Saturday, August 18, 2018

A Natural Pair - Ultra Blue Star Petunia/Tahiti

Happy Saturday, Sewists!
I love petunias because they bloom their little hearts out
in the heat of summer or the cool of spring and fall.
I can always count on my petunias to greet me with glorious color.

This one is the blue star petunia.
I've paired it with the By Annie Handbag zipper in Tahiti.
This picture is not re-touched.
I took it midday in the bright sunshine.

From the Wasatch Shadows Nursery here in Utah:

Ultra Blue Star Petunia will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 10 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. This fast-growing annual will normally live for one full growing season, needing replacement the following year.
This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid. It can be propagated by cuttings; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.
Ultra Blue Star Petunia is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor containers and hanging baskets. It is often used as a 'filler' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, providing a mass of flowers against which the thriller plants stand out. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.
The By Annie handbag zipper in Tahiti is a popular color in my shop and you can see why.  It is a vibrant, beautiful purple color.
Thanks so much for stopping by.  Have a terrific weekend.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Running With Scissors, Patterns by Annie

I used one of Annie Unrein's (Patterns by Annie) newest patterns:
Running With Scissors to sew this useful case.
The name of the pattern itself is clever,
but the assembly instructions for this one
are some of the most clever from any of the Patterns by Annie.

I started by quilting my main fabric, Soft and Stable,
and lining fabric together using my Block Rockit quilting machine.
BTW, I have my 14" Block Rockit on a 5 foot frame.
In my opinion, that is the perfect set up for a bag maker such as myself.
The cotton quilting fabric that I use is 44/45 inches wide,
which fits perfect on the 5 foot frame.
Also, I don't ordinarily quilt large quilts, just lap size,
so my set up stays this way all the time.
I prefer to quilt my fabrics and soft and stable all in one large piece
because cutting of all the components of the bag goes very quickly
after the fabric is all quilted.
Patterns by Annie usually follow a general set of steps.
In case you missed it, click here for my blog post on those steps.
There is an updated method of sewing the handle and "spine" support for this pattern.
It is different from other By Annie patterns that I have sewn in the past.
I really, really like the new method.
It helps keeps the top of the bag from bowing when it is filled with your supplies.
Speaking of supplies, you can fit a plethora of sewing supplies
(or whatever type of supplies you plan to carry) in this handy case.
The interior of the spine features fold-over elastic bands to hold items such as spools of thread.
And there are numerous slots and zippered pockets (vinyl, mesh, and quilted fabric).

Another plus about this pattern, is that the construction is done flat.  

← Interior


The zipper does not go in until the interior and exterior have been completed.

After the zipper and zipper tab are done,
the binding is added and that is the last step.

Here is what I have to say about the zipper and tab:
1.  After inserting the zipper, cut it the length instructed in the pattern,
then, if it is too long for your taste, cut a little off at a time until it is the length you wish
(for my personal taste, this zipper tail is too long, so I plan to cut it down by about half).
2.  Add a metal zipper end for a more professional touch:
Gather your zipper end supplies and mark the length of your zipper

Cut the zipper along your marked line (DO NOT use your good fabric scissors)

Roll the sides of the zipper toward the center on the wrong side of the zipper

Use a dab of glue for added security
(my favorite is Guterman HT2, available on Amazon)

Push the zipper down into the zipper end as far as it will go
and allow the glue to set for about 30 minutes

Add the teeny, tiny little screw that comes with the zipper cord end,
and tighten it down with a teeny, tiny screwdriver

Here's what it looks like on the top side

In case you haven't had enough of my ramblings,
here's a video to give you a closer look at my tool case:

Thank you so much for reading my blog.
Have a terrific time sewing your own tool case.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

A Natural Pair - Butterfly Bush/Ivory

Happy Saturday sewists!
This week's natural pair is the white butterfly bush and
the ivory By Annie handbag zipper.

Although the butterfly bush is called white,
it leans more toward the ivory side,
as you can see in the photo above.

The butterfly bush (generic name Buddeleia Davidii) comes in
several colors:  pink, purple, red, white, yellow
I have the pink, purple, and white growing in my backyard.
True to their name, the butterflies love them — and so do the hummingbirds and bees!

Butterfly Bush is a deciduous shrub here in zone 5,
but it can be an evergreen in warmer zones.
Be careful in those warm zones, though, it could become invasive.
That's not the case here in colder zones.
I just cut mine back almost to the ground every winter and it grows to be about 10 feet tall
the next summer; and it is a prolific bloomer from late July through frost.

