Another small project done

I decided to replace a very worn out small handbag that I have been using daily for at least 3 years. The bag is tattered on the corners, and has gone through the washer and dryer many times. I bought it for travel use at the local Eddie Bauer Outlet, on a whim, for less than $10. I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth out of it for certain.

With a trip coming up this weekend, I decided I could “MAKE” a new bag, but make it slightly LONGER than the original bag. One thing about the original I love was the outside pocket on the back that my big fat cell phone could slide into. I loved the 3 zipper pockets, but I know my sewing talents don’t go that far, and I am thrilled I got one zipper in, and made it work.

I’ve made quite a few things like this, only smaller, in the embroidery hoop. I’m limited on the length though, so I took the skills I learned from machine embroidery and came up with this bag.

New bag
front of the bag

I finally used one of those lace zippers I had on hand. (More than a year ago, my friend Nancy & I split an Amazon order). The zipper goes across the top. I made the bag substantially longer so my bigger wallet would fit in. I bought the wallet, handmade, from one of the ladies at the Assisted living facility where I used to volunteer and I just love it. I was always jamming it in the old bag.

Again, while making this project, I dug into the “leftover half square triangles” that I have sitting in a basket.

I decided that the pocket on the back of this bag could be divided, and my phone will fit on either side, and still have room for a pen or a mask or my ear buds.

pockets on the back

I ended up using the same woven strap from the old bag, as it is in pretty good shape. I can always make a fabric strap later if I choose. With so much white on the bag, I imagine it will be in the washer on a regular basis. The rings are “key ring overlap” style, so taking off the strap and replacing it should be easy.

When I was working on this, I was thinking “proto-type” for a bag done using some wonderful vinyl that I have. It looks and feels like suede, but I wanted to be sure I had worked out the process…when to attach the zipper, where to leave the opening for turning, how to attach the bits for the handle, how I wanted the pocket to work etc.

Overall, without a pattern I am quite pleased with the outcome.

I used Pellon 973 Fusible fleece on the back side of the main fabric, nothing on the back of the lining.

fusible fleece for the bag

Turning the bag thru the opening on the side of the lining was fairly easy, as the Pellon fleece is very soft and easy to work with. There are no “raw edges” on the bag to be bothersome. I quilted thru the outside bag fabric using one of the special stitches on my Janome 8900, and I think that helps give it some character too. It will certainly keep the fleece from shifting when it gets washed. (All the white means it will need washing on a regular basis!!)

close up of the quilting
Close up of the stitching

I still want to make another bag using the wonderful vinyl product, and have to “think through” the process of adding all those extra zipper pockets etc. But for now, my new purse kind of matches my sister’s bag I made yesterday.

The picture below is my old bag on top of the new one, and you can see how much bigger I made it.

Replacing the old bag

So, there you have it, a one day project! (Really just an afternoon of creating and having fun!)

What are you working on this week?? Any suggestions for adding multiple zippers in outside pockets?? I’m sure I can figure it out, but will spend my evening hunting through videos on you-tube looking at suggestions!

Another finish!!

I spent my afternoon on Sunday finishing up the bag for my sister. Yesterday’s post was about using the scraps. I have to report that this one used scraps in the finish too.

Where yesterday’s post left off, the outer part of the bag was quilted. Adding the boxed corners, using a 2″ square felt right. It makes the bag “wider” and will accommodate more than just her tablet. Not knowing the size of her device, I went for bigger.

2" box corner
Before the lining goes in.

I made nice wide handles and used the same Bosal In-R-Form in them.

Handles attached
handles attached

I like using the Bosal In-R-Form for bags as they have good shape.

I decided to put two pockets inside with the lining, one of which is divided. It is big enough to hold my cell phone and the other pockets might be useful for cords, power devices etc. I also added magnetic closure at the top as I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

Inside pockets Anne's bag
Pockets are so important

The bag came together fairly easily, and I wish now that I had made MY bag in this fashion!!

Finished bag

It turns out to be a very room bag. I put my tablet down inside and there is plenty of room to toss in a paperback book or a deck of cards, along with your wallet and other necessities. If she decides it is “too big” for her tablet, then she can use it as a tote bag or a big purse.

Plenty of room
Plenty of room for chargers and your wallet and other girly stuff.

This was fun to make for my sister and I told her if she doesn’t find it useful, then to pass it on to someone else!

The only yardage use in this project was 1/2 yard from my stash for the handles and the lining. Everything else was from the scrap storage. (The pocket fabric was leftover from my bag lining from yesterday!)

