Chalkboard Fabric Runner

What do the home sewing machine and chalkboard have in common?

Both tools became popular and available for use around the mid 1800’s.  From this article, we find the following about chalkboard history.

Even single-room schoolhouses in far rural areas of the country began enjoying the use of this innovative teaching tool. By the mid-1800s, a blackboard was to be found in almost every school and had become the single most important educational tool. Chalk boards remained the primary all-around educational fixture in schoolrooms and businesses for almost 200 years. Even the corkboard wasn’t invented for presentations until 1891.

And this video tells us more about the history of home sewing. I adore learning more about the craft that has captured my attention for decades, don’t you?

Combining the two was an interesting journey for me.  Come along and I will tell you about it.  I was challenged to come up with a pattern for a project that involved quilting (which I have not done for almost ten years) and chalkboard fabric.  Rather like cheese and chalk, Or so I initially thought.

First challenge, the chalkboard fabric I had access to is 48 inches wide.  A bit  pricey, and I am a little obsessive in the fabric efficency department.  I wanted to create a quilt strip that would be really close to  (and not over) that length upon it’s completion.  Well any genius could have told me that 4 twelve inch quilt squares would do it, but I wanted to use something that is simple and easy to grab and sew.  So I started with a 5 inch square or charm pack.  Just google charm pack table runner, and prepare to be overwhelmed by the options.

So I went back to my early quilting days, where I would become obsessed with a quilting pattern and the geometry of it, then not be able to rest until I had executed it in fabric.  Can you relate?  I wish I had discovered the “minature quilt” option much sooner, it would have saved me time, fabric, sanity, but I digress…  What were some of my favorite patterns?

Churn Block has always interested me with it’s beautiful simplicity, and Ohio Star for it’s ability to look so different depending on how the squares and blocks were organized, so I opted to combine aspects of  the two.

Starting with a five inch square (charm squares come in super handy here).  I picked four different fabrics in wonderful lime green and azure blue with some grey, and a fun measuring tape print, as the original inclination for this project came from my friend, Linda who had seen a “runner” that was hung from the wall about 2 feet off the ground, and had chalkboard fabric on the sides to mark the height of a growing child.  So the measuring tape fabric really fit the theme.

Half Square Triangles:  For each block, I needed two lights and two darks.   I drew a diagonal line from one corner to the next on my lighter blocks.  Made a seam on either side of the line 1/4 inch away from the line.  A few blocks into this, a vague memory of making HSTs in the 80’s came back to me.  Since I was using a defined stripe for some of these, I needed to sew half the blocks so that the stripes went north and south and the other half where the stripes flowed east and west.  That way they could all flow up and down vertically on my finished project.

The cool thing, is that I needed 8 of each square, and luckily a five inch square will fit 8 times across the width of fabric!  Fabric Efficient is my other middle name.  My first middle name is Reversible, but that is another story.  So with 8 of the measuring tape squares and 8 of the azure grey citrus squares, I ended up with 16 half square triangles.  With the seam on either side of the drawn line, and pressed, just cut on that drawn line, and voila!   I pressed (like Darth Vader, to the dark side) admired and set aside.image.jpg

Quarter Square Triangles:  Same thing as HSTs but with a second step.  Flip one HST on top of the other, so that the seams are matched across the diagonal middle, and the opposite colors are on top of each other.  Then, draw that diagonal line across the square perpendicular to the stitching line, and sew 1/4 inch each side.  There is a nice video here.

 

Again, start with 8 lime and 8 azure near solids, and you end up with 16 blocks.  Funny thing, though, due to the second seam, that block has shrunk.  Mine ended up being 4.375 inches.  Going back in time, now to a wonderful book that got me comfortable with quilting in the 80’s, and I am going to have to find it now, is Mary Ellen Hopkins, The It’s Ok If You Sit On My Quilt Book.   She has a wonderful sense of writing style, and the PPM concept is absolutely freeing!

PPM = Personal Private Measurement.  I was hoping to find a definition on line, but sadly, Mary Ellen has passed, and I will need to try to explain this myself.  If there are videos of her available, they would be worth the search.  She was brilliant and funny.