My pink and white butterfly bushes are side by side and they make a massive statement!

I used a By Annie ivory handbag zipper on my Ultimate Travel Bag.
If you don't need a true, stark white zipper, the ivory is a nice neutral choice.

Thank you for visiting.

Friday, July 27, 2018

How To: Five Easy Steps to Sewing with Patterns By Annie

If you are new to sewing a bag, tote, or organizer
getting started may seem a bit daunting.
Most of the patterns do not include actual pattern pieces.
That's because the components are pretty much rectangles
or squares with rounded corners.
So the getting started instructions may seem extensive and intimidating.
If you look at the By Annie patterns with the following five steps in mind,
the process will come together much easier:

                                                                    1.  Gather
                                                                    2.  Quilt
                                                                    3.  Cut
                                                                    4.  Construct
                                                                    5.  Assemble

1.  Gather all your supplies as indicated on the back of the pattern and read through all the instructions before you start cutting.  Each pattern includes a back page that lists all the supplies you will need.

2.  Quilt your main fabric, Soft and Stable, and lining.  If you do this on your domestic machine, follow the cutting instructions before layering your fabrics and Soft and Stable for quilting.
If you are quilting your layers on a longarm machine, then do not cut the main fabric, Soft and Stable, and lining until after the quilting is completed.  **Instructions for each method are in the pattern**

3.  Cut all your pieces (including your quilted fabrics) as instructed.

4.  Construct all the components for your project.

5.  Assemble your components as instructed.

I have sewn a number of patterns By Annie and all of them have followed these five steps.  When I break down the process by thinking of it in five steps, the project seems less overwhelming.  I like to set my goals according to these steps.  For instance:  Day 1 Gather: Day 2 Quilt: Day 3 Cut: Day 4 (and maybe day 5 if there are lots of components) Construct; and Day 5 (and/or 6) Assemble.

So if you've had your eye on one of those great patterns By Annie (or if you already have one), but have been a bit intimidated at the process, I hope this gives you the confidence to get started on your own bag, tote, or organizer.

I'll be back in a few days with my completed Running with Scissors organizer.

Have a terrific weekend.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Natural Pair - Pastel Pink Snapdragon/Pale Pink

Happy Thursday, sewers!
Today's blog post is brought to you by the
By Annie handbag zipper color:  Pale Pink.
I've paired it with a lovely pastel pink snapdragon.
I'm a pink kind of girl - any shade, any tone, I love pink!

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are a tender perennial that are
available in a variety of shades and colors.
They are also available in varying heights,
so shop around for the best match for your location.
They prefer cool, damp weather for the best blooms.
Mine re-appear in full beautiful color every spring here in Utah.
I do still have snapdragons blooming in the almost 100 degree heat of July,
but they are the most robust in spring and fall.

As you can see from the seed packet pictured below,
there are two different pink snapdragons.
One is a bolder, deeper pink color than the other.
The By Annie handbag zipper in pale pink matches up nicely with the lighter, pastel pink snapdragon.

Thank you so much for reading my blog.
Have a terrific afternoon and remember to stop and admire the flowers:

 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (Luke 12:27, New International Version)

Next week's zipper color is Ivory.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Natural Pair - Orange Marigold/Papaya

Happy Thursday, sewers!
This week's colors are orange marigolds and the Papaya zipper.
Yes, the name does match the zipper color,
but there might be some who have never seen a Papaya.
So I'm sharing this photo to give you a frame of reference for the color of the

Marigolds (botanical name is Tagetes) are sold in several different colors.
The most common colors are yellow and orange.
They are part of the sunflower family.
Here in the high desert area of the United States,
marigolds are easy to grow.
They just need some regular watering and a good amount of sunlight.
I use them to outline my vegetable beds because they are pretty and they also attract
nasty little pests (slugs) who choose to feast on the marigolds instead of my vegetables.

The focus of next week's zipper color is pale pink.

I will also have a completed project from one of By Annie's newest patterns to share with you.

Happy gardening and sewing, my friends!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Natural Pair - Stock/Wild Plum

Photo has not been altered.  Picture was taken at Noon on a bright, sunny day.
Hello Sewists!
I'm starting a weekly blog post aimed at giving you a better idea
of what color the By Annie handbag zippers are in real life.
I know it is difficult to be certain of what color to order when you can't
see the zipper in person.

