Saturday, April 27, 2013

What's Funny About Cylon Toast?

Sorry, Big Bang Theory moment. It kept running through my head when I was making this. This what? This toaster cover for my sister. She's been trying to brighten up her home with simple touches---changing the pillows, curtains, etc. And she "let" me help because I sew :)  She wanted some splashes of red in her kitchen to give it a bit of a vintagey look, and I was asked to make a new curtain and a toaster cover. Since the fabrics are one of my favorite combos ever I was only too happy to oblige.

I have a confession to make. This isn't the final version. The final version is on her toaster, fitting over it nicely. I didn't take a picture because it looks just like this one, only bigger. Like big enough to fit and not sit on top of it like a top hat of sorts...a top hat that doesn't fit. Know what dumb-dumb here did? Or did NOT do for that matter? Add in extra room for ease. So I basically handed my sister something in the same exact dimensions as her toaster. At no point did it cross my mind that wiggle room is necessary for such items. She even flat out asked if I had left some room, and I told her yes, of course, because why wouldn't I have done that? I've made these things before, and I usually add too much ease. Talk about a total brain dump. But like I said--delightful fabrics, and an easy thing to make when you do it properly :)  Plus I got to use my ruffler foot to make the gingham ruffle:

A ruffler foot is quite a delightful attachment, though a pricey one, so if your machine model has one that would fit and you'd like to ruffle up some stuff then it might make a nice gift request. I don't use it often but I do love having it available. I also popped it onto my machine to make this matching curtain:

I had made her a curtain like this a few years ago, and she told me she wanted the same exact thing. 'Same exact thing' enters my brain and swirls around and comes out of my fingers as 'kind of different.' The shape is the same, but I hadn't written down every detail so I think it might be shorter, but it's also wider so it's much more ruffly. She loved it and said it looked perfect so I'm not going to overthink it. I will never get tired of this fabric combo. Ever. I had no idea how I was going to photograph a curtain as I couldn't find a spare rod, but I found a long metal rod piece thingee in the basement that goes to the grill but never gets used so it was still wrapped in plastic so I used that as  a makeshift rod propped up on dining room chairs that I cropped out of the picture and wrote a really long run-on sentence about. Got all that?

Curtains aren't the most fun thing to do--it's a lot of pressing and pinning and straight-stitching, but I am always gratified by the results. Hanging some oversized rectangles on a stick can sure do wonders for a room :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Few for Friday ~ #17

I feel like I missed this week. I can't believe Friday is here already. I did some sewing, had a headache that didn't want to quit, gave my sister a sewing lesson, and here we are. I took off from work tomorrow to get some stuff done that I never seem to have time to do on the weekends, and then I'm planning on sewing up a diaper bag this weekend. I used to think old people (aka grown-ups) were crazy when they talked about 'Where did the time go?' and 'Time flies' and all that jazz. Time used to drag. And now I'm all what the hell? It's almost May?

Anyway, since most of the week seems to have eluded me I've only got a few pics to share.

Do these colors look familiar? This is take three. And I do believe it's the one that'll stick. More on that to come.

 THAT is the cutting mat I just got for Christmas. I thought there was a tiny scrap of fabric that I kept trying to flick off, but upon closer inspection I saw this. Talk about aggravated. I immediately hopped online and went to the company website. I filed a warranty claim (since on the site it says this is covered by a lifetime warranty) and, according to the email I received, I should be receiving a new mat shortly. I have no clue how this happens to an allegedly self-healing mat, but I'm hoping it's just a fluke.

 I drive by this board for a breakfast and lunch truck every day on my way to work. And every day that misspelling of you're shrinks my soul. I want to pull over and say "Honk if my hungry what? Finish the sentence!" I know it's kind of ridiculous and I've been a grammar and pronunciation police captain since I was about four years old, but does this irk anyone else?

