Three bags: two wins, one fail, learning all the time!

Phew! First of all let’s get the weather chat out the way! Of course it is the number one subject here in the UK 😀 After months of cool, very wet weather the temperatures have suddenly ramped up. Here in central southern England we have had a succession of days in the high twenties. The forecast is for rain at the weekend followed by a dry week with much more comfortable low twenties temperatures. My poor tomato plants have gone from being completely water-logged to being fried! Not sure there will be much of a crop to enjoy this year.

Anyho! Some sewing has been going on between sweaty trips to the allotment (we are harvesting raspberries, courgettes and beans at the moment).

I bought a metre each of these Debbie Shore fabrics a few weeks a go with a friend in mind. She loves nature and keeps Doves as pets so the

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Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (262)

Welcome to a belated edition of Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. I hope you have had a weekend full of creative opportunities. Hopefully you will have just enough time to click on the links below to pick up some of the creative inspiration and know-how being shared by members of our Worldwide Quilting Community 🙂

I’m still on my bag-making thing! This week I tried a bag pattern which includes a bit of hardware (bling :-D). The Ana Crossbody Purse by Bagstock Designs was quite a challenge for me but thankfully Julie the Juki was up to the job of powering through multiple layers of fabric, interfacing and foam interlining. Between us we managed to produce a bag with – even if I do say so myself – quite a professional finish 😊

To help with stitching through multiple layers I fitted a Janome Purple Tip needle to my machine. The blurb on the packet reads, ‘The purple tip needle effectively prevents skipped stitches when sewing stretch fabrics, quilt layers and also for sewing across the hem.‘ The needle did produce fairly even sized stitches through the thickest seams and worked well with the Aurifil 40wt thread I used throughout this project.

When it came to top-stitching the narrow ¾” bag strap I came up with a wizard wheeze to keep all the layers together and the open seam edges neatly on top of each other: I threaded the adjustable slider onto the strap and just kept moving it down the long strip of fabric as I carefully stitched the 1/8th inch seam. Worked a treat!

My Ana bag is now listed in my Folksy shop.

I must put my bag-making supplies away now and concentrate on a couple of projects that have imminent deadlines: first my contribution to the Summer Scrap Elimination 2021 goes live on 8th July; second I’m planning a one-to-one beginners course due to start on 9th July. The latter has been particularly good for me; for one it’s exciting to be getting into the teaching groove after a very long break, also preparing the course has got me back designing quilts, something I just haven’t felt in the mood to do for months.

I hope you have your creative sew-jo in motion, giving you a lift and a break from the everyday 🙂 If you are in need of help to get stitching (even though you know it would do you good) I recommend Jo Westfoot’s ‘find your sew-jo‘ article published a couple of months into the first lockdown.

And so to a few of the blog posts that could help inspire us and/or improve our patchwork quilting skills:

It’s Week 2 of the Summer Scrap Elimination 2021 and Swan has a great tutorial showing a way to use up left-over fabric triangles. She also shares a link to Tammy’s scrap busting blog tutorial. Tammy has been experimenting with weaving skinny strips of fabrics on a a simple frame loom – she shares loads of handy tips.

Carole has been given a Quilt of Valor to quilt on her longarm machine. The repeated block design on the quilt top is a chunky Churn Dash with a Sawtooth Star in the centre. It really is a very effective combo. Took me a while to recognise the Churn Dash design – wonder if you see it straight away or have to squint at the photo for a while?

Ever considered Creating an Ombre Quilt? Brittany has made several and has a whole host of tips re. design and fabric choices.

Linking with Michelle for the Beauties Pageant. Linking with Sandra for the DrEAMi link up as my Ana bag certainly wasn’t a planned project and did cause me to drop everything and make it! Also linking with Cheryl for the Favourite Finish Monthly Link Up – there’s a lovely gallery of quilts and more to look through and admire 🙂

Happy Stitching!

Allison

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (261)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Bring along your project(s) and be part of the sharing going on in our Worldwide Quilting Community 🙂 Join in by clicking on the links below and leaving messages in the comment boxes of the blogs you visit. Thank you!

How’s your quilty week been? I’ve enjoyed carving out a bit of sewing time and learning new things along the way. I finished a second Pelican Tote (pattern from Bagstock Designs) and this time around I added a recessed zipper closure. My first time doing this, so I was pleased to achieve a neat finish – the pattern was easy to follow.

I plan to list this bag in my Folksy shop but haven’t been able to put together a collection of product photos – grey clouds are keeping natural light levels far too low for photography.

Last night I took an hour to make the fourth block of the Santa Fe Trail QAL. This block is called Snowflake. It was interesting making the corner Log Cabins and then cutting them in half across the diagonal before stitching the block together. Another new technique for me to try!

I fitted my recently purchased Janome quarter inch foot to Julie the Juki (a 2200 QVP mini) and was not disappointed. The Janome foot gives a perfect scant ¼” seam – very satisfying 🙂 I’ve found the Juki quarter inch foot gives a true ¼” which is just a bit too wide for patchwork piecing.

Here are the first four Santa Fe blocks up on my design wall – each measures 12½” unfinished.

