Monday, November 14, 2016

Ruffle Top Drawstring Backpack

Monday, November 14, 2016
When I was asked to participate in the Anne of Green Gables blog hop, I was thrilled.  I love Anne and her optimism and strength. This ruffle top drawstring bag is a simple project to sew and a great way to use these beautiful fabrics.
Let's get right into it, shall we?

Ruffle Top Drawstring Backpack
2/3 yard main exterior print (green floral)
2/3 yard interior print (raspberry ticking)
1/4 yard accent print for ruffle and pocket flap (light pink quote fabric)
1/4 yard accent print for straps and pocket (raspberry blossom)

(2) 16" X 19" from main exterior fabric
(2) 16" X 4" from accent fabric for ruffle
(2) 7" X 3 1/2" from accent fabric for flap of pocket
(2) 16" X 22" from lining fabric
(2) 2" X 34" from accent fabric for straps
(2) 3" X 18" from accent fabric for straps
(2) 7" X 6" from accent fabric for body of pocket

Sewing Instructions:
*note: all seams are 1/2" unless otherwise indicated.

  • Sew accent pieces to top of main body pieces. Press the seam toward the accent piece.
  • Top stitch the seam on the accent piece.
  •  Take the 2" X 34" strap pieces and press in half along the length
  • Open up the pressed piece and fold the long edges into the crease at the center of the strap
  • Press the strap in half again (should now measure approx 1/2" X 34")
  • Top stitch down both sides of the strap
  •  Take the 3" X 18" strap anchor pieces and fold one short end down 1/4"
  • Top stitch this edge down
  • Repeat steps for pressing the straps- fold in half, press, bring in sides to middle, press
  • Top stitch the strap anchor pieces *beginning 1" from the folded down, stitched end of the strap anchor piece. (you will leave the end open until the last step)
  •  With right sides together round the bottom corners of the pocket flap pieces
  • pin pocket body pieces right sides together
  • using a *1/4" s.a. sew around the flap (leave opening on long, flat side) and body (leave opening on the bottom) of the pocket
  • Clip corners and seams
  • Turn right side out and press out seams
  • Top stitch top of pocket body and short sides and rounded bottom of pocket flap
  •  place front piece of backpack right side up
  • center pocket body 3" up from bottom
  • center flap over pocket body lining the top of the flap 1/2" above the top of the pocket body
  • top stitch around sides and bottom of pocket body, and the top of the flap
  • place the sewn end of the strap anchor pieces 1" in from sides, and lined up with the bottom of the backpack 
  • place second exterior piece of backpack face down, lining up the seams where the accent pieces are attached.
  • sew around the two long sides and bottom of the backpack exterior- leaving a 1" opening on both sides starting 1/2" below the seams attaching the accent piece
  • Turn bag exterior right side out and press seams.
  • Take interior bag pieces and line up right sides together
  • sew around long sides and bottom, leaving an opening for turning (dotted lines are where sewn seams should be)
  • Slide exterior of the bag INSIDE the lining of the bag.  Line up side seams and raw edge, pin in place
  • sew around the top of the bag
  • Turn bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the bag lining.
  • Sew opening in lining shut.
  • Push the lining of the bag inside the exterior of the bag and press the top seam.  

  • Sew the channel for the drawstring- sew around the bag lining your stitches up with the top of the opening you left on the exterior of the bag (1/2" from the seam of the accent piece) use a piece of tape to keep this line straight around the whole bag.
  • sew the second line for the channel 1" away from the first stitched line (again, using a piece of tape to mark the line)
  • top stitch the top edge of the bag
  • take the small drawstrings and pull them through the channel using a safety pin. One will start and end on one side of the bag, and the second will start and end on the other side of the bag.

  •  Take the two ends of the drawstring on one side of the bag, and place them inside the open end of the anchor piece on the same side of the bag
  • sew the ends of the drawstring into the anchor piece by closing up the opening on the end of the strap. I sew a rectangle with an "X" in it. (you can see it in the picture below)

  • Repeat for the second side.

