Friday, August 30, 2013

By the Sea for Labor Day :)

  Happy Labor Day! 

Summer's winding down...
The kids are going back to school...
But there is still fun to be had!
Maybe a boat ride, a walk on the beach, a backyard party, a picnic in the park, a parade or a barbeque... 

We thought that Trenna Travis captured the best of summer with her styling and photoshoot in Marina del Rey. She saw our By the Sea collection and immediately thought of a picnic on a boat in the Fisherman's Village. It seems so sunny and serene, but after speaking with Trenna, it was hardly so! She said, "These were taken in a rocking boat in a windy harbor...napkins were blowing off the table every two seconds and I was dying of motion sickness!" Who knew! The photos are beautiful and you would never know that glasses were breaking, napkins were flying and the boat was rocking away :)

Trenna used Nautical Netting and Sea Rigging for the napkins and Thick Stripe from Bekko for the table cloth.

Above, a shot of the Marina del Rey Lighthouse.

Nautical Netting and Sea Rigging napkins. (We think these would make a wonderful hostess gift for a sea lover!) sew4home has a simple tutorial for bistro napkins here.

The table runner above is made from By the Sea Collage.

These pillows, made from Marina, are so fresh and simple with just white piping around the edges. Our friends over at Sew Mama Sew have a great tutorial for sewing piping. You can find it here.

Marinda Stewart designed the fantastic quilt shown above- It's a free pattern on our website. 

And, finally, here are a couple of inspirational quotes in honor of Labor Day for all of you movers and shakers out there!

Before the reward there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.
~ Ralph Ransom

No great achievement is possible without persistent work.
~ Bertrand Russell

Happy Sewing!
xo, MMF

Friday, August 23, 2013

Designer Spotlight: Tamara Kate and Les Monsieurs!

Hi everyone, it’s Tamara again, back for another collection introduction. 

Gentlemen, start your engines … “Les Monsieurs” has arrived!

Last week I introduced you to the decidedly feminine Flight Patterns. This week is for the boys! Les Monsieurs was the second of my two lines to debut at Quilt Market this past Spring.

I created this line for my five-year old son Max, who, like most little boys, has a vivid imagination, loves playing with things that go fast, and dreams of one day being an astronaut, a race car driver, a pilot, a super hero that scales tall buildings … The list goes on. The name of the collection is all him. I love the way he talks about his wooden men, calling them “les monsieurs”, as opposed to the correct French “les messieurs”.

Much of the physical inspiration for the line is based on a series of wooden toys my husband Greg has been lovingly creating for Max since his first birthday.

While I wanted to design my interpretation of the toys, I also wanted to give them context. I love telling a story on fabric, and so tried to portray the dreams and aspirations of a boy who wants to be like his Papa, racing around a building block city of his own imagination, scarf blowing in the wind.

To appeal to a range of little boys’ (and their mama’s) tastes, I colored the line in three versions that can be used individually or all together.

I started with Aviator, a natural, somewhat earthy color way that still has a bit of zing to it. Then came Retro with a range of blues and pops of intense navy, bright turquoise and acid green. And for the little boys who love color, I created Soft Top that offers lots of brights in a very energized color way.

Sewing options abound. The first thing I wanted to make was a super hero cape (as pictured below). It is fully reversible and I will have a tutorial finished up within the next week or so over on my blog. The racing stripe up the middle is my favorite part.

Accessories are a big hit with my boy, so I made bow ties, bow ties and more bow ties. This was a really fun project, as the printed motifs are just the right size to play with pattern placement.

In recovering this chair seat, I played with the chevron, cutting it very finely to create little diagonal lines.

And clothing. This sweet, simple caftan-style top has been a hit! I have already had requests for adult versions.

And remember that I mentioned the three color ways could all be used together? Well, all you moms out there, be careful about showing this to your boy as he is going to run to start packing for a camping trip. This is a junior-sized quilted sleeping bag (with built-in pillow) using each and every fabric in the collection.

