Tuesday, February 16, 2021

kraft-tex Pocket Pal

One of my stocking stuffers this past Christmas was a package of kraft-tex (thanks Jess... er... Santa!). It's something I'd heard of before but had never had any, so I was eager to give it a try. It's actually made of paper - "a kraft paper that performs like fabric" - and is good not only for sewing but for all sorts of craft projects. Here's a good video to learn a little more about it. It's washable, doesn't tear, and has sort of a leather look and feel to it.

I decided to give it a try with the Pocket Pal pattern that I've used before. It has all raw edges, which made it perfect for the kraft-tex. It sewed nicely, although not as smoothly as fabric or leather, but still totally doable. I took a risk and did contrast topstitching (without practicing because I didn't want to waste any) and was quite pleased with how it turned out.

I used some scrap fabric for the lining and inside the card slots, and a KAMsnap for the tab.

I wasn't totally thrilled with the puncture holes on the back side of the seam, but it wasn't a deal breaker. However, just look at that cool texture!

Here's a Pocket Pal I'd made before in leather for comparison.

I like it! It's very sturdy and should hold up for a long time.

Kraft-tex isn't just for sewing projects, but for many kinds of paper crafting, too. It'd be great for scrap-booking, if you're into that. If you're interested, Amazon has lots of it for sale. Give it a try and (or if you already have) let me know what you think. I'm open to project ideas, too. Since you can print on it with an inkjet printer, I'm thinking of maybe making some labels, for one thing. There are endless possibilities! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

LindSport Mini Backpack

Last week I finished up another pattern test for Linds Handmade Designs (note that she has a brand new website!). Even having had a baby in between the last pattern and this one, it didn't slow her down much. She's still writing great patterns!

This is her latest, the LindSport Mini Backpack. I made mine in all waterproof canvas (WPC). I don't know that I would actually recommend doing that, as it did make it somewhat more challenging. But I do love how it turned out! Here's the front:

The back...

... which has a nice sized zipper pocket with plenty of room for your phone and/or other things. There's also a key clip to hang your keys, a mask, or whatever you like. With all of this up against your back when worn, they are pretty secure from anyone sneaking up behind you.

Inside that front pocket, there's a divided slip pocket for pens, lip gloss, sunglasses, notebook... whatever you choose... plus the pocket itself has a small gusset which gives it a little extra room, and the zipper doesn't go all the way to the bottom, so it prevents your stuff from falling out when you open it. She thought of everything!


The main compartment has a double zipper to make it more convenient to open.

Inside there's one more slip pocket. The seams inside are pretty easily bound with the same WPC that's recommended for the lining, which gives the bag a bit more structure.

It's a good kitty size, although I didn't actually try it on her, as a tester friend did with hers. I think her cat is much more tolerant than mine. Ha! Annabelle prefers to just 'look'.

If the fabric looks familiar, you've seen it before here. It's the same WPC from which I made the H2O 2GO Sling, also by Linds. Here they are together.

Once again Wonder Clips proved to be invaluable, holding those curved seams together!

An even bigger challenge for me was that back pocket. I wouldn't have had to line it, since I used WPC for everything, but I chose to because once having made a welt pocket with a faced zipper, I can't not do it anymore. :)

Nothing sticks very well to WPC, and since you're not supposed to iron it, I had quite a time holding those edges down until I got my zipper sewn in. I ended up hand basting them, which did the job well, even though it was a pain.

So that's the gist of it. I was very pleased with how it all turned out! Besides her well-done patterns, Linds always makes a very helpful YouTube video to demonstrate how it's done and add a few nice tips. The one for this backpack can be found here.

I'm sorry for not getting this post done in time for you to take advantage of the pattern's discounted price over the weekend. It was a birthday gift for Miss Courtney herself, and I didn't want to take a chance of spoiling the surprise. Her birthday was yesterday (how can she be 14 already?!), so she has it now, and here she is modeling it



I hope she'll find some good uses for it. Maybe an outing with friends. Or a trip to Disney! (How about that idea, Dad?😉)


Thursday, January 7, 2021

Ravenwood Messenger Bag

Happy New Year! Back to blogging after a bit of a hiatus. It was unintended, and was only because my project took a long time... and then I procrastinated, which I'm very good at.

The project took a long time because first of all, it was a big project. If I remember correctly, I cut 72 pieces in all! Secondly, I took my time at it simply because I could (meaning no deadline) and also because I wanted to make sure it was 'just right'. It was relaxing to make this one, even though it had a couple of challenging spots, but they were nothing worse than I've done before. The pattern was very well-done and easy to follow.

Here's the selvage from the fabric I used. I was some canvas that Jess had bought in Japan a few years ago.


She finally decided she wanted a laptop bag made from it, and the best pattern we found was the Ravenwood Messenger Bag by Betz White. There wasn't quite enough fabric for it, so we decided to accent the bag with some waxed canvas I had, and the shoulder strap was made from webbing that Jess had bought along with the fabric. So... here is the bag!


It was a lot of work, but so worth it. Jess loves it, and so do I. I'd happily make another one... and maybe will someday if I ever acquire a laptop.

That's the front side pictured above. Behind those two cargo pockets is a large zipper pocket.


Here's the back...


... which has a pocket under the flap that zips open to reveal elastic straps that hold cables and a mesh pocket which you can use for a lot of things and easily see what you've put in it.

Inside is a padded laptop sleeve on one side and three slip pockets on the other side, made from linen.

Considering that the canvas was a newsprint, I of course had to do some fussy cutting (and maybe spent way too much time deciding what to put where - heheh). It was fun choosing, and here are some of the more interesting cuts. Jess thinks "consider redesign" should be her new business slogan!

Always good to 'plan ahead'.

We could certainly use answers to health these days!


I put velcro under the pocket flaps instead of thumb locks, at Jess's request.

As an added fun touch, I made a strap keeper fastened with a KAMsnap in Jess's signature color.


There were still a few small scraps left that just needed to become 'something', so Jess requested a little matching pouch for her earbuds and airpods. Since I had made the Zip Mask Case by Dog Under My Desk before, I thought it would be a good choice, and I made it smaller by trimming an inch off of all but the bottom edges of the main and pocket pattern pieces.Voilà!

(Did you notice the fussy cutting on the zipper tab?)

Now I'm all caught up on posting my sewing projects... except for one that I never got photos of from its recipient. I guess I could show it to you sometime anyway. Maybe. It was rather cute. But next up is another pattern test that I'll be working on very soon.

(P.S. Any formatting inconsistencies you might notice are a result of a battle with Blogger once again. Grrr! I tried!!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Curvy Case Duo

I completed another pattern test recently. This time it was once again for Erin (Erickson) Gilbey of Dog Under My Desk, for whom I've tested many times before. She came up with a good scrapbuster project that requires no hardware - just a couple of zippers - nice for these days when we might not be wanting to go out for supplies and shipping isn't as fast/reliable as in pre-covid days.

The pattern is called the Curvy Case Duo... "Duo" because there are two sizes included in the pattern. Erin always comes up with unique construction methods that are brilliant. See how interesting this looks?


Here's another peek:


Of course that's an in-process photo, and in fact, it's not even the outside of the pouch, but I just wanted to show you that the seams are all finished inside, with no binding and not even a drop-in lining. Also note the pretty lining fabric, which you've seen before in another project

Now here's the outside view:


Pretty cute, huh? The print fabric is one of Jess's (a.k.a. How About Orange) babywale corduroy designs from a few years ago. It seemed just right for this project. As usual, I did some fussy cutting.


The bottom and grab tabs are made from canvas.


The inside has a zipper pocket, as you saw in the second photo.


It also has a divided slip pocket on the other side.


The pleat gives each side a little extra room, as you can see in this pic.


The lining fits so snugly, and there's quite a bit of room inside.


I made the larger size, but it's a small pouch, just 9"x6"x3". (The smaller size is just 2" deep.) Here's a comparison for you:


As with all her patterns, Erin has very detailed instructions and plenty of photos to demonstrate what she means. She also plans to make a video to show some of the trickier parts to the sewing. The pattern is rated "Intermediate"... it's very doable, but it helps to have a little bag "wrangling" experience under your belt before making this one. The pattern can be found here. I can see many uses for this little cutie!

Friday, October 9, 2020

H2O 2GO Sling

It was suddenly time for another pattern test again. When Linds Handmade Designs gets an idea in her head for a new bag, it isn't long before she has a pattern written for it! I only had a short time to get some waterproof canvas ordered, and fortunately it was shipped quickly and even arrived a day sooner than predicted. Isn't it pretty? I love the vibrant colors in the flowered print!

It came from Fabric Wholesale Direct. They have so much to choose from, and good prices!

Here's what those fabrics became. It's the H2O 2GO Sling waterbottle holder.


It has this ingeniously installed side pocket...


... that is big enough for a phone, plus you have the option of adding card slots, or as I did, another slip pocket.

I had also ordered some webbing to use for the strap. I found an Etsy shop (AGraffSupplies) that carried some nice webbing and other supplies and was located actually only a couple of hours from here in Iowa. I placed my order, and believe it or not, got a shipping notification in just 11 MINUTES!! Can't beat that. Then of course, the postal service took it south to Des Moines and then back north the the Cities before they brought it here. (Where's the rolling eye emoji when you need it?)

Then I had to decide which to use. They didn't have a blue to match the canvas, so I had to decide between black and fuchsia, both of which would've worked nicely.

Fuchsia it was! Then to make it coordinate with the bag, I added some of the print canvas as an accent. Those Wonder Clips sure do come in handy, since the canvas shouldn't be ironed.


I had, however, bought this little leather roller tool awhile back. It worked nicely for creasing those edges.

Ta Da! The finished strap!

And the finished water bottle holder, along with the biggest water bottle we have in the house.

It could, however, hold one considerably bigger... like a giant hydro flask.

Here's a closer look at the pockets. The zipper is installed such that the pocket only opens so far, so that whatever is in the depths of the pocket doesn't fall out. Brilliant!

So here you have it (and it looked so nice by my petunias that I couldn't resist).


The pattern was just released today, so if you want, you can grab it (or anything else in the shop) at a 20% discount through this weekend! Also, as always, there's a video tutorial to demonstrate how to make the sling and give you some helpful tips. That can be found here. The pattern is listed as an intermediate pattern. That's because of the thick seams you'll encounter when sewing the base to the exterior with the pocket. I had no trouble going through the layers with my 50-year-old Kenmore, however. That machine sews through 'most anything!