Friday, June 22, 2012

Wanderer Ruck Sack Review

Don't you just LOVE those emails you get from Amy Butler's studio announcing new sewing patterns?  If you aren't on her mailing list, you really must go SIGN UP.....NOW!  (Especially because we are awaiting a very special announcement from her studio!  We can't wait!!  No, I'm not telling!)  We were thrilled to see that one of her three new patterns was a backpack!  I can't tell you how many times we get requests for backpack patterns!  We LOVE Kay Whitt's backpack pattern in her Sew Serendipity Bags book!  It's super hearty with a fabulous interfacing and lot's of fun hardware that will make your backpack look like it came from a custom boutique!  But if your looking for a quick, drawstring type back sack, The Wanderer Ruck Sack is for you.  Adorned with layers of ruffles, it adds a sophisticated softness perfect for any age!

First, I picked three fabrics.  Exterior, Coordinating Exterior and Lining.

My picks may seem odd but I have been staring at these three fabrics for months now trying to figure out what I wanted to do with them and this seemed the perfect fit!

First apply all of the interfacing...some pieces required two layers....she recommends Stacy SF-101 single sided fusible woven interfacing.  You know me, this is all I use anyway!  Amazing stuff!  I try to have a bolt on hand at all times! 

After interfacing is applied, time for ruffles!  She has you do a set of two basting stitches on each ruffle, pull until it is gathered to the correct measurement.  Pin them to your exterior piece and top stitch two lines across each ruffle in the center, roughly 1/8" apart.

Attach the exterior ruffle piece to the exterior coordinating panel following the directions to leave an opening at each top side seam to pull the straps through.  You'll also be attaching the strap loops at the bottom of the bag during this step.

Next, create your pocket and lining....SUPER easy and quick.  You'll leave your space for turning in the bottom of the lining and hand-stitch it closed

Slip the lining over the exterior and sew all the way around with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Turn it right side out and press around the top.  Sew around the top edge to create your strap channel being careful not to catch your top ruffle under your needle.

Now you're ready for your straps.  The directions are perfect and usually how I do any strap on my designs.  Only difference, you'll leave the ends open for 2.5" so that once your straps are threaded, you can sew them together in a loop.

Okay, so now you've finished your straps and threaded them through and made them into loops:

You're Done!  Super cute!
Here are a couple thoughts:

This is a VERY cool looking bag!  Ruffles are IN and this bag rocks them!  The size is smaller, 14" x 17".  It's not a huge shopper type bag.  I will wear it to the Farmers Market but I probably won't be able to carry ALL my fruits and veggies in it.  It would be great for a small laptop or tablet, cell phone and wallet.  (You might even be able to apply some Thermolam to the lining pieces to make it extra sturdy if you intend on carrying electronics.)  My daughter, who is an artist, mentioned it would be great to carry all of her sketching materials while out in the field sketching.  (Birthday present!) 

The straps:  Here's where this very easy pattern turned a bit challenging for me.  Threading the first strap through the channel was easy enough.


I forgot to thread the first strap through the strap loop at the bottom of the bag.  I attached the ends and finished it with top-stitching and everything before I realized that I hadn't threaded it through.  This was 100% MY FAULT.  ( I was watching San Antonio Living and they were talking about potato salad and I was doesn't take much to distract me.)  Once I undid all the sewing I had done and separated the strap ends, I threaded it through the loop and attached it again....all was fine.  I started threading the second strap through.  The channel gets very tight with two interfaced straps in there.  It wasn't super easy, but I got it done.  Now both straps are threaded and finished off.  The bag isn't difficult to close.  Just pull on opposite straps and it closes beautifully.  It's opening it back up again where it gets difficult.  I know this is just because it's a brand new bag with fresh interfacing.  With a little use, the fabric/interfacing will relax and it'll get easier.  Perhaps NOT interfacing the straps would avoid this stiffness in the drawstring of the bag.  BUT, the interfacing in the straps is necessary if you want a good sturdy bag.  If you don't care about the straps being hearty, don't interface them and I think you'll have an easier time pulling the bag open and closed right away.

Friday Morning Addendum:  Chief messed with it last night and the more we opened and closed the top of the bag, the easier it got.  So, it's just going to take some use to get the top to ease up.  There's a lot of interfacing in there for good reason!  I'm so excited about carrying this bag to the market this weekend!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Simple Hand Towel Tutorial

Hi! This is Lindsey today! I am the marketing manager for A Joyful Soul Fabrics. I am going to be showing you a tutorial on how to make a simple hand towel that you can use in the bathroom or in the kitchen! These can make great housewarming or wedding gifts! These would also make some cute burp rags! I make these towels as well as shower curtains and sell them in my Etsy shop Showered in Chic.

If you are having one of those days where you need to feed your craving to do something creative, but are low on time...this is the perfect project for you! It is inexpensive (especially if you have some scraps lying around) and only takes about an hour!

This is my first tutorial, so hopefully it makes sense! Here we go!

The fabric used in this towel is from Heather Bailey's Fresh Cut. You can find it in the shop here: Fresh Cut 2012.

Step 1. Cut your pieces.
The first thing you want to do is get all of your fabric ironed and cut to size. I used two coordinating prints with a band on the top and middle and a ruffle on bottom. The towel I used has a waffle weave texture, but probably any cotton towel will do! You can cut your bands as thick/wide as you want them, but just be sure you have more than half of the towel for wiping your hands! Cut the top and middle bands so they are overlapping the edge of the towel by about 1/4" on each side.

