Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Quick Zip Lunch Bag, updated

Hmm... I guess I haven't posted for a month! Well, it's not that I haven't been doing anything. I did complete another sewing project, but I've been purposely waiting to post about it. However, I guess I'll just go ahead and do it so you'll know I'm still alive (in case anybody even reads the ol' blog anymore. Ha.)

I completed another pattern test recently for Erin (Erickson) Gilbey of Dog Under My Desk. Amongst her move back to the USA from Australia (hurray!) last month, she managed to finish a rewrite of one of her older patterns, the Quick Zip Lunch Bag. This was her first pattern, and she wanted the format to be more like her later patterns, plus she added the option of a larger size. I'd used the older pattern to make a bag to hold Courtney's Shopkins (which you can see here), so I was happy to test the new version (although I'm always happy to test any of her patterns because they're so good!). Here's my new (non)lunch bag.




Although the pattern tells how to insulate it with Insul-Bright and batting to keep your lunch chilled, I didn't need a lunch bag, so I didn't insulate mine. I instead needed a bag to hold my new Dyson hand vacuum tools, so I made the large size bag, added an extra pocket inside, and here it is holding my tools.


Erin wrote the pattern to be beginner-friendly, keeping it simple and with lots of how-to's... like putting in the "dreaded" zipper (which really is nothing to dread, and Erin's techniques make it easy to have it end up right). Here's my recessed zipper from the lining side, right after installation.....


..... and here it is on the completed bag.


Ever want to be able to put in a zipper like that? Trying this pattern would be a good way to learn how to do it!

Since I didn't need to insulate my bag, I decided to use Pellon one-sided fusible foam as my stabilizer. I trimmed off all the seam allowances from the foam before fusing it so that the seams wouldn't be so thick. I wasn't too pleased with how it adhered, however. It started coming loose on the edges, and I ended up adding a little glue to hold it down next to the seams. The problem might not have been due to the foam, though. The fabric was somewhat rough on the back, and that may have had something to do with it. Also, it was quite thick, so that may have contributed, too. So I'm not knocking the foam, really. It might do well on other fabrics. I'd used it once before on barkcloth, and that seemed to work fine. Anyway, this is what it looked like after the outside of the bag was sewn together. The foam gives it a lot of body and makes it stand up nicely.


Here's a closer look at the fabric. I guess it's a brocade. It's not designed by Jess, but it was gifted by her... er... I mean Santa! It's really a lovely fabric, nice and heavy yet easy to sew. See the texture?


I should probably feel guilty for using such a nice fabric to hold vacuum tools, but I don't. The tag was still on it, and it said $1/1 yard. Quite a bargain Jess Santa found on a remnant table! The reason I chose it is that it goes so well with my crazy kitchen floor, and that's where it now resides, under the desk that holds the Dyson vac... very handy!


The pattern has been all tested and is now available here. The price is only $6.00, and it's worth every penny with all the how-to's you'll be getting. It was a quick, fun make, and I highly recommend it! Erin hasn't blogged about it yet (that's why I've procrastinated on posting it), but when she does, I'll add a link to her post here. It seems that when one moves from one country to another, there are a lot of things to do (other than writing blog posts)! Ha - what an understatement! But someday she'll get caught up and have an office and start cranking out more fabulous patterns. I know her head has already been spinning with ideas, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Meanwhile, I already have another project in the works. It will have to remain secret until it reaches its intended recipient... but at least you won't have to wait till after Christmas to see it. ;)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mini Necessary Clutch Wallet

My latest sewing project was a wallet... a Mini Necessary Clutch Wallet, to be exact. I made it to go with my  Sunrise Saddle Bag. Here it is!


The pattern is by Emmaline Bags and can be found here. I think there have been thousands of full-size Necessary Clutch Wallets (NCWs) made by now. In fact, there's a Facebook group called "NCW Addicts", as once people make one, they tend to want to make more, and they seem to be great sellers at craft fairs, etc. When I saw the pattern for the Mini, I thought that was more the size I wanted, as I'm not really a clutch or big wallet sort of person. Note that if you do decide to make the Mini, you also need to buy the regular NCW pattern to get the full instructions. I was fortunate to be able to buy them both on a 50% off sale, so it was like only buying one pattern. :)

I used the same pleather and fabrics (Jess's Holding Pattern barkcloth on the flap) that I used for my Saddle Bag, so they really are a matched set. I used a magnet snap closure for both. I even remembered to add my little label before it was too late to sew it where I wanted it. Ha!


