Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sewing Essentials - My Favorite Studio Supplies


As many of you already know, a few months ago I joined forces with So Sew Easy, and it's been a fun and educational experience. Before that I would stop by the site now and then, but now that I've become a part of it (actually a contributor), I've had many opportunities to really look it over. There so many free tutorials, tips, and a crazy amount of sewing information! 

Today I'm sharing a list of my favorite sewing essentials. Some of them you may already have, and some, you may not know yet that you really need. Stop by So Sew Easy and take a look. I gotta warn you, you might just be sitting at the computer all day looking through all the fun stuff!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Baking - Free Mug Rug Tutorial


December's mug rug tutorial is ready! I do believe it is one of my favorites as well. You find everything you need to get started on yours at So Sew Easy by clicking HERE. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Handmade Holiday!


Many of my blogging friends know how special a handmade holiday can be. I've been guest writing over at So Sew Easy and my most recent article is about just that. Be sure stop by and get some great ideas. Click HERE to find out how you can add more handmade to your holiday!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Autumn Harvest - November Mug Rug of the Month Tutorial


My November mug rug tutorial is up at So Sew Easy! Hope you join us on all twelve. You can find Autumn Harvest right HERE.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Share Your Talents for a Cause


Every year I like to participate in some type of sewing for a cause, and I'm looking forward to doing it again! I did some research so I could find something for this year. I've found a ton of them. I got such joy last year knowing that the little monster pillow toys I stitched up would make a couple children smile.

I've been so blessed in my life in so many ways, and I really want to give back. It's been a rough year for our family and I'm now moving in more of a positive direction, and trying to become a better version of myself. Donating and helping others is a win/win. Not only are you helping someone who needs it, it makes you feel really good!

Here are a few that I've found and I'm just trying to decide which one I'm going to do this year.

Make a fun and colorful pillowcase for a child fighting cancer:

Make a snuggly blanket for an animal who needs a little comfort:

More animal snuggle love:

Sew or crochet a blanket for a child who needs one:

There are just so many great charities out there. You are just going to have to find one that works well for you and your talents. Whatever charity you choose, just be sure to check it out carefully. You want to make sure the money or items are going where they should. It really does make your heart feel good!


Don't forget, you can share the love all year long, not just at Christmas.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

October Mug Rug Tutorial is Ready!


Here it is! The first monthly mug rug tutorial. You can find the tutorial over at So Sew Easy by clicking HERE.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Week in the Smokies


We just returned home from spending a week in a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. Our family has had such a rough year that it was so nice to kick back and enjoy our surroundings. No work, no bills, no television, no daily humdrum. Of course our cabin had a TV, free WiFi, and cell service, but we really didn't use much of it. The only TV shows we had on were Mickey Mouse for my granddaughter, but even then, it was just a couple times. We spent the days doing touristy things, then we returned home to our cabin for quick and easy dinners, relaxation, hot tub fun, and lots of laughs. We even went for a celebration anniversary dinner on the last night there. There were a total of eight adults and my two year old granddaughter. What fun!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Scrap Buster - Earbud Case or Tiny Coin Purse Tutorial


There are a gazillion zipper bag tutorials out there and I have made many of them. When I wanted one to fit my earbuds, I couldn't quite find exactly what I wanted. I wanted it to be the perfect size to fit my earbuds. I don't like to over clutter my purse, I wanted something flat, and I wanted a ring attached so I could have the option to clip it to my purse, key ring, etc. This case is very small but you could also use it for a small coin purse, or as a place to hold your flash drives and extra SD cards. The nice thing about this pattern is that you can easily make it any size you want. Just remember that your zipper must extend at least an inch or an inch and a half past the edges on each side. The finishes size of mine is 3 X 4 inches, and the top stitching around the outer edges takes up some of the inside space, which can be omitted if you prefer. Let's begin!

Supplies to make one zipper bag
Scrap fabric for outside, lining, and optional tab
Scraps of fusible interfacing (I used fusible fleece interfacing)
Thread to match fabric
9 inch or larger zipper
1 inch metal ring (optional)
General sewing supplies such as cutting tools, scissors needles, pin, sewing machine, iron.

Note: If your fabrics will be pre-washed, do not use fabric softener. It can prevent your fusible interfacing from sticking.

