Saturday, September 26, 2015

GO! All Together Now

Sometimes I hate having bits and pieces left over from a charm pack. I feel like I need (NEED) to get it all used up.  I didn't quite meet that goal with these, but I came darn close!

Just because I have better pictures now, I'll start from the beginning. First came the GO! tablemat for my office.

Then came using the leftovers and the GO! equilateral triangles die along with the Pyramid Triangle Foundation from Miniatures in Minutes to make a miniature quilt (11 1/2" by 12 1/2").

But after that I still had both a handful of little triangles and a few left over charms. I ran a few more bits through the GO! Equilateral Triangles die and then ran some other little leftovers through with the GO! 1" strip cutter. (Run them through twice and the result is 1" squares, easy peasy.)

So I used the 13-Square foundation from Miniatures in Minutes to make a 7 by 7 Trip Around the World -- that became a little zipper pouch.  Because you can never have too many little zipper bags, right?

Next came a 5 by 5 squares block and the Pyramid Triangle foundation.  Those two became pincushions. (For any interested, you can find a pdf on how I use the 13-Square foundation to make smaller blocks here and here).

So, there it is, two charm packs done! (Almost) no little bits leftover. I'll admit to a couple surviving charms, but I can live with that. I have a little private challenge going with myself: can I work on a AccuQuilt GO! related project every week? How long before the semester swamps me and I'm out of my sewing room for a while? Hard to say, but for now, I'm good.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

GO! Tumbler Gift Bags

Years ago I came across this great idea for using the Accuquilt GO! 6 1/2" Tumbler to make little drawstring bags. You can find the tutorial here at Jo's Country Junction.

One of the things I really like about this little bag is the way that when it is opened up, it is wider at the top opening. That makes it a lot more versatile.

While drawstring bags are super easy to make, there is always one part of making them I hate -- weaving the cord through the casing. Am I the only one who has to fight to get the safety pin through the opening? I'm always getting the pin stuck on the wrong side of the seam allowance. Then I have to back up and bring it forward again, where I find that it is still not placed right. It's worse than trying to parallel park! So annoying.

What follows is just my method for making sure the safety pin that's bringing the cord through doesn't have to fight those seam allowances. If you're interested in making these, I'd suggest hopping over to Jo's tutorial and reading through her directions first. Then what I'm doing here will make more sense and you can decide if you want to add these steps in or not. (I know it would probably be easier if I just recreated the entire directions here, but this is Jo's smart idea, so I don't want to infringe and recreate her tutorial).

To begin, after I've run the fabric through the GO! and I have my four patches ready, I make marks in the seam allowance on the wrong side of the fabric. For bags where the lining is completely inside the bag, I mark 1" and 1 1/2" down from the wide side of the tumbler (what will be the top of the bag) on all four sides. (These identify where the casing for the drawstring cord will go.)

For some of the bags, I use Jo's idea and fold over the lining fabric so that it forms a binding edge at the top.  Like this:

When I'm going to use that little binding edge, I mark the fabric that will be the outer fabric of the bag at 3/4" and 1 1/4" and the lining fabric at 1 1/4" and 1 3/4".

When it is time to sew the side seams, I sew through the side seams of the lining (still leaving a turning opening at the bottom), but for the outer fabric, I skip over the half inch between the marks. In the picture below, you can see that the blue fabric is the lining so the seam is unbroken, and the yellow is the outer fabric, so I left that part of the seam open.

Next comes the part where I take steps to ensure the cord doesn't get caught in the seam allowance.  I put a little glue in the seam allowance between the two marked lines (for both the outer and lining fabrics) and then iron the seam allowances back.  (Sometimes I iron all fabric in between the two casing areas and sometimes I just iron open the specific spots. In the picture below, I ironed the whole part open). Do this on both sides of the tumbler, front and back.

After that I just turn the bag inside out, sew the opening in the lining closed, and stuff the lining inside the bag.  I draw the casing lines on the outer side of the bag at 3/4" and 1 1/4" from the top of the bag. And in the best of all possible worlds, with those pesky seam allowances glued down out of the way, the safety pin holding the cord slides right through those openings with no trouble at all!

These little bags are so useful. You can tuck a gift card into them, a tiny little toy, or, even better yet, little chocolate kisses.

These little bags weren't what I originally had in mind to show this week. I have a table runner in process. I just got distracted.  Perhaps I'll have the runner done and ready to show by the end of next week?

Monday, September 7, 2015

GO! Triangles

When it was Christmas of last year, I just couldn't think of anything I wanted, so I set aside some fun money and waited to be inspired. Come August I was still waiting. I realized that as next Christmas appears on the horizon, this might be a "Use it or Lose it!" proposition. That's all it took -- I decided there were some Accuquilt GO! dies with my name on them. The dies arrived on my doorstep and I headed down to my sewing room.

I began with a very pretty charm pack that I thought would sew up into a lovely table topper in my office.

I ran the charms through the GO! and thought surely I could do something with the little waste triangles on the side.

Sure enough. I realized I could run them through another GO! triangle die that has three sizes, one of which fits the foundation from Miniatures in Minutes.

Soon I had a stack of little triangles. (Yeah!)

But first up was the original triangles. I'm loving the way this looks in my office! All those soft colors just blend so beautifully.

Then it was time to think about those wee triangles. It had been so long since I made one of the triangle foundations, I actually had to look at the book to remember how to do it! Sheesh. Here's the foundation, marked and ready to start adding fabric.

Here are the triangles laid out and ready to sew.

And after the foundation was sewn up and the paper removed -- with a close-up to remind me of why I still love this technique. The odds that I'd get all those points to match when the patches are so small (1" top to bottom, finished)? Uh, let's just say, not good.

And here it is, up on my kitchen wall.

Of course, when it's me behind the camera, the photo is awful. The colors are really much prettier in life, a bit of teal, very soft. Still, you get the idea -- it's just a pretty soft blend of color.

I love actually finishing something. And, hey, a twofer -- two somethings!

Since there's some other new dies on my sewing room table, I'm hoping I can stay motivated and get some more projects done. (Odds?) My goal is to have something to show by the end of next week. We'll see . . .