Do you enjoy sewing bags?? I learn something every time I make them. Yesterday’s lessons were to slow down and think the plan through. It was a good lesson for today, as it all came together nicely.

Using up some scraps

Last week I posted about my class project, the To the Nines pattern, where I had a “fat seam allowance”. Those discarded blocks have been turned into something useful! I decided to use them as the basis for my new “tablet sleeve” for my upcoming cruise. Hubby thinks the cover / added keyboard give it protection, but I wanted to make a cover / sleeve for the device.

Since I only had 4 orphan/discarded blocks, I knew I would have to make a few more. The tablet is about 8 x 12 and I was using 2.5″ squares. I ended up with 8 squares x 5 squares for the front of the bag, and the same for the back. I quilted it using Bosal In-R-Form for the batting.

Here is the result –

leftover 9 patches

I used a light fabric for the lining.

Snug fit

It is a fairly snug fit with my tablet. It isn’t going to fall out. There is some extra space along the top. Originally I was going to roll the top edge down to make a cuff, but then I decided the cord needed to go in too.

My husband suggested I add a velcro closure and handles, which I did AFTER the sleeve was made. Now, I guess it is a bag not a sleeve!

Handles added

Boy adding the velcro and handles after the bag / sleeve was already made was a pain in the neck!! Lesson to self….think the project all the way through before rushing through the creative process. I probably should have unstitched the top edge of the bag where the lining joins the outside and opened up the side seam….but that would have been too easy. Instead I fought with the narrow opening and my open arm on the sewing machine. I got it done…but I should have thought that through better.

Anyway, I think the colors of the bag go nicely with my lavender tablet.

new tablet
Lavender Tablet with keyboard

I showed my sister the bag I was making and it reminded her of the bag I made for her Kindle years ago. She gave the kindle away to one of the grandkids but still has the little bag. She has a tablet she will be bringing on our trip in a week, and I asked her if it had a sleeve or a bag. It does not, so I offered to make her one. When she sent me a photo of it, it looks like it is the same one I have and similar size. She asked for it to open on the long side like the Kindle bag. She also liked the short handles.

I went to work on her bag, last night after dinner, and pulled some left over half square triangles, and this is what the front panel of the bag will look like.

starting another sleeve

Those half square triangles were the abundance from Addison’s Quilt I made 5 years ago ! (I could have made two quilts with all those leftover blocks!)

I decided to “start bigger” with this bag, box the corners, and add a pocket inside for the charging cables and other “stuff” she might want to carry with it. Her device has the same detachable keyboard, but without having exact measurements, I am erring on the side of caution for size. My bag/sleeve could have been a bit bigger in hindsight.

I started by making two panels for the front and back of the project then stitched them together at what will be the bottom of the bag, then quilted it onto the Bosal In-R-Form. I used the same serpentine stitch with my walking foot for both bags. At the center bottom seam, I did straight stitch in the ditch and 1/4″ on either side of the seam.

my sister's tablet case in progress

When the sides are stitched together it will look something like this —

another tablet case

Of course, there will be handles, and lining and the bottom will be boxed . I think I will add a magnet purse style closure on the bag. It seems that magnetics and electronics aren’t a problem anymore, as the keyboard to my tablet attaches “magnetically”. (My husband loves that connection concept).

I hope to finish this second bag up today. I’ve picked out a print turquoise to go inside for the lining and the handles. She doesn’t want long handles, just something to slip over her arm, not her shoulder.

95% percent scraps used for both bags, just a little additional fabric from the stash for silly things like straps and pockets and lining. Between them both I only used one package of the In-R-Form that I had on hand. Very convenient.

I will take the bag for her tablet with me on my flight to California next Sunday. There simply is not enough time to mail it and ensure she has it before she travels to the port.

Tablet vs phone
Size matters!

I took a picture of my phone next to the tablet to show her how it would be so much easier to see.

Honestly she had forgotten she had it, so yesterday she charged it up and her daughter helped her get some things connected and running. I’m really glad she is bringing her tablet, and my mission is to help her learn to use it, to use her phone as a hot spot, and get all her a favorite websites loaded. She has a serious vision issue due to her stroke last year, and the size of the screen on the phone has been making things challenging for her this year. I hope using it daily on the cruise will reinforce the simplicity of using it when she is at home.

That’s it for today! Are you working with scraps? Have you ever gone full steam ahead like me, only to realize later how you “should have” done something differently?

Linking up to Oh Scrap – Quilting is More fun than housework!

