Sunday, March 26, 2017

Make It Your Own: Embroidered Bag

This blog post provides a walk-through to our new Chicken Soup Designs pattern: "Make It Your Own: Embroidered Tote Bag".  The pattern can be purchased on Etsy using this link or by contacting us via our Etsy Store!

Step One:  Embroidery
Refer to pattern to cut out and place embroidery.  Embroider one (or both) of piece A.  Cut the squares as directed from the two bottom corners of both A pieces. 

Figure 1
Step Two:  Interior Zippered Pockets
With E facing wrong side up, draw rectangle as specified (see Figure 2a).  Place pocket fabric E on Bag Lining D (with right sides together), centered side to side with the top edges even.  Stitch on the drawn line to make a stitched rectangle (see Figure 2b).  Cut a slit down the center of the stitched rectangle from one end to other.  Stop about 1/4" from each end and cut diagonally into each corner.
Figure 2a

Figure 2b
Pull the lining through the slit and press flat so the wrong sides are now together and you have a finished rectangle hole (now called F).

Figure 3
Lay a 9” zipper right side up.  Place F (pocket fabric facing down, lining fabric facing up) with the open-end metal zipper stop showing in the hole but snug up against one end.  The other end of the zipper will be too long but you will just stitch over it.  It will be trimmed off later.  Center the zipper and top stitch around the entire rectangle. Back stitch over both ends of the end zipper

Figure 4

·        Optional Step to hide the zipper tape on the inside of the pocket:

On the wrong side of E, flip the longer piece of the pocket fabric toward the top of F enfolding the lower edge of the zipper tape.  The fold should be right along the zipper tape.  Pull it taut without folding the zipper tape. (See Fig 5A).  Turn F over so the lining is facing up and you can see the zipper stitching.  Stitch on the zipper stitching along the bottom of the zipper.  Turn the piece over, and flip the fabric back down. The bottom zipper tape is covered. Fold the pocket fabric up so that the bottom edge of E is even with the top edge of F.  Pin in place. Turn F over so the lining is facing up and you can see the zipper stitching.  Stitch on the previous zipper stitching along the top of the zipper.  Now the top zipper tape is covered (see Fig 5B). 

Figure 5 (A and B)

This picture shows pocket E folded up so that when stitched, it will cover the zipper tape.
Complete Pockets: 
With the lining right side up and the zipper showing, fold each side of E and D at the ends of the zipper toward the center of the zipper, exposing the edges of the pockets (see Fig 5).  Stitch from the top to the bottom of the pocket only, about 1/2” in from the raw edges.  Do this at both ends of the zipper to make the sides of the pocket.  If you covered the zipper tape, then there will be a pleat in the pocket fabric at each end of the zipper.  Just stitch over it like it’s not there.  Fold the lining edges back out.  This piece is now a completed lining with pocket.  Repeat for the other lining piece.

Stitch the two B pieces to the top of the two F pieces and press. Cut a the corner squares from the two bottom corners of both lining pieces (as specified in pattern).

Figure 6

Step Three:  Handles
Refer to pattern to construct and pin handles into place

Figure 7

Step Four:  Exterior Zipper Preparation
Refer to pattern to make G pieces.  Slip G over the trimmed zipper ends and topstitch several times.

Sandwich the zipper between two C pieces, right sides together. The zipper tape should be centered from end to end and even with the edges of the two C pieces. Stitch all the way from one end to the other (even though the zipper is not as long as the C pieces). Open out and topstitch all the way from one end to another with a 3/8” seam. Repeat for the other edge of the zipper.

Place the zipper sandwich on one of the A pieces, right sides together. Baste.

This picture shows the zipper sandwich basted to piece A and flipped up so you can see it better.

Place one of the lining pieces, right side down, on top of the zipper/A piece. Stitch.

Remove the handle pins. With the handles pulled out and the lining, zipper, and A facing the other direction, topstitch through all 3 layers starting at the point that is even with one end of the zipper and stitching to the point that is even with the other end of the zipper. Do not stitch all the way to either end. Do the same with the other A piece, zipper sandwich, and lining. Backstitch over handles to make sure they are securely attached.

Picture shows handle pulled to one side, and lining, zipper, and A facing the other direction in preparation for topstitching.

Step 5: Finishing seams

Lay the bag so the two A pieces are right sides together and the two lining pieces are right sides together.  Stitch around the bag, skipping the cut-out corner squares. For turning, leave a generous opening in the center bottom of the lining.

Matching the seams in the cut-out corners, stitch the corners closed (see Fig 11). Stitch the lining corner seam to the exterior corner seam to secure the lining in the bag. Turn the bag right side out and stitch the turning hole closed.

Enjoy your completed bag!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Free Gingerbread Stocking Pattern

I have been searching Ravelry lately for a white on white cabled stocking pattern worked up in worsted weight wool.... but I couldn't find one that looked like what I had in mind.  I had also recently seen this very beautiful cable, "Gingerbread Cable" on  Thus, the "Gingerbread Cabled Stocking" pattern was born :).  

