Sew Together Bag FO

Eeeeep, how I love my Sew Together Bag so much!

Finished Sew Together Bag!

Here’s the basic stats:

- Sew Together Bag Pattern by Sew Demented, available via Craftsy.
- I English Paper Pieced the exterior using teensy pieces of Liberty Tana Lawn and Kona Navy. The squares are 1″ and the exterior is quilted with plain batting, no interfacing.
- The embroidery on the exterior is done in a perle cotton, size 16, and the design is from a 1930s embroidery transfer I bought on eBay!

Finished Sew Together Bag!

- Inside, I’ve got fabrics by Anna Maria Horner, Lizzy House, Cotton + Steel (neeeeeed mooooore Cotton + Steeeeeeel) and a few I don’t know the designers of – shout if you know!

Finished Sew Together Bag!

- I used Vilene woven interfacing G700 in only the places the pattern says to use interfacing and my bag is incredibly sturdy. I’ve talked before about how much I love this interfacing, it’s so perfect for bags and pouches. I’m never really sure what designers mean when they say ‘medium-weight interfacing’, ‘heavy sew-in interfacing’ – etc – in patterns, because most interfacing isn’t sold that way, or at least not that I’ve seen anyway. Many places simply list the product name (i.e., Vilene woven G700) or have interfacing on the bolt. Unless you already have good experience matching interfacing to projects, it feels like a bit of a crap-shoot. I’d love if more designers put a ‘such as’ in their pattern materials list, so you at least have something to go on. Meanwhile, I just noticed that Jaycotts here in the UK has more descriptive product titles than most shops, so check them out if you aren’t sure what to buy!
- I sewed everything but the steps with a zigzag stitch with my darling Bettie, my Singer Featherweight 221K. I thought she might have a hard time with all those layers and interfacing, but she’s such a champ, just stitched right through it without a complaint!

Finished Sew Together Bag!

I essentially followed the pattern to the letter, except for a few notes:
- I used longer zippers for the interior pockets, then trimmed them back once the three pockets were all together. This was simply because I had them lying around and didn’t want it to turn into a pricey project, but I’ll do it that way on purpose for the others I’ve been told I’m making for family members. :) If you have a longer zip, you can move the slider completely out the way and not have to worry about getting around it at all. Sure, you can stop halfway (with your needle down!) and slide it up, but if you have them handy or you aren’t paying more for the extra length, I’d go with a slightly longer zipper and skip the whole bother.

Finished Sew Together Bag!

- I hand-stitched my binding around the sides, just because it’s always neater for me that way. I had to do it by machine along the zipper length and that took me a couple of tries to get it looking as invisible as possible, but it worked out ok in the end.
- I did machine-attach the bag handles just as the pattern describes, but I’m not really that happy with how it came out. My Bettie did great, but it was so difficult to keep everything lined up nicely with so much to sew through. You can’t really see that stitching here, but I think it looks a little sloppy. I think I’d just do that section by hand next time – I might even rip out that 1″ of stitching one day and re-do it by hand on this one.

Finished Sew Together Bag!

But anyway, holy cow, how I loved this project! Even though I rushed it to be done for the Fat Quarterly Retreat and it could’ve been a more relaxing project, I still loved the hell out of it. It seems like it’s going to be tricky, but it’s such a fun and clever pattern and if you just do as you’re told, it will all work out in the end. I love my bag SO much!

Drawn Thread Sampler, R.I.P.

Drawn Thread Sampler, RIP

Guys, I’m calling it. Me and this drawn thread sampler just aren’t going to make it. I hate to give up on something so quickly, but seriously people, my sanity depends on it.

Oh, how I loathe this craft! Which I’m pretty sure I’ve never, ever said before! Most of you know that I do not shy away from tedious or very fine needlework. I’m learning bobbin lace, for crap’s sake! But this drawn thread business, it’s too much for me! The picking of the threads and lining all the edges and, oy vey – it’s not difficult at all, it’s just so very slow and boring.