Meeting a fellow blogger

This week I had the pleasure to meet in person a fellow blogger – Carole Carter, who writes the blog called From My Carolina Home. If you have followed me for long you know that I love her projects and often share links to what is happening on Carole’s blog.

Carole agreed to be a speaker at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes Delaware and to teach a class. Normally she doesn’t travel this far, but she was able to tie it in with some other activities, so she made the exception.

Her presentation at the guild was delightful, inspiring and interesting. She made lots of sense in her methods for storing scraps, or what she calls “Scrap Dancing”. She really is a dynamic speaker and if your guild is looking for speakers, I would highly recommend Carole. Her personality bubbles, and her projects are so much fun. To help cut down on how much she had to pack, several of us brought projects that we had made using Carole’s patterns. It was fun to see them on the stage along with her projects.

Carole at the guild
During the guild meeting

We had the joy of going out to dinner with Carole and her husband on Monday night, and were joined by fellow blogger Pat and her husband. Pat’s blog is called Sunlight Through My Windows . I hope we didn’t bore the men while we talked blogging and quilting and other hobbies. It was fun getting to know the husbands. Pat & I are moderators for Carole on her facebook group, so we had lots to talk about.

On Tuesday, Carole taught a class for the guild, which I signed up for. It was a joy to be back “in a quilting class” after so long. Carole provided her pattern called “TO THE NINES” to the students, along with a special tool from Studio 180 for marking 1/4″ lines. We used it when we were making those flying geese. We also received several brands of batting samples in very nice booklets that we can refer back to the next time we are shopping or ordering.

We learned lots of techniques in the class, a speedy way to make flying geese, some fast methods for piecing 9 patches called webbing. Of course, only those speedy sewers and those that don’t talk in class get everything done, so I did come home with some unfinished sewing. Truth is, my 1/4 inch seam allowance got fat, and rather than ‘rip’ out seams, I decided to just make a bunch more at home so I could assemble my project. I was using my featherweight and my magnetic seam guide and I were not getting along. I finished up my sewing today. My first block looked pretty darn good!

Stars block
To The Nines pattern 36x36

These blocks went together pretty quickly using Carole’s methods for chain piecing and webbing. The top at this point is 36×36. A small inner border and a bit wider boarder will finish it off nicely. All the fabrics except the background came out of my scrap storage system. I have the sizes this pattern uses already cut and on hand, so once I decided on a focus fabric, I pulled things that I thought would blend prettily. My focus fabric had purple, lavender, and multiple shades of blue and greens.

This was pretty fun to do, and I needed a day where my brain could just focus on sewing and nothing else for a few hours.

Have you had a chance to take a class from a quilter you follow on line? What do you suppose I will do with those “9 patches” that came up just a little “short” ?? I think they are perfect size for pot holders!!!

Busy week wrap up

It HAS been a most busy week or two. I don’t feel like I have gotten much done but I have had my hands in the middle of a lot of “stuff”. Hubby had a train sale for his club and we spent several days getting things ready to go. We had to put cello sleeves on the boxes with small parts and he had to figure out pricing on every single item. I can “stick stickers” but didn’t have a clue about value without his explanation. They had a very large collection of HO trains that had been donated this year to DelMarVa Model Railroad Club.

pricing trains for sale

We had to be up early last Saturday morning and at the show by 7:30 to set up all the merchandise.

Train sale

Because we had all our items prices and sorted by types it was fairly easy to set up. The only problem was, not enough room on the table, and NOT enough customers. The sale was poorly attended and as a “vendor” highly disappointing. We had enough merchandise to fill 8 tables, but only had 2 reserved. In hindsight that was probably best. Attendance was dismal at best. We can only guess why….beautiful weather, advertising or people still afraid to spend a dime or go out out in public?

Anyway…I did have some fun this past week in spite of the weekend full of work. I had a gathering of the Queen Bees and we got to meet again at the local library for a day of sewing. FIRST time in 18 months that we could sit and sew together. We were a small but mighty group in a large space and just to hear the hum of the machines and the chatter was wonderful. It felt like old times.

