Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ilia Bag Tutorial

I named this bag after my friend, Ilia because she showed an interest in making it.  Little did she know that she would end up testing this pattern for me.  Thank you, Ilia.

I used fabrics that I purchased a while ago, fabric #1 is from Dan Morris for Michael Miller Fleur-de-lis and fabric #2 was from Lancaster "Everyday Angels" by Kim Schaeffer.  I purchased the trim from JoAnn Craft Essentials Ribbon and Trim.  I cannot remember where I purchased the handles from since I am always on the look out for handles and purchase them where ever I find them.  I like using detachable handles (the ones with the screws) so that I can replace them if they break or if I end up not liking them.

A few tips, read the entire tutorial prior to beginning, always clip your threads, and always backstitch when you start and stop sewing.

Ilia Bag (finished size 11 ½”h x 9”w x 4 1/2”d)


½ yard of fabric #1 for outside-lower half of bag and inside pocket
½ yard of fabric #2 for outside-top border of bag, lining, and handle
         2 yards interfacing
         28” of trim
         Magnetic snaps
Purchased handles
         Decorative pin (optional)

*** All seams are ½” unless otherwise noted. ***
Always be aware of directional fabrics so that they are cut and sewn in the way that is desirable.

Cutting and Interfacing:

1.    Cut 2 11” x 14” (h x w) from fabric #1 and interfacing for outside-lower half of bag.

2.    Cut 2 5” x 6” (h x w) from fabric #1 and interfacing for inside pocket.

3.    Cut 2 18”x 14” (h x w) from fabric #2 and interfacing for lining and outside-top border of bag.

4.    Cut 4 4”x 2” from fabric #2 for handle tabs.  These dimensions are for a ½” handle tab opening.  You can increase/decrease the 2” width based upon the handle tab opening of your purchased handle.

5.    Iron all interfacing pieces to the wrong sides of fabric following manufacturer’s instructions.

Outside-Lower Half of Bag:

1.    Pin and sew, right sides together, along both 11” sides and one 14” side for bottom of bag.

2.    Press side seams open.
3.    Create a 4” box bottom by pinching together the side and bottom of bag to form a triangle. This is easily done when the side seam is placed directly on top of the bottom seam.  Measure 2” from triangle point and draw a line across the triangle.  This line should measure 4” across.  Sew on top of this drawn line.  Clip off the excess triangle of fabric, leaving a ½” seam allowance.  Repeat on the other side of bag.

4.    Turn right side out.

5.    Set aside.


1.    Take one of the tabs and fold it in half so that you now have a 4” x 1” tab.  Iron in place to form a center crease.

2.    Unfold and refold raw edges of 4” sides toward this center crease.  Again, the tab now measures 4” x 1”.  Iron.

3.    Fold again so that the tab now measures 4” x ½”. Iron and pin in place.

4.    Sew as close to the open, folded edges as possible.
5.    Repeat with the remaining 3 tabs.

6.    Center purchased handle to top of bag and mark handle placements.

7.    Fold each tab and place raw edges according to markings.
8.    Pin tabs in place.  If the tabs are too bulky, use large paper clips to hold them in place.  If the handles cannot be attached later, place them through the tabs now.

9.    Baste tabs in place, ¼” from raw edge.

Inside Pocket:

1.    Pin both pieces, right sides together.
2.    Sew all four sides using ¼” seam allowance and leaving a 2” opening for turning.

3.    Clip corners.

4.    Turn right-side out and press (finger or iron).
5.    Slipstitch opening closed.
6.    Set aside.

Outside-Top Border of Bag and Lining:

1.    Center and pin pocket to the right side of one of the lining pieces, 7 down from top and 4 ¼” from sides.  If  the pocket cannot be placed 7” down from top and 4 ¼” from sides, make sure you have correctly identified the height and width.

2.    Sew sides and bottom of pocket in place, making sure to leave the top open.

3.    Center and attach magnetic snaps to lining (1” above inside pocket) following manufacturer’s instructions.  If done correctly, the center of the snaps should measure 6” down from top and 7” from sides of lining.  Note: It is highly recommended to reinforce the backs of the snaps by placing a 2” of fabric/interfacing between the snap and lining.

4.    Pin lining pieces along the both 18” sides and bottom (14” side), with right sides together.  Note: Make sure the inside pocket is facing the right way prior to the next step.
5.    Sew sides and bottom of lining together, leaving a 4” opening (or larger depending on width of handle) for turning.  Note: Leaving the opening along one of the sides is less noticeable than on the bottom.  Make sure the opening is at least 4” from bottom so it does not interfere with the box bottom.

6.    Press seams open.
7.    Create 4” box bottom as done with the outside of bag.


1.    Place outside of bag into lining, making sure that right sides are together.  The outside of bag will not touch the lining bottom.

2.      The handle tabs should be sandwiched between the outside of bag and lining.
3.    Turn right side out through lining opening.

4.    Machine sew or slipstitch lining opening closed.

5.    Place lining into bag.  The top border of the bag, which will measure about 4”, will turn over from the lining.  Note:  This can be achieved easily by pressing down on the corners of the box bottoms (bag and lining together) and turning over the excess lining to front of bag.

6.    Topstitch ¼” around top of bag.

7.    Add a decorative pin, ribbon flower, or trim to outside of bag (optional).

8.    Attach handles if you have not done so already.

9.    Congratulations you are done.

I have also made this bag and sewed the trim between the outside-top border and lower half of bag.  Here is the pic...

I tried to take as many pictures as I could.  However, if you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Not Too Proud

I titled this quilt Not Too Proud (String Quilt) because although I love it, I did not do a very good job quilting it.  Though, to defend myself, it was my very first quilt that I quilted on my New Joy Quilting Frame.  The most valuable lesson that I learned was that I needed the stitch regulator.  I hesitated in purchasing it because it was so noisy in the store, what a mistake.  But I did learn from it and purchased one right away.   I finished it a while ago, but did not get to bind it until the other night.  And I do not consider a quilt finished until it is bound.

So I took a much needed break and went outside.  And this is what captured my attention...
a beautiful butterfly on a coneflower/Echinacea.  Wish I was a better picture taker.

I then had the courage to try quilting again using the stitch regulator.  My second quilt (Split 9-patch) came out much better.  I know it takes practice and time, but sometimes I am a bit impatient.  
So for now I am content and looking forward to quilting another one.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dyeing Old Seam Bindings

I have been seeing a lot of seam binding used in card making and tags.  I think they add so much to the finished project, whether it's a journal page, card, or tag.  Well, I do a lot of garage sale shopping and I buy things without knowing what I will do with them.  I bought these 3 seam binding rolls a long time ago (white, pink, and black) and decided to try and dye a few yards (only the white and pink rolls).
This is what I ended up with... 

I really like the way they turned out.  I scrunched up the one on the top left while it was still wet (just to give it some texture).  So now I am off to make something...

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Fabric Journal is Done!

The fabric journal that I started in Elin Waterston's class at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium is done!

Here are the pictures of all the pages.  Hope I do not bore you...

I used metal, coins, threads, beads, paper,  photos, buttons, zippers, playing cards, charms, flower petals/leaves, old film, paper clips, dice and everything else you could possible imagine.

I wanted to bind it with ribbons, so I needed to add 3 rings to each page (top, center, and bottom).  Unfortunately, I could not find rings small enough.  So I ended up purchasing a chain and taking off the links.  I sewed each link to the pages and then ran ribbons through them.  It turned out nicely, if I do say so myself.