Tuesday Tip….What’s Grunge?

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Grunge… a name that describes the fabric – that kind of smudged, painterly, drop-cloth kind of look.   Grunge… it’s so much better than that! Grunge is the creation of Rachel Benchley and it has been part of every Basic Grey collection since her first – Urban Couture –  in 2008.  It became a Moda Basic a few years ago with new colors being added every year. We have even more colours on order from Moda that are due to come to Hamels Fabrics in the next few months. We are always craving more basic blenders to have in the store to match other collections.

grunge 1

Rachel Benchley launched BasicGrey over fourteen years ago as a surface design company. Inspired by her crazy, hectic and colorful life, her sweet husband and four fabulous children, Rachel loves to mix things up with unique color palettes applied to bold prints and patterns – eclectic representations of her eclectic world. She is the creator of all Grunge fabrics and we love all of the colours!

What does she think is the best part of her design work? Seeing her designs become YOUR amazing creations!

If you’re not familiar with Grunge, it’s a unique fabric that is dyed first, then printed on one side to create a unique, textured look.  While the printing is the same for all Grunge fabrics, the final look of them can vary widely depending on the number of colors applied, the subtlety or contrast of those colors, and so on.

Our store has not only classic Grunge Basics in dozens of colours, but also Grunge Hits the Spot and Grunge Seeing Stars and a few extra wide Grunge fabrics for quilt backings. These amazing collections offer a palette of colours to choose from. They are just perfect for bindings, borders, backgrounds, appliqué and so much more!

grunge spots

Grunge can also be used on the wrong-side as a solid – either on its own because it’s the perfect color or just to add a little variety to a Grunge project.

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grunge stars

We have all of the Grunge fabrics listed on our website and the fabrics come to us from our supply warehouse in Vancouver, British Columbia. Check out the Grunge fabrics either in our brick and mortar store or on the website as you look for fabric to compliment your next quilt!

Tuesday Tip….How to Clean a Cutting Mat

Mat 1

Lately, many of us are making Jelly Roll rugs. As a thrifty, somewhat cheap, person, I cut my own strips of batting from scrap bits of batting in my sewing room to make my jelly roll rug. Great money saver vs. buying pre-cut batting strips, until after I was done and my cutting mat looked like the one pictured above!

This predicament can also come along if you cut batting squares for a rag quilt or if you sew a quilt- as-you-go blocks and trim the finished blocks to size on your mat. These activities can create quite a fuzzy mess. All those cotton fibers get embedded in the mat and no amount of rubbing with a rag will get them out.

mat 2 eraser

How can you remove the fuzz from your mat? Well the solution is as easy as a white eraser purchased from the dollar store. Yep. One of those inexpensive white artist erasers!

mat 3 fluff

Just rub it on the mat wherever it’s fuzzy and the fuzz comes out. With only a little bit of elbow grease, my mat is clean again and ready for my next cutting session. Voila!

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Happy stitching everyone!






Tuesday Tip….How to Spray-Baste a Quilt


Spray baste is a temporary adhesive designed to work with fabric. It spreads from a can and can be washed out. We like to recommend 505 Spray and Fix to spray-baste quilts. It’s acid free and won’t gum up your sewing machine needle. This product comes in two sizes of cans: 6.22 oz and 12.4 oz.

We are confident that a small can of 505 Spray will give you more than enough for one large quilt or a bunch of small projects such as table runners, baby quilts, etc. The larger can of 505 Spray will ensure that you have enough product to baste several large projects and will last a long time if you are prolific quilter! Remember that you don’t need to spray this product liberally. A light hand goes further than you think with this product.

Five reasons to choose spray baste:

1. It takes minutes to baste even a king-size quilt.

2. The adhesive from 505 Spray lasts, you only need reactivate it with a steam iron.

3. It’s reposition able so that if you experience a pucker in your quilt sandwich (combination of top, batting and backing) , you can lift and re-smooth the sandwich.

4. You can let your quilt sandwich sit after it’s been spray basted and you don’t have to worry about the adhesive wearing off.

5. It provides the best possible surface for machine quilting because every part of the sandwich has evenly adhered to itself.

How to use 505 Spray Adhesive in Seven Steps:

Step 1: Set yourself up in a well ventilated room to work in. Some quilters like to use the floor of their sewing studio while others set up folding banquet tables in a garage and leave the garage door open. Just make sure that there’s fresh air coming around you as you work. If you’re sensitive to the smell of the spray baste, use a face mask.

Step 2: Lay your batting on your firm surface and smooth it out.

Step 3: Layer your backing wrong side down on top of your batting, smoothing it out as you go. When both of these layers (batting and backing) are smoothed out, peel the backing back onto itself. This exposes half of the batting.

Step 4: Holding the 505 Spray baste can about 12 inches above the batting and with a light touch, spray the exposed batting quickly and evenly.

Step 5: Carefully and slowly smooth the backing onto the batting working from the centre middle outwards to the sides and corners. When done, repeat Steps 3 and 4 with the other half of your quilt batting and backing.

Step 6: Once backing and batting are bonded together with spray, carefully lay the quilt top, wrong-side down onto the batting. Again make sure that the seams are into place before spraying. It’s crucial to have your top and backing pressed really well before starting this whole sandwiching process in order to have your quilt lay flat and smooth once the layers are stuck together.

Step 7: When you’re done with the sandwich, take the whole thing to your ironing board (backing, batting and top). Iron the entire sandwich from the centre outward with a hot steam iron. This “sets” the fabric in place and makes the adhesive adhere well.

Hint: Many times if the project is medium sized or smaller, I perform this sandwiching process using 505 spray and steps 1-7 right on my ironing board.

Here’s a quick video to watch this product in action:



Tuesday Tip: Sew Straight!

sew straight

Save time with Sew Straight by sewing unmarked diagonal lines for blocks such as snowball or triangle squares. Accurately sew bias seams for binding in a jiffy! Sew perfect 1/4in seams! There are countless ways to use Sew Straight!

This new grid attaches to the bed of your sewing machine with re-stickable tabs that are included with this product. The double-sided adhesive strips can be stuck on your sewing machine bed again and again. They remove cleanly and easily so as to not damage the surface.

To use the “Sew Straight”, you plan and position it so that the bold centre straight line lines up with the machine needle set to centre needle position. Line up the bold straight line on Sew Straight with centred needle at the end of feed dogs. Press the Sew Straight into place with the stickies on the bottom against the bed of your machine. Don’t fret if this sounds confusing, a complete colour instruction brochure comes with this product!

* No Key Needed
* Sewing on Unmarked Diagonal Line
* Sewing Miter
* Sewing Accurate 1/4in Seams
* Sewing Bias Seams for Binding
* Sewing Diagonal Lines for Pieced Squares