quick-ish gifts and fabric love

noodlehead and wisbrun1noodlehead and wisbrun2

I must be getting quicker at this pattern because I sewed six of them assembly-line style and didn’t get stressed out.  This is the famous and forever fabulous Open Wide Zipper Pouch that is offered as a free tutorial on Anna’s beautiful Noodlehead blog.  This is the medium size.  I think they make great cosmetic and project bags.  But really, they are great anything that needs containing. The fabric I used is from Melody Miller {retro look} and Anna Maria Horner {feathers}.

noodlehead and wisbrun3

I feel like the luckiest blogger in the world because on of my most favorite fabric designers ever, Laurie Wisbrun, sent me a very kind preview of one of her latest lines for Robert Kaufman.  It’s called Table Talk and it ships late summer.  Check out what Laurie is making with it.  I am completely smitten with the mix of color it presents. I have lots of plans for this grouping of beauties. The first thing I will do is fussy-cut little bits to add to my snake trail quilt.  Then, my four year old has order a dress made of the top print.  {I was pushing for the rolling pin/whisk print in the purple color-way, but my tiny baker has spoken assertively and that’s that.}  I also have this idea that I will make a bunch of simple potholders that I can have on hand as hostess gifts for when we go to parties and BBQ’s this summer.  Or, if we host a party this year, hand them out as parting gifts.  Confession:  sometimes when we are invited to parties, I consider asking the hostess if I can sew them something rather than bring food.  I never do it because I feel like I’m trying to get out of cooking, but maybe I should try it sometime. Happy summer!


just a quick hello

I just wanted to pop in and say hello and let you know that I am still sewing when I can, but haven’t been able to blog as much as I’d like. That said, I have six (!) pages of handwritten notes for my next installment of the Confessions of a Fabric Stasher series so I hope to post “part three” really soon.  In the meantime, I thought I would share these zipper pouches I made as end-of-the-year teacher gifts.  I sewed them without following a tutorial and I didn’t run into any glitches, so I feel like I can confidently state that I have conquered the zipper–or this application of it, anyway. Be back soon!

brrr! bags + giveaway


Just before Christmas I received the most beautiful pile of gorgeous fabric from talented fabric designer Laurie Wisbrun.  I spent a lot of the holiday break thinking about what I wanted to create with it and this vision of a pile of box bags would not leave my head.

Since my daughter’s birthday is in January, I felt like her party was the perfect excuse to make the bags, so I did.  To say that these goodie bags went over well at her party is an understatement.  The kids liked them, but I could tell the Mom’s were plotting ways to keep them for themselves.  {Well, I guess I can really only speak for myself here, but I have definitely been downplaying their appeal with my kids.} This fabric, you guys!  It’s fantastic.  How perfect is the scale of the two polar bear prints for this sort of thing!?!!  They are just too sweet.  This is a very early sneak peek–Brrr! will be available in June.  There are more photos of this wonderful line of fabric on Laurie’s blog. I am so grateful to Laurie for sending me these beautiful prints.  I had so much fun making these!

My process for sewing these involved a mash-up of several free online tutorials I have used in the past.  I considered sharing my full process in more detail, but I am questioning whether there is a need for yet another box bag tutorial.  This one sums it up really nicely and other tutorials I have learned from before  include this one, this one, and this one. I will leave you with a few project notes at the end of this post.  These jottings are basic and I am really just posting them here so that I don’t lose track of them. If you’ve never tried to make a box bag, these will probably sound like gibberish, and that is OK!

On to the fun part!  Who would like to win a fat quarter pack of this adorable line of fabric? Just say hello via a comment on this post and I will choose a random winner on February 1.  I will ship internationally.

Project notes:

-The finished bags measure 7″ x 4.5″ x 3″ (L x W x H).  I start with a rectangle that measures 11.25″ x 16.5″ and use a .5″ seam allowance. I cut the sides that measure 11.25″ with pinking shears.

-There are exposed seams inside.  I used to be very opposed to this, but since I finish the seams with a zig zag stitch, there really isn’t much of a difference in the end result and it saves so much time.

