Friday, July 24, 2015

1. Stash and Dash - Gather the Necessary Supplies

free sewing tutorial

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. 


free sewing tutorial

  • 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 or seams.  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.


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.

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