Instructions
1.  Make a paper template to measure 4 1/4" X 5". Remember that this is a tiny case so if you want yours bigger, this is the time to change the measurements. Just remember that your zipper must be bigger.

Fold the paper template into quarters and round off the corners. Using this template, cut two pieces from the outer fabric, two pieces from the lining fabric, and two pieces from the fusible interfacing. You are also going to cut a piece 2" X 2" fabric piece for the tab if you are going to add the ring.

2.  Take one of each of your fabric and interfacing pieces and fold in half lengthwise, then cut down the center. You will now have one whole piece and two half pieces of the outer fabric, the lining, and the interfacing.


3.  Iron the fusible interfacing to the backside of each of the outer bag pieces. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the interfacing you are using. If any of the interfacing extends beyond the fabric, just trim it away.

4.  Fold the optional tab fabric (2" X 2" square) in half, then fold the the two long edges in to meet the fold in the center and iron. Stitch along each folded edge.


5.  Sandwich your zipper between one of the outer half fabric pieces and the lining fabric pieces, meeting the long edges. The right sides of the fabric will be facing each other, and the right (top) side of the zipper will be facing the outer bag fabric. Make sure that the two fabric pieces match up evenly, and that the zipper is extending beyond each end. Also, your zipper slider is in the extended area and not between your two fabric pieces.


6.  Using your zipper foot, stitch the zipper and fabric pieces together 1/4 inch away from the edges. Flip the fabrics out and away from the zipper, lining them up so they match up, and press. Pin to secure. Take back to the machine and top stitch close to the fold. Repeat these steps with the remaining halves of the fabric by attaching them opposite of these two. Be sure to make them line up with the fabrics that are already stitched.




7.  Pull your zipper slider down so that it is a little more than halfway. You will need this opening to turn your case right side out. Trim the ends of the excess zipper pieces away.


8.  You will use your multi-purpose foot to stitch the the rest of the case. First, stitch the ends together so that the open ends of the zipper will meet each other. Keep your stitching within 1/4 inch from edge. You don't want the zipper teeth to overlap each other, you want them to meet. and remain flat.

9.  If you are using the tab and ring, you will attach that now. Fold the tab in half over the ring and stitch the ends together to secure. Place this piece at the edge that you just stitched closed. Stitch to the edge just under 1/4 inch from the edge.


10.  With the right sides facing out, and the interfacing on the inside, pin your large outer fabric piece to your lining fabric piece. Baste around the entire thing just under 1/4 inch from the outer edge.

11.  With the outer pieces facing each other, place this piece together with the zippered piece. You will notice that the fabric making up the bottom of the case is slightly bigger than the the zippered piece. That's OK, you'll be cutting it away later. With the zippered piece on the top, stitch around the case 1/4 inch away from the edge of the zippered piece. Make sure that your tab and ring are laying flat so they won't interfere with your stitching.



12.  Trim around the entire case about 1/8 inch away from stitching. Turn case right side out through the opened zipper, and iron. Top stitch all the way around the case. If you want this case to be a wee bit bigger, or you prefer the puffy look instead of the flat look, you can omit the top stitching. Enjoy!


Friday, September 11, 2015

Are We Reaching the End of The Shopping Mall?


Back in the day when my mom took us shopping for school clothes seemed to be the beginning of the mall's popularity. At that time we only had two choices. By the time I was a teenager, they seemed to pop up all over the place. The day after Thanksgiving was a special treat because all the ladies in the family would meet at my mom's house and we'd head to Woodfield Mall Illinois. It was a blast! We also thought it was a treat because the malls had extended hours for Christmas. Back when I was much, much younger, they opened at eight instead of nine or ten, and no one camped out in the freezing cold at two in the morning to get that camera for $85 instead of $200. Crazy! And there is no way you'd catch me near any store the day after Thanksgiving anymore! That is now my decorating day so I don't have to face the crowds.  

Now it seems like many are closing down while the big box stores and outlet stores are popping up all over the place. The area where I live is growing like crazy with stores and restaurants. Our poor mall only has two stores left, Carson's and Sears. Penney's just closed their doors there and I'm wondering how much longer the two remaining stores will be there. After all, they opened a Kohls, OfficeMax, Ross, Hobby Lobby, and many others just across the street and down the road. 

