Friday, November 30, 2012

Gift Bag Tote - A tutorial

gift bag tote

This little gift bag is a simple gift bag to present your friends with an eco-friendly re-usable gift bag which is so elegant it can become their favorite new tote. There are two sizes perfect for a small gift and a standard gift. This project was featured at Pellon's booth at Quilt Market, Fall 2012. You can also get these instructions on Pellon's site.

gift bag totes

You'll need :: (this makes one large or two small bags).

3/4 yd main color
1/4 yd contrast
1/2 yd Pellon Fusible Fleece (987F)
1/3 yd Pellon Double-sided fusible Ultra Firm Stabilizer (72F)
1 yd 1 1/4" wide cotton webbing (belting)

You'll also need::
coordinating thread, sewing machine and an iron

Small version size is in parenthesis.

Cutting your pieces::
main fabric - cut four pieces 17.5" wide by 14.5" tall (10.5" square)
contrast fabric - cut two pieces 17.5" wide by 5" tall (10.5" x 4")
AND two pieces 17.5" x 3" (one piece 15" x 3")
fusible fleece - cut two pieces 17.5" x 16" (10.5" x 11.5")
cotton belting - two 14" pieces (one 12")
Double sided stabilizer - cut one piece 10.5" x 5" (7" x 4")

1/2" Seam allowance (unless otherwise stated).

mini version

Start by placing the main piece and pinning the contrast to the top, right sides together and sew.

sew exterior pieces together

Iron flat and repeat for the other side of the bag.

front, exterior
Fuse the fleece to the wrong side of the exterior bag pieces matching the bottom of the fleece to the bottom of the exterior piece. Note: The fleece will not go all the way up the fabric.

attach the fleece
Pin the top and bottom of the bag together and sew around leaving the top open.

sew the outside

Pull the corners out flat and mark a line where the corner measures 5" (4") across.

square corners

Sew along this line, reinforcing it. Cut away the excess fabric. Turn right side out.

trim excess

Repeat for the lining.

make the lining

Place piece of double sided stabilizer in the bottom of the bag.

insert bottom

Place lining inside the main bag (wrong sides touching and iron down the top contrast 1/2".

fold over

Fold the contrast down on the inside of the bag. Pin this in place from the outside.

pin it down

Sew around the contrast roughly 1/8" catching the fabric on the back side to secure it.

top stitch 2

Top stitch roughly 1/8" from the edge of the bag. Put aside.

top stitch

Take the piece of 17.5" x 3" (15" x 3") fabric. Fold in thirds and iron flat.

fold in thirds

Place it on the center of the belting and stitch close to the edges to secure. Leave the tail on each end.

making the straps, 1

Fold the tail piece so it meets the belting. Fold again and secure. Repeat for a second handle if doing the larger bag.

making the straps, 2

Place the handles 5" in from each side and secure. Repeat for other side.

secure handles

(If you're making the small one, place one handle in the center of the bag, holding front to back).

detail, red and brown

To fold and store flat, you simply flatten the bottom (like a paper gift bag) and store!

fold flat to store

Now your beautiful Gift Bag Tote is ready to hold your present for that special someone! Happy Sewing!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Make a Nine Patch, then make it disappear

One very easy quilt block to make is the Nine Patch.  You can make a simple and quick quilt using lots of these blocks.  If you're unfamiliar with the block, I'll take you through it (and how to make a disappearing nine patch block as well).  If you're already familiar, there's a useful table at the end for making different block sizes.  Here's how to make a Nine Patch:

Start with nine blocks of equal size.  These are all 5" square (from a pre-cut charm pack of Domestic Bliss by Liz Scott for Moda).  Lay them out how you like them.

9 blocks

Sew the blocks in each column together with a 1/4" seam.  You can use a 1/4" foot to make this go even faster.

use a quarter inch foot

Press your seams flat.  I like to press the seams to the side that has the darker of the two blocks, but you can press them open too if you like.

iron flat

Now that the columns are made, we're going to sew them together.

blocks in a row

Even though the pieces are not that big, pinning together is necessary to make sure the seams come together perfectly.  Pin together matching seam lines.  If you pin through the seam lines on both sides, this holds the seams together so it looks nice.

pin at the seams

And on the other side. . .  (the pin should be going through the seam exactly -- this one needs minor adjusting).

pin the seam lines together

Repeat for the other column and you have your finished nine patch!

