Friday, May 23, 2014

Pool Side Tote

So I actually got this finished a couple weeks ago, but remembering to get good batteries for the camera foiled my attempts to get it posted. Sigh...

Anyway, this months pattern is from noodlehead and is a easy quick sew.  That is if you choose to follow the designers advice for fabric choices.  I, of course, did not. I chose to use some quilting cottons (heavy weight linen or home-dec fabric is recommended) that were in my stash, so on the exterior pieces it is layered with a thin, lightweight batting and an old sheet.  I cut all pieces slightly larger that the pattern piece, free-motion quilted (which needs a lot of practice! lots and lots of practice!) and then recut to size.

The lining pieces are also a quilting cotton, which I interfaced with a medium weight non-woven interfacing. As an aside, I remember buying this fabric because I really liked the colors and thought the abstract design was pretty cool.  When the shop owner laid it out on the table to cut it for me, she said "It looks like brains, doesn't it?" Me, laughing-"well, now that you mention it"

The handles and trim are made from some heavyweight denim that was leftover from another project.  I think the pattern recommends quilting weight fabric for these pieces, so folding the handles to get that nice rolled look was tough.

The pattern itself is well designed and went together very easily.  The directions and illustrations are also very good.  This thing is huge! I plan on using mine for shopping, since I don't see many pool sides.

Not much more sewing going on here.  Son and DDIL are coming to visit.  I'm so excited! we don't get to see them but twice a year.  After their visit though, I will need plenty of projects to keep me busy and out of trouble. Got them stacked up on the cutting table, ready to go.

Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Monday, May 5, 2014

Midtown Messenger Bag

This pattern is by Betz White and is called the Midtown Messenger Bag. Great well written instructions and illustrations.

I met my completely self-imposed deadline of sewing each Bag-of-the-Month in the same month that I received it.  By the skin of my teeth, but still it was done in April. I probably could've gotten this done sooner if I had quit waffling over all my decisions.

First the pattern recommended waxed canvas - there is no waxed canvas to be found locally.  Didn't even look.  Then there is the issue(s) that when you find it on line it is - a) limited colors, b) hideously expensive (at least to my budget) c) in some cases there was a 5 yard minimum per color to order or d) any combination of the above.  So off I go to Google it - there must be a better way.  I found this easy tutorial that I pretty much followed to the letter, Hah! Except my proportions were closer to 1 part beeswax to 2 parts paraffin, and I waxed a yard of canvas before cutting it out a sewing it.  It was actually pretty fun to do, but time consuming.  I see now why it's so expensive. 

Waxed, waiting to be melted into canvas

OK then, now that's done, it's on to the cutting and sewing.  And another horse change midstream - I had my hardware all lined up, nickel finish.  First I'm debating over the thumb catches that I have, they're heavy, more suitable for leather I think.  Then I decide I don't really like the nickel finish with the material I'm using, so off to Etsy to purchase rectangular loops, sliders, and thumb catches in antique bronze.  There are some great vendors on Etsy and I highly recommend both Sewing Supplies and Michelle Patterns.  Order my parts from both on Thursday morning and received the following Monday afternoon! That's pretty stinking quick.

Since this bag was made with my daughter in mind, I got her to help with the picture taking and modeling.


I think she likes it!



A couple of points about this bag -
  1. I would call it and intermediate to advanced pattern.  Mostly because of the layers involved in several places, waxed canvas is heavy and stiff.  There was seam matching across the gusset, front and back.  Fitting a waxed canvas gusset around a curved piece is no picnic. Did I mention it's heavy and stiff?
  2. I highly recommend using a jeans or topstitching needle - refer to 1st point.
  3. I used Annie's Soft and Stable in the flap instead of the batting called for.  It just made it look nicer to me.  The rest of bag was made with batting as the pattern called for.
  4. Take your time with your topstitching, there is a lot of very visible stitching on this bag.
  5. I left ends on both sides of the zipper, giving my daughter a place to pull open and closed.
Overall a really great, challenging pattern and pretty much the perfect size.

Silly out-take

The face I got, when I told her she would have to wait
to actually get the bag

Happy Sewing, Suzanne