Birdsong Bows: November 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winner of the free tutorial!

The winner of the FREE tutorial from my Facebook contest is Number 7, Diana Navarro! Please contact me at birdsongbows (at) gmail (dot) com and tell me which free, single tutorial you would like! You can view them on the Birdsong website.

How to cut fabric with a rotary cutter and mat

So I realize that the title of this post is "How to cut fabric with a rotary cutter and mat," because that's what it's really about...but the first photo here is my new serger. That's because I'm showing off! But, seriously, the serger inspired me to create this free tutorial. I brought it home, and thought...I want to make some serged napkins! So I whipped out my rotary cutter and mat and quickly produced six, 14" squares out of my yard of fabric. I have a quilting background, so this was second-nature to me. But what about those of you who might not know how to properly use these handy tools? This tutorial is for you.
You'll need a self-healing mat of at least 24", a long acrylic ruler of at least 6" by 24", a rotary cutter (I like the 45mm for cutting cotton), and - optional but highly recommended - a mesh glove (also called a Klutz glove). Just a single glove, like Michael Jackson wore, but not quite as spiffy. And, of course, some fabric yardage!
To get nice cuts, you'll first want to press your fabric and then fold it once, meeting the selvages with no wrinkles in the fabric. This might mean moving the fabric left and right, because the side edges won't match -- the selvage is the only thing that counts:

To fit this on your cutting board, you might need to fold it again. Meet your fold up with the selvages. Be very careful - not matching your selvages perfectly can result in a "wavy" cut later.

Now, line up the bottom folded edge with one of the horizontal lines on your cutting mat:

Grab your rotary cutter and ruler (the ruler is shown here with a little sandpaper circle on the corners so it won't move as much when I cut), and channel your inner MJ by putting the glove on the hand opposite of the one you cut with:

I know what you're thinking: "I'll never need that glove; I'll be so careful that I'll never cut myself." I know this, because I had that thought. I worked for several years without an accident, and then one late night, when I had an order to fill and strep throat, it happened - one slice down the fabric and into my finger! Ouch. Not worth it. Buy the glove, if only because it's cheaper than an ER visit.

Line up your ruler close to the edge of your fabric, along one of the solid, vertical lines on the cutting mat. Make sure you get all of the layers in without cutting off too much waste. Starting from the bottom, cut away from you, just like you would cut a pizza. Away from you, not toward you. Did I say "away?" Then lock your cutter before you place it back on your table while you adjust your fabric for more cutting. If the cutter falls and you're not wearing shoes, it can plunge into your foot....ouch! And be sure to keep it locked and away from children when not in use.
I cut my napkins to 14" by 14". I made the first cut to make sure my side was straight; made another cut 14 inches away, and then turned my large "strip" and made cross cuts 14 inches apart.

Then I took my fabric squares over to my serger:

...and made these beautiful rolled edges:

Here's four of the six napkins, completed:

Now, certainly you can do the same project with your sewing machine, by making a 14 1/2" square and folding over the edges by 1/4" to the back of the fabric, pressing, folding 1/4" again, and sewing the seams. In this case, serging is faster and creates a fantastic edge. We use fabric napkins all the time in my family -- just wash them in hot water with your towels, and re-use. A pretty and eco-friendly way to dress up your everyday table.
Rotary cutting supplies can be pricey, but if you watch fliers for the big-box crafing/sewing stores, you should find a 50% off coupon to use. Rotary cutting will make your sewing projects go quicker, and I recommend it for two of my hair accessory tutorials, the Betty Jo Bow/Joseph Bow Tie and the Annabelle flower. Because cutting is my least favorite part about sewing, I appreciate any quick boost I can get!

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Pattern: The Betty Jo Bow/Joseph Bow Tie

Birdsong's newest hair bow pattern is the cute Betty Jo Bow/Joseph Bow Tie! This beginner's pattern does require a sewing machine, but it's a quick and easy project that you'll make for all the girls and boys in your life -- as well as for yourself! The tutorial includes information for a variety of different sizes and variations.

Thank you to Christa of A Hope and a Wish Photography and to Abbie of Bunny Lane Photography for the cute photos!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jolly Holiday Giveaway!

And the winner is: #55, Urban Frills Boutique!

Urban Frills Boutique, please contact me at birdsongbows (at) gmail (dot) com by 7 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, Nov. 21 to receive your prizes!

We want you to have a jolly holiday season! Seven of us are offering this fabulous giveaway to help you celebrate. Enter between now and 7 p.m. U.S. Eastern time Thursday, Nov. 17 to win a package of fabulous prizes valued at $350! International entries are welcome. ONLY ONE (1) ENTRY PER PERSON, PLEASE. DUPLICATES WILL BE DELETED.

