Quilt Block to Pocket

If you are anything like me after you finish a quilt you end up with a few orphaned quilt blocks…and then you don’t have the heart to throw them out…so you keep them…and they wait for another chance to shine. 

Well, recently I found a fun way to let those orphaned blocks shine!  Add them to an apron, bag, skirt, or girls dress as a pocket and let them be the center of attention.

*A quilt block
*A piece of fabric the same size as your quilt block to use for lining
*An item to sew your new pocket onto
*Charm pack to create your own simple blocks

#1.  Find yourself a quilt block that needs a good home.  Square it up and then cut a coordinating piece of fabric the same size as your quilt block.

#2.  Place your quilt block and your lining fabric right sides together and sew around the perimeter of your block.  (Leaving a short 1 inch opening on the bottom edge of your pocket that will be used to flip your block right sides out.)
#3.  Trim your corners.

#4.  Flip your block right sides out and press flat.

 #5.  Pin your pocket on your item.

#6.  Sew along both sides and the bottom of your block leaving the top open to create your pocket. (As you sew around the perimeter you will sew closed the opening that you used to flip your block with.) 
And you are all done!

A new home for a deserving quilt block and one new item with a darling pocket detail.

***Note all the fabric for the quilt blocks, dress, and collar come from Basic Grey’s Little Black Dress 2 line.***

We were so happy to visit here at the Bake Shop today!
{Simple Simon and Company}

Little Lady Ragged Bags

Today we are making a ragged tote bag that is the perfect size for little girls. It’s easy to make and fun to use.  I often give them for gifts filled with little toys or coloring books.

*2 packs of Moda Candy
*1/2 yard of white fabric (or coordinating fabric of your choice) for the lining
*1/2 yard of natural colored felt 

#1.  From your white fabric cut 66 squares that are 2 and 1/2 inches.
#2.  From your felt cut 66 squares that are 2 and 1/2 inches.
#3.  Open your Moda Candy packs!
#4.  Layer your squares for your bag.  Put 1 white square on the bottom, a piece of felt in the middle, and your printed fabric on the top.  (With the right sides facing out on both the white and the printed fabric.)
#5.  Choose two squares that you would like to place next to each other.  Place them (still stacked with the felt and white fabric) with the white fabric together in the middle.  Now your stack is 6 pieces deep!  (But don’t worry…your machine can handle it! 🙂
#6.  Once you are all stacked up sew down one side of your stack.  Then open it up!  (Your seams will be on the OUTSIDE and it will look crazy but that is ok…that is how you want it to look for this project!)
*Note:  For this project use a generous quarter inch seam.

#7.  Repeat the process for the 2 squares that you would like to attach underneath the pair you just made.  Once you are done place your two pairs of squares together with the white in the middle (your prints facing outward) and sew them together.

#8. Unfold and see the cute little 4 patch you just created!  Now repeat this process 13 more times.  (So that you have a total of 14 little 4 patches!)

#9.  Now select the 4 four patch squares that you would like to use for the front of your bag.

#10.  Sew the 4 squares together in the same manner you’ve been sewing thus far.  (With the white fabric in the middle and the printed sides out).  Once you are finished repeat this process for the back side of your bag.

#11.  Now we just need to sew up the two side pieces and the bottom piece for the bag.  Both the sides and the bottom are made up of 2 four patch squares sewn together.  The only difference between the sides and the bottom is just making sure any directional prints are going the right way on the pieces you choose for the sides.  So put together 2 side panels and one bottom panel. 

#12.  We have all of our pieces ready so now it’s time to construct our bag.  Put your front panel and your side panel WHITE sides together and sew it up!

 #13.  Next put that same side panel and your back panel WHITE sides together and sew it up as well!
 #14.  Now, I know what your thinking…it’s time add the other side panel.  But it’s not.  I mean I guess you could but I wouldn’t and don’t.  I add the bottom panel next.  So you will be sewing the bottom WHITE sides together in one long line across the front, pivot, down the side, pivot, and along the back side. 
#15.   Now add you last side panel…white sides together…sew down the front, pivot, across the bottom, pivot, and up the back.  Now your bag is completely formed.

