Last minute Christmas gifts

A little while back, I had pinned this sewing project/tutorial for an electronic cable travel case (over on Pinterest). I had thought…hmm…maybe Christmas gifts for some of my work colleagues (I work for a large computer software company….so electronic cable case=perfect).

Finally, this weekend (2.5 days left of work for the year) I managed to get 3 done. I have to say, I had a blast sewing them,  mostly due to the great company on Sunday afternoon.

A few friends (Sarah @ StitchingandBacon, Michelle @ UndiscoveredOptimist and Jenn pictured above; Daisy @ AntsToSugar and Becky pictured below) got together at Cary Quilting Company for a bit of last-minute Christmas sewing, sharing of fabric + Christmas baked goodies.


The first pouch I made was using fabric from Frances Newcombe, Utopia (pictured below – Outside front, Outside back, Inside). I used a fantastic tutorial for these cases by LiveIt.LoveIt.MakeIt.


I modified some aspects of the tutorial. First off, I needed to convert from cm to in. and here are the materials I used for my pouches (if in the US):

For the pouch pieces:  6″ (side) x 9″ (width) (4 pieces; 2 for the lining and 2 for the main)
For the Cable Tidy Section: 10″ (width) x 18″ (length) (2 pieces; one for the lining and one for the main)
Zipper: 9″ zipper was used for the pouch; purchased from Zipit
Elastic: 19″ length @ 0.5″ and 1″ wide (Joann’s)
Buckle: 2.5″ x 1″ Nickel Fashion Buckle (Joann’s)
Snaps: Size 2 Sew on Snaps (Joann’s)
Interfacing: Pellon Sf101 (fusible Shape flex) (from Joann’s – 30% off at the moment)

I replaced the felt with Fusible Fleece, specifically Pellon 987f Fusible Fleece (from Joann’s – 30% off at the moment).
There are only a few construction pointers, I can provide extra to the provided tutorial.

  1. For sewing the zipper into the pouch, I added fabric tabs to the ends of my zipper for a nicer finish.
  2. I placed my elastic starting at 3″ from the top (0.5″ elastic) and 3″ from the bottom (1″ elastic).
  3. Pin, pin. pin the elastic, especially the smaller one on top. The smaller one tended to move more often when you sewing the straight lines and if you want a straight looking line of elastic you needed to pin.
  4. Draw and measure each line you are planning on sewing down through the elastic with a fabric marker. I used chalk pencil.
  5. I marked my lines starting with 2 x 2″ width and then alternated the 1.5″ and 1″ lines and finished off again with one or two 2″ segments. I recommend not placing two 1″ lines close to each other as it makes it difficult to fit items next to each other.


The two on the left are for male colleagues and the one on the right was for a female colleague.

Lots of fun, and a project I would make again. It took me about 90 minutes for the first one, while I worked out all the steps. The other two, took 90 minutes combined, and I sewed more like a production line.

Fabrics for my pouches above were:

Your turn, you still have time to make those last-minute Christmas gifts!! Good Luck.

QDAD: Quilt Design a Day

Finally, caught up here  so here are the first weeks worth of designs for December. For the following designs, take a look at the library of associated palettes over on the Facebook page.

03 December: Out eating Sushi
This design originated from a pattern on the table at a sushi restaurant. I liked the lines and the blocks of the design.

04 December: Angled Architecture
Amy Gunson over @ Badskirt showed me a picture she had taken over of a building in Melbourne. There were these cool angles on the building which I isolated some of those designs into this one.

06 December: I Spy Window
What happens when you watch Return of the Jedi with your son, while doing quilt design a day? You see the circular window on the death star and it translates into this.

07 December: Pay Phone
This is the graphical presentation for the pay phone in the photo for inspiration.

08 December: Driftwood
This was the second design that represents driftwood, but I decided that this was my favorite of my driftwood interpretation.
The first one, was this…I like that pink square with the lines, however I prefer the simple nature of just the bottom right corner.

09 December: 60’s mod circles
Not a lot to say about this one – not really sure if I like this one.

10 December: Tudor Stripes
Inspired by Luis Sacilotto’s work, and really wanted to represent the Tudor black and white woodwork in a simple line design.QDAD_Tudor_10Dec

If you would like to make or use one of my designs, please email me (ml_wilkie(at)hotmail(dot)com) or leave a comment below. I am happy to talk with you on options and provide the relevant measurements etc. or have you test out a pattern. Also, if you use one of my designs, please use the following text to credit me the design: “Designed by Michelle Wilkie @ Factotum of Arts”.

WiP Wednesday

This week, I am working on a couple of things….my next Sew Mama Sew project and working on planning out what’s coming next for my blog etc.

