I’m with her – quilt block template



Finished and quilted block

I wanted to make a zippered pouch with Hillary Clinton’s “I’m with her” logo on it. My friend, Dana, had made and posted some she made on Instagram (danaandthread).

img_1559-1Aren’t they great? I love these! She made hers using the block instructions from Maritza Soto (sotosewn on IG) who has a free pattern on Craftsy. The directions are for a 15 x 18″ block and reducing it didn’t seem to be a simple matter (for me) and so I decided to try to paper piece it in a smaller size.

Template for 8.5 x 9.5″ block. Obviously the finished size could be altered by the width of the outside pieces (#2, 4, 11, 12, 13).

You can download this template by clicking here: I’m with her.  I made mine using freezer paper piecing. I printed the template on freezer paper and cut it apart. (Note that there is a 1″ mark in the center of piece #10 to be sure it printed to scale.)

Templates ironed onto the wrong side of my fabrics

Templates held right sides together, ready to be sewn right along the paper template.

Sewn and pressed toward the darker fabric.



Pieces #1 – 5 were the only “tricky” pieces to align.

I used registration marks on the paper to help line them up for sewing (note the red and blue marks). Although I did piece this one entire block using the paper templates for the purposes of this tutorial, pieces 6 thru 13 could be cut & sewn in a conventional manner. Pieces 6 -9 are 2″ square finished or 2.5″ square unfinished, etc.


Above is a flipagram showing how the block went together.  This was a fun and easy way to make this block.



Finished pouches


Do you have an even easier way to make up this block? Let me know in the comments.



Filed under Purses and Bags, Uncategorized

Alabama Chanin style T shirt

I’m kicking off “Me Made May” with a bang. I have totally hand sewn a T-shirt! I bought this organic cotton fabric from Alabama Chanin and it is dreamy.

I’m wearing it here with a skirt I made years ago. The pattern is the Everyday Skirt from oliver & s. It is an easy sew and I love the pockets!


To make the top, I traced around a favorite T shirt that I owned. I used a folded knit band to finish the neckline and sewed it down with a decorative stitch incorporating small little chop beads as I went.

I hemmed the bottom of the shirt and the sleeves using another decorative stretch stitch found in the book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

All of the seams were hand sewn using a regular running stitch and then felled to one side also with a running stitch.

Practice samples

Fun beads and sequins from Alabama Chanin


I made this shirt specifically to wear with the Alabama Chanin skirt I am currently sewing. I guess I had better get going on that!


1 of 4 skirt panels. This is a double layer of knit that has been stenciled and then “quilted” together and the top cut away to expose the underneath layer.

Notes to self (or anyone else who’s interested):

  1. I used 2 layers of cotton knit on the front of this shirt and only one layer for the back and sleeves. I thought I might do some reverse appliqué on the front but put the bottom layer of knit with the right side towards the inside of the shirt. I could probably still cut and expose the layer with the wrong side showing, but it would bother me. Next time put both right sides facing the same way as I did with the skirt.
  2. I found the directions for Creating Mitered Binding for a V-neck in the book Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns on page 22.
  3. Directions for garment construction and the stretch stitches are in all of the books.Alabama Studio Sewing + Design has them on pages 24 – 27.
  4. Same book (as#3) has a page of pretty circular stitches  – Pg. 81  These are used for a beautiful skirt on page 101 of the Alabama Studio Style book.



Filed under Garment sewing, Uncategorized

Foundation piecing with Freezer Paper

DC Modern Quilt Guild has a skill building Quilt Along going on right now. Anna from Life Sew Crafty has challenged us with a weekly quilt block. Anyone can join in this fun challenge! Go to Anna’s blog or join this Facebook group.

Blocks 1 thru 5 are pretty straight forward. Block 6, however, is one of several “theme” blocks the quilt will contain. I chose a “flying geese” theme and found this trail of geese block from Daniel of Piece and Press. It is a foundation pieced block and he says in his post that he used a freezer paper technique to sew it.

