A Popsicle Tote

Posicle Tote

I’m not sure if I said my Weekender was the last bag I’d make for awhile. If I did, I guess I lied. 😉 While I was at Quilt Camp, I was lucky enough to sit across from the very talented Amanda of Sasikirana Handmade. Everything she makes is so.stinking.cute. She has such great talent when it comes to fabric selection and fussy cutting prints perfectly.

Posicle Tote

So as I was sitting across from her, I decided I just had to make something cute. I have been looking for an excuse to make Ayumi Takahashi’s Popsicle pattern for awhile now and decided to use it to make my daughter a tote bag for Christmas. Ayumi blogs at the Pink Penguin and has created a ton of amazing paper piecing patterns.

Posicle Tote

Paper piecing the popsicles wasn’t too hard, although I did mess up a couple components and had to redo them. That little nose is super tiny! Overall though, it was a huge success. I added a bit of fabric from Tasha‘s fabric line The Sweetest Thing above and below the popsicles and to the back of the tote.

Posicle Tote

I used another print on the lining. It’s really, well, the sweetest thing! The straps are a stripe from Bonnie & Camille‘s Marmalade fabric line.

Posicle Tote

I sort of just made up the tote pattern as I went along. I felt like I’ve made enough bags that I would be successful. I added little gussets to the bottom so it stands on it’s own.

Posicle Tote

I managed to sew this entire thing, with my daughter in the room, and she never once came over to see what I was doing. I think it will be a great surprise under the tree on Christmas!

The Weekender

Weekender

This post is going to have a lot of pictures. Because when you spend a week making the daunting Amy Butler Weekender Bag, you take a lot of pictures. Those of you that follow me on Instagram got to watch this bag come together a bit more each day. That was a lot of fun, instant support group!

If you aren’t familiar with this bag pattern, it’s kind of notorious for being a {naughty word} to put together. Many people are starting to make this bag using the Quilt as You Go (QAYG) method to avoid all the interfacing required. I might try that next time but for starters, I wanted to stay true to the instructions (with a couple minor changes that I will talk about below.)

I have had this bag on my to-do list for awhile. I almost consider it some sort of sewist rite of passage. I heard it was a challenge and I wanted to see if I could do it. My only holdup was I could never find a fabric I wanted to use. The pattern recommends home dec weight and that is pricier than quilting cotton, so I wanted the fabric to be something I loved. Fast forward to the Sewing Summit. Joel Dewberry was a speaker one afternoon and he brought samples of his new line Notting Hill. As soon as I saw this fabric, I was in love. And then he said it was a Cotton Sateen/Home Dec weight! I knew immediately I was going to use it for my Weekender.

My choice for the lining and piping was a bit of a surprise for me. I know almost everyone out there seems really excited about all the plaids that are coming out in fabric collections lately. I’m not really a plaid person. (ducks for cover) But I just felt like it really complimented the floral print, so I stepped a bit out of my comfort zone and decided to use it.

When I first opened the pattern and cut out the pieces, I thought “Only 4 pieces? This is going to be so easy!” LOL Don’t be fooled. Not only do you cut out multiples of each out of your outer and lining fabrics, you also cut multiples out of 2 types of interfacing (not pictured). I spent several hours cutting.

Based on Stephanie’s weekender, I decided to cut my handles a bit wider (6″).

I was really lucky to have been loaned a cording foot (#60c) for my Bernina by the wonderful Catherine Redford from my local modern quilt guild. This made everything involving the piping SO much easier! I highly, highly recommend using a cording foot rather than a zipper foot for your piping. I’m actually going to buy my own now, it was that awesome.

Also, a general note: I used the pattern-recommended jeans needle for my machine. You have a lot of layers to sew through, and you need the extra strength.

The side panels came together easily, even if applying all the interfacing took forever.

For my second change to the pattern, I once again followed Stephanie’s example and used a shorter zipper, 24″. It was easily available at JoAnns and works just fine for the bag.

