Sunday, October 28, 2012

FNSI results.

I really should call it my Friday afternoon, all day Saturday and some Sunday too results.   I've been working on the "When you see this" quilt blocks for a while now.  I spread them all out at my quilting club meeting on Monday and realized I had quite a bit of catch up to do on the star blocks.  Since I need 97 of the checkerboard and 98 of the star blocks, I dedicated this weekend to seeing stars.  The 25 pieces in each block finish at a 5" square block.  You can just imagine how small those 1 1/4" squares are to work with.  For those of you who have followed my blog, you know that I don't usually use such tiny pieces.  But this is a great scrap buster of a quilt, so I got going.  I finished 20 star blocks this weekend.  So that puts me about half way.   This may just take me a while.  I want to get it further along though before I crack open a new project that I bought a couple of weeks ago.  But oh, I so do want to get into that pretty new fabric.
Here's my show and tell for FNSI.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Just hanging out and doing a little fixin'

What have you been up to for the last week or so?  Me?, Oh, I've been dabbling in this and that.  First, I'm finally working on a quilt for a customer.  It's an older, "vintage" well loved, and threadworn quilt.  She asked if I could repair the missing patches and the binding. It took a bit to collect some fabrics that I could use to fit in with the time period.  Thank goodness for the Goodwill thrift store = we have a clearance center here in town, so after a few trips and about $5, I had a fair collection.  The patches that I need to replace are similar to the pieces in a double wedding ring pattern, but they are taller and slimmer.  So far I've hand stitched 20 into place.  I'll be shopping for some binding material next.  The quilt is a tomato-ey red, so hopefully I can find something suitable.
Then there was the laptop thing.  Against my better judgement, I've been letting my son use it when he has a buddy over so they can both have a computer to game on.  It's been getting a bit of abuse.  Then last week, I tripped over the AC cord.  I've done this before on another laptop and what happened is it broke the inside part that the plug goes into.  My IT guy said it would probably be about a $100 fix.  Since the budget is not going to let that happen soon, I did without it for the better part of the week.
Then desperation struck.  So, Sunday afternoon, I turned it over and after taking out about 15 screws, the hard drive and another panel, I got the base off.  After locating the offensive little part, I found it was not broken, but the metal leaf spring inside had been pushed in.  I got out my trusty pink screwdriver.  It has several retractable bits, and one is a small punch.  It was the perfect size to fit into a little hole and push that spring back into place.  I reassembled the thing in reverse order and felt really good about the fact that I did not have any leftover parts.  With my fingers crossed, I plugged her in.
IT WORKS !!  YAY !!  I guess I'll get to use that $100 for bills after all.

Today was our weekly sewing club with the Dorchester Seniors.  We had planned to do a Jelly roll race and today was the day.   After some good laughs, and a few threats of sabotage, the timingk"judge"  said "GO."
The race was fast and furious.  There was minimal conversation.  The competition was tough.  And 45 minutes later - I was done :)  I won first prize.  My student finished in 60 minutes and won 2nd prize.  I am so proud of her!
I won a kit to make a Christmas Santa.  I can't wait to start it - stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Janome Jem Platinum 720

I stopped by my Janome dealership today because I saw a sign advertising Janome Quilting Machines for $200 off.  Always on the lookout for bargains, and anything quilty, I had to investigate.
I hadn't read any buzz about a new quilting machine so I was intrigued.
Enter the Janome Jem Platinum 720

At first, she looks small.  But then, that's a bonus in a take to class or on the road machine.  But she's not a lightweight.  She's got metal parts inside, and a lot of bling for your buck.

First of all there is the sleek styling that I've come to expect from Janome.  This model is computerized, has 20 stitches and several feet including the 1/4" foot, the walking foot and the open toe darning/quilting foot, among others.  The machine has a detachable bed for use freearm.  The feed dogs do go down for quilting.  It has the needle down button, as well as a start/stop button should you prefer not to use the foot control.

