Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lily Bowl & Plate

One last project for July. I love blues and greens so when someone asked me to make the Lily Bowl & Plate for them in colours of my choice I opted for these.

The pattern is a tutorial by michele made me. This is quick to make although because it's so hot it took me a couple of days to make.

 I love the echo quilting on them.

 I put some thread in it to show you the size.

This bowl would be great for storing buttons or you could use it for sweets or makeup or..... The choices are endless.

If you had one of these what would you use yours for?

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Monday, July 28, 2014

Convertible/Reversible 4 in 1 Bag Tour & Giveaway

Welcome to the Convertible/Reversible Bag Tour. Today is the first day of the bag tour and I'll be showing you my bag but for those of you that are visiting here for the first time let me tell you a little about myself.

I've been sewing for years and grew up watching my mum sew but never really enjoyed making clothes. About five years or so ago I got into making bags and loved it. Then came pattern testing for some wonderful bag designers. I've learned so much from them. I also like to try my hand at patchwork quilting and even tested a quilt pattern just recently which was so much fun. My biggest weakness is fabric, if I leave the house the chances are I'll come back with some. My greatest joy is that my daughter graduated as a Textile and Fabric Designer and she too loves fabric shopping. We're like two little kids in a sweet shop.

Ok lets get on with the bag tour.

I found Sarah Gido at Cosy Nest Design through a friend and it was only after chatting with Sarah a few times realized I had won one of her bag patterns just recently. I can be a bit slow to catch on sometimes LOLL. The 4 in 1 bag is Sarah's latest design and was thrilled to be able to test it for her. What an amazing bag she came up with. I've never made anything like it and whilst making it, constantly wondered how on earth Sarah came up with this design and how she managed to put it all together to make a bag.

Here's my Convertible/Reversible 4 in 1 bag. Four bags in one, can you believe it!!!!!!
How, you're wondering, well I'll try my best to explain.

Here's the first of the 4 in 1 bags. A cute clutch with a magnetic button flap closure and if you go HERE Sarah has a tutorial on how to make magnetic snap covers, a brilliant and very effective idea and you can let your imagination run wild with these by making them with flowers or whatever you wish. In the pattern the flap has piping around it but I omitted that. It would also look great with a twist lock closure. If you were using a plain fabric you could even do some embroidery on it. This bag design allows you to let you creativity run free.

This is the back view.

If you look inside you'll see a zip on the bottom and probably thinking what a strange place to add a zipper but that zipper is actually the top of the next bag when pulled out and up.

to look like this. The pattern says to make two adjustable straps, so that they match the two different fabrics you've chosen but I chose a fabric that matched both sides of my bag so only needed to make one. 
The sides have tabs to attach D rings but I omitted those and just attached the strap straight onto the fabric tabs. So far you have a clutch and a shoulder bag or cross body bag.

Underneath the zipper shown in the photo below is another zipper from the other side of the bag, getting confused, stick with me, I stitched a decorative running stitch to hold the two in place becasue I was pretty sure if I machine sewed them together I was going to get wonky stitches on one of the sides.

Ok lets move onto the third. This one is my favourite side. You turn the whole bag from the above photo inside out and you get your bag #3. You'll notice this side is slightly different. It has a zipper across the middle. This flange can be in the upward position like mine or folded down. Again you have your side tabs to attach the adjustable strap.

Are you still with me. Now you'll see why there's a zipper in the middle with fabric tabs below it. Time to show you bag #4. You remove the adjustable strap and push the top half of the bag above the zipper into the bottom half.

Attach your straps to the tabs below your zip and close up your zip to give you another wonderful shoulder/cross body bag.

And there you have it 4 bags in 1. Genius!!!!!!

This bag is so versatile, you could use cottons for one side and use it during the day and a fancy evening fabric to turn into a clutch for going out in the evening.
My bag was made from quilting cottons as suggested in the pattern as one of the fabrics to use. Heavy upholstery fabrics is not an option for this bag because it would be too bulky but the other fabric suggestion was vinyl, which some of the other ladies in the blog tour used and they look amazing.

