Traditional vs. Modern Quilts - What’s the Difference?

Traditional vs. Modern Quilts – What’s the Difference?

Do you understand the differences between traditional and modern quilts?

Let’s look and see just what sets these different styles apart.

Traditional quilts

Traditional quilts are tried and true. Folks have been piecing and quilting these familiar designs for hundreds of years. Traditional patchwork designs have names: Log Cabin, Courthouse Steps, Nine-Patch, Dresden Plate.  There are thousands of these traditional patterns, and these are based on blocks and a grid.

Traditional vs Modern Quilts-What's the Difference?

Traditional quilts use regularly repeating shapes and blocks, based on a grid.

Traditional patchwork can be simple or complex, but it is usually made up of many repetitions of the same block and orderly rows. These are frequently combined with uniform sashing between individual blocks and/or borders all around. They rely heavily on symmetry in both the patchwork and the quilting.

Traditional quilt patterns are still made and loved today, but we can say that these are our grandmothers’ quilts—and their grandmothers before them.

Traditional vs Modern Quilts- What's the Difference?

Modern quilts

As the name implies, modern quilts are something new. They are more experimental and rely less on rules and order.  Modern quilt designs began popping up in the last half of the twentieth century. But they really hit their stride just before the new millennium.

Modern quilts differ from traditional quilts in many ways. Traditional quilts rely on a grid of regularly repeating designs, symmetry, sashing, borders, often complicated patchwork, and simple quilting. In contrast, modern quilts go off the grid and use asymmetry, less fuss, minimalist designs, and a more improvisational style with unusual arrangements of blocks and settings.

Traditional vs Modern Qults- What's the Difference?

While there is a definite list of characteristics that categorize the modern quilt style, these are not rules. Most modern quilts will fulfill at least one but not usually all of them.  In general, modern quilt characteristics include a minimalist style; they emphasize negative space rather than intricate patchwork. They may feature bold colors and graphic designs that give high-contrast pop. And modern quilts often feature asymmetry and use unusual block placement and off-center motifs.

Traditional vs Modern Quilts- What's the Difference?

photo courtesy redheadwiththread

Modern colors and fabrics

Colors in modern quilts tend to be bold. High contrast graphic designs are created with brightly colored solid fabrics and striking modern prints. These are used more sparingly than in the more familiar repeating patterns which march across so many traditional quilts.  The focus is on the bold modern fabrics, rather than fussy technique.

Traditional vs Modern Quilts- What's the Difference?

Bold colors make modern quilts pop

Negative space and dense, innovative quilting

Negative space features heavily in modern quilts.  In traditional quilting, the repeating patchwork is meant to stand out. So traditional quilters most often construct backgrounds from neutral, receding colors. But backgrounds in modern quilts are brighter and more expansive. Whites and grays are popular choices to bring these negative spaces forward.

All this negative space highlights asymmetrical, alternate grid, or graphic modern quilting.  Simple piecing contrasts with dense quilting in innovative designs. Whereas patchwork commands attention in traditional quilts; on modern quilts, the quilting more often stands out.

Traditional vs Modern Quilts- What's the Difference?

Zig-zag modern quilting

No rules quilting

Traditional quilting stitches may be straight and simple lines, such as with “stitch in the ditch” lines that follow piecing seams. Or they can be elaborate curliques and designs which are deliberately and symmetrically placed to line up with wide borders. They may even meander as free-motion stipples, but these must follow rules, and not cross each other.

Modern quilters are free to abandon all these rules. Modern quilting lines may cross to form geometric patterns, irregular curlicues, or any other design an imaginative quilter can dream up. Quilters can even combine many varied stitches and feature each separately to break up a large expanse of negative space into different sections, for example.

Traditional vs Modern Quilts- What's the Difference?

Another quilt by Columbus Modern Quilt Guild member DanaK

Free-motion quilting is one way to let loose and experiment with fun and free modern quilting. To quilt in the free motion style, use your darning foot. You can either lower your feed dogs to guide your fabric by hand, or you can leave your feed dogs up and just set your stitch length to zero. Either way works!

Leah Day, who teaches free-motion quilting online, challenged herself to create a new filler design every day for a year. And her Free-Motion Quilting Project blog is an excellent resource and inspiration.

