It’s been a busy (sunny!!) spring but I’ve gotten to sew some good things lately and I wanted to share a couple of them. I have two big spring birthdays in my life – my mom’s and Pearl’s. They both love pretty handmade things and share a VERY favorite color, purple… which is not really my first pick, but it’s been fun working with some fabrics I don’t always reach for!
If you happen to remember the first quilt I ever made (also a birthday present for my mom!), this year I made her a pillow to go with it! I really like how it turned out. I also got her to open it while she was on the phone with me and the kids, and that was fun!
I’ve recently gotten addicted to sewing Pearl half-yard a-line kid skirts (full tutorial here) and when Ellen Luckett Baker was kind enough to send me some beautiful FQs from her Stamped line with Kokka, the gorgeous purple ladybugs and gingko leaves told me they wanted to be a skirt too. I joined the two FQs with French seams on both short edges and then made a hem and waistband the same way as with a single-fabric half-yard. She LOVES her two-sided skirt! It’s really awesome on. She’ll start out with the ladybugs on the front and then switch to gingkos later in the day. Why not?? Anyway, I highly recommend the 2-FQ approach to kids’ skirt-making! A huge thank-you to Ellen – I love Stamped, her beautiful new collection Folk Modern, 1-2-3 Sew, and now 1-2-3 Quilt!
So now, speaking of sewing awesome things that are purple, I have a yard and a half of Pearl Bracelet in Grape Jelly pre-washing for Pearl’s special fifth birthday dress! I can’t believe she’s going to be five – she is very, very excited and I picked up the big giant 5 candle today for her chocolate cake. I’m also making myself a new Barcelona skirt in Pearl Bracelet Pond (love that color – this will be the seventh Barcelona I’ve sewn!) so we will be sort of matchy. (PS – if you want a cool full-line PB color chart PDF courtesy of Ms. Lizzy House, you can download it here!)
I’ll be writing more about this on the PMQG blog soon, but as guild historian this year I got to help organize our first Documentation Day! Bill Volckening, who has a fabulous quilt collection and appraises quilts professionally as well as working with the wonderful Oregon Quilt Project, photographed each quilt and worked with us to carefully document each one for the Quilt Index. It was a very cool afternoon! We documented ten quilts, including PMQG’s collective Graphic which I love so much, and my Modern Crosses. That made me very happy. We’re planning our second Documentation Day, so stay tuned over there for lots of details coming soon!
I made Pearl an Easter dress a few years ago (which she can still wear as a top) but this year I had my heart set on sewing her a special Easter skirt.
I still love this little dress, but she’s just not a dress kid. She loves wearing skirts, and I thought trying a few of my usual sewing tricks with a half-yard of nice quilting cotton could end up making her a cute elastic-waist skirt. Little did I know it actually is the easiest and quickest skirt method I could have ever imagined! I’m sure someone else has done this type of project a million times but I was pretty thrilled to pull this off. Here’s how I did it. (Note – Pearl is a very tall and lanky four-year-old, so I’d say this would be great general sizing for toddlers and preschoolers, if you adapt the waist to resemble an elastic-waist skirt or simple pair of pants that fits well.)
My first try was with a half-yard of Hello Kitty fabric I bought at West Seattle Fabric Company last summer on our PNW MQG meet-up weekend, improvised as I went with what sounded like it would work the way I pictured in my head. It all went smoothly (ok, I did get the seam ripper out once when my waistband was too narrow, see below) but in about 15 minutes I had a simple, perfect little skirt for her! I took no process photos so I tried to get those snaps while I was making the second skirt… the Easter skirt!!! Pearl and I are going to have mother-daughter Easter skirts with my favorite Denyse Schmidt Aunt Edna/JoAnn diagonal plaid print in the pink colorway (her) and the gold colorway (me!). Unless she desperately wants to wear the Hello Kitty skirt to church. Hmm, maybe I should unveil that one afterwards…
To start, you’ll need a half-yard (18″) of 44″ wide quilting cotton, some 1/2″ flat elastic (you can go wider than this but I’m not sure narrower would work well) threaded through an elastic guide or safety pin, sewing machine, thread, scissors, etc. Pre-wash the fabric and press it, folding it with right sides together and selvages matching at one short edge, so it measures about 18″ tall by 22″ wide folded.
