Sea Glass FMQ is Done!

I finished up all the quilting on these pieces of sea glass tonight. It feels good to have it all done.

I started having more issues with breaking thread last night as I was quilting the lighter aqua pieces. So I looked at some videos about trouble shooting thread issues in free motion quilting. A couple of these videos said the issue could be the foot and how high it is off the fabric. I transferred that to thinking maybe MY issue was my stitch regulator foot.

I wanted to finish up the final darker aqua pieces tonight so decided to pull off the stitch regulator and put on a basic darning foot instead. Here’s the two feet, stitch regulator on the right.

If you’re not familiar with what a stitch regulator is, It’s a little computerized quilting foot that reads the speed of the fabric as you move it under the foot and adjusts the speed of the needle accordingly. It’s supposed to maintain a consistent stitch length as your speed varies in quilting.

And you know what… using that regular, non-computerized foot was amazing! I was able to finish up about 20 of the darker aqua pieces in nothing flat with no thread issues at all and with no profanity! EUREKA! I may never use my stitch regulator again! It will be nice to give a gift that doesn’t have profanity woven into every stitch!

Without the stitch regulator, you do need to pay attention to your stitch length and your speed. You don’t have the computer helping keep the stitch length consistent, so it’s all up to you. I practiced on a quilt sandwich that I had handy and felt that my stitches were consistent enough to dive in.

After our walk I trimmed the piece using the masking tape as my guide. And once it was trimmed I removed the masking tape.

I was a bit nervous that the tape would leave some sticky residue behind, but there’s nothing there. So that makes me very happy.

Most of these sea glass quilts you see online have a faced edge rather than binding. I like the look, but I want to bind this for practical reasons. I’m afraid the white edge would get really discolored from dust over time. So I’m going to bind it in a soft blue/aqua that blends with the colored pieces of fabric. Here’s a picture of the batik I selected from my stash.

You can see that it’s sort of a combo of blue and aqua. I think it’s a good choice.

Here’s a bit of a view showing three sides with the binding fabric.

Plus, my friend’s favorite color is blue. So that makes this an even better idea.

I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to make another trip quilt out of the aboriginal strips my friend gave me. You can see other trip quilts I’ve made here and here.

So I took all those sets I had put together the other night and sorted the pieces out by color family. To make a quilt the 6 block by 7 block size I want, I’ll need 42 blocks. That means 21 strip sets — two blocks out of each strip set. With six strips in each strip set, that means I’ll need 126 strips.

I counted out the strips I had and was about 18 strips short. So I dug out my Aboriginal scraps and cut the additional strips I needed.

Then I sorted these by color family and added them to the previous strips.

I’m pretty sure I now have around 130 strips. This allows me to pull out fabrics I’m not crazy about. I’m also toying with using a common fabric for the center diagonal line in each block. I haven’t decided for sure, but that might be the direction I go.

I decided to take tomorrow off from work. I have sworn I WILL go out and get my car registered! It’s a full year past due! I can’t use the pandemic as an excuse any more. I also hope to finish the binding on the sea glass quilt and figure out how I’ll rig it out so it can be hung on a wall.

Look how cute my Rico is!!! Gah! What a sweet kid.

I harvested my first box of apples last night. I’ve got a pretty good crop on the tree, but not as crazy huge as they’ve been in recent years.

These were all peeled and sliced and spent the night in my dehydrator. And this morning, they were ready to eat.

I will run this work horse overnight quite a few more times in the next month! And it’s so nice to have these dried apples to munch on all winter.

My blog readers have been really busy over the last few days. Here’s a bunch of Frankenbag photos they’ve shared with me.

This first one is from Patricia Woltman. I just love this bag… those really pretty bright pastel fabrics with all that wonderful black and white. It’s really pretty. And look.. another zipper placket!

This next bag was made by Kellie Doyle. There’s some really fun graphic stuff going on with her piecing. All those angles are really interesting. And I LOVE her lining! What a fun fabric. It reminds me of finger prints and it’s pretty fantastic!

Next up is this bag from Britt-Inger Jönsson. She has made a good number of Frankenbags. She puts together some really bold and fun fabric combos. And I love her wavy checkerboard quilting on this one! Hmmm. Might have to try that one.

And… another zipper placket! And holy cow… there’s a dog under that bag!!!

Next is this bag from Susan Conant. I love her little three dimensional pinwheels. Reminds me of the little spinners from my childhood. There’s also something really nice about that pink with the graphic black and whites. Lovely.

