Friday, November 27, 2015

Adding piping to your Aeroplane bag

Hello! Now it is time to add piping to your Aeroplane Bag.

I recently got a piping foot for my sewing machine so now I want to add piping to everything! You can make your own piping or buy it already made.

1. Gather your piping (made or store bought). You will need two pieces of piping about 1 inch longer than the length of your bag. If interested: I cut my fabric strips 1.5" to make my piping.

2. Place your piping on your Exterior Panel A with raw edges of piping lining up with raw edge of panel. Be sure to measure that there is 1/2" between raw edge and sewing line for piping. If your piping is larger or smaller- just line it up so that the sewing line is 1/2" from raw edge.  See below.

3. Use lots of Wonder clips or pins to hold the fabric together. With fabric right side up- begin to sew a basting stitch close to piping stitching line (about one thread width toward raw edge of fabric). I used the longest stitch length on my sewing machine to create my basting stitch.

4. Now place Exterior panel B right side up and Exterior panel A right side down (this is the opposite of the picture in step 11 of pattern). You will want the backside of Exterior panel A "up" because you are going to use your basting stitching line from the previous step to adhere the panels together. By using your basting stitch as a guide- your piping will look pretty and you won't accidentally sew over it. Now begin to sew 1/2" seam allowance that is also 1 stitch width away from the raw edge (or toward piping). This will hide your basting stitch in the seam allowance and it will not be seen.
Hint: Use a sewing foot that is clear so you can easily see the basting stitch. Sorry it's hard to see in the picture as I used white thread.

5. Now open up your panel and be amazed at your lovely piping!

Watch out...once you start making piping - you will want to use it in every project!


Friday, November 20, 2015

Adding your own exterior pocket to your Aeroplane bag

Hello again! I'm excited to show you how you can easily add an exterior pocket to your Aeroplane bag. 

Let's begin:
1. After you have finished pattern step 7, measure the distance between your straps (BEFORE you sew them on).

2. Take the distance between the straps and add 1 inch (this will allow you to cover the pocket sides under the straps. Example my distance was 9.5" so I want to cut my pocket width 10.5".

3. Now determine how tall you would like your pocket. I decided to make mine 7 inches so it would match the sewing height on the straps. I wanted my pocket to be lined so I doubled this number to 14 inches.

4. Cut pocket. Mine was 10.5" x 14"

5. Fold pocket in half and press. Then top stitch along fold. You may stitch around all sides if you desire, but it is not necessary as you will be enclosing your pocket under the straps.

6. Line cut edge of pocket along bottom edge of exterior panel A. Then lay straps on top and begin to topstitch, which adheres the straps and pocket to bag at the same time.
Tip: I used a fabric glue stick to adhere my pocket and straps before topstitching so my fabric would not move. You could use pins if you prefer.

Now you are all set to make an exterior pocket for your Aeroplane bag. I hope this tutorial is helpful! Let me know if you have questions.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Aeroplane Bag Review

I am so excited to finish my first Aeroplane bag by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness for Fort Worth Studio (you can see this same post on their blog). I love a large bag and one that zips is even fact this bag has 3 zippers, but don't let that deter you! The Aeroplane bag pattern is very well written with lots of full color photographs in the 12 page booklet to explain the bag making steps. Here is one side of my bag in the wonderful Hazel fabric by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew.

Of course, I needed to "add a bit" to my bag to make it more me. Check out my upcoming blog posts when I share about adding an exterior pocket and piping to your bag.

My hints and thoughts on making this bag.
1. Read the pattern at least twice through before cutting/sewing...this is true for any pattern.
2. The fun part...choose your fabrics. I chose the lovely Hazel line. 
When choosing patterns for bags I usually try to choose all over patterns as they are more forgiving if your stitching gets a bit off. I did to go against my own rule this time and choose a stripe to make my exterior pocket and piping, but thought I could line it up well.

3. Now gather up all of your supplies...this saves frustration later. Nothing is more frustrating then realizing you are at a step and can't find a zipper ;). 

