Category Archives: Pattern review

Schoolhouse Tunic and Arts Center Exhibition

A few weeks ago the Anacostia Arts Center in Washington DC opened an exhibit of quilts by local quilters.  DC Modern Quilt Guild members have a variety of quilts hanging there including one of mine.

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Stitched DC

My husband and I helped to hang the quilts on the day before the opening. The quilt below was made by a member of the Daughters of Dorcas quilt organization.

My husband hanging the largest quilt in the exhibit.

My husband hanging the largest quilt in the exhibit. Photo courtesy the Anacostia Arts Center.

I wanted to make something new to wear to the opening reception. I had some Nani Iro double gauze fabric just waiting for this purpose and chose to make a pattern by Sew Liberated called the Schoolhouse Tunic.

Linda Fasules with "Zakka Style Quilt"

Linda Fasules with “Zakka Style Quilt”

The pattern comes in two lengths and I chose to make the longer version.

Carla Voorhees with "HST Journey"

Carla Voorhees with “HST Journey” (and me!)

I love how it turned out and it is beyond comfortable. Because the fabric was so precious, I did make a muslin first, but ended up not having to make any changes. This is a very quick and easy pattern to make.

Other quilts in the exhibit with their DC Modern sewists –

Susan Fuller with "Pinocchio"

Susan Fuller with “Pinocchio”

Dana Seltzer with DC Metro Map

Dana Seltzer with DC Metro Map

Anne Brill with "Four Flowerpots"

Anne Brill with “Four Flowerpots”

Natalie Hardin with "Little Star"

Natalie Hardin with “Little Star”

Meli Mathis with "Simply Styled Color"

Meli Mathis with “Simply Styled Color”

Frederick Nunley (on the right) with his partner Keith and Shoofly Orange Slice. Photo courtesy Anacostia Arts Center

Frederick Nunley (on the right) with his partner Keith and Shoofly Orange Slice. Photo courtesy Anacostia Arts Center

Elle Sutherland Irby (and Miles) with "Smooth Sailing"

Elle Sutherland Irby (and Miles) with “Smooth Sailing”

Lynne Mackay-Atha with Katte's Paintbox (back)

Lynne Mackay-Atha with Kaffe’s Paintbox (which is the back of this beautiful quilt)

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The front of the quilt above. Read her post  about the Arts Center choosing to show the back.

There are many more quilts to see and the exhibit is running through March 29, 2014. If you are in the DC area, make plans to go see it. There is a wonderful cafe in the center that is well worth visiting as well.

On Saturday, March 8th there will be quilting lectures and pop up shops at the Anacostia Arts Center.

March 8 event

March 8 event

Katie Blakesley and Laura Gunn will be speaking from 1 to 3 PM. You do need tickets to attend the lecture. More information and a link to buy them can be found here.

Finch Sewing Studio and Del Ray Fabrics will be selling from 3 to 5 PM.

See you there!

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Filed under DC Modern Quilt Guild, Garment sewing, Pattern review, Uncategorized

Winter Tweed Boston Bag

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I made this wool bag for one of my daughters for Christmas this year. It is from the book “Carry Me – 20 Boutique Bags to Sew” by Yuka Koshizen. I bought the book after seeing the bag from the cover made up at a quilt shop in Hawaii. However, after buying the book I fell in love with this Boston Bag and knew my daughter who works in Boston would love it.

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This bag was quite an accomplishment. Just gathering the materials needed to make it was somewhat of a challenge.  I bought the tweed wool and then the lining fabric. That was the easy (and fun!) part.

Inside of bag.

Yellow for the inside!

Then I bought the 12″ Tubular Frame (Item 912) from Ghee’s online.  I thought I was ready to go. As I got started I saw that the pattern called for purse feet on the bottom. That seemed like a good idea but I couldn’t find any locally so back online I went.