Stitch along the 18″ open side to join the selvages, back-stitching at the beginning and end of the seam, and catching all white or printed selvages within the seam so they don’t show (likely, 1/2″ or so, depending on how wide your printed part is). Press the selvages open. If you’re lucky, you can spotlight the printed section right into the skirt, which is cute! No seam-finishing required if you just use the selvage edges as your only seam (a nice bonus).
Press the bottom raw edge of your fabric cylinder under about 1/2″ towards the wrong side of the fabric, then press again to create a simple double-fold hem. If you have a nice sharp press, you don’t even need to pin all the way around, I just put one in at the seam to keep it neat. Stitch around the hem to secure it, back-stitching at the end to hold the seam.
Now create the waistband (normally I make a skirt waistband first but this pattern is so simple and the waist gathers so much that I think the hem is easiest to make first, my 2¢). Just as you did with the hem, press the top edge under about 1/2″ or a bit less all the way around towards the wrong side.
Now eye how wide your elastic (and most importantly elastic guide or safety pin AND elastic doubled through) is and press your second fold accordingly – you want this channel to be wide enough to accommodate the guide and its elastic cargo slipping through. Stitch around the entire waistband, leaving a 2-inch opening or so at the selvage seam, back-stitching at the beginning and end to hold the seam.
Insert the elastic guide into the opening and slide it into the waist channel, guiding it through with your fingers. (Note – if your guide gets stuck because you stitched a channel that’s too narrow, just seam-rip the rest of the waistband and re-press it with a more generous fold. Ask me how I know…) When you reach the other side, pull the guide out and gather the elastic smoothly, tugging on both ends. Use a skirt that fits your kid well for a general idea of how tightly to gather it.
When it resembles that waistband, pin your elastic in place at that point so it is doubled about an inch, and stitch back and forth multiple times to secure it. Trim threads and guide the stitched elastic back into the waistband at the opening. Now press the waistband opening flat and stitch it closed, back-stitching at the beginning and end of your seam for security.
That’s it! If you pre-wash half-yards of cute fabrics with your regular laundry you will always be ready to sew up a kid’s skirt. Next stop, appliqueing a t-shirt for her in the same pink plaid, plus something fun for Everett too. (Note – I wrote this mostly up on Thursday night and it’s now Saturday morning, and I’ve sewn her two more skirts! They are addictive! I came up with a new idea too and I’ll post that next week… here’s a hint for now – LOVE this fabric:)
Happy Easter/April/spring/skirt weather, everyone!
The kids and I got our valentines for relatives across the country made and in the mail this morning, so that was a relief! These holidays always sneak up on me, and the next thing I know we’re rushing to finish something in time for USPS to get them to all the aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I wanted to share two Valentine’s Day project tutorials I wrote up a few years ago that you might like to make between now and Thursday. They’re both quick and easy and pretty fun!
The first one is felt fortune cookies with a tiny heart on the “fortune” – I love this little project. You can either make one the size of a real cookie, or a teeny-tiny version to wear on a ring. I got a great surprise this week… my little project won second place in a DIY Valentines contest courtesy of Sybille, so I won a prize: a set of washi tape and packaging supplies! Very exciting.
The second is a hand-stitched beaded heart card. This one is very sweet and elementary-school age kids could probably pull it off with a little help, especially if they like hand-sewing.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all and happy 154th birthday to Oregon! I’m deep in some pre-Quiltcon sewing but hoping to share some new projects I’m working on soon – especially skirts and zip bags. Also, plaid puppies, curtains, tablecloths, and pillows. Sewing has been a lot of fun lately, and I’ve been excited to make some new things here and there in between deadlines and kid illnesses (sigh). Hope you have had a chance to make some things you like lately too!
