Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wind It Up

If you'd like your family to think you've lost it so they'll leave you alone and let you stitch in peace, start doing this little routine whilst sewing. Besides, it couldn't hurt to get up and move around once in a while.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Sewing Machine Tale--The One With the Happy Ending

After two long months I can tell the tale of Ophelia, my Janome Memorycraft 6500P that did as her Hamlet namesake did and died. I didn't want to get into anything until the situation was resolved, as every once in a while my temper gets the best of my typing fingers and I didn't want to say anything unfair or that I didn't truly mean. So here goes. This might be long, and I'm going to intersperse the tale with pictures of pretty sunsets from my grandma's back porch because they're too pretty not to use.

I bought my machine online in January, totally unaware until a few months later that an authorized Janome dealer is about fifteen minutes away (I'd almost always rather buy such things in person). At the beginning of May she would start to make a very labored sound whilst stitching. It was one of those things where you're trying to decide if you really hear something different or if you're just suddenly oddly aware of the normal noise it makes. It went away after I gave the machine a break, so I thought it was just a fluke, even when it seemed like it was doing it again and going away again. Besides, the stitching was perfect. Until Memorial Day. When the labored sound turned to a juddery, almost grinding sound and the whole thing locked up. I had a huge hunk of fused plastic and metal (a very expensive fused hunk).

I immediately contacted the online dealer to find out what to do. They wanted me to send it to them, but I asked if I could take it to my local guy to check it out first to save the shipping (he had just tuned up Lola and did a great job). I took it to him, he called me back in about an hour, and said he wasn't even going to attempt to fix it, as the entire shaft was locked up. We were both hoping an errant thread had found its way into the mechanism and jammed it up, but no. This shouldn't have happened on a new machine, so he suggested I send it to Janome. I tried really really hard to get a refund from the online dealer, but when you agree to a shop's policies upon purchase you're kind of stuck no matter how well you feel you plead your case. So off to Janome it went. To make it worse, I had decided for some insane reason to throw the box and packaging away, so now I had to pay to ship it as well as for UPS to pack it up for me as neither Janome nor the dealer had anything they could send me.

After a few weeks I asked the dealer to check into it. They told me that it was being shipped back out the next day as the lower bushing had come loose (whatever THAT meant) but it was now good to go. OK, swell. So it comes on a Monday, I unpack it and sit down to use it on Tuesday night. In less than a minute the same thing happened. The naughty naughty words flew out of my mouth leaving quite the blue streak behind them. My mother came in the room and said "Tell me it's still broke!" So I told her "It's still broke."

The next morning I was on the phone right away. The lady at customer service may not have had her coffee yet, or else my voice may have been tinged with ire. I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere with her, but she took my info and said she'd have the service manager call me back (which he did almost immediately). I explained the issue and told him the things I had done to make sure it wasn't something simple (checked for tangled threads, rethreaded the machine, checked the needle, etc.). He was absolutely stymied. Apparently, these machines are tanks and they very very rarely see any kind of issue that isn't a wear and tear kind of thing. He explained to me what the bushing is (his metaphor had something to do with ball bearings and car axles) and that there was nothing I could have done to make this happen. I explained that I felt like I had a brand new car that was a lemon and that I almost felt nervous to drive it, so to speak. He completely understood and kept saying "I am going to make this right for you." He sent me a shipping label to get it back to them, and off she went again. BTW, the guy at the UPS store probably thinks I'm insane because twice in about two weeks I shipped a thirty-five pound sewing machine to New Jersey.

So then the wait began again. I had my Lola to work with, and she is an absolutely excellent sewing machine. I kept wondering if, in some weird cosmic way, she had gotten jealous and jinxed my new machine. I decided not to bug them with emails and phone calls, as I can be quite annoying with those (in graduate school I had a professor who ended one of our courses by telling the class that if he could give an award to the student who emailed him the most I would have won it by a long shot). About two weeks ago I got a call from Janome, and the service tech told me that it was the same issue, he had fixed it and it worked fine. But as it seemed to be a quirky little problem--it doesn't really happen once, much less TWICE in such a short period--I was going to get a brand new, factory-sealed machine.  Skiddely-dee! The only thing was--it was on backorder. He told me I'd have it by last week. It didn't come. I got a little bit impatient. So Thursday afternoon I emailed them. I didn't get a response super quickly, so Friday morning I emailed them again. And they called me right away and said "We've got both your emails here..." which made me feel kind of sheepish, but she told me she understood as I had been without my machine for two months so she totally got why I was chomping at the bit. She informed me that they had shipped me a new machine Thursday and gave me the tracking number. It was at my house Friday.