Here’s another bag from Barb Schippa. She didn’t do any piecing on this bag, but she paid a helluva lot of attention to the placement of that big print! I love this bag! Everything is placed so carefully and I love that big print with that springy green lining. Look how carefully she matched the two sides of the zipper placket. And look how the zipper placket matches the placement of the interior pocket. Very nicely done!

Thanks to you all for sharing photos of your bags!

Remembering Why I Hate FMQ

I never remember the things that annoy me about free motion quilting until I sit down at the machine. And then it all comes flooding back to me. FMQ on a domestic machine is a pain in the ass. I don’t know how people quilt full size quilts on a domestic machine. They are much stronger people than I am and I have great admiration for them.

I sat down after our walk this evening to continue doing the quilting on my sea glass wall hanging. It all went so smoothly in the two previous sessions. And tonight, with the darker blue thread, I had nothing but troubles.

The thread kept breaking. I kept having skipped stitches. And the upper thread would fray and eventually break. After changing my needle, switching to my single stitch plate, and re-threading my machine, I realized what the issue was. I was going clockwise around the pebbles, rather than counter clockwise. In both previous sessions I had gone counter clockwise.

The issues I mentioned above always happen when I’m traveling in a northeast direction. When I go counter clockwise I never have to travel in that NE direction and it all works beautifully. I know I’ve figured this out in the past, but I had forgotten.

Needless to say, my quilting session involved much more profanity than should have been necessary. But after the nightmare of the first six darker blue pebbles, the remaining ten or so were a dream.

It’s so fun to see the texture of the quilting as I finish more and more of this piece.

The back is a bit of a mess, but I’m going to have to live with it.

All I have left to quilt are the aqua pieces at the bottom. I should be able to finish this tomorrow night — now that I have “counter clockwise” embedded in my brain!

I have a virtual conference going on this week so am spending a good deal of time on zoom presentations. So today I was looking for some hand work that would keep my hands busy while my brain paid attention. So I pulled out a big pile of Australian Aboriginal fabric 2.5 inch WOF strips that a friend gave me about a year ago.

I’ve been thinking about making either a trip quilt or a 16 patch from these strips, and today I paired these up in sets of two with the plan to make them into a sixteen patch.

I tried to pair these sets up with a good variation in either value or color. And then I ended up with a small stack of about a dozen strips that were all dark mostly brown or black. So I pulled some brighter and lighter fabrics from my stash that I will cut some additional strips from to pair up to make the remaining needed blocks.

I won’t use all of these but I will use some of them. And I still haven’t committed to a 16 patch. I may make these strips into a scrappy trip quilt. I still have time to decide. It will probably just come down to which one sounds more fun to make. And as I type this, I’m thinking it will be a trip quilt! I’m sure I’ll change my mind six or seven times before I start sewing strip sets.

Another thing I did today was make a list of new color combos for upcoming Frankenbags. I’ve been noodling on these ideas for a while now and I figured it was a good idea to write them down.

I received photos of some more Frankenbags made by blog readers. This first bag is from Annette LeBlanc from the province of New Brunswick, Canada.

I love how she incorporated that paper pieced flamingo, combined with that dark and rich pineapple block. And those strong graphic diagonal lines on the back are wonderful! This is Annette’s first Frankenbag.

These next bags are from Ingrid Cruz. She didn’t do any improv or crumb piecing on her bags, but I love how she kept these big, bold and graphic prints whole. What a great thing to incorporate into this basic bag body.

She even made a zipper placket on that last one.

Thanks to Annette and Ingrid for sending photos.

A Little Walking, a Little Herding, a Little Quilting

We had a bit of a sleep in this morning followed by a leisurely breakfast of my home grown strawberries and yogurt with a good cup of coffee — all enjoyed on the patio. Afterward, I took the boys for a 3.5 mile walk.

It was a beautiful morning but a little warm by the time we got home.

After our walk I started working on putting my quilt sandwich together for the sea glass wall hanging. I didn’t have much time because we had a sheep herding lesson up in Battleground, WA, at 2:30.

We left for our lesson at 1:30 and the heavy traffic meant that we barely made it on time. We usually allow an hour to get there and we typically have at least 15 minutes to get ready for our lesson.