The plan is to create a cohesive quilt using blue scraps from my overflowing blue bin. At the moment the blues I’ve used all seem to be fighting against each other for attention, hopefully my next fabric choices will bring them together. Melva has shared a photo of her finished Santa Fe Trail quilt so we can see how the twelve blocks will fit into a quilt layout. Seeing the finished quilt has made me more determined to stick with this QAL 🙂

A Blog Hop Announcement: This blog, New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting, will be seven years old in October. My blog is my social media home. The connections I’ve made with other bloggers and with readers mean a lot to me. Now, after all these years I’m actually contributing to a ‘blog hop’! I’ll be posting a tutorial on 7th July linked to ‘The Summer Scrap Elimination 2021’ blog hop organised by Swan Sheridan over at Swan Amity Studios. Swan has kicked off Week 1 of the blog hop by posting an original patchwork block with a detailed tutorial. She’s enlisted seven guest designers – including yours truly – to contribute a scrap-busting tutorial to be published on Thursdays from 17th June ’til 22nd July. I’ll endeavour to include the links to the weekly blog hop posts both here and on Instagram– I can see from the contributors list there will be an exciting variety of projects and techniques to get us in the mood to eliminate our scraps!

I’m still a bit behind in reading blog posts but have been making time to catch up, so slowly but surely my email in-box is emptying and I’m getting closer to being up-to-date (with reading blog posts anyway!). Here are this weeks links, I hope you will be inspired and find new bloggers to follow as you click your way through:

I just love the super bright quilt-as-you-go quilt Elana is sharing over on her blog ‘That Fabric Feeling’. So colourful and there’s a story behind the quilt too. Elana also shares the doll clothes she’s making from novelty fabric. They are bright and cheerful too – all her makes are destined for distribution by charities.

Linda has been making keepsakes for family members using scraps of vintage fabrics found as they were clearing her grandparents Ohio farmhouse. How lovely to have something practical and attractive as a tangible link with past and living family members. And here’s the follow-up post of the bitter sweet reunion of family members for a final visit to the farm and an opportunity to distribute the keepsakes.

‘In The Stars’ is the name of Kirsty’s latest quilt pattern. It is designed to be fat quarter friendly and although it’s full of stars there are no points to match! So a great stash buster and quick to piece – win, win!

Have you been to any sewing workshops via Zoom? Yvonne gives us a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run a successful on-line workshop.

Blue fabrics and square shapes have been calling me through the email notifications this week! First there’s a fascinating pattern called ‘Friendship Quilt’ that adds depth to the appearance of the patchwork – pattern available from Myra at Busy Hands Quilts; secondly this Gingham Quilt, a squirrel project, by Sandra at Musings of a Menopausal Melon. Both have me so tempted to dive into a new project…

Katy has made a kaleidoscope quilt using a large African style print cut down into Hourglass blocks. See the finished quilt here and there’s a link to a previous blog post explaining how to cut and piece the blocks.

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday as I can celebrate a finished bag and a house full of not finished projects!

Happy Stitching!

Allison

Making a Bag: How Hard Can It Be?

I invite you to join me on a bag making adventure 🙂 This is a self imposed challenge to learn new skills and maybe, maybe add bag making to my repotoire of workshops. I will endeavour to share with you what I learn as I follow the Pelican Tote pattern from Bagstock Designs. I’ve also be posting on Instagram @allisonreid.neweveverymorning using the hashtag #bagmaking🤔

In the past I have made lined tote bags and one or two zippered pouches but have always shied away from making a bag with zippered  pockets or structured interfacing. The Pelican Tote has both and is labelled a beginner level project. I’ll certainly be putting that to the test 😀

Without further ado, here is what I’ve been learning (skip to the end of the post to find links to online bag making tutorials and book recommendations):

Day 1: Cutting out the fabric pieces and applying fusible interfacing.

  • I followed the pattern requirements, purchasing woven iron-on interfacing, Pelon S-F 101. I fused the interfacing to the fabrics before cutting out the shapes using the templates. The woven interfacing gives quilting cottons a lovely feel and weight – they still move and drape like cotton but don’t crumple, they look smooth and feel soft. (Of course, woven interfacing is more expensive than standard interfacing!).
  • I’m amazed by how much fabric I used! Definitely a surprise. The bag pieces took just about all of the 1¼yds of fabric and all of the 2m of 20″ wide interfacing. Homemade bags, not cheap! Who’d have thought it?

Day 2: Making a zippered external pocket.

  • I followed the pattern instructions, applying some of the tips and techniques I remembered from my bag making research – see links at the end of this post.
  • I struggled to use the zipper foot correctly. I even switched to the standard foot a couple of times. My seam ripper came in handy as my top stitching failed to make the grade! In the end I decided to compromise so my topstitching is about 3/8ths from the seam edge rather than the 1/8th prescribed by the pattern but at least it’s reasonably straight.
I really struggled using a zipper foot on a straight stitch machine! I couldn’t figure out which side I should have the needle!
  • Longer stitch length is required for neat topstitching – how many times did I forget to adjust the stitch length on my machine? *sigh*
  • Matching up fabric prints above and below the zipper is tricky! More unpicking!
I got quite a sense of achievement when the external pocket was finally finished!