It seems like the malls and cute little shopping towns are sliding slowly into history. In the photos above you will see my latest trip to the mall. It was actually eerie. It's the mall I mentioned that has only two stores left. All my special shopping days will remain in my memory and my heart forever!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A New Spin on Fusible Applique


I actually owe credit for this idea to my husband. He took one of my Christmas towels to his work room without my knowledge and did some experimenting. He cut roughly around the applique and spray glued it to a piece of wood. He then took it to his scroll saw and cut it out as close as he could get to the outside stitching. When he showed it to me I couldn't believe what he did! It was so cute. Instead of getting mad at him for taking my Christmas hand towel and cutting it apart, I gave him a couple of my own appliques to cut out. He came back about 20 minutes later and I was in awe. My creative mind is now spinning!

They look so cute sitting up on a shelf. How cute would this be to drill a hole in the tops and make Christmas ornaments from your holiday appliques! Another cute idea is to make them up for all holidays and make pretty garlands. I've heard of people fusing them to card stock and making greeting cards from them, but this is another fun and creative way to use them. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Memories.....


I finally got around to cleaning out the home office, and that's when I came across these gems. When your kids write you notes, you save them forever. I have every note they ever wrote me when they were small, but these are when they were much, much older. When I first moved into an apartment after my divorce in 2006, both of my kids lived with me. My daughter was the first to move out a few months later, then my son moved out about a year after that. During the time they both lived with me, they would write me notes and in these notes, they argued over who loved me more and who was the better child. One would start the note, then the other would add to it, and so on. One note had about four additions to it. I will cherish these forever!

Along with the notes I came across this picture above. It was taken of me and a little friend about five years ago when I was working full time at the animal clinic. Back then we took in orphaned fawns. An animal control officer brought this one in when she took this picture. We still rehab wildlife but no longer take in deer. Between pets, humane societies, exotics, and wildlife, you never know what is going to come through that door. Do you see why I like to fill in occasionally now so my co-workers could get some time off?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Free Mug Rug Patterns for Everyone! Coming Soon!


I have great news for my mug rug lovers. Starting in early October, I'll be guest posting at So Sew Easy. Once a month I'll be posting a mug rug tutorial that will be appropriate for that month.

I was so excited when Deby approached me with the idea since I've been an admirer of her designs and her website for a long time. She's such a nice lady, I just know I'll enjoy working with her.

Each tutorial will be exclusively designed for So Sew Easy and you can only find them there. But don't worry, I'll make sure you know when they are published by posting an announcement on my Instagram, Google Plus, Sher's Creative Space Website, Pinterest, and right here on the blog. You can follow me on any of those, or you can sign up for my VIP Club, where you always get special deals and the latest news from my very own studio about twice a month. 

While you're waiting for the first one, why not stop by So Sew Easy and see all the great tutorials are waiting for you now.

Back to the studio! Working on my first one, a Halloween edition.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Midwest Scroll Saw Trade Show


Who knew that going to the Midwest Scroll Saw Trade Show would turn into a new passion! A few months back the hubster, who is an extremely talented woodworker, came across an ad in one of his magazines for a scroll saw show. He was so excited about it that he suggested we get on the Internet and find a hotel for the weekend. I'll admit that at first I was a little reluctant, all I could think of was rows and rows of scroll saws. Then I figured, why not, this could be fun and I've never been to Dubuque, besides, whenever I want to go somewhere for a weekend or vacation, the hubster is always willing to go. I couldn't have been more wrong. It wasn't just scroll saws at all. They had classes and a display of some of the most talented artists you'll ever see. They also sold patterns and woods. It was nothing like I had expected. I had a great time. I even bought two scroll saw patterns. I also bought some wood. My first project will be this intarsia sleeping kitty cat then this cute yorkie. The thought had crossed my mind to turn some of my own clipart and applique images into some Intarsia patterns. First things first, I have to practice, practice, and practice so I can make some nice samples.

The tiger in the photo above was my favorite piece from the show but it's quite complicated for a beginner.

