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.

 

 

Chambray, blue and yellow quilted pouch

I was ready to get up early today and drive down to Brooks to visit a litter of seven week old puppies, and, unbelievably, the whole event got canceled because it was supposed to rain. Can you believe that in NW Oregon something gets canceled because of rain? And it turned out to be a gorgeous day. Not a drop here at my place in Portland.

Since I was already up, and after a nice leisurely breakfast of pumpkin pie, I decided to go and look at some fabric. I had seen some really nice chambray at a fabric store a couple of weeks ago when  friend and I were there looking for linen. I’ve been thinking about it ever since, so I got ready and hit the road.

I took about an hour and touched a lot of fabric at the store… a large store that has quilting fabric, designer fabrics, decor fabrics, and just about anything you’d want. So I really enjoyed myself.

I found the chambray that I’d seen a couple of weeks ago, and found a nice charcoal grey linen that I didn’t see that last time I was there. The chambray was inexpensive, so I bought two yards, and it’s about 70 inches wide! It will go with just about any bright quilting fabric I put with it. I bought a yard of the linen and it will be great with the bright colors too. It’s wide too so I can get a lot of bags and pouches out of that yard.

Once home, I decided to start on a pouch that I’ve been wanting to make. It’s a pennant design out of blues and yellows. I made a paper piecing template a couple weeks ago to use for this bag. I considered just drawing out the template on graph paper, which would have been easier, but decided to try making it on Excel, and it worked! It took a long time, but it’s really accurate and the lines are nice and straight and fine. The blocks finish up right around 4 inches square.

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I decided to use more of the Kaffe Fassett Roman Glass and Paperweight because I had some cut and ready to go, plus, it’s gorgeous and the colors are just what I wanted.

I made six blocks using three different blues and two different yellows, then I arranged them in sets of three and sewed them together for the panels for the front and back of my pouch. I’m so happy with how these panels turned out!

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Once I had the panels done, I started assembling the pouch using the new chambray that I bought today. I left the paper on to sew the blocks together to add stability and so the blocks wouldn’t distort. I kept the paper on as I assembled the different parts of the pouch, removing what I needed to so I could top stitch. Once I had the chambray sewn on above and below the panels, I removed all the paper. I’ll probably do this in the future with paper pieced blocks as these panels went into the pouch much more accurately than they usually do.

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The chambray looks grey, but it’s actually blue. A really soft, neutral blue.

Once I had the pouch at this stage, I started thinking that I wanted to do some free motion quilting on the panel… I was a little worried what would happen to this section when the pouch is washed. I figured the quilting would keep everything in place through use and washing.

So, I did a basic stippling… a really great go-to quilting design, especially for a small piece like this. I used a light grey thread because I didn’t want it to show, and it really did disappear on these fabrics.

The quilting feels amazing on the pouch. It gives the panel great texture and really makes it feel luxurious. I’m so glad I decided to add the quilting.

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I arranged the blocks differently on the two panels, which makes it so much fun. I just love these blocks and will definitely try different color combinations. I’m wanting to do something in mostly reds, so that might be next.

Here’s the finished pouch from two sides.

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Crafty Ceramics Saturday

Every few months my friends Carol and Heather and I try to get together and do something crafty. About a year ago we decided to spend a day doing paper mache. What a colossal failure! But we got one thing out of it — we never want to do paper mache again!

Today it was painting ceramics. Carol has all the glazes and a kiln so we met at a ceramics store in the morning to pick out the pieces we would paint, and then headed to Carol’s house to get busy.

I made wheel thrown pottery many years ago, back before I acquired my best boy Forrest in 2003. It was one of the many things that belonged to my life before Forrest.  I probably made pottery for 10 years or so, and actually got pretty good at it.

We have talked about painting ceramics for some time, and I was really looking forward to it. And it was really a fun day.

We tossed the dogs in the back yard and gathered around Carol’s dining table, full of bottles of glazes, brushes, and all kinds of tools and jars, and dug in.

