Monday, February 23, 2015

Brocade Border Bag

Posted by Kashmira

When I was running my little bag business a couple of years ago (the business was little, not the bags - they were many different sizes), I used to make burlap applique bags lined with plain cotton fabric. Instead of buying this cotton fabric off the bolt, I used to buy cotton saris and cut them up as needed. (A 'sari' is a traditional Indian garment that is a length of cotton/ silk fabric usually 5 or 9 yards long wrapped around the waist with one end over the shoulder.) The saris I used were cotton ones with solid colors but they did have a traditional striped contrast brocade border. So once I was done with the plain part of the sari, I was left with rolls of these beautiful borders.

A few years ago I'd also executed an order for upcycled conference bags made from used sugar or grain sacks. I'd been left with a few pieces of these too. 

These two types of leftover materials come together to form this brocade border bag!

I started by joining up various brocade borders together.


Next I sewed them up on a rectangular piece of sack. This gives the bag structure and stability and is used in lieu of stabilizer/ interfacing.


I completed this project on my recent trip back home and got these beautiful handles from a quaint little craft shop in Kolhapur called 'Dreamland'. If crafting is your thing, this store certainly lives up to its name! Everything you can possibly dream of is crammed in what seems like less than 200 sq ft of space. Shelves going from top to bottom crammed with yarn, laces, ribbons, buttons and more. When I asked for bag handles, the 'chacha' (uncle) manning the store behind the counter climbed up on a rather rickety looking stool and from the depths of a top shelf extracted a plastic bag, dusted it off and out tumbled these colorful beaded handles with embroidery thread wound tightly along the handles. I chose this turmeric colored ones with striking black beads that I thought would go nicely with the color scheme of the brocade borders.


I made little loops of some maroon woven fabric and attached the handles to the top of the bag.


Next I cut a rectangle of the same maroon fabric, sewed it on as lining and edge stitched the top edges of the bag.


Then I attached two magnetic snaps as closures and finished binding the sides edges.


And here are the brocade borders and gunny sack in their new avatar!




Monday, February 16, 2015

Animal Panel Tote

Posted by Kashmira

When Sis and I had been out fabric shopping together last year, we'd spied a really lovable animal panel print that we'd each bought.


While Sis chose to make this beautiful quilt out of hers, I'd wanted to make a largish bag to hold my son's snow pants, extra clothing sets and other paraphernalia for toting around, so decided to pull out the panel I'd been hanging onto until now. What follows is another way to use those cute little animal print blocks!

This tote is a simple, unlined bag made of 3 main pieces - one rectangle that makes up the front & back and two rectangles that make up the sides. The base is accounted for in the main rectangle. I did not use a lining because the fabric I used was home decor weight, quite heavy duty. Also, even without the lining the raw edges do not show up because of the binding on the borders.

So I started by choosing the two animal panels that would end up on the front and back of the bag. (Well, there's no front and back really, because there's one animal each side, neither willing to be relegated to the back.) I cut out the rhino and elephant because they were both
a) on horizontal panels
b) roughly the same size
c) on one corner of the panel, so that the rest of it is still preserved well.

I sewed them up on the front and back areas, leaving out more space on the middle since that would become the base of the bag. Notice that they are facing opposite ways to end up right side up when the fabric piece is folded over.


Next I pinned one of the side fabric pieces to one edge of main bag after cutting out 2 strips of contrasting yellow fabric.


And here it is sewn together such that all 3 raw edges are together.


I folded the yellow fabric over and stitched through again to bind one side of the bag completely.


Similarly I sewed the other side.


In the same way I used one more strip of yellow fabric to bind the raw upper edge.


Next I cut out 2 strips of brown fabric and 2 of a coordinating multicolored one for the handles. Notice that the brown fabric is wider than the printed one so that it bulges a little once I've sewn them right sides together. This is because once turned right side out I want a little brown border running down the sides of the handles. You'll see what I mean in the next picture.


There! The handles have a bit of brown encasing the print. See what I mean?


Next I sewed the handles onto the bag. 


Voila! Animal tote ready for holding all!



Monday, February 9, 2015

Quilted Pouches - A vote of thanks!

