Table Top Turkey Trot

I’ve been so wrapped up in three additional days off school for the kids (yes, we are now on our THIRD snow day in a row; they are climbing the walls!) that I totally missed my dresden turkey table runner tutorial (isn’t that a mouthful) being posted over at Moda Bakeshop!


The  idea for this project came to me around the first of November. I drew up the plans, and it was approved pretty quickly. I had hoped to have it ready to post at Moda Bakeshop by Thanksgiving, but by the time I had the fabric in hand, that only gave me six days. My life, apparently, does not allow for a 6-day turn around time. It was ready before Christmas, but was just posted Monday.

Go check it out. It’s a festive take on a dresden block, and looks great on a fall table. That fabric is Floral Gatherings, and if you want to make some fall decor, I absolutely recommend picking some up. The colors are just perfect and remind me of an autumn walk through the changing leaves.

The tutorial includes a pdf download for the dresden template and the turkey body appliqué. You can download that pdf here as well.

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 9.01.22 AM

Let’s Get Acquainted New Blogger Blog Hop Stop

I know it’s not Festivus, but I’m going to begin with the Airing of Grievances anyway (anyone watch Seinfeld?).

Today is July 26th, the day we were supposed to close on our new house after being transient since school let out. This date had already been moved back from our original closing the 19th. Guess what? We’re still waiting. As of now, we’ve got another week to wait. I’m trying to roll with it, but I’m frustrated because my husband begins his new job on the 5th, which is also the day of my oldest child’s kindergarten orientation. I was supposed to have a glorious 8 days to paint and prep before we unloaded and began the unpacking. Then, when the date moved, we figured we could spare 5 before we had to unload our belongings. And now I have none. Zero. The afternoon we close, we will have to begin moving in so that we can at least have our moving containers unloaded before new job and new school begin. Le sigh. Silver lining: I will have a very small room all to myself as my sewing room. Yay!

I’m Em. I learned to sew forever ago, but found a passion for it about 4 years ago. You can read more about me here. Some of my favorite sewing projects are below, with most links leading to the project posts if you want see more.

Project mosaic

1. Patchwork diaper bag, 2. Baby pants with Heather Ross accents, 3. Pincushion caddy tutorial, 4. Double layer knit baby blanket, 5. quilt square pouch: sunset squared block, 6. Winter table runner: half square triangles, 7. Tina Givens Opal Owl mei tai, 8. Civil War Love Letter Quilt, 9. Hoopie swap, 10. Cathedral window pin cushion, 11. Ba{M}S mini swap, 12. Road Trip Quilt Along 2012

This blog began when I discovered the amazing online community of sewing and quilting blogs. I wanted a space to share what I’m working on, and maybe even inspire someone with some of my projects as I’ve been inspired by others. Most of my sewing is done in the hours after my girls are in bed, and I would love if you would join me, sewing by moonlight. I just posted the 4th tutorial for Road Trip Quilt Along: New Jersey.

Road Trip Quilt Along: New Jersey

There will be 8 more tutorials for quilt blocks representing states in the northeastern United States before I’m finished. I’d really love if you’d join in and share your blocks in the Road Trip Quilt Along Flickr group. Jump in now, or back up and try out Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware!

Road Trip Quilt Along: Virginia Reel tutorial Road Trip Quilt Along: Maryland quilt block tutorial Road Trip Quilt Along tutorial: Delaware

Don’t need another quilt along to join (oh, come on, yes you do!)? Well stick around. When we’re in our house, I’m going to host another Sewing Room Clean Up Along (#sewingroomcleanup). I’ll set up my new space and you can get yours in order. My sewing space in our last house was so bad it was crushing my sewing mojo (sewjo). Nothing like a neat space to inspire you to get sewing!


Make sure you know when it’s time to clean up with me or get the new state quilt block tutorials by subscribing in your favorite reader, or, I’ll make it easy on you if you use Bloglovin:

Follow on Bloglovin

 I’d also love to catch up with you on social media. Instagram is my favorite, but I need to work on being more active. I love to lurk, though, so feel free to leave your IG name in the comments if you’re on there. I’m @moonlightsewing.

How about some non-sewing fun facts?

1. I’ve lived in 5 states and 2 countries, and I hope that this move is my last. My very last. (until I retire and move to Colorado or Montana or someplace equally lovely)
2. This fall, I plan to run my 11th and 12th half marathons. I’m not sure if I ever want to run a full marathon, though.
3. I was on a PhD track in Botany, but stopped with my Master’s when I realized I didn’t like the solitary part of experimental design and data analysis. I love the field work, though.
4. My hometown has 3500 residents, an awesome historical downtown and is the home of Ulysses S Grant. (bonus points if you know what it is!)
5. Our family has spent the past 5 years living on campus at an all boys boarding school (good thing we moved on before my 3 daughters became 3 teenage daughters!)
6. My second child was born in the back of the car in an IHOP parking lot.

