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Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Entry - Quilt Shop Gal's FMQ Challenge

Time for the April entry in Darlene at Quilt Shop Gal's FMQ Challenge.

This month the expert was Christina Cameli. I chose to do Option 1 of the Challenge, using designs from Christina's Craftsy Class, The Secrets of Free Motion Quilting
Option 1 Pillow, April 2015 FMQ Challenge

The course was a lot of fun; I learned a lot about the ways designs are made and how that affects the way they fill the space. There were a lot of choices for designs to use. Christina groups the designs into families by the method to produce them. I chose to use designs from three of the families: nestled designs (pebbling), beads on a string, and the echo around family. Each of the families builds in a different way, and recognizing that helps you figure out where to go next. Since that's one of my big challenges with FMQ, I found this course very helpful, I have gone back to review the designs as I worked. It also helps you deconstruct other FMQ designs you see so that you can reproduce them or come up with new ones. Very informative!

  Here are the examples of the designs I used.
Nestled Design Family
Several styles of pebbling

Echo Around Family

Beads On A String Family
Be sure to check out the other April entries at Quilt Shop Gal. They're always fantastic.  And you can click through from her page to Craftsy. It is really worth looking at, if you haven't before.  I would highly recommend Craftsy courses in general, and Christina Cameli's course, The Secrets of Free Motion Quilting.

Have fun quilting. I'll see you next month!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Clever Catchall Tutorial

I'm posting another tutorial today, this time for a small container I call a catchall. It can catch whatever you'd like to put in it. I use mine to hold miscellaneous tools near my sewing machine, but it's also just the right size to hold a boutique-size box of tissues, or cotton balls, or balls of yarn, or embroidery threads, or... well, you get the picture. I made a bunch of these for my quilting retreat pals, and they seemed to be a hit, so I thought I'd pass it along. They do make nice gifts!

The Clever Catchall

I'm linking this up to the weekly #CreativeGoodness Linky Party that Darlene has going at QuiltShopGal. Since this is pretty fast and simple to make, I would consider it #KidFriendly for older children learning to use a sewing machine. If you choose, you could also use hand sewing and/or buttons to tack down the corners and flaps, which would be good for beginning sewers. All fabric cutting could be done ahead of time, or with scissors to make it even easier for children. I used my 15" square ruler and rotary cutter, so making this is super easy. You could use larger or smaller squares, adjusting the corner triangles to adjust the height and width of the finished piece. It's a fun thing to play with.

What you'll need:

  • Two 15" contrasting squares of  quilting cotton fabric, one for outside, 1 for inside
  • A 15" square of batting (I used a 14 1/2" square because my leftover scraps weren't quite big enough, but either size will work.)
  • Thread that contrasts with the inside fabric (I used Superior Threads Magnifico - it shows up nicely and I love the sheen
  • Sewing machine, pins
  • Buttons if you want to use them for tacking down the flaps
How To

Stack the fabrics as follows; Inside fabric right side up, Outside fabric wrong side up, and batting on top. Pin the layers together and sew 1/4" from the edge, leaving about 4" open at one side for turning.

After sewing, clip the corners and turn the square right sides out. Be sure you poke the points out. I use a Purple Thang, but you can use anything that works for you, providing it isn't so sharp you poke a hole in the fabric.

Press the square flat and make sure the opening is tucked in and pressed so that it is flush with the side. Top stitch all the way around the square. I did this twice because I like the look, but once will do. You could use a decorative stitch, if you like.This will close the opening you used for turning; no need to sew by hand.

Once the square is top stitched, fold it in half with the outside facing you., as below. You will mark the corners for sewing by making a mark 3 1/2" on either side of a folded corner and then drawing a line between them as in the photo.

Sew on these drawn lines to form the pouches at the corners.

When you have sewn both corners, fold the resulting pouch in half the other way, so that the seams you just sewed meet up at the middle. Then mark and sew the other two corners the same way.

You now have a box, but the flaps are sticking up. Fold them down and tack them. I chose to do this on the sewing machine using a decorative stitch, but you could sew a button on. With a fancy or playful craft button, this would be very effective.

Because I chose a decorative stitch, I wanted just one motif sewn. I can do that on my machine by starting to sew the stitch, then pressing the stop button (on my machine it's the second one down) and the machine will stop and tie off after making one motif. If you have this feature, it can be very helpful. I also used it to tack down the corners to that they aren't gaping open. It gives them more strength, so they can hold things like small scissors, tweezers, thread picks, stilettos, etc. This could also be easily done by hand.

Use this photo as a guide to determine where the tacking stitches should go. I just eyeball them, making sure the corner pocket stays straight and centered.

That's it, a finished Clever Catchall!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tea Wallet Tutorial

Today, I'm going to try my hand at writing a tutorial for what I call a Twelve Bag Tea Wallet. A friend asked me to do this at a retreat back in February, but it's taken me until now to collect the photos and write it up.

I will be linking this to Quilt Shop Gal's Creative Goodness Linky Party for this week. If you enjoy these sort of crafty, creative posts, check it out. So many creative ideas!

Now to the job at hand!

