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Girls in White Dresses…. {made from curtains!}

2015 May 6

I feel like a re-run of The Sound of Music. Mixing one of my favorite scenes (The Favorite Things Song) with the “play-clothes made from curtains” scene! I didn’t realize until recently that it’s the 50th Anniversary of the movie. Such a good (and slightly terrifying when you are a kid) movie! Julie Andrews is still one of my favorite actresses. (I dare you not to sing the song for the rest of today!)

It’s been clothing central over here for a while now! Seems I’m on a garment kick – though I’ve got other project happening, these seem to be making their way in more often lately. It’s not likely to stop any time soon, Made by Me May (#madebymemay15 #mmm15) is happening and I’m trying to wear a handmade item every day this month. (Follow along on Instagram!)

Wearing handmade has me realizing just how little I’ve made that isn’t a dress or skirt. Not so practical for my everyday life that consists of mostly jeans and tops. So I’ve got sewing on the brain and I’ve got in mind to actually sew the many, many tops I’ve had planned (some from years ago!).

What does that have to do with girls in white dresses? Nothing, really I suppose – except that they get to finally be posted today! These are the girls’ Easter dresses and the photos have been waiting patiently for weeks now. And these are made from free fabric that has a really fun back story!

A while ago I got a box of fabric from my friend. It was full of older Christmas fabric, extra cuts of random knits and wool. The most interesting thing was that about 60% of the box was full of high end curtain and upholstery swatchesand yardage. I don’t remember much about the original owner, my friend was given the box from someone who had gotten it from someone… and so on. I kept what I could use, and my sewing group went through it and now someone at the thrift store is likely having some fun of their own!

These dresses are the Violette Field Threads Annabelle pattern (again!made from Laura Ashley curtain fabric. It’s very light and see-through with embroidered flowers and polka dots. These pattern pieces were cut from everything between 5 yard to 14″ swatch squares. I felt so useful cutting the chevron skirt pieces from the small pieces. I even made the little polka dots line up like buttons on the bodice!

I changed two things for this version. First, I added a lining to the skirt. Because of the light fabric, it needed one to be modest. I merged the skirt pattern pieces into 8 un-pieced panels and cut them from white broadcloth. I combined the 3 pieced chevrons on the outer skirt into 1, which saved a lot of time.Because of course I was working up to the last minute as usual!

 I really love this pattern. Though the skirt is time intensive – the sleeves and bodice come together really quickly. I think I’m going to have to make at least one more for my youngest, since she’s asked already. I’ve got a few ideas for how to use the pattern to make something “non-clothing” as well – gonna add that to my list!

Enough photos? I suppose it’s obvious that I had a hard time narrowing this set down! Until next time…

Reader Feedback: Are you participating in Made by Me May? I’d love to see what you are wearing!

Bundle Up! Violette Field Threads – Ginger {pattern review}

2015 May 4

I’m so excited to be part of another Bundle Up Tour. Pattern Revolution has put together a Women’s Bundle Up grouping this time and these brand new patterns cover everything from jeans to bathing suits, with dresses and tops in-between! When I was trying to decide which pattern to make as part of this tour, I went a bit out of my comfort zone and chose to make another Violette Field Threads pattern – Ginger, in the Misses Version.

Originally I was going to make the peplum top version, but, honestly – if you are going to do something out of the ordinary you may as well go all out, right? So I chose a crazy multi-coloured floral, cut into my hoarded teal chambray scraps and sewed myself a proper party dress! Now all I need is a party to wear it too… or a fancy summer date with my husband!

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I’m generally intimidated by fitted patterns, but I am trying to learn how to tailor patterns to fit properly, so I forged ahead. I would really recommend this pattern as a good place to start making some simple alterations. Since the proper fit is created using two darts on bottom of the front bodice, it is simpler to move them around without causing extra trouble!

When I made my bodice muslin, I found that there was quite a bit of extra space all around, due to my needing a size 2 at the top and size 8 at the waist! The darts were a bit off as well – so I put the muslin on inside out and pinned in the extra fabric so it fit properly. I found taking in an inch on the centre front also moved the darts in so they pointed in the correct direction – perfect!

