Well, there seems to have been a bit of radio silence chez LPC recently. And for a very good reason! Not only have I been travelling – visiting Mum, weekend in Bath, day trip to Lyon – I’ve also been sewing away like a crazy woman.
Mais pourquoi I hear you cry! Well, a local group I belong to – the International Women’s Club of Lausanne – is holding a Holiday Gift Fair in early December. And I’ve decided to take a table to try and sell my wares.
This is a bit of a departure for me, as, until now, I’ve never seriously considered selling what I create. Most of it is made for the sheer pleasure of creating something beautiful, and ends up as gifts for people close to me. What’s more, I’ve never actually been convinced that anything I make is good enough to sell. But a couple of things have recently helped changed my mind.
First off, I successfully completed my Fabric Fast earlier this year, during which I committed to not buying any new fabric for 6 whole months. And so, from January to June, everything I made came my stash. This not only made me feel Deeply Virtuous, it also made me really take stock of the yards and yards of beautiful fabric I already have and which I’ve been hoarding for Some Special Project Or Other. But I’ve come to realise that such a Special Project may never materialise. Or, if it does, I’m much more likely to buy something yummy and new. And this is because of another revelation from my Fabric Fast – over the years my tastes have evolved. Fabric that I bought, say, 5 years ago, whilst still very beautiful, just doesn’t inspire me like it used to. It’s just sitting forlornly in my cupboard, waiting to be used. And that makes me a little sad. Fabric should be enjoyed, not hidden away in a cupboard!
And so I resolved to use up some of these former favourites to make beautiful and useful items – not just quilts, but things like various-sized fabric baskets, tissue holders, bookmarks, bags – and whatever else I can think of! And seeing as I can only use so many of these, and only have so many friends that would appreciate them as a gift, the logical conclusion is that I should try to sell them, so that they can be used and enjoyed as the fabric gods intended.
Secondly, I recently attended Patchwork in the Peaks – a twice yearly quilt retreat, held by the lovely Ms E in the glorious French Alps. And when I was there, I made a new friend, Ms S. Now Ms S, like me, loves modern quilting fabric, and was, like me, hugely frustrated by the lack of said modern quilting fabric available in the local area. And so she opened an Etsy store to sell fabric that she loves (she currently has some beautiful Jeni Baker Art Gallery fabric for sale…) One of the evenings we got chatting about fabric in general, and fabrics we’ve grown out of in particular, and she suggested I look into selling off some of my stash on Etsy, which, she assured me, is nowhere near as complicated or expensive as I’d previously assumed. And so a seed was planted…
Finally, I heard about the Holiday Gift Fair, and it occurred to me that this would be the ideal opportunity to maybe try and sell some of my creations, and then, if it goes well, possibly open up a little Etsy store myself as well.
And so I’ve been creating… And here is a little snapshot of some of my Works in Progress.
Noodlehead Divided Baskets
Pocket Tissue Holders
Reversible Twisted Fabric Baskets
And last, but by no means least, Kitty Cat Tissue Box Holders, just like this little guy – but in waaaay cooler fabrics 🙂
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday...
I’ve had a little fold-up sewing pouch for donkeys’ years, but I’ve rarely used it. I found it hiding away in a drawer in my sewing room a month or two ago, and when I pulled it out, it occurred to me that the reason it was languishing unloved in a drawer was because it wasn’t the right size for what I needed.
So I decided to make my own version that ticked all my boxes.
Initially I thought I’d use it as a take-along pouch for when I wanted to sew some hexies on-the-go, but I soon realised I could also use it as a little clutch for a night out, to hold travel documents and the like – well, you get the idea! I fiddled and faffed with the idea until I found something I was happy with. It fits my travel hexie kit, my iPhone and also my passport.
May I present to you a very handy little fold-up pouch!
