Welcome !



Welcome to Made Down South! Thanks for stopping by to see what I'm up to. This blog serves as my review of projects accomplished since I have way too many that are halfway done. I also tend to have so many urgent ideas where I simply have stop all else to work on the newest thing. So, this blog will show all the ideas that actually get made into stuff! Some of that stuff is available for sale at our etsy shop, Down South Designs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Progress: Vintage Grandmother's Fan

Lots of works in progress in my sewing studio this week!  


Here's a fun quilt top that a customer asked me to quilt in an authentic style of the 30's era.  This hand pieced quilt top had been passed down through her family and she wanted to have it completed as a wedding gift for a family member.


The maker of this quilt top was so careful with her scraps and pieced them so well that you had to look closely to see which fans were "made do" from pieces of fabrics. 


I felt like I was on a treasure hunt when I examined her work and the lovely old fabrics. Such a joy!   She was an excellent quilter and obviously took pride in her work and was quite thrifty with her fabric scraps!







I used Quilters Dream cotton batting and plain muslin for the back. It measures 88" X 98". I hope to finish this week. I have many more projects to complete before Christmas!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Progress: Memory block quilt blocks


My friend, J, and I have been trying to get our improv groove on and make these memory clothing blocks. It's a project that my church group of sewists at the Mustard Seed is doing for a local family who recently lost a loved one. 


We stabilized each section of clothing fabric so that we could combine different textures and have success!  


The plan is for these 12 1/2" blocks to be placed into shadow box frames with personal embellishments attached.  I think it's a great idea and I can't wait to see the final outcome!

I will be posting at Freshly Pieced this week

Thursday, October 16, 2014

For the Love of an Old Quilt

A dear old friend reluctantly handed me a bag of deteriorated quilts, knowing that I enjoy the challenge of  transforming something old into something new and fantastic.  I've made lots of skirts and bags from old quilt tops.  I've even repaired some old torn quilts and restored them back to their former glory.  I could tell these deteriorated quilts were near and dear to her heart as she told me that her sweet Aunt had made these back in the 1930s.  She cherished them and was so disappointed that other generations of her family had not treated them well.  One of the quilts even had cigarette burns all over it.


I salvaged some star blocks from one quilt and decided to try making a few pillows.  As you can see,  these old quilts were stuffed full with carded cotton batting from the good old days.  I'm glad we have better batting choices these days!


These were very thick to sew through but my Bernina 750QE handled it like a champ!  After sewing the initial seam, I used the extra wide zigzag stitch to secure the seam allowance neatly.  Love that option to adjust the width of any stitch up to 7 mm wide!





I thought a square pillow would be a bit boring so I trimmed them like a hexagon and sewed them up.  It surprised me when they came out looking like a flower after I stuffed them!  If  I can come up with a few clever ways to cover up the burn spots, I might just whip up a few of these for my dear old friend.  I think she might like to give them to her great grandchildren just to keep them in the family.  


I'll be linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Friday Finish blog this week.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Just Add More Stitches

I made the one hour trip to my favorite quilt shop, Lola Pink in Lafayette, LA, and fell in love three steps into the shop.  The new fabric line, Persimmon by Moda, just reached out to me and I knew that jelly roll had to come home with me.  Now I'm usually not a jelly roll kind of gal. I don't know if it's the price or the perfectly coordinated formula, but something usually makes me steer clear of them. Anyhow, the colors made me take the leap into jellyrolls and I'm glad I did!  I also selected an unModa step child fabric that I adored for border potential.  I made sixteen patch blocks--sooo easy with jelly rolls. I just separated the strips into darks and lights. I loved interchanging the medium fabrics as they can become either a dark or a light depending upon which fabric it is combined with. 

I planned a loose,comfy feel for the quilt so I assumed that meant loosely spaced quilting design.  I chose a wave quilting line through each block but it didn't seem like enough.  Then I added a simple seed line design at the connection seam of each column of blocks. It still looked awkward.


Even after unstitching and restitching, it didn't look "right enough'".   My excellent quilter friend, Gayle, encouraged me to just add more stitches until it feels right. 


Then in the middle of my quilting mojo, my machine gives me this message. 

What the heck????  I am in free motion mode with feed dogs down so why is my Bernina 750QE doing this crazy talk and locking up?  I finally figured it out and made a blog post for my Loving my bernina series to help other owners of the persnickety Bernina 750QE. 


So I finally reaching the point of enough and it's amazing what the right amount of stitching can do for a quilt. I love the feel and texture of the quilt now. I am selecting binding fabrics now. I'm kinda leaning toward a dark blue binding.

I will be posting this week at Freshly Pieced WIP and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish Up Friday.  

Learning to love my Bernina ....not always easy to communicate. Lesson 3





I had been rolling right along quilting my Persimmon Jelly Roll quilt when my darling Bernina 750QE choked up and gave me this strange message.



 I've already got the feed dogs down so the message above makes no sense at all.  Nevertheless, I obediently go through the motions to raise and lower the feed dogs again.  I begin stitching again and it chokes again.... and here's the message I've seen many times before.  

I used to think it meant the gears were literally stuck (duh!) but I eventually found that it was just an indicator of a huge lint booger in the gear mechanism in the bobbin case area. 


So, after a quick swipe of my paintbrush in the depths of the bobbin area,  I got back to work.  I need to remember that what my Bernina communicates is always subject to interpretation.  The past year + of ups and downs with this persnickety Princess has given me valuable experience in learning to interpret what my machine really needs.  I have to give a tip of the hat to my Bernina dealer, Lola Pink of Lafayette, LA.  The owner, Jennifer, has helped me tremendously and I'm impressed that she knew enough to know when it was time to have my machine sent back to the factory for additional work.  But, an essential lesson to remember with my machine is that my darling Bernina is very particular about oiling.  Actually the word should be needy.....she needs a lot of Bernina oil on a regular basis to perform at her optimum.  She is capable of so much.....who can deny her an ample amount of oil?

I finished my Persimmon Jelly Roll Quilt with a coordinating binding by machine.  I used the Bernina 1D foot with the dual feed foot engaged to add the binding edge on the back side of the quilt. Then I ironed back binding over to the front side.  Once I pinned it all in place (a total pain, but worth it!) then it was time to stitch the binding in place with my Bernina 10D foot engaged with the dual feed foot.  I'm sure that is probably not the "proper" foot to use, but it worked for me by moving my needle over to the right a few spaces.  The foot's bottom flange along with my stiletto helped me guide everything in proper place!  I've never had a machine applied binding look so great.  I think it could even hold its own in a quilt show competition.  And it's so much quicker than binding by hand!   






Now here's a tip for a special trick to set that bobbin back just right after you've removed the honking big lint ball.  The Bernina engineers designed a magnet on the bobbin case to help the consumer.  There's a little click sound that let's you know when it's found its happy place.  But there are 2 totally different clicks to deal with in the delicate setting of this bobbin case.  As the bobbin case settles into place, there is a significant click sound and snug fit as you fiddle it into its special magnetized placement.  


If it is the correct placement, the outer casing(the silver half moon shape in the photo below) will close properly.  If it does not feel right as you close the outer casing ring, just start again.  I find that the magnet engages in a couple of different positions during the rotation, but the cover will not actually close unless it is set perfectly.