How to Sew a Drawstring Casing Without a Free-Arm Sewing Machine

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Happy Thursday! A few weeks ago, I taped two short videos to accompany my Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern + Tutorial, I'm excited to share those with you today!


In the first video, I'm sharing an alternative method for marking the drawstring casing (step 11). Instead of marking lines all the way around the top of the bag, you can make yourself a tape guideline on your machine to use while sewing the casing. (Some 1" wide masking tape is super helpful here!)

The video I really felt was needed is how to sew the drawstring casing without a free-arm sewing machine. A free-arm sewing machine is one that has a removable section on the bed of the machine, that allows you to easily sew small circumference items like sleeves and small bags. My machine and many others don't have this option, but it's still easy to sew those small circumference items. For the drawstring bag, this comes into play with the drawstring casing. This technique is especially necessary for the smaller bags in the pattern (snack and tiny sizes), even if you do have a free-arm sewing machine.

Basically, you allow the circular item to loop above the machine bed instead of below the machine bed. I find this is easier to do when turning the bag inside out and sewing "inside" the loop. Hopefully the video will make more sense!


I've included these videos in the Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial and links to them within the pattern for easy reference, and this post will be added to the Lined Drawstring Bag Variations and Tutorials post.

Here are two pin-able images for you too:





Happy Sewing!

Patchwork Essentials: Interlaced Quilt

Monday, May 15, 2017


Happy Monday! Today I have a finished quilt to share, my Interlaced Quilt!


This past Fall and Summer, I went about finishing up the series of half-square triangle sampler quilt tops I made. I took the 60 blocks from the block chart section of my book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle, and put them together into three sampler quilts. I shared a setting tutorial for each quilt, and now I have them all finished up! Find the tutorials for all three settings here: Over and Above Quilt Setting Tutorial, Blockade Quilt Setting Tutorial, Interlaced Quilt Setting Tutorial.


For each quilt, I focused on one of the colors that I used in the blocks. This quilt was focused around the citron green. This quilt is the scrappiest of the bunch, I used many different citron fabrics to make the setting blocks. I also used more of the same white for the background. This quilt used 17 quilt blocks from the Block Chapter in my book. For more on the inspiration behind this quilt, head over to the tutorial post.



This quilt was quilted by Melissa Kelley of Sew Shabby Quilting. I chose the interlocking orange peel design for the quilting, and I really like it for this quilt.


I backed this quilt in a widescreen wide back in geranium. It's bound up in a oval elements print in blue lagoon.


These setting quilts were a fun way to stitch up all the blocks from the block chart. I still love the colors, and I feel like they are memory quilts for my book writing journey.

Happy Quilting!

Sew Yummy Sewing Machine Cover

Thursday, May 4, 2017


In February of this year, I decided I wanted to make myself a handmade cover for my sewing machine. I sew on a Janome 1600P (see my review here), and it did come with a cover. It does a fine job, but I wanted something cuter and with a little more padding to it.


I used the original cover's measurements to draft a new cover, with a few modifications to add a lining and add extra protection for my machine. For the fabric, I chose to use fat quarters from Monica Solorio Snow's Sew Yummy fabric for Cloud 9 Fabrics. It's been in my stash waiting for the perfect project.


Since I was working with fat quarters, each side of my cover is a different fabric! To give the cover structure and provide support for my machine, I quilted the exterior pieces with a layer of batting and cotton canvas.


The cover is fully lined and finished off with binding along the bottom edge.


I love all the fun prints, they're so happy and perfect for a sewing machine cover.


For the handle, I created a lined slit in the top, just like you would to do to put in an inset zipper pocket (this technique minus the zipper). Doing this meant that I had to put the exterior and interior together while the respective top pieces were already connected. It was a fit fussy at times, but I really wanted it to be completely lined, and I didn't want to finish the slit with bias tape.

