T-shirt Quilt

I was pretty sick for a few weeks and completely lost my ‘sewjo’.  I had a T-shirt quilt to finish for a friend and the deadline was quickly approaching.  Luckily, I got it together and finished it up within 3-4 days.  I think I spent so much time agonizing about how to make this quilt, I just didn’t want to do it.  I had never made a T-shirt quilt before and the thought of messing up someone’s memories really concerned me!

Originally, I wanted to create a cool quilt where each shirt seemed to pop up in a 3D sort of way.  Once I started cutting up the shirts, I realized this was not going to work.  That began another couple weeks of agonizing because I was completely lost on how to put the shirts together.  I read and looked at a zillion blogs and pictures of other quilts, but I still could not commit!  Finally as the deadline was only 10 days away, I made myself get to work.  In the end, I fit the shirts together almost like a puzzle, figuring out which pieces fit best and where.

I had several “helpers” during this process: 








Once the top was put together, I spent another day or two deciding how to quilt it.  I finally decided on a simple grid, which I think worked out pretty well.  To start, I ran a piece of washi tape diagonally across the center of the quilt and then made diagonal lines out from there.  I repeated the process for the other diagonal direction, so the quilt design ends up with diamonds.  Here is a picture of how I started the process:

I just quilted following the line of the tape.  The nice thing about washi tape was that I could reuse it several times to create more grid lines.  The process was very quick and I was able to finish quilting in about 2-3 hours (including time to stop and remove/replace tape grid lines).

For the back, I purchased a $5 flat sheet at Walmart to keep it simple (and not too expensive!).

I cut the remains of Tshirts into 2.5″ strips, connected them and created a scrappy binding for the quilt.  I interfaced the strips just like the T-shirts using Pellon SF101.  I thought it was going to be too thick to sew through, but my Juki made easy work of it.  I do not have the patience for hand sewing binding!!

I will be delivering the quilt to its new owner next week and I hope she likes it.  It was stressful but hopefully the next one will be easier for me!  The good news is my sewjo has also returned so I am excited to get to work on other projects.  Any advice out there on conquering T-shirt quilts?

week 5

WIP Wednesday…T Shirt Quilt

I don’t know if this counts as a true work-in-progress since I haven’t actually started it yet….but, let’s just call it one, ok?

This is the first time I’ve ever made a T-shirt quilt and I am completely apprehensive about it.  It’s also a commissioned quilt, so there is that much more pressure!!  So far, I’ve pulled out all the T-shirts and separated them into piles….that’s a real step, right?

I’m super scared to start cutting the shirts, but it has to be done.  I’m hoping once I start cutting the shirts and fusing the interfacing, things will start to form better in my head.  I do have a plan, but it’s still a bit hazy….not how I like to work!!

My goal is to make the quilt with the shirts creating a “3D” image like this one.  That might be a little ambitious for my first attempt, but I am not a fan of the quilts that have the shirts all over the place.  I have this issue with order.

Have you made a Tshirt quilt?  Any advice for a newbie?


Tudor Bag

I had a special request recently to make a bag for someone to give as a gift.  I gave them a few options and they ultimately decided on the Tudor Bag by Sew Sweetness.  I had made this bag once before, but did not make the outer zip pocket.

For this project, I used Essex linen for the majority of the exterior.  This was my first time using this fabric and I enjoyed it.  I already have another project in the queue using it!  The front of the bag features a piece
of an Alison Glass panel that fit perfectly in the space between the bag handles.  The handles are quilting cotton but the black accents at the bottom of the bag are cork.  I’ve mentioned before, I love using cork, especially for accents.  Sew Sweetness also sells cork on her site in so many great colors.

Because this was my second one, things went together fairly easily.  The outer zipper pocket gave me a little trouble because of the placket for the zipper.  Somehow I messed up the dimensions of this and it did not come out exactly right.   As you can see from the picture, the zipper is just weird looking.  It is supposed to span the length of the placket, but I miscalculated something along the way.  I don’t love how it turned out, but the recipient was happy so I will try not to worry about it.

