I’m heading off shortly to Hood Canal in Washington State for a quilt retreat organized by the Pine Needle, the quilt shop where I teach. On one evening I’m going to show my students how to make a rotary cutter coat based on my free pattern (tutorial here).
As I was gathering my materials yesterday, I realized I didn’t have a rotary cutter coat of my own. All the ones I have made were given away.
I fixed that in short order. Here is my (new) rotary cutter coat:
The fabric? Two prints from the Paradise line designed by Alisse Courter for Camelot Cottons. I bought a lot of this line when it came out last year. You may recognize it, because it goes with the Junior Billie Bag I made a few months ago. These are the front and back panels of my bag:
Now my Billie Bag is packed for the retreat, including my new rotary cutter coat:
The Junior Billie Bag, measuring 14″ x 17″ x 7½”, is a downsized version of the quilter’s tote designed several years ago by Billie Mahorney, a popular local quilt teacher and designer. (I made one for myself a few months ago, which you can see here.)
Billie never wrote a pattern for her bag but taught classes for many years at the Pine Needle in Lake Oswego and elsewhere in Oregon. She is now retired from teaching and has passed the mantle on to me to teach her wonderful design.
Earlier this week I finished teaching the second of two classes on the Junior Billie Bag and will most likely be teaching more classes in the fall. Two of my students have already completed their bags, with three more close behind. When all 10 bags are finished, we’ll have a virtual Junior Billie Bag parade. You’re invited!
Time for a progress report on the quilter’s tote that I’m making for my friend Deborah’s birthday. Known as the Junior Billie Bag, it’s a scaled down version of the tote designed several years ago by my teacher and mentor Billie Mahorney. I’m making Deborah’s bag alongside the students in my two Junior Billie Bag classes at the Pine Needle Quilt Shop. It really helps to have the individual components on hand so I can show my students exactly how a bag goes together. It will measure 14″ x 17″ x 7½” when finished.
The pockets on the inside and outside of the bag are customized to fit a quiltermaker’s favorite rulers and tools. I’m hoping that the pocket sizes I chose for Deborah’s bag will be a good fit for her. Here’s a look at the inside pockets on the side panels . . .
and the outside pockets on the side panels:
Both outside pockets are trimmed with the solid red French General fabric loved by so many quiltmakers.
Now have a look at the inside of the bag with the side panels pinned to one of the front/back panels:
All told, this bag has 18 pockets. That’s a lot of pockets!
When I first wrote about Deborah’s Junior Billie Bag (you can read that post here), I hadn’t yet quilted the second front/back panel. The original plan was to do some free motion quilting but I opted instead for a modified chevron that extends the lines of the star points:
It’s a nice counterpoint to the serpentine stitching on the first front/back panel:
I’m having a lot of fun working on this bag and am happy to report that I am entering the home stretch. Deborah won’t have to wait too much longer to claim her birthday present!
This quilter’s tote, a slightly smaller version of the one designed by Billie Mahorney close to 20 years ago, is a birthday present for my friend and fellow Quister (Quilt Sister) Deborah, who recently reached one of those milestone birthdays ending in zero. When Deborah opened her birthday present last week, it was in pieces but she was still happy because she’s seen mine and knows what hers is going to look like when it’s done.
I’m teaching two classes at the Pine Needle right now on how to make a Junior Billie Bag, and I’m using Deborah’s bag to show my students the steps in construction. That’s why her bag wasn’t completed before her big day. All the individual components have been made: front and back panels, side and bottom panels, pockets, long and short straps, and binding. My students can see exactly how it comes together before they take the same steps on their bags. And they can choose whatever designs they want for the front and back panels so each bag is truly unique.
The panel on the right in the photo above is ready for some free motion quilting in the outer strips of solid red. As you can see, the panel on the left was quilted with a simple serpentine stitch in the red fabric around the Churn Dash block. The red fabric, by the way, is some French General by Moda that’s been in my stash for a few years just waiting for the right project. I did use some of it a couple of years ago, along with some of the same fabrics you see above, when I made this sewing machine dust cover for Deborah:
At the time I had no idea I would be making her a coordinating Junior Billie Bag down the road. I’m so glad I had plenty of fabric left over from that first project.
If you’d like to see what a Junior Billie Bag looks like completed, click on this link to see the one I finished in January. Deborah’s Junior Billie Bag, which will measure 14″ x 17″ x 7½” when finished, should be in her hands by this time next month.