The chevrons, called Tire Treads, are a great dynamic filler fabric. They can blend in or stand out, depending on what you pair them with. There are twelve colorful options.

Now for some fun! Here is a link to a tutorial for a playful interactive pillow I created, the “Monsieur Pocket Pillow”. There is a little bit of simple painting involved as well as a bit of sewing.

The doll is removable and is meant to be your little monsieur today, or the racecar driver / aviator he dreams of being one day, depending on which way he is placed in the pocket. The pocket, of course, is also a great secret storage spot for a variety of little treasures, so be sure to search therein should keys or other small valuables go missing.

Once again, Michael Miller is kindly offering a giveaway … a fat quarter bundle in the Aviator color way to one randomly drawn lucky participant to sew a pocket pillow (or some other wonderful creation) for the adventurous little boy in their life. All you need to do is leave a comment below telling us which Les Monsieurs color way inspires you the most.

Well, it has been great being here with you the past two weeks. Thanks again for spending a bit of your time with me and for all the kind comments last week.

You can keep track of what I am creating here:

Happy sewing!

 Comments are now closed. 
Thanks for participating!

And, the winner is...
(Chosen at random by

 Drea said...
"Love them all, butI keep going back to the Aviator (earth tone) color way. Maybe with fall around the corner, it is inspiring me the most to line a jacket and hat for my little guy or make a quilt... so many ideas, so little time!;-)  Thank you for the giveaway!"

Monday, August 19, 2013

1 Million Pillowcase Challenge

*What is the One Million Pillowcase Challenge?
merican Patchwork & Quilting is challenging quilters, sewers and crafters to help us reach our goal of donating one million pillowcases to local charities.  Many charities can benefit from the donation of a pillowcase and the challenge gives you the opportunity to donate and make a difference in your community.

Michael Miller Fabrics is a proud sponsor of the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge and we are also participants! We've created the Train Pillowcase using our new collection, Norwegian Woods Too and some of our soft and lovely Cotton Couture.

Fabrics used to build the Train Pillowcase:
CX3137 Play Stripe, col: Forest
CX5994 Hedgehoglets, col: Teal
CX5998 Tiny Tiles, col: Teal, Espresso, Apple, Clementine, Topaz
CX5965 Foxtrot, col: Citron
SC5333 Cotton Couture: Col: Starfruit, Clemetine

To find out more about 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge, please visit all people quilt

Make a pillowcase
Make a difference

Happy sewing!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Introducing Norwegian Woods Too!

We had so much fun with the original Norwegian Woods collection that we couldn't resist adding Norwegian Woods Too! 
More forest critters and Jewel tone coordinates to play with.

Would you like to make this adorable dress using Nuts for Dinner? Well, you can! The dress pattern can be found here on etsy. It would make a great back to school outfit and the timing is perfect since Norwegian Woods Too will be available in stores in September!

If garment sewing isn't your "thing", how about trying one of our free quilt patterns?
Marinda Stewart worked her magic again with Nuts for Dinner. The pattern is available here.

How about something a little funky? We love the uneven edges that Ellen Maxwell created with her quilt design, Look Both Ways.

You can't go wrong with Norwegian Woods Too!

Happy Sewing!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Designer Spotlight: Tamara Kate

Introducing Flight Patterns by Tamara Kate

Hi everyone! I am Tamara Kate, the newest licensed designer to join Michael Miller Fabrics, and am so thrilled to be here! 

At the Spring Quilt Market I introduced my first two collections, Flight Patterns and Les Monsieurs, and I am here to give you a personal introduction to them, just as they are hitting stores. First I will focus on Flight Patterns and then will be back soon to tell you all about Les Monsieurs (if you have an adventurous little boy in your life, you won’t want to miss my next post!).