It’s been great meeting so many new bloggers on this hop. Be sure to jump over to Plum and June and check out who you missed and be sure to visit the other hop stops today!

Vicki @ A Quilter’s Mission
RobinSue @ RobinSue Quilts
Elisa Lea @ Lovelea Designs
Elizabeth @ In The Boon Docks
Jenny @ A Note To Follow Sew
Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Sonia @ Fabric & Flowers
Emily @ Sew E.T.
Em @ Sewing by Moonlight  <<<< You are here!

Another way to baste: craft foam

Hello, hello! Welcome to the Monday Link Up at Plum and June. Please share your link below and remember:

1. Link up any recent sewing/quilting post.
2. In your post or on your blog, please include either a text link or a button letting people know about this link up.
3. Visit at least the two bloggers who link up before you and everyone who visits you from this post.

Monday link up

If you’re looking for some fun blocks to add to your sewing list, I’d love it you would join me in the Road Trip Quilt Along, going on right now! If you’d like to see the plan, you can find it here. You can see what’s already happening by checking out the tutorials for Virginia Reel and Maryland Beauty. I’d love it if you wanted to make a couple of these lovelies and share in the Road Trip Quilt Along Flickr group.

Road Trip Quilt Along: Virginia Reel tutorial  Road Trip Quilt Along: Maryland quilt block tutorial

Today, I wanted to show you the method I use for basting. There are many ways to get this done of course: spray basting, bent safety pins, needle and thread. But I prefer to baste with straight pins. In fact, I’ve always basted with straight pins. When I made my first quilt, that was all I had, but then I just never got around to buying the bent safety pins that are preferred by many.

Problem 1: the pins can fall out and then the quilt sandwich is not secure.
Problem 2: Maneuvering the quilt through the machine means you will get jabbed once or twice. Ouch!

I took a Leah Day class on Craftsy and was thrilled to learn that she prefers straight pins, too. But Leah has it all figured out. She secured the pointy pin tips with a product called a pinmoor. Brilliant! Solves both of the problem. But, now a new problem: pinmoors are expensive!! Almost $20 for a pack of 50.

However, I bought this 12×18 inch sheet of 5mm craft foam for $1.27.

baste a quilt with craft foam

With a  straight edge, a utility knife and a little bit of time, I had 192 anchors to use with my straight pins to baste a quilt. The craft foam is not as thick as the pinmoor, but I found it worked just fine. I wouldn’t go thinner than 5mm, but if you could find thicker craft foam, that would be great, too.

baste a quilt with craft foam

I cut the craft foam into 1.5 inch strips.

baste a quilt with craft foam

Then I sliced each strip into a 3/4 inch rectangle. If you want to be precise, you could mark the foam before cutting, but I just aligned my ruler with the edge and dove in.

baste a quilt with craft foam

Now, use straight pins to baste and cap each pin tip with a piece of craft foam. They are quick to put in, stay put, come out easily, and don’t make your fingers hurt with opening and closing all those safety pins.

baste a quilt with craft foam

Hope this helps with the next quilt you have to baste.

Now, link up below with what you’ve been up to this week! Don’t forget to visit a couple other links and maybe make a new sewing friend.


Today’s Big News

Good morning!  Today is October 3rd, which means two things.

1.  Exactly 2 weeks from today is my 33rd birthday.  I promised myself that I would open the Sewing by Moonlight Etsy shop as a birthday present for myself.  I don’t very many items to stock in the store right now, but I keep waiting for the “right time,” so I’m just going to make it happen!

I would love it if you would come over and Like the Sewing by Moonlight Facebook page and stay updated!  I think I’ll have to have a Grand Opening Giveaway, so stay tuned for that!

2.  Today is my guest post on KludyMom.  It’s not sewing related, but I talk about one of my biggest personal challenges as a stay at home mom: understanding that being “mom” is more than enough contribution to my family.  It’s one of the best gifts I can give my children, but I still struggle with the fact that I am educated and ambitious and “just” a mom.  You can click over to KludyMom to read about it, if you’re interested.

{Double staircase}: A quilt block tutorial

This tutorial first appeared on A Girl in Paradise back in May for her Building Blocks with Friends series.  I thought it was time to bring it back to this space as well!

You will need:

Focus fabric:
Eight (8) 1.5-inch x 5-inch rectangles

Background fabric:
Eight (8)  1-inch x 5-inch rectangles
Four (4) 2-inch x 8-inch rectangles
Four (4) 2-inch x 5.5-inch rectangles
Four (4) 2-inch x 3-inch rectangles

Choose your focus fabric and cut out eight (8) rectangles, 1.5-inches x 5-inches.  You might choose 8 different fabrics or a combination of a few fabrics in your desired colors.  Since these pieces are 5 inches wide, this is great project to use some charm squares.

