Rectangle Zipper Bag

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Look at these zipped up beauties!  Imagine the endless possibilities combining fabrics, zippers, ribbons, tabs, buttons and stitches!  She is not just any ordinary zipper bag.  She has flair and personality due to her embellishment options.  Take a quick look around Pinterest or the Google searches for zippered pouches and you will see a plethora of choices; small big, square, round, triangular, animal shapes, etc.  You are going to brush up on some skills with this one…insert a zipper, practice your buttonholes, quilt three layers together, personalize with lettering (optional–see Ethan’s name on the dark blue bag handle?), impress yourself and friends with decorative stitching, so hang on.

The approximate finished measurements are 10″ long x 3″ wide x 2″ high.  The reason I like this is because it holds more than it looks and can be used for sewing supplies and tools, toiletries, pens and pencils, or whatever you want AND makes for another guy gift idea like here, and here.

Upon closer examination, you will see that these three bags have slight differences: tabs are different shapes, handles are different, quilting patterns are different, and placement of fabrics are different.  Your choice!  So let’s get into the How To of it all , including some ‘Creative Options’ along the way for you to do it your way.

Supplies Needed:
-2 Coordinating Fabrics (can be fat quarters) 18″ x 22″ One is used for outside and one is used for lining and tabs
-One zipper, 16-18″
-Tear away stabilizer, or 2 scrap fusible interfacing pieces measuring 36″ x 3″ long
-Two or Four coordinating flat buttons that nest nicely, your choice. See samples for ideas.
-52″ of  1/2″-5/8″ grosgrain ribbon for trim along zipper and outer tab (optional)
-Thread for decorative stitching on outer ribbon
-Batting-low loft, approximately 13 x 16″
-Basting Spray– (Optional-  It makes things a little easier by holding all layers together before quilting. However, I pinned layers and it worked.)

Supplies in the rough

Supplies in the rough

Specific sewing machine feet are helpful (from left):
-Buttonhole foot-yours may look different
-Quilt Bar-inserts to back of foot ankle or dual feed foot.
-Open toe satin stitch foot, or a foot that has a groove in the bottom to allow clearance for dense and raised stitches
-Button Sew-on Foot (optional-can always hand-sew on buttons–I did!)
-Zipper Foot

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Quilt bar inserted into foot ankle in back

Quilt bar inserted into foot ankle in back

Dual Feed/Even Feed Foot with Quilt Bar, Satin Stitch Foot

Dual Feed/Even Feed Foot with Quilt Bar, Satin Stitch Foot

Notice the groove space on the bottom of the satin stitch foot and the metal plates on the bottom (left). This allows for the thickness of decorative or satin stitches to pass freely under the foot without getting caught, dragged, or smashed.

1.)  Cut and Prep:
Cut the selvage off fat quarter.

Remove selvage before measuring

Remove selvage before measuring

2.) Cut out pieces

-Cut two 13″ x 11″ bag squares from each fat quarter (one outer and one lining)
-Cut one 13″ x 11″ bag square from batting
-Cut two 3.5″ x 3.5″ squares from both fabrics and batting—or—

CREATIVE OPTION:   This is where you can create the tab shape of your choice.   Here, I made oval shaped tabs. Triangles or squares are fine, too. Measure it to be approximately 3.5″ x 3.5″.  Cut one piece of batting for your two chosen tab shapes.   NOTE:  I like to make a straight grain line arrow and a bias line on my little pattern piece just in case the tab would look great on the diagonal, like a stripe or plaid (see below)

-The handle does not need batting.  Here, I used outer fabric (or contrasting fabric) and cut two pieces 5.5″ x 3″, and sew right sides together. turn and press—or—

CREATIVE OPTION: The handle/loop can be cut from your one yard piece of ribbon.   See examples of the ribbon used as a loop in the completed bag pictures.  If so, cut one piece 5″ long.  Set aside.

Prep the outer layers

Prep the outer layers

3.)   Sandwich layers

Sandwich the three bag layers, placing the batting in the middle of the two fabrics.  Prepare the squares for quilting by pinning or using basting spray.

Pin for Quilting

Pin for Quilting

CREATIVE OPTION: Starting in the middle of the fabric, decide where the lines of your quilting will be. They can be diagonal or from top to bottom. Your choice. Draw a line with chalk or disappearing ink to start with the first line.   Set aside.  Attach quilting bar into back of foot.  See the blog post on my site for more tips on the quilting process.

4.)  Prep the tabs and handle:  Shown is the fabric handle.   Another way to sew the handle is to use only one piece of fabric and fold raw edges to center, then fold again in half.  edge stitch both sides of handle.   If using ribbon, disregard the Fabric Handle directions and set aside your 5″ piece of ribbon for later.

tabs and handle

tabs and handle

5.)  Stitch

TABS–Remember, stack the tab fabrics right sides together with the batting on the bottom.  See picture above.  Sew all the way around the edges in a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Clip curves.

CREATIVE OPTION: If your sewing machine has an alphabet, this is a good time to personalize the loop.  See sample below.  I used scrap interfacing under the ribbon, stitched out the name, trimmed the excess, and then sewed more ribbon wrong sides together along the edges to cover up the underside.

