Warp & Weft Sewing Society – Wildwood Blog Hop

Hi everyone! I’m the last stop on the Warp & Weft Sewing Society Wildwood Blog Hop and I’m so pleased to have been able to work with this Cloud9 Fabrics collection. Wildwood was designed by Elizabeth Olwen, who just happens to live near me in Toronto. I was fortunate to be able to meet her, and “hang out” last weekend during the Warp & Weft Weekends event. I almost don’t know where to start this post, there’s so much to cover – but don’t worry, I’ll do my best to be short – here goes! (Here’s another post about the weekend.)

Photo Courtesy of Cloud9 Fabrics & Elizabeth Olwen

First off – my contribution to the Wildwood Collection projects on this blog hop.  When I first met Elizabeth, she gave me a few design board printouts she’d put together – lots of inspiration behind her ideas for Wildwood. Her designs were inspired by fairy tales, (My blog name being Thread Riding Hood is such a fun coincidence!) Forest walks, nature – and the small details of nature. Princesses and wanderers on adventure (or escape!) through the forest. Knowing all of this, I got to create a satchel pattern. What an amazing opportunity!

The “Forest Glen Satchel” was directly inspired by Elizabeth Olwen’s Wildwood collection and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. I’ve been using one of my prototype bags for the last month or so and it is the perfect size for carrying everything you might need. It’s easy to open and close by way of a front closure strap – perfect for quickly storing things on your way out of the castle! The adjustable cross-body strap allows for multiple carrying options. And the front and side details allow you to show off more lovely fabric – and, if we are being more practical,  keep it from showing the dirt!

The Forest Glen Satchel is going to be my very first real pdf pattern – yay! It will be released for sale on my blog in late October. But until then (and as of next week) you will be able to get the satchel pattern directly from Warp & Weft. They will be selling a kit that includes the Forest Glen Satchel pattern along with the Wildwood fabric you need to create it. And, this is a big deal – because Elizabeth Olwen chose the fabric combinations for each of the three variations! I have always liked “the story behind the design”. And this process has been an amazing, eye-opening adventure. I can tell you, I won’t look at another piece of fabric again without thinking of the designer behind it!

The fortunate thing about being the last stop on the Wildwood Blog Hop is that you can see all of the other projects, since they are now all posted! And the fortunate thing about being in Toronto is that I could attend the Warp & Weft Weekends Event last weekend where all of the projects were featured. So I got to see them myself! Let me tell you – the photos are so great, but seeing them all together was something else. The care taken with each seam and detail was evident in each project. The creativity of the Sewing Society produced a gorgeous display. Take a minute and hop over to each of the links below to see what I mean!

September 26 – Carla from “My 1/2 Dozen Daily”
September 27 – Cynthia from “Cynthiaf”
September 28 – Lysa from “Lysa Flower”
September 29 – Cathy from “Blueberry Patch”
September 30 – Esmari from “Warp and Weft”
October 1 – Shannon from “The Finished Garment”
October 2 – Heidi from “Elegance & Elephants”
October 3 – Thread Riding Hood

This Warp & Weft Weekend was hosted by Andrea Ford in the Re:Style Studio Workshop space. Friday night, we walked in the door to a display of Elizabeth Olwen’s surface design products mixed in with the Sewing Society projects. Beautiful! Elizabeth’s Field Crossing quilt, made by Linda Spiridonhad even been sent over from Cloud9 Fabrics – so the real deal was on display. (It’s a free pattern too!) About halfway through the evening, Elizabeth spoke about her design process in an inspiring Maker’s talk. Everything from how she got started in surface design and her current projects to her inspiration and process for designing Wildwood. (and even a sneaky peek of something new!)

My very first workshop ever (eek!) was held on Saturday during the event’s Creative Sewing Afternoon Tea, and I count my self fortunate to have had four of the most amazing student/sewists take the Forest Glen Satchel class. They pressed and sewed and pressed some more and a few hours later – they each were able to leave with a finished satchel! My favorite part was when they added the sides and it “magically” turned 3D. Everyone was grinning and commenting on how “now it was a real bag” – they were so excited to finish them. I think we only broke out the seam rippers on two seams – not bad for 4 bags. Esmari ensured that we would not (ever) go hungry by providing delicious Kusmi tea, sandwiches, scones and cookies – yum! Elizabeth Olwen was even able to take the workshop and will be displaying her satchel at Quilt Market in Houston later this month. (Someone pinch me!)

