Monthly Archives: May 2016

Wallet/iPhone Case


Continuing my obsession with Janine’s new fabric collection and the coordinating Aurifil thread collection, I thought it would be fun to experiment with a case to hold all of our necessities (well I’m still working on the lipstick…).

This project is a fantastic use of small pieces of fabric and my favorite Pellon fusibles. Precise measurements will depend on your phone!


So, line up some credit cards or business cards on the left, and your phone on the right…plus enough fabric to create a pocket for the phone.

Work on the card-holder piece first. For this, you will need a long piece of fabric that is 4″ wide (my only exact recommendation!) and long enough to fold up 3 or 4 times to hold cards. The finished length will be identical to your desired length of finished piece (remember, the size of your phone determines this measurement).

Press some fusible stabilizer to the back of the fabric (you may have done around if you took my tote bag class in the past…I used Pellon Decor bond here). Then, experiment with the folds (you may want more or less of the cards to peek over the edges) and press into an accordion shape like this:


If you like these folds, they are at 3″ and 1.75″ intervals. I strongly recommend cutting a longer piece than you think you might need so that you’ll have enough to trim! Stitch each of these folds with a pretty thread…them stitch down the right side (this will be the opening to the slot for paper money). Make sure to use a large enough Topstitch needle…either 90 or 100…because you will be stitching through lots of layers!


Next, fuse a fabric to each side of a piece of very stiff fusible (I love Peltex II)…this will be the body of your piece, so begin with a piece that is at least 15″ wide, and the length of your phone + a margin (for my model, about 2″ total). You will also want a piece for a tab that will include a closure, either a snap or a hook/loop pair of dots.


Zig-zag or satin stitch around both long sides and one short side. Stitch snap or one side of the hook/loop dot to the very center of the outside piece. Then, attach tab to unstitched short side. (It might be helpful to remember that this is how it will look when completed…my round dot is too close to the fold, centered would be better!)


Carefully line up the card-holder on the left inside (unstitched) edge and attach the 3 rough edges to the larger piece with a line of zigzag stitching. If desired, stitch around piece again. All set for running errands :)!

Uppercase Fabric 5-Minute Projects!


Are you a Peltex II maniac like me? I became hooked on this double-sided super-stiff fusible for postcards a long time ago. It really comes in handy when you have small pieces of fabric you love (see above 😍) and they don’t fit into your art quilts.

One great project is mini-wallets (aka gift card holders). Fuse 2 contrasting fabrics to a strip of Peltex (I buy it by the bolt)…cut 4″ by 6″ pieces. Line them up and zig-zag or satin stitch along one short side (you’ll see why in a sec). Conga line!


Now, fold nearly in half…you want one edge to overlap. I use my tiny 3 1/2″ ruler to fold at the 3 1/4″point:



Remember to position the stitched edge as shown! Now simply stitch a zig-zag around all 3 sides of your little folder (see why you stitch the short side first?)


These are the perfect size for business cards, credit cards, etc.

Another handy item (fun for small gifts!) is an eyeglass holder. Begin with pieces of fabric slightly larger than 6″ wide by 7″long…fuse fabrics and trim precisely.


Then, using your rotary cutter, cut curves on top…one a little deeper than the other. For instance, cut from 6″ then curve to top, then curve down further on the other side (eg, to 5 1/2″). 

Stitch along the curved top…


Then fold over and stitch down the side, pivot at the corner and finish stitching along the bottom.



Now if only I could implant a GPS device so that I could find all those runaway pairs…🤓

Fabric to Crave and a Cute Tote Bag


Are you an Uppercase fanatic? I learned about this amazing magazine while on a business trip to Calgary, and subsequently met the creative genius behind it all, Janine Vangool. If you are not familiar with the publication, run to the website and check it out… http://uppercasemagazine.com/…each quarterly issue has a different core theme (surface texture, calligraphy, color) and contains endless creative inspiration.

