Saturday, June 28, 2014

Quilted Bags Sewing Tips

 I've been making more of the "Sew Together " bags I posted about here and here. And I still have more to make. Some I'm gifting now, and I have a whole list of people I should make them for for Christmas gifts! Anyway, some of the tips I'd like to share today apply to any small bag sewing project.

 First, just a couple of things about the Sew Together Bags. They have lots of pockets--perfect for all of your sewing supplies, make-up, jewelry or even electrical cords and chargers. This really is a great pattern.

 I tried to use really fun fabrics for all of the little pockets. That way I'll get to see them every time I open the bag!

You can't really tell from the photos, but I LOVE the way the Fig Tree version turned out (right side in top photo) the best. The reason is I stabilized the outside with Shape Flex before I added Fusible Fleece and did my machine quilting. It made such a difference. I will use layers of both from now on in small bags (if you're using a thicker stabilizer like Soft & Stable I don't think the Shape Flex is as important). The Matryoshka Doll pouch is actually more of a heavy fabric, so I thought it would be fine without the Shape Flex, but I really wish I'd added that in.

I also have some thoughts on zippers. I wanted a zipper with a larger pull tab for the outside zipper...but...the zipper I chose was a heavy duty bag zipper and also wider than a regular zipper. I had to adjust some things when attaching the final binding. Next time I will look for a regular sized zipper with just the larger pull tab and not use a heavy duty zipper that is also wider.

You can find the Sew Together Bag pattern here (disclosure: this is an affiliate link).

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Sewing Room Reveal

This is a "finish it up" post for the Sew Organized series I posted in the month of June. Although I still have a few odds and ends to finish up, I'm so much better organized than I ever have been in this space.  I've received quite a few emails about my cutting table, and I did a little research. The piece is from Klaussner Home Furnishings under their William Mangum Carolina Preserves collection. I bought mine at High Desert Design & Home Furnishings in Mesquite, Nevada. Hope that information helps anyone looking for the same table.

After my organizing was finished up I had some rearranging to do...since some of the furniture was moved I had to change around several of the quilts. I was able to hang up my most recent mini quilt finishes, too!

My room is actually rather small--10 feet by 11 feet, yet I'm amazed at how roomy it seems to be now. We have a larger spare room that would have given me a lot more space, but the lighting isn't as good in that room, so I chose light over space...

I love having the little table next to my machine. I keep my most used items there and don't have to get up to get things like I used to.

The "Painted Ladies" quilt (pattern by Fig Tree & Company and pieced from my scrap bin) was moved over to the wall with the cutting table.

Here are the features I really love about the table. The end has amazing storage! I love the open shelving for fabric storage...

Each drawer holds files which hold all of my patterns...all perfectly organized now...finally!

And the top drawer is shallow but the perfect size to hold scissors, rotary cutters, and my most frequently used rulers.

These last two photos are just to "keep it real." I took these pictures really just for my own use, but I promised a few of you I'd share them at the end of the series. Part of this was the pre-Quilt Market sewing frenzy, but in reality it had been quite a mess for even longer.

It's a pretty good feeling to have it all finished up. Thanks so much to everyone who left comments and suggestions through this process!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mini Shine

This is one of those quilts I've been wanting to make for sooo long! When the mini quilt craze sort of exploded last fall I knew I wanted to make my "Shine" pattern as a mini. It seemed perfectly suited for a mini...

But there were always I kept it on the back burner until "summer." 

And now it's ready! I just love the secondary pattern formed by the corner triangle pieces. And I had fun playing with lots of my Bonnie & Camille scraps to make this one.

The blocks are small--the mini quilt finishes up at 17" x 17", but the block construction method allows for trimming so your corners won't get cut off.

Paper patterns will ship in 1-2 weeks and are available for order in my Etsy shop; however, the PDF files are available now in my Etsy shop and Craftsy shop (Affiliate link for Craftsy).

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Sew Organized: Final Week

Happy Monday...sort of...I'm getting this post up just under the wire for Monday, Pacific time. It's been a busy week--along with my sewing room organization project we've had a sort of house reorganization project, too. My oldest daughter and her husband are moving in with us for a couple of months after my son-in-law's college graduation and while they transition from one city to will be fun to have them here for a little while!

