Congratulations to Mandy and Harriet! I hope you ladies have a great time making your bags! I’d love to see them when you’re done.
There are still many more prizes to win! Check out my tour post for more information.
Congratulations to Mandy and Harriet! I hope you ladies have a great time making your bags! I’d love to see them when you’re done.
There are still many more prizes to win! Check out my tour post for more information.
As I mentioned in my last post, I am honored to have been invited to participate in the ChrisW Designs Global Blog Tour! 15 bloggers have come together to make one of ChrisW’s bag patterns and blog about it and I am so very excited to have been selected. As part of the tour, I was able to pick one pattern to make. I received the pattern for free in exchange for blogging about it. I chose the Sugar and Spice tote bag. I need a good bag that can hold my laptop, a book or two, drawing pads, colored pencils, and any other craft supplies for the project de jour. The Sugar and Spice tote looked like a great starting point. I like the rounded based because of the appealing shape it gives the bag. I like the rounded slip pockets on the outside of the bag. I like the statement the straps give the bag. I like scoops to the top of the bag. All combined, it’s a great looking bag with the space to be a functional bag for hauling all my tools and supplies with me.
Because I’m just not me without being a little over ambitious, I tried a few new things with this bag. I used cork fabric, lots and lots of piping, and I made a few modifications to the pattern. So let’s dive in and look at the bag!
First, can we all just ooh and ahh a bit over this gorgeous cork? I mean, really, just look! It’s pretty and it’s got the most amazing texture! This is my first time using cork, but it most definitely won’t be the last. I used the Pollock cork from Sew Sweetness and solid black cork and black cork piping from Fabric Funhouse. For those of you who haven’t worked with cork before, yes, it really is cork. Like the cork in your cork board or your wine bottle, but so so much better. It’s a very very thin layer of natural cork adhered to a woven fabric backing. It’s sews just like butter and gives the bag an amazing professional finish.
Second, let’s ooh and ahh a bit of the amazing hardware. The combination of the pattern, the gorgeous cork, and the shiny gold hardware really just make this bag completely amazing. Within the bag I used strap ends, rectangular rings, rivets, bag feet, gold teeth nylon zippers, a zipper end, a tassel, and of course a ‘Homemade’ script bag label all from Emmaline Bags, my very favorite hardware supplier. Who new one of my favorite ‘sewing’ tools would end up being the adorably tiny screw driver given to me by the Janelle MacKay of Emmaline Bags fame? Well it is, because I use SO much hardware in my bags now. It’s a great way to elevate the look of your bag.
Finally for the lining, I used Moda Grunge quilting weight cotton in a burgundy and red.
Now that we have explored all of the materials, let’s talk a little bit about the bag pattern. As a note to those of you in the United States, ChrisW Designs is an Australian based company and therefore the pattern PDF is in A4 dimensions. This can make printing it a little tricky and as I have started ordering more and more non-US patterns lately, I finally just ordered A4 paper from Office Max so it prints perfectly.
Chris’s pattern is beautifully written and very easy to follow. Each step was clearly explained and the images help you to know exactly how to complete each step. It’s important to remember however that a pattern is a template. The pattern designer has given you a template that you can use to create the bag of your dreams, but the template can be modified to suit your needs. In my case, because I wanted this bag to hold my laptop, I needed to make it larger. As designed, the Sugar and Spice bag is 14″ x 8″ x 3′. My MacBook is 13″ x 9″, so the bag was definitely not tall enough. I chose to add an internal padded divider pocket to the bag for the laptop so I wanted to make the bag deeper to have a good amount of space either side of the laptop compartment. My final dimensions were 16″ x 12″ x 5″. I also added a ton of extra pockets to the inside of the bag to hold lots and lots of tools and supplies nicely organized. This all took a fair amount of adjustment to the pattern while keeping the gorgeous shape that Chris designed into the bag. I’m going to blog this weekend about how to modify a pattern using this bag as my example.
In the end, I now have a perfect bag for my laptop and craft supplies tailored exactly to my needs and I am in love with it.
Now, here’s some fun for you, my lovely readers… PRIZES!
First, ChrisW Designs has generously provided two FREE copies of the the Sugar and Spice pattern for me to give away! To enter, comment below with a short description of a bag you have modified to fit you perfectly. On Sunday November 19th I will select two commenters to receive a pattern.
Second, the blog tour has lots and lots of prizes and discounts – details below. Now go see the 15 other bags!
