Pretty much the entire day yesterday was devoted to writing an upcoming article for Sew News (by the way, did you see the Sporty Crop Pants in the latest issue? I am thinking I really need to make a pair of those). Some days the words flow freely and others I keep editing myself until I think it finally has the right feel…. yesterday was a struggle. Of course I have some distractions as well….

You may have caught the post that our sweet little Jynx passed away shortly after we got her. According to the vet she was probably exposed to parvo prior to us bringing her home and hadn’t had enough immunity from vaccinations to ward it off. Unfortunately, parvo is quite a hearty virus and has the ability to live in the environment for years – which meant that we should either wait a substantial amount of time before getting another puppy or think about adopting an older dog (who was fully vaccinated and less susceptible to contracting the virus). We hadn’t anticipated getting another dog until after summer was over, but suddenly ‘the stars aligned perfectly’ and we wound up adopting this little guy….. Meet Jimmy, an 8 month oldish rat terrier (mix?), who aside for a slight ‘doggie cold’ is perfectly healthy and vaccinated (that’s not to say he couldn’t contract parvo, but the outcome would be more favorable if he did…. plus we’re keeping him out of the ‘contaminated’ part of the yard for the next 6-7 months). He is definitely a loving little guy who likes lots of attention and loves walks (which means that I am going to be getting into shape weather I like it or not).

To top it off, the new Bag of the Month Club purse was released the other day and I’ve been racking my brain as to what I want to do to with it. I am attempting to use some of the fabrics I’ve been stashing in my sewing room for ages which means I’ve spent a good hour or two looking for materials that might work together. As of right now, I’m leaning toward an Amy Butler August Fields print with a coordinating solid that I happened to find on when I originally bought the material. My only hesitation is that the material is much thicker than recommended (more along the line of a home decor weight) and once again, I have to order zippers.

What has everyone else been up to this week?

Linky Thursday

Happy Groundhog Day! Celebrate by making your own groundhog plush (and shadow).

Remember that free hoodie pattern I talked about last week? Now you can make a pair of matching sweatpants to go with it!

This Chinese New Year is the year of the rooster. Celebrate by making one of these fun, Lucky Chickens (they would also be fun for Easter, too).

Tired of carrying bulky purses? Slip you ID into this handy credit card key ring, instead.

This wool hat doesn’t just keep you warm, it’s reversible too!

Get ready for your next trip with this handy car caddy.

Looking for something different to wear this Valentine’s? How about this “broken heart” shirt or this super cute sequin heart elbow patches?

Don’t forget the men in you life when you sew – they would probably love to receive this color blocked raglan hoodie (site will need to be translated). Need something lighter weight? Try this raglan tee shirt pattern instead.

When I saw this dragon scarf, I didn’t think of the movie Spirited Away…. all I could think of is making one from Game of Thrones.

Cold out? Snuggle up with a cozy fleece owl.

If you’ve been thinking about making a new bag or have plans for an upcoming trip, be sure to check out this great cargo duffle.

Win a fabulous plush kit from DIY Fluffies. In the mean time you can check out a few of her free patterns here.

This reading pillow has a handy storage pocket to stash your book when you’re done for the night.

Clover…. FINALLY Finished

From what I’ve seen in the Bag of the Month Club Facebook group, you either loved making the Clover Convertible Bag, or you hated it. I would fall in the latter group.

Let me start off by saying that the Clover is a very professional looking bag (aside from my numerous sewing flaws). It has a lot of interesting details, tons of pockets (and storage, including a train case at the bottom of the bag), and lots of potential for embellishment. Best of all, I like that you can carry it like a handbag, shoulder bag, or wear it as a backpack.

And that’s about where the love ends… Not only is this bag somewhat expensive to make (mine ran about $100 to make, although I did use some more expensive, custom material for the exterior and had originally decided on vinyl), it is difficult to sew as well. The instructions are very detailed and mostly easy to follow (the wording did throw me off some which caused me to misinterpret a few steps), but sewing through all that bulk is frustrating. I can honestly say that my machine did not like working through parts of this project – in fact the D-Ring tabs on the bottom of the bag hand to be entirely hand cranked on the machine and then secured with E-6000 to make sure it didn’t fall off while I was wearing it. There is also a lot of interfacing\fleece\Peltex to contend with – pair that up with several rounded bottoms and I can honestly say that my sewing on this one is a bit rough. In fact, it was so bulky and frustrating that after attaching the bottom of the traincase to the bag, I decided to just skip binding the edges and decided to leave them raw…. I don’t care that they don’t look pretty, I was just thrilled that it was DONE!

