Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Today I'm...

Fall Pumpkins Table Runner by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

...loving pumpkins.

...playing with flannel.

...jumping on the homemade granola bars bandwagon. If you'd like to jump with me, this recipe is a pretty fabulous place to start...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Malibu Satchel Tutorial

Malibu Satchel Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I made my first version of this little satchel over a month ago, and though I normally write a tutorial while I'm making a project, in this case, I'm glad it didn't work out that way. Living with this bag for a month gave me a chance to find both the strengths and weaknesses in the design so that I could make some necessary adjustments. I added an interior pocket since I was tired of having to fish around for my cell phone in the first version. I also added more interfacing to the lining and the flap, giving the bag a lot more stability. There were a few other minor changes, and they all make this satchel much better than the original. At 9 x 10 x 3", this bag is just the right size -- big enough to hold all my stuff without making me feel like I have a suitcase strapped to my side. I also love having both a removable cross body strap and a small top handle to choose from when I'm on the go. I've already carried my new satchel around with me for a week, and yeah, I really love it. I've decided to call this one the Malibu Satchel, since it has the carefree vibe of that lovely beach community.

For this version I used Robert Kaufman's Railroad Denim with a medium stripe in Indigo as my main print. The heavy fabric makes a good exterior, and the width of the stripes is spot on. Sarah Watts' gorgeous Monarch lion print makes an incredible lining and flap accent, kind of like having a classic children's book illustration on your purse. I used Netorious in Roadster from the Cotton + Steel basics for the inside pocket and an off-white cotton webbing for the straps. My hardware accents are from Joann Fabrics, and this time I went with an antique brass finish which nicely complements the denim. I ended up using circle rings for the side loops, but you can substitute d-rings or rectangular rings if you like. The thread is Aurifil #2220, a light salmon color which is a perfect match for the lining and a fun contrast to the exterior. And yes, it all coordinates perfectly with my Tsuru Have-It-All Wallet!

1/2 yard of denim for bag exterior
1/2 yard of lion print for bag lining and flap accent
1/4 yard of salmon net print for interior pocket
1/2 yard of batting for interfacing
2 yards of off white cotton webbing, 1" wide
2 d-rings, circle rings, or rectangular rings for the side loops
2 lobster clasps for the cross body strap, 1" wide
1 magnetic closure for the flap
coordinating thread
adhesive basting spray

(2) 10 x 13" rectangles from denim for main body exterior
(2) 10 x 13" rectangles from lion print for main body lining
(4) 10 x 13" rectangles from batting for main body interfacing (exterior and lining)
(1) 7 x 10" rectangle from salmon net print for pocket
(1) 5 x 7" rectangle from batting for pocket interfacing
(1) 7 x 10" rectangle from denim for exterior flap
(1) 2 1/2 x 10" rectangle from lion print for exterior flap accent
(1) 9 x 10" rectangle from lion print for flap lining
(2) 9 x 10" rectangle from batting for flap interfacing
(1) 1 x 11"cotton webbing for top handle
(2) 1 x 3" cotton webbing for side loops
(1) 1 x 50" cotton webbing for cross body strap (adjust this as needed for your height -- I'm almost 5'11" tall!)

1. Fuse the 10 x 13" batting pieces to the wrong side of the main body exterior and lining pieces using the adhesive basting spray. Cut a 1 1/2" square out of the two lower corners of each piece (see photo).

2. Fuse the 5x 7" piece of batting to half of the pocket piece on the wrong side of the fabric.

Fold the fabric in half with right sides together and sew 1/4" from the edge around the folded piece, leaving a 4-5" gap on the long open side. Turn the piece right side out, tuck the raw edges into the gap, press, and sew 1/8" from the edge all around the piece.

Place the pocket on the right side of a main body lining piece, 2" from the top (13" long) edge and 3 1/4" from the (10" long) sides.

Sew twice (1/8" and 1/4" from the edge) along the sides and bottom of the pocket, backstitching at both ends and leaving the top open.

3. Insert half of the magnetic closure on the right side of the main body exterior, centered 4" from the top (13" long) edge.

