Draw-string Shoulder Bag Tutorial

Last fall I had a really fun time making this bag as part of a challenge using Dritz sewing supplies. All along I’ve planned to share a tutorial to make this bag and here it is. (finally.)
Last Spring I got these mini charms of Carolyn Friedlander prints at quilt market. While I was there I saw Lee Chappell’s amazing bag she made with a similar palette and was inspired to make something like it. (While we used similar colors, our styles and construction techniques are very different.  Lee’s bag is amazing. You can find the pattern here.)

Here are the fabric requirements for this drawstring bag version. 
  • 32 squares 2 1/2” x 2 1/2” (this is a great pattern for using up mini charm collections.)
  • 1/2 yard of heavier-weight fabric for bag exterior
    • cut one strip 2 3/4” x 33”
    • cut one strip 15 1/4” x width of fabric and sub cut into two pieces 6” x 15  1/4” and two pieces 8” x 15 1/4”
  • 1/2 yard fabric lining
    • cut into two pieces 16″ x 15 1/4”
    • cut 1 1/2” x 10” piece (optional for swivel hook attachment)
  • 1/6 yard contrast fabric for shoulder strap and draw-string
    • cut one strip 2 3/4” x 33”
    • cut one strip 2 1/2” x 42”
  • Fat Quarter for pocket
    • cut pocket 14 1/2” x 11 1/2” (or two if desired)
  • Two 18″ x 16″ pieces of batting
  • 8 Dritz grommets + grommet tools
  • 1 Dritz swivel hook (optional)
*I used 1/4” seams throughout.
Sew the 2 1/2” x 2 1/2” charms into four rows of 8 squares.
Carefully cut each of the four strips in half lengthwise to become 1 1/4” wide strips. Trim 
1 1/4” piece off the end of each strip to make them 1 1/4” x 15 1/4”. (I trimmed a different end off the two strips, just to be exciting.)
Sew four strips together, staggering the seams by alternating which side starts or ends with the 1 1/4” piece. Press seams all one direction. This will create two patchwork panels for the sides of the bag.
Sew each patchwork panel between a 6″ x 15 1/4” exterior fabric and an 8” x 15 1/4” piece to create the outside of the bag. Press seams toward the patchwork. (I used a heavier-weight, linen looking woven fabric for my bag exterior.) 
Center the exterior sides of the bag on top of a piece of batting and spray baste in place. Quilt the exterior pieces horizontally across the bag. My lines are about a 1/2” apart, but you could do whatever width you like. I used my walking foot for this.

The quilting is optional, but here’s a contrast showing off the great texture that the quilting creates. Also, I suggest using a thread color that contrasts with your bag exterior color.  I originally started by using the same color as the linen, but it didn’t show up or look nearly as interesting.

Place the exterior sides of the bag right-sides-together and sew sides and bottom together, leaving top open.

To make the bottom gusset (or square bottom) of your bag: after sewing exterior pieces together, cut a 2 1/2” x 2 1/2” square notch out of the bottom of both corners. Pinch open corner edges together, matching up the bottom and side seams and sew them together. Repeat with other side. Press seams open.

Creating an interior pocket. Cut a 14 1/2” x 11 1/2” rectangle. (Two if you’d like a pocket on each side.)
Fold in half, right sides together to create a 7 1/4” x 11 1/2” rectangle. Sew three sides together, leaving a small opening for turning right-sides out. Clip corners.
Turn pocket right sides out, tuck in the seam allowance at the opening, and press well. Top stitch along one of the long sides of your pocket piece. 
Center pocket piece 5″ from the top of one of the 16” x 15 1/4” panel pieces with the topstitched long edge at the top. Pin and sew pocket in place starting at the top of one side (backstitch a few times to secure it), around the bottom, and up the other side. Backstitch a few times at the top to keep in secure.
Put two 16” x 15 1/4” pieces right sides together (make sure the height is 16″ and the width is 15 1/4”. Starting at the top of one side, sew down one side, across the bottom, and back up the other side. Cut a 2 1/2” x 2 1/2” notch out of the two bottom corners. Press seams open.
Match up bottom and side seams and sew the opening closed to create the bottom gussets. Turn top edge down 1/2” and press it down.
Turn exterior bag piece right-sides-out. Turn top edge down 1/2” and press in place. Carefully put bag lining inside the exterior piece, match up side seams and clip or pin top edges together. 
This is the first time I’ve ever added a fancy attachment to a bag like the Dritz Swivel Hook. (I don’t think I would have done it, had it not been for the Dritz challenge. I had just never thought to do so!) They’re available almost anywhere you can by notions. It was SO easy – now I’ll do this for every bag so I’m not always digging around the bottom of my bag for my keys.
Attaching the swivel hook: take 1 1/2” x 10” strip. Fold in half lenthwise and press. Open up and fold sides in to the press crease, press again. Now fold back together so that the strip is folded into equal fourths. Sew strap piece together with seams on both sides and down the center for added strength. Thread strap piece through the round end of the swivel hook and match strip ends together.
Pin swivel-hook strap ends about 3/4” inside the exterior and interior bag pieces. (I choose to put mine close to one of the side seams.) Now sew top edges of the bag together. I sewed about 1/4” away from the top and then topstiched again around the top edge.
Decorative drawstring: take 2 1/2” x 42” strip of fabric. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Fold sides in toward the center crease and press again. Fold together so the strip is in fourths. Sew two side seams to hold all layers together. Carefully fold up ends and sew them down to finish them.

