Tuesday, December 29, 2015

simple stars

Hello friends, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. I quite enjoyed these few days of no work, very little cooking and cleaning, and just general relaxing with family and friends. I even caught up on some much needed sleep, so no complaints here :).

And, I got to read through the newest issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine. It's full of beautiful quilting projects, and I'm excited to have my Simple Star quilt included, yay!!!

It's a super simple, pretty quick to make quilt. It's made of large equilateral triangles, no hexagons or y-seams involved, which makes it a good introduction to piecing triangles.

I used bright solid backing, which I think is a lovely contrast to sparse quilt top, and quilted it using vertical straight lines. Easy peasy.

This newest edition of LPQ magazine (issue 29) should be hitting our US stores in about a week or two (already available in the UK). Hope you'll get one for yourself, you won't be disappointed.

Thanks for stopping by. Svetlana

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

napkins and pjs

I've been in a sewing frenzy for the last few days. I don't know what it is, but I keep coming up with new projects I simply HAVE TO make right away or the world as we know it will end :). I haven't felt that way for quite some time, so I'm just going with the flow and enjoying the manic sewing for now.

I made some Christmas cloth napkins. Aren't they wonderfully bright and happy looking? I think they will make our Christmas table extra cheery this year.

 They were super simple, but slightly tedious to make, as there was a lot of cutting, pinning, and pressing involved. Totally worth is, though.

Here's how I made my napkins: I just cut two 18" squares for each napkin, placed them right sides together and pinned around the perimeter. I then used 1/2" seam allowance to stitch all the way around the edges leaving a 4" opening in one side for turning. I pressed the seams open, turned the napkin right side out through the opening, pushed the corners out to make them nicely pointy and pinned the opening closed. I then used 1/8" seam allowance to stitch all the way around the edges of napkin stitching the opening in the side closed at the same time. I gave it one last good press and that was it. Super easy, right? I told you.

I also made these wonderfully soft flannel pajama pants for my son. He's the only one in the family who appreciates (and even asks for) PJs made by me, and I was more than happy to oblige.

I used my go to pattern to make his PJs. It's funny how every time I make these I get surprised at how quickly they come together. 

Now, if only I could stop sewing and start cooking. Wish me luck.


Monday, December 21, 2015

new jenna

The other day, as I was reading Anna's post on her newest Mesa Maker's Tote she rescued from her "not quite right prototype" pile, I was suddenly inspired to pick up my very first prototype of Jenna Tote and rework the areas I didn't like. Which actually wasn't too many, but it did mean swapping bright webbing handles for leather ones and re-cutting and re-swing the areas around zipper.

It's slightly smaller than my final version of this tote, but I absolutely love how adorably chunky this one turned out.

 My favorite feature of this tote is its zipper closure. I love how it makes the tote become sort of square-ish when full.

Oh, and it definitely feels great to have a lovely tote bag instead of adding to my ever growing not-quite-right prototype pile. Thanks for the inspiration, Anna.

Hope you're having a fantastic day. Svetlana

Monday, December 14, 2015

purse organizer {new pdf pattern}

I love making bags and purses, I'm sure you've noticed :). I do, however, absolutely despise switching bags and having to move contents from one bag to another. In fact, I dislike it so much that I usually choose one bag and use it until it's all raggedy and ready to "retire" before I move on to the next one.

And then I spotted a purse organizer at a store that looked like a large pouch with many pockets and I thought this just might be the right solution for my dilemma. The organizer I saw was made of black nylon (slightly too industrial for my taste), so I decided to go home and design my own, of course. In pretty fabric and with pockets perfectly customized to fit most of the things I tend to carry in my purse.

See? All this stuff fits in with room to spare. Which makes switching purses a breeze these days.

This is a workhorse of a pouch - it has two zipper pockets, mesh and slip pockets on the the front and  a larger slip pocket with metal snap closure on the back, slip pockets and a zipper pocket in the lining, plus a zipper closure. Phew, I know. Lots of zippers, right?

