caring for your handmade bag



Once in a while i get asked about how I clean my handmade bags.  I wouldn't say that I have it down to a science or anything, but I can offer some tips that might help you.  I don't wash mine very often and usually only if there's a huge spill on it or at the end of a season (I usually change mine with the seasons, don't you?!).  I really like having the ability to put mine in the wash and freshen things up!

First, I don't usually pre-wash my fabrics.  I used to all the time, but then it became overwhelming with piles of washed fabric sitting in the corner waiting to be pressed.  Pressing huge chunks of fabric is my least favorite thing to do.  So I gave up pre-washing (except for when I'm making clothes), but there are definitely a few things that I do that helps with anything that might go wrong in the first wash.  If you do pre-wash, you're probably safe to wash the bag on the same setting as you did for the pre-washing.

Use a color catcher.  I jumped on the color catcher bandwagon after seeing Jeni use them for her quilts. I end up using them a lot and it's always fun to see what colors get sucked up by the little sheets.

They're similar to a dryer sheet, but these you throw in the washing machine with whatever you're washing and it grabs onto any colors that are leaking out into the water.  Sometimes I throw two in if I'm feeling especially cautious.  I've only used these Shout brand, but maybe there are others available?

Use a Lingerie bag.  I'm sure you might already have these laying around or maybe you use them already.  It's a zippered mesh bag used for washing delicate items.  I mostly end up washing my bags with a normal load of laundry and feel that the lingerie bag helps protect them.  Most of my bags that I've made have fit inside.  It helps to close any zippers, magnetic snaps or velcro strips before tossing in the bag.

Perfume/dye free detergent.  I exclusively use a perfume and dye free detergent.  But I think it's always a good idea to use something gentle with handmade items.

Wash on cold.  Like I said before, I don't pre-wash, so I think washing on cold would  help reduce any bleeding or shrinking and is definitely more gentle on fabrics.

Line dry!  I either lay them over a clothes line or lay flat on a dry towel.  I try and shape it back into it's original shape and smooth out big wrinkles.  I wouldn't dry a bag ever, just my two cents.  Plus if a stain didn't come out, you'd have a much harder time getting the stain out if you dried the bag.

Press after it's dry.  Whenever I've pulled my dry bags off the line they're still not quite ready for using. Some are better than others, but I think a quick press with the iron in wrinkled spots really helps get that crisp look back.  I'd be a little conservative though on pressing, you don't want it to shift any of the interfacing around.

Hope that helps a bit!  And don't hesitate to ask questions, I'm sure if I don't know, some other lovely readers might!

screen printing



I had the opportunity to attend a screen printing class at Home Ec Workshop in Iowa City, Iowa a couple weekends ago.  It was such a blast to learn this new skill! I've always been somewhat intimidated by the process of screen printing, so it was really great to learn in a hands-on classroom setting.  I'd definitely recommend checking around your local area to see what fun classes might be near you!  There's also some pretty great online classes you could check out too.  Here's one on CreativeBug that I watched after taking my in-person class.

Jeni and Deedee were great to share in the fun.  I loved seeing what they made.  Plus we got to hang out and eat at some fun places.  Oh, and build some amazing stacks of fabric with Deedee's stash.

Codi (the Home Ec Workshop owner) was a blast.  They offer so many awesome classes and I secretly wanted to move in.  It's honestly a dream shop: fabric, yarn, a workspace for classes and even a coffee/snacks area!  Told you, a dream.

I even picked up these cute 'handmade by' cards.  Aren't they cute?  I get to use one for the quilt I just made.

divided baskets


First, I loved making these!  So much fun.  It was so so difficult to pick out fabrics so I finally committed to these two combos.  My sister-in-law is gathering items for her mom-group silent auction event and I happily agreed to make a Divided Basket.  I figured it would be perfect, since they're really great for anything you'd want to store.  And I figured if I was making one, I might as well make two!

Again, I used the Pellon Craft-fuse 809 for the exterior pieces in place of my favorite SF101.  The craft-fuse gives it a nice crispness that I think holds up better to everyday abuse when the basket is sewn with mostly quilting cottons.  One of my first baskets that mocked up, I had sewn with just home dec fabric and fusible fleece. It basically turns into a pile of mush when the kids start tossing it around, so you definitely need the extra something in there.  In the pattern, my recommended SF101/fusible fleece/home dec weight fabric is very durable, too though.

I had the Diawobo elephants stashed away forever and the new Art Gallery Leah Duncan print just jumped off the shelf ready to be used.

What else can I say?  It's a great gift giving project.  Pretty quick to make and really fun to use.

Pattern: Divided Basket Pattern
Fabrics: Meadow by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Fabrics/lining is Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander, lightweight denim from Hancock Fabrics, and Tiny Elephants by Diawabo/lining Stars are by Moda.

it's almost spring, baby! baby quilt


This quilt is my celebration of it being almost spring around here!  I realized after putting this quilt together that it's definitely spring colors.  Little bits of green with some blue skies and some sun thrown in.

The Arithmetic pattern came in quite handy, so zooming through the cutting was really quick.  This is a baby size with some extra width added.  I couldn't stop re-arranging the pluses, so I decided I might as well make it a smidge bigger.

The velveteen backing (Anna Maria Horner Field Study) is just a dream.  Since it's 54'' wide I didn't even need to piece it.  I decided to spray and pin baste just in case.  Seemed to do the trick!  While quilting I did have a couple of the first rows get a little crazy on the back.  A needle change and a little tension adjustment and things were just peachy after that.  I will definitely be using velveteen as much as possible, I can't stop petting it!

It was so quick to quilt and bind.  This quilt is headed off to my friends, they recently added a tiny little boy to their family of three.  I can't wait to stop by with the quilt and visit.

Finished size 42'' x 42'', various solids, Cloud 9's Eloise Renouf and Skinny Laminx, some Lizzy House, Dear Stella, and even a pinch of Anna Maria Horner.

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