Since God placed a plethora of color in nature,
I will be using natural items to pair with a matching zipper.
First up, we have the Stock plant and the Wild Plum zipper.

Stock (botanical name is Matthiola incana)
flowers have a lovely clove-like fragrance.
Stock is available in a variety of colors.
This one is more pink than purple.
For a good comparison of the pinks and purples,
take a look at this photo from Burpee seeds:

Next week's featured zipper color is Papaya.

If you have a zipper color purchase that you are pondering,
and you would like a better idea of the true color,
post a comment below and I will hunt down something in nature
with which to pair the zipper.

Happy sewing, my friends!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Katie Cupcake Cheerio Wallet Pattern

I've really put my Necessary Clutch Wallet through the paces,
so I decided it was time for a new wallet.
Whilst I love my NCW, I also really enjoy trying new patterns.
So I decided on the Cheerio wallet pattern this time around:
I did alter the flap pattern piece so I could use the metal edge trim from Emmaline Bags.

The lining is one big, long piece.
Be certain to mark all the lines as indicated on the pattern.
Beginning with the bottom of the lining,
self-made (or purchased) binding is attached at the first line
(with the lining wrong sides together folded at the line).
Then the binding edge is folded up to the next line, etc.

It's kind of like fabric origami.
If you are new to zipper insertion,
or just timid about giving it a try -
no worries.
The pattern walks your through a very simple zipper insertion method.
I used an ivory By Annie handbag zipper and a lipstick color zipper pull.
I love having the option to customize my zippers.
I used By Annie Soft and Stable instead of the fusible fleece as suggested in the pattern instructions.

The Soft and Stable is a bit thicker than the fleece, so I added a stitched line to serve as my
"score" line so the wallet would fold nicely.
I chose to add an embroidered monogram to the front flap because the Blush linen 
just asked for some kind of embellishment.

The one step that I did not change, but that I would change on a future wallet,
is that I would insert a piece of Timtex the full size of the flap, rather than just a 2 x 2
piece as called for in the pattern instructions (see how the outline of the Timtex shows
through the fabric underneath the snap).

The fabrics I used for this wallet are:

English Roses by Penny Rose Fabrics for Riley Blake Designs

All in all, this is a quick and easy wallet pattern.
If you are in the market for a new summer sew,
this one would not take up much of your summer sunshine!

Happy Summer Sewing, friends!
Thank you for reading my blog.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New Products

Hello Sewers!
I have exciting news.
I am adding items to my shop from none other than Riley Blake Designs.
I'm so excited to be able to add fabric choices to complement
the great pattern and hardware selections that I currently carry.

I'm curious to know how you select your fabric for your
handbags, totes, and accessory projects.
Please leave a comment below, or contact me via email.
I want to supply products that 'baggers' want.

A huge benefit to living near Christensen Wholesale is that I can shop
in person for great items to offer my customers.

To see some of the new items that I am adding,
click on the video below:

I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks so much for reading my blog.
Don't forget to leave a comment below.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Gabby Handbag

Here is a look at my newest handbag.
I used the Gabby Bag sewing pattern from #emmalinebags
There is also a closer look video at the end of this post.

The main fabric is cotton/linen canvas from #cottonandsteel
For the accent portion at the top of the bag, I used an upholstery fabric sample.
My friend, Kim, gave me a stack of samples that were used by a sales rep.
They are not large samples, but they are perfect for bag accents.
Thanks, Kim!
The bag lining is quilting cotton.
There is a slip pocket on one side of the interior.
I used the fly stitch to add strength to the top of the pocket openings.
The other side of the interior has a zipper pocket.
There is lots of room inside this great handbag,
but don't get me wrong,
it is no means the size of a large tote.
There is a time and a place for a tote,
but there is also a need for a handy,
everyday size purse,
and that's what the Gabby Bag is!
There is also a zipper pocket on the outside of the purse.
I love how the lining fabric accents the zipper opening.
The clever gusset on each end is a nice detail.
The way the side tapers up to the top is so attractive.
The pattern includes instructions for fabric handle tabs and zipper ends,
but I chose to use hardware in antique brass.
The hardware adds a professional finish to this handmade beauty.
I can see myself sewing up another one of these handbags this fall.
I love the pattern and the instructions are clear and easy to follow.
The difficulty rating is intermediate, but I think a confident beginner could sew this one.

Who doesn't need another handbag in their wardrobe?