The Metro Tote Tutorial

IMG_4328

1S3A0259

1S3A0004

FullSizeRender

I love simple designs made with top notch materials.  I also love combining nontraditional materials together.  In this case I share a very simple tote design using thick felted wool along with leather handles and quilting cotton scraps.  There are so many other ways to experiment with this bag design and I hope those who try it take my instructions as a jumping off point to explore their own creativity.

One finished tote including handles, measures approximately 19 inches high, 12.5 inches wide and 4 inches deep.

Supplies

3 mm Felt ( I purchased mine from Aetna Felt  www.aetnafelt.com .  One 72” wide yard made 4 bags.  You can also use leather or 5 mm felt but both are much harder on a domestic machine)

2 thick leather pieces 18 x 1 ¼ inch for handles or two 18 inch premade handles (I demonstrate with some stitched 18 inch leather bag handles I made but plain leather will work perfectly well.  If you are intimidated by leather and rivets you can also use webbing as handles and sew them directly to the felt)

Exacto knife

Fabric Marker (I like Dritz Disappearing Ink pen)

Quilter’s Ruler

Rotary Cutter

Pieced block or textile that you want to feature on the bag in a reverse applique technique less then 9 1/2  x 9 1/2 inches (I have used paper piecing patterns, leftover quilt blocks, improv panels made from scraps.  The sky is the limit.)

Double sided fabric tape (optional)

Leather Hole Punch

Small Sized Rivets (If you are uncomfortable with rivet setting, screw in rivets are a nice alternative and if you chose to use 5mm thick wool, I recommend medium sized rivets)

Thread

Sewing Machine

1S3A0165.jpg

Step 1: Cut Out Your Pieces

Cut two pieces of Felt 12 ½ x 12 ½ inches (front and back pieces)

Cut one piece of Felt 36 x 4 inch (side piece)

Cut a piece of felt that is 1 inch larger on all sides then the cut out motif you plan for your front. (For example, if you choose to cut out a 6 inch circle in the front felt to show off a special paperpieced block then cut out a 7 inch felt circle. The front felt bag piece with the cut out motif, your chosen feature textile/block and this third felt piece will form  a sandwich that once finished will make the inside of the bag look more professional.)

Round the bottom corners of the front and back felt pieces.  (I used a 7 inch diameter circle but a round plate would work well too.)

1S3A0168.jpg

 

Step 2: Prepare your Front Felt Piece for Reverse Applique

Choose a cut out motif that you will use on you front felt piece (in this example, I used a 6×6 inch red cross sign) , mark with your marker and cut out with an Exacto knife. In previous iterations of this design, I have used a circle, rectangle, lightning bolt and a combination of shapes that will show off the piece I plan to show off in the reverse appliqué.  Let your imagination guide you.

1S3A0178

1S3A0180

Once your motif is cut out in the felt, sandwich your block or textile between the front felt and the back extra felt piece centering them all as best you can.  You may use reversible tape to secure everything in place if needed.

1S3A0189

Stitch 1/8 inch around the reverse appliqué motif through all layers.

1S3A0193

Turn the whole piece to the back and trim away the extra fabric.

1S3A0196

1S3A0198

Further secure them all together by stitching 1/4 inch again around the block                 through all three layers.

1S3A0201

1S3A0205

 

Step 3: Sew the Bag Pieces Together

The seams on this bag are all to the outside and there are only two of them.  SO SIMPLE!

Wrong sides together, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew the front felt piece to the long side piece.  Trim any extra felt that is hanging off the top.  (Of note, I do not use clips or needles when sewing this first seam but just guide it as I go around the corners.  For the second upcoming seam I use a lot of clips)

1S3A0211

1S3A0213

1S3A0217

Wrong sides together and using a 1/4 seam allowance, sew the back felt piece to the side piece.

1S3A0221

1S3A0230

 

Step 4: Attach the Handles

Using your hole punch, punch two holes along the horizontal bottom of each end of the handles about 1/4 inch in from sides and bottom.

