I don’t know about you, but when I travel I rely on my trusty zip top plastic bag to control the chaos in my suitcase.  (It’s totally true!)  For my latest trip I decided to make the box pouch because I’ve wanted to give it a try for ages.  And, I thought maybe I could pass for a grownup if I looked the part!

I used Melanie’s tutorial http://melaniekham.com/easy-zippered-box-pouch-tutorial/  I mostly followed her directions, but I did play and experiment after my first pouch.  I listed the steps for everything I did below….

My practice pouch was from Black Essex Linen, because I thought my son could use one.  And since I’m being completely honest with you… if it didn’t turn out he wouldn’t feel bad because he didn’t know he was getting one! haha!

The first pouch was awesome!

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My daughter thought it was perfect and started looking for fabric so I could maker her a pouch too!  We found darling cactus fabric and made her a super sized pouch.  For the cactus pouch we increased the dimensions by two inches each direction.  I used a sixteen inch zipper I had on hand and it fit very well.  Inside the pouch is a lining fabric, in the picture below its gold polka dots.  We added a vinyl lining to the inside so it would be easier to clean.

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A note about the vinyl.  It comes in different thicknesses- called gauges, as well as different colors and patterns.  When it comes to pouches and lining for bags I find that 8 gauge is my favorite.  It is pliable and easy to work with, the thicker the gauge the stiffer it becomes.  When sewing a pouch, it is much easier to navigate tight corners if you can bend and manipulate the vinyl.

Vinyl sticks to the presser foot.  Your life will be much easier if you use a non stick sewing foot, or tissue paper when you are actually stitching the layers together.  If you have ever checked out the makeup bags at the store, sometimes there are bits of tissue paper inside the bag, they are left over from the assembly process.

The vinyl comes with a layer of tissue paper to prevent it from sticking to itself.  I use the paper that comes with the vinyl, but I have used tissue paper from my local store. When cutting the pieces I cut the vinyl AND the tissue paper at the same time.  Then before sewing, just layer the paper on top of the vinyl, as if it was another piece of fabric that needs stitching.  Stitch through everything and pull the paper off when your done.  In the case of the bag, I left the paper on until my bag was completed.  (See the next picture.)

This is when I trimmed the extra zipper length and the side seams.  All of the layers- the outside fabric, lining and vinyl.  I wanted a nice even clean edge.  At this point I also ran it through the serger to prevent fraying, but a zigzag stitch would work nicely too.

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Be aware that every time you stitch, you puncture the vinyl with your needle.  Your needles and pins make small holes that do not self heal or repair like your cutting mat.  I use Wonder clips to hold all my layers together.   All those seams and little holes prevent it from being completely waterproof.  However, it will be easier to clean and will mostly contain drips and spills from perfumes, lotions or wet toothbrushes.

My daughter wanted a larger handle, so we came up with a long fabric strip that goes horizontally between the side seams.   If you look closely you can see the black stitching next to the letter ‘K’ (below).  I wanted to reinforce the handle, because it can hold a lot of items.  In reality I would move it closer to the seam or even stitch in the ditch.  However, I wanted you to be able to easily see what I was talking about so it’s about 1/4 inch away from the seam.

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For the handle I cut a fabric strip 3 inches wide and one inch longer than the length between my side seams.  In the super size bag, the distance was just about 7 inches, so I cut the fabric strip 8 inches long.

To make the handle three are three choices:

Option one: I folded right sides together-  so it was still a nice long 8 inch strip of fabric.  The next step it to stitch a 1/4 inch seam, it will look like a long tube.  Turn it right side out.  I used my fingers and wiggled and jostled the fabric through the tube.

Option number two: attach a safety pin to one end and push it through the tube.

Option number three: fold the fabric in half the long way wrong sides together, iron, then fold and iron the seam allowances to the inside.  Last run a top stitch down the side to hold everything together.

The next part was a little tricky, but still easy.  I took the finished handle laid it exactly where I wanted it placed …but on the wrong side….  then on the side seam mark with a pen exactly how wide it was.

The next part seems kind of counter productive because the stitches that are under that handle need to be unpicked.  This just takes a minute, there aren’t very many.IMG_8099

Next go to the inside of the bag and slide the handle into that little hole you just created.  Make sure the handle is laying flat and either pin or hold it in place with your fingers.  Stitch the entire seam again.  I suggest doing some extra stitches directly over the handle.  I felt where the handle was located and I did an extra line of stitches over that one section.  Repeat for all the corners.

Trim and finish the seams with a serger or with a zig zag stitch.  Turn it right side out, remove the paper and go on vacation!IMG_8103

This project was so easy I didn’t have any ‘tester bags’ to discard.  Every single bag turned out perfectly…. even when I experimented.  Have fun making them your own!  I can’t wait to see what creative changes and improvements you implemented!

