An introduction to designing and producing enamel pins

Monday, December 18, 2017

I regularly get questions about my enamel pins, so it seems a educational post is in order.

Note: This guide only covers hard enamel pins. I don't do soft enamel and have no experience with making them. Every manufacturer is different, so your mileage may vary for info in this post. This is no gospel.

Step 1: Designing your pins

File Type

Different manufacturers (manu for short) have different requirements, but generally speaking, a vector file created in Adobe Illustrator is the way to go. Some manus will accept JPGs or other non-vector artwork, but this means they will have to go through the extra step of converting your artwork to a vector. Not only can this incur additional costs and processing time, you will be at the mercy of their artist who does the conversion. I've known people who were deeply unhappy with how their pins turned out due to the artwork conversion. Creating your artwork as a vector gives you the best chance of getting a final product you will be happy with.

Note, if you have questions about Adobe Illustrator or other software related stuff...please Google it. I get these kinds of inquiries a lot too and I'm usually like, "type that question into Google. It will explain better than I can." Also I don't have time to be tech support for free.

Line Thickness
The line work of your illustration is translated into the metal "walls" of the pin that separate enamel sections, and there are limits to how thin these lines can be. It varies by manu, but I like to keep my lines above 0.2mm thickness (Set your stroke measurement to mm under the "Units" section of the Preferences dialog box by clicking CTRL/CMD + K).

Color Selection
For best results, use Pantone swatches when coloring your artwork. Make sure your fan deck is current and hasn't faded. However, be prepared for the fact that color matching is probably not going to be perfect. Just because your fan deck is in good condition, doesn't mean your manu isn't working from a faded, outdated one. Or that they'll even try terribly hard to match your colors. I think it's best to be flexible. Close enough is good enough in my book. If you insist on being anal about color matching, talk to your manu about getting prototype samples before doing the full production. This will add time and money, but it's up to you. Regardless, include a color key in your file for your manufacturer identifying your swatches. Also, more colors = higher cost.

To make sure you're happy with the size of your pin, print out the artwork at 100% scale. You might change your mind when you see it in person and not on a screen. Your production artwork should be 100% scale, but to be safe, include some text in your file stating the size of your pin (width x height) in mm.

Metal Finishes
The usual metal options are gold, silver, black nickel, and copper/rose gold, or bronze in either polished or vintage (more matte) finish. Not all manus offer every option so be sure to ask. Include some text specifying your metal choice in your file.

Clutch Options
I like to use rubber clutches because I think they are more reliable than the metal butterfly option. Plus, you can also request them in different colors. Premium locking pin backs are also a thing, but I find them to be a pain in the ass. Plus, they tend to confuse people who aren't used to them.

Fancy Options & Packaging
Additional fun things some manufacturers offer is glitter, dangling elements, backstamping or lasering (if you want your logo or name on the back of your pin), etc. Ask for sample images from your manu if you're considering these things. For packaging, I get my backing cards printed at Vista Print, but some manus can do it for you and mount your pins as well. If you go this route, I'd suggest converting all text to outlines because they might not have your desired font.

Step 2: Finding a Manufacturer 

Middle Man or Factory Direct
If you google "enamel pin manufacturer" or some variation of that, and you find a website based in the US, there's a good chance it's a middle man. That means you give them your artwork, and they farm it out to a third-party factory in China. They may never even lay eyes on your pins, having the factory ship directly to you. I feel that having a middle man doesn't add any value, only additional cost, time, and potential for communication issues. I worked with a middle man at first, so I can speak from experience.

How to Find a Manufacturer
You research. Google is your friend. Search terms like factory, enamel/lapel/cloisonne pin, China, manufacturer, direct, etc. You may feel like the easy answer is to just ask existing pin designer who their manu is, but most are not going to tell you that info. Why? A lot of reasons. We don't want our manu to take on so many orders that they're quality, turnaround time, and customer service declines (something I've seen happen). We networked and researched ourselves to find our manus and we don't owe the fruits of that labor to anyone who sends a DM without even as much as friendly greeting. Or maybe you're straight up competition. Either way, don't be surprised if your request for info goes ignored.

If you do want to go this route, here's my suggestion. Purchase a pin from the artist and evaluate the quality in person first. Then send them a DM or email letting them know you have purchased a pin, liked the quality, and ask if they'd be willing to share their manu source, but state that you understand if they don't want to disclose this. Even better would be to share the names of manus you've researched (just to show you have made an effort on your own), and ask if they have any experience with them. 

Don't Forget About Seconds
If you order 100 pins, it's unlikely you will will receive 100 pins of perfect quality. There will be seconds, or pins that have defects like scratches, dirt in the enamel, missing enamel, chipped enamel, etc. You shouldn't expect 100% perfect pins. Seconds rates can very from manu to manu and even order to order. In my experience it's been at or less than 10% for the most part, but I've heard of people getting bad batches with a much higher percentage. It's up to you when it's a big enough problem that you need to haggle with your manu about refunds, replacements, and that sort of thing. But as a general rule, order more than you need. If you took preorders for 50 pins, don't just order 50 unless you want to send defective merchandise and have unhappy customers.

