Chelle's Quilts

Sharing my quilts and other creations

Tip of the Day

It’s pretty safe to say the HST’s (half square triangles) are my favorite unit for constructing quilts. If I’m stumped when designing a quilt, it’s my sure-fire go-to. You can make so many different designs by just rearranging HST’s. As much as I love HST’s, I hate making them. Especially when I need a lot. It’s tedious and time consuming.

I was designing a mini quilt for my Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap (more on that later) and needed a lot of HST’s. I mean A LOT! 112 to be exact.   *Sigh*

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I’m never exactly sure the right measurements for cutting the squares for HST’s. My go to size lately has been 3 inches finished, so I have the cutting measurements down for that. But for this project I needed 2 1/2 inch HST’s (2 inches finished). I went to the internet to figure out what size to cut. In my search I stumbled on an awesome tip for making 8 HST’s at once! Whaaaat? Yes 8 at once! I want to give credit to Sew Mama Sew. I found the tutorial on their site here. The tutorial came from none-other-than Lindsay Conner of Lindsay Sews. The very same Lindsay that organized the quilting bee I’m involved in. She rocks in my book!

Anyhoo, I’ll give a quick breakdown of her tutorial revised for the size HST’s I needed, in case you’re ever in need of 2 1/2 inch HST’s (2 inches finished).

I started with 2 – 6 inch squares. Place your 2 squares right sides together just like you would when making a normal HST unit. And just like normal, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. But you will do that twice in an X. Then you’ll sew 1/4 inch on both sides of those drawn lines just like you would a normal HST unit (but in an X). Your sewn piece should look like this.

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Then you’ll make 4 cuts, like these.

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I made 8 sets of these, making 64 HST units lickety split! My life just got a lot easier!

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Except for the fact that I now have 64 HST’s to press and trim. Oh well, I can’t have it all!

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A Creative Funk

Do you ever spend hours and hours on an idea that you think will be great, only to be disappointed with the outcome? I suppose that happens to all of us, no matter what the subject matter is. I had what I thought was a great quilt pattern in my brain. I spent hours sketching it out, picking fabrics, cutting and sewing. Once I got a couple blocks up on the design wall I was not feeling it at all. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but it just didn’t look right. I even asked my husband for his input. He quickly pointed out that I must be in a funk because I never ask for his opinion. He was right. He was also right when he said he thought my colors were a little off. I didn’t even take pictures for you because I still want to work on it to get it right.

In the meantime I had some fabric all cut up and ready to use in some capacity. And I never like wasting good fabric. I pulled some out for a different project but kept some solids I was using and found more to work in. I came up with this.

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I needed something easy easy and fun to get my mind back on track. This is helping. I’ve sewn the bottom two rows of blocks together. I’ll finish the top rows this weekend. It’ll be a baby quilt. I’ll post it in the shop when it’s finished.

I also worked on a custom bag order I received. I finished that today and mailed it off. That was also a fun project.

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I improved a couple things while I was at it. I made the interior zipper pocket bigger and moved it up slightly.

 

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I feel a little more refreshed and ready to get back to my quilt designing sometime next week. I guess my brain just needed a break and I needed to be less hard on myself for not getting it right the first time. In the meantime I’ll be heading over to the Beach Cities Quilt Show this weekend (http://beachcitiesquilters.org/). I’m not involved in that guild, but I thought I’d check it out. I’m sure that will help spark some creativity. Have a great weekend!

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Gifts Galore!

The school year is winding down, but that’s when things seem to ramp up with activities, plays, music recitals, etc. It’s been busy but I’ve managed to squeeze in a lot of sewing.  Next week is teacher appreciation week so I’ve made three totes for three awesome teachers!

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I used a pattern from from the summer issue of Quilts and More. The pattern and fabric are by the amazing designer Vanessa Christenson of V and Co.

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I think they’ll make great beach bags or book/magazine totes for summer excursions. I bought enough fabric of both the gray and green to make myself one of each. That’ll be on my to-do list when they kids are out of school. Am I fooling myself that I’ll get anything done while entertaining and driving around 4 kids this summer? Probably. But for now I’m in denial.

