PPC8- Lifting My Spirits with “Sea Spirits”


I know I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again. The last couple of weeks leading up to Quilt Market can be CRAZY!


First of all, there’s all that planning….

  • what hotel should we stay in?
  • when should we buy airline tickets to get the best price?
  • how should we layout our booth this time?

And, all that preparation….

  • our supplies and products have to be mailed to Market about 2 weeks before we fly there, that means it has to be ordered and on hand MANY weeks prior.

smLBfrontAnd then… there’s the packing….

and the fact that we’re staying on for that extra 4-day Quilt Festival this time just intensifies this whole process. For example, we normally send ~350lbs of supplies to Market, but the total shipment weight this go-round was a whopping 800 pounds, and believe me when I say that takes a long, LONG time to pack!

fabricSo… when a package arrived in the mail from Clothworks a week or so ago I was clicking my heels with delight, because I knew it contained some brand-new fabric (by one of my all-time favorite designers, Laurel Burch) with which to make a show bag for Quilt Market!
These pieces are part of a much larger collection appropriately called “Sea Spirits”. I loved it from the moment I saw the first promotional announcement and since I have a very good collaborative relationship with Clothworks, I naturally requested some in exchange for making a sample of our newest design, the Cosmo Convertible for display in my Booth!


But here’s the deal…Most of the time, when I make arrangements like this it’s pretty close to Market when I actually get the fabric to work with (because the manufacturers are always cutting it kinda close). But you know what? That doesn’t bother me in the least. As a matter of fact, this is just what the doctor ordered for me!

Why, you ask?

Sure, the last few weeks leading up to Market are stressful and extremely busy, but that’s not the main reason that the timing for this project is perfect! It’s mostly because the very last week before Market is just plain weird. Look at it this way… our stuff is all shipped off, but it’s too early to pack suitcases and it’s kinda dumb to start the next pattern since we’re going to be out of town for a couple of weeks. So that leaves me with a little unaccounted-for-time on my hands, and since sewing something just for the fun of it is a complete luxury for me, it’s probably the most relaxing thing I can do at the moment. smLBback

After all, how often do I get to sew up ANYTHING just for the pure enjoyment of it. I’m not critiquing the instructions. I’m not testing out new notions. I’m not looking for my cover bag and I’m not trying to build on a particular color story

I’m just playing around with some fabric I LOVE, creating something I’d like to have for myself. What a treat! And since I was in the mood to play, I took the lead from my testers and decided to isolate the print to just the center section of both the front and back of the bag. Besides, the large print coupled with the busy background might have been rather overwhelming if I had used it for the entire exterior.

The wavy blue fabric was an obvious choice to play against that fabulous print and originally I had decided to use the orange wavy fabric for the lining AND the straps, but the closer I came to actually making the straps, the more I thought that straps that were totally orange might be just a little tacky, so… I opted instead for using the print on the straps. I’m glad I did it this way though, because now there’s SOME orange on the straps, but not TOO much! Then, I used the translucent zippers to let a little of that yummy orange interior show through and I opted for an un-trimmed Flap as I didn’t want to obscure any of that delightful face print.



It took quite a bit of tinkering to fussy-cut these pieces this way (mainly because I only had one repeat of this print), but overall I’m VERY satisfied with the look of this bag. Actually, truth be known, it took me longer to cut out the pattern pieces than to sew them together as I had to pin, and re-pin and then move and re-pin them again before I ever made a cut. As a matter of fact, the strap exteriors had to be pieced together, but it was time well-spent and I really love a fussy-cutting challenge anyway!

But now… what I’d really like to know is…

Is anyone else out there as big a Laurel Burch fan as I am?

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30 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous! And I like the use of the translucent zipper in this bag.

    • Thanks Mary! It really is one of my all-time favorites too! I kinda wish I had this fabric earlier because it wouldve look fab on the cover! 🙂

  2. I’m a huge Laurel Burch fan, for sure. I’m not lucky enough to actually own any of her fabrics (yet!) but I DO covet them. I love the bright colours she uses. Your latest bag is drop-dead gorgeous, btw!!

  3. I bought a bunch of Laurel’s cat fabric at the last quilt show near me. Haven’t decided what to do with it yet, but I love her colors.

    I do like what you’ve done here with the fussy cutting and the blue wave fabric background. I’m not a big fish fan, but this is very well executed and does emphasize the features of the bag, too.

    • Thanks for commenting Shris! I dont know if there’s anything Laurel has designed that I dont enjoy. Her colors and prints have a joyous feel! 🙂

  4. That blue on the sides of the bag is gorgeous. I’m working on my Cosmo Convertible now, and maybe I’ll try the color-blocking on the next one (I always make more than one bag). Thanks for sharing!

  5. I just got this fabric….I want to make this bag…did I miss it but I didn’t see which bag pattern u used…pretty please????

    • Hmmm.. maybe I forgot to mention that it was made with our newest pattern, the Cosmo Convertible! Thanks so much for pointing that out Lori! 🙂

  6. The fussy cutting and the time you spent pinning was well worth it. The bag is beautiful! I also love Laurel Burch fabrics!

  7. I absolutely love the fabric and the way you used it on this pattern is exquisite. It certainly adds vibrancy and movement to the bag. I love Laurel Burch and these colors are my favorite. The pattern and fabric meld so well, it looks like they were just made for each other. You are always outdoing yourself in creativity. May I have this one, please? I don’t want to wait to sew!

    • Thanks Katie and Beth for your kind words. I think this bag is a testament to what happens when one is truly inspired. The very second i saw this fabric I LOVED it and I think folks generally do their best work when they LOVE the materials they’re working with, don’t you? 🙂

      • I definitely agree with you–loving the materials increases the inspiration!!! It makes the project more fun too.

  8. I really enjoyed your newsletter today, makes me feel like I’m in good company, luckily our vendor markets are fairly local, and we take our own designs ourselves.
    I do want to tell you I love the new Laurel Burch fabrics,
    and your new bag.
    I do alot of fussy cutting, as I generally don’t have a pattern to go by these days, just my ruler.

  9. I have never seen a Laurel Burch fabric that I don’t LOVE !!! Got to get some of the Sea Spirits-and thanks for showing your lovely bag!!

  10. Kathy, truly gorgeous, Love it, love it, love it. I do love Laurel Burch fabrics and the technical colours she presents. Like Katie Neil above, I don’t wish to wait, would love this one please. It would be a pleasure to make this with such lovely fabric.

  11. Awesome to be sure! I really love this one the best; even the pocket flap is adorable. Very beautiful job!!

    • Thank you so much Darlee! I am so glad this bag is resonating with so many people. 🙂

      • Thanks, Kathy. Are the fabric requirements different for the exterior of the Cosmo with this style? And, do the stated fabric needs include enough fabric for the optional strap extension?

        • Hi Darlee

          Good questions. The stated fabric needs are adequate for the optional strap extensions. And the fabric requirements are probably a bit different when the bag is made this way, but I’m afraid I have no clue how different since I did SO much fussy cutting to get this look.

  12. avatar
    Louise Harrison

    I work in a fabric shop and this panel came into stock last week – three were gone before the bolt had even been cut into panels to the staff. Got some co-ordinating fabric too and was planning to make a bag – how spooky is that!

    • That IS spooky! But you know what? This is an extraordinary piece of fabric and I can see where it would be inspiring for MANY projects! 🙂
      Thanks so much for your kind words and I hope you sell LOTS of this fabric! 🙂

  13. Hi-yes, I’m a big fan of Laurel because of her wonderfully bright colors & designs-sometimes it’s hard to cut into the fabric-you just want to hang it on the wall & stare at it! Her fabrics & designs can be used so many different ways. My favorites are her cats, of course & her birds!
    Just heavenly to look at & dream!
    Love your bag & so look forward to your emails-I hope you have a fabulous time at both shows.
    Chrissi V

    • Thanks for writing Chrissi and I understand about not wanting to cut into certain fabrics because they are so beautiful. I mustve laid out those pieces 3 different ways before I cut just to make sure they were placed “perfectly”! 🙂

  14. I love Laurel Burch fabric. I have been carrying my Cosmo Convertible for a couple weeks now and this style will be my permanent purse. As soon as I can figure out how to send a picture I will. Thanks for the great patterns.

    • This is MUSIC to my ears. I’m so glad you love carrying your Cosmo. I have to admit that my Cosmo might just replace the Boho Baguette as my favorite bag to carry, and I would LOVE to see yours.
      Can you attach a digital picture to an email and send it to me that way?

  15. Laurel Burch is my very favorite and this print is the best yet! (Right behind the cats, of course)

  16. I saw this fabric on the clothworks web site and just loved it. I wasn’t sure what I would want to do but now have to try to make a bag. I have fabric from several of the collections, it’s like wanting to have your cake and eat it too., I love them. Thanks for sharing. How about a pattern?