A Mini Quilt in Red, White and Blue

In an effort to use up my old red, white, and blue leftovers I found a tutorial for this cute little table topper.  Here is the link to it.  It was a perfectly sized pattern to use to cover the bistro table on my front porch. All my accents to the house are either wrought iron black or red.  I love how red things look against my blue and white house.  The color just pops.

So I cut the required strips to make the blocks and within 2 hours, I had the whole top done.  I took some of the larger scrap pieces to make the backing and dug up some leftover batting from my stash and by lunchtime, it was quilted.  I did have to use 5 strips of fabric to make the binding, there just wasn't enough long pieces of anything which is good - that means I am finally using it all up.  Yay!  The results look so good on my little table. 
As usual, the tutorial for this can be found on the Sew Can She blog.


A Quilted Sewing Machine Cover

Quilted Sewing Machine Cover
Yes, I am on a Sew Can She rampage these days. While perusing the Sew Can She blog (again), I came across the most perfect sewing machine cover to make for my machine. And it just so happens I have a fat quarter pack that I purchased at Sewn Studio in Cincinnati on one of our trips to visit my cousin that would work well for this project.

I think collecting fabric as souvenirs is a wonderful thing.  First of all, I get more fabric which is always nice and secondly, I am not wasting my money on meaningless tchotchkes or just plain junk. I will always use the fabric which will invoke memories of the trip I was on when I purchased it.  So my souvenirs, in a way become even more useful. At least that's how I justify it. 

So this fat quarter pack is called sew stitchy by Aneela Hoey and it just seemed so appropriate to make a dust cover for my sewing machine out of it. There is enough left after making the cover to make a scissors pouch to keep in my Tutto case for when I go to quilty group. But I think I will save that project for another day.  The original tutorial can be found here as well as on the Sew Can She blog if you would like to make this same sewing machine cover.


A Scrappy Gathered Skirt

I am forever a fan of the sewcanshe site.  It inspires me to make things I wouldn't normally think about making. I came across an adorable little girl's scrappy skirt a week or so ago and I knew I had to make one. 

Recently I bought some fabric-by-the-pound which meant I had lots of scrappy pieces that I purchased on purpose. Especially the fabric with the pink and purple ponies and castles.  It really needed to become something for Chloe and I didn't know what until this skirt popped up on the site.

It was a no-brainer. I got out the castle fabric, a fat quarter that said "thunderous 3" on it in pink, leftover princess fabric from the bag I made for Chloe and a few other pretty scraps I had on hand.  It came together perfectly without a trip to the fabric store. I love when that happens.
When I got to the petticoat underneath the skirt, I was a little worried however, I had made a giant white fabric square to cut a large fabric circle for another project and I still had the edges of that left.  I cut those leftovers into pieces I sewed together to make the white layer. Whoopee! Still no trip to the fabric store.

The tutorial photo for the skirt shows two rows of rick-rack on the edge of the skirt.  I found some white rick-rack in my stash but I didn't like it on the skirt.  So for now, it's done sans rick-rack. Maybe I will get some on my next shopping trip...or maybe not. I still think it looks cute even without the rick-rack.  You can find the tutorial here if you would like to make one.


Quilted Stacked Coins Pillow Cover

Quite a few years back I made some patriotic quilts.  They were completed way before blogging and recording quilts digitally.  In total, I made three quilts out of red, white and blue fabrics. I used a postage stamp pattern to quilt them.  I donated two of them to a veteran's organization and kept the third for myself.  I thought it would be nice to take to the fireworks on Independence Day. After a few years, I lost track of that quilt only to discover that my son packed it in his things when he moved to California 5 years ago. 

While cleaning and sorting my fabric stash, I came across an old bin of remnants. In it was the leftover scraps from the red, white and blue quilts. Today, I would consider some of those fabrics outdated and never considering buying them now and others are so adorable I wish I had more.  So I took them all out and sorted through them and found some sewn strips.  So I took them and made them into a stacked coins pillow cover. 

After completing it, I found it a perfect spot on the front porch rocker.  Now that it has a place, I envision making a table cover for the bistro table on the porch as well. 


The Lickety Split Bag

In my search for the perfect bag, I ended up ordering this pattern from Made By Rae. I attempted my own version of a bag but I do like this one better. It's deeper and squarer than the one I created.  I used some cute fabric to make this one as a sort of prototype.  That way if I didn't like the bag, I can give it away and I didn't use the fabric that I want for my bag. 

The bad thing about that is if I like the bag, now I have to make another one. I think that's what will happen with this one. I do like it.  However, I will test it out by carrying a few things around in it for a few hours before I get out my special fabric I've been saving. 

