Thursday, May 31, 2012

Zig or Zag

Hiya!  Just wanted to share a sneak peek of what I've been working on ...

What do you think?  I just love Millie's Closet! :-) 

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

One More Day to Save

Happy Wednesday!  :-)

Just checking in to let those of you who don't get our newsletter know that there's still ONE MORE DAY to save 15% on all regularly priced merchandise (including new fabrics!) in the shop.  Just use "MAY15" in the coupon code at checkout.  Sale ends 5/31/12.

See you tomorrow with some pretty projects!

Happy Sewing!  :-)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Design Challenge: Summer Breeze Patchwork Tote Tutorial

This post is part of the Design Challenge Series here at Sew Lux.  Thanks to Anita for being our featured blogger this month ... here's her lovely project!

Summer Breeze Patchwork Tote Tutorial
I was so excited to be asked to share a tutorial here at Sew Lux Blog.  After having sewn handbags for years, I decided that this Fat Quarter Bundle would look great in a bag for summer.  If you have any questions about the process, feel free to ask.

What you need:
6 Fat Quarters of Summer Breeze II  (For sale here.)
Fusible Thermolan(or Fleece)
Fusible Heavy Interfacing
Fusible Medium Interfacing
Regular Size Magnetic Snap
Small Magnetic Snap (optional)
Button (optional)
9” zipper or larger (optional interior zippered pocket)
 **Sew with 1/4" Seam throughout, unless otherwise noted.**
This pattern can be made by a beginner, but some experience quilting/sewing bags would be beneficial.

Handles –
Select a dark and light FQ for the handles.
From Dark FQ Cut – Two, 2” x LOFQ Strips. (Use this piece for the two small interior side strips below.)
From Light FQ Cut – Two, 2 ½” x LOFQ Strips (Set aside for squares)
Cut out from Fusible Thermolan – Two, 2” x LOFQ strips, fuse to dark fabric.
With right sides facing, line up one edge of the light and dark handle strips; you can pin or hold while you sew.  Stitch down the entire length of the handle.  After you finish, flip and stitch the other side; pinning or holding together.

Next, with a rod(dowl, pen, etc.), flip the handle so that the fabric is facing out.  Then press.  Stitch 1/4" seam along both sides of the handles to make them more durable.  I actually do this twice by running my 1/4" guide along the first row of stitches, as I think it looks nicer.  
**Repeat for second handle.**

Trim both handles to the same length and set aside for later.

Interior – Set aside for later
Main Piece – Cut One 12 ½” x 21 ½” Piece (Set remainder aside for squares)
Side Pieces – Cut Two 2 1/8” x 21 ½” Pieces (Set remainder aside for squares)
Line all three pieces with Heavy fusible interfacing and set aside until later.

Front Pocket Lining – Set aside for later
Cut One 8” square of fabric.
Line with fusible medium interfacing.

Optional Interior Zippered Pocket –
*From same fabric as Front Pocket Lining (above)*
Cut One 9” x 14” Piece
Line with fusible medium interfacing.

Interior Pocket Linings – Set aside for later
Cut one 5 ½” x 13” from one FQ (Set remainder aside for squares)
Cut one 8” x 13” from one FQ (Set remainder aside for squares)

From remaining fabrics cut an assortment of 88, 3” squares.  Set any remaining fabric or squares aside.
My remaining scraps after completing the entire tote.
Bag Exterior
Create a patchwork rectangle from your 3” squares – (54 Squares)
6 squares across
9 rows
Line with Fusible Thermolan and Quilt (I chose to Free-Motion quilt my pieces.)

After cutting your squares, you will want to lay them out and then begin sewing rows.  
Be sure to press each row in opposite directions.  This makes lining up the seams easier.  
After sewing the rows together, line this piece with fusible thermolan.
You may now quilt your bag as you choose.  I chose Free Motion, but considered line quilting also.
Next you will attach your handles, with the light fabric facing toward the quilted bag.  Pin each side on the second block; edge of handle running along your first seam.  Baste each handle onto the bag and remove pins.
 Set this portion aside while you work on the pocket.

