Canvas Drawstring Bags

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Happy Tuesday! One of the mini goals I set for this month was to make some lined drawstring bags using my canvas/home decor fabric stash. I have a few made from canvas, and I'm always grabbing for them. They're just a little sturdier than the quilting cotton versions. I love collecting canvas prints, so I had no shortage of prints to choose from for these bags. And of course, I couldn't make just one! :)

I decided to make two each of the Everything size (same size as the tutorial version), and the Project size (available in the pattern). These are the sizes that I use the most and they have so many uses. I use them to separate things when I travel like power cords, socks, shoes, etc. They're also my go-to bags for my knitting projects. The Everything size is great for hats and smaller projects. The Project size is good for shawls or anything with more than one skein of yarn.


First up, an Everything bag! For this bag, I used up this cool Nani Iro canvas scrap that I snatched off our fabric table at retreat last month. There was just enough to squeeze out a bag! I used Essex cotton/linen for the accent and a teal print from Imprint by Katarina Roccella for the lining.


I pulled fabrics in pairs, so I have two somewhat coordinating sets. The Project bag to match uses this cute tiger print from Hatbox by Alexia Marcelle Abegg. I've been hoarding this one for a while! A favorite Hope Valley print for the accent and the lining is a print from Gramercy by Leah Duncan.


This Japanese mushroom print was screaming to be a cute little drawstring bag! I wanted to keep this bag fun and playful, so I continued to pull bright colors for the rest of it. A Cotton & Steel basic for the accent and a Good Folks by Anna Maria Horner print for the lining.


For the second Project bag I used this adorable Kokka print. The accent is from Etno by Pat Bravo and I used more Essex cotton/linen for the lining.


Making these bags from canvas or home decor weight fabrics couldn't be easier! I do try to avoid using anything heavy for the accent pieces, so that it doesn't interfere with the drawstring. With that being said, on the first Everything bag I used Essex for the accent which is heavier than quilting cotton and it's fine! I still wouldn't use anything too thick though. I finished off all the bags with some natural cotton twill tape. I buy mine from here.

Happy Sewing!

The Elemental Tote Pattern

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Happy Wednesday! It's time to introduce my second new pattern, The Elemental Tote.


When I first learned to sew on the machine at around age 11, a tote bag was the first thing that I made (shown above). For years, all I made was tote bags. I'd scour the clearance racks of the craft store for cheerful prints and turn them into simple rectangular tote bags. I usually made up the measurements as I went, so some weren't great proportion-wise! I sewed tote bag after tote bag, until I'd made enough to feel comfortable moving on to other projects. That's why I'm really excited to share this basic tote pattern with you today!


The bags in this pattern were originally developed alongside Sara Myers. Sara owned and operated The Sewcial Lounge (now closed), the shop where I taught sewing and quilting classes for the last 4 years. She offered a tote bag class, but with the development of the other totes we expanded it to three different classes. The original tote was too difficult for some, and not challenging enough for others.

With that in mind, each of the three totes in this pattern add a new skill. You'll learn how to make handles, insert gussets (boxed bottom!), add a slip pocket, and sew with laminated fabrics. If you've never made a bag before, this pattern is for you. Let's look at the three bags!


The first bag is the Easy Tote. This bag features home dec. or canvas weight fabric for the outside, a quilting cotton lining, and cotton or nylon webbing for the handles. It's pretty much as simple as it gets, and if you've never sewn a bag before, this is where to start! There is a bonus tip included on how to add an interior slip pocket. For my sample tote, I used a canvas from Miss Matatabi paired with a newspaper print lining (Authentic by Sweetwater) and cotton webbing handles. I dyed the natural colored webbing hot pink to match!


The second bag is the Simple Tote. With this bag, there is interfacing to give the tote extra structure along with gussets to give the tote a flat bottom. Plus you'll learn to make your own handles! An excuse to add in another fabric or color. For my sample tote, I used prints from my Curiosities collection for the exterior and handles. The lining is another paper themed fabric from Cosmo Cricket. Plus a fun bike print by Erin McMorris for the slip pocket!


The third bag is the Laminated Tote (my favorite of the three!). It features laminated cotton fabric. You'll learn to work with this fabric and make a big, functional (and wipe-able) tote bag. For my sample tote I used another Erin McMorris print, this time from her Greenhouse collection.


I am so grateful to the sewers who tested this pattern for me, their recommendations and feedback helped me make this a better pattern. A big thank you to them! They made some really lovely bags. From left to right, these bags were made by Leah (@scampers_sews), Robin (@rzmakerie) and Kendra (@Threadyforanything).


