On the sixth day of Hack-mas …

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As a gift to you, I’m sharing a hack a day with “recipes” for using my latest book, Hack that Tote!, to create the projects. Some hacks are super easy; others combine elements from multiple patterns in the book. Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to hack a few totes for your holiday gifts!

The sixth Happy Hack-mas project is …

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An appliqued library book tote! This project mashes up the Goodie Bag with Reverse Applique (pg. 40) and the Drawstring Backpack (pg. 54). The shape is really simple and made to hold just a couple of books or even a few magazines. It’s one of my favorite quick projects to make as a gift because it’s easy to personalize, doesn’t use a lot of fabric and sews up oh-so quickly.

On the fifth day of Hack-mas …

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As a gift to you, I’m sharing a hack a day with “recipes” for using my latest book, Hack that Tote!, to create the projects. Some hacks are super easy; others combine elements from multiple patterns in the book. Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to hack a few totes for your holiday gifts!

The fifth Happy Hack-mas project is …

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An insulated lunch bag with zippered top! This project is part scaled-down Basic Tote Bag (pg. 36) and part Zippered Cross-Body Bag (pg. 80). I used laminated cotton for the interior so it’s water resistant and easy to clean — must-have features for a lunch bag, in my opinion. The bag is interfaced with an insulated fleece (Insul-bright), which will help the contents stay at a consistent temperature for a little while. I’d been hoarding the cute food truck fabric from Timeless Treasures for a while and thought this would be a great use for it.

 

On the fourth day of Hack-mas …

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As a gift to you, I’m sharing a hack a day with “recipes” for using my latest book, Hack that Tote!, to create the projects. Some hacks are super easy; others combine elements from multiple patterns in the book. Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to hack a few totes for your holiday gifts!

The fourth Happy Hack-mas project is …

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A embellished wine bottle bag! I really love the Wine-Bottle Bag (pg. 46) in the book and thought it made a great “blank canvas” for embellishing. I made the bag from some beautiful natural Essex linen by Robert Kaufman I had in my stash, then embroidered a simple snowflake with white perle/pearl cotton. Around the top edge of the bag, I crocheted a simple scalloped edge, again with the perle cotton. It looks more complicated than it is!  Starting the edging with a blanket stitch (I draw my marks with a disappearing ink pen) makes the process so much easier.

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On the third day of Hack-mas …

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As a gift to you, I’m sharing a hack a day with “recipes” for using my latest book, Hack that Tote!, to create the projects. Some hacks are super easy; others combine elements from multiple patterns in the book. Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to hack a few totes for your holiday gifts!

The third Happy Hack-mas project is …

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A reusable fabric gift bag! This project is a mash up between the Goodie Bag with Reverse Applique (pg. 40) and the Wine-Bottle Bag (pg. 46). I used the measurements from the first bag and threw in the casing from the second. Since both bags are lined, the construction is virtually identical. I think it’s a great way to personalize a gift and also be friendlier to the environment.

By the way, I’m teaching this very bag in a special $10, one-hour class on 12/17 at Intown Quilters — come join me!

On the second day of Hack-mas …

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As a gift to you, I’m sharing a hack a day with “recipes” for using my latest book, Hack that Tote!, to create the projects. Some hacks are super easy; others combine elements from multiple patterns in the book. Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to hack a few totes for your holiday gifts!

 

The second Happy Hack-mas project is …

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A drawstring shoe bag (Fluevogs not included)! This is a scaled-down version of the Drawstring Backpack (pg. 54), minus the tabs. I also centered the opening for the drawstring, although that was more of a stylistic choice than anything else. I made mine with some beautiful yarn-dyed Essex linen by Robert Kaufman. It’s finished with the same french seams as instructed in the pattern but you could just as easily use a serger/overlocker to finish the seams instead.

By the way, I’m teaching this very bag in a special $10, one-hour class on 12/17 at Intown Quilters — come join me!

On the first day of Hack-mas …

On the first day of Hack-mas …

image-1-9Happy Hack-mas! It’s Dec. 1 and I’m full of holiday happiness — and sewing. This year has just flown by and one of the high points for me was the release of my third book, Hack that Tote!, in September.

When I was in the planning stages for the book, I talked with my publisher about including a gallery of additional projects as inspiration. In the end, it didn’t make the cut. But as a gift to you, I’m sharing a hack a day with “recipes” for using the book to create the projects. Some hacks are super easy; others combine elements from multiple patterns in the book. Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to hack a few totes for your holiday gifts!

And now, without further ado, the first Happy Hack-mas project is …

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A Tubular Frame Purse (pg. 60), made with a mix of quilting cotton and yellow vinyl. If you follow me on Instagram, you may already have seen this project. It’s definitely one of my favorites!