Thoughts on the pattern:

  • PDF pattern, easy to print, put together, and reprint when necessary.
  • If you choose to make the peplum top you can save quite a bit of paper by choosing to print only the peplum skirt pieces. Super helpful!
  • Violette Field Threads cannot be faulted in their instructions in any way. The steps are well photographed and explained.
  • There are good size and alteration tips to help you along.

Here are a few things I love about it:

  • They rigged the circle skirt to take the fullness out of the hip area. Thank you VFT!
  • Pockets. Pockets! LOVE the pockets. It’s so comfortable to be able to have a pocket to hold a few things. Or a place to put your hand in photographs!
  • Despite it using quite a bit of fabric, it comes together quickly once you start sewing.
  • It’s cute and out of the ordinary! (and, did I mention it has pockets?!)
  • Two versions – you can also make a peplum top.
  • If you are small-busted it works quite well as a strapless top. You don’t even need to add the halter portion!
  • The circle skirt adds fullness without gathers! (Gathers are not my favorite.)
Thoughts on the fit:
  • A woven fabric garment does not generally fit without any alterations. However, everything was properly placed and true to the measurements. My body just doesn’t agree with “average” sizing!
  • It includes sizes 0-16 – quite a good range.
  • There are 3 length options – super helpful.
Things I changed from the original pattern:
  • There is supposed to be an exposed zipper on the back. Since I couldn’t find one, I opted for another super matchy invisible zipper. I installed it using my favorite invisible-zip instructions from the Oliver and S Fairy Tale Dress pattern.

Things I might change next time:

  • I might take a bit of the fullness of the skirt out of the pattern, since it requires a lot of yardage and if there is any kind of wind at all you are left grasping for many, many yards of fabric in order to stay modest!

Don’t miss out on the Bundle – it’s only here for a limited time! Check out the other stops on the blog tour for more real-life inspiration.

Disclosure: I have used my own fabric and supplies to make this dress. However, I was given the Violette Field Threads, Ginger pattern for free as part of the Bundle Up blog tour. My opinions are always my own. Thanks for reading!

Creativ Festival ~ Spring 2015

2015 May 1

I got to meet so many amazing people at this year’s Creativ Festival. I was so much more involved this year – and I met a ton of new creative people and shops! Instead of featuring each shop individually like I have in the past, I’ve assembled photos from quite a few and linked them to their shop. So, if you are looking for something you can find it! (If there isn’t a corresponding website, I’ve captioned the photo with the shop name.)

The spring Creativ Festival is definitely smaller than the Fall show. There are less booths in a smaller overall space – however, I think that the modern fabric presence was only slightly less than the last Fall show. Many traditional shops are buying more modern fabrics, so there is generally something I want to pick up from each shop. Dangerous, yes?!

I think my focus and view on fabric has changed as well – slowly over time – to involve more types of fabrics and more lines. Not so much “all modern, all the time” and now more “use the fabric that’s right for the job”. Apparel fabric for apparel, quilting cotton for quilting (and kids clothes!).

In the vein of trying not to be “all modern, all the time”, I was so happy to find a lovely use of batik fabric that surprised me! The amazing quilt pattern (above, ) from Border Creek Station Pattern Company, incorporates a lot of white for a modern look and the colour is added with batiks. It gives it a lovely watery look that I really love – softer than the solids against white.

I also found an online Canadian source for shot cotton that I’ll be taking full advantage of. I’ve got lots of apparel projects lined up in the next few months and it’s a lovely summery option to work with. I’ve got Flare Fabrics to thank for that! You should see all the colours she stocks!

It was interesting to see a change in the way each booth decided to show their products. Many sellers are not bringing all of their bolts. Instead they are replacing them with 2 yard cuts and some bolts, and lots of fat quarters and 1/2 metre cuts. Even some super cute scrappy bundles. The jars from Country Clothesline below were so cute!

One of the things I really love is to see all of the projects shop owners have created. I got a chance to work on a few projects this year, and it was fun to see a lot of others too. The feather quilt below that Daryl from Fabric Spark made from Echino fabrics is AMAZING! So, so gorgeous, and my favorite piece at the show. The added texture in the Echino lends so much more depth to the colours.

Seems quite a few of the online shops are now also stocking Aurifil as well. I was happy to find that and some knits at the show! Lovely Monaluna knits from Fabric Please. They feel amazing and my youngest has claimed the yard I bought for herself. I think I’ll have some left over, to use for a yoke on something for me. I hope!

