Thursday, March 31, 2011

Purses and Pouches

I made three new bags for my etsy store.

AB bag
Inside of AB bag with full length zipper
Side view of AB bag
Echino bag
Inside of Echino bag--full length zipper
Close up of handles
Dewberry bag
Inside of Dewberry bag--full length zipper
Close up of handles

I'm hoping to sell a few before hubby and I go on vacation at the end of April.  We're going to Las Vegas and Portland so I need gambling and fabric money! :) 

pouch icon
Also, Michelle (of i like orange too) have started a new swap!  The Pretty {little} Pouch Swap!  Check out all the details here!  Feel free to join us!  Sign ups end April 8th!  We'll be posting links to tutorials to help everyone out.  Don't be afraid of zippers ladies!  You can do it!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

100th Post Confession

As this is my 100th post (wow!), I thought it was time I confessed something I've been keeping secret.  Normally, I'm not a good secret keeper--my hubby calls my mother, my son, and me "tellers".  We just can't help ourselves!  This secret, however, has been pretty easy to keep.  It's about my nephew.  He has yet to be born, but is due in April.  My sister-in-law (hubby's sister) and her husband picked a name as soon as they found out it was a boy.  *DEEP BREATH*  The name they chose is.....and I'm not making this joke......they're naming him


I think they must hate him.  Ezra is ok.  My kids have unique names so I'm cool with it, but Stegosaurus?  We thought she was joking for about a month.  Then, when I realized I would be making this child lots of handmade items, I needed to know his real name so I would have his initials correct--because, surely, Stegosaurus wasn't his real middle name!  How wrong I was!  My mother-in-law is so embarrassed that she has yet to tell anyone what the child's middle name will be.  Can you imagine applying for college, a credit card, a passport, your SATs with the middle name Stegosaurus?  People are never going to believe him!  It'll be cool when he's 5, but when he's 25, he's going to disown his parents!  We're taking bets as to whether he will change his middle name completely or just go by "S."  Anyway!  I was going to make her a quilt (duh) and I asked her if she had any preferences.  She asked if I could applique stegosauruses--is that a word?--all over the quilt.  Do you all know what a stegosaurus looks like?  All those spikes?  Is she crazy?  I decided I would applique ONE stegosaurus.  Any more than that and I'd be turned off applique for life!  I went with a very simple design selected by my hubby, wonky 9 patch.

For my nephew

Now I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing on the back.  I have one left over block that I'm thinking of piecing in.  This was, once again, an easy one.  I think I'm just a really lazy quilter.  I like to see quick results so I don't make a lot of complicated patterns.  Plus, the simple patterns usually allow me to see the fabric better and you know it's all about the fabric! :) 

So, my secret is out!  I will soon be the aunt to Ezra Stegosaurs.  On the bright side, at least it wasn't a girl.  They had decided on Gwendolyn Pocahontas.  Geez!

Quilt stats:  9 fat quarters cut into 18" squares.  Blocks finish at 16" once you make the wonky 9 patch.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sara² complete!!!!

I love these colors together!
Sara² complete
Back of Sara²
Quilting of Sara²

No, the back isn't gray, I just removed the color to show the quilting.  Since I took pictures at night (yes, really), it was the only way the quilting would show up.

See my previous post for all the details about this quilt.

Stats:  12 FQs of It's a Hoot, a little less than 1/2 yard for binding, and 1 3/4 yards of Cyan for backing = 45"x 60" (pre-washing)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


A friend of mine from high school, Sara, is a super talented photographer in Nashville (check out her site here).  She bought my Hooty quilt a while back and recently she requested another quilt more "boyish" for her baby boy shoots.  Yay!!!  I gave her a few options, but she really likes the It's a Hoot line--my kinda girl!  She also really likes squares--see, we're a match made in heaven!  This is what I came up with:
This is such a simple pattern made from FQs.  I love it!  The number of FQs you have equals the number of blocks you end up with so it's really easy to plan out.  Each block is 15" finished so this quilt is 45"x60".  I finished this in one night, cutting included!  That's how easy it is!  Hope she loves it as much as I do!
oh, if anyone is interested in how big I cut everything:
From each FQ
  • Cut 1 5.5"x22"  strip.  Then, cut this strip into (1) 5.5" square, (2) 2.5" x 5.5" rectangles, (2) 2.5" x 9.5" rectangles
  • Cut (3) 3.5" x 22" strips.  From one of these, cut (2) 9.5" x 3.5" rectangles.  From the remaining two long strips, cut (2) 3.5" x 15.5" rectangles
  • You will have some scraps, but not a ton.  If you really want to make the most from your FQs, cut the last three strips 2.5" in width instead of 3.5" and you can use the left overs as binding!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Neptune Wave Quilt Complete!

