Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pyramid Pouch Tutorial

This is a guest post I did for Stephanie at Toastie Studio.  I am reposting it here because I am way down in TX visiting my lovely inlaws and I didn't want to let you all think I've abandoned you!  This pyramid pouch is a quick and easy last minute gift idea.  I can make one in about 30 minutes.  You can vary the size, but make it too big and it loses it's cuteness and charm.  If you make it too small, you can't get your hand inside the bag to utilize it.  I love to fill a pouch with candy, a jar of my famous peach jam, and a maybe even a few ornaments or a scented candle.  It's a fun, versitile, and easy so I hope you'll give it a try!

Happy Holidays! 
Rikka J.

Fuse the interfacing to the backs of all the squares.  The rectangles don't need interfacing.  For this pouch l used med weight interfacing.  The outer fabric is a corduroy and the lining is linen.  You want to give your fabric enough body or stiffness to hold it's shape when it's all sewn together.  A sturdy canvas or thick corduroy may not require interfacing.  Batting (wadding) or fusible fleece are other good options.
Sometimes I don't cover up the ends of my zipper, but the results are well worth the effort.  Your pouch will look that much more neat and finished.  Plus, it's the easiest way to shorten a zipper that is too long.
  • 1. Line up a rectangle of lining, right side up, under the zipper, as shown.  
  • 2. Add a rectangle of the outer fabric, wrong side up, on top.  Stitch across.
  • 3. Repeat for the other side.  Fold back and press.
Where exactly do you place the rectangles?  I position them so the zipper opening, or the distance between the lines of stitching, will be 6".  

For you zipper virgins out there, this is how you get around the zipper and keep your stitches nice and straight:
  • A. Pin a square of outer fabric to the zipper, right sides together, as shown.
  • B. Using your zipper foot, stitch up to the zipper pull.
  • C. With the needle lowered, raise the foot and zip the zipper closed.  
  • D. Now the zipper pull is out of the way and you can stitch away.
Zips can be frustrating and confusing.  I avoided them for a long time.  There are a million tutorials out there on installing zips, so I won't go into great detail here.  Basically, you repeat the above steps for all the remaining squares of fabric.  Pay attention to the direction of the print on your fabric, and keep the right sides together, and you'll do fine.
  • 1. After you fold back your squares and press, you should have something like this.
  • 2. This is what it looks like from the back.
  • 3. Top stitch around the zipper and trim the little rectangles even with the squares.
  • 4. This is what the outside looks like all top stitched and trimmed.
At this point, you can add things like labels, pockets, straps, tabs, etc.  I kept this bag pretty simple for the sake of the tutorial, but usually I add a Ricochet label to the exterior.  If you used  batting or fleece, this would be the time to do any quilting, keeping your stitches well clear of the edges of the squares.
  • A. Pin the lining, right sides together.  Pin the outer fabric, right sides together.  Stitch around the perimeter leaving the bottom open.
  • B. This shows another view of step A.  The lining stitched together on one side, the outer fabric on the other, and the zipper is in between.  The bottom of the zipper is facing the camera.
  • C. This step is easier to see than it is to explain.  The side seams are matched with (and centered on) the zipper.  Pin the fabrics right sides together.  It looks a little like a space ship at this point. ;-D
  • D. Start at each edge/corner and sew towards the zipper, stopping just short of the zip.  You can see in the picture that I left an opening on one side of the lining.  Pin together the lining and outer fabrics, as shown, and sew right across the zipper (between the pins) through all the fabric.  
  • 1. Snip the corners and start pulling the bag inside out Through the opening in the lining.
  • 2. Machine stitch the opening closed.  No one will see the stitching because of where it will end up in the finished bag, so don't feel like like you need to hand stitch.
  • 3. Almost done!
  • 4. Done!
The very last step is to add something to the zipper pull.  A scrap of ribbon or trim works great.  Thanks for sticking with me until the very end!  I know I'm long-winded, and I do apologize!
Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Mistletoe against the winter sky in Texas.

Merry Christmas, happy crafting, and big hugs from your Montana girl in Texas,

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Where the deer and the antelope play. . .

Another great photo shot by Mr. Ricochet made on December 5th, 2011.  This one was taken with his phone.  The mountains are near Glacier National Park.  Beyond the mountains is Canada.  Currently, I am 1500 miles south in central Texas, spending time with family.  I'll see you all again in the New Year.

Warm hugs and best holiday wishes,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Tudor Rose to Remember

Quite a while ago I typed up a little post about some Tudor Rose purses I had made.  The original pattern came from a now defunct website called  I did not draft this pattern, but I love it so very much.  It should not be lost to the world.  What remains of can be seen through a web archive service.  If you look HERE you'll see what remains of the original pattern and may notice that many of the photos are gone.  There is a printable text-only document still avaible HERE.  The PDF file for the pattern pieces is HERE.

I've re-vamped the tutorial in hopes in an effort to preserve the pattern.  You can find my tutorial for making the flower portion of the bag HERE.  The original pattern calls for a flower on each side of the bag.  That's a lot of work and the resulting bag is rather small and flat and heavy.  I suggest you use only one flower and combine it with your favorite tote bag pattern.  I've made several Tudor Rose purses and would be happy to help you in attaching the flower to a purse.  Just drop me an email (ricochethandbags(at)hotmail(dot)com) or leave a comment.  I think the flower looks stunning when sewn to the outside of a bag, but it would also make a show-stopping addition to a decorative pillow.

If you'd like to learn more about Tudor Roses, I've written a brief history about the iconic flower and created a little gallery of historical and modern references for you.  Please check it out HERE.

I'm working on making a few Tutor Rose purses and thought that I might share the flower-making process with you.

Here's a little gallery of the latest Tutor Rose I made:
Do you see how nice it would look on a pillow?
Here are some close-ups.  

Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,

Tudor Rose History and Gallery of Images

Do you recall learning about the Wars of the Roses in history class?  In the mid to late 1400s there were many battles over the throne of England.  Ultimately, the throne was won by Henry Tudor who defeated King Richard III.  Henry Tudor's mother was of the House of Lancaster whose badge was the red rose.  Richard III came from the House of York whose badge was a white rose.  Hence the name, the Wars of the Roses.  Henry Tudor married Elizabeth of York and conjoined the red and white roses creating the Tudor Rose.
The Tudor Rose is to England what the shamrock is to Ireland.  You can find the rose printed on coins, coats of arms, in stained glass windows, carved into tables, and painted on porcelain plates.  You will find it in many more places as well.  
Here are some images I've gathered from the web:

Reference Book Image


YeomanoftheGuard badge.PNG
The insignia of the Yeoman of the Guard:
Thistle, Rose, and Shamrock




Hand Carved Tudor Rose in Oak by Wood Carver, Jose Sarabia
[source] created a Tudor Rose purse pattern.  Sadly, is no longer in operation and the pattern is available only through a web archive service.  Many of the photos in the tutorial are now missing, making the pattern difficult to imterpret.  I've remixed the pattern for the flower portion of the bag HERE.  

Apparently, I was not the only one smitten with SavvySeams' pattern.  
Here are some lovely Tudor Rose purses made by others that I found on the web:



Completed Project: Tudor Rose Bag Picture #3

Here are some of the Tudor Rose purses I've made:

I hope you found some of this information useful.  I enjoyed doing a bit of research and learning some new facts.  I checked my facts with several articles I found in Wikipedia.  All the images, but my own purses, were found through a google image search.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this post.  I know some of my followers are from England, so I'm eager for some firsthand knowledge about the Tudor Rose and how it came to be.

As always, happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,'s Tudor Rose Tutorial Remix

Quite a while ago I typed up a little post about some Tudor Rose purses I had made.  The original pattern came from a now defunct website called  I did not draft this pattern, but I love it so very much.  It should not be lost to the world.  What remains of can be seen through a web archive service.  If you look HERE you'll see what remains of the original pattern and may notice that many of the photos are gone.  There is a printable text-only document still avaible HERE.  The PDF file for the pattern pieces is HERE or try

You can see a little gallery of photos of the flower I made for this tutorial HERE.
I gathered some historical information and photos about the Tudor Rose HERE.

Here's my remix of the flower portion of the tutorial:

Getting Started:
Choosing fabric.
  • The fabric should be medium to heavy weight.  If you use lightweight fabric, you'll need to apply a lightweight fusible interfacing.  
  • The flower is quite complex and gorgeous on it's own.  I suggest avoiding strong prints that may distract from the details of the flower itself.
  • Each leaf and petal has a front and a back.  Consider splurging on the front fabric and going cheap on the backs.
  • How much fabric?  A bit more than a yard. I can break it down into petals and leaves or fronts and backs if you wish.  
Other supplies.
  • You'll need the basic machine sewing supplies: coordinating thread, scissors, iron, etc.
  • You'll also need to do some hand sewing so be sure you have a needle and thread on hand.
  • Batting or wadding.  I used a medium thick synthetic quilting batting.  I think a cotton or poly-blend would work as well.  
  • If you have some freezer paper, I'd suggest using it for your pattern pieces. 
  • The flower's center requires a base of some kind.  I use plastic canvas, but any plastic may work.  The lids from margarine tubs or coffee cans would work.  Also, file folders work great.  I haven't tried it, but peltex or timetex would probably work as well.  
First, I cut out the fabric:
There are only 4 different pattern pieces the worry about for this flower.  In truth, what I've dubbed "leaves" are actually sepals or tiny petals.  For simplicity's sake I'm sticking with petals and leaves.  You will find the PDF pattern HERE.    
You'll need to cut out 10 of each pattern piece from your fabric.

I am a huge fan of using freezer paper for my patterns.  I've actually cut out 10 of each pattern piece.  That way I have a single freezer paper pattern piece to match every piece of fabric I will cut out.  

Freezer paper rocks because:
  1. I avoid having to trace or transfer each pattern piece 10 times.  I just iron the freezer paper onto my fabric and cut around it.
  2. I can easily keep track of how many pieces I need to cut out.
  3. I avoid wasting fabric.  I know without a doubt if I have enough fabric for every piece because I cut. Also, I can arrange and rearrange the freezer paper until I'm sure I'm not wasting any fabric.
(You might have guessed from the picture that I am upcycling a pair of pants to use for the petals.)

Second, I make the leaves:
For the leaves, simply match up and pin the fronts and backs of every leaf right-sides together.  There will be 5 small and 5 large leaves in all.  For the leaves in this tutorial, the backs are a tan fake-suede that used to be a bed skirt.  For the fronts I'm using a cream on white crocodile print poly blend with a fuzzy flannel backing.  I picked that up at thrift store--I have no idea what you'd call it.
Stitch.  After pinning, it's just a matter of stitching around the edges with a .5" seam allowance, leaving an opening at the bottom.  I sew the leaves in a continuous line of stitching to save some time.  That's a neat quilter's trick I and using more and more.
Clip.  The pointy corners need to be trimmed so the tips of leaves are nice and sharp when you turn them inside out.
Turn.  I use a wooden dowel to help me turn the leaves inside out.  Be careful not to poke through the seams or damage the fabric.  Press each leaf nice and flat.
Top-stitch.  I chose a decorative machine stitch to add a bit of detail to my leaves.  

Third, I make the petals:
Pin.  The petals require a bit of batting as well as the fronts and backs.  The batting pieces should be trimmed off at the bottom about 2 inches.  This will decrease the bulk we don't want want in the center of the flower.  This is the best way to pin your petals together:  Lay your back piece right-side-up.  Lay your front piece on top, right side-side-down.  Lay your batting on the very top.  Pin.  If you pin that order, the petal will look nice and poofy when you turn it.
Stitch.  Stitch around the petals using a .5" seam allowance and leaving a nice big opening at the bottom for turning.  Don't bother trimming the batting near the seams.  The bulk of batting in seam allowances will help boost the dimensions of the petals.
Turn.  Carefully turn and gently press each petal.  
Top-Stitch.  I have top-stitched the petals a multitude of different ways.  You can see examples of that HERE.  When I keep my top-stitches at least 1-1.5 inches away from the edge of the petals, the petals get a nice poofy 3-D effect.  
The 5 large petals and the 5 small petals are sewn together in rings following these steps:
  1. Trim the bottoms off of the petals as shown with the red lines in the diagram.  Don't get too fussy about this step.  The center is covered up anyway so this step is mainly for reducing bulk.  I trimmed off nearly 2 inches from each large petals and about 1 inch from each small petal.
  2. Arrange 5 same-sized petals until you're happy with how they look and just pin together 2 adjacent petals.
  3. Using your widest zig-zag stitch, sew together the 2 petals where their edges meet up.  Take a look at the blue zig-zags I've drawn in the diagram to get a better idea.  Stitch about 3 inches from the bottoms of the petals.
  4. Take your stitched petals back to their friends and pin one more on to the chain.  Repeat the zig-zag  stitching for the remaining petals until you have a complete ring of petals.
  5. The last step is to zig-zag around the center of the ring to finish off all the raw edges.

Fourth, attach the leaves to the petals:
This is how you attach the leaves:
  1. Take your ring of large petals and flip it over face-down.  Arrange the large leaves on the back, right-side-down, as shown.  Were you wondering why the large leaves had the "V" shape cut into the bottom edge?  Well, when you arrange the leaves as shown, the "Vs" create a perfect(ish) pentagon.  Ultimately, the large leaves peek out between and behind the large petals.  I like my leaves to extend just beyond the height of the petals.  Flip it over and experiment with placement until you're happy with the look of it.
  2. When you're sure about the placement, pin the large leaves in place.  I used low-tack masking tape because it'll hold them down perfectly and it won't get caught on anything like pins sometimes do.  Flip it over, right-side-up, and sew a straight stitch right over the zig-zags that hold together each petal.  The dotted lines in the diagram show you where the straight stitch will show through on the back.
  3. The small leaves need to be pinned as shown.  Play with the arrangement, laying the ring of small petals on top, until you're happy with the placement.  
  4. The ends of the leaves are sewn on as shown.  
Pin the small ring of petals on top and stitch as shown.  Now all that's left is the center piece!
Final step is making the center:
The center of this Tudor Rose is finished with a large button detailed with canadian smocking.  I found a great canadian smocking tutorial right HERE.  It's easier than you think, I promise!  Once you read through the tutorial, you'll find you need to mark a grid on the reverse of your fabric.  What I do is take a piece of very thin/feather-weight fusible interfacing and place it on my cardboard fabric cutting board which has a 1 inch grid.  I can then mark the interfacing with a marker and fuse it to the back of a 14" square of fabric.  The center picture shows what the back side looks like when all the smocking has been completed.  I used the bright orange thread only because it shows up better for the photos.  Once you flip it over, you can see the cool basket weave pattern.  It looks so cool, right?  
Have you ever heard of plastic canvas?  It's a fairly common staple at most craft stores.  Usually it is used for yarn crafts like tissue box covers and some holiday decorations.  You can see a bunch of traditional plastic canvas crafts HERE.  I like to use it for making bags.  It makes a nice stiff, yet breathable reinforcement for structured bags.  To make the big button, I cut out a circle of canvas and wrapped the smocked fabric around it.  You can see the back looks pretty ugly, but no one will ever see it, right?  The finished button always reminds of the lattice crust of cherry pie.  Once you hand stitch the button to the center of the petal rings, you're done!
Other tips and such:
  • If you scroll back up and check out the pics of my petals and leaves, you'll notice some irregularities.  Some of the seams are wonky, the shapes are not all perfectly uniform.  I'm fine with those little defects.  When I look at my finished project, I don't notice that my top-stitching isn't perfectly even or that my leaves aren't absolutely symmetrical.  For me, that's a major plus to this complicated pattern.  It's not very fussy and therefore perfect for a lazy sewer like myself!  
  • In my experience, the most tedious part of this project is cutting the fabric.  There are 40 pieces for the petals and leaves, 10 pieces of batting, and then you have the center.  The sewing part goes by very quickly, I promise.
  • The smocking in the center looks best when done in solid-colored fabric.  I use a 1 inch grid for my smocking, but a larger grid would still look cool and be less work.  I wouldn't recommend going any smaller.  
  • Depending on the weight of your fabrics, your finished project could get pretty heavy.  Consider the weight of your flower when choosing what type of bag or pillow you choose to attach it to.  The original pattern calls for a flower on each side of the bag.  I made one double-flowered bag and while the person I made it for was very pleased, I wouldn't want to carry a bag that was so heavy.
Happy Holidays and warm hugs for Montana,
While you're here, please check out our latest sewing challenge. We will be accepting entries until March 31, 2012.  
It's easy to enter, fun to participate, 
and anyone (not just bloggers) can try.  
Press this button to visit the challenge homepage:

If you chose to use this pattern, please respect's copyright.  This is cut and pasted directly from
"Patterns, Copyright and LicensingAll fashion and design is inherently derivative; it's all just common cultural knowledge reworked through an individual's unique experiences and aesthetics. With this in mind, I've decided to license all the works on this website (unless noted otherwise) under a Creative Commons license. This means you are free to use, reproduce, or make derivative works WITH THE FOLLOWING RIGHTS RESERVED:
  • Attribution.
  • You must credit SavvySeams and list the web address.
  • Noncommercial.
  • You may not use my patterns or designs, or any other content of this website, for commercial purposes. This means the sewing patterns are not to be sold or used in making items for resale.
  • Share Alike.
  • If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
  • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work."

Here is Ricochet's license to remix's pattern: 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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