Monday, August 25, 2014

Sewvivor Challenge #2 - Quilted Bag

Hello, everyone!  Before I show off my lovely quilted bag for round #2 (YES, I MADE IT THROUGH!), I really need to thank you for all your encouragement and support for me in this Sewvivor competition.  I can literally say I wouldn't have made it if it wasn't for all of your votes and kind words, so keep them coming please! 

I picked Amy Butler's Weekender pattern for this project and my muse was the cathedral window.

 I have started calling this bag "My Precious".  If you don't recognize the literally or theatrical reference I am speaking of, where have you been?! And please go read or watch The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings Trilogy, like, now.

I have been OBSESSED with cathedral windows since I started quilting last year.  There is something so beautiful and complex about them that draws the eye.

How to Make A Cathedral Window:

There are a couple different ways to make cathedral windows, but I created mine by piecing origami style fabric squares together, layering colorful fabric, and pulling back the folds to reveal peeks of fabric underneath.  I used this tutorial from the Moda Bakeshop and modified it a little to make the size window that I wanted (3" x 3").  To make the two large pockets, I used 2 charm packs and 1 1/2 yards of white fabric.  I cut 36 7.5" x 7.5" squares from the white fabric and folded it according to the tutorial.  I then pieced the squares together in rows and then pieced the rows together.  One suggestion I would give is that where you piece the rows together, make sure then is not a gap between the your stitch line and the squares as this will leave a hole in between and squares that is noticeable.

 I then cut 36 charm squares to approximately 3" x 3" (I used only aqua and green charms for this step and measured each charm according to the size "window" it was going into).  I put those squares into each of the windows and topstitched them into place.

Then I stitched an "+" in the middle of each window to hold the corners of the white fabric together.  I just takes a couple stitches in each point.

See all those diamond shapes that it creates?  I picked 24 charm squares (I used orange, pink, red, and white charms) and cut 3 1.5" x 1.5" squares from each charm and placed them on those diamonds.  The kids and I were all working on projects together :)

Here comes the magic part.  You then fold the white around the 1.5" squares and topstitch the outside edge. (I didn't get the best pictures at this stage, so refer to the Bakeshop tutorial for outstanding step by step photos.)

Those little "+" stitches that you made keep the whole thing together.

Back to the bag . . . .

I really wanted to accentuate the cathedral windows and make them the stars of the show, so I paired them with a red bias stripe fabric for the main panels, handles, and side pockets.  I also used a blue Moda solid for the piping, and another blue and green print to make the lining and removable shoulder strap.  (All fabrics used, except for the piping, was from Scrumptious by Bonnie & Camille for Moda).

I really wanted to make this bag into something I would use myself (because it is my own and my precious) and so I added a lot of personal touches.  One of my favorite things I did was piece my initials on one of the side pockets.  I also added a 9" zippered pocket to the inside of the bag, metal feet to the bottom, and another favorite, a removable 3" shoulder strap that is double lined with batting to make it, oh, so comfortable!

And here's the kicker . . . . this bag fits my sewing machine in it!  So, whenever I get together with my sewing buddies, or if I go to sewing retreats, I have a gorgeous bag to tote around my machine and all my sewing accessories in!  Here you get a little peek of the green zipper and hand stitched lining.

I hope you guys are enjoying all the eye candy from this challenge as much as I am!  I am so honored to be among this group of quilters/sewists and am humbled to have made it to this round.  If you would like to see what I have up my sleeve for the next challenge don't forget to throw a vote my way!  Thanks all! (Oh!  And a special thanks to Brittany for pictures and my gorgeous sister-in-law, Maddie, for modeling!)

UPDATE:  I won immunity on this challenge, so no need to vote for me. Please check out the other amazing entries and vote here!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sewvivor Challenge #1 - Nautical

Hello everyone!  I am so excited to be able to share my 1st Sewvivor challenge project with you!  Drumroll please!   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 Introducing Under the Sea!

This quilt incorporates color, texture, and unique fabric to create a true piece of art. The gradient blue hues create the waves and depth of the sea for the creatures to float along in, and the quilting adds dimension and movement for the three segments (sky, sea, sand).  

I have got to say that I am SO glad I got this one done!  This is what my quilt looked like one week ago . . . 

