Monday, May 9, 2011

Manicuring your FQ stash

Hello all you lovely quilters in Blogland.  My name is Benta, and I blog over at SLIKstitches.  I have been following Stash Manicure for quite a while now, and have learnt so many things, so I am delighted to have this opportunity to share an idea with all of you.

 Thought I would bring you some hot beverages too...help yourself while I share why I am here.

When I started quilting I used to buy lovely fabrics randomly: a FQ (or several) that I liked, at a time.  It has taken me 20 years, but I have realised that isn’t the best way to buy fabric, as I never have enough to make a decent size quilt.  So now I try and buy a couple of metres (yards for our American cousins) at a time, but I had to find a way to use up my FQ stash to make room for the new fabrics.  I had been making (and refining) a handy little bag for many years and realised it was perfect for FQ busting.  (I think I may have had a slight addition to buying FQs, but I did manage to quit improve without the need for a self-help group.)

This post sort of started back at Christmas when I was the luckiest of all the lucky Christmas Giveaway winners on Stash Manicure.  Madame Samm send me the bestest Christmas pressie – a sparkly red package bursting with fabrics, designs, embellishments, a cuppa cozie, a fridge magnet … oh I can feel myself coming over all unnecessary just thinking about it!

[I hope you dont think I'm boasting... well, OK, I am, a little bit, but I’m not just boasting – there is a point to this, stick with me …] ... The fabric was a layer cake: 42 squares of loveliness – Moda’s Arnold’s Attic - but when I eventually prepared myself to cut into it, I had a design in mind that needed 45 squares, so I got some Moda Bistro FQs in a similar colourway.  At the end I had a FQ left over.
I used the leftover FQ to make a FQ buster bag, and I sent it to Madame Samm, as a thank you for the goodies.  She tells me that she uses it every day in her car to hold necessary essentials.  Over the years I have made loads of them: as gifts, and as handy places to store things for me and my girls… and now I am going to share with you :-)
Take your FQ (ideally not one with a directional design), and fold over half an inch to the back along the selvedge edge. Press

Fold the FQ in half, right sides together, so the folded selvedge edge is along the top, and stitch the two sides together from the end of the folded fabric (ie 1 inch down from the top edge) to the bottom end.

You now have a tube (folded selvedge along the top, fold to the left and stitched seam to the right).   

Rearrange the tube so the seam goes down the middle of the tube.  Press seam open.  You had previously pressed the selvedge edge down, you now want to press it ‘open’ even though it isn’t actually stitched.

Fold the bottom of the piece up so it just touches the bottom of the folded selvedge edge.  
Finger press so you can see the fold. Open up and stitch using the fold mark as your stitching guide

The fabric is now two distinct sections: top, and bottom.  This next bit may sound (read?) confusing, but it does work.  

Turn the bottom section inside out, so it covers the top section.  Put your fingers, or knitting needle or something similar - but NOT the blade of a pair of scissors (please don’t ask me how I know that isn’t a good idea!) into the corners to turn them neatly.
Now we are going to create a channel for a drawstring.  Start to turn your selvedge edge down.  Fold down another half inch, and pin, working your way around to the front. 

When you have finished this folding and pinning you can stitch along the edge, and then, using your preferred method, you can thread 20 inches or so of suitable ribbon through the casing. (If you are confident, you could be encasing your ribbon as you did the pinning)

You now have a pretty little bag which can hold all sorts of bits and pieces, and no raw edges to be seen.
However, this project does come with a wealth warning ... I’ve found that now I buy FQs because ‘that fabric will be perfect for… Lisa, Niki, Jane, …”

Thanks all for reading this far … with all the love I can put into this bag, this is for you. love Benta

PS I know lots of guest bloggers finish with a giveaway, I am too,... but with a difference!  I have two [nearly] finished quilts that do not have a home to go to, and I would like to donate them to a charity, but I dont know where to send them - hospice, soldiers, children's home, hospital ... so I'd like you to make a suggestion.  Either a UK charity, or an international one: I will post the quilts as a gift from you.  Visit my blog to see the quilts, and suggest a charity by commenting here and on my blog.  Thanks


  1. I popped over to your blog early this morning and got lost in reading your posts. I left a comment there for you as to the quilts. But, I really should leave you a comment here too. I love the idea of using FQ's in quick little projects that have no waste. And your cute little bag certainly fits the bill. Thank you for sharing with us on Stash today.

  2. What a lovely tute! Thanks Benta! I feel another little spell with the sewing machine coming on instead of getting on with tidying the craft room up!

  3. Oh Benta....what a fun little bag....thanks for the tutorial :)

    I'm absolutely certain who ever you give your quilts to will be absolutely thrilled to receive them....something warm to a soul who needs some warmth....always a lovely gift from your soul....no matter who's name you put on it :)


  4. What a great idea! Who needs wrapping paper when a nice little bag would do instead. Thanks Benta!

  5. Cute little bag. With so many disasters that have happened, it's hard to choose just one. Project Linus is one that I do a lot for, so I'm going to go with that. I'm sure whoever gets the donation, will be thrilled!

  6. Comfort quilts is where I send my donation quilts but no matter where you send the quilts I am sure they will be appreciated. Thanks for the great idea for the use of fat quarters. I have a really large FQ collection so this little bag would be a great way to use up my collection.

  7. Good Morning Benta. I love this bag...oh nice to see what you can do with sew little of fabric. You are my hero. Love small projects, another one to do in the near future. great tut!

  8. I will be making several of these little bags as I have been trying to use up the FQ's that I have on hand. So far there have been a lot of quilt backs made. Please select an organization or person of need near you for your donation quilts. Wonderful post. Judy C

  9. How kind and generous of you to donate 2 quilts to a worthwhile cause - I am sure they will be truly appreciated!

  10. That is such a great idea, thank you for sharing. Off to your blog with an idea.

  11. Thanks for sharing! I also have an addiction to fat quarters. I think it's an occupational hazard!

  12. What a great idea! Fun for gifting, and then re-usable, too! Thanks for sharing!
    I would like to suggest Judy at Green Fairy, for one of the quilts! She has a ministry of going each year to Romania, and taking comfort quilts. Some of us are participating in Hands to Help, and sending the quilts to her. Here's the linkie: http://greenfairyquilts.com/catalog.php?category=24
    Jacque in SC

  13. What a darling little bag. Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial with us and for donating your beautiful quilts. I would like to let you know about a great web site that helps connect people with charity's in the UK: http://www.charitychoice.co.uk

  14. Thank you for the lovely tutorial.

  15. I learn something new every time I check into Stash...today's tidbit of info: wealth warning! Hilarious! I plan to use that phrase every chance I get from now on because it seems everything I do should come with a wealth warning attached! Thanks and great post! xo, Nan

  16. Cute little bag! And what a lovely gesture to donate your quilts.

  17. I second Jacque (Snoodles) suggestion of Judi at Green Fairy Quilts - she has a great charity effort and your quilts will be well loved and used! Great post, by the way! Thanks for sharing!!

  18. I love your bag idea. Thanks. I would like to see you donate a quilt to MD Anderson Cancer Center. What a great idea.


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