The 39 Week “Work in Progress”

I understand things have been quiet around Sewing by Moonlight. I’m thrilled to tell you about the “Work in Progress” that took 39 weeks to complete!

We welcomed our third daughter to the family 5 days ago. Aurora Diane was born this past Thursday at 2:41 in the afternoon. At 8 pounds, 7 ounces, she was nearly 2 pounds larger than her sisters were at birth! She entered the world gazing skyward, fully face first, and as a result, she was rather bruised and swollen her first day of life. She has fully recovered, and is beautiful and healthy with a full head of dark hair, amazing round baby cheeks, and the most elegant, tiny, long fingers.

Bruised baby, happy mama
Lucky guy, with daughter #3
The big sisters meet the new baby (Kaia crashed out in the background)
Sierra holds baby Aurora for the first time
Three sisters
Kaia is awake and gets to hold the baby. She’s thrilled with her “big sister” role!
First family photo
Perfection, at 5 days old
And now … back to sewing! But less sewing by moonlight for me for awhile. I can barely keep my eyes open past 9.

Paper pieced book pattern update + Giveaway winner

Last Friday, I had a giveaway for my Nancy Drew tote bag and I promised you a pattern for the paper pieced book I drafted for the tote.

paper pieced book


I know I said it would be up this week, but I opened my file to tweak the seam allowances a little bit and discovered a much easier way to do the layout. The original had nine separate sections that then had to be sewn together. The new one has just three. More pieces in each section, but fewer sections. Anyway, I ended up re-doing the entire pattern. Now I feel like I should probably make one first to make sure it works out okay. I’ll try to have it up by early next week, okay?

Also, the giveaway winner is Judith. Nancy Drew Giveaway winner

She said:

Love your Nancy Drew bag! Great tutorial to follow. Thank you for sharing today.
Judith, Texas


Congratulations, Judith. I hope you enjoy your library tote; it will be in the mail next week!

This WILL be finished!

I am finally seeing the end in sight for Brian’s quilt.

My friend Brian, whom I’ve known for practically my entire life, lost his home in the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs last summer. Devastating, for sure, but there really wan’t much I could do to help him out from 1600 miles away.

What I can offer, though, is a new a quilt to give him something warm and snuggly from a friend for his new home. My goal was to have the quilt finished before his house was rebuilt (who knew it would take me just as long to make a quilt as it would to build an entire house). I made about half the blocks myself, and others came from friends from (literally) around the world.

Brian's quilt top: turning twenty again

When I asked for help from an online quilt group, I actually received more blocks than I needed for the quilt, so I used the extras in a pieced back (should have taken a picture of that!).

Brian's quilt top: turning twenty again

I had a friend offer to quilt this for me on her long arm (thank goodness, at 96 inches x 96 inches, this would have been bear to quilt on my home machine!) and she said she would probably be able to get to it this week! Last I checked, Brian’s move-in date was April 2nd, so there’s a chance this will actually be finished before then!

Brian's quilt top: turning twenty again

Nancy Drew Blog Hop: Library Tote Tutorial + Giveaway

Despite the fact that I have known about this hop for months, March was suddenly upon me and a note in my inbox reminded me that March 7th was my day on the Nancy Drew Get a Clue blog hop.

Luckily, I had already designed my project and the paper pieced pattern I would use. And luckily, my husband is on spring break and could entertain our girls for a few hours today while I completed the project.

It seems that some of the other blog hop stops from yesterday were similarly inspired by the books featuring Nancy Drew to create a bag for books, but I do hope to give you a unique spin.

Nancy Drew library tote

The fabric I ordered from Nancy Drew Get a Clue by Moda included a book cover panel and a charm pack of 42 5-inch squares. I also picked up some text fabrics because I thought those would play nicely with the whole book theme.

Make a Nancy Drew Library Tote


*Front and back panel of the tote: (2) rectangles, 14.5 x 18.5 inches. My panels are pieced, so some additional step are required. I’ll explain below.
*Lining: (2) rectangles, 14.5 x 18.5 inches. Do not use quilting weight cotton. We want this bag to hold books and we want it to last. The structure of the bag comes from the lining in this case, so use something heavy: denim, canvas, heavy twill, etc.
*Handles: (2) pieces of 1-inch wide webbing, 22 inches long.
*Basic sewing supplies.

Make the pieced front and back panel

Begin with a book cover from the fabric panel. This is cut to 10.5 x 14.5 inches.

For the opposite side, I made a paper pieced book with text fabric and solids that coordinated with the Nancy Drew fabric. Come back next week and I will show the tutorial for the paper pieced book and give you the PDF pattern to make your own!

Nancy Drew library tote

Select 14 of the charms and cut them in quarters to makes 56 2.5-inch squares.

Nancy Drew library tote

Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew the 2.5-inch square together in strips of 7. You will have eight strips. Attach these strips along the edges of your front and back panel pieces.

Nancy Drew library tote

You now have the front and back of your library tote. Each panel measures 14.5 x 18.5 inches.

Nancy Drew library tote

Place the two pieces right sides together. Now that we are constructing the bag, rather than piecing, increase your seam allowance to 1/2 inch. Beginning at the top of the bag, begin sewing along one side. Back stitch 4-5 stitches and continue stitching along one side. Stop 1/2 inch from the bottom of the bag, leave the needle down, lift the presser foot, and turn the bag a quarter turn to stitch along the bottom of the bag. Repeat, stitching up the other side and back stitching when you reach the top edge of the bag.

At each bottom corner of the bag, mark 3/4 inch in from the side seam and 3/4 inch up from the bottom seam.

Nancy Drew library tote

Pull the front and back panels away from each other and align the bottom seam with the side seam.

Nancy Drew library tote

Sew across the corner of the bag along the line you just drew. Add another line of stitching about 1/8th inch further down. Trim off excess fabric.

Nancy Drew library tote

While your bag is still inside out, fold the top edge 1/2 inch toward the wrong side and press.

Nancy Drew library tote

Turn the bag right side out.

Make the lining

Remember, you will be using (2) rectangles 14.5 x 18.5 inches of a heavy weight fabric. I I used denim for this project.

Find the center of the wrong side of each lining piece. Mark a 1 inch line 2.5-3.5 inches from the center and 2 inches below the top edge of the lining.

Nancy Drew library tote

If using synthetic webbing, seal the edges by quickly passing a match along the edge. Align your webbing pieces with the lines you just drew and pin in place. Be sure your webbing does not get twisted!

Nancy Drew library tote

Attach the straps to the wrong side of the lining using an x-box. This will ensure your straps will stand up to hauling books around and will not rip from the bag.

Nancy Drew library tote

Place your two lining pieces right sides together and sew along each side and the bottom with 1/2 inch seam allowance, as you did with the outside panels. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitches.

Again, at each bottom corner, mark 3/4 inch in from the side seam and 3/4 inch up from the bottom seam. Pull the front and back away from each other to line up the bottom seam with the side seam. Sew along the line you drew to create the boxed bottom of the bag.

Nancy Drew library tote

Fold the top edge toward the wrong side and press. If you are using synthetic webbing do not touch the iron to the webbing!!

Nancy Drew library tote

Assemble the bag

Slip the lining into the outside of the bag with wrong sides together.

Nancy Drew library tote

Align the top edge of the lining with the top edge of the outside of the bag and pin in place.

Nancy Drew library tote

Edge stitch very close to the top edge of the bag. Repeat a second line of stitching about 1/8 inch below the first.

Nancy Drew library tote


Nancy Drew library tote Nancy Drew library tote



Do you want to win this super cool, super sturdy library tote? Just leave me a comment and let me know what sort of handmade bags you would be inclined to buy.

For another chance to win, be a follower of this blog, or become a follower and let me know in another comment.

For a third chance to win, Like Sewing by Moonlight on Facebook and leave a comment saying that you do.

Giveaway will close Friday, March 15th at 9PM EDT.

Don’t forget to come back next week for the paper pieced book pattern!

Go check out the other stops on the Nancy Drew blog hop today!

Sewing By Moonlight (you are here!)