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I purchased a big bowl and a big platter and had sort of an idea of what I wanted to do for the design. . . something really simple, and something that would play well with all my colorful Fiesta Ware. So I went with a combo of red, chartreuse and orange, with a black line design.

I did the platter first, and made the cardinal mistake that I often make: I didn’t stop soon enough! I kept going, and went too far. So the black design isn’t what I had pictured, but it’s fine for a firs try. I can’t wait to see what it looks like after it’s fired.

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The second piece I made was the bowl, and I stopped before I went to far. I did the basic same design but it’s cleaner and the design is nicer. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

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The green in the center of both of these pieces should be quite bright… and that bright green is my favorite color. So it if works, I’ll be very satisfied.

Carol was painting some smaller bowls to replace some she had that she gave away. She really does a great job with the drawing on the bowls — even gets some really cute sheep on there. Sort of puts me to shame.

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But it was Heather that really went crazy with her platter. She took a couple hours to paint the radiating sunset colors, blending very carefully. Then she thought about the tree for what seemed like another two hours. Then decided what she wanted to do and forged ahead. I can’t wait to see how this turns out after being fired!

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When we were done, I came home and did some sewing, finishing up two paper pieced panel pouches, and a three-pouch set for a work colleague’s daughter who loves lizards.

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Tomorrow is a day of puppies! I need a puppy fix.

Kaffe Lotus Leaf Six Pack

It was a really wet and rainy weekend in Portland, so I got a lot of sewing done. . . continuing my obsession with pouches in general, and lotus leaf pouches in specific.

I cranked out five pouches on Saturday and Sunday, even after watching a couple of movies, taking Rico to his sheep herding lesson, and our weekly post herding field romp with Rico and Bender, making a big batch of beef stew, going shopping for some fabric (because I just don’t have enough!) and doing some research on the local initiatives so I can fill out my ballot this week.

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So, yeah, I got a lot done, and still had time to relax.

So, here are my weekend pouches, all made with the Kaffe Lotus Leaf in various color ways.

(Find the tutorial for my pouches here. And find a blog post about how these Lotus Leaf pouches are different from the tutorial here.)

These two might be my favorite. There’s just something about the subtlety of the lighter prints and the neutral background fabric. I just love these!

I love these bright ones too. The one on the left is better in person. There is blue in the lotus leaf that just pops with the chambray! The body fabric on the purple one is like a shot cotton, but heavier. It’s almost iridescent.

Front and back views of this next one because the lotus leaf fabric is so different on each side.

And now some close ups of the quilting.

I still have several color ways of the lotus leaf that I haven’t used yet. Gotta decide what I’m gonna work on next!

Linen and Kaffe Lotus Leaf Pouch

IMG_9486I sat down the other night to make some paper pieced pennant blocks for a pouch, and ran into troubles right away. I was tired, so figured I wasn’t in the right condition to keep trying to figure it out.

So I decided to make a new pouch design that I’d been thinking about… the pouch pictured above.

I love Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. The colors are amazing, the designs are so gorgeous, and the fabrics are luscious to sew on. And Kaffe’s lotus leaf is one of my favorites… and the new color ways are so fantastic.

So i gave it a little bit of thought, and started cutting fabric.

I basically used the same 12×10 measurement that I use for most of my pieced pouches, but it turned it on it’s side, so the pouch is taller than it is wide.

I followed the same construction as other pouches as in my zipper pouch tutorial, with the pieced panel replaced with a 4×10 panel of the Lotus Leaf fabric.

The difference started after the zipper was put in, at this stage in the process:

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That’s what the pouch looked when I did the quilting.

I had fused the lining to the batting, and to do the quilting, I used a basting spray that I’ve had luck with in the past to fuse the front of the bag to the lining pieces. That way, everything stayed together so nicely as I did the quilting.

I used two types of quilting in this pouch: straight line quilting on the bottom, and free motion quilting on the top. I used my walking foot for the straight quilting on the bottom of the pouch, and used my quilting stitch regulator for the FMQ on the panel portion.

