Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Hippy Dippy Bag

This is the reason why I started this blog – to learn from other bloggers and show them what I made. I found this bag pattern on Pinterest and was blown away.  This little lady worked so hard (I'm sure) to create this pattern and online tutorial. And here I am, a blessed man because of her hard work.  I loved her creativity and I thought it was cool because I liked the style. Plus I liked how she was daydreaming and sketching during her business meeting (like I do).  Anyways, like I always say, I saw something and I was inspired.  I knew I had to make this bag because I couldn't get it outta my mind. 

A couple months ago I went garage sale hopping with a friend of mine (Jennie, you might have heard of her) and I was on the lookout for fabrics and other notions. At this very upscale house I found some beautiful napkins - 8 napkins to be exact. I've always been attracted to this color scheme.  I call it “Rich Christmas” colors - I mean for 50 cents, how can you go wrong?

Alright, of course every project start out the same, for me at least, which involves printing out the pattern and trying to figure out how to incorporate a limited amount of fabric resources into the pattern. Lordy, I probably spent a good hour trying to decide how to use the fabric to fit the pattern. Do I use the plaid on the exterior or the interior or do I use some of the plaid on the interior pocket pieces or just on the back pieces?

I only had 2 each of the solid napkin pieces which measured approximately 12x12 inches. So that pretty much helped me figure out how to utilize all the fabric. Essentially what I determined was to the plaid fabric for the exterior pockets and the solid fabrics to be interior of the bag and side gussets. However, the larger intention always was to create the binding out of the fringe from the plaid fabric.

Okay so I cut everything out. Of course I do the lining first and the pockets (cause I've learned from my previous errors). You can see here how I cut the exterior side panels out of the two remaining solid fabrics on the diagonal and then use the excess material to create pockets for the lining. Genius! I know, get over it. Here's how they turned out!

With the lining done I moved on to the exterior of the bag. Now….. I did mis-figure the amount of fabric necessary to make the exterior pockets. What I mean is that I did not account for the fact that the pocket needed to have two pieces. I guess I was thinking original that the stiffness of the plaid fabric would be sufficient. It probably would have been, but what I realized in the moment was that I couldn't do the binding if I didn't have two pieces of fabric. It worked out okay. I was able to use the scraps to create a diagonal pocket. It was always my intention to create pocket on both sides of the bag (this was something I learned from the daycare bag). Anyways what ended up happening is that one pocket on the exterior is vertical and the other side of the bag is diagonal, which was pieced together. I think it turned out okay, right?

Anyways I don't know if I am sewing my binding correctly - I need to ask my mom. I definitely am doing it my way... which, I kinda love.  I guess I love it because it's sort of rolled or lifted in a way. I started by sewing the binding down with the hem folded over. Then I turn it over and sewed it so the other hem was folded over. I'm not sure if I should be cutting down the waste before sewing the binding down, but if I didn't then I wouldn't have that cool popup look to it. Maybe I need to revisit how to sew binding….. Either way it’s pretty cool, dontcha think?  Here are my binding tech below:

Alright the exterior of the bag is made, the interior of the bag is made….. you know whats next…. the strap. At first I was thinking of making two straps…. But I couldn't make two straps to make the bag into more of a tote bag because of a lack of fabric.... so I went back to making one strap (considering what I know now, two straps would have been best). Maybe it's on the tacky side, but I really do love the fringe. So I decided to make the strap that had the fringe on the exterior of the strap. So what I did is piece together using the last of the solids and the fringe. I'm not explaining it very well, it was very jury-rigged. I know this and I accept it…. Anyways here's what's up with the strap. I love my quilting detail.

I think the strap turned out to be too large and I am beginning to understand why the original seamstress sewed it to the exterior of the bag instead. I broke two needles trying to get it sewn into the seam. I think this is because I didn't cut down on the waste after sewing the exterior and interior down. This is a problem I have constantly. After I turn a piece inside out I'm like “its fine” and move on. I think what happened is that where the exterior pocket meets the top of the bag it is too much fabric for the sewing machine to handle.

Anyways I love this bag, I think it's so cute! I call at my little hippie dippie bag. I mean how could it not be hippy with all that fringe?  I think this is an amazing pattern and I definitely want to continue exploring all the possibilities.

What I may or may have not learned during this project:

  • I learned my lesson from last time and instead of plowing through and staying up until 3 in the morning to finish it. I split it over two days.  (obviously I work, so two evenings or one Saturday is more than enough time to finish this bag). Hooray for me.
  • Dude, I really need to remember to trim down the waste after stitching stuff together. This is something I have run into a lot and I am tired of replacing broken needles. Get it right Davey.
  • I am on the fence about using scraps to making a project the first time or using fresh fabric.  A part of me says for the timid, use fresh fabric – It’ll be easier.  On the other hand I say be dangerous.  :)
  • Are those pre-made canvas straps worth it? YES THEY ARE!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Jennie Bag

Sigh…. I’ve been missing sewing. There is a overwhelming pattern in my life, typically-cyclically-annually, this time of year gets for real-real cray-cray. This was the first summer that I decided to no longer ignore the signs the universe was sending me and decided to free up my schedule accordingly. Anyways, even though it has worked out for my benefit, my sewing time as suffered. For shame, I know....