Rico was amazing at his lesson. We worked on driving the sheep, which is pushing the sheep away from me. The dog’s instinct is to bring the sheep to me, so learning to push them away is hard work. Rico was so good, on top of a really good lesson yesterday. It’s so much fun to watch a dog do what they’re bred to do. He was nice and tired after his lesson.

I took a picture of my sea glass quilt outside this morning. I’m just loving this!

Once we got home from herding I dug in and finished the sea glass quilt sandwich and started quilting. I managed to get around half of this piece quilted.

The free motion quilting on this is very free form, so it’s fun because you don’t have to be precise. It’s all meant to be a little disorganized and organic. Just my kind of quilting!

I used my stitch regulator for this. It works really well, but it always beeps at me because I like to go really fast.

I love the look of this quilted. It’s always fun to see how a project evolves when the quilting is added.

I’m using six or seven thread colors on this piece. That slows things down as I have to stop, wind a bobbin, rethread the machine, and then wrestle the piece back under the needle. But the different colored threads make a big difference.

I also have to start and stop quilting on each small piece of fused fabric. With the colored thread and a white background, I can’t just stitch from pebble to pebble because you would see that traveling line.

Since I had to change thread quite often and had to cut and restart the thread with each pebble, it was a hassle to use my quilting gloves. So I pulled these little rubber finger sleeves out and used them. I had one on each middle finger, which was plenty to give me grip on the quilt sandwich so I could move it around, but it left me lots of fingers free to deal with thread and needles.

I may use these more in the future.

I received photos of a couple more Frankenbags from blog readers.

This first one is from Annette Allen. She’s in Australia and said they’re in their fifth full lockdown during the pandemic and said she made this bag while she was stuck at home.

Annette said she’s never used black and white fabric with these bold colors before and thanked me for “giving her permission” to use them. She said she loves the way they make the colors pop. I agree!!!

I love this bag! Of course, the black and white is fantastic, but her colors are really pretty too. And that striped lining with the polka dot pocket… LOVE IT!!! I really need to do more black and white linings!

This next bag was made by Debbie Rothman’s grand daughter “S.” This is her first Frankenbag and Debbie said she is very proud of herself! (I’ve blurred her face for her privacy.)

I love this bag… the bold stripes and shapes, the colors. It’s all so good. And it looks like it’s really well made too! But what I love most is that “S” looks like she really loves it! I think “S” has an amazing future of quilting and creating ahead of her! Thanks so much for sharing your joy with your project with me!!!

Thanks to Annette and Debbie for sending me photos!

Voila! Sea Glass Wall Hanging Progress

I didn’t have much time to spend in my sewing room today. But I did get in for a few minutes this afternoon and then again later this evening. And I got this sea glass wall hanging all designed and fused.

I’m really happy with how this is turning out. It’s big, but not freakishly big. It has good proportions.

I love the colors. The little bit of green at the upper right is nice.

Here it is by sections for a closer look. Here’s the top section.

And the middle section…

I really like all the color in the neutrals in the center.

Here’s the bottom section…

I love those little pops of color here and there.

Tomorrow I’ll get the quilt sandwich done. I still need to buy some thread to quilt it.

I took Rico to his herding lesson today and he was just amazing! He was cool and collected and too my direction really well.

He waited very patiently for our lesson to start.

Such a good boy. We have another lesson tomorrow afternoon.

Had a wonderful time tonight at a pot luck dinner with friends. The weather was just perfect for being outside and the food and drink was really good.

I met this little cutie pie and fell in love.

Her name is Frankie and she’s pretty magical. She kept jumping up on my lap. I really miss having a small dog around.

On our walk last night I noticed how white Bender’s face is getting. Look at those white eyebrows.

He’s only eight. It seems like he’s gotten all this white hair in just the last few weeks.

And Now For Something Completely Different

I was thinking this afternoon about what my next project should be and I remembered something that I had done a lot of prep for a few months ago but never actually started.

I decided to start in earnest on the sea glass wall hanging I’ve been wanting to make for a friend’s birthday next month. Here’s how far I got tonight.

Here’s a blog post from a few months ago when I first started preparing the fabrics. Holy cow! That was January! Seven months ago!

I got the idea for this quilt from Exhausted Octopus on Instagram. She has a digital class for this project that she sells for a reasonable price. Check out her stuff on Instagram. You can also check out the #seaglassquilt hashtag to see a lot of quilts that have been made by people who have taken that class.

