Back to the Bionic Bag

Most of my go-to sewing supplies and notions live in a Bionic Bag that I made several years ago.  It travels around the house from sewing machine to sofa or patio for hand stitching, and it goes with me to guild, sew-ins, and shops when I teach.  This bag is frequently admired, and following several recent requests, I will be teaching this pattern next January at Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.

It was so much fun to choose new fabrics for the shop sample!  I love to mix and match fabrics from different designers and lines, and this project was no exception.  The main outer fabric is from Carrie Bloomston’s new Wonder line, and the other fabrics are a mix of designers including Alison Glass and Tula Pink.  I used a walking foot to do some linear quilting on the bag exterior.  I like the look and texture of the quilted bag, but you can also choose to use an iron on interfacing and skip the quilting step.

One of the things I love about the design of this bag is the way the front folds creates a tray when the bag is open.  In this section, I like to add magnetic snaps to hold the dumpling pouch and a small pin cushion.  I use the dumpling pouch for wonder clips, and the pin cushion is stuffed with scraps of wool batting and keeps pins and needles within easy reach.

Between the four zippered pockets and the pouches formed between them, you can fit almost every supply you need for a day or more of sewing.  Once you have made one of these bags, they go together very quickly and make great gifts for sewists and non-sewists  alike.  I have made several over the years, and you can check one out in this Bionic Bag post from a couple years ago.  The Bionic Gear Bag pattern is available for download on Craftsy.

If you would like to join me for the class, it will be held at Dabble and Stitch on Saturday, January 12, 2019 from 10am-4pm. During the day, you will construct most of your Bionic Bag, and you may or may not have time to to work on the optional dumpling pouch.  I hope to see you there!

Synthesized Slivers

A few weeks ago, I came across a call for entries for the Modern Mini Quilt Challenge hosted by Quilt Expo.  It has been awhile since I have done a mini quilt, and I was feeling the need for a relatively quick finish, so I jumped in.  One of my friends has been giving me a hard time about my extreme dislike of brown fabric, so I decided this would be a good challenge to incorporate my least favorite color.

Synthesized Slivers front

My initial fabric pull centered around a stack of quilter’s denim made by Art Gallery Fabrics.  I had received the fat quarter bundle during QuiltCon 2017, and I had been waiting for the perfect project to come up.  I love the utilitarian texture the fabric has and the value shifts between fabrics were seamless.  I did add a few other fabrics in to serve as accent pieces.  These included a bright green solid, metallic linen, and a silk/cotton blend.

Synthesized Slivers Fabric Pull

I started the quilt by constructing small blocks in a variety of sizes using background fabrics in a range of colors and values.  The slivers of accent fabrics finish at 1/8″ wide.  I used a ruler to cut the slits in straight lines, but only actually measured to square up each block after the slivers were added.

Synthesized Slivers process

At this point, my friend saw the progress and informed me that tan is most definitely NOT Brown, even though I still insist that it is ;).  In keeping with the challenge, I went out and purchased a small cut of chocolate brown Kona.  There wasn’t a speck of true brown in any of my stash!

Synthesized Slivers quilt top

After constructing a few more blocks, I started putting everything together.  I think this is the most challenging part of the process, but this top came together, and only required a couple partial seams.

Synthesized Slivers with Monty

Monty is my cat that demands likes to be held constantly.  I was taking photos right after he had woken up from his first afternoon nap, and he really wanted my attention!  If you manage to look past the cat, you can see the back of the quilt top.  I made sure to press all of the sliver seam allowances toward the background to make the slivers recede a bit.

Synthesized Slivers back of quilt top with monty

This is a small quilt so I quickly pin basted it and selected six colors of Aurifil to match the background fabrics.

Synthesized Slivers thread choices

I wanted to accentuate the angles that are incorporated into the design, so I used echo quilting to highlight the design of each block.

Synthesized Slivers quilting detail

The back is the same bright green accent color used on the front of the quilt.  I like how the different thread colors add value shifts to the back of the quilt.  I didn’t want to frame the quilt in with a binding, so the edges are finished with facings to match the backing fabric.

Synthesized Slivers back

I am so glad that I made this quilt, and even I think the brown actually works in it!

