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As a Martha Pullen licensed sewing teacher I love to learn new sewing techniques and I equally enjoy teaching sewing techniques to others.  You can also find me teaching Bernina Customer Courses at my local Bernina dealer.  In addition, I demonstrate Stampin' Up products.  I am a servant of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, wife of one, mom of two, and grandma of five.  Welcome to my sewing and crafting studio!

Monday, June 12, 2017

City Zipper Tote

Hello, sewing friends!
Here's a versatile tote for so many purposes,
and all done up in patriotic summer colors.
The outer fabric, zipper flaps, and pocket fabric are True Blue by designer Ana Davis for Blend Fabrics.


The pattern is from Quilts Illustrated and it's called the City Zipper.
There are no outer pockets, but the inside is completely lined with pockets.
I used my Baby Lock Sashiko outfitted with my Baby Lock Ovation binder attachment to easily add the binding to the top of the pockets.

Then I used the fly stitch on my Bernina 750 to reinforce the top of each pocket section:

And would you look at the width of that bag!
This one finished up at the exact measurements indicated on the pattern:
22" wide x 11" tall x 7" deep
That's one wide mouth bag!
Here's a top view with the zipper closed.
and cut it down to size after I sewed it into the zipper flaps.
That way, I still have enough of my red zipper to use for another project.


For extra durability in the handles, I used navy leather for the tabs:
If you are going to use leather, just be advised:  it's a pain in the rear because the tabs are folded to enclose all raw edges, then they are layered between the interfaced lining, two layers of interfaced zipper flap fabric, and the Soft and Stable quilted outer fabric layer.
I lost count of how many needles I broke stitching those tabs.  They were worth it though.
They're so pretty and strong, and professional looking.  Yay!


The pattern instructs you to use fusible batting to give the bag some body,
but I sure do like a structured tote, so I chose to use by Annie Soft and Stable.
Yes, that made sewing the tote more of a challenge, but it stands at attention,
and that makes it easy to locate what you're looking for inside that expanse of a bag.

The bottom of the bag would tend to hang low if you fill it to the brim, or if you carry
heavy items, so the instructions suggest firming up the bottom.
(Hmmmm, I initially thought that was directed at me,
but realized all the patterns are printed the same.)
The pattern suggestion is to use picture framing cardboard cut to the dimensions
of the bag bottom, inserted in a sewn sleeve, and dropped into the bottom of the bag.
I decided I wanted and even firmer bottom (heh, heh, don't we all?)
so I enlisted hubby to help me experiment with making my own custom acrylic board.
This is what I purchased from Home Depot:

Now, how to cut that acrylic?  That's where hubby's services were enlisted (coerced, perhaps).
He surmised a regular blade on his table saw would perhaps melt the acrylic, or crack it,
so at Harbor Freight, we purchased this inexpensive (under $6) blade specifically for cutting plastic:

Perfect!  It made a beautiful cut.
Now all we (he) had left to do was lightly sand the rough cut edge,
and of course, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, she also wants the corners rounded.
So he used a small power sander to do the job:
What a guy!
Here's the finished piece laying on top of the lining fabric that I used for the sleeve:

Instead of just laying my support piece in the bottom of the bag, I stitched one end and one side of the sleeve to the bottom of the bag lining before I attached the lining to the outer bag.
Then when I finished the tote, I simply slipped the acrylic support into the sleeve.
It was easy to slip it into the sleeve because one long edge and the open end of the sleeve were not stitched down flat to the bottom of the lining:
That acrylic base will not go anywhere, but it is still easy to remove should it become necessary:
Okay, load up your new tote with towels, bottle water, a good read, and sunscreen and head to the beach or the pool.  Your new City Zipper will hold it all.

You could also use it as a project bag for your crochet or knitting (yes, those long knitting needles will fit in here).

All those necessary baby and toddler items would also fit in here.  What a great gift for an expecting mommy.

Have fun daydreaming about how you are going to use this one as you are sewing it, or, as always,
the test sample is up for sale in my shop.

Thank you so much for spending some of your day here with me.




Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Grab and Go Cross Body Wallet

Hello, hello sewers!
Let me introduce the Grab and Go pattern by Quilts Illustrated.


If you're looking for a graduation gift
or birthday gift for a young girl or young woman,
this would be a terrific choice.
The tab closure has a magnetic snap,
there is a large outside pocket on the back,
there are three small inner pockets,
and the strap adjusts to fit many needs.

Here are some of my tips and suggestions.
If you don't have the time or desire to stitch this up for yourself,
then I also offer the finished wallet in my shop.

So let's get started:
First, be certain you understand which piece is which.
Examine the photos here to see which piece is the
outer bag and which piece is the outer pocket.

The outer pocket is on the backside of the bag.
On my bag, it is the pink piece with the gray
faux top binding made from the lining.
The outer pocket folds down around the bottom of the bag,
and up the front of the bag a small distance.

The pattern instructions give measurements to cut the fabric pieces
by width and height.
The width measurement goes along the crosswise grain,
and the height measurement follows the lengthwise grain.
That's especially important to remember when you are using
a directional fabric.

Also important with directional fabrics is that you attach that
outer pocket in the right direction:

(This panel with the outer pocket attached will be folded to form the wallet.
The front of the wallet is the lower half in this picture.
So when you fold the wallet, the lower half needs to finish upright,
as it will in the second example.)

The inner pocket is divided by vertical seams.
I used the fly stitch on my sewing machine
to give the top of those seams some extra strength:


The cutting instructions call this closure a flap,
but the sewing instructions refer to it as a tab.
They are one in the same.



