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Total Eclipse Heart Pouch Tutorial

Grab your copy of the Total Eclipse Heart Block and check out this free zip pouch tutorial to turn it into a quick and easy zippered pouch for some serious cuteness!

Total Eclipse Heart Block
Total Eclipse Heart Block in Tula Pink’s Tabby Road and Michael Miller Hashdot

Supplies

  • Supplies/fabrics listed in the Total Eclipse Heart Block pattern – we’ll be making the 7″ x 12″ block.
  • Additional fabric cuts:
    • (2) 1.5″ x 4″ zipper ends cut from exterior fabric
    • (2) 7.5″ x 12.5″ lining for zip pouch
    • (2) 7.5″ x 12.5″ pieces of SF101 fusible interfacing for the lining
    • (1) 7.5″ x 12.5″ for Exterior back of pouch (cut this at 8.5″ x 13.5″ if you plan to quilt it, then trim down to 7.5″ x 12.5″. You may also want to alter your border pieces on the Total Eclipse Heart Block and cut them at (2″ x 5.5″ and 2″ x 13.5″) if you’re quilting the front exterior or the quilt block.)
      • If quilting, you’ll also need (2) 10″ x 15″ batting pieces.
      • If not quilting, cut (2) 7.5″ x 12.5″ pieces of SF101 fusible interfacing for the exterior.
  • 14″ closed end nylon zipper
  • Erasable marking tool (I like to use Frixion pens)
  • Turning tool or chopstick

Instructions

  • To begin, follow the instructions in the Total Eclipse Heart Block pattern to make the 7″ x 12″ block. You’ll need to decide if you want to quilt your zipper pouch or not.
    • If quilting – cut the border pieces at (2) 2″ x 5.5″ and (2) 2″ x 13.5″, instead of the 1.5″ width to give a little extra room for shrinkage. Then sew the pieces on as directed.
    • Make a quilt sandwich, using 2 pieces of scrap fabric (these won’t be seen in the finished pouch) measuring 10″ x 15″ as the back of your quilt sandwich. Place the scrap piece wrong side up, place the batting piece on top of that, then center the 8.5″ x 13.5″ block on top of that and baste the layers together using your favorite method. Make another quilt sandwich with the 8.5″ x 13.5″ Exterior back piece. Quilt as desired, then square up the quilted pieces to measure 7.5″ x 12.5″.
  • If not quilting – Follow the cutting/sewing instructions to make the block, then apply the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the 7.5″ x 12.5″ quilt block, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Do the same for the 7.5″ x 12.5″ Exterior back of pouch.
    • Apply the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of each lining piece.
    • Take the 1.5″ x 4″ zipper end pieces and fold the 1.5″ ends to meet in the center. Press. Fold them in once more to conceal all raw edges and press.
  • Take the 14″ zipper and move the zipper pull in away from the metal teeth a little. Trim your zipper down to measure exactly 12.5″, and make sure you trim the metal bits off when you trim it down. Be very careful to not pull your zipper head off.
  • Take the zipper end pieces and place one end of the zipper butted into the middle of the folded piece. Use clips or pin in place. Repeat for the other end of the zipper. Take to your sewing machine and topstitch 1/8″ from the folded edge to contain the zipper. Trim away the edges of the zipper pieces so they’re even with the zipper tape.
  • Measure and mark the center top 12.5″ edges of all 4 of your fabric pieces. Measure and mark the center of the zipper.

Assembling the Zipper pouch

  • Take the assembled quilt block (quilted or not) and place it right side up. Take the zipper and place it right side down, lining up the centers and the edge of the zipper tape to the top edge of the block. Use clips or pin to secure. Place one lining piece right side down on top of the zipper, sandwiching the zipper between the two layers and matching the centers again. Clip or pin in place. Use a zipper foot to sew through all three layers with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the fabrics wrong sides together away from the zipper and topstitch 1/8″ from the folded edge of the fabric.
  • Take the exterior 7.5″ x 12.5″ piece (quilted or not) and place it
    right side up. Take the zipper (now attached to the quilt block) and place it right side down, lining up the centers and the edge of the zipper tape to the top edge of the block. Use clips or pin to secure. Place the remaining lining piece right side down on top of the zipper, sandwiching the zipper between the two layers and matching the centers again. Clip or pin in place. Use a zipper foot to sew through all three layers with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the fabrics wrong sides together away from the zipper and topstitch 1/8″ from the folded edge of the fabric.
  • Open the zipper. Pull the exteriors and linings apart from eachother and pin the edges of the exterior RST. Do the same with the lining pieces. Pin or clip in place. Mark a 5″ opening centered on the bottom of the lining. This will be left open for turning. Start sewing with your regular pressing foot, and sew all the way around the zip pouch, leaving the opening unsewn.
  • Trim the corners away being careful not to clip the stitches. Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining and push the corners out with a chopstick or turning tool.
  • Fold the raw edges of the opening in by 1/4″ and press. Clip the folded edges together and topstitch or whipstitch closed to close the opening. Push the lining down into the bag and you’re done! Fill that cute little zip pouch up with some goodies and it’s ready to be gifted.
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Inspired Free-Motion Quilting (and giveaway!)

