Thursday, July 21, 2016

Port & Sort Tote

As I mentioned a time or two, I've been working on another pattern test. I finished the sewing and just this morning received the finalized pattern to read through one more time. So it won't be long before it'll be available for purchase! If you follow the ikatbag blog, you'll know that LiEr has written a pattern for the Port & Sort Tote she designed. And many of you know I test patterns for her and have done a number of them before, so I got to test this one, too. Since the pattern is no surprise, I get to show you my finished tote, even though the pattern itself is not quite ready to purchase yet.

I took a few progress photos along the way. If you purchase her pattern and make the tote, maybe you'll find it helpful to see how I did things. As always, Wonder Clips came in very handy for me. I don't know how I ever survived without them!

Put all that stuff together, and this is what you get:

It's a bag held closed with a separating zipper, which when unzipped looks like this:

There are partitions sewn inside that can either be fastened via velcro to the sides for an open compartment or, as below, divided into smaller sections using that same velcro to hold the partitions.

The tote can be used for ever-so-many types of things, and the side flaps can be held down and out of the way with the invisible (or regular) magnetic snaps. There are pockets on both ends of the tote, too.

It can be zipped up with items inside, keeping them secure.

There are also two other strap options, which you can see on LiEr's blog post (plus there's a supplies list in case you know you're going to buy the pattern and want to get a jump on getting ready while you wait for it). I chose to make the straps that have the rectangular rings, because 1) that's the one LiEr asked me to make, and 2) that's the one I would've chosen, anyway, because the straps fold down and out of the way so nicely (plus hardware is cool).

The pattern has been going through a lot of revision, so by the time it's all said and done, it'll hopefully be 'just right'. It's not a pattern for beginners, but if you have some bag-making experience, you should be able to handle it. There are some curves to sew, including the zipper installation, and there are some thick seams than can be challenging, so keep that in mind.

LiEr also posted a tutorial for making little collapsible inserts that are just the right size to fit inside the Port & Sort Tote. You can find that tutorial here. I wanted to try one for myself, and you may have noticed it in the one photo above. Here's a better look:

The outer fabric for the tote and the insert are from Jess's In Theory barkcloth collection for Cloud9 Fabrics.

Below is a little collage showing the insert, which has a zippered bottom that when unzipped allows the box to be folded flat, or even into quarters to maybe fit in your pocket! I love it!

As I said, I've got the pattern now for a final proofread, so I'd best get at it! I'll post again when the pattern is available to buy. SOON! (Relatively speaking, that is. ;) )

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Zip Itself Coin Purse #'s 3, 4, 5

Nearly five years ago (wow, can it be that long already?! I was thinking 2 or 3!), I showed you two little projects I'd made called the Zip Itself Coin Purse(s), from a tutorial found here. It was mainly to show the new ribbons Jess had designed. She's designed a lot more since then (you can see them all, and even her smiling face, here), and she coerced me into making some more of the purses because she loves them so much.

I made this one. For some reason, it got a little wonky and doesn't sit up quite right unless I bend the zipper underneath it. But hey, the ribbon is cute! ;)

Then I made another one, because I was determined to get it right. I did! Here it is, perched on Jess's hand. More cute ribbon!

They're not a quick sew job. The first one I made all those years ago was sewn completely by hand. But I figured out that I could sew at least some of the ribbon to the zipper with the machine and then do the rest by hand. That saved a little time, but they still do take a long time to make. Lots of hand sewing still.

This is how they work, from completely unzipped to zipped into the little pouch.

Delighted that the second one turned out so well, I decided to try just one more... because the ribbon is just so darn cute, right? Look how this one turned out, when I thought I was doing exactly the same thing!

Yes, it's square... and flat! I have no clue why. BUT, Jess loved it and begged to have it. So here's her hand again. I have to admit, it is still pretty cute, despite its "wrong" shape.

So here they are. One "right" out of three.

