Sewing, a family affair


Last month my family went on our annual vacation. It’s one week in Wisconsin with eight adults, three children 2 and under, three dogs in two cabins on a lake. It is always a lot of fun, and a good break from the day-to-day.

But this year, I was still working … kinda.

I helped my mom and sister with two sewing projects they’re working on. My sister, whose fiber addiction is crochet, found a crochet/sewing hybrid project she wanted to take make. The Fusion Blanket Crochet Along takes a charm pack, sews two squares right sides together leaving an opening for turning, flips it right side out, close up the open edge, hand-sew a blanket stitch around the entire square and then join the squares with a row of crochet looping into the blanket stitch.

Sound complicated? Try imaging the only time you used a sewing machine was when your quilter sister forced you to hem a curtain panel so you could learn, and it ended up being half-an-inch longer than the one your quilter sister hemmed as an example.


Step one was finding some awesome fabric. That was easy. One trip to Quilting Diva’s in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and my sister found a cute fat quarter stack¬†of fun, modern prints. Confession: I would have bought said fat quarters¬†if she hadn’t.

Step two was teaching my sister how to cut fabric. She got an in-person lesson of two video tutorials I made on how to cut strips, and how to cut strip sets quickly. We were done in an evening and she had never used a cutting mat, quilting ruler or rotary cutter before.

Then it was onto sewing a quarter-inch seam (I’ve got a tutorial on that one too). She was lucky to learn on a machine designed especially for quilters, meaning all she had to do was keep her fabric in line with the edge of the presser foot and the machine would do everything else, from reinforce her stitches for turning to cutting her threads.

From there we took a few short cuts. The pattern called for hand stitching the openings closed. No way was that happening on a couple dozen 4-and-a-half inch squares. So I bought Steam-A-Seam. I little bit of that ironed in the opening and my sister was ready to top-stitch in a couple hours instead of days.


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By the time she left for home she had competed all her squares, learned how to do the button stitch by hand and was ready to start her hand work. My mom didn’t make quite as much progress.

Her project is a Christmas table runner kit I got her for Christmas a year-and-a-half ago. I’m teaching her to quilt and the idea was that I would help her put the table runner together and she could learn some new skills, mainly triangles.

But having a baby got in the way, so we’re still working on it. She did make some major progress though. The table runner has three blocks and is made up of several fabrics, which means there is A LOT of cutting. That usually makes my mom nervous. I think she’s too worried about messing it up. She hasn’t realized yet that it is jut fabric, and if you screw up, you can buy more.

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So while my sister whirred away on the sewing machine with her charm squares, I helped my mom meticulously cut each little piece for the table runner. I also went rouge on the instructions for my mom’s project to. There are a dozen 4-inch, four-patch units and the pattern called for cutting each little square out individually and then sewing it back together. Instead, I had her strip piece the two fabrics used to make the four patch and then cut it apart to make a strip pieced unit.

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It saved a ton of time and now my mom just has one more unit to make before her blocks are ready to go together. Hopefully we’ll get some more time the next time we’re together over Labor Day weekend.

Now I didn’t actually get anything done. I just helped my sister and mom sew. But it was fun nevertheless.

Do you all sew with your family? Tell me about your favorite family sewing memories.

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Comment (1)

  1. Family Quilting is fun. My daughter and I do it Long distance. We live 1200 miles apart. She enjoys doing applique on blocks and sending them to me to assemble and get onto the quilting frame. Often times she sends the fabric that she wants the blocks put together with.We send pictures back and forth on email then discuss the projects on the phone while checking the email. I do more pieced blocks, but am getting in to some applique over the pieces. Right now I’m working on a skateboard top and appliqueing a silhouette of a skateboarder on a side view of a board on the lower right side of the quilt top. Most our quilts go for “Bags of Love” for displaced children.


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