Posts Tagged ‘amy butler’

In celebration of my recent birthday I’ve decided to clean out the WIP (work in progress) pile. I’m someone that prefers to finish a project before moving on to the next but for a variety of reasons these projects all got set aside.

Except for the quilt tops which needs to be quilted (those are completely out of hand) the pile isn’t really too bad.

Starting from the oldest I have this quilt top from Bee Modern 1 (I bowed out 2/3 of the way through but some of the other ladies went on to finish a second round) which still needs a back. I started piecing the middle strip but couldn’t decide how I wanted to piece the navy blue sections. I thought about piecing a variety of blues in a variety of widths and lengths (the same way I did the border on the front) but that just feels like too much. So this weekend I went a purchased yardage of basic navy blue and I’m going to use that.

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Next up is the Amy Butler Weekender Bag. I started this before we moved! I originally got frustrated with the cording and then put it away “for the move.” My new goal is to have this finished and use it on my upcoming trip to Denver. I got quite a bit done on it this weekend but it certainly involved a lot of four letter words! Me and my sewing machine were made for quilting not luggage making.

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Third is this quilt made from the Echino bird print. Since it’s small I thought it would be a good time to try my hand at free motion quilting on my regular machine. I made it through three flowers and while I was certainly getting better it was not an enjoyable experience for me and this quilt has sat for months waiting to have the quilting finished. This weekend I admitted that I will never finish free motion quilting it so I ripped out all of the quilting and plan to do random straight lines.

Finally I have


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Lush Rubik's Cube [expored!]


Kona Curry and Modern Meadow

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Quilt tops that I paired with quilt backs and now need to take some time on the longarm to complete.

Once all these projects get done the only outstanding work in progress I will have is the hand quilting on my Single Girl but I’m not planning on rushing my way through that.

I’m trying to make myself finish all this before I start anything new but it’s hard! TH got me a framed purse kit for my birthday and since it’s such a quick project I could definitely finish it before Denver. And those quilts…. considering my work travel schedule it will take me weeks to finish longarming them. Do I really want to wait? Of course if I don’t and I do start another quilt I’ll just have that many more to get through. Hmmm… Maybe I’ll try to stick to non quilt projects until I work through my pile. We shall see.

What’s on your worktable today?


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Do you think Amy Butler carries a small purse? I mean 95% of her bag and purse patterns are HUGE so I think it would be funny if in real life she carries a little purse or even a wristlet.

I bought the Echino bird fabric specifically for this project and when the new Fall 2010 Echino fabrics came out (and I proceeded to splurge on 5 1/2 yards of it) I decided it was time to make this bag. I find it challenging to work on a project because I “need” to get it done, instead of sitting down for hours at a time I’ll work on projects like this for 30 minutes here and there. I actually think this strategy works well for the prep phase of Amy Butler projects. If you look at pattern reviews of any of her bags you will notice people complain or at least make note of the massive amount of time it takes to cut out the fabric, interfacing, fusible fleece etc etc. Me, I’m not into marathon cutting sessions so I work my way through this phase slowly and only when I’m ready to get down to the actual sewing will I sit down for a couple hours and power through.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been wanting to make this bag for a long time and have had the fabric set aside for awhile. I even made sure to purchase all the interfacing during one of JoAnn’s 40% off sales. But I’m not making it now because I need the bag, I making it now because I’m worried that my stash is getting out of hand.

Am I the only one that has noticed the destashing bug that seems to be going around? I can think of 5 or 6 ladies off the top of my head who recently opened Etsy stores or announced their destashing on Flickr. Some need the money for everyday living expensese, some have gotten interested in other hobbies, and some have realized they will simply never use all the fabric that they have. I’m a big fan of a varied stash, especially since all my favorite quilt patterns call for a couple DOZEN different fabrics, but I don’t want to spend money on fabric just to have it. Putting aside the fact that fabric sitting on a shelf for years isn’t doing anyone any good, there is the simple fact that the money spent on it was essentially wasted. Sometimes destashing can result in money made but many times you break even or come out a little ahead. When you think about what you could have spent that money on or the interest that money could have been making for the past couple years you realize how wasteful it can be to have a stash of fabric that you don’t use.