Synthesized Slivers angled quilting detail

 

Quilt Stats

Title:  Synthesized Slivers

Size: 22″ x 19″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Improvisational Piecing

Quilting:  Echo quilting using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008 domestic

Fabric:  Art Gallery Quilter’s Denim, Kona Cotton, Metallic Blend, Silk/Cotton Blend

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with 50wt cotton Aurifil in six colors

Binding:  Faced with Kona Cotton matching the quilt backing

Vinyl Front Tula Pouch

For the second year, one of the sewing groups I belong to did a swap.  This swap has a twist:  Each person brings a fat quarter of a favorite fabric from their stash to put in a bag.  Then, we all take turns pulling out a piece of fabric and guess who it belongs to.  We are a small group, so we are typically pretty successful in guessing the owner of the fabric.  We each take the fabric away and come back a couple meetings later with an item made from the fabric we pulled from the bag to give back to the original person.

Tula Vinyl Pouch front

I pulled this cute Tula Pink cat print from the bag of fat quarters.  It happened to be a fabric that I love enough to own, too!  The person who brought the fabric enjoys hand applique and embroidery, so I thought she may like a bag that will keep all of her pieces flat and visible until it is their turn to be secured to the block.

I used a fairly heavy, clear vinyl for the front of the pouch. The primary fabric is the cat print, and for the back of the pouch, I chose to make a nine patch from a charm pack from the same Tula Pink fabric line.  I sandwiched and quilted the fabric layers with a piece of soft and stable to make sure the pouch would lay flat while maintaining flexibility.

Tula Vinyl Pouch back

The binding is also from that same line of prints.  I machine stitched it to the front and folded it around to the back for hand stitching.  This allowed for hand finishing on the fabric portion of the pouch.  The bag finishes a bit over 13″ square, so a lot of quilt blocks could actually lay flat in the pouch.  I wish I had made one for myself when I was in a couple of bees- it would have been perfect to transport blocks!

Canvas Gift Bags

As I was wrapping gifts on Saturday it occurred to me that a reusable bag would make more sense for several of the items I was about to wrap.  I don’t usually purchase a large amount of any single fabric, but I did have some plain canvas on hand.  Since the canvas has more body and substance to it than a standard quilting cotton, it didn’t even require a full lining.

Drawstring Gift Bag

The Christmas-y fabrics I had on hand were also very limited, but I did have enough to use as a facing on the top of the bag to add a bit of color and create the drawstring casings.  Awhile back I had ordered 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon in a variety of colors to have on hand for various projects, and it worked perfectly for this project.  It was purchased from cheeptrims.com (not an affiliate) which has great prices, but does have a minimum order, so you may want to pool orders with a friend.

Drawstring Bag Top View

To calculate the size of each bag, I loosely wrapped a fabric measurement tape around the gift, leaving a few inches excess to allow for seam allowance and ease.  Half of this measurement was the width of the bag.  For the height I also wrapped the measuring tape around the gift vertically and divided the measurement in half.  I made sure to add 7-8″ to each half to allow for the gathering at the top of the bag and for the ruffle at the top.  The corners are also boxed out to give the bag a bit more dimension.

These bags work great, and I’ll be making more to gift in future years!

Road Trip Case

This year for the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild we did an end of the year gift swap with a mix of  handcrafted and purchased items.  We drew names at the November Meeting, and the person I chose had been eying the Road Trip Case by Noodlehead.  My partner likes Autumnal colors and Alison Glass designs, so I selected a palette  of her batiks and prints.

Road Trip Case Exterior

There are several different pockets and pieces of trim, so it was fun to choose where each fabric would go.  The pattern suggests batting for the quilted case exterior, but I switched it out for Soft and Stable foam, and I’m really pleased with the result.  I incorporated a few lines of walking foot quilting on the exterior using 28wt Aurifil.

Road Trip Case Interior

There are two options for the fabric pockets in the bag; two long or four short.  I wasn’t sure which to go with, but I ended up choosing the shorter pockets since it will most likely be used for sewing notions.  The pocket flaps with hook and loop tape (velcro) closures seemed useful to help contain smallish notions.  I often don’t care for hook and loop tape closers since the hook side can pick up so much fuzz.  I briefly considered replacing the tape with magnetic snaps.  Ultimately, I decided that the velcro allowed more leeway in where the pocket flap could close depending on how full the pocket was.  Hopefully it will work for my partner!

Road Trip Case Pocket detail

The case itself went together fairly easily, and I’m sure if I were to make more it would go quite quickly.  Like most bags, I felt like it took as long to cut out and interface the pieces, as it did to do the actual construction.  The vinyl pocket has the potential to be finicky, but I was pleased how well my machine handled this fabric especially since I don’t have a teflon foot.  I didn’t even end up needing to lay tissue paper over the vinyl while sewing.

The Road Trip Case looks like a great bag for small sewing projects, and would be a fabulous art kit for kids.  This would definitely make a fabulous holiday gift!