I followed the pattern from the book fairly closely. The biggest change is the contrasting vinyl, which meant dividing the exterior panels into two pieces and adding seam allowance to join the two. Definitely use a leather needle for stitching the vinyl, especially the seam for those corded handles — it’s super bulky.

Machine Quilting is Mega Fun with Pat Sloan

I have a stack of quilt tops languishing in my studio. My intention has always been to quilt them myself because they’re small or made with inexpensive fabric or not tops I think are worth the expense of longarm quilting.

So they sit on shelves and in bins, waiting for me to get around to quilting them myself — except I still consider myself something of a machine quilting novice and the thought of tackling the pile intimidates me.

pat-sloan-mega-fun-book-toursqWhen my buddy Pat Sloan asked me to be part of her Mega-Fun Book Tour for her new book, Teach Me to Machine Quilt, I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. Reading it was like having a conversation with Pat — I could actually hear her voice in my head. Her tips and detailed explanation of techniques really makes machine quilting on my home sewing machine more doable.

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The weakest part of my quilting game is the quilt basting, hands down. I can manage smaller quilts but anything larger than a throw inevitably ends up with wrinkles and puckers in the backing. Pat’s tips for basting made so much sense! I actually feel like I can tackle the quilt I made for my queen-sized bed now! (A Sassy Sixteen made with Luke Hayne’s Dapper fabrics, backed with Tula Pink Freefall.)

My Sassy Sixteen quilt top made with Luke Hayne's Dapper fabric line.
My Sassy Sixteen quilt top made with Luke Hayne’s Dapper fabric line.

I love that Pat also included projects in her book, broken down by quilting style (walking foot vs. free motion quilting). I’ve already decided I need to make this quilt:

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Pat’s Mega-Fun Book Tour includes an amazing line-up of participants (seriously — I can’t believe my name is on the same list as these folks). Be sure to head over and check out all the posts, tips, interviews and  more:

Nov 18

Nov 19

Nov 20

Nov 21

Nov 22

Nov 23

Nov 25

Nov 26

Nov 28

Nov 29

Nov 30

And … YOU can win your very own copy of Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt from the super talented author herself! Head here to enter to win (be sure to read the details to make sure you’re entered). Physical Copies for US residents, digital copies for all other winners. Be sure to enter by midnight on Dec. 1!

Review: Quilts for Scrap Lovers

When Judy Gauthier asked me to be part of the online tour for her new book, Quilts for Scrap Lovers, I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. I have a love-hate relationship with my fabric scraps. I love to find uses for them but they’re weird sizes and — because I make a lot of garments — often they are oddly shaped.

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Yet I can’t seem to stop saving them, to the point that my color-coded scrap bins are stuffed to the brim. And don’t even ask about the tubs full of scraps from my three books that I keep thinking I’ll turn into the most epic scrap quilt ever.

I finally had a chance to dig into the ebook for Judy’s book while traveling to and from Quilt Market and I knew this was the book for me. All the challenges I’ve encountered with my own scraps? She gets it and she tells you how to deal with them. She’s not afraid to tell you what she’s done wrong, too, which I love, like admitting that cutting her scraps into certain size pieces without a plan made things way too hard.

I found myself nodding my head and occasionally commenting out loud in agreement (sorry, nice lady in the seat next to me on the plane!) to things like, “You can’t go wrong if it makes you happy when you look at it.”

She breaks up the pieces into three sizes of templates (the acrylic templates are sold separately; you can also use acrylic rulers, template plastic or even cardboard to make the templates). Position the templates and cut, then reposition and cut again until all the usable fabric has been turned into pieces that are ready to turn into amazing scrap quilts.

Judy talks about mixing old and new fabrics, color, value, bias edges, balancing quilt layouts and more before showcasing 16 quilt designs that use actual scraps. Some of the quilts require background fabric but even those backgrounds could be made with something like a variety of white-on-white fabric scraps to really go scrap crazy.

While I read through the projects, I was mentally flipping through my inventory of scraps, plotting which quilt I would make first. I’m pretty sure the cover quilt, Sunshine and Shadows, is near the top of the list. But it’ll have to wait until I’ve made Hugs and Kisses:

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I just love this quilt! And I can totally see making it in a mix of pinks and aquas, which are two colors I have more scraps than I can manage!

Be sure to check out the other folks taking part in the book tour:

Mary Abreu Nov. 3 <– that’s me!
Diane Knott Nov. 4
Kim Lapacek Nov. 5
And now for the fun part: You can win your very own copy of Quilts for Scrap Lovers! Comment below with your favorite tips for organizing scraps and you’re entered to win. Winner will be chosen via Random.org on Monday, Nov. 7.