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Sunday, November 12
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ChrisW Blog, Glitter in my Coffee, Michelle’s Creations, Flying by the Seam of my Pants, Serial Bagmakers, Tiger in a Tornado, Vanaehsa, Judith Stitches and More, Doctora Botones, Sewsewilse, Suck It Up Buttercup, Vicky Myers Creations, Marvelous Auntie M, inspinration, Fée bricolo, Trisha’s Craft Corner
Hello! Yes, it’s been a while! Life got in the way. Work got in the way. Travel got in the way. Making lots of presents I couldn’t talk about before giving them got in the way. Ok, yes, those are all excuses and I promise to do better!
I have much to share with you all. I’m participating in a sew along learning to work with leather. I have a new completely awesome sewing machine I need to talk about. I spent a week in the UK and met some awesome bag makers in Wales. And we’re going to start talking about cooking too as I explore a no processed carbs diet.
But first… I had the honor of being invited to participate in the ChrisW global blog tour! We have 15 amazing bloggers lined up. Each of us has created a bag (or more than one bag) using a ChrisW pattern and will be sharing them this week. There’s also great discounts and prizes available, so check it out! ChrisW Global Blog Tour
On my dad’s side of the family there are seven grandkids, but only two of us are girls; this of course made Claire and I life long friends. We were dressed the same by Grandma, we had our own girls room at our grandparents house, and I even was the one to teach Claire how to read (she’s two and a half years younger than me). Now whenever I can get home we get together to shop, to chat, and of course, to craft! We definitely have a crafty family between our grandma, our moms, and us.
So when Claire and her husband began the process to adopt a baby I knew I had to throw her an amazing baby shower, and I also knew I it had to include some crafting. I thought onesie decorating was a great idea, but I wanted to find a way to make sure the onesies would end up being cute enough that she would *want* her baby to wear them. Let’s face it, not everyone has the best skills with fabric paint. I don’t remember where I got the idea, but somewhere on the wild west of the internet, I saw someone who used fabric with fusible interfacing. This worked out perfectly!
There was a small amount of prep work before the shower. This included adding the iron-on adhesive to fabric and collecting stencils.
Iron-on adhesive is fusible on both sides and comes with a paper backing that protects one side while ironing the adhesive to the wrong side of fabric squares. The guests at the shower were able to draw their shapes onto this paper backing before cutting them out.
To draw the shapes, I provided a number of simple shapes cut out of card stock. The guests were able to simply trace the shapes onto the fabric. They could still come up with their own shape if they wanted, but there was an easy option for those that felt less confident in their crafting ability. I used my Cricut to cut out the stencils with shapes of plants, animals, planes, trains, and many others.
At the shower, guests were able to pick a shape and fabric. They traced the shape onto the paper backing of the adhesive and cut it out. After peeling the paper off, the fabric was ironed to a onesie to adhere it.
After the shower, all of the shapes were stitched on a sewing machine with a zig zag stitch outline to help control fraying and peeling during washing and wear. This step is optional, but we thought it would make them a little more durable longer.
This was an AMAZING baby shower activity. All the guests had a great time making the onesies and Claire ended up with a whole wardrobe of cute onesies and tees ranging up to 18 month size.
About one month later, baby JR came home, and he is quite styling in his onesies.
Weekend project! If you do much sewing, particularly quilting, you know that an average ironing board is about the biggest annoyance in the craft room. It’s not wide enough. It’s got that stupid angled section that is useless when trying to iron yardage of fabric or a quilt top. It’s just a pain in the butt. So this weekend, I decided to ‘fix’ my ironing board by attaching a larger rectangular top to it.
The finished assembly is definitely much larger than I expected. Six feet is long! The options I had for precut boards at Lowes were 4 feet or 6 feet. Four feet would have been shorter than the existing ironing board, but 5 feet would have been better. The board hangs over the front and back of the ironing board about 10 inches on each side. However, I live in an apartment and don’t have workspace or power tools that make cutting a board like this easy, so I chose to just work with what I had. It is fairly stable however, as long as I don’t put too much weight on the ends.
One critical detail is to ensure that both the batting and the fabric cover is 100% cotton as it will handle the hottest heat settings on the iron.
I removed the cover from the ironing board and laid it on the pine board, making sure to keep it straight and centered. I used a pen to mark the holes in the ironing board where I planned to use screws to attach the ironing board to the new top. I chose twelve regularly spaced holes in the ironing board. This seems to have worked well as the board is pretty stable on top of the ironing board.
I then pre-drilled the holes with my power drill.