I put her through the paces, and as of this moment she's working just fine. The thread cutter is a quiet little hiss, as opposed to a loud ka-chunk. The needle zooms along with a whhhssssshhhhh sort of sound (instead of a loud ka-chunk). The handwheel turns soundlessly (instead of with a loud ka-chunk). So far so good.

I'm quite pleased with the outcome, though it did take a while and wasn't without frustration. I'll be honest--I did not feel that the dealer gave two figs. There didn't seem to be much interest in making me a happy customer. My local dealer was more interested in helping me get a happy outcome than the people who actually sold me the product. However, the service techs at Janome were marvelous--they were open and honest and very interested in figuring out this bugger of an issue and keeping me happy. Instead of turning me off of the brand strictly through their attitude they made me more loyal. Every once in a while a lemon is going to roll off the line, and unfortunately I got that one. I love Janome machines and I did not want to feel like I had to seek out another that I would love just as much. They made it easy to stick by them. The online dealer? Eh. I bought Lola from them too, but I will not be buying anything from them ever again.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Few for Friday - #30

This past weekend we took our annual summer sojourn slightly westward to head over to the Pittsburgh area to meet up with my dad's side of the family for our reunion. My uncle and his wife from the Philippines are there (it's funny to meet someone who you only 'know' through Facebook) for a few weeks and as my grandma's house is kind of small, we stayed in a hotel this time. I don't like hotels. I get all germ-obsessed (though I normally am not), the shower is different, I don't have my normal stuff in its normal place, and so on. The plus was that I slept in a bed instead of on the floor so I didn't wake up in the morning feeling about ninety years old. But I didn't get to do my normal lounging about in the morning as I was woken up by a voice saying "Aunt Bee! C'mon! It's free breakfast! It's gonna be over! Come on!" What a frugal little guy is my nephew. Unless it was the vending machines, because then we could feed that thing quarters all day because "I know we have the same crackers, but these will taste different!" Which, I totally get. I really can't refuse Z-man when he reminds me of myself. Anywho, here are a few snaps from the week.

A double-heart strawberry in my cereal transformed it into the breakfast of champions. Which is handy for enduring long car rides with an eleven year old.

 I love that my grandma loves gnomes. I get that from her. Along with my affinity for headaches.

 I know, it's a bug. And I hate bugs. But I turned around on the porch one night and it was just there, outlined so perfectly on the outdoor shade. I took a flash photo and immediately got grossed out so I deleted it and stuck with the silhouette.

 I talked myself out of bringing my good camera, and regretted it as soon as I saw this cardinal. The thing has wicked zoom and I could have gotten an amazing close-up. I like that you can see that the wings are fluttering, though.

 The night we came home my fingers were craving fabric play, so I was chopping up a few bits when my mumsy called me outside to take a picture. These two are always hanging about together, just chillin'. Sometimes they sit on the phone wires and coo, sometimes they sit on the fence and just hang out. I'm going to name them, I think.

I was actually eager to get back to work as four straight days of being around people with no respite but sleep drained my introverted soul of energy. Plus the insane heat and humidity didn't help. We're having much nicer weather now, which is a welcome change--I don't need to reapply deodorant before I get in my car in the morning. Is it fall yet?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Stitch Snob

When I learned to knit almost ten years ago I started paying attention to sweaters and stitches and cables and neckbands and sleeves and all that jazz. I was obsessed with scarves, and just how that particular stitch was done, and where the yarn came from and so on. The same thing happened when I learned to sew. I would think things like "Oh, that blouse would be a great print for a bag lining" or "I wish I could buy the fabric that skirt is made from." And I still do it, but more...specifically. I can't turn it off. Bags and garments and other fabricy bits are everywhere you go. You can't get away from it and it begins to consume all your thoughts. Here are a few snippets I caught myself thinking recently--some in church (of all places), some at PA Turnpike rest stops last week (on the way to and from Grandma's house), some at work, and so on. Some of them I think to myself, others I nudge and whisper. All of them indicate that I need to broaden my horizons :)