Front Pocket – Create a patchwork square – (9 Squares)
3 squares across
3 rows
Line with Fusible Thermolan and Quilt
At this point, if you have decided you would like your pocket to close, you may add a small magnetic snap.  Measure 1" down from the top of the lining and 4" into the center of your 8" square and attach one portion of the magnetic snap.  Here is a tutorial if you're new to adding snaps.
With the snap at the top, position your quilted pocket onto the lining square, right sides facing, pinning the edges.  Be sure to leave a 3" opening at the bottom where you do not sew.  This will give you space to flip the pocket the correct way.  After sewing your 1/4" seam around all sides, snip the corners of the square. Be careful not to cut your sewn seam.  
 Flip the pocket, poke out the corners nicely, and press carefully, making sure that the back is not showing out at the front.  After pressing, sew a 1/4" seam across the top of the pocket.
Now you are ready to attach the pocket to the front of your bag.  You will need to add the second half of your magnetic snap at this point.  Decide first where your pocket will be placed. (It will need to be 1/3 to 1/2 way on the first row of squares in order to fit on the front of the bag.)  Then attach the second half of the snap.
Next, make sure your pocket is level, pin and sew the three sides with a 1/4" seam.  Remove the pins and sew an additional 1/8" seam around the same three sides.
Next you will carefully match the seams of the squares on the side of the bag, as you pin the right sides together and sew 1/4" seam on both sides of the bag.  If you are not careful here, your rows will be off in the side seams.
 Next you will poke out the corner points, making sure to line you side seam up with the center block on the inside of the bag.  I pin it when I have it matching, then press the triangle point flat on the outside.  Line the seam up with a line on your ruler and the point fixed on 2".  Draw a line with a pencil and then sew on your line.  Trim the corner point away.  Repeat for the second side of the bag.
 Flip your bag, so the right side is facing out and set aside.

Interior pockets Front – Create a patchwork rectangle – (10 Squares)
5 squares across
2 rows
Line with Heavy Fusible Interfacing

Interior pocket Back - Create a patchwork rectangle – (15 Squares)
5 squares across
3 rows
Line with Heavy Fusible Interfacing
With right sides facing, pin your cut lining pieces (above) to the patchwork pieces you've created, along the length on both sides.  Sew a 1/4" seam along both pinned edges.  Remove pins and flip.  Press and then sew along the top of both pockets a 1/4" seam.
Next you will pin your 3x5 square pocket to one side of the interior, which you had previously cut and set aside.  Pin the sides at 1 3/4" from the top, with the portion you stitched along the top.  You will then pin the bottom portion of the pocket and sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.  I divided this section of pockets into two parts, you can decide how many you would like.  Simply draw a line and stitch where you want the divisions. (Please note that the pockets will hang slightly over the center portion of the bag.  The excess will need to be trimmed away after you complete the above steps.)

You will then add your magnetic snap to the center of the bag, directly above your large pockets.  Be sure to measure and mark at the center and do not place it too high.  By my measurements it was placed at 1 1/4" from the top and 6 1/4" from one edge.
Repeat the same steps on the opposite side with the 2x5 square pocket, except measure down 3 3/4" before beginning the steps.  This will give you room for your optional zipper pocket.  I divided this strip of pockets into three sections.

**Optional Zipper Pocket**
You can find an excellent tutorial here for adding a zipper pocket.  I will show pictures, but not describe the process.

Next you will add your magnetic snap, being careful not to cut your pocket.  I held my pocket back while I placed the snap at 1 1/4" x 6 1/4" as noted above.
Next, sew your two remaining interior side pieces onto the sides of the finished section with pockets.  Press the seams toward the outside and then stitch down along the pressed seam about 1/8".
Fold the lining, right sides facing, and pin along both edges.  Be sure to leave a 5" section along one side open, not sewn, so you will be able to flip the bag later.  You will make the corners for the lining using the same method mentioned above for the bag, except you will want to make the triangle points only 1 3/4".  Trim and leave the lining as is; do not flip.

You're almost done!
Insert the finished bag into the lining, right sides facing.  Line up the side seams and then pin around the entire top portion of the bag.  Sew a 1/4" seam around the top of the bag.  Remove pins and flip by pulling the bag through the opening you left in the side of the lining.

Pin the opening that you just pulled the bag through and stitch it closed as close to the edge as you possibly can.  

Finally, flip the lining into the bag.  Pin around the top portion, making sure that the inside of the bag is tucked slightly down inwards as you pin.  Stitch the final stitches around the top of the bag at 1/4".  I usually make my stitch length 3-4 at this point.  Trim any lose threads.  Add any additional accents you might wish - I added a simple button - and you're FINISHED!!!

 Your completed tote...