Quilting, Sewing, & Fabrics

Pattern Tested: Purl Soho’s Railroad Tote


During my trip to New York this month I made sure to pick up the supplies needed to make one of Purl Soho’s railroad totes in Robert Kaufman’s Denim in Colored Motes. The fabric is heavenly, especially after you wash it.



With so many Purl Soho projects, this was a delight to create. The pattern was easy to follow; my only hiccup was not getting a better grasp on the small bias tape, but that’s an ongoing (YEARS ongoing) of working with the medium.


The tote is a really convenient size for toting around your work goods or a craft project or two. It’s easy to care for as you can put in the wash and simply press it flat once it’s dry.

Keep an eye on Purl Soho’s Create section of their website; sign up for their newsletter to have new projects sent directly to your inbox.

A Paper Obsessed Fabric Lover


Heather Givans just happens to be one of the funniest, bubbliest folks I know. She’s also an amazing and talented illustrator, artist, fabric designer, business owner, and quilter. At QuiltCon 2015 Heather was showcasing her Succulents fabric collection for Windham Fabrics and quilters flocked to it. As QuiltCon 2016 she was back with ANOTHER new line, this time with snail mail lovers in mind – meet Paper Obsessed.




paperobFQBHeather’s booth at QuiltCon this year was the first chance many fans had to see her collection. Her designs for this line include lined papers, stamps, typed words, all in a palette of blues, reds, grays, and whites. The paper airplane is a fun icon in the line, with Heather making paper pieced blocks from it during her lecture on the show floor in Pasadena. It’s fun, just like Succulents, and ideal to highlight during National Letter Writing Month and the annual Write_On campaign.


During my visit to QuiltCon I was lucky enough to snag a sample charm pack of Paper Obsessed. I’ve been holding onto it to make something during Write_On. I decided to make a new table runner with the charms to admire as I wait for the official arrival of her fabric in quilt shops.



Keep an eye on the Windham Fabrics website and Heather’s blog for Paper Obsessed updates and when you can expect to get your hands on this adorable collection.

On Tour & Giveaway: Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book


I love spreading the word about new sewing books! And especially when it’s a book that could help you with a big event in your life – like your wedding day.

Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book, by the one and only Gretchen Hirsch, hit bookshelves earlier this month. Fans of Gertie are big believers in her first two books, Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing and Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. Thanks to Gertie, a whole new generation of women are becoming rockstar sewers. I’m lucky to have sat in on some of Gertie’s lectures at sewing events and conferences – she’s a pretty amazing maker.

In Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book, our author turns her attention to helping you create gorgeous, swoon-worthy vintage dresses that work for all the occasions in life. After taking a look at the book it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with her wedding dress pattern.


For my wedding a few years back I DESPERATELY wanted to have some components of a handmade wedding dress. While I ultimately found a dress off the rack that turned out to be THE ONE, I did end up making my own wedding veil and wearing a rehearsal dinner dress made by the very talented Karen LePage.


I wish Gertie’s book had been published back in 2012 as I think I actually could have tackled it myself.

GertiesUltimateDressBook_p212eAs she’s done with all of her great tutorials, Gertie walks you through the steps of creating a custom-fitted vintage frock. This wedding dress simply screams 1950s with its tea-length skirt, sweet lace overlay and charming hat.

If you’re looking for a new sewing book that’s all about gorgeous vintage fashion, Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book is a must-have. Feeling lucky? As part of Gertie’s blog tour for her new book I’m excited to be able to give away a copy of her book AND a bundle of Gertie fabric from Fabric Traditions! To enter, simply leave a comment below about why you’d like to learn about making your own vintage-inspired clothing. You have until next Friday, March 25 at 11:59 pm EST to get in on the action!

Curious to see what other people have to say about Gertie’s new book? Take a look at the previous stops on her blog tour:

How-To: Create Your Own Framed Fabric Hoops


Turning a basic embroidery hoop into a frame for a piece of fabric is a great way to showcase a favorite print or create some fast, low-cost art for your home.


I have an entire wall in our upstairs hallway dedicated to embroidery hoop art! Here’s how I create my hoops so that they’re ready to be displayed.


To get started, place your embroidery hoop on top of your fabric. Cut a square that’s larger than the hoop itself. (Now’s a good time to give your fabric a press with your iron, too.)