I would be remiss if I did not again thank Esmari for providing me with this opportunity, Andrea for hosting, and Elizabeth for being so amazing. She worked with me throughout the pattern process – choosing the final design from my sketches, deciding on the colour combinations and allowing me to email her with various other questions along the way! I will be able to include a bit of a bio on her and her Wildwood inspiration within the pattern – which I hope will provide more background for each satchel sewist. Promoting the creative process and intention of the design as well as the finished product!

I am also grateful and cannot forget to thank my husband for allowing me so much freedom over the weekend. He and our girls had a blast with two birthday parties and lots of football watching! It allowed me my first weekend “out” since we had our kids and it felt great to come and go as I needed to without worry.

Thanks for letting me ramble on a bit, and for reading this far down! I suppose you knew (if you follow me often) that my “keeping it short” was going to be a challenge. How do you wrap up an entire amazing weekend all in a few paragraphs? I’m sure there is so much more I could say… but we’ll leave it at that and I’ll be posting about the Forest Glen Satchel Kits as soon as the pattern is ready and they are available from Warp & Weft. And you can purchase all or any of the 12 Wildwood collection fabrics at Warp & Weft – so you can make your own adventure-inspired project! (If you want more of a peek into the weekend’s events you can visit Esmari’s post.)

Warp & Weft Sewing Society: Charlie Harper – Getting Antsy Picnic Quilt {tutorial}

Here is the tutorial for the Getting Antsy Picnic Quilt! I went over the background for this quilt in the previous quilt background post, so I’ll just jump right into the tutorial here. I used the Charlie Harper Fat Quarter Bundle from Warp & Weft as the base and inspiration for the quilt.

A word of warning about this tutorial. It is simplified and assumes that you know some basics about quilting and have made a quilt before.  If you have any questions please feel free to email me – sherri@threadridinghood.com and I’ll do my best to help you out.

You will need:

  • 1 set of 7 Charlie Harper fat quarters (from Warp & Weft here)
  • 6 solid coloured fat quarters
  • 3/4 yard/metre border (cut to 2 3/4″ strips)
  • 1/2 yard/metre binding (cut to 2 1/2″ strips)
  • 4 yards/metres non-directional backing
  • 1/8″ black ribbon (100% polyester)
  • 1/4″ black ribbon (100% polyester)
  • scraps of black quilting cotton (fits within 1 fat quarter)
  • quilt batting to fit – aprox. 75″x75″

If you would like to colour in your layout instead of laying it out you can click here to print out the quilt template and use it to plan your quilt. I laid out my fabrics with the “cool” colours on the top left and the “warm” colours on the bottom right and worked my way to the centre with each.

Here we go…

  1. Cut each of your 13 fat quarter into 3 rectangles 5.75″ high x 19.75″ high each. You should have 39 rectangles in total.
  2. Make 9 black hexies. If you’d like you can use my no-baste hexie tutorial. In the tutorial post there is also a template for creating the hexies in the proper size. They should be 3.5″ from point to point and 3″ high.
  3. Lay out your rectangles in the order you want them. You will need 3 columns with 12 rectangles each. You will have 3 rectangles left over. Lay out your ants as well so you can make sure to position them where the background is not as busy. This way they will show up better when you stitch them on. (As you can see I was going to mark a “trail” for the ants in ribbon and changed my mind at the end.)
  4. Stitch each column together in the order you placed the rectangles.
  5. Press each seam open.
  6. Pin the columns together at each seam and stitch them together. Press your seams open.
  7. Piece the border strips together to make one strip aprox. 250″ long.
  8. Stitch the border to the top and bottom of the quilt first.
  9. Trim the strip to 90 degrees at each corner as you go. Stitch the border to the left and right side once the top and bottom are sewn and trimmed. Press all of your seams open.
  10. Piece your backing together. I used the 3 extra rectangles + a few small scraps of my favorite prints and a solid red square. I cut my backing fabric in half and pieced one half on each side of the scrappy stripe. Then I trimmed off enough height from the top piece of backing fabric to allow the stripe to be approximately 1/3 of the way down the back. (see a photo in the last post)
  11. Lay your backing right side down on the floor or table, place your batting on top of the backing. Add your quilt top right side up to create your quilt sandwich. Make sure to align the stipe on the backing and the stripes on the quilt top so they match up with where you will be quilting/tying your quilt. Baste/Spray/Pin to hold everything together.
  12. Remove the paper hexie template from each hexie and pin them in place where the ants will go. This marks the quilt, so you can avoid tying it where the ants are attached. The body of the ant is made by matching two straight hexie sides. The head is made by matching the point on one hexie with the centre straight edge of another. (Please ignore the ribbon “trail” under the bottom ant.)
  13. Tie your quilt at the corner of each rectangle and twice in-between along the lines. I used painter’s tape and my quilting ruler to keep track of where I was tying.
  14. Machine quilt the border. I stitched my lines about 1/2″ apart.
  15. Cut 6 legs from 1/4″ ribbon per ant. The front legs are 2 1/2″ long and the back legs are 3″ long. Also cut 2 antennae from 1/8″ ribbon per ant. These are also 2 1/2″ long. Use a flame to *carefully* melt both ends of each leg or antennae. This will prevent them from fraying.
  16. Pin the ribbon legs and antennae to your hexies as indicated in the photo. About 1/2″ of one end of each ribbon will be underneath the hexie. Pin along the edges of the hexie to keep it in place as well.
  17. Stitch each ant to the quilt. Sew along the centre of each ribbon and around the edge of each hexie. Repeat until all three ants have been stitched on.
  18. Sew the binding strips together to make one long strip aprox. 300″ long. Bind your quilt using your favorite method. I use the cluck cluck sew tutorial to machine stitch my bindings.