When making pieced blocks, and in this instance, we will be making the quarter square triangle first, as that ends up being the smallest finished block.  That 4.375 is my PPM.  Yours could be different.  I stitched these blocks on my Featherweight in the wee hours.  It is currently my quietest machine.  I used the wider side of the presser foot to gain that “1/4 inch from the line” seam.  If I had used the foot currently on my Bernina, then that seam would have leaned a little over 1/4 inch.  Do this twice on either side of the line, then cut and re arrange and seam twice and cut again, there could be a great variation between the finished size made with the Featherweight presser foot, and the Bernina.  So….

image.jpgTake the finished measurement of your quarter square triangle – and it may mean measuring across more than one of them to extrapolate your PPM.  Then trim the half square triangles to that exact same size!  Then choose a center block.  You will only need four of these, and… you guessed it, trim that one to that  exact same PPM.image

While you are trimming, get rid of those nasty little triangles hanging off of each corner.  They will only become a bother later.  Some folks call them dog ears.

Next.  Arrange your four center squares, and the sixteen half square and sixteen quarter square triangle blocks into the Ohio Star/Churn Dash arrangement that pleases you best. A digital camera/aka your phone could be handy here, to record which way you want your blocks to sit.   The sad thing about this runner is that it is only one block wide.  When you line up multiple rows of  Ohio Stars they can have fun with each other creating optical illusions.image.jpg

I kept all of my blocks on top of each other, in order, which helped me sew correctly the first time.  Eye your first two blocks.  I started with the bottom row of the two closest to me.    Flip one on top of the other and make a mental note where that seam will be, and make that seam.  Then do the same thing with the two identical sets sitting below the two you just stitched.  Before you get to the last set.  Pull the first pair off your chain (thank you Eleanor Burns), and make a mental note of how that third block is attached.  Make that seam.  Then continue until you have four strips of the bottom row.image

Ok, what is chain piecing, you ask?  Well, when sewing multiple pieces together, there is a LOT of thread waste  before/after each seam.  Ok, well maybe it is only a few inches each time, but it adds up.  So why not get that next pair ready to go under the presser foot just as you are back stitching the seam on your current pair.  Do this multiple times, and you have saved yourself a bobbin winding every few months, not to mention all the bits of thread that end up in the vacuum, or all over your black slacks, when you least expect it.  It adds up.  And feels so efficient.  Then just take a nice pair of sharp scissors and clip those blocks apart.

Continue with the middle row, then the top row, and you are making progress with 12 strips of three blocks.  Now back to the ironing board to press seams.  Flip your stacks so the seam allowances are facing up.

On the center row, press all the seams to the left, and on the other two rows, press them to the right.  This will allow your seams in the next step to nestle nicely right up against each other.

Lay your strips out again right side up, in the way that pleases you.  If you joined the digital age earlier and took a photo, refer to it now.  Flip the bottom row over to the center row, and make a mental note as to which side the seam should be.  Pin to make sure those seams match up, and make a seam at 1/4 inch.  Pay attention to the intersections made previously.  and be sure to stitch directly across them, so you do not loose any corners of your blocks with a seam that is too deep or shallow.  Repeat for all four rows, and chaining those seams is a time/money/thread saver!

Press  the seams to one side.  Then stitch the top row on to the center pinning as above.

More pressing, and you have four blocks.  Check them for accurate seaming, and then stitch the four blocks together to make a strip.

My finished piece was about 46 inches long and 12 inches wide.  I found this great fusible foam at my LQS, and thought it would give a lot of stability to my project and was 20/5 inches wide.  I fused it to the back of my quilt.

imagePerplexed as to how to attach this tiny 1/4 inch seam to the heavy chalkboard fabric, I opted for a flange.  The flange I cut was 2 inches wide.  I needed 3 strips and pieced them diagonally to reduce bulk to get the 46 inch length for each side.  With the quilt on the top, so I could see the intersections of my blocks and not loose my corners in the process I attached the flange (two inch wide strips folded in half lengthwise and pressed) to either side of my runner.  My thoughts here were to give the quilted section a finished edge to sew to the chalkboard fabric.

In hind sight, the disadvantage of doing it this way was that the feed dogs pulled the bottom fabric (flange) just enough so that it is a bit longer and fluttery at the edges.  Next time, I will solve this by actually pinning, and using a walking foot for even feed of my fabric.

