February 23, 2014

What Does That Fabric Want To Be ???

Don't you sometimes look at fabric and think, "Oh, that would make a perfect ____" ?  (Fill in the blank with one of your favorite patterns).  Or "That looks like a ____.  (Fill in the blank as before).
My husband now gets in on the conversation.  "That would be a beautiful ____".  Don't doubt him ... he knows all of the purses I make by their correct names.  He is my go to person to confirm my color combinations and trust me he is not a "yes" person.  He has opinions!

Sometimes, though, I love a fabric for a variety of different reasons.  Sometimes it is the pattern or the combination of colors.  Or sometimes fabric is unique and you buy it but you are not sure what you are going to do with it.  What does that fabric want to be???  Here is one of those fabrics for me that I have had for awhile and I recently figured out what it should be whether it wanted to be that or not.

I love brown and green together, or black and green together....or just green!  I decided to pair this with a light and dark green fabric for the lining and my go to faux leather.  This is a crocodile textured vinyl that I have in both black and brown and I use a ton of it for straps.  I love the professional look of it when it is finished and I think it gives the bag a more expensive look.  It is not bad to work with.  I use my teflon foot and waxed paper under the vinyl to keep it moving through my machine.

So what did I think this fabric should be...a Bella by Christine of Chris W Designs.  I use a lot of her patterns because they look so professional when completed.  This is my number one best selling style of bag to date. (Thanks, Christine!!!!).

I wanted a bag that did not have a lot of pieces in the front or back so you could get a big look at the fabric.  I love the peek of lining that you get when carrying this bag.  If the outside fabric is mild, I use a wild lining and if the outside fabric is wild, I go mild on the lining.  One of the fabrics will catch your eye!
Here is the back.  I have been using the 4.5 bigger zipper for outside pockets because I love the long zipper pulls that they have.  It makes it easier to open the zipper and I think it is decorative, too.

The interior is roomy with lots of pockets.

And, how fun was it to find a green and brown button to match???

February 17, 2014

A Bag for Victims

For the last 22 years, my husband and I have attended a Mardi Gras dinner and auction, the biggest fund raiser for the Victim's Assistance Program in Summit County, Ohio.  This year we will be unable to go for the first time since this fund raiser first began in 1992.  They asked if I would donate a bag for the auction which I was delighted to do.

Before I get to the bag, just a few words about this excellent program.  In 1972, the Reverand Bob Denton formed this program with a few others after realizing that the criminals had many programs available to them but that victims of crime had nothing.  This program offers crisis intervention, court advocacy, trauma therapy, 24 hour hotline, and community outreach.  The Reverand Bob Denton is a dear friend of ours and in fact he presided over our wedding in August of 1989.  Is it really going to be 25 years???  Now for the bag....

The pattern I chose was the Sugar and Spice Bag by Christine at Chris W Designs.  I love this bag and I vary the amount of piping I use from bag to bag.  Because this fabric was very busy, I only piped the four exterior pockets.  Like I said in my last post, the piping foot that I bought makes this incredibly easy.  Make sure the piping foot that you use is the right size for the piping.  I bought a set of three different sizes (1/8", 3/16", 1/4") and the smallest one fits store bought piping perfectly.

Here is the finished bag...

and the recessed zipper...

February 13, 2014

My Top 10 Sewing Tools

I was sewing piping onto fabric while making a Sugar and Spice bag from Chris W Designs.  (I'll tell you more about that bag next post).  I was using a piping foot that I bought as a set of three different sized feet six months ago.  I was thinking that this piping foot has really made working with piping very easy.  I loved the look of a little bit of piping but never found that it was worth all of the trouble.  It got me to thinking about what other sewing tools that I use that save me time and hassle.  I came up with my top ten faves.  Some have been around for a long time, some are new, and some don't even really belong on a sewing table.  Before you scroll through my list, come up with your own list (not counting your sewing machine and iron). 

Here they are in no particular order:
Clips for thick layers
Double-sided tape
Fray check
Disappearing marking pen and white pencil (I prefer the ink that disappears with water as opposed to heat.)
Seam ripper (If you look closely, you can see one of my hairs that I must have torn out the last time I had to use this.)
Teflon foot for vinyls and faux leather
Skewer for pushing out corners (It took me awhile to learn the right amount of pressure to use to not push all the way through the fabric!)
Piping foot

Clear ruler

And certainly, last but not least, out of hubby's tackle box through the dishwasher and onto my sewing table, a fishing hook remover.  This is the best thing for turning straps.  Turn the first 1/2 to 1 inch by hand, insert the long neck, squeeze the handle to grab a piece of the fabric and pull through!  Voila!!!  Sometimes, if it is a long strap, you will have to repeat this process a few times.  Love it!


Fishing hook remover

Did I miss any of your favorites?? If you are a quilter, I can think of two things that would be on your list that aren't on mine.  Let me know what you would add.

February 10, 2014

Animal Prints ... and a Frog

I had been looking for a simple, quick, smaller crossbody bag that I could use as a replacement for a souvenir bag that I bought while I was in Australia a few years ago.  It was lightweight and just big enough for the essentials...my passport, a couple of credit cards, my phone.  I loved the one I bought in Australia but it got very wet when I was sightseeing one day and it fell apart.  When I got home I put what was left of it in a storage bag and labeled it. I had to sit down one day and figure out how it went together so I could make an even better one. 

When I was searching online for bag patterns (imagine that), I came across one that looked just like that souvenir bag.  It was called Zip & Go by Erin Erickson of Dog Under My Desk.  Imagine my surprise when I hit the link that took me back to her blog on the day she introduced the pattern...she made it to replace a souvenir bag that she bought in Australia!!!  There in the picture was the same bag but in a different color!  No need for me to figure it out, someone luckily beat me to it.

This bag goes together easily and quickly and has no raw edges or bound edges as many of these types of bags do.

I find that I have been using a lot of animal prints lately.  They have been very popular with my customers.  So, I recently made this bag ...

in a white leopard print ...

in a brown and cream zebra print...

and in a green frog doing yoga fabric.
I used a faux leather for the straps and the back of these bags.  It allowed me to use a very small leftover piece of fabric for the front.  The bag measures 9.5" x 7.5"

February 8, 2014

I Just Have to Tell Someone Who Gets It

Did you ever have one of those fabric finds that you want to tell everyone about?  Unless someone is really in to fabrics, they don't get it.  While you are excitedly telling them about this great fabric you found at an even greater price, they just look at you.  Even when you show them the fabric, they still don't get it!!!  Oh, Lord, please don't ever let me be one of them.  Let me always have the desire to look at, touch, and yes, even smell the fabric!  Such pleasure!!

Anyway, back to my story...

Yesterday, I stopped at the local Walmart in town.  On the way to the back of the store, I had to (well, I didn't really have to but I know that most of you that are reading this get it) pass the small fabric department.  I have been looking for linen type fabric for awhile but have not been happy with the weight of it.  Look what I found....

 It's really hard to see in pictures.  I've taken 12 different pictures this morning and I keep getting squiggly lines on the photos.  This fabric is a 54 inch wide natural linen color fabric with a striped pattern to it. It is of more substantial weight than real linen.  I fell in love and had to have it.  You know the best part???  They had it clearanced price at.....

 $3.00/yd!!!!!!!!!  Here is a better close up view of the decorative stripes.  Now the biggest question of all...what type of bag do I make with it?????

February 6, 2014

Butterfly Sling Purse

Like a kid at Christmas, I was up early on Feb. 1st awaiting the arrival of the new pattern from the Bag of the Month Club.  I hope I'm not the only one that can't sleep knowing what will come in my email on the 1st of the month!!  Am I ???  This month's pattern is called the Butterfly Sling Purse and it was designed by Janelle at Emmaline Bags.  So many patterns are for big bags, that I sometimes have to hunt for  ones that are just for carrying what you need for that quick trip to the grocery store, etc.  This bag is perfect!

I have been making so many black/brown/gray/boring colored bags lately because of it being winter and that is what is most requested now, that I thought I would anticipate Spring (hard to do with 6-7 inches of snow on the ground).  Trying to remember why I chose the name "shades of BOLD" to begin with, I searched my fabric stash for something bright.  I think I found it!

 I made only a few minor adjustments to this pattern.  The pattern called for 1 inch rectangle rings and adjustable slider.  I only had 1 1/4 inch so I widened the two shoulder strap pieces and the shoulder strap tabs to accomodate my hardware.  It also called for 1 inch zippers but I like the more substantial 4.5 long pull zippers that are 1/4 inch wider.  I had to widen the the zipper end pieces to match the wider zippers.  That's it!  Here is my finished bag.

The bag is folded in half and held in position by 2 magnetic snaps.  Inside this layer is an ID holder, slip pocket for your phone, and a zippered pocket for bills and change.

When the bag is folded, you can access all of those things without unsnapping the snaps.  Very handy!
The outside zippered pockets have a total of 12 slot pockets for your credit cards plus room for other essentials like lip gloss, keys, etc.  What a fun bag to see come together.!!  I know this bag will be a hit with my customers.  A little bit of Springtime in the midst of a bad winter...


February 1, 2014

Uptown Girl Bag

I have had so much fun being a tester for Christine at Chris W Designs for several bags and her new Uptown Girl Bag is no exception.  This pattern is made to be sewn with faux leather but looks great in other fabrics as well.  I love the shape of this bag and it is roomy without being too large.

Not admitting to my age (older than many but still younger than others), I have been sewing for over 40 years.  This bag pattern allowed me to try some new things that I have never done before (sew a complete bag out of faux leather and make a bag with a divider pocket in it).  If you have never made a pattern of Christine's, don't be intimidated.  Her patterns have a lot of pages to them but she does an excellent job explaining each step, giving you a multitude of pictures to see what the step looks like and many tips along the way.  I will guarantee you that what you get in the end is a bag that is professional looking.  People won't believe that you made it yourself! 

The first bag that I made, I made from a very light weight faux leather that I had recently bought.  I thought that I might actually be able to sew with it on my Brother machine.  It is important that if you are sewing with a domestic sewing machine that you get a faux leather that your machine will be able to handle in multiple layers.

 Here is the front of the bag.  I used a red topstitch on the black and a black topstitching on the red.

The top of the bag has a recessed zipper. I love that look plus it keeps things in your bag, in your bag!

The inside of the bag has a big divider zipper pocket in the middle and 4 slip pockets and 2 pen pockets.  There are also 2 side pockets on the outside of the bag, so if pockets are a must, this is a great bag for you.
For my second bag, I used an even lighter weight vinyl/pleather that I use often to make straps.  I combined it with a decorator fabric that I loved.  The only thing I would do differently is change the foam that I used for the vinyl.  The bag calls for Soft n Stable but I used headliner foam instead because I had that on hand..  It did not give enough support to this even lighter weight vinyl.  Since I have so much headliner, next time I would double it by sewing 2 pieces together foam side to foam side.  I think that would do it.

Uptown Girl #2
The exterior side pockets.
The interior leopard print.
Go on Christine's blog here to see all of the tester bags.  There is such variety.
Thanks for browsing,