I had one interesting thing happen during the process that I thought I would share.  After installing the zipper pocket, stitching on the handles and sewing up 3 of the 4 sides of the bag, I discovered a little problem:

This photo shows the zipper pocket that I ingeniously sewed into the seam of the handles.  So basically I didn’t notice that I had done this until I was sewing up the final side of the bag, just ready to flip it right side out.  It was not as easy to fix as I thought because I had to rip out the stitches shown above, but in order to re-sew the handle securely, I had to rip out another side seam.  Otherwise, I would not be able to get to the handle easily.  Anyway, not a huge deal in the long run but definitely one of those times that you look up to heaven and sigh before reaching for the seam ripper!

In the end, I like this bag, even with the zipper ickiness.  I’ll be ready next time (or at least make some better measurements).


Evelyn Bag (Swoon Pattern)

I finished up this bag for a friend last week.  The Evelyn bag by Swoon Patterns is one of my favorites to make.  This is my 4th one, and I find that each one gets even better.   So far the Evelyn is the only Swoon bag that I’ve made, but I have the pattern for the Brooklyn Bag (from the Bag of the Month club).  I have others that I want to try out in the future as soon as my WIP list dwindles down.

My friend requested the exterior be a very bright fabric with lots of color.  I found this print one day at JoAnn’s and sent her a picture from the store.  She immediately texted back, “Get it!!”.  I love all the colors in the print.  It will pretty much go with anything.

I knew that I wanted to use black cork as the accent fabric for the bag.  The other three Evelyns I made also had cork accents.  It is so easy to use and I think the cork really makes the bag special.  I probably won’t use regular fabric for the accents in future Evelyn bags because I love the cork so much.  I’ve been using cork for bags for about 3 years now, but it’s really become popular recently.  When I first started using it, I had to order directly from Portugal but now there are several options in the US!  I have ordered through SewSweetness most recently.  Her prices are quite reasonable and she charges a flat rate for shipping, no matter how much of the cork (or vinyl) you order.

For the interior, I used Alison Glass Insignia in pink.  The pink matches the hints of pink in the exterior perfectly.

One change that I made for this bag is that I used a magnetic snap instead of a zipper closure.  That was at the request of my friend that prefers no zipper.  I actually almost never zip up my bags either, so I can relate.  I also added a interior slip pocket in addition to the zipper pocket.

This was the handbag size,  but there is also a bigger tote size pattern which I have not yet made.  If there is interest, I am thinking of doing a giveaway for one of the handbags in the near future.    Let me know your thoughts.



Good to Go Bag and Project Quilting

This week’s Project Quilting theme (Brighter is Better) called out to me and I wanted to make sure I participated.  I wanted to try something different than just a quilt or mini-quilt for the contest, so I decided to make a bag.  The rules state that there must be piecing or applique involved, or have three layers stitched together in your project to qualify.  With this knowledge, I decided I wanted a bag that would feature a quilted section with a rainbow of colors.  I stumbled upon this messenger bag pattern by Andrie Designs (formerly Two Pretty Poppets), and knew this would be perfect.  What’s even more perfect?  This pattern is a freebie on her website!!  Even though it’s free, it is chocked full of detail and photos to help you along the way.  The bag has a basic assembly, but would be perfect for someone just starting out with bag making.  Her instructions are excellent and you can’t beat free if you are unsure as a sewist!  I have another of her patterns that I have not yet made, but am anxious to do so…just need to get to it!!

Back to my bag….  I pieced a rainbow using Alison Glass Sunprint 2016.  (I found a FQ bundle on Etsy for a really great price and this bundle has been used in at least three projects to date, with more goodness leftover!)  When I do rainbows, I am very simple.  I literally lay out the pieces in ROYGBIV (I actually say Roy G Biv when I’m doing this.)  I am envious of others who create such beautiful rainbow effects with their fabrics, but I’m not there yet!  For the back of the flap, I used a black and white fabric I’ve been saving because I love it a lot! I created the flap just like a mini quilt:  made a quilt sandwich, quilted straight lines through the rainbow and then bound three sides of the flap (knowing that the 4th side would be sewn into the bag).  I had also been hoarding saving the multi-colored diamond fabric used in the binding, lining and strap.  It is so colorful and fun!! (The theme is, afterall, brighter is better.) It picks up every color in my quilted flap perfectly.

