April 29, 2011

linen tote bag w/ appliques

class was canceled AGAIN last saturday, so i've been doing quite a bit of home sewing over the past few weeks. i made a few aprons and have toyed with the idea of opening up an etsy shop. in my "ideal fantasy" world, this would give me some extra funds i could use toward fabric-buying (wait, i guess in my ideal fantasy, i'd already have enough money to buy tons and tons of fabric...and i'd live on a beach.)  but it's still an idea at this point - i'd like to get a bit of an inventory built up- so stay tuned for updates. i guess i want to make sure i'm 100% satisfied with my product. 

i wanted to work on something else yesterday, and this tutorial really caught my eye (linen! little raindrops!) plus it would give me a chance to learn a few new things (sewing with linen & making appliques).

  • this is one of the best tutorials i've ever seen online - helpful pictures, easy-to-follow directions, etc.
  • seriously, be patient sewing the appliques, esp. the tiny raindrops. i used the hand-crank (she offers this advice in a different tutorial: When sewing around smaller, tighter curves or circles: I sew these in a very slow and methodical way, sometimes just a stitch or two at a time if necessary. I’ll sew one or two stitches, then, with the needle in the down position, lift up the presser foot, turn the fabric slightly, then put the presser foot back down and go another stitch or two. Sometimes I’ll even just use the hand wheel on the side of the machine to move the needle to avoid accidentally shooting ahead a few stitches with the foot pedal. I’ll repeat this process typically for just the tightest part of the curve, and get back to a normal speed whenever I can. 
  • full disclosure: the brown cloud is actually covering up my first botched applique attempt. same with the lightest-colored raindrop.  i was able to create slightly bigger versions and go over my 'mistakes'.  i tried hand-sewing them too, but it looked too sloppy.
  • i love the look of natural-colored linen, but it sure is wrinkly.
  • i can't hear the word "applique" without thinking of this song.  "designer jeans with appliques on it"  

edit: i added a trim to the top. here's what it looks like now:

April 19, 2011

a big tote bag

when last we met, i had begun work on a tote bag in my sewing class. the next class ended up being postponed because the air conditioner wasn't working (and on an 85 degree day in a 2nd floor old house, you really need A/C...) but we were back on track on the 16th and i finished up the bag:
i chose a deep purple, floral fabric (to counteract all that cute animal stuff i'd been using, i suppose).  it's lined in aqua and has 2 big pockets, with some little pockets sewn onto the big ones (see photo below).  the bag could be reversible, but i sewed down the corners (much like i did for the produce bag) to add some depth. all and all, i'm very pleased with it.
"inside" of the bag

i've also been making some more wallets. i did a cute tree one for my good ol' buddy liz (didn't snap a picture)...and this rooster one:
 my fabric stash is getting slightly out of hand:
our final class is the 23rd...skirt!  in the meantime, i need to figure out if i'm going to take sewing 102 or quilting 101...

April 2, 2011

zipper pouches

during last week's class, we made a zipper pouch. i used an awesome animal print (tiger! octopus! chicken! elephant! they have eyelashes & they're all hanging out on the same fabric!) and lined it with a brown w/ white polka-dot print. i felt really discombobulated and out-of-sorts during class, and ended up messing up my zipper piece 3 times (we sew a little piece of fabric to the ends of the zipper) AND i measured the fabric wrong for my size zipper. my zipper foot for the machine was a little wonky, so that played a (small) part in my error(s), but 99% of it was my fault.  and when i finally finished it, i realized i had sewn the fabric too close to the zipper and it didn't zip all the way open. boo. definitely not my proudest day. (side note: the next day, i got a migraine, so at least there was a reason i felt like a pyschopath).

l-r: carrie, courtney, katie. zipper pouches for sisters three! 

i decided to not let the day's failures prevent me from trying again, so i made 2 more pouches for my sisters. everything went swimmingly. the purple spotted fabric is carrie's (i lined it with a solid plum purple) and the panda/pig one is courtney's (lined with brown w/ white polka dots).  everything went really well making those two, so i decided to re-do my own animal pouch. more trouble!   (i'm beginning to think that fabric is cursed, but then again, it was 1am at that point). i finally wound up with something i'm proud of.

last night, my pal/classmate julia & i wanted some more practice before today's class, so after eating and playing some ms pac man at her house (they have many arcade video game machines!!!), i made this for my mother-in-law. it's lined with plain navy blue & has a grey zipper:

today's class was spent measuring out all the fabric for a tote bag, which we'll complete next week...