Because the bottom band is a ruffle it will shrink in length. In order to ensure you have a long enough ruffle to cover the width of the towel, cut the bottom band twice as long as the towel. I did not have a scrap piece that long so I cut the bottom striped band in half horizontally and pieced them together to make a longer strip. Here is where my tutorial skills are obviously at the beginner stage! The picture above shows it before I cut it in half and sewed the two pieces together to make one long strip. Hopefully you will just have one piece that is long enough so you do not have to piece. If you have to create your own strip with two like me, just sew the two short ends, right sides together with a 1/4" seam allowance.

 Step 2. Hem your ruffle.
Start with the bottom ruffle band. Once you have your ruffle band all ready (one long piece or two sewn together, doubling the width of the towel), fold over 1/4" twice with the iron and hem the bottom of the ruffle.

Step 3. Set your stitch for sewing the ruffle.
To make the ruffle, set your machine to your straight stitch with the stitch length at the longest and the tension at the highest. Now, just run your bottom band through at the raw edge and it will automatically ruffle with these settings. I like to back stitch on only one end. Don't forget to put your settings back to normal!

Step 4. Attach your pieces. 
Attach the ruffled piece to the center piece by sewing right sides together with a 1/4" seam allowance. Attach your top band to the middle band the same way.

Step 5. Zigzag stitch all edges.
Even though the edges will be hidden once sewn onto the towel, I like to run a zigzag stitch along all my edges to prevent fraying. This is a trick if you do not have a serger.

Step 6. Make your fabric the size of the towel.
Line up the ruffle with the bottom of the towel and fold under and iron down all edges to match the size of the towel. Don't forget to fold under the top for a finished edge at the top.

Almost done! Now its time to attach the fabric to the towel!

Step 7. Start and stop sewing at the top of the ruffle and go around the three edges that are folded under.
You want the ruffle to keep its "ruffleness" so don't sew past the bottom of the middle band. You want to keep the ruffle loose. Attach the fabric to the towel with about a 1/8" seam allowance back stitching at the starting and stopping point. I like this seam allowance smaller. It just has a cleaner look.

Sew around all edges turning at the corners by leaving the needle down and lifting the presser foot.

Step 8. Attach the middle of the fabric to the towel.

The last step is to secure the fabric in the middle by sewing along the edge underneath the ruffle. Just flip up the loose ruffle and sew a straight stitch along that seam that connects the ruffle to the middle band.

You did it! Now admire your work and pat yourself on the back for completing your pretty towel in 8 easy steps!

Thanks for letting me hang out with you today! 
I hope you find this tutorial easy and you have fun with this project!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Logic vs. Emotion

I have been in the process of making my sewing area more functional, more productive and well, somewhere I want to be.  Lately it's been a terrible set-up, to the point where I just didn't want to sew. Yes, it was THAT bad.  So I started doing some research for new tables, organizational furniture and other things to nurture my creative process.  My go to place was Ikea, even though I own zero Ikea furniture and have never stepped foot in one of their stores small countries.  I found the perfect set-up that will allow me a large table top plus a pull out I might use for my serger or a pressing station.  Anything to limit physical activity!  (I'm terrible!)  Here's what we came home with:

I can't wait to get all of my fabric out of the bins and into the shelving.  After all, how can you be creative when you have to depend on your memory to remember what you have?  I am closing in on 40 and while I feel I have never been better, my brain is getting a bit fuzzy.  In the process of reorganizing, I started pulling out the shop samples and trying to get them to fit neatly inside the closet.  I managed to get through half of it which is this:

That's right, this is HALF.  The other half I just can't even get myself to pull out of the closet.  Now I am faced with the logic vs. emotion conundrum.  I'm a Cancer and very emotional.  When I do something, whether it's work, art or anything, I put 100% of myself into it.  My samples are no different.  Sure, they are quilts, handbags, clothing and other projects meant to help sell my kits in the shop but that absolutely does not mean they were made with any less love than a gift made for a loved one.  I pour every ounce of my being into everything I create.  So imagine my attitude when my husband suggested I sell off some of my samples.  Pardon me?  That would be like selling off a child!  (Okay, I'm a tad dramatic as well, also a Cancer trait.)  After sitting there staring at this for over an hour, logic got the best of me.  Realstically, these piles are just going to grow.  My shop is getting busier, bigger.  I'm bringing in more fabric lines and in turn, more samples.  What am I going to do?  Rent a storage unit to keep all of these beauties in the dark?

I've decided that these items are better off being used and loved so I am planning a little sample sale.  I'll be organizing and pricing this week and over the weekend and will hope to have a ton of items up for sale by next week.  I'll be announcing it first on our Facebook page so go there and "like" our page to be the first to know about it!  So, I'm going to go cry for a couple hours, also a Cancer trait. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Stars Over Abilene Quilt Show Recap!

Okay, can I just say...I am tired...

It's a good tired but tired nonetheless!  "Mini-Me" is now out on summer vacation and we are making plans but we decided that after being on the road last week, this week was going to be restful.  She was able to travel with us to the Stars Over Abilene Quilt Show and everyone was so excited to see how big she had grown!  She was in second grade the first time we vended in Abilene...she's now going into Junior High and this Mama is in denial! 

The show was fabulous!  Due to our Duty Station move, we weren't able to vend last year or the year before but I was intent on returning this year.  We took little one out of school the last day and made it a family affair. 

Let me stop talking and just show you some pics!

First, our booth!

I really must give all credit to the Chief on this one.  He did the layout and all the heavy lifting.  I'm a lucky girl!

And now, just a few of the beautiful quilts on display!

My friend, Kathy's booth of The Enchanted Quilt.

We had a great time but I am really happy to be home and back in the studio!  I'll be super busy this month writing lesson plans and teaching at The Scrappy Quilter this month!  Our next show isn't until September in Austin so I have a few months to breath!