Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bow Pleat Bag {Made!}

I'm so lucky, I recently got to test a pattern for the Bow Pleat Bag by Mrs.H!
Here's how mine turned out, what do you think?

I love it!
I used a tan twill for the outer shell and a piece of Moda cotton for the lining.

The pattern has great instructions for the zipper and adjustable handle.

One of my favorite features is definitely the adjustable handle!
It just looks cool, doesn't it?

Want to make on of your own?
Mrs.H is offering a discount to all ASG in the SLC readers for 15% off at her Etsy store!
use code: BOWPLEAT15

Tell us! What have you made this week?

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Bow Pleat Bag Giveaway & Promo!

I love this bag - don't you? Want to make one yourself?
Well, Mrs. H is offering  this pattern to one of our lucky readers for FREE!

Hooray - it's our first Giveaway here at ASG in the SLC!

Not only is she giving away a free pattern for her Bow Pleat Bag,
but she is offering a discount to all ASG in the SLC readers!
Use code: BOWPLEAT15 to receive 15% off anything in her Etsy store!

She even sells lovely antique brass, gunmetal and silver nickle triglide sliders to make the adjustable handle,
one of my favorite features of the bag!

So stop by, check her out and enter our giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Magnetic Knife Strips for Organizing in the Studio

I use magnetic knife strips (racks, bars, whatever!) in my studio to hold almost everything.
At any given moment you'll find several feet, needles, maybe a throat plate or two, and anything else I might want within arms reach. The magnets on these are super strong; they even hold my Gingher pinking shears and those babies are heavy!

I have these placed right above my work station so I don't have to get up to reach what I need.
And like my pattern weights, these are so functional - but a little unsightly.
But check out what Serena has done to her plain ol' Ikea Knife Strip!

I love, love, love this knife strip covered in fabric!
(She's even posted a tutorial on her blog, so you can make this yourself)
Sure, it's cute for the kitchen - but wouldn't this be perfect for your sewing room too?!

Tell us! Do magnets make an appearance in your studio?

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Red, White & Bloom Pillow Tutorial {I'm Guest Posting!}

Hello friends, today I'm guest posting a tutorial to make this patriotic 
Red, White and Bloom Pillow at Shakin' Together!
(this is our first time guest posting, yay us!)

Keri's blog is full of yummy goodness and crafty awesomeness
and I am thrilled to be a part of her Patriotic Party
featuring the talents of  fellow bloggers  

I would love it if you stopped by to check it out and said hello while you're there! Thanks bunches!

Tell us! Are you working on any patriotic projects this week? 

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Pretty Pattern Weights

I use large heavy nuts as pattern weights to, well,  hold down my patterns as I cut them out. While extremely functional and economical, as I was cutting out a project today I realized that my pattern weights are pretty boring.

I use these things all the time, so why not spend a minute to spiff them up a teeny bit?

I just cut two felt circles for each nut, and embroidered "sew" and "cut" on them

I then hand stitched around the edges, leaving an opening to slip the nut in and then finish stitching all the way around

I used stuff I had on hand, so these are still a super cheap alternative to traditional pattern weights!
(oh look, there's a sneak peek at my current project!)

Tell us! Have you taken the time to fancy up any of your sewing tools lately?

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Doodle Duvet {a Pin-spired} Tutorial

Re-doing my 11 year old daughters bedroom has been quite a process, and I think the bedding has generated more tantrums (for both of us) than anything else so far. I've been dreaming of a quilt, made from Henry Glass Bubblegum  (which I already have the fabric and pattern for) and she want's something way cooler and more funky - and definitely not a quilt!
While browsing Pinterest I came across the perfect solution:

A duvet, made to look like a sheet of notebook paper, that you can scribble on with washable markers?
She wanted it immediately.
And, like many of you out there, I thought "hey, I can easily make that!"
I'll paint the lines on and sew 2 flat sheets together! Voila!
Have you ever been so thrilled about a project - I mean absolutely excited to get started - that you nearly wet your pants?
And about 5 minutes into it started wondering what on earth were you thinking?

