Embrace the First Day of Summer with a Delightful Sewing Project to Organize Your Summer Treasures!

It’s the first day of summer! I can hardly believe it, it’s been months since I’ve sat down to share my quilting adventures in a blog post….

In case you’ve missed me, as much as I have missed rambling, here’s a quick update on my activities! I’m finally retired!! That’s right, the business side of The Quilt Rambler (retail) was closed the end of 2022, however I had a few carry over speaking/teaching engagements the first of 2023 that I presented as just Karen Overton (grin) sharing my quilting journey without all the products I would normally have in my pop up shop from years gone by. I can tell you that it was totally freeing! Just tell my story, share my quilts, teach a design, meet new quilters and have fun!! Who knows, there may be other such adventures in the future…

It’s Summer Baby!

I’ve had about 6 weeks since my last event and boy have I been busy! I’ve been organizing my studio (with some tips and photos I will share in a future blog), I’ve made lists of projects I wanted to make, even worked on a few UFO’s that I will also share in the future …but most importantly I’ve enjoyed some GIRL TIME with my granddaughters!

When Life Gives You Scraps….

As we welcome this first day of summer with open arms, what better way to celebrate this vibrant time of year than by embarking on a creative sewing project! I can’t wait to share with you my recent quilting adventure!

I mentioned recently going through some of my older projects and I thought I’d share with you what I found…these process photos date back to 2021 when I was playing around with a grouping of fabric strips I received in an Island Batik order. They were not of equal width or length, they had a fold down the middle, similar to the fold when fabric is on the bolt, and they were perfect summer colors! Perfect for this endless summer gal! Even without the uniform size of my favorite 2 1/2″ precut, I decided to be creative and sew them together anyway. So, sew I did! Sorta like making your own fabric.

Once I had a very long length sewn, I decided to cut in into large squares with the layout going in different directions to add interest. I loved the color combination of these beautiful Island Batik scraps, but felt like it needed a little jazzing up, so I started making diagonal strips, perhaps a future border? Hum?

And that’s where the creative juices stopped, life’s interruptions I guess, and the fabric got packed away in a project box until recently!

I have an idea!

With all the reorganizing going on, and coming down from a week long teaching retreat, I just needed to play with fabric and hear the hum of the sewing machine. You die hard quilters know what I mean!

I pulled out the UFO project box with these summer-time fabrics and pondered….bet I could make a “By Annie” project! Indeed, why not! I have a vast collection of her patterns!

Yes indeed! I chose Pocket Packers, a functional and easy to make bag that would be perfect for summer treasures, travel toys for the girls, or my sewing supplies for my next retreat! Imagine that! (Yep, I’ve got a personal retreat on the books for later this year!)

Following the pattern instructions, and a most helpful “Add On Video” from By Annie, I began by cutting pieces of the strip pieced fabric for the front and back of the project, then layered Soft & Stable between the two fabrics. This is a foam-type stabilizer that gives the project its shape and form. I chalked diagonal lines and quilted all three layers on my domestic sewing machine without a hitch.

Naturally I needed to make two (grin). After the quilting was complete, I followed the cutting instructions for both the vinyl and mesh needed to complete the design and decided on my handbag zippers, since I have a collection of these wonderful zippers I got creative with the colors. Scrappy fabric, scrappy zippers! Yes please!

I use By Annie’s Stiletto & Pressing Tool for my general piecing of quilts, as it helps me to match my points, and it came in very handy with the construction of the Pocket Packer to hold things in place as I assembled the project.

Making progress! Following the directions in the Pocket Packers pattern, Annie suggests rounding the corners before adding the binding. I found her recommendation for using the Creative Grids Quilt Ruler Circles worked perfectly for this task. And they come in 5 different sizes. I’ve used them for several projects, a nice addition to my tool box!

Remember those strips I pieced on the diagonal thinking they would make a nice border? Well, they were the perfect “bias” cut for my binding! And as a bonus I was able to cut the length in half for the perfect width of my binding, held in place with sewing clips to avoid pin pricks in the vinyl.

Presenting….Pocket Packers!

I love how these turned out! The pattern has options for 4 different styles, one zipper, two zippers, three zippers, four! Sounds like a fun summertime rhyme doesn’t it!?

The other side has the zippered mesh pocket, once again I got creative with different colors of mesh and zippers. The handles are going to be perfect! Perfect to grab and go, perfect to hang over a doorknob or perfect over a clothes hanger in a closet…

I started making ByAnnie bags almost 10 years ago. They are fun and functional, plus the added bonus of being creative while using beautiful fabrics that reflect my style! The patterns are well written plus there is a lot of support from Annie herself with YouTube tutorials and Add-On Video instructions. I hope you will consider making one, or two or FOUR this summer!

I’ve already got two more Project Packers quilted and cut out in more “kid friendly” fabrics to make for the girls – perfect to contain those little Barbie doll accessories and small toys that get lost in the bottom of the toy chest, or even a nice little way to carry socks, undies or diapers, clothes, brushes, etc. for an overnight trip! I hope they like them!

Summer Sewing!

In conclusion, on the eve of this First Day of Summer, I hope I have encouraged you to spend more time in your sewing studio embracing your creative spirit and embarking on a sewing project that celebrates the season – Pocket Packers was my choice! I hope you will give the pattern a try to make your own unique and versatile accessory to cary and organize all the wonderful mementos and treasures you collect during this sunny season. Check out other bags and projects By Annie and let your imagination run wild!

This is Karen Overton, aka “The Quilt Rambler”

Happy sewing, and may your summer be filled with endless adventures!

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