Posted by Kashmira

My toddler son and I are best buddies. We spend almost all of our time together. When I'm in the kitchen, he's right there getting into pots and pans with me. When I'm working on my laptop he's sitting next to me doing some 'important work' on his. When I'm in the bathroom, he's outside chatting away through the door. You're starting to get the picture here - although the real umbilical cord has long been cut, I sometimes feel an invisible cord still holding us together. 

 You can imagine then how difficult it must have been for him when he started day care a few months ago. What really helped him get through this tough stage was the kindness, care and patience shown by his teachers. So when I pulled him out of school on account of our long vacation, I wanted to make his teachers each a thoughtful and useful gift as a token of my gratitude. While I was thinking of how to also make it personalized I spied a little chart in their classroom that gave a bit of information about the teachers, including their favorite colors. That was it! I decided to make them quilted pouches (pouches because they have a thousand uses, everyone needs them!) in the colors they liked - Green and Pink,Black.

I wanted to make the quilting more interesting by using different shades/ prints of the color. So I started with different strips of green of the same size.


I sewed them together with a 1/4" seam allowance and pressed the seams open.


Next I cut a piece of batting slightly larger then the prepared piece and quilted the two layers together through each seam.


Then I trimmed the quilted piece to the desired size.


I then sandwiched a zipper between the quilted piece and lining fabric and sewed it together.


I repeated these steps to attach the other side of the zipper to the opposite side of the quilted fabric and lining.


And here's how it looked at this point once the zipper was opened up.


I cut two more strips of fabric to make the piped sides that also closed up the pouch.


My first quilted pouch is ready!


And here's the other one in shades of pink and black.


When my son's teacher unwrapped her present, she was so surprised that it was in her favorite colors. "How did you know?!" she exclaimed. When I pointed to the little chart she gave me a hug and said how thoughtful it was that I noticed. Well, it was nothing compared to the love and kindness they had extended, but I hoped it would go a little way in showing my thanks and appreciation.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mod Podge Clock (Ikea hack!)

Posted by Kashmira

Anyone that sews knows - when you're immeresed in a fun project, time just flies and everything else falls by the wayside! Partly for this reason and partly to tell the time (since I'm not one of those my-phone-is-attached-to-my-hand people) I'd wanted to have a clock in my work area. On our last trip to Ikea I spied a simple $2 round clock that was begging to be 'modified'. So here's my little Ikea hack!

This is what I gathered:
1) The Ikea clock
2) Mod Podge
3) Paintbrush
4) My trusted selvage strips


Now - before you go accusing me of slathering Mod Podge on any spare surface I find, I just want to say - weeeell.. you might have something there. There is something very addictive about taking a plain surface and transforming it by just spreading on it some good craft stuff and some magic glue stuff!

So I started by selecting some color coordinated selvage strips and decided to go with a blue/green palette with just a hint of yellow thrown in. I measured the (radial) side of the clock by using the incredibly precise method of placing a selvage strip from edge to edge and snipping it just a little longer than required. And so on with the other strips using the first strip as reference.

I wanted to retain a scrappy feel but wanted to have some order to the chaos. So I picked 4 strips of each print and started by placing them at positions 12, 3, 6 and 9. I glued the fabric by first painting some Mod Podge on the clock surface to prevent the strip from moving and then spread some more generously on top of fabric.


Then I chose the next print of fabric that would look good juxtaposed with the previous print and used 4 strips of that to glue them right next to the ones done earlier ... in a clockwise direction, of course. I continued doing that and here's what it looked like in a while.



When I just had a small gap left between each set of strips, I used the bits of yellow print to bring the whole thing together. Finally I placed the clock on an upturned bowl and left it to dry overnight.


The next morning I just snipped off the extra bits of fabric left hanging over the side of the clock and here's time ticking away on my wall!



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Spectacles Case - Rest those tired eyeglasses!

Posted by Kashmira

A few weeks ago Sis told me about a quilt guild she's a member of that will be hosting a quilt show in March. We planned to make a few products and put them up in a little stall! We sat down and came up with a list of things that might be a good idea to make and sell at the festival. One of the products is this soft and handy eyeglasses case. Plus it has a little felt spectacles shaped applique to clearly specify what the case is for :)

I was thinking about this project and since it is related in a way to reading, an image of my Grandma sitting by the window reading her daily Marathi newspaper came to mind. So I immediately decided to go with a black and white color scheme. Here's what I used:


1) One piece of cotton fabric 8.5" * 7.5" for the outside
2) One piece of cotton fabric 8.5" * 7.5" for lining
3) One piece of medium weight batting 8.5" * 7.5"
4) One piece of coordinating felt 6" * 2"
5) A 1" piece of velcro

First I started by drawing a glasses shaped pattern on a piece of card paper 6" * 2". Then I folded the felt in half along the long edge, traced the pattern and cut it out.


