Crafty Tutorial Part 4: Upcycled Travel Purse

African Savannah Travel Bag Front and with pouch

Yay!  You’ve made it!  I’m pleased to bring you the final installment of the Crafty Tutorial: Upcycled Travel Purse by Joyce.  I hope you enjoyed this series and learned a few new tips and techniques from Joyce.  She is a genius with the sewing details!  If you’ve been following along, maybe you have a fun new bag to take along with you on your travels, too.  Joyce made clever use of that border stripe print from African Savannah by Clothworks, so maybe that will inspire you with your creation!

Add Hardware and Complete Purse!

  1. Fold the flap over approximately 1 ½” above the zipper and give it a light press. This will help determine where the boning and hardware will be placed. Open up the flap.
  2. Slip stitch the sides of the flap to the creased edge.
  3. Cut the boning in half (lengthwise) and sew these two pieces together (double strong). It has a tendency to curl so best to put the opposing sides together so it will straighten out. One stitching line is plenty. Cut this piece so it is slightly smaller than the top of the bag.
  4. Slip the boning in between the layers of the purse and pin in place.
  5. Add the Tabs in the same area as the boning (next to the creased edge) with the hardware at an angle and pin in place.
  6. Fold the flap over and top stitch ¾” from the top edge catching the tail of the tab in the stitching. Stitch again 1/8” from the first stitching line on the upper edge.

Complete purse Collage

Give the purse a light pressing attach the upcycled shoulder strap and you now have a Travel Purse!

What about you?  Did you follow along each week and make a purse, too?

Fresh Batiks Shine in Cathedral Windows Design

cathedral window batik pillow 1

Clothworks has been so excited to offer Fresh Batiks, our first release of hand-dyed batiks. Offered in the tonal ‘Minerals’ and ‘Botanica design selections; there are so many color options under the rainbow to fulfill every quilter’s need:  brights, earth tones, monochromatics, and many more!  Sometimes when there’s so many choices, it can be difficult to decide what to make with them.  Never worry though, we’ve found a terrific project to make good use of those batiks!

Our sewing friend, Lorri, made this fabulous pillow using a Cathedral Window applique technique made super-easy by pattern designer, Erica Plank of Unseen Hands.  Lorri recently took a class from Erica and received firsthand instruction on how to make this using Erica’s genius time-saving technique.   If you’re not lucky enough to take a class from Erica, you can follow this link to purchase her pattern called ‘American Window’ which makes a quilt from the technique that she’s developed.

I am love-love-loving the fabrics used in this pillow sample shown here!  Not only did Lorri use the tonal white Impressions Flora as a background, but she took many batik fabric remnants and put them to good use for the ‘windows’.  I love how the multi-color batiks ‘pop’ off the white Impressions fabric background, as well as how the batiks are framed by it.  Simply stunning!

cathedral window batik pillow 2

Fat Quarter Pack Give-a-Way for Hullabaloo!

hullabaloo fat quarter pk giveaway

It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these.  So what’s all the hullabaloo?!  Oh wait a minute, Hullabaloo is the name of our newest release by Iron Orchid Designs.  This darling collection is set to deliver to shops next month and we couldn’t be more thrilled!  Party-worthy and full of whimsy, Hullabaloo is brimming with brightly-colored prints to help you dec-out your celebration:  birthday cakes and balloons, harlequin diamonds and swiss dots, and even elephants precociously balanced upon tricycles!

In honor of the special occasion, Clothworks is giving away 2 fat quarter packs (as pictured above) to two lucky winners (one fat quarter pack per winner)!  To enter into the contest, please leave a comment on this blog post (follow this link if you are accessing via facebook).  The contest will end at 12 a.m. PST on Saturday March 1st, and 2 winners will be drawn at random.  Contest winners will be announced Monday March 3rd here on the blog. Remember, only one comment per entrant will be counted in the contest.  To be an eligible contestant, you must have a U.S. mailing address.  The winners of the contest will be notified by email on Monday March 3rd and will have 48 hours to claim their prize.

Now let’s start the party!!

Crafty Tutorial Part 3: Upcycled Travel Purse

African Savannah Travel Bag Front and with pouch

Greetings fellow crafters!  We are back with the 3rd installment of Crafty Tutorial: Upcycled Travel Purse by Joyce.  As the completion of this tutorial is almost near, you will start to see a purse creation emerge.  After this portion of the tutorial, check back next week for the final steps in finishing this fashionably functional travel purse made of the Clothworks fabric, African Savannah.

