Thursday, December 31, 2009

While the Cat is Away...

Well, you know the rest. Yesterday I was down in Concord NH, visiting my favorite quilt shop while my husband is out West, skiing and visiting friends. Peggy Anne's has a wonderful selection of the fabrics I love, and she was running an end of the bolt sale! You just had to purchase at least 5 yards, and it was 40% off! A total steal. So anyway, I got me some LOVE! Oh, it wasn't part of the sale of course, but I couldn't help myself.

Are you jealous? You should be...

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! Thanks for reading, commenting, and inspiring my creativity!

At home in New Hampshire

Sunday, December 20, 2009

little girl Pearl purse tutorial

Oh goodness, time has gotten away from me I fear. The busyness of the holidays tends to do that. But I finally have the time to sit down and write this tutorial for you! And maybe it's even in time for the more industrious among you to get one done for Christmas. Seriously, it's going to take me longer to write this than it is for you to make one!

What you'll need:

Scissors/rotary cutter
self heal mat (optional)
straight edge ruler (optional)
tape measure
small pieces of fabric, 8"x 9" and 3"x 11"
new or vintage buttons, or trims of your choice
sewing machine
disappearing marker/tailor's chalk

Let's get started!

I think it's easier to use a rotary cutter and straight edge quilting ruler to make sure all the edges are straight, but if you don't have one, you can use scissors. Find two coordinating pieces of fabric that you can cut out two 8"x 9" pieces out of each one. I have chosen a Japanese print and an old piece of Amy Butler Charm that I won't be able to do much else with. You can cut them out at the same time with a rotary cutter, and that way they are sure to be the same size.

Now you need to find one more coordinate, and cut out two pieces each 3" x 11". These will become your handles.

I'll start with the handles first. Fold each in half lengthwise and press. Then open up, and fold the raw edges to the center and press again.

Then refold the center with the raw edges pressed under, press again.

Topstitch the edge together. One note on topstitching; you want to make this as neat as possible no matter what you are topstitching. Choose a foot that has some kind of guide so that your stitches don't look wonky or uneven. This is going to give you a more professional finish, and add to the overall look of the piece. You can topstitch both sides of the handle, but you don't have to. Also, if you wanted to add some kind of decorative stitch, or trim detail, now would be the time to do it.

Then place your handles about 2" from the long edge of would will become the top of your purse. Pin on each side, taking care not to twist the strap.

Repeat for the second handle. You can baste them on at this point, or just leave them pinned.

Take your second purse fabric piece, and pin it directly over the handle piece, making sure your edges line up. If you were using a fabric with a nap (direction), you'd want to make sure that where the handle is is the top or opening of the purse. Repeat for the other side.

You are now going to stitch the tops of the purses. This is important. On ONE of the tops, leave a small opening where you will turn the purse later. I have found it is easiest to leave this opening between the purse handles. So stitch one side completely through, and on the other side, leave about a 2-3" gap in the stitching smack dab in the middle.

Press the seam out.

Now here comes the fun part. You can embellish these in so many different ways. I chose cloth yo-yos and vintage and new buttons from my stash. There are tons of tutes on yoyos, so I'm not going to get into that too much. You can also use small bits of trim, lace, buttons, ribbon, etc. The sky is the limit, so have fun with it!

If you want to do the yoyo, I just stitched them down with a button over the top, and used my machine to do the heavy lifting. If your machine doesn't have a button program, just stitch by hand.

You want to do all your embellishing before you move on to the next stage, which is putting it all together.

Place right sides together, aligning the top seam exactly. Stitch a rectangle all the way around. I used 1/4" seams so there's very little waste.

Remember, the opening is at the top of your purse, so you can make a complete rectangle.

This part will be the hardest to explain, but not at all hard to do. Take one corner of the rectangle, and pinch so that the seams of the sides are pushed together. You are forming a gusset to give the purse a little depth. Match the seams as best you can, and pin. Repeat for all four corners.

You'll have something that looks like this.

I usually eyeball this part, but for the sake of accuracy, take your straight edge again and measure 1 1/2" in from the point of the corner, and draw a straight line with disappearing marker or tailor's chalk.

Stitch directly over that line, and repeat for all four corners.

Cut away the excess fabric on all four corners.

Turn your purse so that the right sides are facing out. Push one side into the other to form your purse, taking special care on the bottom seam, pushing the gussets into place. Press the top edge where the handles are, and line up the seam allowances on the small opening.

Topstitch the top edge, so that you don't have any messy hand sewing to do.

Believe it or not, YOU ARE DONE! I not only love these as little girl purses, but by just changing the size, you could make some really fun little book bags, gift bags, or wine bags too.

Let me know if something isn't clear, have fun, and happy sewing!

Salt Lake City, UT

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Invasion of the Purses

Well, it had to happen sometime. The mound of fabric pieces too small to make a dress with, but too big to just give up on, was growing larger by the day. If you sew clothing, you have some idea of the proportions of which I speak. We are talking a good shelf full of smaller pieces that weren't going away, but were cluttering up the view so to speak.

For my show a few weeks ago in Concord, NH, I decided that something had to be done. And it's always a good idea to offer a variety of price points so that people can commit to a little something instead of a big something. My solution to both challenges is the little purse, new to my shop.

These are so fun to put together and very easy to embellish. I try to pick out three coordinates; two for the purse itself and one for the handles. The trick is finding pieces of fabric that will all work together in the sizes I need. And of course I can't leave it just plain, so I decided to go through my vintage button collection and add to the fun little yo-yo's on one side.

Oh, I know I'm certainly not the first one to make a little girl purse, but watching my daughter pick one out for herself was tons of fun. So the only trick now is keeping them out of her sight just in case she decides to help herself to all the other lovely colors.

I may do a tutorial on this if anyone is interested, just comment and let me know. No advanced sewing skills required, I promise. And no piping this time...

~Kansas City, MO