My Covert Robin

I’ve been a silent little lovely as of late, but rest assured, I’ve also been a busy bee;). I’ve been sewing up a storm and doing my very best to throw myself head first into the amazing world of textiles, sewing & quilting. Sure, it’s a faction of my job, but man oh man have I fallen in love with this world. Who knew I loved sewing this much? Not just sewing, but creating in general… sewing, stenciling, arranging… it’s addicting in the best of ways.

There’s loads to share, really, but I’ll get started with the Covert Robin. Coolest event name ever? It’s possible. The event was created by Rachael of Imagine Gnats and is a round-robin gift exchange of handmade presents. You sign up, get to make something special for another blogger, and then receive a handmade present from a mystery gifter (a “covert robin”). It’s a pretty awesome idea and I couldn’t help but get involved this year. My ‘host’ was Clara of Clover & Violet, another favorite sewing blog of mine. She was super nice and helpful and I’m grateful to her for guiding me through my first covert exchange!

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My giftee was the lovely Louise, aka ‘Weas’, of the blog Weasinart. I did a little research and found that she’s really a Renaissance woman of sorts. She sews, bakes, makes jewelry and is just generally crafty. I wanted to make her something special that she would also be handy and helpful. After some careful consideration, I decided on the Artisan Apron by Rachael Gander for Pellon®. I made a few modifications and opted for a large patch pocket in the front so that I had a mini canvas on which to embroider Weas’s logo. I added two wooden spoons and a little bit of Maine Maple Syrup and sent the package on it’s way. I hear that Weas was thrilled, which brings a giant grin to my face.

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I also received a package from my talented gifter, Jennifer from Busy Being Jennifer. This absolute sweetheart made me my very own embroidered owl wall art. I adore it and it will be hanging on my office wall as soon as I repaint.

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Have you ever considered an exchange? It’s a great way to meet new friends, learn about new techniques, develop new skills and test your creativity a bit.

Raccoon Camo Clutch

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My husband would undoubtedly be proud if this post was actually about a real camouflage clutch, but alas it’s actually just about a little raccoon named rocky. This fellow has gotten a fair amount of mileage this week, thanks to the fabulous Rachael of imaginegnats. She has labeled 2013 the year of the Raccoon and a few of us are jumping on the bandwagon and making the masked little fellow the superstar that he should be.

It all started with a needle book, then a little ornament, then a coffee cozy and then little rocky got his very own week full of fun projects. Kelley of Casa Crafty kicked it off with the raccoon elbow patches. I already have plans for my lightly worn, but still my favorite, boiled wool jacket! I followed with some raccoon gift tags for the holidays and beyond. Jill of Made with Moxie showed us how to make mini rocky raccoon shoelace pets for your littles or perhaps even fashion savvy you! Jennet of Feathered Nest created the cutest little raccoon hair clips that could also be adapted into keychains. The whole thing inspired me to keep going and I just had to turn rocky into his very own clutch… and then I just had to share it with you;). Looks like this is my very first DIY here on JPL, so I hope you like it! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions and if you make one of these little darlings, show Rachael some love and post it to her flickr group.

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Raccoon Camo Clutch

Gather your materials:
cream colored linen
lining fabric (I used a print from Hello Pilgrim by Lizzy House)
Pellon® SF101 Shape-Flex®
two colors of felt (I used green and beige to mimic traditional camo colors)
rachael’s raccoon felt ornament template 
embroidery needle & thread
sewing machine & related supplies
scissors
rotary cutter & mat

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The best way to get started is to construct your very own Rocky. Simply follow Rachael’s instructions. He’ll look a little something like this before you sew him together:

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Next, cut two 9-1/2″ x 12″ rectangles from your linen, lining fabric and Shape-Flex®. I like to use a rotary cutter for this to make sure that my lines are straight, but you could easily use a pair of sharp scissors.

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Place the Shape-Flex® on your ironing board with the fusible side up (hint: the fusible side is a little bumpy). Place the linen over the Shape-Flex® with right side up. Cover with a press cloth, spritz with water from your iron and firmly press in sections for about 8-10 seconds. Do this for the whole area of the rectangle. Repeat steps for second piece of linen.

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Place your lining rectangles right sides together and pin in place. Mark a 3″-4″ gap along one short side. Starting at one mark, sew toward the outer corner  and up one side with a 1/2″ seam allowance, backstitching at the start and finish. Repeat for the other side. Place your newly interfaced linen rectangles right sides together and pin in place. Sew down one long side, all the way across one short side and up the opposite long side with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

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Carefully clip the corners of both the exterior and the lining close to the stitching — be careful not to snip the stitches!

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Turn the linen piece right side out and push out the corners. Slide the piece inside the lining. Line up the side seams and the raw edges and pin in place. Sew all the way around the top raw edge, backstitching at the start and finish to secure the stitches.

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Reach through the gap that you left in the lining and gently pull the exterior linen out through the opening.

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Push the corners of the lining out. Before doing anything else, you want to sew that gap closed. This can be done by hand as an invisible stitch, or on your sewing machine, sewing close to the edge.