My friend wants a piece to cover an electrical panel in her main bedroom, so this piece is made to fit an odd size. And it’s pretty big. So the first thing I did tonight was select a piece of white on white fabric from my stash. It has bubbles on it, which feels pretty right for this project. Then I cut it to size and used masking tape to mark off where the pieces of batik stones will be placed. That marked off section is 15 x 38 inches.

Then I started placing the pieces of fabric that had Heat and Bond applied to them. I started with the lighter more earth tones in the center.

These fabrics, except for the background, are all batiks. I love the colors and patterns. Even in these neutrals there is a lot of color. And it feels like real stones to me.

I got these neutrals positioned, peeled off the paper backing and pressed them in place.

Aren’t those fun!

I started to place the colored batiks and got quite a bit done when my back started bothering me so I had to quit.

I will add pieces in green to the top left of this piece, and the bare space at the bottom will probably be aquas and purples. I’ll have to decide for sure once I get more pieces placed.

It was fun to place these small pieces of fabric on the background. It’s completely free form and I like that!

I received this very exciting fabric delivery this week.

That’s ten yards of a very boring batik that I got on sale. I will use it as the backing of my Frankenbag quilt sandwiches. It adds stability to the quilting and a little structure to the bag. It ends up completely hidden inside the bag so It doesn’t have to be pretty. I just want something light that won’t show through the lining.

I got a few more photos of Frankenbags this week. This first one was made by Nancy Coronato. It reminds me of the blue one I just finished. It feels very cool, and we used some of the same fabrics. Aren’t those spots fantastic on this one!!! There’s nothing more cheerful than a polka dot fabric!

This next bag was made by Kimber Dodge. I love the soft greens! And I’ve had pieces of that color way of Kaffe’s guinea flower on the left and I’ve never used it in anything I’ve made. But I love it! I need to get it into a project soon. And I’m loving that black and white Jumble with the green. And look… more polka dots!!!

Thanks to Nancy and Kimber for sending photos!

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the weekend. Our weather has been pretty nice the last few days. It’s cooled down to the mid 80s the last few days, and will be even a little cooler this weekend.

I Finished the Projects I Wanted To

It’s a good Sunday when you get done the things you intended to get done.

After our morning walk I hit the sewing room and got my blue Frankenbag panels quilted and finished up the rest of the bag. I really like how this turned out!

Blue is not my favorite color. But I like this blue bag because of all the little pops of color that make it all more exciting.

Here’s the other side of the bag. I went back and forth on whether I should use dark brown or black faux leather for the handles. I decided on the black.

And here’s that little tag I love.

And I love this geode fabric for the lining. It’s bold, but a bold lining is a wonderful thing!

After dinner and our evening walk I hit the sewing room with the intent of finishing the third quilt backing that I wanted to finish this weekend. I finished it up at 11:15.

I used this beautiful dark Aboriginal print and inserted a strip of left over fabric blocks.

These fabrics are so gorgeous and they feel very much like the KFC fabrics. I love working with them.

I really hate wresting with all the bulk of quilt backs. Folding my pieces into a narrower strip and then accordion folding the whole thing into my lap helps me manage it all.

Here’s the finished back folded with about half of the inserted left over blocks showing. It gives you an idea of the colors.

Here’s the quilt top, the backing and the fabric I’ll use for the binding.

It feels really good to know that these five quilts I plan to give as gifts during the holidays are well under way.

I got some photos of another really nice Frankenbag today from Jodi Smith.

I just love this bag! I’ve wanted to combine KFC purples and turquoises for some time. This bag is just pretty and looks really well made. Love it!

I’m starting to feel like I might want to make another 16 patch quilt. Thinking about that.

I also keep looking at my Ice Storm quilt that’s still on my design wall and thinking I should sew the blocks together.

Might start working on that bit by bit.

These Blues are Making Me Happy

I was able to finish both panels for my next Frankenbag today. I decided to go with darker blues and I’m pretty happy with how these turned out.

I just love those little pops of color here and there.

Here’s both panels. I haven’t decided yet what will be the front and what will be the back.

I made a miscalculation in my measurements on the panel above and had to add that piece of fabric in the lower left corner. That’s the beauty of these bags… if you mess up, just add another piece of fabric. It’s not a mistake. It’s a feature! Plus, the fabric in the corner will end up on the bottom and side of the bag.

Made a mistake on the one above too and had to add an extra piece of fabric at the very bottom of the vertical pattern on the left. Feature!

