BCBarnQuiltSwap - My Package!

I am so excited to finally be able to share with you the mini quilt Jennifer (@jennifer.quilts) sent me for the #bcbarnquiltswap on Instagram!!

Jennifer made me an absolutely beautiful Nantucket mini quilt using Bonnie & Camille prints from Little Ruby and Hello Darling. Some of my FAVORITE prints no less, and I am totally in love with this mini. It is so pretty & pink and totally amazing :)


This was a secret swap so I had no idea who got me as their partner, but I won't lie.. I left a few heart eyes on Jennifer's posts and secretly wished this was mine the entire time, haha.

Even my husband was beyond impressed with this! LOL He was like "Wow..." when he saw it which pretty much sums it up! Jennifer also sent me a nice card, some yummy chocolates (again, my favorites) as well as a Little Ruby mini charm pack, pretty pins and this amazing pincushion.



The way the prints work together is just genius. I feel like it reminds me of cotton candy, and of course those strawberries from the Hello Darling line are always to die for! The piecing is exceptional and I'm so glad its mine!! :)

Thank you again Jennifer for this beyond amazing swap package! The IG quilting community is the best, bar none. I have made so many friends and get to be inspired daily by the beautiful things that are made and I am always grateful this hobby of mine chose me. It has been so fun and I wake up everyday eager to create and make beautiful things!



Necessary Clutch Wallet

I have stewed for months on wether or not I should buy the Necessary Clutch Wallet pattern from Emmaline Bags. I have considered purchasing a custom one from fellow small business owners, but it wasn't in my budget for the time being. After making my first Sew Together Bag - which has similar side panels to the NCW so I decided I could totally do this! :) Plus it is on my 2016 - Quarter 2 Finish-A-Long list and i was happy to complete it.


Features:

  • 16 card slots (I put more than one card in each slot so this is needed space for me)
  • Zipper pouch for change
  • 2 slip pocket style slots (front and back)
  • 3 open pocket areas (between card slots and zipper pouch pieces)
The three open spaces in the middle are great for coupons, receipts, a checkbook & pen, or even a phone! My iPhone 6s fits great, even with a case on it, inside the middle of this wallet and I have so much more room than the wallet I was previously using (from ThirtyOne). 

I also love that there isn't a zipper closer for the entire wallet exterior - I use my wallet ALOT and some zipper teeth started falling off of my ThirtyOne wallet pretty quickly. With the NCW I don't have to worry about that at all, and the fold over top and magnetic snaps are more than secure enough for my belongings. Nothing is slipping out, trust me!

The Pattern:

If you're considering making this bag - you should totally jump in and try it! The construction is actually more simple than it looks. MUCH much easier to put together than a Sew Together Bag, but it does take lots more interfacing and materials than I had anticipated. It looks difficult, but its really not.

My only complaint with this pattern? Some of it doesnt make sense. It could have been explained in much simpler ways in a few areas and the general look of the pattern (photos, writing style, etc) is very busy and all over the place. I benefit more from clear numbered steps and simple instructions. I found myself searching blogs for sew-a-long posts and watching YouTube videos to make sense of what the pattern writer was trying to say. However, that being said, I still made it through although I may thin twice when buying a pattern from Emmaline Bags again - just being honest.

If you want to try it, happyokapi did a great sew-a-long!


What I Used:

For the exterior I chose Cotton & Steel Sparkle Canvas (leftover from my first Super Tote) and the inside consists of a mix of L's Modern Collection - Little X's in Purple from Lecien, and Garden Secrets - Columns Pink from Cloud9. The two prints work beautifully together and satiate my love for all things purple... which I hardly EVER work with when sewing!

I chose not to make a wristlet strap, like so many others choose to add, because I really don't ever use a wristlet. I have had my wallet stolen at a grocery store before (bad experience that ended up with me in court testifying against someone - but ultimately got my wallet and money back) - so I tend to keep it inside my purse until I need to use it.

I also chose magnetic snaps instead of a turn lock... another feature I just don't like to use. Turn locks require more effort and concentration when trying to quickly pull your wallet out and open it. Magnetic snaps are mindless - just lift the flap and let it go to close. I like that much better as a mom of 3. My public appearances are sometimes hectic with all kids in tow! lol And, of course, I added one of my favorite suede zipper tassels...



Overall, I'm totally in love with this wallet and it has so much more room than my previous one, it's exactly what I was looking for!

What's your favorite wallet? Would you try making this pattern?

