Waggons West Etsy Shop

Monday, June 30, 2014

Project Quilting Off Season Challenge June: Panel

How is this for outside my box?  I bought a kit and followed the directions exactly.  Now that it NOT my usual pattern. 

I bought the kit to make for Mr-I-am-from-Michigan-and-only-moved-to-Ohio-because-even-the-dog-license-was-less-expensive.  I didn't put it together because I was very stressed about sewing the panel in place evenly and getting all the little patches to line up. I've been practicing.  So when I remembered that I had it and that  this month's challenge was to use a panel I decided to go for it. 

I know.  A lazy offering and it isn't even finished.  But there is a reason for that.  Some one else WANTS to quilt it.  And I'm not going to turn that offer down.  So this one is finished enough for me even though it doesn't qualify for the challenge.  Be sure to head over to Persimon Dreams to check out all of the really cool FINISHED projects from this month's challenge.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Luna-see Quilt

Well, I did it!  I managed to finish the luna-see quilt.  It was almost named the bad word quilt but it really is deserving of a better name than that. 

The quilting turned out better than I had hoped.  I did a simple cross hatch across the blocks and a couple of straight lines to frame them.  (The faded spots are actually sunlight that filtered through the trees and was picked up by the camera.)

To fill in the scallops I drew a kind of-sort of lotus pattern that I figured I could repeat with a degree of consistency.  Fortunately, the variations don't really matter. I am almost (but not really) sad that I did black quilting on black fabric because it doesn't really show up all that well.  But then, that is why I did it.  So it wouldn't show up that well. 

 It took me quite a while to get the hang of sewing the scallops on both by machine and then again by hand.  I did quite a bit of quilt wrestling to get it finished.  Actually, I would stitch about two and half scallops and then I had to walk away.  It took me about two days to get it all done. 

To stitch the binding you have to clip the low points almost to the seam allowance, bunch up the quilt and sew straight across.  You do the same thing for the hand sewing and then it all falls neatly into cute little tucks.  No need to miter anything.  Well that is the theory.

By the end of the quilt I was able to stitch across pretty reliably.  The same with the hand sewing.  I kept wanting to pull the binding too tight.  That was a double problem since I refused to make a bias binding which is REQUIRED for scalloped edges.  Phoey.  My curves were gentle enough to make it work out OK but it probably did require a wee bit of extra fussing. 

The details:  This quilt measures 40 x 44 inches.  It is made of 100% cotton quilters fabric with the exception of the binding which is a cotton poly blend.  The batting in cotton.  It will be a lovely baby quilt or table topper.  This one is destined for the shop or the shows I am doing later this Summer and Fall. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

French Seams, Boxed Corners

The classic re-usable shopping bag is one of the easiest sewing projects around.  A few french seams a folded handle and you are on your way.  This particular version is sometimes called a Morse Bag.  I've posted fabric cutting tips and links to the original instructions here.  Admittedly the one in the picture above is a bit fancier than the typical bag but still quite easy to pull off. 

 The beauty of this style of bag is that the french seams used in construction mean that the bag is fully finished inside and does not have to be lined.  A great savings on fabric and time. 

The one problem with the Morse style bag is that the bottom is not squared off.  It works quite well the way it is, but most shopping bags have a flat bottom.  Boxing corners is simple.  You turn the bag inside out, line up the side seam and bottom seam.  Stitch across the triangle and cut off the excess fabric, which leaves raw edges inside your bag or you leave the corners on which leaves funky crud collecting flaps in the bottom.  Either way, it is no longer fully finished and is begging for a lining. 

I decided to modify the bag with boxed corners and see if I could do it without requiring a lining.  It turns out it is pretty simple. 

Once you've made your bag, turn it inside out and look at the bottom corner.  In this picture, I'm holding the corner on the right side with the seams together.  You can see that I have adjusted the seams so that they go in opposite directions.  In quilting circles, we call this nested.  It is particularly important in the construction of the boxed corner.  Trying to stitch through all of those layers should the seams allowances be lined up would be almost impossible.

With the seams nested, turn the bag right side out and pull the corner to a flat point.  The black arrow in the pictures is on the side seam.  The bottom seam is nested perfectly below it.  I've lined my ruler up on the seam.  It looks slightly off-kilter but it truly does go along the seam and through the point of the bag.  The ruler is placed so that the straight edges is 1.5 inches above the point. 

I've moved the ruler slightly in the photo above so that you can see the line I have drawn.  I used a pink washable chalk pencil so that my line shows up on both the light and dark portions of the fabric. 

This is one of those occasions where I strongly suggest using a couple pins.  Put them in perpendicular to the line you have drawn.  Pull them out before you sew over them.  Stitch a seam directly on the line you have drawn.  Note the bag is positioned so that the WRONG sides are facing and the RIGHT sides are out.  That is OK.   