I won't be making any more. ;-P

I have other finished projects to show you, too. One of them, in fact, is the pattern test I was working on. I still have to take photos of that. And the pattern is undergoing a lot of tweaking, so it isn't quite ready to purchase yet. Soon! Hopefully. :)

Friday, July 8, 2016

Another first

I saw something new today. I happened to glance out the kitchen window (as I do a bazillion times a day), and this is what I saw on top of our light pole.

No, it's not a turkey, but it's nearly that big. It's a buzzard! A.K.A. vulture, turkey buzzard or turkey vulture. I've seen them before, but usually either flying high in the sky or along the roadside having some yummy roadkill for lunch. But I have NEVER seen one on top of our light pole before.

This one posed very nicely for me and gave me a great display of its huge wings.

Then off it went...


... high in the sky...

... to sniff out some more dead stuff, I guess. I read that they have a terrific sense of smell. All they eat is stuff that's already dead. They're good for cleaning up roadsides, etc. They don't hunt live prey, so I don't have to worry about my cats/kittens.

They have majestic wings... but such ugly heads. Look at this cropped pic of its head below. You can see right through that hole in its beak.

I was amazed to see it up there, much less get a chance to photograph it!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Izzy Purse

Courtney is in 4-H this year, and she asked me if I'd help her make a sewing project. Of course that's right up my alley, so I readily agreed. I kept my eye open online for simple sewing machine projects that she might like, and this one for a felt ladybug purse met with her approval.

We printed out the pattern, I dug out my felt, and she went to work. With a little guidance, she did all the pinning and cutting herself. 

Under the watchful eyes of her inspector, that is.

She's getting better at the sewing machine, having more control over the speed, particularly. So I don't have to hover quite so close (or hold my breath as much).

Had you noticed the ladybug colors weren't placed quite ladybug-like? Look below... this little purse has ears and whiskers!

Here it is, finished.

It was designed by Courtney to look like her cat, Izzy!

This is the back.

The face is the flap, and it fastens shut with velcro. This is what it looks like when opened.

Below is our happy little seamstress holding her Izzy purse and giving you some size reference.

She did a fantastic job! All those little colored bits were appliqued on, very slowly and carefully, a stitch at a time. Talk about a way to get practice sewing curves! A couple pieces were glued on (e.g. the whiskers) because they were too small for stitching. I did the harder part of sewing the head onto the back because those ears had to be caught in that seam and lined up just right. The pupils in the eyes were drawn on with a marker.

I know Courtney is hoping for a good score when her project is judged for 4-H. She'll be taking it to the fair, and she said if she gets a ribbon, we can take another photo to show you here. So be prepared (a few weeks down the road)!

Monday, June 27, 2016

They're back

Sorry... more turkey news. But there are some interesting photos, so I hope I'm not boring you. I'm not fond of the turkeys myself... but I do like taking pics, and if I can get some great or unusual shots, I'll do it... even if they're of turkeys. ;)

I hadn't seen the hen and chicks for nearly two weeks. I was hoping they'd found a better place to live permanently... like over at the neighbors' or something. However, Saturday evening I happened to see them along our driveway again.

It was roosting time, and one by one, they were heading up into the trees. They flew effortlessly. Here goes one of them, as one on the ground awaits its turn...

... higher and higher...

... till it made it up into the tree!

Mom flew up, too, but they were pretty wary of me and my camera...

... so she called them all back down again and off they went.

There were two hens out there. I don't know if they each had some chicks or if they all belonged to the one. I saw at least six chicks, but I may have missed a few. They hide so well in the long grass.

Unrelated, but... down at my feet there happened to be a baby robin who kept calling over and over to its mama.

Do you know how hard it is to get a photo of it at the exact instant it has its mouth open in that call?! I took over a hundred pics of that little birdie! (Thanks to the continuous shooting setting.)

Okay, enough turkeys! (In more ways than one. "Calling cards" left behind on the deck railing lead me to believe that the young'uns are getting drinks of water from the birdbath early in the mornings. Ugh.)

I do have some sewing photos to show you... even some of an adorable little project Courtney made for 4-H! I'll try to show them soon. However, I'm testing a new pattern this week, and it needs to be done as quickly as I can (and you know I'm not a fast sewer), so that has to take priority. And on that note, I'd best get busy!