 You can embellish this bag with buttons or lace, but I chose to leave it plain for now.
Each of my daughters have asked me for one of these bags (even the teenager) so I'm going to call this one a win!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Embroidered Mesh Word Art for Nursery

Friday, October 28, 2016
Embroidery was one of my very first crafting loves.  So, when I was invited to try out a new product from DMC I jumped at the chance.  This new stitchable mesh is so amazing and gives me a fun new medium to create on! They also have stitchable cork and cork with gold flakes!  I was able to get my hands on some of that too and I can't wait to play with it.

When I was thinking about what kind of project I would do I knew I wanted to create something inspired by the amazing Cheri of TinkerEllen because I think her work is just amazing.  That was when I decided to create some art for my baby's nursery. I figured it was time I get working on her room, since she turned one in July.
I decided to create some word art that reflected qualities I hope my sweet girl develops in her life- Happy, Brave and Kind.
I wanted to finish the outside of the hoop by wrapping it with yarn, and since the mesh creases, I knew I needed to do the wrapping before I put the mesh in the hoop.  I found it easiest to do this by creating a yarn ball first and then passing that around the outside hoop to create the wrapped texture.
Then it was time to create the patterns and transfer them to the mesh.  The mesh comes in 10" X 10" sheets and it does fray, so I put some tape around the edges to hold it together and flatten out the piece a bit. There are two sides to the mesh as well, a silver side, and a gold side.  I decided to use the silver side. The first piece I transferred I used a ball point pen to transfer the design, but I found it was so faded I had a hard time following the pattern.  For the next pattern I traced, I used a thin Sharpie marker.  I found it was much easier to see when I went to stitch the pattern and it didn't rub off.  The down side to sharpie is that you CAN see it clearly so you will want to be really careful with what you transfer.
 Were I do to it again, I would not trace the circles for the wagon wheel flowers, I would just put dots where the wrap stitches go, that way I don't have to worry about covering up the circles.  Does that make sense?  Even the sprig borders I would probably just add dots at the top of the leaf instead of tracing the whole leaf, just so there wasn't any background black showing through.  I did end up stitching past my marked lines on the flowers and their leaves to make sure they were covered up as much as I could. That being said- I don't really notice any of the markings on my finished pieces.

Once the pieces were finished being stitched, I tightened the mesh in the hoop and just trimmed off the extra mesh as close to the hoop as I could using sharp scissors.
This was my first time stitching wagon wheel flowers and I am in love with the dimension and texture they add to the pieces. I also adore the shine of the mesh and just love how it adds another level of awesome to this art.
I don't know if this is where they will live forever, but I really kind of love how they
match the ribbon mobile I made.
If there is some interest in the pattern for these, I will get them written up, so leave a comment if you'd like to see one.
And, as a bonus, this project got me to finally hang some things on my baby's wall, so we're winning all the way around over here. :)
Hope you have a great day too!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wistful Winds blog tour

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Hi friends!  I'm here today to introduce you to another gorgeous fabric line.  Friends, this is Wistful Winds by Shari Butler of Doohikey Designs for Riley Blake Designs.  Wistful winds, my blog friends!
The colors in this line are just scrumptious and bright and cheery- so totally up my alley! I love the main floral print and the sweet little girls are just adorable.  You can view the whole collection on Riley Blake Designs website here.
I have been systematically going through my house, getting rid of stuff, updating decor and generally overhauling things. When this fabric showed up, I realized it was time to update some of my craft room inspiration.
I originally had this quote on a cupboard door made out of vinyl and paper, but thought it would be so much better in fabric with stitching and patchwork.  I was right!

