Monday, September 30, 2019

Drawstring Tote

Hi everyone!  I have another bag to show you today -- and it's actually NOT a Dumpling Pouch!  I know; it's shocking.  Ha!

I've wanted to make a drawstring tote, or cinch-top tote for YEARS!  I finally took the plunge, using fabrics I've been really wanting to do something fun with.  Let's jump ahead to the finished bag!


There are many, many different tutorials for this type of bag all over the internet. I finally chose one (this one, by Shabby Fabrics) and gave it a go. I did make some changes ... of course!

I decided to use Soft and Stable for the body of the bag and to quilt it.


Can you see the quilting? Here's the flip side:


I used a fabulous variegated pinks/reds thread by King Tut - Red Sea. It was perfect for this project!

I didn't like how you could see the wrong side of the fabric of the cinch-top when it was open as per the tutorial, so I sort of doubled that. I'll have an easier way of doing it next time; it is a bit bulky when you cinch it closed, but I'd rather have that than the wrong side of the fabric showing. Yes, even if I'm the only one who will see it!


I used variegated pink string that I had - and quadrupled it.


I also used the end caps from the the same discarded windbreaker mentioned in my last post (I used the zipper for that pouch!) to dress the ends of the strings up a bit. I think it's a nice "finish"!

It's already been put to work (on the trip) and not only did well, but was so fun to use! I've washed it now and it still looks awesome!

It was so fun to finally make one of these totes AND to use these fabrics!  I'm sure I'll be making another one of these soon!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Number Seven

Hi, everyone!  Yes, another Persimmon Dumpling Pouch!  Have I mentioned these are a bit addictive?!?  This one was for the trip, too, but to take to my mom as a little gift.  (The little colonial fabric basket was for her, too; she used to do a lot of tole painting and likes the Early American look!). Anyway ...

I did a little wavy quilting on the outside of the pouch and ...


Fortunately, I saw it coming and had ordered more to have on hand for just such an emergency!

"The King is dead; long live the King!"

I so totally love King Tut thread!!!

PDP#7 had a cool, retro vibe to it!


The fabric is a heavy canvas, so it has nice shape and form even with "just" batting inside.  The zipper is from a discarded windbreaker.

I added fabric tabs at both ends, to make it easier for my mom to open and close, and found two very cool buttons to sew together to use as a zipper pull:


I thought that would make it easier for her to grip!  I also put a little Super Glue on the threads to prevent any fraying or un-knotting.

I made two interior pockets from a coordinating canvas:

  the Persimmon Dumpling Pouch!
The interior fabric is a cute quilt-weight cotton.

I love making these - and adding my own touches here and there!  And I loved giving this one to my mom!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Another Serving Of Dumplings

Hi, everyone!  As I mentioned, I may be addicted to making the Persimmon Dumpling Pouches by Sew Sweetness.  I thought I should make a couple for my husband, for him to take on our trip!

For the first one, I grabbed one of his old uniforms. I thought it would look great with a bright red zipper (still using zips I had saved from discarded clothing!) and a flag-themed fabric for the liner.


I lined the front with batting and put a few lines of quilting in there for detail and to hold the layers together.

Right after I started that pouch, #5, my order for Soft and Stable came in!  I just HAD to try it out, and got to work on Persimmon Dumpling Pouch #6:


Very easy to quilt through, easy to cut, and I'm so thankful for Wonder Clips.

This time, I used a Desert Storm camo fabric.  I used part of it (it was a rucksack cover) for a new mat for the girls and had just a smidge left over.  I thought my hubby could use two pouches.  Right?


I love the professional look I got using the Soft and Stable -- the pouch sits up nicely and just has a great feel to it!

I'm not unhappy with using the batting, though -- the BDU camo is so thick that combined with the batting, it also has a nice heft.  Here are the two pouches:


On both pouches, I installed tabs on both sides, for easy zipping and unzipping.  For #5, I used folded BDU fabric; it was a bit thick to deal with.  For #6, I used the ribbon from DCU pant legs.  I used the same ribbon as a zipper pull for that pouch, and the ribbon from BDU pants for the other.

Here's a peek inside:


By the time I was on pouch #6, I was confident enough to make some personalizations, and put a pocket inside:


I measured before I made it, so it could fit his razor -- he used this as a dopp kit on the trip!

I confess, I may have gotten the girls involved in a couple photos of Pouch #5 ...


Oh, trust me, they were duly rewarded for their efforts!

As always, thank you for reading!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Drawstring Squishy Bag

Hi everyone!  Several of the little bags I made recently were to help keep us organized on our trip - and this next one is a great example.  True, I had watched another YouTube video and couldn't wait to try my hand at it ... but I also thought it would come in handy for the trip.

I present the Drawstring Squishy Bag With Pocket (tutorial from Erica at Confessions of a Home Schooler):


All coffee prints because yes, we brought our own coffee. We were very glad we had!