I'm a visual sewer, as well as clear and simple instructions I must have photos accompanying them. When I got the pattern to test I really thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew. What no photos!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't back down now so I made a start and soon discovered that Sarah's instructions and clear illustrations were enough, believe me if I can do it anyone can. In fact despite it looking complicated it's probably the quickest bag I've put together. It took me a day and a half to make so this is definitely one to try out and Sarah is such a sweetie, if you should get stuck she'll be more than happy to help you out.

Here is the schedule for the blog tour. Make sure you go round and see each one as they are all fantastic looking bags and there will be giveaways too. All the prizes for the giveaway have been very kindly provided by Sarah.

Monday, July 28th

Maria of Mia's Creations
 Niki Stringer of Roonie Ranching
 Alyssa Carrion at Keep Calm & Carrion

Tuesday, July 29th

Lynn Potts of PottsCrafty
Marilyn Brandt at Shades of Bold

Wednesday, July 30th

 Vicky Myers of Vicky Myers Creations
  Liz Schaffner at MOMENTS
 Sarah at Cozy Nest Design

Thursday, July 31st

Amy Macdonald with Friends Stitched Together
 Kathy from Handmade Dress Haven
 Judith Clauss of Judith Stitches and More

Friday, August 1st
 Jonie Brooks with Knot Sew Normal
 Lorena Rey of my way of...
 Bethany Rapp with Sweet Bee Buzzings

Here's your chance to enter my giveaway. You get a free entry just for being here and letting me confuse you LOLL plus you can earn more entries by using the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you'd like to buy the pattern you can buy it here at
and get a 25% discount up until 2nd August 2014. The code to use for your discount is bagtour.

When you leave a comment please check that I can get in touch with you. As much as I like comments I like to reply to them too. If you don't hear from me then that means you are a 'noreply' commentor.

Thanks Sarah for letting me test this brilliant bag, it was so much fun making it also a big thanks to Amy who was very patient and helpful when I got stuck with things like permalinks. I've still got so much to learn about blogging.

Best of luck to all of you with the giveaway.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fabric Baskets & Get Ready for a Blog Tour with Giveaways

Hi everyone. It feels like I've been away from my blog for ages. Truth of the matter is I haven't been sewing much. The weather is so hot and humid I just want to laze around all day. I have managed to make some fabric baskets though and wanted to take this opportunity to show them to you before the Convertible/Reversible 4 in 1 Blog Tour starts tomorrow so be sure to come back then and check it out as there will be giveaways on each of the blogs on the tour.

I've made some of these fabric baskets in the past so you may recognize which ones but I've made slight modifications to some of them.

This first one is possibly my favourite. I love these colours. I made this one for myself to hold some toilet rolls. It will hold four rolls.

This next one I made for a customer who saw mine and wanted one for herself. The modifications I made on this one was I use batting instead of soft and stable and I made the handles with matching fabric and placed them closer together as mine were too spaced out.

This one was for the same lady who wanted the one above. Again this one I showed you before. I had made one for my sewing room but only used interfacing which was too floppy so I added batting to this one.

It's also reversible.

My friend Lorena made one of these little ones as a key and coin catcher. I thought it was adorable so made one but I pinched in the corners a little too much and it came out a bit small for my liking.

The red one I pinched the corners less and it came out better. Plus I used a stiff interfacing rather than batting. I think it gives it a crisper look and my friend Liz is going to be green with envy when she see's it. Red and polka dots are her favourite colour, she even has a red and white polka dot cell phone.

That's it. Not very productive these last few days. I have a nice bowl and plate that I'm sewing at the moment and hopefully if I can find the energy I'll show that one to you before August arrives.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Retro Rucksack

Today is my turn to show you my Retro Rucksack. I've had a wonderful time looking at everyone's version of the bag and even more so, the amazing photos taken by all the bloggers.

For those of you that are new to my blog, I'm a bag tester for several wonderful bag designers and find it very hard if not impossible to reject a test pattern.  I didn't test this one but was delighted when Sara of Radiant Home Studio got in touch with me and asked if I'd like to make the Retro Rucksack as part of a blog tour.

I've made loads of bags in the past but what I especially liked about this one was that it could be used as a shoulder bag or a backpack and the transformation is so easy. You don't have to unclip the straps to change it over you just pull the strap through the top rings and it's done.

Such a clever design.

For my bag I used an upholstery fabric for the main part of the bag with pleather for the bottom half and straps.

 When opened up it has loads of room.

