Thursday, September 22, 2011

Holiday Sewing on the Mind

My calender says it's the first day of Fall today.  This is truly my FAVORITE time of year!  Snuggly sweaters, pumpkins, falling leaves and cool crisp autumn afternoons.  So would it be too much to ask Mother Nature to fall in line and give this to me?  PLEASE!?  I am so tired of the 100 degree plus days.  Okay, so it's cooled a bit, only in the 90's.  I am not letting this wacky weather detour me from my holiday sewing to-do list!  I love making handmade gifts but yes, they are time-consuming so the list of recipients ends up being much smaller than what I started with.  I am Queen of Procrastination.  I have a plan to maximize my sewing time this year.  #1 Start Early (yes, this is early for me!) #2 Stick to smaller projects. (sorry, sis, no queen size quilt this year!) #3 Pre-cuts Pre-cuts Pre-cuts!  (what's better than a yummy jelly roll and charm pack?)

I found an awesome pattern called French Bread.  I've been obsessed with the French Braid quilts for some time.  I've even bought several books on the technique but honestly, I thought it would be too difficult and that I wouldn't have the time to learn.  Well, this pattern utilizes the french braid technique and it's super easy!  The pattern is for a table runner.  I am making Christmas gifts for my grandmothers and they both would love this little shot of color in their houses.  The pattern will give you a small runner, roughly 12" x 28".  Plenty big enough to lay across a small kitchen table. 

The pattern calls for 2.5" strips so I grabbed one of my favorite Jelly Rolls off the shelf.  Summer House by Lily Ashbury is a bright and beautiful line of fabric that I have been obsessed with for a few weeks now!  I know my Gran's will love it!

I picked out 9 of the 40 strips and trimmed off the selvege edge.

I then cut them into 2 1/2" x 7 1/2" rectangles.

The directions had awesome diagrams on how to piece your rectangles together but here are some pic's of how it's done!

Piece 1 to Piece 2.

Piece 3....see?  Isn't it so easy!?  I don't know what I was so worried about!

And you just keep going and going for as long as you want!  I figured I could piece a row long enough that I could just cut it in half and have  two pieces I could make into two different runners.

Once your piece is as long as you want it, trim off all sides to square it up.  The pattern has you trimming it to 8" x 24".  That's what I did seeing as how I was going to do two.  (gosh, these colors are so pretty, they would look awesome with my vintage Pyrex... get back to sewing.)  Now, you only need a 1/4 yard to cut 2.5" strips for a border.  Or you can use strips from the roll to make a scrappy border.  Then just 1/4 yard for binding but I'm using strips from the jelly roll, I only used 9 and that roll has 40!   (this would look SO good in my kitchen!)

Okay, I'm kind of ashamed of myself now.  What started out as TWO Christmas gifts has now turned into one table top quilt that will go in my kitchen.

What?  I whipped this thing out in like 30 minutes!  I have 30 strips left!  I'll still make them one too!  This was my tester!  (I always say that.) 

If you go the shop and purchase a jelly roll, I'll make sure a copy of this pattern gets in your package!  If you'd like me to help pick out borders and binding, just email me at  I'll be happy to help pick out some coordinating fabrics.  Remember, if you just want to make the runner, you only need 9 strips which means with one 40 piece jelly roll and 2 yards of fabric for borders and binding, you can make 4 runners!  That is if you don't get all selfish like me and keep them for yourself!  The pattern also gives you ideas on how to make this into a quilt!


Tuffimom said...

Great project and easy enough for beginner sewers! Our daughters could make these table runners as gifts for family! Thank you for a great blog post!

Marla F said...

You have the best taste in fabrics Joy! I'm glad I found your shop!

Crystallace said...

I've been curious about the French braid quilts, too. Thanks for the pictures. It looks pretty easy.

grannyanne said...

Thanks for the great explanation! So glad I'm following, all the way to the sewing machine....

Roxanne said...

Love it!! Thought it would be hard too!! Looks hard so you can take all the credit!! Makes me want to dig in my 3 totes of fat quarters!! I probably have more fabric than you do at the shop. Can't wait to get moved to TX so I can come in and check things out!!