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.

Linky Thursday

Who needs boring red boxes of chocolates this Valentine’s Day? Instead, make a beautiful quilted cover that can double as a mug rug when you’re done!

The big trend in knitting has been the ‘messy bun hats’ that allow you to still wear your hair up while you keep the rest of your head warm. Now you don’t have to know how to knit to make one, you can sew one up instead!

Learn how to make your own clothing labels with the alphabet on your machine and a bit of bias tape.

Win a pincushion kit and some interesting fillers to stuff it with!

Stay cozy and look luxurious with this fabulous faux fur pom scarf.

Have a makeup addict in your house? Be sure to make them this fun Zippy Lip Pouch that’s perfect for stashing make-up on the go.

We tend to eat lunches away from the table around here, which makes eating hot bowls of soup, etc. difficult. These soup bowl cozies are the ideal way to eat without burning your hands.

Not only does this maxi dress remind me of something you’d see being sold by LuLaRoe, but it’s also made from the super soft brushed poly just like them!

Stashed a lot of fabric and don’t know what to do with it? How about using it to make an accent wall?

If one of your new year’s resolutions was to decrease the clutter in your life, then you’ll definitely want to check out this purse organizer or stash your belongings in this classic zipper pouch.

Never bring a boring dish to a potluck ever again. Tote your container in a zippered casserole carrier instead.

I love the idea of t-shirt quilts, but have never taken the plunge in making one. This T-shirt Quilt for Dummies tutorial might help push me to start!

Struggle to find the perfect button? Learn how to make your own!

I’m pretty sure that this Lego Bucket could not contain the massive quantity of Legos we have in this house, but it’s a great way to store and take them on the go to friend’s houses.

Pemberley Pullover

When Peek-a-boo Pattern’s Pemberley Pullover was originally released, I immediately snagged it up thinking that I would make fun cowl neck, athletic tops that would match some of the crazy leggings I had been making. Unfortunately, I realized that I never got enough fabric to do this, so the pattern just sat in my computer for ages. For whatever reason, I decided to give it a go yesterday and, after a very long search through my fabric stash (it probably took me as long to find the material that what it did to tape this pattern together), I decided that I would finally use the stripe sweatshirt knit that I had picked up from Gorgeous Fabrics last year.

The Pemberley is a mock crossover design top with a slightly raised hem in the front and an optional cowl neck – which is vastly different than other patterns I currently own. Overall, this one sewed up pretty quickly… except I really struggled with the mock crossover piece. I’m not sure if it was because I was tired and couldn’t figure out the instructions or if it was just the instructions themselves, but I did ‘wing’ this area. It worked out fine, but the bottom layer did not get stitched down entirely to the upper band as described. I also skipped the drawstring in the cowl because I didn’t have small enough cording to pull through the eyelets\grommets I had on hand.

According to the instructions, the pattern is slightly oversized because it is designed to be worn in layers. If you’re wanting to wear this as a shirt, you should go down 1 size (or 2 for something more fitted and in thinner material). Consequently, I decided to go down one size – and I’m glad I did, because I like the way this fits on me. The material on this one makes the finished shirt cozy, but still has a fabulous drape (especially for a sweatshirt knit) so I don’t feel like I’m wearing a sack.

So would I make this one again? I think so. I noticed this morning that Peek-a-boo Patterns announced a sew along for this top starting next week – I may attempt to find some athletic style fabric and give it another go, this time paying more attention to how I insert the mock crossover piece. If you’re interested in joining this one too, she’s running a sale on the Pemberley Pullover and the girl’s version, the Piccadilly Pullover (she didn’t mention how long the sale lasts, though).

Here is the price breakdown on my version:

Pattern….. $8.50
Fabric……. $24.00
Notions…. stash

Total $32.50

Cutting, Cutting, Cutting

This weekend, the weathermen predicted a devastating ice storm would whip through our area. Consequently, my big plans changed dramatically (we had postponements and cancelations well ahead of the storm’s arrival). You would think that would lead to more productivity in the sewing room, but I was fairly bummed out and found myself sitting on the couch, sulking, instead. I did, however, manage to cut out all the pieces to the Clover Convertible Bag I mentioned last week.

While it doesn’t look like much in the photo, there are a lot of piles of fabric and interfacing under those pattern pieces. Fortunately, there is a handy chart in the back of the instructions that helps keep you on track. Now that that’s finished, I need to focus in on fusing all that interfacing and get this project started….. maybe in a couple of days, I’m still pouting about my change of plans.

By the way, the weatherman got it completely wrong here – we wound up having a slight glaze of ice initially and then it rained the entire weekend.


Steampunk Cold Shoulder

This weekend I’m attending a Red Hot Chili Peppers  concert (cross your fingers that the ice storm doesn’t change those plans) and I realized that I didn’t have anything to wear for the event. I thought this was the perfect excuse to get back to the Anniversary Top that I said I was going to work on last month.

For this top, I went up one size (as you can see this totally eliminated the puckers in the bust that I saw in my previous version) and use the long sleeve, low neck version of this tee. I used RP Custom Fabrics Steampunk panel for the front of the shirt and their solid black for the back, sleeve and bindings. While the shirt went together without a hitch, I had some issues with the panel size and the placement of the design – it was so far up on the panel that I had to raise up the neckline some so that the image wouldn’t be cut off or be so close to the neckline binding that it looked odd. The panel was also shorter than the pattern itself so I took up the length 1 1/2″-2″ (which was fine because I thought the size was too long last time and took about that much off last time anyway).

