Category Archives: Project Finishes

Traverse Bag {a finish}


Recently, I traveled to Denver for a weekend of catching up with some sewing buddies and fun. In other words, Sewtopia. This is my favorite event and I look forward to it each time. This time, we got to have a class with Anna Graham from Noodlehead.

We made her Traverse Bag, a recently released pattern. Spending time with her, talking about her work, her patterns etc. was such a memorable event. Corrinna, my Sewtopia roomie, by fluke, chose the exact same fabric for the back, but in different color ways. It’s a Japanese print we both found at Bunny Designs at our last Sewtopia in Austin.

I love this little bag, only my third I had ever made!! This was the first time using actual bag hardware to make that strap. Strap and piping is a mint Cotton + Steel basic.

Lifting the front flap reveals two fantastic slip pockets. I lined all the pockets with Tula Pink’s Owl fabric.

There are two zipper openings. One revealing the opening to the main pocket at the top of the bag.  The other zipper opening is on the bag where a pocket is perfect for storing my phone.

I really enjoyed making this bag. It can easily be done in 3 hours (if all your fabric and prep work is done before hand – add about 2 hours for the prep work).

So, this was my only finish at Sewtopia. On the last day, things wrapped up around 12pm. This gave me time to walk around the downtown, before catching my flight home. I bumped into this guy peering into the convention center 😉

 

Maker’s Tote {a finish}

Friends and I have gotten together for two sew days to make Noodlehead’s Maker’s Tote. While others start theirs, both times I avoided it. I was apprehensive for a couple of reasons:

  • It’s my second bag I have ever made, and the first was 3 years ago.
  • There are several new techniques that I have not done before.
  • I wanted it to be good (funny how this stops us making things).

Finally, over Easter weekend and the following week, I managed not just one but started two Maker’s totes (a large and a small). I really wanted to have one for myself and one for a gift at Sewtopia Denver (this past weekend). Yes, I decided to try a brand new pattern the weekend before I needed it….Procrastination in my middle name :-).

Overall, the bag pattern is really not that complicated. Anna (@noodlehead) really walks you through the pattern step by step. I really enjoyed making them. There were a lot of lessons learned which you will find as tips below.

For the Large tote (which is the one I am keeping), I decided that I would finally cut into the Cotton Steel bug print which I have been hoarding and paired it with a Carolyn Friedlander print, pinks and Citrus.

The small tote, is made with this fabulous strawberry print from Cotton and Steel. The inner lining is the metallic Lizzie House Asterix,  the accents in various red prints and Art Gallery Denim.

I decided to quilt both bags. I liked the finish of them quilted. I used Aurifil 50 wt to quilt the bags.   Tip: Glue baste the fabric to the soft and stable. The first one I pin basted and I still got movement and the fabric shifted as I quilted.

I loved the bug fabric so much, I almost decided not to include a pocket. I did add the front pocket, but to keep the fabric the focus, I matched the print the best I could. I loved how it turned out.

Tip: Remember the 1/2″ seam allowance when trying to cut and match the print. This one landed up being a little lower that I would have liked but it still works.

On the back is a zipper pouch. On my large Maker’s Tote (the first one I was making), I found that the pins for the inside pouch did not stop the fabric from rolling/popping out when top-stitching around the zipper. Tip: For my small Maker’s Tote I glue basted the fabric to the soft and stable to hold it in place. It was easy to peel off when I needed to stitch the pocket seams.

I had a hard time with this zipper pocket on the small tote, I managed to stitch the pocket lining all the way through the zipper stitching, the handles, the joining of the bag layers (inner and outer), and the binding. The pocket lining was not down but landed on being flipped up. I unpicked all the offending stitches to free the pocket lining and re-stitched.   Tip: The lesson learned, make sure you have your pocket lining is facing down before any other step.

The inside lining and pockets were a breeze. If you have made Anna’s Carry-All pin cushion then the pockets are very similar instructions. I had some difficulty installing the zipper binding. The stitching appears on the outside so you will need straight lines. Tip: I  landed up glue basting both sides, drew a straight line using a marker, then stitched these two lines.

The gusseted ends were easy to make, but the hardest part of the making of the bag. I used binding clips as recommended in the pattern. This worked well for placement as I did have to play with moving the gusset around the bag to make it even and finish at the same height on both sides of the bag.  Tip: Use the binding clips to get placement and then glue baste it down. The clips get in the way of turning of the gusset as you stitch it in. Also, use a walking foot, I used a zipper foot as proposed which worked ok, but I think the walking foot would have handled the thickness better. No-one will see your seams when you are done….they are covered by the binding.