I also made a little handle cover that I quilted and applied velcro to. This is a heavy machine, and the handle can really dig into your hands. This cover helps!


I had a lot of fun making this cover. If I had to make it again, I'd probably adjust the measurements a little, but it will do just fine as is. Now I can travel with my machine in style!

Happy Sewing!

April 2016 Report

Monday, May 1, 2017


Happy May! Time for April's monthly report. See past reports here.


I was happy to get the Easy Going Lined Drawstring Bag variation tutorial out of my head and published this past month. I also filmed two short drawstring bag technique videos, that I hope to share soon.


Managed to get my latest quilt finish photographed and posted too. We shot the photos in front of my very favorite building on the university's campus, which was fun. Here I am fighting the wind, haha!


Pulled my Minny Muu Prism quilt out of hibernation. Of course I'm making this version huge, because I am a glutton for punishment. Pattern is from my book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle.


Very exciting yarn related finish this month! I finally finished my Sunset Scarf. I wove this scarf on my Schacht Cricket Loom (I have the 10"). I used a skein of sock yarn I dyed on my birthday a few years ago along with a skein of light gray lace yarn. This article explains the technique I used to achieve the color pooling. This project has been on my loom for over a year, so it felt really good to finish it up. More details and photos on my Ravelry.


To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I'm tracking my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track my here. Here is how I did in April:

April Fabric
Used up: 18.75 yards
Brought in: 17.25 yards
Net: -1.5 yards
Year to date: -25 yards

April Yarn
Used up: 400 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -400 yards
Year to date: -1789.5 yards

So, I definitely bought more fabric this month than I intended. I feel okay about it though, because six yards worth is a quilt back. Thankfully I finished a few garments, a quilt, and a myriad of other small projects. Feeling pretty proud of myself on the yarn side, I've only bought two skeins so far this year! Let's see how long I can keep that up.



Looking at my 2017 goals, I am happy with the progress I made in April. I finally made a Plantain T-shirt! This free pattern from Deer & Doe has been on my list every since it was released. I used a black and white stripe rayon/cotton/spandex jersey from my stash and I love how it turned out. Am going to need to make a bunch more of these!

By the way, the neckline isn't actually this low, this jersey is just heavy so it looks super low in this photo.


This project wasn't specifically on my list, but that's okay. I have been hoarding a bundle of Pastry Line voile and the voile panels from Little Folks (both by Anna Maria Horner) for years. I couldn't believe it when I realized this fabric is eight years old. It was finally time to cut into it. I managed to finish the quilt top last Friday and am ready to piece some voile from my stash for the back. I think it's going to make a great summery quilt!


George bunny's Easter photo! He's posing with his fabric of course. What a fancy bun.

Have a great month!

Work in Progress Bags

Thursday, April 27, 2017


As someone who always seems to have lots of different projects going at once, figuring out how to store works in progress is an issue. It's important to make sure project pieces don't get separated from each other, which is made more challenging when you add in pattern pieces and instructions. I have been using ziploc bags to store most of my projects for the last few years, but thought it was high time I upgrade that system!


Enter Amanda Jean's Work in Progress Bags Pattern. It's the best of both worlds. I can still see into each bag, just like the ziplocs, but they're much sturdier and prettier! These should hold up way longer than the plastic bags I was using (and reusing). I couldn't make just one, of course! I ended up making eight. The pattern includes six different sized bags, and I made two each of four sizes.

I chose fabrics based on the zipper colors I had on hand. I was able to use leftover quilt binding for two of them, which was great! I used 16 gauge clear vinyl for all my bags.

I buy all my zippers from Zipit.



I made two 8"x8" bags, which are the smallest size in the pattern. They're just the right size for 6" blocks or some leftover half-square triangles.



Next up, I made two 9"x12" bags. These will be nice to small projects like zipper pouches, mini quilts, etc.



I think this is probably the most versatile size for me personally, 14"x14". These easily fit 12" quilt blocks, and are quite roomy!