The thing about this organizer, though, is that you can use my instructions as a guide and completely customize your pouch to fit your needs. Which, of course means you can totally skip zipper pockets if you don't care for them, or add more if you like zippers even more than me :).

Plus, it would make a really great tablet case as I used Soft and Stable by Annie to make it all nicely sturdy and protective.

Finished size of this organizer is 10.5" wide x 8" tall and here's the list of materials you'd need to make one: 
1 FQ exterior fabric
½ yard contrasting fabric for pockets
¾ yard lining fabric
4” x 11 ½” mesh fabric
¾ yard SF101 interfacing (or other medium weight fusible interfacing of choice)
13” wide x 19” tall foam interfacing (either Soft and Stable by Annie or Pellon Flex Foam)*
one 10” metal or nylon zipper
two 8” metal or nylon zippers
one 2” long x 3/4” wide ribbon or leather strip
one 3/4” D-ring
one heavy duty snap closure (size 24 – 5/8”)
two zipper pulls (optional)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
 As always, I worked hard to make sure all the instructions are easy to follow and photos are clear and helpful. And, once again, I had help from some talented ladies who volunteered to test the pattern for me. I'm sure you'd like to see their fantastic creations, so here we go.

Caroline made this beautiful yellow and pink flower-y organizer. Love the addition of yoyo to outer slip pocket, absolutely adorable.

My lovely friend Jen used Luxe in Bloom by Art Gallery Fabrics to make this super chic, classy organizer. Fancy, isn't it? I might need to stash some of that fabric.

I have to smile every time I look at Vicki's organizer. Such a perfect, fun fabric combo. And I absolutely adore striped binding, of course. Because striped binding makes every project 10 times better (in my humble opinion) :).

Thank you, ladies, for making these lovely organizers as well as all your helpful feedback.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I hope you like my purse organizer as much as I do. I'm offering this new pdf pattern at introductory price of $5.00 for the next 48 hours (after that the price will be $7.00). You can purchase the pattern by clicking on the link below or by going to my Etsy shop.

buy this pattern

Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you all a fun and craft filled week. Svetlana

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

sew mama, sew! giveaway

Hello, happy Wednesday to you all!

Welcome to my Sew mama, sew! giveaway, I'm so glad you came by. 

I've been a fan of Karen Lewis' gorgeous screen printed fabrics for years so it makes me extra happy to have this scrumptious bundle of seven fat quarters of Blueberry Park to give away to one lucky winner.

The winner will also receive three of my pdf patterns of their choosing.

And, since I don't like excluding anyone, I'm also offering a 25% discount off all my pdf patterns. Just type SMS1215 during checkout at my etsy shop and discount will be automatically applied to your order. (offer expires Dec. 13th)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 This giveaway is open worldwide (U.S. as well as international entries welcome). Mr. Random and I will choose the winner on Sunday, December 13th.

Here's how to enter:
 * leave a comment on this post letting me know what fun project you're working on right now
* to get a second bonus entry let me know you are my follower, or become one by clicking on the link below and then let me know

 Thank you all for taking part in my giveaway. I greatly appreciate each and every one of you.
Diane is the winner of this giveaway, congratulations!!

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Please, please, please make sure to leave you email address if you're a non-reply commenter or I'll have no way of contacting you in case you win and will have to choose another winner.

Good luck everyone, and thanks for visiting. Svetlana

Monday, December 7, 2015

black and white

I've been a fan of bold black and white projects for quite some time. So yesterday, after spotting this super lovely print on Pinterest I decided a black and white Christmas tree pillow was a must :).

I used this ruler to cut my triangles and this technique to piece them all together. And, my triangles were cut 3.5" tall. I sort of winged the whole thing and cut fabric as I went so I'm even more pleased with how it turned out.

 I used Time Warp bark cloth for the backing. It's quite sturdy and makes for a wonderful pillow backing without having to use any kind of interfacing. And, I once again installed an invisible zipper. I love how quick and super polished these are.