Yes, it’s done! My Junior Billie Bag, the quilter’s tote I’ve been working on these last few weeks, is now ready to travel. It’s full of my favorite quilter’s tools and supplies — and there’s room to spare.
Let me show you a few pictures, beginning with the front and back. Actually, the front and back are interchangeable; I think of them as the pink side and the orange side.
Let’s start with the orange side, with the long handles showing:
Here’s another look at the orange side, this time showing the shorter handles:
And now the pink side with long handles . . .
. . . and the short handles:
Having two sets of handles gives you choices in how to carry the bag — over your shoulder or in your hand.
Here’s a shot of one of the side panels, the one with a single pocket:
(That reflection you see is from a specialty ruler.)
Now have a look at the other side panel. Just for fun I added contrasting bands of color at the top and bottom of the two pockets on this side:
The small pocket was sized to hold my business cards on one side and a name badge on the other. That’s one of the great features of this bag: you can customize the pockets for whatever you want to put in them.
In these three-quarter angle shots, both sets of straps are tucked inside the bag:
Which side do you like better, the orange or the pink?
Except for the orange batik and navy Maywood Shadowplay fabric used on the front and back of my Junior Billie Bag, all of the fabrics are from the Paradise line designed by Alisse Courter for Camelot Cottons. Several more Paradise prints are inside the bag in multiple pockets. It’s hard to get a good shot of the pockets now that the bag is done; this photo shows the pockets before the bag was completely sewn together:
(I went wild for these fabrics and bought almost the entire line, so you will be seeing more of them in future projects.)
Measuring 14″ in width, 17″ in length, and 7½” in depth, my Junior Billie Bag is a slightly downsized version of the original bag designed at least a decade ago by Billie Mahorney, a popular quilt teacher in the Pacific Northwest, now retired. You can read more about Billie and my earlier progress on the bag in these previous posts:
It’s official: my Junior Billie Bag has reached the 3D stage.
If you’ve been following me at First Light Designs, you know I’m working on a Junior Billie Bag, the quintessential quilter’s tote designed by Billie Mahorney. A smaller scale version of Billie’s original bag, the Junior measures 14″ x 17″ x 7½” — the perfect size for toting a large (but manageable) amount of quilting supplies.
One of the panels (front or back? I haven’t decided yet) has been attached to the side panels and bottom, and the binding has been sewn on. This is what the bag looks like from the outside . . .
. . . and this is what it looks like from the inside:
To paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, there’s a whole lot of pockets going on!
With the binding applied along this panel, my Junior Billie Bag is looking more finished. Now you can easily see how the two sets of handles come into play (although you see only half of them here):
The longer straps go over the shoulder; the smaller straps make it easy to carry the bag like a satchel. The best of both worlds.
When you see this bag next, it will be completed! Before the first week of 2016 is over, I expect to have my first finish to report.
In my last post I showed you the front and back panels of my Junior Billie Bag, the quintessential quilter’s tote designed several years ago by my teacher and mentor Billie Mahorney. I also showed you the array of fabrics by Camelot Cottons that I’m using in the interior of the bag. Here are several of those cheerful prints made into pockets for my Billie Bag:
A lot of pockets. A plethora of pockets! At last count: 17. And that doesn’t include the pockets that are going on the outside of the bag.
With the pockets and handles attached to one panel, it’s really starting to look like a Billie Bag:
The two sets of handles make it possible to carry the bag over the shoulder or by hand, like a satchel. It’s so nice to have both options in a tote that holds a lot of supplies.
Now it’s time to sew straps and pockets to the other panel:
On this last day of 2015 — a cold, sunny day in Portland, Oregon — I am enjoying spending time in my sewing room working on my Junior Billie Bag. Later on, since the Dear Husband and I prefer to stay home on New Year’s Eve, I’ll make an extra special dinner and we’ll spend a quiet evening playing Scrabble, watching TV, and toasting the New Year with champagne.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year. Here’s to a great 2016!
Back in 2009, when my favorite quilt teacher Billie Mahorney moved from Oregon to Idaho, she suggested I take over the teaching of her popular quilter’s tote. Billie, who taught at the Pine Needle Quilt Shop in Lake Oswego, named her tote “The Take It All With You Bag” but over the years it has become known among local quilters as the “Billie Bag.”
