Monday, July 27, 2015

Mini Tulip Tote PDF Pattern

I have some exciting news. Today I am releasing my Mini Tulip Tote PDF pattern.  This has been a long time coming.  I don't know how many times I've promised that I'm working on this pattern. Well its done, DONE! And I'm so so happy to share it with you.
This stylish little tote is the size of a small handbag. It is perfect for when you just want to carry the essentials.  It has a wide base so it stands up by itself. The top opens up wide and stays closed snugly with 2 magnetic snaps. There are 2 pockets on the inside to organize your small items. It's quite roomy despite it's small size. The handles are sized to hang on your forearm, but you can lengthen them if you’d like. My favorite thing about the tulip tote is the ruching on the sides. I just love the texture it creates.

This pattern is written for a confident beginner who is ready for a challenge.  There are a few tricky steps that will require a little patience, like keeping those unruly gathers in place and inserting the magnetic snaps. Don't worry, there are plenty of pictures to show you how to make those steps go smoothly.

This pattern features 18 pages of instructions with step by step photos, as well as 2 pattern sheets with printing instructions. Finished Dimensions are 7” tall X 14'' wide X 4'' deep with 16’’ handles. 

Fabric Requirements
1 yard quilting cotton for exterior and pocket
             solid, tone on tone, or small print
1 yard quilting cotton for straps and lining
18’’ x 26’’ sheet of fabric covered foam batting for interfacing, ie: byAnnie’s Soft & Stable
      (Alternative interfacings include needle felted fleece, such as Thermolam, fused to a heavy weight interfacing or automotive headliner fabric)
1 yard heavyweight fusible interfacing for the handles You will only use 2 inches of this in 2  (1’’ x 36’’) cuts. 

I would like to say a HUGE Thank You to all of my wonderful pattern testers. It was so nice hear their comments and see their successes at making these totes.  I also love seeing the different fabric combinations each of them chose.

sewn by Stephanie Bracelin

Sewn by Sarah Ross of  Dilletante Homemade

Sewn by Gina Worsham of Penny Sew Vintage

Sewn by Rebecca Stevenson

Sewn by LaDonna Cook

It's really so exciting to see what people make with a pattern that you write.  If you are interesting in purchasing this pattern you can find it in my ETSY shop.  I hope you'll check it out.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bejewled Churn Dash Quilt Block Tutorial

Hi sewing friends! A dear reader asked if I had a tutorial for my Bejeweled Churn Dash quilt.

Full quilt top Photo coming soon! It's done yay!

  I've had tutorial pictures taken for the longest time but the coloring on them turned out so bad that I've been a little embarrassed to share them.  However, since I've been making a real effort to curb my perfectionist instincts lately, today I'm swallowing my pride and posting them anyway. I'm hoping that you might be more interested in the information than the beauty of the photos.

One finished block measures 12'' square.

For 1 block you'll need:
white fabric
2 colored solids
2 prints.

For 25 blocks you''l need:
5 solid Fat Quarters
5 print Fat Quarters
1 1/ 2yard ??? white fabric (not sure how much white I used).

From the white fabric:
Cut 4 rectangles 2 1/2'' x 5''
Cut 2 squares 5" x 5" then cut along the diagonal into 4 Half Square Triangles

From each colored fabric:
Cut 1 rectangle 2 1/2'' x 5''
Cut 1 square 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" then cut along both diagonals to create 4 Quarter Square Triangles You'll just need three of these for one block so set one little triangle aside.

Here is a visual of how everything is sewed together. Sew all seams with a scant quarter inch seam alllowance. You basically make NINE 4 1/2'' squares and then sew them all together.

You can lay every block out and then assemble it square by square but I came up with a faster way to piece it all with out having to think too much about it. After you get the hang of it that is.  Here is the method I used to make sewing up 1 block go as fast as I could. When I sewed it up this way it took me about 15 minutes per block.and i didn't have to lay it all out first.

First sew all the white rectangles to a colored rectangle keeping them together in a chain for speed.

Next grab your piles of small triangles and sew them up with right sides together in this order. See if you can follow me.

The first color mentioned goes on the top. 
Sew all the triangles so the "flags" go the same direction.

Print 1/Solid1
Print 1/Solid1
Solid 1/Print2
Print 2/Solid2
Print 2/Solid2
Solid 2/Print 1

In Kindergarten terms, here's another way to see the pattern.


Here's a view with them all opened up so you can see the color pattern.

Next, press the triangles open.

