Monday, May 9, 2016

Creatively Yours Zipper Pouch

I love those little mini charm packs! As a pattern designer, I am always thinking how I can use these precuts to make something fun. I like to just use one pack, because if you need two, it is the same price as a Charm Pack (5" squares), which seems a little wasteful. sound logic can be such a downer.

Here are some of the projects I have come up with for mini charms packs. This is my newest. I wanted something fun to bring to Quilt Market this year. This type of pattern is nice for classes and retreats. People can make several to give out to friends and family, after they make one or two for themselves :)  The variety of colors and fabrics comes together so nicely, and you just need one fat quarter for the bottom and lining. Picking out the zipper is half the fun of the bag, with all of the gorgeous colors to choose from.

This pattern below is for three different pillows. Each pillow is made with one mini charm pack! If you want to be economical, you can buy one Charm Pack and cut all of the 2 1/2" squares yourself, ops, is that too practical??

I don't blog much, and oddly enough one of my old posts is on MINI CHARM PACKS. Why am I seemly obsessed by these little guys?? I don't want to repeat my older post, but I will show you a few pictures of my older mini charm patterns. These two are equally addictive and also great for classes and retreats. If you want to have a class making any of these projects, ask your local quilt shop, I bet they will say yes!
Basket of Charms pattern

Mini Charm Drawstring Bag

I hope I have inspired you to break out your mini charm squares and make a few things! Here is another idea. Next time you work with a jelly roll, save the scraps! I always cut my jelly roll scraps into 2 1/2" squares and put them in a little baggie, so sometimes I don't even have to buy one of these little guys. Happy Sewing!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

75 Fun Fast Fat Quarter Quilts

About a year ago I was approached by C & T Publishing to submit an idea for a new book they were working on. They were looking for quilt ideas that could have several various, so you could use the same pattern several times and come up with a different quilt each time. I was so excited when they picked my design to be included in their new book!

 The book is called 75 Fun Fat-Quarter Quilts and this is a blog hop tour! If you go over to my Facebook page, you can enter to win a free copy of the book. Domestic winners get a hard copy and international winners get a digital copy. If you want to check out my book and my individual patterns, head over to my Sweet Jane's Etsy Shop to see what is there. 

Let me introduce my quilt! We had to name each variation, so I used names from my family. I made the block a little bigger than I usually do, so the quilt will go together faster. My main quilt has sashing with no borders.
                    I used a Fat Quarter bundle of Fresh Cut by Basic Grey for Moda. 

My variations include a border, which increases the size of the quilt to fit a bed. There are directions for no sashing, and also examples of turning the blocks different ways to change the whole look of the quilt. I also have directions for swapping the light and dark fabrics. I wish I could show you more pictures of the variations, but I guess you will need to buy (or win!) a copy of the book for that.

There are 14 different contributors to this book, each with a unique design and a bunch of variations. I am always getting questions from quilters on how to change the quilt patterns they purchase from I know there are a bunch of people out there who will really appreciate written directions for all sorts of variations.

Here are the other stops on the blog tour. You can enter to win for each blog, so good luck!

12/17 Kate Colleran (that’s me!)
12/18 Sue Pfau
12/20 Ellen Murphy

12/22 Jo Kramer
I wanted to include a few more pictures of quilts in the book, some of my favorites!

Good luck! Remember, to enter to win my giveaway for a copy of 75 Fun Fat Quarter Quilts, head over to my Facebook page to enter!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Simple Owl Tote Bag Tutorial

I made this awesome tote bag as a teacher gift this year. Usually I cut everything up and then piece it together, like most self respecting quilter's would do. But this teacher loves OWLS, and you can't cut up material this adorable. So here are some directions if you would like to make this tote yourself.     I copied most of the directions from a pieced bag pattern that I sell. If you like my tutorial, you should check out my pattern shop. I have patterns for quilts and a few pieced bags.

Just a word about the accent fabric I used. This fabric is called Sketch for Timeless Treasures. This fabric comes in a bunch of colors and they have saved my butt more times than I can count. They work out great as neutral blenders and binding. I have an assortment in my house and they are very useful to have laying around!! I found a shop on Etsy that sells a really nice bundle.

