Ohio Star Quilt Block

I am so excited to share the instructions for a second traditional block which is in the 2017 Quilter’s Planner.  The Ohio Star block is one of my favorites since I grew up, learned to quilt, and currently live in Ohio.  This block is particularly common in this area, but it never gets boring!  Have fun with scale (this pattern includes measurements for five different block sizes) and mix up your fabric selections to make this classic block your own.

You can download this free Ohio Star pattern on Craftsy.

ohio-star-block

 

I went bright and bold for this block, but monochrome and subtle color choices work beautifully as well!

This block is for the week of September 10-16.  Check out my other tutorials included in the 2017 Quilter’s Planner!

Sand Dollar Star (week of January 15-21)

Hourglass Block (week of August 27-September 2)

 

 

Hourglass Quilt Block

Have you received your fantastic Quilter’s Planner from Stephanie of Late Night Quilter?  If you haven’t you can order a planner here.  One of the amazing features of the planner is that there is a quilt block pattern for every week of the year.  In addition to the original block designs by many talented bloggers, this edition of the planner includes patterns for several traditional blocks as well.

I have written up directions for creating an Hourglass quilt block.  This design is in the planner for the week of August 27-September 2, 2017.  These instructions include measurements for nine different size blocks, and you make four at a time so you can start combining these blocks into all sorts of fun configurations right away.

You can download the free instructions for the Hourglass block on Craftsy.

hourglass-block

This block is used as a component in a lot of more complex blocks, but it can also be fun on its own.  Here are a few layouts for this very versatile block.simple-hourglass-layout

Set the blocks together in the same direction for this configuration.

chevron-hourglass-block

Offset the blocks by half to achieve a chevron appearance.

pinwheel-hourglass-layout

Or rotate the blocks to create a pinwheel effect!

This block is for the week of August 27-September 2.  Check out my other tutorials included in the 2017 Quilter’s Planner!

Sand Dollar Star (week of January 15-21)

Ohio Star (week of September 10-16)

Filmstrip Bee Block

This year I have joined my first Block Bee group with the Columbus Modern Quilters.  It is so much fun to make blocks that I may not have tried otherwise, and I am looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for my block as well!  The block I am asking the Bee members to create is a Filmstrip block.  I have written the directions and published the pattern as a free download on Craftsy.  You can download the instructions for the Filmstrip Bee Block here.

Two Sample Filmstrip Bee Blocks

Two Sample Filmstrip Bee Blocks

 

This block could be used to create the main body of a quilt, but I am looking forward to incorporating it into a medallion quilt that will be a gift for one of my nieces who will be ten at that point.  This block would also be a fun border on a block based, whole cloth or panel quilt.

The black fabric for this block can be solid or a very low volume black/grey print, and the white squares are scrappy low volume.  My niece has a wide range of interests, so the featured novelty prints could be almost anything kid friendly.  I would like to avoid really specific cartoon characters so she won’t “outgrow” her quilt, although I think more generic fantasy/fairytale fabrics would work.  She likes art, dance, baking, Girl Scouts, animals, basketball, soccer, and piano.  She likes lots of colors, so I think the quilt will end up incorporating the entire rainbow, but I would like to keep browns mostly out of it- a little brown in a novelty print is ok, but it shouldn’t be the dominant color.

This block goes together in an hour or less, and if you are making lots of these blocks you could cut the time down by creating more black and white square strips at once by making a wider section of striped fabric in step one.

Thank you so much to everyone who is making a block for this bee!  I hope that anyone else who is in a bee will feel free to use this pattern for their block.  I would love to see what you make!

Tote Bag Tutorial Part 5: Finishing Techniques

Welcome to Part 5 in out tote bag series!  This week is all about finishing up a few details.  Aren’t you thrilled that you have made it this far?  Before you know it, you will be carrying this fabulous bag around that you didn’t just make- you designed!  As always, please contact me with any questions.  You may email me or leave a comment, and I will do my best to give you a clear answer!

