Bright Cat Storage Bins

I made these bins for the same friend that got the cat shoulder bag in a previous blog post. She asked me for some storage bins that she could use on her desk. I knew she would love the cat fabric. I auditioned a number of different black and white fabrics to go with the cats, and the zebra fabric was the one that sang!

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I used this tutorial from Birch Organic Fabrics. It was really easy to make up, and the tutorial is really easy to follow. The only thing that was a little difficult was fusing the interfacing to the fabric. It took a long time to get it to stick well, but that was it. Everything else was really quick and easy.

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Up Next — Jewel Frames Quilt

A friend of mine gave me the kit for the Kaffe Fassett jewel frames quilt for my birthday several years ago, and today I started cutting the fabric. (This photo is from the Craftsy page promoting the quilt kit.)

You can get the free pattern here. 

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I did a lot of sewing over the holidays of smaller pieces, and I still have the quilt I’m making for my guest room in an unfinished state, but I decided that this quilt will be the next up. And it’s for MY bedroom! I like having more than one project to work on at any given time to avoid getting bored with a pattern or with the fabric. But I’m not sure how I could ever get bored with this amazing fabric!

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The kit makes a quilt around 78 x 78 inches. So it’s not quite big enough for my queen bed. So I’ll make it bigger, and will have to decide what fabric to add from my Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics stash. I’m considering a fun floral border. I’ll have to see how it looks once the blocks are all made and assembled.

I got all the 8 inch blocks cut today, as well as some of the strips. I’ll cut more strips as I need them.

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I bought yardage of the green KFC Uzbekistan fabric on sale a couple of years ago for the backing.

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I’ve never looked very closely at this black paper weight fabric, but as I was pressing it I saw all these amazing bright colors! There really is no fabric like the KFC fabrics!

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It’s always so much fun to start a new quilt!

 

Custom Shoulder Bags

Now that the holidays are over and my gifts have all been given, I can share two shoulder bags that I made for friends.

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This bag was made for a friend who just LOVES her cats. The cat fabric is really fun and has a lot of detail, and of course, I love the colors. And all that graphic color looks so cool with the graphic black and white. I just LOVE how this came together!

This next bag is the one that drove this entire project…

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One of my friends told me she would love a bag that was basically a modification to my zipper pouches — she wanted it a little bigger, wanted an interior pocket, and wanted a shoulder strap.

I thought about this bag for a couple of weeks, we agreed on measurements, and I was nearly ready to start… but I was flummoxed by the handle. How the hell was I going to attach the handle? Did I have to modify how I put in the zipper? Should I sew the handle in along with the zipper? And how do I determine the correct length of handle for the bag.

I knew that I was going to have to make one bag with what I was thinking, and then adjust the things that didn’t work. So I did. I made this bag out of navy blue linen and a batik charm pack.

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The navy linen is so pretty, but it’s also thick. This bag was pretty much a fail. It was nearly impossible to sew the handle in at the top. Too many layers of fabric with seams, the zipper, multiple layers of the handle… I broke four needles sewing the handles in. The pocket on the inside was a mess, and the handle attachment was not up to my standards cosmetically, and I knew it wasn’t going to hold up to any wear.

So I thought on it for another week, made modifications based on the problems with the first bag, and was really happy with how the second bag turned out. I’m still not sure I have the handle installation to the level of finish that I want, but I know it’s durable and will outlast the rest of the bag. I have a couple of ideas to make the handle installation cleaner and prettier.

The cat bag was the second bag I made. By the time I was done with this one, I felt like I had it pretty well figured out.

This cat bag really allowed me to have fun with fabrics… the bright cats, graphic black and whites, and I chose an amazing fabric that I bought last summer… black with colorful polka dots — for the lining.

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The pocket on the inside was made from the zebra print fabric.

