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!