For the bee, I took my squares to work on the blocks that Carole Carter requested for the SAFELIGHT QUILTS. I got a few blocks made to go along with the ones I already have finished. I think I should have enough done to stitch a top together fairly soon and get it in the mail to her. From Carole’s blog post – “This project is going to be ongoing for at least a few months, so if you have time to send a few blocks between now and December, we can use them. If you haven’t seen this project until now, my local guild area is making 60×84″ quilts for the beds at the Safelight Domestic Violence Shelter. We have just a dozen or so quilters, and we need 700 blocks. If you can help with making a few blocks, here’s a pdf of what we need for you to download – Safelight Quilt Blocks. ” The block I am making was originally called the Perkiomen Valley, and I have been making some of these off and on in the last few months. I tripped over a pile of half square triangles, already made, that will go in this block after they are trimmed. The rest is simple squares, and it does go together quickly. I cut the background neutral squares I needed when I was cutting a similar size for the class Carole is teaching at my guild on Tuesday. Having everything cut and in a basket, ready to sew means I can knock a few out at a time with out having to do a lot of planning. Our bee used this pattern a couple of years ago when Carole was collecting quilts for hurricane victims.

At the bee, one of our members was working on the cutest pattern from APQS. I have to say I was so enamored, I looked the pattern up on my phone and saved it right then! I can’t wait to see how hers turns out!

Free pattern

This free pattern is available at the APQS website.

I loved it so much that I got busy the next day and cut out all the applique pieces.

Wash your hands

My hubby and I debated about that faucet and I found some sparkly fabric to overlay on the faucet. Once everything was fused down on the background, I layered the piece with a bit of warm and natural batting and started the top stitching.

blanket stitching

It took a while to get around all those curvy hands but I had a great time doing it.

I managed to get around 3 hands before I gave up for the night. Doing the rest of the stitching took a bit of time on Friday afternoon. I find this a very fun project!

Now that I am finished with the top stitching around the fusible applique, I need to figure out a backing, do a bit of quilting to anchor everything and figure out a plan for hanging it. Considering using few hanging loops for a different look, or maybe put a rod pocket on the back. Not quite sure if I am giving it away or keeping it, but it is fun to make! I’m calling it the “reminder” banner.

Do you ever just see a project you jump into making? The only yardage used on this one is the 1/2 yard for the background. All the other pieces came out of my drawers of scraps. What the heck, I needed another project!!

Coming up this weekend is another Wings and Wheels airplane/car show. This time, the show is in our own community. My hubby has been waxing and polishing his shiny truck to enter in the car show, and I was asked again to help with the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation booth. We will be up bright and early for that, but no airplane ride for me this time. They asked me to consider to consider becoming a long term volunteer. They are such nice people and I had lots of fun when I flew in Panchito to the show in Hagerstown Maryland earlier in the month. I’ll be interested in seeing what their schedule is for next year and how it fits around my cruise schedule. I know this year they still have 2 other fall shows to do, and my cruise schedule conflicts. But, I am available on Saturday and was already planning to be at the airfield. This show is familiar to me as we have gone several times. Watch for some pictures (from the ground) next week!

Any fall festivals or community events in your area this weekend? Happy October!

Autumn Jubilee 2021 has begun

My all time favorite blogger, Carole Carter, has done Autumn Jubilee for at least six years. I told her recently that when she announces Autumn Jubilee, I feel like It’s the most WONDERFUL time of the year! Her blog, From My Carolina Home is so much fun to read. Beyond quilting, she is an avid gardener and cook, and enjoys several other types of crafts. And of course, she is a wonderful writer, and an avid reader, with book reviews monthly. She writes for a national blog, and she has had patterns published on some of my favorite shop websites. There is so much more to tell you, but I think you might have more fun exploring her blog on your own.

I want to encourage you to participate in Autumn Jubilee 2021. She has a wide range of projects planned and I am certain you will find something you enjoy. There is a button on the side of my blog near the bottom to link back to her blog as well.

Even more exciting for me, Carole is coming next Monday to Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes, Delaware to do a program and teach a class! It will be so nice to finally meet her in person after so many years of following her blog, and working on her mystery quilts and Autumn Jubilee projects. Since she is driving up from North Carolina, and has limited space to bring things, several of us are sharing “our versions” of her projects during the guild meeting. It was fun pulling them out, and making sure we had a good variety to bring for next Monday. (Now, many of you know that my Scrap Dance series are “just tops” and still need quilted…)

If you read today’s post on Carole’s page, you will see she gave cutting instructions for her Autumn Jubilee 2021 quilt along, which is table topper size. Time for me to go get into my Autumn Jubilee bin of fabrics that I save for these projects every year!

Here are a couple of projects I have done over the years with Carole’s Autumn Jubilee patterns –

Autumn Jubilee Tablescape
First Autumn Jubilee runner
20170121_151026
4 finished Autumn Jubilee 2016 placemats
IMG_20201020_172120283
IMG_20210429_183519136_HDR

Edit – I forgot to ask – What is your favorite time of the year?

