Stashtacular Friday Photo Inspiration: Scraps

We've all got a scrap bin don't we. Fabric scraps busting forth just waiting to piece something together but what stops me is how to cohesively build a quilt from all my scrappy goodness. Well if you need a little inspiration here's some quilts that pulled the scraps together in a eye catching way. I even threw in one of mine, the shrinking squares quilt, because I'll be giving you the pattern to make this quilt from scraps you already have in the stash in next weeks tutorial. Yeah!

Also if you are getting in on the swap today is the last day to mail your swap fabric to Kelly if you are in the US or to Jenna at Sew Happy Geek if you are in the UK or Europe. Please go to the Flickr Page where there is all the details and last minute updates!

Prizes! To enter this week's giveaway head on over to Stephanie's blog Spontaneous Threads - she's hosting our sponsored giveaway from; it's a $25 gift certificate to buy what ever you like! She's also got more Friday inspiration just for you!
To find out all the Stashtacular details go to the Flickr Group where there's tutorial contests, giveaways  and info on the fabric swap!


Tote Tutorial: Paper, Plastic? No thanks I brought my own

Regular readers to the blog know I enjoy the low waste life style. Using up little bits of fabric for quilts or refashioning old clothes is just the tip of the ice berg for me. For the past year I've been trying to cut out the extra garbage that comes into the house in the form of freebies, paper towels, cling wrap and plastic grocery bags. That last one is a big annoyance to me. With each trip to the store I could bring up to a half dozen noisy pieces of plastic into the house.
That is until I started bringing my own bags to the store. You've probably got some too, the cloth kind that came free with your gas fill-up or bought at the check out stand. These bags are great for large shopping trips; but not so convenient when just running in to pick up a tomato & sour cream for dinner. That is where this little folded bag comes in handy. It's just the right size to fit into your purse so it's always ready when you need it.

Now that I've given you the pitch - I hope your convinced that making this bag is a good idea ;) I made a little pattern (if the website says the server is offline you can still download the pattern by clicking the little 'download this image' button below the big triangle...not to worry the file is still available!) to help you follow along with the measurements, click through to view and print - I'll wait ;) Once you've got the pattern let's gather up some supplies.
  • Supplies you'll need to make the tote: 

1 yard of heavier weight fabric, or any good quality quilting fabric
43" single fold bias tape
Small piece (1") Velcro

Start by cutting out the 5 pieces that make up the folded tote. You'll need 1 front, 1 back, 1 pocket and 2 handles.
We will start by getting the pocket ready. Measure 3" up from the bottom and mark a line straight across and curved at the bottom corners like shown in the picture
Cut the curves out.
Next let's add the bias tape and velcro. Position the bias tape around the perimeter starting with the straight across top.
Iron into place
And stitch down the middle. Becareful at this step that the tape is getting sewn down on both front and back. See how I used the red line on a 1/4" piecing foot for a guide here, it was helpful.
Next fold the bias tape around the outside of the pocket. It actually holds in place pretty well once ironed (it was made for this kinda thing!) Iron as you go and use a couple bobby pins to hold in place. Stitch around the pocket in the same manner as before.
Next let's sew the velcro in place. Fold the bottom of the pocket up to the top. Place the loopy velcro patch on the right side of the fabric 2" below the top in the center. Place up the hooky velcro on the wrong side of the fabric in line with the loopy velcro like shown in the picture. Pin in place and sew around the edges.
Yeah! The pocket is ready to go!
Next let's get those handles ready....
Start by ironing the handles right sides together length wise. Then sew together with a 1/4" seam to create a handle tube.
Next turn the tube inside out. This is a kinda tricky thing if you've never done one before so let me give you a trick. Pin a safety pin on at the sewn edge about 1/2" down, then push the safety pin into the tube and turn down the edges like shown in the picture. This should give you a good clean start to your roll.
See how the bottom tube is half way through? Keep sliding the fabric over itself as you go and and pulling the safety pin out. Repeat for the second handle.
Once the handles are turned give then a press and top stitch down the seam edge to give another layer of stability.
Alright, pocket and handles are done now you're ready to construct this tote!
Take the 2 main body pieces of the bag and iron down a 1" seam at the top of each.
Then position the pocket on to one side lining it up in the middle as shown: 4" down from the top and 4" on either side. Pin in place around the edges and at 3" up from the bottom curve (see the pins in the photo). Remember the chalk line you drew on the back in the beginning? That's where you'll want to stitch across to make a flap for the bag to fold up into.
Stitch around the sides on the binding (but not on the top) and then cut across the bag at the 3" mark. (I took my pins out here)
Pocket is now attached to the bag!
Next we add the handles onto both pieces of the bag. Start by lining up the front and back of the bag by laying them on top of each other with the pocket side on top so you can see the stitching. Do this with a bit of overlap so you can see both sides like shown in the picture. Then line up the handles so that they are inside of the pocket and just a bit below the 1" ironed turn. The picture does a good job at showing how to make this happen. Pin the handles in place.
Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance down each side of the 1" ironed down seam. Back stitch at the handles to give more stability, you'll need it when lugging home a sack of oranges or a gallon of milk!
We are almost done with this puppy! Next we sew the bag -- line up the edges right sides together and pin in place. At the bottom be careful not to sew the pocket flap into the bag. Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Clip bottom corners....
Turn inside out, iron seam down and then go back over with a top stitch to give even more security! This bag has to carry the heavy stuff too!
Top stitch around the edges....
Ta-da! You've got a folded tote you can put in the purse!
Now follow along to fold it up...turn the sides to the inside.
Fold the sides into the middle....
Then flip up the flap and velcro together......then throw into your purse!