Personalized loop

Personalized loop

-Pin outer edges of tab and stitch in a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Use pinking shears or clip corner carefully all the way around the tabs.

Tab pinned, with right sides together, batting on bottom

Tab pinned, with right sides together, batting on bottom, 1/4″ seam allowance

6.) Cut tabs in half, turn right side out, edge stitch

-Fold in half. Draw a line. Cut through all layers. Turn right side out.

Fold in half to find center of tab

Fold in half to find center of tab

Cut tabs in half

Cut tabs in half

Turn right sides out, edge stitch

Turn right sides out, edge stitch

7.) Buttonhole and Buttons
Gather your button or the two buttons. Determine length of button hole and stitch out buttonhole on tab.

Buttonhole on tab

Buttonhole on tab

-Carefully slice open with seam ripper or sharp scissors. Check that button(s)  will pass through.  By the way, these buttoned tabs have no real purpose except to be decorative and pretty (and to get better at making buttonholes).  Set aside.

Buttonhole test

Buttonhole test

8.)   Sew quilt lines of bag
-Sew the first line of stitching on the main body of the bag on the line you drew, either diagonally or from top to bottom.  (Don’t sew over the pins!)
-Insert quilt guide one inch from needle.   Sew a second line of stitching 1″ apart from the first line of stitching, smoothing fabric as you sew.  Continue until the whole piece is quilted.

Quilt layers for body of bag

Quilt layers for body of bag

It should start to look like this:

Quilting starting to take shape

Quilting starting to take shape

And look like this when finished.  You may want to trim off any loose threads.

Finished quilted piece

Finished quilted piece

9.) Prep Ribbon for Decorative Stitching
-Attach satin foot to machine.
-Place ribbon down the center of your 3″ x 36″ stabilizer or interfacing. Note: I adhered two strips of scrap interfacing together and it worked just fine because I didn’t have stabilizer.  You will stitch one continuous length about one yard long.  Save remaining ribbon for covering bottom seam and loop (if you didn’t make a handle).

Ribbon on stabilizer/interfacing

Ribbon on stabilizer/interfacing

-Select favorite stitch.  Start sewing slowly down entire one yard length of ribbon.

Stitch selection

Stitch selection

Stitches done, press gently

Stitches done, press gently

-The ribbon will be a little lumpy once finished.  Gently press with iron to flatten.  Turn the ribbon over to the underside. Carefully trim off excess interfacing so that there is not interfacing showing from the right side.  Be careful not to cut through stitching or ribbon.

Trim off excess

Trim off excess

-As we did with the tabs to find the center, fold body of bag in half and press to make a crease line.

Fold in half to find center

Fold in half to find center

-Cut bag in half, lengthwise.  This is where the zipper will be inserted.

Cut bag body in half, lengthwise

Cut bag body in half, lengthwise

10.)  Prep for zipper and tab insertion
-On wrong side of one of the rectangles, place zipper right side up with zipper tape and raw edges even. Pin with the tab hanging off one end and the zipper stop hanging off the other end.  It’s okay the zipper is too long.

Prep for zipper

Prep for zipper

-Attach zipper foot to machine.
-Stitch down center of zipper tape with regular stitch length.

Stitch one side of zipper to bag

Stitch one side of zipper to bag

-Trim off excess fabric from under zipper so that there is no fabric showing.   We will be placing decorative ribbon over the zipper tape soon!

Trim raw edge under zipper

Trim raw edge under zipper

-Lightly press zipper tape flat towards outer bag fabric.

Right side up of bag. one half

Right side up of bag. one half, lightly press

With right side of zipper facing up on the wrong side of the other bag half, match up raw edges and centering, pin zipper to other half just as you did with the first half.  Stitch right down the center of the zipper tape.

Attach zipper to other half

Attach zipper to other half

-Turn, trim the fabric underneath, and press gently toward right side.

Zipper installed!

Zipper installed!

-Cut your decorative ribbon piece in half.  Place one half over zipper tape, covering the stitching and onto bag. Center and then stitch down the side nearest the zipper.

Ribbon placed over zipper tape

Ribbon placed over zipper tape

-Get tabs.  Mark center of the bag (red pin).  Slide one tab under the outer side of the ribbon.  Pin.

Tab Placement

Tab Placement

-Repeat for other side.
-Off-set the tabs from each other on opposite sides, using the center mark as a guide.  See below.  Pin.  Sew close to edge of ribbon, catching tabs in stitching.

Tabs slipped under ribbon

Tabs slipped under ribbon

-Mark button placement by marking through the buttonhole.

Mark button placement

Mark button placement

Sew on button(s) using special foot or by hand.  Here are two buttons stacked together and contrasting thread just for fun.

Old school handsewing

Old school hand sewing

Your bag should look something like this now.

Completed top of bag

Completed top of bag

11.) Sew bottom of bag
-With right sides together, sew bottom center seam of bag in a 3/8″ seam.

Center bottom seam

Center bottom seam

-Press open seam.  Trim off any excess batting or stray fabric or threads.  Trim to 1/4″.

