Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Progress, but Slowly

Thus far this week I've managed to turn this

into this

There are still several stars and some detail on the wing and her dress left to go after I finish her halo. I'm getting better at needle turn applique, but I'm still not very fast. Just trying to enjoy the process.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Tutorial - Cinch Sack Back Pack

These little sack packs are so popular around here right now.

I've made several and decided to share my pattern with you today.

Here is what you'll need to make one bag that finishes at about 15" by 20" (not including the straps):

1/2 yard of outside fabric
1/2 yard of lining fabric
4 yard of 1/4" or 3/8" cording for the straps

Cutting instructions:

Cut a 2 1/2" strip by width of fabric strip off your outside fabric. From this strip, cut (2) 15" strips for the casings. So you will have (2) 2 1/2" by 15" strips of your outside fabric.

Trim the remaining outside fabric down to 16" by width of fabric. Cut the selvedges off of the outside fabric, if you haven't already.

From one short (16") side cut a 3 1/2" by 16" strip. Trim this down to 3 1/2" by 14" to be used for the tabs.

Measure your outside fabric. It should be 16" by 38" to 40". Whatever it measures, cut your lining fabric the same size as the outside fabric.

All my cut pieces
Cut the cording in half so that you have (2) 2 yard pieces.

On to the sewing part! All seam allowances are 1/4" unless otherwise stated.

Step 1. To make the casings: fold the short end of each casing piece over 1/4", twice, and press.

Then top stitch them down.

Press them in half, lengthwise, with right sides out.

Center each casing piece along the top edges (shorter, 16" sides) of the outside bag fabric. Align raw edges of the casings with the raw edge of the outside fabric of the bag.

·     Baste in place using a 1/8" seam allowance.

The outside of your bag should now look like this.

Step 2. To make the tabs: press your 3 1/2" by 14" piece in half lengthwise.

Open this back out

and fold each side so that the raw edge is lined up on the pressed fold. Press.

Then fold this in half again along the first pressed fold.

Topstitch along both long edges. Cut this in half so that you have two 7" long tabs.

Step 3. Fold your outside fabric in half, wrong sides together. Lay it on your cutting surface or table with the fold closest to you and the two short ends (16" sides) furthest away from you. Make a mark two inches up from the fold on either side. Fold the tabs in half. With the raw edges of the tabs aligned with the raw edges of the side of the bag, place your tabs above this mark, with the bottom of the tab touching the mark.

Baste in place using a 1/8" seam allowance, but only sew through one side of the bag.

You only have it folded in half so you can get the tabs placed properly.

Step 4. Fold the outside fabric with the casings and tabs attached in half, with right sides facing. The fold will create the bottom of the bag. Stitch the two side seams together using a 3/8" seam allowance. Backstitch over the tabs for reinforcement. Zig zag stitching in the seam allowance over the tab ends provides extra reinforcement on this stress point. I recommend this if you plan to carry anything heavy in your bag.

The circled area shows the back stitching and zig zag stitching I do for reienforcement

Turn this right side out and set it aside for the moment.

Step 5. Fold your lining fabric in half, with right sides facing. The fold will create the bottom of the bag. On one side, place two pins about 3" apart near the bottom of the bag. Stitch the two side seams together using a 3/8" seam allowance, but do not sew between the pins. This will be your opening for turning the bag right side out in the next step. Do not turn the lining right side out!

This shows the lining sewn with the opening left for turning
Step 6. Place the outside fabric piece inside the lining piece. These should be right sides facing. Align the two side seams of the outside and lining and pin them together. You may want to put a few more pins along the top edge as well.

Stitch the lining and outside together along the top edge.

Step 7. Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining you left in step 5.

Press the seams to the inside of the opening and topstitch this closed using matching thread.

The area I stitched closed is right underneath my blog address in this photo
You can also whip stitch the opening closed by hand if you prefer.

Topstitch around the top edge of the bag.

Step 8. Using a bodkin or safety pin attached to one end of one of the cording pieces, feed the cording through both casings.

Run the cording through the tab on that side of the bag and tie the ends together with a knot.

Feed the other piece of cording through both casings, but start and end on the other side of the bag. Again, run the cording through the remaining tab and knot the ends together.

Step 9. Enjoy your new cinch sack back pack!

The kids around here use these as school back packs. They also make great dance bags or karate bags or sleepover bags.

If you have any questions, ask them in the comments. If you are a no-reply blogger then I will not be able to answer you directly, but I will answer your question with another comment. So if you ask a question, but don't get an email answer from me within a day or two, it's because you are a no-reply blogger and I can't respond to you personally. You'll need to check the comments on this post for my answer to your question.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Starting the Next Christmas Block

I am starting the next block, block 9, of the applique Christmas quilt.

Unfortunately, I realized that I do not have any true light brown thread. Everything I have is either much too gold or much too dark. I have ordered some light brown thread that will hopefully be here early next week.

Fortunately, the first piece that needs to be sewn down is white. I have a good white thread so I can at least get started.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It's Done - My Sister's Quilt

I worked on the binding every spare minute I had on Monday and Tuesday to get this finished.

I hope she likes it better now that it is quilted and done!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Christmas Quilt - Block 8

I was able to finish up block 8 of the Christmas quilt I am finishing for some friends last weekend.

The directions for this block called for me to make a pieced section as well as an appliqued block. They aren't sewn together because I'm not suppose to. I'm not sure how these all fit together. That information is included with the twelfth block pattern. I've decided to not look ahead and just work one block at a time, in order.

I have the fabrics and pattern for block 9 ready to trace.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Back In the Sewing Room Again

I had some uninterrupted sewing time this weekend! I took the opportunity to work on finishing my sister's quilt.

She pieced the top and sent it to me to finish for her. It is now completely quilted. I need to get the binding and label attached. Then I'll photograph it again in full before sending it back to her.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hand Applique

I hoped to have more to show for my sewing time yesterday but hand applique takes a long time, especially when you are just learning. I could have made more progress if I hadn't ripped out the door on my little block shown below. The door was crooked after the first time sewing it on. It would have bothered me so I redid it. The chimney is also a bit crooked, but it doesn't bother me so it stays.

I am learning to do needle turn applique. I have already discovered that it is easier for me to needle turn applique on a wool background rather than a cotton one. I've also learned that good quality fabric makes it much easier too.


This little block lacks a tree top, windows for the house, a star in the sky and the ground with sidewalk. I actually have the ground with sidewalk done, but couldn't find it for the photo. Grrrr! I'm sure it is just lost in the mess. It seems that hand applique is also a messy affair for me. I've got pattern pieces and little bits of fabric scattered all over!