You will need:
- 1 FQ main fabric for the outside of your pouch and the pockets
- 1 FQ lining fabric for the lining and binding
- Scrap of batting or fusible fleece 6 1/2” x 18”
- 2 poppers (or magnetic clasps, as preferred)
- 1 button, for decoration (optional)
From main fabric cut:
- 1 rectangle 6 1/2” x 18” for the outside of the pouch (if you will be quilting the exterior densely, I would cut it slightly bigger – say 7″ x 18 1/2″ – and then trim it down to size after you’ve quilted it)
- 3 rectangles 6 1/2” x 8” for the interior pockets
- 1 square 6” x 6” for the interior pocket flap
From lining fabric cut:
- 1 rectangle 6 1/2” x 18” for the pouch lining
- 3 strips 18” x 2 1/4” for binding
Prepare the outside of your pouch.
Fuse fleece to the wrong side of your main fabric 6 1/2” x 18” rectangle, or baste the fabric to your batting. Quilt as desired – I quilted random wavy lines about 1” apart diagonally across the fabric.
Prepare the pockets
With wrong sides together, fold each of the 6 1/2” x 8” rectangles in half along the 6 1/2” length to make 3 rectangles that each measure 6 1/2” x 4”.
Press along the fold to form a neat, crisp edge, then top stitch along this fold, approximately 1/8” in from the edge.
Attach the pockets to the lining fabric
Using a ruler, measure and draw 2 lines on the right side of the lining fabric, one 5” up from the bottom and the second one 9 3/4” up from the bottom. These lines will be covered by the pockets, so use a Frixion pen, regular pencil, whatever you have to hand.
Take 2 of your prepared pockets and place them on the lining fabric, with the raw edges aligned along the lines you just drew, and the topstitched edges pointing down to the bottom of the lining.
Pin in place and sew onto the lining fabric with a 1/4” seam allowance.
Flip the pockets up toward the top of the lining and press towards the top of the lining.
Take the third pocket and place it at the very bottom of the lining, aligning all 3 raw edges of the pocket with the raw edges at the bottom of the lining. Pin in place. Then align the sides of the other 2 pockets with the raw long edge of the lining and pin in place.
Use a seam allowance of about 1/8” and a basting stitch of about 4.0 to secure the edges of all three pockets to the lining.
Prepare and attach the pocket flap
Take the 6” square and fold it in half lengthways with right sides together. Pin the raw edges. Mark a gap about 2 1/2” wide in the middle of the long edge, which will be left unsewn for turning.
Sew both short edges and up to either side of the gap you marked, using a 1/4” seam allowance, and backstitching at each end. Trim the corners.
Turn the pocket flap right side out through the gap you left, and push the corners out.
Fold the fabric at the gap under 1/4”, and press the flap flat.
Top stitch along each side and along the bottom edge of the flap; this will close the gap.
Centre the pocket flap approximately 1/4” above the top of the pocket you want to have a flap. Pin in place and top stitch along the top of the flap to secure it to the lining. Pull the threads through to the back of the lining and tie them off.
Add a popper (or other closure) to the pocket flap.
Attach magnetic clasp (if using – if you’re planning on using a regular popper, skip this step)
On the outside, measure up and mark a point 6 1/2″ from the bottom of the pouch, and 3 1/4″ in from either side.
On the lining, measure down and mark a point 1 1/4″ from the top of the lining, and 3 1/4″ in from either side.
These mark where the centre of each piece of the magnetic clasp should be placed.
Attach your magnetic clasp according to the instructions which came with it.
Assemble the Pouch
Place the batting side of the quilted outer fabric to the wrong side of the lining, and pin in place
NB – if you are using a directional fabric, you need to line the top of the lining with the bottom of the outside of the pouch, so that when you fold it up, the fabric at the front will be the right way up. I found this out the hard way 😉
Baste around all four sides with a stitch length of around 4.0 and a seam allowance of around 1/8”, like you did with the edges of the pockets. I used a walking foot because of all the layers. It will look like a complete mess, but the edges are about to be covered up with binding, so it doesn’t matter!
Attach the binding
Sew the 3 strips of 18” x 2 1/4” lining fabric together end to end and press to create a single fold binding.
Attach the binding to the front of the pouch using a 1/4” seam allowance, then fold the binding over and sew to the back of the pouch either by hand or by machine.