Because of the fabrics I was using I had to modify the bottom tabs shown below. In the pattern they were folded in half and tucked between the pleather and upholstery fabric and the layers were just too many, ten to be exact. My machine would have sewn them because I have a heavy duty industrial machine but it would have looked bulky so I cut the tabs shorter and sewed the underside so only one layer was being tucked into the bag. Does that make sense? LOLL Now you see why I test and don't design. It's not easy giving instructions on how to make something LOLL

The bag has this lovely deep zipper gusset to keep everything secure and safe.

And inside there is another large slip pocket on one side and a zipper pocket on the other. You might notice a red tab on the end of the zipper. This wasn't in the pattern but I added it to both ends of the zip to have something to hold onto when opening it up. The last batch of zips I bought were a bit stiff.

Sara's pattern has well written instructions and photos and if you'd like to make one you can buy the pattern HERE.

I want to say a big thank you to Sara Curtis for asking me to join in on this blog tour. It was fun making the bag and even more fun seeing all the other bags on the tour HERE. It's amazing how one bag can look so different.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Necessary Clutch Wallet # 4

I finished this wallet a couple of days ago and am struggling to sew, blog, reply to emails, cook, clean, shop you all know the routine.

Anyway I took a few minutes to take some photos of my fourth Necessary Clutch Wallet by Janelle of Emmaline Bags. I love this wallet and am already planning on making loads more. Did you know they even have a Facebook group for this wallet. Great bunch of ladies on there who are so helpful and offer so many tips. They are even holding a NCW sew-along in August so I can't wait to join in.

Certain colours are so difficult to photograph and this blue is one of them. It came out slightly lighter in the photos.

This wallet is quite large and holds a number of things like cell phone, money for fabric of course LOLLL, loads of cards a lipstick and someone even mentioned it will hold a passport so would be ideal for traveling especially as Janelle has a tutorial on her blog on how to add a wrist strap or shoulder strap.

You can buy the pattern from HERE and you will also find the link to the strap tutorial there too. Janelle's patterns are really great to follow. Good instructions, photos and illustrations.

By the way what do you think of my new watermark. I can't decide between this one or my old one? I may play around with some more and see what I come up with.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Watkins Star Test Quilt

I'm really excited today becasue I can finally show you a quilt that I finished about a couple of weeks ago.

It was about a month ago when Amy from Sew Incredibly Crazy sent a post out for testers on her blog. Without even stopping to think about it I left a comment saying I'd love to test the pattern but didn't think I'd get picked becasue I don't have a lot of quilting experience. To my delight and then horror she wrote back and said I could test.

The horror of it was what if I can't do it and then there's all the quilting to do on the quilt once it's finished. I've never tackled anything this size before and was pretty sure I'd fail.

We had one month to finish the quilt so I got to it straight away in case I came across any major problems. I figured if the worst came to the worst I'd have time to start again but once I started cutting out the pieces realized that thanks to Amy's well written and illustrated pattern there was no problem. Only thing I had to worry about now was how to quilt such a large, for me, quilt.

Here's my quilt on my bed. I absolutely adore it and already have fabrics picked out for another one. My quilt measures 52" x 52" which is slightly larger than the pattern becasue I added a border which wasn't included in the pattern. You can also see the other tester quilts on Amy's blog HERE. Everyone the same but different because of the fabric choices.

Finding a backing fabric was more difficult than choosing the main fabrics for the quilt but I narrowed it down to two and then this one won.

I wanted the binding to have some pattern in it so I was really pleased with this olive green polka dot fabric I found quite by chance.

I thought I'd take some photos of when I was quilting it. It took me two days to do the stippling on it but before I started I did some research on the internet on the best way of quilting it and came across some quilting tips by Elizabeth Hartman HERE. I don't think I could have done it without her helpful tips.

I had to move my sewing machine from it's regular place and place it on my cutting table so I'd have plenty of support for the quilt.

Working in sections like Elizabeth Hartman mentioned made it so much easier as did her 'Pull, don't Push' method of stitching.

If you're relatively new to quilting and would like to try a pattern then this is a great one to start with. Amy has now released her pattern and you can find it HERE on Craftsy.

A big thank you to Amy for having faith in me and letting me test.

Happy Sewing

~ Maria ~