Sew Creative, L’Toffe Fabrics

Sew Creative store sign, Ashland,Oregon

Sew Creative store sign, Ashland, Oregon

Fun with a jean jacket

Fun with a jean jacket

If your sewing skills drift from garments to quilts to crafts, you will enjoy stepping into Sew Creative in Ashland, Oregon.  Since I have a love for sewing garments, I have chosen to let others perfect the quilting skills while I continue to master fabric manipulation on the human form. That being said, I find myself drawn to quilt stores in my travels because I love the merchandising, colors, quilts on display, kits for sale and being in a sewing related environment. It helps if the quilt stores carry any drapey rayons or garment-ish fabrics. Sometimes there is a cotton I can’t resist. There is also the tug to support the smaller, locally owned shops in some way if I can.

Kits for Sale, SewCreative

Kits for Sale, SewCreative

A great example of great merchandising

A great example of great merchandising

Don’t you love that modern square quilt?  How about the one on the wall?  I truly appreciate the time, artistry and perseverance to complete beautiful quilts of all kinds.  I think I have mentioned my impatient nature in previous posts which means that I love to whip up a quick tee or dress to scratch that immediate gratification itch.

Store samplings

Store samplings

License plate art

License plate art in the window display

Also on Main Street in Ashland was a fabric store called  Fabric of Vision.  It is closed now at the time of this writing and I’m bummed.  It was a great store featuring garment fabrics, patterns and notions and beautifully merchandised.  The owner closed it in January 2016.   I won’t post the pictures I had because it makes me sad and I would be torturing you with a place you can’t visit anymore.  Instead, I will move on to another fabrics store, L’Etoffe Fabrics located in Springfield, Oregon near Eugene.  The Contact page provides a map.

L'Etoffe, Springfield, Oregon

L’Etoffe, Springfield, Oregon

Here, Ina (pronounced Eena) and mom are enjoying the feel of luscious, imported fabrics. Ina was warm and welcoming and willing to share her story with us.   Ina has a background in fashion design and wanted a change.  She teaches classes and manages the many details of the store.  Lining the walls are imported fabrics, displays with independent patterns, classes and sample garments to tempt sewists.

L'Etoffe fabrics for sale

L’Etoffe fabrics for sale

L'Etoffe goodies for sale

L’Etoffe goodies for sale

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More imported fabrics

More imported fabrics

One more fabric purchase

One more fabric purchase

Mom could not help herself…she had to buy some beautiful herringbone fabric for a jacket.  Anther project to add to the list!    I picked out an Italian rayon that had my favorite colors in it (post to follow).  Ina wrote a great article about how women confess secrets to her about their fabric stashes on her blog here.

Ina and Sandy, L'Etoffe Fabrics

Ina and Sandy, L’Etoffe Fabrics

While we were there,  Sandy Ericson, the producer of Center for Pattern Designwebsite, dropped by. Sandy provides a wealth of information on her site to further develop pattern designing skills. Videos and free resources are just a click away.

So there you have it. Oregon destinations worth your time. If you didn’t get a chance to read about my time with Diane Ericson (no relation to Sandy Ericson that I know of) click here to read my previous post. These Oregon ladies are talented, welcoming and knowledgeable.

Thanks for reading. Please comment and/or share with other sewists!
-Dana

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

CroppedIMG_3940

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

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!