Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Introducing the Strip Happy Fat Quarter Tote Bag

I love making tote bags and selling the patterns at . I just uploaded my newest one there and I've already sold a few. Yippee! Sometimes it takes awhile to see the first sale. Perhaps it came so quickly because it was
designed specifically for fat quarters*, those lovely little of bundles of fabric that quilters just can't resist. * A fat quarter is 1/4 of yard of fabric, but cut the "fat way" so it measures 18" x 22". This cut has the same number of square inches as a quarter yard cut from fabric yardage (9" x 44"). I've been wanting to design a tote pattern using fat quarters and now I've done it!

When I'm designing and creating a new tote, it usually takes longer to complete it than I think it will. I always seem to forget that sometimes what I visualize as the best way to put it together, it turns out to be the most difficult. 

This tote is especially easy to make, but I did it the hard way first and did a lot of stitch-ripping, re-design, and stitching again. But I am happy I did because now it's easier and faster to make and it's a better design, overall. I'm really pleased with results and the little bow that connects to straps, which turned out to be a nice little afterthought! I saw the strap-and-ring treatment on another shopper's tote at a fabric store on a totally different bag style. It caught my eye and so I decided to try it on this new design. I'm happy I did!

Got Fat Quarters?
If you are an avid quilter, I'm guessing you already have a few fat-quarter bundles in your stash--or you need an excuse to go buy some new ones! Either way, this lined tote, sized for a not-too-big and not-too-little handbag, requires one each of 5 different-print fat quarters for the piecing and inside pockets, 2 fat quarters of another print for the straps, bows, and binding. You'll need two more of an other print for the lining-- that's seven different prints and nine fat quarters in all.

The tote is pieced directly onto a cotton canvas foundation, for added body. Divided pockets on the outside are formed as you stitch the finished pocket panel in place. There are two hanging pockets inside the tote--one zipped for security and a second that is open. It's the perfect place to tuck your cell phone or other small items you need at your fingertips. For a different twist, perky little bows connect to the strap rings.

I hope you'll try this pattern and share your results with me by sending a jpg to along with permission to use your photo along with your name or initials and where you live. I would love to see your tote and to feature it in this blog and my marketing efforts as I have several others in previous blog posts. Here's your opportunity to show off your work!

Design Inspiration is Everywhere!
Coming up with new designs can be a challenge, but since I've become a Pinterest fan, I have loads of inspiration and ideas to draw on for my own designs as well as for crafting projects, recipes to try, gardening information, and so much more. I pin every day and I've begun actually trying many of the ideas from my pin boards. Since I think others would benefit from what I've learned, I've started a new blog--Thumbs Up for Pinterest. You can find it at and I hope you'll visit soon. Today or tomorrow I'll be uploading a tutorial with step-by-step directions for a wonderful 4th of July wreath, inspired by several pins on one of my boards. Here's sneak peak of a portion of it. There's still a little time to make it and if not now, you can try it next year! It's really a fun idea an so easy and you can make it in a few hours and hang it on your door!

Until next time,
Keep sewing and smiling, and pinning and crafting, too!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On the Leader Board at Craftsy

Hearts Entwined

I've been selling my patterns at for over a year now, and it thrills me no end when I go to their site and find one of my patterns on their Top Twenty Leader Board. When my pattern store on the Craftsy site first opened, two of my patterns appeared on the Leader Board day after day after day for months. The exposure to my patterns has been fabulous. The first to make it there was my Hearts Entwined Quilt Pattern and it still pops up on the board with some frequency. It combines traditional piecing with paper piecing for perfect diamond points. Several who have purchased the pattern said they made it as a wedding gift.




In quick succession, my best-selling tote pattern, The Quilted Carryall climbed to the top of the board. A year later, it still shows up on the board almost every week and has held the #1 spot many times. This week was no exception! I've been hearing from sewers and quilters who have made the Quilted Carryall, and have received photos of their completed bags, too. In a previous post, I shared photos of the totes Joan Wium of South Africa made from the pattern for a contest sponsored by Hatched in Africa. Her embroidered tote took the prize in her category and deserves sharing again. Mary Mc of Whidbey Island also shared photos of her Quilted Carryall. Kudos to both of them for making such beautiful bags. Their workmanship is impeccable, too!                                                                

Winning Totes by Joan Wium of South Africa

Quilted Carryall by Mary Mc of Whidbey Island

If you have used any of my tote (or quilt) patterns, please send jpgs so I can share them with readers. It's always fun to see your fabric choices and embellishments! Your comments and questions about my patterns are always welcome, too.

You can see all of my tote and quilt patterns in my pattern store on Craftsy:

Seeing my patterns on the Leader Board at Craftsy is always exciting, but even more wonderful are the quilters and sewers from all over the world who have honored me by purchasing them. It's a great vote of confidence! Thank you to every one!
Until next time...
Keep on sewing and smiling,