I had some freezer paper sheets that are sized for printing. After resizing the block to fit the size I needed for the QAL quilt, I printed it onto the freezer paper sheets and made two red registration marks between each piece. This block only has 9 pieces which I think made it especially suitable for this technique. *The complete trail of geese block contains 6 of these individual blocks – 3 of which are mirror image.

Each template piece was cut out and ironed onto the wrong side of it’s corresponding fabric and then the fabric was cut 1/4″ larger than the template.  In this block six of the pieces are background and three are the geese. I numbered the geese (and my fabric) 1 thru 18 in order to have the geese end up in the color order I wanted.

They were arranged back into their block positions and then sewn together in order –  the registration marks made it very easy! I placed right sides together and sewed along the paper edge – not through it.

Once done, the paper was simply and easily peeled away. This is so much easier than removing paper from stitching. I’m not sure this technique would work for a more complicated foundation pieced block, but it sure was great for this one!
There is a great round-up of foundation piecing tutorials by VeryKerryBerry here.

This was a fun block to sew and I look forward to the upcoming theme blocks during this Quilt Along.


Filed under DC Modern Quilt Guild, Uncategorized

Valentine hearts?

Christmas stocking for my cardiologist husband.  (Pattern specifics for both hearts and stocking are at the end of this post)

I did not get this stocking made in time to hang it on the mantel for Christmas. Does having it done by Valentine’s Day count for anything? This was the project I worked on during “Snowzilla” – 24 inches of snow in DC. (It kind of felt like Christmas!)

I marked the sewing lines on all of these squares.

I sewed across all 3 corners without removing from the machine - just pivoted.

I sewed across all 3 corners without removing from the machine – just pivoted.

Chain piecing made the project go faster.

The finished hearts are very boxy until you sew them together which produces the more rounded looking hearts.


Voila! I now have 2 stockings made. These happen to be for the oldest and youngest members of my family. 5 more to go. Maybe there will be another snow storm!?!

The heart directions are from a mini quilt tutorial by Jera of Quilting in the Rain.

The Christmas Stocking pattern by Fons and Porter can be found here. They are a great size – almost 2 feet long!


Filed under Christmas Stockings, Family, Uncategorized

Decorative Zipper Band on the Back of a Pillow


Front and back of the same pillows

I love to make pillows and give them as gifts. It’s nice if the cover is removable so that it can be washed or changed out. I like to put in a zipper and to cover it with a contrast fabric band. It makes the back look as pretty as the front!





For an 18″ pillow start with:

  1. Pillow Front – this can be a single piece of beautiful fabric or an orphan quilt block or something you sew together specifically for who you are making the pillow for. This pillow front can be quilted or not. If you quilt it, you will want to add batting. If you don’t quilt it, depending on the weight fabric you use, you may want to interface it. For this example the front was cut 18″ x 18″ after quilting.
  2. Pillow Back – I cut the back the same width as the front (18″) and 1 inch longer than the front (19″).  18 wide x 19″ long. I fuse on the same size piece of interfacing (again based on fabric used),  and then make a horizontal cut where I want to add the contrast band that will hide the zipper.
  3. Contrast Band – One piece cut 4″ x the width of the pillow. For this pillow: 18″ wide x 4″ long.  I also interface this piece if it is quilting cotton weight. (I often use the same fabric that I will edge the pillow with.)
  4. Fabric for edging – 2 strips cut the whole width of the fabric. If I bind the edges of the pillow I cut these strips 2 1/4″ wide. If I am going to insert cording into the edge, I base the width on the size of the cord. Lately I’ve been using 6/32″ cotton filler cord and I cut the strips 1.5″ wide cut on the bias. I sew these 2 strips together using a diagonal join which gives me a single strip that is about 80″ long.
  5. Zipper – A plastic teeth (tooth?) zipper that is longer than the width of the pillow. In this case 20″ or longer.
  6. Pillow form – 18″ pillow form. This will be a little larger than the pillow cover which will make a nicely stuffed pillow.

Project pieces as listed above – Front, back (divided into 2 pieces), band, zipper.


Fold the contrast band in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. This folded band is now 2″ x 18″.


Zipper placed correctly on band. Zipper face down and extending beyond edges on both sides.