I fused both panels to fleece so they’re almost ready to quilt. I’ll complete the quilt sandwich tomorrow and get moving.

This looked so pretty on the ironing board.

I finally put my new cutting mat on my cutting table today. I’ve had it for a few months.

My old one was getting really bad. There are several lines on it that are completely worn off.

It was really past time to replace this beast.

I received photos of one more Frankenbag from Bonnie (she didn’t give me her last name). Bonnie said that Several years ago she made a quilt using Tilda fabrics and because she loves the fabric so much she saved every scrap no matter how small. She didn’t know what she was going to make with them until she recently saw my Frankenbag tutorial.

I’m not familiar with Tilda fabrics, but this is really pretty. I like the soft colors and patterns. Bonnie has done some interesting quilting on this too. And look… a zipper placket!!! Thanks for sharing photos Bonnie!

Rico did an amazing job at his sheep herding lesson today. We were working on driving, where he pushes the sheep away from me. His instinct tells him to bring the sheep to me. So driving them away is hard work and requires a lot of training. He did such a fantastic job! It’s so much fun to watch, and all that brain work wears him out.

We met a friend and her dogs for a field run and a dip in the stream after herding. The dogs had an absolute blast and they love my friend’s dogs. Bender and Rico were both exhausted when we got home. Bender took a nice nap on the patio.

After they had a nice nap we tossed the frisbee in the back yard, which required a nice cool down in the pool.

Tomorrow I’m going to force myself to finish the last quilt backing that I wanted to get done this weekend. Then I’ll see if I can hook up with my long arm quilter next week.

Finally, Doing Something I SHOULD Do

I took today off from work because my calendar was free and I just wanted another day off. I got up first thing and went to Costco during senior hour. When I got there at 9 am, there probably weren’t more than 30 cars in the parking lot. I got my shopping done really fast and was home in no time. Then I took the boys for a nice long walk before it got too hot.

Bender spend most of our walk completely tangled up!

I wasn’t terribly productive today. I did fold and put away a bunch of fabric that I’ve purchased lately.

Then I decided that I needed to get some quilt backs done so I can get quilts off to my long arm quilter to get them done in time for the holidays. I don’t want to be rushing at the last minute.

I have two quilt tops that already had the backs made. And I made two more backs today. I have one more backing to make for my holiday quilts.

The first one was pretty quick. I bought one of the new Kaffe wide backings for my blue KFC sixteen patch quilt.

I had seen some people recommend that you pre-wash the KFC wide backings. So I did wash and dry this. It was a little difficult to deal with… It’s so big! But it will be beautiful on this quilt.

I mean… look at how gorgeous this is!

The colors are just gorgeous and the feel of the fabric is very nice and soft.

I was worried that I would have thread everywhere after washing this, but was surprised that the edges were pretty neat. And then I felt a bump in the fold of the fabric and I pulled this out!

I could make a piece of jewelry out of that! There might be some dog hair in that wad.

Here’s a blog post on this finished quilt top.

The other quilt back I finished tonight was a batik one which made it go together really quickly… just one big seam.

This quilt top was made from a bunch of batik scraps I had on hand. It was sort of an impulse. I had seen a quilt done with improv wedges and really like it. So I pieced these on 8.5 x 11 paper piecing sheets as a foundation. It went together really fast!

Here’s a blog post on this scrappy quilt.

Here’s the first of two quilts tops and backs that have been sitting in the closet ready to be quilted.

This is the quilt top in that photo.

Here’s the other quilt that’s been ready to go for a while.

This was the first Aboriginal fabric quilt I ever made. I just love those fabrics.

Here’s this quilt in an earlier blog post.

The quilt I still need to make the backing for is a repeat of this Aboriginal quilt top. Here’s the top with the backing fabric I have. I’ll probably finish this backing tomorrow.

Here’s all these quilts and backs all bundled up and bagged with the binding fabric… ready for my long arm quilter.

I’ve been thinking about my next Franken bag. I’m going to make a blue one from fabrics left over from my KFC blue 16 patch and some bolt end scraps that Sylvi at http://www.sewcolorful.com sent me. I’ll probably get these panels done tomorrow.

I got photos of a few more Frankenbag from blog readers since my last post.

Here’s one from Joan Smith. I love the earthy tones on this bag with those pops of purple. Yum! And you know I love those black and whites! This feels like a warm room on a cold winter day.

