Category Archives: free pattern

Upcycled denim pants travel bag with improv patchwork

This is not only a bag with improv patchwork but also a sort of improv travel bag too. I don’t have any clue about how to construct pants or any garment. The way I went about doing this was rather approximate as you will see. I am not going to give any sizes of fabric, jeans or whatever because it will depend on the size of the pants you use. Before you start, align the top of the waist jeans together and pin. Believe me it makes things better if you do this.

I started with an old pair of jean. This pair in particular had pockets lower than the start of the legs. I wanted to preserve the pockets so I cut the pants lower than the pockets.

Then I cut each leg bit individually as per picture.

I pinned both sides, from each leg together. The point of this exercise was to get a straight piece of jeans. I drew a straight line of where the seam should go.

I stitched along the line.

I turned the pants around and did the same thing on the other side. In both instances excess fabric needs to be trimmed off.

This is the resulting piece from step one.

Now trim both front and back as per picture. Make sure the rectangle is the same height on both right and left side.

Improv patchwork

There’re many of ways of doing improv patchwork. I have posted tutorials on improv patchwork before. For this bag,  I stitched pieces of fabric together of approximately the same length until I got a bigger piece. Then I put it aside. I continued to stitch bigger pieces from smaller pieces. You will need to trim pieces as you continue to piece. For instance I stitched a rectangle on an an angle in the piece below. Then I trimmed it to fit with the rectangular shape of the larger piece. I usually try to get to a rectangular or square piece because then it is easier to assemble the different pieces. By this stage I thought I’d have enough for the bottom of the bag. I started to assemble the pieces and trimming them into a rectangle. When you trim your pieces they can be reused to square other improv pieces. Do not throw anything away. Prepare the denim pants. You need to decide how big you want your bag to be and then decide on the size of your improv patchwork piece. My improv patchwork is about 7 inches wide by the width of the pants. I made a large strip/rectangle and stitched it into a tube. Then I placed the pants inside the patchwork tube and aligned the bottom edge. I pinned well. I stitched along the edge leaving 1/4in seam allowance. That’s it. The bottom is attached. I pressed the seam well. Then I turned the bag inside out and pinned along the bottom edge to make the exterior sac. I stitched all along the bottom edge leaving 1/4 inch allowance. Time to box the corners of the bag. My photos aren’t great on this step so if they don’t make any sense please check Sew 4 home tutorial. Place the bag as per picture below and mark 2 1/2 in from the corner. Stitch along the line and cut off excess fabric. Do on both sides and voilà! Done!

Lining

Usually I stitch the lining by machine but this time I don’t want to stitch the lining all the way to the top of the bag but just up to the waist band so I hand stitched the lining. Also I added batting to the lining for the same reason I hand stitched it to the bag. I measured the bag and cut 2 lining pieces in quilting cotton. I squilted both pieces separately. Then I placed both pieces right sides facing together and stitched around 3 sides leaving the side that will go up open. The lining also needs to have boxed corners. Do as you did for the bag. The handles are heavy duty and store bought. I’m tired of my handles and straps deteriorating within a few months of using a bag. Place the handles about 6 inches apart. Pin. And stitch now. Place the lining inside the bag, fold the top in and slip stitch around the waist. Done! This is it. Big enough as a weekend bag or a beach bag.

Foundation piecing tutorial with lots of photos

This block has a step by step tutorial that demonstrates how to make the block above but before I go ahead, if you’re new to foundation piecing maybe you want to start with some other simpler blocks. If not, just scroll down until you find the tutorial for this block.

Learning foundation piecing

Start with easy and simple blocks like this one:

Scrappy heart potholder tutorial: this was my first encounter with this technique. Easy but confusing. Then build a bit more of complexity into it but not too much. Keep it simple.

Foundation piecing teapot potholder pattern: this was my second foundation piecing work. Gradually select more challenging blocks like this one:

Foundation piecing step by step: this is when I started to get serious about properly learning foundation piecing.

So I also made the Caldonia pattern (pdf).

And the Icky Thump pattern (pdf). If you want more of a challenge by now, just use small blocks.