Hopefully this post didn’t sound too sales-driven. It’s tricky writing a review without sounding like a sales person, especially when you are writing about lots of shops! I talked to a few new stores as well and am hoping to be able to team up with lots of them to bring you more Canadian online shop interviews and giveaways – yippee! Maybe we’ll see you at the Fall show?

Ruby Pearl Quilts

A “Wee” Little Quilt

2015 April 28

I’m tired y’all! I had an amazing weekend at Creativ Festival – but I think the amount of time and energy I put into getting everything ready is now showing – I haven’t even unpacked or pre-washed any stash yet! I’m going to post a review of the weekend, but first I’ve got a quilt for you. (And, if you are expecting an email from me about the weekend I’ll hopefully get it out tomorrow!)

This is one of the projects I made in collaboration with my sponsor, Fabric Spark - for use at Creativ Festival. It’s a blanket/play mat made using the Wee Gallery collection from Dear Stella. I’d already fallen in love with the front “Dress Me” fabric when Daryl suggested making this quilt for the show. (I’ve got a yard stashed away from when Daryl first listed it!)

After I got the kit I was totally smitten with the backing fabricWild – Alphabet! Would you believe it’s even got a “N is for Narwhal” on there? (If you are looking for the “Dress Me” fabric, this little quilt did its job and now Fabric Spark is sold out of the “Dress Me” print. You can still get Wild – Alphabet here. *EDIT: Apparently Daryl is all sold out of the Alphabet as well.)

The quilt is made using the free “Dress Me Up!” Tutorial by Modern Handcraft on the Dear Stella blog. It’s such a cute idea! The only thing I changed is to use coloured thread for the quilting. In an effort to make it unisex, I used pink, blue, orange, yellow, gray and cream – generally matching the colours on the Alphabet backing – but lighter. I had a false start with a few quilted lines in bright pink and darkish blue that “showed up” too much for my liking.

Using wool felt for the character’s clothing is such a great idea. My oldest has already been designing clothes for them with the left-over felt. I’ve never used wool felt before, and I was so pleased with the quality and feel of the pieces provided in the kit. You can get wool felt from Fabric Spark as well – they have wonderful names like “Pea Soup”, “Vanilla Latte”, “Fresh Linen” and “Bluer than Blue”!

I learned a good lesson from this quilt as well – a quilt does not have to be hard, or even pieced! This whole-cloth quilt was so simple to make – and the end result is so cute! My favorite part is the coloured quilting. I didn’t even use any fancy quilting thread.

My new motto more often needs to be “Simplify Your Projects” and “Done is better than Perfect”!

Your Turn! What is your favorite sewing motto?

Disclaimer: I received this quilt kit at no cost in exchange for it’s use at the Fabric Spark booth during Creativ Festival. All of my opinions are my own and I won’t  take on projects I don’t believe in. Thanks for reading!

Spring Bloom Blog Hop {+ giveaway}

2015 April 25

I’m super excited to be part of the Spring Bloom Blog Hop today! When Amanda from Bella Caronia sent me a photo of her fabrics early last month to see if I’d like to be one of the #springbloommakers it took me all of 30 seconds to reply back – “Yes, please!” Spring Bloom is Amanda’s first collection with Windham Fabrics and I am honored that she has let me play with it! (P.S. Scroll down for the giveaway so you can play with it too! Thanks Windham!)

This Bella Caronia collection seemed to me like I should create a project where several prints were mixed. A quilt would have been great, but since it’s not my strong suit I went with dresses. Dresses with lots of bright pretty colours and mix-matchy prints all in one place – just like a garden!

I decided to make the Ruffled Plaid Madness dress I drafted a few years back – only not in plaid this time. I’ve always wanted to make this dress again and I’m so pleased with how they show off Amanda’s collection! Thankfully our semi-rainy day photoshoot turned out ok too. Just like in spring, flowers bloom with the rainy weather – and apparently flowery fabric too!

Windham Fabrics kindly offered to send me whatever yardage I’d need for this project, but when I sat down to choose I got a bit stuck – so many options! So I let the girls choose their favorites (which happen to be in their favorite colours) and I think they did a great job. It also ensures that they extra-love the finished product. Though, thinking back, I don’t think I’d have a hard time selling layers of ruffles, puffed sleeves and a super-twirly skirt to these girls!