I love the detail of the buttons and the thick pearl cotton.
 I don't have a pattern for this yet, but if you're interested in the pieces for the fabric applique, just shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you a rough copy.
This fabric, in all of it's bright cheeriness just makes me so happy.  And if you're looking for more goodness using the great line, follow along the blog hop through the links below:

Amy Sinibaldi –
Kristyne Czepuryk –
Amanda Niederhauser –
Amy Smart –
Meagan Taylor/Kristi Jones –
Christine Cook –
Elea Lutz –
Jodie Carleton –
Sedef Imer –
Jina Barney –
Elizabeth Evans –
Kimberly Bourne –
Jemima Flendt –
Nadra Ridgeway –
Amy Chappell –

and coming up in the next couple of days:
October 12th:
Katie Skoog –
Amber Johnson –
Gwen Sager -

October 14th:
Melissa Mortenson –
Jessica Stewart –
Tina -
Shari Butler –

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Posy Garden Lined drawstring bag tutorial

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tutorial for creating Lined Drawstring pouches- great for gifts, jewelry or storage
I am so excited to be on the Posy Garden blog hop!  I have been looking forward to this for a long time and have been trying to come up with the perfect project to show off this beautiful fabric.  I decided to create some fun gift pouches I plan on using as favors at a brunch I'm hoping to pull off the first week the kids go back to school.  These lined drawstring bags are simple to make and use only a bit of fabric- plus they can be adjusted to fit your desired size as well.  They are great for gifts, storing jewelry, party favors or just as tools to organize your purse or other large spaces.  They are so fun to whip up, you'll be making them for everything.
Before we get to the tutorial though, can we just take a moment and enjoy this beautiful fabric?  It's just such a fun color combination with the pinks and navy, turquoise and red.  I just love this line.  It makes me want to have tea in a garden somewhere.  You can find the entire line here on the Riley Blake Designs website.
And now for the chocolate, I mean the tutorial.

Some notes before we begin:
  • This tutorial is for a bag that finishes at 6" X 8 1/2" (approx.) adjust your cutting measurements to accommodate a larger or smaller bag- but if you make a larger one, you will need more fabric.
  • Seam Allowances are 1/4" unless noted. 
  • For my accent strip I pieced a strip using 1 1/2" wide pieces of scraps, you can use this method, or just cut an accent strip from the lining fabric.

Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial

fabric- 2 fat eights
ribbon- 1 yard of 1/4" ribbon
sewing supplies

From lining fabric- cut 2: 6 1/2" X 9" rectangles
From exterior main fabric- cut 1: 6 1/2" X 9" rectangle (for the back),
For the exterior front cut 1: 6 1/2" X 7" rectangle
 and 1: 1 1/2" X 6 1/2" strip
for accent strip (pieced or from lining fabric) cut 1: 1 1/2" X 6 1/2" strip

  • Sew your front pieces together with the larger rectangle of the exterior fabric on top and the 1 1/2" strip on the bottom of the accent piece, press seams
  • Place your bag exterior pieces right sides together.  Mark an opening on each side that is 1" down from the top and 1/2" wide (as marked by the red butterfly pins in the picture), these will become your openings for the ribbon drawstring. *you can adjust the placement of these openings if you like- higher or lower will change the look of your bag and change the size of the "ruffle" at the top of the bag when it is pulled shut.  Just make sure you position the opening in the same place on both sides.
  • Sew sides and bottom of bag exterior, leaving the two 1/2" openings unsewn (back stitch at beginning and end of each line of stitching.
  •  Place lining pieces right sides together.  Mark an opening in the bottom of the lining that is 2-3" wide (as indicated by the red butterfly pins in the picture) This will be the opening for turning the bag right side out when it's completed.
  • Sew around the sides and bottom of the bag, leaving the marked opening unsewn.

