Monday, March 23, 2009

Virtual Retreat, Day 1

I have a confession to make.

I started the virtual retreat without you. It dawned on me that doing the sewing, editing the photos and creating the posts wouldn’t allow me to actually get the post on the blog in a timely fashion. So I started early. I really didn’t have a choice, I’m not actually ON retreat this week, I’m working. I have to squeeze the sewing in between my normal schedule here at the store.

Here is day one – on 24 hour delay.

I promised that a new purse would be my first project. I honestly think selecting the fabrics for this project takes me longer than the actual construction. The CTO pattern booklet that I use (Totes with Zippers) suggests using just one fabric. I decided to make a change. Instead of one fabric I’m using the 3 batik prints for the outside and the solid blue for the lining and handles.

I always keep a stash of zippers available because we don’t sell them in the store. There is nothing special about the zipper for this project, other than it should NOT be metal. The pattern recommends a 14 inch zipper. I usually buy 22 inch for my stash. Too long is just fine, too short is always a problem, I suggest stashing 22 inch if you don’t know what you will be using it for. Any of the ones shown in the photo would work, but I think Ill go with the blue that matches the lining fabric.

Hopefully you can see the pattern page that comes bound inside the instruction booklet. Notice that the pattern for the end panels has pointed corners. That’s my pattern, with adjustments lying on the fabrics. I’ve decided that I prefer my corners rounded, so I rounded them. This allows me to ease the fullness into the corners and, well, I just like rounded corners better!

One of the first steps in the instructions is to quilt the 2 layers of fabric together. Cindy suggests a diagonal grid. Because I have decided to piece my fabric, I’m going to do the piecing and quilting in one step, Flip’n Strip style. This requires that you use fusible batting and press the backing fabric to the batting. That holds it in place so that the layers don’t shift as you add the strips.

For this purse I’m using a scrap of non-fusible batting that were leftover from a quilt. To fuse the layers together I took the pieces outside and spritzed them with a little spray glue. I’m not a big fan of spray glues, mostly because of the overspray. I also don’t think they should be used in quilts because we don’t know their long term affects on fabric. For this purse (which will be abused) I think it is just fine.

The Flip’n Strip method is exactly the same process we use in our table runner pattern of the same name. You simply start in the center with your first strip face up. Place the second one on top, face down. Stitch along one side, through all layers. Open the strip and press it to one side. Repeat the process, adding strips to each side until you have covered the required area. It is assembled and quilted at the same time. I want the piece for the purse to measure 26 inches, so I cut the strips 2½ inches. They will measure 2” on the finished purse…… Hey! I should have used a Jelly Roll!

Although the quilting is technically done because I've attached the layers together. Ive decided that I want some quilting lines that show too. I'm going to stitch 1/4 inch away from the edge of each strip before I trim it to add the handles.

Ill be back to share the assembly process later!


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