Angela Walters is amazing!

Angela showing one of her quilts.

Angela showing one of her quilts.

I had the extreme good fortune this past week of hosting Angela Walters in my home while she was in the DC area giving lectures and a workshop to the two quilt guilds that I belong to. She is a long arm quilter who’s work is so exquisite that many of the modern fabric and pattern designers (Tula Pink, Jacquie Gering, Cherri House to name a few) ask her to quilt the quilts they are going to display at market to sell their designs. See her quilting portfolio here.

Angela quilted this quilt that is on the cover of Tula Pink's book (and all of the quilts inside).

Angela quilted this quilt that is on the cover of Tula Pink’s book (and all of the quilts inside).

My traditional guild, The Needlechasers of Chevy Chase, brought Angela to the DC area to give a lecture and a workshop. DC Modern Quilt Guild got to take advantage of her being in town and scheduled a lecture as well. When I asked Angela which type of guild she normally speaks to, she said that she enjoys to speak to both traditional and modern guilds and considers herself “bilingual”. She also has a theory that the two groups are getting closer together and that as the younger modern quilters gain more sewing experience, there will be less and less difference between them. I found this to be very interesting and hope that I am not misspeaking what she said about this.

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This quilt highlights Angela’s fabric line “Drift”.

I think that the take away message that Angela gives when she teaches is to not let free motion quilting intimidate you. Have fun with it! She learned to quilt on a long arm machine without any preconceptions of what the quilting should look like. She had hand quilted before she got her first long arm machine. She didn’t know at the time that it was possible to quilt on a conventional sewing machine. (Lucky her!)

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There is no doubt that she loves to quilt and she wants everyone else to love it too! Her website is www.quiltingismytherapy.com. There are links there to her blog, to video tutorials, to free quilt patterns, to her shop and to where she’ll be teaching next. If you are not lucky enough to catch her in person, she currently has four Craftsy classes on free motion quilting which surely must be the next best thing – or even better because you can pause it and play it over and over while you’re practicing.

"Impracticality" Pieced and quilted by Angela Walters. Featured on the June/July 2013 issue of Quilter's newsletter. Click on photo to be taken to free pattern.

“Impracticality” Pieced and quilted by Angela Walters. Featured on the June/July 2013 issue of Quilter’s newsletter. Click on photo for free pattern.

Angela has written several books and has YouTube video tutorials. She has recently announced another book which will be available in April 2015 that she wrote with her 9 year old daughter about quilting with kids.

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I am so excited about free motion quilting now and hope to practice on some smaller projects like tote bags or pouches. The smaller size will help me feel more comfortable when I go to quilt something larger – I think! I hope!

I have always defaulted to using my walking foot but I am encouraged to try something new. As I’m working I’m going to hear Angela telling me that echoing is my friend and that there are no mistakes that can’t be made to look better with more quilting. I’ve also found that using a coordinating thread color can make even a multitude of flaws look pretty darn good.

Angela and myself.

Angela and myself.

Thank you, Angela, for being such an inspiration and for sharing your love of free motion quilting with us!


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Filed under DC Modern Quilt Guild, NeedleChasers of Chevy Chase, Uncategorized

Orange Peel Pouch

Pouch for the Stitch It Swap

Pouch for the Stitch It Swap

I joined a swap last month. Jennifer Mathis who blogs at Ellison Lane posted that she and Lindsey Rhodes from LR Stitched were going to host a pouch swap. I would have 6 weeks to make and send a pouch. I don’t enter a lot of swaps because I don’t enjoy the pressure of it. You have to try to guess from a few photos and their social media sites what someone else would like and you want to do your very best work.

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Also, there is obviously a timeline. Aka deadline! I’ve been making so many pouches lately though, that I thought that this swap would be fun. The 6 weeks was key because I was about to take a road trip for 3 of those weeks. That trip gave me time to think about what I might want to make.

Low volume fabric squares for the top and leather for the bottom

Low volume fabric squares for the top and leather for the bottom

I decided to make the largest size of the Open Wide Pouch by Noodlehead. This is a free pattern on her blog and I LOVE it. It’s easy to make and it does open wider than other pouches which makes it easier to find things inside. I’ve made a lot of the medium size bag, but hadn’t tried the larger size. This was my chance.

Squares all sewn together and then cut to the width of the leather.

Squares all sewn together and then cut to the width of the leather.

I decided to use a piece of creamy colored (and feeling) leather that I had bought years ago. This might make the pouch more “special”. I had just enough leather to cut four pieces in order to make two pouch bottoms. I know so many “sewists” who make something for a swap and then have trouble giving it away because they love it so much. Not me! I made myself one too!