1S3A0232

Set your ruler 2 ½ inches from the side and 1 ½ inch from the top.  Align your bag handle at the edge and mark the handle holes on the felt with your marker.

1S3A0234

Using you hole punch, punch holes at these marked sites and attach your handles to the bag with rivets.

1S3A0235

1S3A0259.jpg

1S3A0267

Congratulations On Your New Bag!

Tag me @entropyalwayswins on IG and use the hashtag #themetrotote so I can see your beauties.

Best!

Hillary

Paris

Every October I take a large chunk of vacation time to spend with my kids.  Typically I also make a goal of independent study on some area I feel lacking.  A couple years ago inspired by religious violence in the world I chose to actively learn more about religions I knew little about.  One of my friends took me to her Jewish Synagogue and we also listened to the teachings of a Buddhist monk.  Another friend took me later to a traditional Catholic service and yet another brought me to his Mosque.

All were surprisingly foreign territories for me but none so much as the Islamic Mosque.  My visions had been unquestionably filtered through the media and the high profile Islamic extremists so often pictured there.  On the Friday of my visit, my friend and his wife helped me put on a hijab.  We walked through the Mosque center visiting with people as we watched the children gather in their version of “Sunday School” and watched members collect used clothing and supplies for the poor in the area.  My friend’s wife and I filed in with the other women to the back of the Mosque while my friend went to the front with the other men and sat down for the service.  Prayers were said and all the bowing and kneeling seemed meditative and reminiscent of calming yoga sequences I love to settle into.  Children flitted back and forth between mothers and fathers.  The setting was undeniably warm and casual.  And then the Imam got up to speak and you know what his sermon was about?  Conservation, helping those in need and having compassion and understanding for people in other religions “because in the end we are all worshipping the same God.”  That’s right, I had experienced the most liberal sermon of my life.   As my friends and I drove back to their home they told me that all contributions to their mosque had to be in cash as they were concerned credit card or check records if discovered could make them vulnerable to locals who did not like Muslims.

Fast forward to this last week and the horrible violence experienced through the world in the name of Islamic extremism.  My heart sank especially for the city and care providers of Paris as I know this city well and could imagine being on duty there as the rush of wounded flooded their Emergency Department doors.  This creative world of mine seemed kind of silly in context but as I process my emotions in making, I couldn’t help but put something together.  I cut into some beautiful First of Infinity linen generously given to me by Lecien Fabric and next thing I knew I was making up one of my Mini Museum bags with a French Flag variation in appliquéd leather on the front.  If only there was more room, the Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi flags would all deserve a place on my make.

My heart sank in equal measure for my friends who brought me to their mosque and I know are feeling more vulnerable because of world violence perpetrated under a warped vision of Islam.

As a side note when I went to these different religious ceremonies in sum what I came away from was the commonalities.  In each an ancient language was used (Arabic, Hebrew, Latin).  Each held great comfort in the value of prayer or song and each held special reverence for their children and their participation in the process.

IMG_3585

That’s a lot of thought pent up in one bag huh?  The good news is it can carry a big load.

Hillary

Quilting From Every Angle Blog Tour and Giveaway

Nancy Purvis ( owen’s olivia ) is a quilt designer and maker I have been following for awhile.  Her designs speak to me.  They are clean, modern, bold and interesting.  The minute I knew she had a book being released I preordered and when it arrived an interesting thing happened, I felt compelled to make not just one item using her beautiful designs but TWO.  In reality it was hard for me to pick from the gorgeous patterns featured and I am sure there will be more to come.

QFEA_CoverMechanical.indd

Quilting from Every Angle: 16 Geometric Designs
By Nancy Purvis
Interweave/F+W;
http://bit.ly/1jw4098

Nancy was kind enough to include me with some amazing other makers in her blog tour.  Make sure to check the rest out for what are guaranteed to be inspiring creations and more opportunities for book giveaways.

BLOG TOUR

11/10- Michelle Wilkie of Factotum of Arts

11/11- Hillary Goodwin (ME!!)