I cut the queen size batting (108″x90″) into 4 strips 27″x90″ in size. The 27″ width gave me the 20″ width of the board plus 3.5″ on each side to wrap around the board and staple. I also cut a 27″x90″ strip of the cotton fabric. Both the batting and the cotton fabric were too long; I trimmed them once I had laid them out with the board on top of them.
I spread the batting out on the floor and smoothed out all wrinkles before settling the board, carefully centered, on top. Using the staple gun, I wrapped the batting around the board and stapled it in place, stretching to make sure the batting was snug across the top of the board. The excess batting was trimmed close to the staple line.
The process was repeated with the cotton fabric, except instead of simply stretching it around and stapling I folded the raw edge under before stapling to give a clean finish making sure to hide the raw edges of the batting.
The ironing board was lined back up on the board based on the pre-drilled holes and attached with screws using the power drill. The washers are used because the holes in the ironing board are larger than the screws.
This is part 3 of the La Passacaglia quilt project.
One down… about 32 left to go.
I have completed the first rosette for my La Passacaglia quilt.
There are so many odd angles to this quilt, but the trickiest part was chaining all of the stars in the outer ring together.
Look for more rosettes to come!
This is part 2 of the La Passacaglia quilt project.
For the La Passacaglia quilt, I am using the Inklingo system to cut out the hundreds and hundreds of tiny pieces.
From the Inklingo website:
Inklingo Shape Collections are big PDF files which open with Adobe Reader, so you can print pages of shapes on fabric. Fabric goes through the printer just like paper when it is ironed to freezer paper.
La Passacaglia uses 5 shapes for the entire quilt: a large diamond, a narrow diamond, a large hexagon, a small hexagon, and a very small triangle. None of these shapes are particularly easy to cut out like squares and rectangles found in other quilt patterns are. Inkingo prints the shape outlines and the seam lines on the wrong side of the fabric. This makes it easy to cut around the shapes with a rotary cutter and then stitch a running stitch along the seam lines.
The first step is to cut freezer paper to the appropriate size. Each shape is tiled on a large PDF page that is larger in both directions than my printer will handle. You then use custom page sizes in the print settings to print just a portion of the page based on the number of shapes you need. This is pretty easy after watching the tutorials and reading the documentation that comes with Inklingo. The PDFs of shapes come in a number of different colors so you can pick just the right color to show up on the wrong side of the fabric without showing through.
For the first attempt at printing shapes on my fabric, I bought a large roll of Reynold Freezer Paper at Wal-Mart. I set up with my cutting mat, an ironing board, my printer, and laptop.
Inklingo suggests printing their test sheet first on a small piece of muslin. The test sheet has a small sample of each possible color so you can determine which ink colors from your printer don’t wash out well. I had some basic natural colored cotton so I cut a 5 inch by 6 inch piece of cotton and a matching piece of freezer paper, ironed the two together, and then printed the test sheet. Even before I ran it through the printer, I noticed the edges wanted to curl. I gave it a final pass with the iron before printing. While it did print successfully, the edges curled very quickly sitting on the table. However, I didn’t think much of it because it printed fine.
After a successful test print with the color samples, I began cutting freezer paper and fabric to the appropriate sizes for the shapes I wanted to print. These ‘real’ prints were not so successful. Especially on the larger sheets, the corners and edges curled too much too quickly and caused the fabric to fold over inside the printer. While it didn’t tend to cause jams, it did screw up at least a few shapes on the edge of the sheets.
I tried everything. I tried ironing longer. I tried setting up the computer and printer for the print, giving a last pass with the ironing and as quickly as possible shoving the fabric in the printer and hitting go. But no matter what, I got folds in the trailing end of the fabric as it curled while first half or so of the page was printed.
This just wasn’t working.
After some googling, I found suggestions of using heavier freezer paper. While I couldn’t find heavy duty freezer paper at any local stores, I found a few options on Amazon. As the most economical (at least in initial investment), I decided to try C Jenkins Freezer Paper Sheets.
It comes in 8.5″ x 11″ and 12″ x 15″ sheets. I ordered the 12 x 15 sheets because frequently the custom page sizes recommended by Inklingo extend beyond the 11″ of letter size paper. I also thought the sheets would be better than a roll because the sheets are already flat and curl free. When the paper arrived, the first thing I noticed is that it is much thicker than the Reynold’s freezer paper.
My first test was completely successful, even with a sheet 14 inches long. After that, I printed about a dozen more sheets with only a single error. I had one page jam in the printer, but I was able to extract it from the printer, re-iron, and print again.