So, how did Flight Patterns come about? Well, I live in the land of long winters, Montreal. I designed this collection in the early months of last year when claustrophobia was setting in and I was dreaming of being outside … of fresh air, spring breezes and bright dappled sunlight that warms your skin; of lying in the grass on long summer days, letting your mind dance; and definitely of the magic of nature, the incredible detail and symmetry in a butterfly’s wings, natural geometric patterns and the flow of migration. 

As much as it is about all of that, Flight Patterns is also about my love of color. Joyful, pure explosions of riotous color, but in a decidedly feminine fashion.

I set to work with pen and ink and drew patterned butterflies, moths and other winged creatures that all seemed to be searching for some color. Then I pulled out my highly neglected watercolors (I typically do most of my design work on the computer) and had some fun with a multitude of colors, and the first pattern, Dappled Migration, came to life. The other patterns followed, all keeping a sense of movement evident throughout.

The collection is printed on Michael Miller Fabric's gorgeously soft Cotton Couture base cloth. That means it is an heirloom quality cotton that has a luxurious silky hand, it drapes beautifully for garment making and it is a dream to piece or quilt with. 

And because of the range of colors I included in so many of the prints, if you are in need of some solids to work with them, the line co-ordinates wonderfully with a high percentage of Michael Miller’s vast range of Cotton Couture solids. Here are just a few suggestions. I will be doing a much more complete post on this over on my blog in the weeks to come.

I created a small quilt that I think effectively shows how the prints work together harmoniously and I wanted to share a simple tutorial for it with you. 

The Dancing Light Quilt uses all eleven prints from the collection. It would be perfect as a baby quilt, but I actually designed it to be used as a play/reading mat in the little spot in my daughter’s room where light comes in the window in the mornings, where I often find her curled up reading, enjoying the early morning sun.

Dancing Light Quilt

Finished size: Approximately 40” square (mine is 39” x 40”. That’s just the way I tend to sew … imprecisely … I’m working on it).

Materials I used:

- A fat quarter of each of the 11 prints in the collection
- A fat quarter each of 3 colors of Cotton Couture: Coral, Orange & Petal
- 1¼ yards of  Cotton Couture Lipstick
- A 42” square of quilt batting (this gives you a bit of “just in case” extra all around that will be trimmed at the end)
- Thread & white quilting thread

Here’s what to do:

First cut pieces for the quilt top as follows:
- 45 pieces 4½” x 8½” of Flight Patterns fabrics (that’s 4 of each of the 11 prints, plus 1. I cut 5 of each, then when laying them out, decided which I would keep in). I tried to choose areas of each fabric that were interesting on their own for randomly flowing patterns, or centered for more geometric ones. The patterns should be running vertically on the rectangles.
- 10 pieces 4½” x 4½” of Flight Patterns fabrics (again, I randomly chose which of the eleven to omit).

Lay out the pieces randomly in 10 vertical rows as follows, keeping all patterns facing the same vertical direction (See Diagram 1):
- Row 1: Lay 1 square, then 4 rectangles, then another square end to end
- Row 2: Lay 5 rectangles end to end
- Rows 3 to 10: Repeat first 2 rows.
Then play with the arrangement, moving patterns around, trying to find a balanced, random look.

Diagram 1

Working one row at a time, start sewing the pieces together (using ¼” seams), right sides together, across the 4½” ends. Press seams toward the bottom end of each row. Pin and sew (from the top of each row down) the rows together (again with ¼” seams). Press all seams in one direction across the back. Quilt top … done!

Cut the piece of Lipstick Couture Cotton to be an inch or two longer than the quilt top. Lay this piece on a large flat surface and smooth out any wrinkles. Lay the batting on top (smoothing again), and then the finished quilt top (right side up) on top of the batting. Pin these layers together and then hand baste. Using a long ruler to make sure the sides are straight, cut the batting and backing to align with the quilt top.

I love hand stitching, so I opted to hand quilt this one following the printed patterns on each fabric piece as much or as little as I felt like for each one.