I was sitting there this weekend, working on this tiny area (only the second bit I’ve done on it), wondering how on earth I’ll muster up the will to get through this one. When I thought, huh. Do I have to?! The goal of my Year of Samplers Project to sample 12 techniques, not end up with 12 pieces of textile art. And you know what? I sampled drawn thread, I’m out. There are just too many awesome projects out there to be spending time on something I hate doing.

Of course it’s always possible that this is just not the right time for drawn thread and me to be friends. I once hid (literally) a project at the bottom of my knitting basket because I hated it so much, only to fall in love with it a few months later. But whatever the case, I’m bailing on this technique for now. Onwards and upwards, friends!

If you had hoped to learn more about drawn thread as I went on, my apologies – there’s some good information via the links in my previous post, so please check them out!

Sew Together Bag WIP (+ Fat Quarterly Retreat Link-Up!)

I’m writing this post to share a project, but also to take part in the Fat Quarterly Retreat linky party! It’s only a couple of days away now and I’M SO DAMN EXCITED! I never thought I’d get the chance to go, so it’s an extra-special treat for me and I seriously can’t wait to meet everyone!

There’s me, up in the right corner over there, and I’m taking the hand quilting, screen printing, lampshade making, Touchdraw, Getting Into Print, and Fracture quilt classes. PHEW. We’re going to learn all the things! It’s like nerdy sewing summer camp!

As soon as I was sure I was going, I decided to make a Wiksten Tank (so, so far out of my comfort zone, but been on my list for ages) and a Sew Together Bag (also on my list for ages, and I’d need to carry all my sewing junk around anyway, right?). Well, I ran out of time before I even got to the tank, but my Sew Together Bag has been an epic journey.

Not that it’s that difficult really, just that I managed to make an already high-maintenance project even more complex. Because I couldn’t just make a zippered pouch with three zippered pouches inside. I had to make it with a hand-stitched, paper-pieced exterior -

Sew Together Exterior

- which I quilted (even more than this progress photo) and then stitched -

Stitching on Sew Together Exterior

- using a vintage embroidery pattern from the 1930s. Naturally.

Sew Together Interior

Here’s my interior, basically finished. I couldn’t find a piece of felt that matched (how do I not have a piece of felt that matched?!) so I skipped the needle landing, though I did want to include it. Maybe I can hand-stitch one in later. And I used some of the Cotton + Steel pretties that I’d pre-ordered from The Village Haberdashery – I cut right into them almost immediately upon delivery. (And now I’m slightly panicked and will absolutely need more, STAT. Especially those tigers. Oh, the tigers!)

I hope to get it the last bits of construction done today. I better, because I still have a ton of materials to gather and prep before Friday. If you’re coming to the Retreat, I can’t wait to meet you – just look out for the goofy American with dark hair and glasses, or my high-maintenance Sew Together Bag. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram or Flickr, you’ll probably recognize me by my avatar, ’cause I’ll wear my stitched nametag while I’m there!

And for the rest of you, I’ll show you my finished bag next week!

Tools & Toys Tuesday: Christmas Fabrics

If I’m going to turn my leftover half-square triangles from my Giant Christmas Swoon into a new Christmas quilt later this year, I better start looking at Christmas fabrics to add to it. I didn’t use many (or any, actually) actual Christmas-themed fabric on the front of my Swoon, just reds and greens that gave the right Christmassy feel.

But I think it’d be fun to put some theme / novelty fabrics into a second quilt! They’d have to be just so though, I’m very particular about my Christmas decorations. Tacky is great, but only if it’s really, properly tacky. Half-tacky is no good, it’s usually just cringe-able – you’re aiming for a so-bad-it’s-good sort of thing, you know?

I also love retro Christmas – I think the cutest Christmas quilting fabrics from the last few years have definitely been the vintage-inspired prints. Here’s two adorable prints from one of my favorite UK fabric shops, Fabric Rehab, both from Dashwood Studio’s Christmas Wish collection:

gingerbread

trees

Here’s some happy little elves from The Village Haberdashery (Michael Miller’s Candy Claus collection):

cx5526_blue_3

And fabric fair isle (from Studio E’s Winter Essentials II)?! This one absolutely has to be in my quilt!

productimage-picture-2217-08-8116_jpg_980x700_q85

And lastly, from Emma’s Fabric Studio, these amazingly weird floating Santa heads! Dude, I gots to have these!