Tricia (@mcpattys) went above and beyond and made all three bags in the pattern! Here are her Easy Tote, Simple Tote, and Laminated Tote.


In the end, these are sturdy totes you can stand-by. They make wonderful gifts, and are a great way to get your feet wet in terms of making bags. Like the Triplizip Zipper Pouch Pattern, this is a pattern designed to teach you new skills!

The Elemental Tote PDF Pattern is available in my shop now, and the paper version can be found here!

Happy Sewing!

Webbed Quilt Pattern

Monday, September 19, 2016


Happy Monday! I am so happy to be sharing the first of my two new patterns with you today! It's been a while since I've released anything new, so it feels really good to get these out into the world. Today I'm introducing you to Webbed.


This quilt has been floating around my head for a couple of years. I've long admired traditional spiderweb blocks, but never got around to making one. The main reason is I didn't feel I had the patience. I made a spiderweb mini quilt once and the time it took to make that put me off a little. I've played around with big blocks a few different times in the last few years, and super sized spiderweb blocks seemed like a great solution!

The first version of this quilt pattern that I made features my Curiosities collection (I'll share it soon!). I finished and photographed it over Christmas last year, but I always knew I would make a Halloween version. I had every intention of letting the original quilt be the feature for this pattern. Once I finished this one though, I couldn't turn back. I really love how it turned out.


I've been collecting Halloween fabric piece by piece for years. It was so fun to finally cut into my very favorites from my collection. I made this quilt from various yardage, but it's all 2.5" strips, so it's a great use for jelly rolls! Many of the prints in this quilt are from Spooktacular by Maude Asbury and Guising by Lizzy House. For the background I used Mauvelous Pure Element solid by Art Gallery Fabrics.

There are five different quilt sizes including Baby, Throw, Square Throw, Twin/Full, and Queen/King. My Halloween version is the Square Throw, which is 80"x80". The instructions include strip totals, yardage, and individual piece counts so you can cut from scraps. The blocks are foundation pieced to keep things nice and simple. You'll want to be keep this in mind when selecting fabric, I recommend sticking with quilting cotton. This will ensure the seams don’t end up too thick.


This quilt was quilted by Melissa of Sew Shabby Quilting. I am obsessed with the quilting! It's the "Spiderweb Variation 2" pattern on her site. It's exactly what I envisioned for this quilt.


For the backing, I used yardage of one of my all-time favorite Halloween prints from Spooktacular. Look at those cats dressed as ghosts! I can't even handle it. It's bound up in a newspaper print from Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater.


I want to extend a huge thank you to the four quilters who tested this pattern for me. Their recommendations and feedback were invaluable, and they made some really beautiful blocks! The first four blocks on the left were made by Angela (Decorating the Dorchester Way + @angelamhunt), the next two blocks were made by Carrie (@carriebeecreates), the top far right block was made by Holly (hollygetsquilty.com + @hollygetsquilty), and the bottom far right block was made by Erika (@pinksuedeshoe). I love how different they all look!


There's still time to whip up a spooky quilt in time for Halloween! It doesn't have to be made in holiday fabrics though, it would look beautiful made up in all different fabrics!

The Webbed Quilt PDF Pattern is available in my shop now, and the paper version can be found here!

I'm entering my Webbed Quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy Ellis!

Happy Quilting!

Favorites

Friday, September 16, 2016


1. Skirting The Issue - Im Feelin Crafty by Louise Wackerman, 2. Flying Flamingos by Corinne Sovey, 3. Fun fall mini by Chatelaine1, 4. Fall aspen leaves quilt by Rachel Stevens, 5. Swirling Stars quilt in front of glass houses by Lotje, 6. Cotton Boll Baby Quilt by Matt Macomber, 7. Untitled by Deb Volkman, 8. Busby Berkeley Inspired Popsicles by Heather Black, 9. Cinched by DeeRoo G

Periodically, I go through my favorite photos on Flickr, and choose nine sewing/quilting related projects to showcase here. These photos and projects are not my own, you can find the original images and creators by clicking the coordinating links! If for any reason you do not want your project featured here, please email me and I'll remove it!

Happy Weekend!

August 2016 Report

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Happy Thursday! I have been trying to get this post written all week! I made a split second decision Saturday morning to road trip to Ikea and the Container Store (my favorite). I spent the weekend making a huge mess and reorganizing the entire apartment. I'm happy to say that everything is put away and I think it's better than it was before!