Making this dress turned out to be an exercise in “not forgetting something” that involved this crazy chart and lots of highlighting. With so many ruffles, each skirt front requires 4 or 5 tiers, each one with a ruffle and an under layer to hold it all together. That means lots of pieces, and LOTS of tiny 1/8″ rolled hems. I have never been more grateful that my Janome came with a rolled hem foot. And now I really, really know how to use it. Practice = Perfect – or at least very close!

Since I am a glutton for punishment I made my design based on looks, not “ease of creation“! These dresses curve down to the centre on the back bodice and up on the front bodice I remember going a bit cray-cray drafting the front ruffle the first time. Thankfully everything was already drafted so I could stitch the eight curves per dress so much faster this time around!

These dresses needed to be fully lined, so I also got to work with the new-to-me collection from Marsha Derse called Palette. I love her previous fabrics and the “not-so-solid” batik-like look of these fabrics really soften the colours.

Can I just say that I am super proud and a bit ecstatic over the invisible zipper fabric matching! When I cut matching fabric for the backs of the dresses I was super nervous I couldn’t match it properly – especially with the zipper right in the middle of the back seam! I felt a tad like MacGyver and with some “fabric, a glue stick and an iron” I managed to match it so amazingly well. It’s even a really simple process – really. I know you probably don’t believe me, so I’ll be writing a tutorial about it for sure! (Hint: It’s all in the glue stick!)

A huge shout-out and congratulations to Bella Caronia on their first collection! And thanks so much to Amanda and Windham for including me on this hop. I’m sew lucky! (pun intended!) There’s still a week of amazing projects in this blog hop! Check out the schedule below:

April 20 Windham Fabrics Snip-itsBella Caronia Blog ~ April 21 Leah and Bea Koch – Wintergreen and the Bee ~ April 22 Nell Timmer – Nell’s Notions ~ April 23 Jessica Darling ~ April 24 Kristy Daum – St. Louis Folk Victorian ~ April 25 Sherri Sylvester – Thread Riding Hood ~ April 26 Cindy Wiens – Live a Colorful Life ~ April 27 Krista Hennebury – Poppyprint ~ April 28 Felicity Ronaghan – Felicity Quilts ~ April 29 Casey York – The Studiolo ~ April 30 Janice Ryan – Better Off Thread ~ May 1 Deborah Moebes – Whipstitch ~ May 2 Bella Caronia Blog That’s a Wrap

Windham Fabrics is generously giving away the above amazing fat quarter bundle of Bella Caronia’s Spring Bloom Collection! This giveaway will run from April 25 – May 1, 2015. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter” no social media login entry too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Windham Fabrics sent me this fabric free of charge in exchange for this blog post. I always give you my own, uninfluenced opinion, and would not accept a project I didn’t love! Thanks for reading.

the Swansea bag {pattern review + giveaway}

2015 April 23

Today I get to be part of the “Time to Travel eBook Blog Tour” put together by Sewing with Boys. And yes – I know, I don’t have any boys! I was surprised to get an email from them last month asking if me (with my 2 girls) wanted to be part of this tour. Though their eBook is written with boys in mind, it’s totally appropriate for girls too. I can see them using each of the patterns included in this just-released book. (Scroll down for your chance to enter to win some great prizes!)

As part of the tour I was given a copy of the Swansea Bag pattern written by Stitch Blue Designs. It’s one of the 4 full patterns included in the eBook, along with lots of tips and printables you can use when traveling with kids. The design is modeled after a military-style round duffle bag. And let me tell you – you need this bag! (As usual, despite getting the pattern for free in exchange for this review, my opinion is my always honest and my own. Thanks for reading!)

The girls just started their pre-summer swimming lessons and use a great wet bag for my youngest every week. However, when I saw this pattern I thought it would be perfect to use as a wet bag for my oldest so they could both have their own. Never mind that beach/pool weather is coming soon (I hope!) and we’ll need a carry-all then as well.

The finished Swansea turned out even more perfect than I could have asked for, and it’s huge! We almost don’t need a second bag since the child sized version I made holds both kids’ pajamas, shampoo/soap/hairbrush, large water bottle, snack AND two beach-sized towels. Whew!