The Modern Quilt Guild recently organized a special drive to make quilts for the Austin’s Children’s Shelter. They sent many of the MQGs packages of Quiltcon blocks to work with and asked each of us to make one twin-sized quilt to donate. The 2012 and 2013 PMQG boards teamed up to work on this project collaboratively, which was fantastic! Our blocks we got for the front are wonky stars, which Heather offered to piece into a twin-sized top. So Anne and I volunteered to work on the back together – I actually love working on quilt backs, I got to make one for our Graphic quilt last year which was really fun! And I love Anne’s quilts so it was really fun to collaborate with her.
Kristin of Sew, Mama, Sew! graciously cut and gave away four bolts of a Kona gray for charity quilting at our November PMQG meeting, and that gift came in very handy for this project. I also pulled some yardage of serene, beautiful Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Aqua, and a Japanese elephant print I bought a FQ of last year seemed like it might find its way in, too.
I adore improvisational piecing and had a lot of fun making a LOVE “bumper sticker” quilt block for Michelle’s Design Camp bee last year. For this project, my idea was to design and stitch a quiet, comforting message for the child who sleeps under it, in an unfamiliar place, so he or she felt a bit more at home… and mix stars of some kind around my words. I chose the simplest little phrase, good night.
Anne offered to piece some stars, big and small, and ended up making 32 of the super easy, slightly wonky log cabin mini-blocks I used for my Starry Night pillow in Modern Log Cabin Quilting for her tiny “twinkling” yellow stars! She emailed me a photo while I was still on the east coast, and I was really excited!
And then, finally home from our Christmas trip and so ready to get started, cutting lots of strips for improv letter-piecing, and waiting and waiting for my trusty iron to heat up… I noticed something. Surprise! My iron had a gnarly injury on its side and was stone-cold and broken. My friend Mary lent me hers – but I couldn’t get it for a couple of hours. So with precious childcare time ticking, my first two un-pressed letters, “go,” were a wrinkly, puffy mish-mash that should clearly illustrate to anyone why ironing is way, way important in our craft. I can’t believe I’m posting this horrible photo, but there you go. Wow, was I happy to get the borrowed iron later that night and press these guys!
So, using simple strips and improv piecing (and a working iron), I stitched up g-o-o-d and n-i-g-h-t and joined them together to form a simple heart of the back to pass along for Anne to work her star magic on. I truly loved this process – meditative and simple and intuitive. No pattern, no tutorial to write. Just good night. On an impulse I fussy-cut a little elephant in the same width as the body of my “i” and dotted it with that. It’s one perfect elephant and one little section of another one floating above it peeking down, reminding me of a mother watching over her child. My children loved the elephants. They both gave the tiny little dot over the i a kiss, and I hope that some of that warmth stays in that quilt when it covers another little one.
The next morning, along with last-second packing for our San Francisco trip, I snapped some quick photos of my little good night block. I loved how the reflection of the blocks’ back – full of seams and stitching – read so clearly in the mirror. Kind of cool!
Then we zipped over to meet Anne for a coffee, handed the blocks and some last bits of fabric to her, and headed out for our trip! Imagine my happiness when she sent me a preview picture of her stars. So awesome!
And here is another snap of the back with extra gray sashing, right before she brought it to Nancy for its beautiful quilting (thank you, Nancy, for your unfailingly generous gifts!!). It’s coming to the PMQG meeting so we can all see it! Then, Petra and Anne will bind it, Michelle will label it, and we’ll ship it to Austin for Quiltcon.
I feel deeply drawn to charity craft projects, and as the mother of two young children, I am especially grateful to contribute to families in need. Quilts for Quake Survivors was a huge gift to be part of with Daniela, and donating to our own Bradley-Angle House through QfQ was a beautiful end to our project.
