Sunday, August 16, 2015

Log Cabin Star--Free Starter Template

Can you stand one more Log Cabin pattern variation? Ta-da! This pattern can be made large, as in a big block style shown in this wall quilt (60" square) or reduced in size to make blocks for a bed quilt. I started by drafting a right angle section of a star for a 4 section star. Simply sew strips of fabric (2 1/2" wide in my project) and alternately attach strips to each side of the point of star section. For best results, cut strips on the lengthwise of fabric (parallel to the selvage edge, or you may experience stretching of the fabric while sewing. To overcome this distortion, if you want to cut strips on the cross grain, you can attach strips with EZ Steam II 1/4" strips of fusible tape, then stitch the seam line. Yes, takes a little longer, but the results are worth the effort.

Click here for your free Log Cabin Star template--you can enlarge or shrink as you wish. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Canteen Bag--Using Kaleidoscope Prints

I have some stunning Kaleidoscope prints by textile designer, Paula Nadelstern. The panels are so much art as is, I did not relish the idea of cutting the panels into pieces.

My inspiration was to create a project that would feature the beauty of each little fabric canvas--and so was born my original design, the Canteen Bag. I determined the largest circle I could cut from one panel and basically designed a round bag around this idea. The photos that show multiple bags are created from Paula's Fabracadabra line, and were featured at the last Quilt Market in Houston along with Paula's new textile lines. There are also 2 photos featuring single Canteen Bags made up in prints from Paula's earlier textile lines--my first prototypes. 

I did not create a pattern for this project, as it is a little fussy. However, experienced folks could recreate the look. See older post below for information about applying piping. Hint: apply binding to the center "rim" of the bag, not the circular body itself. When applying piping to the circular body, I realized the length of the piping would shorten somewhat during the circular sewing route, resulting in a tightening effect once the project is turned right side out. Applying the piping to the edges of the straight edge rim reduces the tightening effect.
Last summer, I also discovered a new product on the market, "Soft and Stable" and received a sample from Annie at to create the Canteen Bag for the Houston Quilt Market. Discovering this fabulous type of bag batting made all the difference in the success of the bag, keeping it's shape and providing a stable filler. The "batting" is a 1/4" thick foam layer with soft, pliable knit fabric on either side of the foam. Easy to sew, one only needs to do a little experimental sewing to get a feel for the properties--I would recommend an even-feed, or walking foot when using a foam batting product.The set of 5 bags at top were batted with "Soft and Stable". Notice in the prototype photos at the bottom of this post that the circular shape is somewhat out of round. The bags do not hold shape in a fashion that the foam batting produces.
So, remember to branch out and try new things, techniques, ideas. Happy Sewing!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Quilt Transport Tote

Quilt Transport Zippered Tote
No more trekking to the quilt guild with project wrapped up in a pillow case, or worse yet, a Hefty bag! You, too, can sashay in style with an over-sized tote bag. This tote is constructed with upholstery fabric I spied on sale at my local big box store, thus adding some body at the get-go, and wearing like iron.

Center front pocket, 10" x 10"
Tote is approximately 26" x 20", with a center front pocket about 10" x 10", tucked neatly under the construction of the straps. Cut the lining for the pocket 1/2" longer for the height, stitch right sides together at the top edge, turn right side out and flip the lining over and to the back. This creates the 1/4" strip of decorative color band at the top of the pocket--easy way to introduce accent!

Straps (2) are about 80" long, top-stitched to the body (pocket side edges tucked under strap edges). Don't fret about needing one continuous length for straps. Notice the horizontal bands of color accents on the straps? These are joins for lengths of strap fabric. Ta-da, just like I meant to do that!
Add a zippered flap for secure closing

Zipper installation--who is a fan of that? Nobody? Me either. To make the task simpler, I installed zipper legs on two long bands of fabric, then when it was time to put in the lining, simply tucked the fabric bands in between the body and lining pieces. No wrestling with the whole bulk of the tote to install the zipper.

You can make your tote wider in depth by varying the corner detail. To construct the corner tuck, sew each corner separately. After side seams and bottom seams are stitched on both the body and lining, with right sides together, place bottom seam line atop side seam line, pin to hold in place, then mark a perpendicular line across the corner--mine is about 2 1/2" total length (1 1/4" each side of seam lines).  Stitch on the marked line. Repeat for 3 more corners. Trimming off the triangle of fabric created from this process is not necessary--leaving it provides a bit more stability at the corner. To increase the depth of your bag, mark the perpendicular line longer, (for example, a 4" marked line would be farther from the corner of intersecting side and bottom seam line).

Corner detail
I simply quilted the layers to add more body. The major drawback to this Quilt Transport Tote is that I finished my project before I discovered the wonderful foam batting products now available. This would have been an ideal filler for this project.

Happy sewing/quilting!