Antique brass purse feet

Antique brass purse feet

I ended up ordering from BuckleGuy.com. I had to decide what color metal hardware to order. The internal frame doesn’t show except for the hinges which are brass. I didn’t want shiny brass feet or handle hardware and so I chose antique brass. These small antique brass feet (B1615) require a back post to attach them.

Close up. Aren't they pretty?

Close up. Aren’t they pretty?

The back post (B1414) comes in different lengths and so I had to guess what thickness the bottom of the bag would be. They only cost about 8 cents each so I ordered a couple different sizes. I ended up using the 3/8″ size which worked well. My bag bottom had 2 layers of interfaced fabric (wool and lining), a layer of foam stabilizer which gives this bag it’s structure, and 2 layers of stiff Peltex that was cut just the size of the bag bottom.

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After all of that, I couldn’t find leather handles locally. I could find some synthetic leather handles that looked pretty nice, but after spending all of this money on all of the other materials, was I really going to settle for less than leather? And believe me, this daughter would notice – immediately! I needed dark brown leather, 20″ long with antique brass hardware and the ability to attach to the bag. I bought these from Pursesuppliers on Etsy. I did like that they sewed on rather than having to use a single rivet. I just feel as though they can handle the weight of whatever gets put into the bag better this way. And believe me, a LOT can fit in this bag!

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Pockets on both sides.

Once I had the fabric cut and all of the supplies gathered, it was summer! I kept everything together and put it all away for months.

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The directions for this bag are very minimal. You have to read and look at small diagrams and I don’t think they are very clear. I would not want a beginner sewist or someone who hasn’t put several handbags together before to make an attempt at anything in this book. I had to make my best guess at much that I did. Having said that, though, the whole bag is one piece of fabric, and so it is very cleverly put together. It’s all about that internal frame.

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I am so glad to finally have completed this bag! I think my daughter is going to love it – I really hope so.

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Filed under Gifts, Pattern review, Purses and Bags, Uncategorized

Barbados Bag

I just finished making the Barbados Bag by Pink Sand Beach Designs

Barbados Bag

Barbados Bag

The finished size is approximately 10″ wide by 11″ tall which makes it a pretty good size for an everyday bag. I’ve had the pattern for awhile but was a bit overwhelmed after looking at the directions and hadn’t taken the plunge to give it a try. Thankfully while shopping last week with a friend, she saw the bag made up, liked it, and we decided to try it together. The woman in the shop gave us great advice – trust the directions and follow them step by step without double guessing or looking ahead.

The outside front has a zippered pocket and a non-zippered pocket.

The outside front has a zippered pocket and a non-zippered pocket.

Following this advice did work and the bag does go together very nicely! The only thing that we didn’t think was crystal clear, was where each piece of fabric we cut would end up in the final bag. So let me spell this out for you if you are considering sewing this bag. The “Bag Front and Back” end up being that dark blue fabric on the top of my bag. It does not show on the outside very much but does form the body of the bag.

Two pockets!

Two pockets!

The “Front Pocket” and “Back Pocket” are the blue floral fabric that is the dominant fabric of my bag. Finally, the “Pocket Accent” is the lighter fabric in the middle of the other two fabrics only on the front.

The outside back has a divided pocket.

The outside back has a divided pocket.

The inside of the bag has a divided pocket on one side. The directions were to divide it in two but I decided to add a couple places for pens also.  I should have dropped the pocket a bit lower in the bag than the directions called for since the pens are so close to the top of the bag, they almost don’t fit under the zippered top.

Inside pocket.

Inside pocket.

The directions tell you how to shorten and make tabs for each end of the two zippers which gives an extremely professional looking finish. It also removes any metal parts that your needle might hit during the sewing and removes the bulk of the zipper from any seams. These are all “win” situations for dealing with zippers! I will use them again in other projects.

Wonderful zipper insertion directions!

Wonderful zipper insertion directions!

As far as I'm concerned, a zipper at the top of a bag doesn't get any better than this!

As far as I’m concerned, a zipper at the top of a bag doesn’t get any better than this!