And I can’t wait to see our collaborative quilt at the PMQG meeting tonight!!! Room 205 at PNCA, 7 pm.
PS – Thank you, THANK YOU for the iron rec comments on my last post! I’m going with a Black & Decker from Fred Meyer for now. Unfortunately they’re currently out of the one I want (this one) but yay, Michelle lent me her back-up iron for this week!
I love Shelly Figueroa‘s work (and her book, Sewing for Boys!) and was so excited to hear about her new sewing class with Craftsy, Romper Revamp. She asked me to review it as part of her blog tour, and of course I said yes!
The class is based on one of her original Figgy’s patterns (designed with the lovely Daniela Caine) – Zephyr, a romper for girls in sizes 18m to 6/7. The class shows not only how to make the romper, but also how to adapt it into a sundress (like Shelly’s version, above) and lengthen it into pants. She details exactly how to measure your child, and use each measurement to figure out her true size – instead of just making a 4 for your four-year-old, for example. Here’s the sheet where I noted Pearl’s measurements. She was very excited about it, and asked if she could color in the little girls after I wrote everything down, so I said sure… so one sea of purple crayon later (I can still make out the numbers, luckily) this has been a collaboration from the start!
I love the original romper design, but the sundress adaptation is just so very Pearl and I had to make it for her. I printed out my sundress PDF pattern sheets and followed the super easy video directions to tape them all together for tracing with my beloved dot pattern paper. Here seems like a good place to mention how very well done the videos are. I have also taken Sewing Machine 911 (via a free link from Sew, Mama, Sew!) and the production value of everything is great. My husband worked in the film industry for years, and I’ve taught craft classes for what feels like forever too, and it’s easy to recognize how much care and detail goes into filming these classes so everything is very clear.
Back to the sundress. This is a real project of the heart for me, reminiscent of my own childhood. Shelly gives a sweet introduction to the five generations of seamstresses in her family, and I immediately thought of my grandmother and the dresses she sewed for me when I was little.
I remember when got to choose my own three prints off the bolt at the fabric store and she made me darling sundresses with them, edged with bias tape. I think this was probably around 1980 – I loved wearing this one to school and to camp in the summer. The other two (which I also still have for Pearl to grow into, thanks to my mom) are a pattern of cheerful frogs and lilypads on blue, and one of dozens of little tiny Strawberry Shortcakes on pink.
So when I planned this dress for Pearl, I thought of the vintage strawberry fabrics I’ve been saving for the last few years, and prewashed and pressed all three of the ones I liked best. The green print has also surfaced in Pearl’s first pair of handmade pants (Burda 9772, 6m size) and last year’s Mic-Mac II.
Here is where I wish (I really wish) I could go on to say “and now here’s the super cute finished sundress!” and show a pretty photo. But this week packed a punch, with two sick little kids back to back, a couple of my precious childcare days evaporating to stay home with them, and a round of tech edits due – so the pattern tracing stage is where I’m at.
But unlike a traditional class, where I probably would have missed my chance to finish my project with the teacher helping – that’s fine, because the beauty of the Craftsy class is that it is totally evergreen. I have Shelly’s video lesson paused right where I stopped, and I’m excited to jump back in after I’m back from Seattle. So it’s perfect for people like me, who love to take classes and learn new things… but have a tight schedule, are outnumbered by their young children, or just like to sew at their own pace. When I finish Pearl’s dress (I’m so excited about making the braided straps…), I’ll post the second half of the review with a picture of it! Then, whenever I have time to make a romper version, I can dip right back into that section of the lesson and get sewing again. Once you buy a class, it’s yours forever, so if you want to make another version of your project a year from now, it’s right there.
If you’d like to take Shelly’s class too, Craftsy has generously offered a 50% discount through this link! There’s a super cute project photo gallery and lots of extras included, and Shelly is a wonderful teacher – kind, down-to-earth, and fun. Check out the other reviews and posts on the blog tour here (including many finished Zephyrs). Thank you to Shelly and Craftsy for offering me the chance to take the class!
