My New Lunch Bag

I finished making an adorable new lunch bag, which is based on the Simple Tote pattern from the Bend-the-Rules-Sewing book, using the Chocolate Lollipop fabrics designed by Anna Maria Horner.

I have made several other projects from this book, and now this lunch bag completes the set. This was another classic case of having this fabric sit on my sewing table for awhile, not wanting to cut into it because it’s so pretty to look at.

One of my favorite parts about this lunch bag is the lining, which is iron-on vinyl, ironed over the lining fabric.

Yes, iron-on vinyl! Isn’t that cool?! It was much easier to use than I anticipated. I was afraid of melting the vinyl and ruining my iron (which isn’t that great anyway so it would have been a good way to get a new one!). The directions that came with the vinyl were very clear and easy. I bought a yard of this vinyl from JoAnns, not knowing how much I would need, or how much I would like it.

The verdict is I like the vinyl very much and would definitely make more projects with it. I also love this pattern, with the clever idea of making one handle very short to wrap over the longer one, keeping the bag closed.

Thanks for these cool ideas, all you designers and inventors out there! I just wish someone at work would ask me about this awesome bag (so I could show it off in person a little more).

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!

Placemat Swap

My husband always teases me when a package arrives in our mail box. “Let me guess,” he says. “You ordered more fabric!” Well this week a package arrived, and for the life of me, I just could not remember ordering anything, even fabric. I had a feeling it was going to be something good because anyone who mails me anything mails good things to me!

I recently entered the latest Bend-the-Rules-Sewing Swap, where you agree to make a set of placemats and napkins using the pattern from Amy Karol’s famous book. I received my partner’s placemat set this week, and I wanted to call her to thank her (except that I don’t know her or her phone number). Isn’t this a beautiful set?! In my preferences, I said I love Amy Butler fabrics, which are featured in this set. I also said we just painted our kitchen Concord Ivory, which is a golden yellow, and these match perfectly.

She even went beyond the original agreement and made four matching coasters (in the upper left corner of the above picture), AND she included the scraps that were leftover from her project. What a nice touch!

(I included her picture above from her flickr page, since it’s cloudy today and my pictures aren’t as good)

The best part of this package was the letter Shawn wrote to me about her efforts in making this project, about her life, and her sewing experience. Now I feel as if I truly have a new friend. There’s always room in my life for new sewing friends! Much better than getting a plain old package of fabric in the mail. Thank you so much Shawn!

PS – the placemat set I’m making for my partner isn’t finished yet, so I’ll show that in another post.

Purse Set

Besides the curtains rods and pictures we hung last weekend, I finished several small projects, so I’m feeling a big sense of accomplishment these days.

First came the Artsy Clutch made from Chocolate Lollipop fabrics. I love this pattern from Amy Karol’s Bend-the-Rules Sewing. It’s an easy-to-follow pattern yet the simple design allows you room to create your own unique project. Or, you can let colorful creative fabric like this do the talking for you.

artsy clutch

inside of artsy clutch

Then came the No-Cash Wallet, also made from Chocolate Lollipop fabrics, using a modified version of the pattern from the same sewing book. After enlarging the pattern 140% as instructed, I still had to make the template wider to fit an ID or plastic card, which I just hand-sketched. It turned out great; I would make many more of these to match other handbags.

No-Cash Wallet

inside of No-Cash Wallet

Third came the zip bag, which I experimented with by adding a handle to make this one into a wrislet.

Zip purse with handle

I was not crazy about having to hand-stitch the lining to the zipper, so I would change that part of the pattern by machine sewing the exterior and interior fabrics to the zipper. I don’t mind hand sewing, but hand sewing a lining to a zipper is difficult, especially at the ends of the zipper.

inside of Zip bag

Finally, and best of all – The Purse, which I adore! This was loosely based on a pattern from a Sew Simple issue, which I changed for my own taste. The purse measures about 11 inches wide by 9 inches tall by 2 inches deep. I still have to sew on a button on each side where the snap closure is hidden, but I have to shop for more of those cute pink flower buttons shown above.

The Purse

inside lining and pocket

I’m so happy with how the handles turned out – pretty cool. Instead of using ribbon, I made small fabric tabs that measure about 1-1/2″ in length, attached them to 3/4″ D-rings, and sewed the tab ends in between the lining and purse fabrics. Then I made fabric strips and attached them to a D-ring on the same side to complete the handle.

the handles

I just love how this one turned out. I want to make more of this size purse, but I also want to cherish this one for now and show it off for a few more days. Hope you like my new handmade purse set as much as I do!

Pillow Project

I love love love the chocolate lollipop fabrics by Anna Maria Horner! Since I can’t get enough of these fabrics, I have been stockpiling them before the stores and online shops run out, and before Anna Maria’s next line of fabrics – Drawing Room – comes out (any day now). I have big plans for that line of fabric too! While trying to find space on my sewing chair… (silly cat!)

silly cat!

… I made this cute pillow for my sewing room. I used the pink icing fabric for the front side of a 16″ pillow form.

front of pillow

Here is the back of the pillow, using the azalea dotta polk fabric, which shows the envelope opening I made so I can change the cover as the mood strikes me. I sewed two tabs of Fabric Fusion evenly spaced on the under side of the edges to keep the back closed and neat.

back of pillow

Here is a close-up shot of the rick-rack trim I added around edge of the pillow, which I think turned out sooo cute! I had some extra wide hot pink rick-rack in my stash, and this seemed like the perfect way to use it. I struggled to sew it around the corners but after pinning, sewing, and turning, it turned out quite nice, if I do say so.

close-up of the rick-rack

With the fabric scraps, I made these coasters, which are so bright and cheerful to me. (I used the pattern from Amy Karol’s Bend-the-Rules-Sewing book.)


Can you tell I’m having a blast with these fabrics?! I have two more completed projects to photograph for another post, and three more projects in progress on my sewing table.