Now time for the grommets. Can I just say here that grommets have always intimidated me? Thanks again to the Dritz challenge for finally getting me to take the plunge, because they were SO much easier than I imagined!

I used the 3/8” Dritz Grommets that come in a package of 8. To atatch them you’ll also need the simple Grommet Tools and a hammer. (Again, all of these notions are available widely where ever notions are found.) First mark on your bag where you’d like the grommets to end up. I marked mine starting 1 1/2” inches from the top of the bag and 2” from the side seams, then spread 3 1/2” apart so that the fourth grommet is again roughly 2” away from the seam. You’ll need to make a hole through both layers of fabric. I used a sharp dowel to start the hole and then carefully widened it using the grommet openings. Check out the Dritz website for a tutorial using the grommets and grommets tools.

I used a sharp dowel to start the hole and then carefully widened it using the grommet openings. Check out the Dritz website for a tutorial using the grommets and grommets tools.

Shoulder strap. Match the two right sides together of the 2 3/4” x 32” exterior strap and the 2 3/4” x 32” lining piece and sew then together with two side seams. (Optional – I quilted my exterior piece with a piece of batting, similar to the bag exterior and to give the strap some extra thickness. Do this before you sew the exterior piece to the lining piece.)

Turn strap right-sides out and press. Turn ends 1/4” inside both ends. Topstich about 1/4” away from  the side seams – to look nice and to keep the strap pieces from shifting.

Crease each strap end in half vertically to find the center. Center the strap by placing the crease on the side seam and about 2” down.

Sew strap securely in place.

Thread drawstring through the grommets and you’re ready to go! (Doesn’t that sunshine look nice this time of year?)

If you decide to make one yourself, I’d love to see your version! Share it on the Flickr group or tag it with #DOQpouchbag on twitter or Instagram!

Finished Baby Quilt + Tutorial

Sewing has been minimal lately. Life’s been a little full (hello December!) but I did get the Stick-Shift baby quilt quilted and bound. It was nice to have some mindless straight-line quilting to work on when I had a minute to sit at the sewing machine.

This quilt is made from Sweetwater’s new Boathouse Collection for Moda. I used a Jolly Bar (collection of pre-cuts) from the Fat Quarter Shop. Yardage should be available soon from the Fat Quarter Shop and Fabricworm as well as other fabric retailers. I’m such a sucker for nautical colors.
For the backing I was determined to use something I already had on hand, and I found this home dec gingham from Ikea in my stash, waiting for just the right project to back. Check.
I love the way this one turned out. I haven’t decided if I’m going to sell this one, or just hold onto it for a future baby present. Probably will end up being the latter.
Here’s a little bit of the reality behind the scenes around here right now. (Avert your eyes if piles of stuff stresses you out.) We’re still in the middle of remodeling our kitchen and family room. The kitchen is making progress – the family room is in flux. As a result a lot of junk from that room is currently piled up in our dining room/sewing space. It’s not pretty, and doesn’t do much to add to the Christmas ambiance, but I’m excited that we’re making progress. It’s also motivating me to clean-out and de-junk. I’ve made two trips to drop off at the thrift store this week!
Remember, there is a free tutorial for this pattern. I used the Jolly Bars, but it would also work with Jelly Roll strips. Click here for the tutorial for this quilt. If you make one, I’d love to see it!