The rest of the bag was basic construction.  I altered the pattern in a few ways to make it my own though.  For instance, I made the inside slip pocket bigger and sectioned it to hold more items.  I also made the strap adjustable so it can be used over the shoulder or as cross-body.  Lastly, I added more interfacing to the bag to make it a bit more sturdy.  I figure if this is a messenger bag, it’s got to hold quite a bit of weight.  I used lightweight interfacing on both the lining and the exterior fabric (rather than just one of them) and I added Soft and Stable to the inside.  I feel like that really helps the bag keep its shape as well as give it more stability.

I plan to make more of these messenger bags.  They are a great size and can be modified in several ways to make each one just a little different.  Making the quilted flap was really simple (faster than the rest of bag construction), so I think I would consider doing more with quilting in the future, or even a paper pieced flap!  So many options 🙂

This is my first Project Quilting submission.  I think I went outside the box a little bit, and I’m pleased with the outcome.  Check out the other submissions and the website for future projects.  P.S.  I would love it if anyone would submit a vote for me!!

This bag will be for sale in my Etsy shop.


Roundabout Hobo Bag

I was really excited to be able to pattern test a new bag for Erin Gilbey at Dog Under My Desk.  When I started sewing three years ago, her patterns were the first I began using.  I actually didn’t appreciate how awesome she was until I tried using other bag patterns!  She is extremely detailed which I think is great for beginners and even intermediate sewists.  I also find that some patterns don’t offer nearly enough photos of their steps as the pattern progresses.  This is definitely not the case with Erin.  She basically photographs every.single.step.

Her newest pattern is a hobo style bag, called the Roundabout Hobo.  It is a super easy bag to make because it literally has one pattern piece!  She has incorporated a zipper pocket which can be used for the lining or the exterior.  One thing to know about Erin:  she hates raw edges!  She created the zipper pocket so that there are no raw edges, including seeing the edge of the zipper tape.  It was the first time using this technique for me and it was pretty simple.  It added maybe 5 minutes to the zipper pocket process.

Erin really likes zippers and tries to make you relax and not be afraid of sewing them into bags.  Because I had no sewing experience before her patterns, I did not know to have a fear of zippers 🙂  With her instructions, I find zipper placement pretty easy work.  She made sure to add a zipper closure to this hobo style bag (rather than snap closures that are often seen with this style).



For testing, I chose a purple vinyl for the exterior.  I bought this vinyl last year when Hancock Fabrics went out of business, so it was definitely a good price.  Unfortunately, I got a shock at the cutting counter when they told me the minimum cut was FIVE yards.  Needless to say, I have a surplus of this vinyl (anybody want some??)

 For the interior, I used a Valentine’s Day print I bought at JoAnn’s last year.  Not sure what I thought I was going to make with it, but it worked for this bag, so there ya go!
I opted to put my zipper pocket on the outside.  I only placed a slip pocket in the lining.

As I mentioned, the bag was very easy to put together.  It took me about two hours to complete (not including cutting, which I did on a different day).  In the end, I was not happy with how the vinyl worked with my machine.  I got a new machine this year and it was the first time it sewed the vinyl.  I probably should have switched to my walking foot because it was very difficult feeding the vinyl most of the time.  I don’t have a teflon foot, and I don’t know if that would help or not, but honestly, I’m too cheap to invest in one.

I am looking forward to making more of these bags.  I think canvas would be the perfect weight and easy to sew up, so that is on my long list of future projects.

To end, I can’t believe I’ve made it 4 posts before showing the most handsome cat in the world, but finally here he is, helping me with my project as usual:




Rag Quilt-My first and maybe last….

I was tasked with making a rag quilt for a little girl.  I have a giant problem with saying no, even when it comes to things that I’ve never made before.  Sometimes it works in my favor….sometimes, the project flops.  I’m not sure where this rag quilt fell in that scheme.

I read several tutorials online for rag quilts.  I had no idea the amount of diversity that can be incorporated into these.  I was supposed to be making a blanket that was similar to one the little girl’s brother had.  Based on that, I had already decided to use flannel.  Some tutorials recommended using batting between flannel layers or to use three layers of flannel.  In the end, I decided to only make mine two layers thick.  (Frugality and laziness made this decision.)

This six-year-old loves pink, and cats and dogs.  Those were my only instructions.  Always looking for a good deal, I waited a week or so until JoAnn’s had a sale on their flannel.  I randomly picked out about six different fabrics that mostly coordinated:  four with cats/dogs and two solid pinks.  Because I had no idea how much to get, I only purchased about 1/2 yard of each print and 1 yard each of solids.  I’ll go ahead and tell you now…that wasn’t enough!  (Note to self, let’s start planning out these projects better….)

