Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Betsy Travel Bag Blog Hop



The long-awaited Betsy Travel Bag is finally here!  You can buy your presale copy TODAY!  I can't even begin to tell you how exciting this is for me.  This bag is about 8 or 9 months in the making and it really does feel like I'm having a baby!  What will all of your Betsy's look like?  How will people like the pattern?  What if no one likes it?  Will it get along with everyone's sewing abilities?  I'm so nervous and excited and downright giddy!

{the original Betsy Travel Bag, made by me for Elizabeth Dackson/Don't Call Me Betsy}

Do you remember how this bag came to be?  If not, click here for the full story (and here for the details not covered in the story).  Check out Elizabeth's post on her bag, the original bag, here.

Since that fateful day (hardy har), I have made three other BTB's and have at least five more in the works.  One is a two bag order, and I'm not entirely sure I can reveal the details of that one just yet, but I will tell you this: these two bags are going to be insanely spectacular, out of this world.  This person is a very popular fabric designer and you are going to LOVE the line I'll be using for them!

{Betsy Travel Bag number two, my own personal bag}

For my bag, I used one of my all-time favorite fabrics by Echino.  I dream of living in England someday, so anything that has the Union Jack, London, Double Busses etc on it has me written all over it.  This is the bag on the pattern cover.  OMG I SAID PATTERN COVER!  Seriously, I am so excited about this pattern, can you tell??

{finished measurements are 20" wide x 12.5" high x 6.5" wide}

{the inside of the bag, nice and roomy with two pockets and a key fob that is sorta camouflaged by the lining}

The third bag was a very special bag.  I got to make it for one of my very best friend's out of her first fabric line.  She's a little bit rock 'n roll (don't tell her I said that because she's really just as goofy and dorky as me, SH!) so I decided to add some metal studs and use all gold hardware.

{the dynamic duo!  Katy and Me at QuiltCon 2015}
{Betsy Travel Bag number three for Katy Jones/I'm A Ginger Monkey}

{those studs gave it an edgy flair}

{Betsy, as seen in Katy's Priory Square/Art Gallery Fabrics booth at Fall Quilt Market 2014}

The fourth bag isn't quite finished yet, although it's almost there.  I only need to finish the binding and the lucky recipient will soon have it in her crazy talented hands!  I'm really loving how this one is turning out, and I know she's excited about it, too.  

I love that you can use big or unusual prints (hello Kokka, Tula Pink, Echino!) with this bag.  It has tons of pockets, lots of space, an easy space for stuffing and then accessing your book, wallet, airplane tickets etc.  You don't have to set your bag down every time you need to get into it, you just unhook a zipper binding and reach in.  Easy peasy. 

I purposely designed this bag to be floppy and squishable instead of stiff.  I didn't need it to stand up on it's own.  I DID need it to be easily stuffed under the seat in front of me on an airplane, or squashed into the last available space in the trunk of my car on a long road trip.  I wanted it to open up wide so it was easy to pack and unpack.  I also needed to make sure there was an inside zippered pocket to store my laptop, magazines, flip flops or even my dirty laundry.

{bonus key fob (in blue) so you won't lose your house keys while you're out of town!}

Most of all, I wanted this pattern to be easy enough for a confident beginner or an intermediate level sewist to be able to accomplish.  If you can sew a straight line, you can make this bag.  Even if your lines are a little bit wavy, don't worry about it!  The big prints will hide that!  (I've tried to think of it all, haha!) Even if you're not sure you can sew this bag confidently, don't worry too much about it.  We are hosting a Betsy Travel Bag sew-along on Rebel Craft Media's blog starting April 2.  There will be tons of participants (oh geez, I mean I hope there will be!) lots of helpful hints and inspirational pictures to browse and we'll be giving away two copies of the pattern! Use the hashtag "#thebetsytravelbag" on Instagram to play along.

