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!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hello 2015!

 We have had a very eventful year already full of new life and new starts. I have a cozy little sleeper sitting on my lap as I type. He's almost 4 weeks old now.

We moved housed a few weeks ago too. Thankfully my sister was here and she did all the work unpacking the house. She even left me with 2 weeks of meals ready to go in my freezer. Thank you Rachel!!

I really should have been sewing for this little baby during the month of December but instead I was sewing Christmas presents. I was making Gingerbread man puppets...

Bubblegum machine ornaments...

Sunglasses cases...

and button earrings.

That's enough sharing for now. I've got a few more things to show you but that will have to wait. All in good time!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Just For You Sewing book winner!!

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for following along on our Just For You Blog Hop this month. I hope you enjoyed seeing all the projects and hearing about the inspiration behind them all.  In case you missed one you can access the big group linky full of all the projects at the bottom of this post.
But now it's time to pick a winner to see just which lucky person won my book giveaway.
And the winner is "Paula" who tweeted about the blog post. If you entered and your name is Paula, check your email and send me your address ASAP!

Oh and Happy December everyone! 
I hope you are doing a little Christmas sewing.  I'm off to stitch up some little Monster softies for my children's school Holiday Gift Shop! I posted a prototype on Instagram if you want to see. I'm @bluesusanmakes

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Today is Pie Day! The day we make all the pies. Except this year my kids are in school today, so I'm delaying pie day a little to do most of the baking in the afternoon.
Last year's Cherry. my favorite!

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm on the Modern Sewciety Podcast!!!

I'm pretty excited to say that I'm on the latest edition of the Modern Sewciety Podcast.  Caroline and I chat with Stephanie and share the behind the scenes story of our new book Just For You: Selfish Sewing with Your Favorite SewCanShe Bloggers. Go and have a listen!!