While we were there we stayed at the Grand Harbor Resort and Water Park. In the bottom photo you will see what a beautiful view we had from our room. If you ever visit Dubuque this is a great place to stay. You can park your car and walk everywhere. There is a casino (we actually came out ahead for a change) across the street and a cute winery (where we bought a bottle of wine for the room) within a five minute walk down the river walk. 

It was a nice getaway but tomorrow is Monday so it's back to the studio for me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wedding Weekend


What an exciting weekend! On Saturday I got a new daughter. My son Bryan and his now wife Heidi, were married in a beautiful garden ceremony. Later a reception followed with good food, good friends, family, dancing, and of course spirits! I got an extra treat because I got to have Baby Paige for three nights!

Be sure to notice the bottom of the first photo. Somebody stole the show!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

FREE Poufy Jewelry Bag Tutorial with Eight Pockets!

 
Here is a super easy and quick tutorial to make this fun jewelry bag just in time for travel season. I made a bunch of these for all the ladies in the family about twenty years ago. Some of them, myself included, still use it today. It's a pretty simple drawstring bag with a twist. You'd be amazed at how much jewelry it holds! Inside there is a large, padded center and eight pockets. When you pull the drawstring to close it up, everything stays in it's place. Let's get started!

Supplies
3/8 yard fabric "A" or two fat quarters  (outside of bag and pockets)
3/8 yard fabric "B" or two fat quarters (lining for bag and pockets)
2 yards of 1/4" wide ribbon or thin cording
2 1/2" round facial buff sponge (found in cosmetic dept)
--You can also cut out a 2 1/2" circle from batting if you prefer
Thread to match fabric

Facial sponges I used

General sewing supplies such as needles, pins, measuring tools, cutting tools, fabric marking pencils, sewing machine, iron

Instructions
1.  Iron fabrics.

2.  Cut one 13" circle and one 11" circle from each fabric. Take the large circle made from fabric "B" and fold it in half. Mark the fold at each edge with a pin. With the right side facing up, measure 5/8" down and draw a 1/2" long line. Fold the circle in fourths and cut a tiny snip (about 1/4") at the corner. It is important that this is a tiny snip because it is only for turning your fabric right side out. When open, it shouldn't be any bigger than an inch opening. Repeat the snipped corner with fabric "B".
 
3.  Using a sewing machine make a buttonholes on the 1/2" line that you made on the large circle. I like to make my buttonholes using the manual method instead of the buttonhole foot because I feel like  I have more control. Using a seam ripper, make the slit in the buttonhole. I place a pin at the top so that I don't cut through the stitching at the end. The correct placement of the buttonhole should be 5/8" from the outer edge of the circle. 
 

4.  Place your large circles together with right sides together and stitch all the way around the circle, 1/2" from the edge. Trim away excess seam allowance about 1/8" from stitching. Turn right side out through the square and iron. Repeat this step with the smaller circles. Top stitch around each circle 1/8" from outer/seamed edge.
 
5.  Fold the smaller circle into fourths and mark the exact center on the side that matches the outside of the bag (fabric "A"). Lay the circle on a flat surface with that side up. Draw lines to make eight sections just like you would if you were cutting a pizza. Center this piece over the bigger circle with the bigger circles lining side facing up and secure with a couple of pins.
 
6.  Place the buff sponge on top in the exact center. Draw around the sponge then slip the sponge between the two circles and secure with a pin. Be sure to be using a disappearing or water soluble marking pin or a chalk that you can brush away. Take to the sewing machine and stitch on that circle. I found the zipper foot worked best for this part.
 
7.  Stitch on the straight lines from the edge of the sponge to the edge of the smaller circle. Remove all the markings when finished. You've just made your padded center and eight pockets.
 
8.  Thread the ribbon through the two buttonholes using a small safety pin. Insert the ribbon into the first buttonhole, then come out the second one. Pull out the excess ribbon leaving a loop sticking out where you started about three inches in size. Insert the ribbon back into the hole you just came out of and thread all the way around. Bring it back out through the hole that doesn't have the loop. You will have one buttonhole with the "loop" and the other hole will have two tails. Tie the two tails into a knot about four or five inches from the bag and cut away the excess. Pull the loop and the tails you just made to close the bag!
 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hot Air Balloon Festival


Have you ever been to a hot air balloon festival? If you never have, you should research to see if any are near you. I went to my first one this past week, and it was fun, as well as a learning experience. My favorite part was at night when they all lit up their balloons. I got some great pictures and I plan to have some printed to hang in our bedroom.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Battle Creek which was where the festival was held. We always like to stay at those because we've never had a bad experience at one, they are really nice, and they have a really nice complimentary continental breakfast.