Here are a few things I love about it:

  • It’s really large – we’re going to use it SO much this summer.
  • French seams throughout (and the instructions for them are very well explained). This allows the bag to be made super-quickly because it is completely finished inside without the need for a lining!
  • The optional pocket is just the right size for so many things! And I love how it looks with the pocket flap.

Alterations to the original pattern:

  • Added a french-seamed clear plastic liner to make it semi-waterproof.
  • Used two lengths of natural clothesline instead of 1.
  • Buttonholes instead of grommets. Because it’s a wet-bag I didn’t know what the metal would do if continually exposed to water.
  • Dark-coloured contrasting bottom band – because my daughter fell in love with the white-background fabric and I could see it getting instantly dirty!

Thoughts on the pattern:

  • Clearly written, illustrated instructions.
  • Confident beginner friendly pattern.
  • Variations: Two sizes: Child and Youth/Adult. Two closure options. Optional outer pocket.
  • Printed pattern pieces for all pieces – even the large rectangle needed for the body of the bag. That means no measuring and squaring up!

Things I might change next time:

  • I would definitely use a lighter gauge plastic if I lined it again. Making french seams in plastic is not easy on my machine and a lighter gauge would be just as waterproof.
  • I’d love to try one with grommets. It would make a great Christmas gift for my nephews.
I’m so happy I got to be a part of this Sewing with Boys tour. Even if I don’t have any boys! I truly love the Swansea bag, and its quick construction makes it even better. I can see making a lot more of these!

The Time to Travel eBook is on sale until the end of this blog tour (May 1) for only $9.95 – The Swansea bag alone is well worth that cost! Check out the official Sewing with Boys Tour Page for more information, blog tour daily links and to see each of the other patterns in action.

Grand prize: $50 gift certificate to FabricWorm and a copy of Time to Travel* ~ 2nd Prize: 1 yard of fabric from Mabel Madison and a copy of Time to Travel* ~ 3rd Prize: a copy of Time to Travel* ~ But that’s not all! If you buy the eBook during the tour, you’ll be automatically entered to win a $30 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop!

Enter this giveaway through the Raffelcopter widget below. If you buy the eBook and win the giveaway, Sewing with Boys will either refund your money, or send the copy on to a friend of your choice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you coming to Creativ Festival?

2015 April 21

It’s that time of year again. Creativ Festival Spring 2015 is almost upon us! April 24 & 25, creative people of all kinds will descend on the International Centre in Mississauga. As usual, I’m headed over. My goal is to meet as many lovely Thread Riding Hood readers as possible.

With that in mind, I’m pretty sure I’ll be there Friday afternoon and I’m definitely going to be there all day on Saturday. I can’t wait! If you see me, pretty please, come over and say hi! You will honestly make my day. (Yes, Really!) If you want more reasons to go to Creativ, check out these posts: Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014.

This spring Country Clothesline and Fabric Spark, two of my sponsors, asked me to create two new tutorials – both will be kitted and available at the show! I’m really excited about the projects I’ve made with them. Deadlines seem to produce great projects around here, Go figure! I’ve also got quite a few sewn projects that will be featured at the Fabric Spark booth. Two new ones and two oldies-but-goodies – see sneak peeks of the new fabrics below.

Since three of my sponsors will be at the show,  I asked them each to write up a few words about what you can expect at each of their booths, and they kindly agreed. I can’t wait to talk to them in person again. (And see the fabric in person… lots of fabric!)

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“We have been waiting for Spring, and Country Clothesline has it! Kits for the “Pretty Floral Divided Tote“, “Cushy Quilted Cushion” and the “Charming Picnic Quilt” as well as a great selection of our Fresh & Pretty Fabrics!  See you at Booth #364.” ~ Country Clothesline

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“Hi all, Fabric Spark is excited to be back at Creativ Festival this spring with new fabric, pre-cuts, kits, and new bundles.  We loved the shot cotton pillow Sherri made with the Kaffe Fassett charms so we’ve planned another project with her that we’ll be showing off in the booth – and will have kits available. We’d love to hear what you’re working on, come find my sisters and I in booth number 264. Sewists Unite!” ~ Fabric Spark

And for your sneak peek… check out these fabrics! The Wee Gallery is SO CUTE, and of course, Tula Pink… how could you pass up that one. I can’t wait to show you what I am making with them. (If you can’t wait to get some, find Wee Gallery here and the Tula Pink here!)