I opted to make the squares six inches, knowing that they would end up being 5″ squares once they were sewn.  I don’t have a design wall, so I lay out my quilts on the floor, which is super convenient when you have five animals walking around.  (eye roll)  In laying out the pieces, I discovered another trip to JoAnns would be required.  I actually only ended up getting another yard of each of the solids because it seemed 1/2 yard of the four prints was jusssstt enough.

My favorite part is actually the back.  I made a checkerboard pattern with the two shades of pink, instead of keeping it a solid color.   This layout is also the reason I didn’t have enough of the solid fabric to finish the blanket with my first flannel purchase.  I think it was worth a second trip to the store.

After piecing, the quilt needed to be “ragged”.  All the tutorials mentioned the monotony of cutting little strips in the seam allowance and….boy….they weren’t kidding.  I couldn’t wait to be finished.  It was rough for my wrist and probably on my scissors as well.  It was recommended to use spring action rag quilt snips, but I refused to purchase scissors for one project.  If this was something I planned to make more often, perhaps I would change my mind.

These pictures were all taken prior to washing this blanket, which is a good thing.  I HATED this blanket after washing it.  I definitely do not like the look of a rag quilt, it’s just not my thing.  I didn’t take any after pics, so you can’t really appreciate why I didn’t like it.  I found that the flannel pilled, making the blanket look “used”.  That really bothered me.  The “ragged” edges actually looked ok.  I know the idea is a snuggly blanket that looks loved, but again, it’s just not my thing.  Will I make another one? eh….

In the end, the blanket was well received.  She seems to love it and that is all that matters!  What’s your take on rag quilts?  Love them or leave them?



Triangle Baby Quilt


A friend of mine asked me to make a baby quilt for her nursery-in-progress.  She gave me examples of fabrics that she was already using in the nursery from an online company that sells fabric.  This company also creates bedding and curtains with those fabrics if you request it.  Her preferred colors were navy, gray and pale yellow.  She also told me that she wanted vintage airplanes incorporated into the quilt.

I checked out the website with her custom picked fabrics and decided to purchase one of them, so I knew it would match the rest of the nursery.  That fabric is the small triangle grouping.  After that, it seemed like a triangle quilt was the way to go!

I matched solids to the tiny triangles in the custom fabric and found a sweet little airplane fabric on Etsy.  Unfortunately, pale yellow didn’t make the cut, but I think I made the right decision.

I just want to say….I love triangle quilts!  About two years ago, I took the Angled Class from Rachel at StitchedinColor.  At the time, I was just learning to make quilts, so triangles seemed daunting. (They aren’t!)  I have referenced her e-book from that class several times since then, just to remind myself how best to cut the triangles and piece them.  If she ever has that class again in the future, I highly recommend it 🙂

For the back of this quilt, I found the absolute best minky fabric from Robert Kaufman.  I found it for a terrific price on Etsy at a perfectly cut size, so no piecing was necessary.   This is the first time I have used the RK Cuddle line and I realllly liked it!  It is the softest ever!  Plus those vintage planes fit into the theme so perfectly.  The only downside is that this minky sheds like crazy.  I had little white fuzzies everywhere before the quilt was finally bound.

I’m pretty happy with this quilt and so was my friend.  I never know how big to make a baby quilt.  Everytime I make one, I look online for guidance and find 50 different opinions on the correct size.  I usually just keep adding rows until it seems “right”.  This one ended up about 40″ by 45″.  What’s your favorite size for baby quilts?




week 5

Late to the party….

So I’m obviously late to the party on blogging, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a few years now.  2017 seemed like the year to follow through. #newyearsresolution

I have been sewing for about three years now and want to share my projects and discoveries as I continue to learn.  Naturally, I gain massive inspiration from other bloggers out there.  Sometimes I have great ideas and my projects are awesome…other times, not so much.  That’s why my “jeanius” is random 🙂  My hope is to inspire others and give some insight on my projects and my process.  I consider myself a minimalist (except for my fabric stash, cough cough).  I try to craft and sew on a budget, and look for ways to save on cost whenever possible.  I plan to share how I stay frugal while crafting.

So, I’m excited for this little adventure!  Let’s “make it sew“!  #startrekgeek