I’m not planning, nor do I think I need to destash. But I have been making a concerted effort to sew from my stash, complete the projects I specifically purchased fabric for (like the Weekender) and be much more selective about the fabric I buy. The reality is I love lots of fabric and even if I don’t get “enough” fabric from a fabric line if I wait a couple months I will fall in love again. Instead of spending money on yards and yards of one collection I would rather buy a little bit of each one and make things that pull those pieces together into cohesive projects. I realize that this means I may want to make a quilt or project in a year or so and find myself short of a certain print or collection but instead of worrying about what might be I’d rather face that challenging should it occur.

What are your thoughts on fabrics stashes? Are you a bigger means better person? Are you a fan of a smaller, curated stash? Do you keep it super simple and only buy fabric for specific projects?

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As part of my handmade Christmas gift giving I decided to make a “gift bag” for each recipient. I could easily make simple fabric bags for everyone’s gifts but they would probably end up in the back of a drawer or stored away somewhere. Since my intention is for everything I make and give to be something the recipients will use on a regular basis, I thought of making resuable grocery bags/market totes for each person using different patterns found in books and online.

Named the the “Everyday Shopper” (from Amy Butler’s new book “Style Stitches”) this bag seemed the perfect choice to serve as a reusable grocery bag and I suppose it can serve in this function. Since it is HUGE it will fit a lot of groceries, it just may be to heavy to carry very far!

The pattern calls for 3/4 yards of one fabric and 1 5/8 yards of another but I wanted to use the 1/2 yards of a couple Heather Ross Far Far Away 2 prints that I already had on hand. In order to make it work I used four different fabrics- 3 prints from FFA 2 and a yard and a half of a deep purple micro cord that I purchased at JoAnn Fabrics.

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Each pattern in Style Stitches is rated by level of difficulty, the shopper is rated easy and I would definitely agree. The bulk of the time required for the project is in the cutting and fusing of the interfacing. Once you get to the actual sewing it is a breeze, the project is after all just a bunch of rectangles sewn together!

The Everyday Shopper is well designed and constructed to handle the weight of a regular grocery trip but I personally feel it is just too big for a trip to the farmer’s market. I “test drove” this bag at a local craft fair, after carrying it for three hours filled with two sweatshirts, two wallets, two water bottes, a container of lotion, and a bag of cinnamon roasted almonds (yum!) my arm started to go a little numb. After an hour I was ready to leave it behind. The temptation, because of it’s size, is to fill it with stuff but if you do that your shoulder will start to hurt from the weight. On the other hand, if you use it for a trip to the grocery store you only have to carry it from the store to your car, and your car to your house. In that case the bag can hold (without strain) a ton of stuff and you only have to carry that weight for a short period of time. That isn’t a particular flaw with this design since any large shoulder bag would cause the same problem.

There are countless patterns for similiar bags where the Everyday Shopper stands out is it’s reversible design, sturdiness and shear size. Personally I would prefer it to be smaller but I cannot complain about its construction and I do really appreciate the reversible feature. I made this bag for a friend who has a ton of clothes and bags, she is always telling me she “needs” options. Since I used the same main fabric on both sides the overall look isn’t that different but she loves purple so that was a no brainer. She also loves Sleeping Beauty but may not always want to advertise that fact so the flowers are a nice alternative. While I think she will love this bag I doubt I will make it again because of it’s size.

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I’m in Canda this week for work but I managed to squeeze in one more project before flying out on Monday. I rarely sit down and finish an entire project in one sitting but I imagine this would only take an hour or so if you focused on it. It took me about half a day but I also cleaned, watched TV, surfed the internet etc.

I fell in love with this fabric a couple months ago but only purchased a 1/4 yard since I didn’t know what I would actually use it for. That quarter yard was then cut up and turned into applique for my Birdie Sling and I loved it even more so I decided to order a couple yards :). I was afraid that this pattern would overwhelm me so I chose this simple halter to let the print shine but not become “too much.” The rest is going to become a sash for a yet to be made navy blue linen dress.

The directions are super simple for even the most beginner of beginners.

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The only complicated part was making the darts as this was the first time I had done so.

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I poked a hole through the paper pattern and all four pieces instead of attempting to transfer the marks to each piece individually. It was a little hard to see the poke holes on the last piece but still more accurate then the alternative.

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The top pin goes straight in but the bottom pin goes in one side and out the other and you bring the two sides together by sliding the fabric along the pin.

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Then draw a line connecting the two pin heads to form a triangle.

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Sew along this line backstitching at the beginning and end. The instructions say to pin this but I didn’t find it necessary.

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This is what they look like before pressing.

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One of the last steps is attaching the zipper and I got confused when looking at the diagram because it’s oriented as if you have the fabric right side down when in reality you want the right side up.

