foundation fabric & the harper handbag (bonus hardware tutorial too!)

A few years back I met Shayla, one half of the mother/daughter design duo known as Sassafras-Lane Design, and I knew that we’d be longtime friends!  After all Shayla and I had so many important things in common that just further solidified our friendship – our love of coffee, sarcasm and all fabric bright and happy.  When Shayla told me that she was designing a line of fabric with Windham I knew it would be amazing before I even saw it!  I was thrilled to get my hands on it before market and made not one 1 but 2 projects for my booth from it.  Below are a couple pics from market of my Hopscotch Quilt and the crazy patchwork version of the Harper Handbag that I made.  The bag was made from all the leftover scraps from the quilt.  I have never made anything like it before but I love love LOVE how it turned out!


Hopscotch Quilt – I used 28 of the 30 fabrics from the line (all except black & light gray)


This Harper was made using all my scraps from the Hopscotch quilt.  The back/sides are made in the black print and the inside is my favorite emerald green print!

For the Foundation Fabric Blog Hop I decided to make another Harper using the beautiful grays and whites that are included in this line – a big contrast to the first one I made. Since I chose the darker gray for the main part of the bag I thought I would use some fun orange cork for the accents. Orange is after all the signature Sassafras color! Since I decided to make a new bag I thought it would also be a fun to add a tutorial using my new Icicle Strap Anchors. Follow below for step by step instructions!



A beautiful Harper using just the line neutrals and some orange cork with the new Icicle Strap Anchors in Gunmetal  🙂

tutorial : adding icicle strap anchors

First you’ll need to gather some tools: Your Icicle Anchors which come in a pack of 4 in 3 different finishes, small sharp scissors, screwdriver, glue, a pen or pencil and a ruler.


On the back side of the bag front (fusible fleece side up) find the center and mark.  Next draw a line horizontally 1.5″ down from the top.  Measure out 2.5″ on either side of the center and draw a line – the lines will be 5″ apart.  Place the washers as shown on the lines you drew and mark inside each of the 6 holes with a pen or pencil.


Using your sharp scissors, make a hole from the back through to the front.  The back of the hardware has pegs (for stability) and holes (for the screws).  Make sure to use the scissors to enlarge the holes for the screws so they can twist in tightly.



I like to screw in the top part first and then add some glue to the washer for extra stability.  My glue of choice is Gutermann HT2 but you can also use E6000.  You want a strong, fast drying, metal to fabric compatible glue.  After gluing the washer you can finish screwing the bottom part of the anchor. Repeat with all 4 anchors.  The only other change that you will need to make to your Harper Handbag is to make the handles 1″ wide rather than 1.5″.  Simply cut your cork handle strips 2″ wide to start and follow the directions from there.  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  All hardware, glue and scissors can be found on the website!




Happy Sewing 🙂





Prima Diva Sew Along – Day 4


Today is the day to finish up our Prima Divas!  Just in time for Christmas (it’s only 1 week from today).  If you’re like me, you haven’t finished your Christmas sewing.  If you’re not like me and you’re actually done then I don’t think we can be friends!  Kidding!!

I’m going to skip a few steps for this post; some of the simple things that you can easily complete on your own.  You don’t need my help and I can’t offer  any additional tips for you when it comes to the open pockets or sewing the band to the outside.  At this point should have everything complete – all pockets, wrist strap or loops (optional), outside band sewn on, side panels made etc…

The left picture shows all the inside pieces: side panels, open pockets, zippered pocket, card pocket & of course the lining.  The top right are the pieces for the outside: outside panel with band sewn on, wrist strap (optional!) and frame.  Not pictured: fleece or Soft and Stable.  Bottom right: Open pocket pressed and prepped.

Before adding any of the pockets you will need to draw the registration lines on the zipper pocket and lining piece.  These 3 lines (One centered, one to the left and one to the right) will be key to adding the pockets on properly.  The picture below of all the pieces for the wallet inside shows the lines drawn on the lining & zippered pocket – sorry it’s not darker.


You will also need to transfer and press the 3 lines on the side panels using your template.  There should be a crease in the center as well as 2 creases (one on either side) that are angled out.  Press these really well to make the final step easier.  What I like to do for my side panels is first sew the outside and lining together.  Before turning right sides out I draw the lines from the template and then press really well.  Then I turn, press again and topstitch.  By doing this it “trains” the interfacing to fold in that same spot making the final steps of the wallet easier.


Next add your open pockets as per Step 10 in your pattern.  You can sew 1/8″ to 1/4″ from the edge – it’s your choice!


Your zippered pocket is next, followed by the card pockets.  Follow Steps 11 & 12 for details on these.  As you can see below there should be a 3/8″ gap on either side of these pockets.  Note: It seems redundant, I know, but I like to sew on all 3 lines of the zippered pocket for extra security.  It also doesn’t matter if your stitching is perfect for these steps since you won’t see it later on.  Your wallet will also be starting to get thick as this point with all the layers.  I have found that a Microtex 90/14 needle works best for me.  Try a jeans or leather needle too.  You are sewing through A LOT of layers but it is possible!  Take your time…

Once the pockets are sewn in place you will add the side panels as per Step 14 (I’m skipping Step 13 for now but we’ll go back later).  When adding the panels don’t be to concerned with neatness.  These are sewn within the seam allowance so neatness doesn’t matter until Step 15 when you add the outside of the wallet.


Before we go any further we will add the wrist strap to the outside of the wallet (right or left side).  If you decided to add loops for a chain you will add them to the lining top.  If you have decided to skip a strap or loops you can move on to the next step.  Sew the strap about 1″ down and stitch several times within the seam allowance.


When adding the outside panel to the lining (Step 15), things will start to get a little tricky due to the thickness.  I feel that this is actually the harder part to sew than the side panels.  Your sewing machine foot tends to pull away from the bulky pockets and doesn’t always want to sew straight.  I find that if I take my time and gently steer the wallet in the right direction under the foot that I can make this work.  You will be sewing this seam twice so if the first run isn’t perfect you can sew it again!  You want to sew twice since this the main seam of the wallet.  This does take a little patience.  Once you have the outside added (remember you have NOT added the fleece or Soft and Stable yet!!) you can turn your wallet and give it a good press (with steam preferably).


Let’s talk a bit about faux leather.  I have been using it for a while now and love the durability and professional look it adds.  I buy mine from Etsy seller Worth Fabrics.  I love their selection!  I used faux leather on the outside of my wallet for this post.  I did add my fusible interfacing just like the pattern states.  I found that it was quite easy to sew through and since I was sewing on the backside of it, a Teflon foot wasn’t necessary.  These long seams weren’t any more difficult to sew through but what was harder due to the faux leather was 1. Turning right sides out & 2. Pressing.  You can’t, or should I say don’t want to, put a hot iron on vinyl of any sort.  I used a pressing cloth but I did find that my seams didn’t lay as flat.  It’s nearly impossible to completely flatten them because of the thickness and rigidity of the faux leather.  Do I still like the results?  Yes!  Will I use it again?  Yes!!!  Moving along…

There are only a few final steps to complete your wallet.  First, closing the card pockets as per Step 16.  Next, sewing the side panels as per Step 17.  I think this is the part that seems to scare everyone but it’s not as hard as you might think.  In the pattern I mentioned a few of my tricks & tips to try – larger needle, longer stitches, etc…  The hardest part of this step is figuring out how your machine best sews through these layers and also not being afraid to bend and smoosh your wallet to get it under the foot.  Use your wonder clips for this step (HUGE help and easier than pins) and work through the sides one at a time.  Don’t clip all the sides at once – this is more trouble some than helpful.  Sew slowly and only sew as far as you can – You don’t have to sew all the way to the bottom.  A stiletto helps too!  I also find that if I stitch forward and back, forward and back, working my way down, that I’m more successful than if I try to sew all the way down and then back up.  I’ve had a lot of success with the Microtex needle too.   The tip is sharper than  a jeans or leather needle and I feel that it glides through the layers better.  Just my opinion!


Once all the sides are sewn in place you will need to add your filler of choice.  For this particular wallet I used the fusible fleece since the faux leather outside was already a bit thick.  I do love the finished look of Annie’s Soft and Stable when I’m using all quilter’s cotton.  It was too thick for this wallet.  Add the filler (Step 18) and then the frame (Step 19).  Be sure to sew the raw edges closed as close to the edge as possible.  This will help when adding the frame.


Congrats!  You finished your first (and hopefully not your last) Prima Diva!


As I mentioned, many times, the success of this wallet will depend on how well you and your machine work together.  It’s not what I would consider a beginner project but it’s no where near as advanced as some other bag patterns I’ve seen.  Confident beginner is the level I assigned it.  Someone who can operate their machine, read instructions and sew a straight line.  I had a student this past weekend with very limited sewing experience finish one with no issues.  I am often asked if I have any secrets I haven’t shared, how do I sew this so easily?  Well here it all is, all my “secrets”….

I sew on a Janome 7700 Horizon.  I don’t consider this to be a “fancy” machine.  It’s large, yes, and red and has extra throat space but it doesn’t offer anything more than other home machines.  Same stitches, 1/4″ foot, extension table – everything your machine does.  I have been asked if I use an industrial machine for samples – no.  I own a Juki 98TL which would probably be better for this project but I’ve never tried it.  Do I use my built in walking foot?  Not as much as I should and definitely not for the  this wallet.  Sometimes I use it for the card pockets but only if I’m not being completely lazy!  When I sold bags, before I wrote patterns, all my bags were sewn on a Husqvarna Viking Interlude 485 and then an Emerald 183.  Smaller machines but they still offered the same features as my Janome. I use Aurifil 50 weight thread for everything, Fil-Tec prewound bobbins and Schmetz needles – Microtex 90/14 for the heavy stuff and Universal 80/12 for regular sewing.  I use quilt shop quality fabrics and Pellon brand fusible Decor Bond interfacing (#809) & Thermolam fleece (#971F).  I buy plastic zippers (no metal for me) from ZipIt on Etsy.  I always use my needle down position and typically watch reruns of Friends & the Walking Dead on Netflix while I sew.  That’s everything there is to know about me!

Happy Sewing ❤




Prima Diva Sew Along Day 3 – Card Pockets

This blog post is majorly overdue (which seems to be the ongoing theme of my life) and I apologize!  Since returning from Houston 2 weeks ago things have been a bit nuts – In a great way!  My husband and I own an auto repair shop which has been steadily picking up.  Great news, yes of course, but that also means more work for me.  I am my husband’s secretary / office assistant / errand runner / everything he doesn’t want to do person.  I am also super excited to announce that I am writing my own book!  Yeah!!  I have been talking to C&T publishing for months now and it’s finally happening.  I can’t say much more at this point but just to let you know, I am over the top excited!!

Now let’s get talking about Prima Divas.  At this point you have already finished your cutting, pressing and made your zipper pockets.  Now it’s time to complete the card pocket.  As per Step 3 of your pattern, go ahead and grab your supplies, press your card pockets and topstitch.  You will also want to draw the center line on your outside interfaced pocket base.  This line will be important later for adding the last card pocket as well as for the final steps of assembling the wallet.

Here are a few tips for finishing this unit:

For the large card pocket, after sewing you will want to press the seam in the center.  But don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be perfect at all!  See below; the seam is pressed towards the center.  It just needs to not be on the edge of the pocket.


The center line that you drew on the base should be drawn in the same direction as topstitching, across the 7 1/2″ width.  You will align the center of the large pocket with this line.  You can fold the pocket in half & press or mark the line.  Mine is marked with a pen so you can see it better.


When adding the pockets it helps to use a walking foot if you have one.  Because the base has interfacing but the pockets don’t, they will stretch on you (see below the sample made without a walking foot).  You can always trim but using a walking foot will make them look smoother and not stretch out.

Once all the pockets are sewn in place (Step 4 of your pattern) and trimmed you will need to divide them down the center.  I always like to start in the center and work my way out.  If you start and stop in the center (which will later become the bottom) you won’t have to worry about any threads popping and you will stitch twice on each side for extra durability.  Since the center can become a stress point you want to make it as strong as possible.  Also, starting and stopping on the bottom will keep it looking neater too!  You only  have to sew to the top of the pockets but if you choose to stitch to the top of the base that’s fine too.



Remember to ask questions as we go.  You can post them here, on Instagram or Facebook.

Happy Sewing ❤


Prima Diva Sew Along Day 2 – Zippers

So sorry for the delay in posting – my studio has been taken over by Quilt Market prep!  I leave in just 3 days and I have made so much but still feel totally unprepared.  It’s the downfall of market….but that’s a different post for anther day.

Today’s post is all about zippers!  Raise your hand if zippers scare you?  It’s ok, they used to scare me too. I once told a friend of mine that she didn’t need a zippered pocket in a bag I was making for her.  Who uses a zippered pocket anyway?!  I went to extreme lengths to avoid them.  But now that I have realized that they aren’t so scary or hard I love them.  Seriously, LOVE zippers!

At this point you should have all your fabrics picked out, cut and fused.  The finished wallet has 2 separate zip pockets but we will make just one unit.  Grab your outside interfaced zippered pocket pieces, lining pieces and 2 zippers.  First thing we’ll do is make a sandwich.  The fabric is the bread and the zipper is the meat – really that simple!


Place the zipper between one outside and one lining piece as described in Step 2 of your pattern.  Sometimes trying to pin all 3 layers can be tricky – fabric shifts, zippers move.  Here are a few pin tricks I use – see which one works for you.  I usually pin one fabric layer to the zipper and then add the last piece.  You can pin vertically or horizontally.  My favorite way to install a zipper though is using 1/4″ wide fusible tape.  You can fuse the zipper in place rather than pinning and it will stay securely where you need it.  One thing I will mention though – if you sew with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance you may have a little sticky tape showing.  The tape is exactly 1/4″ wide.  I make sure that I have a “fat” seam allowance for this technique.  And remember, sew with interfaced piece on top to prevent stretching.


Place the zippers face down on the outside of piece as described in Step 2


Pin horizontally or vertically



Place the lining right sides together and some more pins.

My favorite method – fusible tape!



Fuse the tape to the right side of the outside, peel off paper and fuse zipper in place.                                                              You can fuse or pin the lining in place.


After you have sewn the zippers in place you can turn your piece and add the remaining outside & lining piece.  Because you are sewing on opposite sides of the zipper, the piece itself will bow or bunch on you.  Don’t worry  -this is normal!  It will flatten out once you finish the pocket.


Don’t worry if it bunches. It will flatten out!


Place the outsides right sides together and the linings right sides together.

You may be wondering why I chose to use 14″ zippers for a 7 1/2″ wide pocket.  I have a couple reasons actually.  For starters, I’m lazy.  I’m extremely lazy.  I love to buy zippers in tons of colors and keep an inventory so I have lots of choices but I hate sorting them by size.  It sounds stupid but I just don’t have the storage or time to be organizing zippers.  If I buy all 14″ long zippers then I can use them for all but 2 of my bag patterns.  And for those patterns I use Annie’s double pull zippers which are the BEST for handbags. The other reason I use such a long zipper is to make the finishing and top stitching easier.  Pressing this pocket nice and flat gives you a crisp, clean look which I can’t achieve with short zippers.  The long zippers allow me to open up the pocket flat, press and topstitch with no issues.



Topstitch along each side of the zippers.

Complete the pocket as per Step 2 by trimming the sides and stitching the edges.  Set aside when done.  Next up are the card pockets!


Trim edges, clip or pin and stitch the side. Voila! A finished pocket!

So now that you made a zippered pocket, are you still scared?  Not bad right?  See, I told you zippers weren’t hard 🙂

The next post for card pockets won’t be until November when I return from market / festival.  In the meantime though if you choose to go ahead you can always email me or leave a comment here with any questions.

Happy Sewing!


Prima Diva Sew Along Day 1 – Intro


First, let me say thank you to everyone who has decided to participate in the Prima Diva Sew Along!  This is my first sew along so I’m super excited and I hope you are too!  I did however plan this at a bad time of the year for me since I am leaving for Quilt Market followed by Quilt Festival on October 22 for 12 days. That won’t stop me though!  We might have some extra time in between posts though so please bear with me 🙂

I will be posting pics on my Instagram and Facebook page and blogging here as we go along.  These posts will stay up so if you miss anything you can always go back later!

There are no official rules – this is just for fun!  But here are a few things to keep in mind:

1.My goal for this sew along is to walk you through the pattern by giving helpful hints & tips as we go.  Please feel free to ask questions – no question is stupid and remember, someone else is probably wondering the same thing.

2.Post your progress pictures as we go along on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #primadivasewalong. You can also use #primadivawallet #primadivaclutch and feel free to tag me!

3. Be kind!  Everyone sews at different skill levels and makes different fabric choices.  No negative comments please!  Let’s encourage each other instead.  And please remember that I’m not perfect either.  The pattern has been tested but sometimes mistakes get by.  I am only human.


First things first you will need to get your pattern and supplies together.  The pattern is available on my website under the patterns page or Diva page as well as my Etsy page.  I have it listed as an Instant Download on Etsy and a PDF (emailed) on my website.  I am happy to mail a hard copy (US only) if you order off the website.  Please just add a note to seller!  Frames are also available in Silver, Gunmetal & Antique Brass.  This pattern uses ONLY the 7 1/2″ frame.

Let’s talk supplies now!

After you order your pattern please go ahead and get your cutting done as per Page 1 of the pattern.  I recommend labeling your pieces too – there are a lot of pieces to this wallet so labeling them will make much easier.   You will also want to fuse your Pellon Decor Bond to the pieces that need interfacing.  This is my interfacing of choice and I use it for all my bags. If you haven’t worked with a fusible before, here are a few tips for you:

Always press from the fabric side first.  If you press from the interfacing side it can leave wrinkles and sometimes (depending on how hot your iron is) it can wrinkle.  I use an extremely hot iron with steam and I try to iron on the back only if necessary.


This pattern works best with non-directional fabrics.  We will be turning and sewing the pockets down in a way that works best with fabrics that can go in any direction.  As you can see below I didn’t follow my own advice and now my little deer is upside down!  Oops…  I did however make the outside with the same directional fabric and just added an extra seam – these measurements are included in the pattern as well.


For the front band I added some Renaissance Ribbon for decoration.  They have a great selection at Hawthorne Threads.  You can add anything you like to the band which is decorative and functional (it helps to hold the frame on better!)


Clover Wonder Clips are so helpful when making this wallet and other bags too.  If you haven’t tried them out you should!  They’re much better than pins at holding your pieces in place.


That’s it for now.  Grab your pattern & supplies and get ready to start making your wallet next week.  Show us your fabric choices too!  #primadivasewalong #primadivawallet #primadivaclutch

If you have any questions or comments that you would like to discuss privately you can always email me –



Stella Sling Bag & How to Add a Twist Lock Closure

Today is the official release of my new pattern, the Stella Sling Bag – Yeah!  I’m so happy with how this pattern turned out and I’ve been having a great time making samples.  Today also happens to be my grandfather’s birthday.  He would be 89 years old today and even though he isn’t here with us anymore, I still like to wish him a happy birthday.  He’s probably celebrating by eating jelly beans and laughing at his own jokes!  If you want to get your own PDF copy of the Stella Swing bag you can buy it right here.  It’s on sale for $7.50 today through August  28th.  Go grab a copy!!

I also thought this would be a great time to show you how easy it is to install a Twist Lock closure.  I’ve had several people ask if they are hard to install and they’re not at all.  Here are some of my tips for installing a twist lock:

The lock is comprised of 2 halves – the male end and washer is attached to the outside of the bag.  The female side has 2 pieces that are held together with screws.  A few other supplies that you’ll need are:

  • Screwdriver
  • Fray Check
  • Strong glue such as E600 or Gutermann HT2
  • A pen or pencil
  • Sharp scissors & a seam ripper

Male end & washer


Female end

Open the female side as shown above and set the screws aside.  Follow the directions in the pattern you are using for the placement of the lock.  For example, the Stella hardware is placed centered and right up next to the topstitching line.  On the front of the bag flap, mark the opening with a pen or pencil.  Next using your sharp scissors, cut out the opening.  Take it a little bit at a time and keep checking the size against the opening.  You will also need to cut a little V where the screw holes are.



Notice the V’s on each end for the screws

Next, fray check the edges and add some glue to the hardware & flap.  Screw the 2 halves together – the screws go on the back of the flap.


IMG_1075To add the male end, first find the center of the bag top and measure down 2″ (for the Stella, check your pattern requirements).  Use the washer to mark where the hardware needs to go.  I use the pointed end of my seam ripper to cut the slits and fray check them as well.  I add some glue to this piece too.  Place the hardware through the front, add the washer and then add some scraps of batting for extra durability.  This will prevent the hardware from ripping or pulling on the fabric.  Fold the prongs into each other and close tightly – I use a rubber mallet for this.  Voila!  You’re done!


2015-07-24 11.09.38

Winner Announcement – Charleston Blog Tour!!

We have a winner!  I used the Random Number Generator (for the first time ever I might add) and it selected lucky number 11.  Congrats to NinaLemon!  You won a yard of Charleston fabric (see full line here) and the Stella Swing Bag Pattern!  Please email me (jessica AT sewmanycreationsny DOT com) with your fabric choice for Timeless Treasures along with your shipping address.  I will also be mailing you the first printed copy of the Stella Swing Bag next month when it is released!  Congrats!!!

Random num gen

Thank you to everyone who participated and commented on my post.  I will be doing something special for the Stella Swing Bag when the pattern is ready so stay tuned.  Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or here for more giveaways & sewing adventures!

Happy Sewing!