This has been such a busy and exciting week for me! I had a little time away from sewing celebrating the Christmas season with our family (and our daycare was closed for almost two weeks–insert the screaming face emoji here ;). All joking aside, it was wonderful to get to spend so much time with the family and remember what’s important in life! I hope you were able to rest, recharge, and be around the people you love.

Photo courtesy of C&T Publishing

One thing I’m super pumped about is Amanda Leins and Bill Volckening’s new book Inspired Free-Motion Quilting. The book is described as “90 Antique designs reinterpreted for today’s quilter”. I do a lot of custom quilting, and this book is really inspirational, as far as brainstorming designs goes. There are pages of antique quilts with really amazing quilting designs, along with step-by-step instructions on how to execute and master each design. It’s a great reference for seasoned quilters and beginners alike. I’m so excited to be a part of the Inspired Free-Motion Quilting blog hop and team up with Mandy Leins and C&T Publishing to give away one free PDF copy (that means the giveaway is open internationally!!!) of this awesome book! Read to the end for details on how to enter.

As soon as I was able to flip through Inspired Free-Motion Quilting, two designs immediately caught my eye that I knew exactly what I wanted to use them for. My two favorite motifs from the book are “Double lines and orange peel” and “Echoed Crosshatch”. I really enjoy making bags (in addition to the quilting I do), and I like to add a bit of decorative quilting to the exterior of the bag, if I’m able to. I had a new pattern I was really excited to try–The Gloss Cosmetic Bag by Sew Sweetness (Sara Lawson). The pattern is available with purchase of the Minikins Season 2 pattern bundle on Sara’s site.

This is a really great way to spice up some solid fabric–and solid colors show off the quilting with less distractions than prints. I cut the green linen-canvas fabric I had slightly larger than the pattern called for and quilted it prior to assembling the pattern. I loved the instructions and diagrams that are included with the book–they really leave no room for error, even if you’re just starting out. I’m really thrilled with how impactful the design is that I selected from the book. I chose “Double Lines and Orange Peel” for a classic motif that would really look great on a cosmetic bag. I love the definition and texture it gives the solid–in what would otherwise be a really boring cosmetic bag. It’s not as easy to see in the picture, but I opted to skip the orange peels on the patterned fabric on the bottom of the case, and only quilted the echoed crosshatch.

I quilted the bag components on my longarm, but it would be easy to do this sort of quilting on a domestic. Just pop on a walking foot and measure out your straight lines, and follow the simple instructions for free-motion quilting the orange peels between the lines to finish up. I used a slightly contrasting thread color for a little pop, but I’m dying to make another in black canvas with black thread for subtle texture and style.


Amanda and Bill do a fantastic job of sharing some amazing antique quilts and their in depth knowledge of how to reproduce the motifs, and I highly recommend Inspired Free-Motion Quilting as a must have reference for quilters! Make sure you read below to enter the giveaway, and check out the other blog hop participants’ posts for more chances to win!

Giveaway Details

Here’s what you came for!! C&T Publishing has so generously allowed me to give away one PDF copy of Inspired Free-Motion Quilting. All you need to do to enter is like my Instagram post and tag a friend in the comments OR leave a comment on THIS blog post telling me why you’re excited to get a copy of this book! The giveaway is open internationally and will close Sunday, January 13, 2019 at 6:00 PM, CST. The winner will be notified by me soon thereafter. Good luck!!!

