Thursday, May 19, 2016

Spectrum Clutch Tutorial

I designed today's tutorial as a sample project for my sweet friend Sharon Holland's new fabric collection Tapestry which is making its debut this weekend at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City (look for the rest of my sample sewing in an upcoming post). If you need a quick gift or just a little something fun to make while everyone else is off in Utah without us, this project is a great choice.

Be sure to post your pictures of any finished clutches on Instagram with the hashtag #spectrumclutch and tag me too @fabricmutt. I always love to see what you guys make with my tutorials!

Materials & Cutting Instructions

12 strips in a spectrum of colors, each one at least 1 1/4 x 6 1/2"
patchwork panel on the front
1 strip 1 1/4 x 6 1/4'' from each print
1/3 yard denim
front clutch exterior

back clutch exterior
2 strips 1 3/4 x 6 1/4''
2 strips 1 3/4 x 12 1/4"
1 rectangle 8 3/4 x 12 1/4''
1/3 yard low volume print
clutch lining
2 rectangles 8 3/4 x 12 1/4"
1/3 yard batting
front exterior interfacing
back exterior interfacing
1 rectangle 10 x 14"

1 rectangle 8 3/4 x 12 1/4"
Light fusible interfacing
Lining interfacing
2 rectangles 8 3/4 x 12 1/4”
Findings: 14" zipper, 6" leather thong for zipper pull, adhesive basting spray, binding clips, knitting needle or chopstick

Sewing Instructions

1. Sew all twelve strips together along the long sides to form the patchwork panel for the front of the clutch. Press all seams open.

2. Sew a 1 3/4 x 6 1/4" denim strip to each 6 1/4" end of the patchwork panel. Use adhesive basting spray to fuse the wrong side of the piece to the center of the 10 x 14" batting rectangle. Quilt the patchwork as desired.

3. Sew the 1 3/4 x 12 1/4" strips of denim to the top and bottom edges of the patchwork panel, folding those strips over so that the wrong side of the fabric lies flat against the batting. Press and then trim the exterior front piece to 8 3/4 x 12 1/4".

4. Fuse the wrong side of the denim exterior backing to the other piece of batting using the adhesive basting spray. Fuse the wrong side of the two lining pieces to the two pieces of lightweight fusible interfacing (follow the manufacturer's instructions).

5. Stack in this order from bottom to top along the upper long edge of each piece: exterior front (right side up), zipper (right side down), lining piece (right side down). Clip them in place and then sew them together along the 12 1/4" side. 

If you like, fold the lining piece back from the zipper and stitch it down 1/8" from the seam so that it will hold in place against the zipper. Repeat step 5 on the other side of the zipper with the other exterior and lining pieces.

6. Unzip the zipper at least halfway (don't forget that step!). Use binding clips to hold the exterior pieces with right sides together on one side of the zipper and the lining pieces with right sides together on the other side of the zipper. Make sure the zipper teeth are pointed toward the exterior pieces. Sew all the way around the outside of the rectangle, leaving a 5-6" gap open at the bottom of the lining. 

7. Trim the corners and extra pieces of zipper. Reach in through the gap in the lining to pull the bag right side out and push out the corners gently with a chopstick or knitting needle. Tuck the raw edges of the lining into the gap and stitch it closed about 1/8" from the fold. Push the lining into the bag and press. 

8. Thread the leather strip through the hole in the zipper and knot it to make a zipper pull. Fill with goodies and enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Pretty Playtime Sew Along

Just a quick note to all of you that the Pretty Playtime Sew Along starts next week and runs through the end of August, giving you the chance to make the adorable Garden Fairy Sampler Quilt on the cover of Elea Lutz's sweet new book! Fat Quarter Shop is hosting the event, and tons of amazing bloggers are participating including me. You can get your own copy of the book right here, and the sew along schedule is below.

Happy sewing!