#16.  We need to make the strap/handle now.  Sew together 10 fabric and felt sandwiches (exactly how we did in steps 4 and 5 only now we are sewing 10 together in a long strip instead of just 2).

#17.  Now sew a 1/4 inch seam down each side of your strap like shown in the photo below.
#18.  We are ready to attach the strap now!  Position it on the side panels right between the 2 small squares making up the top of the 4 patch squares as shown in the picture below.  I place the strap right behind the side panel and down inside the bag about 1 inch.  Then I sew the first strap on and continue stitching around the entire circumference keeping the 1/4 inch seam until I get to the next strap, which I sew on, and continue around the bag until I come back to the place where I began.

#19.  The only thing we have left to do is clip our seams.  Snip along all seam lines about every 1/4 inch like shown in the photo below.  Clip to the stitching but NOT through the stitching!!

#20.  When I finish my bags I always throw them in the washing machine on the rinse cycle and then into the dryer.  This will fluff up all those clipped and snipped seams and make them soft and cute.  This last step isn’t necessary but I always do it.

There are other ways that these bags can be assembled.  However, I’ve made over 500 of these little guys and this is the way that I’ve found to have them best hold their shape and be the easiest to sew.

*1 little girls tote bag
(And 1 big disagreement if you happen to have more than 1 little girl!)

 Simple Simon & Co.

A Simple Old-Fashioned Christmas Tree Skirt

Hello!  I’m liZ from over at Simple Simon and Company and I’m super excited to be here at the Moda Bake Shop today sharing a Christmas Tree Skirt pattern. 

When it comes to Christmas I’m always looking to the past…I love anything traditional, vintage, and old fashioned.  So when I saw the Historical Blenders line by Howard Marcus I knew I would have to use it for a Christmas project and a Christmas Tree Skirt seemed to fit the bill. 

Here’s what I did:

One Fat Quarter Bundle (I used Historical Blenders by Howard Marcus)

The first thing that you will need to do make this Christmas Tree Skirt is to print out the pattern pieces. You can download them here:  An Old Fashioned Christmas Tree Skirt Pattern.

Once you have them cut out and ready to go it’s time to…..

 You will need to cut out 8 of each piece. 
(I used a different, dark fabric piece for each of the large bottom triangles and then I choose 8 different light (or golden) fabric pieces to use for the long skinny triangle pieces.)

Next you will sew piece #2 to piece #3.  (Numbers are marked on each pattern piece.)
You will do this with right sides together and make sure to sew from the top down to the bottom.  (Starting at the small point of the large triangle and sewing down the entire side.)


 I do this by laying my ruler flush with the edge of my large triangle and cutting off small excess that you will have at the top.


 Now it’s time to sew piece #1 to pieces #2 and #3 that you just stitched together.
To do this again start at the top (with your light or golden pieces) and sewing with right sides together sew down the entire side of the triangle.  (Like in the photograph below.)

After they are sewn together you will have a little piece at the top that needs to be trimmed so….

Now repeat that process with the other 7 sets of pattern pieces.
Once you are done you are ready to…

Do this with rights sides together. 
When you have all 8 pieces sewn together stop!  Do not close the circle!  (Meaning do not sew piece 1 to piece 8 and you go around the Christmas Tree Skirt.)  You will need an opening to wrap your skirt around the base of your tree.

All you have let to do now is to back and bind your skirt in which ever method you prefer.
(For mine I made my own binding from 2 of the red colored fat quarters and for the backing I pieced together 6 of the remaining fat quarters.  It was easy!)

And you’re done!

One simple, old fashioned Christmas Tree Skirt.

