week 5

Where did July go?

So somehow I missed July.  I actually wasn’t that busy at my job and I sewed a bunch, but it didn’t make it to the blog!  Ooops.

I was able to make several bags and wallets last month.  I won’t go into major details, but I’ll show off a few.  I made two Gingham Totes from the pattern out of Anna Graham’s book Handmade Style.  Both were made using Essex Linen.  The pitbull fabric is from Spoonflower and the sloths are Cotton and Steel that I have been hoarding for a bit.  Both of these were custom requests.


I also constructed a variation of her Trail Tote bag (I made a size that falls between the small and large for which she has instructions).  I actually made two of these as well.  One just because I felt compelled to use this kitty fabric and the other was a custom request.



As I head into August, I am beginning a two month stretch of very busy times at my job.  I will be travelling for work and working at least 6 days a week.  So, of course, I decided to start 2 quilts!!  One is a long term project that I mentioned last time (Elephant Abstractions).  I plan to make some headway on that one this week as I am on a short vacation before the crazy begins.  The other quilt is the #GypsyWifeQuiltSAL hosted by Gnomeangel.  I didn’t do so great at keeping up with the last sew a long with Crazy Mom Quilts (the June Quilt is sitting in pieces on my ironing board).  However, the Gypsy Wife Quilt is to be done over the next several months.  I am going to try my best to keep up.  I am hoping it will help relieve stress too.  Although….last night I began the first block and I ripped out several seams, so that’s the opposite of what I was going for…..  I finished the block, and there is one wonky area where the seams don’t line up, but I’m calling it finished.  On to Week 2!!  I hope to keep myself in check by posting my progress here on the blog.

week 5

Necessary Clutch Wallet

This week I made a Necessary Clutch Wallet.  This is probably my 7th one and they get a bit easier for me each time.  I will admit I find them a little frustrating, but I love the final product, so I guess the struggle is worth it. 🙂


 This time I used my favorite Cotton and Steel canvas fabric for the flap but kept the rest of the wallet pretty basic, mostly black.  This kitty makes me smile every time I see it.  I have this fabric in both colorways and I keep a small stash of it.

I find the final step in the pattern to be the hardest part (creating the accordion).  This last wallet was better at this part (no cursing!!), so maybe I have rounded the corner!

I reference this Youtube tutorial video by Janelle MacKay every time I make one of these.  She has helpful hints on ways to make things a bit easier.

This wallet is available in my Etsy shop.



I also worked a bit on my June Quilt.  I have a bunch more to sew on that, but it’s coming along.


week 5

Sunrise Saddlebag

I made a new quilt block pattern this week and then incorporated it into a brand new bag pattern!

This week, Mister Domestic released this free quilt block as part of Aurifil’s Designer of the Month series.  He is known for his fabric weaving (which I love), but this pattern is actually all pieced, so that it looks woven…hence the name: Faux Weave Block!    I was really drawn to it and made the block right away.  (Also, he commented on my Instagram post, which totally made my day!!)

 The block is not perfect and there are some wonky areas.  The strips are realllllly thin, so it was a challenge to keep things straight.  I think I would like to make a bunch of these blocks and create a quilt eventually.

This week though, I decided it needed to be the front of a bag.  Erin, from Dog Under My Desk, released a new pattern last week called the Sunrise Saddlebag.  I thought the flap on the bag would be perfect for my quilt block.  I had to enlarge the size of the bag pattern to about 120%, but it ended up exactly how I envisioned.

The exterior is Essex linen and the lining fabric is Monaluna, both from my stash.  The navy and white were scrap fabrics that I had laying around.  It seemed like it was meant to be!


The bag was simple to construct, with clear instructions and lots of pictures just as Erin has with all of her patterns.  Because I enlarged it, I did mess up the closure a bit.  I should have placed the snap a bit lower down on the body of the bag.  The flap sits at a weird spot when it is closed with the snap.  Right now, I am just letting the flap lay naturally over the bag.  I’ll remember in the future if I enlarge the bag.


Tudor Bag

I had a special request recently to make a bag for someone to give as a gift.  I gave them a few options and they ultimately decided on the Tudor Bag by Sew Sweetness.  I had made this bag once before, but did not make the outer zip pocket.

