Saturday, February 22, 2014

Super Tote #4

You can see my previous Super Totes here, here and here.

This one was made for a friend that was in search of a new diaper bag last summer.  I thought I could have it finished by November, but I seriously underestimated how long all my other projects would take, plus I took on a bunch of new projects.  Well, I put it on my to-do list for February and ta-da, it's done (finally)!

The front pocket is fully lined and quilted, and I added a small slip pocket inside:

I made a few things differently than the previous ones, and a few things different from than the pattern:

I added a zipper-pocket-divider (by request)--next time I think I'll make it about 2 inches narrower and/or stiffer.  I used this tutorial to make it, but used the Super Tote pattern pieces as a guide for size and shape.

On the small side of the divider I put in slip pockets instead of the gathered pockets.

I put in a recessed zipper for the first time!  Was not thrilled with the instructions for this part (the rest of the Super Tote pattern is great though).

What I love about this recessed zipper is how it folds in flat against the sides of the bag when it's fully open--it's out of the way and the bag can open super big still.

The inside fabrics are from various hand me down fabrics.  The purple side is because that's her favorite color, and the other side is 10th Doctor inspired (they're Dr Who fans, in case that's not obvious, haha)--it does look a little like his suit and coat, right?

The navy nature print is a decor weight from IKEA--Love how it works for this size bag!  The other exterior fabric is Natural Essex, Linen by Robert Kaufman--which I love the look of, but worry how quickly it will become dirty and look dingy.  I don't think I'll use that light of a fabric again on a bag like this.  Also, it was difficult to make interfacing stick to it (I don't generally prewash).  But it's so handsome, isn't it!

Phone photo of the back, before the bag was all put together.

Hurray for another project off the To-Do list!!  

Label from TagsToGo on etsy.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Back in November I posted my goals for Quilty Habit's Sewing with Certainty series.  My simple 3-month goal was to make a mini quilt using curved piecing.  Unfortunately it didn't happen.  I had planned to make it after Christmas, but was then commissioned to make a TARDIS quilt before Valentine's day, and that ate up my entire January sewing time.

So on the one hand I am pretty bummed I completely and utterly failed to meet my very simple goal.  On the other hand I feel pretty accomplished in what I did get done--plus making a curved quilt is still on my To Make list.

Today I sat at my sewing machine, completely frustrated and annoyed with the project I was working on.  Why was I making it, really?  At the time I certainly wasn't doing it because I enjoyed it.  I was doing it out of guilt, out of some obligation I felt (I was making one for a different person, so I must have to make one for this person too, right?).  And then I realized that it has been a very long time since I made something for me.

So instead of sharing my completed item for a past goal, I am instead making a new one: to make something nice for myself.  My sewing machine is pretty booked up for the next few months, but I am thinking a washi summer dress would be so nice!

Do you have any sewing goals for the coming months?  Have you made a washi dress (link it up in a comment, I would love to see it!)?

Chugging Along Quilt

I am happy to say that it has been quite a productive week--and I've even started running again (after a two month hiatus due to a minor injury, colds and winterness) and have kept up with cooking and cleaning (well mostly, haha).

The colors and quilted details are based off of the Durango-Silverton train--my son's favorite.

I finished up this little train mini quilt (and my son helped quite a bit).  The quilt block patterns are called Chugging Along from ipatchnquilt.  I was a pattern tester (the pattern should be available soon), and my son just loooves this train!  If I had more time and enough of that yellow fabric I would have made more blocks. 

I wish I'd added more sky fabric so there could be more smoke!

Also wish I'd thought of fussy cutting some cute people to put in the windows.

My son loves to help with the binding--he picks all sorts of crazy decorative stitches!

I used almost entirely Aurifil thread--the only color of Aurifil I didn't have for this quilt is red, so I used some other thread I had on hand.

Colors from left to right: 2000, 1135, 1147, (the cone is 2605), 5005, and 2692.

 My son picked out the back fabric (which I had forgotten I even had--but he remembered it from a past project).  And I put on a hanging sleeve for a double sided quilt (see my tutorial here) because he insisted he wanted to be able to see both sides.

Label (quilt tag is from TagsToGo on Etsy).

It measures about 8.5" x  24.5".

All aboard!  Choo choo!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

More on Blogging

My favorite thing about blogging is sharing what I've made with those that have inspired me, or sharing photos of something I made from another person's pattern or tutorial.  And I love getting those people's feedback too.

Super Tote pattern by Noodlehead, read about each one: orange, purple, teal.

I also love finding new, inspiring bloggers with similar interests.  It took me a while for get involved with linky parties, but have since found so many awesome quilt bloggers!  But linky parties get kind of time consuming for me--I want to click on every link!  See everyone's pictures!  Comment on every post!  Encourage and praise each person!  Some of the larger parties, or days with multiple parties on them, turn into marathons of commenting.

I used this pattern to make the airplane, and then added the contrails.

And that brings me to the biggest downside of blogging: the time commitment.  I guess I make what I want of it.  I want to be involved in lots of linky parties, and I like to have detailed blog posts with lots of pictures, and link to all the things I talk about--all quite time consuming.  It's worth it though because I use my blog to keep track of things, and reference old posts a lot!

I made this dress for her last year, she's so much bigger now!  But it still fit her as a shirt!

Also the more involved I become in the online blogging community, the more things I sign up for!  This spring I've definitely over committed--I volunteered to make a bed quilt for the Lala Salama 100 Quilts Project (which some friends have offered to help with thankfully!), need to follow through with my Pay it Forwards, joined my first quilting bee(!!!), taken on another commissioned TARDIS quilt, overdue making a TARDIS bag, mini quilt swap, thinking about whipping up a mini for the Panatone Quilt Challenge, and want to make a dress and a skirt for my daughter's birthday next month.  Whew!  My plate runneth over!