This next bag is from Maddy Pepe. She made this bag from scraps from another bag she made (see first photo). I really like this one! I love how one side of the bag is blue and the other side is red. And the graphic black and whites she used are so good.

And how good is that lining? Amazing that a white lining can make me feel like this one does!

Thanks to Joan and Maddy for sending photos of their Frankenbags!

GAH! A Sweet Little Jade Lotus Leaf Box

I didn’t get much sewing done over the weekend, but I did finish covering this little wooden box with fabric. I think this is my favorite one yet.

That gorgeous fabric is Kaffe’s Lotus Leaf in Jade. Lotus Leaf is one of my favorite Kaffe designs and this color way is so pretty. And I love the pale yellow paint I used for this too. It’s just so sweet.

This box is similar in shape and size to a cigar box. I have no idea what I’ll do with it or how I would use it. It will probably end up being a gift at some point in time.

Here are more photos just because it’s so pretty!

This will be the last box I cover for awhile because it’s the last one I have. I think these are pretty but I don’t have a lot of desire to make more.

I’m trying to decide what to make next. I’ve been thinking about a red quilt for some time and have fabrics put aside.

I just keep waffling on a pattern. I’ve bought three patterns that I thought I would use for these fabrics, and then I lose enthusiasm pretty quickly. I’m sort of leaning toward making something up.

And I have to say… that photo does NOT do those fabrics justice. They are so gorgeous. Not dull as in this photo.

I have a couple of Frankenbags I want to make next. The first is a blue bag with fabrics left over from my blue KFC 16 patch quilt. This time without the orange. Just all different values of blue.

Then I want to make one out of all paper weight like the one I just used for my zipper placket tutorial. I’m a little indecisive on what fabric to use for the background for the quilted panels. I keep bouncing between these three color ways:

I think I’m leaning toward the first one, but may end up going with the green. I need to decide so I can get moving.

I haven’t posted any photos of blog readers’ Frankenbags for a week, so here’s some new ones.

This first one is from Paulette Aldrich. I love the reds and pinks. And look! A zipper placket. This was made prior to my tutorial and it looks like Paulette took a very similar approach to mine. I really like the zipper placket!

This next one was made by Katherine Perry from blocks left over from her Wanderer’s Wife quilt. The colors are really fun and springy. And I love the string piecing on the back of the bag. What a great use of left over quilt blocks.

Next up is this bag from Katherine Wingate. I just love those dark and saturated colors in the first photo. Those reds and green are soo good together. And I do love fling geese! And that big and bold black and white block on the second photo is so good!

The next bright one is from Sonnen Bunt. I love the bold and bright fabrics and diamond patterns! And so many fish and sea shells! And a little bit of octopus on the pocket. And look how roomy it is!

The next one tonight is from Rose Crooks. It doesn’t have a lining or handles yet but Rose was excited to share her work. I love the romantic feel of this bag and the soft colors with the bold black. It’s quite different from other bags readers have sent me. I love that people are being so creative and using up pieces from other projects!

These next two bags are from Sharon, who didn’t give me her last name. Here’s what she said about making these bags:

“I had so much fun & was determined not to buy new fabric & only use old blocks or fabrics from my stash. My circle pieces are left over bits from a bullseye quilt. These bags allow you to be really creative & just “go with the flow”, rather that stick to a particular pattern.”

I just LOVE that! It’s so fun to see people having fun being creative! That makes me feel so good. I also love these bags. The pretty deep jewel tones are so nice, and the graphic black and white is fabulous!

Thanks to everyone for the photos!

Finally!!! A Frankenbag Zipper Placket Tutorial

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how I added a zipper placket to this Frankenbag.

A couple of months ago I promised that I’d make a tutorial for adding a placket to this bag. I’ve finally gotten around to it.

You can find the tutorial for my Frankenbag here.

You can find my tutorial for constructing the bag panels here.

Here’s the materials you need to do this:

One zipper, at least 15 inches. If you’re using a metal zipper, try to keep it to 15 inches. If you’re using a nylon zipper, you can use a longer zipper and cut it to the size you want. The zipper I used was about 15 inches long. (This should not be a jacket zipper that comes apart.)

Two pieces of fabric cut to 12.5 inches by 4 inches. I used a fabric that matched my lining, but you could use any fabric you want.

Two pieces of a light fusible interfacing cut just a little smaller than your fabric pieces (above). I used a light weight fusible interfacing that I had left over from mask making. It’s a Pellon product, but I don’t have the product number. The stiffer your interfacing, the stiffer your placket. I like the placket to have a little body.

