Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Austin Bag

As a fairly new member of the Modern Quilt Guild and with my first Quilt Con just a week away, I need an ultra-cool, modern bag to disguise the fact that I am really not that modern! Despite being neither pink nor flowery (told you I'm not modern), I am a big fan of Carolyn Friedlander prints and had two mini charm packs on hand that I thought would be perfect for this project.

modern patchwork tote bag doe fabric the sewing chick

Limited by the amount of 2 1/2" squares I had, I designed this bag with a patchwork pocket panel that goes all the way around the outside.  It is stitched down at the corners, creating four separate pockets. After taking these pictures, though, I might stitch down the middle of one of the side pockets to make two smaller pockets, one will be just right for my phone.

The "leather" accents add a richness as well as a professional touch.  I used an upholstery vinyl from JoAnn Fabrics that looks and feels like the real thing, even on the back. This enabled me to have the raw edges exposed, reducing bulk in the seams. To top stitch, I used a jeans needle (size 100 and very sharp) and it sewed through four thicknesses like butter.

To attach the strap, I bought this rivet setting kit from the craft store. I've never done this before, but there was no way my machine was going to sew through eight layers of faux leather so I thought I would give it a try. It was super easy and worked great, although I am pretty sure that I hammered the heck out of the rivets a little more than necessary!

Isn't the lining fabric sweet? It was also found at JoAnn Fabrics, in with the regular quilting cottons which I usually bypass, but those sweet yellow flowers grabbed my attention and when I felt the softness, I was pleasantly surprised and bought two yards!  I might be going back to buy the rest of the bolt!

I wanted the bag to have a "slouchy" feel so just used one layer of fusible fleece as a stabilizer. I quilted through the fabric and the fleece and added the lining separately. The patchwork is quilted by stitching on both sides of the seams, and the bag body is quilted with straight lines at about 1 cm intervals (the edge of my presser foot).

Making a bag without a pattern was not without it's uh-oh moments. Like when I was so eager to find out if the bag and pocket panel would fit together that I sewed the side seams before installing the zipper. And I wasn't sure how the whole bag, lining, zipper thing would work so I tried it a different way on either side of the zipper. Fortunately the difference is only visible on the inside!

Additional bag details:

dimensions - about 16" x 12" x 6" (base is 13" x 6")
fabric - Robert Kaufman yarn dyed linen in "flax"
one mini charm pack Carolyn Friedlander "Doe"
one mini charm pack Carolyn Friedlander Robert Kaufman favorites
 yellow flower, Heather Tozzi for GCD Studios, David Textiles
Stabilizer - Pellon Thermolam TP971F
Thread - Coats & Clark machine quilting cotton, "temple gold"
trim - JoAnn Fabrics Upholstery vinyl, "Cordova chocolate"
zipper - Coats & Clark 18" purse zipper, "dogwood"
hardware - antique square ring, Everything Mary

modern patchwork tote bag doe fabric the sewing chick

I am so pleased with how this bag turned out that I think it would make a great pattern. Since I've worked out the what-not-to-do and the proportions, it is " just" a matter of writing up the instructions and creating some diagrams. Hopefully soon!!

Linking up with these great linky parties:

My Quilting Infatuation - Needle & Thread Thursday
Crazy Mom Quilts - Finish It Up Friday
Confessions of a Fabric Addict - Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
T.G.I.F.F. - this week at Quilt Matters

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Out To Sea Baby Quilt - Quilted and Bound

Ahoy Mateys and Happy Friday!! I have another finish this week to share with you!! The personality of these prints basically required a baby/toddler quilt and the simple patchwork design of this quilt allowed for Sarah Jane's adorable pirate themed prints to shine.

I used this larger map print on the back along with some more sailboats and a couple of the prints from the front.

The quilting is just wavy lines spaced about and inch and a half apart. It was easy to keep them on line - I did one through each seam line and one in between the seams of the four patch squares.

The binding is a stripe from the collection and because of the scale, I took the time to match up the stripe when sewing the binding strips together. Can you see the seam?  I have a tutorial on how to do that HERE.

I did not use a pattern for this quilt. I knew that I wanted this design and planned the size of the squares based on the scale of the prints - 6" large squares and 3" smaller squares. Usually, I prefer an odd number for the number of blocks in a row or in a column, but this one just worked out better as a 6 x 8 - I think that 36 x 48 is a perfect baby size!

I chose to use all the same print in the four patches - the ivory with ships wheels - to give some repetition to the quilt. When using a bunch of prints, that gives a calmness and order to the design. This also enabled me to strip piece - I needed 24 four patch squares which meant 48 sets of the ivory print and another fabric. I had 6 different fabrics, therefore 8 of each one. The squares are 3 1/2" unfinished, so 8 x 3 1/2 = 28". I cut 30" strips so I would have a little extra, stitched them in pairs and then sub cut into 3 1/2". Phew!! Who knew quilting was so complicated!!

