Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tote Bag tutorial

For a quick, basic, lined bag, with a feature fabric on one side and strips of prints on the other, this is what I do:

1. Cut one panel of 16" x 18"

2. Cut 16" length strips of even width, or mixed widths depending on the effect I wish to create, eg between 1.5"-4", cutting enough to make a 16" x 18" panel when sewn together. 

3. Layer each panel with batting (and a muslin backing if wish) and quilt as you like.


4. Trim both panels to 15" x 17". Place right sides together and stitch 1/4" or 1/2" seam around the sides and bottom. 

5. Make a gusset so the bag has a flat base: flatten the sides of the bag so that the side seam rests against the base seam and form a triangle.  Sew 1 and 1/4" across the point (I usually do it three times) then trim the point off. Repeat on other seam. 

6. Cut lining fabric 17.5" x 15.5" (two pieces or cut on the fold). With right sides together, sew the side seams and bottom, leaving a four inch gap in the bottom for turning the bag later.  

7. Make a gusset in the lining, as in steps 5 and 6.  

8. Make handles for the bag, choose desired length - mine is usually about 28" (pre-sewing). For two-colour handles: cut two strips of each colour, 2.5" x 28". Press a 1/4" fold along the length of both sides, of each strip. 

9.  Cut batting of 1.5" x 28". Wrap first colour around the batting, then layer other colour on top to make a sandwich. Sew 1/8" along each edge (or closer if possible) and also sew a strip right down the middle of each handle. 

10. Attach handles to the outside of the bag and pin in place, keeping the pins away from the upper edge). Stitch 1/4" from the top edge, triple stitching for reinforcing. 

11. Insert the bag outer into the lining so that the right sides are together and the handles are tucked down out of the way.  Stitch 1/4" around the top, reinforcing over the handles and side seams. 

12. Carefully pull the quilted bag through from the inside by using the gap in the base of the lining. Fold the top down and slip-stitch the gap closed. 

13.  Top stitch around the upper hem of the bag, holding handles up out of the way. 

The bag is finished, remember to date/label it somewhere! 

Pillowcases x3

Double-banded pillowcases (a.k.a. what you do when you realise you have cut your main fabric too short!)  I used my favourite roll-it-up method for hidden French seams to attach the bands and then create the pillowcase by using this APQ pattern that I have used many times before.
Unicorn fabric from Spotlight...

If buying fabric for pillowcases I usually buy a metre of each fabric and then I can make an alternating pair as that gives me enough for the main body of one case and a band on the other.

Crown princess pillow - fabric also picked up at Spotlight...did not muck up the cutting on this one, but did have to spend time working out HOW to cut it as wanted the crowns to be the right way around, which meant opening up the fabric and cutting it differently...
Joining up with my international quilting friends via Amanda Jean's  Finish It Up Friday  linky party!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Reversible Headbands - super easy!

This is definitely going on my to-do list - these will be perfect for a crafty sales-table...

Karen suggests, when making a batch of headbands, attaching all the strips to the interfacing before cutting the pieces, to save time later - great tip!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Birdcage Bag for Lucy


Found some time to whip up a quick tote bag last weekend - this gorgeous birdcage fat quarter was in my stash and I figured it would be perfect for the gift I was making!

One side only has the birdcage fabric, this side has strip of black and white fabrics.
I quilted this side with wavy horizontal lines.
The lining is a gorgeous blue floral tone-on-tone print.

I just LOVE these birds! I quilted loosely around the cages/swings,
following the 'chains' between each cage.
And here is the lovely young lady who I made it for - Lucy Collins-McKenzie has been my  University of Otago 3rd-year teacher trainee for the past three terms, regularly visiting on Mondays as well as long multi-week postings in Terms 1, 2 and 3 to put into practice her teaching skills.  She has totally proven herself to be a superb teacher and will be an asset to any school that gives her a job after graduation! It has been a privilege to mentor such a talented and enthusiastic young teacher.

(Disclaimer: our family connection, Lucy being Reece's girlfriend, does not cloud my judgement at all!) Team Kahu and I have LOVED having Lucy in our classroom (especially over the past four weeks when she has been on full control)  -we will miss her a lot and wish her all the best as she finds a job for next year!

I took photos as I went, to make a tutorial for my future reference (this is a nice, quick bag to put together) so watch this space!

Sharing my finish by linking up with: Lee's WIP Wed and Kelly's Needle and Thread Thursday as well as Crazy Mom's Finish It Up Friday!  All my favourites! Welcome everyone!