Sewing Machine Bag

I had a great time at my first quilt retreat in early March, but dragging around all the gear was not the most fun. I have few events coming up – guild sew days and a few classes – so I decided buying an inexpensive lightweight machine would be a good thing to do.  After considering a few, I bought an Ever Sewn Charlotte, and have been enjoying it quite a bit.  It’s always fun to get a new machine!

But to be useful, my portable machine needed a bag to tote it around.  I thought about buying one, but then remembered that I won a few patterns for bags from the FAL link up last year and thought this would be a good opportunity to try one out.  I also had some Alison Glass prints that I wasn’t sure how to use in a quilt, and this seemed like a great opportunity to use them.

I bought A BUNCH of interfacing – yikes!  I had no idea there were so many kinds of interfacing! – and prepped the side panels.  This is a panel with a photo of the pattern – the Aeroplane Bag from Sew Sweetness.

I finished the bag in time for my guild’s sew day last weekend – here it is:

The other side:

and a side view:

Yes, with the mix of Alison Glass fabrics it is a bit busy!

I don’t make a lot of bags so this guy took me a bit of time to get together.  I just tried to take it one step at a time and went really slow.  I’d probably do the zipper differently if I did it again, but it worked out well enough.  I modified the inside – the pattern has you make zippered pockets, but I really wanted a bigger open pocket to hold the power cord and foot pedal.  This is the modification I made for that pocket:

this is the finished inside of the bag with the lining in place:

I put my machine and all the accessories inside and they fit really nicely!


I am SO HAPPY with my bag and so glad I took the time to make it rather than buy one.  I don’t know that I have a lot more bag making in my future, but I am really happy with how it came out.

I took her on her first excursion last weekend, and she worked like a dream at our guild sew day.  I’ll have to sign up for more sewing excursions!

This was on my Q2’18 FAL list, so I will link up at the end of the quarter.



Zipper Bags and Glasses Cases

One of my projects for this quarter was to do a bunch of zipper bags and glasses cases.  I once had a big stock of them, but over time my stockpile ran dry.  I love to make these – they are a great way to play with cute fabric, I use the cases for lots of things, and I love to give them away.  My mom also put in a request for a few sets to give for Christmas, so I wanted to get her a selection to choose from.

This is a selection of all the cases I made in this sitting.  I made several duplicates of similar fabrics.

whole group


The zipper cases are easy to make and are a good opportunity to practice machine quilting.  In fact I got going on this batch because I wanted to do some machine quilting practice before starting in on a big quilting job.  I decided to use these guys as practice rather than make muslin scrap quilt sandwiches.  I’ll do another post later on my work to improve my machine quilting!

Here are a few more photos of the zipper cases coming together.

Prepping the zipper – I learned my method from Terry Atkinson’s books and patterns.  Now I use this method and adapt it any size case I want to make.

zipper end

Top stitching detail next to the zipper – I love the cocktail fabric!

zipper top stitch

Adding zig-zag stitching to the edges to prevent fraying.

zipper zig zag edge

It was hot, I was doing a lot of zippers, and sometimes a Summer Shandy is just in order!

zipper measuring - beer

I made these small card cases for the first time.  This was the first one.  It came out well, but the zipper method I use adds fabric to the ends of the zipper which made the opening a bit small.

small case - narrow


With my next one, I left the fabric off one edge (the right) and thinned the fabric on the edge where the zipper stops (the left).

small case better

This made a wider opening and I like it better, but the side with no fabric on the edge of the zipper is going to fray.  For my next one I’m going to try the thinner fabric on both sides.

The cocktail cases in 2 sizes – big (~9″ wide x 5″ tall) – and a pencil case size (~7″ wide x 3.5″ tall).

cocktail ZC

This fabric was cute and had lots of colors.  I used brightly colored zippers and yellow stripes for the linings.

blue ZC

And I just got a bunch of new zippers off Amazon for a great price, so I’ll be making more!

new zippers

I also made a bunch of glasses cases at the same time.  These are really cool because they have a snap-back closure at the top.  I bought a pattern from Stitchin’ Sisters some time ago showing the method, and I adapted it to make cases big enough for sunglasses.  I’ve also seen tutorials for bags using a similar idea in several places online, calling them snap bags.  Old measuring tapes are used in the enclosure and they snap closed – so cool!