Day 3: Making an internal pocket and sewing in foam interfacing.

  • I watched a tutorial by Professor Pincushion to pick up a few extra tips about constructing the internal pocket; stitch across ends of zipper to keep it lying straight was one of the tips I applied. I also watched this quick tutorial by So Sew Easy – she used double-sided ‘wonder tape’ rather than pins to position the zip as does Lisa Lam in her Craftsy Class (see link below). I couldn’t get hold of the tape and someone said it can gum-up machine needles (have you experienced this?) so I fiddled about using my Sewline Glue Pen. The glue wasn’t really strong enough to hold the zipper in place but in the end I managed to stitch the zipper into the letter-box like gap.

  • After the zipper trials stitching the foam interlining to the front and back outer panels was an absolute breeze! I used a long basting stitch. Too late I picked up a tip to smooth out and pin the fabric to the interlining before basting to make sure the fabric didn’t shift or pucker. I didn’t have any real issues with this but I could create a slight bubble of fabric against the basting stitches by sweeping my hands across the fabric surface.

Day 4: Making handles, tabs for magnetic clasps and stitching the bag sides together.

  • I followed the pattern to make fabric shoulder straps. I’d run out of woven interlining so cut strips of Bamboo wadding to give the handles a little body.
  • The instructions for making the tabs were straightforward to follow. I used little pieces of the foam interlining as the ‘extra’ layer to add strength and protect the fabric from the metal clasp. 😀 The magnet in the clasp was really strong – I had real trouble separating the two parts before making the tabs!
Tab basted in place to the top edge of the bag lining.
  • I stitched darts in the bottom corners of the bag exterior and lining pieces as per the pattern before stitching them together. The foam interfacing is really easy to stitch through. I remembered to lengthen the machine stitch to about 3 to help keep the thick layers moving under the machine foot. What I forgot to do was widen the lining seam from ½” to 3/8ths so the lining sits a little bit baggy in the bag – if you know what I mean?

Day 5: Turning right-sides out and top-stitching.

  • I followed the pattern which gives instruction for turning the bag right sides out through the bottom of the internal pocket. Of course, despite all the reminders, I forgot to open the zipper before stitching the lining and exterior bag together – what am I like? 😀 So I had to unpick a few inches of stitching to reach inside and open the zipper! Never mind it was mistake that’s quick to correct! It was quite an effort to push all those layers through the gap in the bottom of the pocket but not impossible. (Birthing a bag is one of my favourite things! Many, many years ago I did seriously consider training to be a midwife!). I was pleased to see that all the squishing and tugging didn’t crease the foam interlining.

  • Final touches included hand sewing the open bottom seam in the internal pocket and machine stitching around the top edge of the bag. Julie the Juki stitches through the thick seams with barely a stutter but top stitching around the rim of the bag was a bit awkward as Julie doesn’t have a free arm option. I found turning the bag inside out was the most comfortable way to have the right side of the bag in view as I stitched.

Hurrah! The bag looks like a bag! It’s a finish!

I’m already sorting through my stash to make another. I’ve downloaded the instructions to add a recessed zip next time around – keep adding on the skills 😉

Here are some handy resources for novice bag makers like myself:

If you are mystified by the types of zippers and their uses then I recommend this link: Information about zippers

I watched this ‘Tips for Using Zippers’ tutorial by the Crafty Gemini before zipping (ha!ha!) through this tutorial by Sew Sweetness to find handy tips re. fitting and top stitching zippers.

For an alternative to using a zipper foot and some other tips take a look at Amista Baker’s short tutorial.

I watched a tutorial by Debbie Shore demonstrating how to create a zippered dividing pocket in a tote bag. I like her relaxed but professional style of presentation.

I’ve also been delving into some courses on Craftsy. I took advantage of the offer to take out a one year subscription for $3. This gives access to all the courses but only for the duration of the subscription. A bargain – as long as I remember to cancel the direct debit instruction prior to the $79.99 being removed from my bank account next year!

  • Joan Hawley ‘Zip It Up: Easy Techniques for Zippered Bags‘.
  • Sara Lawson ‘Building Better Bags: Interfacing & Structure‘. This provides a comprehensive look at the different types of interfacings and linings, their uses and how to apply them. Sara demonstrations methods of attaching zippers when interfacings and linings are being used and gives clear tips showing how to use interfacings to strengthen bag fastenings. There’s also a lesson on finishing bags with bias binding and how to add piping. The course notes include a table comparing interfacings by manufacturer which is a great help when trying to select the right product for a project.
  • Lisa Lam ‘20 Essential Techniques for Better Bags‘. I haven’t finished this course yet, learning lots as I watch. I have Lisa’s book, ‘The Bag Making Bible’ and have been dipping in and out of it throughout the process of making the Pelican Tote.

And a final ‘link’ to Samantha Hussey’s book ‘The Complete Bag Making Masterclass’ which has been another handy resource.

I hope this record of my foray into bag making has provided some useful information or provided you with an opportunity for a knowing smile or two as you recall your first bag-making projects.

Linking with Susan for Midweek Makers .

Allison