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Sew Sisters is busy preparing for Creativ Festival and we’re looking forward to meeting all our friends and customers at the show! We’ve got lots of fat quarters, yardage, new kits, books, patterns, and are featuring the very popular Creative Grids Stripology Ruler by Gudrun Erla. So stop by Booth #103!” ~ Sew Sisters

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How’s that for a line-up?! My favorite thing about going to Creativ is meeting you (real, live and in person!). My second favorite? Touching the fabric. Something you really can’t do when you buy most of your stash online!

If you can’t come and want to see what I’m up to, I’ll try to post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as I go. Hopefully I’ll do a good job and not get too distracted by everything going on around me! Follow along here:

Reader Feedback: Are you going to be at Creativ Festival?

Pretty Floral Divided Tote {free pattern & tutorial}

2015 April 15

I’m happy to be able to give you another tutorial today! This is one of my many Creativ Festival projects. I’ve been working with my sponsor Sylvia from Country Clothesline to create this tutorial and she will be selling kits for it at her booth next week. She has provided the fabric for this tote – isn’t it amazing? It just screams warm spring and summer days! The perfect bag for adding a little floral accent to add to your daily life. It’s right on trend too!

The inspiration for this bag came from thoughts of trips to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. Trips to the cottage, or the beach! For that you need some way to divide your towels from your sunscreen, or cucumbers from your fresh strawberry jam!

With that in mind, I decided to make this a divided tote – and then I had to figure out how to do it! Thankfully a few mini-mockups sorted it out quickly enough and I’m so happy with the result. Anything you put into your tote will look 100 times better next to that lovely yellow lining. And your life is a little bit more organized too!

This tote is generously sized at 14″ wide, 5″ deep and is 13″ tall. It only uses 1 yard each of outer and lining fabric! And, despite my convincing speech about the divider, you can make this tote without it. I’ve included a section in the directions below to tell you how to do that.

The lovely pink bouquet fabric is Olivia in Pink. And the yellow (and fast becoming my favorite!) is Olivia Floral in Yellow. I’m loving the pop of the blue on yellow!

As usual, please feel free to use my patterns/tutorials for your personal projects and gifts and for charitable fundraising events. Please do not sell anything made with this pattern. If you are interested in making this item for sale, please contact me and I will set up a license for it in the shop. Thank you!

Seam allowance 3/8″ OR 1/4″ as noted throughout the tutorial.

Materials:

Printing the Pattern:

  • Download the Pattern Pieces using the link in the Materials listing. Print out all 4 pages of the pdf on letter size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 paper. Important: Do not select “fit to page” when printing, make sure you print at the original size. Once you have printed the pages, measure the 1″ test square to ensure the pattern is the correct size.
  • Cut the pages on the outer gray lines and tape/glue the pages together, matching the letters in the gray half-circles.
  • Cut out both pattern pieces – now you are ready to cut!
Make the Tote without the Divider:
  • Do not cut the divider as noted in the cutting layouts & measurements.
  • Follow Steps 4 and 5 for sewing the outer tote to stitch the lining.
  • You will need very marginally less interfacing, all other yardage stays the same.

Cutting:

  • Pre-wash your fabric if desired and press well.
  • See below & pattern pieces for fabric cutting layouts and measurements for cutting fabric that does not have a pattern piece.
  • Lining - Divider: CUT 2 – 15″ wide x 10 3/4″ high, Strap: CUT 1 – 2.5″ x 42″, Pocket: CUT 1 on fold, Body: CUT 2 on fold
  • Outer - Strap: CUT 1 – 2.5″ x 42″, Pocket: CUT 1 on fold, Body: CUT 2 on fold
  • Interfacing - Divider: Cut 1 – 15″ wide x 10 3/4″ high, Outer Pocket: CUT 1 on fold, Lining Body: CUT 2 on fold
  • Fusible Fleece - Strap: CUT 2 – 1″ x 21″, Divider: CUT 1 – 15″ wide x 10 3/4″ high, Outer Body: CUT 2 on fold

Prepare your Fabric:

  • Fuse Interfacing to: 1 Divider, 1 Outer Pocket, 2 Lining Body
  • Fuse Fusible Fleece to: 1 Divider, 2 Outer Body – NOTE: DO NOT fuse fleece to strap yet. We will do this later.