Off the grid layout

Patchwork in modern quilts can include off center or tessellated designs.  Modern quilts differ with much less reliance on uniform blocks and borders than is traditional and may feature irregular rows. Lack of borders and offset blocks create designs that continue beyond the quilt’s edge.  In general, both the patchwork and the quilting on modern quilts tends not to rely on a grid.

Traditional vs Modern Quilts- What's the Difference?

Example from Flickr user Gabrielle shows a modern, off-the-grid design

Modern quilts may make use of technology, such as computers for visualizing designs, and tools such as cutting machines or tessellating or other specialty rulers, to assist with cutting and design.

Traditional vs Modern Quils- What's the Difference?

This quilt by Columbus Modern Quilt Guild member shows a fun take on pixelation.

Hybrid design: modern traditionalism

You don’t have to choose between these two styles, however! Modern traditionalism is a hybrid of both. These quilts marry the improvisational freedom in design, piecing, and quilting of modern quilts with the traditional patchwork designs that connect us to the many generations of quilters before us.

A modern traditional quilt may shrink a traditional pattern and sprinkle these sparsely as isolated individuals amongst a wide expanse of negative space. Other modern treatments of traditional patchwork include combining patterns or enlarging blocks to a single design. A quilter may then feature such blocks this off center, for example.

Traditional vs Modern Quilts- What's the Difference?

Modern traditionalism features new settings for traditional blocks. Photo courtesy of Trillium Designs

Which style do you prefer? I love them all!

For more modern and modern traditional inspiration, check out the gallery at the Modern Quilt Guild.
Flickr images licensed under Collective Commons.
It's National Sewing Month!

It’s National Sewing Month!

As a writer, I was well aware there’s a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that happens in November. As a person who sews though, I had no idea there was a month dedicated to sewing, until this week. Imagine my surprise to find that not only does National Sewing Month exist, but it’s this month — September! Essentially, I found this detail out with less than a month left to officially celebrate, but I suppose learning late in the month is better than having to wait until next year to utilize the concept.

I was surprised as well that this status isn’t something that a random sewing fan made up. Rather, this is something that Ronald Reagan declared back in the 1980s. That’s right. This is a former president’s declaration, and it pretty much boggles my mind that something like a sewing month would be noted by a President of the United States. It seems solid evidence that the world of sewing is more far-reaching and popular than what I might have thought when I first dove into it.

Now that I’m aware — and maybe you are too because of this post — that this month is dedicated to sewing, the question arises about how to celebrate it. There are plenty of options to do so, but seeing as how over half of the month is already gone, whatever celebrating you do would have to be fairly quick-paced! Regardless, there are still ways to fit your celebration into your end-of-the-month schedule, like with these possibilities!

Make a quick project

While some sewing projects can take a long time to make, other projects can be done in a day or less — and these are great prospects at this point for celebrating National Sewing Month before it ends. This concept can vary depending on how fast you are with sewing. For instance, something like a quilt might be a project that one person can finish in a week while another person requires longer. A guiding factor for this possibility then is your own ability and time frame. If you can manage a bigger project, go for it! But if you feel more comfortable with something smaller, like a fabric coaster or throw pillow, choose one of those options. As long as you have enough time to wrap up the loose ends before October 1st, you’re in good shape!

A great idea for this project would be to work on a homemade gift that you can give someone later in the year for a Christmas present. This can give you space to craft that gift and an excuse to revel in a month dedicated to sewing. Win/win, right? If you’re looking for sewing projects, Sewing Machines Plus has free project ideas available here that you can browse through to find a National Sewing Month project.leaf-flower-petal-celebration-heart-food-1250761-pxhere.com

Take a sewing class

Sure, a number of programs that you can take have specific start and end times, and you can’t just decide for those options that you’re going to start a class right now. For other possibilities though, there’s room to maneuver, particularly if you take a class you can finish in a virtual setting with timed videos. Craftsy, for instance, has classes with videos of certain lengths, and if you schedule your time effectively, you can finish one of them by the end of the month.hand-needle-girl-woman-vintage-tool-706616-pxhere.com

One other option would be to start a program this month even though you know it’ll extend farther than the beginning of October. Penn Foster programs, as an example, can allow you that kind of freedom to simply decide to register for a class today and work your way through at a personal pace. It’ll extend beyond September, but September can still be the month that led to you making the choice to enroll.