4. Pin or clip the exterior pieces right sides together and sew along the sides and bottom, leaving the cut out squares open. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each side. Repeat with the lining pieces, but leave a 6" gap in the bottom of the lining for turning later on.

5. Box the lower corners of the exterior and lining. Pinch the open squares in the lower corners together so that the side seams meet. Sew 1/4" from the edge at least once -- I like to reinforce by doing it twice. Repeat for all three of the other open corners on the exterior and lining body pieces. Turn the exterior piece right side out.

6. Make the flap. Sew the exterior main flap and accent piece together along a 10" side (see photo). Fuse the batting to the wrong side of this piece. Top stitch 1/8" above and below the seam.

7. Fuse batting to the wrong side of the flap lining piece. Insert the other half of the magnetic closure centered about 1 1/2" from the top of the flap (look at this carefully if you're using directional fabric).

8. Use a round object like a cup as a guide to trim a curved section from the top corners of your flap lining and the bottom corners of your flap exterior (see photo). Place flap lining and flap exterior right sides together and sew 1/4" around the sides and bottom, leaving the top open and backstitching at both ends. Clip around the curves without cutting into the seam. 

Turn the flap right side out, pushing out the corners with a chopstick. Press and topstitch 1/8" from the edge around the sides and bottom of the flap.

9. Place the exterior side of the flap against the back side of the main body exterior (the side without the magnetic closure). Center it (it should be about 1 1/2" from the side seams) and line up the open raw edges of the flap with the top edge opening of the bag. Baste 1/4" from the raw edges to hold the flap in place.

10. Place the main body exterior inside the main body lining with right sides together. Be sure that the interior pocket is facing the flap lining where it's attached to the exterior main body. Clip or pin around the top edge, matching up the side seams first. Sew 1/2" from the edge.

11. Pull the bag right side out through the hole in the lining and give it a good pressing. Tuck the raw edges of the lining into the gap and stitch just along the edge to close it up, backstitching at both ends. Topstitch 1/8" from the edge of the bag opening all the way around, keeping the flap out of the way as you sew.

12. Make the top handle. Fold the short ends of the 1 x 11" handle piece under about 1" on each side.

Place the short folded end 1 1/2" from the side of the flap and 1 1/2" from the end of the flap that's sewn to the bag (see photo). Sew a 3/4" square with an X inside to hold it in place.

Repeat on the other side of the handle.

13. Make the side loops. Take a 1 x 3" piece of webbing and fold a short end under about 3/8". String your hardware of choice (d-ring, circle, or rectangle) onto the webbing. Fold the entire piece in half so the short ends meet, tucking one short end inside the 3/8" fold (see photo). Sew 1/8" from the 3/8" fold to hold this in place.

14. Place the side loop on one of the exterior side seams with the hardward pointed up toward the bag opening. Center the loop on the side seam about 3/4" from the opening. Sew 3 lines, 1/8" apart, from the lower short end of the loop, backstitching over each line once. Repeat on the other side of the bag with the other side loop.

15. Make the crossbody strap. Fold a short end of the long strap under 1/2". String on a lobster clasp and fold the short end under 1/2" one more time. Sew 1/2" from the end fold, backstitching at least twice over the line. Repeat on the other end of the strap with the other clasp. Attach the crossbody strap to the side loops, and you're done!

Malibu Satchel Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

If you make a Malibu Satchel of your own, please share! Tag it #malibusatchel on Instagram and be sure to tag me too @fabricmutt. I hope you enjoy using this little bag as much as I do!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Patchwork Happy Coaster by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Last night I was up late, tired from a long day and frustrated with my two younger daughters who simply would not fall asleep. Rather than sit upstairs and stew about it, I decided to head down to my sewing corner and make something happy. This little coaster was the result, and it definitely fits the bill for me. Sometimes I need to remember not to let circumstances dictate my emotions. Choosing joy can be such a powerful thing in our lives, and I'm often amazed at how changing my attitude can make things so much better!