In addition to the magazine, Janine has written/edited several marvelous books…judged quilts at QuiltCon…and, in all of her spare time, designed a fabric collection which will hit our local quilt shops this summer. The source of designs for the collection is the spines of the magazines – how cool is that?

Janine sent me some yardage so that I could make up a class sample tote bag for a class I’m teaching this week…pictured above 😍. I thought I would share some step-out photos for my students’ reference.

When I first taught a bag class as part of Quilters Take Manhattan, I selected this pattern, and it has remained a favorite:


The only difficult part of this project is finding the patience to finish all of the pressing- each piece of fabric (outside top, outside bottom, lining and straps) are backed with a mid/weight fusible interfacing.

The straps are stitched first…conveniently, Auriful will release a coordinating Uppercase thread collection :). 


It is fun to use a contrasting thread (and a Topstitch 90 or 100 needle will help with all of the layers in this project.) Then, the straps are stitched into the outside top fabric (see pattern for instructions… http://www.sewmanycreationsny.com/store/p1/PDF_Pattern_Tourist_Tote_Bag_.html

The next step leads to this…


Following the directions again, squares are marked off…


Join the outside and lining layers…then the pincushion comes out. Art quilter that I am, this is pretty much the only time I use pins 🙄…except for loading quilts onto my longarm of course. The pattern gives lots of helpful tips so that you end up with something that looks like this:


And when this stitching is done, the most entertaining part…pulling the entire bag through one small opening so that it is right-side OUT. Just try doing this without hysterical laughter…

I like to add a pocket to the lining…


I thought it was only appropriate to make up this bag in the perfect size to carry…what else, my issues of Uppercase magazine 😊.


These days I pretty much focus on solids and hand-dyed fabric…but I cannot wait to get my hands on the rest of this collection AND the corresponding Aurifil collection…how about you?

Adding Texture to Your Art


There are few things more fun than looking at “before” and “after” photos of your art quilts. I will readily admit to an addiction to MistyFuse and LOTS of thread. I tend to compose pieces quickly, letting amazing hand-dyed fabric backgrounds do a lot of the heavy lifting, and as soon as pieces are fused the quilt goes onto the longarm. (Quilt police, come and get me ;)). The importance of threadwork is self-evident for my animals, but it plays a very important part in other components of my pieces.

The photo above is a great example! The “tree trunk” and “fence rails” are fabric strips literally ripped and placed on the background. One of the many great things about MistyFuse is its forgiving quality as I reposition pieces…and, in the case of the tree trunk, sculpt ridges to simulate bark. A great deal of two-toned thread was then applied to suggest the lines and rings on the tree – tremendous fun. More depth can be added by lightly fusing, then only partially stitching, organic elements such as leaves, which appear to ripple. (Super-tight weave batik is helpful here.) Finally, remember the ripped edges? Using a seam ripper to remove loose threads and exposing a (controlled) frayed edge  adds another element. A lovely backdrop for our little friend (c’mon, you didn’t really think you were going to get away without a cat picture, did you?)


Another weapon in the texture arsenal is batting. For this very small piece for a trunk show, I wanted to bring the stones and flower petals into relief…so I used wool batting. By carving “cracks” into the “rock” face, pockets of the very high loft batting were trapped and popped up. As in my forest scene, I stitched only part of the petals and lifted the tips up with a seam ripper after stitching.


This small quilt was the rare exception to my practice of fusing all layers together (it makes life much easier when you take your piece to your Bernina)…I didn’t want to take a chance of flattening the wool batting.

It is difficult to see in these photos, but another very important tool is acrylic ink. You know that you’ve taken a class with Judy Coates Perez when you are compelled to do this before composing your piece ;):

Brushing metallic grey ink unevenly onto the background fabric, using the actual stones as the underlying surface, gave the fabric another (in this case, very subtle) layer of texture.


How do you add dimension and texture to your pieces?