Review: Custom labels from Dutch Label Shop

Monday, November 20, 2017

Several months ago, while flipping through a quilt magazine at the grocery store, I saw a product  feature for Dutch Label Shop. I scribbled down the name on my grocery list and checked them out when I got home. Their custom woven labels were pretty much what I'd been wanting to add a professional touch to my projects. But seeing how I still had tons of labels I had printed via Spoonflower, I decided to hold off. Thanks, frugal upbringing.

In October Dutch Label Shop reached out to me and offered me a $100 voucher to try out their labels. They said they'd appreciate me blogging or posting about them on Instagram if I liked them, but I was not obligated to do so. Since I had already planned on buying them, I accepted the offer, but with less frugal guilt.

I saw the labels Jeni Baker had made and wanted something similar, a folded woven label I could stitch into the seams of bags or binding of quilts.

What I ordered: 200 sew-on center fold woven labels that measure 2.5" wide x 1" tall resulting in a 1" square label with a .25" seam allowance. My labels were white and I selected purple 2695C for my logo color, which was printed on both sides of the fold. I selected the "double white" option to preserver the white background. Here's exactly what the file I uploaded looks like. The artwork in the label is black, but I picked purple thread as I mentioned. The cost for these labels was $96 ($.48 each). For $106 I could have gotten 300 ($.35 each), but I wanted to stay within my $100 voucher.

The good: I'm 100% happy with how my labels turned out. I was concerned how my logo would turn out at such a small size since they are woven, not printed, but they look great! The edges don't fray and they feel just like any other woven label you'd find on store bought clothing. It'll probably take me a while to go through 200 labels, but when I eventually run out, I'll definitely reorder these. I hate hand sewing labels on quilts so these labels make a great alternative.

For an extra $10 you can get a photo proof, meaning they'll send you an image of an actual sample label made with your design, so that's a nice option to have. I didn't bother with it though.

The turnaround time was also reasonable. I placed my order on October 25th and my order shipped on November 2nd.

The bad (which isn't that bad): The website and ordering process can get confusing. Services like this need to find a balance of providing enough clear, concise instruction without overwhelming you. The site should be intuitive. There were multiple times during the process of ordering where I got confused, or felt unsure if I was doing things correctly.

For starters, the product categories aren't as clear as they could be, and it took me a few minutes before I was sure what I should even be choosing. For labels like mine, the category you'd want to select is "Brand Labels," which has two products: Basic Woven Labels and Woven Logo Labels. Uhh...what's the difference?

Basic Woven Labels are much more...basic. You can only pick from 3 sizes and your label will only consist of text with a limited number of font options. You can also add a clip art style symbol, but those have limited options as well. You can pick sew-in or iron-on, but that's it. If you're going to spend the time and money to get custom labels, I don't think these are worth it.

That takes us to Woven Logo Labels, the product I selected. When it comes to custom products, I've had experience with these kind of things. The company usually provides a template or image showing bleeds, safe artwork area, etc. to help you design your product. Dutch Label Shop is less helpful, which made me pretty nervous about how my labels would turn out.

The different kinds of folds are only explained via an illustration for each. No text. It would be nice to have an actual photo example and maybe a suggestion of what each type of use the labels are suited for.

The user interface for picking colors needs improvement too. You are presented with what appear to be basic color swatches (blue, brown, green, etc.) which gives the impression your options are very limited. However, if you actually click the blue swatch, a sub-menu appears with lots of different shades of blue. Okay. I was staring at the label color option for a while trying to figure out why basic white wasn't an option before I realized I had to click the black "base colors" swatch to then choose white.

Overall, the product is awesome, it's just the ordering process that I feel needs improvement. At the very least, reading this review should give some awareness of what to expect and alleviate some of that confusion. If I had been spending $100 out of my own pocket and not using a voucher, I wouldn't have felt super confident placing my order due to the confusion I had during the ordering process. Maybe I would have spent the extra $10 on the photo proof to be certain I was getting what I wanted.

If you're looking for professional looking labels, these get a thumbs up from me. Dutch Label Shop has given me the discount code "iamlunasol15" (no quotes) to share with you guys so you can get 15% off your purchase for the next 30 days. Enjoy!

Panache Fabric by Rebecca Bryan

Monday, October 30, 2017

Blenders have kinda been my jam this year. As much as I love a good fussy-cuttable print, I can't ignore the virtues of blenders. In fact, almost all of the prints I've been going bananas for lately have been blenders. I bet 2014 Felice would find my blender appreciation boring, but...*cue snooty mid-Atlantic accent*... I think I've developed a more mature fabric palette. Good thing my friend Rebecca Bryan's debut collection has a fancy name to match: Panache!