Quilting presented a fun challenge.  Instructions for chalkboard fabric insist on larger stitches as not to perforate the vinyl.  So the less “quilting” on the chalkboard fabric, the better.  The fusible was fused to my backing, so I centered the quilted strip lengthwise on the foamy “batting”.  Used safety pins to secure, and quilted lengthwise with a serpentine stitch down the center of each of the three blocks and on the center two seam lines.  This left a nice flap of the outer half block and flange.  I wanted the back of the piece to be quilted, so I drew a line.  The place ment of the line was determined to be not where the next quilting line would have been between the flange and the edge of the quilting, as I planned to top stitch my chalkboard fabric there, but where the next line would have been, ultimately underneath the chalkboard fabric.  So about 2 inches from each edge of the foamy batting, I drew the line and quilted.

Next, I measured the area from the edge of my foamy batting to about an inch and a half under the edge of my quilt.  This is another PPM that for me was 5 inches.  Using wonderclips, I secured the edge of the chalkboard fabric to align with the edge of the “batting”.   Pins leave holes in chalkboard fabric.  Then I should have double stick taped the chalkboard to the under side of the quilt, or maybe tried to pin it underneath the quilt, but against all teachings of my favorite yoga teacher, I held my breath and went for it.

Stitching the top of the quilt over the quilt top,  chalkboard fabric, foamy quilt batting,  and backing made me thankful for four things.  The fusibility of the “batting” I used, as it would keep the backing in check and not end up with pesky wrinkles and tucks, the walking foot for helping to reduce the ruffle effect of the flange, the lounge at Hip Stitch, where there was a large expanse of mostly empty table for my quilt to spread out on after it had been under the needle, and most especially my favorite yoga teacher, who continued to remind me to breathe long after class.  Breathing while sewing is very helpful.

With that done, I cut four 2.5 inch wide strips pieced them diagonally, and folded in half to create the binding.  On a utilitarian quilt, I might sew my binding to the back of the quilt, wrap around to the front and top stitch, but I had had enough sewing on the chalkboard fabric for one day, and dinner was calling, so I stitched it to the front, and wrapped it to the back and hand stitched that down after dinner.image.jpg

What I love about this quilt.  I really liked being able to make four blocks, and get the urge to make the Ohio Star/Churn Dash out of my system without having to commit to a monsterous project.  I loved the opportunity to sew with Chalkboard fabric, and the foamy batting that was the perfect width for my project, yes,  that is the fabric efficient obsessive in me talking there.

Next time, I might use InsulBright and make this a table runner, where guests names, or dish explanations/ingedients could be written in chalk on either side of the runner.

Thanks fo Linda and Suzanne at Hip Stitch for the materials,  fun and challenge of this project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Pillowcase Bag

I have been looking at this lovely cotton/linen blend fabric in my favorite local quilt shop for some time, and wondering what the highest and best use for it might be, when someone came in to purchase one yard.  There was a yard and a half cut wrapped around the outside of the bolt, and she did not want that.  I deemed it orphan fabric, that I must find a use for.  I love the blue, cream and aqua coordinating print, and the cream solid that was part of the line, and an idea struck.  Why not a bag?  This cotton and linen was a little heavy for a top, nice for jacket or skirt, but a bag is always useful.  So the yard and a half of the Ikat-looking print, 3/4 yard of the greek key print, and a bit of the cream called my name, loud enough for me to make the leap.

 

After making sure that all three fabrics were exactly the same width, I started cutting.  Out of the larger piece, I cut three half yard sections, and quarter yards of the greek key, and two inches from the cream.  Best practice would be to fold the cream two inch strip and the greek key 1/4 yard strip in half (wrong sides together) lengthwise and press. I was in a hurry, so I skipped this step.  Next steps are as follows:

Baste the (folded in half) two inch strip to the right side of the  top of the 1/2 yard strip with a narrow 1/4 inch seam.  Fold this assembly in half (right sides together), so that you have a 18 x 22 inch rectangle and make a generous half inch seam along that selvedge edge. Be sure that your seam is deep enough so your selvedge does not show.  Alternatively, you could trim off the selvedge, but that would require then finishing the seams.  I often err on the side of using that selvedge, unless I think it might shrink horribly.  then  by all means, cut it off!  It would be a good idea to press open here.

