaning me his camera (Canon Rebel T2i). I’m VERY excited to practice using a nice camera, and even more excited about having some non-iphone photos appear on the blog for once.