While working on this, I decided I needed a new place to photograph bags.  It's raining outside today so any outdoor shots were out of the question. I wasn't sure where to start when I literally tripped over my old dress form.  This dress form is very very old.  It was my husband's mother's and she has been gone since he was 14 years old.  So it has tons of sentimental value to him. 

The problem is that it is metal with a felt-like fabric attached that is wearing away.  It really doesn't look great. For some reason, I had this piece of ripped bedsheet folded neatly in my fabric remnants. Don't know where it came from or why it's in my sewing stuff but it gave me an idea. What a great cover it would make! It has to have a thread count of at least 600, it is so sturdy and thick I could hardly get pins through it to cover the dress form.  With some of the leftover sheet, I ripped a piece to tie around the waist and neck to show off it's nice shape. I think my husband will be pleasantly surprised when he sees it.


The Love Bag

I took a shot at designing my own bag. I used the handle pieces of a McCall's pattern in order to get the right length for the shoulder strap and I just measured up the approximate size I thought I would like.  I added some pockets and lining too.

I used it over the weekend to carry my camera and GPS on our trip to Cincinnati and I discovered I didn't quite like the size.  I loved the strap, it was just right.  And the tie is cool since it could be adjusted shorter as necessary but I liked it long. The bag part was a little too shallow for me.  I need it to be deeper.  So I will try again.  I do like the cute fabric.


A Baby Quilt

My cousin lives in Mason, Ohio which is a 5-hour drive from my house.  Her son and his wife are expecting their first baby and we received an invitation to their baby shower.  It may seem strange to go so far for a baby shower however, my cousin is hosting it at her house as a BBQ, Beer & Baby event.  Now doesn't that sound like much more fun than just a baby shower?  Both my husband and I received an invitation so it sounded like fun and more like a mini-reunion with my uncle, aunt, and other cousins.

Of course a baby shower for me means a new quilt.  I was thrilled with the idea that I could use up some of the fabric I already have so I quickly made up this four-patch simple quilt with bright and cute baby prints. 

I look forward to heading to the Cincinnati area and maybe stopping at a few antique shops on the way back.  Plus they have Yuengling and we can't get it here so I'm definitely bringing some of that back.  :-)


Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt Completed

Pearl Bracelet Fabric
I finished the Bloom Bloom Pow quilt today.  I sent it out to be quilted.  Renee at Quilting Innovations did the work for me.  She has a full time job and quilts in her spare time so between that and my schedule, it was a month from dropping it off to picking it up.  Not that is mattered to me, I would never want to rush such excellence. 

I made the bias binding from Kona white.  I did not want the binding to be noticeable. Of course, that would be tough on this quilt. I love the back, the solid color is a great canvas for the quilted circles. 

I am so glad it's finished and I really enjoyed the quilt along hosted by Lee at Freshly Pieced which is where I got the instructions for making this quilt.


As the saying goes, "Don't Look a Gift Horse..."

I went to the local Quilts for Kids chapter meeting yesterday.  When I got there, the group leader, Renee mentioned that she received a donation of lots of fabric and it was in her garage.  She offered it up to us to take but preferred if we did not use it for any QfK quilts. 
The problem with it was that it came from the home of an obvious chain smoker.  The fabric was marred with yellow streaks on the folds and around the edges.  The nicotine stains were terribly noticeable and the smell of it was terrible.  The stuff wreaked. Even touching it was hard to do, the scent felt like it was being transferred right into my skin. 
The story about the owner of this fabric is that she went blind so she could not sew anymore.  It was very generous of her to give all the fabric away but because of its condition we weren't going to use it on quilts for ill children.  It was probably a good decision however, it would be tragic to let it go to waste.  So Renee offered it up to the volunteers for our use at our discretion.
Another quilter and I started going through the piles and piles of fabric. There were about 10 large bags of fabric, and 2 large bins.  There were bags of pillow forms, batting, interfacing, thread and miscellaneous tools for sewing.  We each started at the opposite ends of the table and pulled out everything we wanted, switching places when we met in the middle of the table. There were some beautiful fabrics, Christmas fabrics, fall fabrics, quality cotton quilting fabrics, solids, fabrics with pretty flower prints. It was quite a collection.
When I got home, I just dumped the two giant bags of fabric I took onto the deck so the fresh air could get at it. With the windows of the house open, my husband pretty quickly complained about the smell coming into the windows.  He was disgusted with the smell.  So I quickly googled how to get the smoke smell out of fabric and found so many ideas. Since I had so much fabric, my husband got out one of his 40-gallon garbage cans and cleaned it out.  I poured a gallon of vinegar into the barrel and added water.  I unfolded all the fabric and stuck it in the barrel.  I had such a hard time getting past the smell. 
Every once in a while I went outside with rubber gloves on and stirred the fabric.  I figured letting it sit in the sun all day soaking might remove the smell.  After about 6 hours of soaking I started to wring out the fabric. There was so much of it.  I had 5 or 6 pieces that were 5-yard cuts. Some were 2-yard cuts and the rest were either half yard or 1-yard cuts. It was a horrible process.  Once I filled up a clothes basket with wet fabric I left the rest in the barrel. I started up the wash machine with 1/3 of the entire bunch of fabric. 
I realized that the water in the barrel was so laden with nicotine, it was brown with sludge-like goo at the bottom of the barrel.  I had to get the rest of the fabric out of that barrel.  So I wrung it all out into 2 more clothes baskets to prep for washing.  The whole process seemed so disgusting I was wondering it it was worth it.