Trim excess off seam

Trim excess off seam

-Unzip bag and center ribbon over the seam.  Stitch down both sides of ribbon covering up the seam.  This makes for a nicer finish inside than a zig zag or serged seam.

Ribbon centered over bottom seam

Ribbon centered over bottom seam

-Your bag should look something like this now.

Looking into bag

Looking into bag

12.) Sew up sides, including loop or handle
-Close zipper.  With right sides together, fold bag in half with zipper facing center bottom seam.

LOOPS:  The loop can be placed in this seam on this side or on the other, your choice.  It should be slipped in now, centered, between both layers, facing into the bag.  You can’t see it because it is inside.  Stitch across ends, going slowly over zipper a few times for durability.

Sides, one with loop or handle

Sides, one with loop or handle

-Stitch across ends in a 3/8″ seam.  Zig zag or serge raw edges for a clean finish.

Stitch across ends, then zig zag or serge

Stitch across ends, then zig zag or serge

-Before sewing up other side, OPEN UP THE ZIPPER ENOUGH FOR YOUR FINGERS TO REACH ZIPPER TAB.  If not, you will not be able to get into the bag!  Line the zipper teeth up closely to each other.  Pin.  Remember, your loop or handle should be sandwiched inside now, centered near the zipper and facing inside.  Stitch up seam. Trim and finish with zig zag or serge.

Open zipper, sew other side

Open zipper, sew other side

This is how it should look.   Open up the zipper a bit to do the next step.

How does it look?

How does it look?

Creating box corners

Creating box corners

-RST, fold sides perpendicular to the seam and measure two inches across and mark with a pen. Pin.

HANDLE:  Insert handle into both box seams.  Just like the loops, the handle stays inside the bag while sewing.  It will flip back out when bag is finished.  See samples.

Handle is sewn into box seams

Handle is sewn into box seams

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Stitch on line. Repeat for other side. You will do this a total of 4 times; two box seams on each end.
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Box corners from the inside

Box corners from the inside

Doggy ears trimmed and serged

Doggy ears trimmed and serged

-Trim off the ‘doggy ears’.  Clean finish with a zig zag or serged seam.

Ready to see it??

Ready to see it??

ALMOST DONE!!!  Reach inside and pull the zipper down enough to turn the bag right side out.  Vwah-la!!!!  It’s done!  Load it up with goodies.

Finished bag

Finished bag

Different tabs, different fabric combinations

Different tabs, different fabric combinations

Another example up close

Another example up close-skateboards!

I had a difficult time finding a coordinating fabric, so I used the same fabric for both sides and just added contrast for the tabs, ribbon, zipper and buttons.

Same fabric used for inside and outside

Same fabric used for inside and outside

Useful, roomy, colorful, and fun to make

Useful, roomy, colorful, and fun to make

These are addictive.  Lengthy tutorial, but all the steps add up to make a great project.  I hope you have enjoyed the ride!

Cheers,
Dana

Skateboard Shorts McCalls 6973

PS CroppedIMG_3675My son came down to visit for the weekend and I whipped up these shorts for him. On a recent trip to my local mill end store, SAS Fabrics, I found this skateboard material and couldn’t resist especially since it is 100% cotton and my son lives in Phoenix. Enough of those polyester basketball shorts!! Yuck. Sweaty. Hot. Weekend fashion is not my son’s top priority, so I took it upon my pushy-self and made two pair of these for him.
PS CroppedIMG_3676The pattern offers a great cargo pocket detail. I added some hook and loop tape to keep the pocket closed so that the phone/keys/wallet won’t slip out when he sits down.

When my two sons were in junior high and high school, skateboards were used for their transportation. They have been known to even beat up a curb or two…anyway, I bought three yards. Isn’t it great? It resembles a camouflage print from a distance. I am always on the look out for kitchy-yet-masculine fabrics for kick around projects for my boys.

Below is the pattern. Read more here about the pattern. In order to help me pick the right size, I compared the width and length of some other favorite shorts to get the silhouette just right.
PS CroppedIMG_3677 There are other usable garments on this pattern. However, the shorts needed a little shortening, so here are some of the following adjustments I made.
1.) I measured the desired inseam on the leg to see where the finished length should be.
2.) Compare to length to pattern piece.
3.) Fold up or cut/lengthen.
Inseam PS CroppedIMG_3687
These were shortened by 2″, so the fold looks like it is 1″. Just remember that the fold is twice the amount of the desired length. For example, if you want to shorten by 1″, the fold will look like 1/2″.
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4.) Don’t forget to shorten (or lengthen) the back and front the same so that the inseams and side seams will match up. Take advantage of the notches on the seam allowance and use them to help with this step.
5.) When measuring the side length, allow for the separate attached waistband. I used 1″ elastic, and top stitched the waistband seam allowance down toward the shorts to secure it. I omitted the tie because I didn’t have anything in my stash that would work, and it wasn’t worth a trip to the fabric store to get something. Normally, I find this technique a bit bulky, but in this case, so I top stitched the waistband down onto the shorts and it helped keep the shorts secure at the hips. Overall, they were a success. So much so that he requested a second pair! I will be making a bag out of this fabric for my other son since he is not here in town to measure.