I have such admiration for Becca's quilt designs and eye for color. When Becca told me she was planning on getting into fabric design, I was all like:

And of course, she went and designed one of the prettiest bundles out there. I picked up one at Spring Quilt Market 2017 and it actually broke one of my big fabric habits. I used to keep bundles all pretty and tied up, segregated from my general stash. Panache just made more sense to break up and mix right into the madness. Then I broke up all my bundles so everything could be in color order. One of the downsides of being on the inside of the industry is the constraint of frequently needing to work exclusively with one line at a time. I feel like Panache is a great excuse to break out of that. I've been having such a great time looking though my stash for blenders, mixing Panache with lots of other prints.

My favorite project I've made with the line so far is the Batty Bat pattern by Funky Friends Factory. Look how cute and spoopy he is! 

I used Panache throught my Fussy Cut Sampler blocks for the book's SAL. I think a bundle like this would be a great starting point for a sampler quilt. 

I most recently used a bit of my favorite print, the black triangles, as an accent on a drawstring bag to hold all my pins to sell at Quilt Market. I love the selection of black, white, and gray prints in this line too! Most rainbowy blender lines just ignore those colors, but it's so good to have them.

And of course, Panache's stripes were the only non-Caturday/Luna Sol prints I used in my Tula Nova quilt (although that yellow stripe is pieced). The stripes might get overlooked, but they're so dang useful. I just ordered a few yards of the black and white stripes to use for quilt bindings. 

So if you've been bananas for blenders like me, give Panache a gander! It's one of those flexible, perfect-for-every-project type collections that I have a feeling I'll be repurchasing and stashing.

Caturday Blog Hop & Giveaway

Monday, October 16, 2017

Happy Caturday, friends! Pretty much every day is Caturday in our home with the two furbabies that inspired this collection, Batman & Chi.

A post shared by Felice Regina (@iamlunasol) on
Caturday initially started off as a sketchbook exercise in drawing cats. I was hesitant about designing a cat-themed collection because there is SO MUCH cat fabric in existence already. But during an afternoon of browsing cat fabric online, I realized I was seeing a lot of the same themes. Paw prints, yarn balls, and pretty much anything portraying cats as gentle, sweet princes and princesses. Meanwhile, Batman was trying to shove his butt in my face, Chi was trying to use the litter box while my husband was scooping it, and my mom was complaining about how she'd have to replace her clawed up couch when we moved out. I wondered, "do the people who made those prints even have cats? Because cats are assholes. Adorable and lovable, but still assholes." (Anyone remember this embroidery pattern? It's relevant.)

I designed Caturday to tell the true story about our feline friends. Litter Glitter depicts those awful pee clumps you scoop out of the litter box. Cat Scratch Fever is your ruined couch. Assterisk buttholes. (Here's a relevant comic I did back in college.)

One of my favorite parts of the range are the two border prints that I designed specifically for garments. The scale works for both adults and children's clothing. Check out this lovely dress by Lucy, @SmileandMake.

But of course, we can't forget the quilts! I have three new quilt patterns available to coordinate with Caturday: Pretty Paws, Caturday Medallion, and Fishbones. All are available as PDF downloads through my Craftsy shop, but Pretty Paws and Caturday Medallion are also being offered as paper patterns in quilt kits through local quilt shops. Be sure to ask your local shop if they plan on offering the kit!

A fourth pattern, Kira Kira, is available in issue 52 of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine.

The collection has 24 prints in all and is in stores now! For more project inspiration, view the look book or check out #CaturdayFabric on Instagram (and tag your Caturday projects too!). If you need something small to get you started, give the Fat Cat Softie a try with my free tutorial.


To celebrate the launch of Caturday, I'm doing two giveaways for a fat quarter bundle of the collection. One here, and one on my Instagram. To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment below! I'll pick a random winner on October 23rd. To enter my Instagram giveaway, check the post here.

Be sure to follow along with my friends for the rest of the Caturday blog hop!

Blog Hop Schedule 

October 16 - I Am Luna Sol (Me!)
October 17 - @iamlunasol Instagram Giveaway
October 18 - Kate Basti
October 19 - Modern Handcraft *Delayed until Oct. 20th*
October 20 - Gnome Angel
October 22 - Sew Sweetness Facebook Live stream @ 5pm CST

Fat Cat Softie Tutorial

The Fat Cat Softie is a super easy, beginner project.

The finished toy measures approximately 8" tall x 9.5" wide.

You will need:
  • (1) Fat quarter or (2) Fat eighths (if you want different prints for the front and back)
  • Stuffing
  • Removable marking pen
  • Hand embroidery supplies or puffy paint
  • The printed pattern
Step 1. Cut out the pattern and place it, printed side up, on your fabric, at least .25" away from the raw edges. With a removable marking pen, trace around the pattern. Using a pair of scissors, cut the pattern out, adding a .25" seam allowance. Do NOT cut on the marked lines. 

Step 2. To cut your second softie piece, place the first fabric piece right sides together with the remaining fabric. With a removable marking pen, trace around the first softie piece. Cut out your second softie piece. 

Step 3. Trace the face onto one side of your softie. If you are going to embroider the face, do it now. If you want to use puffy paint like I did, you'll do it as the last step.