So, up until this point, I wasn’t sweating this bag. You make the large front and back. Then you make the top/sides with the zipper and sew that piece to the bottom to make a big circle of fabric. Then you have to sew this circle to the larger front and back panels. I know I’ve read of other people having this problem…they weren’t an exact fit. Now I’m not sure if the problem was I wasn’t using exact seam allowances or maybe the pattern is wonky, but it was a bit frustrating. Add in the fact you are sewing through a LOT of stiff interfacing, well you can see where one might start cursing. 😉

I highly recommend getting some binder clips to hold your pieces together rather than pins. I only had 2 binder clips on hand so I was forced to use pins and now they are all bent and ruined.

Again, I used the cording foot to guide my sewing and it worked great!

Weekender Lining

So I’ve finished the bag. I’m not sure if I’ll ever make another one. LOL But I’m super excited to have it and I’m very happy with my fabric selection. As my husband told me when he saw it “they certainly will see you coming with that.” Yep, it’s not subtle. But I love it.

The Ship Shape Tote

Ship Shape Tote 1

Yep, another bag! (And I’m working on a third one right now too, so I hope you like totes.) Last month at the Sewing Summit I was super lucky to have the chance to take Alexia Abegg of Green Bee Design’s class. Alexia is not only talented but also a very, very nice person and I was thrilled to be able to spend a couple hours with her, working on her Ship Shape Tote pattern.

Ship Shape Tote Pieces

We all cut our fabrics at home and I decided to use 12 different prints, rather than 2 like in the example. Each side of my tote has the same set of fabrics, but in a different order. The fabric is a mix of Anna Maria Horner’s fabrics (Field Study, Good Folks, Innocent Crush), Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee, Bari J’s Splendor 1920, Art Gallery Fabrics Indie and Cloud9’s Nature Walk. For the lining I chose Alexander Henry’s Heath in chocolate and added a bit of Cloud9’s Cut Out and Keep because I didn’t have enough of the crosshatch. The straps are a solid chocolate brown.

Ship Shape Tote 2

This was the first time I’ve sewn with such heavy weight interfacing. I really love the sturdy shape it gives the bag. (Mine’s a little wrinkled right now from being shoved under an airline seat.)

Ship Shape Tote 3

The shape of the tote is great too. The slight angled look is really cool and the flat bottom really lets you put a lot in the bag. I really pushed it to it’s limits when I loaded it up as my carry on on the way home from Salt Lake City.

Ship Shape Tote Bottom

I’m already thinking this will be a great pool bag for the summer. I think it will fit all our beach towels, sunscreen, pool toys and snacks and it won’t tip over and let everything spill out.

Ship Shape Tote 4

For my USA friends, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow! I have so much to be thankful for and I can’t wait to celebrate with family. xox

A Quilt as You Go Tote

I realized I haven’t blogged yet about the tote bag I made last month for the Sewing Summit! At the very last minute, as I was running around stressed out, trying to get everything done for my class, packed, kids ready for me to leave town…I decided I just needed to make a handmade bag for my trip. I didn’t have time to make a Weekender like everyone else, but I knew I could make a Jane Market Bag. I’ve had this pattern for awhile and the totes are so easy to put together. They hold a lot of stuff and make great teacher gifts. *hint* *hint*

QAYG

I decided to make a quilt as you go (QAYG) version. This technique is fairly new to me. Recently some of us made quilt blocks for a special quilt for Penny with QAYG and I fell in love right away. It takes awhile, but wow is it worth it! You can find a tutorial for QAYG in the form of a quilt along here.

Panels

I made a couple changes to the bag (both intentional and not). First, the bag is about 1″ smaller all the way around. That was the unintentional change. I should have started my QAYG with a larger piece of batting. Opps! That’s ok though, the bag still works great.

The second change was I left off the outside pockets. Because I was QAYGing, I didn’t want those to take away from the look of the sides. I also left out the option for a flat bottom (made with interfacing or cardboard). I like my tote bags all floppy like.

Tote

I highly recommend this bag pattern. It’s very easy, even for beginners and the bag comes together very quickly. And you never can have too many bags!