  • Turn exterior of the bag right side out and press.
  • Slide exterior of the bag inside the lining of the bag.  Line up the side seams and pin around the top seam of the bag.
  • Sew around the top seam of the bag.
  • Pull the exterior of the bag through the opening left in the bottom of the lining and turn the lining right side out.
  • Sew the opening in the bottom of the lining shut
  • push the lining of the bag inside the exterior of the bag, press the top seam
  •  To create the ribbon channel in the bag, sew one seam at 3/4" from top (use the opening you will find in the side seams as your guide for the top and bottom of the ribbon channel)
  • Sew a second seam 1/2" lower from the top than the first seam.
  • Cut ribbon into two 18" pieces
  • Use safety pin to thread ribbon through channels.  Start one ribbon on one side, bring it around the entire bag and back out the same side.  Repeat with second ribbon, but on the opposite side of the bag.  Tie off the ribbons. *notes on this process: You may have to wiggle the safety pin around a bit to get it around the seams as you are threading it, just keep pushing it around until it comes out.  Also, make sure when you are threading the second ribbon, you are keeping track of the ends of the first ribbon.  Sometimes as you are threading the second ribbon it pulls the ends of the first ribbon into the channel and you will have to fish them out.
 Fill with your favorite treats and give them away.  
Or use them as favors at a brunch (like me) or shower.
They are great to have on hand as gift wrap too. What would you use these handy bags for?
  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  If there are any questions, or if you have another tutorial you'd like to see, let me know in the comments and I will get back to you as soon as I can.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Knit Throw blanket with color block accents using Acorn Valley Fabric

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Today I get to share a project made with the beautiful Acorn Valley knits designed by Patty Young for Riley Blake Designs.  These fabrics are absolutely adorable- from the foxes to the birds to the mushrooms and of course the colors.
  A while ago, I made some duvet covers for my girls using Cottage Garden knits by Amanda Herring.  They were so soft and cool to the touch, I often thought I would like to have a blanket for myself made out of Riley Blake's gorgeous knits.  So, when I was asked to participate in the blog tour, I immediately decided to make my very own dreams come true.
  Now, this blanket might not be the most complicated thing to make, but if you've ever sewn with knits, you know that they can be just a bit unruly, especially when working with pieces on this scale.  So, I'm going to share some tips with you today that will hopefully help you have success if you decide to make one for yourself.

What you will need:
1 1/2 yard cuts of two main fabrics
1/2 yard cuts of two accent fabrics
sewing machine needle for knit fabric
rotary cutter
clear ruler

*knits are 58/59" wide so you will end up with a nice throw size blanket.

Square up cut edges if necessary, sometimes it's easier to do when the fabric is fresh off the bolt.
Wash your fabric.  Knit will shrink up quite a bit so it's better to wash and dry your fabric first.
Decide which fabrics you want to pair up.  I used the forest in cream with the teal dot, and the main in cream with the red dot.
This is where things get a bit tricky.  Knit fabric tends to roll up, the cut side rolls one direction and the selvedges roll in the other direction.  Lining things up can be frustrating, especially if you're not sure your cut edge is straight.  Here are some tips to help you:
  • let go of perfection- this is not going to be a cotton quilt where the edges will be precise and lines perfect and it's ok.
  • use a ball needle for knits on your machine.  It will go through the fabric much better.  Make sure it's a new needle and set your stitch length to a long stitch.  I didn't use a stretch stitch on this blanket, but you totally could.
  • press your edges.  I read a few places that starching the fabric would help, and it does, but it will still not lie perfectly flat.  I did not starch the edges multiple times because I was worried that repeated pressing might distort the fabric doing more harm than good for my blanket.  So, I lightly starched the edges and let it go.
  • Pin, pin, pin.  Use lots of pins to hold your edges together.  This is especially helpful when sewing so your lines will end up as straight as possible.
  • Take  your time.  This will not be as quick a finish as you might first think, but don't let that frustrate you, the end result is totally worth it!

Let's get sewing!

1. Sew your accent pieces to the respective main piece for each side.  Press your seam flat.
2. Place your front and back pieces right sides together, pin and sew together the first selvedge side using a generous 1/2" seam allowance. (use whatever s.a. will encompass the entire selvedge)  You will have to unroll both pieces and line them up as best you can.3. Use the seam you just sewed to trim the next side.  My pieces weren't cut exactly even, so one side was longer than the other, but even if they are the same length, cutting off the rolled edges is a much easier way to get a clean edge than trying to unroll the seam and pin every side.
  •  Start by lining up the seam with the short edge of your clear ruler.  
  • Push the rolled edges out as much as you can using the ruler, but make sure you don't let the ruler go crooked, and also check to make sure you aren't distorting the fabric.  
  • Trim off the rolled edge as far as you can with your ruler.  
  • Slide the ruler up a bit and pin the edge you just cut.  
  • The fabric will be nice and straight.  Keeping your ruler lined up with the cut edge, slide it further along the rolled side and keep trimming away the rolled edge and pinning as you go until you get to the end.  
  • Sew along this edge.
4. Repeat for the last two sides, leaving an opening for turning on the last side.
5. Trim off the rolled edge of the first side if necessary.
6. Turn right side out and roll and press all the side seams.
7. Turn under the seam allowance on the opening you left for turning and stitch closed.  This will make the edge a bit wavy, but it's not really a big deal, just press it flat once you're done.
8. Now, take your new blanket out to the woods and take pictures of it. Just kidding- but it's really fun if you do!
9. Enjoy!