Step 4. Place the two pieces of the softie right sides together and pin all the way around. Backstitching at the start and end, sew directly on top of the marked line from step 1, leaving a 1.5" - 2" gap below the tail for turning and stuffing.

Step 5. Carefully clip towards corners (don't cut through you stitching) and clip curves seams. Turn softie right side out. Stuff the toy, starting with the ears, feet, and tail. Stuff the body. Close the opening with a ladder stitch by hand. Massage the softie to even out the distribution of the stuffing.

Step 6. If using puffy paint, make the face now and let dry for 24 hours before handling. 

Pet Portrait FAQ

10 Tips for Stepping Up Your FMQ Game

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

1. Make a Pinterest board of quilting that inspires you.
Having something to aspire to motivates us to improve. Collect images of quilting that makes you say "WOW!" Don't worry if it looks too hard. I browse my quilting board frequently to get ideas and psych myself up.

2. Commit to investing more time on each project.
Good quilting takes time. I used to be dead set on getting quilting done in a day because I'm impatient. Now I take at least three or four days for FMQ. A few have taken nearly a week.

3. Experiment on a coloring sheet.
I like making a few photocopies of my quilt as a simple line drawing and start doodling on it with pencil. When I'm not being distracted by the colors and fabrics, it's easier to see the shapes I want to create with my quilting.

4. Test designs with template plastic and a dry erase marker.
I place a piece of clear template plastic over my quilt and draw on it with a fine point dry erase marker to get a rough idea of what a design will look like at 100% scale. Sometimes things look good on a small printout, but become impractical at actual size. Additionally, I practice drawing quilting motifs on a dry erase board. Practice makes perfect. If you draw a design over and over, the movements become instinctive.

5. Break it down.
Custom quilting isn't as hard as it looks. Everything can be broken down into easy, manageable steps. For my Orbital quilt, I approached the negative space with this process: Stitch the curved cross shape about 3/8" from the seams. Mark the second curve using a plastic template and chalk (see tip 8) and stitch it. Next, stitch 1/4" inside of that shape. Fill in the wide section with ribbon candy, curve by curve. Stitch the "ribs" in each quadrant of the center. Probably the hardest part of it all was keeping my ribbon candy even.

6. Don't baste until you have a plan.
I try to form at least a general idea of my quilting plan before I pin baste my quilt. Nothing is more annoying than pins sitting right in the middle of your path. If I have a plan, I can pin in places that I know will pose fewer interruptions.

7. For straight lines, look at your destination, not the needle.
Magic trick time. Get a piece of paper and try to draw a 6"-ish straight line without picking up your pen. It's probably not too straight. Now mark two dots about 6" apart. Starting with your pen on the first dot, look only at the second dot. Don't look anywhere but that dot. Now draw a line connecting the dots, never looking away from the destination dot. It's a lot straighter right?! Our brains are cool that way. If you look at the destination, your body is really good at getting you there. The same works for quilting.

8. Using marking helpers.
When starting out on a quilt, I usually need to mark some things until I get the hang of the quilting. I use a ruler and a hera to mark straight lines and tailor's chalk for curved lines. For dots, I use a Frixion pen. If there is a particular curve I'm going to have to quilt over and over, I'll make a template from cardstock or template plastic as a guide when marking with chalk. If I get comfortable after a while, I can set the training wheels aside, but there's nothing wrong with using them for the whole project.

9. Find your favorites.
Finding your favorite notions makes starting a project less intimidating. For me, I love Aurifil Monofilament, so I rarely have to worry about thread choices. I recently feel in love with Superior Threads topstitch needles (size 12) for FMQ at a friend's recommendation. My go-to batting is Quilter's Dream 80/20 blend or Dream Wool. I've also changed my mind on the Supreme Slider and come to appreciate the extra help it provides on large quilts.

10. Know when it's time for a break.
Classic "me" advice. When I get tired/bored/impatient, I make dumb choices. My work gets sloppy. Being able to tell myself, "just walk away NOW" has made the single biggest improvement in my FMQ work. Maybe the break will be an hour, or a few days. Either way, being impatient and frustrated will do nothing positive for your quilting.

Tula Nova Quilt & Tips for Machine Appliqueing EPP Giants

Monday, July 3, 2017

When I was picking thread colors to quilt projects for my new collection, Caturday, I discovered a happy accident. Lots of the thread colors from my Luna Sol Aurifil thread set were great matches for Caturday! When I dumped all the new rolls of fabric into my storage pin, it clicked. The two collections blend together almost seamlessly to create a bright and happy color spectrum! Awww yiss. 

I pre-ordered the Tula Nova EPP kit from Paper Pieces while at Quilt Market in St. Louis, and received it in early June, eager to get started. Time for a Luna Sol and Caturday mashup of legendary greatness! I spent some time studying the original quilt and mimicked the color placement in my coloring sheet, taking notes on which prints I planned to use. The ring of striped pentagons dug its claws in my brain and I had to replicate it. Thankfully, my buddy Rebecca Bryan's new collection Panache had four stripe prints that were perfect colors for this project. I had to improvise for the yellow stripe by piecing the fabric myself from Kona Buttercup and Yarrow. For the diamonds on the outermost pentagons, I used a selection of Windham Artisan cottons and a few other random Kona shades.