11/12- Karen Lewis of Karen Lewis Textiles

11/13- Anna Graham of Noodlehead

11/16- Rachel McCormack of wooden spoon quilts

11/17- Tara Larson of RAD & HAPPY

11/18- Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane 

11/19- Holly Hughes of Holly Gets Quilty

11/20- Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft

11/23- Pat Bravo of Pat Bravo Fabric Design and Jesse Maloney of  Art School Dropout

11/24- Astrid Slagle of Red Red Completely Red

11/25- Holly DeGroot of Bijou Lovely

11/26- Christopher Thompson of the tattooed quilter

11/27- Spoonflower of Spoonflower Blog

Those who know me understand that I have a special passion for bag making.  I decided that my first make would be a bag using Nancy’s Stones Quilt pattern.   I sized the pattern down to three quarters size, used 9 “stones” instead of 15 and utilized a bag design of my own.  I also used Pellon Flex Foam Stabilzer for the first time-a wonderful discovery.  It gives my bag some nice heft and shows off the quilting beautifully.  I will be using this more in my makes.  In any case, I grabbed some bright Kona solids and used a Carolyn Friedlander print as background with new black leather for the base and handle.  I am pretty pleased with how it turned out and think it shows how different this pattern can go with varied color themes and fabrics.

Quilting from Every Angle - Stones Quilt beauty image

IMG_3317

9L4A9948

IMG_1469

9L4A9977

9L4A9995

9L4A0574

A fun discovery that may be obvious for many experienced makers but was a lightbulb moment for me as I was making this bag was how to make the fabric pattern around the “stones” orient in the same direction as the overall background fabric.  I chose a PATTERNED background and SOLID “stones” in contrast to the opposite shown in the book which made the fabric orientation an issue.  I really wanted the background fabric to all be oriented in the same direction so as to make the piecing less obvious (these kind of details are ridiculously fun fodder for me).   To solve this dilemma while cutting the “stones” for the pattern, I lined up the background fabric scraps behind the solid “stone” fabric IN THE SAME ORIENTATION as the overall background at each corner then cut on the line simultaneously across both “stone” and background and pieced.  I think and hope this  makes the quilted bag front look cohesive and it is definitely a technique I will keep in mind for future makes.

9L4A0547

9L4A0548

9L4A0549

9L4A0553

9L4A0519

As I said, surprisingly I couldn’t stop at one design from Nancy’s book.  We have just completed a huge remodel including finishing a closed deck and setting up a hammock underneath it.  It is a perfect place to lay down and take naps but was in dire need of a winter pillow to snuggle up with. Using elements from the book’s Mesa Quilt and fun hand dyed printed fabric from Kelsey Boes (Lovely and Enough) and yarn dyed fabric from Jennifer Sampou (Jennifer Sampou ), I made a yummy pillow.  I flipped the light and dark fabrics on the left side and right side to give the pillow symmetry making it a little different then the Mesa Quilt but unmistakably Nancy.  The pillow has recieved my husband’s approvel, and he is a tough sell, so I know it is a good one.

Quilting from Every Angle - Mesa Quilt beauty image

IMG_3385

9L4A0429

9L4A0437

9L4A0452

This pillow is pretty fun with points up and down.

9L4A0589

I heartily recommend this book and am excited to share a copy with one special blog reader. (hard copy for those in the US or digital copy for those outside the states).  To enter, please tell me about the first craft/quilting book(s) you remember sewing from and how your style is now compared to then. (For the record, I started with Kaffe Fassett’s Quilting books, still have every copy and continue to find inspiration from all of them).  I will pick a winner randomly by 5 PM Monday, November 16th.  If you are a no-reply blogger please make sure to include your email address so I may contact you.

For the Record:  I was given a free copy of this book to help me make projects but before I even received it or asked to participate in the blog hop, I had already purchased the book and started to make.  My opinions are and will always be my own.