Monty helps me sew!
Thanks for checking out my tutorial for this handy-dandy tote...I hope you make one and use it next time you're at the grocery store!


Stashtacular; A No More Fabric Story

Today I have a story to share with you about giving up fabric, but before I do let's take care of the giveaway and all the details of Stashtacular! This week's giveaway is sponsored by 1Choice4Quilting a $25 gift certificate for whatever your heart desires.  Jenna at Sew Happy Geek is hosting so hop on over and enter to win! And of course check out the Stashtacular page for the low down about our crazy event and the Flickr page where you can sign up for the swap and the make a tutorial contest where you can win even more prizes! There really is a ton going on so check it all out!

Blue Bird Sews

A big reason we are having Stashtacular is because of the no fabric post (click on over to read it, I'll be here when you get back :) Lovely Jenna at Sew Happy Geek left me a comment that became the beginnings of Stashtacular.
Oh my, you are brave! we might be able to pool together and do a stash busting joint celebration for the month of June?I'm sure Mike might appreciate me not buying fabric for a bit, esp after going to the quilt show yesterday! we could do a couple of tutorials on each others blogs? we could do a Flickr group? what do you think? anyway, just an idea.
It is a great idea! Stash busting, tutorials, Flickr...swapping came later but that seed of an idea started the whole sha-bang! I'll admit; including the challenge to all of you to not buy any fabric for a whole month....that was my idea! I wrote last week about the stash and how emotional we are about them. Just thinking about it brings ideas and a little anxiety over the sheer volume of it (and mine's not as big as some!).
part of my stash
That's where the no fabric pledge comes in....instead of worrying about our stashes -  and what fabric we are gonna hoard next -- let's put buying out of our minds and concentrate on sewing! I'll also admit, it's easier said than done.

Not to long after I made my pledge way back in May I had to go to my favorite local fabric store, during their major summer sale! All I needed was a few yards of tan to round out a set of fabrics for a custom job (ie, not going into the stash so it was okay) Well I went to the store, I picked up my bolts and then began 'just looking'. Ladies and Gents, that's when it started. I found the cutest, super cutest prints in reds and blues, plaids, blue dots, little red flowers on a blue and white background. Just the thing I'd been coveting...I picked them up, I ran my hand over them, I hemmed, I hawed, I got a knot in my stomach and I put them down and  WALKED AWAY. I went to the cutting counter and got my two yards of tan print and I got in my car and called my life line, my sister.

I gave her the story, told her how cute the fabric was, how it was just what I'd been wanting and for $5 a yard I would be stupid to just leave it there with out bringing it home. The lump in my stomach was growing. I hadn't even started the car yet. I needed a serious talking down. But true to her big sister status she said just what I needed to hear.
"There will always be cute fabric, and there will always be another sale."
Isn't she a genius! I hadn't even thought about that! And plus, I'd have to go home and tell Hubby I broke my promise; because I am not a hide the fabric in the stacks kinda girl!

