Thursday, October 18, 2018

trying something new (weaving)

I'm a firm believer in working hard and doing one's best but also in slowing down, taking things easy, relaxing, and doing things just for fun. I also think it's very, very important to try and learn new things. I've wanted to explore weaving for quite some time and this past week I finally made it a priority. Oh, it was fun! It feels great to be a beginner. You know, when you still don't know how things "should" be done so you dare to do it your way, when it's totally ok to make mistakes (it actually is always ok to make mistakes, we just put too much pressure on ourselves).

 I pulled out my loom (purchased from here a while ago) and a supply of random yarn, watched a Weaving for Beginners class on Creativebug, and got to work.

I decided to go with very simple stripe pattern using different thicknesses of yarn (inspired by @blanc_laine's beautiful work) and I just love, love, love how it all came together.

I added a long fringe to the bottom and used a 12'' wooden dowel and leather string for hanging.

I love it!

I think it looks absolutely adorable and I'll be definitely exploring weaving more in the future.

How about you? Have you tried something new recently? Or are planning to?

Hope you all have a fun and creative day. Svetlana

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

patchwork potholder (a quick tutorial)

I really, really enjoy sewing up projects for our home so when I realized we needed new potholders I was more than happy to drop everything and get stitching.

I think it turned out quite lovely  :)

I started off with some of my screen printed scraps and a few pieces of Essex linen (my favorite combo), and randomly pieced them together until my patchwork measured about 7.5'' x 8.5''. This measurement wasn't really important as potholders could definitely be smaller or larger depending on one's preference.

I then quilted my patchwork piece to a layer of Insul-Bright to ensure I could use the finished potholder to handle hot things.

 I then trimmed and squared my quilted piece to measure 7'' x 8'' and I did basting stitches all the way around the panel's perimeter to ensure quilting stays in place. I also basted a slightly larger piece of fabric to cotton batting and quilted it as well.

I then placed quilted front and back wrong sides together, pinned, basted, and trimmed off extra backing + batting.

A little note on quilting: as you've noticed I quilted the top and bottom part of the potholder separately. The reason for that was I was using my backup machine with no walking foot and two layers was all I was confident to stitch over without worrying about puckers. You could, of course, layer all four panels on top of each other (backing right side down, cotton batting, Insul-Bright, and patchwork panel right side up on the very top) and quilt through it all at once.

All I needed to do then is add the binding the same way I would add it to a quilt. I first machine stitched the binding to the front and then used running stitch to attach it to the back. And then I added a leather strip + rivet to make a hanging loop. Easy peasy!

What do you think? Pretty fun and quick to make, isn't it?

I'm sure I'll be making more of these pretty soon.

Happy sewing friends. Svetlana

Monday, October 8, 2018

indigo pouch

This weekend, as I was digging through my stash looking for just the right fabric for a simple pouch I wanted to make, I came across my stack of indigo dyed fabric that's been waiting to be used for almost 2 years! Crazy! I love the deep blue color of indigo and enjoy seeing all the beautiful patterns in my little stack very, very much. Every time I pull them out though I start thinking they need to become a quilt which then means I put them promptly back since I don't feel like making a quilt right at all.

So, I finally decided that instead of waiting for my quilting mojo to show up, I'll just be using these lovely prints to make smaller projects instead. 

And I made this quilted zipper pouch, of course.

I started out by basting a panel of fabric to cotton batting and quilting the two layers together. As you can see I only used a few pins to hold them together as I find small projects like this are easy to quilt without much basting.

I used Hera marker to ensure my lines will be nice and straight and quilted the panels about 1/2'' apart (I marked my lines 1'' apart, then added another line of stitching in between the marked ones).

I followed The Essential Pouch pattern (medium size) for this pouch but since I skipped adding a contrasting bottom I simply used cutting measurements for the lining to cut my exterior panels.

I used a beautiful striped linen/cotton blend print for the lining which makes for a wonderfully sturdy pouch. 

This was a quick, but very satisfying project and I highly recommend making a pouch (or two) when you feel like sewing but don't have much time to spare.

Wishing you all a happy and creative week. Svetlana

Monday, October 1, 2018

jelly roll rug

I couldn't resist any longer and hopped on the jelly roll rug bandwagon this weekend :). 

Don't you just love when humble strips of fabric and some batting become a super adorable as well as practical decor? Yep, projects like this are my favorite.

The pattern by Roma Quilts calls for a jelly roll of fabric but I cut my own 2.5'' strips of fabric from my stash since I don't own any jelly rolls. I went back and forth on what prints to choose a lot, of course. I was a bit tempted to go super colorful but in the end I chose a very neutral, mostly low volume color palette as I knew this kind of rug would fit into our apartment the best.

The thing I enjoyed the most was the "yarn" making stage. Such a genius way to combine fabric and strips of batting into one continuous ball of yarn. Pretty cool, isn't it? Seeing these fabulous giant balls of yarn on IG is what actually drew me to this pattern in the first place.

