Liberty Zipper Pouch

I don’t make  zipper pouches. It’s not that I don’t like them – I do! So cute and so useful for toting and storing all the bits and bobs I am so good at acquiring. The problem for me is that I haven’t been able to find a pattern that I like because I have issues with the corners! I want a nice square corner with no smooshing of the zipper and boxed corners at the bottom. There has to be a way to get what I want without being too difficult or fiddly (I despise fiddly!), so I studied some ready made bags and then made this:







I pretty much love it! The secret is zipper tabs and seam binding for a perfect zipper insertion and square corners.  It measures about 7″ x 9″, big enough to stash my stuff, yet small enough to tuck into a purse.

Liberty of London Tana lawn has been a favorite of mine since I made dresses for my girls when they were small, but the cost can leave you in tears! I bought a fat sixteenth bundle from that has 25 prints in a rainbow of colors for a reasonable price (just don’t do the math to see what you are paying per yard). It is perfect for small projects like this and I believe that a little bit of Liberty goes a long way!!

The linen in Robert Kaufmann Essex in natural which I think pairs beautifully with the Liberty prints.

Oh, and the little zipper pull? I had the charm and then blinged it up a little with some silver beads and a Swarovski crystal. This was totally fiddly, but I think worth it!


I thought I might write up a pattern or tutorial for the pouch, but then I thought that the sewing world does not need one more zipper pouch tutorial!  It’s such a great method, though and I would be happy to if there is interest, just leave me a comment.


Hope you are having a great week and are fitting in some creative time!

Happy Sewing,



Tutorial :: Cat Weave Mini Quilt

This tutorial is for the mini sized quilt only. It measures 21″ square and has a total of nine cats. A basic knowledge of piecing and quilting is required.


cat weave mini quilt diagram 1



  • Background fabric – fat quarter or (2) 3 1/2″ strips x w.o.f.*
  • 9 different fabrics for cats – 3 1/2″ x 12″ strip of each
  • 3/4 yards for back
  • 24″ square of batting
  • binding fabric – about 5″ x w.o.f.*

*w.o.f. = width of fabric

CUT from background fabric:

  • (4) rectangles 3 1/2″ x 9 1/2″
  • (10) squares 3 1/2″
  • (18) rectangles 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″

BEFORE cutting the pieces for the cats, consider the diagram below. Notice there are two cats whose heads and bodies are separate pieces. Sorry kitties, it was necessary to avoid partial seams and facilitate the assembly! Decide which fabrics those will be – I suggest using small, busy prints here so that the seams won’t be noticeable.



cat weave mini quilt break apart


CUT from those two fabrics:

  • (1) square 3 1/2″
  • (1) rectangle 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
  • (2) rectangles 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
  • (2) squares 1 1/2″

CUT from the remaining seven fabrics:

  • (1) rectangles 5 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
  • (2) rectangles 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
  • (2) squares 1 1/2″




  • All seams are 1/4″
  • Press seams towards the darker fabric.


cat weave units diagram


UNIT A: Make two of these

  • Make two “legs” squares by sewing together three 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ strips – two of the same print with a background in between.
  • Sew a 3 1/2″ background square to either side of the legs square, be sure the legs are parallel to the seams.

cat weave legs panel


  • Make the ears by sewing two 1 1/2″ print squares to either side of a 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ strip. Mark a diagonal line through the corners, stitch on the line and trim to 1/4″. I like to press the seams open here.

cat weave ears


  • Sew an “ears” and  a “legs” to either side of a 5 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangle (using all the same fabrics) to create a complete cat section.
  • Sew a 3 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ background rectangle to the left side of the cat section and the legs section from steps 1 and 2 to the right side of the cat section.

cat weave unit A break apart



UNIT B – Make three of these

Repeat the first and second steps in Unit A to create three more cat sections.

UNIT C – make two of these

  • Repeat the first and second steps in Unit A to create two more cat sections.
  • Sew the cat heads by sewing an ear section to a 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangle of the same print.
  • Sew a 3 1/2″ background square to either side of the cat head square.
  • Sew a 3 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ background rectangle to the right side of a cat section.
  • Sew the head section to the left side of the cat section, the cat ears face towards the center.


Unit C break apart


And lastly, sew a 3 1/2″ background square to a 3 1/2″ square of each of the two fabrics that you used for the heads in Unit C.




Refer to the arrows in the diagram for the order to sew the sections together. Once the horizontal seams are sewn, sew the three columns together, lining up the seams where the legs and heads meet the bodies.







As with any quilting project, press well and trim excess threads. Cut a 27″ square of backing fabric and a 24″ square of batting. Layer the back, batting and top; baste together. Quilt any way that you like, I simply stitched vertical lines spaced about 1/2″ apart.

