Frida Kahlo Tote Bag Tutorial

Frida Bag_1

I recently had two birthdays to celebrate, that are near each other in the calendar.  I cut up my precious Frida Kahlo canvas fabric (made by Alexander Henry), yielding two bags from one yard.

So I wrote a little tutorial, for everyone should know how to make a bag out of fabric.  Hope this helps.

Frida Bag_Fabric Cutting

Do the same cutting with your chosen lining, trimming 2″ off the upper edge of the lining, as you want the lining to be slightly shorter than your Frida fabric.

Keeping Frida on her feet, seam the selvage sides Right Sides Together (RST), and then sew across the bottom.

Sew the lining bag sides, then across the bottom seam BUT LEAVE A 7″ OPENING IN THAT SEAM at the bottom of the bag.  You’ll need an opening later in this construction process, and leaving the bottom seam with a gap will later allow you to turn the bag.

Frida Bag_2

To make the bag have a flat bottom, you’ll line up the bottom seam with the side seam (where there wasn’t a seam, I pressed the side edge with my iron).  When you get them lined up, pin.  I went for a six-inch bag bottom, so I lined up the middle of my ruler along the seam, and drew a line.

Frida Bag_2a

You can see the faint pencil line here, on the lining. This is from the folded side of the bag, and you can see the ironed crease in the side, heading up to the point.

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Stitch along that line, then 1/4″ away from that line, into the peaked corner.

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Cut off the excess, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.

Frida Bag Illus_2

Frida Bag Illus_2a

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Matching the edges, stitch around the top of the bag using a 1/2″ seam.  Turn inside out through opening on bottom.  Line up the bottoms of the bag and lining, allowing the Frida fabric to roll over into the inside:

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I pressed the seam towards the lining fabric, into the bag.

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Stitch in the ditch, just above the fold of the lining, using thread that matches the Frida fabric.

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Stitch the opening in the lining bottom closed, by topstitching the two edges together.  It can also be done by hand with tiny stitches.

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Time for handles.  On the front of the bag, find the center (matching up sides).  Mark with a pin.  Each bag handle is placed 3-1/2″ from the center.

How long to cut the webbing?  It depends on your use and how tall you are.  I wanted these to go over my shoulder, yet stay off the ground when using the handles to carry, so after pinning it at different heights to try it out, I finally cut two pieces of webbing 27-1/2″ each.

Pin them to the bag, making sure each handle stays on the same side of the outside.  In other words, don’t attach one end to one side of the bag and one end to the other.  The bag handles should be attached the same side of your bag (otherwise it won’t open widely).

I placed the handles lower than the top edge of the bag, leaving an inch free.  I then sewed them down with a cross-in-a-box design:

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Back, showing the stitching pattern for handles.

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Done!  I marked one side of the bag, so the user can find the “front” easily.  One has Frida’s Garden selvage label (shown above).

Frida Bag

The other one has a woven ribbon that says Ahali, which means “family relations.” (It’s for my sister.)

Now you have a quick tote, that is perfect for everyting, and because it’s lined, it’s sturdy and looks neat.  It took me a couple of hours from first cut, to this photo, for both bags, but having done this multiple times, I’m kind of fast at this sort of thing.  My grocery sack tutorial is a similar bag, but unlined. That site has a downloadable instruction page, if that works better for you.

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I wanted to close out this post with a couple of photos from two women who attended my workshops.  It’s always a delight to see how others interpret the pattern.  If you have made one of my patterns, don’t hesitate to send me an photo!  You can also tag me on Instagram: @occasionapiecequilt.

Sheri MSquare

Merrion Square, version by Sheri

Charlotte HomeSHome

Home, Sweet Home, version by Charlotte

 

Bluebird of Quiltiness

Bluebird Tiny Quilt_1

Another Tiny Quilt was hatched today, and its this Bluebird of Quiltiness.  Based on a 1-1/2″ block size, I figured it out and made it up, finishing it with the perfect faceted black bead for the eye.  There are multiple patterns out there for pieced birds, and while I changed this one up enough that I consider it my pattern and no one else’s, I’m not putting a PDF out there.  Just in case.

