28 Jul

Am I keeping this one?

Impromptu Tote

Each time I make a new tote bag, I’m making it for myself.  Because I truly, really need one. Or two!  But then I finish and decide I know someone else it’s perfect for.  I’ve just completed the fifth one, and I am keeping this one!

I decided, even though fabric buttons are such a pain to sew on because they have a metal loop on the back instead of a couple of holes through the button, I really, really like the way the batik fabrics looks on the buttons.

I’ve decided I’m also quite fond of the way this simple edging treatment looks on the bags.

On the red tote and the last blue tote, I made the wider trim for the buttons and quilted it along with the rest, but made the smaller divider piece across the top last, and sewed it on after the quilting, ditch stitching along the faux piped edge leaving it loose like a flange.

I didn’t do that this time, I sewed and quilted them both flat.  I think I prefer the texture of the flange look.  No biggie, I’m still very pleased with this one.

I also quilted this extremely densely.  It’s so dense, that the Soft and Stable slouches a little bit!

I still have at least three more I want to make, but now I need to take a break and make a sewing machine cover for my Bernina B740.  It’s just not right that she’s running around buck naked in my sewing room!

27 Jul

What’s in the box?


Jim and I stopped at Hobby Lobby on Saturday so I could look at buttons.  Several of my quilt friends were there working on Quilts of Valor projects, and my friend Sindy had a present for me!


I couldn’t imagine what was inside, but decided to go with the engagement ring scenario and said, “Yes, I’ll marry you!”

She just rolled her eyes and waited for me to open it.DSCF7392Bobbin earring!  Aren’t they the cutest ever?  Sindy had a pair on a couple of weeks ago and when I saw them, I informed everyone that if they found her laying down in the parking lot beat up, it was because I mugged her to get them.  I’m mean like that. I guess she took me at my word!

I finished another tote bag this morning, this one is for my mom, unless she prefers the burgundy one.  I’ll keep whichever she doesn’t want.

I couldn’t find any buttons that looked good with this one, so I chose the darkest blue of the batik strips and made fabric covered buttons.  I dislike sewing those on, so I tend to avoid them, but I love them here.

I used a variegated green King Tut to quilt this one, and green thread for all the top stitching.  These bags are so much fun to make!

26 Jul

Test sewing the Bernina B740


I decided to make another simple tote bag to try out my new Bernina B740 on.  I thought it would be a nice choice because a) I’m really into making totes right now (hahaha) and b), I can try a few different feet and techniques, plus a variety of fabrics.

I strip pieced my batiks together and loved the new 97D presser foot, what an improvement over the 37/57D feet.  Having the foot ride over both feed dogs is fantastic!

I made a fabric tube with some Stonehenge beige fabric, then cut a batik strip in half lengthwise, stitched it right sides together a quarter-inch from the edge of the pressed tube, then flipped it under.  I did this on both sides, then top stitched it onto the bag with monofilament thread, which stitched out beautifully by the way!  This is the piece the buttons are on.

I also made a smaller strip the same way (the cross band between the batiks and the burgundy top of the bag), only I sewed this one on after I quilted the bag, and left the batik edges loose, like a flange.

The burgundy fabric I used for the top portion of the bag and the handles was a nightmare to work with.  The machine handled it beautifully… me not so much!  I don’t know what it is, some type of upholstery fabric I picked up off the remnant rack at Hancocks, but it feels like a puffy men’s tie, and the wrong side is like satin… can you say slippery?

Quilting it was challenging, I had to go slow and hold the fabric to keep it from slithering around and bunching up.  Yuck.  But I love the way it looks on this tote!  It’s not shiny like satin, but glows more like silk.  It’s probably going to snag easily.  I didn’t think about that! I quilted the bag with this King Tut variegated orange thread.

I used the dual feed instead of the walking foot for the entire project and it worked beautifully, I am so very pleased!  The machine handled the bulk of stitching through multiple layers of thick padding (Soft and Stable) and fabric with ease.

I top stitched with the needle position to the right and left and the stitches were perfect and uniform.  I’d read about the issues on the earlier 7 series machines with this, otherwise I might have gone with a B710 instead.

I sewed my buttons on with foot 20D and a zigzag stitch set to 0mm.  I much prefer this method over using the button sew on foot #18 and the button sew on stitch.

The bag itself I assembled using foot 1D.  I thought perhaps I might have to switch over to the 8D, but had zero problems with 1D.  Nice!  Lots of power!