What caught my attention were the stitch selections for quilting.  There are two "hand quilting" stitches, short and long where the machine triple stitches one stitch, moves ahead one stitch leaving a single thread and does the triple stitch again.  The result is the look of hand stitching.  If you have matching thread to your quilt top, you won't even see the single stitch in the middle.
For the lovers of applique, there are some nice touches.  There is the blanket stitch, one in each direction - left or right, and there is a baby blanket stitch which is so tiny and cute!
It has the usual assortment of zig zag, blind hem, serger stitch etc that Janome is known for.  It also has that great speed regulator slider to keep the machine at an even speed for those of us who hit the pedal to the metal.

Oh, and the price??   It retails for $899.00 Can  but is on sale at the Sewing Superstore, London for $699.00 Can until next weekend.
If you want to see this little "Jem" (pun intended), head over and take her for a test drive.  This shop also offers layaway plans - can you say Christmas anyone?

(Note: I am not affiliated with the Janome company or the Sewing Superstore other than being a sewist who loves them. )

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tutorial for "FOXY" bag

Features:  Long convertible strap
                 Front elasticized pockets
                 Inside elasticized pockets
                 Inside zippered pocket
                 Zippered top

Cutting instructions.
You will need 1 yard of fabric for this bag, and one yard of lining.  You also need a yard of fusible, medium weight interfacing, and 1 1/2"  rectangular "D" ring and a 1 1/2" buckle.  You need a 18" - 20"  zipper (it will be trimmed to size) and one 6" zipper.
You will need approximately a yard of 1/2" elastic.
If you want your strap of one continuous piece of fabric instead of piecing it to get the right length, use 55" of fabric instead.  You will then have enough to make 2 bags.


Cut 2 from fabric and 2 from lining - front and back panels  10"x14"  
Using a saucer or a glass as a guide, trim the bottom two corners to a curve.

Cut 1 from fabric and 1 from lining - bottom gusset  38"x5"  

Cut 2 from fabric - zipper tape extensions 4"x 16"

Cut 1 fabric front pocket   7"x20"

Cut one fabric "string" 1"x 24".  Turn right sides together and stitch 1/4" seam along the long edge.  Turn right side out and tuck in the ends and tack them down for a neat end.

Cut one fabric front band -  you have two choices.  Cut it 2"x16" and fold it in half crosswise, or cut it  4"x 8" and fold it in half lengthwise.  Either way, fold it right sides together and stitch the sides with a 1/4" seam.  If you use the 8" piece, stitch a curve along the one end.  Turn right side out and leave the one end open.

Cut one fabric strap - 6"x55"   ( you can piece 6" wide pieces to get the needed length)

Cut 1 from lining - inside gathered pocket.  12"x16"  Fold in half lengthwise, right sides together and stitch the long seam.  Turn right side out and press.  Stitch a casing along the top edge 1/8" wider than the elastic you are using.

Cut one from lining - inside zipper pocket.    - square   8" x 8"   Fold in half right sides together and stitch around the 3 open sides leaving a 3" area open for turning.  Turn right side out and press.  You do not have to stitch the opening closed as this will be topstitched.

Cut one front pocket lining  6"x20"

From medium weight fusible interfacing, cut:
2 pieces  10"x14" for front and back, curve the bottom corners same as the fabric pieces
1 piece 5"x 38" for bottom gusset
1 piece 5"x14" to reinforce bottom gusset center (optional)
1 piece 1 1/2" x 55" for strap
Take all interfacing pieces except the strap and trim 1/4" around each edge.  This will prevent the fusible from getting on the iron or ironing board and reduce the bulk in the seam allowances.

Sewing Instructions

Shaping the bottom gusset.
Take the fabric, and the lining piece and lay them on top of each other to cut them both at once.
Fold the strip in half crosswise.  From the raw edge measure 10" and mark.
From the top raw corner and the bottom raw corner, mark 1" up the short side.
Using a ruler, connect the top 10" mark to the top 1" mark.  Repeat on the bottom.
This will shape the sides of the bag to taper in at the top.

 The tapered ends should look like this now.

Do the same with the interfacing.  Trim the extra 1/4",  then fuse it to wrong side of bottom gusset. Set aside.

