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Friday, July 11, 2014

Midtown Messenger Bag

I finally got around to making an April bag from the Bag of the Month Club. It's a messenger bag designed by Betz White. I wasn't really excited about this pattern when I first saw it, but I wanted to give it a try anyway. I really like the finished bag.

I used some vintage linen/cotton blend that features old tickets and advertisements. It's a very fun print. I combined it with my new favorite, Just My Type, line from Michael Miller fabrics. I like how the red really contrasts and pops against the mild colors from the other print. The pattern is pretty easy to follow....expect for one error that I made. When it came time to flip the bag right side out (so this is at the end of the project)....sigh, my zipper panel was upside down!!! Upside down!?!?!? How did that happen? Well, the pattern uses drawn pictures rather than actual photos of the construction. So, when it came time to put the zipper panel together, I thought the zipper was face down. Turns out, it was supposed to be face up. Fortunately, I could simply undo the panels and flip the zipper, then resew. It was a little awkward to get through the machine, but certainly doable. Just another reason I always prefer actual photos to sketches of drawings in patterns.

My messenger...not sure what I'm going to do with bag, since it's really not "my style" but it looks cute hanging in my sewing room for the moment.

Front flap, really wish I would have fussy cut this piece, but I never can figure out how things go together until I do it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Michael Miller MQG Fabric Challenge Sping Sling

I finally finished my MQG Michael Miller fabric challenge! After several failed ideas, a sweet little bag pattern called the Spring Sling landed in my inbox. It's designed by Janelle MacKay of Emmaline Bags
Her patterns are amazing-  innovative, fun, and easy to follow. Once I saw this pattern, I knew I could salvage my MQG challenge aspirations! I had very neutral feelings about the challenge fabric, Petal Pinwheels. It's just not something I would pick out on my own. However, I adore the Just My Type print that released around the same time. I had been wanting to make something using both of these fabrics, but my previous attempts are all just WIPs that will honestly never be touched again. The Spring Sling was a great success though! I love it!

Spring Sling front patchwork of HST

The pattern is well written, except for the minor error that the cutting directions call for one pocket piece when you actually need 4 pieces. Also, you need 2 zipper tabs and it tells you to cut only one. I was quite confused when I went to make the pocket and only had one piece to work with! Thankfully, I had enough fabric leftover to make it all work.

The HSTs took a little while to cut and piece together, but they make an adorable patchwork for the front. The bag is then put together like a quilt sandwich using the exterior, soft and stable, and the lining. All quilted however you like, add the gussets, and bind it together. It has a fun turn lock and grommets. The use of the grommets is really cool. The strap extenders sneak through them as they lay on the top of the bag. The zippered pocket is really smart too. It's made more like a zipper pouch then sewn onto the lining.

Top open, zippered pocket and straps through grommets

I'm also proud to say I conquered my fear of the bias binding! The curves on the gusset of the bag are tricky and I was cringing at the thought of binding them up, but it all worked out perfect. So happy!!! I really love this pattern and the finished bag. I'm already cutting into some Dreamin' Vintage for the next Spring Sling.

Another front view

Top flap open

Back view, this print is "Letterpress" from the Just My Type line for Michael Miller Fabrics

Another inside view

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Welcome Bella and Olivia to the Bubblegum family!

I have been quite busy the last few weeks, but I finally managed to finish my Bella bag and Olivia bag from Chris W Designs

These patterns are my first from Christine, and they did not disappoint. I would say the Olivia is a little more advanced and I have to admit those front pockets had me scratching my head several times. I always print my patterns in black and white and I just couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do to make those pockets look right. Once I referenced the color pictures on line, it made more sense. They were just "fiddly". Fiddly is a new word in our house. I recently had to explain what it meant to my husband when he asked how I could be working on my bag for several hours and only have one pocket made. I said, this pattern is  "fiddly". And he replied with a confused stare. So now, he knows what fiddly means and although the Olivia has some fiddly spots, it was well worth the effort. I love the finished bag. I love this print (which I found in my stash from probably 3 years ago) I love the lining. I love the patch  zipper pocket inside (how cool is that idea??!?!?) It's a great size too, a new favorite. The only modification I made was to omit the rivets. Chris seems to really like rivets. I see them featured in a lot of her bags. I'm just not a big fan. I love the other metal hardware on Olivia though. The little rings are a great eye-catching feature.

