Saturday, September 13, 2014

Autumn Purse: Days 3, 4, 5, and DONE!

It's finished! The autumn purse is packed with my "stuff" and the yellow purse has been put away till next summer.

This one was made with a lightweight upholstery fabric that will have much more durability than quilting cottons. It's more of an all season bag than it is something specifically for the winter months. I'll work on a real winter bag in a couple of months.

I wish I had a pattern for you, but I'm still trying to figure out how to write a pattern for something with this much complexity. If you've used any of my patterns you know that I don't want there to be any confusion about any part of the construction. A purse pattern written that way could cover up to 30 pages. I've been studying other patterns to see if there isn't some kind of middle ground between too vague and absolute overkill.

But on with the sequence of purse making.

This has been such a crazy week! I feel like I'm getting nowhere until I look back. In actuality quite a bit was accomplished.

Other stuff to do. No purse work.

I cut out the sections, stitched the seam at the bottom of the bag and made the casing for the plastic canvas insert that gives it a firm base.

I only made the straps for the bag.

Day 1 of a two day marathon of purse making. Pockets were made and attached, straps were stitched in place, and the body of the bag was done by bedtime.

I did insert the pocket flaps into a seam this time and that worked so much better!
There is one large pocket on the back.


Zipper first. 

Then the lining. 

And the rest was easy, lickity split.

I had the entire purse competed by 3:00! Feeling good!

Three open pockets in the lining.

One 9" zippered pocket .

Tomorrow, I'll take some time off from sewing, but I'll think about which idea to work on next. 

Holidays are coming!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Quilt Along Layout Ideas

"Home" Layout Options

I planned to make progress on this purse today, but Glenda finished the last of her quilt along blocks and asked about a layout plan. So the morning was spent on ideas for the plan. I actually came up with a three plans and a new idea, too.

I really want to hear your opinions on this so I'll know how to go about writing the instructions.

This is what I've sketched out so far. I like all of these plans, but the layout might be dictated by size.

One of the 48" x 48" plans would be fine for a wall hanging.

Layout 1: 48" x 48"
This plan has the house at the top of the quilt with the word, "Home" appliqued above it.  The photo shows an arrangement that could work with my blocks. The diagram below it shows the plan measured out to scale.

Layout 2: 48" x 48" 
I don't have a photo example, but I did make a layout to scale. The big difference is with the location of the house. In this plan it's centered.

Layout 3: 54" x 54"
With secondary sashing and a double border, this quilt layout has grown into a good size for a small lap quilt or a larger wall hanging. Again, I've shown the scale drawing below the photo layout.

A final option: I haven't made a sketch to go with this idea. I was thinking of taking Layout 3 and adding to both the top and the bottom with some border additions. If it grew to 54" x 72", it would be a larger lap quilt, but it would also look lovely when laid over a plain bedspread on a single bed. I have just such a bed, so it's an idea in the works. 

With borders going all the way around this quilt could grow to a bed quilt, but it would immediately become too large to quilt on my little machine. 

Do you have preference? 
Waiting to hear from you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A pair of mug rugs and a near disaster

My day started out with a lovely plan.

It was already Tuesday and I was anxious to get the mug rugs finished that I'd promised to get out this week.

These are for those folks who might have preferred a teapot or coffee block for the "Home" quilt along instead of the bookshelf block. The block size and the mug rug size are identical, and I made the pattern for both - a mix and match pair.

The quilt tops were appliqued with my favorite blanket stitch and ready for the next step.

Since I had my sewing machine set up for free motion quilting on my winter purse, I planned to finish the quilting on the pieces for that and then do the quilting on this little pair of mug rugs - kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

The bag pieces went smoothly and I set them aside. Then I "sandwiched" up the mug rugs. I thought about the quilting pattern and decided to go with something nice and swirly because that's what steam looks like.

I slipped the mug rug under my needle and focused on making nice rounded swirls.

After a bit I noticed that my needle was going "thump, thump, thump" like it sometimes will when it becomes dull. Then my thread broke.

No problem. Rethread the machine and change the needle a the same time.

Except ....

What's this?

I'd been quilting through both mug rugs!

No wonder the needle was going "thump, thump, thump"!

