Monday, March 27, 2017

Twist of Fate Tunic

Jess's latest barkcloth fabric is now shipping to stores and is available for purchase. It's her Holding Pattern collection that she designed for Cloud9 Fabrics. I showed you this selection called Twist of Fate before, when I'd made a wristlet from a bit of sample fabric I'd received. You can see that here.

So here's the Twist of Fate again. But look closely... there's a zipper in there somewhere! Invisible, right? I love it when the print lines up just like I want it to - on the first try! It was cause for a happy dance, because it could've looked so bad if the print was off!

I made a tunic for Jess using a vintage pattern, Simplicity 9010, which was one I'd made a dress from for myself way back when. I also had made a dress for her from that same pattern a couple years ago. You can see and get details about that one here.

This is the completed Tunic.

We had some discussion about which way that stand-up collar should go, since with that print there were several options. This is what we decided on, and I like it a lot.

I intended to hand-deliver it to Jess last week, as Grandpa and I were planning a trip to visit her and Alex. That didn't happen, though, because first Grandpa got sick with this horrible cold-type virus (which he still hasn't completely recovered from) that's been making the rounds. Just when he thought maybe he was up to making the drive, Jess and Alex both got sick with the same ugly thing. So we postponed our trip to a later to-be-determined date, sometime after planting is completed.

So I mailed the tunic, along with the Hippo Hobo bag and the Dumplings, to Jess. She has better places for photo-taking in her house than I do, especially for larger items, so here's the lovely shot she got of the tunic.

Alex also took a great photo of her modeling it!

(My first thought when I saw that pic was that her hairdresser nailed her original auburn hair color. I love it!)

She also sent me a photo she'd taken of the Hippo Hobo bag, and since she takes such nice pics in her pretty settings, I thought I'd share that with you, too.

That Garden Variety print is also part of the Holding Pattern collection.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


We had another snowstorm last Sunday. Yuck. (I'll spare you the ugly photos. If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know what snowdrifts look like, right?) After the fake-spring teases we'd been having, with temps even getting up to around 60°, it was rather hard to take, especially when it dumped 8" or so of new snow on us. Blech.

So what to do on a snowy day to avoid looking out the window? I made dumplings! Not the kind you eat, but rather very colorful spring-like dumplings. Here they are.

The fabrics are from Jessica Jones's Spring Quartet line of babywale corduroy for Cloud9 Fabrics, which are scheduled to be released... um... not this spring, but in July. :)

The dumplings are very little. See the seam ripper for comparison!

They're very fun to make! I used a free tutorial by Michelle Patterns, which you can find here. Little as they are, they're still completely finished on the inside.

I found binding those seams a little challenging, but then I'm not too crazy about putting binding on anything. So I devised a fairly simple way of doing it. I took a strip of seam tape, folded it in half, sewed the other short edge and one long edge shut, turned it right side out and slipped it over the seam like this.

Wonder Clips and/or pins helped hold it in place until I got it sewed. Nothing fancy, but for the inside of those little pouches where no one is likely to pay any attention, it was quite sufficient.

The linings are colorful Cirrus Solids from Cloud9 Fabrics. Aren't they pretty?

This one's my favorite. Which do you like best?

I could make a bazillion more of these, because they're so quick and easy. However, I have other projects in the works, so I'd better do those first. Never enough time for my ever-expanding to-sew list... but always something to look forward to!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Hippo Hobo

My latest sewing project was the Hippo Hobo bag, from the pattern by Emma Wengier of Emkie Designs. I found it to be a very well-written, easy-to-follow pattern, using actual photos (which I love) instead of computer-drawn diagrams.

The fabric is from Jessica Jones's latest collection of barkcloth, Holding Pattern, for Cloud9 Fabrics. It is scheduled to be released this month!

I used navy pleather for the accent pieces and straps...

... and I got some good practice setting rivets (which I needed!).

Of course with the pleather, there was need for lots of Wonder Clips...

... and without a free-arm on my 46+-year-old Kenmore, I had to do some wrangling...

... but I'm very pleased with how it turned out! Here's the back view with its welt zipper pocket.

I hadn't planned for those flowers to sit on the edge of the pleather like they do, but I'm glad they ended up that way. I'm also happy with how they matched up at the edges (yes, I did plan for that).

The bag opens wide, like a hippo's mouth (thus the name) and it has another zipper pocket inside.

There's also a hidden zipper pocket under the flaps. [All the pockets were finished on the inside as per the instructions in the Roundabout Hobo pattern by Erin (Erickson) Gilbey.]

As requested by Jess, I reduced the pattern size to 90%, because the bag is going to a somewhat petite person. Here's how the size looks on me.

The pattern was straight-forward and easy to follow. The biggest challenge I had was sewing the strap tabs on, partly due to not having a free-arm, and also because my strap was already attached to the D-ring since I didn't use swivel clasp hooks like the pattern recommended. They seemed unnecessary, since who's going to remove the strap and use the bag without it? They were just for looks, basically.

So that's my latest. On to the next project in the queue!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Time For a Change

If someone gave you two mini-skirts.....

..... and a strap.....

..... what would you make?