Photo Credit:  Lion Brand Yarn

I adapted the cable pattern to a 6 stitch cable (which I prefer) from the original 4 stitch cable.  Here is my finished stocking:

  The stocking pattern features a knit-in hem to reduce bulk and add a nice finished edge to the top of the stocking.   

The Gingerbread Cable pattern is worked over 60 stitches until the desired length is reached (10" in the sample).  I chose a short-row heel for this particular pattern, but you could insert whatever your favorite heel technique is! 

I also chose to keep the instep stitches in pattern as I worked the toe, but you could knit them plain to match the heel.

I finished up the stocking by crocheting a chain to add the inside back of the stocking as a hanging loop, and then steam blocked the entire stocking.  I hope your stocking makes you as happy as mine did!  This pattern is available on Ravelry OR ....


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fall Crafting

I think Autumn may be my very favorite season... there is something about the crisp, cool air paired with blue skies, red and yellow leaves, and fun family activities!  It is also my favorite season for crafting!  So many projects, and so little time!  Here's what I've been working on this month:

1.  Embroidered Fall Tablecloth - pattern from Sweet Pea Designs

I recently upgraded my sewing machine to the Pfaff Creative 3.0 - and it came with a bonus embroidery unit!  This little runner is pieced and quilted in the hoop, and then you just sew the blocks together and add a backing.  I love the addition of the fall leaf outlines.. and the satin stitching on the "L" shaped blocks!

2.  Knitted Mini-Pumpkins (betcha can't knit just one!)
I think my favorite project this month were these little knitted mini-pumpkins (Itty Bitty Pumpkin by Sparrow Kelley)  They knit up quick, and a are a snap to finish.  The cute little stems are also easy.. and they really add to the finished item.  As you can see.. it's hard to stop at one!

3. Pumpkin Dishcloths
I try and knit up several of these every year, because they make great hostess gifts!  My secret is that I knit them 2-3 at a time on a long circular needle.  That way, you have to read the pattern line in the chart only once, but you end up with several cloths!  I prefer to knit off a chart, so I whipped one up to go with this text only pattern.

4. Last but not least... embroidered dish towels on by new machine.  I just love this stitched out redwork design (and all of the open space in the design helps to keep it from puckering in the wash!)  The design is from Emblibrary!

That's all my fall crafting in progress!  I hope your Fall season is crafty as well :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dozens of Dainty Dishcloths

Dozens of Dainty Dishcloths
We are getting ready for a big, cross-country move... and I wanted to leave a little something for each of my wonderful friends.  I thought about socks... but my sock knitting ability wasn't up to knitting 17 pairs in a short 30 days... so what to do?  And then it hit me.... DISCHLOTHS.  Humble... I know; but oh-so-practical!  And so many pretty designs and beautiful colors.  I also learned a thing or two along the way about each pattern that I used, which I will pass along :).  

First up:   Grandmother's Favorite by Traditional Design.  
I think this might be the VERY first dischloth pattern that comes up on Ravelry when you type in "easy" and "knitted dishcloth" - and for a very good reason!  This is a mindless pattern that you can do just about anywhere.  Also, because it is knit on the diagonal, you don't lose your sanity in endless knit rows with no variation.  These are the first ones I started with.   Simple, no frills, and absolutely practical!

Next up:  The Almost Lost Washcloth by Julie Tarsha.
These little beauties are fun to knit, and provide almost an endless variation in color!  It is supposed to be knit flat, and then seamed at the end, but I quickly started doing a provisional cast-on (via a 16-18 stitch crochet chain) and grafting them together at the end with a garter Kitchener stitch.  Easy Peasy.  I also used the German short row method (love this!) It makes an almost invisible short row turn - and makes these cloths look very finished!

For a little added challenge, I also tried the Dash Cloth by Renee M (in two different color schemes):

And the Circle Cloth by hakucho:

As well as this cute Pumpkin Dishcloth by Kathleen (with bonus chart for those of you that prefer charted directions like I do!)

And have you tried illusion knitting yet?  What a fun technique!  The arrangement of purls and knit stitches makes a wonderful design that only pops out when you are eye-level with the piece!  Like this:  Illusion Snowflake by Emily Byrd Adams 

From there, I branched out into a couple of cute crochet versions:  Rose In Bloom Crochet Dishcloth by Deb Wolf 

But my very favorite?  Hands-down it was: Yvonne's Double Flower Cloth by Yvonne Hussey 
This sweet cloth looks fancy... but the pattern is very intuitive, and easy to follow.. and such a gorgeous result!

I hope this list has motivated you to do some fun knitting of your own! I also whipped up a batch of cards to attach to these little handmade gifts:

Feel free to click on the picture, and download your own!