Here we sew!

Handles:

  1. Pin & stitch the two strap pieces together lengthwise with a 1/4″ seam. Press seam allowance open.
  2. Fold each side lengthwise to the centre seam. Fold again at the centre seam to make a 1″ wide strap.
  3. Cut the strap into 2 pieces 21″ long. Now you have two straps.
  4. Open the folds on each strap, place fusible fleece on outer strap fabric within the folds next to the centre seam.
  5. Re-fold each strap, press well fuse the fleece.
  6. Top stitch about 1/8″ away from the edge of each strap and once in the centre.
Pocket:
  1. Place pocket outer and lining Right Sides Together (RST). Stitch pocket with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 3″ opening at the bottom.
  2. Trim the corners. Press the seam allowance up along the opening.
  3. Turn the pocket right side out through the opening. Press well. Top stitch the top curved edge of the pocket.
  4. Centre the pocket on the Outer Front, 3 1/2″ up from the bottom. Pin & stitch the sides and bottom close to the edge. This will also close the bottom opening.
Divider:
  1. Place divider pieces RST. Mark the left and right bottom corners 1″ from each corner. Draw a diagonal line to connect the marks.
  2. Pin and stitch along the marked lines and along the top edge with a 1/4″ seam.
  3. Trim corner seam allowances to 1/4″.
  4. Turn the divider right side out. Press all 3 seams well. Top stitch the top edge of the divider.

Lining: 

  1. Layer Lining/Divider/Lining, with the divider centred on the bottom edge of the lining pieces. Lining will be RST.
  2. Pin and stitch the bottom edge with a 3/8″ seam.
  3. Fold the lining back, away from the divider on both sides. Pin, this allows the sides to be sewn without accidentally sewing over the bottom edge.
  4. Match the bottom lining side with the side of the divider. The lining will extend 1″ below the divider on the bottom edge.
  5. Match the other lining side. Pin, stitch with a 3/8″ seam. Un-pin the bottom pulled back fabric from step 3.
  6. Press seam allowances away from the divider on the sides and bottom edges.
  7. Open and align the corner raw edges of each side so the side seams align with the bottom seam. This creates a boxed corner. Pin with seam allowances open.
  8. Stitch the two pinned edges with a  3/8″ seam.
Check out your awesome divided lining. Almost done now!
Outer:
  1. Align the outer edge of each strap with the outer edge of each front pocket. Place the outer side of the strap RST with the outer tote. Pin.
  2. The inside edge of the end of the strap will be at the top edge of the bag and the outer edge will be parallel to the outer edge of the bag.
  3. Use the outer front of the tote to find the placement for the outer back strap. Pin. Baste the ends of the front and back straps to the bag with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  4. Place outer front and back RST. Stitch the sides and bottom with a 3/8″ seam. Press seam allowances open as much as possible. Note: It helps to turn the bag right side out to press, then turn inside out again to continue.
  5. Open and align the bottom raw un-sewn corners so the side seams align with the bottom seam. This creates a boxed corner. Pin with seam allowances open. Stitch with a 3/8″ seam.
Finish the Tote:
  1. Turn outer right side out. Place outer inside  lining with RST. Align top edges and pin.
  2. Find the relatively straight area at the top edge of the tote – next to the side seam. Mark a 4″ opening.
  3. Stitch around the top of the bag with a 3/8″ seam, leave the opening un-sewn.
  4. Clip and notch the top curve. Press the seam allowance open along the opening.
  5. Turn your tote through the opening. Press and pin the top edge with the outer turned slightly toward the lining. This helps the lining not to show on the outside of the bag.
  6. Top stitch about 1/8″ away from the top edge of the bag. This will also close the opening.
  7. Note: If desired, use matching thread to hand stitch the lining to the outer bottom edge at each end of the side seam/divider. This will keep the lining in place. Feel through the fabric and stitch the lining to the outer side seam allowance – do not stitch through the bag to the outside.
Give it a good press and you’re done!
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I’d love to see your project! You can share your tote on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links below) using the  hashtags #alongforthreadride and/or #threadridinghood. Thank you!

Disclaimer: The fabric used in this post was given to me by my sponsor, Country Clothesline, for use in this post. I always share my honest opinion about sponsored products. Thanks for reading!