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There is one last tip I’ve heard through the grapevine, but I haven’t tried it and cannot guarantee the results.  Remove your presser foot and stick some clear tape to the bottom of the foot.  Then you can reattach the foot, and the vinyl is rumored to glide easily as you stitch.

Have fun!

Sweet Rhonda @OlieandEvie is celebrating her 4 year anniversary and I get to host a GIVEAWAY!!  🎊  Win one for you and win one for your friend!  [Yippee!]  You will get an Early Bird charm pack by @katespain and two half yards of matching solids.  PLUS your friend will get one as well.  🎉  It’s super easy to enter:  Over on Instagram follow @OlieandEvie, & @SimplyKatesPlace, & tag one friend.  Drawing is Friday, April 28th.  You can enter more than once by tagging a different friend in each new comment.

My sweet friend, Nile is moving.  I could feel the (very little) cogs and wheels in my brain moving as she was talking about oranges, grays and green in her new home.  Corey Yoder’s Sundrops were sitting on my shelf…. And so I started imagining.

I did some experiments and came up with this….

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I asked my boys what I should name it.  They thought I would like an endearing, warm fuzzy kind of name.  ME?!  I begged them to answer the question, finally they caved and said it looked like a Kaleidoscope.  It does!  My grandmother had a kaleidoscope in the toy bin at her house; although the colors are different I remembered being five years old and looking through it.  They had given me a warm fuzzy, memory filled kind of name after all.

Here’s how to make it-

Supplies:

30 degree ruler

Ruler to square up blocks, at least 5.5 inches

32 –  2  1/2 inch strips x WOF

48 – 1  1/2 inch strips x WOF

30 – 8.5 inch strips background fabric (I used white) x WOF

binding  6  –  2.5 inch strips x WOF

Finished Quilt 50 x 60 inches

Sew the strips of fabric together, alternating sizes: small, big, small, big, small.  Iron.  Repeat the process until you have 16 strips.

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Using your 30 degree ruler cut wedges.  Rotate your ruler after each cut completely 180 degrees.  Line up the edge and do the next cut, until you have cut the entire strip.  Repeat on all the strips.

Do the same process on all the background fabric strips..

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Now sew background wedges onto your color wedges. One background fabric wedge onto each side of your color wedge.  And… pull out your favorite ruler you use to square up blocks. img_5042

See that diagonal line across the ruler?  You put that line across the center of the colored wedge.  A trick you can use is to fold the block in half and iron a nice crease.  Then the center is obvious.  Or you can just eyeball it.  I’ve done it both ways, do what makes you happy.  Are you an OCD perfectionist kind of person, or the flying by the seat of your pants kind of person?    I ironed and pretended to be a perfectionist until I got the hang of things.. and then… well, my normal tendencies of winging it came to the surface. ;)

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Back to the task… Line up the diagonal line and get right up to the point and the edges of the background fabric and then trim.

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Then slide the ruler forward, towards the point.  Line up the diagonal line again, AND this time use the 5.5 inch mark on the freshly trimmed edges.  You will end up with a cute square all ready to join his little friends.  Repeat, repeat and repeat until you have 120 blocks.

Sew them all together.  I did break out the pins.  I pinned the points together so they wouldn’t wiggle while I was stitching.img_5151

If you make one, I’d love to see how yours turns out!  Drop me a note, or tag me on Instagram.

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I always think its fun to see how different quilts turn out with slight changes.  This is Flirty, by April Rosenthal.  The plus signs are Bonnie and Camille fabrics, from many different lines, including some solid fabrics.

The biggest difference is the background fabrics.  On the left is Essex Linen in black, which is more of a dark charcoal in color.  The texture adds depth to the quilt as well. Some of the threads are chunkier and remind me of a very thin strand of yarn. While others are narrower, small and more threadlike.  It was surprisingly easy to sew on.  I expected more fraying, but I didn’t have any problems.

On the right is the Bella Ice background, the texture is smoother, crisper and naturally brighter. A hint of blue makes this fabric feel fresh, cheerful and summery.  It’s a standard quilting weight cotton that is always easy to sew with.  I expect to use Bella Ice in several more projects.

The left quilt is named Gradient Patriotic because of the red, white and blue gradient or ombré layout.  Color placement is key here because the the reds and navy’s change to lighter tones of pinks and aquas as they progress to the white center.  I never expected to have bold reds and blues converge in a white center.  But, when I was sewing one day it just struck me.  This might just be kind of cool.  :)

The left quilt layout is a scrappy, toss in all the colors kind of layout.  I love scrappy quilts because I don’t need to make sure the colors are the same tones.  I toss in an orange and a limey green, red and whatever tickles my fancy. I can mix and match and use all my leftover scraps from other projects.  Often my scrappy quilts have a memory or two associated with them.  Fabrics left over from a project I did with my daughters, or fabric a friend shared with me.  A story.  I’m also a lover of stories.  Especially quilts with stories.

