I found out at the beginning of October that dear friends of ours from NYC had adopted a darling baby girl. My joy on this kind of news is two fold--happy for them because of this sweet new addition and happy for me because it's time to start quilting! It's kind of meant to be because I started piecing a quilt top back in...March. For no reason other than I was totally inspired. Susan Beal had just released Modern Log Cabin Quilting and we were offering her hand-selected limited edition fat quarter packs that I totally loved because it included cross-hatch prints, Tammis Keefe crocodiles, and Lizzy House. AND Elizabeth Hartman had just made available her Mod Sampler Quilt as a pdf. I looked at the two, knew it was love at first sight, and started immediately.
Fast forward, uh-hum, 7 months later. The top has been done for quite awhile and in reality it was sitting pin-basted in my work room waiting for the day I would be inspired enough to quilt. That day FINALLY arrived. Olivia needed an awesome quilt and I was already ahead of the game. I busted out my walking foot, decided to go simple and angular and marked my top in an diamond pattern with echo lines 2" apart.
My preferred binding is a totally scrappy one. So after that is pieced, pressed, and sewn to the quilt comes my (secrectly) favorite part--hand sewing the binding to the back. This means my journey is almost done and a savor the task with a good, bad, or cheesy movie and Thread Heaven. Thread Heaven is a thread conditioner, similar to wax but different and better! You only have to have your thread tangle oh, say for YEARS, before you realize what a revelation this stuff is. Any amount of hand sewing--buttons, hems, quilt bindings--can benefit from a pass through this magical stuffs.
And I was taught to always label a quilt, for posterity and for just the last lovely little stamp before it goes off to be enjoyed. I go really simple--Micron pen on muslin. Hand-sewn on of course, with a little magic Thread Heaven.
If you're interested in exploring the art of piecing and quilting, Elizabeth Hartman has several classes on the schedule down at Modern Domestic. She is supremely talented and a wonderful teacher. I always enjoy being there on days she teaches, to chat and be inspired. And she's got big news!
Erica, my friend and fellow co-worker and teacher at MD, has been whipping up versions of Colette's new pattern, Peony. With the flattering boatneck and classic line (plus--gotta love pockets!), it's not hard to see why. Erica was kind enough to answer some questions so we could get to know the pattern a little better.
What can someone learn from making this pattern?
There are so many great skill-building opportunities in this pattern for a beginning sewist. You can learn how to put in an invisible zipper, how to sew side-seam pockets, how to do fancy-sounding things like understitching, and if you're feeling brave, you could embellish the neckline with some piping!
Thanks Erica! For those who would like a little help with the pattern, zipper installation, or fit, Erica is offering Peony as a class at MD Wednesdays in November. The expansion will be done so be one of the first to take a class in the new space! And now until Monday October 14th is the time to take advantage of the Expansion Sale! 10% off all BERNINA and bernette machines, plus special pricing on models like the classroom 440s and a sewing and embroidery machine--the 640!
I'm so excited! When I walked in the store yesterday to snap my pics for this post I was overjoyed (really, I do get quite giddy over fabric) to see all these big, beautiful rolls from the Outside Oslo line by Jessica Jones. Even though the line was available a while back, I thought it best to wait until we had a little more room. The line is printed on a canvas, making it the perfect fabric for upholstery and other home dec projects as well as bags, like that awesome Carpet Bag that Meredith is teaching!
We've also received in quite a few different patterns in the past week, including the brand-spankin'-new Colette and Oliver + S designs. Two new pattern lines to the store are apparel patterns, Sewaholic by Tasia up in BC and Sarah Jane embroidery patterns. We'll be expanding our "embroidery center" soon with more thread choices. Stay tuned!
On a recent visit with my dear friend, Mollie, we got to catch up on a lot of news. This family has been a part of my life for a while, having known them in NYC. I had not realized how soon it was until her daughter, Maggie, was starting Kindergarten. Like this week! Being one without kids keeps me oblivious to these things. We chatted about buying school supplies, a favorite activity of mine growing up, and that Maggie would need a backpack. Lightbulb! "Maggie, would you like me to make you a backpack?"
Needless to say, I got fairly explicit instructions that I was happy to oblige. It's something I know as a sewist I take for granted--getting to produce and wear or carry exactly what I would like. Now I'm on a mission to produce a purple backpack with a baby brown bunny holding a carrot and with Maggie's name in pink.
I had purple canvas in my stash but we've got neutrals and fun colors in stock. I do recommend something with a little more heft to it, like canvas or home dec.
These cars or trains would have been awesome. Maybe for her brother. But I'm under strict orders!
Name in pink, check!
Pattern time. I'd heard through the grapevine that Melissa's Not-So-Big Backpack (from the Fall 2010 Stitch Magazine) shape and size was good for all of Maggie's Kindergarten needs. But I definitely wanted it lined. I simply cut the front, back, and side & bottom panel pieces out of a lining as well. I also interfaced the panel pieces of the exterior.
Hardware. I think metal teeth zippers look awesome so I picked some of those up along with these backpack straps we are now carrying.
Easy enough to change length--simply shift the foam insert up and trim away the excess. Then slip it back down and trim the cover. There should be some cover that extends past the foam. I left approx 1/2". Nylon webbing for lower strap, check!
The construction felt fairly straight forward. It was very similar to other bags I've made, namely Amy Butler's Weekender Bag (but without all the headache that one caused). The majority of the work was done in under 2 hours, plus strap fitting and hand finishing and machine embroidery.
I took a cue from Oliver & S's Little Things to Sew book for sewing in the lining. Here you can see the exterior and lining have been pinned together at the bottom seam.
A trick I learned for being uber-accurate when lining up two seam lines (and I think works well for darts too) is to pin on top of the stitch line through both layers. That way you ensure no slippage and the seams match up.
Once the bag is right side out with the lining inside, you simply hand stitch the zipper opening in the lining to the zipper tape.
When using a metal or molded zipper, I always walk the machine's hand wheel over the needle. That way I can prevent needle breakage and reinforce the area with backstitching. This is definitely a stress point. No needles were harmed in the making of this backpack!
For the bottom panel, I subbed in a faux leather. I thought this would make it more durable. And attractive!
All set and ready for the first day of school, check!
Maybe you've already got a backpack ready to go but still want to send them to school with something handmade? Erica's offering an Insulated Lunch Bag class that's perfect for back to school. Take it a step further and join me in Embroidery DIY to personalize your project. I'm offering a free spot in the class, just leave a comment over on the MD blog!