Friday, February 27, 2015

Simple Unlined Totebag Tutorial

This is a simple bag that is perfect made out of a cotton linen blend. The fabric is just heavy enough for the bag to be light, yet sturdy enough to use for books.  If you made it in a quilting cotton, it would be good to use as a reuseable shopping bag.

 This is a picture of the bag turned inside out:

To make the bag, you will need the following amounts: the fabrics can all be different, or they can be all the same fabric

.5m      Outer bag: cut one rectangle 18" x 34"
.1m      Facing for upper edge of bag, : cut one rectangle 3" x 34"
.15m    Handles, 1 rectangle, 5" x 42"

Step One: prepare the handles— both handles are made from one long strip, which is cut in half after it is stitched.Press the long 5" x 42" rectangle in half lengthwise, with right sides facing out.  Then press each raw edge toward the center pressed line.  You will end up with a long piece that is 4 thicknesses, and has the right side of the fabrics facing out. Stitch close to each side of  the folded edges and then again 1/4" from the first line of stitching.  Cut the long piece into two equal lengths,

 Step Two: Make the body of the bag.  Fold the large rectangle in half, right sides together and stitch around two of the raw edge sides, backstitching at the top edge:
 Zig-zag the raw edges to prevent future fraying while using the bag.               
 Mark a 2-1/2" square on each lower corner of the bag, measuring from the seam line, as shown on the diagram:    Cut away the squares on the marked lines.  
this show the corner that has a side seam:
this shows the corner where the side is folded fabric, which you would measure the 2-1/2" from, since the fold takes the place of the seam, 

Sew the “boxed bottom” corners of the bag— turn the cut edges so that the bottom seam meets up with the side seam of the bag, and then sew along the raw edges.  Zig zag this edge.
Turn the unit right sides out,

 Step Three: Prepare the upper facing
Press under 1/4" or ½" on one long edge of the 3" x 34" rectangle.  Fold in half and sew the short side seam.  Press open the seam,  

 Pin the facing to the top edge of the body of the tote, right sides together, and lining up the side seam.  
Place the unit flat and insert the  straps in between right sides of fabric on each side about two to  three  inches from the side edge.  Make sure that each end is pulled through the same distance so that the straps will match in length.  I like to pull about an inch through, this will help make the handles sturdier. 

Sew around the top edge of the tote, using a ½" seam.
Turn the facing to the inside of the bag and press, Now the handles will be right sides up.

Top-stitch close to the top edge, and then again about ½" away from the first line of topstitching.  This will help anchor the handles.  Stitch around the pressed edge at the bottom of the facing as well. 

Press the whole bag, making creases on each edge that you want to emphasize.
 I like to add a line of stitching along the bottom side edges close to the fold to give the bag a bit more shaping. 

.... Three bags were sewn in the course of writing this tutorial....

Once you have sewn a bag or two. it isn't hard to see how you can sew many variations on it.  You could experiment by
varying the size, just keep the width of the facing and the bag equal,  (34" in the bag above)
-- making the handle longer
-- sew the body of the bag from a combination of fabrics, 
-- make a little pocket to insert in between the lower edge of the facing and the body of the bag.  It will be sewn in when you topstitch the lower edge of the facing,


Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I sewed a medallion to use as the center of my Saturday Surprise Sampler for this year, using the Jo Morton fabrics.

The fabrics are in the style of 1800's fabrics, and that was a time when Medallion quilts were popular, so it seemed only fitting to use the blocks this year for that style of quilt.
I had made a medallion quilt about ten years ago that I pulled out and laid the blocks around to get an idea of how it might look, and liked it well enough to repeat,
so this is how it looks so far, 
If you are interested in using this as the center for your quilt, if you are doing the blocks this year, I have written the pattern for it, and we have even cut some kits for it, 
the kits came out at a regular price of $55.50, as they contain just over three meters of fabric and the pattern.  If you have purchased at least ten of the block kits, you can have a 30% discount on the kit, which works out to $38.85.   Just let us know if you would like to get one, and we can either set one aside for you To pick up, or we can mail it to you, 
however you decide to sew your blocks together, I am sure this year will see some gorgeous quilts! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Peri Handmade

big news!
with equal parts excitement and trepidation I am announcing that we will now be selling some handmade items at Periwinkle!  
I'm calling this venture Peri Handmade, and it will have its own little area of floorspace devoted to items such as handbags, table runners, baby quilts and pottery.  (yes, pottery)
At this point, all items will have been handmade by me.  

This is an idea I've entertained for quite a long time now, especially as the pile of quilts gets taller, and people come in to the shop looking to buy a completed quilt.   It has been easy to procrastinate however, since I tell myself that I need to have proper labels and care instructions, and proper ways to display items, .....  but I think that I need to just start, and try to keep improving the logistics as we go. 