Next I placed the batting and two cotton piece on top of each other (the order does not matter at this point). I folded the sandwich in half along the short edge and used a small glass to mark a curve on the corners and cut it out.


Next I placed the eyeglasses pattern on the outer fabric piece and stitched it in place using a short length straight stitch. (The shorter the stitch length, the smoother the curve!)


Then I placed the batting on work surface and put the lining fabric on it right side up. I stitched the velcro pieces an inch from the top and an inch and half from the center on either side.

Next I placed the prepared lining on work surface right side up and put the appliqued outer fabric over it wrong side up and pinned them together. The next step is to sew the two together along the curve. Usually I eyeball (haha) these things, but this needs to be done as evenly along the curve as possible, so using a ruler I marked 3 lines 1/4" from the edge on all 3 lower sides. Now it was easy to just join up the curves at the 2 intersections.


I sewed along the marked outline leaving a 3 inch gap at the top, clipped corners and cut notches along the curves.

Then turned the case inside out, turned the upper open edges inward, pressed the case flat and top stitched along the upper edge to close the gap.


Then I just folded the case in half, joined up the two curves nicely and sewed close to the outer edge to complete the glasses case!


A pair of glasses can sit nice and snug inside the soft case while the little velcro at the top prevents them from accidentally slipping out! And so on with the rest of the fabric I chose to make this bunch of glasses cases ready for the quilt guild. 

I do hope they catch someone's eye at the festival!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

30 minute Envelope Cushion Covers

Posted by Kashmira


A couple of months ago we got some cushions by way of furthering the furnishing of our home. Cushions have a way of instantly bringing in a pop of color and comfort. One of the cushions came with a lime green cover and the other two were just pillow forms. So when I finally got around to making covers for them, I decided to make the easiest and quickest kind - the envelope style cushion covers.


Measuring and cutting - Making your own cushion cover is really quite simple and can work very well as a beginners' project. The first thing to it is to measure your cushion and cut your fabric. The envelope cover is made of 3 pieces of fabric: One square piece that makes the front, and two rectangles that overlap each other and form the back. This facilitates getting the cushion insert in and out of the cover and does not require a closure due to overlapping fabric.

So the basic formula I use is this:
1) Measure your cushion and add 1 inch to get the front square.
2) Divide the cushion measurement by 2 and add 4 inches to get the length of rectangles at the back.

For eg, suppose your cushion measures 20" * 20". The fabric measurement will be as follows:
1) The front square should measure 21" * 21"
2) The back rectangles should measure (20 divided by 2) + 4 = 21" * 14"

Now, the cushions that I got tend to get really squishy under weight but fluff back up once the weight is removed. It was clear that the cover needs to be very very snug. So I actually did not add that extra inch in the formula and just used the actual cushion size which was 20".

Step 1) Moving along then, I cut the 3 pieces of fabric required - the front square and back rectangles.

Step 2) I folded the one long edge of each rectangle 1/2" twice and pressed the fold well.



Step 3) Next I hemmed the folded edge by using a straight stitch on the machine. Repeat for the other rectangle.

Step 4) I placed the front square right side up. Then I placed one of the rectangles on it right side down such that the raw long edge on the rectangle was aligned with the bottom edge of the square. I pinned this in place.


Step 5) Then I placed the second rectangle right side down such that it's unhemmed edge was aligned with the top edge of the square and pinned in place. At this point you can see that the hemmed edges of the two rectangles overlap and this will produce the envelope at the back once we're done sewing.

Step 6) I sewed all the around all 4 sides of the square with 1/2" seam allowance and went over it twice to secure the stitches and make the cover sturdy. Next I clipped the corners.



Step 7) Then I turned the cushion cover inside out and ironed it flat. That's it - we're done!



Similarly I started on the other cushion but realized I did not have enough fabric to use on the entire cushion. So I cut up strips of a combination of fabrics and attached them together first to make the front square, then proceeded as usual.