Monday, January 27, 2014

Road Trip Case- a new pattern from Anna Graham

Have you seen Anna Graham's newest pattern, the Road Trip Case?

Road Trip Case

I had the opportunity to be one of her pattern testers-- totally exciting! I love using Anna's patterns because they are always completely unique and well-written. This one was no exception. What I love about it is the options-- you can sew up pockets to fit the so-very-popular Rainbow Loom or make it a more versatile case for art or sewing supplies.

Claire got a Rainbow Loom for her birthday last year and got really into making bracelets after Christmas, so I started with that version using some new fabric. Turns out that Lizzy House's Catnap and Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics are a match made in heaven...

Road Trip Case
Road Trip Case
Road Trip Case

I sewed up the alternate version this weekend to use as a journaling case for me. I tried a couple of modifications to the pattern this time. I used a fabric tab and snap as a closure instead of a button (I loathe sewing buttons) and used two different fabrics for the handles. I also added a couple of felt pieces for needles like I saw Anna do on one of her versions in case I want to use it for sewing later on.

Road Trip Case
Road Trip Case
Road Trip Case
Road Trip Case

My first case took me about 6 hours from start to finish, but the second only took about 4 hours. (If I wasn't so terrible with making and applying bias binding it would be even quicker.) It would be a great gift, especially filled up with goodies!

Road Trip Case

Thursday, January 16, 2014

and I'm back...

Yes, it's been awhile. Let's just pretend that it hasn't been almost 5 months (!) since I blogged, and that I did the all-important 2013 recap, posted pics of everything I sewed, told you about my fabulous retreat at Loon Lake in November, and all of that. Truth is that it's just been very busy. With 4 busy kids, moving, and just living life, it's been hard to keep up here.

But I have been sewing. My latest finish was a wall hanging version of Ingrid. Seen in baby form here. It's a quilt that I love to make every time.

I've also wanted to learn how to make boxed pouches for a long time, so when Bonnie of Pink Stitches posted this tutorial on her blog a couple of weeks ago, I gave it a try. I loved it! So much easier than I thought it would be.

So there we go! Hopefully I'll be back more often. (And with photos taken with a real camera, that are not grainy and taken off of Instagram. Sorry about that.) I've missed this place.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

reading pillows

A few weeks ago, I offered to make pillows for an old friend's kindergarten classroom. One of her biggest challenges as a kindergarten teacher is teaching her students to read. She works so hard to get them excited about it, so I thought some cozy pillows for her reading area might help. 

Most of the fabric for these came from my scrap bins. It was fun to include some hard-to-find stuff, like original Flea Market Fancy and fish-in-bags Munki Munki, knowing that I'm the only one who will recognize it as such. The backing is an Ikea canvas that I've had forever. 

I enclosed the pillows with invisible zips for the first time. I used Katie's tutorial, which was clear and perfect. But if I do it again, next time I'll buy an invisible zipper foot. 

I'll admit that after so much time lately of not sewing, it felt foreign. Like I had to relearn my machines. I couldn't find my bobbins, extra feet, etc. Part of it was a failed sewing room rearrangement that I thought would make things more efficient. Then things just kept going wrong. My serger pooped out on me. I used a yellow chalk pen for some quilting lines on the blue pillow when I set my hera marker down and couldn't find it, and now that yellow chalk won't come out. Anyway, not my finest sewing. 

But I think the kids will like them. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Patchwork, Please Sew Along: Piece-of-Cake Shopping Bag

I'm so excited to have you here for the Patchwork, Please Sew Along! Ayumi is such a sweet friend and an amazing creator. I don't think you'll find anyone nicer in the sewing world. I was thrilled when I learned she was writing this book. 

My project is the Piece-of-Cake Shopping Bag. I wanted to give this one a try because I love the drawstring cover. I like to load my shopping bags up, and it's always maddening when they tip over in the car and everything spills out! 

One change I made was to not use oilcloth or laminated fabric for the interior. I did buy a vinyl tablecloth to try, but it was not the kind that Ayumi intended-- it was so icky to use in the end. I couldn't find laminates locally that I liked, so I used quilting cotton that I backed with my favorite interfacing, Pellon SF101, to give it more structure. 

