Monday, July 25, 2016

Christmas in July: Blog Hop Day 1

Christmas in July continues with a week of holiday-themed tutorials! Stop by each day this week to see the featured tutorial and find out how you can enter to win the fabric line being used!

Starting off the hop is Chris from made by ChrissieD using the adorable Jolly Penguin and Friends collection! She's sharing a project here and then a second tutorial on her blog--we hope you'll enjoy them both! 

Hi, I'm Chris Dodsley of made by ChrissieD, a sewing teacher in Manhattan and VP of the NYC Metro MOD Quilt Guild, blogging about my textile crafts and travel adventures.  I love to share my tips and tutorials and projects on my made by ChrissieD blog, twice monthly newsletter and various social media sites including FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter and Flickr.

It's Day 1 on the Christmas in July 2016 Blog Hop and today I'm showcasing this cute Jolly Penguin Fabric and Friends collection by Mitzi Powers.


The collection is available in 100% cotton and also in flannel and includes a Jolly Penguin pillow panel to make up into this adorable cuddly.

I'm going to walk you through making the Jolly Penguin pillow with my tips along the way.  As a bonus I'm also sharing instructions to make this hand tied Jolly Penguin minky backed flannel quilt over on my made by ChrissieD blog including yet more tips to make working with tricky minky super easy.

Benartex's Jolly Penguin pillow instructions are printed step by step on the panel (shown in  this post in green italics).  I'm adding my own photos and instructions to each step (in black) to each step as we go :D

Supplies Needed:
1 Bag of Polyester stuffing (I used 18 oz/500 g)
1 x Penguin panel - available in flannel or 100% cotton

Pompom for hat optional
Embroidery Thread/Embellishments
Lightweight, thin batting (approx 24" x 44")
Basting spray or pins

This is optional for the 100% cotton panel but essential for the flannel panel as flannel can shrink significantly when washed.  

I pre-washed the flannel using my machine's regular warm cycle, tumble dried to half dry, pressed to almost dry and hung till dry.  The flannel is very soft before and after washing.  It washes beautifully with no colour run (I didn't use a colour catcher) and there is no pilling on the fabric surface.

If you wish to embellish your penguin, use a lightweight layer of batting under the body front before beginning Step 1.  Quilt along the lines or add quilting on white penguin body.  Add buttons or stitches for eyes.  If penguin is for small child use embroidery for eyes.  Use metallic pen or embroidery for signing.

Having spray basted the back of the panel I place,d a sheet of thin cotton batting over the whole panel.  There is some batting wastage but you save a lot of time using this method rather than basting each piece individually.  Use a thin batting or it will be difficult to turn the smaller flipper and feet pieces through to the right side after stitching.

Using a variegated pearl #3 cotton I stitched detail onto the scarf and hat, an orange/yellow embroidery cotton on the beak and black #3 pearl cotton to stitch around the body and eyes.

Remember to clip the curve at the bottom of the hat brim (front fabric clipped/back fabric unclipped).

Read instructions before cutting. Cut all pattern pieces including 1/4" seam allowance.
Pre-wash panel - this is optional for the 100% cotton panel but essential for the flannel panel.

The 1/4" seam allowance is marked on the panel as a silver black line around each piece, keep this edge attached to the pieces as you cut the panel.

Step One - Flippers
Pin right sides together, sew all around leaving one side open for turning.  Turn right side out and stuff.  Repeat for other flipper.  Place flippers to the front of penguin body matching dots.  Baste in place.

I incorrectly sewed the flippers and feet up to the marker dots showing where they join to the penguin's body.  In hind sight it would be easier not to sew any stitches along the edge of the flippers and feet where they will join onto the body (as shown in the diagram on the panel below) - this would make sewing through all the seams easier at that stage.

The panel instructions don't tell you to add batting to the flippers and feet but I did - this gave them more body.  I clipped all the curved sections well, making sure I didn't snip through any of my stitches (right).

This is the amount of stuffing I used in each flipper - attaching the flippers to the body is easier if you don't fill the flippers with stuffing at the point where the two will join - you need to get all 4 layers of fabric under your presser foot and if you stuff the flipper full it'll make sewing really tricky.

Place the flippers on the penguin front and baste in place matching the dots as best you can - stuffing the flippers means the dots don't line up as well as they did pre-stuffing.

I hand basted the flippers in place as shown in these pics:


Step Two - Feet
Pin right sides together sew all around leaving top open for turning.  Turn right side out and lightly stuff.  Finish foot by hand stitching over webbing.  Repeat for other foot.  Place feet to the front of penguin body matching dots.  Baste in place.

I made the feet as I made the flippers (again don't overstuff at the opening and sew straight off the sides and not along the joining edge or attaching them to the body will be more difficult) then I handstitched a back stitch through all the layers of the feet (outside top to outside bottom) using a yellow/orange embroidery thread.

Step Three - Base
Place the base on penguin body, right sides together matching center line, make sure feet are sandwiched in between body front and base of penguin.  Ease the fabric around the curves and baste in place.  Sew.  Clip curves.  Repeat to attach the base to penguin back, carefully matching seam allowances, leaving center open for turning.

I've popped pins through the mark points to make them visible for you.

The front centre point wasn't marked on the fabric so I measured the gap between the feet markers (3") and drew a white line at the half way point (1-1/2").  You'll need this mark in a moment to attach the body gusset.

Baste the feet to the penguin front as before for the flippers.  Match up the centre marks on the penguin front and the gusset.