One last look...

Additional details -

Fabric is all Out to Sea by Sarah Jane Studios for Michael Miller Fabrics
Batting - Warm and White 100% cotton
Pieced with Aurifil 50wt. 100% cotton
Quilted on a Babylock Tiara with Superior Masterpiece polyester thread

This quilt is for sale and will be in my Etsy shop eventually. Yep, still procrastinating. I am hung up on designing a label to put on my quilts. I can't decide if I want it to say my name or The Sewing Chick! Opinions appreciated!! (Let's see who is still reading ;-)

Linking up with these amazing bloggers:

Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
Caroline at Sew Can She for Show Off Saturday

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Out to Sea Baby Quilt -- In Progress

Over the past couple of years, I have been growing my fabric stash. It is a common trait of quilters, old and new alike, to buy fabric because it is pretty with no regard for what I am going to make with it, if anything at all. But now I look at all those piles of fabric and think, gosh, there's a lot of money tied up in there, maybe I need to use it up...

So I have made it one of my goals for the year to use what I have and limit further purchasing of more fabric. Not a bad thing when I get to sew up such cute fabrics as these Sarah Jane Out to Sea prints. I have decided on a simple alternating 4-patch and square layout that allows me to fussy cut some of the larger feature fabrics.

The top went together really quickly and I have begun to quilt it on the Princess (my Babylock Tiara) with free motion wavy lines to mimic real waves!

This might even be finished by the weekend!! Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for Work in Progress Wednesday. How about you? What are you working on this week? I hope it's something good!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Friday, January 23, 2015

A Finished Quilt

colorful modern patchwork handmade quilt by the sewing chick

I have learned a valuable lesson from finishing this quilt. So often, I am all about the fabric. I love fabric. No, I loooooove!!!! fabric. My quilts tend to feature the colors and patterns of favorite fabrics, and I consider the quilting to be secondary, you know, just a way to keep the layers together. But this quilt has taught me that the quilting design can make a huge difference in how I feel about the finished piece.

I liked the Bonnie and Camille Happy Go Lucky fabric. I  liked the simple pattern of alternating 9 patch and snowball blocks. I liked the Moda Bella Aqua solid. I just didn't like them all together. But the quilting in the centers of the snowballs made them pop and now I love this quilt.

From now on, I will consider how I am going to do the quilting at the design phase of quilt making and not merely as an afterthought. I will, I swear!

The backing is a pretty aqua and white Ta Dot from Michael Miller and the binding is from the Marmalade collection, also by Bonnie and Camille.

I didn't use a pattern - I had a layer cake of the B&C fabric so that dictated the size of the blocks. I cut each 10" square into 2.5" strips and pieced the 9 patches from those. The remaining 2.5" strips were subcut into 2.5" squares for the corners of the snowball blocks. There are similar patterns on the market, including this one.

The finished quilt is 42" square, a nice baby or toddler size.

This quilt will be for sale in my Etsy shop as soon as I get that up and running, which is one of my goals for 2015. Well, okay, it was one of my goals for 2104, but didn't happen. The idea of selling my work scares me, but I can't keep piling up quilts in my house forever!!

Linking up today with Amanda over at Crazy Mom Quilts and Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Have a super weekend and Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One Less

That's one less quilt top waiting to be quilted because I spent yesterday doing this.

It is a goal of mine for 2015 to improve my free motion quilting skills and get to a point where I can do it without being terrified! This quilt top was made in the summer of 2013 and to be honest, I didn't really like it that much since I thought the aqua was the wrong color choice. Then, the other day, I saw those aqua snowballs as the perfect place to practice a free motion motif. Now, I like it!!

I worked back and forth across the rows and created this flower/tree thing by stitching the center first and then three rows of "petals". I stitched out at the bottom and then moved to the neighboring 9-patch with a meandering stitch or stipple. It went amazingly quickly and I am fairly pleased with the result. Yes, I photographed one of the better attempts - they didn't all turn out perfectly which I remind myself is okay!!

The back is an aqua and white polka dot and I have just enough of this red and cream stripe from Bonnie and Camille's Marmalade line to use for the binding. It is the same soft red as in the Happy Go Lucky fabric of the quilt. I love that the different collections play so well together!

So I am feeling a little more confident, but need to keep the momentum going or else I'll lose it again.

What are your quilting goals for this year? Are you wanting to learn something new or improve on an existing skill? Whatever it is, I say go for it, be easy on yourself and enjoy the journey!!

Check out these link ups:

Freshly Pieced, W.I.P. Wednesday
My Quilt Infatuation, Needle and Thread Thursday

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Pattern Winner

Happy Monday!! Thank you to all who entered the pattern giveaway! The winner of the Eye Candy Quilt pattern by May Chappell Design is Sarah! Congratulations! Lee will contact you via email with the pattern.