Painting this turned out to be a huge pain in the neck.


After hours of painting on my hands and knees my neck is still killing me!

But look at the results - totally worth it

So, if you've stuck it out through my whining, and want to know how I pulled this off so you can make one to here's the run down!

{For a Full-Sized Duvet}
2 Full size Flat sheets
Fabric Paint; red, blue & grey
Paint brushes
Duct tape
Sewing machine & supplies

Cut off 41/2 inches from the top (deep hem) of the first sheet and discard,
this cut edge will now be the bottom edge.

If you are going to paint your duvet tape it down (right side up) on a hard, nonporous surface.
I found duct tape kept it from shifting while I walked, sat, and moved around while painting.

I painted the first blue line 16 inches from the top, and every 8 inches below.
I painted the red vertical line 16 inches in from the left side.
It was easier than it sounds - the floor tiles are 16 inches, I cheated and just lined the sheet edge up with the tiles and followed the grout lines.
I just eyed where I wanted the circles to be for the "holes"
I wasn't trying for real "crisp" lines, so I just free handed everything

Take your second sheet, and cut it in half about 16 inches down from the top (the deep hem)
lay this small piece right sides together on your first sheet matching the top and sides, with the raw edge at the top. Pin.

Now take the larger part of the sheet and lay it right sides together on top of the first sheet, matching the raw edges at the bottoms and the side seams.

There will be an overlap of about 4 1/2 inches where the two top sheet sections meet
pin around all outer edges and sew.

Turn right side out and press well.
The wide hem should now be on the outside back of your duvet,
mark the center, and then every eight inches for button holes

Sew on buttons - I used size 45 covered buttons

Stuff your comforter into your duvet, button it up and throw it on the bed.
(Then grab yourself a couple of Tylenol and maybe a glass of wine for your aching back.)

All that's left is a package of washable markers to get the creativity flowing!

Tell us! What's the most "painful" project you've ever started?

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Amazing Pattern Cabinet

Need some pattern storage inspiration?
Check out Shannon's custom built pattern cabinet at Hungry Zombie Couture

This lovely pattern cabinet also doubles as her cutting table!

While you're there, check out all her Evolution of a Sewing Room posts, and be prepared to drool over her fantastically organized studio!

Tell us! How do you store your sewing patterns?
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Monday, June 11, 2012

Padded Head Board with Ribbon Trim Easy DIY!

I'm in the process of re-doing and organizing my daughters room. At 11 years old, she's not quite a 'teen - but she's beyond the little girl stage. She's a collector; drawings, photos, notes, you name it - they're everywhere. I'm not really hip with taping stuff to the walls, so I'm trying to come up with clutter and damage free wall solutions.

Enter the French Memo Board Head Board.

She thinks it looks cool, I didn't have to use any power tools.
I call that a win-win.

For a Full Sized head board I used
 4  22x28 artist canvases, 2 yards of  batting, 1 twin sheet and several spools of ribbon

 I know there are dozens of tutorials on how to make a memo board, and this is basically the same concept so I won't bore you with the step-by-step how to.

A few tips worth pointing out:
Start in the centers when stapling and work towards the corners to keep your fabric taut and smooth

Fold your corners like wrapping a present

Determine what pattern you want - remember you will have 4 boards to coordinate!

Use a quilters ruler to keep strips evenly spaced

Use tape to secure ribbon in place when your happy with the layout,
then you can flip the whole board over and staple the ribbon in place without worrying about any shifting!

Use Command Adhesive strips to attach to the wall -
they wont cause any damage - and they are repositionable, so if you don't get it right the first time you can tweak it!
For this size canvas, I used 4 each (a total of 16)

Start in one corner, making sure your board is level and add 1 memo board at a time working clockwise.

And Ta-Da! You are done! 
Instant headboard on the quick and cheap!

Kadence is really loving it, I have several more projects to get done in her room this week, but for now she's  happy just to have the headboard up!

