Monday, December 9, 2019

Holiday Project - December 2019 Aurifil Artisan Challenge

I'm in denial that it's December, but my calendar insists that it's true.  Eek!!!

This month's Aurifil Artisan Challenge was to make a holiday themed project.  I decided to go out of the box on this one and make drawstring bags.  If you're wondering how this is holiday themed, it's because these bags would be great for reusable packaging for folks that like to retain their special packaging from year to year or as part of the gift itself.  I also love that they aren't necessarily bound to a particular event or holiday just by choosing different fabrics!  Plus, they are super cute, functional, and they can easily be customized to suit the tastes of the recipient.  Just to show how great they could be, I made 8 of them in a variety of sizes and styles.  Two of the bags (the black and blue) were made in non-holiday themed fabric just to show you the project with a slightly different look.

These Lined Drawstring bags are perfect for any holiday, not just the ones in December!

My favorite drawstring bag is Jeni Baker's Lined Drawstring Bag pattern.  She has a free single-size pattern available on her blog, but the paid pattern gives instructions for 8 sizes PLUS instructions for making your own custom-sized bag.  Jeni recently released an expansion pack for the Lined Drawstring Bag that includes a bunch of fun options that include how to turn the bag into a backpack, changing it up to have the accent at the bottom of the bag, a cute mini accent, and even how to make the pattern from a single fabric (plus a few more)!  I love how the bag is lined so that it's pretty on the inside as well as the outside, and the extra fabric improves the durability of the project.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did make a very slight adjustment to the pattern.  I decided to topstitch all of the seams 1/8" from the edge before I assembled the majority of the bag.  So, it isn't actually stitched through all layers, but it looks like it is!  This isn't really necessary or even visible from a distance, but I love the little bit of extra detail that I get when I topstitch in a matching thread.

I may have gone a bit overboard with making 8 of them, but they really are a super cool project.  After selecting my fabrics, I decided to use 40wt thread (Aurifil uses green spools for their 40/2 thread) for all of the bags.  The extra bit of thickness it has over the 50wt (the more commonly seen orange spools) makes topstitching and quilting look extra fabulous!

40wt Aurifil thread in colors (L to R): 4020, 5002, 5022, 2021, 4241, 4093, 1148, 1320, 2735

So, without further ado, here's a breakdown of what I made (including which fabrics, thread colors, bag styles, and sizes):

Clockwise from top: 1, 2, 3, 4
  1. Bottom Accent Backpack in Artist Size - Decoupage in Ink, Embroidery in Charcoal, Quilt in Magenta from Handiwork by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 4241 (Very Dark Grey) and 4020 (Fuchsia)
  2. Easy Going (2 fabric) in Project Size - Kitschy in Brite and Ornament in Merry from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 4093 (Jade) and 4020 (Fuchsia)
  3. Mini Accent in DVD Size - Crossed in Fruitcake and Holly in Star from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 5002 (Medium Red) and 5022 (Mustard)
  4. Bottom Accent in Everything Size - Stripe in Pine, Diamond in Candlelight, and Chorus in Jade from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 1148 (Light Jade) and 5022 (Mustard)

Clockwise from top: 1, 2, 3, 4
  1. Original bag in Project Size  - Sew in Cobalt and Quilt in Sapphire from Handiwork by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 2735 (Medium Blue) and 1320 (Bright Teal)
  2. Original bag in Snack Size - Chorus in Tradition, Holly in Star, and Crossed in Snowflake from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 5002 (Medium Red), 5022 (Mustard), and 2021(Natural White)
  3. Easy Going (2 fabric) in Tiny Size - Ribbon in Peppermint and Ornament in Merry from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 4020 (Fuchsia)
  4. Mini Accent in Snack Size - Ribbon in Garland and Holly in Wreath from Holiday by Alison Glass for Andover using 40wt Aurifil in 4093 (Jade)
There are so many great things about this bag and so many ways they can be used.  I've made them to hold my travel sewing machine's foot pedal, but my favorite thing is  to use the Artist size (the size of the black backpack) as a shoe bag when I travel.  It's perfect to hold any of my shoes (I wear a size 9.5-10 in US women's sizes for reference), even my bulky running shoes and my 8-eye Dr Martens boots!  As a comparison, my mom's smaller size (7.5-8) shoes fit in the slightly smaller Project size bag. If it gets dirty, it's easily washable because the bags are made with quilting cotton, and I'm pretty confident that we've probably all washed that before!

So, I'll wrap this post up (get it?? I'm so punny!!) with this - I would like to wish everybody a happy, safe holiday season.  I'll see you back here in 2020!

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