Owl & Drum's Sew Very Modern

Fabric Friday - Lagoon by Rashida Coleman-Hale August 11, 2017 09:19

It's always an exciting time whenever the new collections from Cotton + Steel debut. Customers eagerly await the time when they can head to their local quilt shops and see the beautiful fabrics up close. And store owners always love to offer great new designs from a company with a terrific aesthetic and sense of style. 

Well, happily, it's that time again! This week we are featuring Rashida Coleman-Hale's newest Cotton + Steel collection. It's called Lagoon - and it's fab!

lagoon from rashida coleman-hale and cotton and steel

Rashida used her immense imagination and creativity to develop a fictional tropical jungle, complete with lush colors and whimsical characters. Prints include playful lemurs, maps and colorful leaves and vegetation.

Here's a sampling of some of the lovely fabrics in this thrilling collection:

Lemur in orchid lagoon by rashida coleman hale cotton and steel

lagoon map by rashida coleman hale for cotton and steel

lively lanterns dark teal by rashida coleman hale cotton and steel

nanners in yellow cotton lawn rashida coleman hale cotton and steel

wonder leaf rashida coleman hale cotton and steel

unleafable rashida coleman hale cotton and steel

Now that you have gotten a taste of Lagoon, I invite you to stop by our shop on 15th Street in Tulsa and take a look at the full collection. It's truly gorgeous!

Tuesday's Tip - Rotary Cutter Basics August 8, 2017 10:02

Whether you are a quilter, sewist or crafter, you probably use a rotary cutter. Rotary cutters help with accuracy, speed and efficiency. Plus, they're just so handy! In fact, your creative world was probably turned upside down when you first used one - and it's hard now to imagine a time when we all had to rely solely on scissors.

rotary cutter basics from owl & drum

So, as we use our rotary cutters in most projects, it's time to share some of the basics of rotary cutter care and use:

  • Keep it sharp. Your rotary blade should always feel like its gliding through butter. Whenever you feel you are having to press harder to cut your fabric it is time to replace your blade.
  • Always use a cutting mat. This may go without saying, but you always want to make sure you have a cutting mat under your fabric when using a rotary cutter. It will protect your surface underneath, as well as prolonging the life of your blade.
  • Cut away from you. It's safer, you get a nicer cut and it helps when trying to apply even pressure.
  • When not in use, close the safety. It's always best practice to set the safety on your rotary cutter when not in use - especially if you have "little hands" in your house.
  • Cut standing up. Cutting your fabric while standing up will allow you to put your body weight into the cut. Plus, while you are standing over your fabric you will have a better view of the fabric you are cutting.
  • Apply even pressure when cutting. This helps to give you a straight and even cut and - in the case of cutting through multiple layers - it will prevent you from having to go back and cut those gaps that did not get cut.
  • Throw your blade away safely. I like to use blades by Olfa. These blades always come in a handy, plastic yellow case. Whenever I'm ready to replace my blade, I put the old blade in the case and throw away. Easy.

So that's another Tuesday's Tip from the Sew Very Modern blog in the bag. We hope you enjoyed it and check out next week's helpful advice, too! 

Fabric Friday - All About Chambray August 4, 2017 07:22

You may have been noticing a lot of blue clothing items on the store shelves these days. They look kind of like denim but they are much more lightweight. What you are seeing is one of the hottest trends in the fashion and fabric markets - cotton chambray.

Originating in the early 19th century, chambray gets its name from a small town in northern France called Cambrai. Originally made from linen, it is now more commonly made of cotton.

Usually constructed in blue hues, chambrays consist of a white yarn in the weft and a colored yarn in the warp. Because it is evenly woven, chambrays give off a softer shade. With the popularity of chambray, we are now seeing some color pop up. So far, black, gray and red have been popular colors for chambray shoppers.

cotton chambray fabric at Owl & Drum

cotton chambray from moda fabrics

cotton chambray from andover fabrics

For all you apparel sewists, I would definitely recommend picking up some chambray for your summer wardrobe. You can make a variety of pieces including skirts, tops, shorts and dresses. One pattern I would definitely recommend is Made by Rae's Gemma Tank, as pictured below on Tulsa's own Ashley Daly. Another great pattern for chambray is Grainline Studio's Willow Tank and Dress.