Buy a new piece of equipment

If you want to treat this month as something worth celebrating, why not go all out and buy yourself a gift for the prospect? You could even extend the prospect outward by buying small sewing supplies for friends and family who enjoy sewing as much as you do, like new thread or fun pattern kits. This way, you can spread the enjoyment of National Sewing Month beyond your own personal collection.hand-sewing-sewing-machine-art-design-handicraft-759263-pxhere.com

That doesn’t mean you should feel bad about adding to your own sewing stash though, and there are plenty of ways to build your supplies in honor of the month. If you need a new sewing machine and can splurge just a bit, celebrate Sewing Month by bringing your dream sewing machine home. Check out Sewing Machine Plus’s site for possibilities on the matter!

Smaller details, like a new sewing kit or interesting fabric, can also be ways to celebrate the month if your budget won’t allow for a new sewing machine, and a few extra dollars can lead to a tiny contribution to your sewing supplies in honor of the month. If you can work even a new pack of straight pins into your budget, it’s a method of celebration!

In any event…

I feel a bit of camaraderie with my fellow sewing fans this month, given our shared interest that was valid enough for a president to declare a month for it.

So to these fellow craftsmen, happy National Sewing Month!

Quilt A String-Pieced Scrap Quilt For Baby

Quilt A String-Pieced Scrap Quilt For Baby

Here is an easy scrap quilt idea that is great fun to make.Here is an easy scrap quilt idea that is great fun to make.

You could clear out your scrap stash to make this gorgeous gift.

Blue is my favorite color, so I had heaps of blue scraps. That is what gave me the idea to make this crib sized quilt for a special new baby boy. You could choose a different color of scraps for this, or you could choose to not restrict your palette and clear out a random colorful scrap pile instead.

You will need:

  • A variety of cotton scraps
  • 48 5-inch cotton muslin squares
  • 12 2.5 inch muslin squares
  • 1 yard border fabric
  • Crib size batting
  • 1.5 yard backing fabric
  • Quilt binding or fabric to make binding

To make the patchwork squares:

Press and cut your colorful scraps into approximately 1 inch wide strips. You will trim strips to the desired length as you construct the squares.

Take a muslin square and angle the first scrap strip diagonally, from the bottom left corner to the top right corner of the square. You can create a sort of uniformity in your blocks and allow for the Xs and squares effect achieved in this quilt by choosing one color scrap to use as this center piece in every square. In this case, I chose navy. All squares are made with navy as the longest, first piece in this quilt.

Next, choose another strip and place it right side down atop the first strip, then sew along one side using a quarter inch seam. Flip the second strip down to face up, then press.

Once you've added the last little strip to cover the corner, you can turn and repeat the process to fill in the other side of your square.

Once you’ve added the last little strip to cover the corner, you can turn and repeat the process to fill in the other side of your square.

Then add another strip, placing the third right side down atop the second, and sew using a quarter inch seam, then flip with right side up, and press.

Please do not skip the step of pressing each strip neatly down after sewing. Careful pressing makes the difference between neat and well made quilts and something that is more of a mess!

Repeat the process, using shorter strips and smaller scraps as you get close to the edges of the square. Once you’ve added the last little strip to cover the corner, you can turn and repeat the process to fill in the other side of your square.

Now you have your first completed square.

You have your first completed square.

Place the square right side down and trim excess strip ends from the muslin square. This is most easily accomplished using a rotary cutter, or you can trim the excess with scissors instead.

Now make 47 more.

Now make 47 more.

Now you have your first completed square.

Make 47 more.

Assembling the quilt top:

Once you have completed all your patchwork squares, sew them together into rows.

Different looks can be achieved by varying the placement of the squares. You could turn them all in the same direction or assemble them where they form the X’s and O’s pattern pictured here. This is one of the things that makes quilting so much fun, that the same simple block can be turned different ways to vary the look of the completed top.

When joining the squares, take extra care for the tiny corner triangles, as it can be easy to make a careless mistake and miss joining these “ears” properly. This is easy to avoid by being careful in joining the squares and avoiding rush.

