On Being SMRT

One of the great things about podcasting is reaching people you wouldn’t ordinarily know in real life. Even if you never comment or email or otherwise contact the podcaster, you feel like you know a new person. This, of course, makes it awkward to work into conversation how the podcaster said something funny or interesting to your non-interwebby friends – do you frame it as a friend? an “internet friend” (which is code for someone you’ve never met but think is cool)? a funny person you listen to inside the computer?

Having given that introduction, perhaps you know my friend Bridget?  Bridget is the binding polymer behind the Emergency Pants and Stitching n Junk podcasts. I first found her through the Stitching n Junk podcast when Brye was talking about new crafting podcasts way back on her podcast. As soon as Brye said the words, “some cursing and maybe not suitable for work” I knew I was IN. After I sent Bridget and Jamie an email about my 24 year old cross-stitch project (which I think Allison still remembers hearing being read on the podcast), I soon found Emergency Pants and the rest is history.

Anyway, Bridget has a birthday coming up this month and I wanted to pay homage to her (in)famous phrase “S-M-R-T I am so SMART!” that I sing a lot at work, while sewing, at guild… basically lots of places where I mess stuff up.  So I made her this fun little piece to celebrate:

Those are tiny little 1/2″ finished squares of fabric in the background, and the SMRT word is thread painted on tulle and laid over the background. Here’s a quick way to sew those tiny little squares together (Bridget, look away if you don’t want to see the sausage being made):
The trick is to lay out the 1″ squares on a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing.  Having a gridded ironing surface will help immensely, but isn’t necessary as long as you can keep straight lines as you’re laying out the squares.
I wanted my finished piece to measure 8″x10″, and since there are quarter inch seams, I had to start with a piece of fusible at least twice that (16 squares by 20 squares)
Tiny Piecing 1- Laying it out
Once the fused squares are all laid out (and you’ll see from mine that it doesn’t matter if there are slivers of space between the squares or if they overlap a tiny bit, you are ready to sew! I sewed my horizontal seams first. All you do is fold over the first row and stitch it with a quarter inch seam.
Tiny Piecing 2 - Fused and Ready to Sew
Continue this until you have all the seams sewn in one direction. It will start to look all jacked up and curly, but fear not – it will smooth out once you press it. So go ahead and press it (I pressed all my seams in the same direction)
Tiny Piecing 3 - Sewn one direction
After pressing, do the same thing on the seams going the other direction. It’s a little trickier here because you are sewing through multiple layers from the previous seams so go slow.

Give it a final press to make it lie flat (well, flat-ish- it’s pretty bumpy). Since I was mounting this in a frame, I sewed some 2″ strips to each side to help mount it; these pieces get wrapped around a piece of cardboard and taped in place, which is hidden by the back of the frame.

Tiny Piecing 4 - Sashing for framing

This fusible method has been around a while, and it will work on bigger pieces too.  I didn’t want to quilt this piece because of the small size of the pieces and bulk of the seams, which is why I thread-painted onto a piece of tulle and put that on top.

SMRT - Smrter in profile?

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