#AutumnJubilee2021

B25 Mitchell – the Panchito experience

Incredible experience with the Georgetown Aviation Museum volunteers and flying on the B25 Mitchell aircraft they maintain, named PANCHITO. For all the official details, check out their terrific website – https://www.delawareaviationmuseum.org/aircraft/b-25.html

The original Panchito according to the above website – ” The B-25J, serial number 43-28147, was assigned to Captain Don Seiler of the 396th Bomb Squadron.  Capt. Seiler named his new plane “Panchito” after the feisty Mexican rooster from the 1943 animated musical “The Three Caballeros”.

Below are just a few pictures outside & inside the aircraft.

Below is some fun “flight information” about our flight from Georgetown, Delaware (GED) to Hagerstown Maryland (HGR) . Our “show time” was 0600 on Saturday morning, Sept 11, 2021. We helped with moving the B-25 out of the hanger, acting as spotters, and putting the other planes that are stored in front of it back into the hanger. My hubby went along and assisted too, but he didn’t go on the flight. By 7 am we were onboard and getting ready for take off.

Stats from FLIGHTAWARE.COM – 50 minute flight GED-HGR 7:06-7:56 , 151 miles, max altitude 5900

Once we landed, we got straight to work! We unloaded all the “gear” for the day from the aircraft. (Thankfully that stuff was loaded on Friday). There were 2 tables, 2 coolers, multiple bins of “retail sales items” and chairs, 2 EZ-UP tents, and lots of aircraft maintenance gear. We had just under an hour to get the tents set up and be ready to deal with passengers booked for the first flights of the day.

My main job was to check in the passengers and get the forms all signed, and to sell merchandise to people at the show. My friend Pete did the safety briefings and took them to the aircraft, and between flights he also worked at the tent selling things.

The B25 flights were scheduled, and sold in advance of the show, 6 passengers per flight. There were a total of 5 flights in Hagerstown.

After the passengers went out to the B25 for the last flight, we started packing up the “briefing tent”. Once it was airborne, we started packing up as much as we could, so when it landed, we could be ready for loading. One of the volunteers came from Pennsylvania, and had a pick up, so it made for much easier transport back over to the aircraft. We got a good workout handing up the equipment to one of the crew members once they landed and the passengers were all off the aircraft.

We were scheduled to “block out” of the spot at 4:45 and needed to be back over the DelMarVa Pennisula by 6 pm.

We got a nice tailwind flying back, and had to spend some extra time with low level flights while we waiting on our designated time for 3 fly-overs. We had to be over Mardela Springs at 6 pm, and Georgetown at 6:15 pm, then one more flyover on the south side of the Indian River Inlet.

STATS FROM FLIGHT AWARE – 1hr 31 minutes home with 3 fly overs HGR – GED dept 4:52 landing 6:23pm, max altitude 7240

My husband was “on the ground” at the 20th anniversary of 9/11 program in Georgetown, and he was monitoring our path on FlightAware.com . While we were “getting close” I was able to send him a text message and tell him our “actual” ETA, which he shared with the MC. He knew we had these other fly-by’s, but wondered what we were doing looping around. 3 of the “loops” in the above picture were of fly-by’s, and the rest we were just “killing time and looking at the countryside”.

To see our return flight on Flight Aware .com, click link below and then hit the REPLAY button at the bottom- https://flightaware.com/live/flight/map/N9079Z/history/20210911/2115Z/KHGR/KGED

All of my photos and videos are in an album you can see in my Panchito Flight Experience album here – https://photos.app.goo.gl/N8D3dsjn3anonSA16

I would like to say, this was an incredible flight adventure for me. I think my last flight on board a military aircraft was in 1979, on board a C-141, flying from Incirlik Air Base Turkey to Athens AB, Greece. I was a “very new” Staff Sergeant at the time. In all the years between then and now, I worked at military bases, and spent 26 of those years at Dover AFB, and never got another military aircraft flight again. I spent a lot of time on the ground on the various planes, from KC-135, KC-10, C141, C130, C17 and C5, along with DC8, DC10, 747, and an Anotov 124, along with many planes belonging to our international partners. It was an incredible way to honor the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, and makes me think about all the military people I have known since then, that have done their duty for this great country.

I would like to thank my friend Pete, who asked me to help for the day, and the incredible people from the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation who maintain and operate the B-25 Mitchell Panchito. The pilots, Sabrina and Calvin do so much more than just “fly”. Sabrina was there on Friday, working on reinstalling panels on the aircraft until after 8 pm. Calvin did all the arrangements for the bookings for the flights, loading the gear for the outbound flight, taking lunch orders and even towing the aircraft out of the hanger. A very young crew member was Connor, and he was handling every odd job sent his way, including assisting with fueling. On the ground in Hagerstown I got to meet Bill, aka The Janitor. He was a secondary crew member handling passengers in the back of the aircraft.