A bit about the interfacings in this project. Splurge on the Pellon Shape-Flex SF101 (this is the BEST and worth the extra cost- it adheres so smoothly and easily). This was my first time using Annie's Soft and Stable and I loved it...though I also want to try the new Pellon fusible Flex-foam because I like how it is fusible. The pictures above show my bag standing on its own....not stuffed with anything. The Soft and Stable is very easy to sew through as well.

I used a 90/14 needle, which I HIGHLY recommend. It is a lot of layers you are sewing through plus you will need to sew over zippers. 

---- Onto the actual cutting and sewing now 
1. If you decide to quilt your this FIRST before cutting out your pattern pieces. I cut first because I didn't think my simple grid quilting would shrink the pattern that much...but it did. It cut about an inch off- this made it tricky when cutting my lining pieces and making the darts later in the pattern. 

2. When I cut patterns out...I like to use my rotary cutter and ruler as much as possible as I feel I get a more accurate cut. I'm using washi tape rolls as my fancy pattern weights. Remember quilt the fabric BEFORE cutting the pattern even though my picture doesn't show this.

3. I thought attaching the interfacing in step 3 with the Shape Flex and Peltex might be a bit confusing for beginners so I snapped a quick picture. Bottom layer: Pattern fabric (right side facing down) then Peltex cut 1/2" smaller (this is so you don't have to sew through it when putting the bag together) then Shape Flex on top (cut the same size as pattern fabric) The Shape Flex will fuse the Peltex to the pattern fabric.

4. Since Soft and Stable is not fusible, the pattern recommends using a basting stitch to hold it into place. I was a bit worried about creating wrinkles so I decided to quilt my exterior panels in a 2 inch diagonal grid. Sewing through Soft and Stable was super easy. I did use my walking foot and lengthen my stitch length to 3.0 (usual is 2.5 on my machine). I also used Wonder Clips to hold my bag together when quilting. I LOVE Wonder Clips and consider them a "must have"... I use them every time I sew instead of pins for making bags, pillows and, piecing quilts.

5. Now that the panels and handles have interfacing attached and/or quilted. It's time for making the handles. In pattern step 4. I found it easier to use my Hemmer instead of drawing lines on the fabric and ironing to them...just personal preference.

6.  After your handles are's time to TOP favorite thing. Top stitching makes me so happy. Be sure to take your time when top stitching as you will need to top stitch again over your original sewing when attaching the handles to the bag. A little picture of top stitching with my zipper foot because who doesn't like to see top stitching :)  

7.  The next step is to attach your straps to your bag...go ahead and do this now unless you want to add an exterior pocket. The pocket needs to be attached BEFORE the straps. I will have an upcoming mini tutorial blog post about this step. Another picture of top should be able to see my top stitching over my previous stitching line plus the box with an x inside at the top of the stitching for extra durability.

8. The next step is to attach your bottom panel unless you are adding piping as the piping needs to be attached prior to this step. I will have an upcoming mini tutorial blog post about this step too.

9. Sara's directions for the lining zippered pockets is very clear and easy to understand (plus lots of photos). I was quite happy with how easily this was done. I LOVED this Hazel fabric and thought about using it for the outside of my bag for about 1 minute before I realized white exterior fabric and 3 kids is probably not the best idea plus I like the interior of my bags to be a lighter fabric as I think it's easier to find things in my bag. 

10.  The only tricky part that I struggled with was attaching the exterior zipper to the lining panel and sewing the bag together over the tapered zipper. I plan on doing 2 things differently when I sew my next Aeroplane bag. I will make zipper tabs and use a regular purse zipper with a long pull instead of the Sport plastic zipper recommended. My machine did not like sewing over those large zipper teeth. In fact, I broke a few teeth off my zipper...but my strong 90/14 needle didn't break.

Overall, I really enjoyed this pattern and will make another version. Next time, I plan to make it scrappy with low volume squares that are quilted plus the zipper changes I mentioned above. I would say an adventurous beginner could make this bag....just take it slowly when attaching the exterior zipper.

Another picture of my bag....I decided last minute to add an English Paper Pieced flower to my pocket.  Be sure to use the hashtag #sewingwithfortworthfabric when posting your projects on Instagram! Thanks for reading my super long post. Don't worry my posts on the exterior pocket and piping will be shorter!