My husband asked me last week to make a pillow for an administrative assistant at his office that is helpful to everyone there. He said she loves everything Union Jack. I made a couple of Union Jack pillows earlier this year for my husband’s aunt so he asked me to make another. He never ever asks me to make anything, so I was touched that he did.

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This is is a fun pattern by Tracey of Tracey Jay Quilts. It’s a free block pattern on Craftsy. I really want to make a full quilt out of this someday. It’s a paper pieced pattern, which takes me a minute to remember how to do each time. I love how accurate paper pieced patterns are but it does take a little longer for me. I’m sure making 12 blocks in a row will make me an expert, but I only seems to make one of these every 4 months or so.

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Here is the back. I got to use on of my new labels, but I don’t like that the fabric my labels are printed on is so thin that the fabric behind shows through. I’ll probably be ordering some on Etsy instead of printing these myself.

Last but not least, I made a gift for the sweet 15 year old girl that I’m sponsoring for her Confirmation. It was her birthday a couple days ago and she asked me to make something for her.

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I made her her the same bag that I made the teachers but sized it a little differently and added and interior zip pocket (oops I forgot to take a picture of that because I was in a hurry to wrap up the gift). She loved the bag! Her family travels a lot over the summer, so I hope she can throw in some books, iPod, magazines, whatever she needs to entertain herself on their trips.

I’ve also been working on some churn dash blocks for a quilt I’ll probably list in my shop. I’ve finished all but 5 blocks needed for a throw quilt, but got stalled when I had to make all these gifts. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to that soon. Again, I might be slightly delusional.

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I love this classic block and it was on my list of quilts I’ve wanted to make for a long time. The other half (not pictured) are inverted so that the churn dash is white and the background is a print. I can’t wait to see it all come together. In the meantime, we’re heading to Disneyland tomorrow with my husband’s brother and his family visiting from Scottsdale, AZ. We’ll be celebrating my nephew’s birthday!

I hope you’re all having a nice Memorial Day weekend! Thank you to all our vets who have given their lives for this great country of ours. We are forever in your debt. Thank you to the families who have supported someone in the service and have suffered the loss of a loved one. You are in my prayers!

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Keeping it real

My husband shared something with me that he read on Facebook a couple nights ago that has been rolling around in my head the past couple days. I’m paraphrasing (and frankly to lazy to look up the exact saying) but it was something like this….

Low self esteem happens when we compare our behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel.

Sometimes I catch myself envying other bloggers and how much they get done, how perfect and pretty their creations look and how successful they seem to be in selling patterns, designing fabric or getting books published. All dreams I’d love to accomplish someday, but this world is all still new to me and I’m lucky if I can get more than one blog post done in a week, let alone finish very many projects while running 4 kids all over the place and trying to keep a semi clean home.

So rather than trying to show you my highlight reel for this week, I’ll let you peek behind the scenes at my messy work space.

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This is is where I sew. I don’t have a “studio” or a room to call my own. I sew at the end of my dining table in my cramped kitchen. The mess around my sewing machine is rather tame at the moment. Some days my stuff is spread all over the entire table. It’s been over 100 degrees for most of this week so I haven’t been sewing much (I just can’t concentrate in this kind of heat).

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This overview shows the mess a little more, but trust me this is pretty tame! There are times when creativity strikes and I just can’t be bothered with straightening up the aftermath of my fabric cuttings or a half finished project as I get inspiration for the next. My machine stays on the kitchen table most of the time, unless we have a get together, then it’s put away till it’s over. But it’s never long before I pull it back out. For dinners, we slide my stuff down and we all fit.

Since I don’t have a studio to line the walls with shelving to display my beautiful fabric, I have it crammed in various places. I’ve seen a lot of great armories on Pinterest that were converted to craft cabinets, so I’ve recently done the same.

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I took this picture after a little spring cleaning last week. It doesn’t usually look this clean. Here is what it usually looks like.

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Those drawers beneath are always a mess. I didn’t even clean those during my spring cleaning session.