To form the strap:
 Take the strap piece and press it in half lengthwise.  Open and fuse the strap interfacing to the wrong side along the pressed fold line.

 Once fused, fold both long edges in to the center and press.
 Fold over so it is now 4 thickness and topstitch 1/8" from each long edge.  Set aside.

 To form the inside zippered pocket.
 Take your inside zippered pocket.  To add the zipper, align the top edge to the edge of the zipper teeth.  Make sure the zipper is right side up, and the bottom end of the tape is slightly inside the pocket edge.  Fold any extra tape at the top edge under at a  90 degree angle to leave a neat edge.  Topstitch along the zipper tape about 1/8"- 1/4" from the teeth.  Use a zipper foot, or if your needle position adjusts, move it all the way over to the left.
 Take one of the inside lining pieces and fold over the top 4" and press.  Open. Using this fold as a guide, line up the pocket by - place it upside down so the unsewn zipper tape is along the fold.  The main part of the pocket should be extending over the top edge of the lining piece.  Stitch the zipper tape along the zipper teeth.  Fold the top end of the zipper tape under to leave a clean edge. Now fold the pocket down into place and topstitch around the 3 sides.  This is now the lining front.  Set aside
1                                                                        2
To form the inside gathered pocket.
Take the pocket piece and insert elastic in the casing.  Place on top of the back lining piece matching the bottom edge.  Stitch the bottom edge 1/4" from the bottom so the stitching will be inside the seam allowance.  
You will divide this into 3 pockets.  Place a pin  on the back lining piece at the 2  points where you want the pockets to divide. (I make the center pocket fit my cell phone) Stitch up from the bottom to the top edge -and over the elastic to form the first division.  Then pull the elastic taught so the center pocket is gathered well.  Pin the other division point and stitch from bottom to over the elastic to form the other side of the center pocket.  Now, on each side, pull the elastic taught to gather the rest of the pocket fullness to match the width of the lining piece.  stitch across the elastic and the sides to hold in place.  
Do this on both sides.

To form the front outside pocket, place the front pocket fabric and the front pocket lining right sides together, matching the top long edge.  Stitch a 1/4" seam.  Open and press the seam allowance towards the fabric piece.

Fold in half lengthwise and press.  You'll see that the fabric will extend over the edge and into the lining side.
 Using your elastic as a guide, sew a casing along the folded edge, leaving it about 1/8" wider than the elastic.

To attach the front pocket.
Stitch the elastic down, inside the side seam allowance to anchor it.  Pull the elastic taught until it is gathered evenly.  I make this rather tight as it tends to loosen as the bag is constructed.  Secure the elastic to the other end and trim excess.
 Carefully line up the front pocket to the bottom edge of the front piece, Lining up the centers of both pieces.  Pin the sides into place first.  Then working from the center out, pin in the fullness of the pocket along the bottom edge.  As you can see, I go a bit pin happy at this point.  Do not trim off the corner until you have this stitched in place.
 Once the front pocket is attached along both sides and the bottom, you can trim the corners to match the curve on the front piece. I leave the trimming until the end.  It should look like this now.
Take the string piece, fold it right sides together and stitch along the long edge.  Turn right side out and tuck in the ends so the raw edges are in, tack each end with a couple of hand stitches to hold them.  Fold the string in half and place the fold on the center of the front, just above the top edge of the pocket. Stitch across the string to secure it well.  This will be supporting the entire bag when you use it as a backpack, so stitch it well.


 Line up the front band at the center of the front of bag.  Extend the top to cover the stitching on the string.  Pin in place.
 Topstitch into place.  Do not stitch across the top.  You want to be able to tuck the strings inside the front band.  While stitching, pull the fullness of the front pocket out of the way.
 I should look like this. (Sorry the pic is upside down)
 Tuck the string inside.
 Now you will form the bag.
Do the lining first for practise.  Then do the same thing with the purse fabric.  You'll end up with two "bags", one of purse fabric and one of lining.
1. Mark the center of the bottom of both front and back pieces, and the center of the bottom gusset.  Taking the front piece, match the center to the center of the gusset, right sides together.  I only use one pin at this point.  Starting at the center, stitch a 1/2" seam along the bottom, around the curve and up the side.  If you hold the gusset in your right hand and the front piece in your left hand you can match them up as you sew.  Go slowly around the bottom corner.  Now, starting in the center again, stitch the other way, going along the bottom, around the curve and up the side.  This time the gusset will be on top.
There is extra allowance on each end of the gusset, so it will stick out even when the front and the back pieces are attached.