Fresh from the dryer and now listed in my etsy shop!

This was, hands down, the best job I've ever done free motion quilting.  I basted the heck out of this!  I usually try for every 6", but this time I did every 4".  My hubby even sat on the floor at 11pm with me to help me baste because I was so tired and had a long way to go!  Isn't he sweet?!?!?  Extra basting may stink, but I did not have a single pucker on the back.  *Squeal!*  As much as I hate to do it, I will be basting all my quilts like this from now on.

Stats:  1 Neptune Jelly Roll, lots of Kona Medium Gray, 3 yards of various Atlantis prints, 5/8 yard of S.S. Pink for binding

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I'm Still Here

I guess it's been over a week since I posted.  I went on vacation to visit my best friend.  I had a great time, but I was happy to be home and see my kiddos.  While in Dallas I got these yummies
Dallas loot

And came home to these ymmies
Good grief!

I forgot to post a picture of the first shirt I've ever made.  It's Simplicity 2892 and it came out ok.  It's wearable, but I'm not sure I'd brag that I made it.
My first shirt--Simplicity 2892

I went to the zoo on Friday with the boys.  Cian like the peacock and he kept trying to eat the animal food.  Yuck!
Feeding the goats

I made two of these kitchen rugs today since mine were looking gross.
New Kitchen rug

Now I'm going to finish binding my Neptune quilt!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another Trip, Another Bag



I'm headed to Dallas on Friday for my best friend's bachelorette party so I decided to make a new bag.  With all the new regulations/fees on checked baggage, I need to make the most of my carry-ons!  This is a Simplicity pattern.  I think the pattern instructions could use some work so I made a few modifications.  I really love this big Garden Party print for the outside!  I didn't have enough of the Anna Maria Horner print for the undersides of the straps, so I used my lining fabric.  I wimped out and didn't put a zippered pocket in.  This had more to do with my reluctance to cut any more fabric than dealing with a zipper.  I have a super easy method to install large zippered pockets into almost any bag pattern.  Maybe I'll do a post on that.   I wish I would have made a second one to give my friend *doh*!  Coulda, shoulda, woulda!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Zippered Pouch Tutorial

I know there are lots of zippered pouch tutorials out there, and they're great, but I haven't found one that explains how to make the ends of the zipper more finished. Once I figured out how to do this, I thought I'd share. This tutorial is more about the zipper ends than it is about the finished pouch. Though I am going to tell you how big I cut everything, you can easily make these pouches any size you want.  I tried to take a lot of pictures, but if anything is unclear, please let me know!

(2) Exterior pieces, I cut mine 8.5" x 6.5"
(2) Lining pieces, mine are 8.5" x 6.25"
(1) 2"x4" piece of exterior fabric to cover the zipper ends
(2) pieces of medium weight fusible interfacing OR fusible fleece the same size as your exterior pieces.  The interfacing you use will determine the feel of your pouch.  The mid-weight interfacing, I used Decor Bond by Pellon, gives the pouch a bit more stiffness while the fleece will make the pouch more soft and pliable.  ***UPDATE  Shape Flex (SF 101) is what I use most often now.  It bends nicely with the fabric since it's woven.  You can also use it in conjunction with Decor Bond or fusible fleece.
(1) zipper--Mine is 7"  The rule of thumb here is to have your exterior pouch length be 1.5" longer than your zipper.  So in my case, the length is 8.5" so I used a 7" zipper.

Trim the corners of the fusible interfacing to reduce bulk and fuse to the exterior of your pouch.

 Trim the ends of the zipper to where the little "stoppers" on the zipper are.

Fold the 2"x4" piece of exterior fabric in half lengthwise and press.

Open it back up and fold in one side to the crease you just made and press.

Repeat for the other side.

Fold again along the original center crease and press.

Cut the skinny 4" strip in half to create two .5"x 2" pieces.  Open up one piece and tuck one end of the zipper in.

 See what I'm doing?

Sew about 1/8" away from the edge next to the zipper.  You can try and use pins to hold the tab in place, but I found the piece to be so small that it's easier for me to hold it.

Repeat for the other side.  This side will be a bit trickier since you will have to unzip the zipper and hold the two free pieces together as they would be when the zipper is closed.  Again, you can try to pin, but I get better results (i.e. less shifting) by just holding it. 

Trim the extra fabric away from the zipper tabs. You should end up with something like this.

With your lining right side up, place your finished zipper on top and center it.  This is easy to do on your cutting mat--use the ruler markings to make sure it's even on both sides.

