May 15, 2011

the panda sews: free as a bird tote

i spotted the fabric that heather moore designed for cloud9 fabrics on a few sewing/fabric websites and instantly fell in love.  in an effort to keep my fabric purchases at bay, i held off purchasing some, although "free as a bird" was tempting me every time i trolled for fabric online.  i was surprised to see it for sale on, and since i needed wanted to order the amy butler barcelona skirt pattern, i went ahead and picked up a yard. I LOVE IT. i knew it would pair great with some dark grey linen i got at hancock, so today i made tote bag, using the same lotta pattern i used for the mushroom tote.

note: when i made the mushroom tote, i had a hard time sewing the straps onto the bag. lotta says to attach them by sewing a rectangle - i did such a piss poor job on that thing, so i ripped up my initial stitches and re-did them {exercising more patience this time around}... it looks TONS better.  all that to say: when it came time to sew the handles onto this bag, i felt much more confident.

another note: i plan on buying some more of this fabric ASAP - i think it would make a lovely skirt!

the panda sews: a bicycle tool bag

the mister has a road bike & has been doing some distance rides (anywhere from 12-18 miles). he wanted/needed a tool bag to roll up & stash extra tubes, a pump, cell phone, etc.  (and after he got a flat tire a few weeks ago & had to walk a bit in order to find a phone to call me, the tool bag became an absolute necessity).  he found something he liked online and asked if i could try to sew him something like it.  so with this as my guide, i made him this bag (for a fraction of the cost). he picked out a sturdy railroad fabric & i went to work. it has three bigger pockets that have some "room"/dimension to them, and two small, flat pockets.  i also added a d-ring belt to tie everything together when it's all rolled up. i was kinda scared to delve into this, because it's been the first thing i've tried fully on my own without the assistance of a pattern or directions.  but it came together quite nicely and he's pretty happy with it (or so he says).

EDIT 9/2/2011: went back and re-read this - had a laugh that i noted the mister's long-distance rides were anywhere between 12-18 miles. since then, his riding skills have VASTLY improved and he averages 40-60 miles per day and he's also completed a century). 

May 7, 2011

the panda sews: an a-line skirt

the final installment of my sewing class was held today. i went in with 1 1/4 yards of fabric and a zipper, and five hours later, i left with a skirt.  it boggles my mind that i was able to make something i could actually wear.  dare i say, it's better quality than the clothes at old navy (though that's probably not saying very much).  we followed the amy butler barcelona a-line skirt pattern, and i chose a joel dewberry fabric called "floral fields" for my main fabric. i made a trim at the bottom, since i didn't really want to hem the bottom up (i didn't want the finished skirt to be any shorter). yippppeeee!  i definitely plan on making another skirt or two in the near future...
don't my knee caps look funny?

May 5, 2011

the panda sews: a chicken apron

my sister carrie has chickens & she loves the heck out of them, so as an early mother's day gift, i made her a chicken apron, using fabric from alexander henry's farmdale collection (i love the way the 'crosshatch sage' partners with the chickens! you can find it all over the 'net, but i was also surprised to see it at joann). i reinforced the pockets with some decor bond fusible interfacing, figuring she could fill them with chicken snacks. 

she's a fantastic mother to humans and chickens (and dogs and rabbits) and the most positively influential older sister a person could imagine.  i've never known anyone with a bigger heart. happy mother's day, carrie!i love you!

May 3, 2011

a sailor zipper pouch

i was really quite smitten with this sailor boy fabric i picked up at textile (it can also be found online at superbuzzy, which is my favorite place for all those cute japanese prints).  those lil' sailors are just so cute and tiny, with their miniature flags and sailboats and anchors.   since i only bought 1/4 yard and i wanted a quick-ish project to work on tonight, i decided to go with a zipper pouch. i lined it with a navy-with-white-polka-dot fabric i got at hancock fabrics.  the final bag ended up around 10" x 7", so now i just have to figure out what i'm going to use it for.

May 1, 2011

a mushroom totebag

i wanted to try something out from my lotta jansdotter's simple sewing book, so i made another tote bag.  i used the same natural-colored linen from the raindrop tote & a mushroom fabric i picked up at jo-ann. i'm not 100% happy with how this one turned out - the tote isn't lined (nor does it require interfacing for added stability), so it doesn't feel as strong as some of the other stuff i've made. and her method of sewing on the straps left some unsightly stitches (although this is totally my own fault. it definitely would've helped if i had used a green thread to match the fabric rather than the white).  i'll probably end up adding some sort of trim or ribbon to cover it up.  all in all, i had more success with this tote bag method.

on a side note, i found a crazy-good rowenta professional iron at the goodwill for $6.99 (refurbished/used ones still sell for $75), so that was a total score!  way better than my previous iron.

edit: a few weeks after i made this, i pulled out my "unsightly stitches" and re-did it. i am now officially 100% happy with the results.