  • Whoever hemmed that skirt did it for someone wearing heels. She shouldn't be wearing flats.
  • Look at that hem--that is the straightest hem I have ever seen in my life.
  • If she took that in just a little bit on the sides the fit would be so much more flattering and the world wouldn't be seeing her bra.
  • I wonder if she'd let me have a closer look at her handbag to check out the zipper.
  • Ooo, I really like the top-stitching on that skirt.
  • Piping really DOES make everything better.
  • Do you see how her zipper looks like a seam? That's an invisible zipper.
  • I think someone's measurements were a little off when they marked those buttonholes. Those buttons aren't serving much of a purpose where they are right now.
  • I wonder where you get the fabric to make a coat like that. Maybe she'll just give me her coat.
  • Ooo, those bust darts are not placed well.
  • Somebody hemmed their jeans by hand.
  • I want those flowers printed on fabric. And then I want bolts of it.

And it goes on. I started taking an online Craftsy course on tailoring ready-to-wear, and I've gotten so much more stitch-picky since then. It took three-and-a-half decades for it to happen, but I think I'm now a snob.

How about you? Does your hobby invade your thoughts when you're doing things totally unrelated? Tell me I'm not the only one.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Has Anybody Seen My Wallet?

I have a hard time sewing things for guys. Not that I can't do it, but that I have no vision when it comes to it. I can't visualize non-clothing items that guys would appreciate (beyond a toiletry bag or something). So when a co-worker asked if I could make a wallet for her grandson I was kind of "Okaaaayyyy" about it because it's just not my usual sewing genre. I tried to find a few ideas online but ended up borrowing my dad's for measurements and so on.

I had some measurements written up for a nifty wallet, and then I remembered the limitations of a home sewing machine when confronted with layers and layers of bulk. There was no way it was going to happen so I had to redo my sketch (and my math--grrrr). In the end I came up with something I'm pretty pleased with.

I used this amazing interfacing for these. It really makes the fabric stiff, but creases can iron right out (or right in, as I pressed the dickens out of it so it would fold in half). It made the outside almost feel slippery, though. No matter the tension, needle length, presser foot, or what side was facing up I could not get the top-stitching on the camo side right. It irks me but it's honestly the best it can be so it'll have to do.

Making the card pockets was pretty fun. It's just a few accordion pleats. The pockets will hold one card or a few, and the money pocket is sized just right for those big bills peeking out up there :)  It still folds up nice and slim, though.

I've never seen an adult male carry a wallet that wasn't leather (and I can't say I favor these for a young adult male) but that's who they're for. I have no idea how long they will hold up as a wallet is a high-stress item, but I did what I could and they'll just have to do.

I already figured out what I would do differently next time, but they're the kinds of things that only make a difference to the maker and not to the user so I won't belabor the details (but it deals with layers and interfacing, in case you were wondering). The first one took me a while to do as I had to figure everything out, but the second one went together in under half an hour. These could be really cute Christmas gifts for the young 'uns in just the right fabrics. And they hardly take any fabric to put together. I waaaaay overestimated what I would need and now I could cover my house in the leftovers and shield it from military reconnaissance teams.

If you're wondering, this is the interfacing I used. I haven't found an alternative yet that's available at a place like Joann's, so I use what I have sparingly for just the right project. Actually, this is the first project, but the other one has been living in my head and in my sketchbook since before Christmas and this stuff will kick butt when I eventually get around to it. If I were to make this for a kid, though, I'd probably go with a stiff craft-weight interfacing from Joann's instead of this fancier stuff (which is delightful but limited in availability).

Do you sew stuff for the male species? What kinds of things do you get into? I'd like some inspiration, please :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Few for Friday - #29

Happy Friday! How's the weather in your world? Wanna know how it is here? Hotter than a sauna in hell. Temps in the high nineties with humidity to match. You can't even sit on the porch without sweating and feeling gross and unwittingly donating to the great mosquito blood drive. Combine that with buckets of rain almost every day and it has not been a delightful time to be outside. Which is why I'm glad sewing is mostly an indoor activity. The one thing about living in the greenhouse that is Philadelphia in the summer is that everything is lush and green right now (by August it will all be brown and dry). So my photos this week are some in-your-face shots (as I've been too preoccupied with getting indoors and out of the heat to stop and look around at the rest of the world for random happenings).