A bag, of course! And here's my bag. It's the handbag/toddler size Time for a Change bag, from the pattern by Erin (Erickson) Gilbey of Dog Under My Desk. (Have I ever mentioned her on this blog before???)

Of course no one handed me two mini-skirts and a strap. I'm just being silly. I made them myself, but seeing the outer bag and the lining just made me think of little mini-skirts. :)

The fabric (as well as the fabric I used in the Roundabout Hobo) was a gift from Jess (not her designs) for Christmas several years ago. I loved it, and I was just waiting for the right bag to put it on, because I knew it should be a big one to show off the lovely print. This bag fit the bill!

Below is the other side. Believe it or not, I fussy-cut every single piece except the strap and zipper tab! I wanted the birds to be in good positions, but I didn't want them to 'look' fussy-cut. Make sense? I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

I LOVE this bag! The pattern was written with Erin's usual perfection and was great to sew. The only challenge I had was with those curves at the zipper ends. It wasn't that they were so hard, but just that I'm a bit of a perfectionist myself, and I wanted them 'just right'. Erin's instructions were ever-so-helpful, and I'm pleased with the result.

It's a big bag, even though it's the smaller of the two included in the pattern. The bigger one is intended to be a diaper bag, but could be used for anything you need a BIG bag for. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with mine. It's bigger than I use for my "everyday" purse. I guess I'll just have to find something big to put in it. Or hang it as a decoration in my sewing room because I love looking at it. :)

The lining fabric is something I bought a few years ago, mainly because of its name! Jess at some point had started calling me Mumsy, and that's the name of the fabric. So being blue, it's actually "Mumsy in blue" (my favorite color). My intention for it was to make a housecoat (and be Mumsy in blue), but upon seeing it in person, I thought maybe it was a bit too crazy, so I opted for this fabric instead.

I was super pleased to find a zipper in my stash that matched one of the colors so well.....

..... and I used Erin's method from the Roundabout Hobo pattern to add a totally finished welt zipper pocket inside the bag. I had started this bag several weeks ago, but when Erin said she was writing her method into that pattern, I put this bag on hold until I could use it. I'm glad I waited, because it just makes for such a lovely finish!

The outer pockets are lined with a solid blue to match the zippers. I thought it'd be a little too crazy seeing those two prints together on the outside of the bag.

I also used the solid blue on the bottom, since I thought the white parts of the other fabric could get dirty and look awful pretty fast. I added purse feet to help keep the bottom clean, too.

Here's me-the-model again (my photo assistant, Miss Courtney, didn't come yesterday), to show you the size of the bag.

So there you have it - two completed bags in less than a week! Woohoo!

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Roundabout Hobo

I was privileged to be able to test the newest Dog Under My Desk pattern by Erin (Erickson) Gilbey. I had no qualms about testing this pattern, because I know that her patterns are always done with very detailed instructions, lots of photos demonstrating how to do what she's talking about, and little tips along the way for making your sewing experience as easy as possible. Whenever I sew with one of her patterns, it's kind of like "coming home" - a comfortable place to be, y'know? I love them, and as I've said in the past, they are definitely my favorites. I never have to worry about pattern pieces that don't line up right or instructions that are confusing or diagrams that are hard to figure out... or any of those things I've been challenged by with some other patterns. Simply put, Erin's patterns are the BEST!

This new pattern was no exception. It was beautifully done! Testers look for anything that's amiss, and all I found was one minor typo and one teensy seam issue, both of which Erin corrected, so the pattern is perfect!

Here's my Roundabout Hobo.....

..... and a goofy photo of me, just for size reference.

It has such a cute shape, and little easy-to-make pleats help to give it its roundness.

There's no gusset or bottom piece to fiddle with, and not even a separate strap. In fact, there are only four pattern pieces and no extra stabilizers, so it's also quick to cut out.

It has an inner patch pocket....

..... a top zipper closure.....

..... fun contrasting lining fabric that peeks out of the handle.....

..... and an inner (or you could put it on the outside if you preferred) zipper pocket.

Actually, that zipper pocket is the reason I volunteered to test the pattern in the first place. Erin had mentioned in her Facebook group that she had a new technique for adding a facing inside the pocket so that even the zipper tape was finished off. Although I've done a lot of zippered welt pockets, I couldn't imagine how it was done... but I knew that I wanted to find out! Here's how it turned out. Isn't it just lovely?

(This pink is the actual color of the lining, not as red-ish as the pics above.)

As I was first following the instructions for that zipper and facing, I at first thought, "Is it really worth the bother? Who ever looks at the inside of a pocket at the zipper tape, anyway?" But once I had it finished and realized how slick it went, and that there really wasn't much more to it than what I had been doing before, I've decided it's now my go-to method for that type of pocket. I love it! I'd have paid the full price of the pattern just to get it.

Speaking of the pattern price... if you're interested in buying the pattern, it and all the patterns in the DUMD Pattern Shop are discounted 20% through Valentine's Day, so hurry up and get yours! The discount will automatically be applied when you check out - no code needed.

I've already used that pocket technique in another bag that I had partially finished but put on hold until I knew how to do the zipper facing. I can't wait to finish the rest of it and show you... it's soooo pretty! You shouldn't have to wait too long to see it, because I have a bunch more projects in the queue already and need to get at them!