Top and bottom sewn together

Top and bottom sewn together

I’ve been noticing and loving a few quilts and pillows I’ve seen recently that have low volume backgrounds with bright orange-peel shapes appliquéd on top. In fact, I just bought the new book Playful Petals by Corey Yoder which has this pillow project in it that is a good example of what has inspired me.

From the book Playful Petals by Corey Yoder.

From the book Playful Petals by Corey Yoder.

Adding the bright colors to my project sure did liven it up! I added the “peels” by fusing them in place with double sided fusible (Wonder Under) and then straight stitched around the edges after adding a layer of fusible batting to the whole backside. This stitching sort of disappeared in the darker colors but made the lighter colors stand out against the low volume background.

Straight stitching around edges.

Straight stitching around edges.

My swap partner’s flickr name is fatdoxiesstudio. I had to actually look up what “doxie” meant and it’s a slang term for dachshund. She did have some photos of her doxie on her flickr site and so I found some great fabric to put on the inside of the pouch. The little shirts on the dogs even sparkled.

Doxies and a great zipper.

Doxies and a great zipper.

I also added a zip pocket to the inside and used one of these lacy zippers to that.

All done and received by my swap partner.

All done and received by my swap partner.

Chen received this over the weekend and sent me a note on Instagram. I hope she puts it to good use! Is mine done? Of course not! But the sides are all pieced and it won’t be hard for me to finish it up. (when I finally have time!)

Addendum: I received this amazing pouch filled with fun office supplies (all sorts of post it notes, paperclips and “to do” lists) the day after I posted the pouch I made. Sonia made this fabulous pouch and it incorporates all of the things that I love! Thank you so much Sonia!

IMG_5572

 

Other side

Other side

 

Inside

Inside

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Filed under Purses and Bags, Uncategorized

Wide Open Pouch

The Wide Open Pouch is a free pattern by Anna Graham, aka Noodlehead. I liked the idea of having a bag that is easy to get into and it looked like it might be a quick sew. Instructions for cutting a 2 color bag are here. First I made one:

First Wide Open Pouch

First Wide Open Pouch (both sides)

Then I made four more. It was just so much fun to pull different fabrics to sew these. These are all the Medium size pouch and are roughly 11″ wide x 6″ tall x 4″ deep.

I altered the directions for my bags by using fusible batting and quilting them. This gives a much sturdier bag than if they are just interfaced – and the quilting also adds another design element. If you decide to quilt one of these, you will quilt it with just the exterior fabric and the batting. Do not make a “sandwich” with the lining. The lining is added separately later.

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The original pouch and four more

With Anna’s permission, I am donating these to my traditional quilt guild, Needlechasers of Chevy Chase, to be sold at their upcoming Quilt Show in October to support the guild. I posted this photo on Facebook and several friends and family wanted one. I decided to go ahead and “pre-sell” the ones that I was asked about. However, then I felt as though I should make some more.

I attended a DC Modern Quilt Guild meeting that was held at the Finch Sewing Studio this past weekend. While there I bought some of the new fabric from Cotton + Steel. Perfect to use for more pouches! (I may have bought most of the fabrics that were primarily turquoise.)

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Pouches made out of Cotton + Steel fabric. Exterior fabric.

I love those horses! I couldn’t resist these different combinations. More fun fabrics on the inside too.

Inside of pouches.

Inside of pouches.

One of my daughters told me she wants a new make up bag and so I had to make a pouch for her – but these are way too colorful – she doesn’t like bright colors. So I made her what I think is a very classy bag that is grey and black and she does like polka dots – who doesn’t? (She can let me know if this is acceptable or not after I post this).

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Pouch # 9

I made the original bag with a friend who then urged me to try the Zippy Strippy pouch pattern by Atkinson Designs. Today I made up the medium size of that pattern which costs $8. I used a mini charm pack that I’ve had for awhile to make the fabric for the outside of the pouch.

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This bag is a little smaller than the Wide Open Pouch.

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The Atkinson bag is a little smaller.

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Different finishes inside.

Pouch comparison:

The Noodlehead pattern is free, the top does open wide and so it is easy to find what you’re looking for inside, and it is fully lined. Due to the way it is constructed, you can top stitch around the entire top of the pouch after it is made which makes everything lie nicely around the zipper.

The Atkinson bag is a paper pattern (not a download) that is for sale, the top has a pretty finish using a fabric tab at the ends of the zipper but the inside has exposed seams which have to all be finished with a zig-zag stitch to prevent raveling.