Yes, that might just look like a pile of fabric to you, but for me it was a disaster!  I had originally tried creating the waves by piecing together gentle curves, but when I had about 2/3 of the quilt top done, it was puckering and would not lay flat for the life of me.  I tried fixing it, but the strips of fabric that I already had were too narrow and I needed to completely start over.  I'm not going to lie, I WAS FREAKING OUT!  

So, I started researching patterns online that would give me the wavy effect I was looking for and I stumbled across New Wave by Elizabeth Hartman. EUREKA!  

What's even better is that New Wave is a free pattern, so I didn't have to fork out any more money for it!
You can find the pattern on Elizabeth's website, here

So, on Monday morning I hit my local quilt shop to get the fabric I needed and got the waves and sand of my quilt done that day.  It is a really easy pattern and, amazingly, you only need one fat quarter for each color.  I really think that this shimmery wave makes the quilt!  I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out!

For the quilt's sky, I chose a fabric that was marbled a little to give a cloudy effect.  I cut a 15" x width of fabric strip from this fabric and then cut a 10" diameter half-circle from the fabric I picked for the sun.  I then cut some free hand triangles out of another fabric to create the sunbeams.  I appliqued the circle and triangles to the bottom-middle of the sky strip and zig-zig stiched the circle and top-stitched the beams.

Since I really didn't want to cut the sky part of my quilt top to piece it to the waves, I chose to applique the waves onto the sky and blanket stitch the edge to hold it together firmly.

Finally, I got to work on my sea creatures!

When I found of I was in the top 16 for Sewvivor, I started looking for inspiration for my project.  This is pretty much what I based my quilt around . . . .

This beautiful jellyfish was the main inspiration for the direction I wanted to take.  I really wanted to make this jellyfish a work of art, so I went to Joann's and got some different fabrics that I thought would bring the texture I wanted.

I used an orange fabric that was sheer and crinkly for the top, cut a doom shape for the cap and then folded a strip in half to create the bottom "flap" of the head.  For the pink tentacles, I chose a pink peach-fuzz knit paired with a sheer, shimmery polyester. I sewed strips of 2 1/2" by width of the fabric and tapered them down a little near the end.  I then sewed the two fabrics, right sides together, in a tube, turned them right side out, and then folded them back and forth, creating this ribbon effect.  I hand-stitched on the backside of the tentacle to hold my folds in place.  (Sorry I don't have pictures of this step!  I was so focused on getting it done that I forgot to take any!).  The orange fabric I used for the cap had an ombre effect to it, so I cut some curvy  lines all the way down the width of the fabric to make the small tentacles. I then appliqued the whole thing to the quilt top and top stitched around the top of the jellyfish, leaving the flap at the bottom un-stitched to make it "pop" out.  I chose not to stitch down the tentacles.

 LOVE how it turned out!

This little seahorse is my kids favorite part of the quilt :) 

To make the appliqued sea fishes I googled "tropical fish drawings" and found some pictures that I liked.  Then I printed those pictures out and used a window as a light box to trace the outlines onto the applique paper.  I super-imposed the image while tracing to make sure that when it was all finished, it would look exactly like picture I liked.  I then cut all the little shapes out, and adhered them to the fabric I wanted to use for the corresponding colors.  After cutting the shapes out of the fabric, I ironed them onto the quilt top like a puzzle and top-stitched them down with coordinating thread.

For the coral, I spray basted a glittery, netted fabric onto a solid piece of  fabric (both were a coral color), and adhered Heat and Bond Low to the wrong side of the fabric.  I drew on the paper side the shape I wanted for the coral, again, super-imposing it so that when I put it on the quilt top it would look like the picture I was using (I just free-handed it).  I cut my drawing out and ironed it onto the quilt top.  I then top-stitched around the entire shape to keep it attached.  

I am in LOVE with the coarseness  it creates!

After appliqueing the creatures on to the quilt top, I quilted puffy clouds in the sky, 

echoing straight lines to accentuate the waves, 

and ripply curves in the sand.

  I chose a multicolored diamond print for the back that I think coordinates amazingly with the colors on the front and finished it off with an orange and white bias stripe for the binding.  

And then, the fun part!  We got to take it to the pond for a photo shoot!


Thank you again for all your support and encouragement everyone!  Make sure to check out all the other contestants' projects and DON'T FORGET TO VOTE HERE!