With that said, I am thrilled that I finally got to try out rivets in my sewing (which I highly recommend and was surprised at how easy they are to attach) and  I did learn some new, fun tricks along the way, but overall, this was not a fun sew for me. However, don’t let this stop you from trying it out for yourself because there are plenty of others that enjoyed making this one, just be aware that there is a lot of bulk that you’re going to have to contend with.

Today is the first day of February which means there’s a new bag release at Bag of the Month, this time by Sew Sweetness. I’ve worked with her patterns before and anticipate a lot smoother sailing on this one…. now to decide what fabrics to use!

Almost There

The Clover Convertible Bag project is dragging on…. it’s so apparent, even my husband commented how long it was taking me to finish this thing. Currently, I have the lining (along with another zippered pocket and a slip pocket) completely finished. Even though I was on a roll with this segment of the purse, I had to take a brief break because my zipper was never going to work (it was the closest that I could find at my local store) and wound up having to order one.

In short, I had originally ordered a parka zipper (which has a zipper on either end), but really did need the double purse zipper (the two zips meet in the middle and zip towards the ends) that was listed in the materials. I figured using the purse zipper would not only make it look nicer, it would be conveniently located when I actually have to get into the train case portion of the purse.

Once my purse zipper arrived a few days later, I began construction of the train case portion of the instructions. I got as far as inserting the zipper and just stopped…. There is such a tremendous amount of bulk I just struggled (and my machine too) to sew through it all. The worst part is, I’m not even done and I know it’s just going to be worse.

Tomorrow I have vowed that I am finishing this bag, which means that it will at least be completed in the same month as what I started in.

See Kate Sew

There is something gratifying about being able to finish a project in one sitting, but finding the time to sew can be a struggle. Longtime designer and blogger, Kate Blocher from See Kate Sews fame, has come up with a collection of tutorials that can be made in an hour. Best of all, they’re beginner friendly as well so just about anyone can make them.

See Kate Sew: 24 Learn-to-Sew Projects You Can Make in an Hour has a little bit of something for everyone: bags and accessories that include instructions for totes, key fobs, and dopp\cosmetic bags; pillows, organizers, and placemats for those that love home decor; dolls, marker rolls, and pretend food for the younger set (although I really want to make a few felt donuts to use as pincushions), and a fun apron, bracelet, and adorable tee for when you what to whip up something for yourself.

The instructions are easy to follow and there’s plenty of illustrations that guide you through the steps – so this is book perfect for the beginner looking to expand their skill set (plus there is a handy Sewing Basics section that includes tips, terms, and tools). As far as patterns go, there are a few projects that require you to measure the pieces yourself, but a majority of the designs have full size pattern pieces (yay, no enlarging on a photocopier) that are located in the back of the book. But the best part? There’s not a lot of crazy notions or tools needed to complete most of these projects – chances are you have everything you need on-hand to dive right in and get started!

Linky Thursday

Everyone needs an awesome hoodie pattern. Best of all, this one is free.

Sew a pretty pair of knickers in time for Valentine’s’ Day.

Have a Tsum Tsum lover in your house? Whip them up an adorable Eeyore plush.

Stay warm. Look Fashionable. Learn how to sew up this easy fleece poncho.

Not only does this pretty pillow help you decorate for Valentine’s Day, but it’s a great scrap buster project, too.

This hanging pocket organizer is great for storing patterns and magazines or keeping your mail sorted in the house.

This is no ordinary fur muff, it doubles as a purse too.

There’s a saying that goes “Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn.” Now you can be a unicorn with this DIY Unicorn Hoodie tutorial.

Stay warm and celebrate Valentine’s Day with this fun fleece hat.

Need an adorable baby gift? This bandana drool bib can me made two different ways or try this easy pullover version for toddlers.

This week, Sew4Home has a great monogrammed travel trio pattern collection which includes a large tote, device case, and zippered pouch.

Great for traveling or just touch-up on the go, Anke’s Make-up bag features a zippered pouch and attach brush roll.

Organize you sewing room with this handy little fold-up baskets that are made with just two fat quarters! Looking for something a little less conventional? Try this round version instead.

Have a cold? Take your tissues with you in a cute tissue holder case.

More Clover Construction

I realize taking a good photo of a bag in progress is next to impossible, but I had to share that (a majority – I still need to make the train case) of my bag is complete!

What you can’t see in the photo (why did I keep it wrong side out?)  is that the bag has 2 front exterior (welted) pockets, the front lock closure, and snaps on both of the bag sides (to bring in the edges if desired). The front pockets are constructed in a way that is unique to what I’ve ever sewn before, but turned out very nicely…. and best of all, when you unzip it, it looks like Harry and his friends are peeking out.