Here's a side view. It's still a pretty good-sized wallet, and it can hold a lot.


Incidentally, I didn't even notice this myself, but my son did when he was examining it... look at the cool design at the top! That was not planned, but I love it!


It opens up to several sections. It has card slots on each end with a slip pocket behind them for holding paper money, receipts, etc. There's also a little zipper pocket for coins or whatever.


I confess that I used several of Erin (Erickson) Gilbey's Dog Under My Desk techniques instead of some of the NCW instructions when I put this together. I used her flap instructions from the Sunrise Saddle Bag pattern; the Essential Wristlet instructions for the zipper pocket; and best of all, the card slot pattern and instructions from the Encore Clutch because they turned out to be the perfect length (I just added a bit to the width) and they were so much easier than trying to do it the NCW way! So there are your tips if you decide to make one yourself. ;)

Here is my matched set!


I love them both, even though the wallet is bigger than I anticipated and takes up most of the space in the bag (which is only 85% of the original SSB size). But that's okay... this is my bag for traveling light, and I don't plan to carry much in it, anyway.

Monday, October 9, 2017

A new model

I was so delighted to receive this photo last week. It's our grandniece wearing the Geranium top that I made for her. Isn't she absolutely adorable? The top is still a bit big for her, but when it actually fits her in colder weather, it'll be great layered over a long-sleeve shirt. 

(Photo courtesy of her mom and dad, and used with their permission.)

Details on the top can be found here.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Sunrise Saddle Bag #2

I've been thinking for awhile that I need a new purse. Although I still love my Mini Daytripper and have been carrying it around everywhere, I tend to load the kitchen sink and everything else into it, and it seems just too much to carry for a quick trip to town for groceries or an evening out for supper.

Last May I tested the Sunrise Saddle Bag pattern for Dog Under My Desk. I really liked it but thought it was still a bit too big for what I had in mind, so I decided to try making one at 85% of the original size. I simply selected that size on my printer and reprinted the pattern.

I also wanted to use my favorite fabric from Jess's Holding Pattern barkcloth that she designed for Cloud9 Fabrics... and I wanted to use pleather. I made the main body pleather and the flap barkcloth. Here's how it turned out.


Last Christmas I found a package of metal zippers in my stocking (great idea, Santa - thanks!), so I used one of them on the back of the purse. I love the look! I also added some rivets on the strap and its tabs... just because I like the extra bling.


The pattern calls for a twistlock closure, but since I didn't have one in antique brass to match the other hardware, I chose to use a magnetic snap.


Everything went together very smoothly. I thought I might have trouble with the final topstitching going through all those layers at the seams and strap tabs, but my good ol' 47-year-old Kenmore came through again. I used a topstitching needle, which helped, and I did hand crank carefully over the thickest spots, but I had no problems getting through them.

I am totally pleased with my bag! I wouldn't change a thing about it. Now I think it needs a matching wallet, don't you?

Oh, and here's the obligatory pose with it on me, so you can see the size. Grandpa happened to get home just as I'd finished it, and I asked him to be my photographer. It was soon to get dark, so I didn't bother to change into better clothes... sorry about that... but it still beats the bathroom mirror selfie, right? ;-Þ At least the cat that had been winding around my ankles decided to step away for two seconds, although I wouldn't have minded sharing the limelight with her. Ha.


In case you might be interested in this or any other Dog Under My Desk patterns, they're all on sale right now through October 1st at 25% off using the code word PACKING at checkout. Erin and Bob are busy packing up everything to move back to the USA from Australia! Yay!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Classy Cargo Dress

Well, this one's been a long time a-comin'! First I kept procrastinating on starting the sewing, then I finally finished it a couple weeks ago, but my model had scheduling conflicts and didn't show up until yesterday for the photo shoot.

It was quite a windy day, as the photos will show you. Forgive me for posting so many, but as I was going through them, they were just so fun that I couldn't resist sharing a bunch! (I also skipped a bunch more!)

This is the Classy Cargo Dress, from the pattern by Olive Ann Designs. The fabric is Jess's Spring Quartet babywale corduroy, designed for Cloud9 Fabrics.





It was definitely not a good hair day! But at least it was warm enough (80°) for a sleeveless dress. Note that the fingernails and toenails happened to coordinate very well!



The dress has a little kick pleat in the back to allow for easy movement.



The pattern also includes a size for an 18" doll. I of course had to make that one, too, to match!