Ashley and Ryan Daly sporting cotton chambray

We are finding that chambrays are being used for a lot of sewing projects and quilting, as well. Because chambray is a plain weave, like quilting cotton, it can easily be combined with other types of lightweight or medium-weight fabrics. The soft tones of the chambrays really make bright colors pop!

gingham and cotton chambray kitchen accessories made by Sacha Matheos

Hope you enjoyed a little cotton chambray primer - and hope you can sew with some very soon. It's great to work with! Owl & Drum has a nice selection of chambrays that can be found in our Tulsa and online shop. Click here to check some of them out!

Tuesday's Tip - Sewing a Straight Line August 1, 2017 09:25

As simple as it sounds, sewing a straight line can take time and practice. While most sewing machines will have seam allowance lines these lines can be short and often hard to see. Our solution? Washi tape! 

First, you will want to find a bright, fun and cheery printed washi tape or masking tape. Second, determine your seam allowance. Next, cut off a piece of tape that is around 2-3 inches. Following the seam allowance guide on your machine, lay the piece of tape along that line. Make sure the tape is as straight as possible - this will now be your seam allowance guide. Just match up the end of your fabric with that tape and sew. It's as easy as that!

sewing a straight line with washi tape

Tuesday's Tip - Backstitching July 25, 2017 00:00

If you've been sewing for any length of time you know how important it is to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam to reinforce the stitches so they don't come undone. Well, here's a little tip to make your backstitch serve you well by preventing the machine from eating your fabric:  

When you start a seam, place the fabric under the presser foot so that the needle is about a half an inch in from the back edge of the fabric, and backstitch to the edge of the fabric before stitching forward, rather than starting right at the edge.

By starting with the backstitch, your machine can grab and move the fabric because the feed dogs and presser foot are in full contact with the fabric. If the edge of the fabric is placed up against the presser foot to start, rather than being fully underneath it, the machine cannot move the fabric as easily, and the needle will often just "chew" at the edge and create a knotted ball inside the machine under the needle plate. 

backstitch button on a sewing machine



Fabric Friday - Soul Mate by Amy Butler July 21, 2017 00:00

Especially for this week's Fabric Friday, we have Soul Mate, the gorgeous new collection from Amy Butler for Free Spirit Fabrics. Consisting of 24 prints in a cotton poplin, Soul Mate is pure Amy Butler - from the stylish prints to the vibrant colors!

soul mate by amy butler for free spirit fabrics

Amy describes Soul Mate as:

"A sweet reflection on love and the perfect co-creation that happens when synergy and beauty meet. The two peacock lovers in It Takes Two are the stars of the collection and - in a light, tongue & cheek way - represent finding my soul mate in my husband, David. Being in tandem and mixing elements go hand in hand with making a great relationship and, of course, an amazing quilt!"

Owl & Drum is happy to offer customers the full line - that's 3 versatile color ways and 24 prints! Soul Mate is printed on a cotton poplin, which is very soft to the hand. We would heartily recommend these fabrics for quilting, as well as apparel.

Soul Mate by Amy Butler for Free Spirit Fabrics

Soul Mate is available in our online and Tulsa shops. Feel free to stop by and take a look at these fabrics in person. They will not disappoint!

Tuesday's Tip - Zipper Trick July 18, 2017 00:00

Sewing a zipper? There's a handy dandy way to make it easier.

Keep a glue stick on your sewing kit, and its your new best friend when its time to install that zip! 

Washable glue stick is just strong enough to hold a zipper in place on the fabric, and it washes out, just like the name says. 

Apply a little glue stick along the edge of the zipper tape before you position each side into place. Add a couple of pins if you think it needs it, but you can even go pin-less. Look at you, you sewing rebel!

fabric glue stick for sewing on a zipper



Fabric Friday - Floral Retrospective by Anna Maria Horner July 14, 2017 00:00 2 Comments

Anna Maria Horner has done it again! Our Fabric Friday spotlight this week is for Anna Maria's newest collection, Floral Retrospective.

anna maria horner floral retrospective echinacea

Floral Retrospective features some of Anna Maria's favorite floral prints, with some classic and new colorways. This 16-piece collection pairs well with a variety of looks - from vintage to modern - and these fabrics work well in everybody's fabric stashes!

anna maria horner floral retrospective overachiever

anna maria horner floral retrospective raindrop poppies

These fabrics are a high-quality quilting cotton that you always find from Free Spirit Fabrics. We know you will love creating with this collection in whatever sewing and quilting project you may have in mind. You can find Floral Retrospective in our Tulsa shop and online at www.owlanddrum.com. Enjoy!