My nieces were kind enough to help me with some photos for Christine's photo contest that is going on now. She was looking for photos of her bags with people for a better reference of size, etc... Hannah served as my model and Rachel was the photographer. They are only 17 and 12 respectively, but look at the great job they did!I take notoriously awful photos, so I feel very lucky to have a budding photographer in the family. Here are Rachel's photos of Olivia....

 And my awful photos of the back and inside.

 The Bella bag went together much quicker. It's more intermediate and super cute. I love the big patch pocket featured on the front. Bella uses grommets, which I have never installed and they tripped me up a little. Mostly because I couldn't find any locally! I had to order from an etsy shop in China. I was so afraid they wouldn't get here in time, but they showed up with a few days to spare. I'm quite fond of them now. It's a nice professional touch that I don't see a lot of other designers using. I also like the "clank-clank" noise they make against the handle hardware. It really is the little things in the world that make me smile.

Here are Rachel's pics of Bella...

And my sad shots of the back and inside. As you can see, I loved this one so much, I'm already using it. It's not a huge bag, but holds plenty. I will be making this one again soon. I ordered extra grommets so I'll be ready!

So I'm just left to choose my entries for the photo contest and then I can move on to my next project. I have one other ChrisWDesigns pattern from the Bag of the Month Club. I may have to try that one next. I found her pictures and instructions to be clear and well written. Her designs are fun and unique too, I may even try some rivets.

Linking up to Show Off Saturday

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Noodlehead Divided Baskets for teacher gifts

It's the last week of school for my kindergartener. As a teacher gift I made up some Divided Baskets from Noodlehead.I used some kid friendly prints that looked appropriate for the classroom. I'm assuming teachers get loads of candy and stuff they don't really need. I figured these baskets could be used for just about anything in the classroom.

There's not much to say about the pattern. It's a quick, easy sew and the instructions are flawless. Anna Graham is one of my favorite pattern writers. I've never had an issue with any of her patterns. And who couldn't use one of these baskets? You can easily change up the pocket and handles to make them match any need or decor. They make great baby shower gifts, Christmas gifts, scrap baskets, toy them!

Now, the tricky part will be getting the student to write his thank-you notes.
Linking up to Show Off Saturday and Sew-Jo Saturday

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Typewriter Bee Sweet Bag

Today I'm sharing my Bee Sweet Bag from Sara Lawson's Big City Bags book. I struggled with this bag because my original plan did not work at all. I tried to quilt the main panels using some floral fabrics and this awesome Just My Type print....and they looked ok, but I don't think they would have worked with this pattern. So I almost gave up, thinking I just wouldn't make this bag. However, I had already cut the Letterpress print to use for the lining....and I hate to waste fabric!


Since I love the prints so much, I decided to use my cut pieces for the exterior and the typewriter print for accents and lining. I'm so glad I stuck with it! I love the final result! I made just a couple of modifications. Instead of using a blanket stitch or applique for the accent, I cut the piece 1/2" bigger than suggested. Then I sewed a 1/2" line of basting stitches, clipped very close and turned it under. I was able to sew a nice clean line this way. I'm not big on a raw seam, no matter how it's finished, especially with a cotton fabric.

I also had to add some accent pieces for handle tabs since I couldn't find pre-punched handles that I liked. I borrowed these tabs from Sara's Park West Bag, and they also worked quite well. For the lining, I added a zippered pocket with a big pop of color. I do luvs me some color!
Bee Sweet Bag Inside view
Bee Sweet Front view, with Handles

Bee Sweet Bag front with strap

Bee Sweet Bag back view

Overall I do like this bag, but I miss having a zippered closure. The more bags I make, the less I care for a single snap closure. I also interfaced with Soft and Stable which helps the bag hold up to the weight of these handles, but it made the flap want to stand straight up! When I was all finished, I snapped the flap down and clipped wonder clips all along the top of the flap overnight. It was much more cooperative after that. I found the measurements to be spot on with this bag. I didn't have any problems with the pattern as written. I'm just not sure what I'll do with this doesn't have an "everyday" feel to it. It will probably hang out in my sewing room as eye candy until further notice. I do enjoy looking at it though. The hardware and the fabric look so good together...I love it when my visions work out!