Along with the balloons they had an air show too. The best part of that was watching the Raptor. It's the most advanced aircraft for our (USA) military. I'm not even into that stuff and I was completely fascinated by the show as well.

And I even proved the point to myself that you can spend a weekend at festivals and eating on the road without going off your diet!


Sunday, June 28, 2015

What a Month!

I know some might think that I've fallen off the face of the earth but I'm still here. Sometimes life throws you a curve and you are taken completely by surprise. In my case, I feel like I lost five months of my life. It started with a stomach virus, that led to a condition called Hyponatremia. If you aren't familiar with it (this was the first I've heard of it) it means that your sodium levels and electrolytes are dangerously low and it pretty much leaves you so lethargic that walking from one end of the house to the other wears you out. They admitted me into the hospital so they could bring my sodium levels back up, then put me on a limited fluids and high sodium diet. I was lucky though because this condition is known to cause seizures, convulsions, and coma.

Once I got past that. I covered for a co-worker's vacation at the clinic and got busy with life in general. But today I cleaned my studio and tomorrow I'll be back in there creating more projects. I've missed it terribly!

When I was thinking about writing this post, I couldn't think of a good picture to go with my subject. The last thing I wanted to post was a picture of medicine bottles or the hospital room, so I chose this adorable picture of Baby Paige. I'm happy to say that she has turned into quite the Nana's girl. Love her to pieces!!! 

I'll stop by and do some blog visits tomorrow. It's been a long day and I think it's past my bedtime.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Apps to Make Your Creative Life Easier

 

I have to say that smartphones are probably one of the greatest inventions of all time. I use mine to organize my life! It's so cool to have everything at your fingertips. I have shared some of my favorite apps with you before (links at the end of this post) but the links I'm sharing with you today are the ones I use to make my creative life easier. And did I mention that they are all free?

Plan, Start, Succeed This is a great app for the business crafter. It's full of lots of great information.

Expense Manager Another great app for those who want a super easy accounting system for their business or their personal life. I use this one for both. Love it!

CProject This will keep any project from the smallest to the biggest nicely organized. 

Memento Database Just as its name, this is a great database to keep up with your inventory or supplies! 

Quilting & Sewing on the Go This is a nice app to have for those times when you are at the fabric store and you aren't sure how much fabric to purchase or need other important details pertaining to sewing and quilting.

Shopping List When you realize that you are running low on a supply you can quickly add it to your list for your next trip out. You can keep all your lists on here as well, such as your projects in line, studio "to do's" or even your grocery list.

Evernote I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love, love, love Evernote! You can organize absolutely everything in this program. This program does so much that I can't even begin to explain it in this little post, you'll need to check it out for yourself.

Craftsy If you like to see great instructional videos on the go, this app is for you. You can watch your classes on your tablet or phone while you are working out at home or in the gym.

JoAnn, Michaels, Hobby Lobby These apps are from your favorite shops. They all have great coupons, their sales ads right in your app, and even gives you the location of the nearest store when you are out and about. You can even shop from them!

The above links will take you to the Google Play store (for Android), but if you have another operating system such as for the iphone, you can find these or similar there.

If you have a favorite app for making your creative life easier, please share in the comments!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Wait is Over!


One of my most popular applique templates is my "Chunky Alphabet." I can't tell you how many requests I've gotten for a numbers and symbols template to match. Here it is! Just like the alphabet, it comes in four different sizes plus three different bonus shapes.

They can be picked up at my Craftsy Shop and Etsy Shop.

Monday, April 27, 2015

143 Means I LOVE YOU


Some of you may not know this, in fact I didn't know it myself until my husband told me the story about it. He even bought me little earrings that are stamped with 143. Last Christmas he made me the wooden block that you see in the photo and it's one of my favorite gifts ever!