I used the edge of my walking foot to space the straight line quilting evenly. I love the way it turned out, but I think the proportions are off a little. In future pouches like this that I make, I’ll only do four rows of the straight line quilting. I think that will make the bag feel lighter, and the straight line quilting will stand out more.

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I wasn’t sure how I was going to quilt the panel section, but decided to quilt along the different parts of the design. I was thinking it was going to be complicated, but it was really easy and it went very well.

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I used a pink thread that blended in fairly well with the colors of the fabric, but in the future,  think I’ll just use a light grey thread.

Once the quilting was done, I started with trimming the flat fabric pieces before I zig zagged and sewed the seams. I then followed the tutorial.

I’m so happy with how this quilting turned out. In future pouches like this, I’ll probably do a little more quilting around the design. I think the fabric can take it!

I’m so anxious to make more of these that I’ve already put together combos of Lotus Leaf in different color ways with different body fabric. I have several other color ways in this Kaffe fabric. It’s one of my absolute favorites, and the colors are inspirational! Can’t wait to get started!

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I’d love to know what you think!

Anne’s Zipper Pouch Tutorial

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I’ve developed my own pattern over time by taking tricks and techniques from different video and print tutorials I’ve seen, and by adding my own tricks and techniques.

This tutorial is for the single larger pouch that features an inset panel of some kind of piecing or patchwork. I’m not going to go into how I make that panel. That’s the part where you get to be creative!

(Stay tuned for a future tutorial on how I make the pieced panels for the pouch.)

Let’s get started!

Materials:

  1. Your completed pieced panel. I make mine from fabric scraps (Kaffe Fassett Collective scraps, batik scraps, etc…). 12 inches wide by any height. Mine are typically around 3 or 4 inches tall.
  2. Fabric for outside of the bag:  1/3 yard will make at least two pouches of this size.
  3. Lining Fabric: 1/3 yard of something fun! I LOVE a surprising and bold lining! 1/3 yards is enough to make 2 pouches.
  4. One zipper: at least 12 inches wide. Match it to the bag body, or pick a color from the pieced panel.
  5. Thread: either blend in or contrast for sewing and top stitching. I typically use grey or off white.
  6. Fusible batting: 1/3 yard is enough to make two pouches. I use Pelon brand poly variety. But you can use their cotton variety as well.

Fabric cutting/measurements:

Lining: For each pouch, you’ll need two pieces that measure 12×10 inches. Cut your 1/3-yard fabric to a precise 12 inches wide, width of fabric. Turn it on its side, trim off the selvedge, and cut two 10-inch sections.

Fusible batting: Cut just like you cut the lining fabric. 2 pieces at 12×10 inches.

Pieced panel: Your pieced panel will need to be 12 inches wide. (I plan on doing a tutorial on how I piece these panels, but be creative!) Mine are usually around 3 to 4 inches high, sometimes more.

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Bag Body Fabric: I cut a precise 12-inch strip, width of fabric, from my 1/3 yard piece, and then cut each piece for the body of the pouch from that 12 inch strip. I leave the piece folded and cut two at a time of each body piece.

Top strip, above pieced panel and sewn to zipper: From 12-inch strip of body fabric, cut a 1 ½ inch strip. This will give you two pieces, one for each side of the bag.

Zipper tabs: Cut a 1-inch strip across the 12-inch piece. This gives you two pieces that will then be cut into 4-inch lengths. You need two 4-inch pieces for the zipper for one pouch. These two strips will do four pouches.

Bottom panel: I usually wait to cut this until I have the top strip and pieced panel sewn together. I measure that top piece, add ½ inch of height for the seam allowance, and cut the bottom piece so the entire piece will measure 10 inches tall when sewn. So, if the top piece measures 12 inches by 5 inches, I cut the bottom piece 12x 5 -½ inches (5 inches plus ½ inch for seam allowance). If the top piece measures 4 inches, I cut the bottom piece 6.5 inches (six inches, plus ½ inch for seam allowance). You can always just cut this piece taller than you think you’ll need, and then trim the entire pouch side to 12/10 when it’s all sewn together.