Finished measurement of this tote is: 14"T x 17"W x 6"D

1/2 yard main novelty fabric
1 fat quarter or 1/3 yard cut for accent fabric (top and bottom fabric)
5/8 yard of fabric for lining
7/8 yard of medium or decor weight interfacing (I use Pellon 809)

From the accent fabric for the top and bottom, cut:
(2) 3" x 18 1/2" strips
(1) 12" x 18 1/2" rectangle

From the main novelty fabric, cut:
(2) 10" x 18 1/2" rectangles (make sure you cut it so the print is going horizontal....for example, my owls wouldn't be as cute turned 90 degrees)
(2) strips 4" x 24" for straps

From the lining fabric, cut:
1 rectangle, 18 1/2" x 36"

From the interfacing, cut:
1 rectangle, 18 1/2" x 36"
2 strips, 4" x 24"

One piece of low loft batting, I use a cotton or cotton blend, 22" x 40" to quilt the outer bag.
(Optional..... and you need to buy extra interfacing for this. If you DON'T want to quilt your bag, cut one additional rectangle of interfacing 18 1/2" x 36" for your outer section).

If you want to make a pocket, I suggest (2) 8" x 16" pieces of fabric and one piece of interfacing the same size. I am not including directions for a pocket in this tutorial.


Arrange the fabric for the outer bag section and sew the pieces together. Be sure that your novelty fabric will be facing the right way when the bag is upright!!

Layer a piece of low loft batting under the outer bag section. Spread smooth over the batting and safety pin the two layers together at 4” to 6” intervals. If you want to use fusible interfacing in place of the batting and quilting, that is fine too.

Using a quilter’s ruler and rotary cutter, trim the batting off around the edges of the outer bag section.

Prepare the Lining, Straps and Pockets

1.  Iron the fusible interfacing onto the wrong side of the straps and the lining (follow the directions on the interfacing).

If you want to add a pocket, sew it onto the lining now! (I forget to do this now half the time...)

2. Working on the outer bag section first, fold in half with the right sides together and sew down each side with a ¼” seam allowance, or larger if necessary. Make sure you use the same seam allowance for the lining! Take the lining section and also fold that in half with the right sides together. Sew one side closed. Start sewing the other side closed, but leave a 4” to 5" section of the side open in the middle of the side. You will turn your bag through this opening in the side. Make sure you sew the bottom of the side and the top of the side. Also backstitch over the seam where you start and stop near the opening.

3. Trimming the corners.   To construct a flat bottom, you must trim the corners. Keep each section of the bag with the wrong side facing out. Flatten out the corner so the seam is in the middle of the “V” that the corner makes. Snip the seam open at the point. Press the seam open. To ensure that the seam is centered, place the 3 ¼” line on the ruler directly over the seam. Also place the point of the “V” at the 3 ¼” horizontal line on your ruler. Make sure there are equal amounts of fabric on either side of the seam. If there isn’t you need to readjust the corner to move the seam. 

4. Draw a line across the corner. It should be 6 ½” wide. Sew across the line. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam. Repeat for the other corner. Trim off the excess piece of the corner, leaving a ¼” seam allowance. Turn the outer section of the bag so the right side is facing out and press the side seams. Repeat for the lining section, but leave the lining section with the right side facing in.

5. Prepare the straps. Make sure the interfacing is ironed onto the back of the strap fabric. Fold the 4” x 24” fabric in half lengthwise and crease with the iron. Fold each half in toward the center crease so each raw edge will almost meet in the center. Press. Fold again on the original center line. All of the raw edges will be hidden. Topstitch with an 1/8” seam allowance on each side of the straps with matching thread. Make two.

6. The outer section of the bag should be right side facing out. Find the center of the outer portion of the bag on each side of the bag. Measure 3” out from each side of the center and pin the ends of the straps in place. The insides of the straps will be 6” apart. The raw edges of the straps will line up with the raw edges of the bag and the straps will be “pointing” down. Sew the top of each strap onto the bag within the seam allowance. Sew over each strap several times to secure them to the bag.

7. The outer portion of the bag should be right side facing out. The inner lining should be wrong side facing out. Place the outer portion of the bag inside the lining portion. The right sides of the outer and inner portions of the bag should be facing each other. The straps should be tucked inside the bag.

