Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Break

It is fall break, two extra days off and time to sew. I thought I would start a new project. I have a beautiful dessert roll with pink, lime green, turquoise and yellow, a beautiful combination of colors. I cut them into strips and made a square patchwork pattern. I'm not sure yet where I'm going with this. Maybe a small quilt or a bag. We'll see - pictures when it's finished.

Decided on a pretty pink quilted diaper bag or baby carryall.

I think this might be my best design so far. Large versatile bag with an easy access velcro tab closure. I used fusible fleece rather than quilt batting. This one is for sale at my Etsy shop. Bel Aire Village

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Denim Purse

In the last two weeks I have been sewing things for myself. One of my newest projects is a denim purse. I have made denim purses before. One of my favorites was a bag I made by combining denim and some quilting pieces. My red ink pen leaked through and ruined it.

So last week I made a new one. I like the idea of recycling denim jeans into purses, but it does present some challenges. The seams get bulky and my sewing machine doesn't like them. Despite the disagreements between my machine and the denim, it turned out nice. I added a pretty pink cotton lining and a a metal button cover for decorations.

The denim bag adds some variety to my collection of quilted handbags and purses. The quilted bags are colorful and bright, but sometimes they don't go with everything you're wearing. The advantage for denim is it seems to go with everything.

Take a look at some of my denim and quilted bags on my etsy shop.  Bel Aire Village


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Diaper Bag Design

Worked all afternoon on a new design for a Diaper Bag. Started with the basic bag pattern added a layer of batting and a lining. Didn't work. Batting just made it look poofy without any shape.

I redesigned the lower section with batting but did a small machine quilted diamond pattern. The quilting made it look much better; it had texture, color and stability. The center section has heavyweight interfacing and the upper portion is pieced from the fabrics used in the bag and other complimentary pieces from my fabric collections. The straps, velcro closing tab, and lining are made from the soft green floral fabric used in the center section. It has slip pockets on the inside of both sides of the bag.

This one will work it is a great design, good size, will hold everything needed for the baby, easy to carry, and pretty.

You can view this one and others at my Etsy shop. Bel Aire Village


Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Quilts

This is my first completely machine quilted piece. It is a very pretty pink and white quilt.This one is for sale at Bel Aire Village I love the pattern and the colors.

This is my second paper pieced quilt. This is my favorite method for piecing a quilt. It produces the most intricate patterns.

This is a small lap quilt. It would be pretty on a crib or as a wall hanging. It is also for sale at Bel Aire Village

This is my first paper pieced quilt. I didn't know how pretty the design really was until I hung it on the wall.
This one is not for sale, but I am hoping to enter it in a quilt contest soon.

This one is machine pieced and hand quilted.  It is a beautiful wall hanging.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jelly Roll Journal Cover

I love Jelly Rolls, they are so fun to work with. My latest Jelly Roll project is a journal cover. I watched a couple of great tutorials on how to make these covers and then came up with my own version.



Instructions and materials.

  • One Jelly Roll (you will not need all of it).
  • Quilt Batting
  • Heavyweight Interfacing 18" x 12"
  • Lining one 18" x 12" and two 8" x 12"
  • Velcro closure

 Outside Design and Layers
Sew six 18" Strips together and press; Iron the fusible interfacing to the lining; layer the sewn jelly roll strips, quilt batting and interfaced lining. Machine quilt through all layers as desired.

Pockets for Inserting Journal Cover
Cut two pieces of lining 8" x 12"; trim one edge of each piece with jelly roll strip. To make the double fold trim, cut one strip of 12" in half (1 3/4"). Fold wrong side together and press. Sew raw edges to raw edges of the lining; fold the strip over the edge and topstitch.

Fold Over Velcro Tab
Cut an 8" piece of jelly roll strip and an 8" piece of heavy interfacing; Iron on interfacing; Fold over right sides together, sew sides and turn right side out, press and top stitch. Attach one side of the velcro closure to the tab and the other side to the outside fabric. Pin the tab to the edge of the outside fabric.

Pin lining pockets to right side cover and sew three sides, trim seams and corners and turn; Make a bookmark ribbon from double fold 15" x 1 3/4" jelly roll strip. Sew into place and top stitch center part of cover on edges.

I have made several of these. I like this method it is easy and fun and makes a pretty journal.
This one is for sale on my Etsy Shop. Bel Aire Village

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to School

Well school has started. Sewing projects will be primarily limited to weekends now. I have now transitioned from full time sewer back to full time Algebra teacher and I've added Geometry to the list this year. That's ok though because I do believe my understanding of math and spatial relationships is what helps me do a better job with my sewing projects.

