Monday, March 31, 2014

Conquering my quilting fears...First quilt top ever

As I've shared on many occasions quilting has always fascinated me in the same way as quantum physics. They are interesting but both way, way over my head. Quilting may have been quantum physics as far as I was concerned, very cool but nothing I would ever grasp the concept of.

Math and I have never, ever gotten along, and making a quilt sure involved math. I would glance at patterns from time to time and think "that may as well be written in Dutch" because I just did not see how all those tiny, incredibly precise cuts could add up the way the pattern said. I would then sigh and move on to sewing something more 3 dimensional because that just made sense to me.

Over the past few months I've been the lucky recipient of several fat quarter bundles but really had no immediate use for them. After some encouragement from some of you in the online community and the awesome ladies I met at Camp Stitchalot I decided to finally give making a quilt a serious shot.

I knew I didn't want to just sew a bunch of squares together to make a quilt, and I didn't trust myself to follow a legit pattern so I just kind of completely winged it. I ran across the jelly roll quilts and like the idea of staggered rows so I just made several (or a million) 18 x 3.5 strips and made a bunch of rows, staggering the pieces. I did this while drinking wine and chatting it up at 3 am, it went by much quicker that way :)

So, I did it. It's nothing fancy or impressive but I can now say I finished a quilt top. Now I have to figure out how to quilt it and bind it...I'm not looking forward to that either but now that I've come this far I'm anxious to complete it. 

So thanks to everyone who encouraged me and gave me the extra motivation to just do it :) 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Edelweiss Backpack


I was lucky enough the newest pattern by Sara of Sew Sweetness, The Edelweiss Back Pack. Let me tell you, I had one ecstatic 4 year old over this bag.


I purchased this zombie print by Riley Blake a few weeks back and my little guy was totally enamored by this fabric the second I took it out of the box. He immediately claimed it as his and asked me to make something out of it for him. He initially requested a shirt, but I was not digging the shirt idea so when Sara asked me to test the back pack, I knew it was meant to be. 


The back pack came together very quickly, which was great considering I had very anxious 4 year old asking if it was done every five minutes. The inside is finished by adding binding, which makes it a bit slower for me, as I prefer to finish my binding by hand. 

He was also insisted that I add a tag that says "Mommy made this for me", but he was ok with me just adding a Nosy Pepper label as long as I put it where he said (on the back..."so people can see it"). How can I deny that?

The bag is the perfect size for my little guy and he was super proud to take it to preschool and show it off. It's not as big and cumbersome as some of the book bags out there, but fits in a regular size school folder and some extras as well. He also pointed out that the front pockets are the perfect size to fit in his cars :)

If you have been looking for a book bag pattern, I highly recommend this one! The zipper was totally easy to put in (don't be scared!) and it doesn't take much fabric at all. It only has a few pattern pieces to cut (which makes me happy as I hate it cutting fabric lol).

He Approves!!!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Aeroplane Bag in Laminate

I spent last weekend in Michigan at Camp Stitchalot hosted by Pink Castle Fabrics and had an absolute blast...but that's a whole nother post. Seeing as how I needed to get my machine there easily, I put together an Aeroplane Bag to tote my machine and fixins to the Hankerd Inn. The Aeroplane bag is a pattern by Sew Sweetness...get your copy here.

I thought this would be a good chance to cut into some Echino laminate I bought off an Instagram de-stash (those are terrible if you are trying to not spend money btw). I've never sewn with laminates before, and I was pretty intimidated. The Aeroplane bag is thankfully a very easy sew, and it's larger version of the bag was more than enough to tote my machine and lots of goodies. 
I had my walking foot at the ready for the laminate, but really didn't end up needing it at all. I was careful not to use pins but fusing the interfacing to the laminate is not for the faint of heart. I used Pellon Shape Flex 101 on the laminate, and as some others have suggested, just did so little by little to make sure I wasn't melting the laminate. It ended up being just fine, but I was so afraid it was going to melt. 

All of the construction of this bag was done by sewing with the wrong side of the laminate so I never had to do anything special (except not using pins). I did wuss out on the top stitching next to the zipper on the exterior, so it doesn't look as finished as I would like but at least I didn't wreck the bag in the last few steps of sewing. 

