Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Beginner Bag - FREE pattern release!

I'm super excited to finally be able to offer the perfect bag pattern for all you beginner bagmakers out there! The Beginner Bag is the perfect bag to start your bag making journey! It's made with the absolute novice bag maker in mind and has in depth explanations of everything from fusing interfacing to zipper installation. It's available for FREE for all members of my Facebook Group, feel free to join for the pattern!

The pattern has been tested and tweaked with a team of complete novice to advanced beginner bagmakers, this alongside my normal pattern testing team to ensure it's super easy to understand and follow. This pattern comes with both inch and centimeter measurements and is availiable in both English and Swedish.

It has a zipper top closure, is fully lined and has open slip pockets. And it looks equally great in cotton fabric as in vinyls, as you can see below for the silvery cotton one. 

But this bag isn't just for the beginner! The simple but stylish design makes it perfect for production sewing or just letting one's creativity run wild. 

It's also perfect for sewing with panels, as you easily adjust the size of the bag to the size of the panel. It can be made any size you wish, instructions for how to easily adjust the size is in the pattern. It makes a super cute makeup bag if made smaller, or the perfect beach tote if made in a bigger size.  Here my pattern tester Helena Halvar Tall, made a beautiful set with a standard size and a small makeup bag version. She's added a little fabric panel edged by lace edged by quilting. So pretty!

The interior is simple slip pockets, but as you gain confidence you can naturally add zipper pockets or other cool additions as you please. 

You can easily kick it up a notch by adding my rolled bag handles like my pattern tester Jennifer Hilburn Spears have done here for a very elegant look. Adding little details like a tassel like she's done, really brings it to a different level! Link to the Rolled Handle YouTube tutorial is in the pattern.

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My fantastic pattern testers were awesome as ever and tested the pattern for me, alongside the awesome group of beginner bag makers - and just look at all the gorgeous Beginner Bags that were sewn! A sincere thank you goes out to each and everyone one of you for helping me make each new pattern -  into my best pattern yet! 

I'm so very grateful for all your help and hard work!

Liselotte - Made two gorgeous versions, one in vinyl that she quilted in such a cool pattern, with beautiful rolled bag handles, and one lovely mocha version that she also quilted. 

Helena Halvar Tall
 - Whom can be found here on instagram made these two gorgeous panelled versions. One in original size, and a smaller one that fits in the larger one.  

Annette - Made this absolutely lovely 3D vinyl version accented by a lovely black tassle!

Barbara Dörig - Whom can be found here on instagram made a super cool, dry oilskin version.

Hemasis - Who's website is available here made an awesome, quilted zebra vinyl version! 

Jennie Backlund - Whom can be found here on instagram made an adorable cat version.

Hanna Levin - Made a gorgeous, ultra cute pink pony one! 

Julia Willman - Made not one but two beautiful vinyl versions! One soft pink and a lovely, fresh white.

Laura Downs - whom can be found here on Instagram made a lovely, glitter vinyl version. 

Lori Peoples - made a beautiful fall coloured version quilted along the fabrics patterns.

Cissi - made this lovely blue vinyl and rainbow quilted version.

J Spears Design - Whom can be found here on instagram made this lovely quilted version with rolled handles.

Caroline Karlsson - Made these two beautiful versions, one straight line quilted standard size and one edited with an extra wide bottom to be used for lunchboxes for her mother, such a lovely idea!

Eva Halvarsson - of Borlänge Sycentrum made this gorgeous, quilted cotton and linen version!

Marybeth Haberman- of MB's Sew Crafty made this awesome quilted cotton version!

Ann Munthe Svensson - Made this beautiful, quilted grey vinyl version.

Sofia Nilsson - of TRÅkärlek whom can be found here on Instagram and here on Facebook, made this lovely turquoise, straight line quilted vinyl version with rolled handles. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Quilting Bags - Tutorial

I love quilted bags! Quilting a bag is such a great way to add extra structure, visual interest and more importantly, it can bring WOW factor to almost any fabric! I love finding a solid, gorgeous vinyl and then kick it up even more by quilting it. Many big fashion houses have their own quilted bags - I think it is because it just adds class! 

However, many people are hesitant about quilting bags, and especially vinyls, but I'm going to try to take away all your fears about that with this post - and hopefully inspire you to try quilting your bags!

This is my Singapore Sling Bag, made with a gold vinyl which I quilted in a diamond shape. This bag would have had much less visual interest, and would probably look rather "plain and boring" without the quilting.  