And last but not least is Outlaw, Sean’s dog who allows us to get our dog ‘fix’ without having all the responsibility. He is a Pit Bull/Boxer mix who is happy and tolerant of our constant hugs and harassment.
To read more about ideas for guy gifts, click here on a post I made that you may have missed.
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Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Mug Cover and Mug Rug

Mug Cover and Mug Rug

This is a little late getting posted, but I thought it might be worth it to give a few ‘guy’ ideas for future presents. It is easy to come up with girly projects to sew, but I have a harder time coming up with ideas for the males in my family. My husband is no exception. He is truly appreciative of anything I sew for him….as long as it is masculine and useful.
So here are my three picks for this year’s Father’s Day:
1.) Handmade shirt
2.) Mug Rug (or small place mat)
3.) Mug Cover (fancy pen and pencil holder)

Mug holding guy stuff

Mug holding guy stuff

I think this may be my tenth mug cover gift because they can be personalized with cute fabrics and they hold SO much stuff. (Also great for manicuring tools, sewing supplies, etc.) Here is the pattern and the link at Simplicity here:

Mug Cover Simp 2450

Mug Cover Simp 2450

Simplicity calls is ‘Buckets Gone Wild’, but I think of 5 gallon buckets when I hear the world bucket, so mug cover it is.

I buy the standard vacation souvenir mugs at the thrift stores for a buck or less or re-purpose some from my collection. I then rummage through my cotton fabric and bias tape stashes. I just maaay have to go to the fabric store to look at the fat quarter combinations if nothing seems to be coming together.

The next idea is a version of a mug rug. I was lucky enough to receive one of these as a gift from Rachel, my student/friend (Sewredy.wordpress.com) She has perfected the applique mug rug and other projects. I wrote a little something about her new blog here.
Here is my version with rounded edges:

Camping Fabric Mug Rug

Camping Fabric Mug Rug

I rounded the edges simply because I find it faster and easier to apply bias tape or self-made bias strips. No pattern is used. These can be made many different ways, but the basic dimensions are approximately 13″ X 8″-ish.

The fabric is a camping motive cotton remnant and I edge finished useing dark brown single fold bias tape from my stash. I used the same fabric on the other side because the drawings are entertaining like the Air-stream camper. If you want more info on how I apply my bias tape, I wrote about it on the thermal iron cover post I wrote here.

The last project is a hand made shirt. I have lost track of how many I have made for him, but it it is a my ‘go-to’ pattern.

McCalls 2149 Men's Camp Shirt

McCalls 2149 Men’s Camp Shirt

Okay, so no hanger appeal. I see that here, but it DOES look better on a human, I promise. I chose version “B” from this McCalls 2149:

Great Pattern for Mens shirts

Great Pattern for Mens shirts

You can tell by the low pattern number that it has been in the pattern book for a long time. I think many of the new McCall’s patterns are in the 6000’s.

I bribed my husband with homemade blueberry pancakes to model the shirt.

Husband in his Father's Day shirt

Mr. B in his Father’s Day shirt

Now that’s a little better. You can see the shirt filled out better and that it had a casual, loose fit.
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Since we love to dance, looser and more comfortable clothes are mandatory to do all the fancy moves. The fabric is a rayon from my stash in what I call ‘Builder Beige and Brown’.

Buttons and collar

Buttons and collar

Here you can see I used the standard men’s brown/tan button which blends in so well, it cannot be seen except for up close.

The ‘guy’ list continued:
4.) Neck pillow or lumbar pillow
5.) Personalized pillow case (Great for travel so you don’t accidentally leave the beloved pillow in the hotel)
6.) Shoe bags (Keeps shoes protected and off clothes in suitcase)

Can you think of some more great handmade gift ideas?

Until next time, keep creating.
-Dana

Polka Dot Tote

Polka Dot Upholstery Fabric Tote

Polka Dot Upholstery Fabric Tote

I saw this fabric in the upholstery section at my local mill end store and thought it would either be a bag of some sort. It is a stiff canvas-like fabric and I didn’t think it would wash well or soften up much so I thought it would be best as a tote. I did not interface it or pad it at all. I also omitted the decoration on the front (shown on the pattern envelope). I could have added a pocket to the outside, but I wanted the print left alone and all contents to be on the inside. One of my Sit and Sew ladies made the same tote bag and knew it was the size bag I wanted. It is from this McCalls pattern.

McCall's Pattern 6716 Tote and Messenger Bag

McCall’s Pattern 6716 Tote and Messenger Bag

The dimensions are 20″W x 16″L x 6″D and it is perfect for carrying a ton of patterns! Just kidding. I have a few of those laying around thanks to pattern sales. The dimensions are perfect because it is big enough to carry a beach towel, laptop, reader, or use it like a purse.

Five Inside Pockets

Five Inside Pockets

I made a few changes to the pattern. I reduced the shape of the pockets from two large pockets to five smaller pockets. One one side, there are three pockets to hold pens, phone, and keys. The other side can hold small tissue pack, lipsticks, hand sanitizer, etc.