Now the most challenging part of printing my shapes is determining which ink color to use. I seem to have a tendency to pick a color that is a bit too light and difficult to see.
Inklingo has definitely made the process of cutting out the hundreds of pieces for the La Passacaglia quilt pretty easy.
This is part 1 of the La Passacaglia quilt project.
At the Capital City Quilt Guild’s quilt retreat, one of my mom’s friends showed me a quilt she was working on. It was a Willyne Hammerstein millefiori quilt that she is hand piecing. Millefiori is Italian for a million flowers. I fell in love with it…
I ordered both of the Millefiori books – the original Millefiori Quilts including La Passacaglia and Millefiori Quilts 2 including Ballet. I found the books on the Inklingo website. The books are amazing, filled with many fascinating quilts. The books are also interesting in that they have text in both French and English. Text on left hand pages is in French, English on the right. Graphics are not duplicated and are labeled in both languages.
After buying the Millefiori Quilts books, I chose the La Passacaglia pattern. It’s a gorgeous kaleidascope design of interlocking rosettes made of diamonds, hexagons, and stars. The full name is La Passacaglia with Mr. Penrose. La Passacaglia is an Italian word for a specific type of musical composition and Mr. Penrose references a famous British mathematician who works on stars, cosmos, and geometric designs. A very appropriate name for a quilt of simple geometric shapes brilliantly arranged into interlocking dancing circles.
A google image search for La Passacaglia shows many variations with many different color schemes, but I was drawn to ones with multiple colors and decided I wanted to go almost candy colored in theme.
I searched and found the perfect fabric to use as the primary fabric: Kaffe Fassett Spiral Shells in Grey. Using this fabric, I’ll be able to create rosettes focused on one or two of the colors – blue, green, pink, yellow, or orange. Beyond the great colors, the design will be perfect for the center 5 diamond stars in each rosette. By using a stack and whack or fussy cutting method, the spiral designs will be interesting patterns when combined. I will use the spiral fabric for the center stars for each rosette to give a little consistency across the rosettes. I also picked up some grey and white tone on tones to tie all of the rosettes together.
So get prepared for a number of posts about this quilt. It’s hand pieced, and kinda large, so it will take me quite a while to finish. It won’t be the only project I’ll be working on, but it will definitely be a fixture on the blog for a while. Next up I’ll discuss the techniques for cutting out and piecing all of these tiny little pieces.
… when Trisha goes to a quilt shop… or this happens.
Oh Sew Persnickety, you are a dangerous dangerous place.
No, this is most definitely not all one project. The bolt is going to be used in a quilt. There are also partial supplies for two bags, and one fabric that will end up in my stash.
A lot of the bags I have made use double folded tape for bindings, straps, or decorations, so when I saw these on Amazon, I just had to try them.
Double folded tape is a strip of fabric folded so that there are 4 layers and no exposed raw edges. These actually create single fold tape, which can then be turned into double folded tape.
While you can purchase single or double folded tape in packages at your local craft supply store, creating it yourself allows you to use the fabric of your choice. I almost always make my own.
To create double folded tape, a long strip of fabric is folded in half along the long edge and ironed. Then the strip is opened up and each raw edge is folded in to meet the center fold line and ironed again. This is a little fiddly and the fabric gets hot enough to be very uncomfortable. Using these bias tape makers makes the process much easier and quicker.
I really enjoyed using these, and for the price, I think they are a must have! The set comes with 4 sizes. I used the 1″ (largest) to create binding for a bag already. I can see using the 3/4″ and even 1/2″, but I’m not sure what I’d ever use the 1/4″ for (it is tiny!). I plan to order a 2″ one for creating straps.
After working on a few bags I found that pins are a challenge with bags. Bags have a lot of layers – exterior fabric, lining fabric, multiple layers of interfacing, and decorative trims like piping. With all these layers, pins don’t insert easily and frequently bend.
So I recently decided to order some Wonder Clips and give them a try. I got mine on Amazon in a package with 75 small clips and 25 large clips. They came a nice plastic jar that works well for storage. However, I did put the jumbo clips in a different container as it was hard to find the small ones under a pile of jumbos.
In using them while creating my bag, all I can say is Wonder Clips really are wonderful! They clip to the fabric quickly and easily but hold strong. They actually hold strong enough that if I didn’t remove one before the presser foot ran into it, it would actually stall the feed of the fabric through the machine. While feeding the fabric, it is very easy to pull the clip off just before it meets the presser foot. I also like that they had no problem holding together the many layers of my bag – sometimes upwards of 9 layers of fabrics and interfacings plus a zipper.