All finished and ready for picnicing. Go take some photos and show it off! And of course, I’d love to see your creations. You can share your projects on Twitter and Instagram @sherrisylvester with the hashtag #alongforthreadride or #threadridinghood, or post them on the Thread Riding Hood Facebook page. (As usual, this tutorial is for personal/charitable use only – thanks!)

** Please note: This is a sponsored post and some of the fabric was provided to me at no cost by Warp & Weft. However, as always, all opinions are my own and I will never promote something to you that I do not love myself. **

Warp & Weft Sewing Society: Charlie Harper – Getting Antsy Picnic Quilt

I do not know the last time I felt this excited to show you a project! I’m so proud of this quilt and I love how it turned out. I love the photo shoot, and I love the fabric… it has been an all around amazing journey! When I first saw the Charlie Harper collection I knew I wanted to use it for something, so when Esmari from Warp & Weft gave me a chance to use it for a Sewing Society post I was thrilled! I’m going to post a simple tutorial for this quilt separately today, since the post is getting quite long and photo heavy! So here is the background on it… (**Update: the tutorial for the quilt is posted here.)

I love Charlie Harper’s art, and the outdoor nature of them was perfect for something picnic-related. I tried to come up with something other than a picnic quilt, but in the end I failed to think of something I would rather make – and I’m so glad I didn’t! I wanted the quilt to look modern, but typical, all the way down to it being hand-tied.  My quilt is neither difficult or complex or even many pieces – is is, however, my 2nd “real” quilt finish and I’m quite enjoying my foray into the world of HST’s and OBW’s.

I figured, since I was not likely inventing a super-complicated quilt for a tutorial the first go around, that I would add in some fun applique. I am so IN LOVE with my ants! Ants and picnics just go together – and I am super-excited to have created my family’s picnic quilt for many years to come. I have made many clothing projects, for my kids and for myself… and for my husband… nothing compares to the feeling I got finishing this quilt. The sense of heirloom and keeping someone dry and/or warm with it. The happiness, many picnics and fun memories I want to create around our future adventures with the quilt.

I used the fat quarter Charlie Harper bundle from Warp & Weft plus some of my randomly stashed solids and solid red, binding and backing from my local big-box fabric store. I would have been more adventurous on the backing – but it’s going to mostly be on the ground, so a dark wobbly stripe it was plus a little piecing with a bit of extra fabric.

The binding is the most perfect wobbly criss-cross fabric and I took some inspiration from the striped bindings I’ve seen from some of the other Sewing Society members lately. I’m super happy with it and the fact that it looks hand-drawn is just a further nod to the Charlie Harper artwork.

I decided that machine quilting the whole quilt was a bit adventurous, so I tied it with embroidery floss instead. Much “safer” and faster! I did want to make sure it had some machine quilting, though, since I love how it looks – so I stitched straight-ish lines around the border. I figured out later that I think I would have been fine to quilt the whole thing, since it probably would have folded up small enough to fit in my machine. Ah well – next time! The quilt finishes at around 70″ square. Lots of room to fit our family of four.

I also toyed with the idea of making the backing waterproof. In the end I decided that I wanted it to be available to use as a quilt, not just for sitting on. I’ve had too many picnics growing up where the cold weather caused one or more of us to huddle under the picnic quilt for warmth. A waterproof quilt would not be cuddly! I think instead I will carry an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth around to put underneath the quilt, if it is needed, to keep us (and the quilt) dry.

