Saturday, 31 May 2014

Sew Together

I haven't posted any projects on this blog for a while - caught between that balance of enjoying life and talking about it.  Our little family has been on holiday, and come back to the biggest change in K's life - she's started school.  I'll share some uniform pics soon, and maybe some travel outfits, but first here is a project I've been working on.

Yes... I joined the throngs... and made a 'Sew Together Bag' by Sew Demented.

The fabric is from Aneela Hoey's 'Sew Stitchy' range that I have used before (here and here) and given both items away - this one is for me!  I love the subtle link to stitch craft that the fabric range has - although I must admit to making this too pink for my general liking.


The outside of the bag is made in hexagons and triangles using Jaybird Quilt's 'Mini Hex N More' ruler.  I had heaps of fun piecing this - the ruler is fantastic and because of it's size is easy to use.  It is the same as the smallest size available on the larger 'Hex N More' but I really preferred it for cutting smaller pieces.  The layout is a smaller version of the 'Candy Dish' pattern by the same designer.

I am again going to a craft group I used to enjoy (before Playcentre and other pre-school jobs) and believe that this bag will be fantastic for holding all my sewing notions!

I know many have made this bag but here are my notes for 'next time':
  • Use a stiffer interfacing for the pockets - I think mine was just a lightweight one.  I've started using different types interfacing and need to do some research on them.
  • Check that the sides match up when you pin in the second side of the outside zipper.  There are many parts to match and I forgot one.
  • Maybe make the outside piece slightly shorter (ie making the rectangle slightly shorter).  Even 1/4" off the piece would have made it slightly firmer.
  • Remember to use the Quilt Barn's 'Sew Along' found here
I'm linking up with Amanda Jean at 'Crazy Mom Quilts' for 'Finish It Up Friday'.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

New Best Bag

Over the last few weeks I have been working on a project that has kept me challenged.  Yesterday, I finished it....
I wanted to make myself a bag to carry projects and to take when I go on a day trip.  I had made a great bag using Elizabeth Hartman's tote pattern back here, and use it heaps.  The only failing of this bag is that is doesn't zip shut - it has only a magnetic closure.

So I thought about how I made that bag, using the multiple layers and QAYG.  I also thought about how I had played with the sizing of the latest Oliver+S Backpack (here) and how the lining was sewn in so cleanly.  I had in mind a smaller version of Amy Butler's Weekender bag, especially the one made by Elizabeth Hartman.  I do not own this pattern, but the style of the bag is fantastic and I drool over the projects being made using it on Instagram (#wsa2014).
Using all these inspirations I created my own pattern, planned fabric and then sewed!  My bag in quilted all over using QAYG (quilt as you go) and then the pieces trimmed and sewn together.
I used a selection of Sweetwater's Road 15 prints - mainly neutral and olive green.  I added in some Essex linen in olive, as well as using Kona cotton in (you guessed it) olive as well.  I had only just enough fabric so had to plan the cutting carefully, even needing to use some similar but different fabric to line the two large side pockets.  Unlike the Weekender bag I did not put pockets at the ends, preferring to just add some accent piping in.
The fantastic thing about designing your own bag is that you can specify the size of things - my side pockets are just large enough to hold an A4 sized magazine, and can be kept 'closed' by using the magnetic snaps I placed in them.
There are three pockets inside.  One (above) is 4" by 9" and allows for smaller items.
The other lining side has a zipped pocket, overlapped with a 6" by 7" pocket for my purse.

The lining is sewn in place into the bag (similar to what I did with K's backpack) and is not quite sized perfectly, but I'm super pleased with it.  I need to fine tune the pattern before sharing it - but this has been a BIG project so am not keen to do so just yet.  I have been pinching myself that it all turned out so well...

Maybe I should tidy my garden instead of planning day trips!

The bag finishes at approx 16" long, by 6" wide and 12" tall.  I've even worked out that it is just perfect as airline carry-on luggage.  Where shall I go to??

In the meantime I'll link up to Amanda Jean at 'Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday'.  What do you think of my bag?  I'd really love some feedback ...

Friday, 2 May 2014

Gifts for my girl

A lot of my crafting involves making gifts for other people - I like how it shows the thought and care put into the act of giving.  I always try to involve my daughter K in the process as well, especially if the gift is for a friend or relative she knows well.  When it comes to gifts for her I tend to stock up on ideas, then sew/create madly for a few weeks ahead.

This year, with K turning five, I was well organised.  I made her a school backpack in early March.  I also made her a nurse's uniform to match the one we gave to Playcentre.  To go with this I sourced a nurse's watch and a real stethoscope.  She's had great fun with both.

I kept up the Oliver + S 'Little Things to Sew' theme by making K a tutu.

I used a variety of pink tulles.  Some I got at Spotlight and were about 140cm wide.  Others I have had in the stash and were narrower.  With some overlapping and creative placement the result is impressive.

K loves it - so much so the other day she kept it on when digging in the sandpit!  This tutu is number 10 in  the 'Cover to cover' challenge from 'Bartacks and Singletracks' and number 85 in my O+S count.

I love to encourage K's creativity through play.  We also try to support her artistic skills and to help this I made her an art folder.

It was (very) loosely based on the Noodlehead pattern 'Road Trip Case' but I didn't get far past quilting the outside cover.  I love Anna's patterns but I had quite a few adaptations in mind!

K is a left-hander so I placed the drawing pad on the left side.  The clear vinyl pouch (my own design - partially successful) is attached by two pieces of binding.  This allows the side with the pens to hang from a small table and still be accessed through the gap in the centre.  We will use the vinyl pouch for holding scissors, stickers and other small pieces.

I need to add two small hand-sewn snaps at the top and bottom of the folder so that the pad is less likely to slip out.  I also should have made the fabric over the pen pockets bigger.  It pulls that side in.  But K loves her folder and has been having great fun drawing her interpretation of our life!

What a very lucky girl our K has been!

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