The prints are a mix of favorites from my stash, all finishing at one inch square. I did a little embroidery on the front of this project, adding raindrops behind that cute little girl with her umbrella (by Alexander Henry, I believe) and underlining the message that jumped out at me when I laid eyes on this scrap of Alison Glass text print.

Patchwork Happy Coaster by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

The back of the coaster is one of Heather Ross's sweet bee prints. I also added a little twill tape loop on the side for fun.

You girls melted my heart with all your comments on my last post. I wish I had enough money and fabric to send you each a care package, and I admit, I couldn't resist adding a few more names to my list. Brenda, Jules, Fran, Marti, and Lynne have all received emails from me this afternoon. Please get your mailing addresses to me as soon as you can!

Have I mentioned that you all bless my socks off? I could sew by myself, but it would be awfully lonely without all of you to share it with me. Thanks for keeping me company!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Craft Book Month Blog Hop

Quilt Color Workshop Parquet Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

One of my favorite events of the year is the Craft Book Month Blog Hop hosted by Craft Buds. Now that I've gone through the process of writing a sewing book myself, I have a whole new level of respect for craft book authors. You're not just holding a book in your hands. Those pages represent..
  • almost two years spent dreaming, writing, sewing, photographing, editing, and rewriting
  • 2am bedtimes, 5am mornings, and gallons of caffeine laden beverages
  • endless sacrifices of family members who gave up time with the author to make that book possible
  • the author's heart, so full of hope that you will benefit from what he or she is sharing with you

It's easy for us to pick up a book, flip through the pages, and make a quick judgment of whether it's any good or not. I've been guilty of that myself. Now I look at the rows of colorful titles on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, and all I see is an ocean of blood, sweat, and tears. It makes me want to buy a copy of every new sewing book that comes out just to validate the work that I know went into it. As you can see by the stack above, which shows most of the books I've bought in the last year, I'm off to a good start. Meanwhile, I'm counting down the days until my book is released by Stash Books this coming March!

So let's get to the good stuff! For my book, I chose Quilt Color Workshop by the brilliant Fat Quarterly Team: Tacha Bruecher, Brioni Greenberg, Lynne Goldsworthy, and John Adams. This book is like a college course on sewing with color. After giving you an overview of the basics, the book is divided into six sections -- by color, of course -- each filled with quilt block designs and a variety of projects. I absolutely love that each quilt block is presented in six different colorways, illustrating the six color relationships described in the introduction.

It took me days to settle on just one project from this book, but I finally chose Tacha's Parquet Pillow. The original version above is done in a monotone colorway of green, white, and black. At first glance it looks like a simple cross design made more complicated, but all those thin strips of fabric sewn together give this pillow top an incredible sense of texture.

Quilt Color Workshop Parquet Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I chose to make my pillow slightly smaller (nine blocks instead of sixteen) and went with a color scheme of purple, green, and cream. The colors are a bit out of my comfort zone, but I absolutely love the way it turned out. Most of my prints were from the new Cotton and Steel Basics, including the tiny green accents between the blocks, with favorite designs from Waterfront Park and Architextures mixed in too. The creamy background fabrics are Quilter's Linen and a great Paris map print by 3 Sisters.

Quilt Color Workshop Parquet Pillow by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I used cream colored thread by Aurifil for all of the quilting. Since the blocks have more than enough movement in themselves with all that piecing, I restricted my quilting to the sashing and outer border of the pillow. 

The envelope backing features one of my all time favorite prints: Star Pods in green from Les Amis by Patty Sloniger. I decided to skip the binding around the edge of the pillow cover to keep things simple. I am absolutely thrilled with how this pillow turned out, and for the record, my husband insists that this is one of his favorite things I've made. He loves the limited color palette and simple design. Again, the texture of this piecing is fantastic. My girls love to run their fingers over the pillow top when they cuddle with it on the couch in the family room, and I admit, I do the same when no one's looking!

This book is packed full of gorgeous projects that I want to try. Right now I'm trying to decide between Brioni's stunning color wheel quilt on the book cover or Lynne's amazing Calm Before the Storm quilt shown above. Decisions, decisions...

Keep reading for all the details on the Craft Book Month Blog Hop -- prizes included!