8. Match up the side seams and pin. Pin the two sections together along the raw edges.  Sew all the way around the top section, completely closing up the bag. I like to use a seam allowance a little bigger than a ¼” to be on the safe side. You have to catch all of the fabric and sew below where you attached the straps.

9. Find the hole in the lining and put your hand in. Start pulling the bag through the hole so the right side of the fabric is showing. Push out all of the corenrs. Tuck in the unsewn seam in the opening, press and pin closed, then sew closed. Push the lining inside of the outer portion of the bag.

10. Press the top seam of the bag. Topstitch the top edge of the bag with a coordinating thread. I like to press the side seams of the bag now as well. You are done, I hope you love your bag! Visit my shop for more patterns, and check out my book!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quilting Tutorial to make a Library Tote from scraps!

The fabric I used in this bag is Figures by Zen Chic for Moda
 I have been making these library totes from my scraps. They are in pretty high demand (by friends and family) because they are adorable and useful! I make mine simply, so there are no pockets, but feel free to add some yourself. I am thinking of putting an Iphone pocket in the lining next time I make one.

The bags measure 9 1/2" Tall x 11" Wide x 4" Deep
I am showing pictures with some variations, but the following directions and all of the measurements make my favorite looking bag (after I did a lot of experimenting). The bags that I am writing directions for are the center and right bags in the above the picture.

  • Scraps of fabric at least 8 1/2" long for the body. You want a nice variety, so at least 5 or 6 different fabrics. Cut 16 to 20 strips 8 1/2" long in varying widths between 2 1/4" and 1 1/2"
  • 2 strips in the same fabric, 2 1/2" x 12 1/2" for the top strip of the bag
  • 2 light strips of the same color, 1" x 12 1/2" to separate the body from the top strip
  • 1 rectangle, 4 1/2" x 12 1/2" for the bottom
  • 2 strips the same color, 4" x 14" for the straps
  • 1 piece of fabric, 12 1/2" x 24 1/2" for the lining (with some creative piecing you can use a fat quarter)
  • You need 3/8 of yard. Cut it into:
  • 1 piece, 12 1/2" x 24 1/2"
  • 2 strips 4" x 14" for the handles

The straps aren't in this picture, my bad..oops, the lining isn't here either...

Let's get started!
1. Sew your 8 1/2" strips together to form 2 sections that are 12 1/2" wide or a bit wider. Press.

2. Trim each section to be 8" x 12 1/2". When you are trimming the ends, you may have to trim from both sides so you don't have too narrow of a strip at one end.

3. Line all of the pieces up following the picture below and sew them together. I like to press the seam allowances of the 1" strip away from itself, so that that strip is recessed in your bag.

You don't have to quilt your outer layer, you can apply the interfacing to it instead if you prefer :)

4. I like the look of quilted bags, so I lay my outer bag on top of a piece of low loft cotton or cotton mix batting. You would need to quilt it as desired, which this tutorial doesn't cover. . This tutorial walks you through the quilting is great! Just remember, you are only putting the batting and outer bag section together, NO BACKING!! Trim the batting from the edges when you are done.

5. Now iron the interfacing onto the lining and straps. Be sure to follow the manufactures instructions. Start in the middle of your fabric and work your way out to eliminate the chance of creases in your fabric.

6. Fold the lining and the outer bag section in half with right sides together and pin.  Sew a little more than 1/4" seam allowance on each side of both sections. I sew 3/8" because I have a nice line on my machine for that.

7. Trim the corners to make the bottom flat. Start by clipping the ends of the seam so you can press the entire seam open.

 8. Place a quilters ruler on the flattened corner, as shown in the picture below. Line up the 2" line on the ruler with the seam of the bag. Be sure the tip of the bag corner is on the 2" horizontal line of the ruler and the bottom of the ruler spans 4" across the corner of the bag. If you can't get all of these things to line up, you need to readjust where the seam allowance falls, it isn't in the middle of the triangle that your flattened corner forms. When you get the ruler positioned correctly on the bag, draw a line 4" across the corner. You can see it in the next picture. 

 9. Sew across the line. Make sure you backstitch in the beginning and end of your stitches. Trim the corner off of the bag, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat for each of the corners on your outer bag and lining.

 10. Prepare the straps. Fold each in half and press. Then, fold each side of the halves in toward the center, so the raw edges of both sides almost touch. Press. Fold again on the original fold line, so none of the raw edges are showing.