I continued with my black and white theme as I practiced line drawing. Doesn't this look like such a good calming exercise? I'm really glad I watched Basic Line Drawing class on Creative Bug, I learned so much. I think I might try to turn this drawing into a fabric print. First I have to figure out how to properly prepare the screens, though :).

And, speaking of fabric, this new design I worked on was totally inspired by both the pillow and my sketchbook line drawing. Don't you just love when things work in harmony like that? 

What have you been up to this weekend? Any new skills you're learning? I'd love to know. 


Thursday, December 3, 2015

handmade style basket

Somehow I haven't felt like sewing much lately. I decided not to stress too much about it as I have plenty to do around the house to keep myself busy :) and I knew the need and desire to sew would show up sooner rather than later.

Which is exactly what happened. As soon as I saw Anna's (noodlehead) new vignette basket I knew I needed to make one right away.

This is a second basket I made using Anna's pattern (included in her beautiful book Handmade Style) and I absolutely love how it turned out. Plus, you know what? The fabric I used for the front and back of the basket is my own block printed fabric which made using it that much more fun.

I used some of my very favorite text linen from my stash for the sides and I think the fabrics play together quite nicely. And, to save myself some work, I used leather instead of making fabric tabs to attach my webbing handles.

I worried a bit about stitching through leather at first, but my machine proved to be a great trooper and sewed without any hiccups. She is definitely the best, that lovely Juki machine of mine :).

Wishing you all a super lovely day. Svetlana

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


I've been so restless lately, wanting to try new things - things like block and screen printing, sewing with waxed canvas, as well as trying my hand at using leather in my pouch making. And, I have not been that successful, I must admit :(. I keep reminding myself learning new skills takes time, and patience, and practice, and letting myself fail, but all that is so much easier said than done.

So, today I decided to disregard all the many shapeless pouches and ruined fabric in the corner of my sewing room and concentrate on what is going quite well. 

♥ ♥ ♥   block printing   ♥ ♥ ♥

I enjoy the whole process a lot, and I absolutely love carving my own geometric stamps. I love that I don't need to be "artsy" or to know how to draw, yet I can still print my own design on fabric.

Actually, the design on the pillow above is not really mine, it's based on the one Krista shares in her fantastic new book Beyond Cotton. Have you seen it? It's such a great resource and my very favorite book at the moment.

I've been on a mission to replace older, way too colorful pillows in our family room with more "grown-up" ones for quite some time now, and this morning it was my very favorite granny square one's turn. Quite a change, isn't it?

Here's the back. I installed a zipper closure (tutorial here) and bound edges the way I would a quilt. Super easy and functional.

Do you remember this pillow I made a while back also using my printed fabric? I loved Margaret's idea of adding some stitching to the pillow so I decided to go for it.

What do you think? I quite like the way it looks.

Oh, I feel so much better now, thanks for listening. I might even give that pesky leather another try this afternoon :).


Friday, November 20, 2015

pattern sale

Brrr!!! Our beautiful autumn weather has suddenly turned super cold and windy and we're even expecting some snow over the weekend. I'm not too disappointed, though. I figured the uglier and colder it is outside, the more time I can spend at my sewing machine :). Which is a wonderful thing, since my to do list is a mile long.

And, I thought this would be a good time to share a discount coupon with all of you in case you'd like to give some pouch or bag sewing a go this weekend.

Simply type SNOW15 ***UPDATE*** new coupon code is SNOW2015 during checkout in my Etsy shop and a 20% discount will be applied to ALL my pdf patterns (discount code is valid through Monday, Nov. 23rd ). Enjoy!

Wishing you all a super cozy weekend. Svetlana

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

tomte + advent calendar

Scandinavian Stitches, a super adorable book by amazingly talented Kajsa (syko), was among the very first books I bought when I started sewing a few years back. It's full of happy, whimsical seasonal projects and I've had my eye on tomte - scandinavian elf right from the beginning. Somehow though, I never got around to making one. Until now, that is.