I’m off to finish writing and posting the tutorial before cleaning my house for tonight’s sewcial. I love my monthly get-togethers, even if I don’t get much done for all of the sewing-talk!

What do you think? I’d love to hear about your quilting adventures. Have you made a favorite picnic quilt?

** Please note: This is a sponsored post and some of the fabric was provided to me at no cost by Warp & Weft. However, as always, all opinions are my own and I will never promote something to you that I do not love myself. **

No-Baste Hexies! {a tutorial & printable template}

I managed to only post twice last week – oops. I finished a quilt in 5 days though, so it was necessary! I’m so excited – you can see some peeks of it on Instagram if you’d like. It’s not a complex pattern, or huge, or even “all-over” machine quilted (I tied most of it), but it’s finished and I love it! It’s actually my second quilt finish in as many weeks. The first one is photographed and ready, I’m just waiting for a good time to post it.

Friday was the  last day of school for us, so I’ve got summer in full swing now, including my 2 year Blogiversary that is coming up really soon! I’m planning some fun stuff to thank you all, so stay tuned…

As part of my next Warp & Weft Sewing Society post I have put together a little tutorial as part of a larger tutorial for the quilt coming at the end of this week. I needed a few black hexies for a very mysterious part of the quilt (hee hee, you’ll have to come back to see it!) and I thought I would make my life a little easier. Turns out you can make these things without basting them! Instead of thread and a needle – you just need some freezer paper and an iron.

Now I know that the hand-sewn element involved in basting these hexies allows you to baste in the car, or make them as a “take-along” project. So, if you are one of those people I have a solution for you too. Instead of using an iron to adhere your freezer paper, try bringing along your hair straightener! The Riley Blake Instagram account posted this last week – and it would work perfectly. You could even use one of those outlet plugins in the car and make them on the road!

You will need:

Here we go:

Step 1: Cut the freezer paper to a size that will fit into your printer. I used a letter size sheet – so 8 1/2″ x 11″. I put them into the paper tray shiny side up, so my printer would print onto the matte side. Check which way your printer works before inserting the sheets. Now print out your hexie template. You can use the one I’ve provided in the “You will need” list or another one in the size you’d like.

Step 2: Cut out your hexie templates. This is not super fun, but it was a lot quicker than I thought it would be. I’ve noticed that there are pre-cut freezer paper hexie templates for sale online – so you could try that too.

Step 3: Iron the templates onto the wrong side of your fabric, leaving at least 1″ of space between them. The space accounts for the 1/2″ seam allowance. Make sure the shiny side is DOWN, unless you want the paper to stick to your iron! The shiny side of the freezer paper is actually a thin plastic layer, so when you iron it, it temporarily sticks to your fabric. I use the heat setting on my iron that matches my fabric, in this case it was cotton. Iron just long enough to get the paper to stick.

Step 4: Cut out around your templates. Leave at least 1/2″ seam allowance around all edges of your hexies. This is the part that will get folded under and usually gets hand basted.

Step 5: Grab one freezer paper/fabric pair. Pull to remove the freezer paper and flip it over so the shiny side of the paper is facing up, centred on the wrong side of your cut fabric. Fold one edge of your hexie seam allowance over onto the freezer paper and iron it down. Easy peasy, it sticks to the plastic layer! Proceed around the hexie template folding and ironing each side down.

Step 6: When you are done, turn it over (paper side down) and give it a quick press with lots of steam on the right side, to secure the shape. (It might stick a little to your ironing board, but no harm done, just pull it off.) One hexie done! Repeat until you have enough to make your project.

When you want to stitch your project, just remove the freezer paper templates. Because the paper can be ironed multiple times, you may even be able to do this as you finish stitching them together. Anything to save cutting more templates, right?!

I feel that it is a little sad to be posting a tutorial with all of the hexies in black, they are so pretty when they are made in colour! Unfortunately, I needed black hexies, so that is what we get. Curious about the quilt much?! Here’s a little peek… I got to use Warp & Weft’s Charlie Harper Fat Quarter bundle. You’ll have to come back at the end of this week to check it out. I’m so excited to show it to you!

Warp & Weft Sewing Society: Merchant and Mills Camber Dress {pattern review & fitting tips}

When I got the Merchant and Mills Camber Set pattern from Warp & Weft I felt a little like a kid in a candy shop. Then she let me use her Essex Linen to make it. Then I realized the Sajou ribbon she gave me last year matched it… then I kind of geeked out a little and stared of into space and thought about how amazingly fortunate I am to be able to work with all of these beautiful things!