The Forth of July here in DC was a rainy grey day, so I decided to spend the day crafting. Prep work on my current quilt project wasn’t going well (more on that in another post), so I set that aside and put together this Sew Together Bag (Paper pattern) (Digital pattern).
The Sew Together Bag was designed to hold sewing notions. The exterior zipper not only creates the bag enclosure, but also forms really cute handles. Inside the bag there are four open pockets separated by three zippered pockets. It also has a small pincushion sewn into the side of the bag.
I made my bag using Tula Pink’s The Hypnotizer fabric in Raspberry from the Chipper collection and some coordinating green and purple polka dotted fabrics with dark purple trim. I used matching green and purple zippers.
The pattern has a fairly small number of pieces that I was able to cut out very quickly. Most pieces are rectangles; for these the pattern gives dimensions and you can use your rotary cutter and ruler to precisely cut these. The side panels are rectangles with a corner trimmed off. The pattern includes a paper pattern for these pieces, but they are still easy to cut with the rotary blade. All the lining pieces and the exterior piece are also cut from iron on interfacing – I used Pelon ShapeFlex which worked very well.
Creating the interior is done by chaining together sandwiches of lining fabric, zippers, and pocket lining fabric. This goes pretty easily, however, I made a small modification based on advise from the quilt shop where I bought the pattern. The pattern calls for 9″ zippers, however, the woman at the quilt shop said that the 9″ inch zippers *just* fit and cause the assembly to be very tricky and fiddly. She suggested buying slightly larger zippers and trimming them to fit after attaching them. I bought 11″ zippers and it went together very easily. Creating the pockets is then as easy as folding the whole thing at a zipper and sewing through a full set of a pair of lining fabrics and a pair of pocket linings.
The side panels wrap around each of the interior zipper pockets to create an accordion-like system.
The tricky part here is to make sure the edges of the interior zipper pockets are very even because the bag is sewing with a 1/4″ seam allowance, which doesn’t give much room for any difference in the layers. I had one pocket with a pocket lining that didn’t quite reach the edge of the lining fabric. After sewing the seam to hold the exterior side panel to the pocket, I opened the pocket and discovered that the pocket lining was still loose. I had to rip the seam out, trim the pocket edge to make it a little more even, and be very careful to shove the pocket as deep into the fold of the side panel as possible while resewing the seam.
Wonder Clips really helped in keeping all the layers together. I can’t recommend Wonder Clips more highly.
The large exterior piece is then attached to the interior assembly. The seams are covered with accent binding. The pattern instructions called for the binding to be attached to one side and folded over like the binding on a quilt, but I created double folded tape to sandwich the seam instead. Using my bias tape maker tool and only having to sew the binding once, I think this was faster. I wasn’t able to use this method on the binding on the zipper however. I’m still working on my binding skills. While they are getting better, my stitching isn’t always as even as I would like. This was good practice.
All in all, I really like this pattern and I can definitely see making more of them. This one will be used for my pieces and notions for assembling a hand pieced quilt, but I think this pattern also would be a really cute toiletries bag.
My name is Trisha, and I am a craft addict.
Well, the first step is to admit you have a problem right?
For as long as I can remember, I have been a crafty person. I come by it naturally; my dad is a woodworker and my mom is a seamstress and glass artist. My childhood memories include my grandma helping me make a quilt for my Cabbage Patch Kid, my mom making my Halloween costumes, my dad making me a cedar chest for my 8th birthday – which is still at the foot of my bed, and watching my grandpa make model boats. I made play-dough lobsters with mom for school projects, took art classes, and had more art supplies than toys in my bedroom. My dad showed me how to take photos with a manual SLR camera that will have to be pried from my cold dead fingers (even if I have _finally_ made the transition to digital). Crafting always has and always will be part of my life.
I’ve never ever kept to a single medium. I had pastels, colored pencils, and paints as a kid. I did a lot of photography in high school and college. I learned flame working with glass and then added blown and fused glass, and incorporated jewelry design with my glass beads. I play with paper crafts. And most recently, I have picked up the sewing machine and started making quilts, bags, and I’m about to start clothes. The only constant is to create.
This blog will follow all my crafting adventures. I’ll post about my projects: both the successes and the failures. I’ll review products and tools. I might even create a tutorial or two. There’s a lot of great information on the internet, but there’s also much trial and error in crafting; I hope to document what I learn and discover.
So welcome to the adventure! Please be sure to comment, make suggestions, and let me know about any tips or tricks and really cool tools.
Thanks for reading!