The nervousness comes with offering handmade.  Any maker knows that feeling of vulnerability that comes with putting a price tag on something that you've put part of your self into.   There will always be people who think you're asking too much, and others who think you're asking too little, and don't hesitate in telling you so.  There are people who want to point out all the flaws on an item, and those who love every quirky imperfection.   

So, it is with a feeling of bravery that I enter the handmade marketplace again, and hope that it will be kind.   

Block 12, Housetops

Block 12 is an old favorite of mine, Housetops:
this is the block, but not in the kit colors......

these are the colors in the Jo Morton kit, -- I only had enough of these colors at home to sew half of a block
and these are the colors in the Cotton and steel colorway,
this shows the block before it is cut into four smaller blocks.   I am keeping my options open for this one.  I might keep adding rounds to it and use it in the center of my quilt... who knows,   

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Stash Management!

 So for the past week or so, I've been chipping away at that box of scraps by my cutting table.  I take out a handful of scraps, iron them and then cut them into some standardized sizes. 

I got  big chunk done on Sunday, along with a couple of other quilters in the classroom at the shop.  The bonus was that it was fun to visit and get to know each other a bit more,
Here are some ideas that occurred to me as I was doing this...(and continue to do a little bit each day--my shelves are getting pretty full, so I think I'll start to sort out what's stacked there too).

Some ideas
---keep a basket by your cutting table to put odd sized scraps until you have time to organize them,   include left over pieces of binding
 ---keep another basket to put fabrics you just don’t want to have, give it away when it’s getting full,
---cut into the largest precuts, or dimensions that you have a project in mind for
larger cuts can be subcut later
----keep a lint roller handy,
---decide what is the smallest size that you want to keep as one full chunk, folded with the other fabrics, such as a 10" x 20" piece, or a .1m of fabric, whatever you prefer,

   Sizes to cut:, (you might not want to do all of these, but you'll develop some favorite sizes to use)
    6 inch strips
    5 inch strips
    3 inch strips
    2-1/2 inch strips
    1-1/2 inch strips
    10 inch squares
    5 inch squares
    2-1/2" squares

Storage: can be stacked on shelves, or in containers,   or ziplock bags,
As you’re cutting you can roughly group them by length,
store the longest strips on bottom of pile
you might want to group strips into light and dark piles,

Keep in mind some quick projects that take larger pieces of fabric, such as pillowcases, simple tote bags,

Organize your patterns into sections that correlate with the type of cuts you are accumulating

As I was cutting, I noticed some colors that went together nicely, so I pulled them out, 
and then I pulled larger pieces from my cupboard, because I decided I needed to make something with them, 
It took me a few days of browsing around online to decide on a project, but last night I started cutting the shapes for a new quilt, which I will have to blog about later, because this post is about stahsh management, after all,
But, this is the outcome I hadnt really expected, the moral of the story, if you will, 
that once you make a start with organizing your scraps, it leads to noticing new color and fabric combinations, which stimulates the imagination.  Before you know it, you have a new project in mind that has you pulling all sorts of things from your stash to use..... 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Shenandoah quilt,

This morning I spent machine quilting 
I decided to try using this pretty ivory colored Clipdot from Michael Miller on the back, and I love it.   It is a lightweight cotton with some texture on it.  The quilt feels really light and airy...
The quilt itself is called Shenandoah, by Creative Sewlutions, and you can make it in seven sizes!  
this is the second size I've made.

it only uses two fabrics,..... for this throw sized one Im using a beautiful Asian floral by Hoffman and a moda Weave as the background,

the first one i made, in the smallest, crib size version I used a pretty border print,  

It is a pretty cool pattern, all in all, I am already thinking how I can vary it by filling up those columns eith piecing....

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Stash Management Day!

One thing I have heard many people say lately is " I need to use what I have", or I need to sew what's in my stash.  
Great idea!  there are amazing treasures just waiting to have their turn in the spotlight.
i've realized, however, that it is way easier to sew from your stash when 
a. you can see what is in it, and 
b.  you can get at what you want when you need to.

So, this entails a bit of Stash Management!
It means turning chaos 

into order
sometimes just by refolding and stacking by color,

and somettimes turning big heaps of odd sized scraps
into a basic system of standardized precuts that are one step closer to being included into a project,

If you want to participate in a group stash management, Why not come on Sunday to the shop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to get organised with a little guidance and lots of moral support.  $5.00 for the day will cover snacks, ideas, cutting mats and irons. you will need to bring a box or two full of scrap chaos, a ruler, and your rotary cutter.  limit of six people, so call the store to reserve your spot!  306-933-3072, in Saskatoon!   

I hope to take some photos and notes to post later for those who aren't able to come in person.   it will be invigorating to get some of those stacks tamed! 

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