Among Brenda's Quilts

Does the quilt pattern called Yellow Brick Road sound familiar to you?  If it does, that's because it's been one of the best selling patterns in recent quilting history.  The author, Terry Atkinson, has a goal to create first time patterns for quilters, to change them from quilt lovers into quilt makers.  Terry and I are both members of a designers Facebook group and earlier in the year Terry asked if any group members would like to review patterns in her latest book called Simple, Fun & Quickly Done. It's been published by Martingale under the Patchwork Place imprint and is in stores now.  

Terry's book, while quilty in nature, includes a wide variety of patterns for 18 easy-to-make projects including fun hot pads, table topers, various bags, pillows, and runners.  It truly is a great starting point for entry level quilters and sewers.  Terry has a unique talent for helping along quilters, that's likely because she was once a home economics teacher — the kind of teacher all of us girls would have loved to have had.  The kind of teacher with flare.  

My copy of the just released book arrived early in March, just in time to accompany me on a get-together trip to reconnect with my friend, Facebook group member and fellow designer Joan Ford from Hummingbird Highway designs.  We planned to spend three days together in Niagara Falls, Canada, at a luxury hotel to recharge, stitch, talk business and see a couple of the wonders of the world, the mighty Horseshoe and American Falls.  

Our suite gave us both plenty of room to work on our separate projects.  Joan worked on a quilt that had long been unfinished.  I, on the other hand, finally had a chance to work on a Terry Atkinson project, my first, and I chose the Sewing Supplies Pocket Roll-Up.  The pattern offered two sizes to chose from and I picked the larger of the two. Having packed my sewing supplies and my portable sewing machine in my own Sewing Machine Tote I quickly unpacked and got to work using the two fat quarters required for the project.

Working quickly with the instructions, color illustrations and photographs, I saw fast progress. Progress and results are so important for newbie sewists and Terry's instructions virtually guarantee that someone's first project won't be their last.  And if you are shop or a sewer you are going to really appreciate that!

Terry's book delivered on it's title.  Pretty soon I had assembled the little bag and was modelling it for Joan in front of our view of the mighty Horseshoe Falls.  Being an experienced bag maker I took great pleasure in making the Sewing Supplies Pocket Roll-Up.  Because I am who I am, I took some liberties with the pattern, something I know a great home ec teacher would appreciate.  I added a little magnetic snap, in place of a spot of hook-and-loop tape, and added a wool felt heart and button in place of the circle trim idea offered in the book.

For those with a little more experience several options were given, adding a vinyl pocket, adding needle storage with the use of a wool felt needle holder, and there were options given for flap embellishment.  As well, Terry peppers her new book with her "Terry's Tips" — ideas on how to make your sewing look even more professional.  The tip offered with this pattern suggested a great way to avoid unsightly backstitching.  That'll be the teacher in Terry reaching out to you!     

Although the idea of the Roll-up was to use it as a sewing supply pocket I had other plans.  I thought it would be great to hold my travel knife, fork, spoon, finger wipes and napkin in my car and I had another bright idea inspired by the fabric.  Did you notice it is sprinkled with tiny chocolate bars?  Why not use the Roll-Up to sneakily hold mini snacks purchased at the nearby Hershey Chocolate Shop? And that's just what I did with my Roll-Up on the drive home!  

Other Sewing Resources

More sewing tips and tutorials

Get our 12 Free Tips for Bagmakers  along with more information on a weekly basis.

When a pattern calls for vinyl, things can get sticky. In this video I show you how to sew with vinyl without getting into a mess. Hint: It's all about the sewing machine foot. 

Sometimes you want to make a little change in a pattern, like adding a magnetic fastener, or a snap in place of a hook-in-loop fastener, as I did with Terry's pattern. Here's a step-by-step blog tutorial about how to apply a magnetic fastener.

Even small projects require good fabric preparation. This video shows you some pressing techniques.

Sewing on the Go

Sewing Machine ToteFor the trip to Niagara, I took along some supplies and my portable sewing machine, which I packed into my Sewing Machine Tote. You can make one too! Here's the Sewing Machine Tote pattern.

Written by Brenda Miller — March 19, 2017


I'm Brenda, and I love designing patterns that help you create beautiful, functional bags and quilts.

These patterns are unique, well-illustrated, simple to follow, and fun to sew.

We also carry my own line of bag zippers, finished designer bags, bag hardware kits, specialty fabrics, and notions, so you're able to easily find what you need to do a superb job on all of your ABQ projects.

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