Stash Bags

I made a couple makeup bags from Amy Butler’s Stash Bag pattern, which I really liked. The directions were easier to follow than I expected, since this was my first time making pleats.

Here’s the large stash bag with a handle (making it a wrislet, right?):

After some time has passed of NOT using this bag, I decided I didn’t like the handle.  It just seemed too stiff and too big to use this one as a makeup bag. But I liked how the pleats turned out on this larger bag. Here’s a peak at the lining:

Here’s the small stash bag:

I’m not crazy about the pleats on this smaller stash bag, making it seem like there’s too much fabric.  I’m not so sure about this size . Here’s a peak at the lining in the small stash bag:

I gave the pattern another chance this past week, thinking mabye I just didn’t care for the smaller size.  I don’t often make a pattern multiple times, but I made these two bags thinking I would use them as makeup or travel bags.

Garden Party makeup bags

I like how these turned out, and still need to finish hand-sewing the place where the zipper ends get sewn over and hidden inside the fabrics.  I plan to use these, but I am going to brainstorm some other ideas because I wasn’t happy with how the zipper ends turned out, not very neatly tucked inside.  The directions weren’t very helpful in getting those ends neatly sewn with all that bulk.

Has anyone tried any other zippered bag designs or patterns you would recommend?

A Day Off

I am so glad I took the day off. I had a doctor’s appointment this morning (all is good), and then I went to the yarn shop to browse. I don’t do much knitting in summer, so I haven’t been to the yarn shop in awhile. They moved the register to make more room, and added some shelves for more yarn. They were also offering harvest latte with pumpkin flavoring – yum-o! It felt good to be back, so I stocked up on a few supplies for new projects.

I’m thinking about making a couple felted oven mitts and potholders, and a scarf and fingerless gloves to match my favorite fleece jacket.

Next on my list is to finish my new laptop sleeve. I made it from a pattern in this book-

But I didn’t follow the pattern exactly.

In my stash I found these great fabrics from Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern collection, so I decided to make the front from a solid piece of fabric instead of patchwork.

It isn’t quite finished yet because I still have to hand sew the lining to the outside, and I’m going to add handles to it, but here it is so far-

Isn’t it cool? I really like how it turned out. This is the first time I have used fusible fleece, and I love it. Highly recommend it. I fused the fleece to both the outside and lining fabrics for added cushion to support my laptop, and I’m happy with the result. It created a lot of extra bulk in the seams, but I trimmed the corners and seam allowances, which helped reduce the lumps and bumps.

Thank goodness I had made the portable cushions from Sew,Mama,Sew’s tutorial series or I would never have figured out how to do the zipper and gusset. The directions for that part in this book were very minimal, so I used the directions from the cushion tutorial and things went together quite smoothly. I will post another picture as soon as I finish the hand sewing and handles.

Now I’m going to enjoy the rest of my day off!

My Very Own Pillowcases

Check out our new pillowcases. Yea, I know, pillowcases usually come in a set when you buy new sheets. But it’s so fun customizing things throughout the house. I had a large piece of fabric (2 yards) in my stash from an older collection by Amy Butler, and figured this was another good project for the house. I know, the fabric is not very Fall-like, but it was in my stash, and thus, needed to be made into something useful.

Based on a pattern from this magazine, I cut the two main pieces of fabric measuring 27 x 42.

I cut two pieces of the trim fabric measuring 3-1/2 x 42. Fold in half and press.

Finally I cut two pieces of the contrast band fabric measuring 11 x 42. Fold in half and press.

The first one has a blue-on-white fabric trim and a darker blue contrast band.

The second one has a green-on-white fabric trim with green contrast band.

I sewed the trim to the contrast band along the long edge with raw edges together. Next I layered the contrast band to the main fabric with the trim piece sandwiched in between and sewed the shorter raw edges together. I zig-zagged these seam allowances to keep them from fraying over time. (I love doing that – zig-zagging!) Finally, I folded the piece in half with right sides together and sewed all the way around.

I guess there are standard size pillows, but all of our pillows vary a little. I found several patterns I liked, but I wasn’t too crazy about any one style or set of measurements. Pillowcases are one of the easiest sewing projects to make, but having never made them before, I needed a little guidance. As always, now I know what I will do differently for the next ones – I might cut them slightly smaller and either skip the trim fabric or attach it to the pillow case fabric rather than just leaving it folded over.