You can purchase the presale pattern starting March 17, 2015 by clicking here. Presale purchasers will receive the supplies list which will give you two weeks to gather your hardware, fabrics, notions etc.  Speaking of hardware, we've made that pretty easy for you.  Claudia, of Snuggly Monkey, has put together a Betsy Bag Hardware Kit just for you. Click here to view/order one.

We have a pretty spectacular blog hop lined up for you.  You'll get to see Betsy through the eyes of the makers, pattern testers, owners and supporters! 

Happy Reading, Sewing, Supplies Gathering etc!

The Betsy Travel Bag Blog Hop Tour

March 17
Day One:
*Rebel Craft Media*

*schnitzel & boo*

*Snuggly Monkey*

March 19
Day Two:
*Daisy & Jack*

March 21
Day Three:
*I'm A Ginger Monkey*

March 23
Day Four:
*Stitchy Quilt Stuff*

March 25
Day Five:
*Libby Dibby*

March 27
Day Six:
*Euphoria Jessica*

March 29
Day Seven:
*Karri of Berries*

March 31
Day Eight:
*Rebel Craft Media*
(photo round up)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Review: BurdaStyle modern sewing Wardrobe Essentials

Congrats to "PurduePam" for being drawn as the winner! Send me an email with your address so I can ship your book. Schnitzelboo@yahoo.com

need to draw a name for the book still, I have had some unexpected things happen and I just haven't had the time to do it.  Hang tight!  I thin I'm doing it tomorrow.  Thank you for your patience!

If you are a seamstress, you probably know about Burda, makers of sewing patterns for the non-conformist, host of an amazing online sewing community, producers of a gorgeous magazine, and recently...books! Let's take a look at the newest one, shall we?

{BurdaStyle Modern Sewing: Wardrobe Essentials (Interweave/F+W; $29.99; On sale now!)}

The thing I LOVE about Burda is that their sewing patterns are designed for what's on trend today and they're always up-to-date. You're not going to flip through this book and see yet another "same ol' same ol', I've seen this a thousand times" kind of sewing pattern. Even the fabrics they use are different. I love that. I LOVE finding an unique brand out there. 

Inside this book, you'll find several beautiful projects from skirts to dresses:

{I can't wait for summer! Look at those!}


{I want pants that make my legs look this long!}


{and another cute skirt to go with it!}

Wardrobe Essentials is full of helpful hints and tips so you can get the fit just right. 

They've even got three sizing charts for regular, petite and tall sizes. They really are trying to help you create a beautiful custom, properly fitted wardrobe.

All of the patterns are printed on a nice, heavy-weight paper (way better than tissue paper patterns, and so much easier to fold and put back!) and have their own little envelope in the back of the book. Organization is the key to a successful project, right?

If I had my serger here (and not in my storage unit in Seattle, sigh!) I would totally hog this book all to my selfish self. But, my sob story is your gain and I'm going to give this copy away! If you'd like to win, simply leave a comment here, telling me what one garment sewing skill you'd let to learn or enhance. Bonus entry if you follow my blog via Bloglovin' (clickable sidebar ad on the right). Just let me know, in your comment, that you've followed. 

I will do a good, old-fashioned drawing on March 12. Winner to be announced right here so stay tuned!

Happy reading!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tutorial: This Way That Way Quilt {a half rectangle triangle pattern}

Good afternoon from Austin, Texas! It's only fitting that here at QuiltCon writing this tutorial, isn't it? 

Last week, I made this quilt top from an Oakshott 10" square pack of colors 31-57 and 2 1/2 yards of background fabric, color number 32 Amalfi ) which has a grey warp and a white weft.) I LOVE shot cottons, they have such a nice weight and feel to them, almost like linen but with crisp softness that doesn't wrinkle quite as much. They also have a really lovely vibrant, subtle color shift in them. This is because they're woven one direction (warp) in one color and the other direction (weft) in a second color. The result is a fabric that blends beautifully with other fabrics in a way that an ordinary solid fabric wouldn't. 

