October 30, 2013

Comfort and Joy Mug Rug

I really glad  relieved that I've been sewing
for Christmas all year long!
Already, I'm noticing that I've
got less and less time
available for holiday stitching.

I was asked to make up some reversible mug rugs,
celebrating the four seasons,
so I started with Winter and Autumn.

{Here's my Christmas-y Winter mug rug for October's Christmas-y project.}

I didn't use a pattern this time...
rather I let my Winter's Lane fabric bundle speak to me,
and this mug rug kind of just happened!

I began with one of the "Christmas cards" 
from the Winter's Lane fabric panel.

I love the way this image expresses 
a favorite holiday sentiment, but can be used all winter long.
Cheery colors...a sweet font...even some snowflakes!

For the side panel, where the mug sits,
I made 3 background squares,
then fused a brilliant poinsettia flower to each block.
This is my favorite part!

A bit of sashing tied it all together.
I just trimmed the mug rug to size,
making it exactly the same size as the reverse,
which was the Autumn Ticker Tape featured in my last post.

The hardest part was choosing a binding fabric
that would set off both sides of this mug rug.
for Machine Binding, and I was done in a flash!

{My new iron made it a breeze!  Do yourself a favor, and use a decent iron.}

Here's another view of the finished Winter mug rug.

Now this little holiday mug rug is all set
for cups and cups of Christmas cheer, all winter long.

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October 29, 2013

Autumn Ticker Tape Mug Rug

Here in Pennsylvania,
the autumn leaves are quickly falling
from the trees,
like a ticker tape parade!

Maybe that's what inspired me to create
a new mug rug, from The Patchsmith's

I'm working on a request to create
two reversible mug rugs,
to celebrate the four seasons.

How nice that this pattern's size could be easily adapted
to match the size of a Winter design on the other side.
All I did was increase the spacing between blocks.

The prints I selected were mostly from 
the Maple Skies collection, from Connecting Threads.
I just love the focal print, with various tree types.

The binding was attached using my own
The background fabric and the red squares and binding
are from Winter's Lane by Kate and Birdie Paper Co for Moda...
to match the flip-side.

{Hint, hint...I'll show the Winter side in my next post!}

Doesn't this mug rug just beg to be used
to enjoy a mug of hot cider
and a slice of pumpkin pie?

Come back soon to see the other side!

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October 26, 2013

Purse Palooza 2013 - The One Piece Bag by Fig Tree Quilts

As a person who loves to make
bags, purses, and pouches,
I've been enjoying

I actually tried out a brand-new-to-me pattern
that I was smitten with,
from the time I first saw it on the Fig Tree Quilts blog.

It's called the One Piece Bag,
and you can find the pattern here,
in PDF or paper format.

I made this bag for a friend,
and she requested black and white fabrics.
I used a beautiful damask from Michael Miller,
for the body of the bag.
The shoulder straps are a large polka dot.

{Did you really think I'd make a bag without polka dots?}

This is a really cool and sophisticated purse,
very large and spacious, with a messenger-style flap,
but lots more style than I've seen in most messenger bags.

A magnetic snap holds the flap in position.

I don't have a photo showing how it looks
when it's being carried,
but the straps are nice and long,
letting the bag fall along the hipline.

I love the way the straps are attached
to the outer bag early in the process,
to allow for some decorative support stitching.

My friend requested lots of interior pockets,
in a strip, to keep the bag contents organized.
I figured out where to position two contrasting pocket strips
so that they line each side of the bag.

{My little label shows that I made this bag just for her.}

I'm not gonna lie...I was a little nervous making this bag
for the first time, because of the pocket modification
and also because it was my first time installing 
little feet on the bottom of the bag!

It turns out that the feet are applied much like magnetic snaps,
and in just a few minutes,
I had added an amazing professional touch!

{Here's a view of the bottom of the bag.}

When I had the bag all finished up,
there was one little thing that kind of bothered me.
I felt like the top of the gusset was too wide,
and the flap had a gap at the top.
I just pinched the top of the gusset
and stitched a pleat in the top edge.

The result was kind of a teardrop shaping
that really dressed up the finished bag.


I hope my friend loves it, too.
Someday...I'll make another one for myself.

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October 19, 2013

Strawberry Delights - Swap Package Received

Hello, my friends!
You are in for a sweet treat for the eyes today,
as I share some photos of the delightful package
I received in the Strawberry Swap
recently hosted by Erin from Why Not Sew? blog.

My swap partner was Karen of Sew Peachey,
and just look at all the sweetness she sent to me!

{Notice the Strawberry chewing gum....mmmmmm!}

I was thoroughly spoiled!
Thank you sew much, Karen!
 Here's a good view of the larger 
strawberry pincushion...the Mama Berry.

I adore the way Karen added
tiny yellow buttons to the felt blossom on the cap.
It's all about the details, right?

Now check out the Baby Berry,
in all of her freckled glory!

{The sweet little red pins make my teeth hurt.}

Here are both berries lounging on some lovely
squares of Heather Ross Briar Rose fabrics...heavenly.

Have you tried this fun, free tutorial by Michelle Patterns,
Karen made one just for me,
and it's as useful as it is charming.