Once the whole thing was pieced, I had to figure out how to applique this giant onto the background. The pattern suggests basting it before appliqueing, but doesn't get more detailed than that. I put on my thinking cap and came up with a solution that worked insanely well. I've detailed my process below. Take note however, I thread basted all of pieces. If you're a glue baster, this approach won't work quite the same.

  1. Remove all the paper pieces except for those along the outermost edge. Press the entire EPP monster with a hot iron and spray starch until it is entirely flat and smooth. Give the outermost edges an extra press.
  2. Lay out background fabric and tape to the ground as if basting a quilt sandwich, making sure it's smooth and taut. Lay applique on top, position as desired, and smooth it out. Pin baste, starting at the center and working out radially. Do not basted the outermost edge because these pieces still have paper in them. Instead, pin as close to them as you can on the pieces without paper. Your outermost edge will be unbasted.
  3. Select a thread to match your applique (I used Aurifil monofilament on top) and set your machine to a blanket stitch.
  4. Remove the thread basting on a small section of the outermost edge and remove the paper pieces. I worked "block" (the star-in-pentagon units or fat star units) by block. With the papers removed from one block, pin the loose outer edge down with a straight pin or two. Begin stitching the applique down with the blanket stitch. When you reach any dog ears/seam allowances that stick out, simply fold them under the applique. I used my Purple Thang for this or a pair of tweezers for stubborn dog ears.
  5. Proceed around the entire piece, removing basting and papers from the next block just before you reach it, pinning it as needed, and stitching. 

For the quilting, I mimicked the original quilt for the most part, making some minor changes here and there. I'm pretty impressed with how well it came out, considering I do this on a domestic machine. I can't wait to hang this up on the wall whenever we move into our own place!

Name: Luna Nova
Size: 58" square
Fabric: Luna Sol, Caturday, Panache (stripes), and assorted solids
Pattern: Tula Nova
Quilting: Custom (Aurifil monofilament)
Completed: June 28, 2017

Caturday is set to ship to stores in October 2017. I haven't done a recap/introduction post for the collection yet because I plan to do that closer to release time, so stay tuned!

A Challenger Appears: Wonderfil Invisafil vs Aurifil Monofilament

Friday, June 16, 2017

At this past Quilt Market in St. Louis, my friend Jessee introduced me to a brand I wasn't familiar with: Wonderfil. Not Aurifil. Wonderfil. (My reaction to the name.) Okay.

Jessee convinced me to check out the booth for their 12wt "Spagetti" (she said it makes pretty top stitched details and I'll check this out in a future review), but it was the Invisafil that I ended up talking to Calista, Wonderfil's marketing director, about at length. She had asked me what I like to quilt with. Easy! Aurifil's monofilament is BAE. That's when she pitched me InvisaFil as a superior alternative for quilting, applique, and piecing. (My reaction.) It's going to take a lot to make me abandon my boo! She gave me a pastel mini pack (six 400m spools) of InvisaFil to take home and put to the test, along with a pre-wound InvisaFil bobbin.

I jumped into testing it when I got home, so let's go over how it performed for each test.

Test 1: Will it blend? 

The primary reason I use invisible thread is to do away with the pain (and cost) of color matching thread to fabric. My first indication that InvisaFil might not be an apples-to-apples comparison is the fact that it comes in sixty colors. (MRW when I was told an "invisible" thread comes in sixty colors.)

So if that hasn't tipped you off...I wouldn't call this an invisible thread at all. When I went to stitch an orange applique piece, none of the thread colors in my mini pack blended well. Clearly color matching is still in play, which is something I was hoping to avoid.

To me, a thread that is marketed as "invisible" should adequately (not perfectly) blend with a wide range of fabric hues. Wonderfil has a different take on it. Calista says in her email:
"Monofilament threads in the market today are available only into two shades, clear or smoke, which don’t cover the breadth of all the different fabric colors. And also due to the nature of the material it looks 'plastic-y’ to some people and reflects light, which are characteristics we want to move away from when using InvisaFil. The reason why we sell 60 colors is because people can match the thread to the tone of their fabric and when you do so, the thread blends into background, showing only the texture of the quilting and not seeing a lot of the thread. No thread can be 100% invisible and that is not the concept we are trying to sell to customers, we want to offer a thread that can blend into fabrics with ease."
So rather than trying to be a one-size-fits-all solution, Wonderfil's idea of "invisible" thread is how well it blends into fabric when appropriately color matched. I can buy that point. So if you're looking for that perfect match and have no hang-ups about color matching, I'd say it's worth a shot. If you hate color matching, move on.

