The first time I saw Carolyn’s Alturas pattern I think I actually squealed out loud. You know that embarrassing, “Oh! I looooove it!” exclamation that never fails to leave me looking around, hoping against hope that I’m totally alone. But it was worth it. Alturas is beautiful and simple in this vintage way that I absolutely do love. [Check out her blog post to see the varied iterations of Alturas for more inspiration.]

I made one a while back; quilted it up as a mug rug and gave it away in some swap or another. I don’t even remember what fabric I used, but I knew I really, really liked the pattern.

So a couple nights ago, when I should have been packing for the upcoming move but would rather do anything else, I decided to break open the London Calling charm pack and make one up.

London Calling is a lovely cotton lawn collection, a tight weave but kinda floppy. I starched the bejeezus out of the charm square before cutting it (and yes! the pattern is perfect for charm squares!) and started out by basting it onto the Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen, all the way around, then clipping the curves and doing some relaxing needle turn appliqué.


I watched a couple of episodes of Dexter and it was done. Just like that.


My original plan had been to make a pincushion out of it, but once I got the box made and stuffed I realized it was just too big for a pincushion. So instead I have a tiny pillow.


And the impetus to make an entire Alturas quilt, one block at a time.

Product Review: Clover Clamshell

I got the Clover Clam Shell Accessories Case months ago and its just hung out in my sewing box, waiting for the perfect time.

I’d thought the perfect time was a week or so ago when I started sewing together hexies in the new “Simply Color” fabric by Vanessa Christenson. Well, despite all that work, they weren’t quite large enough to cover the plastic inserts, so I chucked that idea and started over with scraps of fabric.  I used the leftovers from the coasters I made a while back.

The Clam Shell pattern comes with instructions and the plastic inserts. There are 9 pieces for the large pattern (6 for the small and medium). You’ll need scraps of fabric, batting and lots of thread. 20121013-203140.jpg

You cut out each piece a half inch larger than the plastic insert, baste around the edges, then draw up the threads, so that it fits tightly against the plastic. To keep it in place, you have to stitch back and forth across the back. This takes a lot of thread. It also works pretty darn well.  Make sure to tack down the ends really well and as smoothly as possible.


You’ll end up with three of these inside pieces, ready to go.


You’ll do the same thing with outside pieces, except with a piece of batting behind the fabric. I basted then together with a long running stitch. They suggest glueing it to the plastic. I didn’t because 1) I didn’t know where any glue was and 2) I was too anxious to get sewing to stop and hunt it down. In retrospect, I’d recommend it, too. My method worked fine for two of them, but on one, the batting shifted a bit and caused some bumping issues on one end.


Then stick them together, insides to outside. I used bulldog clips to hold them together, but you can use Wonder Clips or Getta Grip clips if you prefer.


Then you are gonna hand-stitch that sucker down, all the way around. I used a small ladder stitch to keep it held tightly and hide the stitches.  [Please forgive the nails; I clearly need to spend more time polishing my nails and less time worried about tight stitching.]


Sew, sew , sew and sooner or later, you’ll end up with this! It’s a cute little box that pops open (with my tag inside–squee!).



Overall, the kit is easy enough to put together, just takes time and some precision stitching. In the end, it’s an adorable little pouch-thing that you could put all sorts of things in. My daughter wants me to make some tiny ones that will look like dumplings. I think I might just have to try.

P.S. I think these would be super cute to put a small gift in. You know those odd-shaped gifts that are super hard to wrap? It’s the perfect holder for it. Then it’s two gifts in one!