Saturday, July 26, 2014
That's how long it took me from the moment I found a package from Hawthorne Threads in the mailbox all the way up until I put the finishing touches on this little satchel bag. When I laid eyes on Alexia Abegg's adorable linen tigers for Cotton + Steel, I just couldn't wait to start sewing.
I've had miniature satchel bags on the brain this month, dreaming up designs and wanting to try them out. This was my first effort, and I have to say, I'm completely smitten with the results. I kept this version very simple and relatively small -- about 9 1/2" x 11" x 2 1/2". The bag is lined in black and white linen Mochi Dots, and I used cotton webbing for the straps. All the stitching is done with Aurifil thread in my favorite shade of gold.
Several of you have asked me on Instagram if I'll be writing a pattern for this one. The answer is yes. Give me a week or two, and I'll have something up on the blog.
And thanks for the encouragement, my friends.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Maybe it's because school starts up around here in about two weeks. Maybe it's because I was singing along to music from my college days while I folded laundry the other morning. For whatever reason, when I started putting together a patchwork pillow cover using prints by Cotton + Steel, it occurred to me that this cushion would have been right at home in my dorm room back in the 90's.
This pillow is made of 3" squares from the Hatbox, Mustang, and Moonlit collections. I raided a few Kona charm packs for some matching solids to mix things up a little. The cover is quilted in a variegated Aurifil thread that glows softly in shades of pink, yellow, and lavender, and I backed it in two different prints from Mustang by Melody Miller.
Those colors and prints somehow find just the right balance between preppy and bohemian. And yes, my daughters are already fighting over it...
Monday, July 21, 2014
I'm guest posting over at the Riley Blake Designs blog today with a Cutting Corners College tutorial for my Butterfly Patch Baby Quilt. If you're looking for a quick baby shower gift, this is it. My version features Zoe Pearn's sweet fabric collection, A Beautiful Thing, which has some perfectly darling prints in it...my favorite obviously being the butterflies. Head on over to check it out!
Friday, July 18, 2014
Yesterday was my mother-in-law's birthday, and we celebrated by spending several days in San Diego with her and my father-in-law. It was a great little vacation -- lots of fun activities and family time. Before we drove down there on Monday, I sewed up a little gift for her.
I'm a huge fan of anything by Rifle Paper Co., including this adorable shopping list pad which I picked up at Anthropologie. A few prints by Melody Miller, some twill tape and batting, a rubber band, and a wooden button all came together in about an hour to make a simple little carrier that fits nicely inside a purse. I love quick projects like these which can be easily pulled out when I need a nice gift in a hurry.
Happy Birthday, Grandma Mary. We love you!
Sunday, July 13, 2014
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: what I love most about sewing is the ability to make anything you want and to make it exactly the way you want it. Take my latest finish, the Lucy Bag...
My sister Amy is going on vacation this week and asked if I could sew a bag for her to use on the trip. We talked about ideas, and she drew me a few sketches to work from. I asked what kind of fabric she liked; she pointed to my recent patchwork mini iPad case and said, "Something like that...I love that." I pulled fabrics, started sewing, and emailed her photos to get approval on details as I went along.
The bag features a front zip pocket, a large inner pocket, a small inner zipper pouch with a detachable ring, and a crossbody strap which can also be removed if desired. The main body measures 9 1/2 x 12 1/2" and is about 2" deep, making it large enough to hold a few necessities without becoming easily overloaded. I used black and white linen Mochi Dots for the exterior, while the bag is lined in a bright print by Denyse Schmidt which my sister absolutely loves.
And the result is one sweet little bag, reminding me that collaboration really can be a beautiful thing.
Monday, July 7, 2014
Ever since I posted my Ellie Travel Case Tutorial, people have been asking if I could share the dimensions for making it bigger. Yesterday I finally sat down to crunch the numbers and sew up a sample, and here it is at last.
Though I adore the straps on the original bag, I changed them in this version. These wider straps make a better anchor for a larger case. The big bag also uses Peltex 70 interfacing by Pellon on the lining. I won't kid you, it's a bear to work with on this project, but the finish is worth it. You'll end up with a seriously structured bag. I used a Melody Miller print for the top panel, charcoal Brussels Washer linen for the bottom panel, and pink Mochi Dots for the bag lining. There are endless ways that you could customize your bag with extra details and pockets if you're in the mood to be creative, but the basic version still makes a great travel case all on its own. Here's the new materials list for the larger size:
- (2) 11 1/2 x 20" linen print for the exterior top panel
- (2) 11 1/2 x 20" batting for the exterior top panel (You can attach regular batting with adhesive basting spray or just use fusible batting.)
