Wednesday, May 28, 2014

At Last!

Can you hear Etta James in the background as you read this post??  Because I can, and certainly heard those sweet words as I danced around the house last night with my new bag slung over my shoulder: At last, my love has come along...

 Here she is in all her retro-vibey glory.  This is a tough bag y'all.  I have summitted my personal Sewing Everest. The Weekender Bag pattern by Amy Butler has turned in to a right of passage in the sewing community, and with good reason.  It is like luggage and certainly looks sharp with loads of professional looking details.
 Why, is that homemade piping made from bias strips??  Yes, yes it is.
Is that bag so sturdy it stands up all by itself??  Yes, yes it does.  There is enough interfacing in this thing I would not be surprised if this bag stood up and walked across the room to me when I called it.  (And it's such a smart bag, I should totally try that).  

 I did add a couple of pockets to the inside lining to make it more functional.

 And I did add purse feet to the bottom to make it more sturdy.

I also lengthened the straps to 54" and used webbing as interfacing for the handles because I wanted them to be really strong. Oh, and I followed the advice of my friend Christen  and topstitched the lining right over the zipper line instead of having to do that by hand.  Much faster and I'm so happy with the result.  I think those are the only modifications I made to the pattern.  Can I just say the zipper installation was GENIUS!  I was skeptical reading the instructions because I've never done a zipper that way before, but I went ahead and followed what it said (I know, shocker!  Actually following a pattern!).  I'm so glad I did!  The result is a clean, tight zipper line.

Y'all, I have wanted to make this bag for years. When I first joined the online sewing community back in 2011, I was amazed that this was a thing people could MAKE!  I've admired so many other's Weekender Bags over the years, and have so many favorite  - there are some beautiful bags out there and I've been inspired by them all.

I would never, ever in a million years have started this project without the serious hand-holding of my sweet friend Melissa .  We started this pattern together over a YEAR ago - her beautiful bag long being done and mine languishing in a sad pile of cut pieces for far too long.  The Weekender Sew Along hosted by some more sweet friends Sew Lux, Love By Hand, and Modern Handcraft was exactly the push I needed to finish this thing when I really just wanted to abandon it in a large pile of WIP's. And of course, I had constant support from so many IG friends who really cheered me on to finish.  Thank you to all of you - really,  I mean it! - I couldn't have done it without you.

                                 amy butler weekender sew along 2014

Now please excuse me, I am off to dance with my new bag...At Last!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2014

Spring '14 Blogger's Quilt Festival -

It's that time again!  I love the online quilt festival that Amy of Amy's Creative Side hosts twice a year to coincide with Quilt Market.  This time, I'm entering a group quilt made by attendees of this year's Sew South Retreat.    Jennifer of Ellison Lane hosts this event and it is spectacular!  I thought it would be a nice surprise to thank her for her hard work with a quilt made by all of us - an enduring keepsake stitched with love and gratitude!  I asked the group to send in 12" or 6" stars of their choosing with a color palette of teal, pink, orange, and yellow with a low volume background.

 I love making quilts like this because you end up with so many different blocks that work so great together. 

For the back, I pieced the words "Sew South" - going scrappy within each letter in the color palette chosen, which I felt would compliment all the different fabrics on the front.  I also pieced a signature panel from siggy blocks sent in by each person participating.  

For the quilting, I used a tutorial from Better Off Thread to do wavy lines close together.  I love the effect - kind of looks like a fingerprint!  This kind of quilting takes a ton of time but is worth it for the results and newly toned triceps.  Quilting is my favorite sport!

Jenn loves her quilt and we were able to keep it a surprise until the last day of the retreat.  It is always a joy to  make quilts for people, especially good friends!

I'm off to check out more Blogger Quilt Festival quilts - join me!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Quilt Lemonade: The Details

The Details
Who We Are:  A charity quilt drive benifitting the community of La Limonada in Guatemala City, which is considered to be the largest urban slum area in Central America.

Who Quilts Are For:  There are many great programs run by Lemonade International to help the people in this community.  Our primary focus is the children in the safe house, which currently houses 19 children. After this goal is met, my hope is that we can continue to cover this community in quilty love across all populations!

What We Need:  Completed quilts in a usable size - lap size or larger.  A general reference is 50" x 50", but if you have a quilt that you would like to share that is larger or a tad smaller that is welcome too!  We want these to be a functional size - pretty to look at and warm to snuggle under!

Get Involved:  If you are interested in providing a quilt for this community, or have any questions about this project,  please contact me (Valerie) via email at betweenquilts (dot) gmail (dot) com.  Learn more about La Limonada and other ways to be involved at Lemonade International.

The first quilt I made for La Limonada