Clutter Catchers are sew COOL!

If you have kids, chances are you may have some clutter in your car. I know I do.  My two sons constantly bringing things in the car that get swallowed up in the seat.  I finally got fed up an made a matching set of Clutter Catchers (from the SewBaby pattern of the same name).  It’s amazing how much more comfortable our ride is now that each son has a place for his video games, sunglasses, water bottle and assorted other items.

I’ve been asked how difficult they are to make.  And the answer is…not difficult at all.  The pattern is very clear.  I followed it exactly, step by step, and my clutter catchers turned out wonderfully.  They were also very easy to install and fit our seats perfectly just as the pattern stated.

If you can sew a straight seam and follow instructions step by step, you shouldn’t have any problems making this pattern up.  It does get a little bulky in some places when sewing on the pockets, so I slowed my speed and lengthened my stitch length a bit.  I didn’t have any problems at all.  The best part is the car stays cleaner and there’s virtually zero arguing over whose owns “that thing” (because they each have their own designated spaces) .

Click here to see the Clutter Catchers pattern ON SALE now at SewThankful.

Warning: Playing with Texture Magic can be addicting

I’ve been meaning to, planning to, wanting to…try Texture Magic for months.  However, my physical training schedule put a big hole in my sewing and creativity time.  Truthfully, I don’t mind having the time away from sewing/quilting this summer because the physical training fed my creative soul in other ways.  For example, I have more courage to try new things without fear of failure.  I also have learned to “just get going even if I don’t feel like it”.  Don’t get me wrong. I am continuing my healthy lifestyle and training, but due to weather and daylight changes there will be more opportunities for sewing and quilting over the next several months.  YAY!

Here is my first round of experimenting using Kona Cotton Solids, Texture Magic and Razzle Dazzle thread.

Holly Green Kona Cotton with Razzle Dazzle - not yet steamed
Holly Green Kona Cotton with Razzle Dazzle Thread - not yet steamed
Red Kona Cotton stitched with Razzle Dazzle Thread, Texture Magic applied and steamed.
Red Kona Cotton stitched with Razzle Dazzle Thread, Texture Magic applied and steamed.

I followed the instructions exactly as shown on the package:

Texture Magic product package (outer label)
Texture Magic product package (outside cover)

Using a regular pencil, I drew a 1″ grid on two pieces of Texture Magic.  I cut two pieces of batting approximately 1/4″ larger (on all sides) than the Texture Magic pieces. Then I cut two pieces of Kona Cotton fabric approximately 1/4″ larger than the batting pieces.

Next, I layered & pinned:  Kona cotton fabric on the bottom (wrong side up), then batting, then Texture Magic with the marked side up.

Next I wound a few bobbins of Gold Nugget Razzle Dazzle and threaded my machine with a red cotton thread. Then I began stitching with the marked Texture Magic on top, facing me so the Razzle Dazzle in the bobbin would be applied to the Kona cotton fabric.

I stitched the red sample first and when you look at the enlarged image, you will notice that you don’t see any red dots.  It almost looks like gold beads stitched into the fabric.

When I stitched the Green Sample I decided to leave the red thread on to see what kind of effect that would create.  I really like it!  I think the contrasting red thread with the gold on top of the green fabric looks very festive and has the feel of Christmas elegance.

I love the look of the stitched/steamed samples and I love, love, LOVE the Razzle Dazzle thread.  It is hard to tell by the scans, but luxurious little pillows of almost 1/4″ thickness have puffed up to form a waffle type texture and the sparkling gold Razzle Dazzle thread adds subtle elegance to the fabric.

Observation: I was a little surprised by the length of time it took to complete the steaming, although that could have been because I am new to working with Texture Magic so I was working cautiously in order not to have an accident and ruin the product.  As the steam and heat is applied above the Texture Magic, it lifts up toward the iron (almost like a magnet).  That was a little scarey the first time it happened. I suppose the total amount of time for both pieces was probably around 10 – 15 minutes…but, as I said, I did work cautiously (pretty slowly).  Your results may vary.

I have a couple ideas in mind for these stitched pieces of fabric, so stay tuned to see what develops with them.

Even better, I have a TON of new ideas for Texture Magic:  using different stitched designs & densities, using different threads, using different fabrics…oh boy…this is getting FUN!

If you’ve been on the fence about trying Texture Magic…get off and GO for it!  I think you’ll find it’s a lot of fun and easier than it seems.  Texture Magic is ON SALE now at Sew Thankful.

Pattern Review: LazyGirl Checkbook Cover

I’ve been so busy with new products, running the business and family that I haven’t had any real sewing time for quite a while.  So, last week I put myself on the calendar.  I made an appointment for me to sew on Sunday.  Sounds silly?  Yes, maybe it does…BUT…it worked!

I picked a small project  pattern, marked out a block of time here’s what I’ve got to show for it: FOUR fantastic new checkbook covers made using the LazyGirl Checkbook Cover pattern – I made two of the top (blue) checkbook covers.

Click images below to open larger image in a new window.

LazyGirl Checkbook Cover #1 & #2 - Blue
LazyGirl Checkbook Cover #3 - Tan
LazyGirl Checkbook Cover #4 - Purple

This pattern offers two options:

  1. A pieced block cover
  2. Plain fabric cover

I decided I was feeling “really” Lazy so I went for the plain fabric cover version on all 4.

First things first…my own personal rule #1 is ONLY SEW ONE! Having learned from expensive and painful mistakes in the past, whenever I sew any “new-to-me” pattern–no matter how simple it looks–I will only allow myself to sew ONE the first time I sew it.  This rule may sound boring, slow and restrictive but it actually allows me the opportunity to concentrate on the pattern more closely and *if* I make a mistake or if I mis-read or mis-interpret a pattern, I will have that issue with ONE.  Additionally, while sewing the first one, I may decide that I want to change the pattern just a bit to be more customized to my needs or style.  Sewing only one (of whatever it is) allows me the opportunity to evaluate and make better decisions.  The first one is the investment that pays off with big rewards for all that come after!

Now for my review of the pattern… The LazyGirl Checkbook Cover pattern is a super SWEET and easy pattern for a making fabulous looking fabric checkbook cover.

LazyGirl Checkbook Cover pattern
LazyGirl Checkbook Cover pattern

Seriously, the hardest part for me was deciding which fabrics to use.    Since the finished checkbook cover is NOT quilted–and especially if you choose the plain fabric version–it goes together SUPER fast.  My first one took under an hour.  After that, I was able to sew the 3 others in under an hour.  The pieced version would take just a wee bit more time, but certainly would not be difficult as long as you follow Joan’s instructions.

TIP: Always read through the complete pattern before cutting any materials.  If you’ve never used a LazyGirl pattern before, you’re in for a treat.  Designer, Joan Hawley writes excellent instruction, but you need to be certain you are setting aside your own projections or ideas of how you think the pattern should go together and simply follow exactly what Joan says to do.  If you follow her instructions and picture guides, you will end up with a nicely finished product.

Did I make any changes? I loved how my first checkbook cover turned out, but it felt a little too squishy to me. This is a personal preference thing, not anything “visible”.  I decided that  I wanted to add a little more firmness on the others so I did make one small change.  I fused a piece of decor bond to my cover fabric and proceeded with all the remaining instructions as listed.   I thought I might have more difficulty “turning” the project, but by carefully clipping my corners and grading the seams it worked very nicely.

Want to see the insides?

Inside the blue checkbook cover.
Inside the tan checkbook cover.

Inside the purple checkbook cover.
Inside the purple checkbook cover.

If you’re looking for a checkbook pattern so you can accessorize with your favorite purses or handbag–or if you want to make a slew of gifts to give to friends this year (idea: use novelty fabrics that match your friend’s personality or style)–consider the LazyGirl Checkbook Cover pattern.  It’s fast, easy and produces a very nice finished product.

Product Review: Pajama Quilter Reloaded DVD by Dawn Ramirez

I’m *sew* pumped! I just finished watching the newest addition to my personal DVD library.  The video is
called The Pajama Quilter Reloaded and it’s a brand new, hot off the DVD presses release from Dawn Ramirez.