You also have options in this design: once you have completed the joining of the strip patchwork, you could call the quilt top done. Or choose to border the patchwork with a solid fabric. You could make borders of equal widths, or you could choose to add an additional embellishment, as I have here, with smaller blocks set off with borders. I did mine this way to indicate the top of the quilt and bring the design to the right dimensions for a crib sized quilt..

To make this quilt as pictured, sew 3.5 inch border strips around all sides of the patchwork design.

Prepare the three smaller blocks in the same way as the larger ones, using 2.5 inch muslin squares for the base.

Join these into a row by alternating the small patchwork blocks with 4 4.5 inch squares of the border fabric.

Sew this strip to the top edge, and finish the top by adding one more 3.5 inch strip above this.

To make the “quilt sandwich”:

  1. Cut your backing fabric 3 inches bigger all around than the top, press well, and place it right side down on your table or workspace.
  2. Carefully smooth the batting atop the wrong side of the backing layer.
  3. Press the top and seams one more time, taking extra care, then layer it wrong side down on top of the batting layer. Smooth nicely.
  4. Then baste all three layers together, using either long running stitches or quilters safety pins.

Quilting:

Meandering stipple stitch.

Meandering stipple stitch.

You can quilt this using the quick and easy route: the “stitch in the ditch” method of quilting over the seams that joined the individual blocks, or drop your feed dogs and use a meandering stipple stitch in one long line that (ideally) never crosses itself, guiding the quilt using your hands, working in sections until you have covered the entire quilt.  I quilted this pretty closely, like this:

Trim:

Trim the excess batting and backing, using your scissors or more quickly with your serger.

Bind:

Use prepackaged quilt binding or make your own. Sew binding strips together and then sew to quilt top, beginning along one side. Leave approximately an inch free at the beginning of this seam to join the binding ends once you have sewn it down all around. Join them, then fold over and sew the binding down on the back of the quilt using invisible whip stitches sewn by hand or using your machine if preferred.

Now you have made a beautiful heirloom gift that will be treasured forever!

“Pin”ny Time Savers

“Pin”ny Time Savers

All you need are clothes hangers, clothespins, and a marker or pen (not pictured).

All you need are clothes hangers, clothespins, and a marker or pen (not pictured).

Whether you are new to sewing and quilting or just love to follow commercial patterns, you quickly find out that once you cut out your pattern pieces, they are EVERYWHERE. Along your pattern cutting journey, you may get a little lost, especially trying to keep track of “which piece goes where” and “what label is this piece?” After all your cutting is done and it is time to reach for your cut pattern pieces to begin sewing or quilting, you find you find yourself spending even more time figuring out which one is “A, B, C” or “1, 2, 3”. Here is a handy solution to help you organize your fabric pattern pieces with items you probably already have at home.

First, use a marker or pen to label the clothespins based on the labels found on the pattern pieces or the pattern guide.

First, use a marker or pen to label the clothespins based on the labels found on the pattern pieces or the pattern guide.

All you need are clothes hangers, clothespins, and a marker or pen (not pictured). First, use a marker or pen to label the clothespins based on the labels found on the pattern pieces or the pattern guide. Using a permanent marker may make it easier to write on the clothespin, especially if it is made out of plastic. When choosing the marker and pen, make sure that you choose an ink that will be very easy and quick to see on the clothespin. (The goal is to make find your pattern pieces easier.)

Second, once you have labeled the clothespins, clip them on the hanger. To make finding the pins easier, place the labeled clothespin in alphabetical and numerical order. Continue clipping the pins onto the hanger until you have all your pins in a row. If you run out of space, use additional hangers until you have all of our labeled clothespins on a hanger.

Once you have labeled the clothespins, clip them on the hanger. Finally, attach the cut fabric pieces to their corresponding labeled clothespin by clipping the fabric to the hanger.

Once you have labeled the clothespins, clip them on the hanger. Finally, attach the cut fabric pieces to their corresponding labeled clothespin by clipping the fabric to the hanger.

Finally, attach the cut fabric pieces to their corresponding labeled clothespin by clipping the fabric to the hanger. For quilting patterns, there may be many pieces that same labels (for example, a repeating quilting pattern). In those cases, clip several pieces with the same label on the same pin. If there are a large amount of pieces with the same label and the clothespin get too bulky, create several clothespins with the same label. Organize the clothespins with identical labels next to each other for convenient and quick access.

