Make Your Own Best Press Citrus Spray Starch


I love Mary Ellen's Best Press Spray Starch. It helps my blocks press crisp and there's no starchy residue. The only downside is that it's way too expensive, especially here in Canada. Also, I don't like the smell of most of their scents; the lavender-scented spray smells like cheap men's cologne. I thought of using the scent-free Best Press, but it costs more than the scented. So, I decided to try making the homemade version of Best Press and I was pleased with the results.

I wanted my spray to have a nice scent but most of the recipes I found called for lavender essential oil and I didn't care for it. So, I tried the citrus essential oils (i.e. lemon, lemongrass, bergamot, orange, etc.) and loved the fresh citrusy scent. I use bergamot exclusively now. Bergamot is a fresh, uplifting Italian orange oil used for cosmetics and perfumes. Below is the recipe for the DIY Citrus Best Press that works just as well as the real deal.



DIY CITRUS BEST PRESS
  • 3 cups distilled water (it must be distilled because some tap waters can stain your fabric).
  • 1/2 cup vodka (*vodka is made from fermented potatoes which are a natural starch).
  • 1/4 tsp. citrus essential oil (I use bergamot but any citrus will work).

Combine the essential oil and vodka then add all ingredients to a 1 L/1 qt. container with a lid. Replace the lid of the container and shake the solution well. Pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before each use.

*UPDATE: The truth about vodka. After more research, I found that most vodkas are NOT made from potatoes. Most are made from cereal grains. I use unflavoured Smirnoff  which is made from corn. Conclusion, just use the cheapest vodka you can find.

FREE PRINTABLES:  Pretty labels for your 1 Litre/1 quart spray starch bottle plus a handy recipe card (Download HERE)



Front Label

Back Label

Recipe Card



How to Square Up Hourglass & Pinwheel Blocks: No special ruler required!



This post is a supplementary tutorial for the Shortcut Block Calculator.

When using the shortcut methods to make Hourglass and Pinwheel blocks, you often have to "square up" the block to the correct size you need. If these blocks are not squared up properly, you will end up with very wonky looking squares that will only be good for the scrap pile.

In this post, I'll show you a simple method for squaring up Hourglass and Pinwheel blocks that doesn't require a special ruler.

MATERIALS
•  Square quilt ruler at least 8" x 8".
•  Rotary cutter
•  Masking tape or transparent quilt ruler tape.

INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Divide the desired block size in half, e.g. 4½"÷ 2 = 2¼"
2.  Find this number on the ruler.
3.  Place a piece of tape horizontally and vertically on the ruler to mark the center of the block.
4.  Line up intersecting point of the tape with the center of the block.
5.  Line up the 45º angle with angle of the block.


6.  With a rotary cutter, cut off the exposed ends of the block.


7.  Turn the ruler and block 180º.
8.  Once again, line up the halfway point with the center of the block.


9.  With a rotary cutter, cut off the exposed ends of the block.


Follow these same steps with the Pinwheel and Half Square Triangle.


Introducing My SHORTCUT BLOCK CALCULATORS




I love using quilt block shortcuts but my brain really doesn't do well with numbers. So, I started looking for an easier way to get the measurements for my parent squares without the hassle of math. At first, I thought of having an app made but that would be too pricey. I finally decided to make the calculators online. They are easy to use and I get my results instantly!!

After tweaking them and making them pretty, I'm now offering my calculators for free to anyone visiting my blog.

To start using the Shortcut Block Calculators, press the ad on the sidebar to the right or get the link HERE. Enjoy!



I'm published! Quilted Wall Hangings: 11 unique projects for quilt lovers

I've been published! Check out my modern quilt wall hanging, Coral Gem. It was published in the new Leisure Arts book Quilted Wall Hangings - 11 Unique Projects for Quilt Lovers. Get your copy today!


Book: Quilted Wall Hangings
BUY NOW!

"Coral Gem" Modern Wall Quilt by Monica Curry




How to make bag straps with quilt batting




"Apple Cider Market Tote" aka "Winslow Market Tote"


I first saw this tote pattern in the 2018 issue of Make It! Patchwork. It was designed by Kathy Mack and was showcased on the Quilting Arts TV Episode #601. It was originally featured as the Winslow Market Tote and has since been renamed the Apple Cider Market Tote. The pattern can be purchased HERE.

I haven't made many bags, but I fell in love with this one as soon as I saw it. I wasn't sure, however, what fabrics to use for it. When I finally dug through my stash, I found the perfect fat quarters for this tote ─ Into the Garden by Amanda Herring for Riley Blake. I bought this fat quarter bundle several years ago and loved it so much I didn't want to cut it!

I also wanted to make pretty matching straps for this project, but I wasn't sure how to make bag straps. I heard you could use quilt batting for straps and thought that this would be a great way to use up my batting scraps. After a YouTube search, I found the perfect tutorial for making bag straps with batting by sewing and crafting vlogger Alanda Craft. She uses fusible batting but says non-fusible works just as well. I think my straps turned out great.