And that's it for now. A co-worker turned me on to the show 'Hannibal' and it starts in about thirty seconds so I'm off. Happy Friday!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Here's how it usually goes down. Someone asks me for something simple in an odd fabric or two, or with added features, or something that makes it stand out. I make it and deliver it. Then everybody wants one. Hence my frame purse making frenzy while some of you may have been sewing handbags last week. That plain old makeup bag I made in pickle fabric? It got noticed, and I got an order for another one in ladybug fabric. I thought this was going to plop through the mail slot over the weekend, but the postie let me down and I had to make this up last night as there was a bit of a deadline with this one and I wanted it out of the way (good thing I got it done, as tonight I've got a headache and my next few evenings are iffy for sewing).

Anyway, it came out really cute--the pics aren't great as I took them on my phone. At work. Because I forgot to take some last night.

I have every color of zipper imaginable, except the ones I need, harharhar, so I had to pick up a few at Walmart (thankfully they had the color I needed). I usually use YKK brand zippers, and it's very easy to take the pull off and replace it with a larger one. With this one (Coats and Clark brand) that wasn't happening, so I couldn't do my usual zip pull tab. I frantically searched for ribbon or trim or something to use, and thankfully I managed to find this red and white ribbon that had been eluding me in a box of random junk (which is good, because I would have used it all previously and had none for this).

I've been super well-behaved at using up things in my stash. I did have to order a fat quarter of the ladybugs, but I used every square inch. I didn't think about the lining, though. Luckily, I had the without-a-doubt most perfect coordinating lining for this one--

It's red--my phone camera is making it look pink. It's so reminiscent of the ladybugs on the outside that they seemed made for each other. Sometimes when I find a perfect lining I practically wriggle with excitement until the customer opens it and sees it. They usually don't share my glee as I'm a fabric geek and most people aren't....

My favorite thing about this bag is that you can make it in any size you want just by sketching out a simple pattern. A few people commented on the pickle bag post that they would like a tutorial, and I promise I will get that together for you in the near future.

But for now I must head to bed before this headache splits my skull in two. Ewww, gross.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Make It With Me - Drawstring Handbag Part 4

Alrighty, my dears. Grab the exterior pieces of your bag that have been patiently sitting by, because now it's their turn to get all prettied up. We're going to start off by inserting the grommets. I'm using grommet pliers, but the tools and a hammer work just as well (I just find that the people around me get annoyed with the banging, for some reason). Remember if you're using the hammer and tools to protect your work surface! OK, let's get moving.

Insert the Grommets
1. Grab a ruler and something to mark with. All of our markings are going to be made 1.25 inches above the seam line that connects the top band with the main panel. You're going to make four markings on both exterior pieces. Make one 2.5 inches from the edge, and another 4.25 inches from that mark (NOT from the edge). Use the same measurements to mark from the other edge. Repeat for the other outside piece.

I like to center my grommet over the marking and trace the circle as a snip guide.

2. Take your seam ripper and insert it on one side of your circle, coming out the other side. Make a clean slice with it.

3. Use your scissors to trim that little circle. It's better to start small and go bigger if you need to, as you can't put back what you've cut off. Snip until the grommet fits through the hole. You want to poke it through to the back, so the flat part is against the front of the bag, and the other part is sticking through the back.

4. Take some of those fusible fleece scraps and cut them about 2 inches square (you'll need 8 total). Cut a hole in the center and place it over the part sticking up in the photo above--this is giving us a double layer of fleece so that our grommet will really be stuck down firmly. 

5. Put the washer over the grommet end, and use either your grommet pliers or your tools to get it firmly in place. It should not be able to wiggle around at all if you've got it in good.

From the outside.

 From the inside. Trim down some of that excess fleece.

6. Repeat for all of your grommet markings. Make sure you've got the 'working side' on the wrong side, and the business end looking nice and pretty on the outside.

Make Up the Outer Bag
1. This will be very familiar as it's almost exactly how we assembled the lining. Line up your pieces, right sides together, and sew all the way across the bottom using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Press that seam open. Sew up each side, and press those seams open as well.

2. Create the flat bottom for your bag using the same exact steps used for the lining. Due to the bottom band being in the contrast fabric, it makes it look like we've inserted a separate bottom piece.

Haha--I took this picture after the fact, which is why you're seeing my steps in the background instead of my sewing table :)

3. Now we're going to make the bottom of our bag nice and sturdy, and anti-sag by inserting a bag bottom into it. Turn your bag inside out. Measure the bottom seam and knock about a quarter inch off the measurement. We know our flat bottom is five inches deep, so knock a quarter inch off that as well. If your stitching matches mine you'll need a piece of plastic that's 11.75 by 4.75 inches. Cut that piece out now.