I used by Annie Soft and Stable instead of fusible fleece for the front and back of the bag and a heavy weight interfacing I had on hand in the places that called for Decorbond. Typically I like a stiffer bag that doesn’t show every lump and bump of what is inside of it. If you like a softer bag, you should use the fusible fleece.

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I love this bag!

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Filed under Pattern review, Purses and Bags

Maple Leaf Table Runner

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Aren’t these beautiful? My friend, Jane, made the top one and mine is on the bottom.

This is a pattern by my friend Anjeanette. You can find the tutorial on her blog here. I have been in love with this since Anjeanette showed it to me last fall. This fall she offered a class on it at our local quilt store Capital Quilts and I could not resist.

Detail

Detail of quilting and leaves

Jane was going to be visiting me from out of town at the time of the class. I sent her a picture of Anjeanette’s table runner and asked her if she wanted to come.

Anjeanette's table runner (used with permission)

Anjeanette’s table runner (used with permission)

Jane couldn’t resist it either! The leaves can be easily cut from a charm pack. Jane used a charm pack of batiks and I bought some fat quarters of Kaffe Fassett fabrics in fall colors.

My first attempt at piecing a leaf at home before the class turned out like this:

First attempt at home

First attempt at home

Yeah, not exactly square. However, I was trying to decide whether I liked the mix of fabrics sewn together in one leaf. I did decide to do each leaf in a separate fabric instead of mixing them all. Here is the leaf I did during class:

Second attempt during class

Second attempt during class (with sashing)

And here’s Janes:

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Anjeanette went over a lot of little details during class about piecing that helped us to get an accurate result.  These blocks, without sashing are about 5-1/2″ square. The pieces are small.

Another version by Anjeanette

Another version by Anjeanette

Luckily I wrote the tips down on the class handout, and so I still have it to refer to. And now I’m going to write it here so that it is even further embedded in my mind (and I can refer back when I’ve lost the class handout). If you are a quilter you will think I’m stating the obvious, but here goes:

1. Use a 1/4″ foot if you have one.

2. Line up a piece of colored tape to extend the 1/4″ mark forward on your sewing table so you have a much longer guide to sew against.

3. Hold the piece you are sewing all the way through the presser foot. Don’t let go right at the end. If you have to use a tool to guide it under the foot, do so.

4. Use a scrap piece of fabric as a leader before sewing your little pieces. This will keep the threads from being sucked down into the machine.

5. Each fabric piece usually has a little stretch in one direction. If you determine this ahead of time, you can often position it in such a way that the non-stretchy edge ends up on the edge instead of along the sewn line.

6. Lead with the least “pointy” part of the pieces you are sewing together. This may mean that you flip the pieces over and sew with the smaller one on the bottom. (See photos below)

7. Ironing – Set the pieces by pressing them flat first. Then open up the seam and press.  Don’t use steam.

8. Anytime you can make your pieces a little larger, sew them together, and then cut them into the exact size you need, the easier it will be to get them perfectly square.  This was the case for the kite shape that is in this block.

There are many ways to cut and sew this shape:  (and there are 6 of this shape in each leaf)

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It begins with a rectangle,  a square and the need to sew a diagonal line. You could mark each of these and sew on the line and then trim.

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But here is the easier way –

Don't mark, trim first, then sew.

Don’t mark, trim first, then sew.

Line the 1/4″ mark of your ruler on that diagonal and then trim the excess away.  This way you are ready to sew using the edge of the piece as a guide.

Here are pictures to illustrate tip #6 above regarding how to stitch this piece.

Point first! Don't do this.

Point first! Don’t do this.

That point is sure to get caught up if you try to sew it like this.

Flip it over and sew this way so that the point goes through last.

Flip it over and sew this way so that the point goes through last.

I promise that the orange piece is lined up nicely under there and sewing it this way will give you a much better result.