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The batik bag came out so much better than I had hoped. The gorgeous multi-colored batik panel in the center is so amazing! I don’t remember where I bought that fabric, but I really wish I had more. I only had 1/3 yard in my stash. And I love it with the darker indigo blues. The lining on this one is a medium tone Hoffman Dots batik, and the inside pocket is made out of the multicolor fabric from the front.

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The straight line quilting on this is just so gorgeous with all the movement in the floral. GAH! I love how this turned out. And my friend was really impressed and happy with her new bag.

I have another friend who loved these so much that she asked me to make one for her. she selected some beautiful purple and aqua batiks from my stash. I’m planning on putting together a tutorial for this bag when I make the purple one.

 

Holiday Sewing — some I can share without ruining a surprise

I haven’t been posting what I’m working on because it’s all for holiday gifts… don’t want to ruin anyone’s surprise.

So here’s Bender helping me celebrate the holidays!

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I’ve been making really fun pieced and quilted batik throw pillow covers filled with feather pillows. I’ve found really great feather pillow forms at the Pendleton Wool Outlet at a really reasonable price. They’re 24 inches square, and make a great sofa pillow for watching a movie or napping.

The first pillow I made is for a friend who had a birthday a week or so ago. I’ve and some pillow fronts that I pieced from batik scraps left over from some table runners I made years ago. The fronts have been hanging on the wall of my sewing room for a couple years. I finally decided this was a great use for them.

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My friend likes green, so I added a green border to make the pillows read green, and I LOVE how it turned out. I know she’s going to love it, and it will be a nice addition to her living room.

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Here’s the finished product.

IMG_0037This green one turned out so nice that I decided to make a pair of pillows for another friend for Christmas. They just got a new brown leather couch and they love movies and sports. Blue is her favorite color, so I went with blue batiks, combined with beige, gold, and some pretty browns to tie it in with the sofa.

Here’s a true look at the batiks. I just love the warm feel and the little pops of color. I went with a disappearing nine patch block because I wanted them to be casual and comfy, and not fussy.

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Here are the four pillow fronts on my design wall.

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I pieced the linings from some beige batiks that I had left over from a delayed project. Then I free motion quilted a stipple design in off white thread.

They have a zipper on one end, installed in the same way I install the zippers on my pouches, so that you can take the cover off and wash it.

IMG_0239I just finished them tonight…

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… which means that all my gift sewing is now complete!

I made some new shoulder bags for a couple friends for gifts, and I can’t wait to post pictures! But I have to wait until after Dec. 29, when we’ll meet for dinner and have our holiday celebration.

Happy holidays!

Peaks and Valleys

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I’ve been having fun making my own paper piecing templates in Excel. It’s taken some time to figure out how to set the columns to inches rather than whatever Excel measures in. But Google is my friend, and I figured it out.

Here’s pdf of the paper piecing template for this panel:

Penants2 template.

It comes out to 12.5 inches wide with the seam allowance, but I just trimmed it to 12 inches once I had it all sewn. You’ll want to print it on legal size paper. If you have experience paper piecing, Just start sewing on one side, and keep adding pieces until you get to the other side.

I made a little cardboard template that I used for cutting the fabric pieces — basically added 1/2 inch all around one of the triangles in the template. Then I cut strips of my fabric 5 inches wide, and then cut those strips into triangles using the cardboard template.

I haven’t printed from that PDF yet, so if it’s not 12.5 inches wide, something bad happened! Let me know, and I’ll play with it to make it the right size.

I used the most recent template on three pouches that I made this weekend. I’m just loving all the pouches I’m making with the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. And I’m having fun actually cutting pieces of fabric, rather than just using up scraps.

I absolutely love the Brandon Mably Jumble fabric on the rainbow pouch. It’s so graphically strong, but soft and friendly. I can’t wait to use this in different applications.

And, of course, everything needs a fun lining!

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I also made a couple of pouches out of the same panel template, but with blue chambray. I love the chambray! It’s got such nice body and structure. It’s so much fun to sew on, and it comes out really crisp and straight. I just wish it photographed better. It’s not grey… it’s blue!