If you have an interest in flying on this WWII era aircraft, look at the events tab on the museum website – https://www.delawareaviationmuseum.org/events.html and pre-book and pre-pay. The “money shot seat” is the jump seat. It takes a good bit of effort to climb on board and maneuver into any of those seats. (My quads are telling me that today!!) The next event locally is at the Wings and Wheels Air Show, October 2, Delaware Coastal Airport in Georgetown Delaware. If you want to fly in this aircraft, I recommend you get yourself booked in advance! I usually go to this event with my hubby, as he likes to take his truck and show it at the “car show”. This year, you may find me at the B-25 tent or out and about the area. I often run into friends showing their vehicle or looking at some of the other great aircraft on display. Over the years I have shared photo’s, and the last time I went, my grandchildren really got to enjoy the planes, the cars, and of course, all the variety of vendors.

I hope you enjoy looking at the photos in the album, and in those videos, appreciate the “sound” of freedom that military aircraft make.

Have you ever done an “experience” flight such as this? Do tell….love your comments!

UPDATE — I’ve been advised that the “stats” in FLIGHT AWARE are not always “spot on”, so take what you see on that website with a “grain of salt”. The pilot informed me “ FlightAware’s altitude reporting is not accurate. We have proved that with flights we know and recorded our actual altitude against what FlightAware shows.” Our minimum altitude was above 1000 feet during the flyby’s.

Volunteer for the day and a ride

I was asked by a good friend if I could help out on Saturday, at the Hagerstown MD Wings and Wheels event. It is a bit of a drive from home ( over 3 hours ), and my friend advised, no problem….transportation provided. Great!! I just have to buzz over to the local airport 5 minutes from home, and hop on board Panchito, a B-25 Mitchell bomber for the flight from Delaware to Hagerstown.

My “volunteer job” for the day, once we arrive at Hagerstown, will be giving safety briefings to folks who have pre-registered and paid for their own 45 minute “flight experience”. There is also “merchandise” to sell, and I will help staff the table for that activity. Once the airshow is over, we will “load the gear we brought” back up, and fly home to Delaware, doing a “fly by” in Georgetown of a 9-11 event about 6 pm.

This is a World War II aircraft that is maintained at the Delaware Aviation Museum – (https://www.delawareaviationmuseum.org/aircraft/b-25.html )

I am excited to have something very different to look forward to and will try to take some decent photo’s while the day progresses. The photo above was taken at the NY Air show in 2021.

Small Town Charm project completed

NOTE — Edited to share the “last” photo.

I wanted to share my completed Small Town Charm project with you. The blocks I have shared in previous posts have been incorporated into a tote bag for my friend June. The bag was made with short straps to go over her walker handles, and buttons to hold them in place. It also has ties on the side to keep the bag from swinging while the walker is in ‘motion’.

Before I made this project I took a look at her existing bag and measured it.

Those measurements were important as I created the new bag, since I didn’t have a walker handy to test the fit.

I had fun figuring out which fabrics I wanted to use for the bag, making my choices from that one box of fabric I had dumped out and sorted. I really wanted to make the bag for June using her OWN fabric. My hope is the fabrics will be ones she remembers having. While they don’t have the same elegance as the beautiful blues and golds in the bag picture above, they do remind me of things she likes. And, when I agreed to make the new bag, June didn’t make any color requests. Well…you know that I like things scrappy!

sorting options
Trying out possibilities

I played around with lots of color combinations, and thought about how I wanted to “construct” the bag. Once the decisions were made, the extra bits of fabric came down off the wall, and the construction was pretty simple.

After the front and back of the bag was made, I layered it with Pellon 973F (Fusible Fleece) and did some quilting. I made the straps, and put the bag together.

SMT Tote bag
Waiting for lining

Once the outside of the bag was made, I chose one of those pretty pink fabrics and made the lining. I added pockets for both sides of the lining. I used the fusible fleece in the pockets too, so it has some body.

Construction is similar to lining any tote bag. Once your lining is ready, you slide the main bag inside the lining, with pretty sides (right sides touching). You have to make sure you leave an opening for turning. My opening was on the side, just above the edge of the pockets.

STC Lining
Right sides together

Those little clips are great for holding the edges of the bag together and keeping everything lined up during the sewing process. You can see the stitching of the pockets on the back side of that lining in the photo above.

