The Improv Tote with Crafty Gemini’s Vanessa Vargas Wilson

Easy Quilting Project with Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co and Vanessa of Crafty Gemini. Vanessa and Jenny show us how to make an easy quilt as you go tote bag using jelly rolls (2 1/2 inch strips of precut fabric) and In R Form Plus.

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Video Transcript Part Two:

Hi, I’m Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Take a look at this quilt behind me.  This is a lot of fun and gorgeous and it’s another one of those half-square triangle quilts that I love.  Just another way to set them together.  Very easy.

So, to make this quilt, you’re going to need three charm packs of, that are printed, and three charm packs of solid.  So, we used “Chance of Flowers” by Sandy Gervais for Moda and I just love her style.  She does such cute things.  So, when we get ready to make this quilt, all we’re going to do is make half-square triangles and, of course, I make those super easy.

So you’re going to choose a color out of here, out of your pack, and you’re going to do this with the whole pack.  So let me, let’s get this cute yellow here, yellow dot maybe, and I’m just going to pull it right out of the middle here and you’re going to do this to your whole charm pack.  You’re going to put your color with your solid.  You’re going to put them right sides together, like that, and you’re going to sew a quarter of an inch all the way around the outside.

Now, I have one right here that I’ve done that to.  You can see I’ve sewn it all the way around the outside and then we’re going to cut it diagonally, both directions.  So, we line up our ruler, corner to corner, just like this, and like this, and we’re just going to make those two cuts.  So now we have four half-square triangles right away and, just doubles our, our production.  We’re able to get so much more done.

So now I’m going to iron these open and I like to lay mine all in a stack, like this, with the color on top, because I try to iron to the dark side.  We want to…especially if you are using a white background, you don’t want your colors to show through, so, I just press on them and roll it back and open them up and roll them back, just like that.  Very quickly they, you know, they’re all pressed and ready to go and, you know, you do that to your whole charm pack.  You’re going to sew every one of these to one of these, and cut them and do that.

So you’re going to have a big stack of these half-square triangles.  The first thing I do is divide them right in half.  So I have a pile of, I just take two of each one on this pile and two on this pile and I just divide them up, like that.  I’ve got two over here and two over here of each color.  Oops, this one goes here, and you just try to make them fairly even so that you have about the same, you know, you want the same amount on either side.  And the trick to this whole block and this is the block we’re making right here, this is the block, but the trick to the whole block is how we sew them together.

So what we’re going to do is, half of them are going to be sewn together color to color, like this,  and half of them are going to be sewn together white to white, just like this, and you want to make sure they’re the same because we’re putting together a block that looks like this.  So, let me show you how I lay these out.  So, I’m going to take my color here, see I’m, I’m going to make these two first, so I’m going to take a yellow and a green and I’m going to put them together, just like this so that they are white to white together, and we’re going to sew those.  

So, let’s go to the sewing machine and put those together.  And I would do, if I were you, I would do all of my, the ones where I am putting my solids together, I’d do all of those and then I’d do the ones where I’m putting the color together so you end up with two stacks that are identical because you don’t want to get mixed up and it’s so easy to get mixed up.  Well, let me just rephrase that, it’s so easy for me to get mixed up.

So, anyway, I cut off those little doggy ears and then I’m just going to press this open and lay that, like that, and then we’re going to make this side, right here, which is where the two colors are together.  So you go to your other stack and you grab two other colors.  Let’s, let’s grab the pink, like this, and the yellow, and you’re going to match up your two colors.  So then we’re going to put those together and we’re going to sew those.

And while you’re doing this, you’ll be able to chain piece ‘cause you’ll have all of your, all of your colored ones right, one after the other after the other and you’ll just sit and chain piece them all  and it’ll be really, it’ll go super-fast for you.  Then I’m just going to roll that piece back.

So, we make sure that our blocks line up.  We, you know I always look.  Make a sample block so that I, I have a direction to follow so I know where I am going, and then you’re going to sew these two together, like this, and so you just lay these right sides together and if you, and if you happen to have ironed your seams going one direction or the other, they will nest very nicely.  If not, you can just kind of push them that way, so that they lay nice, and then when you iron them, they’ll just lay down really nice.

So you’re going to sew these two together.  Make sure that center, center seam lines up in your edges, and we’re going to press that open and I know I have this seam this way, so I’m going to press that.  Sometimes when you get a lot of little pieces coming together you like to, you might want to press the seams open.  Some people like to do it; that’s totally personal preference.  So you’re going to end up with blocks like this.

