Bear Paw Mini Quilt

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Happy Wednesday! Today I have a recent mini quilt finish to share!

For the last several Mother's Days I've made my Mom a new mini quilt for her craft room. This year was no exception, and I decided to use this cheater print from Honey by Alexia Abegg* as a starting point for the mini quilt. I pulled a few blenders to match from my stash and a long hoarded low-volume print for the background.

I decided on making a bear paw mini quilt using my Bear Paw Pillows Pattern. The only difference is I ended up leaving off the final borders. I didn't want the mini quilt to end up too big!

The nice thing about using the cheater print is that there were so many colors I could pull in to match! I dug deep in my stash for this dusty pink binding fabric.

I think the final mini quilt turned out pretty cute! I don't make a lot of mini quilts these days, so this was fun. Makes me want to make more. It's nice to be able to play with a design and a color palette without committing to a huge quilt!

For the quilting I did straight lines shadowing some of the piecing. Nothing fancy!

Another deep stash dive for this backing print! It's not an exact match for the front of the mini, but I think it still works with the binding. It's an old print by Erin McMorris.

Pick up a copy of the pattern here: Bear Paw Pillow Pattern

Happy Sewing!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Weekend Pattern Sale

Friday, May 26, 2023

Happy Friday! In lieu of a Friday Favorites post this week, I am having a weekend pattern sale in my online shop!

All patterns are 20% off (plus a few 50% off) now through 5/29/23!* No code needed, prices are already marked down for your convenience! You can also save 20% off signed copies of my book.

Shop Here

*Pattern bundles are not included in this sale. Sale applies only to

Have a Great Weekend!

Patchwork Workshop Tote

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Happy Wednesday! Today I have a recent tote bag finish to share with you!

As I mentioned in my last What I'm Currently Working On post, I cut a ton of squares to make a couple of plus quilts. I still ended up with extra squares after setting aside enough to make a throw quilt and a baby quilt. I happened to realize that the square size is the same as what you need for the patchwork version of my Workshop Tote Pattern! And lucky me, I had enough squares leftover to make one!

Since I already had all the squares cut, the patchwork panels came together really fast! I got them all stitched together, interfaced and cut linings/handles in one day. It was the weekend and there was nice weather to enjoy, otherwise I could have just pushed through and finished the bag.

On the other hand, when I make bags I do like to do all the prep work one day and then start sewing fresh the second day. This bag is not complicated (and I've made a bunch of them of course!), so it's not super necessary to break up the prep and sewing.

I was so happy to use up most of the leftover squares, and now I'll have a tote bag to match the two quilts I'm making, which is pretty fun! I love how sherbet-y these colors are. I tried to use up most of the focal prints that were left, and used plenty of the repeat blenders on the sides of the tote and the bottom.

For the lining I pulled out this older Carrie Bloomston* print that I've had in my stash for a really long time. I don't stash a lot of cuts that are more than 1/2 yard, so I was glad to find something that matched relatively well. To keep this tote nice and easy I used 1" cotton webbing for the handles instead of making them. I have some stocked in my online shop: 1" Cotton Webbing

Pick up a copy of the pattern here: The Workshop Tote Pattern

I also have a Sew Along for this pattern, which you can find here: The Workshop Tote Sew Along

Happy Sewing!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Friday Favorites 60

Friday, May 19, 2023

Happy Friday! It's time for another Friday Favorites post! Catch up on previous posts here: Friday Favorites Archives

- The beauty bush is in full bloom right now, so as usual I've taken a million photos of it! Been spending so much time outside lately, which is making me happy.

- Speaking of being outside, this SPF lip balm* was a lifesaver last summer. Have already needed it this year!

- Loving the new Austin Dress Pattern from Grainline Studio. I don't love sewing buttons/buttonholes but the adorable button detail down the side of this dress makes me want to make an exception!

- I've been loving Carolyn Friedlander's Me Made May series where she is making blocks from her Shirts Pattern to match some of her handmade clothes. I was so tickled that she made a shirt block using one of my prints from Dreamin' Vintage!!

- This indigo quilt top by Ashley Brown Durand is so dreamy! Would be perfect for all the indigo scraps I've collected.

- I recently baked these sweet buttermilk biscuits using this recipe from Briana Holt. They were fun to make and really tasty!

- Another recipe I tried this week was these smashed chicken meatball sliders. I really liked them and ended up freezing down some of the meatballs for future meals!