Isn't he the sweetest? We named him Cloud. Yes, we do name pretty much everything in our house :). A great big thank you goes to super talented Mary for inspiring me to finally make this cutie after seeing Mary make hers on IG.

Oh, and see that advent calendar behind Cloud? This was yet another project on my list for a very long time. And it's done now, ready to be filled up with goodies soon, yay!

I didn't follow a pattern to make it, it was one of those making it up as I go projects and I do quite like how it all turned out. 

And, because I know somebody will ask, I used this calendar fabric for my numbers and fused them to pockets before stitching them on. Easy peasy. 

Also, here's the link to tiny trees garland, and Christmas quilt  in case you're interested. 

So, tell me. Are you doing any Christmas sewing yet?


Monday, November 16, 2015

backing quilts with minky

You've probably noticed I am a huge fan of using minky to back my quilts. We live in a Chicago suburb and winters here are loooong and super cold. And minky is gorgeously soft and warm which makes it a perfect backing for most of our "everyday" quilts. In fact, minky backed quilts are pretty much the only quilts my kids like to snuggle in.

Every time I talk about using minky to back my quilts I receive quite a few questions about my experience sewing with it so, as promised, I'll try to answer as many of them as I can in this post. Ready? Here we go.

Let me start by saying I buy all my minky at a nearby Joann store. Now, their selection isn't ginormous by any stretch of imagination, but I always manage to find something to match my quilt top and that's good enough for me, since the quality is great and the price very reasonable.

I backed many quilts with minky over the years - lots of baby quilts, but also many throw sized ones as well. Largest quilts I backed with minky were three 70" square ones for my kids and I think this was about the largest size I'd want to go.

I really like that most minky fabrics are about 60" wide so many times there's no need to piece my backings. If, however, your quilt is wider than 60", you have to pay attention to minky's nap and make sure all your minky's fabric pile points in the same direction. It will help with hiding your seam.

When making a quilt sandwich, I use minky for backing, batting (usually Warm and White or Warm and Natural) goes in the middle, and patchwork on top. I don't prewash my fabric, batting, or minky  and I have not had any issues with shrinkage so far.

 I glue baste all my quilts, even the minky backed ones. My main advice would be not to be stingy with your glue spray. You need quite a lot of it (I spray both wrong side of minky as well as batting so the two layers stick together well). And, the same goes for pins. If you use pins, use a lot of them. I'd say overbasting is a good thing when it comes to minky backed quilts :).

 I personally would not recommend doing any intricate quilting on a minky backed quilt. I think these quilts benefit from sparer quilting which keeps them beautifully soft  and gives the finished quilt a fantastic drape.

 And, you can free motion quilt minky as well. I did a continuous eight pattern one time and it worked just fine. My eights were not perfect but it was not because of minky, it's because I don't practice FMQ :(.

  Good thing to remember though is that a quilt backed with minky is heavier than your usual quilt which means you probably would feel more of a "drag" when quilting it. So be ready for a bit of a workout :). I tried something new recently and I flipped the quilt minky side up while quilting it. It worked amazingly well, no drag or anything. This method, of course, only works for quilting where you don't need to see your top patchwork.

I use a 90/14 needle and my usual Guttermann thread when quilting this type of quilt. And, I lengthen my stitch to almost 4 on my Juki sewing machine (I usually have it set to 3 when quilting a regular quilt).

I've read somewhere that one should never ever iron minky. Sometimes though minky gets all wrinkly, so I tried setting my iron on nylon setting and press gently on minky's wrong side. I'm happy to say it worked well and all the creases were smoothed out. I wouldn't recommend you do it on embossed or dimpled minky though.

Well, I guess that's it for now. I hope you will give minky a try next time you want to make a super soft and snugly quilt. You won't be disappointed.

Wishing you all a fantastic week. Svetlana
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