Bluebird on Nest

However, this one is different enough that I’m posting up a PDF of the pattern pieces, in case you want to make a bird on a nest for your next Tiny Quilt.  Grab the PDF file here: Nested Bird pattern and have fun making another little Tiny Quilt.  (I have a listing of all the Tiny Quilts on this blog, in case you’re interested.)

After you create the bird (with, or without nest), then you sew on borders until it’s large enough.  See the first Tiny Quilt for more instructions.

 

Wanting to finish this today made me leave the house, avoid the parking lot also known as our Memorial Day freeway gridlock, just to get over to WalMart to buy a landscape-oriented frame. It’s those cheesy plastic frames, nothing fancy.   To modify this one, I laid the frame down on my quilt, traced around it, and used those lines to create the backing and put the binding on.

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I also finished this bird-themed stitchery, purchase eons ago at Primitive Gatherings.  I took it with me to Berlin, but finished it up here.  Now to find a frame for this.

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The other day I pin-basted three wall-sized quilts, and started stitching on the first one:Quilting with no direction

Right.  I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m having fun.  I think am hoping it will make more sense when I get the whole thing done.  Stay tuned; it will be long while, as I still limit my daily quilting minutes.

Bindings Needed_1

And the three quilts came back from Cathy of CJ Designs, my quilter.  One is in Active Binding Mode downstairs by the TV, and two (above) are waiting for binding.  The whirly-gig backed quilt is also waiting for more quilting along the borders.  The fun thing was that I’ve had a number quilts done by her, and so I hit the magic number and the last one was done for free.  It’s her way of saying thank you to her customers.  (Thank you, Cathy!)

Mom and her quilt

But I’m leaving all this behind this next week, as I head up to my Mother’s to help celebrate her 91st birthday.  (I do like to remind her that if you turn the numbers upside down, she’s a girl of 16.)  She’s shown above with about the only quilt I can remember her making: a cross-stitched top which was sent out to be hand-quilted.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom on young birthday SM

Mom, around age 12, holding her birthday cake

 

Valley of the Mist Quilters Guild

ValleyMist_Workshoppers

I’m leading off with my workshop participants, all brilliant conversationalists and quilters.

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This past week, I gave a lecture and taught my Merrion Square Workshop to the Valley of the Mist Quilters Guild, a top-notch guild that taught me plenty about how a successful guild functions.

At my workshop, Lupe, an excellent chef and the Workshop Coordinator, brought me a home-made lunch.  We gathered around a table for a break, and I enjoyed hearing stories about how people came to Temecula, California, for there are very few natives here.

Frequent Quilters Card

Here’s an idea for Guilds: a Frequent Quilter Card.  Every time a Guild Member takes a class, the Workshop Coordinator initials their card; when they have taken five classes, they get the sixth one free.  One line I heard over and over at Meet the Teachers was that guilds couldn’t fill their workshop classes.  This would be a great motivator to get people to a workshop, another good idea from this Guld.

 

As with any Guild, finding space to meet for programs and workshops is a challenge, and we met today in a clubhouse, with beautiful roses outside.

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Several days before, on Tuesday, I drove to the Temecula Recreation Center, where the Guild has their monthly meetings.  Above is the Guild President, calling the meeting to order.  After a few announcements, it was my turn. ValleyMistActivities_12

I had the two tables at the back of the stage lined up with my quilts, which– after they were showed–were then draped over the structure at the front of the stage (hard to explain, but no, my quilts weren’t on the floor).

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The Guild Members could come up front to see the quilts for a closer look; very satisfying that they enjoyed my work.  The quilter in the front, Annette, has followed my blog for several years, and came up and introduced herself to me at Road to California a couple of years ago.  (I wrote about that lovely experience up in my journal.) After the break was finished, members scattered to do business at the following tables:

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Workshops.  All the tables have signs, and this one is patch-worky!  Lupe is there (you recognize her from the top of the post), with my quilts, signing up people for my Saturday Workshop.

