Monday, December 17, 2012

Ms. Santa’s Workshop

12Dec17bag1 Here’s the latest Christmas present I’ve finished. It’s based on an idea that I had while looking through Yoko Saito’s Patchwork Lessons 2. The book is sadly out of print, but you can find bits of it online. I would buy it if I could – I love her work… No, adore would describe it better. She is a Master of sewing and even if I’d been sewing since birth, I still wouldn’t have her creativity and technical mastery of sewing.

Anyhoo, I was in Fabricland a few  months ago, poking through the remnant bin. Love remnants – little bit of this, little bit of that… And I found some musical prints. They don’t normally appeal to me, but I must have had my friend in mind when I looked at them. She teaches music here, and it’s mostly piano. So when I looked at the two remnants sitting in the bin, I thought “outer shell and lining”. Perfect. 12Dec17bag2 And then I found Yoko Saito’s pattern. I can’t read Japanese, so I had to figure it out by looking at the pictures. Thank goodness there were a lot of pictures.

Actually, it’s a very simple bag. The lining is one piece (or would have been if I hadn’t messed up). The outer fabric could have been one piece, but I wanted the piano keys to be facing the right way on both sides, so I cut the fabric in half and flipped it around. I used a double-sided fusible fleece in the middle, and I’ll never use it again!, and quilted it with Leah Day’s Cat Hairball filler. I added a wide strip of some beautiful Stof material at the top – ivory with metallic gold musical notes and phrases. I used a Sulky Blendable to FMQ stars and loops on this piece. I was really pleased with the stitching, and didn’t want to tear it all out when I’d realized that I forgot to put in the magnetic snaps first.

12Dec17bag3 So, I had to add another two-inch strip of material on the front and back, plus more fusible fleece and more lining. A pain in the neck, but it worked. But the size is now bigger than I wanted. And I forgot to take that into account when I calculated the inside side pocket, which is now longer than I’d planned it to be. What can you do?

Quilting the front to the lining makes adding a pocket a problem because you can’t hide the stitching between the layers of fabric, and you don’t want your stitches to show, So I added a pocket to one of the side pieces. It’s long and narrow and not very roomy, but the bag is meant to carry music in, and the side pocket can hold her baton. I made it roughly the same size as the two side pieces, but about an in larger from side to side, so there would be a little bit of 12Dec17bag4 room in it.

Once again, the seams are exposed, but this time they’re covered with binding which gives them a finished look. I sewed both sides of the binding on my sewing machine.  I hope she likes it and uses it.

One – maybe two – more bags to do, a couple of quick lap quilts, and I’ll be done in until Spring. I haven’t started either one yet. And you may notice how bare it looks underneath the (wonderful fibre optic) Christmas tree. I began a tree skirt two years ago, but haven’t gotten very far with it. I have a saying that’s becoming a Christmas tradition – maybe next year. At least I’ve finished off a few presents before the big day, and that’s unusual for me. Hopefully that will also become one of my 12Dec17bag5 Christmas traditions.

I also need to get cracking on my Free Motion Quilting Challenge December challenge. It’s the last one and Patsy Thompson has cooked up a doozy for a slam bang finish to the year. It’s nice when we can combine the monthly challenges with other projects, but I don’t think it’s possible with the projects I have in mind. I’ll figure something out.

Until next time,


  1. It's a lovely bag, and I'm sure it will be loved! Great job!

  2. That bag is more than lovely! You have a lucky friend.
    I agree that putting a pocket inside a quilted bag is difficult. I sew them in by hand, but the way you assembled this bag a pocket could have been sewn into the seams, with a hand stitched separation perhaps?