Final Tip: For the binding, stitch on the inside binding with a machine, but hand-stitched the binding to the front. Press the binding. I think it gave it a nicer finish.

I still need to finish the binding and handles of the large tote, but the small tote is finished and gifted!!

I can highly recommend this pattern. I loved making it and it is such a great finish. The small tote (after working out all the gotchas in the large tote) only took ~4 hours.

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Pink Sherbet {a finish}

What feels like forever ago, I posted a secret project out on Instagram.

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Well, that project had its reveal to on Love Patchwork and Quilting Instagram and Facebook accounts. “Pink Sherbet” is a pattern in this month’s issue of LPQ #43.

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Photo Credit: Love Patchwork and Quilting

This is a huge project for me, as its only the second time I have made a twin size quilt.  I am also not a fan of pink, so getting the right balance was important for me. I loved playing with the improvisational strip piecing and seeing some of my favorite prints in the mosaic of pink.

A couple of design decisions, included adding 3 areas of scrappy grey piecing into the sashing – the bottom left corner was just some strips, the right middle was a variety of quarter triangles, and lastly (which is almost hidden) top second left strip has a few flying geese (also in the first image above).

The other design decision was to add a bright yellow binding, which I think offers a great complementary warm color, balancing the silver grey. This yellow is also in the back with some great Alexander Henry 60 looking prints.

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Photo Credit: Love Patchwork and Quilting

Details

Name: Pink Sherbet
Design:
Original Design
Fabric: Pink Strips of variety prints, Kona Sliver
Backing: Alexander Henry (mostly)
Dimensions:  72 x 90″
Quilted: Large Circles by Cathy Kirk @ The Quilting Cowgirl

The best news is that LPQ are starting a sister TV channel (Sewing Quarter – coming soon..tomorrow in fact) and you may see this quilt in the backdrop of the set sometime.

Fractions {a finish}

I loved the collaboration with my son on this quilt. He actually designed it based on his 3rd grade math fraction homework, last year. He was also the one who decided on the scale – he wanted it “big”.

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Due to the large-scale size and not wanting to buy additional fabric, lead to the fabric combinations you see – Kona Pickle, Highlight, White, Sliver, and Stone.

There were actual several other design choices:

  • Irregular width border
  • Color Placement – Stone (which is in the bottom right corner) was too over powering to be a big triangle, so I replaced it with White and made the stone a smaller triangle. Also, I didn’t want the border to look as an additional, so the white triangle on the top right was purposely placed to break that definitive line.
  • Quilting – The big decision other than the overall design was to again address the incorporation of the border. I extended the quilting lines from the small triangles through the border. The direction for each of the quarters through the border were defining the diagonal quarter lines of the square.quiltingdetail_2
  • The thread color matches each of the fabrics and that color continues through the borders.
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  • Lastly, the binding was mostly white but add color balance, I add pickle to the top of the quilt which is matched to the bottom pickle triangle in the bottom left edge. I repeated this balance on the right side binding by matching the stone triangle.

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I love how the quilting turned out and its going to look amazing once its washed.

Details

Name: Fraction
Design:
Original Design by my son
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Kona – Pickle, Highlight, White, Silver, Stone
Backing: Various Carolyn Friedlander prints
Dimensions:  60 x 60″
Quilted: Straight line Machine quilted. Used Aurifil wt 50 – #2021, #5022, #2600, #2325, #2110

Linking up with Amanda @ Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.

 

Improv. Log Cabin {Quick finish}

It’s been a slow start to blogging this year. I am still in New Zealand, and just finished a tiki-tour around the top of the South Island. It was so great to be reminded how beautiful New Zealand is.

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I have managed to make progress on a couple of quilting projects while I have been away. I am going to go a little out-of-order (if you follow my Instagram account) as I need to take more pics on a couple of bigger finishes. So, the first project is the Christmas Gift for my sister. She has a lovely red wall in her house and I thought it might be nice to make a hand-made gift for that room. This pillow was her gift.

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This was a fun project. I played with some scraps I had in cotton and mixed it with Robert Kaufman’s mammoth flannel and Metallic Essex Linen.  I used some organic matchstick quilting in white which seemed the best choice. The back is the red “quilty” canvas you see in the middle.

Details

Name: Log Cabin Pillow
Design:
Original Design – Improvisation
Fabric: Various Solid from my scrap bins, Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannel, Metallic Essex Linen
Backing: Canvas
Dimensions:  18 x18″
Quilted: Organic Matchstick Quilting. Used Aurifil #2021 wt. 50

 

 

 

News + Finish {Sunday Best}

It has been a busy 30 days or so but for super exciting reasons. First off, I did my first quilting webinar last night. It was about the skill I learned this year – hand piecing (hand stitching blocks). If  you are an MQG member you can check it out here. I had a lot of fun doing it.