I've decided to list this week's tasks (and the final tasks of the Summer Organizing Series) here on today's post. This will give me a little time to get caught up and will allow everyone to work at their own pace. Notice that the final task is to take an "after" photo. What do you think about a final "parade" of finishes in a week or two?

Day Sixteen: Take a final review.

Is there anything from the earlier steps that you didn't think of then but have since thought of. I noticed a few things while cleaning up for my "after" photos such as: 
  • I need to plan for kit storage. I don't buy a lot of them, but I do have half a dozen I'd like to keep and make one day.
  • I realized I needed a system for my wool project storage. I've just really been working with wool for a little over a year, but I've got a small sampling of projects I need to organize.
  • HST storage: I make a lot of half-square triangles from left overs and from the clippings from corner triangle blocks. I'd really like to think of a great way to organize these. The majority of mine measure 2 1/2" unfinished, but I have larger ones, too.
  • I need  a storage option for 1 1/2" strips. My box is full, and I keep cutting them!
  • Finally, I need a storage solution for left over bits of Shape Flex and Fusible Fleece remnants. I've been making quite a few bags and would really like to keep bigger left overs for future use.

Day Seventeen: Donate or sell items you won't use.

This one is pretty easy. Take those bags to donate and drop them off--get them out of the house before you start keeping things!  Also, list items for sale on Etsy or Ebay.

Day Eighteen: Revise your project "To Do" list.

I found a few things I needed to add to my "to do" list. These are things that didn't make the list the first week I started organizing because I hadn't found the patterns or fabrics yet. So go over your "to do" list. Perhaps some projects have moved closer to the top. Or maybe you've decided something you thought you might do soon is really something for next year. Either way, take stock and reevaluate.

Day Nineteen: Shop for needed items.

Finally! You've probably been waiting for this day. If you have a long list, take it slow. Just keep checking things off as you find them. I actually found that I didn't really need to purchase anything other than supplies for labeling. I'm working with what I have for storage for the items I listed under day sixteen--I actually had a few empty bins after reorganizing.

Day Twenty: Take an "after" photo.

Take an "after" photo of your entire room...or if you've just worked on one area or category--take a good photo of your accomplishment.

I'll have some final thoughts on the organizing process along with photos of my organized space later this week. If there is any topic I might have missed, I'd love to hear about it in the comments...thanks so much for all of the positive comments and suggestions along the way.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Southern Fabric Giveaway

Happy first day of summer here in the northern hemisphere...and what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway from Southern Fabric?!

Aubrey from Southern Fabric is offering a $25 gift card to one of my blog readers. Visit Southern Fabric and come back here to leave a comment with your favorite fabric from the site to enter.

Also...Want to build your stash at 80% OFF?  Here's how. Follow Southern Fabric on Instagram @southernfabric and be a part of their $2 Tuesday Club. Occasionally they offer awesome deals like 80% off of a charm pack, but you have to follow them on instagram to know when and what it is going to be. 

Don't have instagram? You can follow them here on the web to get the code.

You can also sign up for their newsletter to find out about their daily deals.
Good luck, and thanks so much for stopping by!
This giveaway will remain open through Tuesday, June 24th.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Organizing Series

It's the end of another week, and I have a fun task for you to help in organizing your sewing space. It's actually kind of simple, so you might even get to do a little sewing. Remember you can find links to all of the posts in the organizing series here.

Day 15:  Make your shopping list.

Go over your lists, go through your space, and make a list of anything you still think you need to buy to get things more organized. I actually ended up needing to buy very little. I've been doing some organizing in other parts of the house to get ready for my daughter and son-in-law to move in with us for a couple months this summer, and I actually found storage containers in other parts of the house I'm able to use.

Simple assignment, right?  Next week we'll tie up all of the loose ends. I've had a lot of questions about my space, so I'm planning a post with all the details and photos (my room is actually only 10 feet by 11 feet--that seems to be my most commonly e-mailed question since I started this organizing post). I really feel like I have enough space, too, now that it's more organized!