Patchwork Tree Quilt Block Tutorial

Earlier this week I shared some little patchwork tree blocks I’d been making. I loved sewing them together into this little patchwork forest mini-quilt. The method for making this blocks is quick and fun and I’m going to show you how right now! (How exciting can life get?)
For my palette I chose a variety of greens in different shades and scales, to create interest and depth. I paired the greens with white-background prints and pulled in just a little bit of red. I like that it gives a hint of Christmas, while still letting the green and white be the dominant colors. You’ll also need a few scraps of brown for the trunks.

Using this method you’ll be making two tree blocks at the same time. First pick two contrasting fabrics. From each fabric cut a 4 1/2” x 4 1/2” square and two 2” x 1 1/2” rectangles. From the brown scraps cut two 1” x 1 1/2” rectangles.

Stack the two 4 1/2” x 4 1/2” squares on top of each other, with both right sides facing up. Using a ruler and a rotary cutter, cut one side of your ‘tree shape. Pull the right side away and make a second diagonal cut to create a triangle ‘tree’ shape. Keep these pairs together, if you are mass-cutting your blocks at once.

You can cut all of your pairs the same way (such as 60 degree triangles) or you can cut each pair slightly different by cutting the triangles at different heights, angles, etc. I really loved giving the trees a little bit of personality and making them all different. This project is very ‘improv’ inspired, so have fun experimenting!

Using the original pair of squares, mix the white sides with the green ‘tree’ and the green side triangles with the white ‘tree’. Lay the contrasting ‘tree’ triangle, right sides together and sew it to the left-side triangle. (Your first seam will always be the line of your second cut.) 
Make sure that the top tip of the ‘tree’ triangle extends 1/4” beyond the top edge of the side triangle and sew a 1/4” seam. Open up ‘tree’ piece and press seam allowance to one side.
Sew the second side-triangle to the other side of the ‘tree’ triangle.

Again, make sure the top triangle extends a 1/4” beyond the top edge of the pieced block. Press seam to one side. Square-off the top edge of the block and the bottom edges of the background triangles so that they are even with the ‘tree’ bottom.

To add the trunk, sew the brown ‘trunk’ piece in between the two coordinating background prints. Press seams toward the brown.

Sew the trunk unit to the bottom of the tree unit. The trunk unit might be wider than the tree unit. That’s okay- just center the trunk under your tree and sew it in place. Then square off sides of the finished block to make them straight edges. My blocks were squared to 3 3/4” wide by 5” long. Yours might be different. All that matters is that all of you blocks are the same size.  
You could change the scale on these blocks as much as you want by starting with bigger or smaller pieces of fabric. The versatility is endless and it’s such an easy one to personalize.
I sewed 25 blocks into a mini quilt. My borders are 2 1/2″ wide finished, but you can certainly make yours however you so desire. Remember, this doesn’t need to be perfect. A little bit wonky and a little bit improv-y makes a statement too. Feel free to make it your own.
I quilted very simply just using straight lines to give the quilt texture, but not distract from the trees. (And because straight lines is all I really feel confident doing.)
I used a red micro-dot as the binding for this quilt to give a tiny bit more red to the design. I purposely made the binding small though, to keep it minimal.
These blocks could be used in all kinds of ways. They’re SO quick to assemble that you could make a whole forest really quickly. I plan to make a couple more pillows or a table runner. I also made a block into a little mini patchwork tag/ornament.

I have a tutorial for the ornament assembly, as well as another little tree block over at the U-Create blog this week. Patchwork Tree Ornament tutorial here.

Since making mine, I’m noticing other little triangle trees pop up on Instagram and blogs. (Great minds!) Like this beautiful Fall Forest pattern and quilt-along at Little Blue Bell.

Have fun making them! And if you make some of your own share them on my Facebook page or tag them with the hashtag #holidaypatchworkforest. I’d love to see all the variations!

      

If you are looking for other simple sewing projects for Christmas you might be interested in one of these: Felt Snowflake, Easy Stocking, and a Star Quilt Block.