Now you can hang the hanger on a door handle, a rod, or a rack. Place your fabric pattern hanger in a location this close to your project a quick reach to start your sewing and quilting. This idea not only helps to organize your pattern pieces, but it also helps to organize your sewing process. It can be such a distraction to have pattern pieces scattered all over your sewing and quilting workspace. A great sewing and quilting project takes focus and time. Organization around you in the workshop help you focus on project and saves you the time of having to search for your pattern pieces and figure out which piece it is.

The beauty of sewing and quilting is its creativity, attention to detail, and precision. Let this handy solution give you the freedom to put all of your time and energy into those things. So check out your closets or laundry rooms for the clothespins and hangers that will save you sewing and quilting time. But, just in case you want to go a purchase new one just for your sewing and quilting space, have fun with colors, prints, textiles, and more. From hardware stores to houseware stores, the possibilities are endless. Spruce up your creative environment with fashionable hangers and fancy clothespins to create a simple gadget that will help to make your sewing and quilting experience less frustrating and more exciting.

Country Kitchen Mug Rug

DIY – Country Kitchen Mug Rug

Country Kitchen Mug Rug.

Country Kitchen Mug Rug.

Mug rugs are extremely popular in the sewing world. They are usually fairly easy to sew and are generally easy to customize. Mug rugs make quick, easy, fabulous personalized gifts. I made a bunch of them personalized to the tastes and colors of each individual for friends and family. It wasn’t long before the requests for a second for work or for a child or friend of theirs came in. I absolutely love designing these. They don’t take long to make and I get to play with all sorts of fabric designs. They’re a wonderful project to add personality and flare to.

“Okay,” you say, “this sounds wonderful, fabulous, awesome. But what in the world is a mug rug?”

What is a Mug Rug? A Mug Rug is a cross between a full size place mat and a coaster. Smaller than a place mat, there is usually just enough room for a coffee or tea mug and a snack. They work perfectly for that breakfast coffee or an afternoon snack of tea and cookies. Typically the front side is the focus of designs and decals. The back is usually just one piece of decent fabric. The back fabric can match the colors or design on the front or can be completely different. If spills occur, just flip it over and finish your cup before tossing it in the dirty laundry.

Country Kitchen Mug Rug

Level: Beginner

Time to Complete: In an Hour

Sewn by: Machine-1/4 in. straight stitch except where indicated

**Tip** Wash all new materials prior to use to avoid shrinkage when you wash it later on.

**Tip** Iron cut pieces before sewing and in between each step. This helps in the sewing process and the end results will look more professional.

Country Kitchen Mug Rug.

Country Kitchen Mug Rug.

Materials:

  • 2 – 12″ L x 8″ W  Front/Back
  • 1 – 12″ L x 8″ W Cotton Batting
  • 2 –   7″ L x 2 1/2″ W Farm Animals

**Tip** I used material in my massive fabric collection. I always get new ideas every time I dig into my stash. It’s a great way to dream up new projects.

  1. Cut out fabric.
  2. Place front piece and batting together, right sides out.
  3. Pin farm animals to front and batting pieces and sew with 1/8 in. seam allowance. Any stitch is fine. I like to get creative and use the more decorative stitches when attaching smaller pieces to the overall product. I used a basic zig zag stitch.

    Panel of common stitches.

    Panel of common stitches.

  4. **Tip** I’ve been experimenting with decorative stitches I’ve never used. My Singer Advance has tons of decorative stitches. The owner’s manual describes the use of each stitch. I’ve also gone online to research stitches and to see how and for what projects others used them. Pay attention to the manual for any adjustments to stitch length or tension. Some stitches require adjustment changes. And, don’t forget to change settings back to auto when moving back to a straight stitch.  
  5. I used a basic zig zag stitch.
  6. Place front and back right sides together. Make sure to mark a 3 in. to 4 in. opening to pull the fabric right side out. I place pins vertical instead of horizontal pins at the opening so I know where to stop.

    Mark area to be left open.

    Mark area to be left open.

  7.  At this stage the cotton batting should be on the outside. We need it inside when we pull the fabric right side out.
  8. Sew with 1/4 in. seam allowance, leaving the open space.
  9. Cut corners. Turn fabric right side out. Shape mug rug and push out       corners.
  10. ** Tip** Cutting a small amount off the corners before turning material right side out allows for better-shaped corners when turned right side out. I use a pencil to shape the corners.