Also...I need to announce the two giveaway winners from the Loopy Ewe giveaway. Congrats to Needled Mom and kshackabq who both win a short stack bundle. I'll be emailing for your mailing info.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Organizing Magazines and Quilt Storage

Day Thirteen: Sort and organize magazines and PDF Patterns.

Most quilters seem to have a terrific supply of wonderful quilting magazines which includes "someday" quilt patterns. While I do save some issues that are just packed full of these kind of projects, for most issues I do the following:

  • On my first reading I turn down the pages of projects I want to make.
  • Usually about a month later (and sometimes even longer) I go through the magazine again. This time I remove the pages of projects I still want to make and place them in plastic page protectors. 
  • Patterns in page protectors are then filed in 3 ring binders from Costco according to pattern type.
  • Think about donating magazines you haven't removed any pages from--senior centers and quilting groups often appreciate these donations. 
  • For a while I didn't print out most of my PDF patterns--I simply accessed them from my iPad when sewing. But I think it's important to print out a hard copy and have been trying to do that to add to my files. Plastic sheet protectors in a binder or file system work terrific for these patterns.

This method of sorting magazine patterns has really worked well for me for years. Occasionally the binders need to be sorted, too--and I try to do that at least once or twice a year. 

Mini Blossom pattern by Fig Tree & Company

Day Fourteen: Plan Quilt Storage

How do you store your quilts? Do you change out wall hangings, table runners, and pillows for seasonal use? I love to change up the "quilty" decor in my home, and by changing things up every once in a while I'm able to save on pillow forms by changing out pillow tops instead of buying a new insert for every pillow I make.

Table runners are easy to store: I like to roll them up and store in drawers.

Actually, rolling quilts is my preferred way of storing them. It keeps them wrinkle-free. This method does, however, take a lot of space. I'm thinking about having some additional shelves built above my top closet shelves to accommodate a few more quilts.

Cabinets, trunks, baskets and large bins also provide fun ways to store quilts. I have a whole Pinterest board of ideas for storing quilts!

Speaking of quilt storage and display--I'm getting ready to hang my latest mini quilts in my sewing room today. I make a hanging pocket which is sewn into my binding and stitched down by hand on the lower edge. I usually try to match the backing fabric if possible. I use this method for anything 24" and bigger that needs a rod pocket.

Don't forget that all of the organizing series post links can be found here. Thanks so much for the wonderful comments on this series, too. I'm hoping to get to emails and thank everyone personally today!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nested Churn Dash Quilt Along

Today is my day in the Nested Churn Dash Quilt Along! I'm happy I can finally share my finished mini quilt with this block (I wasn't sure how much I could share before my "official" day, so I'm sorry for the sneak peeks here and there)!

This block and this quilt were so much fun! I'm definitely going to make a larger version later this summer--I'm trying to decide between a patriotic quilt or a Christmas one from my scraps! 

 I knew from the beginning I wanted something bright and cheery for my growing mini wall in my sewing room, and the polka dots in the new Moda "Dottie" collection were calling my name. I thought it would be a lot of fun to combine them with some of my favorite low-volume and text print fabrics.

And then Abby suggested the perfect quilting, so I sent my mini over to her (I'll use this same quilting design when I make my larger version--love it)!

So, just a little bit about my process as I sewed. It went together quickly, and I know even making 9 or 16 of these blocks for a large quilt will go quickly as well. My next version is going to be a scrappy one...this is such a terrific pattern for scraps because you can use a lot of pieces that really aren't that big to make a fun, big block.  Jane's cutting directions are terrific--they are all in a table which makes it easy to read.

I did all of the strip piecing first, and I "chain pieced" every one of these sections--it went super fast.

Next I made all of the half-square triangles for the entire block; again, I chain pieced. Jane's instructions allow for the hst's to be trimmed to the perfect size: win-win--my favorite method, too!

And then the fun really begins. With every step I was in love with my block. Of course I had to snap a picture each step of the way.

I just enjoyed every step of this process. Since my parts and pieces were all ready to go, it really went quickly, too!

The contrast between the yellow polka dots from April Showers, the yellow polka dots from Dottie, and the Sweetwater text print might be my favorite part of the entire block.

The navy polka dot is from Avalon by Fig Tree & Company, and I believe I even have polka dots from Vintage Modern in here, too.

