Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Beauty of Roses

As a flower in the garden
Bending toward the sun,
Unfolds it's tiny petals
One , by one, by one...
So faith expands it's beauty
Until at last it grows
Into life's lasting flower....
The heart's fair perfect rose.
~Rebecca Helmann~

Enjoy my Knockout Roses and have a good day!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Necktie Bag Tutorial

Last fall I made a small bag to carry either my iPod or my cell phone.  It has a long strap to wear cross body to keep my hands free to do other things.  I can also carry a little cash by dropping it down the tip of the bag where it collects in the bottom.IMG_7338What a bunch of pretty neckties and they are destined to become more small purses.  When looking for neckties to make these small bags choose neckties as wide as you can find.  These ties measured around 4” wide at the largest end.  I would not choose any smaller ones or the bag will not be large enough to hold an iPod or cell phone.  IMG_7521The first step is to cut off the length needed to make the bag.  Measure and cut the necktie 15” from the tip.  Save the rest of the tie to make the strap so set it aside.IMG_7523The first step is to unstitch the seam on the necktie and press the seams open.  The seams in the original tie are large and can be pressed to a narrower width – one pressed under and the other left flat.  The reason I do this is to make the narrower end of this tie piece wider so you can get the widest pocket possible.  I cut a 1/4” piece of fusible and press it to the underside of the folded seam.  Fold the other side over the interfacing as wide as possible then the side with the fusible and press (paper removed of course.)  I do hand stitch this seam closed even though it is fused shut as I found it can loosen with folding and unfolding the flap on the bag.  Leave the interfacing inside this section so the purse/bag has enough body to hold it’s shape.
The next step is to zig zag the edges of the narrow end together then fold over about a 3/8”, press and stitch down with a straight stitch.  As you can see this hem is pressed to the seam side of the necktie.IMG_7530Fold up the narrow end and fit your cell phone or iPod into the pocket and stitch the sides.  I do have one bag I made for a friend that I need to make the pocket wider and longer.  Her cell phone would not fit this pocket so I plan to stitch some extra fabric to the sides of the pocket so I can make a pocket to hold the wider cell phone.  I will add some length to the pocket too to accommodate the longer cell phone.  It is a good idea to pin the pocket and fit the phone before stitching – save yourself some ripping that way.IMG_7531Making the strap - Take the interfacing out of the left over necktie section and press it flat.  I trimmed the seams to 1/4” and added fusible to the seam allowances and pressed them flat to the body of the necktie.  I found the the fused seams were easier to deal with and stopped the fabric from fraying too.
IMG_7534 IMG_7536
Fold the fabric in half and cut two strips the length of the fabric that are 1 3/4” wide. IMG_7541Seam the lengths together to make one long strip.  Treat the seam the same as the others in this strip.IMG_7544
I used cording I purchased in the drapery department of JoAnn Fabrics for the inside of my strap.  It is just a twisted cotton cording.  I chose a size that is approximately 3/8” in diameter.  That is the size I chose to fill the strap but make yours thicker or thinner – your choice.  Cut a piece of cording a couple of inches longer than your fabric strip.

I like using the cording foot #59 for my Bernina sewing machine to stitch the strap or you could use a zipper foot or what ever foot you find with your machine to do this job.  Before starting to stitch I took a piece of clear packing tape and taped one end forming a point (check out the photos.)  This will come in handy to thread the cording back into the tube after stitching.  Lay the cording (un-taped end at this end) along the center of the right side of the fabric strip and  bring the raw edges together.  Straight stitch across the end of the cording inside the tie fabric to secure.  Now start stitching the length of the strap by enclosing the cording as you stitch along the length.  This is where the #59 foot really comes in handy as the cording just moves along under the foot.  I moved the needle position to stitch a little closer to the cord. 

One thing to check is to make sure you are not catching the cording in the stitching and need the stitching not right next to the cording either.  Give yourself a little slack to make turning the tube and inserting the cording back inside much easier.  If the stitching is too close to the cording it will be tough to thread the cording inside after it is turned.  You may want to experiment with a scrap of tie fabric and scrap of cording to figure out the best seam allowance.  As you can see from the photos below the seam allowance is trimmed down to 1/4” before it is turned so I don't worry too much about the width of the seam allowance but just try to keep the tube width the same as I stitch with the cording inside it.  Tie fabric is pretty slippery so if the seams slip apart it is no big deal since they are trimmed down afterward anyway.
Turn the strap right side out by pulling the cording.  After the strap is turned inside out cut off the cording where it was seamed to the end.  Insert thet taped pointed end inside the tube and work it to the other end filling the tube with the cording.IMG_7543 Next step is to cut a piece of the tie fabric 2” wide and about 4” long.  Press 1/2” in on both sides.  At this point you need to figure out how long a strap you need.  As I mentioned earlier I make my straps long enough to carry the bag cross body so they are pretty long – 57”.   I pin the strap to the bag in a position where the flap will fold over.  This strap is stitched together in a circle so take that into account too.  Stitch the two ends to the sides of the little strip then wrap it around the corded strap trimming off the excess if not needed.  The end is turned under and stitched down to secure the join in the corded strap.  I hope this is not too hard to understand – check out the photos to help.
IMG_7647 IMG_7648
Fold the flap over so the point meets the end and mark with pins.  This is the place where the strap will be stitched.  Stitch across the strap on each end, positioning the joined ends on the inside of the flap.  It is important not to stitch across from one side to the other end as the end of the bag will be open from the tip down and extra “stuff” can be carried in this pocket too.IMG_7650
The last step is to stitch a large snap to the tip and base of the outside pocket.  Ta – Da….it’s done!
IMG_7651 IMG_7652
Here are the 13 bags I made from neckties.  One thing I didn’t say was I purchased most of these ties from Goodwill or thrift stores.  I do believe most of them were brand new ties so I didn’t have to worry about stains.
IMG_7653 IMG_7654
Well – this is certainly a long post and photo heavy but I needed the photos to help tell the story since my explanations are not always clear.  I believe in the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Until Later,