This is the exact same vinyl as the Singapore Sling Bag above, just quilted differently with an alternating pattern that I will show you below.  Isn't it amazing how different it looks? This is my Beginner Bag pattern, soon available for free in my Facebook group

But cotton fabric looks fantastic quilted too! Here I've used a gorgeous solid yellow Kona cotton fabric and quilted only the bottom of the bag for that extra contrast. You don't always have to quilt the entire bag, just a small part can be a beautiful addition. 


You will need: 
* A dual feed foot: or "walking foot" that will feed your fabric evenly top and bottom. 

* Foam interfacing: I highly recommend "By Annie's Soft and Stable", there's no other foam interfacing in my eyes that gives the same beautiful "puff", nor stands up as well to wear as this one. But Pellon Fusible Flex Foam, Bosal in R-Form or similar very works well too. 

* A new needle: Preferably a topstitching needle if you have, as you don't want skipped stitches when you're quilting. Don't skip this, neat perforation is especially important when working with vinyl, but makes a difference on cotton too. Do not use a leather needle when working with vinyls as it will cut up the vinyl and weaken it. 

* Fusible Web/Spray Basting Glue/Thin fusible interfacing or similar: If your foam isn't fusible or if working with vinyl or similar like cork that can't be pressed from the front. Read below to see what you need for your choice of fabric and foam.

HELP:  If you have issues with skipped stitches or tension, see my guide to this here: Skipped stitches & tension issues help

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First, you have to attach your fabric to be quilted to your interfacing, how you do this is a little different depending on your fabric and interfacing choices. 

Prevent shrinking:
If you don't pre-shrink your cotton fabric or don't interface it properly, heavy quilting can shrink your fabric excessively (with some woven fabrics, such as home decor weight woven fabrics, this can happen despite all precaution because of mixed fiber contents and loose weaves). 

When working with cotton and fusible interfacing, before cutting your pieces: Press all cotton fabric on the cotton setting of your iron with steam, to pre-shrink the fabric. This is to prevent shrinkage and that undesirable crinkling when we fuse the interfacing. 

I highly recommend that you interface your cotton fabric with a thin, woven fusible interfacing before quilting it, to get a more profession "feel" to the bag, like Vilene G700 woven fusible, Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex or similar. This will also give your cotton extra strength to withstand wear and tear and it will also prevent excessive shrinking from the quilting of the bag, which can otherwise happen with cotton or other woven fabric.

If working with cotton and fusible foam:
Then just fuse the foam pieces to the wrong side of your exterior fabric, making sure it’s carefully centered if your foam is smaller than your fabric. 

If working with cotton and non-fusible foam:

Basting glue: If you have spray basting glue at home (like 505 Basting Spray), you can simply just spray baste the foam to your fabric using the spray.

Fusible web: Take the fusible web, fuse one side of the fusible web to the foam interfacing (this way we make our own “fusible foam” by adding fusible web to the foam).  

Remove the paper covering the fusible web if you haven't already and fuse your foam pieces to the wrong side of your exterior fabric, making sure it’s carefully centered if you exterior is smaller than the interfacing.

If working with vinyl:

Basting spray: If you have spray basting glue at home (like 505 Basting Spray), you can simply just spray baste the foam to your fabric using the spray. 

Thin fusible interfacing: 
I have a YouTube video showing how I do this here: Adding Foam Interfacing to Vinyl
Place your exterior pieces right side down on your ironing board. 
Sandwich and center the foam between your exterior piece and a lightweight fusible interfacing piece of the same measurement as your exterior. Place the glue of the fusible interfacing down towards the foam. Cut a slit in any corners in the thin interfacing to make it easier to fuse the interfacing over any darts/corners or similar. Press the interfacing in place, centered on your foam and continue pressing down the sides to your exterior fabric, keeping the foam centered. 

Since we're only pressing the seam allowances of the vinyl, we don't have to worry about potentially ruining the vinyl by pressing it to hotly from the back. However, nearly all vinyl can take pressing from the back, even all the 3D vinyls I've worked with have been able to take a medium heat pressing from the back without losing shine or structure. But if you're unsure, you can always try on a scrap first.  

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Here's where I differ from most people, when I quilt my bags with straight line quilting - my best friend is painters tape! I always keep at least two widths of good quality (I use 3M) painters tape. It's not only great to hold things in place temporarily when sewing bags, it's also perfect for marking your lines, it doesn't take any time to remove (unlike chalk markers or water dissolvable pens etc) and it assures a perfectly straight line! 

