Friday, March 22, 2019

Catch All Caddy

I mentioned at the end of my last post that I had a project in the works but that I was struggling with it. I did manage to finish it, but it wasn't easy! It was worth the battle, though (more on that below), and here it is!

It's the "Catch All Caddy", which is a ByAnnie pattern, and it can be found here. (Tip: you might be able to find it cheaper on Etsy!)

I've wanted to make something for myself from this fabric ever since it came out, but I just never found 'the right thing', y'know? Finally I did! I think it looks great on this caddy. It took some fussy cutting, and since it's a one-way design, I had to seam the piece that goes across the bottom (which the pattern calls the "side piece" but I consider more of a gusset) so that the print was right side up on each end. The fabric is barkcloth, designed by Jess (a.k.a. How About Orange) a few years ago. It's called Sunburst, from her Time Warp collection for Cloud9 Fabrics. (Hmm... 4 years ago already!)

I used a solid canvas for the lining, and the handles, bindings, and sleeve for the base are made from a twill fabric.

All the side and pocket pieces are quilted with ByAnnie's Soft and Stable in between. I quilted mine by sewing around the circles, which I found rather fun. Here's a close-up view of it (as well as the luscious texture of the barkcloth.

Once again, I used lots of Wonder Clips in the process!

The pattern was good, with lots of helpful tips and even a page of little labels that you could copy and print to help keep track of what each of your pieces was. The pattern also lists a nice video tutorial done by Annie on how to join the ends of bindings. It worked perfectly for me. (There is also a set of video tutorials done by someone else on YouTube on making the caddy. I watched them but wouldn't recommend them. I think it's better to just follow the pattern instructions.)

As you may have guessed by now, considering the fabrics I used plus the Soft and Stable, my seams were rather thick. Here's how thick - yikes!

When I chose my fabrics, I had no idea how many layers I would have to be sewing through. I just figured my good ol' 49-year-old Kenmore could handle just about anything, so I wasn't worried. I should have been. When it came to the final binding that goes around the outside, I seriously thought I wasn't going to be able to do it and would have to finish the second side of the binding by hand. But I gave it a try, and despite 3 machine lockups and 3 broken needles, plus several do-overs, we made it! It's not the neatest work I've ever done, but since the caddy is for myself, I'm okay with it. I'm just glad to have it DONE!!! And I'm very pleased with the over-all look of it.

I included a little secret inside. Right down in that bottom corner. Can you see it?

Have a closer look below. I kept a bit of the selvage with Jess's (my daughter, for those of you who might not know) name on it as a little memento. I like it.

For some size reference, here's a shot of my caddy loaded up with sewing supplies. It holds a ton of stuff! It'll be great for hauling things between my upstairs "fabric room" (where it all seems to have migrated due to better lighting for matching colors, etc.), my kitchen table where I do my cutting, and my basement sewing room.

So that's done. Whew! Hardest sewing I've ever done. But now I feel like I can conquer ANYTHING, especially bindings! Hahaha! I do have more projects lined up, one of which is already begun, and another which is a pattern test (but not for Dog Under My Desk this time). Not to mention various other "when I get time" ideas.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Daily Duffel

Blame it on the weather. That's the reason I haven't posted for over a month(!). I've had a project finished, but I couldn't show it to you until I'd gifted it, and due to snowstorms, school closings, snowy roads, etc., I had not been able to get it to its recipient until yesterday. The recipient is Courtney, who is also a busy girl after school on some of my Tuesdays this year, which added to the reasons this post was delayed. But let's delay no further!

I tested another bag pattern for Dog Under My Desk, which if you've followed my blog very long, you know I love to do because she writes the best patterns ever. Here's a progress photo of all the pieces after I'd gotten the interfacing fused.

The fabrics may look familiar, because they are the same as I'd used in these bags which I made for Courtney for her birthday last year. I just love those Cats in the Library (by Timeless Treasures)!

The pattern includes Erin's easy-to-follow instructions for a flawless zipper pocket with no raw edges inside, including the zipper tape.

(The Paw Prints are also by Timeless Treasures.)

I made my first-ever double-pull zipper. Yes, I made it, and it's easy to do! Erin has a video tutorial on how to add a zipper pull (or to replace one if you accidentally pulled it off). You can find that tutorial here.

I made good use of my Wonder Clips again. How did I ever get by without them way back when?!

The outer bag and lining, all ready to put together:

The beauty of this new pattern is that Erin figured out a brilliant way to make a "drop-in" lining that doesn't require any hand sewing. It's the most challenging part of the pattern, in my opinion, but if you take it slowly and follow the instructions closely step-by-step, you can have a result like this:

I did some fussy-cutting on this bag. It wasn't too hard.

Here's the back of the bag....

... and the front, which has a divided pocket, if you look closely. That fussy-cutting came out just right - yay!

Here's the completed Daily Duffel bag, but it's a little hard to figure out the size from the photos of it alone, so....

... here it is held by my favorite young model, as she was leaving last night. I almost forgot to snap a pic! (Also, you can see the tons of snow we have around here right now. Ugh. There's more on the way this coming weekend, too. Spring, we need you SOON!!!)

The Daily Duffel pattern includes two sizes. The one I made is the smaller one. You can find the pattern to purchase here, and Erin tells more about it and shows the other testers' photos in her blog post here. Her little son, Emmett, looks pretty darn cute carrying his Daily Duffel, too!

I should be back sooner next time. Should. I have another project nearly completed, but it's giving me fits. It's my fault, because the fabrics I chose are really too thick, so I'm having quite a time with some of the final stitching. More on that when I show it to you. I WILL conquer it. Eventually. Because I have a number of other projects in the queue!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Easy Wonder Clip Bowls

I've been working on some more little sewing projects. Little things are so fun because they go together fast, and suddenly you have a completion! Yay!

So here we have three little... pea pods???

Below is the first one I made, to match my Honeycomb Basket and Pixie Basket. It's an Easy Wonder Clip Bowl, from the pattern by Birdcage and Thread which can be found here. I love it, as it's very handy to use. It's low profile so doesn't get in your way, yet it holds over 50 Wonder Clips easily, and it opens wide, due to the zipper and the round bottom.

They're easy to make, so I decided to make a couple more. I wanted one of them for the larger size Wonder Clips, big enough to hold at least a package of 24, which is what I have. I had to figure out how much to enlarge the pattern. I only had one #3 zipper long enough (20") to do the job, so I calculated how much I could enlarge the pattern and still fit the zipper. I came up with 20%. I printed the pattern but was not sure it was going to be big enough, so I decided to split the side piece down the center, adding ½ inch. I needed to keep the top and bottom curves the same, but since that didn't leave me with a straight edge on the side opposite the folded edge, I drew a line to connect the two corners, giving me a new seam line.

Hopefully you can see and understand what I meant. Below is the finished pattern piece.

Here's the comparison of sizes of the bowls flattened, before finishing.

Sewing the round bottoms was a bit fiddly, but very doable.

And voilà! ...the two finished Easy Wonder Clip Bowls!

The larger one easily holds the 24 clips with room to spare.

When you purchase the pattern, you also get access to a video tutorial. It's nicely done and has some helpful tips, including how to put zipper pulls on.

Back to the zipper part, I used the same single zipper to make both of those bowls. You only use one side of it per bowl. Of course it requires an additional zipper pull, but I had a package of various colors on hand. However, I learned that not all pulls are created equal! My zipper was a Talon one, and my pulls were YKK. The pulls would NOT close the zipper, no matter how many times I successfully got it put on. I finally had to go dig up another Talon zipper and cut the pull off that. Talon zips aren't the quality of YKK ones... they just don't slide as nicely. I'd gotten mine when we still had a local store that sold zippers, and that was the only kind they had. Now 99% of my zipper supply are YKK, most of which I've gotten from ZipIt, which I cannot recommend highly enough - great prices, great service, fast shipping!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Retail Therapy Reusable Shopping Bag

My favorite pattern writer, Erin (Erickson) Gilbey, from Dog Under My Desk, has been at it again. Just before Christmas, she came out with another sweet pattern. I didn't have time to test it then, but I did proofread it for her, and last week I finally got around to sewing one myself. Here it is.

If you haven't already guessed from the blog title, it's the Retail Therapy Reusable Shopping Bag, the pattern for which can be found here. It was easy and fast to sew and was also delightful because there was no interfacing, zippers or hardware to deal with. I used a KAMsnap closure for mine because I think they're pretty besides being easy and fun to install. As you can see, the bag folds up pretty small and can maybe even fit in your purse. (I also had the idea that if it doesn't fit IN your purse, you could use the strap to fasten it to your purse handle.) Here's what it looks like unfolded.

It's not lined but just has a facing, which makes for a smaller rolled-up bag.

It's BIG, and holds a lot of stuff. Annabelle offered to give you a little size reference along with the groceries.

The pattern is written with Erin's usual attention to detail, with lots of helpful photos, and she has a great method for putting it together. It also makes a great stash-buster if you have some fabrics you don't know what to do with anymore. My outer fabric has been around here for possibly 30-40 years! Yikes!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Christmas gifts - Accordion Pouches

WHOA! Where does the time go?! It's been a month since I last posted - aargh! There are a couple of reasons for the delay, though. The first is my wrist. Although it's healing well, two of the things that bother it the most are writing and typing for any length of time. I guess it's just from having it tensed in one position that long. It gets stiff and sore pretty fast.

The other reason is that although I did some sewing, I couldn't show it to you because the items were for Christmas gifts, and I of course didn't want to spoil anyone's surprise. All gifts have been received now, so here they are. 

I was having sewing withdrawals, but because cutting was challenging for my wrist, I needed projects that were simple and not a lot of work. These pouches fit the bill! There were only two small pattern pieces.

Aren't they just too cute? I started out with just this one below, made from a Glimmer Solids fat quarter that I'd gotten from Cloud9 Fabrics awhile back and lining scraps from another project. These pouches are great scrapbusters because they require so little fabric. I don't know how well you can see the sparkles in this next photo, but they're so pretty, and I thought Courtney would like this pouch.

Here's what the inside looks like. I even remembered to add my label... after I'd sewn it together (insert rolling eye emoji here - ha), but with a little wrangling I was still able to sew it on with the machine. (Otherwise, glue works very well, I've found.)

That one went so well and I liked it so much (and needed to do more sewing to keep the withdrawals at bay) that I decided to make a few more for gifts. These first two are made from various fabrics from Jess's Typography line (now out of print) of quilting cotton.

I also had some scraps of oilskin and Jess's newest Business Class rayon that I'd made this Jack Tar bag from, and I thought the oilskin would make a cool masculine pouch. The rayon has always reminded me of camouflage, so I thought it'd work for the inside (and besides, it can be a little reminder of his wife for the recipient ;) ). I almost sorta like this one the best!

In case you'd like to make some of the pouches yourself, you can find the free video tutorial here. It's by Shabby Fabrics. There's also a video tutorial by Darvanalee Designs Studio that has some helpful hacks that I used successfully, and it can be found here. The pattern pieces are here (and note that the first page, which looks like just a rectangle with instructions, is actually a pattern piece). Thanks to eSheep Designs for putting me on to another fun must-make tutorial.

As a followup to my last post, here's a photo of our new linoleum. I LOVE it!! It's so much easier on the eyes than the old stuff, and it's also much quieter. (This photo doesn't begin to do it justice.)

It's noticeably more cushioned than our old floor. Although it has a 50-year warranty, it's recommended that we no longer use the casters on our dining chairs. So we got some of these bell-shaped slider thingies to protect the floor.

To be honest, I hate them. They slide, but they're much harder to move than any kind of roller. Grandpa doesn't mind them, but maybe that's because his legs are longer and stronger than mine. I also tried felt on the bottoms of them, but that didn't help, either. I continue to put up with them, but if anybody has any better suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Also, since our casters matched the chairs, these black things reminded me of photos or videos you see of dogs wearing boots for the first time and walking so funny. ;-Þ

(Sorry, I don't know who to credit for the copyright.)

Right??? ;-D

Well, my wrist is complaining again, so I'm outta here. I do have a couple new sewing projects in the works, so hopefully I'll be back again before too long.