241 Tote

A few months ago, my friend Kelly asked me to make her wife Aivanett something for her birthday. She wanted an accessory of some kind, and after looking at some patterns, we settled on the 241 Tote from one of my favorite designers, Anna Graham of Noodlehead. I was really excited to make it; I’d had the pattern for a few months but had been too busy to make one, so this was a perfect excuse – and this pattern did not disappoint! Here’s how my version turned out:Aqua and red and white polka dots 241 Tote by Noodlehead

Kelly picked the main fabric with the cute kitchen stuff (Mix Things Up from Robert Kaufman), and then I matched coordinating colors for the pockets. I took a chance on the red with white polka dots, as I was ordering online (from Hawthorne Threads, my very, very, very favorite online retailer), and I got really lucky that it looked great with the aqua. I had the gray (RJR Cotton Supreme in Gray Stone) in my stash already – it’s my preferred neutral, and I thought the bag needed a calmer color/pattern to balance out the two brighter fabrics. I lined the inside with some Letterpress by Michael Miller – yes, I still have this in my stash and yes, I will continue to use it on everything!

Inside of 241 Tote with letterpress by Michael Miller fabric

I opted to do just one front pocket on each side, as I didn’t want the zippers to overwhelm the pattern, and I lined each of those pockets with more polka dots:

Showing red and white polka dot fabric lining the pocket of a 241 Tote

I love those pockets – they’re just the right size for a phone or some keys, or even a small wallet, and having them on the outside saves you from having to dig around for small stuff. The only significant change I made was to extend the strap to make it crosswise rather than a shoulder strap, which I did by cutting two strap pieces rather than one; one in the gray fabric, which I then cut in half, and one in the aqua fabric. I then sewed a gray piece onto each end of the aqua and continued with the instructions as written, just with a strap twice as long.

Aqua and red and white polka dots 241 Tote by Noodlehead

The external pieces are lined with fusible fleece, which I really liked – the bag came out fairly sturdy without being too bulky, and it made the shoulder strap pretty padded and (hopefully) more comfortable.

The pattern itself is, like all of Anna’s patterns, very clear and easy to follow, and the size was great for an every day bag. Each piece fit together perfectly, which can sometimes be a problem with patterns that have a lining, and I think it would be fairly easy for a beginner to follow. It took about a day and a half altogether from start to finish, which isn’t bad in my experience. I liked it enough that I’m still planning on making one for me, but I think I might enlarge it just a little, as I’m most often carrying a project to work on and might need a little more space.

Aqua and red and white polka dots 241 Tote by Noodlehead

And now, a little shop news! If you haven’t visited in a while, I’ve got some pretty cute yarn bowls in there, along with a few other baskets:

Pink yarn bowl, rope basket

And, both the Kaleidoscope wall hanging

Kaleidescope rainbow quilted wall hanging using apple core EPP

and the Kisses wall hanging

Wall hanging quilt with lips on it, andy warhol inspired

are up for sale! There’s a bunch of other new stuff too, so head over to Etsy to check it out, and have a great Thursday!

Paddington Bear Wholecloth Quilt

A while ago I got a commission to make a simple baby quilt in gray and cream. Looking around for cute gray fabric, I stumbled across the new Paddington Bear collection from Camelot Fabrics, and it was perfect! I ended up with a soft, drapey quilt that still had an cute (but not cutesy) design:

Gray baby quilt, Paddington bear fabric with teal binding

The gray colorway is Tonal Paddingtion in Grey and I really loved working with it; the cotton is so soft, it almost feels like flannel. For the back I used Medium Dot in Cream on Cream by Riley Blake:

Riley Blake Medium dot Cream on Cream wholecloth quilt, teal binding

Paddington Quilt 8

To get accurate circles, I used my making pen (always test first!) and a compass to draw them as straight and close together as I could, then quilted those lines. I really like the little diamonds in between each circle, and by following one curved line after another (so, top half of one circle into the bottom half of the one next to it), I kept the stopping and starting to a minimum.

Tracing circles onto a wholecloth quilt

This technique worked well and I’m definitely going to use it again, although I think I’d make my circles smaller, just because I tend to like things more densely quilted. I added some teal binding (Ta Dot in Teal by Michael Miller) and once the baby was here, his initials and the date of his birth.