9 patch

Now to make a Disappearing Nine Patch block simply cut your block into four equal pieces.

cut them equally

Then rearrange them however you like and sew them back together.  In this particular arrangement, you don't have to worry about any seams lining up (except the center point), which makes it much easier.

disappearing 9 patch

So here's the all important table with sizes!!

**Note Seam Allowances in the table are 1/4".  The block sizes listed are Unfinished block size.  They will be 1/2" smaller when sewn into the quilt if using 1/4" seam allowance.**

Square Size Nine Patch Disappearing Nine Patch
17" sq.
16.5" sq.
15.5" sq.
15" sq.
14" sq.
13.5" sq.
12.5" sq.
12" sq.
11" sq.
10.5" sq.

One of the most common sized blocks (and the size we frequently make for swaps and charity quilts in the MMQG) is an unfinished 12.5" square.  Notice that if you start with a 4.5" square block, you can make a nine patch that ends up being 12.5" square.  You can't however make a disappearing nine patch with a final size of 12.5" square using a standard block size.  There are a couple ways around this though::

#1  You can start with a block size of 4 2/3" -- This works out to be a perfect 12.5" square unfinished block when using 1/4" seams, however, this is a very difficult block size to cut accurately without a fancy cutting ruler.

#2  You can easily make one of the block sizes above and just trim it down - this is easy and ensures that you have the proper size even if you're not great with your seam sizes.  The down side of this is that the pieces that make up the blocks aren't uniform in size.  They'll be close, but you'll have some pieces that are larger than others.

#3 If you start with a 5" block, you can make a 12.5" unfinished block by changing the seam allowances that you use.  First when making the Nine Patch, use a 3/8" seam.  On most machines, the edge of your normal foot is 3/8" (but of course, measure to be sure).  Next when making the Disappearing Nine Patch, use a 1/2" seam.  If you do this, you may want to trim your excess seam allowance if you think it will get too bulky. This method should get your block pieces (that make up the block) to be more uniform throughout.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Ninja and Scary Ingredients

The last post for all the Halloween stuff. . . .


For Halloween Connor wanted to be the Red Lego Ninja, Kai.

ninja 1

It was a pretty simple costume, especially when compared to Rapunzel.

The costume was made out of knits and was super simple.  Just a basic pair of pants with an elastic waistband.  The shirt was a red hoodie and then I made an extra "mask" to go over his face and tie in the back.

ninja, back

The brown rope tied around his torso matches Kai's -- along with the little fire symbol which was simply cut out of felt and I drew on the face with a sharpie.  The costume is easily worn without the adornments so he can have a simple pair of red pants and a simple hoodie, so maybe he can get some use out of them later.

ninja, detail

This was the first Halloween that was really, really fun for me.  Until now the kids have been focused on their costumes and the trick-or-treating and that was about it.  This year, however, Connor really got into it.  He planned a party for us and his cousins (and grandparents).  He set up decorations and planned and helped execute the menu even labeling the food, just in case we didn't know what they were.

vampire bites

Vampire Bites 
zombie fingers

Zombie Fingers, 100% Creepy

scary ingredients, 1

From Left to Right: Toad Stools, No added Preservatives, 100% Scary
Igor's Delight, 10% dry, 90% Gooey
Frog Eyes, 100% Natural

scary ingredients, 2

From Left to Right:  Black Eyeballs, 100% dead
Beast Bites, Meat Type:: Unknown, 100% Bloody, Extra Dry
Blood Berries, 90% bloody, 10% dry 

Essence of Immortality (this is the one he let me name).

We used all the creepy ingredients to make personal pizzas.  I loved seeing his creativity and imagination in all of the naming.  It was a hit and Connor was very happy! 

clementine pumpkins



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