Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Jack Tar bag

I'm happy to tell you that Jess (a.k.a. howaboutorange) has a new line of fabrics that has just been released! Once again, she created the designs for Cloud9 Fabrics, and here they are, called Business Class:

(Photos by Cloud9)

This time the fabric is a luscious, drapey rayon! So elegant! I love the description: 'Business Class is for ladies. Ladies who set up spreadsheets and change diapers and pay the rent. Ladies who like pretty blouses and suing for breach of contract. Ladies who are "fast, thorough, and sharp as a tack, who are touring the facilities and picking up slack," in the immortal words of Cake. Here's to women who are getting things done.'

Sooo... I'm a bag maker. I can sew garments and have made many, but I'm not so good at making them to fit someone who is not here to try them on. However, Jess has a good friend who can do just that - Rachel Epperson, owner of Oak Fabrics of Chicago. She offered to sew garments for Cloud9 as samples... and sew she did! She is one amazing lady, and you can see all of the MANY fabulous garments she made (modeled by Jess and another of her friends) if you check out the Instagram and/or Facebook accounts of Oak Fabrics, Cloud9 Fabrics and/or How About Orange. (I'll let you do your own searching... they're easy to find.)

So what does a bag lady do with rayon fabric? Actually, Rachel asked me if I wanted to help her out and make something for her. I gladly said yes, because I love being involved in the fabric release process. Here's what arrived in my mail.

The top half of the photo is, of course, the Senator print of the Business Class line. But check out that bottom half - it's oilskin! Interesting bag combination? YES! So I put them together and made a bag. Of course Rachel sent a pattern with the fabric, along with hardware and everything else I needed to make it. There was a real leather strap (which was longer than needed, so I had to research how to cut it properly... a rotary cutter did the job very nicely [do NOT use a scissors!]) and exactly 4 rivets. I've installed rivets before, but usually do a practice one, because sometimes I've messed up. Yup. But this time I couldn't afford to mess up because there were no extras and I didn't have that size in my stash. SUCCESS!! (Whew!)

Here's the completed bag, a Jack Tar bag, from the pattern by Merchant and Mills. It's BIG!

The pattern was great. It had short but easy-to-understand directions and illustrations. I'd never sewn on oilskin before, but it all went very smoothly, and I'd gladly use it again. Here's the outside; it has the leather shoulder strap plus oilskin handles.

The rayon (backed with a layer of fusible woven interfacing for stability) was used for the lining. There was also a magnetic snap for a closure.

It made a lovely lining, and there is a divided slip pocket inside also.

The oilskin is pretty cool. Of course there is no ironing to it, but it's supposed to have that wrinkled look. Finger pressing the seams worked nicely. I used a topstitching needle, and I had no trouble at all sewing through the layers.

As I said, it's a BIG bag! It has room for tons of stuff!

I recommend the pattern if you're in need of a bag that size. It was really easy to sew. Rachel has the pattern and all the supplies available in her Etsy shop or of course in her Oak Fabrics store in Chicago. She also carries the new Business Class rayon, of course, or you can go to Cloud9's "Where to Buy" section to find other retailers.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Tiny Cowboy Boots

Some months ago - April, actually - Jess showed me a super cute pattern of various tiny baby shoes that could be made from fabric. Her exact words were: "Look at the baby cowboy boots! I wish I liked sewing more or I'd make some for Megumi's baby. A gift from America. :)" Not a hint or anything. Nooooo. Ha.

My response was: "They are adorable! I know someone who does like to sew... little putzy things like that, even!"

So that's how I ended up making very tiny cowboy boots. And here they are!

It's a good thing I do like making putzy little things, because they certainly were that! First there was all the topstitching. It took some time and practicing so that all those stars would have a uniform shape and even stitch lengths to each point. But once I got one figured out, they went pretty smoothly. This was on a layer of chambray plus Pellon fusible foam.

Since I had no topstitching thread or local source to buy some, and I wanted things to show up better than with just a single strand of regular thread, I experimented with using two threads in my needle along with one in the bobbin. I thought I had read that somewhere... or maybe I made it up... I don't really remember. But the important thing is that it worked! Yay! Below are the tabs. The second from the left shows the single bobbin thread, and the other three are the double-thread topstitch.

The next challenge was sewing that toe piece onto the top. It doesn't look too bad just pinned there, right?

These are the shapes that had to be joined, though!

I used lots of Wonder Clips trying to hold that fleece down, because it really wasn't supposed to show.

But show it did... and actually I liked it better this way!

Using the fleece was what caused the biggest challenge. The pattern didn't require it, but let's go for the cuteness factor, right? It was thick and a bit stretchy, and of course it covered up the stitches and the fabric edges, so I was somewhat sewing blind. Ha!

That skinny little bottom band was tricky enough to sew on, not to mention with fleece...

... and I'd never have accomplished them without more Wonder Clips!

But I did it, with only minor puckers. Then came the soles...

... which nearly made me lose my sanity! ;)

The pattern called for cotton fabric for the bottom lining, but that didn't seem like it'd be as comfy, so I used fleece throughout. And don't they look cozy when all was said and done?!

Yes, very tiny.

My favorite photo assistant gives you another size perspective.

Before I made these, Jess and I talked of how cute they'd be in pleather. These were actually supposed to be just a prototype, but it's a good thing they were a wearable prototype, because there's no way I'd do them again in pleather! Hahahaha! Or maybe even with fabric. For sure not with the fleece. 'Maybe' with fleece fabric. Maybe not. But Megumi, if you ever read this, know that they were a labor of love! And your little guy is just about the cutest baby I've ever seen! When he grows into them, if you feel like sending me a photo I can post of him wearing them, I'd be delighted! But it's not required. ;)

The pattern I used was an Ellie Mae Designs (#K113) by the McCall Pattern Company. I may have since made another of the tiny shoes from the pattern. I'm still sane. Barely! ;) But they were fun, and soooo cute, too! You'll see them later. They haven't been gifted yet.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Zip Around Town Wallet

Once again I was privileged to test a new Dog Under My Desk pattern. Once again the hardest part was choosing the best fabric/zipper combination. :) I don't have a lot of half-yard cuts of lining fabrics, which this pattern called for. I just couldn't find a combo I liked... until I came across these. The fabrics are leftovers from an Arm Candy bag I sewed for Cloud9 Fabrics. If I remember correctly, they're not even the actual fabrics but digitally printed samples. But they worked! And they are so pretty (designed by Elizabeth Olwen)! (Note: I ended up swapping out the solid green for a khaki, due to not having a reasonable thread match and no local source to buy any.)

The zipper was from another pattern test... one I kind of botched up (long story)... so if you notice the uneven end on it in the photo above, that's why. But it did the job and matched perfectly. The ends were cut off, anyway, so the unevenness didn't matter. Here's what it looked like after sewing to the outer part of the project. It wasn't as challenging as it may look, thanks to Erin's well-thought-out instructions and tips.

Here we have the completed Zip Around Town Wallet!

The inside has six card slots, a zippered pocket with space behind it that fits a phone or passport, and an optional clear vinyl ID pocket.

This is what it looks like semi-loaded up.

Someone in the Facebook group asked for a size comparison to the Spring Fling bag, so here's that shot I took for reference for you (even though the color combination of the two kinda makes me want to cringe!).

The Zip Around Town Wallet was released for sale today! It's even on sale at a $2 discount if you purchase it by Tuesday, September 18th. As is always the case with DUMD patterns, it's fabulous! Erin made lots of prototypes, each with changes from the previous, so that she got it 'just right'. Her instructions are very clear and easy to follow, and the photos illustrating the steps are very helpful. It's another winner for sure!