I loved working with the Essex Linen. It washed up wonderfully and wrinkles just the right amount for a linen (and for non-ironing me!). I sound a bit like a fabric snob when I talk about how well it ironed – but it’s true! It presses beautifully, the wrinkles just ease right out with a bit of steam. I have read online that it does tend to fray easily, so I made sure to finish all of my seams with a zig-zag stitch. It would be simple to french seam any future Cambers, but I wasn’t sure if it would leave too much bulk at the side seam? Of course, if you have a serger that would be simplest option for finishing the seams.

The Sajou ribbon… what can I say? The name of the one I used is “Semis Gris” and Sajou ribbon is woven near Saint-Etienne in France. What more could a fabric geek want?! I decided to machine stitch it on either side, after taking a deep breath of course. I am happy to say that I even still have half of my ribbon left for another project! You can get your own from Warp & Weft – she has a great ribbon collection, and she even has Sajou lace in stock!

The pattern itself is beautifully designed, of course! And the instructions are well thought out and illustrated. The part I liked the most were the easy “snipped in” notches that match up and mark the seam allowances at all of the corners. They make fitting all of the pattern pieces together a lot easier. The instructions themselves are not super-detailed, but if you have made anything with sleeves before you will be fine. Actually, there are only 5 pattern pieces to make either the dress or the top. They are pretty simple to put together, and if you have sewn a Camber before it is a super-fast project.

I love this pattern and it is beautifully drafted. If you have sewn apparel before the care taken in drafting it is evident in the lines and how the pieces connect together. The front of the dress curves less at the hips than the back piece, creating a more fitted shape, while still allowing it to be worn without any closures. The lovely snipped notches I was talking about mark the approximate waist and hip locations so it is not hard to stitch the side seams properly, even with the extra curves.

Despite the beautiful drafting I am not going to tell you that the road to a well-fitted Camber Set is super easy. Of course, you can stitch up the size closest to your measurements and I’m sure it will look beautiful. But if you’d like to tailor it more to your exact shape it is going to require a muslin or two. I made the mistake of trying to size my first muslin without having attached the sleeves. The fit completely changes once the sleeves are attached. The second muslin I made worked out much more easily – especially since I had realized at this point that my shoulders are 2 pattern sizes larger than the rest of me. I knew I had broad shoulders, but wow – two sizes is broader than I thought. No wonder ready-to-wear shoulders never fit!

The only thing I think I may still change in a future Camber is to take in the back with darts, or some shirring. Depending on your body shape, there is a lot of fabric in the centre back area. Though adding any more shape may mean inserting a zipper. I will be adding some shirring/elastic to the back of one of my wearable muslins and will report back!

Like I usually do, I read other pattern reviews online and get some hints as to how I should proceed with any possible alterations. I found a few great tips from Cheeky Cha Cha and a good review from Roobeedoo. I thought I’d throw my two cents in – so here is my list of helpful hints & fitting tips when making the Camber.

Helpful Hints:

  1.  Trace your pattern pieces – don’t cut them out! You can never go back, and what a shame it would be to lose that amazingly drafted sizing. I like to use freezer paper since it is really durable and still easy to see through for tracing.
  2. When making the muslin – don’t back-stitch. This may seem like common knowledge, but I spent more time taking out my back-stitches than I would have liked!
  3. Use deep pins – by that I mean, make sure you pin well into the 5/8″ (1.5 cm) seam allowance. I’m so used to a 1/4″ or 3/8″ seam allowance that I pinned for a shallow seam allowance and had to re-pin (especially when setting in the sleeves) several times.
  4. When Merchant and Mills says “jump” you ask “how high”! They didn’t get this big without a reason – since the instructions are well-written but sparse, each one counts. Don’t skip out! For example, sew up the side seams and then set in the sleeve. Trying to set in the sleeve before sewing up the sides works for some patterns, but these sleeves are very well drafted and therefore much easier to set in at the end.

