Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome September

Hello my dears!! I have been away too long and have missed you! I took a little break for what I thought would be a week, which turned into two and then a whole month.  Some of you inquired as to my whereabouts which I appreciated.

So, what has happened in the last month?

I turned 48. When I first entered my 40's, I would say things like, "I am not having any more birthdays...", I hated the idea of getting older. But now,  every birthday is a celebration - another year to love life and do more of what I love. Actually each day is a celebration - another opportunity to be joyful and have fun.

I took this baby to college 850 miles away.

How did he grow up so fast? I blinked and he turned into a man. My heart misses him, but he is a great kid and I am excited for his opportunity and so proud of all he has done and is yet to do.

I revamped my sewing room, adding better storage for fabric and all the other do-dads we quilters seem to acquire. These are Billy bookcases from Ikea - open shelves for the pretties and doors to hide the boring stuff. The room is still a work in progress, but I am so close! When it is completely finished, I promise a post with all the details.

And because I know you love the quilty eye candy, look at this gorgeous sewing machine cover I got in the SewSewModern5 swap. So many of my favorite fabrics and beautifully designed and quilted! I almost don't want to take it off my machine to sew!  It came from super awesome Karen Peachey, aka @sewpeachey - she's the best!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Patchwork Rainbow Duffle Bag

I can finally share this patchwork duffle bag that I recently made for the Sew Sew Modern 5 swap on Flickr. My partner asked for a duffle bag in a rainbow of colors so I didn't want to share pictures before she received it so as not to spoil the surprise!!

It began with Simplicity pattern #2600 because I really liked the shape of the rounded ends. Of course I had to make some amendments to the pattern to accommodate the patchwork and because I have a habit of thinking patterns can always use a little tweaking! All the fabrics came from my stash and I pre-quilted the pieces with a 1" grid.

I put outside pockets on both sides of the bag because a pocket is the perfect place to showcase something special like these stars.

The end pockets got the star treatment, too!

I shortened the side panels and added a bottom panel of dark canvas. This eliminated the annoying center bottom seam and the canvas will hopefully be more durable as well as hide any dirt.

For the straps, I used the same dark canvas as the bottom and added a carefully cut strip of Riley Blake lime green stripe, top-stitched in place. The straps are sewn into the bottom panel seam instead of going all the way around the bag as in the pattern.

The inside is this fun large scale text print from Windham Fabrics. The seams are encased with bias tape for a neat finish.

The inside pocket is out of the same lime stripe used in the straps. My labels are made by me on my printer. Amateur! I really would like to get some nice, professionally done labels.

I used a zipper from my favorite bag zipper maker - This one is 24" and was just barely long enough!

This is a big bag - about 24" wide and 12" high. To puff it up for these photos, I put a standard bed pillow inside and there was extra room!!

My swap partner has a sweet little girl and I thought it would be fun to send her a little tote bag to match her mama's. (photo bomb by Lucy!)

She posted a picture of her little girl toting her favorite stuffed bunny in the bag which just made me so happy!

It is so rewarding to make a gift for someone with love and care in every fabric selected, every stitch and then see how much they appreciate it!!

And finally, this cute little luggage tag completes the set. It is also in Simplicity pattern #2600, but I just used the pieces and made it differently. I wanted the contrast window to be on the front instead of the back (you can't see it on the back!!)

The Sew Sew Modern swap is fantastic, teeming with talented sewists and quilters. I imagine there will be a #6 - if you are interested then follow @crandons and @quiltingfairy on Flickr to get an invitation to join.

Are you curious as to what I received in the swap? It is so wonderful that it deserves a post of its own...stay tuned!

Linking up to these blogs:

Fort Worth Fabric Studio Blog              


Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christmas in July - Table Runner Tutorial

Today is my turn on the Christmas in July blog hop hosted by Chrissy at Sew Lux Fabric. I am delighted to be sharing a tutorial for a scrappy patchwork table runner featuring flying geese and stars -- my two favorites!!

tutorial for christmas table runner flying geese stars the sewing chick

I am using this fat quarter bundle of fabric by Basic Grey for Moda called 25th & Pine and Moda Bella solid in bleached white. The binding is Moda Bella in cherry.