 You see how 2 set of QSTs are the same? Take one of each of these sets and sew them together to make the center block. Next, sew a white HST to each one of the remaining QST sets. Trim all blocks to 4 1/2 inches square. Then sew them together row by row.

Once you make as many blocks as you'd like lay it all out and spread the color out evenly. In this formation I think it looks like each churn dash is sitting on a jewel.

It takes more thought and planning, but look at the cool pattern that emerges when you lay them out with the same colors touching each other. I discovered this after I sewed all my blocks and I only could make it work for 2 rows so I stuck with the random layout. I would love to sew up another quilt with this layout instead. Someday!
 Let me know if you use my tutorial I'd love to see what you make!
 Happy Sewing!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Baby Zoo Animal Softies -For Sew Mama Sew.

SewMamaSew’s Specatcular Softies contest is in full swing and we are entering!  This is Rachel, Sarah's sister. My mom, Nedra, and I have hacked Sarah's blog to show off the softies we made for the contest. Nedra designed all of these and we had a whole lot of fun sewing them up this past week. 

Here's the first one we made. This is an 8 inch Elephant made from micro fleece. I love working with knits for softies! They are way more forgiving than wovens when making toys. My favorite part of this elephant is her round little behind. :)  

The chevron version is the one we are entering, but we also made a blue version, just because she needed a friend for some pictures. Aren't they cute? 

Our next entry is this 9 inch Giraffe, which is made from anti-pill polar fleece. He works well made from minky too. 

We love the little horns on top of his head!

This 6 inch Zebra is also made from anti-pill polar fleece. We love this funky print, it makes us think of the horse of many colors from the Wizard of Oz. Actually, this zebra pattern works really well as a horse too ;)

Want to make your own? You're in luck! Nedra has a pattern company called Nedra's Fully Illustrated Patterns and we are selling PDF versions in the Blue Susan Etsy shop!  The patterns come with hand drawn illustrated step by step instructions and are easy enough for beginners to make. These little animals are great for baby gifts! 



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Perfect Fabric Purse Handle Tutorial

I love the look of pre-made leather handles on a handbag but I don't love how pricey they sometimes are to purchase.  In our book Just for You: Selfish Sewing there's a pattern for a handbag called the Crafty Satchel (designed by Sara Lawson) that calls for pre-made leather handles. Today I'm going to show you how to make DIY "pre-made" handles that you can use as an alternative to purchased leather handles. All you need is fabric and a little Soft & Stable interfacing. Here's what they look like on the Crafty Satchel I sewed up for Purse Palooza.

These handles are perfect for using with the Crafty Satchel pattern from our book but you can customize them for any pattern that calls for pre-made handles. They are sturdy and soft and can be as colorful as you want them to be. Okay? Let's get started. The pattern calls for 28 inch handles so that's what my measurements are based on. Adjust the length measurement of each cut as needed.

You'll need...
1/4 yard of quilting cotton
2 strips 2'' x 28 1/2'' of Soft & Stable (fabric covered foam batting) this is the same interfacing used in the bag pattern, you may even have enough leftover to use.
Large spool of thread or circle measuring 1 1/2 '' in diameter
Fabric pen
Quilt binding clips

4 strips 2'' x 28 1/2'' from the quilting cotton
2 strips 2'' x 28 1/2'' from the Soft & Stable

1. Stack 2 strips of quilting cotton with right sides together and place 1 strip of Soft & Stable on top. Pin the 3 layers together.

2. Place a large spool of thread 1/4'' from an end and in the center, and draw a half circle. Trim the corners off leaving 1/4'' around the line. This will be your stitch line. Stitching right on the line will give you a perfect curve every time. Repeat for the opposite end.

Here's a view of the layers...

3. Start in the middle of one long sideand sew around all the sides with a 1/4'' seam allowance. Leave a 3'' opening for turning.

4. Cut little triangle notches out of each curved end.

5. Turn the handle right side out. You'll notice that one side of the handle feels "puffy" from the foam batting. Place the puffy side down on an ironing board and press the side seams flat. This takes a little wiggling to make sure the side seams are exposed and in the right place.

6. Tuck the raw edges of the opening inside and press to make a nice crease.

 7. Starting at the center opening, fold the handle in half matching the side seams and clip in place with a binding clip. Make sure the "puffy" side is on the outside of the fold. If you don't have binding clips, clothes pins will work here too.

8. Continue to fold and clip every 2 inches. Stuff the extra fabric to the inside as you fold to get the seams to line up just right.