Take the quarter yard strip, unfold it, and make a seam along the selvedge edge the same depth as the one you just made.  The object here, is to have that greek key cuff the same width as the body of the bag.  Here, you can trim the selvedges off the cuff, after you have seamed it, as it will be folded in half, and no raw edges will be exposed on your finished project. Set this aside.

image.jpgOn the main body of the bag, twist the seam you just made to the center of the tube, matching it with the center fold of the fabric, and right sides together, stitch across the bottom with a half inch seam allowance.  This seam will need finishing, and I serged mine.  A nice zig zag would work, or even a second set of stitching at 1/4 inch would be my chosen finishing method before I had a fancy machine.

imageMeasure in from each side an amount that pleases you.  I usually like to use five inches here, and pin your straps to the cream cuff.  Make sure that they are not twisted.  Pin the cuff folded in half to the right side of the bag body.  Match the center seams, and then from the body side of the bag, where you can see the initial basting, stitch around the top of the bag with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.  The object here, is to cover your previous stitching, so it is no longer visible from the outside of the bag.  In this photo, I used my favorite seam guide taped to my machine.  Any laminated card will do.  It gives enough depth to have an edge to run your fabric right up against. Magnetic seamguides  are helpful too!

Contrary to the photo, one really should remove pins before sewing.  If you are going to sew over pins, then use a longer stitch, and sew slowly.  Bur really, you should remove them as you get to them.  Sew slowly over your straps, so that you do not break a needle!image.jpg

Next, pin the straps up the 4 inch or so width of the cuff, so that they are straight.  Top stitch around the top of the bag, including the straps in the stitching.  You can get fancy and as you cross a strap, sew down the edge of it to the cream cuff, across the bottom and back up the other side, then across the strap, and on to the next one.  This will make for more secure straps!  I like to use 3/4 yard of webbing for each strap.

image.jpgAdding pockets!  I cut three 10 inch by 15 inch rectangles.  Finsished one  10 inch end with a narrow hem, and sewed up the side seams so that the unfinished edge was about an inch longer than the finished edge.  I made a French seam here, so that my bag would be finished.

This gave me an edge to attach to the raw edge of the inside of my bag.   I pinned it between the straps and sewed over previous stitching to secure the loose hanging pocket.image

Then I took the whole thing to the serger, and serged across the bottom seam.  Serged around the seam that holds the cuff, straps, cream strip and pocket.  There is a lot going on here, so sew slowly.  Then I boxed the corners.

image.jpgI cut two inch squares from the bottom corner of each bag, starting from the seam line and corner, then squashed this, so that the  bottom seam matched up with the side fold, and serged across this.  Later, I reinforced with a straight stitch about 1/4 inch in from the serging.  this will make for a much sturdier bag.

image.jpgLastly, top stitch around the top cuff, keeping the pocket free of the top stitching, and all of that seam allowance underneath the top stitching.  This will make your single layer bag sturdy and clean finished on the inside.

Note the yardage mentioned in this post was enough for three bags.  Check out my local quilt shop for  instructions to make just one, or sign up for a class!

Now you can stylishly set off for the market, or carry a project in process with you when you go out.

This is a great project for heavier home dec fabrics.  Alternatively, you could use two layers of quilting fabric, and perhaps stablilze the fabric with a fusible interfacing or fusible fleece.  Quilted fabric, or denim would be fun too!

image

 

 

 

 

Mind Your P’s and Q’s

image

The Oxford Dictionary lists multiple meanings for this proper and quaint saying “mind your p’s and q”s.   I always considered it akin to mind your own beeswax.  Oh boy our language is full of interesting twists and turns!  There is the story about wild ruckus starting out at a public house – pub for short, and the land lord or land lady, now known as the pub keeper, or bartender shouts out a command to the rest of the patrons to mind their p’s and q’s.  This is rather a reminder to use one’s best manners, and focus on the pints and quarts of lager (beer) in front of the patron.  Rather like minding ones own business or beeswax.  Which is also a form of politeness.  I love the please and thank you reference!  Wish I had known this when my children were small, to use as a gentle reminder to use those magic words.  This would have been a useful tool combined with ASL to remind a little one to say thank you or please, or a number of little niceties that make the world a sweeter place.  A simple and silent hand signal to a child like the pub keeper’s call to the patrons.  Bar tending and child tending have much in common, but I digress here…