 

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Build-A-Block Market Tote Tutorial and Giveaway

Market Tote Tutorial

This week’s blog post has some real treats in it–There’s information about the giveaway that Crafter’s Companion is so generously sponsoring, and a free tutorial for a modern Market Tote.  Check out my previous post for more info about the Build-A-Block.  And I know a lot of you won’t be able to wait for the giveaway results to get your hands on this, so be sure to use the promo code QUILTEASY to purchase the Build-A-Block and you’ll receive a set of threads and a six-piece fat quarter bundle valued at $41.95!!  Free Gift with Code QuiltEasy

I’ve been using the Build-A-Block system and Gemini die cutting machine for a few weeks now, and I’m so excited to be a brand partner with Crafter’s Companion!  The dies that come with the Build-A-Block system make it so easy to cut out all the pieces you need for a project–with no trimming after the fact.  I’m a super fan of half-square triangles and quarter-square triangles, and I use them in just about every pattern I make.  The process is made so much easier by just layering your fabric and die, running it through the Gemini, and cutting it up fast!  If you’d love to get your hands on your very own Gemini and Build-A-Block system, here are the details for the giveaway:

Giveaway Details – a Gemini Machine and Build-A-Block systemBuild a block and gemini

  • Giveaway is sponsored by Crafter’s Companion and opens September 1, 2018 and ends September 14, 2018 at 11:59 PM, PST
  • Winner will be notified via this blog post no later than Monday, September 17, 2018, and must provide a US shipping address once notified.
  • Giveaway prizes can only be shipped in the United States.  Crafter’s Companion reserves up to 30 business days to distribute prize to giveaway winner.
  • In order to enter, you must:
  • Good luck!!!

So I’m really pumped to bring you a free tutorial for the Market Bag–it’s a simple carry all bag with a clean modern look that’s great for the farmer’s market, grocery shopping, gym bag, or whatever you’d love to use it for.  I used Threaders™ Linen Look Cotton in White for the lining of my Market Tote–I like a clean white lining so I can easily spot the things I need in my bag, and the linen feel of the fabric is a little heavier duty than plain quilting cotton, so it will really stand up to the test of time!

Quilted Market Tote Tutorial Market Tote Tutorial

Finished bag dimensions: 16” tall x 13” wide x 6” deep

Materials needed:

  • Gemini™ & Build-A-Block™ die cutting system and 4.5” HST die
  • 4.5” Half square triangle Build-A-Block™ die cutter
  • (2) 23” lengths of 1-1/4” cotton webbing for straps
  • (1) 25” x 45” piece of fabric for the quilt sandwich (will not be visible when bag is complete)
  • (1) 25” x 45” Soft and Stable or 2 pieces of 25” x 45” batting layered together
  • 1 yard of Threaders™ Linen Look Cotton in White sub cut into
    • 20” x 40” for lining
  • 5/8 yard Fabric A (White fabric) sub cut into
    • (25) 5.5” squares
  • 5/8 yard Fabric B (Blue fabric) sub cut into
    • (25) 5.5” squares
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle
  • Thread for piecing
  • Thread for quilting
  • Pre-wound bobbin
  • Thread snips/scissors
  • Binding Clips/sewing pins
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Iron and pressing mat
  • Rotary cutter/ruler/mat
  • Starch (optional)

HST-Half-square triangle, RSO-Right side out, RST-Right sides together, RSD-Right Side Down, RSU-Right Side Up, all seam allowances are 1/4” unless otherwise specified.  It is recommended to starch the fabrics for the HSTs prior to cutting them, as they will be sewn on the bias.  This will help minimize distortion of the fabric.

Cut out and assemble the HST units

  1. Use the 4.5” HST die for the Gemini Build-A-Block to cut the HST units. Follow the steps for layering the fabric in the cutting plates and shims per the Gemini and Build-A-Block instructions.  Layer up to eight of the 5.5” squares of Fabric A at a time in the Gemini, with the 4.5” HST die cutting the fabric.  Position the die so you are able to get two cuts from the square.  Cut a total of 50 HST pieces from Fabric A and 50 HST pieces from Fabric B (see Fig. 1).  Your HSTs will measure 4.5” when completed.
  2. Take one HST piece of Fabric A and one HST piece of Fabric B (see Fig. 2). Place them RST, aligning the diagonal edges, and pin in place.  Sew along the diagonal with a 1/4” seam allowance (see Fig. 3).  Repeat to create a total of 50 half-square triangle blocks.  Press seams.