Test 2: Can I use it as a bobbin thread with my monofilament?
No. It's too fine. The tension does not work. Calista says they do not reccommend using it as a bobbin thread, so turns out I was just being a dummy on this test.

Test 3: Piecing, you say?
By this point, I was feeling pretty smug. No one can dethrone my monofilament baby! Well, what about that claim about being awesome for piecing. I made my first seam with InvisaFil in the top and bottom of my machine reaction.

It's one of those things where you can't un-experience the beauty that you just witnessed. InvisaFil makes some sexy seams. Like you can see there is a seam, but it feels non existent on your block (in a good way) Things feel more accurate, more flat, more right. I actually felt like a disgusting traitor to Aurifil...I really love this for machine piecing. I've already purchased a couple spools for exactly that purpose.

Calista told me that this thread is also popular for English paper piecing, so I gave it a shot when starting out on my Tula Nova. After the first round of pentagons, I ended up switching back to Aurifil 50wt. The Invisafil wasn't a very "obedient" hand piecing thead (see this doodle I did of it in my visual journal). It felt slippery and kept coming unthreaded from my needle. Not fun! The thinness of the thread also means the knots I'd make when starting to sew weren't very large. They'd pass right through my fabric unless I spent time making them super bulky. Finally, I experienced issues with my thread shredding and breaking while sewing. No thanks.

In conclusion
Is Wonderfil a replacement for monofilament thread. No? they're different animals. I will stick with Aurifil monofilament for machine quilting and applique. If you have the budget and patience for color matching, it might be worth your time and money to try it out if you don't like monofilament for some reason. BUT, it is a disgustingly nice machine piecing thread, and I've already purchased more for that purpose alone.

New Blog Name and Domain!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hi guys! I was at Quilt Market this past weekend, and during a conversation I had with Angela Pingel and Allison Harris, AKA Cluck Cluck Sew, I got some confirmation on an issue I've been struggling with. We were talking about how we came up with our Instagram/blog/pattern company names, and Allison mentioned how important it is for those names to be consistent.

When I started this blog and my Instagram, I was just making things up as I went. I had no clue what my future would hold. My Instagram was IAmLunaSol and my blog became Sew Scatterbrained. As my following as grown, I've started to worry more and more about the conflicting names. I tried to reconcile it as Sew Scatterbrained being the name for sewing-specific endeavors, but now it's at the point where I felt I had to choose. And the choice was simple.

I think my Instagram name is more connected to who I am overall. I've been using the nickname Luna Sol since 2012, before I even got into quilting. Sew Scatterbrained was a name I came up with on a lunch break at my first job. To top it off, I love the logo for I Am Luna Sol 10x more than the old Sew Scatterbrained logo.

So there we have it. I'm unifying the branding. I've redirected the site to the new domain, so everything should be operating as normal, but if there are any hiccups, let me know. I've changed my name on Craftsy as well, but it would appear that change may take some time to update on their end. The only "loss" here is my old hashtag #SewScatterbrained. I think I'll use the hashtag #IAmLunaSol or #IAmLunaSolPattern from now on.

If this has caused any confusion for anyone, I sincerely apologize. There's never going to be a great time to do this, so might as well rip the bandaid off now. to go update all my PDF patterns. That should be fun!

Modern Triangle Quilts Blog Tour

Thursday, April 6, 2017

If my blog name is any hint, I don't have the longest attention span. Anything repetitive is bound to bore me. One block quilts? Snooze. Give me a sampler though and I'm game! That's why I've been dying to get my hands on my dear friend Rebecca Bryan's second book, Modern Triangle Quilts.

In late 2015, when Becca was scrambling to make all of the quilts for the book, we decided to do a trade. I'd piece one of the Skylines quilt for her book, and she'd make a quilt for the Luna Sol Quilt Market booth in spring once all the triangle quilts were taken care of. I was a little skeptical when she sent me a box full of Kona solids, (I'm a print girl for life), but I had a blast sewing that quilt and I love the way it turned out. Leave it to Becca to choose the perfect color palette, am I right?
I had another fun "interaction" with the book when I did a pet portrait of Becca's pupper, Bruce Wayne, lounging on the Isosceles Sampler. 

Since getting my physical copy of the book earlier this week, I've already started on the Upstart quilt in a girly pink, peach, and red palette. I love pulling a pile of prints out of my stash and diving right in. Samplers are perfect for that.

Well Wishes Charity Quilt

Most recently, I contributed a block to a the Well Wishes charity quilt to benefit Living Water International. Even if I my block only took me 10 minutes, it feels cool to be a part of such a stunning project! (My block is the one touching the bound corner below.) And guess what? You have a chance to win the quilt!

Check out Becca's blog post for full contest details. To be entered to win the quilt we made, purchase the $5 Well Wishes quilt pattern via Becca's shop (100% of the proceeds of this pattern will go to Living Water International). Each purchase equals one entry. 

Book Giveaway

As part of the blog tour, C&T is giving away one copy of Modern Triangle Quilts to one of my readers. To win, just leave a comment on this post and I'll pick a random winner on Saturday April 15th at 10am CST. I'll contact the winner via email. 