Hillary

 

Addendum:  THE WINNER BY RANDOM DRAW IS BUNTYW.  I WILL EMAIL TO SEE IF YOU WANT A HARD COPY IN THE STATES VS A DIGITAL COPY IF OVERSEAS.  IF NO ANSWER BY NEXT MONDAY, I WILL PICK A NEW WINNER.

One Month

In two days I start back to work again after a month off.  I have logged many hours doing continuing education for Dayjob, baked almost every variety of pumpkin muffin/scone/cookie you can imagine and of course have been creating.

In a month:

Pattern Play (I replicated the Tate Museum flooring pattern using a modification of Latifah Saafir’s Glam Clam Pattern in bag form.  For fun I added a knit pillow of my design to match my previously finished quilt top with buttons covered with treasured Umbrella Prints fabric):

9L4A9907

IMG_3200

IMG_3227

9L4A0035

IMG_3354

IMG_3356

Bag Design (repurposing photos I had taken on canvas)

IMG_3398

IMG_3397

IMG_3403

IMG_3402

Block Making (for my Bee Sewcial group and shown with a minimini quilt made by Stephanie Ruyle).

IMG_3210

9L4A0125

IMG_3376

Minimalist Design Play with Leather Scraps

IMG_3335

IMG_3339

Anatomical Stitch Sketching

9L4A9981

Fabric Making

IMG_3346

9L4A0005

Quilt Finishing (with amazing quilting by Jessie Ziegler)

IMG_3365

9L4A0072

IMG_3367

Self Portrait Work In Process (with my first bias strip quilt using scrubs on hospital sheets)

IMG_3306

My creative and family life are feeling extra rich after this sweet time.  Grateful

Hillary

Slow Stitching

I am halfway into a month off of work and ironically as I rush around trying to fit the rest of life in I find myself more stressed then relaxed?  That soooo is not what vacation is about right?

Inspired by the book “Slow Stitch” by Claire Wellesley-Smith, I decided to slow things down a bit with handwork.  I have always found peace in knitting and excitement in sewing (excitement in sewing??  Haha! I’m sure that sounds so funny if you are not a maker.)  It turns out at least for me that sewing can be relaxing if you do handwork in little bites.

IMG_3231

I started the process by cutting up some ill fitting jeans and doing reverse shibori with bleach on the pieces in various folding patterns.  Holy Cow, what a fun easy, quick process that was.  All my future jeans are destined for bleach jobs.

IMG_3241

IMG_3251

Every night as I have been sitting and watching movies with my husband (such a rarity during the rest of the year), I have been devising and stitching up new little patterns with bits of felted wool, recycled leather and silk floss.  The shibori Os called for some Xs so a theme took hold.

I wasn’t quite sure what was to become of this concoction but finally settled on a bag I have been dreaming up.  It called for a leather border with mitered corners and to add more interest (and help attach it to my extra firm pellon interfacing) I machine embroidered with invisible thread even more Xs and Os.  I used the back of a vintage feedback for the inner part of the bag.

IMG_3309

9L4A9939

9L4A9965

9L4A9966

This thing is VERY impractical with silly little pockets on the inside that don’t hold much but I am in love with it as an art piece.  And as with most of the makes I love, it is destined for someone else worthy.  I think they will get the wonkyness of it.  I hope so.

Hillary

Design Play

9L4A99999L4A0002

9L4A9893

IMG_2979

IMG_2944

9L4A9887

IMG_2934

IMG_2957

IMG_2975

9L4A9907

I’ve been perfecting my skills lately at the game “How Can I Make That Into A Bag/Quilt/Mini Art Piece.”  Are you familiar with my favorite game?

My Pieces and their sources of inspiration in picture order:

-The Doctor is In Second Edition:  A new bag design I made up out of cotton, wool and leather inspired by one of the quilts featured in soon to be release book by Heather Jones. (Quilt Local: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday (with 40 Projects): Heather Jones: 9781617691768: Amazon.com: Books)

-Stitch Sketching everything I can imagine including a drawing of feet by the Louise Bourgeoise.  Uneven tension never looked so good.