Finally, I made two of the largest size, 16"x18". I currently have my next Archer Popover in one.


These were fun to make, and I know they'll get plenty of use over here. I love how cute they are, and the smaller sizes would be great for using up leftover pieces of vinyl.

Find the Work in Progress Bag Pattern here.

Happy Sewing!

Giant Log Cabin Jelly Roll Quilt

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


I have a confession to make. This is the first project I've made with a pre-cut that wasn't a charm pack or fat quarter/eighth bundle!

In late 2013, I picked up a Carolyn Friedlander Botanics roll-up, my first (and only) jelly roll. I know there are tons of jelly roll patterns and ideas out there, but I just never felt particularly inspired to use it.


Until now! Earlier this year, Jacey stitched up a big log cabin baby quilt. I loved the sweet and simple design, and knew it was perfect for my jelly roll. Thanks for the push and inspiration, Jacey! See her baby quilt and second jelly roll log cabin quilt here.


I am all about big quilts, so I knew I wanted to make my quilt a healthy throw size. It ended up around 64" square. I started with a 2.5" square for the center, in order to end up with a square quilt. I split the jelly roll and my stash of Carolyn Friedlander fabrics into lights and darks. I brought my fabrics along on a little retreat and pieced the entire quilt top while I was there. To keep things from getting too scrappy, I pieced together strips in order to continue building past 44".


I knew I wanted to quilt this one myself, since it needed a little tugging and smoothing during basting to make sure it was straight and square. All those long strips are hard to keep aligned!



I quilted it with straight lines, starting with two diagonal lines across the middle of the quilt. Then I echoed the X in each section.


A nice tumble in the washer and dryer and it crinkled up nicely.


I used this Ladder Lines print in Slate from Doe for the backing and the binding. After auditioning binding, I realized this print would be perfect to finish the quilt off. It wasn't too light or too dark, but a nice middle ground. This is the first time I've used the same fabric for the back and binding, I like it!



This quilt was a true exercise in working outside of my comfort zone. I had a plan, but I had no idea how much fabric I'd need, and I made each color/fabric decision in the moment. I'm still a little surprised by how square it ended up, there was definitely a moment in the piecing where it felt like it was going to be a bit lopsided. I had a lot of fun working on this quilt, and it helped me use up enough of my jelly roll that I can add the rest of the strips to my scraps, yay!

Happy Quilting!

Sew Portable Travel Set: Sewing with Singer

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Earlier this year, I was approached by Robert Kaufman to stitch up my Sew Portable Travel Set in the new prints coming to their Sewing with Singer fabric collection in June 2017. I mean how perfect? I travel set for a Singer Featherweight, made from fabric that has Featherweights on it! I had to photograph the set with my white Featherweight of course.


The set features a sturdy tote bag with a hard bottom to carry the machine in. There is room on both the front and back of the machine to carry projects, which also helps protect the machine. The exterior is quilted, with a layer of canvas to add extra structure.


Heavyweight handles are made from cotton webbing and a layer of quilting cotton on top. They're sturdy and wide enough so that they don't dig into your shoulder.


The second piece in the set is a drawstring bag. This is the everything size, which is also in the Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern. It holds the foot pedal, keeping it from scratching up the machine bed.


The last piece in the pattern is the extension table cover. It still helps to protect the table from getting scratched by the machine head! It's quilted and has the same layers as the tote.

http://www.jenibakerpatterns.com/product/sew-portable-travel-set-pdf-pattern
The Sew Portable Travel Set Pattern is available in my online shop, here.

Vintage Singer Featherweight Tips and Tricks - In Color Order
Interested in sewing more with your Featherweight? Check out my Vintage Singer Featherweight Tips and Tricks.

Sew Portable Travel Set + Mat Tutorial - In Color Order
Bonus: Make a matching mat to sit under your machine: Sew Portable Mat Tutorial.

Happy Sewing!

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