Today I want to share why I made these sweet little fabric baskets.  My family is continuing to make the progression from plastic to glass.  First the kids are older, now and less prone to dropping. The rainbow of plastic cups I purchased years ago with the intent of each child using a particular color during the day and only using one cup per day was well thought out, but not put into practice by my children or their friends, so often it was like Easter around our house with many colored plastic cups around the house.  I was also guilty, as I did not want to drink out of the same cup that was left by someone else, and I did not always remember if I was using the magenta or purple that day, so all to often I just pulled a second (or third) out of the cabinet.  Defeating the entire purpose.  Then there was one lone canning jar or maybe two that got put into the cup cabinet (by some sweet soul who emptied the dishwasher) before making its way towards longer term storage until the next canning season.  The cool thing was, they were so uncool, that no one else would touch them.  I always knew which was my “cup” and could refill in germ free bliss all throughout the day.  Water tastes better from glass.  Plastic has a bad reputation for leaching toxins.  My DH was on board with glass, and we cleared the plastic from the cup cabinet.  Glass breaks, though, and as tough as they are, canning jars can crack.  A protective cover, with some sort of hanging loop that would keep cool water cool was needed.

My first version looks like this. mason jar cozy It is a sweet way to use those wonderful Kam Snaps that come in a mind blowing number of colors.  It is a great small project for a begining sewist.  InsulBright does the job in keeping that layer of air trapped around your jar, holding it’s temperature a little bit longer.  I wanted then to enclose the bottom of the jar entirely, as that would help with coffee table rings and such, but keeping the bulk at the bottom to a minimum is a must, because a jar full of liquid that is not stable will do more harm than a simple coffee table ring.

I saw this wonderful post from SewMamaSew that has a nice design for what I really wanted, a top and a bottom, and I made a few adjustments.

First, there are so many lovely fabrics that I wanted to include several, and I love the look of a belt (small strip/pop of color near the center of a project, like a birthday card).  Like the flat piping or flange on a sweet pillow case.  It is easy and makes a nice difference.

Second, less bulk.  Two side seams are not necessary.  I cut the fusible fleece smaller than the body of the cover which leaves a 1/2 inch margin all round, so that the seams do not include any fleece, and sides (and most importantly) bottom has no extra bulk that could cause uneven seating and gasp…tipping!

Third, more sizes.  A pint of tea is nice.  Perfect for a smoothie or protein shake, but if you are leaving the house for the duration, a quart of tea is really nice, and this little cozy will keep that tea hot for hours (like two or more).  Be sure to put the jar in the cozy first, and fold the top down a bit, so hot water can be poured, and you do not need to fit a piping hot jar into a snug cozy.

Canning jars come in a plethora of sizes.  The 24 oz jar fits nicely in the quart size, and not sure what one would want to tote in a half pint jar, maybe applesauce or another snack, but it would fit with room to spare in a pint-sized cozy.  Ball makes super handy tops regular and wide mouth,  that fit a straw.  Drinking out of a lovely quilted bag is so hot or cool, which ever you prefer.  Go for the wide mouth if you will be using a fork or spoon, trust me on this one.

On to the how part of this!

Measurements:

PintIMG_1671

Lining 13 x 8.5
Fusible fleece 12 x 7.5
Top 13 x 3
Bottom 13 x 6
Casing  2 @ 3 x 6.5
Flat piping 13 x 1.5
 drawstring  2 @ 20
Quart
Lining 14 x 10.5
Fusible fleece 13 x 9.5
Top 14 x 4
Bottom  14 x 7
Casing  2 @ 3 x 7
Flat piping  1.5 x 14
drawstring  2 @ 20
All measurements are in inches
First pull those flat piping and casing pieces and fold them in half lengthwise and give them a nice press.  Use starch or best press to make them behave.  Those in the photo have been pressed.
Second, with a scant 1/4 inch seam, baste the flat piping to the top of the bottom strip.  long sides together, and right sides together. You can use a magnetic seam guide for more accurate stitching or a vintage business card calendar (from 2003) that has a little more height than a regular card.
IMG_1675

Then flip this over so you can see the wrong side, and slide the top strip underneath so that the right sides are together, this way,  you can see the stitching line you just made, and stitch right on top of that, or perhaps just a thread’s width to the left of it.  This will keep your first line of stitching hidden.