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Sweets and Treats table.

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Ida is in charge of the Charity Quilts.  Behind her a bags of completed quilts, and in front of her are quilt kits, so people can grab and go and make and return, along with kits for pillowcases (in the bin).  She is very organized!

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These tables are where members lay their Show and Tell.  I noticed that they didn’t include small quilted items such as bags, purses or hot pad holders, which I’ve seen in other guilds.  I enjoyed their Show and Tell Show immensely, loving this plaid quilt.  She said she had a bin of plaid from a few years back (um, I have one of those too) and decided to do something with it.  The people who brought these items would scoop them up and line up on one side of the stage.  When it was their turn to speak, the two ladies on the stage would take the quilt and hand the quilter a microphone, so she could talk about her quilt without having to show it.  A nice piece of choreography.ValleyMistActivities_6

Gloria ran the quilt raffle.  I was tempted by those cookbooks and their newly designed Guild pin.

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Adriene and Shelly (they are sisters) run the block of the month and this year they are doing Improv Blocks.  They call themselves the Blockheads, but trust me, they are witty and fun to talk to (they were also at the Workshop).

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Janice’s Charming Strip Exchange was popular.  This month was Kaffe Fasset fabrics.

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What to do with leftovers?  Make Pet Beds.

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Check out that mini quilt.  Every month they have a Monthly Mini raffle, and I’m sure this month’s quilt — that of the sewing machine — must have been hugely popular!

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Here’s another table that has monthly baskets of sewing supplies, fabrics, magazines–all donated–which the organizers make into cute baskets.  When you buy your tickets, you can grab a candy, plus they give you a small gift:

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ValleyMistActivities_1a

While I picked a ticket for one of their door prizes that night (did I mention they had three?), the highly efficient chairmen do the drawings themselves, and present the name to the President for the announcement.

As might have noticed, this post is pretty detailed.  Many of my readers are on the Boards of their local Guilds, and I though I would present these good ideas for them, as well as for those who simply go to Guild meetings.  I love our community, and celebrate the work of Guilds, impressed as always.  Thanks to the Valley of the Mist Quilters Guild for inviting me!

What I’ve Been Doing Lately • May 2019

Gridster_May 2019

Since I hadn’t posted in a couple of weeks, I did want to blog, but felt pretty scattered about what to write.  So here it all is: from finishes to starts, from garden news and quilting to a Trunk Show.

So, to start with, Simone and I got together to make blocks for Rachel‘s Queen Bee turn in our Gridster Bee: Scrap Jar Stars from Gigi’s Thimble.  We’d made them last year for another bee member, so these blocks, in the requested red and green, went together quickly.

May 2019 Gridster layout.png

Rachel laid out on her floor the blocks she’d received so far, and this is going to make a terrific quilt.  She blogs at The Life of Riley.

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Something interesting about Rachel is that she raises bees.  This screenshot is from her ETSY shop, where she sells beeswax for hand-sewing.  I’m lucky enough to have one of these!

Shine Blocks in the wild

Imagine waking up one morning to a tag from a friend about this quilt.  I recognized the block immediately, as it was the final block I designed for my Shine: The Circles Quilt.  This man sells a shot cotton (in Australia), and they’d contracted someone to make a quilt showing their fabric line and that person used my quilt design.  After a few back-and-forths, I did get attribution for the design.  Peony_2019

Moving right along, the peony bush in the garden bloomed.  I have two exactly-the-same bushes and they each have a slightly different flower.  Just like people, just like quilters, who can make the same quilt and have it look quite different.

And…after a visit to my doctor and the A-OK from him and from Kris, my physical therapist (above right), I started using the Sweet Sixteen quilting machine again.  This is my first attempt at quilting, so I took it in to show her.  They chart everything you do, asking seemingly innocent questions like, “How are your household chores coming along?”  or “Take any long drives this weekend?” so they can monitor my progress in recovering from rotator cuff surgery in January.  Nearly five months out, I’m in the “danger zone” where most re-tears happen, so I’m very careful not to stress the repair, or mow lawns.  (Kidding.  I never mow the lawn, because my husband does a very fine job and I wouldn’t want to interrupt his successes.)