A little note about batting: I joined my batting strips by simply placing the two short edges next to each other (making sure they are touching but not overlapping) and using a zig-zag stitch on my machine to stitch them together (the pattern recommends batting tape which I didn't have on hand). If, however, you're not keen on cutting and joining long strips of batting together, you can now buy rolls of already precut batting. A bit more pricey option, but definitely very convenient.

When starting this project I was a bit worried the rug would not lay flat after I stitched it all together. After all, these strips are not cut on bias and we all know how messy things can get when straight strips of fabric are sewn around curved objects :(

Thankfully though there are quite a few very useful tutorials online providing lots of tips on how to ensure one ends up with a beautifully flat rug. As you can see from the photo above I used the extension table for my sewing machine and I added books all around it to make a large flat surface for the rug to sit on during stitching.

Another great tip was to take the rug off the machine when any waving (or curving) occurred and use hot iron and lots of steam to make it flat. I had to do this a few times and I'm happy to say it worked every time. The key here is not to wait until you finish the whole rug. Press it as soon as any curving happens to prevent more distortion later on.

Here it is all finished. Super soft, squishy, and beautifully flat, yay!

The kitties sure love it :)

All in all this was a super fun and satisfying project and I'll be definitely making more rugs in the future.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

lola pouch + pattern sale

When it comes to large projects like quilts, I'm one and done kind of maker. Somehow there's just no way I would willingly jump into making the same quilt twice.

But, as far as pouches are concerned, I thankfully don't have that problem :) I'm more than happy to make the same pouch over and over. Case in point - my Lola zipper pouches. I have made so many of these pouches over the years, I totally lost count.

I made this newest Lola pouch yesterday afternoon and I so, so love how it turned out. The main fabric is by Alexander Henry. It's been in my stash for a while and now that I made this pouch I want to make a million other pouches and bags using this print :)

One of the things I absolutely adore about this pattern is the beautiful binding around the zipper. And you know what? There's absolutely no need for zipper foot with this construction. Plus, it's all done by machine, no hand stitching needed.

See what I mean? Fabulous zipper + binding combo.

How about you? Do you enjoy making the same project over and over or does the mere idea of it send shivers down your spine? Do tell.

Oh, and in case you'd like to purchase a Lola pattern now is a good time to buy as I'm running a sale to celebrate my new Etsy shop and offer a 30% discount on ALL my patterns (sale ends midnight tonight, Chicago time). Click here.

Wishing you all a happy day. Svetlana

Monday, September 24, 2018

hand pieced log cabins

Many, many months ago I started a hand pieced log cabin quilt (blog post here). I was on a roll and enjoyed the slow process of hand piecing a lot. But then life happened, well mostly our move, and there was absolutely no time for slow stitching :(

Last week though I started feeling like things were finally getting back to normal and I decided to give my log cabins a try once again. 

You might remember I used red squares for the middle of my previous blocks, but I had no red on hand and wanted to stitch right away so I went with black instead and I quite like it. I think these slightly different blocks will add interest to the finished quilt.

In case some of you wonder, my middle squares are cut at 2'' x 2'' and the logs are cut 1'' wide.

I have no idea how large (or small) this quilt will end. I'll just keep stitching as long as I feel like it and then I'll see. This quilt is about enjoying the process and not worrying about the final result and I'm quite curious to see where it will go :)

Happy stitching, friends. Svetlana

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

big stitch ~ small projects

Lately I've been quite enjoying simple, repetitive, and highly meditative nature of hand quilting. Now, the projects I hand quilt are nothing fancy or large in size. They are mostly just pieces of scraps I sew together into small-ish blocks which I then turn into mats or coasters for our home.

Pretty lovely, aren't they? Scraps make my heart sing :)

Here's an in-progress photo for you to see.

I use pins (or safety pins) to hold the scrappy block and cotton batting together and usually mark a line or two for me to start stitching. I space my lines 1/4'' - 1/2'' apart and since my projects are pretty small I can just get away with eyeballing the distance. Oh, and I stitch through both the top layer as well as batting.

These are my favorite supplies for hand quilting (all self - explanatory, I think).

I'm especially excited about the two cotton threads in the upper left corner since they sort of feel and look like sashiko thread but are a lot cheaper to buy. I purchased mine locally but I'm sure you could find them online too.

Once my mats are quilted I trim off extra batting, add backing, and bind them the same way I would a quilt. I first add my binding to the front and hand stitch it on the back using running stitch.

Pretty fun, aren't they? And super, super useful which is what I like the most.

Do you like turning scraps into pretty projects? What are your favorites?


Friday, September 14, 2018

small Sylvie Tote

Hello lovelies, happy Friday to you all!

