Thursday, January 2, 2020

Christmas gift sewing

Wow, where did the last month go? It guess it flew by with Christmas preparations, Christmas celebrating, and post-Christmas recovery. :)

I did a little sewing of gifts this year, and it was unusual in that I made things for the "boys" for a change. Grandpa really liked the Benjamin Dopp Kit I made for him last June, so I decided to make one for our son, too. I had to order new waxed canvas, which I got from A.L. Frances Textiles on Etsy. It's excellent quality but stiffer than what I made Grandpa's kit from, so it proved to be much more challenging to sew with when it came to thick seams. Much more. Eek! I like how it turned out, though, and it's sturdy enough to last him probably the rest of his life, considering the amount of traveling he does. Heheh. Funny how he happened to get some items to put inside it, and they weren't even from me. Hmm.... that just occurred to me. Santa must've known....

The pattern was from a free tutorial found here. Grandpa said the purse feet, though a nice touch, weren't really necessary, but I added them anyway because they're the only thing that holds the base in place inside. And I just like them. I added the strap, too, for carrying convenience.

Our son-in-law does do a LOT of traveling, and since it's better that he keep his items in a clear plastic bag for airline inspections, I didn't make him a dopp kit. Instead, I made him a passport holder for when he travels out of the country.

I didn't have a pattern for that. I googled passport holders and just made up my own from the images I found. I had some leftover cork, and it was perfect for this project. It made for no seams to finish, so it was a rather quick project. Well, except for getting the "monogram" lined up just right. The perfectionist in me isn't quite pleased, but it wasn't do-over-able.

There's also room for credit cards, receipts, boarding passes and/or whatever.

I made him a little "passport" so he'd know what it was for.

If I'd been a little more talented, I'd have made the cover to look like an actual passport, but I'm not, so he got this:

Ha! And that concludes my Christmas sewing.

Some "Crafting with Courtney" went on during Christmas week, so hopefully I'll get that posted before too long.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Little bright projects

What a gloomy year it's been, for the most part. So much cloudiness and so much precipitation. Fall was no exception. In fact, I feel like we got cheated out of fall altogether, and since it's my favorite time of year, that's pretty sad. I got tired of the dark dreary days lately and decided it was time for some bright, colorful sewing projects.

Months ago, I received some fabric samples from one of Jess's good friends who is from Japan. (She's the one, in fact, whose baby I sewed the tiny cowboy boots for.) The fabrics were so beautiful, and I wanted to make something special from them. Whatever I made had to be little, because the pieces were about 10" square. The gloomy weather finally inspired me to get going and sew some of them up, and here's what I made:

If you've been following me long, you'll probably recognize the Triple-Zip Pouch from the tutorial by Debbie Jeske. This is actually the 10th one I've made! (See the others here.) Yes, I love them, and they're so quick and fun to make. And isn't that fabric simply gorgeous? Fortunately the print went all directions, because I had to cut the two top pieces the opposite direction from the main piece in order to make it work. I think I have maybe a half-inch strip left. LOL

Here's more of the beauty on the back side. The photos don't even do it justice. The gold is kind of glittery. I was a little leery about ironing it, but it wasn't a problem at all.

I plan to use it to hold things I'd transfer from one purse to another, to make the switch easier. Since I make a lot of bags (huge understatement there), I do occasionally switch which one I carry, just for fun. The bad part of switching is always transferring all the little stuff, and this pouch will make it a breeze.

Just in case you wondered, that bottom item in the photo above is a fold-up brush. The bristles push down inside, and it folds up like a compact. I got it from Courtney for Christmas last year, and I love it!

The other item I made is something useful that I've needed for a long time. Can you guess what it is?

It's folded, like this:

It's a postage stamp holder!

I've made a couple of them before to use as sticker holders. They're very easy to make, and you can see a little tutorial here. I don't use a lot of stamps these days, but what I do have had been stored in a very raggedy envelope that the post office used to put your purchased stamps in... many years ago. It most definitely needed replacing. So now I have this beautiful little stamp holder from lovely Japanese fabrics - yay! I laminated the fabric with Heat 'n Bond iron-on vinyl, and I used a KAMsnap for closure. Perfect! And now I will think of Jess's friend Megumi every time I use the stamp holder or pouch.

I still have a couple of the fabric samples, so if you know of any cute little projects I could make from them, I'm up for suggestions!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Cleanup Clutch

Yep, I'm still alive. Nope, the blog hasn't died. It's not that I don't have things to sew... I guess I just took a sewing hiatus! I didn't touch my sewing machine for over a month! It felt kinda good for a change. I did other stuff, like clean out some drawers (fun - ha), did some other cleaning, read a lot, played some word games on my iPad. Just things other than sewing.

But I was beginning to have some withdrawals, so I was glad when Linds Handmade Designs called out for pattern testers again. Since I'd already made her Dayna Pack and tested her Twofer Tote, I knew this new pattern would be a good one, too. 

Here is her latest - the Cleanup Clutch. Front:


Under the flap:

The pattern calls for magnetic snaps, but I decided to use KAMsnaps, just for fun and some color.

The pattern also suggests adding a couple of rivets to hold the flap seam securely, and I did that. Hey, rivets don't intimidate me quite as much as they used to (about time)!

