It took me awhile to finish my name tag (you can see a couple dozen awesome ones from February’s meeting over here btw!), because I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to write/print/embroider West Coast Crafty. I was dreaming of Gocco, but finally went super-simple with a lovely turquoise Sharpie from Collage.
Loving my 2012 craft project journal from Ex Libris Anonymous…
Finished name tag! I used blue Pearl Bracelet from Lizzy House for my main section and binding-tape lanyard, and yellow Peacock Lane from Violet Craft for my pennants, and the back. I embroidered my name, stitched down my bias tape, pinned the pennants in place, and then used Pellon 71F heavy interfacing for it instead of batting, stitched around 3 sides, trimmed and carefully turned it, fully fused it on the back, and then turned the raw edges in on the bottom and top-stitched the perimeter.
I’m confident there’s a prettier way to add the pinback than invisible thread, but oh well. I like the back and that cheery yellow!
At the February meeting (which was completely awesome and included a stellar talk by Kathy Miller and a Cotton Couture color card for each of us!),
I got to wear my finished Lisette market skirt. Hooray! I bought the Denyse Schmidt fabric at JoAnn at the end of January, started cutting and sewing it at the Fabric Depot All Day Sew and stitched the buttons on the day before the meeting. I really like this pattern.
Here are my thoughts:
1. I made View B which I think is super cute, but it’s short. Really, really short by my late-thirties’ standards (I think 18″) so I “hemmed” it with folded twill tape right over the raw edge, instead of losing any more length. When I sew it again, I’m adding a couple inches to its length for sure!
2. The six pieces (front center + sides, back center + sides), look REALLY similar on your sewing table. I notched them all (thank goodness) and was still struggling to figure out which were front, back, side, center, anything. Don’t unpin them all at once (oops).
3. Choose big, striking buttons for the plackets. I really loved how that defined the skirt style along with the neatly top-stitched panel seams. It’s really cool how the plackets also create an avenue for a belt, tie or scarf, like stylish belt loops.
4. This is a nice efficient pattern that will give you good-sized scraps for patchwork – yay – or… a headband! I sewed a headband to match and I really love it, on days where my messy hair is kind of driving me crazy it is a nice polished feeling. If you’d like to make one too, I love Caitlin’s tutorial, I just adapt it a bit for my love of vintage and excessive amount of long, thick hair.
Ok, last sewing thing! I’m really excited for our PMQG field trip to the Sew Expo in Puyallup, Washington this weekend! Nancy, Brittany, Rachel, Kaci, Cherri, Michelle, and I are all heading up to check out the show, the first time I’ve been in 10 years. If you are going too, I’m doing a book signing for both Modern Log Cabin Quilting and World of Geekcraft at the Pendleton Woolen Mills booth on Saturday from 10am-12noon, please come by and say hi and get a free quilt block or magnet kit. I’d love to meet you!
I wanted to share a tutorial for making cute, simple patchwork (or patterned fabric) tote bags for kids – perfect for sending to The Littlest Warriors project over at Craft Hope, which is also the PMQG charity quilting opportunity for February. I used two 12” quilt blocks/pieces of fabric for a child’s size bag, but I included some suggestions for sizing them up for sturdier adult-size versions – plus some of my other favorite tote tutorials – at the end of the post. I hope you like them!
A quick note: I sew in a basement room without a whole lot of childcare time, and it’s February in the Pacific Northwest, so be forewarned that these photos aren’t exactly professionally lit or painstakingly staged. It’s a simple tutorial though, so hopefully you can follow along easily – I made these two tote bags in about an hour and a half, counting all the quilt block piecing! If you use stash blocks or just cut solid pieces of fabric, you can fly through these. My goal is to make 5 for the littlest warriors by the March 12 deadline – all the details are here.
-Two quilt blocks (or solid pieces of fabric) in the 11”-12” square range for the outer sides of the bag. I used 12” blocks and fabric squares.
-If using quilt blocks: muslin, the same size as your blocks, or slightly bigger, for reinforcing them
-Lining fabric of your choice, the same size as your outer blocks or fabric
-1.5 yards of webbing for handles
-Thread, rotary cutter, quilt ruler + mat, scissors, iron, sewing machine
1. Cut two pieces of fabric (I used an Alexander Henry zoo print for my blue bag) or piece two quilt blocks of your choice, approximately 12” square. (You can also make them smaller or bigger if you like – 12” makes a nice toddler/preschooler-to-elementary-school size).
This is a great project for stash quilt blocks, or if you need to piece up two quick ones, log cabin is an easy one! I made a random log cabin block in the six yellow fabrics I originally used in my Bright Furrows quilt from Modern Log Cabin Quilting. To make two 12” blocks like these, cut 6 selvage-to-selvage (44”) strips that are 1.75” wide, in the quilting cottons of your choice. Here’s a short video of how I piece log cabin blocks…
For an approximately 12” block, you’ll start with a 1.75” center square in one of the fabrics and add 4 tiers of logs using different fabrics in any order, piecing clockwise and pressing when each tier is completed. Press front and back and square up your blocks.
