Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunrise Saddle Bag

I was fortunate to be able to test another bag pattern for Dog Under My Desk this past week. As is always the case, Erin did a superb job of writing the pattern, with attention to every detail and lots of photos to demonstrate the instructions. I can never recommend her patterns enough - they are simply the BEST! This bag went together very well. I love that it has princess seams instead of darts, so even if you don't carry a lot of stuff in it, it still keeps its shape and looks great.

Here is the bag I made for the pattern test. 

It's called the Sunrise Saddle Bag, and the pattern can be purchased here. It was just released this morning, and to celebrate Erin's "30-something" birthday on the 8th, it and all the other patterns are on sale at 30% off through this Wednesday. So now's the time to get this pattern and any others you may have had your eye on!

Here's the back of the bag, which has a zippered pocket.

The inside has a pocket identical to the one on the front that hides under the flap.

There is even extra padding in strategic places to protect your cell phone from the twistlock hardware, should you choose to carry your phone in that front pocket.

Finally, here's my usual silly selfie to give you an idea of the size of the bag. As you can see, it has an adjustable strap so you can use it as a cross-body or shoulder bag.

The pears fabric I used is babywale corduroy from Jess's Spring Quartet collection for Cloud9 Fabrics, which will be available in July. The other is linen.

Check out Erin's blog post here for more details and read about the process she went through in developing this pattern. She really works hard to make sure it's 'just right'!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A challenge

I was challenged on Instagram by Renaissance Ribbons to see if I could make the "cutest project" out of one of their preview ribbon samples that Jess had designed for them. I wracked my brain for a while trying to come up with an idea for something super cute that I could put this ribbon on. Finally I had an idea, so I accepted the challenge and said they could send me the ribbon.

If you've been following me for long, you might remember the Pixie Basket I made just over a year ago. I thought those tiny 4½"-long baskets might be just right for showing off ribbons, and they certainly are. Here's the basket I made, sporting the super-cute husky puppy ribbon, designed by How About Orange (a.k.a. Jessica Jones, a.k.a. Jess, my daughter), which will be available sometime in the future.

Doesn't that just make you want to get a puppy? Er... I mean... buy the ribbon? Or lots of ribbons to make all kinds of baskets?

While I was waiting for the ribbon to arrive (which for some reason took 5 days via Priority Mail from California - I don't think the P.O. gave it much priority), I might  have gotten a little carried away using other Jess-designed ribbons I had on hand.

All those animals on tiny baskets - eeeeeek! So fun!

Then Jess made me take fancy photos...

... which she edited for me so they'd look even fancier!

Whaddya think? A prize-winner for a challenge? Renaissance Ribbons thought so, even though there was no prize involved. It was just for fun. And now I have all these cute baskets that I can gift or something - yay!

Guess what? I have one more, too! Along with some fabric, Jess also sent me another sample of a new ribbon she designed. How's this for fun cuteness?

Which is your favorite? Jess likes the popsicles. They're a close second for me, but I just love the skunks (I never thought I'd say that about skunks - not my favorite animal - ha).

The tutorial for the Pixie Baskets is by Heidi Staples of the Fabric Mutt and can be found here. Instead of cutting and seaming two pieces for each side of the outside, I just cut it the same size as the lining and then sewed on the ribbon after fusing the batting. I once again used the tip found here for closing up the turning hole in the lining.

Speaking of fabric Jess sent me, we have many projects planned for it, so I'd better get busy. Here's what she sent, the Spring Quartet line of babywale corduroy that she designed for Cloud9 Fabrics, which will be available in July. You've seen it before on the little Dumpling pouches I made earlier. I only had small samples at that time, but now I have yardage! So expect to see more of this in the near future. :)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

80 Pieces, part 2 - finished!

If you haven't read my previous post, you may want to do so before reading this one. This is a continuation of that, showing the completion of my 80-piece project. This post is photo-heavy, but I want to show you what kind of a process I went through. It was no little job, that's for sure!

I ended the previous post after the quilting and the 48 darts were sewn. All of these pieces below except the top one have the darts, 8 per piece. Next the ends were sewn together and that seam bound.

A top binding piece was added, and this is how one of them looked at that point. Do take note of how well that fabric matches my sewing room wall!

There were the 6 of those little pods plus a center pod. (You can see the bottoms of the pods and the handle off to the sides.)

With a few more seams in each one, their shapes became this.

Then the bottoms had to be added. Wonder Clips to the rescue!

That proved to be some challenging sewing, but I figured out if I used my forceps, it made the job considerably easier. Still challenging, but much more doable.

After the bottoms were added, they had to have bindings (like you can see sticking out at the edges of the seam above). Once again, Wonder Clips proved invaluable!

Those 3 pods above became these... completed. Whew!

The center pod was shaped a bit differently, and the handle was attached to its sides. It'd make a kind of cool Easter basket, don't you think? Quite appropriate for today. But that's not what it is.

Getting closer to the end, the outer pods were attached to the center. Here are the first 3 done. I did them in this order simply so I didn't have to change thread colors as often.

Voilà! All sewn together! And here we have the Honeycomb Basket.

I made it from the pattern written by Beth Studley of Love From Beth. It can be purchased here. I love it! I think it's adorable and worth all the time and effort that went into it.

The pattern calls for only 2 fabrics, but I chose to use 3, which made it a bit trickier, especially when cutting it out. I only had a fat quarter of the aqua fabric, which I wanted to use because it matches my walls so well. It was enough for 3 of the pods... barely! So I worked out the rest of it using the solid blue for the rest of the pods.

Here's what the bottom looks like, in case you're curious.

No, it wasn't Courtney's Easter basket. It was a bit labor-intensive for something like that. Yes, it's for me. What in the world am I going to use it for, you ask? It's a part of my sewing room organization process. It's going to make a better solution for this mess which sits next to my sewing machine.

It will hold these items and more.

I'm not sure what the final arrangement will be. I just tossed some things in there for photo purposes. But I think it will be very handy and certainly more attractive than the mess I showed you above.

Here's another shot, next to my iron, to give you a better idea of its size. It measures about 13" at its widest point, and the center pod is 5" high, not including the handle.

Would I recommend the pattern? Yes, if you don't mind spending all the hours it takes to put it together. There's a lot of quilting, but it's easy. The darts weren't hard to sew. The bottoms of the pods were challenging, as I said above, and they involved some wrangling, as did sewing all the pods together. It was recommended to sew them and the bindings by hand, but I didn't. Some of the bindings aren't the neatest, but they don't really show up that much. I'd do it that way again, because I don't like hand sewing very much (not to mention the extra time it would've taken), plus I think sewing the pods together by machine makes them stronger.

The one negative thing I have to say about the pattern is that the bindings turned out to be too narrow. I had a terrible time (and did lots of grumbling) trying to get them to fit over the seams, especially for the bottom ones which included 2 layers of foam. But it's a simple fix... were I to do it again, I'd just cut the bindings ¼" wider (except for the extended one on the center pod, which was fine).

Would I make another one? Yes, I would... but only if I had nothing else in the sewing queue. It took me about 2½ weeks to make it, sewing a little every day, so it was very time-consuming, but all in all, it was worth it. Just don't ask me to make you one, because I'd have to charge you a fortune! ;)

I had another idea when thinking about putting the scissors in there. I don't want the points to go poking into the fabric and wearing holes in it. It just so happens that a tuna can fits perfectly in the outer pods, so my plan is to take one and glue a couple layers of foam in the bottom (to protect the scissors' points), cover it with matching fabric, and use it in one of the pods. I just haven't done that yet because I was too anxious to show you the completed basket. :)

So there you have it! Will you be making one???

Monday, April 10, 2017

80 Pieces!

Just a teaser post here to let you know I'm still alive. I've embarked on a rather large project, and it's coming along with some progress each day, but it's pretty fiddly, repetitious and time-consuming. I knew it was going to take quite a while to make, but I underguesstimated how long... by a lot. Ha!

Here's a shot of my pieces when I got them all cut out (over the course of 3 days). There are 80 (yes, eighty!) pieces in this pile, including interfacing. Almost every fabric piece has a corresponding interfacing piece. There are also foam pieces that go between every couple of fabric pieces, and there are binding pieces. Whew!

Below is how things looked after fusing the interfacing pieces. That reduced the pile by 29 pieces.

After fusing the interfacing, I marked the darts. There were 48 of those!

Next came the quilting... a LOT of quilting (more than what's shown here). Then I sewed those 48 darts into these pieces.

It's much farther along than this now, but still not near completion. It's actually beginning to look like 'something'... but I'll wait to show you any more until it's finished. Maybe yet this week??? I hope! I'm ready to be done and move onto something else, plus I want to see if this is going to turn out to be as useful as I'd hoped. It's for me! Yay!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Twist of Fate Tunic

Jess's latest barkcloth fabric is now shipping to stores and is available for purchase. It's her Holding Pattern collection that she designed for Cloud9 Fabrics. I showed you this selection called Twist of Fate before, when I'd made a wristlet from a bit of sample fabric I'd received. You can see that here.

So here's the Twist of Fate again. But look closely... there's a zipper in there somewhere! Invisible, right? I love it when the print lines up just like I want it to - on the first try! It was cause for a happy dance, because it could've looked so bad if the print was off!

I made a tunic for Jess using a vintage pattern, Simplicity 9010, which was one I'd made a dress from for myself way back when. I also had made a dress for her from that same pattern a couple years ago. You can see and get details about that one here.

This is the completed Tunic.

We had some discussion about which way that stand-up collar should go, since with that print there were several options. This is what we decided on, and I like it a lot.

I intended to hand-deliver it to Jess last week, as Grandpa and I were planning a trip to visit her and Alex. That didn't happen, though, because first Grandpa got sick with this horrible cold-type virus (which he still hasn't completely recovered from) that's been making the rounds. Just when he thought maybe he was up to making the drive, Jess and Alex both got sick with the same ugly thing. So we postponed our trip to a later to-be-determined date, sometime after planting is completed.

So I mailed the tunic, along with the Hippo Hobo bag and the Dumplings, to Jess. She has better places for photo-taking in her house than I do, especially for larger items, so here's the lovely shot she got of the tunic.

Alex also took a great photo of her modeling it!

(My first thought when I saw that pic was that her hairdresser nailed her original auburn hair color. I love it!)

She also sent me a photo she'd taken of the Hippo Hobo bag, and since she takes such nice pics in her pretty settings, I thought I'd share that with you, too.

That Garden Variety print is also part of the Holding Pattern collection.