Folded Paddington Bear Quilt with teal binding

I usually just freehand when I do initials, but I wanted these at a specific spacing within the circle, so I used my ruler to give myself some lines while I was writing.

Close up of embroidered initials

All in all it turned into a pretty little blanket even without the piecing I usually do, and it was certainly a lot faster! I think I’m going to do a few of these when I’m having one of those “need to sew, but don’t want anything super complicated” days.

Paddington Quilt 2

Mermaid Play Skirt

One of my favorite fabric designers and illustrators is Sarah Jane (she designs for Michael Miller). I’m also a little bit obsessed with octopuses (or octopi, should you prefer), so when she released her Out to Sea line, I snapped up the Mermaid Play print as soon as I could. I mean, how was I supposed to resist this cuteness?

Close up of mermaid play fabric by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller

The mermaids! The whales! The octopuses! I had to have an item of clothing from it right away. I finally settled on using this tutorial from Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing (which you should definitely cruise around if you have any interest in clothes). I’m still learning to sew clothes and I’ll admit that I’m not great at following patterns…things inevitably wander off course when I decide to add or subtract things, so this suited me perfectly. I ended up with a really adorable skirt, if I do say so myself!

Close up of homemade skirt with mermaids, whales, and fish on it

I followed the tutorial directions pretty much to the letter, to my measurements, of course. I did thread some elastic through the waistband, since it ended up a bit more loose than I wanted, and I added pockets, because pockets rule.

Girl wearing homemade skirt with mermaids, whales, and fish on it

I love the wider hem, and I’m really proud of myself for installing an invisible zipper.

Close up of zipper on homemade skirt with mermaids, whales, and fish on it

There are a few puckers, but the skirt is full enough that it pretty much hides them. I also finished the seams, so it looks fairly decent on the inside too.

Close up of pockets on homemade skirt with mermaids, whales, and fish on it

I’ve worn it a lot this summer and have gotten tons of compliments. I think when I make another one (and I definitely will), I’ll use a bit more fabric and make it fuller, but overall I’m really happy with it!

Lots of Little Things – And Meeting Debbie Bliss!

First, I must apologize for my longish absence; I was sick for a little while there. But, I’m on the mend and I have lots of little things to share! First up, I got a wild hair and decided to make a wallet for my mom:

Wallet made from Michael Miller Just My Type Letterpress

I was fairly happy with it, although there were a few things I’d change next time. It’s hard to tell, but I used iron-on vinyl on the outside, to make it more water and dirt proof. It made the fabric really thick and difficult to sew, which my poor little machine was not happy about. Because of that difficulty, the pockets on the inside did get slightly crooked.

Inside of wallet made with Michael Miller Just My Type Letterpress

It basically flat out refused to sew the velcro, so that part took me a lot longer than I’d been expecting. This frustration led to deciding it was finally time to get a more heavy duty machine, which I’ve needed for quite a while (I have a little Brother machine that I love, but she just isn’t up to the amount of quilting I do). A trip to Goodwill later, and this beauty went home with me!

1970s Kenmore Sewing Machine

She needs some cleaning and servicing, but runs great and is super heavy, so no more shuttering all over the table! Now she just needs a name…any suggestions?

I also finished this little guy, for a sweet brand new baby boy.

Hand knit brown teddy bear wearing a blue bow

He was an order from my Etsy store, and measured about 17 inches high. He was so cuddly and huggable, I kind of wanted to keep him, but I decided the baby probably needed him more :). The pattern is this one from Debbie Bliss, which I’ve made several times and continue to fall in love with.

And, speaking of Debbie Bliss, she was visiting Seattle recently, and guess who got to meet her!