This weekend I made a diaper bag and binky holder. Turned out very cute. I used a pattern I found in an old book I picked up at a local estate sale. I made just a few changes because I can't seem to follow a pattern exactly. I always have to put my own little spin on it.

I used three different coordinating fabrics for the outside of the bag and a fourth fabric for the lining. The lining is the same measurement as the finished outside of the bag. (19" x 36"). The straps are 27" x 4" folded onto 2" heavyweight fusible interfacing. I also added fusible interfacing to the lining and the outside of the bag.

Then there was the "binky bag". It can be very deceiving to look at a large bag and a small one. You would think the small one would be much easier to make than the large. Not true. The small one was difficult. I will not be making anymore small items.

Here is the bag. My daughter-in-law picked out the fabrics. She has wonderful taste.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

3 - Ring Binder Cover

This is the latest in my collection of 3 - Ring Binder Covers. This is a fabric cover that goes over a standard 1" three ring binder. It is made of red bandana fabric with a denim sash and pocket cut from recycled Levi's.

3/4 yd of fabric
23" x 3" strip of denim fabric
1 denim jean pocket
1/2 yd heaveyweight Pellon fusible interfacing

I used the same fabric for the outside and the lining. I cut two rectangles 23" x 13", and one rectangle of heavyweight fusible interfacing. For the inside pockets I cut two pieces of the same fabric 10" x 13" and two 8" x 10" for the pockets.

Denim strip 23" x 3". I sewed this strip on with a decorative stitch using a contrasting thread 1/2" from the edge, then clipped the edges to help the denim fringe better. I then sewed the pocket on using my zipper foot to get close to the edge clipped the edges and washed the fabric to get the denim to fringe.

I trimmed the fusible interfaction 1/2" all the way around and then ironed it to the lining.

The top edge of both of the inside slip pockets is turned under and stitched. I added a red twill tape trim for stability.
Inside front cover:
Turn the right edge of the slip pocket and the notebook cover under 1/4" stitch together.

This binder cover fits a 1" three ring binder. It has two slip pockets on the inside of the cover and one denim pocket on the outside.

Bel Aire Village Unique Handmade Accessories

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Living With Your Mistakes

I broke my third seam ripper today. There are some days when you end up with two left sides and some days when a sewing a straight line is beyond the realm of possibilities.  I know, I know I'm exaggerating.

If you can learn something from a mistake then it becomes a valuable experience. Three things I have learned today.

1.  Design your patter first, even if you think you can make it without one, make one anyway.
2.  Left and right sides are not interchangeable, double check before you sew.
3.  I don't like seam tape.

The bottom line is if you persevere something good will result. I ended up with three of the cutest notebook covers. The end results are some pretty fabric covers for 3/4" binders.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sewing is Good for your Heart

Sewing is Good for Your Heart

I have to sew. I make a little bit of everything but one of my new favorites is my handmade quilted handbags. I always knew sewing was good for me; but recently I read an article that actually explained it.

There was a research study done on the subject by a New York University psychologist. He took 30 women and measured their blood pressure, heart rate, perspiration rate, and skin temperature after they had participated in five different activities requiring similar eye-hand movements:  sewing, card games, video games, painting, and reading. Sewing proved to be the most relaxing. The results showed improved readings in heart rate, blood pressure and perspiration.

A Harvard University doctor says that repetitive and rhythmic activities such as those in sewing evoke what he calls the relaxation response – a calming reaction proven to enhance health.

I won’t give up my heart healthy exercise and diet plan but I will definitely include time in my schedule for relaxing in my sewing room, especially after a stressful day in the classroom.

You can view my new handmade quilted handbags at this link:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What is Bel Aire Village?

I am starting this blog to talk about my sewing creations. I have been reading all the amazing blogs the sewers out there are writing and am very impressed with the quality. 

My background in sewing - I have been sewing all my life. I started sewing when I was very young. My grandmother taught me to sew. She was a meticulous seamstress. She did alterations for a living and insisted that every seam be perfect, no stitches could show, and she measured more times than I could count. When I think back to the old machine she did her work on, I am even more amazed at her skill and talent. I hope she would be proud of what I am doing.

I opened up my first Etsy shop this summer. It is called Bel Aire Village because this is the place where I sew.  I wanted to share some of the things I create in my sewing room. I love quilting and have made several over the years. I started making handbags a couple of years ago and after being encouraged by family and friends to sell them I have added those to my shop. Please visit my shop and leave me a comment.