Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tote Bag - Success (with a little big of failure!)

Erin Gilbey of Dog Under My Desk has written some of the best patterns for purses and tote bags.  Her instructions are terrific and the photos accompanying each step demystify the process.  As I've mentioned before, one of my favorite aspects of her patterns is her insistence that no exposed raw edges be left in the finish product.  The resulting bags are just so much nicer and so much less "home made" looking. 

As always, spiral bound for ease of use during the project and storage later. 
Last week, I tackled the Outta Time Tote for the third time, this time sticking exactly to the dimensions stated in the instructions.  I've made it twice before, both times modifying the size to suit my purposes.    (Did I mention her patterns are easily modified for size and, in this case, dimension?)  Anyway, for this one, I stuck exactly to the pattern for the dimensions, creating a bag which is taller than it is wide. 

Finished dimensions: 14" tall, 12" wide, and 3" deep.  Really nice size.
As you can see, the bag came together beautifully. 
Structured enough to stand on its own when empty!
 For structure, I followed Erin's instructions and used SF101 woven interfacing, but instead of batting, I used Bosal Fusible Foam.  Pellon makes a fusible foam, too, which is nice for when I run out of my Bosal, as my source for the Bosal has been exclusively Amazon and running out is annoying.  The floral fabric is a Mary Engelbreit fabric, the straps are black webbing (instead of fabric), and the lining is just inexpensive cotton.   The zippers are #5 zippers of my spool of zippers by the yard.

My favorite part:  Black piping running up the panels and added to the zipper as well. 
I fell in love with this fabric, but my favorite part of this bag is the addition of the black piping.  I am especially glad I decided to add it to the zipper installation on the front pocket.  The piping just frames everything so elegantly.

Embroidery fail:  poor color selection ruined the whole thing.
What I didn't love and actually deemed a fail was the embroidery I added to the front pocket.  I picked the wrong color and the embroidery doesn't really show at all.  I should have gone with black instead of picking a color which matched the lining and coordinated with the outer fabric.  Unfortunately, until the bag was completely together, I couldn't see the problem.  Next time,  I must remember:  Contrast, NOT coordinate!   So, while the embroidery is technically well done, I deem it a fail.

Terrific overall bag, but the embroidery disappears...sigh.

On to the next project...

Monday, February 8, 2016

Pink Camouflage Wristlets

I have a dear friend who loves pink camouflage.  Seriously loves it.  For Christmas, I surprised her with a tote bag  (which I forgot to photograph) out of pink camouflage and, as anticipated, she loved it.  Really, really loved it. 
Pink camo - who knew??
Now, personally, I'm not a huge fan of pink camo (really, of any camo);  I don't understand it.  Are you hiding in the Barbie aisle at Toys R Us?  I just don't get it.  Still, it was a labor of love and she truly loved her Christmas present, which was my goal, after all.  I decided to use the leftover fabric to surprise her with another gift and I ended up having enough fabric to make a little something for her daughter (another fan of pink camo), too. 

Mother - Daughter gifts...
(I always by extra fabric when I'm making something specific...I'm terrified to run out of fabric.)  Anyway, it turned out that I had just enough fabric to make two of Dog Under My Desk's "The Essential Wristlet". 

Spiral bound from my local copy shop.  Lays flat for me to flip
through the instructions as I sew along, one step at a time.
If you haven't discovered Erin's patterns, you're in for a treat.  Her instructions are so detailed, and her photos so clear, you just can't go wrong.  Since I've been making her stuff, my skills and my confidence have increased tremendously.  Plus, I love that her  "thing" is that she loathes exposed unfinished seams, so you always have a nice, polished result when you make her patterns.

Pocket detail on the inside of each.
So, back to my project.  Two Essential Wristlets with boxed corners.  I also decided to embroider each woman's name on them, for a little added touch. 
Awesome pattern nets awesome results!

I think they turned out really well.  The wrist strap is detachable and the bag measures 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches, so its a really nice size.  I think my friend and her daughter will be pleased.  Best of all, no more pink camo in my fabric has all found its rightful home.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Food for Thought

Photo credit:

"It seems to me that no matter what religion you subscribe to, acts of kindness are the stepping-stones to making the world a better place--because we become better people in it."

 -Jodi Picoult

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Adorable Baby Coat

My son's friends had a baby last's a strange thing when you realize your kids are legitimately old enough to have friends who are married with children...I guess that means it is highly unlikely that I am still only 27.  Reality might be setting in...

Anyway, my son's friends had a baby girl last summer and I just made her the most adorable coat.   (I'm a terrible photographer, but trust me, this coat is truly adorable.)   I got the pattern from Etsy.  I really like the indie patterns available for download.  The ones I've found have tended to be terrific and the instructions make them oh so doable, even for a novice.

Too cute for words...I love the texture of the outer fabric.
The outside of the coat is a polyester suiting fabric...the texture makes it substantial without being heavy.

Love this bright, happy cotton print.
The lining is a lightweight quilting cotton.

Matching buttons...too cute!

The hood is designed to be folded back to show the lining.
I used the Hearts Hoodie pattern from Puperita. 

My local copy shop binds my PDF patterns for me.  Love the ease of this format!
It generously includes sizes from newborn to 5 years old.  Now that I've finished the coat, I can recommend the pattern with confidence.  It really was a breeze to make.  The directions were quite clear and easy to follow and the results were gratifying.

Just what a well-dressed baby needs for spring!
Will a 6-month old baby girl appreciate it?  Nah.  But her mom sure loves it!  Definitely a win.

Friday, February 5, 2016

You know you have a good life when... realize that you are fortunate enough to catch 99.9% of the pens that go through your washer BEFORE they end up in the dryer.  (We just won't talk about those sneaky lip balms.)

...and a 9-year old girl invites herself to your house to color with you (and she's not even related to you!!)...

Yes, my life is pretty good.