Oh, my gosh! Talk about appreciating my seam ripper.

It took awhile to undo the mess, and by the time I got it all undone it was lunchtime. Both mug rugs were filled with lovely little needle holes that needed fixing, too. So I sprayed them good with water so the fabric threads could relax, and I left them to dry while I ate a nice, healthy lunch of veggie soup, a pear, and a small piece of toast and peanut butter.

Needless to say, the winter bag is still waiting for the next step, but at least the mug rug damage is controlled and the mug rugs are finished.

All's well that end's well. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Building a Bag for Autumn

We're into September and the weather is starting to cool down. My pretty yellow summer purse is starting to look out of place and I desperately need something new.

Autumn Purse: Day 1

I pulled out my heavier purse weight fabrics this morning in hopes of finding one that really excited me. Not that I found much choice in my drawer. I have black with cream and cream with black. What was I thinking when I bought two pieces in the same basic colors? I'm not excited, but both are very practical, and either one of them will do nicely.

Hmm... I'll leave choosing for tomorrow.

I had the fabric, but not the other essentials, so I ran out and bought a zipper, some lining fabric, and thread. I didn't really have to go clear across town, but my daughter lives on over there. She's only a few blocks from our two largest fabric stores, and that gave me a great excuse to drop in and visit with her for a few minutes on a Saturday.

I want something really simple in this bag because I'd like to do it and have it done fairly quickly - not so fast as to be sloppy, but I won't be adding too many time consuming design details. I'll make something wonderful later. Right now, I just need a purse!

Now for a design plan. 

I like the size of my yellow purse, so that part is easy. The little outer pockets are great, too, but I need to make some changes in how to construct them. Those pocket flaps were such a pain! And I really don't need the magnetic closures on the small pockets. 

This is my first sketch. Pretty basic, isn't it?

Do you see how I've positioned flaps so they'll be sewn into a seam? I'm not sure if the pockets, themselves, will show on the outside of the bag or not. Still thinking about that. 

Tomorrow I begin cutting. 

Autumn Purse: Day 2

I was so late getting started with sewing on this new purse today! My morning simply got away from me. It started with oversleeping. I was up too late last night, but there was no way I could put my book down with the excitement of the last few chapters. The book was worth it, but the late email responses that followed could have waited till morning. 

After breakfast with the Sunday paper I changed sheets on beds, did laundry, and baked some yummy blueberry-raspberry muffins. I did get out my sewing machine, but I used it to repair a seam on a fitted sheet that ripped out as I was putting it on the bed. By then it was time for lunch. 

Finally, with the kitchen cleaned up, I was ready to begin my purse.

Like I said, I really don't want to take forever on this project. That settled my fabric choice. I'm going with the simple floral print and no other fabric for trim. The front and back pockets will be sewn onto the outside of the bag, and quilting will be  basic and easy. 

I cut out all the pieces that will be quilted first. "Stiff Stuff" is the batting for the body of the bag, but the pockets need to be lighter weight and more flexible so I'm using good old, basic, "Warm and Natural" for those. The backing fabric is a very inexpensive, lightweight muslin.

It's easier to quilt larger segments of fabric than lots of tiny pieces. Here are my main sections laid out in quilt sandwiches. The big piece is for the body of the bag. Other pieces are for pockets and for a separately attached strip at the top of the bag. I'm definitely adding that so I can experiment with setting my pocket flaps into a seam. 

As I said, really basic quilting. I don't want the quilting to be dominant on this bag so I'm using a fine 60 weight, black, polyester thread on the top with regular 50 weight cotton in the bobbin.  I'm also using the floral pattern on the fabric as a general guide. That way I don't have to think at all - just follow the flowers. This quilting is less about being decorative than it is about holding everything together and giving the bag body.

The stitches show up clearly on the wrong side. You can see that there are some overlaps and wandering lines. Since the fabric is duck-cloth in weight and tightly woven, the black quilting barely shows. Wandering lines can't be seen at all from the right side. 

The two largest sandwiches are quilted, but I had to stop early. 

Our son came over to visit this afternoon and he's staying for dinner. Love having him here!

The bag will wait till the next time I can sew on it. Family first.