Place the zipper wrong side down along the raw edges of the folded contrast band. The extra length of the zipper should be sticking out on both ends. Baste in place


Now attach the zipper and band to the pillow back top.



Top of pillow back now looks like this.


Add this basted unit to the top piece of the pillow back, align the edges and pin in place. If you pin the way I have in the photo below, it will allow you to then open the zipper to sew this side of the zipper in place.


Place other side of zipper to bottom bottom and pin as shown above.


Sew the bottom of the pillow back to the other side of the zipper. There is no need to baste this side first. The right side of the zipper is sewn to the right side of the pillow back.


Open zipper to make sewing easier.



Zipper back almost done!



This photo shows the zipper hiding under the contrast band.



Move the zipper stop to the middle of the pillow and stitch along both sides.



Trim zipper.

The back is now done. It should be trimmed to the same dimension as the front (18 x 18″). If you are going to bind the edges, the front and back are placed wrong sides together and basted around the edges. The binding is now applied to the edges to finish the raw edges.


Binding on edges

If you are going to insert cording into the edges, cover the cording with bias cut fabric which allows the cording to go around the corners easily. This is sewn onto the right side of the pillow front and then the front and back are sewn together right sides together.


Another pillow – front and back. Corded edges.

Happy Sewing!




Filed under Gifts, Pillows, Tutorials, Uncategorized

2016 Calendar Tea Towels

Linen/cotton fat quarters from Spoonflower

Linen/cotton fat quarters from Spoonflower

This is an easy project to welcome in the New Year. I bought these tea towels online from Spoonflower. They aren’t actually towels yet in this photo because the fabric edges are raw and fraying. If you click on this Spoonflower link you will see that there are an amazing number of design options and they are all so colorful and fun.


Untrimmed fabric

I made my fabrics into tea towels (described below), but my friend, Anne, made hers into adorable (and reversible) tote bags using this YouTube tutorial by Alanda Craft. The tutorial does not describe using a towel with a one way design such as these calendar towels. To have both sides of the bag facing “right side up”, you have to make a cut down the middle, reposition and sew back together.

Tote bags made from calendar fabric.

Tote bags made from calendar fabric.

All I had to do to make the towels was to trim the edges, iron 1/4″ towards the back once and then again, and then sew in place.

Edge stitch foot - Bernina foot #10

Edge stitch foot – Bernina foot #10

Sewing this edge was made easy with an edge stitch foot and my needle position changed slight to the right of center. As I sewed around all of the edges (from the back of the towel), I did add in a piece of twill tape to one corner to allow the towel to be hung over a hook if desired.

Twill tape in the corner

Twill tape in the corner makes the towel able to be hung on a hook or knob.


Due to the bulk of the folded edge, I did have trouble getting my sewing machine to grasp and move the towel forward as I began sewing. This is what the Bernina height compensation tool is for.

Presser foot slanted up in the front causes feed dogs to not be able to advance the fabric.

Presser foot slanted up in the front causes feed dogs to not be able to advance the fabric.

In this next photo I have inserted the tool under the back of the foot (behind the start of the towel edge) which has leveled the presser foot and enabled the feed dogs to move the fabric.

Height compensation tool in place.

Height compensation tool in place – presser foot now level.

Height compensation tool.

Height compensation tool.


This tool has a swivel holding the 3 layers together which allows you to use 1, 2 or all 3 of the layers to get different thicknesses depending on what you’re sewing. I used 2 layers for these towels.

Finished towels

Finished towels


This was a fun project and makes a lovely gift. This cotton/linen fabric is fairly stiff when you receive it, but a quick wash turns it into a nice soft towel. I finished the edges before washing to prevent a lot of fraying that would have happened in the washer and dryer.

Happy New Year!



Filed under Gifts, Purses and Bags, Tutorials

Diaper bag

Diaper bag version of the Multi-Tasker Bag. Size is 12″ high, 14″ wide, 5″ deep.


Trying out the length of the strap.

My daughter is due to have a baby soon and a friend asked if I was interesting in making a diaper bag as she wanted to make one for a friend of hers. I knew my daughter hadn’t bought or received one yet and I always love to do a project with a friend, so I agreed it would be a fun idea. We used a pattern from the book “Sew Serendipity BAGS” by Kay Whitt. This is the diaper bag version of the “Multi Tasker Bag” in the book.