anna maria horner floral retrospective social climber


Tuesday's Tip - Using a "Spider" July 11, 2017 00:00 2 Comments

How can a spider help you with sewing or quilting? Well, don't worry, we're not talking about arachnids! A "spider" - also called a "leader" and/or an "ender" - is a scrap of fabric that you run through your machine at the beginning and end of each seam. The spider ends up attached to your fabric by short threads, and then you just trim them off and use the spider again and again. The funny name comes from how it looks after its been used - with lots of thread "legs" hanging off. 

sewing with a spider

Spiders help in many ways: 

  • They save thread because less is wasted at each end. Plus, time trimming long threads is saved - and then you don't have as many threads on the floor!
  • Keeps the needle from coming unthreaded, especially if you will hold your threads as you run the spider through.
  • The thread gets contained in stitches on the spider and carried off behind the machine, so they don't get sewn down in the stitches on your project.
  • They stop the the thread from bunching up into a bird’s nest under the fabric as you start out sewing. 
  • Best of all, spiders prevent the machine from eating your fabric! You know- when the fabric gets pushed down into the needle holeand it doesn't move, and the needle keeps going up and down forming a knotted ball on the backside, essentially sewing the fabric to your needle plate? Yeah, that.

Spiders for sewing! Who knew?



Introducing Cotton + Steel Thread by Sulky! July 9, 2017 00:00

Owl & Drum is excited to announce that we now have the new Cotton + Steel thread by Sulky! The colors are out of this world, and this thread - a 50 Wt., 2-ply, high-quality thread made from 100% Egyptian-grown cotton - can be used for both quilting and sewing.

You can find C+S thread in our Tulsa shop on 15th Street. If you are an out-of-town shopper, just send us an email letting us know what colors you would like and we would be happy to ship them to you!

To learn more about this gorgeous thread watch this fun video made by the designers at Cotton + Steel:


Fabric Friday - Lines & Shapes by Leah Duncan July 7, 2017 00:00

Yay, it's Fabric Friday! Today's fabric spotlight is on one of our favorite fabric designers, Leah Duncan and her new collection, Lines & Shapes. Leah Duncan is a textile and surface pattern designer from Austin, Texas and has been designing fabric for Cloud 9 Fabrics for over a year now.

Lines & Shapes is a capsule collection featuring five designs printed on 100% organic cotton canvas. These geometric fabrics are perfect for tote bags and handbags. Plus, everybody needs a good beach bag and these colors and this fabric would be perfect for one.

lines and shapes by leah duncan cloud 9 fabrics

Are you looking to spruce up your home? Try making throw pillows in any of these prints or all five. The modern aesthetic of these prints would definitely give your home a bit of a pop!

If any of our readers end up making something out of Lines & Shapes be sure to tag @owlanddrum. We love seeing what our creative customers have been upto!

Geometry Leah Dunan Lines & Shapes

dashes indigo leah duncan lines & shapes cloud 9 fabrics

pen marks leah duncan lines & shapes cloud 9 fabrics
square leah duncan lines & shapes cloud 9 fabrics

angles leah duncan lines & shapes cloud 9 fabrics

Tuesday's Tip - Trace Your Pattern July 4, 2017 08:16

Happy 4th of July and welcome to Tuesday's Tip! Today we want to tell you how useful it can be to trace your sewing patterns before cutting them.

Tracing your pattern will keep your pattern intact and allow you to use it for other sizes. This is especially useful when working with children's patterns. As your child grows, you can easily trace the next size up to create that loved garment again.

Pattern tracing is also great whenever you want to make adjustments to your pattern. Want to elongate or shorten? That's easy! Just mark the new markings on the tracing paper.

To trace, we like to use Pellon's Red Dot tracing paper. One advantage to the Red Dot tracing paper is that each dot is symmetrically one-inch apart. So, it makes it easy to follow a straight line, especially if you need to adjust or create your own your own pattern. Another advantage is that it feels like fabric and will last a lot longer. Plus, it doesn't slide around like paper so it helps you cut more accurately. We highly recommend it!

Pellon's Red Dot tracing paper


Our Visit to the Northwest Arkansas Modern Quilt Guild July 2, 2017 18:29 1 Comment

Hello and thanks for visiting our blog. You'll be hearing from different members of our team from time to time - and today you're hearing from me, Mary Perisho of Mary Make & Do, the full-time sewing instructor at Owl & Drum!

I'm here to share a few stories about our recent road trip to the Northwest Arkansas Modern Quilt Guild.