Girl standing with Debbie Bliss wearing a dress made from Michael Miller Just My Type LetterpressYes, that is yours truly, standing next to Debbie Bliss, and wearing one of the sweaters she brought with her, from the new fall designs. This one is knit from the new Roma yarn, and that and the sweater design should be available at the end of summer, from what I understand. This is another from the same collection:

Girl wearing sample of a gray Debbie Bliss designed sweater

It was an awesome afternoon. There weren’t that many people there, so we were each able to talk to Debbie and try one a bunch of sweaters. She talked a lot about her design process, and how to knit for yourself. Interestingly, she recommends that you pick a sweater pattern based on your shoulder measurement rather than your bust measurement, especially if there’s a lot of ease in the pattern. In hindsight, this makes a lot of sense, since a lot of the time when I make a sweater in “my” measurements, I’m not happy with the fit. But I have a couple of sweaters that got made a size or two small, and they fit great. I went home incredibly inspired and ready to work…and she complimented my dress, which pretty much made my week!

Hope everyone is having a great summer (and beating the heat), and I should be back to regularly scheduled postings next week!

Letterpress Dress

I recently had a bit of a quilting disaster (more about that on a later post) that necessitated dismantling the quilt and ditching the top and batting. It was fairly traumatizing, but the backing was still good, and happened to be one of my favorite fabrics, Letterpress by Michael Miller. I decided to make lemonade by turning into an easy summer dress, and I’m pretty happy with the result:

Girl in dress made from Michael Miller Just my Type Letterpress in gray

I basically sewed it in the style of a pillowcase dress; I made one big square of fabric that was sewn on all sides but one, then used an existing dress that I knew fit well to trace the lines for the head and arm holes. Once I’d cut those out, I just hemmed each raw edge and, since it gaped a bit, ran some elastic through all except the bottom.

Girl in dress made from Michael Miller Just my Type Letterpress in gray

It turned into a really blousy, breezy summer dress, but still fits great where it needs to (elastic is a miracle). It was absolutely perfect for our recent 90 degree heat, and since it’s just plain cotton, is very easily washed and thrown in the dryer. It also looks a bit like a swing dress, which I’ve been noticing making a comeback, so I’m kind of accidentally on trend, too.

For dinner with friends, I dressed it up and made it a bit more form fitting with a cute green belt.

Girl in dress made from Michael Miller Just my Type Letterpress in gray, with green skinny belt

I don’t have a lot of neutrals in my wardrobe (unless you consider pink a neutral…), so it’s kind of nice to have a dress that can be paired with pretty much any other color. I’ve gotten tons of compliments on it and I love wearing my favorite fabrics, so I see lots of handmade clothes in my future!

Hexie Quilt is Finished!

Ta da! The hexie quilt is finally done!

Queen sized hand pieced quilt made with blue, gray, and yellow hexagons

The final tally was about 1500 hexagons, 4 spools of thread, and a million hours of sewing, but it was so worth it! It’s a mix of different fabrics from different companies, but there’s a whole lot of Michael Miller and Robert Kaufman in there. I’m really happy with the overall pattern (which was only half me; Mike and Aliya picked out the arrangement of the hexies), but I also love looking at the individual fabrics. As you can see, I used a lot of Just My Type.

Close up of queen sized hand pieced quilt made with blue, gray, and yellow hexagons

I hand stitched the hexies together, and then quilted them with a decorative loop stitch. I wanted to reinforce the hand stitching so it would hold up to every day use, and the loops add a nice texture. I was asked to make it into a duvet cover instead of a traditional quilt, so I used a yellow and white striped fabric for both the duvet part and the binding.  It turned out a bit heavier than I would have liked, but it had a lot more pieces than I normally use, and a lot more thread, so there wasn’t much I could do to avoid it, and it ended up with a nice drape anyway.

close up of yellow striped binding on queen sized hand pieced quilt made with blue, gray, and yellow hexagons

I really like that it can be a duvet cover, but also looks nice just by itself, so it can still be used when it gets hot around here (which, admittedly, is really only for about a month in Seattle, but still).

Queen sized hand pieced quilt made with blue, gray, and yellow hexagons, spread over a white bed frame

This quilt was a lot of work, but I learned so much while I was working on it (main takeaway: you will need more hexies than you think!), and it’s already getting  tons of love from it’s new owners :). I’ll definitely make another one…although I think I’ll stick with baby sizes for a while!

Linking up this week with I Quilt Thursdays over at Pretty Bobbins!


