22 October 2012

library bag

My nephew C. wants a library card (he's 6).  But to get a library card, he needs a library bag with a pocket.   Enter Oliver + S 'messenger bag' from 'little things to sew'.   It's ranked at 3 out of 4 scissors for difficulty (uh, bias tape!  lots of layers!  curves, lots of layers, and bias tape!)  But even with that, it went together pretty quickly.

Here's the front.  Can you tell that C choose the fabric? 

And the back.  (Don't look too close at the bias tape.  I'm getting better - but I still need more practice.)

The inside is lined with orange Kona cotton.  Yup, C picked that too.  The front expandable pockets have velcro on them.  Perfect for a library card.  There are also pockets on each side.

I changed a few things on this pattern.  There were two sizes for the pattern - kid size and  adult size.  I wanted the bag deep enough to put a few books in, so I used the adult size for the side pieces (3 1/2 inches versus 2 3/4 inches) and adjusted the length.   The back and front flap are all one piece, so I cut it in half  because of the directional fabric.  (It would not be good to have Star Wars characters upside down.)  I also lengthened the front flap with the hope that it would stay down since there isn't a fastener. I think it works perfectly.

The bag final dimensions are approximately 7 1/2" tall  x 10 " wide  x 3 1/2" deep. 

Since both of the fabrics are 'quilting cotton' weight, I lined them with decor bond.  It works great.  I also lined the bag with 'Duck Cloth' as recommended by the pattern.  It really helps to give the bag body and shape.  The only place I wish I had cut it down was on the strap.  By the time you fold the strap in, it was 4 layers of fabric and 4 layers of duck cloth.  That's do-able.  But the 8 layers of fabric and 8 layers of duck cloth where the strap pieces are folded in half was not fun.  Broken needle and hand cranking the sewing machine.  Ugh.  I'm hoping that I got enough stitching in them that they will stay put.  If I did it again, I'd cut the duck cloth for the straps at 1/2 of the width, resulting in 2 layers once it's folded.

And here's a shot of what it was like to sew around the bag.  I've got to remember to buy some 'binder clips' to use instead of pins for situations like this.  I bent most of the pins and ended up throwing them away.

The pattern consists of 9 pieces and two additional rectangles to cut out.  Plan to spend a couple hours cutting - outside, inside, duck cloth lining, interfacing for outside and inside.

It also requires a strap adjuster and rectangle slide.  I ordered mine off of Etsy.  The first order came quickly and then I realized that 2" hardware was not the right size.  I then ordered 1 1/2" wide hardware  - waiting very impatiently until it arrived and I could finish sewing.

C is delighted with his bag and he is now the proud owner of a library card.  It was definitely worth it.  I might even try the larger size next time.

14 October 2012

up, up, and away

A few years ago (3 or maybe it was 4) I decided to make 'superhero' capes for my nieces and nephews for Christmas.  I found a tutorial from 'puking pastillies /now 'georgia leigh' here.  I also found a web site that sold custom capes - 'plum pear apple'.  I liked them - but I didn't like the idea of using felt.  I wanted these capes to be washable and durable.  So I looked at the instructions/pictures and drew my own pattern. [update: I just found a another pattern for capes on pinterest that would also work.]

The first set I made were 'superheroes'.  I found logos on-line, traced the mirror image onto heat-n-bond lite, ironed it on fabric, cut them out, ironed them on the cape, and worked on my zig-zag skills while stitching around all of them.

I made Batman/Mr Incredible and Superman/Flash. (sorry - crappy indoor lighting at night.)

They were fun ... but I just didn't see my nieces liking the superhero capes.  But 'initial' capes would work.
So I made capes with their initial on the back and lined with fun fabric.  4 capes were made and sent off for Christmas  (without taking any pictures).  3 more capes were made and given to a wonderful friend's kids and a cousin as a sibling gift when her youngest was born.  (without taking any pictures).     I learned that my nephew C. was into superheroes, so I packed up my set of superhero capes and sent them to live with him.  At least I took pictures of them before they were mailed.  I hear 'Batman' goes to the grocery store, the library, Wal-mart ... pretty much everywhere.  Last year, C told me that his little sister needed a cape of her own for when they played together.  K got a cape for her 1st birthday.  (and some books because I didn't think she really cared if she had a cape.)   3 more were made for nieces and nephews. (without taking pictures)  2 were made for another friend's kids as a 'welcome the new baby' gift.   2 more were made for yet another friend's kids as a 'yea the new baby is here' gift.   I probably made a few more that I've forgotten about  ... and I still don't have pictures.  (uh, notice a trend here?) 

So this time - while making 2 more for a friend's kids as a "just because you're cute" gift, I finally took pictures.  

 Just a simple cape - but it's the project I make the most of.

08 October 2012

baby blankets times two

Way back in August my friend's twin daughters had a 'virtual baby shower' with family and friends.  One was due in August with a girl, the other due in November with a boy.  I was a few weeks late, but I wanted to make and send something to them.

I had bookmarked two different 'self binding receiving blankets' (everyday mom version, piece n quilt version) and this was the opportunity to make them.  I pulled out a very boy 'dog' print from my stash and found the perfect blue flannel with brown and white dots for the back.

My first try was a colossal failure.  Both are very straight forward tutorials, but I was very confused on how to mark the corners, what seam to sew, and what to cut.  No, that's not quite right.  I was convinced I knew exactly what I was doing, marked the corners, trimmed them, turned it right side out - and the corners were very, very wrong.   I had placed my ruler on the wrong edge and drawn my sewing line in the very, very wrong place.  (Note to self - line the ruler up on the folded edge.  And don't trim corners until you turn it right side out and check it.)  There was no way to 'patch' in fabric to fix it.  Luckily JoAnns still had some more dot fabric, so I took it apart and tried again.  (On the positive side, I now have blue dot fabric to make burp cloths with.)

I think they turned out great - and I'll make them again. The rule of thumb for the fabric is that the back fabric needs to be 10" wider and longer than the front piece.  I think they're just a bit fancier than two pieces of flannel sewed together and it's not hard to do at all.  Just don't trim the corners until you are positive you sewed the right line!

07 October 2012

Multi-Tasker Tote - (christmas sewing started!)

I actually started sewing for Christmas - and it's the first week of October. Yea!  (And I don't think she reads my blog, so it should be okay to show it off.)  

This is 'Anna Maria Horner's Multi-Tasker Tote'.   This is the second time I've made this tote (I made it with my sister last summer out of Ikea fabric.  I should post about that.) and I still really like it.

I love the outside pockets (big enough to hold a water bottle) and the inside is big enough to hold a binder - but it's small enough that you can actually carry it.

The construction is a bit different - and every time I'm kind of surprised how the side pockets are made - but it works.  I really like how the handles scrunch up the top of the outside pockets.  It's cute.  :)  It's made with 5/8" seam allowance - which seems HUGE after sewing 1/4" on my quilts.

The pattern specifies one pocket with a key clip and I added a second zipper pocket.   It's a  little tricky to put in because the lining seams runs vertically through the center of the zipper and that's the seam you leave open to turn the bag, but with a little bit of work and determination, it's do-able.  I couldn't match the citron lining color, so I choose grey for the zipper and pocket lining.

The fabric is called 'modern essentials' and I got it from JoAnns (with a coupon).  It's a home dec weight, but it's soft and has a really nice feel.  But definitely remember to use to use a 'jean' needle - I bent/broke 1 needle while making it.

One Christmas present down.  More to sew than I really want to think about.