    Cut corners close to stitching.

    Cut corners close to stitching.

  11. Iron. Ironing at this stage is important to flatten material and inside seams before top stitching.
  12. Top stitch with 1/8 in. allowance around entire front side to give it a finished look as well as hold down your seams on the inside. Also make sure to stitch over the opening used to pull the fabric right side out. Iron.
  13. Viola! Finished!

Time to celebrate. Take a well-deserved break, make some coffee or tea, sit back and ENJOY!

Coffee break!

Coffee break!

I hope you enjoyed this project. If you have any questions or comments, please share! Any ideas, shortcuts, or other contributions are welcome.

I would love receiving picture posts showcasing your Country Kitchen Mug Rug creations 🙂

You are more than welcome to suggest project ideas. What would you like to see and learn? Let’s journey together!

Dashing Dish Mat

DIY – Dashing Dish Mat

Dishes everywhere! I’ve been learning how to cook from scratch. I also made the wonderful journey into the world of baking bread. Yay, so much fun! Boo, so many dishes that must be hand-washed. Oh no, can’t just throw them in the dishwasher!  My beloved husband’s coffee pot may only be moved upon threat of death, so I created a dish mat to fit our small, unique space.

Viola! The Dashing Dish Mat!

Before:

Impossible dish counter space.

Impossible dish counter space.

After:

Beautiful organization, bright space.

Beautiful organization, bright space.

Level: Beginner

Time to Complete: In an hour

Sewn By Machine: 1/4 in. straight stitch except where indicated

**Tip: Wash all new materials prior to use to avoid shrinkage when you wash it later on.

**Tip: Iron cut pieces before sewing and in between each step. This helps in the sewing process and the end results will look more professional.

Materials.

Materials.

Materials:

1 – 26 1/2″ L x 14 1/2″ W     Terry Cloth long part of L- for back side

1 – 13″ L x 17″ W                 Terry Cloth short part of L- for back side

3 – 27″ L x  5″ W                  Colorful fabric strips

3 – 5″ L x 17″ W                   Colorful fabric strips

  1. Measure the area where the dish mat will be. My dish mat will be L-shaped so I had to take measurements for each side. Final measurements – For lengthwise section, 26 1/2″ L x 14 1/2″ W. For L piece, 13″ L x 17″ W. I always use measuring tape instead of a ruler when measuring spaces. Measuring tape is flexible and much longer than most rulers. I add an 1/2″ to 1″ in. depending on the project to account for the material that will be used for seams. Otherwise the end project will be shorter than I want.
  2. Cut the terry cloth for the back side. Cut fabric strips.
  3. Sew two pieces of terry cloth together, right side together 1/4″ with regular straight stitch.
    • **Tip: Make sure you have the smaller L portion of the terry cloth on the correct side. This can be tricky. When you match right side together with terry cloth and fabric sides, make sure they are both on the correct side. I had to rip stitches and sew the terry cloth on the other side. I use a seam ripper with a safety ball so I cut only what I want and don’t end up ripping other areas of the fabric. 
    • **Tip: Don’t let mistakes discourage you. I make mistakes all the time, as is obvious with my terry cloth L error. Rip stitches, go back a step, start from scratch. Sewing is an adventure, and sometimes those mistakes turn into great ideas!

      Example of strip stitching.

      Example of strip stitching.

  4. Sew the vertical strips together, right sides together. Sew the horizontal strips together, right sides together. Then sew the vertical strips and horizontal strips together, on the right side.
  5. Sew the terry cloth back and the striped front together right sides together. Leave one end open to pull the fabric through.

    Outside pieces facing together.

    Outside pieces facing together.

  6. Cut off the corners before pulling the fabric through.
  7. Pull the fabric through. Iron.
  8. Top stitch all the seams for the strips. This adds a professional look as well as making sure the seams don’t cause problems later. Iron.
  9. Top stitch all around the outside. Make sure to sew the side that was left open to pull the fabric through. Iron.
    Top stitching seams.

    Top stitching seams.

    • **Tip: A creative use of thread colors can really make a project pop. Top stitching any of the seams in different colors or in a color that would really stand out against the fabric can be that “extra touch” that makes everyone say “Wow, you made that? Could you make one for me?”
    • Place on your kitchen counter and enjoy washing dishes!