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More fun linings… these both have the green Mille Fiore. So yummy!

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All three of these Peaks and Valleys pouches were quilted with straight line quilting. It’s more structured than the stipple, which I really like. And it’s easier and less fussy. The walking foot is much more reliable than the stitch regulator.

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Next project up: I’m finishing a patchwork batik pillow for a friend’s birthday gift.

Thanksgiving 2018 Pouches

Another rainy day and I had to take my car into the shop for new tires and some servicing. So I caught a ride home, and hunkered down in my sewing room.

I always love to try new things and I decided to quilt the panels on this set of pouches with straight line stitching using my walking foot. Have I told you how much I love my walking foot?

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I wasn’t sure it would work, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. I love it because it feels very ordered and structured, which I just love with the randomness of some of these fabrics. It’s just a combination that works in my brain.

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I just love all the hard, straight lines with the bright colors and swirls. So pretty.

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This one made from yellows, oranges and reds was the first one I quilted this way. I thought the straight line quilting would work well on this one. Then I decided to give it a try on one of the flying geese panels… and I loved it there too. So I did the same stitching on all four.

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I just love the one above with the teal colors and taupe linen. It’s so sharp and classy! Such a great combo.

Wonky Log Cabin Quilt

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Finished this quilt top recently after several months of  making these blocks every now and then. They are free-form wonky log cabin blocks. Really fun to make. Really relaxing. Great thing to do at the end of the evening when you want to do some sewing, but know that paying attention to something complicated isn’t in the cards.

At first I pictured the sashing in a zebra print. In fact, I bought the black and white that I actually used because I liked it and thought it would suffice if I couldn’t find a zebra print I liked. After looking for a couple of months, I DID find a zebra print I liked, but it just doesn’t work well in the quilt. Or, this one just worked much better.

I recently finished this top because I wanted to get it off my design wall. So I cracked along over a couple of weeks and cranked out the blocks, then got the sashing done and the top assembled in a weekend.

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And it’s been sitting there for months waiting for me to put together the backing. I had thought I’d use up some of my odds and ends black and white fabrics and piece a backing. Then when I was on vacation I found a cow hyde print black and white fabric on sale and bought six yards of it. I want to use it for the back, but can’t seem to talk myself into it.

I added some black and white borders, along with one thin aqua border.

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It’s a good size quilt. This is it on the double bed in my guest room.

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I just love these scrappy batik quilts. They are so bright and happy. And the graphic black and white just makes all those colors pop.

 

Productive Herringbone Pouch Weekend

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I have company coming this week and needed to get my house cleaned this weekend, but really had a desire to get some serious sewing done. So I budgeted my time, and told myself that if I accomplished what I needed to in housecleaning on Saturday, I could sew the rest of the weekend.

I started out friday night by selecting fabrics for six pouches. I had made one last week with this herringbone panel and batik scraps and wanted to make some out of Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. So I dug into some charm packs that I’ve been holding onto. . . I thought this would be a great way to use that variety of fabric. I also made one from batiks left over from a quilt I made for a friend, and a batik charm pack.

These herringbone panels go together really fast. I got 12 done on Friday night… enough for six pouches.

For the herringbone panel, I followed this tutorial from Craftsy.  The tutorial has you cut your strips 1.5 inches by 4 inches. I used charm squares, so my strips were 5 inches long. My panels ended up too tall for my pouches. They would have looked odd and there wouldn’t have been much of the body fabric showing at the bottom of the pouch. So I cut about 1/5 inch off of the top and bottom of each panel to make it fit better. When I do these panels again, I’ll cut the pieces to 4 inches.

I continued adding strips to the panels until the panel was long enough that I could cut a piece 12 inches long and the width I wanted. With the five inch strips, I initially cut them 6 inches wide. And later cut them down to 5 inches, so they finished at 4.5 inches high, which makes a good proportion for the pouch.

