Making a Gem Bag

Turning Indah Pops  into a Gem Bag

BY DEBORAH MILLER, 
MARCH, 2017

PHOTO COURTESY HOFFMAN CALIFORNIA FABRIC

PHOTO COURTESY HOFFMAN CALIFORNIA FABRIC

If you were lucky enough to go to QuiltCon East in Savannah, GA in February, you may have seen the Gem Bag at the Hoffman Fabric Me+You exhibit.  Little needs to be said about this stunning tote. Jaw dropping will do.  I want to show you the up-close details and basics so you can make one for yourself.

TO START

FABRIC:

Me+You Indah Hand Dyed Batiks, precut 2.5-inch strips from Hoffman California Fabrics. Plus you'll need fabric for lining, side panels and straps.

130 GemBag FrontCover.jpg

PATTERN:

Dancing Diamonds Gem Bag by Bethany Miller from PlumEasy Patterns. Co-written by Claire Haillot (Dancing Diamonds Art Quilt)

NOTIONS:

- Dancing Diamonds Interfacing Template (one included in pattern)
- Water Soluble Glue Stick
- 4 Grommet sets 1 or 3/4-inch size
- 2 yards 1-inch Cotton Strapping or ¼-inch cording for straps
- 1 ¼ yard Flex Foam by Pellon
- For a stiffer bag, add 1 yard single sided fusible Pellon PelTex
- Normal sewing supplies including a cutting mat, acrylic ruler, rotary cutter, thread, etc.

LAYING OUT THE STRIPS

Audition fabric to decide how you want your Gem Bag to look. You will use about half of the pre-cuts and have fabric left over. You might think about making a second bag with the extras.

- Cut strips in half to 22” in length, then cut into differing widths from 1, 1 ¼” or 2”, leaving a few strips at 2½ inch width. 

- Sew 4-5 strips into strata with fabrics that are similar. 

Strata are pressed and cut at a 60-degree angle and then cut into 3” pieces.

 

The strata become like a color pallet.

The strata become like a color pallet.

17193764_10210072070172072_2095217408_o (1).jpg

Below are the strata pieces laid on the interfacing template.

Move the strata sections around to suit yourself. There is no wrong way to do it.

Next, take the strata sections off one row at a time, and sew them end to end. 
Replace them back onto the same template row.

 

 

 

ACCENT LINES

Did you notice the little thin lines that pop up on some rows?  Those are added when the colors need a visual boost.  You add 1 to 1½ inch strips to the section you want, then trim the piece back to 3” wide, before the next step.

When you’ve sewn all the rows together, you glue baste them to the template with water soluble glue. 

Next, strips are sewn to the template by folding along the diagonal lines and stitching on the back in the ¼" seam allowance. The pattern gives complete detail on how to do this. You are almost done with the top at this point.

The template is pictured below.

Let's see the pieced top full size:

The Dancing Diamonds interfacing template is 33.5 x 40.5 inches Here's the link for refills: http://www.plumeasypatterns.com/shop/dancing-diamonds-interfacing-template-3-pack

The Dancing Diamonds interfacing template is 33.5 x 40.5 inches Here's the link for refills:
http://www.plumeasypatterns.com/shop/dancing-diamonds-interfacing-template-3-pack

Once the top is done, you make the quilting “sandwich” of the Dancing Diamonds Top, then Flex Foam and PelTex, and lastly, the lining, and then quilt as desired.  Flex Foam plus Pel Tex will give the bag a very stiff, durable feel.  For finishing the side panels, adding binding and grommets, and making the strap, the details are in the pattern. 

QUILTING DETAIL, GROMMETS AND TOP BINDING

QUILTING DETAIL, GROMMETS AND TOP BINDING

STRAP DETAIL

STRAP DETAIL

We like the straps on this one with ¼″ cording wrapped with bias strips of the Indah hand-dyed black batik, and then it is zigzagged with black thread. The cord is continuous and when it meets, Bethany zigzagged the ends together, wrapped them and stitched again.  The wrapped cord also pulls the bag closed when it’s lifted.

SIDE PANEL DETAIL, SHOWING LINING, GROMMETS, AND TOP BINDING

SIDE PANEL DETAIL, SHOWING LINING, GROMMETS, AND TOP BINDING

The side panels consist of the outer fabric, Flex Foam and a fabric to match the lining, and are then quilted.

The sewing level for this bag is Confident Beginner to Intermediate.  In making this bag you will learn skills that will help you in other projects. 

Let’s take one final look at the Gem Bag:

I HOPE YOU’LL GIVE THIS WONDERFUL PATTERN A TRY. http://www.plumeasypatterns.com/shop/dancing-diamonds-gem-bag-pattern

I HOPE YOU’LL GIVE THIS WONDERFUL PATTERN A TRY. http://www.plumeasypatterns.com/shop/dancing-diamonds-gem-bag-pattern

Gem Bag Pattern

I’ve learned that we are all looking for a project to enjoy making and love using. Finding the right fabric and design makes sewing a joy! We believe the creativity of sewing is a gift from our Creator to bless us in a most practical way with things we need, use and wear. We hope you’ll stop by plumeasypatterns.com and check out all our patterns.