2014 Craft Book Month Blog Hop!

Monday 9/1: Fabric MuttLindsay Sews
Tuesday 9/2: Rae Gun Ramblings / Craftside
Wednesday 9/3: The Feisty RedheadThe Fabric Studio
Thursday 9/4:  Marci Girl Designs / Small Town Stitcher
Friday 9/5: LRstitched / A Prairie Sunrise
Monday 9/8: Hopeful Threads / sewVery
Tuesday 9/9: 13 Spools / Lisa Liza Lou
Wednesday 9/10: Stitch This! / My Sewcial Hour
Thursday 9/11: The Littlest Thistle / Fabric Seeds
Friday 9/12: Sew Sweetness / Clover + Violet
Monday 9/15: Inspire Me Grey / amylouwho

Link Up

9/1-9/30: Link up your craft book project at Craft Buds from your blog, your Flickr or (NEW THIS YEAR) Instagram, and enter to win prizes. Please hashtag your posts #craftbookmonth so we can find them!
Note: Even if you share on instagram, please also come back and link the instagram URL in the linkup tool on Craft Buds to be eligible for prizes!
You may link up any project you’ve made from a pattern in a craft book. That easy! You’ll tell us a little about the book, the project, how you personalized it, etc. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, October, 1!


1) One entry per person. 
2) Your craft book project must have been completed in 2014. 
3) Create a new blog post, instagram or Flickr photo (dated September 1, 2014 or later) and link back to Craft Buds/Craft Book Month in your post or photo description. In your post or photo description, make sure to list the craft book you used and provide a link if possible.
4) All winners chosen via Some prizes available to international winners, so please join us!


Visit Craft Buds and link up your craft book project during the window of Sept 1-30 and you’ll automatically be entered to win some fantastic prizes from the Craft Book Month sponsors!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Care Package Giveaway

I have just finished reading Diane's brutally honest post on fabric addiction -- true fabric addiction -- and it has touched me deeply. It was not so long ago that I was starting out in the online quilting world and had little to no money in our budget for any fabric purchases, let alone designer prints. I remember when my blog audience was a grand total of three, and when I couldn't seem to get anyone to consider my ideas for tutorials and projects. Back then, I had three little girls under the age of five and could hardly scrape out the time to sew at all. It wasn't easy, but I kept trying to do all I could with what I slow step at a time.

Over the past few years I have been blessed by family members who joyfully sponsored my hobby, friends who sent me special gifts, and companies who generously allowed me to work with their fabric and notions. Opportunities have come my way -- some that appeared by surprise and others that I had to chase after -- that I never dreamed I would really get to experience. I don't take this lightly. Not everything has gone the way I planned, but I am so grateful for the lessons I've learned through this journey. I know that I've been blessed by others, and it's my deepest desire to be a blessing to all of you through this blog and everything connected with it.

Today, I'd like that blessing to come your way in the form of a care package. I'm putting together some special bundles this week to send out to three of my lovely readers. It won't be a huge package, but I promise, it will be a good one. Leave me a comment below telling me what you love: colors, designers, fabric collections, themes, solids vs. prints -- be specific! Also let me know in your comment where you live - your state if you're in the U.S. and your country if you're international. I'll be randomly selecting two U.S. readers and one international reader to win. The giveaway will be open through Tuesday at midnight. Be sure to include your email address in the comment if you're a no reply blogger so that I can get in touch with you. Please spread the word to any friends you may have, especially to those who you know could use a little pick-me-up right now.

I can't send each of you a care package, but please know that I'm sending all of you a hug. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Today I'm...

...writing a satchel tutorial.

...gathering a bag of scraps for a friend.

...waiting for fall. Impatiently.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

My sweet and talented friend Sarah of Berry Barn Designs was kind enough to ask me to be one of the next stops on the Around the World Blog Hop, a chance for artists of all kinds to talk about how they approach the creative process. Consider this your own free backstage pass to what goes on here at Fabric Mutt...

Look for the Craft Book Month Blog Hop and Quilter's Mixology Blog Hop, both coming in September!

What am I working on?