I’d like to say that the hardest part is behind me, but I still have the zippered train case (that is attached to the bottom of the bag) to make, but first, onto the lining!


If left to his own devices, Easton will play on the computer all day. So, on the weekends, I wind up making him take a break from it and find something else to do. This weekend, Easton literally laid on the floor complaining he had nothing to do. After giving him a ton of options, he finally took me up on my offer to make Valentine’s Day cards on the Cricut. We stated out with a simple card that has a cute image that you can color yourself (it also has punches that you can insert crayons) and morphed into making a shirt.

He stumbled across this project on the Cricut Design Space and decided it was the perfect project for him. It’s really made for appliques on a jacket back, but we made it work for iron ons and a t-shirt. Aside from the ironing, he did almost all the work himself and really enjoyed it – his exact words was “My mind is blown (that this machine can do this)”. The only unfortunate thing is that the “buttons” on the controller came out overly large and with the wrong spacing, so I wound up having to do that part by hand…. and I think it looks a bit sloppy. Otherwise, Easton is extraordinarily proud of the shirt he made himself. In fact, he’s wore it to school yesterday!

The Clover Flap

The one thing about bag making is that you can toil away for hours and not look like you’ve made much progress.

When I make something that I know is going to take awhile to work on, I try sew it in chunks and leave off at what feels like a ‘natural stopping point’ (so I don’t have to go back and figure out what I left off and what needs to come next, etc.). Consequently, this is where I left off with my Clover – the flap.

Oh, the flap. I won’t say it’s a hot mess, but I can honestly say that this is not my best work. I am patting myself on the back that I made an awesome looking handle…. I even added rivets which look incredibly professional, but the bulk that I contended with really messed with how the flap turned out over all. You see, I decided last minute to skip the piping – with a change in fabrics I didn’t really see that it added anything to the bag. In hindsight, I think I needed to use the piping to ‘hide’ the lining that keeps wanting to peek out around the strap edges (because of the bulk in this area, you just can’t push that lining back where it belongs, even if you trim down the seam allowance). So, I went with it. Yes, you read that right, I just rolled out the lining a smidge along the entire edge and stitched it in place that way…. sort of like a weird faux piping.

Other issues I had with this flap? Well, I discovered Peltex melts. There is a section that you create a stiff ‘handle rest’ (for lack of a better term) that is made by sandwiching popsicle sticks in between Peltex. Since my peltex is iron on I decided to fuse these sections together…. and melted a portion of it. This technique does create a very stiff area that the handle is placed on (it appears that it is the area that will be on the top of the bag and folded over to the front to latch), but the rest of the flap seems floppy in comparison – like it needs more interfacing.

To say that this bag is ‘challenging’ is probably an understatement. After looking through photos and comments others have made about this pattern, I see that I’m not the only one saying that, either. At this point, I’ve invested enough money into this sucker, I’m going to finish it come hell or high water, but I’m pretty sure the end result isn’t going to be pretty. Good thing this bag is just for me.

Darn Vinyl

Some fabrics are just jerks (alright, that is not the word I was using the other day, but you get the idea).

You see, I started the Clover Convertible Bag  the other day and spent the first segment of it swearing like a sailor. Fortunately, the bag starts off by making D-ring and clasp slides – a part that I originally had designated to be made in my vinyl so I discovered what a total piece of crap this material was (to make a long story short, it sews horribly, wonder clips leave pressure marks, and was difficult to ‘crease’ so that it could be sewn into a ‘strap’ -). After fiddling with this fabric for ages (it appears fine in the photo, but the stitching is horrible and the strap is ‘twisted’ out of position so it doesn’t lay quite flat), I decided that I didn’t want to spend my entire time making this bag and struggling with the vinyl and decided to scrap it.

So, back to the drawing board. I searched my stash and decided on a distressed black denim. I re-cut out everything and then decided that didn’t look good with the Harry Potter newsprint. So yet again, I searched my stash (because at this point I’ve spent so much money in this bag, I’m not investing more). They say the “third time is a charm” and so I have FINALLY selected a black twillish material – it is not exactly what I wanted, but I think it will do. All the interfacings have be cut again and re-applied so I think I am ready to start this adventure all over again. Let’s just hope that the initial fabric fiasco isn’t a sign of a doomed project.

Note to self, if you find a vinyl that you like, stick with it and use it for all you projects. This perfection leather has been my favorite so far (it sews beautifully, wonder clips don’t leave pressure marks… even thin pins can be carefully used, and best of all you can use a touch of heat with a press cloth and it doesn’t damage the material) and I am kicking myself for not breaking down and buying more for this one.