I am a big fan of Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars blog, and was lucky to take her pear-vanilla jam class here in Portland last year. She’s coming back this week to teach a strawberry-lemon jam class again, plus she’s having a book party at Powell’s on Hawthorne/Pastaworks to celebrate her new cookbook – also called Food in Jars!
I got a review copy from Running Press last week, and have loved hanging out with it and planning some summer projects… Marisa not only clearly explains the techniques behind water-bath canning and preserving, she really engages the reader to show how fun it can be to choose your favorite fresh ingredients, make something amazing with them, and save your work for six months out, when you’re thoroughly bored with the contents of your pantry and could use a summery treat. My grandmother canned a household’s worth of vegetables every summer and fall – I know I can’t pull that off, no matter how industrious I am. But I can make homemade jam for a year’s worth of my daughter’s favorite PB&J roll-ups, and maybe half a year’s tomato sauce for the four of us (if I’m ambitious).
First up will hopefully be the jam. I am so excited to take my kids to pick berries… raspberries, marionberries, and blueberries are our favorites. That’s what feels like summer in Oregon to me – I have high hopes for July.
I’ve also been wanting to make more homemade drinks, and the syrup recipes Marisa shares (to mix with seltzer, or make cocktails) are super inspiring.
She also offers a nice selection of food-safe, shelf-stable tomato sauce recipes to try. Last summer I froze all my homemade sauces, but I want to try my hand at some shelf-stable recipes this time around… I have six tomato plants in my garden, a case of quart jars downstairs, and my fingers crossed.
I didn’t take any photos of her recipe pages, but some of the ones I’ve bookmarked and I’m super excited to try are lime curd, roasted corn salsa, cranberry syrup, blueberry-lemon syrup, vanilla salt, pear-ginger jam, and slow-cooker pear butter. We have a Bartlett pear tree in its third summer and two dozen tiny pears growing this year!
In addition to all the water-bath canning tips, techniques and recipes, Marisa offers some alternate ideas – helpful details on freezing and preserving all kinds of other things (including both a favorite chocolate cake and beer bread dry mix to give as gifts!), and pressure canning. I really appreciate her focus on avoiding BPA and other leaching toxins, and practical, real-life advice on food safety.
The book ends with a few pages you can write your own notes in, a really nice touch. During her class I added two pages of notes to my family cookbook – I love keeping track of things like that.
If you can make it to her Portland book party, here are all the details!
Food in Jars signing + party
Powell’s on Hawthorne
3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland
Saturday, June 16, 2-4 pm
(and if you can’t make it, you can pre-order a signed copy!)
PS: Also on Saturday, I’m super excited to be a judge at the Second Annual Captain Picard Day!!! at 6 pm at Floating World Comics (400 NW Couch St. downtown). Please make a TNG craft or art piece, bring it on by, and hang out with us… or just enjoy everyone else’s Picard awesomeness. I’ll be adding some World of Geekcraft comics magnet kits to the prizes and would love to say hello. Thank you to Zachary for asking me to be part of the evening!
This spring has kind of brought a bit of everything at once – rainy, then sunny, then rainy again… crazy busy, then blissed out on vacation, then back to the laptop… sewing, cooking, gardening, a long-awaited new fence, birthdays, and bagels! I have a lot of catching up to do, so I wanted to share some of my May favorites (so far).
The first Friday of the month, I took an amazing class from my friend Heather and learned how to make homemade bagels – such a great morning. I wasn’t sure I could duplicate her magic and skill at home, but sure enough, my first two dozen bagels (half sesame, half plain) following her recipe and tips turned out pretty perfect. I’m in love. Thank you, Heather!!