It probably took less than three hours from cutting to sewing the last seam, but I would venture a guess I spent twice as much time than needed interfacing the bag. I also omitted any additional stabilizers, I usually use either headliner fabric or By Annie's Soft and Stable as I like structured bags. Being an ignoramus about laminates, I did expect the laminate to have more structure than it does. I think the next time I use laminates, I will use same stabilizers as I do for any quilting weight cotton and skip the nerve wracking task of using fusible interfacing on them. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Secret Tote Bag Swap

As I am a sucker for bags, I jumped on board for the Secret Tote Swap happening over on Flickr. My partner requested a large bag and mentioned that purple was her favorite color. My mentality is the bigger the better when it comes to bags ha! I purchased the Super Tote pattern by Noodlehead several months back, but never got around to making it. I knew I wanted to do some time of embellishing on the front of the bag, and the large exterior pocket lends well to that. I used a print from Center City for the various purples on the exterior, some Allison Glass text for the pocket and accents and this awesome city clock embroidery pattern from Urban Threads. 

The Super Tote was very easy to assembly and I was surprised how quickly it sewed up! I spent much more time on the embroidery than the construction of the bag. 

Please excuse my terrible job pressing it! I was in a hurry to get it sent off to it's new home!

I was so incredibly lucky to get Mara of Simon Says Sew as my partner, she was my partner in the Triple Zip Swap last year and she does AMAZING things!! I seriously about cried when I pulled out this tote, pictures absolutely do not do it justice, it's gorgeous!!! She made a matching boxy pouch that I adore, and included all kinds of goodies. She was so sweet in incorporating little extras in the bag, an extra front pocket with a magnetic snap, a key holder on the interior and all this incredible quilting. I have been carrying it around as a purse because I love it so. Why not carry a tote as a purse?! I really need to get out and take some more pics of all the awesomness of this bag! Thankfully the weather is starting to warm up so I'm not stuck choosing between freezing or taking pictures inside. 

I'm heading to Camp Stitchalot this Weekend and I'm so stoked! I'm spending this week picking out projects and getting things together. I am hoping to get all the cutting and interfacing done so I can spend the weekend without all the icky business of doing those unpleasant tasks (I hope I am not the only one who hates those things!). 

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Triple Zip Swap Recieved

I posted earlier about the triple zip swap Stephanie from Quarter Incher put together on Flickr. Last week I received this yummy package in my box!

I love, love, love text fabrics and this pouch is so much fun! I totally lucked out with my partner. It was a nice ending to a not so nice week. Thanks a ton Monique :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Camp Stitchalot in Rapture

Thanks to Snowmaggedon round 17,  I was able to get some sewing done this weekend, most notably,  a Camp Stitchalot Bag in Pat Bravo's Rapture line. I was honored to be asked to make a few shop samples for Pink Castle Fabrics showing how quilting cottons could be used for more than just quilting, specifically using some Sew Sweetness bag patterns. The first project, is a Camp Stitchalot bag in Rapture.  I fell in love with Rapture the second I pulled these prints from the do not do these beauties justice, the colors are so vibrant and the prints are just gorgeous.

 The Camp Stitchalot is designed to be an artist's tote, and has tons of pockets and spaces for whatever tools you need for your craft. The exterior has a front pocket with a magnetic snap closure, the exterior has three separate slip pockets that are secured with a flap and magnetic snap.

 The inside has 2 slip pockets on the lining panels and 4 zippered vinyl pockets, these can easily be made into divided pockets for more storage space. Imagine ALL the goodies you can stuff into this bag!

The construction of this bag is very straight forward and isn't complicated to put together. However, all the layers does add a bit of difficulty to it. This was my first time using By Annie's Soft and Stable (I usually substitute headliner fabric) and it was really, really nice to work with. The only trouble I had was that it's just a tad thicker than the headliner and I found that I really needed to use my walking foot when top stitching to keep it from getting all wonky. The vinyl was a bit tricky but honestly was much easier to work with than I had expected. Surprisingly,  I didn't need my walking foot to sew it at all. The trickest part was sewing through all 4 vinyl pockets and the lining., for that I had to employ both my walking foot and a leather needle (I think my machine laughed at me when I attempted it with a denim needle).

I ended up finishing the binding by hand, as I was afraid of my machine not cooperating going through all those layers and stitching the bias tape on neatly. I finished it while watching last night's episode of The Walking Dead. If you watch the show, then you'll understand that I NEED to have something in my hands to keep my nerves in check.

 I normally don't like repetition, I don't like sewing the same things over and over and I don't like using the same fabrics over again. However, these fabrics have me completely smitten. I absolutely will be using them again!

Maybe if I keep using these bright fabrics, I can will spring to make an appearance sometime in 2014!