    Figures 1, 2, 3, and 6
    Figures 1, 2, 3, and 6
  3. Layout the 50 HST blocks created in step 2 into a 5 x 10 grid (see Fig. 4).

    Figure 4
    Figure 4

    You can position the HSTs in any way you like, rotating them, etc.  Sew each row of five blocks together by placing two blocks RST and sewing together with a 1/4” seam allowance (see Fig. 5).

    Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Repeat and sew another block to those two until you have one row of five blocks.  Press seams.

  4. Repeat step 3 until you have used all 50 HST blocks and have ten completed rows.
  5. Take two rows and place them RST and pin in place, being careful to match the seam intersections (see Fig. 6). Sew together with a 1/4” seam allowance.  Repeat until all ten rows are sewn together into one piece (see Fig. 7).

    Figure 7
    Figure 7
  6. Make a quilt sandwich by taking the 25” x 45” piece of fabric for the back of the quilt sandwich and placing it RSD. Layer the Soft and Stable (or batting) on top of it.  Then place the HST pieced top on top of the batting, with the right side up.  Baste the layers together using your desired method.   Quilt as desired.
  7. Take the quilted piece to the cutting mat and use a ruler and rotary cutter to square up and trim away the excess batting and fabric (see Fig. 8). If you quilted the fabric very densely, measure the new dimensions of the quilted piece, as this will sometimes shrink up the fabric a little.  You will use those new dimensions to measure and cut or trim down the lining for the tote bag (if different from 20” x 40”).

Assembling the market tote

  1. Fold the quilted piece in half RST, matching the 20” ends and use binding clips or pin to secure the sides (see Fig. 9). Sew together with a 1/4” seam allowance up each side, leaving the top of the bag unsewn (see Fig. 10).  With the bag still wrong side out, use a ruler to measure and mark a 3” square in each lower corner of the bag (see Fig. 11).  Flip the bag over and repeat on the opposite side.

    Figures 8-11
    Figures 8-11
  2. Make a “tent” with one corner by pinching the bag together, and lining up the lines you just drew with each bottom corner, so the lines you drew give you one straight line to sew on. Pin in place or use binding clips to secure (see Fig. 12).  Sew directly on the line you marked (see Fig. 13).  Repeat for the remaining corner of the bag.  Trim the seam allowance to 1/4” and discard the trimmings (see Fig. 14).

    Figures 12, 13, 14, 17
    Figures 12, 13, 14, 17
  3. Repeat steps 8 and 9 to assemble the lining, with one exception. When sewing the sides of the lining together, leave a 6” opening in the middle of one side for turning the bag right side out at the end.
  4. Turn the quilted exterior RSO and leave the lining wrong side out. Take the quilted exterior and lay it flat.  Measure and mark 6” in from each side seam on one side of the bag.  Place the outer edge of one end of the strap against the 6” mark, with about 1” hanging off the edge of the bag.  Pin or clip in place.  Fold the other edge of the strap over (make sure you’re not twisting the handle) and place its outer edge against the remaining 6” mark, again with about 1” hanging off the edge of the bag (see Fig. 15)

    Figure 15
    Figure 15

    .  Pin or clip this strap in place as well.  Repeat with the remaining strap on the opposite side of the exterior.

  5. Place the exterior (still RSO) inside the lining (still wrong side out), making sure the straps are neatly tucked between the exterior and the lining and still pinned in place (see Fig. 16).

    Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Match the side seams and secure the tops together with binding clips.  Sew the two layers together, catching the straps between the two layers, with a 1/4” seam allowance, backstitching at the start and stop.  Sew all the way around the top of the bag (see Fig. 17).

  6. Carefully turn the bag right side out through the 6” opening in the side of the lining. Prior to tucking the lining down inside of the bag, turn the raw edges of the 6” opening inwards then stitch closed by hand or machine.  Push the lining down inside the bag.
  7. Press the top of the bag so the lining and exterior sit neatly at the top of the bag, then topstitch around the top perimeter of the bag, about 1/8” from the edge (see Fig 18.).

    Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Now you’re ready to fill your modern Market Tote up with all the goodies you can carry!  I hope you’re as excited about the Build-A-Block system as I am–It has significantly cut down on the time I spend preparing my fabrics and eliminating the need to trim all my blocks down.  Sew up this great tote in just a few hours, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!  Happy sewing 🙂

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Top Tips for Sewing with Oilcoth

Top Tips for Sewing with Oilcloth

So I know what you’re thinking…this blog is called “Kustom Kwilts”…what gives with the oilcloth?