Once the leaves are pieced, they are bordered with sashing in different widths. I think this is what makes this table runner so special. It has movement to it because the leaves are not all lined up in a row and facing the same direction. When sewing on the sashing, always have the pieced block facing towards you so that you can see that you are sewing to the right of the leaf tips and not cutting them off.

Jane’s table runner has an extra layer of batting under the leaves in order to make them stand out a bit more.

Batting sewn and then trimmed away from back of leaf.

Batting sewn and then trimmed away from back of leaf.

Once this was done, a layer of batting was applied to the whole runner top and veins were free motion quilted on the leaves and then a stem was embroidered on.

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Leaf veins and stems

This was done before the backing was put on so that this stitching would not show on the back.

Now the backing was added and the piece was quilted and then the binding put on.

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I love the way that Jane’s (the light colored one) is framed by the dark binding and mine was bound in the background fabric so that the leaves are the whole show. This is such a good example of how the same pattern can look totally different.

Please look closely at those points.  We are so proud of them!

Here is what I ended up making from that first wonky block I made with the mix of fabrics:

Fabric "basket"

Fabric “basket”

Again, you can find Anjeanette’s tutorial for this table runner here and the homepage to her blog here. You may just want to go there to look and see what she’s up to now. This isn’t the only beautiful project that she has designed!

Addendum: Moda Bake Shop has just posted a throw size quilt by Anjeanette using the same leaf block but double the size! Find it here.

Super Sized Maple Leaf Throw byAnjeanette final picture

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Filed under Gifts, Pattern review, Quilts, Uncategorized

Passport Jacket by Lisette

Passport Jacket

Passport Jacket and my Proper Attire Skirt

I’ve been working on this jacket for the past 3 weeks. It didn’t take that long to put together, it was just a matter of making all of the decisions about what adjustments to make regarding fit, length, number of buttons, etc… This is a Simplicity pattern by the designer Liesl Gibson of Oliver & S fame. Oliver & S in an independent pattern company that has the absolutely most adorable children’s patterns.

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Jacket & dress pattern

The jacket was part of the online garment sewing class I’ve been taking. Sadly the class ended this week and I have not started the 4th and last piece which is a dress. I am very pleased to have the jacket done, and just in time for cooler weather.

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I made the View C jacket which is unlined and has a straight collar. I added a little bit of embroidery to the collar and the pocket welts.

Embroidery to collar and pockets

Embroidery to collar and pockets

This was very simple to do on the individual pieces before they were attached to anything. I did interface them before doing the embroidery. I used a variegated thread in a black/gray color that doesn’t show up too strongly – taking this picture was a challenge. It was my intention to add this little detail but not have it be too “in your face”.

Embroidery on finished collar

Embroidery on finished collar

Alterations I made to the pattern:

I added 3″ to the length of the jacket and to the sleeves. This made my sleeves long instead of 3/4 length.

I put 3 buttons down the front instead of just the one at the top.

I made an adjustment to the center back to make it fit better on my shoulders.

What I like about the pattern:

It fits really nice and the black twill I chose to use is very soft and nice feeling.

It can be worn with a lot of different clothing.

The button loops are a lot easier to make than buttonholes!

What I don’t like about the pattern:

I’m not sure I love the asymmetry of the front closure or that the jacket is not lined. I’m pretty sure I will feel as though it has to be worn closed rather than open. What do you think?

Would I make this pattern again?

Maybe. If I did, I might try the ruffled collar, make it smaller and only put the top button loop on. I would also lower the pockets which are a bit high.

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Pockets!

Pockets!

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Filed under Garment sewing, Pattern review, Uncategorized

Fussy cutting is too fussy for me!

My Polka Dot Cafe Apron. Week 4 of the Zakka 2.0 sew along.

My Polka Dot Cafe Apron.
Week 4 of the Zakka 2.0 sew along.