-A Baby Quilt Top using the Glam Clam pattern ( Glam Clam Quilt (8″) by Latifah Saafir – Crafts ) I adapted to look like flooring in the Tate Museum.

I am also really enjoying the black and white #beesewcial and #inspiredbybeesewcial blocks following the guidelines set out in my last blog post many of you are displaying on Instagram.  Keep them coming!!

Lastly, although I was quite looking forward to a deadline-free September, a wonderful opportunity came up this week and it looks like I will be designing a piece for an art exhibit in Seattle.  My mind is swimming with ideas.  Time to focus and make.

Hillary

I’ve

Summertime

The summer sun shone round me
The folded valley lay
In a stream of sun and odor
The sultry summer day.

The tall trees stood in the sunlight
As still as still could be
But the deep grass sighed and rustled
And bowed and beckoned me.

The deep grass moved and whispered
And bowed and brushed my face.
It whispered in the sunshine:
“The winter comes apace.”

The Summer Sun Shone Round Me by Robert Louis Stevenson

9L4A9214

IMG_2608

IMG_2600

IMG_2571

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_2709

IMG_2647

IMG_2652

IMG_2730

IMG_2747

IMG_2756

IMG_2667

IMG_2822

IMG_2824

IMG_2852

IMG_2858

IMG_2798

IMG_2880

IMG_2883

Summer is flying by in a fit of travel, work and creativity.  We were lucky as a family to travel to Iceland and Banff/Yoho National Park over the last couple of months.  Interspersed with travel I have been working at my day job harder then ever in my career (the ACA has resulted in more people being insured which is a good thing but with a real shortage of primary care doctors our ERs, indeed those across the country, have been overwhelmed).  I digress.  In any case, despite all this busyness I have found time to create though no time to blog or follow blogs.  I look forward to catching up with many of you  Included in the pictures above are some blocks I made for our July Bee Sewcial assignment by Karen (CapitolaQuilter: Bee Sewcial July – REFLECTION) .  They are intended to show REFLECTION and I think are inspired by my travels.  I am excited as well to share that two of my quilts have been accepted to the Modern Exhibit at the International Quilt Show in Houston and Quiltcon 2016.  This is my first foray into the Quilt Show world and I am both nervous and excited.

Happy summer!

Hillary

More Makings

This last month has been surprisingly productive given the craziness of my work and family life.  I think my creative life feeds on it a little bit though.  The less time I have, the more ideas I come up with and the more I need to make.  Can anyone relate?

I started and ended the month with blocks finished for Debbie in our Bee Sewcial group.  She gave us the mission of making Midcentury Modern blocks.  Find her block post about it here: A Quilter's Table: Bee Sewcial Goes Mid-Century.  What a fun endeavor this has been once again.  I did some improv curves with inset ovals.  I made up a paper piecing pattern for a MCM star, experimented with a boomerang shape utilizing the 6 minute circle technique (It worked!) and lastly made up some very geometric appetizers to finish up this fun buffet.  It’s all I can to keep from sharing my month’s mission which begins in September.  Can’t wait!

9L4A8402

IMG_2314

IMG_2343

IMG_2432

Of course, I have been bag making too.  I am really inspired by the new book out by Anna of Noodlehead, “Handmade Style” (Handmade Style: 23 Must-Have Basics to Stitch, Use, and Wear: Anna Graham: 9781940655062: Amazon.com: Books).  I channeled her Tablet Case pattern and modified it (as I tend to do) and made three bags, the last being one for my dad for Father’s Day.  I used my stitched toaster for one, recycled a french knot project for another and did some more stitch sketching/free motion quilting on left over painter’s drop cloth in the shape of a camera for the third.   To add interest, I used unfinished leather for the binding and tiny pockets in all of them.

IMG_2335

IMG_2383

IMG_2395

9L4A8628

9L4A8641

My friend Sondra and I are collaborating on some bags together too so I combined vinyl and paper reproductions of her works with leather and took them back to her today as she plans to add paint, mica and other ornamentation.  I can’t wait to see them finished.