Last month didn't include a lot of sewing, so perhaps that's the other reason I've been putting off this post. We ended up having an incident with a neighbor that almost resulted in an emergency move for us. It was stressful and left both Michael and I feeling uneasy. Thankfully it will be resolved later this month (with us staying put), but in the meantime our day-to-day has been different and I've been distracted from my regular activities. Cleaning and reorganizing has been a nice way to refresh and take my mind off things.


I am getting geared up for Fall knitting, and last month I worked a decent amount on Drachenfels. I was really excited to start the third color, which is really beautiful Moonrover. This is the first time I've knit with it, and it's knitting up amazing.


As I've mentioned, to keep myself accountable I'm tracking my yardage for both yarn and fabric. Here is how I did in August:

August Fabric
Used up: 183 yards
Brought in: 29 yards
Net: -154 yards
Year to date: -175.625 yards

August Yarn
Used up: 0 yards
Brought in: 237 yards
Net: +237 yards
Year to date: +1324 yards

I am SO happy with my yardage totals this month! There is obviously some explaining to do. We had our annual cabin retreat last month, and oftentimes we bring fabric or other crafty goodies to share. I went through my stash and was pretty ruthless. I pulled 165 yards of fabric to take with me. It was fun to share, and what was left went to a guild's freebie table. I only brought 8.5 yards of fabric back home with me! Another good chunk of August's yardage is a quilt back and some 108" wide Kona I'm going to dye and turn into a shower curtain!


Looking at my goals, I pretty much completely missed the mark. The only sewing I did other than my Stowe Bag, was to finish up sewing for my two forthcoming patterns. Most of my time was spent on the computer, rather than behind the sewing machine. While I may not have met any of my sewing related goals this month, I am going to be ready to release two patterns in September, and I'm really happy about that.


I did start a new long-term project that is on my goal list! I didn't include it in my goals post, but it's on the full-list. That project/goal is to make a quilt from my Liberty of London stash. I've decided to make 180 churn-dash blocks, using just Liberty. The blocks can be found in my friend Christina's book, Quilting Happiness. I have three done and I'm loving them. I'm pairing fabrics and cutting as I go, which is not how I usually work, but it has been fun.


George the bunny is in a flopping phase! He goes through phases with his relaxing. Right now his favorite spot is on the mat between his little box and little basket. And he has been flopping over like crazy, much to my delight! :)

Happy September!

Nani Iro Dreams Quilt + Quilting with Double Gauze

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Nani Iro Dreams Quilt - In Color Order
Happy Wednesday! If you've been reading my blog or have known me for just about any amount of time, you'll know I have a lot of favorites. Each new quilt I finish usually ends up as my favorite. I have favorite quilt backings (mostly vintage sheets), lots of favorite shows, foods, fabrics, etc. With that being said, this is my favorite thing that I have ever made, and I am not sure what will or could beat it at the moment.

My friends, meet my Nani Iro Dreams Quilt.

Nani Iro Dreams Quilt - In Color Order
I've been collecting double gauze for a while now, specifically Nani Iro double gauze designed by Naomi Ito for Kokka. I snatched up yardage of most of the many prints that my local shop carried over the years, vacation shopped for double gauze and splurged online a number of times to build my stash. The biggest addition was a bundle I bought at last year's Fall Quilt Market and split with Jacey. This past Spring I knew it was time to make a double gauze quilt. I've worked with double gauze for a few garments, but never for a quilt.

Nani Iro Dreams Quilt - In Color Order
I wanted the fabrics to be the star of the show, so I chose to make very simple nine-patch blocks. My square size was determined by the bundle, I chose the largest square size I could with very little waste. I used nearly all the prints in the bundle and supplemented with yardage from my stash.

Nani Iro Dreams Quilt - In Color Order
This wasn't a project I wanted to try to quilt myself, so I sent it out to Gina Pina for quilting. I knew she had quilted with double gauze before and would feel comfortable working with this fabric. Something simple seemed like the right fit for the quilting. She did a beautiful meandering loopy design! Thanks, Gina!

Nani Iro Dreams Quilt - In Color Order
Since double gauze has such a different feel from quilting cotton, I wanted to try a different type of batting. I selected Quilter's Dream Orient Batting. It's a blend of bamboo, silk, tencel and cotton. It's airy and light and turned out to be an absolute perfect match. Between the fabric and the batting, this quilt is much more blanket-like than quilt-like. It has no stiffness whatsoever, it's like being under a cloud. It's super duper soft and very cozy. Also, the crinkle is crazy! The previous photo was taken unwashed, and the one above is after washing/drying. So crinkly!!

