Friday, July 27, 2012

Ava's birthday gifts

My niece, Ava, had her birthday waaaayyy back in March. She turned 7 this year. For her birthday, I made her a duvet cover for her down comforter, a matching pillow, and also a fabric covered cork board. Her mom redecorated her room in pink, gray, and black. It looks so cool! We found this fabric at Hobby Lobby. Don't get me wrong, Hobby Lobby has some cool fabric, but it just doesn't "handle" the same as fabric I get at my local quilt shop. But for non-quilting projects, it works just fine.

This duvet cover was pretty basic and simple to put together. Fortunately, the pattern of the fabric was busy enough that I didn't really have to worry about matching up the pattern repeat at the seams. For the construction, I pieced the "front" and "back" of the duvet cover using 5 yards of each fabric. There is one large panel in the center, and then 2 smaller panels on either side of that. I laid the 2 sides down with right sides together. I then sewed a zipper onto the "bottom" end of the duvet cover. Then I opened the zipper and sewed the 3 remaining sides shut using a 1" seam allowance. Lastly, I flipped the duvet cover right side out by pulling it through the open zipper. Easy peasy. I made the matching pillow cover in the exact same manner. (By the way: I left the selvedge on the fabric and sewed 1" from the selvedge. On the other edges, I used my pinking shears to prevent fraying. Of course, if you wanted to be more fancy and professional, you could use a french seam.) 

The duvet cover is reversible, so Ava can decide if she wants the pink or the black showing. My sister tells me that if Ava makes the bed, she puts the pink showing, but if Rachel (my sister) makes the bed, she puts the black showing. I get a kick out of that. Looks like Rachel made the bed the day I took this picture!

I also had an old cork board in my basement from my time at college. My college roommate's mom had made a fabric cover for it to match the duvet cover she made me at the time. So I decided to do the same for Ava.

The cork board cover actually took more time than the duvet cover, but of course that is because there was more piecing and pressing involved. This is where I really noticed the difference in fabric quality.

I cut 5" squares of pink and black patterned fabric as well as a 5" square of solid black fabric for each 5" square of patterned fabric. I can't remember right off hand how many of each I had to cut, but of course the number of squares needed is dictated by how large the cork board is. This cork board is 24" x 36".

Now then, after I cut my 5" squares of fabric, I laid one patterned square of fabric on top of one solid black square of fabric, right sides together. Then I used my Fons and Porter quarter inch seam marker and chalk to mark 1/4" inch from each side of the diagonal. Sorry I don't have any pictures of this, but again, this blogging thing just came to me recently and I made this way back in late February. Once I had the 1/4" seam marked, I stitched on each line and then cut the squares apart along the diagonal using my rotary cutter. (You could also skip the step where you mark the 1/4" seam with chalk and just sew 1/4" from the diagonal using your 1/4" foot, but I prefer to mark as I am more accurate that way.)

From there, I pressed each triangle open, so that it was again a full square, but with one triangle of solid black fabric and the other triangle of patterned fabric. If you are new to the quilting world, these squares are called "Half Square Triangles". I pressed my seams to the solid black fabric, but in hindsight, it might have worked better to press the seams open to reduce bulk.

Once I had all my half square triangles made, I laid them out in a chevron pattern and then sewed them into rows. Then I joined the rows to make the covering, which measured a few inches larger than the 24" x 36" of the board. Then I wrapped the fabric around the cork board and stapled the fabric to the back of the board, mitering the corners.

I had planned on wrapping black ribbon across the board in a diamond pattern, so pictures and such could be tucked under the ribbon, but with the chevron layout plus the pattern of the fabric, it was just too busy. So my mom found some really cool thumb tacks (also at Hobby Lobby) that were black and gray and had paisley patterns on them - similar to the pink and black patterned fabrics. We spelled out Ava's name in the lower right hand corner, just for fun.

Thanks for reading!

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