Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fabric Photo Album Cover - Frugal Gift Giving

You can't beat $1 and some fabric scraps for a frugal gift. I found these little photo albums at WalMart and decided that a fabric cover would make a fun project for one of my swaps.

Hello my name is Rainbowcreek and I am a swapaholic.

I am sure there must be a 12 step program for swapaholics, but that will come after I finish the fabricholic program. Oh, and I must admit I have not made it to step one of that yet.

But, Spring is almost here and that means baby showers and wedding showers and vacations and a whole host of other occasions that you might be able to use a little photo album gift.

I made some from some Moda FQs. And the patchwork one was made with 2 1/2" squares I cut from leftovers of a charm pack I used to make a purse. I just pieced the squares and quilted them to the flannel backing, then cut to size and added the ribbons.

I actually made this from the fabric covered journal pattern, just sized it down and added my own embellishments. So if you want to go there and print out the instructions you can just use my measurements for the photo album and make these up in a snap. But I took a lot of photos so if you are a visual kind of person you might be able to pick this up just from the pictures.

Cut one outside fabric and one lining fabric 10" X 16" each. For the lining I used a piece of white flannel, you can use muslin or whatever you have on hand. It will not show, so you can use almost anything cheap, because it doesn't really need to be washable.

Lay the fabrics together, and center the wide ribbon, pin in place. Stitch the ribbon in place very close to the outside edge of each side.

To make the band from coordinating fabric cut a strip 2 1/2" wide and press under 1/2" on each long edge. I use a piece of cardboard with a 1/2" line marked and fold the edge over to the line. Press the fabric right on the cardboard and you will get a nice straight line.

Be very careful when handling the cardboard, it gets hot! You can probably see that I have used this one a lot for many different projects, it will turn a bit dark from the heat, but really it won't catch on fire!

I was making two albums at the same time, here is the one with the fabric band, I centered it with my ruler to make sure it was straight.
After applying the band zig zag stitch or serge all four sides along the outside edge. I used my serger because I finally figured out how to thread the dang thing and I keep it on a side table set up and ready to go.

Turn under about 3/8" on the two short ends. Stitch.

Turn the two finished edges toward the center about 2 1/4" on each side. The finished width should be 10 inches. Pin in place.
Use a fabric marker or pencil and mark a line 1 1/2" from outside edge on all four corners. Stitch along each line, backstitch at ends to secure the seams.

Clip off the corners and trim the inside flap to reduce the bulk in the corners.

Turn the flaps to the inside and use a closed pair of scissors to square out the corners. Press well.

For the ribbon tie cut a length about 26 - 28 inches long. I like mine to tie off center in the front so I usually wrap it around the album and find where I want it to attach to the center of the cover. Pin in place and stitch, backstitch a couple of times to secure it well. Then stitch the ribbon very close to the edge of the back side of the cover.

Insert the album into the flaps and tie a pretty bow to close.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekly scoreboard

Yaay! I had a sale finally on Bonanzle. And my $5 off coupon promotion was good for an etsy sale so I am feeling happy about that. I ended the weekend with enough sales to keep me busy for a couple days anyway.

I am not sure why sales are so dead during the week. I have only been getting orders on weekends for the past few weeks. Normally I got at least one sale a day during the week, but that has ended recently.

I guess I will try more twittering and chat forums and see what I can do. International sales were good until the economic problems, now they are slow too. But I still love Canada. My Canadian customers are just great and I get a lot of repeat customers from Canada, so well worth the extra time to have to go to the PO and fill out customs forms.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How to Make a Purse From Your Fat Quarter Stash

I have had a couple of requests for the pattern for my Flirty Bow Wrapped fat quarter bags. I have been a little reluctant to do this because I got a little complicated in the details and wasn't sure I could explain it all. But things are a little slow here at Rainbow Creek so I figured what the heck, and decided to give it a shot.

This is really a fun bag to make and you can be really creative and use up some FQs that you just love.

But let me just say that this tutorial has a few caveats.

1. I make things up as a I go.

2. I try, I really do, to write down my measurements and take photos of each step. I know there are few things that I didn't get pictures of that I hope I can explain well enough.
3. This pattern might be easy enough for beginners, but I can't guarantee that. I add quite a bit of detail in my instructions, but I might assume that you have basic sewing knowledge and forget to explain some of the minor details.

So here goes: For this purse you will need, 4-8 FQs depending on what you want the outside of the bag to look like, 1 yard of coordinating fabric for lining, fusible interfacing, 1 1/2 yard matching grosgrain ribbon. 

Also, optional but nice, 4 1 1/2" D rings, one magnetic snap, 12"X4" piece of plastic needlepoint canvas. I actually get these at Wal-Mart but not all of them have sewing and notions anymore, but they are available at most fabric and craft stores too.

Cut: For front and back of bag cut 6 pieces 10" X 6 1/4" from fat quarters. Cut 2 pieces 6 1/4" X 6" for outside front pocket and lining.

For bottom of bag cut one piece 18" X 9"

For bag lining cut one piece 18" X 28" For inside pockets I made two large pockets, one was 6 1/2" X 12 1/2" and the other was 6 1/2" X 8 1/2" cut two pieces for each. You can make them whatever size you like or leave them out if you are not needing inside pockets.