Warning; These panels, when done, are all on the bias, so they stretch like crazy! Be very careful when working with them to not stretch them out of shape.

Once the panels were done, I decided which body fabric I’d use for each one. I decided to just use my beige linen and blue chambray.

To construct the pouch, I used my basic pouch pattern, according to my zipper pouch tutorial here. 

Once I got my house cleaning done on Saturday… and met a friend for dinner… and did some Thanksgiving grocery shopping, I dug in and started preparing body and lining pieces. I started constructing the pouch sides and was productive enough to get one side of each pouch pinned to the zipper and lining… all ready to start sewing the zippers on Sunday.

Once the zippers were in and the topstitching was done, It was time to quilt. I quilted all twelve panels in the same session. They are small, and it goes really fast if you’re not having any issues with your machine.

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The lining is fused to the batting and I used spray basting to adhere the front pieces to the batting for quilting. I did the walking foot quilted lines at the bottom of the panel first, and then quilted the panels using a basic meander for each panel. I used my Bernina stitch regulator for the free motion quilting.

Once the quilting was done, I finished the pouches according to my tutorial.

I’m really happy with how they turned out. I’m excited to try different fabric combinations with this herringbone pattern.

Election Returns Linen Pouch

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I couldn’t stand just sitting and watching election returns, so I turned on the radio and whipped up this handsome grey linen and aboriginal prints pouch.

This is the linen I bought this weekend, and this shit is so thick!!! I knew I’d never get the thickness of a handle to go through my machine, so I didn’t even try.

I BROKE THREE NEEDLES ON THIS THING!!!

I bought a yard of this fabric, and doubt I’ll make another pouch because there’s just too much thickness. So I’m thinking a couple of tote bags with pieced and quilted panels. I’ll have to give it some thought.

I did some stipple quilting on the pieced panel, and that’s my favorite part of the bag. I’m definitely going to make that a permanent part of my wheel house.

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Bright Checks Zipper Pouches

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Had to run some errands tonight, so when I got home I was looking for something that I could whip up quickly. I had cut these bright Kaffe Fassett Collective squares a couple of months ago and had never sewn them together, and they were stacked up on my sewing table so it seemed like the perfect project. I love the way they look combined with the soft blue chambray.

To get these squares, I went through my small KFC scraps and pulled out anything that could be cut into a 2×2 inch square. Once they were cut, I separated them by design, and then stacked them by color family. Hmmm… not a lot of blues in my pile!

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I then selected a bunch of the squares from many different fabrics and colors and started arranging them. Eight squares wide by three squares high turns out perfect to make the pieced panel for a pouch following my zipper pouch tutorial. 

The front and back panels of this pouch actually have the same arrangement of fabrics. I’m not really sure why I took the time to do this because no one would ever notice! But it satisfies my need for order, and it’s a detail that I like taking the time to do. Even if no one else notices, I know it’s there.

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I sewed the squares into horizontal rows and then I sewed the three rows together. It helps to press all the seam allowances on the top row to the left, press the middle row allowances to the right, and press the allowances on the bottom row to the left. That way your seams will nest when you sew the rows together. I’m a pinner, so I pinned the rows before sewing.

Once the panel was done I started constructing the pouch. Once the zipper was in and top stitched, I quilted the front and back panels of the pouch with a simple stipple meander in a light grey thread, and did two straight lines of quilting with my walking foot below the panel.

It’s amazing how the light grey thread almost disappears in these beautiful bright fabrics.

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I made two pouches with these panels recently, but this is the first one where I quilted the panel. I’m thinking the quilting will become a necessity. It just adds a really nice finish and texture. I’m loving it!

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This next one was made from a charm pack of Kaffe paperweight and Roman glass that I’ve had in my stash for awhile. It’s nice to finally use some of it.

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I’ll be making more of these. I just love the bright and happy, scrappy look.