Then, my sweet Pearl turned four (!) so I just had to drop everything else and make her a birthday skirt. I fell in love with an apron at a vintage store in Silverton last month, and cut it up to make the cutest little skirt for her. She’s a big girl now who won’t wear anything except exactly what she wants to, so I kind of held my breath while she opened the new tote bag I sewed her to see what was inside…
but she loved it and put it right on for her birthday party and beyond. Happiness! I also got to make my favorite cupcakes (with purple frosting, by request) and a “triple berry cake” (aka blueberry boy bait + raspberries + marionberries). The girl loves her sweets, and you only turn four once.
I forgot to get a first-day shot of planting my garden this spring, but this is about three or four weeks in (I started later than usual, after an epically rainy March). Everything is loving it so far – from left to right, it’s spinach, mustard greens, dinosaur kale, white russian kale, and chard. I have beets and leeks in a smaller bed and I’m hoping to put in my tomatoes soon too, then summer squash a little later on. Tucked behind all the greens, which you can’t really see, I finally took my herbs out of all their random-sized containers and dug them into a real garden bed. I also rescued my little blueberry bushes and pomegranate from the relentless grass invasion all that rain brought, and we have about two dozen tiny Bartlett pears nestled in on our tree! I’m pretty excited… almost five years into living in our house, I feel like my yard is finally becoming what I hoped for, after a lot of baby steps forward (most recently, a birthday sandbox and a new fence!). We have flowers, native plants, and succulents planted on one side of the house, and herbs, berries, and the vegetable garden on the other.
We went away with the kids for a very needed long weekend to Mt. Hood on Wednesday and stayed at the sweetest cabin. Such a beautiful place, right on a creek, with a hammock and a hot tub and green everywhere you looked.
Along with lots of easy 18-month-old-friendly hikes, splashing in the Columbia River, skipping stones in the creek, and getting an ice cream cone in Hood River, we headed up to Timberline Lodge for a grilled cheese (Pearl and Everett) and a glass of wine (me and Andrew) and spent half an hour gazing out the window at this view. The photo above is just a regular old iPhone snapshot, no editing or anything.
This second one is a Hipstamatic from the same spot. (I find it totally impossible to stop taking photos of Mt. Hood.) Bonus – I just learned from Merritt that those amazing cloud formations we were admiring, gracefully skirting the summit, are called lenticular!
I bought this dreamy little succulent dish garden with two teeny cairns and a few seashells mixed in at the Saturday Market in Hood River. So beautiful! I wish the vendor (Rose) had a card so I could credit her, but she said she was just getting started and this was her first event ever…
Midway through our idyllic getaway was a really awesome May PMQG meeting I drove back for. I am so excited that Nancy finished quilting my Oceanside quilt and I got to share it at show and tell! She did a really cool all-over quilting pattern of waves with three whales here and there – a small, medium, and big one. I love whales so much and this was just perfect.
If anyone is interested in the process, I’m hoping to write up a longer post about how I made Oceanside… and it will be at Sisters so I’m very excited about that!
Hopefully I’ll have a side-by-side photo of the quilt with the Oceanside sign that inspired it to share soon too…
It’s been a whirlwind month, but I wanted to post about a few things I got to do that I’m excited about…
I won a wonderful surprise gift certificate from collage (thank you!!) and picked out some amazing art supplies for the kids’ Easter baskets,
finally got the chance to bring my Oceanside quilt to life (it was inspired by a photo I took at the beach in 2009… and now it’s pieced, backed, and at Nancy’s for longarm quilting!),
It’s this Sunday, April 29, at 4:00. Shawn (author of the stellar Criminal Crafts) and I would love to see you there for making ransom notes and comics magnets, plus drinks, snacks, and mysterious surprises! Barbara of MBTB has kindly ordered copies of Modern Log Cabin Quilting and Button It Up, too, so if you ever wanted to get one of my books signed (while learning how to make invisible ink, courtesy of Shawn), here’s your chance!
If you go:
Criminal Crafts + World of Geekcraft Book Party
Sunday, April 29 at 4pm
Murder By The Book, 3210 SE Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland
Drinks, snacks, craft projects and book signing
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!