Thursday, November 26, 2015

the one hour basket reviewed (and improved)

If you read my blog post yesterday, I reviewed two baskets tutorials. They are very excellent tutorials to be checked out!  But, I still wasn't totally happy with my baskets. These were going to become my Christmas presents for the year, and I wanted to get them right for all of my friends and family.

I made another version of the one hour basket from Kelby. This time using the heaviest stabilizer available here in Germany - S 520, Vliesoline. I thought it worked much better to give the basket the stability it needed to hold its shape and purpose of a stairs' basket (that accumulates everything from the house). I also bought some heavy, home decor fabric which is actually cheaper here than quilting fabric.

Different Trial Versions in Production
If you look at the gray baskets closely, that one on the far right was my first try with the heavy stabilizer and the home decor fabric. I used a medium weight stabilizer (Vliesoline S320) on the light, print fabric and a heavyweight (S 520) on the lower, gray, dotty fabric. Since this stabilizer is three times more expensive than "regular" I thought this would be a good compromise. The shape became very solid, maybe even too solid! It is extremely hard to maneuver the basket under the sewing machine after the bottom is sewn shut and you are trying to attach the inner and outer layers.

On the second gray basket (the next gray one you see to the left, sandwiched between the two red baskets), I top stitched 1/4" above the area where the print and dotty fabrics are sewn together. This definitely gives the basket character! I also top stitched 1/4" from the top of the basekt to keep the inner shell in place. This seam is originally sews 1/2" seam allowance, but you can definitely top stitch lower than 1/8" from the top. I also attached the handles with a one-inch spacing from the center seam making the handles ends two inches apart.

Okay, these were looking even better, and I wanted a little diversity with a fabric change. I used the "red/orange" fabric (also home decor and washed!) with a medium weight stabilizer (Vliesoline S320) on all segments of the basket except the inner lining. This worked out even better! It gave the basket enough stiffness to stay flat, but was much easier to sew under the machine when it came to attaching both the inner lining and outer shell together.

The upper "linen-look" fabric I pressed downwards this time instead of upwards and top stitched on the bottom area with a beige cotton thread. I think it makes the basket look very professional! I didn't want to quilt a lot on this basket, because this is supposed to be a speedy project for Christmas, right? Even though I spent several days (one week) to perfect my "gift basket," it was worth it! Just think, I worked out all of the bugs for you to get started on your holiday baskets!

I have added a TWO-page cheat-sheet of how I constructed my basket. Go ahead and start scoping out some beautiful home decor fabric (heavyweight) for the outer shells and quilting quality fabric (lightweight) for the insides. You can download the cheat sheet free of charge on Craftsy.

And if you are celebrating Thanksgiving today, happy Thanksgiving!! We will be celebrating on the weekend when we have time to enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by for the second part of the one-hour basket review!

the one-hour basket reviewed

I sewed my very first "one-hour-basket" for a friend of ours that was having their first baby back in February/March of this year. I used the Fabric Basket Tutorial from Trina from Will Cook for Shoes for the Fort Worth Fabric company. I thought the pattern went well. The handles were on the front and back of the basket. Then I saw the 1 Hour Basket all over IG (Instagram) with the hashtag #kelbysews. This basket looked a little better, peppier with a little more structure and with the handles on the sides rather than in the middle. Aha...another pattern which must be greatly improved? Kelby also lists her free tutorial Craftsy. (As most of you, I like to find free patterns!) I downloaded her version to see what the difference was and if I would agree with her changes. I read. I practiced. I bought more supplies and wracked my brain about improvements and modifications. Here is my opinion after making a couple of baskets from both tutorials!

The Fabric Basket from Trina is a very nice, tall and roomy basket made from quilting quality fabric that is quilted on the outer shell. The outer shell fabric is fused and quilted which gives it stability on the outside. The inside is also quilting quality fabric (which is rather thin) but reinforced with a medium weight stabilizer. The basket holds its shape nicely. The handles fold to the left and right in the middle of the basket. The inner and outer shells are connected at the top and flipped at the top.

Fabric Basket Tutorial from Trina of "Will Cook for Shoes"


The 1 Hour Basket from Kelby is modified version. I say this clearly because of the dates of when both were published. The basket from Trina was published in February 2015, and the one from Kelby in March, 2015. What changed in the new basket which sparked the need for a new tutorial?
Although the 1 Hour Basket was as published after the Fabric Basket Tutorial, Shelby assured me she has never seen this tutorial before today. My apologies. What is different in Shelby's tutorial? It is improved and a bit more thought out especially if you don't want to do a lot of quilting.
  • the newer version is compact - overall dimensions make it shorter and longer.
  • bottom base is slightly smaller.
  • clears up the discrepancies for inner and outer shells (inner lining must be smaller to prevent puckering when top stitching the two shells together. The inside was sewn with a 5/8" seam allowance rather than 1/2".) The picture below shows this puckering on the original basket.

  • changes the handle positions to the ends
  • handles are longer and narrower
  • uses home decor quality fabric (definite plus for stability)
  • changes the base to be slightly narrower (square base pockets reduced from 3 1/2 inches to 3 inches)
  • flips through the inner lining at the bottom rather than the inner shell at the top  (a definite plus for the overall design)
  • does not reinforce the inner lining to make a shell

Both baskets look amazing don't they?? I agree, the photos are great!

Fabric Basket Tutorial from Trina
1 Hour Basket Tutorial from Kelby Sews
Here is what you don't see or what you see when you put them side by side:

Fabric Basket Tutorial vs. 1 Hour Basket Tutorial

So you can understand, these baskets were slightly modified by me when I sewed them together. Here is what I changed to each basket:

Basket from the Trina Basket

  1. Not quilted.
  2. No use of stabilizer on the inner lining to make a shell.
  3. Handles on the ends instead of side.

Basket from the Kelby Basket

  1. Sewed the handles like the first basket by folding in the center once and folding in again 1/4 on each side.
  2. Added cotton batting and quilted on the crease lines.
  3. No use of home decor fabric on outer shell nor on the inner lining.
What is your opinion? Which one do you like better?

I clearly like the second (improved) version better. But I think it all depends on how you are going to use the basket. If you are going to use it for holding diapers, I would clearly use the tutorial from Trina exactly as she wrote it, but I would flip through the top, because it makes for a better finish. I would also quilt it very tight for added stability. I think the handles on the front and back are just fine, but may need to be adjusted for your purposes. If you want a more decorative basket, I would pick Kelby's which proves to be a quick sew with little hassle. I would adopt the handle size and length from Trina's tutorial though. I think they look better short and stump. But keep in mind, both of these baskets take a while to sew. Make sure you read through the tutorials carefully to understand.

If you are interested in how I fine-tuned the basket for my Christmas gifts, stay tuned.....Part 2 will be posted tomorrow!

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving today, happy Thanksgiving!! I heard that the Carolina Panthers will be playing today! Yeah, go Panthers!! We will be celebrating our turkey day on the weekend when we have time to enjoy it, without the stess of work and school. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 23, 2015

i've been very productive lately

Almost another whole month has gone by without me posting. I have not only gotten sucked into the Instagram world (whole-heartedly) but I've also become very productive. I know I should probably post more about what I have been doing, but I just keep finding more projects and investing the time into my sewing instead of blogging.

I have a lot of secret projects at the moment that may or may not be printed, but what I can show you is a pillowcase that I am really proud of! I made this pillow for my secret partner on Pillow Talk Swap IG Stlye. Unfortunately, the person who I designed the pillow for and sewed it for, went MIA (missing in action). She not only did not post when she was sewing for her partner, but also removed her mosaic of what she wanted sewn for her. <<shaking head>> Well, there are always going to be flakers in this world aren't there. Schade. Schade. I hope this pillow will find a new home, but it may just stay with me. = ) Who knows?

Down the Foxhole 18" Pillow from easypatchwork

I love Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Foxes pattern and this is what my partner had in her mosaic. I thought I would make it very bright and cheery and a little quirky with some of the faces spinning in circles.

Down the Foxhole without Border

I designed the block using EQ7 and changed the sizing of it to fit a five inch block. This illustration shows the main center with the nine foxes. I added a 1 1/2" border strip all the way round making it 18" square.

The fabrics used are mostly from Micheal Miller Fabrics - Gem Tones from just one charm pack. You can not get a whole fox face out of one charm the way I sewed mine together. The ears on mine are folded over with one whole piece of fabric sewn on the diagonal for added dimension.

As you can see, I that pretty striped orange fox didn't make the final cut. Even though the fabric is so beautiful, it didn't look that impressive as a fox for this pillow. It might become a mug rug though.

The white is actually from Zen Chic with cute circles called Modern Background, Ink Zen Silver, XOXO. The black is a simple solid from Kona.

I even added a little piping to it to make it pop right out. This was my first try at piping in a pillow too. The black fabric is from Sweetwater for Moda called Elementary Equations. This was my fabric of the year 2015. I used it several of my makes and totally love it!!

After the the pillow top was finished, I decided to quilt it with a Monofil (transparent) thread. I have tried to use this thread before, but with little success. This time, I worked a little harder at adjusting my top and bottom threads to get the perfect balance so the bobbin thread doesn't show. I also quilted using a straight lines every 3/4 inch.

And I used a little bit of Tula Pink fabric I had reserved for another project for the back. It was the perfect size when I cut the WOF in half on the fold line. I also managed to line up the pattern to make a smaller wave through the middle. I love it when a plan comes together.

 I am very pleased with my result! I will proudly keep this one, if I am allowed to. = )

And if not, I hope it is loved and cheerished in its new home.

Thanks for dropping by after a very long absence! I'll try to get better about posting more often, but then again, I won't be able to sew as much...okay, I have to find a happy balance! Thanks again fro dropping by!
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