Sunday, April 16, 2017

80 Pieces, part 2 - finished!

If you haven't read my previous post, you may want to do so before reading this one. This is a continuation of that, showing the completion of my 80-piece project. This post is photo-heavy, but I want to show you what kind of a process I went through. It was no little job, that's for sure!

I ended the previous post after the quilting and the 48 darts were sewn. All of these pieces below except the top one have the darts, 8 per piece. Next the ends were sewn together and that seam bound.

A top binding piece was added, and this is how one of them looked at that point. Do take note of how well that fabric matches my sewing room wall!

There were the 6 of those little pods plus a center pod. (You can see the bottoms of the pods and the handle off to the sides.)

With a few more seams in each one, their shapes became this.

Then the bottoms had to be added. Wonder Clips to the rescue!

That proved to be some challenging sewing, but I figured out if I used my forceps, it made the job considerably easier. Still challenging, but much more doable.

After the bottoms were added, they had to have bindings (like you can see sticking out at the edges of the seam above). Once again, Wonder Clips proved invaluable!

Those 3 pods above became these... completed. Whew!

The center pod was shaped a bit differently, and the handle was attached to its sides. It'd make a kind of cool Easter basket, don't you think? Quite appropriate for today. But that's not what it is.

Getting closer to the end, the outer pods were attached to the center. Here are the first 3 done. I did them in this order simply so I didn't have to change thread colors as often.

Voilà! All sewn together! And here we have the Honeycomb Basket.

I made it from the pattern written by Beth Studley of Love From Beth. It can be purchased here. I love it! I think it's adorable and worth all the time and effort that went into it.

The pattern calls for only 2 fabrics, but I chose to use 3, which made it a bit trickier, especially when cutting it out. I only had a fat quarter of the aqua fabric, which I wanted to use because it matches my walls so well. It was enough for 3 of the pods... barely! So I worked out the rest of it using the solid blue for the rest of the pods.

Here's what the bottom looks like, in case you're curious.

No, it wasn't Courtney's Easter basket. It was a bit labor-intensive for something like that. Yes, it's for me. What in the world am I going to use it for, you ask? It's a part of my sewing room organization process. It's going to make a better solution for this mess which sits next to my sewing machine.

It will hold these items and more.

I'm not sure what the final arrangement will be. I just tossed some things in there for photo purposes. But I think it will be very handy and certainly more attractive than the mess I showed you above.

Here's another shot, next to my iron, to give you a better idea of its size. It measures about 13" at its widest point, and the center pod is 5" high, not including the handle.

Would I recommend the pattern? Yes, if you don't mind spending all the hours it takes to put it together. There's a lot of quilting, but it's easy. The darts weren't hard to sew. The bottoms of the pods were challenging, as I said above, and they involved some wrangling, as did sewing all the pods together. It was recommended to sew them and the bindings by hand, but I didn't. Some of the bindings aren't the neatest, but they don't really show up that much. I'd do it that way again, because I don't like hand sewing very much (not to mention the extra time it would've taken), plus I think sewing the pods together by machine makes them stronger.

The one negative thing I have to say about the pattern is that the bindings turned out to be too narrow. I had a terrible time (and did lots of grumbling) trying to get them to fit over the seams, especially for the bottom ones which included 2 layers of foam. But it's a simple fix... were I to do it again, I'd just cut the bindings ¼" wider (except for the extended one on the center pod, which was fine).

Would I make another one? Yes, I would... but only if I had nothing else in the sewing queue. It took me about 2½ weeks to make it, sewing a little every day, so it was very time-consuming, but all in all, it was worth it. Just don't ask me to make you one, because I'd have to charge you a fortune! ;)

I had another idea when thinking about putting the scissors in there. I don't want the points to go poking into the fabric and wearing holes in it. It just so happens that a tuna can fits perfectly in the outer pods, so my plan is to take one and glue a couple layers of foam in the bottom (to protect the scissors' points), cover it with matching fabric, and use it in one of the pods. I just haven't done that yet because I was too anxious to show you the completed basket. :)

So there you have it! Will you be making one???

Monday, April 10, 2017

80 Pieces!

Just a teaser post here to let you know I'm still alive. I've embarked on a rather large project, and it's coming along with some progress each day, but it's pretty fiddly, repetitious and time-consuming. I knew it was going to take quite a while to make, but I underguesstimated how long... by a lot. Ha!

Here's a shot of my pieces when I got them all cut out (over the course of 3 days). There are 80 (yes, eighty!) pieces in this pile, including interfacing. Almost every fabric piece has a corresponding interfacing piece. There are also foam pieces that go between every couple of fabric pieces, and there are binding pieces. Whew!

Below is how things looked after fusing the interfacing pieces. That reduced the pile by 29 pieces.

After fusing the interfacing, I marked the darts. There were 48 of those!

Next came the quilting... a LOT of quilting (more than what's shown here). Then I sewed those 48 darts into these pieces.

It's much farther along than this now, but still not near completion. It's actually beginning to look like 'something'... but I'll wait to show you any more until it's finished. Maybe yet this week??? I hope! I'm ready to be done and move onto something else, plus I want to see if this is going to turn out to be as useful as I'd hoped. It's for me! Yay!

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!