I love the bright clean look of white backgrounds.  I mean I LOVE them! I consistently return to a crisp, bright white in my quilts.  However, I realize how fun and even invigorating trying new things can be.  To step out of my traditional and comfortable habits and discover new things to love and incorporate into my quilts.

I’m encouraging you to try some new things.  A new color, texture or how about a new designer of fabrics.  You don’t have to give up your favorites, and I know it can be scary.  Do a test block, lay them out on your table to get a feel for things.  Or, imitate someone or something you see on social media.  As the saying goes, “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.”

Have fun trying new things! :)

 

 

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I signed up for the Flirty Sew Along on Instagram hosted by Happinessinthemaking and Heritage.threads.  The pattern is by April Rosenthal.

I’ve been saving this black Essex Linen and thought it would make the colors pop.  Initially I laid the blocks out randomly, working hard to randomize the colors.  On a whim I thought I would see how things would look if I arranged things more gradient.

When I started arranging by colors the navy section was actually green; because, that’s what came with the jelly roll.  But I wasn’t feeling the love. IMG_4220

The Olympics are just around the corner and we just had the most awesome July 4th that I can remember.  I live at the top of the hill in my neighborhood.  Nobody climbs that hill to visit…unless they are in a car.  I think they are afraid of having a heart attack.  (haha!)

On July 4th the neighbors in every subdivision set their legal (and illegal) fireworks off.  My family sets up our camp chairs in the backyard and waits for the show.  This year we had a 360 degree view when all the neighbors around us lit their aerial fireworks.  It was AWESOME!  We live in Utah, but I sure love those Wyoming fireworks that my community brings to town.  ;)

And so… Gradient Patriotic was born….. now I’m nearly ready for the Olympics.  Well, I’ll pretend I am since this is currently laying on my sewing room floor.FullSizeRender

 

 

 

The reason I put my name into the pattern testing pool is because I get to try new things.  Sometimes my skills will be tested and tried, like when I do paper piecing or stitching with curves.

I’m definitely NOT a pro at curves.  I can check that box ✔️as done!  Wahoo!  Next time I will be honing a skill instead of learning a new one.

This is Mini Picnic by  Jenny Pedigo at Sew Kind of Wonderful.  I love this!  I felt so accomplished when I was done.  This is actually quilted and bound, but not a picture to be found.  I love how this turned out!FullSizeRender

This is the full size version, Chic Picnic.  And yes, this is still laying in a corner of my family room…. But that corner is really pretty!

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There is usually a deadline which helps me stay focused and practice time management.  Most of the time there is a distant deadline and easily achieved goals.  Once in a while there is a ‘quick turnaround’.  I like both challenges, if I can fit them into my schedule.  I love Nicole’s patterns from LillyElla.  This is Litter Blox and is easy peasy!  Floral kittens (who knew they could be so dang cute?)  and my first time sewing with Essex Linen (Steel).      I was able to sneak some of my favorite scraps into this one.

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I experiment with new colors and textures.  Moda has released solids bundles that match designers fabric lines.  I was fortunate to sew a sample for a local quilt shop.  I didn’t imagine how in love  💛💗💚   I would be with the Popsicle quilt by Fig Tree.  I’ve got to sew more often with low volume backgrounds!  And solids too!

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This Spool Sampler was perfect to make a mini and try my hand at these darling designs by Bonnie at Cotton Way.   I got to practice my points and it wasn’t bad when I used my seam ripper- there were only four blocks!  Not a big deal if I made a mistake.  (Perfect Points are my achilles heel!)

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I am reminded that quilting can be fun, simple and a breeze.  This is a new pattern by Samantha Green at For the Love of Fabric called Junction.  My husband was deployed and life was feeling a little large, I guess.  This pattern was so good for me.  It came together quickly and I remembered how enjoyable sewing is.  This block is 30 inches!  It is getting a border and going to a new baby.  (Anything to get to hold and smell a new baby!)IMG_4098

If you have the chance to do some pattern testing…  you should!!  It could be scary and challenging, but how will you know what you like and don’t like?  What a better way to learn new things?  Be brave and give it a shot!!

 

Giveaway is now CLOSED…..

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To go along with the Bonnie and Camille Dwell Block Swap wouldn’t it be fun to get free charm packs!?!    I have partnered with Denise at Happy Valley Quilting to give away three charm packs.  Bonnie and Camile’s Vintage Picnic, Hello Darling and the newest release,  Little Ruby.  Here’s what you need to do:

*Follow @SimplyKatesPlace and @HappyValleyQuilting on Instagram

*Like our posts about the giveaway on Instagram

*Tag a friend

*Join the #bandcdwellswap join here: http://goo.gl/forms/B02F9BQLVGksCF162

That’s it!  Entries close on June 1st.  Good luck!!