Monday, July 27, 2015

Road to California: Road to California

To finalize this series, we are going to wrap up by interviewing Carolyn, the lady behind the Road to California show held every year in Ontario, California. Have you been wanting to learn a little bit about why this whole thing was started? Now you can!

Bag Challenge

Fabric Introduction Questions:

1.    What is the name of your company and what is the name of the fabric?

          Road to California Quilters Conference
         Celebrating Road to California Twentieth Anniversary

2. What was your inspiration for designing the fabric?

         To celebrate the twentieth anniversary, quilting and I love California Poppies

4.    How did you get started on designing your own fabric? 
       It was designed by Alexander Fabrics
4. What was your biggest challenge in designing the fabric?
         Choosing colors
3. What cool things have you seen made using the fabric?

         Quilts, clothing and bag or purses

4. What weights are available to purchase for the fabric?

         Cotton sheeting light blue background and pink poppies
         Cotton sheeting barely off white background and orange poppies
         Canvas weight barely off white background and orange poppies

6.    How can someone purchase the fabric?

Here is Matt and Mayor Paul Leon of Ontario, California, wearing shirts made out of the fabric. 
How fun is that? Photo taken by Gregory Case Photography. 

Personal questions to add some flair:

1.  What does your perfect day look like?

       At my age when I wake up and I am on the right side of the grass!

2.      What word(s) describes you?
 I am an “idea” person.  I plant the corn, but I don’t weed it, cultivate it or harvest it.  That is how I manage Road to California.  I think of things to do to make it better – usually about 2 am – and then I let those who work for me figure out how to accomplish it.
3.       If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?
         Maybe drive the Al-Can Highway to Alaska, visit Africa , Australia or New Zealand.  I love natural, wide open spaces.
4.       What inspired you to start sewing?
         My grandmother started me on a treadle MANY years ago.
5.       What is your go-to notion/tool?
         Seam Ripper and after sewing 70 years, I just learned the correct way to use it. 
6.       What has been your most memorable experience when teaching or traveling to shows?
         Once when driving home from vending at Paducah, Cathy and I stopped for gas in Albuquerque  A lady came up to me and said, “Do you know you have twenty dollar bills plastered on the windows in the back of your van?”  The plastic bag that I had placed in a “secure space” had broken open and the bills had fallen out and stuck to the window.
8.    What advice would you share with aspiring bag makers?
Time is a very valuable commodity.  If you are going to spend your time making something, be sure to use good products.

California Fabric

Love that advice. And on that note, have you started your project yet? There is still some time left, but it's running short. Purchase the fabric now and start making your bag so you can enter the challenge. You can find it here

4. Stash and Dash - Quilt the Fabric and Soft and Stable

summer challenge

Quilt the Fabric and Soft and Stable

We will need:

For this step we will use the 10" x 20" pieces of main fabric, lining fabric, and ByAnnie's Soft and Stable. We will also need thread for quilting.

We will also use these tools:
  • Sewing machine with walking foot and guide
  • Iron and ironing board
  • 90/14 topstitch needle (our preference, but not absolutely necessary)
  • Pins, strong yellow-top quilting
  • Basting spray (optional)
  • Clover Chaco Liner Pen Style Marker
  • Quilting ruler for marking lines - 8½" x 24" and a 4" x 4" are good sizes
  • Quilting glove such as Machingers
  • Thread clipper or scissors


To join the main fabric, Soft and Stable, and lining fabric by quilting through all three layers.

Let's get started. . .

1. Make a quilt sandwich using the 10" x 20" pieces of lining fabric (right side down), ByAnnie's Soft and Stable, and main fabric (right side up).

I find this easiest to do in two steps.

First I position the lining fabric on top of the Soft and Stable, smoothing it to get rid of wrinkles. 

If you'd like, you can use basting spray to hold the layers together. I used to have asthma and sometimes find that sprays irritate my lungs, so I usually avoid that type of product.

Although Soft and Stable is not a fusible product, I like to steam the two pieces together to smooth them and help them "stick" together.

Then I flip the piece over and smooth the main fabric on the other side of the Soft and Stable, aligning it along the edges. 

Press/steam it from the main fabric side to encourage the layers to stick together.

Pin to hold layers together. 

Because the Soft and Stable has a softly-napped fabric lining on each side of the foam, it "hugs" the fabric nicely so you don't need a lot of pins. I place pins every 6" to 8", positioning them to that they face the outside edges.

Double-check both sides before proceeding to make sure that the fabric is smooth on each side, without wrinkles. Adjust pins as needed to remove wrinkles.

Straight Line Quilting

2. Quilt as desired using a medium-length machine stitch. 

There are many options for quilting: you may stitch straight lines using a walking foot or you may stitch wavy, free-form lines using a darning foot. Straight stitching using a walking foot is easiest for beginners, so we chose that method.

Straight stitching doesn't have to be boring and there are several options for that, too. You can stitch lines vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. You may stitch in just one direction or in both directions to make a grid. You can mark lines or follow lines on the fabric. Each style yields different results. We'll show you two options: straight vertical lines and diagonal lines in a grid following the lines on the fabric.

Option 1: Stitching Straight Vertical Lines Using the Walking Foot and Guide

For this option, we'll stitch straight lines from top to bottom across the piece. This is the easiest method as we only have to quilt in one direction and, since we're following the grain of the fabric, it doesn't shift a lot.

You can mark lines for quilting across the entire piece, or mark one line to get you started straight and then use the guide on your walking foot, or use painter's masking tape to mark lines. Or, you can just "wing" it and stitch wavy, irregularly spaced lines. The choice is yours! Relax and have fun. 

TIP: This little project is small enough that you'll want to make more than one. We suggest that you try a different quilting technique on each one to determine which style you like best. Keep in mind that the fabric often "tells you" which style will look best.

For our project, we're going to mark one vertical line from top to bottom in the center of the piece. After we have stitched along the marked line, we'll use the guide on our walking foot to stitch the rest of the lines. We can adjust the guide to the width that we want. For this small project, we decided to stitch lines 3/4" apart. (We normally stitch lines between 1/2" and 1" apart, depending on the project . . . and how much quilting we want to do!)

We'll mark the center line using a Clover Chaco Liner Pen Style Marker. We chose the white chalk marker for this fabric as it shows up easily.

Straight Line Quilting

Then we'll use the guide on our walking foot* to stitch the subsequent lines. That way we only have to mark one line -- —easy peasy!

*Note: Not all walking feet come with guide attachments. If your walking foot does not have a guide, here's a tip for a method that's quicker than marking all the lines: Position a piece of painter's masking tape next to the first stitched line and then stitch along the edge of the tape. Move the piece of tape to the next line and continue stitching until you've stitched the entire piece. How easy is that?

Installing the guide on the walking foot is easy. The walking foot for my Bernina 1080 includes a removable guide which slides through holes in the top of the foot. There is also a C-shaped adjuster with a screw that is used to hold the guide in place. 

Straight Line Quilting

Position the screw unit on the back of the walking foot, loosening the screw enough to allow the guide to slide through the holes in the side of the foot. Slide the guide into the holes and tighten the screw.

Attach the walking foot to the machine following the instructions in your machine's manual. 

Measure the position for the guide using a ruler. To make this easy, I position a small 4" ruler underneath my foot, aligning the needle with the 1" line on the ruler. Then I move the guide to the line 1¾" line and tighten the screw to hold the guide in place.

We are ready to quilt!

Positioning our hands flat on the fabric to smooth it as we go, we'll stitch from top to bottom along the marked line. Note that the marked line basically goes away as we stitch. Just the air from the needle moving in and out of the fabric gets rid of the markings. Isn't that easy?

Straight Line Quilting

Clip threads at the end and re-position the top of the fabric under the needle, positioning the guide along the just-stitched line of stiching. This will position the needle 3/4" to the right of the previous line. Stitch from top to bottom, keeping the guide along the previous line of stitching.

Straight Line Quilting

Clip the threads at the end and turn the piece 180 degrees. Position the fabric under the needle with the guide along the first line of stitching. This will produce another line of stitching ¾" to the OTHER side of the first line. 

Straight Line Quilting

Stitch from top to bottom, keeping the guide along the first line of stitching.

Straight Line Quilting

Again clip the threads at the end and turn the piece 180 degrees. Continue stitching on each side of the line, alternating between sides until the entire piece is quilted.

Straight Line Quilting

Straight Line Quilting

Option 2: Stitching Diagonal Lines in a Grid Following Lines on the Fabric 

Another option for quilting is to follow printed lines on the fabric. This method is easy and fun because we don't have to mark anything or deal with a guide and the stitching highlights the designs on the fabric. Keep this method in mind when choosing fabrics for your project.

The lining fabric that we chose for our project is printed with a great diagonal plaid. So, for this piece we will stitch from the lining side of the fabric rather than the main fabric side. 

Because we want the main fabric side to look really good when the quilting is complete, we'll need to be a little more careful as we stitch. We'll want to check for wrinkles and puckers on the back side (main fabric side) of our piece. We'll also want to double-check to make sure that our tension looks as good on the bottom as on the top, since the bottom will be the top and the top will be the bottom. . . do I have you totally confused??

To further complicate this particular piece, we'll be stitching diagonal lines which means we'll be stitching on the bias. This can cause additional puckering and movement, so it's especially important to position your hands flat on the fabric and smooth it as you go.

We will start this stitching along one of the printed lines, preferably one that goes through the center diagonal of the fabric. 

Straight Line Quilting

After stitching the first diagonal line, we'll stitch on each side of that line, alternating from side to side until we've stitched all the lines parallel to the original diagonal line. By starting in the middle and working on each side of that, we can smooth out any puckers and avoid excess fabric shifting. 

Straight Line Quilting

Here's another tip: Quilting gloves such as Machingers really help us grip the fabric and prevent our hands from sliding. (And just so you know, Machingers attract the dyes in fabrics, so "dirty" gloves are the sign that you're a great quilter -- it means your gloves have been well-used!)

If you notice any puckers and wrinkles as you go, just use your hands to smooth the fabric apart. The wrinkles will go away. Don't forget to check the bottom and adjust the pins as you go, too.

All of the lines are now stitched in one direction (from left to right). 

Straight Line Quilting

We could stop at this point (see image above) or turn the piece and stitch everything in the other direction, too, creating a diagonal grid. 

TIP: If your piece looks a bit wrinkly and puckery, you'll find that stitching the other direction "solves" it. This is one occasion when more can be more!

Flip your piece over and see how it looks on the front. You might be surprised! On our fabric, the printed lines making the plaid design were not evenly spaced. This resulted in a combination of small "squares" and larger "squares" on the main fabric side of the quilted piece. Fun!

And there you have it! Two different looks for your quilted fabric, each done only with straight stitching. 

Straight Line Quilting

Note how the diagonal stitching lines along the printed lines of the fabric really accentuate the plaid while the vertical straight lines de-emphasize the design.

Straight Line Quilting

Next Up: 

5. Trim the Quilted Fabric and Seal the Edges

Sunday, July 26, 2015

3. Stash and Dash - Cutting Instructions

Summer Sew Along from


We will need:

For this step we will need the fat quarter of main fabric, fat quarter of lining fabric, and half yard of contrasting fabric as well as the ByAnnie's Soft and Stable, vinyl, and mesh.


In this step we will cut out and label the fabrics, Soft and Stable, mesh, and vinyl needed to make the Stash and Dash fold-over organizer. 

Let's get started:

Begin by printing the Stash and Dash pattern. You will find complete Cutting Instructions on page 2. Don't forget to cut out the labels on the last page so that you can label each piece as you go. 

NOTE: Measurements are listed as length (lengthwise grain) of fabric x width (crosswise grain of fabric). For a fat quarter, the length is 18" and the width is 21-22".

We recommend that you cut all pieces using a rotary cutter, mat and rotary cutting rulers. You will get much more accurate pieces than if you try to cut with scissors. We recommend a 45mm or 60mm rotary cutter and a mat that is at least 36" x 24". 

We used 8½" x 24", 12½" x 12½", and 15" x 15" rulers for cutting the pieces for this project. If you have a 20½" x 20½" ruler, use it for cutting the largest pieces. This is a ruler that you don't use often, but when you need it, it is so wonderful to have!

If you are new to rotary cutting, be sure to check out the Tips for Rotary Cutting the Contrasting Fabric below before you begin.

Most of the cutting is very straightforward for this project as you are cutting out only a few pieces from the main and lining fabrics. There are more pieces cut from the contrasting fabric, so we're including a cutting layout and tips for rotary cutting the contrasting fabric below.  



1. Fold the half yard of contrasting fabric in half to 18" x 21/22". Position the fabric on the cutting mat with the fold to the left. NOTE: Some sewists prefer to align the fabric with the lines on the mat. Personally, I do not bother with that. I prefer to use the lines on the ruler to square up and cut the pieces. I find that to be easier and more accurate.

2. Square up the long (42") edge of fabric by aligning the long edge of a 24" ruler along the long edge of the fabric, making sure that straight lines on the ruler are also straight along the folded edge of the fabric.

3. While the fabric is folded, cut a 2¾” strip, taking care to make sure that the lines of the ruler are aligned on both the long and the folded edge of fabric. 

4. From that strip cut the 2¾” x 19” strap along with one 2" x 5" and two 1¼” x 8” bindings for the vinyl pockets.

5. Open the fabric and cut the 13½” x 13½” square for the bias binding. I prefer to use a 15” square ruler for this step. Align the ruler with the 13½” marks on the left and bottom side of the fabric piece. Cut along the right and top edges of the ruler.

6. Cut a 12" x 9" square for the pocket bindings. Subcut the square into six 2" x 9" bindings.

Next Up: 

4. Quilt the Fabric and Soft and Stable

Click here for the full schedule of postings for ByAnnie's Summer Sew Along - Stash and Dash.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

2. Stash and Dash - Tools You Will Need For This Project

Summer Sew Along from

Tools You Will Need for This Project

Having the proper tools for any job makes accomplishing the task so much easier and more fun. Here is a list of tools that we'd recommend for use in the Stash and Dash project:
  • Sewing machine in good working order with these feet:
    • Walking foot (with guide if available)
A walking foot is essential when machine quilting to keep the top and bottom layers moving together at the same rate. This helps to prevent puckers and wrinkles in the bottom fabric. Many feet come with guides that can be attached to help guide straight-line stitching. Using a guide means less marking as you can just run the guide along the previous line of stitching.
    • 1/4" foot
A 1/4" foot makes sewing accurate ¼" seams easy. Some feet (such as the amazing Bernina #37 foot) also help make accurate 1/8" and 1/16" seams quick and easy.
    • Zipper foot
A zipper foot enables you to move the needle to one side of the foot and is especially helpful for attaching zippers or sewing in tight spaces. We love Bernina's #4 foot as it gives great visibility while maintaining good contact with the fabric. 
    • Teflon foot (optional)
A Teflon foot is helpful when sewing on vinyl as it cuts down on static and drag. We love Bernina's #53 foot which also is perfect for sewing 1/8" seams.
    • Rotary cutter and mat
    We recommend a 45mm or 60mm rotary cutter for cutting the project pieces. A 28mm rotary cutter is helpful when rounding the corners; its smaller size makes cutting curves extra easy.

    A 24" x 36" mat will be helpful for this project, though you can get by with a smaller mat if that is all that you have.
    • Quilter's rulers
    We used 4" x 4", 8½" x 24", 12½" x 12½", and 15" x 15" rulers for cutting the pieces for this project.

    If you have a 20½" x 20½" ruler, use it for cutting the largest pieces. This is a ruler that you don't use often, but when you are cutting large pieces, it is so wonderful to have!
    • Scissors/snips
    We use rotary cutters to cut the pieces for this project but you'll need scissors for clipping threads, trimming dog ears, etc. Our favorites are the Fiskars Easy Action 5" Micro-Tip spring-action scissors.

    For clipping threads, we love the Snip-Eze Multi-Use Comfort Snips
    These light-weight small snips enable you to get really close to the fabric and are extra-sharp for a quick and easy cut. Just squeeze to cut. Their curved tips prevent cutting fabric and also allow the snips to fit easily under the presser foot.
    • Needles
    For this project we recommend a #90/14 topstitch needle.

    We prefer using topstitch needles for all of our sewing. Topstitch needles are strong and sturdy and have an eye that is twice as big as a regular needle eye which makes for extra-easy threading. My mature eyes love this! The large eye also prevents thread from shredding as you sew. They also have a groove down the shank in which the thread rests. This, too, prevents shredding and fraying of the thread.

    We love Superior Threads' titanium-coated topstitch needles; their titanium coating helps them stay sharp longer and extends the life of the needle.
    • Pins
    We recommend two types of pins for this project: extra-fine pins for pinning fabric pieces together and a longer, sturdier quilting-style pin for pinning parts of the project together. These are our favorites:

    Extra-fine pins
    These extra-fine pins pass smoothly through fabric and are especially helpful when pinning binding strips together.

    Quilting pins
    These extra-long yellow-head quilting pins are strong and perfect for pinning project pieces together, especially when you are using Soft and Stable or batting. 
      • Wonder Clips
      Wonder Clips are one of the most useful sewing tools ever devised and are a match made in heaven for projects made with Soft and Stable. Easy to grip, they open wide to hold multiple layers. We use them almost any time we are joining pieces on an outside edge. We recommend that you have at least 10 of the regular-sized Wonder Clips for this project, but you won't regret buying a pack of 50 clips. They are that wonder-ful and useful!
      • Stiletto/pressing tool
      This is a tool that we consider to be every bit as important as a rotary cutter. 

      The point of the stiletto enables you to hold pieces in place easily and is especially helpful when piecing or attaching bindingsThe point helps to grab and pull the fabric into place and you can keep the tip of the stiletto in place on the fabric almost until the needle reaches the point. It is impossible to keep your fingers in place when you get that close to the needle. 

      We also love the wooden pressing tool for pressing seams open. There is no need to move to the ironing board for just a small seam. I can press right at my machine!

      NOTE: The stiletto/pressing tool that Annie is using in these tutorials is a prototype of a brand-new tool which Annie designed. In development for well over a year, the ByAnnie Stiletto/Pressing Tool combines two favorite tools and adds improvements such as a ground tip for better grip, flattened sides to prevent rolling, and more. The new ByAnnie Stiletto/Pressing Tool should be available in early fall 2015. Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter so that you will be among to first to know when it is in stock. 
      • Chalk markers
      We'll mark lines on the organizer to indicate where to place the strap and pockets. The lines don't need to last long, so we prefer marking with something temporary but easily visible. We love the Clover Chaco Liner Pen Style Markers for this project. Lines and marks are easily visible and the marker is easy to use with straight edge rulers.  The tapered fine point permits accurate drawing of both straight lines and free hand curves. We prefer using the white marker on medium to dark fabrics and the blue or silver markers on light fabrics.  
      • Quilting gloves
      Keep your hands from slipping off the fabric when quilting by wearing specially-designed quilter's gloves. We especially like the Machinger's brand. 
      • Basting spray (optional)
      If you like, you may use basting spray to attach the fabric to the Soft and Stable before quilting. Because Soft and Stable has a soft, lightly napped fabric on each side, it "hugs" your fabric, so we usually don't bother with spray. We just smooth the fabric to the Soft and Stable and pin every 6" to 8". It's your call!
      • Turning Tool
      We like to make straps and handles that match our project so usually make a fabric tube into which we insert polypro strapping. These tubes are narrow and turning them right side out can be a challenge. That's where a turning tool comes in handy. We love the Quick Turn Fabric Tube Turning Tool and will demonstrate it in the tutorial. Perfect for making straps and handles, the Quick Turn tool comes with 3 sizes of plastic cylinders and wooden rods used to push and turn fabric tubes quickly and easily.
      • Hemostat gripper
      This handy tool is one of those items you don't know you need until you have one! With gripper teeth and locking handles, a hemostat gripper comes in handy for many uses. In this project, we'll use the hemostat to adjust the polypro strapping inside the fabric strap. 
      • Bias tape maker
      Small and simple, yet big in convenience, a 12 mm bias tape maker makes 1/2" bias strips as easy as 1-2-3. Post #20 will show all the steps.
      • Corner rounder
      It is much easier to attach a binding to a curved corner than a square corner, so we will round the corners of the organizer before binding. We like a gentle curve, so will mark around the edges of a 2-1/2" round object. A cone of thread is the perfect size — and it keeps our fingers up and out of the way. Cheap and easy!
      • Seam ripper
      Though none of us like to un-sew a seam, sometimes it's just something a person's gotta do. We've got two favorite seam rippers, both of which we use regularly.

      Clover's classic white plastic seam ripper is light-weight, comfortable to hold, has an extra-sharp, well-shaped point and is our go-to seam ripper.

      We also like the Seam-Fix Seam Ripper. It goes a step beyond ripping seams as it addresses all those
       little threads that are left when you use a seam ripper to take apart a seam. Instead of taking the time to pluck out all of those little bits of thread, you can use the Seam-Fix to simply erase the bits of thread right off your project. The specially-designed plastic tips at each end make this easy. The Seam-Fix Mini Seam Ripper is the perfect size for carrying in a sewing kit.

      Next Up: 

      3. Cutting Instructions

      Click here for the full schedule of postings for ByAnnie's Summer Sew Along - Stash and Dash.

      Friday, July 24, 2015

      1. Stash and Dash - Gather the Necessary Supplies

      Summer Sew Along from

      Welcome! Thanks for joining us for the 2nd Annual Summer Challenge and Sew Along sponsored by 

      We are so excited to have you follow us as we work step by step to make a Stash and Dash fold-over organizer.

      Over the course of the coming days, we will share daily blog posts covering all the techniques and steps to make Stash and Dash. Click here to find the schedule of the blog posts and links to each.

      In this initial post, we will start with the basics: gathering the supplies you will need to complete your own Stash and Dash. 


      • Main Fabric (used for body of organizer): one fat quarter (approximately 18" x 21-22")
      • Lining Fabric (used for lining of organizer): one fat quarter (approximately 18" x 21-22")
      • Contrasting Fabric (used for bindings and strap): half yard (approximately 18" x 42"-44")
      Each organizer is made using three fabrics. We suggest 100% cotton quilting fabrics, but other fabrics such as home dec fabric or faux leather (for the main fabric) would work well, too. For the bindings, we'd suggest sticking with a lighter-weight fabric such as cotton.

      When picking fabrics, there are a couple of points to consider:

      1. Avoid directional prints until you are familiar with the process.  
      • Because the organizer is made from one piece of fabric that folds and wraps, using a directional fabric can be problematic. So, we recommend that you steer clear of fabrics with a distinct directional pattern until you are familiar with the process. You don't want your little dancing sheep to be boogying upside down when the flap folds over, do you?
      2. A "busy" fabric will make stitching lines less obvious.
      • The stitching lines which attach the inner mesh pockets will be visible on the outside of the organizer. They will be less noticeable if the main fabric has a lot going on.
      In post #3 we'll provide cutting instructions for all the pieces.

      To give the organizer body and stability, we will quilt a layer of ByAnnie's Soft and Stable between the main and lining fabric. Using ByAnnie's Soft and Stable™ in place of batting or other fusible interfacings gives our project a firm foundation. The bag also won't be slouchy or wrinkly.  Yet, because ByAnnie's Soft and Stable™ is so lightweight, the bag (when it's empty anyway!) will weigh hardly anything.

      In post #4, we'll cover the easy steps for quilting your fabric and ByAnnie's Soft and Stable together. We'll show you a couple of options for quilting and explain the pros and cons of each.

      Post #5 will show you how to trim the quilted fabric and "seal" the edges, a quick and easy step that makes everything easier down the road.

      Mesh Fabric:
      Mesh fabric is perfect for see-through pockets. It has a slight amount of stretch and adds no bulk to the bag.  Stash and Dash's three inner zippered pockets are made using mesh fabric.

      Mesh is available in two styles: a light-weight version which comes in black or white or a mid-weight version which is available in red, pink, or lime green.

      In posts #8 and #9, we'll share some tips for working with mesh fabric, including tricks for attaching zippers easily and professionally. 

      • Vinyl, clear, heavyweight: 7" x 5"
      Our clear, heavy-weight vinyl is perfect for strong, sturdy pockets that enable you to easily view the contents. It is easy to sew through, moisture resistant, and can be wiped clean with a cloth. Flexible, yet sturdy, our premium weight 16-gauge vinyl is double polished for maximum clarity.

      Don't let sewing on vinyl scare you! In post #11, you'll learn tips and techniques for sewing with vinyl.

      Zipper and Zipper Pull: 
       *There are THREE zippers in this bag, but in post #7 you'll discover how you can use ONE 30" zipper and an extra pull to make zippers for all three pockets. Posts #9 and #10 will cover Annie's extra-easy method of zipper installation for mesh pockets. You're going to love it!

      ** You may also consider purchasing two contrasting zipper pulls for a more unique look. 

      Because we don't want to worry about losing the contents of our Stash and Dash organizer, we've added zippers to each of the three inside pockets. This assures that everything will stay in place, safe and secure.

      We prefer using handbag zippers for several reasons:
      • They have an extra-wide zipper tape which makes them easier to install and gives a decorative element to the bag.
      • Their extra-large pull is easy to grab and has an extra-large hole for easy insertion of a fabric pull.
      • Handbag zippers are soft and flexible so they are easy to cut and sew through - no more broken needles! 
      • Their nylon coil is strong and durable zip after zip.
      Stash and Dash has a fabric-covered strap closure that enables the bag to be securely closed no matter how much you've stuffed into the pockets. Inserting polypro strapping into the fabric strap strengthens the strap and ensures long-lasting wear.

      In post #6, you'll learn an extra-easy method for making straps and handles which you'll find invaluable ANY time you want to make handles for purses or bags.

      A 1" wide-mouth slider attached to the strap enables the bag to expand or contract depending on its contents. To close the bag, just pull the strap through the slider which is attached to the bag. 

      Post #12 will explain how to add the slider and strap to the bag so that the bag can expand or contract depending on its contents.


      You will need thread to quilt the fabrics and Soft and Stable and to assemble the project. 

      The quilting thread will show on both the main and lining fabrics, so choose a color that will complement both of those fabrics. 

      The assembly thread will show mostly on the contrasting fabric, so we'd suggest that you pick a color to match the contrasting fabric. 

      Our thread of choice for this project is Superior Threads' So Fine! #50. So Fine! #50 is a filament polyester which is ideal for quilting, applique, bobbin, construction, apparel, and more. It comes in 134 colors so you're sure to find just the right color(s) for your project. For our project we used So Fine! #50 in color 413 for both the quilting and the assembly.

      Basting Tape:

      It is helpful to use a piece of double-sided basting tape to attach the zippers to the mesh pockets. We'll cover this trick in Post #9. This double-faced basting tape eliminates pinning and makes positioning pieces really easy.

      Finishing Kits:

      Save time and money by purchasing a Stash and Dash Finishing Kit

      Each kit contains just the right amount of Soft and Stable, mesh, vinyl, and strapping plus a 30" zipper with an extra color-coordinated pull and a 1" wide-mouth slider. Finishing kits do NOT include fabric, thread, or basting tape. 

      Choose your fabrics and then order a kit to match. Pick a kit with either antique brass or nickel hardware. Then choose from zippers in 48 colors. Kits will be provided with white mesh and white strapping. If you prefer black mesh (and/or strapping), please include a note with your order. The strapping is covered with fabric, so white works under most anything.

      NEXT UP:

      2. Tools That You Will Need for This Project (aka Annie's Favorite Tools!)

      Click here for the full schedule of postings for ByAnnie's Summer Sew Along - Stash and Dash.