As you can see in the above photo, I was given plenty to work with. I wanted to create a quilt that was not only a challenge for me, but also something that would showcase just how incredibly colorful and gorgeous this fabric is.

I didn't really have a plan, I almost never do when it comes to my quilts. Instead, I laid the fabrics out on my design wall and let them speak to me. 

I loved how each color complimented the others, so I knew I needed to keep the quilt simple. I also wanted to use every last bit of fabric that I was given. So, I decided to try something new, and I set about figuring out how to make a half rectangle triangle (HRT). I've done plenty of half square triangles, but this was new territory. I'm actually kind of shocked that I got it right on the first try! 

Are you ready to try something new? Ok then, let's jump in head-first!

What you will need:
27 precut 10" squares
2 1/2 yards 54" background fabric
Fabric pen
Acrylic Grid ruler
Rotary cutter/mat
Iron/ironing board
Sewing machine etc

Start by pressing each 10" square, then cutting them in half to create 54 5" x 10" rectangles.

From the pressed background fabric, cut 5" strips, then subcut into 10" pieces. 

On the wrong side of the background fabric, align your grid ruler with the upper left corner to the bottom right corner and draw a line.

With right sides together, match the corners of the background rectangle with the opposite corners of the solid. (Technically, it's the same corners, but because they're laid out right sides together, it'll look like the opposite corners.)

Sew 1/4" away from the line on both sides.

Using a rotary cutter, cut on the drawn line to separate.

Press the HRT's open, with the seam facing the solid, or darker color.

Make sure that the diagonal line is always going from upper left to bottom right, until you get to the halfway mark. Switch corners for the second half so the HRT's face the other direction-hence the name "This Way That Way". 

I'm afraid I don't have any graphic design skills, so you'll have to use the following photo as a layout guide for your quilt top.

Keep in mind that there should be four HRT's of each color, but you can't see all of them on the top row because of the way it's draped against the wall.

I finished the quilt by stitching one long 5" strip on either side. You will probably have to piece the strips together. I used 5" x WOF (width of fold) and a 15" piece for each side, then trimmed after stitching.

I plan to finish this quilt when I get back home from QuiltCon. I think I'm going to do a whole lot of matchstick quilting to finish it off, won't that look amazing? 

I'll post a finished quilt photo once it's completed, so be on the look out for that! 

Happy quilting!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Recipe: Black Bean Soup

I have a yummy, new recipe for you! I made this last night and surprised myself at how good it was! Normally you think bland and kinda uneventful when you think about bean soup, right? But this? This was sorta zingy and zesty and comforting. It was so good, that my husband had seconds. SECONDS! He never does that with soup! In fact, he doesn't even finish the first serving because he doesn't like soup. (He says it isn't a meal, whatever!) I think you're really going to like it. 

Happy cooking!

Heart Black Bean Soup
(Makes 4 two cup servings)

1 lb bag of black beans, sorted, soaked and rinsed (see package for directions)
4 cups chicken broth (use veggie broth for a vegetarian version)
1 cup water
8 slices of bacon (optional)
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil (if not using bacon)
2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
Salt and pepper 

Sour cream
Diced avocado
Lime wedges
Crumbled bacon (optional for vegetarian)
Chopped cilantro

If you are using the bacon, cook it until crisp. Set on a paper towel to drain and cool, then chop. Do not discard the grease!

Place soaked beans in a stock pot, add chicken (or veggie) stock and water; cover with a lid and allow to simmer over low heat for about one hour, stirring occasionally.

Heat oil/bacon grease in a frying pan over medi high heat, add onions, poblano peppers and garlic; season with salt and pepper and sauté until soft and translucent, about 7-8 minutes. 