Last week, we loaded up the car with lots of pre-cut goodies from the store and headed east over the state line, under a sunny blue sky. It was a nice day for the two-hour drive through Green Country into the Natural State.

And, it just so happened that our friend Sacha had a modeling gig at Crystal Bridges Museum Of American Art, so she hitched a ride with us. We dropped her off at the museum in Bentonville on our way to Rogers. 

The NWA MQG meetings take place on the third Tuesday of each month at the Rogers Historical Museum Annex in adorable downtown Rogers. We met up with the Guild President, Elizabeth Ray, and set up our pop-up shop at the annex before walking to the nearby Mexican restaurant where the guild gathers for dinner each month before their meeting.

We ended up with about 16 people around a long table, and it was really nice to have this time to share a meal and chat with some of the guild ladies. 

During the meeting, I gave my talk on Modern Quilting. The guild members were a captive and appreciative audience, with lots of “oohs and aahs” heard as I showed the quilts pictured in the slideshow.

I truly appreciated their excited response to my 45-minute presentation. This was my first time to travel to speak, which is something I have wanted to do for quite some time. How cool to realize that dream! Thank you, ladies, for the invite!   

Mary Perisho presenting a modern quilting presentation at the Northwest Arkansas Modern Quilt Guild meeting

The guild was very much like our own Tulsa Modern Quilt Guild. Lots of enthusiasm and lots of ideas! They conducted an excellent meeting, and included a great activity where each month a different member shares quilting lessons and advice during "The 10-Minute Tip."

We learned a few very useful things - including how to take great photos of quilts for social media postings. It was a good meeting for us to attend because participating guild members were showing their Greenery Challenge, and we got to see a wonderful array of green-themed mini and throw-sized quilts.

The ladies of the guild were thrilled with Owl & Drum's fabric selection, and they had a lot of fun perusing our wares. They shopped both before the meeting and during the break - and we went home with a much lighter load than we hauled over with us!

Sacha met back up with us at the meeting, so afterwards we looked around downtown Rogers - which is well on its way to being revitalized with new businesses - and we found a spot to have a relaxing beverage.

We stopped in the Brick Street Brewery and the friendly bartender invited us to sample any of the local brews they had on tap. What fun! Our favorites were Love Honey Bock and Black Apple Crossing Cider, both of which were brewed locally. Be sure to give either of these a try if you ever have the opportunity. 

No trip to northwest Arkansas would be complete without visiting the popular Crystal Bridges, so the following morning we headed back over to Bentonville, where Sacha gave us a tour of the stunning Dale Chihuly glass installation she had previewed the day before.

dale chihuly at crystal bridges bentonville arkansas

dale chihuly crystal bridges bentonville arkansas

We also took the time to stroll through Frank Lloyd Wright's historic Bachman-Wilson House, which was reconstructed on the grounds of the museum in 2015. It is definitely worth a visit if you are a fan of mid-century modern architecture and design! 

We had a great time on our little jaunt to the Natural State, and we look forward to visiting other nearby guilds in the near future!

If you have a local guild and would like us to do a presentation on modern quilting and provide a modern fabric pop-up shop, please send us an email at owlanddrum@gmail.com.

We would love to share our love of modern quilting with you!

Come visit us soon at Owl & Drum - and we very much hope you enjoy our blog! 



Fabric Friday - New Jersey Knits from April Rhodes June 30, 2017 08:36

This month, April Rhodes debuted two great new collections for Art Gallery Fabrics - titled "Heritage" and "Arizona After." Both lines definitely showcase her love for the Southwest and, with her sentiment being shared in the fashion world, we wanted to be sure to carry some of the jersey knits from April's collections.

For those of you who have sewn with AGF knits, you know they are the cream of the crop when it comes to jersey knit fabric! They are soft and just the right thickness for apparel. 

And aren't these prints just fabulous? These designs by April Rhodes would make a great pair of leggings or a fabulous Myrtle Dress from Colette Patterns


Owl & Drum is happy to now be stocking these featured knits. You can click here to start shopping for them. Other fabrics from April's collections will be in the shop this July, so stay tuned!

Shibori Dyeing with House Sparrow Fine Nesting June 28, 2017 00:00 1 Comment

This past weekend Owl & Drum co-hosted a Shibori Dyeing Workshop with textile artist Natasha Ball of House Sparrow Fine Nesting. Held in Natasha's workshop, we learned about the ancient Japanese techniques of Shibori dyeing. 

