Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fabric stash

I don't have any completed projects to post today, but I did want to show off some new fabrics that I got recently. The first is quite a bundle, a bunch of stuff from my Mom that she's had for awhile. Most of it is leftovers from the quilts she made for my kids for their first Christmases.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

These are some Mary Engelbreit fat quarters:

These are some wonderful old handkerchiefs that belonged to my grandmother. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, because I want to preserve all the great little details:

Some of the details:

And these were kind of expensive, but I just couldn't help myself. They're from Heather Ross' new line for Kokka, called 'Far, Far Away'. The unicorn print was my favorite by far, so I got three colors:

So gorgeous:

Even the selvages are cute!:

The only problem with the unicorn fabric is the place where I bought it. The dress I was planning to make needs two large skirt pieces, and they cut the fabric so wonky (all three colors!) that the pattern piece won't fit. So I'm planning to email the shop and see what they can do for me, but in the meantime, I can't cut the fabric in case they want to exchange it. So I'm left without my planned project. I have bunches of stuff I can start on, I just don't know what yet. But hopefully I'll have something done (and photographed!) before next weekend.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Weekend Away Travel Bag

Another zipper pouch, this time a little different. This is the Weekend Away Travel Bag, one of the projects featured in Heather Ross' new book, Weekend Sewing. The book has a lot of great tips and gorgeous pictures, but I have to say that I wouldn't recommend it for a novice stitcher. The directions seem to assume a certain amount of knowledge that a novice might not yet possess. On the pattern for this bag, for example: part of the directions tell you to press the top of a side panel and side panel lining down 1/4", then pin right side together and sew a 3/8" seam. Which completely leaves out the necessary detail of only sewing the three sides you didn't press, otherwise you can't attach the zipper panel. Some one who has experience and can anticipate the next step would know that, whereas a beginner might not. I've also read that there's extensive errata (corrections) for this book. But I will definitely keep you updated as I complete more projects, maybe I'll change my mind.

As for this pattern, I can't say I'm a fan. It turned out okay in the end, but it took longer than I would expect for what is basically a simple box pouch. It just seemed unnecessarily fussy and complicated for what it was. Part of the problem might have been that I already had an idea in my head of how to make a pouch like this, and this didn't match up, so it felt wrong. But I'm going to try to make one of these the way I see it in my head, so I'll find out which I like better.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Open-top box

I'm really proud of myself for this one. The idea for this came about because I got a new purse. A lovely new Fossil purse. The only problem was there was no secure place in my lovely new purse to keep my camera, which I carry everywhere. I knew I didn't want a traditional camera case, because I wanted something with easy access, so I could grab my camera for a quick shot. So I came up with the idea for an open-top box with rigid sides and padded walls. And will wonders never cease, I was actually able to make one without too much trouble.

I used dishtowel fabric left over from my tote bag.

Sorry for the craptastic camera phone picture, but I wanted to show it with the camera inside.

If I were to make another one, I think I would add another layer of batting for extra padding, and I would use some kind of plastic (instead of cardboard) for the walls, because it would be nice to be able to wash it. But I'm happy because I don't have to worry anymore about my camera getting banged around in my purse. And because I made something cool.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Zipper pouches!

I've been feeling a little bored with patterns lately. I don't know why I decided to try zipper pouches. I certainly don't need any as I received several for Christmas last year. I guess I was feeling confident enough to try another zipper project after the success I had with the zipper pocket in the Day in the Park tote.

So rather than consult one of the thousands of zipper pouch tutorials that are sure to be found online, I decided to try to figure it out myself. My first attempt was a spectacular failure. I didn't even take pictures; it was that ugly. I had made the outer pouch and the lining pouch separately, and tried to add the zipper last...big mistake. It just not possible to do it that way and get a neat stitch-line. So I ripped it apart and tried it again, this time adding the zipper first, before the pouch took shape. And I ended up with this:

(as an aside, the fabric for this pouch came from pockets that I cut out of some pajama pants!)

I liked it, so of course, I kept going:

inside of the striped one:

And for tomorrow, a true original! An open-top, hard-side box pouch...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Day in the Park

Another new bag! Another oliver + s pattern! Well, it's actually Liesl and Co., but it's the same person. This is the A Day in the Park Backpack Tote. Super cute design, kind of complicated, but it turned out really well. This was the bag I had already begun when I got all my new fabrics and couldn't wait to start a dress instead. I was also kind of intimidated by this pattern, because there are a whole bunch of pieces and it looked complicated. But once I hunkered down and just did it, it came together pretty quickly. I accomplished several "firsts" with this pattern, namely first zipper pocket, first magnetic snap, first time using heavy interfacing, and first time using rivets.

There's also a flickr pool of just these bags, and it's pretty neat to see all the different ways people interpret the same pattern.

as a tote:

as a backpack:

the inside:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tote bags

Time for totes! These were made from dishtowels, the Orla Kiely for Target collection. Really great fun prints. If you're lucky, your Target might still have some left, but they're pretty much sold out at this point, I think. I really wanted to find the green pear print one, but no dice. My starting point for these was a tutorial from Ashley, over at Film in the Fridge. Definitely check out her blog, she does some amazing stuff. Then I tweaked the size a bit, added a couple pockets, and Bob's your uncle (actually, my cousin) you have a tote bag! Or if you're me, you have three!

Bag #1:

Which reverses to:

Bag #2:
(I did a little applique on the pocket here).

Which reverses to:

Bag #3:

Which reverses to:

I think I'm going to keep the brown one, and put the other two up in my Etsy store.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Busy, busy...

I'm still here! Well, to be more precise: I was gone on vacation, but now I'm back! No new dresses (yet...as my mom says, how many dresses does she need?), but I've been making tote bags. I found an awesome tutorial online, and I've been staying up too late working on them. I've got one finished, and two more about halfway done, so I'll post pictures and a link to the tutorial in the next day or two.

While on vacation, I picked up a little embroidery project at a craft store (Hobby Lobby, anyone? We don't have them here). I've never attempted it before, but I needed a portable project for the looooooo*gasp*oooooooonnnng car ride. (Hey, did I mention it was long?) Well, probably not the best pick for a bumpy car ride, but I got the hang of it eventually. I don't know when or if I'll ever finish it, probably not until my next roadtrip, but I'll be sure to get some pictures up if I do.