There is a beautiful story behind the 1-4-3 about a lighthouse. Every day, Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse blinks “I Love You” to Lighthouse Lovers by using a 1-4-3 flashing sequence which is the same numerical count as the words “I love you.” The lighthouse carries the nickname, the “Lover’s Light” or the “I Love You Light.”

On November 15, 1860, Fitz James O’Brien’s “Minot’s Ledge” poem was published in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. There are also great stories of hauntings from this romantic lighthouse. I found this great article explaining it in much better detail than I have here:

https://lighthousestars.wordpress.com/2008/02/14/minots-ledge-i-love-you-lighthouse-143


The mug rug pattern shown above can be purchased at my Etsy Shop or my Craftsy Shop.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Peek Inside My Job(s)


I do consider myself a full time business owner where I set my own schedule and work from home. But what some of you might not know is that before I took that plunge, I worked full time for an animal clinic where we also work with rescues, humane societies, and we rehab wildlife. It's such a stressful, yet rewarding job where there is never a dull minute. That's why when I left there in November of 2013, I happily told them I would love to fill in for vacations and various days off for my co-workers. It's a perfect situation for me and them! They get someone to fill in when they are short handed, and I get to get back with the public, the animals, and the best group of co-workers you could ask for. Occasionally I can't fill in sometimes, but most of the time, I jump on the opportunity.  You seriously never know what you are going to get from one day to the next. Early in my career there, a gentleman handed me a six foot python and told me he could no longer keep it. That was the first time I ever held a snake. It was a nice snake, thank God!

For the past few months I've been filling in a lot, and I'll be filling in a lot more during the summer months. I've shared pictures on the blog of cool things or unusual animals we get in. Last week we even made the local news. Since our doctor is a generous man and and exceptional veterinarian, we make the news a lot. A few months ago it was a coyote that fell off the third floor of a parking garage. We fixed his leg and he was later released. Yesterday a man was walking his dog and was shot. Unfortunately he didn't make it, but animal control brought us the dog which we did a leg amputation. Below is a link to the news article. You can see the interview with my boss and the treatment room where all the big stuff goes down!

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/video/11427248-dogs-leg-will-be-amputated-following-shooting-that-killed-owner

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tutorial - Car Bag or Tablet Cozy

 
I actually designed this bag out of need. I don't always know which car I'll be in day to day, or what I'll need for that trip. If I'll be using the GPS on my phone, I'll want to grab my charger, or I might need my sunglasses or camera. If I'm going to be gone for the day, I might want to pack a healthy snack. I suppose I could carry a larger purse but I like to travel light so I carry a very small cross body bag. It's so easy to put what I need in this bag, and I can leave it in the car. The best part, it hangs from my doorknob so I don't forget it. I even made one from fun citrus colors for my tablet. Plus, I never forget my bug spray for my walks anymore!

Supplies
Strips of 100% cotton fabric, at least 2 or 3 inches longer than the width of your bag
--Can use various widths if you want, I placed mine at slight angles
100% cotton batting or interfacing fleece, size depends on how big you want your bag
--I wouldn't recommend polyester batting because the "loft" will affect the finished size
100% cotton muslin, about 1 inch larger all the way around your fleece or batting
100% cotton fabric for lining, same size as your finished quilted piece
3 X 14 inch fabric for strap (optional)
Scrap of fabric for inside pockets, size you desire (optional)
2 to 5 inch piece of velcro, depending on the size of your bag
--For my larger bag I used a 5 inch piece, for the tablet cozy, I used a 2 1/2 inch piece
Thread
Cutting tools
Measuring tools
Pins, needles, sewing machine, iron, fabric marking pens

Instructions
1.  Iron your chosen fabrics and muslin. Cut the batting or fleece down to the size you are making the bag. For example, I want my bag to measure 11 inches wide, by 8 inches high, with about a 6 inch flap. For my bag to be this size, I cut my fleece (I used fleece for the car bag, and 100% cotton batting for the tablet cozy):
--12 inches wide (my 11 inches plus 1/2 inch for each side seam allowance)
--23 inches long (my 8 inch height times 2, plus 6 inches for flap, and 1/2 inch for seam allowances)

Note: I did notice that my length shrunk just under 1/2 inch during stitching. This isn't uncommon when machine quilting. If you will be making a cozy, and you want a snug fit, take this into consideration and make your measurements accordingly. It's also important to remember that your seams will be bulky. This is critical to figure in if you are planning a snug fit.