Christmas in July - 25th & Pine

Basic sewing skills and a knowledge of quilting are required for this project.
Finished size is 16 1/2" x 52 1/2", but the size can easily be adjusted by adding or taking away stars.


eight fat quarters of red and green print
1/4 yard  for star background - I recommend a solid or low volume fabric
1/2 to 1 yard for back (see section on Finishing)
1/3 yard for binding

1/2 yard quilt batting (18" x 54")

flying geese square up ruler (optional but helpful)

sewing machine, thread and basic sewing supplies

This tutorial uses the no-waste, makes four at a time method for the flying geese


Before cutting, consider how you want to place the prints. I wanted the geese in the sashing to have a red and a green print so cut an equal number of each.  I also wanted the stars to be all red or all green and cut accordingly.

from the red and green prints:
    13 - 5 1/4" squares for sashing geese centers
    68 - 2 7/8" squares for geese corners (ensuring there are 17 sets of four)
    14 - 4 1/2" squares (10 for corners and 4 for star centers)
from solid
    16 - 2 1/2" squares
      4 - 5 1/4" squares for star geese background

    cut four 2 1/2" strips x width of fabric


Each 5 1/4" square plus four 2 7/8" squares will create four flying geese that are all the same.

Place two of the 2 7/8" squares on opposite corners of the 5 1/4" square, right sides together. Draw a line from corner to corner.

Sew a scant 1/4" seam on both sides of the line.

Cut on the line and press seams to the small triangles.

Place another 2 7/8" square on the remaining corner. Draw a diagonal line and sew a scant 1/4" on both sides of the line.

Cut on the line and press seams towards the print.

Trim off the "dog ears" or use a flying geese ruler to square up the unit to 2 1/2" x 4 1/2". There will be very little to trim off, if anything at all. I love my Bloc-loc ruler for this purpose - it has a groove on the underside that grips the seam allowance for no slip trimming.

Photo courtesy of Sew Lux Fabric

Repeat the process until you have 13 sets of flying geese (four per set) for the sashing and four sets for the star points.


Lay out four flying geese units, one 4 1/2" square and four 2 1/2" squares. With a 1/4" seam allowance, sew the pieces into rows, press seams to the squares.

Sew the rows together, seam allowances will nest at the corners. Press seams to the side.


To make the sashing, sew the four flying geese in each set together along the long edge, press seams away from the points.

Lay out the stars and surround them with the sashing units, following the picture (scroll down a bit) for placement.  In each corner, place a 4 1/2" square.

Sew the units together by first sewing a 4 1/2" square to each side of a flying geese row. Sew a flying geese unit to each side of a star block. You may want to re-press some of the flying geese seams in the other direction to ensure nesting seams with the star block. Then sew these rows together, matching the seams where necessary.  Press well.


The half yard of fabric for the back is not quite long enough. To remedy this, cut a 6" x  18" strip from two of the leftover fat quarters and sew to each short end of the backing fabric. Alternatively, cut a one yard piece into two half yard pieces and seam along the short ends. Cut the length to 56".

Layer the back with the top and batting. Quilt as you please - I chose to quilt in an all-over small stipple. The binding requires four strips x width of fabric, I like to use 2 1/2" strips.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! Check out the other stop on the blog hop today at traceyjay quilts, and see the rest of the schedule here. And remember, you can link up your Christmas in July creation on Chrissy's blog here, now through August 4th, for the chance to win prizes!

christmas table runner patchwork stars flying geese

tutorial christmas table runner patchwork stars flying geese

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In Progress

Truthfully, not a whole lot of sewing happens around here over the summer. With the kids home, it is so easy just to kick back and hang out with them instead!  I did however, spend the better part of the last couple of weeks finishing up my swap items for SewSewModern 5. While I am eager to share, I am waiting for them to be received so as not to spoil the surprise!!