Stabilizers: Stiff Stuff VS Soft & Stable

After making my first Super Tote and hosting the #supertoteswap on Instagram, I became intrigued by trying different bag stabilizers. I really like a bag that's sturdy and stands up on it's own, one that holds it's shape without anything in it.

I have tried fusible fleece, sew-in stabilizers, Pellon SF101 woven interfacing, and a few others. But what I tried with my two Super Tote's was ByAnnie's Soft & Stable and Lazy Girl Design's Stiff Stuff: Firm and these are the two I really want to talk to you about today.




Sew Lazy Stiff Stuff ( by Lazy Girl Designs)

This stabilizer is a sew-in version and similar to Peltex but said to be softer. You can use it in place of other stabilizers - where sometimes you need two layers for extra durability, you will only need one with this one. 

PROS:
  • One of the cheaper stiff stabilizers on the market
  • Bags stand up sturdy on their own
  • Can be folded or crumpled and bounces right back to original shape
  • Would work best for caddy's or totes that need lots of structure.
  • Doesnt hold creases or folds
CONS:
  • A bit difficult to sew through
  • Doesnt lie flat in the seams
  • Adds a lot of bulk

Annie's Soft and Stable

Another sew-in, this is a lightweight stabilizer that is super soft but more on the pricey side. I cant really find anything comparable to it on the current market as far as look and feel go. It's very cushiony and plush.

PROS:
  • Extremely soft
  • Easy to sew through 
  • Creates loft and puffiness when quilted
  • Lies flat in the seams and doesn't add much bulk
  • Very easy to cut through with scissors or rotary
CONS:
  • Pricey compared to LGD's Stiff Stuff 
  • Bags stand up nice but not totally on their own
  • Holds creases and fold. 
  • Doesnt have that "bounce back" effect like Stiff Stuff.

Really, I think what it comes down to for me is that I like sewing with Annie's Soft & Stable but I like the sturdiness of Lazy Girl Design's Stiff Stuff. Just watch this video of a bag made with Stiff Stuff being crumpled and folded. If only there were a product smack dab in the middle!!

Stiff Stuff is just a pain to sew with in my opinion, I had to carefully baste every single piece of fabric to the stabilizer and there was lot's of sliding around even though I used binding clips and pins. With Soft & Stable it almost sticks to the fabric, making it extremely easy to sew with even if you don't baste the layers together.

What's your favorite bag stabilizer? 

Bulk Hexie Paper Piecing Templates

As you may have seen a few weeks ago, I added 1-inch card stock hexie templates to my shop. I quickly sold out and was immediately getting messages, emails, etc. from people wanting to place custom orders for bulk amounts of hexies (500 to 1,000). Needless to say, since I'm only one person hand punching each individual hexie, doing an order over 500 takes some time and effort.





As of yesterday I discussed with my husband just how much time and effort will be put into the paper pieces, which initially were being sold just to make some extra cash for us. So some changes are being made and I wanted to detail them here for you incase anyone has questions or concerns.

  • Ready-to-ship packages will be added to the shop on a weekly or bi-weekly basis IF the previous stock sells out. This will be the "shop restock day". Once these sell out, you'll have to wait for the next restock to purchase.*Prior to this I was selling them THEN punching & shipping.... the new way will be much better! Your orders can ship immediately :)
  • I was using 60 weight card stock, I'm now using 110 weight. It's sturdier and better quality for paper piecing (especially for re-using the pieces) but it also makes everything a little more expensive. The new cost will be $2.50 for 100 pieces without hole, and $3.50 for 100 pieces with hole in the middle - still cheaper than many of my competitors.
  • Shipping rates will slightly increase - the heavier the paper, the heavier the package and the higher the price to ship. I don't make the shipping prices, the post office does so there's nothing I can do about this. But don't worry - it's just a fraction of a dollar more you'll be paying. I will still place them in mailing envelopes or bubble envelopes and NOT in boxes (depending on order size) to minimize the cost even more.

Again, I'm only one person. I've got 3 kids and a small business also so the amount of hexies I can punch and package will vary from week to week but I will do my best to get done what I can :) You can click here to see the Paper Piecing section of my shop to check for restocks!

If you have ANY questions THIS post is a great place to ask them! I will respond as soon as possible, or you can email me at amistabaker@gmail.com 



Farmgirl Vintage Winter Star Mini Quilt

Today I'm popping in to show you the mini quilt I made for my partner, Debbie, for the Bonnie and Camille Barn Quilt Swap (#bcbarnquiltswap on Instagram). Now, if you're a bit confused - yes I know a barn quilt and a mini aren't the same. Barn quilts are typically star blocks that are painted on wood. However, for this swap the theme was to create a mini anywhere from 12" to 20" in the barn quilt style blocks. 