Finlayson Sweater {pattern review}

2015 April 14

I’m excited to be sewing SO MUCH these past few weeks. I can’t wait to show you all of the projects I’m working on towards Creativ Festival – but today, I get to show off the Finlayson Sweater from Thread Theory. Yesterday we went out into the finally-Spring weather and I got a few outdoor photo-shoots taken as well. It’s very nice to mix work and play on a sunny afternoon!

I’m so happy to have a go-to pattern for my husband. In fact, I have made two somethings – two of these sweaters! This is the first one, the other was in the wash, or we would have photographed it as well. Good sign, it being in the wash, since both of these have been worn at least once a week since I made them early this year. Hooray! I would definitely make more, and I don’t think my husband would protest. He really likes them both!

Here are a few things I love about it:

  • My husband loves to wear them! It’s comfortable and still looks nice.
  • The hems are all banded – easier than hemming.
  • It’s fast! Especially with a serger (though you don’t need one).
  • I love that it’s made from knits – the fit is simpler.
  • Lots of variations – shawl collar, decorative neck facing, overlapped lined hood, kangaroo pocket.

Thoughts on the pattern:

  • The instructions are well written.
  • The steps are drawn – not photographed. And well illustrated.
  • It includes Body measurements and Finished Garment measurements. Super helpful when choosing a size.
  • Includes tips for more professional finish, like using clear elastic on the shoulders.

Thoughts on the fit:

  • The pattern includes a good range of sizes, XS-XXL.
  • Based on the measurements, I made a large graded out to an XL at the waist for comfort.
  • I also shortened the length of the sleeves according to the measurements and it worked out great.
  • The finished size and fit was consistent with the measurements given.

Things I might change next time:

  • In my second sweater, I made the bottom of the arms a bit thinner. We liked how it turned out, but the knit was not as stretchy as this version so it’s a bit tight on the lower arms.
  • I’d like to try the shawl collar, but I haven’t found the right fabric yet. Plus it’s finally becoming spring – so maybe we’ll see more of them in the fall.
A note to Thread Theory… Please Morgan, could you design an awesome current-style dress shirt? I’d love to make one!

Reader Feedback: Do you have a favorite Men’s go-to pattern? 

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, and I did not receive this pattern or any compensation it, it’s just really great and I wanted to let you know.

Granny’s Sewing Basket – Tips & Tricks: Elastic Casing

2015 April 9

Have you ever fed elastic or ribbon through a casing, then run into trouble when you  tried to pass the seam allowance? I know it’s “easy” to baste the seam allowance down or adhere them with fusible tape – but it’s even easier with this little trick from Granny! (Find out how this series started.)

Within all Thread Riding Hood patterns and downloadable pdf’s, I’ve included “Notes and Tips from Granny’s Sewing Basket”. Granny capitalizes on the story of Little Red Riding Hood and takes creative license in proposing that Granny loves to sew! Throughout the patterns, these Notes and Tips are included to make your sewing go more smoothly. This series includes tips I’ve found helpful in my personal sewing. Find them pinned here: “Sewing Tips & Tricks” Pinterest board.

When sewing pajama shorts I am always looking for “faster and easier” ways to make them. They get used a lot and the quicker they are to make the more likely it is that I will make more in the future! My elastic generally gets stuck in the seam allowance while I feed it through because I’m too lazy speedy to bother basting or fusing them down. It’s irritating and then I get to fiddle with it until I find the correct place to feed it through.

This time I used my school glue stick to temporarily glue down the allowances before stitching the casing. It holds them down just long enough to get the elastic through. Once the shorts go through the wash the glue will come out – but that’s after I’m finished! Perfect!

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CONGRATULATIONS to the winner of the Kaffe Fassett Charm Pack from Fabric Spark! Jo from the UK was the lucky winner as chosen by the random Rafflecopter widget. She was so pleased because she had already pinned the Charm Pack tutorial for my Spring Charming Throw Pillow – Hooray! Maybe she’ll make one?!

Would you like your own charm pack? Get one from Fabric Spark – Kaffe Fassett Woven Cotton Charm Pack in Light

Hope you’re having a great week! I’m off to the library with my little monkeys – getting some reading for the weekend. See you again soon!

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