I've been a busy girl lately, trying to stay ahead of upcoming deadlines. At the moment I'm scheduled to be in four different blog hops next month, and that means a lot of sewing! Two of my projects come from the brilliant books you see above, both of which I highly recommend to you. I'm planning to write up a tutorial for my Tiger Tracks Satchel, and I have a few fun little projects on my "when I have time" list. I've also put in a bit of work on my book which is heading into the final editing stages this fall before it's released in the spring. I can hardly wait to share it with you!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I'm the queen of the quick finish! When I'm trying to juggle housework, homeschooling our three girls, sewing deadlines, family activities, and daily errands, there's nothing more valuable to me than a project that I can make in a day or two. When I can work on something a little more complex, it's always a treat, but I've learned to make peace with the reality of my time limits for now.

Inspiration is everywhere! Right now I'm loving the colors and graphic design elements in this row of old books that are sitting on the top shelf of my desk.

Why do I create what I do?

It's so interesting to look back on how my work has changed over the past few years. There are always going to be new patterns, designers, and color schemes that influence what I'm doing. I spend a good amount of time each month looking at design trends in a number of areas besides sewing -- fashion, graphic design, interior decorating -- and it's been a great learning process for me. I've seen my tastes swing back and forth between modern and traditional, landing somewhere in the middle. I've also really come to value simplicity in design.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- there's nothing more important than to make what you love. I think it's great to challenge yourself every now and again by trying something new, but it's a mistake to try to be something you aren't. The longer I sew, the more clearly I understand what I really love to make and the less likely I am to jump on a bandwagon that isn't for me. Of course, I can still appreciate the talent and thought that have gone into a project, even if it isn't something I would make myself. That's the beauty of this online creative community. Mostly I'm just incredibly grateful to have the chance to not only sew projects that make my heart sing, but to share them with people who care to hear about them. This blog has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

1. Patchwork Pouch, 2. Everyday Party Quilt, 3. Plain & Fancy Mini Quilt, 4. Katie Jump Rope Pillow, 5. Summer, 6. Nursery Versery Apron

How does my creative process work?

It depends on what I'm making. I've become really interested in how bags and other accessories are put together. I love to walk through the purse section of a department store and spend time looking at seams and taking photographs of interesting shapes. I'm sure the salespeople think I'm crazy, but I find it absolutely fascinating. I always get ideas for things I'd like to experiment with in bag patterns of my own.

I often sit down with graph paper and colored pencils to sketch out ideas before I start sewing, but sometimes I just throw all caution to the wind and start working without a definite plan in mind. I usually make notes when I'm creating a new pattern so that I can recreate the project if I want to write up a tutorial later on. Of course, once in a while -- say in the case of a certain previously mentioned satchel -- I get too excited and don't stop to write down measurements...

Heather Ross fabric is always a good idea...

When it comes to quilts, there are projects that I make to showcase fabric, and then there are fabrics I use because they let the pattern shine. I'm a stickler for getting things just right when it comes to design elements in any project I make. I'm not devastated if a pair of blocks don't match up perfectly or if my seams aren't pressed exactly right, but if I choose the wrong print for a quilt binding, it's going to haunt me every time I look at it. I probably spend more time on project design than on anything else, but I don't mind because it's definitely my favorite part of the process.

One of my current "little projects" in process -- a box bag featuring Denyse Schmidt's fantastic new Hadley collection

I hope you've enjoyed a little peek behind the curtain at how my creativity works. I've asked two of my oldest and dearest blogging friends to share with you next Monday. Beth is the amazing woman behind Plum and June, a blog which has done so much to promote and connect new sewing bloggers all over the world with her annual New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop. She always inspires me with her fearless sewing and her incredibly stunning photography (just look at this post to see what I mean). Becca writes a lovely, witty journal of her sewing adventures at Bryan House Quilts. She has a great eye for color and more patience with half square triangles than I will ever have. Mostly, though, I just desperately want her Nikki Tote Bag. Both of these ladies have been a huge encouragement to me in my own sewing journey, and I can't wait to see what the year ahead holds for them.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
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