Plus it is on my 2016 - Quarter 2 Finish-A-Long list and this was a great way to knock an item off my  list, even if I wasn't keeping it :)


I chose prints from Bonnie and Camille lines: Vintage Picnic and Hello Darling for the binding and the star block, and a neutral floral print from Miss Kate for the back. The block is a 12" Winter Star block from the Farmgirl Vintage book by Lori Holt. I simply added a wide white border each side (Kona solids in Snow), which finished the mini quilt at 16" x 16" square.

Also - how cute is that bench up there with the heart cutouts that I inherited from my grandparents? I have matching set of two small benches and one large bench with a back on it. Love them so much!



I tacked the binding down on one side with my machine, then folded it over to the next side and held with binding clips so I could finish it off by hand. I  LOVE the look of hand sewn binding. 

It took me less than 4 hours, start to finish, to get this mini quilt done. That includes starching and ironing fabrics and cutting pieces to quilting and all the way to hand stitching down the binding. I had to stop once for 45 minutes or so to get the kids and myself some lunch. The baby took a nap and the girls watched a movie so I had plenty of free time after that to finish it up :)



I chose to do wavy line quilting approx. 1/2 to 3/4" apart across the entire quilt. This particular stitch is preloaded onto my machine and it really comes in handy! I haven't tried my hand at FMQ at all so although I would have loved to do a pretty design on this mini, I just don't have the skills or tools necessary!

The tag on the back is printed from my computer onto fabric, and it was actually super easy!! I used the method Erin (mommy2lu) talked about on instagram a while back and had great results. I created a 5"x5" square on my computer, divded it in half with a line (like a HST) and typed in my info on one side. Once it was printed using Erin's method I cut it out, folded it into a triangle and gave it a quick press. I basted it into one corner of the mini on the backside, then put my binding down to finish it off and secure it.


Debbie - I hope you loved your mini as much as I loved making it! This was my first ever mini quilt swap and I am totally smitten! Swaps are so addictive and its a great way to make friends :) I love getting something handmade by someone else from another party of the world. Its so awesome!

Have you ever made a mini quilt or have you been in a mini quilt swap?? What was your experience?

Thanks so much for reading! 



My first Noodlehead Super Tote!

This week I finished my first ever Super Tote (pattern by Noodlehead). It wasn't my first Noodlehead bag by any means, but this was a different one for me. I've tried lots of her patterns and always love them. I like this one so much I am running a swap on Instagram between myself and a few dozen other ladies - we are swapping Super Totes! It is going to be so fun! 

You can follow along by searching for the #supertoteswap hashtag or followng me @amistabaker



I used Bonnie & Camille Vintage Picnic for the patchwork pocket, straps, and lining with a VERY cute text print called 'Define' from the Volume II line by Sweetwater for MODA. It has definitions of sewing terms with cute little illustrations. I adore it! The modifications I made to the pattern were: scaling it to 85% to make it cross body friendly (the original is very big), adding the hardware for cross body straps to be attached, and no inside stretchy pockets.

The main outer bag panels are made from Cotton + Steel Sparkle Canvas. Its a linen colored canvas with gorgeous subtle metallic shimmer on it. It makes the canvas look silver and slightly sparkly. Great movement and texture in sunlight! Seriously, if you haven't set eyes on this in person a picture will never ever do it justice. 

I chose Sew Lazy Stiff Stuff: Firm interfacing by Lazy Girl Designs for the outer bag panels and did not interface the lining or anything else... this stuff is great on it's own and does not need the extra layer of woven interfacing the pattern calls for. It holds its shape and has that "bounce back" effect when it gets folded. Its similar to Soft & Stable by Annie but much cheaper per yard.

Cotton + Steel Sparkle Canvas

Stuff Stuff: Firm by Lazy Girl Designs


'Define" print from Volume II fabric line by MODA

Ok, now on to some just straight up gorgeous shots of this bag, which was one of my 2016FAL goals, and I love so dearly. Im really happy with how it turned out and now I really cant wait to make a Super Tote for my partner in the swap. *The only thing I have left to do for mine is make a cross body strap.

Would you ever make one of these bags? What's your favorite bag to make?







Thanks so much for reading!



Tips & Tricks: Super Tote Swap

Hello and welcome! If you're reading as a #supertoteswap participant, I hope you find some useful info in this blog post. I've scoured the web to come up with some tips, resources, and lots of links for you to help you make your tote. This will be especially helpful for first-time makers of the Super Tote, even if you aren't in the swap or plan to be in Round 2 (September 2016).

