Halloween Makes: Lined Drawstring Bags + Economy Block Table Runner

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There’s a lot of reasons I’m excited to be done with college, but one of the biggest is because I actually get to enjoy the fall and Halloween sewing! Fall is my favorite season, especially October, and I never feel like I get to slow down enough to really immerse myself in it.

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Sometimes you just have to set your 20 works in progress aside and make a Lined Drawstring Bag or two. I absolutely adore this pattern, and even though sometimes I may get impatient and try to skip a step, it’s always worth the time to follow it exactly and get beautiful results.

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My favorite is the “everything” size, and I knew I wanted to try a patchwork panel after seeing Heidi Kenney’s a while back. I did a simple log cabin block with my favorite Cotton + Steel “Lil Monsters” prints, plus Kenney’s tiny happy gourds (a fat quarter I’ve been hoarding for just the right project.) When I first started making these bags, I always wanted to skip making the strings and use twill tape, but laziness (I almost never have twill tape) won out and actually now I love choosing an additional fabric for the ties. I’ll always err on the side of getting to pick more fabric. The black and white stripe from C+S’s “Wonderland” is one of my all time faves– I love stripes!

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The mini bag is so adorable, it’s one of the main reasons I wanted the pattern! They definitely take practice– don’t let this size be your first one. But it is SO CUTE. I used another beloved stripe (Tula Pink Tent Stripe) and classic Mini Pearl Bracelets and lined it with C+S XOXO in Ghost White. Naturally.

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Lately, I’ve been completely smitten with economy blocks. I loved Creative Grids’ Easy Pineapple Trim Tool for making my Lagoon pineapple blocks (post soon!) and made just two layers for the easiest, most accurate economy blocks out of my favorite Halloween prints.

DSCN3482.jpgOne of the blocks ended up upside down, but in the spirit of Halloween kookiness, I decided to leave it. It’s a small runner– about 12″ by 24″, but adds a cheery splash of color to the kitchen table.

DSCN3487.jpgI machine bound it with that same Rifle Paper Caterpillar Stripe as I used for my bag ties.

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This was my first try at free motion quilting, and I think it turned out ok but definitely not perfect. I wanted spiderwebs, and they turned out, once more, a little kooky.

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A Loominous Cleo Skirt

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Even though I have plenty of other projects on my plate (stop looking at me, other Cleo pattern) I couldn’t get past the idea of a full, swishy skirt made from Anna Maria Horner’s gorgeous plaid woven from her Loominous 2 collection. The Cleo Skirt pattern from Made by Rae fit the bill perfectly, with a simple, flattering shape.

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I’m just in love with all of Loominous 2– each print has a slightly different feel and texture from being woven, and the colors are gorgeous. I chose the print “Plenty” in the berry colorway for my skirt, and I’m already planning a quilt with the scraps.

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While I initially thought I would design the skirt myself (I do have a degree in pattern making and it is a simple gathered skirt) ultimately I’m so glad I saved myself the time and used Rae’s pattern. I adore the pockets, the back elastic, the length, and the detailed instructions– I can’t recommend it enough. Her “skirtalong” blog posts are an awesome visual companion to the pattern.

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The only negative is my own fault– I didn’t interface the front waistband because, well, I was out of interfacing and didn’t want to make a second trip to the store that day. I also used regular knit elastic instead of non-roll, and it’s rolling like crazy, but tacking it down with a few vertical lines of stitching helped. I paired the skirt with an Old Navy long sleeve T, black tights, and my Dansko heels (which are THE BEST SHOES ON THE PLANET not even exaggerating, I can actually wear their heels on my arthritic feet) and I think with sandals it will be cute in the summer. I’m already planning a few more Cleo skirts, including something Christmas-y.

fall.jpgThe skirt was comfy enough to wear for a walk, though I did sub the heels for sneakers.

A Single Girl Quilt for a Mermaid

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There’s nobody easier to make/buy/pick out gifts for than my sister. She has maybe the most well-defined personal taste I’ve ever seen, which can be narrowed down to: Country/Tribal/Western, Non-Preppy Nautical, and Just a Smidge of Emo (black nail polish, tiny Sharpie tattoos.)

Part of the reagiphy (1).gifson I love making gifts so much is it’s fun to experiment with different colors and themes than I would choose for myself, and interpreting that theme in a way I still think looks good. I knew I wanted Christie’s quilt to be this pattern, mermaid/ocean themed, and in her favorite color combo: turquoise and brown.
IMG_8174.JPGDenyse Schmidt’s Single Girl is not a quilt I ever thought I would be drawn to, but something about those busy, colorful “squircle” rings set in a serene solid background just gripped me. It’s so visually fun and interesting, so different than my usual orderly squares, and perfect for using up scraps and small bits of fabric.

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pre quilted Single Girl 

While turquoise and brown might not be my favorite color combination, I love a color challenge and couldn’t be happier with the results. Instead of dark turquoise, it’s aqua; instead of medium brown, it’s rich bittersweet chocolate brown; and shades of coral, navy, teal, cream, and peach round out the palette.

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Aside from the background and backing, I actually didn’t buy much fabric for this quilt– most was scraps I already had, or fat eighths/quarters purchased as needed to complement the prints in my stash (you only need about 2-3 yards total of ring fabric.) The patchwork rings are improv pieced, meaning you get to sew scraps together in an curve more or less mimicking the pattern piece, then you lay the pattern piece over it and cut around to make a clean curved piece. It’s fast, it’s fun, and gives you a lot of freedom in terms of sizes and color layout. After just completing the Adventure Quilt a week or so earlier, this imprecise method was just what I needed. Sewing the curved pieces took a little practice, but if you use pins and go slowly it’s hard to mess up.

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I sent this quilt out to be longarmed because “scale” scallop quilting would be the final  touch to really convey the mermaid theme, and I’m so glad I did. I usually don’t want o to shell out the cash for longarming, but a few of my seams weren’t super flat and the quilting really nailed everything down.

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Even though I don’t usually use quilt patterns, I think Free Wheeling Single Girl is really well made and I’m already planning another for myself!

  • Pattern: “Free Wheeling Single Girl” by Denyse Schmidt
  • Quilt top fabric: scrappy, with an emphasis on aqua, brown, and coral, with mermaids and under the sea motifs. Background is Cotton Supreme Solids in Iceberg.
  • Batting: Hobbs 80/20
  • Backing: Pure Element in Grapefruit, a solid from Art Gallery
  • Binding: Whisper Palette Jewels by Lizzy House
  • Quilting by: Thread Bear Quilting
  • Number/size and type of blocks: 48/12″ (I think?) improv pieced curves
  • Finished size: twin