Linking up to the Big City Bags SAL at Sewing with Squeak

Next month is the Oh Spit! Diaper bag...I'm still deciding if I want to make that one or not. My diaper toting days are over (YEAH!!!!) and I don't know anyone that needs a diaper bag...but maybe i could modify it for another use? We'll see, right now I'm off to test a pattern for Sarah Markos...super excited!!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Poolside Jumbo Tote from Noodlehead

Hey another finish today...and it's so cute. This is the Poolside Tote from Noodlehead that is the May Bag of the Month. I added "jumbo" because it is...this thing is huge! Perfect for toting to the beach...or the Splashpad if you don't have a beach (like me).

It has a zippered pocket on the front that has a very clever installation. It uses a zipper facing and looks very cool when finished. The whole thing sews together very quick. I cut everything out one night and sewed it all the next. I didn't finish it all in one night, but I would have if I hadn't made a big error while cutting my pieces...right here....

See those extra seams on the facing? Well, if you've never used a PDF pattern before, you often have to "piece" pattern sections together since they don't fit to print on a single sheet of paper. The instructions were quite clear for this pattern, but I was cutting late at night and I may have been listening to the stand-up comedian that my husband was listening to on Netflix as well. So, I forgot to add a little section to the facing piece, about 3 inches long. When it came time to add my facing to the bag (the last step too!) I was about 6 inches short on each side!!! 6 inches??? I was so perplexed. Once in a while, things don't quite fit, but 6 inches is more than a minor bit. So I had to dig the pattern pieces back out and of course I found the missing 6 inches. Luckily, I was able to just undo 2 seams on the facing and add the missing sections. It's not as pretty as a single piece, but it worked out.

I also added a zippered pocket to the lining, just because. I'm thinking I might use this bag for the gym and I like a little security for my Ipod and phone, rather than just tossing them inside with everything else. This pattern is my second from Noodlehead and I really like Anna's style. Also, her measurements are spot on (provided you follow them correctly). I love that from a designer. Really fun to the next project.

Linking up this fun little number to SewJo Saturday

This bag is popping up all over the Flickr group and can be seen here: Flickr

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Winner Winner Fabric Dinner! (And a finish!)

The Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day (week) is officially over. Thanks for all you comments and visits! It was wonderful to read them and to earn 30 new followers! Thank you all. And now for the winner of the little fabric stash builder I offered:

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The numbers generated by this widget come from RANDOM.ORG's true random number generator.

Now, if you entered the giveaway, you know that I'm a new blogger. So, I was pretty excited to figure out how to use the famous "Mr. Random". I was bummed to realize that my comments were not numbered. Note to self: Learn how to make numbered comments prior to the next giveaway. Luckily, I didn't have to count too high.

Edited: Ok, didn't quite figure out how to make "Mr. Random" appear on the blog correctly, you'll have to trust me that he picked 44.

#44 Congrats to SewGirl that said "I love tutorials, but also am interested in beautifully done items, no matter what the medium."

Me too Sewgirl! And I actually had a finish this week, so here is the quick and dirty on my Bye Bye Love bag. This pattern is the January Bag of the Month. I do realize it's almost comments on my slowness please :)

So the bag is awesome...once you get past that main zipper install. I will admit, I had to scratch my head several times. The first side installed very easily, but the second side seemed's not. It just took some finagling around the bag and some hand sewing where the side seams meet the zipper top. The pockets on the front are my favorite feature. Adds some style and fits my phone perfectly!!! I love having a set place to put my phone. I used fusible fleece to line the exterior and shape flex for the lining. It has just the right "slouchiness" to it. Still good shape, but not as much as Soft and Stable gives. I like a little slouch. Aside from the zipper, my only problem was with the handle's a close up
Those tabs...are not identical. And they look slightly different than the ones on the other side too. I even redid 2 of them,...a minor imperfection....I'm trying to get over it.Trying...trying....



Inside...complete with cat hair (sighs)...added a zippered pocket instead of a second patch pocket

Front snap pockets....LOVE!!!

Super fun handles, look like piping, but really just folded in half and stitched down, also LOVE!

Hope everyone had a great week, I know I got a little overwhelmed with all the giveaways, but I also found lots of new blogs to follow. The inspiration never ends!

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