You will end up with a dog ear on the outside of the bag.

Cut it off! 

I used pinking shears and left a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance.  That is a quilting habit.  For bag construction you can make it a deeper seam if you like.  I prefer the smaller seam because it leaves less bulk in the bag.

Now you can turn your bag inside out.  Put the RIGHT sides together with the WRONG side showing.  Carefully poke out those corners. 

Nest your seams again.  Make sure you have a nice straight seam showing. 

Sew a full 1/4 inch seam.  To reinforce the stitching and to minimize loose threads, I start stitching in about 1/4 inch and backstitch to the edge.  I then sew across the seam.  When I get to the opposite side a stitch to the edge and backstitch in a quarter inch.  Then I cut my threads.  It just leaves the edges a bit tidier. 

 Turn your bag right side out and trim off any loose threads that may have escaped your seam allowance.  Repeat on the other corner and you have a lovely bag with boxed corners and completely finished seams!

Feel free to cover a rectangle of plastic or better upcycled cardboard and tack it to the bottom to make a stable bottom.  Or leave it as is for wad up and go convenience

The french seams give these bags plenty of stability and strength.  Make them out of almost any upcycled fabric or remnant.  Stretchy knits work but they will stretch so you might want to make the bag a wee bit smaller. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Math and Butterflies

 Several years ago, I saw a quilt on-line that I couldn't figure out.  Typically, I can separate the blocks out and have a general understanding of how it is made.  This one confused me.  I shared it with Mr-math-is-my-thing and told him it made my head hurt.  He looked at it for approximately one-seventybillionth of a second and said "This is easy.  Get me some fabric".  

I happened to have 4 yards of mostly coordinating fabric I bought at a going out of business sale.  (I'm not sure why I bought them.  They are not my usual or even my unusual style.)  Mr-give-me-a-ruler-and-a-rotary-cutter stacked them all up into one pile and started cutting.  In short order we had a big pile of fabric pieces.  We had to tack an old flannel sheet onto the wall to try and arrange them.  It took some doing.  What made sense in theory wasn't quite as simple in practice.  

Eventually we got them all laid out properly.  Well, not exactly properly.  We actually did a few swaps to make it more interesting.  But that is pretty much SOP around here.  Above is the picture I took to help us keep it straight.  

I eventually managed to get it all stitched together, matching most of my corners.  It was a decent quilt top.  It also deserved better quilting than I could manage at the time.  I knew it needed more than straight lines.  I hadn't yet learned about FMQ and I couldn't afford to send it off to the Longarmer.  So it has languished on my WIP list for years.  

Eventually, I figured out that I could quilt it using my embroidery machine.  I bought a design and had the perfect thread.  Of course I needed backing.  at 47 inches on a side it is just a wee bit too wide for the standard yardage I bought.  Of course, I didn't buy enough figuring that it would fit.  So it languished on the WIP pile for another year or so.  

Finally determined to finish it, I pulled out the original backing fabric and gave it to Mr-there-is-enough-fabric-here-in-theory-let-me-figure-it-out.  While he was figuring out I was correct... well technically he was right, there was enough fabric but the piecing would be a nightmare... I went back through my stash.  I grabbed a piece of fabric every quilter who has ever made it through the IKEA maze has used as a backing:  the big number fabric.  And TA! DA!  Finished quilt.


Well, it wasn't quite that easy.  I had trouble orienting and hooping the fabric.  I had trouble with my machine.  I had trouble with the thread breaking.  But finally last week, I decided it was time to git 'er done.  Finished the quilting and today I was able to put on the binding on.

 I know that technically it isn't finished.  The binding needs to be hand stitched.  But I promised Mr-I-can-stitch-the-binding-and-that-one-is-less-than-a-football-game that he could do it.  So, technically I am finished with this WIP and can cross it off a multitude of lists!

The details:

47 x 47 inches.  Made from Quilters Cotton in sage green and black.  Backing from IKEA.  Polyester batting.  Machine pieced.  Embroidered quilting. 


I love the Friends of Craftster Raffle/Swap.  You never know which prize is going to find its way to your house.  This time the address was familiar.  I won a doll made by craftster Linakins.  She is the sister to the one I received from Linakins a while ago in the art doll swap! 

Friday, June 13, 2014


Sometimes stuff just accumulates on the sewing table. 

Yes, there is a box of miniature Christmas lights, a bunch of appropriate sewing tools, the lovely basket made for me by LesliesHappyHeart and an elf ear.  You just never know when you might need an elf ear in your project now do you?  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Flimsy Parade

This is the latest in my quest to move fabric to flimsy.  This was a set of  fabrics I bought several years ago.  I finally settled on a design.  I think it is fun.  I have backing for it so it should be quilted in short order.  I'm not sure what color thread.  The backing is a cream/black print and the front is just plain wild.  Suggestions?