What widths you choose is of course up to you, but the two top ones is what I use the most, and what I'll use in the tutorial below. If you can't find a width you like for your project, tape a larger size it onto a baking sheet, and cut it to size using your ruler and rotary cutter. The baking sheet will preserve the stickiness. This is why you want good quality painters tape, the good quality I can re-stick 10-15 times, while the bad one maybe 2-5. 

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Marking the first line
Here you should really let your creativity flow! But I'll be showing you how to make the pattern on the Beginner Bag above, so it's an alternating width diamond pattern. Try out angles for the lines with your quilting ruler, and when you have one at what you feel is a pleasing angle for your first line, use your ruler as a guide to ensure you place your tape along it's edge, to ensure it's perfectly straight. I started with my 1 1/2" wide tape here and placed it from corner to corner. 

* It is important to remember how you placed your tape at this first line, as you want your diamonds to not come out wonky on your bag so your handle placement for example won't look weird or off in comparison to the quilting, so I always snap a photo with my phone to make sure I remember. I'll talk more about this when we get there. 

Switch to the dual feed foot/walking foot on your machine, lengthen the stitch length to somewhere between 3.5-5. I recommend you try your settings on a scrap of your fabric with the same interfacings on it to see what you think looks good with your thread and fabric. On the scrap you can  also make sure your tension is good, if you have tension issues, I have a post on that topic here to sort you out: Skipped Stitches & Tension Issues

Follow the tape and sew a line from end to end. I actually backstitch one or two steps when starting and stopping these seams as with the long stitch length, I don't want to risk them coming undone during construction of the bag. Then sew a second line along other other side of your tape. Do not sew your lines every other direction (going back and forth) as that will cause your fabric to pull in opposite directions, sew all lines from the same direction. 

When you've sewn both lines, take your painters tape of a narrower width and stick it down, edge to edge with one of the seams. Sew the new line. Repeat until you've covered the entire piece with every other width lines. 

When it's time to start on the lines on the other diagonal, place your ruler like you did when you made your first lines. Remember that it's important to get the same angle as the other diagonal lines so here I matched up the same corners again. Continue the same way with every other tape width all over the piece.

Voila! We have a beautiful pattern all over our fabric! And as you can see, since we made our pattern even, the handles will be perfectly centered on your quilting - and on your bag! 

For the Singapore Sling Bag above, the diagonals are more slanted and that gives me a flatter diamond shape which I thought looked nice. Here I used electrical tape , instead as I had used up my painters tape for actual masking when painting our spare room. ;) 

If you don’t wish to quilt in straight lines, you can draw your design on the foam interfacing of your piece and quilt from the back (just increase your top tension a bit extra, to ensure a nice looking stitch on the bottom, i.e. the right side of the fabric). Or go crazy and print a beautiful design you found online, tape or clip the printed paper in place on the back of your exterior, and quilt on the foam side just stitching over the paper to follow your desired design. Just make sure you print on poor quality paper (easy to tear away) so you can remove the bulk of the paper fairly easily, and make sure you secure your threads by backstitching in the seam allowance when you start and stop your seam.   You can get as creative as you want here! I'll expand this tutorial with more information and photos of that process later as the weather has been too bad for photography lately. 

Please don't hesitate to ask in the comments or in the Facebook group if you have any questions! I'll leave you with a few of my quilted bags for quilting inspiration.

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It doesn't have to be complex or time consuming to quilt a bag, this Hollywood Handbag in Kona Cotton fabric looks great with simple straight line on the body part of the bag only. 

Beginner Bag, cotton fabric quilted in a diamond shape. 

Don't be afraid to play around with free motion quilting! For this Hollywood Handbag I quilted monstera leaves on the inside of the exterior. Makes for a bit of extra interest when you open the bag.

This Fresno Foldover bag is sewn in a quilting cotton with denim look. Quilted only the front with a simple diamond pattern but using twin needles to get the cool look. However, as it's interfaced with a simple quilt batting instead of a foam, there's much less puffiness to the design. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

All About My Favourite Presser Feet for Bag Making!

I'm quite often asked what presser feet I've bought extra for my Juki TL-2200QVP mini, so I've made a YouTube video showing my favourite presser feet for bag making. 😊

It was going to be a blog post, but there was just so much I wanted to talk about, it had to be a video. The right presser foot for the job can really up your bag making game, and give you much better, more professional looking results! 

I highly recommend viewing this directly on Youtube, using this link instead of the embedded video. 