IMG_1676

Next, open the piece, and with the flat piping pointing downward or to your left, top stitch the seam allowances from the right side of the project.

IMG_1681

Next cut the casing in half so that you have two pressed rectangles.IMG_1678

Open up the rectangle casings, and hem each of the four three-inch sides, by folding over 1/4 inch twice, so your raw edges are nicely tucked in.

IMG_1679

Fold your lining in half, then almost in half again, placing the center fold 3/8 inch away from the raw edges.  Finger press or mark the last fold you made. Wheels are perfect for the person who takes their home-brewed beverage on the go.  If you plan to stay home, or are dressing up, a full on Tea Cozy may be the answer.

IMG_1682

Fold each of the casing pieces in half by matching up the hems.  Finger press or mark the center fold.

IMG_1684

Match up the center creases with the top edge of the lining piece, right sides together.  If your fabric is directional, pay attention to which end should go up!

 

IMG_1685

Fold the lining in half right sides together, and make a seam from the top to the bottom with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.  Open this up and finger press the seam open.  place that seam (that you have just finger pressed open) in the center, and stitch across the bottom with a 3/8 inch seam allowance,  Set the lining aside.

 

IMG_1690

For the main body of your bag, center the fusible side (bumpy with little dots of fusible glue) of the fusible fleece against the wrong side of the bag body.  You should have approximately 1/2 inch margin all the way around.  Hold this steady and place  fleece side down on your ironing surface.  Feel the edges to be sure that margin is still even all the way round. You will be ironing on the right side of your cotton fabric.

Press to secure the fleece to the fabric.

At this point, you can top stitch the loose edge of the flat piping to the body of the bag.

You can also choose to use quilt batting, InsulBright, Annies Soft and Stable or if you are going really green, some upcycled material to the back side of your bag front.  Quilt until you are happy.

While we are diverting here, this project can also be made in multiple dimensions, for instance, I have used Annies Soft and Stable and laminated cotton in a project called waisties, or catch alls.  A great little storage tote, or place to contain scraps and thread while you are creating.

I like fusible fleece, it is fast, stays put,  and requires no quilting.  Sometimes it is a matter of what is at hand!

Fold the cover right sides together and stitch that side seam top to bottom with half-inch seam allowance.  Your seam should come to the edge of the fleece and possibly include a tad of it here and there.

Press the seam open, and match it to the center, then seam the bottom closed just like you did the lining, with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

IMG_1693

 

Here are the bag and lining.  Mark a square on each bottom corner.  On each side the edges will be the seam on the bottom and the folded edge on either side.  .  For pints, mark a 1 inch square, for quarts, mark a 1.125 inch square.

IMG_1694

Clip these corners on your markings.  Notice the parts that were clipped out do not look square.  That is because of the seam allowance on the bottom.  (if you have a local non-profit, or day care, with an art room like Explora, they are happy for your fabric scraps.  I put a bag, or empty cereal box near my cutting table and toss all the usable – but too small for me – scraps in there and deliver it periodically.)  The bag is then opened up and folded so that it looks like the photo below:

IMG_1695

Do this for both the lining and the bag.

IMG_1697

Make a seam across each of the two openings on the bag and the lining.  I used a 3/8 inch seam allowance here.  Be sure to secure the beginning and end of each seam, and make sure that the seam across the bottom lies flat one way or the other.

(null) (12)

The boxed bottoms of your bag and lining will look like the photo above.

Turn your bag right side out, and matching up the seams, slip it into the lining. See photo below.

(null) (14)

Seam almost all the way around the top of the bag with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.  Leave an opening that is at least 2.5 inches wide. If your machine is fancy and has a bed that can be removed for making cuffs, that could be handy here.(null) (15)

I like to use an “L” seam which has you start at the edge of the fabric, sew in to the fabric seam allowance, needle down, presser foot up, then pivot and stitch around the seam till you get to the other end of your opening, then needle down, presser foot up, and pivot so you sew off the raw edge.  This makes turning easier and leaves less loose threads in your opening.