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Radiant Orchid

Basically this means I have less time to blog about everything I'm working on (plus a few of them are secret projects!).  Everything on the list, except for making clothes for my daughter, are due to my involvement in the quilt-blogging community!  And as some of you may have noticed already, I'll be blogging less and involved in linky parties less because of all that community involvement!   But the good news is it's because I'll be focusing my time on sewing, and will have lots of pretty things to show you soon!

Linking up with Jessica at Quilty Habit's Sewing With Certainty series.

November 2013 - February 2014!

Monday, February 3, 2014

The worth of a quilt

Recently, I sold my first quilt:

Finished size: 39" x 71"

When coming up with with an estimate on what to charge, I considered quite a few things.  I had read Sam Hunter's arguments on the worth of a quilt and Molli Sparkle's detailed breakdown of the value of a quilt he made, and they both influenced me greatly to charge a fair amount for my time.  Many of my friends and family also supported the estimate I came up with, and in some cases thought I should charge more.

But it was my husband, who grew up with a cabinet maker dad and artist mom, that gave me the courage to actually charge the amount I came up with.  He knew that artisan and custom work is worth a lot more, and certainly costs a lot more.  His advice of "do what I'll regret less" helped too--I'd rather charge a lot and make a really nice quilt than charge less and kick myself for how much time I'm putting into it for the sake of a sale.

It took 3 hours (!) to trim/square the quilt, tie off, bury and trim the threads, and bind it.

And if the person didn't like the price?  Well there are plenty of similar quilts (but less detailed, less quilted, less artistic and less expensive) to be purchased out there.

Just after finishing the quilt, I came across Molli Sparkle's post on Sew Mama Sew on the putting value on your quilts, and I downloaded his excel template (at the bottom of his post) to see where my quilt came out:

Created by Molli Sparkles for Sew Mama Sew
Project Title: TARDIS II Quilt
  Quantity Rate Cost Notes
Pre-Production       Time it took to design the quilt.
Design Concept Fee 7 $25.00 $175.00  
Sub-Total     $175.00  
  Yards Rate Cost Notes
Thread 1.00 $10.00 $10.00 How do you calculate how much thread you use/used?
Fabric for Front 4.33 $10.00 $43.30
Fabric for Back 2.25 $8.00 $18.00
Police box sign     $11.00  
Fabric for Binding 0.25 $10.00 $2.50  
Batting 2.00 $15.00 $30.00  
Shipping & Misc 1.00 $25.00 $25.00  
Basting spray 1 $5.00 $5.00  
Sub-Total     $144.80  
  Hours $/Hr Cost Notes
Production       Final Size: 31" x 71"
Piecing Quilt Top 10.25 25.00 $256.25  
Pieced Backing 0.00 0.00 $0.00 non-pieced
Basting 1.00 25.00 $25.00  
Quilting 11.50 25.00 $287.50 Straight line, FMQ, custom work 
Sewing Binding 1.00 25.00 $25.00
Sub-Total     $568.75  
  Sub-Total Rate Cost Notes
Profit on Sub-Total $888.55 10% $88.86  
Rush charge     $50.00  
Sub-Total     $138.86  
      Cost Notes
Pre-Production     $175.00  
Supplies     $144.80  
Production     $568.75  
Post-Production     $138.86  
Final Total     $1,027.41  

A few things to note are that I added a rush charge (the quilt was commissioned January 6th and it needed to be delivered out of state before February 14th), I felt that my time and quilting ability are worth (at least) $25 an hour, and it doesn't include the Paypal 2.9% invoice fee (should the buyer or seller pay that I wonder?).

So you're probably wondering if that is what I actually sold the quilt for, and the answer is no.   I didn't include the design time in the actual price since I plan to mortgage that over several of these quilts, nor did I include the profit markup.  Because it was my first sale, there were a few costs I didn't know about, and even though I tried to estimate the correct amount of time it would take me, I ended up under-estimating it quite a bit (of course).

I also didn't include the amount of time it took to shop for the fabric, driving to the store to buy it, coming up with quilting designs (though most of that I had done for the previous quilt, I still spent quite a bit of time coming up with new designs where needed), dealing with quilting/machine issues, washing, drying, or shaping it, photographing it, packaging it, or taking it to the post office.  Seriously, that is all time out of my day--time away from projects I would have otherwise been working on, time away from cooking, cleaning, or spending time with my family--time that has worth, and really should be paid for!

When all was said and done I got paid for materials, shipping and about $20/hr for piecing, quilting, and finishing the quilt.  And I feel really good about that.  I learned a lot from this whole experience, and now I have much more accurate numbers to base estimates on.  So even though I don't plan to charge $1,027.41 for the next quilt like this, I will certainly charge more than for the first one!  Because my time and my quilts are $ew Worth it!

HDS Sew Worth It LOGO

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Scrap Giveaway!

I'm cleaning up my sewing room today and decided it's finally time to find a new home for the Starry Night quilt scraps.  It's a lot of scraps due to some of the wonky blocks, so I'll choose two winners (one will get blue one will get the green...unless everyone wants some of each?).

This is open to followers only (I'm not posting it anywhere, so I figure only my followers will see it).  International entries welcome!  I will choose two random winners Monday, February 3rd.

To enter: simply leave me a comment telling me if you'd like blue, green or some of both, and your favorite color.

If you are a No-Reply blogger (or if you don't if you are or not), please leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win!  If you're never gotten an email reply from me after you've commented on my blog then you are a no-reply blogger (if you want to change that, do a google search on it).