Amy Bulter Cabo Halter

I made a size small and didn’t need to make any adjustments to get a nice form fitted look. Please note that the top does bow away from your bust because the ties are straight. I knew this would happen and you can see it on the cover model but I didn’t feel like messing with the pattern to fix it. If you cut the inside line of the straps in a curve you would get a better fit.

I may take the straps to the back as opposed to tying it so that I get a more versatile look- I want to wear this under a cardigan and not look like I’m wearing a summer top. It may just be me but I think tied neck designs like this are very informal and summery but I want clothes that can also be dressed up to be worn either to work or at least in other seasons.

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Barcelona Skirt- Take Two, originally uploaded by Shear Delight.

I had big plans for this weekend and most of them didn’t pan out. I didn’t have the supplies I needed for either of the dresses that I wanted to make or the blouse so instead I made another Barcelona skirt. I like it as much as the first although they came out pretty different.

The first time around I took 2 1/2 inches off the top creating a hip slung skirt that I adore. It is not however work appropriate so the second time around I kept the waist line where the pattern put it.


Holy high waist Batman! You can’t even see my belly button anymore… It’s not my preferred waistline but it works well with my work blouses which are generally shorter then my casual t-shirts. And as much as I like low waists they tend to gap and show a little skin when you sit down.

If I did it again (which I don’t plan on doing) I’d probably take 1 inch off the top as a compromise between these two waistlines.

The pattern is simple, so simple in fact that you probably don’t need it. I recently purchased “Sew What Skirts” which covers how to make a simple A-line skirt along with instructions on various other skirt types. The cost for the pattern and book are the same and you can make quite a bit more with the book than the pattern.

You will need to learn how to install an invisible zipper. Don’t worry it’s not hard but it does take a little practice. I did two or three before installing the one of my first skirt and you could still see the zipper… Thankfully the zipper is truly invisible on the second.


You can find a nice tutorial on invisible zippers here but I would also check out this video. Between the two it’s pretty easy to figure out.

The first skirt was done in bits and pieces but the second one only took a couple hours which is nice and gratifying.

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Barcelona Skirt, originally uploaded by Shear Delight.

I know I owe you a tutorial, I mean that is the point of this blog but I made a couple changes to the skirt and I like the result I just need to duplicate it before I start sharing.


In addition to hemming it which I think makes a huge difference in the overall look I also took 2 1/2 inches off the top so it would sit at what I call my waist versus my actual waist.

I think the look is younger and personally more flattering. I love it! And I think he does too


or perhaps he’s looking up my skirt- how rude!

I’m going to make another one soon and after that I’ll post a tutorial. In the meantime I need to get back to cleaning up my sewing table. My goal this weekend is to finish my coaster swap coasters and to start and finish a new dress.

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Finished Birdie Sling, originally uploaded by Shear Delight.

After two trips to Jo-Ann’s and still no fusible fleece I decided to do without! If I’d had all my supplies in the first go around I could have finished this in a day but it would have taken all day.

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Overall Quality of Pattern: Great! I’m very much a beginner and I was able to master all the skills using the instructions given and one google search on the pleats. The pattern includes full size pieces (always a plus) and clear and concise instructions. She also includes a glossary of terms as they relate to the pattern which is especially nice for beginners.

What I Used:

  • 2 yards of Kona Cotton Khaki as the outer fabric
  • 2 yards of Kona Cotton Khaki as the lining fabric
  • 2 yards of Carolina Chambray Pacifica for the outer band and handle
  • 1/4 yard of Alexander Henry Blakely Pool Stripe for the inner band and appliqued leaves
  • 1/4 yard of Alexander Henry Blakely Pool for the appliqued flowers
  • 2 spools of thread one in a dark aqua and one in a khaki
  • 3 1/2 yards Pellon SF 101
  • 1/2 yard of 44 in wide Thermolam Plus (not the fusible kind)

I had leftovers of almost everything because the pattern only requires 1 1/8 yards of the various fabrics.

The patterned called for a couple things I didn’t use:

  • Scotch Tape
  • Tracing Paper
  • Pressing Ham

Step 1 is cutting all your pattern pieces, this is easier if you have large cutting scissors and not the little craft ones I have on hand.

Step 1- Cut Out Pattern Pieces

Step 2 is cutting out your fabric and be warned this will take awhile!

