Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Introducing The Bag Buzz!

I'm excited to announce an upcoming series that is aimed at all things bag making: The Bag Buzz! Each article is aimed at bringing you up to date with the happening in the bagineering world.

-Stay up to date with the latest pattern releases and sales from your favorite designers.

-Get the scoop on hardware trends, sales and ideas.

-Sales announcements for fabrics, patterns, supplies and leathers

-Find new tutorials and tips from other bag makers.

If you are a blogger, a shop or a designer I’d love to include your sales, pattern releases and special projects. Email me at Cyndi_mf@hotmail.com with your info and upcoming or current sales, patterns and projects to be included in upcoming posts.

Stay tuned for the first post in this ongoing series!

Speedwell Sling Bag

As summer time kicks into high gear around here, we are hitting the amusement park when we can. As much as I love my shoulder bags and big totes, they aren't the most pratical thing to carry around from ride to ride all day. My two year old snagged my beloved Butterfly Sling Purse, and I needed a new bag for those long day adventures. So when I had the opportunity to test the Blue Calla Speedwell Sling Bag, I was all over it.

This is a sporty sling style bag that is the PERFECT bag for summer adventures. 

This clever bag has a roomy interior with two slip pockets (think sunscreen, small snacks, and even a few diapers and a small pack of wipes). The exterior has a zippered panel that opens wide to make the pefect place to stash your phone, and keys. Stash your wallet and cards in the interior zip pocket.

This pattern also gives directions to add grommets to feed through your ear buds, which I opted to omit but you can see on other versions here

This pattern came together pretty quickly, despite being a lot of pieces. I went out on a limb and tried to fussy cut my zipper panels for the front and I was very pleased with the results:

The zippered front panel is secured to the top of the bag with your choice of magnetic snap, a turn lock or a tuck lock. I opted for a magnetic snap for this one and the slim ones from Emmaline are super strong and hold very very well (I almost broke a nail trying to pry them apart to install them). 

The bag is constructed with fleece, but the back panel is stabilized with Peltex so it's a structured bag even with just the fleece. It's also written for you to choose which shoulder you wish to wear the bag over. 

This bag is rated for an intermediate bag maker, and I would completely agree with that rating. No parts of construction are difficult, but the number of pieces and different techniques could make this daunting for a beginner. 

Like all Blue Calla patterns, each step is easy to follow and the instructions are paired with full color photos making even more difficult steps of construction easy to follow. The lining is finished by binding the seams, which for me is always the most difficult part because I end up doing them by hand (I'm hopeless binding by machine). 

I'm looking forward to carrying this around tomorrow when we hit the amusement park! 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Castell Day Bag

Introducing the Castell Day Bag Pattern by Emmaline Bags. I had the pleasure of testing this lovely pattern a few weeks ago and I ADORE her! This bag is a 'BIGUN and is designed as a day trip bag, or an overnighter. It is a framed bag, a la carpet bag style but without the vintage vibe of most carpet bags. You will need the C style frames from Emmaline.. 

I stitched up this one in a mix of various Cotton and Steel prints along with some Essex Yarn Dyed Linen and I love the combo. 

The exterior boasts two large pockets that secure with a magnetic snap in the flap. The flap is the perfect place to add some bling and as you can see I will a little hog wild with the copper hardware (It's my current crush). For this bag I used the Emmaline curved metal edge trim, the script style bag label, strap ends and rivets all in copper. 

The bag opens WIDE which makes it perfect for stuffing and unstuffing (one testing showed hers with a carton of milk, which, barely took up much room inside). 

Inside there are two zippered pockets, which are gathered at the bottom to maximize your stuffage ability. They hold way more than a standard zip pocket. 

The zipper panel is so, so easy to install on this bag, as is installing the frame. It simply slides inside the casing you make with the zipper. Nothing complicated at all!

This was also my first time successfully installing rivets. I have tried them in the past and had zero luck, I have been using Chicago Screws for the longest time because Rivets and I have never played nice. After using these rivets from Emmaline, I learned that it wasn't me!!! Not all rivets are created equal and crappy rivets make for crappy results. I had tried multiple times with some value pack I picked up at the craft store. Now, I am no longer afraid to use rivets (just not the crap ones!). 