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Just piles of fat quarters, scraps, patterns ripped from magazines (I used to keep all my magazines but they’ve been taking up way too much room so had to make space somehow). See the little corner on the right of red fat quarters? That’s as far as I got organizing the drawers about a year ago. I start organizing and folding fabric, then inspiration hits and I have to start cutting and making something. This boring cleaning can wait!

The rest of my fabric is in my bedroom closet. I’m not a fashion girl, don’t have a lot of shoes and my basic jeans and tee wardrobe doesn’t take up much space. In fact I share a closet with my three year old and both our wardrobes fit just fine.

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At the top of my closet I have plastic bins where I have tried to start organizing scraps. If I have leftover cut squares from a project I’ll try to organize them by size. I have a giant plastic bin of scraps I’d like to one day go through and cut into useful sizes. I’m hoping this inspires me to make things with my scraps. If they’re cut and ready to use I think I will.

I also have a few plastic bins in the garage with batting and fabrics that I don’t use much at the moment.

So there you have it, a peek behind the curtain at my creative space and storage. I hope that one day I’ll have a separate room all my own where I can make my messes and feel less in the way. Until then I make due with what I have.

Next week promises to be cooler and hopefully I’ll get some more sewing done.

 

 

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May Bee Block

May is the first month of my quilting bee. The lovely Brandi of Peace of Me Quilts, is our Queen Bee for the first month. You can find her Facebook page here and her Etsy Shop here. She’s a very talented quilter! We have a lot in common, in that we’re both self taught first generation quilters.

Here is the block I made for her. I hope she likes it! I can’t wait to see the rest of the blocks she gets and what they look like all sewn together in a finished quilt. I’ll be mailing it to her tomorrow, but first I want to get some extra goodies to add to her package.

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This was in my top 2 block choices in the book we’re using, “Modern Bee” by Lindsay Conner (you can find the book on Amazon if you’re interested).

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Since Brandi chose this block, I decided to go with my other choice since my month is next (more on that coming soon). I’d hate to make everyone make the same block two months in a row. Not that it matters but I can always make this one for myself another time. The patterns in the book are all pretty great and I’m sure I’ll be making more of them when this bee is over.

I signed up for this bee for 2 main reasons. One, to make some quilting friends (check) and two, to stretch my own abilities and learn some things. I can say for certain I’m learning. Wanna know what I’ve learned about myself?

1.Making a quilt block for another quilter is pretty stressful. It’s super fun and I love it, but I quickly realized that these 11 other ladies are going to notice a lot quicker than the average Joe when points aren’t sharp or seams aren’t lining up. I don’t for one minute believe that any one of them would complain about imperfection, but I found myself wanting to be extra careful.

2. Because I wanted to be extra careful, my seam ripper and I are now good friends. I much prefer that she sit on the side lines and watch, but she came in handy more times than I would like. My machine and I, on the other hand, are not on speaking terms right now. We had a fight. There was name calling and even some cursing….it was ugly! We’ve been in enough of these tiffs that I know it’ll blow over soon and we’ll be friends again. But for the rest of today I don’t like her. In fact, she may get a timeout in the closet.

3. I’m not a fan of pressing seams open. I learned 7 years ago to press to one side. For the better part of 7 years I’ve done that. I thought I was a recent convert when following this tutorial by Freckled Whimsy. She presses her seams open, so I followed her advice and was amazed how how nice and flat my half square triangles were laying. It wasn’t a problem matching seams for that particular project (or maybe I just didn’t care because it was for me). So when these instructions said to press open, I did. Brandi even told us to use whatever method we like. I was all “pshhh, I got this!” but apparently I didn’t. Nothing seemed to be matching up right and pins were making it worse. After using that seam ripper a bazillion times, I finally figured out a trick that worked for this project but I’ll never do that again! Unless my bee member specifically requests open seams, I’m back to pressing to one side. It’s just easier for me to make things match up that way.

4. It’s pretty fun to make fun of myself.

So kids, I think the lesson of the day is…..don’t get cocky!

Now I better go apologize to my sewing machine. I don’t want to have to sleep with one eye open tonight.

 

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Pillows and Cuddles

You guys! My quilting bee started this week! I’ve been so excited that I’ve totally neglected my blog. Sorry friends!