4. To keep the plastic from sliding up the sides of your bag we're going to sew some stitches through it into the seams. Thread a needle, tie a knot, and tack it on down. I stitched the center of the piece of plastic through the seam a few times. It doesn't need to be super sturdy--we're just trying to keep it from shifting.

It should look like this when you're finished:

Turn it right side out. You should have a nice flat-bottomed bag exterior with grommets along the top.

5. NOW grab those straps, those straps that have been waiting so patiently. Measure in 4.25 inches from the side seams, and pin/clip your straps in place. You'll want to make sure the piece that we folded and sewed when making the strap is facing up.

6. Stitch it down about 1/4 inch from the top edge. I like to go over these a few times to make sure the straps are secure as that's a major stress point in a bag. Repeat for the remainder of your strap ends, taking care not to get them all twisted.

Make the Drawstring
1. You should have two long, narrow pieces left at this point. We're going to sew them together as though we're making bias tape so there's no bulk. So take those pieces, and lay them perpendicular to each other, right sides facing (unless you're using a solid, and then it doesn't matter). Draw a line as shown in the picture below, then sew on that line.

2. Trim that down to about 1/4 inch seam allowance, unfold, and press the seam open.

3. Trim the strip so that it measures 54 inches (with your seam in the middle).

4. Remember how on our straps we folded in our short ends to hide the raw edges? Do that again--press in the short edges about 1/2 inch each.

5. Now we fold it in half along that loooong edge and press. Unfold, and press the raw edges towards the center fold. Then fold and press in half again.

6. Trot on back to your sewing machine, sew around the perimeter of your drawstring, about 1/8 inch from the edge. 

I picked out those wayward stitches after the photo was taken :)

Insert the Drawstring
1. Figure out which side is the front of your bag, as this will be where our ends will be. 

2. Take one end and feed it through your grommets, starting with one of the more central grommets, and feeding it in and out, around the bag, coming out next to the grommet where you started. If you goof this up just pull it out and redo it.

Here's what the outside looks like at this point.

Finish It
1. Take your exterior bag, and slide it inside your lining so that the right sides are facing. Fiddle with it so your seams match, and pin everything in place. Make sure your straps and drawstrings are in between the two layers and out of the way of your stitches.

2. Sew around the top using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Carefully reach through the gap in the lining and pull everything out so that the yucky parts are hidden, and all you see is your beautiful bag and the lining. Gently poke out the corners so they're nice and crisp.

3. Stitch the gap in the lining shut, then push it down into the bag, neatening everything up.

4. Neaten up the top edge (I use pins or clips to keep it in place) and topstitch about 1/4 inch from the top edge, going all the way around. Watch out for the drawstring. It'll want to get in the way.

5. Trim any dangling threads, give it a press, and tie your drawstring into a bow. You have finished, my dears.

So how'd you do? Hopefully you learned a bunch of new skills in this sew-along, but if you already knew everything I hope you enjoyed yourself anyway and now have a delightful new handbag to show for your efforts.

Please please please stick them in the Flickr pool (link in the sidebar) so we can all ogle some fabric and handbag yumminess!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Few for Friday - #16

With all the sew along business (how are you coming through, by the way?) I forgot about my Friday pics until my mom reminded me ("Hey! You didn't do your Friday photos that yo do!"). So as it's still Friday for half an hour more, I figured I'd share a few bits of my week that made me grin amid the horrors that happened around the country (what IS it with this week in violent history?).

 Every year on the last weekend in April there is a Civil War reenactment not far from my house. Every year it's a different battle. This is my dad's favorite weekend. You could cancel Christmas, but not this. He finds out what battle they're doing, then researches it. The reenactors dress in period clothing, and set up camp for the weekend. There are sutlers tents wherein they sell clothing, food, and other stuff, as well as artifacts and souvenirs. I come by my geekiness honestly :)

There were a couple of these giant birds flying around outside of work. They were so large they were distracting so I figured I'd take a picture so they'd fly away (isn't that always how it happens?). And they obliged.