Below, is the inside of the bag showing the pockets.

INSIDE STC lots of pockets

Once the bag was pulled through the opening and turned “right side out, a quick press along that top seam, and of the lining before top stitching around the upper edges. I use my clips then as well to make sure there is no shifting.

Button holes in the straps for two closing positions, and some bright shiny buttons on the Flower Shop side of the bag.

STC Tote bag
Small town charm bag

The blue bag she had previously had a bit of velcro tab to keep the bag closed. I added a 3″ strip of velcro near the top edge of the new bag, skipping the tab. I also added two pockets on the sides of the bag, where she can keep a packet of tissues if she likes. The ties for the walker on the bottom are made from June’s stash of bias tape binding.

The bag has a “scrappy quilter” look to it I think. My husband, who knows her so well, thinks she is going to “LOVE” the new bag. I had fun making the Small Town Charm embroidery blocks, and building a bag that will be functional for her. I’m glad I have had a little experience making bags in the past few years, or I would never have tackled this without a specific pattern in hand.

If I was making this into a tote / purse for myself, I would not have used the dimensional awning on the flower shop, but I knew the bag would be stationary once attached to the walker, and I think the flower shop will face out, so it won’t get mashed during use. For myself, I would use a magnetic closure, and put a couple of key ring loops inside the bag to have a spot for hooking my car keys. (Hate hunting in the bottom of a bag for keys!) Because of where / how June lives, she really doesn’t use keys.

Do you enjoy bag making? Any tips? Do you have a favorite pattern that you make frequently?

EDIT — bag delivered and installed!

Tote bag installed

#DimeSewAlong

Flower Shop Small Town Charm block

I worked on the Small Town Charm -Flower Shop block on Sunday and Monday. When I set it up in my embroidery machine, it gives me the stitching details. I did remember to watch the you tube videos before I started. I have to tell you that I set the you tube speed setting at 2x to buzz through the very chatty video. These blocks are stitched out on my Janome 11000 machine. They are free downloads from Designs in Machine embroidery. I’ll put links for the block and the video at the end of the post.

Flower Shop details
Flower Shop details

The Flower Shop block has 28 color changes, the stitching time is 75 minutes, and there are 29610 stitches in the project for the 5×7 size project. I stitched it my 8×8 hoop.

What you “don’t see” on the screen, and what has to be done while the project block is ready to begin is all the preparation for the machine applique. Fabric choices must be made, and the fabric needs to have some wonder under applied to the back for the applique. The wonder under/heat n bond lite help with the trimming.

Oh, and those thread choices…..I probably added 4 or 5 extra in as I went along. My big ironing station is to the left of my embroidery machine and I use it as a staging point for the threads. Usually I have my thread lined up on an old calendar page for color change order, but not with these blocks. I did a run thru with the color sheet, and on the machine I paged thru the various colors, but what I really did was zoom in closely on the pattern on my computer and make some color plans.

Embroidery chaos
Thread and bobbins, applique fabric fill the ironing station.

I have a basket on the ironing station with the prepared fabrics and leave my self a corner to press if I need to use the iron. And bobbins….I often wind a bobbin with a similar thread if there is a lot of heavy stitching. This precludes any chance of a bit of white bobbin thread showing. I use children’s pony tail holders to contain the loose tails of my threads.

The previous block was made using a bit from my stash, and I thought I would chose my background fabric for the next block out of a box of my friend June’s “stash”. (You might remember that I packed up her sewing room 3 or 4 years ago when she moved to assisted living, and I am still going through those boxes organizing.) The applique pieces come straight out of my scrap drawers.

I decided to just “dump out” the box with the reds, pinks and blues on my big table to select fabric. It was labeled SORT and had the colors on the end of the box, so I am actually doing double duty. No wonder it takes me so long!

Sorting out June's fabric
Upending the box of pinks and reds to sort

I thought she might enjoy seeing some of her own fabric in her bag. Of course, just dumping it on the table made a mess, and I am gradually measuring and refolding and sorting it all. In the process of the sorting I have plucked out several more pieces I think will work for the bag I am going to make. No doubt I will be digging for turquoise and purple soon.

pressed and folded
Ironed and neatly folded

The fabrics got restored to their box after doing some pressing and folding. I found some great fat quarters, and other fabrics that might get introduced into this bag. There was way to much 1980’s dusty rose or mauve for my taste in this box! You will see the choices I made later, as I am still ruminating on them.