The bag is fully lined, drawstring closure, and a sweet pocket on the outside.


It also has a cute little grab handle.

I used cording and a barrel-style cord lock I had saved from something. It was perfect for this project!

Like the Dumpling Pouches I showed you in the last post, this has been through the washer and dryer now and still looks wonderful!

If you're looking for a fun, quick project that has great utility, this one sure fits the bill!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

New Purse And Another Dumpling Pouch. Or 2. Or 3.

Hi everyone!  I decided at some point that I wanted a new purse.  The one I had been carrying was OK, but heavy!  What did I do that made it so heavy?  I have no idea.  Anyway, I knew the exact fabric I wanted to use!

Camo print with a plum (is that plum?) roses:


To be honest, it's a pair of jeans.  Actually, two pairs.  I bought a pair and they were too small.  I was in love with the print, so I bought the next larger size.  They weren't much better, but I vowed I'd be able to wear them.  Some day.  So ... to make a long story short, both pairs are now too large (yeah!  but ... that FABRIC!!!).  I thought a bag was the answer.

My plan was to just wing it for the bag itself, but I had watched a tutorial on how to install a recessed zipper into any bag and thought I'd give that a go.


Her instructions were pretty clear, but I did a lot of stopping and re-starting the vid.  She's a fast talker.  Or I'm a slow learner.  Whatever.  I liked how her tabs stuck way out on each side and it just looked cool.  And relatively easy.  Except ...

"Oh, -- insert HBO words here --!!!"

Yeah.  Oops.  Well, that's why God gave us seam rippers, right?

My bag was together before I knew it:


The fabric, the purple/plum/pink/whatever else is an old Mary Ellen Hopkins that I probably bought in Korea.  I thought it was a good fit!


A pocket on a pocket on the outside front!

I still had fabric left over, so I decided to make another Persimmon Dumpling Pouch!  Or two.


Or three.

I used recycled zippers from discarded clothing:


And for zipper pulls and tabs at each end, I used the ribbon from the bottom of BDU pants: 


The tabs on the ends make it much easier to zip and unzip the bags!


I love that Sara includes three different sizes for the pouch - and they nest inside each other for easy storage!  I took mine with us on our trip (toiletries, cosmetics, etc.) and they were SO handy!  I've even washed them now and they held up perfectly!  Yay!

Please stay tuned ... there is a good chance there are more Dumpling Pouches to come!

As always, thank you for reading!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


Hi everyone!  I usually like to have a project (or two ... or ...) going at all times in the Studio.  Sometimes it's little "filler" projects.  One thing I recently did was new "bag holders" to attach to my dogs' leashes:


Really convenient to have already hooked up to their leashes, in case you forget to grab a bag on your way out the door with someone. I don't know this for a fact, but I'm pretty sure there's a section in the Siberian Husky Rule Book about trying your hardest to have a BM if your person leaves without a bag. I thought it was time, plus we would be leaving for a trip soon (we've been and gone now) and I thought it would be extra handy!

I decided to do one for a friend, also. Her pup's collar and leash are pink, but because her husband is the one who usually walks her, she didn't want anything too girlie. I thought this called for pink camouflage!


I just happened to have a re-purposed zipper that matches the khaki in the camouflage print.


The purple is for Kansas State University, of course!!

I lined hers (I skipped that on ours) with more of the purple:


I'm really pleased with how it came out - and I think my friend is, too. 😊

Thanks so much for reading!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

My First Dumpling Pouch!

Hi, everyone!  I have so much to show you - it's going to take a handful of days to get caught up!  I've now made several Persimmon Dumpling Pouches (pattern by Sew Sweetness) and want to show you the first today!

I'm not even sure how it started, but I think I stumbled onto one of Sara's videos on YouTube - and the rest ... you know the saying!  Shortly after seeing her Persimmon Dumpling Pouch, I knew I had to give it a try!

I wanted to play with some of my Amy Butler scraps.  I made templates and had everything cut out quickly:


I intended to insert side tabs, to make it easier to unzip the pouch, but I couldn't quite pull it off with this first one; I have for subsequent ones!

I followed Sara's directions except for adding a little panel at the bottom. I'll try that technique eventually, but I skipped it for the first one. Here it is!


The zipper is from a discarded jacket. (I have finally broken down and bought some zips! They should be here next week.). Waste not, want not!

Here's the other side:


And a look inside:


She has three different sizes -- this is the large.  I made a zipper pull from fabric - just to dress it up a bit.

This was so much fun to make!  It's fully lined, with no exposed seams.  Sara's instructions are terrific, both written and the video.  More Dumpling Pouches to come - please stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Hi everyone!  Thanks for stopping by!  The next projects I tackled were some cute little fabric baskets.  I wanted a couple of sort of "hostess" gifts and thought these would be perfect.  I used one of my favorite tutorials - it's by Ayumi at Pink Penguin, click here for the link.