(Photos shown are just examples of the companies' work; not indicative of your exact prize)


A $125 Logo from Boutique by Design
A $50 gift basket of ribbon and other goodies from Ribbon and Bows Oh My
A $50 gift certificate (if local) OR a free photography/modeling service to a commercial client from a Hope and a Wish Photography
Your choice of 3 patterns from Retro Mama
An upcycled girl's dress from Bullfrogs 'N' Fireflies ($75 value)
4 free patterns of your choice from Buggabugs
Your choice of 3 patterns/tutorials from Birdsong Bows and Patterns

Enter between now and 7 p.m. U.S. Eastern time Thursday, Nov. 17. Each person can earn one (1) entry by combining three (3) tasks from the lists below. Please complete all of your entry “tasks” first and then post everything in ONE comment box below. This will help us keep track as we record your entries. Entries added as comments on other blogs of the giveaway team will not be counted. This is the only entry location, to prevent flustered giveaway team members and missed entries. Thanks for understanding!

You may do ANY COMBINATION of the following different ways to enter:

First way to Enter:
Visit THREE of our shops and comment on what you like best from each shop (up to three comments, all added in one comment box, equals your entry):

Ribbon and Bows Oh My:
Birdsong Bows and Patterns:
Retro Mama:
Bullfrogs 'n Fireflies:
a Hope and a Wish Photography:
Boutique By Design

Second way to Enter:
“Like” the Facebook pages of THREE of our companies or become a confirmed subscriber of their blog (liking or following three Facebook pages/blogs of three different companies equals your entry). If you are already a member of someone’s fan page or blog, we ask that you “like” someone else’s page in order to have an eligible entry.

Boutique By Design:
a Hope and a Wish Photography:
Bullfrogs 'n' Fireflies:
Birdsong Bows and Patterns:
Retro Mama:
Ribbon and Bows Oh My:

Third Way to Enter:
Buy from the following shops during the giveaway period and combine this form of entry with any of the other two ways to enter. (Only ONE purchase from any of our shops during the entry period counts as one task, but you may make purchases from different businesses to add to your list of 3 tasks. Sorry; previous purchases are not eligible. We still love you, of course, but need to limit this to the giveaway period.)

Ribbon and Bows Oh My:
Retro Mama:
Birdsong Bows and Patterns:
Boutique By Design:
Bullfrogs 'n' Fireflies:"
a Hope and a Wish Photography:

1. If you “like” a business’ Facebook or blog page and then make comments about two other business’ products, you earn 1 entry.

2. If you comment on one business’ products and then like/join two other Facebook pages, you earn 1 entry.

3. If you buy from 1 shop, like another's Facebook page and comment on another's shop, this earns you 1 entry.

4. If you buy from 3 shops, this earns you 1 entry.

5. If you only comment on 2 business' products, or just like two Facebook pages, or just buy from one shop and comment on another -- but don't do a third task -- you have not entered and your entry will not be counted.

Again, please post all of your entry tasks in ONE comment box below. Thank you!

Here’s the boring stuff, but you need to know it to collect your prizes:

1. Only 1 entry comment box per person, please. The comments are checked before going through, and additional comments by the same person will be removed.

2. The winner will be chosen by and posted by 7 p.m. U.S. Eastern time on Friday, Nov. 18. To protect your e-mail addresses, we are NOT asking for them, so you will need to check this blog to find out if you’ve won. All winners have 72 hours (until 7 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, Nov. 21) to respond to to receive your prizes. Prizes unclaimed after 72 hours will go to another winner, chosen by - no exceptions. So please check back to see if you've won; and watch the Birdsong Facebook Page to see if there's going to be a re-draw. The re-draw winner has another 72 hours to respond to!

3. Winners will be picked via You are agreeing to have the name in your comment post published on this blog, as well as on the blogs and Facebook walls of any member of the giveaway team.

4. Awards have no “cash” value and cannot be traded for cash. The prize is the prize.

5. No giveaway team members, their immediate families, or their employees may enter. By immediate families, this means your spouse, children, brother, sister, mother or father.

Thank you to Kim of Boutique By Design for the graphics for this post!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Congratulations to the winners of the hair bow challenge this month!!!

The Voter's Choice award goes to Miriam, with her candy corn bow (above)!!! She wins a tutorial of her choice OR two de-stash ribbon mixes from Birdsong Bows and Patterns!

And the winner of of the random drawing, completed through, is Kathy, with her winter-inspired Camellia fabric flower! Kathy wins a $15 gift certificate from The Ribbon Retreat.

Thanks so much to everyone for entering! Both winners can contact me at birdsongbows [at] gmail [dot] com. I'll host another contest within 2-3 weeks. :)