A small piece of fabric, approximately 1.5 inches by 4.5 inches to cover the long zipper end. I used fabric that matched the placket and the lining. You could use any fabric you like. You will cut this according to your zipper width (read on for details).

And that’s all the materials you need, well, except for some thread.

Ok, let’s get started.

Fuse the interfacing pieces to the wrong sides of the two 12.5×4 inch zipper placket pieces according to the instructions on your interfacing.

Fold each of these two pieces along the long edge, with right sides together.

Sew a 1/4 inch seam along the short side on both ends of each piece. Clip the corner on the fold.

Turn these two pieces right side out, gently push out the corners, and press. Then sew a line of zig zag stitching along the long raw edge of each piece, making sure to catch both sides of the fabric in the zig zags.

Don’t freak out about this unfinished edge! It will later be completely hidden when you sew the placket to the lining. You’ll have plenty of time to freak out later. Now is not the time.

So now you have two pieces that are ready to apply to your zipper. When I made my placket, and knowing that I was working with a metal zipper, I decided that I was ok that the inside of the placket, the side no one will ever see, would have the zipper tape showing. If I had been working with a nylon zipper with the ability to actually sew over the zipper, I would have worked on a method to enclose the zipper inside the placket. Since I’m happy with “No one will ever see that,” that’s how I did this. Plus, you get a really nice finish on the part that shows.

So let’s move on.

The next thing you’re going to do is cover the stop end of your zipper. This just gives a little more finished look. This is where the little piece of fabric that I was a bit vague about comes in. So, first, measure the width of your zipper. Mine is just shy of 1-1/4 inches. You’ll want to cut your zipper tab fabric about 4.5 inches long, and 1/2 inch wider than the width of your zipper. So mine was cut 4.5 inches x almost 1-3/4 inches wide. This allows for your seam allowances and the tab should fit your zipper. If it doesn’t, adjust your measurements and make another one.

Fold your tab in half right sides together, lining up the two short ends. Stitch a 1/4 inch seam along the two long sides and clip the corners that are on the fold (the left side of this photo).

Turn this piece inside out, gently push out the corners, and press. Then turn down to the inside about 1/2 inch or so on the open edge and press.

Slip this little envelope over the stop end of your zipper, pin it in place, and top stitch all the way around four sides about 1/8 inch from the edge. NOTE: I did not push the end of the zipper into the bottom of this little envelope. Just push it in far enough that you cover the zipper stop.) If you look closely at this photo, you can see that I didn’t stitch over the metal of the zipper on the lower right. I would have gone through a lot of needles trying to pull that maneuver. If you have a nylon zipper, you can probably sew right over it.

There’s only about 1/2 inch of zipper inside that little envelope.

Now you’re ready to put the placket pieces onto the zipper.

Somehow, I didn’t get a photo of this step so you’ll need to look at my finished product to see how to line up the plackets with the zipper and how to stitch.

Here’s my finished placket with zipper and tab. So this is what you’re trying to achieve.

Put your zipper right side up on your table. On the open end of the zipper, line up your placket pieces on top of the zipper, fold side toward the zipper teeth, zig zagged edge away from the zipper, and pin it in place.

You can do this all one side of the zipper at a time. But when you add the second side of the placket, make sure your two sides of the placket are lined up on the opposite sides of the zipper. I lined the ends of my placket pieces with the end of the zipper tape on the open end and made sure the other ends matched up across the zipper.

I used my zipper foot to stitch two lines of stitching on each side of the zipper. One closer to the edge of the fabric closest to the zipper teeth, and one a little further away, but close enough that you’ll catch the zipper fabric on the back side. This is probably just shy of 1/4 inch or so.

Here’s what it looks like from the front.

Here’s what it looks like from the back. This is where that “no one will ever see this” comes in. See the two lines of stitching on the zipper fabric?

These two lines of stitching should keep that zipper in place and out of the way of the teeth nicely.

THIS IS A GOOD TIME TO TALK ABOUT WHY THE ZIPPER IS SO MUCH LONGER THAN THE PLACKET.

You might be wondering why I didn’t use a 12 inch zipper. Here’s the reason. This longer zipper allows you to open up your bag really wide to put stuff in, take stuff out, and find your fricking keys that you can hear but can’t locate. If your zipper was the same length as your placket, you would only be able to open the bag wide on the other side where the zipper is open. This longer zipper adds a TON of functionality to your bag! This placket is more than just a pretty face. It knows how to get the job done!

