May 26, 2014

Doggy Beach Bag - Lessons in Large Scale Prints

Our Florida friends have a little dog Dunkin
who goes with them everywhere,
including the beach.
There's even a Doggy Beach near their home!

That's what inspired me to make this...
Doggy Beach Bag!

I had fun designing my own tote,
using ideas from lots of other
purse and bag patterns I've made before.

It is a really large and sturdy bag...
about 16" wide by 19" tall...
Dunkin could fit inside comfortably!

{This is my little dog, Ginger...and she's not going inside that bag!}

I started with these fun prints from Terry's Fabrics
in duckegg blue, gray, cream, and brown.
I love to use stripes and circle dots,
to set off a focal fabric.

Clockwise from top:

Right Lines, Great Spot and Man's Best Friend
all in the duckegg colorway.

These curtain weight fabrics are sturdier than the
quilter's cotton I normally use.
I lined the outer bag pieces with Pellon 101SF
fusible interfacing, to add stability,
but it was not really necessary.

One great thing about working with
the high quality prints from Terry's Fabrics 
is that they do not tend to fray.
I've had that issue in the past with some other home dec fabrics.
It's so nice to make a project without a sense of dread!

I'd like to share some tips for working with large prints:

1. Choose larger projects for larger prints.
This just makes sense, right?

{There are exceptions, of course, but the bigger prints are shown off best this way.}

I really love the way those big giant spots
look on the back of the bag!

2.  Select three different prints to allow for great design opportunities.
Using only 2 prints, or more than 3, is fine...just more complicated.

I chose one print for the outer pocket,
and a different fabric for the bag body.
The third print, the stripe, was brought in for the lining
and some other detail work.

The three prints are varied in scale and value,
and they just look great together.

3. Directional prints, including stripes, need special consideration.

When cutting stripes, be extra careful to keep them straight.
Also note placement of pieces,
so they will not end up sideways or even upside-down.

4. Feature favorite parts of the large print, where they will be noticed.

Keep in mind which areas will be hidden
on the bottom or within seams, during construction.

{Here's a sweet little face that I wanted to be sure to include.}

5. Partner the fabrics to show good contrast and interest.
Try using "opposite" prints for outer and inner bags.

For the outer pocket on this tote,
I chose the striped lining fabric for the pocket accent.
It's a nice and neat finish, and it shows up well
against both of the other fabrics.

On the inside of the bag, 
I used the spotted exterior fabric to make the interior pocket.

6. Try something different!
Even an old dog can learn new tricks.

This stripe was actually printed horizontally across the bolt,
which is very unusual!
I love striped handles, and this time I tried
using the stripe lengthwise...and I love the way it looks!

I hope this post will encourage you to try some
large prints in your projects.
It's a whole new world of fabrics to choose from,
and you'll be rewarded with great looking results!

{I think Ginger would love a nice new doggy pillow.}

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May 15, 2014

Briar Rose Needle Book - Swap Inspiration

Hello, Friends!

{I'm happy to say we're off to a great start already. Flickr group is here.}

Today I'd like to describe my Briar Rose sample,
and share some ideas for the design details.

I started with a fabric stack
that I'd put together to make this Noodlehead Divided Basket.

I love the unexpected color scheme:
lilac and gold.

I began with prints from Briar Rose by Heather Ross,
along with a geometric print from an early
Jennifer Paganelli line, Bell Bottoms.
A solid from Free Spirit - called Spark Gold - ties it all together.

begins with a piece of patchwork.
Can you believe this is the back of the needle book?

{I'm going to have to make one with a patchwork front next time.}

This time, though, I used the solid gold fabric for the front,
and I added a cute little detail,
using ribbon tape.

I stole borrowed that design idea from
 Kristyne of Pretty By Hand blog,
who is an expert at making these needle books.

I bought my ribbon tape 
and can recommend this shop wholeheartedly.

Now, on the inside, I've used some luscious wool felt,
which I bought from another favorite shop on Etsy,

I could not resist buying a stack of felt,
in gorgeous bright colors.

