Monday, December 22, 2014

Bags and More Bags

Even before my post on Last-Minute Gift Wrap & Tags went live on Sew, Mama, Sew a few weeks ago, you most likely already knew I really like to make and use fabric gift bags. In Color Order's Lined Drawstring Bag has pretty much been my go-to bag ever since I first discovered it, but I needed something a little simpler for this Christmas.

I started off with the drawstring bag tutorial by s.o.t.a.k handmade, a bag I was already familiar with. I cut out 2 at a time, and then alternated the bag exterior and linings, using some Essex linen for the casings, and finishing with chevron twill tape and woven cotton trim as ties.

For some reason that little bit of Essex made me want to try something else, so I used a mini charm pack for a little patchwork to accent a super-sized linen bag. I went so far as using a layer of cotton batt in this one, and quilting it up. Definitely a heftier bag than my norm, but boy was it fun, and I do love linen and patchwork together, don't you?
During the time I was getting going on these bags, I saw the snowman insta-tutorial by beelori1 of Bee in My Bonnet, and I couldn't resist making one up. In my excitement, I forgot about the buttons down his front, but I thought he'd be fun on the front of a bag for grandgirl. I especially like the striped scarf I found for him, and was pretty successful with my second go at sketch-stitching for his face and arms.
Ready to try something else, I decided on John Q. Adams/quilt dad's Patchwork Stripe Bag tutorial from his book Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays, shared as a free tutorial recently on Sew, Mama, Sew. There's actually 3 different options in the tutorial, which is really great. As with my first pair of bags above, I cut out 2 at a time and just switched up the pieces. I find them pretty irresistible. One thing of note in John's pattern is you sew only 1 line for the casing, though the casing holes are 'normal' - just large enough for the ribbon. I was kinda confused about it at first, but look what a sweet effect it gives to the bags. I like it for a change.
After all these, the Trim-Tied Gift Bags I'd already made, plus the random fabric bags I had from last year, I still needed a few more. So it made sense to make them up using the 2 patterns I'd gotten pretty familiar with lately . . . quilt dad's on the left, and s.o.t.a.k handmade's on the right. Just 'plain,' they are both a pretty quick, but still satisfying, sew.
Oh yeah, and then I needed just one more - isn't that how it is? But I loved playing with this Hip Holiday line again!
I still have plenty of Christmasy fabric left, and in a perfect world, I'd get to making some for next year right after Christmas. There's always more to try, and I've been pinning plenty of tutorials on my Bags Pinterest board. But you can probably guess how that will whatever. At least this year's gifts are in the bag.

Fabrics used: photos #1 & #4: A Merry Little Christmas by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake, #2: Solstice by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics with Essex linen blend, #3: Sunnyside by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics, #5: Yonder Star by De Leon Design Group for Alexander Henry Fabrics (R) + Hip Holiday by Josephine Kimberling for blend (L), #6: Hip Holiday by Josephine Kimberling for blend. I failed to get a photo of the bag I made with the terrific Holiday Socks by Michael Miller.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Love It or Hate It?

Several months ago, Sew Mama Sew asked me to round up some quilting tutorials, and so far, I've shared 12 Fundamental Quilting Skills and 8 Modern Ways to Back a Quilt. Today you'll find 15 Best Binding Tutorials, a pretty exhaustive collection. {Just click here.} There's a few of my own {striped binding and straight and angled matched binding} plus a dozen more, several of which I'd never seen before. You know I like to put a twist on my quilts' bindings, but even so, I was surprised and impressed at some of the techniques I found, and I'm pretty sure you'll find something new to try, or a tutorial to make your favorite method even better.
Binding a quilt is one of those things you swoon over or dread. {I'm a swooner!} For some reason, I am just intrigued by how folks finish their quilts. So much so, I've taken 2 online surveys this year here on A Quilter's Table, just to feed my curiosity. The first was about your binding decisions {survey and results}, where the second was more about your actual technique {survey and results}. Interesting reading for sure - and a good resource when you're considering your binding options. And this new round up will be a terrific added resource.
Thanks to those who gave permission for their techniques to be shared, and remember, I also recently posted Emma/joworimakes' tutorial for hand blanket-stitched binding - another to add to your own personal round up.

So have you tried some of the tutorials I mention in my Sew Mama Sew post? If so, or if you have another we should all know about, please share in the comments. How you finish your quilt can really add to the overall effect. Isn't it great to have so many options?

Sew Mama Sew