I wanted to add some closure and I happened to have a purse magnet in my stash. If you have never installed one of these magnets, they have to be put on the lining before the bag is assembled because the back of the magnets are not pretty and need to be covered. It takes a little planning and measuring to get the placement just right.

Magnets added

Magnets added

I also added the brad feet to keep it off the ground and help give the base some weight.

Silver 'feet' added

Silver ‘feet’ added

The scarf is from my extensive square silk scarf collection, now considered outdated except for maybe on tote bag handles…? It is loosely tied and can be switched out or left off completely.
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That’s it for now. I’m off to another project. Stay tuned.

Santa Pillow Cover

IMG_2437There is no snow here in the desert, at least not yet, but the holiday season is upon us and I am busy making things, as I always do during this time of year. As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted much since before Thanksgiving. It would be smarter to plan all year for Christmas projects, but I just don’t seem to work that way. I get inspired when the Christmas items show up in the retail stores. So, December brings out the Santa Elf in me and I get busy! If you still have time to whip up a last minute project for your decor or give them as gifts, I’ll walk you through the details.

I came up with this idea in my sleep. Well, kind of. I saw an example of a Santa pillow online with a white furry strap across the center like a belt, but thought that was not the correct way to represent Santa so I changed it up to have a black belt and a pom pom instead.

As I was going through my closets, I noticed I had some pillow forms unopened and thought this would be a great way to get them out and be used for the holidays. With the zipper installed at the bottom of the pillow, I can take the cover off and store after the holidays and get started on Valentine’s Day cover, St. Patrick’s Day, etc. I designed the pattern, which you can draft yourself, and make your own with materials of your choice. I made two pillows, so adjust accordingly.

Here are the supplies needed:
1.) 18″ pillow form(s)
2.) Red fabric of your choice, 1/2 yd of either 45″ or 60″ makes one pillow. Purchase 1 yard if making two pillows.
3.) Pattern paper of your choice. Tissue, newspaper, etc. I use medical paper.
4.) Marker or pencil to draw pattern.
5.) Buckle(s)
6.) Black fabric, felt, belting for Santa’s belt. I used felt strips cut to fit width of buckle and approximately 11″ long.
7.) Scissors
8.) Hand needle to sew on pom pom.
9.) White and red thread
10.) Two 18″ zippers.
11.) Package of 2 1/2″ pom poms (Hobby Lobby)
12.) Fusible 1/4″ tape (optional)
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Step 1.) Using your pattern paper of choice, draw out two 19″ squares. Then, free hand some doggy ear shape as I did up in one corner.IMG_2403
Step 2.) Once the pattern is traced, cut out the pattern piece and pin to red fabric. Cut out fabric.IMG_2406
Step 3.) Serge (or zig zag) the lower edge of pillow. This will be where the zipper is installed. IMG_2407Step 4.) Prepare Santa’s belt by cutting your black fabric to fit buckle center. I used felt for the speedy factor, but you can use any black option of your choice. I just cut two strips the 11″ length of felt squares by the width of the belt. The excess gets cut off soon. IMG_2408 Once the belting is ready, cut a hole and insert buckle prong.
Step 5.) Positioning the belt and buckle: Find the center of the pillow and mark with a pin. The buckle’s center should be placed in the center of the pillow. This will help locate where the belt should be sewn and where the buckle will be placed.IMG_2409IMG_2412

Slide buckle back on to black fabric and insert buckle tongue. Sew the belting on, both edges, until you reach about one inch from buckle.
Step 6.) Noticing where the center of the buckle should be, flip buckle back on itself in order to sew the belting down. If possible, sew down the belting where the buckle will cover the stitching. Trim off excess.
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Step 7.) Prepare other half of belt by measuring to the center, keeping the buckle placement in mind. Insert the other half of belting, turn back and mark the hole for belt tongue, Snip a hole and insert belting, I left mine loose, but you can stitch it down if desired. Keeping the buckle out of the way, stitch both sides of the belting down to the red fabric getting as close as possible to the buckle.
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Step 8.) Prepare to insert zipper by machine basting with a 1/2″ seam allowance on the lower half of pillow covering. Right sides together.
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Step 9.) Press open.
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Step 10.) Optional: Iron on the fusible tape to the seam allowance. This will help hold zipper in place.
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Step 11.) With zipper face down, press with iron along seam allowance, fusing the tape to the zipper.
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Step 12.) With a zipper foot, stitch the zipper on to the pillow along both sides of the zipper on the right side. Open up basting stitches carefully with a seam ripper.
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Step 13.) With right sides together, pin remaining three sides together, unzipping the zipper enough to insert your hand. If not, you will not be able to turn the cover right side out. Stitch all three sides in a regular stitch length. (2.5m-3.0m) Clip corners. Turn right side out, pressing out corners.
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Step 14.) Prepare Santa’s pom pom by taking white thread and a needle and sewing through the center with a few whip stitches to the doggy eared corner of the cover. Insert pillow form and zip up. You are done!!
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IMG_2433Enjoy your cover for the holidays, unzip and remove the pillow form (for the next cover you make), and store for next year. Enjoy!

