Friday, September 29, 2023

Halloween Trick or Treat Bag Tutorial

Trick or treat! I can't believe we are already entering October. The year flew by so quickly and it has been a bit chilly where I live. I wanted to share a quick, useful and fun Halloween project using my Sashiko machine. Of course you could make this project with your regular sewing machine, but I wanted to showcase Sashiko stitches with this project. Are you ready?

*You will need

A fabric to cut side fabrics
A fabric to cut bottom and handles
A fabric to make lining 12"x 20"
Muslin for backing 12"x 20"
(sorry, it is not in the picture, but you need it...)
Fusible batting 12"x 22" (this is for the body of the bag and the handles)
Pearl Cotton to add trimming (optional)
*How to

*Note* I used 1/4" seam for this project

1. Sew the side fabrics to the bottom fabric. Open the seam and press with iron.
2. Baste the fabric you pieced with fusible batting (follow the manufacturer's guideline) and muslin. If you prefer, you could use pins to secure the corners. For quilting, I just quilted straight lines on the bottom fabric and crosshatch quilting on the side fabrics.
3. Add trim. I am still acquainted with Sashiko machine. While I was watching some tutorials on youtube, I came across a video. There is one technique I wanted to try. This step is totally optional.
4. Make the handles. Take the fabric and fold it in half horizontally. Open the fabric and bring both long edges to the middle and fold. Now you have three horizontal lines. Cut 2 - 3/4"x 12" strips from fusible batting and fuse next to the center line. Fold the fabrics and top stitch outer lines. Repeat to make the other handle.
5. Pin a handle to the quilted fabric and sew. See the picture for the placement of the handle. Do the same with the other handle.
6. Fold the fabric right side together in half and sew the sides.
7. Make the boxed bottom. Fold the bottom and create a triangle. sew. If you are interested in better instructions, there is a tutorial I did for this post, around step 7.
8. Follow steps 6 and 7 for the liner.
9. Put the bag and liner right sides together. Leaving about a 4" opening, sew the top around the edge. Turn the fabric inside out and press the edges with the iron.
10. Top stitch all around the top and it is ready for Halloween night! Well, almost... on a whim, I decided to make a felt pumpkin charm to accessorize the bag. Now, it is really ready, haha
You could make this bag or two in one afternoon, so you still have enough time before Halloween. Enjoy!

Friday, July 14, 2023

Baby Lock Sashiko Machine

At the end of last year, I received a Baby Lock Sashiko machine. It is no joke, the Sashiko machine has always been in the back of my mind ever since I discovered its existence. This is such a unique and innovative machine; it can create a hand stitched look. I started out as a hand quilter several decades ago, and I still love doing that, but it would be nice to have an option to quilt with a machine and get the hand stitched look. You can see what I mean...
WHAT!? Right? Isn't it pretty amazing? I used smaller stitches, but you can easily adjust the stitch length and spacing too. I inserted the quilting bar (guide) that came with the machine and quilted the borders. A little accessory like this makes the quilting process more simple and quick.
To tell you the truth I was a bit nervous about using the machine. It is a completely different type of machine than my other sewing machines (and I don't like reading manuals!!), but I was able to learn through Baby Lock SEWED online classes. Also my friend Evy Hawkins have several how-to videos out on Youtube. When you start going through her videos, you will find out that there is so much more you can do with a Sashiko machine.
It is quilted and bound. I made the hourglass blocks for this baby quilt with scraps from another project. I was going back and forth with white or gray background. I am glad I chose gray even though my usual choice is white. The bright colors against gray look pretty nice.
My daughter helped me to take this picture. She wanted to experiment staging the quilt and take a picture. Didn't she do a nice job?
I am far from being an expert on the Sashiko machine, but I would love to keep learning and experimenting with it for sure.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Dresden Plate Quilt from the Past

I was going to post this quilt last year when I finished appliqueing all around the border, but I didn't. I guess I started working on the other quilt while I started hand quilting this one and kind of forgot to post it. Let me tell you a little bit about this quilt...

Why is the title "Dresden Plate Quilt from the past"; you might ask? I actually started making this quilt over 22 years ago. Sometime in my 2nd or 3rd trimester of my first pregnancy, for some reason, I thought I was going to have a baby girl. Please don't ask me why, I don't even remember. I jumped into this quilt project and appliqued all the main blocks and pieced them. Then at my ultrasound, I found out that I was being blessed with a boy! I put away the quilt top deep into my craft bin and forgot about it. I made lots of boy quilts for my boys and time went by... every time we moved, I would reencountered the unfinished quilt top, but then I would put it away again. A couple years ago, I had an impression that I needed to finish all the projects I started in the past; well, I have no strict time limits, but I decided that I shouldn't neglect them anymore. I pulled out this quilt top and designed the whole border applique and worked on it.

It was a lot of work, but I love how it turned out!
I started hand quilting it last year and I am still working on it. I usually have multiple projects going on at once, so I only hand-quilt whenever I feel like it. The process is slow, but I enjoy the time. I guess I could give it to my daughter, or one of my future granddaughters.
It is never too late to finish a quilt from the past.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Baby Lock Sashiko Sewing Machine

Sashiko is in the hooouse!