Since I must have words with my pictures----last week I was hanging out with Z after he had been running around all day. We both had our shoes off and were playing video games while Charlie napped nearby. I had to pause the game and say "Bud, is it your feet or the dog who smells like cheese right now?" Without missing a beat he goes "Your shoes are off, too. I don't think you can safely assume it's not you." BTW, it totally wasn't me, but I appreciate his response.

An indicator light went on in my car the other day. I get annoyed with car stuff, so as soon as I got to work I went to the dealer website to make an appointment and plead that they get me in early as I really didn't want to wait until month's end and couldn't I just show up Saturday and they take a look? Thirty seconds after I submitted my request, the service manager called in response to my problem. I should hang my head in utter and complete embarrassment. He said "Um...yeah...that're just going to want to turn your cruise control off. Because that light tells you that it's ON." Crickets chirped. My only defense was that I don't use cruise control so I had no idea what it was. Pretty sure they had a nice snicker at my expense after we hung up. He was "gonna go ahead and cancel that appointment."

Wouldn't you love to be a bee and roll around inside this flower? Mmmmmmmmm.....

I'm still addicted to Candy Crush. I am no longer ashamed. Now it's a mission. I was informed by a certain nephew that I "curse more during that game than when [I'm] driving." Could be true.... Good thing he's not around when I'm working on an aggravating sewing project.

So that's that. Next time I'll show you the wallets I made. They were simple but I'm glad they're done. I'm not a big fan of precise measurements. Have a good weekend!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Simple Sewing

My sister emailed me one day and said "Beeeee????? There's a chance I volunteered you to make a curtain valance for one of my co-workers. OK?"  Yes, indeed. I enjoy sewing simple curtains. All that was needed was a very simple valance, and she was going to buy the fabric herself.  She even gave me the old valance to use as a guide. I just had to cut and sew some straight lines. She had looked for something in the stores but couldn't find anything she liked, but she found fabric that she loved. Score one for DIY.

I've never sewn with ticking before but every time I hear the word it makes me think of Little House on the Prairie  and how they would empty the straw ticks during spring cleaning and fill them with fresh grass and straw. I always thought it was just a specifically striped kind of cotton, but it's not. It doesn't really feel like cotton, it's much slipperier and a little bit more ravelly. It might not even be cotton--I honestly have no idea.

I did some of my best sewing on this rectangle. To get the stripes to run vertically I had to sew a seam in the middle as the fabric wasn't wide enough. A French seam is a little too bulky (as I learned with my sister's cherry curtains) so I used a flat fell seam. You can't even tell it's there. It took a teensy little bit more work but it's so flat and smooth. I was silly excited because it was the first one I had ever done. Stripes make things quite easy to line up just right. The hems all cooperated and didn't squiggle out of place or anything--they stayed put just where I said to. It made for a quite relaxing evening of sewing.

My sissie's co-worker was quite pleased with them and said she'd remember me for future tasks. She wrote me a nice little note, thanking me for making her exactly what she wanted. She even sent pictures of it all hung up (it's always fun to see something you've made out in the world somewhere).

It's such a very simple bit of sewing but sometimes that's my favorite kind. I usually tend towards riotous stacks of color and forget the calm feeling one can achieve from working with plain and simple things. And just to point something out--you can just barely see the seam :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Stalking: when two people go for a long romantic walk together but only one of them knows about it.

That always makes me snicker. Have you ever heard of the website All Women Stalk? It's not creepy, it's deliciously marvelous. The lovely Meream (from Bored and Crafty) asked me a few questions a few months ago and now you can read my blah-blah-blahs on some bag-making must-haves over there.

In other news I'm waiting to hear back from a place about being a vendor at a fall craft fair. Depending on the response things might get crazy up in these here parts :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Orange Rhymes With Sporange (and yes, that's a real word)

Did you know that the opossum is ridiculously resistant to rabies? It has something to do with their naturally low heart rate or low blood pressure that enables them to play dead--it's not an environment in which rabies will thrive. I googled that while at the veterinary emergency center with Charlie and my mom (he's OK--it's just an ear infection; they see emergency, surgical, and regular cases on weekends when your regular doc is unavailable) in response to a text from my sister: "On the phone with animal control. Come straight inside--we think the possum in the yard has rabies." So google provided some interesting info that animal control confirmed when they told my sister they weren't coming out and that it's probably just dying. I have no idea what became of it, as I've had a raging headache all day and have only just now remembered it. So that's your unsolicited fun fact for the day.