I can't be the only one who thinks 'Superhero Lollipop' when they unwrap one... I was jonesin' for some sugar, and it was the last one otherwise I'd never have chosen chocolate. It's not a satisfying superhero color.

Since I emptied the jar I had to refill it. So I picked pretty colored wrappers. We made short work of these. I think there are maybe two left. 

I spent the week working on some orders for frame purses. This is the lining of one--the stripes lined up to make little chevrons so I had to capture the happy accident.

Hopefully your week had some pleasantries amidst the never-ending news coverage. And if you live elsewhere and don't know what I'm talking about--be glad about it.

Now get back to your handbags so you're ready for the finale on Sunday.

Make It With Me - Drawstring Handbag Part 3

'Allo! If you're just arriving to the sew along, you can find the links to the intro and parts 1 and 2 by clicking the 'Sew Alongs' button at the top. Everything will remain available, so if you need to take your time do so. But if you're caught up, let's get cracking on finishing the lining!

Insert the Magnetic Snap
Before I start I just want to say that this is how I insert my mag snaps. Some of you may shudder and twitch as I don't follow the directions on the package as I've had snaps come loose that way. But ever since I've done them 'my' way I haven't had any issues. So, yes, this is different from other methods you may have seen, but it works.

1.  Cut two pieces from the scraps of fusible fleece I had you save when we did the straps. Make them about 1.5 inches by the width of your scrap. On the wrong side of each lining piece, make a mark two inches down from the center. Iron your fleece over those marks (this gives some security as a snap can be quite the stress point).

2. Place your lining pieces right sides together and pin around the edges to keep it stable. Take one of your washers (the holes are very handy marking places). Place it two inches down from the top center. Make markings in the slits.

Note: I'm doing this on the fabric side instead of the fleece as the markings are easier to see in photos.

3. Take your seam ripper, and verrrrrrry carefully make two slits that correspond with your markings. Go through all the layers, but be careful not to slice too much. Doing it this way ensures that your snap will line up properly. You can take out your pins now.

4. Take one of your mag snap pieces, and poke the prongs through the slits you cut so that the snap shows on the right side of the lining and the prongs are poking through to the wrong side. Put your washer over the prongs.

5. Instead of pushing the prongs away from each other, I push them towards each other, i.e. over the center of the snap. Use a scrap of fabric (so you don't scratch the snap) and some pliers to get a nice firm squeeze.

6. Cut another scrap of fusible fleece, and lay it down over back of the snap. You may need a pin or two, but do it from the right side of the lining so you don't sew over them.

7. Go to your sewing machine. Place this right side up with your presser foot touching the edge of the snap. Sew a nice neat square around the snap. This keeps everything secure and cuts down on a lot of the stress on the lining.

8. Repeat for the other side of the snap and lining. You can trim some of the excess fleece if you like, but it's not necessary.

Make Up the Lining
1. Place your lining pieces right sides together (you can click the snap shut if you want :)  Sew the bottom seam with a 1/4 inch allowance, leaving about a six inch gap in the middle for turning. Press that seam open. Sew your side seams (1/4 inch seam), and then press those open. 

Now we're going to create a flat bottom for the bag by boxing the corners. This is what will give our bag some dimension.

2. Stick your hand in the bag and push the corner out and flatten to create a triangle. You can take a peek inside the bag to make sure the side seam and bottom seam are lined up one on top of the other (this takes a little wiggling). 

 Inside view of how your seams should stack up.

3. Grab a ruler and measure a line five inches across. You want the 2.5 inch mark to be directly on the seam line - this  may take some maneuvering, but it makes for a nice even bottom. I usually have to play around with it a minute or two to make sure everything is lined up. Once it's all set, put in a few pins to keep it from wiggling out of place. Sew along the line.

4. Repeat with the other corner. Trim off the edge of the triangle about a quarter inch from your seam line. If you turn the lining right side out you'll see that you now have a nice flat bottom.

