Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sewing . . . finally

I finally did a little sewing this week.  Since I wasn't sure exactly what to sew, I started by pulling some fabrics and cutting some long strips.

Then I stitched them together.

And then sliced them into smaller sections, made some very wonky flying geese, added in a few solids and some essex linen in flax and then improv pieced it all together into a baby quilt.

 I then picked out some fabrics to piece together a simple back but got sidetracked with another quilt idea that started with this stack of fabrics.

And which might possibly include this block.

Linking to WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Link Up

I haven't been sewing much lately so I don't really have anything to share except this set of drawstring bags I made a few weeks ago.  I used this tutorial again but with my own measurements - however, I really should have paid better attention to my measurements because both bags came out about 10 times larger than I needed.  The top bag was intended to be used to protect my camera inside this bag so I added a layer of batting.  And I, um, could probably fit 3 large cameras inside of it.  I made the bottom bag to carry my cross-stitch project but that bag ended up large enough to fit a sewing machine - well, that is a bit of an exaggeration but only a bit!

And I also want to mention some happy mail:  an absolutely beautiful handmade item arrived in my mailbox today from across the pond.  Sarah from Silly Banana Sewing made me this gorgeous pillow cover (it is the first photo in this post - I'll post some photos of it on a cushion soon) as a (totally unnecessary) thank you for organizing the new blogger blog hop last year. She also included several fabric scraps (including some Simply Color charms) for my daughters.  Thank you so much Sarah!    

Plum and June

This week's link up is being hosted over at Gemini Stitches.  Be sure to click over to hear what Kirsten has to say about her experience joining two quilting bees this year and to see her lovely blocks as well as to add your own link so we can all see what you have been sewing recently.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Link Up

Last year at this time, I don't think I knew what paper piecing was but I soon learned all about it from Kristy of Quiet Play.  Kristy has built up quite a collection of adorable paper pieced patterns since then and I've been lucky enough to test some of them for her.  This little house is one of my absolute favorites - I have it up on the wall in my baby's room.

Kristy is hosing the Let's Get Acquainted Link Up this week and sharing her new favorite project.  Click here to see what she is up to and to add your link so we can all see what you have been working on.

Plum and June

Friday, April 19, 2013

Another Messenger Bag

Well, I haven't been doing much sewing the last few days but I recently finished this new bag which has been very busy lounging around this week!  It is basically the same bag as this one but I enlarged it and added a recessed zipper.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Easy Messenger Style Book Bag Tutorial

If you read my blog at all in August, you would have seen that lots of back to school sewing was going on in my house (here and here and even here.)  For Heidi's Girl Friday Sews blog hop, I decided to make a small messenger style book bag to carry a book (as my daughters are rarely without at least one book in their hands) plus all the fabric-covered journals, pencil cases, and pouches that we made last summer.  I've included my measurements but so you can make this bag whatever size you want, I tried to include some guides on how to figure that out.

The only materials I used were quilting cotton, flannel, and batting.  I started by cutting a piece of flannel for the flap (9.5"x10.5").  And then using the quilt as you go method, I covered the entire piece of flannel with scraps and some essex yarn dyed linen.

                                                                                                           {QAYG in progress}

Next I cut a piece of fabric for the back of the flap the same size as the panel I just quilted, placed them right sides together, and stitched around the two sides and bottom (for bags I usually use a 1/2" seam - not sure why!)

Then I clipped the two bottom corners, turned it right side out, ironed, and put it aside.

Hmm, now that I am looking at the photos, I am not sure I should have chosen that big print right next to the typewriter - oh, well - too late now - moving on.

For the main body of the bag, I cut an 11" x 25"piece of the linen, the lining fabric, and some batting.  Basically you want this fabric to be about double the length of your flap plus 4" and you should add 2" to the width as well.   Note:  if/when I made this bag again, I'll use a flap piece that is about an inch longer and only have the main exterior fabric be double the length plus 2" so that not as much of the main exterior fabric shows under the flap.  Also, note that the flap and the handles are very close together - I prefer it that way but if you don't then maybe add 2.5" or 3" to the width of the main exterior fabric.

Lightly quilt the batting to the bag exterior.  You can use flannel or home decor weight/canvas in place of the batting.   Or you could use your favorite bag interfacing. Whatever you decide to use, take the lining, fold it right sides together, and stitch up the two sides.  Do the same thing with the exterior.  If you want to box your corners (I did slightly - about 1/2" on either side), I explained how to do that in this tutorial.  (*As you can see in the photo below, when I made this bag, I quilted the batting to the lining fabric instead of the exterior fabric because I didn't want the exterior to have the "quilted appearance" - I like the way it looks but I wonder if things inside the bag will get caught on the stitching - has anyone done this? any problems?)

