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!

Friday, September 12, 2014

What I've Been Up To

I have not gotten to do much sewing since I got back from my awesome week with Sue Spargo. The photo below says it all.

This is the front of my LQS, where I work, at least for a few more weeks. Yesterday was the first day of the closing sale. It went well but was exhausting.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Home Again, Home Again Jiggety Jig

My week with Sue Spargo went by so quickly! If at all possible, I will definitely take another class from Sue. She was just delightful! Our class ended at 4 pm each afternoon yet most days she stayed for a few more hours and just hung out with us or provided more individual help and instruction.

Her teaching style meshes well with my learning style in that she showed how she does things but then added that each person should do what works best for them. There are no rules! She was so patient and routinely did demonstrations and lessons several times until we were all comfortable with whatever it was she was going over.

There were 13 of us in the class and everyone was nice. Several of the ladies had taken classes with Sue before and brought their projects in progress with them to continue working on them.

I didn't make much progress on my class project. I got a little more done on it yesterday. This is how it looks this morning.

Everything in the photo above is tacked down. I even did some textural stitching in the light rectangle using some little running stitches in a light blue cotton thread. I think I need to start on the leaves next.

One of the reasons I didn't make much progress on my project is that I asked Sue to show me how she does needle turn applique. I then spent the rest of that day practicing and getting frequent assistance with the peaks and valleys. I'm pretty comfortable with the peaks by now, but still struggle with the valleys. Check out that root in the photo above. I did it all using needle turn applique!

But the main reason I didn't make much progress on my project is that we asked Sue to do an entire day of just embroidery stitching instruction, which she did. We all made small samplers with circles and leaves to practice on.

Sue put bags of her personal thread stash on the table and told us to just use her thread and try the various stitches. She uses cotton, silk, linen, wool, rayon, metallic, and chenille threads as well as silk ribbon, beads, and other fibers. She talked about the various characteristics of each thread and showed samples before we started stitching.

I personally tried silken pearl, chenille, pearl cotton and a metallic ribbon floss. She started out by showing us a few of the basic stitches that she uses often and then took requests. I was most interested in learning some of the woven stitches she uses since I need to do them on my 2014 BOM. I'm not a master at them yet, but I feel confident that I can do well enough now.

The last morning we went around and looked at everyone's pieces. Sue gave advice on where to go next to each of us. And we got to hear the stories that go with everyone's pieces. One lady was using her deceased husband's silk ties. Each one had special significance to her. Another lady was journaling all the places she had traveled to or lived in. I took pictures of everyone's pieces but will not show them here because I do not have their permission to do so.

Our classroom was in a banquet hall at the end of a hallway. About halfway down the hallway was this door.

It was always closed so I don't know what is in the room, but check out the sign on the door.

Is this where Hagrid goes on vacation?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Day Three with Sue

Yesterday I learned how to do needle turn applique!!!! Here is me and Sue with my almost completed needle turn applique heart.

I tried needle turn applique 15 years ago and hated it. I've resisted it ever since, until yesterday. I need a lot more practice, but I was pretty pleased with my heart. It was just a practice piece but I might make a label out of it for my class project.

Speaking of my class project, it is starting to take shape. Here is what it looked like yesterday morning.

There will be lots of leaves added to the tree but I haven't cut them all out yet. I got the trunk of the tree tacked down and started appliqueing the roots down.

All the ladies in the class are so much fun, as is Sue. Everyone's projects are so different. It is fun to walk around see them take shape. If you ever get a chance to take a class from Sue, do it, especially if it is a multi-day class. I've learned a lot and we still have two more days.

Tomorrow we will be doing some embroidery stitching. We are all working on small samplers to practice the stitches on. I'll show you mine another day.

I also wanted to show you the view from our condo.

We are looking out on the ski area. The elk is standing on a gas fireplace. We have two rooms plus two bathrooms. One room is the bedroom with two queen size beds. The other room is the kitchen (a full kitchen), plus dining room that seats about 10, and a living room.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Day One of Class with Sue

We arrived around 1 pm today in Steamboat Springs, CO. The hotel is gorgeous and our rooms are fabulous! We had our first session with Sue this afternoon. I got my background started.

I'm not sure where this is going, but I'm having a great time!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I'm off!

Today is the day I've been anticipating for months. I'm off to Steamboat Springs, CO to take a week long class with Sue Spargo at the Rocky Mountain Quilting Adventure. I'm going with a quilting friend. She has been to this before and took the class with David Taylor. If you click on the link you can see her picture at that class! It's the bottom one of the three stacked vertically on the right hand side of the page.

I'm taking my laptop because I will need to check my Adams State University work email in the evenings to see if there is anything I need to do for that job. If I have time I may post a few pictures of what I'm up to, but don't count on it. I will, of course, give a full report when I get back.

Hope you have a good week. I plan to!