Snap Bag Tutorial

Snap Bag

Snap Bag

What you can’t see here is that this bag stays closed by recycling a used tape measure from a home improvement center. Fortunately, my husband had one he was happy to donate. The measurements are 8″ Width x 6″ Height x 2″ Depth. As with any sewing project, there is room to personalize and modify to your specific needs. The dimensions can change if you wish, but I recommend making one first and then you will know what measurements need to change for the second bag. Add embroidery, eliminate the 2″ box pleat, use up to three fabrics, or omit the prairie point handles and sew a loop, hair tie as the handle, etc. The choice is yours.

Supplies Needed

Supplies Needed

1.) Quilted Fabric (or fabric and batting to quilt your own) 9″ x 14.5″ This is the outer bag fabric.
2.) Lining Fabric 9″ x 18.5″ This fabric covers the measuring tape across top of bag.
3.) Side Loop Handle 2.5″ x 4.5″ Can be lining or outer fabric-your choice.
4.) Wrist handle (Optional) 11″ x 2.5″.
5.) Handles (Prairie Points) Cut Two 4.5″ x 4.5″ (Same fabric as lining)
6.) Coordinating thread for both fabrics
7.) Fusible Interfacing 9′ x 2″ (Use up small scraps of left over interfacing and piece together)
8.) 1′ Tape measure from hardware store. (Check to see what screwdriver or tapered cross tip screwdriver to have handy to undo outer case of tape measure)
9.) Roll of tape (either electrical or blue painter’s tape to cover tape measure ends)
10.) Sharp, heavy duty utility scissors (to cut tape measure)
11.) Ruler (to draw quilt lines if quilting your own fabric)
12.) Chalk or water soluble marker (to draw quilt lines)

Prepare your pattern pieces

Prepare your pattern pieces

Step 1 Prepare Pattern Pieces using tissue, medical paper, newsprint, etc.
All measurements are based on a 1″ tape measure. Adjust if you use a 3/4″ measuring tape. My Sharpie drawings are not as clear as the measurements stated above, so this is just to show you what the pattern pieces should look like.

Cut out pieces

Cut out pieces

Step 2. Cut Out Main Pattern Pieces To Tissue Measurements EXCEPT Batting And Outer Fabric If You Are Going To Quilt It. Leave some extra fabric and batting on all sides until quilt stitching is completed. Trim to pattern piece dimensions after quilting.
IMG_2013Step 3. Using The Ruler, Draw Line From One Corner To the Other In 1″ Lines Using a quilt guide or lines drawn on the fabric, stitch the quilting lines to sew batting to outer fabric. Click here to see another example of quilting your own outer fabric.

Faint chalk line from corner to corner

Faint chalk line from corner to corner

You can barely see the chalk line-this is what you want. Pin batting along the line to secure. Move pins as you sew each line until all stitching is complete.
Step 4. Stitch quilt lines. I like to set my stitch length to 3.0 and use a quilting bar that I can set to the 1″ mark, helping me to speed up the sewing process a little.

1' quilted lines

1″ quilted lines

Trim off excess

Trim off excess

Step 5. Trim off excess to match the pattern tissue measurement (9″ x 14.5″). I used a rotary cutter and ruler but scissors work just fine.

Press the 2

Press the 2″ strip of interfacing

Step 6. Press the 2″ fusible interfacing to the top edges of wrong side of lining. This is where I use up the leftover small scraps of interfacing from other projects. This will also help the tape measure from cutting through the edges of bag.

Turn top edge down 5/8

Turn top edge down 5/8″

Step 7. Layer lining and quilted fabric, wrong sides together and press lining down 5/8″ towards quilted piece. Set aside for a moment.
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Step 8. Prepare prairie points by folding the 4.5″ square in half.
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Step 9. Fold up lower left corner up to center. Press.IMG_2086
Step 10. Fold up right corner and bring to center, creating prairie point. The folded edges should be parallel to each other and touching and raw edges should be even. Press.

Pressed 1.25

Pressed 1.25″ over quilted fabric edge

Step 11. Fold down the top edge 1.25″ to cover raw edge of quilted front. Center prairie points and insert raw edge here under the folded edge. Secure with fusible tape or pins to keep anything from moving before the stitching. Refer to finished bag photo if needed to see placement.

Stitch through all layers

Stitch through all layers

Step 12. Stitch close to folded edge, leaving room for tape measure to slide through. Test before stitching. (Prairie points don’t show here, but they are sewn on both top edges in the center to be used as handles/decoration.)

Side Loop

Side Loop

Step 13. Prepare Side Loop. Fold loop, right sides together and stitch down long die leaving ends open. Grade seam allowances.

Safety pin to help turn

Safety pin to help turn

Step 14. Attach a safety pin to one edge of the tube. Use the safety pin to turn the tube right side out by sliding through to other side.

Side Loop ready for pressing

Side Loop ready for pressing

Step 15. After loop is right side out, press flat. Remove pin. Fold in half bringing raw edges together.

