All posts by erinandwhatnot

It’s in the Bag

Apparently the sewing muse has been much more interested in bags lately, because this room has become a bag factory:

First, I made both sizes of “Whatcha Got” by This & That.  Patchwork is not really something I want to sew, and I have some great striped fabric, so the small bag has mitered corners.  🙂

image

It’s the first time I tried inserting a zipper or a vinyl inset, and I got a little too careless in my thread “choice (aka, whatever was already in the machine), so there are some very obvious seams on the front.  Actually, as I sit here looking at the picture, they follow the seams where the top/bottom striped section meets the side section, so I’m calling it a design feature!

image

This was also my first time making boxed corners, and it is quite likely that everything I make from now on will have a fun boxed corner detail.  Hey, boxed corner bust dart, anyone?  😉

The larger bag was constructed from two different owl-patterned fat quarters and a lining made of some amazingly soft and smooth king-sized pillowcases that I got on clearance from Walmart.  It will be great for helping the yarn unwind from the ball smoothly as I knit.

image

I felt a lot more competent in my seaming and sewing in a straight line on this bag.  The zipper was tricky to insert on the smaller bag, but the second seemed much easier. 

image

Because I do not have a serger and am apparently not quite interested enough to figure out how to finish an inside seam appropriately, I added a fun ribbon to the seam that also helps brighten up the dark lining. 

image

(Not sure what all the gunk is on the fabric – likely a small human touched something.  They do that a lot.)

The change that I will make in future bags is with the clear vinyl.  I used a piece of remnant (possibly my favorite section of a fabric store), but it is a little too lightweight for my taste.  It doesn’t seem too flimsy or likely to tear, but something sturdier/thicker will be more consistent with the CraftFuse-interfaced exterior and lining fabrics.

The final bag to be shared today is the Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern from Jeni Baker of In Color Order.  I was excited to notice that she teaches at the same shop where I purchased the pattern! Hopefully I’ll be able to take a class from her, especially if it features this:

image

Isn’t it fun?!?

The bag is constructed differently than I would have imagined, and I actually like it better than the other way I’ve made project bags.

image

The most difficult part of the bag was trying to understand the cutting instructions!  For instance, the exterior accent fabric needed for a smaller size reads, “Cut (1) 2″x22″ strip.  Subcut into (2) 2″x5.5″ pieces.”  Um, what?  I am pretty good at math, and this instruction threw me – was it the pattern or my own following-a-pattern-not-just-whatever-square-or-rectangle-I-feel-like-making ignorance?  After thinking it through, it felt like a good idea to just go straight to cutting the smaller pieces and accepting that it is OK to use my seam ripper if the test didn’t pan out.  Voila!  It worked.

My favorite part of the pattern is the instructions for customizing the size (as though 8 options were not already enough).  As I said, math is fun, and the formula requires math, so yay for cheese!

image

Entering the confessional: these bags are also my first time pressing anything as I work.  *grumble*grumble* I guess it is helpful to do as the more-educated among us say to do.  Hmm, prior squares and rectangles may have benefited from this information.

Currently on my lap is a Colette Mabel out of a double-faced knit from fabric.com.  Each side is a purple and navy stripe, but one side has wider stripes.  I’m trying to use this as a beneficial accent for slimming, though matching the stripes in the back seam is currently hit and miss and thus postponing any front center panel decisions.  Fun stuff, this OCD of mine…

The seam ripper is my friend.    The seam ripper is my friend.  The seam ripper is my friend.

What was your first aha moment as you learned to sew the “right” way?

And now…

First, for my reader (note the lack of plural ;), which is fine because I’m writing this to keep myself accountable and any readers/input from y’all is just a bonus), I have/had pneumonia, and I still feel like my brain is scrambled and my body battered.  The making is helping me be okay with my abilit-SQUIRREL attention-span issues and also keeping me from trying to fix all the cleanliness/3 kids, 2 adults, plus pets mess that has accumulated since I began falling ill.  Thank goodness for my in-home help (especially my husband!).

Anyhoo, I would like to introduce you to my works in progress and explore my thinking and learning process.  First up is my Reverse Applique Skirt, which I first found on the Sew, Mama, Sew website.  It is an excellent resource, including over 400 tutorials; frequent free patterns from designers, authors, bloggers, and sewing experts; features like curated favorite indie patterns and mini-lessons taken from every chapter in a new book on modern quilting; and free fabric Fridays (and other giveaways)!  The skirt pattern and an introduction by its designer is from Improv Sewing, a great book written by Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut and published by Storey Publishing (which I love so much that it has its own tag in my Pocket account).  The authors also have some intriguing classes on Creativebug, which I will take as soon as I know I have enough time to make the best use of my free 14-day trial.  😀 

Here are the pictures I’ve taken while working on it:

image

image

image

image

image

image

And now…

(dramatic pause)

image

The plan moving forward:

  • Add in some more reverse applique
  • Cut additional side panels out of the pink striped and black fabric and arrange them attractively
  • Potentially draft a way to make the skirt flare toward the hem
  • Resew it all with more consistency in seam allowance (no, I still cannot sew a straight line, even with the walking foot AND my super-awesome knitting chart tape guide), a waistband panel, and some sort of hem finish (twin needle & straight stitch with super-bright pink thread?)

Erin’s Fun Time Whatnot Notes

The machine is fine.  I took her to a Janome dealer in my area, and it was just holding 2 pieces of the frame together (?!?). 
The documentary on the iPad screen is called The March, and it’s about the march on Washington, DC, in the leadup to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Martin Luther King, Jr – what an inspiring speaker, leader, and thinker.  I obviously have held this belief for much of my life, like most Americans and others, but it is richly strengthened by every piece of media that is released and illuminates the man behind the holiday for those of us too young to have experienced his work.

makin’ stuff

I come from a short line of people who make things.

*HEY, man, line starts behind me!*

Yes, it’s a very short line.  My people are not really too much into being crafty.  They will make money, or they make the world’s happiest cows (come from Wisconsin) make milk for money, and somehow a stray chromosome from lala land will have one interested in making cards over here or stacking a picturesque wood pile over there.  However, I have never gotten the sense that there is a creative fire roaring to leap forth by any means possible.

That brings me to my message: learnin’ ya how ta make things ya’self sometimes does not lead to technical genius being laid down.  That inferno within has found an outlet in sosososo many ways over the years (and I will helpfully list them for you right here:

  • knitting (but not crochet because my creative-genius brain just can’t get right with that $hit)
  • sewing
  • embroidery, especially on pillowcases
  • cross-stitch
  • tatting
  • painting
  • drawing
  • collage and mixed media
  • singing
  • making large, large stashes of yarn and fabric for a just-in-case-of-apocalypse-or-emergency-castonitis…um…emergency
  • writing
  • weaving
  • spinning
  • cooking and baking
  • gardening
  • home interiors (anyone else getting bored?)
  • beading and other jewelry
  • braiding other people’s hair

aannnnd that’s enough.  Don’t wanna spoil all the surprises!).  

Sadly, the inspiration frequently comes looking like a feral hobo dragging a remnant of all-the-pretties 100% polyester leisure-suit fabric from Walmart that bit me in my ass while was walking by and promised me all the noodling around pretending to make a dress fit for a very-much-not-mom-of-3-whose-belly-has-seen-better-days princess if only I would buy him a spool of thread and a 5-yard cut of heavy duty canvas to go with it.  Needless to say, the feral hobos usually fall down on the job of being the brains of the creative outlet. I’ve come to a point in my life that I just want to wear the expertly-tailored princess dress and have it look like it was made to highlight my flaws hot mom bod, dammit, and I think that means working a little toward the “taught” end of the phrase instead of always shoving that snooty “self-” in front.

So, here I go.  I will continue to make things while I also continue to make me (oh, yeah, we haven’t yet gotten into the PTSD-trauma-mental-breakdown shiznit…), but I’m gonna do it with purpose instead of just cobbling a solution.  They sell these things called books nowadays that have fancy learning right up in ’em, AND some true geniuses (geni-i?) have even done some ‘splainin’ on the interwebs with fancy moving pit-chures about a variety of techniques.  Gonna git me some of that. I will be mindfully moving forward so that I receive a satisfying end product without the bad taste in my mouth that tells me that I really didn’t make the effort or reign in my impatience because I’m still not entirely certain that I’m worth it.

Are you interested in joining me?