This bag is rated for an experienced intermediate to advanced sewist, but I don't believe it's because it's overly difficult, but there are a LOT of steps and pieces involved. A lot of the hardware I added is optional (rivets, edge trim, strap edges, bag label) so you can add as much or as little as you like. 

The pattern is clear and easy to follow, and although it's straightforward the number of pieces does take a while to put together. It's not a one night project, but it's totally doable in a weekend. I'm glad I ordered a second set of c frames because I am looking forward to making another. Head over and pick up your pattern and frames at Emmaline Bags

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Designer Spotlight Results

The results are in! Reece has taken a lot of time going through the poll results to share them with you! Head over to Happy Okapi to see the final results. 

We loved putting this series together and a special thank you to ALL of the amazing designers that took the time to answer our interviews and sponsor our giveaway (the winner has been emailed so go check your inbox!). Also a thank you to YOU for taking the time to vote and sharing what you love about your favorite designers. I know that I loved reading the interviews. Our hope is that you will be inspired to try a new designer or two!

Thank you again! 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hosta Hobo

The Hosta Hobo by Blue Calla Patterns is one that I scooped up the second it was released last year. This is a rarity for me, as I always seem to have more patterns then I'll ever have time to sew. Something about Hosta pulled me in, and I had to have this pattern! 

However, as it often happens, after purchasing the pattern it got shelved for several months. Something else would always come up and another project would get in the way. A couple months ago I couldn't wait any longer and Hosta and I got acquainted. After sewing one I loved her even more. 

The Hosta comes in two sizes, and really was designed as a camera bag. The directions include foam camera inserts, but I adore her as a shoulder bag. The two front zippered pockets are the perfect size to stash your keys and phone to keep from having to dig around the inside of your bag. This version was a gift for a friend with two boys and she likes to use it as a small diaper bag when out and about.

I made the large size because I love them. Bigger is better! I did underestimate how big she is, she is a very large shoulder bag and would really work well as a small diaper bag or work bag.  For this Hosta, I used some of my beloved Alison Glass prints with natural cork from Sew Sweetness. I love the blues of the fabric againts the natural cork. 

I also sewed up this colorful version in one of the newest Joel Dewberry prints. This was a custom order and adore the fabrics she chose for this one!

If you have been looking for a new pattern to sew up up that has lots of verstality, you won't be dissapointed with Hosta. She comes together pretty quickly and I love the options you can add. Scoop up your copy of the pattern here. I've also just listed them as a custom order option in my shop if you don't want to sew your own. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Designer Spotlight-- Anna of Noodlehead

Today's featured designer is Anna of Noodlehead. Head over to Happy Okapi to read more about this fab designer. Be sure to take the poll and enter in the giveaways...time is running out!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Designer Spotlight-- Janelle of Emmaline Bags

Today's featured designer for the Designer Spotlight Series is the one, the only Janelle of Emmaline Bags. Last and most certianly not least! Janelle is a bag lady extrodinaire. Her resume includes: bag and hardware designer, author, craftsy instructor, blogger, bling fairy and all around bag queen. Janelle has designed many beloved patterns and continues to enable us bagineers with gorgeous high quality hardware and bling

 How long have you been sewing and what inspired you to start designing your own patterns? 
I started sewing when I was 12 years old, so I have been sewing off and on for about 33 years. I started with clothing, and then quilting, and then caught the bag making bug around 2010. I didn’t start designing my own patterns until I started bag making. So I’ve been designing bag patterns for about 7 years. 
What do you love most about your job? 
There are so many things to love about my job! I love it that I am fortunate enough to work from home. I feel very lucky that I can work from home and be creative. I guess that is two things I love most! 

What is the hardest part of the design process for you? 
For me, the hardest part of the design process is selecting fabrics that will show my design in the best light. I am horrible at picking fabrics!  

What do you enjoy doing when you aren't working? 
When I am not working, I love to be outside. I just need to get outside to walk, listen to the birds, and watch the dogs run through the bush. It brings me the peace I need to get through a very busy week. Except for when I am screaming at the dogs to come back, that is not as peaceful.
What is your favorite pizza topping?  
Ham and Pineapple!  

What is your favorite thing about bag making? 
I love bag making because of the feeling of accomplishment I get after working out a method or process. When it comes together in the end, it feels great! 

What is your least favorite part of bag making? 
I really do not enjoy cutting fabrics and fusing interfacing. Uh, what a drag!  

Is there a pattern of yours that is your favorite? 
I LOVE my Prairie Girl pattern that I designed for the Bag of the Month Club in Dec 2016. It’s going to be released soon, and I can’t wait to share it because I am truly happy with the way it turned out. I have been carrying one for a long time, and I don’t need anything else. 

What is your favorite pattern by another designer? 
I have always loved the Blanche Barrel bag by Swoon. Alicia really did a wonderful job with it and darn, she beat me to it, but I still adore her 

What is your favorite snack?
Cheese. Cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner and all snack times. It goes with every drink I like too….  

What is your favorite piece of bag hardware?
This is not a hard question for me. When I designed the Metal Bag Labels that say “handmade” or “handcrafted”, etc., I had a desire to create a label that bragged “Handmade” but also gave bag makers a label, and a shiny focal point on their bag exteriors where something just looked missing. They really are that final touch that make a bag exterior look complete to me and they say “This is handmade and I am proud of it.” I love them 

What machine do you sew on most often?
For bag making I use my Juki TL2010Q. It’s very powerful, has a huge throat space, and has speeeeeeed!  

What advice would you give to someone who is new to bag making? 
Have FUN! Sewing is supposed to be fun, and not stressing. If you have to rip out stitches, sigh, smile to yourself, rip those stitches, and sew again. We all mess up, it’s all part of it!  

Who is your favorite fabric designer? 
There are so many fabrics and designers that I love. I can’t do that. It’s like picking a favorite child, you just can’t! 

What is the best compliment you've received as a designer?
When a customer emails me to tell me how pleased they are with themselves, and how happy and proud they are to have made something they love so much, it makes my day. I love that I am part of that feeling of accomplishment. It makes it so worthwhile.  

How organized is your sewing space? Are you a mess maker or everything in its place kind of person? 
A total disaster. I am the messiest maker. There is fabric, thread, tools, and hardware everywhere. I have to clean before I start, or push things aside to even find the table top. It really is horrible and something needs to change. Right, tomorrow I will change.  
What is your favorite color? Blue! Aqua, teal, royal, denim - all shades of blue make me feel calm and happy and not blue at all!  

What is your favorite thing to listen to while working? 
Silence. A lot of people listen to shows or watch TV, but really there is so much chatter and noise going on in my head already, that I can’t add anything to that. I need quiet.  

Is there anything you wish others knew about you or what you do?  
“I'm just a girlsitting in front of a sewing machineasking it to have consistent tension.” 
I am always trying to be funny, and I use humor to diffuse stressful situations. If there something very important to discuss, chances are I will say something stupid.  

How do you make sure that your patterns are accessible to bagineers? How do you promote your work?
I like to promote my work on my blog, newsletters, instagram and social media. Basically, I get it out there and hope that it is well received and enjoyed and it will get good reviews and be recommended.

You can connect with Emmaline on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter . We love it when you share your projects with Emmaline patterns or Emmaline hardware! Use our hashtags when you post so we can see too: #emmalinebags, #emmalinehardware or #emmalinepatterns. 

We also have an active and helpful Facebook group for Emmaline Patterns and Hardware...we love to see how you use our hardware on ANY pattern! It's a great place to get help, ideas, share your makes or just find encouragement. 

Follow our blog here, and join our newsletter to stay up to date on announcements and new items. 

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Designer Spotlight--Samanatha of Mrs. H

Today's featured designer is Samantha of Sewing Patterns by Mrs. H. Head over to Happy Okapi to get the scoop on our beloved designer from across the pond.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Designer Spotlight-- Kylie of Little Moo

Today's Spotlight Designer is Kylie of Little Moo

Established in 2009, Little Moo Designs began with a focus on children’s clothing and accessories and then quickly took a turn in specialising in bespoke hobby horses. After a number of years of custom orders, Kylie decided to put pen to paper and put some of my patterns out to the big wide world.

Little Moo Designs patterns aim to teach skills which can be readily interchanged between your sewing projects, making them valuable learning tools in your own creative journey.
Etched with a bohemian vibe, Little Moo Designs patterns are created for levels from beginner to intermediate. With a love of textile blends, they gear towards mixing leather and cork fabrics with woven fabrics.

Based in South West Queensland, Kylie is a self-taught sewing artisan with a passion for sharing her love of sewing with others.

Let's learn a bit more about Kylie: 

How long have you been sewing and what inspired you to start designing your
own patterns?
I have been sewing since my childhood, both my nan and mum taught me. However, I
really became addicted to sewing after my first daughter was born, 8 years ago and I
was excited to make clothes for her.
My inspiration for designing patterns was a natural progression from many years of
making bespoke custom hobby horses in my business. So much ‘design’ went in to each
and every order that the next step for me was to put my sketches into sewing patterns.

What do you love most about your job?
I really love the whole process of pattern design. From the initial sketch of a bag design
to completion of the pattern. What makes me the happiest is seeing the design being
made by my customers all around the world! I do a little happy dance each time I see a
finished bag made using a Little Moo pattern, it is such an honour to me.

What is the hardest part of the design process for you?
I am a bit of a procrastinator, I get easily distracted and while I am writing one pattern up
I have 3-4 others on the go….it is hard to stay focused on just one idea at a time.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren't working?
I live in Queensland, Australia where we have the most amazing beaches and country
escapes. I love camping with my family and catching up with my friends and enjoying the

What is your favorite pizza topping?
BBQ Chicken and pineapple.

What is your favorite thing about bag making?
I am a big lover of textures. So my favourite part of bag making would have to be
matching fabrics with cork and leather and hardware. I often spend hours on this to try
and get it right. With so many options in fabric it is easy to get lost doing this!

What is your least favorite part of bag making?
Cleaning up….

Is there a pattern of yours that is your favorite?
I am a pretty big fan of clutches, so I would have to say the Gossip Clutch and The
Tainted Love Clutch are equal favs.

What is your favorite pattern by another designer?
I love and admire a lot of designers work. My absolute favourite is Jen Kennedy from
One Thimble and Ainslee Fox Boutique. Jen’s designs are so much fun to make and
stretch my skills which I love.

What is your favorite snack?
Strawberries and blueberries.

What is your favorite piece of bag hardware?
Rivets! I seem to rivet everything these days.

What machine do you sew on most often?
When I am designing, I use my Brother NS-50 as I like to ensure my designs can be
sewn on domestic sewing machines, this is important to me. When I am using leather, I
use a Vintage Singer, it is a workhorse and was $10 at a garage sale! I don’t believe you
need expensive sewing machines to sew bags, knowing your machines capabilities is
the most important skill you can learn.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to bag making?
Ask for help if you need it, read the pattern a few times before you begin including all the
tips and tricks that the designer gives you. Give it a go, what is the worst that can
happen! And in my Masterclasses, I always say, “we don’t make mistakes, they are
design features.”
Who is your favorite fabric designer?
That is easy, Hawthorne Threads hands down.

What is the best compliment you've received as a designer?
“I have never sewn a bag before, I always thought they were too hard, but I used your
patterns and had great success.”
I LOVE that people are willing to give things a go!

How organized is your sewing space? Are you a mess maker or everything in
it's place kind of person?
I wish my sewing space was neater. Let’s say I am a mess maker but I know where
everything is.

What is your favorite color?
I really love all colours, but at the moment I love mustard and black.

What is your favorite thing to listen to while working?
I do love Pandora Radio and usually shuffle through songs on there. I love old school
R&B, Fleetwood Mac and blues. But I listen to most music.

Is there anything you wish others knew about you or what you do?I am a huge
believer that we can use sewing to make positive change in this World. The mission
behind Little Moo Designs is exactly that. Keeping sewing alive through the generations
with on trend sewing patterns, teaching masterclasses and being the Australian
Ambassador for the Sew Powerful Purse Project are what I hope to continue to
undertake so that positive growth continues.

How do you make sure that your patterns are accessible to bagineers? How do
you promote your work?
I use the social media platforms of FB and Instagram and I sell my patterns on my
website, Etsy and Craftsy. I travel teaching masterclasses and sewing retreats which are
extremely popular (and fun!)

Check out all the patterns that Little Moo has to offer on her website, Etsy shop, or on Craftsy

While your there, pick up Kylie's latest pattern, the Gossip Clutch!

You can connect with Little Moo on facebook, the Little Moo Facebook group or on Instagram.
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