Anyway, I didn't get a ton done this week. I worked on my sister's birthday present that I wrapped before I remembered to take pictures. And I made a cute little drawstring bag for a wee cousin. After seeing these a few weeks ago, her grandpop told me that she would love one. I tried to find out her favorite Disney character, but she doesn't have one (she's taking her first trip there in August and he thought it would be cute). I was also asked not to put her name on the exterior (child safety from strangers and all that jazz). So what did I have to go on? Her favorite color. She may be the only young girlie-girl I've ever met whose favorite color isn't pink or purple. It's orange. And I love that.

I couldn't find much in orange that I liked--everything just wasn't right, or the orange was a little too obnoxious. At Joann's I found a nice soft orange--kind of reminiscent of a creamsicle, so I went with that.

I was going through some old quilting magazines that I couldn't figure out why I had saved them, when I came across the cute flower shape above. It seemed perfect so I made a few. Do you know how hard it is to randomly place things like that? I figured this was the best way to keep the flowers visible when the bag is cinched. I usually don't interface these bags, but I used a lightweight fusible for this one. You can definitely feel the difference it makes.


I made four flowers so I stuck one on the back so it wouldn't be so plain. I had a major dumb moment with this. Usually you fuse your bonding stuff to the fabric, trace the design, fuse it to your base piece (in this case the bag) and then stitch if you wish. I was almost done the first twisty-turny flower when it hit me that something wasn't right. I had forgotten to remove the backing paper and fuse it down. Throw in the triple stitching I was using and it took a nice long while to pick the stitches out and start over.

Using the triple stitch function on my machine really makes it stand out as opposed to a standard stitch. The curves were tricky, but going slooooowwwwwly sure does help.

The lining was a perfect orange match even though it came from a different fabric line. This could have been cute on the outside, too, with orange flowers. I had bought a gazillion yards of white twill tape that I was going to layer up and sew together for sturdiness before feeding it through the channel, but there was a flaw in the worst possible spot that I hadn't noticed. I couldn't use it, even if I cut it, so that will be used for future projects. I tried to find white drawstring, but of course every color was available but that one. I bought a few options, and this sparkly orange is the only one that would work both in color and in fitting through the casing (which, note to self, perhaps I should make larger in the future).

So that's my meager offering for the week. Next on my agenda is a wallet. For a guy. I've never made one before so it will take some tinkering. I said to my dad "I need you to empty your wallet completely so I can borrow it." He simply said "Okay." He's at the point where he doesn't even question odd things anymore.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Few for Friday - #28

It's been a weird week of ups and downs. On Monday I forget what sparked it but I suddenly became very aware of how much weight I've put on, so I was all blah. Then on Tuesday I finished a shirt I had just received the pattern for, and was all yaaaayyyyy! because I loved it. On Wednesday I was all "Sewing, you can go sit on it" because what I thought was going to be a cute knit skirt ended up making me look like a hippo in a long tutu. And then today I was all "Skiddely dee!" because Janome called me on the second round of repairs on my almost brand new sewing machine and I'm getting a brand new replacement (and I'll finally tell you the tale). And now here we are on Thursday, where I spent a fun evening with Z-man playing video games and being quite silly. Tomorrow is Friday, the boss is on vacation, I had a highly productive week at work, and I'm looking forward to some weekend sewing. And now for some random photos.

A little soon, eh? I'm not fond of summer but this is crazy.

I always wonder how people lose shoes randomly. Especially here, at the very edge of a storm sewer.

Ever play Qwirkle? You have to make rows of different shapes of all one color, or different colors in all the same shape. We're constantly telling my mom "No, you can't put that one there because there's already a circle" or something like that, and yet she always wins.

I bought this most perfectly shaped bowl at Michael's. If they had them in white I'd have bought every last one and made them call all the surrounding stores to see if they had any. Then I would have filled them with strawberries and taken pictures. As such, an orange button bowl is cute too.