Now, cut out the fabric for your background.  For each 12.5-inch block, you will need 2 strips of background fabric 2-inches x width of fabric (WOF).

Iron the fabric (you can still see wrinkles in mine, but trust me, it lies flat) and fold it in half so the selvedges line up.  You might have to slide the fabric along the selvedge a bit so that the fold is even.  Place the background fabric on your cutting mat, lining up the fold with one of the guide marks.  Trim off any uneven excess perpendicular to the fold.

Now line up your clear ruler with the horizontal guide marks and cut two, 2-inch strips of background fabric.

Lie the two folded strips of background fabric on top of one another so that you now have 4 layers of fabric (two stacked strips, each folded in half).

Cut the stack of strips in the following lengths (you will have 4 rectangles of each size): 8 inches, 5.5 inches, 3 inches, 5 inches.  I love this block because with these two 2-inch strips, you get all the pieces you need with very little waste.  This is all that’s left at the end of the strips:

Cut the 5-inch strips in half lengthwise, so that you have eight rectangles that are 1-inch x 5-inches.

Now you have all your background pieces cut.  This is what you will end up with (the leftover is the little bit in the bottom right of this photo):

Match each of the eight 1-inch x 5-inch background pieces with one of the 1.5-inch x 5-inch rectangles of focus fabric and sew them together along the length.

When you’re finished, iron the seams either open or to the side.

Decide on the arrangement of your steps.  You can construct the block so it appears to have the same structure right side up or upside down.  In this case, the lower four steps will be arranged so that the background fabric is toward the bottom.  The upper four steps will be arranged so that the background fabric is toward the top.

Alternately, you can arrange the steps so that the background fabric on the steps is always to the same side.  With this arrangement, you will have the effect of a continuous staircase across several blocks, should you choose to put more than one together.

Add the rectangles of background fabric to the focus fabric.

I usually only pin the pieces with a rectangle of background fabric on either side so that all the pieces stay together.

Line up your pieces and chain piece them together.

When you’re finished, you will have to attach the other side of background fabric to those pieces with background on both sides of the “step”.

Iron the seam open or to the side and sew the rows together.

Between rows, I actually prefer to iron seams open for this block.  It makes the block lie flatter and you don’t have to worry about the direction of the seam if you are putting more than one block together.  I sew the rows together in pairs, then sew sets of pairs together, then sew the top half of the block to the bottom.  Trim to 12.5-inches.  Finished!

In the block I used to take the photos for this tutorial, I arranged it so that the background fabric with each step (the “space” between the steps) was toward the outside of the block.  The block has the same look  right side up or upside down.

In the blocks I made for this baby quilt, I wanted the steps to continue across the quilt, so the space between the blocks is always on the lower side of the focus fabric.

I made a mistake when I was putting the blocks together for this quilt.  Did you notice right away?  Can you see it now that I mentioned it?  (I’ll show you in a minute.)

I think I like the back of this quilt as much as I like the front.  Each piece of the rainbow solid has the addition of two charm squares in that color.

I quilted it by following the step pattern above and below as well as 1/4 inch into the white space in the border pieces.

Remember that mistake I mentioned?  Here it is.  On one block, I accidentally flipped the bottom half of the block so that there is no white space between those two steps when the quilt is put together.  I didn’t notice when I put the block together and I didn’t even notice when I put the quilt together.  I didn’t see it until I was actually quilting it, and there was no way I was going to take all that stitching out!

I love it.  I love it so much I almost want to have another baby who will use it.  Ha!  In any case, I don’t think I can give this one away.  I still need to bind it, though.  I’m thinking red.  What do you think?

If you’d like to see more photos of this delicious quilt, click back to May!

Rainbow double staircase baby quilt

Good morning!  Today I’m guest posting at A Girl in Paradise as part of her Building Blocks with friends series.  If you happened to wander over here from there, welcome to my space!  I’m new to this sewing blog thing, but I’ve made a few tutorials, and you can check out a sampling of my work under the Sewn by Moonlight tab.

I’m sharing the tutorial for the double staircase quilt block that I used to make this rainbow baby quilt.  To see the tutorial, head on over to A Girl in Paradise.

I am so very excited to share this quilt because I just love the way it turned out. I used the charms I received in the 5 Yard Color Wheel Charm Swap (well, some of them.   I have a lot left!).

I quilted in straight lines, following the pattern of the stair steps, above and below, as well as quilting within the white spaces in the border.

You can see the stair step quilting a bit better on the back of the quilt.

And speaking of the back of the quilt, I think I love it almost as much as I love the front.  It so colorful and happy that I can’t help but smile when I look at it.

I still need to bind the quilt.  I’m thinking red.  What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by!