She's already adding her "stuff" she's really pleased she can just loop her book over a ribbon and mark her place when she's done reading before bed!

Tell us! Have you ever used a sheet for a project instead of buying fabric?

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Sewing Retreat at My Girlfriends Quilt Shoppe, Join Us!

 The Ogden NG is having a Sewing Retreat at the brand spankin' new My Girlfriends Attic Retreat and Event Center! How awesome are we? 

Are you jealous? 
Don't be!
We still have space left and would love for you to join us!  


Where: My Girlfriends Attic Retreat & Event Center 

When: June 30, 2012 
9 am - 9pm (yes, that's 12 hours - come and go as you please!!)

Cost: $15 per person, and includes a Make & Take
please prepay by June 23rd

Potluck lunch, brown bag dinner or dine out at the famed Bluebird cafe

RSVP: email Leslie 
Space is limited - you must RSVP by June 25th to attend!

Here are just some of the features you'll find at My Girlfriend's Attic:

  • Kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave, and large serving counter
  • Excellent lighting in addition to natural lighting coming in from large windows
  • 2 over-sized cutting stations
  • 3 over-sized design walls
  • "Bell-Boy" service to help carry items to and from your cars
  • Ironing stations throughout room
  • Relaxing seating areas filled with couches and inspiration
  • Unlimited access to professional Accucut Die-Cutting System
  • 15% store-wide discount at My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe during your retreat

If you haven’t been up to My Girlfriends Quilt Shoppe yet you are in for a treat! 
This is going to be such a fun day - I hope you can make it!

Tell us! Have you ever been to a Sewing & Quilting Retreat?

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guest Post: Why Does Some Fabric Cost So Much?

Have you ever wondered why some fabrics in the quilt shops are so pricey when you can pick up others at Wal-Mart on the cheap? 
Well, today we have our very first guest post here on ASG in the SLC, and Maude Medlin-Brown, a member of the ASG Tucson Chapter is posting an amazing article explaining exactly why that is.
Join us in welcoming Maude to ASG in the SLC,
oh, this is gonna be good...

Why Does Some Fabric Cost So Much? 
or Processes Defined 

What makes the difference between big chain store fabric and quilt store fabric is the Greige Goods and what happens to it? (That's pronounced "gray goods".) Greige Goods is the unfinished fabric that has just been removed from a knitting machine or loom. It does not have any bleach, dye or finishing processes on it. After it is woven, fabric goes through a number of processes. 

  • Scouring: A chemical wash that removes impurities (like seed fragments) and the natural wax found in cotton. This leaves even the finest cotton fibers with a yellow hue. 
  • Bleaching: If a fabric is going to be dyed or printed with dark colors, only minimal bleaching is necessary. If a fabric is going to be white or a light color, much more bleaching is required. 
  • Mercerising: A treatment where a caustic soda solution is applied to the fibers causing them to swell. This allows the fabric to take the dye better and makes it feel nicer. 
  • Singeing: A process that burns off the surface fibers from fabric to produce smoothness. 
  • Raising: In some fabrics, this is a technique that pulls fibers up off of the surfaces to create a "hairy" feeling such as in flannelette. 
  • Calendering: A mechanical process where fabric is passed between heated rollers to generate different effects on the fabric (i.e. smooth versus embossed). 
  • Shrinking: Pre-shrinking the fabric at this stage means there will be very little shrinking after laundering once the fabric is used in a garment or quilt. 
  • Dyeing: Cotton is very absorbent so dyeing is a popular technique. To make sure the color stays colorfast, more complex chemistry is used during the processing and that makes the fabric more expensive. To keep costs down, a cheaper dye (which may not be colorfast) could be used. 
  • Printing: Printing a design on fabric may be done over the dye or it may be applied directly to the white fabric. The paste or ink used also must go through colorfast procedures. 
  • Finishing: Many fabrics have coatings on them to make them feel stronger or softer and to make the colors appear brighter. These finishings often include formaldehyde  which helps to preserve the cloth and keep bugs out during the storing/shipping/selling process. 