I've got a girlfriend who had a birthday. She is just like another friend of mine, Jennie. Jennie loved her Cargo Pants Bag and so I decided to make another one for this girl for her birthday gift.

I’m gonna break for sec and give you a heads up. This sewing project was difficult… not sure why. Maybe it was my over-confidence, maybe it was creating it in two different locations, maybe it was the weird fabric choices, maybe it was the stress of trying to adapt something new, or maybe it was just a weird confluence of all those things. Here is the thing, making something, anything, be it crafts or art, is so strangely therapeutic. Even after all of these years you’d think I’d learned that by now but the weird thing is that I don’t think you ever truly learn that lesson. I think every arts/crafts experience is unique. I am telling you this is because there is something about creating in the face of obstacles. I guess what I love is when you complete a project, maybe it didn’t turn out how you like but it always will be a product of the journey.

Anywho, this post is how I took a project I have already made and remade it into something new. So I wanted to make a purse for my friend’s birthday. Well I haven’t done anything for LITERALLY weeks. My mom and I had a scheduled hang out sess so I brought my sewing machine and some gifted cargo pants. My mom needed to hit up Joann’s this week super sale and I needed liner fabric so we headed on over. OMG I found the CUTIEST light corduroy fabric in the trash (discount) bin. We got back home I started cutting into the cargo pants.

I did what I am always preaching in here, you gotta envision the project. I looked at my available material, found objects (like pockets) that I wanted to use, measured stuff out, and use my imagination to picture how it will turn out. I think this is a critical step. This time with the front flap I wanted to cut out two pieces for it instead of the recommended one piece. This isn’t necessary but I had an idea after doing the first one that I wanted to try this time. I think the Noodlehead lady said make your front flap 12” long, so what I did is make a 2 ½“ strip and then a 10” front flap. I wanted the strip to match the dimensions of the side gussets and I wanted to sew a closure into the seam between the two. Just trust me, you’ll see it later. Anyways, cut out the rest of your pieces you silly goose.

Don’t forget to add your pockets to the liner if you want one. Speaking of pockets, this is something I thought of doing the last time I was working on this pattern. Why settle for just ONE exterior pocket on the flap, why not side a pocket right into the front of it!?!? So I used two cargo pants for this project, a dark blue and brown. So I used the back pocket of the brown pants on the outside front of the bag. Que Cute, no?

Okay, my closure talk, I’ll try to be as short as Peter Dinklage in a pissing contest. I have no idea how to do this, you’d think I’d be representative to my generation and google how to do one of these latches. But… I wouldn’t be your maverick seamster if I didn’t learn how to do it through trial and error. To get to the point, I should have used the button on the brown pants instead of the hook closure on the blue ones. A button would have been reversible…. If that makes sense. Anyways, as you can see below, I decided it to do it this way after trying to test it as much as possible using the pre-sewn frame of the bag. What ended up happening is that the hooks don’t work because at some angle (either the flap being up or down) the hooks slipped out… thus rendering them superfluous. Definitely, definitely use the button closure instead.

So.. this next part is embarrassing. I have been researching binding, dreaming about it at night. You’d think I'd have it down, but this project made me realize that a little bit more practice wouldn’t be the worst thing. But it wasn’t bad overall - in fact I learned something. I ripped a 2” strip from the linear fabric and hemmed one side of it, then sewed the hemmed side to the front flap. Here’s the thing, this 2” strip was WAY too big for binding, so I winged it. I folded the binding back over the front flap and sewed it down to accommodate for the extra room. It worked out okay, I tried to sew back over my first set of stiches but….. well, not my best work forsure. I have to say though, I kindof love this “new” method (I say “new” because I’m sure someone already invited this) BECAUSE it could look cool if you knew what you are doing… but just because mine looks janky doesn’t mean it has to be. Sorry to all the perfectionists, what you are about to see might give you some anxiety.

So here is how the latch turned out… hmm, mmm. Very cute. Just wait till next time, I’m gonna git it RIGHT gurl! Love that front pocket – note the belt loop turned into a clip hook – how yooouu doing clip hook?

This was a labor of love; let's spill some tea:

  • YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FINISH THE PROJECT ONCE YOU START THE PROJECT! Why haven’t I learned this yet? I lost valuable hours of much needed beauty sleep cause of this project.
  • Google “sewing tutorials, how to sew closures”
  • Start kickstarter funding project. Those bargain bins are calling my name…..
  • Does this post scream 70's or is just me?