If you are just joining us, this is a 5 part series.  Here are the other segments:

When last we left our glorious tote bag, we had just turned it right side out.  Have you ever had a bag where the lining pops up almost every time you pull something out?  This next step will keep this from happening.  We are going to stitch the lining and the outer layer shaping seams together.  Make sure the lining is laying smoothly in the bag and that the side seams and shaping seams are pretty close to matching up.  Doing your best to not get things too twisted around, reach inside the opening you used to turn the bag right side out, grab the seam allowances of the lining and outer shaping seam on one side of the bag and gently pull them through the opening.  Pin the seam allowances together or use clover clips to hold the seams in place. (I just got some clover clips, and I am in love!)  This is a good time to carefully push the shaping seams back through the opening just to check that nothing managed to get twisted around during the previous process.  Note:  Count the number of pins going in, and make sure the same number come back out- It’s no fun to discover a  pin after everything is all sewn up!    Another Note: The type of lining technique in this photo is slightly different (it is a two piece lining) than the one you are using, so your’s will look a bit different with everything pulled through the lining opening.  I forgot to take a new photo when I made a bag using the new technique, but I will update the image when I make another.  The idea is the same, though.Pinning the Outer and Lining shaping seams together

Everything laying well?  Great!  Gently pull the seam back out and zig zag the seam allowances together.  As long as you stay in the seam allowance and don’t cross the stitching line, you are doing this correctly.  If you have a machine that only does a straight stitch go ahead and use it- we just want to secure the bottom of the lining to the main bag.Stitching the Outer and Lining Shaping Seams together

Looks good?  Go ahead and repeat the process on the other side of the bag.

Now you can close up the opening in the bag lining.  You can do this by machine or by hand.  When I do this step by hand, I find that a nice small slip stitch looks great.  I often sew the opening up with the sewing machine since it is rarely seen up close, remains durable over the life of the bag, and is super quick.  If you are doing the machine method, press the seam allowances to the inside, line up the edges of the opening, pin carefully and stitch across the opening about 1/8″ ( or a little less) from the edge.Closing the Lining Opening

Now we are down to buttons- Almost there!  You will want to place your buttons so they are centered with your buttonholes.  Make sure your bag is laying nice and flat and then use a fabric safe pen or pencil to make a dot where the button should be placed.  You can mark this right through the buttonhole opening to help with accuracy.

There are two basic types of buttons:  flat buttons and buttons with shanks.  A flat button typically has either two or four holes that go all the way through the top of the button.  A button with a shank has a loop of either metal or plastic on the back used to attach the button.  This type of button is often appealing since the top of the button can have a decorative design that is uninterrupted by thread crossing between holes.  Unless you are sewing a button on that is only decorative, you need to plan to have a shank, so if you are using a flat button, you will create a shank with thread as you sew the button in place.  The shank of the button provides a slight gap between the fabric and the button that allows the layer of fabric with the buttonhole to fit without any strange pulling, puckering and gapping.  A really thin blouse would require only a very short shank, but a heavy, wool, winter coat would require buttons with a much longer shank.  This tote bag will need a shank about 1/8″ long.  Don’t worry if it gets a bit too long or even a little too short.Button Types

The button with a shank is pretty easy to sew.  Use a double thread and stitch though the fabric and the shank of the button several times (I usually take about six to eight stitches per button).  It is important to stitch through all of the fabric layers so there isn’t any weird pulling.  Try to keep the back of things neat since you will see this side from time to time.  Tie a couple knots at the base of the button, bury the thread tails between the layers of fabric, and call it a button!Button with Shank

When creating your own thread shank, you will need to leave a slight gap between the fabric and the button that will become the space for the shank.  To help with this spacing you can place something like a toothpick, a couple straight pins, or a thin skewer under the button.  You can also purchase a little plastic sewing device that helps you achieve a consistent spacing.  Using a double thread, sew through the holes of the button and the fabric about six to eight times total (you can split this number of stitches between two sets of holes).  Flat Button A