There are so many skills in sewing and quilting that can be transferred to other things-garments, bags, household and decor items.  If you can sew a straight line, there are so many other amazing things you could be creating if you’re willing to do a little exploring.  I just released my new Mamacita Tote pattern, which is a perfect fit for using quilting cotton AND alternative fabrics!  The pattern suggests using oilcloth for the lining, and I don’t want to leave you hanging on how to do that (you can also use quilting cotton).  I love to quilt, but I also adore sewing clothing and bags.  I hope I can share some of that love with you!

Mamacita Tote in Quilting Cotton
Mamacita Tote in Quilting Cotton

What do I mean by alternative fabrics??  I’m talking about vinyl, leather, faux leather, and one of my personal favorites, OILCLOTH.  I’d love it if you were willing to read on and open yourself up to some great new possibilities for yourself!

Some of my favorite oilcloth prints
Some of my favorite oilcloth prints 🙂

Let me break it down for you:  A lot of the things you need to know about oilcloth also goes for other vinyl fabrics and faux leathers.  Here are some things you need to know before buying your first yard of oilcloth–

  • It’s water resistant/doesn’t absorb water.
  • It’s relatively inexpensive.
  •  It is super-duper easy to clean.  All you need is a wet paper towel and you can wipe off pretty much anything.
  •  It doesn’t fray.
  •  It’s more stable than quilting cotton, so most of the time it doesn’t need extra interfacing when used in bags.
  • When you use it as a purse lining, it wipes clean and is SO easy to maintain!

    Mamacita Tote with an Oilcloth lining
    Mamacita Tote with an Oilcloth lining

I’m sure I’m leaving a few important things out, but these things alone are pretty fantastic.  There are some things you’ll want to know about sewing with oilcloth and what you want to do a little differently than if you were sewing with regular quilting cotton.

Here are my Top Tips for sewing with OILCLOTH~

  • Don’t ever use an iron to get the wrinkles out!  You will melt the fabric, and more than likely ruin your iron.  I like to either use a blow dryer on low heat to relax wrinkles , or lay the fabric out in the sun on a flat surface for a few hours (I live in Texas, so sometimes it doesn’t take long!)
  • The holes your needle makes in the fabric are permanent.  That means you want to use a longer stitch length (somewhere around 3.5) so you have less perforations in the fabric.  If you’re using a teeny tiny stitch length, your needle is making a ton of holes that’s making your fabric weaker.
  • Don’t use sewing pins!  The holes they make will be permanent.  When securing oilcloth, use clips instead of pins.

    Pins and oilcloth are a big No-No!
    Pins and oilcloth are a big No-No!  Don’t do it!
  • Use a Teflon or non-stick sewing foot to help the oilcloth slide under your foot with ease.  If you don’t have a Teflon foot, you can also stick a piece of satin scotch tape under your sewing foot, and that will help ease the fabric instead of sticking to it.  You can also use tissue paper between the presser foot and the oilcloth, then tear it away when you’re done.
  • Since oilcloth is a little thicker than cotton, try using a slightly larger needle, like one suited for leather or denim.  If you try a smaller needle and it works okay for you, stick with it–because that means the holes the needle makes will be smaller :).

I buy all of my oilcloth at Jack’s Country Store (not an affiliate link).  It seems like an unlikely place to get it, but it’s a pretty fun site, and they have tons of options and cheap shipping.  Are you ready to try it?  Go ahead, be brave!  I have a total oilcloth addiction now, and it’s so easy to work with.  I’d love it if you gave it a go and shared with me how you used oilcloth in your next sewing project!  Happy sewing 🙂

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It’s finally here! The Mamacita Tote Pattern Release!!!

Mamacita Tote

Today is the official release day for the Mamacita Tote Pattern!  Hip hip hooray!!!  I’d love to tell you the story behind this pattern and why it’s so dear to me.