As of this point, we have our straps made, and the lining finished complete with two pockets, a nifty magnetic snap, and a flat bottom. Next time we'll be inserting our grommets, sewing down the straps, and making the drawstring. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Make It With Me - Drawstring Handbag Part 2

Welcome back! Today we're going to work on the lining of the bag. I know, a bit of the reverse, but if zippers scare you it's best to get it out of the way, yes? Yes. So get your lining pieces, your pieces for your slip pocket, and your piece for your zipper pocket. Oh, and the zipper :) We'll do that first, so take a few deep breaths if you're feeling nervous. But I promise--though it doesn't look it this is one of the easier zippers to install.

Make the Inside Zipper Pocket
1. Center your pocket piece on the lining piece, right sides together. Place the top edge of the pocket piece three inches down from the top center of the lining. Make sure it's centered and straight.

2. Draw a line across the top of the pocket piece 3/4 inch from the top edge, and starting/ending one inch from each side edge. Draw a parallel line 3/8 inch down from this first line. Draw some edges so you have a long skinny rectangle. Draw one more line cutting this rectangle in half longways. Draw the little lines you see in the second picture below from each corner towards the middle line (they make the little triangles you see) - I make mine about 3/4 inch long.

3. Pin in place around the rectangle, then sew around the outside of the rectangle.

4. Now carefully cut along the center line from triangle point to triangle point. Use a seam ripper to get started, then switch to scissors. When you get to the triangle tips, go out to the corners, getting as close as you can to the stitches without cutting them.

5. Pull the pocket piece (all of it) through the slit you just made. It will now be on the wrong side of the lining, and look quite messy. This is where you press it into submission so that you get some nice neat corners and a delightful rectangular slit. 

6. OK, get your zipper - don't get nervous now, you already did the hard part :) Lay it down right side up and center the slit over it. If your zipper is going to need trimming later you need to make sure your pull is within the slit so you don't sew off access to it. Put a few pins in to hold it in place - you want it to be centered between the top and bottom so that you're sure to grab the entire zipper tape.

 Note: I was using the end of a zipper from another project, and a pull from another zipper, hence the mismatch.

7. Now stitch about 1/8 an inch from the edge. I don't use my zipper foot - I just put the zipper towards the left of my foot and sew, using the coils of the zipper itself as a seam guide. Pivot at the corners and keep going all the way around. You may need to move your zipper pull out of the way at some point. I only pin the top edge to get started - when I turn to come back along the bottom I keep everything positioned with my fingers because that works better than pins (for me) for this part at keeping things straight. Do what feels comfortable for you. If you like a zipper foot use it. If you like lots of pins, pin away. 

Check the back to make sure you caught all of the zipper tape. If you missed anything restitch.

8. Fold the bottom edge of the pocket up to meet the top edge. Pin and stitch (1/4 inch seam). Make sure you have the lining tucked out of the way of the needle and that you're just stitching the pocket. Then pin and stitch the sides. Be careful of any metal zipper bits that might break a needle. Trim any excess zipper if you need to. Give it a final press (and then peek inside at your lovely new zipper pocket).

Make the Slip Pocket
1. Take your two pieces and slap them together right sides facing. Sew around the perimeter with a quarter inch seam, leaving a gap for turning along the bottom. Trim the corners diagonally to cut down on the bulk.

2. Turn it right side out through the gap. Poke out the corners. Tuck in your raw edges and press the whole thing. 

3. Center your pocket on your remaining lining piece three inches down from the top edge. Make sure the gap you left open is towards the bottom. Pin it in place. 

4. We're going to sew close to the edge of the pocket around the three sides that aren't the top (obviously, or we couldn't put things in it). BUT we're going to sew about three stitches at each top edge near the corner. And then we're going to reverse, go forward, reverse, etc. a few times--this keeps the pocket edge nice and secure, and keeps it form pulling away from the lining. Then, pivot, go down the side, across the bottom (closing the gap at the same time), up the other side, and at the top edge do the same three-stitch maneuver again.

5. Draw a line up the center of the pocket. Starting from the bottom, stitch towards the top. When you get to the top, pivot and then go forward and back a few times to secure that part of the pocket.

Ok, I think that's good for today. Especially if any of you are still skipping around the room because your zipper looks smashing :) So now we've got our two lining pieces with pockets in each--one slip, one zip. Next time, we'll insert a nice secure magnetic snap and put the lining together. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...