Monthly Archives: December 2011

Town Bag

I got up very early this morning with the intention of posting “Linky Thursday”. Unfortunately, my internet service didn’t want to cooperate with me until now so I’ve opted to skip a super late linky post and hold it off until tomorrow – just in time for lots of last minute holiday crafting links for the weekend! Speaking of holiday crafting, I managed to work on my Weekend Sewing Town Bag yesterday…. and finished it! I really don’t think the photograph on the right does it justice, I think it’s totally fabulous (let’s hope my mother-in-law thinks so too). With this project finished, let me share a few thoughts about this bag:

The Good: The Town Bag is a smart looking bag that is very easy to construct – even in leather. I think the hardware on this one is fun and gives it a ready-to-wear style. This bag can easily be made in a day, even if you have little sewing experience.

The Bad: I’m not very keen on how the inside lining of this bag is finished (basically a narrow hem) and think that there are a lot cleaner ways to approach this. I also think that the leather strips on the side need some ‘modifying’. For one, the directions have you placing it right along the top, raw edge of the bag – however, if you do this, you’ll be encasing a portion of strip in the seam allowance (where the bag is attached to the lining). The strip also needs to be about an inch or so longer so that it ends right along the line where you box the corners. This bag is very ‘open’ and really needs some sort of closure or else you’re risking either having someone steal something out of your bag or it all falling out.

Miscellaneous: I would strongly encourage someone working on this bag use a rotary cutter (or very carefully cut their leather) – at least for the side strips because the ‘raw’ edges are exposed and could easily look very messy if the strip is not neatly cut. It is also possible to sew the side strips without the fusible hem tape (I thought I had some in my stash and turns out, I didn’t), but it’s important you sew very carefully and take your time.

Notions Run

The great thing about having a large sewing library is that you always have a number of projects right at your fingertips… Originally I had planned on making a fabulous bag from Bag Making Bible for my mother-in-law, but I never could find handles that I liked that would work with the material I wanted to use. I’ve procrastinated working on her gift until I figured out what I wanted to make instead, but now that I’m down to the end of my list it’s time to get busy. So I went to my books and decided on the Town Bag from Weekend Sewing. I’ve been sitting on a fabulous copper, kid leather for some time and I thought that this would be a perfect gift for her (I love all the hardware with this one). I was absolutely giddy to start working on this project until I realized… I don’t have notions to go along with it! I thought that this would be a relatively easy process since bag hardware is just about at every store these days – until I went to 3 stores in under an hour and came up empty handed. Finally at the 4th, I found exactly what I wanted – antique brassbronze D-rings and lobster clawsclips (Thank you Joann‘s and the wonderful cashier who gave me coupons for the items that weren’t already on sale).

The bad news is that I spent so much time shopping, I never got started on this project. I’m hoping that it sews up fairly quickly now that I have everything together. The good news? I’m now mayor of two fabric stores on foursquare.

Soup’s On

I’m a huge Andy Warhol fan – I just love his style… his artwork is funky and bold and just captured something no one else did at the time. So, you can only imagine that when I stumbled across someone selling screenprinted twill fabric inspired by his Campbell Soup Cans, I jumped all over it. And when I say “jumped all over it”, I’m really saying, “I bought 10 yards”. I’ve more or less hoarded this fabric for the past few years, only using it for very special purposes: a messenger for one of my blogger and swapper friends, some recycled grocery bags (they folded into a handy ‘soup can’ pouch), and an apron. And yesterday I dug into it again to make these placemats:

I was inspired to make these after running across some Campbell’s Soup bowls at a store. I picked up a set of them along with some red napkins and intend on giving them as a present to my in-laws this Christmas. I may now have to make a set for myself even though we don’t do placemats very often just because I think they’re fun (not to mention I still love this material).

As for the placemat design, I just ‘winged it’. Instead of using a standard rectangle, I clipped the corners some to give it a little more interest. I used a denim for the backing material that’s roughly the same weight as the twill to give it a nice balance. As for batting, I skipped it. I played around with sandwiching it in between, but it was just too puffy for my liking (even the low loft) so I just skipped it.

Now I’m toying around as to which project should come next. I’m thing a handbag or another pillow for one of Taylor’s best friends. I think I’ll see which project gets me motivated first!

In The Bag

Sometimes I really underestimate how long a project will take. I thought this weekend I could start a couple of Christmas projects, but instead I put the finishing touches on an article…. with lots of samples. Yes, that’s right inside each of those ziplock bags is some sort of fabric sample that relates to my article (I opted to send it this way to keep the material from fraying, snagging, or just getting confused with something else). Now that it’s in the bag (literally) I feel a great sense of relief and am very motivated to work on those last minute gifts. Up first…. placemats. More on that in tomorrow’s post. What did everyone else work on this weekend?

Not Just A Cooking Entry

I have officially had my cold for 2 weeks and while I’m feeling better than when I first started, I still don’t have the energy to get much done. Consequently, my sewing has suffered (i.e. no new projects). I did, however, make a massive Asian food feast for my family in an attempt to try out some new recipes. I can now say I’ve gotten much better at cooking fried rice (the secret? add a bit of butter at the end) and this recipe for Baked Crab Rangoon was probably the best of the bunch I tried (don’t let the photo on the link fool you, your version won’t turn out golden and puffy looking… those are fried. Expect yours to look more like my photo on the left).

In an effort to keep this entry crafty and have it not just be a food related post, I’m leaving you with a photo of the package I received in the Christmas Stocking Swap:

Just check out all the fabulous goodies in there! I’m not sure I have much left for myself after my kids sorted out the items they wanted for themselves.

Linky Thursday

This might be my favorite t-shirt refashion yet: The Snowflake Cutout

Speaking of t-shirt refashion, this tutorial teaches you how to turn a shirt into an almost ruffly scarf.

Have a holiday party and need a show stopping necklace? This chunky pearl necklace might fit the bill and you don’t even need any beading experience to create it!

It’s not to late to add some additional decorations to your house this holiday season. This set of topiaries are probably some of the most beautiful I’ve seen, yet.

You too can look like a “Pink Nightmare” this Christmas.

Create a beautiful folded star ornament – no sewing involved! (The site is not in English, however, there’s plenty of photographs that will show you how to make your own version without problems).

Probably one of the easiest tutorials of the week: Transforming a potholder into a flat iron caddy.

Cutest owl ornament. Ever.

Burr, it’s cold outside! Keep your hands warm by stitching up a pair of easy to sew, fleece mittens.

Need an pretty little top to wear to work? The Flutter-by Tank from Fabric.com and HotPatterns might fit the bill!

It’s a purse, it’s a clutch, it’s the Caliti Convertible Clutch.

Eye Spy

Are you still sewing for Christmas? Need a gift that will keep the kids busy, is quick to sew up, and unique? Stitch them up an Eye Spy Bag! My latest project for WeAllSew is live, just in time for gift giving. What are eye spy bags? They are customizable (there’s a football set for boys, a heart shaped window for girls, and ideas for making bags for older children) little trinket pouches, filled with poly pellets (the beads can be substituted for seeds or similar filler) that get the kids searching for the items inside. It’s also a great size to stuff into a purse or backpack for when you’re needing a quiet activity.

Probably the biggest question most folks will have is, “Where do I get some of these (unusual) materials?” The poly pellets can generally be found with the fiberfill or in the doll isle of your local craft store. I’ve had the most success with finding them at Michael‘s. Trinket items can either be found by raiding BarbieBratzPolly Pocket stashes, garage sales, thrift stores, or by visiting an online retailer like TinyThingsAreCute or one of several Etsy shops that specializes in miniatures.

Stuffed

Whew! 3 more Christmas gifts are complete! I have to say, these might be my favorite, although one of the more (unexpectedly) time consuming, projects I worked on this holiday. So how did it sew up? Actually, really well. Overall, the instructions are easy to follow and there’s plenty of pictures to help you with each step (seasoned sewers can probably skip a majority of the instructions as this project is pretty straight forward). The applique alphabet is included with this project… best of all, each of the letters are backwards so you are all set to trace with your fusible web (However, I did find that the letter ‘d’ was not transposed, I’m guessing that was an error). The boarder around the name is ideal for using up scraps (although I coordinated mine with the fabrics I used for the lettering), plus it’s fun to create the ‘free-form’, patchwork border. A word of caution, though – these pillows use far more stuffing that what you think. Two pillows easily used up a 20 oz. bag of fiberfill (I like to stuff firmly).

Overall, a great pattern that I can definitely see using again in the future… plus is’ perfect for beginners!

It’s All In The Name

Aside from nursing a cold (that doesn’t seem like it will ever go away), I also got a start on the personalized name pillow project. I think I may have underestimated how long this project may take, because after a day’s worth of work, all I have to show for are these. I understand that the applique process is the most time consuming part of the project (I just need to create a boarder around the name, sew the backing, and stuff), but I really anticipated that I would have completed pillows by the end of the day – maybe if I would have children (and a niece) with shorter names, I would be! Tomorrow, I hope to have 3 completed pillows and a full review of this pattern.

By the way, I settled on the frog print (and coordinating fabrics) for Easton’s pillow. I just never could find any boy prints (locally or in my stash) that I thought would work. Thanks for everyone’s suggestions – I’m keeping them in mind for future projects!

More Boy Fabrics Needed!

I’m back on the Christmas making gift bandwagon! For this round of gifts I’ve decided to sew up these adorable name pillows. The thing that drew me to this particular project is that the applique alphabet is included with the instructions (I’m fairly certain that most folks could figure out this ‘pattern’ for themselves, but I think finding whimsical applique letters to be difficult). The hardest part? Finding fabrics that I want to use for them! After 90 minutes of searching for material, I finally settled on some material for the girls (pictured on the right). Easton, however, is much more of a challenge. Why can’t there be more boy’s designs at aren’t designed for infants? Needless to say, I scrounged up a frog print and coordinating fabrics (I wasn’t really thrilled with what I had) only to be told by the little man, himself, that he really didn’t like the print. So now I’m back to the drawing board!