Next, remove any spacing tools and wrap the sewing thread around the thread gap between the button and fabric.  You will want to go around 3-5 times for most button shanks.Flat Button B

The last time around tie a knot at the base.  I always do a second knot for security before burying the thread tails.Flat Button C

There you have it- your custom designed tote bag!  Congratulations!  All that is left is for the complements to roll in!Tote Bag A
I’m linking this post up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Tips and Tutorials Tuesday at Late Night Quilter.  Please stop in to see all of the inspiring works in progress and useful tips and tutorials!

Tote Bag Tutorial Part 4: Assembling the Bag

Welcome to Part 4 in out tote bag series!  This week is a lot of fun because we get to see our bags really come together.  All of these tutorial posts are pretty long, and this is no exception.  To keep it a bit more manageable, I have added a section to this site for Tips and Techniques, and I will be linking to topics within that category throughout this post.  The addition of this section will also make basic techniques more easily accessible as a reference.  As always, please contact me with any questions.  You may email me or leave a comment, and I will do my best to give you a clear answer!

The following Technique pages are referred to in this post:

If you are just joining us, this is a 5 part series.  Here are the other segments (links are updated as posts are added):

Pull out all of the beautifully cut tote bag pieces from last week and locate the canvas pieces and the bag top and bottom exterior fabric pieces.  Flatline the canvas pieces to the outer fabric pieces.  For this project you will want to finish the edges of the pieces as described in the flatlining tutorial.Pressed Flatlined Pieces

In a few steps, we will need to see the precise placement of the bag handles on the exterior of the bag.  To achieve this, we need to Thread Trace the bag placement lines.

Front View of the Uneven Basting Stitch

Front View of the Uneven Basting Stitch

Next we are going to prepare the pockets to be attached to the bag.  The pocket sides will be incased by the bag handles, and the pocket bottom will become a part of the seam attaching the bag top to the bag bottom.  That just leaves us the top of each pocket to deal with right now.

Find the exterior (with interfacing attached) and lining pieces for the rectangular pocket.  Place the pieces right sides together and pin and stitch along the top line.  Grade the seam allowance before turning the pocket right side out.  Carefully press the seam allowance toward the lining fabric.  Understitch the seam allowance to the lining fabric.  Lay the pocket out flat and give it a final press.

Find the exterior (with interfacing attached) and lining pieces for the pocket with flap.  Place the pieces right sides together and pin and stitch along the flap edge, pivoting with the needle down at any corners.  Notch and grade the seam allowance before turning the pocket right side out.  Lay the pocket out flat and give it a final press.  Under-stitching is really difficult on seams of this shape, so careful pressing is essential.

Find the exterior (with interfacing attached) and lining pieces for the curved top pocket.  Place the pieces right sides together and pin and stitch along the curved line.  Clip and grade the seam allowance before turning the pocket right side out.  Carefully press the seam allowance toward the lining fabric.  Under-stitch the seam allowance to the lining fabric.  Lay the pocket out flat and give it a final press.

There are button closures on two pockets which require a buttonhole on both the curved pocket and the pocket with a flap.  Pull out the buttons you plan to use for these pockets.  Determine the size of the button hole by measuring the thickness of the button and adding it to the diameter of the button.  You will always want to make a test buttonhole on a scrap of the fabric you are using for the project.  Follow the buttonhole directions for your sewing machine, cut open the sample hole and test the size by moving the button through the opening.  If it is too loose or too tight, adjust the size and make another test buttonhole.  Once you know the size of the buttonhole, determine where you would like it to be placed on the pocket.  I usually use a center placement since I like symmetrical pockets, but an asymmetrical pocket may look better with a different buttonhole placement.  Mark your buttonholes on the pockets using a fabric pencil or pin that will disappear over time or with washing.  Make the buttonholes and cut them open.