{Simple Simon and Company}

Moda Bake Shop Basics: Perfect Pressing

Oda May here for another installment of Moda Bake Shops Basics. Today we welcome Liz from Simple Simon and Co. with tips for perfect pressing.
I used to think that “pressing” and “ironing” were the same thing until one fateful night…
I was at my pattern drafting class which was taught by a wonderfully eccentric retired wedding dress designer.  The instructor was helping me with a dress and sent me over to “press” a seam.
I walked over to the ironing board and began my version of “pressing”.  Within seconds I was being very LOUDLY reprimanded and then spent the next 2 hours learning (and practicing) the differences between “pressing” and “ironing”. 
At the time I wasn’t thrilled with the lesson and would have rather worked on the dress but now I am so happy to have had her intervene and insist that I learn how to properly press.  That lesson has made all the difference in my sewing.
Here’s what I learned (and still use) concerning pressing:
#1.  Pressing and ironing are not the same thing! 
Pressing involves lifting and lowering your iron onto the desired area while ironing involves pushing your iron across the desired area.  (When you press it’s: lift, lower, press, lift, lower, press.  When you iron its just a back and forth sliding motion.)  With pressing it’s the combination of the heat, pressure, and steam that allows you to mold and shape your fabric.   
#2.  When pressing, always press on the wrong side of your fabric.
Pressing on the wrong side of the fabric allows you to properly see all the seams and therefore to press them as crisply and correctly as possible.
#3.  Before pressing your seams open always press them flat first.
If you press your seams flat before pressing them open you will be able to “set” the stitches into the fabric.  It makes for a crisper fold and will help to eliminate puckers.
#4.  Never press over the top of tape or pins.
Pins will leave imprints and scratch your iron while tape will melt and leave goo all over your iron and fabric.
#5.  Take care of that seam allowance.
You can slide an envelope or piece of cardstock between your seam allowance and top fabric to avoid having your seam allowance press through and mark the front of your fabric.

(See the difference?)
#6.  Use the correct setting on your iron.
Choose the correct setting for your fabric.  If your iron is too cool your pressing won’t be as sharp as it could be.  If your iron is too hot your iron can stick to the fabric or cause it to melt, pucker, and even smoke!  ( I know all of this from sad, sad, experience…especially with synthetic fabrics….)  If you are unsure which setting to use test it first on a scrap of the fabric that you are planning to use and see how it reacts to your iron.
#7.  Iron all fabric before beginning any project.
Before cutting any fabric for your next project iron it first.  (Yes, I said iron and not press.  In this case ironing is perfectly acceptable.)  Ironing will help to ensure accurate cutting.  Even if it may seem unnecessary, time consuming, or just a plain old pain I promise it will be worth it in the end and will always help to give your project (whatever that may be) a more professional look.
Pressing should indeed work hand in hand along with you and your sewing machine through any project…whether it be in constructing a garment or creating a quilt top.  Proper pressing techniques can make the difference between a good finished product and a great one. 
Now, depending on your project there are further pressing tips, tricks, and techniques that can be discussed.  But in general the 7 tips I shared today are always good to follow as a rule of thumb.
Thank you Moda for having us over today to share a few things that we’ve learned along the way through our adventures in sewing!
Thanks, Liz! Be sure and check out more Simple Simon and Co. tutorials on the Moda Bake Shop.

The Love Bunny Skirt

Hi!  I’m one of the Elizabeth’s from over at Simple Simon and Company and today we are sharing how to make one of our favorite things—skirts for our girls. This skirt in particular was made for my Grace to wear through out both the Valentine and Easter seasons.  Here’s how I made it.