I’ve made 10 pouches at this point and can’t wait to make some more – but maybe not right away. This may be my “go-to gift” for the holidays this year.

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Filed under Pattern review, Purses and Bags

Bucket Brigade by Atkinson Designs

Largest "bucket" is 12" high and 12"wide

Largest “bucket” is 12″ high and 12″wide

I spent the past week at my oldest daughter’s home doing some sewing and other projects with her. One of things that she asked me to make was this fabric bucket. The fabric on the outside is a decor weight cotton and the inside is a pretty batik. The pattern is Bucket Brigade by Atkinson Designs.

Filled with knitting.

Filled with knitting.

This was the largest of the 4 sizes that the pattern includes. Isn’t it pretty? I love the fabrics that she picked. We debated about what to use for the stiff interfacing that the pattern calls for. We ended up using Peltex by Pellon which gives a very stiff finish which is what Lindsey wanted. When I sewed the rectangular outer piece into a tube I was afraid that the seam would stick out and not be smooth.

Here is what it looked like after ironing.

Here is what it looked like after ironing.

I decided to iron on a strip of fusible interfacing over the seam which secured it very neatly.

Interfacing fused over the seam to hold it in place.

Interfacing fused over the seam to hold it in place.

Two buckets are created (outer and inner) and when finished, the top is folded over to the outside to give about a 2 inch contrast band to the top. I didn’t want to fold over the Peltex (yikes, how could you?) and so I cut the Peltex shorter. You can see this in the photos above.

Handles on both sides.

Handles on both sides.

If I make one of these for myself, I think I will consider using something softer than Peltex. The pattern suggests Stiff Stuff by Lazy Girl Designs but I am not familiar with this product and don’t think I have a local place to buy it.

I love the way the bucket turned out and I’m sure it will be great for any number of uses! I can’t wait to make another for myself.

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Filed under Pattern review

Fabric Postcard

Fabric postcard

Fabric postcard – Size is 5 x 8 inches.

Nicole at the Finch Sewing Studio is celebrating the 1 year anniversary of her shop being housed in an old building in the historic business district of Leesburg, VA. I met Nicole through the DC Modern Quilt Guild and I have been an avid supporter of her business.

Photo from July 2014.

Photo from July 2014.

It hasn’t been hard to support her. I have had so much fun taking classes with my sister, my daughter, and my friend Anne at her shop. She always has an interesting and varied selection of modern fabric. She has inspired me to try my hand at sewing clothing that actually fits me.

Last night, knowing that I would see her today (to shop her Anniversary sale!), I made a little fabric card to give her.

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How did I do?

I didn’t take any “progress” photos. Basically, I new that I wanted to replicate the front and side of her building. I wanted the front of the building, but also the Finch sign and pretty bay window on the side. I searched on the Finch Facebook page, Instagram, and Google Maps for photos of the shop.

I wanted the card to fit in an envelope that is 5-1/2″ by 8-1/2″ which is a regular sized piece of paper folded in half. I sketched out the design in pencil.

Pencil sketch

Pencil sketch

I realized at this point that the overall design had to be a little smaller than this to fit in the card and for me to do a satin stitch around the edges. I simply reduced this drawing to 85% on my copier and cut out the pieces for the front of house, side of house and roof to use as templates.

Everything sort of fell in place after that. A piece of Pellon Peltex (really stiff interfacing) forms the core of the card. I used Wonder Under to fuse the pieces to the card. I also had to interface the white building pieces to avoid having the blue of the sky or the red of the brick walk show through. Sewing themed fabric was incorporated just for fun. I debated about free motion stitching the “Happy Anniversary” at the top. I knew it would look messy. In the end, though, I decided to go ahead and do it. It is a hand-made card after all!

Happy Anniversary Finch Sewing Studio!

 

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Filed under DC Modern Quilt Guild, Quilt Shops

Carol’s Convertible Purse

Purse!

Purse!

Backpack!

Backpack!

This project started with a fellow NeedleChaser guild member who showed her purse during “show and tell”. I thought it would be very handy to have a bag this summer that could also be worn hands free on my back. I bought the pattern and recruited a few friends to make it with me. This seems to be the best way for me to get something done these days.

Carol's Convertible Purse

Pattern and labels!

Boy, did I need those friends to get this done! The pattern is 12 pages long. There are a few variations you can chose which affect how and what you cut out. There are a lot of pieces and the very BEST thing about the pattern is the premade label sheet that you can see above. Most of the pieces are given as simple dimensions rather than pattern pieces and these labels made the chore of cutting everything properly much less daunting.

All of the pieces.

All of the pieces.