In this video I'm sharing my favourite presser feet for bag making. I'll also be recommending what feet to buy as to start with as it can get expensive to buy them all in one go. I'm in no way affiliated with Juki or any Juki shop, I'm just a fan of my machine. 

I switch feet often as I make a bag and there's sooo many great aids in the presser feet department for this semi-industrial and other industrial machines, as this machine uses industrial feet. I highly recommend investing in a few extra presser feet to make bag making more fun!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Pink Pony Design - 5 years old!

5 years ago, I was more nervous than I'd ever been in my life I think. I launched my baby, my brand new little company that was all ME - Pink Pony Design! In five years it has slowly grown, 23 patterns have seen the light of day in this time, and I'm so proud of each one. I have so many more in my head and in my sketch pad - just waiting to be born! 

We will celebrate this with 20% discount on all patterns for the next 36 hours

Use code: PINK5 on my website: 

The past 5 years have been some of the best of my life and it's all thanks to YOU!  So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for purchasing my patterns, for attending classes, liking my posts, sharing your works on social media, reading my blog, participating in my Facebook group, watching my YouTube videos and for every little thing You do to show your support! I love you for it! 

Can't wait to see what the next five years hold in store for my little company! 

Friday, October 2, 2020

Lovely Article about Pink Pony Design

 I was very happy when the Swedish newspaper Dala Demokraten asked me if I wanted to do an interview the other day! So much fun and it ended up being such a sweet article!

For those of you who doesn't read swedish, I'll translate each section below.

Maria Wallin, originally from Borlänge (small town in Sweden) sits in her sewing room in Portugal, where the sun almost always shines in through the windows. The sketch book is always close by and new ideas come to her, even at night

Maria Wallins interest in sewing was born when she went on a quilting camp in Våmhus (small village in Sweden) with her mother. There she learned the basics of quilting, which is patchwork. - That's where I got infected with the quiltingbug, she says. Maria started quilting and also sewing in her spare time. After that she and her mother spent a week each summer in Våmhus to learn even more. Maria also tried to learn as much as she could from the internet. - That's how I got starting with bag making too, she says. Maria started a blog to be able to keep diary over what she made. The interest turned out to be bigger than she thought and she soon had several hundred readers each day. - I was just sharing what I was sewing, mistakes I made and what it taught me, she says. 

Maria continued to learn and tried making bags from patterns she bought and found for free. - But the frustration was big over unnecessarily tricky patterns with way too little information and illustrations for them to be fun and easy to follow. Maria quickly abandoned following other people's patterns. - I started designing my own bags almost right away, she says. 

Maria also made a couple of free quilt patterns for United Notions in the US. - That lit the spark in me to continue making my own patterns. During that period Maria worked a lot with the company she had when she moved to Malta back in 2007, so there wasn't much time for sewing. - I made a few tutorials from time to time and kept the blog alive and kept learning through says Maria. 2015 she sold her previous company and she suddenly, to her great joy had a lot of time to sew. It was after that she started her new company, to sell sewing patterns. - After a lot of encouragement and....

cheers from my man Erik,  Pink Pony Design was born. 

Maria is a horseback rider, hence the name. - I was a My Little Pony girl growing up, and truth be told, I still am. And she loves pink. 
Marig got a lot of positive feedback when she released her first pattern (my own note, the Bring the Basics Bag). - But it was insanely nerve wrecking, she says. It however spurred her to continue and today she has an international webpage where she sells PDF patterns. She also sells paper patterns in select quilting and fabric stores in Sweden and Norway.  She has developed a youtube channel where she offers free tips and tricks and she also has a Facebook group. - There I get a lovely contact with my customers, she says. 

In the group they show off their works and help each other with questions.  But what might be most important is Marias sketchbook. That's how she gets most idéas for new designs and after sketching she sews a test version. - I always sew using my favourite fabrics. That's so she'll be able to use them later (my own comment: I sew even test versions in pretty fabrics, so I can use the test bags myself, as many of my finished "perfect" bags ends up as example bags in stores). From the test version she then makes any necessary changes and refines the making of the bag to make it easier and more convenient. - I then sew the final bag and take photographs of every step in the process. 

It was 2007 Maria took her cats and current company and moved abroad. The move took her to Malta to try something new in a warmer setting. She recently moved to Algarve in Portugal where she lives with her man Erik, the dog Lilla My and a bunch of cats. Back in Sweden they have a summer home outside Kristinehamn. - In the middle of the woods, where I love to spend a month or two each summer to be in the nature. Naturally she also visits her parents in Borlänge (see previous article). - To mom and dad's store to fiddle about and hold classes, says Maria.