Create Tabs for the Hardware

create tabs collage

  1. Cut a piece of fabric 7” long x 3 ½ times the width of the hardware straight edge.
  2. Cut a piece of canvas or other bottom weight fabric the same width of the hardware straight edge.
  3. Fold one edge over ¼” and press. Put the canvas on wrong side of the fabric and fold the fabric around the canvas piece so that the pressed edge is on the outside. Stitch lengthwise 2 or 3 times.
  4. Cut this piece in half. Wrap it around the hardware and top stitch 1” from the hardware.

Finish Purse Body

  1. Sew the Flap Lining to the top of the right side of the zipper. Press the lining away from the zipper and top stitch along zipper teeth.
  2. With right sides together,place the Flap Front and Purse Back to the finished Zipper Front.

finish purse 1 Collage3.  Stitch the body of the purse. Start slightly above the zipper, sew down the side, across the bottom and up the other side to slightly past the zipper. Be sure to back stitch when starting and ending. Stitch a second time 1/16” from the first stitching line on the inside edge.

4.  Next you will need to stitch the flap front and lining together. Ultimately it would be nice to have the lining be slightly smaller than the outside. This prevents bunching when the flap is sewn down. To do this, make sure the lining is approximately 1/8” shorter than the Flap Front. Trim if needed.

5.  Pin the pieces together so the top is even. Pin the sides about 2 ½” down on either side. The front of the purse will now be bunchy in the middle right above the zipper and the lining will be taut.

6.  Starting 4” above the zipper sew up the side, across the top and down the other side ending 2 ½” above the zipper. Stitch a second time 1/16” from the first stitching line on the inside edge. Press seams, trim corners and turn right side out. Finger press.

finishe purse 2 Collage

See you next Friday for the final installment of the tutorial!

Throwback Thursday: Laurel Burch Ocean Songs

Kathleen- Ocean Songs Mermaid Panel

Last week when former Clothworks employee Kathleen, stopped by the Works, she revealed another project that was almost ready for completion.  The quilting was too gorgeous to not take any pictures!!  And since this is a past Clothworks release of a Laurel Burch Design, I figured it was time to wax nostalgic about it!

The picture shown above is the panel print in the Ocean Songs line released by Clothworks many years ago.  Being the fabric enthusiast that she is, Kathleen stashed away a few panels of this magnificent mermaid design and used them to piece this quilt which will be shipped off to her niece, Tamara (lucky girl!).

I tried to capture the brilliance of this mini-quilt with my camera, but I’m afraid the pics are not as impressive as in person.  The quilting was done by Judy Irish of Wild Irish Rows Quilting.  Her free form stitching was just stunning– she followed the lines of Laurel Burch’s designs, as well as created her own stitched designs in this quilt to add another dimension.  Every time I peered up close on the quilt, I spotted another beautifully stitched design that was almost ‘hidden’ in the quilting.  Can you spot the ‘to:’ and ‘from:’ embroideries below?  Kathleen is fondly known as ‘Tia Catalina’ to her niece, Tamara.

Embroidery Collage

Like many popular Laurel Burch designs, Clothworks will often revisit and update the design.   If you didn’t purchase fabric from Ocean Songs during the first go-round, Clothworks released an update called Sea Spirits, just a few months ago last autumn.  Many of the original Laurel Burch ‘basics’ that coordinate with Ocean Songs were also brought back to coordinate with the new release of Sea Spirits, as well– the bubbleswaves, and swirls prints.   Be sure to check with your favorite fabric stockist to purchase.

Below is the full view of Kathleen’s quilt.  Pardon me for the ‘angled’ picture, but it’s still fun to look at and hopefully it may inspire you.  At the very least, perhaps it will put you in a cheerfully sentimental mood!

Mermaid Quilt in full

What’s Cookin’ at the Works? Soup’s On!

Jerusalem Lamb Soup

I lost track of what week we’re on in the Soup of the Week Club here at the Works.  I think my stomach takes up more power than my brain sometimes…  And no wonder– this week’s selection definitely gave my stomach and taste buds something to ‘marinate‘ on!!  Ted, head honcho here at The Works, brought in this week’s soup selection:  Jerusalem Lamb Soup.  Probably one of the more ‘exotic’ soup selections yet, this one was packed with Cannellini beans, chunks of lamb, potatoes, and an aromatic blend of spices that gave the soup a Mediterranean flavor!  Topped with some salt & pepper, lemon juice, and fresh cilantro- the garnish really brightened the taste of this delectably different soup.

To get the recipe, follow this link here.

Bon Appetit and see you next week for another installment of the What’s Cookin’ at the Works?  Soup’s On!

On News Stands Now: American Patchwork & Quilting April 2014


Hot off the press!  The most recent issue of American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine- April 2014 is on news stands now until the end of March!   Clothworks fabric was featured in a quilt shown in this edition.  Head on over to to check out the free pattern of the quilt in which our soon-to-be-released European Taupe XI fabric collection is featured:,0

Designed by Tonya Alexander.  Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  Copyright 2014 Meredith Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.