Of course, the reason there are a lot of pieces is the reason we like the bag – lots of pockets and a chance to use a couple (or more) coordinated fabrics for the outside.

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My fabric: Anna Maria Horner Pretty Potent

I used this pretty AMH fabric for the outside but found that Tula Pink’s fabric went well with it for the inside.

Mix of fabrics

Mix of fabrics

The four of us met one morning at 10 AM with our pieces all cut out and ready to sew. At 5 PM we had them almost done.

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Nearly complete

Who would have guessed it would take that long? I ALWAYS underestimate how long it is going to take for me to sew something. Do you?

We had to each finish up individually and a week later, we have all done it!

I love my bag!

I love my bag!

I think that I will use this bag a lot this summer.

Out and about

Out and about

Notes:

1. To begin, I found it helpful to highlight the cutting diagrams I was going to use, once I decided on the options given.

2. When the outside and the lining are both made, the directions tell you to iron in a 1/4″ fold and then  topstitch the two together. Lynne chose to leave an opening in her lining and sew the two parts together inside out which seemed to give a much cleaner finish. It still needed to be topstitched, but the bags are already sewn together when you do this.

 

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Filed under Pattern review, Purses and Bags, Uncategorized

Sewing with Daughters

I am a lucky woman – I have three daughters. I sewed a lot of things for them when they were little.  This included not only dresses or other clothing to wear, but also costumes – dress up clothes, Halloween costumes, dance costumes and school or church play costumes.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them. Circa 1990.

They saw me sew a lot of things and now as adults they all have sewing machines and can sew themselves – when and if they have the time! Sometimes I feel silly that I named my blog “I Finally Have Time”, because I actually never feel as though I have that much time to spend on sewing. However, compared to my young professional daughters – I do have much more time. Nothing pleases me more than to actually sew with them.

My youngest daughter, Megan, asked for a sewing day with me for her birthday in May. She wanted to make the Moneta Dress by Colette. We made plans to spend the day at the Finch Sewing Studio in Leesburg, VA where we knew we could purchase the pattern, some great fabric and have lots of space to work without the interruptions that come up at home. We also knew that if we got into trouble with sewing the pattern, Nicole would be there to bail us out. We have already taken a variety of classes from Nicole, but this time we decided to just use her wonderful sewing studio space. Although she does have classes coming up for this dress pattern!

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

I didn’t take any process photos and Nicole took this one right before we left for the day. Don’t you LOVE this polka dot dress! And those pockets! Megan did a great job putting it together and there were some tricky parts. Actually, it is not a tricky pattern, but if you chose the sleeveless version, the bodice is lined and there is a magical way of sewing it in which requires extra attention to the directions. Colette also provides a video link to the process for people like me who would like to see it done instead of just reading the instructions. The waist has a narrow clear elastic sewn onto the seam allowance which will keep the knit from stretching out of shape there.

A week later I met my oldest daughter, Lindsey, in Montana and she had a knit maxi skirt that she had bought last summer and some fabric that she wanted to use to try to replicate it. Here is the original skirt on her.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

We did not have enough fabric to do those chevrons and so decided to run the stripes vertically on the sides. This had an added benefit of not having to match the stripes. Here is the result:

New skirt

New skirt

The waistband of the purchased skirt looks like this on the inside:

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Inner waistband and elastic

There is a strip of clear elastic sewn into the seam allowance of the waist – just like with the dress above! Do you see the line of stitching about an inch below the top of the waistband? That is where a second strip of elastic is sewn inside the waistband. As nice as it is to have a knit waistband, my experience is that cotton knit fabric does stretch and it is nice to have the security of that extra elastic. We did not have access to clear elastic but where able to find 1/2″ white elastic to sew into the new skirt. It worked perfectly. The side seams of the waistband also had some elastic in them to cinch the sides which looked nice.

Cinched side seams.

Cinched side seams.

If only we had one more clothespin!

If only we had one more clothespin!

Lindsey happily left for home a few days later wearing this skirt.

I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to sew with my middle daughter, Sandy, but I hope it is soon. Most of the sewing she has done recently is to make pillows which she sells. She has a process to create a stencil using her computer and a Silhouette cutting machine. She can take words that are meaningful to someone and “paint” (actually ink) them onto fabric and then create a pillow. Below is one of three pillows she made for my brother and sister and me regarding our childhood summer home commonly referred to as “camp”.

Front

Front

Back (zipper hidden underneath)

Back (zipper hidden underneath)

My family will all be gathered at camp soon and can not wait to get there!

 

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Filed under Family, Garment sewing, Pillows