Sew Serendipity BAGS by Kay Whitt

Sew Serendipity BAGS by Kay Whitt

This bag is not for the lighthearted! The pattern directions fill up 15 pages of the book and references several others. It was fun to make and to see come together, but it took 2 sessions together with my friend, a sewing retreat and several hours back at home to complete this bag.


Bag front with zippered  changing area zipped closed.


Unzipped. Pockets for diapers and wipes exposed.

Changing pad folded out. Velcro attaches it to the bag flap.

Changing pad folded out. Velcro attaches it to the bag flap.

The dark blue fabric here is PUL (polyurethane laminate) which is soft, breathable and waterproof. The changing mat detaches and can be used separately or really washed clean. I used Carolyn Friedlander’s fabric line called “Doe”. My daughter and her husband are engineer and architect and I thought this would appeal to them. They are having a son and I hope this fabric is “manly” enough for the father to not mind using for his son.


Reverse side of the bag

The pocket on the back has a small piece of velcro as a closure on the envelope style flap. This is called a “media pocket” in the pattern directions. I think it is supposed to fit a phone or iPod type device but it is really not sized for today’s phones. I sewed a dividing stitch down the middle of this pocket but I am now thinking that if that is removed, a phone would fit sideways in this pocket – or in one of the side pockets!

Diaper bag

Carabiner on outside loop can hold keys, pacifier, rattle, etc.

A fabric loop is sewn into the outside binding to hold anything you really want to keep handy. I found this black carabiner and it is a bit large. The parents can change it out if they want something smaller.


The bag top zips closed. When unzipped the top falls into the bag. Straps are attached with hardware to the sides of the bag which allows them to lay nicely out of the way.

The top has a separating zipper which falls into the bag when unzipped. The directions called for sewing the side edges of the top to the sides of the bag. This would allow the top to hold a boxier shape but I didn’t do it because I felt it would make it much more difficult to access the inside.


The inside has an elasticized pocket on one side that is divided into 3 sections.

There is quite a bit of room on the inside and one long pocket.

I think this bag will be very useful. There are plenty of pockets for bottles, diapers and wipes, extra clothing and the parent’s phone, keys and wallet. Am I forgetting anything?

Pattern details and changes

1. This bag has a HUGE number of pieces to cut out – including fabric, fleece and interfacing. The only actual pattern piece in the book is the media pocket flap. Every other piece is given as height by width measurements. The book does not include a separate list of all the pieces together in one spot. It gives the measurements throughout the 15 pages of instructions as you come to that particular piece. I went through the pages of directions and made a cutting list and here it is:  Diaper bag cutting measurements.  You’re welcome! Thank you to Kay Whitt for her generous permission to include this is my post.

2. As mentioned above, I did not sew the zipper to the sides of the bag. If I made this again, I would use a longer zipper which would not separate at the end, but rather extend well beyond the end of the top flap so that the top would still fall into the bag when unzipped but you wouldn’t need to use both hands to get the zipper in place to start zipping it. (I hope that makes sense).

3. The bag’s stability is obtained by using Peltex for the body. It would be interesting to try something like “by Annie’s Soft and Stable” instead. The shape may not be as defined but it would be easier to sew and lighter weight when done. A piece of Peltex could still be used as an insert for the bottom of the bag. (If you use a softer stabilizer you can ignore my next 2 comments.)

4. Sewing the bottom of the bag to the sides is tough (again because of the stiff Peltex). On page 118 Step 4, the directions say that sewing this is “awkward” but “they will sew together with good result”. Good news! This is true!

5. Sewing the binding around the top of the bag through the Peltex is tough. I ended up sewing it by machine to the inside of the bag and then hand sewing it down on the outside. This worked well. It’s not that the Peltex is hard to sew through, it’s dealing with it in the round as you’re sewing that is difficult.

I hope my notes will help you if you make this bag. Have patience and persevere. It will be worth it!


Filed under Pattern review, Purses and Bags, Uncategorized