2. If you’re using quilt blocks, quilt them with a muslin backing (or use the technique of your choice) to add stability. I quilted a square outline pattern about 1/8” outside the center square and then each tier (you can see this more easily in the photo that precedes step #4). Press again and trim excess so your blocks are square. (This would also be a great project for foundation piecing/quilting as you go!)
4. Pin the two outer pieces together around three sides, right sides facing and leaving the top open, and then repeat the same way with the lining fabrics. Stitch the three sides with a 1/2″ inch seam allowance, back-stitching at the beginning and end to hold the seam. You’ll sew the outer and lining sections together the same way.
5. Make box corners by pressing the corners into flat triangles with the seams pressed open, pinning them, and stitching 1” in from the corner. You’ll do this the same way for the outer and lining bag sections.
6. Trim the extra fabric at each corner, as shown.
This is what your finished box corner will look like from the outside!
7. Now turn the outer bag right side out and tuck the lining in, making sure they fit snugly together. Turn the raw edges of both the bag and lining under and press them evenly (you can turn under 1/4″ to 1/2″, depending on how bulky your quilted outer section is – just keep your bag and lining consistent). Pin the bag and lining together all around the perimeter of the opening.
8. Cut two 18” lengths of webbing for handles and pin each of them in place. I placed mine 2” (patchwork) and 2.5” (wholecloth) in from the side seam – I followed the outer edge of the second tier of my log cabin blocks as a guideline for my patchwork tote, and eyed it with my wholecloth one. Just make sure they’re even with one another and match the handle on the other side, and that the handles aren’t twisted!
9. Edge-stitch around the perimeter of the bag, catching both layers evenly, and then reinforce the four handles with double-stitching.
To make a larger/adult size, try starting with 15” or 16” quilt blocks or fabric squares (and same-size lining) instead of 11”/12”, and reinforcing the blocks with a home dec weight fabric instead of muslin. You can cut your handles to 24” each (instead of 18”), too.
Some other tutorials I like:
-The Purl Bee’s Twenty-Minute Tote (my original inspiration – an adult-sized bag without lining or box corners)
-The Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag tutorial
-And here are four other tote bags I’ve made for my own kids and their friends in this same style!
So, the March 12 deadline is two weeks from tomorrow… I would love to cheer you on if you are sewing for the littlest warriors too! Please comment or keep me posted on what you’re making, and I will be so excited to share photos of all the finished bags and hats I see. Thank you!!
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!
Last night after work and school, we had a mini-marathon family Valentine-making party, with some secret projects in different rooms, and a lot of construction paper action. Pearl and I worked on decorating one for Andrew (which I bought at Hammer Press in Kansas City last fall, one of my favorite cards I’ve ever snapped up), shortly after the two of them made me a pretty killer all-handmade one with lots of hearts and a super-sweet message inside. It wasn’t hard to distract Everett away from Pearl working on one with a vivid portrait of him on the front, and after she went to bed I pinked a heart from my favorite Denyse Schmidt dots and sewed it on a card for her. Whew! This was our breakfast table this morning with grandparent Valentines waiting to be opened too. It was fun!
Pearl also made a whole family of Valentines for her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, which I just loved. Andrew cut out hearts and she proudly drew each member of the family. They each got emailed photos today and hopefully the real thing will roll into their mailboxes shortly too!
But if you are over the age of three and a half and after some truly gorgeous last-minute Valentines, please stop by the Hello!Lucky blog and download any or all of their free (!) vintage-inspired Valentine cards! My favorite is the cuckoo clock but they’re all awesome. Thank you, Hello!Lucky!
I stopped by Collage this morning and picked up some treasures, including some good Easter presents for Miss Pearl (I never seem to be following some cool blog schedule of sharing my Valentine’s stuff early enough to do anyone else any good, then Easter stuff when anyone else might also actually be thinking about it too… oh well). The markers, one Moleskine, and the sun print paper are all for her. The other Moleskines might find a home with me, I have an idea I’ve been wanting to try to customize a plain journal. Maria was so awesome and helped me find just what I was looking for – including markers that don’t dry out when the lid vanishes into playroom chaos. Who knew?!
I’ve been working on my PMQG name tag this week and was so happy to track down the exact Sharpie I needed there in that perfect turquoise color, so I can write west coast crafty on my white bias tape before I stitch it down. Here it is in progress, looking a little worse for wear after a tote-bag trip for matching purposes. I’m so excited to finish mine, and see everyone’s name tags at our February meeting! If you want to make one too, here are lots of inspiration photos, courtesy of Heather, and Petra’s original post with photos from her presentation at our January meeting.
Last, here’s some more info about the Collage party. It sounds so fun… hoping to go for sure!
If you go:
Collage’s Sellwood Grand Opening!
Saturday, February 18 from 10-6
Special discounts and 60+ raffles, all day!