Twelve Bag Tea Wallet

Supply List

  • Fat Quarter of Cotton Fabric
  • Matching Thread
  • Button or snap for closure. If using snap, two small pieces of interfacing
  • Small hair elastic if desired to use with button
  • Marking pen of your choice (I use chalk on dark fabrics and water eraseable on light)
  • Usual implements for cutting and pinning and a sewing machine.


Make the body of the wallet

Cut fabric 20.5"x15.5".
Sew 15.5 sides together using 1/4" seam
Sew along the raw 15 ½” edge, using a ¼” seam to form a tube.

From your fat quarter, cut a rectangle 15 ½” by 20 ½”.
Fold fabric crosswise in half, right sides together; press. The rectangle is now 10 ¼” by 15 ½”

Sew along the raw 15 ½” edge, using a ¼” seam to form a tube.

Iron seam open so it is centered

Open the tube and line up the seam with the crease that is opposite it, so that the seam is in the middle of the rectangle. Press this flat, pressing the seam open, as in the photo. (This is important to avoid excessive thickness on the outside edges of the finished pockets.)

Mark 3.5" from each side on one end of tube.

Sew one of the 10 ½” raw edges using a ¼” seam backstitching at the beginning and end..

Sew to marks, backstitching at beginning and end. Clip corners.

On the opposite 10 ½” raw edge, mark (or use a pin to mark) 3 ½” from each edge. You will leave the area between the marks open for turning. 

Sew from each edge to the mark, backstitching at the beginning and end of each seam. Clip all corners as in the photo.

Turn right side out and press.

Turn the rectangle right side out and press, making sure to make sure all corners are square and the seams are straight. Don’t worry about sewing the opening that you used for turning shut. It will be sewn when we put in the closure.

Fold short sides 3.5" toward center and press.

With the center seam running vertically so you can see it, turn up both short sides by 3 ½”. Press well.
Fold each of the flaps back and press.

Now take the flaps you just folded up and fold them back outward, matching the edges with the folded edge. Press well. This makes 1 ¾” deep pockets.
Pin the pockets in place so that they don’t slide during the sewing.
Mark sewing lines 3" from edges.

Mark a line 3” from the side edges. These marks should be parallel to the center seam. You will sew along this seam to divide the wallet into three sections.

Sew edges , then sew on marked lines, backstitching at beginning and end of each.

Topstitch along the side edges (parallel to the center seam). Use a ¼” or less seam and backstitch at the beginning and end. (Don’t mark or sew the top and bottom sides.) Go slowly over the thick areas of the pockets. A walking foot is helpful here.Similarly, sew along the lines you marked, backstitching at each end as before.

The body of the wallet is made.

Make the Closure
In the picture at the top of this post, there are 3 options for closing the wallet.

Option 1: Hair elastic and button

Sliip  loop or hair elastic into outside pocket and sew close to edge.

Cut a small hair elastic (or a piece of a larger one) so that you can more easily fold it in half. Insert the cut ends into the outside pocket in the top of the wallet body. Topstitch the opening close to the edge, bacstitching over the elastic to reinforce it. Topstitch the  center opening of the opposite edge as well.
Sew a button to the outside of this side (opposite the elastic), being careful not to sew the pocket closed. (Sew only through the outside layer.)

Option 2: Loop and button

Make the loop by cutting a 1 ¼” by 4” strip from the leftover fabric. Fold this in half lengthwise and press. Open the strip and fold the sides into the center fold and press, then fold again down the center and press well, giving you a strip that is ⅜” by 4”.
Fold the strip in half so that it forms a v shape at the point, as shown in the picture. Proceed as for the hair elastic, using this strip instead.

Option 3: Snap

For this option, you will need to cut four flap pieces from your leftover fabric about 4” by 3” and two pieces of interfacing the same size. I used fusible fleece rather than interfacing, because I had it handy. Use whatever, you just need to reinforce the flaps so that they can hold up to snapping and unsnapping the flaps.

The picture to the left is not to scale due to the constraints of my software. Use it to draft your own pattern, but be sure to mark the snap position in the center top area.

To cut the flaps, I stack the fabric right sides together and rotary cut it so that all 4 flaps are the same. Iron (or baste or glue) the interfacing to one of each pair. Install the snap according to package instructions if it’s a magnetic snap, or sew it in if it’s an old-fashioned snap, into the side with the interfacing, measuring and marking carefully to place both of the pieces of the snap so that they will match up.


Once the snap is installed in each pair, put the flaps right side together and sew ¼” around the outside, leaving one side open for turning. Turn right side out and topstitch.


Insert the first flap into the top outside pocket and then sew close to the edge, closing the middle pocket and sewing in the flap.

Second flap attached, but not inserted.
Attach the other side of the snap, then insert the other flap into the opposite (bottom) outside pocket and pin in place. (This is to insure that the snaps will line up.) Unsnap and sew the bottom center section close to the edge to attach the flap and close the outside center pocket.

Second flap inserted and pinned in place ready to sew

To use the wallet, put tea bags and/or sweetener packets as desired into pockets. Fold one side to center, then the other. Fold the bottom up to the top and snap.