Place your interfaced exterior fabric right side down on top of the lining.  See?  Right sides together, sandwiching the zipper in between.  There are other ways to attach the zipper to the fabric where you can actually see the zipper while sewing, but I like this method.  If you want to do it another way, go for it!

Pin in place.  You can see in this picture, it looks as if the lining has shifted a bit, but it is just from the pining along the top.  The top edge is straight with the exterior, interior, and zipper lined up.

I'm not going to lie, this is the trickiest part.  Put on your zipper foot, take a deep breath, and sew about 1/4" away from the top edge.  You are essentially doing this Stevie Wonder style since you can't see the zipper, but you can feel it!  The first 1/2" near the zipper pull is the hardest and you may have to tug on the end or push it through for a bit.  Just go slow.  Once you make it past the pull, it's really easy.  I leave my pins in and sew over them.  This, I have found, is critical to keep all three layers lined up.  I have as yet to break a needle, but I have broken a few pins.  I'd much rather risk a broken pin than bring out my seam ripper because my layers shifted.

You should now have something like this.

Use your iron to press the lining away from the zipper.

Press the exterior fabric down too.
To give the exterior a more finished look and to secure the lining from getting caught in the zipper, I top stitch the exterior about 1/8" away from edge near the zipper.  I know I'm not using my zipper foot correctly here, but it worked so stop laughing!  Truthfully, I'm never sure I'm using it correctly, I just do whatever works to get a zipper attached.  Rules be damned! 

Now it's time to attach your other lining and exterior pieces.  You do this the same way you did before only now you have some fabric attached to your zipper.  No biggie!  Repeat my previous instructions on pining the layers and sewing on the zipper.  Remember to top stitch the exterior on the other side, we want your pouch to look pretty!

It should look like this now.  The next step is super important.  Are you paying attention?  Don't skip this part!  If you've printed this out, highlight this part:  OPEN UP THE STINKIN' ZIPPER!  You will be cursing yourself and making best friends with your seam ripper if you forget that!

We're going to pin the exterior and lining right sides together, but first, we need to sort of fold/smush the zipper toward the exterior.  See how I'm pinching it?  Pinch it into place where everything is lining up--you can see how the top edges of the exterior fabric would line up if I squeezed them together, right?  Pin that little guy in place!  Continue pinning around all the edges.  
UPDATE: You *can* do this step and have the zipper pushed toward the interior, I guess when I made this one I just found this way worked for me to keep things lined up.  Since making this tutorial, I find myself always pushing the zipper teeth toward the lining instead.  Maybe this pouch was a freak of nature, who knows!  Feel free to experiment to find what works best for you!

Here's what it looks like all pinned together.

Starting in the middle of the lining, about 2" away from the corner, using a 5/8" seam allowance, sew a few stitches and back stitch.  We are going to leave an opening in the lining so you need to secure the stitches so your pouch won't come apart when you turn it.  I leave the pins in for this step too!

When you sew past the zipper/tab area, you may have to pull or push a bit since there are so many layers, just go slow.  When you reach the exterior fabric, I sew slightly less than 5/8", more like 1/2", so that the lining will be a tiny bit smaller than the exterior and fit better into the pouch when I turn it.  You don't have to do this.  You can sew with the same seam allowance around the entire pouch. 

**update--so you understand, sew very very close to the tab, but not through it.  

When you get back to the lining side, leave a 3" opening or so for you to turn your pouch.  Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of either side of the opeing!  Trust me, I know this from experience.  If you fail to backstitch this bad boy can come part on you--the turning process can be rough on stitches!

Hi there!  You will soon be pulling the entire pouch through that tiny hole!  It's a bit like child birth. :)
But first!  Clip your corners!  Careful, don't clip your stitches!

Now push!  he he!  Push, pull, finangle, shimmey the exterior fabric through the open zipper and then through the hole in the lining.

Keep going.  It's a messy job.

Whew!  Now use something pointy, but not sharp, to push out the corners of the exterior fabric.  Also use the tool to push out/up the finished ends of the zipper. 

Wrinkly, but lookin' good!  Now iron the lining down a bit.
Sew the lining hole shut.  My raw edges naturally turned under once I turned it, but if yours don't, just fold them in and press then sew the opening shut.  You can hand sew this closed if you care about seeing the stitching, but I don't.  It's at the bottom of the pouch, a pouch that is meant to be used, so surely the stuff you put in it will hide the stitching, right?  My thoughts exactly!

Yay!  Tuck the lining inside and......

you're done!

See how pretty the ends are?

Now, what to put inside?
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