That first time out was a tough one, one that I am sure you will go through too. The cute fabric will come along, the lump in the throat will get bigger and the doubting will start. Did I do the right thing, did I really take the pledge? But let me tell you, to tame the beast of fabric buying, to look it in the eyes and walk away. That my friends is a great feeling!
fabric scraps
And the no fabric ban is only for 30 days, after that buy away! Go nuts, break the bank, laugh at your hubby's comments! But then again, maybe you won't -- maybe you'll have broken the trend and the stacks will become your fabric store, at least until your next favorite line comes out, and the stash starts to dwindle...and then it starts all over again!


A Quilted Pincushion Tutorial

Do you ever need another pincushion? For the longest time I had one pin cushion that would get shuttled in between my ironing board and sewing machine. And every time I needed a cushion to pin it would be across the room, just out of reach! So I fixed myself up a couple little pin cushions...

I've made a few pincushions in the past but this one takes the cake, it's super cute and it has a hidden weight to keep it from flying around the sewing room. And there are so many combinations of fabric and button choices it boggles the mind! So let's talk tutorial! Step one of making the pin cushion is to download the template, it's okay - I'll wait here. Oh, you've got it, great!
Step 2 -- Gather supplies, you need the following:
Circle template printed out onto freezer paper
3 different fabric scraps
1 fabric scrap for back
Scrap piece of batting
Upholstery lead weight - or maybe you can find something in the hubby/boyfriend's tackle box!

You can print out the template onto regular paper, or do what I did and print it onto an 8.5" x 11" piece of freezer paper. This way you can iron it in place and cut right around the circle. I use this method all the time for my applique, it's a super easy way to transfer your designs from computer to paper and cut them out.
Iron the template in place onto one of the fabric scraps, then stack the other fabrics and pin through all three layers. Cut carefully around with a rotary blade or scissors and then cut out each triangle.

Once you've got your triangles cut out you've got three possibilities for your pincushion. Mix and match to see what combinations you like. I used the extra circles to make another pincushion but wouldn't it be cute appliqued to a rug mug or a quilt block, or even for the back???
Layout the triangles in your favorite order next to the sewing machine....
Sew two triangles together with a scant 1/4" seam. (Sew Mama Sew's got a good tutorial for this here)
Finger press the seam open.
Line up the points of the next triangle like in the picture and sew with a scant 1/4" seam.
Once you've got your two halves line them up at the seams and the center.
Lined up at the outside seams.
A pin stuck through the middle. It's okay if the bottom edges don't match up, the seam will hide that.
Sew together with another 1/4" scant seam.
Now it's time to press the seams open with the iron.
Yeah! You've got a circle! It's cool if the center doesn't match up perfectly; we'll be covering it up with a button anyway!
Next we are going to quilt the top of the cushion. Pin your circle to a scrap piece of batting.
Quilt around the circle where ever you'd like. I followed the seams and went down the middles.
Now it's time to make a pin cushion pocket. Grab your pin cushion backing fabric and stack it with the quilted circle.
Pin the layers together and carefully rotary cut around both pieces.
We've got two pieces, time to sew them together
Pin the backing fabric with right sides together to the quilted top. Stitch around the perimeter leaving an opening to turn the cushion inside out and stuff it.
Another good idea is to snip triangles around the circle to make it easier to flip...a little dress maker's trick I picked up recently ;)
Now that we've flipped it inside out we've got to stuff it with all that batting!
Stuff the cushion till it puffs up then add the weight to the bottom. Mine has a plastic coating but the center is hollow so I'm able to press a needle through (using my thimble!)
watch out weight, you're about to get gobbled up!
Get your needle and thread ready and stitch the stuffing opening closed. Fold the raw edges in as you go and stitch a scant 1/4" seam.
Here's mine all stitched up, short little stitches work best.
Now we are ready to add the final touch, a cute little button to pull it all together. Stitch a couple loops through the middle of the cushion and the weight so that's everything is held in place. Then add the button.
Squeeze the cushion as you sew the button on and squeeze it real tight on the last pull.
Secure the ends with a few tight small stitches and a knot or two. When you squeeze and secure you'll get a nice pucker like in the picture. Trim the ends... and
Voila! You've got a super cute little pin cushion just waiting to be stuck with a pin or two!
Now you'll always have an extra pin cushion laying around! Which is great for me, I've found there needs to be one at the ironing board, one at the sewing machine and one on the cutting table. I might even need another one just for the pins I use when making clothes as opposed to my quilting pins...That's when you know your serious about sewing;  you are using specific pins for specific tasks! hee...hee!

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