For this project, I used Essex linen for the majority of the exterior.  This was my first time using this fabric and I enjoyed it.  I already have another project in the queue using it!  The front of the bag features a piece
of an Alison Glass panel that fit perfectly in the space between the bag handles.  The handles are quilting cotton but the black accents at the bottom of the bag are cork.  I’ve mentioned before, I love using cork, especially for accents.  Sew Sweetness also sells cork on her site in so many great colors.

Because this was my second one, things went together fairly easily.  The outer zipper pocket gave me a little trouble because of the placket for the zipper.  Somehow I messed up the dimensions of this and it did not come out exactly right.   As you can see from the picture, the zipper is just weird looking.  It is supposed to span the length of the placket, but I miscalculated something along the way.  I don’t love how it turned out, but the recipient was happy so I will try not to worry about it.

I had one interesting thing happen during the process that I thought I would share.  After installing the zipper pocket, stitching on the handles and sewing up 3 of the 4 sides of the bag, I discovered a little problem:

This photo shows the zipper pocket that I ingeniously sewed into the seam of the handles.  So basically I didn’t notice that I had done this until I was sewing up the final side of the bag, just ready to flip it right side out.  It was not as easy to fix as I thought because I had to rip out the stitches shown above, but in order to re-sew the handle securely, I had to rip out another side seam.  Otherwise, I would not be able to get to the handle easily.  Anyway, not a huge deal in the long run but definitely one of those times that you look up to heaven and sigh before reaching for the seam ripper!

In the end, I like this bag, even with the zipper ickiness.  I’ll be ready next time (or at least make some better measurements).


Evelyn Bag (Swoon Pattern)

I finished up this bag for a friend last week.  The Evelyn bag by Swoon Patterns is one of my favorites to make.  This is my 4th one, and I find that each one gets even better.   So far the Evelyn is the only Swoon bag that I’ve made, but I have the pattern for the Brooklyn Bag (from the Bag of the Month club).  I have others that I want to try out in the future as soon as my WIP list dwindles down.

My friend requested the exterior be a very bright fabric with lots of color.  I found this print one day at JoAnn’s and sent her a picture from the store.  She immediately texted back, “Get it!!”.  I love all the colors in the print.  It will pretty much go with anything.

I knew that I wanted to use black cork as the accent fabric for the bag.  The other three Evelyns I made also had cork accents.  It is so easy to use and I think the cork really makes the bag special.  I probably won’t use regular fabric for the accents in future Evelyn bags because I love the cork so much.  I’ve been using cork for bags for about 3 years now, but it’s really become popular recently.  When I first started using it, I had to order directly from Portugal but now there are several options in the US!  I have ordered through SewSweetness most recently.  Her prices are quite reasonable and she charges a flat rate for shipping, no matter how much of the cork (or vinyl) you order.

For the interior, I used Alison Glass Insignia in pink.  The pink matches the hints of pink in the exterior perfectly.

One change that I made for this bag is that I used a magnetic snap instead of a zipper closure.  That was at the request of my friend that prefers no zipper.  I actually almost never zip up my bags either, so I can relate.  I also added a interior slip pocket in addition to the zipper pocket.

This was the handbag size,  but there is also a bigger tote size pattern which I have not yet made.  If there is interest, I am thinking of doing a giveaway for one of the handbags in the near future.    Let me know your thoughts.



Good to Go Bag and Project Quilting

This week’s Project Quilting theme (Brighter is Better) called out to me and I wanted to make sure I participated.  I wanted to try something different than just a quilt or mini-quilt for the contest, so I decided to make a bag.  The rules state that there must be piecing or applique involved, or have three layers stitched together in your project to qualify.  With this knowledge, I decided I wanted a bag that would feature a quilted section with a rainbow of colors.  I stumbled upon this messenger bag pattern by Andrie Designs (formerly Two Pretty Poppets), and knew this would be perfect.  What’s even more perfect?  This pattern is a freebie on her website!!  Even though it’s free, it is chocked full of detail and photos to help you along the way.  The bag has a basic assembly, but would be perfect for someone just starting out with bag making.  Her instructions are excellent and you can’t beat free if you are unsure as a sewist!  I have another of her patterns that I have not yet made, but am anxious to do so…just need to get to it!!

