Friday, February 27, 2015

Upholstery Samples Cross-Body and Shoulder Bags

Next up are some zipped cross-body or shoulder bags I've been making. These are from a "book" of samples that have a bit of sheen as well as a horizontal weave. I used quilt-shop fat quarters to line them. I started with a pattern by Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs, Runaround Bag, then experimented with different sizes, proportions, and straps.

I think that they are plain rather than "busy"—but maybe other people would prefer dangling zipper pulls and embellishments on the bag fronts. Please (really really really) let me know what you think and/or would prefer. The more voices, the better.

I have enough of these fabrics to make a few more, but I wanted to show you what I've been working on. The background is an Omnigrid cutting mat with a 1-in. grid so that you can see the sizes.

This one was made from some of the upholstery fabric I used for the tote bags.

Here's the back pocket.

Front of bag

Front zipper

Another bag, front zipper

That's my brown sugar teddy bear, holding the pockets open.

Blessings and peace...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My All-Time Favorite Peanuts Cartoon Ever

This is my all-time favorite Peanuts cartoon. Ever. Somehow it disappeared in a move 20+ years ago, and I thought I'd never see it again. I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Upholstery Samples Tote Bags

I love solving puzzles. I almost bought a piece of “fleece” at Joann’s last week; the pattern was all-over puzzle pieces. But I stopped myself thanks, in part, to the line at the cutting table. Jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles (as long as they’re easy), and sewing puzzles. I am putting this experiment into the last category. Sewing is very mathy, at least when you veer from the original pattern or instructions.

Remember my telling you about receiving some upholstery samples? Upholstery Samples.
I’ve made two tote bags and several smaller bags. Up first are the two tote bags.

Bag #1:
My first question about making a tote bag from these upholstery samples was, “What’s the largest size I can make the bag without piecing the front and back from smaller pieces?” I didn’t have high expectations for this one, so I decided to brush up on pocket-making skills in the hopes that the bag would be usable. The khaki canvas at the lower portion of front and back, as well as bottom, was added to the length of the bag.
And the answer is this:
The proportions are a bit odd, but that's okay.
The bag is 8.5 in. wide x 11 in. tall x 4 in. deep.
Here is my first attempt at gusseted pockets in the lining:
I followed the excellent tutorial at The Inspired Wren, except for my adaptations and experiments.

My construction challenge was what also appealed to me about the bag; that is, the sturdiness of the handles because of their being stitched into the bottom seam. The bulk of the bottom seam, which was at its thickest, was 12 layers of canvas fabric where the straps are seamed together. That gave my machine a workout.

Bag #2:
How can I make the bag a more proportional width without adding the clutter of more print pieces? I increased the width by adding canvas to the sides of the front and back pieces, as well as where the canvas already is.

Here's the result, again with the gusseted pockets in the lining:
The bag is 12 in. wide x 11 in. tall x 4 in. deep.
My second question was, "How can I reduce the bulk of the bottom seam, which was at its thickest, 12 layers of canvas fabric where the straps are seamed together?" The solution cane in two ways:
1. I decreased a bit of bulk by replacing the lower portion of the bag front canvas with quilting cotton (which would be covered by the bottom front panel). Result: 10 layers of canvas and 2 layers of quilting cotton.
2. I offset the straps by moving the front strap 1/2 in. toward the front, and the back strap 1/2 in. toward the back. Result: 6 layers of canvas plus 2 layers of quilting cotton. Aha! Significant reduction in bulk. Yea!

Here’s how it looks after the front handles and pocket are sewn onto the front and the back handles are pinned (well, Wonder Clipped and painter’s taped) onto the back, just before stitching the back handles down.
This view is (from top to bottom) (A) top of bag front with front pocket attached, (B) quilting cotton, and (C) front handles. (D) is the bag back laid out bottom to top.

And here’s a side view of that reduced bulk, accomplished by offsetting the straps.

And here are both bags:
Now that I have this figured out, I can go into production. Sort of. I'll keep adapting the bag, and it won't surprise me one bit if I add a zipper or two.  

Blessings and peace...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Slip and Fall and more

Oh brother. Small stuff, I know. But still...
1. I slipped and fell on what I thought was slush; didn't realize there was ice under it, at the inside part of the entranceway of a large chain drugstore (begins with W) the other day. Landed on my right hip and elbow. Cashier saw it happen. Reported to mgr. W's claims adjuster called me the next day. Sending me papers to complete and return.

Especially because of my concern about possible stability effects on the titanium I have in my spine, I saw my dr. Time will tell.

Anybody have experience with a slip and fall? Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment here. Thanks!

2. I am under the weather for the third time this year -- and it's only the middle of February. nothing big or scary, yes, I'm grateful, but it's annoying to lose time over and over again.

3. Yes, I have been sewing! I've made two tote bags and 5 or 6 dressy purses. And more in the pipeline. Photos to come.

4. I had the most fun teaching sewing to a seven-year-old girl, now that she has an American Girl doll.  She made pants and her older sister made a skirt, all for the doll. Three of her sisters (one older and two younger) were "involved" too. I could fall down the "sewing for American Girl dolls" rabbit hole.

5. When I'm under the weather, I can meander around Pinterest, creating new boards, pinning this and that. I don't know how to add Pinterest to my blog but that doesn't keep me from enjoying it.

Blessings and peace...