When the first load of wash was done I quickly started the second basket of fabric. I couldn't wait to take the first load out of the dryer to see if it worked.  As I started to fold the pieces of now dry fabric, I was so thrilled that I totally got the smell out.  So I folded it all into a nice neat pile.  As I got to the last piece, I could see the nicotine marks across some of it.  I wasn't surprised and figured that I could cut around it. 
At that moment, I had a realization. I became overcome with this sadness because here I was going through this person's fabric with disdain forgetting that this was someone's total collection of fabric.  Someone had to give up sewing.  Someone who was passionate about fabric, as I could tell by all this beautiful fabric. I could not imagine what it must feel like to have to stop sewing and just give away all my collection.  I wanted to cry.  And I felt guilty for dismissing her and feeling so inconvenienced by the cleaning process. I should be grateful not annoyed. I will cherish this most generous gift that she had given. 


Four Square Bag

I belong to the Sweetwater Label Crew.  For $7.50 a month, I get a set of cool Sweetwater labels (even one that is personalized) and a pattern for a project that uses the label. A few months back I got a pattern for this cute little bag. Using Sweetwater fabric (purely coincidental), I whipped this one up today. Their labels are amazing. They are high quality, easy to iron on and easy to sew over.  I love how easy the pattern was to follow and how quickly I completed it. 

Sweetwater Fabric
Four Square Bag


ClothesPin Bag Tutorial

Peg Bag
I found this adorable vintage fabric and I thought it would make a cute clothespin bag. This photo shows a lot more fabric than necessary, but I will break it down to what you really need to make this.

So here is how I did it.  You will need the following to make this project:
  1. Three fat quarters of complementary fabrics.
  2. A 14-inch piece of 3/4" wide elastic.
  3. A 13" x 6" piece of heavy-weight iron-on stabilizer.
  4. A small piece of hook and loop tape (aka Velcro). I used 1 1/2".
  5. A large button.
Starting with the main fabric, cut 1 piece, 21 1/2" wide by 14" long.
Using a second fabric for the lining, cut 1 piece, 21 1/2" wide by 14" long.
Take the third fabric and cut the following:
Ties: Cut 2 pieces, 21" x 3"
Button Flap*: Cut 1 piece, 13: x 5"
Bag Bottom and Bag Bottom Lining: Cut 2 pieces, 4" x 7"
Stabilizer: Cut 1 piece, 2" x 13" (for the flap) and 1 piece, 4" x 7" (for the lining bottom)