I hope you'll take some time to click over to the other stops on the Acorn Valley Blog Tour- there are some super cute outfits and projects made with this darling fabric, and now that you're not afraid of knits, you can sew some up!

Monday 7/11: Riley Blake & Modkid
Friday 7/22: Ameroonie Designs

And if you're still reading- here's a picture of me in all my cabin/woodsy glory, including bad hair because I sacrificed my elastic for my daughter's bun in the earlier picture. :) xoxo, Amy

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Greatest Adventure Summer sling bag

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
The first time I saw this line of fabric, I knew just what I wanted to make with it.  A fun, simple, portable bag that would be loved and used often, but so easy to make I wouldn't feel bad when it got dirty, worn and loved.
This Greatest Adventure fabric just screams summer adventures to me and is available now in retail stores.  And if you want to make a Summer Sling Bag of your own, read on.  This would make a great project for a summer sewing camp or just a fun quick project to whip up.
I'm posting this tutorial as part of The Summer Sewing Series at The Polkadot Chair, you can find all the different projects in the series here.

  • 1/4 yard accent fabric
  • 2 fat quarters, 1 for exterior, 1 for lining
  • Large button (optional)
  • Sewing supplies
Cutting Instructions:

  • from the 1/4 yard cut:
    • 1- 3" strip by Width of Fabric, trim down to 36" long
    • 2- 3 1/2" X 8" pieces 
  • from each fat quarter cut:
    • 2- 8" X 13"

Strap preparation:
 Take the strip of fabric, press in half along the length.  Open up the halves and fold the long edges into the crease.  Fold along the crease again to enclose the raw edges.  Edge stitch along both sides of the strap.

 Sewing Instructions:
*use 1/2" seam allowance unless noted otherwise
  •  Take the first exterior piece, place right side up.
  •  Place one accent piece 3" from the bottom of the exterior piece, right side down.  Make sure the accent piece is upside down (if prints are directional) 
  • Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew the accent piece to the exterior piece

  • Fold down the accent piece and press.
  • Top stitch along the top edge of the accent piece.
  • Repeat for the second exterior piece.
  •  On one exterior piece, line up the two raw edges of the strap 4" down from top.  Baste or pin into place.
  • Place the two exterior pieces right sides together.  Sew around the two sides and bottom. 
  • Place the two lining pieces right sides together.  Sew around the two sides and bottom, leaving an opening in the bottom 3"- 4" wide.
  • Clip the bottom corners of both the exterior and the lining.
  • Turn the exterior of the bag right side out.
  • Slide the exterior of the bag into the lining of the bag.  Line up the side seams and the top edge, make sure the strap is out of the way.
  • Sew around the top of the bag.
  • Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.
  • Sew the opening in the bottom of the lining closed.
  • Push the lining into the exterior of the bag.  Fold along the sewn line and press.  Top stitch the bag opening.
  • If you want to, sew a large button onto one side of the opening, this will help it to stay closed a bit better, but isn't really necessary if you prefer to leave it off.

I couldn't resist making a little change pouch to match and a notebook cover as well.  I'm hoping my daughter will use the notebook to record all our adventures we are trying to do this summer.  So far she's loving taking the bag with us on hikes to hold her water and snacks, and the change pouch in the bag as she walks to the neighborhood convenience store to get a treat with her brother and friends.
If you make one, I'd love to see!  What are you sewing this summer?

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