Another Perfect Quilted Tote

Here’s my second Elizabeth Hartman Perfect Quilted Tote available as a pdf pattern. The pattern includes instructions for two sizes: a tall tote measuring 14½” tall x 10½” wide and a wide tote measuring 11½” tall x 12½” wide. Again, I chose to make the wide tote .

Here’s where it started – my pile of inspiration. Hard for me to stay away from these colors. There’s quite a mix of stuff in here: Mixteca by Eleanor Grosch, Denyse Schmidt’s Jo-Ann’s fabric, Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park, Birch’s Elk Family, Lucie Summers’ Summersville, and more.


Here’s side 1. For the solid fabric I used the Yarn Dyed Essex in black.


Here’s side 2.


Had a lot of fun making this! It will probably end up as an auction item for my son’s school.


What Does the Fox Say?

I picked up this fox cute pattern by McKay Manor Muses and the cuddle soft fabric at Craft Warehouse a little while ago. Got the safety eyes and nose too. With my tree skirt finished, I wanted to try something different. I have made some stuffed animals for my son before, but they were pretty basic, along the lines of an Ugly Doll. I was excited to use the plastic pellets in the paws and tail that gives many store-bought stuffed animals that nice weight and drape. I also really liked the fiber fill I used, a new product from Pellon called Perfect Loft. It’s soft but structured and doesn’t clump or bunch like regular stuffing.


The pattern instructions were well-written and easy to follow. They include a lot of good tips about sewing with cuddle fabrics.


Here’s my completed fox listening to “What Does the Fox Say?” on YouTube.

Here he is on the mantle. He is awaiting a scarf which I am in the process of knitting.


My son likes him posed as Psy doing Gangam Style. This little fox will probably soon join his menagerie known as the Tri-Castle Area.


Serged Exposed Zipper Bag

Here’s a cute zippered toiletry bag I made completely on the serger! This is one of the practice projects included on the Beginner Serging: Machine Basics and Techniques class I’ve been watching on Craftsy taught by Amy Alan of Really Handmade.

I chose this very sweet octopus fabric from the Coastal Mini Series by Timeless Treasures.  For this project, all you need is 2 fat quarters, a zipper and some fusible fleece. The finished bag comes out to be about 9″ L x 5.5″ W x 5.5″ H. I could really get into making a lot of these.


As it seems to be going with all of my recent summer sewing, I have been spending a lot of time with my seam ripper! This little project was no exception. The serging part was a breeze! What set me back was the zipper. Toward the end of the project, when I trimmed my zipper end off flush with the bag, I wasn’t paying attention and the zipper pull came off the end of the zipper. I could not get it lined up and back on the teeth.  So…I took the whole thing apart. And when removing serging, that’s a lot of thread.


I think with a little more practice there are a few things I could improve on this bag. One: my zipper seams are not even along the teeth. It is a little wonky. Second: one of my end tabs is not completely centered at the base of the zipper. But, all in all, it’s pretty darn cute. I hope to make some more using fat quarters I’ve been holding on to but just don’t know what to do with.


Perfect Quilted Tote

I had been curious about the “quilt as you go” technique. I loved the look and some sewing friends said it was so easy.  To try it out, I needed a project. So, I purchased Elizabeth Hartman‘s Perfect Quilted Totes available as a pdf pattern. The pattern includes instructions for two sizes: a tall tote measuring 14½” tall x 10½” wide and a wide tote measuring 11½” tall x 12½” wide. I chose to make the wide tote.


Here’s the technique in process. It is so much fun! Elizabeth’s instructions are very clear and easy to follow. It works out well to select a couple fabrics with large motifs that you can fussy cut and use as focal fabrics, such as the typewriter fabric by Julia Rothman on the example above, for the quilted panels. The typewriter fabric helped me decide on my blue, orange and grey color scheme.


Here’s the finished tote! I am really pleased with how it turned out. The inside includes 2 pockets, one with a zipper, and a magnetic snap.  For my solid fabric for the body of the tote, I used Essex cotton/linen blend in Grey. Inside, I used Kona Cotton in Bahama Blue.