- (2) 9 x 20" linen for the exterior bottom panel
- (2) 9 x 20" batting for the exterior bottom panel
- (2) 20 x 20" linen print for the bag lining
- (2) 20 x 20" heavy interfacing to reinforce the lining (I used Pellon's Peltex 70 which I fused to the lining with adhesive basting spray.)
- (2) 1 1/2 x 38" strips of cotton webbing for the handles
- (1) 22" purse zipper with two sliders and a closed bottom (I bought mine at Joann Fabrics.)
- coordinating thread
- Clover clips or clothespins
*All seams are 1/2" except alongside the zipper where they are 1/4" wide.
Follow the same instructions for the original bag with just a few changes:
1. Fuse the batting to the top and bottom exterior panels before you do anything else.
2. Attach the handles to the top exterior panel before you sew the top and bottom exterior panels together. The left handle end is 6" from the left side of the top panel, and the right handle end is 6" from the right side of the top panel. I followed the same procedure for attaching handles that I used in my Ipanema Beach Bag tutorial (minus the outer pocket on this version, though you could add one if you like), sewing 6 1/2" up the handles from the bottom of the exterior panel. I also added a 1" square with an X inside it at the top of the stitching on each side just to keep the handles securely in place. After sewing the two exterior panels together, I topstitched two 1/4" lines below the seam joining them.
3. The squares cut out on the four corners of each exterior panel are 3 1/4" square for this bag size.
4. I did not make zipper tabs for my zipper this time, but you can if you want to.
5. Go even slower as you sew in the zipper on this bag. The Peltex 70 makes for a tough wrestling match, but you can win if you put your mind to it!
6. I added leather thongs to the ends of my zipper sliders on this bag. I love this easy finishing touch.
That's it! The resulting bag is approximately 9 x 12 x 13. Not quite enough for a weekender, but definitely good for an overnighter...as long as I don't bring my children along, of course. Speaking of which, my husband and I fly off tomorrow for a quick getaway to San Antonio, Texas. You can follow our adventures on Instagram if you're so inclined. I'm not sure that I'll know what to do with myself without three little girls running around...
If you make one of these larger cases or decide to go with the original, be sure to tag it #ellietravelcase on Instagram and tag me too @fabricmutt. There are already so many adorable versions of this bag out there, and I look forward to seeing more!
Thursday, June 26, 2014
"I'll get to it this summer."
"That's a great summer project."
"We have the whole summer to do that!"
Please tell me I'm not the only person who says these things. Every year the myth of summer vacation calls to me, convincing me that two short months are long enough to accomplish all the leftovers from the ten months before...not to mention taking trips, cleaning my house from top to bottom, and getting everything ready for another year of home schooling in August. As I sit here looking at my sewing to-do list, my house & school to-do list, and my calendar for the month of July, I can't make the numbers work unless I cut back to about five hours of sleep each night, an idea which -- trust me -- is not going to be good for anybody in this house. A few things have to go by the wayside, and I've decided that since there are so few of us sewing along, one of those things will have to be the Graph Paper Quilt Along. I hope you all will understand.
I couldn't bring the sew along to a close without showing you Small Project #3, the incredibly talented Chase's amazing Mini I-Pad Pouch. While I don't have any such electronic devices in my life, I wasn't about to let that stop me. I love this little pouch to pieces. If you want to make one of your own, you'll find all the instructions right here. My pouch is lined in a cheerful retro style fabric by Denyse Schmidt, and I used a musical print by Tim Holtz from his latest round of Eclectic Elements for the outer flap. I quilted the piece with a lovely peach colored thread by Aurifil. For me, the hardest part was deciding which patchwork panel to relegate to the back of the pouch. Can't we just have two fronts?
So as I near the halfway point of our summer vacation, I'm officially waving the white flag of surrender. I'm willing to admit it: I can't do everything. I figure I might as well make peace with it now, reset my expectations, and stay off the hamster wheel. After all, what am I going to remember a year from now...crossing every item off my to-do lists or taking time to actually enjoy my life?
Something tells me the second option is the way to go.