Photo Credit: Ana Graham / Noodlehead

The Pattern

You can find the Super Tote pattern, which is the ONLY pattern were using for the swap, at Noodle-head.com. Purchase the PDF version so it is delivered via email to eliminate shipping charges for a paper pattern. 

Sew-A-Long

Reece at happyokapi did a sew-a-long last year. If you need visual help, or step-by-step picture tutorials to aid in making your Super Tote then THIS is the blog for you!
I purchased cheap sets of bag hardware, interfacing, etc all from Etsy. Although I did have to pay a little shipping, it was cheaper for me to do this than to buy everything individually at my local quilt shop or craft store (I'm in the U.S.). So do a little research before running off to buy everything. 

I get a lot more for my money by buying from these stores...

Favorite Fabric Shops

Suggestions:

  1. Use a nice interfacing like Stiff Stuff by LazyGirlDesigns or Annie's Soft & Stable so your bag stands on it's own and has that nice "bounce back" effect when folded or crumpled. This will add lots of stability and durability to the bag as well.
  2. Linen and canvas are great options for the outer panels and gussets - when using this 2 layers of interfacing (woven and a more stiff one) are NOT needed, only the stiffer interfacing will do just fine. It also saves you money since you don't have to interface 2x.
  3. Don't be afraid of the zipper, it's one of the easiest I've ever installed - use the sew-a-long links from earlier in this post to get visual help.
  4. Go slow.. read and re-read a step before starting it so you don't make mistakes.
Photo Credit: Ana Graham / Noodlehead

That's all! Please refer to your partner emails for swap timeline and information. I will also be updating you and doing check-ins on my Instagram account (@amistabaker). I can't wait to see what everyone will be making!

Another Simply Strippy Sewing Kit


My favorite project from the Scrap Happy Sewing book by Retro Mama is the Simply Strippy Sewing kit. Its a great scrap or selvage project and aside from being awesome gifts they come in handy at home too!

On this particular kit I used Vintage Picnic fabric by Bonnie & Camille for the outside patchwork panel, and all of the inside pieces. Plus a 4.5" piece of Moda twill tape which is PERFECT for any sewing related projects as a nice little addition. The binding is a soft pink with crochet trim - a leftover from a baby shower quilt I made last year. I think it just went perfect with this kit and I am totally in love with how it turned out.


What's your favorite sewing book or blog to pull project ideals or tutorials from?


Super Tote Swap


I am hosting my first ever Instagram swap!! This will be an intimate hassle free swap between a small amount of people featuring no extras, just one Super Tote made for your partner! *You must already own or be willing to purchase the Super Tote pattern from Noodlehead. (noodle-head.com/shop)

You will be paired with a person who you will send a tote to. Another person will receive you and send you your tote. All partners will be kept secret, so please don't spill the beans on social media!! Do your best to choose fabrics and styles your partner likes. 

I really hope you will join us! Especially you, 2016 New Quilt Blogger members! This would be an awesome way for us to get to know each other better AND receive something handmade from one another :) Keep reading for links to sign up!



PLEASE CHECK BACK IN SEPTEMBER FOR POSSIBLE ROUND 2


All participants must have a public Instagram for the duration of the swap, and follow me on Instagram to stay updated (@amistabaker). You can find ALOT more information including the entire dates of the swap timeline by clicking the swap form sign up link above. Swap will begin July 11th and end week of August 8th. Because this swap requires NO extras and has a 4-5 week time frame I feel like it's a great short swap to be apart of, AND it will finish right before most schools startup a new year (these bags are great for teachers, librarians, moms, etc)

I have personally made this tote. It is a skilled beginner / early intermediate pattern and honestly was not that difficult. Instructions are great and you can find lots of inspiration by searching #supertote on Instagram. 

(All Photos Credit to: Ana Graham / Noodle-head.com)




NEW in the shop! 1" Paper Hexie Templates

Earlier this week I added 1" cardstock hexie templates to my shop! I have been meaning to do this for such a long time, so I finally sat down and took the time to hand punch a bunch of hexies.


*EDIT: As of 6/21/16 I will be restocking read-to-ship packs of hexies in the shop once a week or every 2 weeks. Once they sell out, you'll have to wait for the next restock. This is the only way I can manage the large amounts of orders I am receiving as I'm just one person and I'm hand punching them all by myself! Please remember that cardstock is much heavier than paper - so yes, your shipping will go up with larger orders. (ex: 500 hexies = 25 sheets of cardstock)

Each hexie is cut from 110lb white cardstock by me.  These are perfect for EPP and can be used with glue or thread basting. AND they're totally reusable! Once they're removed from the basted hexie, simply press quickly with a hot iron to flatten them out again so they can be reused. 