(null) (16)

Above, I have highlighted the “L” seam with pencil.   Reach into this opening, and find the bottom of the insulated bag, and pull it out.  Then pull out the lining, and turn it right side out.  It will look like the photo below.

(null) (17)

Tuck the bag back inside the lining, and poke out the corners at the bottom with your fingers.  IMG_1706 (1)

Top stitch around the bag with the bag side up.  Do this on the very top edge of your bag, and you will close that opening.  No handstitching required.

 

IMG_1707 (1)

Fold down the cuff, and voila!  Seriously cute fabric bags (or buckets) are revealed.

(null) (18)

Better yet, they are reversible!  A fabulous option for those like me who can not commit to one or two fabrics, or for using up those bits and bobs left over from larger projects.

IMG_1716

Only two of these are in the photo above.  The center bucket is for a quart size jar, and much taller!

You can stop here, and have cute little cozies for your jars, and water bottles.  Or you can keep going and add a pair of drawstrings!  I like to cut a meter of poly cording, cut that in half and melt the ends enough to keep them from fraying.

IMG_1728

About an inch or so above the flame is enough to get those fibers to melt.  Too close and they will char or catch fire.

IMG_1729

Thread those cords through your casings with a bodkin, or in a pinch, tie them around a crochet hook, that works rather bodkin-like.  Gently tug on two ends to make sure they are two ends of the same cord, then tie them at the end in an over hand knot.  Then you can tie the other two together, and twist it around, so there is a knot coming out each end of the cozy.

IMG_1733

Knot the top and you are ready to go.  Pack a salad in a wide mouth pint jar, a quart of hot or iced tea (or even coffee) that you brewed at home and spend that frappuccino money somewhere really fun like Hip Stitch on a Third Thursday!

This is the most fun place for fabrics and inspiration.  I found all of these fabrics there in January of 2016, if you hurry, there might still be some, or perhaps a kit, that is pre cut and ready for you to stitch right up!  They even will ship something to you, if you mind your p’s and q’s and ask nicely.

Fabrics used:

Tucker Prairie by One Canoe Two for Moda Fabrics  – Aster and Stormy Daisy

Life… Enjoy the Ride Gray Wheels designed by Tina Higgins Designs and licensed to quilting treasures.

Canyon Succulent Moonlight by Kate Spain for Moda

Blueberry Park Pickle, Nectarine by Karen Lewis Robert Kaufman

Ardently Austen  and Love Bugs- Riley Blake

Sparkle – White

Zuzu – Red Black Timeless Treasures

Ophelia

Kimono Garden by Pippa Moon

 

 

 

Sewing Green

So it is only mid-November, but the fire drill has started.  Any crafter, or person who leans towards making holiday gifts, has  been feeling the pressure for a while now.  The list making, supply shopping, material gathering…. It starts early, even before the first holiday decoration goes up at Hobby Lobby, we crafters are planning for the holidays.

Crank the pressure dial up a notch if you are planning for one or more craft shows.  Let the power sewing begin, and why didn’t I start working on this in August?  The pressure increases exponentally when your closest family members have birthdays during the holidays.  Gotta craft double time to show them the sewing love they deserve.

Today I worked on some really cheesy holiday fabric that I had promised myself that I would get to -at least a portion of -this year.  Looking back it must have been double discounted when I purchased it years ago.  Blue, lots of blue, blue ornaments with white deer on a blue background.  Tiny white reindeer on a navy background, white snow flakes on a blue checked background.  Azure dreidels on white.  These had all been culled from the stash and cut into various squares.

With the promise of easy reusable holiday/birthday wrap, I used  directions from a pattern I put together for an origami napkin.  The plan was to use (really use up) some holiday fabric on one side, with a not so holiday coordinate on the other side.  This way the wrapping could be used multiple times in a year.image

These are like dinner napkins, but ginormous, over a yard across.  Perfect for a table topper, or furoshiki.  A great way to use some of that “what was I thinking” fabric, and turn it into something cool.  Green to use what you have, and green to use it for more than one occasion and even greener to use year after year.  Kind of like unpaper towels.  You can find the free pattern in Stashed,  here, and the really cool fabric for napkins here.

Hope I have inspired you to pull from your stash and make something green and cool for the holidays.