You prepare the case by making sandwich of outside fabric, lining that is a bit longer, and batting.  After quilting the sandwich, get it squared up and even on both sides to prepare to hem down the ends.  Here my pin chicken is helping me out…

glasses case measuring

Hemming down the lining over the outside fabric to make a casing.

GC hem pressing

Inserting the cut measuring tape into the edge casings.

GC tape insertion

Sewing up the sides, making sure the edges and hems match…then zig-zag the edges.

GC side stitching

A selection of completed cases.  I’ve adopted the one on the far left.

finished GC

I had a great time making my cases, and still have a few more in progress.  The are very useful to have around!

finished zipper cases


These cases were on my Q2 FAL list (link to original Q2 FAL goal list), so I will be linking up there once the end of the quarter link opens.

The Battle of the Outdoor Cushion Covers

And now for a quick break from quilting…

We bought a patio set with a fire pit and four chairs about five years ago for our back patio.  After five years in the New Mexican sun, the chair cushions were completely shot.


The tops of the cushions were split with stuffing coming out and the seats were rough and cracking.  I looked for cushions on sale at the end of last summer but they were still really expensive.  The problem I ran into was that the bottom seat cushions are very large and deep, so I couldn’t find replacements very easily…at least ones that weren’t nearly $100 a CUSHION.  Arrgh!

I can sew!  I have skills!  I can do this!  I currently have some time off from work, so there is no reason I SHOULDN’T do this!  (she said confidently)

Oh My.  I got it done, but it was really a battle.

First the fabric.  I bought some Sunbrella fabric on sale from, but it was still not cheap.  I really hope it lasts.  I also struggled with the types of Sunbrella fabrics – the weights, the names, etc…  A friend recently had me recover some of her outdoor pillows with Sunbrella canvas and it was way too heavy, so after a few orders of samples I found one I liked.

I did a bunch of research online looking for patterns to make the cushions.  I started with one that basically wrapped the old stuffing like a present.  It appealed to me because I was trying to avoid doing complicated inset sides.  I made a sample using muslin first to see how it would go, and came out a bit wonky.  I tried another sample using the inset sides and it wasn’t terrible, so I drew up a pattern and cutting plan to do it that way.

FullSizeRender 18

Basically the cushions are big boxes, with a long piece that wraps around the top and the bottom and meets in the back, closed off with velcro.  There are 2 side pieces that join to the front piece loop.  Sewing the long front piece to the sides is like sewing on piping to the side piece, except the piping is very long!


Cutting carefully!


Hemming the flaps of the long piece where it meets in back – I added velcro to it later.  I didn’t want to have to hand sew the cushions to finish them, and the velcro makes it easy to take the covers off for washing or replacement.

lining up the flaps

Pinning the flaps together to prepare to sew on the side pieces

setting in the side 2

Pinning on the side piece

setting in the side

pinning the corner

Detail of the corner pinning

sewing the corner

Finally sewing!

sewing the corner 2

Carefully navigating the corners

After sewing, I pressed all the seams and added iron-on velcro to the closing flaps (which was much more labor intensive than it sounds!).  Finally, I cut the old covers off the existing foam/stuffing and had my husband help me wrestle the new covers on (again, much more labor intensive than it sounds!).

A few of the sites I visited looking for patterns or tutorials suggested that this project was quick!  easy!  done in a matter of hours!  Pfffft.  Yikes.  Maybe I made this too complicated, but between the research, muslin templates, pattern writing, cutting, hemming, pinning, sewing, velcro-ing, and restuffing this took me the better part of a week.  I am really happy with the results, and it will likely be easier the next time as I have a pattern I like and have a better idea what I’m doing, but it was indeed a bit of a battle!

Here are a few pictures of the finished product.

after - 1 chair

after - 2 chairs

after - whole group


Obviously this is not a full tutorial on how to do these cushions.  If anyone is interested let me know and I can work on it!  They were a lot of work, but I’m really happy with how they turned out.


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