Mamacita Tote with Serape
Mamacita Tote with Serape

When I first started sewing, I loved to make things that were useful (that still applies today).  I love the feeling I get when I plan a project and sewing that last stitch, and the overwhelming feeling of pride I get when I know I made something that I love (or someone else will love).  I loved quilting, but I loved making bags even more.  I used to be an agriculture science teacher, so my purses were always getting filthy from being at stock shows and around livestock all the time.  I did some research on fabrics that were easy to clean, and I came across oilcloth.  Long story short, oilcloth is a wonderful fabric that doesn’t fray, wipes clean, and, in my experience, has a ridiculously long life.  So I’m going to show you my very first go at what evolved into today’s Mamacita Tote:

My very first oilcloth bag
My very first oilcloth bag

It isn’t exactly swoon worthy, but I loved it.  I used this bag for about a week before I realized the importance of interfacing and stabilizer in a bag this size, and made from all oilcloth.  It didn’t stand up on its own and was pretty floppy.  Also, when you sew with oilcloth, the holes made by the needle are permanent.  That means if you don’t lengthen your stitches, you’ll get lots of perforations that will weaken the fabric.  Hence, sewing the straps directly to the oilcloth where all the weight will be stressing the fabric = terrible idea.  I still have this bag in my sewing room and love to bring it out and see how far my design has come since January 2013.  That’s right.  This pattern has been FIVE YEARS in the making.

I needed a better way to attach the straps and I wanted a more stable, sturdy bag.  So another year of trying out different things and I came up with using large drapery grommets as the strap attachments.  I really loved this, but after I got a package of grommets from the manufacturer and they were all cracked from shipping, it was time to rethink using them.  I couldn’t risk having one break and then go through the hassle of replacing them all the time.  Quality supplies are my top priority.

The second generation Mamacita Loca bag
The second generation Mamacita Loca bag

I really like embroidering the vinyl or quilting it (or both!) and adding unique embellishments to make each bag unique.  Late in 2017, I have the absolute best version of this bag that I could dream of.  I’ve made over 200 of these bags, and even sell custom Mamacitas on Etsy.  They have an updated strap attachment that is stylish and functional, and I love the look of them.  I recently made my favorite Mamacita Tote EVER from Tula Pink’s latest line- De La Luna in quilting cotton.  Although I really like using oilcloth for the lining since it’s so easy to clean, I love the bright and vibrant colors in Tula’s line, so I’ll sacrifice the wipability for that, and just try really hard to keep my 1.5 year old from spilling her milk in it 😉

Mamacita Tote in De La Luna
Mamacita Tote in De La Luna

The Mamacita Tote has been my ultimate labor of love, and I know this pattern by heart.  I love that the lining keeps me organized with all the pockets, and that I can still be stylish or trendy with my fabrics.  Every time I make one, I remember how much I’ve grown as a sewist and how much I’ve learned from all my trial and error and fearlessness as a novel sewer.  I’d love to see your take on the Mamacita Tote and I hope you’ll share your creations with me (use the hashtag #mamacitatote or tag me @kustomkwilts) so I can see the amazing work you’ve done!

Embroidered Mamacita Totes
Embroidered Mamacita Totes

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DIY Starfish Tote – Sewing Camp with Janome

DIY Starfish Tote

Are you looking for some cute and quick Summer sewing projects?  Then you’ve got to hop over to the 2018 Summer Sewing Camp with Janome!  The first three weeks of projects are already available, and there’s even a cut file for a camp t-shirt.  It’s all the fun and creativity of summer camp without the hefty price tag, so you really can’t go wrong :).  Every Monday, through July 30, a new sewing project will be released that can be finished in a couple of hours with minimal supplies.  You have to check out the DIY Starfish Tote tutorial!

My contribution was Week 3– A DIY starfish tote bag with the option to use an embroidery design (if you have an embroidery machine) and an option to applique the star with a regular sewing machine.  If you want a really quick finish, you can purchase a ready-made tote bag or follow my simple instructions to make your own!

Embroidery
Embroidered/Appliqued Starfish

I used an embroidery/applique design from the Janome Embroidery website and it was so quick and easy to do, I was literally done in 30 minutes with the applique!  I hope you enjoy this quick and easy FREE tutorial–you can download it from the Janome site linked above, or you can download the DIY Starfish Tote here as well 🙂

This is a great project to do with your kids to combat boredom and then load the bag up with some beach towels, sunscreen, and snacks and head over to your local watering hole.  Or if you really want to score some points, gather up some of your kids’ friends and really create the camp feeling!  If you participate in any of the projects, be sure to share what you make with the #janomecamp18 to be entered in the giveaway drawing that will end on August 13, 2018.  They’re giving away a sewing machine AND some other awesome sewing related items, so you’ll definitely want to get in on this!