2.  Lay your batting or fleece on top of your muslin which should be about an inch bigger all the way around. Pin in place to secure. Machine baste all the way around about 1/4 inch from each edge. For this part I like to loosen my tension because if your stitches are too tight, they will really shrink your fabric and fleece. (Image 1)

3.  Cut the muslin even with the fleece or batting. As you can see, I like the rounded corners on mine, so I just took a food storage lid and drew a line to round my corners. After I cut them away, I went back to the machine and stitched the curved edges just as I did the straight edges, with a basting stitch and 1/4 inch away from edge. You can also do this after you have stitched all your strips to the batting or fleece. (Image 2)

 
4.  Place this on your work table with the batting or fleece facing up. Lay your strips of fabric across the width overlapping each other. I slightly angled all mine to give it a super casual look, but you can stitch them perfectly even all the way down if you prefer. Be sure your ends extend beyond the sides so there will be no white showing through. If you are going to stitch them down in angles like I did, you will want them to be a couple inches longer than the width because you will be flipping the fabric strips over after stitching. 

Arrange your strips until you are happy with the way it looks. I always cut a few extra because I usually need them. Now stack the strips up neatly in the order you will be stitching them down and take them to your sewing machine with your batting or fleece and muslin piece. (Image 3)

5.  If you loosened the tension for your machine basting, don't forget to adjust it now for your stitching. You want your stitches to be secure but you don't want them to be too tight. I always use a test strip of the fleece or batting I'm using so I get it right. Place your first strip down with the right side facing up. This is the only one that will be stitched on this way. Stitch it in place along the edge that it is covering using 1/4 inch seam allowance. You won't be able to see the edge, but you will be able to feel it when you are holding the fabric down. Don't worry about the ends extending beyond the edges, we'll trim them away later. (Image 4)
 
 
6.  For the remaining strips you will be positioning them with the wrong side up, then flipping them. So place your second strip on top of the first one and stitch 1/4 inch away from the edge that is closest to the center. I have placed mine at angles, so I trimmed away the excess of the strip before it, but you don't have to do that if you don't want. Be sure that that you smooth it out neatly before stitching and remember that when you flip the strip over so the right side is facing up, there should be no white showing and the ends of the strips should extend just a little beyond the edges of the batting or fleece piece. If you do flip it over and the color you stitched this one to is darker, you might have to trim it away so the darker seam allowance doesn't show through lighter color strip. 
(Image 5, 6, 7)


7.  Continue using this technique until you have all your strips stitched in place. When you get to the last one, be sure to stitch the edge of the strip down 1/4 inch away from the edge of the batting or fleece piece just as you did for the first one. This will keep them secure for the final steps. (Image 8)

8.  Take back to your work table, with the wrong side facing up, and cut away all the excess fabric. Flip it over now and see your designer fabric! (Image 9, 10)


9.  Position one of your velcro pieces (centering left to right) on this piece. The best way I have found to do this is by folding your fabric piece exactly how you will when you are ready to assemble the bag. Turn your upper edge of the bag 3/4 inch to the wrong side, secure with pins or clips, then bring your flap down where you want it to be. Make sure that the the velcro piece is completely covered. I allowed the bottom of my flap to extend at least an inch beyond the velcro piece underneath so that after the seam allowance (when stitching the flap to the lining) there is no way the velcro could peek through. Pin in place to secure, then stitch the velcro piece down close to the edges of the velcro. It's also important that you begin and end your stitching with back stitching or your velcro pieces with tear away from the fabric when you are opening your bag. Back stitching is something I always do at the beginning and ending of my stitching as a standard practice. You can leave the clips or pins in where you folded the edge down, but don't stitch that yet. Set aside for now if you will be making the strap or pocket. If you will not be making those, skip ahead to step #12. (Image 11, 12, 13)


10. If you will be adding a strap, take the 3 X 14 inch piece of fabric and fold it in half lengthwise, iron. Now take the two long edges and have them meet in the center, and iron. When you fold the strip, you will have a 3/4 inch wide piece with one fold along one edge, and two folds along the other edge. Stitch along both folded edges for a nice, finished look. Set aside. (Image 14, 15)


