Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tutorial Time

Hi Everyone,

This week all of my dreams came true when my husband asked me...... to teach him how to sew. Yes ladies, I have finally lured him over to the dark side. He wanted to make a bag for his D&D dice (that's Dungeons and Dragons for the uninitiated - now all of his secrets are coming out) and so together we nutted out a design and I showed him the ropes.

Here he is in action:

Doesn't it just make you weak at the knees? We had a little excursion to Spotlight where he chose some fabric and thread then he got stuck into it. Between us, I think he is addicted - he has already made 4 bags and as I type I can hear the Janome humming away in the kitchen.

Here are the bags he has made so far:

I think that besides being an excellent recepticle for D&D dice they would be an ideal bag for make-up, sewing notions, jewellry - anything really. So I thought I would put together a tutorial for you on how to make one.

Here is the finished product:

And here is how you get there:

Cut two pieces of fabric 8.5" x 14.5" (we used cotton drill in ours to give the bag body)

Then fold both pieces of fabric in half lengthways right sides together and sew up the sides with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Leave a gap of about 1.5" roughly 2.5" from the bottom of one of the sides of the lining reinforcing the stitches either side of the gap.

Now, line up the 2" marks of your ruler with the side seam and the base of the bag as shown above and draw a line around it. Do this on both bottom corners, on both sides of the fabric. Repeat these steps on your liner.

The photo above shows the drawn lines on the base.

Make a fold in the bag at the corners of the lines you have drawn in (this is a bit tricky to explain, but I hope that the photos below will make it clearer)

The corner of your bag should now look like this.

Next you need to sew along the chalk line on both corners of the liner and the outer.

Line up the 1/4" mark of your ruler with the seam you have sewn and trim off the corner. Repeat this step for both sides of the outer and liner.

Turn your liner inside out so that when you look into the bag you can see the seams and place it inside the outer. The right sides of the fabric should face each other. Find the centre of one side of the bag and place a pin about 1/4" either side of the centre point. This is where your drawstring will eventually be thread through. You will see from the picture above that I used yellow pins to mark these points and blue everywhere else so that I didn't get confused.

Now starting at a yellow pin, sew a 1/4" seam around the top of the bag remembering to reinforce the start and finish points with a reverse stitch.

Your bag should now look like this.

Turn your bag right side out through the little opening you left earlier in the lining. Mark your drawstring opening with a couple of pins and stitch a seam about 1/8th of an inch from the top.

Again, start your seam at one of the yellow pins and reverse at the beginning and end points for strength.

Repeat this step by sewing another seam about 3/8ths of an inch below the top seam. Take care to maintain the opening for the drawstring and remember to reverse stitch at the start and end of the row of stitching. (I'm sorry I forgot to take a photo of this step but you can see the seam in the photo below).

Now for your final row of stitching. This time start the stitching in one of the side seams and simply sew a continuous line until you reach your starting point and neatly reverse to secure the stitches. This row is about 1/2" from the one above it and completes the channel that the drawstring will run through.

Handstitch the opening in the lining closed.

Cut a 25" piece of nylon cord and thread it through the top opening of the bag and then through the drawstring channel.

Now, just thread the drawstring through a cord puller and you are done. A cute little dilly bag for your D&D dice or whatever else takes your fancy.

I hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial. I would love it if you sent me a picture if you make one and feel free to contact me for clarification of the instuctions.

Until next time,


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wouldn't you love to win this?

Hi Everyone,

I thought I'd post some photos of what Mum has been furiously working on for the past couple of weeks. For those of you that don't know, Mum is a professional machine quilter and this year she was asked to quilt the raffle quilt for the South Australian Quilters' Guild. She has pulled out all the stops and done a marvellous job.

The whole quilt

Centre detail

Close up of centre

Border detail

How perfect is that stitching around the applique and the cross hatching?

Can this woman work a ruler or what?


Detail of the setting block - what a cute motif

And finally piano keys in the borders.