PS – My local fabric store has a local representative taking donations of homemade pillowcases for chronically ill children, sponsored by the ConKerr Cancer organization. Consider contributing handmade pillowcases if you have cheerful fabric and an hour to spare.

Curtain Call

I have been on a home decorating kick lately. This past spring, we finished painting our kitchen and living room. Since then I have been looking forward to making a valance, tablecloth and napkins using Heather Bailey’s Freshcut fabrics.

Finally, I had a free weekend! Here’s how the valance turned out:

First, I measured the width of the window and the length I wanted the valance to be (long enough to cover the blinds when they are open). That measurement came to 49″ wide x 13″ long. I added 2″ to the width for the side seams and then doubled the width to get more fullness. I added 2″ to the length for the lower hem, and 3″ to the length for the rod casing. My final measurement came to 102″ wide x 18.5″ long.

To hem the side edges, I hemmed the sides by turning under 1/2″ and turning under another 1/2″. Then I sewed close to the inner fold, repeating for the other side.

For the lower hem, I turned the lower edge under 1/2″ and then another 1-1/2″. Then I sewed close to the inner fold.

For the casing, I turned the top under 1/2″ and then another 2-1/4″. The top of the casing is formed by sewing 1″ in from the fold. The bottom of the casing is formed by sewing 1-1/4″ from the first line of stitching, or 1/4″ from the inner fold.

Finally, I finished off the hem with this cool ruffle trim, which added more length and a stylish accent.

I made a coordinating tablecloth from the Freshcut collection too. My table measured 41″ x 58″, and I had 2-yard piece of fabric, so I had to make that work for me.

I added a 2-1/2″ border to frame the main fabric.

Last winter, I found this cool tool – the EZY-hem by Dritz – which works great for ironing small hems, very handy when making handmade napkins.

great for ironing hems

I made the mixy-matchy napkins from Amy Karol’s Bend-the-Rules-Sewing book and some cocktail napkins from the Purl Bee to go with the new tablecloth.

I love how everything coordinates yet it’s not too matchy. Our kitchen has become the best room in the house! Wish I could have you over for coffee in the newly decorated kitchen.

Wait… I’m not quite done yet! I was on a roll Sunday afternoon, so I decided to make the valance for my sewing room, which has been on the sidelines for a couple months too. I used the Gothic Rose fabric from Amy Butler’s Belle collection.

I followed the same method as described above, and added a piece of lace trim for the ruffle. Isn’t that sweet?!

Wow, what a productive weekend!

Garden Quilt

I finished my new garden quilt just in time to lounge on the Adirondack chair with a cool beverage and a good book.

I used the Crazy Eights quilt pattern by Bits ‘N Pieces and a stack of fat quarters, mostly Amy Butler fabrics, along with a few others in the mix. After I finished piecing the top, I wasn’t real happy with the results because there wasn’t any order to the fabric layout. But I decided to free myself and learn to like the quilt for the fact that it wasn‘t so orderly.

I was overjoyed with how it turned out after my friend Julie machine-quilted the layers. Besides the cool quilt design she made, she also used variegated thread on the front, which blends in with the fabric colors, yet sets them off as well.

The bugs are starting to come out and take of the gardens, so I better get back inside. Thanks for stopping by!

Recent Etsy Finds and More

I ordered these great handmade goodies from a recent shopping spree. I just had to share them with you.

First I got this unique and adorable crayon caddy from C Berry Baby’s shop.

crayon caddy - rolled up

She made it from Sandi Henderson’s Ginger blossom fabrics, which are so colorful and girly. It has a pretty ribbon closure, and even came filled with crayons!

crayon caddy - unrolled

I also ordered this great market eco-tote from Jenny Hofer Designs, which she made in Amy Butler’s Lotus fabrics.

market eco-tote

Then came these awesome scrap bags, not from, but from j.caroline creative. They are called short-end remnants, so each piece is about a four-inch square.

fabric scraps

I love to get scrap bags because I don’t have to invest as much money or buy a quantity of fabric; instead, it feels like trying it out. These scrap bags came with a great variety, even several Amy Butler fabrics (which I’m carrying around in my purse, due to my fabric addiction).

That sums up my shopping fix for another month. Check out these shops at yourself; you won’t be disappointed!