A little catch up….I signed up for the Modern InstaBee over on Instagram a few weeks ago. If you’re interested in signing up for a hive or just want to check out what all the hives are doing, jump over to Instagram and look up #moderninstabee2014. So far there are 18 different hives (12quilters  each). Lots of gorgeous quilt block photos, it’s going to be fun working as a group making quilts for each of us! I also explained it a little here if you want to read more.

I can’t wait to post about the  bee and what we’re working on as time goes on. For now we’re getting set up and talking fabric selections, so not a lot to share yet. I’m waiting on some goodies in the mail before I can get started on my block for this month’s Queen Bee.

I do have some other fun things to share! Monday, my sister stopped by to ask me to make a pillow. That’s a huge compliment for me because my sister is an awesome interior designer who has always had a natural eye for style. She’s also really detail oriented so big compliment, but also made me a little nervous to make it perfect! The pillow she needed was for one of her clients who just had a baby girl. The new nursery is decorated in grays and peach. She picked a couple fabrics from my stash and asked for chevrons.

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I like the color combo she picked.

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She wanted a zipper enclosure, so here’s the back.

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She loved it (phew)! She’ll be gifting it to her client this weekend so I’m looking forward to how that goes. That’s always the most rewarding, but nerve racking part of the process of making something. You want the receiver to love it. Wish I could be a fly on the wall…

Some other cool stuff happening here. I have a logo now!

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I ordered business cards yesterday and put my logo up on my facebook page and Etsy shop. I printed some fabric labels to add to the things I make and sell. It’s a small thing, but makes me feel good….”official” in some way. My dream is to one day design and sell patterns and maybe design fabric. We’ll see…

I’d love to stay and chat, but this one just crawled into my lap and wants to cuddle. That is all I ever need!

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Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet – May

Can you believe it’s May already? Me either! Before you know it summer will be here and I’ll be entertaining a house full of kids saying “I’m bored” every 10 minutes.

I’m really loving this Fresh Sewing Day idea Liliy’s Quilts came up with, where we link to her blog and list some finishes from the previous month and think about what we’re working on in the coming month. The month seems to go by in a blur, but sitting down to think about what I have finished really gives me a sense of accomplishment and gets me excited about the new things I’m working on (or WIP’s I need to finish).

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Here is what I was up to in April….

I finished this quilt, a WIP (work in progress) that was sitting around since last fall.

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I had an awesome Spring Break with the kids and got to spend time with my sister, mom, and my 4 nephews.

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I posted my first tutorial for this quilt, which I started and finished all in the same month. That almost never happens! It helps when I give myself a deadline.

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I made my cousin a going away gift. A quilted checker set.

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She and her family moved to the Philippines a couple days ago. I just got word they arrived safely last night!

I made not one, but two Sew Together Bags! They really are addicting. I can’t wait to make more!

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I made this canvas tote for a special 6-year-old who had a birthday.

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I also finished this little lady (another WIP from last summer).

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The best part of April is I discovered some new blogs I’ve fallen in love with through Lily’s Quilts Small Blog Meet. I gained a couple new followers (Hi!) and I’m making some new quilty friends. I finally got off my butt and joined Instagram. I’m making lots of quilty friends over there too.

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Which leads me to May. I’m so excited….I joined a Quiling Bee through Instagram called The Modern InstaBee. I’m in Hive 18, which last I looked has 1 spot left. But as soon as it’s filled (12 members) we get to start! Yay!

If you haven’t seen all the excitement over on Intagram about the Modern InstaBee (#moderninstabee2014), here’s the scoop. It all started with a book

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written by Lindsay Conner of Linsday Sews, a super talented quilter and blogger, but she does so much more! She has some really awesome tutorials too, you should check her out sometime.

(not a sponsored ad BTW, I just love Lindsay and all that she does!)