Take out one piece of the bag top and the curved pocket.  Place the bag top piece right side up.  Place the pocket between the handle placement lines.  The bottom of the pocket should line up with the bottom edge of the bag top piece.  The sides of the pocket should extend about 1/2″ into each handle placement lines.  Baste the pockets into place either by hand or machine.  The basting stitches should fall at the edges of the pocket, well within the handle placement lines.Pocket Placement Diagram_Curved Pocket

Finished Curved Pocket with side and bottom edges incased

Finished Curved Pocket with side and bottom edges incased

For the other side of the bag you will need the bag top piece as well as the rectangular pocket and the pocket with flap.  Place the bag top piece right side up.  Lay the pocket with flap lining side up between the handle placement lines.  On top of the pocket with flap, place the rectangular pocket exterior side up.  Make sure to line up the pockets with the bottom edge of the bag top and between the handle placement lines.  Baste in place, just as you did with the curved pocket.  You will notice that you have actually created two pockets on this side of the bag.  The front pocket will be covered with the button flap.  Behind the flap layer is a pocket with an open top.Pocket Placement Diagram_Pocket with flap

Finished Pocket with flap open and side and bottom edges incased

Finished Pocket with flap open and side and bottom edges incased

Finished pocket with flap closed

Finished pocket with flap closed

Now we are going to assemble the side seams.  Place the bag tops right sides together, making sure the top of the pieces are going the same direction.  Pin and stitch the side seams on the stitching lines.  Sewn Bag Top Side Seam

Press the side seams open.Bag Top side seam pressed open

For the bag bottom, fold the piece in half lengthwise with the right sides together (when folded, it should look like the pattern piece).  Pin and stitch both side seams.  Press open the seams.Stitching Bag Bottom Side seam

Pin the shaping seam for the bag bottom.  The side seam should match up with the center of the bag bottom.  Pin and stitch on the line.Sewn Shaping Seam

Place the pieces for the bag lining right sides together.  Pin and stitch the side seams on the stitching lines, finish the raw edges, then press the seams open.  Finishing Raw Edges

Pressing the lining seam open

You will also want to pin and stitch the bottom of the bag, leaving several inches in the center of the seam open.  This opening is what you will use to turn the finished bag right side out, so don’t try to make it too small.  Pin and stitch the shaping seams of the bag lining.  When lining this seam up, the side seam will match up to the bottom seam.

With right sides together, pin and stitch the top of the bag top to the top of the bag lining.  Since this is a circular seam, you will want to match the side seams up to start with.  Pinned top seam

Grade the seam allowance and press it toward the lining.  Understitch the seam allowance to the lining of the bag.Understitching Front View

Situate the bag so the right side of the bag upper is readily accessible and the lining is pulled out away from the bag top.  We are now going to position the bag handles.  Before cutting the webbing, estimate the length you think you will need and pin it roughly in place.  Check the length and when you are happy, mark the length, unpin it, and cut two sections of webbing exactly the length.  Starting at the each end of the webbing, pin the webbing carefully in place between the handle placement thread tracing lines.  Double check that the handles didn’t get twisted in the pinning process.  Pinning the handles in place

Stitch up one side of the handle, across the top of the webbing (just before you reach the top of the bag where it joins the lining) and back down the other side of the webbing.  Make sure you have the lining out of the way, so it doesn’t get caught up in the handle stitching.  Repeat this process for each section of handle.Sewing down the webbing handles

With right sides together, pin and stitch the bag bottom to the bag top.  Hint:  I turn the bag bottom right side out, the bag top wrong side out, and slip the bag bottom inside the bag top.Bag Top pinned to Bag Bottom

Clip the bag top seam allowance just outside the bag handles.  Press the bag top to bag bottom seam open at the bag sides and down at the pocket and handle sections.

Turn the bag right side out and press the lining toward the inside at the top edge.  Pressing the lining to the inside of the bag

You are almost there- Next week we’ll be finishing up!

I am linking this post up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Please look in to see what everyone is working on!