7907 SE 13th Ave. in Sellwood’s Historic Antique Row, Portland
Okay, I’m off to make a red wine chocolate cake. Have a wonderful V-day!
I’ve had a lot of fun sewing these little 25-minute totes for my kids, and now for a couple of their friends – they’ve been an easy go-to birthday present, paired with a drawing or card from Pearl. I’ve made a button version for Pearl and an owl version for Everett, and packed them up with books and art supplies for Christmas presents. They were a big hit!
Since then I’ve sewn a frog version with ribbon handles for Pearl’s buddy Ellie, and a rocket-ship applique on outer-space-worthy star fabric for her very best friend Rowan.
But now I am starting up a new round of my tote-sewing for Craft Hope’s project 16: the littlest warriors. Jade of Craft Hope has teamed up with Melanie – a friend whose son Pierce has battled leukemia for three years – to collect totes and soft hats and beanies for children fighting cancer.
You can make hats or totes from any pattern for children of all ages, babies through teenagers, and send them to Melanie (all info here). She’ll distribute them to the patients who need hope the most… a colorful, happy surprise present to make the days at the hospital a little shorter.
As Jade shared, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer every weekday, and 7 children die every single weekday, too. But there is hope. Pierce, who’s now four and a half, had his last chemo treatment on February 11, a day he’d been counting down to. As Jade wrote, he is winning! My mom is a cancer survivor and the kindness of friends and strangers alike has been a huge gift to her, one I am humbled to give back.
So this isn’t a Valentine’s Day post really, except that it’s about love. I have some Valentine’s posts and free projects to share here, here, here, and here. But the one I hope you’ll also take a look at is here – my simple kid-sized version of the Purl Bee’s 20-minute tote. It’s easy and you can stitch up two of them from contrasting third-yard cuts of fabric and two yards of twill or ribbon, if you’re so inclined. The deadline is March 12 and all details are over here. My goal is to sew and send five bags with little surprises inside, hopefully more if I have the sewing time. If you want to team up on shipping bags or hats from Portland, let me know!
Wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day, and of course a happy
152nd 153rd birthday to Oregon! Here are the valentines Pearl made for all the kids at her preschool, using some fun things from Collage…
…and writing her name on the back of each one! This was a fun and easy little Everett’s-nap project this weekend. She did everything herself except cut the paper up.
Speaking of Collage, they are having their grand opening party for the Sellwood store on Saturday, February 18! And our next PMQG meeting is this Thursday, February 16 at PNCA. We have some fun stuff planned this month, and I hope to see you there!
I recently got a review copy of Brett Bara‘s fabulous new book, Sewing in a Straight Line, and I’m a huge fan! Brett shares 28 projects to make, from skirts and handbags to quilts and home projects – but the twist is that they’re all made by sewing beginner-friendly straight lines only. She uses very clever techniques to shape those simple seams and hems into stylish finished pieces you’ll love.
For my first SIASL project, I decided to make a set of Brett’s beautiful Folded Flower Bowls in the small and medium sizes. (Update: Brett has a video showing how to make these, too!) I loved the wholecloth versions in the book, but thought it would be really fun to try them with a simple quilt block instead of a plain fabric square. I’ve been saving the jelly roll that Monica Solario-Snow kindly gave me of her lovely, colorful Happy Mochi Yum Yum fabric collection for something special… and this turned out to be the perfect (little) project for them.
I stitched a few strips together and pressed and top-stitched them, then paired them with a solid color for the other side of the bowl. Using Brett’s clear, nicely illustrated instructions, I backed the two sides with interfacing, sewed and turned them, and transformed them from flat squares to smoothly shaped three-dimensional rounds with a few well-placed seams!
I used Decor Bond for my heavy-weight interfacing, which gives the bowls a nice body and definition, but I had a hard time keeping the fabric from showing ripples and crinkles once it had been turned and folded a few times. A tiny iron (I borrowed this one from Amy after misplacing the cord of mine!) and steaming the inside of the bowl worked really well for shaping and smoothing the fabrics. I definitely recommend this trick!
I really like the small size (which starts with a 6.5″ square). Here it is in patchwork and plain versions.
These are the two bowls I made to keep – cross-hatches in a small-scale Heath red and a bolder navy print by Lotta Jansdotter.
What about the other two bowls? Well, I’ll be giving them away, along with a copy of Brett’s book, at the February PMQG meeting! Heather, Petra, Nancy, Ale and I are going to be posting new sewing and quilting book reviews on our blogs every month, and then giving away copies of the books at the monthly meetings. I’m up first, so here is mine!
And our own Michelle Freedman will be doing an improvisational patchwork demo for our 10-minute tutorial (these 2 photos are from her super fun improv demo/game at our All Day Sew on Saturday).
Thank you to Potter Craft for the book, and to Monica for the beautiful fabric. I’m excited to share them! Along with the book and patchwork bowls, we have some very special prizes to give away… hope to see you there, Thursday, February 16 from 7-9 at PNCA!