INSTAGRAM:  #letsgoliftandsew #plumeasypatterns  #me_and_y0u
FACEBOOK: PlumEasy patterns  

Copyright © 2017 PlumEasy Patterns, PO Box 418 Salida, CA95368   All Rights Reserved

How to Sew a Hexagon Binding

Simplifying a Hexagon Binding

At first binding can seem hard--at least it was for me when I began quilting. I soon found that there are many methods for binding and I think I’ve tried them all. What became my ‘go to’ binding method (a continuous strip binding with mitered corners) has only been for a normal rectangle quilt. Now, with the pattern Morning Star,  I have had to learn and master binding a hexagon shape. Let me show you how I do it.  I hope this will help you, too.

I made this Morning Star Hot Pad with the pattern by Bethany Miller.

Place pins outside the seam allowance

Continue to miter each corner until reaching the starting point.

Once the binding is at the starting point, pin in place, then sew. Trim excess binding strip.

Next, you will need to hand sew the closure where the two ends meet..I like to fold over the binding and pin these together and sew with a very small applique stitch. 

Now it is ready to hand sew the binding.

The finished binding!

Good luck to you and happy sewing!  

If you want to watch a video of sewing a continuous binding, check out our video.

Deborah Miller

Folded Star Stencil: Lesson 1

We are about to begin a new way to make folded star blocks. Join us and get a feel for how to use our new Folded Star Stencil.  It's a versatile tool that has many uses, but before discussing those, let's get the basic technique down. 

Pick two fabrics that have contrast but go together in a nice way, such as these combinations:

Downton Abby Fabric (2013) from Andover
Fabrics that show contrast or light and dark features work best.

Fabrics that show contrast or light and dark features work best.

Supply List:

  • 8 Squares 5", make into 8 prairie points.
  • 9" Square of fabric that contrasts with prairie points.
  • Folded Star Stencil Tool from PlumEasy Patterns
  • 9" Square of cotton batting or InsulBright
  • 1 Sttrip of fabric to match prairie points, 2.25" x width of fabric for binding
  • Pen to mark with such as a Frixion Pen
  • Thread, sewing machine, and normal sewing supplies.
  • Spray starch
  • Iron and ironing board

Step 1

Begin by making 8 prairie points.  Fold your square in half, wrong sides together.  Fold one corner over to bottom edge to create a 45 degree angle, then fold the other side to create a triangle. 

This is illustrated below:

The bottom edge (raw threads) should be straight across, and all 8 prairie points should be exactly the same size.

The bottom edge (raw threads) should be straight across, and all 8 prairie points should be exactly the same size.

Things to note:

  • Use spray starch to help avoid fraying and stretching.
  • Trim off threads if there is a lot of fraying.
  • Prairie point 45 degree sides are on the bias and are very flexible/stretchy.
  • Prairie points should be the same size for the whole set of 8. Trim to make even if they are not identical.
  • The wide part of the prairie point is the bottom, the folded tip is the top. 
  • The prairie point is used with the fold facing up.

A tool I highly recommend is the Prairie Point Pressing Tool.  It helps create perfect points. We sell this in our Online Store.

Prairie Pointer is made by Susan Cleveland

Prairie Pointer is made by Susan Cleveland

Step 2

I like to call this step the Place and Trace.  You will see what I mean.

The block foundation is simply a square of fabric.  The fabric will need to have the stencil trace marks drawn onto it.  

  • Lay your 9" square of foundation fabric on a flat surface.
  • Place the Folded Star Stencil on top of it, holding it securely.
  • With a pen, trace the corner marks first, then the "T" lines for the 8" size block.
stencil lines only.jpg

When you lay your foundation fabric, it should be smooth, not wrinkled. 

Once you trace the T marks, you will take the prairie points and put them on top of the lines with a dab of water soluble glue.  Place the wide part of the prairie point on the short line, and point the tip toward the center.  The wide part will overlap the next prairie point.  Continue around the whole circle using all 8 prairie points.


Position prairie points on short line, pointing them toward the center of the block. Straight up on the long line.

Position prairie points on short line, pointing them toward the center of the block. Straight up on the long line.

All 8 prairie points around the circle will create a star.  The star takes on the look of the foundation fabric.

All 8 prairie points around the circle will create a star.  The star takes on the look of the foundation fabric.

Next, top stitch around the edge of the prairie points. This creates an octagon block. 

Sew around the sides of the prairie points to create a star hot pad.

Sew around the sides of the prairie points to create a star hot pad.

You can add Magic Corners to create a square block, or leave it octagon shaped.  Baste the outside raw edges to keep layers together.  Trim excess foundation fabric.

With your first EasyStar you've learned the first step to using the Folded Star Stencil.

Step two will take it up a notch and give you something else to light your creative fire.

Enjoy!

Uptown Debbie Brown Blog

This little thread bag and pin cushion set is fun to make and very easy.

The special features that set it apart are:

  • It uses Hooks and Eyes to allow for easy removal of bag to empty contents
  • It creates a stylish accessory for your sewing area
  • It uses speed sewing techniques
  • Debbie Brown Bag makes a darling child’s purse
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