Baste loop

Baste loop

Step 16. Baste Loop to front of bag. With raw edges together, place loop 1/2″ right below top band. Baste with an 1/8″ seam allowance. This will be sewn permanently when side seams are sewn up.

Sew up side seams

Sew up side seams

Step 17. Sew up ONE SIDE SEAM only. I ran my finger down inside the bag from top to bottom to smooth out any tucks. Pin. Stitch in a 1/4″ seam allowance making sure to back-stitch enthusiastically at the top edge.
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Step 18. Cut tape measure into two (2) pieces measuring 8″. Test length by inserting into the casings to see if there is at least a 1/4″ seam allowance. If not, trim to fit. Remove tape pieces.
Step 19. Using utility scissors, slightly round edges to remove sharp edges/corners.
Step 20. Tape edges with electrical tape or painter’s tape. This is a very important step. I did not do this on my first bag and the corners are working their way through the material.

Sew up side seams

Sew up side seams

Step 21. Insert tape measure pieces back into casings (like Step 15) pushing them in as far as possible to give ample room to sew on remaining seam allowance. NOTE: MAKE SURE THE TAPE MEASURE PIECES ARE INSERTED WITH THE BLANK SIDES OF TAPE (“C” SHAPE) FACE THE LINING SIDE. THE NUMBERED SIDES (“U” SHAPE) ARE FACING THE QUILTED SIDE OF BAG. The “C” shape sides of the tape kissing each other create the ‘snap’ .
Step 22. Prepare to sew up other side seam. Fold bag in half RST, pin, making sure the side loop is on the inside of the bag and all raw edges are even. Make sure there are no tucks. The top edge gets the most wear-and-tear so once again, back-stitch enthusiastically.
Step 23. Serge or zig zag raw side seams to cleanly finish.
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Step 24. Prepare mitered corners.
Keeping the rights sides together, pull apart bag at lower edge fold (base of bag) with one hand on front of bag and one hand on back of bag until the side seam looks like the picture. My thumb is on the side seam and my index finger is on the base of the bag. This creates a triangle-looking area on the inside of the bag, but a nice miter on the outside, allowing the bag to sit up by itself. Measure across 2″ or 1″ on both sides of seam, pressing seam allowance to one side. Mark the line.
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Step 25. Sew across triangle/miter. Trimming corner is optional. I left my triangle in place to give the base of the bag more substance. Repeat for other side.IMG_2066
Step 26. Turn right side out. This will take a little muscle because the tape measure doesn’t want to bend this way. Work it until the bag inverts. Add seam sealant to upper seam allowances.

How To Sew An Infinity Scarf

This may be one of my easiest tutorials on this site…..talk about addictive! These can be made in 30 minutes once you get the hang of it. The fabric can be a knit or woven, which means the width can vary from 45″-60″. I prefer knits because they are soft on the neck, don’t wrinkle, and can be stretched to get over your head. They can even wrap three times making a collar, if desired. The slideshow shows some of the recent remnants-turned-neck-jewelry I’ve made and their finished widths so you can see how they drape. (the navy/white knit and multi stripe knit are wrapped three times because they are narrow).

What you will need to get started:
1.) Sewing machine
2.) Fabric of your choice-remnants of 1 yard or less
3.) Matching thread
4.) Hand sewing needle
5.) Scissors
6.) Ruler
7.) Iron (optional, but provides better results)

I will list the steps here and then show pictures to help clarify.
Step 1.) Fold fabric in half lengthwise, bringing selvages together. This will be a seam allowance width away from your finished width that sits around your neck. For example: 1/2 yard of fabric (18″) will make a 9″ scarf.
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Step 2.) Square up fabric so it is the same measurement in width from the selvages to the fold.

Selvages together, RST, pin

Selvages together, RST, pin

Step 3.) Pin lengthwise raw edges, leaving 2-4″ near the selvage open. This will be the opening for turning right side out.
Step 4.) Sew lengthwise edge except for the 2-4″ opening.
Step 5.) Press seam allowance flat.
Step 6.) Turn right side out.
Step 7.) With RST(Right Sides Together), align selvages and pin together. This makes the loop.
Step 8.) Sew just past the selvage with a 3/4″ seam allowance or enough to clear any markings of the selvage.
Step 9.) Trim off any selvage.
Step 10.) Press seam allowance either open or to one side, whichever is easier.
Step 11.) Turn right sides out.
Step 12.) With needle and thread, fold edges to inside and slip stitch opening closed.
That’s It!!

Three piece ensemble, navy knit

Three piece ensemble, navy knit

Here is another option. I made a tank, shrug and infinity scarf out of the same material. The infinity scarf makes the tank look like a cowl neck and provides more warmth for chilly weather.
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Remove and put in your bag when it gets warm.

Have fun making these for yourself or as gifts.

Thermal Iron Cover Tutorial

1Blue Cover up closeWhat do you do when you have to pack a hot curling iron? Well, my mother gave me a thermal cover for either a flat iron or curling iron and I thought it would be great to make some for my Sit and Sew ladies for Christmas. They make great gifts, or make one to keep in your suitcase. I studied it carefully and remade it my way. Here’s how I did it.

