A Series of Small Projects

Posted by on 14 October 2019 | 0 Comments
This content belongs to Arbee Designs.


I've been looking for.... and thinking about... small gift ideas for Christmas. I have so many 'big' ideas but never start soon enough to get them made for Christmas! So over the next few weeks, I'm going to share some ideas for easy and reasonably quick gifts.

I took a quick trip into our local craft and patchwork store to see what I could find and picked up a few things. One was metal hoops. They come in lots of different sizes but I choose 200mm (about 8") hoops as they would be the perfect size for my two smallest butterflies in "Spring Life" BOM quilt. (click the link to find out more about that)

I made the two butterflies - the purple butterflypurple butterfly

and the blue butterfly.blue butterfly

By the way, these are both fairly quick projects to make and can be purchased separately: Blue Butterfly and Purple Butterfly

I'll start with the purple one first as I still need to do some embroidery on the blue one. 

purple butterfly with hoop

Thinking about the hoop, I played around a bit with how to use it. First I decided to make a bias binding using my clover bias making tool (makes 1" bias). I'd use this to go around the outer edge so I could fold it over the hoop on the back. I cut a 2" wide strip to make the bias binding and started this simple process. Tip: Remember to keep the iron close to the tool as you move along - you get a better result.

making 1inch bias

I drew around the outside of the hoop and trimmed back the excess from the block leaving about 1/4" seam allowance, then sewed the bias around it being careful not to overstretch it. A note worth mentioning here: If you are trying this step-by-step, read down the page first as I did run into some problems. Making sure you are aware of these will prevent you from making mistakes too.

sewing bias binding on edge

I was able to fold the bias over the hoop and pin it in place easily. With this done, I could now use my free-motion technique to sew close to the inside of the hoop. Since the hoop was quite thick, I could use it as a guide as one would do with a quilting ruler. 

That worked well although in places I wasn't so straight! More practice needed for sure. Needless to say, that stitching got ripped out. The other problem I was having is the seam wasn't quite on the edge where I thought it should be and being somewhat crooked in places, bothered me a lot. No matter how much stretching I did, I couldn't get it to look good!purple butterfly edge stitched

I definitely needed something to cover that so I made a 1" wide binding in purple connecting the ends to make a loop.

The purple binding was divided into quarters and I also marked quarter points around the hoop. I matched the marks then pleated up the fullness pinning the pleats in place as I went.

purple butterfly with trim

I used a contrasting thread to stitch the pleats. 

stitching pleats

You can see how I've stitched right up very close to the pin and used my needle down function to stop just before it. I can now lift the foot (with my knee lift) and remove the pin before stitching onto the next one. Never stitch over pins!! The reason for this is, if you accidentally hit one you could damage the inside of your machine. It isn't worth it! 

The frill was hot glued in place around the edge to cover that seam I didn't like.

To finish off, I stitched a picture hanger at the top and hot glued a piece of card on the back.

picture hook

Here's how it looks..... I think I'll try something a little different for the blue butterfly!

purple butterfly framed

Finished purple butterfly

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