Patchwork Pumpkin quilt block and table runner tutorial

A couple of years ago I made this simple patchwork pumpkin throw pillow. It’s an easy project perfect for using up scraps. Here’s a tutorial for this quilt block as well as some other patchwork pumpkin projects to make some quick scrappy Halloween decorations. 
Quilt Block tutorial (13 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ finished)
Fabric requirements:
16 orange squares 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ 
17 black squares 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″
1 black square 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″
1 green square 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″
1 black strip 1 1/2″ x 14″
1 black strip 1 3/4″ x 14″
To create the 16-patch pumpkin block begin by matching 4 black 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ squares with 4 orange 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ squares. Draw a diagonal line on the back of the orange squares and sew pairs together directly on the line. Trim 1/4″ away from seam allowance and press blocks open, pressing seams toward the black.
Layout remaining orange 2 3/4″ squares with new half-square-triangle orange and black blocks into four rows of four.
Sew together into four rows, pressing seams in alternating directions, every other row.
Sew four rows together.
To create green stem blocks, match-up a green 2 3/4″ block with a black 2 3/4″ block. Draw a diagonal line on the back of the green and sew directly on the line. Trim 1/4″ away and press block open. Match up a 1 1/2″ square in the corner of the green triangle. Draw a diagonal line and sew directly on the line. Trim 1/4″ away and press corner open. Repeat four times to make 5 stem blocks.
To create stem row, use 3 other black 2 3/4″ squares and sew together into a row of four. Press seams all one direction.
Attach stem rows to the ‘top’ of each of the 5 pumpkin blocks.
Sew two rows of five 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ black squares. Sew to both sides of the pumpkin block. Add black 1 1/2″ x 14″ strip to the top of the block and black 1 3/4″ strip to the bottom of the block. 
To use as a pillow, use your favorite pillow finishing method and stuff with a 14″ x 14″ pillow form.
This patchwork block works as part of a larger 15 1/4″ x 60″ table runner. 
This look includes a variety of styles of pumpkin blocks to make it an even scrappier and unpredictable patch of pumpkins, good for showing off larger pumpkin prints as well. This row version could be easily replicated to make an entire quilt.
Fabric Requirements for the table runner:
  • 4-5 assorted orange and black fat quarters or assorted scraps
  • Sashing 1/2 yard black print (I used the black spiders from Too Cute to Spook)
  • Green solid: 1/8 yard
  • Gingham Binding: 3/8 yard
  • Backing: 1 1/8 yard

Cutting
From assorted oranges cut:
2 squares 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″
8 squares 5″ x 5″
16 squares 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″
From black sashing yardage cut:
5 strips 2 1/2″ x 42″. Sub cut 2 strips into 6 pieces 2 1/2″ x 11 3/4″. Use remaining strips to create two 2 1/2″ x 60″ border strips.
From black scraps (including sashing print) cut:
40 squares 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″
5 squares 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″
From green cut:
5 squares 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″
From binding cut 4 strips 2 1/2″ x 42″
Take four of the 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ black squares and draw one diagonal line across them. Place them in the four corners of the 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ orange blocks. Sew directly on all four diagonal lines. 
Trim 1/4″ away and press new corners open, pressing seams toward the black.
Sew 2 four-patch blocks with the eight 5″ x 5″ squares and add corners to those blocks as well.
To create the 16-patch pumpkin block begin by matching 4 black 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ squares with 4 orange 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ squares. Draw a diagonal line on the back of the orange squares and sew pairs together directly on the line. Trim 1/4″ away from seam allowance and press blocks open, pressing seams toward the black.
Layout remaining orange 2 3/4″ squares with new half-square-triangle orange and black blocks into four rows of four.
Sew together into four rows, pressing seams in alternating directions, every other row.
Sew four rows together.
To create green stem blocks, match-up a green 2 3/4″ block with a black 2 3/4″ block. Draw a diagonal line on the back of the green and sew directly on the line. Trim 1/4″ away and press block open. Match up a 1 1/2″ square in the corner of the green triangle. Draw a diagonal line and sew directly on the line. Trim 1/4″ away and press corner open. Repeat four times to make 5 stem blocks.
To create stem row, use 3 other black 2 3/4″ squares and sew together into a row of four. Press seams all one direction.
Attach stem rows to the ‘top’ of each of the 5 pumpkin blocks.
Layout five pumpkins in a row, rotating the second and the fourth the opposite direction. Sew the six 2 1/2″ x 11 3/4″ strips alternating between the five pumpkins and at both ends. Press seams towards the sashing strips.
Add two 2 1/2″ x 60″ strips to top and bottom of row of pumpkins. Press toward the sashing strips.
From backing fabric cut two 20″ x 42″ pieces and sew them together end to end. Trim backing to 20″ x 66″. Now you are ready to quilt. Baste top and bottom pieces with batting in between. 
Quilt as desired. I used simple straight cross-hatching lines. (For more details about basting and quilting see this post.)
Sew four 2 1/2″ x 42″ gingham strips together end to end to create binding. Binding a quilt tutorial here

And there you go – a simple patchwork pumpkin Halloween quilt table runner. You could easily multiply this project by six, creating six rows to make a darling Halloween quilt.

Happy sewing and spooking!