For the binding, cut:
- A full width (45”) of the remaining Lipstick fabric, 4” wide.
- 2 pieces 4” x 22” of each of the other 3 solid colors
Randomly cut these lengths into shorter pieces between 3” and 12” in length and then (again, randomly) sew them together, end to end, to form 4 strips of equal length. Press all seams open.
Do the following steps (A to E) for all four binding strips, referring to Diagram 2:

A - Right side facing out, press the strip in half along its length.

B - Then fold one long edge in to meet this fold line and press.

C - Right sides together, using the long edge of binding that was not folded toward the center, pin the strip to an edge of the quilt top, centering it. Measure in and mark 1” from each quilt edge. With a 1” seam allowance, sew each side from mark to mark, making sure not to catch the binding from the adjacent sides.

D - Trim the short ends of the binding strip to ¼” outside the edge of the quilt on all sides. Temporarily unfold the folds you made in steps A & B, then press this ¼” to the wrong side of the binding, flush with the quilt edge.

E - At each end, measure & mark 2” from this folded edge along both long edges. Fold & press from this point to the center folded edge point. Refold folds A and B and flip the binding toward the back of the quilt. You should now have nicely mitered corners.

Diagram 2

Using an invisible stitch, hand stitch the corners to each other on the front and back.  Hand stitch the binding in place all along the back using an invisible stitch. Finito!

In hopes that I have inspired you to make this quilt or to create something of your own with Flight Patterns, Michael Miller is generously offering a bundle of Flight Patterns to one lucky randomly drawn individual. All you have to do is leave a comment below to try your luck.

Thanks for spending a wee bit of your day here with me. I will have more tutorials, giveaways and other fun events on my blog over the next while to celebrate Flight Patterns & Les Monsieurs . I’d love it if you’d stop by to take a peek from time to time … You can also find me here on facebook.

See you back here soon for Les Monsieurs!

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Blogger Kris said...
Love the fresh designs. Pen and Ink and watercolor effects are something I love and this gives that impression.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Alt Summit San Francisco: Return to Alcatraz (by way of the Fairmont Hotel)!

Alt Summit took place in the historical Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and we were thrilled to be there! It was inspiring and just plain amazing to be surrounded by so many talented and creative people. 

As sponsors, we were able to set up a photo booth. We thought that it would be fun to represent San Francisco-- and what better way to do it than with an Alcatraz inspired mug shot?! 

We made the backdrop with Thin Stripe from Bekko and we took the photos with a Fuji Instax mini. Then, we taped the instant photos to a super cute Alcatraz postcard. We hope this was a fun souvenir for all of the alt bloggers!

 We also took tons of pictures with phones and digital cameras so the photos could be posted on Instagram #michaelmillerfabrics #altsf. Log in and check 'em out!

In between photo-ops, we were lucky enough to hear some of the keynote speakers. If you feel like getting lost for a few hours, visit their sites!

Mariam Naficy, Minted
Aaron de Simone, I Heart Luxe
Victoria Smith, sf girl by bay
Jordan Ferney, Oh Happy Day
...and so many more! You can check out the list over at altitudesummitsf

And, I can't blog about alt without mentioning all of the fantastic packaging, swag bags, interesting business cards and cute ways that creatives stand out!




The Pinterest headquarters is located in San Francisco and they hosted a lovely after alt "Alice in Pinterland Party".

What fun! Tiny treats, yummy cocktails, and great company- the perfect way to wind up an excellent couple of days.

*Kathy and I are painting the roses red in the photo above... This wall was designed by Ellen Mattesi of Juvenile Hall Design. She blogs about it here.

Michael Miller provided Bekko fabric to all of the alt attendees- just enough to make a Box Bag like the one over at Pretty Modern (pictured below).

If you love the Box Bag, you can win it- just tell us about a blogger who inspires you! We'll also throw in a bundle of Bekko so you can sew a bag for a friend :)

Happy sewing!
xo, mmf

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 LauraH said...
"One of my favorite blogs is A Holy Experience. I enjoy it and am inspired by it often!"