Unscrew your embroidery hoop. Place your fabric on top of the inner ring. Place the outer ring back on top and start to wind the screw tight to close. As you’re turning the screw, pull the fabric all along the hoop to make it as taught as possible. Look for any bulges and pull tight to remove.


With your fabric in place, turn your hoop over to the back and begin trimming the excess fabric. I like to leave no more than 1/4″ of fabric when cutting as this helps remove unnecessary bulk when gluing.


When it comes to gluing your embroidery hoop, it’s all about Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue. As you can see, my bottle gets used A LOT in my craft studio! Using a toothpick, apply a thin layer all around the inner hoop, smoothing as you go.


Fold your fabric over the inner ring, pressing into the glue. Add extra glue to keep any flyaway pieces down. Let dry.


Once your glue has dried, that hoop is ready to hang! Have fun experimenting with different sizes, adding embellishments (like I did above), or even painting/staining the actual hoops.

How-To: Collectible Pin Swap Banner


When I was little and a synchronized skater, we traded enamel pins with other teams when on the road at competition. I had a lovely, monogrammed pin book made for me where I kept all of my pins. I had no idea that 20 years later at a quilting conference I’d be wondering where I’d packed that book up in my parents’ attic…


From guilds to fabric companies, swapping pins is a welcomed tradition at Quilt Con. Some are enamel. Some are little, some are big. Regardless of what they look like, they’re fun to collect as you make your way around the show. But what do you do with your pins once you’re back at home? I made a simple hanging banner to house my pins that you can make, too. Adjust the size to your collection or make several and dedicate one to each vacation, conference, etc. (more…)

How-To: Fabric Yo-Yo Brooch


I save almost every ounce of my fabric scraps to use in a variety of new ways. One of my favorite hand-sewing project is to make fabric yo-yos with the Clover Yo-Yo Makers. Are you fan of these tools?


I love making yo-yos, but what do you do with them once you’ve got buckets of them? Make some yo-yo brooches to wear with your favorite sweater or to present to a friend as a sweet handmade gift.


It couldn’t be easier to make batches of brooches. For yo-yos 2″ and bigger, a 2″ Darice wooden disc acts as a greater backer for the brooch. Apply a thin layer of Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue with a toothpick. Center your yo-yo onto the glue and press into place. Let dry.


Attach a pinback to the back of the brooch with hot glue. Again, let dry.


Make many of these brooches and pair them together for a dimensional look.

How-To: Fabric Wrapped Bangle Bracelet


Happy National Craft Month! While crafters probably think EVERY month is National Craft Month, March is the official designation to remind friends and family that everyone has a DIY side, whether they know it or not. How do you plan on celebrating this month?


I’m back home from #QuiltCon and full of wonderful new inspiration. One of my favorite giveaways/make-and-takes from this year’s show floor were fabric accessories. From chunky necklaces handed out by Windham Fabrics (I wonder how many of these they had to make?!) to skinny, fabric-wrapped bangles at the Free Spirit booth (show above), these accessories were the must-have DIY pieces to wear when attending the conference. If you didn’t make it out to California for the conference, don’t worry. You can put your scrap basket to work tonight and make your very own fabric-wrapped bracelets in a matter of minutes to kick off National Craft Month.


For the bracelet I made today, I used one of Paper Source’s medium wood bangles. The set comes with three different bangle sizes, going from small to large. You can find a variety of bangle styles online; if you’d like a really thin bangle, try wrapping one of these silver bracelets from Oriental Trading.


To get started with the medium-sized bracelet from Paper Source (about 3.5″ in diameter and 1″ wide), rip or cut a 1-inch WOF piece of fabric. (I ripped my fabric so that I would have a more distressed look.) For today’s bracelet I’m using Robert Kaufman’s Kona Cotton Color of the Year, “Highlight.”



For this bracelet you can knot the fabric ends together or glue into place with a fabric adhesive – it’s all up to you and the look you’re going for. I like the raw edges, so I tied my ends together. Wrap your fabric strip tightly around your bangle. Knot the ends together and trim the fabric tails.


That’s it! If you’re in need of some instant gratification today, it doesn’t get better than this. I’m pairing my Highlight bangle with my #QuiltCon Free Spirit bangle that I made in Pasadena. Making a fun something every day is my goal for National Craft Month, and I hope it’s yours, too. Here’s to you and your month of daily crafting!

(Looking for more bangle crafting ideas? Check out the Paper Source blog for some paper-themed decorating ideas!)