9. Make a mark 3'' from each end (see the white dot in the photo below). You can mark it with a pin or a little piece of washi tape. These points will be your starting and stopping points for stitching.

10. Starting at one point, stitch back and forth a few times and sew about 1/8th inch away from the edge. Sew all the way to the other end backstitching a few times.

TIP: Instead of taking each clip off when I sew up to it, I slide it down to help hold the middle parts in place before I get to the next clip.

11. Clip your threads and take a look at your handi work. Don't worry if the stitching doesn't look quite perfect. I promise no one will ever notice. They'll only be looking at the outside facing part of the handle which is smooth and perfect.
12. Repeat for the other handle. Now you are ready to stitch your perfect handles to your bag. You can even use a sewing machine to sew them on.

For another tutorial on making similar handles out of vinyl, check out Caroline's post HERE.

If you make a Crafty Satchel I'd love to see it. Join our Jusr for You Sewlebrity Sewalong facebook group and show it off.

Happy sewing!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mer's Fabulous Party Skirt

Here's the story on Meredith's fabulous party skirt...
The weekend before Christmas last year we dropped everything to make Meredith a new skirt.  Because even big girls gotta have something fancy to wear for Christmas, right?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tagged!- Around the World Blog Hop

Tag I'm it! I was tagged by my friend and co-author Caroline to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop. Caroline is the brains behind  She is one of those people who can accomplish an amazing amount of work in a day. She scours the web to find great tutorials to share with you in her daily newsletter, as well as keeping up a great blog where she shares a ton of her own free tutorials. In the mean time she is writing a new book and she's a mom of 4. There is no limit to what this gal can do. Go check out her blog hop post HERE. It's fun to see a few behind the scenes pictures of her as well.

So basically for this blog hop I get to tell you all a little bit about myself, and what I like to create.

What I'm working on.... 
Well, currently I'm working on snuggling this little newborn (I'm now a mother of 5!) and doing my best to finish unpacking boxes in our new house, (we moved the week after he was born, which was slightly insane).

So I've been busy doing some non-sewing related things over the last month.  Don't worry I have plenty of projects on the back burner just waiting to be finished up. I love to design handbags and I have always wanted to write up my own patterns. I have a couple of patterns in our new book, Just for You: Selfish Sewing, but have 2 more mostly written that I just need to finish up a few things for.
My Garden Tiles bag and the Tulip Tote.

 I also have a finished quilt top that is waiting to be quilted, here's a picture of it in process. I call it the Bejeweled Churn Dash.
I have big plans to use up more of my quilting cottons this year to make scrappy quilts. My UFO list seems infinite. I'm way better at starting projects than actually finishing them.

Why do you write/create what you do? 

I'm going to interpret this as why do I sew? I sew for a few reasons...
1. It keeps me sane. It is just the creative outlet I need to keep me balanced and ready to tackle the mundane daily chores of keeping house and the challenges of parenthood.
2. It is challenging. I like trying to figure out how things are constructed. I'm always looking at peoples bags and thinking about how I would put them together.
3. I LOVE fabric! "Love" might be an understatement here. I get a little rush when I go to a fabric store. It's just all so beautiful. I love how colors play together. Colorful fabric makes me happy!

How does your writing/creating process work?
I frequently think about how I want to make something when I'm going to sleep at night. I also solve my sewing puzzles by just digging in a sewing them up and unpicking along the way. Sometimes I have moments of brilliance when I figure a way to make something that is so quick and clever that I find myself saying "I'm a genius". Like the time I needed a light colored slip to go under a skirt on my way out the door to go to church. I took an old silky pillowcase, cut off the bottom seam and threaded some elastic through the hem. I was so excited I found myself saying "I'm a genius". It happened again today when I sat down to write this blog post and my little guy started crying.  I needed two hands to type. I needed a sling! Which I'm planning on buying or making, but who am I kidding, I needed it right now.  So I went to the giveaway box, pulled out my husbands old shirt and chopped the top off. Instant sling that took my 30 seconds to make.
I love solving problems with sewing!

That's enough about me, I'm tagging my friend Becca at Bryan House Quilts. I love her quilts and her color asthetic. She has a new book coming out too, which I can't wait to get my hands on.

 Here's her bio:

Becca shares her creative journey and missteps over at Bryan House Quilts. She is a quilt pattern designer and her first book, Modern Rainbow: 14 Imaginative Quilts that Play with Color, is due out in only a month. She has 4 young children - 3 girls and a boy - and recently moved from Houston to St. Louis. 

Check out her blog next Friday to for her stop on the blog hop.

Happy Sewing!