One Layer Cake:  I used “Jubilee” by Bunny Hill
1/2 Yard of Bella White
1 inch elastic
bonding material (like Heat’n Bond)

2 Pompoms for the bunny tails

Today’s skirt is a a simple tube with a gathered, elastic waistband.
To get started you will need to take just 2 measurements.  First measure the circumference of your little one’s waist.  (Grace is 18 inches.)  Next measure your little one from her waist to her knee.  (Grace is 13 inches.)  Ok, write those numbers down and save them—you’ll need them in a few minutes.
Now let’s get down to business. Choose 3 of your favorite squares from the Layer Cake and cut them each into 4  rectangles measuring 4 and 1/2 inches tall by 5 inches wide.
Next sew the squares together (in a repeating pattern) into one long strip.
(You’ll sew them right sides together.)
 When you are finished iron them nice and flat.
(This will be the patterned strip at the bottom of your skirt.)
Now we need to cut the solid white portion of your skirt.  I like my girls skirts to have some body to them so I make them as wide as the fabric is (44 inches) and as for the length…well, we’re going to have to do some math.
Right now your patterned strip for the bottom is 4 and 1/2 inches high.  But when we hem it we will loose a half inch and then when attach it to the white fabric we will loose another 1/4 of an inch so that leaves us with 3 and 3/4 inches of length for the skirt.
For Grace’s skirt I wanted it to be 13 inches long so what I did was take that 13 inch measurement and then subtract from that the 3 and 3/4 inches (from the patterned strip) which puts me at 9 and 1/4 inches.  Easy…but we aren’t done just yet. 
Now I need to add in 1 and 1/2 inches to fold over the top for the elastic casing and add an extra 1/4 inch for where the white will be sewn to the gray strip. 
So after I add this extra 1 and 3/4 inches I know that I need to cut the white portion of my skirt 11 inches long.
Which I did.  Which means I cut my white piece of fabric 11 inches long by 44 inches wide.
(The length of your white area may be longer or shorter depending on the hip to knee measurement of your little one.)
Now with right sides together sew your patterned strip to the bottom of your white strip.
Then top stitch.
You will have a little excess patterned fabric left over on the end of your patterned strip.  Just cut that off so it is even with the end of your white fabric.
Now turn under the bottom (patterned) edge of your skirt 1/4 of an inch, iron, and sew.  Then repeat (turning it under another 1/4 inch, ironing, and sewing).  This will finish off the bottom hem of your skirt. 
Next we get to attach our heart and bunnies!
Select the fabric you would like for your heart and bunnies from the layer cake.
Then, following the instructions from the medium of your choice, iron on your bonding material to the back of your bunny’s fabric.
Now print out the bunny and heart template (which you can download HERE) and trace them onto your fabric.
Cut out and position them on your skirt.
(I like mine off to one side.)
Iron them on.
Next I set my machine on the following settings and stitched around all the edges of both bunnies and the heart.

Once that is finished we need to add the bunny tails which is easy—just tack on a pom pom with a needle and thread.
Now all we have left to do is close up the back of our skirt and add the elastic. 
To close up the back just fold your skirt in half, right sides together, and starting at the bottom sew your skirt together to make the back seam.  (Then top stitch if you’d like.)
Next, make the casing for your elastic. 
To do this fold the top of your skirt over (wrong sides together) 1 and 1/2 inches and iron. 
Stitch along the bottom of the fold to make the casing for your elastic. 
As you stitch leave an opening about an inch wide so you can insert your elastic.
To determine the length of elastic you will need take the measurement of your little one’s waist and minus one inch.  (Grace is 18 inches around so I cut the elastic for her skirt at 17 inches.) 
Cut your elastic. 
Now thread the elastic through your casing.
(I always attach a safety pin to the end of the elastic that I am threading through the casing…It makes it easier to push it through.) 
Sew the two ends of the elastic together.

Tack the elastic down in the back along the seam.
Close the opening you used for threading the elastic.
You are finished! And your little one has a brand new spring skirt!
I love this fabric. It’s so young, sweet, and clean. It is perfect for little girls and springtime!
I had so much fun with it that we ended up making Grace a bunny doll that matches her skirt.  If you’d like the pattern for her just stop over at Simple Simon and Company and check it out.
Thanks for letting us visit today.  We love any chance we get to talk about sewing and fabric!
Simple Simon & Co 

One adorable skirt.

*Note you will have enough fabric left over from your layer cake to make a stuffed bunny, matching hair bows, or another skirt—especially if you have more Bella White fabric!

Simple Simon & Co.