Designed by Tonya Alexander. Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. Copyright 2014 Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Shown above is the Stamp of Approval color option by quilt tester Laura Boehnke, using the European Taupe XI collection by Kinkame for Clothworks Textiles to make her version of Tonya Alexander’s Stamp of Approval quilt.  Get the free pattern here:

Amour, Amour, Mon Cherie!

Masha full quilt

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Former Clothworks employee and our favorite Valentine, Kathleen, stopped in the office today.  Even in her retirement, Kathleen still finds the time to fit us into her busy schedule– celebrating this holiday by bringing yummy treats, love, and a little Show & Tell to the Works!  Being that it still is Valentine’s Day, I snapped a pic of one of the projects that Kathleen brought in to show us.  Some of you fabric enthusiasts may remember this line of Clothworks fabric that was released over 4 years ago by designer Masha D’yans called ‘Cherie’.  It looks as if Kathleen is also following the free quilt pattern that went along with the collection, too!  Hope you enjoyed seeing this blast from the past and may your Valentines Day end on a lovely note!


 Masha Quilt Heart Girl

Crafty Tutorial Part 2: Upcycled Travel Purse

African Savannah Travel Bag Front and with pouch

Hello again!  Back for the 2nd installment in the upcycled Travel Purse tutorial by Joyce.  Follow the next batch of instructions below as you begin to create this fun purse using fabric from the Clothworks collection African Savannah.

Size and Finish the Zipper

  1. Start by sizing the zipper. Mark either end of the zipper so they are 6 1/2” apart. I like to take a longer zipper and mark the measurement in the middle of the zipper. This eliminates either end (the metal parts) of the zipper. Set the stitch width to the widest setting, drop your feed dog lever and sew across the zipper teeth at the markings. Make sure the zipper pull is between the two markings. You will need to hold the open end of the zipper together until you have a few stitches sewn on. Sew again 1/8” from the first set of stitches – sew on the outer edges keeping the inner measurement of the zipper at 6 ½”. Trim zipper ¼” from sewn edge.
  2. Finish by sewing the Zipper Ends to both ends of the zipper. Place right sides of fabric together with the zipper between them. Match up the ends and sew ½” seam allowance across the zipper. Sew again at 3/8”. Press both sides of the fabric away from the middle of the zipper.

zipper 1

zipper 2

Create the Inside Pocket and Front

  1. Using a zipper foot and right sides together, sew the Purse Front to the zipper front on the 7 ¾” top edge. Stitch across the entire edge catching the finished zipper ends. The zipper pull will need to be moved as you sew in order to pass it. Do this by lifting the presser foot and either zip or unzip. Return the presser foot to the down position and continue to the end.
  2. Sew the Pocket Lining to the zipper along the same edge as the Pocket front. Right side of pocket should face the wrong side of the zipper and right side of the Purse Front. Press both Front and Lining away from the zipper and topstitch on the fabric 1/8” from the edge of the zipper.
  3. To sew the opposite side of the Pocket Lining to the other side of the zipper, fold the fabric up and match the right side of the fabric to the wrong side of the zipper. Stitch along the edge using the zipper foot.inside pocket 1inside pocket 2inside pocket 3inside pocket 4
  4. Stitch the Flap Lining to the zipper, right sides together. Make sure to stitch from one edge to the other catching the Zipper Ends in the stitching.
  5. Press the Flap Lining away from the zipper and top stitch on the fabric 1/8” from the zipper.
  6. Fold the lining piece right sides together and stitch the top edge to the wrong side of the zipper.
See you next Friday with PART 3 of the Crafty Tutorial for the upcycled Travel Purse!

Oh What a Difference a Colorway Makes!

full quilt

Ever notice how much a different colorway can change the look of a quilt?  Just the other day, Jean- our talented seamstress friend, brought in 2 baby quilts made using the same quilt pattern.  Pardon me for not catching the name of the pattern, but Jean said she found it in a book by Mary Hickey.  The fabrics she used are, of course, by Clothworks– the most recent release of a Clothworks printed organic fabric collection, Critter Patch by Penguin & Fish.  Jean had completely finished one colorway of the quilts, the one shown above with turquoise being the dominant color used in it.   I managed to take some close-up pictures to illustrate the difference in colorways and how it affects our perception.

Below is the Coral dominant colorway Quilt.  Though not completely finished, I snapped a close-up view to show how different this version looks compared to the Turquoise quilt:

Coral colorway fox quilt

And here’s the close-up view of the Turquoise quilt for comparison:


Kind of neat to see the difference in colorway!  And what perfect blocks to highlight the whimsical animals in Critter Patch, too!

How about you?  Have you ever made the same quilt pattern in different color ways and notice a difference?