Back to my bag….  I pieced a rainbow using Alison Glass Sunprint 2016.  (I found a FQ bundle on Etsy for a really great price and this bundle has been used in at least three projects to date, with more goodness leftover!)  When I do rainbows, I am very simple.  I literally lay out the pieces in ROYGBIV (I actually say Roy G Biv when I’m doing this.)  I am envious of others who create such beautiful rainbow effects with their fabrics, but I’m not there yet!  For the back of the flap, I used a black and white fabric I’ve been saving because I love it a lot! I created the flap just like a mini quilt:  made a quilt sandwich, quilted straight lines through the rainbow and then bound three sides of the flap (knowing that the 4th side would be sewn into the bag).  I had also been hoarding saving the multi-colored diamond fabric used in the binding, lining and strap.  It is so colorful and fun!! (The theme is, afterall, brighter is better.) It picks up every color in my quilted flap perfectly.

The rest of the bag was basic construction.  I altered the pattern in a few ways to make it my own though.  For instance, I made the inside slip pocket bigger and sectioned it to hold more items.  I also made the strap adjustable so it can be used over the shoulder or as cross-body.  Lastly, I added more interfacing to the bag to make it a bit more sturdy.  I figure if this is a messenger bag, it’s got to hold quite a bit of weight.  I used lightweight interfacing on both the lining and the exterior fabric (rather than just one of them) and I added Soft and Stable to the inside.  I feel like that really helps the bag keep its shape as well as give it more stability.

I plan to make more of these messenger bags.  They are a great size and can be modified in several ways to make each one just a little different.  Making the quilted flap was really simple (faster than the rest of bag construction), so I think I would consider doing more with quilting in the future, or even a paper pieced flap!  So many options 🙂

This is my first Project Quilting submission.  I think I went outside the box a little bit, and I’m pleased with the outcome.  Check out the other submissions and the website for future projects.  P.S.  I would love it if anyone would submit a vote for me!!

This bag will be for sale in my Etsy shop.


Roundabout Hobo Bag

I was really excited to be able to pattern test a new bag for Erin Gilbey at Dog Under My Desk.  When I started sewing three years ago, her patterns were the first I began using.  I actually didn’t appreciate how awesome she was until I tried using other bag patterns!  She is extremely detailed which I think is great for beginners and even intermediate sewists.  I also find that some patterns don’t offer nearly enough photos of their steps as the pattern progresses.  This is definitely not the case with Erin.  She basically photographs every.single.step.

Her newest pattern is a hobo style bag, called the Roundabout Hobo.  It is a super easy bag to make because it literally has one pattern piece!  She has incorporated a zipper pocket which can be used for the lining or the exterior.  One thing to know about Erin:  she hates raw edges!  She created the zipper pocket so that there are no raw edges, including seeing the edge of the zipper tape.  It was the first time using this technique for me and it was pretty simple.  It added maybe 5 minutes to the zipper pocket process.

Erin really likes zippers and tries to make you relax and not be afraid of sewing them into bags.  Because I had no sewing experience before her patterns, I did not know to have a fear of zippers 🙂  With her instructions, I find zipper placement pretty easy work.  She made sure to add a zipper closure to this hobo style bag (rather than snap closures that are often seen with this style).



For testing, I chose a purple vinyl for the exterior.  I bought this vinyl last year when Hancock Fabrics went out of business, so it was definitely a good price.  Unfortunately, I got a shock at the cutting counter when they told me the minimum cut was FIVE yards.  Needless to say, I have a surplus of this vinyl (anybody want some??)

 For the interior, I used a Valentine’s Day print I bought at JoAnn’s last year.  Not sure what I thought I was going to make with it, but it worked for this bag, so there ya go!
I opted to put my zipper pocket on the outside.  I only placed a slip pocket in the lining.

As I mentioned, the bag was very easy to put together.  It took me about two hours to complete (not including cutting, which I did on a different day).  In the end, I was not happy with how the vinyl worked with my machine.  I got a new machine this year and it was the first time it sewed the vinyl.  I probably should have switched to my walking foot because it was very difficult feeding the vinyl most of the time.  I don’t have a teflon foot, and I don’t know if that would help or not, but honestly, I’m too cheap to invest in one.

I am looking forward to making more of these bags.  I think canvas would be the perfect weight and easy to sew up, so that is on my long list of future projects.

To end, I can’t believe I’ve made it 4 posts before showing the most handsome cat in the world, but finally here he is, helping me with my project as usual: