There are no shortages on good tote bag patterns on our shelves, but one of the best is Sally Hess's Farmers Market Tote Bag. It's package is unassuming, but it's contents are solid. It's roomy and solid-- perfect for beach trips, big coats, or grocery store trips. Sally has taught sewing for many years and currently fills classes down at MD.This is a good project to gain a little sewing confidence. You'll be putting your bag to use very quickly!
Amy put together this sample tote bag using a new, medium weight, cotton print from Yuwa, cotton webbing, and dark brown cotton canvas. Japanese novelty prints are so tempting, but sometimes they are hard to use up. This is a fantastic application and totally qualifies for the stash busting (in order to stash build!) category.
You can see this sample in the store and pick up everything you need to get going on one of your own. Opening day for the PSU Farmers Market is March 19!
I'm very happy to see nine prints from the Khristian A. Howell's line Bryant Park for Anthology in the store. There are some beautiful, painterly florals, geometrics and gorgeous palettes. Spring, this town is coming for you.
We are all back from a couple of days away sewing (!) new samples for the store and working on some personal projects. Thanks for your patience! April put together a sweet, embelished tote using some of the Bryan Park prints (above, in progress). A couple of us even borrowed some fancy Berninas from MD to familiarize ourselves with their awesomeness.
Other Great Things:
**Modern Domestic has some big news to share-- they have become a full-fledged Bernina Dealership. They have made room for all Bernina models (including sergers) on the floor and the lower classroom is now outfitted with beautiful Aurora 440QEs.
*We are celebrating Fat Tuesday with a Fat Quarter Sale! They will all be marked down from 2.75 to 2.50 next Tuesday, March 8th through Friday. I will be stocking up.
*There is a fantastic Seam Finishing Technique round-up over at Colette Patterns. They have been publishing detailed how-tos this month that make me want to be a better sewist.
*Karen put together a fantastic post on sewing with knits (embellishing, finishing, and construction techniques) over at Patterns by Figgy's. I have been back to this post several times for inspiration and instruction.
(Reminder: we will be closed Monday and Tuesday of this week.)
We tackled a baby quilt, but there are lots of other (and easier!) ways to show a new parent how excited you are to welcome a little one. Bibs were an essential part of our family entourage during the first year of all my boy's lives. I used them for bottle feeding and spit-ups long before we moved to all that soft food. Every so often one still gets stacked in with the napkins and someone ends up using one to their hands at the breakfast table.They are great to make en masse and then keep on hand to have give as baby having season approaches!
The perfect bib (in my opinion) is: Cute (obviously), modern, soft, plastic and pocket-free, absorbent, and medium-sized. They are astonishingly hard to find in stores. I used the template from Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing for this project, but there is a bib pattern piece in almost all the baby sewing books, including ones by Amy Butler and Lotta Jansdotter. You can sketch your own pattern piece or trace an existing bib you may own and like. Your pattern piece will fit from edge to edge on a regular 8 1/2" by 11" piece of paper. Sometimes I go a stitch longer, but paper-sized is a great guide to start with.
I started with three fat quarters from Jay McCaroll's Habitat line. It is PERFECT for a project like this as it qualifies under the "cute" and "modern" categories as well as in the lesser known "not too precious" column. Look! Paint Spatters! Bring on the spaghetti sauce, Sir. Three fat quarters will be enough for SIX whole bibs. My favourite bib backing is terry cloth or towelling. You can cut up a still absorbent but slightly holey towel, or you can splurge and go for the wonderfully soft, organic terry we have at the store right now. I did the latter and bought an entire yard (we'll have an upcoming project that will utilize any leftovers). I like velcro/hook and loop tape for closures, because I always have some laying around. Snaps are great as well, and so are simple button and button-hole closures.
So! You're ready to go. Place your terry cloth and print fabric right (soft) sides together. Pin your pattern piece in place and carefully cut out around your pattern piece. Take the pattern piece off, replace your pins (the terry can get a little shifty) and transfer to the sewing machine. Beginning a 1/2" inch from the edge and near the bottom corner begin sewing around the perimeter of your bib, backtacking at each end. Leave a 2" gap between the beginning and the end of your stitch line so that you can turn it right-side out.
Turn bib right side out, using a pencil or chopstick to turn out all the curves. Press the bib completely flat, turning the edges of your fabric inward where you've left the bottom gap. Place a single pin keeping the fabric turned in and your gap even. Topstitch around the entire perimeter of your bib 1/4" away from the edge. Your gap is now closed! If you are nervous about topstitching an even, straight line, opt for a short zigzag stitch. It is very forgiving and cute-- when I look at all the bibs I made my first born, ALL my topstitching was some form of a zigzag.
Now you can adhere your snaps in place (you can buy snaps that come complete with their own min snap setter) or sew on your velcro.
That took almost no time, right? You are going to be one heckuva shower gift-giver.