Friday, May 25, 2012

More Guild Panel Challenges

The unveiling of the guild challenge quilts happened a week ago at our monthly meeting.  The unveiling night is always so much fun as everyone gets to show and tell about their quilt for the first time since we were to keep it a secret until then.  We had 8 participate which is about normal and several of us had made two and my friend G made several pieces some that I showed in the last email.  Here are two more quilts she made with panels for this challenge.
IMG_8567  She pieced the cherries and appliqued the cupcake to the center – a great cheery quilt.IMG_8569
This last quilt is one that G made too from a panel with houses.  She lined them up added yo-yos to embellish it and pieced the dental molding looking border.  The two quilts were machine quilted as were all the other pieces she made with the panel like mine.

A. also made two wall quilts from the panels for the challenge.  The first was a giant iris that she cut out and appliqued to her backing.  The second one has huge rick rack on the sashing seams and lots of embellishments. 
V. made two Christmas wall hangings from one panel.  She embellished the printed squares with beads, glitter, embroidery.  Her workmanship is so nice and they turned out so cute.
V’s sister S. also made two wall hangings and they were embellished with embroidery, glitter and beads.
D. found some panels in block form that have trees and wildlife on them printed in browns – they almost look embroidered.  She made a quilt that would be great to cuddle up with on the couch.  A very pretty quilt.
M. kept her panel intact and pieced the red and white border that resembles a candy cane then added a folded flange border in the middle of the outside border.  It was so cute.
Z. divided up her panel added borders and had it quilted.  I love seeing what panels members chose to use for their challenge.
M. made this wall hanging with a train themed panel for one of her sons.  The cute tree piecing added so much to the piece.  Love the skinny red border as it really sets off the train.
This is a second panel challenge that M made.  I just love the bird block and the diagonal piecing she did in the border.
It was fun and we all enjoyed a closer look at all of them after the meeting.  The details are wonderful.

Until Later,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

No Reply Comment

Recently I have gotten several comments on blog posts that have "no reply" attached to their email address.  What this means that I can not send a reply back to you and if you have asked a question I can not answer or I can not thank you for commenting. 

That is fine if that is what you really want - no reply from me, but some of you may not be aware that your comment is being sent out as "no reply".

Here are some links to good blog posts from Sew Many Ways Blog explaining how to check to see if you are "no reply".  Recently Blogger changed their dashboard and that made changes to some email replies as well so those that have never had "no reply" email might want to check it out to be sure Blogger didn't change it for you.

Sew Many Ways May 23, 2012 
Sew Many Ways Dec. 19, 2011
Sew Many Ways Feb. 19, 2011
Sew Many Ways Sept. 25, 2009

You may be wondering why I put the photo of the Bachelor's Button flower at the top....just because it is pretty, no other reason!

Happy Blogging...Lynn

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Challenge Number Two

I really had not planned to do a second challenge quilt but I ended up using this panel too.  I was shopping  with a couple friends at a quilt shop one day (see how innocently this story starts out.)  I purchased what I wanted and was just standing around looking at the fabric my friend G was having cut off the bolts.  She was buying a panel and I made the comment that I had one just like it at home.  Of course my friend immediately challenged me to make something from the one I had and she would do the same with hers.

I cut it apart and started thinking about what I wanted to do with it.  I thought and thought and just couldn’t come up with anything.  Finally about a week before I needed it to be done I decided to use some of the blocks to make a table runner.  Nothing too exciting I know but I was running out of time.  Here it is – I added the green fabric and the red fabric then machine quilted it.IMG_8539
I decided to practice machine quilting  background fillers on the quilt and selected different ones for each section.  IMG_8540
IMG_8541 IMG_8542
Now you are probably wondering what my friend G did with her panel.  We had our big reveal Thursday night so here is what she did with hers.  First she made this wall hanging with the fruit blocks from the panel.  Isn’t it cute!  The words are put on with paint sticks and she did a lot of piecing  too.IMG_8570
She also used the rest of the printed blocks, where as my left overs were used for a guild auction.  More about that another time – back to what my friend G did with her left overs.
She made a couple of mats from the large flower blocks, a couple of hot pads from the medium flower blocks, the four small blocks she made into coasters and the longer fruit blocks she made the cutest fabric buckets.  Aren’t they all so nice and she used every single block from the panel.

I am glad I used this panel and it was fun to see what someone else did with the same thing. 

Until Later,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bleeding Heart

My bleeding heart plant had lots of flowers this year but sadly they too have finished blooming so all I have to remind me is this photo.  I love the bursts of color that springtime bring.  This photo was taken sometime ago and all it's flowers are long gone but the memory of them still lingers.



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