Wind was still a problem for the hair. Kit's held a little better than Courtney's.


Kit had her own photo shoot a couple weeks ago. It wasn't windy that day.


I particularly love this last photo. It looks like it belongs in a fashion magazine, don't you think?


That's it for now. I hope you enjoy the pics as much as I do and maybe even got some giggles. I'll come back (tomorrow?) and tell you more about the pattern, etc. I have a few tips to share in case anyone's interested in sewing the dress.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Another winner

Now I get to show you the other sewing project that Courtney worked on for 4-H. This was a bit more challenging for her, because it involved a lot more fabric to maneuver under the presser foot! She and her mom picked out two colors of cozy flannel.


It involved setting some snaps. Courtney's hands weren't big enough to handle my KAMsnaps pliers, so I did that part, but she did the measuring and made the holes to set them through.


Almost done! Here she is, stuffing it...


... and now can you guess what it is?


It's a pillow bed!


It can be used for sleeping on, or propped up to lounge on, or read on...


... or just relax and be a little silly on.


It's very comfy! I know, because I tested it myself (but you don't need to see that photo). It also folds up completely, but I forgot to take a picture of that.

We used a tutorial found here. It was simple and fun to make, with lots and lots of straight stitching, which was good practice. She did a beautiful job, and it earned her a BLUE RIBBON! Yay!

Courtney's been dying to try it out overnight. She could hardly stand to wait for the fair to be over to do so. I have it on good authority that it's going to get tried out as a bed at her cousins' house this week. I suspect she will sleep very well!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fashion Revue 2017

It's finally County Fair time! That means Courtney's projects have been judged and I can show them to you! She did fabulously!

The first sewing project she made for this year's 4-H competition was a skirt. She and her mom picked out the fabrics, and I helped her with the sewing. She learned to do some new things for this project... things like rotary cutting and ironing. Both were VERY closely supervised by me, as I didn't want any cut or burned fingers. She was very cautious, and all went well.


She also learned how to sew a waistband and insert elastic into it.




Here is the finished skirt. Such beautiful, straight stitching... all done by Courtney!


I took these pics of her the day she made it.


Then there was the public Fashion Revue that we got to watch last week. We had a perfect place to sit so I could get some good photos. She wore her skirt for her 'Constructed' project. (Grades 3-5)


I am proud to say she got a Reserve Champion on it!

She also had a 'Recycled' outfit, which was this.


Last but not least was her 'Purchased' outfit, which she also received a Reserve Champion on! Not only that, but she did such a great job of modeling at the Fashion Revue that she received a purple ribbon for Overall!



That's my beautiful, sweet, confident granddaughter! I am so proud of her! What a first ever Fashion Revue experience for her! Congratulations, Courtney!!

More project results later.....

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Encore Clutch

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I'd completed another pattern test. The pattern was released today (well, yesterday in Australia)! It's another wonderfully written pattern by Erin (Erickson) Gilbey of Dog Under My Desk. It's full of very detailed instructions and many photos to demonstrate the how-to's, as her patterns always are. It's called the Encore Clutch, and it can be purchased here (at a special release price until Aug. 20th).

Here is my tester version:


The pattern includes templates for three sizes, and I chose to make the smallest one, because I'd had an idea of using this ribbon (designed by Jess for Renaissance Ribbons) which is only 5/8" wide, so I thought proportionally the small size would work the best. I think it was a good choice. The pattern includes instructions for adding piping or faux piping on the center panel.

The smallest wristlet only has room for a slip pocket for credit cards or whatever, whereas the larger two each have three card slots with a slip pocket behind them for dollar bills, receipts, etc.


The back side is just the background fabric, which in my case is linen.


It's about 6½ inches wide when finished. You can tell by my hand just how small it is.


I think its smallness makes it extra-adorable! It still can hold plenty, though, as all three sizes have pleats in the front and back that give it extra room.


It's a great scrap-buster for small pieces of fabric. All three sizes are fat quarter friendly, and you could make any kind of combination with that panel on the front. It was very fun to make, and it goes together very quickly. It's so fun, in fact, that I just may have made an encore Encore Wristlet (which I haven't gotten photos of yet) to try out making the card slots. Erin came up with a terrific technique for making them, and her instructions are so clear that you just couldn't fail making them 'just right'.

Check out Erin's blog post here for many photos of her Encore Wristlets plus more details about the pattern, and also for how to get even more of a discount if you decide to buy it! ;)