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Things I Know and a Pattern Giveaway

Creativity. If there is one thing I have learned since I began this quilting and blogging journey, it is that the more you use your creativity, the more you have. It grows and flourishes and you find inspiration everywhere. The converse is also true - the less you use your creativity, the less you have. It stagnates, and if left too long, begins to stink!

Like a muscle that has been sedentary, it is hard to use it again. You have to start slow and build it back up. I was so engulfed in the holiday goings-on and having my family around that I didn't sew for weeks, even after the decorations came down and the kids were back in school. The creative juices ran dry.

So to ease back into the sewing mode, I started by working on something that was already in progress. I visited with my friend Lee of May Chappell Design and she showed me her new pattern, Eye Candy. It was just what I was looking for to use with a bundle of fabric I had from Art Gallery - Frances Newcombe's Cherie.

eye candy pattern and art gallery fabric by the sewing chick

Most of the fabrics are large in scale and I didn't want to cut them up into small pieces. These 8" squares allow you to see just how pretty these fabrics are! There are a couple of Oval Elements in there too and also a Priory Square print. The background is a Cotton and Steel basic.

I love French inspired fabrics, the aqua with the roses is of course my favorite.  Joie de Vivre literally means the joy of living. I am guessing it is the French equivalent of YOLO.

I can feel the creative urge beginning to strengthen and it feels good! I hope not to stay away so long this time - making something pretty soothes my soul!! And speaking of soothing the soul, I would like to recommend a blog post. I don't usually get too personal or preachy here as this is a sewing blog and I don't really have the voice for it anyway. But if you are like me and are desperate to slow down time as life seems to rush past, read this. Ann is a gifted writer and is a friend of Kara Tippetts, another beautiful soul whose story I have been following on her blog, Mundane Faithfulness. Both are good for the soul.

Lee has just added this pattern to her website, you can find it here. All her patterns are currently on sale for just $6!! But even better, she has kindly offered a PDF version of this pattern to one of my readers. Just leave me a comment saying you would like the pattern and I will choose one on Saturday evening (I know some of you catch up on blog reading on the weekends - or is that just me?). Please be sure that I have your email address to send the pattern to.

And hey, it's Wednesday, so I am linking up to Freshly Pieced. I just know I can get some inspiration over there!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Merry Mug Rug Blog Hop

christmas mug rug free motion embroidery the sewing chick

A small project like a mug rug is a great opportunity to try a new technique. When Jennifer at Ellison Lane asked me to participate in her holiday mug rug hop, I knew it would be the perfect time to try free motion embroidery with applique.

I was inspired by Poppy Treffrey's book, Freehand Machine Embroidery, and the beautiful creations from my Flickr friend, Jackie {chloeandme}. It would probably have been a good idea to practice a little before making the mug rug, but instead I just jumped right in and started.

I began with some Essex yarn-dyed linen in flax and some sweet Liberty of London fabrics. I bought the prints in a sixteenth-yard piece bundle from this shop. These bundles are a great way to get an affordable assortment of these pricey prints.

To make the pattern pieces, I doodled the trees which was easy, but for the car, I found an image online and then traced over it on my iPad.  Because Liberty is lightweight, I used fusible web, traced the pieces on the paper backing (in reverse!) and cut them out. I drew in the hills and laid out the paper pattern pieces for placement.

Ignore the words, I had the crazy notion that I could free motion them, but they are so small that I decided against it. If I had more time, I would have stitched them by hand.

This kind of embroidery is done in layers, with the background areas done first and then adding each piece toward the foreground. I spray basted my quilt batting to the linen and stitched the hills first. I chose to go back and forth three times for the look I wanted.

Then I added the trees, one layer at a time starting with the bottom. The best tip I think I can give you is to not get stressed over every stitch. As I started this, I thought to myself, "oh my, this is terrible!" But as I added each layer and the piece began to take shape, each stitch becomes less important and the overall feel of my work began to come forward. This is supposed to be free-form and imperfect, that adds to the charm! Mine certainly could be better, and with practice, I will do a better job of the stitches being more on top of each other.

The car was added next, stitching around the outer edge. Then I drew in the details with a Frixion pen and stitched over the lines.

Then the presents were added and finally the free motion bow on the top!

A couple of fun button wheels finish the car!

The mug rug is finished by trimming the embroidered piece to size and layering it with a backing fabric - I used red and white ticking, an absolute favorite of mine. Baste around the edge and add a pretty binding.

There is no official mug rug standard size, make it whatever size you want. This is a generous 8" x 11 1/2", big enough for a big mug of cocoa and a cookie. Or two.

I hope this inspires you to try free motion embroidery and applique, it takes a bit of practice, but if you can free motion quilt, you can do this.

Thank you to Jennifer for inviting me to be a part of her Merry Mug Rug series. Be sure to visit her blog for a great giveaway for a $30 gift certificate to Southern Fabric and to see a list of the other participating bloggers.

Happy Sewing and Happy Holidays,

Tessa Marie

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