The quilt will be on display at various venues including The Festival of Quilts in November and all money raised will go to Autism SA.

Well done, Mum - you should be very proud of yourself.

Until next time,


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Free at Last!!

Yay! Quarantine is O-V-A-H baby! I am off to sewing tonight at Mum's and can't wait to see everyone.

I did however get heaps (how South Australian is that!) done while we were in lock-down. I finished a quilt with this chocolatey goodness (but that is a bit secret squirrel at the moment).

I fininshed this quilt with the Fig and Plum fabric that Mum bought me for Christmas. The photo doesn't really do the fabrics justice, they are so lovely and feminine - I will upload a free pattern for it later in the week:

Despite the quarrantine there was a jail break on Thursday night when I snuck out with Mum to buy this:

I am in love with it already and I haven't even uploaded any music or video yet. I know you shouldn't get attached to inanimate objects but I really do love it. I felt the same way when I got my ipod - I would put it on shuffle and go for a walk around my neighbourhood shamelessly singing out loud to the hits and memories that it would churn out. It always makes my heart feel light when I am listening to it and I guess that's where the feelings of love generate from. Such a delicious object deserves to be cossetted rather than shunted around in the hostile environment that is my handbag - so I made it this:

Now it will always be safe and sound in its special quilted case (tutorial to follow for my fellow obsessives).

And last but not least I made some more journals out of my eclectic stash using a simplified version of Bloom's tutorial. I could have gone crazy and made more but I ran out of journals! I will have to stage another attack on the Big W stationary department.

The Snippets one is mine and I have already started filling it with random ideas for quilting projects - I don't think even Methuselah would have had enough time to make all of the quilts I have in my head.

Ok, off to sewing to bind a mountain of quilts.

Until next time,


Friday, July 10, 2009

Why I love Fridays

Hi everyone,

This is going to be a mammoth post - so settle in. Greg and Scarlett have the flu and we have been quarrantined so by now I am a little stir crazy (even though I did sneak out yesterday to buy and iPhone - but that is for another post). We have to stay in lock-down until next Wednesday. Lucky for me I am imprisoned with this:

I treated myself last week to this gorgeous ecclectic mix of fabrics and can't wait to do something with them but as usual I have about 100 projects on the go so will just have to pace myself.

One project that I can tick of the list however is this:

It is a quilt that I pieced for my Nana - she is a big fan of the crinoline ladies and she did all of these stitcheries over the Summer while she was nursing my Mum after an operation. She isn't that confident with piecing so I put it together for her. I fussy cut the border fabric for the sashings and the border from Maywood's gorgeous 'Willowberry Winter' line. So now it just needs to be quilted. I think that Nana did a lovely job and once mum has worked her magic on it it will be stunning. So the finished product will be the work of 3 generations of women - now that Scarlett has mastered a fork perhaps we could get her to do the binding on it and it will be the work of 4. Here's a close up of one of the ladies.

So it is Friday night, and in another life I used to go dancing with my best friend or to the pub with her and my cousins - but as Dylan says, times they are a changin' and although I used to have a great time in that former life I have to say that I wouldn't trade them for my current Friday night routine. After I put Scarlett to bed I set up this little oasis on my kitchen table (who am I kidding I never put it away!)

At about 4pm I begin to get excited at the prospect of sitting down in this blissful little corner. It's not very clear, but on the other side of my machine is one of my favourite little devices - it is a portable DVD player - Mum bought it for me for Christmas and I wouldn't be without it. I play my favourite TV shows, movies and mini-series and it is fantastic company as I chain piece hundreds of flying geese (which I am obsessed with). My other essential, as seen in the photo, is the large mug of tea - I think I have a problem...there are scuff marks on the floorboards that mark my passage from the sewing machine to the kettle.

Ok, season 8 of Seinfeld and a Patisserie honey bun are calling me - time to go. I hope everyone has a great weekend.



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