I think the trickiest part of the bag is sewing the base pieces of the lining and the exterior to the sides of the bag. A tip: Put a dot 1/4" from each corner on the wrong side of your base pieces. When you sew up each side of the base, just line those dots up with the seam on your side pieces and sew between those points only, backstitching to lock your stitches. (And if you do end up with bunchy corners, no one is going to notice but you.) 

One more thing-- the lining and exterior cutting measurements are the same. I wasn't thinking of this at the time, but because the top edge of the exterior is folded down a total of 1.5" to enclose the lining and cover, the lining is too big. It's not a huge deal, but it would fit a lot better if either the interior height was decreased by 1.5" or the exterior height increased by 1.5".

I have 5 Aurifil sample packs, mini fabric packs and stickers from Form & Fabric, and an interfacing charm pack from Pellon to give away. (Sorry, U.S. addresses only due to shipping costs. Although if you're not in the U.S., you can always gift these to a friend who is!) Just comment below! I'll pick winners on Friday. 
And you're sewing along with us, this week you can also win a 1/2 yard bundle of Essex linens from Robert Kaufman and a $20 gift certificate to Pink Chalk Fabric by linking up your shopping bag at Deb's blog

Make sure to visit the other participants in the Sew Along to see each project in the book:

August 26: Krista | Spotted Stone Studio :: Piece-of-Cake Shopping Bag
September 2: Lori | Bee in My Bonnet :: Triangle Patchwork Box Pouch
September 9: Amy | During Quiet TIme :: Vintage Pencil Case
September 16: Svetlana | SOTAK Handmade :: I-Love-My-Ipad Quilted Cover
September 23: Amber | One Shabby Chick :: Handy Market Tote
September 30: Deb | A Quilter’s Table :: Sweet Trips Embroidery Pouch
October 7: Leila | Where the Orchids Grow :: Prettified Pincushion

And thank you so much for our sponsors for the Sew Along!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

how I finally learned to screen print fabric

Creative Video Workshops on

I've been dabbling in screen printing my own fabric for awhile now. I posted about my first try with drawing fluid here, and with photo emulsion here. Originally I thought that making the actual screen was the hard part. What I didn't talk much about on my blog, but shared more on Instagram, was how frustrating it was to do the actually printing. I read every blog post I could find on how to do it right. I read screen printing forums. I watched countless YouTube videos. I got a lot of advice from other printers. Nothing clicked. I wasted a ton of fabric and wondered if I should focus my efforts elsewhere.

Then I came across creativebug, and the screen printing workshops with Hilary Willams. Bingo!

screen printing workshops on creativebug

Hilary is unassuming and knows what she's doing. She has five different workshops that take you from printing with a simple stencil to doing multi-color prints. Right now I'm just focusing on how to do really good single color prints on fabric, but I like knowing that I have the tools to do more advanced work later on.

After watching this workshop, I ordered a few upgraded supplies from Blick Art materials (a good squeegee, aluminum frame screens, and lots of inks). I made a new screen with drawing fluid. Then I printed panel after panel with no mistakes. It was glorious.

Since then I've been printing and making and thinking about all of the fun possibilities ahead. 

There is really something wonderful about online workshops. The accessibility from home is so awesome. I love Craftsy too and have signed up for a few of their classes, and I definitely plan to take more. I think both Craftsy and creativebug are valuable in different ways though.  

My favorite things about creativebug

- There is a subscription option. While individual workshops range from $9.99 and up, you can get a subscription that gives you unlimited access to all of the workshops for a very reasonable fee. This means that I've been able to not only view the screen printing workshops, but I've been able to check out the other things I was interested in but wouldn't have probably paid for individually. Some of my favorites include all of Anna Maria Horner's workshops, Boho Leather Cuffs with Elke Bergeron, and Image Transfers with Courtney Cerruti. Claire has really loved the apothecary workshops with Amy Karol and the various kids workshops. I can let her watch as many as she wants without worrying about the cost. 

- The workshops are thorough but condensed. I'm able to watch workshops and learn in a short amount of time. That's huge. The Intro to Screen Printing workshop is only 42 minutes long, so I watched it in a naptime and then went back to review the individual sections as I was printing. 

So that's how I finally learned to screen print fabric (without pulling my hair out). If you're interested in trying too, I really believe that this is a great place to start.

Before writing this post, I decided to become a creativebug affiliate. So some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and sign up, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe in. And I think creativebug rocks, commission or not.