11.  If you want to make pocket(s) for the inside of the bag, you will make those now and stitch them to the right side of the lining that will be at the back of the inside of the bag. Here is how I made mine:

I want my pocket to be 7 X 4 inches. I want to put a seam down the center of the pocket so that it will be perfect to hold access cards, gift cards, lip gloss, or a quick place to access my toll money. For my pocket to be that size, I cut my fabric 7 1/2 X 5 1/2 inches. I allowed an extra 1 1/2 inch for the upper hem and turning under the bottom edge, and an extra 1/2 inch for turning under along the sides.

Along one of the edges (the one that will be the top of your pocket) turn under 1/4 inch to the wrong side and iron. Now take that edge and turn it to the right side (right sides together) one inch. Don't iron but pin to secure. Stitch the side edges where you turned the fabric to the right side. Clip corners, then turn that edge right side out. push out corners and iron. Now stitch the "hem" in place. Take this back to the iron and turn the three remaining edges 1/4 inch to the wrong side and iron. (Image 16, 17, 18, 19)



To get the correct placement of your pocket, fold your lining (that has been cut to the exact dimensions as the outer bag piece) down just like you did when you positioned the velcro piece on your outer bag piece. Decide where you want your pocket and pin in place. Stitch the sides and bottom of the pocket to the right side of the lining, which will be the inside of your bag. If you want to make your pocket into two just like I did, simply stitch a line down the center. (Image 20, 21, 22)

Note: for my tablet case/cozy I didn't want a pocket or strap, so I omitted those steps.


12. Fold the upper edge of your lining fabric 3/4" to the wrong side just as you did for the outer bag fabric, iron. (Image 23)

13. With right sides together, fold the quilted piece the way you want it to look and pin to secure. Two important notes:

***Pull your flap down so that it will completely cover the velcro, and don't forget you will have a half inch seam allowance for the flap as well as a some top stitching around the flap when you are finished.

***I cut my strips on the wider side so I slipped my hand in between the folded piece and make sure that the strips are smooth along the bottom fold so they don't bunch up. If this happens, it will look horrible when you turn the bag right side out and your corners will bunch up. If you will be inserting the strap, do not stitch the sides yet. (Image 24, 25)


Repeat this step with your lining piece. Lay them side by side so that you can make sure that your flaps line up and the upper edges (where you folded under 3/4 inch) line up perfectly. This is very important. Secure the side edges with pins. Stitch down the edges using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. (Image 26, 27)


14. Before you stitch up the sides for the quilted piece, you will want to slip your strap between the seam. Fold the 3/4 inch wide strap in half forming a loop. With the loop toward the inside of the bag, line up the ends with the raw edges on one side of the bag just below the folded edge. I left my ends extended slightly so you can see where I placed them. (Image 29, 29)

15. Stitch down each side just like you did the lining. For a little extra security, I stitched three times over the strap area. When you get to this part, it helps to hold the fabric in front and behind the needle. Since it is so thick, if you just hold the fabric in front of the needle, it's going to bunch up and your needle will not go anywhere. Guide it GENTLY from behind as well. Trim the bottom corners near the fold for this and the lining piece. (Image 30)


16. Turn both pieces right side out. With right sides together, line up your flaps. Make sure the the folds in the lining line up with the fold in the outer fabric. Pin to secure. Stitch around the flap beginning at the fold on one side, and ending the stitching at the fold on the other side using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Trim seam allowance and clip curves. Turn flap right side out and iron. (Image 31, 32, 33)


17. Now you can turn your lining piece wrong side out and slip it inside the outer bag piece. Line up your folded edges and pin to secure. Stitch along that edge combining the outer bag to the lining. I find that my open arm works best for this part. (Image 34, 35, 36)


18. Top stitch around the edge of the flap about 1/4 inch from the outer edge.

19. Stitch your final piece of velcro to the underside of the flap. For correct placement, fold the flap over and slip the piece of velcro underneath so that it's even with the one you stitched down earlier. Pin to secure and stitch in place.

If you are using this for a car bag like I am, you can hang it over your doorknob and it will look nice while it's waiting for your next adventure!
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