Here's what it looks like opened fully. It has two large slip pockets, a zippered pocket, and two smaller slip pockets to hold a flat package of wipes. It's actually designed to be a diaper clutch... for those quick trips when you don't want to drag a big 2-ton diaper bag along. The pattern includes instructions for a laminated changing mat, which I didn't make this time, for lack of laminated fabric. But it would fold up nicely and fit into one of the slip pockets perfectly.

It's a great clutch and would be handy for a lot of things. This one might get used in the car to hold hand sanitizer, Kleenex, and/or whatever. It folds up compactly.

It's a generously sized clutch - 10"w x 7"h x 1"d.

Just for fun, here's a collage I made of my pics, which appears in Linds's shop.

The fabrics I used are from a canvas line designed by Jess (a.k.a. How About Orange) a few years ago. I'm scrapbusting. Boy, do I have a long way to go! LOL

The pattern for the Cleanup Clutch can be purchased here. It's a great pattern and is easy to sew (and you don't HAVE to use rivets if they intimidate you - ha!). I think it'd be perfect for baby gifts if you don't have a baby yourself. It's at a discounted price (along with everything else in her shop!) for the rest of this weekend, so if you have an inkling to buy it, the time is now!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Shoreline Shoulder Bag - BOTMC

Have you heard of the Bag of the Month Club? It's a 3-month subscription where you pay one fee and get a new only-available-to-club-members pattern each of those months. The patterns remain a secret until the month they are released, so you don't know what you're getting when you subscribe, but they are designed by some of the best bag designers out there, so you can be sure you're getting great patterns and at a reduced price compared to buying them individually. You can subscribe anytime during the three months, so if you want to wait until you've seen all three patterns, you can do so and still get a good deal. A few months after that three-month period is up, each pattern will be released for sale individually, but the cost will be increased to regular pattern prices.

October is the second month of the current subscription, and the designer happens to be my favorite, Erin Erickson Gilbey from Dog Under My Desk. Have you heard me mention her before? ;) I was fortunate to be able to test her pattern (as I have many previously), and now I can finally show it to you! It's called the Shoreline Shoulder Bag. Here's my tester version.

The "birds" fabric is one of Jess's (a.k.a. How About Orange) Holding Pattern barkcloth designs for Cloud9 Fabrics. The solid navy is a canvas.

The front of the bag has a zippered pocket with a slip pocket behind it. The back side has just the contrast fabric with no pockets.

It's a good sized bag, as you can tell compared to the chair (sorry, there was no photographer available to get a shot of me wearing it). It's also wide at the bottom, so it holds a LOT of stuff!

The pleats help it to expand and hold even more!

The inside (on which I used a brushed denim lining) has the same pockets as the outside, installed the same way. Very easy to do.

Since my fabrics were rather heavy, I used a quilter's weight solid lining for the pockets to keep from getting too much bulk in the seams.

Erin has a unique way of attaching her straps, which she's used on a couple of her other patterns. I love how they turn out!

This pattern was great for fussy cutting the fabric for the front. It was pretty easy to do.See how that looks almost like it's a solid piece of fabric above the zipper?

One more photo, just because I love it and couldn't not use it. :)

So that's the October Bag of the Month Club pattern. I have to say, Erin's done it again, with another terrific pattern! It's extremely well-written, with lots of attention to detail and many photos to demonstrate the instructions. It's also been thoroughly tested, and you can see more of the testers' bags on Erin's blog post here. You can never go wrong with a Dog Under My Desk pattern!

September's pattern has been available through the club for a month, and you can still get it if you subscribe before the end of November... or wait until the subscription is over after November and buy it individually. You can check out the details here.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Twofer Tote

As I mentioned in my last post, I had another pattern test coming up. This was for a new designer I'd never tested for before, but I had sewn one of her other bags recently. The test is now completed, and it went very well. I'd gladly test for her again. Here's the resulting bag:

It's the Twofer Tote, by Linds Handmade Designs, and it can be purchased here.

It has shoulder straps plus a crossbody strap, and when carried as a crossbody, it folds over for a different look.

The pattern features leather accents, but cork or faux leather (as mine is) can also be used, and I learned some good tips for sewing with leather. It even has an accent piece around the zipper pocket inside, and I love the look of it. It's so easy to do, and the inside of the pocket has no raw edges, not even the zipper tape.

There are lots of rivets in this bag... 20, to be exact! Although if you're intimidated by rivets, you could skip them and just stitch instead, but I really like the look, even of those on the inside of the bag, They just add 'something', don't you think?

The fabric I used on the outside is some of Jess's (a.k.a. howaboutorange) barkcloth that she designed a few years ago for Cloud9 Fabrics. (Unfortunately it's all sold out now, so don't even ask.) I still love the texture of it.

So there you have it... a sweet tote bag with a zippered top, three slip pockets on the outside, one accented zipper pocket inside, shoulder straps plus a crossbody strap. I love it, and the pattern was easy to sew (some bag-making experience is helpful but not required), well thought-out and detailed, yet not complicated or confusing. I highly recommend it!

Grandpa happened to come home just as I'd finished taking photos, so I enlisted his help for one more, so you can get a feel for the size of the tote. It's just right, I think.

Speaking of taking photos, the background makes all the difference! Here's one that I took on the deck steps. It sure looks blah compared to the ones in front of the flowers, doesn't it?

What's next? Maybe another pattern test. The tester call hasn't come yet. Other than that, there are still plenty of to-sew's on my list, so we'll see.