Step 2 Cutting Out Pattern Pieces

The instructions call for tracing paper but I just used the paper templates and pinned them directly to the fabric. The pins hold the paper in place and can even keep those pesky corners from curling up.

The Multi Purpose Pin

I used 2 yard cuts of fabric so instead of folding as the instructions indicated I just made sure I cutting on the fold. I didn’t want to waste any fabric after all.

Step 2

Most of the cuts I freehanded with my rotary cutter but when I cut a straight line I like to use my ruler as a guide. Because to be completely honest I’m not the best at cutting straight lines (or drawing them either but I promise I can walk them!)

Using My Ruler as a Guide

Instead of using an all over print I decided to applique a floral design I cut out from a print to a solid background. I really like that it adds a pop of color without being too busy, plus it was super simple since I just cut the design out using my nice fabric scissors. (Mental note: the next time Jo-Ann’s is running a sale by nice paper scissors!)

Alexander Henry Applique

A couple hours or more, depending on how fast and/or easily distracted you are, and you will end up with this.

All the Pieces Cut Out

Step 3 is applying the fusible interfacing and fleece.

Honestly I wish I hadn’t used the fusible interfacing on the main fabric. The natural drape of the cotton would have looked better without the interfacing. And the stuff was a pain. And the biggest pain was the fact that you are supposed to soak the interfacing (SF 101 Pellon) and then hang dry before using. Who knew? You can find some more tips here from Pink Chalk Studios.

I would keep the interfacing everywhere else and do two layers on both the inner and outer bands (the instructions only have the outer bands getting two layers.)

The regular Thermolam Fleece is a definite keeper as well although I wonder if I would have liked it as much if it was fusible as well. I could never find the fusible stuff and I was tired of waiting so I used the sew in kind and loved it. It added a nice body to the inner lining without being a pain like the fusible interfacing.

Step 4 is making and attaching your pockets.

Snipping the Pocket Corners


Is was confusing to me that we don’t sew the bottom of the pocket closed right away but you end up sewing it closed when you attach it to the inner lining.


I used pins to mark the center of the inner lining and pockets and then lined them up with my ruler.


Before you sew the pocket on I recommend taking a step back and making sure it’s on straight. The first time around mine was a little askew from pinning. Luckily I noticed before I started to sew.

A lot of people have commented how large these pockets, and they are. The large pocket is almost as deep as the entire bag.


Step 5 Pleating.

This confused me, the little line drawings just didn’t help me, so I googled pleating and found a tutorial with pictures and then it clicked.


Pleats Up Close

Step 6 is attaching the bands to the inner and outer panels.


Before you start I recommend referencing your pattern piece


So that you don’t sew your bands on upside down. If you do I can tell you the pattern will still work, the band will just look a little off. From a distance no one will notice (at least this is what I tell myself).


Just make sure you sew all the bands on the same way. I realized what I did wrong on the outer panels when I started the inner panel but at that point I could either rip out the wrong ones to make them right or keep them all uniformly wrong. I went the easy route.


Step 7 is attaching the inner and outer panels.



Step 8- Getting “Gussied” Up

The directions have been updated since the original version and are relatively easy to understand.

Measuring and Marking the Gusset

You need to mark your middle point and two outer points.

Marking the Gusset

The draw a curved line connecting the three.

Drawing the Gusset

Sew along that line and take a minute to admire your skills at sewing curves 🙂

Sewing the Gusset

Cut the excess off leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Cutting the Gusset

For the inner lining I had to use a fine tip marker to create my curve- it’s impossible or nearly so to use a pencil on it.


This is when I decided to applique my flowers onto the outer panel. I wanted to know how it would look with the pleats and gussets before I decided on the placement of the flowers. Visually this was a good idea but technique wise it was not. I couldn’t use my machine to do a zig zag stitch to attach the flowers with everything sewn together so I did it by hand and my hand sewing could use a little work. I decided to embrace my lack of skill and went with a simple straight stitch following the lines. Eventually it will fray on the edges but that’s okay.


Step 9 is making and attaching the handle.

Right now you are heading into the home stretch.




Step 10 Sewing the Inner and Outer Panels together.

So it seems counterintuitive that you would put the INNER lining over the OUTER lining.


But it works because eventually you will pull everything out through the hole you left in the bottom of your inner lining.


You didn’t forget to leave the hole like I did, did you? Oh well that’s what seam rippers are for.

A little top stitching and stitching in ditch (I thought you only did that in quilting) and you are ready to hit the town with your new bag.


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