What happens with big chain stores and other companies that purchase in very large quantities is that they order the fabric without some of the finishing processes. That makes the fabric feel more coarse when you touch it. That also allows them to sell for less than the small quilt stores. The reason you spend so much more in a quilt store is that they are buying the better quality fabric (the fabric that has been through more of the processing). 

Now having said all of that, it really comes down to what you want to do with the fabric. If you want to make an heirloom quilt that will last for decades, you probably want to seek out the best quality fabric for both durability and softness of touch. 

If you are making garments, how the fabric feels is truly important. If you are making something you want to last (i.e. a baby garment that you plan to keep as a memento) then you might want to go for a better quality fabric. If you are whipping up a summer dress for your granddaughter that she will outgrow by the end of the season, then go for the less expensive and lower quality fabric. 
If you are making craft items, then I definitely would look at the big chain stores. Just be sure to test the fabric for color-fastness. Also, sew a test seam and then put a little stress on it to be sure that the fabric is going to hold up to whatever craft you are making. There would be no need to spend a lot extra to make a stuffed toy! 

The bottom line is - YOU have to decide what you can afford. The price of raw cotton has really jumped recently so even the low end big chain store fabric is going to be more expensive than it has been. 

This should give you some idea of why the Debbie Mumm® fabric you see at the quilt store may be three or four dollars (or more) higher than the Debbie Mumm® fabric at the big chain fabric store. The designer is the same but the processing isn't, allowing the big chain fabric store to sell their fabric for less. 

Maude Medlin-Brown, a member of the ASG Tucson Chapter since 1978 and Editor of their newsletter, the Cactus Needle News, since 2010. 
"My mother taught me how to sew by hand around age six. Then I graduated to the Singer treadle sewing machine and was making all my own clothes by age 13. How to conserve fabric during pattern layout was one of the valuable lessons my mother taught. However her methods caused me problems in high school when my Home Economics teacher did not agree with my cutting layouts! Another valuable lesson I learned was how to restyle clothes from two older sisters for my own wardrobe. This came in really handy for prom dresses, but of course the real challenge was the bust size reduction required for the proper fit!"
"A Kenmore sewing machine was a great high school graduation gift and saw many years of use. One of the first Baby Lock sergers and lessons from Stretch & Sew were highlights of my 20’s. A class in pattern drafting in the late 1980’s was the next big step in clothing construction for me. Tackling three successive Viking embroidery machines plus aHuskylock 936 serger evolved my sewing skills even further."
"After retiring in 2007 from my engineering job, I fill my time with making clothing, purses, decorator items, jazzing up purchased items with embroidery, crocheting and making gifts for others. Also attending two Neighborhood Groups and all the great ASG Chapter events we hold. Plus I also like to read and enjoy traveling world wide with my husband."

18 inch doll clothes made by Maude

matching doll and dress made by Maude

Thanks so much for posting here today and sharing your expertise with all our readers, I guess when it comes to fabric - you really do get what you pay for!
Don't forget to check out the ASG Tucson Chapter (Neighborhood Group information, photos, their newsletters, information on future events and local Retail Discounts) 

Tell us! What's the most you've ever spent on a piece of fabric?

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

5 Tips for Tangle-Free Pre-Washing

Do you ever put your beautiful , freshly cut fabric into the washer and pull out a tangled knot of threads and yardage? Ugh!  It's so frustrating trying to uncut and unwind that mess!

Here are 5 simple methods to help you avoid those tangles:

Serge or Zig-Zag over the raw edges

OR Use pinking shears to pink the edges

OR Clip the corners

 Wash smaller cuts in a lingerie bag

  Use a delicate or hand wash cycle,
and use smaller loads of yardage 

There you have it - using just one, or a few of these tips together, should make your pre-washing go much smoother!

Tell us! Do you pre-wash your fabrics before you put them away, or as you use them?
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