IMG_2397

9L4A8612

9L4A8613

 

IMG_2441

In the selfish sewing department, as we are headed to some cold weather soon I combined some organic fleece I had previously hand dyed with linen and left over Malabrigo Rasta Wool for a scarf.  It was picked as a Craft/Make Magazine online weekly favorite this last week (CRAFT Flickr Pool Weekly Roundup | Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers | MAKE: Craft)-so fun.

IMG_2435

Lastly, I finished up a quilt top I started in December.  I call it “Stars and Stripes” though there really aren’t either to be found on this modern American Flag variation.  I am excited to have a quilt that I can take out on future 4th of Julys.  It’s fun to see it mixed in with my other quilts-geometric lover anyone?

IMG_2348

IMG_2377

IMG_2404

 

IMG_2416

 

Happy 4th friends.

Hillary

Two Friends – Two Bags

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated 1000 followers on Instagram by giving away a custom made bag of their liking to a follower and a friend they tagged.  I picked by random two delightful and talented sewists Valerie (Between Quilts) and Nicole (Mama Love Quilts).  Go check them out they are lovely!

In any case, I wanted to make something extra special for them that reflected their friendship with some connection using designs of my own.  By lucky coincidence, a pack of beautiful Marimekko fabric I bought on sale and some new leather I picked up were available and sent me easily into creative mode.

IMG_2210

Nicole had highlighted a previous bag I made out of recycled orange and white leather so I ran with that idea, this time using new white and blue leather with a bit of the Marimekko Pink Unikko print.  I hadn’t written down the dimensions of my previous bag so I winged it (wung it?) as I tend to do.  The leather this go around, probably because it was new, was a little stiffer then my previous attempt but I am pretty pleased with the results.

IMG_2240

For the second design, I chose the same Unikko print but this time on the outside of the bag along with some dark blue suede in what I call my Mini Museum pattern.

9L4A8153

9L4A8156

IMG_2213

9L4A8176

I made inset zippers for both bags and had fun fancying both up with metal feet and pull tabs for the zippers.

I think these gals who I now consider friends genuinely liked their bags and honestly I LOVED making them.  This whole virtual world can feel like a weird online dating game sometimes and I hate that some people know me more by what I make and my tagline rather then by face and up close interaction but I guess this is the new world and no question I have made some amazing friends here.  If you are interested in seeing even MORE of my pictures and are not already tired of me, you can find me on Instagram here: Hillary (@entropyalwayswinsblog) • Instagram photos and videos

My May Bee Sewcial Block came together last week as well.  When Marci gave us our assignment (Bee Sewcial | Flickr – Photo Sharing!) for the month to work on a village block, I kept thinking of San Francisco from Marin County looking across the Bay.  That image informed my weird shaped block.  It is fairly literal though totally improv.  I hope it works for her quilt.

IMG_2235

Cheers,

Hillary

A Maker’s Gonna Make

IMG_2182

IMG_2187

9L4A8138

9L4A8137

9L4A8142

IMG_2130

9L4A7895

IMG_2121

9L4A8066

9L4A8117

IMG_2180

IMG_2191

IMG_2166

A Month in Making:

Messenger Bag with Reflective Material donated by Stephanie (Spontaneous Threads) and repurposed seatbelt closure-my design :: Linden Sweatshirt out of a vintage tablecloth :: Linden Sweatshirt out of organic fleece I hand dyed-both as part of #memademay :: My first adventures in free motion quilting with help from the book Stitch Draw by Rosie James :: Umbrella Prints collaborative project begun :: Blue WIPs.

In other news, I’m delighted and I know we are all flattered that the Modern Quilt Guild referenced Bee Sewcial (Flickr: The Bee Sewcial Pool) as a guide for Quiltcon West’s Charity Quilt Challenge for next year.  Check it out here:  Member Charity Challenge | QuiltCon West.

Best,

Hillary