Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday at the Table

Something happened the other day, and it seems so minuscule in the big scheme of things, that I hesitate to share it. But I can't quite get it out of my mind. It was an unexpected foodie moment, the very best kind of all. So just because it was a bright spot in an otherwise mundane week, I'm thinking I should write about it.

Where I work (a church), funerals are frequent. And usually, thankfully, the largest part I play in them is creating the bulletin for the service, and organizing all the players that make it happen - you know, the pastors, musicians, sound techs, reception coordinators, and the like. Which is all I did for the funeral that took place last week. Except that I was working at the reception desk while it was going on, so I saw the family and friends gather, and I overheard the beautiful music and the meaningful sermon. I learned that the deceased was actually a pretty big deal in the Seattle commercial crab fishing industry, and though I already knew him to be a very generous man, I was touched by the stories I heard that day - more about him than I knew before.

So I was already feeling kinda sentimental as the reception was starting up, and was taken quite off guard when a coworker came by with an exuberant, "You have GOT to try the crab bisque!!" What? Well I knew the reception was catered and that was all well and good. But noooo. In addition to all that, there was crab bisque made from the family's recipe. Ok! The words 'family recipe' are kinda sacred to me, and I love hearing what recipes families treasure. So of course, I was pleased as punch to have some soup brought to me (plus a pastry from the best Danish bakery in town, oh yeah!)

The soup came to me in a paper cup no less, but as a few of us sipped our bisque there in the office, what had been a basic Friday became something pretty special. I mean this soup was GOOD. One of my coworkers went so far as declaring it on the top ten list of best things he ever ate! wow. So of course, emboldened by the moment, he went and asked for the recipe. Now he may get it or he may not (fingers crossed though), but beware. Noteworthy foodie moments can happen when you least expect them, and they most certainly don't have to be fancy. Like my bisque in a paper cup. Like this post - alot of words and one mediocre photo. But the memory? Life-giving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Trim-Tied Gift Bag

This little gift bag idea has been on my mind for a while, and with the holidays coming up, I thought now was a perfect time to finally get a tutorial written. So without further ado, here's the Trim-Tied Gift Bag.

Supplies needed: 
  • 1 fat-quarter non-directional linen-blend fabric, or a piece measuring 8"x21"
  • 1 1/4 yd 3/4" twill tape

This tutorial makes a bag measuring 3 1/2"x4"x8" when fully open.

1. Fold an 8"x21" piece of fabric width-wise,  wrong sides together. Place fold nearest you. Fabric should now measure 8"x10 1/2". Using a removable marking pen, mark parallel lines 2" from each side. Flip fabric over and repeat on the other side.

2. On one side, mark 1 3/4" squares in bottom corners. 

3. Using fabric scissors, carefully cut away bottom corners, leaving center fold intact.

4. Open up fabric and lay wrong-side down on table. Find center of ribbon length and place on fold of fabric. Lay ribbon down center of bag, pinning about 4" from each end. If needed, use fabric glue to hold ribbon in place while you sew, or more pins. Stitching 1/8" from ribbon edges, sew ribbon onto bag fabric, overlapping a few stitches at the end to secure.

5. Take your piece to the ironing board, and double-fold each of the ends towards the back side 1/4", keeping ribbon ends out of the way. Stitching close to each edge, make a narrow hem on each end.

6. Now fold bag right-sides together, and sew side seams using 1/4" seams. Finger-press seams open.

7. Make gussets on each bottom corner by bringing seam to the fold, right sides together. Because of the seams you have already sewn, they won't match up 100%, but very close. Stitch 1/4" seam across each corner.

8. Turn bag right-side out, and here is what you have. Almost done!

9. Folding along 1 marked line on bag front, stitch 1/8" from edge beginning at the top of the bag, and sewing just to the corner where the side and bottom meet. (An alternate suggestion would be to press on these lines prior to stitching them.)
 It can help to place a pin where you should stop, being careful not to sew directly on the pin.

10. Leaving your needle down, remove pin and raise your foot and pivot so you can continue sewing along the bottom of the bag (along the front/back, not a side where the seams are), to the next corner, then again folding on a marked line, back up to the bag top. Be sure and secure your stitching at beginning and end. (Note that when you are sewing along the bottom of the bag, there is no marking line, but the distance is so short, simply folding it is guide enough.) Repeat on the opposite side, and your bag is done!
Thanks to my friend Sharon/SharonBinWA (smbrendle on Ig), who tested my pattern and made the bag above on very short notice!

This unlined bag would also make a fine wine bottle bag when taking a hostess gift. Because heights of bottles differ, I'd suggest cutting your fabric about 6" longer than the height of your bottle or 20-22" if you don't have a particular bottle in mind. Other than your trim needing to be longer, all other dimensions and instructions would remain the same.

All fabric used in sample unlined bags is Moda Linen Mochi Dot by Momo (70% cotton/30% linen). Canvas or home dec would be other options. I source 3/4" chevron twill tape from FreshModernFabric, who has a nice variety of colors and will gladly cut continuous lengths. I've ordered some of the 5/8" Striped Edge Woven Cotton Trim also to have on hand as an option.

And for those of you who may not have access to the linen blends, or would rather use 100% quilting cottons and make a lined bag, I've tested that out for you too.
Here's what you'll need to do differently for the lined bag:
  • Cut 2 pieces of fabric, both 8"x21" - 1 for the exterior and 1 for the lining. Mark right side of outer fabric per step #1.
  • Follow steps #2 and #3 for both outer fabric and lining.
  • Follow step #4 as written, on the exterior only.
  • Ignore step #5 entirely.
  • Follow step #6 EXCEPT on one lining seam, leave a hole about 4" long, securing your stitches well on either side of it. 
  • Follow step #7 for both exterior fabric and lining.
  • Turn exterior fabric right-side out and nestle into lining which is wrong-side out. Line up raw edges of tops at side seams and pin. Pin a few more times as needed to keep top edges lined up. Stitched along entire top edge.
  • Pull entire bag through the hole you left in the side lining so entire bag is right-side out. Hand or machine-stitch the opening closed.
  • Nestle lining into bag, pushing corners into place. Press top edge nice and neat, and top-stitch closely to the edge along the entire perimeter.
  • Follow steps #9 and #10 as written. I found with the lining snug and neat in the bag, it was easily caught in this narrow stitching. 
So enjoy - whatever style you choose to make. Please post any finished bags in my Quilting with A Quilter's Table flickr group so we all can see!

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.