Happy sewing friends!

 

 

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Summer fun and a DIY first aid kit

DIY first aid kit
Now that summer is here, many people are planning day outings or vacations with the kiddos.  It’s a good idea to have a first aid kit with you in case something happens, and I know I haven’t even kept one in my car (I’m learning, though!).  So this pattern has a free zipper pouch tutorial and a free foundation paper piecing tutorial in it.  Two for the price of one! But not really, because they’re both free 😉  Head over to the AQS Blog and get your free tutorial HERE!

finished foundation block

If you don’t feel like messing around with the band aid block and the paper piecing, you can totally skip that part and just cut two slid pieces of fabric for the front and back.  But those little band aids are so cute!  

I filled my little kit up with band aids, some antiseptic spray and wipes, bandage tape, gauze, and antibiotic ointment.  You can personalize yours however you’d like and maybe sew up an extra one for a friend (or for dad’s car).  The little band aids are a great way to use up small scraps of fabric.  I know I have a hard time throwing any fabric away, so I’ll keep this block pattern close at hand for teacher gifts or whatever!  Happy sewing until next time!

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Quilting on unconventional fabrics – Quilted Notebook bag tutorial

Happy, happy 4th of July!  I hope you’re able to enjoy the holiday with your loved ones and make some great memories.  

Today, I’m excited to share a free tutorial that I created with the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9400 for an awesome project bag.  I’m always scouring the house for bags to load up with notebooks, sketch pads, folders, or whatever I’m currently working on to squeeze in a few extra minutes of work on the go, and this bag has a little extra depth to really protect all those items.  It’s also reversible, so you can make one side to go with the fall season and the other a little brighter to work with spring and summer!

Reversible Notebook Bag

Plus…we’ll take a look at quilting on a thicker fabric than your usual quilting cotton.  I do a lot of quilting and embroidery on leather and faux leather fabrics, and there is a lot of hesitation when it comes to that from some.  When I started sewing, I didn’t take a bunch of classes…rather, I just dove in and experimented to find what worked for me.  I didn’t have anyone there to tell me I shouldn’t try something, or that it wouldn’t work, so I think that was a huge benefit.  For this tutorial, break out that walking foot (or your free motion foot) and try your hand at some geometric quilting.  

Janome Dual Feed Foot quilting geometric lines on faux leather

If you haven’t tried quilting on leather or faux leather before, I’d recommend getting a few scraps of some cheap faux leather–my local Joann’s has lots of remnants on clearance that I grab whenever I can–and do some quick samples.  I usually do my best work on “trash” fabric when there’s no pressure to mess up expensive fabrics.  I’ll make sure my pieces are big enough to make a little cosmetic bag or something with later on, because 9 times out of 10, I end up wishing I could save my sample!  

This really is a quick sew–and you can easily alter the bag measurements to make the bag any size you like, upgrade it to add some pockets on the interior and exterior, or whatever your needs are.  Check out the full tutorial on the American Quilter’s Society Blog and have fun with it!  Go and conquer your fears of quilting on some different fabrics, and happy sewing!

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Variety is the spice of life!


Good morning!  Sometimes I think that when people look at my blog or my Etsy shop that they may not see a cohesive product…and I worry about that a little sometimes.  However, I just enjoy doing all the things that I do too much to get rid of any of them.  I know I could maximize my time and efforts if I chose one endeavor and focused only on that, like quilting or bag making or pattern writing.  But I love them all dearly.  And there’s something to that saying, “Variety is the spice of life”, am I right?  In my previous career, I was an agriculture science teacher.  Let me tell you…that is a job where you never have to worry about having the same day twice!  That’s what made it fun and exciting, and that’s why I love being able to create a multitude of things.  The teacher in my wants to share patterns and tutorials to give a love of sewing to others, and the bright color lover in me (I was obsessed with Lisa Frank, growing up in the 90s!!!) loves to translate that love into bags and quilts.  I know that my “creative process” (I really don’t take myself too seriously, so don’t roll your eyes at that) would suffer if I didn’t have all of these things to throw myself into.   