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Also, I published my first Article for the MQG “Inspirational Sources for Quilt Designs”. If you are an MQG member you can read it here.
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Best of all, I also have a finish in time for Quiltcon submissions – Sunday Best.   It took me forever to start quilting this one, as I just was not inspired by anything. Finally, I had an idea on how to quilt the orange peel block….and the long quilting journal began. I used a domestic sewing machine and walking foot for all the quilting.
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My goal for quilting, was to add interest, while ensuring it complemented the top and did not distract the viewer. For the stripes up the top of the quilt I used straight lines with varying widths from matchstick quilting to 1/2″.
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I decided to choose two different designs for each of the main triangle patterns. The design above on the left (with nested triangles) I used for all of these triangles in this section. For the next set of triangles, featured below, I used a sectional design like slices of an orange. It makes this cool pyramid effect.
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For the black and white sections of the quilt, it reminded me of a checker’s board so I used a 1″ grid design.

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With using the matchstick quilting at the top, I felt that I needed to balance the dense quilting somewhere else. I decided to use it in this block, the background fabrics, that reminded me of a seed pod.

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And yes, all those thread ends, did need burying. It took around 9 hours for this task but I did it over 3 sessions. For those that are interested in how to bury threads, I learned from this tutorial from @ crazy mom quilts.

I finished off the quilting with 1/2″ black and white binding. I can’t tell you how in love I am with this quilt.

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Details

Name: Sunday Best
Design:
Original Design – Improvisation
Fabric: Various Solid from my scrap bins, Black and white stripes
Backing: Lecien Fabrics (Black and white), scraps from the front
Binding: B+W Striped Binding (1/2″ white stripe)
Dimensions: 46 x 53″
Quilted: Various designs, domestic sewing machine with a walking foot. Used Aurifil #4658 and #4060 wt. 50

Just in case, you can find the design decisions and the information about the top, in this post.

What Shade Are You: Rails {a finish}

REPOSTING from RJR Fabrics “What Shade are You” Blog post today.
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Today, on “What Shade are You” I would like to share with you on my design journey and inspiration for my quilt “Rails”.

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I am Michelle Wilkie. I can be found on Instagram @ml_wilkie, or on my blog Factotum of Arts.

I was so excited to be participating in What Shade are you, and when I received my bundle in the mail a multitude of ideas came to mind. The colors are so vibrant.
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My original bundle, had a couple additional colors but the final fabrics I chose were:

Cotton Supreme Solids:
Optical White
Black
Turks & Caicos
Night
Electric Blue
Anemone
Citron
Sunny Delight
Tangerine Dream
Chilli Pepper
Grape
Shell pink
Raging Ruby

Additionally, I used some C+S fabrics to add some interest within the solids:
Sprinkle in Corduroy
Dottie in Fedora
Dottie Cousins in Natural

I get inspired all the time from the world around us. For this quilt, it was no different. My husband is from Mannheim Germany, where we both lived for a few years before moving to the US. My inspiration for this quilt came from the Neustheim Train Junction.

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The lines fascinated me. I loved the idea of using improvisation strip piecing to try and mimic these strong direction lines. It was an interesting experience bending the fabric to make the gentle curves. Some tips:

  1. I started this quilt at one end and added in one direction, using strips to mark out where I was adding curves that would intersect with other lines.
  2. Use a lot of starch to get the pieces to lay flat and press often.
  3. Make sure you trim your threads and additional fabric as you go, especially when using white.
  4. Lastly, I glue basted this quilt while it was on my design wall. I pressed each layer to fix it to the one beneath. This technique was important as it helped the top to adhere flat to the bottom layers and hold in place as it stretched out some of the puffy areas.

Here’s a close-up of the quilt top. The predominant colors are blues, yellows and white, however as I stepped back with each addition, I decided to add pops of colors. This adds balance and richness to this quilt that helped also break up the stark bands of color. You can see the use of red, purple, pinks, and orange.

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For the quilting, I used Aurifil 2410, 2021, 2120, and 2783. I used irregular-spaced wavy lines that flowed with the fabric strips, to complement the colors and design of the quilt. In the binding, I also added some interest and continued the flow of color by inserting a piece of C+S print and a small blue strip to my white binding.

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This was so much fun to play with such vibrant colors. I loved the overall finish that the Cotton Supreme Solids provided. Thanks to RJR fabrics for the opportunity and to you for stopping by.
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Stop by my RJRFabrics and ml_wilkie (on Instagram) for a giveaway later today.