The challenge in these two blocks is in their size, particularly the orange one: Tiny foundation piecing pincushions with free template.

After these exercises, I embarked into a far more challenging paper foundation piecing: a Dear Jane quilt.

Step by step foundation piecing tutorial

The block, by six two seven handworks, is called Global Concepts (pdf) and it’s free. Wombat quilts also has a selection of free foundation piecing blocks you can use instead of this one. Print the template. You will need to print the pdf 4 times. Cut roughly the pieces like below. I  don’t cut all the way down to the line because I like to trim the paper and fabric together at the end. I coloured in the pieces beforehand so I wouldn’t not make any mistakes. Also you can also experiment with colour placement. For instance I decided to highlight the star in the centre giving it a 3D look whereas on the pdf pattern the focus is not so much on the centre star but the surrounding pieces. If you’re not quite sure about colours, a safe bet is using complementary colours. In brief, in a colour wheel complementary colours are opposites.

Now cut your fabric. To cut the fabric measure the widest part of the area to cover and the height, including seam allowances. Add 1/4 in for good measure. I came up with the following:

  • Piece 1 – 3in  x 6 1/2 in – cut 4 pieces in colour 1 and 4 pieces in colour 2. This is for the star in the centre.
  • Piece 2 – 2in x 5 1/4 in – cut 8 pieces
  • Piece 3 – 2 x 5 1/4 in – cut 8 pieces
  • Piece 4 – 2  x 5 3/4 in – cut 8 pieces
  • Piece 5 – 2 1/4 x 7 in – cut 8 pieces (if you’re careful placing this piece you may be able to use one piece to cover 2 triangles)

Now fold along each line as per picture below.

The easiest way to do this is to use a thin piece of cardboard as your guide. The fold will help you to trim off excess fabric at each step.

So let’s start. Three things to remember:

  • all pieces are placed at the back of the paper
  • all pieces are stitched from the front of the paper
  • the first piece of fabric you place goes right side up and all the others go wrong side up

First piece Place the piece on the back of the paper, right side of the fabric up, making sure the whole surface of piece 1 is covered including the seam allowance. Pin so the piece doesn’t move.

Turn around.

Now fold the paper along fold 1. This is what the folds are for! You could do this as you go but it’s a lot easier to do all the folds before you start. So we’re going to trim off excess fabric.

Place your ruler as per picture leaving 1/4 in seam allowance.
Cut excess fabric and unfold. Turn over.
Piece number 2 Now, take the next rectangle and place it on top of piece number 1 as per picture with right sides of the fabric facing together. Make sure the edges are aligned and that when turned over the piece will cover all of area 2 including seam allowances. Pin.
Turn piece over and stitch along the line between 1 and 2.
First two pieces are stitched together.

Turn over and voilà!

Now piece number 2 needs trimming. Turn piece over.

And fold the paper back on fold 2.

Again, place the ruler leaving 1/4 in seam allowance as per picture.

Trim off excess fabric.

And piece 2 is done! Piece number 3 Place the piece on top of piece 2 right sides facing together and pin.

Turn over and stitch along the line.

Turn over and fold paper back.

Trim off excess fabric.

Piece number 4 Let’s do it again. Place piece 4 aligned with piece 3, wrong side of fabric 3 up. Pin.

Stitch along the line.

Turn piece over and fold paper back.

Trim off excess fabric.

Piece number 5 You can see with piece number 5 the fabric is placed with wrong side up.

Stitch along the line.

Trim off fabric around the three edges on the dashed line.

First piece out of 8 is done.

Stitch all pieces together to make this 12 1/4 in block.

I’ll be making this block into a pot holder. It makes a very nice gift for any occasion.  

Easter crafty projects

Easter bunny basket

Do you have a lot of fabric scraps? This is your project then. I recommend using stronger interfacing for the ears, something you’d use for a handbag, to keep them up longer.

Funny bunny softie

I made this softie a long time ago but it’s still cute. It is easy enough as your first softie.

 

Spring chicken

This is a very funny chicken softie. The pieces a very large so it’s very easy and quick to make. It makes a great gift all year round too.