Week 1 - Fat Quarter Shop
Week 2 - Erin from Why Not Sew?
Week 3 - Wynn from Zakka Art
Week 4 - Anorian from Samelia's Mum
Week 5 - Amy from Diary of a Quilter
Week 6 - Renee from Sewn with Grace
Week 7 - Jemima from Tied with a Ribbon
Week 8 - Amanda from Jedi Craft Girl
Week 9 - Debbie from Happy Little Cottage
Week 10 - Tina from Emily Ann's Kloset
Week 11 - Erica from Kitchen Table Quilting
Week 12 - Kristyne from Pretty by Hand
Week 13 - Heidi from Fabric Mutt
Week 14 - Brigitte from The Family Hearth
Week 15 - Lorrie from Sew Mod Designs
Week 16 - Kristin from They Grow Up Too Fast

Colorful Patchwork Bags & Baskets Tour

I finished today's project last weekend and have been dying to share it with you all week! My sweet friend Caroline (who writes the incredibly popular Sew Can She blog) has just filmed her first Craftsy class, Colorful Patchwork Bags & Baskets, and asked me to be a part of her blog tour. She sent me a free code for the class and a package full of interfacing so that I was all set to try it out.

I've taken several online classes over the past few years on everything from sewing to knitting to illustrating. I can say in all honesty that this class was completely worth my time. Even though I'm a veteran bag maker, I still picked up a few new tips from Caroline. The techniques she shares for making these projects are simple yet so clever. My original plan was to make one of the baskets, but when I saw her zipper pouches, I fell completely in love.

I just adore the patchwork pockets on these pouches -- so unique! Caroline uses gridded interfacing by Pellon to make perfectly nested seams, and I'm sorely tempted to use this technique on other projects as well. If you don't have the Pellon product on hand, she also shows you how to create your own version of it with regular interfacing, a pencil, and a ruler. There should actually be pockets on both sides of my pouch, but sadly I trimmed my other patchwork panel the wrong way while trying to listen to another class and use my rotary cutter at the same time. (Tip of the day: do NOT be like me.) I'm already cutting out pieces for a second pouch. Wouldn't these make wonderful gifts? Just tuck in some goodies or a gift card, and you're good to go!

Caroline is offering a discount code to all my readers for 50% off the class cost. Whether you're a beginner or more advanced, I really think there's something in here for you to enjoy. Please do check it out!

Also be sure to drop by the other stops on the Colorful Patchwork Bags & Baskets Tour -- all listed in the links below. You'll find even more information on Caroline's blog. Enjoy!

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Simply Strippy Sewing Kit & The Next Big Thing

Simply Strippy Sewing Kit from Scrap Happy Sewing

This project has been on my Must Make list for a while now. Scrap Happy Sewing by Kim Kruzich (also known as Retro Mama) is full of adorable projects to make with your leftover bits of fabric happiness. You know that I can never refuse another sewing kit, and the Simply Strippy version is adorable.

Simply Strippy Sewing Kit from Scrap Happy Sewing

Most of the patchwork pieces for this kit came from my scrap bins, though I tossed in a few pieces of Foxglove by Aneela Hoey which came in my last fabric package -- such a beautiful collection. I added some Art Gallery Fabric denim in Adobe Clay for the inner pockets as well as an extra pocket using more Foxglove.

Simply Strippy Sewing Kit from Scrap Happy Sewing

This little kit was so fun to make and a really fast sew -- about two hours of sewing in between afternoon errands and dinner with the family.

Simply Strippy Sewing Kit from Scrap Happy Sewing

The next big project on my list is setting up a sewing station for my three daughters who are finally getting their own machine. It's exciting and yes, just a little bit scary to think about how quickly they're growing up. My oldest turned 9 in February, and she's been begging for this privilege for at least a year. I'm taking a deep breath, stocking up on band-aids, and getting ready to become Sewing Teacher Extraordinaire this summer. Because as I spent a bit of time thinking about this whole motherhood thing during the big day yesterday, I realized that doing all that we do to take care of our kids -- while exhausting and overwhelming -- is really not the hardest part of our job. The hardest part is teaching them to be independent enough not to need us so much anymore. This stage has been quietly creeping up on me this year, and though I've never considered myself a control freak, I'm learning that it's not easy to let go. No, my girls aren't headed off to college for almost a decade yet, but now is the time to teach them that there are already things they can do for themselves. Things like folding their own laundry and helping with dinner, studying for tests and sewing birthday gifts for friends, knowing what they believe and standing up for what's right. If they can tuck these things away now, I know they'll be habits by the time they're ready to fly off on their own wings.