Cut one piece of interfacing 18" X 27"

Stitch the outside pocket along the top seam Right Sides Together (RST), turn and press. Line up pocket on center front of bag and stitch the 3 front sections together using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Stitch the 3 back sections together, 1/4" seam allowance.

Stitch the bottom section to the front, using a 1/2" seam allowance.

Stitch the bottom section to the back with a 1/2" seam allowance.

Press seam allowance toward bottom of bag.

Now apply the interfacing, centering it so there is 1/2" of bag above each end. It takes some time to get this much interfacing stuck down properly and you will need to press down with out bubbling the fabric. Then turn it over and press well on the fabric side to make sure it is smooth.

Cut a length of ribbon 18" and pin it with the top just above the seam line on each side of the bag. Stitch very close to the top and bottom edge of ribbon.

Fold the bag in half and pin, making sure that the ribbon is matched up on each side. Stitch side seams, use 1/2" seam allowance.

Turn the bag and press seams open.

Press the corner to form a triangle. Make sure that the bottom center is lined up with the side seam or you will have a crooked bottom and your bag will be twisted looking. This is a step you do not want to do over, trust me.

Bring the point of the triangle up to the bottom of the ribbon and pin in place. Repeat this for the other side.

Topstitch the triangle as close as you can to the edge.

This is a little tricky, you will have to be careful not to catch any of the other side of the bag in the stitching and the bag is fairly stiff from the interfacing so can be hard to maneuver. But I have faith in you and know you can do it!

Now press under the top edge of the bag 1/2" and stitch. Then press under 1" all the way around.

Cut the plastic canvas to fit the bottom of the bag, it should be approx. 4" X 12 1/2" and you want it to fit snug.

Check to see if it fits, trim a little if needed. Hand stitch a few stitches on each end to side seams to hold it in place.

For inside pockets I did not take pictures. Stitch right sides together leaving an opening at bottom for turning. Turn, press well, press the open edges to inside. Topstitch 1/4" from top edge. Center pocket about 2 1/2" - 3" from center bottom. For the large 12" pocket I stitched down the center to make two pockets. Stitch in place close to edges.

Stitch side seams of lining. Press seams open. Do not turn.

Press bottom to form a triangle. Center the point and mark a line at 4" across the triangle. Stitch across line. I usually stitch again just outside of the first line, just to be safe. Cut the corner off about 1/2" from stitching line.

For straps, cut 4 strips 2 1/2" X 30" long. If you are using fat quarters you will need to seam two 15" strips together for each piece. I sometimes make the inside of the strap from the lining fabric and the outside from the fat quarters, just depends on how I feel at the time. And I am pretty frugal with my fabrics so I have been known to do pieced straps too. Whatever you like will be perfect.

Having said all that, you will now want to stitch two long strips together using a 1/2" seam allowance. Cut a 1 1/2" strip of interfacing and apply to one side of strap. Press under 1/2" on each side.

I make a lot of straps so I have a trick for pressing the seam allowances under, which I am going to share with you. I take a file folder and cut off a straight edge and then mark a 1/2" line with my ruler. I lay this on top of my fabric, fold over to the line and press it down right on the cardboard piece. This give me a nice straight line and even seams. One warning, the cardboard gets really hot, so be careful when handling it!

Ok, next you fold the strap in half and topstitch 1/4" along each edge. Make sure that you have the interfaced side facing up when you stitch to keep the fabric from stretching and getting wonky. I topstitch again a scant 1/4" inside the first row, that is optional but I like the way it looks.

If you are using D rings for attaching the straps you will need to make another 16" long strap the same way. After finishing, cut it into 4 sections 4" each.

Fold each section in half over one D ring and pin in place about 3" from side seams.

Place lining inside bag and fold down top to match the top edge of bag. Apply magnetic snap at center of lining appox. 1/2" from top of fold.

Topstitch all the way around bag 1/4" from top edge. Stitch again 1" from top edge.

Fold raw edges under on each end of straps. Press. Fold strap ends over D rings about 1" and stitch close to edge. Stitch again 1/4" inside first row of stitching.

Make a pretty bow with remaining ribbon.
Stitch to front of bag by hand.


Ok, I did my best and I hope you will have fun with this tutorial making your own flirty bow wrapped bag. Please comment! And feel free to ask if you have any questions or if I missed anything important.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My First Ever Coupon Sale!

I really have never offered a discount on my quilt kits before. And they have been pretty popular considering the slowdown in retail sales. But I know people are looking for bargains and DIY and crafting are great ways to economize on gifts during these tough economic times.

These baby quilts are so easy to make and with a little basic sewing skill I guarantee this quilt will be the One Of A Kind HIT at any baby shower.

Really, people never stop talking about how gorgeous these quilts are.

My selection of minky and chenille fabrics make these quilts so soft and luxurious, you won't find anything like them at any store.

Check out my kits at my off ebay stores and score a big discount! I am offering my blog readers $5 off any kit purchased from my
Bonanzle, ecrater or etsy store through March 31, 2009.

Email me with your coupon code: BLOG for this special discount. I will also calculate shipping discounts if you purchase more than one kit.

Happy Sewing!

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