Right in the middle of the kitchen floor seems like a good spot, right? Why are boys like that? I've never come across one who thinks "Let me find a nice out of the way place for my crap."

I'm hoping to snap some pics for you of my sister in the skirt she made. That's a tale in and of itself. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


A few weeks ago my sister Rachel called and asked if I had ever heard of subscription boxes. I told her yeah, sort of. She said she was going to send me a few links. I was in Michael's when she called back and said "Did you get it? Did you look at it?" When I told her I was shopping I was hard pressed to think of a time I heard a more disappointed-sounding "Oh" come out of her. So I scurried home and cracked open the old email.

So what are subscription boxes? Welllll....they come in a variety of...I'll call them themes--some are crafty, some are beauty oriented, they even have one for guys. You pay a certain amount each month, and each month you get a box of stuff. It's always different and always a surprise. Some of them are kind of pricey but well worth it. You can give them as gifts, or even purchase a month at a time if you don't want to commit.

I ended up going with Dottiebox. Every time see I one of my products (I got my first box last week) I hear Pee Wee Herman's voice in my head yelling "Dottie!!!" in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. It's not an inexpensive endeavor to embark upon, but the idea of a box of surprises each month appeals to me. The folks who put this together seek out handmade shops and come up with a collection to meet their theme or genre for the month. This way you get to sample great, handmade products that you may never have come across. The handmade part of this greatly appealed to me, which is why I went with this one. If it turns out to be less than stellar in the coming months I can easily cancel my subscription.

Wanna take a gander? I ran in the door from work on Wednesday knowing it would be delivered that day. I tore into the shipping envelope, and saw the delightful little box:

Isn't the simplicity great? And even though the box is stamped, you could easily cover this box with some pretty paper and reuse if you wanted to.

 Cute little presentation. Even the stuff they wrap everything in can be reused. You get a list of all the shops represented that month, as well as the prices for what each item cost.

This month's theme was bath and body, with a few other tidbits thrown in.

My box contained:
  • A handmade blank card--perfect for when you need a generic sort of card but forgot to buy one
  • A sweet coupon for 25% off a pair of glasses (which would be great if I needed some right now)
  • A clay mask sample 
  • A tube of bath salts
  • A container of cola-flavored lip butter
  • A container of lemon poppyseed sugar scrub
  • Reusable wrapping bits that everything was presented in
I'm going to give the bath salts and clay mask to my sisters to try, but I'm pleased with the other stuff. The sugar scrub is really nice, and the lip butter is nice and light--it doesn't feel all gloopy like other glosses do. The card and wrapping bits I'll stash because I know they'll be coming in handy.

So what did I think? I'm torn. I do love the idea of a box of surprise goodies each month, and I love that it's all handmade stuff. I'm not one to buy things like this for myself so it's nice to have fun new stuff to try out. I did think I'd be getting more for $20, but then again, it's not a box from Walmart or the dollar store--these are small businesses trying to get their product out there, so it lessens the "I paid $20 for this?" feeling. Still, I do have a frugal side. As I said, though, if I'm less than enamored with it I can always cancel.

If you want to peruse the many options, give one as a gift, or even try one out for yourself, here is the link my sister sent me. They have all different kinds and all different prices. I'm excited to see what my August box will have in it.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Two Hipsters Walk Into a Bar...

I have certain fabrics sitting on my shelf that cannot be used for other things as in my head they've been earmarked for certain things. Even if I've got them tagged as such for a few years, it doesn't matter, as one day it will most definitely be a such-and-such. Last year I bought a bright orange and white striped fabric, thinking it would be a hipster bag. And it finally became one. It was quite patient about it, too. Part of the long wait it had to endure was the fact that I couldn't find the strap hardware I had purchased--I put it in that place we all have where things go that we don't want to forget where we put them. I can't wait to find that place in my house, because I've got so much good stuff there, I'm sure.

Anyway, I cranked out a very basic bag--front pocket, top zip, no bells and whistles, as my main motivation was to use the hardware.

 Great size, a little plainer than I had envisioned. It needed that flower.

Amazing how a fabric circle and some buttons can change the look of something.

 The strap is sewn into the zipper, instead of on the edges of the bag. It's totally adjustable, too...