I felt like it needed a pop of red for the binding, so I used the Moda Essential dots for that. 

I used Aurifil thread for this project...I love the creamy 2021 for piecing, and I used the red #2250 for a perfect match with my binding.

If you are thinking about making this quilt block and/or quilt I certainly recommend it--the block pattern is just $2 in Jane's Craftsy shop (affiliate link). Be sure you drop by these incredible blogs to see their projects...

June 10th - Kim Niedzwiecki -
June 11th - Pat Sloan -
June 12th - Lissa Alexander -
June 13th - Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop
June 16th - Frances Newcombe -

And coming up soon we will be delighted with projects from these talented people.

June 19th - Sara Lawson -
June 20th - Amy Smart -
June 21st - Katy Jones -

Upload your finished blocks or projects to the Flickr Group to win some beautiful Aurifil thread packs and other great prizes. Use #NestedChurnDash on IG, FB, Flickr and twitter. Winners will be announced 30th July 2014.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'll be back with the next post in my Organizing Series tomorrow!

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Organizing Patterns & Books

Happy Monday! Welcome back to the Summer Organizing Series! Remember that you can always go back to the first post to find links to the later posts. I update each time I add new information. We are moving on with the second half of the series this week--hopefully everyone is making good progress; I know I am very happy with the changes I've been making.

We will be moving ahead this week to tackle all of the paper in our sewing rooms, and today we will be working on books and patterns.

Day Eleven: Sort and organize quilting books.

This one is going to be easy or hard depending on how many sewing and quilting books you've collected. Here are some ideas:

  • Separate your reference books and guides and store them together.
  • Keep books by the same author together.
  • Sort by style: modern, traditional, applique, etc.
  • Sort alphabetically by author. 
Choose a method you like and be consistent. While you are sorting and re-organizing, make sure to take out any books you might want to sell or donate. What I've done in the past is to designate a certain number of shelves for quilting books. When they fill up I have to get rid of something to add in something new. 

Day Twelve: Sort and organize patterns.

This actually took me a lot more time than I thought it would, but I am so happy with  my progress. I've always stored all of my patterns in baskets and bins throughout my sewing room, and I've kept some of them stored that way, but I made a big change that has been especially helpful.

I love storing my mini-sized patterns in small fabric baskets and small containers. I didn't change any of my older mini pattern storage. I know where to find my Schnibbles patterns, they are a fun part of my decor, and I decided not to change that.

I did, however, move some of my other mini patterns...if they fit into a general category like "small bag," "table runner," or "table topper" then they got re-organized.

 I've always kept my jumbo sized patterns in these decorative file bins, and I didn't move those either. I know the designers whose patterns are this size, and it's easy for me to quickly locate something I'm looking for here.

What I did change up was the patterns in this large metal basket. I don't know how many patterns were in here, but there were a lot. This basket had grown pretty heavy, and whenever I needed to find something I had to sort through a jumble of patterns by a variety of designers. So this is what I did: I decided to utilize two of the drawers in my new cutting table as filing drawers. In one drawer I set up hanging files for quilt patterns and divided the files into these categories:
  • Bucket List Quilts (quilts I want to start soon)
  • Current projects
  • Fat Quarter Quilts
  • Jelly Roll Quilts
  • Layer Cake Quilts
  • Quilts by Designer 

In the other drawer I also used hanging files for other other quilting patterns other than large quilts. Here are the categories I set up:

  • Aprons
  • Baby
  • Bags
  • Bags, small
  • Christmas
  • Embroidery
  • Kitchen
  • Mini wall quilts
  • Paper Piecing
  • Pincushions
  • Runners
  • Sewing Kits
  • Toppers
  • Wall hangings

I just can't even believe how much I love this filing system. I can now locate everything quickly. It's also great because I have pdf patterns I've printed from my home computer that I now have filed exactly where they belong. While I was organizing patterns I also pulled some to donate to friends. I was surprised that I only found one duplicate pattern, too!

Happy organizing...I have some fun "what I've been working on when I'm not organizing" posts to share this week, and I'll also be back with more organizing tips, too.

Thanks so very much for stopping by!

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