For the first basket, I wanted a sort of colonial America feel to it.  Here are the pieces I started with:


I love these fabrics - I made a table runner with them for a friend several years ago that I just loved!

It was together before I knew it:


I have a cute, coordinating blue, but she's more of a green person, so I went with that for the lining and a few of the patchwork pieces.  I'm very happy with how it came out!

For the next one, I wanted something sort of rustic. I chose denim and homespun, and decided not to do the patchwork along the top.


Here's a look inside:


I'm hoping the person it is intended for will appreciate the recycled aspect of the denim parts!

I think they're both cute and hopefully the recipients will think so, too!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Quilting Christmas In The City

Hi everyone!  Thanks for being here!  Once I had my retro Christmas In The City Quilt pieced, it was time to come up with a backing! I had only made a dent in Donna's "scraps" (honestly, the most generous "scraps" EVER!!!), so I took a look at what I had in that group. There was plenty of the dark green I'd used in the Shoo Fly blocks -- and there were some large squares of some awesome fabrics I hadn't even used! Here's what I came up with:


I put my extra "ornament" on there, too.  Why not, right?  And more of the city map fabric!

Next, I chose a binding. I had all kinds of crazy ideas, from the green to using all scraps, then decided I really wanted to just use the map fabric:


It's a good fit!

On to the quilting thread! I ran this photo past my friends:


The general consensus was to go with the silver/grey. Excellent choice -- it's Canaan, by King Tut.  Actually all the threads are by King Tut -- all hail the King!  I think any of the above would have worked, but the silver/grey was perfect for the quilting design I had in mind!


That's a shot of the back. Remember those old tin icicle ornaments? I wanted to suggest those, or twisted ribbons. I remember seeing a lot of those ornaments in the 60s or 70s. I thought it was a good fit!


I think it's just enough, without taking anything away from the quilt!

I winged it with my walking foot and was done in no time!


I decided to do the binding by hand, so that might take a while. The machine part is done; now I need some hand-sewing time!

Thank you so much for reading!

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Girls Beat Me To It

Hi everyone!  Thanks for stopping by!  My girls actually beat me to posting about this new project over on the Ao4 Digest, so I figured I better get off the stick and blog it as well!

Years ago ... we don't have to talk about how many ... my friend Donna sent me what she called "scraps" -- leftovers from a Christmas project she had wrapped up.  WOW!  Not only was it very kind of her, but ohmyword, I LOVE the fabrics!!!  And there were TONS!!!  Time to put them to use!  ... finally.

It started with one innocent block:


Tell me those aren't the coolest, hippest, swinging-est fabrics!!!  So totally retro-Christmas!!!  I paired everything with an awesome city map fabric I recently purchased.

The block sprung out of one of Jenny's tutorials over at Missouri Star Quilt Company -- it's the Beach Balls quilt.  I thought the beach balls could also look like Christmas ornaments -- right?!?

I kept marching:


I wanted each ball, each ornament to be different, so I kept dealt my fabric pieces out, then Wonder Clipped them together.  I knew they'd get all mixed up otherwise.

I had lots of help along the way:


Such wonderful company!

There were an awful lot of flippy squares involved:


When I trim the excess fabric off, I like to use my "Add A Quarter" ruler.  It's really for paper foundation piecing, but I've found that the ridge lines up nicely on my seam line, then I can just zip the flips off with my rotary cutter.

I also sashed with the map fabric.  I couldn't wait to see what it would look like:


Part of Jenny's design that I really liked was that her sashing and cornerstones made little Shoo Fly blocks.  I love sub-pattern play like that!  For the triangles in the Shoo Fly, you actually make flippy squares on top of flippy squares!


Donna had used a dark green sort of marbled print in with her retro Christmas fabrics.  I thought that would be perfect for the Shoo Fly blocks!

Here it is, laid out on my "design wall" (OK, a piece of batting tacked up above my closet door):


You can get the general idea there.  Some of the flippy squares look flipped up, but ... you know.

I liked the layout (horizontal, vertical, repeat, repeat; vertical, horizontal, repeat, repeat -- and on), then set about sashing them all together:


I totally dig the fabrics!  How can you look at them and not be happy?!?

Here it is, once I got it all together, complete with border:


How I went from my perfect layout to the above, I do not know.  Somehow I got the rows out of order ... but I really don't care.  I could not love this more than I do!

The fabs from Donna feel so 1960s to me, and bring me back to my childhood.  The map fabric - it's some made up city, I think - but paired with these fabrics, it's like Christmas In The City!!!  We spent many Christmases at my Grandparents' houses in Pittsburgh, PA.  I remember going downtown to look at the lights and the pretty Christmas window displays!  I especially remember Macy's, for some reason.  I also remember the smell of city bus exhausts -- for some reason, it's a pleasant memory!  That's all what this quilt brings to mind for me, hence the name Christmas In The City.  Many, many thanks to Donna for her "leftovers"!!!

Tune in tomorrow for a look at the quilting!

Thanks so much for reading!