Prepping Quilts for Quilter_1

This past month I also proved to myself, once again, that texting can be a horrible way to convey complicated information, given the strange timing you get in texting (answering one text while that person is answering your text, creating an asyncronous conversation).  Because of this, I was unsuccessful in communicating with a new quilter I’d previously tried.  She was frustrated. And I was BEYOND frustrated.  (One unsolved topic: using vertical seams in your backing.) And yes, she only uses texts, so we parted ways.

Prepping Quilts for Quilter_2

I bundled up my three quilts and their backs and took them to my regular quilter, Cathy of CJ Designs.  I asked her about vertical seams on the back, and she said she had no problem with them.  And her costs were more reasonable. So what felt like a set-back  really turned out okay in the end.

Merrion Square2

Over the last few weeks, I have sewn three of these mini quilt tops.  At the Meet the Teacher event I recently went to, I signed eight contracts for teaching, and many of the guilds chose this as their workshop.  And everyone likes samples to be sent.  This is the second one I’ve quilted, and it made me feel more at home on the machine.  I still have to take frequent breaks and can’t go too long in any one session, but I’m making progress.

Backing of Merrion Square2

I think the backing fabric is awesome.

I’ve also been sewing up some of my new designs, working out the bugs and kinks of the patterns, but am not ready to launch them yet.

Sample Checklist for Guilds.png
Finally, when I was sorting out my contracts, I developed a form to help me keep track of critical information, which was missing from several of the contracts I signed.  Only one Guild so far (I’ve gone through about half my contracts) had everything I needed to know.  I realize that if I flew into a city, the Guild Minders would take me around, so I wouldn’t need all this info.  But since I drive to all my gigs, it’s critical to know.  If you would like an editable MSWord version of this for your own personal use (the above is only a screenshot), I’ll be happy to send it to you. Just leave me a comment on this post, or email me.

Organizing Blog Content

And even more interestingly, I couldn’t find a lot of relevant information on Guild Websites.  So, if you are a guild board member, please make sure that people (strangers) can easily find the time and date and place of your monthly meeting, and the same for your workshops.

I know how this happens, as I’m guilty of it here sometimes: you just start throwing up blogposts, forgetting that some visitors come for specific information.  I’ve revised the organization and wording of this blog mulitple times, always trying to make it easier for people to find my quilts (links and titles) as well as other info.  It’s a never-ending task: like trying to keep the junk drawer in the kitchen cleaned out.

Best Wishes on Trunk Show

My husband left this sign for me on the kitchen counter while I was at PT.

I’m looking forward to a lot of fun teaching and meeting people, beginning with tonight, at the Valley of the Mist Quilters Guild in Temecula California.  I’ll be teaching a Merrion Square Workshop for them on Saturday.  Please contact them if you are interested in coming.

Temperature Quilt_April 2019.jpg
April’s Temperature Quilt Blocks are all done…moving into May!

Utah Valley Quilt Guild • National Teacher

Utah VlyQG_13

This is the Utah Valley, where the Utah Valley Quilt Guild lives, meets and has way too much fun (check their website to see what I’m talking about).  In April, I was invited as their National Teacher, an annual honor, to present and to give a workshop.  As I was born and raised in this valley, it stands to reason that I would know some people here…

Utah VlyQG_9

…like Lisa, my “minder” and a sweet friend who recently moved here from SoCal.  I was actually invited by Brenda S., who is serving an 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and have looked forward to coming to speak to this guild for over a year.  Thank you, Brenda!

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First up: teach a Workshop for their Guild.  They actually wanted two combined into one, and I loved seeing all the different houses-on-a-square that resulted from this class:

Scenes from class that day.

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I knew that Leslie (L) was a total geneology expert, so we figured out (via an app that we are both registered on) that not only was she my 9th cousin, I was also ninth cousin with another quilter (R), too!

