Quilted Jacket!

I finished my quilted jacket! See my last post for the pattern info and preliminary pattern prototype. I’m pleased with how it came out, and looking forward to wearing it to the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, Virginia this coming Thursday! If the weather forecast is correct, it may be a bit warm for a jacket, which would be OK. However, this one has flannel between the fabric layers, rather than batting, so it will work with milder temps than the prototype.

Happy Quilting!!



Hidden Wells

I’ve been wanting a quilted jacket, that fits – emphasis on “fits”. I’ve made several in the past and there’s always something off – too short, too long, too tight. I found a jacket pattern I liked and decided on the quilt block: Hidden Wells. This is the same one I used for my first quilt in 1992 – Hidden Wells by Mary Ellen Hopkins. Not finding it in the Suitcase of Curious Patterns, I looked online and came across an excellent tutorial by Alena Diamon. From her description of the original 1989 ‘folder’, I remembered where I’d stored mine! In the Binder of Eventually Useful Ideas!

Using Alena’s shortcuts and Mary Ellen’s tips, I made a test unit of Hidden Wells. It worked. (This is where I got sidetracked on the bag patterns in the two most recent posts, as I also made a lined bag out of the first test unit.) After some tweaks to fabric selections and an evaluation of how many units I need, I bought fabric and started on blocks for the jacket.

Meanwhile, to address ‘fit’, I made a prototype from an old quilt. It worked well despite the bulk and I identified one alteration – cut sleeves shorter. I finished the seams on the inside and the next one might be reversible… Off to finish the Hidden Wells units!



Lined Bag Pattern

Here’s the pattern for a lined bag! I’d forgotten exactly how I did this, so now I’ve got it written down! If you have questions, leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Step numbers correspond to the photos shown above.

  1. Cut two pieces of fabric, each 6”x17”, and a third piece 6”x3”. These are the bag, the lining for the bag, and the casing, respectively.
  2. On the short sides of the casing piece, fold ¼” to the wrong side, and stitch.
  3. Cut the casing piece in half, lengthwise. This gives you the two casings.
  4. Fold the casings in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press.
  5. Matching raw edges, place a casing at each of the short ends of the bag fabric. Lay the lining piece on top of the bag and the casings as shown in the photo. Stitch both ends, thru lining, casing, and bag outside.
  6. Match seams with bag on one side and lining on the other.
  7. Stitch side seams of bag with a ¼” seam, leaving a 3” gap in one of the seams of the lining. Be careful not to catch the casings in the seams.
  8. Turn the bag thru the opening in the lining.
  9. Tuck the lining inside the bag.
  10. Cut a piece of ribbon long enough for both ties. Slip a safety pin to the middle of the ribbon and thread the ribbon thru both casings. Snip the ribbon at the safety pin and set the pin aside. Pull one of the ribbons to identify the other end that ribbon and then knot them together. Repeat with the second ribbon. Slip one of the knots thru the casing until it’s on the other side of the bag.




Unlined Drawstring Bag

0125181114drawstring bag pattern

I was going to write up and post a pattern for a lined drawstring bag, and as I was drafting the instructions I remembered this pattern for a simple, unlined drawstring version. That’s a better place to start! So here it is for your practice! The photo at the top shows an unlined bag on the left, and a lined bag on the right. If you have questions, please leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Drawstring Bag

1 ½ yards of ribbon for ties
safety pin for threading ribbon

1. Using pattern, cut and mark two pieces of fabric, 8”x10”
2. Iron down on folds lines, then open back up
3. Place pieces right sides together and stitch ½” seam around three sides, from mark 1” down on long side to corresponding mark on other long side, back stitching to secure.
4. Turn right sides out and press seams and unstitched 1” near top open.
5. Stitch both sides of the unstitched 1” at top of the side seam, pivoting at bottom of opening, thru all thicknesses.
6. Fold over top on pressed fold lines and stitch close to edge of lower fold to form casing.
7. Pin safety pin at middle of ribbon and thread thru both sides of casing. Remove safety pin and cut ribbon. Tie matching ends.

Winter Projects and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from chilly central Virginia, USA! Temp this morning was 11 degrees (F)! The sun’s out now; it’s up to 21! As a result, I’m staying inside, at least until after lunch. Before I head back into the studio to retool from sewing projects to water color painting, here’s an update on what’s been happening recently in Richmond town.  For inspiration I’ve attended two premier exhibitions, the Terracotta Army, Legacy of the First Emperor of China at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (up thru March 11) and the 38th Annual Virginia Watercolor Society exhibit for 2017 at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Virginia (up thru January 7).

I came away from the VMFA show with the consuming question – “How did the ancient artisans of what is now China make 8,000 unique individualized terracotta statues?” The twelve sculptures of warriors in full battle regalia look as though living soldiers were turned to stone. The figures on display are mostly uniform in color, but we’re assured by the accompanying exhibit text that all were originally fully painted in realistic detail. How did they do that?! Do the secrets lie in the central temple compound that has yet to be excavated?

The techniques and motivations of the artists behind the Virginia Watercolor Society exhibit are not quite as opaque. However, their skill and exuberance are every bit as inspiring. I took many photos. I share this one of the painting by Brenda Hounshell with you because I was captivated by the light, and the color of the oranges reflected through the crystal onto the background. Perhaps I could do that….time will tell.

We had our first snow of the season on December 9th, and as typical for our neighborhood, we lost power. I was in the midst of finishing a quilt for my grandson and didn’t want to loose momentum so hauled my treadle in front of the sliding glass doors, and kept sewing. Not my usual fabric choice for this one, since this boy is consumed by transformers. We won’t tell him that the pattern is called “Free Wheeling Single Girl” by Denyse Schmidt!

The watercolors shown above are from two photos taken on the Jamestown Ferry, 25 years apart: 1991, our daughters; 2016, children of our older daughter! My paints are calling – back to work.

I leave you with this quote from Edith Warton, “In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”




Veterans Impact Project

Yesterday I was on a hill above downtown Richmond at the Virginia War Memorial doing some plein air painting. It was a lovely fall day and the views were stunning! A swimming and/or triathalon event was going on at the river, folks were running along the paths training for the marathon, and a fire engine crew was doing carry and rescue drills up and down the hillsides!

You may remember the Veteran Impact Project that I wrote about in my June 29, 2014. It’s now on display at the War Memorial! It will be on display thru October  and additional posters and information about it’s creation are on view inside the Memorial Museum. Make an opportunity to visit, and you’ll be fascinated at the detail in the sculpture. Thanks to Art on Wheels and James Robertson, local sculptor, for this remembrance of our defenders of freedom.

Making Watercolor Brushes!

Last fall our cats brought us several squirrels. At the time, I was appalled, particularly when they showed up with various pieces in the living room. We promptly disposed of the carcasses. Not long after I came across a video of how to make brushes from squirrels’ fur! The cats, however, had moved on to other prey. Until recently! Considerately, this time they left only the tail of a young squirrel outside on the porch. Serendipitously, a stand of bamboo has been cut down nearby. I collected the tail, selected bamboo pieces of appropriate size, viewed various videos, and made some brushes!! Here’re photos of my attempt. It seems a mature squirrel tail with more abundant and longer fur might be a better starting point. I’m now watching the roadsides…