As for the fit, it’s much better. However, the fabric is substantially different than what I used last time so it feels snug, but is not overstretched. In fact, it looks pretty slimming when I put it on (I’m guessing some of that is that it’s black)…. it might be one of my favorite tops that I’ve made recently! Here’s the breakdown of the cost for this shirt, in case you’re interested:

Pattern….. stash
Fabric……. $18.00
Notions…. stash

Total $18.00

Linky Thursday

Is the ice storm headed your way this weekend? Keep yourself cozy with this fur-lined tartan poncho and a pair of lined mittens (or recycle an old sweater to make your mittens).

This pillow is great for relaxing in bed with a good book or knitting. On the go? Try this travel pillow instead.

Win a fat quarter bundle from Monaluna.

This travel cosmetic case folds\rolls into a cute little boxy shape (the site will probably need to be translated).

Cleaning your windows this winter can be so much warmer when you make yourself a hand warmer ice scraper.

Got a new phone for the holidays? Then whip yourself up a new wristlet case to protect it!

Learn how to fussy cut your fabric to get just the right design inserted into your project.

I love to wear slouchy hats in the winter. This free pattern can show you how to make one.

I can’t resist anything Harry Potter, like this fabulous activity cube for babies and toddlers.

Being TSA compliant doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice having something nices (not to mention sturdy) to hold your belongings. Whip up this clear vinyl bag for the next time you travel!

These pretty round pillows make the perfect seating while lounging in front of the fireplace or tv.

Another Oslo

Call it procrastination, but yesterday I worked on a completely different project than what I had in mind. In a few weeks I have an article due for an upcoming issue of Sew News. While I can’t share all the details of what it’s about I figured I could show you the finished product since it isn’t an original design…. plus I love how it turned out so much.

For this project I used Seamwork’s Oslo – one of my favorite patterns that they have come out with so far (this is at least the third one I’ve made, too). As for the fabric, I couldn’t resist getting the Nicole Miller Lacy Sweater Knit that I found at Joann’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about pattern matching when I picked this material and found myself spending a great deal of time making sure everything lined up correctly when I cut this one out. The only change I made to this one is omitting the buttons. I really think that it looked best ‘less coat-like’ and more as a cozy cardigan. Now I am wishing I could wear it and not have to send it off…. I can see myself wearing this over the weekend with a pair of leggings an some big boots!

On the Cutting Table

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I have a love\hate relationship with bags.” I tend to make a lot of them and overall enjoy sewing them, but I hate working with bulk (which with most professional looking bags, is inevitable). But what I hate most is seeing what I spent on the project. I realize what I am making is typically one of a kind and the end result is fabulous, but it’s always shocking to see the total (it’s also a great reminder that handmade doesn’t mean ‘cheap’).

My latest project is January’s Bag of the Month Club pattern, The Clover Convertible Bag. This is by a new designer to the group, Blue Calla Patterns, so I’m excited to give her patterns a try. As for fabrics, I decided that I would finally break down and use the Harry Potter custom fabric I ordered a while ago and then went in search of some other wizarding world fabric I could use for the lining (which I found at Joann’s). Fortunately, I had on hand some black pleather on hand which means that I didn’t have to order it and can start this one right away. Here’s the details (and shocking cost) of this project. If you’re interested in the hardware kit for this one, you can find it here.

Pattern: Bag of the Month Club’s Clover Convertible Bag

Harry Potter Newsprint fabric from KNITorious Fabric

Harry Potter Face print from Joann Fabrics

Black Pleather from Spandex House

Pattern….. subscription
Fabric……. $49.98
Notions…. $53.41

Total $103.39


It comes with great sadness that I have to write that our dear little Jynx passed away last week. She suddenly became sick and after a late night visit to an emergency vet, we discovered that she was exposed to parvo prior to us adopting her and that she didn’t have enough immunity from her shots yet to ward it off. Even though she was only with us for a short time, she already was part of our family and we’re all very broken hearted without her. This week, everyone is back to work and school, which seems like a good thing because a bit of ‘normalcy’ tends to mend hearts and helps to get your mind off things. I plan of burying myself into some sewing.

A lot of people have asked, “Are you going to get another dog?” so I figure I’ll talk about that here as well. The answer is “yes, eventually.” Unfortunately the parvo virus is very hearty – it is active in our house for 1-2 months and in the yard for 6 months+ (we kept Jynx in the front yard only, which gets a lot of sun so it is likely that this area will kill off the virus more quickly than shaded areas). Consequently, we don’t want to introduce a puppy (or even a dog) into this environment until we know that it’s ‘safe’ and even then, we may look to adopt a dog that is somewhat older and fully immunized. So, chances are we’ll wait until the fall and start searching for the right fit into our family.


Linky Thursday

Take good care of you machine this year by keeping the dust off when not in use. You can make this pretty scrap busting cover (with handy storage pockets). Don’t need a new cover, but love the handy storage? Try this sewing machine pad instead.

Head back to school this new year in style with one of these fun recycled jean composition folders.

Start off the year with a new bag, like the Rocky Mountain Satchel.

Ditch the mitten tutorials and sew yourself gloves instead. This one is easy and look so cozy, too.

If you have a budding photographer then you’ll definitely want to check out adorable camera plush toy.

If one of your goals for the new year is to get organized, then you’ll want to check out this handy custom planner organizer.

Denim is one of my favorite materials to work with and these cute little bags definitely caught my eye (pattern included with photo instructions only).

This easy kimono robe is perfect excuse to use that beautiful fabric that may be sitting in your stash or try your hand at this pretty robe made from sheets.

Tag toys are so popular with babies. This version a different take by making the toy an easy to hold ring.

Have a Pokemon lover? Whip them up an adorable Eevee plush.

Use up some of those stashed scraps by making some of these mini wallets.

Keep toasty warm when you nestle under these beautiful blankets.