Lisa took me to The Quilter’s Lodge, where I indulged, and where we saw Simone’s fabric.  Truth: I went back two days later.  Actually, you should all go!

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Next up: the Trunk Show, where I was to give my Abecedary of Quilts lecture.

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Because they have their lecture after their workshop, all those class ladies when home and sewed their brains out, and came up with the beginnings of their Home, Sweet, Home and Merrion Square mini quilts. Impressive!

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Lisa, as Quilt Minder, had too much on her mind and left hers at home–she later sent me a photo of how cute her quilt had turned out.  I love this version!

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The guild was really responsive, and we laughed together–I was so appreciative of their keen interest.  I was also impressed with all the good projects this guild is doing, so much that I joined the guild before I left!

Utah VlyQG_12Utah VlyQG_12a

While I was at the Workshop, my husband went to an art museum in Salt Lake City, that because he is also a well-trained quilter’s husband, zeroed in on these two pieces that were there.  It’s nice to know that others see our art in cloth and thread, and want to include it in their exhibits.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this quild; they are incredibly friendly and welcoming.  Thank you, Utah Valley!

Signature Blocks

I’ve done several types of signature blocks, so thought I’d update my tutorial on how to make a signature block for friends.  The basic kind I make (L)  is a small block, that the people in the Bees I participate in, send with their blocks.  The larger size (R) is suitable for a friendship quilt, which we made for our friend Lora when she moved away.

Cut one white, or light, 3 1/2″ square and two 2 1/2″ squares.  I like to use the fabric that was in my block that I sent. (Click on any circle to enlarge it.)

Place the smaller block on the top of the larger block, aligning corners, right sides together, and draw a diagonal line.  Stitch one-to-two threads away from this line, towards the corner.  This is the same technique used when making snowball blocks, in order to give room for the fabric to turn over the stitching line.  Trim off the excess corner, leaving 1/4″.

In Circle 1, I’ve trimmed away the excess fabric and pressed the block.  The center should measure about 1 1/2″ wide (Circle 2).  In the last circle (seen from the back), I pressed a scrap of freezer paper, shiny side down, to the wrong side of the white strip in order to stabilize the area where I’ll be writing.

I’ve made myself a card that I place underneath the white area, to help keep my writing aligned; I use paper clips to keep it in place. I use a Micron Pigma 08 pen to write.

What to write on a Signature Block that is included with bee blocks? In our bee, we suggest: Name, IG name, the date (in smaller writing) and the city where the quilter lives.

When making the larger signature blocks (quilt shown above), I used a 6 1/2″ white square and a 5″ contrast square.  It gave a good amount of room for Lora’s friends to write their names.  I did back every white part with strips of freezer paper, and collected signatures from all the church ladies to give her a good send-off.  Many wanted to write a message, but we encouraged them to just leave a signature.

I’m sure you can see the double stitching on the corner.  Because this was a larger block, I did two lines of stitching on those corners, 1/2″ apart, then cut right down the middle when I trimmed.  That yielded a sweet-sized HST to use for other projects.

Signatures

Some time ago, I made myself a signature quilt, collecting names of those who were significant to me at that time in my life.  Some six years later, all these sweet granddaughters who signed a block (above) have grown up.

SilverGold_draped

Silver and Gold, 2013

In this case, I used the center of the King’s Crown Block (also the basis for the popular Meadowland block that is currently all the rage; see below), sending around white blocks of fabric backed with squares of freezer paper all over the country, asking them to write their names in pencil (which I later traced over with my Micron Pigma 08 pen).

However or whatever your need for signature blocks are, I hope these tips are helpful!

KingsCrown_Meadlowland Quilt Blocks

tiny-nine-patches

Photo Gallery Label

Sampler Quilt 2015with Sigs

I’ve circled where I used my beemates signature blocks.

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This shows the signature blocks of my beemates set in the back of a recently finished quilt, like kiss marks (sweet thought!).

Piggies-signature blocks

I inserted the signature blocks in a row on the back of this quilt, with my “label” the same size and shape in lower left.

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