Once the vegetables are soft, stir in cumin and chili powder. Add this mixture to the beans. Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking the beans, uncovered, for another hour or so. The beans will become thick, so keep a close eye on them! Add more water or stock of you want them to be more soupy/less chunky; adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve with crumbled bacon, a sprinkling of cilantro, some avocado, a dollop of sour cream and a lime wedge. 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tutorial: Burlap and Fabric Christmas Stocking

{Treelicious by Maude Asbury
for Blend Fabrics}

What a fun collection by Maude Asbury! It's classic, yet funky and modern. Perfect for my family's Christmas stockings! As you know, our belongings are locked up safe in a storage unit clear across the country. Last Christmas we were at my husband's parents house for Christmas so things like a tree, ornaments, and Christmas stockings were not a concern. Not this year! This year we're at our own place without our decorations. What else could I do but make our stockings, right?

This is a tutorial for inexpensive, yet pretty, Christmas stockings. I'll even show you how to draw your own pattern so you don't have to rely on having a printer (with ink!) in order to get started. 

Ready? Gather your supplies. For three stockings I used:

1 yard burlap
3 different 1/2 yard pieces of quilting cotton
Pinking shears (optional)
Grid ruler, pencil, paper bag, round plate, paper scissors

First, cut the bottom off the bag and remove the handles, if any:

Flip the bag over and cut down the seam line, then fold bag in half with the printed side inside the fold:

My grid ruler is 18", so that's about how long I drew my line. This line represents the heel side of the stocking from top to heel:

Measure over about 8"-9" and draw a second line, parallel to the first and the same length. 

You can see in the photo below that I drew the heel and toe outside of these two lines. For the toe, it starts about 10" down, the heel about 9". The widest part of the toe (from straight line to curved line) is 3"; the heel is about 1/2" from straight line to curve. The point where the curved line starts to the bottom of the toe is about 7". I completely "eyeballed" it and just drew this part freehand. You can use a round edged plate to make the curve if you want. 

Next, cut the stocking pattern out. To make the cuff, measure down 5 1/2" and draw a line across the top of the stocking pattern at that point; draw a line 1/2" above and below this line to indicate where you should cut for the stocking and lining. The original line becomes the fold which is also the seam of the cuff/lining. (See below, the second photo down...)

Trace the foot portion of the stocking pattern onto an empty piece of the bag. Draw the curved lines for the heel and toe; be sure to label them "bottom of toe, stocking inside line, stocking outside etc" I didn't do that and I wished I had. It was a little confusing to match it all up because my curved edges were so similar.

Cut the heel and toe patterns out, and draw the rectangle cuff pattern piece: 5 1/2"xthe width of your stocking top:
{for burlap, fold the pattern on the fold line to trace. For the lining, fold it on the stocking lining line.}

Now you're ready to trace your pattern pieces onto the burlap and quilting cotton, aka "lining".

From Burlap:
Cut 2 stockings

From Lining Cut:
2 stockings
2 heels
2 toes
2 cuffs

Lay the wrong side of the toe and heel pieces to the right side of the burlap

matching raw edges; pin in place and stitch using a 1/8" seam allowance. (These pieces purposely have raw edges and are not turned under.)

Place burlap stocking halves right sides together; stitch using a 1/2" seam allowance.

Clip curves or use pinking shears. I only clipped the foot part of the stocking:

Turn burlap stocking right side out; press.
{the two on the left were pressed; you can see why I suggest pressing at this stage, right?}

With right sides together, place one cuff piece to the top of one stocking piece. Make sure if the fabric you are using is directional, that it will be facing the correct way when folded down.
Repeat this process for both stocking/cuff pieces; press cuff seam towards top of stocking. Press edge of cuff under 1/2".

Lay the stockings right sides together, matching curves and cuff seams; stitch using 1/2" seam allowance. Clip corners it use pinking shears on the foot area.

Insert the lining into the burlap stocking

Fold cuff over raw edge of the burlap; pin in place. Using your machines free arm, carefully topstitch around the cuff using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Press the topstitched seam and you are done!

I hope my instructions were clear. I made these about 2 weeks ago so I'm working from memory. If you have any questions, please submit them via the "contact me" page and I will answer them as soon as possible.

Happy sewing!