With Shibori dyeing, the fabric is either twisted, folded, tied or bunched and then dyed with indigo dye. It is so satisfying and intriguing to do! Once you unravel or un-tie your fabric, the pattern that is created is both unique and a one-of-a-kind design.

Enjoy the pictures - and we hope you will join us for our next dyeing workshop next month at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 23! Click here to sign up!

Tuesday's Tip - Needle Threading June 27, 2017 10:41

Introducing Tuesday's Tip! Every Tuesday we will share a clever sewing or quilting tip that is sure to help you one day or another.

Today's tip is about threading your needles.

If working with embroidery floss, and you have several strands, use a bit of Thread Heaven or beeswax on your threads. It will help keep your threads together, keep them from tangling and make it easier when putting all of those strands through the eye of your needle.

Another tip is to always snip the end of the your thread before sliding your thread through the eye of the needle. This goes for needles on your sewing machine, as well as hand-stitching needles.

Hope you enjoyed this week's Tuesday's Tip - join us next week for another!


Introducing Row by Row Jr.! June 24, 2017 00:00

New to the Row by Row Experience is Row by Row Junior!

Designed specifically for quilters ages 6-14, Row by Row Junior features 5 different patterns which also go with this year's theme, On the Go. The patterns are the same for each shop and each child can choose which pattern they would like to take home. To receive the free pattern, the child has to be present in the quilt shop. Only children may receive the free pattern, however, grown-ups are welcome to buy the kit, too. Owl & Drum has kits made up in the "Arrows" pattern, as pictured below.

As with the traditional Row by Row, there is an incentive for the young sewists to complete their rows. The first 5 kids to come into Owl & Drum with a completed sewing project using one of the junior rows will receive a ribbon and a small prize!

Only a selected number of quilt shops are participating in this special category, so be sure to ask your local quilt store if they are taking part. Rest assured, Owl & Drum is one of them - so stop by with your little one and pick up a free pattern today!

It's time for the Row by Row Experience! June 21, 2017 00:00

Today is the first day of the Row by Row Experience. This worldwide quilt shop hop started in 2011 with only 20 shops in the New York area. Since then, it has grown immensely to include thousands of stores across the US, Canada and Europe - and Owl & Drum is proud to one of the shops for the second year!

Each year there is a theme and this year's theme is On the Go. Our panel, "Rainbow Tracks," is an abstract take on vehicle tire tracks. We wanted our panel to be pieced, contain solids and, of course, be a modern design. Another fun feature about our panel is that it can be used as either a vertical or horizontal panel in your quilt.

To receive our pattern, you will need to visit our shop in Tulsa, OK. The pattern is free and we also have kits, featuring American Made Brand solids, available for purchase. During Row by Row - which runs from June 21 to Sept. 5 - this will be the only way you are able to get your hands on our pattern and kit.

(Unfortunately, it won't be until Nov. 1 when you will be able to get our pattern through mail and pdf download. So, stay tuned if you cannot make it into our shop this summer.)

We really hope you like our modern take on the Row by Row Experience. Happy Quilting!

P.S. Something new this year is Row by Row Junior. A selection of quilt shops will feature specially designed row patterns just for quilters ages 6-14. Owl & Drum is proud to be one of those shops. Each child who visits Owl & Drum will receive a free pattern, as well. So, be on the lookout for our next blog post where we will go over this new and exciting quilt program just for kids!



Owl & Drum's brand-new blog! June 19, 2017 18:01 1 Comment

Hello and welcome to Sew Very Modern, Owl & Drum's new blog!

Let me start off by introducing myself. I'm Bianca Howell, co-owner of Owl & Drum. Owl & Drum is a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based sewing and quilting store focusing on a modern aesthetic. Since I can remember, I have had an interest in handcrafts, whether it be embroidery, cross-stitch, fashion design or quilting. It has always been my dream to open a retail store and I'm so fortunate that Owl & Drum is approaching its 5th anniversary this summer!

The Owl & Drum team and myself are very excited about this new blog. We have lots of ideas up our sleeves for the coming months and look forward to sharing them with you. Be on the lookout for local-maker profiles, free sewing and quilting tutorials, product information, inspiring ideas and lots more! 

If there is anything specific that you would like to learn more about we would love to hear from you. Just leave us a comment. We look forward to getting to know you!

Left to right, Lauren Zavala, Mary Perisho, Bianca Howell and Kelly Crowley at the Owl & Drum's Urban Sew & Quilt-In.