Then, what you want to do to make this block is, you’re going to take four of these and you’re going to put them together.  So, you’re going to put your whites together in the middle.  So, you can already see how this is beginning to form.  And then I have two I’ve sewn together here and you’re going to put your, your other two, see that, together to form the block.  So, let’s sew these two together, right here, and then I have this one that’s already done and we’ll make a block and we’ll just iron this open, there we go,  and we’ll put this together.  Let me give this a little press.  There we go.  Get all my seams going one direction or the other and look at that.  So, now I’m going to lay these two together.  So, basically, these four small blocks that you have are forming a four patch and the way I like to line mine together is I always put my, my whites to the middle. All my solids, I’m going to line those right up in the center and I kind of like these blocks where there’s a lot of smaller blocks because it, it lets you keep everything in line.  Every time a seam comes together you make that nest and it will just, it’ll end up for a very, just a really nice looking block where all your little seams line up and, and things just go together so easily.

Alright, so then let’s open, press this open, whoops, there we go.  Got caught on a cord right there.  That could have been bad.  Alright, so now we have these blocks and really, just to put this quilt together, all we’re going to do is, we’re going to sew together, lay our block together in rows, like this.  Look how cool this is.  Then it makes this secondary block right here in the middle.  So you have, you have a wide block here that is bordered by color and then you have a colored block here that is bordered by white, and it just does it automatically.  You don’t have to set it, you don’t have to worry about it, you don’t have to do any work.  You just put them together.  So, on mine, right here, I have one, two, three, four big blocks across the top and one, two, three, four, five, six going down.

That will make a quilt that is about fifty-five by seventy-seven, so it makes a good sized quilt.  If you wanted to use one charm pack of, of white and one charm pack of color, it will make a quilt that’s this size.  And I just wanted to show this.  This is, it’s just so cute how it comes out.  This is “Renin Friends” and it’s just, I mean, they’re just darling little quilts and so easy to make.  Even though it looks like a lot of work, I love, I love quilts that make it look like you worked really hard.  So, we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the “Four Seasons Quilt Block” from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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  • Tammy Scouten

    Jenny, I am also a Gemini. I am June 10. Can’t wait to make this bag. Thank you for all the awesome tutorials.

  • Linda

    Is there a pdf for the videos? I like to go back and check notes/stuff without having to turn on the computer..

  • Linda garmon

    I’m confused when using the double sided fusible in r foam, you did not have anything on the back side of the tote. Didn’t the fusible stick to the ironing surface and get ruined?

    I ordered the foam product from you, but I’m concerned about using it.
    Thank you, Linda Garmon

    • Jackie/HillCountryGal

      Linda, I too wondered about that. Today, is the first time I’ve used this product. Yes, it does stick to the ironing board cover. But, it’s not that bad. Decided to just “lightly” press the outside design.

      • BeckyMSQC

        Thank you Jackie! I have also made a tote and found that that the foam was thick enough it did not stick to my ironing surface. Like Jackie said though just use a light touch!

  • Jackie/HillCountryGal

    Just finished my 1st tote. Decided to add a pocket inside, using velcro as a closure + a loop and button to keep the top closed. It was fun to make and that In-R-Form-Plus was a breeze to sew with.

  • Beth Arcuri

    Okay, I admit, I have yet to watch this tutorial. I was just browsing through the pages looking for a future project when I saw Vanessa of the Crafty Gemini. I squealed! Ok, quietly, but still, I assure you I am excited! As a teacher, I respect and admire good teaching. This is why I come to Jenny and Missouri Star! It’s also why I’m excited to see Jenny being a mentor to Vanessa and giving her a wider audience. After watching several slick videos I didn’t understand Foundation Piecing. After watching Vanessa, the Crafty Gemini, I knew exactly what I was doing. I could have saved a lot of confusion and frustration if I had watched her video first. Anyway, I won’t keep going on but kudos to you, Jenny, for helping another deserving woman. It absolutely validates my impression of you. And kudos to you Vanessa! Through your hard work maybe someday you’ll have a slick studio to work in and you’ll be the one reaching out a hand to the next deserving video star!

  • Shery Talarico Sullivan

    Out at a party, someone accidentally spilled beer on my tote. I’m wondering if anyone has tips on how to wash and dry it. I’m thinking of hand washing and hanging it to dry. Not sure if I can use a dryer.

  • Sabaenia

    Can’t get to video what is the measurement of the In-r-form-plus. Thanks