  1. Fold the main fabric in half, right sides together, lining up the 14" sides.  Sew along the edge with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.
  2. Repeat Step 1 using the lining piece.
  3. Iron seams open.
  4. Mark the center of the bottom piece on the 7" side.  Line up the mark with the center of the seam of the main bag piece. Pin in place, right sides together, easing in the corners. 
  5. Sew the bottom to the main bag using the 1/2" seam allowance. Clip the corners.
  6. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the 4" x 7" piece of stabilizer to the wrong side of the lining bottom piece.
  7. Mark the center of the fused piece.
  8. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 using the lining piece and the stabilized bottom piece.
  9. Fuse the 2" x 13" piece of stabilizer to the wrong side of the button flap, placing it 1/2" away from one of the edges of the fabric (this will allow the stabilizer to sit inside of your seam when it is sewn).
  10. Fold the button flap piece, in half right sides together so you have a 13" x 2 1/2" piece. Sew a 1/2" seam allowance on the long edge and one of the ends. 
  11. Clip the corners and turn right-side out.  Do not worry about finishing off the open edge, it will be sewn in-between the main bag and the lining.
  12. Fold the tie pieces in half, lengthwise and sew a 1/4" seam allowance down the long edge stopping 1-inch from the bottom.
  13. With the needle down, turn the fabric on a 45-degree angle and sew to the opposite corner. 
  14. Cut off the corner.
  15. Turn the ties right-side out and press.  Do not worry about finish off the open edge, it will be sewn in-between the main bag and the lining.
  16. Lie the bag flat, with the seam facing up.  Pin the flap in the center of the seam.  Place the ties 2-inches to the outside of the flap and pin to the to.p of the bag. Baste the ties and flap to the bag.
  17. Insert the bag inside the lining, right sides together. Make sure the ties and flap are totally inside the bag. Pin the edges together. 
  18. Sew using a 1/2" seam allowance and leaving a 2-inch opening.  
  19. Turn the bag right-sides out through the opening. Press out some of the wrinkles for pulling it through that little hole.
  20. Push the lining inside the main bag making sure everything lines up nicely.  Press a nice crisp edge on the top of the bag.
  21. Mark the bag 1-inch from the top all around the bag. Stitch along the mark forming the bottom of the casing that will hold the elastic.
  22. Using the opening from turning the bag right-side out, insert the elastic and stitch the ends of it together. 
  23. Sew another row of stitching 1/4" from the top of the bag which will give the casing a nice finished look and close the opening all at the same time.
  24. Attach one side of the hook and loop tape to the underside of the flap piece.
  25. Attach the other side of the hook and loop tape to the center of the body of the bag right under the elastic casing.
  26. Add your personalized label.
  27. Hand-sew the button onto the flap.
And there you have it...your own homemade clothespin bag.
Clothes Pin Bag

* The size of the flap was determined by the size of my clothesline posts.  You could make it a lot shorter if you just wanted it to be a bag closure.  If so, I would cut that piece approximately 7" x 5".


Happiness Is...Table Topper

Peanuts FabricI have this cute little table that sits outside.  It's a white aluminum thing I got on clearance at Target at the end of last summer.  There's nothing special about it, but it makes a very nice place to put the iPod speakers in the summer.

Even though it's a nice white color, it is also a bit boring.  So I thought I would spruce it up.  So I went through my stash and pulled out some 'Happiness Is..' fabric with cute little Snoopy all over it and matched it up with some nice summery colors.

Considering that I really wanted to use the Snoopy fabric as the feature fabric, I decided to make a quick disappearing 9-patch.  So I cut 6 and a half-inch squares of four different fabrics (including the Snoopy stuff) and sewed them into a 9-patch block.  I made sure that the Snoopy squares were located in the four corners of the block.  Then I cut the 9-patch in half both vertically and horizontally.  After mixing them up into a pleasing pattern, I stitched them back together and did some straight-line quilting next to the seams. 

The whole project took me about 4 hours including hand sewing the binding. My little table now has a cute cover.


ClothesPin Bag

This is my old clothespin bag.  It's in very rough shape. I've abused it by leaving it out in the rain, allowing the grommets to rust and as it became torn from the weight of too many clothespins in it and my frustration with the too small opening, it has lots of rips and frays on it. So I decided it's time to make a new one.

Before making one, I thought I would peruse the usual places like Google Images, Pinterest and Etsy (my top three places for inspiration) to see what could be found.  I noticed a definite trend in using a hanger to make a bag. They were very cute but not what I wanted.  Which brought me to the very question...what did I want? 

I needed a bag that had a large enough opening so when I stuck my hand in, I could pull out a handful of pins, not just one or two at a time.  I wanted it to hang over my freshly updated clothes posts (thanks to my wonderful husband's handywork), not on the clotheslines where it would make the ropes sag. I also wanted it to have ties to tie it to a basket so it stood up, not flop over.

So after researching bags, I came up with this. It is inspired by a tutorial I found online from 2 Little Hooligans and you can find her instructions here.  I liked her bag a lot. However, I needed mine to be sturdy and a little larger so I added an inch or so, put in some stabilizer and lined it. I also took out the drawstring ties and added elastic instead.  I did not want to deal with opening it up every time I wanted to use it.  So here is my version of her bag. 

 While making it, I took photos all along the way.  I want to turn it into a tutorial of my own, just for the practice in making them.  I've always wanted to try my hand at it. I just hope she won't mind. So here is the link to my first crack at a tutorial. I hope you like it.

Peg Bag
On a separate note, Pat Sloan is doing a challenge over on her blog to sew something every day. So I think this qualifies as sewing something for the first day of July (we well see if we can meet the challenge again tomorrow). Here is a link to her page where she talks about it.