Fold the pouch up
With pocket side up, fold the bottom pocket up to meet the middle pocket, then fold up again twice.
Add a popper to secure the front flap to the rest of the pouch, and add a decorative button if desired.
Fill pockets with useful things and admire your handiwork!
As you can see, I made several!
So why not make it your own? Use up your scraps by piecing the outside (I made this one with leftover bits of a jelly roll)…
… or piecing the pockets (I fussy cut my scraps of this glorious Tula Pink octopus fabric to do this)
Make one without any pocket flaps inside (like my Tula Pink one above), or with several, or change the shape of the flap.
The sky’s the limit, so why not get creating?!
Over the years I’ve discovered the Caribbean from afar. I’ve read books and articles about the islands, seen documentaries, and drooled over friends’ holiday photos. I knew that all the islands have a different character, and were a riot of colours. That the flowers were hot pinks and reds, the foliage lush and green, the sands (generally speaking) almost white, soft and fine, and that the sea was a glorious, ever-changing shade of turquoise.
But it wasn’t until 2 weeks ago that I finally made it here for the first time and the beautiful reality of it just blew me away.
As a quilter, I love colour, and so, naturally, I was in my element! And all I’ve been thinking about for the past few weeks is how to capture the essence of the Caribbean in a quilt.
Or, indeed, in several 🙂
Blues, aquas, turquoises
Luscious shades of green
Yellows and oranges
Hot pinks, purples and reds
These photos may not even begin to do it justice, but hopefully will be enough to spark memories of the beautiful colours that we saw during our wonderful holiday.
I’m still not sure how I want to capture all this vibrancy in quilt form, but the Caribbean we saw was gloriously untamed and wild with colour, so I’m pretty sure it will be scrappy and probably quite improvisational. And thanks to an impromptu gift from the wonderful RR, I know what I’m going to use for the backing…
And one more thing I’m sure of is that I just can’t wait to get started!
Well, who’d have thought it?!
It’s been 2 months since I took the plunge and signed up to the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, and I’m doing well. Really well, in fact. Oh yes!
I started out back in January by taking a good hard look at my sewing room, and deciding that it Was Not Conducive to finishing projects or making the most of my stash. Sure, I had fabric stored neatly in my cupboard and drawers (and the spare room wardrobe too, if you really want to know…), and my projects were all nicely organised into boxes, but they were piled up all over the place higgledy-piggledy and not desperately accessible.
Following the tactical purchase of an Ikea bookcase, and the relocation of my sewing machine to the corner by the window to enable said bookcase to actually fit in the room, my sewing space is now much more organised, and I can see all my stash and my projects at a glance.
New Ikea bookcase full of project boxes
My newly-organised stash cupboard
Pre-cuts and fabric bundles
Dress making fabric
Now I can actually see all my yummy fabric, I’m feeling inspired to cut into it and use it up. And I have been! I earmarked my stash of Taxi fabrics for the 2014 Sugar Block Club block of the month, and have already made January and February’s blocks. I’ve also re-discovered some Fig Tree pre-cuts, which had been stored out of sight in a drawer, and which I’m planning to use to make a wedding quilt for RR’s cousin, Miss S, and her soon to be husband, Mr E.
I still have a whole box of scraps which need to be sorted, but I’ve been waiting for a snow day to get going on this and we haven’t had any snow yet this year…
But what’s more important for me is that I haven’t felt the need to buy any more quilting fabric. I’ve unsubscribed from all the fabric-porn newsletters I used get, and haven’t been actively looking on-line at new, must-have fabric lines. A big test came 2 weeks ago, when I popped into my local quilt shop with Ms C, who needed border fabric for her beautiful one block wonder quilt. Yes I looked, and yes I touched, and yes I may have been a teeny bit tempted – but I didn’t buy ANYTHING!!! I don’t know who was more shocked – me, Ms C, or the owner!
What’s more, I’m not getting bored with the projects I have on the go, or with my stash, and I’ve so many quilt and dressmaking ideas whirring around in my head that I’m excited about.
So, all in all, so far so good on the Fabric Fast front – long may it continue!