Nani Iro Dreams Quilt - In Color Order
I used more double gauze on the back, a big piece of yardage given to me by Deedrie (you're the best!), and more yardage from my stash. For the binding, I chose a light gray voile.

My Tips for Quilting with Double Gauze
Tips for Quilting with Double Gauze - In Color Order
Pre-washing and Starching: Double gauze has a tendency to shrink quite a bit. It's pretty loosely woven, so it can be prone to unraveling. Both of these factors make pre-washing important in my opinion. I normally only pre-wash fabrics for garments, but I'm glad I took the time to wash the double gauze for this quilt. I washed mine on cold and dried normally. In preparation for cutting, I used Flatter by Soak to give it a little extra stability and make it easier to work with.

Tips for Quilting with Double Gauze - In Color Order
Seams and Tools: When working with double gauze I find it helpful to use a nice new needle. My favorite size for working with fine fabrics is 75/11. I pieced my quilt with 50wt cotton thread. I generally use polyester when working with double gauze for garments, which also works great. I used 1/2" seam allowances when piecing this quilt to make it a little extra durable. I pressed all my seams to the side, alternating direction every other row so that my seams nestled. Double gauze seams can get pretty thick, but I wasn't comfortable pressing these seams open. My favorite sharp, thin pins are ideal for working with double gauze.

Tips for Quilting with Double Gauze - In Color Order
Finishing: Clearly I knew while make this quilt that I'd want it to last forever, because I took a lot of steps to ensure it would hold up to wear. After trimming off the excess backing and batting, I used my serger to finish the edges of the quilt. In my mind this helps with durability if the binding were to get worn, but I also found it made the edges lie flatter while attaching the binding. My last recommendation is to avoid double gauze for binding. It can be thick and difficult on garments, but I think it would be miserable to use on an all double gauze quilt! I was happy with the mix of textures with the voile binding on my quilt.

Nani Iro Dreams Quilt - In Color Order
Where to Buy: If you’re unable to find double gauze in your local fabric shops, here are a few shops I've ordered from that carry double gauze:

Red Beauty Textiles (TX)
Miss Matatabi (JP)
Fabric Worm (CA)
Pink Castle Fabrics (MI)
Super Buzzy (CA)

Happy Quilting!

Fenced In Quilt

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Fenced In Quilt - In Color Order
Photo by Holly DeGroot

Happy Thursday! Today I'm here to share one of my recent quilt finishes my Fenced In Quilt! The pattern for this simple quilt will be in the first issue of my Newsletter, going out on September 1st. To sign up to receive my newsletter, click here.

Fenced In Quilt - In Color Order
This Summer saw the release of my friend Holly's first fabric collection with Cloud 9 Fabrics, Brush Strokes! I was immediately drawn to the colors in this collection, especially that purple! The prints have a beautiful watercolor look to them, which makes them really stand out. When the bundle arrived on my doorstep (thanks again Holly!), I knew right away what I wanted to make. I love when that happens.

Fenced In Quilt - In Color Order
Within a day or so I had the prints all cut and had started to sew. Normally I drag my feet when new fabric comes in, but that spreadsheet has really kept me motivated to use things!

Fenced In Quilt - In Color Order
Since this quilt is pretty small, I decided to quilt it myself. This meant visiting Michael at the lab to baste in the kitchen on his floor! It's right next to the room he works in, so it works out really well.

Fenced In Quilt - In Color Order
Photo by Holly DeGroot

Ta da! I love how soft this quilt looks. Since many of the prints are on white, the blocks blend in a bit more than if there was tons of contrast. It softens the lines between blocks and between prints, giving it a more subtle look.

Fenced In Quilt - In Color Order
Photo by Holly DeGroot

I have a hard time quilting free-motion these days, so it was straight lines for the win! I went for diagonal lines through each block. I love this type of quilting, it's a favorite for sure. It's forgiving, and quilts up really quick!

Fenced In Quilt - In Color Order
Photo by Holly DeGroot

For the backing I pulled an older Art Gallery Fabrics print from my stash. The binding is Cloud 9's Cirrus Solids in Lilac.

Fenced In Quilt - In Color Order
Photo by Holly DeGroot

A huge thanks to Holly for taking these beautiful photos! I finished this quilt up in a hurry in time to bring it to our annual cabin weekend. She made it look so good!

Happy Quilting!

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