Fitting Tips:

  1. The Camber is a loose fit. I made the mistake of trying to fit it too tightly, so it loses the ability to fit over your head without an added side zipper.
  2. I found the length quite long, though I am average height at 5′ 4″. I took off quite a bit of length and made a double 1″ hem at the bottom. Check the length before you cut your fabric and you can save yourself quite a bit of yardage.
  3. Since I have broad shoulders, I cut the arm scythe and shoulder at a size 12, and the side seams and sleeve side seams at a size 8 (like the rest of the dress). I was concerned this would not give me enough space in the sleeve, but it worked out well. It is actually quite easy to move in this dress, due to the great sleeve fit. I read that apparently the closer the underarm seam is to your actual underarm the better the fit.
  4. I found since I have a smaller bust measurement that the front of the dress was too wide. I narrowed the entire front of the dress by 1 1/4″ by placing it 5/8″ over the fold when cutting (tip found here). It fits much better, though it also makes the neckline smaller, so I had re-drew it 5/8″ wider in the front and the back neckline to make up for it.
  5. I also adjusted the shoulder, according to Aunty ChaCha. I took 5/8″ off the top of the front shoulder seam and putting it on the back shoulder seam. This also extends the top of the sleeve, where it is eased in, creating a wider shoulder. I found this really helpful in creating a better fit for my larger shoulders.
  6. The last thing I did, and this made a big difference, was to move the point of the bust dart up. I left the base of the dart in place, and moved the point up about an inch. This really helped to remove excess fabric that was at the top of the bodice, as well as make the bodice fit better. I found that without this dart movement, the top of the dress was fairly shapeless.

I hope this helps! I also hope I have not scared you away from trying the pattern. It truly is beautiful, just read through comments from other bloggers online! Or google “camber set” to find images. This is one of the first woven fabric garments I have made where I really am proud of the work I did to make it fit properly. Using a pattern and making it fit your body are two different things and I would encourage you to try some alterations and spend the extra time with a muslin or two. It is worth the extra time. If you are lucky you will be able to create a wearable muslin along the way!

I have Esmari to thank for letting me work through this process. I love my Camber Dress and will wear it often. You can get the Camber Set pattern, beautiful Essex Linen (in more than 10 colours!) and amazing Sajou products from her shop. Until next time!

** Please note: This is a sponsored post and the fabric and pattern were provided to me at no cost by Warp & Weft. However, as always, all opinions are my own and I will never promote something to you that I do not love myself. **

Spring Market Tote & Mini Tote {a tutorial}

So – I am reminded that I should likely not promise to post something “next day” unless I already have it finished. Everything for the tutorial was ready on Tuesday, except for the post and on Wednesday our furnace broke and I needed to be otherwise occupied with random things until late into the evening. Of course that was too late to get this to you Wednesday as promised, so I am going to refer back to my post on “No Stress” sewing and attempt not to feel too bad for going back on what I said. I suppose sometimes life has to happen whether it’s convenient or not!

I would like to thank each of you for the kind comments about the Spring Market Totes you have posted! I generally answer each comment individually – but since you were entering the contest as well I thought I’d send out a general THANK YOU, THANK YOU to each of you here. (I hope you can hear me, I’m yelling really loudly!) I’m so glad you are enthusiastic about them. I know I’m excited and this is going to be my “go to” bag this summer!

Just in case you haven’t seen it yet – the Spring Market Totes are part of the Warp & Weft Sewing Society’s Lotta Jansdotter Challenge Blog Hop that comes with a gorgeous 12 fat quarter bundle giveaway! Check out this post for more details, the contest closes April 27th, 2014. All of the fabric for these totes is from Lotta Jansdotter’s Mormor and Sylvia collections available at Warp & Weft!

On with the Tutorial!

Size Information: The Spring Market Tote bag is 12″ wide by 6″ deep across the base and approximately 18″ wide at the top of the bag. The handle drop is about 7″. The Mini Spring Market Tote is 9″ wide by 4″ deep across the base and 13″ wide at the top of the bag. The handle drop is about 4 1/2″. Each bag is fully lined. This tutorial does not include pockets, but they would be simple to add to the lining before it is assembled and attached to the tote.

You will need:

  • Outer Bag: aprox. 6 fat quarters of quilting cotton or similar weight fabric will make 1 Tote & 2 Mini Totes  (see cutting notes below)
  • Lining: 1/2 yard 44″ wide fabric per Tote AND/OR 1 fat quarter or 1/4 yard 44″ wide fabric per Mini Tote
  • Batting & Canvas Upper:  2 pieces 20″ x 14″ each per Tote AND/OR 2 pieces 15″ x 10″ each per Mini Tote (I used low loft Warm & Natural)
  • Base Stiffener, Batting & Canvas Base: 13″ x 7″ each per Tote AND/OR 10″ x 5″ each per Mini Tote (I used 7-Mesh Plastic Canvas as a stiffener)
  • Medium Weight Fusible Interfacing: 1/2 yard for each Tote AND/OR 1/4 yard for each Mini Tote (assuming 20″ wide interfacing)
  • Rope Handles: 60″ of 1/2″ rope for each Tote AND/OR 40″ of 1/2″ rope for each Mini Tote
  • Grommets: 7/16″ grommets (size indicates hole size, grommet is actually 1″ wide) – 4 per tote
  • Pattern Pieces: Spring Market Tote Pattern Pieces (click the link to download)
  • General Sewing Supplies
  • a Walking foot, Leather/Denim needle and Basting Spray are helpful, but not necessary
Before you begin:
  • Print out the pattern piece pdf on letter size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 paper. Important: Do not select “fit to page” when printing, make sure you print at the original size. Once you have printed the pages, measure the 1″ test square to ensure the pattern is the correct size.
  • Check to make sure you can sew a fairly exact 1/4″ seam or the dimensions of your bag may be off, possibly making it impossible to fit the lining or base. Here is a good tutorial to follow to check that you have a 1/4″ seam. (This tutorial is also linked on my Sewing Tips and Tricks Pinterest board.)
  • I broke a few needles stitching over the thick layers of batting and canvas. Especially while stitching over the pleat at the end of the base. A thicker denim or leather needle is helpful while stitching around the base. It is also helpful to stitch slowly and carefully – being sure to avoid pins and using the hand wheel as necessary to get over the thickest areas.
  • If you would like to make your own rope – Use 4 strands of 3/16″ thick braided cotton per rope. I purchased 2 50′ lengths of 3/16″ thick braided cotton string at the hardware store. Search online for instructions on how to make a “4 strand round braid”. I found this YouTube video to be particularly helpful.
Cutting your fabric:
It is difficult to say how much fabric you will need for each tote as you can decide how many fabrics you would like to use. This tutorial follows how to create a striped tote with 6 different fabrics + a lining fabric OR a striped mini tote with 5 different fabrics + a lining fabric. Here is the cutting layout I used to make my 3 totes (please note my fat quarters were aprox. 21″x20″)
  • Use the pattern pieces to cut the base from multiple materials as per the pattern piece instructions and the list below. Please be sure to follow the appropriate drawing/pattern line for the size you wish to make!
  • Outer: You will need to cut 2 of each of the strips as indicated in the photo below for the outer shell of each tote. You will also need 2 reinforcement strips and 1 base from the outer fabrics for each tote. I cut my strips longer than needed (see photos) and trimmed them after they were stitched.
  • Lining: Cut 2 pieces 18.75″ x 9.25″ and 1 base per Tote AND/OR cut 2 pieces 14″ x 6″ and 1 base per Mini Tote.
  • Batting/Canvas: Cut as indicated in the “You will need” list. You will have 2 rectangles and 1 base per tote.
  • Interfacing: Cut 2 reinforcement strips and 1 base per tote.
  • Base Stiffener: Cut 1 base (along the base stiffener cutting line) per tote.

Here we go:
I used a quilt-as-you-go technique to assemble the sides of the bag. Keep in mind that making your seams even will help the stripes to match up at the ends of the tote.
  1. Lay all of your strips out in the order you wish to assemble them in. Refer to the cutting photos to ensure the thicker and thinner strips are in the correct order.
  2. To begin, layer one canvas upper with one batting upper on top of it and make sure the edges are even. These pieces are oversized so the quilted outer can be trimmed after stitching. Place the largest strip at the bottom centre of the canvas/batting layer. Align the next strip right sides together (RST) with the top of the bottom strip. Pin and stitch with a 1/4″ seam. Press the strip to the top and smooth over the batting to ensure everything is flat when you are finished. Continue pinning, stitching and pressing each strip until the first side is finished. Repeat for the opposite side.
  3. Trim and square off each quilted upper. Trim the Tote to 18.75″ wide x 12.5″ tall. Trim the Mini Tote to 14″ wide by 8.75″ tall. Do not trim the bottom of the quilted upper because this will affect the position of the strips and the ends of the stripes will not match on your final tote.
  4. Place both trimmed uppers right sides together. To ensure the stripes match, pin each as you would with a quilt block. Here is a good tutorial about pinning matching seams. (This tutorial is also linked on my Sewing Tips and Tricks Pinterest board.)
  5. Stitch both sides of the upper with a 3/8″ seam. Press the seam open well from the wrong side and press the seam on the right side as well to ensure the batting/canvas/outer layers are as flat as possible. You now have a large upper tube shape. Set the upper aside.
  6. Interface the outer base fabric on the wrong side following the manufacturers instructions. Layer the base: canvas on the bottom, batting in the centre, outer on the top. Pin/Spray baste to hold them together. Quilt the base as desired. I used straight lines, starting in the centre and moving out to each edge. If you do not have a walking foot take care to pin these layers many times to ensure the fabrics do not shift while you are stitching.
  7. Quilt the tote upper as desired. I quilted once in the centre of each stripe and every 5/8″ on the bottom stripe. DO NOT quilt the top 2 stripes – 3 ¼” down from the top of the Tote OR 2 ¾” down from the top on the Mini Tote. We will do this once the lining has been inserted.  Be sure to keep the side seam allowances open while quilting so they stay as flat as possible.
  8. Mark the outer base: Place a pin in the centre of each oval end. Now pin 1.25″ on either side of the centre mark (blue pins in the photo). Fold the oval in half with the end of each oval matching and mark the top and bottom centre of the base as well. 
  9. Fold the upper tube so the side seams are aligned . Mark each fold at the bottom of the upper tube with a pin. This marks the centre of each side.
  10. Match the top and bottom centre marks on the base (step 8) with the centre pins on each upper tube (step 9). Pin the base and upper tube RST. Continue pinning the upper tube and base together starting at each centre side pin and working your way toward the ends. Pin only until you get to the pins marking either side of the centre pin (blue pins in the photo). Leave the ends open.
  11. Stitch the pinned area (between the blue pins) on each side with a 3/8″ seam.  Again, make sure to leave the unpinned ends open.
  12. Fold and flatten the unpinned upper tube ends into the centre of the base oval ends, making a pleat and matching the base and upper tube’s raw edges. Pin as much as necessary to hold everything together.
  13. Stitch (slowly and carefully over the thicker areas!) around the unstitched end of the base with a 3/8″ seam allowance. This will close the end of the base and secure the pleat. Turn the base right side out to check that the pleat is stitched correctly.
  14. Once you are happy with the pleat and base stitching, turn the base wrong side out and trim the bottom seam allowance to 1/4″. Set aside.
  15. Interface the 2 reinforcement strips. Pin each reinforcement strip to the top edge of one lining piece. Take care that one-way fabrics are aligned in the correct direction. Stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Align the 2 lining pieces RST and pin the side seams matching the reinforcement seam. Stitch side seams with a 3/8″ seam allowance.
  16. Press the lining side seams open. Press the top edge of the reinforcement fabric 1/4″ to the wrong side.
  17. Place your base stiffener (I used plastic canvas) in the bottom of the wrong side out tote. It should fit within inside the seam allowance on all sides. Trim if necessary to make it fit.
  18. Lay the wrong side out lining so the wrong side out outer and lining bases match up with the base stiffener in between them. Hand tack each end and centre side of the lining, stiffener and outer together. This will keep the stiffener and lining in place.
  19. Turn the outer tote right side out. Open up the lining and bring the lining top edge up and over the outer tote. The fold at the top of the lining (step 16) folds over the top edge of the outer tote by 1/4″. Pin well through all layers.
  20. Top stitch along the edge of the folded lining as in the photo.
  21. Now we can finish quilting the top 2 stripes. Pin through all layers on the top 2 stripes, smoothing and matching the lining and the outer so everything is flat and well attached. Quilt as desired.
  22. If you quilt a straight line in the centre of each stripe the stitching should just catch the bottom of the reinforcement stripe and/or the top of the lining as in the photo of my tote’s lining below.
  23. Open the edges of the base and press well.
  24. Mark the grommet placement.
    • The Tote grommets are placed just above the centre of the 2nd stripe. They are 5″ over from the side seams.
    • The Mini Tote grommets are placed between the top 2 stripes and 4″ over from the side seams.
  25. Attach the grommets to your bag as per the manufacturers directions. Practice first on a layered lining/canvas/batting/outer scrap sandwich if you have not used them before!
  26. Cut the length of rope in half. Each Tote handle is 30″ long. Each Mini Tote handle is 20″ long. Thread them through the grommets and tie a large knot in the lining side of the tote. Make sure the handles are the same length and then tighten your knots. Trim any excess rope as necessary.
You are finished! Congratulations. Head on out and get shopping. If you made a matching Mini Spring Market Tote make sure to take a break somewhere fun with your little one. Might I suggest a stop at the toy store?!
*As usual, please do not sell items made with this tutorial. It is for personal or charitable use only. If you are interested in a license to sell products made using this tutorial please contact sherri@threadridinghood.com and I will create a purchasable license for you.