Time to start sewing!


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Halloween Pillow

I'm Melanie and I'm excited to be part of the Halloween fun at Fort Worth Fabric Studio! A bit about me: I married my high school sweetheart and we have 3 fabulous kids. My "fabric-ing" as my kids call it...usually happens at night while they are asleep. I like to listen to an audiobook or a podcast,  have a snack, and sew in the evenings- it's very relaxing to me. I share my sewing adventures on Instagram as mellierc.

I chose to create a large 20" pillow using the Economy Block or Square in a Square Block with the Happy Haunting fabric from Riley Blake.  I like non-scary Halloween, but my boys are starting to like scary stuff this fabric is a bit of a compromise as it has skulls on it :).  So let's get started!

Fabrics needed to create the 20" Happy Haunting Pillow. No worries if pillows aren't your thing...just add binding and now you have a mini quilt!

From left to right:

Happy Haunting Gray Sticker Riley Blake: 2/3 yard (center squares and backing)

Swiss Dots Black Riley Blake: 1/2 yard (squares/triangles, border, and binding if you cut very carefully)

Happy Haunting Black Skull Riley Blake: 1/3 yard (squares/triangles)

Let's move onto cutting. Do cut carefully as there isn't much left over especially the Swiss Dots fabric  if you are wanting to have enough to making binding as well. The image below does show strips for binding, which I decided not use in the end for my pillow.

Happy Haunting Gray Sticker Riley Blake: Cut nine 3.5" x 3.5" squares. (fussy cut if desired). Remaining fabric is for backing.  I cut my pillow backing pieces prior to cutting my nine squares to make sure I had large enough pieces of fabric to create my pillow back.

Swiss Dots Black Riley Blake Cut ten 4.5"x4.5" squares and eight  3.5" x 3.5" squares. Cut four 1.25" x 21" strips for border-they are a bit long to allow for trimming after being sewn on. (If you prefer a 21" finished size square to make your 20" pillow cut the four strips 1.75"x 21-22" for border). If you cut very carefully and use the thinner border strip, there will be enough left over for optional 2" binding strips.

Happy Haunting Black Skull Riley BlakeCut eight 4.5"x4.5" squares and ten  3.5" x 3.5" squares.

Step 2 cutting. Cut the  4.5"x4.5" squares and 3.5" x 3.5" squares in half to make triangles as shown below. 

Time to start sewing.   

1. Center one 3.5" black triangle on the center block gray square and sew with 1/4" seam. 
Notes: All seams while creating blocks and pillow front are 1/4" seam. The triangles are a bit oversized so we can trim our economy blocks down to the correct size. I think the blocks are more accurate this way. So keep your ruler and rotary cutter handy :).

2. Now repeat with the opposite side.

3. Press block and trim off excess triangle edges.

4. Add 2 more 3.5" triangles to remaining sides as shown above to complete the first square.

5. Trim block to 4.75". This is approximately 0.25" past each point on the center square.

6. To create the outside square. Sew the white  4.5" triangles on all four sides like you did with the black fabric earlier. Then trim block to 6.5". This is approximately 0.25" past each point on the second square.

7. Sew five 6.5" blocks with the white outer square and four 6.5" blocks with the black outer square.

Assembling your pillow
8. Sew together your nine 6.5" blocks. Choose your favorite arrangement or follow my example below. Then add border strips. I wait to trim the length of my border strips until after I have sewn the strips on- then I trim them off when I square it up. 

I trimmed my square to 20" as I like a tight fit on my pillow. If want to follow Lindsey's fantastic Envelope Pillow Instructions, use the 1.75" border strips and trim your pillow front to 21". 

9.  Cut a piece of batting about 1" larger on all four sides from your pillow front. Lay your pillow front on top of batting- be sure to place in the center and right side up. Quilt as desired. I chose to quilt mine in a 2" diagonal grid pattern.

10. After quilting the pillow front, it's time to make your favorite pillow closure. 

Now it's time to enjoy your Halloween pillow! I'm pretty sure mine will stay out until Halloween as my boys love the large size :) 

Thank you Fort Worth Fabric Studio for inviting me to share my tutorial!

Be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make a pillow too!