- One of my favorite youtube channels to watch lately has been Claire Saffitz's Dessert Person channel. She has a large back catalog of videos so there is a lot of watch.

- Very happy that a new game in my favorite series (Legend of Zelda) came out last week! This video made by another fan of the games made me smile.

- Dusty kitten looking all cute as she keeps an eye on the neighborhood.

Have a Great Weekend!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

DIY Felt Grow Bags (with Video Tutorial)

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Happy Wednesday! Today I have a new grow bag tutorial to share, just in time for garden season!

In 2020, I published a fabric grow bag tutorial that used landscape fabric. It was at the very beginning of the pandemic, and it's the material I had on hand. It was very much a "make do with what you have" project. As I've explained in that post, they worked great for a single season, but did not last. Each year since then, I've tried out different materials to come up with a DIY solution and I think I've finally done it!

Last year's grow bag on the left, this year's grow bag on the right

Most nurseries and even some big box stores carry ready-made grow bags (we have some of these and love them too!), so I wanted to be sure that this DIY option was budget friendly and didn't require any hard to source materials. I also wanted to be sure that these bags performed well, so I actually made two last year and tested them for an entire season. Beyond using them for the growing season, I left them outside filled with dirt over the winter to really get a good idea of how they would hold up. I can now confidently share this design and material choice with you!

Felt Grow Bag Experiment
For the material experiment I purchased two different felts from JoAnn Fabrics. As I mentioned, I wanted the material to be easy to source, which is why I chose to shop at JoAnn's. The first was 100% polyester premium craft felt. This wasn't the cheapest felt they carry, it's a couple dollars more per yard and a little thicker. The second was a 35% wool/65% rayon felt. I chose this felt because it was what they had the most of that wasn't polyester.

I made the bags the same size (I used 12" squares for the test bags) and planted a single cherry tomato plant in each bag. The good news is that both grow bags worked great during the growing season! They both drained easily, the tomatoes thrived and there was no difference in plant performance that I could see.

By the end of the season however, the second grow bag (35% wool/65% rayon felt) was already in super rough shape. It continued to disintegrate over the winter, and is now just a pile of dirt!

The first grow bag (100% polyester premium craft felt) on the other hand is still going strong! It has some light wear, but is otherwise good to go for another season. I was able to move it around, the bottom also stayed intact. So, the 100% polyester premium craft felt is my official recommendation for DIY felt grow bags. At the time of writing this post, this felt is regular price $10.99/yard at JoAnn Fabrics. That means the material for this grow bag is around $5, which feels pretty afforable considering the size! With a coupon or a sale, you could make these for even less!

These bags are constructed completely differently than my original fabric grow bag tutorial. For these bags we are creating an unlined "box" made of felt. So the bag will have four sides and a flat bottom.

Custom Sizing:
This design is really easy to customize. All the pieces are square, and the same size. If you use 1/2" seams for the construction as recommended, your bag will be 1" smaller than the squares you cut. So if you want a finished grow bag that is approximately 10" square, you'll cut (5) 11" squares!

The 100% polyester felt grow bag from last year's experiment (shown on the left) is an 11" grow bag. For this tutorial I made a 13" grow bag. This is the largest size you can make with a single 1/2 yard cut of the 72" wide felt since you can get cut all five squares from one strip. Here's how to determine how much fabric you'll need for other sizes:

If your cut square size is 14" or smaller, you'll need one 72" strip of felt.
For example: 9" cut squares = (1) 9"x72" strip of felt or 1/4 yard.

If your cut square size is 15-24", you'll need two 72" strips of felt.
For example: 16" cut squares = (2) 16"x72" strips of felt or just under 1 yard.

DIY Felt Grow Bag Video Tutorial:

In addition to the written instructions below, I also filmed a short video tutorial. In the video I make a mini version so that it is easier to see each step of the process. All the steps are the same, regardless of the size bag you make! Find the video tutorial here: DIY Felt Grow Bag Video Tutorial

DIY Felt Grow Bags Written Tutorial:
Finished size: Approximately 13" wide, 13.5" tall, 13" deep

- 1/2 yard of 72" Premium Craft Felt (100% polyester)
- Coordinating Polyester thread (or heavy duty thread)
- Chalk or pencil
- Clips or pins

Cut fabric into (5) 14"x14" squares.

Use 1/2" seam allowances unless otherwise noted.