I have been working on this lovely quilt top using Fig Tree & Co.'s California Girl and the Floral Bouquet pattern from Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott.

Although a bit more subdued than my usual palette, I must confess that I am a huge admirer of Fig Tree fabrics. They just speak to the soft, vintage side of me, and I have begun secretly hoarding some of the older lines.

Whenever I start a new quilt, I make one test block to be sure that I am happy with it and then cut and sew the rest, assembly line-style. Chain piecing the next piece on to all the blocks at once makes quick work of the process.

The blue painter's tape means no marking the squares, just keep the point on the edge of the tape!

I have yet to decide if there will be sashing. The pattern does not, so I probably won't but you never know...

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for Work in Progress Wednesday.

Happy Sewing,
Tessa Marie

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Postage Stamps and Crosses

For the month of June, the Trust Circle of do.Good Stitches was given the task of making a block made from 100 2" squares. We were to use low volume fabrics and incorporate several blue crosses. If we wanted to, we could use the fusible interfacing method, and as I have been wanting to try it, I was in!! There are many tutorials on the method, but we used this one because it has the crosses and the 2" squares.

I used Pellon Sheerweight fusible interfacing and drew a 2" grid on the non-fusible side - the lines were dark enough that they showed through (I used a Sharpie which may have not been a good idea as it gave off some wicked fumes when I pressed it). I laid out the crosses first and then filled in with the low volume squares...

Like the ducky press cloth? That was to ensure the Sharpie didn't transfer to my pressing board! It didn't.

Once all the squares on the grid are covered, I gently pressed to fuse all the squares in place. Work in sections and be sure to lift and press the iron. This picture shows the pressing completed.

Then came the fun part! When I folded back each row to stitch, I was pleased at how crisply the fold was. There was no need to press or pin!! After the rows were stitched in one direction, I used a rotary cutter and trimmed about 1/16th of an inch to open up the seams.

So far, so good! To stitch the seams in the other direction, I folded right sides together and then did give the seam a light press before stitching (there is more bulk from the first seams), but still no pinning was needed.
The worst part of using this method was pressing all the seams open as it was more tedious that pressing to one side. The perfectly matched points more than made up for it though, and I actually prefer the nice, flat look of the open seams!

This block measures 15 1/2" square and is on its way to Liz who will make the blocks into a quilt! To learn more about do.Good Stiches, visit the Flickr page.

I will definitely be using this method again!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Christmas in July

That's right, I said Christmas!! I mean, what better way to spend the hot, lazy days of summer than getting a jump start on your holiday sewing. The quilt shops have been getting the holiday prints in and Chrissy at Sew Lux Fabric is ready to inspire you with a Christmas in July blog hop.

The list of participating bloggers is full of talent and this year's fabric bundles from designers Kate Spain, Basic Grey, Gina Martin and more are so fun and pretty.  To kick off the blog hop, Chrissy is offering the bundles at a 10% discount through July 13th, use the coupon code NICELIST.

I was invited to join in and chose this bundle from Basic Grey called 25th & Pine. Still the traditional red and green, but in soft, dreamy shades. I'll be making a table runner to dress up your holiday table or buffet and can't wait to cut into this yummy bundle.

Christmas in July - 25th & Pine

Here is the schedule for the hop:

And of course Chrissy is offering prizes!! Link up your creations on the Sew Lux blog between July 21st and August 4th and you could win one of the following prizes:

  • Grand Prize: $50 gift certificate to Sew Lux Fabric, a set of 6 You're Sew Nice cards, and an assortment of three patterns by May Chappell 
  • 1st Prize: $25 gift certificate to Sew Lux Fabric, a set of 6 You're Sew Nice cards, and a pattern by May Chappell

For all the details, see the Sew Lux Fabric blog
I am so excited to get my Christmas sewing groove on!! How about you?

Have a great week and Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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