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Challenge Accepted.

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At the first club meeting for my Farm Girl Vintage block of the month, I won a charm pack (Block Party by Moda) and a spool of thread. I was challenged by the shop’s owner to make something out of the charm pack before the next meeting. My first reaction was, “Nope. I have too many things going on, and I really don’t need to spend money to make something unplanned just because you attached some strings to this door prize!”

However, it stuck in the back of my mind. The back corners of my brain kept revisiting this challenge and scheming about what could be done with a single charm pack. And then that little corner of my brain somehow connected with another little corner that had been wanting to try out the Make Me Up Before You Go Go bag pattern from Dog Under My Desk. And then those corners connected with the one that had wanted to play with the new fusible Flex Foam batting from Pellon. Damn it, she had me.

There were lots of things to get out of the way before I could allow myself to start on this project though… I had to finish my daughter’s Halloween costume, and then a friend asked me to help with his costume at the last minute, and I had to do my Farm Girl Vintage block, as well as the Farm Girl bonus-project pot holders. There were many other things that still need to be done, but I thought that doing all those things earned me a chance to break away from my other projects to play a little.

As with all of Erin’s patterns, this one was well written and had tons of pictures showing how to make the bag. Despite all of that though, I still felt like I bungled through it. I really shouldn’t be allowed to cut anything after a certain hour, especially right after time change. My first mistake came with the very first cut. I was tired, and not paying attention I guess… ended up cutting the exterior quilted material 1/4″ too short. Sigh. So I had to compensate throughout the rest of the cutting. It wasn’t too bad though, since you can line up the complete interior against the exterior to make sure it all matches.

Aside from a bunch of other stupid little mistakes I found myself making at seemingly every turn, the two biggest were both on the side panels. First, I was apparently supposed to include the lining when I quilted the exterior? Oops. Oh well, I think it looks better without the quilting on the inside anyway. I ended up just tossing some Steam-a-Seam in between the two layers to fuse them together. The next was that I probably should have left the side panels their original size, rather than trimming a 1/4″ off the top to make up for my earlier cutting mistakes. I think it all worked out though.

Notes on materials used for anyone wanting to make this pattern with a charm pack…

Originally I was going to do 1″ squares, but that would have come out way too small and I would have lost half the fabric in the seam allowance. Then I contemplated 1.5″ squares so that they would finish to 1″… but in the end I went with 2″ squares in order to lose less material in the cutting and the seam allowance. I think it came out okay, and there were even some left over squares from the charm pack. If I had added them all to the material I pieced and quilted to cut the main body from, I might have had enough for the sides. Probably. So if you want to do this and have the sides pieced as well, I suggest starting with a quilted sandwich about 12 or so inches wide, by as long as you can make it. I had wanted contrasting sides from the beginning though, so I didn’t try.

The pattern called for a fusible interfacing for the main body exterior, and then a sew-in foam batting. Since I was playing around with the fusible Flex Foam for this one though, I omitted the fusible interfacing on the quilted pieces. I also picked up a half yard (would have been fine with 1/4 yard) for the binding, as well as some material for the interior and sides. For the sides you could use scraps if you have them, but I didn’t have anything on hand that I liked for it. For the interior, I already had a fat quarter of the print that I used for the pockets and I picked up the solid from the Block Party line. If you want to do this with contrasting materials like I did, you would be fine with a fat quarter of each and will still have plenty left over. For the interior zipper I only had a 12″ red zipper on hand, which I used even though the pattern called for a 14″ zipper. It worked out fine, but you definitely need a 14″ (or bigger, since you cut it down) for the main zipper.

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