Baste the gusset to the penguin front with the feet sandwiched between.

To keep the gusset centre marks matching I recommend you start sewing at the centre mark and sew outwards, stopping when you reach the pointed tip of the gusset.

Hand basting gives you more control over all the layers and seams that you need to bring together.  Once basted you can sew everything securely in place with your machine.  Basting seems to take longer and it's easy to try to skip this step but it's often faster in the end.  Once done you can sew quickly with your machine knowing everything's in the right place and without worrying about layers escaping as you remove each pin.

Go back to the centre mark and baste outwards towards the opposite gusset point.  With the basting complete sew this same seam with your machine.

See the 'made by' print on the gusset?  If you haven't already added your name now's your last chance to do it - use a metallic fabric marker or with embroidery thread sew your name below this on the gusset.  Below you can see I've sewn my own label over the 'made by' text.

Step Four - Body
Pin body front and back right sides together, sew all around.  Clip as indicated.  Turn right side out.

I lined the two layers together matching them first at the flipper markings.

To avoid problems with bulk at the machine, I hand basted the layers together across the flipper seams.

With the flippers seams matched, I moved on to matching the clipped sections below the hat and then pinned the pieces together around the whole pillow leaving the gusset open at the 'Leave Open For Stuffing' marks.

After sewing around the body (don't forget to leave that stuffing gap!) and clipping, I turned the penguin to the right side.  I wasn't totally happy with how the flippers joined the body - the 1/4" seams were visible (the silver black seam is showing against the black penguin below).  This is due to the stuffing at the opening of the flippers and feet making it tricky to get the machine foot right up to the 1/4" seam mark - remember not to stuff too closely to the openings and not to stitch those joining edge seams on the flippers and feet!

I quickly rectified this using black thread and a ladder stitch.  
First I picked up a small stitch on the penguin body...

...then a small stitch on the penguin flipper and I worked alternately stitching the body then the flipper along the length of the visible seam.

The ladder stitch pulls the two layers of fabric together so the seam and the stitches are no longer visible.

Step Five - Finishing
Stuff the body and hand sew the opening closed.

I don't like the hard lumps that sometimes form in polyester stuffing (above right, top), I find these tricky to manipulate within a stuffed body causing unsightly bumps in the surface.  To stop this happening I prefer to tease my stuffing out until it's more open (above right, bottom), I find this achieves a smoother finish and fills small areas easily.

Sewing the opening closed I again used a ladder stitch, taking a stitch in the gusset and the next stitch in the penguin back, each time just outside the 1/4" seam line - this way the silver seam line and my stitches aren't visible after closing.

When you're finished Jolly Penguin will be covered in stuffing fluff - use a sticky lint roller or tape around your hand to lift the stuffing off the outside surface and that's it, he's ready to make someone very happy this Christmas xxx

Jolly Penguin Pillow

Jolly Penguin Quilt (47" x 47")
Hard to imagine needing a warm quilt in the heat of the summer but this one's supply snuggly and, made from the same fabric collection, it's a perfect match for the Jolly Penguin pillow.

The quilt top and binding are soft flannel and the backing is sherpa cuddle minky - there's no batting and the quilt is hand-tied so it's super easy.

Of course, we all know minky is notoriously difficult to work with but I'll be sharing my technique with you so you'll never be scared of working with minky again.

I hope you've enjoyed my day on the Christmas in July Blog Hop and that you're starting to get into the holiday spirit!  It's time now to head over to my made by ChrissieD blog for a chance to win a fq bundle of Jolly Penguin fabric and for the Jolly Penguin quilt tutorial - Chris :D

Thanks, Chris! Head over to Chris' blog to see her second tutorial and enter for a chance to win a FQ bundle of Jolly Penguin and Friends fabric! 

Don't miss our Christmas in July tutorials all this week!
Wednesday: Alison from Little Bunny Quilts, featuring Sparkle
Friday: Benartex blog design team featuring Joyful
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  1. What a great way to make a panel project not so the details! The quilt looks so warm and cozy, although hard to think about in the heat right now, this will be amazing when the winter cold rolls around! Love the fabrics!

  2. Very cute. He would look so sweet sitting on the sofa.

  3. Oh how cute...I remember when I was very little my mother getting panel dolls for us to sew up....

  4. This is a cute little quilt. Between the flannel and the minky it will be nice and cuddly.

  5. What a sweet project! Thanks, Chris! The penguin reminds me of a basset pillow kit my Mom helped me make when I was 8. It was my car pillow for years. I can just see my beagle trying to take over the flannel and minky quilt for his winter naps!

  6. Awesome tutorial Chrissie! Thank you. This fabric collection is just adorable, as is that cute little penguin.

  7. So sweet and great tutorial!

  8. Adorable! Thank you for the tutorial!

  9. Great tutorials! Love them both!

  10. Such a cute pillow, and you made it so easy to make one. Thank you for the tutorials you've posted.

  11. Any possibility that you would make and sell these?

  12. thanks for the reminder to prewash flannel, I sometimes forget how much it shrinks...3 - 5 % and that makes a hudge difference in results. Love the penguin and the coordinating fabrics. I don't understand the profile selections, why can't I just leave my name, Suzi

  13. Still a tad hesitant about sewing with minky....but it feels so good have to tackle it. Wonderful expression on the penguin. Will cause quite a few smiles. Thank you for the tutorial!

  14. I love this, following by email.