It’s pretty exciting to see the machine counting down and to know I am nearing the end with no troubles during the stitching. 3 minutes to finish the 29,610 stitches! And that spool in the bottom left corner tells me I am on color #27 out of 28. PHEW…….

Almost finished
3 minutes left!

There is a second hooping for the block on the left to be done, and it is for the awning. I was able to actually stitch out TWO awnings in one hooping. They stitch out quickly, but are quite fiddly to turn. I ran the stitching for the awning twice, and had trouble during the turning, so stitched it again on my sewing machine.

Below are the two blocks side by side, and I still have to put the awning on the one on the left.

Two blocks from Small Town Charm
Two blocks nearly finished

I spent nearly an hour turning the awning and getting the little scallops to pop out. They were challenging and tiny. I used a pair of forceps to poke around and hold and help me turn. My tweezers were too pointy and ended up poking a hole and I had to re-stitch that bit.

I decided to make the awning dimensional, but tack it down snuggly as it will get a lot of handling on a bag. I think it turned out well.

Flower shop block
Finished Flower Shop block with awning

I thought I would share a couple of comments on how I did this block. I hoop my stabilizer, and then put a piece of batting on top and run a basting outline stitch over it to tack it down. Then I floated my pink background fabric and ran another basting stitch to tack it down. After that is done, I start the design, and the first step is a placement line for the building background. I didn’t want the pink to show through, so I added another bit of batting on top of the pink, in the same space where the building will go. Then I place the building (yellow fabric) over the placement line. I use a piece much bigger than the outline, and run the tack down line again, and then trim and do the rest of the stitching. The extra layer of batting gave those stitched in bricks extra dimension. Plus, it really helped with all the heavy stitching on this block without adding more stabilizer. (This digitizer did not give a placement line and a tack down line for several parts, so, it was a bit of a challenge.)

Another choice I made was to add a little “fabric in the window” of the door. I fussy cut that pink floral from an absolutely hideous print I found in June’s box!

Hideous or not
I980’s floral & check……hideous…..but worked for fussy cutting!

And, as I mentioned I added extra colors in my thread choices. I used some variegated threads for the blossoms and stopped the machine to change the green threads for the various leaves of the plants and for the various baskets. To give the blocks some “continuity” I used the same plaid fabric for the sidewalk on both blocks, and the same yellow “building” fabric on both blocks.

Whenever I am working with these applique type blocks, there is a lot of stopping, taking the hoop off the machine (project remains hooped) and trimming along tack-down lines etc. Depending on how well the digitizer did the stitch selection for tack-down, there is a chance for error or pulling. On both blocks in this collection, the tack-down only ran one series of stitches. The other thing I noticed is with the satin stitching and how narrow the unlay zig zag stitching was. I have experience with other digitizers (Sweet Pea designs for one) who do a much better job with this step. So, fair warning, when you run the tackdown on this design, run the step a second time. I ended up with my “sidewalk” pulling in one corner. Now, that could be because the zigzag underlayment wasn’t wide enough for the satin stitching or my fabric gave way due to the open weave of the fabric. The wonder-under / heat n bond light should have prevented the fabric pulling .

fabric pulling away

I knew that I had to fix that little pull once I took the project out of the hoop. I loaded the same silver thread into my sewing machine and did a tiny zigzag all along the edge of the sidewalk along the satin stitching. Yes, if you zoom in on the picture with the awning you can see it, but it saved the block. Not show worthy, for certain, but it will keep the bit from coming loose on a finished bag. I did a similar repair on the Ice Cream Scoops block. Hey, stuff happens, but it helps to have a way to fix it and carry on. My husband spent a few minutes looking closely and couldn’t find the fix. I am pointing it out to use as a lesson on how I “recover and carry on” with a block. Too many hours to get frustrated and be dissatisfied, when fixing it is possible.

The table in the sewing room is cleaned up again, and the thread back on the wall racks. The blocks are on the design wall with some fabrics that I am considering. The bag pattern is still being considered as well. A rainy day, perfect for sewing is ahead.

By the way, did you see the post – it note on the very first picture? I think the last time I changed my needle in that machine was July 3rd, and I’ve done a project or two since then. The post it note helps me remember when that was, and since it is the 1st of September, perhaps it is time to clean the machine and change the needle! How often do you change your embroidery machine needle? Curious…….Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Links to the You Tube video sew along for the flower shop – https://youtu.be/dJN7665_d4I

Link to the pattern – https://www.shop.dzgns.com/collections/designs-projects/products/april-small-town-charm-project?variant=39278270742597

#DIMESewAlong