Each Billie Bag is unique because the maker can put whatever design she wants on the front and back of the bag, and the inside pockets are customized to hold the maker’s favorite quilt supplies. The bag holds an amazing amount, including a 6″ x 24″ acrylic ruler, thanks to the 7½” width of the side panels.
I had made the bag once in a class with Billie several years ago. While I loved the finished product, I found the process very challenging. Not only did I not relish the idea of making another bag, I couldn’t even imagine teaching others how. After all, I had never taught a quilt class before.
In 2011, Billie returned to the Pine Needle as a visiting instructor and offered the class again. I was so delighted she was teaching again that I signed up for her class, conveniently forgetting I had sworn never to make another Billie Bag. Good thing, too, because I thoroughly enjoyed the class and was delighted with my new Billie Bag, shown above, a slightly smaller version of the original.
By the time I made this second Billie Bag, I was teaching at the Pine Needle myself. Still, it took another four years before I felt I was ready to take on the challenge of teaching Billie’s design. I talked to Billie a few weeks ago to see where she stood on the issue. Happily, she still thinks it’s a fine idea and has given me her blessing to carry on with the teaching.
The Pine Needle scheduled a class in March and April 2016, which filled almost immediately when word got out. That’s how popular Billie Bags are! What else could the Pine Needle do but add a second class? (You can find more information on the upcoming classes here.)
With classes now scheduled, I am in the process of making another bag to refresh my memory on the process. Billie’s original bag measures 21″ x 21″ x 7½”. I’m teaching the smaller size: 14″ x 17″ x 7½”. It’s been dubbed the “Junior Billie Bag,” and I’m making my new version from fabrics in the Paradise line designed by Alisse Courter for Camelot Fabrics. You may remember from this post last summer that I fell in love with this line of fabrics and went on a bit of a shopping spree at Hawthorne Threads:
Here are my front and back panels pieced and quilted:
The panel on the left features two inset circles, made using my favorite freezer paper method, and narrow flanges framing the 12″ block. The panel on the right contains a 4-Patch Wonder block (my name for a four-patch kaleidoscope) in the center. I used an orange batik in my stash to set off the floral fabrics.
More of the Paradise prints are being used on the inside pockets. Lots of prints; lots of pockets.
I’ll be posting pictures as my Junior Billie Bag comes together. I hope you’ll come back to see my progress!
Thelma at CupcakesnDaisies and I both put this project on our summer “to do” list, with the goal of finishing it by Labor Day. I made it, and I think Thelma will, too, though I know she has been distracted by the siren call of wool applique.
I started working on my sewing machine cover in July while I was in Sisters, Oregon with my quilt group. I got as far as the block on the front (which is a little different from the pattern):
Weeks passed. By the time I got back to this project near the end of August, I had decided not to make a duplicate block for the other side, as called for in the pattern, but to put a pocket across the back instead. Here is my work-in-progress with the front and back attached to the middle panel:
When I pinned the sides and draped the cover over my machine, I realized it was going to be way too big, so I took it apart and cut it down to size. (If you are making this pattern, I recommend that you check the size after pinning but before sewing. I think the instructions are much too generous in determining the finished size of the cover in relation to the measurements of the sewing machine.)
Since I had to take the back off, I added a row of decorative stitching across the pocket, which you can see in the picture below. The binding has already been added to the bottom edges:
You may have noticed that I added an opening in the center striped panel to accommodate the handle on my sewing machine. I made a simple facing; this is what it looks like on the inside:
Here is another view of my new sewing machine cover from the front . . .
. . . and from the back:
And here it is with its companion, the Billie Bag I made last year (you can read more about the Billie Bag in my Gallery under Small Pieces):
As you can see, the sewing machine cover was made with fabric left over from my Billie Bag. On the front and back panels of my sewing machine cover, I quilted a stipple design with the occasional leaf thrown in, duplicating the quilting on my Billie Bag. For the middle striped panel I simply used three rows of decorative machine stitching perpendicular to the stripes.
Instead of finishing the binding by hand, I used ¼”-inch wide Steam-a-Seam 2, a double stick fusible web, which proved to be a huge time-saver. I wouldn’t recommend using Steam-a-Seam for binding a quilt that’s going to get washed a lot but it’s perfect for a project like this. I used it on my Billie Bag, too.
So . . . my sewing machine cover project has gone from a “to do” to a “ta-da!” And there’s a bonus involved. For some time I’ve been collecting pictures and jotting down ideas for a quilt made of house blocks. While taking pictures of the sewing machine cover both on and off the machine, I took this shot: