Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ruffled Hobo

Quite some time ago, I won a jelly roll but as a non-quilter I had no idea what to do with this thing. All these little strips? I had just made a similar quilt and didn't want to do another just like it, so there it had sat. As I was cleaning up my sewing room from the ginormous mess I had created doing my pinwheel mini (seriously how does one person make such a mess?!). While straightening my shelves, I eyed the jelly roll once again. Aside from not knowing how to use it, the muted neutrals of the Moda Little Black Dress 2 are not my normal style. Then a thought popped into my head.

I pulled my copy of Sew Serendipity bags off the shelf and flipped through the projects and found what I was looking for: The Ruffled Hobo bag. I had admired that pattern since I bought the book almost 2 years ago, but knew I lacked the patience to cut so many strips and that the pattern looked much too advanced for me then. With a little more confidence and a full jelly roll to save me from all that cutting, I decided to go for it and began assembling the strips for the many ruffles.

Whoever came up with the dental floss trick for ruffles: I heart you.

The front panel came together quickly, but I honestly went rogue on the directions and kind of made it up as I went along. For some reason the directions weren't jiving with me late that evening. For that reason, I only made the front panel ruffled (that and I was seriously getting tired of ruffles).

I just pieced together several of the strips to make the back panel. As you can see, it's little slouchier than I normally make. I only used decor bond to interface the exterior panels, and Shape Flex 101 on the strap and lining. I did however, use some headliner fabric to stabilize the bottom/side panel as the pattern actually calls for Peltex. I think the headliner fabric was a decent substitute, as the remainder of the bag wasn't as structured either. I also top stitched the top of the bag (which isn't in the directions), as I noticed that the recessed zipper kept wanting to pop up. 

I changed the strap out, the pattern has pieces for the handle that use a large buckle, but I didn't have one on hand and I really just wanted to get it finished, so I made an adjustable strap instead. 

Since the exterior was so muted, I made the lining out of a bright green solid to give it some color. it's divided pocket is great for keeping your phone handy so you don't have to fish around in the bottom of the bag.

Overall, I'm happy with the bag, but I wish the directions had been slightly more clear. It would have saved me a lot of time figuring out how to make it on my own. I am surprised at how roomy it actually is, I expected that it wouldn't be large enough for my every day bag, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

I think I have the ruffles out of my system now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pinwheel quilt

I am an incredibly indecisive person. I probably spend more time brooding over what to make and fabric choices for each project than I do making them. This quilt was no exception.

I didn't intend to make another quilt, but I really want to play with some designs to see if I could pull any of them off. The fabrics in this case were actually the easiest part. I received a few lovely fat quarters from Anna Maria Horner's Diwrt line earlier this year from Camp Stitchalot. I really liked these prints but wasn't really sure what to do with them. 

One night, I got an itch to start playing and made some half square triangles. I had never made a HST before but I decided to play around. 

I found that making the HSTs weren't hard at all and actually was quicker than I expected. I toyed with several layouts:

Please excuse the cat photobombing

Not really knowing what I was doing, I sketched out some ideas and consulted Pinterest and found this layout: 

 My husband pointed out that he thought this looked like something unpleasant, but I went with it anyways. 

And I'm glad I did. 

I used Ikea fabric for the backing and the contrasting fabric on the HSTs. I used what little scraps I had left from the Dowry to make the scrappy binding. I was hesitant to use a scrappy binding, but I really liked how it worked out.

This quilt is far from perfect, and you may spot the very large obvious mistake, but I think it's cheerful and it makes me happy :) I have a lot to learn about quilting but I did have fun making it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

What's your favorite bag?

I love sewing bags. They are practical, fun, easy to customize and relatively quickish projects. I've sewn so many bags but there are a few that are my tried and true favorites. They are my favorites because of the features and the end result of the bag.

This is my all time favorite bag pattern. It is somewhat more labor intensive than the others because this bag packs a Ron of features. I carried my first Lapin Noir to death. There are so many pockets and compartments it makes someone as unorganized as me seem put together. There is a cell phone pocket on the front, which means no digging through your bag to find your phone.

This bag is found in the book Sew Serendipity Bags by Kay Whitt. It's not available as a stand alone pattern but this book is totally worth this bag alone. It's a nice mid size handbag that has the addition of grommets. The grommets make a statement themselves but this bag is such a quick and easy sew. It doesn't have as many features as some of the other bags but the shape and look of the bag is classic.

This bag is actually a free tutorial on the Sweet Verbena site and was my introduction into sewing zippered bags. This bag is an incredibly quick sew and is a wonderful size for a pool tote or overnight bag. This bag is less structured than I normally like, but it totally works for this bag. It's made with a series of squares and rectangles and you can make a fairly large bag with a relatively small amount of fabric. If you can sew a zippered pouch (or even if you can't, you can make this bag).

This is THE ultimate wallet. I've made several and the wallet looks much more complicated than it is. It can hold an incredible amount of stuff and the shape of the bag is just gorgeous. I've made so many of these and everyone I have given one too is in love with the features of this wallet as well. This wallet was my first introduction into twist locks and I love them so much now!

This is another go to bag for me. I love everything about it. It is such a quick sew and there are different pocket variations included with the pattern so you can completely customize it to suit you. This is a medium sized hand bag but with all kinds of pocket variations, this bag can hold a lot more than it seems. This bag introduced me to sewing zippered pockets and the pattern is very easy to follow, even if you've never sewn a bag.

I've made several of these now, and I absolutely love the way they come together. The addition of front accent pieces really make the exterior pop and it's another bag that has a classic look. It's a largish handbag but would also work well as a small diaper bag. 

Ok, so I've only made one of these bags but it is such an awesome, awesome bag. There is a lot of hardware involved in this bag (which can be somewhat intimidating to those who haven't used a lot before), but it's all really, really doable. I promise! This is another bag that uses grommets, both functionally and as a design feature. This was the first time I have used eyelets and the process was really, really simple (no cursing at all). I can also say that this was maybe the ONLY bag I've ever made that I haven't had to use the seam ripper the first time I sewed it (which is typically a reflection of me more than the instructions...I'm really dense sometimes). 

Although these are my favorite patterns, there are many more out there from these  incredibly talented designers. I've sewn almost every one of the bags by Sew Sweetness and you seriously can not go wrong with buying any of her patterns. I've also sewed several Emmaline Bags as well and they are all incredibly wonderfully written as well.

I love finding new bag patterns and designers and would love to hear what some of your favorites are. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lady Skater

 Yay! I made a dress, but before I get any further let me apologize for a few things:

1) I am NOT a model and I look hopelessly awkward in most photos 
2) Nope, those aren't white stockings...those are my incredibly pale legs (thanks to my Polish/Irish grandmother for that
3) We snuck out at work to get these photos and for whatever reason we ended up with more stupid poses than decent shots of the dress. Oops.

A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to win 2 yards of organic jersey knit from Fabric Worm. I'm far from an expert with knits and aside from a few cardigans and a Lisette dress, I don't do much in the way of making clothes for myself. So this lovely jersey came right out of the washing machine and then sat on my shelf untouched. 

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across the Lady Skater Dress by Kitchy Coo on sale for five dollars. Yup, FIVE dollars. And guess how much fabric it calls for? 2 yards, so it was totally meant to be. 

It was a super quick sew and the sizing is pretty spot on. I did have some difficulty getting all the pieces cut from the two yards, even though I swore I followed the cutting directions (one day I will learn to follow directions). I ended up having to piece the back portion of the skirt together, so there is an extra seam in the back, but you really shouldn't be staring long enough at my tush to notice that anyway. 

The dress is super comfy and more flattering than I thought it would be. I purposefully cut the skirt one size larger and gathered it a bit in the front. It seemed a good idea at 2 a.m. anyways.

I'm seriously shocked at how quickly and easily it came together. I ended up winging the last few steps, only because it was late and I tend to not follow directions well when I'm tired. Luckily it ended up looking like it should, so I'm guessing I did what I was supposed to. I think I'll be making this one again, but I think I will lengthen the skirt and do a sleeveless dress.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Totes Ma Totes

I think every bag I sew is my new favorite bag, until I sew another. However, I am seriously in looove with totes ma tote and I don't think that is changing for a while. I had been swooning over this bag since I saw Janelle's version in Jungle Avenue, so when she asked me if I would test for her, I was honored and super excited.

This bag has grommets y'all. Grommets. I heart grommets. 

Have you seen these oval grommets from Janelle's shop?! I want to add them to everything! She has some of the best bag hardware, from rings to zipper pulls, it's all sorts of awesomeness. 

This tote is seriously such a fun sew and it's super functional. It has a recessed zip closure, a zippered interior pocket, a divided slip pocket and a pocket secured with a magnetic snap. I am a pocket lover, so these make me so very happy. 

Did I mention it has grommets?

I love the buckle straps, and the addition of the eyelets. This was my first time using eyelets and I was a bit scared but it was relatively painless (once I followed the directions that came with my pliers).

The hardest part of this bag was finding the darn buckles. Seriously. Apparently the JoAnn closest to me doesn't carry buckles. Not a single one. I call shenanigans.

 Janelle recommends using Soft and Stable on the exterior of the bag and Shape Flex 101 for the majority of the other pieces. For the exterior, I substituted headliner fabric and added shape flex before basting it on. The headliner fabric isn't quite as forgiving as the S&S and can wrinkle up the pieces but I've found that a layer of SF101 can take care of that problem. For most of the other pieces, I used decor bond 809, as I like a very structured bag. 

The side panels have a fun contrast strip: 

As much as I wanted to keep this one for me, it was perfect for our wonderful sitter who just had a birthday, but luckily I ordered another set of grommets :)

Go get your copy at Emmaline Bags! She also carries all the hardware in her shop...even the grommets.