Getting Started

Getting Started

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Step 1. Supplies Needed:
– Tracing paper, medical paper or something to use as your pattern piece
– 1 Outer fabric approximately 10″ x 15″
– 1 Coordinating fabric for inside lining and outer bias binding (You can use purchased single fold bias tape if desired)
– 1 Small 10 x 15″ piece of Thinsulate or ironing board fabric with a heat barrier layer
– Ruler for drawing quilt lines
– Quilt guide that attaches to sewing machine (optional)
– Scissors
– Matching thread
– Chalk or disappearing marker

Sandwich three layers

Sandwich three layers

Step 2. Layer and Draw:
– Layer the fabrics by sandwiching the Thinsulate between the two coordinating fabrics, with wrong sides to the Thinsulate.
– Pin
– Using your ruler, start drawing lines diagonally with your chalk or marker (whichever shows up best on your fabric) from one corner to the other. Continue drawing 1″ lines on either side of your original line until you have lines on the whole piece.

Draw One Inch Diagonal Quilt Lines

Draw One Inch Diagonal Quilt Lines

Sew Your Lines

Sew Your Lines

Step 3. Sew Your Lines.
-Using a quilt guide attached to your foot, sew the 1″ diagonal lines across the entire piece. Feel free to sew the lines any way you wish as long as the layers are kept together. I chose 1″ diagonal because it was fast and easy.

Round Edges, Trace & Cut Out

Round Edges, Trace & Cut Out

Step 4. Pin, Trace and Cut.
-Take a pencil and round the edges of your 10″ x 15″ pattern piece. (It makes it easier to bind later). Trace around your quilted piece and cut out.

Get Ready to Baste

Get Ready to Baste

Step 5. Baste the Raw Edges
-Set your machine on baste and sew 1/8″ to 1/4″ around raw edge of quilted piece. This will prepare the edges for binding.

Cutting Sloppy Bias Strips

Cutting Sloppy Bias Strips

Step 6. How to Cut Some Sloppy Bias Strips
I know, I know. This is NOT how you make proper bias strips. Use a cutting mat and rotary cutter for pretty bias strips. I am giving you the quick-and-dirty to get this done. Remember, I know our sewing time is limited and we need to get these projects done pronto. Reduce the UFO’s. (Un-Finished Objects)
-Place fabric on grain and fold up one edge to a 45 degree. Insert your scissors on the fold and cut. This is what I call sloppy bias because it is fast and doesn’t use a ruler, cutting mat or rotary cutter. Remember: I shave off time if it works for me and gets me great results; otherwise, do it the right way. As you will see in the following steps, the sloppiness just disappears.

Piecing Bias Strips Together

Piecing Bias Strips Together

Cut 1″-1.25″ strips from the chosen fabric for the binding. With right sides together, take two ends as shown. Stitch and press open. When you press these open, they should continue in a straight line, not a 90 degree angle. Cut off corner of one end of bias. Fold under 1/4″. Start pinning this to the bottom edge.

Attaching Bias Binding

Attaching Bias Binding

Step 8. Bias Strip Attached to Edge
Starting at the lower edge, with right sides together (RST), align raw edges of bias binding and edges of thermal cover. Overlap the raw end of your ending bias strip (you may need to trim off a little) over the beginning folded edge. (The raw edge will be sandwiched between the folded edge and the thermal cover). Pin. Sew in a 1/4″ seam all the way around the outer edge. This is where some of the magic happens IF the sewing is straight and even.

Pink, Clip or Trim Seam Allowance

Pink, Clip or Trim Seam Allowance

Step 9. Trim Edges.
Clip corners and trim around the entire thermal cover to reduce the seam allowance and allow for the bias to turn nicely around the corners. Press when flipped to underside.

Binding Pressed to Underside

Binding Pressed to Underside

Step 10. Magic Happening
Gently finger press the bias strip to the underside. It will naturally fold and curl on the corners. Turn raw edges in so that the fold is just covering the stitching line.

Steam a Seam to the Rescue!

Steam a Seam to the Rescue!

Step 11. Making Life Easier
I used the 1/4″ Steam a Seam fusible tape on the trimmed seam allowance to help the folded bias edge stick until I can sew it down. Pin and press. On the right side, you should notice that the bias edge looks pretty good and is ready for some final decorative stitching.

Fancy Stitching

Fancy Stitching

Step 12 Pick a Favorite Stitch

Time for Tacos

Time for Tacos

Step 13. Fold In Half
You are almost done! Fold in half so it looks like a taco. Pin in the ditch of the stitching, trying to match up your binding stitching lines from both sides. You will then ‘stitch in the ditch’ through all layers in a straight seam from the bottom up to the top leaving an opening 2″-3″ from the top edge. This will leave the opening for your curling iron or flat iron.

Stitch In the Ditch

Stitch In the Ditch

Ready for a Hot Iron!

Ready for a Hot Iron!

You are finished. Now you can pack a hot iron and not worry it will burn something while it cools!