 11. Topstitch each side of the straps in a coordinating thread. Basically a topstitch is sewing an 1/8" away from the edge.

12. Attach the straps to the outer bag. Turn the outer bag so the right side is showing. Find the center of each side of your bag. Mark the center with a pin. Measure 2" out from the center and pin one of the ends of the strap onto the bag. Place the other end of the bag strap 2" away from the pin on the other side. Repeat for the other side of the bag. The raw edges of the straps should be lined up with the raw edges of the bag and the straps will be pointing down. The space between the straps should be 4" across. Sew across the top of the straps several times to secure them to the bag. Sew close to the top of the bag to insure your stitches will be within the seam allowance when you sew the lining onto the bag.

13. Put the outer bag portion inside the lining portion. The outer bag will be right side out, and the lining will be wrong side out, so basically the right sides will be facing each other. Tuck the straps inside.

14. Pin the two sections together all around the bag. Start by aligning and pinning the side seams. Pin well around the straps so they aren't sagging.

All you can see in this photo are wrong sides

15. Sew completely around the top of the bag. I used a 3/8" seam allowance again.

16. You may be wondering how I turn the bag at this point. "Did she forget something?" you might be thinking. This is what I have been doing lately. I rip a hole in the side of the lining with my seam ripper to turn the bag. Stay away from the top and the bottom of the bag!! The hole may get a little bigger after you start pulling the bag through.

17. Start turning the bag. Pull both sections out so only the right sides are showing. Sew the opening in the lining closed.

18.  Push the lining portion into the outer bag. Press the top seam of the bag. Topstitch the top edge of the bag with a coordinating thread. I like to press the side seams of the bag now as well. You are done with your bag, I hope you love it!!

I am a pattern designer and have over 60 patterns for sale in my Etsy Shop. If like my tutorial, you may want to check out my patterns as well! I write my patterns for precuts and fat quarters and they are generally pretty quick and easy.

I also have a book out called "Quilts from Sweet Jane" which has 10 patterns for precut fabric. You just need one precut bundle of fabric and one neutral fabric and you can make a whole quilt. My patterns are simple to start and quick to finish!

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and found it helpful. I would love to hear comments and see pictures, especially if it is your first bag! Thank you for stopping in!!

Here is a link to my Facebook page.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Give Away for Sew in Style Book by Erin Hentzel

GIVE AWAY for SEW IN STYLE, a new book by Erin Hentzel

    Here is a brief description of the book from the publisher:
    Get your amateur designer or stylist sewing with Sew in Style—Make Your Own Doll Clothes, a how-to manual for kids who want to create one-of-a-kind looks for their 18” dolls. Twenty-two trendy clothing and accessory projects—from yoga pants to skinny jeans to a messenger bag—encourage kids to mix and match to design their own unique outfits. Lessons on sewing basics, step-by-step photos, full-size patterns and projects for all skills levels ensure that your budding designer will have no trouble creating the looks they always wanted for their favorite 18” companions.

I am a quilt pattern designer and I recently got an opportunity to work with and review this book! 
This is a wonderful book for kids learning to sew. This a wonderful book for adults who don't know how to sew, but are trying to teach their kids to sew! I have a daughter who is 8 years old. I feel like every little girl in her class would love to create things with fabric and thread, but most of them lack a teacher :(   This book can fill that void. The pictures illustrate each step of the way perfectly. Erin, the author, must really know the heart of the person who wants to start sewing but doesn't know how, because she takes you through the process from the very beginning and explains everything a person needs to know to buy and work with fabric to make a complete project.

The projects in this book are adorable and creative! One chapter is dedicated to sleep over items. I LOVE the sleep mask! Kids would have endless fun putting their doll to bed with these creative things! There are directions for a sleep mask, sleeping bag with matching pillow case, and cute little PJ's.

When I was looking through this book and reading the simple step by step directions...complete with pictures for every step, I felt confident enough to tackle bigger projects. I am a quilter, so I don't know how to sew clothes. But I would LOVE to make pajama pants for my kids. After making a few little items in this book, I am sure that I could apply that knowledge to start making some fun clothes for my family as well. 

Isn't this bag awesome??

Thank you Erin for this wonderful book! I will be buying several copies to give as gifts to a few of my daughters friends. It is a great book to spark the imagination of young girls and to give them endless hours of fun projects to make.