If you’re looking for a stuffy, snooty instructor this video is NOT for you. Dawn is a relaxed, easy going, encouraging instructor that makes learning ENjoyable.  Put on your PJs, grab your favorite chocolate, pop in the DVD and get ready to have a blast!

While Dawn is a longarm quilter and she shows samples of quilting on her longarm, the principles she teaches for free motion quilting are learned away from the longarm itself.  That means this DVD is excellent for ANYONE who wishes to understand the concepts and principles of free motion quilting design.

Dawn shows new patterns and clear examples for how to develop your own free motion quilting style.  It’s unbelievable to me how much is included for the price!  There’s 87 minutes of relaxed, fun and encouraging instruction.

My favorites (at the top of my list to try) are: Dwirling, Wonky Feathers, Pebbling and Bananas…but there’s so much more! Want to see a sample?

The Pajama Quilter Reloaded DVD is available at Sew Thankful, click here…

Meet my new bag baby….Miranda!

My Miranda was birthed with love and nurturing dedication over the course of two days.  It was an extended labor of love for this Lazy Girl.

Why did it take so long you ask?

  • Well…because I never seem to have more than 20 consecutive minutes at a time to work on sewing projects lately.
  • I also have a very bad habit of wanting to change things slightly…which ALWAYS results in requiring much more time. For example:
  1. I decided I did not like how my front and back panels looked when I pieced them together, so I added applique pane strip over the join and on each panel end.  I quilted these down over the end of each large pieced rectangle (i.e., the front & back).
  2. I also decided I did not want to have a solid (looking) black lining, but I DID want to have a black faux binding around the top.  Sew….this Lazy Girl took her time and pieced the lining sections.

Did I need drugs to get through this extended labor you’re wondering? No, silly.  While operating a sewing machine or hot iron I highly recommend not becoming impaired or intoxicated.

Oh…so you want to see her? Here she is–click image to open large image in a pop up window:

Miranda Day Bag
Miranda Day Bag

Miranda ivory/black  bamboo fashion handles from Clover.

I used Leisure Arts 1″ Swivel Clips to make her cinch. Click here to see a selection of Leisure Arts handbag hardware accessories at Sew Thankful.

Mirada Cinched shown hanging slightly at an angle
Mirada Cinched shown hanging slightly at an angle

My Miranda is not quilted.  Instead of batting, I used Pellon Fusible Fleece.  I love the smooth and sleek look.

I also decided to give my Miranda FEET to protect her bottom, because good mamas take care of their baby’s bottoms.  Given Miranda’s ample proportions, I decided that she would need 6 feet in order to protection at each end and also in the middle. It’s terrible to have a chafed middle bottom!   I used silver tone purse feet from Ghees (gotta mind your metals when making purses…make sure all metal colors match for best results). Gold tone feet are also available at Sew Thankful…in fact, Sew Thankful stocks a nifty selection of handbag hardware.

I used the BLACK Velcro Fusion and I gotta say it again, “I LOVE that stuff!”  I only had the 3/4″ x 1″ rectangles available, and being a Lazy Girl, I just placed them end to end to get my 2″ piece and fused.  Worked great!

See inside:

Inside Miranda
Inside Miranda

So…you wanna know…how hard was she to sew?

Miranda is not a hard bag to make at all.  If you don’t have well honed sewing skills, you will definitely need patience and be able to discipline yourself to take one step at a time and follow it through without trying to guess it’s right.

There are some minor challenges in dealing with the bulk because Miranda is very well stabilized (and that’s a GREAT thing).  These minor challenges are nothing too difficult if you can discipline yourself to stay focused on each task as Joan presents it you shouldn’t have any major problems.

Joan Hawley, owner/designer of Lazy Girl Designs and the Miranda Day Bag pattern, did an outstanding job with both the “design” of the bag and the directions for the pattern.  Two thumbs up!!!

I LOVE my new Miranda and can’t wait to show her off AND make more — but that will probably have to wait until after the holidays!

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