You know the fabric stack I shared in my previous post? Of course I had to cut into yet another print and sew up a sweet little tote bag right away :)

I combined cotton/linen print for main body and Merchant and Mills Dry Oilskin for the bottom of the bag. I love that oilskin is water resistant and easy to clean, always a good thing when it comes to tote bags.

On a side note. Am I the only one who finds the name oilskin a bit misleading? The material is actually not oily, or a skin :0. It's a sort of waxed cotton which has a lovely smooth feel and cuts and sews beautifully.

I love adding hardware to my bags as I think it takes the finished product to the next level. I must say though, I do pause for a little bit every time I'm about to punch holes in my newly sewn projects. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about :)

And, once finished, hardware never disappoints. It really does add a dose of style and finesse to the finished bag, would you agree?

I used Sylvie Tote pattern to make this little cutie (this is the small size).

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Svetlana

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

drawstring bags

Do you like making drawstring bags? I certainly do. I love how quick and easy to make they are, plus they are super useful as project bags, storage bags for many tiny toys our kids tend to have around the house, or they can also be wonderful for wrapping presents. 

I made this simple, yet stylish drawstring bag using my free tutorial (available here in case you'd like to give it a go as well) and some gorgeous fabric I purchased at my local fabric market. I know, right? I'm so lucky to live in a place that hosts a fabulous fabric market every Saturday morning.

Last time I went I brought home these beauties :). These are all cotton/linen blends which is my most favorite material to work with at the moment.

Oh, and I made one more drawstring bag, of course. I used my Drawstring Bag pattern for this one - this is a medium size and, once again, it all came together super quickly.

These really are such fabulous instant gratification projects :)

Wishing you all a happy and productive day. Svetlana

Saturday, September 8, 2018

more Amber Clutches

I thought I was done with Amber Clutches for a bit. After all, I just launched the pattern a few days back and was ready for a bit of change thinking about many other projects I wanted to make. And then I came across this fabulously graphic Ikea fabric in my stash, so of course I dropped everything and whipped up yet another clutch :).

I think it's really lovely. And quite stylish, would you agree? I love the texture of this material, it's a bit more sturdy than regular quilting cotton so it makes for a clutch that holds its form and shape beautifully.

Oh, and then I spotted yet another one of my very favorite fabrics. You know what happened next, right? Yep, another Amber Clutch. And I'm kind of thinking I'll keep this one as a long-ish pouch instead of folding it over to form a clutch. Oh, the possibilities :)

I'm curious to know. Do you enjoy making the same pattern over and over, or are you one and done kind of maker? Do tell.

Wishing you all a happy, creative, and relaxed weekend. Svetlana

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

amber clutch {new pdf pattern}

You guys, I'm so excited as I have a new pattern to show you today. 

This is Amber Clutch ~ a super handy foldover zipper pouch in two sizes. 

Large: 7'' wide on bottom x 4 ¾'' tall x 1 ½'' deep when folded 
Small:  6'' wide on bottom x 3 ¾'' tall x 1'' deep when folded

The large one also features a welt zipper pocket on the back. It's just the right size to keep one's change, keys, chapstick, or other small items.

I used designer quilting cotton for both exterior and lining of these pouches. However, canvas or even kraf-tex paper or home decor fabric would work well as exterior fabrics (especially for the large clutch), just skip adding interfacing to the main panels and you are good to go.

This is an easy, beginner friendly pattern. I think anyone with just a bit of experience with zippers can successfully sew up this pouch.

I used metal zippers (purchased from Zipit on Etsy) for my clutches but you can definitely go with nylon ones if that's what you prefer/ have on hand. 

!!! This is a measure and cut pattern, no templates needed !!!

Materials needed to make Amber Clutch (large size): 1 FQ (fat quarter) measures 18'' x 21''
 1 FQ fabric A (exterior panels + zipper tab) 
1 FQ fabric B (main lining + zipper pocket lining)
½ yard medium weight fusible interfacing (I used SF101) 
1 – 8'' long metal or nylon zipper 
1 - 6'' long metal or nylon zipper 
2 zipper pulls (optional)

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

As usual, I enlisted help of some lovely makers to test the pattern for me. Here are their beautiful creations.

Ellyn used adorable quilting cotton with the addition of fabulous leather tags to made both sizes of this clutch. 

And then she even went ahead and cut into her own stunning hand woven fabric to make yet another clutch. Beautifully done!

And just look at these stunning clutches in Merimekko fabric Merja whipped up.

Lovely colorful clutch by Vicki.

And last, but definitely not least, we have this adorably spotty clutch made by Deb.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

What do you say? Would you like to make an Amber clutch of your own

You can purchase Amber Clutch pdf instant download pattern by clicking on the button below or by visiting my etsy shop here

And, for the next 48 hours, I'm offering this pattern at a discounted price of $5.25 (a 25% discount). Offer ends Sep. 6th, midnight.

Happy sewing friends. Svetlana
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