This particular piece measured 4.5 inches, so I added 5.5 inches to make 10 inches, plus 1/2 inch for the seam allowance — I cut the bottom piece to 6 inches.  4.5 + 5.5 = 10, plus 1/2 inch seam allowance.IMG_9287.jpg

Handle: from the 12 inch strip of body fabric, I cut strips 2 inches wide. This make handles for two pouches.

IMG_E9283     Left to right: handle, top strip, zipper tabs

Prepping handle, zipper tabs and lining:

  1. Handle: Fold in half lengthwise and press. Fold outside edges into center fold, and press again. Fold over, and press into one long strip. Top stitch close to edge on both long edges.  IMG_9290  IMG_E9291IMG_9292 IMG_9293IMG_9312
  2. Prep the zipper: Cut off the closed end of the zipper. Place the zipper on top of the lining along the 12 in width, with the right edge a generous inch in from the right side. Move the zipper tab to be on top of the lining, and cut off the open side of the zipper even with the left side of the lining. IMG_9299IMG_9301
  3. Zipper tabs: Fold in half, matching short edge to short edge, and press. Fold over about 3/8 inch on each end, and press, making sure that the two folded edges match. Pin these tabs onto the each end of the zipper, with the zipper sandwiched in between each folded end. Make sure about 1/2 inch of the zipper is inside the tab.  Top stitch two lines across edge of zipper tabs.IMG_9295 IMG_9296IMG_9297IMG_9305IMG_9307IMG_9308
  4. Lining: Fuse lining fabric pieces, right side up, to fusible batting according to instructions on batting.IMG_E9298

 

Assembling front bag panel:

  1. Sew 1-1/2 inch strip to top of pieced panel. Press seam allowances away from pieced panel. Top stitch along the body fabric.
  2. Sew bottom panel to bottom of the pieced panel. Press seam allowances away from the pieced panel. Top stitch along the body fabric.IMG_9289

Sewing in Zipper:

  1. Place one lining/Pelon piece on table, with lining fabric facing up. Lay the zipper with tabs along top edge and with zipper pull up and to the right. Center the zipper between the two sides. There will be excess zipper tab fabric extending beyond the lining piece on each side.IMG_E9313IMG_9314
  2. Lay one of the bag front panels right side down on top of zipper and lining, making sure to line up the top edges and the sides.IMG_E9315
  3. Carefully pin the zipper between the lining and bag front.
  4. Using your zipper foot, sew a ¼ inch seam along the top edge of these pieces. When you get within about an inch of the zipper pull, stop and put your needle down, lift the foot, and reach in and slide the zipper pull into the section you’ve already sewn. Lower your foot, and finish this seam.
  5. Press each piece away from the zipper. I press the front first, and the lining second.IMG_9318IMG_E9319IMG_E9320
  6. Lay second piece of lining face up. With zipper closed, lay the piece you just finished on top of the 2nd lining, with pouch front right side facing up. Make sure the top of the 2nd lining and the zipper are lined up. Also line up sides of these pieces. Now open the zipper (I do it this way because when the zipper opens, it will move — but your bag pieces will be in place. You can easily move the zipper back into place as you pin.) Open the zipper now, when everything is lined up place the second pouch front face down on this stack, making sure to line up the top and sides.IMG_9321IMG_9322IMG_E9323
  7. Pin carefully, about every two inches. Using your zipper foot, sew a ¼ seam to secure the zipper. When you get within about two inches of the pull, lift the fabric and slide the pull into the area you’ve already sewn.
  8. Press these pieces away from the zipper, starting with the front, then the lining.
  9. Top stitch about 1/8 inch away from the zipper on each side of the pouch.IMG_9325

Trimming, and preparing the pouch to be sewn into an envelope:

  1. Lay the flat piece on your cutting table. Flatten it all out with your hands,  and trim the side edges and bottom of each side to be even. I typically don’t trim much more than 1/8 or ¼ inch away.
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  3. Pin about every two inches around the edge of the bag. Pin inside of the seam allowance so you can leave your pins in place for the next sewing step.IMG_9328
  4. Using your walking foot, zig zag the edge all the way around the bag, catching all three layers of front, batting, and lining. Make sure that the needle on the left side of the zig zag stitch catches fabric, and on the right side of the stitch the needle falls over the edge and wraps the raw edges. (This edge will be exposed on the inside of the bag, so you want it to be finished nicely.)
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Sewing the pouch into an envelope:

  1. OPEN THE ZIPPER! This is SOOOO important! If you don’t open the zipper, you’ll never get your bag turned right side out!
  2. Fold the handle in half, matching ends, and place a pin to hold it all together.IMG_9349
  3. Pin the handle onto one side of the bag in the 1.5 inch section at the top. I pin it on the side where the zipper pull is when zipper is open. Leave about ¼ inch of the handle ends sticking out beyond the edge of the bag pieces.IMG_9350
  4. Fold over the sides of the bag with right sides together, match up bottom corners and pin.
  5. Match up edges of zipper at the folded top of the bag, and pin.
  6. Match up the panels on the sides and pin.
  7. Pin around the edges of the bag about every two inches, keeping the pins back away from the seam allowance so you don’t have to remove them as you sew.IMG_9351
  8. Starting at the top of one side, sew all the way around the pouch envelope. I back stitch at the top, and over the handle. I try to stitch just inside of the zig zag to keep the seam allowance as small as possible. Leave your needle down and pivot at the corners. In the photo below, you can see how close I stitch to the zigzag. IMG_9352
  9. Cut off the pieces of the handle sticking out beyond the seam. IMG_9355

Making the gussets:

  1. Put one hand into the envelope you’ve just made and separate the sides of the bag. With your other hand, press the side seam toward the bottom seam. Look inside the bag to make sure the side seam and bottom seam line up. Hold these seems pressed together with one hand and use the other hand to smooth out any folds on the inside of this envelope. Place one pin on the outside along the seam about three inches in from the point to hold this all together. Press the gusset flat.IMG_9356
  2. Side and bottom inside seams lined up:IMG_9359IMG_9360
  3. Using one of your square rulers (I use my 5.5 inch square), mark a 3.5 inch line across the folded corners of the pouch. Use the diagonal line on the ruler to keep the sewing line square and insure that your bag bottom is even. Keep the diagonal line on the ruler lined up on the fold on the left side, and slide the ruler up or down along that diagonal line until the 3 1/2 inch mark hits the fold on the right side. Mark this line with a pencil or quilting marker.IMG_9363
  4. Sew along this marked line. I backstitch at the start and end of this line of stitching.IMG_9364
  5. Cut the corner off, leaving a little less than ¼ inch of seam allowance.IMG_9367IMG_9365
  6. Zig zag along this cut edge to seal all of the raw edges.IMG_9368

Open the bag and turn it right side out, using your finger to push out the corners of the gusset, and using something with a rounded edge to gently push out the zipper tabs at the top.

YOU’RE DONE!!! I hope it’s pretty!

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A Truly Incredible Premier Blog Post

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There’s a lot of fuss going around these days in my blog world.

So I’ve decided to give this another go here at WordPress. Maybe some day I’ll write something. Maybe some day I’ll write something really amazing.

I’m thinking some inconsequential rambling about things that don’t matter. Maybe I’ll tell funny stories about my dogs’ ears, and how some are indecisive while others clearly know their purpose. Maybe I’ll make quilting tutorials for people with poor geometry skills. Maybe I’ll write incredible observational comedy that has wide appeal. Maybe I’ll write about why 6 am, 2 pm, and 10 pm are important in my life. Maybe I’ll write a groundbreaking post about my ever-growing to-do list. Maybe I’ll write about why my puppy is barking for no apparent reason. Maybe I’ll write about what it was like to be without TV for a month recently. Maybe I’ll write about solving the mystery of who pooped in the utility room (spoiler: it wasn’t me).

So buckle your seat belts. It’s going to be an incredibly average ride!