One of the many fun things we do at the Modern Quilt Guild is swaps; everyone makes a small project, puts it in a paper bag, and puts it on a table. Then everyone picks a random bag so that they end up with someone else’s project. It’s fun to see what everyone comes up with, and you end up with something cute to take home! This month’s swap was pincushions, and I had a lot of fun following Yellow Spool‘s tutorial for this one with a cute embroidery hoop:

Pincushion made from yellow and green text fabric, with embroidery hoop base and heart pins stuck in it

The fabric is from a Michael Miller line called Just My Type (in “Letterpress”). I am somewhat obsessed with these prints at the moment; my love for Michael Miller’s cottons is well documented, and the colors are fantastic. I used a bunch of them for the hexie quilt (coincidentally they were just the colors I needed!) and have plans to make some modern baby quilts out of them soon – luckily my local fabric store has most of the prints in stock still. A fat quarter was more than enough to make this little guy, with enough left over for probably one more if I’m lucky. I was really tempted to keep it, but I’m glad I decided to swap, because I got the cutest strawberry!

Pincushion shaped like a strawberry

It was made by the lovely and talented Kam (she blogs over at http://www.needleplusthread.com and you should go visit). I just got my strawberry patch in a few days ago, so it was good timing! I also love that it’s hanging; I have a little row of hooks that sits just to my left when I sew, and this is perfect to hang off of one of them for easy pin access.

While I was at it, I made a second pincushion that goes over the wrist, to wear when I hand sew. I wasn’t sure if this was a thing other people would want or need, so I didn’t want to make one to swap until I’ve tested it out. I’ve been doing a lot of hand sewing lately, and have a really bad habit of sticking needles and pins into the arm of the couch. Not only is this bad for the couch, but not too long ago I managed to get a needle puncture to the wrist after bringing my hand down in the wrong spot. I’ve been trying to keep them in a bowl since then, but it’s a pain to have to reach over every time I need a pin or a place to put my needle temporarily. I’m pretty much constantly finding needles in the laundry that have fallen off of shirts I’ve stuck them into, so I’m hoping this eliminates that problem!

Wrist pincushion with pink sewing machine on it

This print is a fabulous one from Timeless Treasures called Adult Novelty (in Sewing Machines). It has a bunch of sewing machines from different decades, in really bright colors; this one is one of the 1930s ones. It was pretty simple to make, although I think next time I’ll put some cardboard in the bottom to make sure nothing sharp gets through. I’ve been using it for a couple of days though, and so far no puncture wounds for either me or the couch :P.

If you’re curious about what goes on at the guild (or want to join!), you can see more over at the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild’s Instagram feed or visit the blog, where there’s lots of pictures and information!

Polka Dots and Turtles Travel Bag

A few months ago, I saw the Fall/Winter issue of Stitch Magazine, and immediately bought it to make the cover project:


It reminded me a bit of the Weekender Bag that’s been making the blog rounds, and it just so happened that we had a plane trip coming up. I realized after I started making it that I also made a bag the last time we flew to the East Coast, and have now decided I’ll make a new one every time we fly :P. Anyway, here is my version:






I did make a few changes (I’m sure you’re shocked). The pattern called for heavyweight interfacing, but I didn’t have any, so in my infinite bag making wisdom, I figured I’d just quilt it. Next time I’ll just follow the directions, because quilting all the pieces was a lot of work, but I really love the effect. I cut all the outside pieces first (using Michael Miller Kiss Dot), ironed some lightweight interfacing to each piece, and then quilted batting to that. I just used straight lines because it was easiest. The pockets and handles are made of Michael Miller Les Amis Turtle Parade, and I left out the piping. It didn’t seam to fit my bag, for whatever reason. The original pattern only had two pockets on each side, but on one of the sides I made it three.

For the lining, I used some teal chevron fabric that I had in my stash (I’m not sure where it came from). 


I also added three pockets on one side of the lining and two pockets on the other; these were optional in the pattern.





The thing that I’m most proud of, though, is the zipper! This was my first time putting in a zipper, and I was really nervous about it, but I think it actually went really well.


All of the stitching came out great, and I was really thrilled with how professional the seams look.


It was the perfect size for a carry on, even though I loaded it up for our plane trip, and it held up nicely on vacation! I will definitely make this again…although I probably won’t make so many modifications :P.