I hope you enjoyed this project. If you have any questions or comments, please share! Any ideas, shortcuts, or other contributions are welcome.

I would love receiving picture posts from you showcasing your dish mat creations 🙂

DIY Tutorial - Striped Tote

DIY Tutorial – Striped Tote

Stacey’s Stitches

DIY - The Striped Tote

DIY – The Striped Tote

Level: Beginner
Time to Complete: In A Weekend
Machine: Singer Advance
Sewn By Machine – 1/4 in. straight stitch

I’ve suddenly found myself traipsing to multiple appointments on a regular basis. After dropping an important file in the middle of a parking lot on a windy day, I decided I needed one simple tote for carrying any and everything. Thus the Striped Tote was born 🙂

Let your imagination breathe personality into every stitch!

Materials:

  • 2 — 19 in. x 15 in. Inside fabric lining
  • 2 — 19 in. x 15 in. Cotton Batting
  • 14 — 15 in. x 4 in. Misc. horizontal fabric strips (amount is flexible depending on size and position of strips)
  • 4 — 3 in. x 6 in. Vertical fabric strips
  • 2 — 4in. x 30 in. Handles, preferably strong, durable fabric
  • 2 — Accent pieces, any size or shape

    Hi all! I'm Stacey Martinez :)

    Hi all! I’m Stacey Martinez 🙂 I love to design fun, imaginative custom items for my active, crazy family. Bright colors and beautiful fabrics sing “Stacey, Stitch Me!”

IMPORTANT:
**Wash all fabric prior to sewing to avoid shrinkage of the finished product.
**Ironing recommended before sewing and after each step. Makes fabric easier to sew and adds a professional look to the end product.

  1. Measure and cut all fabric and batting. I used Warm White batting but thin fusible works just as well.
  2. Pin and sew (1/4 in. with regular straight stitch) inside lining and batting insides together. Side shouldn’t matter for batting but make sure lining is facing inside. Leave a gap in the top for pulling fabric right side out. Repeat for other side of bag as well. Pull fabric right side out for both sides. Leave top holes open, they will be stitched later.
    • **Tip** Cut off the corners before turning right side out. This makes the corners easier to form.
  3. Pin and sew at 1/4″ all fabric strips together for each side of the bag. Iron all seams.
  4. Pin and sew with the front side (strip side) and the inside lining together for both sides of the bag. Make sure front sides are right side together. Leave an opening on the top of both sides to pull the material through. Leave top holes open, they will be stitched later.
  5. Pull the fabric out to right side out on both sides. Iron.
  6. Fold and sew 1/8 in. around four vertical strips and two accent pieces with regular straight stitch.
  7. Pin two vertical strips and one accent piece on each side of bag. Sew with any fancy stitch of choice, with any thread color of choice. I used the Honeycomb stitch since it looks intricate and can be used for edging. I used purple as my accent stitch because I wanted the stitching to stand out, not blend in.
    Sew accent stripes and other pieces after all side layers have been sewn together and pulled right side out.

    Sew accent stripes and other pieces after all side layers have been sewn together and pulled right side out.

    • **Tip** Sewing accent stripes and other pieces after all side layers have been sewn together and pulled right side out accomplishes one important feature: This ensures that all 3 layers are stitched together more thoroughly and prevent material slippage during constant use or after a few washes. This simple step helps the tote keep shape and strength much longer.
  8. Sew the top edge of each bag side with the same accent stitch and thread color.
  9. Pin the two sides outside facing together. Iron. The material will be much thicker with so many layers coming together. Ironing helps flatten down all the layers for easier sewing. I also switched to a 100/16 denim needle to handle the extra thickness.
  10. Sew three sides together, leaving the open. Pull right side out.
  11. Fold tote handles in half, sew right sides together (using straight stitch). Sew only one end. Leave the other end open. Pull the handles right side out using the open end.
  12. Iron handles and sew around all four sides, sewing the open end closed in the process.

    Attach handles to tote, using this X design.

    Attach handles to tote, using this X design.

  13. Attach handles to tote, using this X design. The X design creates a stronger stitch often used so handles on totes and purses easily handle more weight.

Throw what you need in your new tote and take off!