Home for Christmas ~ A Mini-Tutorial ~ Tips and Hints!

Leslie McNeil Art and Collage Quilts, Patterns, Teaching, Tutorial 1 Comment

Morning everyone!  I know… Christmas is almost here, and while I don’t really care for all the pre-October Christmas stuff/advertising, it seems to come in a rush doesn’t it?  Well, anyway… today I am sharing some photos of my working on the new pattern.  I’ve also tried to improve my instruction writing skills and included extra photos of in-detail shots of my quilts in the patterns themselves, too!

Recently, I indulged in purchasing a new tool for my studio ~ and I can tell you ~ it’s FABULOUS!  I’m so glad I did, and after using it to draft this new pattern, and then create it {several times} I’m just delighted to have it, and talk about it.  It’s the Wafer 2 Lightbox from the Daylight Company.  I’ve found it to be exactly what I wanted in a light box. It’s 12 x 17″ in size, and thin– at just 3/8″. It has a dimmable LEDS light that is beautiful.  I just touch the on/off button by holding it and it continuously dims to the light I want. There are handy measurements/ruler guides on the side. There is a short 30 second video on the Daylight website if you’d like to view it… and the pic below just shows how luminous the quality is on my work table with several layers…

So anyway! To begin,  I placed my paper pattern–right side up–under a small piece of lightweight muslin, seen below.  I used a thick tip sharpie ~ it’s the one LABELED “fine tip” {*NOT} the “ultra fine” tip!  This has at times been a point of controversy and confusion with some students in class!!  The ultra fine tip doesn’t transfer lines clearly, and a sharpie bigger than that is waaaaay too much line!  LOL  So.  Yes. Uhmm. That would mean the “fine tip” sharpie pen is “just right!”  Like the three bears story!  🙂

For this pattern, you only need a fat quarter-sized piece of muslin, FYI.  And it looks like this when traced.  So easy!  I call this the “road map!”  This little guide shows you where you want to place all the pattern pieces, and you can see I’ve begun to place the tires.  But I’m getting just a bit ahead of myself… hang on uno momento…

The actual next step is to trace all the truck pieces to Steam-A-Seam Lite 2.  The lightbox comes in handy here.  But FIRST… you’ll want to reverse the pieces.  Just flip the paper pattern over to the backside, and from the gridded side up — on the Steam-A-Seam, trace each individual piece, like so–as shown below. {see those yellow gridded lines?}  Save yourself some real estate, aka steam-a-seam, and group each piece close together.  Then you’ll just rough cut them out.  Once they’re fused to the back of the appropriate fabric, then… then!  you will cut them out — EXACTLY on the lines.


Some of the pieces are FURTHER defined by laying them on a contrasting material, such as the “Fairy Frost” fabric in black/silver seen below.  I LOVE how this looks!  First, of course, you must peel off the steam a seam from the red truck parts, and then stick them onto the black.  Trim around, leaving a 1/16″ border.  Because of all the silver flecking, you may have to fuse ever-so-slightly to get the red to stick to the black.  Go easy here!  It’s just a light hit with the hot iron, only about 1-2 seconds, max!

Then peel off the backing paper and put the appropriate piece into it’s road map slot on the muslin tracing!  Notice  the middle section of the front of the truck is down first in this area, making it super easy to place everything else without excessive moving….  as most of the other front pieces will overlap it.  The exception is the lower bumper piece, and the tires, I like to put them down at the beginning as other pieces overlap… but I am sure you ‘get the picture’ — right?!

Why do use and teach the use of muslin?  It’s inexpensive — and it’s readily available locally.  And once the pattern pieces are all down, and fused ever-so-slightly, it’s easy to flip the piece over to the back side, and cut that truck shape out … FROM THE BACKSIDE!  That is WHY we love using the sharpie fine point pen, so we can easily see the lines, and they’re covered up from the front!

TIP:  You can trim some of the contrast fabric to eliminate bulk on those pieces that were lined with the black.  It’s not necessary.  But just sayin’ — you can!

See how that black just pops! {And I love that sparkle!}

And I lined my tree with dark green, seen below, in the same like-manner!

Again, I trimmed the inside of the tree, but this isn’t a “must-do.”  I’ve done it both ways, where I trimmed one and didn’t the other… and it makes no difference, really.  It is just that I can use that green fabric again to make more, and slightly smaller trees for the scene!

And this tip… the same one for the wreath, too.  It helps give it depth!

I glue all the edges of the truck down EXCEPT for the VERY TOP, as that is where you’ll want to stick the big tree underneath… so when I’m positive I’ve got the placement I want within the pre-sewn background and bottom border I will take the Roxanne’s Glue Baste It and lightly dot glue along the edges.  Go easy here.  It’s just mean to be “LIGHTLY” done!

And then stick that big, beautiful, gorgeous Christmas Tree underneath the top of the cab of the truck!

It’s. Just. So. Dang. Cute! And for those who order the pattern, I’m still including my hand-drawn label of “Merry Christmas” with every order… until they’re gone!  {Hint: I have four  left!}  BUT… I always add “goodies” to every pattern for anyone who is kind enough to order directly from me!

And … many of these photos are included in my pattern instructions!  FYI!! XO

And I also lined my shiny elements, the silver and gold metallic lame’ headlights and mirrors with the black, too.  Again… a hint of shadow, depth and a touch of realism, too!

Hope that was FUN for you!  It was for me, and I hope you will come back for more.  I’m going to show you how I fuse, and use.. my angelina fibers!

Until then, have a HAPPY.  MERRY.  BEAUTIFUL and SWEET CHRISTMAS!

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