Friday, February 26, 2010

The Bag Lady

That's what my sewing teacher calls me! I do love making bags- They are useful, you can use funkier fabrics that might be too much to wear but that are too pretty to pass up. And best of all they don't have to FIT anyone!

Here are a couple of my most recent efforts. First is McCall's 6045, view A. I love the size of the bag, and I'm pretty pleased with how the zipper turned out- It's my first bag with a zipper top. The inside has exposed seams that you are supposed to hide with bias binding... I tried and got angry, so I am using it just the way it is, exposed seams and all. And I am OK with that! I also got a little creative with the handle placement.

Second is a pattern that's been in my collection for ages, and it took a reorganization of the fabric stash for me to finally get moving on it! It's the Amy Butler Birdie Sling bag, and I used an Amy Butler print for the body. I LOVE how it turned out though I was shocked at how big it was! I guess I'd have known if I'd looked at the pictures more closely, but I just somehow wasn't expecting such a roomy bag. I love the curved gussets, I don't know why I've never seen that done before! I think I'll be doing that on some of my basic totes, too. I added a button and loop to the top so that things don't topple out when this is rolling around the floor of my car, as all my bags eventually do.

(I should just add an apology for the poor pictures to my default signature.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you had a great day with your loved ones and that there was plenty of chocolate involved! I had a lot of fun with my hubby, my girls, and my in-laws and adorable niece. I even got some sewing time in. My husband conquered his fear of fabric stores and bought me a gift card to Joann... Even though we said we weren't getting each other gifts and I had nothing but a little bag of candy for him! I'm making a list of Simplicity patterns so I can catch the last day of the $1 sale tomorrow- Have a favorite bag, skirt, or little girl pattern? I'd love to hear about it.

Today I made eight pillowcases for the One Million Pillowcase Challenge. I used one of the free patterns on the challenge website, and I figured out after the first few that it was much faster to go in assembly line fashion. I got it down to about 15 minutes per pillowcase. I have to admit, all the straight lines and repetition got a little boring, but it's a good cause and I think the cases are really cute! I'll drop them off at Stitcher's Crossing tomorrow. Last time I was there they had just gotten Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley in stock, so maybe I'll pick myself up a little reward while I'm there!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Skirt for My Valentine

Allison (my five year old) had her first school Valentine's Day party today. I always loved Valentine exchanges, in school and later at work, so I was as excited as she was! I let her choose her own valentines, and offered to help her make some handmade ones, but she chose the little cardboard Princess Tiana cards with a pencil attached. I can't blame her, I always loved those little cards. I try to limit licensed characters for the girls, but the Disney princesses seem to have somehow become exempt from that goal.

I'm a big fan of dressing for holidays- not dressing up necessarily, just in keeping with the theme of the day. I always wore pink or red on Valentine's Day, green on Saint Patrick's Day, pastels on Easter... So now, while they're still young enough to wear what I want them to wear, my girls dress for holidays too!

I made the Easy Peasy Skirt that comes with the ModKid Nina pattern. I really need to make that shirt, I love it, just haven't found the "just right" fabric yet.

So here is Allison's Valentine skirt. It really is easy peasy and I made it in about 15 minutes.

Unfortunately I could not get a picture of it on her because she would not stop spinning and twirling. Did you know that Valentine's Day in preschool now involves a LARGE quantity of candy? When I was a kid I remember a stack of little cards and envelopes- Apparently that has evolved into a massive pile of cookies, lollipops and m&m's... Hence, the spinning and twirling. As I write this she is tossing and turning in bed, wide awake.

Did you make something special for Valentine's Day? I'd love to see it!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Baby gifts, pillowcases, and embroidered buttons!

I seem to be in an unfinished project zone right now- That shirt I mentioned the other day is still not fixed, but at least now I have a plan. This week I started a skirt that needs some fine tuning- some darts, finishing the hem and side slits... simple little things. So what did I work on tonight? A completely unrelated (but much more rewarding!) pair of projects.

My friend Julie has the sweetest little brand new twins- a boy and a girl. I hear that baby boy is quite the spitter, and Julie mentioned a favorite type of burp cloth. She showed me a picture and I took it from there- I made five in "boyish" flannel and two for the girly-babe.

I also pulled out a bunch of fabric to make pillowcases for the One Million Pillowcase Challenge sponsored by American Patchwork and Quilting. The pillowcases will be donated to children's hospitals, women's shelters, nursing homes- Anywhere a little something special might be needed. My local quilt shop is a drop-off location, so I won't even have to mail them! As I understand it, the participating shops donate the pillowcases locally, so I'm helping right here in my community! Love that.

Here's some of the fabric that I pulled from the stash for potential pillowcases:

And tonight I signed up for the Embroidered Button Swap at Feeling Stitchy. I haven't posted about embroidery here, but before I started sewing I was way into hand embroidery- It was really my gateway into sewing! I used to buy plain boring bags so I could embroider them, and I had to learn a bit about bag construction to take them apart enough to embroider. Then I decided I should just learn to make bags myself, and off I went! But I digress... The swap looks like a lot of fun and I can't wait to see who my swap partner is!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Quick-Piece Squares Pillow Cover

Ever since my friend Julia mentioned this awesome Quick Piece Squares tutorial, I've been wanting to try it. After a disappointing finish on a shirt (I'll share more about that later, after I make an attempt to salvage it), I needed a fun, relatively simple project- And it needed to be something that didn't need to FIT anyone! So I decided to try this patchwork and see what it became. I let my five year old daughter (She turned 5 last week! Happy Birthday Allison!) pick out the squares, and I think she did a good job! This didn't make much of a dent in scrap mountain (and oh, how it's grown since that picture!), but it was a lot of fun! They started out as 3" squares, and the trim is more of that awesome shot cotton, in Ginger.

Now, for some reason, pillow covers never go very well for me. I never get that nice tight fitted look. I started out making this for an 18" pillow insert and it was just floppy and weird. I happened to have a 20" insert as well, so I stuck that in there and it's a little better but... Meh, I just don't know. I am in a sewing slump and I need something to come out really really well, soon!

Here's the pillow, I'm happy with it, since I know it will primarily be used to break the fall when my girls launch themselves off the couch, or as a headrest for the pampered pup who rarely sleeps without her head on a pillow. And it's a bright spot of color, which is desperately needed as we head into the, "OMG is it STILL winter???" phase of the year.