Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fantastic Fabric Pinwheels Tutorial

I find I'm happiest when I'm creating. But this summer has so far been way too busy for me to do much about that. Not that I'm unhappy exactly, but a little stressed because I'm so busy, you know the feeling? I can always feel a little something is missing when I'm not sewing. Cranky and irritable? Jittery? Too much caffeine to keep myself going and going and going? Or could it be quilting/crafting withdrawal symptoms? Who knows? When I've felt stressed and just had a little time here and there I've picked up a book to relax instead of my sewing because it's a lot easier than quilting for me and I'm also happy when I'm reading.

For this month's challenge in my Yahoo group, I chose this little pinwheels quilt. The prints I used to make it include scenes of children playing. Do you remember playing with pinwheels as a child? They remind me of summer and picnics and the Fourth of July.
 

 (Red, white and blue pinwheels doll quilt from American Doll Quilts)

Thinking about this quilt and summertime inspired me to try to make some three-dimensional pinwheels from fabric. (If you had told me as a child that I'd be making these as a GROWNUP I would have thought you were crazy, LOL.)  


Don't even ask me what I'll do with these. I showed them to my daughter and she said "Awww, Mom, they're so CUTE!" My husband: "Cute. What're you going to do with them??" Always the pragmatist. Instead of saying: no idea, I spent the day making these pinwheels just because I felt the urge to make something cute,  I smiled and said in my best pragmatic voice: "I hear you can utilize them in all sorts of ways - as decorations, to make banners, frig magnets, pins, hair bows, and even pinwheel wreaths." I said it to throw him off so he wouldn't guess I was making stuff  JUST TO MAKE STUFF, like a crazy person, instead of doing one of the six hundred chores on the list. After watching me make 150+ doll quilts over the years, you'd think he'd have it figured out by now and know enough not to ask "What're you going to do with them??" I may have to wear a pinwheel in my hair someday to prove a point, however.

Anyway, these were so easy to make and wouldn't you know -  they were just enough to satisfy my crafting urge. So go gather up some fabric. Here's what else you'll need:

Fabric Scraps
Fusible web (Wonder-Under, Steam-a-Seam, Heat 'n Bond, etc.)
Fabric marker or pencil
Buttons
(Scissors, iron, ruler, thread, needle)

1.  Pick two pieces of contrasting fabric. For the larger pinwheels,  I cut each square 3 1/2"  x   3 1/2". Cut a piece of fusible web the same size.


2.  Press the web to the wrong side of one fabric square. Allow it to cool and then peel off  the paper backing. Line up your fused square with the remaining fabric square and iron the sticky fusible web side to the wrong side of that square. Press for about 10 seconds or follow directions for the product you are using.

IMPORTANT: Try not to get the sticky part on your iron. I use an old pressing cloth or the piece of paper the fusible web was attached to and place it on top of the second square of fabric when I'm pressing.


Now you should have fabric fused on both sides.

3.  Then, trim the edges of your square just a bit. If your fabric starts to fray, you could try dabbing a little Fray Check along the edges.
 

4.  Next, decide which print you want to use as the background (or inside) and place that side up. Draw 2 diagonal lines with a fabric marker or a pencil.
 

5.  Cut on each line and stop halfway to the center.

 
6.  Fold 4 corners of the pinwheel blades toward the center and stitch them down one at a time where the lines intersect.


7.  Sew a cute matching or contrasting button and that's it, you're done.





Could not decide on the button. Finally went with blue, LOL. 

 
If you intend to use these to decorate a vase or flower pot, buy a couple of thin wooden dowels at a craft store and then use some hot glue to stick them onto the back of each pinwheel. (If you're feeling particularly lazy you can also use a hot glue gun to attach the buttons. Or, perhaps some of you will even be tempted to try gluing the blades to the center as well. Let me know how it works. I felt better sewing them down.)

 
To make smaller pinwheels, cut your squares a little smaller. Likewise, larger squares make larger pinwheels. For my smaller pinwheels, I used 2 3/4" squares.