Back to the InstaBee…

Lindsay wrote the book above, which includes 12 patterns that she and her own quilting bee came up with. Then like wildfire, Modern InstaBees started forming on Instagram (I hear there are others as well, not on Instagram). We’re currently up to 18 different Hives with 12 members in each hive. Each month one of the hive members get to be “Queen Bee” and pick a pattern from the book, plus colors and styles of fabric that she (or he, my hive just happens to have all women) wants in their quilt. Each hive member chooses from their stash of fabric (or buys) according to the Queen Bee’s likes, makes her a block and mails it to her. Once she has all 12 blocks, she gets to sew them all into a lovely quilt top that she gets to keep. How awesome is that? Not only that but you’re making new friends, stretching your skills and talents a little and maybe learning to appreciate fabrics you didn’t give a second look before. Win-Win all around! This is my very first quilting bee but I just know it won’t be my last. I’m already getting to know and love some of my new bee friends. Looking at their Instagram photos, I can tell there are some pretty talented ladies that will definitely make me step up my game!

Feeling pretty good about April and really looking forward to what May has in store! Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to say hi, I love comments!

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My Favorite

I was digging in my closet the other day, looking for some fabric I knew I squirreled away somewhere when I found this quilt top.

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How did I forget about this one??? It had only 3 sides of the green border sewn on. But it was practically finished. I remember working on it in August (so *cough* nearly 9 months ago) before my daughter’s birthday. In the chaos of getting ready for her party, it got shuffled into the abyss that is my closet (I’m working on getting it organized). I had no real plans for it other than selling it. I ended up putting my Etsy shop efforts on hold when the kids started school since we had moved to a new area and I wanted to help get them acclimated.

But nothing is stopping me now. So I added the 4th side of the border yesterday and basted it.

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Then I free motion quilted it with meandering loops. Just finished binding it and it’s now listed in My Shop.

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A few things makes this one of my favorite quilts. It’s made with Lucy’s Crab Shack fabric line by Sweetwater for Moda. Sweetwater is one off my favorite design teams. I love everything they make, but Lucy’s Crab Shack is a particular favorite of mine. I love the color combo (it has my current favorite color, orange), it’s a fun and playful line of fabric. I also love it because the design came from playing with half square triangles (HST’s), which is my favorite block because there are so many possibilities.

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And it’s a Chelle’s Quilts original. It’s one of the first quilts I designed on my own. I think I’ll make another….

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Happy 10th Anniversay of your 30th Birthday!

I would have said “Happy 19th anniversary of your 21st birthday” but who wants to be 21 again?

Not me!

Anyway, I whipped this up yesterday evening.

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After making this one earlier in the week, the second one was a breeze!

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When my friend saw mine, she teased that her 40th was coming up and she needed one.

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I just love all the pockets inside!

Her favorite color is purple. I normally don’t like purple, but this print really caught my eye. Maybe it’s the gray against the purple. I considered hoarding it keeping it for myself. But I guess I don’t need two.

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I added this crown tag just for her. I jokingly added it to something else I made for her awhile back and she loved it. It’s becoming her signature. Or an inside joke. Either way it’s a fun little embellishment.

Happy Birthday Laura! I know it’s a few days early, but it’s on it’s way.

P.S. This was made from a pattern I purchased on Craftsy here. It’s the Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented.

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Sew Together Bag

As I mentioned here, I joined the Sew Together Bag craze (by Sew Demented). I’ve been seeing more and more pictures of this bag pop up online and I couldn’t resist. You can buy the pattern here if you want to make one too.

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 Here are is my outer shell. I decided to use the quilt-as-you-go method that I learned from this Craftsy class (Quilt-As-You-Go Patchwork Bags by Tara Rebman).

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I got got this far and had to put it down for a couple days. You know, Easter and all….

I finished the final touches last night. Ta-da!

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There are definitely some flaws in my bag, but I love it! Rather than buying what I needed, I used what I had on hand. My interfacing should have been lightweight but I used a pretty heavy one. I like the extra rigidity in the bag, but it became super thick to sew together, making it tough to finish the binding. Now that I’ve made one, I know what I need to do to improve the next one. And the one after. I joked with a friend that it was such a pain to put together that I was Never. Making. Another! But to be honest, I will definitely be making more. I know someone turning 40 soon. She might need one of these since she’s starting to sew a little.

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