-I use a medium weight sew-in-stabilizer/interfacing in between the outer fabric and the lining. Using an interfacing that has an adhesive on both sides would make the process of attaching the zipper easier.  I get nervous about wrinkles that can appear with adhesive interfacing, so I try to stay away from it.

-I do this cheater thing when I sew on the zipper. I top stitch and attach the zipper to all three layers of fabric all in the same step.  This probably involves breaking SO MANY RULES but it works for me. This is also why I “pink” the ends of the fabric on the sides that measure 11.25″. The first tutorial that I link to does this as well.  It is a time saver and simplifies fussy-cutting.

-I sew the fabric onto the zipper in a particular order so that it doesn’t get all bunchy and awkward in the neck of my sewing machine.  I would love to explain this but I need to just take a photo so that I am able to express myself well.  (Has anyone ever seen a tutorial that explains this part?)

–When I box the corners, I mark a line that is 1.5″ inches down from the corner.  This creates the 3″ width of the bag.

small and boxy

How’s everyone’s holiday “making” going? This cute little boxy pouch measures 4″x2″x2″.  The outer fabric is Ruby Star Rising by Melody Miller and the lining is a matching wood-grain print.  This one was part of a gift for my sister’s birthday, but I am thinking these would be fun to make as gift card holders surrounded by chocolate candy, like Hershey’s kisses. The tutorial is here.  My inspiration for making this is here.

Enjoy these last few days of anticipation and preparation. I have a five year old boy who just keeps telling me that Christmas is too far away!  I’m trying to embrace his spirit.  It’s pretty contagious.  If I am not back here in this spot before the big day, Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

favorite zipper pouch tutorials

I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to make nice, neat, professional-looking lined zippered pouches. I’ve tried a bunch of free tutorials, used directions that I’ve found in sewing books, and even purchased a pdf-pattern from an etsy shop.  After all this “research,” I have found two tutorials that have really helped me to make the perfect pouch and I thought I’d share. This one, at Splityarn, is the best one I’ve found for a standard zip pouch.  Kelby Sews has an excellent tutorial if you would like to make little tabs that cover up the ends of the zipper. In the past, my biggest issue with making these has been lots of bunching at the ends of the zippers. Both these tutorials helped me solve that problem.

**Edited to add that I absolutely love Anna’s open wide zippered pouch tutorial on the Noodlehead blog.  This is a different application, with part of the zipper hanging outside of the bag, and it is awesome!

good tutorials should be shared

And this one, which guides you carefully through all the steps to make a lined box bag, was a good one. I added two inches of length to mine and its the perfect size for so many things.  {For reference, I could probably fill it with the tissues from a standard size box of facial tissue–minus the box.}  The only thing I will do differently the next time around is use 1/2″ seam allowances, rather than 1/4″.  I used an upholstery weight fabric paired with a print from Anne Kelle’s Remix line. The zipper is from Zip It on Etsy.  I can’t say enough about their great prices and perfect customer service.

I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you are enjoying a bit of time off to relax with family and friends.  I am grateful for many, many things. This little spot of mine on the internet {and the like-minded crafters with whom it connects me} is one of them.  Thank you so much for checking in here from time to time.

my projects look WAY better when photographed by amazing photographers


Whoot! The clutches that I made for the wedding- in action.  And, the Oliver + S Birthday Party Dress on a cute pirate!

My sister-in-law and her husband recently got their wedding photos back from their photographers and, I have to say, the collection is amazing.  Tara and Ben of Hitched Studios truly captured the spirit of what was an incredibly beautiful day.  Tara, who has her own business photographing families and creating other types of portraits, gave me permission to share the above images.  My silly sewing projects {bridesmaid clutches and a dress for my daughter} look a million times better when photographed by crazy talented photographers, don’t you think? Click on over to the Hitched Studios blog if you would like to see more of my sister-in-law’s wedding, including {of course} a photo or twelve of a gorgeous bride!  Something tells me you will end up sticking around a bit as you become captivated by the pure beauty that Tara and Ben capture at every event they photograph.    And if you are looking to hire photographers for something, please get in touch with me so that I can rave even more about these two incredible professionals.