 
To me, the hardest part of this whole thing is finding just the right button for the center. It's fun to act like a child again and I had a good time playing around with fabric and digging in my old button jar. By the end of the day, my mood lifted and my stress disappeared. Just looking at these makes me smile and I'm definitely happier than I was a day ago. Just sayin'.


And, look, I'm finding lots to do with them already . . . .
 





26 comments:

Podunk Pretties said...

Well those are super cute! I'd like to share this tute on my blog if you don't mind!?

Sue said...

These look like a lot of fun to make! I can see them going on packages as gifts and all sorts of places!
Thank you for sharing!!

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

How cool is that!

Terri McBride said...

So very cute what fun is that.

quiltgrannie said...

Fun!!!

Jacky said...

They are very effective! I also feel twitchy if I haven't had time to sew for a while as I find it very relaxing.
www.thequietstitcher.com

Mia's Cottage said...

Super cute! I'm gonna make some!
Donna

Prairie Patch Quilts said...

Love your pinwheels. Super cute idea. And I think if was a fantastic and fun thing to come up with. Thanks for sharing.

Leeanne said...

thank you so much for the 'how-to' pinwheels! They are fun.

Donna K. from N. Texas said...

Too cute!

Kristy said...

Very fun and very cute!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the husband question of "what are you going to do with that!" Made my day. :-) K-

Sue Bennett said...

I love them Kathy. They do look fun and cute. I am going to give it a try for hair pinwheels. Glue it to a clip or headband. Oh and I would love to play in your scrap bags.

suebennett1975@gmail.com

pens and needles said...

I completely relate to the need to create, even if it is something simple and quick. One doesn't have to make a whole quilt to feel validated, right? So I'm thinking this would make a darling hair clip for my 5-year-old granddaughter to wear at the 4th of July parade! Gotta go choose some red, white and blue fabrics -- thanks for the inspiration!

Me and My Stitches said...

Such cute pinwheels! I do remember playing with pinwheels as a child, but I don't think they looked as good as yours. Glad you got your crafty fix!

Candee said...

So fun! Thank you for the directions. I want to make some of these cuties too! Like you, I'm just not my best self if I don't regularly play with fabric.

Rosemary said...

Absolutely A D O R A B L E!!! I love pinwheels regardless of what you do out them. I am going to make some today and, like you, I WILL display them somehow, somewhere, someday! Am 77 (figure if I say it enough I'll believe it ... LOL) and have this long-lasting love with fabric!! Thanks for sharing these. I love them!!

Jennifer M said...

Love them! I remember so well, playing with these as a child. Thanks again for inspiring me:))

Veronica said...

These are adorable. Wish I could pin for later. But your site is not set up for that.

Cindy A. said...

Hmmmm...I think these would make great name tags for an upcoming event. I could use a white tone-on-tone for the inside of the pinwheel so each person could write her name on one blade, the event on a second blade, and maybe names of others who were also there on the remaining two. I'd better get started now. I only have about a week to get 24 of them done! Thanks!!!

Ann in PA said...

Thank you for an adorable pin wheel project. I love how you decorated with them!

Scattered Threads said...

Love pinwheels. Very cute :).

Cheryl Barkdoll said...

Kathy, I love the pinwheels. Thank for sharing the instructions with us. I can see these in all different sizes. Love the ideas that you included too!

Ruth said...

They are just too cute! No wonder you just HAD to make them. I think I will make some when I get a chance. We're moving into a new home in a month and maybe I could use them to decorate my sewing room - or potted plants - or something! Thanks!

Sue Kutil said...

Made a couple out of patriotic fabrics, so cute! Thanks for the pattern!

Syed Kazim Ali said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alejandra Balanzario said...

Kathy, these pinwheels are so cute, I will be working with some children this summer, they want to make some art with me, I'm sure they will love to make a few of them.
Thanks for sharing this tutorial.
Alejandra.

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