Step 9 instructions are for attaching the lining and the bag together.
It instructs you to mark a chalk line up from the bottom of the bag, then:
Cut a 6" slit about 1/4" below the chalk line, this will be for turning the bag.
It goes on to instruct you to glue the slit closed.
I'm sorry, but that just seems a bit sloppy to me.
This is how I stitched my lining and bag together:
I left an opening in the side for turning.
See that unsewn flaps that sticks out near the bottom left?
After I turned it right side out,
I pressed the those 'flaps' to the inside and
topstitched with a triple straight stitch around the entire bag.

To flatten the strap and give it extra strength,
I used a triple coverhem stitch on my serger:
This is a pretty quick pattern to sew
and it is the perfect size to take with you on quick errands,
to the kids' ball games,
or for a young girl or woman as an everyday wallet.

If you are sewing this pattern and have any questions
or tips and ideas,
please contact me via my blog.

I'm considering adding a zipper to my next Grab and Go.








Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Serger Sundress



#marthapullenlicensedteacher  #sundress #serger #sewing
Happy May, sewing friends!
This is the May serger pattern that you will receive if you are
in my #sergerclub.

The beautiful gingham fabric and spaghetti bias can
be ordered from Chadwick Heirlooms in Virginia.
No, I do not receive any compensation from Chadwick Heirlooms,
I just know they stock these supplies because I order from them.
😊


I had the mini pom pom trim in my stash, so I used it instead of the
spaghetti bias braid around the bodice/ruffle seam.
Here's the bodice detail.
Those are rows and rows of coverstitches using embroidery thread in the needles.
If you don't have a coverstitch machine, you could achieve a similar effect
on your sewing machine, using a twin needle and embroidery thread.

The back bodice opening has three covered buttons to match the ruffles,
and a big bow.

Covered buttons are so very easy with a covered button kit,
which can be purchased inexpensively at quilt stores or fabric stores.
They add a custom detail to your finished garment.
The ties for that big bow are simply stitched to the top of the side seam.

The techniques we will practice this month are:
Ruffles - using the overlock and/or coverhem
Rolled Hem - using decorative embroidery threads
Topstitching - with the coverhem or sewing machine

My sweet granddaughter is excitedly waiting to wear her new sundress,
but until we meet on May 13 for serger club,
it will be on display at Nuttall's in Layton.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cell Phone/Camera Case & Wallet


Hello sewers!
This the sample that I sewed up from the

It features an extra-wide zip that allows the case to open nice and wide.

There are four inner pockets, which can hold credit cards,
gum, cash, or whatever else you need to tote with you.
One of the outer sides of the case has a clear vinyl pocket with fabric binding along the top.
The other side sports an elastic top pouch pocket with a hook and loop flap closure.
That pocket expands to a decent size to hold bulkier items.
This sample make is for sale in my shop.
- OR -
If you prefer to stitch up this pattern for yourself, I'll take you on a tour of the steps:
All the components are prepared before any assembly begins.
In the above photo you can see the case front and back,
the zipper strip, and the wrist strap and adjustable shoulder strap.
The pattern does not include instructions to add Soft and Stable™,
but I stitched a piece to each side to give the case some structure.
I sewed it to the wrong side of the outside fabric (denim).
I used my walking foot to stitch the two layers together with
straight lines one inch apart.

Here's a picture of the flip side of the case front and back.
This will be the inside of the case.
The packets are sewn to the lining fabric, then the lining and
outside fabric (denim) are sewn together.



To round the corners, I used a thread spool and marked it with my Frixion pen.

Then I just used my scissors to cut the rounded corners.
When you sew the clear vinyl pocket onto the case back,
use binder clips to hold the pocket in place.
A presser foot with a non-stick sole makes smooth work of sewing the vinyl.
The top of the vinyl pocket is bound with cotton fabric.
The front pocket has a hook and loop tab closure,
and the elastic is inserted in a casing along the top.
Use elastic that is longer than the finished width,
scrunch the fabric along the elastic to the size desired
and hold it all in place with binder clips while you sew it in place across the end.
Then cut off the excess elastic.

I used fusible fleece to give structure to the front outer pocket.


After the layers are stitched together, the corner is cut to form a boxed bottom.
A small, point and shoot camera fits perfectly inside that front pocket.
A smart phone, however, is too big for the outside pocket.

I like to use Wonder Tape to keep my zipper in place when I'm sewing bags,
cases, purses, totes, pillows (okay, almost everything)!
It does not gum up my needle and it is not stiff.
If you are sewing something that will be washed, it washes away.
Wonder Tape is used like double stick tape.
Stick it to the zipper tape, peel off the protective paper, and stick the fabric strip down on top.
Then, I use my cording foot to sew down the zipper.
The zipper teeth fit under the channel in the foot, then move the needle to the right, and stitch.
Sew easy!

By Annie handbag zippers that are longer than what you need are the best for these type of projects.
You can cut the zipper down to size once you are finished stitching,
then you have extra zip tape left for another project.
Again, sew easy!
The pattern has instructions for a wrist strap . . .

and an adjustable shoulder strap.


The inside of the case actually has a lot of room for a small camera plus
any extras you may want to carry such as,
keys, credit cards, cash, lipstick, etc.
Depending on the size of the phone, it may or may not fit inside the case.
The pictured phone is a Samsung Galaxy SIII and it fits great.
Anything larger will be too long to allow the case to zip.
All in all, this is a handy case to carry on a quick trip to the store,
a leisurely day at the pool, or a day spent at the park.

The pattern and most supplies are available in my shop.
I welcome your comments and questions.
Thanks for stopping by today.