This giant box from Baby Lock was delivered to my doorstep the day before Christmas Eve. I had my birthday in December (I turned 50! Yep, it's kind of a big one), it was like receiving a birthday present and a Christmast present both at the same time! The name of the machine is "Sashiko", look closely, not Sachiko; which is my name(means a happy child or blessed one). Sashiko is a traditional Japanese embroidery or stitching used for the decorative and/or functional reinforcement of cloth and clothing. The items that were created using Sashiko stitching are very beautiful and I feel like many traditional Sashiko designs resonate with modern design lovers too. I found a great website if you know more about it.

A long time ago, I was at a quilt store and saw a Sashiko machine for the first time. To be honest, I really thought that Baby Lock named one of their machines "Sachiko", just like they had named some of their machines "Anna", "Amelia", "Rachel" and such. But I thought to myself "why a Japanese name???" I looked closely and realized it was "Sashiko" instead of Sachiko. I learned what the machine can do and ever since then, it has been one of my dream machines!
Now you might ask; "So, what could this machine do?". Let me tell you ... you can do hand stitching with this machine!!

I was astonished when I first found out about this!

I started out as a hand quilter in my teens and I did piecing/quilting all by hands. I am always drawn to traditional hand quilted quilts. I love the spaces in between the stitches and I feel like hand stitching gives a more softer, cozier and whimsical touch to the quilt. I still enjoy hand quilting, but I am starting to get concerned about my hands now that I am getting older. I will continue to hand-quilt here and there, but it will be amazing if I can use a machine and have it look like it was hand quilted! Wouldn't you agree?

I haven't started learning how to use the Sashiko machine yet, but Baby Lock has helpful online resources and my ever talented and skilled friend Evy of A Bit of Stitch has created a book all about Sashiko machine. I know they will help me tremendously in my learning process.

I can't wait to share my new creations using the Sashiko machine in the near future!

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Scrappy Strip/String Quilt

I remembered that I didn't get around to posting this quilt I finished in November. I used the same method that I used to make strip pillows in October. I used 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" tissue papers for the pillow, but I used 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" papers for this quilt, that's it! It is done by exact same technique, just bigger. If you are in interested in the tutorial you can click the link.
After I finished piecing, I wondered how I wanted to quilt it. The options are:

A. Ask someone with a longarm to quilt it for me.
B. Quilt it myself with my machine. I am not that good at it, but it will be good practice.
C. Hand quilt it.

I tossed and turned... well, maybe not that much, but I finally decided to hand quilt it with thick thread and big stitches. I was second guessing myself while I was working on it, but I actually love how it turned out!
I like using pieced fabric for the back of the quilt. It is more work, but I love the small surprize when you turn the quilt over. It adds more interest and character. The hand quilting is more visible on the back side and I love it!
If you have lots of scraps, this quilt is perfect for them. It is easy, quick and fun! Do you want to add it to your "to make" list for this year?

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Christmas Tree Wall Hanging Tutorial

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree... every year I see fun Christmas tree quilt ideas online and want to make one, but a year passes by so quickly and poof! It is already December. I tried coming up with my own pattern around October. I was sketching and experimenting with fabrics. After a few tries, I came up with this tree pattern. Wouldn't it be so pretty if I made 300 plus blocks and made a quilt with these cute trees? I was looking at several projects on my table and decided not to do that this year. Instead, I made a small wall hanging!

Cutting the fabric might be a little tedious, but once you get the hang of it, this project goes quickly. It is not too late to whip this up to be part of your Christmas decorations.


4 different kinds of green fabrics
5 different kinds of red fabrics
White fabric


1. Cut fabrics. The picture shows the parts you need to construct a block and the measurements are written in the picture. I only listed the measurements on one side because it is symmetrical.
2. Start from the bottom row. Lay green fabric down right side up and lay white 1 ½" x 1 ½" square on both ends right side down. Draw a diagonal line and sew on the line. Trim the excess and open the white fabric. Press with iron.
3. For the rest of the three rows, repeat the same process and add extra rectangle pieces to the sides.
4. Sew all four rows together and trim the block. The block should be 4" x 4 ½". 8 more blocks to go!
5. Cut 24 pieces of 1 ¼" x 4" strips from white fabrics and 16 pieces of 1 ¼" x 1 ¼" squares from red and green fabrics. Piece the strips with the tree blocks as shown in the picture; make the rows first.
Then, make the "skinny rows" with the white strips and colored squares.
6. Piece the tree row and skinny row together. Press with iron.
7. From the white fabric, cut 2 pieces of 2" x 15 ½" for the side borders and cut 2 pieces of 2" x 17" for the top and the bottom borders. Sew them on, press with iron.
8. It is totally up to you on how you want to finish the quilt. I have been doing machine quilting on my last few quilts, so I decided to do hand quilting on this one. I used white, red and green thread. It was a lot of fun deciding which color to use where. One of my dream sewing machines is Sashiko from Babylock. I know; it is a one letter difference from my name. When I first glanced at the machine, I thought, "Wow! The machine has same name as me!" haha. Sashiko machine stitches are uniform and consistent, making it easier and faster to finish your quilting projects (there are many other ways to use this machine, too). You can achieve a hand quilted look with this machine! I LOVE doing hand quilting, but when I am older and it gets harder to hand quilt, there is still hope. :)
I hope you will have a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for visiting!
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