I love making things that last.  I want the things I create to have some sort of impact.  I want to bring happy colors and joy to people, even if it is in some small way.  So today, I’m going to share one part of my creative business with you that I don’t focus on too much on the blog.  I started making my Mamacita Loca bags just a few years ago (I still have the very first one I made and don’t ever plan to get rid of it…kind of like when businesses frame their first dollar they make!).  I loved the idea of the embroidered handbags I was seeing at rodeos and stock shows at different vendor booths.  The aesthetic was loud (which I loved), but I wasn’t crazy about the selection of embroidery designs available on the bags.  I started thinking of how much I would LOVE to see some Calaveras embroidered on the bags and more Dia De Los Muertos themed items.  My love for Halloween runs deep, and I always was obsessed with Day of the Dead when I learned about it in high school.  So I started making some simple bags and adding embroidery to them.  I even offer custom embroidered monograms for the bags.  They look really great (and I feel like you don’t have to worry as much about your purse getting stolen!).

Like any endeavor that is started from the ground up, there were lots of things that needed to be improved on.  For one, I had zero background in bag making, aside from some free patterns I had gotten online for some VERY simple quilted bags.  I didn’t really know anything about stabilizers or interfacing.  Luckily, I knew I needed to refine all these things before I offered these bags to my customers.  I am pretty proud of how far they’ve come, and that I still make these bags 100% myself.  No one else touches them, start to finish.  I feel like I’m able to offer a really great, handmade product that can offer a sense of personalized style. 


One of my first Mamacita Loca handbags

This bag was one of my earliest bags (as you can tell from the lighting and poor photography!).  I get most of my skull embroidery designs from Urban Threads Embroidery, and I absolutely love their site.  I was a little disillusioned when I first started embroidering before I found them, and was disappointed in how “traditional” most of the embroidery websites were.  I wanted something that felt young and fresh, and they were the answer! 


I’ve moved away a little from the blatant DDLM themes and have started moving towards the boho scene with colorful arrows and a little southwestern influence.  I have always loved Mexican style saddle blankets and started using the serape-fabric with the faux leather for a really bold look. 

Anyway, I don’t plan on editing out bag making anytime soon, and I just wanted to share this part of my creative process with you.  I really love the entire process, from selecting the fabrics and then choosing an embroidery design, selecting threads to coordinate with the design and the fabrics, and then putting the whole bag together.  These are available in my Etsy shop under the Mamacita Loca listings, so go have a look HERE!
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Quilt market prep- with hand bags for Leslie Tucker Jenison

So many people in the sewing community are working hard to prep for market in and around the month of October.  I know when I first got an instagram account, I was so jealous of everyone posting the #secretsewing or #marketprep or whatever the hashtag was and hoped that someday I could get in on the action too!  In my local MQG, one of our members-Leslie Tucker Jenison-recently got a fabric line with RJR fabrics and I was asked to quilt a few items and make some bags from her amaing fabric line, Urban Artifacts!  Naturally, I jumped at the chance, and couldn’t wait to get started.  I know this is December and quilt market was in October…life happens, guys!

Reisende Bag in Urban Artifacts Fabric by Leslie Tucker Jenison for RJR Fabrics, pattern by Sew Sweetness

So Leslie selected three really awesome bag patterns for her market booth and the first one was the Reisende bag-a Sew Sweetness pattern.  I really love the look of these fabrics with this pattern and I cannot wait for them to be at my LQS!!!


The next bag Leslie had chosen was the Nora Doctor bag by Swoon patterns.  This pattern is seriously so cool.  I love the vintage looking patterns and these fabrics are also amazing.  

Nora Doctor Bag-Swoon Pattern in Urban Artifacts Fabrics by Leslie Tucker Jenison for RJR fabrics

The final bag I made for Leslie’s booth was the Betty Bowler, also a Swoon Pattern.  Such a great pattern to showcase Leslie’s new fabric line, and I couldn’t be happier with how they all turned out.  I’m so excited that my sweet friend had this opportunity to show off her amazing artistic talents and share her art with everyone!  

Betty Bowler by Swoon Patterns in Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison for RJR Fabrics


If you haven’t tried your hand at making some of these store-quality bags with these awesome patterns, I highly recommend that you grab some great fabric and try one!  I don’t think you’d be disappointed with the results!  Plus, you should go check out Leslie’s fabric line and buy the prints.  Pictured below is Leslie’s full line.  I am SO inspired by the grey/steel color way!


Leslie’s complete line-photo taken from leslietuckerjenison.com