(Note: Only addresses within the U.S. receive a hard copy of the book. Due to the extreme cost of international shipping, international winners receive the e-book version.)

Winner has been contacted!

Blog Tour Schedule

Don't forget to check out the rest of the blog tour for more chances to win this book!

Why I Love Aurifil Monofilament Thread

Friday, March 17, 2017

In the current age of social media "brand influencers," there's always some blogger talking about how much they "LoOoOoVeEe this amazing new product from Brand X" in their sponsored blog post filled with affiliate links to what is probably a not-so-life-changing product. Well, at the risk of sounding just as obnoxious, I REALLY HAVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT THIS PRODUCT I'VE BEEN USING THE CRAP OUT OF: Aurifil's monofilament thread.

Disclaimer: Aurifil did send me two free spools of the thread for this tutorial, but this was at my request after I months of using it, having purchased a cone with my own money. I mainly wanted to make sure that the spools didn't suffer from the issues I experienced with a different brand I'll mention later.

You may remember "Quilt Purgatory" from my Instagram late last summer. I had a stack of or eight quilt tops that I felt obligated to finish before I could move onto new projects. Faced with the task of rapid fire quilting so many quilts, I turned to invisible thread as an alternative to buying a ton of new thread colors to match all these quilt tops. I ended up falling in love with Aurifil's monofilament thread and I've used for every single quilt I've made since I discovered it.

What it is and how to use it:

image source:

It's a nylon "invisible" thread available in two colors: clear (for use on light fabrics) and smoke (for use on dark fabrics). Thread your machine with the monofilament, loosening the top tension slightly. For the bobbin, use a 50 weight cotton thread in a color that matches (or is close-ish to) your quilt top. You match the bobbin to the quilt top because sometimes the bobbin thread pulls up and becomes visible from the top as little dots, which you'll see below. But guess what this means? Wherever you'd normally be changing thread colors and rethreading your entire machine, all you have to do is switch out a bobbin color. Huge time saver!

The time saving aspect isn't the only benefit. Monofilament means I can get away with having a smaller selection of thread colors for applique and quilting. Example time!

Let's say I want to applique these Kona Gumdrop shapes onto a white background. I need a color to match my applique, but these are the only two pink thread colors I have. Poop, both are terrible matches. If you put a gun to my head, I guess I'd pick the lighter color, so let's give that a go with my preferred stitch, the blanket stitch.

No surprise here. It doesn't look great. BUT, what if I switch the top thread to the monofilament and leave that light pink in the bobbin? It looks way better! The bobbin thread still pokes up slightly, but becomes less obvious as I reduce the thread tension (on the top half of the circle) a little from my normal setting. Having the perfect thread match may be the best option, but I'd say this is pretty good without having to buy any more colors.

The other reason I like this thread for applique is that it hides your mistakes for you. Even if you're using a pretty close color for your applique, if you get off course, it will be painfully obvious. Not the case with monofilament!

As I said earlier there are two colors to choose from, clear and smoke. Smoke looks black on the spool, but it's a tricky chameleon. Personally, I have zero problem the way the clear shade looks on dark fabrics, but I will concede that smoke blends better. Unless you're a lot of super dark fabrics, I think you can get away using just the clear. If you want proof, look at this album of my Overwatch quilt, which I appliqued and quilted with only the clear monofilament and handful of bobbin colors.

Here's two test quilt sandwiches I made to show what the two colors look like on a dark charcoal fabric and white fabric. I think the clear thread on dark fabric looks worse in photos than it does in person.

So now that I've shown you that monofilament is awesome, why Aurifil specifically? Well, I actually started off trying the Coats & Clark monofilament. It looks almost exactly the same as Aurifil, but sewing with it makes me want to tear my hair out. It's unruly and tangles if you even look at it funny. It constantly would unspool prematurely and get tangled in my machine. It was seriously nightmare. Plus, it feels much stiffer, almost like a thin fishing line. Any untrimmed threads feel horribly pokey and scratchy. Ick. Coats & Clark is like a nasty feral cat to Aurifil's sweet and gentle lap cat.

So yeah, if you hate having to buy matching thread, this stuff is magic.

Open Wide Pouch Pattern Hack: Sun-Star Delde Slide Pen Pouch Dupe

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

In the past two months, I've gone bananas for Copic markers. I can't say enough good things about them. They look so great that I'm more motivated than ever to draw. My collection was on the verge of outgrowing my small, boxy zip pouch I'd been keeping them, so I had to think of a home for them.

While browsing Jet Pens (one of my favorite shops for art supplies), I came across the Sun-Star Delde Slide Pen Pouch. The pouch stores pens vertically and converts to a standing pen cup. Cue heart eyes! Perfect! The only issue was the size. I needed a taller size to accommodate some of my pencils, so I went the DIY route.

It took some experimentation and guess work, but eventually I figured out a serviceable dupe solution.

My version measures 8" tall, 4" wide, and 2.5" deep.