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Now push the lining down into the linen exterior.

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I like to pin in place before top stitching to ensure that everything stays where it should. Topstitch close to the edge for a clean finish.

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To create the ‘fold-over’ clutch look, simply decide where you want your fold to be, fold & press in place. Now it’s time for Rocky! Grab your finished camo face, center him on the edge of the fold-over and pin in place.

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I used a variation on the invisible stitch to secure rocky in place. If you do the same, make sure to sew only through the exterior and not the lining!

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Grab your super-stylin’ raccoon camo clutch and go!!

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** note: I used a print from Hello Pilgrim by Lizzy House as a backdrop for most of my images.

The Sawyer Bag

I have the privilege of working with some pretty fab ladies on a day-to-day basis. You’ll see what I mean once I finally fill out my ‘favorites’ page;). One of these fab ladies is Sara Lawson, voice of Sew Sweetness. I first ‘met’ Sara back in January through work and a billion e-mail exchanges, but actually got to meet her face to face and give her a giant hug at Spring Quilt Market. She is awesome — incredibly talented, insanely modest. She is one of those women who somehow manages to be in 20 different places at once, leaving the rest of us to wonder how she could possibly manage. Talk about inspiring;). Also, she actually brought my dog a present when we met at Quilt Market. How COOL is that?


[a very small sampling of some of Sara’s creations — click here for a ton of awesome tutorials]

Sara designed a new bag for a project we’re working on. She very sweetly named it The Sawyer Bag after my pup and then she asked me to be a pattern tester! I was so excited to have the opportunity and it was really the first time that I made a ‘proper’ bag, all interfaced and lovely and structured and grown-up. That is, if grown-up = hot pink zebra fabric;).

It took me a few hours to make the bag. Honestly, the cutting and the fusing take up the most time. The sewing felt almost secondary and came together pretty quickly. That could all be because I hate the cutting part and am new to the fusing part. That said, Sara’s pattern was so easy to follow and she explained things in such a way that it’s super beginner-friendly. It calls for Pellon®‘s Batting, SF101 Shape-Flex®, 805 Wonder-Under® and ST-805 Wonder-Under® tape. So sure, maybe I’m a little work biased, but including the interfacing and batting really does make a difference with the finished product. I love the look of the O-rings.I love the fabrics — Jane and Lauralee from Sis Boom/Jennifer Paganelli’s Superfly Collection. Take a peek at Sara’s how-to right here. Oh, and her tutorial was also a part of bag-week over at A Lemon Squeezy Home, so you’ll want to take a peek at that one too. The only adjustment I made was to add an inside pocket. I’m mad for pockets;).

Thanks so much, Sara, for trusting me with your pattern and helping me along the way:).

Fabric = Love

In the big unveil, I mentioned a brand new job that kicked off in early January of this year — one that actually leaves me feeling fulfilled at the end of the day. Amazing, right? I’ve gone through my share of career rough patches, but at the end of the day, I consider myself extremely lucky to have found what is now my 3rd fabulous career. From music biz to boutique owner to… (drum roll please…) working for Pellon®! I never would have imagined that I’d be working for a quilting/textile company, but here I am. I’m based in a bright little home office out in the Maine country and handle everything from social media to the website to the project designer program. I love it. It’s also what inspired me to grab that trusty little sewing machine of mine and dive right in. It’s virtually impossible to be surrounded by stunning fabrics, crafty tutorials, and incredibly talented designers all day long and NOT be inspired. Seriously… I dare you to try it;).

With all of this newfound quilting/sewing/crafting glory comes a newfound love of fabrics. Who knew that there are so many incredible designers out there. Sure, I knew about Amy Butler and Lotta Jansdotter, but I honestly didn’t know much more than that. Enter Spring Quilt Market + Pinterest + daily blog tours and I’ve got a never-ending lists of fabrics to covet. So, be warned lovely readers… the fabulous fabrics are coming your way and I can’t guarantee that they’ll ever stop!


{rashida coleman hale :: angela walters :: liberty of london}


{lizzy house :: jeni baker :: joel dewbury}


{cori dantini :: sarah jane studios :: skinny laminx}


{thomas knauer :: creative thursday :: heather ross}

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ps — Interested in what Pellon® is all about? We’re all over the place these days — click, browse, repeat;). Website :: Blog :: Pinterest :: Facebook :: Twitter

Weekend Sewing: Pouches

Saturday marked 35 for a good friend of mine and in celebration I decided to make some pouches! Okay, so maybe we’re not as crazy as we may have been at 25, but you’ll be happy to know that she also celebrated with a rocking Journey concert on Friday night. Yes, Pat Benatar and Loverboy were also there;).

I found a tutorial on Say Yes To Hoboken ages ago, and was thrilled to have an excuse to give it a try. I made two versions — one with all boxed corners, and one with a boxed bottom and a straight top. I also referenced a very handy zipper tutorial from Bree at My Crafty Crap to make my zipper edges pretty. They’re not perfect, but they’re getting better!

For a peek at my ‘sewing-to-do’s, check out my Simple Sewing board on Pinterest.

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