You will need to cut two strips for the binding, one was a smidgen short! Cut in the width you prefer, I used 2 1/4″ since I hand stitched the binding.

Once again, here is a photo of the actual mini quilt:

cat weave mini quilt in makower cats



I hope that you enjoyed the tutorial. Please contact me with any questions or comments!!



Cat Weave Mini Quilt

Not long ago, I bought a $2 book at the Goodwill book store called Baby Patchwork (Gianna Valli Berti; Sterling Publishing Co.) It was written twenty years ago, but I could see that the projects could easily be adapted to today’s styles. One that I especially liked was this cat quilt. With all the crazy cat ladies I know (you know who you are!), I was sure the opportunity to make it would present itself!




As luck would have it, I got a swap partner at the Stash Bash who is just one of those cat ladies and she asked for a mini quilt! Score!!

Unfortunately, when I opened up the book, I discovered that it doesn’t give the instructions for making the cat quilt, just a picture! Huh? So I had to figure it out, which was fairly easy except for determining how to avoid partial seams. One cat may have had his head separated from his body!


cat weave mini quilt


I decided not to have any partial cats falling off the sides. Floating cat heads are not pretty.

I get the biggest kick that this is a cat quilt made from cat fabric. It is Cats from the Henley Studio for Makower uk. Quilted with straight, vertical lines, it measures 21″ square.


cat weave mini quilt with back


More cats on the back and the stripe is perfect for the binding. The background is white Kona cotton, Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

It was super fun to make and my partner loved it. A win-win!! I would be happy to write a tutorial if anyone is interested!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday and Confessions of a Fabric Addict – Whoop Whoop!


Thanks so much for visiting and Happy Sewing,



Gardenvale Flutterby – In Progress

I could also title this post, “Jen Kingwell, how do I love thee?” Her quilts are amazing, her book is gorgeous and her fabric line is brilliant.


I knew right away that Flutterby would be my first project from her book, and it pairs perfectly with a layer cake of Gardenvale, Jen’s first fabric line with Moda.

I am using assorted Kona cottons for the background and the black and white check is one I had in my stash – originally purchased for binding. I have only made a few of the squares so far, just to get a feel for how it is going to look.



gardenvale zoom



Needless to say, I am very excited for this project!!

A 40 yard roll of batting recently arrived on my doorstep so I can finally quilt up some of the other hundred or so quilt tops I have (ok, not that many, but it feels like it).  And also this week, I am helping a friend with some last-minute frenzied market sewing – wish me luck!!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday –  what are you working on this week?

Happy Sewing,







Metal Frame Clutch Purse

metal frame and fabric clutch


This little clutch makes such a great gift and you can easily whip one up in an afternoon! It looks hard, but it really isn’t – the frame is simply glued in place.

I first learned how to make it at the Sew South retreat a couple of years ago. These are the required supplies:

  • pattern by Diane Stanley, available here
  • 8″ x 3″ metal frame and Gütermann glue (this is crucial!!), both available here
  • two fat quarters
  • fusible fleece – I used Pellon Thermolam
  • fusible interfacing – I used Pellon Deco-Fuse

The finished size is about 9″ x 6″, which allows a large-scale floral to really show off! On this one, I have used an Anna Maria Horner print from Free Spirit Fabrics. On the inside, Pearl Bracelets in “Pond” add a nice punch of color!

metal frame clutch inside


My tips for gluing in the frame? Fold the sides in and start at the center of the top. I only put glue along the top edge for this. Then I glue the side edges of the frame and insert the fabric. I push it all in tightly with a wooden skewer. Any wayward glue can be wiped off and I let one side dry completely before doing the other side. The glue does have a strong odor, so be sure to be in a well ventilated area when gluing.

This one was a gift for a swap at The Stash Bash last weekend, but I loved it so much, I think I need to make some more!!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

Thanks for visiting and as always, Happy Sewing!!


The Tessa Basket and Maker Fabrics

It was just a matter of time before I made a Tessa basket.  I have been pretending that the pattern is named after me, but it was written by Bonnie at Pink Stitches and I am pretty sure she has no idea of my existence. Since we share a name, though, I thought it an appropriate gift to make for my friend Lee!


I was inspired by Amy’s version and used the Maker collection by Art Gallery Fabrics plus the arrow print from Maureen Cracknell’s Wild & Free. The pattern is versatile with regards to size – my quilted panels were 14.5″ x 18.5″ before cutting the top curves. With the 5″ boxed corners, this is a roomy basket, perfect for taking projects to class!

