License Plate Zipper Pouch

We (the royal “we”) made this zipper pouch using a Row by Row license plate from Quilt Expressions. If you’re collecting plates and wonder what to do with them, here’s an idea for you.

zp68

Materials

(2) fat eighths (9″ x ~20″) or (1) fat quarter

(2) 6″ x 10″ pieces of fusible fleece

(1) 10″ or longer zipper

(1) Row by Row fabric license plate

Cutting

From one fat eighth (fabric “A”), cut (1) 10″ x 6″ rectangle, (2) 1 ½” x 7 ¾” strips and (2) 1 ½” x 6″ strips.

From one fat eighth (fabric “B”), cut (2) 10″ x 6″ rectangles and (1) 1 ½” x 5″ rectangle (this is the tab ends for the zipper – you can use scraps from either fabric)

Trim the license plate to 4″ x 7 ¾”. You should have about ¼” around the frame of the license plate on all sides (showing some white fabric).

Instructions:zp3

With right sides together, sew a
1 ½” x 7 ¾” fabric “A” strip to the top and bottom of the license plate. We used the line around the license plate as a guide. Press seams toward the strip.

zp17
Sew a 1 ½” x 6″ fabric “A” strip to both sides of the license plate. Press seams toward the strip.

Fuse the fleece according to the manufacturer’s instructions to the wrong side of one fabric A-10″ x 6″ rectangle and one fabric B-10″ x 6″ rectangle. Lay one rectangle with the fleece side up, then place the license plate rectangle right side up on top of the fleece.

Pin through all layers and stitch in the ditch around the license plate. Trim any excess fleece/fabric to make edges flush. Stitch close to the edge around all four sides with a narrow zigzag or straight stitch. This is the front of your pouch.

Place the remaining 10″ x 6″ rectangle on top of the other fleece/fabric rectangle in the same manner. Pin through all layers. You may choose to do some quilting in this rectangle, but it is not necessary. Trim this piece so that it is the same size as the front pouch rectangle. Stitch close to the edge with a narrow zigzag or straight stitch. This is the back of your pouch.

Take a scrap of fabric of approximately 1 ½” x 5″ and fold in half along the long edges with wrong sides together. Press. Unfold and bring the outside long edges to the middle crease on both sides and press.

zp29

zp31zp32zp33Fold in half again and press. This will be the fabric tabs at both ends of your zipper. With the zipper closed, cut through the zipper at the staple end (cutting off the staple).

zp37

 

 

 

Place the zipper inside of the folded tab (towards one end) and top stitch.

zp38zp39zp41Make sure you stitch through all layers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trim the fabric tab even with the zipper tape on both sides. We’re only showing you one side trimmed here.

zp42

 

 

 

 

Measure the long side of your pouch; you will trim the zipper 1″ shorter than this measurement.  (See the chalk marks below? That’s where we trimmed our zipper.) Unzip the zipper so the pull is near the middle of the zipper; trim your zipper. zp45

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place the cut ends inside the folded tab.

Top stitch and trim as you did on the other end.zp50

 

 

 

 

 

 

zp52Center the zipper on the top edge of front of your pouch with the pouch front right side up. The zipper pull should be facing down. It’s hard to see–but trust us on this!

 

zp54

Pin through all layers and stitch along the zipper tape.

 

 

 

 

 

zp57

Fold the zipper back and top stitch close to the fabric edge stitching through all layers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place the unsewn side of the zipper along the back piece of the zp59pouch and pin in place. Make sure the two pouch pieces line up along the sides. Stitch the zipper along the zipper tape. Fold the zipper back and topstitch close to the fabric edge through all layers.

 

Open up the zipper. Place the pouch pieces with right sides together, matching side and bottom edges and stitch. Turn the pouch through the zipper opening and push out the corners. Enjoy your new pouch!

zp68

 

 

 

It’s Done! Must be time to move…

I’ll make this quick since it’s time to pack up the Michigan house and move back to Boise. It must be time…I’ve finished the wonky houses quilt top late last night. I know, I know, it’s not a quilt until it’s quilted, which is all the more reason to pack up and return to Boise! whole_quilt_largeI hope you like it and have had a little fun following along. Thanks for providing me an opportunity to put a little color into your day.

See you in Boise!

Karen

 

 

 

Let’s Make Some Rows!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve started sewing some blocks into rows. Not complete rows, because that would require that I had a plan and a size in mind! I thought that you might like a little explanation.

On another note, The Row by Row experience is coming to Boise–and to Quilt Expressions. (If you’d like to visit the Idaho Row by Row Facebook page, and see our “official” row, click here.) Free patterns for Quilt Expressions’ row will be available in the shop starting June 21.

So…in planning our row by row block, I couldn’t help but experiment a little, and of course add the trial “parts and pieces” to my wonky quilt.

rxrhousesThe units are simple little houses and trees, easily made with flying geese. The official Row by Row rules say that our row must be 9″ tall (finished) so that dictated the height of these units. By the way, in case you care, they are all 3″ wide. That 9″ height meant that some of my houses needed to have a little help. Remember, if it’s too short, sew some more on…

houserows2

Here’s where those little black and white checkerboard strips come in handy. I used them to make the house on the left a taller block.

Finally, I thought the row was starting to look a little washed out, so I added some columns of color squares.

houserows3

It perks up the row, don’t you think? I’m going to sew these blocks together and we’ll see what happens next!

PS–I’m counting down the days to be back in Idaho! Less than three weeks. Della can tell you in exact days, hours and minutes ;)

–Karen

 

Decker the Dog

Hello again! I saw some of you when I was in the shop in Boise–thank you for your positive comments! Today I am introducing you to Decker the dog. That’s my son, Bo, trying to get him to pose for the camera. For a big dog, Decker is a big chicken–doesn’t like his picture taken. Guess it’s true that dogs are like their owners, because I avoid getting in the picture at all costs!

decker-boAnd here’s my wonky portrayal of Mr. Decker, with LOTS of artistic license! Hey, the red collar’s the same and I think I got the nose about the right size …

decker

 

 

If you check out my earlier posts you’ll see the original sketch. I really wanted to use the yellow fabric for his body, but I didn’t have a large enough piece. Oh well, I just carefully sewed two pieces together. If you look closely, you can see the seam. Which brings me to my next trick: Quilter’s Choice glue. It’s a water soluble glue (that means it will wash out later) that holds well and dries clear. Anytime I need to match something up exactly, I take the new piece, fold the seam allowance under and press it. Then I dab a bit of glue on the seam allowance. I place the piece exactly where I want it to sit on top of the first piece, and heat set it with the iron to dry the glue. It’s simple to peel back the seam and sew on the pressed fold line. That’s how I managed to line up the dots, and get Decker’s red collar to line up with his body. Ditto for the ears–they were so small I would never have gotten them to line up without a dab of glue!

I’ve also started to put a few pieces together. I’m not done by a long stretch, but I’ve started to build out two of my rows.

della_decker_karen

None of my blocks were the same size, so this is where the rule, “If it’s too short sew some more on, and if it’s too big, cut some off,” comes in to play. Della, on her soap box was too tall, so off went part of her hat and the border above it. The block of me in my orange pants was too short, so I simply added some scrap squares to make my block longer. Decker got some checkerboard squares to stand on, and some other “parts and pieces” blocks (you are making some of those, right?) got inserted for color and a bit of breathing room.

The next row I put together had two tall houses–I wanted to add a third. Rather than start over making a whole new house, I chopped off the roof of another house block, and added a scrappy bottom. I added some more vertical strips of color, and once again used some of my checkerboard “filler” squares. Notice how on the far left and upper right I chopped them at an angle? I needed to square up the unit so it will fit with the next block(s), whatever they will be!

tall_houses

 

I know this is a long post, but I’ll end with a shot of my design wall. You can see I’ve got LOTs more work to do, but you can get an idea of the parts and pieces I’ve been playing with so far.  parts_piecesI hope you’re having fun, and sewing along with me! –Karen

 

 

 

Here I am…

karen_donesketch_karenHere I am…decked out for snow. The bright orange pants are truly a bit of “artistic license.” In my block portrayal of Della, I went free-form. In other words, I just cut and sewed without much of a plan. Since my selfie was a bit more complicated, I made a small sketch of my idea–about 2″ tall, and then blew it up on my copier 400%. That sure made things a lot easier when I was trying to judge how to cut the pieces and put it together.

You can see the small sketch in the lower right–and the blown-up version. You can also see I’m going to include Decker the dog–he’s next.

At the risk of boring you to tears–here’s a few tips on how I made the “me” block.  First, I divided my sketch into sections.

sketch_dividedFrom there, I could see how to make the sections, and the approximate size of the pieces I wanted. That was the nice thing about having a full-scale drawing! If you try this, don’t forget to add 1/4″ seam allowances to the pieces. As you can see below, I just laid sections on top of the sketch to get the angle I wanted, then trimmed with the added seam  allowances.

steps-to-scarf

Note how much longer the scarf/body is than the final block shows. It’s sooo much easier to make something longer–I like to fold it to where the seam needs to be and press it. That way I can lay it on top of the next piece and know exactly where to sew to get the look I want.

Next are the beginnings of the face and hat. You can also see that I have a habit of making the pieces lots bigger than I need–it’s easier and they can always trim down. The tassels on the hat were Della’s idea–it worked out great! I started with a small (~1-1/2″ tall x 3/4″ ) rectangle of bright red fabric. Then I folded down the top edge, and folded it in half lengthwise. I inserted it between an angled seam and viola! I did that a few more times until I liked the angles.

face-and-hat

That’s it for now. I’ve been making stars and checkerboard strips in-between all the stopping and starting. I’ve got thirteen 6″ stars done…guess I’d better get busy.

:)  Karen

Meet Della

dellaSome of you know Della from the store. Always smiling and laughing, she is my best friend. So it only seems right that I would have to put her in my wonky quilt. The picture on the left is my first attempt. We’re miles apart but as usual, she added her two cents and requested the lime green dress and curly hair.

I really didn’t like the light background, and I kept trying to make it work. Finally, I took it apart and auditioned some different backgrounds…I liked the red the best. I purposely made her a little shorter and *ahem* slightly wider, and gave her a couple of x-blocks to stand on. And yes, her socks are two different colors–just like she wears everyday. Next I’ll be making me…taller and thinner (and by the way, I got Della’s good-natured permission for that!). Now where can I find pretty and smart fabrics? ;)

Let me know if you need help making a “people” block. I can certainly step you through it.

Karen

“X” marks the spot

I’ve been busy making more house blocks–and of course more stars. What started out as a wonky log cabin morphed into a house. And you can’t make just one…

Wonky Log Cabin Houses

Wonky Log Cabin Houses

Along with my houses and stars, I made a few ‘X” blocks, just for filler. They’re really simple. I made a few then trimmed them up to 4″ unfinished. I found it worked best if I started with a 5″ square, and then inserted strips that were approximately 7″ long and about 1″ to 1-1/2″ wide, and cut with a bit of an angle.

xblock_steps

Look how cute they look when they’re all in a row:

crisscrossI really love my design wall. It’s so easy to put my parts and pieces up on it, and they stick! Not a one has fallen off and I’ve had them up there all week. I’ve started to play with a few arrangements, but I’m not ready to sew anything together yet. See those big blocks of green under the houses? I’m auditioning some colors for a curvy grass hill.

design_wall

In my last post I mentioned that there were several things I’d change in my new and improved version–so here’s a few:

1. I think some of the blocks are too big. It’s more piecing (more work!), but I like the look of smaller pieces. Specifically, I think a few of the log cabin type blocks have strips that are simply too wide, and the blocks got too big too fast. Hence the wonky log cabins that turned into houses!

2. I missed with the contrast in the orange/turquoise shoo fly blocks. In other words, there isn’t any! If you’re up close and personal with the quilt you can see the the blocks, but otherwise they get lost.

3. Too many of my fabric choices are muddy or have grey in them.  Overall, the quilt is a little darker than I’d like. So this time I’m trying harder to use “pure” color.

I arranged my blocks in columns in my first quilt. I think that’s an easy way to make everything fit if its the first time you’ve ever done something like this. This time I’m working with rows–not much different–but somehow seems a better fit for my house obsession.

:) It’s getting warmer here in Michigan. Thankfully, the snow is almost gone.

Karen