Fabric has been pulled, measurements taken and written down and additional equipment has been ordered for Sew Mama Sew Project 4. I am actually optimistic in having this finished for the weekend (yay!! ahead of schedule).

For the blog, I have been talking to some of my quilty/blog friends about doing a series of posts on quilty basics and/or skills we have learned that scared us. How did we grow those skills? What have we learned? What would we not do again? It was proposed by the lovely Laura (@littleandlots) that it was just like America’s Test Kitchen but for quilting. So, with some luck, Monday will see the announcement and launch a blog series “Back to School”.

In the meantime, here are where the rest of my projects are:

Projects and Progress


Project Target Date Current Status
Spoonflower Sampler Quilt  31DEC2014 TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
Celestial Spheres
(Part 1)
Sew Mama Sew
(Project 4)
Bjorn the Bear  31DEC2014  TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
Rangers Station  DEC2014  TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt JAN2014 TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND

QDAD: Quilt Design a Day (November)

This is my catch-up post for November. For these catch up post please take a look at the library of associated palettes over on the Facebook page.

01 November
Playing with minimal geometric shapes and placement for this design.


02 November
I was playing with a cross block and then angles coming out from the cross. The widths of the lines also differ. I love this cooler palette.


24 November
This was my week for providing the photo and color palette for inspiration. I find a saturated color palette challenging….so that was first up. Picture was taken in Hong Kong.


25 November
New Zealand has the most amazing native forest areas and I thought this would make a great cooler palette.


26 November
On or recent trip to Savannah, there was so much inspiration around us. I love this old candy store down on the river front.
I loved the neutral color palette and the pops of green and red. I tried to also convey those surprise pops of color in my design. This is one of my favorite designs of this month.

27 November
With the other cooler palettes for the week, I wanted a warm palette.

My interpretation of the photo inspiration is not really one of my designs I liked.


30 November

The color palette and inspiration for this design came from Anne over @ Play Crafts. I loved the inspiration it was of lakes, and snow-capped tree covered mountains. This is by far my favorite design in a while.


A short month this time, as life just got busy.  I am happy though that maybe half of the designs have potential of actually being made ;-)

If you would like to make or use one of my designs, please email me (ml_wilkie(at)hotmail(dot)com) or leave a comment below. I am happy to talk with you on options and provide the relevant measurements etc. or have you test out a pattern. Also, if you use one of my designs, please use the following text to credit me the design: “Designed by Michelle Wilkie @ Factotum of Arts”.

Winner of Sew Mama Sew Giveaway

Thank you to all those that were kind enough to leave comments. There were some great ideas for tutorials. The main areas folks wanted more tutorials include:

  • Learn the basics *
    • Quilting/piecing
    • Paper piecing/ English Paper piecing
    • Curves
  • Lessons on design, color and fabric selection *
  • Pouches/ Bags /Pillows
  • Free Motion Quilting/ Machine quilting

* indicates that these are areas in which I will look into for 2015.

Using, the winner was #120 Quiltingmod – Afton Warrick!! I will be emailing you shortly to talk through the details.

QuiltCon Entries

I thought about this post a lot today after reading several of the other posts on QuiltCon Quilt Show announcements made yesterday, and wondered whether I should write this or not.

Before I start, everyone should go over and read this post “Former QuiltCon Juror Tells All” by Latifah Saafir, it is very informative about how quilt show selection is made. Worth a read. I learned a lot.

There are so many amazing quilts out there that were entered to the QuiltCon Quilt Show. I think everyone deserves a pat on the back for completing their quilts, that you can be proud of your work and for taking the leap to submit your quilt into a show.

I know, personally speaking, this was a very hard step for me. I had to work hard to get my quilts finished. I worked hard to overcome the self-doubt, especially since I have only been quilting just over 2 years and this is my first show.  I am so thankful, for our quilting community and my IG friends, without the support you have all shown me I would not have submitted or finished anything (for that matter).

Here were my submissions into QuiltCon Quilt Show.

Phased Circles


I know a lot of quilts did not get in and so many of them I love!! So, I am so honored that both of my quilts did make it into QuiltCon.

Now, I am off to work out how to make and attach quilt sleeves, and how to make a quilt label. I am so excited about meeting so many people I chat to online or IG, volunteering, attending classes and lectures and also seeing all those quilts in person. This will be such a fantastic event!! See you soon.


Festive Mug Rug Swap

For a bit of fun, I decided I would join two swaps over December. The first is the Festive Mug Rug Swap. I knew straight away that I wanted to use my free gift tag paper piecing pattern (you can find it on the right-hand side menu).


I love making up this block. Next up some diagonal straight line quilting.

The other swap I am doing is Schnitzel and Boo’s Mini quilt swap. I have an idea for my partner but I am trying to decide on what color to go with…at least I have an idea right :-)

Linking up with Lee over @ Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday (button on the right)