A few notes on materials:

Firstly, for your exterior pouch fabric, I suggest using something more durable than quilting cotton. A cotton/linen canvas or something like Essex linen would be good.

Second, interfacing matters. I tested this bag multiple times with different interfacing options, and Peltex and or a double layer of Craft Fuse are the only options that yielded a functional slide pouch. Substituting fusible fleece, Soft & Stable, or Shape Flex will not work properly.

  • (2) 7.5" x 10" for Main Pouch Exterior
  • (1) 4" x 5" for Pull Tabs
  • (1) 2" x 3" for Zipper Tab
  • (2) 7.5" x 10" for Main Pouch Lining
  • (1) 13.5" x 9" for Contrast Band
  • (2) 7.5" x 6.25" Pellon 71F Peltex or (4) 7.5" x 6.25" Pellon 808 Craft Fuse
  • (1) 13.5" x 9" Pellon SF-101 Shape Flex interfacing (optional)
  • 8" zipper or longer
To make your pouch, start by fusing your interfacing to the wrong side of your Main Pouch Exterior pieces, aligning the long bottom edges. If using the Craft Fuse, you'll be fusing two layers of interfacing directly on top of each other.

Now follow the the instructions for Noodlehead's Open Wide Pouch. There are only a few differences. First is the dimensions of your pieces, but that doesn't affect the process. (Note, all my measurements are width x height.) Use the same seam allowances she calls for as well. Second, you'll want to leave a smaller, 3" opening in the lining for turning. Third, when boxing the corners, the marked line should measure 2.5" long instead of 3.5". Follow her instructions but stop BEFORE you topstitch around the pouch opening at the end. Skip to the end of her instructions and attach the Zipper Tab.

Fold the Pull Tab in half vertically, WST and press. Unfold and then fold the edges in to meet the crease and press. Refold in half, yielding a 5" long piece of 1" wide double fold tape. Stitch 1/8" along each 5" edge, then cut in half to yield (2) 2.5" long tabs. Fold Them in half horizontally, press, and baste closed. 

Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the Contrast Band. Press the 13.5" edges your Contrast band .5" to the wrong side. Fold the contrast band in half wrong sides together (WST), aligning the folded edges and press. This will make it easier to get your band in the proper position later.
Unfold the Contrast Band and fold it in half vertically, right sides together (RST), aligning the 9" edges. Pin and sew with a .25" seam allowance. Press the seam open and turn the tube right side out. The previous pressing you did should make it easy to fold the tube in half WST so that you have a 4" tall tube with the raw edges folded in. Set aside.

Measure 6.5" from the seam on the Contrast Band and mark with a water soluble marker along the top and bottom edge. Insert the basted end of one Pull Tab .5" into the open side of the Contrast Band, centering it with the seam. Baste in place. Do the same with the remaining Pull Tab, centering it with the line you marked. Pin the open edges of the Contrast Band closed and topstitch with a 1/8" seam allowance.

Slip the Contrast Band over the pouch with with the pull tabs pointing towards the bottom of the pouch. Align the top folded edge of  the Contrast Band with the top edge of the pouch. Don't cover any more of the zipper tape. Line up the side seam with one of the side seams of the pouch and pin. Line the marked line up with the opposite pouch side seam and pin. Pin around the remainder of the pouch, lining the Contrast Band up with the top edge of the pouch. Make sure your pouch lining is neatly pressed inside, then topstitch the band to the pouch with 1/8" seam allowance. You're using the topstitching step from Noodlehead's tutorial to attach the Contrast band. Your pouch is finished!

The pouch at the top of the post was made with my Witchy Objects print from Spoonflower, black linen, and Craft Fuse. The pouch below was made with Cotton + Steel cotton/linen canvas prints and Peltex.

And here's a video of the bag in action. Just pull the tabs to convert use as a pen cup, then pick it up by the zipper and give it a little shake to go back to its full height.

A post shared by Felice Regina (@iamlunasol) on


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

It's time for a contest/giveaway! #LunaSolFabric has been in stores for a few months now and I want to see what pretty projects you guys are making with it. Share your creations featuring Luna Sol and win some stellar prizes!


  1. Post a photo of a project on Instagram that prominently features Luna Sol with the hashtags #LunaSolFabric and #LunaSolFabricContest
  2. Deadline is April May 1st, noon central time. 
  3. Make as many entries as you like, but only one entry per project.
  4. WIPs are allowed but you may only enter a project once, so the closer to completion, the better your odds are. 
  5. You must be one of my followers. 


3rd Prize
2nd Prize 
  • Scrap bag of fabric from my upcoming fabric collection
  • Small Luna Sol #Aurifil thread set
  • Comet Bunny Enamel Pin
  • PDF pattern of your choice from my shop. 
1st Prize 
  • FQ bundle of my upcoming fabric collection
  • Large Luna Sol #Aurifil thread set
  • Comet Bunny enamel pin
  • PDF pattern of your choice from my shop.
Winners will be announced on Instagram!