Also, I chose some neutrals.

For my needle book, I selected,
after much thought and consideration...
the WHITE felt.

{The irony is not lost on me. But it just looks so good.}

See that golden ric rac?
I had a tiny spool of it, part of a set I found at JoAnn,
and I think it looks great, holding some fancy pins
and a little swatch of the lilac fabric.

Do you like my little sample?
I've decided to give it away,
to someone who joins the

Everyone who signs up is automatically entered
for the random drawing.

{Because everyone needs a little surprise in their mailbox now and then.}

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May 14, 2014

CLOSED... The Need A Little Needle Book Swap! ---CLOSED

Sometimes we all need a little encouragment
to try something new...
or we need a little break from everyday stress...
or we just need a little bit of beauty in our day.

That's why I'm putting together the 
"Need A Little Needle Book Swap".


1. Join the swap by May 31, 2014.  
Entries are now CLOSED. Thank you, all!
All you need to do is send an email to me at
with your mailing address.

 {You can comment on this post, too, but please also email me.}

2.  Let me know if you could do an international swap,
or if you prefer to stay within your own country.
You can also let me know if you have any preferences of colors
or styles you would like to receive from your partner.

3. I will assign you a partner. My target date is June 7, 2014.
You will receive an email from me, near that date.

4. It's up to you, whether you would like to keep your identity
from your partner, or would like to contact her to get to know her tastes.
Either way is fun!

5. Create a needle book for your partner and mail it out
by June 30, 2014.

6.  Feel free to include any extras your partner might enjoy...
sweets, sewing notions, fabric scraps or another handmade item.

7.  Have some fun posting pictures on your blog or on Flickr.
You can give sneak peeks or just go ahead and show it all.
It's fun to get inspiration from others.

8. Reach out to me, via email, if you have any issues.
Things happen...and sometimes we need a little support
or just can't meet the target date.
I can contact your partner to let them know to be patient...
something good is about to happen.

9. If you need to bow out gracefully, that's okay, too.
No stress permitted in this swap!

10. Above all, encourage one another.
Make new friends with your fellow swappers,
visit their blogs, comment on their photos, and enjoy the group.

So, now...we need a little information...
just what are we swapping???

A needle book is basically just 
a pretty little sewing booklet 
with pages of fabric or felt,
for keeping pins and needles safe and handy.

For my model,
I used the fabulous, free tutorial found

You can find many other awesome designs
and tutorials out there for needle books,
so you are not limited to this particular style.

{But isn't it just so cute?!?!?!?!}

and you'll see a few more ideas.

Sewing-Time Needle Book from
Here's another style I love...

Tutorial by Stitch Craft Create
I need a little more space...this post is long enough!
I'll be back soon to share more details
about this little needle book,
along with an exciting little surprise!

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May 6, 2014

A New Herd of Elephants

Here they come...a whole new herd
of baby elephants!

I introduced my first bunch of these little elephants,

They sure were fun to create,
using the pattern pieces printed a bit smaller, at 75%.

Turns out...I needed a lot more BOY elephants,
so this time I chose some brighter prints.

{I think they are actually suitable for little girls, too!}

I'm just crazy for the navy blue and lime combination!
The checkerboard print is from Bonnie and Camille's
Happy Go Lucky line. 
I paired it with a retro flower print
from V and Co's Simply Color, both for Moda.

I got a bit carried away with some of my stash
of Heather Bailey prints, in Bijoux and Fresh Cut.

A couple of the others were made from
Tula Pink's Hushabye line,
in baby soft aqua and white, with tiny raindrops
and sweet circus wheel motifs.

See that gray elephant in the center,
with the red gingham ears?
I think I'm playing favorites here,
but I.Love.That.One.

{The gray print was from another Bonnie and Camille line, called Vintage Modern.}

I really enjoyed taking in a bag full of baby elephants,
so my friends could choose one just right for their special little baby!

It was more fun than a 3-ring circus!

I'll be making more of these someday...

Show Off Saturday Linky Party!

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