 I always thought strap sliders looked so scary. They're one of the easiest things to use, once you get it straight what goes where.

See? The back is a little plain. The front looked like this as I was really careful about lining up the stripes. 

So that was the first one I made. I still had hipsters on my mind, and had fun inserting that hardware and wanted to do it again (folks, there is no limit to sewing-related geekery in these here parts). So I trotted to Joann's during lunch and snapped up some fabric I had been eye-balling for a while but hadn't bought as I had no plan, and I'm trying to behave when it comes to fabric. If you follow my page on Facebook, you saw a little fabric preview of this one, and now here is the bag--

 Front and back. The back doesn't look as plain on this one.

I majorly love this fabric. The word that kept coming to mind was 'powdery' for some reason--it didn't disintegrate in my hands or anything,  but the colors were so soft and muted, yet with a touch of vibrancy to them. Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear (anyone wanna name the movie that's from?).

The front of this one has a beefy slip pocket as well as a zip pocket. I had to add the flower as the fabric (which is also the lining) seemed too perfect not to use. And I finally got to use that yellow zipper--I have a few in my stash for some reason and feared I'd never find a project for them. 

I used a pattern for this one, and the only thing I would change is the zipper insertion method. It was so weird, and made the bag feel so restrictive and didn't provide a neat finish at all--I had to take it apart and redo it my own way. I made my usual suspension bridge style zipper, but instead of sewing it to the lining, I sewed it into the seam of the lining where the top band meets the bottom part. Now it's perfect.

I do love some snazzy hardware. Instead of using only one ring and the slider (as I did for the orange one) I used two rings and the slider on this one. I thought it might make a bigger difference to the finished product, but not really.

On this one the inside only has a slip pocket, but take a gander at that lovely dotty lining. Love it! And it's a nice sturdy weight, too.

Isn't that fabric just the bee's knees?

For a change I used a medium weight sew-in instead of fleece for the interfacing on this one--I love the structure it gives, but it's still nice and soft. I think I'll be stocking up on that stuff, for sure (it was Pellon 50 if you're curious). The orange one uses my usual fusible fleece.

These were pretty fun to make, but I loved the fabrics and the hardware.These are both in my shop, if you're interested. See you soon!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Few for Friday - #27

Hello to you all! I'm smack dab in the middle of a nice looooooong weekend happily being spent with a sewing machine and my current book (I try not to let them know about each other--they'd only get jealous). It's been a very quiet Fourth, which is quite fine as things have seemed busy busy busy around here, and I was very much looking forward to an extended bit of nothing to do. So while you're recovering from your festivities (unless you live outside the U.S., in which case--hey, how was your Thursday?), here are a few photos for you before I head off to find out what Dorothy's major secret is.

Isn't there just something so...I don't know...perfect?...about wee bare toes peeping out from a dress, bathed in sunshine? 

 Yeah, mom came home from work with a stack of CDs she pulled from a box someone had brought in that they were getting rid of. She brought home Al Martino for my dad, Grease for my sister, and Luther Vandross for me. I was all "Uhhhh, WTF? I don't listen to this. Why would you think I'd want this?" She said "Who's Luther Vandross?" I told her, and she started laughing and said "You know who I confused him with? That other guy you like...Hallelujah, and the Judy Garland concert thing...." I pretty much yelled "You mean Rufus Wainwright?" She feels this is a mistake that is easy to make. She said "OH, I saw this and said 'Bethany loves him! OH, it's a double CD set!'" It somehow made it worse that everyone she works with thinks I love Luther Vandross (nothing against him, it's just soooo not my music style).

I'm teaching my sister to sew, and learning a LOT along the way (my clothing sewing is limited to PJ pants and easy-pattern tees, with the odd skirt thrown here and there). It was the exact opposite of a surprise when my tailored, finicky sister decided that the only thing she could find right now that she wanted to sew was this Burda skirt pattern. Why wouldn't you start with pleats, darts, a fly front zipper, and concealed side pockets from a notoriously difficult pattern company? We're getting there, but we're exhausted. She doesn't know it but it's being blogged (though I'm sure deep down she already knows it).

And now I must go read. Because if I don't turn my brain in other directions I will dream about zippers and waistbands, and one's dreams should really be much more interesting, yes?


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