1. Choose one 14" square to be the bottom of your grow bag. Using chalk or a pencil, mark a short line 1/2" from the edge of each corner (in both directions), so that you have a small "+" at each corner. Do this on the wrong side of the felt (what will end up being the interior of the grow bag). We'll be using these "+" marks as sewing guides in the next few steps.

2. Put one of the 14" square side panels right sides together with the 14" bottom panel. Sew pieces together along one edge, leaving 1/2" unsewn at each corner, using the marks made in step 1 as a guide. Be sure to backstitch when you start and finish stitching.

Repeat this step with the side piece that will be attaching to the opposite side of the bottom.

3. Before attaching the two remaining side panels to the bottom panel, it can be helpful to fold the seam allowance from the first two sides out of the way at each corner. I secured these with a pin.

Attach the remaining side pieces to the bottom in the same way as in step 2. Remove any pins or clips you may have used.

All four of the side pieces should now be attached along one edge to the bottom piece. When laid out, your piece should look like a big plus sign!

4. Now it's time to connect the side panels to each other. Match up each side edge with it's neighbor and clip/pin in place. In the above diagram I've labeled each side's edges with a letter. You'll clip/pin together edge A with edge B, C with D, E with F, and G with H. As you join the edges the "box" will take shape!

Sew pieces together along these edges. I find it easiest to start from the top (open) end and sew down towards the corner. Stitch until you're around 1/2" from the bottom, meeting up with your stitching where the side panel meets the bottom panel.

5. Turn bag right sides out and it's ready to be filled with dirt! No need to finish the seams since felt doesn't fray.

Feel free to add simple felt or webbing handles to the top of two sides if you want!

How I like to fill my grow bags:
1. I start by filling the bottom few inches of my grow bag with old leaves and small sticks. This helps fill some of the space, so that I don't need quite as much dirt. It will also break down over the season, providing some organic material to improve the soil.

2. Next I typically layer in some spent potting soil, again to reduce the amount of good dirt I need to fill my bag!

3. Finally I finish filling my bag with a mix of good quality soil and compost. Now it's ready for plants!

I ended up planting a marigold in the mini grow bag that I made in the video tutorial. Look how cute!!

If you're interested in using up extra landscape fabric to make grow bags, check out the original grow bag tutorial I posted in 2020: DIY Fabric Grow Bags

Last year I shared a tutorial for a simple, budget friendly tomato trellis and I'm excited to use those again this year. Find that tutorial here: DIY Budget Wooden Tomato Trellis

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial! I have lots of other tutorials for everything from quilts, pillows, bags, and holiday items to informational series and techniques. Find all my tutorials here: Tutorials. My online shop is filled with patterns for quilts and bags. Find my patterns here: Jeni Baker Patterns

If you make something using one of my tutorials or patterns, I hope you'll tag me @jenib320 and use my hashtag #jenibaker on instagram!

Happy Gardening!

Friday Favorites 59

Friday, May 12, 2023

Happy Friday! It's time for another Friday Favorites post! Catch up on previous posts here: Friday Favorites Archives

- I slid my ironing board down a few feet so that it's in front of the window and it has made ironing a much more enjoyable task! Funny how such a small change can make a difference.

- Radha of Sewing Through Fog has put together a great resource of Secondhand Fabric Stores! There are interactive maps for US/Canada and Global, plus a directory of online secondhand fabric stores.

- Krebsbachhuber Crafts makes these really neat reusable glue stick precision tips that turn a regular glue stick into into a precision stick that looks like it would be perfect for english paper piecing.

- Over the weekend we picked up a new-to-us perennial, Geum. It's a member of the rose family, and is adding a sweet pop of orange to our front yard perennial flower garden!

- Recently discovered Remark Glass, a company based in Philadelphia that creates home goods from post-consumer bottle glass in partnership with their non-profit Bottle Underground.

- Rashida Coleman Hale has released a collection of beautiful handmade pincushions, and there are still a few left!

- Revisited another favorite recipe and made some double chocolate banana bread. I'm not sure I've made a non-chocolate banana bread recipe since finding this one years ago! It's so good. This time I baked it in four mini loaf pans so I could give some away!

- This wildflower front yard by Amanda C. is so dreamy!

- Steffi Troy has a fun new pattern for pieced key FOBs called What the FOB!?.

- Dusty has really been into sleeping on the back of the couch lately. It gets about an hour of sun in the morning, which is of course irresistible.

Have a Great Weekend!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.