{It just screams, "Take me with you!"}

Dare I commit to saying this is my favorite detail?
Yep - I really really {heart} the little zipper pull
made from twill tape with ABC's.

Look inside the dumpling...the lining matches Mama Berry!

If you ever have a chance to participate 
in a swap, you should do it.  
Handmade surprises are sew special!

Just because I'm proving it's my favorite detail,
I'll close with one more look at that little zipper pull.

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October 17, 2013

Skinny Pinny for October Across The Pond Sew Along

The Skinny Pincushion is this month's
and I was really grateful to Susie of Susie's Sunroom
for picking something that is so quick to make,
fun to create, and useful!

{The free tutorial can be found here from Green Bee Designs.}

These are Susie's skinny pinnies!  Photo from Susie's Sunroom
Want to see mine?
I was tempted to use the Panoramic setting
on my camera, to capture it in its entirety.

I'll just show you some close-ups, in stages, instead.

I started out with a favorite Lakehouse button print. 

 For the main body, I used the text print
from Sweetwater's "Mama Said Sew" line.
I was "saving" this sewing print for something special,
and it does make a killer pincushion!

All the way down at the other end,
I used the red and black ricrac from
the same Mama Said Sew line.

Here it is, all in one photo!

When I made my skinny pinny,
I pieced together the fabrics for the top,
to measure about 3" x 15".
I cut a piece of the button print for the bottom
that also measured 3" x 15".
I fused some Pellon ShapeFlex SF101 interfacing
to the wrong sides of the top and bottom,
for some support.

I stitched the pieces wrong-sides-together,
leaving about a 5" opening in the center of the long side 
that would become the top of the pincushion.
My finished pinny is about 2 1/2" x 14 1/2".

Here's a trick I always use when I have to leave
an opening for turning and/or stuffing:
I stitch from the edge of the project,
straight over to the start of the seam, backstitching,
on each side of the opening.

{It's easier to show you than it is to describe it.}

Here's another tip:
after turning the pincushion right sides out,
I always give it a really good pressing,
to smooth it before stuffing.

{Now's the time to add a cute label, too, if you've got one.}

Susie and many other pincushion aficionados
swear by crushed walnut shells,
for stuffing their pinnies.
I'm allergic to walnuts myself,
so I just used plenty of polyfil to plump up mine...
just a bit.

{It's still skinny!}

Once it was stuffed, I hand-stitched the opening closed.
Now you know why I chose to make my opening
at the top of the pincushion,
where it will rarely be seen.


Just for a bit of jazz, 
I added a piece of black ricrac to my skinny pinny.
I just pinned it between the top and bottom layers,
along a seam, before I stitched them together.
The ricrac is actually not stitched down,
except at the seams.
I'm hoping to find a nice new pair of scissors
that can be slipped under the ricrac when I'm not using them.

I've already enjoyed using
this little gem, and it's loaded up with many more pins
than I've shown in this photo.

From both sides of The Pond,
we hope you'll share photos
in our Flickr group, if you find  few minutes to make
your own Skinny Pincushion!

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October 9, 2013

Prettified Pincushion

This week marks the grand finale
of the Patchwork Please Zakka 2.0 Sew Along.
Debbie from A Quilter's Table
has done a magnificent job of
hosting the last half of the sew along!

They say you can't judge a book by its cover,
but as soon as I saw those Prettified Pincushions
on the front of the book,
I knew I wanted to have a copy!

For my version,
I chose lots of sunny yellow prints
from my fabric stash.
I used linen, to mimic the samples in the book.

There is just something about the texture
of the linen, paired with
smooth quilting cottons...so touchable.

The neutral linen also serves
as a calming backdrop,
enhancing the brightness of the yellows...
so exciting!

I made my pincushion quite a while ago,
but I remembered to make some notes about
my progress,
for my "likes" and "dislikes" section.

Dislikes are always first...
If you haven't made your {first}
prettified pincushion already,
make sure you add a 1/2" for the seam allowance
{1/4" on each side}
to your template piece!!!

{This is just sooooo important. The finished pieced block will be 2 1/2" square.} 

The instructions don't say when to remove
the paper from the block.
I recommend waiting until all of the 4 blocks
have been stitched together.

One more criticism I have is regarding the 
size recommendations for the scraps
used in the paper piecing.
I am stone serious when I say that
I wrote in my journal,
"You will CRY, unless you cut the pieces LARGER
than the book recommends!"

I used pieces at least this size:
4 Prints: 2 1/2" x 3"
Background Linen:  (4) 1 1/4" x 2"
(4) 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"
(8) 1 3/4" x 2 3/4"

And now for my "likes"...

I really enjoy paper-piecing once in a while,
and this was really a rewarding project
to make with that technique.
I think it would be a great project
to make, even if you've never tried it before.

Another great thing about making this project
is that you end up with a
very functional and stylish item.
The size is just right,
and it is the perfect way to explain
what is meant by "zakka".

My greatest "like" is the finished result.
I mean...just look at how CUTE it is!
The covered button adds so much charm!

{And I'm not just talking about MINE...I haven't seen one I didn't love,
as they have popped up all over the internet and blogland.}

If you've got this book,
I guarantee you will be happy
with the pincushion you prettify
from this design.

 I think I'm going to have to prettify some more pincushions!
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