Jen Giddens Classic Messenger Bag

I love messenger bag style purses and was excited to try out Jen Gidden’s Classic Messenger Bag pattern. I have made her Pleated Tote pattern and really liked it. Very simple and clear instructions.

Messenger Bag

I used decorator weight Lovesme Lovesmenot in Leaf from Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush collection.

Messenger Bag Inside

For the inside lining, I used a polka dot from American Jane Patterns from the Look and Learn collection by Sandy Klop. There is just a simple pocket inside, but you could really customize here adding a zippered pocket or specialized pockets for your phone, etc.

Messenger Bag

For the interfacing, to give it body, I used Pellon 809 Decor Bond.  This made the flap a little stiff. Currently, it looks very nice, but I wonder how it will really stand up to real world use.

All in all, this was a very fun project and pretty much instant gratification, which was exactly what I was looking for!

Bags · Pouches

Couple more things for the school auction

Quite a while back I made a couple more things for the school auction. Here they are:


Here’s a little zippered pouch made with Essex Linen/Cotton and some cute fabrics from Dear Stella and Art Gallery. I love those squirrel and tree prints.

Market Tote

I also made another Market Tote from the ever-popular orange Ikea bird fabric. It has a matching zippered pouch that fits into the interior pocket of the tote.

Market Tote

Although neither this boy or dog are auction items, they were too cute not to include.

Asher and Fox
Asher and Fox looking cute.

Pleated Totes for SW Charter Auction

Here’s some pleated totes I made for my son’s school auction coming up on March 15th.

I used a great Pleated Tote tutorial by Ellen Luckett Baker of The Long Thread. The directions were easy to follow and the results are terrific. There’s lots of room to customize the inside. I added pockets to hold a cellphone and other small objects. I used decorator weight for the outside of the bags and quilting cotton for the insides. Fusible fleece gives the bags some body so they’re not too floppy.

Pleated Tote 1

The fabric here is from Jo-Ann’s. This was very inexpensive decorator weight fabric, but it sewed up beautifully. The lining is one of my go to fabrics — Kona Medium Grey.


This purse is a great size, measuring about 14″ x 13″. So not too small, not too big.


I also tried hidden magnetic snaps for the first time and love them! I purchased them at Tantalizing Stitches and find them so much nicer than inserting a pronged snap and they just seem a little more professional looking.


Here’s another Pleated Tote made with fabric from Ikea. The inside lining is made from Bike Path Chartreuse from Lucky Penny by Alison Glass for Andover.



Here’s an up close view of my new merchandise tag. I’d really like to design a true logo for Chinchilla Whiskers, but I just haven’t had the time. So, a picture of the little critters will have to suffice for now.

Bags · Books · Pouches

Auction Items

I’ve been working on some items for my son’s school’s auction coming up on March 10th at the Eco-Trust building.

Here are some zippered pouches made from Aqua and Green Clocks from Ruby Star Rising by Melody Miller. Love this fabric as well as the Typewriters from this line. It has been flying out of the shop! But I know we have more on order.

I also made another pouch from some Ikea fabric purchased a while back. Inside is lined with Garbo Black from the Circa 1934 collection from Cosmo Cricket.

I also made a matching bag! There is a small interior pocket to fit the pouch. The orange bird fabric and black dots really go well together. This bag is the Market Tote from one of my favorite sewing books of 2011 — 1, 2, 3 Sew: Build Your Skills with 33 Simple Sewing Projects by Ellen Luckett Baker. I have made 4 other bags like this and love them all.


Pleated Tote

I started working on The Pleated Tote pattern from Jen Giddens. I really like the way she writes her patterns. They are simple and clear of errors. She also includes suggestions for the type of material that would work well and how to customize your bag. I would definitely try some of her other patterns available through Sew, Mama, Sew! and Jen’s web site.
For interfacing I am using Pellon 808 Craft Fuse. I am hoping it gives the bag body without being too stiff.
For the exterior of the bag I used Michael Miller’s Gray Bird Swing:
For the interior Citron Daisy Flowers, also from Michael Miller:
Here’s some quick pictures of the finished bag:

I still need to iron the bag more, trim some threads and perhaps put some tissue paper or plastic bags inside to full it out for a better picture.