I used fusible fleece and a layer of Pellon SF101 for stability, but to be honest, I would have preferred it to be a bit sturdier. A layer of the interfacing on the lining or using a heavier one like Deco Bond would have done the trick.

The only change I made to the pattern was to use 1 1/2″ cotton web for the handles. The pattern calls for 1″ so I had to adjust the side curve to allow for the wider web. I also added the strip of fabric to the handles, top stitched in place.



Maker  is such a great fabric line for sewing related projects! I used the gold hangar print in the inside. So cute!




The Tessa basket was fun and easy to make, and with the versatility, I can be sure I will be making it again! More importantly, Lee loved it and that’s why we gift handmade!!

Thanks for the great pattern, even if it wasn’t named after me!


tessa basket and art gallery maker


Happy Sewing!!


Moving to WordPress – part 4



I am all moved in over here at WordPress! The fourth and final step was to set up a 301 Redirect, which basically means that anyone going to my old blog will be redirected over here to the new one. It also ensures that any old links will also be redirected. This was the part that I always thought would be so hard and I would have to pay someone to do it for me. Nope – it was easy with this plugin. I installed it and followed the directions. That was it! It required replacing my entire Blogger template with new code, but I made sure that I saved a copy of the old template just in case anything went wrong. The sad thing was that once I did it, I could no longer access the old blog and I wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t get to say good-bye!

I hope you like the new look and take the time to check out the different pages. I really wanted a Home page that highlights photos, recent posts and finished quilts. There is space to add a video, which I am hoping to do in the future. The Tutorial page utilizes a portfolio plugin which makes it neat and orderly. I never could do that with Blogger! The Project Gallery is a nice feature too – click on an image and it takes you to a project page with a larger image and extra details like skills used, fabrics and pattern. Last is the Contact page that makes it super simple to send me an email!!

I like the cleaner, uncluttered look and vow to keep it that way. There are some blogs that I don’t read because I can’t find the content with all the ads and clutter!  Blog reading should be a joyful, inspiring experience – we are all busy and every minute matters! My mission is to educate and inspire while sharing what I love to do!

If you are using Blogger and are considering the move to WordPress, this article was invaluable to me, I highly recommend using it as your guide. I am not a techie, but I can follow instructions if they are clear, concise and aren’t full of computer speak. If I could do this, you can, too!

Oh, and that picture up there has nothing to do  with this post, but it is where I will be spending next weekend. I’ll be sewing my fingers off at the Stash Bash with good friends, old and new – can’t wait!

Thank you so much for visiting!!




In Progress – Crazy Cats Mini Quilt

bundle of Curious Cats fabric from the Henley StudioI am not a cat a person. I am not a non-cat person, either, but I am not “into” cats like some of my friends are. Therefore, I don’t usually gravitate to cat fabric, but when I saw this line from Makower UK, I thought it was the cutest and wanted to have some.

So when an upcoming swap partner said she likes cats, I took the opportunity to buy a lovely half yard bundle. Serendipity, don’t you think?

I think it is the colors that make me love it so much – soft aqua, gray, pink and raspberry! That, and the cute smiling faces of the kitties. There is also a couple of little florals that have no hint of cat in them and will be useful in other projects.




I don’t want to give too much of the project away, just in case she reads my blog, so a sneak peak is all I can share. Let’s just say that it is cats made out of cats…




It makes me so happy – I hope she really likes cats! I am using the smiling kitties for the back and a pretty stripe for the binding:




If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may notice the different look! I have moved to WordPress – more about the final step and some insight tomorrow!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for Work In Progress Wednesday (for the first time in forever!)

Happy Sewing,



Moving to WordPress – part 3

{read part 1}
{read part 2}

I did it! I imported my blog content to the new WordPress blog and it was actually easy and painless using the import tool.

Before I did it, I deleted some of my earliest posts – let’s face it, they weren’t that good – and any drafts that I wrote but were never published. The import tool transfers all content, images and comments, as well as the labels I assigned to my posts. It turned the labels into categories, which I didn’t want, so I used a category to tag converter which changed them to tags. I then deleted the ones that I no longer want and deleted all the categories. I want to keep the category list to a minimum, so I created new ones like, Quilts, Totes & Bags, Tutorials, Work in Progress. I am still trying to figure out exactly how to use the tags and categories, but I think that the tags are used like labels are in Blogger – they are for searching for a specific topic or post. The categories can also be used for searching, but also enable me to group my posts for inclusion in a page or photo gallery.

Some of the spacing is a little weird in some of the posts. I like negative space between photos and text and I get that just by hitting the enter key, but that disappeared in the imported posts. I don’t know why and even when I tried to fix it by typing in blank lines, it didn’t always work.

I didn’t need to resize any pictures. I usually use the extra-large option in Blogger images which is 640 pixels wide; my new blog has 800 pixels of text space, so everything fit.

The next step is to rebuild my pages. The import tool doesn’t transfer additional pages, such as an About page, Tutorials, Project Gallery, so I have to recreate those. I am working on that now, and it is actually pretty fun, and I am finding WordPress to be easy to use.

The photo at the beginning of this post gives you a sneaky peek at the new blog. I am going for a clean, uncluttered look that will let the photos be the focus.

I am off to do some actual sewing – hope you are creating something pretty this week!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie


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Jumbler Quilt – Tutorial

modern scrappy quilt by the sewing chick


This quilt looks like it was randomly pieced, but there is a method here that makes the sewing easy and fun! The trick is to have a variety of fabrics and a good balance of colors and values – I think it looks best with a majority of low volume or light values with the medium and dark values providing interesting contrast.

It is a great stash buster and fat quarter friendly quilt.

Choosing fabrics: 

I counted and these are approximations, but follow these guidelines for a similar looking quilt. I used about 30 different fabrics, some more than once. 50% of my pieces are light value, 30% medium value and 20% dark value.


Cut a 6″ x 21″ strip of six different fabrics. The length doesn’t have to be exact, just cut a piece off a fat quarter or cut a strip of yardage and cut in half at the fold line.



Stack them on top of each other with all sides even. The order doesn’t matter – they will be re-arranged. Using a ruler and a rotary cutter, trim the left edge to ensure all layers are straight. Then move ruler to the right 3″- 4″ and cut at an angle.


Move the ruler to the right a few inches and make another cut. Change the angle for variety. There is no right or wrong way here!!

Continue moving to the right and making cuts until you are at the end. IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE AT LEAST SIX PIECES CUT, more is ok but don’t do less. I like to cut off about 1/2″ from the end to ensure the edges are straight.



Now to re-arrange. Separate the piles a little so you have space to work. The first pile will stay as it is. Take the top piece of the second pile and put it on the bottom of the pile.



Take the top two pieces in the third pile and put them on the bottom of the pile.
Take the top three pieces in pile four and put them in the bottom of the pile.
Take the top four pieces in pile five and put them on the bottom of the pile.
Take the top five pieces in pile six and put them on the bottom of the pile.
If you have a 7th pile, leave it as is.
If you have an 8th pile, start the process over and put the top piece on the bottom.
Continue in the same manner for any remaining piles.



Now you have your piles with the pieces jumbled. The cuts are the same and your edges will line up perfectly when you sew the pieces together.



Moving from left to right, take the top piece from each pile, stack them with #1 on top. I like to take them to the machine and put the top piece on the left of my needle and the rest on the right. Sew them together by flipping the right piece on top of the left. This makes sure I don’t mess up the order!!



Stitch with a 1/4″ seam and offset the pieces a bit so that the seam hits at the point of the notch created. The more of an angle you have, the more they will need to be offset.



Sew each piece in succession until the row is complete. Don’t worry if your edge isn’t perfectly straight, because now you are going to trim it down to 5 1/2″. Trim the first edge at about 1/4″ and then the other edge. Be sure not to trim off too much with your first cut so that you have enough to get a straight edge with the second edge.



Continue with the remainder of the stacks of pieces, taking the top of each pile and sewing together in a row. There will be six “blocks” when you are finished.



The sample quilt is made of 36 blocks, so I repeated the whole process five more times. I used some of the fabrics more than once, but for the most part, I used different fabrics in each set.

You may notice that the blocks are not all the same length. The number of seams will affect this. Not to worry, just trim them to the same size or add narrow strips to the ends to lengthen. This is a free form quilt – no rules!!

Now lay out your blocks in a way that pleases you. The sample quilt is 3 blocks across and 12 blocks down. I used one block from each set to create two rows of the quilt, and did this six times. It gave me a balanced layout and ensured there wouldn’t be too many of the same fabrics next to each other.

Once you are satisfied with the layout, sew the blocks together into rows. Then sew the rows together – I like to sew them into pairs first, then sew the pairs into fours, and finally sew the fours into eight and twelve.


modern scrappy quilt navy and green by the sewing chick


I also like the arrangement done vertically. I used too many directional prints to make this work, but maybe next time!  I would also like to try wider cut strips and skinnier pieces. It is a very versatile method, limited only by your imagination.


modern scrappy quilt navy and green by the sewing chick


I hope you have enjoyed the tutorial and give it a try!!

Happy Sewing,

Tessa Marie

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ribbon divider