To make a scrappy strap, cut rectangles 5" x variable sizes from a few different fabrics and stitch together until it is your preferred length and trim.  My strap measured 4.25" x 34" - I measured it on my 10 year old wearing it messenger bag style.

I like to use batting as a padding to make the strap comfortable.  First, I fold in one long side of the strap fabric about 1/2" and press.  Then, I cut a narrow piece of batting (2-3"), double it,  and place it on the wrong side of the strap fabric.  (*Important:  leave at least 4 - 5 inches on either end of the strap without batting so that the part you attach to the bag isn't crazy thick!)  Fold the side of the strap fabric with the raw edge onto the batting and then cover the raw edge with the neatly folded side and stitch several lines along the length to quilt the strap being sure that one of those lines gets close to the folded edge (hopefully, the photo below helps.)

Get all your pieces out and baste the straps and flap to the exterior fabric - right sides together.  Re-check the strap length to make sure you are happy with since it is easy to change at this point (just make sure that if you shorten it that you will still be able to have the part without batting attached to the bag.)

Place the exterior inside of the lining right sides together (the lining should still be inside out) and using a 1/2" seam, stitch around the top leaving an opening on the front of the bag for turning.  If you used batting, some of this is really thick.  Go slow and use the right needle - well, basically do whatever you usually do with your sewing machine when sewing over thick seams.  And then flip everything right side out.  Now, normally I would then top stitch around the entire top opening but since my machine doesn't have a free arm and this bag was too thick for my daughters' machine, I just top stitched the front of the bag closing the opening I left for turning.  I could have hand stitched the opening but I just used a thread that matches the exterior fabric and I think it looks fine.

Let me know if you have any questions or if you make your own.  You could easily customize the bag with different pockets and compartments or a top/recessed zipper but I chose to keep it simple since everything that this bag is going to hold is either large (journal/book) or already in a pouch of its own.  

This post was written for the Girl Friday Sews blog hop at Fabric Mutt.  It was sponsored by the wonderful fabric shop, Sew Me A Song.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Link Up

I don't have any Farmer's Wife blocks to share today but I did make this dress for my 7 year old.  However, despite measuring the dress on her throughout each step - it ended up way too small.  Fortunately, I might be able to alter it a bit to fit my 18 month old instead (yes, I was that off in the sizing!!!)  Maybe next time I should use an actual pattern instead of just trying to wing it.

Plum and June

The Let's Get Acquainted Link Up is being hosted by Nat at Made in Home this week.  Click here to see all of Nat's beautiful makes and how she has them displayed around her home and to link up your latest post.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Patched Quilt - Finish

I finished my 3rd quilt of 2013 this week.  Part of my plan for 2013 was to make more big quilts and I have accomplished that.  Of course, the bigger the quilt, the more time it takes and the more difficult it is to photograph since I can't hang it on the wall and my 18 month old is a just a little too short to hold it up for display!

My original idea for this quilt was to do all scrappy rectangles from my stash and scraps bin.  However, as I was working on the first few rows, it reminded me too much of my scrappy trip along since I was using most of the same fabrics so I decided to add in the Kona oyster to make it a little different from that.  But instead of having large pieces of the solid fabric, I cut the Kona into strips and added a low volume or light color rectangle of fabric to each strip (which is why I called it Patched.)  Of course, now it just reminds me of this quilt which is made with fabrics from my stash plus Kona snow.

I backed the quilt in some cozy flannel.

And I machine stitched the binding again (which you can see in this pic I took while my husband was resting during the 5 minute photo shoot!)

My first thought was to just add some light quilting.  At the bottom of the quilt, I just quilted some wavy lines and some large clamshells but then when I got to the solid fabric, I remembered that I wanted to try this stitch that Marta used recently which was inspired by Denyse Schmidt and I loved it.  When I got to the middle scrappy section, I did more wavy lines and clamshells but then I finished the entire top half of the quilt with the scrolls.  It is such a fun stitch to do and I really like the way it looks - even though mine is very wonky and uneven.  

And surprising I didn't use gray thread for this one!  I used Aurifil 50 weight in color 2309 - it is more of a beige/off-white color and it blended so nicely with the Kona Oyster as well as all the other colors in this quilt.

Next up:  some spring/summer dresses for my daughters and then I'm excited to get back to tackling the Farmer's Wife blocks.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts.