Sallie Tomato Faux Leather Tour

Today I am excited to share my project for the Sallie Tomato Faux Leather Tour. Their new line of vegan faux leather is super soft, beautiful, and easy to sew with. The price point makes it a great alternative to cork or leather, and it’s perfect for a variety of projects and skill levels.


I knew right away that I wanted to do something quilted, and combine my two sewing loves – bag making and quilting. I chose to use the Black and Concrete faux leather in the Legacy finish to make a Sallie Tomato Tiffany handbag, and used Sallie Tomato hardware and zippers by the yard in Gunmetal finish. I quilted and constructed my entire bag using Aurifil Forty3 in Black, color 2692. The quilting pattern is a variation of a pattern found in Jacquie Gering’s upcoming book, Walk 2.0.


Quilting the faux leather turned out to be easier, but more time consuming, than I expected. I was so excited to see the finished product that I was more than willing to put in the time, though. My Peel n Stick Ruler Tape turned out to be quite handy for this project. I was able to mark my quilting lines quickly and easily, and the tape maintained its stick, so I was able to reuse it.


Once I had quilted the side panels, the rest of my Tiffany bag came together very quickly.


My favorite part of bag making is in the details. Sallie Tomato Hardware and Zippers By The Yard add a professional finish to any bag, and they are so easy to use. The faux metal finish on the zippers sew up like any plastic zipper, but they look so polished.


I added a pieced pocket to one side panel to add a bit of contrast. Sallie Tomato faux leather is really pliable, so it pieced together smoothly and was easy to topstitch.


I used Ruby Star Society Mystery Food in Berry, designed by Sarah Watts, for the lining fabric. I love a splash of pink in any project, and this fabric certainly achieved that!


Have you read the selvedge messages on Ruby Star Society fabric? These designers have been using such uplifting happy messages on their fabrics for years. I loved using the selvedge to the line the inside of the straps, and added a hidden message and a great reminder for how to do life these days.


Using Aurifil Forty3 for this project added a great amount of texture without standing out too much, which was exactly what I was hoping for.


I hope you enjoyed reading about my project and my process. Be sure to check out yesterday’s project by Hilary Jordan, and follow along with the rest of the tour. There are so many amazing makers, and their projects are sure to be outstanding.



Aurifil Forty3 – My Favorite Thread Weight

The April Aurifil Artisan Challenge is to share our favorite thread weight. I debated which thread weight to choose because I genuinely love them all for different reasons.  I do all of my piecing with 50 weight thread. I find that it is thick and strong enough to hold everything together, but fine enough that it is typically not visible in my projects. I use 50 weight, 40 weight, and 28 weight threads for domestic machine quilting, depending on how visible I want the thread and quilting design to be. I use 28 weight and 12 weight thread for hand quilting and top stitching on bags and other sewing projects. I’ve used 80 weight thread in my English Paper Piecing projects, and I’ve heard it is wonderful for quilting and Foundation Paper Piecing. I love Aurifloss for hand quilting, as well as embroidery and cross stitch projects, which I have recently re-discovered.

The thread I chose is one that is relatively new on the Aurifil scene. Forty3 is a 40 weight thread that is three ply instead of the usual two. Aurifil designed Forty3 to stand up to the rigors of longarm machine quilting, but it performs wonderfully in domestic machines as well.


I recently used White #2024 Forty3 thread to quilt my mini Cross Lake Quilt. On a recent-ish trip from Southern California to Northern California, I stopped in at Birch Fabrics and saw a mini quilt on display behind the register. I loved the soft colors of the organic linen fabrics and the simple design of the piece. I bought the fabrics (a few months later, from their booth, at a quilt show) and pattern I needed (which I finally hunted down a few months after that) and got to work.


The Forty3 thread has a textured appearance that I just love. The twist in the thread stands out a bit more than its two ply counterpart, making it great for projects that you want to highlight with more visible quilting.


I used the same linen fabrics and colors as in the sample I saw at the shop, which was made by Donna at XOXSEW. The Forty3 thread I used for the quilting stood out just enough to add texture to the mini quilt, but also blended well with the linen texture of the fabrics. I love what the quilting added to this project, and I’m happy to finally have it displayed in my home.

What is your favorite thread weight? If you have any questions about thread, let me know in the comments. I’d love to answer them if I can, or point you in the right direction.




2020 Sew Alongs, Quilt Alongs, and Quilting Challenges

One of the fun things about starting a new year is setting goals and making plans for your creative projects for the year to come. I have compiled a list of 27 Sew Alongs, Quilt Alongs, and Quilting Challenges for 2020.  Some of them will run the whole year and introduce you to a variety of skills and techniques, while others are a few months long and guide you through a specific pattern. Some are free, and others have a fee to join or require you to purchase a pattern in order to participate.

Are you hosting a SAL, QAL, or challenge that you would like me to add? Feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to add it. Are you participating in a SAL, QAL, or challenge that I missed? Please let me know so we can share it!

Free Challenges:

Sarah Goer’s Show Me Something Challenge: Sarah will share a different quilting challenge each month – this month is to show her something purple!



Amista Baker’s Stash Buster Challenge: Join Amista to make projects that will help use up your stash. She’s providing great resources for participants!



On Williams Street Online Quilting Bee 2020: The On Williams Street team is here to inspire and support us, while helping us build our quilting skills, with this beautiful sampler pattern.



Aurifil Designer of the Month Challenge: Join Pat Sloan and 12 talented quilters as they share their creative journeys and a block they’ve each designed just for this challenge!



Patterns By Jen 2020 Monthly Color Challenge – Join Jen and 30 other bloggers to complete her monthly blocks using a different color each month.

Color Challenge 2020


The National Quilt Museum’s Block of the Month Club: For quilters of all skill levels – 12 block sampler inspired by fiber art exhibits and themes relating to the National Quilt Museum.



Project Quilting: Each season brings a variety of fun week-long challenges!



All People Quilt UFO Challenge: List your 12 unfinished projects on their worksheet and finish one each month according to the random number chosen.



Pat Sloan’s Out West 2020 Quilt Along: This free “Out West” themed Block of the Month began early January, but it’s never too late to join!



American Quilter’s Society Quilt Along 2020: Complete 1 new quilt each month with this quilt along.  The fabric requirements and instructions will be available for free on their blog. 



Sugaridoo Bernina Quilt Along: This Quilt Along started in November, but it’s not too late to join.  The first row of blocks is a Hashtag block, and super cute!



Woodberry Way Scrappy Trip Quilt Along – Join Alli of Woodberry Way to make a Scrappy Trip quilt in January and February.

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Naomi Alice Fussy Cutting Sew Along: If you love EPP, this weekly sew along is for you. It started last week, but you can join at any time throughout the year!


Improv Triangles Quilt Along with Nicholas Ball

Buy The Pattern, and the Quilt Along is Free

If you already have the pattern, then you’re all set to join these QALs. If not, for about $12 (some are more, some are less), you’re all set!

The Quilter’s Planner Sampler Sew Along: Purchase a Quilter’s Planner to get this pattern, along with 12 other full quilt patterns, and an incredible yearly planner. This BOM pattern is filled with community support, resources, and lots of fun and prizes!



Karie Jewell’s Jeweled Facets Sew Along: This EPP Sew Along starts in February. I’m definitely participating in this one. So excited to work on this super versatile, beautiful pattern! And you can buy a PDF and print as many of the papers as you need!



QuiltJetGirl’s Push Pull Quilt Along: Explore transparency and color selection in this quilt along. (The fee is for the quilt along content and pattern, but the price is so similar to a pattern purchase, that I included it in this category.)



Meadowland Quilt Along: Meghan of Then Came June is hosting her second Meadowland Quilt Along. With already 1200 participants signed up, this quilt along promises to be filled with lots of community fun!



The Vintage Lace Quilt Along: Brittny of Lo & Behold Stitchery is starting this Quilt Along today, January 13th! Check out her many color options and kits for this beautiful pattern. 



Piece & Love Quilt Along: Join The Cloth Parcel to make this modern, geometric heart pattern. 



Blossom Heart Quilts: Join Alyce to build your quilting skills and make 12 mini quilts from her newly published book, Mini Masterpieces.



Paper Chain BOM: This FPP pattern and Block of the Month Sew Along, published by the makers of the Summer Sampler, is a beautiful pattern that eases you into the awesomeness of FPP!



Camden Road QAL: Beginning January 28th and ending March 24th, this quilt can be made a few blocks at a time, or one component at a time – follow on your own terms!

Camden Road Quilt Along


River Pond Quilt Along: Join Diane of From Blank Pages to make your own beautiful River Pond quilt.



Polka Dot Chair’s Choose Happiness Block of the Month: Join Melissa of Polka Dot Chair to make the Choose Happiness quilt, one block each month. 


Block of the Month Memberships

Pay an annual or monthly membership fee to join these Block of the Month memberships. They come with monthly block patterns and other resources – it varies by program, but some offer step-by-step videos, Facebook groups for community support, and other resources.


Rebecca Bryan’s Solstice Block of the Month



During Quiet Time Next Door Block of the Month



Stitched In Color Penny Sampler Pattern Club



Quiet Play 2020 FPP Pattern Club


Apple Blossoms with Cora’s Quilts: Get a monthly fabric kit along with your pattern and other resources.

Join Sarah Fielke for this Hand Appliqué Block of the Month program.








Holiday Sewing

I’m usually the person who insists on waiting until the day after Thanksgiving to do any holiday decorating, but for some reason this year I wanted to put the tinsel and lights in October. I didn’t decorate early, but I did have lots of ideas for holiday sewing swirling around in my head. I ultimately settled on a simple patchwork cushion using Kringle & Claus fabrics by BasicGrey for Moda and three different Aurifil thread colors of two different weights.

BasicGrey fabrics are just a little edgier for the holidays than most, and I love them for it. The aqua Grunge fabric and black and green holly print are exactly the colors and texture I love for holiday decorating. So, when I saw two mini charms of Kringle & Claus fabrics at my local quilt shop, I knew just the project! Simple patchwork pillows add a holiday touch to any home, and they are quick and easy to make. Lay out your squares, sew them together in pairs, then chunks, then rows. Quilt, add a backing and closure, and done!

I quilted my cushion with Aurifil 50wt Red 2250 and Pine 2892. I did a double crosshatch quilting pattern, alternating the thread colors.

Envelope closures are my go-to for a quick and easy cushion project. I used Aurifil thread 28wt Mustard 5022. Paired with the right fabric and project, this thread is the perfect gold for topstitching.

And just like that, I added a new holiday cushion to my home! These Aurifil threads and BasicGrey fabrics paired perfectly to add a touch of the holidays to my home in just a few hours.

What is your favorite handmade holiday decor?

November Aurifil Artisan Challenge: Bag Making

The November Aurifil Artisan challenge was bag making, with a focus on bags for travel. My family took a road trip from California to Washington, D.C. and back this summer – about 6,000 miles of driving and visited 21 states in 21 days. I learned a lot in that trip about what I need to make it work. This challenge was the perfect opportunity to fill in a gap in my travel bag arsenal – a small crossbody bag.

Aurifil partnered with Sallie Tomato Patterns and Thermoweb for this challenge. I chose to make the Zippy Crossbody Bag, which called for fusible interfacing. I’ve made lots of Sallie Tomato bags and have really enjoyed their patterns. I was not familiar with Thermoweb interfacing, but after this challenge, I’m happy to say that I will definitely be using it again in the future. Their woven interfacing is soft with a really nice weight, and fuses really well.

For this bag, I chose to use Alison Glass fabrics, with a hint of Sew Sweetness cork. The strap and accent fabric are Art Theory in Ivory from Ex Libris and the main fabric is Latitude in Anemone from Diving Board.

I used Aurifil Dove 2600 50wt for piecing the entire purse. It’s a bit time consuming to switch between a neutral for piecing and my chosen top stitching thread, but so worth it when all of my seam stitching is hidden, allowing the top stitching to really shine. For top stitching, I used Jade 4093 50wt.

I added an Emmaline Bags “Handmade” tag for the perfect finishing touch, and just like that, my new bag was done! The Zippy Crossbody is perfect for carrying just the essentials, and has lots of pockets for the little emergency items one needs on the go. I’m so happy to have partnered with Aurifil, Sallie Tomato Patterns, and Thermoweb for this challenge!

The Many Ways to Bind a Quilt

Sew For Fifteen is all about quilt binding this October. There are so many ways to bind a quilt – some include hand sewing, others are all done by machine. Some add a decorative element to your quilt, and others are done to minimize the impact of the binding on the finished look of your quilt. I asked the Sew For Fifteen participants to help me make a list of binding techniques, and they were so helpful. I’ve included a list of binding techniques, and found at least one tutorial for each technique so you can try whichever binding technique has been sitting on your quilting to-do list.

Machine Binding:

Quilty Love – Machine Binding Beginner Friendly Tutorial

Blossom Heart Quilts – How To Machine Bind A Quilt

Sarah Goer Quilts – Machine Bind Your Quilts Like A Pro


How To Make Bias Binding:

Moda Bake Shop – How To Make Continuous Bias Binding

Faced Binding:

The Silly BooDilly Super Duper Easy Way To Face

Fibermania Quilt Facing Tutorial

Judy Perez – How To Make A Faced Binding


Flange Binding:

My Patchwork – Faux Flange Binding Tutorial

Live Play Eat – Flange Binding Tutorial


Binding with the Quilt Back Fabric:

Cluck Cluck Sew – Binding Your Quilt With The Quilt Back

Maxie Makes – Using Your Quilt backing As Binding


Hand Sewn Binding:

Diary Of A Quilter – How To Finish A Quilt

Amy Ellis: Hand-stitiching a Binding


Visible Stitch Binding:

Lo and Behold Stitchery – How To Hand Quilt Your Binding

Kitchen Table Quilting – Big Stitch Binding Tutorial


Wide binding:


Single Fold Binding:

Jay Bird Quilts – Single Fold Binding Tutorial

My Bear Paw – Single Fold Binding Tutorial


Curved Binding – Curvy Edges or Corners

Jay Bird Quilts – Binding Curved Edges

Cindy Seitz Krug – Binding Curved Edges


Corners Larger/Smaller than 90 Degrees

Rachel Rossi – Angled Binding

Getas Quilting Studio – Binding Quilts With Odd Angles

Jay Bird Quilts – How To Bind 120 Degree Angles


Prairie Points

Patchwork Posse – How To Make Prairie Points

Sew Many Ways – How To Make Prairie Points

Hand Quilting With Aurifil Floss

The October challenge available to Aurifil Artisans was to use at least five colors of Aurifil thread in a project. After considering many, many possibilities – quilted zipper pouch, mini quilt, whole cloth quilt, throw sized quilt (so many choices!) – I decided to hand quilt the Sugar Pop Quilt cushion cover I pieced a few months back. I love the fabric colors in this project, and I was excited to finally finish it.


I used six Michael Miller Cotton Couture colors for my project – Confection, Raspberry, Brick, Lagoon, Spa, and Luna – and Kona Cotton White.


For my threads, I chose to use Aurifloss in matching colors – Burgundy 1103, Fuchsia 4020, Baby Pink 2423, Jade 4093, Light Jade 1148, Light Turquoise 5006. I have only hand quilted a few projects, and I’ve used Aurifloss for the majority of those projects. Three strands of Aurifil embroidery floss is the perfect weight for chunky hand quilting stitches.


I had a little fun with the different stitches, adding a row of Xs and a row of horizontal stitches, rather than go with a straight line of stitches for every row.


I am so happy with how this project turned out. Using contrasting threads, rather than matching colors, really allowed my stitches to stand out against the background color in every row. I usually only use one or two colors for quilting a project, but that has definitely changed as a result of this project!




Catch & Release Project Party

Today is my stop for the Catch & Release Project Party and I’m so excited to share my make with you!


Mathew of Mister Domestic recently released his third fabric line with Art Gallery Fabrics, and it is such a beautiful line.  Mathew has a talent for designing fabrics that appeal to a wide audience – each line includes something for everyone. Some of his fabrics are beautifully layered prints with rich colors and delicate shapes. Others are striking in their simplicity – two color, geometric prints that are great for background or binding.

Catch & Release was inspired by days Mathew spent with his family at their favorite local fishing spot. IMG_5373

I had fun brainstorming what to make for this project party. The prints are perfect for so many things – bags, quilts, toys, garments…the list goes on. I love to challenge myself to try new, sort of unexpected projects here and there.  I thought, how fun would it be to create an umbrella with any print or design you choose?! The answer – super fun, and relatively simple.


I knew I wanted to make one umbrella with a single print. I chose to use Blue Bank Flora for that one. I made another umbrella with a horizontal stripe pattern using River Rules along the bottom, Reflectors in the center, and Rowing on the top.


I purchased two umbrellas, with the intention of using the frame as the base of my project. I took the umbrellas apart, careful to save the canopy for use as my pattern.


I’m so glad I chose Blue Bank Flora for one of my umbrellas. The rich colors and gorgeous field of wildflowers make it the perfect all over print for a project like this.  The dark fabric will provide cooling shade on sunny days, and will be lovely protection from the rain in the coming winter.


The horizontal stripe pattern on my second umbrella was enhanced by the saturated hues of River Rules along the bottom edge of the canopy, and the geometric lines in Reflectors that creates the stripe across the center. The octagon of Rowing on top is the perfect focal point to tie it all together.



I hope you enjoyed hearing about my adventures in DIY umbrella creation with Catch & Release fabrics. Be sure to check out the other makers at the party. So many inspiring projects have been shared, and there are many yet to come!











Aurifil Artisan Wholecloth Quilt Challenge

Each month, a group of Aurifil Artisans has the opportunity to take part in a challenge created by Aurifil, including various themes and often along with other sewing industry partners.  The challenge for August was to create a whole cloth quilt using Aurifil thread and a Painter’s Palette Solid fabric provided by Paintbrush Studio Fabrics, chosen from the sixteen colors that comprise their 2019 Trend Palette, their colors of the year.  I received a spool of Steel Blue (2775)  12wt Aurifil cotton thread and a half yard of Midnight Painter’s Palette Solid fabric.


I decided to add three additional colors to my mini quilt to add some interest, and because (I’ll admit it!) I was a little scared to do my first whole cloth quilt with just one color, and one that perfectly matched the fabric at that!

I added two Aurifil 28wt threads – Mustard (5022) and Grey (2605). I also added one 50wt thread – Tangerine Dream (6729).


And then I just stared at the fabric for awhile. And stared, and stared. I wasn’t quite sure what to do first. I knew I wanted to do something geometric, but what? Circles or triangles or squares or some combination of all of them? My favorite type of quilting on large quilts is 1 inch or half inch lines that go in various angles, giving the quilt movement as the lines turn this way or that. I finally just grabbed a ruler and went for it, drawing out different chunks of the quilting, always with 1/2 lines.

IMG_8212 3

The design reminds me of wood art and tile floors I’ve seen out in the world. I’ve always loved geometric lines – in art, on fabrics, and now in my quilting. Once my design was all drawn out (and re-drawn in some spots, since my Mark-B-Gone pen seems to be air soluble as well as water soluble), I quilted it up. I tried to spread out the colors for a good balance.


I used the same fabric for binding, and finished it with Aurifil Steel Blue (2775) thread. I’m happy with the overall result.  There are spots where I wish I had slowed down a bit for more accuracy, so I’ll be sure to keep an eye on that in the future.  Moving forward, I need to learn how to pull my threads up at the beginning of a line and bury threads later, for a much cleaner look.



Paintbrush Studios fabrics are so soft and luxurious.  If you haven’t had a chance to work with them, I definitely recommend doing so. This was my first time making an entire project with their fabrics, but it won’t be my last. Check out the colors they chose for 2019 Trend Palette. They also have a great resource for matching their fabric colors to Aurifil threads here.

A big thanks to Aurifil and Paint Brush Studio Fabrics for hosting such a fun challenge!




WIP Organization

The June challenge for Sew For Fifteen is WIPs (Work in Progress), and I have no shortage of resources to share on the subject. We all approach our list of projects in progress differently.  I typically have a few projects going at one time, as well as a stack of finished (but not yet quilted) tops waiting for attention. I work on the handful of projects I have going until I finish them, then start a few more. I have friends who tackle only one project at a time, waiting until one is finished to start another one. And I have other friends who have WIPs that are decades old and waiting to be rediscovered. My oldest WIP is a decade old, and I plan to finish it this week.  Finally!

Whatever your approach, this month at Sew For Fifteen is all about organizing your WIPs so that you might tackle them at your convenience.

Free PDF WIP Organizers

String & Story WIP Tracker

Canoe Ridge Creations #finishit2019 WIP Tracker

Mama Love Quilts WIP Tracker

Hello Melly Designs Quilt Project Planner


Blog Posts & Finish Along Challenges

Guest Post By Holly Lesue on Diary Of A Quilter

The Crafty Quilter: 2019 UFO & WIP Challenge 

Scissortail Quilting: Quilty Project Management

A Quilting Life: Quilt Works In Progress

All People Quilt 2019 UFO Challenge