 When you have one side attached to the bottom gusset it should look like this.  The second outer bag piece will take some wrestling to hold while stitching, Just go slow.
 Again, the gusset will stick out on both ends.

Attach the back piece in the same manner.  You may need to wrestle with it a bit at this stage.
Doing this step with both the lining first, then with the fabric, you will now have 2 bags, a fabric one, and a lining one.

 With the fabric bag inside out.  With the lining bag right side out.  Place the lining inside the bag.  Match centers of top edges and centers of bottom gusset where it sticks out the top.  Leave a 4" opening along the top edge for turning.  Stitch along the top raw edge lining up the raw edges as you go.  Use a small stitch length so this is a strong seam.  Leave the side gusset pieces open.

 Now wrestle the bag through the hole so the bag is right side out.  The lining should also be right side out at this point.  Push the lining down into the bag.  Turn out the ends of the bottom gusset - these will be tucked in later, but they're useful for handling at this point.
 Carefully press the top edge so that the lining does not extend over the outside.  It is preferable to have the lining inside the bag by about 1/16-1/8"  It is not necessary to stitch the turning opening closed, just press the seam allowances into place as if it were sewn.
 To form the strap, take one 1 1/2" rectangular ring, and one 1 1/2" buckle.
Take the strap and trim 4" off one end.  Take one end of the strap and fold over a 1/4", then fold it over the bar of the buckle and stitch into place.
Take the piece you cut off the strap and form a tab around the rectangular ring.
 You can stitch across the tab below the ring if you choose, but it is not essential.
 Take one end of the bag at the gusset ends.  Tuck the ends in and align the edge to be even with the rest of the top edge.  Slide the tab into the seam.  Center it on the side of the gusset.  Top stitch into place about 1/8" from the top edge.

 To attach the strap to the bag, take the raw end of the strap and feed it through the ring - from the inside to the outside.
 Feed the raw end up through the buckle and back down the other side.
 Using the same method that you used to secure the tab, insert the strap end into the other side and topstitch into place.

At this point the bag can be finished, by topstitching around the entire top edge.
 But I choose to add a zipper.
 To form the zipper part, take each of the two zipper tape extensions and press them in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.  With the zipper facing UP, topstitch one piece to each side of the zipper with the fold line beside the zipper teeth.  Check to make sure the zipper slides easily without catching the fabric.
Now place the zipper right side DOWN.  Carefully trim 1/4"  off the one layer of the fabric along both raw edges as shown.
 Press the top piece over the bottom piece catching the piece you trimmed under the fold.
 Trim each end as shown, and press the top over to form a taper at each end.

 Line up the zipper end with the side where the strap meets the top edge of the bag.  Pin it in place so that the top of the zipper lines up with the strap - right side down, and the raw end of the zipper extends into the bag by about 1/2"  Stitch in place, stitching along the same line of topstitching that secures the strap.  Be careful to not stitch over the metal stop on the zipper.

 Fold the zipper into the bag and again topstitch over the same line.

I stitch "backwards" at this point, with the bulk of the bag inside the harp of the machine.  It makes it easier to make sure the zipper is in straight.

Zigzag across the top end of the zipper to secure the two pieces together and trim off the extra zipper leaving about 1" to tuck in.

Fold the end of the zipper into the bag and top stitch across it.

The reason there is a string tucked in the front band is for when you want your hands free and to wear it as a backpack. Adjust the strap to its full length.  Using the string, tie the middle of the strap down to the front band.  You'll now have two loops to fit over your shoulder.
The strap can also be adjusted to wear across the body, or as a shoulder bag.