To enter your name in the giveaway, please visit my Facebook page. Like my page and leave a comment under the post for this giveaway. I will choose a winner on July 29th and C&T Publishing will mail out your book. 

Check out the C&T Publishing blog for more information on their books and this give away series. They are also giving away a fabric pack!

Follow the blog tour along on these fabulous blogs for more opportunities to win Erin's book!

July 17: Probably Crafting
July 18: Sweet Jane’s Quilting
July 21: Craft Buds
July 22: Samelia’s Mum
July 24: The Polka Dot Chair
July 25: Fishsticks Designs
July 26: Generation Q Magazine
July 28: Avery Lane Sewing

Some additional links:
Here is my Etsy shop, where I sell easy quilting patterns for precut fabrics and fat quarters.

Here are some of Erin's links:

Friday, February 28, 2014

Using those cute little mini charm packs

Who loves those adorable Mini Charm Packs from Moda.....go ahead, you can admit it. Now you can get all of those little squares, with all of those great colors & fabrics....for $4.00. You almost have to buy one! So now you have it in your house, and you ask the question..."Now what"?

Well, that is how many of my patterns come to be....I buy a precut package of something and ask myself..."What can I do with this ONE bundle"? I like to use one bundle of a precut and one additional neutral fabric to make fabric selection quick and easy. That way people who don't like to pick out their own fabric don't have to pick it out! (I don't like to pick out my own fabric...).

I have three patterns out for the mini charm packs, so here is my first one. I got addicted to making drawstring bags from my stash. I gave a bunch out for Christmas presents to my kids teachers. I thought, what a perfect project for the mini charms!

The pattern is available in my Etsy Shop, here is the PDF: Mini Charm Drawstring Bag
There are two sizes. The small uses 18 2 1/2" squares and the big one uses 32 squares. This pattern is great for scraps as well. For the bags on the right, I used my scraps from a jelly roll.
These are very easy to make and they are a great first bag to make if you have no experience making a bag. They have a multitude of uses, from just looking good on a dresser or shelf to holding your toilet paper roll!

Here is my next pattern. I absolutely love the baskets made out of fabric, with the little handles on each end. These 2 1/2 squares are perfect for that!! If you want to use scraps, really you only need 4 or 5 different fabrics for the squares. You also need fusible interfacing for this project. You need your baskets to be stiff...the fusible interfacing is great. My husband came up with the name for this pattern: Basket of Charms This is the PDF, but there is a paper version in my shop as well.

I made the above baskets with Family Tree by Deb Strain for Moda. I love those cute little handles!! The pattern is written for three sizes. Check out the listing in my Etsy shop for fabric requirements. These are great of organizing. I use mine as a place to put my outgoing mail.
This basket was made with scraps I had left over from a fabric called "Jungle" by Andover Makower/UK This would be PERFECT for a baby shower gift filled with diapering accessories and some diapers!! I can hardly wait for my next baby shower invite!!

Okay, here is my last pattern. I love this bag!! It measures 10"wide x 10"tall x 4"deep. I have a larger tote, but when I use it I feel like it is mostly empty, so I wanted a smaller tote. I use this one for my Post Office runs to put all of my mail and small packages in. I also think it is perfect for running errands...I put my wallet in there and anything else I need. It also fits magazines and books for when I go out with my kids.

 This is my Sophie Jane Bag. The bag on the right was made with mini charms (Front Porch by Jan Patek for Moda) and the bag on the left was made with Modern Folkloric fabric by Andover Makower/UK. I am truly in love with the grey/yellow bag. Truly.

 This bag was made to be scrappy, also from a mini charm pack. You need 26 squares. The fabric is Sunnyside by Kate Spain for Moda. I experimented with whether to use interfacing or batting for the outer bag section. This bag has interfacing on the outer section and the other two bags I quilted with batting. They both work, but I like the batting/quilting better. It is softer and has more body. They both stand up just as nicely. The interfacing was easier and quicker. So six of one half dozen of another.

I hope you enjoyed this post and got some good ideas to use up
2 1/2" squares, whether it be from mini charm packs or scraps!!
Visit my Etsy shop for many more precut patterns and my book, Quilts From Sweet Jane, which contains 10 quilt patterns for precut fabric!