Staff Blog - Part 4

Happy Anniversary, Jaftex!

Co-sponosored by: Aurifil ThreadsSchmetz Needles, and Janome

We’re so excited to help kick off the blog hop to celebrate the 85th anniversary of Jaftex! It’s an amazing accomplishment to be involved in the fabric world that long (we’re nearing our 25th anniversary, which we thought was impressive!), and we couldn’t be happier to celebrate a company that has been putting out quality fabrics, cultivating amazing designers, and producing beautiful patterns for 85 years! Congrats!


On our blog today, we’re hosting Henry Glass fabric designer and author (and a personal fave of American Patchwork & Quilting), Kim Diehl.

  • Kim says: “I’ve been so blessed to be in the family of designers for both American Patchwork & Quilting magazine and Henry Glass Fabrics, so I’m beyond excited that we can come together today in celebration of Henry Glass’s 85th birthday.  What a huge milestone! In honor of this event, I stitched up this sweet little “Color Me Happy” wall hanging using the beautiful jewel-toned prints in the Folio collection of quilting fabrics, and treated myself to some quality hand-quilting time. A step outside of my “normal” box when it came to choosing a color scheme, which made this project even more fun to make. I’m so proud to be  a small part of two such amazing forces in the quilting world, and I’m looking forward to many more years of creativity together!”
  •  We say: Prepare for MAJOR Kim Diehl eye candy.





Follow along with the blog hop here! There will be fun giveaways along the way, so make sure you visit every day!

September 1 – Kim Diehl guest posting @ American Patchwork & Quilting
September 2 - Pepper @ Pepper at the Quilt Studio
September 3 - Anjeanette @ Anjeanette Klinder
September 4 - Leanne @ The Whole Country Caboodle
September 5 - Mark @ Mark Lipinski’s Blog
September 6 - Heather @ Heather Kojan Quilts
September 7 - Heather @ Trends and Traditions
September 7 - Martha @ Wagons West Designs
September 8 - Linda @ Linda Lum DeBono
September 9 - Heidi @ Red Letter Quilts
September 10 - Jill @ Jillily Studios
September 10 - Dana @ My Lazy Daisy
September 11 - Penny @ Sew Simple Designs
September 12 - Ida @ Cowtown Quilts
September 13 - Liz and Beth @ Lizzie B Cre8ive
September 14 - Melissa @ Sew Bitter Sweet Designs
September 15 - Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
September 16 - Amy @ Kati Cupcake
September 16 - Barbara @ QuiltSoup2
September 17 - Erica @ Kitchen Table Quilting
September 18 - Leona @ Leona’s Quilting Adventure
September 19 - Margot @ The Pattern Basket
September 20 - Sylvia @ Flying Parrot Quilts
September 21 - Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts
September 22 - Kim @ Aurifil Threads
September 23 - Rebekah @ Don’t Call Me Becky
September 24 - Julie @ The Crafty Quilter
September 25 - Mary Ellen @ Little Quilts
September 25 - Mary Jane @ Holly Hill Designs
September 26 - Daisy @ Ants to Sugar
September 27 - Melissa @ Happy Quilting
September 28 - Janet @ One S1ster
September 29 - Jenny @ Martingale& Co.
September 30 - Teresa @ Third Floor Quilts
Win Prizes Here: 85th Anniversary Giveaway
There are 13 ways to enter! Prizes include a Janome S5 valued at $1500, an Aurifil thread box valued at $300, a Schmetz needle anniversary tin filled with needles valued at $75, fat quarter bundles, and bolts of fabric for your favorite quilt store!
About Jaftex: Jaftex Corp. was founded in the 1930’s when Jacob A. Fortunoff started selling fabric on the streets of New York.  At that time, the mainstay of the business was women’s sleepwear and lingerie.  In the ’80’s, Jacob’s grandson, Robert, dramatically changed the business of the company.  The business focus was transferred to the over the counter quilt industry when Robert purchased companies like A.E. Nathan, Henry Glass, Stylemaker, Chanteclaire, Fabric Editions/Studioe and more recently The Blank Quilting Corp.  Robert is now joined by his two sons, Scott and Greg.  Scott currently is the President of Studioe Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp. & A.E. Nathan Co., Inc.  Greg just joined the business in late 2014 and has successfully spearheaded the company’s foray in to precut fabrics among other contributions.

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Make a Drawstring Backpack from a T-Shirt

 See it in action: Watch a video of editor Linda making this T-shirt backpack here.


No matter whether you call it a sackpack, a drawstring backpack, or a cinch bag, we’ve got some tips on how to make a drawstring backpack out of a T-shirt. So, here are tips and tricks as promised in our video on how to make a T-shirt backpack.



6 Tips for Making a T-Shirt Backpack

  1. The size of the backpack is determined by the size of the T-shirt and the size of the logo you want to feature. Figure out how large you want the backpack to be, knowing that it can only be as large as the T-shirt.
  2. To avoid cutting off the logo, be sure there is extra space around your logo for the seam allowance.
  3. You will be ironing the woven fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the T-shirt front and back. Fuse a larger rectangle of fusible to the T-shirt, so that when you cut the desired finished size, the whole piece is stabilized by the interfacing. It’s easier to cover too large of an area than not enough area.
  4. When ironing or pressing, keep the logo facedown on your ironing board, so the hot iron doesn’t come into contact with the screen-printed logo. For extra caution, place a Teflon pressing sheet under the logo on your ironing board.
  5. If you have a serger sewing machine, you can serge many of the seams on this project. Be careful when sewing the cords into the side seams, as that section can get bulky. You may want to serge that section a second time to add extra security to the cord ends.
  6. Be sure the cord you purchase can fit through the hem of the T-shirt twice. You will use the hem of the shirt as the casing, so it has to accommodate two thicknesses of the cording in order for the drawstrings to work.



Materials for One T-Shirt Backpack:

  • One T-shirt (we used a men’s large)
  • 1-1/2 yards of woven fusible interfacing
  • 4 yards of cording for straps
  • Drawstring threader or large safety pin


Finished T-shirt backpack: approx. 17×23″


Note: If you’re making a backpack from a smaller T-shirt for a child, you’ll need less cording and interfacing, so adjust accordingly.



Assemble T-Shirt Backpack:

  1. Determine finished size of backpack. For cutting, add 1/2″ to both the desired finished width and length. (We used 1/4″ seam allowance. If you use larger seams, add 1″ to desired finished width and length and sew with 1/2″ seams.)
  2. Cut hem off T-shirt, cutting 3/8″ from stitching line. This will become the top casings.
  3. Cut T-shirt up sides to the shoulder seam. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse one piece of interfacing to wrong side of T-shirt front and another to wrong side of back.
  4. Centering the logo, trim front and back to the cutting size.
  5. Cut two casing pieces from hem, 1/2″ shorter than the cutting size width. (Our bag cutting size is 17½”, so our casing length is 17″.)
  6. With right sides facing and cut edges aligned, center one casing piece on top edge of backpack front (casing ends will be 1/4″ from side edges of bag). Sew casing to the bag front. Repeat to sew a casing piece to bag back.
  7. With right sides together and all edges aligned, sew together bottom edges of backpack.
  8. Pin side seams. Sew side seams, leaving a 1″ opening at lower edge of each side for casing. Make sure casing pieces don’t get caught in seam.
  9. Cut two 2-yard pieces of cording. Thread one cord through casing pieces, beginning and ending on left side of the piece. Even up ends, then bring ends inside the bag and out opening on left side. Pin ends in place.
  10. Starting from right side of the bag, thread second cord through casing pieces; you’ll be going in the opposite direction as you did with the first cord. Even up ends, then bring ends inside bag and out opening on right side. Pin ends in place.
  11. Sew openings closed, sewing cording in the seam, and reinforcing the seams.
  12. Turn backpack right side out to finish.

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Piece & Play: June

In the June 2015 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, designer Jean Wells teaches us how to expand our piecing horizons with a new technique — skinny insert strips — and shows us how to play with color. The editors were so excited to learn this technique and create their own projects. See what they made below and share your own creations inspired by Piece & Play using the hashtag #apqlearnalong on Facebook and Instagam. And follow along with new projects and inspiration at


Elizabeth Tisinger Beese, editor of American Patchwork & Quilting


Elizabeth says: ”For my zippered bag, I started with pinks, corals, and browns from my palette box, then added in a tiny bit of orange for a little kick. I found out I LOVE this technique of skinny insert strips! I even used leftover pieces cut off my blocks from the first Piece & Play assignment and used those as skinny insert strips. This is my favorite technique yet!”


Jill Abeloe Mead, editor


Jill says: ”Nature inspired this little doodle cloth. It was constructed during one of those “what if…” moments, trying out color and proportion and various sewing techniques. The teal strip at center was the same width as the teal strip to its left. Random pintucks “shrunk” the width and added texture. Adding a skinny strip, such as the sliver of lime green, isn’t easy, but the zing it adds to the color scheme is well worth the effort.”



Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor


Lindsay says: ”I tried really hard to get skinny strips. But as I’ve said in past posts, I’m just not a fan of tiny pieces. I definitely need to practice this one a little more, because I love the look! Even in the teal strips (about as tiny as I could get on my first try), I think the little peek of color and the dramatic curve of the fabric adds so much interest with the patterns and colors of the fabric (fabrics from the Hadley collection from Dear Stella). The geometric flower print is once I haven’t used from my palette box yet and it really pulls all the colors together.”

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Stash RX: White Plight

While we didn’t know which fabrics would be used in which design when we chose the palettes, we did want to choose a background or sashing-type of fabric for each palette. For the White Plight palette, Weeks Ringle had several tips for making the choice. “You need contrast with your field color,” she says. “When you have a whole bunch of different colors, it’s going to be a challenge to find something else that’s going to work and not distract.” We auditioned batiks, small prints, and solids, and, in the end, we had a difficult time choosing just one. So we thought we’d share all three along with the reasons why each could work.


We started with an aqua that was a little too similar to the ground in some of the prints, so we would have needed to remove those prints and we didn’t want to change the selection. By trying an aqua that was just 10 percent darker, we could keep all of the prints while still providing contrast. So the darker aqua was in the running.


Next, we tried a print that contained more blue and compared it to the darker aqua. We preferred the darker blue, as some of the prints contained small amounts of blue, but not enough that the blues in the print would connect to or bridge out into the background, altering the appearance of pieced design. The blue would be our wild-card choice.


For a more traditional option, we auditioned a print and a solid that were nearly the same hue, value, and saturation–an oatmeal or linen hue. We felt the solid offered a little more contrast, while the print receded more, so, in the case of these two, personal preference would be the deciding factor and we opted to purchase the print.



We wondered what a darker neutral would offer, so we brought in a cocoa brown solid and found that it offered more contrast than the lighter linen hue while still supplying that neutral we wanted to try. Since it’s a muted hue, the piecing and prints will still be showcased.


Which would you choose? Or would you have chosen totally different options?

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Stash RX: Bold Fears

When we first selected the fabrics for the Bold Fears ailment, we had included these four fabrics. After all, they shared similar hues–the oranges or pinks and greens. As Weeks Ringle and I selected fabrics, we found that some of the original choices stood out. Here’s why we chose to remove them from the assortment.


  • Daisy print, top left: While this print contained the pink and orange found in some of the others, the ground was white and the print was sparse, so the print didn’t work with the others that contained little to no white. Also, due to the amount of white, the print read as high contrast, since there were navy blue accents in the fabric, so this higher contrast print was contrary to the lower contrast prints in the assortment. (For more on using fabrics with a white base, see the White Plight ailment on page 26 of the June 2015 issue.)


  • Black floral, top right: Again, while this print had colors in common with the other prints, the black ground and white accents makes this print higher contrast. Also, it is a highly saturated print, unlike any of the other prints. When viewed with the others, it stands out and becomes a focus, so it was removed.


  • Soft floral, bottom right: This soft floral is much less saturated than the other prints in the assortment. In addition, it features primarily lavender and yellow hues rather than the oranges and pinks that are more visible in the others.


  • Aqua and white stripe, bottom left: While the hues were on target with many others in the stash starting point, the bold white stripes, the heavily saturated print, and the high contrast of the fabric make this a less pleasing option for this palette.

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