BAG STRAP INSTRUCTIONS
NOTE: All images below are from the Alanda Craft Video Quick and Easy Tote Bag Handle Tutorial

1. Cut [2] fabric strips 5" x length of the strap and [2] quilt batting strips 2½" x length of the strap.


2. Fold the fabric strip in half lengthwise and press.


3. Make a lengthwise fold to the center of the strip on both sides and press.


4. Place batting in the center of the strip.


5. Fold each side of the fabric over onto the batting and press.


6. Fold the fabric and batting in half lengthwise and press.


7. To finish off your strap, stitch along both edges using a 1/8" or 1/4" allowance (Version 1). I find the strap is a little stronger if you add three more rows of stitching equally down the center. (Version 2).



NEW PATTERN! Round Table Placemat



Round Table Placemat Patterns 
Buy now at my PATTERN STORE

If you have a round table for your home, why not make a few of these elegant-looking "round" placemats. They fit beautifully on a 42 inch and up dining table. I think they look much nicer on a round table than the traditional rectangle placemats. The pattern includes instructions for all three placemats shown below!

The placemat patterns come in three styles: a reversible, seven-wedge, and nine-wedge placemat. All the templates are full page printable. These placemats are also very simple to make.


Christmas dinner for two.




How to Make French Fold Binding


French Fold binding is one of the most popular quilt bindings and for good reason. Because the fabric is doubled, French Fold binding creates a durable edge for your quilt. It's particularly good for quilts and quilted items that are going to get a lot of laundering. It's a very simple binding to make. I use it on all my quilt projects. If you want to add a little flair to your French Fold binding, see my tutorial on French Fold Flange binding.

HOW TO MAKE FRENCH FOLD BINDING


1)  CALCULATE THE LENGTH OF BINDING YOU WILL NEED

Finished quilt size = 54" × 60"
• (54" × 2) + (60" × 2) + 10" = 238" (10" extra is added for finishing the binding).
• (238" ÷ 36") = 6.6 yards
• You will need 6.6 ≈ 7 yards of binding for a 54" × 60" finished quilt.

Use this Binding Calculator to get your binding length quicker.





2)  DETERMINE THE FINISHED BINDING WIDTH

Decide on the binding width you need, then refer to the chart below to get the correct overall strip width for that binding. Important Note: When choosing a binding width, keep in mind your batting loft.


3)  CALCULATE HOW MANY STRIPS YOU WILL NEED TO CUT BASED ON YOUR FABRIC WIDTH

EXAMPLE:  
238" (length of binding needed in inches) ÷ 42" (fabric cross grain width) = 5.6 ≈ 6 strips

4) CALCULATE THE YARDAGE YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE FOR YOUR STRIPS

EXAMPLE:
2.5" (strip width) x 6 (number of strips needed) = 15" + 2" = 17" (2 inches is added to allow for possible uneven edges). Yardage Needed: 17" x 42"

5)  HOW TO MAKE THE BINDING


6)  HOW TO ATTACH THE BINDING TO YOUR QUILT



How to Make Flange Quilt Binding


I love flange quilt binding. It gives quilts an elegant and finished look. I don't use it on all my projects, but sometimes a quilt needs that extra pop. Flange binding takes a little extra work, but it's well worth the effort when you see the finished result.

I made the following tutorial as comprehensive as possible and hope it will help you give flange binding a try.

INSTRUCTIONS


1) CALCULATE THE LENGTH OF BINDING YOU WILL NEED FOR YOUR QUILT

EXAMPLE: 
Finished quilt size = 54" × 60"
•  (54" × 2) + (60" × 2) + 10" = 238" (10" extra is added for finishing the binding).
•  (238" ÷ 36") = 6.6 yards
•  You will need 6.6 ≈ 7 yards of binding for a 54" × 60" finished quilt.

Use this Binding Calculator to get your binding length quicker.



2)  WIDTHS TO CUT FOR FLANGE AND MAIN COLOUR STRIPS
  1. Decide on a binding width and refer to the chart below to get the correct overall strip width for that binding. Important Note: When choosing a binding width, keep in mind your batting loft.
  2. Using the overall strip width, use the chart below to get widths to cut for the main colour strips and the flange strips.
Calculations for main and flange strip widths
Main: Half the overall strip width.
Flange: Half the overall strip width plus 1/4" (This gives you a 1/8" flange).


3) CALCULATE HOW MANY STRIPS TO CUT BASED ON YOUR FABRIC WIDTH

EXAMPLE:
238" (length of binding in inches) ÷ 42" (fabric cross grain width) = 5.6 ≈ 6 strips

4) CALCULATE THE YARDAGE NEEDED FOR YOUR STRIPS

EXAMPLE: 
Main Strips
• 1.25" x 6 (number of strips needed) = 7.5" + 2" = 9.5" (Add 2" for uneven edges). 
• Yardage needed for main colour strips: 9.5" x 42"

EXAMPLE:
Flange Strips
• 1.5" x 6 (number of strips needed) = 9" + 2" = 11" (Add 2" for uneven edges).
• Yardage needed for flange strips: 11" x 42"

5)  HOW TO MAKE THE BINDING



6) HOW TO ATTACH THE BINDING


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