I like this definition by the Nerdy Sewist – “Fussy cutting” is the phrase used, generally by quilters, to describe cutting a detail or particular piece of a pattern from the fabric, as opposed to just cutting a strip from the fold to the selvedge. Fussy cutting is particularly common when it comes to novelty printed fabrics…”

Polka Dot Cafe Apron - photo from the book Patchwork Please by Ayumi Takahashi

Polka Dot Cafe Apron – photo from the book Patchwork Please by Ayumi Takahashi

This week’s Zakka 2.0 sew along project from the book Patchwork Please is the Polka Dot Cafe Apron.  This apron involves making up 3 patchwork squares sewn together to form a pocket for the apron.

Patchwork squares by Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces.

Great example of fussy cutting by Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces.

As you can see, both Ayumi and Angela meticulously cut their fabric in order to place these little bits of fabric exactly where they wanted them in their patchwork squares which are only 6 inches square! Their aprons really look fabulous and show all the work they did.

Cafe Apron by Angela Pingel

Cafe Apron by Angela Pingel

Angela is the guest blogger this week for the sew along and has a wonderful post here of making this apron with lots of tips and pictures.

The book comes with templates for these little patchwork squares and triangles and suggests you position them on your fabric and cut around them. This already seemed too fussy for me but I gave it a try.  Basically I turned a perfectly good piece of fabric into this:

How I tried to fussy cut some of these kitchen motifs.

How I tried to fussy cut some of these kitchen motifs.

And the result was not wonderful due to the size and spacing of the objects on the fabric. Not to mention the fact that they are all on the diagonal!

My attempt at fussy cutting

My attempt at fussy cutting

For the other 2 blocks I decided to flat out paper piece them and not worry about fussy cutting. It was not difficult to turn the template in the book to a paper pieced pattern.

Paper pieced pattern

Paper pieced pattern

This piecing went rather quickly once I decided on the fabrics to use.

Paper pieces ready for joining

Paper pieces ready for joining

I tried to use as many polka dot-like fabrics as possible.

Polka dots!

Polka dots!

I had bought some dishtowels for the week 2 project that I did not end up using and they seemed the perfect size for this cafe apron. So I simply sewed my finished pocket onto this pale yellow dishtowel and then added the sash as described in the book (by folding the top over an inch and catching the sash in the sides).

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Finished cafe apron.

I am very happy with the result. In the future, I may try to fussy cut a piece here or there, but I will never be able to cut every major piece this way. I just love the sewing too much to spend that much time on the cutting!

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Filed under Pattern review, Zakka Style sew along

Teabag Pouch – Zakka 2.0 Week 3

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3 teabag pouches

This week the Zakka 2.0 sew along has us sewing a tea cozy and/or teabag pouch. I thought long and hard about making the cozy because I do have a small 2 cup ceramic teapot that I could use a cozy for, but in the end I decided to make only the pouch. My 3 daughters all drink tea and I thought a pouch would be handy for them to take their favorite tea to work or keep in their purse – so I made 3.

Here are the materials all cut for one pouch.

Here are the materials all cut for one pouch.

Pockets ready to be sewn in place.

Pockets ready to be sewn in place.

Once the pockets are in place, sewing up this project is just a matter of placing the outside piece and the pocket piece right sides together and sewing around the edge except for a small opening to turn it right side out.

Outside

Outside

Inside

Inside

Teabags places within pockets and pouch folded up and button sewn in place.

Teabags placed within pockets and pouch folded up. Button sewn in place.

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Another quick and easy project done.

Take a look at the Flickr group here to see what other sewers have done this week. Everyone is doing such a great job of personalizing these projects to fit their own use and style. Instead of a tea cozy with the word TEA pieced on it, Lindsey of LR Stitched made a toaster cover with the word EAT on it and . . .

Toaster cover by Lindsey Rhodes

Toaster cover by Lindsey Rhodes

Diane of Random thoughts. . do or “di” made a mixer cover for her Mixmaster.

Mixer cover by Diane Stanley

Mixer cover by Diane Stanley

Such clever sewers!

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Filed under Gifts, Pattern review