They will be shipped in a bubble mailer to help keep them flat during shipping. If you need some, please stop by the shop and check out the listing!



No-Waste Fabric Trimming Tags

Don't toss your trimmings!! Ive got a super fast and easy tutorial for you today that uses leftover fabric trimmings to create gorgeous little gift tags! Its an awesome way to create something unique while using up fabric scraps that would otherwise be thrown away for being too small.



For my two most recent swaps (#undertheseaswap and #bcbarnquiltswap on Instagram) I saved the trimmings from my projects in a small pile. Some were wider than others.. some long.. some short. But the great part about this is that is doesnt matter! Once they're sewed onto the tag you can trim with scissors to even them up.

If you don't have a tag punch or don't want to buy these pre-cut tags in store, I've included a printable PDF sheet for them so all you'll need is cardstock, a printer & hole punch, some fabric trimmings and a sewing machine :)

Materials Needed:

Tutorial:

  1. Print your PDF tag sheet on cardstock. Cut out around solid lines. Use a hole punch to make hole at the top of the template where circle is. (*If you have pre-made tags skip this step).
  2. Gather fabric trimmings. Long & skinny trimmings work best but they won't have to all be the same width or length. Variety is good! 

  3. Lay a tag on your sewing machine platform. Lay fabric trimmings across the tag in no particular order. (this is easier than trying to pick it up and transfer it with the fabric on top - trust me!).

  4. Stitch down a straight line or two across the tag to secure the trimmings.

  5. Using scissors, trim the top of your fabric trimmings above the stitched line so they are nice and even. Next, trim botton of fabric trimmings below the bottom of the tag, allowing them to hang down in various lengths. I like to alternate between long and short cuts at the bottom.

    These tags look great on gifts but if you made several up you could package them and sell them, or throw them in a swap package as an extra for your partner! 

    As you can see below, on one tag I used thin trimmings, on the other I used wider scraps. Both from sewing / quilting projects for a swap. I just think its super neat to send your partner a little tag that will totally match their gift! And it really doesnt require ANY measuring or pre-planning, which I always love, lol.



    How do you like to package your gifts? Do you ever use handmade tags?



Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post :)

Charming Tinsel Pouch

A few weeks ago I was asked to be apart of a Christmas In July pattern package promotion by Jen from Faith and Fabric. I immediately said yes! This pack includes 20+ talented quilters and sewists and you'll get all the patterns at a HUGE value!

I will be posting more details as well as links to the full pattern package in July - so please watch for it!! :) Until then (and after the sale is over) you can get my single pattern for $5.00 in my shop or on Craftsy.

The pattern I have contributed to the pack is my Charming Tinsel Pouch, a sweet little boxed pouch with a wide mouth opening that stands up nice and sturdy. I had been thinking of doing a pattern for this pouch, which i have made a few times before. My plan was to release this pattern later in the year but once I heard about the Christmas in July special I knew I had to write the pattern up now :)

A big thank you to Kim from Robotmomsews and Carla from Carla's Creations for being pattern testers for me!!


The name 'Charming Tinsel Pouch' came from the fact that 5" charm packs can be used for the patchwork piece, and the tiny strips reminded me of tinsel :) It's great for binding clips because the opening stays wide for reaching down inside (or throwing the clips back in as you work and remove them from a project), and the boxed bottom ensures it stands up nice and sturdy.

These pouches are a fast finish and would make great gifts or additions to swaps as an "extra".  They use minimal supplies and often times you will only need 1 zipper and fabric scraps to complete one!

I used various Bonnie and Camille prints along with some Cloud9 organic solids and a cute little green suede tassel as a zipper charm. These pouches come together super fast and they're great as gifts!


Im selling my sample, so if you like my B&C pouch - you can buy it here! Only 1 available!

Kim's pouch is absolutely adorable. It reminded me of fresh red berries. I love the prints she used, and especially the hand quilting a cute little tag and button. The little details are so amazing!


Carla's pouch is stunning! I love the dark shades mixed with florals, and that beaded zipper pull is so cute!! Her pouch is girly without being too "cutesy". Someone like my Mom would absolutely LOVE this pouch - it is totally right up her alley!




Thank you again to my pattern testers! And to you for reading :) You can buy the pattern here at any time. And don't forgot to come back in mid-July for details on the Christmas in July pattern pack!