So yes, it's time to let my girls learn how to use a sewing machine all by themselves. And I'm excited and nervous and a just a wee bit emotional.

And so proud I can hardly stand it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tutorial Correction

My deepest apologies to those of you who attempted making the Pixie Cup this weekend and were confused by the results. A helpful reader pointed out the problem to me today, and yes, there is quite a difference between 19" (which I typed by mistake) and 13". When I do the math for a new tutorial, I usually have an index card full of scribbled notes and numbers, and every once in a while, I mix something up as I'm writing out the instructions for the project. Usually I'm able to catch it before it gets published on the blog, but this time it got past me. So sorry. Everything should be in order now, but don't hesitate to ask if you ever have questions.

Thanks, friends!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Pixie Cup Tutorial

The Pixie Cup Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

By popular request, I'm sharing the Pixie Cup Tutorial with you today! These are similar enough to my Pixie Basket tutorial that I thought they ought to share the name, but there are definitely differences.

The Pixie Cup Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Keep in mind that when you're working with curves, things are always a little trickier. Go slowly while you're sewing a side piece to a circle piece and don't let it worry you. Here's a great tutorial for this type of sewing, even with ideas for getting the math right if you want to make your circle larger. Honestly, I didn't really do anything fancy while sewing those curves on my cups -- no pins, no clipping, no trimming the seam -- and everyone lived happily ever after. But if you feel better taking these steps, then by all means, do it!

You'll notice from this picture inside the cup that everything doesn't lie perfectly flat. Wrinkles are normal, especially when you're using linen. The inside opening can either be sealed up by machine or hand stitching. I tried it both ways and found that, as usual, machine stitching is faster while hand stitching is neater. Go with what you prefer. Since you're going to fill this cup with something useful or pretty, odds are pretty good that no one's ever going to see that seam anyway.

I've included dimensions for both sizes of basket: short and tall. The patchwork can be whatever you want as long as it fits in the exterior panel rectangle. I give you one patchwork square size option for each version just to get you started. It's also perfectly fine to just use a single piece of fabric instead.

Please do share pictures of your finished cups on social media -- I always love to see your projects! You can tag these #pixiecup (remember -- different from the #pixiebasket!) and be sure to tag me @fabricmutt. Since I've been getting a lot of questions from people about using these projects for classes, retreats, and pop-up shops, I've also added a Frequently Asked Questions section to my tutorials page where you can find all the answers.

Okay, let's sew!

Materials & Cutting

Tall Version
1 rectangle 4 1/2 x 13" of fabric for exterior panel (patchwork option: 8 rectangles 2 1/2 x 3 1/2" each)
1 rectangle 4 1/2 x 13" of batting for exterior interfacing
1 rectangle 4 1/2 x 13" of linen for lining
1 rectangle 4 1/2 x 13" of fusible interfacing (I use Pellon Craft Fuse) for lining interfacing
2 circles 4" diameter of linen for exterior and lining base pieces
1 circle 4" diameter of batting for exterior base interfacing
1 circle 4" diameter of fusible interfacing (I use Pellon Craft Fuse) for lining base interfacing
2 strips 1/2 x 3" of leather for handles (other options: twill tape, double fold bias tape)

Short Version
1 rectangle 2 1/2 x 13" of fabric for exterior panel (patchwork option: 8 rectangles 2 x 2 1/2" each -- you'll sew the 2 1/2" sides together)
1 rectangle 2 1/2 x 13" of batting for exterior interfacing
1 rectangle 2 1/2 x 13" of linen for lining
1 rectangle 2 1/2 x 13" of fusible interfacing (I use Pellon Craft Fuse) for lining interfacing
2 circles 4" diameter of linen for exterior and lining base pieces
1 circle 4" diameter of batting for exterior base interfacing
1 circle 4" diameter of fusible interfacing (I use Pellon Craft Fuse) for lining base interfacing
2 strips 1/2 x 3" of leather for handles (other options: twill tape, double fold bias tape)

Other Supplies
Adhesive basting spray
Thread & needle (if hand sewing the opening closed)
Chopstick or knitting needle
Binding clips

Note: all seams are 1/4" unless otherwise stated.


1. Sew together any patchwork pieces. Use adhesive basting spray to fuse the wrong side of your exterior panel piece to the batting rectangle and trim down to the size of the exterior panel (depending on which version you're making). Quilt as desired.

2. Fold the leather pieces in half, wrong sides together, and stitch 1/8" from the raw edges. Line up the raw edges on the top edge, about 3 1/2 inches from each side edge of the rectangle (see above).

Baste in place.

3. Use adhesive basting spray to fuse the wrong side (if there is one) of one linen circle to the batting circle -- or to a 4 1/2" square that you will later cut down into a circle. Quilt as desired.

4. Place the exterior rectangle on top of the exterior base, right sides together, lining up the bottom edge of the rectangle on the side of the circle. Starting 1-2" from the short end of the rectangle, carefully sew the lower edge of the rectangle to the outside edge of the base, stopping about 1-2" before the other short end of the rectangle.

5. Match up the two short ends of the rectangle, right sides together, and sew them together. Then carefully finish sewing the rectangle piece to the circular base. Turn the exterior piece right side out and set aside.

6. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to fuse the wrong sides of the lining rectangle and lining base to the coordinating interfacing pieces. Repeat what you did in steps 4 and 5, using the lining pieces, but this time, do not finish sewing the rectangle piece to the circular base. Leave a gap of 2-4" for turning and leave the piece inside out.

7. Place the exterior inside the lining, right sides together, and clip them together along the top.

Carefully sew all the way around the top opening.

8. Reach in through the hole in the lining and pull out the exterior of the cup, pressing carefully with your iron. Push out the all the edges of the exterior by gently poking a knitting needle or chopstick through the hole in the lining. Stitch the opening in the lining closed either by machine or by hand. This is probably the trickiest spot for sewing around curves, so here I did find it helpful to use binding clips to hold the edges together, removing them one by one as I stitched it up.

The Pixie Cup Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

9. Push the lining down into the cup and topstitch all the way around the opening.

Fill with goodies and enjoy!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Strawberry Biscuit Blog Hop

I've been looking forward to today's post for so long!

You all know how much I love Elea Lutz's new Strawberry Biscuit collection for Penny Rose Fabrics. I shared my thoughts on her adorable fabric as well as this version of my Stationery Kit tutorial a while back, which I turned into a sewing kit. It's sitting on my bedside table as I type this post, and I love it so much!

But for my stop on the Strawberry Biscuit Blog Tour, I wanted to make a quilt for my girls. They're forever having tea parties with their dolls in our loft, usually pulling a few quilts from the basket I keep near their library for the occasion. I couldn't imagine a more perfect fabric to use for a tea party picnic quilt than this collection. They were so excited about it that my two youngest daughters insisted on keeping me company while I was basting the other day. How I love these girls...

For my pattern, I chose the Scrappy Bear Paw Quilt by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts. (If you don't follow her blog, you need to head over there right now and see what you've been missing. Rita is brilliant in every way!) This tutorial has long been on my Must Make list. I pulled in some Riley Blake low volume dots which paired beautifully with the candy colors of Elea's collection. My quilting is simple, just 1/4" on either side of the seams joining the 36 blocks together. The quilt is backed in a light green print covered in frolicking animals, and I bound it in a cheater print which gives the impression of a scrappy binding.

It's been pouring rain here for most of the week, but the sun came out a bit so that I could take pictures of my quilt hung over the fence surrounding our neighbors' pasture. Spring is filling the air with puffy clouds and the fields with wildflowers. Our first taste of spring in the Texas hill country has been just beautiful, and I'm falling in love with this place more every day.

Be sure to visit my sweet friend Minki today also for her stop on the tour. And tomorrow you'll have to pop over to see what Gina and Kristyne are making. These girls are all so talented! There's lots of Strawberry Biscuit goodness to go around for the next two weeks. So many thanks to Elea and Penny Rose for making it all possible!

Happy sewing!
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