Now you’re ready to sew this placket to your lining. If you want pockets on the inside of your bag, make sure they have been sewn to your lining before you apply the placket.

Mark the center of point of the top of each piece of your lining. Mark the center on each side of your placket. (mark the center of the placket, not the center of the zipper! — This is really important!!!)

You need to make a big decision now… what side of your bag and lining do you want the open side of the zipper to be on? For me, if I’m looking at the front of the bag, I want the open side to be on the right side of the bag, so when I have the bag tucked under my right arm, the zipper pull will be forward when the bag is closed. So, now, even more complicated, you need to decide what side of your lining is the front and which is the back. If I only have one pocket, to me that’s the back of the bag. If I have a pocket on each side of the lining and they are the same, it doesn’t matter which side is the front or back. But if you have different pockets and want them to be arranged in a certain way, you have a decision to make.

Does your head hurt just a little right now? That’s normal.

But hold on, because here is where it get’s a little complicated.

Lay the completed zipper placket, right side up (zipper pull up), on your table with the open side to the right. Take the lining piece that you want to be the front of the bag and lay it on top of the zipper placket, right side down, leaving about 1/2 inch of the placket fabric showing above the top edge of the lining. Line up the center marks. Put a couple of pins in to hold these pieces in place.

Now flip the whole damned thing over! Put in a bunch of pins to hold it all in place nicely. Then remove the pins you put in the other side to hold it together while you flipped it.

Then stitch a line along the zig zagged edge, a generous 1/8 inch away from the edge. (This raw edge will be enclosed later… I promise!) Be sure to back tack on each end of this line of stitching.

Now lay this piece on the table so the zipper placket is face up and the piece of lining you just sewed is at the top.

Lay your second piece of lining, right side down, onto the zipper placket and line it up with about 1/2 inch of the placket fabric showing. make sure you line up the centers again.

Put in a few pins to hold it all together and then flip the whole thing over. Pin it more securely, remove the pins on the other side, and then do the line of stitching along the zig zag edge, making sure to back tack on each end.

Remember when I said there would be time to freak out later? Well, THIS IS THAT TIME!!!

This piece you just made that connects the two lining pieces to the zipper placket will look TOTALLY WRONG! But, it’s probably right. Probably.

Here’s what it should look like:

If you pick this up by the pieces of lining above the placket, you should be able to picture this inside a bag. That helped it all make sense to me. One key thing here. Your zipper pull should be facing up at this point. If it’s not, your bag will be difficult to operate.

Now, sew the lining together according to the instructions in my Frankenbag tutorial (linked at the very top of this blog post) and sew it into your bag body according to the instructions — making sure the zipper is open and the placket is folded down out of the way of the line of stitching at the top of the bag. Top stitch the top of the bag and lining according to the instructions, making sure to fold the placket out of the way so you don’t catch it in the stitching.

(Side note to explain something that made my head hurt: When I sewed my lining with placket to my bag body, I had a good deal of head scratching in deciding where that long piece of extra zipper should go. When I sew my linings to my bags, I have the bag body wrong side out and the lining inside the bag body with the right side out. This loop of zipper that attaches the two sides of the lining should just ride naturally around the side of bag lining. I think I gave this much more thought than it deserved. (When I make another bag with a zipper placket, I’ll add a photo.)

Once the lining is sewn in and you’ve completed your topstitching, it’s time to sew one final seam on each of the plackets to finish them.

Making sure all the layers of bag and lining are nice and flat and there are no tucks, fold the placket down and press along the edge where you sewed the placket to the lining. This folding will encase the raw zig zag edge.

Make sure all those layers are flat and there are no tucks or folds undernneath, pin it in place securely, and top stitch a line 1/4 inch away from the seam line (you can see in the photo that the right edge of my foot is right on the seam line that attached the placket to the lining). Back tack on each end of this line of stitching. Do this to both sides of the placket+/lining.

An important note here: because I do about 2 inches of match stick quilting along the top edge of all my Frankenbags, this line of stitching will be essentially hidden in that quilting when viewed from the right side of the bag. If you haven’t done this match stick quilting on your panel, that line will be more apparent.

Here’s a few more photos of this bag with the placket.

Let me know if you find any typos or mistakes and I’ll edit this post.

Good luck! I hope it all works!