1252_b_santa_heads

What’s your favorite Christmas fabric?

The Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial!

The Little Elves - Little Dorrit & Co. Embroidery Pattern - In the shop now!

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m often unsure what to do with embroideries once they’re finished! I love making them into useful or decorative items, which is why we try to share ideas for turning your Little Dorrit & Co. embroideries into finished objects. If you’ve grabbed yourself our new Little Elves embroidery pattern, here’s how to turn it into an easy holiday wall hanging. After all, there’s a lot of embroidery in there – it should be a feature!

THE LITTLE ELVES WALL HANGING TUTORIAL

Finished size: 19″ square
1/4″ seams throughout
Press seams outward (away from embroidery)

Here’s what you need:

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

  • Finished Little Elves embroidery
  • Fat quarter for border around embroidery (we used an unbranded red pindot print)
  • Fat quarter for backing (we used Kona Mint)
  • Fat quarter for binding (we used a print from Denyse Schmidt’s Florence)
  • A piece of batting, about 20″ square
  • Standard (machine) sewing tools: thread, scissors, rotary cutter, etc.
  • Thread for hand-stitched quilting (optional – we used DMC Perle No. 8, color 321)
  • Curved basting pins (optional)
  • Wooden dowel for hanging, about 17-18″ long

(Before we start, I want to point out that my tutorial for our Night Before Christmas pillow is basically interchangeable with this one up to a point, but for slightly different measurements. They even have the same finished size – so you can always make the Little Elves into a pillow, or the Night Before Christmas into a wall hanging! Use the fabric cutting measurements for the embroidery you’ve done, but follow the instructions for whichever finished object you prefer!)

Here’s what to cut:

  • Trim finished embroidery to 14″ square, with design centered
  • From your border fabric: 2 strips 14″ x 3″ and 2 strips 19″ x 3″
  • 2 pieces 3″ x 5″ (for hanging tabs – from scraps or leftover from trimming border pieces!)
  • about 80″-85″ worth of binding strips, 2.25″ wide (if you cut from the shorter end of your FQ, cut 3 strips)

All we need to do to make the top of this mini-quilt is sew the border strips to the embroidery. Sew the shorter strips to the top and bottom, press the seams away from the embroidery, then do the same with the longer strips on each side:

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

Done! Now make a quilt sandwich with your backing fabric (right side down), then batting, then the mini-quilt top you just finished (right side up). Make sure everything is nice and smooth and secure layers with curved basting pins or whatever basting method you prefer.

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

You might prefer to do a little machine quilting, but I stitched ours by hand. I used DMC Perle Cotton No. 8, in color 321 – a cheerful, Christmassy red.

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

I simply went around either side of the border’s seam in a fairly large running running stitch. Yum – I do enjoy large stitches.

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

Trim away excess backing and batting to square up your finished sandwich.

Now we’ll make a pair of hanging tabs for the back of the quilt. (Please forgive that ours is shown hung with washi tape above! There’s no well-lit good-hanging spot in this crazy house!) Take your 3″ x 5″ pieces and fold them with 3″ sides together, wrong sides together. Sew along the 3″ side:

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

Then turn right-side-out and press with the seam in the middle of one side. Fold again, raw edges together (and seam sandwiched in the middle) and press.

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

Pin each tab, raw edges aligned with the top edge of the quilt, about 3″ from each side:

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

Baste in place (less than 1/4″ from edge, so the basting stitches will be hidden by your binding). Now time for binding!

I will send you over to another tutorial for the binding, because I’ve already shown my binding method in my Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!
Go over there and bind away!

To hang your quilt, hand-stitch the folded edge of each tab down the same as you did your binding, then slide your dowel inside the tabs. Rest the dowel on a couple of nails or hooks and that’s it! Enjoy your Little Elves wall hanging through the holiday season!

The Little Elves - Little Dorrit & Co. Embroidery Pattern - In the shop now!

(Did this tutorial make you want to get your Christmas stitch on? Save 20% on Little Dorrit & Co. embroidery patterns through July with the code CHRISTMASINJULY.)

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